Just my $0.02 -- I wasn't a big fan of Montauk's book.
The stats for MBA programs are completely off (due to GMAT inflation over the last ten years), and the some of the sample essays are atrocious -- I'm shocked some of these people got into B-school, they couldn't tell a story with a coherent point. Additionally, he quotes a lot of B-school AdCom members and most of the advice is either really trite, ("Be Yourself. We want to get to know you as a person.") or it directly contradicts other advice in the book.
I bought the book in the summer of 2007 and applied in Fall 2008, so its possible there is a new edition that is better. In general though, I would recommend getting it from your local library and seeing how useful you think it is.
Thanks for the feedback - I thought it was the best MBA Applications book I have found so far, at least for starters. (I have the 2010 edition). I liked the Princeton Book but it was 50 pages vs 500, so does not come in comparison. With that, I am fully in agreement with you - the essays are really old and it has a few other issues - for sure. Any other book you would recommend instead? I am very open to recommendations!!!
P.S. Also, I am trying to look at these books from a perspective of an applicant and somebody who does not have my or possibly your knowledge from hanging out on GC (for years in my case), so take some of my thoughts with a grain of salt since they may not be written for you per se, but this is also why I would love feedback, since I am trying to think like a newbie and that may not work very well.
An excerpt from the best-selling book, The MBA Reality Check
B-school admissions committees are unexpectedly holistic in the way they review candidacies. Every element matters—from your grades, to your GMAT, to your résumé, recommendations (recs), and essays—but they matter in ways that are often counterintuitive. Getting into business school is a dramatically different ball game than getting into med or law school, which is often just a numbers game (you either have the grades and test scores or you don’t).
I’m not going to waste your time describing how to beef up every element of your candidacy, however. This book assumes you’re not a high school senior mapping out an extremely farsighted game plan for getting into graduate business school. I’m going to breeze past the fixed elements of your candidacy that you have very little control over: where you went to college, how well you performed, what classes you took, whether you studied abroad. And I’m certainly not going to spend time teaching you GMAT tricks: There are far better-qualified people than I to do that. The rule of thumb is a score of 700 or better if at all possible. There, I said it.
Every admissions committee has its own way of assessing candidacies. Some are rigorously quantitative, rating each element on a scale of 0 to 5 with the highest cumulative scores getting the fat envelope. Others are much more subjective, allowing one or two extremely compelling elements of a candidacy (such as outstanding leadership accomplishments) to overcome other weaknesses (such as a 640 GMAT). What is important for you to understand, however, is how all the elements of your candidacy work together.
UNDERSTANDING THE MINDSET OF THE ADMISSIONS OFFICER
No matter what particular process an admissions committee uses, a single simple framework can help you understand the mindset of the admissions officer—and once you understand the framework, you will find it easier to let go of the candidacy-killing mistakes so many excellent applicants make.
LET’S say a school receives ten thousand applications from which to build a class of a thousand—that’s a 10 percent success rate.
The first thing the committee worries about is: Can the applicant do the work? That’s where the stats come in. Applications with GMATs and transcripts that clearly don’t demonstrate academic ability—and there are no hard metrics, though GMATs below 600 and transcripts below 3.0 are arguably rules of thumb—may go straight into the trash. BAM! We just weeded out two thousand candidates in one fell swoop. (Don’t freak out if you fall into this category—later on I’ll explain how other factors can overcome below-average stats.)
COMMITTEES LOOK CLOSELY AT PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
The next thing the committee worries about is: Is this applicant ready for business school? Has she had sufficient professional or organizational experiences to make the most of an advanced business education and be able to contribute to classroom discussions and study groups?
Candidates without any demonstrated leadership potential or thin professional experience, or who have merely met expectations without standing out relative to their peers, get drop-kicked at this stage. Exit another three thousand applications.