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Amerasia MBA Blog

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The b-school Before and After Paradigm [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2017, 09:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: The b-school Before and After Paradigm
We are often reminded (and rightly so on the one hand) that finding a common thread in our careers is an important step in convincing the admissions committees you have been progressively responsible and focused, and have not just meandered through your professional life. While finding that common thread is indeed a critical exercise to not only ensure you are ready for the b-school application process, but also to judge whether or not you have a solid vision for your future, a trap that often ensnares b-school applicants and alumni alike is worrying too much about the logical progression of your career trajectory from a narrative point of view.  Applicants often become distracted or obsessed about finding this “theme” in their careers to the point that they force a round peg into a square hole just to try and make everything connect.
Perhaps the most important thing to realize when reflecting on your career progression is that your career before business school and your career after business school are on two entirely different planes.Particularly for those who plan to change careers, it is quite common to find their past and future have very little to do with each other on the surface. 
As is commonly known, b-school can be a terrific period of career transition, not only from one level of responsibility to the next, but also from one industry or discipline to another. But even after you graduate and work professionally, your employers will look at your pre-and-post-MBA roles in entirely different lights.  It is far more important what you do after the MBA than what you did before.  Translation: your entire career does not need to be one clean, seamless story. 
While it’s great if you have been promoted and moved ahead at work prior to applying to b-school, you can usually still demonstrate readiness for an MBA program if you have simply worked hard and made a good impression. In post-MBA world, however, you want your career to “take-off,” as you create an invigorated trajectory going forward, one that builds rapidly on your education and ratchets-up your responsibility with each progressive move up on the proverbial corporate ladder.  You will be forgiven in the application process (and frankly, in the professional world as well) for your past side-tracks as you found your way to b-school and your new vocational calling.  Go ahead and forgive yourself of zigging when you should have zagged, because the only time it will be held against you is when you come across as unfocused in your future vision.  If the zig-zagging communicates that you “still haven’t found what you’re looking for” (to quote the band U2), an admissions committee might encourage you to take another lap or two and re-apply later.
We have some good posts and commentary on how to find the thread in your career to create a compelling narrative for the admissions committees, but never forget that your pre-and-post MBA achievements are entirely different paradigms, and that is just fine. 
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RANKINGS: BEST MBA PROGRAMS FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND MEDIA JOBS (Updated  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2017, 15:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: RANKINGS: BEST MBA PROGRAMS FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND MEDIA JOBS (Updated for 2017) - UCLA ANDERSON & NYU STERN
Ranking the best business school programs by the percentage of MBA graduates entering media and entertainment industries - Updated for 2017For the third year in a row, UCLA Anderson comes out on top when it comes to sending MBA graduates (as a percentage of all graduates in 2016) back into the entertainment & media industries. NYU Stern remains a respectable 2nd, maintaining its spot since our last entertainment & media career ranking. No surprises here.
MIT Sloan now leap frogs into 3rd place from its prior 4th place ranking. This is a bit of addition by subtraction. Last time around MIT Sloan had 4.3% of their MBA graduates enter the entertainment & media field. This time it was only 3.6%.
Wharton moves into 4th place from 7th, growing their percentage from 2.4% to 3.2%. 
However, a word to the wise - let's keep it all in perspective - the actual magnitude of change represents only a change in 1, 2 or 3 students.
MBA programs on the riseStanford GSB makes the biggest jump since our last ranking, rising from 13th to 4th place. This represents a change from 1% to 3% from 2015 to 2017. Not too shabby. 
MBA programs not on the riseHBS remains in 6th place, with the exact same percentage of graduates - 3% - entering entertainment and media this time around.
Haas drops out of the race this year with 0%, whereas 1.6% of graduates entered entertainment & media in our last ranking. Haas has never been the strongest with respect to sending graduates back into entertainment or media, but this did surprise us when we examined the numbers. Perhaps Stanford GSB's rise came at the expense of Haas. We can't say for sure right now.  
Michigan Ross - which was 3rd in our last ranking with 5.5% of grads entering entertainment & media - completely drops off the list.
Kellogg - which was 5th in our last entertainment & media ranking - drops from 4.3% to 0.6%. In our opinion, both of these drops (at Kellogg and Ross) are large enough to warrant further investigation should you chose to apply to these programs.

Best MBA Programs for Media & Entertainment Industry Jobs (2017)

Breaking Down UCLA Anderson's Entertainment/Media Hires

Percentages add up to 6.5% - the percent of hires entering the entertainment/media industry at Anderson.

Final Thoughts
To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us via http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
For an overview of our MBA admissions consulting services, visit http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/mba-a ... ommitment/.
If you are looking to further your career in entertainment and media through an MBA, let's talk.Since 2006, we have worked with applicants from the entertainment media industry – from Hollywood studios to media technology firms, from stalwarts like Disney and Pixar to innovative startup entertainment companies.
What else?Read our thoughts on what it takes to get a MBA-level job in the entertainment industry.
"Working in the Entertainment Industry is the ultimate career goal for some. The Glitz, the Glamour, and the Gluttony beckon folks from far and wide to Hollywood, New York, Canada, London, and even Bollywood to work. It is a well-known truism that breaking into this super-fortified fortress of employment is not just difficult, it’s notoriously the most impossible industry in the world to catch a break and get your foot in the door. How can you find a way in?"Source: Getting a Job in the Entertainment Industry with an MBA | Amerasia Consulting Group Blog
Dig deeper into the rankings dataInterested in where we got our numbers? Want to do some further analysis or fact checking? Here is a list of MBA employment reports from top business schools in the US. Have fun.
Haas http://haas.berkeley.edu/groups/careercenter/hireanmba/employment-reports.html
UCLA Anderson http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/degrees/mba-program/career-services
Stanford GSB https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/organizations/recruit/employment-reports
MIT Sloan http://mitsloan.mit.edu/career-development-office/employment-reports/mba-current-report/
HBS http://www.hbs.edu/recruiting/mba/data-and-statistics/employment-statistics.html
Wharton http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/mba/your-career/career-statistics.cfm
Kellogg http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/career_employer/employment_statistics.aspx
Chicago Booth http://www.chicagobooth.edu/employmentreport/
Columbia https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/recruiters/employmentreport
NYU Stern http://www.stern.nyu.edu/programs-admissions/full-time-mba/career/employment-statistics
Tuck http://www.tuck.dartmouth.edu/careers/employment-statistics
Yale SOM http://som.yale.edu/yale-som-connect/recruiting/employment-statistics
Michigan Ross http://michiganross.umich.edu/our-community/recruiters
Duke Fuqua http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/mba_recruiting/recruiting_duke/employment_statistics/
Cornell Johnson http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Career-Management/Employment-Report-for-Two-Year-MBAs
UVA Darden http://www.darden.virginia.edu/recruiters-companies/hire-an-mba/employment-reports/
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_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

