Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business Essay Analysis 2020–2021

Applicants to the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business (learn a little more about the program here) must submit two required essays, the first of which constitutes, in many ways, a traditional personal statement. The second, shorter essay takes a more creative and personal spin, inviting candidates to present a list of facts about themselves that they would like to share with their future Sheller classmates. Interestingly, unlike the other MBA programs we feature in our essay analyses, Scheller measures essay length in characters rather than words, with the maximum of 4,000 characters (including spaces) for its first essay equaling roughly four to five paragraphs, and 1,000 for the second representing just one or two. The program also offers applicants the opportunity to write an optional essay about either a potential issue in their profile that they would like to explain or a facet of their candidacy they believe the admissions committee should be aware of to be able to evaluate them fully. Together, Scheller’s suite of application essays appears to give candidates room to present a nicely rounded image of themselves for consideration. Read on for our full analyses of the school’s essay prompts for this season.

Required Essay: Why an MBA and why Georgia Tech?
Describe how your experiences, both professional and personal, have led you to the decision to pursue an MBA at Georgia Tech. Discuss your short- and long-term career goals and how Georgia Tech is best suited to help you achieve your goals.  4,000 character maximum (including spaces).

With this rather straightforward essay prompt, Scheller is requesting very fundamental—yet incredibly important—information that will help the school understand your motivation for pursuing an MBA from its program and where you expect to go in your career afterward. Be as specific as possible in your description of where you see yourself after graduation and several years down the line, from the industry and role to any additional details about which you currently feel confident (perhaps even specific companies or responsibilities that appeal to you in particular). Explain what has brought you to this point in your professional life, not only your career progression to date but also what has inspired you to earn an advanced degree as a vital tool in moving forward. 

In addition to outlining your career goals—including context for how you arrived at them and why they are realistic for you—you must illustrate how Scheller will help you pursue these goals by demonstrating a thorough understanding of what the school offers and a well-thought-out game plan for availing yourself of these offerings. To effectively do this and write a reasoned, nuanced essay, you must first familiarize yourself with Scheller’s various resources and pinpoint those that truly pertain to you and the direction in which you hope to head. Go the extra mile in learning about the school. This is where we would normally encourage you to visit campus and sit in on a class, and/or at least attend an admissions event in your area, but the ongoing pandemic precludes such options at this time. Instead, connect directly with students and alumni (online or via phone, Skype, Zoom, etc.), read student blogs and the program’s recent press releases, and peruse Scheller’s YouTube channel. This will provide the kind of in-depth insight that will show the admissions committee you are serious about the school and are confident you belong there. Simply presenting a list of classes and clubs you think sound interesting will not suffice, and absolutely avoid vague, pandering statements about how great the school is. You must reveal clear connections between your aspirations, what you need to achieve them (e.g., skills, experience[s], connections, exposure), and what Scheller in particular can provide that will enable you to fill those gaps.

This prompt covers several basic elements of a typical MBA personal statement. We therefore encourage you to download your free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide. This complimentary guide offers detailed advice on approaching and framing these subjects, along with multiple illustrative examples. 

Required Essay: Ten Facts
List 10 facts about yourself that will help your future classmates get to know you. 1,000 character maximum (including spaces).

The Scheller admissions committee offers basically no clarifying text before its straightforward request for ten introductory facts. As a result, you have a largely blank slate from which to begin here, but because the purported audience for your list is your “future classmates” (though the true audience is of course the admissions committee), you should likely steer away from basic aspects of your story covered in your resume, transcript, and recommendations. In our experience, the less guidance a program provides with its essay prompts, the more panic is generated in the hearts of hopeful applicants, but do not let yourself be intimidated. Some patience, self-reflection, brainstorming, and authenticity—with a dash of creativity—and you should be on the road to a standout submission.  

To start identifying the kind of information you could share in your list, think about what you would like to know about a person you are first meeting and that you would find interesting, helpful, or intriguing. For example, would you consider someone’s age or undergraduate institution particularly important or compelling? Probably not, so you should skip including such facts. (Remember, again, that your actual audience will be a member of the admissions committee, who will already know such basic information about you from the rest of your application.) You would likely be more curious about what someone does in their spare time, what interesting or exceptional skills they have, whether they are approachable/funny/hyperorganized/a risk taker/etc., whether they have extensive experience in a certain area or a more wide-ranging background, what unique or rare accomplishments they can claim, and so on.

