Fascinating MBA Talk of the Week: 3 tips to boost your confidence

Nothing is more attractive in the interviewing room than confidence. The question is how do you get it?


  • The keys to confidence: genetics, how you're treated, and the choices you make (specifically how you take risks and respond to setbacks)
  • Picture your success when beginning a task, say by listening to music with a deep bass (which makes you feel powerful) or by giving yourself a pep talk
  • Practice failure. Those who fail often learn how to ask others for advice and persevere.

Fascinating MBA Talk of the Week: The benefits of good posture - Murat Dalkilinç

So much of life is how you show up. How you carry yourself also determines much of how you feel and the clarity of how you think. Sure this applies when you're studying, writing your application, and interviewing, but also to your life at business school, whether navigating recruiting events or in the MBA classroom.


  • Stand with all your vertebrae stacked upon one another, with two curves in it, this will put your center of gravity between your legs and maximize the efficiency of your movement.

Fascinating MBA Talk of the Week: How to practice effectively...for just about anything (Annie Bosler and Don Greene)

How do you get better at something, whether it's the GMAT/GRE or your interviewing skills? Three answers: practice, practice, practice. The key insight is that the benefit of practice is highly dependent upon its quality -- which is comprised of the "form" you use, its intensity, and the intervals. If you're applying Round 1, now is the perfect time to apply the lessons of the video below in practicing for those interviews.


  • Effective practice targets: consistent, intensely focused, and targets content or weaknesses at the edge of one's ability
  • Focus on the task at hand (putting away facebook and smartphones)
  • Start slowly to get the form right, then increase the speed of the quality repetitions
  • Break-up practice into multiple sessions of limited duration
  • Practice by imagining that you are completing a task can be just as effective as actually practicing!

How to Act Like a Leader

Now that the HBS Round 1 application deadline passed yesterday, the next step for MBA hopefuls is to prepare for the Admissions Committee interview. There are four kinds of interviews that elite MBA programs use: student (Chicago Booth), alumni (Stanford GSB), video (Kellogg), and Adcom (HBS). Adcom is by far the hardest since you'll be talking directly with a gatekeeper who has already reviewed your applications and will be coming after you with tailored questions to poke holes in your application. In these interviews more an others, presence is a major key.

Our recommendation would be to come off as approachable when you arrive to interview and maintain that demeanor up until the interview. Once you get into the interview room, we recommend an authoritative demeanor. In the lecture below out of Stanford GSB, Richard Cox discusses how to accomplish each.

Richard Cox Lecturer in Management Stanford Graduate School of Business


  • 5 S's for Authority: Slowness in speech, Stillness in head, Silent pauses in speech, Symmetry in posture, and Space (taking it up)
  • 5 F's for Approachability: Filling space, Fast movement, Folded body, Fidgeting, Flirting (inviting others to share space with them)
  • Observe yourself and see how you come across. Filming yourself and attending improvisational acting classes can be a huge help.
  • Think about making a pump-up play-list from your favorite super hero movie to get yourself ready to appear on stage the way you want to

Fascinating MBA Talk of the Week: What Pixar and Disney know about MBA Storytelling (Steve Jobs)

One question we often get is why Ivy Admissions Group is more efficient at navigating our Complete School Package clients through the admissions application process than other consultants. The answer comes down to our approach to storytelling. Rather than let our clients flail in the wind by having them writing resumes and essays for us to edit and form into a compelling story, we start with a personal narrative and build the entire application around that. In fact, we don't let our clients write a single word of their resume (of course, in the provided template for their dream school) until they complete the Narrative Bootcamp Exercises that comes with all Complete School Packages.

Don't take our word for it. This is the same approach that Steve Jobs took when he made Pixar, a technique that he argues enabled the movie company to have such a long string of smash hits, while other traditional live-action movie companies plod along with their fair share of flops. In this week's fascinating MBA talk, note the approach that he recommends for storytelling and then think about how to apply it in your own application.


  • Traditional movie companies shoot between 10-100x more film than is needed, and then build their movies in the editing room. If they have a flop, they only realize it in the editing room.
  • Because animation is so much more expensive to shoot, it is impossible to produce even 10% more footage than is necessary.
  • To overcome this and ensure a hit, companies like Pixar build minimum-viable products, watching and perfecting their movies at every phase of construction, correcting problems before it comes time to animate.

Interesting MBA Talk of the Week: Intangible Value (Rory Sutherland)

This has to be the greatest introduction to an MBA marketing class that I've ever seen. At a TED conference geared at environmental sustainability, Rory Sutherland presents an intensely funny talk that goes example by example of how companies create "intangible value" through creative marketing. His thesis is that we can all become wealthier either by accumulating more gold, or by valuing more what we already own.


  • How Frederick the Great used creative advertising to get the Germans to eat the potato and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk got his citizens to stop wearing the veil.
  • How a frowny face can make your car slow down more than a speed camera and why when Italians get speeding tickets, they lose points on their license.
  • Why placebos are great.

Interesting Talk of the Week: Finite and Infinite Games of Leadership (Simon Sinek)

In this talk at Google Headquarters, Simon Sinek discusses his latest research into game theory and the relevancy of finite games (games with set participants, rules, and objectives) and infinite games (games lacking such clarity) on building sustaining businesses and company ethics. His speech lasts the first 20 minutes, and the balance is taken up with Q&A from Google employees.


  • Why those playing infinite games will outlast those playing finite games (the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War, Apple vs Microsoft).
  • How infinite game players think about competition as a game to be the best version of themselves, versus a finite game player who thinks about how to beat the competition.
  • The absurdity of the "beating the competition" mindset.
  • How the game informs values. E.g. why does the US Military heal the opponents they shoot in combat?