Mission Admission: Be Sincere—the MBA Admissions Committee Will Believe You

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.
Candidates are often skeptical about whether MBA admissions committees will believe their stories. After all, is anyone available to corroborate that what made the difference in a particular situation was truly you—that you had that particular innovative idea? The response to this concern is pretty simple: if what you are describing actually happened, do not worry about credibility. You simply need to write about your experience with sincerity. If you can offer details about the events as part of a narrative, the story will unfold logically and truthfully and will have its desired impact. Conversely, if your story is basic and vague, it will not come across as compelling, regardless of its veracity.

An equally important point is that you are innocent until proven guilty. The admissions committee will not assume that you are a liar and read your application seeking proof of facts that are in doubt. The admissions reader will take your stories at face value, recognizing that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction and that strong candidates will stand out on the strength of their experiences.

In addition, if you accomplished something truly remarkable, you can always ask your recommender to emphasize this in his/her letter. This does not mean that the committee is seeking proof and that if something is not highlighted in a reference, it will not be believed. Still, your recommender can play an important role in legitimizing certain accomplishments.

M7 Financial

Monday Morning Essay Tip: Contextualize Your Educational Objectives

When tailoring their essays to specific schools, many MBA candidates do not go far enough to demonstrate a clear and understandable connection between themselves and their target programs. Offering school-specific information is good, but you must go beyond merely mentioning the particular resource(s) that appeal to you—you must add context for your claims.

What is the difference between a mere mention and providing context?


“With a focus on entrepreneurship, I will participate in Columbia’s Entrepreneurial Sounding Board process. Further, I am attracted to classes such as ‘Small Business Finance,’ ‘Real Estate Marketing,’ and “Introduction to Mergers.’ I also plan to join the…”


“With clear plans to launch my start-up immediately after graduating from Columbia Business School, I look forward to testing my ideas through the Entrepreneurial Sounding Board; I find this opportunity to meet with faculty and gain critical feedback and mentoring invaluable as I strive to refine my business plan and learn more about how to source investments…”

In the first example, the candidate shows an awareness of the Entrepreneurial Sounding Board but does not provide the context necessary for the reader to fully understand how he/she will use this resource; therefore, the mention is entirely superficial. As a result, it is easily forgettable, unconvincing, and impersonal. The applicant has seemingly not taken the time to reflect on this resource and how he/she would use it to progress toward his/her stated goals. The candidate then goes on to list the classes he/she plans to take and essentially succeeds in little more than cataloging resources rather than offering a reasoned consideration of how the school’s offerings are necessary.

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Manhattan Prep

GMAT Impact: How to Solve Any Sentence Correction Problem, Part 1

GMAT Impact: How to Solve Any Sentence Correction Problem, Part 1 - mbaMissionWith regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this blog series, Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

Manhattan GMAT has developed a special process for Sentence Correction (SC). Some students and classes have seen it, but here we are sharing it publicly! Read on and let us know what you think.

The Five Steps for Sentence Correction

The full article on the MGMAT blog goes into more detail on each step.

  1. Take a First Glance
  2. Read the Sentence
  3. Find a Starting Point
  4. Eliminate Answers
  5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4

As with any process, you will sometimes decide to deviate for some good reason. For most questions, though, you will follow this basic process.

In this post, I briefly introduce each step, but the full article goes into more detail, so make sure to follow up by reading that.

  1. Take a First Glance

The idea here is to take a “holistic” glance at the entire screen: let your eyes go slightly out of focus (do NOT read!), look at about the middle of whatever text is on the screen, and take in three things:

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January 15, 2017

GMAT Impact

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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Have a Recommendation from My Supervisor

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Have a Recommendation from My Supervisor - mbaMissionMBA admissions committees often say they understand if an applicant does not have a recommendation from a supervisor, but do they really mean it? Even if they say it is okay, if everyone else has a supervisor writing, not having one would put you at a disadvantage, right? Wrong.

We estimate that one of every five applicants has an issue with one of their current supervisors that prevents them from asking for a recommendation. Common issues include the following:

  • The applicant has had only a brief tenure with his/her current firm.
  • Disclosing one’s plans to attend business school could compromise potential promotions, bonuses, or salary increases.
  • The supervisor is “too busy” to help and either refuses the request or tells the applicant to write the recommendation him/herself, which the applicant is unprepared to do.
  • The supervisor does not believe in the MBA degree and would not be supportive of the applicant’s path.
  • The supervisor is a poor manager and refuses to assist junior staff.
  • The candidate is an entrepreneur or works in a family business and thus lacks a credibly objective supervisor.

We have explained before that admissions offices have no reason to disadvantage candidates who cannot ask their supervisors to be recommenders over those who have secured recommendations from supervisors. What incentive would they have to “disqualify” approximately 20% of applicants for reasons beyond their control?

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mbaMission Is Proud to Present Free B-School Program Primers!

mbaMission Is Proud to Present Free B-School Program Primers!Are you applying to an MBA program outside of the Top 15? Are you looking for a resource that breaks down the major takeaways and defining characteristics of your target schools, while providing a glimpse of what life is really like for students? If so, look no further!

Inspired by our acclaimed Insider’s Guides, we created our new Program Primers to provide a more comprehensive picture of the resources, environments, activities, and communities at each school, so you can choose the program that is truly best for you.

Each primer provides a snapshot of your target program, including the following details:

  • A brief history
  • Program rankings
  • Class details
  • Employment requirements
  • Curriculum basics
  • Pedagogy
  • Academic specializations
  • Facilities
  • Student clubs
  • Conferences

Our Program Primers (10 individual school titles!) are available to download, and they are completely free. Take the first step toward learning more about your target program by downloading your free mbaMission Program Primers today!

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