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Our Top MBA Application Advice in 2023

The new year is upon us and with it comes resolutions to learn, grow, and be the best we can be. If boosting your skills with an MBA is a goal you’re aiming for in 2024 — or if you are pulling together and polishing materials to apply in Round 3 and 4 this spring — it’s a good time to review the advice that our clients and applicants found most useful. 

These were the Top 5 most-read articles we shared with our clients and prospective MBA applicants in 2023:

1) The HBS Essay: What is Harvard Looking for?
Harvard Business School’s single essay is a make-or-break factor in your application — a chance to showcase your character in ways that test scores and resume facts do not. It’s also frustratingly open-ended, simply asking “What more would you like us to know?” The prompt is so general it often ties candidates in knots. That’s why Fortuna expert coach Karla Cohen’s excellent advice is one of our most visited posts.


2) Chicago Booth Video Question and How to Craft Your Response
Business schools are increasingly asking for a video statement, either as an essay with the application or as a pre-interview requirement. In a world of AI-generated content, schools may be seeking video statements to ensure they are hearing and seeing the authentic voice of the applicant. Video statements are still fairly new, and applicants are eager for advice on how to respond.


3) Top 10 Deferred MBA Programs + Tips on How to Get In
Deferred entry programs have grown in number over the past few years as business schools look to capture outstanding applicants early on. This post outlines the strategic advantages of these programs for young applicants and tips for gaining admission.


4) INSEAD Essays: Strategies and Tips for Conquering All 7 Prompts
At first glance, the INSEAD application looks like a beast, with seven essays adding up to a collective 2,000 words. However, candidates often appreciate the opportunity afforded by that space to tell a multi-faceted story. They also appreciate our expert advice walking you step-by-step through each required piece.


5) Should You Waive the Right to View Your Letters of Recommendation?
The Fortuna team of former MBA admissions professionals is a font of wisdom on all the nitty-gritty questions about the nuts and bolts of a great MBA application, and this post is a great — and popular —example. 

Finally, we’d like to send you into 2024 with some fresh yet timeless advice. Much of what we do here at Fortuna is to help our clients tell their story persuasively and that requires clear, compelling writing. Our expert coach Rachel Erikson Hee recommends grounding your application process with a bit of reading about what makes good writing. Start with the essential classic, Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.With wit and charm, this slim volume will make a big impact on your writing. 

Add to that George Orwell’s Six Rules for Writing, which will help you excise cliches, jargon, and verbosity. Follow his rules and you’ll sound fresh and authentic —and make the most of your word limits. Writing with Style: The Economist Guide, from the magazine’s language columnist Lane Greene, is another excellent, conversational summary of the principles of effective writing. Finally, read a couple of memoirs to get a sense of how to tell an engaging and personal story. 

Resolve now to improve your writing, and the time you invest will pay off when you are crafting your MBA applications and throughout your business career.

Happy New Year from all of us at Fortuna!

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