Application Ingredients

A game plan tailored to your needs…

Entablature will work with you to generate both short-term and long-term plans for your business school application effort. This will include identifying the due dates for the business schools that interest you, and devising a strategy for applying based on how we rank the schools of interest to you. Then we create a calendar that includes all necessary action items until you matriculate at the school of your choosing.

If you are wait-listed, we will develop an action plan that is school specific to maximize your chances of being admitted from the wait-list.


Each business school requires a number of essays. They can be very general, such as; “Give us your three major reasons for applying”, or they can be unusually specific, “If you were asked to create a time capsule that would be opened 150 years from now, what four items would you include about you? Why?”

These writing exercises are designed to help admissions officers learn about (1) your writing proficiency and style, (2) your creativity, and (3) your ability to follow instructions. More subtly, readers are always gauging your judgment when they read your work. Are your responses balanced? Do they provide unnecessary or too much information? Is the language clear or evasive? Are words chosen appropriately?

Admissions officers ask these questions because applicants may (1) use the essays to spotlight themselves in an exaggerated way, (2) criticize others in their work environment in hopes of impressing readers about their expertise, or (3) engage in using rarely used terms and the like. All of these elements are grounds for downgrading an applicant, since nobody wants to be around those who (1) disrespect others, (2) suffer from profound insecurities, (3) are clueless about what is appropriate or (4) are pretentious. These characteristics can come across loud and clear in an essay, sometimes because an applicant is trying too hard. Entablature will help you find your voice and bring out its best attributes in your application.

Your Resume

Business schools require your resume. Remember, that document is your stage — and a golden opportunity to present your community service work, academic accomplishments, professional appointments, special skills, long-standing hobbies and awards in a format that is most flattering to you.

Entablature will evaluate your resume and make suggestions for relevant and appropriate modifications. We will ask lots of questions about your life, goals and motivation for applying to business school. We will spend a lot of time with you on the phone and, where possible, in-person so that we can capture and help you maintain your voice in the application.

Additionally, we want to ensure that your unique qualities stand out, as they will distinguish you from comparatively competitive candidates who present run-of-the-mill profiles.

In sum, we will help you build the best resume that you can.


These days, interviews are a virtual requirement for business school admission. Some schools require all applicants to interview; others will invite only those applicants deemed worthy. A few make it optional, although we urge you to interview in as many cases as possible.

These possibilities mean that an interviewer may have already read your folder, and is now looking to see if you are “in person” what the folder seems to say about you. Alternatively, an interviewer may know nothing about you, save that you have applied to the school. In either case, you will be told the circumstances so that you may prepare accordingly.

The interviewers are alumni, admissions officers or faculty. While each group brings a different perspective to the table, it is important to bear in mind that the one thing they will all be looking for is ‘fit’. On the other hand, it may be that you would bring a measure of diversity that a school seeks, anything from where you come from (e.g., Timbuktu, Mali) to your career goal (opera house manager).

And while a knockout interview is helpful to your candidacy, it is one of several elements in your application. A strong interviewer may not be admitted, and a weak interviewer may not necessarily be rejected.

Entablature prepares you for interviews via mock exercises.


Your business school references need to be — above all else — people who know you well. Too often we hear of applicants bragging about having a CEO or United States Senator write a letter. It is not uncommon for such letters to be damning with faint praise, or altogether vague and vacuous. That is fatal to your business school application, in part because if you cannot get two or three individuals to write strong, detailed letters about you and your accomplishments, you probably aren’t ready or fit to go for an MBA. Again, this goes to your judgment, which is all-important in the business world.

Entablature will discuss all of your options with you, and engage in frank conversation about your choices.


There are some interesting discussions about the GMAT in the news; some question its relevance while others voice concern about its fairness. The GRE and LSAT have been proposed as acceptable alternatives, partly to encourage more people to seek joint degree programs. Examine carefully each school's standardized test requirements. If you are applying for joint degrees, and the business schools will accept another exam, you don’t want to endure the trial and expense of a GMAT exam if you don’t have to.

In most cases, however, the GMAT is a fact of life to be endured by thousands around the world every day. As such, it behooves you to take it very seriously. This means spending ample time preparing for it. If you are less adept at quantitative material then you should, purchase test prep books, enroll in a test prep course, take some math and statistics courses or work with an experienced private tutor to ensure that your score falls in a competitive range.

Be aware that courses and good tutors can cost thousands of dollars. Taking a few writing courses at a local community college may also be a good idea. On the other hand, if you are an engineer who has been generating calculations for the last ten years without writing lengthy reports, your writing and reading comprehension skills probably need beefing up. Take some composition classes. Have a look at old GMAT’s as well as GMAT practice tests in your local bookstore.

Financial Aid

Business school is not cheap! It is a major investment of capital, and we want to ensure that you keep your expenses to a minimum. As such, we will assist you in exploring outside scholarship, grant and loan opportunities. If you are an international applicant, there are specific questions and issues that need to be addressed when attempting to finance your MBA education. Entablature will walk you through the maze of information so that you can access all available resources.

A special comment about scholarships: Outstanding applicants may find themselves with scholarship offers that can range up to 100% of costs. This fact only underscores why so much care needs to be taken with each application. A flawlessly presented package can result in significant scholarship award.