Go to a better blog!

You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

August 28, 2007

MBA Students blogs: English & 日本語 (Japanese) Blogs

Blogs are a great source for inside information about MBA programs, the MBA application process, and the life of MBA students. Through the process reading about different applicants and students' experiences you can get a much better idea about the reality of the application process and what it is like to be in an MBA program.

Below I discuss English and Japanese language blogs because those are the ones I am familiar with.

A good first stop for MBA students blogs would certainly be the League of MBA Bloggers. The League has blogs from students studying worldwide.

The Clear Admit Admissions wiki is also a great way to find English language student blogs. Clear Admit posts about blogging in its Fridays from the Frontline series.

Businessweek has a dedicated MBA blog section, see http://www.mbablogs.businessweek.com/home/moreFaces.htm for the complete list, but this is a rather small selection compared to what you can find via the League or Clear Admit.

Regarding Japanese student blogs, given the limitations of my reading abilities, I have only read a few of them using Google translator.

The two I follow most closely are:

Most recently, Kaz1204, who is beginning his studies at MIT Sloan has written at great length about his application process. He discusses his MBA application process and his new life at MIT at MIT MBA留学日記 (warning he says good things about me). You can find out about his application experience as well as that of other applicants at こうすれば受かるMBA 2007.

Tatsuya "Tats" Ishihara 's Blog.
Another blog that I have been following is that of Rotary Scholar Tatsuya "Tats" Ishihara, who is now in his second year at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. Filled with photos, I think Tat's blog is a great source of visual information. Anyone with a strong interest in applying to McCombs would be well served by looking at it. Tats is also featured on page 40 and 41 in the 2007-2008 Texas MBA Viewbook. You can find all the Japanese student blogs at McCombs here.

You can find a huge listing of Japanese language blogs at MBA blog Portal, but since the listing does not include the Class of 2008, I don't think it has been updated for a while. I will update this post if I can find a more up-to-date list. You can read Japanese Tuck student blogs here.

Do you have any blogs that you think I should mention? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

August 26, 2007

Do you need an MBA?

I am not in the business of telling anyone that they need an MBA, only in helping committed applicants get in. Frankly I think one of my strengths as an MBA admissions consultant is that I am neutral about this question because I don't believe that an MBA is always worthwhile or even necessarily the best option for graduate school.

If someone says to me, "Should I get an MBA?" my response usually goes like like this:

"I can't answer that question for you, but here are some questions you need to ask yourself:
1. If you obtained an MBA, how would it impact you personally and professionally?
2. Why do your professional goals require an MBA?
3. Do you really want to spend one to two years back in school?
4. How will you pay for an MBA?
5. Are you ready to commit yourself to the application process?
6. Have you really thought about the opportunity cost involved, not only in money, but in time?
7. Have you calculated the ROI (Click here for the Businessweek MBA ROI calculator.)?
8. Are you sure this is the right degree for you? Have you thought about more specialized degrees or training?
9. How much do you know about MBA programs?
10. What schools are you planning to apply to? Why?

You need to answer the questions above because doing so will help you assess whether you really need an MBA. Additionally, once you have answered them, you will have a good initial basis for handling MBA essays and interviews. If you are not satisfied with your own answers to these questions, you need to think more deeply and do more research. "

In my experience, people who take the time to fully consider their options make the right decisions. If they decide to pursue an MBA, they do it from a position of strength.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

University of Chicago GSB Optional & Overall Plan

This is the fourth post in a four part series. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Before discussing an overall plan for addressing the 2008 Chicago GSB's MBA application questions, we need to look at the optional essay.

The University of Chicago GSB's MBA application for Fall 2008 also includes space for an optional essay (I have taken it from the more complete online application. See here for the web version). The question and the tip read as follows:
(Optional) If there is any important information that is relevant for your candidacy that you were unable to address elsewhere in the application, please share that information here.
Optional Essay Tip

The optional essay is provided to give you an opportunity to explain any potential anomalies or ambiguity in your application. For example, you can explain why you did not use your current employer to write your recommendation, you might provide some clarity as to why there are significant gaps in your resume, or you may help us to understand why your grades declined in your junior year.

Please note this question is very functional in its design, it is to provide clarity on aspects of the application, not to give you an opportunity to write another creative essay.

If you read the above, it should be clear enough that this is the place to explain anything negative or potentially negative in your background. DO NOT USE IT FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE. Yes, you may have written a great essay for Tuck, Wharton, Harvard, Stanford, NYU, MIT, INSEAD, Columbia, or London Business School, but unless your objective is to tell that to Chicago GSB don't include it here. GSB gives you three questions and 2200 words or more to talk about all the good stuff. YOU ONLY NEED TO WRITE THIS IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING POTENTIALLY NEGATIVE TO EXPLAIN.

Finally, if you have no explanation for something negative, don't bother writing about. For example if your GPA is 2.9 and you have no good explanation for why it is 2.9, don't bother writing something that looks like a lame excuse. This is more likely to hurt than help you. In the same vein, don't waste the committee's time telling them that your GMAT is a much better indicator than your GPA (the opposite is also true). They have heard it before and they will look at both scores and can draw their own conclusions without you stating the obvious. That said, if you have a good explanation for a bad GPA, you should most certainly write about it.

Now that we have dispensed with the Optional Question, let's consider a plan for handling these questions.

Start with Question One

You need to effectively segment your content. Question 1 has a clear focus, so it is the best to start there. In general, for any application, starting with the goals essay always makes sense because what you say in it will impact what you say elsewhere. After all you want to show how other aspects of who you are will support your goals. If you having a problem forming goals, please look here. If you think your goals are not interesting, look here.

Is really up to you. Some applicants will find it easier to start with Question 2 and others will find it easier to start with Question 3. The important thing is that the content in these two essays be different. Make sure that you helping yourself by presenting clear and distinct aspects about you in these two essays.

Write the Optional Essay if you need to. Just remember what I wrote before about it.

After you have written everything, make sure it works as part of your entire application strategy.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

シカゴ、ビジネススクール, MBA留学


University of Chicago GSB Question 3: Who are you?

This is the third post in a four part series. Part 1. Part 2. Part 4.
After you read the post below, for my additional comments regarding this question, see here.

It is not often that a school’s essay question gets the attention of the press, but the University of Chicago GSB’s Question Three has done that.

While the mandatory use of PowerPoint is novel, is this question so odd? See below!

