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Amerasia MBA Blog

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How Much Does Community Involvement Matter? [#permalink]

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New post 18 Aug 2017, 06:01
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FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: How Much Does Community Involvement Matter?
One of the most contentious components of a business school application is the part where you detail your involvement in activities outside of work.  Every year, hopeful b-school applicants face down the ghost of a busy career, one which often haunts them with the fact they have had very little time to do anything other than drive work results in their job since they graduated.  But how much does it really matter to the admissions committees whether or not you are engaged in your community?Look, we get it.  Working in today’s breakneck rat race is demanding.  Especially if you have had an eye on going back to business school from the beginning, you have likely felt the pressure to perform, impress your boss and advance your career, in order to can stand out from the crowd when applying for a top MBA program.  Then there’s the added pressure to “do something” for your community, to impact organizations outside the workplace and to be recognized for extracurricular efforts. 
Some applicants make it look easy, pulling off promotion after promotion while also running for city council or leading the local food drive.  For others, it’s all you can do to spin the job plates.There has been an interesting shift in MBA admissions over the years in this area.  While it’s always been expected that applicants demonstrate engagement and impact beyond the workplace, it’s no longer necessary to have a litany of involvement that takes a spreadsheet to sort out.  Led by some of the most highly respected b-schools in the world, the recent trend has become one of quality vs. quantity of involvement.   Evidence for this shows up in some of the schools’ online applications, where they limit the word count or character count to describe this involvement.  For those who are actually engaged with several outside organizations, this forces them to pick and choose the ones which are most important to them.  What is important to you reveals a bit about who you are, so make sure you truly select the areas that are personally valuable, not the areas you think will look impressive.  Schools want to see how you have impacted an organization and why you choose to make your mark there, not check boxes and tally totals.
The reason it is important to the schools to hear about your outside involvement is because, in short, they are looking for the “whole package.” Top schools know that unlike the stock market, with people, past performance is actually a predictor of future results.  Applicants who demonstrate engagement beyond their jobs are likely the kind of people who will also be more deeply involved outside the classroom, and a positive b-school experience is at least 50% reliant upon things that happen outside the classroom. 
So if the pressure is off to have a plethora of extracurriculars, how can you best demonstrate your passions via the things you do outside of work?  Certainly the most impressive way to do this is to have a history and a thread.  Sometimes, this is easy, since you may be the type who has always been involved with children, for example, or working with the elderly, or volunteering with animal organizations, and you can trace this interest all the way back to childhood.  This kind of involvement is valuable, because the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, and these folks have been cooking up their pudding for a long, long time.  This kind of person didn’t just run out and work on a Habitat for Humanity house last month, or volunteer for a soup kitchen.  They have been actively engaged in a movement, or an area that deeply moves them. 
If you never really plugged into a hobby or outside interest in a way which shows you have passion or dedication, it’s more challenging.If this is you, the best thing to do is to thoughtfully explore the things you have done in your past from which you might be able to cobble together a trend, and then go out and “re-establish” a connection in this area within your community.  Let’s call this lassoing your past.  When you throw back and lasso something you used to do more actively, you can build a bridge of involvement which at the very least, gives the illusion of continuous interest and impact.  While it’s never a good idea to fluff or pad your experience, when you go back and lasso something you have done before, and then truly re-engage with it, you might be able to resuscitate a lackluster record of engagement.
The bottom line is:  do you need to be involved in things other than work?  Yes.  Do you need to be involved in 20 different organizations?  No.  And the more passion and impact you can demonstrate, the better the admissions committee will receive your application.
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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What is the Ideal Age to Get an MBA? [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2017, 16:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: What is the Ideal Age to Get an MBA?
Some people plan out their lives with robotic precision, including things such as graduate school in a pre-determined place on the schedule.  Others adopt a take-life-as-it-comes approach, and place graduate school on the back burner, waiting until it feels right to go back.  But is there an ideal age to apply to business school?The better question to ask is, what is your own ideal age to apply?  When writing your applications, it is important not only to know the answer to this question, but also to be able to explain why, because schools are desperate to cut down on the applicant pool, and there is no better reason to cut someone than they can’t articulate why the time is right for them to come back to school.  If you can’t convince them your application is age appropriate, you will quickly be invited to come back next year. 
Unlike law school, medical school and virtually every other Masters level grad program out there, business school applicants rarely go back straight out of undergrad. This essentially eliminates applicants of age 22-23 years.  Now this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find admissions success if you are this young, it just means the stats are working against you.  Again, if you can demonstrate why 22 is the best time for you to return to grad school, you might just get in, but because business schools like to see several years of full time work experience, you will face challenges. 
Many applicants look to averages, not only for age statistics, but also for test scores, GPAs and just about anything else you can quantify.  The average age of MBA applicants is around 27.5, so if you are between 26 and 29, you are right in the sweet spot.  Applying during this window is generally a good idea, mostly because it’s what the schools expect to see.  Even if you feel you may not be 100% ready for business school, you might find a more accommodating admissions committee during this age window because they expect you to be ready.  It’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophesy.  This isn’t to say that a 28-year old with inadequate experience will beat out a better-prepared 30 years old, because the profile will generally trump the age every time.
But what if you are 30 years old already?The 30-year old milestone has become a bit of a wall for business school.  Especially among the top schools, there is a bit of a stigma against 30-somethings going back “so late,” because the perception is that they were not as aggressive or ambitious as they should have been to hit goals and progress in their careers.  If it took them so long to get ready for school, how long will it take them to hit their post-MBA career vision?  Schools don’t like taking the risk that their alumni will fail to make headlines and climb the corporate or entrepreneurial success ladder in a timely matter.
Despite this generality, there are plenty of successful 30+ year old applicants to business school. In a way, schools having an age bias in the application process is a bit of a conundrum, since you’d think schools would value the extra experience and wisdom that assumedly comes with age.  Applicants over 30 who do find success are typically those with a clearly articulated plan which included some extra time in the work force.  Having good reasons for more time in the field can go a long way in the application process vs. someone who can’t articulate such and seems to be pulling out of the workforce and going back to school as a way to defibrillate a suffocating career trajectory. 
How about folks who are far older than 30?  Is there any hope for finding acceptance at a good school? The short answer is absolutely yes, although it may limit your choices.  There are schools with a more inflexible age bias than others.  HBS and Stanford, for example, trend towards a younger average student body, so if you are 30++, your time spent crafting thoughtful applications would probably be better spent elsewhere.  There have been MBA candidates in their 60’s at some top schools which, while definitely out of the ordinary, proves that schools are truly open to all possibilities in order to round out their class makeup.  In the end, there is no true “correct” age from the admissions committees’ perspectives, only a “correct” age for each applicant.  Ensuring you are applying at the correct age for you is what is most important.
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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Going back to b-school as a Married Student [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2017, 15:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Going back to b-school as a Married Student
Let’s face it—life is busy.  But if you’re married, life is even busier.  Now add business school to the mix and BOOM!  Things could get out of control quickly if you don’t have a plan.Going back to get your MBA is hectic enough when all you have to worry about is yourself.  When you’re married, however, there are now two people to consider in most everything you do.  First, there’s the scheduling and lifestyle accommodations.  Does your spouse have a career?  Will he continue to work and be able to relocate with you to school?  Will she remain back home and send you off to school separately? 
Having a second income to support the MBA student is one of the biggest advantages to being married while going to b-school.  If your spouse is willing to keep working and provide living expenses while you do school full time, you have much less to worry about and will do much less damage to your savings account.  Often, spouses can even find work at the school itself during the two years you are an MBA candidate. 
But working and income is only half the equation.  In addition to school responsibilities, married students must also devote time to keeping the marriage healthy. Make sure you don’t get so sucked into your classes and clubs that you forget to schedule time with your spouse on a weekly basis.  All the late night study sessions and groupwork can leave a spouse feeling neglected, so go in with the mindset to prioritize your spouse like you would a class or club.  Some schools will even allow spouses to join MBA clubs and even audit classes. 
There are many schools who really understand what it means to go back as a married student and have special programs for partners which can make the time go much more smoothly.  Special events, spouse support clubs and even activities for kids are often part of the offering.  Kids of course add a whole other dimension to the craziness, but can also afford some deep bonding with other families in your cohort or class which can last a lifetime.
Being married can sometimes help business school actually seem less hectic, depending on the kind of socializing you typically do as a couple. For example, going home instead of going out to party will work in your favor academically, even if part of that time at home is spent on relationship maintenance.  Sure, some married couples go out and party too, but it’s always a good excuse to bow out when you’re married, and having a less aggressive social life is more acceptable when you have a spouse in tow---at least you won’t be chastised for it like you might if you’re single and constantly turning down the chance to paint the town. 
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

