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Emory Names First Black Female Dean of Business School [#permalink] New post 23 May 2014, 05:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Emory Names First Black Female Dean of Business School
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Emory University Provost Claire Sterk has announced that Erika Hayes James, Ph.D., has been appointed dean of the university’s Goizueta Business School.

James will assume her new role on July 15. She comes to Emory from Darden School of Business, where she served most recently as senior associate dean for executive education.

“Erika James has all of the qualities that we want for a leader at Goizueta,” Sterk says. “She brings a background of impressive scholarship and strong skills in academic administration, and she will work collaboratively with faculty, students, staff, alumni and supporters to take the school to the next level—all the while honoring the principled leadership of Mr. Goizueta’s legacy.”

Emory’s business school was founded in 1919 and was named in honor former Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Roberto C. Goizueta in 1994.

“I believe the Goizueta Business School is a world-renowned school that is on the verge of greatness,” James says, adding, “I want to be a part of helping the school reach that greatness.”

In Atlanta, Goizueta is positioned well for corporate partnerships, entrepreneurial activities and other collaborations with industry. James hopes to deepen the connections between Goizueta and Atlanta’s business community, nonprofit organizations and other universities.

“I see a real opportunity to align business thought leadership in Atlanta and, in the tradition of the academy, to bring research to bear on challenges,” she says.

James also sees opportunities to bring Goizueta’s business acumen together with Emory’s health care expertise to address the enormous national challenges facing health care delivery systems.

“I am sure our father would consider Erika James to be an inspired choice, given their shared interest in innovative teaching and learning, and developing business leaders who are committed to excellence and integrity,” says Olga Goizueta Rawls, chair and CEO of The Goizueta Foundation. “We are anticipating even greater successes for the Goizueta Business School and its graduates under her leadership.”

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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MBA Hiring Up in 2014, Says New GMAC Survey [#permalink] New post 23 May 2014, 05:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Hiring Up in 2014, Says New GMAC Survey
More companies plan to hire MBAs and other business school graduates in 2014, according to a recently published global survey of employers. Some 80% of business school recruiters plan to hire MBAs in 2014, up seven percentage points from last year and 30% points higher than 2009, in the heart of the economic crisis, when just half of employers hired MBAs.

For the 13th annual Corporate Recruiters Survey, the Graduate Management Admission Council polled 565 employers from 44 countries during February and March. GMAC partnered with EFMD and the MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance to conduct the survey, which included 32 of the top 100 companies in the FT 500 and 36 of the Fortune 100.

The optimistic hiring outlook for MBAs and other master’s-level business graduates comes as companies shift focus away from overcoming economic challenges and look toward growth and expansion.

The percentage of companies reporting a focus on overcoming economic challenges dropped from 58% in 2009 to 25% this year, as well as reducing costs, from 66% in 2009 to 45% this year. At the same time, the percentage of employers planning to hire new bachelor’s degree graduates is holding steady, down one percentage point from the 75% that hired bachelor’s graduates in 2012 and 2013.

“More companies in all sectors and across the world plan to hire business school graduates, with projected hiring rates the highest for all degree types since the Great Recession started in 2009,” says Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC CEO and president. “MBAs have always been valued by employers, but this survey shows that as the economy improves, employers see MBAs as a good investment into their future.”

Here are some of the survey’s key findings:

  • Some 83% of employers in Asia-Pacific, 61 percent of European employers, and 86% of US employers plan to hire MBAs this year, all increases from 2013.
  • When considering communication, managerial, teamwork, leadership and technical skills, employers say communication skills are the most important ones they seek in new hires, on average twice as important as managerial skills.
  • Median base salaries employers expect to offer MBAs are $95,000 in the US and $69,000 in Europe. Projected median MBA base salary in Asia-Pacific is $21,340, reflecting much lower per-capita income in the region.
Professor Eric Cornuel, CEO & director general of EFMD, says,”This year’s survey paints a very positive picture for the business education sector and clearly shows how companies and recruiters value the whole portfolio of business degrees. Despite all of the doom and gloom, the clear message from the market is that business schools are providing the talented, bright individuals that companies need.”

