Personal MBA Coach’sMBA Admissions com

Table of Contents03About Personal MBA Coach04Comprehensive Packages Overview05Enhancing Your Extracurricular Profile06Your GMAT, GRE & Executive Assessment FAQs08Less Is More When It Comes to WritingCompelling MBA Application Essays10Short Answer Questions, Optional Essays andVideos124 “Seemingly Obvious” Application Mistakes14Personal MBA Coach’s MBA ApplicationChecklist15How to Maximize Your Chance for an MBAScholarship18Testimonials

A B OU T P E R S O NA L M B A COACHPersonal MBA Coach has helped hundreds of applicants aroundthe world get into top MBA, EMBA, part-time MBA and graduateprograms including HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago Booth,Kellogg, Columbia GSB, Dartmouth Tuck, MIT Sloan, LondonBusiness School, INSEAD, Yale SOM, UVA Darden, Duke Fuqua,Berkeley Haas, NYU Stern and many more, as well as advancingtheir careers with a 96% success rate.Personal MBA Coach was founded in 2008 by Scott Edinburgh,a former management consultant and industry strategist withan MBA from Wharton and a BS from MIT. With a boutique andpersonalized approach, Scott helps turn analytical, generalmanagement and client services experiences into the powerfuland convincing stories that admissions committee members arelooking for. Personal MBA Coach helps clients through all aspectsof the application process, including application strategy, preapplication planning, GMAT/GRE/EA prep and school selection.Scott is on the Board of Directors and is a Committee Chairof AIGAC (Association of International Graduate AdmissionsConsultants: an organization that meets annually with admissionsdirectors of the top 25 schools globally). Learn how Personal MBACoach can make your dreams a reality by walking you step by stepthrough the entire process.W H AT S E T S P E R S O N A L M B A CO A C H A PA R TFounded by Scott Edinburgh, a Wharton MBA, member ofAIGAC Board of Directors and industry veteran with 14 yearsof admissions consulting experienceScott presents globally and was invited to present toadmissions directors at GMAC conferencePrior corporate experience to inform your essays and goals,including consulting, banking and strategyFormer M7 admissions directors and M7 MBA interviewerson our teamFlexible scheduling and fast turnaround timesPersonalized and customized GMAT/GRE/EA tutoringOne point of contactS E R V I C E S O F F E RE D Comprehensive PackagesGMAT/GRE/EA TutoringInterview PreparationWaitlist SupportGut CheckEarly MBA PlanningDirect, honest feedbackInternal network of former clients at all top schoolspersonalmbacoach.com3

Comprehensive Packages Overview1. Develop Your StoryThe boutique one-on-one approach begins day 1. With a kickoff call ormeeting, Scott will learn all about you and your aspirations. Together youwill select target schools, articulate your DISTINCT story and fine-tune yourgoals. 2. Resume ReviewVirtually all professional resumes need to be tailored for business schoolapplications. Your resume will be updated from top to bottom, as many timesas it takes to bring it to perfection.3. Essay Brainstorming and Unlimited Essay EditingBuilding from YOUR personal story, we will brainstorm topics and reviewaward winning essays. Send your essays back for detailed edits and feedbackas many times as it takes to get them right, with fast two-day turnaround anddirect and honest insight.4. LOR SupportDon’t underestimate this crucial step. Scott will guide you through selectingthe ideal recommenders and preparing them so your LORs shine and alignwith your overall application.5. Interview PreparationSeal the deal with detailed interview guides and mock interviews with formerM7 admissions interviewers, followed by written feedback. For Wharton/Ross,we will conduct group mock interviews and for HBS we include post interviewreflection support.6. Waitlist Strategy and Post Acceptance Supportendendwhenyouyouhit submit.Whetheryou areorOur relationshiprelationshipdoesn’tdoes notwhenhit tt willcontinuesupport.his personalsupport.Findout towait listed.orScottwill continuehis personalFind outhow eceiveadviceonwhichreach out to get off the wait list and receive advice on which school best withformerclientsatyourgoals. He will connect you with former clients at your future school as you joinfuture school as you join the small Personal MBA Coach alumni family andthe small Personal MBA Coach alumni family and attend Personal MBA Coachattend Personal MBA Coach alumni networking events.alumni networking events.personalmbacoach.com4