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How to Overcome a Low College GPA [#permalink]

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New post 26 Aug 2017, 21:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: How to Overcome a Low College GPA
One of the most stressful points of applying to business school is having to confront once again your undergraduate performance.  That GPA which you happily left in your past must now be resurrected for all on the admissions committees to see, and it’s often an uncomfortable exercise.  While there’s no way to change the past, there are some practical things you can do to help overcome the potentially detrimental impact a poor GPA can have on your profile.  Read on…If you feel haunted by poor academic performance in your college years, whether it be a low overall GPA or perhaps even a failing grade or grades on your transcript, you might be justifiably worried about how it will be perceived by your target schools.  But what exactly is required for schools to sign off on your candidacy?  While you don’t necessarily need a 4.0, schools are going to want to see a demonstration of consistency in your ability to achieve high marks.  You can certainly look up and see the average GPAs of accepted students, but averages can sometimes be misleading, even intimidating.  Generally speaking, top schools really love to see a 3.5 or better, but as long as you have a 3-handle on your GPA, you shouldn’t raise too may eyebrows.  For the rest of us, however, there may be work to do.
If you are one of the unlucky ones with a 2-handle GPA, the first thing you can do is to consider addressing it in an optional essay. In fact, the optional essay is most often used by applicants to speak to why their GPAs were not up to snuff, so schools have almost come to expect it.  Make sure your use of this essay is expedient, using as few words as possible to provide not an excuse, but the basic circumstantial facts about your individual situation.  The best explanations often involve health issues or tragedy which affected your inability to achieve as highly as you would have liked.  If you didn’t have these challenges, don’t make up anything---the admissions committees will respect the truth much more than some contrived story.  Plus, they have a way of sniffing out bluffers, which could get you tossed from consideration quickly. 
Besides explaining the reason for your poor performance, there are other things you can do to help compensate for a low GPA.  One very practical approach is to re-take some classes to show you can now perform better.  With the proliferation of online courses and MOOCs, it’s very easy to get a few classes under your belt and the bonus is, you may just find yourself better prepared for going back to school than someone who hasn’t taken classes since undergrad.  Particularly if you performed poorly in quantitative courses in college, you should try to pound through some math or finance classes and post a good grade, which you can use to build what’s known in the industry as an alternative transcript. 
If you can take actual college courses at a local university, it’s even better because you will have an additional transcript you can submit with your original one. There is also a great course online called MBA Math which was actually developed by a Tuck professor to help MBA hopefuls prepare for the quantitative rigors of b-school.  The great part about MBA Math, is that it has been so popular, most top schools know and respect the class.  Accredited university coursework of course adds another layer of credibility, but the most important thing is, to show the adcoms you can do well.
The farther into your past your GPA, the less it matters, so older applicants are generally less scrutinized for academic sins than younger applicants. The best news of all, is that GPA is generally the most forgivable of all the measurable profile components—certainly not as important in most cases as your GMAT or GRE score, for example.  While there are some exceptions (Wharton, for example is less concerned with GPA than HBS is), you should generally assume that all top schools like to know that you can handle actual coursework successfully.  In the end, it can be difficult to convince schools that you should have a seat instead of someone else with better classroom performance.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to do this with additional coursework, you should take the last ditch option, which is to demonstrate academic-like skill from your job.If you performed poorly in Calculus or finance, for example, you can speak to how your job requires math skills or finance prowess and that since college, you have practiced such as part of your daily work.  Getting your recommenders to speak to these abilities can add corroboration to the mix which just might allow the committees to see beyond your sub-standard transcript. 
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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Standing Out as an Indian Applicant [#permalink]