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Rethinking MBA Rankings [#permalink] New post 27 May 2014, 10:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Rethinking MBA Rankings
MBA rankings are a tricky subject. Most applicants put an enormous amount of credence in them when making their school selections, but the results aren’t always as clear-cut as they seem. The various media outlets that publish this information each have a specific focal point, which often differs from their competitors, and at times, it can feel more like an “apples and oranges” comparison.

For example, whereas Forbes focuses on ROI five years after graduation, Businessweek looks closely at the satisfaction levels of students and recruiters. U.S. News meanwhile takes the pulse of b-school deans and takes GMAT and GRE scores into account, and the Economist wants to find out how effective the MBA degree is at opening up new professional opportunities.

In other words, the rankings are not all the same.

When the Financial Times published its annual MBA rankings at the beginning of the year, Conrad Chua, head of admissions at Cambridge Judge Business School, blogged about the low-key reaction he received internally about the program’s strong showing at no. 16 after prior years spent in the mid-twenties.

“…While rankings are important and gives us valuable benchmarking information in certain metrics, there are a lot of areas that we feel strongly about that are not captured by rankings,” Chua writes. “For example, the quality of the academic experience, the learning environment, the networks that our students and alums can tap into.”

Last week, Poets & Quants published a fascinating piece on the “love-hate relationship” b-schools have with rankings. Using the rankings see-saw experienced by the Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business over the past four years, the article points out some very real perils of taking this particular data point at face value.

Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of Indiana University’s Kelley School, tells P&Q, “You love them when they go in your direction, and you are frustrated when they don’t. For a long time, we said that if you do good things, the rankings will follow. We have woken up to the fact that we need to focus on the rankings in and of themselves.”

The article is a must-read, and I encourage prospective applicants to think hard about the data points that are important to your own career path when determining the value of a particular ranking. You don’t have to go to the best business school of all. Just figure out which MBA program is the best one for you.

You may also be interested in:

The Truth Behind 3 Common MBA Rankings Myths

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Tuesday Tips: Harvard Business School MBA Application Essay  [#permalink] New post 27 May 2014, 10:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Harvard Business School MBA Application Essay Tips 2014
Harvard Business School has decided to repeat the same essay question this year as originally used in last year’s application cycle. Though the admissions committee said they were planning to change the essay questions every year, it turned out that the one open-ended essay was helpful enough to use it again.

The most challenging part of this essay is remaining disciplined. With unlimited space to make your case, you may be tempted to compose a laundry list of everything interesting or impressive you have ever done. That urge could backfire, as the essay is used to determine who isn’t a fit for HBS as much as selecting the lucky candidates who make it into the interview round. Maturity, accomplishment, and leadership are highly valued qualities and this essay is your chance to display those qualities through the stories you choose and the voice coming through your writing.

There is one question, technically optional, for the Class of 2017 application essay:

You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?

HBS adds this tip to the essay prompt:

There is no word limit for this question. We think you know what guidance we’re going to give here. Don’t overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don’t know your world can understand.

A note on word count: HBS traditionally has limited essays to around 400 words each. Do not be tempted to go overboard with a 2,000 word essay, rather focus on concise and clear writing and consider keeping this essay to 1,200 words or less. Our successful clients had essays anywhere from 500-1,300 words last year, though you should take a pass through your essay to cut any unnecessary words if you find yourself on the upper end of that range.

The goal of this essay is to know yourself, know HBS, and know how to match the two to demonstrate your fit for the school. Your first task should be to evaluate all of the other aspects of your candidacy – what is the story your resume tells? What do you think recommenders will say? How does your transcript communicate your skills, accomplishments and interests? Then you need to evaluate how to fill the gaps with the essay.

We advised many successful clients on this essay last year, and those who received an acceptance letter from Harvard Business School pursued a range of topics. Some applicants focused on their career journey and aspirations while others wrote about their personal background. Both highly personal and career oriented essays were successful, and most candidates told more than one story in the essay. One common thread we observed was that all of the successful essays demonstrated a core driving passion.

While comparisons with Stanford’s “What Matters Most” open-ended question may come immediately to mind, HBS is very different and it will be important to know the program. As you consider possible stories to tell in this essay keep in mind that HBS has always been highly focused on leadership and wants to accept candidates who have a track record of leadership impact and a success trajectory that indicates upper management potential. Accomplishments have traditionally been a strong focus of HBS essays, and using at least one accomplishment story in this essay may be a good strategy, particularly if your accomplishments are not obvious when reading your resume or transcripts.

