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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Ensure Your Goals Are Ambitious bu [#permalink] New post 28 Jul 2014, 08:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Ensure Your Goals Are Ambitious but Realistic
When writing about your career, strive to inspire your reader by showing that your goals are ambitious, but not so ambitious that they are implausible. You should work to find a middle ground between goals that are easily achievable and those that are naïve or entirely fantastic. For example, stating that in the short term, you want to return to your existing position at your firm would be an example of an unambitious goal and thus an unwise approach. On the other hand, declaring that in the short term, you want to become CEO of the New York Yankees would be shooting unreasonably high, and the goal would therefore be viewed as unrealistic.

Generally, with respect to short-term goals, you should be able to identify a reasonably precise position that you could expect to enter after graduating from your MBA program. (If you intend to start your own firm, you should have a clear understanding of what that firm will be, the direction you will take, and how you will steward the business to achieve its short-term goals.) As for the long term, pick a goal that derives from your existing career path—or could be considered a logical transition from it—and that represents an ideal of sorts. Essentially, we recommend that you write about goals that would be within your grasp if everything were to go according to plan.
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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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Mission Admission: Will I Get In? [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2014, 11:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: Will I Get In?
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

Not surprisingly, one of the most common questions MBA candidates ask is “Will I get in?” Of course, this is an important question to consider before applying, and we suggest that you honestly assess and understand your candidacy and risk profile within the context of your target school’s typical student body before completing or submitting an application to that school. However, once you have determined that you will in fact apply to a particular school, you should not let this question haunt you or halt your progress. Many applicants spend too much time worrying and not enough time working. Unfortunately, your admissions decision is ultimately out of your control, so just focus on submitting the best application you possibly can, and expect that the admissions committees will identify the best candidates.

Of course, you can get our expert advice by signing up for a free, 30-minute, one-on-one consultation at www.mbamission.com/consult.php.
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

_________________

Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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MBA Career Advice: Do You Know What Networking Is? [#permalink] New post 29 Jul 2014, 14:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Career Advice: Do You Know What Networking Is?
In this weekly series, our friends at MBA Career Coaches will be dispensing invaluable advice to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. For more info or to sign up for a free career consultation, visit www.mbacareercoaches.com.

It is the source of your next job…and the one after that. It might help you get a better deal on your next real estate purchase. If you want better investment advice, a recommendation on the best hotel for your impending vacation in Turkey, or even a good idea for the best restaurant to take a high profile client for dinner this Friday, the answer is already in one place: your network. As we all know, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

A network is “a group of people or organizations that are closely connected and that work with each other.” So what we call networking, might better be labeled “building a network.” It is the process by which you create meaningful connections with others, maintain those relationships, and then connect those people with each other. It is a web, not simply a hub and spoke system, and building a network is critical to your success as a professional.

There are four discrete steps in the process of adding someone to your personal network:

  • Create a connection
  • Give the connection a future
  • Sustain the relationship
  • Connect him or her to someone else in your network
Are you someone who hates networking? Do you consider yourself a poor networker? Think about which of these steps it is that you resist. It’s probably not maintaining meaningful relationships or connecting others in your network. It just might be that you dislike “networking events.” Most of us don’t like the pressure of wading through a mass of strangers in an unstructured environment (featuring cocktails and personal insecurities in inverse proportions), where we need to find the two or three people that can help us in our career. Then, once we find the needle in the haystack, we feel so awkward that we try to get that business card quickly, while clamoring for attention among the masses of other people trying to do the same, before exiting ASAP.

Yes, that thought is exhausting. But if you remember that building a network requires a web of connections, it could take some of the pressure of that important event you are attending this week, because in a network, you never know who will end up being useful. If you focus on creating meaningful human connections and then maintaining the resultant relationships, you will never be more than two or three degrees away from the opportunity you want. So instead of aiming, like a heat-seeking missile for the few people you think will be important to you, consider establishing connections with everyone you meet. Set a goal to make 10 new connections at an event, but don’t set any expectation about who those people will be. After all, you never know where that “random” connection might lead you…
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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mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Northwestern University (Kellogg) Essay Analysis, 2014–2015 [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2014, 11:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Northwestern University (Kellogg) Essay Analysis, 2014–2015
The Kellogg School of Management is going positively retro with its rather robust application components this admissions season, requiring two written essays and two video essays. The school seems to actually want to get to know the people who will represent its brand for the next 60 years. Kudos to Kellogg! Our analysis follows…

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For 2014–2015, the following two essays are required of all applicants:


Essay 1: Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)

Although this is a rather straightforward prompt, executing a response to it could, well, challenge you. Why? Well, most people do not like to admit when they have been knocked down or (heaven forbid!) made mistakes. But Kellogg wants to know that you are a real person—that you have some hard-won victories under your belt and have had to struggle to some degree to get to where you are today. If you have simply been coasting along or have had no cause to develop any coping mechanisms, we can probably pretty safely say that you are not Kellogg material.