After I analyze GSB's PowerPoint question, I conclude with some specific suggestions for how to brainstorm for your answer.
While Chicago GSB has proven itself to have an absolutely brilliant PR strategy by issuing
press releases and otherwise making it appear that this totally new, as I will discuss below, I think this is only partially the case. Certainly Chicago is the first school to require a PowerPoint as a part of the application, but it is not the first to allow the use of one as part of the process.
Question Three (taken from the online application, you can find the web version here, but the online application version is more clear regarding the length of the notes):
3. We have asked for a great deal of information throughout this application. In this portion of the application, we invite you tell us about yourself using a non-traditional application format--a PowerPoint presentation. In four slides or less, please provide readers with content that captures who you are.
[PLUS] PowerPoint Notes (200 words maximum)

Next here is the advice that Chicago provides
on the web as part of the question and in an expanded version in the online application form. I have used the application version (you must register as an applicant to access it):Essay Three One of our students summed up the rationale behind this portion of the application with the following feedback: “In today's business world, written communication is often limited to short e-mails and PowerPoint presentations, so the new question provides us with an opportunity to judge the applicants' presentation skills and their ability to express essential ideas. In addition, when we read text, different readers may have different perceptions of what the key points are, and the power point format helps the applicants overcome these differences because they have an opportunity to spell out the main ideas.” Given this is a new section, and there are varying degrees of comfort and experience using PowerPoint we have set forth the following guidelines for you to consider when creating you presentation.
PowerPoint Guidelines
1. The content is completely up to you. There is no right or wrong approach to the way you construct your slides or answer this question.
2. There is a strict maximum of 4 slides, though you can provide fewer than 4 if you choose.

3. Slides will be printed and added to your file for review, therefore, flash, hyperlinks, embedded videos, music, etc. will not be viewed by the committee. You are limited to text and static images to convey your points. - Color may be used.

4. Slides will be evaluated on the quality of content and ability to convey your ideas, not on PowerPoint expertise or presentation.

5. You are welcome to attach a word document of notes if you feel a deeper explanation of your slides is necessary. However the hope is the slide should be able to stand alone and convey your ideas clearly. You will not be penalized for adding notes but you should not construct a slide with the intention of using the notes section as a consistent means of explanation.

6. If you do not have access to PowerPoint or a similar software application, you can contact the admissions office at admissions@chicagogsb.edu for alternative methods for completing this required section of the application.

Two Prior Uses of PowerPoint in the MBA Application Process:
I think it is important to realize that Chicago GSB is not the first school to allow for the use of PowerPoint or other presentation slide content as part of the application process.
The use of slide presentations has long been a possibility for both NYU Stern and HEC.

First,it has been possible to create a short PowerPoint presentation as part of the NYU Stern process for years. The Stern question reads:Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g. words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.
One such method for doing so is an actual presentation. Whether made with PowerPoint or other tools, applicants have been doing this, both successfully and unsuccessfully, for years.
HEC (Ranked Number 1 in Europe by the
Financial Time, see full rankings here) requires presentations as part of its interview process. The relevant part of the instructions are as follows:
The interview starts with a 10-minute presentation made by the candidate on the subject of his/her choice. The main objective of this presentation is to judge the candidate's communication and presentation skills, the capability to synthesize a subject in 10 minutes while keeping the interest of the audience. The candidate may use any presentation method he or she wishes, such as transparencies, notes, slides, etc.

The presentation is then followed by 30 to 40 minutes of questions and answers, first on the presentation, then on the candidate's motivation and other elements mentioned in his/her application.
Actually, HEC candidates have to make this presentation twice to different interviewers. Now while it is possible to not use PowerPoint to make one’s HEC presentation, I have never worked with anyone who did that.

I point the above two examples out merely to show that while GSB's use of PowerPoint is certainly novel, it is not without precedent.


Consider some of the standard parts of the application and how they reflect on the applicant's abilities:

RESUME: Ability to effectively convey one's core professional, academic, and personal experience for the purposes of getting selected for an interview.

GOALS ESSAYS: Ability to clearly articulate a plan.

INTERVIEW: Ability to effectively convince an interviewer that you are good fit for the organization (in this case as a student in B-School).

RECOMMENDATIONS: Ability to obtain powerful endorsements designed to help convince a selection committee.

Looked at from this perspective, the comment that begins the GSB's explanation of the question-
In today's business world, written communication is often limited to short e-mails and PowerPoint presentations, so the new question provides us with an opportunity to judge the applicants' presentation skills and their ability to express essential ideas.- makes even more sense.
PowerPoint is a fundamental business skill. Like
MIT Sloan's cover letter and every school's resume, at some level, Chicago 3 is testing the applicant's basic business skills. Why not test for it?

Anyone who has been or wants to be a businessperson will have spend countless hours preparing and delivering presentations. If you want to go do IPO Roadshows, sell a room of people your services, convince a Board of Directors, etc, you will need slides and those slides will be made with PowerPoint. Seems totally reasonable to me to ask anyone to use it because they will have to anyway.
Especially if you don't know how to use PowerPoint, my suggestion is NOT to focus on style, but on your content. That actually is true for anyone (even those who are PowerPoint Gurus) and is clearly the message that GSB is delivering: This question is not designed to evaluate the applicants’ PowerPoint expertise, but rather to reveal how people think and communicate their ideas. This question, like the rest of the essay questions, is designed to provoke critical thought and self-reflection, not just their creativity. It is the message within the slides that is important, not the presentation.
Rose Martinelli's comments above clearly indicate that the focus is on the message, not the overall aesthetics of the presentation.

NO. I think it is a test of your ability to prepare a very simple presentation about yourself.
Remember that you are preparing slides for a presentation that will only be delivered on paper and unlike a presentation that you would deliver, you are not able to take advantage of what PowerPoint can do:
Slides will be printed and added to your file for review, therefore, flash, hyperlinks, embedded videos, music, etc. will not be viewed by the committee. You are limited to text and static images to convey your points. - Color may be used.

In fact, for anyone who has actually is good at PowerPoint, they will like find it necessary to compromise on their aesthetics and technical skills in order to most effectively answer the question. Especially those who believe in providing a minimal amount of content per slide, might find it necessary to increase the amount of content they include.

As someone who spent the last four years making the transition from text heavy slides to minimalist ones when delivering sales and marketing presentations, I know that if I had to answer this question, I would have to compromise on what I consider to be my own best practices for making PowerPoint slides.

