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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 13 Jan 2014, 08:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Contextualize Your Educational Objectives
When tailoring their essays to specific schools, many business school candidates do not go far enough to show a clear and understandable connection between themselves and their target MBA programs. Offering school-specific information is good, but you must go beyond merely mentioning the particular resource(s) that appeal to you—adding context is key.

What is the difference between a mere mention and providing context?

Mention:

“With a focus on entrepreneurship, I will participate in Columbia’s Entrepreneurial Sounding Board process. Further, I am attracted to classes such as ‘Small Business Finance,’ ‘Real Estate Marketing’ and “Introduction to Mergers.’ I also plan to join the …”

Context:

“With clear plans to launch my start-up immediately after graduating from Columbia, I look forward to testing my ideas through the Entrepreneurial Sounding Board; I find this opportunity to meet with faculty and gain critical feedback and mentoring invaluable as I strive to refine my business plan and learn more about how to source investments…”

In the first example, the candidate shows an awareness of the Entrepreneurial Sounding Board but does not provide the context necessary for the reader to fully understand how the candidate will use this resource; therefore, the mention is entirely superficial. As a result, it is easily forgettable, unconvincing and impersonal (i.e., it could be made by pretty much any candidate with any background and any goals). The candidate has seemingly not taken the time to reflect on this resource and how he/she would use it to progress toward his/her stated goals. The applicant then goes on to begin listing the classes he/she plans to take and essentially succeeds in merely cataloging resources rather than offering a reasoned consideration of how the school’s offerings are necessary.

The second example better explains exactly how the candidate will use the resource mentioned; the applicant has clearly done the necessary homework on the school and truly grasps how Columbia will satisfy his/her academic and professional needs. Because the latter example is more informed and serious minded, the reader can be certain that the candidate has a set path and a clear plan to achieve specific goals.
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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Expert Post
mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 934
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 96 [0], given: 0

Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2014, 11:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: Be on Your Best Behavior When Visiting Campus!
We always encourage MBA candidates to visit their target business schools, because doing so can make a positive impression on the admissions committee, gives candidates opportunity to personalize their applications (essays and interviews in particular—depending on the timing of the visit) and may even help them select their schools. But remember, when you visit campuses for interviews or just to experience the atmosphere at your target schools, you should always be on your best behavior.

Although the receptionist in the Admissions Office is not a “spy,” and your tour guide’s main concern is not to inform the admissions committee of your actions or comments, both of these individuals will likely feel compelled to report any bad behavior to the admissions committee. We spoke with one former receptionist (now an admissions committee member) at a top-ten school, who said that if she encountered rudeness from a visiting candidate, she would make note of it and send a message about the incident to the admissions director, who would subsequently remove the candidate from consideration for admission. Most candidates are on their best behavior anyway, but we nevertheless offer this important reminder.
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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Expert Post
mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 934
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 96 [0], given: 0

Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2014, 15:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: Wall Street Eases Workload for Junior Employees
If working full weekends and pulling frequent all-nighters sounds unappealing, a career on Wall Street is perhaps not your best prospect. Historically, the quality of working conditions for junior employees at top financial institutions has been something of a secondary consideration, given the notoriously competitive culture and sizable compensation. But, as DealBook reports, the times may be changing for future financial services professionals. A memo sent to Bank of America Merill Lynch employees last week recommended that its analysts and associates take off four weekend days each month.

This effort to improve the work experience for junior bankers follows several similar initiatives on the part of other major Wall Street banks—such as Goldman Sachs, which created a “junior banker task force” last year, and JPMorgan Chase, which plans to ramp up staff hires to help share the workload. DealBook suggests that this attention given to junior analysts and associates marks “the latest sign that Wall Street banks are taking a critical look at the hard-charging culture of these jobs.” The banks are perhaps hoping to attract young talent that has in recent years turned to other high-paying industries in which a greater emphasis is placed on work-life balance, such as the tech sector.

“It’s a generational shift,” commented one former analyst, asking, “Does it really make sense for me to do something I really don’t love and don’t really care about, working 90 hours a week? It really doesn’t make sense. Banks are starting to realize that.” Still, if you are among those who are inherently drawn to the intensity and focus of a banking career, the guarantee of one-day weekends may present a sufficient enough perk to rival the tech industry’s staff massage sessions.
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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Expert Post
mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 934
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 96 [0], given: 0

Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2014, 18:00
Expert's post
FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission’s Exclusive Interview with Rodrigo Malta, Director of MBA Admissions at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Austin
We are fortunate to have recently enjoyed a lengthy discussion with Rodrigo Malta, Director of MBA Admissions at McCombs. During our Q&A session, we gained a profound window into the school’s MBA program and its admissions process. Some of our findings included…

  • McCombs is striving to stay abreast of technology trends in the energy, consumer and health care fields, especially with a new medical school in the works.
  • With approximately 260 students in each incoming class, McCombs is a small program, compared with its top-20 peers. Malta feels that the class is the right size for now, and the school has no plans to expand in the near term.
  • From an admissions perspective, McCombs wants to know that you have a true interest in the school and that you will be active there—it is not a place for anyone with a commuter mentality.
  • Malta strongly advises applicants to engage with their recommenders and really manage the selection process carefully so that they are identifying advocates who will commit to the process.
Of course, these are just the highlights. Read the entire interview to learn more about the McCombs experience and to gain admissions insights…

mbaMission: I appreciate your willingness to chat, especially on days where your admissions committee is meeting. It’s very nice. Thanks for joining me.

Rodrigo Malta: No problem. I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you guys.

mbaMission: Great. I always start my interviews with this question or at least a variation of this question: what is McCombs known for? What would you say is the stereotype of McCombs? And do you agree with that stereotype? What do you think McCombs should be known for?

RM: Got it. So as to what McCombs is known for, from a cultural perspective, we’re known for a collaborative yet competitive environment. Both our students and faculty are easygoing, love competition, but compete with a collaborative spirit. They mirror what Austin is, so I would definitely say the environment here in Austin has a big impact on our MBA culture. Our faculty is very approachable, very accessible, and I think something that’s unique to our students is they’re not really afraid to get their hands dirty. We talk about our students being “tinkerers”—playing around with concepts learned, not being afraid to think about things in a strategic manner, but also putting ideas into action.

From a focus perspective, being Texas, we obviously are well known for energy, both oil and gas, but also clean technology and renewables. Given Austin is a vibrant high-tech hub, we are also known for technology. This includes a multitude of functions in the technology space—be it in consulting, marketing, operations, finance, etc. Last but not least, something we have really highlighted lately are our strengths in entrepreneurship and innovation—helping our students learn how to identify opportunities, put together business plans, start their own business or work for a start-up. Austin is the kind of place where there is a lot of start-up activity, and almost every start-up in Austin has a Longhorn in it. This facilitates the connections between our students and the start-up environment here in the city, and we have been really promoting that quite a bit.

To the question of what should McCombs be known for, health care is an area in the dean’s strategic plan that we’re working on. In the past couple of years, we have added to our curriculum a health care concentration. We’ve also organized health care symposium, which happens every year and focuses on the use of technology in the health care space. This aligns nicely with our strengths in technology and innovation. An area that we would like to be known for going forward is our efforts around the other sectors of health care, like hospital administration, biotechnology, etc. I think that’s also going to be coming into play, because UT Austin has recently announced the establishment of a medical school here on campus—Dell has already pledged about $50M to establishing and constructing the new medical school here in Austin. For prospective students who are interested in health care, there’s going to be a lot happening on campus in that space, and I think the students that come and join us that are interested in this space will really help us define what our relationship as a business school will be with the Dell Medical School.

mbaMission: You’ve touched on a lot of different things there, like energy, entrepreneurship, health care, but personally, I’m always most impressed by McCombs’s student investment fund. It’s at about $15M now, is that right?

RM: It’s about $13M, I think.

mbaMission: Oh, you say that humbly, like, “Oh, it’s only $13M.” It’s still probably $8M ahead of its nearest competitor. I mean, it’s pretty amazing.