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New post 27 Aug 2017, 10:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Standing Out as an Indian Applicant
India's growing economy has created many exciting opportunities for people with the business education that will enable them to lead and manage growth there.  Since access to the business education in the US is widely coveted, thousands of Indians are applying to the top business schools each year.  How is one to pull themselves out of the crowd to stand out in the eyes of the admissions committees?  A good start to this process is to first understand what the typical Indian applicant reveals in her application. Let’s go…1)     The Typical Indian MBA Applicant: Works for a family business
Working for a family business is valuable, because you can often earn high-level responsibility early in your career, manage teams of employees, and gain perspective into how the company works. However, family businesses can sometimes lack the influence and scope of larger companies, and it is difficult for the admissions committee to compare your performance to others.  Applicants with a family business background are also often discounted in their experience by the adcoms because the assumption is that their success was not traditionally earned due to the favor shown by the family.  In short, whether or not they truly earned their success is sometimes called into question.
The DIFFERENTIATED Indian MBA Applicant: Has also made an impact in a bigger pondAn applicant who has proven her abilities in a family business and then applied the skills in management at a large international company is able to demonstrate that she is truly talented beyond the scope of her own family. Letters of recommendation written by impartial superiors, unlike those from family members, employees, or even clients of a family business, carry more weight in the eyes of the admissions committees and can demonstrate that you truly outperform your peers and have honestly won the recognition of senior management. The Differentiated Applicant can then illustrate their impact on this large organization through the resume, work history, and essays.
2)     The Typical Indian MBA Applicant: Works in India's burgeoning high-tech industry
India's high-tech sector has exploded in the past few years as global companies have tapped the highly educated and hardworking population in India.  There is a joke among Indian youth that their parents told them they could become anything in life they wanted, as long as they wanted to be a doctor or engineer. Strong emphasis on family has driven many young Indian students to seek careers in these highly respected arenas, so many of today's business school applicants from India have experience in the high tech industry.  This automatically presents challenges for standing out from the crowd.
The DIFFERENTIATED Indian MBA Applicant: Has gained management and leadership experienceWhile your background may be in technology, you can prove to the admissions committees that you have what it takes to lead commerce in the future by demonstrating leadership and team management of employees.  Often, reaching this level also brings additional experience in designing company strategy and boosting your company's bottom line, both of which will not only make a positive impression in the MBA application process, but will also generally result in a promotion of title or position.  When you say you earned a promotion at work and can point to the specific reasons why, you will make a better impression than someone who has merely worked on projects as a member of a team.  Instead of just completing important tasks, imagine how much better it sounds to have identified an untapped market and led a taskforce to create a product to tap this niche?   Instead of merely running a functional software development project, think about how much more impressive it might be to have managed a diverse international team of 30 people in the largest revenue producing sector of your company, or having developed relationships with its most prestigious clients?   You get the idea.
3)     The Typical Indian MBA Applicant: Has modest goals
Growing the family business or launching a small business are the two most common ambitions of Indian applicants.  Modesty is also part of the culture, which is admirable, but falls short when the time comes to blow your own horn. 
The DIFFERENTIATED Indian MBA Applicant: Has bigger ambitions The top business schools in the US are searching for applicants whose ambitions will have large scale impact on an international scale. Think big.  Think impactful.  Think world-changing.  Also, don’t forget to tie it into who you are. Relating your excitement and enthusiasm for your career vision and why you want to achieve it is paramount. You must give the schools insight into the personal reasons behind your decision to pursue your path, because often, Indian applicants are more reticent on personal matters, which ultimately will leave application readers in the dark on who you are and what makes you tick.  That’s what they are really trying to get at through their application questions.
4)     The Typical Indian MBA Applicant: Has myriad extracurricular activities
Unlike many other population groups, who perhaps focus a bit too much on career achievement and not enough on community impact, Indian applicants are often involved in many activities outside of school and work.  Almost every single Indian applicant was involved in leading clubs and/or reunion activities for their various schools.  While doing these things are great, they aren’t enough to truly differentiate.
The DIFFERENTIATED Indian MBA Applicant: Leads their community outside of workDon't confuse hobbies for involvement and impact. The top business schools are looking for applicants who hold active leadership roles in organizations important to them, not simply those who maintain memberships or loose affiliations. These applicants have continued their involvement and leadership even after college, often starting their own non-profit organizations or clubs. Perhaps your love of the sciences prompted you to found an after-school program with free science tutoring and exciting interactive experiments that now includes 20 schools across India?  Another example:  instead of simply volunteering for the Red Cross, maybe you lead the Red Cross volunteer recruiting efforts across India?   See the difference?
5)     The Typical Indian MBA Applicant: Thinks all top business schools are the same
Indian applicants tend to know they want a top MBA, but they don't do enough research on the programs to determine if and how each aligns with their goals. They tend to give a brief overview of the skills they hope to gain from the MBA and don't demonstrate that they know anything about each program.  Anyone in MBA admissions knows, it’s important to do research on and to visit each school to which you apply.  They are not all the same.
The DIFFERENTIATED Indian MBA Applicant: Knows why she is applying to each schoolUnderstanding each school's program allows you to appeal to your own interests and those of your target school as well. Just as it is in your interest to know what requirements the school has, for instance a fourth post-high school year of study (e.g., the Master in Commerce) before you apply to ensure that your application is even considered, so too it is in your interest to determine if the schools you are considering will meet your needs. If you plan to concentrate in a particular industry, you need to make sure that the schools you are applying to have courses of study in that industry.
The top business schools seek applicants who can demonstrate that they understand the school's goals and how their program will help them meet the applicant's needs. They are looking for applicants who have visited the school, spoken to alumni, researched their specific interests, and know what makes this school distinct.
Putting it all togetherEach school is sifting through those hundreds of applications to find the Indian applicants that will be able to benefit from its program and enhance the education and experience of its other students. But determining which stories differentiate your application is daunting.  We can help you sort through your own experience to help you break out of the labels that adcoms try to place on you which will allow your individuality to shine through. 
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

Kudos [?]: 222 [0], given: 220

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Navigating the Perils of MBA Application Season [#permalink]

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New post 31 Aug 2017, 19:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Navigating the Perils of MBA Application Season
It’s getting real.  School packages are out. Applications are rolling into the top schools and the sorting and reading has begun. Unless you are way ahead of the pack, you have likely just begun to organize your approach to MBA application season.  Do you know what to look out for?The choppy waters of application season are difficult to navigate and making seemingly small mistakes can be critical.  Here are the top three challenges to the process and how you might consider overcoming them.
1)      School selection: Believe it or not, which schools you end up selecting can be one of the biggest mistakes you can make.  Are you choosing schools because they rank well and you fantasize about being an alum?  Or are you choosing schools because they are a good fit for you, your professional background and your future goals?  In some cases, these two ways of looking at your target schools are mutually exclusive.  Choose poorly and you are out before you even pick up your pen.  You should liken school selection to choosing the right mountain pass.  One could be treacherous and unnavigable and another difficult, but ultimately successful.  You should put in more work beyond just casually  surfing a school’s site before you spend valuable time on the application.
2)      Deadlines: So you have chosen your schools and think you are ready to dive in, but the first thing you should do is get organized.  The first step to getting organized is to have a clear understanding of when everything is due.  Deadlines don’t just mean when the application cutoffs are—clearly that is important to track.  I’m talking about all the little deadlines you have to hit before that, such as when your undergraduate school needs to hear from you so they have time to send out transcripts, or when’s the last date you can submit an additional GMAT or GRE score (and subsequently when’s the last testing date!)  How about the lead time for your slowest-to-respond recommender?  Or the turnaround time of your admissions consultant?  Tracking your admissions progress like a project will help you keep everything straight.
3)      Recommenders: This is one of the most egregious stumbling blocks of the entire process.  Not only pertaining to the turnaround time and notification runway you must give your recommenders as mentioned above, but also whom you choose.  Are you sure your boss is going to write a good reco?  If not, you must work to coach her or choose someone else (just make sure the adcom knows why you didn’t choose your boss).  Spending time with each recommender before sending them the link from your school is one of the most often skipped steps in this process and it can be fatal.  You must find the time to cast your career vision to your recommender so they can truly support your application—spend time with an admissions consultant to organize your strengths and weaknesses first, then schedule some face to face time with your recommenders to weave your story, so they will be as excited as you are about your going to b-school.
While there are a thousand more potentially disastrous mistakes out there as you tackle the b-school application process, these three are foundational and can set your course so far off that getting back on track can be irrecoverable. 
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

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Marketing Your Post-MBA Employability [#permalink]

