How Many MBA Programs Should I Apply To?

Applying to MBA programs can be a hectic time. Many factors are involved in the application process, but doing a little research in advance can maximize the chance of getting accepted.

The best tool an applicant can utilize is an updated book or web site on MBA programs. These tools profile various programs and contain information about the number of applications received during the previous year, the number of applicants accepted, typical GMAT scores, and GPAs. This information is usually published annually, and applicants may want to follow trends over a couple of years before applying.

Once the applicant has decided on a number of programs, the list should categorized based on how similar the applicant is to others that have been accepted. Sending applications blindly to many schools is equally as detrimental as focusing on one program. Most people suggest applying to at least five programs and applying to as many as possible. This can be difficult for applicants with limited funds. Application fees can be expensive, especially combined with the price of score reports, transcripts, and mailing. Applying to schools that require interviews during the selection process should also be thoroughly considered. If money is an obstacle, it may be wise to reconsider applying to a school where attending the interview would be impossible and a telephone interview is not an option.

Most of the applications should target programs where the applicant is similar in scores and GPA to previously accepted students. Applicants may also consider applying to a couple of schools they are overqualified for, and a school where they fall below the typical accepted applicant. Investing too many resources on programs that are beyond the reach of the applicant is inevitably a waste of time and money.

GMAT scores can have a strong influence on admission decisions and applicants will want to maximize their score. The most popular and convenient option is an online prep course. They are beneficial in their ability to cover information as well as giving sample tests and test-taking tactics. If the applicant is not satisfied with their score, they will want to give themselves ample opportunity to study and retake the test.

Students are Turning to Graduate Study to Improve Skills

With the economy still being in a very precarious state, and foreclosures and unemployment still a common occurrence, many wonder where life will take them. Americans are predictably resilient, starting new businesses, changing careers and going back to school to make the new reality work for them. Many people wonder how many students are going to grad school now that jobs are scarce and millions are struggling to make ends meet.

Test preparation companies are seeing a surge of students young and old enrolling in test prep classes and preparing for graduate study. These students want to gain new skills and sharpen old ones, making themselves more attractive in the employment market. For students looking to go to business school, it may be helpful to enroll in a free GMAT course, or enroll in online GMAT prep. These courses will prepare you for the questions that will be asked in the actual exam and will give you a snapshot of the test at a glance.

The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test is the comprehensive exam that most students will need to pass in order to apply for graduate study. Most colleges and universities require this exam, although many schools are relaxing their score requirements to allow for more students to gain entry. The GMAT is administered by independent testing sites and registered proctors and requires a fee to sit for the test. The test is comprised of several parts that evaluate the verbal, mathematical and written analytical skills of the applicant.

Many students are enrolling in business programs in order to strike out on their own and learn entrepreneurship skills that will help them manage their own small businesses. Some are going back to school to learn skills that will allow them to train for more responsibility in their existing jobs. Still others are career changers looking for a totally new field, breaking away from their previous career fields.

With the state of the economy, more students are turning to graduate study as a means to earn new skills, and brush up on old ones. Many are finding that the new reality means that they have to change the way they think about the world of work. When it comes to graduate study, students can be prepared for college admission by studying for standardized tests, taking an online GMAT prep. The possibilities are endless.

Navigating the GMAT Essays

Are you worried about setting yourself apart during the business school admissions process? One of your key opportunities is to deliver well-written GMAT essays. This guide will teach you the tricks to overshadowing your competitors with great essays.

The Analytical Writing Assessment section of the GMAT lasts for one hour and is divided into two essays: issue and argument. Consider the following top-tier advice:

  • Stay on topic. With only thirty minutes for each essay, you will not have time to go off onto tangents. Plan to make your points within 300 words or less.
  • Use supportive statements and cite facts whenever possible. Include your personal experience when appropriate but also rely on the evidence given by third parties.
  • Both a computer program and a human reader will review your essays. Make sure that your word choice, sentence construction, and overall flow appeal to both entities.

