Sample Questions Answered in our Q&A Vault
Hey there! We know that there are hundreds of questions that come up during the application process. You probably landed on this page from googling one of these questions!
Below you will find a list of the kinds of questions covered in our private clients-only Q&A Vault that we have for our clients in the Application Accelerator®.
The Q&A Vault acts as a private client forum for our clients, so they never have to randomly google or lurk on forums looking for clear, relevant, accurate advice and guidance during their application process.
The responses from our team of consultants are not included here on this page; these are just the questions.
This is not an exhaustive list of questions; it is merely a sample. Dozens of questions are asked by our clients and answered by our team each month!
I have an urgent question for you (LBS application is due 12pm CST on January 3rd).
Within the application it requests you to highlight which other schools you have applied to. If I have applied to schools in round 1 and already received a rejection – should I still include those schools in the list or only include schools I am yet to hear from? FYI – within my GMAT official score report which LBS will see, the schools which I have sent my score report to are listed and this includes the schools I have already been rejected from, per the above.
Advice greatly appreciated!
I took off 5 weeks of unpaid leave for medical reasons this year. Do I put my annual salary on my app as if I didn’t lose 5 weeks of money, or do I need to subtract? When they do background checks, do they pull my taxes to confirm I made that salary? Monthly I made that salary, but I just didn’t work for 5 weeks.
Also do I need to disclose medical leave in my apps? Will they have any way of finding out?
Adding another school?
Is it too late to add another school? I am applying 6 consortium + 3 non-consortium.
The school I want to add is Stanford. I didn’t list it at first because I was really intimidated by it but it’s good school for what I want to go and where my partner and I can see ourselves settling down. Thoughts?
Do I need to update my policy schools about a change of team?
I recently began a 6-month secondment into a different policy team in my organisation. Is this something that needs to be flagged to universities I applied to / got accepted to?
Can having a family member who is a senior fellow in HKS help we with my application?
I am applying to HKS. My father is a senior fellow at HKS currently and was a fellow about 10 years ago. I was wondering if there is anything he can do/connect me with to help with my application? Not sure how to approach this or to approach this at all.
Good morning, My transcript is still accurate but it is time stamped in 2012 right after I graduated. Would you all suggest that I get a fresh and recently dated copy to upload to my mba applications? Also, most apps say that schools will request my undergrad institution to send them an official copy of my transcript for verification purposes. Should I go ahead and have my university send them or wait until the mba programs request them?
Tip for Chicago Harris applicants
Following our weekly Q&A call, I mentioned that I had booked an appointment with members of the recruitment team at Chicago Harris. For anyone applying to Harris and wanting to speak one-on-one with Admissions about specific questions, I suggest booking a phone appointment. The first part of the call will usually involve explaining your background and why you’re applying to Harris, so have this pitch ready for the call.
Putting other universities where you’re applying on the app – disadvantage?
Hello! Does listing all the other universities that you’re applying to on applications (usually a mandatory field) disadvantage you in any way? Ie does it make it seem like you’re not committed to the school you’re applying to?
Awards and Honors
I’m really struggling with this part of some applications. I haven’t won any traditional awards from my undergraduate institution or work (as a friend put it a lot of my work is focused on changing institutions so it’s not the thing you usually are positively recognized for. ) I was selected to be the sole representative on a few prestigious committees and councils, Chancellors Advisory Committee on Mental Health, Academic Senate Committee on Academic Planning and Resource Allocation etc Would these count in place of any honors or awards? I’ve been selected for a few fellowships/mentorship programs as well. I’m just not sure what “counts” for those reviewing this stuff. In context, this is not on my resume but on applications that have a specific “awards and honors section” they ask to be filled out.
Where do the clubs, community, classes, etc. information go when applying to Sloan’s MBA program?
Is anyone here applying to Sloan’s MBA program? Has anyone already applied?
Activities Section for MBA Applications
There is an “activities” section in most of the MBA applications I am submitting can have up to 6 entries. It appears they are intended for submitting volunteer or other organizational participation.
Above is an example from Chicago Booth.
Questions for the Team:
1. How far back can I go for items to include? I did some pretty awesome volunteer work back in college, but that was 10+ years ago.
2. I haven’t done much but work, maybe play on an adult league softball team, make some music as a hobby, and go scuba diving on vacation when I get the chance in the past 5-6 years. I don’t have any regular volunteering or community work to speak of. Can I include my hobbies here? If not, how can I shape this section so it doesn’t look like all I’ve been doing is working.
Do I apply in R1 or R2 if I receive accommodations?
This is a Hypothetical situation BUT I just want to be prepared for anything:
If I take my last exam and I do not get the intended “target or minimal score” and then I decide to get tested for adult ADHD (testing accommodations) if my scores hover around the same ranges…Assuming I want to apply in Round 1, would a good use of the “additional information essay” be to state the following: My Exam score understates the effectiveness of my capabilities, having been recently diagnosed as having adult ADHD, the results of my GRE do not account for my testing disability“ (<—further explaining this of course) Or would you suggest a Round 2 application submission.
I’m pretty confident with the rest of my application but in the event that this happens, I’d like to be prepared to know how to move forward.
(Applying next year is not an option for me)
Conferences and Getting Accepted
Saying No Nicely (Good Problems)
I’m starting to hear back from other schools – firstly the University of Michigan School of Education whose admissions director called today to try and make a pitch for me there. They are offering to put me up for an award that would provide full tuition and a living stipend. I’m not likely to accept since Stanford has provided me the same offer (plus the benefits of the KH program) and that was my first choice program – but I want to figure out how to turn their offer down while retaining a good image, especially since I’ll be applying to PhD/EDD programs in a few years….
2 weeks ago I asked for PTO on Nov 1 to attend Cornell’s diversity conference. If I attend the conference I’m guaranteed an interview with Cornell (I’m applying Jan 5 through Consortium)
My company is notorious for not being responsive to PTO requests and since I asked our launch date for the drug our client is launching has moved from Oct 15 to November 1st which means all hands on deck 14 hours a day for a week post comments. And my company basically has us all on standby until the FDA releases comments + we may have to travel to client at the drop of a hat (luckily in NJ)
1. How important is it that I attend the conference for my acceptance? How good does it look?
2. If I apply to the conference (due Oct 18)
and get in but then my company doesn’t allow me to go, how bad does it look to explain to Cornell why I can no longer attend?
I have so much anxiety around PTO at my company… they’re super anti-PTO & intense about it
Difference between Consortium and MLT
Can anyone tell me the difference between MLT and Consortium?
GRE Scores for Consortium School
Hello! Do I have to send GRE scores to all the Consortium schools individually or do I just send them to the Consortium? I tried finding answers to this on the Consortium’s website but I can’t find anything on there.
Update schools for passing HBS CORe?
Hi there! I applied to the consortium, round 1 and am waiting to hear back about interviews.
I’ve already had my applicant initiated interview at Tuck, which is my top choice MBA school! Since there is nothing left to do for them (just wait to hear back in Dec.) I’d like to maybe send them an update that I passed HBS CORe (was listed on my resume as grade pending).
Do you think I should email them with this update or just leave it be since it isn’t a high pass?
Consortium round 1
I’m confused about the half/full tuition fellowship part of the consortium! I received my acceptance to the consortium yesterday (wahoo!), but apparently don’t know if I receive a $$$ fellowship until March?
I will have already accepted my offer to either Haas or Tuck by that point?!
Anyways, I plan on emailing the consortium for clarity, but thought I’d post this question here too. Thanks everyone! So thrilled!
Hearing Back from Consortium Round 1
For those of us who applied through the consortium round 1, when should we hear back about interviews, if we are invited?
Consortium Similar Essays
The following essays for Consortium are very similar and in my opinion kind of redundant. I’ve already completed core essay 1 with my career goals. However, UCLA and Yale ask for them again in their supplemental essays. Can I repeat what is in the Consortium core essay or is there some additional information I need to include?
ConsortiumCore Essay #1 : What are your short-term and long-term goals? How has your professional experience helped shape these goals and influenced your decision to pursue an MBA degree? *Required Question with 300 word limit
UCLAShort Answer Questions: Tell us about your MBA goals and why you are applying to UCLA Anderson now.
a) Describe your short term and long term goals. (150 words)*
b) Why is UCLA Anderson a good school for you? (150 words)
Yale MBA short answer: How did you arrive at these career interests? How have you, or how will you, position yourself to pursue them? (250 words maximum)
Advice for NYU “Pick Six”
NYU’s Supplemental Consortium Section asks for this “Pick Six” (instructions below). I’ve never seen anything like this! Any advice? What types of things should I be showing pictures of– family, friends, work achievements, travel?
Personal Expression (a.k.a. ‘Pick Six’)
Describe yourself to the Admissions Committee and to your future classmates using 6 images and corresponding captions. Your PDF should contain all of the following elements:
- A brief introduction or overview of your ‘Pick Six’ (no more than 3 sentences).
- Six images that help illustrate who you are.
- A one-sentence caption for each of the six images that helps explain why they were selected and are significant to you.
Note: Your visuals may include photos, infographics, drawings, or any other images that best describe you.
Consortium – can the schools see all the schools I applied to?
Can the consortium schools see all schools I applied to? I stumbled across an article that said they don’t like when people apply to more than 3 because it can harm their yield.. is this true? do they care if you applied to more than 3?