RM: Yeah. It works as a private investment company, too, so it’s managed by students, but it’s actually registered under the laws of the state of Texas. It has its own board, and we have about 60 students that are involved either as a first or second year, managing the fund, which is very cool.

mbaMission: That’s amazing. You mentioned the tight-knit, collaborative culture, which you also highlight in your essay question two [“In the Texas MBA program we value our tight-knit and highly collaborative culture. Outside of your professional goals, please discuss why you are a good fit with the Texas MBA program and how you intend to impact the Texas MBA community?”], but can you share examples? It’s easy to talk about being collaborative, but can you try to make that more accessible or tangible for our readers?

RM: Sure. Our core classes happen mostly in the first semester, and that is where you have that biggest shock as a new student, realizing: “Okay, this is really quant heavy.” So we have some first-year students that do struggle with those core classes. In the past, we had always hired tutors to provide some one-to-one help for students that needed it, but in the past couple of years, because of a Graduate Business Council idea, we have started reaching out to second-year students that excelled in those classes to become tutors. They have to have earned an A in the core classes, and they become volunteer tutors for our first years. This year, we’ve had the most interest in volunteering we’ve ever had, with about 25 second years signing up to become tutors. These volunteers are taking time out of their own day, studies and projects to help others. Because of this initiative, we are now able to do away with our old practice of hiring outside tutors, keeping everything in house. This initiative also has the added bonus of strengthening the bonds between the second- and the first-year class.

mbaMission: Another thing you guys tend to emphasize is hands-on leadership. Again, can you clarify or sort of put that into action for us? What does it mean to be a hands-on leader at McCombs?

RM: There are tons of opportunities. It’s a fairly small full-time MBA program, at about 260 students per class year—so around 520 students at any given time. We have a ton of student organizations that are student driven, that are passed on from second years to first years. So, there is a lot of opportunity for you to take the lead with student groups. We also have a lot of hands-on opportunities both in the curriculum and with extracurricular activities. Within the curriculum, we offer students practicums they can take as electives. These are usually projects from companies that take more than just five or ten hours a week for our students to work on. The students work with the companies and then with the faculty advisor to deliver on that particular project.

Another leadership opportunity is to become involved in one of our fellows programs —these programs are similar to our MBA investment fund, in that we have a selection process for them. For most of our fellows programs, the selected students take an elective as a group, so they’re working really closely with a faculty member and the sponsoring companies. A key part of the class is to work on projects from the sponsoring companies, giving students the opportunity to apply the class theory to real-life projects. Current fellows programs include Marketing Fellows, Sigma Fellows, Venture Fellows, Corporate Finance Fellows—to name a few.

A popular activity for our students that are interested in hands-on leadership opportunities in a new industry or function are our MBA+ micro-consulting projects. Throughout the calendar year, MBAs identify companies with which they want to work. MBA+ helps connect the students to these organizations, regardless of the industry or location, by facilitating a micro-consulting project. The client provides a current business question to be addressed, and MBA+ provides each team with a budget and guides the team through the project management process. At the end of a four- to ten-week project period, the team of four to six MBAs reports its findings and recommendations to the client, often traveling to the client’s location to do so. For example, if you are a student thinking about switching careers, but you don’t want to devote one full elective to a practicum, you can signal a career switch desire on your resume by doing an MBA+ project in the new industry or function.

mbaMission: Sure. You mentioned the size of the program when we were talking about culture. McCombs is one of the smaller MBA programs out there. Are you guys happy with the program’s current size? Do you have any plans to grow?

RM: That’s a question I ask every year, multiple times a year. And we are happy with our current size. We’re in the midst of planning a new building, which will be primarily for our MBA students, so anytime we have a building meeting, I ask the class size question.

Currently, we’re happy with the size of our full-time MBA program. I also oversee our working professional programs, which are in Dallas, Houston and here in Austin. Additionally, we have executive MBA programs here in Austin and in Mexico City. An area of focus for us is to continue to build more opportunities for student interactions between these programs. All our MBA programs are cohort based,  so we are really looking at which student organizations are scalable across our portfolio of programs. Some examples of common student organizations across our MBA programs are our student volunteer McCombs Admissions Committee, Graduate Business Council and Graduate Women in Business. Even though we have a small full-time MBA program at 260, when you look at the portfolio of programs that we have, the incoming classes that I bring in are about 520. This larger portfolio size is attractive for employers in recruiting and for our students in building their network.

mbaMission: Right. Who does McCombs see as its peer schools right now?

RM: Whenever we’re looking at data, I look really closely at what other highly regarded public institutions are doing. So I’d say that I’m pretty close to my counterparts at UVA [the Darden School at the University of Virginia], at Michigan [the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan], at UC Berkeley [the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley]. We also keep an eye on what other schools that have similar focus areas to us, namely energy or technology. Here in Texas, from an admissions perspective, we have a really close relationship with the folks at Rice [Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business] that tend to do really well in energy, and then in technology, the schools in the Bay Area and Seattle.

mbaMission: Okay. Do you have any kind of internal target for rankings? Is that part of the strategic planning you mentioned, maybe—achieving a certain ranking within a certain period of time?

RM: We don’t directly manage to the rankings. We definitely pay attention to them, since it’s one of those factors that our prospective students and applicants are considering through the admissions process. Rankings also are one of those things that alumni pay close attention to after they leave the school.

The way that we manage things internally is by monitoring and measuring student satisfaction. Internally we do a lot of our own surveys, in addition to looking at what the rankings measure. From an internal metrics perspective, we really focus on student satisfaction and career management statistics. Questions we usually reflect on as a program include Are we really attracting the right recruiters to campus? Are students happy with the opportunities that they have? Are we placing them on par with our peer schools? Some of those internal metrics that we monitor can be ranking metrics, but not all.

mbaMission: In terms of demographics, about 30% of your class is made up of Texas residents. Do you feel like that is a good percentage? Is there a demographic you’d like to attract more of?

RM: Yeah. This is pretty much in line with our applicant pool. If you think about Texas being one of the most populous states in the nation and us being the flagship university for the state of Texas, we tend to get a high volume of Texas applicants. We do like our Texans, so we keep our percentage of people from Texas in the class very close to [that in] the applicant pool. So we’re pretty happy where we are with that, and it’s kind of funny, because we are equal opportunity regarding Texas undergraduates. We don’t even mind if you went school at one of our biggest rivals in athletics—Texas A&M. We like Aggies, and every once in a while, we even accept some Oklahoma Sooners—we just have to teach them how to do the “hook and horns.” [Laughs.]

From a demographic perspective, we are really focused this year on our recruitment of women. So if there was one class profile statistic that I wasn’t as happy with last year, it was our percentage of women, which dropped to just under 30% after being 32% the previous year. So we’re keeping a closer relationship with the Forte Foundation, trying to do a lot more women-specific recruiting events, talking to our students who just came in this year about what things made a difference from their perspective—all to ensure we have a stronger representation of women in  future full-time MBA classes.

mbaMission: What kind of a student is McCombs not for? Who would you say would not fit in as well?

RM: I think someone that’s just trying to check the MBA box would not be a good fit here at McCombs. If you’re just going to come to the classroom and then go home to study, then UT and McCombs are probably not for you. We’re a smaller program from a size perspective, so we are looking for people that are going to have a really positive impact on the experience of their classmates and also on the overall school. We really look for folks that during the application process give us evidence that they’re going to be highly involved in the program for the two years that they’re here.

mbaMission: Sure. Can you take us through the life cycle of an application? Maybe walk us through what happens to an application after it has been submitted?

RM: After the deadline day, we usually do a “divide and conquer” of application reads. All of our applications get either one or two total reads. Parallel to the read process, we also start inviting applicants to interview. So after the read and interview processes are completed, we meet as a committee for about two weeks and discuss every single candidate, even those candidates that we’re going to be denying. And while all of this is going on, we’re also doing all of our transcript, test score verifications on the back end—we leverage the infrastructure that we have at UT Austin for this process. It’s kind of a three-prong process, where we’re reading, we’re evaluating applications to interview and we’re verifying all the application data, while the applicant is anxiously awaiting their final decision. So that time period from submission to decision that tends to go really slow in the applicant’s eyes goes by very fast when you’re on the admissions side.

mbaMission: And what’s the interview like at McCombs? How can or should a candidate prep for a McCombs interview?