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New post 07 Sep 2017, 21:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Marketing Your Post-MBA Employability
One of the most oft overlooked profile characteristics is employability.  Marketing yourself as a potential MBA candidate who will be not only highly qualified on the back-end of the degree, but as someone whom recruiters will clamor over could be a great way to differentiate yourself in the application process.Many applicants fail to realize that getting into a good school is a game.  Not for you, for the school.  It is in the school’s best interest to either remain highly ranked, or to always be climbing in the rankings (or both).  Since it is no small feat to maintain a high ranking, schools are always focused on the various components that make up the MBA rankings.  Some of the most obvious metrics are things like average GMAT score, GPA, alumni ratings or faculty research achievements.  One of the most important criteria upon which rankings are based, however, is the number of students in an MBA program who have accepted job offers either at graduation or within three months of graduation. This metric is particularly important because it not only affects the rankings but it also is highly scrutinized by top applicants. 
What good is an MBA if you end up in the 30% of graduating MBAs from that school who don’t have a job offer?Schools want to bring students into their program who are sharp, intelligent, involved, passionate and…employable.  Employability is graded partially on your work experience coupled with your educational pedigree, but it’s more than that.  How well you interview and the general impression you make is also a big part of it.  In other words, you can’t convince an admissions committee you are employable based only on your technical qualifications.  This is why schools like to interview candidates in person before they offer admission.  Just because you look good on paper doesn’t mean you have a winsome way with people.  
A high IQ does not always correlate with a high EQ---and employers want both. It goes without saying that the paper qualifications must be impeccable as well. Marketing your employability in your application is considering the profile characteristics and traits or strengths you possess which will be attractive to your targeted employer.  One big mistake clients often make is to describe a career vision which has no connection to their past.  You must convince schools that you can do more than just dream big---you must convince them companies will want to hire you. 
Ensuring your career vision is a natural extension of your past experience is critical. Make sure you demonstrate in your application that your vision includes an actual path to success.  If your plan is logical and supported by evidence (think recommender feedback, work history and academic success), you are well ahead of the competition.  Being humble, passionate, focused and presentable in your interactions with the school’s admissions office (including visits, phone calls and interviews if you get one), will balance the equation. 
One last heads up for international applicants:  employability is even more critical. International applicants to US programs must have a plan for that first job after graduation, lest they place doubt in the adcom’s mind about whether or not they will be one of the MBA candidates without a job at the end.  Work visa issues often come into play here, so you will need to address the elephant in the room early and often in the application process.  Let us help you craft a story that convinces the adcom you are employable.  It may just be your secret weapon to admissions success.
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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Am I Too Old to Get an MBA? [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2017, 20:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Am I Too Old to Get an MBA?
So your career has been good but you think it could be better. You have seen co-workers in your company with an MBA get promoted and reach meteoric heights, so you are considering going back for your own degree, but wonder if it’s too late. Is there an age beyond which you can’t get an MBA?  Would you be better off staying put and leveraging your experience?  Read on…When considering how old is “too old” to get an MBA, we should dispel some myths.  From the student’s perspective, it’s never too late to go back to school for an MBA if it makes sense to you personally and you have reasons for doing it.  The more complicated questions arise around whether or not good schools will let you in. Is it common for schools to accept 60 year old applicants?  No.  Is it possible?  Yes.
As we have admitted, we have seen students who are over 60 get accepted and matriculate into top 5 programs (yes in full time programs). 
Business schools love a diverse student body and an older MBA candidate can sometimes provide an alternative perspective which appeals to the admissions committee.But being 50 or 60 is far and away old enough to be novel in the application process, and being novel can help you stand out.  But what if you are just slightly older than average?  Can you find a slot if you are 30?  35?  40?
There is admittedly a bit of a “no-man’s land” when you are barely past the average age at b-schools......let’s say this age it around 29 years old up until around age 32, an age bracket which sometimes raises eyebrows with the adcoms who will scrutinize what you have done in your career perhaps more than they would a 26 year-old.  It’s less common to apply to b-school when you are over 30 simply because most often, people who are that age are generally off to the proverbial races in their careers and either don’t need the MBA, or already have it.  For this reason, you must provide compelling evidence for why you want or need the MBA which goes beyond what an average applicant might have to do. If you fall in this age range, you should spend more time on this area of the application.
If you are creeping up on the age scale, go deeper into the why and why now, providing personal, thoughtful insight into who you are and how your career arc has brought you to the table a little later than some. The upshot?  You will automatically get more maturity points, and maturity is a critical profile characteristic which adcoms value greatly.   Also, one important thing to consider if you are older than average, especially if you are over 35, is what you really need from the MBA.  Are you looking for knowledge only, or are you hoping to change employers or start a new career?  If it’s the former, you may not need to get into a top program, and the chances of your admission rise considerably the lower down the rankings tables you go. 
The dirty little secret of MBA programs is, just about any accredited program can provide you with the knowledge of finance, accounting and management theory you likely seek, so there is little need to rope in a seat at a top 10 program if you aren’t concerned as much about landing an interview at a top 10 company on the backend.  You can also likely achieve the learning you desire from a part time program or an executive program (especially if your experience tops 10 years or more, which is the sweet spot for executive programs).
Is your goal to work for Amazon or Wal-Mart?If so, you will discover in your research that the schools where they do their recruiting are pretty selective, as is the case with most big-name employers.  Those applicants need to build a narrative around their career journey which will resonate with the adcoms to the point their age either becomes a non-issue, or becomes a strength because it has provided them with a unique set of deep experiences which will not only benefit their classmates, but will also make them more attractive to potential employers. 
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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Bloom Where You're Planted [#permalink]

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New post 20 Sep 2017, 21:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Bloom Where You're Planted
OK, So this blog is not only for those in the midst of their application avalanche, but also for those who applied last year and are starting b-school.  My hope is that in considering these words you will be encouraged.  And who doesn’t need a little encouragement these days?It’s easy to get lost in the process when you decide to go back to business school.  So many things to do, so many decisions to make.  How will you present your story?  Whom shall you choose to recommend you?  Should you apply round one, two or three?  The list of choices goes on and on, but far and away the most important decision along the way is actually pretty obvious: which school will you choose? 
We’ve harped on all the things which go into this decision, and pounded applicants to analyze their profile characteristics down to the last detail in order to ultimately determine where they fit best.  But sometimes results in life are not ultimate.  If you have “settled” for your second choice school (or lower) or if you are considering applying to a school about which you don’t feel as strongly as others, you need to know the dirty little secret of graduate business education:  it’s more about you than the school you go to.
To bloom where you are planted is some of the best advice you will ever get in this world. What does it mean?  Put differently, you always must make the best of your situation.  No matter where you end up getting in and going to b-school, know that you’re the one who will be there, and you are the same person who would have gone to that dream school, if only you had been admitted.  Do you really think professor A was going to make that much difference over professor B?  Or class A vs. class B?  Every accredited business school in the country can give you the tools you need to succeed.  Disappointed your dream company doesn’t recruit from your second or third choice school?  Find a way to get their attention anyway.  Self-directed job searches can be just as effective as career-center assisted searches. 
One advantage of barely missing that seat in your top 10 program and landing easily in a second-tier school, is you might just be at the top of your class, opening up more chances to excel and lead and shine.  Being a big fish in a smaller pond can really be conducive to blooming.  So if you’re already starting that backup school, start blooming.  If you are still applying, make sure you put a school on your list where you can get in and cultivate the ground.
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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Up and Coming MBA Programs [#permalink]