A note on what not to do: We see many applicants tempted to include “why HBS” type information in HBS essays. This has never been part of an HBS application essay question and we don’t recommend including that sort of angle here. HBS is quite clear on why applicants are interested in the school, and they would rather see you use the space to provide more information about yourself and your candidacy.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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MBA Admissions Counseling: What You Pay and What You Get [#permalink] New post 28 May 2014, 05:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Admissions Counseling: What You Pay and What You Get
Those who are new to the MBA admissions process often wonder whether they should engage the services of a professional consultant, and if so, to what extent. I believe a consultant can always help, whether you are a first-time or a repeat business school applicant, whether you are in the dark or more knowledgeable about the admissions process.

Working with a respected consulting team gives you the ability to leverage the database of knowledge of a collected group of experts who together have experience with thousands of clients in programs across the globe. As I pointed out recently in my US News blog post on the pluses and minuses of hiring an MBA admissions consultant, input from one friend who applied, or even someone who attended the school, provides only a limited snapshot.

For anyone interested in a closer look at the costs and variety of services provided by the leading MBA consulting firms, I recommend John Byrne‘s story on what admissions consultants charge, published by Poets & Quants yesterday. In addition to merely listing prices side by side, the article does a good job of explaining the whys as well.

While essay editing is a popular service we offer, the process is really much more involved than just working within a certain word count. My consultants coach clients in their up-front strategy, help them develop compelling stories that play out across the application, prep for interviews, review and retool resumes, and much more.

We have high standards, for ourselves and for you. We know what it takes to be successful and we’re excited to help you reach your goals. If you think you might be interested in working with an admissions consultant, I invite you to contact Stacy Blackman Consulting for a free consultation about your candidacy today.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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How Does Social Media Fit Into Your MBA Application Strategy [#permalink] New post 28 May 2014, 09:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: How Does Social Media Fit Into Your MBA Application Strategy?
In the era of social media saturation, business school hopefuls have to think about more than just drafting memorable essays, nailing interviews and marketing themselves effectively during the MBA application process. Today’s applicants must scrutinize their public persona on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and elsewhere to make sure it matches the version they wish to present to the b-school admissions committee.

In an online survey we conducted in April, I discovered to my surprise that 20% of applicants plan to create a new online presence to enhance their application and their online brand. It makes perfect sense though. At a time when essay word counts are shrinking, you can see how it might be more compelling if you can back up your noted interest in photography by pointing to your Instagram account.

As I mention in Poets & Quants’s recent story on social media in the b-school application, many applicants are just beginning to realize that everyone has an online brand now and so the focus at first is on clean up. Review your online persona to ensure that there aren’t any inappropriate pictures or posts. Basically, put it to the grandma test: if you wouldn’t want granny to see it, just get rid of it.

To meet the growing need for guidance in this area, Stacy Blackman Consulting has launched a new service this season called the social media strategy review to help applicants professionalize their existing profile and set them up for a lifetime of online social success.

With competition as stiff as it is at the ultra-elite schools, I would err on being a little more conservative and think about removing overly political or religious posts, and of course anything remotely sexy or related to partying. You don’t need to scrub your profile of all personality, however. Leave the travel pics and anything that supports the outside interests you’ve highlighted in your application. It’s good for the AdCom to see your informal side.

I shared a few more tips on social media and admissions strategies with editor John Byrne, so click on over to Poets & Quants to read the entire article.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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NYU Stern 2014-2015 MBA Deadlines [#permalink] New post 30 May 2014, 09:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: NYU Stern 2014-2015 MBA Deadlines
The Stern School of Business at New York University has announced the application deadlines for the 2014-2015 MBA admissions season.

The four deadlines are:

Round 1
Deadline: October 15, 2014
Notification: December 15, 2014

Round 2
Deadline: November 15, 2014
Notification: February 15, 2015

Round 3
Deadline: January 15, 2015
Notification: April 1, 2015

Round 4
Deadline: March 15, 2015
Notification: June 1, 2015

*Applicants will receive one of three initial notifications: invitation to interview, waitlist offer, or denial of admissions.