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The Value of Your Unique Perspective in MBA Applications [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jun 2017, 22:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: The Value of Your Unique Perspective in MBA Applications
I was working on our Ross Strategy Memo over the weekend, when it occurred to me just how overlooked a "unique perspective" is when it comes to MBA applications.  Even here at Amerasia, where we work hard to push our clients away from thinking in terms of "impress the reader" and towards "connect with the reader," we sometimes lose sight of how just what an easy and effective way that can be to frame introspective writing.  Because Ross has the MAP program and everything funnels towards what perspective you bring to the class, it became a good reminder and something that felt worthy of passing along. 
Who You Are vs. What You Can DoFor context on this, you have to start by understanding that there is always going to be a tension during an application process between advertising who you are and what you can do.   A candidate who is quite strong on paper needs to do very little of the latter and a lot of the former (to become a human being, to connect with their file readers, and to differentiate from other elite candidates), whereas a weaker candidate may need to put a lot of their focus and effort on just displaying what they are capable of (to, quite frankly, get in the game).  There is a balancing act between fitting in and standing out - and a good rule of thumb is that the more you "look the part" in your numbers, work experience, and so forth, the more you can put your emphasis into standing out with introspective writing, biographical content, heart, etc.  
Framing Your Personal Story But even if we accept that basic premise, there are still good and bad ways to frame introspective, personal, emotional, and very human content.  Even if you are a top candidate who makes the wise move to sidestep the "accomplishments arms race" and focus on connecting rather than impressive, you still have choices in how you do it.  Is your focus going to be entirely biographical, meaning "this is who I am?"  It likely won't be, if you want to succeed.  You can't *only* tell a tear-jerker story or detail who your role models were or describe an amazing trip to a remote village in Australian bush country ... you need to tether these narratives to something concrete.  In most cases, the anchor you can tether to is your career goal narrative.  Here is what I want do, meaning how I want to spend my life ... and here is why.  It's a natural, smooth way to get personal, get biographical, and allow a reader to connect.  We spend a LOT of time on it here! 
A Unique POV Can Be the Right FrameworkBut even within the "standing out" category, there are ways to organize your thoughts.  What you want to do with your life is certainly a good one, but "here is what I can bring to the class" is definitely another.  At a school like Ross, where differentiated perspectives and a cross-section of disciplines is essential to their entire model working, it might make more sense to stake your claim to "this is what I bring that is different" than it does to go all in on "this is why I want to do what I want to do."  I would not recommend taking this path at a school like Stanford, where they literally ask you both "What matters most to you" AND "why GSB" (aka what do you want to do with your life once you get this amazing degree).  But there are a lot of schools where it's open-ended and you could easily go with perspective sharing as your path.  Many UK schools (LBS, Oxford, Cambridge) rely heavily on a "global conversation" as part of their dynamic, you have schools like Yale and Booth that are very interdisciplinary and focus on a sort of "life of the mind" dynamic, and then there is HBS, with its Case method and need for all kinds of vantage points for that to succeed (as well as "mini Harvards" like Tuck, Darden, and so forth).  
Why All This MattersThe point of all this is that "hey, I have a unique POV" is actually a big selling point and potentially even the right pillar for your whole application and value proposition.  The schools, you have to understand, are not just in the business of handing out merit badges or even stocking a career path pipeline (save for Columbia, that is!  I kid, because I love).  They are trying to build a class.  This means putting together a group of people who may actually enrich the experience for others.  If I am putting my MBA class together and I can pick one really accomplished person who tells me "I have a unique perspective because I grew up in a multi-ethnic family" or a slightly-more accomplished person who says "I have done amazing deals," which am I going to pick?  So let your POV be something you strongly consider as part of your arsenal.  Parts of your life might seem normal or boring to you, but analyze whether they are actually quite unique or even valuable compared to typical MBA applicants.  You might find that your entire application platform is right there, in plain sight, welded to what you always thought were pieces of trivia about your life.  
If you are looking for help finding the right platform for your story - or even if you need to worry more about fitting in or standing out - email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com.  
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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Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

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MBA Networking Tips [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2017, 17:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: MBA Networking Tips
We have established that MBA networking should begin well before business school and that some schools have better networking than others.  What we haven’t really covered yet, are the nuts and bolts of networking and how you go about doing it effectively.  Below is a baker’s dozen tips for building a network which will pay dividends as you apply to business school, as you attend business school and as you dive into your post MBA career…1)      Don’t wait until business school to start networking.  I know this has already been said, but it’s the most important thing to do, so it warrants the number one slot.
2)      Don’t think that MBA networking means only networking with MBAs.  There are millions of successful business people out there who not only don’t have an MBA, but who may not even have a college degree.  
3)      Become friends with Linked In---good friends.  In case you haven’t noticed, Linked In has become a vital component of relevance in the modern business world.  It’s a great tool for both connecting and for gathering useful information about the current landscape in business.  If you don’t have 500+ connections, you’re not trying hard enough.
4)      Clean up your social media profile.  If you didn’t already know it, employers look at your facebook page and read your tweets. There’s nothing more unprofessional than to have a public social media presence which flies in the face of what’s considered acceptable workplace behavior.  If you must misbehave on social media, do so on Snapchat where it’ not permanently preserved for all to see.
5)      Reach out to people you don’t know, but whom you feel might provide you with information or contacts which could help you.  Cold-contacting people with the reason you are a “prospective MBA student interested in their area or industry” can often be the secret password to opening the door to a professional connection.
6)      Return phone calls and emails within 24 hours.  This is a habit which will serve you well your whole career. Promptly responding to inquiries from others will build the kind of good networking habits which turn mediocre connectors into super-conductor networkers.  Being perceived as dependable and responsive is a valued trait.
7)      Set goals and stick to them.  If you don’t make yourself call or reach out to a set number of people each week or each month, your networking strategy will become random or haphazard.  Treat making new connections like you treat your workout regimen or diet.  Steady and consistent yields results.
8)      Know what you want out of each meeting, and don’t leave until you get it.  While there is no need to communicate your agenda to your contact, you should know why you are meeting with the person and what you hope to achieve from the connection.  So you are not perceived as a taker only, it’s never a bad idea to ask if there is anything you can do to help them as well.
9)      Research your connection before you show up for a networking meeting.  People like to talk about themselves in qualitative matters, but asking them factual questions which could have been discovered from casual research or from their company bio makes you look unprepared. 
10)   Try to meet in person.  The digital driven world in which we live makes it tempting to establish and maintain professional connections over the web, but you will find that connecting in person establishes a much deeper foundation for a relationship which will last much longer. Remember the famous Professor Mehrabian? He was the one who famously insisted that communication is only 7 percent verbal and 93 percent non-verbal. The non-verbal component, which he said is made up of body language (55 percent) and tone of voice (38 percent) is impossible to pass along in an email. 
11)   Don’t leave without asking for another person you should connect with.  Networking is exponential.  You will be blown away with how many connections you can make by asking this simple question before you leave a meeting.
12)   Take notes. Not only does taking notes help you remember what was said, it also communicates to the other person that you care about what is being said and it makes them feel important.
13)   Make the other person feel important.  This is a key mantra in Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” the still-in-print self-help book for, well, making friends and influencing people.  It’s a must read if you haven’t already done so.

To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
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_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