Enhancing Your Extracurricular ProfileStrengthening extracurricular profiles is one of the key areas Personal MBA Coach works onwith MBA candidates early in the application process.There are three key guiding principles to keep in mind when developing your ownextracurricular strategy.1) Quality over quantityNo one has the time to work with 10 different organizations. Having a laundry list of activitiesis not going to appeal to admissions committee members. Instead, focus your efforts onorganizations or areas where you can have a real impact and add value. There is no “right”number of activities; this will vary from client to client and depend on the depth of your work.However, more often than not, less is more, particularly if you are just getting started now.2) Focus on leadershipYou have probably heard this time and time again, but it is important enough to repeat.Business schools want leaders. This is true for all schools, not just HBS. While thereare countless ways that you can (and should) display leadership throughout your profile,extracurricular activities are one great opportunity to do so. Look for an organization whereyou can step up, or explore options to expand your role at an existing organization. Take thetime now to do this so that you have clear results to share come essay time.3) Activities should fit with your profileSuccessful applications share a consistent and impactful story. The reader should instantlysee who you are, what has defined you and why you have made specific choices. Choose areasthat you are passionate about and that fit with your story. For example, if you want a career asan educational consultant, consider volunteering in the education industry. If your passion istennis, give tennis lessons to underprivileged children in your neighborhood. You do not needto pick the most unique or prestigious charity. Instead, do what you love!During application time, you will find many strategic ways to use your activities to fill in gaps inyour profile. Do not underestimate the importance of extracurriculars and get started today!personalmbacoach.com5

Your GMAT, GRE & Executive Assessment FAQsTesting, testing, testing! For better or for worse, GMAT, GRE and Executive Assessment (EA)are key topics of conversation throughout the application process. Below are the questionsPersonal MBA Coach is asked most often about the MBA admissions testing.Q. How important is the GMAT/GRE?A. While these tests are not the be all and end all and are just one part of the application, theyare very important. Further, they will play a more important role for some candidates than forothers. If you are applying with a weaker academic record or from a field of study that is lessanalytically intensive, your score (particularly your quantitative scores) will be key to showingthat you can handle the academic rigor of an MBA program. In addition, if you are applyingfrom an overrepresented applicant pool, differentiating yourself with a strong GRE/GMAT willbe even more important.Q. What score do I need to get?A. While naturallly this varies from school to school, it is becoming less common to seestudents earn admission to the top 10-20 schools with a GMAT score below 700. For theWharton class of 2022, the average GMAT was 722 (the average GRE was 161V/161Q). ForColumbia Business School, the class of 2022 average was 726. Harvard Business Schoolreported a median GMAT score of 730 and a median GRE score of 163V/163Q for the class of2022.When determining your target score, researching average scores is a great way to start. Whilethose with a very strong profile, a unique background or from an underrepresented applicantpool could enjoy success with a below-average score, it is becoming less common to seelarge numbers of applicants succeed with scores more than 20-30 points below average.In addition, in some cases, such as the ones discussed in the previous questions, you mayneed to score 20-30 points above the average even to be on the same playing field as otherapplicants.Q. What should I take, the GMAT or the GRE?A. This question is much easier to answer: candidates should take whichever test they canscore better on. Schools do not have a preference between the two tests, the GRE is becomingmore common and average data is becoming easier to find. Personal MBA Coach’s advice is topersonalmbacoach.com6