RM: We offer applicants the option to interview on campus, via Skype or with an alumnus. On-campus interviews are usually done with our second-year students, sometimes with admissions officers. There is the opportunity for our international students to take advantage of Skype, and those Skype interviews again are usually done by our second-year students that we select and train. All applicants also have an opportunity to interview where they’re at, with one of our alumni. A lot of times, the alumni that are interviewing for us in different cities were second-year students that we trained to do our on-campus interviews. These alumni spent about a year with us interviewing here on campus, which means we have the ability to read their interview critiques and coach them through feedback before we enlist them as alumni interviewers.

How can the applicants really prepare for the interview? Treat the interview professionally, no matter if it is done by a student, an admissions officer or an alumnus of the program. I think it’s really important to prepare questions for the end, because after all, the interview is a two-way street. We’re getting to know the applicant a little bit better, but we also expect that this is an opportunity for the applicant to get to know us as well. So, I would advise them to prepare some good questions that can’t usually be found on the Web site. One of the things that’s really big for McCombs is to show your excitement for the program, we usually call this factor “McCombs Love.” So you can show us this McCombs Love—think school research—through the application and in the interview.

mbaMission: Besides a lack of love, then, is there anything else you would say is a kind of “red flag” in the applications you see?

RM: Whenever I’m at admissions panels, I always advise applicants to take a close look at the letter of recommendation process and make sure that they’re selecting the right people to be their recommenders, making sure that their recommenders are able to really talk about why they want an MBA and what their differentiators are. Probably the biggest flag that we see is whenever we open those letters of recommendation, and they’re either very skimpy or negative. Letters of recommendation are outside of the applicant’s control from a writing perspective, but the applicants do have a say in who they select and what they’re able to share about their candidacy with those folks that write them.

mbaMission: Can we talk a bit about the different rounds? Is applying to McCombs in the third round a mistake? What would you advise someone considering submitting in Round 3?

RM: I always tell people to apply when their application is the most ready, and I feel like at this time of the year, there’s still time for an applicant to work on his or her application and submit by our second-round deadline. What happens in Round 3, even though we take a fair amount of individuals in that third round, is that we often have good applicants that we’re not able to make admission offers to right away, given space constraints. In cases like this, we may have to waitlist really good applicants, because the class is full, and we have to wait for some individual to change their mind to actually make space for that other good applicant. If someone applies to McCombs in Round 3, there’s of course a chance for them to be admitted—otherwise we wouldn’t have a Round 3—but they’re probably going to have to be a little bit more patient with us from a decision timing perspective.

mbaMission: You mentioned before that showing the love is important. So, is visiting campus part of that? Are you skeptical of applicants who don’t visit campus, assuming that they don’t live too far abroad?

RM: With technology nowadays, there are a lot of options to interact with us that don’t entail a campus visit. With that being said, I think from an applicant’s perspective, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if somewhere in the admissions process you didn’t come to the campus if you’re able to do so. We don’t ding individuals who apply without visiting campus, but we do see a strong correlation to that McCombs Love on the essays and in the interviews when folks have visited campus and were able to see our culture firsthand. I do highly advise all candidates to visit campus, be it before you apply or maybe when you interview, or even for an admitted student event. Just make sure that before you make that final decision, you come and visit campus, if at all possible.

This is more difficult for our international candidates, but if you’re a domestic candidate, there is no reason, if you’re going to be investing all this money in a MBA program, to not come visit campus at some point during the admissions process.

mbaMission: Right. Is there anything else we haven’t covered that you think is important for people to know about McCombs?

RM: Something that I always emphasize through my admissions team is that yes, we are here to evaluate applicants. Yes, we are the gatekeepers to UT Austin and the McCombs MBA program. But at the end of the day, we’re really here to help guide applicants through the application and admissions process, making sure that the applicants have an opportunity to put their best foot forward while ensuring we are evaluating them in a fair manner. So if there is one parting thought that I have, it is for applicants to really not be afraid to reach out to us with questions and ways that can strengthen their application. It is our mission as the admissions team here at McCombs to help guide the applicants through the process and help them put their best foot forward at the end of the day.

mbaMission: Thank you so much for all of us. This has been super helpful, and you’ve been really generous with your time. I really appreciate this.

RM: No problem. If at any point in time, you have questions or need anything, feel free to reach out to me. We’re laid back here at McCombs, and if we can ever be of assistance from this front, definitely let me know.

mbaMission: Great. Thanks so much, and same thing here. If we can offer you anything, let me know as well.

RM: Awesome. Will do.
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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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2014, 08:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: What I Learned at… London Business School, Part 2
In our “What I Learned at…” series, MBAs discuss the tools and skills their business schools provided as they launched their careers.

Nitzan Yudan is the CEO and co-founder of FlatClub, a United Kingdom–based online marketplace for short term rentals that connects verified members of exclusive alumni, employment and organizational networks. In Part 2 of this four-part series, Nitzan describes the inspiration he found at London Business School (LBS) for starting his business.

The idea for FlatClub came together through a number of experiences I had while attending LBS. My first exposure to the opportunities afforded by the school’s alumni network occurred during an event hosted by the Entrepreneurship Club, at which Tony Wheeler (’72)—the founder of Lonely Planet [Publications] and an LBS alumnus—gave a talk. Wheeler was a kind of role model for me, as I frequently read Lonely Planet guides during my extensive travels.

A year after hearing Wheeler speak, I reached out to him via email. In his reply, he said that although he could not meet right away, since he was living in Australia, he would reach out whenever he was next in London. Three months later, he followed up, and we got together for a cup of coffee. This encounter helped me realize that attending LBS had significantly bolstered my reputation and enhanced my networking possibilities. I knew from this experience that there was something different about this MBA network.

Another significant moment in the inception of FlatClub came during a weekend trip to Bruges. My wife and I had hoped to rent out our London flat while we were gone to recoup some of the cost of our travel. Trust was an important factor in finding a renter. We didn’t want to rent out our place just to anyone online, so we ended up renting to a family of an LBS alum whom I did not know but had by chance found through the internal portal. The rent paid was generous, and I knew that this alum would not trash my apartment, because he had a reputation to uphold. We also wanted to create a positive impression, so we left all sorts of suggestions and directions to help accommodate him and his family during their stay. They were so happy that they left us a gift!

A light bulb went on. I realized that business school networks can fill the apparent need—especially common among MBA students and professionals who travel often—for a trusted source of short-term rentals. In addition, the same network that inspired this idea would equip me with the necessary tools and support to launch my entrepreneurial debut. Nine months later, I had a business.
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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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2014, 10:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: Yale Opens Doors to New State-of-the-Art Building
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After two years of construction, students at the Yale School of Management begin their classes this week in the brand new 242,000 square-foot Edward P. Evans Hall. The glass-clad facility, designed by architect Norman Foster, is perhaps most notable for its open and transparent layout, boasting state-of-the-art classrooms, library spaces, interview rooms and faculty offices that wrap around a sprawling central courtyard.

Despite the poor timing of Evans Hall’s original proposal—which took shape just before the economic downturn in 2008—the SOM managed to raise an initial $110M from various alumni and donors, followed by a record $50M gift in 2010 from the building’s eponymous donor, Yale alumnus Edward “Ned” Evans (‘1964), who unfortunately passed away shortly thereafter. The total cost of the building has since risen to $243M, affording such amenities as cutting edge classroom computers, high-definition video conferencing and student “Huddle” rooms that serve as collaborative workspaces.

According to a press release, the school celebrated the building’s inauguration with a three-day leadership conference, featuring opening addresses by Foster and the school’s dean, Edward Snyder, who called the occasion “a high point in the school’s history.” SOM Associate Dean David Bach observed the congruity between the school’s mission and the building’s design, commenting, “One of the things that Dean Snyder talks about is that managers need an extended line of sight—well, the building actually has an extended line of sight. You can actually see [in] the building through glass.” Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, the mayor of New Haven and the governor of Connecticut were also among the conference’s featured speakers and panelists.
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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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2014, 13:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Jeffrey Carr, NYU Stern School of Business
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school at attend, but the educational experience itself 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 profile Jeffrey Carr from New York University’s (NYU’s) Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

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Having taught at Stern for over a decade as an adjunct associate professor (earning him the 1996 Stern/Citibank Teacher of the Year Award), Jeffrey Carr (“International Marketing,” “Marketing Management,” and “Strategic Management”) joined Stern’s full-time faculty in 2007. He served formerly as the executive director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and has quickly garnered a reputation as one of the school’s most respected marketing experts, featured by such major news outlets as NBC and the New York Times. Carr is president of Marketing Foundations Inc. and has worked on projects for Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, General Electric, Pfizer, Kodak, Time Inc., and Unilever. As one first year we interviewed said of his experience at Stern, “So far, the most impressive class has been ‘Marketing’ with Jeff Carr,” adding, “He’s super engaging and makes you think more about the consequences of your actions in marketing than simply teaching you the tools. The class structure is very informal, but all of the students are learning a ton.”

