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Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Columbia Business School essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


Columbia Business School (CBS) has just released its essay questions for this year, and the admissions office is offering applicants “a little bit old and a little bit new.” Its micro essay (really just a goal statement, to be fair) and first essay remain unchanged, while its second essay is a repackaging of a prompt from two years ago, and its third is brand new. In the past, for its third essay, Columbia Business School applicants could choose from two prompt options, generally pertaining to their personal lives and passions; now, candidates must respond to a question about a team failure instead. In short, this year, applicants have less choice with their essays (though the word counts have not changed), and the topics involved skew slightly in favor of the professional and academic and away from the personal. Let’s jump into our Columbia Business School essay analysis… Read more

How to Use Parallel Construction in Your MBA Application Essays

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - How to Use Parallel Construction in Your MBA Application Essays by mbaMission

Longer and more complex sentences often require parallel construction. Simply put, parallel construction ensures that any given longer sentence has a standard rhythm or construction. With parallel construction, each pronoun corresponds with another pronoun, each verb corresponds with another verb, each adjective matches with a corresponding adjective, and so on. Parallel construction can certainly be found in shorter sentences as well, and to great effect. Read more

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: My Work Performance is All That Matters

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: My Work Performance is All that Matters by mbaMission

What have you been told about applying to business school? With the advent of chat rooms, blogs and forums, armchair “experts” often unintentionally propagate MBA admissions myths, which can linger and undermine an applicant’s confidence. Some applicants are led to believe that schools want a specific “type” of candidate and expect certain GMAT scores and GPAs, for example. Others are led to believe that they need to know alumni from their target schools and/or get a letter of reference from the CEO of their firm in order to get in. In this series, mbaMission debunks these and other myths and strives to take the anxiety out of the admissions process.


Because you spend so many of your waking hours at work, and the MBA is the vehicle you are choosing to use to drive your career forward, you may naturally believe that your professional experiences are all that matter to the admissions committees. Do not get us wrong: you need to have strong professional stories to share, but top-tier business schools are looking for much more than just examples of professional excellence. If you discuss only your work experiences in your application, you will present yourself as a one-dimensional character, and today’s managers need to demonstrate that they can handle a multitude of tasks, situations, and personalities—both inside and outside the workplace. Read more

How to Approach Overrepresentation and Old Achievements in Your MBA Essay

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - How to Approach Overrepresentation and Old Achievements in Your MBA Essay by mbaMission

Many MBA applicants worry that they are overrepresented—male investment bankers and Indian software engineers, for example. Applicants cannot change their work histories, of course, but they can change the way they introduce themselves to the admissions committee in their MBA essay. Consider the following examples: Read more

Mission Admission: How to Build the Ideal MBA Resume

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Mission Admission: How to Build the Ideal MBA Resume

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.


Present Both Responsibilities and Results

In your MBA resume, be sure to showcase your accomplishments, rather than merely stating the responsibilities of your position. When your responsibilities are presented with no accompanying results, the reader has no understanding of whether you were effective in the role you are describing. For example, consider the following entry, in which only responsibilities are offered: Read more

Mission Admission: Begin Your MBA Essay with Your Strongest Accomplishments

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Mission Admission: Begin Your MBA Essay with Your Strongest Accomplishments by mbaMission

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.


When preparing personal statements that require significant information about career progress, many MBA applicants choose to discuss their accomplishments in chronological order. Although the simplicity of this approach makes it an attractive one, we encourage you to consider an alternative to showcase your more recent and thus potentially stronger accomplishments first in your MBA essay. By choosing this alternate approach, you may capture your reader’s imagination more quickly and reduce the risk of being lost amid similar candidates. Read more

Harvard Business School Essay Analysis, 2018-2019

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Harvard Business School Essay Analysis, 2018-2019 by mbaMission

How can you write essays that grab the attention of MBA admissions committees? With this thorough Harvard Business School essay analysis, our friends at mbaMission help you conceptualize your essay ideas and understand how to execute, so that your experiences truly stand out.


They say the early bird gets the worm. Almost one month earlier than last year, Harvard Business School (HBS) has released its application essay prompt. Maybe it was able to do so expeditiously because… it made no changes to the question from last year. HBS director of admissions Chad Losee, now entering his third application season, must feel the prompt is effective in eliciting the kind of information the admissions committee finds valuable in evaluating potential students. Our Harvard Business School essay analysis of the prompt and advice on the best way to approach it therefore also remain constant… Read more

Common GMAT Concerns: Retaking the GMAT and Dealing with Low AWA Scores

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Common GMAT Concerns: Retaking the GMAT and Dealing with Low AWA Scores by mbaMission

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.


When candidates who have already taken the GMAT exam once ask us whether they should take the test again, we always reply with this key question: “Do you think you can do better?” If the individual does indeed believe that he/she can improve, the next question we inevitably get is “What do business schools think of multiple scores?” Read more

Get All Your MBA Admissions Questions Answered in this Six-Part Online Event Series!

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Get All Your MBA Admissions Questions Answered in this Six-Part Online Event Series! by Manhattan Prep

Guess what? You can attend the first session of any of our online or in-person GMAT courses absolutely free—we’re not kidding! Check out our upcoming courses here.


Are you thinking of applying to business school this year? Perhaps you’re just starting to prepare for the GMAT or GRE, or maybe you haven’t yet begun to assess your overall fit at the top business school programs. How will you differentiate yourself from so many other MBA applicants? Where will you start? Read more

Mission Admission: Why the MBA Interview is Not a Quiz Show, and What Makes a Good Thank You Note

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Manhattan Prep GMAT Blog - Mission Admission: Why the MBA Interview is Not a Quiz Show, and What Makes a Good Thank You Note by mbaMission

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips from our exclusive admissions consulting partner, mbaMission.


This time of year, many business school candidates receive invitations to interview with their target MBA programs. Many of these applicants inevitably fret and ask themselves, “What if I don’t know the answers to my interviewer’s questions?” The good news is that, as the title of this blog post states, a business school interview bears no resemblance to a TV quiz show. The admissions officer, alumnus/alumna, or student interviewing you will not ask you about esoteric topics and will not expect you to answer questions pertaining to business management. The vast majority of the questions you will encounter in your MBA interview will pertain to your life and experiences—in other words, the interviewer will be asking you about you—so you will already have all the answers in hand from the beginning. Read more