Your GMAT, GRE & Executive Assessment FAQs (cont.)take a practice test for each and see which one comes more naturally to you. Generally,if quant is a strength the GMAT may be your friend while those stronger in verbal tend toprefer the GRE. Further, if you have taken one test many times and have not been successful,consider changing gears and trying the other test. Of course, you will need additionalpreparation for this new test, but that may be worth the effort!Q. How many times should I take the test?A. GMAT scores are valid for 5 years AND you can take the exam up to 5 times during a12-month period. There is also a lifetime max of 8 tests and you can take the test only onceevery 16 calendar days.Further, you can cancel your score and the report does not go to the school if you are nothappy with the result. This change has led to candidates taking the exam multiple times. Ouraverage candidate now sits for the exam 2-4 times (with some giving the test as many as 6or 7 shots.) While this policy may seem great, it has caused average GMAT scores to rise, asmore candidates cancel low attempts.Q. How should I prepare for the GMAT/GRE?A. Think about how you learn best and use this to inform your study plan. Personal MBACoach feels that most applicants do best with one-on-one tutoring, allowing the applicant totarget areas where he or she is struggling the most. For this reason, we offer a variety of oneon-one tutoring packages with tutors who scored in the 99th percentile.Q. What is the Executive Assessment (EA) exam?A. The EA exam was designed for experienced professionals interested in pursuing advancededucation and is most often used by those applying for EMBA programs (some Part-Timeprograms are now also accepting the EA). The 90-minute exam was created to assess theskills and knowledge of experienced professionals and evaluate business school readiness.Currently, Berkeley Haas, Chicago Booth, Columbia Business School, Duke Fuqua, INSEAD,London Business School, MIT Sloan, Kellogg, NYU Stern, UCLA Anderson, UVA Darden,Wharton and Yale SOM are included in the list of programs accepting the EA for Executive MBAcandidates. Personal MBA Coach provides dedicated one-on-one EA tutoring.personalmbacoach.com7

Less Is More When It Comes to Writing Compelling MBAApplication EssaysPersonal MBA Coach spends the greatest amount of time with our clients on the actualediting process, helping clients maximize each available word. Even with MBA essays thathave no word limits, it is crucial to be succinct.Here are our top four tips for writing more with fewer words.1) Resist the urge to include unrelated detailsBusiness applicants are accomplished. Naturally, it can be tempting to try to include as manyof these accomplishments as possible in your application essays. However, it is crucial thatyou avoid this urge.For each application essay, think about what the question asks and why the admissionscommittee is asking this question. Do not include any detail that does not cover this whator why. For example, a question asking how an MBA will help does not require hundreds ofwords on your past professional success, however impressive it may be. Similarly, a questionon career goals does not require you to explain the industry dynamics in detail or the reasonsbehind your perspective on the industry. With each sentence you add to your essays, considerthe question you are actually answering. If it is not related to the question asked, cut it!2) Avoid repetitionWith limited words available to sell yourself, there is rarely a need to say anything twice.Regardless of how successful you might have been in your role, admissions committeemembers do not need to read about it multiple times. Whether you founded a non-profit, werethe first in your class to be promoted, or were a Division I athlete, tell each story one time.While naturally you can (and should) touch on a broad theme or aspect of your personal storyfrom multiple angles, this is not the same as repeating the same story.3) Leverage all aspects of the applicationUse all aspects of your application to your advantage. Even for schools requiring very shortessays, there are countless other aspects of the application to pay attention to. Ensure everypiece counts! Take the time to carefully craft answers to your short-answer questions. Prepareyour recommenders to ensure their stories complement (but do not reiterate) yours. Use everypersonalmbacoach.com8

Less Is More When it Comes to Writing Compelling MBAApplication Essays (cont.)line in your resume as efficiently as possible to show your leadership and success. Inaddition, video essays and pre/post interview essays provide other ways to sell yourself.Leave plenty of time for these application extras.In fact, Personal MBA Coach advises our round 1 clients to finish their essays by the end ofJuly (and round 2 clients to finish by late November) whenever possible to allocate adequatetime to other crucial MBA application components.4) Look for every opportunity to trim wordsAs we have said countless times, edit, edit, edit. Ensure every word counts. If there is a way tosay it more succinctly, do! Cutting excess words will lead to stronger writing while giving youextra space to cover details that really set you apart. You’d be surprised how an attentive eyecan cut 50-100 words from a 400-word essay without deleting a single piece of true content.personalmbacoach.com9