Kudos [?]: 221 [0], given: 220

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How to Tackle the HBS Joint Degree Essay [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jun 2017, 09:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: How to Tackle the HBS Joint Degree Essay
One thing that seems to be on the rise in our little corner of the academic world is an interest in joint degree programs, be it combining an MBA with a policy program, a more niche degree (such as a masters in something very quantitative), or the tried-and-true JD-MBA, there has been a push to fuse a business education with “something else.”  This is especially true at Harvard, where HBS is always a powerful draw for our clients, but also boasts Harvard Law and the Kennedy School, creating truly dynamic and elite pathways for students seeking a joint-degree program. 
Given that, today we want to dispense some advice on how to tackle a joint degree essay, specifically focused on the question that HBS asks, which is:
How do you expect the joint degree experience to benefit you on both a professional and a personal level? (400 words)To understand what they are trying to draw out of this, we have to start by analyzing what HBS wants to know as they consider your pursuits.  It is helpful to break this down by comparing it to other types of questions that are like this.  For instance, Wharton was asking, “What do you hope to gain both personally and professionally from the Wharton MBA?” as recently as 2015 (they dropped the “personally” last year).  With Wharton, the best approach was to hit on the “What,” “Why,” and “Where” of your career goals – what you wanted to do (short-term and long-term), what motivated you (the “personal” appeal of those professional goals), and where you wanted to go to b-school to best achieve those ambitions (why Wharton).   We were able to determine that by looking at the questions they had long asked, understanding key elements of the school, and then seeing what their second essay question offered by way of room to cover other key elements. 
But what about a pursuit of HBS-HKS or HBS-HLS?  It takes a different sort of analysis.  Namely:·       First and foremost, you have to make a key “responsive” decision to your main HBS essay.  Some people will write their entire Harvard open-ended essay about the “why” of their career pursuits – that underlying motivation that drives them to do X for the rest of their lives.  If that is the case, you clearly would not repeat yourself in this more “nuts and bolts” essay.  This is true, even with the inclusion of the word “personal” in the question prompt.  If you have already written 600-900 words on what drives you on a personal level, then you simply have to draw from that and refer back to it here in this context, rather than repeat yourself. 
·       Obviously, the flipside is also true: if you have not written about the underlying “why” of your career goals as your topic of choice for the HBS essay, then you need to do so here.  That must become a key pillar of this joint degree essay. 
·       What about your goals themselves?  Well, we know that HBS hasn’t been asking about them for years, other than a short answer field on the application itself.  So, given that, should you go into great detail here on this joint degree essay?  I would say no.  Again, this is about looking to the school itself to find out what they want.  When Wharton says they want 500 words on what you hope to get out of their program both professional and personally, we can assume they want a nice, healthy paragraph describing your goals both short term and long.  That is because they have always wanted to know and they guard their employment stats carefully.  With HBS though, they have never been super interested in a lot of detail around your goals and they seem fairly indifferent to your short-term goals as well.  So my advice would be to briefly mention your overarching career goal merely as a framing device for the type of experience you want now.  Which leads us to…
·       The one building block that everyone should be using as foundational is talking about the nature of the joint degree program and what kind of experience it will provide to you at this crucial time in your life.  Make sure to lift your interest beyond the mundane (courses, the degree combo itself) to include the transformational (the types of people you will meet, the ideas you will be exposed to – things that hit on that “personal level” idea).  But most of all, sell the idea that you really desire this combination of programs. 
Okay, with this analysis, we basically have two paths you will go down:
Path One – Writing About the “Why” of Your GoalsIf you did not write about the motivation undergirding your career goals in the main HBS essay, you would do so here and your essay would include:
·       What your goals are, briefly, and mainly focused on the long-term, high-level goals
·       A detailed explanation of what drives those goals and why that personal motivation leads to this dual degree program and to your goals beyond
·       Breaking down why this combo of degrees brings that all together
Path Two – Not Writing About the “Why” of Your GoalsIf you already hit on all the rich motivation material in your “main” essay, then you are not going to repeat yourself here, so your path goes:
·       What your goals are, briefly, and mainly focused on the long-term, high-level goals
·       Breaking down why this combo of degrees is right for that pursuit
·       Then talking about why this combo of degrees is right on a level that goes beyond that pursuit, meaning on a personal level, complete with an example from your life
This basically means that if you already wrote about the fuel for your life, then the best use of this space (and the best possible outcome across the board) is that you have room left to specifically articulate why this joint degree program would fulfill you in a way that goes beyond professional, and then share an example of how you know that – either an interdisciplinary experience that pushed you, or a time you were exposed to completely new ideas that changed your worldview, or perhaps a work environment where the fusion of two worlds created something much greater than the sum of the individual parts. 
If you are looking for help on the HBS joint degree question – or any other essay question – email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com
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

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

Kudos [?]: 221 [0], given: 220

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The Part time-Full time MBA Jobs Battle [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jun 2017, 20:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: The Part time-Full time MBA Jobs Battle
Not every university has both a full time MBA program and a part time MBA program.  In fact, it could be argued that the business schools which have focused mainly on their flagship, two year, full time MBA offering and choose not to offer a part time option, have been able to grow and maintain their status in the upper tier of b-school rankings. Even a cursory glance at the highest ranked schools lends credence to this theory, as there is indeed no part time program at Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton.  But what about schools such as Chicago Booth, Berkeley Haas, NYU Stern, Kellogg and Ross, all of which have both highly ranked full time programs as well as very well respected and successful part time programs?  Clearly there is a way to have both. 
One of the main challenges at the schools with both part time and full time programs, however, has nothing to do with rankings, but rather with job placement.  Getting your MBA is mostly about landing that dream job at the end, and the last thing a graduating MBA needs to worry about is whether or not they will be able to land one.  But this can sometimes be exactly the challenge at schools with large part time programs.   In fact, since these schools often have a far larger part time program than their full time program, there is sometimes a glut of graduating MBAs at these schools who are competing against each other for jobs from both tracks.
Imagine giving up your job for two years and investing a substantial sum of money for an MBA, then standing in line behind four or five part time MBA grads at the interview table---grads who drew a salary for the past three years while you watched the opportunity costs pile up on your credit card.  This has created resentment at some schools between the full time and part time students.  What to do?  Both parties want and need jobs, and the schools’ career services centers must make both happy.
Sometimes, schools have a separate career counselor for the part time program and disallow the part time students from participating in the full time interview schedule. For schools with the facilities and resources to pull this off, it can work, but it is far more common for schools to share the career services with both programs.  Sometimes, in fact,  it is the recruiting companies themselves who desire to see candidates from both programs.
When it comes time to make job offers, in recent years, there has been a trend with recruiters to actually favor the part time students in the interview process over the full time students. After all, the part timers not only slogged through the same curriculum, they did it while juggling full time job responsibilities, right?  Employers have figured out that part time MBA students must be extremely hard working and highly organized professionals to pull this off.   They also now have three years’ more work experience than the full time students who started their MBAs with the same number of years in the professional world. While the full time MBA students may have similar traits, they have not had to demonstrate the same time management skills as their part time counterparts by balancing school and work simultaneously.
If you are considering applying to a school with both part time and full time programs, make sure you speak with their career services center first, so at least you will have an understanding of how they support both kinds of students.  You don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised on the backend when it comes time to interview.

