Here is the transcript for tonight - Thank you Stacy Blackman
20:56 StacyBlackmanConsulting I am interested in knowing what's on your minds. Anyone have a question they would like to ask to kick things off?
20:57 xgineer Stacy, ideally how many recommendations should each recommender write?
20:57 xgineer I am concerned with recommender fatigue, even though I am planning on spreading the applications out.
20:58 StacyBlackmanConsulting That varies. Some recommenders are really supportive and are willing to write what's needed to support you, while others have a firm rule and will only write one or two.
20:58 StacyBlackmanConsulting A lot of the content is similar across the letters of reference.
20:58 StacyBlackmanConsulting Do make sure that the recommenders are willing to tailor their letters for each school. In general, I think it's fair to ask a person to write roughly 4 letters.
20:59 StacyBlackmanConsulting It's also very fair for you to ask them how many they would be willing to write on your behalf.
20:59 xgineer That makes sense, thanks Stacy!
20:59 StacyBlackmanConsulting Be clear in letting them know that they have a genuine "out". You don't want someone agreeing to write a letter who is not enthusiastic about your candidacy.
21:00 StacyBlackmanConsulting Let them know what your application plans are - where you're applying, and in what rounds. Explain to them what the rounds mean in terms of deadlines, because they may not know.
21:00 StacyBlackmanConsulting Then, ask how they would feel comfortable supporting you.
21:01 xgineer I will shower them with gifts and other bribes. =x
21:01 xgineer haha
21:02 hmohsin Stacy, I am unable to apply in 1st round.. I am planning to apply in 2nd round. Which top schools do you think are obvious tough choice to gain acceptance in 2nd round with 31 age, 9 years experience, GMAT 700 and Undergrad Elect Engineering GPA of 58%?
21:02 StacyBlackmanConsulting Ha ha indeed. Note that there are some pretty strict protocols to follow. Please don't write your own letter of reference! If someone isn't willing to put the time in to write a letter for you, you're probably better off finding someone else.
21:03 StacyBlackmanConsulting In terms of which round to apply, don't get TOO caught up in needing to apply early. It can sometimes make sense to delay an application.
21:03 xgineer Come on people, don't be shy. Ask away
21:04 StacyBlackmanConsulting For example, if you're on the cusp of a promotion, or you can see that you're about to have a really meaningful experience that you'd want to thoughtfully incorporate into your essay, delaying so you can present a strong application is the way to go.
21:04 xgineer Thanks Stacy
21:04 StacyBlackmanConsulting Based on what you've disclosed about your background, I can't say that there's any particular school or group of schools that would automatically NOT accept you simply by virtue of you applying second round.
21:05 StacyBlackmanConsulting Likewise, no school will automatically accept you if you get your application in for the first round deadlines.
21:05 StacyBlackmanConsulting The tough part is that each year, you're competing against the unknown. You have no idea what other engineers with 700 GMAT scores will be applying.
21:05 hmohsin ok thanks Stacy
21:06 DeterminedMBA13 I've begun writing my essays and One of the schools I am applying to requires you to discuss a time that you've "failed", your lessons learned, and the actions you took. Would it be inappropriate to use my failed attempt at applying to B-School 2 years ago as the topic for this essay?
21:06 StacyBlackmanConsulting And, so much of your application will come down to your essays, recommendations, and interview. These are all elements that will help to add color to your experiences listed on your resume. It's that color that will get you in.
21:06 DeterminedMBA13 At that time, the school in question was not one of my targets. At the time, I was making my decision based solely on rankings rather than on fit (an importation factor at this particular school). I revised my application process and actually visited the schools that I was interested in (follow up action).
21:06 StacyBlackmanConsulting Tell me more about what you learned from that failed attempt to apply.
21:07 DeterminedMBA13 actually visited the schools that I was interested in (follow up action). I also used the two years after my first attempt to help launch a new startup (which turned out to be a great learning experience).
21:07 DeterminedMBA13 Sorry for the long question! Looks like it got cut off a little bit!
21:07 StacyBlackmanConsulting I think there are some possibilities with the essay topic you've chosen, but I wonder if there are some others with larger lessons that you could draw from.
21:08 StacyBlackmanConsulting I'm not meaning to suggest you should NOT write about your failed application attempt.