Always remember that you are being tested on your ability to prepare a presentation, not to deliver one. Hence you should always first think of this as a text that will be read, not one that will be spoken.
If you still think you need to learn more about PowerPoint, I suggest reading Presenting to Win by Jerry Weissman, the Silicon Valley PowerPoint Guru. When I first read Chicago's question, I looked for a book focused on the story telling aspect of PowerPoint and I think this is it. You can read my mini-review and buy the book here. Visit Weissman's site here.

Given GSB's very specific instructions about the Notes, you should think about them as an opportunity to explain something in the slide in greater depth, but not as a speech for the slides:
You are welcome to attach a word document of notes if you feel a deeper explanation of your slides is necessary. However the hope is the slide should be able to stand alone and convey your ideas clearly. You will not be penalized for adding notes but you should not construct a slide with the intention of using the notes section as a consistent means of explanation.
Let's Think About Length
You will have four slides plus 200 words for the notes to communicate your message.
Regarding the notes, Rose Martinelli has further stated that the notes document "should not exceed one paragraph per slide." Depending on your perspective, this might seem like a great deal of text or not very much. Given that the notes give you about 50 words to further clarify each slide, the actual total amount of content is really likely to be in the 300-600 word range depending on what you do with the slides.
Rose Martinelli says:
In many respects we are looking for similar things in the slides as we would in the essays. We are looking for organized thoughts, strong communication skills, and the ability to convey ideas clearly. We will also be looking at an applicant's ability to be insightful and their willingness to express themselves in a new medium. In some respects, this question adds an element of risk to the application that has not been there before.
I think it is helpful to conceive of as have exactly the same function as an essay, but you should consider...
including visual imagery AND/OR
using bullet points AND/OR
using metaphor AND/OR
being non-linear AND/OR
minimizing or eliminating introductions and conclusions.
Rose Martinelli states:
Well, as you know, the Chicago GSB has a reputation for challenging norms. In some respects that is what the PowerPoint is doing. Traditional essays, although helpful in the application process, tend to be confining. Essay questions do not allow applicants to fully stretch beyond the question and communicate their strengths, weaknesses, passions etc. The PowerPoint slide is our way of giving applicants a blank slate on which to communicate with us. There aren't many restrictions for an applicant, and they have free reign to communicate to the committee whatever they feel is valuable for us to know. An applicant can expand upon their application or they can go beyond it and reveal something completely new. This is their opportunity to express themselves without guidance or restriction.
Thus you would best advised to not simply take an essay and divide in among the four slides. Instead, show creativity. One effective way to organize your slides is to have each slide make one key point or communicate one key idea about you. And in a real sense, this is no different from what a good paragraph should do.

Now that we can looked at the overall context for this question, let’s think about what is actually being asked.

What was the question again?
THE CORE PART OF THE QUESTION: "we invite you tell us about yourself" is very simple. I could restate it as "please help us understand who you are."

1. As the beginning of the question states, Chicago GSB has already asked for "a great deal of information throughout this application." This is stated in contrast to what they want you to tell them. Therefore don't focus on facts that they can find elsewhere in the application.
2. In Essay 1, you have already discussed your goals and why you want an MBA from Chicago, so don't discuss goals and why MBA here.
3. In Essay 2, you have an opportunity to write about someone else, so focus on yourself here. Even if you were to discuss what other people say about you, this presentation should be focused on you, not them.

Some Questions to get you brainstorming:
1. What do you want Chicago GSB to know about you that would positively impact your chances for admission?
2. What major positive aspects of your life have not been effectively INTERPRETED to the admissions committee in other parts of the application?
3. If you were going to tell admissions four things about you that would not be obvious from rest of the application, what would they be? Why should GSB care?
4. If there was one story about yourself that you think would really help admissions understand you and want to admit you, what is it?
5. Do you have a personal interest (painting and poetry for example) that would work effectively in a PowerPoint?

As you can see, these questions would lead to very different kinds of responses. There is no one way to answer this question, but I believe there are right ways for every applicant to do so.
For my additional comments regarding this question, see here.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス


August 25, 2007

University of Chicago GSB Question 2: Whose shoes?

This is the second post in a four part series. Part 1. Part 3. Part 4.
I really like Chicago GSB MBA Application Question 2 for Fall 2008 admission because it uses a great idiom, “step into someone else's shoes.” The question as a whole reads:

2. If you could step into someone else's shoes for a day, who would it be and why? (500 word maximum).

Now before I start analyzing Essay Question Number Two, I would like to explain a little about how I analyze any essay question. The first thing I do is something that we all learn in elementary school: If you are asked a question, break it down into the component pieces in order to understand it. I guess, we may have all first learned this as a formal way of solving problems in math class:
(20-1) + (1.5+3.5)
In order to solve the above we would most certainly want to solve the component problems first. Hence this will take three steps:
i) 20-1=19
ii) 1.5+3.5=5
iii) 19+5=24

In the same way, when I read any essay question, my first reaction is to take it apart:
i) Whose shoes would you step into for a day?
ii) Why would you want to step into this person’s shoes for a day?

Next, I look at the language and look for any special words or key concepts. I have already mentioned the idiom that is at the heart of this question. We need to look at it closely.


The Cambridge Idioms Dictionary gives the following relevant definition:
step into somebody's shoes, fill somebody's shoes:
to take the job or position that someone else had before you
When his father retires, Victor will be ready to step into his shoes.
It will take a very special person to fill Barbara's shoes.

The Oxford Dictionary gives the following:
be (or put oneself) in another person’s shoes imagine oneself in another’s situation or predicament.

For all readers, and for non-native English speakers in particular, I think the two definitions above help to clarify the linguistic context of the Chicago question. Idioms are highly culturally specific and this one is no exception.

With these definitions in mind, lets consider a couple specific constraints contained within the question:
1. The question contains a specific time limit: for a day. This means that whatever value is be achieved for being in someone else’s shoes, it must be capable of being experienced in a day.
BAD EXAMPLE: Therefore, saying you want to be the novelist Marcel Proust in order to know what it feels like to be completely focused on spending fifteen years to write À la recherche du temps perdu is simply out of scope.
GOOD EXAMPLE: You could, on the other hand, write about being Proust for a day in order to experience his creativity.

(This Proust example and others that will be used are made intentionally odd to hopefully eliminate some fool from copying them.)

2. The question requires us to be very specific about the person: “who would it be.” For example, you can’t just pick any great military leader, but might pick Julius Caesar. Keep in mind that the question does not say the person has to be living now. I think we can assume that it has be a real person, but otherwise it could be anyone at anytime.