For more information about NYU Stern and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2014, 14:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: B-School Chart of the Week: Social Currency Rankings Year in Review
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.

Looking back at the past year of New York Times weddings announcements, approximately 274 (or 20%) out of a total of 1360 mentioned business school students, applicants or alumni. Perhaps unsurprisingly—given its notoriety and class size—Harvard Business School took the lead, racking up a year-end total of 45 mentions. Top-ranked and nationally competitive programs counted for most of the schools that placed highest on our social currency ranking, with HBS followed by Columbia Business School (37 mentions), Wharton (28 mentions), NYU Stern (19 mentions) and Stanford GSB (13 mentions).

Considering that the announcements are selected by the New York Times editors, we noticed a slight bias towards programs based in the New York City area—with CBS, NYU Stern, Fordham, and Zicklin all ranking toward the top of our list. Our breakdown also shows that CBS had the greatest number of mentions for an MBA program in any single month, with 13 in June (which was also the most popular month for weddings overall).

Despite an overall lull in end-of-year ceremonies, several announcements from last month included newlyweds currently studying for their MBA. Gregory Elkins, for example, an MBA student at UNC Kenan-Flagler, was married to third-year UNC medical student Blair Golden. Rishi Kumar, a Chicago Booth student, married Lindsay DeHartchuck, a curriculum designer for the Relay Graduate School of Education. Richard Janczewski, a first year at the University of Connecticut, married Suzanne Manning, who is pursuing a PhD in social work at Fordham. Finally, Paul Moskowitz, in his first year at HBS, married Lara Fox, a senior investor relations associate in the New York office of General Atlantic.

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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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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2014, 10:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Show off Your Talent at the NYU Stern Follies
When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment, but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

With skits such as “Sterndog Millionaire” and songs such as “We Didn’t Start the Crisis” (set to the tune of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”), the annual NYU Stern Follies talent show entertains students and faculty alike. Anyone at Stern can put together a team and apply to participate in the show. The Follies’ creative committee, which is made up of students, decides which skits and performers will ultimately be part of the show. “Follies is a huge deal,” remarked a first year with whom we spoke. “It was a lot of fun. It’s just nice to see your classmates kind of poke fun at being business school students.” The theme of the 2013 Follies was “The Real World: Stern,” and the show included Meet the Cast promo videos of various MTV-inspired Stern characters. In 2012, the event was held on Friday the 13th and capitalized on that date with the theme of “So Much Talent, It’s Scary.” That year’s Follies included the skits “Hunger Games Theory” and “Stern Wars,” a spoof on Star Wars. The 2011 Follies were themed “The Social Network” and included a spoof of Black Swan as well as a live Twitter feed displayed during the show. Well-known professors, such as William Silber, are frequent guest stars in many Follies presentations.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at NYU Stern and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides. If you are applying, our NYU Stern Interview Guide can help you put your best foot forward.
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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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2014, 16:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: Innovative Opportunities at the Merage School of Business at UC-Irvine
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.

Thanks to its proximity to the Tech Coast, the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine offers significant opportunities for students with an eye toward innovative business. “Whether it’s fashion, interactive entertainment, real estate, medical or biotech,” states the school’s site, “Orange County is where these industries flourish.” Indeed, the emphasis on innovation and business pioneering is built directly into what Merage calls its “visionary curriculum,” supplementing conventional business disciplines with three core cross-disciplinary areas: Strategic Innovation, Information Technology and Analytic Decision Making.

In addition, several of Merage’s special course offerings and programs showcase its commitment to putting students in contact with the rapidly shifting face of business. The recently inaugurated EDGE course, for example, which can be taken during students’ second year of study, offers a notable opportunity to gain cutting-edge insight into the relationship between business trends, globalization and technology. Similarly, through the school’s MBA Field Project, students have the opportunity to get hands-on experience with current business practices by working directly with locally-based global companies. Merage students can also participate each year in the university-wide Business Plan Competition, which awards the winner $15,000 in funding for their start-up ventures.
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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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2014, 12:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: More Than Marketing at Kellogg
As we all know, Kellogg is just a marketing school, right? Actually, no. A quick glance at the school’s most recent employment report (click on the “function” tab) reveals that 38% of its Class of 2013 accepted jobs in consulting, and only 17% went into marketing, its third most popular functional area. Yes, McKinsey & Company, BCG, Bain & Company, Deloitte and Accenture  were the school’s top hirers in 2013.  Kellogg students credit their management labs—wherein first-year students work on a consulting project and are mentored by consultants from leading firms (before their summer internships)—with preparing them for success in their internships and full-time positions. Meanwhile, a variety of other hands-on experiences are also available, including the “Global Lab” (students work with an international firm), “Advanced Topics in Marketing” (students analyze a marketing issue and present it to management) and “Leading the Mission Driven Organization” (students offer management expertise to nonprofits).  Not to worry, though—if you are interested in marketing, Kellogg still has ample resources for you.

For more information on other defining characteristics of the MBA program at Kellogg or one of 15 other top business schools, 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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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2014, 10:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: Martoma’s Expulsion Raises Questions for Stanford
The Stanford Graduate School of Business has thus far kept rather quiet amidst last week’s revelation that alumnus Mathew Martoma—who is facing criminal charges for his hand in the insider trading scandal surrounding SAC Capital Advisors—was expelled from Harvard Law School for applying to federal clerkships with falsified transcripts in 1999. Martoma received an MBA from the GSB in 2003, raising the question of whether the business school was aware of his prior academic infraction during the admissions process, which would have undoubtedly required Martoma to disclose such information.

DealBook confirmed with a spokeswoman from Stanford that Martoma enrolled in 2001, and points out that, according to a different source close to the business school, “the expulsion of an applicant from another university, if it was disclosed on an application or otherwise known, would create a ‘serious impediment’ to a candidate’s admission.” It seems that, in addition to charges of trading on inside information from a drug trial (which earned $276M in profits for SAC), Martoma could potentially face further retaliation from Stanford if it indeed turns out he omitted crucial information on his MBA application—conceivably even leading to the revocation of his degree.
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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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2014, 08:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Be Honest, but Avoid Negativity
Sincerity. Honesty. Candor. We encourage candidates to incorporate these attributes into their application, and when they do, successful essays inevitably follow. Yet, can one express too much of these attributes? The answer is actually “yes,” especially when candor turns to negativity. Sometimes, when candidates believe they are being candid, they are in fact revealing themselves to be predisposed to pessimism; as a result, the admissions committee has difficulty identifying with their file. Such situations are unfortunate, but fortunately, they are also typically avoidable, because an ostensibly “negative” idea can almost always be expressed in a positive and optimistic manner.

Example:

“In my current position, I am no longer learning and am afraid I will continue to stagnate without my MBA. I cannot achieve my objective of becoming a leader in the marketing department at my firm unless…”

Common sense would say that the admissions committee would likely not be very excited about accepting an applicant who has stopped learning or who believes that his/her career progress can be thwarted by basic obstacles.

Revised Example:

“As I look to the future, I recognize that with MBA training, I could dramatically increase my impact on my firm. With an eye toward a leadership position in our marketing department, I am….”

In this revised example, the candidate is expressing the exact same need for an MBA in positive terms and is thus making him-/herself a more warm and engaging prospect (while still candidly stating a need for further education).