An excellent essay will start by showing some very positive momentum toward your goal and then really derail the reader—having the bottom drop out at some point in your narrative (likely in the second or third paragraph) is best. With this approach, your admissions reader will essentially experience for himself (or herself) your reversal of fortune or the seemingly insurmountable obstacle you unexpectedly encountered, only to find (in your next paragraph) that you were ultimately successful in surmounting that obstacle or, in failing to do so, learned some profound lessons.

Kellogg’s admissions committee asks very directly, “What did you learn?” Given the limited word count and your need to convey a full narrative to create an effective essay, you will have only a few sentences in which to respond to this question. Do not skip this portion in favor of including more detail in your story—this is an important piece of information the school is seeking. Similarly, do not just reiterate what is expressed in the question: “I learned the importance of perseverance.” Skip the platitudes, avoid repetition, and push yourself to express what you actually took away from the experience.

Essay 2: Leadership requires an ability to collaborate with and motivate others. Describe a professional experience that required you to influence people. What did this experience teach you about working with others, and how will it make you a better leader? (450 words)

Even though the Kellogg admissions committee does not ask about a challenge in this second essay prompt, you will still need to reveal one. After all, if everyone in the story you choose to share quickly and blindly followed your lead, were you really collaborating with or motivating anyone? No, in this case, you need to demonstrate that the impact you had as a leader was earned via your choices and behavior, revealing a clear cause-and-effect connection between the actions you took to motivate and the subsequent reactions from those who were motivated.

An important note: you do not need to reveal yourself as a particularly vocal leader, prone to fiery invectives or inspirational charges. Influence can be both exerted and revealed in subtle ways. You may have used a kind word or your sense of humor to engage others; you may have created a team dynamic through mutual goal-setting and shared rewards. There is no “right” path for you to have taken. What is important is that you show how you influenced others and achieved your objectives, while learning about your own profound (there is that word again!) leadership skills.

Certain applicants will respond to additional questions:

  • Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250-word limit)
Whether you have improved your academic record, received a promotion, begun a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement, or taken on some sort of personal challenge, the key to success with this essay is conveying a very deliberate path of achievement. Kellogg wants to know that you have been actively striving to improve yourself and your profile, and that you have seized opportunities during the previous year to do so, because a Kellogg MBA is vital to you. The responses to this essay question will vary greatly from one candidate to the next, because each person’s needs and experiences differ. We are more than happy to provide one-on-one assistance with this highly personal essay to ensure that your efforts over the past year are presented in the best light possible.

All applicants have the opportunity to provide explanations or clarification in Additional Information:

  • If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)
However tempted you might be, this is not the place to paste in a strong essay from another school or to offer a few anecdotes that you were unable to use in any of your other essays. Instead, this is your opportunity, if needed, to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer may have about your candidacy, such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc. In our mbaMission Optional Statement Guide, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

The Video Essays provide applicants with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what they will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community—in an interactive way. Each applicant will complete two short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.

  • After submitting a completed application, each applicant will be asked to complete two Video Essay Questions. One will be about the candidate’s interest in Kellogg and the other will be a “getting to know you” type of question.
  • There are 10 practice questions which candidates can complete as many times as they like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool and help applicants feel prepared.
  • There is not an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions. We encourage applicants to practice so they are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions.
  • Candidates will have 20 seconds to think about their question and up to 1 minute to give their response.
  • We estimate the Video Essays will take 30 minutes to complete—which includes time for set-up and answering all the practice questions.
So, for its video essays, Kellogg has two questions for you: one about Kellogg and one about you. How do you prepare? With respect to your interest in Kellogg, you need to truly understand why you are choosing this specific program for your MBA. By that, we do not mean that you should create and memorize a laundry list of reasons. Instead, you must have a comprehensive understanding of the resources the school offers and be able to clearly and concisely express which ones are of particular importance and significance to you—and why. Then, when you are recording your video response, you will need to convey this information in a way that is sincere and compelling. That will not happen if you are listing a few facts you have simply committed to memory!