Online applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on the day of the deadline. Any mailed application material must be postmarked by the deadline date.

NYU Stern encourages international applicants to apply by the November 15 deadline to facilitate visa arrangements and to have priority consideration for off-site interviews, if desired. You may also apply for any other deadline.

For more information, please visit NYU Stern’s admissions website.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Harvard Business School Application Deadlines [#permalink] New post 30 May 2014, 10:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Harvard Business School Application Deadlines
The application deadlines for the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2017 have been announced. The three rounds are:

Round 1
Deadline: September 9, 2014
Notification: December 2014 (Date TBA)

Round 2
Deadline: January 5, 2015
Notification: March 2015 (Date TBA)

Round 3
Deadline: April 6, 2015
Notification: May 2015 (Date TBA)

Application materials must be submitted by 12 noon EST on the day of the deadline.

Harvard Business School strongly encourages international applicants to apply in rounds one or two to allow sufficient time for visa processing, as well as additional time to work on English fluency.

For more information, please visit the HBS admissions website.

You may also be interested in:

Harvard Business School MBA Application Essay Tips 2014

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Tuck School of Business 2014-2015 Essay Prompts [#permalink] New post 30 May 2014, 10:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuck School of Business 2014-2015 Essay Prompts
The Tuck 360 MBA Blog of Darmouth’s Tuck School of Business recently previewed the essay questions that will appear in the upcoming Class of 2017 application, which goes live later this summer.

Essay 1
Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA fit for you and your goals and why are you the best fit for Tuck?

Essay 2
Tell us about your most meaningful leadership experience and what role you played. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?

Essay 3 (Optional)
Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.

Essay 4 (To be completed by all reapplicants) 
How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally.

***

The Tuck admissions team encourages applicants to respond fully but concisely to these essay questions, and to limit the length of their responses to 500 words for each essay.

You may also be interested in:

Tuck School of Business 2014-2015 MBA Application Deadlines

Tuck Dean Danos to Step Down After 19 Years

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Comparing Regional MBAs With Big-Name B-Schools [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2014, 10:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Comparing Regional MBAs With Big-Name B-Schools
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
While much of my MBA consulting work is with clients who aspire to attend one of the top business schools, focusing solely on the top ten programs is not the best choice for every aspiring MBA student.

If investment banking or management consulting is your dream career path, then stick with the sterling b-school brands. If you’re looking to switch careers, a top-tier program will get you there faster. If you’re a young applicant with only a few years of work experience, then the nationally or internationally respected name brand will help open those crucial first doors.

However, if you’re in your 30s and have a solid work history of increasing leadership positions, future employers in every industry outside of banking and consulting will judge you more on your professional experience than on whether your MBA is from a top 30 or top 10 school.

Research from the American Journal of Business Education shows that a significant percentage of regional MBAs have different MBA-related goals. These applicants are often older, have more work experience and are more interested in what they can learn to improve themselves with their current employer rather than trying to reposition or advance themselves in the market.

The motivation for choosing a particular region may be personal, such as wanting to stay near family, or professional, if your preferred industry is heavily represented in the area. That means if you want to work in entertainment, focus on the top schools in Southern California. If you want to work in a high-tech field, look at your options in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Austin.

For nonprofit or government jobs, your best bet is the District of Columbia. If the energy sector is your calling, there are several good options in Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. In other words, don’t seek out a regional school in the Northeast if your ultimate goal is to end up in Los Angeles.

Keep in mind that a school that places 40 in a national or international ranking may be perceived as a top five school by the local business community. Therefore, if you want to work in a particular geographic region, it makes sense to choose the best school in that region. Local companies can have strong connections with their nearby universities and recruit locally, making it easier to network and conduct a job hunt when you’re already right where you want to end up.

Another plus is that regional business schools are often less expensive than their showier counterparts. Tuition and fees for 2014-2015 at Tulane University Freeman school’s full-time MBA program in New Orleans runs about $53,000.  In Texas, the Rice University Jones MBA tuition tops $50,000 a year.

Harvard Business School, meanwhile, charges nearly $59,000 for the full-time MBA Class of 2016, and Stanford Graduate School of Business estimates full-time tuition at a whopping $61,875 per year.

