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The MBA Reality Check: Make the School You Want, Want You Paperback – AC-3, April 6, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review



About the Author

David M. Thomas has recently retired as Vice-President Academic of Malaspina University-College, in Nanaimo, BC. Educated in the United Kingdom, France, and Canada, he has held a number of senior academic administrative appointments in addition to teaching. He has a PhD in political science from the University of Calgary; is author of Whistling Past the Graveyard: Constitutional Abeyances, Quebec, and the Future of Canada; was a co-editor of Braving the New World: Readings in Contemporary Politics; and is the editor of the first two editions of Canada and the United States: Differences that Count.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall Press (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735204489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735204485
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book was given to me as a gift when I first told my family I was going to get my MBA. Honestly, I let it sit around until I actually started my applications and didn't know what direction to go in with my essays. Reading through this book really helped me to pin-point why exactly I wanted to get an MBA and what made me a unique candidate. After reading through it cover-to-cover, I also kept it handy throughout the process, from essay writing, to recommendation gathering, to preparing for the interview. I applied early to my top choice school, and I got in! The most important take-away from this book is that MBA programs are looking for a diverse class, so it does you no good to focus on your high test grades, good GPA, or stellar work experience. Those stats are already presented in your application. Make sure you highlight what makes you different and unique. I highly recommend this book for all people serious about applying to top, or even mid MBA programs.
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MBA Reality Check is a refreshingly candid and colorful read with excellent pointers for anyone considering applying to an MBA program, grad school, or even college! Evan and David never hesitate to tell the truth and speak to their rich experience with hundreds of clients. So many books offer up a magic formula to writing the "right" essay or crafting the "right" application. Evan and David take an alternate path, one grounded in authenticity rather than posturing. The key to creating an application that will stand out from the pack is to craft an application that is genuine, that comes from a place of honesty, passion, vulnerability. The authors give dozens of examples of students who take the right kind of risks with their essays, and allow the admissions readers to get glimpses of their character, their fears, their deepest desires. Essays like these are innately inspiring, and they simply ring true. Authenticity is powerful!

I have personally broken out my copy of the MBA reality check on multiple occasions to illustrate to students what it looks like to take the right risks in their applications. The book beautifully lays out "before" and "after" examples from a wide variety of students with greatly divergent life experiences. This is incredibly instructive. There is no ideal essay; but there is an essay that goes deeper, that cuts through the marketing into the depth of one's experiences. I use this book to inspire my students- take the risk- put yourself out there. Don't be afraid of letting people in to see your wounds or your deepest desires; that's the most powerful tool you have to recruit and engage others. We're all part of the human team, and we can move and inspire others when we let our true colors shine.

I highly recommend this book!
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Format: Paperback
This book really worked for me for a lot of reasons. Least important but most interesting was the tone--these guys seem to really enjoy what they do and the book reads like they have a great time doing it. It helps to have a sense of humor when the subject matter is so heavy.

But when it really counts, helping me get into a top program, that's where this book is truly effective. It works because almost every chapter is centered around a real person (or more than one person) who has already gone through the process and has all the same questions and fears that I have right now. Evan Forster writes about his one-on-one experience helping these people like it's a little short story. I found it both engaging and entertaining, but most of all, useful and practical.

The book is in three parts:

I) "Upping your game" in advance of applying (you will find this useful even if you're not applying for another year or two, or frankly even if you're applying for a job).

II) The essays. This part has some of the funniest chapters. I loved how you can read the applicants' personal struggles with the essay topics, how they resolved them, and then finally get to read the actual essay they came up with afterward. That's the best part--seeing how their thinking about the topics turns into an actual essay. I especially loved the "Sadie the Sasquatch" story.

III) After you've submitted the app. This includes waitlist and re-app stuff (hope I don't have to deal with these chapters, so I just skimmed them). Loved the chapter on interview skills.

There are also workbooks in the back that help you organize your thoughts and think about your life/experiences in new ways. Guys, if you read this, make the workbooks available online in PDF format!
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Format: Paperback
As a candidate who has been aspiring to go for an MBA program for about half a decade, I own a lot of books on MBA admissions but this is the only one that I have read cover to cover.

The MBA Reality Check is Fresh! It is not a slapdash effort having a 'one size, fit all' approach, instead it makes one truly re-discover himself. It makes one peel layers and layers of his personality, layers that one usually doesn't even know exist. Writing B-school apps is not a surgical process and that is exactly what Evan and David make you realize. It's about self-realization and demonstrating the real you.

The MBA Reality Check is Honest! David and Evan are in your face and unrelenting. They do not accept superficial stuff; as narrated in the book may times over they force their candidates to be truthful, to bring out their real self and not hide behind business jargon or say stuff that they think the Ad Com wants to hear.

The most important thing about the book is that it is NOT preachy, instead it uses humor to drive home their message.
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