To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
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The Real Cost of Going Back For Your MBA [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2017, 17:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: The Real Cost of Going Back For Your MBA
For most young professionals considering an MBA, the decision to go back is an easy one.  Whether you are stalling out in your current career or are progressing so rapidly, you can hardly be stopped, the appeal of a prestigious MBA degree can be almost too alluring to resist in order to boost the earnings trajectory of your financial future. Most applicants also hear the tantalizing salary stories of MBA new hires--$100,000+ is just the starting point for most top MBA grads, not to mention signing bonuses and stock options.  These high salaries and bonuses when compared to an average pre-MBA salary of $75,000 or so only add more ease to the decision to quit work and go back to school.  Before you put in your notice, however, you should make sure you know all the costs, both tangible and intangible, of taking the MBA plunge.
The first and most obvious cost is tuition. Compared to most graduate degree programs, business school is expensive, and like law school and medical school, has a premium on its cost vs. a regular old master’s degree.  You likely know by now that b-schools in the top tier carry an average price tag of more than $120,000, and schools like Columbia tip the scales at almost $170,000 for their two year program.  If you are going to graduate Columbia without any debt, and assuming you will not be generating income as an MBA student, then you would need to have saved about $42,500 for each year since graduating college to pay for school, assuming you are about 26 years old (the average age for MBA applicants.  Does this stellar savings program describe you?  Hat’s off!  But before you break your arm patting yourself on the back, make sure you factor in the return you will forgo on that money for two years.  Even at a modest 6% return, that’s about $20K in simple interest you‘ll be losing (assuming you take your tuition savings out of the investment market when you start school).
Financially speaking, the lost interest on tuition money pales in comparison to lost wages. $75K per year you were making of course becomes a $150,000 gap in your budget by the time you finish school. You will get paid for your internship of course, but that’s just three or four months of work in the summer between 1st and 2nd year, and much of that income will probably go to paying for your living accommodations wherever you decide to do your internship (that is, unless you land an internship in the same place your school is located).  Then there’s the incidentals, such as the cost of selling your house or breaking a lease and the cost of moving to b-school.  If your school is in California or New York or Chicago, the cost to put a roof over your head during school may be more than it was wherever you moved from.  Then of course, there’s the cost of moving again when you are finished with school.  It all adds up, and your savings can take a real beating.
No matter how you slice it, business school from a monetary perspective is quite an undertaking. But that’s just half the story.  Even if you are financially prepared to go back to school, something else you must consider has nothing to do with the financial cost, but rather the intrinsic value.  Most obviously, will the opportunities afforded you by an MBA outweigh the opportunities you would have had with two more years of time on the job?  Even outside of your professional arena, however, you should analyze if there are lifestyle sacrifices you would have to make to go back to school which would be detrimental to relationships in your life?  This is usually an issue for people who have family obligations which require a significant investment of time and proximity.  How about the timing?  Does your spouse or significant other have the ability to manage things while you focus on school? 
Would your going back create extra stress on your lives which would be difficult to deal with? Would it dovetail with their plans or hinder their progress in some way?  If you can’t find someone to talk to about these issues, give us a call.  We have seen it all and might be able to help you think through your situation from an objective point of view.
To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
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Should You Care That an MBA Program is Good at Marketing Itself? [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jun 2017, 22:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Should You Care That an MBA Program is Good at Marketing Itself?
This post is going to feel like its about Wharton, but its not - not really.  I'm prompted to write it because of Wharton, but it is about a larger issue, which is whether or not you should have a takeaway when you see that a program is going all in on its marketing.  Should you read into it or ignore it?  And if you do search out some meaning, is it is good or bad thing when a business school suddenly seems to have hired a new marketing whiz who knows how to game the headlines?  Let's dive in. 
For starters, let me clarify that I am not talking about your garden variety marketing efforts.  Every school has a marketing budget and an admissions staff that functions as recruiters just as much as gatekeepers.  When I used to help put together an admissions office budget, marketing was almost the whole thing: events, travel, guidebooks (back in the old days!), videos, websites, you name it.  But these are all pretty standard ideas that didn't involve a lot of next-level marketing efforts, such as PR, press hits, and deep industry networking.  Yet every so often, you start to see a school really pull out all the stops on those second-level ideas.  I remember when Booth suddenly seemed to be everywhere - quotes in every article, banner ads on every site, press pieces in a range of publications.   Not long after that, I was on campus having a round of meetings when I met a man with the title of "Executive Director of Marketing."  I had never heard of that for an academic program and was intrigued.  He walked me through the whole thing: how Booth had recruited him away from a big Silicon Valley company to come and be a stewart of their brand.  And it seemed to work: Booth started shooting up the rankings and hasn't stopped since.  
All of this brings me to Wharton.  I don't have inside information and certainly no access to their budgets, but I would guess they have both spent more on their marketing mix while also bringing in more personnel (obviously there would be some overlap between those ideas).  I am basing this not on any sort of traditional marketing volume (email blasts, ads, SEO, etc.), but on the narratives they are shaping - the way they seem to be shaping perceptions.  In less than a year I've seen their dean do more press than a movie star, their employment numbers shoot them up to the top of the rankings of U.S. News and World Report, the introduction of an early entry program, and even a somewhat ludicrous repackaging of letters of recommendations as "essays"(they are basically just like all letters of recommendations throughout history, with new branding and an over-the-top backstory).  These, to me, are all signs of marketing folks pushing out ideas to try to win the perception battles.  Am I right?  Who knows.  More importantly, if I am right, should you care about it? 
I would say yes, for the simple reason that if a school is putting money, time, and brain power into tending to its brand, it seems to portend good things to follow.  The case of Booth is a one-off, but the logic backs up what I saw with my own eyes - the school had a lot of money, it invested a chunk of that in marketing, and the perception of the school improved by virtually every measure (in some cases dramatically).  It is easy to feel cynical about things like schools trying to game their ranking or puff up their press - especially when it seems transparent or heavy handed.  And there is part of me that rolls my eyes at a lot of this.  But if I am an applicant trying to decide where to go - and part of my calculation (as it should be) is which schools are on the rise - I'm going to try to spot the schools spending money and trying when it comes to marketing.  
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The MBA Facilities Arms Race [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jul 2017, 12:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: The MBA Facilities Arms Race
In the ever-increasing competition among the world’s top business schools, there are several ways each school tries to stand out from the crowd.  For the longest time, the best schools could rely on reputation alone, and the flood of top students matriculating at these schools coupled with the incredible opportunities for graduates with top firms on the back end made for a nearly permanent lofty position in the rankings tables. As the demand for the MBA heated up, however, and the philanthropic investment in these schools climbed, each program found itself with plenty of money in their endowment pool to plow back into the program.  What has resulted is a facilities arms race that now extends well beyond the top ten or twenty business schools. 
Yes, even business schools you may never have heard of now have buildings and experiential education offerings that would rival the most expensive institution out there—public or private, and we can all thank the boom-boom bull market of the late 1990s for much of this explosion in fantasy facilities. Since donors’ gifts correlate with rising economic conditions, the upswing in financial markets during the new millennium (notwithstanding the great recession of 2008) has been astronomical.  As an example, every single public and private business school in the top 25 is now named for a donor, which was not the case just ten years ago.  A small endowment for even a lower-ranked top 25 school is now $100MM.  Harvard Business School’s endowment now tops three billion dollars. 
One might naturally assume that the schools with the most money would have the best facilities.As it turns out, the Economist did a study of MBA graduates and asked them to rank their facilities and administrative support.  Granted, this study is highly subjective, since it relied upon students’ opinions about their own school to drive results, however it is interesting to see which schools came out on top---most notably, the schools with the highest endowments did not necessarily make the list of best facilities.  In fact, out of the top ten schools in the facilities study, only three schools were also in the top ten overall:  Darden, Tuck and Booth. 
But what does it mean to have killer MBA facilities? After all, a business school is not medical school, with operating rooms and cryogenic cadaver chillers.  Nor is it an engineering school, with wind tunnels and nano-tech clean rooms.  If you think about it, the only thing you really need for business school is a world class faculty, some desks in a climate controlled room and a good internet connection. 
Something interesting about the study was that the actual facilities themselves seemed to be less important to the respondents than the staff who ran them. It appears that accessibility and know-how of the business school employees played a large roll in how students felt about the overall educational experience.  Building out a well-trained and responsive staff has been just as prolific as building out a physical building, complete with the requisite stadium-style seating and high-tech projectors and smart boards.  Some recent data indicates more than 50% staff growth in many business schools over the past five years alone.  Apparently
When considering the superiority of a school’s experience for the student, one must also take the geographic location of a school into account. For example, Tuck offers underground tunnels to connect buildings together on its campus, which offers rather brutal winter weather.  This could have resulted in extreme gratefulness on the part of MBA students who valued not having to bundle up between classes in order to get around, and may have played into why the Tuck School of Business was the highest ranked U.S. b-school in the survey. 
The modern student is approaching almost epicurean status in many ways, so dining facilities and having a Starbucks or a bar and grill actually integrated into the building can go a long way towards someone feeling satisfied with their b-school experience (incidentally, the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia has both).  In the end, a balance between comfortable, modernized buildings and a friendly and available staff seem to be the right mix for how students perceive their school’s facilities.  Only an in-person visit can give you the real feel for both these attributes, so make sure you are thinking about a visitation strategy as application season approaches.
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Should I Work While Getting an MBA [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jul 2017, 20:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Should I Work While Getting an MBA
For most applicants, the thought of quitting a well-paying job and committing to full time graduate school is a scary one indeed. Especially if you have spent a little too much on Starbucks and Spotify since graduating college, you may find yourself a little short on cash—and it takes a heck of a lot of cash to pay for an MBA.  With price tags more than $120,000 in most cases, the thought of continuing to work in some way while embarking on an MBA program might be tempting.  Not so fast, type-A grasshopper.
For starters, most, if not all full time MBA programs will not allow you to work while you are enrolled in the program, period. Schools put a lot of risk into choosing the incoming class, since anyone who does not make it through the program is a lost revenue case for the school and someone who took a seat from another applicant who may have endured.  Every marginal seat in the program pays the cost of keeping the lights on and paying professors, so schools want students to have zero distractions.  Other than your internship between first and second years, you will not be allowed to be employed and must actually sign an agreement to essentially pledge your allegiance to remain so during the length of the program. 
While there have been stories of “self-employment” for students undertaking a full time MBA program, schools will frown on anything that takes you out of the experience in any way. Remember, students are expected to participate in clubs, volunteer experiences and of course, group work outside of the classroom, most of which typically keep students completely engaged in the program’s activities.  Translation:  there is simply no time to work if you aim to get the most you can out of an MBA program and if you intend to be a “good decision” on the part of the admissions committee. 
Of course, if you simply cannot imagine giving up your day job or relinquishing your small business during your two years, you can always consider a part time MBA. Part time programs not only allow you to be employed, most actually require it and will verify your employment as part of the application process.  Worried about the quality of a part time program?  Don’t be.  At the better programs, part time MBA-ers are given the same access to professors and career services as their full time counterparts.  As previously detailed in other blogs, there are also plenty of recruiters who actually prefer to hire part time MBA students over full time students, because they are perceived as hard working time managers.  The program will take longer to complete, but the ability to earn income and also apply what you learn in the classroom in real time on the job is often a winning combo.
To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.

