Friday, May 20, 2005


I have managed to read through Montauk book. I have summarized the 26 critical essays that he offers advice on. My plan is to address some of these essays before I dive into specific school essays. I have also cross-referenced Montauk essays with the school essays that I'm interested in. Hopefully, the cross-referencing process will provide me essay templates for the actual school essays. People are welcome send me edits to this table for their choice of their schools. I would love to know essay writing strategies from other applicants.

Although, the following schools are my likely choices but they are not final. I am in process of gathering more information about each of the program to identify which program matches my career goals. I will be posting a separate thread about that.

H - Harvard S- Stanford W – Wharton T – Tuck M – Sloan

  1. What are we are career objectives and reasons for wanting an MBA(H6,W1,S2,T2, Hass 2)
  1. what would you contribute while at our school(S2,Hass short 4)
  1. what do you hope to gain from our program(S2,Hass short 5)
  1. why have you applied to the other schools you have
  1. in what other way with you pursue your development if our school rejects you
  1. describe your current job
  1. describe your work experience
  1. what will change would you make your current job (and how would you implement this change)
  1. what are your strengths and weaknesses(H5)
  1. what are your most substantial accomplishments (H2, Hass short 3)
  1. describe a creative solution you have devised to a problem
  1. describe a risk that you have taken and its outcome(M2,T4)
  1. what have you done that demonstrates your leadership potential (H1,H8,W2)
  1. describe someone you consider a hero or role model. How has this person affected your development (Hass short 2)
  1. describe your role in a (difficult) team situation. How did you have a team reach its objectives(W3,M1,T3)
  1. describe an experience in which you did not reach your objectives (and what you learn from this)(H3)
  1. discuss an ethical dilemma you have faced(H4)
  1. what is the most important trend facing business
  1. describe the impact of technology earlier chosen career or industry
  1. describe a defining moment that has a major impact on your life.(W3)
  1. What matters most to you and why(S1, Hass short 1)
  1. what do you do in your spare time
  1. provide a candid evaluation of your own admissions file.
  1. Tell us anything as you care to
  1. what this diversity mean to you? How will you contribute to the diversity of our program?
  1. Discuss the professional project challenged your skills (Hass 1)

Reference Essays:


1. Discuss an experience that has had an impact on your development as a leader. (400 - word limit) (13)

2. What are your three most substantial accomplishments, and why do you view them as such? (600 - word limit)(10)

3. Recognizing that successful leaders are able to learn from failure, discuss a situation in which you failed and what you learned. (400 - word limit) (16)

4. Discuss an ethical dilemma that you experienced firsthand. How did you manage and resolve the situation? (400 - word limit)(17)

5. Provide a candid assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. (400 - word limit) (9)

6. What are your career aspirations, and how can Harvard Business School help you to reach them? (400 - word limit)(1)

7. (Optional) Is there any other information that you believe would be helpful to the Board in understanding you better and in considering your application? Please be concise.


8. Describe a significant change that you brought about in an organization and its impact on your development as a leader. (400-word limit) (13)

9. How do you define success? (400-word limit)

10. What are your career aspirations, and how can an MBA help you to reach them? Why now? (400-word limit) (1)

11. What do you wish the MBA Admissions Board had asked you? (400-word limit)


1. Describe how your experiences, both professional and personal, have led to your decision to pursue an MBA at the Wharton School this year. How does this decision relate to your career goals for the future? (1,000 words)(1)

2. Describe a situation where leadership and teamwork were critical to the outcome of a project in which you were directly involved. What did you learn from the experience and how have you applied what you learned to other situations? (1,000 words)(13,15)

3. Describe a personal achievement that has had a significant impact on your life. Give specific details. What did you learn from this experience? How did it help shape your understanding of yourself and the world around you? (500 words)(20)

4. Please tell us something about yourself that you feel will help the Admissions Committee know you better. (500 words)

Stanford MBA Application Essays:

**Stanford's essays should be answered in 3 to 7 pages, but they will accept up to 10 pages per essay without any problems.**

ESSAY A: What matters most to you, and why?(21)

This essay is very open-ended and there is no "right" response. This essay is a story about you, about your beliefs, about your passions. Write about something that is important to you -- not what you think is important to us -- and write it from your own perspective. It should be descriptive and told in a straightforward and sincere way. It also should be a story only you can tell, which means describing not just what they are, but also "how" and "why" those things have shaped your conduct and attitudes in your personal and professional life.

ESSAY B: What are your short-term and long-term career aspirations? How will an MBA education further your development? Why does the academic experience offered at the GSB appeal to you?

