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What’s Your B-School Application Style?

Posted in Test Prep on June 30, 2011 by

Writing Tools

There may only be one application for each school, but everyone approaches the process with a different attitude or style. What’s yours? Take this short quiz to find out – and discover some helpful application tips along the way!

Directions: Give yourself 4 points for every A, 3 points for every B, 2 points for every C, and 1 point for every D.

1. You decided to apply to business school because…

A) It’s been the plan since high school: 2 years of work experience, then on to an MBA program. Also, you took the GMAT when you were 19, and it’s about to expire.
B) You have a good amount of work experience under your belt, and you’re looking to switch careers or gain a broader business perspective.
C) All your friends have one.
D) You’ve been unemployed for 15 months, and you’re thinking it might be time to try a different career strategy than carpet-bombing the same 10 firms with your cover letter and resume.

2. When deciding what schools to apply to, your logic was something like the following:

A) Why trust anything other than your personal ranking algorithm – based on placement rates, prestige factor, faculty publications, and location desirability?
B) Two reach schools, two “likely” schools, and one safety
C) Whichever schools are in the region and have reasonable application fees
D) Only schools that have a “4th Round” (you missed the first three!)

3. When it comes to taking the GMAT…

A) You took a prep course in undergrad, scored a 750, and think you might take it again. Hey, you have your eye on some serious scholarship cash!
B) You took a GMAT course a year before applying and allocated a few months for intensive prep.
C) You took one or two of the free CATs offered on the GMAC website.
D) You’ll let the outcome dictate your plans: if you score 550 or higher, you’ll shoot a few apps out. If not, you’ll take it next year or something.

If you haven’t taken the GMAT yet, check out this article for tips on how to study for the GMAT while working.

4. When it comes to researching the schools of your choice, you…

A) Have a set of color-coded folders with department brochures, info-session notes, and business cards from current and former students.
B) Collected some materials from school visits and info-sessions.
C) Glanced at the websites a few times.
D) Took note of the application deadlines.

Check out our weekly MBA roundups to stay on top of b-school news!

5. When going on b-school visits, you…

A) Sit in on a class, participate in seminar discussion, lunch with current students, tour the campus, and attend an evening party to get a sense of school culture.
B) Sign up for a class visit and a lunch with current students, but skip the Q & A session afterward to hang out in the city with some pals from college.
C) Attend an info-session in your home city; why waste cash on a trip if you’re not even accepted yet?
D) Didn’t know people did that.

To get the most out of your bschool visit, check out this article.

6. When deciding who to ask for your recommendations, you…

A) Constructed a chart to determine how to best allocate your references to showcase different aspects of your work personality and leadership style (you will give each writer a consultant-approved list of your strengths and weaknesses).
B) Asked your work supervisors; you’ve spent so many hours at work you can’t imagine who else you would ask.
C) Even though you’re technically supposed to get recommendations from work supervisors, you kind of missed the boat on that (a week before the deadline is cutting it close), so you’re going to call in a few favors from your colleagues.
D) Intend to ask your best friend from college. He or she is very familiar with your work ethic!

7. In terms of essay prep…

A) You started four months before the official prompts were released, registered for a creative nonfiction writing class to hone your rhetorical skills, and hired an English prof and an admissions consultant to help you polish the final product.
B) You had all your friends read your essays and provide feedback.
C) You allocated a weekend to take care of it.
D) You cut and paste from other essays you’ve written and filled in the gaps with some fluff.

To take your essay to the next level, check out our article on 8 types of B.S that won’t work on your b-school essay.

8. When it comes to filling out the short-answer part of the application you…

A) You crafted memorable nuggets of prose that are well-tailored for the space provided.
B) You recognize it’s important to paint a complete and accurate picture of yourself, so you revised and proofread your responses.
C) You cut and paste material from your essays. You’re not going to waste time paraphrasing yourself.
D) You left some parts blank. You can’t remember how many hours you spent volunteering at that soup kitchen anyway.

9. In terms of interview prep you….

A) Will write out your responses to 50 typical questions, memorize your answers, and hire an admissions consultant to conduct mock interviews and a career coach to critique your handshake.
B) Plan to think through your responses to typical interview questions and practice with a friend or consultant.
C) Plan to read your application the night before to make sure you don’t say anything inconsistent .
D) Will show up on time wearing whatever you happen to be wearing that day. Your freewheeling style will show your interviewer how fun and charming you are.

10. When it comes to thinking about how you’re going to finance your degree you…

A) Have your eye on the McKinsey scholarship and have been tailoring your resume to satisfy the criteria for years. If that doesn’t work, you’re sitting on a ton of cash from your banking career and won’t be needing any student loans.
B) Are prepared to take out student loans. But you’ll apply for some fellowships you might qualify for and include a safety school which might offer you scholarship money.
C) Don’t want to put the cart before the horse. You’d be thrilled just to get in.
D) Want to take it “one day at a time.” You firmly believe and have always lived by the belief that “fate will provide.”

Want a rundown of all the major b-school scholarships? Check out this blog series.

35 to 40: Over-Achiever. Congratulations! You are prepared to rack up some serious acceptances this coming admissions season. You’ve taken the GMAT, given some thought to financing the degree, and carefully researched the schools you’re applying to. Just be prepared for any surprises along the way. And never be too consumed with your plans to notice a correctable weakness in your profile or a last minute insight about your professional development and the work you are truly suited for.

28 to 34: Calm and Prepared. You have a good, solid attitude about the admissions process. You’ve given some serious thought to your MBA plans, and you’re ready to tackle the essays and the interviews with aplomb. Just remember that you’ll be competing with some very driven people, so kick your prep into high gear by giving yourself ample time to reflect on your professional development and what you truly want/expect out of an MBA.

20 to 27: Spontaneous. Whether it’s because you’ve always excelled at the “slacker” thing or have a history of last-minuteness, you have a somewhat haphazard approach to the admissions game. To each his/her own; but if you’re investing a good deal of time and money into the degree, you’re best advised to think carefully about your goals and how best to frame them in your application.

0 to 19: Free as the Wind. You’re not sure why you’re applying, but it’s something to do with your time. It’s OK to have this attitude, but to ensure that you get the most out of the process, start thinking about your career aspirations and how an MBA might help you achieve them. Even if you’re not fired up to compete after some soul-searching, you’ll learn something about yourself in the process.