Reject Analysis: MBA Decoder

We at MBA Decoder have been helping candidates with the MBA application process, specifically with their essays, resume and recommendations strategy and putting it all together to present a stellar application. A few months ago, I had invited la…

We at MBA Decoder have been helping candidates with the MBA application process, specifically with their essays, resume and recommendations strategy and putting it all together to present a stellar application.
A few months ago, I had invited last year's applicants who were rejected by any b-school to send across their applications to me, for a Ding analysis. Several applicants have written to me since then and I have given them a detailed feedback on what could possibly have gone wrong.

I now extend this offer to the PG community at large. If any of the readers are interested in getting into retrospection mode, you can PM me your:

1. Brief profile description
2. Set of one b-school essays
3. Resume

I will get back to you with my analysis on PM/ your personal email id. Thereafter I will also post my feedback on this thread (with your personal details removed) so that it benefits the PG community.

p.s. - We do not believe in sugar-coating words if they do not help you in the longer run. So expect some brutal treatment!

Namita at MBA Decoder
Analysing the Haas, Berkeley Application (part I)

In the first of our series, Ill take up the Berkeley Haas application. This is a long one, with about 6 essays, about 250 words each and a larger 1000 word career goals essay.

Applicant Profile:

Work Experience: 5 years
Industry : IT, Insurance and banking domain
GMAT : 690
Academics: B Tech

1. What brings you the greatest joy? How does this make you distinctive? (250 words)

The applicant used the theme of giving back to community for this essay, with the essay starting like I learned a very important thing during my childhood, which is "there is more joy in giving than there is in taking".
He goes on to state that he finds motivation in seeing others smile and for him, materialistic pleasures are nothing. All good, but wordy descriptions of a trait can begin to sound empty if not supported by apt examples. Therefore he should have given example of a time when he got boundless joy by helping a person in need.
For the second part - how this makes him distinctive - the applicant compared himself with a movie character who likes to pay a favor forward and not backward, and is therefore distinctive. Well, the movie is about demonstrating how this quality sets the character apart, But identifying with this character is not reason enough for the adcom to believe that the applicant is also distinguished. Again, an example was required to prove this.

2. What is your most significant accomplishment? (250 word maximum)

The applicant selected an example where he makes proactive effort to implement recommendations of a technical report, before it was decided by the higher management, to implement them. His boss was amazed by his motivation and proactiveness and asked to lead this project.

Overall, this is a good story, but the presentation was not up to the mark. When applicants belong to the over represented Indian and IT categories, they must write essays that distinguish them from other competitors with the same profile. One way to do this is by presenting details about the actions taken/ processes adapted to solve a situation. Even if the situations faced by a common group, say a software developer, are similar across different companies, his way of resolving them could differ. And it is these details that can help you distinguish yourself.

Therefore when attempting situational a essay, give reasoning for your thought process and detail the actions you took to handle it
. For example, this applicant should have explained why he attempted implementing changes that were yet to be approved? Did he understand the critical necessity of these changes, did he think his efforts will cut manpower costs for the client or was he just looking out for appreciation (not recommended to admit this though J)? The thought process adds credibility to the story and helps a reader appreciate the efforts of the candidate better.

3. Describe a time when you questioned an established practice or thought within an organization. How did your actions create positive change? (250 word maximum)


Challenging the status quo is one among the 4 tenets of Berkeley Haas, which explains the importance of this question to the b-school. They would really like to see how you are ready to step out of your comfort zone to support a cause/ belief that means something to you.

The second part asks about the impact your actions created on the organization/ on individuals within the organization (personal or professional).
The applicant describes an example where he questioned physical and online documentation of the same customer contract, thereby increasing costs and manpower time.
He suggested to his manager that this old age practice be changed (which was agreed upon without resistance), and this is all there is about the actions he took to change an established practice. Sounds too easy to impress. There are no insights about the challenges he faced from different stakeholders in questioning an established practice and how did he overcome them.