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New post 24 Sep 2017, 20:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Up and Coming MBA Programs
It’s hard to ignore the top ten business schools in America.  Of all the applications that are submitted to b-schools each year, the top ten schools receive 75% of them.  No wonder the process is so competitive!  While it’s a great idea to apply to schools in the top ten if you feel you are competitive and a good fit, there are dozens of other great programs out there which you might want to consider as part of your broader application strategy.  Here’s a list of pick-six programs you might want to investigate…1)      Owen at Vanderbilt UniversityOwen is about as close to Ivy League as you can get while still maintaining a high chance of acceptance.  Like schools in the Ivy League, Owen is private and is very well funded by a large endowment.  These resources allow for state of the art facilities and star faculty hiring—they poached Tuck’s Associate Dean, for example, who has helped bring in Dartmouth’s student-driven culture.  GMAT scores at Owen are on the rise and their graduate placement percentage (the number of students with jobs at graduation) is hard to beat.  Nashville is also an up-and-coming city, and is considered the mecca of the healthcare profession in the US, so if you have healthcare ambitions and can’t land a spot at Duke or Tuck, give Owen a look.
2)      Mendoza at Notre DameThe Mendoza School of Business leverages a fantastic brand name and benefits from an undergraduate business program which always holds ranking in the top five programs in the country.  Having a stellar undergrad program means the school attracts only the best faculty, a faculty which is shared across all programs.  Mendoza has a very customer-service oriented culture, where the students are respected and listened to, which means the students can have a real impact on the school, both while they are there and long after they graduate.  Thanks again to its tradition of excellence, Mendoza also attracts big name endorsements and support, including top corporations and individuals.  One of the highest profile backers is Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, whose namesake Management Institute at Mendoza receives national attention and plenty of funding.
3)      Jones at Rice UniversityHouston is the fourth largest city in the US and is also home to 29 Fortune 500 companies.  How would you like to do an internship without having to relocate to another city?  Jones often places students in internships even before the first semester holiday break arrives.  If the energy or oil and gas business is of interest, you would actually be better off at Jones than at many of the schools which rank in the top ten.  The school is very highly ranked by both its current students and its alumni, which is a double-double stat that very few schools can claim.  Like Owen, Jones is a private school and is so well funded, that most of its students receive at least some amount of fellowship support.
4)      Darden at University of VirginiaWorried about your chances to get into HBS?  You should check out Darden, which was designed to mimic Harvard, where the case method is the favored academic approach.  Students at Darden work on more than 500 cases before they graduate.  Like Mendoza, Darden benefits from the reputation of its undergraduate program, McIntire, which consistently ranks in the top five in the nation.  While the two programs are completely separate, the same high quality culture permeates both.  If a career in consulting is of interest, you will be pleased to know that Darden recently attracted a former McKinsey MD to be their dean. 
5)      Kelley at IndianaThe Kelley School of Business at Indiana is a top 25 program with a tremendous ROI, with an in-state tuition of only $25K per year and an average starting salary which approaches $110K.  The school is surprisingly diverse considering its Mid-Western location (making it a bit more off the grid for international applicants), and it boasts an impressive 30% female class.  If entrepreneurship is in your plans, you may be surprised to know that Kelley ranks #8 in this area.  Receiving far fewer applications that its top ten counterparts, Kelley may be a good choice for competitive applicants who are looking for a good backup school.  You can also get an MBA online at Kelley, which is not an option at most top 25 schools.
6)      Scheller at Georgia TechTechnology and Management are becoming virtually inseparable in today’s digital marketplace, and Scheller ranks up there with Sloan (MIT) in this category. The Scheller College of Business benefits from the international brand reputation of Georgia Tech, which goes back more than 100 years.  Being a smaller program (80 students per year), Scheller students benefit from a low student-to-faculty ratio and direct access to the professors who hail from the top universities and companies around the world.  Its world-class TiGER entrepreneurship program pairs MBA students with Emory University Law students and a PhD from Georgia Tech who has research which warrants commercialization.  The students take classes together, build a business plan, and in some cases, go on to incorporate as a startup company.  Like Kelley, Scheller ranks highly in return on investment and is located in the heart of midtown Atlanta, an ever-expanding hotbed of business and industry.
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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Do Grades Matter? [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2017, 17:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Do Grades Matter?
Getting graded.  It’s been a necessary evil in everyone’s life since we were all old enough to hold a crayon.  At every stage, we either cut the mustard or we don’t and then progress to the next level of grading.  For those applying to graduate school, you may have thought those college grades were all but forgotten, but now find yourself having to face them once again.  And guess what?  The grading doesn’t stop with the application process, because very soon you’ll be back in the classroom.  This begs the question…do grades really matter?I’ll start with the good news: 
Of all the profile characteristics represented in a business SCHOOL application, the most forgivable is the GPA. If you think about it, this makes sense, because every college grading scale is slightly different, and there’s no way to standardize the very subjective process of earning grades in a class like you can with standardized tests like the GRE or GMAT.  Additionally, there is generally a diminishing amount of importance placed on GPA the longer one is out of school.  In other words, if you’ve been out of college six years, your GPA is going to figure into the admissions decision less than it does for someone who has only been out for two years.
The bad news is, grades do matter. Unlike the GMAT or GRE, your GPA is a representation of your skills over a much longer time frame, so schools definitely pay attention.   The adcoms figure anyone can cram for the GMAT and better their score, but it’s harder to maintain four years of good grades.  Also,grades indicate more than just academic skill—good marks in college also mean you are probably good at time management and have a decent amount of determination to boot. There is some variation in how much emphasis individual schools put on GPA, but know that they all care about your grades, and will dig pretty deeply into your transcript to gauge classroom performance.
But what about after you get into b-school?  Are you finally done worrying about your grades?  It’s an interesting question, since many top b-school have actually done away with grading in the traditional sense where you receive an A or B in a class.  This can be welcome news for those who have grown tired of the constant grading regime. 
Some b-schools simply rate students on an enhanced pass/fail scale, which takes a bit of the hyper-competitiveness out of the equation and makes for a more cooperative academic environment. You must still perform well, but there’s less emphasis on an exact grading scale.  This trend does not always rescue you from scrutiny, however, since some employers (who are generally not supposed to ask interviewees about their grades, but do it anyway), will try to get you to convert your school’s marks to a traditional GPA.  I guess there’s simply no escaping being graded.
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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How involved Do I Really Need to Be? [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2017, 19:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: How involved Do I Really Need to Be?
We get it---you’re busy.  You’ve always been busy.  Busy people are the ones going to good colleges and good b-schools, and busy people are the one’s getting the good jobs and running good companies.  But were you too busy to get involved outside the classroom in college?  Have you been too busy to get involved outside the workplace?  Does it really make a difference?  You bet it does.The truth is, being fully engaged is a sign of a high performer.  As impressive as good grades and good standardized test scores are, it’s really not all that hard to pull off if it’s all you’re doing in your life.   This is one reason why schools want to know how deeply you were involved in college extracurriculars.  If you can perform at a high level academically while also carrying club and community responsibilities, they feel you have a better chance of handling the breakneck pace of business school. 
The second reason schools like to see extracurricular involvement is because they want you to be involved at b-school as well. 
Schools are not looking for students to sit in classrooms and take tests. They are looking for students who will take the baton from graduating second years or carry the torch for the outside organizations which can practically train you to lead--- not only to keep the school hitting on all cylinders, but also so students are prepared to be high performing participants in the post MBA workplace.   But it all starts with a person who raises her hand and gets involved. 
Of course it’s easy to demonstrate this trait in yourself if you can point to organizations where you have been a leader. 
It’s not enough to promise you will be involved or to talk about how you plan to make your mark in b-school. You must provide evidence to the adcoms that you already know how to lead and have taken on leadership opportunities and challenges as a student and employee.  It’s particularly impressive when your involvement indicates a trend or passion.  If you continue to do something in the “real world” that you did in college, it demonstrates a dedication and passionate interest which b-schools love to see. B-schools love passionate people.  Passionate people run through walls and take no prisoners (and sometimes become CEOs, which is a real win for any b-school, not to mention for the student who makes it to the c-suite).
But what if your job is simply too demanding to afford you time to do anything but work?  Sorry, but that is not going to win you any points in b-school applications.  If you think a 60 or 70 hour work week is too demanding, you will really be stymied by an 80-hour-per-week business school schedule.  If you are really serious about business school, you simply must find the time to share your skills with organizations outside your day job. 
But how much is enough? While you don’t have to be involved in dozens of organizations, you would be wise to have a couple of things you do besides work that 1) makes an impact in your community (or in some subset of society) and 2) gets you excited.  If you can passionately articulate why you support an organization with your time and talent and how you make a difference by doing so, you will be much better positioned than someone who simply lists five or six things they do without any narrative or explanation.  In the next post, we’ll address the unfortunate dilemma of not being able to do either!
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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How To Be Involved When You're Not [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2017, 19:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: How To Be Involved When You're Not
In the last post, we talked about how important it is to be engaged outside the classroom and outside the workplace.  But what if you decided to prepare for b-school a little late and have not really done much other than your job?  If you find yourself exhausted at the end of each day, and managing to just barely deliver your professional responsibilities while you eek out enough sleep to show up and do it all over again, you may not be able to even imagine joining a club or doing any volunteering. You may be more engaged than you realize once you do a few things in your application (and your daily life) to cast your extracurricular life in a new light.
Interestingly, we find that people who are involved in a relationship are amongst the worst offenders when it comes time to discuss extracurriculars. Being involved romantically is time consuming and can sometimes eat up time you may have spent getting involved in other things.  What people often forget, however is that sometimes, being involved with someone often provides bonafide community engagement fodder for an application that you may not have considered.  For example, if you go to church with your girlfriend, you can list that as community involvement (particularly if you participate in church-led activities which often benefit people in need). Or if you are not into church, perhaps you exercise with your boyfriend?  If so, you probably know that road races or triathlon events often have some sort of community benefit (e.g. raising money for needy organizations).  Start signing up for those races and talk about how you exercise in part to support those organizations.  If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
The best thing you can do in order to convince the adcoms you are engaged in an area or activity when you are not all that engaged, is to revive an area of involvement from your past. Let’s say for example, you used to work with special needs kids in college, but you stopped doing so when you graduated and you haven’t done so for the past five years.  Get out there and find an organization where you can work with special needs kids again and voila!  You just bridged your past involvement with your current involvement.   Bridging this involvement can often translate to the adcoms as consistency or dedication—both good traits for b-school applicants.  Bridging is far better than running out and doing something new, like working in a soup kitchen or volunteering for a Habitat for Humanity project when you have never done so before.
While there is no substitute for truly passionate involvement over time (especially where you are a leader or founder), if you work at it and get creative, you can probably piece together a few things which can hopefully indicate to the admissions committees that you’re someone who is willing to get engaged.
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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Backup MBA or Try Again? [#permalink]