Regional schools might also offer more scholarship incentives, which would make your return on investment come much faster. Or, if you plan to continue working while you study in an evening MBA program, your employer might be willing to foot the bill due to tax advantages.

Whether your decision to pursue an MBA at a regional school is based primarily on financial, academic or geographic reasons, make sure you also look closely at fit. Visit the school, sit in on a class and talk to current students and alums.

If you don’t feel a genuine connection with the people in the program, the professors or the classes, it’s going to be much harder to have a positive b-school experience. Choose wisely and you may find that your regional MBA program goes toe-to-toe with the best of the big league players.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Will Your Social Media Profile Hurt or Help Your MBA Applica [#permalink] New post 02 Jun 2014, 10:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Will Your Social Media Profile Hurt or Help Your MBA Application?
Do you have a profile on any of the major social media platforms? Do you frequently tweet, upload pictures to Instagram or Flickr, or post updates on Facebook? If so, you might want to make sure your online presence won’t derail your MBA application efforts.

If an admissions team is leaning toward admitting you to their program, it’s possible that they could do a quick Google search on your name before making their final decision. If you’ve demonstrated bad judgment by posting pictures of yourself doing not-so-upstanding things or making offensive or otherwise politically incorrect comments, you’ve given them a reason to move your application to the ding pile.

Want to find out more about what should stay and what needs to go as you assess your social media profile? Click over to read the rest of my guest post, Social Media and Your MBA Application, published on Peterson’s Newswire.

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What my MBA at Harvard did NOT teach me [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2014, 05:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What my MBA at Harvard did NOT teach me
In this special guest post, an Army combat veteran from West Point shares his perspective on two years of learning at Harvard Business School.
My name is Ben Faw, I am a West Point graduate, Class of 2007, a former Infantry Platoon leader, and a graduate of Airborne and Ranger School. Many friends have asked me what I learned at Harvard Business School.

Here is what I did not learn:

The only way to make an impact is to go to Wall Street.

More HBS MBA graduates are heading out to the West Coast, taking positions in product management, marketing, sales, and general management.  In a dramatic shift versus a decade ago, technology jobs are just as sought as roles in finance.  MBA’s are proving that they can make a difference as leaders in many different industries and fields.

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Money matters more than people.

Prior to attending business school, I was warned that HBS was filled with people willing to do anything to make inordinate amounts of money and that it is not the place to meet or build true friendships.

Having kept an open mind, I will graduate from Harvard Business School in a few days with many authentic relationships that have already been incredibly rewarding and made me a better version of myself.  These amazing bonds are priceless and define my experience here, helping me learn that people matter far more than money.

Experiences are expendable.

The MBA critic will say that most of what you learn in the class can be obtained more cheaply and more effectively by buying the books, studying on your own, and watching classes online.

In reality, no case study, framework, or amazing guest speaker can match the experience of learning from your peers, both inside and outside of the classroom. You can learn material many ways, but the most meaningful learning opportunities require in-person experiences and shared time together. The full-time in-class HBS MBA experience provides both.

More is better.  

HBS teaches us that we can’t have everything.  From day one, we are inundated with endless mixers, social gatherings, and recruiting events.  We are also exposed to hundreds of classmates who each have an incredible story to tell and would be incredible additions to our network.

However, we can’t pretend to really get to know them all, just like we can’t prepare well for every single interview.  We have to make tough decisions.  We have to invest – fully and deeply – in the few people and things that make us the happiest.  Only then can we make a truly meaningful impact as future business leaders.

Seeking out and receiving feedback is a waste.

No one is perfect, regardless of how impressive their resume.  Everyone can improve if they put effort in and use their friends and peers in the process. After a semester of cases and guest lectures one theme became clear: success post business school depends less on your IQ and more on your ability to work with others. Can you motivate a team and accomplish a common task that is impossible to achieve alone?

I would say no if you cannot accept and give the honest feedback that allows a team to function at an optimal level.  As uncomfortable as it is to give and receive feedback, the MBA class contains people who have a vested interest in your success and want to see you “Be all that you can be”. Seeking out these people and letting them play a direct role in your development creates the potential for amazing growth.

Learning stops when class ends.

While the classroom was incredibly valuable to my development and education (both here and as an undergrad), I found my experience outside the classroom to be equally, if not more, valuable.