Short Answer Questions, Optional Essays and VideosWhile the essay questions may get the bulk of your attention, there are other crucialapplication components that require significant effort including short answer questions,optional essays and videos. Below is Personal MBA Coach’s advice on how to tackle each.Short Answer QuestionsDo not underestimate the importance of the short answer questions. Set aside adequatetime to perfect these answers. Many schools, including HBS, have lengthy short answersections that will require significant time. These questions serve a few important purposes.First, they allow you to share additional aspects of your candidacy. Naturally, there are manyaccomplishments and traits that you will not cover in your application essays; this is yourchance to share these important successes.Second, the format of the short answer section also allows admissions committee membersto easily compare you to your peers. Ensure you take the time to stand out by carefullyselecting the accomplishments discussed. Wherever possible, these answers should becomplementary and not repetitive.Finally, short answer questions are a test of consistency and cohesion. The voice used hereshould match that shared throughout your essays and should paint a credible and concreteimage of who you are as a candidate.Optional EssaysMost schools offer candidates the chance to complete an optional essay. However, DO NOTfeel compelled to answer these questions. In most instances, Personal MBA Coach advisesonly candidates with extenuating circumstances to provide additional information here. (Thereare a few schools where we advise all candidates to answer the optional question, but this isthe exception and not the rule.) Such extenuating circumstances include low GPAs, gaps inemployment and an unusual choice of recommenders (i.e., not asking a direct supervisor).Keep in mind with these essays: be brief and to the point. Do not offer long-winded excuses orany more information than is needed.personalmbacoach.com10

Short Answer Questions, Optional Essays and Videos (cont.)VideosVideos essays are increasingly used by top programs to assess applicants. After all, you willhave limited career success if you are unable to nail an interview, so this is the admissionscommittees’ way of evaluating your physical presence / delivery. For some schools, such asMIT Sloan, the video question is provided in advance and applicants submit a pre-recordedvideo with their applications. For other schools, including Kellogg, Yale SOM, LondonBusiness School and INSEAD, applicants are asked to record videos on the spot within twodays to one week after submitting their applications.For these statements, be yourself. These videos offer admissions committee members thechance to learn more about you on a personal level. Potential topics include goals, passions,values and hobbies, among other more challenging questions. While you do not want tosound overly rehearsed, it is important to practice for these videos. If you have the question,write out a rough script in advance of filming. If you do not, practice sample questions. Asyou practice, consider factors such as audio quality, demeanor, and fluency in addition tothe content itself. Personal MBA Coach has proprietary software available and a list of priorquestions asked to help candidates prepare for these videos and includes analysis of samplevideos in its comprehensive packages.personalmbacoach.com11

4 “Seemingly Obvious” Application MistakesOver the years, Personal MBA Coach has seen some mistakes time and time again. Whilethey may seem obvious, they are also extremely common. Find out if you are one of the manyapplicants making these errors in their MBA essays.1) Using over-the-top languageThere is no need to add multiple flowery adjectives to your essay. This is particularly true ifyou are using them to describe your accomplishments or praise the school. You do not needto tell the schools that you developed a fabulously unique program or that the school hasincredibly famous and talented staff.Instead, describe the program that you created and show what makes it unique and fabulous.Similarly, discuss particular staff or organizations on campus you are most interested in andhow you will take advantage of them. Your word count is limited in nearly all essays so choosethem wisely.2) Being “cocky”There is a fine line between being proud of your accomplishments and being conceited.Business schools are looking for accomplished professionals, but they are also lookingfor compassionate students who will make thoughtful peers and colleagues. They wantcandidates that one would want to live, study and work with.There is a well-known “airport test” in the consulting industry when an interviewer considerswhether he or she would want to be stuck in an airport for hours with a prospective candidate.If the answer is no, that candidate has a slim chance of receiving an offer. Think about this asyou read through your essays and be sure to remain proud yet humble.3) Pointing out a mistake that wasn’t asked forNot being cocky does not necessarily mean you need to volunteer your flaws, however.Some questions specifically ask for an example of a failure or a weakness. Unless thisis the case, there is no need to point out your mistakes or volunteer negative informationabout yourself. Your essays provide a very limited opportunity to sell yourself so focus onyour strengths and your specific accomplishments.personalmbacoach.com12

