the best of militarytobusiness blog’s admissions advice

i read this post last week on poets & quants.  it’s the “best of” admissions advice from the blog, militarytobusiness, which chronicles a us military officer’s journey to the business world as he attends harvard business school.

hbs is the second most selective (hardest) mba program to get into so i think i could learn a thing or two from this person.  especially since he/she started his/her own admissions consulting!

these tips are really valuable and a really different approach than what i had planned on doing for my applications this fall.

i won’t copy/paste the entire story…i’ll just include the main points and you can read the details and the reasoning behind them from the original post.

  1. begin your dream school application first, but turn it in last
  2. submit your applications in reverse order of priority
  3. apply to your safety school in round one; dream school in round two
  4. interview in reverse order of priority
  5. never apply to a school you are not willing to attend
  6. consider your business school interview the 30 most consequential minutes of your life
  7. mitigate perceived weaknesses by playing up presumed strengths
    • consultant: strength – organization and presentation; weakness – lack of leadership or vision
    • engineer: strength – technical and analytical; weakness – lack of people skills
    • military: strength – leadership and ethics; weakness – working in ambiguously defined environments, working without a clear chain of command
    • non-traditionalist (artist, social sector, etc.): strength – unique experiences and fresh perspectives; weakness – lack of business and math ability
    • investment banker: strength – business and computational skills; weakness – lack of leadership ability, lack of interest outside of work.
    • international: strength – strong global viewpoint, language skills; weakness – poor (english) presentation skills, challenges adapting to western business
    • younger applicant: strength – academic rigor, vitality; weakness – lack of experience, immature
    • older applicant: strength – experience, maturity; weakness – lack of career focus, reluctance to change or to adapt

a lot of the reasoning he/she provided made sense to me and i think i may incorporate it into my strategy.  submitting my applications in reverse order of priority is something i hadn’t considered and may be a little difficult if i decide to apply to columbia since they have rolling admissions (so it’s generally better to turn this one in asap).

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