They can’t see what you ranked them right?
Deferring admission: what should I do in the meantime to get funding for school?
Hi! I am planning to defer my admission to school. I have not selected a school yet (I was accepted to Carnegie Mellon, Harris, and Columbia SIPA), however, I would like to spend my year looking for more money to pay for school. This is what I got so far:
Carnegie Mellon: 70% tuition (which comes to like $35K a year)
Uchicago: $30K a year
Columbia: Did not get my application in on time to be eligible for funding.
How do I strategize this?
To defer or not to defer
Hi ! I’ve chosen my top school and have until April 30th to decide whether to accept the offer for fall 2020 or request a deferral to start in 2021.
I am mainly considering deferral for the following reasons:
1. COVID-19 and visa issuances – we international students are in a state of flux because all USA visa appointments are suspended across the world until further notice. I assume universities will come up with a plan for international students who might get stuck due to a COVID-19 travel ban, but they will probably not announce this plan until after April 30th.
2. Money – it would really help me to save up more for grad school.
However, the main drawbacks to deferring are:
1. I’m ready to go to grad school and dragging out the wait for one more year seems a bit pointless.
2. I don’t really have a plan for what I would do with an extra year on my hands, but I would want to make the most of it.
3. Greater uncertainty – a lot can happen in a year and I don’t know where I’ll be personally / professionally in August 2021.
Is anyone in a similar boat and can share their thoughts on their preferred option? Or, has anyone been in a similar boat before?
Any thoughts on deferring program acceptance to pursue a meaningful fellowship?
Does applying EA have any admissions benefit? I know SIPA, SAIS and Fletcher have EA. Just want to have multiple perspectives on this.
How much feedback on your essays is too much feedback?
How do I write an essay catered to health care?
Mission Essay vs. School Essay
Can I repeat an essay that I wrote for consortium mission essay (not the core) for an individual school, I know the schools don’t see the mission essays, but is there any way of them (or the consortium) funding out it’s the same essay?
Ross MBA Essay
Essay: Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. Please share your short-term career goal. Why is this the right choice for you?
I had been purposeful about not describing why Ross in this essay because on the admissions team’s webinar they addressed a question from an applicant on how to incorporate why Ross in the application: Link here. The 30 to 32 minute marks hits on the admissions team’s response. Anyone have thoughts on this?
Kellogg Essay Prompts
I can’t decide if I want to use a professional example or an examples from volunteering and other extra curricular activities for Kellogg essays. Do they they have a preference? I am sharing the two prompts below and my examples. I can spin the examples below for any one of the prompts.
Essay #1: Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn?
Essay #2: Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you?
-Professional Examples: Enumerated
-Volunteer/Extracurricular Example: Enumerated
Hi! I have two questions about UCLA.
1. The short and long term goal essay is very similar to the consortium essay. Should we paraphrase? Should we come up with new content?
2. What are your tips for WHY SCHOOL essays? I am having a tough time with the why UCLA essay. It sounds like I can insert the name of any school in the essay and submit it.
Am I supposed to write my essays before I submit my recommender packet or can it just be a general overview of what I am trying to do?
Volunteering led by individual self
Hi all, Had a question regarding volunteering – a lot of my volunteering is self fundraising at multiple locations and then distributing that money to specific families back home. In all the university applications I am not allowed to put a volunteering experience without putting in the company. What are my options here – can I write “self”?
What is the essay prompt for the UT PhD in Social Work?
Before my time is up in the TAOA program, I would like to write/submit an essay for my future phd program application:) However, I can’t seem to access the prompt online because I would need to create a new application and the system will not let me. Sooo… how do I explain to my POC at UT that I need the prompt for Phd application without sounding crazy when he knows I was just admitted to the master’s program. Not afraid of asking but don’t want to give them any kind of crazy impression of myself. I guess I can explain the whole story to them.
Policy School Interview
Hi, I have been shortlisted to interview with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore. Can you give some tips to prepare for the same?
Specifically, a case study will be given to us 20 mins prior to the interview and questions will be asked on the same.
I was also wondering if any TAOA alums have made a successful application to the Lee Kuan Yew School?
Do let me know, thanks!
GRE attempt post app submission
Just took my gre for the fourth time. I had written about it in all my apps that I will retake it to improve my quant score in feb.
Unfortunately, the score didn’t improve as I had hoped. My best score is still the one I submitted with my apps.
Should I still inform schools about this score? I am interviewing with two of my top choices on Monday and Wednesday. I am also taking supplemental coursework (Econ and Calc) and those grades are pending.
Kellogg Off-Campus vs On-Campus
In my application to Kellogg I selected an off-campus interview, but now I’m wondering if I made the wrong choice. Should I be reaching out for an on-campus spot (especially because I haven’t visited), or is off-campus going to be ok?
Round 2 MBA interview scheduling
Hello, I just received an interview invitation for Yale MBA and was wondering:
1. Is it ok to do the interview in San Francisco vs flying to Yale?
2. Can I schedule the interview for mid-February, or is it better to do it sooner? For your information, right now the earliest availability for on campus interviews are in mid-February which aligns with the dates I had in mind for my off campus interview.
Any cons of scheduling meetings with program faculty or admissions advisors to discuss potential research interests or the application process, both to obtain information and to get my face in their heads?
Not sure if such collection already exists but is there anywhere for me to know which all interview prep services / support ( even helpful documents) are provided by the art of applying
Grad School Fair -Idealist
Hi, Does anyone have any tips for navigating Grad School Fairs? There are a couple of programs I am applying to that I won’t be able to travel, and this might be my only opportunity to speak with admissions. How can I make a good impression?
Attending On Campus Conferences
I see this great event at Yale that I would ideally love to go to, however I only have 3 vacation days left this year, so I’m trying to prioritize – how helpful for my admission is it to attend these types of conferences? How do I prioritize which schools conferences to apply / go to? I’m applying to Cornell’s conference Nov 2 because you’re guaranteed an interview if you go to it.
Details for Yale’s below – it really reflects my entrepreneurship goals as an underrepresented minority:
For what date should I sign up for the Tuck applicant initiated interview?
Hi there! I will be applying to joint degree programs for MPP/MBA as well as the consortium. I’d like to apply to the TUCK/HKS dual program and want to know for what date I should sign up for the Tuck MBA interview?
What are some tips for the Tuck’s interview?
Any tips/inside info for the Tuck interview?
What are some tips for the 10-minute presentation for the interviews with alumni for the HEC Paris MBA program?
Got thru the pre-selection of HEC Paris MBA! Has anyone got any tips for the 10-min presentation for the interviews with alumni? 10mins that’s quite a long presentation!
Do you think this will be a good idea? – I did a mini data analytics project two years ago as an extracurricular activity. I analyzed a data set on employee engagement of US govt employees and had a few findings and recommendation. If this is a good idea, should I spend more time on my methodology of data analysis, or research on recommendations? I’m also trying to incorporate the three criteria they mentioned.
Job & Career Questions
When can I quit my job before starting business school
I am currently interviewing with two schools (UT Austin and Georgetown) and waiting to hear back from four (Kellogg, Haas, NYU and Sloan). Of the two interviews I have, I am only serious about UT Austin. Of the four schools I have not heard back from, Haas is my top choice.
Here is where my situation gets a little sticky:
My husband got a job in New York and moved there earlier this month. I currently live in DC because my job keeps me here and does not offer working remotely long term. It’s becoming really expensive to pay rent in these two cities for my husband and me. We also are not enjoying being away from each other. I am only sticking around in DC because I am not sure if it looks bad to have already quit my job when I interview with schools.
What does the TAOA team advise? Can I go into an interview with a school as recently unemployed because of my husband’s job and not have it affect my prospects of getting an admit?
Would really appreciate some advice on this.
Job Change… Update Ad Com?
I went through the 3 responses pertaining to this situation that have already been posted but didn’t come away with a clear response. Posting my situation here:
My wife’s posting in Shanghai came to an end in the beginning of Jan and thus, so did my position at the Consulate. We are back in DC and my previous employer called me and asked to come to his office with a promotion and much higher pay. I have been very open and honest with my employer about my school situation so they know that I will be leaving for school in the fall. Do I update the MPP and MBA programs about this? What’s the best way to frame it- just explain the truth? Do I tell them it’s higher paying?
Switching jobs after applying
I applied R2, Do I have to disclose to AdComs if I switch jobs let’s say Feb or March (i.e., right before my decision comes out and potentially while I’m interviewing?) If yes, will this impact me poorly?
I have the opportunity to work on a short-term gig helping a friend with his small consulting company – he does consulting for small businesses, it’d be great exposure for my future entrepreneurship goals and allow me to travel / live more flexible before i buckle down for MBA. The caveat is it may only be part-time, not sure if that looks bad. Note, he does know I’m going to an MBA, so I wouldn’t be burning a bridge in any way by leaving his company. It’d be an independent consulting role.
My motivations here are that I’ve been pretty burnt out from consulting for awhile now and want to live more meaningful for my health to recharge a bit before I jump into another 2 years of intensity. I don’t know when again I’ll have this time / opportunity to take 4-6 months to live more intentionally, travel, immerse in wellness, etc.
Sidenote, I may also ask my current consulting employer to move me to a remote position, so at least it’s the same company on my resume while I’m interviewing / applying and then consider switching to my friend’s company in April.