For the Analysis of an Issue essay, your job is not to prove that the issue is right or wrong; your job is to convince the reader to believe your position. The simplest format for the Analysis of an Issue section is the following:

  • Introduction with a background on the issue and reasons why you agree or disagree
  • Reason One with an explanation of the reason and an example
  • Reason Two with an explanation of the reason and an example
  • Acknowledgment of the opposing side’s arguments and ways to refute them
  • Conclusion re-emphasizing the issue and the arguments you have already presented

The easiest format for the Analysis of an Argument essay is below. For this section you must point out the flaws of the argument and convince the reader your conclusions are correct.

  • Introduction with a background on the argument and your stance on its validity
  • Point One with an emphasis on the argument’s positive aspects, using examples whenever possible
  • Point Two with an emphasis on the argument’s negative aspects (flaws), using examples whenever possible
  • Point Three listing ways in which the argument could be improved or strengthened
  • Conclusion reiterating the argument and its major advantages and disadvantages

Before your writing time is complete, review your essays. Make sure they are free of spelling errors, meet conventional grammar and formatting guidelines, respond well to the essay topic, and capture the reader’s attention.
Practice essay writing several times before you reach the testing center, so you will understand the pacing necessary to meet the time limits. GMAT test prep is available both online and in-person for essay assistance.
With advanced planning and GMAT test prep, you are on your way to furthering your education and propelling your job prospects well into the future.

Preparing to Retake the GMAT

Many people choose to retake the GMAT in order to improve on their original scores. You are allowed to retake the test once every 31 days and no more than five times in a one year period. As all test scores for the past five years (including cancellations) show on your student report, if you are planning on retaking the exam, we suggest taking it no more than three times. Beyond that, schools may not look at multiple attempts in a positive light. The good new though, is having taken the GMAT once before, you will be able to draw on your past experience and use these scores to help tailor your study plan for future tries.

Tailor Your GMAT Test Prep

Your GMAT test prep for the second time around can focus more heavily on the areas you struggled with on the first test, be it quantitative, verbal, or the writing assessment. You may feel that you just need to review some sections before test day and spend significant amounts of time on areas that were a challenge on your first GMAT. Immediately after taking the test, you may be able to look up questions that threw you off the first time you took the test, having these challenges in mind for your studying will give you a good starting point.

Online GMAT test prep will help you to cater your plan to meet your needs — even more important now that you have a better grasp on which areas will be a challenge. Taking practice tests along the way will help you to gauge how your scores are improving on the way to your second test.

Draw on Your Knowledge of the Test

Having already taken the GMAT once will also help you to relax and do your best on test day. You’ve been in the exact situation before and may have an even better idea of how they test will go than you did from your practice tests before the first attempt. You can focus on the content and feel comfortable with the computer and the format of the test.

The GMAT can be very different from any other test you have taken in the past, especially in that you cannot go back and change your answers in the verbal and quantitative sections. Having experienced this in a real test setting can help you the second time around, especially if you were anxious about the test format the first time you took the GMAT.

Even when you’re taking the test for the second or third time, it is important to maintain a solid study schedule and continue to review material and take online GMAT practice tests. Doing so will help prevent your scores from decreasing, help you to improve your test taking abilities, and keep the material fresh for the next test.

GMAT Study Tips

There are many different ways to study for the GMAT. As with any important test, you will want to think about the methods that have worked for you in the past and come up with a combination of the different approaches to create a plan that will work for you. Combining a few of the many strategies is a good way to ensure that you are well prepared for GMAT test day.

Online GMAT Test Prep
Online test prep is a great way to study for the GMAT on your schedule. Online test prep can fit into anyone’s hectic life and allow you to work at a pace that’s right for you. The GMAT is taken on the computer, so studying online is another way to get used to the format and comfortable with the test’s look. There are great options for online test prep available today and students are walking away feeling well-prepared for the exam.

Practice Tests
One of the most important ways to prepare for the GMAT is by taking practice tests. Practice tests allow you to get a feel for the way the test works and how you will work best on test day. Feeling comfortable with the format of the test, a new thing for many test takers, and allow test-takers to feel more confident on test day. Practice test scores can also help you to identify areas that need more work and narrow your focus when you go back to your other methods of studying for the GMAT.