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Analyzing an MBA as an Investment [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jul 2017, 09:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Analyzing an MBA as an Investment
Other than buying a house, there is likely no other expense in your life as substantial as graduate school.  But have you analyzed the decision like you would any other investment?Most MBA hopefuls dive headlong into the opportunity without much thought about the financials, since they know the utility and opportunity they will receive generally outweighs the fiscal burden.  Coupled with the ready availability of student loans (some schools even offer their own loans), committing to a six figure graduate business education can be as simple as signing on the line that this dotted. 
The ROI on business school is tricky, mostly because there are so many assumptions that must be made. You can’t walk two paths, so you must assume that the b-school path will earn you more money in the long term, that your old path would have been slower up the corporate ladder, and whatever you achieve post MBA would have generally been more difficult or even impossible without the MBA.  These assumptions in many cases are completely valid.  Just take a look at the statistics from the great recession.  When unemployment hit 14%, the comparative rate of unemployment of those with an MBA was 2%.  That’s not a bad insurance policy it would seem. 
But there’s more than just job security at work here. Certainly post-MBA earning power is easily demonstrated.  The average salary of someone going into b-school is about $75K, but on the backend, there are usually low to mid six figure offers, not including signing bonuses and stock options in some cases.  Seems like a no-brainer.  The real kicker, however, is the cost.  As we previously detailed in other blogs, the high tuition and lost income during two years of full time business school can be staggering at first blush.  Even considering you can make a prorated six figures during your summer internship, you must give some serious thought to the price tag.   Would two more years of work experience put you in the same position to earn and grow professionally?  Most likely not.
Considering the common assumptions and making numbers round for ease of calculation, let’s create a simple balance sheet for looking at an MBA as an investment. Know that looking at an MBA this way is overly simplistic, but it’s a good exercise. First, the costs.  Let’s say the two year tuition, books and fees will come to $150,000 (after all, we’re talking about a top MBA, right?)  Living expenses can vary widely of course, depending on whether you are single or married, have kids, must live in an expensive city like Boston, or an inexpensive one like Durham, North Carolina.  For married couples, having one spouse who can work and earn income is a real advantage, but let’s assume you are single, just to make the analysis as conservative as possible.  Room and board for two years is going to run you at least $36,000 if you are sensible.  So, we’re up to a total outlay over the two years of $186,000.  Factoring in unexpected costs, we can round up to $200,000. 
As for income, you really only have three things:  your internship, your signing bonus and your investments.  Let’s figure your investment income is zero, since you’re basically going to use all your cash to pay for school.  An internship will likely earn you about $25K, and let’s be optimistic and say you will get a $25K signing bonus when you graduate and accept a job.  That knocks $50K off the $200K, leaving you with $150,000 in total net costs.  If you earn $125K after b-school and earned $75K before b-school, it’s only going to take you three years to break even on the net cash outlay (not counting for salary increases, which are common in the first several years post MBA).  Factoring in a 15% annual raise and a $30K annual bonus, along with $2000 per month in living expenses post MBA, at the end of the five year period beginning with b-school, you will be in the black to the tune of $422,062. 
Now let’s look at the same five year window, but under the scenario you forego b-school. Assuming a 10% annual salary increase on that $75K, your total income over the five years will be $457,882.  To be fair, we can use the same cost of living figures we used for b-school, of about $1500 per month, which totals $90,000.  Finally, assuming you had $200K to use for business school, you could invest that for these five years at, say, 6%, providing you with $60K in simple interest. That leaves us sitting at year five with a net pile of $427,000. 
Of course not everyone pays cash for b-school, but the difference on the surface between the two scenarios is pretty negligible--less than five grand. What does this mean?  If you are comfortable with a five year plan, b-school could be putting you on track for a substantially better career journey well into the future.  The best money you will spend is up front-- on professional guidance to gain admission to your dream school.  
To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.