The question has multiple parts -- please think about and answer each. Why do you want an MBA degree? Why specifically at the Stanford GSB? How will the Stanford MBA make a difference in your life and career? We don't expect a detailed, lifetime plan. But we do expect you to be specific about why you are applying.(1,2,3)


· Essay One: Please give an example when your actions had an impact on a person, group, or an organization (up to 500 words).(14)

· Essay Two: Please give an example when your thinking was different from others’ (up to 500 words).(12)

· Essay Three: Please give an example when you were part of a high or low performing team (up to 500 words).

· Essay Four: Please tell us something meaningful in your life over the past year (up to 500 words).


2.Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why

is Tuck the best MBA program for you? (If you are applying for a joint or dual degree,(1)

please explain how the additional degree will contribute to those goals.)

3. Describe a situation in which you led a team to reach a specific goal. Looking back,

what characteristics helped you to be effective as a leader? What areas do you feel you

need to develop in order to be a better leader?

4. Describe a situation in which you stood up for something you believed in, even though

others did not agree with you. In what ways were you pleased with how you handled the

situation? What do you wish you had done differently?(12)

5. (Optional) Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not

addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application. Complete this

section only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.

6. (To be completed by all reapplicants) How have you strengthened your candidacy since

you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally.


Supplemental Data:

  1. Please identify the course(s) you have taken or intend to take to demonstrate quantitative proficiency. Provide the course number, date, grade if any, and institution at which the course was or will be taken. If you wish, you may discuss other ways in which you have demonstrated strong quantitative abilities.
  2. If you have not provided a letter of recommendation from your current supervisor, please explain; otherwise, enter N/A.
  3. List in order of importance all community & professional organizations and extracurricular activities in which you have been involved during or after university studies. Indicate the nature of the activity or organization, dates of involvement, offices held, & average number of hours spent per month.
  4. Please explain all gaps in your employment since earning your university degree.
  5. List full-time and part-time jobs held during undergraduate or graduate studies, indicating the employer, job title, employment dates, location, and the number of hours worked per week for each position held prior to the completion of your degree.
  6. If you have ever been subject to academic discipline, placed on probation, suspended or required to withdraw from any college or university, please explain. If not, please enter N/A. (An affirmative response to this question does not automatically disqualify you from admission.)

Short answer questions:

  1. Describe something you feel passionate about. (250-word maximum)
  2. Who is someone that you consider to be an inspirational leader? Why? (250-word maximum)
  3. Tell us about your most significant accomplishment. (250-word maximum)
  4. At Haas, we value individual differences. Beyond nationality or citizenship, what makes you unique compared to other MBA applicants? (250-word maximum)
  5. If you have visited Haas, please let us know what about your visit made the most lasting impression on you. If you have not visited Haas, what steps have you taken to familiarize yourself with our MBA program? (250-word maximum)

Required Essays

  1. Describe your greatest professional challenge and how you resolved it. (500-word maximum)
  2. What are your professional goals? How do your past and present experiences relate to these goals? Why do you want an MBA from Berkeley at this point in your career? (1,000-word maximum)

Optional Essays

  1. (Optional) Please feel free to provide a statement concerning any information you would like to add to your application that you haven’t addressed elsewhere. (500-word maximum)
  2. (Optional) If you wish to be considered for the Haas Achievement Award (for individuals who have overcome significant economic, educational, health-related and/or obstacles), please use this space to address the obstacles you have overcome. (750-word maximum)

Friday, April 22, 2005

GMAT Experince

From gmatclub website
Dear friends,
I have read many inspiring personal tales of successfully dealing with GMAT. I'm hoping by narrating my experience a few of you might relate to it and gain some insights.

My background
I am a 32-year-old male, married and have two young kids. I have a computer engineering background. After being out of school for so 8 years my quantitative skills were very poor i.e. I had to think hard to even calculate tip amount. Being a computer programmers/Hacker I was exposed to very little English grammar other than writing few technical specifications. I guess am trying to say that I started out at the bottom, scared to approach GMAT. My total preparation time was about six months, with a hundred per cent effort in the last month. Having kids and a spouse makes life a little bit tougher.

After having spent a few weeks just looking at the books my guilty conscious finally took over and I picked up my first gmat book. The following are the books/materials that I used in my preparation.

