August 26, 2009

GMAT monopoly at top B-schools ????

Can an alternative exam break GMAT monopoly at top B-schools

Josh Cincinnati is a member of a fairly new breed of business school student-one who has never taken the Graduate Management Admissions Test, better known as the GMAT. Cincinnati, who graduated from the University of Virginia last May, knew he wanted to go to graduate school, but wasn't sure what for. In a few years, he figured, he would apply to business school, but for now he kept his options open and took the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) instead of the GMAT. Much to his surprise, the 23-year-old discovered he could apply to Stanford Graduate School of Business with only his GRE scores, allowing him also to consider programs in politics and economics.

"It was a nice option to be able to apply to multiple programs at the same time," Cincinnati says. The Stanford application was a shot in the dark, but he got in.

While taking the GMAT, which is produced by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), is a time-honored rite of passage for virtually all students seeking admission to top business schools, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers the GRE, is taking aim at the lucrative business school market by pitching the GRE, which is used by a wider range of graduate schools, as an alternative to the GMAT. In September, ETS began placing advertisements in publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education with the message that MBA can stand for "More Business School Applicants" should B-schools choose to use the GRE.

ETS points out a handful of benefits to using the GRE: It has more test centers around the world, making the exam more accessible than the GMAT; it's cheaper-$140 vs. the $250 GMAT fee that brought in a total of close to $80 million in revenue last year to GMAC; and its status as the general standardized test for other graduate programs could attract more of the applicants business schools are clamoring for-women, minorities, and candidates with liberal arts backgrounds.

Fishing in the GRE Pond

"Once they realize that they don't have to take another test to apply to business school, they are going to hedge their bets and explore both opportunities," says David Payne, head of the GRE program for ETS.

GMAC, which has positioned the GMAT as the primary standardized MBA admission test since 1954, doesn't see it that way. GMAC President David Wilson acknowledges allowing the GRE for business school admission would likely expand the applicant pool, but a larger pool is not necessarily a better one, he points out. "If time were limitless, then the larger the sample, the better. But if time is a constraint, then you want to be sure you are fishing in a pond where there are fish you can eat," Wilson says. "Are some schools fishing in the GRE pond? Sure. We haven't seen results. We still believe we offer a stronger, better test."

It's not clear how many schools are accepting the GRE or considering it; the ETS says it doesn't track that statistic. Among those already fishing in that GRE pond are some top-tier business programs-namely Stanford and MIT's Sloan School of Management, both of which in 2006 announced they would begin accepting either test with student applications. But GMAC's near monopoly on the market has complicated the process. The council's membership policy states "requiring the GMAT exam as part of its admission process" is part of the minimum criteria for every GMAC member school, including Stanford and MIT.

Testing Policies Unclear

In response, MIT has reluctantly modified the language on its admissions Web site to place less emphasis on the GRE alternative, says Rod Garcia, director of MBA admissions. Along the same lines, Stanford has done little promotion of the change since its launch last year, so applicants will likely only discover the GRE option once they have already started the application process. In its first year in place at Stanford, just 2% of applicants took advantage of the new alternative, according to head of admissions, Derrick Bolton, who says Stanford's membership allegiances to GMAC prevent him from further discussing the matter.

Wilson says neither school is in violation of the policy, which while it "mandates the GMAT" also "allows for degrees of freedom."

Beyond marketing, ETS is working on improving the GRE in ways Payne says will better suit business schools. He plans to hold focus groups with business school deans to discuss the use of the GRE. A handful of modifications to the test are already in the works. The changes include replacing antonyms and analogies sections with more reading comprehension that tests inferential reasoning rather than the use of vocabulary out of context. The quantitative reasoning section will include more data interpretation questions and real-world problems, another way the exam will attempt to better suit business schools. "People applying to business schools are really going to see the relevance there," says Payne.

Perhaps the most drastic change will be the addition in 2009 of a soft skills measure called the Personal Potential Index. The PPI will provide a six-part evaluation completed and submitted by outside references who will assign numerical scores to knowledge and creativity, communication skills, teamwork, resilience, planning and organizing, and ethics and integrity.