I would contest using an example which sounds way too easy. When you are challenging status quo, you are also showing your grit and character in following what you believe is right in the face of resistance to change . If your example sounds like a cake walk, its hard to show these personality traits, and raises the question if what you changed was even an established practice.


Additionally, most situations at work involve a team and you are communicating with them while navigating a problem. This applicant has not talked about any team interactions, and it is difficult to appreciate his efforts in an isolated setting.

Look out for the rest of the application in the next post.

Namita at MBA Decoder
Analysing the Haas, Berkeley Application (part II):

In my second post, I will take up the next two questions in the Berkeley Haas application:

Describe a time when you were a student of your own failure. What specific insight from this experience has shaped your development?
The applicant describes an operational mistake in an MIS report, leading to extra payments made to vendors.

This essay asks you of a situation where you were a student of your own failure meaning the adcom expects you to spend considerable space to reflect on self realization. This is the exact purpose of the failure essay - that you are able to take an objective and matured view of your mistakes and improve upon them.


This applicant mentioned about generating a wrong MIS report leading extra payments to vendors. The money was cut in subsequent months billings and the applicant realized he can not leave room for error.


This situation is a grave one but it does not give the applicant much room to analyze his actions and behavior. From this perspective, the applicant should have chosen another story which would create better impact.


Q a. What are your post-MBA short-term and long-term career goals? How have your professional experiences prepared you to achieve these goals? b. How will an MBA from Haas help you achieve these goals? (1000 word maximum)

The career goals essay : every b-school asks it! After all, you are going to b-school to enhance your career and therefore, Adcoms want to understand your plan.

The Haas career goals essay can be broken down to:
  1. Career progression until now.
  2. Short term career goals
  3. Long term career goals.
  4. Skills and knowledge you have gained so far which will help you achieve your goals.
  5. Skills and knowledge you hope to gain at b-school, particularly at Haas.

This applicant has established a strong case for entrepreneurship by talking about two ventures (which failed, but gave him the fire) he started in between his jobs. This is about 70% of his essay. 15% of the word limit is devoted to why MBA and another 10% to why Haas. There is no mention of post MBA short term and long term career goals the most important part of the essay. The reader can infer that the applicants interest lies in entrepreneurship, but there has to be some plan in place. What will this venture do? What needs will it cater to? Who would be its target audience? These questions must be answered.
The applicant has done a nice job of explaining that he has a raw talent which will get chiseled through an MBA education. But there is no place for generic comments like an MBA is a 2 years extensive course which is not limited to classrooms, it has to be taken down to streets, chat rooms, dinner tables where the students can discuss and share each others experiences. This is what b-schools have already communicated to you through their websites, so tell them something they dont know, for instance why is the two year MBA important, specifically to you.

Why Haas imagine 90% of Haas applicants writing about its Silicon Valley advantage. Surely there is more that appeals to applicants? You must go beyond the basic and tell the b-school pin-pointed reasons that compel you to apply to it. You is important here. Your story, your reasons for applying to Haas (or any other b-school) should be personal to you, based on your situation, your interactions with Haas alums. Generic statements about why XYZ b-school, that fit into all your b-school applications will not impress the adcom.

Namita at MBA Decoder

Very good initiative , clarifies a lot of subtleties of the application process . Good value add..

Analysing the Berkeley, Haas Application (Part III)

In this concluding post on the Berkeley Haas application, I have listed down my recommendations to this applicant. They are:

1. Select stories more relevant to the questions asked. Even within the same examples, you need to focus on more relevant content.

2. All situations were taken from work life. There should be a good mix of both professional and personal examples to present an overall perspective of ones personality.

3. Give more details per example. Show the impact you were able to create.

4. Work on your career goals your essay demonstrates you have no idea of what you want to do after MBA (other than something entrepreneurial). That does not work. B-schools need a solid career plan.

5. Show your fit with the b-school by showcasing qualities that they require from their students. For this, you need a thorough knowledge about the MBA program.