Put it all together. Let’s use the Julius Caesar example.

Whose shoes would you step into for a day?

Julius Caesar on the day he crossed the Rubicon with his army. This event led to civil war, the end of the Roman Republic, and his eventual, albeit brief, takeover of the Roman Empire.

Why would you want to step into this person’s shoes for a day?

I think it would be an amazing opportunity to experience one of the most significant political and military decisions made by one of the greatest strategists and tacticians of all times. I believe I would gain great insight into (1) decision making because..., (2) strategy because..., and (3) tactics because... This would benefit me because…

Now hopefully you can see from this example that the first part of the question should require less of your 500 words than the second part of the question. Simply provide sufficient context so that your reader can easily understand. You should not write a biography of the person, instead you need to focus on the second part of the question.

It really is the why part of the question that Chicago cares about, so focus on that. I think why has to relate to what you discuss in Essay 1 in the sense that whatever you get from this unique experience, it should contribute to your goals, strengths, and/or opportunities in your personal and/or professional life. This opportunity to experience someone else's life should be used for some great purpose. What is that purpose? What will you learn from the experience? Whatever it is that you learn, make it important for you.

Finally, I don’t suggest writing that you would like to be in Rose Martinelli 's shoes when she reads your application because while this would be entertaining, it might be a bit too clever. How about being in Manolo Blahnik's shoes? And if the shoe fits, wear it!

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

シカゴ、ビジネススクール, MBA留学

August 24, 2007

University of Chicago GSB Question 1: Why now?

This is the first of a series four posts on the University of Chicago GSB's MBA application essays for Fall 2008 admission. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.

While I know everyone wants to know about Question 3, the PowerPoint (not Power Point or power point) question, I will begin with the basics. As I will explain in the forth post in this series, the other questions are best answered after writing Question One. This first essay topic is a very standard question. It is also a slightly more simplified version of the question that Chicago used for 2006 and 2007 and a variant of a question that Wharton has been using for years.

The question:
1. Why are you pursuing an MBA at this point in your career? Describe your personal and professional goals and the role an MBA from the University of Chicago GSB plays in your plans to reach these goals. (1500 word maximum).

Before answering this question, please keep the following advice from Rosemaria Martinelli, Associate Dean, Student Recruitment & Admission, University of Chicago GSB, in mind:

1) Self-reflection – Know why you are applying for an MBA. Know your strengths, weaknesses, and why you think an MBA will prepare you for the future. Know your goals and be able to communicate how you think you can achieve them.
2) Understand fit – Every school is different in terms of culture, courses and extra-curricular offerings, so make sure you know what makes an MBA from a specific school so important for you to achieve your goals. If you know yourself and you know how each school can help address your needs, you can make a compelling case in the application. If you do not fully understand or reflect on either of these points and rely solely on your credentials to carry you, chances are you will fall short in a very competitive application process.

Her advice directly relates to answering Essay 1 effectively. It is also great advice that can be applied to other schools.

Regarding goals in general, please see my posts, A Method For Formulating Goals and ARE YOUR GOALS HOT?

Next, let’s take this question apart. Unlike in the last few years, Chicago has simplified this question into less components, but I don’t think that makes it easier. Actually, you need to take these bigger questions and break them down to make a truly effective answer.

Lets begin with the first part of the question: Why are you pursuing an MBA at this point in your career? Actually this question is one that Ms. Martinelli previously asked when she was the Admissions Director at Wharton. Wharton still includes this same question in its essay set:
1. Describe your career progress to date and your future short-term and long-term career goals. How do you expect a Wharton MBA to help you achieve these goals, and why is now the best time for you to join our program?

Notice something very different between these two questions? Chicago asks At this point? at the very beginning. While both schools clearly expect an answer to Why now? and not next year or last year, Chicago is emphasizing that this is the critical question to answer.However you structure your essay, you had better focus it on answering this critical question. Getting an MBA is not obvious. It is something one does because it fits into an overall plan for one’s career and life.

Why is now the time? Explain both analytically and with examples (stories) why you need an MBA now. To answer this part of question you clearly need to think about the past. After all, if now is the right time, what has led to it?

Here a basic way to structure this part of the question:

Argument 1: RELATED TO YOUR CAREER DEVELOPMENT. Discuss your career up to this point. Explain why now is the time. Write about your present, your goals, and the gap between them.
Argument 2: RELATED TO YOUR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. Discuss the intellectual and/or experiential reasons for wanting to do an MBA. Write about your strengths & weaknesses, your intended future. and the gap between them.
Argument 3: RELATED TO THE WIDER WORLD. What opportunities and threats exist in your present and intended future that an MBA can support (opportunities) or mitigate(threats)?

If you use the "GSR Table" that I presented in a prior post, Argument 1 relates to a Gap Analysis and Argument 2 and 3 to a SWOT analysis. If you want a version word of the table, please email me at adammarkus.com.

In the second part of the question- Describe your personal and professional goals and the role an MBA from the University of Chicago GSB plays in your plans to reach these goals.- you need explain your expected ROI from attending Chicago GSB.
We can break this down into two components:
1. Explain how an MBA from Chicago GSB will specifically contribute to your professional goals.
2. Explain how an MBA from Chicago GSB will specifically contribute to personal goals.

For each of these components you could address such topics as
1. How an MBA from Chicago GSB will lead to the next phase in my career based on the skills I acquire.
2. How an MBA from Chicago GSB will enhance my professional knowledge base to find new opportunities.
3. How an MBA from Chicago GSB will allow me to mitigate risk from future threats in my intended career path.
4. How an MBA from Chicago GSB will allow me to overcome my professional weakness in…
5. How an MBA from Chicago GSB will help me develop a network for my professional and/or personal goals.
6. How an MBA from Chicago GSB will enhance my personal life.

Now most applicants may not be able to get all of this into 1500 words. You have to pick and choose carefully what topics you need to address. Just make sure that your show how Chicago GSB will deliver great ROI to you personally and professionally.

To really answer this question you need to know about Chicago GSB. Given that GSB has great online sources available for this purpose, even if you don’t visit, you can learn about it. Start here. In particular take a good look at Chicago GSB Dean's Student Admissions Committee (DSAC) blog.

I also strongly suggest listening to the GSB podcast series. This a great series of podcasts that should help get you thinking about business at the kind of intellectual level required for success at Chicago GSB.

Japanese applicants should most certainly visit the MBA J-Book.

