Sunday, March 19, 2006

Flexible Image Rides Again

So after a nearly year-long hiatus, I'm going to try this again. Today's topic: A review of ABC of Getting the MBA Admissions Edge: International. Why, as a United States citizen who plans on attending a United States business school, am I reading the International Edition? Because Barnes and Noble ordered the wrong version for me and I didn't find out until I started reading it. However, that won't stop me from criticizing it. :-)

From the start, I had a negative impression of the book: Of the first 15 pages, 12 are advertisements, including an advertisement on the inside front cover by Goldman Sachs. Ads aside, my main complaint with this book is its horrible, horrible editing. A particularly egregious example from the GMAT Quantitative section:

...Clearly, we have to add five to each answer choice before we move any further. This gives you:
(A) 9+15=4
(B) 15+5=50
(C) 19=5=24
(D) 21+5=26
(E) 49+5=5

As Dave Barry would say: I am not making this up. Those are the exact characters from page 115 of the book. Of course, they could have saved themselves the embarassment of making errors like those by simply omitting the GMAT/TOEFL section entirely, and instead providing references to much better books like the Princeton and Kaplan reviews.

The Admissions Edge authors should instead have stuck to the book's strength: Its reviews of the top business schools. The book provides in-depth looks at Berkeley, Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, INSEAD, Kellogg, LBS, MIT, NYU, Stanford, and Wharton. Each review is written by an alum of the school in question and is about 20 pages long. It includes the basic stats (Tuition, GMAT average, exiting salary, etc) and also more interesting data, like an interview with the school's Dean, advice on how to target your essay, and the results of student surveys on how well the quality of the classes met their expectations, broken down by academic area (e.g., finance, marketing, entrepreneurship). They also offer information from on the kind of interview to expect, straight from an individual at each school who is actually conducting interviews. Of course, due to the book's age (it was published in 2002) this information has to be taken with a grain of salt. Still, I would be surprised if the non-statistical data of each school changed significantly from year to year.

Summary recommendation: 3/5. Buy it used if you buy it at all.


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