When should I update the school/interviewer of my new job?
I’m going to leave my current employer very soon but I’m still in the process of my mba applications. (waitlist and interview stages) How should I update the schools/ interviewer? I’ve secured my next role to start a month later. Some people say why not wait until I know the final notifications, but my dilemma is what if I don’t get into any schools this year and I will be out of a job?! It’s much harder to find a job being off market… And I need money! What should I say? I don’t want schools to think that i’m unethical either.
Will taking a new job with a higher salary impact my admission decision?
In 2 weeks I’ll be changing jobs. I think it’s a lateral career shift (from Quality Assurance to Operations) but the new company I’ll be working for is more highly regarded (from Getinge to Stryker), there’s more direct financial impact on the company, and the salary is greater. Could that mean anything to the eyes of the admission officer?
Law School Applications
Yale Law School Application Question
Good evening! One of the application questions on the Yale Law School app asks if you received any assistance with the application and if yes, please specify from whom you received assistance (e.g., prelaw advisor, admissions consultant, family member), the nature of the assistance (e.g., proofreading, generating essay ideas), and whether or not you paid for this assistance. (maximum characters 1000).
What is the best strategy for tackling this question? Is it generally revered poorly if people respond affirmatively?
Letters of Recommendation
Hello I have been waitlisted at Wharton and Yale and I am hoping to send the below letter of recommendations to both the schools:
For Yale – two colleagues and a current coach
For Wharton – two colleagues and a current coach + two alumni
Would it be better to ask them to send it directly or would it be better for me to compile all of them into a PDF along with contact information for each recommender? I am hoping the alumni’s can send it themselves to show authenticity but please do let me know what looks better.
Direct supervisor vs. Direct report?
Hi, to indicate recommenders for HBS and SOM, both schools have a drop down box to indicate relationship with applicant. I have indicated my recommenders as “direct supervisors” as they both are my bosses basically (they assign me work, I report to them). But one of them asked if I should have put “direct report” instead, since I am her “direct report”. It made sense because when she is filling it up, she is answering my relationship to her – hence “direct report” will be correct from her perspective, but “direct supervisor” will be correct from my perspective. Can we put different responses to this?
One of them is my former supervisor, but there isn’t such an option. Alternatively, I could put “other supervisor” or I can indicate “other” and then manually type “former supervisor” into the textbox.
Unfortunately I could not find the definition of these terms on their websites. For example, what does “Other supervisor” actually mean? Appreciate responses.
LOR: need examples for every question
One of my recommenders has written a lot of praise in response to the question, “Please discuss any strengths you think may enhance the candidate’s performance in graduate business studies and in a management career. (1000 characters max)” but hasn’t mentioned specific examples.
Do business schools look for pointed examples in LORs?
When and how should clients ask for letters of recommendation?
LOR for HKS
Hi, I’m trying to send out recommendations from HKS to my recommenders and I got this prompt:
“The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Buckley Amendment) allows you to access your educational records if you enroll at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. You may waive your right of access to this specific report if you so choose.
I understand that this letter must be written and uploaded by the recommender.
I waive my right to access this report.
I do not waive my right to access this report.
In place of your signature, please type your full legal name:”
What am I supposed to select?
Good morning! On the Northwestern app recommendation section, it asks if one of my recommenders is my current supervisor. I don’t report directly to the recommender that I chose, but she still oversees the categories that I manage and I work closely with her everyday. Would this count as an indirect supervisor, and if so, would I be able to check “yes” for that question?
For reference her title is Category Lead, she has authority over the entire category, and my title is Category Specialist and I manage some of the subcategories in her space.
Letters of Recommendation
How did everyone choose which letters of recommendation they were going to submit with each application? I have a handful of letters—professional and academic—each with a similar message.
Is it a worthwhile endeavor to try and ask recommenders to tweak their letters to reflect diverse traits and abilities?
Hello! I am not asking my current supervisor or any of my senior teammates for a recommendation because I don’t want to get kicked off a very cool project that I got put on this fall. I have chosen my director supervisor from about three years ago to be one of my recommenders.
My predicament is about who to choose from my current workplace:
1) senior program manager from different department that I collaborated with on a 12-month pilot project (06/18-05/19) that had some cool successes. Before that, she was the lead for business development for my organization and reviewed every single proposal I wrote.
2) senior financial compliance officer who I have worked with consistently from the very beginning on putting together budgets. For reference, I submit the budget for every single program to him and he reviews it/provides me feedback to get it ready for submission.
Another interesting tidbit about me: I don’t have a quantitative background so whichever I would choose, I would like for them to highlight my quantitative aptitude. Any thoughts y’all?
My recommender asked me to draft the letter for them and they would submit it. Is there a format for that?
Can I use a recommender who supervised me five years ago?
I had a job in college for 3 years with a supervisor who has since become my life mentor. He knows me intimately and would be able to best speak to my strengths and where I am going, however, he hasn’t supervised me directly in 5 years… Stanford MBA has the following language about choosing recommenders:
“We are impressed by what a reference letter says, not by the title or background of the individual who wrote it or the writing skills of the recommender. You should choose individuals who:
- Know you well through significant, direct involvement with you within the last three years
- Will provide detailed anecdotes and examples to support their assertions
- Are sufficiently enthused to spend time writing a thoughtful letter
Should I choose a more recent supervisor who may not be as strong in what they have to say about me? Or should I continue one with my life mentor?
How to convey urgency to an unresponsive admissions office? Worried about missing my deadline!
I need the UChicago Harris admissions office to upload my professional LORs, which they received by email, into my online application ASAP before the October 1 deadline. I’ve been trying to reach them by email and phone, completely unsuccessfully. I am worried they will not upload my letters on time for early action. What else can I do to convey the urgency of this matter to them ?
Do programs require recommenders to upload their letters inside a text box or on PDF? I’d like to be able to tell my recommenders if the letter should be on official letterhead or not.
Reference letters for MPP + MBA candidates
Should I ask for two separate letters of reference from each of my recommenders, or can they write one letter for both programs?
Hi everybody! Time flies, so I think I should start asking my current managers for LOR. What would be the best approach? I’m very anxious about asking for letters of recommendation because of course, I don’t want to jeopardize my career here. If I get accepted to the programs I want, I would still have a full year here. What do you recommend? Please help.
Optional questions in LORs
Hello, I have been asked by my the supervisors who are typing up my recommendation letters if they have to answer the question “(Optional) Is there anything else we should know?”
What are your thoughts about this? How important is it to answer these? I am worried that leaving it blank on both recommendations can backfire , but on the other side more info to read can be annoying for AdComs.
How do we best explain why our current manager isnt one of our recommenders ?: Curious to see how anyone else explains this predicament. For me it would be something along the lines of – “The potential success of my ability to lead projects at Walmart is contingent on my longevity here, which is why, I have decide to not disclose anyone in my current team of my decision.”
Questions to ask on HBS Tour
I registered for the HBS Campus Tour and Information Session on Friday, January 17, 2020. Sessions are co-hosted by MBA students and Admissions staff. Any suggestions?
Course Completion Question on MBA Applications?
Hi, I had a question regarding the following question present on most MBA Applications:I have done some of these subjects in high school and A-levels as part of an overall Maths subject but I’m not sure what exactly they are asking for here.
Indicate if you have completed the following courses.
If taken in high school for Advanced Placement credit, please answer “yes” and list your grade as “AP”.
MPP vs MPA
Wharton/ Lauder MBA Dual Program
Hi all, I was wondering if there’s any merit to applying to the Wharton MBA and Lauder School MA Dual degree program? It is an MA in International Studies, combined with a Wharton MBA, and would still be a two year program, and you can choose out of 6 concentrations from the Lauder School.
A little about my background – I am currently working in Payments, I have 7.5 years of experience, speak six languages, working on the seventh, am a third culture kid, and hope to work in sustainable entrepreneurship and environmentally friendly design. I think the program might be useful in rounding out my education as the work that I plan to do has global effects.
HKS MPP vs MPA
Do you all have guidance on going for a MPP vs MPA at HKS? I fit the profile of MPA more than the MPP; Average age of MPA is 30 and years of work experience is 5 (I have 6 from the Hill and State). The flexibility of selecting courses since there is no core curriculum appeals to me also. However, on the website they appear to stress already having a grad degree. In your experience is this necessary? Since I don’t have a grad degree is it best I apply to the MPP program?
Berkeley Addendum vs Georgetown Personal History Statement
I wanted to know if these questions are similar enough to the point where I can use one essay for both schools.
Berkeley: Please complete this section if you wish to address any specific issues that have adversely impacted your academic performance and/or any aspect of your application. The Addendum is optional.
Georgetown: In 250 words or less, please provide further explanation of any unusual circumstances, such as a period of poor academic performance or a large gap in your resume. If you choose to submit an Optional Statement, please upload it to the Writing Sample section of the application.
Should I address my C’s in calc & chem in a supplemental essay?
Kaneisha noted this awhile ago, I took Stats as a supplemental course & got an A. I did not have time to re-take calculus. Thoughts? If so are there samples on what to include? Thanks!
Overall GPA: 3.6
Current GRE: Quant: 157; Verbal: 160
Re-taking on Aug 31
No mention of optional essays in most Schools I’m applying to
I want to express in one way or another that I am registered (I technically have not yet, but will be be the time I send in my applicants) for a Statistics and Microeconomics course for the Spring 2020 semester so admissions knows I’m doing everything I can to be prepared for the policy program. The problem is that only one of the schools I’m applying to has the choice for an optional essay where I can mention this. Should I just find away to address this in my required essays for those schools that don’t have optional essays?
