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Your MBA Game Plan - 3rd Edition - The Best Book on Applications & Essays (11/20/2011)
New edition released 11/20/2011
Essays: Provides 34 sample essays (unknown freshness - I need to buy a previous version of the book to compare)
- Fairly concise and can be read/covered pretty quickly (the fact that the book is well written helps)
- I like very much the suggestions for the 4 key dimensions of an applicant (Leadership, innovation, teamwork, and maturity). The book then creates a table with these as column headings and numerous parts of the application as the rows (such as transcript, work experience, resume, LOR, essays, GMAT, extracurricular activities) and allows you to tick off each element that contributes to any of the 4
- Chart of GMAT 80% distribution scores for the top 20 programs and a few other stats/charts
- Applicant profiles - the book splits up the application tips/strategy based on the applicant profiles
- Typical backgrounds of students at the MBA programs and also their career backgrounds. (Consulting is 25%)
- Interview tips (good but not very exhaustive prep)
- Information about each of the top 30 programs with details on application strategy (what the school focuses on, what they are looking for, who is a good fit, and also some additional unofficial insights that Vertas saw from the years of work with applications to each of the schools)
- Real sample Essay Analysis (34 total essays)
- Sevearal in-depth profile examples
- Sample Resumes (5)
- Though laid out fine, I am having a hard time finding information I have read previously. The markers on some of the essays and sections could be identified better or have some standard icons/symbols and Table of contents should be really expanded to include subsections. Right now it is not useful.
- Would be great to see things not to do/disaster stories/examples of poor fit (there are several essays at the back that are not stellar and are illustrations of exactly that) but would love to see more as well as common weaknesses and approaches to address/eliminate
- Add strategies for re-applicants
- Would benefit the most applicants who have 9 months for the entire process
Great Application Essays for Business School - 2nd Edition - The Best Book for Essays (12/20/2010)
New edition released 12/20/2010
Essays: Covers 8 most common essay questions; Includes 22 44 real essays (22 new essays)
This is by far the best book on MBA Essays I have reviewed. It is motivating to read and contains nuggets of value on every page. Even the obvious points in the "what not to do" section are strong
+ Fresh content - updated with latest questions, essays, themes, mistakes, figures, etc
+ Great self-diagnostic/reflection methodology
+ Real essays and real examples
+ What not-to-do section with every chapter
+ Practical - it is not a bunch of tricks or gimmicks but solid value
+ Numerous quotes from admissions officers
+ Section on Letters of Recommendation (LOR)
+ New section for Waitlist strategies with 2 case studies about successful converts from WL into Admits (Michigan Ross and Chicago Booth) - 20 pages of content following these 2 applicants
- Essays are getting a bit dated in this edition, so awaiting the second edition
- None really
Bottom line: taking into consideration that an Admissions consultant could cost $2-4K per school, this is a great guide. I wish this book was out when I was applying.
Number of Essays: 65 (41 recent essays and 24 essays that are 5+ years old)
Schools: Covers 1 school
- The main value: you can read the essays of the applicants who got into the HBS
- 41 recent essays; this is the new edition of the book and has been updated with 41 new essays (24 are carried over from the old edition)
- There is only one essay per person (both good and bad); you get more variety but at the same time only a fraction of the picture
- The only book with recent essays (all others have 5, 7, and 10+ year old essays)
- The main disadvantage: you see only a small piece of the puzzle and may potentially change your application for worse
- Analysis of each essay is very minimal and is not "official" per se
- Absolutely Zero advice/strategies/recommendations. The book starts off with essays
BOTTOM LINE: If you are going to a top 10 school, it is a $10 well spent. However, this book is only valuable as a reference/secondary guide. Find a good general book on essays such as Paul Bodine's Great Applications for Business School or How to get into the Top MBA programs by Richard Montauk and use them as the base and this book to compare your style, story, etc.
MBA Admissions Strategy: From profile building to essay writing Review by Vorskl
- excellent overview of all speps of the admission process
- it's important Avi starts with description of tools and techniques to extract your own stories, goals, value, failures etc - all the valuable material needed for high-quality essays. Follow these steps and don't skip them. 1 hour of data mining = 5 hours saved in essay writing.
