The Founders' Blog

How to Prepare for the Wharton Team Based Discussion

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: November 13, 2016)

On November 2nd, Wharton will release invitations to its Group Interviews (“Team Based Discussions” or “The Wharton TBD”). If you haven’t done so already, please review our dedicated post for preparation tips for your team based discussion.
As in previous rounds, MBA Admissions Advisors will be holding several mock group interviews to help applicants prepare. Continue reading

HBS Round One Interview Invites

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: October 22, 2016)

Round One Interview Invites for HBS Class of 2019 Applicants

The Harvard Business School Admissions Committee recently sent out interview invitations to its first round applicants in three distinct waves. The first went out at 12pm noon ET on October 4th, 2016. A second batch of interview invites was sent on October 6th, 2016, and a final one on October 12th, along with “releases” for unlucky candidates as well as “further consideration” notices. Interviews will be taking place across a variety of locations worldwide, between October 23 and November 18, 2016.

What are the odds of being admitted after receiving an interview invitation?

Our estimate is 55% to 60%. It’s high, but low enough to make a lot of applicants have regrets… Every year, brilliant candidates call us after their HBS interview wishing they had better prepared for it… Unfortunately, there is no second chance.

To help you be on the right side of the applicant pool, we wanted to put all our interview prep resources in one place. These resources should help you get ready:

Mock HBS interviews: Interviewing is a skill, and the unfortunate truth is that many of us think we are better at interviewing than we really are. It requires practice, which is why we would encourage every candidate interviewing at HBS to take advantage of our interview preparation services:

  • Email us if you are interested in a mock HBS interview.
  • One mock interview plus personalized feedback is $295, and two mock interviews plus personalized feedback is $495.
  • Kyle or myself — both HBS alumni — will work with you personally during the mock interview, which will mirror the HBS admissions interview process as closely as possible: first, we will review your application prior to the interview; second, we will conduct a 30-minute mock interview with you via Skype; and finally, we will provide you personalized feedback immediately after the mock interview or at a time of your choosing.
  • Slots fill up quickly, so please email us to express your interest or get more information.

Alternatively, you can secure your spot directly by signing-up via paypal. We will get back to you within 24 hours to arrange a suitable time slot. Simply use the form at the end of this post.

What it’s like to interview at HBS: Kyle’s personal account of what it is like to interview at HBS, from receiving the email inviting him to interview to receiving the phone call congratulating him on his admittance.

Mastering Every Admissions Interview Question: Advice and tips on how to best prepare for an MBA admissions interview — at HBS or any other MBA program.

Post-Interview Reflection: Guidance on how to approach preparing for, drafting, and sending HBS’s 24-hour post-interview reflection email.

Should you have questions about our ability to help you, we’d like to invite you to visit our “client feedback” page. We have pasted a few emails from past clients at the end of this post.

If you’re looking for additional guidance on your application or have any questions about the MBA admissions process, please reach out to us via our free consultation link.

We also offer a comprehensive “HBS ding analysis” package, along with hourly consultations to discuss round two strategies for unsuccessful round one applicants.

We’re happy to help, even with last-minute questions and requests. Good luck!

“Dinged by Stanford, accepted by HBS! Thank you guys SO much for all of your help. Really appreciate it. As for the service- excellent! You guys took your time answering all my questions and really grilling me hard. I loved the experience and would definitely recommend it to anyone else interviewing at HBS. Regarding [your competitor] Sandy [the hbsguru] I had a pretty good, but completely different experience. (…) But if I had to pick one I think I’d choose you guys. From you and Kyle I got the traditional mock interviews, and fantastic specific feedback on my style, tone, answers, etc. and 2 interviews was great. I had a fantastic experience.” O., HBS MBA Class of 2016

“I wanted to follow up with good news: I got into HBS! The interview itself was, as everyone says, totally impossible to predict (60-70% focused entirely on me describing my current company’s technology and business model), but the practice of being nervous and answering impossible-to-predict questions with you guys was valuable and let me push past my (high) stress level.Thank you!” A., HBS MBA Class of 2016

“On December 11th I found out that I was admitted to HBS. Prior to my actual HBS interview, I had conducted a mock with Vincent of MBA Admissions Advisors. Our session made a huge difference in the preparation process, but it was only after the actual interview [at HBS] that I realized how well I had been prepared. Vincent made very detailed observations about my performance, and after our debrief session I had a very clear picture of my strengths and areas for improvement. Perhaps the most important thing I worked on with MBA Admissions Advisors was how to think on my feet in order to answer any question, as opposed to preparing answers to a laundry list of publicly available questions from past HBS interviews, a much less valuable exercise. During our mock interview, although Vincent had a list of targeted questions based on my profile, he did not seem to be following a script. He built on my responses with follow-up questions to constantly challenge me. This was exactly what happened during my actual HBS interview. Last but not least, Vincent remained engaged throughout the admissions process, and he by far exceeded my expectations. He gave me access to valuable interview preparation resources, remained available to answer questions, and systematically responded to my emails promptly. I was delighted to receive ‘good luck’ messages the day before my actual HBS interview and on the school’s first round decision day. These little things made working with him a great experience. “ I.S., HBS MBA Class of 2016

