MBA First Round Application Strategy
I've come up with 3 categories of essay questions for some of this year's top schools that help me advise my clients on the best application order. First, the categories followed by the strategies. 1) "Basic" Schools - like Columbia, UCLA Anderson and Duke Fuqua that essentially ask for Goals, Personal and Why School X? (in the case of Fuqua, the latter is a separate question up to 2 pages long)
For those of you aiming at 1st round and still struggling with GMAT et. al., I recommend starting with "Basic" schools to allow you time for both. With those schools as a foundation, you could then apply to Cornell Johnson (Goals, Leadership, Life story - in the form of a table of contents), and Dartmouth Tuck (Goals, Leadership, Personal, Accomplishment) with some additional effort. Even if you have your test scores locked up nice and tight, it's a good idea to start with basic schools so you don't get overwhelmed with too many or too unusual questions.
From there, you can move on to the "Grind", which should hopefully give you more information, insights, and "data points" to work with when attacking the "Creative/Personal Insight" essays. That's it. That's the basic strategy. It won't fit everyone's situation, but if you are considering these schools, then consider this strategy. Hope it helps.