Opening Doors

For the past year, the PPI has been piloted at Arizona State University's Project 1000, which helps minority students with admission to graduate programs. Michael Sullivan, who oversees the project for ASU, says the index encourages recommenders to write more introspectively about applicants and forces them to quantify their evaluations. Still, he says, "it's too novel and unusual at this point in the game" to determine its efficacy.

While research on the ability of the GRE to measure success in a graduate business program comes nowhere near the volumes of data collected on the GMAT over the years, admissions officers are not dismissing the test as a viable alternative for the future.

"I'm not certain that there's just one test to measure the ability of a student to be successful in graduate management education," says Rose Martinelli (, 10/16/07), head of admissions at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, which only accepts the GRE in unusual cases, such as when an international applicant doesn't have access to a GMAT testing center. "I think there may be something there to explore," Martinelli adds. "It really can open up doors to students we don't get."

Picked from: GRE Eyes GMAT's Testing Turf

Cornell/Johnson Application deadlines/ Essay topics 2009-2010

Cornell/ Johnson Application Deadlines for 2009-10 are as follows:

Round 1
Application Deadline: October 6, 2009
Decision Notification: December 17, 2009
Scholarship Notification: December 17, 2009

Round 2
Application Deadline: November 12, 2009
Decision Notification: February 16, 2010
Scholarship Notification: Feb 16, 2010

Round 3 *#
Application Deadline: January 12, 2010
Decision Notification: March 23, 2010
Scholarship Notification: March 23, 2010

Round 4
Application Deadline: March 30, 2010
Decision Notification: May 6, 2010
Scholarship Notification: N/A

* Suggested application deadline for international applicants
# Last date for scholarship consideration


Johnson has not yet released its 2009-2010 application. However, according to school’s admissions office the essay topics will remain the same as last year’s topics

To ensure the depth and dynamism of the Johnson School education, we seek to enroll a class composed of students whose insights are distinct and whose actions are penetrating. The essay portion of your application gives you the opportunity to candidly demonstrate your attributes and your compatibility with our rich and vibrant program.

MBA/AMBA - Essays 1, 2 and 3 are required essays. Essay 4 is optional. All re-applicants are required to complete essay 5. Please observe the 400 word maximum limit for each essay.

1. Describe your greatest professional achievement and how you were able to add value to your organization.

2. What career do you plan to pursue upon completion of an MBA degree and why? How will the Johnson School help you achieve this goal?

3. You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. Please write the Table of Contents for the book.

4. (Optional) Complete this essay if there is other information you would like to add regarding your candidacy. For instance, if you believe one or more aspects of your application (e.g., undergraduate GPA or test scores) does not accurately reflect your potential for success at the Johnson School.

5. (Re-applicants) Describe the measures you have taken to strengthen your application since you last applied to the Johnson School.

Application Deadlines

August 19, 2009

NYU/ Stern Application Deadlines for 2009-10

NYU/Stern has announced its three deadlines for the Full-time MBA program. The deadlines are as follows:

Round 1
Application Deadline: November 15, 2009
Initial Notification* By: February 15, 2010

Round 2

Application Deadline: January 15, 2010
Initial Notification* By: April 1, 2010

Round 3
Application Deadline: March 15, 2010
Initial Notification* By: June 1, 2010

*You will receive one of three initial notifications: invitation to interview, waitlist offer or denial of admission

Note to international applicants: You are encouraged to apply by the November 15 deadline to facilitate visa arrangements and to have priority consideration for off-site interviews, if desired. You may also apply for the January 15 and March 15 deadlines.

Online applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on the day of the deadline. Any mailed application material must be postmarked by the deadline date.

Essay Topics
Applying to Stern

August 18, 2009

Chicago Booth’s Rose Martinelli provides advice for selecting Schools

In her recent blogpost Rose Martinelli, Associate Dean for Student Recruitment and Admissions, advised on selecting your best fit business school.

What is “fit”? The best way to answer this question is to go back to your self-assessment results. Hopefully, you’ve gotten a sense of what your personal and professional needs are, and know yourself well enough to make selections from a diverse array of program options. How do you learn best? Are you more entrepreneurial or do you prefer to follow a structured pathway? Have you already taken the foundation courses at an earlier point in your career? Once you’ve addressed these types of questions, you should identify what are the most important factors in making your school choices (location, size, curriculum structure, brand recognition, etc.) and rank them accordingly", advised Rose.