Flashcards
For many people, flashcards are a useful study tool. There’s a reason flashcards have been a mainstay of studying since grade school, they work. Flashcards are good to help you learn new terminology and master new information in a quick and easy way. Flashcards are also great for people who are studying on the go because they can go with you to work, to school, or even on public transportation for your commute.

Test Strategies
Learning some basic test taking strategies can be extremely helpful for the GMAT. Learning how to work through questions, read questions quickly and accurately, and work through process of elimination the answers can help you on test day. Time management is another important skill for the GMAT and practicing skills can make a big difference in your final GMAT scores.

Combining several study methods as you prepare for the GMAT is a sure way to learn information and be sure that you go into the test prepared and confident.

Top 10 MBA Programs in the World

The Financial Times ranks the top MBA programs in the world each year. Many of these top schools are located in the United States, while others on the list are located in the United Kingdom, France, Singapore and China. For students looking for an international experience, there are many excellent options located all over the world.

1. The London Business School ranks as the world’s top MBA program. Tuition for the London Business School is 49,900 British pounds sterling or approximately $78,850 US dollars. This tuition is for the entire 15-21 month program and includes reading materials.

2. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School ranked second on the Financial Times list of top MBA programs. The MBA program costs $46,600 per year.

3. Harvard Business School at Harvard University in Massachusetts costs $46,150 per year.

4. Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in California also ranks as one of the best MBA programs in the world and costs $51,321 per year.

5. Instead, sometimes called The Business School of the World, has one campus in Fontainebleau, France, and another campus in Singapore. The MBA program costs 52,000 euros, approximately 68,800 US dollars.

6. Columbia University’s Columbia Business School in New York costs $49,728 per year.

7. IE Business School in Spain costs 53 200 euros, approximately 70,380 US dollars.

8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sloan School of Management costs $48,650 per year.

9. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business costs $49,020 per year.

10. Hong Kong UST Business School in China ranks as the tenth best MBA program in the world and costs $53,900.

To prepare for applying to graduate programs, check out a popular, online GMAT course.

The Top 10 MBA Programs in the United States

The top 10 MBA programs in the United States are ranked by US News and World Report each year and while the same schools often place near the top, the order does frequently change from year to year. The following are the rankings of the best programs in the United States from 2010. Each school’s tuition is listed at the 2009-2010 cost for a full-time student. Choosing the right school requires research about the program, but looking into the top universities can be a great place for potential MBA candidates to start.

1. Harvard University’s Business School tied with Stanford University for the top program in 2010. Harvard costs $46,150 per year.
2. Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business tied with Harvard for the top program in 2010. Stanford costs $51,321 per year.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sloan School of Management costs $48,650 per year.

4. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management costs $49,074 per year.

5. University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business costs $49,020 per year.

6. University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School costs $46,600 per year.

7. Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business tied with the University of California Berkeley on the list of top MBA programs. Dartmouth costs $47,835 per year.

8. University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business tied with Dartmouth College on the list. In-state tuition is $36,472 per year, making it the best value on the list for California residents. Out-of-state tuition is $45,672 per year.

9. Columbia University’s Columbia Business School tied with New York University and costs $49,728 per year.

10. New York University’s Stern School of Business tied with Columbia University and costs $43,100 per year.

The Average Cost of MBA Programs in the United States

Earning a Masters in Business Administration can be an important step in your career. For professionals in business, finance or other related fields, it can be a step towards significant career advancement. Earning an advanced degree can also be a serious investment that often requires significant planning and budgeting to make it a reality.

An MBA program has its straightforward costs, such as tuition, but it has other costs as well. You will not typically be able to work full-time during an MBA program and must consider the loss of income during the time period as part of the cost.

The average cost of an MBA program in the United States is between $40,000 and $60,000 per year and the standard program is two years. Many schools help students to budget actual costs by laying out not only the cost of tuition, but the cost of supplementary materials as well. For example, Harvard Business School costs $48,600 in tuition each year along with an addition $4,650 program support fee that covers textbooks and web-based program materials.

The majority of people entering business school have some work experience. This will be helpful in guiding them towards the right program and giving them support as they make decisions to advance their career within a company or look for a new job. Some employers will be able to provide financial assistance to employees whose careers warrant the investment in an advanced degree.