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Manhattan Prep

Understanding the MBA Job Market: Fall 2020

This post was written by our resident Career Coach, Elissa Harris. To sign up for a free 30-minute career consultation with Elissa, please click here.

With the start of job recruiting for full-time MBAs, many students are pondering questions such as the following:

  • How competitive is the job market?
  • Who is hiring? What types of opportunities are available right now?
  • How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the job market? 
  • How can I position myself for success?

While we know that recruiting will be conducted remotely, there are no simple answers to the above questions. Gain perspective on the depth of the job search challenges ahead of you by evaluating the following factors:  

  • Career interests: What are your career goals? Are you making a big career change? Which organizations are you targeting? 
  • Experience: What functional and industry expertise do you have? What are your strongest skills?
  • Job search knowledge: How well can you connect the dots between your experiences and your desired position? What is your network’s size, strength, and relevance? How comfortable are you with reaching out and building new relationships?
  • School support: Does your MBA program have strong relationships with desired employers and its alumni? How is your MBA program generating new job opportunities for students? What type of career coaching support exists?
  • Marketplace realities: What are the business trends in your target industry? What challenges are facing your target companies? What are your target companies’ recruiting processes? 

You can gather more on the state of the job market by talking with people currently employed in your target area, listening to lectures, and/or reading trade publications and business news. Recently, the Wall Street Journal published two articles on this topic that we think are worth reading:  

  • M.B.A.s Are Usually Swimming in Job Offers by Now. Not This Year.” reports that many traditional MBA hirers are relying on their intern pools to fill their full-time needs or are taking a wait-and-see approach versus recruiting now to extend additional offers to second-year MBA students. The article further states, “A recent survey of more than 1,000 employers found that companies across an array of industries planned to hire nearly 60% fewer management positions this year, shrinking the number of landing spots for newly minted M.B.A.s along with other white-collar workers….”
  • The New Rules for Landing a Job in the Covid Era argues that job search success will come from clear and realistic career goals and target firms, extensive networking, and comfort with a fully virtual recruitment process. Figure out how to bring the best version of yourself to the process. Kyle Ewing, Google’s director of talent and outreach programs, suggests, “There’s an opportunity to bring more of a human connection, even in a virtual environment.” 

As you dig deeper into answering the four questions at the beginning of this post, you should focus less on the competitiveness of the market and more on your ability to take advantage of the opportunities available to you. For additional advice on executing an effective job search during the pandemic, check out a few of our recent blog posts:

Professor Profiles: Gary B. Gorton, Yale School of Management

Professor Profiles: Gary B. Gorton, Yale School of Management - mbaMissionMany MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we focus on Gary B. Gorton from the Yale School of Management.

Gary B. Gorton has been the Frederick Frank Class of 1954 Professor of Management and Finance at the Yale School of Management (SOM) since 2008, before which he taught at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Gorton was formerly a director of the research program on banks and the economy for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and a senior economist at the Federal Reserve in Philadelphia, and his research focuses on such topics as the role of stock markets, banks, and bank regulation. His books Fighting Financial Crises: Learning from the Past (University of Chicago Press, USA, 2018; co-written with E. W. Tallman), Misunderstanding Financial Crises: Why We Don’t See Them Coming (Oxford University Press, USA, 2012), and Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007 (Oxford University Press, USA, 2010) offer in-depth analysis and discussion of the recent financial crisis. Gorton, who wrote his PhD dissertation on bank crises while studying at the University of Rochester in 1983, notes on his website, “When I wrote it, I never dreamed I would live through one.”

The “Capital Markets” course Gorton teaches likewise focuses on the 2007 financial crisis, particularly as it related to capital markets. In it, he uses a mixture of case studies and lectures that touch on current financial events, and he expects students to keep up with the latest developments on the finance scene by reading the business sections of the New York Times, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

For more information about the Yale SOM and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

Professor Profiles Yale University (School of Management)

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Dealing with Long Underlines in GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

Many of the more “standard” (and lower-level) Sentence Correction (SC) questions have easier-to-identify “splits,” or differences in the answer choices. For instance, answers A and B might use the word “have,” while C, D, and E use the word “has,” indicating a relatively easy-to-spot singular versus plural issue.