Before submitting your file, check for unnecessarily negative statements. Although we would never suggest that every line in your essays needs to be full of sunshine, you should certainly take steps to avoid portraying yourself as a pessimist.
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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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2014, 08:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: MBA Lessons in Cognitive Bias from Eminem
Attaining success as a rapper—or as a musician more broadly—undoubtedly requires a certain knack for self-promotion and entrepreneurial thinking. In an article on TechCrunch this week, entrepreneur James Altucher offers some reflections on “How to Get an MBA from Eminem,” detailing the ways in which rap music and business know-how often go hand in hand. In particular, Altucher analyzes a climactic rap showdown from the movie 8 Mile in which Eminem wins over his audience by exploiting the same cognitive biases and behavioral cues that inform marketing strategy. As it turns out, Eminem’s introductory mantra of getting “one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted” is as applicable to investor pitches as it is to rap battles.
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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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2014, 11:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: How to Address a Layoff
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

Many MBA applicants express profound concern about the impact of having been laid off with respect to their business school candidacy. Will the admissions committees view a layoff as a sign of failure?

One thing to remember is that many candidates share this worry—thousands of MBA candidates worldwide, in fact. For the admissions committees to dismiss all such applicants outright is simply not practical. Moreover, the admissions committees know that the current global financial crisis and the subsequent recession are at the root of the problem, not necessarily the individual candidate’s performance. Indeed, layoffs and firings are not the same thing, so admissions committees will examine your application with that in mind, seeking your broader story of success.

If you have been caught up in this unfortunate mess, what is important is that you show that you have made good use of your time since the layoff—studying, volunteering, seeking work, enhancing your skills, etc. Each candidate will react differently, of course, but you need to have a story to tell (whether you are applying in the late rounds or even for next year) of how you made the most of a difficult situation.
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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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2014, 16:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: What I Learned at… London Business School, Part 3
In our “What I Learned at…” series, MBAs discuss the tools and skills their business schools provided as they launched their careers.

Nitzan Yudan is the CEO and co-founder of FlatClub, a United Kingdom–based online marketplace for short term rentals that connects verified members of exclusive alumni, employment and organizational networks. In Part 3 of this four-part series, Nitzan explains how the London Business School (LBS) community helped him find traction for his start-up idea and discusses the preliminary phases of building his company.

The first step in creating a business around the idea of renting flats through exclusive networks was to perform some basic market research. I spoke to approximately 300 of my fellow students on an individual basis, with the goal of learning how trust works across different demographics and cultures. The LBS community proved invaluable in this regard. I also asked people in marketing and branding for input and received help from a friend with the modeling that I would later use to pitch to investors. I learned from my research that trust is a very personal and individual decision. It seemed that what people most valued was the ability to control their privacy settings.

Another important moment in the creation of FlatClub occurred when, while taking “Entrepreneurship.” I decided to pitch my idea to Professor Gary Dushnitsky [LBS Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship]. Dushnitsky liked the idea and said, “Why don’t you just go for it? What can go wrong?” This was exactly what I needed to hear. Shortly thereafter, I began testing a very basic prototype of the site. Although I did not have the money to hire employees or invest up front, I had free access to a huge network of students and faculty. To drive traffic to the new site, I sent an email to the entire LBS community. Within two weeks, 70 flats had been listed, and we had our first sale.

After graduating in 2010 and gaining the confidence to get FlatClub off the ground, I joined the LBS Incubator Programme for one year. One of the greatest advantages was being able to call people and introduce myself with the affiliation of the program. In addition, the incubator provided my company with free office space, access to school resources, advice on accounting, public relations support (we were mentioned in Forbes and the Financial Times) and access to investors.

My partner, whose background is in real estate, came on board in 2011. In April 2012, two professors invested in the business, and just six months after launching, we hired our first employee. We are now a team of 13 people from ten nationalities and recently closed a significant round of financing. We are still based in London, which is where most of our team is located, and FlatClub has grown to include more than 10,000 listings representing 30 business school communities globally.

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
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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2014, 10:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Barry Nalebuff, Yale School of Management
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school to attend, but the educational experience itself 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 profile Barry Nalebuff from the Yale School of Management (SOM).

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Perhaps best known as one of the founders of Honest Tea, for which he is now chairman, Barry Nalebuff (“Competitive & Corporate Strategy”) is the Milton Steinbach Professor of Management at the Yale SOM. An expert in game theory and strategy, Nalebuff has been a professor at the SOM since 1989. A second year told mbaMission that in the classroom, Nalebuff “is a favorite for his sharp wit and insights.” His book The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008) explores how almost all interactions, business and personal alike, have a game theory component. Nalebuff and Adam Brandenburger, a professor of business economics and strategy at NYU’s Stern School of Business, developed the concept of a new business strategy called co-opetition, which they write about in a book of the same name: Co-Opetition: A Revolutionary Mindset That Combines Competition and Cooperation: The Game Theory Strategy That’s Changing the Game of Business (Crown Business, 1997).

The book’s Web site describes co-opetition as “a method that goes beyond the old rules of competition and cooperation to combine the advantages of both. Co-opetition means cooperating to create a bigger business ‘pie,’ while competing to divide it up.” A first year noted in a February 2010 Yale SOM Community Blog post, “Prof. Nalebuff never misses an opportunity to illustrate the ways in which companies can cooperate to grow the PIE (potential industry earnings). Of course, he then always reminds us that these same companies should compete aggressively to secure the biggest piece of that newly expanded PIE.”

For more information about the Yale SOM 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
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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2014, 13:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: B-School Chart of the Week: How Important Is Location?
Although quantifying a school’s profile certainly does not tell you everything, it can sometimes be helpful in simplifying the many differences between the various MBA programs. Each week, we bring you a chart to help you decide which of the schools’ strengths speak to you.

We recently asked aspiring MBAs to answer a variety of survey questions about their business school prospects and perspectives. Now the results are in, and for those who are curious about their fellow applicants’ views on business school, we will be sharing some of the collected data in our B-School Chart of the Week blog series.

One might assume that MBA applicants choose their programs solely on the basis of academics, but when we asked applicants, “On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most), how important is location in your choice of business school(s)?,” responses indicated that location plays a rather significant role. Overall, 31% of respondents rated location an “8,” and 23% rated it a “7.” Of all who weighed in, 85% rated the importance of location a “6″ or higher.

Among U.S. candidates, 38% rated location an “8.” Meanwhile, 37% of international candidates said that location rated a “7.” Interestingly, perhaps, 15% of U.S. applicants said that location ranks a “10″ in importance in their school choice, compared with just 5% of international respondents. Conversely, 15% of international candidates rated location at the lowest end of the scale, as a “1,” whereas none (0%) of the U.S. respondents did so.

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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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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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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2014, 11:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Learn about Energy at MIT
When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment, but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

Held each spring since 2006, the MIT Energy Conference attracts technologists, investors, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and energy professionals who are defining the world’s energy future. The conference theme in 2013 was “From Idea to Impact: Collaborating to Meet Global Energy Challenges,” and the event’s keynote speakers were the president and CEO of NRG Energy, Inc., and a former governor of New Mexico who also served as the secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. Panel discussions explored topics ranging from “Breaking the Climate Stalemate” to “Utility of the Future” and “Energy Innovation for Development.”

The previous year’s (2012) conference was themed “Insight and Innovation in Uncertain Times,” and the president of Shell Oil Company and the vice president of GE ecomagination delivered the keynote addresses. Via panel discussions, participants examined such issues as “Managing the Shale Gas Revolution,” “Large-Scale Energy Decisions Under Great Uncertainty,” and “Grid-Scale Energy Storage: Overcoming Barriers to Widespread Adoption.” The conference theme in 2011 was “Confronting Limits with Fact-Based Analysis,” and the U.S. secretary of the Navy, and the chairman, president, and CEO of Duke Energy presented keynotes. Panels explored the topics of “Risky Business: Is the Age of Big Energy Passé?” and “Renewable Fuels: New Options for Fossil-Free Energy.”