Random & Miscellaneous
MLT PD is it worth it?
I ve heard very mixed reviews on MLT PD, I’d love to hear from folks who’ve done MLT on whether it’s worth the $550 & the time commitment Especially considering this years conferences are virtual.
How does the org / network support you long term? What does it look like to be in it at first vs during school & as an alum?
I want to go into health technology / healthcare provider services / entrepreneurship & I’m concerned:
1. The company’s aren’t aligned with my career goals
2. The tracks are consulting, finance, brand management (id prob do brand)
3. Keeping up with the homework seems challenging
Im interested in hearing from students / alum who’ve been in it or folks who know people who’ve done it.
2 part question
Hi All, I have sort of a three part question regarding different parts of my application.
1- I was laid off twice over the past couple of years (too many resources in the companies). I found new jobs within 4-6 weeks of my layoffs.
There’s a school question that does ask if I have any layoffs or gaps in unemployment. I’m unsure whether or not to answer this as the companies I worked at were consulting companies and if anyone asks, they can say that I did work there, but that I’m no longer there, and not offer a reason why I’m no longer there, including layoff, firing, left to pursue a new job etc. How should I answer the question from the school?
2- I have a 159 V, 5 in writing and 153 Q from the GRE as my highest scores thus far. I’m submitting these scores in my application, and also retaking the GRE on the 13th to see if I can get higher scores, especially in the quant section. This would be my fourth attempt. I’ve studied for a really long time, around 18 months and my strongest parts consistently are the non quant sections. I was getting 162 in the practice tests but always seem to do lower in the actual tests.
Should I mention in my supplemental essays that I am retaking to get a higher score at a later time?
Should I also mention my testing anxiety around timed tests?
I’m honestly concerned that I won’t be considered a competitive applicant at M7 schools as my GPA was also very low from undergrad.
However, I’ve taken supplemental courses and gotten As, feel I have strong essays and recommenders and have a resume full of work experience a lot of people would kill for. I also started my own company and have been working on that in the last year.
Would love to hear your thoughts!
Yale Video Supplement
Hi Y’all! I studied a ton for the Yale Video supplement and then when question 1 started I just froze for a bit, I smiled took a second and then continued. I then did really well on numbers 2 and 3 I think…. how bad is it that I froze // do you know of other folks who froze and then still got interviews or acceptances? It’s ironic because the one I froze on was the why MBA question, which I of course practiced the most.
Foreign Language Classification
Hi, I’ve done all my education in English, and I’ve studied one Indian language (Sanskrit) in middle school only, and another one (Kannada) in middle school through undergrad. Kannada is also my native language. What should I consider as the foreign languages for Columbia Quant/lang Resume?
Also, the website mentions that non-native english speakers can use this resume to demonstrate proficiency in english. Honestly, I wouldn’t know where to start – I think in English. Would appreciate your thoughts on this.
Hi! Just found out I received an “above expectations” performance rating for my 2019 performance review at my current job. Is this something I should report to the adcoms as additional information for my (already submitted) round 2 apps? If so, what’s the best way to go about doing this?
Graduated from an Australian university – no GPA indicated on the transcript
I had a question regarding conversion of uni scores to GPA. I attended an Australian university (the University of Melbourne) for my undergraduate degree and don’t really have a GPA value per se, the grade I graduated with was a 2nd class upper honours (75-79 out of 100), but no exact score is published on my transcript. How do I go about filling in the values that most US schools ask for?
I had a question around how to tackle negotiating fellowships with the MBA schools that have admitted me, and I would love to get everyone’s feedback / ideas.
To provide you with some context, I have been admitted into MIT Sloan ($25k one-off fellowship), Wharton (no fellowship) and CBS (fellowships are announced in January-February). I still have not made a choice between the three schools yet, although based on some preliminary discussions I am more inclined towards MIT Sloan due to their interdisciplinary opportunities / strong entrepreneurial ecosystem (with my post-MBA goal to move into social / VC investment).
The key questions I have are the following:
- When to do it? Do I need to pick a school and negotiate only with my school of choice or am I allowed to negotiate with my top 2/3 schools? Please note that financial aid can play a key role in my decision making if I get a significant offer. Also note that CBS does not announce merit-based fellowships until mid-late February, and I have to pay the MIT / Wharton deposits by early February, so I might have to push them anyway if I want to make an informed decision.
- How to negotiate it? Firstly in terms of format, would you call or would you email? Secondly, how would you approach each school? Negotiating with MIT will be different to the others, as I can use MIT’s offer to kick off negotiations with the others whereas I cannot do the same for MIT. Also, would you mention the other schools specifically? Would you provide proof of the acceptances / the fellowships when negotiating or would you keep it all anonymous?
- What other arguments can I use? On recent years I have been on quite a competitive salary in Private Equity, which might hurt my chances. However, I have not saved much money given the fact that I have been living in London (quite an expensive city), was repaying student debt (c. $30k) and have been partially helping my family pay for my brothers education. In terms of post-MBA goals, I have mentioned VC as my career goal in most essays (showing a social angle in some), so I am not sure if this can be used as an argument going forward. In terms of using my strengths to support my claim (experience in engineering, consulting and investment, etc), I am more hesitant, as it can come across as arrogant. What are your thoughts? Happy to hear about other ideas people have.
- How will schools react if I obtain an external scholarship after having negotiated with them? E.g. a scholarship that covers my entire tuition.
I hope the questions are clear, please let me know if you have any questions / anything is unclear. Thank you very much in advance for your help!
Conversation with Diversity Admissions Officer
I’ve reached out to one of the Admissions Officers at an M7 school who focuses on “diversity talent” in the larger applicant pool. He has agreed to & requested a conversation with me tomorrow!! What direction should I steer the conversation in? What would be your advice for this conversation? My reason in reaching out to him was because a current student who I spoke with mentioned that I could benefit from a conversation with him. ANY INFO would be great.
Best Application Round
I just scored a 650 on the GMAT (AoA target was 660) and I’m wondering if I should submit Round 2 applications for Stanford, Wharton, MIT and Booth, or retake the GMAT in a few months and apply in Round 3.
Given the terrible testing conditions during the last test I think I could score higher i I retook it in 2020, but given that Round 3 is very competitive I’m not sure which Round to apply in.
Any recommendations for fellowships like Coro?
I wonder if anybody knows any good fellowship opportunities like the Coro Fellowship? Coro is a ten-month working fellowship that allows you to work with an organization in the business, government or non-profit fields among a small cohort. There will also be seminars and interviews.
I would love to hear if anyone knows any other fellowships like this one or if anyone has any experience with Coro!
New project at work – should I inform?
I have been tasked to lead a training program for more than 500+ drivers which is against human trafficking I.e it teaches drivers to spot human trafficking especially at international borders or ports. Is that something I should call the schools and inform or write and inform on my application portal as a additional on ?
Is the MIT Sloan video the same as the cover letter?
The MIT Sloan 1 min video says to introduce yourself and explain why MIT is the best fit. Is that a reiteration of the cover letter?
Question about my HBS application. I self-reported my highest GMAT scores, and sent those scores from the GMAT website. When I got the confirmation that my scores were delivered, it had my most recent test date, not my highest score date. I called GMAT, and they told me that when I send scores, the school has access to all my scores, not just instance I sent. I got my highest score in April, and lower scores during my subsequent tests in July and August, so I don’t want to show those. Do you know if HBS will see all my scores? Or, if they’ll only see the one I showed them?
Mission Recommender for Consortium
I am beginning to complete the application and do have a technical question. I have already registered my two professional recommenders, so I entered their names and email addresses and was able to notify them of the request for recommendation. When I went to register my mission recommender, however, there does not seem to be a “submit” notification feature like there was for the professional recommenders. Should I assume that my mission recommender will not receive an email prompt to recommend me until I submit my completed application?
Who can I get it touch with to learn more about entrepreneurship at Harvard?
I’m trying to add more color to my HBS essay by really understanding the roadmap I’ll follow within the HBS entrepreneurial ecosystem. They have so much stuff — Rock Center Incubator programs, iLab, Summer Fellows, etc. — that it’s hard for me to understand what I would actually use while at school there. Do you have any contacts (from your class or the Boadroom Program) that you could connect me with to help give me an idea of what’s usually done?
I’ve been invited to attend the Visit Knight Day at the Stanford GSB next month. The Day will consist of a class immersion experience, an admissions workshop and alumni panel. Considering this event will take place after I submit my application, what suggestions do you have in terms of 1) Networking and 2) Making sure that admissions officers remember my name without being too pushy? Would love to hear thoughts ..
How should I update my schools with my name change?
I’m in the process of changing my name (Nicki Affonso-McMorrow to Nicki McMorrow-Westhauser), and I’m concerned about how this will work with my applications. I signed up for all the school emails as McMorrow-Westhauser, because that will be ultimately what my name is by the time my applications are submitted. But, I’ve registered for my GMAT on 4/29 with my old name. Is there something I’ll need to do to make sure that the schools know that I’m the same person? Thanks!
For context, it’s taking me a long time to change my name because of our move from TX to DC (have to get a whole new license), and because of travel (most of my tickets were booked in my old name).
