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Amerasia MBA Blog

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Cram or Defer?  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Dec 2019, 21:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Cram or Defer?
As deadlines approach and the holidays barrel down on you like a freight train, it’s time to ask yourself: should I cram my applications or defer? Preparing b-school applications is hard work. Like anything worthwhile, it always takes longer to do something right than you think it will take. But soon you may be faced with the unavoidable decision to rush through and finish by the round two deadlines, or defer to a later round.
Round three is considered to be the hardest one in which to find success. Not only are most of the seats in top programs full by the third round, the few students they are looking for typically require a specific set of profile attributes. Essentially, this means your odds of fitting into what they are seeking is diminished. Of course you can throw caution to the wind and give it a try…after all, if you get rejected, you’d be reapplying again next year anyway, which in theory is the same as deferring. Or is it?
Deferring to round three might beg the question: should I defer to next year? A reapplication is not the same thing as a first-time application. Some schools give extra consideration to reapplicants, but most will require a pretty substantial explanation for why you application is better next year. Sometimes, this is a tougher sell than applying for the first time, but with an additional year of work experience.
But enough about putting things off. How about the other option, that is, to cram-and-jam to finish everything for round two. This could be a winning approach if you can pull things together and submit something of real quality. The standard advice is, it’s better to defer than to submit something less than your best effort. The real reason for this advice, is because once you submit garbage, it’s always there, and will be pulled up again if you end up reapplying to that school. Submitting a b-school application is akin to posting something on social media. Once it’s out there, it’s out there forever. But if your core profile is strong and you check carefully for mistakes, why not suck it up and get something submitted. Sacrificing a little sanity over the holidays might just be worth it to get into the school of your dreams.

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the group interview  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Dec 2019, 21:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: the group interview

There’s tons of advice out there on how to interview for business school, but what about the group interview? Before you think that you won’t have to do a group interview, you should know that if you show up for any kind of group tour or super day, you’re actually doing a group interview.  That’s right, schools gather multiple applicants together intentionally so they can observe how you interact with others and handle yourself in a dynamic group environment.
 While you might interview one-on-one with a current student or someone from the admissions committee, essentially the rest of the day is a group interview.  Notice how most organized visits include multiple applicants who tour together, eat lunch together and visit classes together.  Typically, schools have assigned ambassadors or admissions fellows to host visitors in small groups, usually second year students who take you around and answer questions.
Don’t be fooled into thinking your every move isn’t being analyzed. After your visit, not only will the feedback from your interview be recorded and considered by the admissions committee, but also your hosts will be asked to submit feedback, which in turn will also be considered.  Business schools know they have a highly talented student body, so the good schools will leverage this talent to help them decide who should be getting in.
The opinion of current students is often just as highly regarded as that of the paid admissions committee.  Think about it, who knows better the kind of person who would fit in well with the school than those currently experiencing it.  Schools are not top in their category for no reason.  They are a top business school because they know how to woo the top talent, both in the student body and in the faculty ranks. 
Professors will have opportunities to give their feedback of the applicants who visit their classrooms. Make sure you pay attention in your class visit, but don’t speak out in class unless you are specifically asked to do so.  Your student host will be evaluating how well you pay attention as well as how you are treating your fellow applicant group as well as the current students.  Make sure to appear interested and actively listening.  Don’t feel the pressure to take notes or answer questions, however, lest you be perceived as trying too hard.
For schools with actual group interviews, where three or more applicants retreat in to a room and are asked questions or required to participate in some kind of organized activity or problem solving exercise, know that how you handle yourself will be evaluated just as closely as what you say.  Group interviews are not necessarily designed to pull out your best thinking, but rather to put you in situations where you must rely on your fellow interviewees to work together and/or handle difficult or stressful situations or discussions.  It’s a fine line, but make sure you can walk yourself through participating actively without railroading or running over your fellow participants in the process. Using the “yes, and…” approach will help.  Feel free to disagree, but do so with respect and consideration.  If you keep these tips top of mind, you will come across as a team player, which is highly valued in business school.