6. Your essays do not reflect a sound knowledge of the Haas MBA and its importance in your career path.

Namita at MBA Decoder
Analysing the ISB Application:

Candidate Profile:

GMAT: 690
Work experience : 4.5 years in automobile industry
Function: Supply chain management.
This applicant had based his first achievement story on over-coming professional weaknesses. Now, this is a tough nut to crack. You have to be very judicious about how much of your weakness you want to reveal to the adcom, so that it does not start to create a negative impact, the reverse of what it is meant to do.
On the other hand, such an example should reveal your maturity and commitment in dealing with a problem area and coming out on top. For most people, this balance is hard to achieve, and they start to falter by an extended moping of their weakness.
My suggestion is to attempt using the overcoming a weakness theme for showcasing achievements ONLY if you have a spectacular story to tell. Secondly, keep the tone of your message positive.
For example, the applicant writes, I could not perform (audits) initially, as this profile highlighted my weaknesses, such as embarrassment in pointing out other peoples mistakes.
Negative statements like this are a big 'No' here! Rephrase as, I was excited because this project would give me an opportunity to work upon my struggle area - giving difficult feedback objectively.
The other big gap I found in this applicants essays was a lack of strategy in selecting essay stories. The result was somewhat repetitive information occurring across essays. With just 900 words to fit in your lifes stories, this pitfall can definitely be avoided.
Beat this error by drawing outlines before you begin to write your essays so that you are not churning out similar information at different places.


Namita at MBA Decoder
Analysing ISB Essays:

Puys,

Writing down another ISB applcation review here. Somehow, we have got maximum requests for ISB applications so far. It would be great if you guys send in essays of other b-schools as well. Will help to add "diversity" to this thread.


Profile:
Education: Bachelor of Technology, IIT Bombay
Work Experience: 3 years, Finance

The applicants attempts the first achievement example on his role in bringing an international focus to the college fest while the second example is work related, about turning a loss generating situation to a profit making one, in record time.

We felt both the situations were fuzzy he had not worked out the details. Some mistakes were, he had not explained his position in the Fest organizing committee so the capacity under which he was functioning and making huge changes was not clear.

Another mistake was, in both the situations he had not explained the exact steps he took to make his actions become achievements. What did he exactly do to tackle the situation and what were his reasons behind the actions?

When you are answering the achievement essay, take responsibility for your actions. Do not think that you sound brash if you write about your achievement- its your essay after all, and you are marketing yourself here. However, its advisable to draw the line between modestly talking about your achievements and getting boastful about them. You can avoid the latter.

ISB essays have changed this year, but if you are writing the achievement essay for any B-school, you can roughly follow the structure outlined below:
1. Explain the situation
2. If there is a team, talk about it what was the team structure? What was your role in it?
3. What challenges did you/ your team face?
4. What was your role in resolving them?
5. What was the end result?
6. Why did this achievement matter to you, or why do you consider this an achievement- give your reasons here.

In essay 2 on career goals, the reason for MBA does not come across. The applicant already has a successful career as trader. He has a CFA as well, which has given him the requisite knowledge and skills. Its not clear how the MBA will help his career further.

In the career goals essay, besides stating your goals, you must mention how the MBA is a necessity to reach from point A to point B. Incorporate this bit, even if the question does not explicitly ask you this.

Namita at MBA Decoder

@MBA HELP : Hi Can you please evaluate my profile for spjain pgpm:

My Profile:

Workex- 66 months of exp by Dec 2012 as Area Sales Manager in Family Pharmaceutical Business.
Acads: all in 70s
GMAT:yet to write
EC:Won meritious position in TSI olympiad,won meritious position in Paper presentation at IIT,worked for NGO to teach poor children,worked with Green Peace organisation,Organised many event at school and colege level,won award for Guitar.member of school cricket team
Hobbies: Trekking,Playing Guitar,Cricket and reading blogs.
other achievement:
Grown my family business from a turnover of lacs rs anually to a mark of 10-15 lacs,covered area of 5-8 district of eastern UP and now expanding it to some part of MP and Bihar.