I’ve realized that my LinkedIn isn’t as updated as the resume I’ve submitted to schools. Of course it’s good to have my LinkedIn as updated as possible, but should I be doing it now that I’ve submitted applications? Or, does it matter?
Ethnicity “checkboxes” for Applications
Hi there! I identify as multiracial. When asked on forms how I identify ethnically or racially, I check the “other” box. I am completing the Stanford MBA application and it, like many forms, does not have an “other” option. I can either list Asian and white or “I decline to state”. Which one is better? I asked my amazing consultant Rosette and she advised that I post this question here.
How do I update my target schools with my HBS CORe results?
My HBS CORE results just came out. I passed with honors. I want to let the colleges I’ve applied to for deferred admission know about this update as they consider my application.
What is the best and quickest way to do so?
Which laptop should I buy for business school?
This topic isn’t specific to admissions and sort of random. Im due for a new personal laptop which will be what I use for B-school. My company issued laptops and upgraded them periodically so I never gave a thought as to the hardware or security software. Has anyone been given guidance as to the appropriate laptop for grad school? Mac vs PC?
Reaching Out to Professors
SIPA–Reaching out to professors
On the SIPA application, there is a spot for faculty that you have contacted. In the info session they also said that contacting faculty to give a reference on your behalf is helpful because they don’t have an interview process. How important is it to contact faculty members you are interested in doing research with? Would it be too late/disingenuous to contact them for the NOV 1 EA deadline?
Rejections & Reapplications
Would it look bad if a reapplicant applies R2 instead of R1?
Resume template for MBA Summer Internships/Consortium OP
Hi team! I am in the fortunate position that I have accepted my admission to Dartmouth Tuck and am awaiting a decision from HKS for an MPP.
In the meantime, I’d like to start applying to summer internships for THIS summer 2020, since I am leaving my current job this month (long story – was supposed to move to Shanghai from April through July, pre-Tuck, but alas, clearly that is no longer happening). This is also great early prep for Consortium OP opportunities for summer 2021 too.
With my next 4 months open, I’m eyeing a couple of internships, but need to update my resume to reflect top accomplishments from my current role and gear it towards these opportunities – here are two I’d like to apply to since I have contacts at each that can refer me:
Links attached to the message
My questions are as follows:
1. Do we have a resume template for internships or should I just update my MBA resume to submit?? Also, should I submit my MBA 1-page resume to the public policy intern opportunity as well?
2. Do we have any cover letter examples for summer internships/Consortium OP?
Foreign Language Experience on Quant Resume
I’m finishing up my SIPA application and I do not have enough foreign language experience to justify putting anything down. I used to be pretty intermediate at Spanish and I used to be ok at elementary Bengali. However, I do not want to put those down. My only fear in leaving out those two things on my quantitative and foreign language resume is that Columbia will think I recycled my Harvard Quant resume. Any advice on what to do?
Am I going to be penalized for no foreign language experience on my resume?
I found a typo on my HKS quant resume I submitted in December. Specifically, I wrote that I took Statistics in Fall 2016, when it should’ve been Fall 2015. I know this seems small, but I have been harping on it, thinking that this shows a lack of attention to detail and carelessness. Anyone have any words of wisdom? Is this something that needs to be further addressed or is this something we just hope the admissions committee overlooks?
Do we need to provide language skills in SIPA Quant resume if we are not doing the EPD Concentration? This is what their instructions say…
“MIA students, and those MPA students that wish to study Economic and Political Development (EPD), must demonstrate proficiency in a second language prior to graduation. Therefore the Admissions Committee is interested in the details of your previous language study. For those who speak English as a second language, this résumé provides an additional opportunity to address experience learning and using English.”
Can I use the word “Brexit” in a resume?
Very specific question, but the answer could be useful to anyone wondering whether it’s okay to use informal terms such as “Brexit” in a resume or essay.
I recently began a 6-month secondment into my organisation’s EU Withdrawal Policy team (aka, the Brexit policy team) and need to make some updates to my CV to account for this. I pretty much need to refer to Brexit in every line of this part of my CV, so it seems a bit long to say “the UK’s withdrawal from the EU” instead of Brexit for every sentence.
HKS Quant Resume
Thoughts on what else to include on my HKS quant resume? I did quite poorly in quant classes in undergrad (graduated in ’12) with only two quant classes that I scored a B on.
I haven’t taken additional coursework and given my move back to the U.S. in 6 weeks, it’s unlikely I’ll have the time/bandwidth to invest in a course. Are there additional ways to boost the resume?
Knight Hennessy Resume
I was on a Knight Hennessy Scholarship webinar and they advised we make our resumes more human rather than technical, I’m not entirely sure how to do this and Alen advised I reach out here to see if anyone has any samples or could lead me in the right direction or? I know that David Vasquez from TAOA received a Knight Hennessy Scholarship. Thank you!
My company gives “certificates of kudos” and medals of achievement, neither are defined awards really, but I’ve gotten 2 of them, and then another “you rocked it” kind of award from the CEO with a $200 giftcard…. could any of these count as awards on my application? if so, what do I call them since the names are not professional sounding?
I am stuck on how best to describe my work as an entrepreneur. As a single founder I realise that I’ve done a bit of everything, especially when the team was super lean. I’ve never had to create a resume after I started up, so I am writing from scratch.
Any input is appreciated 🙂
How should I answer “Walk me through your resume”?
What is the best way to answer the MBA interview question of “Walk me through your resume”? Should the answer be very brief, allowing the interviewer to ask more probing questions later, or should it be more detailed? If the latter, how detailed should it be? Example responses would be great!
Should my GPA include any of the courses I’ve taken since I’ve graduated as post-grad? I wasn’t sure what the typical process when listing the GPA on things outside of the transcript (which will list the GPA for each school automatically). I took my supplemental coursework at a community college consortium so I have three transcripts for all my courses. My undergraduate GPA isn’t great, and I would be great (even infinitesimally) if I could include the better grades I’ve had in my coursework recently but I wasn’t sure if that’s appropriate.
Explaining language proficiency in HKS quant resume
Hello! I have been working on my Harvard HKS quantitative resume using one of the sample templates. That template includes a section on foreign language proficiency, and I had a quick question about what I should include for that. I am a native Spanish and English speaker, and I also speak Portuguese. I grew up speaking English and Spanish. I have been educated in both language, but I completed college in the US, though I am not a US citizen. Would you recommend that I include my English skills and Portuguese skills, or all three languages, or not include any of them? It feels odd to write about learning Portuguese in college and then try to quantify by fluency in my two native languages, which is why I’m struggling. Thanks for your help!
I realize on my resume that’s been super edited by TAOA, in my current role there isn’t a bullet about all of the client management I do… I did write about this in an optional short answer for my Stanford app that was submitted, but it is amiss to not include this on my resume? I talk to the clients daily and am their primary liaison for all legal and regulatory issues with their lawyers and more. I’ve also led workshops by myself with the client and speak to them directly about all of my workstreams.
Is it okay if my resume is in a PDF format?
Scholarships & Financial Aid
Scholarship Negotiation- Harris
I am not sure how to ask Harris for more money as I do not have any competing offers from other schools as of now.
The scholarship reconsideration form lists three circumstances under which the given award can be reconsidered. These are:
- New academic information (example: new transcripts from most recent quarter with grades that increase your GPA)
- New professional information (example: an updated resume with a promotion since you submitted your application)
- A competing scholarship offer from a comparable school and program
None of the above three circumstances apply to me. How can I make my case in this regard? Appreciate any inputs.
Stuck in the Scholarship Negotiation Process
I received a really fast email in response to my counteroffer letter (they offered me $30K, I asked for $50k). She asked to see offers from other schools to see if they could match/surpass, but I don’t have another offer with as much money as this school offered me. She also mentioned the considerable COA between this school and others and they also said that they haven’t given out any 50k offers to prospective students yet..so I’m not sure how to respond. Do I just say that any scholarship/GA reconsideration would be appreciated? Do I bring the number down to 40k? I don’t want to take this response as a defeat, as she mentioned she really appreciated my letter, but I’m just really stuck here.
“We don’t accept financial aid reconsideration requests” – says HKS. Should I ignore and still send my FinAid officer a reconsideration letter?
Hi! As some may have seen from the email sent by the FinAid officer, HKS apparently doesn’t accept financial aid reconsideration requests. On my financial aid email, it reads:
“HKS has awarded all fellowships and scholarships. Please understand decisions are final and HKS will not accept requests for reconsideration. We have committed all available funds and cannot provide additional financial assistance.”
Should I ignore this instruction and send an email anyway?
Hi! I was accepted to SIPA, but I did not fill out their funding section/fellowship forms during the time of my application (it was a really busy time for me). Outside of external scholarships, is there anything I can do to ask for potential funding from SIPA? they have an appeals process, but not sure If I would be eligible for that. Can I apply for funding my second year?
Hi All, I hope you are all well and staying safe during these uncertain times.
Given the uncertain times in which we are today, I wanted to ask a question about a potential scholarship renegotiation. To provide some context, MIT Sloan has offered me $25,000 one-off Dean’s fellowship for their MBA program. In early/mid February, I tried to renegotiate this, asking them to increase the scholarship as I wanted to attend MIT over my other options (Wharton and CBS), but I prioritized funding over other topics.