21:08 StacyBlackmanConsulting But, it seems like what you ended up doing - researching your options a bit more and starting a company - are bigger than the failed attempt itself.
21:09 StacyBlackmanConsulting I think I'd be more interested in reading about your failures or set backs with your start up.
21:10 StacyBlackmanConsulting Writing about not getting into business school feels like it's...oh, what's the word?... like you're trying too hard to write specifically for the audience.
21:10 DeterminedMBA13 Makes perfect sense! Thanks!
21:11 StacyBlackmanConsulting And while that's important, what the audience wants to read are examples that help to describe who you are and what you value.
21:11 hmohsin I heard that Harvard and Stanford discourage older applicants.. Being 31 years old, is it worth applying for H/S or should I spend my efforts for other schools? Would you please recommend me some top schools who prefer older applicants?
21:12 StacyBlackmanConsulting There are many 30 somethings who attend HBS and the GSB each year.
21:12 StacyBlackmanConsulting I would not discount them based on looking at average ages.
21:13 StacyBlackmanConsulting Some of the shorter programs and European programs tend to have a bent toward older applicants. Usually, this has to do with life stage. So, it's more that older applicants select those shorter programs and not the other way around.
21:14 StacyBlackmanConsulting Many older applicants are married, so they may want to get through the MBA experience quickly to resume full-time work (and earning a full-time wage).
21:14 StacyBlackmanConsulting They may end up being separated from a spouse or family, so they are looking to shorten that time apart.
21:14 xgineer Stacy, I took a series of courses for a graduate certificate and got a 3.6 GPA for that particular degree. However, I also took another course that is NOT part of that curriculum and I didn't do too well in it. Could I list my GPA as a 3.6?
21:14 StacyBlackmanConsulting There are a number of life-stage issues that have older applicants being attracted to shorter programs.
21:14 hmohsin ok..thanks Stacy
21:15 StacyBlackmanConsulting The schools will see your full transcript, and that will include your grades for that degree as well as that "other" course.
21:15 xgineer Right
21:16 StacyBlackmanConsulting Be upfront. Sometimes, applicants will choose to highlight their grades a certain way, for example, "Earned 3.9 GPA in major."
21:16 StacyBlackmanConsulting But, remember that the adcom will see your official transcripts.
21:16 xgineer Ok
21:16 xgineer Do you round up to the nearest decimal btw?
21:16 xgineer Sorry to nitpick
21:17 xgineer I don't want to lie, but I do want to present myself in the best light possible.
21:17 StacyBlackmanConsulting I personally think it's a little too detail oriented to go out to the thousandth decimal point! Rounding to the nearest tenth makes sense to me,
21:17 kbainb1 I was waitlisted at a few programs last year, but ultimately was not accepted. I haven't been employed for 2 years, but I spent the past 6 months volunteering in Latin America. I've returned to the US and I'm applying again this year. Finding the "right" position can often take time. In your opinion is any job better than no job at this point?
21:21 StacyBlackmanConsulting In terms of presenting yourself in the best possible light, they'll see everything anyway, so your spin won't have much influence. They will look at things like grade progression and patterns of where you did well and what grades weren't so great.
21:21 xgineer Gotcha
21:21 xgineer Thanks Stacy
21:22 StacyBlackmanConsulting As for the person who has been unemployed for two years, I see you've been volunteering for 6 months. Can you describe a bit about your work experience? How were you able to take 2 years off of work? What else did you do during that gap in employment?
21:23 StacyBlackmanConsulting In general, being employed or actively engaged in SOMETHING - volunteerism, pursuing a passion, working on a business idea - is important to demonstrate your leadership and show what matter to you.
21:24 hmohsin Stacy, How do you rate european 1 year MBA programmes compared to US 2 year MBA programmes? Do european top tier programmes(LBS, Insead, IMD, Oxbridge) have simmilar impact on career as US ones? Though Spanish schools IE, IESE are high in ranking? what are their reputation across the globe? LBS/ Insead are top tier euro schools.which others do you recommend?
21:25 StacyBlackmanConsulting For the person asking about European schools - where do you want to live / work post-MBA and longer term?
21:26 hmohsin Hi Stacy, I am open to work anywhere.. currently I am based in UK.