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at MIT Sloan 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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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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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2014, 15:00
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FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission’s Exclusive Interview with Niki Da Silva, Director of MBA Admissions and Recruitment at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management
Recently, the director of MBA admissions and recruitment at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, Niki Da Silva, took some time out of her busy schedule to speak with us about several aspects of the school’s program. During our conversation, Da Silva was able to shed some light on the following:

  • A lesser-known (and rather unique) area of growth for the school
  • The philosophy behind “integrative thinking” and how it is executed at Rotman
  • The hands-on opportunities provided through the school’s notable (and competitive!) Capstone course and “live cases”
  • Rotman’s international student body and how its diversity compares with that of other programs
  • The evaluation of candidates based on their stated goals and projected employability
  • Prepping for the video component of the school’s application and using the practice feature
Da Silva also offers some valuable insight on the type of student who thrives at Rotman, discusses the interview and application review processes and encourages candidates to consider the long-term investment aspect of earning an MBA. Read on for the full interview…

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mbaMission:
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. I really appreciate it. So I guess my first question stems from Rotman’s reputation for filling the ranks of Canada’s Bay Street. Would you say that that is a fair reputation? Is Rotman a “finance” school?

Niki Da Silva: Yeah, it’s a great question, and in some ways, it is a fair reputation, but what I would actually say is yes, it is a fair reputation, but we are more than a finance school. So to give you a little bit of context—we like to slice and dice our employment statistics around industry as opposed to function. So we typically have about 45% of our class go into finance as an industry. Not all of those roles are financial analysts, investment bankers, it could be a marketing role in a bank in the industry of finance, but regardless, I think with a placement number that’s that large, we do have a justified strength in placing graduates in finance. We also have a number of accolades, being a top ten school in the world for finance. So there definitely are lots and lots of external measures that show that Rotman is strong in finance. And a school that’s literally blocks away from Bay Street rightfully should be strong in finance, in my opinion. It’s one very natural advantage that the school has.

We are also one of what is becoming a smaller and smaller number of 20-month programs with an internship, which we know in the finance industry is kind of their preferred method of recruiting. It’s, you know, “Let’s make offers to the students who we saw for our four-month interview over the summer and see how many we can convert to full-time.” So we also have this kind of natural competitive advantage in the internship game. So I think all three of those things—our proximity to Bay Street and the school’s reputation and our faculty leadership in finance—all result in yes, we do tend to fill the ranks of Bay Street. That’s where our students want to go, so that’s all very good from my perspective.

mbaMission: Right.

NDS: The caveat would be that you want to focus on your strengths, but even with 45% of our class going into financial services as an industry, the majority of our students—and we have a massive program, 350 full-time MBA students annually, so we’re looking at by far the largest full-time MBA program in Canada—so even though we have these compelling percentages of students going into financial services, the raw number of Rotman students doing things that are not finance is, in many cases, more than the total number of students in other schools’ programs. So that’s the argument that I would make to say it’s not totally spot-on to think of Rotman as just a finance school, because we are so much more than that.

mbaMission: Right. So what would you say are the school’s other strengths? I looked at your stats earlier, and I know that 5% of the class goes into health care. I think 5% goes into technology. Are there any particular areas where Rotman shines that you think might get overshadowed by finance typically but that really deserve attention, too?

NDS: Yeah, there are probably two perspectives on that. One would be, I think, that with Rotman having this historical reputation in finance, a lot of students may assume that if you’re good at finance, your school doesn’t rate as strongly in the other big MBA placement game, which is consulting. Interestingly, what we actually find is that with our problem-solving methodology and integrative thinking, the focus at the school is so tightly aligned with what consulting firms want that I think most people are actually surprised to see the roster and caliber of big strategy consulting firms that do hire here. That said, I think that the biggest maybe unknown or budding industry for us at Rotman is actually business design. We’re one of the few schools who has a business design focus in second year. We have a Business Design Club with over 200 members of our student body. We host a design challenge, and business design has actually drawn a number of amazing recruiters from firms like IDEO, Nike, Target—

mbaMission: Right.

NDS: So it attracts this creative type who’s interested in a role that focuses on innovation, on process innovation, on strategy, and kind of similarly on the back end, it brings recruiters to the school who don’t want to go to a place that just turns out investment bankers and consultants.

mbaMission: Right.

NDS: So that’s probably our biggest hidden gem, because in many ways, it’s the exact opposite personality to being a finance school.

mbaMission: For sure. That’s really interesting. That’s not something that is typically accentuated by a top MBA program. When they’re evaluating schools, people will often go down the list—finance, consulting, marketing and on to a couple of others—but business design is a good niche.

NDS: Yeah, definitely.

mbaMission: I think when candidates think of Rotman, they think “integrative thinking,” like “case method” comes to mind when they think of Harvard. But for some people, it’s still a bit of a buzzword. Can you explain what the philosophy is behind integrative thinking and how it’s executed at Rotman?

NDS: Of course. Quite candidly, I think one of the challenges when you look at something as complex as integrative thinking versus a more traditional teaching methodology is that it is deep and complex and harder to explain than to experience, but I’ll give it my best shot.

So, what integrative thinking is really about is teaching our students to start by asking the right questions to structure a problem. The synonym we would use in the full-time MBA program is integrative thinking is a model-based approach to solving problems. So what we teach our students to do is start by structuring problems in the right way. I think a fair criticism of the MBA industry in many ways is that MBAs are far too focused on “We’ll analyze the options that are out there. We’ve been given a problem. We’ve been given a case. Let’s figure out what the best possible solution is,” and they haven’t been trained to actually stop and ask questions and frame the problem themselves, which as we all know, once you get into the real world, is what your job is actually going to be. Your boss isn’t going to come in and say, “Luckily, I’ve spent my evening framing the problem for you. Now I just need you to choose from the options.” You have to figure out what the real problem is, not just the symptom of the problem.

So our students start with deep structural training and learning how to actually frame problems in the right way and ask the right questions. Then we move them through the problem-solving framework or methodology in model-based problems. “What are our assumptions, and how can we model what the current situation is?” And this always sounds and feels complex because, particularly if you’re not from an engineering or quantitative background, you don’t necessarily think that everything you do involves some sort of model or construct of reality, but we try to ensure that our students understand that in every problem, you’re using an implicit model of how the world works. And what we’re trying to do is tease out those assumptions, so we can map it all out. Here’s the model of what’s happening. Here are some proposed models of what we are suggesting might be better options or better solutions. And then, ultimately, let’s finish off the problem-solving process by designing a strategy that builds a model that optimizes all of the potential options out there.

Sometimes that’s a model from a particular industry. Sometimes that’s a model from an option that’s obviously available, and sometimes it’s creating an entirely different model to solve the problem. So it is fundamentally a problem-solving framework and a way of thinking about problems, but it also involves slowing down the process and thinking about how you’re structuring and defining your thinking before you start solving.

mbaMission: That makes sense. And so it finishes with the Capstone course, correct?

NDS: Yes.

mbaMission: Can you give us an example of a project that students have undertaken in the Capstone course?

NDS: Absolutely. The idea of integrative thinking is always best explained with an example of how you would execute on that in a classroom.

mbaMission: Right.

NDS: So in the Capstone, we actually have real firms. We had four firms come in this year and work with our MBAs, and our delivery mechanism is something that we’ve termed “live cases.” So, unlike the very traditional methodology of what we would call “cooked” cases—where there’s a teaching note, you kind of know what happens, your faculty are guiding you through a problem that has already been solved—these are real problems, real-time, and even the executive teams at these firms don’t necessarily know what the problem is and certainly don’t know what the optimal solution is. So they come in and really explain the issue they’re facing to the class. The class then works in teams and selects the problem that is most interesting to them.

Probably a good example was we had a company who is an insurance aggregator, and they came in and said, “Listen, we’re a Web site that gives potential clients quotes on insurance. They enter some data, and we spit out a quote on what their range of options might be. The problem is, we have this great product, we’re giving great information, but no one’s actually calling us. So our conversion rate is woefully low.”

So our students looked at that, and the ones who took on that particular project in the Capstone, what literally happens is they then sign off on all kinds of NDAs [nondisclosure agreements]. They literally are logging into the live system at the company, getting something like 80,000 lines of code of data on user behavior, consumer behavior. “Integrative thinking” and “model-based problem solving” kind of envelope the buzzword of “big data,” and most of the really complicated problems in MBA curricula are big data. We just have a different label for it in many ways.