They told me they had no more money at hand, and they were waiting for other students with scholarships like me to reject before they could offer me more money. They also mentioned that, if I received additional money, it would be no more than $10k.
I am starting to think about reaching out to them again, asking them about the status of this scholarship increase. The R1 enrolment deadline is well passed, and I know they have already released R2 decisions – so they should have some more visibility.
On top of this, financing has become a larger concern for me today than it was one month ago, as the pound has greatly depreciated (+10% vs. USD) and I am facing more difficulties than expected with local banks to finance all my student costs.
So I guess my question is: would you get in touch with the admissions office today, or would you wait until we have some more visibility around the sanitary situation?
Hello, I have been admitted to Wharton without scholarship and was wondering if any former clients were able to secure any $$ after sending an appeal letter? I’ll send an appeal letter regardless, but was wondering if its a long shot.
Beginning Scholarship Negotiations – How much is too much to ask for?
I just received a scholarship from American for $30,000 (equivalent to about 40% of total tuition) however I’d like to negotiate for more.
I am almost done with my Intro to Economics course (I just have the final left) and I have an A so far and hope to use this in my negotiations because my application did not have a strong quantitative background.
I’m wondering how much I should ask for. Is it better to ask for a higher number (like double) and see if they accept that or meet me in the middle? Or begin lower and just see where negotiations go from there? AU doesn’t have anything on their website about policies for negotiating scholarships. I’ve spoken with students who are attending AU now and some have said that they’ve even just called and just asked for more money over the phone and got what they needed. I plan to be more formal and write a letter but I’m just not sure where to start $$ wise.
Any advice from consultants and stories/experiences from clients who have already begun negotiations would be greatly appreciated!!!
Acceptance but no scholarship offer
I just got accepted into American University (yay my 2nd choice!) but they didn’t mention any scholarship money and I’m quite surprised given my GPA, GRE, essay, etc.
However, I checked on their faq about merit-based awards and it states that “awards are announced on an ongoing basis and given to students applying for admission by the priority deadline. Responses to award offers are due by the deadline stated on the award letter.”
Does this mean that “award letters” are different from “admission letters”? Should I wait a couple weeks before contacting them and asking about merit-based awards/scholarships since I just got a decision?
I should also mention that I’m taking Economics and will finish by March and so far I have a really good grade and hope to use it for negotiating scholarship money.
HKS fellowship – non profit question that determines finaid
Hi! On the HKS fellowship application, there is a Yes-No question that asks the following:
“Do you have prior employment with – and do you intend to work for – a non profit 501c(3) organization after graduation?”
I’m stuck on how to answer this because a) I do have work experience in a nonprofit but as an unpaid intern during my undergraduate, so it’s not substantial experience; and b) I’m definitely considering non-profit work after grad school but in my application essays I mostly talk about wanting to work for multilateral organisations (eg World Bank) after the MPP. I only mention interest in non-profit work in my fellowship essays.
Would my work experience and potential/subject-to-change aspirations to work for a non-profit justify a “yes” to this fellowship question?
Scholarships / fellowships for Indian citizens
I wanted your advice about scholarships / fellowships to target for HKS (and my other schools too). At this point, I’m focusing on the Public Service Fellowship, Dubin Fellowship, and Gleitsman Fellowship. Would you recommend looking into any other major ones? Note: I’m an Indian citizen, so that may rule me out of quite a few opportunities.
Looking forward to your thoughts!
What is the proper etiquette to express your interest (to the admissions committee) in the Forte Fellowship. I am aware that the fellowship selection is based in part on an applicant’s commitment to the advancement of women but is there anyway to perhaps move the proverbial needle in your favor by mentioning your interest in the fellowship (especially if this commitment is riddled throughout your application)?
Please let me know.
Re-negotiating scholarship money
Hi! I’d like to renegotiate my scholarship with Chicago Harris (and possibly others depending on my application outcomes) as I think I could probably argue for a bit more cash given a) the fact that I work in the public sector and b) that I have student loans already and would like to minimise my debt.
My aim is to get (at least at Harris) $10k more per year so that my scholarship money goes from $15k to $25k per year (totalling a 50% of my tuition costs). If this is unrealistic, then at least negotiate for $5k more a year.
My question is: at what point do I submit a scholarship reconsideration letter – before accepting an offer, or after accepting an offer?
Separate scholarship applications
Hi! I’m curious to know what other scholarships I should be applying to besides Consortium.
Here are the schools I am applying to:
I am a Black American woman with 7 years of Procurement Oil and Gas experience. And lots of extracurricular experience around D&I. Interested in pivoting to tech product management.
Hi–I’m interested in getting scholarship recommendations for MBA programs. I’m a 27-year-old female, currently work in tech as a supply chain professional, and have a long history of volunteering with young women and girls (Minds Matter DC, Young Women’s Alliance of Austin, Girls Empowerment Network). I’m interested in entrepreneurship, specifically in the travel/hospitality industry, and just started my own company.
Hello, I hope you are well. I would like to know if there are any suggestions for potential Scholarship/Fellowship opportunities for the programs that I’m planning on applying to. I’m open to sources of funding from the schools themselves as well as external sources. Just to let you know, I am a US Citizen and have dual citizenship (Dominican Republic).
I’m planning on applying to:Harvard Kennedy School – MPA/ID
Harvard Graduate School of Design – MUP (Concurrent Degree with MPA/ID)
Princeton Woodrow Wilson School – MPA
Hello, I have a quick question for you: I’m reviewing the list of scholarships I’m eligible for and realized that the AAUW’s International Fellowship program requires me to apply to one of my target programs before submitting the scholarship application on Nov. 15th.
Since Im not ready to submit any applications in 6 weeks (including going through the Green Light process this week), I’m wondering if I should look up an MBA program which isn’t very selective, apply to it by Nov. 15th and apply to this scholarship. I want to give it a shot because there are very few non-school scholarships I’m eligible for as an international applicant, and the requirements for this one fits with my profile.
Any thoughts/concerns regarding this approach?
Answering questions about how I will fund my studies
The Chicago application system asks me to state how I would finance my MPP degree for 2 years if no fellowship/scholarship is awarded to me either by Chicago or external sources. My plan for this section is to state, separately, the dollar amount I would be able to self-fund each year and the dollar amount I would take out as loans. Is this an acceptable approach?
The Columbia application system asks me to state how much money I have currently saved to fund the MPA. I am planning on answering this question quite honestly (i.e., I have saved a bit but nowhere near enough to self-fund entirely). Please let me know if this is an acceptable strategy.
Sponsorship chances at Wharton and CBS
Hi All, a couple questions regarding financial sponsorships at Wharton and CBS. On Wharton, do you know if it makes a difference between applying R1 and R2 in order to access the Schools sponsorship opportunities? (https://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/tuition-financial-aid/). With regards to CBS, do you know if it makes a difference to apply early decision vs. regular decision in terms of accessing sponsorship?
Also, what is your experience with regards to Early vs. Regular application for CBS? Do we have an idea of the acceptance rate by round? I have found different sources to be quite contradictory
What are some scholarships/financial aids I can apply to as an international student?
I have been accepted to Fuqua’s MMS:Foundation of Business program with some scholarship.
Could you please tell me if there are any other external scholarships/financial aid I can apply to, being an international student.
Should I mention a stipend that was offered to me to the Admissions Director?
Hi all, I have been exchanging emails with the Admissions Director at a school I am considering attending. I got in touch with a Professor who also recommended (in line with Kaneisha ‘s suggestion) that I do not take on any additional responsibility during my first semester. She also mentioned in her email that she had requested the AdCom to consider me for a stipend covering two years of my study there. Should I mention this in my email to the Admissions Director requesting more funding?
Will paying an offer deposit decrease my chances of getting additional funding from the school?
UCSD got back to me regarding my appeal for increasing my financial package. But they will release additional funds after April 15th, which is also the deadline to accept the award. VISA application takes a really long time so I have been advised to start the process ASAP. I can’t get an I-20 form unless I accept their offer and pay a $500 deposit. Will paying the deposit decrease my chances of getting additional funding from the school?
What are some tips to follow for a financial appeal discussion?
Received this email in response to my financial aid appeal request. How should I go about my conversation with the rep?
Hi! I got my admit from McCombs (yay!) and I was able to get 30k out of them for two years after I shared my offer from Rice for a full ride. I also included a letter on the advice of an admissions rep with reasons as to why McCombs is my top choice. I included the following reasons: courses in Analytics, connections with current students and my husband’s job placement in Austin.
Although I am grateful for some money, I want to get more out of them. What else can I do to get more money? Any advice on how to follow up with a second appeal?
I’m trying to plan ahead, anyone know when welcome weekends are for admitted students of these schools: Haas, Wharton, Yale, UT Austin, USC, Columbia, UCLA, UVA.
School Visits Worth It
I would appreciate y’alls thoughts on whether I should spend time/money traveling to the US for school visits before I apply or if it can wait until after I submit. I plan to have all of my applications (fellowship, Consortium, MPP, and MBA) submitted before I move back to the States on Dec 30th.
I do plan on visiting every school as soon as I move back to the US, but if you think it’s advantageous to take a trip before I actually submit the applications, I’d really appreciate your thoughts/guidance on how to make the most of the visits.