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New post 01 Oct 2017, 13:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Backup MBA or Try Again?
Cornell’s early admission decisions for their one-year MBA will be released in a few days, so even if you did not apply to this program, it’s essentially the starting gun for this year’s results.  Since over the next several weeks and months applicants the world over will be getting good and bad news from their target schools, it’s a great time to prepare yourself to receive the responses.  Will you be getting a “yes” from your top choice?Everyone puts considerable and thoughtful time into the application process and school selection decisions, but you should also put some time into preparing yourself for decision season.  Some make the mistake of pinning their hopes to one school, without ever considering what they will actually do if they get a “no.”  Spending some time working on your plan B and plan C can not only help you handle any potentially disappointing news better if it comes, but can also help you move quickly and decisively towards a new goal.  Perhaps you are just as fine with your backup choices as you would have been with your top choice, but sometimes we find applicants in a dilemma.  If their preferred school denies their admission, should they go with an alternate, or try again next season to get the school of their dreams?
Unpacking this decision can be tricky. It’s important to realize that b-school is about more than just one school, and the sooner you get your mind around this, the better off you will be.  There are dozens and dozens of programs which can deliver for you the exact same opportunity for one very important reason:  you are the common denominator.   Business school and post MBA success is much more about you than it is about the school.  No matter how perfect you think your dream school is for you, know that you would be able to thrive just as heartily at any number of other schools.  In short, b-school is what you make of it. If you have become hung up on a particular curriculum or professor, without which you can’t see yourself having a good b-school experience, you must remember that great pains have been undertaken to ensure your b-school education at accredited schools is up to par.  The AACSB provides accreditation to b-schools for the exact same reason law schools standardize the bar—so that students can rely on their academic preparation to provide what they need to succeed in business.  Taken together, the fact that you are the common denominator and the fact your backup schools are certified should help you at least find some courage to consider a plan B. 
But still, if you have unchangeable reasons for going to your dream school, you can always try again next year.  Schools often find favor with re-applicants, since b-schools will give you points for determination and commitment.  Plus, if you were rejected from your dream school, there are probably some reasons you can discover and remedy, making you a stronger applicant the next time around.  There are any number of reasons why you might want to remain loyal and hopeful for your dream school, and far be it from anyone else to deter your focus.  Frankly, it takes a certain immutable determination to reach lofty goals, and if you are one of those people who digs their heels in and won’t take no for an answer, you may have the resilience to ultimately reach your goal.  But be smart, and make sure whatever you do in the subsequent year truly addresses your profile shortcomings.  Schools will mostly be focused on what happened since the last time you applied in order to determine if there is now a seat available for you. 
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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Will a 650 GMAT get me Admitted to Stanford GSB? [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2017, 12:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Will a 650 GMAT get me Admitted to Stanford GSB?
Stanford Graduate School of Business is considered by many to be the best business school in the world, and swaps the ranking of #1 with HBS or Wharton on any given day.  With over 8,000 applicants per year and only about 1/10th of that number in the student body, it’s daunting to imagine them saying yes.  If you happen to have a good-but-not-great GMAT score, you may struggle with your odds of admission at all.  But is it even worth applying if you have a 650 or lower?While it’s not common, students with low GMAT scores do get accepted to top schools.  Stanford posts their GMAT range as 610-790, but this is the middle 50%-- the fat part of the Gaussian bell curve. Based upon posted statistics, it’s safe to say that fewer than 10% of the applicants to Stanford have GMATs under 650 and fewer than 8% of admitted applicants have scores below that mark. But that’s as much as a couple dozen folks hiding in the tails of the distribution.  The question is, what characteristics must someone in the tails have? 
Stanford is not a score-chaser. They could literally fill their incoming class with perfect GMAT scorers—yes there are hundreds each year who put their name in the hat there.  Stanford doesn’t need to pad their GMAT scores because, well, they’re Stanford.  It just so happens that their average MBA candidate also has a really good GMAT score.  But back to the ones that don’t.  Suffice it to say, if you are admitted to Stanford with a 650 GMAT score, you are clearly bringing something to the table besides your score.  While you don’t necessarily need to have developed a cure for cancer, or sold a patent to Apple or some other impossible achievement, you do have to impress them in some way that is uncommon.  
Everybody thinks of themselves as uncommon, but you must be honest and ask yourself if your story is something that is truly going to stand out. For everyone who thinks they meet this standard, there is someone else who is actually unique, but doesn’t realize it.  The best way to test the waters is to talk to someone who has seen and heard from lots of b-school applicants.  The most obvious way to do this is through a chat with an admissions consultant, but you may also know folks in your circle who have some knowledge about it.  While it’s great to pay for good consulting service, you should never pay for a consultation.   Much like going to see an attorney about a potential case, you should be able to have an initial talk with a consultant for free.  Amerasia, for example will schedule a complimentary consultation via our website.  
The bottom line is this:  Will a 650 get you admitted?  Yes indeed it can.  Can YOU get into Stanford with your 650?  It all depends on the story behind the score.  Focus on what you have achieved that is extraordinary and what you offer that is unique and different than the average Stanford applicant (keeping in mind the “average” GSB applicant is pretty impressive), and at least you will have the best shot with that 650 that you can possibly have. 
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Act Like a Leader and You Might Become One [#permalink]