Please evaluate me for SPjain ,ISB prospective and help me in essay writing.

@MBA HELP : Hi Can you please evaluate my profile for spjain pgpm:

My Profile:

Workex- 66 months of exp by Dec 2012 as Area Sales Manager in Family Pharmaceutical Business.
Acads: all in 70s
GMAT:yet to write
EC:Won meritious position in TSI olympiad,won meritious position in Paper presentation at IIT,worked for NGO to teach poor children,worked with Green Peace organisation,Organised many event at school and colege level,won award for Guitar.member of school cricket team
Hobbies: Trekking,Playing Guitar,Cricket and reading blogs.
other achievement:
Grown my family business from a turnover of lacs rs anually to a mark of 10-15 lacs,covered area of 5-8 district of eastern UP and now expanding it to some part of MP and Bihar.

Please evaluate me for SPjain ,ISB prospective and help me in essay writing.


Hi,
We can take up the profile evaluation queries on Ask-a-Consultant thread. This thread is primarily for essay related questions.

To answer your post, you can definately apply to the courses you have mentioned here. Your experience in the business is not very clear. In the application, it will be necessary to demonstrate that you have made a big impact to your business. Also it will be key to get good recommendations, and they should not be from family.

SP Jain's application deadline is 31st July, so you need to move real fast on that one. More so, as you have still not taken the GMAT.

Namita, MBA Decoder
ISB Essay Analysis:
Hi Everyone,
This thread has been abandoned (by me) for quite a long time and Monday seems like a good day to get some quality work done. So here goes a reject analysis for an ISB applicant.
Its been posted earlier on the ISB thread, but I am reposting it so that more Puys can (hopefully) benefit from it.
Read on, and remember to ask questions, if any.
Brief Profile:
Application for :ISB
GMAT: 730
Undergrad GPA: 6.5/10
Work experience : 2.5 years, as developer in IT (retail)
Strong extra-curricular activities
The applicant used the first essay on achievements to give one personal and one professional achievement story. This was a good strategy, as the adcoms like to see all aspects of an applicant's personality.
However, the personal story was about helping an aging family member recover from a bone fracture. While the applicant talked about his commitment it was not clear how he could translate this to a b-school environment. He failed to abstract and communicate his personal characteristics from that experience.
Its important while selecting stories that you maintain their relevance to the b-school application. Adcoms definitely want to hear your personal stories, but these should also give insights on what your behavior would be like at the b-school.
Moving on, the applicant used the career goals essay to talk about his passion for a hobby and how he wanted to convert it into a career completely different from his current role as IT developer. While b-schools are open to applicants talking about career changes, they would expect to see that you have taken some actions towards this interest, and that you have a charted a clear career path for yourself (short term career goals). Our applicant had missed out these details and left us wondering exactly what he wants to do in his new career path and how would he make that transition.
I have talked to many a candidate who think that the admissions team is not interested in knowing which company they want to work for, under what roles and which responsibilities. The truth is, the career goals essay is to know exactly these details. You have to demonstrate that you have thought through your career goals and have a fair idea about what you will do for the next 3- 4 years after MBA. Details about roles, responsibilities, industry, location etc. help the reader visualize where you are headed and how the MBA fits in your plan. Additionally, if you are going to be a career switcher, let the reader know how your previous jobs' skills are going to help you in your future roles.
The applicant had cleverly used the third essay to prove his commitment to his hobby and therefore validating his desired career path to an extent.
I think he should have addressed his low GPA somewhere in the essays. He has an advantage with the high GMAT score, but we would like to know what went wrong in college.
To summarize, being a career changer, the applicant could have done a better job of tying it all in to one story - his current skill set, future career goals (in context with his passion), how he would make the transition to a new field and how ISB would be instrumental in this.

Hope this helps!

