360° Coverage : The Five Worst Mistakes Made by International Applicants to U.S...

2 Updates

The Five Worst Mistakes Made by International Applicants to U.S. MBA Programs

May 6 2014, 12:12pm CDT | by

Last year, the Stratus Prep MBA Admissions team and I helped hundreds of international applicants from 32 countries gain admissions to the top U.S. business schools, including Stanford, HBS, Wharton...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

19 weeks ago

The Five Worst Mistakes Made by International Applicants to U.S. MBA Programs

May 6 2014, 12:12pm CDT | by

Last year, the Stratus Prep MBA Admissions team and I helped hundreds of international applicants from 32 countries gain admissions to the top U.S. business schools, including Stanford, HBS, Wharton, Columbia, Kellogg, MIT and Booth. In the process we saw (and

helped our applicants avoid) the five fatal pitfalls that I am excited to share with you here.

1. Focusing Too Much and For Too Long on the GMAT. There is no doubt that the GMAT is an important component of your MBA application, but it is most definitively NOT the most important component. Since many international students hail from cultures where acceptance to elite academic institutions is determined solely by standardized test scores, they make the mistake of assuming that the same is true in the US. It is not. For example, the Stratus Prep team and I had students admitted to HBS with GMAT scores as low as 590 last year, and we had four over-represented males from finance (perhaps one of the most competitive applicants pools) admitted to HBS with GMATs of 680 or less. Think of the GMAT as a threshold. To be competitive at the top schools, you ideally want to be in the 680-730 range. After 730, your chances of admissions improve only marginally, if at all, by further increasing your GMAT score. Focus on the other aspects of your application.

2. Make Your Essays Personal, Not Simply a Regurgitation of Your Resume. As a result of very understandable cultural differences, many international applicants are hesitant to share information about the personal or family background in their MBA essays, either because they believe this information is irrelevant or they are simply uncomfortable sharing it with strangers. American admissions readers, however, seek to get to know your inner motivations and core values through your essays; these are very difficult to understand if you are not willing to be open personally. One of our most successful applicants at Stratus Prep was an Indian male engineer who, at our insistence, wrote about persuading his in-laws to accept him as the groom of their daughter. This essay demonstrated empathy, communications skills and the ability to forge compromise (all core business skills illustrated through the lens of a personal narrative). He was admitted to MIT Sloan notwithstanding a GPA far below the school’s mean.

3. Coach Your Recommenders Regarding American Expectations. In many parts of the world, from Europe to Asia, recommendations are expected to be very realistic and even humble in their assessment of you. To do otherwise would alienate the reader of the reference letter and may even be laughable. However, American application readers expect grandiose statements, such as “Joao is the most capable analyst I have worked with during my 20 years at McKinsey,” and they expect this evaluation to be reinforced with powerful, demonstrative examples. For example, we had an Asian client this year who previously had not been admitted to any of his top ten choices. After my colleagues at Stratus Prep and I worked with him on his essays and educating his recommenders, he was admitted to numerous top 7 schools, including Kellogg, his top choice school.

4. Volunteer Work is Not Just About Helping the Poor. When most applicants start their work at Stratus Prep they erroneously believe that schools want to see community service to know that they care about the poor. While service to those less fortunate is certainly laudable in and of itself, the schools really want to see leadership through your community work. It will be far more impressive if you are on the junior or young professional board of an organization and/or help spearhead an impactful initiative than if you simply directly serve the poor weekly or even daily. Remember getting into a top business school is about demonstrating that you are a future globally-minded leader. Be sure to demonstrate that in your extracurricular work as well.

5. Create a 1-Page, U.S.-Style Resume. So many of the resumes that I receive from prospective Stratus Prep clients are far too verbose and include significant information MBA admissions readers do not care to see. Cut out your personal details (including date and place of birth, marital status, etc – leave only you phone, email and address) as well as your photo. Eliminate all high school awards and grades (no one cares anymore). If you are a technical applicant, remember that you are applying to a generalist program so remove all the technical jargon and certifications, as these will only confuse the reader. Whenever possible, clearly state you impact with quantitative evidence.