Ranging from debates over equity investments, deep conversations on business models, or discussions around how to create a sustainable competitive advantage, outside the classroom learning never stopped. My interactions with professors, peers, and mentors beyond the teaching halls contributed the most to my personal and professional growth.

Try everything.

Focus on your strategy, on your goals, and on what you are uniquely good at and love. The rest is noise. If you are terrible at modeling financials or hate using Excel, learn the basic competency, and then follow your passions. There will be something that makes your eyes sparkle and your face light up. Find out what that is – you have two years to do just that – and then run after it without looking back.

A special thanks to Harvard Business School for providing data on placement locations for recent graduates, and to friends at a local start-up for helping us build out a unique infographic to help tell this story in a creative manner.
To Ajmal Sheikh, Heidi Kim, Julia Yoo, Momchil Filev, and Walter Haas: You have each been wonderful co-authors and co-editors in this writing process and more importantly dear friends, thanks for making an idea become reality. To the Professors, staff, and faculty of Harvard Business School, thanks for making this an experience unlike any other – one chapter ends, the pages turn, and another begins!
 

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Tuesday Tips: 2014 Stanford GSB Essay Tips [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2014, 10:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: 2014 Stanford GSB Essay Tips
Stanford Graduate School of Business has followed the lead of the majority of top MBA programs and has reduced the essay count for this year’s application. Stanford is still focused on candid self-evaluation and authenticity, and has just cut out the optional shorter essays. The Stanford GSB MBA admissions website provides clear guidance and advice for what to do, and what not to do, that all applicants should read and follow.

What keeps you awake at night? When you look back at your life what will you admire and regret about your choices? These are the kind of questions to ask yourself as you approach topics for this set of essays. Your accomplishments and achievements are part of why you have developed into the person you are today, however it’s far more important to explain your influences, lessons learned and motivations. Introspection and honesty should persist through the entire set of essays.

Total word count for all three essays combined should not exceed 1,100 words, so applicants must be judicious in deciding how much or little to write for each prompt. As a general guideline, Stanford GSB suggests 750 words for essay one and 350 words for essay two. Check your deadlines before you get started to make sure you are maximizing the time on your essays.

Stanford GSB Essay 1: What matters most to you, and why?

This classic Stanford GSB MBA essay is your opportunity to demonstrate who you are, what motivates you, and why. Topics can range from personal history to grand visions of the future. While this topic should not be explicitly career related (and the strongest essays are likely not career oriented at all) it may raise themes that you will continue in your career essay.
To generate ideas, try brainstorming over a period of a few days. Ask friends and family what values they see you demonstrating in your life and choices. Keep a notebook by your bed so you can record your first thoughts upon waking up, and mine your personal history for ideas.

Though the essay question may seem open-ended, answering the question with vivid and specific examples will provide solid evidence that you have demonstrated or experienced “what matters most” throughout your life. Keep in mind as you select examples that Stanford GSB specifically advises focusing on people and experiences that have influenced you, rather than accomplishments or achievements.

Essay B: Why Stanford? Enlighten us on how earning your MBA at Stanford will enable you to realize your ambitions.

This year Stanford leads with the most important part: Why Stanford? Be specific in your response. You should know everything about the program and show that it is your dream school. Have you met current students and alumni? Who are the professors you are excited about? What are the unique programs?

This essay question is a somewhat standard career goals theme, but note that Stanford refers to it as a “personal essay.” Stanford GSB wants to know what you specifically need that will be uniquely satisfied by the program at Stanford GSB, and research will help you determine what aspects of the academic program, community and students are crucial to your aspirations.
When you discuss how Stanford will help you achieve your goals consider that Stanford likes to see applicants who dream big, and have the credibility to achieve their goals. So think big about your plans. Don’t focus on what your parents or partner want you to do. Don’t think about the next job on the corporate ladder. What do you, with your own unique background and values, want for your life?

If the question seems too vast, take a few minutes to close your eyes and reflect. Envision your life in twenty years. Where do you live? How do you spend your days? What is your favorite activity? How does this vision fit into your career aspirations? Don’t be shy about your ambitions. Once you have identified your dream career, you also need to make sure an MBA is an important part of achieving your plans.