Namita, MBA Decoder
I thik he should have addressed his low GPA somewhere in the essays. He has an advantage with the high GMAt score, but we would like to know what went wrong in college.


Nice to see you back,Namita.Nothing helps more a rookie like me than your wonderful insights on the real apps.
I have a profile which is similar to that of what you discussed in your last post.A good GMAT(730) with a low CGPA(6.9 from NIT).The above quoted statement of yours touches exactly my area of concern.You suggest to highlight what exactly went wrong in the college in the essays but the thing with me was that nothing went wrong.I chose not to study and slog it over for 4 years and got involved in high octane social interactions a bit more occasionally,if you catch my drift(:biggrin:). Though I do have many extra curricular participations to boast of but i feel its unjustifiable to use those as a cover up.Hence i am a bit skeptical to give any kind of explanation regarding this when there is none.Is a cooked up story better than none from adcoms perspective???
Nice to see you back,Namita.Nothing helps more a rookie like me than your wonderful insights on the real apps.
I have a profile which is similar to that of what you discussed in your last post.A good GMAT(730) with a low CGPA(6.9 from NIT).The above quoted statement of yours touches exactly my area of concern.You suggest to highlight what exactly went wrong in the college in the essays but the thing with me was that nothing went wrong.I chose not to study and slog it over for 4 years and got involved in high octane social interactions a bit more occasionally,if you catch my drift(:biggrin:). Though I do have many extra curricular participations to boast of but i feel its unjustifiable to use those as a cover up.Hence i am a bit skeptical to give any kind of explanation regarding this when there is none.Is a cooked up story better than none from adcoms perspective???

[email protected], its nice to have a two sided conversation on this thread :)

My take is that every applicant has a different set of factors governing his application.

Regarding the reject applicant's profile- he was out of college just 2.5 years into the application, and he was able to achieve a great GMAT score in this short period, despite the low GPA. Probably, in both cases you guys were lazy to slog it out in college. However, in your case, you have around 4 years of work experience (I have done some snooping on previous posts) - got more time to prove yourself at work and mitigate some of the negativity attached to a low GPA. The assumption here is that you have got some good work related achievements to talk about.

Additionally, the reject applicants essays show a lack a vision for himself (career goals) and his achievement essays did not prove that he had solid achievements at work. This can be detrimental because, by the time of applying, an applicant would like to prove that he is well past those care free days, has matured and cleared his act by being an achiever at work and with GMAT. This message did not come across in his application.

Hope this makes sense :)
Namita, MBA Decoder
MBA help Says
However, in your case, you have around 4 years of work experience (I have done some snooping on previous posts)

Floored.Only if i had profs like you in my grads I wouldn't be asking this questions.

MBA help Says
This can be detrimental because, by the time of applying, an applicant would like to prove that he is well past those care free days, has matured and cleared his act by being an achiever - at work and with GMAT.


Exactly why i want to steer clear of justifying low grad GPA.It need not be explained and my post-grad achievements in essays should imply that.

Thanks for your response,Namita.I was wondering if we can have a thread for accept analysis too.While we appreciate learning what things should be handled carefully, it would be nice to pick up good lessons from successful apps too.


Thanks for your response,Namita.I was wondering if we can have a thread for accept analysis too.While we appreciate learning what things should be handled carefully, it would be nice to pick up good lessons from successful apps too.


Yeah. A thread like this would be great for sure...let's see if it can be worked out.

Namita

PGs,

This time the essay dissections have happened for a Smeal applicant. Here goes:

Smeals first essay is on the career goals what are your short term and long term goals and how does Smeal fit into your plan to fulfill them?
We found that this applicant had jumbled up his essay structure - starting with short term goal, moving to professional history, then to long term goals, then back to professional history . By the end of the first reading, we were confused!

The structure of your essays is just as important as its content. In all probability, the reader would not understand your career goals unless he already knows something about what you have done so far and how the future goals are linked to the past experiences. Therefore a comprehensive approach will be to begin the essay with your past/ present career and then move on to the goals.