Kellogg’s “get to know you” question will be about a topic you know very well—you! So, as we often advise candidates, do not try to anticipate what the school will ask or guess what it wants to hear and skew your response to match. Be sure to answer the question honestly and authentically, and use this “live” opportunity to show the admissions committee your personality and character.

One minute is not very long, so you should definitely run through several mock interviews, even if they are just in front of a mirror, to get a sense of how quickly those 60 seconds will pass when you are later in front of the camera. Marshall McLuhan famously stated, “The medium is the message.” We can skip the philosophical debate about the validity of “McLuhanism” in our essay analysis, but in our opinion, being calm, confident, and sincere is a very important part of this battle. Whether you are answering the school-specific question or the “get to know you” query, simply relax and strive to share your thoughts in a way that does not seem rehearsed—absolutely do not try to use notes that you have hidden somewhere. Be yourself, and if you need help finding that comfort zone, we can provide assistance with mock interviews.
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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Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Professor Profiles: Peter L. Rodriguez, UVA’s Darden School  [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2014, 14:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Peter L. Rodriguez, UVA’s Darden School of Business
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a school, but the educational experience at the business school is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Each Wednesday, we profile a standout professor as identified by students. Today, we focus on Peter L. Rodriguez from the University of Virginia’s (UVA’s) Darden School of Business Administration.

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Peter L. Rodriguez (“Global Economies and Markets”) has three areas of expertise: international trade and development, international business and corruption, and ethnic entrepreneurship. He has used his PhD in economics from Princeton University to study investing—coediting the book Angel Investing in Latin America (Darden Business Publishing, 2005)—and is currently Darden’s senior associate dean for degree programs and chief diversity officer. In 2008, Rodriguez received an award for outstanding teaching at Darden, and in 2007, he won the school’s John Colley Award, which recognizes those who perpetuate Darden’s tradition of close interactions between professors and students. He has written seven cases for Darden on topics ranging from the recent economic difficulties in the United States to financial challenges emerging in Vietnam to the effects of corruption and the economic impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Because of his personal interest in business developments in Latin America and Africa, Rodriguez has both planned and participated in Global Business Experiences (courses in which students travel to countries outside the United States to explore the culture and business environment there firsthand for several weeks) to countries in those areas.

Students with whom we spoke view Rodriguez, known to many as simply “P-Rod,” as a very caring professor who pays special attention to each student, asking about their families and remembering their concerns. One second year described him to us as “one of the most loved professors [at Darden].” And an alumnus with whom we spoke described Rodriguez as “very funny, very articulate, not dry” but added that “he asks tough questions.” This graduate also noted that Rodriguez is very patient with students, helping each to probe deeply for answers and thereby guiding them to deeper insights. “He fills the room with kinetic energy when he walks in,” said an alumna we interviewed. “He understands who gets it and who doesn’t.”

For more information about UVA Darden and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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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Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Perform at a UCLA Anderson Lit Clu [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2014, 12:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Perform at a UCLA Anderson Lit Club
When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment but are also making a commitment to a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

Each Wednesday night, UCLA Anderson students get together at a different bar near campus for drinks and student performances as part of “Lit Club,” short for “Literary Club.” The name is ironic, because the student performances are not actually literary but rather are short, tongue-in-cheek readings. According to an Anderson alumnus, the readings—written and delivered by students known as “librarians”—usually cover funny events that took place at Anderson during the week and are sometimes accompanied by a slide show.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at UCLA Anderson and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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

_________________

Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Diamonds in the Rough: New Facilities at Washington Universi [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2014, 16:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: New Facilities at Washington University’s Olin Business School
MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

Washington University’s Olin Business School announced in 2011 that lead gifts totaling $25M from two of its benefactors would support a plan to construct two new facilities for its graduate program—Knight Hall and Bauer Hall. The $90M expansion is scheduled for completion in late 2014 and will add seven new classrooms, 75 faculty offices, a 100-seat café, graduate student services, lounges, an Active Learning Lab, and a new event space called The Forum. A three-dimensional rendering of the buildings can be seen here.

Boasting strong MBA and BSBA (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration) programs, the school states on its site that its operating principle is to be “research-driven, applied.” Although Olin is a smaller sized program (142 full-time MBA students in the fall of 2013) and is noted for its highly collaborative culture, the expansion plan will allow the school to grow its class size while providing more space and resources.