Stanford wants candidates for whom an MBA will make an impact on their ambitious trajectory, not candidates who are looking for a prestigious piece of paper. Remember that MBA programs want to help promising candidates reach their goals, not admit perfect people with no need for development.

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Brown University Will Now Offer Joint MBA Degree [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2014, 05:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Brown University Will Now Offer Joint MBA Degree
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Brown University and internationally top-ranked IE Business School in Spain recently announced that the IE Brown Executive MBA will now be offered as joint degree, conferred by both institutions. This joint degree is the first MBA degree to be awarded by Brown University.

Launched in 2011, the IE Brown EMBA mixes content, pedagogies, faculty, and the complementary strengths of both institutions. Brown and IE students and alumni will benefit from the expanded global reach and impact of this joint degree program.

“The complex nature of today’s business world requires an interdisciplinary perspective,” says Brown University President Christina Paxson. “Through this new joint degree, IE and Brown are each bringing a distinctive set of strengths together to educate international business leaders in a way that will fully prepare them for the ever-changing landscape of the global economy.”

Founded in 1764 and celebrating its 250th anniversary, Brown educates students known for independence, creativity, and a commitment to serve their local, national, and global communities. The executives in the IE Brown EMBA match this profile.

IE Business School, founded in 1973, educates business leaders through innovative programs based on its core values of global focus, entrepreneurial spirit, and humanistic approach. These values are central to the joint IE Brown EMBA program that develops reflective leaders who take entrepreneurial action.

“The IE Brown Executive MBA is a revolutionary program at the intersection of management and humanities, which provides managers with a global, humanistic vision of management focused on value creation, innovation, and sustainability,” says Santiago Iñiguez, dean of IE Business School. “Graduates of the multidisciplinary program are, and will continue to be, change agents capable of great impact in their organizations.”

During the 15-month program, students attend one- to two-week residential sessions at Brown in Providence, Rhode Island, and IE in Madrid, Spain, as well as a global experience in Cape Town, South Africa.

The blend of residential and online learning allows them to continue working while earning the joint degree, facilitates peer-to-peer learning, and fosters the development of a professional network that is a lifelong resource.

Members of the Class of 2016, who start the program in March 2015, will be the first to earn this degree jointly.

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UCLA Anderson 2014-2015 Application Deadlines [#permalink] New post 04 Jun 2014, 11:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UCLA Anderson 2014-2015 Application Deadlines
The UCLA Anderson School of Management has announced the deadlines for the upcoming MBA admissions cycle. The three deadlines are:

Round 1
Deadline: October 22, 2014
Notification: January 28, 2015

Round 2
Deadline: January 7, 2015
Notification: April 2, 2015

Round 3
Deadline: April 15, 2015
Notification: June 3, 2015

Completed applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. PST on the day of the deadline to be considered in a particular round.  UCLA Anderson notes that earlier admits enjoy greater availability of fellowships, housing and networking events, so you should apply as soon as your candidacy looks strong.

For more information, visit UCLA Anderson’s admissions website.

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Michigan Ross 2014-2015 MBA Essay Questions [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2014, 09:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Michigan Ross 2014-2015 MBA Essay Questions
The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has announced the MBA essay questions for the 2014-2015 admissions season via a post by Admissions Director Soojin Kwon on the Ross Admissions Blog.

Class of 2017 Essay Questions
For the coming year, there will be two required essays instead of three, and 800 words instead of 950. Here are the two essay questions (400 words each):

• What are you most proud of professionally and why? What did you learn from that experience?

• What are you most proud of personally and why? How does it shape who you are today?

Kwon notes the goal with these questions is to give the admissions committee a sense of who you are, how you think about yourself and how you process your experiences.

Another change in this year’s application: Michigan Ross will require just one letter of recommendation, ideally from a current direct or immediate past supervisor.

Here are the recommender questions:
• How do the candidate’s performance, potential, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (300 words)

• Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicants. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)

The application will go live by July 15th, Kwon says.

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Michigan Ross 2014-2015 Application Deadlines [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2014, 09:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Michigan Ross 2014-2015 Application Deadlines
The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has posted the MBA application deadlines for the upcoming admissions season. The three rounds are:

Round 1
Deadline: October 6, 2014
Decision: December 19, 2014

Round 2
Deadline: January 5, 2015
Decision: March 13, 2015

Round 3

Deadline: March 23, 2015
Decision: May 15, 2015

All applications are due by 11:59 EST on the day of  the deadline in order to be considered within that round. Michigan Ross also encourages international students apply in Round 1 or Round 2 because of visa requirements and to ensure consideration for scholarships.