21:26 StacyBlackmanConsulting The European programs are very well regarded.
21:27 smartperson souvlaki!
21:27 souvik101990 hey smartperson
21:27 DeterminedMBA13 Similar Question to one made earlier: Funny you should mention difficulties with the startup - Currently the venture seems to be winding down and what was once a full-time activity has decreased substantially, to part-time. Is this something I should avoid mentioning during interviews and avoid making obvious on a resume?
21:27 StacyBlackmanConsulting I suppose you've got to consider what type of experience you want to have - whether you would prefer to learn primarily from Europeans versus Americans. All of the top schools have an international mix of students, of course.
21:27 kbainb1 I spent 4.5 years working a 98 hour work week at a defense contractor in Iraq with very little time off. After the contract ended I took time off to visit family, and to travel. I visited over 50 countries on 6 continents. I also did a lot of informational interviews and research to figure out my future goals, and if an MBA was right for me.
21:28 StacyBlackmanConsulting From the perspective of finding a post-MBA job, the programs you listed would be strong choices.
21:28 StacyBlackmanConsulting Regarding full-time to part-time work, how are you spending your "free" time?
21:29 hmohsin ok got it. thanks Stacy
21:29 StacyBlackmanConsulting For kbainb1: you had some pretty awesome and interesting experiences. I don't think you should accept just "any" job at this stage.
21:30 StacyBlackmanConsulting If you've been mindful about your future plans, find something in that field, even if it's an internship.
21:30 StacyBlackmanConsulting Show the admissions committee you've got a plan and will do what it takes to make that plan come to fruition.
21:30 kbainb1 Thank you for the feedback.
21:31 DeterminedMBA13 I've been serving on the board for a local non-profit supporting returned Peace Corps volunteers (I returned 2 years ago, and, when b-school didn't work out, opted to help start a business instead). The full-time to part-time transition has been a recent development and I thought I would use a few weeks to visit schools, submit apps, and find something new!
21:31 StacyBlackmanConsulting We have someone on our team who decided she wanted to restart her career. Instead of working in strategy consulting, she wanted to work in finance. This was post-MBA, by the way. Times were tough and places weren't hiring, so she volunteered for a year.
21:32 StacyBlackmanConsulting When she got her first interview for a paid job in financial services, she was asked why they should believe she was committed to starting over - bottom of the totem pole - in financial services. When she told them she worked for free for a year to build skills and gain experience, they were satisfied and offered her the job.
21:32 StacyBlackmanConsulting Don't think you've got to be paid to make the experience "count."
21:33 kbainb1 I understand. That helps. Thanks!
21:33 StacyBlackmanConsulting I think it's totally fine to acknowledge that the work load has shifted from being full time to part time. Just make sure you're doing something productive with your time.
21:34 StacyBlackmanConsulting By the way, now is not really a great time to visit schools.
21:34 StacyBlackmanConsulting Everyone is on summer break. So, you'd see a campus, but the value is in interacting with students and visiting a class.
21:35 DeterminedMBA13 Good point - I'll have to wait until September. I visited several of my targets last year, hopefully the committees remember! Thanks!
21:36 StacyBlackmanConsulting Regarding school visits - really think about them as a means for you to learn more about the school, not as a means to make an impression on an admissions committee!
21:36 StacyBlackmanConsulting Plenty of people gain admission each year without visiting schools.
21:37 StacyBlackmanConsulting We have a number of people on staff who have attended the elite business school programs and can offer first person insight on school cultures. Because we have helped people gain admission to a wide range of schools, we have a good sense of the culture of all of the programs and can offer helpful perspective on programs that could be good fits
21:38 StacyBlackmanConsulting and why we see them as strong fits for you, once we get to know you.
21:38 StacyBlackmanConsulting We've often recommended schools to clients that were not even on their radar. They ended up researching the schools, loving what they learned, gaining admission, and going.
21:38 StacyBlackmanConsulting So, there are plenty of ways to learn about various business school programs without traveling to them.
21:39 DeterminedMBA13 Great point.
21:40 StacyBlackmanConsulting So, a number of people are logged in. Some of you have been wonderful in asking questions. Any questions from those who have been observing?