She stated that once you are done with the above , you next move on to select your set of schools. You might start with a slightly larger group of schools should the issue of enrolling next fall be more important than a particular school choice. While there is only one MBA degree, no two MBA programs are the same. From curriculum structures to size and location, each program is unique in its blend of resources across a continuum of options. She further explained,"For example, let’s compare core curriculums across two ends of the spectrum, flexible versus fixed (Booth and Harvard Business School). At Booth you will have the opportunity to select courses based on the level, faculty or teaching method and at the time of day, year or location of your preference (of course provided you successfully bid for them). Our curriculum structure covers the foundation courses, functions, management and the business environment. Chicago, however, provides you the flexibility to choose from a menu of options based on your background and aspirations. At the opposite end of the continuum is HBS which has a fully fixed core during your first year with all courses taught via the case-method. Both programs have specific reasons for their structure, which is why there are so many types of programs from which to choose. If you expand this analysis across the many other options (general management vs. concentrations, size, location, etc.), there can be any number of variations available to you."

Finally Rose mentioned that
Do your research! She added,"There are many resources available to you to do your research once you have prioritized your selection factors -- rankings, school and consulting websites, visiting campuses, or talking to students and alumni from these programs. Once you’ve figured out your set of schools, try to answer why you feel that particular school’s features meets your needs for an MBA from both a personal and professional perspective. Then figure out where you see yourself contributing to that community. In summary, knowing yourself and articulating how a particular school suits your needs is the essence of fit."

What is “fit”? Or, selecting schools

August 12, 2009

Michigan/ Ross Application Essay Topics 2009-2010

MBA Full-time Essay Questions

Long Essays (500 word max)

1. Briefly describe your short-term and long-term career goals. Why is an MBA the best choice at this point in your career? What and/or who influenced your decision to apply to Ross?
2. Describe your most significant professional accomplishment. Elaborate on the leadership skills you displayed, the actions you took and the impact you had on your organization.

Short Essays (300 word max)

3. If you were not pursuing the career goals you described in Question 1, what profession would you pursue instead? (For example, teacher, musician athlete, architect, etc.) How will this alternate interest contribute to your effectiveness in solving multidisciplinary problems?
4. Describe your experience during a challenging time in your life. Explain how you grew personally, either despite this challenge or because of it.

Optional Question: Is there anything else you think the Admissions Committee should know about you to evaluate your candidacy?

Essay Questions
Application Deadlines

August 10, 2009

Booth School of Business provides advice to Reapplicants

Rose Martinelli, Associate Dean for Student Recruitment and Admissions, gave advice to re-applicants in her blog post recently. She said that the decision whether to reapply is a personal choice. "For those of you considering, I would encourage you to go back and review your original application. If you were on the waitlist, include the information that you submitted through that process.Consider asking a friend or colleague to give you feedback too.The objective is to understand how well you presented yourself in your original application and identify if there are any areas that you can improve upon this year", she said.

Rose further advised, "Take stock of what you learned through the process of applying last year. Have your goals changed or crystallized? Are there things you can do this year to strengthen any of the main components (academic preparedness, career progression, community involvement, personal/professional focus and/ or self-awareness)? In summary, are there things that you would do differently now just because you know the process AND yourself better? "

She said after you are done with the review it’s time to approach the application. She said, "Be strategic about the messages you wish to convey in the application from data forms to essays and your presentation. While we will include your prior application in your file as background material, make sure that your new application presents your candidacy fully. My recommendation is that you take a fresh approach to crafting your application this year and avoid adapting old essays or presentations."

In her latest blog post Rose provided more advice to re-applicants with respect to various components of application.

"It’s important to approach this as if you are writing your personal business plan for the future.Know what messages you want to convey and map them into the different components of the application before you begin writing."