The University of Chicago is one of the most intellectually vibrant places on the planet. Anyone who wants to go there had better figure out how to make full use of the vast financial, economic, and management scholarly resources that it offers.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

シカゴ、ビジネススクール, MBA留学

I am now the first Japan-based member of AIGAC

I am pleased to announce my membership in AIGAC, The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants. I am now the first admissions consultant in Japan to be accepted as a member of the sole professional organization for graduate admissions consulting. All MBA and other graduate school applicants would benefit from taking a look at the AIGAC blog which provides application advice from AIGAC's members.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス
MBA留学, LLM留学, 大学院留学


I have launched THE MBA, LAW & GRADUATE ADMISSIONS BOOKSTORE. I have included both books that I can personally recommend, Adam's Picks, and books in categories that are most likely to be useful to readers of this blog. All of Adam's Picks have my mini-reviews.
Frankly, I have no idea whether anyone will use this, but I thought it would be a useful experiment. If you buy anything, I get a 4% cut which could eventually take the form of Amazon Gift Certificates for me. Clearly not my day job. If nothing else, my reviews are worth a look.

August 22, 2007

Wisconsin MBA Moves Up 15 Spots in Forbes Ranking

Now for a moment of shameless promotion for the MBA program at my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (I can't really help it because both my brother and I studied there. He did his BA and JD and I did my MA there. Plus when an alumni tour came to Tokyo this year, they gave me a great hat.)

Now for the Wisconsin MBA news:

The Wisconsin MBA moved up 15 spots in a just-released national ranking of MBA programs by Forbes magazine. The Wisconsin MBA was ranked 27th, compared to 42nd in 2005, the last time the biennial ranking was conducted.

The Wisconsin MBA has made strides in other recent rankings. U.S. News and World Report most recently ranked the Wisconsin MBA 29th in the nation, up two spots from the previous year. In the most recent Wall Street Journal ranking of MBA programs, the Wisconsin MBA moved up nine spots to 25th in the regional category.

In a sense this should be no surprise because the Business School already has a top ranked undergraduate program:

Wisconsin’s undergraduate business program was ranked 13th in the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings. Real Estate was ranked second, and Insurance/ Risk Management was ranked third. In all, seven programs were ranked in the top 20.

Keep in mind that Wisconsin undergraduates become CEOs:

According to BusinessWeek, 14 of the CEOs at S&P 500 companies hold undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin, putting UW in a tie with Harvard for first place, ahead of Princeton, Stanford, Yale and the University of Texas, among others.

Additionally, Hopefully, we will see Wisconsin kick another school off the Top 30 Businessweek ranking! On Wisconsin!

-Adam, MA, Class of '93

University of Chicago LL.M. Blogs

I just found Second City, who has begun reporting on her life in the University of Chicago LL.M. program. She has already provided very interesting information on the entering class:
Total of LL.M. students 2007-2008: 50
Total of countries represented: 22
1 Argentina
1 Australia
4 Brazil
1 Belgium
1 Chile
5 China
2 Finland
2 France
3 Germany
1 Hong Kong
1 Israel
1 Italy
8 Japan
4 Mexico
1 Peru
1 Portugal
1 Singapore
4 South Korea
5 Switzerland
1 Taiwan
1 Turkey
1 United Kingdom

I look forward to her future posts.

If you look at the University of Chicago LL.M. applicant page, you can also find
the Chicago Global blog listed, but it has not been updated (at least at the time of this posting) since September 22, 2006.
Do you know any LL.M. blogs that you think I should mention? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

August 21, 2007

MBA hottest degree across the world: Study

The Times of India has a very interesting article on the increased demand for MBAs worldwide:
Recruiters around the world are on a big MBA talent hunt. The UK is now paying the highest salaries for MBAs worldwide.

China is the hottest market with more and more MBAs joining Chinese companies. Asian students are among the highest GMAT scorers in the world.

I think it is worth taking a look at.

A Method For Formulating Goals

No matter whether you are applying for an MBA, LL.M., Ph.D. in Computer Science, a Masters in Arts Management, a MPA, or any other graduate degree, you will be required to write about your goals. This can take the form of a Statement of Purpose, Personal Statement, Application Essay, Goals Essay and/or a Why MBA Essay. MBA applicants will also need to articulate their goals in interviews. Any applicant for any graduate program who communicates with faculty will also have to be able to clearly articulate their goals. You can use the GAP, SWOT, AND ROI TABLE FOR FORMULATING GRADUATE DEGREE GOALS that I have developed for this purpose (see below). I think Gap, SWOT, and ROI analysis are great ways for understanding what your goals are, why you want a degree, and how you will use it. (Click here for the Businessweek MBA ROI calculator. Click here for the GMAC report on MBA ROI. )

(To best view the following table, click on it. For a word version, please email me at adammarkus@gmail.com)

How to use this table:

Step 1.
Begin by analyzing your present situation. What job(s) have you held? What was/is your functional role(s)? What was/are your responsibilities?
Next analyze your present strengths and weaknesses for succeeding in your present career. REMEMBER:WHEN YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESS DON'T ONLY THINK ABOUT WORK, THINK ABOUT OTHER ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE. In particular, some of your greatest strengths may have been demonstrated elsewhere, so make sure you are accounting for them.
Strengths:What are you good at? Where do you add value? What are you praised for? What are you proud of?
Weakness: What are you bad at? What are you criticized for? What do you try to avoid due to your own limitations? What do you fear?
Next analyze the environment you work in right now. What opportunities exist for your growth and success? What threats could limit your career growth?

Step 2.
Now, do the same thing in Step 1 for your future after you have earned your graduate degree. IF YOU CANNOT COMPLETE STEP 2, YOU HAVE NOT SUFFICIENTLY PLANNED FOR YOUR FUTURE and therefore you need to do more research and need to think more about it.

Step 3.
If you could complete step 2, than you should see the gap between your present and your future. What skills, knowledge, and other resources do you need to close the gap between your present and future responsibilities, strengths, and opportunities?

Step 4. After completing Step 3, you now need to determine how a graduate degree will add value to you. It is possible that an increased salary as a result of job change will be sufficient ROI for the degree to justify itself, but you should show how a degree will allow you to reach your career goals. How will the degree enhance your skills and opportunities and help you overcome your weaknesses and external threats? If you can complete Step 4 than you should be ready to explain what your goals are, why you want a degree, and the relationship between your past and future career, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. If you know about the schools you are applying to, you are ready to write your goals essay.