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New post 13 Oct 2017, 16:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Act Like a Leader and You Might Become One
Business schools are looking for leaders and expect applicants to have demonstrated leadership in their work and school history.  Being a leader is so much a part of the MBA framework, in fact that you might be putting too much thought into what you have done and not enough into what you are doing.A old man once said, you should “fake it till you make it.”  While this may sound disingenuous or even a little crass, there is a strong nugget of wisdom there.  Particularly if you get to the interview stage in the MBA application process, you have to exude leadership in your very presence.  But how is this achieved?
Here are a few tricks of the trade which can help you, and while some may sound silly or frivolous, you may just surprise yourself at how effective they can be in tricking even yourself into becoming more leader-like.
1)      Dress for successThis is a truism that despite seeming obvious, is often overlooked in the ever-burgeoning anything goes culture in which we live and work.  One rule of thumb to follow is the “one-click-up” approach.  Whatever everyone else is wearing, if you dress one level above, you will feel more like a leader.  If everyone is wearing shorts to the golf outing, you wear slacks.  If people are wearing business casual to the office, wear a sportcoat.  If everyone wears sportcoats, wear a tie.  If everyone is suit-and-tied, do the same, but do it well.  You might even consult with an image stylist, which is getting both more common and more affordable.  Another dress tip for men---don’t show your underwear.  I’m not talking about what you wear beneath your pants, I’m talking about your undershirt.  How many CEOs do you see with their t-shirt poking out of their collar?  Speaking of CEOs, are you looking to the c-suite for your dress cues, or to your co-workers?
2)      Always be in a hurryI am always surprised to see the general pace of people in the workplace. It’s slow, lethargic, and uninspired.  When you walk around the office, do you have an air of urgency in your step, or are you dragging yourself around?  People who move quickly appear to have something important to do, and people who have something important to do will be perceived as important people.  Get it?  This tip alone will not only help you stay engaged in your work by being more alert, it will likely result in better reviews from your bosses and ultimately, better recommendations for b-school applications.  Another way to achieve this is to get a standing work station.  While it may be an annoying trend to some, standing up naturally puts you in a more alert state and helps you remain energized throughout the day.  I have even seen some do standing meetings, which work well for short meetings which are mostly discussion oriented.
3). Be a ReaderLeaders have ideas and leaders have insight.  There’s no better way to remain current on your insight than to be a reader.  At the very least, b-school hopefuls should devour the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times on a daily basis.  Others more enjoy the NY Times or other reputable papers.  Bloomberg Businessweek is a great read as well, and summarizes every article in one or two sentences at the end, call the the Bottom Line.  You can literally read every bottom line in BusinessWeek in about five minutes, after which you could go back and dig deeper into the articles which interest you.  You will shock yourself at how much you begin to quote things you read to others, who will in turn begin to think of you as engaged and knowledgeable. 
There are plenty more tips to consider, but start with these three, and watch how quickly your leadership rating rises!
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How to Act Like a Leader Part II [#permalink]

