May 26th, 2007
Recommended online and offline resources for MBA applicants in general and Israeli applicants in particular, arranged by the following categories:
What do HBS Students Read? My post with the list of books given to us by HBS.
I wouldn’t recommend on buying a whole plethora of books. Each one of them is usually so packed with material, exercises, online exams and so on that it’s better just to buy 1-2 and really stick with them, i.e. go over all of their theoretical material and complete all of their exercises. This is what I did with Kaplan.
- Kaplan GMAT 2007 – This is the only book I used to prepare for the GMAT (an older version, of course). The book itself is great for learning and reviewing the theoretical rules for all sections (essays, verbal and quantitative), and for initial paper practice of each subject. It’s complemented by a personal website and a CD allowing online practice and exam-taking in the format of the real test. For me this combination has proved itself to be very helpful and successful. Highly recommended, and quite a bargain for 25$!
For Israeli applicants – this book is also available in bookstores in Israel (Dyonon for example).
- The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 11th Edition – from GMAC, the official body administrating the GMAT (and the one that writes the real questions…). I haven’t used this one, but I do recommend it. As I did online exams from Kaplan, Princeton and other sources, I noticed that none of them completely resembled the style, ‘character’ and level of difficulty of the actual tests from the GMAC (available online for free – click the link to download them). Had I known it earlier, I might have bought this book in addition to the Kaplan one, as it contains ‘the real’ practice exercises. Kaplan however is much better in explaining and reviewing the material. In addition to this general book, two other ones are also available from GMAC: The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review and The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review.
Disclaimer: I got a 700+ score.
MBA – General
There are many books dealing with various aspects of the MBA experience: researching schools, applying, interviewing, matriculating and life during the MBA itself. From my personal experience, I found myself drawn to them in two different phases of the application process:
- In the very beginning, when I started to seriously think about the idea of an MBA and knew practically nothing about the different schools, the costs and the application process. I had only basic, general questions, not anything particular or specific to one school. During this phase, these books can help by generally describing the degree itself, the application requirements, and of course the schools. Eventually I ended up not buying any particular book, but it was mainly due to lack of time – I started the entire process very late (July, and applied in October), and preferred studying for the GMAT instead of reading books. Had I started the process earlier, I would have definitely bought a book or two for the research process.
- Right now, after the application process is over, I have matriculated with HBS and about to start school in a few months. Why now? Well, because I have relatively more time on my hands, and find myself curious again about life in school and post-MBA career possibilities. During my last visit to the US I spent a few hours in a bookstore and read a few MBA guides.
So here are the books I recommend for both phases:
- How to Get Into the Top MBA Programs, by Richard Montauk – If you are to buy just one book, it should be this one. Considered “The Bible” of MBA-related books, it contains 600 pages of application information. It also includes 116 real essays, if you’re into this kind of thing.
- The Ten-Day MBA 3rd Ed.: A Step-By-Step Guide To Mastering The Skills Taught In America’s Top Business Schools – I heard good things about this book from several different people, including a second year student who said that he wished he had known about this book before starting school. The book gives a high level overview of the topics taught during the first year in school, and can be useful in getting familiar with some key terms before school starts.
- The MBA Jungle B-School Survival Guide, Business School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Business School Experience: By Students, for Students – Two easy reads about the application process but more about life as an MBA student, recruiting and other tidbits. They even come bundled together in Amazon…
- Schools websites – in addition to browsing the schools websites, almost each school allows you to register through their website in order to get newsletters, brochures and information about events in places near you (for Israelis, this means schools receptions being held in Israel). HBS allows you to create a profile with your contact information and interests.
- Clear Admit – MBA admission consultants that offer a very useful blog – with essay analysis and tons of MBA news and info. Every Friday the blog features “Fridays from the Frontline”, where they refer to posts of various MBA-related bloggers (applicants and students). Their MBA wiki contains a lot of information about schools, MBA programs and the application process, contributed by the applicants themselves.
- Accepted.com – another resourceful site of MBA admission consultants. Especially helpful are their MBA chat transcripts – every year they conduct online chats with MBA admission officers and students of different schools, and keep the chats transcripts. Another extremely useful resource is the MBA interview database, a searchable database with thousands of interview reports written by applicants themselves. A must before going to an interview…
- mba Mission – another admission consultant with a nice blog, including good essay writing tips. In addition, this company has quite a few Israeli customers and its founder Jeremy Shinewald visits Israel several times a year. I attended such a visit, where Jeremy gave a good presentation about the application process and was available for personal, free of charge 30 minutes meetings. In my meeting he read my resume and gave me some useful feedback and profile assessment (more info is available from him or from Fulbright, see below). In an interesting interview with him he talks about GMAT, essays and other things that may interest an applicant beginning the process.
- My own HBS essay analysis, for 2006 (when I applied, and was admitted…)
- BusinessWeek MBA forums – get ready for hours of joy in the infamous BW forums. Discussions range from pretty informative “who has already received an interview invitation and where” to “which MBA program has the best looking students” (really). Especially recommended is the “Ask Sandy” thread, where a blunt admission consultant gives ALL UPPERCASE ADVICE ABOUT HOW MUCH YOUR PROFILE SUCKS to fearful applicants. Warning: bw forums might be addictive!
- Wharton Student2Student – administered by the Wharton itself, this forum mainly contains Wharton related discussions, but really *everything* about Wharton. Adcom members and current students also participate, and may be good sources of information.
Language Tools / Writing Aids: (useful for essay writing)
- FreeDictionary – dictionary, Thesaurus, phrases, terms and much more, all rolled into one.
- Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: another robust dictionary / thesaurus.
- Answers.com – one stop shop for Wikipedia, Dictionary, proverbs and more.
- Babylon – the homepage of the excellent Babylon software, a lightweight utility that translates a word or a phrase on the screen with a single mouse click. Wikipedia, Britannica, bi-directional translation with English and most popular languages, professional dictionaries (finance, business, technology and many other topics, including user-defined dictionaries) and other nifty features make this software a must.
- MBA Chances – THE forum for Israeli MBA students and applicants. It’s highly recommended to start by reading the entire forum contents from the beginning.
- Fulbright – United States-Israel Educational Foundation – the center offers a lot of relevant activity for MBA candidates: counseling, help with application essays, meetings with university representatives and more. Some activities are free for all, but I recommend their subscription service which is not expensive and lasts for two years.
- Aringo– the largest MBA admission consulting company in Israel. Most Israeli applicants use their services. The site itself contains lots of relevant information, especially to those who start their research – the top programs in the US and in Europe, the application process, admission requirements and more.
- Interviews with Israelis from Kidum GMAT website – a bit old but still a nice read, in Hebrew (click on each link to navigate to the interview):
- Kidum GMAT itself contains a lot of interest material about MBA abroad in general and the GMAT in particular.
Feel free to post comments and contact me with any questions or comments you may have!