So they take all this information and start to model what’s actually happening right now, and by modeling what’s happening, they start to slowly peel away what some of the assumptions might be, right? It could be that the quotes are just not competitive, so of course no one’s calling through, and the students can compare and contrast if that’s in fact true. They may think that it’s just a marketing problem, like there’s no immediate call to action on the Web site, and it’s not obvious what you should do next. Why are people not picking up the phone? So in working through and starting with that structuring, that helps guide them down the path to why is that happening, and how could we optimize this model and increase the conversion rate?

mbaMission: Right.

NDS: So that’s the hard work through the majority of the Capstone. Each group comes up with their model and their pitch to the executive team explaining their model and why this new strategy that they’ve built, and that the model explains, will solve the issue of increasing the conversion rate. And the really cool thing is they work alongside our faculty in the Capstone, so they have lots of support and guidance and coaching, and then the very best teams physically go to the head office of these firms and get to pitch to the senior executives and showcase their solutions to them. And we have had lots of stuff already implemented, which has been really rewarding for students.

mbaMission: Yeah, that’s really cool.

NDS: It’s a little bit different from a typical case and really gives our students what we hope is a different skill set and something that’s actually required. To be job ready, you’ve got to navigate through this stuff and figure it out and be prepared to present your recommendations to the boss, even when you don’t know if you have the right answer.

mbaMission: That’s really cool. I like the competitive aspect of that. I didn’t realize that it was competitive like that. That’s perfect.

NDS: Right.

mbaMission: So switching gears a bit, I understand that the class is typically about 50% Canadian. Is that right, and is that your target? Or would you guys like to be maybe a little more fragmented?

NDS: That’s a good question, and it’s actually something that differentiates us, because we’re much more international than the typical North American program but less international than, say, a European program that’s closer to 70% to 90% international students. So there are two things that we factor in, and we really don’t have any sort of hard target in terms of citizenship numbers. There also are so many people living in Canada who are not even Canadian citizens, so citizenship can be a little bit of a misleading stat for us, but it is what it is, and we benchmark year over year, and every other school uses it as well. We’re not where we think we want to be, probably plus or minus 5% to 7%. We look pretty closely at what’s happening with the market and where the demand is for Canadian programs, and right now, 57% of all GMAT test takers who are sending score reports to Canadian schools are international. So we’re kind of close to what the general market demand is.

mbaMission: Right.

NDS: Actually, some of our newest firms that have come on board this year—a lot of global firms like Microsoft Global and recruiters based out of the United Kingdom or Huawei Technologies—a lot are coming to us now that we’ve expanded, because it’s this new talent pool for international students. So the high international percentage is something that we think we’ll maintain, and I could see it possibly increasing slightly in the future, but that wouldn’t necessarily be something we’re targeting doing.

mbaMission: Right. And as an identity for the school, does Rotman feel like it’s a Canadian MBA program, an international MBA program or just a solid MBA program, period?

NDS: I think I’d put us in the last bucket. In many ways, I think any good MBA program in 2013 should be international by nature.

mbaMission: Right.

NDS: And I think it would be hard for us, knowing that our student body is fairly evenly split, to say that we are just a Canadian program.

mbaMission: Sure.

NDS: And we do certainly see that flavor in the classroom, so I would say we’re a global player in the MBA space, and we are doing our best to position ourselves among the elite business schools of the world, regardless of where they’re located.

mbaMission: Right. What type of student would you say thrives at Rotman?

NDS: That’s a great question. I came here about, well, almost two years ago now, but it still feels relatively new, and that was one of the big things I was trying to figure out. That’s one of the most important things that the admissions committee has to understand in getting that ultimate call on “fit” right. I think the kind of person that thrives at Rotman and also what makes a Rotman student unique or different is that there really is a highly intellectual feel about the school, being part of U of T [University of Toronto], which is the top-ranked Canadian university in the world. We have students coming to study here who really have a demonstrated intellectual curiosity. They want to learn the way businesses work. They’re in it, I think, for this transformational experience, not just the transaction of the MBA. So they’re genuinely intellectually curious, which makes them different. I think there are other programs where there’s much more of a transactional feel—“I’m here for a reason. It’s about my next job.”—whereas there’s time in a 20-month program to really explore other interests.

The other thing that makes Rotman really different is our diversity. So we value tremendously people who come from not just different countries, but different backgrounds, whether that’s academic or industry, and we really, truly embrace those students, support those students. Those are always my favorite stories to tell at orientation: “Did you know you have a professional poker player in your class? Did you know you have a former national censor or a schoolteacher who taught sixth grade in DC?” Those kinds of profiles, they’re not just anomalies in our class. There really is this individualistic culture, which I think is very much part of U of T’s identity as well, but there’s this real value in diversity, in being an individual in the program, and you feel like you have a place, even if you are a nontraditional MBA student.

mbaMission: I see.

NDS: And I think it would be a silly oversight to not talk about the skills that any MBA student should have, which are, of course, the people skills around demonstrating leadership potential, communication skills, team skills, but the last thing and probably final important differentiation with our students is there’s a real focus on self-development. So we have this really interesting thing at the school called the “Self-Development Lab” that is literally run by a Harvard-trained psychologist who focuses on the individual quality and your individual presence as a leader. And we literally run these labs on how you’re showing up nonverbally and in group settings. You get tons of intensive feedback about making you a more authentic version of yourself as a leader, which means we should attract people who are self-aware, who have some resilience, who actually have that as a valued outcome of their MBA experience. So there really is a difference in the personalization of leadership development for our students.

mbaMission: Great. Can you take us through the life cycle of an application at Rotman? I mean, after an application is entered online, what is generally the evaluation process, from beginning to end?

NDS: Sure, absolutely. So essentially, an application comes in, assuming it’s all complete, of course, and we have one person in the office who is responsible for putting together complete applications. The first step in the process is they actually all come to me for what we call a quick scan, which is really just so I can get an understanding of what are their basics, bio demo stats, what are their career goals, and I’ll note anything that we really want to probe further on or better understand. The file is then assigned to one of our six assistant directors, who starts with the first thorough read of the application and determines if the candidate looks like someone we’d want to invite to interview or not.

If not, they then go back to me for a final read, if ultimately we’re going to decline them. If invited to interview, that process happens kind of simultaneously, so we do a more thorough review of the file, review the resume, essays, look at references and then the interview invitation will go out. Prior to the interview, the file is read again from cover to cover, and after, the interview rating and the rest of the total assessment of the file go into the system, and then decisions actually happen by committee. We meet weekly, and the committee reviews all the files completely, and we have a conversation around making admissions decisions and scholarship decisions at the same time.

mbaMission: Okay. From an interview perspective, we see interviews changing so much—is there any special approach to them at Rotman? Or anything else unique about your application process?

NDS: Well, we were the first school to introduce a video component into the process.

mbaMission: Oh, right, of course.

NDS: So that’s one unique feature that candidates always ask lots of questions about. Relative to that, there’s maybe less anxiety about the actual interview. The interviews are conducted by our team, so they are conducted by someone on the admissions committee. They’re typically behavioral in nature. We do have a standardization of the process, so we screen for the same competencies with every single student. We just ask different questions to get out those competencies, based on the person’s resume or application package.

mbaMission: As far as the video component, how would you recommend someone prep for it, perhaps so they don’t have too much anxiety about dealing with the technological aspect of it? Can you offer any advice on that front?

NDS: So they actually get a practice question that they can do as many times as they want. It’s not recorded. The school never sees it. That gives them a real opportunity to make sure that they’re confident in the technical aspect of the video—the lighting, the sound, everything’s working, it’s all good. They know that the question comes up from us, and it is a video question, of course, so they get comfortable with how that part works. There’s literally a timer on the screen that counts down how much time they have left to think, and then how much time they have left as it’s recording. They get a minute and a half to respond.

So practicing, I think some people skip the practice, and I have no idea why on earth you would skip the practice. Actually doing the practice is a good thing, even if you just want it to be over. The questions that we ask in the video—and we’re very transparent about it—are conversational, they’re about getting to know the personality of the applicant. There are things like “Tell me about a book you’ve read that had an impact on your life.” They’re not things you can prepare for.