Finally, the above table will also help you answer such common interview questions as: Where do you want to work after you finish your degree? Why do you want an MBA (or other degree)? What are you strengths? What are your weaknesses? What are your goals?

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

Thank You for Visiting!

Dear Readers,
I have now been posting on Admissions Counseling for a month. I want to thank the many visitors to my site. I hope to greatly expand the content in the coming months. I am also happy to announce that my site is now listed on Blogarama. I am always happy to take requests for blog posts. Please feel free to email me at adammarkus@gmail.com



Admissions committees ask applicants to write about their goals after graduate school, but can applicants actually know what will be on the cutting-edge in two or three years? Not only those applying for an MBA, but those applying for degrees in any field need to think whether their goals are about the future. For instance, an applicant pursuing a LL.M. in corporate law better know about what changes are taking place in the law. Engineers need to know about the latest technology. Even Ph.D. applicants in art history should know about the state of present scholarly research. Every field undergoes change and as a graduate student you should develop the skills and knowledge that will allow you be a part of the future of your industry or academic field. While many applicants will be able to successfully apply with relatively standard goals ("I want to be a consultant because..."), putting together truly outstanding goals is one way of differentiating your application. But how to put together great goals?

Be informed. Admissions needs to believe you know what you are talking about. If you are changing careers, no one expects you to be an expert, but you should come across as having a clear plan based on real research into your future. If are planning on staying in your present industry, you should be well informed not only about the companies you have worked for, but the industry as a whole. If you are not already doing so, read industry related publications and network.

Those changing fields should most certainly read industry related publications in their intended field. Additionally, I suggest conducting informational interviews with at least one peer level and one senior level person in that field. Conduct a peer level interview to get a good idea of what it would be like to actually work in that industry. Conduct a senior level interview to get the perspective of someone who can see the big picture and all the little details as well.

Don't know anyone in your intended field? Network! One great way to start that is through LinkedIn. Another is by making use of your undergraduate alumni network and/or career center.

No matter whether you are changing fields or not, learn what is hot now and try to figure out what will be hot by the time you graduate. Now, of course, this is just a plan and chances are that what is hot in your industry or field now, may very well be cold in the future. The point is to come across to the admissions committee as someone who is not only well informed, but has CUTTING-EDGE knowledge. Some great general sources for learning what is hot:

LinkedIn Answers: I would suggest that anyone seeking a non-academic career and especially those pursuing a career in entrepreneurship, consulting, finance, IT, HR, ventures, marketing, or engineering join LinkedIn and make use of LinkedIn answers. LinkedIn Answers are a great way to tap into cutting edge expertise. Follow LinkedIn's rules and you will be able to obtain excellent information.

Hoovers: For information about specific companies, Hoovers is just a great way to learn about key facts including competitors (a very useful way of knowing who else you might want to work for and to learn about an industry). While primarily focused on the US, Hoovers does have listings for companies worldwide.

Vault: For scope of coverage, this site is a must. Vault includes both career and admissions information. It includes both company specific and industry-wide information.

Other sources: Read magazines, websites, and books that relate to your intended field. For information about other general sources click here. LL.M. applicants should click here.

-Adam Markus
MBA留学, LLM留学, 大学院留学

August 10, 2007


This is the fifth in a series of five posts. The forth one is here. The first one is here.

It should be absolutely clear that I don’t condone ghostwriting and would never advocate anyone using it. That said, it is clearly something that enough applicants do that it is a recognized problem. As originally reported in the April 7, 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal:

Before mailing out acceptance and rejection letters over the past week, thousands of colleges and graduate schools conducted their usual reviews of test scores, transcripts and essays. But less publicly, admissions officers focused on something else: police databases, plagiarism checks and reports by private-investigators.

There's a new age of vigilance in academia. Spooked by incidents including guidance-counselor fraud in Los Angeles, blatant plagiarism at MIT and campus crime in North Carolina, colleges and graduate schools are shoring up their admissions process. In an era when applicants seek an edge with $500-an-hour "admissions consultants" and online essay-editing services, schools are using their own new methods to vet prospective students. Much like corporations that have been burned by CEO résumé scandals, universities are tapping into the burgeoning background-check industry to verify what's written -- or not -- on applications.

The problem of ghostwriting is just one part of a larger problem of inauthentic applications.


Not just here in Japan, where I live, but elsewhere I know of counseling services that provide ghostwritten essays. Not only those pursuing MBA, but even LLM, MPA, MPP, and other degree programs, use such services. I certainly will not name these services. Anyone who wants to find them anywhere in the world can find them easily enough.

I will not provide a lecture on why ghostwriting is unethical. If you are so morally challenged that you find it necessary to cheat to get into school, anything I write will not matter.

For those seeking admission to top programs, I strongly suggest reading The Wall Street Journal article referenced above. In particular consider the following:

Turnitin.com, a Web site that high schools and colleges use to check papers for plagiarism.
The nine-year-old site, which screens more than 100,000 student papers a day, added an admissions-essay service in 2004. Over the last three years, Mr. Barrie says, the site has screened more than 27,000 admissions essays, and found 11 percent included at least one-quarter unoriginal material. Mr. Barrie says about two dozen schools now use the site to check admissions essays; none of the institutions would agree to be identified.

Clearly more and more schools will be using the technology for detecting
plagiarized applications.

Now imagine how they will use content analysis software to analyze whether the person who wrote the GMAT, GRE, and/or TOEFL essay, is the same person who wrote the essay(s). While at present, admissions can probably only do this on a case by case basis, the detection tools of forensic linguistics are likely to eventually make their way into the application process.

You may get away with it. I would be dishonest if I said otherwise. I hope I have the chance to revisit this issue again and announce that admissions offices are now routinely eliminating ghostwritten applications using a standardized protocol.

As an applicant, only you can decide what kind of advice you need and who to ask for it. This is a very important part of the process that you control. I hope this series of posts has helped you better identify who will be a part of your advising team.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス
MBA留学, LLM留学, 大学院留学


This is the forth in a series of five posts. The third one is here.

As I stated in the first post in this series, I believe that an ethical approach to admissions advising is one that involves the applicant doing the writing. As I will discuss in this post, I think that intensive editing may very likely involve crossing the line between the ethical and unethical.

First, let me say that certain kinds of editing, seem quite ethical to me and I am on public record for stating that certain kinds of editing techniques are ethical:

Another example is helping clients understand the importance of writing about the individual in their essays, “The Japanese tend to have a hard time expressing themselves. So I often read first draft essays, and they are talking about the organization or the group—which is not what the admission is looking for. The admission wants to learn about the person. So, I think it is very legitimate to say to somebody—‘hey, this essay is not focused on you’. I teach them the rules. That is not ghostwriting.”