Every part of the application should be considered as “precious real estate”, with each question having a specific purpose, so take the time to be clear and concise in your answers." she said

With respect to Data Forms, Rose advised, "Take the time and effort to carefully complete the data forms – do not rely on last year’s application to provide us with that information since the forms change a little bit each year. Be thoughtful about your responses and make sure that you balance your desire to give us everything, with our desire to limit the amount you provide. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself – why is this information important for the admissions committee to know about me?If you can answer this, be sure to make your responses concise and relevant."

"Your resume should be one that you would use for any job search, highlighting your role and accomplishments.Again, if you are wondering if you should include particular information, use the relevance factor in making your decision", she added.

On Recommendations, Rose acknowledged and advised, "While we know you may choose to use the same recommenders as in your prior application, ask your recommenders to update the information with your progression. It might also be helpful for you to take the time to meet with them to review your progress during this period and to highlight areas they might use as examples within the recommendation."

On Essays Rose repeated again, "avoid regurgitating information you used last year – whether essays or elements of your presentation.Be bold and start from scratch. Our newest Admissions Insider spends time explaining the purpose of each of the essays, so check out that resource. Essay question 1, part B is the only essay specifically for re-applicants which asks what has changed since you last applied. This could be anything from work experience, new goals or a greater self awareness.Here’s your chance to help us understand your growth from last year".

Lastly Rose threw light on the Evaluation Process. She said, "Each application will be evaluated in this year’s applicant pool. One caveat for you to consider: Don’t expect to be invited to interview this year just because you were last year. Your success in the admissions process this year will be solely dependent upon how you approach your application this year. So take the time and make the effort to put your best foot forward in the process."

All the best to all Re-applicants!

Link: Reapplying Process

UVA/ Darden to use New Application System

According to Sara Neher, Director of MBA Admissions at Darden School of Business, Darden will be using a new application system this year. School is in the process of putting final touches to it...the application is due to get released anytime in August. The School will be looking forward to feedback from aspirants on the new application system...She also mentioned that an upcoming video blog will be completely devoted to re-applicants, in next couple of weeks.

Simon Graduate School of Business Announces New Loan Program for International Students

According to Rebekah Lewin, Director of Admissions at Simon Graduate School of Business, "the Simon Graduate School of Business has finalized a new loan program for International students that will provide partial funding toward full-time M.B.A. or M.S. studies, effective September 2009. Credit-worthy International students are eligible to apply and there is not a requirement to secure a U.S. citizen or resident as a co-signer." She further added that this will be an exciting opportunity for incoming students who may hail from a region of the world where there may be limited credit options available to finance their graduate study in business. She said, "As one of the most internationally diverse M.B.A. programs within the U.S., we feel that this program further supports our continuing commitment to provide access to the most highly qualified overseas candidates, regardless of financial need."

According to the post, "The annual loan limit will be based on the cost of Tuition and mandatory fees, minus any other aid received as certified by the School. The minimum loan is $10,000. The maximum loan amount depends on the program of study to which the student is enrolling. Students with a significant negative credit history, such as outstanding defaulted credit, bankruptcies, tax or other liens or foreclosures will be declined. Those borrowers with good credit or no credit reported on U.S. credit bureaus will be approved."

Details on the International Student Loan Program (ISLP) are available through the Simon School Web site. The school welcomes inquries directly to the Simon School M.B.A./M.S. Admissions Office at or 585-275-3533.

Link: New loan program for International Students

Duke / Fuqua Application Essay Topics 2009-2010

The Fuqua School of Business Essays Topics for Fall 2010 Entry are as follows:

Three essay questions must be completed before submitting your application. Prepare your essays carefully. The Admissions Committee considers your responses to the following questions important in the selection process. Please respond fully and concisely using 1.5 line spacing. Your response to each question should be no more than 2 pages in length, with a font size not smaller than 10-point.

Candidates who applied to The Duke MBA between September 2008 and April 2009 are considered re-applicants. All re-applicants are required to complete the Re-applicant Essay in addition to the Applicant Essays.

All applicants have the opportunity to submit an optional essay to explain any extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware.

Applicant Essays : Answer all 3 essay questions

Today, companies must navigate through complex and interdependent issues. They must deal with health and security matters, environmental impact questions, and diversity and cultural concerns. Leaders need adaptability, imagination, emotional intelligence, as well as business acumen. Thus, Duke is in the midst of an ambitious global venture that will embed and connect us around the world, and we are seeking future leaders of consequence, those who value diversity and collaborative leadership, and who aspire to impact the companies and communities of which they are a part in a lasting and positive way.