A logical sequence is:
Explain your career briefly
Explain the high points, milestones, achievements, skills gained briefly.
Explain how all of the above have given rise to your career objectives. Then get into short term and long term career goals.
What are the skills you require to get to your future career objectives?
How will the MBA help you get them? How will the Smeal MBA help specifically?

This will bring structure to your essay and the reader will readily see the career progression, any missing links in the career and your plans to fill them up, through the MBA.

Your career goals should be research led - talk to people who are already in the roles you aspire for and understand their responsibilities and career graph. This will help you frame an informed answer.

The 2nd essay has an option to answer one among three behavioral essays. This applicant decided on the following topic: We take risks and reach beyond our perceived limitations. Describe a time when you took a risk, and what you learned from the outcome

In this essay, the applicant had not explicitly stated the risk that he took and it was not obvious either. As a result, we were left to guess what the risk could be, given the situation. This is not a good approach.

Readers in the admissions committee spends a 15-20 minutes on your file, much lesser time on each essay. They need to be presented a clear picture. Besides, they could also develop perspectives on a situation that you never intended them to. Therefore it is best to exercise your control on your story, and mention key information upfront.
Another gap: Most of this essay was about what the applicant did individually to solve the problem. There was no mention of teamwork.

Remember that your MBA education is also a team based learning experience you learn as much from your peers as you do from professors. And therefore admissions team would also like to judge your team skills.

Namita, MBA Decoder

Essay Analysis for ISB

Brief Applicant Profile:
GMAT Score: 740
Work experience: 7 years
Industry : IT

Achievements Essay: The applicant has worked in three companies in past seven years. For some reason, for the two achievements, he decided to use example that were from his first company, which he had left in 2007. This would make the admissions team wonder whether he did not have any significant achievements in the recent four years that he worked with other companies.

Generally a person's career graph goes up with passing number of years in the workforce and responsibilities increase as well. In this light talking about dated experiences does not reflect well on an applicant's files. After all one would like to be seen as a person who is continuing to impact his organization in positive ways.

Our advice: Select your examples judiciously.

Career Goals essay: The applicant starts this essay with a Nasscom study about the market conditions of the IT industry…..need for creating a technology product….and about the applicant pursing becoming a product manager in a technology company.

Becoming a product manager is a standard career path, it does not require a spiel about 'creating a technology product ecosystem in India'.

MBA Decoder's advice to applicants is to start the essay from the point that fits into your storyline. Nasscom/ need for path breaking actions in the IT industry are highly macro for the scope of this essay. Maybe they would make more sense for a person who has entrepreneurial ambitions for an unfilled need in the marketplace, but again it is not a must to use this approach.

For ISB's small essay word limits, its difficult to put in the market conditions and forecasts and also get the crucial bits about your career goals details in (which is also where this essay lacked). So refrain from painting a macro level picture, which starts to get irrelevant.

ISB Applicant's Essay "Reject" Analysis, Part II

Career Goals essay: The applicant starts this essay with a Nasscom study about the market conditions of the IT industry…..need for creating a technology product….and about the applicant pursing becoming a product manager in a technology company.

Becoming a product manager is a standard career path, it does not require a spiel about 'creating a technology product ecosystem in India'.

MBA Decoder's advice to applicants is to start the essay from the point that fits into your storyline. Nasscom/ need for path breaking actions in the IT industry are highly macro for the scope of this essay. Maybe they would make more sense for a person who has entrepreneurial ambitions for an unfilled need in the marketplace, but again it is not a must to use this approach.

For ISB's small essay word limits, its difficult to put in the market conditions and

forecasts and also get the crucial bits about your career goals details in (which is also where this essay lacked). So refrain from painting a macro level picture, which starts to get irrelevant.

Additional information essay: This one is about the applicant helping a young student with his academic course work for BCA. The student passes with 'some help' from the applicant, despite 3 earlier failures. We contest using phrases like 'some help' – surely the student took a lot more help to make a brake through from the 3 year jinx.