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How Good is Your MBA Faculty? [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jul 2017, 15:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: How Good is Your MBA Faculty?
There are plenty of criteria you should be considering when making the decision on where to apply for b-school, but it is always fascinating to hear what clients prioritize in this process.   While in many cases, it becomes like splitting hairs to differentiate amongst schools in the areas of course offerings or job availability at graduation, there are other areas where schools actually begin to look quite different.  One question we rarely hear from prospective applicants is “How good is my target school’s faculty?”  Not asking this could be the biggest mistake you make when choosing where you do your MBA.One area where applicants place far too much weight in their school selection process is geographic location--and not for the reasons that should matter, such as post MBA network penetration or proximity to their targeted full time job.  No, what is more common to hear are things such as “it’s too cold in Ithaca for me to seriously consider Cornell,” or “I like the idea of going to school near the beach or mountains.”  While I’m all for someone enjoying their two year b-school experience, know that there will be plenty of time to enjoy the beach or mountains once you land a great job---and the bonus is, you will actually have vacation time you can take off to enjoy it, vs. being buried in the business school library day and night while you study with your cohort teams.  In short, the weather and view during b-school will hardly be a real factor in your experience, since you will have very little time to leverage it.  So you may as well go ahead and put it on the bottom of your wish list. 
One reason it always troubles me to hear how little consideration applicants give to faculty, is because faculty can actually make all the difference in how well you master the core concepts of business strategy and decision making, which ultimately affects the rest of your career.  Top business schools spend considerable time and money recruiting superstars from around the world to their teaching and research ranks, and for good reason.  It’s the research that drives the curricula, and the curricula are what shapes each school’s future business leaders.  Plus, you will be spending way more time with your MBA faculty than you did with your undergraduate faculty, so it’s quite critical that you choose a faculty where you feel you will thrive symbiotically in the academic environment.  Further, these faculty will be good professional resources for you throughout your career post MBA.  B-school is not the pump-and-dump memorization games you played with your undergraduate material.  You’re building lasting relationships here.  Are you starting to see how some investigative work into who you might like to lead your classroom experience is important?
The good news is, faculty research drives the classroom experience and faculty research is generally available to the general populous if you do some digging. The ranking of faculty research is also an area of wide interest and publication. The Economist generally ranks b-school faculty each year on a scale of five, based upon student feedback and research scores.  Below is a chart of their rankings from the past couple of years so you can see if a particular school has risen or fallen. 
School                                                   2016 Faculty            2015 Faculty       Difference
University of Chicago (Booth)             4.86                            4.78                        0.08
Universiy of Virginia (Darden)             4.81                              4.83                       -0.02
Harvard Business School                     4.80                              4.72                        0.08
New York University (Stern)                4.79                               4.67                        0.12
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)                    4.79                               4.59                        0.20
Duke (Fuqua)                                       4.78                               4.82                        -0.04
INSEAD                                                4.78                               4.70                        0.08
Northwestern (Kellogg)                       4.76                              4.66                        0.10
California-Berkeley (Haas)                   4.75                              4.74                        0.01
Dartmouth (Tuck)                                 4.73                             4.66                        0.07
North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)            4.72                             4.78                       -0.06
MIT (Sloan)                                            4.72                             4.72                        0.00
Cornell (Johnson)                                  4.71                             4.70                        0.01
Stanford                                                 4.71                             4.57                        0.14
IESE                                                        4.70                            4.67                       0.03
University of Michigan (Ross)               4.70                            4.60                       0.10
Yale SOM                                               4.68                             4.62                        0.06
UCLA (Anderson)                                 4.65                             4.77                        -0.12
Indiana (Kelley)                                     4.65                             4.66                        -0.01
Columbia                                               4.61                              4.58                        0.03
IE Business School                                4.57                             4.67                        -0.10
Emory (Goizueta)                                 4.55                              4.47                        0.08
Wharton                                                4.55                              4.45                        0.10
University of Texas (McCombs)           4.48                              4.41                        0.07
HEC Paris                                              4.40                             4.38                        0.02
London Business School                      4.36                              4.27                        0.09
One thing you can do is to actually read some of the research that is out there from the faculty where you are interested in applying. See if it captures your attention and holds your interest.  Of course the most important thing to do is to visit each of your target schools in person and sit in on classes, where you can sample firsthand the faculty’s impact and decide whether or not you can see yourself partnering with a particular school for two years and beyond. 
To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
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Where Should You Live During B-School [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2017, 15:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Where Should You Live During B-School
Ok so there’s lots to talk this time of year regarding school selection, application strategy, essay writing, recommendations, and resumes, but let’s daydream for a minute that you have been accepted into your school of choice. Have you considered yet how you will make the move to business school and where you will live?  It’s not a bad idea to start thinking about this lifestyle choice early in the process.  Often relocating to a new city is not a quick and easy proposition.
For most b-school candidates, it has been a while since you have darkened a college campus, so you may have forgotten what it’s like to be a full time student. Relocating is never an easy undertaking, and becoming a student again may complicate things further.  It’s likely you have amassed a lot of “stuff” these past five or six years, and where you live as a student could determine how much of it you can practically take with you. If you are single, you might even consider living in dormitories (imagine!) and harkening back to the earliest of your undergrad experience, where space was (and still is) very tight. 
Living on campus has clear advantages, since you can commute to class on foot or via bicycle and can also stumble home after those long company-sponsored cocktail hours.Besides the obvious space constraints, however, it can sometimes be a disadvantage, since there are likely few others in the b-school doing their MBA who also live in the dorms.  If you are single, you should begin to surf the blogs and connect with students and alumni once you are accepted to find out where the center of gravity is for student housing.  If there are students living in the dorms, try to find out which specific hall is popular for the MBA candidates and whether or not you can request living there too.  It is more likely you will discover the center of gravity is somewhere off campus, such as in a local apartment complex which has a strong history of b-schoolers living there.  The great thing about business school, is that it’s two years instead of one, so there is a low risk of the “traditional” b-school apartment complex of choice changing before you show up, because all the second years are still living there!
Of course dropping yourself in the center of b-school animal house apartments can also be a distraction, so examine yourself and decide how you would prefer to spend off-time. While it’s easy to get together for a quick study group meeting if you’re all living in the same place, it can also get a little claustrophobic when you need to get away for a few minutes to decompress from the stress of business school.  I have known people to rent houses, whether with roommates or for their family, and even heard of someone building a house near campus thatthey sold after their two years!   The options are unlimited, but you should make your decision early and stick with it.  Trying to move while you are in school can be a horrible mess and prevent the kind of focus you will need to succeed in the classroom. 
One final tip:  factor in your time away for your internship when figuring where you want to live. Most students leave town to do their summer internship, and most leases won’t let you out for the summer (and also won’t let you sublease), so paying double rent during your internship is not uncommon.  If you are creative and can negotiate something with your landlord from the outset, you may can avoid having to do this.
To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
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Who is Reading Your B-school Application? [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jul 2017, 20:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Who is Reading Your B-school Application?
One mistake applicants often make is to misunderstand their audience.  When crafting a winning MBA application package there is much to consider, but how much thought have you given to who will actually read your essays and who is analyzing your resume?Common sense may dictate that an essay about going to a top MBA program should be crafted for an MBA crowd, but did you know that most essay readers at the top schools never attended an MBA program and don’t have an MBA themselves?  Remembering this in the application process can help you communicate your story in a much more effective way to the adcom.   Read on for tips…
Most of the clients I have worked with over the years put too much jargon into their essays and resumes. Perhaps in an attempt to impress what they perceive as a tough, world class b-school administration, they drop fancy words, sneak in industry clichés, and pontificate platitudes.  Un-tangling this mess of words can be cumbersome, but when clients are coached to put themselves in the shoes of the adcom, it becomes much easier to find the right path.  The first thing to understand, however, is how adcoms are constructed.
Firstly, you must realize the sheer number of applicants to top schools. With tens of thousands of applicants, there is no practical way for any of these schools to read every package completely, so they often hire seasonal readers to help narrow the pool.  While some who make it to the final round of cuts may have their package read by a ranking member of the admissions committee, everyone must hurdle their way through the temporary bank of readers to get there.  I’m not implying these are not qualified admissions committee members---it’s actually just the opposite. 
Schools carefully select excellent communicators for these reader roles, but rarely do they have an MBA. Remember you are applying to attend b-school---you are not expected to write like you have already finished.  Essay readers are looking for sincerity, honesty and insight into who you truly are—they are not impressed by trite business scenarios or over-inflated resume language.  While it would be unnecessary to “dumb something down,” your communication style should err on the side of how you might relate your story to a layperson, who by definition is a person without specialized knowledge of a particular industry or area.  Even if your reader has an MBA, they may not have much information about your specific work arena.
This approach is particularly important when writing your resume. Don’t you dare submit the same resume you would post for a job opening.  For hiring companies (who by the way, are obviously experts in their industry), they are indeed looking for evidence of deep understanding and detailed insight.  MBA application readers are just the opposite—they will likely not know the first thing about what you have done or what would be important or impressive to your boss—nor do they care.  What they are looking for are skills which are transferable to the classroom, demonstrate teamwork savviness, and indicate leadership potential. 
We can help you work through the temptation to over-flourish your essays and resume.  It just might be the thing to get your application through those initial hoops.
To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
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2017 MBA Application Trends [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2017, 20:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: 2017 MBA Application Trends