Olin may also be well positioned to tap into St. Louis’s burgeoning start-up sector. According to a March 2013 report by career hub Dice, “The number of St. Louis–based technology jobs posted on Dice jumped 25 percent year/year. And those new tech jobs are coming at a higher price tag, too: average tech salaries are up 13 percent year/year to $81,245. … St. Louis is becoming a start-up town.”
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

_________________

Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Friday Factoid: MIT Sloan’s Sports “Dorkapalooza” [#permalink] New post 01 Aug 2014, 11:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: MIT Sloan’s Sports “Dorkapalooza”
Did you know that some of the biggest names in sports have met annually since 2007 for an event at the MIT Sloan School of Management that ESPN columnist Bill Simmons once described as “dorkapalooza”? At the student-run Sports Analytics Conference, participants discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry, and students have ample opportunity to network with the elite of the sports world.

The 2014 conference featured presentations and discussions from top industry leaders, including the commissioner of the NBA, the head coach of the Boston Celtics, the editor in chief of ESPN The Magazine, the CEO of Sportvision, the founder/CEO of Under Armour, the president of Bloomberg Sports, the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, the president of Ticketmaster North America, and the president/CEO of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, L.P. The event also involved more than two dozen panels covering such topics as “What Does It Take to Call a Strike,” “A Data-Driven Method for In-Game Decision Making in MLB,” and “From the Classroom to the Locker Room: Teaching the Next Generation of Sports Analysts.”

A second-year EMS Club member told mbaMission, “The event is one of the largest student-organized conferences in the country and was named the third most innovative company in all of sports (behind only the NFL and MLB Advanced Media) by Fast Company [magazine].”

For a thorough exploration of what MIT Sloan and 15 other top business schools have to offer, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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

_________________

Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Be Careful When Claiming Uniquenes [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2014, 07:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Be Careful When Claiming Uniqueness
“The semester I spent in France during high school was a unique experience.”

“I want to attend Columbia Business School because of its unique Entrepreneurial Club.”

“The opportunity to do hands-on consulting at Ross is unique.”

“My finance background and strong interpersonal skills will allow me to make a unique contribution to Cornell’s Investment Management Club.”

An mbaMission consultant recently counted five uses of the word “unique” in a single 600-word essay. What is more, not one of the uses actually fulfilled the term’s correct definition: “existing as the only one or as the sole example.” Business school applicants tend to use the word “unique” in an attempt to make themselves stand out to the admissions committee. However, because they use the word imprecisely—and often too frequently—it ends up having the opposite effect instead, and the essay loses its distinctiveness and believability. Another danger of using the term too casually is that you risk exposing your lack of research about the school if you claim something is unique to the school when it really is not.

Here are the same four statements we presented at the beginning of this post, written without the generic “unique.” In each case, the sentence is far more descriptive and therefore much less likely to appear in any other applicant’s essay!

“The semester I spent in France during high school was eye-opening, from the frogs’ legs I was served at dinner to the concept of shopping daily for my food.”

“I want to attend Columbia Business School because its Entrepreneurial Club offers an incredible range of activities that will prepare me to better run my own company.”

“The opportunity to do hands-on consulting at Ross will complement the theoretical background I will gain by taking classes on consulting.”

“My finance background and strong interpersonal skills will ensure that I will effectively coach and mentor classmates new to finance through the mentorship program offered by Cornell’s Investment Management Club.”
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

_________________

Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Mission Admission: What If I Have No Supervisor? [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2014, 09:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: What If I Have No Supervisor?
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

“I am self-employed.”

“I am a vice-president in my family’s business.”

“I am a freelancer.”

“I am a contract consultant.”

If you can describe your professional situation using any of these statements—or something very similar—you may very well be thinking (and worrying), “I have no supervisor! Who is going to write my recommendations?”

Before we address this problem, let us first remind you that MBA admissions committees have indeed seen it all. Your situation is most likely not unique, so you do not need to fret. Let us consider the example of the family business vice-president and add a detail—that the family business is in manufacturing. This hypothetical MBA candidate could contact one of the company’s long-standing clients or suppliers, who may be able to write about the applicant’s integrity, growth, sense of humor, determination, and more, all in relation to other comparable individuals.

