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January 16, 2004


Today's Washington Business Journal features a comprehensive guest column by AdmissionsConsultants President David Petersam. The article explores the career value of MBA education and provides a step-by-step guide, from how to assess your chances for admission to an MBA program to preparing for applications and interviews.

Petersam writes that potential applicants should:

Be aware that perfection is not a guarantee; eight out of eight Stanford MBA applicants with perfect GMAT scores did not receive acceptance letters. Transcripts and GMAT scores account for only 35 to 40 percent of the admissions decision at top schools.

Be objective about the investment that an MBA requires, and be certain that it is compatible with future career goals. He suggests prospective MBA candidates get an honest critique of their skills, strengths, and weaknesses from consultants with MBA-admissions experience, who can help them identify 'best-fit' schools.

Specific advice on applications offered by Petersam:

Applicants need to develop compelling personal essays, which outline why they want an MBA and how they will contribute to the school's diverse student body. Essays should accurately reflect an applicant's character, talents, objectives and values. Leadership and teamwork skills should be conveyed clearly. Also, while it is acceptable to have an essay reviewed, it is unethical for anyone else but the applicant to write them. It's also not smart; admissions committees are likely to spot ghost-written essays.

The article also spans how to address academic deficits, recommends specific classes that are helpful to take in advance of entering certain MBA programs, the importance of letters of recommendation, and how to hone interview skills.

Petersam launched AdmissionsConsultants 1996. He graduated from the University of Chicago with an MBA. While there, he worked in the admissions office and contributed to admissions committee decisions. Prior to his MBA studies, he was a Certified Public Accountant. Petersam has been interviewed on college and graduate admissions by the New York Times and the Washington Post, and he's been featured in t.v. and radio programs. He maintains a monthly blog on

AdmissionsConsultants welcomes requests for guest columns and comment for articles on college, business school, law school, medical school, and graduate admissions. Please call 703.242.5885 or email us for more information.


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