As the 2017 application season gets off to a start with school package releases, it’s a good idea to take a look at some recent trends in b-school application world before you dive in. Everyone knows the most important thing to take care of before considering even your school selection, is to make sure you have the core qualifications, and often the only changeable core competency is test score.  For decades the GMAT has dominated the focus of hopeful MBA applicants the world over, but what you may not know, is that the GRE has been steadily rising in the MBA application arena over the past few years. 
A decade ago, schools would not even consider the GRE as a b-school admissions qualifier, but now, not only is the GRE accepted widely at most schools as a GMAT alternative, it is even encouraged. Schools will openly recommend an applicant try their hand at the GRE if they are having trouble with the GMAT or feel like the GMAT is not indicative of their true potential.  If you find yourself in this camp, you too might take a look at the GRE format to see if you think it might better represent your capabilities. 
Another trend we have seen is something that has actually been there all along, but has only grown ever more central each year to every admissions committee’s focus: diving deeply into who each applicant is as a person.  Who you are as a person, while virtually unimportant 15 years ago in comparison to your career goals and work achievements, has become paramount in the admissions process as admissions committees find themselves splitting hairs in an extremely qualified applicant pool. 
Schools like Duke and Northwestern began focusing on the “softer side” of an applicant’s profile first, and to much success. Employers fawn all over MBA grads whose personality balances the technical and analytical skills with the emotional observation and compatibility skills which are so important in the modern workplace.  This trend is reflected in the essay questions, mostly in the proliferation of the word “why?,”  but make sure you answer that part of each question whether or not the “why” word appears in the question itself.  It’s in the why that most applicants reveal their true selves, and where you should spend some time reflecting over your path before cranking out your answers.
Perhaps the most dramatic shift in the MBA admissions process, however, has been in the deadline schedule. While the early application round was virtually nonexistent in recent history, the number of schools with an early selection option has grown exponentially.  Stiff competition has put schools in the difficult position of fighting for yield, and they have become weary of the uncertainty which accompanies accepted applicants who delay their decision to attend while waiting on other schools to release admit decisions.  Providing early applicants with “preferential consideration,” has encouraged more and more applicants to take advantage.  Be careful before taking this option, however, since many schools require you to withdraw other applications if they accept you, and applying to more than one early action round is verboten by many schools.
You would be wise to consider these three key trends when applying to business school, and if you would like help unpacking them, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
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Leveraging an MBA to Break Into a New Field [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jul 2017, 17:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Leveraging an MBA to Break Into a New Field
An MBA degree is good for lots of things—for example, it’s fantastic job insurance, as anyone who worked their way through the great recession can attest.  It’s also good for getting promoted throughout your career, since there are many corporate ladder-climbers who go back to get their business degree purely to move up in their company.  But what about the throngs of MBA candidates who are going back to change careers?  One of the best and most common uses of the MBA degree is to break into a new field.  Let’s discuss how you can do this in the best possible way.Firstly, let’s get one thing straight—when applying to a top MBA program, the last thing you want to do is to communicate to the admissions committee that you are running away from something.  Being unhappy in your job is not uncommon, but telegraphing that you are using the MBA as the eject button can often work against you in the application process.  Business schools want to bring in sharp, high-achievers, who are running towards their career vision, not fleeing from something they hate.  But what if you fall into the latter category?  Are you hopelessly disadvantaged?  Perhaps not.
Couching your experience in a way which reveals the positive, transferable skills and experience you have garnered is the key to making an impact on the admissions committee. Cast a vision for what you hope to achieve and explain how your past experience has helped prepared you to succeed.  Schools know that a large percentage of their students go on to do something entirely different post MBA, but they will need to see the dots connected up front, in order to buy into a transition story which will convince them to open up a seat. 
One of the best ways to do this is to speak to how your experience, whether directly related to your post MBA goal or not, will be valuable in the classroom. Business schools need a student body which contributes from their collective basket of skills, and much of what you learn in business school will be from the experience of your classmates.  It is a subtle but important art to promote your past expertise as currently valuable while also connecting it to your future role in business.  
Going too far in one direction or the other could ultimately point to the fact you may not be ready yet for business school, which is the death-knell for application rejection. Don’t make it easy for schools to tell you to come back next year.  Make a solid case for how your career advancement has placed you in the best inflection point to fully leverage the MBA—whether or not you were doing exactly what you wanted to be doing or not.

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The Paramount Importance of the MBA Internship [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2017, 20:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: The Paramount Importance of the MBA Internship
If the job at the end of the rainbow is the destination, then b-school is the journey.  And one of the most critical parts of this journey is the summer internship.  Have you thought much about it?Ok, so you are working hard on getting into b-school this summer, and perhaps just getting started pulling your admissions package together.  Or perhaps you did that last summer and you are enjoying your final few weeks before you start your MBA program.  Before applicants get too deep into the process, and before students show up on campus, however, they generally begin to make plans and do some vision-casting (or at the very least some day-dreaming) about their post MBA career so they can either relate their goals to the admissions committees, or they can begin crafting their class schedules. 
For full time MBA candidates, the summer internship between first and second year is your one and only shot to get real work experience in your chosen field as an MBA student and therefore puts a lot of pressure on you to find the right opportunity. To add to the pressure, students typically begin looking into these opportunities almost as soon as they hit campus in the fall.  That’s right—companies descend upon you as a student as early as week one of classes by way of presentations they make to tell you all about why working there is the bees-knees. 
Because of the volume and variety of company presentations available to first-years, you must focus up early in your MBA, lest you spend every spare moment attending cocktail parties. You literally will not have time to take in every presentation, so narrowing down your interests to a couple of chosen areas and a handful of target companies will be critical to your sanity and your schedule.  Plus, attending these corporate-sponsored soirees will indicate interest, which is akin to giving a car salesman your home phone number---don’t show up unless you are ready to make a lasting and frequent connection with that company. 
One of the most nerve-wracking moments in business school, is the day you say yes or no to an internship opportunity.  There are many competing interests when making this decision, which makes it all the harder.  Do you take that job in New York City? After all, you have always wanted to work in the Big Apple, and you may not get a chance to do so after you graduate.  What about that high paying internship in the Midwest?  It’s not really the company you’d like to choose, but you really need the money.  Or maybe you’d like to go where your friends or classmates are going? 
What you should really be focusing on for an internship choice, is where you want to be after your second year, not your first year. 
What opportunity will align you with the company or the industry you have been so desperately targeting? Of course it makes perfect sense to intern with the company you think you’d like to work for after you graduate, but what if you can’t land it as an intern?  Does that mean you must rule that company out for a full time opportunity?  Not at all.  Simply think on what experience might make you more attractive than you were as an intern candidate.  Choose a competitor or a complimentary role which would position you better to win a final job. 
Whatever you do during your only summer at B-school, make sure you do something.  Companies generally frown on taking that time off.To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
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The Evolution of the Modern MBA [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2017, 18:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: The Evolution of the Modern MBA
The MBA has always been the stalwart of business education--the true pinnacle. A terminal degree from the start, the MBA has always afforded its graduates the ability to call it quits on their formal education.  While the prevailing arc of the MBA curriculum has remained fairly consistent over time, there have been some interesting changes over the years, which have resulted in a new world MBA which bears only a modicum of similarity to the degrees that came before it. 
What we witness today in MBA education is what I will call the Disney World of graduate schools.Nobody fails out, and everyone leaves having had a good time.  Yes, there is a lot of fun to be had in the modern era of business education.  Beer parties, costume parties, holiday parties, internationally-themed parties.  Lots of parties.  It’s almost like the students know it’s their one last shot at the college life and they don’t want to slip gently and forever into the responsibility of adulthood without a fight.  Somehow everyone’s inner fraternity and sorority persona resurrects itself to find a final tumble in the dusty toga.  Work hard, play hard was a mantra whose roots can probably be traced to some ancient Tuck cohort.  After all, they are indeed the oldest business school in the country.
This is not to say that modern business school education is easy. Quite the contrary. Business school is hard, but the digital age has made us all more productive, and the cognitive surplus that is generated in all of us is not used up entirely on programmatic studies (thus the parties).  In the old days, business school was generally a bit more “serious.”  One piece of evidence is the fact that students used to be required to write a dissertation or at least a thesis paper in order to graduate.  Yes, like every other Masters program in the world, even the lofty MBA once had students doing research and writing papers.  This is all but gone in the modern MBA, where in general, the longest thing you have to write is maybe several sentences in an essay question or two on a test here and there.  This might explain why B-schools aren’t as concerned about your verbal score on the GMAT as they are about the quant. The verbally challenged can officially raise a toast to educational evolution!
But speaking of quant---what happened to the Calculus requirement? In case you have not been keeping score, the very last few programs who still needed to see Calculus as a prerequisite very quietly abandoned the requirement a few years ago.  There was a time in MBA history when every program insisted on students having taken Calculus and other yucky courses which demonstrated analytic and quantitative ability.  Even the quantitatively gifted can appreciate this.
Perhaps the most notable change in the MBA over the years, however, has been in the variety of MBA program offerings. When the full time MBA failed to meet everyone’s needs, they invented the part time MBA, then came the weekend MBA, then the Global MBA, the one-year MBA, the Executive MBA and now even the online MBA.  Today you can essentially “get your MBA on” in just about every way imaginable.  Not to mention all the “almost MBA” degrees that have popped up.
GMAC recently reported that these so-called “competing” programs are also on the rise, which likely eats into both full time and part time MBA enrollment, but may also be growing the pie overall, especially considering many of these degrees did not even exist several years ago.  They mention 35% of Master in Data Analytics programs are new in 2017, 19% of Master of Supply Chain Management programs are new in 2017, and 16% of Master of Marketing are new in 2017. While these are not MBA programs per se, they share some core curriculum similarities and are in some cased being undertaken in lieu of an MBA program for candidates who have a very specific career goal in mind. 
If there's one thing that has remained the same over all these years, it's probably been the incredible career boost the MBA offers.  Companies still highly value the degree and greatly reward those who have it.  No matter what kind of MBA program or other graduate business program you are thinking might work well for you, we can help you craft a winning application.
To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.