If these constituents were not able to offer adequate feedback, however, the MBA candidate might instead ask the head of a trade association or possibly even a respected competitor to write on his/her behalf. If the applicant really needed to get creative, he/she might even consider asking a service provider; for example, getting a letter of reference from an architectural firm that collaborated with the candidate to build a new manufacturing facility could be an interesting solution.

In short, most MBA candidates have more potential recommenders to choose among than they realize. Keep looking and try not to get discouraged—someone out there knows you well and can write objectively on your behalf.
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MBA Career Advice: Failure Is The Key To Success [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2014, 12:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Career Advice: Failure Is The Key To Success
In this weekly series, our friends at MBA Career Coaches will be dispensing invaluable advice to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. For more info or to sign up for a free career consultation, visit www.mbacareercoaches.com.

We are going to talk a lot about failure here. There is a very good reason for that. If you don’t know how to fail, then you don’t know how to succeed. Interviewers, especially in a job recruiting context, nearly universally ask you to speak about a past failure, mistake, setback, challenge, piece of constructive feedback, or negative experience. They want to know what went wrong, how you handled it, and most importantly, how you recovered. This is important to them because whatever you seek to do next in your career will require you to learn. Learning happens best when we try, make mistakes, readjust, and make new choices based on a clearer awareness of reality that comes from firsthand experience. Most of us learn by doing. And some of that doing will end in failure.

If the word “failure” sends a chill up your spine or brings a dark shadow to your mood, it’s time to start thinking about it differently. You need to adopt the perspective that failure is your teacher and your friend, not your enemy. Your career destiny will truly be in your own hands when you are no longer afraid to fail. An easy and big step in the right direction is to start cataloging important failures and then recording the lessons they taught you. So get out a sheet of paper and divide it in half.

Failure
What I learned as a result

  • Client presentation went badly
  • Finished Excel model too late
  • Boss didn’t buy into my idea

  • Always prepare in advance and practice out loud
  • Get manager input at each stage, not just at the end
  • Use more data-based research to persuade her next time

These are very simplistic examples – yours should be much more specific and detailed. Each failure probably conferred multiple valuable lessons. List at least six or seven failures and the corollary learnings. If it’s hard to get started, going back to the distant past can be easier. Remember that geometry test in 10th grade that you failed, when you ran for class president at age 11 and failed, that big swim meet when you placed last? Start with the failures that no longer have the barb of regret attached. But eventually you will need to look at the painful ones too. Those will actually be the most important to unlocking your potential for success. Stay tuned to this weekly series for tips about how to fail successfully and convert disappointments into stepping stones for a remarkable career.
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You Don’t Need an 80th Percentile Score to Get In! [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2014, 16:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: You Don’t Need an 80th Percentile Score to Get In!
We recently posted a longer piece on our blog entitled, “You Don’t Need a 750 to Get In!” striving to destroy the myth that you must have an above average GMAT score (as paradoxical as that is) to get into a top MBA program. Well, one thing led to another, and I soon found myself [mbaMission Founder Jeremy Shinewald] engaged in a dialogue with two well-known GMAT instructors, Ron Purewal and Stacey Koprince of Manhattan GMAT, with Ron leading the charge on a plea to destroy the “80/80” myth. Hopefully, you have not even heard about the alleged “need” for an applicant to have a “balanced” 80th percentile on both the Verbal and Quant sections of the GMAT exam. If you have not, then let me say, “As you were…” However, if you have and believe that applicants really do need this, then let us get to work destroying that belief. Here is why:

1. The admissions officers say no!: Those pesky admissions officers are constantly trying to get in the way of admissions myths. Here is an excerpt from an interview I did last year with the assistant dean of admissions at allegedly “GMAT-focused” Columbia Business School.

mbaMission: In the admissions mythology, there is this sense that a “safe” GMAT score is a 700 total score with an 80th percentile on both sides of the test [Quant and Verbal], but Quant scores in particular have really been going up, meaning the percentile for some previously high scores has dropped. So these days, even a 48 out of a 51, for example, will not be an 80th percentile Quant score. Should candidates be worried about the percentiles, or are you looking at their Quant scores in absolute terms? …

Amanda Carlson: I know exactly what you’re saying, and what I can tell you is a resounding, emphatic “No.”… People do not have to have this 80/80 type of a breakdown to be admitted. I can’t be emphatic about that enough.

