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Tag Archives: MBA application

A random thought; I hope I get an invite to Daytum.com‘s private beta.

  • This site mimicks my belief in how reporting dashboard’s should look.
  • I would love to throw my data in to the mix and see how effectively I communicate my results based on a balanced scorecard approach (quality, production, customer service and financial performance). 

As my colleages may be able to tell, I am a huge fan of simple, concise and clear communication.  

  • I sincerely believe that communicating is something that everyone does but not necessarily well.  

At an organizational level, I believe that passive communication kills organizations and conversations for that matter. 

  • This is something I try to get across to my own colleagues.  
  • I hope I serve as the example. 🙂

I would encourage those of you reading this post  to also check out:

I think this could also serve as inspiration for:

  • The Chicago Booth PPT (Powerpoint) essay.
  • My Christmas cards this year.  How cool would it be to send out an annual report to your family as your Christmas or Holiday card?  
  • Pretty cool, if you ask me.  But then again, no one is asking me.

Chicago Booth asks an interesting question this year:

“Slide Presentation: We have asked for a great deal of information throughout this application and now invite you tell us about yourself. (four Powerpoint slides)”

Below are some really, really good links on how to start visualizing Chicago’s PPT essay question.

I have pulled relevant points from the attached links; in summary:

  1. Adcoms have to read through 1000’s of apps. They want to know how you communicate, they want to see you demonstrate if they could have learned just as much about you but in less words. 
  2. It is much harder to include less than include more. In good PPT presentation design, we want to encourage “less.” We want to discourage “more.” 
  3. Writing a lot takes less time, than really thinking about your message and designing it in as simple a message as possible. 
  4. “I would’ve written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have time.” [often credited to Twain] 

For a greater understanding of what is driving the design philosophy behind these slides:

  • For those who have not heard, it is worth picking up a copy of “Beyond Bullets“.  
  • This type of very visual communication, from the school of “less is more”, is growing a huge fanbase.  It is basically what drives the approach you should be taking with the Chicago PPT essay.
  • Beyond Bullets relies on a Pyramid method of communicating, which incidentally, is the best way to approach shorter essays.  
  • Please see my post on communicating via the Pyramid Principle.

For international experience to be significant it has to be something that you can write about at length and appropriately in a b-school essay.

  1. Can you articulate how you lead a team in a multi-national or cross border environment?  This is what the adcom would want to see if you were writing an essay.  A lot of applicants have worked occasionally overseas.  More important is what you learned, how it changed your perspective, how you overcame an obstacle and how you produced a positive team outcome.
  2. That is, what you got out of it and what you can put down on paper is what will set your experience apart from other applicants.  That is where I consider the line drawn with respect to whether or not an experience is significant.
  3. With respect to any extracurricular international experience (start-up, professional volunteerism, etc.), if you can write about it effectively as part of your positioning then it’s significant and should be considered for an essay topic.  So yes, this could fall under international experience as you interacted with others with perhaps different operating norms and value sets.
  4. Remember, I always tell my clients “WWACD” or “What Would the Adcom Do?”  Keeping that perspective help put a reality check on a lot of questions that pop up during the admissions process.

Pay paticular attention to the question that every b-school application asks:

  • What Other Programs Are You Applying To?

The reason is this:

  • B-schools are keen to know who they are competing against.  They want to know how applicants view the correlation between programs but also if you are using the school as a backup or safe school.
  • For instance, on the UCLA Anderson application, if you list that you are applying to Stanford and Haas, in addition to Anderson, the admissions committee will pretty much know you are using them as a backup.

Why is this an issue?

  • If you do not make compelling reasons for “Why Anderson?”, then the effect is magnified.  It becomes even more apparent that you are using UCLA Anderson as a backup.
  • A good test is this; if you can unplug the UCLA Anderson name from the essays and plug back in any other business school, the adcom knows and can see right through it.
  • Programs with “pull through” issues or low acceptance rates of extended offers know that they are going to get dinged in the rankings.  They are keen to see that you are serious.

What should you do?

  • You have to have clear reasons why you need an MBA, your short and longer term goals and why you need to get that MBA now as opposed to a year from now.
  • If you do not have clear reasons, the adcom will see through it.  They review thousands of applications, they have a BS detector.  You will sound as if you have not clearly thought through your future career.  It’s certain death to your application.