10 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,...

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11 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
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was told ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into by robbe ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan Raky ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussei ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in compensatio ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving a ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Daman ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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