You might say to yourself, “Yes, but that is just one admissions officer.” Touche! So let me share what Bruce DelMonico, the straight-shooting assistant dean and director of admissions at the Yale School of Management, told me in an email exchange:

“We don’t need to see the proverbial 80/80 split …. We don’t have any cut-offs or thresholds, but we do tell candidates that if they can get to the 60th percentile or above, that will serve them well. Again, we certainly have taken people whose percentiles are lower, but ideally you’d want to be at or above 60%.”

And, of course, as I noted in my previous post, when I spoke with Dee Leopold, the managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid at HBS, she was explicit about assessing each candidate on his/her individual merits, rather than on a target GMAT score, which is a natural lead-in to our second rationale…

2. An 80th Quant percentile is not what it seems: These days, a 49 out of 51 will not get you an 80th percentile score—a 49 is a 79th percentile. So you need to have either a perfect 51/51 or a 50/51 to even score in the 80th percentile or higher. As Ron noted to me in an email exchange, “The meaning of the Quant percentiles has fundamentally changed. The percentiles just reflect the changing demographics of the GMAT pool.” Indeed, the pool has been profoundly affected by an influx of international applicants who earn high scores on the Quant section, but many never apply to top schools in the United States. As a result, the overall Quant scores are rising, and the percentiles are falling, obscuring what the admissions officers at the top 15 schools actually see in their applicant pool. Ron continued, “It’s obviously not true that the majority of people walking around at top b-schools are all sporting 50s or 51s on the Quant section.”

3. Your score is predictive, not your percentile: The reason I am writing this piece—trying to destroy this myth—is that percentiles have shifted over time, which has created confusion. Raw scores, on the other hand, do not shift and are a far better predictor of performance. A 47 Quant score today represents exactly what a 47 Quant score represented years ago because the score is standardized. The admissions officers can go through data and correlate student performance with scores, so they should be able to predict whether an individual with a 47 Quant score will flunk out or hit a home run. This is not true of a percentile that fluctuates up and down.

4. The GMAT is not the sole measure of competency: The GMAT is only one piece of the puzzle with respect to measuring a candidate’s aptitude. Let’s say you were evaluating an individual who had a 3.6 GPA in business administration, had completed CFA Level 1, and had earned a 47 raw Quant score (68th percentile) on the GMAT. Would you place a bet that this person could manage MBA-level finance, accounting, econ, and quantitative methods courses? His CFA Level 1 achievement alone says that he can, as does his GPA! His GMAT Quant score is actually not all that relevant for assessing his quantitative abilities, because that box has already been checked via his other accomplishments/stats. Now let’s say that you were evaluating a 3.8 English/economics double major with a 33 raw Verbal score (69th percentile). Would you feel comfortable allowing her into your class, confident that she could quickly read and digest information? I imagine you would be. A person’s GMAT score, GPA, and other designations work together to inform the admissions officers—not just that applicant’s GMAT percentile(s)!

What was an eye-opener for me in my dialogue with Ron and Stacey was that the emphasis on Quant percentiles in particular is driving candidates to misplace their priorities. Ron noted that he has several applicants with scores of 48 or 49 who are spending time trying to lift their scores to 50. This is worrying to us, not only because we want people with 48+ scores dedicating time to other parts of their profiles and applications instead, but also because we are concerned that some applicants with 48s (or lower) may unnecessarily become disheartened and decide not to apply.

Let us be very clear, high scores and high percentiles are great. We are not a firm of Polyannas, but applicants need to look past superficialities and statistics to understand the bigger picture, in context. We are always happy to provide that context through a free 30-minute consultation.
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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Professor Profiles: Luigi Zingales, The University of Chicag [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2014, 10:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Luigi Zingales, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose an MBA program, but the educational experience at business school is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Each Wednesday, we profile a standout professor as identified by students. Today, we focus on Luigi Zingales from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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Luigi Zingales
(“Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity” and “Theory of Financial Decisions”) is known on the Chicago Booth campus for his charm, sense of humor and humility, but students with whom mbaMission spoke also call him an innovator, citing as evidence his perspective on the discount rates used to evaluate the future cash flows of new and risky ventures (i.e., his ability to mathematically explain why some firms deserve a 30%–50% discount rate). Zingales’s novel approach to solving the mortgage crisis was profiled in The Economist, and Bruce Bartlett of the National Review Online called his book Saving Capitalism from Capitalists: Unleashing the Power of Financial Markets to Create Wealth and Spread Opportunity (coauthored with Raghuram G. Rajan; Crown Business, 2003) “one of the most powerful defenses of the free market ever written.” His students call him an “emerging finance superstar”—significant praise, considering the company he keeps at Chicago Booth.