These are just the five most common and most egregious mistakes that my fellow admissions counselors at Stratus Prep and I have witnessed over the last MBA admissions cycle. Getting into a top American MBA program as an international applicant is becoming increasingly difficult as the pool of talented applicants rapidly grows, which may explain why almost 60% of MBA applicants now seek professional admissions advisors.

 
Update
2

3 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,000 by 30 pe ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

3 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the do ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Making work interesting is the key to success
New York, Sep 21 (IANS) Anybody could set an ambitious goal or target for himself, but those who make interesting the activities they need to undertake to attain the goal have higher chances of success, a study suggests.
 
 
Simple test to detect Alzheimer's risk
Toronto, Sep 21 (IANS) A simple test that combines thinking and movement, in people, can help detect heightened risk of developing Alzheimer's disease even before there are any telltale behavioural signs of dementia, a study shows.
 
 
NASA launches website, Mars challenge for public
Washington, Sep 21 (IANS) The US space agency NASA has announced the opening of registration for its "Mars Balance Mass Challenge" and the launch of its new website - "NASA Solve".
 
 
NASA spacecraft set to enter Mars orbit Sunday night
Washington, Sep 21 (IANS) NASA's MAVEN spacecraft is set to enter the Mars orbit Sunday night, two days before India's first interplanetary spacecraft Mangalyaan is due to slip into the martian orbit Tuesday.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Channing Tatum: Wrestling is tough
Channing Tatum says wrestling is one of the ''most painful'' things he's ever done. The 34-year-old actor stars as Olympic medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz in the film 'Foxcatcher' - which is based on real life...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Making work interesting is the key to success
New York, Sep 21 (IANS) Anybody could set an ambitious goal or target for himself, but those who make interesting the activities they need to undertake to attain the goal have higher chances of success, a study...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Asian Games flame goes out
Incheon, Sep 21 (IANS) The Asian Games cauldron, a symbol of the athletic event that is supposed to be kept lit during the 16-day run here, temporarily went dark due to technical problems, organising committee...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Dipika assures India of another squash medal
Incheon, Sep 21 (IANS) Dipika Pallikal assured India of another medal from squash after she won her women's singles quarter-final 3-2 against compatriot and doubles partner Joshana Chinappa at the Asian Games here...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Simple test to detect Alzheimer's risk
Toronto, Sep 21 (IANS) A simple test that combines thinking and movement, in people, can help detect heightened risk of developing Alzheimer's disease even before there are any telltale behavioural signs of dementia, a...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Ghosal reaches semis, assures India bronze
Incheon, Sep 21 (IANS) Saurav Ghosal assured India a bronze as he entered the men's singles semi-final with a 3-1 win over Pakistan's Nasir Iqbal at the Yeorumul Squash Courts here Sunday. The top seeded Ghosal won 11...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
NASA launches website, Mars challenge for public
Washington, Sep 21 (IANS) The US space agency NASA has announced the opening of registration for its "Mars Balance Mass Challenge" and the launch of its new website - "NASA Solve". "NASA is committed to engaging the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Kim Kardashian West slammed as 'out of control'
Perez Hilton thinks Kim Kardashian West is ''out of control.'' The acid-tongued gossip blogger slammed the reality TV star and insisted he doesn't expect her marriage to Kanye West - with who she has 14-month-old...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Big Sean jealous of Harry
Big Sean is reportedly jealous of Harry Styles. The 26-year-old rapper wants the One Direction star to stay away from his girlfriend, Ariana Grande, and hates that they have stayed in touch since working on the song '...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Will Ferrell has date nights
Will Ferrell loves date nights with his wife. The 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues' star, who has been married to Swedish art auctioneer Viveca Paulin for 14 years, loves planning romantic evenings with her away from...
Read more on Celebrity Balla