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Can I Still Hit My Goals With a One-Year MBA? [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2017, 13:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Can I Still Hit My Goals With a One-Year MBA?
When choosing what version of graduate business education is the right fit, the full time, two-year MBA program is what typically tops applicants’ wish lists.  But can someone still achieve all they envision for themselves professionally with a one-year or part-time MBA option?The two year programs are, after all, what the rankings are based upon, and are typically the flagships which drive a school’s reputation and popularity.  They are also in some cases, where the top faculty are housed and where the school’s financial resources are focused.  Some perceive that anything but the full time program is akin to settling for a lower quality product. For other applicants, however, the thought of dropping out of the work force for two years, foregoing career progress and income, (not to mention contacts and lifestyle considerations), can be not only suboptimal, but often, impossible to imagine, much less, to pull off in reality.
Before you make this important decision in your career and educational path, however, you need to do a realistic assessment of who you are and what you need. I am often surprised by the number of applicants who majored in business as an undergraduate who don’t at least consider the one year MBA option.  While there are plenty of top schools who don’t even offer this option, for the good schools that do, it can be a great compromise.  Cutting the investment of both time and money in half, most schools who offer a one-year MBA often draw from the same faculty and programmatic resources as the full time program.  In fact, there are many schools who essentially just cut out many of the core classes from their full time program (the makeup of which usually contains many non-business majors and others who never took accounting or finance coursework in undergrad), and connect the one-year students with the second year students in their full time program to finish out.  Instead of analyzing the relative quality of the full-time and one-year program resources, the more important thing to consider is the internship, or in the case of the one-year MBA, the lack thereof.
The internship is one of the most important components of any MBA program, where you finally work in the capacity and level to which you will be rising after you graduate. 
The one-year option is best for applicants who aren’t as worried about their short term marketability and therefore, may not need the work experience and network they might establish through an internship to land a job after graduation. Certainly the ideal candidate for a one-year MBA might be someone who plans to return to their old company, for example, where access to a school’s career center resources will be irrelevant to their plans. 
For those making a job change or even a wholesale career switch, however, the most common question from applicants weighing out the one-year or part time option is, “Are they considered equal to the full time MBA in the eyes of the job recruiters?” The answer to this question has been evolutionary.  Years ago, the part-time or one-year MBA was considered by recruiters to be a lower quality program being accessed by lower quality students.  This attitude has changed tremendously, to the point that today’s recruiters actually love to interview part-time and one-year MBA candidates for jobs because they perceive them to be “just as smart,” and also harder-working, since they have had to carry either a shorter, more intense curriculum in the case of the one-year MBA, or a full time job workload in the case of the part time MBA. 
And don’t forget, resumes don’t say “One-Year MBA” or “Part-Time MBA.”    They just say “MBA.” 

Whether full-time, part-time, or one-year MBA is your target, we can help.  To find out more about your options and how we can guide your business school application process, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
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Can You Get a Second MBA? [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 18:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Can You Get a Second MBA?
Did you get your MBA degree years ago?  Or did you perhaps get your MBA from a school that didn’t live up to your expectations?  Wouldn’t you like to get a do-over?  Every year, we see applicants who already have an MBA degree, but who have decided to try and go back to get the degree again from a different school.   Some find this to be more challenging than they realized.Statistically, far more international applicants from India and Asia apply for a second MBA degree than applicants from Europe, Canada or the US.  This may stem from the differences between the University systems there.  An MBA degree in India is often only a one year degree, and at many schools, it’s not even called an MBA.  This often drives students from these regions to explore “Westernized” graduate education, which is far more marketable on the global business plain. 
The most basic complication with trying to go back for another graduate business degree, is that most top schools in the US will simply not allow it. When you dig into the fine print, you will quickly find that schools will not consider applications where the applicant already holds an MBA or its equivalent. 
The key words here are “MBA equivalent.” If you received a graduate business degree, especially from a foreign institution, the first thing you must never do in your new application is to call it an MBA.  If schools consider the degree even close to equivalent to an MBA, you may be toast before you even have a chance to explain your situation.   Often, this is easier than you think, since many schools overseas do not have the same certifications to be able to call their degree an “MBA.”  But many schools do offer a legitimate MBA, in which case your challenges to getting another one go up dramatically.
Schools like to fill their seats with high achieving potential leaders, so the first conundrum they encounter with someone who already has an MBA, is why they didn’t achieve their goals the first time around. If someone was not resourceful enough or driven enough to find the kind of success they are now claiming to seek then schools are taking a big risk that they would also fail to do so this time.  It’s actually the worst kind of evidence for getting into a top school:  actual demonstration of failure to do something with the degree.  This is a very difficult hole to dig yourself out of.
But just because it can be difficult, doesn’t mean it is impossible. Every story is unique, and certainly if you have circumstances in your career or life which offer a compelling explanation for why you deserve to take a seat from someone else who hasn’t had their shot yet, you might be able to win the favor of the admissions committees.  It will take some thoughtful discussion with someone with experience navigating the choppy waters of MBA admissions world.   Let us help you sort it out.
To find out more about your options and how we can guide your business school application process, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us viahttp://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.
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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

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

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