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Paperback How to Get Into the Top MBA Programs Book

ISBN: 0735203199

ISBN13: 9780735203198

How to Get Into the Top MBA Programs

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Book Overview

Montauk, a savvy admissions insider, demystifies the MBA application process and provides the targeted tools to ace every step. He gives an up-close and candid view of what leading schools look for in an applicant, and gives applicants detailed advice on how to assess and upgrade their credentials.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

If you can only buy one MBA admissions book, make it this one...

If you could only buy one book on MBA admissions, make it this book. How to Get Into the Top MBA Programs is the most thorough and comprehensive guide to MBA admissions; Montauk answers nearly every possible question an MBA hopeful could have. The caveat is that because this book is slightly outdated, it is best paired with a more updated book like,"Your MBA Game Plan," by Omari Bouknight and Scott Shrum. Although Montauk has this new edition (I am referencing the 2nd edition, so be sure to get whatever the most recent edition is), I think Your MBA Game Plan puts forth some important, more up-to-date advice that is slightly different, because it comes from the perspective of recent admits to a top b-school. However, it is not nearly as comprehensive as Montauk's book. A short summary of the good and the bad: The Good: 1. Many great sample essays from a variety of candidates and a variety of schools. 2. A solid section on interviewing. 3. A very helpful section on MBA essay topics, why certain questions are asked and how to approach them. 4. School specific quotes from actual MBA admissions officers. 5. All the sample essays are not perfect - the commentary at the end of the essays shows this. This analysis can really help applicants analyze their own work and understand what works in a b-school essay and what doesn't. 6. Useful sections like Appendix I, a Personal Organizer, which will help candidates begin to analyze their own applicant profiles and start the process of highlighting strengths and mitigating weaknesses. The Bad: 1. This book overall would benefit from an even more recent edition. For example, there are sample essays in there at this point that would no longer work. I spoke with an admissions officer from Wharton who said, about one particular type of example, it almost never works. 2. Overall, I've seen some people rely a little too heavily on Montauk's book. Know that just because you "pattern" or "structure" your essay exactly like one in this book, it doesn't mean your essay will be a winning one. Use Montauk's book as a guide and a reference. It should be one of many data points that help you form your b-school application plans. 3. There is some advice he gives that I have heard actual admissions officers advise against (specifically in the chapter entitled,"How to Choose the Right School for You.") This is understandable given how old this book is. What I advise readers to do is to make sure they are in communication with admissions officers at their target schools. Make sure you visit schools, go to information sessions, talk to current students, alumni and faculty. When you have questions, ask them during the info sessions and/or even email the general admissions email address at your target school. So when reading a book like this, you can "bump" these quotes and information up against what current admissions committee members advise. Remember that schools always change and even those who make up the

Don't know where I'd be without this book!!!

I bought this book in September (very late considering application deadlines) when I decided to apply to Wharton, Ross (Mich), Darden (UVA), and Simon (Rochester). I didn't have a clue where I should begin with the essays, the recommendations, or knowledge of what admissions committees where looking for. I have a good amount of professional experience (9-10 years) and much of it international, but I also had a very poor undergraduate GPA (2.4) and an okay GMAT score (640). With that said, I didn't know how to maximize on strengths and minimize the weaknesses of my application. This books helped me to understand the application process, gave great examples of real essays used by prospective students that were admitted to top schools, and is filled with excerpts from some of the leading admissions directors, Like Rose Martinelli of Wharton, etc. This information allowed me to understand what schools where looking for, benchmark my essays against those in the book, and ultimately helped me produce a winning application in very short period of time. As a result, I was admitted to Ross (Michigan), Darden (UVA), and Simon (Rochester) - I also received scholarship offers from each and after an on-campus interview with Wharton, am waiting for my results. If you haven't done any research on applying to business school and are looking for a solid reference that you can use as a roadmap, I encourage you to buy this book.