4 “Seemingly Obvious” Application Mistakes (cont.)4) Not answering the questionThis is the most obvious and frequent flaw that we see. While you often need to readbetween the lines and dig a bit below the surface of the question, you still need toanswer the question. If a question asked for implications and learnings, include them. Ifa question asks for personal and professional goals, include both! Adding a bit about thesituation for context is ok, but in an essay that should be focused on goals, do not recountyour entire resume. Answer the question asked!personalmbacoach.com13

Personal MBA Coach’s MBA Application ChecklistWhile most checklists merely cover the basics, Personal MBA Coach challenges you to askthese 9 questions to assess whether your applications are REALLY ready!1) Is your story clear? Does the reader walk away knowing who you are and what matters toyou?2) Have you thought out and articulated why you want an MBA? To get promoted or to gain“business skills” are NOT good enough reasons.3) Are you consistent throughout all of the application components? Your resume, essays,short answer questions and letters of recommendation should all include the same generalmessage. Any inconsistencies are an instant red flag.4) Does your application include specific information about the target school? Admissionscommittee members read thousands of essays every year, and it is very easy for them todetermine who is genuinely interested in the school and knows a lot about the program.5) Are your letters of recommendation strong enough? Did you advise your recommenders touse specific examples and compare you to other candidates?6) Are your essays easy to read? Or do you find yourself re-reading paragraphs because youdo not see how they fit into the essay?7) Did you have someone else read your essays? This will give you an outsider’s objectiveopinion of your accomplishments and help to ensure you are talking about your experienceswith the right level of detail for someone outside of your industry.8) Do you have an MBA-specific resume? For an MBA resume, you want to show how you havebeen successful and demonstrated leadership. You are selling your future potential. Make surenot to get too detailed here, though.9) Have you actually answered every question? It can be tempting to go off-book or includeadditional information but schools ask each question for a specific reason. Ensure you areanswering the question asked and not offering what you think they want to hear.personalmbacoach.com14

How to Maximize Your Chance for an MBA ScholarshipPersonal MBA Coach is here to help you maximize your chances of MBA Scholarshipsuccess!First, let’s discuss the basics of MBA scholarships. Scholarships/fellowships fall into twomajor categories:1) Merit-based money offered as a result of the MBA applicationThe vast majority of scholarships are offered based on your original MBA application. They donot require you to submit anything additional. Schools offer this money to candidates they aretrying to attract (often away from other schools).This money can come directly from the school itself, having nothing to do with the applicant’sspecific demographic or professional background. Or the scholarship may be in collaborationwith another organization. While this other organization may suggest guidelines forconsideration, it is up to the schools to decide which candidates actually receive the award.For example, one of our partners, the Forté Foundation, gives the following guidelines toadmissions directors selecting Forté Fellowship recipients:- Candidates should exhibit exemplary leadership in one or more ways: academic leadership,team leadership, community leadership, and creative leadership.- Candidates should demonstrate a commitment to women and girls via personal mentorshipor community involvement. Such commitment is in alignment with the mission of FortéFoundation.- Schools are encouraged to nominate fellows from their schools who represent diverseeducational and work backgrounds, career goals, ethnicities and citizenship.2) Scholarships that students apply for directlyThese scholarships generally target specific candidates based on industry, ethnicity, gender,etc. A separate application is required for each of these scholarships, and specific criteriaapply. Examples include:personalmbacoach.com15

