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The Best Business Schools' Admissions Secrets: A Former Harvard Business School Admissions Board Member Reveals the Insider Keys to Getting In Paperback – July 1, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"gives insider knowledge into what the members of the admissions board look for in an application (and a candidate)...Excellent resources for MBA candidates" - BusinessWeek.com

About the Author

Chioma Isiadinso was an Assistant Director of Admissions and a Member of the Admissions Board at Harvard Business School. Prior to working at Harvard, she was Director of Admissions at Carnegie Mellon University School of Public Policy and Management. She lives in New York.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402212135
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402212130
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #592,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jaewoo Kim VINE VOICE on September 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very sound book focused on the admissions to the top 8 MBA programs. The only regret I have with this book is that I wish I had read it earlier.

The author provides deep insights into how each applicant is evaluated. MBA admissions to the top business schools is not all about GMAT and GPA.

In order to be admitted to the top 5 business schools in particular, one needs to show tremendous leadership and other WOW factors. One needs to foster good relationships with potential MBA recommenders. And don't forget the arduous preparation for GMAT.

Unfortunately, one can't just build a MBA WOW factor in few months. It may take years to build extracurricular credentials and leadership experience that an MBA program would find compelling and credible (it is too late to join the Peace Corp 3 months before the application).

This would be an ideal book to read for those who just finished their undergraduate program and would like to attend an MBA program in a few years. It will provide quite helpful tips on how to prepare for the grueling and challenging MBA admissions process in a top school. DO NOT think high GMAT and GPA will guarantee you admission into a top MBA program (although they will surely help).

To summarize the book, one needs to build a compelling personal brand and allow other parts of the application,interview, and recommendation confirm that brand. DO NOT write boring and trite essays that will put admission officers to sleep. Make your essays interesting and compelling with a touch of humor. The book also outlines a list of things an MBA applicant should never do in the essays, interviews, and recommendations.
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Format: Paperback
I have "The Best Business Schools Admissions Secrets" and successfully used its concepts religiously through the application process last year.

The book's author Chioma helps one really identify and define one's 'brand' so that there is a consistent thread throughout one's application. The author helps you craft a great application from stories made up of choices you've made, extracurriculars you've taken a critical role in, relationships you build, to interesting situations you've experienced. She debunks myths and provides insight into the mysterious admissions office and what they are looking for (helping applicants identify strong personal stories of impact vs. stories that are unimpressive). Additionally, Chioma covers all aspects important to the process including resume, interviews, and recommenders which are crucial to supporting your candidacy.

I got into 3 out of 4 of the schools I applied to and will be attending HBS next year. Thus, I highly recommend the book!
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Format: Paperback
Wow, this book is one of the best admissions book I've ever read. And I've read many including Montauk, Bodine, Cordon, etc.I will put it at the same level as Montauk's book if not better. The author goes straight to the point and doesn't bore you with unnecessary info. I love her idea of asking the prospective applicant to think about personal branding during the entire admissions process.

[Extract] Chioma Isiadinso: "I focus The Best Business Schools' Admissions Secret on personal branding as it relates to the admissions process...The greatest mistake applicants to business schools make is that their applications lack a compelling brand. Most applicants pay way too much attention trying to "game" the system and figure out what the admissions boards want to hear instead of taking a step back to assess their own stories and to present them in an authentic, powerful way."

I would recommend any Bschool applicant to at least go through the book before making his or her pitch to the admissions boards.
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After reading various MBA application books cover to cover, this book stands out immediately for its overall quality, methodical writing, and, most importantly, its specific insight. Montauk's book is still a great starting guide for providing a broad foundation. Montauk's and Bodine's books also give a variety of great sample essays. This book is more advanced, concise, and specific with insights that help demystify the application process from start to end. Its advice on branding is the best available, and the focal points for the essays and interview clarify key elements the applicant can control. This may become the most acclaimed book for the MBA application process. As another critic has said, it is one of the best if not the best book on this topic.
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This book was very helpful in my MBA admissions process. I initially purchased this book because my GMAT and GPA stats were just below the 80% median that my school typically accepted. I knew that I would need a very strong application to offset those stats, and I think this book really helped me distinguish me from the other applicants. This book is an easy read, is organized well, and has some great tips. I ended up getting into my first choice school, so I'm very happy with my purchase.
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I have purchased 4 business school admissions booked and read tons of websites. This book goes over the basics just fine but when it comes to actionable advice on essay writing, it falls flat. It's filled with pointless acronyms for various techniques but does not go the extra step to show you how to implement. This is the worst of the books I bought.
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