1. Am I going to the school b/c they keep track of applicants who visit and this may reflect well upon my candidacy?
2. Am I going because my visit allows me to personalize my essays with a one or two line anecdote?
3. Am I going because I can meet with adcom to express my interest and this gives me a legup.
Addressing Quantitative Gaps
I was advised by a Booth alumni that MBA Math is a great course to demonstrate quantitative abilities while on the waitlist. (Link: https://www.mbamath.com/)
Is this a good program? I’m attracted to it because of it’s length (40 hours), as Booth and Tuck (my two waitlist schools) will provide decisions in 6-8 weeks.
What other programs are recommended for those looking to address quantitative gaps in the short term?
Supplemental Coursework for Business School
I have a quick question about supplemental coursework for business school applicants. I was planning on taking some quant courses in the next couple of months due to my low GRE quant score. I searched through the Q&A Vault and saw that Kaneisha suggested taking statistics and microeconomics. I took an intro to stats course in undergraduate, and also an intro to microeconomics and macroeconomics course. For both of those I got an A-, but it was in 2010/2011ish. Do you still think it makes sense to re-take intro courses for those to boost my application, or do you suggest I take other courses, or none?
Supplementary coursework that is necessary to complete
Kaneisha On a past call, you answered a question about which supplemental coursework, not including HBXX Core, you felt was absolutely necessary to complete. You recommended two courses that I can not remember and can’t seem to find in the past recordings I’ve scoured. Which two are they again?
Testing: GRE, GMAT, LSAT, TOEFL, etc.
GMAT vs. GRE – Switching after waitlist
Hey, Hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe. I have been waitlisted at both Tuck and Booth after applying in round 2. I am almost certain it’s about the test score (640 GMAT (Q38 V40).
I haven’t gotten specific feedback from Tuck yet but I expect them to request that I retake the GMAT. I have been preparing to take the GMAT in late April but both Kaneisha and Alen have suggested before that I try the GRE.
How reasonable is it to switch from GMAT to GRE before round 3 decision dates (7th May for Tuck and 21st May for Booth)?
I am also keeping in mind that with the COVID-19 situation, test centers may get shut down (The centers are still operational. We only have 7 confirmed cases in Kenya but the situation is evolving).
PS: I am taking the waitlist decisions positively because I think it means the other sections of the respective applications were good enough for the adcoms. I genuinely appreciate the support I have received from TAOA thus far !!!
Logistics of Taking the GRE/GMAT
Hi everyone — I wrote up a document all about my experiences taking the GRE and the GMAT, just to share with friends, and I’d like to share it here with you all at The Art of Applying!
I wrote about the differences between the two tests (like how you receive your scores!) and also the logistics you may not expect on test day (the distance of the bathrooms!). I did a LOT of research on these things and was still tripped up a bit by the awkwardness of it all on test day. Hope this helps!
GRE follow up
Hi all, I took the GRE for the fourth time, a week after I submitted my apps and still got my usual score of 159 verbal, 153 quant. My writing was probably a 5/6.
At this point, I don’t feel very optimistic about my chances to get in anywhere, although I did write about my GRE scores in my optional essays.
Any advice? Should I retake the GRE in February and submit those scores too? I’m just not sure what to do.
GRE reporting lag of 10-15 days
Hi there — I’m a little frustrated and confused that in all my research of (and advice I received about) the differences between taking the GRE instead of the GMAT, I never read or heard about the 10-15 day lag between taking the GRE and getting the official score report — despite the fact that every school’s deadline for acceptable GRE dates is the day before their application deadline. So, how do people deal with that discrepancy???
Once I learned about the lag, I had already scheduled my GRE exam for two days before my first deadlines. That was yesterday, and I got a score that I think is fine. (Yay!) BUT, I don’t have the writing assessment score, since that’s not given on test day — can I leave that section blank on my reported scores in each application???
I was also surprised to NOT receive a printout of my scores after taking the test (as they kindly give you at GMAT test centers) so I guess I’m just lucky that I remembered my scores that flashed on the screen, and wrote those down immediately. That memory is all I’m going on (hope it’s accurate!), and then I’m researching the percentile rankings online.
I’m worried that my percentiles will be off (since it’s just based on old data I’m finding online) and that I can’t leave the analytical writing score blank. Any advice for what to do?
P.S. I keep thinking of the different experiences of taking the GMAT vs GRE, and I’m thinking of writing a short doc to share with everyone here. I found it fascinating and there were some surprises — like broken pencils VS fading dry-erase pens!
Would you recommend I send more than my 560 and 570 scores to HKS and other business schools?
I’ve read articles that suggest applicants send schools all GMAT/GRE scores above 500 to showcase perseverance to the admissions committee. I’ve canceled, 4 of my 6 GMAT attempts because they were below 500. Would you recommend I send more than my 560 and 570 scores to HKS and other business schools?
November 2019: Verbal: 154 Quant: 151
September 2019: 560
August 2019: 470 (Canceled)
September 2018: 570
January 2018: 490 (Canceled)
December 2017: 460 (Canceled)
May 2017: 340 (Canceled)
As of now, I’ve written about my GMAT and low GPA together in my option essay. Should I separate the two and expound more on my GMAT testing history? Should I let them know that I am taking the exam again? The GMAT has been a two-year struggle for me and I just want to make sure the admissions committee understands my efforts but I also don’t want to belabor the point… Can you please let me know your thoughts?
Hi! So we made my minimum GRE 159V 163Q but I think that’s when I thought my baseline was around 160 Q from just practice problems and not from actually taking a test. When I took my first test with 10 hours of studying I got 151V 155 Q. I studied an hour a day for 3 weeks and today I got 157 V and 161Q. Should I still retake to hit that minimum we discussed?
NYU – Executive Assessment Vs GMAT
Hello TAOA team, I have a question for you! The 2 year full-time NYU Stern MBA program now accepts the Executive Assessment (not just the GMAT or GRE).
In that section of the application, the instructions say:
‘Self-report the highest overall score for each test you have taken below.
– Exec Assessment
Does this mean that if we’ve taken the GMAT, we are obliged to report it, or for instance, could we only report our Executive Assessment score?
(I’m planning to submit my application today as it’s due tomorrow so any responses on this today would be great!)
GMAT vs GRE
Hey Team – so I just took GMAT #2 this weekend. Unfortunately, not only did I not do better, I did demonstrably worse than my previous attempt. I scored a 560 =(. So I now have 2 GMAT scores, a 560 and a 600.
However, there may be a silver lining. My disappointment caused me to review all of my test scores, including the GRE I took in 2015 that I thought was expired. It appears that score is actually valid until July, 2020.
I scored a 154 on the Quant section and a 164 on the Verbal section, and a 3.5 on the writing section. That comes out to total GRE score of 318. Several of the schools I am applying to do not release total GRE averages, but I found a few: Darden (321), Georgetown (317), Harvard (326).
I want to know – should be submitting applications with my older GRE score (154V, 164Q, 318 Total), rather than my current 600 GMAT. The older GRE score would certainly put me in a more competitive position at some schools, now that I know it is still valid, but there is still a perception out there that schools prefer the GMAT. Open to your thoughts.
Berkeley and Yale both said they like to see two scores if you had a large improvement. However since I’m sending scores to the Consortium, should I just send my lower score directly to Berkeley & Yale in case other schools don’t favor seeing a lower score?
GRE testing timing
Right now I’m taking the Dec 2 test, but I’m trying to write all my essays and make the Green light submission deadline on Dec 2.
So, I’m looking to move the test to Dec 30. However, ETS says it takes 10 to 15 days to deliver scores to all the MBA programs, who have deadlines within the first week of January 2020. Should I still take the test on Dec 30, report to the schools that I’ve taken the test, and then just wait for scores to be sent to the schools from ETS?
Good evening, Please provide me with the link to request target scores. I can’t find the location where this information was previously provided to me in Basecamp.
Hi there, I’m a bit desperate with the GMAT. I have taken it twice now and my score is still not good. I took it back in August and got a 550, decided to take it again on November 2nd, and the result was even worse: 500. I have been studying for such a long time now that I’m starting to think that the problem is not the content of the exam, but something else. I get extremely nervous, last time I took it, I realized I was shaking as I was trying to answer the quant section. What can I do?
I also think it didn’t help that the test center made me go through some stressful situations. The machine they use to scan your hand didn’t work the first or second time I took the test, and when it was obvious it was not working they kept trying, which impacted negatively on my break time because I ended up using extra time that was taken from my next section. The worst part is that they make you scan your hand when you leave for your break and when you go back in, so my 8-minute break was used up trying to scan my hand. I didn’t even have time to use the restroom or drink water, I wasn’t able to leave at all because that machine was not working. That happened both times I took the test. Of course, I’m not trying to blame my low performance on solely that, but it definitely added to my stress.
What should I do differently this time? I’m taking it again on December 4th, and I’m taking it at a different center. How can I improve my score?
GMAT Quant out of Range
Hi all–In our last Q&A call with Kaneisha, she mentioned that there was a way to address a quant score out of range in the optional essay of each application. Is there an example of this?
GRE score submission
Hi all. I have an application deadline of October 1 for early admission and I just realised that I needed to send official GRE scores via ETS to the institution on time for the deadline to be considered for that early admission round. I didn’t do this because I thought I could use unofficial scores, until I read the admissions FAQs today. I just requested ETS to send my scores to U Chicago but they will probably arrive 1.5 weeks after deadline. Any tips on how to ask admissions to consider my application for early admission? I have my official test taker report which I can provide to them but not sure if this will suffice.
