Ok guys – something off the topic of me (Finally!). Recently, I’ve acquired a number of school guides as I work towards my ultimate goal of getting admission to one of my six programs. As you may know, I’ve been planning on a MBA for over a year now, so I’d like to say I’m pretty well read in terms of my target programs. Originally, I had planned on writing each one of these as its own post, but have found that as applications slowly take over my life, my free time tends to disappear. So, here is a slightly condensed version of all the notes I have for each product. Let me know if you want to hear more about a specific resource and I’ll write something a little more substantial! First we’ll review some of the MBA books I’ve read – and later go on to guides. Some reviews may be longer than others – especially for the books. There is plenty of information out there on the books, so I’m not going to restate that here. You can find that info here and other places.
This book is a decent book to start with, as it provides a lot of well written essays. It really gives you a good idea what a standard, if not excellent, essay looks like for all the main types of questions you’ll see. On the downside, you don’t get to see every essay from a specific applicant, so its hard to know exactly how they presented themselves out of that one essay. I wouldn’t rely on this as your only resource.
Another solid book for determining your strategy. This book combines the previous two in that it helps define your strategy as well as gives you sample essays. That said, the strategy portion is not quite as good as Your MBA Gameplan, and the essays are suspect since they all seem to be 1,000 words long. Still, a solid book if you’re just going to go with one book.
Besides the funny title, this is a great book written by one of my favorite bloggers (and admissions consultants) Linda Abraham with Accepted.com. If you haven’t been to her blog, go now. No really, I’ll wait. Ok. So this book is another fantastic 1-stop-shop book for all things MBA admissions. One of the best features of this book is that you end up with a very clear map of not how to identify your targets, but also how to get there. When I first cracked this book open, I was worried what I got myself into – I was reading in amazon reader, and it was listed at over 300 pages! After going through, though, it isn’t that long – in fact, it is probably the best in terms of providing the most information per page written. Definitely something I can appreciate. Finally, Linda has done a great job of packing this book with examples rather than just directing you to do something, and having you follow blindly. Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone before I recommended any other book.
This is a great book for developing “your story”. The author does a really good job of logically laying out what you need to know and do before you’re ready to apply. There isn’t much else to say other than this is a great book. If you’re only getting one book – this is a good choice.
Clear admit guides are also laid out in a logical manner. Bonus points for having a Table of Contents. The guides cover a number of topics from History of the program, student demographics, academics, special programs, campus life, life after your MBA, and admissions. The strongest part of the guide, to me, is the admissions section which is good – ultimately that is why people buy these things. Furthermore, each guide (or at least all of mine) has Clear Admit’s essay analysis, and a Q&A with the adcom – more bonus points for Clear Admit. Overall, I really liked these guides.
As you remember from a previous post of mine, MBAMission recently gave away their guides as freebies. Super awesome of them. The guides themselves are robust, coming in at over 80 pages each. The material inside is very logically laid out, and has enough to keep your interest. On the downside, each guide has a significant number of repeated material. For example, under “choosing the right program” there is a few pages in each guide dedicated to telling you the differences between all top 25 programs. Helpful if you only have one guide, but if you have a set of them, the material is copied over from guide to guide and comes off as a bit lazy. The new material is easy to find though, as it is pasted in bold, so once you’ve read one guide end to end, you can just search out the bold bits in the next guide.
In conclusion, there is a ton of print media out there helping you define your story. I think the main issue I have with it is that most of the information can be found on your own if you have enough time to scour the school webpages, read all the press, and interview students. That said, it is very nice to have it consolidated in one location be someone who does this for a living. I know I’ve used my guides a lot while writing essays – not because there is anything groundbreaking in them, but because it is just so much easier to have 1 pdf open, rather than 100 tabs in my browser. In essence, if you have the money, they’re great investments. If not, don’t sweat it either :)