Best guide to business school applications out there: “Great Applications For Business School” by Paul Bodine


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If you are applying to Wharton, use the second edition of Paul Bodine’s best selling guide to business school applications Great Applications for Business School. Second Edition. This very practical, no-nonsense instruction manual covers everything an applicant needs to know about putting together a strong competitive application to Wharton or any other leading business school in the world.

The volume is filled with rare goodies for every stage of business school application process from planning to execution. Every chapter is generously supported with encouraging real-life examples: sample application essays, recommendation letters, opinions of admissions officers at the best schools, etc. Paul shares his rich expertise in defining application strategy, uncovers the secret ins and outs of effective essay writing, gives practical advice on selecting and educating recommenders and preparing for admissions interview. He also devotes a whole section of the book to Wait List strategies: this may especially be useful in light of the latest trend at the top business schools who lately seem to place an increasing number of applicants on Wait Lists.

The key to the successful application is a thorough self-analysis. As in the first edition of the book, Paul continues to stress the importance of serious introspection. This sincere and objective look at yourself will help you find the strongest set of “self-marketing handles”, i.e. “a short personal “marketing” message [...] that integrates the key themes (strengths, values, experiences, interests) you want you application to communicate”. Needless to say, the book offers plenty of advice on how to approach this process.

The major focus of the book is on writing. While the scope of this focus spans from résumé to essays, the major emphasis is made–and justifiably so–on specific types of essays commonly required by leading business schools, e.g. the Goals Essay, the Accomplishment Essay, different variations of the Self-Revelation Essays, i.e. Passion, Diversity, Strength/Weakness Essays, etc. The readers will also find practical tips on the tactics of using the Optional Essay. Paul’s view is that it is in the best interest of the applicant to use the Optional Essay, and I cannot agree with him more: it can be a powerful application tool. The author gives a dearth of advice on how to approach each type of essay. Of particular value is the surgical precision, with which the application pitfalls are highlighted: almost every section of the book is supplied with a “What Not to Do” instruction.

This wonderful book is a must have for all serious MBA applicants: it is precise, well written and to-the-point.