Working professionals may want to consider programs that cater to people with full-time jobs that cannot afford to take the time off to complete a degree full time. Another alternative is to look into accelerated programs that focus on a heavy course load in a shorter period of time to help shorten the period of time when students must go without a full salary.

Making the decision to go to business school is an important decision and an investment in your future career and potential earnings. Depending on your projected career path, earning the degree is an investment that stands to quickly pay for itself.

Top 10 Tips for Time Management in Business School

Time management is essential for success in business school. By applying these tips, you can establish organizational and time management techniques that will work for you.

1. Keep calendars that make sense for you. By now, you should have a good sense of your work habits, potential trouble areas, and how you best manage information. For more visual people, this may mean having a large wall calendar where you can keep track of classes, assignments, work, and blocks of study time.

2. Write everything down. While students today have many options for electronic calendars and organizers, there is value in keeping traditional to-do lists. Get in the habit of writing down a daily schedule and goals for the day that you can check off as they get done. The act of writing down priorities will help focus your mind on the present.

3. Remember what works. Think about your high school and undergraduate years, particularly if you have been out of school for a few years. Remembering the study habits that worked for you then can help you translate them into time management skills that will work now.

4. Learn to prioritize from the moment you are given an assignment. As you do this, it will become second nature to order your work. This mental exercise will help you throughout business school and in your career.

5. Break everything down. Courses in business school are often built around one or more large assignments that can seem overwhelming at first. Focus on breaking each assignment into manageable pieces and set your own deadlines to stay on track.

6. Tune into your natural clock. While much of the real world operates from nine to five, in business school, it’s important to know when you are at your best. Schedule blocks of study time and classes for the time of day when your brain is engaged. For some people this will mean studying in the morning, for others, night classes and studying at night will make more sense.

7. Fight procrastination. Procrastination is the enemy of any student. In business school, it is even more important to banish it from your study habits. Make “do it now” your mantra and whenever you are tempted for put off an assignment until later, remember that in the time you spend procrastinating, you could already be halfway done.

8. Have a work space. Set aside an area, a private office or just a corner of your room, to use only for schoolwork. You will get in the habit of focusing when you are at your desk and relaxing when you are not.

9. Make time for breaks. Taking time to relax and participate in activities you enjoy can help you to perform better academically too. Breaks will keep you from getting over-stressed.

10. Ask for advice. Don’t forget to use your professors as a resource. They can be a great source of time management and study tips. They will often be happy to offer their advice.

GMAT Analytical Writing Section

The Analytical Writing Assessment is one of the three parts of the GMAT exam. It is designed to test critical thinking skills and to measure the test taker’s ability to communicate information effectively. GMAT test prep is important to get test takers prepared to handle each of the Analytical Writing Assessment sections. Online test prep is often a particularly good option as it allows individuals to make their own schedule and complete GMAT test prep whenever they have free time.
The Analytical Writing Assessment is divided into two 30-minute essays. The first is the Analysis of an Issue and the second an Analysis of an Argument. Each essay is deigned to gauge the test taker’s ability to write analytically and present cohesive ideas. While the essay topics generally cover topics related to business, they should not require any prior knowledge of the subject. Taking GMAT practice tests is a great way to become familiar with the type of essay prompt that will appear on the exam.

The Analysis of an Issue section requires test takers to analyze an issue and form a point of view. There is no correct answer to this section and it is important to consider perspectives. The essay should express an articulate, thought-out position on the given issue. Test takers should draw from their own experiences, reading, and prior knowledge base t back up their opinion.

The Analysis of an Argument section tests the ability to read and critique an argument that is given in the prompt. Test takers should not bring their own views into this essay, but simply analyze the opinion that is given in the argument. The essay should consider what assumptions have been made in the argument and cite any information that could weaken the argument.

It is important to manage time effectively throughout the exam to be sure that you have time to complete each essay to the best of your ability. Preparing for the Analytical Writing Assessment can be challenging, but with the right GMAT test prep plan, you can enter the exam feeling ready to handle any essay prompt with ease.


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