The worst videos are by people who, like, write notes after they hear the question or try so hard to present this very polished image, and it just it doesn’t work. It should feel like, this is going to be me talking to my classmates or having some sort of conversation with a faculty member in the coffee line. You should be able to feel like yourself.

And I think the worst thing people can do is not be authentic. I’m not sure why. I know candidates continue to do it, but you just think, you’re going to be in this program for two years of your life, and it’s going to be exhausting to have to be someone that you’re not. So just embrace who you are and have fun with it.

mbaMission: Right.

NDS: It’s easy for me to say, obviously, being on the other side, but we are seeing, I think increasingly, this year relative to last year, that people are just being themselves and having fun with it, and that’s been great.

mbaMission: Sure. When you pick up an applicant’s file to review it, do you start with the resume? Do you read through it in a particular order? Do you have a specific approach you use?

NDS: I think everybody kind of has their own perspective on it, but yeah, what I tend to do is look at their resume first, just to get a broad overview of education and background. It also gives you a sense of whether they have other interests beyond just their jobs. There’s a section on there that explains the things they like to do. Then I tend to focus on some of the stats, whether it’s GMAT or GPA, anything that they’ve submitted. And then I kind of feel like I have a quick snapshot of who this person is, so, now, what do they want to do? Why are they getting their MBA, and where do they want to go next? Because we really do place a heavy value and emphasis on admitting people who we think will be successful in what they want to do post-MBA, so employability does play a significant factor in our decision.

mbaMission: Can I interject and ask, part of the MBA experience is to go and explore, so, recognizing that a lot of people tend to change their goals while in business school, how do you assess whether they’re employable or not?

NDS: That’s a great question, and we actually encourage—I mean, every school is different—but we would actually say that if you don’t know what to do post-MBA, you should say that. You should be honest, and then we’ll talk to you about it in the admissions process. You probably have maybe an idea, maybe it’s not a job title at a specific company, but you probably know the kinds of things you want to be doing on a daily basis. If it’s working with people, if it’s analysis or, I mean, no one really has no clue.

mbaMission: Right.

NDS: Or if they do, they should not be investing a hundred thousand dollars in an MBA program until they figure it out a little bit. But you’re right, lots of people, even the ones who think 100% “I know exactly what I want to do,” will come in, and they’ll have an experience that changes their mind. They’ll shift. So what we really look for is, do they have an understanding of what they’re great at, what they want to do, what they’re passionate about doing? Can they articulate that? Do they seem flexible? Are they coachable? Are they resilient? Because even if you know that you want to be a strategy consultant at McKinsey [& Company],  you might come into an MBA and, unfortunately, that’s probably one of the most competitive jobs for any student, and you might not land there for your first job out of the MBA program. And we want to ensure we’re admitting people who are still going to feel like they had a good experience and are open to coaching, to other options, to working really hard. If they don’t get that summer internship, are they going to come back and try again, or are they just going to kind of give up and feel like they’re entitled to a specific role because they were admitted to Rotman?

mbaMission: Right.

NDS: So I guess it’s really more about employability in the broadest sense of the term, not necessarily whether they will get that specific job that they originally had in mind for post-MBA. We actually spend a lot of time in our interviews talking through expectations, and sometimes I’ll say to someone, “It sounds like you’re really interested in consulting. You might also be interested in internal strategy. That might not be something you’ve ever considered, but I imagine you’ll explore this during your time at the school” to kind of open doors and approach the MBA with some flexibility.

mbaMission: A little preliminary career coaching.

NDS: You’re right. I think that’s a missed opportunity as part of the admissions process. You’re not doing the candidate or the school any favors if you’re not being honest about what the career prospects are like.

mbaMission: Right. Are there any red flags, any consistent mistakes that people tend to make when applying to Rotman?

NDS: Yeah, there are a couple. One of the biggest—although I think it’s a red flag for a reason, and it should be—is a sense of entitlement. I was just speaking to one of our assistant directors who interviewed someone today who was asked a question like “Looking back on Rotman, what will success mean to you?,” and they kind of reframed it and said, “Well, I want to tell you about my expectations of the school.” And it became a very aggressive, arrogant conversation, and unfortunately, we know that this is a tough program, and there are going to be ups and downs and stresses and failures, and we do try to screen out people who just have unreasonable expectations and believe there’s this sort of culture of entitlement.

So we’re working really hard as part of our interview process to say, well, it’s one thing if they frame it that way, but then let’s push back and try to suss out if it just came out as ambitious—because there’s a fine line between entitled and ambitious—and it’s great to be ambitious, but we need to know we’re admitting people who have some resiliency, who are going to actually work hard and put in the 200 hours of case interviews that they are going to have to do if they actually want to get to McKinsey and not think that just by virtue of being admitted, “I’m at Rotman, therefore I should get a job wherever I want.”

mbaMission: Right.

NDS: It’s tough to screen out those kinds of things, but that is I think one of the biggest mistakes that people make—focusing too much on what the school will do for them and not enough on what they’ll contribute to the broad community of the school.

mbaMission: One thing that I wanted to ask you, and I don’t know if anything new has happened on this front, but Dean [Roger] Martin, who’s a rock star dean, is transitioning, and you have an interim dean. Is there a deadline for his replacement? How’s that search going, basically?

NDS: I will happily send you a press release. We actually just made an announcement about this, so you’re not behind the ball at all.

mbaMission: Oh, great!

NDS: It is about who our next dean will be, and it is Tiff Macklem, who is the former senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada.

mbaMission: Oh wow.

NDS: He was kind of Mark Carney’s right-hand man.

mbaMission: That’s incredible.

NDS: Yes, it’s very exciting.

mbaMission: Well, you replaced one rock star with another rock star.

NDS: There you go. That’s the hope, right?

mbaMission: So next time we interview, we’ll ask you about his priorities.

NDS: Exactly. He doesn’t officially start until July 1. As someone coming in externally, I’m sure it’ll take him a little while before he’s clear on exactly what he wants to do.

mbaMission: Right. That’s one thing I think some applicants don’t really understand, that these MBA programs are big institutions with lots of moving parts, and you can’t kind of narrow a school down to just one simple thing. You have to consider curricula, environment, professors, even buildings, because so much shapes an environment. And it takes a long time to put your mark on it. Dean Martin’s mark will be on Rotman for a long time, but then, eventually, it’ll take on a different personality under the new dean, but it takes a while.

NDS: Exactly.

mbaMission: Well, I think we’re running short on time, but is there anything you want people to know about Rotman that we haven’t discussed?

NDS: Yeah, I guess what I would say—and this maybe applies not just to Rotman but to the MBA decision in general—is that I think, unfortunately, far too many candidates look backward at just the history of an institution, whether that’s via rankings or talking to someone who graduated five years ago, and don’t spend enough time understanding the vision and trajectory of the school. And quite honestly, I think that’s one of Rotman’s biggest strengths. If you look at, kind of to the point you made about Roger Martin, since he joined us in 1998, we have literally doubled the physical capacity of the school. I think the increase in enrollment is like 300% just from the size of the program. Our number of faculty has also grown tremendously.

There’s this real trajectory and momentum that is exciting to be a part of, but if you think about the value of your degree, and the MBA should be a long-term investment, plotting out the trajectory of where an institution is heading is something that I think applicants should factor into their decision. Twenty years from now, when you’re up for that promotion to the C-suite, what are people are going to be saying about your alma mater? I think we’re in a great place, where we’re working really hard to continue that trajectory. That would probably be the one thing that I’d want people to know.

mbaMission: I agree 100%. We do presentations around the world and online all the time, and whenever people ask us really superficial questions on rankings, we’re like, “If you’re really going to make your decision based on rankings, then I guess you should try to project out where that ranking is going to be 30 years from now.”

NDS: Exactly.

mbaMission: I mean, of course they understand we’re being facetious when we say that, but we hope they get the point and maybe consider rankings as just one element of their decision rather than giving them so much weight.

NDS: Right. And I don’t believe all candidates even know how the rankings are calculated or what the weightings are. They have some value, of course, but people just put way too much emphasis on them in their decision making.

mbaMission: Absolutely. Well, Thanks so much. You’ve been with super generous with your time, and it’s been great speaking with you.

NDS: Oh, no problem. Thank you, too. I really appreciate it, Jeremy.
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