 

Secure your spot now:


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The MIT Sloan Fellows, Stanford MSx, and LBS Sloan Masters: one-year alternatives to regular MBA programs

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: October 19, 2016)

* October 2016 update*
LBS, MIT, and Stanford are organising several information sessions about the Sloan Programmes this fall. Directors from each school will provide an overview of their programme and alumni will share their experiences.

The Sloan Programs, exciting MBA alternatives for experienced leaders

Over the last few applications cycles, we have received an ever increasing number of inquiries regarding three 1-year MBA programs aimed at senior managers:

  1. The MIT Sloan Fellows program (probably the most popular amongst our clients)
  2. The Stanford MSx program
  3. The London Business School Sloan Masters program

In this post, we will review what makes these programs particularly attractive to some of the most experienced MBA applicants. We will also highlight the key facts that candidates should consider before starting the application process. Continue reading

Must-Read Advice Before Submitting Your MBA Application

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: September 4, 2016)

Just a few weeks (or even days) before the first round application deadlines for most top MBA programs, including Harvard Business School, MIT, Stanford, Booth, Kellogg, LBS, and Wharton, we thought that MBA applicants could use a checklist for items to review before hitting the “Submit” button.

View of Harvard University and the Charles River

View of Harvard University and the Charles River

1. Thoughts About Harvard’s Essay

In the past, Dee Leopold, former director of admissions at HBS, tried to offer comforting words to its MBA applicants. She insisted that the essay should not be considered a hit or miss exercise. It is really just meant to add color to your application package. More recently, HBS’ new dean of admissions, Chad Losee, wrote the following: “(…) As in years past, we will read (and re-read) and consider the application in its entirety —application, resume, essay, recommendations, transcripts, interview, post-interview reflection, GMAT or GRE scores, etc. Said another way, no one thing will get you admitted or “released” from our admissions process.” Therefore, do not feel that you have to cover any particular topic in this optional essay. You set the rules here, depending on what you believe will allow the admissions committee to better understand what makes you unique. Interestingly, this year’s essay prompt is similar to the one HBS used just a couple of years ago: “As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?”. In 2014, Kyle Watkins had provided advice about  a very similar HBS essay. We also wrote about the overall HBS application process in several posts. Make sure to check them out.

2. Completing The Application Form

Most business schools have a lengthy online application form. You should allocate at least 3 hours to go through it and fill it out properly. You will be asked about past job titles, exact employment dates, and compensation data. You will have to describe your employer, explain why you left the company, detail your key accomplishments and most significant challenges. You already should have some of this on your resume, but in a different format. Although Harvard’s admissions team is telling you not to obsess, you’ll notice that it’s easy to spend 20 to 30 minutes writing a meaningful job description in the space allotted to your answer. And then you will go through the same excruciating process for your extra curricular activities, awards and recognition, and academic experience. Some candidates tend to describe the online form as a collection of mini-essays, and approach the form’s questions as such. Don’t fall into that trap. Do your best, but be ready to settle for good enough, unless you are willing to spend 10 hours filling that form.

In any case, do not panic if the options from a specific drop down menu do not match perfectly your personal situation, and do not sweat over the limited space allocated to describe your work experiences. Filling this form properly is important, but keep in mind that the admissions committee will largely rely on your resume to assess your pre-MBA experience.

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HBS Round Two Decisions

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: March 29, 2016)

On Wednesday, March 30th, 2016, Harvard Business School will be sending round-one notifications to applicants who went through the interview process this winter.

50% to 60% of interviewed applicants should receive an offer from HBS.

The Baker Library

The Baker Library

Harvard Business School’s admissions rate has been pretty steady in recent years, and when emails go out at noon, Boston time, on Wednesday, more than half of second-round interviewees should receive a positive answer (“Yes!”, according to Dee Leopold, admissions director at HBS ). These lucky applicants will have more than 5 months to get ready for their HBS journey, and their main challenges going forward will be to stay focused at work, and plan their attendance at the Admitted Student Weekend in Boston.
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Wharton Round Two Decisions

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: March 29, 2016)

Having helped a number of first round applicants prepare for their Wharton interview, we are excited about the school’s round two decision notifications on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.

Notification time Continue reading