Sentences with longer underlines, however, are more likely to be testing such global issues as Structure, Meaning, Modifiers, and Parallelism. In these questions, large chunks of the sentence move around, the fundamental sentence structure changes, and so on. In one GMATPrep problem, for example, answer A includes the text “the brain growing in mice when placed” while answer B says “mice whose brains grow when they are placed.” This is not just a simple switch of a single word—something more complicated is happening. Take a look at this article for the full example.

To have a chance at answering these correctly, we may need to modify our standard approach to SC. In GMATPrep’s Lake Baikal problem, the entire sentence is underlined, and the answers seem to be changing completely around. Where do we even start? Click the link to try the problem and learn more about how to tackle these types of SCs. Here is another one discussing an organization called Project SETI.

When you are done with this, try this third one: FCC rates. Here, only about two-thirds of the sentence is underlined, but the sentence is unusually long.

When you are starting to feel more comfortable with those, I have an exercise for you. Pull up some long-underline Official Guide questions that you have previously completed. Cover up the original sentence and look only at the answers (in other words, if the entire sentence is not underlined, then you are going to do this exercise without actually reading the full sentence!).

Based on the differences that you see, try to articulate all of the issues that are being tested and eliminate as many answers as you can. (Note: You will not always be able to eliminate all four wrong answers; sometimes the non-underlined portion of the sentence contains some crucial information!) When you are done, look at the full thing and review the explanation to see how close you got and whether you missed anything.


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Addressing Sustainability at UCLA Anderson and Thinking Social at NYU Stern

Applicants to the UCLA Anderson School of Management may be well aware of the school’s strengths in media and real estate, but they might be surprised to learn that Anderson also offers a cutting-edge multidisciplinary program for students interested in environmental sustainability. The school’s Leaders in Sustainability (LiS) certificate program allows Anderson students to take courses at different graduate schools within the university network, thereby offering them opportunities to address issues of environmental sustainability in an interdisciplinary manner. Students must apply to the program, which typically has more than 190 participants from graduate programs across the university.

Students in the LiS program must take four classes, including the LiS core course and three sustainability-related elective courses—at least one of which must be taught outside the students’ primary graduate school. In total, the greater university offers more than 50 sustainability-related courses that Anderson students may choose from, ranging from “Business and Environment” to “Economic Analysis for Managers” to even “Marine Ecology” and “Oceanology.” In addition to completing the program’s required four courses, LiS students must complete a leadership project related to sustainability.

Meanwhile, on the East Coast, New York University’s (NYU’s) Stern School of Business is perhaps not well known among the top MBA programs for sustainable enterprise or social entrepreneurship. However, the school in fact offers an array of resources for those interested in pursuing careers in such fields. The W.R. Berkley Innovation Labs serve as the hub of all entrepreneurial activities and events at the school, and in 2008, Stern introduced a Sustainable Business and Innovation (formerly Social Innovation and Impact) specialization, thereby formalizing an academic track for students with this career path in mind. Courses available within the specialization include “Driving Market Solutions for Clean Energy,” “Investing for Environmental and Social Impact,” and “Strategy: A Social Purpose.”

Attending or helping to plan the “Stern Struts” (formerly “Think Social, Drink Local”) marquee fundraiser is one of many options that socially conscious aspiring MBAs will find to fulfill their interests at Stern. The school’s Luxury & Retail Club hosts the event with help from corporate sponsors, which in the past have included Brooklyn Brewery and Crop Organic Vodka. The April 2018 event (the most recent we could find information on) took place at the 1 OAK NYC nightclub and featured an open bar and a “Style Icons” runway fashion show, in which Stern students modeled clothing from designers. The fashion show is a highlight of the evening and has raised more than $10K in past years.

Through the Stern Consulting Corps program, students can partner on consulting projects with New York City–based nonprofits. And for those who also have the entrepreneurial bug, Stern added a Social Venture Competition—in which participants compete for a $75K prize—to its traditional for-profit $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge.

In short, socially conscious Sternies have quite a bit to keep them busy!

For a thorough exploration of what UCLA Anderson, NYU Stern, and 15 other top business schools have to offer, please check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

New York University (Stern) University of California Los Angeles (Anderson)

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2020–2021 MBA Essay Analysis

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