For information on how we can guide your business school application process, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact

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Playing the Game  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2019, 18:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Playing the Game

As offers begin rolling in, it’s time to start playing the game.
Negotiating your seat in b-school is not what it used to be.  In the old days, there was little to no negotiation, but in the fast-paced, digital world, both schools and applicants are more savvy. 

Playing the game does not mean doing anything unethical.
When negotiating with your target schools, you need to remember one thing above all else: integrity.  The fastest way to not only blow your offer, but to potentially blow your chances of going back to any b-school at all is to begin fibbing.  Never, ever lie about an offer from another school.  Admissions officers all know each other and will definitely find out if your stated offer is legitimate, so don’t even think about fudging the numbers.

Once you have an offer in hand, you can potentially use it to sweeten the offer at another school.
These days, it doesn’t really even matter if you negotiate via email, on the phone, or in person.  Simply notify your target school that you have an offer in hand, tell them what it is, and tell them you would prefer to go to their program if they can meet or beat the offer.  The key thing to remember here is to know up front where you would prefer to go.  Playing schools off each other can backfire, so it’s not really a back-and-forth kind of negotiation opportunity.  Decide where you would like to be and then ask that school very straightforwardly if there is any room for a more favorable offer.

Schools have limited pools of fellowship funds, but you never know until you ask.
Most people don’t realize that scholarship and fellowship money is generally coming from fixed endowment funds or expendable funds provided by philanthropic donations.  The government (either federal or state) do not generally provide anything but loan opportunities or low-income, financial aid.  Merit-based scholarships and fellowships are all flowing from generous donors who are either affiliated with the school or just decided to support it.  This means that fellowship and scholarship funds are not unlimited.  Still, they will allocate these funds according to where they feel they can make the biggest impact on the incoming class.  Perhaps this is with you?

Avoid at all costs going back on your word.
If you tell a school you will go there if they hit a certain number, make sure you actually do so.  Changing your mind after you have entered into a verbal commitment will be viewed very poorly and there have been cases where burned admissions offices have been known to notify competing schools of your tactics.  Still, the mere mention of another school’s offer can sometimes result in extra support being offered, so never be bashful about playing the game.

For information on how we can guide your business school application process, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact

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Pick a Number  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2019, 22:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Pick a Number

How many business schools should you apply to?  As in most cases, the answer is, it depends. Choosing which schools you will apply to is hard enough, but how do you decide how many schools to apply to?  It’s not an easy question and it should be guided in part on the strength of your overall application profile.
Your profile characteristics define how likely it is that you will be accepted, so the more challenged you are in core areas such as GMAT score, GPA, strength of undergraduate institution, work experience and overall general interest, the more schools you should be targeting.
Everyone should have a backup plan. Even the most highly qualified business school applicant will apply to more than one school.  No matter how well you think you fit with your dream school, you can bet they reject dozens of perfectly qualified applicants each year.  The irony is, those qualified enough to get into the M7 schools are smart enough to apply to several of them.  Will it cost you some time and money?  Yes.  Will is save you some headaches?  Most definitely.
Don’t be discouraged by the extra time and expense of applying to several schools. It is in the exercise of doing so that will probably strengthen your overall approach to the application process in general.  Sharpening your application skills by working on a handful of top schools will also help increase your odds of getting in.  Make sure to defer submitting your schools until you have all the applications done if you can, since you may learn something in subsequent backup schools that you want to circle back and add into your dream school package. 
Applying to at least three schools is a must. If you have a bullet-proof profile with a great GMAT score, great work recommendations and a winsome personality, you still need to target at least three schools if not for any other reason than you can use the fact you have applied “elsewhere” to potentially strengthen your scholarship offer at your target school.  B-schools, like MBA students, are competitive, and do not like to lose a candidate to the competition when they really want you to come to them. 
If your profile is weak, consider 6-10 schools. This sounds like a lot, but within this batch will be a handful of schools in the “safety” category, where you would be happy attending if you had to, but may not be your top choice.  Getting accepted anywhere is a real confidence booster, so even if you spread out your applications over several months and several rounds, receiving those offer letters will put wind in your sails.  Good Luck!
For information on how we can guide your business school application process, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact

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Never Settle  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Dec 2019, 19:02
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Never Settle
Not getting into your dream school?  Is it time to settle for your backup choice? It’s rather cliché to hear that you should “never settle.”  Sounds good in a TV commercial or internet advertisement, but is it really practical in real life?  When it comes to going back for your MBA, what do you do when the offers just aren’t coming in?
Settling for your backup choice doesn’t have to be a compromise.  The reality of MBA programs is that if they are accredited, your education will be solid and complete no matter where you go.  What you must evaluate is your post MBA plan.  Will your backup choice still allow you to get the job you are targeting?  Is the job you are targeting realistic?  It’s not really compromising on your dream if your dream was not realistic in the first place.  Getting rejected from your target schools might mean you were aiming too high in the first place.  If you recalibrate your vision, you will find that a backup plan might actually be a better path forward for you.
What if you just can’t take no for an answer? Sometimes you just don’t want to give up on your plan and MBA types in general are driven, focused, all-in people.  So, it’s not surprising to hear MBA applicants each cycle who don’t want to take the plan B.  If this is you, your backup plan might simply be to re-apply next year.  Taking an extra year can sometimes help you fill in the shortcomings in your profile and achievements so you can get into your original school anyway, just a little later.  Be sure if you fall into this “no compromise” category, that you are prepared to put the effort into boosting your profile.  The extra year without any profile enhancement will not put you any closer to your dream. 
For information on how we can guide your business school application process, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://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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Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

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Resolve  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jan 2020, 00:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Resolve
Will 2020 be the year you resolve to go back to graduate school? Making resolutions in the New Year is universal, but have you decided to abandon your b-school dreams or are you making this year the year to go back?
It’s hard to go back to school when the economy is so strong.The opportunity cost of full-time business school in many cases far outweighs the short term benefits.  But you must think long term, not short term when you are calculating the pros and cons of dropping out of the full-time working world to sharpen your skills in business school.  Remember that an MBA degree is terminal, meaning you won’t ever have to go back to school again if you execute on a thoughtful post-MBA career vision.  It’s truly the last formal education you will ever need.
Applying to business school is harder than going to business school. That’s right---nobody fails out of business school, but lots of folks fail to get in.  The starting friction for getting applications going is immense.  You truly must resolve to get it done.  It’s painful, it’s annoying and it’s daunting, but if you’re organized and focused enough to be an MBA student, you’re more than ready to take on the challenge of submitting applications.  The first one is the hardest, but they will get easier as you knock out subsequent attempts. 
So pair up with a good consultant and get motivated.  Do you have the resolve to get it done this year? If you do, you will change your trajectory.
For information on how we can guide your business school application process, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://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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Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

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The Real Cost of Going back to B-school  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jan 2020, 00:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: The Real Cost of Going back to B-school

If you’re like most MBA hopefuls, you have probably already run the numbers on the real cost of going back to school. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you are probably killing it right now in your career, so going back to business school is a hard decision.  You know you want to do it full time, but taking a two year break from your income just doesn’t feel right.  Sound familiar?
The opportunity cost of going back to school far outweighs the actual cost of attendance. But let’s take a look at the cost of attendance for a minute just for fun. Top b-schools will make you cough up more than $100K in tuition alone, which doesn’t include extras like student fees and the like.  Sure, you can take out student loans, but even with the generous signing bonuses that top companies hand out today, it’s unlikely you will be able to pay it all back immediately.  Then there’s the cost of living without an income for two years.
If you have a spouse who will support the family while you are in school congrats! This is a great plan on the surface, but what about when it’s your spouse’s turn to go back to school? Make sure you plan ahead for this and other eventualities.  But know that whatever your plan is, business schools will not allow you to work a job while you are going to school full time.  It’s one or the other unless you opt for a part time program.
Going back to school for an MBA part time can be a great compromise.  The part time MBA is no longer the scurvy of the industry and is actually quite well regarded by top employers who have recognized that part time MBA students demonstrate a strong ability to multi task and focus on what’s important to get things done.  The part time MBA is also now offered my many top schools.  Maybe not HBS, but there are some really good schools out there who now allow you to get the MBA part time.
Whatever you plan is , make sure you spend some time calculating the real cost of going back.  For information on how we can guide your business school application process, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact

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

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Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton
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Tips for Round Three  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jan 2020, 21:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Tips for Round Three

You wasted time last summer and procrastinated in the fall.  Now you’ve squandered the holidays and are left without excuses to put off applying to b-school.  Here’s what you must know about round three. As most MBA applicants know, round three is a bear by almost any measure.  Most of the seats are filled.  Most of the cohorts complete.  Is it even worth applying at all with so little chance of getting in?
As Han Solo always said, “never tell me the odds.”There’s no need to quote stats or cast shade on your chances of admission in round three, but it might be helpful to know why it’s so difficult to be accepted.  For starters, there are several things working against you.  Firstly, there are simply very few seats left at this point to hand out.  The odds are literally stacked against you since most of the offers have already been extended.  Schools desperately need to fill all their seats in order to maximize revenue, so grabbing any and all qualified applicants they can in the early rounds was good job insurance for the admissions officers at top schools.  Secondly, schools in the late rounds have very specific profiles they are looking for to balance out the class.
There’s no way to know what gaps the top schools need to fill in the final rounds. It’s a crap shoot to see if what you bring to the table just happens to be what the schools are missing in the profile of the incoming class.  Do you hail from a common work industry like banking or consulting?  Guess what? It’s unlikely the school will need another consultant in the class at this point. 
Still, the raging stock market and boon economy can work in your favor. When times are good, applications to b-school are down, so it’s technically easier in round three this year than in a typical year.  Things are slightly less competitive since all the super high achievers at work are remaining employed vs. giving up a good thing to go back to school.  Now’s a great time to apply even if you have a challenged application profile.  Having said that, schools will only sacrifice so much on quality.  While they love to fill all their seats, they would sooner take a loss than bring in an unqualified candidate or a bad fit.
Lastly, in a world of high achievers, putting something off to the last minute never makes a great impression.  B-schools are going to want to hear some kind of explanation for why you have waited so long to apply, but don’t worry—there are plenty of good excuses. Work success is always a good reason to have deferred your return to b-school.  You can always simply tell the school that you were killing it at work and were either too busy to apply or were so committed to completing a project or achieving a goal at work that circumstances did not allow you the margin to put your best effort into applications in the fall. 
For information on how we can guide your business school application process, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://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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Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton
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Are you a Unicorn?  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jan 2020, 21:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Are you a Unicorn?
Being selected in round three is akin to finding a unicorn. It’s common knowledge that Round three at top business schools is the most difficult round in which to be selected.  Not only are all the slots nearly accounted for, but also you are often competing with the most highly qualified applicants.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy:  Round three scares off MBA applicants because it’s hard to get in, leaving only the most highly qualified applicants to try.  This in turn makes it even harder to get in. In the prior post, we mentioned how difficult it is to guess what the schools need to round out their class, but the schools are in just as tough a spot: finding the unicorn that fits the exact profile they are missing.
Far and away, the most compelling candidate in round three is the one with the most unique profile attributes.  You might think your background working on an oil rig in Alaska might not be competitive when compared to a Wall Street financial analyst or banker, but it’s actually just the opposite.  It’s likely you are the only oil rig candidate in the mix, which makes you super unique.  Remember that b-school does not require a background in business.  No prior business knowledge is even necessary.  While it would help you tremendously to succeed in business school if you have a core understanding of accounting and statistics, it’s not required that you have any specific business experience.