For more information, please visit the Michigan Ross admissions website.

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Will a Low GPA Doom Your MBA Application? [#permalink] New post 05 Jun 2014, 13:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Will a Low GPA Doom Your MBA Application?
Are you an applicant worried that your ho-hum undergrad performance will hamper your chances of getting into a top MBA program? If so, fear no more. I recently contributed my thoughts on this type of candidate profile for an article on Business Insider.

The most important thing is to show exceptional focus and leadership skills in your career, and to openly acknowledge to the admissions committee the reason or reasons for your lackluster college GPA.

You can read more tips on compensating for a low GPA in the article, How to Get Accepted to Business School with a Rock Star Career But Crappy Undergrad.

You may also be interested in:

Don’t Ignore a Low GPA in B-School Applications

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Stanford’s New Joint Electrical Engineering MS/MBA Degree Pr [#permalink] New post 06 Jun 2014, 21:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Stanford’s New Joint Electrical Engineering MS/MBA Degree Program
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Earlier this week, Stanford University announced the launch of a new joint Stanford Electrical Engineering MS/MBA degree program, which will be available to graduate students in the 2015-2016 academic year.

The joint program structure will allow students to complete the two degrees in three years, instead of the usual four years needed to complete each one separately.

Interested students must separately apply to and be accepted by both the Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA program and the School of Engineering’s Electrical Engineering MS program. Students may apply for admission starting this fall and must also take the GRE exam to be eligible for admission.

“The joint focus recognizes that the students we educate need and want an integrated understanding of engineering, strategy and execution as they drive future innovations that increasingly involve both technology and business,” says Madhav Rajan, Senior Associate Dean and faculty director of the MBA Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Completion of the joint program requires a combined total of 129 units, including 84 units at Stanford GSB and 45 units in the Electrical Engineering department. Students who complete the joint program will earn two degrees: an MS in Electrical Engineering and the MBA.

Admission to the Masters in Electrical Engineering requires a strong undergraduate background in engineering or quantitative subjects such as physics or mathematics. Applicants to the MBA Program are assessed on intellectual vitality, demonstrated leadership potential, and personal qualities.

“The Electrical Engineering MS/MBA program represents the growing emphasis on multidisciplinary learning at Stanford,” says Olav Solgaard, Professor of Electrical Engineering at the School of Engineering. “This program builds on the culture of entrepreneurship and creativity in the schools of Business and Engineering at Stanford and will better equip our students to take new technologies from basic research to commercial products.”

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UT McCombs Application Deadlines, Essay Questions [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2014, 10:00
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UT McCombs Application Deadlines, Essay Questions
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The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business has announced the application deadlines and essay prompts for the 2014-2015 MBA admissions season.

Round 1
Deadline: October 14, 2014
Notification: December 18, 2014

Round 2
Deadline: January 6, 2015
Notification: March 26, 2015

Round 3
Deadline: March 24, 2015
Notification: May 21, 2015

2014-2015 Application Essay Topics
1. Imagine that you are at the Texas MBA Orientation for the Class of 2017. Please introduce yourself to your new classmates, and include any personal and/or professional aspects that you believe to be significant. Select only one communication method that you would like to use for your response.

  • Write an essay (250 words)
  • Share a video introduction (one minute)
  • Share your about.me profile
2. In the Texas MBA program, we promote a diverse and collaborative community by providing opportunities for growth in an academically rigorous environment. Please discuss why McCombs is the right program for you, what you hope to gain from your time in the Texas MBA Program both personally and professionally, and how you will contribute to your classmates’ experiences. (500 words)

Optional Essay: Please provide any additional information to the Admissions Committee that you believe is important and/or will address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application. (200 words)

For example, if your standardized test scores are not exactly what you would like them to be or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (i.e. calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting, or finance), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum.

Discuss any unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or any significant weaknesses in your application or extenuating personal circumstances that you think may impact your candidacy.

For more information, please visit the UT McCombs admissions website.

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