GRE: high verbal/ lower quantitative
So tomorrow is my GRE. I’ve been studying literally constantly for the last few weeks but I’ve only reached my minimum target quantitative score (161) once. Otherwise I’ve pretty consistently gotten a 157-158 which I know is not ideal. On the verbal I’ve consistently exceeded even the exceptional target score (166). I’ve gotten 170-169. I am really unsure about how tomorrow morning is going to go (trying to stay optimistic) but of course there’s so much variability I can’t be certain. In the event that I do REALLY well on verbal, like a 170 or 169 (which I think is likely) but do lackluster on quantitative, could a really high verbal score compensate for the lackluster quantitative score, since I’m applying to divinity schools and not any graduate programs that would require extensive math?
Studying for the GRE when it’s a little over a month away
I’m a little overwhelmed as I prepare for the GRE because its a month and couple weeks away (Oct. 5 and Nov. 3)
I had been studying for the LSAT for a month before switching schools, so having to start completely over for the GRE is making me fo a little crazy..
Most MPP schools are more concerned with Verbal than they are Math. I also know that I can improve my verbal scores much more than my math scores because I’m terrible at Math and it gives me a ton of anxiety — I also am basically having to relearn a lot of math stuff because its been years since I studied it which is taking way more time.
So, how should I create my study plan? I need more work in math, but math is less important than verbal, and I know I can do WAY better in verbal if I put more effort in time than I currently am. Should I spend more days of the week on verbal than math or vice versa? I just feel that if I spend too much time on math, it will be a lost cause because I’m having extreme difficulty retaining all of this information in the first place and don’t seem to be improving after a couple weeks. I also just got a tutor for math that I plan to meet with once a week for two hours.
Any advice with how I should proceed studying for the GRE would be great– specifically in terms of how I should manage time spend on verbal and math when my first test is less than two months away.
What are recommendations for supplementary online courses for low quant scores?
Hi all! I’m looking for recommendations on supplementary online courses for low quant scores on the GRE/GMAT. I’d also specifically love feedback from anyone who took the UT-Austin Foundations of Geometry, Statistics, and Probability course or the UC Berkeley Introduction to Statistics course listed in the TAOA Resources folder.
One week before the GMAT
I’m taking the GMAT one week from now, and I’m still doing practice problems.
What should I do the week before the test? Review difficult problems?
Solve more practice problems? Review basic concepts?
I feel ready, but I know that while I’m taking the test I’m not going to feel the same way. Any strategies?
Who are some GMAT tutors you recommend?
I’m looking to raise my score by 50 points, and would like a tutor. Who have you worked with in the past that you’d recommend again?
What are ways to prep for the GMAT?
Best GMAT prep materials besides the official guide?
Videos & Creative Application Projects
MBA Video Essays
Hey- I have a few video essays that need to be completed alongside my standard essays for MBA applications. Is there any guidance or materials you have around best practices for those?
Yale Video Questions
Hi all! Like many of you I imagine, I just submitted my Consortium app on Monday! I am now needing to submit some follow up materials for Yale. It’s saying that I have to submit video questions by Sunday… can anyone talk me through that process?
Columbia SIPA video essay – any tips?
Has anyone got tips they could share on the Columbia SIPA video essay (which you send after submitting the application)? I am not sure to what extent this essay will require subject matter expertise on a policy area, or if it’s more about being able to articulate your thoughts on broad issues like equality, diversity, poverty etc. Apparently it’s a 1-minute video for which you have 30 secs to prepare (or the other way round?).
A new way to answer questions
What if I submitted videos answering essay questions rather than the traditional way of submitting an essay? I’ve always excelled in public speaking, and I thought, maybe, I should play to my strengths. I think it does two things well for me; I do something so different from the norm that it’s almost impossible to forget me, and I can convey my story and experiences in the best way I know how.
What do we think?
Waiting to Hear Back
Feedback Request E-mail
I am drafting an e-mail to request feedback from Tuck but I am unsure who to address the e-mail to.
The International Admissions officer (Valeria Wiens) had reached out on e-mail before I submitted my application. Should I address the e-mail to her?
Also, for other schools (e.g. Booth) , who do I address the e-mail to If I want to send a feedback request e-mail but don’t have a specific contact?
Post application actions
I just finished submitting Round 2 applications and was wondering what to do before I hear back from the schools. If I decided to retake the GMAT and was able to obtain a higher score, could it help get an interview, get off a waiting list or negotiate a higher scholarship? My current Gmat is 650 and my target was 660.
I think you had said that with 680+ I could have interesting scholarships.
I submitted my HKS applications a few weeks ago. I was back on the HKS blog today, scrolling through old posts and I read a para which talks about adding prompts while submitting essays. Though it was on my mind, I completely missed adding the prompts in my essay pdfs!!
Should I write to the admissions team about this or just let it be?
What can I do while on the waitlist/waitinglist to show my interest?
I’ve been waitlisted to two law schools so far and have followed their instructions to email them back indicating if I wish to accept a spot on their waitlist. Is there anything else I should do to further reiterate my interest and turn their waitlist into a yes?
Is it appropriate to reach out to your interviewer for feedback?
Is it appropriate to reach out to our interviewers on feedback or to update him/her on admission status? I’m thinking to send an email to the Ross alumni who interviewed me.
Booth Waitlist Video
Hey Guys, I recorded a waitlist video for the Booth application. However, each person I send it to says that they can’t make out what I am saying.
Please watch the video and let me know if the audio is okay. I am open to suggestions on how to deal with the issue. Links included in the question.
Let me know if there is a difference in the audio quality between the two videos. Open to feedback on the video as well.
Waitlist- is it worth it?
Just found out I was waitlisted at Ross, which is confusing and disappointing given my acceptance and significant scholarships to higher ranked schools (Yale, NYU). I was wondering if I was to get off the waitlist, is it likely that I would get any money at all? Ross was one of my top choices but I definitely don’t want to pay full sticker price if I have other options.
Georgetown MSFS waitlist
Hi! I was recently waitlisted for MSFS at Georgetown. The SFS admissions sent me an email saying that I would get the official letter from the Graduate School to put myself on the waitlist in late March. Is it appropriate to ask for feedback on my application? Or should I writeup accomplishments since applying back in January and my continued interest. Should I wait for the official letter late March, or reply to the SFS admissions now?
Waitlist Response Statement
Hi, I am on the waitlist for WWS. This is what I received via email:
If you wish to remain on our waitlist, please email firstname.lastname@example.org indicating that you would like to remain on our waitlist. Please put “MPA 2020 Waitlist Response” in the subject line of your email. In addition, please provide a brief statement on your continued interest in the Woodrow Wilson School MPA degree by April 1—you can include this in the body of your email or as a Word or PDF attachment.
How should I go about the drafting the brief statement? Please help me with suggestions on what I need to include, ideal length and how I need to frame my pitch.
Waitlisted at Northwestern Law
Good afternoon team! I just received my waitlist decision from Northwestern Law. I was completely denied out the gate the last time I applied, so this is progress!
I’m reaching out here for advice on how to best increase my chances of getting off of the waitlist and receive an offer of admission (i.e. timelines for reaching out, what I should say, etc.).
Taking the LSAT again is not a reasonable solution for me at this time. I have not had much luck with increasing my score after 3 attempts (the last attempt resulted in poorer scores than my second).
Waitlist Woes – Tuck Waitlist Form
Tuck decisions were coming out today. Got waitlisted. Almost sure it’s about the GMAT. I understand Tuck will give some feedback after filling in their waitlist form shown below which I will likely need some help on.
Screenshots included in the question.
I have been studying in anticipation of being waitlisted and expect to be able to re-take the exam mid April. I already have an offer from IESE and the commitment and tuition installment deadlines are March 31st and April 30th respectively. I would appreciate some advice on how to handle the IESE deadlines given that my top 2 choices are Booth and Tuck.
The Booth decision is due Friday 19th March. I am happy that I have a fighting chance so I am amped up!!! Thanks again for everything!!
Waitlist woes – GRE test score update
Hello! I have been waitlisted at Wharton and Yale – the two schools that I interviewed to both of them I submitted my GMAT score of 660, and now I am using the template to provide them some accomplishments.
Would it be advisable for me to send this update in February along with my GRE score from a test I took in October (but did not send) since these schools only publish GRE medians and ranges, and tell them that I will be retaking the test in March and will provide an update then as well. Or will it be advisable for me to retake the GRE in March and send the full update and the new score then?
My GRE score is 160q/156v.
How should the waitlist update letter be sent?
Should the waitlist update letter be sent as an email or as a pdf?
Should I update schools about offers from other schools?
Hello team, I got into IESE and I am in Cornell waitlist. I want to reach out to Cornell and tell them that I got an offer somewhere else. What’s a good way to go about it?
When should I send my waitlist letters?
Hi all, is it better to send waitlist letters asap? I will be completing my supplemental course end of April and doing GMAT again. Is it better to update with my current grades and send out the letter at the earliest, or wait until it is finished? If you were me will you mention taking GMAT again?( I have no idea whether my score will improve) Thank you!
(Update: Ok, the school says I need to submit waitlist update letter before Apr 24, but my GMAT is scheduled Apr 30).