- great breakdown of typical essay questions, their true meaning and traps
- too few practical examples! Sometimes it's hard to understand what Avi means or how to implement his ideas in practice
- the book is all about profile building and essays. There is not that much info about recommendations, interviews etc.
Value for money: 4.5/5
The Precision Essay Guide to Elite MBA Admissions Review by Vorskl
- very practical. There are no filling words in the guide, all text is there for a reason
- live and funny language, yet intelligent and smart. I truly enjoyed reading it!
- precise, actionable advices (step 1-2. 5 instead of vague 'get to know your goals' you can find in many other sources)
- fresh material. There are no references to topics that were popular in Clinton's times.
- authors' advices closely follow examples they included into the book, there is no mismatch.
- the books feels too thin.
- Chapter 5 - Major essay types - contains too few examples
Great value for little money. Adding extra examples (into Chapter 5) would make the book one of the best essay guides on the market.
MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools Review by bb
Section on setting goals
Good self-assessment section
Research (how and where to learn about schools)
Addresses the common questions such as School Visit, R1 vs. R2, How many schools to apply to, etc
Each chapter has a good summary at the end
Goes into how AdCom's evaluate applicants
15 essay examples that seem current
Very good LOR advice
Good bschool resume tips
Overview of what schools are looking for is a bit weak and the intro is slow.
Specific essay topics section is short
Name - it is hard to take the book seriously
I would love to see more essay examples, esp specific ones or full packages
How to Apply for an MBA - MBA Prep School
- Good content and practical tips; no fluff. 209 pages get to the point, though the font is too big at times (could have made it shorter)
- Good points about how not to get dinged (I really liked this section - it is pretty good). You can almost call this book, how not to get dinged
- Chapter review sections are helpful
- Good layout and formatting (well done ebook with good illustrations, not just a bunch of text)
Outdated! Business School Essays that Made a Difference. 3rd Edition
Number of Essays: 61 Outdated Essays: from 2002
Schools: Covers 15 schools
Babson, Case, Claremont, Tuck, Gozueta, Sloan, Rutgers, Tulane, Booth, Tippie, Ross, Montana, Kenan-Flagler, Simon, McCombs
Comments: Each essay comes along with comments and critique from the author and admissions professionals (they give their perspective/feedback). In addition, the first third of the book has great general admissions/essays overview. It covers a general strategy "How to craft your essays", Common essay questions (what they are really asking), English grammar check list, interviews with students and also admissions directors from a number of the top 20 schools. Gives you an idea/perspective into what they are looking for in the essays and how decisions are made.
Number of Essays: 56 Warning: 5 Essays are from 2001 and 51 are from 1996
Schools: Covers 16 schools
Wharton, Darden, Tuck, Kellogg, HBS, Stanford, Wharton WEMBA, Yale, Columbia, Ross, UCLA, Booth, Sloan, Haas, Lauder, Fuqua
How to Get into the Top MBA Programs. 5th Edition
- All-in-one book (covers every stage of the application process)
- Includes 67 Real Essays covering 31 specific Topics (however, there are some really old ones)
- Great sections on Recommendations (do's and dont's as well as what is appropriate), also good section on interviews.
- Has helpful insights (framed sections) that provide additional insight from admissions officers of schools on various topics such as gmat score split, recommendations, retaking gmat, etc
- Sets the proper expectation in terms of time needed for the process. Most people underestimate the time needed to take the gmat, write essays, proofread them, and then have time for a job/family.