1) " Kaplan gmat verbal workbook": to go over the basics
2) "Kaplan gmat map workbook": to go over the basics.
3) "Kaplan GMAT": there is some overlap between this book and above two books. I bought this book mostly to get the CD.
4) " Princeton review verbal work out" some people like this book for verbal preparation. I believe both Kaplan and Princeton review books offer some unique insights. I would not recommend buying both of them. Best thing to do is to go to the bookstore buy one of them and browse the other one.
5) "The Official LSAT SuperPrep": I had difficulty attacking critical reasoning problems. Many users on this forum suggested looking at LSAT books to attack difficult problems and hence gain insight. I found this book tremendously helpful for critical reasoning problems. This particular book offers very detailed tutorial on attacking critical reasoning problems and their sample tests were accompanied by detailed explanations. The key is to understand the explanation of all the choices whether you get the problem right or wrong. After this exercise my scoring percentage went from 50% to about 90%
6) "official guide" this is the book. !!! Please read all the explanations of correct and wrong choices till the time you are scoring 90% or greater in a particular section !!! What that meant for me was I read read sentence correction section thoroughly.
7) gmat club math challenges: There are some difficult problems in these tests that really make you think. I would definitely advise you to practice those. Warning, do not get discouraged if you do not score well, the point is that it the difficult problems make you look at things had more fundamental level.

Mistakes that made in my preparation:
1) I was not doing very well on sentence correction and then went off on a tangent to learn grammar from the basics. You only need to know basic elements of grammar like a noun, adjective, verb, preposition etc. !!! Anything beyond that you should only read if you encounter something that you don't understand while solving real problems. Do not try to spend too much time to learn everything because gmat tests a few themes which are clear once you go through the official guide!!!.
2) the real pressure to get it done comes only after you have registered. I procrastinated registering thinking that I will register as soon as I get through most of the study material. However, that day never came because there was always a little bit more studying to get 700+. What I'm trying to say is that set a goal in terms of both the desired score and the test date.
3) official guide took me a month of preparation working about 20 hours each week. I did not estimate this much time and hence I could not complete all the sections.
4) I wasted a lot of time collecting materials to practice. However, I ran out of time to do most of them. I feel during your preparation you'll come to a point where no amount of practice will improve your score drastically.

1) start working on problems in official guide from last to first, since the most difficult problems are at the end. This would be helpful if you run out of time, at least you have attacked the most difficult problems which will give you good confidence.
2) maintain error log, if possible categorised by different problem types. I kept error logs for all the math and the sentence correction problems that I thought were difficult, insightful or I got it wrong. This was very helpful for me to review at the end.

The following are the links that I collected:

Test experience:
I checked out by test center a week before so that I knew the location and the parking space. I would highly advise you to do this to eliminate one of the many anxiety factors. Luckily, I got a good night's sleep. I took with me a bottle of water and orange juice (to get some sugar boost).
Both the essays were so-so. I had already a template in mind so they were relatively easy to attack.
In math section there were about four or five problems that I had not encountered in official guide. However, they were simple to attack.
In the verbal section I first got a sentence correction problems which was very easy. Then I got another sentence correction which was three fourths highlighted. It was slightly more difficult, It just took me more time to get through it. After that I got reading comprehension passage of about 40 lines. Then I got two critical reasoning problems in the row. Both of them were pretty tough. I think I definitely got one of them wrong. Then I got a couple of sentence correction's one of which had the whole sentence highlighted. Next I got business-related reading comprehension passage of about 60 lines. That was followed by few critical reasoning problems, which were relatively easy to attack. Then I got a few more moderately difficult sentence corrections. Then I got a science related reading comprehension of about 90 lines. It was really heavy in technical terms but luckily the questions just required to look around the passage to find the right detail. I think I ended with few more easy critical reasoning\sentence correction questions.

Thanks to all the members of this web site and good luck to all the future executives.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

the beginning

dear friends, please join me on my trek towards MBA. I will be sharing my experience as I go through this process along withsome titbits of information regarding entrepreneurship, personal Finance, etc.
I am a 33-year-old guy, married with the kids. My background is technology and have been working in that industry for about nine years.The drive towards MBA is coming from a longtime desire to start a business. I have in past dabbled with two unsuccessful startups and tried unsuccessfully to get funding for one of my (along with friends)ideas. I'm hoping that by doing MBA I will gain some skills to validate and to better market my ideas for starting a company. I am also hoping to meet friends and mentors during this process.
I have already taken the first step of giving GMAT. I will be posting my experience in the next blog.Currently, I am reading "how to get into top MBA programs" and trying to get in touch with the students in the schools that I'm interested in.

okay, more on the way....

the beginning of my quest

!!! Hello World !!!