Prose from the Pros

Posted by: Phil Mintz on August 13, 2008

For those planning or thinking of applying to b-school, it’s getting down to crunch time, both in terms of time and finances. Since the application fee for a single school can run you about $200, and many students end up applying to three or four different schools, the process can cost a pretty penny. And if you don’t want to shell out big bucks for a private MBA admissions counselor to advise and guide you during this stressful process, we recommend hitting up the library or bookstore to pick up the same advice.

Two books by private admissions advisers that have recently been published, The MBA Application Roadmap, by Stacy Blackman and Daniel Brookings (First Books, $29.95), and The Best Business School Admissions Secrets, by Chioma Isiadinso (Sourcebooks, Inc., $17.95), a former member of the admissions board at Harvard, guide readers step-by-step through the application process, offering several basic steps to take when considering (and applying to) your top b-school choices.

Both books stress the importance of researching your top b-school choices thoroughly before even beginning the application process. Isiadinso counsels her readers to take a number of factors into consideration when choosing the b-school that’s right for them, including the length, size, flexibility, and brand of the program, the geographic location of the school, and the international business exposure. Blackman and Brookings also urge readers to study up on the schools they’re applying to, emphasizing academic offerings, faculty, and program format and initiatives as important factors to consider. Both books also stress the importance of developing “Brand You.” Be part of the solution, Blackman and Brookings advise. By recognizing and understanding the “needs” of your top schools, “you can successfully position yourself as part of the solution.” As Isiadinso writes, “applicants who have a clear sense of their personal brand often emerge the most successful from the application process.”

For those looking to improve their essay-writing abilities, or interested in hearing about the application process from a number of current and former b-school students, The MBA Application Roadmap may be a good fit. Blackman and Brookings, both of whom are private MBA admissions counselors, explore the nuances of MBA application essays at length, and every chapter includes anywhere from two to ten “Tales from the Road” – real quotes from real students about their own personal experiences in applying to b-school.

Those who want in-depth perspective into the application process from someone on the other side of it may prefer The Best Business School Admissions Secrets. Author Isiadinso writes as a former admissions board member at Harvard Business School, and gives insider knowledge into what the members of the admissions board look for in an application (and a candidate).

Either way, both books are excellent resources for MBA candidates. And who ever said a bit of inexpensive help during the admissions process was a bad thing?

--Sara Hennessey

Reader Comments


August 22, 2008 1:02 AM

Blackman is great, I would stay away from knockoff services. On top of Blackman, Montauk is good. I would stay away from MBA Mission.

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