In an effort to identify, engage, and foster the development of future leaders of consequence, the Admissions Committee would like to get to know our applicants in a more holistic manner. We would like to know who you are, what has shaped you into the person you are today, and how you hope to impact both Duke and the communities of which you will be a part in the future. The essays are your opportunity to convey that to us. Please be open, genuine, and passionate. Share with us what makes you a dynamic, multi-dimensional person.

1. Describe your vision for your career, your inspiration for pursuing this career path, and the role of The Duke MBA in achieving your goals. If you are interested in a specific concentration or joint degree program, please discuss in this essay.

2. Discuss a person, event, or experience that has significantly shaped your life and explain why.

3. Individuals choose a business school for many different reasons. Through your research, what attributes or characteristics of The Duke MBA program have most resonated with you and why? How do you plan to contribute to the strengthening and enhancement of those attributes and characteristics during your time at Duke and beyond?

Optional Essay (not required)

If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weakness in your application).

Re-applicant Essay

All re-applicants are required to complete the Re-applicant Essay. Please limit your response to two pages. Write an essay describing how you are now a stronger candidate for admission compared to the application you submitted the previous year.

Application Deadlines
Online application

August 1, 2009

UCLA Anderson Application Deadlines for 2009-2010

The UCLA Anderson deadlines for the 2009-2010 are as below:

Round 1
Application Deadline: 14 October 09
GMAT/TOEFL taken by: 30 September 09
Decision released by: 13 January 10

Round 2
Application Deadline: 6 January 10
GMAT/TOEFL taken by: 31 December 09
Decision released by: 31 March 10

Round 3
Application Deadline: 17 March 10
GMAT/TOEFL taken by: 28 February 10
Decision released by: 19 May 10

In order to apply for a given round, you must submit your application by 9pm Pacific Time on the day of the deadline. All supporting materials that are not submitted online must arrive in our office by 5pm PT of the deadline. Any applications that are incomplete on the deadline (i.e., missing information) will be moved to the following round.

According to the school Rounds 1 and 2 are comparable in terms of your chances of admission. Round 3 is slightly more competitive, although there will be sufficient room for strong candidates. Apply at the time that is best for you.

Essay Topics

UT Austin / McCombs Application Deadlines 2009-2010

The McCombs School of Business Application Deadlines for the 2009-2010 are as below:

Early deadline for all applications: November 2, 2009

Final deadline for all international applications; Second deadline for all domestic applications: January 15, 2010

Final deadline for all domestic applications: April 1, 2010

The Fall 2010 Application is expected to launch in mid-late September 2009

Note: McCombs employs a rolling admissions process - meaning all applications are generally reviewed in chronological order according to the date they were completed, and are not grouped into periods or "rounds."

Link: Fall application deadlines

Carnegie Mellon/ Tepper Application Essay Topics 2009-2010

Tepper School of Business MBA Essay Topics for 2009-2010 are as below:

A. What are your short-term and long-term goals? How will a Tepper MBA help you to achieve these goals. (Please include any information regarding what steps you have taken to learn more about the Tepper School.)

B. The Tepper School’s culture relies on all members to be active contributors to our community. With your values, experiences, and interests, how will you make a unique contribution to the Tepper community? Your examples may include: classroom interaction, student activities, career development, community service, etc.

C. Please answer two of the following three questions or statements. Please clearly specify which questions you are answering. Your two answers should equal a total of two pages or less.
1. Describe an obstacle you have faced in your professional or academic life. How did you overcome this obstacle and how did it foster your development?
2. Describe a time in which your ethics were challenged. How did you deal with the situation and what did you learn from it?
3. One thing people would be surprised to know about me is . . .

D. (Optional Essay) Is there anything additional that you think we should know as we evaluate your application? Note: if you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you should not feel obligated to answer this question. This essay is intended to provide a place for you to add information that you think is important but is not covered elsewhere in the application

MBA Essays
Application Deadlines