21:42 hmohsin MBA or EMBA dilemna... Normally MBA average class experience is 6 years and EMBA class average exp is 10 years.. I have 8 years exp and middle of both. I want to switch my career from telecom engineering consultancy to management consulting. I am still exploring which one is best for me. I want to apply in LBS? what do you recommend me?
21:43 StacyBlackmanConsulting Many management consulting firms focus their recruiting efforts at traditional 2-year MBA programs rather than the EMBA programs, so based on your career goals, you will be giving yourself a better chance of getting into the field you desire by attending a traditional MBA program.
21:44 StacyBlackmanConsulting Securing a consulting internship for the summer will be very helpful for you, as many of the firms do the majority of their recruiting from that summer class.
21:44 StacyBlackmanConsulting It's an opportunity for consulting firms to "test" out your skills and fit in a relatively risk free way.
21:45 StacyBlackmanConsulting Most EMBA programs don't have the opportunity for you to have a summer internship, so that's another consideration if you're extremely focused on getting a job in consulting.
21:46 hmohsin I understand.. thanks for your guidance.. I will apply in MBA. thanks
21:46 StacyBlackmanConsulting You're welcome!
21:46 StacyBlackmanConsulting Any other questions?
21:46 StacyBlackmanConsulting Are you all pretty familiar with the services we offer?
21:48 StacyBlackmanConsulting We work with clients either on a comprehensive basis or an hourly basis. We can offer strategic advice - answer the questions you've posed tonight as well as others that are much more personal to you and your situation.
21:49 StacyBlackmanConsulting I love sharing advice like this in open forums. If you'd like to request a free consultation where you can go into a bit more detail about your specific situation, please visit our website and submit a request.
21:50 xgineer Will do Stacy
21:50 xgineer Thank you for your time tonight
21:51 StacyBlackmanConsulting You're welcome! Thanks for participating!
21:51 kbainb1 Do your clients work with 1 consultant or a team? And how do you find the right fit out of your many consultants?
21:51 hmohsin sure thanks stacy...have heard great recommendations about your services and great articles
21:52 StacyBlackmanConsulting Our clients work with one primary consultant. That person guides you through the process for your applications and gets to know you very well. We often hear that we play the role of therapist, project manager, career coach, and admissions consultant.
21:52 StacyBlackmanConsulting You're also assigned a client liaison who is there for you if you need a second opinion on something or come across an issue.
21:54 StacyBlackmanConsulting You are assigned a flight tester. This is someone who previously worked in MBA admissions and who has read thousands of applications. They review your information and reflect how you're coming across so you can fill gaps and think about how to address any weaknesses before you submit your application. This is a useful second set of eyes.
21:54 StacyBlackmanConsulting Our team also relies on one another. We use one another as resources.
21:54 hmohsin Are clients given option to chose primary consultant?
21:55 StacyBlackmanConsulting We've just rolled out a cool new interviewing technology where you can record yourself and play back how you're answering questions. You can select one interview session to have it reviewed by our interview specialist.
21:55 StacyBlackmanConsulting Our clients do select their primary consultant.
21:56 StacyBlackmanConsulting When you reach out to us for a consultation, you'll be paired with a principal. This is someone who is highly experienced.
21:56 StacyBlackmanConsulting That person will answer your questions about our services and can offer you some advice. They are also getting to know you to understand your background so they can match you with some consultant candidates.
21:57 hmohsin cool... thanks
21:57 StacyBlackmanConsulting Each of our clients is presented with some consultant bios. These consultants were selected for them and believe in their candidacy. Clients then choose who they'll partner with through the process.
21:58 StacyBlackmanConsulting This is such a personal process, we want to make sure you feel comfortable with your consultant. You will get to know one another very well through the process!
21:59 StacyBlackmanConsulting Well, our hour is almost up. We started a touch early. If no one else has any questions, I want to thank you for attending and for actively participating in our chat session.
21:59 StacyBlackmanConsulting OK - looks like no one is typing, so I'll take that as a sign that your questions were all addressed.
22:00 StacyBlackmanConsulting Thanks so much for your participation tonight!
22:00 smartperson Take care, Stacy.
22:00 kbainb1 Thank you for your time as well.
22:00 smartperson Always good to have you on GC.
22:00 StacyBlackmanConsulting Thanks all - good night!
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