Well, here you are again, Last Minute Larry. You can't claim innocence -- as usual, you did it to yourself. The deadline you've been dreading is now staring you in the face, and it ain't pretty. On the contrary, it's terrifying. And that big blank white computer screen isn't going to fill itself with words. So what do you do?

Whether you've got a week, a day, or only an hour, here's a simple plan to help you make the most of the time you have left and put your best foot forward.

STEP ONE -- FORGIVE AND FORGET. Yes, you are a bad, bad boy or girl or genderfluid person. Naughty, no biscuit. But forget that noise, because the cycle of self-recrimination and avoidance is what got you here in the first place. You need to forgive yourself for the past, and forget everything but what's in front of you right now. Write it down so you won't forget. X minutes to midnight. Time to get serious.

STEP TWO -- SHUT OUT DISTRACTIONS. I know, I know, you're busy like Lady GaGa. You got so much going on right now it's not even funny. Well you know what would be really funny?  You missing that deadline and having to explain to your parents why you're not going to college/grad school this year. I'd enjoy being a fly on the wall for that conversation, because yes, I'm jaded like that. So lock the door, kick out your cat, shut down your Insta feed and get to work already.

STEP THREE -- WRITE VERY BADLY. Yes, you're a brilliant, clever perfect person who must always and forever be admired. But forget that salient fact for just a minute. Because right at this moment, "you" are a space where some words should be. And it's time to fill that space with words. And no, they're not going to be the best words. In fact, they might be some of the worst words. But that's OK. Because you have to start somewhere, which is exactly what you've failed to do up until this point.

STEP FOUR -- FINISH WITHOUT SELF-CRITIQUE. Write the whole thing, right now, don't stop, don't think, just write.

STEP FIVE -- SHUT DOWN AND WALK AWAY. Go have fun, have a snack. Now, if the worst happens, you can hit submit. Even though you probably wouldn't want to.

STEP SIX -- COME BACK FRESH AND IMPROVE. Come back when you're refreshed and read your bad words. Now it is OK to be a judge, but try to come with solutions, not problems. Say -- I think I could tweak this. I think I can punch up that. Not -- I hate myself and this is so bad.

STEP SEVEN -- FIRE AND FORGET. OK, you've revised, it's 10 minutes to the deadline. Time to send it off and forget about it. I know, now that it's been rattling around in your brain because of how long you spent NOT doing it, that might be tough. But just remember you did the best job YOU were capable of doing AT THIS TIME. And that's always enough. Next time, perhaps, you'll be better. Or maybe you'll be worse.

Good luck!

PS: If you procrastinate and you know it -- maybe get some professional help with that.

Photo by Dinesh Raj Goomani

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Just because you can’t go to work doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time today! For those of you who still have Internet service, we decided to give you a few helpful suggestions on how to make the time fly by!

Rock out to All About That Bass while weeping over your round one rejection emails.

Read even more reasons not to go to law school this year and feel good about your life choices.

Catch up on Transparent.

Practice your acceptance speech for your (anticipated) victory at the Lean Startup Challenge this year.

Teach yourself to make voodoo dolls in preparation for the round two rejection emails.

Get creeped out about the fact that vampirism actually works.

Obsessively troll Internet forums trying to figure out if anyone has heard back from Stanford yet. (No link required, you know where those forums are)

Follow Elon Musk on Twitter.

Watch endlessly recycled footage of crews deicing plane wings on the news.

Be happy it’s 2015 and snowstorms are not actually that big a deal anymore.

Happy Winter! from the Forster-Thomas Team

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For all of you prospective MBAs about to send in those applications, we made a list and checked it twice to cover all of the little things you might have overlooked.  Check it out and make sure that you haven't left any opportunities on the table.

Do all of your schools have all of your transcripts and your GMAT or GRE scores?
Have you taken the TOEFL, if necessary, and submitted your score?
Are your transcripts official?  Do they have to be?  
Are your transcripts in sealed envelopes?  Are they in English?
Have you converted your high school and college GPAs to 4.0 standards?

Do all of your recommenders know all of the schools you are applying for?
Have you provided an up-to-date resume and bullet points about your strongest characteristics?
Have you followed up to courteously remind them about deadlines and answer any questions they may have?
Have you coordinated any special letters of recommendation you may be receiving, and made certain they are only going to your top choice school?
Do you have a recommendation from your current, direct supervisor?  If not, have you explained why not in your optional essay?