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New post 13 Oct 2017, 17:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: How to Act Like a Leader Part II
In the last blog post, we talked about how to exude leadership qualities by following a few rules of the road.  Even if you are not the person in charge at the office, you can begin now to do things which position you for leadership opportunities.  Here are some more tips which will help you appear more leader-like in the workplace and ultimately, to your b-school admissions committees.1). Get up earlyIn today’s increasingly flexible workplace, it’s becoming easier to make your own schedule.  All too quickly, bad habits can arise, however, when we are left to our own devices.  Benjamin Franklin’s mantra about being early to bed and early to rise is as beneficial as it ever was, but fewer people are getting up early anymore.  Even if your work schedule does not require you to wake up early, you might consider rising with the sun anyway.  Not only will your natural biorhythm and circadian cycle thrive, you will feel more accomplished and ahead of the game. When you spend some time in the morning sharpening the saw, exercising, or even just thinking about your day instead of waking up at the last possible minute and diving into work, you will become more organized and thoughtful.  Being the first person into the office will also go a long way towards making an impression that you are a leader.
2) Always have a penThis is a seemingly meaningless and minute tip, but take my word for it—people who have pens look like leaders.  Particularly in a world where we all send ourselves reminders on our phones, the art of writing something down is dying.  When you write something down in a meeting or on the fly, people notice.  It makes you look ready, eager and conscientious.  When you text yourself, people think you aren’t listening.  Writing something down also makes the person you are talking to feel important and making others feel important is the most important tip of all.
3) Make others feel importantA leader’s most important quality is the ability to listen.  Everyone thinks of themselves as a good listener and a “people person,” but few people actually exhibit good listening skills.  When you listen to someone you are actually communicating to them that they are important.   Making someone feel important takes the spotlight off yourself and shines it on them.   When you are made to feel important by someone else, your opinion of that person rises right along with your own self esteem—it’s truly win/win.  When someone feels like they have been heard, they feel valuable.  Eventually they run through walls for you because they know you believe in them.  This is how leaders are made---they ultimately have everyone willing to run through walls for them. 
If you utilize these tips as you apply for business school, your leadership will be palpable and just might help you stand out from the crowd of other leaders clamoring for slots in top schools.
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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How to Finish Your List of MBA Applications [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2017, 14:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: How to Finish Your List of MBA Applications
Today's post is one that can be used by just about any MBA applicant, as it has to do with rounding out your list of schools to which you are applying.  As you will see, it uses logic that can be deployed by any candidate, as the idea behind your "last" or "last few" b-schools has everything to do with context and nothing to do with a one-size-fits-all approach.  I find myself discussing it with virtually every applicant I speak to, so it felt like a good topic for a quick post.
To get to this main idea, we will work through:
  • general philosophy on picking MBA programs,
  • the contextual nature of ROI, and
  • how to finish off a list.
GENERAL PHILOSOPHY ON PICKING MBA PROGRAMS First, we have to start from the premise that when putting your list of MBA programs together, you should be aiming for a strong ROI.  Reasonable minds can disagree here and I'm not trying to speak for everyone, but for the most part, grad school is not like college.  By that I mean:
  • you don't *have* to attend (as many people feel they do with undergrad),
  • the argument for fit/growth is not as powerful for grad school because your resume is further along and needs to generate actual returns on this additional investment, and
  • there are only a handful of truly top-tier "national" programs (12-16 top law schools or business schools, versus likely 50-100 for college).
An MBA list should usually be pushing the envelope a bit - aiming for all schools that you really want to go to and that feel pretty hard to get into.You shouldn't go crazy and swing way out of your range, but I would abandon the idea of "safety schools" because if a school is a sure thing, you probably shouldn't be going there - just by the logic of it not advancing your resume enough at this stage of your life.  So if someone is a super elite candidate, starting with Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton makes some sense; again, this isn't college where you are looking up and down the rankings for it and wanting to have safety school choices.  But what about adding a fourth or a fifth school? 
THE CONTEXTUAL NATURE OF ROI Okay, so we have established that you need to prioritize the return on your investment for business school and therefore needing to be aiming for schools that maximize that.But does that *always* mean going straight to the rankings?  Using our "elite b-school candidate" example, does that mean that she should just automatically find the next "best" school after H/S/W?  Not necessarily.  In fact, this is where I think you have to get out of the logic of groupthink and rankings and conventional thinking and work a little harder - because here at the back end of your list (most top candidates do/should apply to four schools, some consider five) you are trying to add a program that does indeed greatly increase your overall chances of getting in somewhere.  
I'm not saying you go full "safety school" but you do want to expand your possibilities.  And one way to do that is to find a school that is a top choice FOR YOU specifically.  If you are super elite and gunning for H/S/W, perhaps the ideal fourth school is NYU Stern or Michigan Ross or Duke Fuqua, rather than a very hard school to get into like MIT Sloan or Columbia Business School.  If you are someone gunning for the big finance schools like Wharton, Chicago Booth, and Columbia, maybe there is a fourth really sharp finance program like Cornell Johnson that makes a ton of sense for you specifically, rather than chasing after a hyper-competitive program like Kellogg.  
With almost every candidate I've worked with in my life, they have interests, perspectives, career goals, or geographic considerations that elevate a school several ranking places FOR THEM.  So take advantage!  Maybe you have a tech focus that makes Haas or Texas McCombs more appealing than it would be for the next applicant.  Maybe culture fit means Duke Fuqua slides in behind Kellogg.  Maybe teaching style puts Darden into your mix with HBS, Wharton, and Tuck.  There is no reason you have to use the priorities of other people all the time.  It's okay to let the ROI of any given school become specific to your context.  
HOW TO FINISH OFF A LIST Putting this all together, here is my advice: 
[*]For your first 2-3 schools, try to stick with pure ROI, gunning for the best possible schools you can get into.  Use fit (culture, geography, programs, industry emphasis, etc.) to distinguish only within the same tier. [*]For your final 1-2 schools, try to use your specific context to elevate the ROI of a school, such that your list suddenly has a rankings outlier - a school that would still be amazing for you, but is easier to get into by the numbers. [*]Then, of course, when you apply, make sure to really showcase to that final school (or two) what that specific context looks like.  Make sure NYU Stern or Duke Fuqua or Yale SOM feels the love so they will believe you want to attend there, even though you, on paper, look like someone applying to H/S/W or Wharton/Booth/Columbia or MIT/Kellogg/Booth.  Let the school see the unique fit and candidate-school context that put them on your list in the first place. [/list]In doing this, you will come up with a way of adding a safer school to your list, greatly expanding your overall chances of success, all while never sacrificing the crucial ROI you need to achieve to make two years and $150,000-$200,000 worth it. 
Since 2008, we have helped more than 1000 clients successfully apply to top business schools worldwide. Let us help you figure out your next step.
If you are in the midst of applying, congrats and good luck! If you are just starting out on your admissions journey, schedule a complimentary, one-hour consultation with a member of our expert admissions team.
Email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or visit us online at www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.email to set this up.
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Shelving Your MBA Applications [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2017, 17:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Shelving Your MBA Applications
Application season is in full swing, and you have probably even finished one or more of your applications by now.  If you haven’t submitted them yet, you may want to wait.There’s not a scarier moment in the MBA process than when you hit the submit button on your computer.  There’s also not a more relieving moment!  As relieving as this moment can be, however, you must fight the urge to submit each application as your finish.  Assuming you are more organized than the person who literally works up to the deadline for each school, it’s likely you will be finishing applications with a little time to spare. 
The window of time between finishing an application and submitting it is when you should let the application marinate. Granted, the application will not change just sitting there, but what it will do, is give you time to start on another school.  Often, we have seen clients discover something new about themselves or their story on subsequent schools, and the last thing you want to experience is the sinking feeling of regret for not having included that new insight into an application you already submitted.
Shelving your applications is a good strategy for this reason, but there are other reasons to set them aside. 
You will always benefit from reading your finished application fresh, which requires one thing: time. Setting an application aside gives your brain a rest and helps eliminate the problem of missing mistakes because you have glossed over them one too many times.  Even if you are working on other applications, you will surprise yourself at how differently your finished application sounds in your head when you come back to it after a break.
While I always recommend clients set finished applications aside until hey are confident enough in their approach and their story to move on, there are some critical things to keep in mind when shelving applications. If you end up waiting until a school’s deadline rolls around to submit for example, one thing you should always do, is to stay organized. 
Missing a deadline would obviously be a huge backfire to the strategy of waiting to submit. While we’re talking about deadlines, you should also avoid waiting until the literal last moment to submit.  There have been far too many cases of internet problems or bandwidth problems or computer problems, etc. and even if the rush of applications overwhelms a school’s site, don’t assume the school will take responsibility and extend the deadline.  If it were me, I’d set a reminder in my calendar several days before each deadline, and give each of those shelved applications a final read.
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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Where Are All the International Applicants? [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2017, 18:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Where Are All the International Applicants?
There has historically never been a shortage of international applicants to US business schools, but the recent political shift in the area of immigration coupled with burdensome financial requirements has sent applications plummeting this year.  Perhaps it’s a good time to apply?If business schools in the US were looking to fill their ranks with only the highest of GMAT scorers with a strong work ethic, recent history has shown they could do so with nothing but applicants from outside the US.  There was a time, in fact, when there were as many applicants from Asia as any other region in the world.  This year, however, schools are struggling to find enough international applicants to diversify their pools.  What happened?
The shift away from the foreign-born application flood has been driven largely by two factors: one political and one financial. Let’s start with the financial.  If the financial obligations for business school students in general is burdensome, the weight of this responsibility on international applicants is downright crushing.  Most schools will not allow international students to matriculate until they have demonstrated the ability to pay for the entire program in full.  Compared with US students, the requirement to have six figures in the bank account is unique to international applicants.  Imagine how few US students would qualify to attend business school if they had to essentially fork over the cash up front.  Coupled with restrictions on international students getting loans, and you have a very unfriendly environment to say the least, if you applying from outside US borders.
The other factor driving international students away from US b-schools is the more recent phenomenon in the political arena, which some would say is also unfriendly. Studies show that international applicants this year are perceiving a less welcoming environment in the US and are looking elsewhere for b-school education.  Perception is reality, and the measurable drop in applications has been so severe, that schools are struggling to even get enough international applicants to diversify their intake.
While it’s true that there have been fewer H-1B visas issued this year, a trend which will likely continue, President Trump recently announced new legislation put forth by two republican senators titled the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, which would move the visa approvals to a merit-based system favoring English-speaking applicants with documented skills and education. 
If passed, RAISE would potentially tilt the visa approvals process heavily towards b-school applicants, who typically far exceed the new merit requirements. Until the word gets out, however, it’s a great time to be applying to US schools as an international applicant from this perspective.Interestingly, the drop in international applications this year is also favoring US applicants.  Since the profile characteristics of the typical international applicant are typically off the charts (think GMAT scores, years of work experience and business/cultural knowledge), schools have had to lower the bar somewhat to fill classes.  So whether you are an international applicant or a US applicant, there’s no excuse to put off that application for another year.
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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