In fact, helping his clients coming to that realization, Markus believes, is an ethical, legitimate process.

....Besides large thematic problems, counselors also often help clients better convey their ideas through simple changes in language structure. In the Japanese language, the verb comes at the end of the sentence, denoting that the most important idea comes at the very end. This type of narrative structure is often reflected in their essay as well, and they may take a long time to get to the actual point of the story. A counselor’s job also includes telling his/her client to reverse the sentence and narrative structure in order to work well with a western admission officer, “I tell my clients, ‘hey, you take way too long to get to the point—your reader will lose interest,’ ” Markus says. “Or, ‘you need to reverse your sentence so the main idea comes first.’ That is not unethical. It simply makes the essay more logical to a western audience.”

If by editing, one means making very targeted suggestions to a text or suggesting different ways to tell a story, I think that is ethical. The problem is when editing becomes rewriting.

Editing becomes rewriting when the editor is no longer making suggestions about how the writer should rewrite the text, but is actually doing the writing. It is at this point that the ethical line has been crossed and we are beginning to enter the world of the ghostwriter.


Ethical editing is a part of admissions consulting. It can also be a standalone service. Some applicants might find that they don’t need an admissions consultant, but just an editor.

If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you don’t need an admissions consultant, but an editor:
(1) I am confident about my overall admissions strategy.
(2) I don’t need assistance with brainstorming my essays.
(3) I don’t need assistance preparing for interviews. (If you are applying for an MBA, you better have someone to practice with.)
(4) I don’t need someone to review my recommendations in any great depth.
(5) I don’t have any substantive questions about the application process.
(6) I am certain that the stories in my essays present me as effectively as possible.
(7) I just need someone to proofread my essays and give me their overall impression of my content. I can handle any substantive changes myself.
(8) I am not interested in going through an examination of my goals and life experiences in order to determine whether the stories I intend to tell in my essay(s) and/or interview are the most effective stories for me to tell.
(9) I have sufficient advice already to succeed at the admissions game.

If you answered “No” to one or more of the above questions, I think you should consider using an admissions consultant if you can afford to so.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス
MBA留学, LLM留学, 大学院留学

August 09, 2007

Graduate Admissions Consultants

This is the third in a series of five posts. The second one is here.

If your mentors can't provide you with the assistance you need, you will need to pay for assistance. Admissions consultants (also known as admissions advisers, admissions counselors, and application counselors, and some even call themselves editors) are one such option.

The newly created Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) provides the following excellent summary of what admissions consultants do:
Regarding the use of "mentors" above, I think it is important to differentiate this from the kind of unpaid mentors that I mentioned in my last post.

Admissions consultants are a mixed group. Typical backgrounds for admissions consultants:
1. Former admissions officers.
2. Counseling professionals with degrees or certification in career counseling, social work, and/or a related field.
3. Professional educators
4. Individuals with a strong academic pedigree who found they are good at helping others with the admissions process.
5. At some companies that focus on MBA consulting, they have an MBA.

The advice they offer reflects this background: It is mixed. One can’t go to school to become an admissions consultant. It is a trade one picks up. A review of my resume (See my LINKEDIN profile and/or the humorous version), would reveal that my prior experience in higher education, international education, and test prep gave me a good background for the admissions consulting work I began in 2001. In general, I think you would find that most experienced consultants have a prior work history that similarly prepared them.

Just as their background varies, so does their ability. If you decide to use a consultant, I think the criteria below will help you determine who to work with. Here are some of the characteristics of great and bad consultants:

Great consultants:
1. They will listen to you and provide highly individualized advice.
2. They will understand your strengths and weaknesses as a candidate
3. They will have a solid set of methods for explaining all aspects of the process to you.
4. They will be totally honest. (For example, when discussing school selection they will provide you with an honest assessment of how your GMAT, TOEFL, and/or GRE scores will impact your chances for admission to a specific school.)
5. They will become engaged with you and your life.
6. They will refine their advice to you as your sessions proceed.
7. They are great at brainstorming and helping you tell your story.
8. They will push you to revise your essays and, if applicable, push you to practice your interviews.
9. They will let you know when they think an application is done regardless of either your expectations or their financial benefit. That is to say, sometimes they will advise working on something more than you think and sometimes less than you expected.
10. They either have or know how to obtain any admissions information that you will need.

Bad consultants:
1. Don’t listen to you.
2. Their advice lacks any depth or specificity.
3. They lack integrity.
4. They will not push you to work hard.
5. They are basically indifferent to you as a person because they just consider it to be their job to review your application materials or prepare you for an interview, which they will do only formally.
6. They don’t have high standards.
7. You will notice that they quickly fail to learn more about you after the first couple of sessions.
8. They have rigid preconceived ideas that they will foist upon you.
9. They are more likely to act like editors than counselors.
10. They seem to lack key information about the admissions process.

You will notice that in my list of characteristics for a great consultant, I did not include years of experience. From my perspective, much of what goes into making a great counselor is everything they did and the person they were before they even started consulting. Of course, a highly seasoned professional is more likely to produce a better outcome than a novice.

You will quickly find that admissions consultants are either working as independent service providers or part of a service. The biggest potential differences between hiring an independent service provider and services are as follows:

1. Service structure. Independent consultants, for both good and bad, are not part of larger organizations and hence the level of service you can expect will be personal and is likely to reflect the personality of the consultant. If you are someone who loves rules and regulations, a service is more likely to provide that level of bureaucracy. An independent consultant should be able to provide you with services in more flexible manner.

2. Changing your consultant. If you eventually discover that you don’t like an independent consultant, there is no organization to complain to, and depending on the way you are paying for the service, you may find yourself stuck with the consultant. On the other hand, if you use a consulting service, you will likely have the option of switching to a new consultant.

3. Choosing your consultant. Obviously if you use an independent consultant, you have chosen that person. On the other hand, if you decide to use a consulting service, depending on your contract, they may have the right to switch consultants on you. If you use service and don’t specify the consultant first, you may also find that the consultant you wanted to meet with is too busy to meet with you because they already have too many clients.

4. Getting multiple perspectives. One advantage some consulting services have over independent consultants is that they offer clients the possibility of getting the viewpoint of more than one counselor. While this can be quite helpful, it also requires managing the perspectives of multiple consultants, will likely be less efficient, and may prove confusing.

