Round 2/3 Testimonials, Part 2: Another Dual GSB-HBS Admit

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HBS, GSB, Wharton & Booth Admit

“Ivy Admissions was my true partner in my MBA application journey from start to finish. Their insight into each school’s values, personality and tradition really made a difference when helping me craft and present my unique and personal narrative throughout all aspects of my application. Their coaching and guidance was always on point, particularly with their tailored and detail-oriented mock interviews. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have without their valuable insight and advice, born of their intimate understanding and relationships with their clients and their target schools. Thank you, Ivy Admissions!”

- Public Finance investment banking, public university, male, multiracial

Purchased: Complete School Package


Wharton Admit

“The advice and support provide by Lisa and Ivy Admissions Group was a huge factor in my successful application to Wharton. They helped me craft my narrative in a compelling and coherent manner that ultimately proved effective.“

- Marine Special Operations Veteran

Purchased: Complete School Package


Darden Admit

“Ivy Admissions Group was critical to my success in the business school application process. When I started, I had a jumbled story about why I needed an MBA and Ivy Admission Group worked with me to create a cohesive narrative about my work experience and how an MBA would help me advance in my career. Throughout the entire process, they were professional, responsive, and committed to my success. Without their guidance, I probably would have been a reapplicant.“

- Government Staffer

Purchased: Complete School Package

Round 2/3 Testimonials: Monster Scholarships from Duke, Texas, and MIT

UVA Darden Admit

“I chose to work with Nate, Anna, and the team at Ivy because they clearly stood out from the competition. The team is small, the consultants are deeply focused on the client as an individual, and the narrative approach is unlike anything you will find elsewhere. I was very skeptical about the possibility that I'd be able to generate a cohesive story about my career, which has included three seemingly unrelated jobs. Through the Narrative Bootcamp process, Nate demonstrated an uncanny ability to draw connections between my past experiences. He helped me pinpoint genuine threads of similarity that I would not have identified on my own. Nate and Anna were extremely professional and responsive, and they were a pleasure to work with. Most importantly, they helped me prepare my best possible application, which means I can look back on the whole process with no regrets.”

- White, Male, Top-25 US University, Asset Management

Purchased: Complete School Package


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Duke Fuqua & Texas McCombs Admit

Ivy Admissions made all the difference. My consultants were there to support me throughout the entire process from getting my GMAT up into the 99% range to deciding between offers. I truly appreciated their professional and friendly approach. I felt comfortable with them instantly, and they proved to be an invaluable resource to me during this process. I would not have gotten the scholarships offers that I did if they had not been there to refine my story and push me.

- Engineering/Consulting, White, Female

Purchased: Complete School Package

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MIT Sloan & Berkeley Haas Admit

My work with Nate and Anna was super helpful. The industry I work in tends to be a bit insulated, and it was nice to have my story gutted from the outside. The feedback I received in the hourly service, pushes on my personal narrative, and the reflections I received on my interview answers were applicable across the schools I applied. Their support helped me present a balanced application to secure admission to my first-choice school with a named fellowship and some $$.

- Non-Profit, Small Private Uni, Black, Male

Purchased: Hourly Help, Essay Editing

Is the Case Method right for me?

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Business schools can be separated academically into two separate categories: majority case-method programs and non-case-method programs. In the former category are schools like Darden, INSEAD, Berkeley Haas, UNC Kenan-Flagler and, of course, Harvard Business School, which pioneered the case method of MBA instruction by borrowing the Socratic dialogues used to teach at Harvard Law School. Schools that are non-majority-case-method incorporate more traditional lectures, team-based projects, and experiential learning, in addition to case-method classes. The average MBA program teaches 30% of its classes in the case method.

Case method courses are very different than traditional lecture-based classes. To prepare for a case method class, students are given a bound document (a “case”) presenting a roughly 10-page overview of a business problem faced by a team, firm, or industry followed by a series of quantitative and qualitative exhibits that an MBA might need to analyze the problem and find a solution. The goal of the case is to simulate as accurately as possible what it would feel like for the student to experience the business problem themselves, by placing the student in the role of the “case protagonist” from whose vantage point the story is told. The day of the class discussion, students normally meet with discussion groups to go over the study questions and try to anticipate where they believe the case conversation will go.

The actual class is a real pressure-cooker. The professor usually leads off by “cold-calling” (i.e. involuntarily selecting without prior warning) one student, often one specifically chosen for their relevant prior professional experience, and grilling them on what they would do in that situation. Other students are brought in to reveal different facts, challenge different perspectives, offer analysis, and argue out the correct course of action. Students need to be ready at a moment’s notice to agree or disagree with the other voices, forcing everyone sit on their edge of their seats, paying close attention.

Sometimes professors will reveal incremental data on what intermediate steps the actual case protagonist took and what results they achieved. The professor will then ask individuals whether this new information changes their perspectives and how.

Very often the case protagonist him or herself will sit in on the class (they find the conversations useful too!) and use the last part of the session to describe what happened, respond to individual students, and take questions. The result is a thrilling class experience where students develop intuition for handling emerging business problems, practice communicating their ideas articulately, and get comfortable leading through uncertainty.

The question is, is a case method program right for you?

Test Yourself

Below I’ve posed a dozen statements. If you disagree with the statement, give yourself 1 point, if you’re neutral 2 points, and if you agree 3 points. At the end, tally your score.

  1. I want to develop my public speaking skills
  2. I think reasonably quickly on my feet
  3. I want to be a general manager or CEO one day
  4. I am confident that I can teach myself finance out of a text book
  5. I have a “big personality”
  6. I prefer short stories to long technical readings
  7. I came to business school to learn
  8. I want to really get to know my peers
  9. I think diverse perspectives lead to better answers
  10. I not that excited to hear about faculty research
  11. The best way to learn something is to do it
  12. I want my peers to take class seriously

12-18 Points: Avoid the case method. Apply to schools that are majority lecture based like Carnegie Mellon Tepper, USC Marshall, UCLA Anderson, Vanderbilt Owen, Michigan Ross, and Oxford Said.

19-23 Points: Choose a program with a mix of teaching styles, including team and experiential-based learning. Examples for this category include Northwestern Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Duke Fuqua, Georgia Tech, SMU Cox, NYU Stern, and Georgetown McDonough. If you're still curious about case method classes, you consider trying out HBX CORe, which does a decent job at simulating the section experience.

24-30 Points: Apply to programs with a moderate mix (but not a majority) of case-method classes. Examples include Dartmouth Tuck, Stanford GSB, Columbia Business School, UPenn Wharton, and Yale SOM. If you're worried about case-method classes, you can dip your toe into subjects like leadership, ethics, and marketing, where the case method is easier to grasp, while sticking to traditional methods for learning finance and accounting.  

30+ Points: Definitely apply to majority-case-method program. These include schools like HBS, UVA Darden, INSEAD, Berkeley Haas, IESE, University of Western Ontario Ivey, and UNC Kenan-Flagler. Here is where you will really thrive.