A great book (but I have one regret)

Even if you are not planning to apply to business school for a year or more, consider buying this book or another like it NOW. I bought this book right before I began filling out the actual applications. It was tremendously helpful, with its sample essays and advice about packaging your application. And I was lucky and did end up getting into a top business program, even though I had only a couple of years of work experience. I do have one regret--I found myself wishing that I had bought the book significantly earlier. Why? For a number of reasons, which all boil down to the fact that a great deal of Montauk's advice concerns things you should be doing well in advance of the actual preparation of the application, such as (1) deciding whether to apply and when; and (2) what things to do to strengthen whatever weak points you may have. While other reader reviewers are correct in that you cannot change certain things about yourself and your candidacy (e.g., your intelligence and undergrad GPA), you CAN be savvy about building up a resume and a compelling story about why you should be admitted to the schools to which you are applying. Montauk has different sections of advice for different types of candidates (such as the candidate with a weak undergraduate record, the older candidate, and the inexperienced candidate), and much of his advice relates to things you can do in the years before you apply. (For instance, those with weak undergrad GPAs should build up alternate transcripts from certain types of post-college courses. But to make use of that advice, you have to get that advice in time to take such courses!)There is a reason why some kids start getting college counseling in 8th grade (a terrible phenomenon)--the successful applicant gets specific advice years ahead of time. Business school is no different. Montauk has an amazing amount of great advice, but a lot of it will be wasted if you wait until you are actually filling out the applications. Good luck!

A very good book for getting your act together for MBA Apps

"How to Get into the Top MBA Programs" is a very good resource on the business school application process. The book expounds upon three points very well: 1. Know yourself. Understand why you are considering a business school, determine what you expect to get out of it, and identify which programs are best for *your needs*. Be honest with yourself.Assuming you've determined an MBA program is the way you need to go, you have to determine which offering is most appropriate. Objectively evaluate schools, don't blindly go off of the numerous "rankings." These are purely quantitative and may not be the best fit. (For example, if you want to do marketing and not finance, Northwestern might be a better choice than Wharton.) Evaluate programs, interview alumni and current students, and VISIT campus. Pay attention to any "gut" feel.2. Market your strengths and weaknesses.The ideal applicant will have a 4.0 undergraduate GPA, 800 GMAT, speak seventeen languages, served president of IBM, and have several gold medals in swimming. If this doesn't describe you, you're "just folks" (to borrow from Harry Bauld) and need to market yourself.Montauk has some interesting generalizations for backgrounds (e.g., engineer, sales) and their general strengths and weaknesses.One valuable suggestion is to choose and manage your recommenders. They should say what they want, and in their own words, but you can help guide the perspectives they emphasize on your candidacy so you come across as a multidimensional applicant.The essay writing suggestions are generally very good, especially the "angle" that some of the questions are taking. (This is very similar to the "Knock 'em Dead" by Martin Yate.) However, for actually writing your essay, I would strongly recommend reading "On Writing the College Application Essay" by Harry Bauld.3. Stay on top of the admissions process. To a great extent, this is really "make sure everyone gets stuff when they should." Provide dossiers for your recommenders, make sure you have a completed application in on time, follow up with people.Because the application process is competitive, Montauk offers suggestions on reinforcing your candidacy be waitlisted or are called in for an interview.--Throughout each chapter, Montauk includes comments from various directors of admissions. These basically reiterate what the text says and (especially for the US schools) are a regurgitation of things you'd read in the applications packet. For example, "The GMAT score is as important as any other single element in the admissions process." Duh, otherwise it wouldn't be required.Overall, this is a very good book, offering a lot of perspective on the self-evaluation and application processes.

Finally! Honest help with the essays!

Most authors of "how to get into B-school" books have the same old advice, but Montauk goes the extra step to illustrate how it's done with dozens upon dozens of real-world examples. Where this book shines above its competition is in how it handles the one thing applicants to top business schools can *really* do something about: Their essays. GPA and GMAT speak for themselves and when it comes time to fill out the applications and write the essays, there are only so many ways to spin those numbers. They are cold hard numbers, and that's the point: You can't spin numbers without whining. The single best piece of advice Montauk offers is to emphasize the strengths in your background that are not-so-obvious. After reading this book, an electrical engineer with a 99%ile score on the quantitative section of the GMAT would understand that he doesn't need to do a thing to convince the admissions committee at Columbia of his ability to handle the quantitative nature of the program. Instead, he would spend most of the essays emphasizing his experience with softer skills -- those things that are not readily noticed from a look at his education and work experience. Many books in this class have a too-general perspective, but Montauk provides a method, especially with the essays, that helps the applicant through a thorough self-evaluation which can be translated into an intelligent, honest, and effective strategy. This book has totally revamped my notion of what a great application should be. Look elsewhere for information on choosing the schools to which you apply, but get this book -- dare say it's essential -- to figure out how to get in!
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