- I found insights from admissions to be very valuable (in many sections of the book). Most of the time, they don't tell you some big secret, but get a confirmation about a certain process (waitlist for example or application review) is very helpful and comforting that you are on the right track
- Does not provide any information about schools specifics (. ). It is called how to get into the top business schools but actually does not cover the top schools in detail
- Extra stuff (starts from Why MBA & types of MBA programs and ends with post-acceptance information, though frankly, for most, it will be the substance in between that will matter the most). Only about 400 pages out of 600 are the meat, which is plenty actually
- Some outdated parts that have changed since
- Some Essays are outdated (some are 10 years old - ouch). They are also really long. In the past 5 years the length has been cut down to just a page or even less.
planettelex wrote: I found Avi Gordon’s MBA Admissions Strategy to be very useful. It clearly explains the need to have a theme/message underlying all aspects of your application, and it categorises the pool of possible essay titles well. Good emphasis was also put on the planning process which helps you understand your own profile and makes essay writing much smoother. I guess none of that is groundbreaking, but I liked his style nonetheless. Without it, my app would have been a mish mash of unrelated anecdotes.
hmm. just clicked on the Amazon link and something is fishy with the reviews. Does anyone else have a review of this book?
I have the book and actually spent about 2-3 hrs reading/browsing through it. I usually like to go through a book twice before I publish my comments, since sometimes I get the wrong impression the first time, but here are my thoughts after the first go. It definitely has some interesting sections/insights. The 19 reviews flawless 5 out of 5 stars are a bit on the positive side but I don't think they are too far off:
Consists of 4 parts:
1. Admissions strategy (approx 45 pages)
2. Profile building tools and techniques (approx approx 30 pages)
3. Essays reviewed and recommendations given for each question type (why mba, why now, how will this program help you, how to tie all of them together, approx 50 pages)
4. Writing and style guide (grammar, style, etc) (approx 35 pages)
The Good & Valuable:
1. Overview of the reward system of AdCom's (what are their key drivers)
2. Applicant Attributes that satisfy/excite/appeal to AdComs
3. Some of the diagrams that show how to overlay the multiple dimensions/attributes/rewards/etc
* Section for international applicants
* Section about the fit
* Section on what happens after the application is submitted
* Suggestions to either pursue a theme application (everything hindges on one theme) or a Profile build-up essay (you build up your profile essay by essay)
* Some good writing tips (useful for some)
Some Food for Thought:
- I felt it was a bit too technical and tried to categorize everything. For example, the whole book is built on lists: 4 attribute dimensions, 22 applicant attributes AdComs are looking for, reward system for admissions officer, etc and this is only in the first 15 pages of the book
- 10 Question archetypes: (it is a list again ) the book attempts to give a mini-strategy for each question type and how to address them. It is a bit simplistic but not bad at all. The book does not just leave you there, however, it shows you how to tie it all together and write a coherent story (emphasize 2 of the 22 attributes in one, 3 in the other, etc to paint a complete picture)
I did not find the bio of Mr. Gordon in the book and not sure about his background, but the book felt a bit as though written by an engineer or a person with a technical background who tried to define/categorize/simplify every element of MBA admissions. I think there is quite a bit of value in that yet at the same time it may feel that the author has gone a bit too far in creating a step-by-step manual of admissions essay writing. If you are confused by other books - this may be the exact thing you need.
I would be curious if anyone else had any feedback. As I said, I went through the book only once so far.
I think the sample essays can actually harm your application. Once you read a successful essay there is a certain urge to just do the same thing. But you do not have the whole story and maybe they got in in spite of something written in an essay, not because of it. I find the books that are just full of essays distracting and know that they can be misleading. If you use them, use with caution.AN225
I just completed my GMAT journed and, while preparing for TOEFL, also doing school research.
I found Alex Chu's book 'MBA Field Guide' to be very practical and useful, indeed the field guide to the school selection and application and !Important! after graduation process.
The books comes as PDF, which is another plus for crazy travellers like me (I simply cannot afford travelling with 10 kg of paper books or printed materials)AN225
2 cents about Avi Gordon's 'MBA admission strategy' book
- excellent overview of the admission process
- it's important he starts with description of tools and techniques to extract your own stories, goals, value, failures etc - all the valuable material needed for high-quality essays
- great breakdown of typical essay questions, their true meaning and traps
- too few practical examples! Sometimes it's hard to understand what Avi means or how to implement his idea in practice