Applicants should strike a balance with the praise they heap upon themselves. While it should not be overdone, neither should it be undermined, so that the effort does not sound worth knowing about.

The next paragraph was about the need to bridge the skill gap between a fresh employee's skills and what the employer wants. This is not required as the essay is not about knowing the applicant's view about any particular topic but about knowing what he done about it/ intends doing further. A better approach would have been to talk about what he would do at ISB to promote his cause.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Namita, MBA Decoder

ISB Essays reject analysis for older applicant (Experience of 8+ years)


Essay 1: Older applicants to any b-school face additional challenges in the form of showing an upward career graph, great achievements at work and a clearer vision about their career goals. They are also expected to have maturity in their outlook.


For this reason, they must select their stories carefully. A good strategy is to look for leadership examples within the past three years. Anything before that sounds old and suggests that you have not had any achievements worth mentioning in the recent years. In our view, selecting a relatively old achievement story happens to be this applicant's first pitfall.


Having 8 years of work experience, he must be leading teams by now. But a 4 year old example where he did not have a major leadership role does not create the intended impact. On the other hand, a recent example would have showcased his leadership style closest to what it is now, when he applies to b-school.

The second pitfall: We agree that team work is important at the workplace and also at b-school, where a major chunk of your learning takes place in one team setting or another. However, YOU are still the HERO OF YOUR STORY. Using too much of the word “WE” reduces your importance in the storyline. We do not suggest that you take the credit for everyone's contribution. But don't get too modest and give away the credit you rightly deserve to your team. It's your story after all.

Essay 2: The career goals opens with the following lines:

Galileo Galilei once said, “You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself”. A Post Graduate Program at ISB will impart me the necessary skills to thrive in the corporate world. However, it will be effective only if I apply this knowledge correctly and gain relevant experience to further enhance it.

This is completely avoidable for two reasons:


Firstly it can be interpreted as an applicant telling ISB that your program will help me, but only to a limited extent. This is hara-kiri in a scenario where other applicants are emphasizing how ISB is an indispensable step for them to reach their career objectives.

Secondly it suggests that the applicant is not 100% confident that he would be able to utilize what he learns through the ISB PGP program. Why do the MBA at all in this case?


Both reasons create negative impact.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Namita at MBA Decoder (ask a Consultant)

Analyzing the HBS Application (PART I):


HBS essays have changed completely for this year. However, these essay questions are still crucial as they appear in abundance in other b-schools' applications. So, we are going ahead and publishing the analysis we have given to one of the PG members.


Essay 1: Tell us about three of your accomplishments. (600 words)


At roughly 200 words per example, this question does not give much chance to applicants to get into minute details. Therefore it is necessary that you come straight to the point. Explain your role in the situation and how your actions led to make it a success. The applicant had used the space in the reverse- there was more space allotted to the situation buildup, leaving the reader wanting to know more details about his process he adopted, that eventually led to the accomplishment.


The second accomplishment was the types that Harvard likes to know about – awe inspiring. The applicant talks about how he tackled ' a lack of exposure to the outside world' among under privileged children by introducing children to a 'daily newspaper session'. This got their minds activated and they started asking all kinds of questions. Other equally inspiring details follow, which we are not publishing here. Through this example, the applicant was able to demonstrate that he had taken an initiative of his own will and created a model that would continue to benefit the delivery of education at the grass root level. This is the kind of stuff that works with HBS.
In the third example, the applicant talks about resuming his childhood interest in classical music by taking up classes as a working professional. Interesting, but not enough to make its way through in the MBA application. This example does show the applicant's desire to cross over from his comfort zone to try something new, but it seemed like an easy ride. Had he gone through some tough challenges to make this happen, the example would have been more endearing.
HBS had asked for 3 achievement examples to ascertain consistency in applicants' behaviors. In this essay, one example clearly outshines the other two thereby lessening the overall impact.



Namita, MBA Decoder