The Consortium Can Help You Get Your MBA [Episode 216]

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It gives me great pleasure to have for the first time on AST, Danni Young, Director of Recruiting at The Consortium for the Graduate Study of Management. Danni earned her bachelors degree from Lincoln University in Missouri and her MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. FYI she loves cats. Welcome!

Let’s start with the basics. What is the Consortium for the Graduate Study of Management? [1:17]

We’re a stellar organization that’s been around since 1966. Our mission is to increase the representation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans in business schools and corporate management.

We serve as a connector between students and schools, and with our corporate partners.

Today our network is made up of 19 partner schools across the US. We have 900 current students, 9000 alumni (in the US and abroad), and 78 corporate partners. And we’ve awarded $390 million in fellowship support over the last 51 years.

What role does the Consortium play at the application stage? [4:40]

We have a common application, so for prospective students, they have the ability to apply to up to six schools with one application. They submit everything to the Consortium and we forward the materials to the member schools.

Can anyone use the Consortium application? [3:30]

There are eligibility requirements.: Any US citizen who can demonstrate commitment to our mission – but you must have a four-year bachelors degree, and you must be applying to one of the member schools.

How do applicants show a commitment to the Consortium mission? [4:15]

We require a membership essay. They can talk about their experience as champions for diversity. There’s also a mission recommendation, where the recommender attests to their commitment to our mission.

Which schools are member schools? [5:00]

We have 19 member schools currently. The full list is on our site, but just to name a few: UCLA, UC Berkeley, USC, Cornell, Yale, Dartmouth, UNC, Michigan. Recently, Rice joined as our latest member.

Do you have to be a member to apply via CGSM? [6:10]

When you apply via CGSM, you’re applying for admission, Consortium membership, and fellowship opportunities as well.

Is membership automatic? [7:05]

No. It’s not automatic. We determine that based on the mission essay.

The admission application will still be considered, but you may not get the benefits of Consortium membership.

How much does it cost to apply through CGSM? [7:50]

We have a tiered application fee structure. The minimum is $150 for two schools. And the maximum you would pay is $300 for six schools. So you can save money and time.

Are this year’s essay questions available yet? [9:05]

The general essay questions are the same as last year’s. The member schools’ essays have now been updated. Our core questions are the same as last year.

What are the other elements of the application? [9:55]

Beyond essays – we ask applicants to provide their transcripts (from all schools). There are recommendations – three total (two professional and one mission recommendation). The applicant inputs the letter writer’s information and the writer gets an invitation to upload the letter.

We ask for your most recent GMAT or GRE score.

And finally, there’s the application fee.

The recommender only fills out one form, and it goes to all the schools. And the mission rec is only seen by the Consortium.

What are the benefits of Consortium membership? [12:05]

One initial benefit is that every new member has the chance to attend our orientation program (OP) – it’s a major annual conference, including alumni, corporate representatives, and students from across the country.

It gives them participants access to seminars, corporate partners, and other Consortium members from different schools. Some people walk away with internship offers before they’ve even started business school!

Membership also gives people a chance to get fellowships that cover the entire MBA program.

And they get access to our network: we have 9000 alumni, corporate partners – membership is lifelong.

Are there dues? [14:30]

No, there are no membership dues, but we do ask members to pay it forward and give back when they can.

What’s the difference between “members” and “fellows”? [15:00]

All our members are actually classified as fellows, even if they don’t win a fellowship. They all get financial benefits, such as subsidized travel to OP, etc.

Did you go to OP when you were about to start your MBA? [15:45]

I did attend one of our member schools – Washington University in St. Louis – but I went to the evening program, which is not part of the Consortium. So I didn’t have the opportunity to be a Consortium member. But I’ve had the chance to participate in three OPs, and it’s very exciting and rewarding.

Can you share a memorable moment from a recent OP you attended? [16:40]

One that stands out: we have students take a class photo, and we have about 470 students. So they were all grouped close for the photo. One funny moment was just after the photo was taken, a few more students trickled in, and we had to retake the photo – and then a few more students came in. The students in the bleachers were heckling the people coming in. It was fun to see them bonding so quickly.

You mentioned people leaving OP with internship offers already. How does CGSM help its members in career placement? [18:55]

We don’t help with career placement, but we help connect students with our corporate partners. So starting at OP they have a lot of opportunities for networking. They get direct access, and with that access comes opportunity.

At OP we have a career forum – that’s how people walk away with internships. And we have an online career center for Consortium alumni. Our corporate partners are actively looking for diverse talent.

Do you have advice for someone planning to apply through CGSM this year? [20:35]

Prepare, prepare, prepare!

Students try tend to wait to the last minute.

We have two deadlines – Oct 15 and Jan 5. The application is available early. There are so many components – you have to prepare ahead. If you haven’t taken the GMAT or GRE yet, make sure you have enough time to do that.

On our site, we have contact information for student liaisons at each partner school – connect with them.

Do your research. Preparing and applying takes work and time – make sure you’re applying to the right schools.

Attend recruitment events. We have recruitment events in the fall. We also have Consortium alumni in attendance.

So my best advice: prepare and do your research!

What’s coming up for the Consortium? [24:00]

We’re going to continue trying to increase our applicant pool and make people more aware.

We’re hoping to build our class size – we want to reach a class of 500. Last year’s class was 475. There may be more schools joining us. And we’ll keep doing what we’ve done as it relates to our mission.

Related to the fellowship: how many were offered last year? [25:30]

There were 413 fellowships last year – full rides (tuition and fees). That’s a lot of fellowships provided to our students!

Last year we had 1179 applications. Of that, 741 were offered admission to at least one school, and there were 413 fellowships. We’re very proud of the applicants, and of the schools for providing the fellowships.

What differentiates a fellowship winner from a non-winner? [26:50]

Fellowships are decided by the member schools. They’re merit based. You first have to apply for Consortium membership.

They look at test scores, work experience, academics – all play a role in fellowship applications.

Click here to listen to the show!

Related Links:

The Consortium for the Graduate Study of Management
Applying for Your MBA Through the Consortium: Best Deal in Town
Welcoming Keith Vaughn to the Accepted Family

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A 20-Year MBA Admissions Veteran Shares His Insights


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