For more information about Chicago Booth and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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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B-School Chart of the Week: June 2014 Social Currency Rankin [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2014, 14:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: B-School Chart of the Week: June 2014 Social Currency Ranking
Rankings come in all shapes and sizes, but can any ranking truly capture social cachet? For a different perspective on the value of an MBA, we turn to the New York Times society pages, where the editors select and profile promising couples. Each month, we dedicate one B-School Chart of the Week to tallying how alumni from top-ranked business schools are advancing their social currency ranking.

With June marking the halfway point in our 2014 tally of MBAs whose nuptials were mentioned in the New York Times wedding announcements, we present an overview of the past six months of data. The number of business school students and alumni who were highlighted in June alone—a total of 67—more than doubled our year-to-date figure, bringing the cumulative tally to 130 out of 600 weddings in 2014.

Despite the sudden leap after a relatively slow May, the year-over-year numbers for June are strikingly similar, considering the aggregate tally was 127 out of 590 weddings at the same point in 2013.

Wharton bettered CBS for the month to take the leader spot in our social currency rankings, claiming an aggregate yearly total of 24 mentions. These included the double-MBA wedding of Wharton alumnae Ginny Too and Emily McNabb, both of whom now work in the Philadelphia office of McKinsey & Company.

In addition, Dartmouth Tuck made surprising gains for June, with five mentions—the first of any for the school this year—tying with Stanford GSB. Notably, these also included some double-MBA marriages, including that of Dartmouth Tuck alumnus Matthew Woodward to Stanford GSB alumna Neha Chauhan, and that of Tuck alumnus Ryan McDonald to HBS alumna Caroline Wilson.

In another wedding of note, longtime news anchor, special correspondent, and television host Katie Couric married Chicago Booth MBA John Molner, a partner at investment banking firm Brown Brothers Harriman.

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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Life As an International Student a [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2014, 11:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Life As an International Student at Fuqua
When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment but are also making a commitment to a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

International students (by citizenship) make up 38% of the typical class at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. The Duke International Programs Office and the Duke International House offer many resources to assist international students with issues associated with acclimating to, studying in, and working in the United States, including visa applications and processing. In addition, the Language Institute at Fuqua is designed to prepare incoming international students for the MBA experience at the school. One first year mbaMission interviewed whose time at Fuqua was his first experience in the United States of longer than two weeks said, “We all bonded during the Language Institute and met many classmates who knew what we were all going through.”

According to the institute’s site, as part of the four-phase program, which is held before the MBA curriculum begins, “Students are given opportunities to refine their English language skills through practice and experiential learning. Students take part in a comprehensive ten-day program of lectures, case presentations, writing exercises, and a variety of assignments that get them ready for the rigors of graduate school. This is followed by five weeks of monitoring students’ progress once they start school, with further opportunities for individualized support and learning.”

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at Duke Fuqua and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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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Diamonds in the Rough: Southern Methodist University’s Cox S [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2014, 14:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business
MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

Corporate connections are a major selling point at . Located in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, the school offers its MBA students access to a large network of corporate representatives and recruiters—from the 20 Fortune 500 companies with headquarters in the area to a 117,000-strong global alumni base. In fact, Dallas is surpassed only by New York City in being home to more top 1,000 public companies and top 1,000 private companies. One highlight of the networking resources Cox provides is the Associate Board, an executive mentoring program that pairs MBA students with business leaders and entrepreneur from every major industry.

The Economist ranked Cox’s small, collaborative program 25th for “potential to network” in 2013. In addition, Entrepreneur magazine has ranked business-friendly Dallas second among U.S. cities for entrepreneurs.
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Friday Factoid: Sustainability at UCLA Anderson [#permalink] New post 08 Aug 2014, 12:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: Sustainability at UCLA Anderson
Applicants to the UCLA Anderson School of Management may be well aware of the school’s strengths in media and real estate, but they might be surprised to learn that Anderson also offers a cutting-edge multidisciplinary program for students interested in environmental sustainability. The school’s Leaders in Sustainability (LiS) Program is a certificate program that allows Anderson students to take courses at different graduate schools within the university network, thereby offering them opportunities to address issues of environmental sustainability in an interdisciplinary manner. Students must apply to the program—described on the LiS Web site as a graduate “minor”—which typically has more than 100 participants from graduate programs across the university.