Are you sure you have answered all the essay questions?
Did you answer them at the correct word, page and character counts?
Have you fully answered every question?  Read each prompt closely and address every aspect of every question.  Leave nothing out.
Are your essays too long or too short?  Do you need to add or subtract material anywhere?
Do you need to write an optional essay explaining away grades, test scores or gaps in employment?
Have you double-checked your schools’ formatting and uploading requirements?
If you are repurposing material from one school for another, have you double-checked to make sure you did not accidentally leave in another school’s name?
Have your essays been proofread carefully?

Have you visited every campus you possibly can?
When you visited, did you take careful notes of names, dates and places for later use?
Did you make good use of all your salient research either in your essays or elsewhere in your application?
If you were not able to visit, did you attend an ‘info session’?  Did you ask questions?  Did you take note of who was offering the info session?
Have you spoken to current and former students, received specific and revealing quotes about each of your target schools, and made use of them in your essays?


Have you scheduled an interview for schools that allow you to interview, like Tuck and Kellogg?
Have you begun to practice your interview answers for basic questions like career goals and leadership experiences?
Are you familiar with the common prompts for video essay questions?  Have you thought loosely about answers?  No scripting!

Are all the dates, times and job functions accurate and clear?
Are your descriptions of your work appropriate for b-schools?  Do they highlight leadership and accomplishments rather than job functions and experience?
Is your resume one page?
Are there any formatting inconsistencies?  Has it been proofread?
Do you need to adjust your resume for different schools to account for certain factors (like working with an alum or on a particularly relevant project)?  Have you done so?

Have you skipped over any portions of the application?  if so, return to them now.

Did you answer every short answer question with complete and satisfying detail?  Did you include all the necessary names, dates and places?

Did we miss something?  Let us know!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Twas the night before XMAS ... MBA Edition

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Hey MBAs -- did you spend most of Xmas in your room finishing your round two applications?  We feel your pain -- so we spent our holiday making you a funny video.  Enjoy!  

'Twas the night before Christmas, both silent and clear,
In a house full of transcripts and empty of cheer,
Twas no food in the fridge save a bottle of Jack,
And a half-eaten Shroom burger from the Shake Shack.
John hung up his Armani, Jane her DKNY,
They collapsed into bed with two miserable sighs.
Like their GMAT review books, all beaten and worn,
Both John and Jane wished they had never been born.
And they both thought of nothing but getting their letter
From Kellogg, or Booth, or perhaps someplace better --
Still backed up with work, they had little to say,
Warm under the sheets, they soon drifted away ...

An hour later, John sat up groaning, quite numb
Did I leave those breakevens at the office half done?
And Jane tossed and turned, her locks worn and frayed
Was my primary  recommendation waylaid?
They both stood up yawning and went to their Macbooks.
"We're both being silly.  Let's just have a quick look."
Paranoia assuaged, they both shook their heads,
But moments before they got back into bed --
Buzz buzz!  Went their iPads and laptops and phones --
A blizzard of emails, the senders unknown.
John and Jane sat straight up, as they nervously chattered
and rushed to their phones to see what was the matter.
It was Olin!  And Tuck!  And Ross!  And what's more, son,
The both of them had been admitted to Wharton!

They pranced and they shrieked, they could hardly believe it!
The yeses were coming before they could read em!
A knock at the door?  Who is that at this hour?
Twas Dee Leopold holding a bouquet of flowers!
John and Jane, I bought this for you at the bodega
To your applications, I'm quite proud to say, yeah!
Dee went down on one knee to expound on her love,
But then, crickety-crack! Came a  noise from above.
Like a flash Derrick Bolton shot right down the chimney!
He shook off the coal dust and smiled quite winningly.

I know it's a breach of our protocol, still,
I had to tell both of you how Stanford feels. 
Dee growled, "Derrick, back off -- they're HBS admits!"
Derrick smiled too sweetly.  "You think I give a shit?"
Wharton sent a new email!  To prove we're not kidding
We're offering total tuition remission!
John and Jane, quite ashamed
 begged the deans to stop fighting,
Til another surprise came at them quick as lightning.
An most irksome clanging!  Oh what could it be?
Twas John's old alarm clock,  more's the pity.
For as cruel as it sounds, yes, as cruel as it seems ...
John and Jane realized they were having a dream.
They tried to resist, they tried to remain,
But they failed and awoke with both back and heart pain.

For the rest of the morning, they moved just like zombies.
Tragic indeed are the dreams of what might have been.
John and Jane, don't you worry.  I happen to know
There's a little surprise for you waiting below!
As they scanned their inbox, it cheered them to learn
That year's Goldman bonus had just been determined!
John and Jane smiled, there was no need to fight --
B-school or no, they were doing all right.
And they both shook their heads as they said to each other --

I can't wait for January and this shit to be over.

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Now live on Forster-Thomas's website are the prompts and deadlines for these four schools.