Short update: after 5 days of back-to-back finals (with a weekend in the middle), I’m back home in Israel.

The weather’s amazing (similar to what we had in Boston… 3 months ago), I’m meeting friends and family, eating Israeli food and slowly recovering from my jetlag. At the HBS front, I’m busy writing cover letters for summer internships, due next week.

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Midterms and International Week

November 12th, 2007

This week was International Week @ HBS – more details below. Saturday was Cyberposium, the technology conference I helped organizing, more on that next time. It went very well.

Last week we finished our midterms, so that’s a good opportunity to talk about the (somewhat bizarre) grading system at HBS.

Grades @ HBS

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After an amazing surprise party on Saturday, I’m leaving for Boston on Wednesday. So I guess the next post will be from there (unless I find myself bored at the airport…).

As many applicants are currently working hard filling in online applications, in this post I have a few practical tips for making the process faster and simpler. No deep application philosophy this time, only simple technical tips. :)

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School Selection

July 5th, 2007

A few of you contacted me regarding school selection. In this post I outline parameters you can use when selecting schools to apply to (and later on, which school to go to…). I used some of these parameters in my own decision, but not all. Naturally, each individual has his own set of preferences and priorities. For the same reson, I don’t list the specific schools I applied to – I really don’t think my own specific list would help any of you. It’s a very personal selection and really differs from one person to another; considering the fact that you don’t really know me, I don’t think my own preferences will significantly help you…

Using these parameters you can narrow down the list of schools you’ll apply to. For example, if your spouse has to live in the East Coast, that will obviously rule all West Coast schools. Similarly, if you decided a small school size is absolutely crucial for you, Wharton or HBS (800-900 students each year) can be removed from the list.

So here are the parameters you can consider when selecting schools. If you’re really the planning type, you can use Excel to build a table of all relevant schools and all relevant parameters, and fill in the parameters for each school. You can even assign numeric ‘grades’ and calculate them for each school.

Parameters for School Selection

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Choosing Recommenders

July 3rd, 2007

I was asked via email about the topic of choosing recommenders for the MBA application. You can find a lot of advice on the subject in various MBA-related sites (ClearAdmit, Accepted – see my list of resources in Must Have Links for MBA Applicants), and even before that – the schools’ websites and their application instructions: the school actually guides you how to choose your recommenders, so do follow their instructions! Might sound trivial, but you’d be surprised how many people do not do it, for various reasons.

For example, from HBS FAQ page:

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Answers to questions I’ve been getting via emails, which I believe may interest many people reading this blog: application essays, how to choose recommenders, how to choose schools and more.

Feel free to ask questions – by mail or comments. I do promise to reply, but can’t promise a quick reply, especially after next week (going to Boston…)
So, here goes:

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After HBS (and other schools) have released their essay questions for this year (see my last post about the new HBS essays), some of you are probably starting to think about their essays.

Before starting to write any essays, it’s important to create a holistic strategy for the application in general and the essays in particular. The strategy will give you a bird’s eye view of the entire application and at the same time will provide you with content for individual essays.

What is “The Strategy”?

Basically the strategy will include a “list” of topics / stories / achievements / qualities you’d like to include or demonstrate in your application – your life’s “highlights”. By creating it before starting to write anything, and following it through while writing, you can make sure you don’t miss any important theme and that you manage to display a coherent and attractive picture of yourself.

How Do I Build The Strategy?

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HBS Essays for 2008

June 26th, 2007

HBS just released its essay questions for the 2008 application. It’s quite similar to last year’s (the one I submitted), but introduces more flexibility in selecting essays and new essay questions.

A while ago I posted my analysis of last year’s essays; Most of these essays appear in the new application: Essay 1 is last year’s #2 (accomplishments), optional essay 1 is last year’s #3 (leadership), optional essay 3 is last year’s #1, optional essay 4 is last year’s #5. They removed the ethics essay, a very understandable decision (in my analysis, I nicknamed this essay “the oddball”).

I won’t write an analysis for the new essays; after all, I don’t have to apply this year :) However, you’re more than welcome to use the parts of my analysis which apply to the current essays. I’ll just say a couple of words about the new essays and the new application structure:

– The last optional essay (“What else would you like the MBA Admissions Board to understand about you?”) is practically a gift; a “joker” that you can use to say whatever you’d like and didn’t manage to in the other essays.

– The two new optional essays both discuss globalization; which I really like as an admit – I’m glad HBS puts more emphasis on global issues. So I guess that application-wise, that’s good news to those of you with extensive international exposure – now you have plenty of space to ‘show it off’. And thanks to the flexibility of the new application, applicants without impressive international experience can simply choose other essays. Btw, the “culture shock” essay is practically a “copy paste” from the Insead application.

– The other new essay (“What have you learned from a mistake?”) is not an easy one; however it might be somewhat relieving to know that other schools also feature a variation of this question, so at least you’ll have some stories you’ll be able to share between applications.

Good luck! To be honest, I really don’t envy those of you now beginning the long process of applying and writing the essays… It’s hard, and at least for me wasn’t like anything I’ve done before. On the other hand, you’ll learn a lot during the process, and definitely will have moments of satisfaction and pride during (or probably after…) it.

For more information about the new essays, Accepted.com already published their own analysis of the new essays – good read. I’m sure ClearAdmit will follow with their own analysis.

I have another post coming up soon about preparing a general essays strategy – “stay tuned”… :)


My Pre-MBA Trip

June 24th, 2007

Many MBA students take some time in the summer before school to travel. It’s a good period, without work, without school and before taking the huge MBA loans. People travel all over the world, and almost every day I see a new post in the internal HBS admits forums along the lines of “Anyone in Cambodia / Australia / Italy in August?”.
I also took a Pre-MBA trip. Can you guess where I went?…

Was it… Tuscany?

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Was it… Greece?

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Was it… France?

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Was it… Switzerland?

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Well, no… it was…

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Application Timeline

June 21st, 2007

If you’re going to apply to a business school in this application season (2007-8, class of 2010), now is a good time to start planning your schedule for the next few months. In a previous post I discussed applying Round One vs. Round Two (and my recommendation was Round One), and in this post I try to outline a recommended timeline for those who decide to apply in Round One, or at least apply to the majority of their schools in Round One.

My Timeline
Let me start with describing my own application timeline last year, which is an example of a very bad timeline. The reason for that was that I only decided I want to do an MBA abroad in July 2006! Thus, the entire schedule was condensed into only 3 (three) months.

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