How to Maximize Your Chance for an MBA Scholarship (cont.)The Consortium (note: you can also apply to participating schools through the scholarshipapplication): Since 1966, we have offered more than 465 million in fellowships to the bestand brightest MBA students in the country. We have programs that cover full tuition andmandatory fees for two years of full-time study (Emory also offers a one-year program).The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans: The Paul and Daisy SorosFellowships for New Americans is a 90,000 merit-based fellowship exclusively forimmigrants and children of immigrants who are pursuing graduate school in the UnitedStates. The program draws nearly 1,800 applications annually for just 30 fellowships.Military MBA: Military MBA is an education network for military officers and NCOs who areinterested in obtaining and applying their MBA graduate degrees for career advancement. Werepresent MBA schools and prospective MBA students who have a background in the military.Now that we know the basics about MBA Scholarships, what can you do to maximize yourchances of earning one of these coveted scholarships? Here are 4 key tips from Personal MBACoach.1) Ensure your application stands out!The good news for candidates hoping to receive a scholarship is that the same advicePersonal MBA Coach provides on developing stand-out applications applies to earningscholarships, too (which is why our clients do so well!).Business schools look for well-rounded classes. For candidates hoping to secure extra , it iseven more crucial that your application tells a solid story about how you will add unique valueon campus.At the end of the day, the school wants to pay you to be one of the best students on campus.This can be because of your outstanding academic qualifications or because you willcontribute on campus in a unique way.2) Court your target schools.MBA admissions directors do not want to hand out precious money only to lose the candidatepersonalmbacoach.com16

How to Maximize Your Chance for an MBA Scholarship (cont.)to another top MBA program. Therefore, while it is not required, getting to know a schoolnever hurts your chances of getting scholarship funds.There are many options for reaching out to and connecting with your target MBA programs.In the best-case scenario, you will build a rapport with an admissions representative anddirectly improve your chances of earning a scholarship.Even if this does not happen, attending online events and interacting with the school you hopeto attend will give you valuable material to make your essays stand out. Remember, studentsare often the most valuable resources since admissions directors may not be as available tochat with you.3) Submit your applications as early as possible.With a limited amount of money to go around, the earlier you can get your applications in, thebetter. Schools also want to be sure that their classes are filled with well-rounded studentsand are more likely to use scholarships to ensure this earlier in the process.By round 3, there is likely to be less money left. That said, scholarships sometimes do open upeven late in the year!4) Excel in as many areas as possible.While this may seem obvious, we often see candidates who have a decent GMAT/GRE scorebut have not put in the extra effort to maximize it. If you took the test once and did littlepreparation, consider getting a tutor to reach your full potential!Similarly, we see candidates who do not want to dedicate time outside of the office to beef uptheir extracurricular profiles.While we always advise that candidates put their best foot forward, this is even more crucialfor those looking for a scholarship. Scholarship recipients most often excel in multiple areas.personalmbacoach.com17

TESTIMONIALSIf you’re going to hire a consultant, hire Scott. Hands down, he was the most straightforward and helpful ofthe 10 consultants I spoke with on the phone for initial intro calls. He also always kept his word and was veryresponsive, kind, and fair.From day 1, Scott was a value add and clearly very smart, and really helped me craftthe best possible version of my story. He will not do the work for you but will guide you towards your best workproduct and help your authentic voice shine through, which is really the best you can ask for in an admissionsconsultant! He also was super helpful in continuing to offer his support even after I was admitted to my dreamschool and looking for pre-MBA internships. The cherry on top is that he’s super positive and easy to work with!CO LU M B I A B U S I N E S S S C H O O LPersonal MBA Coach was an incredibly smart and rewarding investment. Scott couldn’t have been morehelpful and supportive throughout the entire application process. He took the time to understand mywhole story and helped solidify my ideas into a very compelling narrative. . He truly made this wholeapplication process much less daunting and I can’t thank him enough for that. I would enthusiasticallyrecommend Personal MBA Coach and can’t speak highly enough of Scott. Thanks for everything!C H I C A G O B O OT HComing from Europe with little knowledge about the US admissions process and what it takes to get in,I googled and ultimately contacted six admissions consultants. Scott and his team were by far the best– the personal touch in the very first conversation makes you quickly feel at ease. Even within our firstconversation, he could already tell where I should put my focus on and suggested

Table of Contents 03 About Personal MBA Coach 04 Comprehensive Packages Overview 05 Enhancing Your Extracurricular Profile 08 Less Is More When It Comes to Writing Compelling MBA Application Essays 12 4 “Seemingly Obvious” Application Mistakes 14 Personal MBA Coach’s MBA Application Checklist 15