While some services will claim that they have an informational advantage over independent consultants or other rivals, I think this is an increasingly difficult argument to make given the accessibility of free or low cost information.

Ultimately the question to ask is ”Does the consultant have expertise?” No matter whether you use an independent consultant or service, you should really consider that is the consultant who will be impacting you. Regarding expertise, I think it is mistake to assume that you need to see a consultant who has an academic credential in your intended field of study. Just because someone does not have an MBA, LL.M., PhD in Electrical Engineering, a Masters in Art History,etc. is not not inherently a problem. Instead you need someone who has expertise in the admissions process, in listening to you, in helping you tell the most effective story you can, and in helping you present yourself at your best.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス
MBA留学, LLM留学, 大学院留学

August 08, 2007

Mentors & Unpaid Advisers

This is the second in a series of five posts. The first one is here.

First, two stories:

A Happy Story
As I mentioned in a previous post, when I applied to graduate school in 1990, I was fortunate to have an excellent mentor, a PhD student at the University of Chicago, who remains to this day one of my closest friends. I was lucky because he understood the admissions process and the relative difficulty for obtaining admission at a time when the US Economy was weak and many people were applying to graduate school. His advice was timely and practical and helped me succeed.

A Sad Story
In 1988, during my senior undergraduate year, I decided to apply to graduate school. As I was graduating in three instead of the usual four years, I was 20 years old. I sought advice from two of my professors, both were tenured, one had his PhD from Harvard and the other from Princeton. They supported me, wrote recommendations (that I later used successfully in 1990), but provided me with little guidance on the admissions process. I simply followed the application instructions and made a horrible mess of the whole thing. I was dinged everywhere.

There are two differences between my happy and sad stories.
The first has to do with me. When I applied at age 20, I was completely immature and totally lacked a real sense of the process or its relative difficulty. Two years later, I understood what the application process really involved and was able to make the right decisions.
The second has to do with my advisers.

My team of 1988 mentors simply consisted of two professors. While they were great professors who were recognized in their fields and wrote me very good recommendations, they were totally ineffective admissions advisers:
(1) Their advice was not based on actual contemporary knowledge of the admissions process. Since both taught primarily undergraduates and were part of departments that did not have graduate programs, they did not actually know the process because that had finished their graduate work decades earlier.
(2) They did not give me practical advice beyond simply following the application instructions.
(3) They were too busy to be really involved with my process and I was not aggressive enough to really get their full support.

My 1990 team was different. I talked with my professors about academic issues, but as far as the practical issue of applying goes, I had a new mentor, who:
(1) Gave me timely advice based on the actual admissions process.
(2) Provided me with a set of strategies for success beyond the application instructions.
(3) Fully committed to supporting me. He put in the time to advise me on strategy and review my materials.

If you have a mentor like my friend, you are indeed very lucky. If not, you may be able to bring together a group of mentors (professors, friends/colleagues who succeeded at the admissions process, experts in your intended field of study, current students of the school(s) you want to attend, and/or alumni) who provide you with all the support you need.

Alternatively, you may find that your mentor(s) can't provide with all the help you need because
(1) they don't have enough time,
(2) they lack sufficient knowledge about the process,
(3) you are finding that they can only advise you based on their past experience,
(4) your mentors are contradicting one another and you are not sure which one is right,
(5) you want extensive assistance putting your applications together.

Depending on the type of graduate program you are applying to, I think you will find it useful to develop a team of mentors and/or advisers who can support you. Highly experienced admissions consultants can usually provide equivalent support for what I mention below, but even if you use an admissions consultant, I would still get a second opinion from a mentor and/or unpaid adviser.

All applicants: Try to find an alum who has recently graduated and/or a current student to give you insight into each program you apply to.
Students and recent graduates are really in the best position to tell you what a school is really like. This is especially important and relatively easy for MBA applicants. In other fields it maybe more difficult, but many schools have graduate students available for applicants to talk with.

For all graduate school applicants in general and PhD applicants in particular: As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is often extremely valuable to make faculty contact. Check with the admissions office for each program first before doing so. Those applying to MBA are less likely to use this strategy and depending on the school might be told not to contact faculty. Obviously if you contact faculty you had better have an academic topic related to your study plans to discuss with them.

For LLM applicants applying to Harvard Law School and most other top programs. You will need to discuss one or more of the legal issues you are interested in studying in a great deal of depth and thus you would be well advised to consult with a lawyer or law professor who has sufficient knowledge in the field you plan to study to assess the depth and accuracy of your thinking.

For those applying to programs where a writing sample or other sample(s) of past work is/are required. Make sure that you have someone in your intended field of study who can assess the strength of your writing sample. Professors and/or professionals in your intended field are ideal for this purpose.

For those applying to research based programs in the arts and sciences. If possible, have your research plan reviewed closely by a professor and/or other professional in you field who can assess it.

If your mentors and/or unpaid advisers are not enough, you have three alternatives. In the next post in this series, I will discuss admissions consultants.

Questions? Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス
MBA留学, LLM留学, 大学院留学

August 07, 2007

Good Article on Chicago GSB Essay Three

UPDATE: Click here to begin to read my analysis of Chicago GSB's essays for 2008 admission. Question 1. Question 2. Question 3. Optional Question 4.
If you planning to apply to Chicago GSB and want further insight into Essay Three, the PowerPoint Question, I suggest taking a look at the following AP article (excerpts below):

In a first, the University of Chicago this fall will begin requiring prospective students to submit four pages of PowerPoint-like slides with their applications....

By adding PowerPoint to its application, Chicago thinks it might attract more students who have the kind of cleverness that can really pay off in business, and fewer of the technocrat types who sometimes give the program a bad name....

"We wanted to have a free-form space for students to be able to say what they think is important, not always having the school run that dialogue," said Rose Martinelli, associate dean for student recruitment and admissions. "To me this is just four pieces of blank paper. You do what you want. It can be a presentation. It can be poetry. It can be anything."

...Martinelli acknowledges one reason for the requirement is that students inevitably will have to master the technology in their jobs.

But she says students won't be judged on the quality of their slides. Rather the slides are an outlet for judging the kind of creativity the business world needs.

Chicago does have a few ground rules: no hyperlinks and no video. Beyond that, "I really don't know what we're going to get," Martinelli said.

In a series of future posts later this month, I will discuss the Chicago essay set. Till then, you should take a look at accepted.com's and clearadmit.com's analysis.

-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス
シカゴ、ビジネススクール, MBA留学

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