Students in the LiS program must take four specified classes, including the LiS core course “Environmental Science and Engineering” and three sustainability-related courses, one of which must be taught outside the students’ primary graduate school. In total, the greater university offers more than 50 sustainability-related courses that Anderson students may choose from, ranging from “Effective Methods of Social Change” to “Management in Public and Private Nonprofit Sectors” to even “Urban Environmental Problems: Water Issues.” In addition to completing the program’s required four courses, LiS students must complete a project related to sustainability and may do so individually or as part of a team with students from at least two other graduate schools within the university.

For a thorough exploration of what UCLA Anderson and 15 other top business schools have to offer, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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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Mission Admission: Ask for Last-Minute Feedback [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2014, 11:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: Ask for Last-Minute Feedback
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

With deadlines looming for many business school candidates, we thought we would share a piece of advice that might help alleviate some deadline-related stress. After you have completed (but not yet submitted!) your MBA application(s), find one individual you trust—whether a professional consultant or someone with insight into the application process—to read your essays one last time and give you feedback. We strongly suggest that you limit yourself to requesting feedback from just one or two individuals, however.

Because the application process is subjective, you will discover that as you add readers, you will also add new and different opinions. Soon, a multitude of alternatives might appear, and although none of these varying ideas will necessarily be “right” or “wrong”—considering that a single candidate’s stories can be marketed in almost countless ways—they can create unnecessary uncertainty.

We are not suggesting that you ignore critical feedback, but rather that you not complicate your final days and create doubt where it may not be due. If one or two readers support your ideas and emphasize that your application needs minimal work, you are probably best off ending your feedback loop there and submitting your application.
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 Career Advice: It’s Not a Network if It’s Not Interconne [#permalink] New post 12 Aug 2014, 14:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Career Advice: It’s Not a Network if It’s Not Interconnected
In this weekly series, our friends at MBA Career Coaches will be dispensing invaluable advice to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. For more info or to sign up for a free career consultation, visit www.mbacareercoaches.com.

The beauty of networks is that they are nonlinear. You have played six degrees of Kevin Bacon, so you know that the world is a deeply interconnected place. But we don’t always think about the power of connections. The human brain has about 100 billion neurons, but they are all interconnected – one neuron can be linked to as many as 10,000 other neurons. That equates to over 1,000 trillion synaptic relationships, a number that is almost too large to contemplate. There are exponentially more relationships in the network than there are nodes. This is what makes a network powerful.

But when most of us think about networking, what we just mean is filling up our rolodex, or maybe today, our contact database or LinkedIn connections list. When we view networking as just connecting one on one with others, then we miss the whole point. A contact spreadsheet will not get you your next professional opportunity, but the relationships in your network might.

What this means is that you need to start cultivating connections among the other people in your network? Did you just meet someone who is considering applying for a social impact internship? Connect them to your friend at TechnoServe. Was the managing director of the company you are applying to work for a former Olympic hopeful volleyball player? Connect him to your client who played professional volley ball after college. Know two people who are obsessed with food truck culture in your city? Introduce them. Do this with no agenda save to foster more meaningful connections in the world.

Surprising things happen when the people around you are connected with each other, and it is only at this point that the network begins to benefit you.
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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Professor Profiles: Irv Grousbeck, Stanford Graduate School  [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2014, 11:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Irv Grousbeck, Stanford Graduate School of Business
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose which business school to attend, but the educational experience itself is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Each Wednesday, we profile a standout professor as identified by students. Today, we focus on Irv Grousbeck from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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One of the directors of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), Irv Grousbeck (“Managing Growing Enterprises”) first began teaching at the business school in 1985 after co-founding Continental Cablevision (now Media One) in 1964 and teaching at Harvard Business School (1981–1985), where he helped found the entrepreneurial management department. Since 2003, he has also been a managing partner (and an executive committee member) of the National Basketball Association team the Boston Celtics. In 2013, Grousbeck co-founded the $100M sports media venture Causeway Media Partners. According to a recent GSB alumnus with whom mbaMission spoke, students find Grousbeck’s “Managing Growing Enterprises” class so useful because in it, they must assume the role of CEO of the companies they discuss, and Grousbeck then forces them to deal with particular managerial challenges, strongly emphasizing execution. Designed for students who anticipate becoming entrepreneurs or joining a start-up shortly after graduating from business school, the course is capped at 40 people and includes frequent role-plays.

For more information about the Stanford GSB and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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mbaMission

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