Having a demonstrated knowledge of mathematics is a real plus.  You could be a window-washer in Manhattan and be a highly sought-after candidate if you nail the quantitative portion of the GMAT.  Having quant skills tells the adcoms that you will be able to hang with the busy curriculum and won’t hinder yourself nor your classmates when you begin drinking from the proverbial firehose.  If you didn’t have a lot of math in college, you should work hard on nailing down the GMAT or GRE quant section since this will become your only demonstrable evidence of numerical prowess.  Lacking quant skills is probably the single most dangerous profile characteristic to lack. 
So if you are considering a round three application, you should first ask yourself how truly unique you feel your profile really is.  If your honest assessment reveals you are fairly average in your achievements and pursuit, you may want to defer until fall for a better run at the roses.
For information on how we can guide your business school application process, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://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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How to Pay for Business School  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jan 2020, 09:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: How to Pay for Business School
Congratulations!  You have been accepted to b-school.  Next step: paying for it. It’s no secret that b-school is expensive.  By the time you add up tuition, fees, books, travel, room and board, your bill could top $200,000 or even more by the time you graduate.  This doesn’t even include the opportunity cost of stepping out of a good-paying job during the most robust economy in decades.  Even accounting for lost salary, most people to forget to calculate the additional opportunity cost of two years of additional experience and what that’s worth in future earnings.  All this to say, now that you’ve celebrated the great news of getting in, getting by will need to be a major focus going forward.
Your mom was right—a penny saved is a penny earned. Of course a fantastic way to pay for business school is with cash.  Hopefully your b-school planning started many years ago and you have been setting aside cash in a savings account or money-market fund.  Business schools run a credit report on you before offering you admission in the first place, so if you got in, it’s at least likely that you are not in debtor’s prison (a good start).  Still, b-schools do not admit students based on their ability to pay (save some cases for international students), so having a savings account flush with dough is entirely in your court.  Just don’t forget that you don’t have to pay for school up front---you’d be surprised at how many students forget your bills are due only one semester at a time.  This allows your savings to remain safe---and growing, while you are earning your degree.
Get your employer to pay the bill. Using someone else’s cash to pay your bills is even better than tapping your own funds, but finding someone to do it is another story.  About ten to fifteen years ago, companies sending their employees back for a fancy MBA was commonplace.  The great recession pretty much changed all that, however, with cutbacks and lean HR policy.  Still, there are some employers who will either reimburse your tuition or pay upfront for degrees---if their requirements are met.  MBAs are so expensive, that employers willing to foot the bill will require a certain number of years’ service afterwards or else they will make you pay it back.  If you’re already accepted, however, it’s too late to jump to an employer who will pay for it if you don’t already work for one.
Mom and Dad? Parents are a good source of financial support and a parental scholarship is pretty common given the relative financial success the prior generation experienced.  In short, the baby boomers and genX folks have a good amount of cash stashed away, and helping their precious schnookums continue their education is usually a pretty easy sell.  If you are not so lucky, or have parents who have the “you’re an adult now and it’s time to carry your own weight” attitude, it’s time to move on to the last resort for paying for b-school:
Loans are readily available Borrowing money to pay for b-school is the most common approach and there is no shortage of funds available.  Student loans are some of the only debt that survives bankruptcy, however, so make sure before you run out and rack up a bunch of federal and/or private loans that you have a plan to pay them back.  Student loans actually warrant a whole blog devoted just to them, so we’ll save that discussion, but rest assured that it’s very easy to get approved for b-school loans.  Why? The earning potential of post-MBA employees is well documented and makes for reliable, low-risk repayment.
Scholarships anyone? Scholarship and Fellowship funds also warrant their own blog topic, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention this stalwart method for reducing MBA costs.  Most schools automatically consider you for philanthropic support when you first applied so the bad news is, if your acceptance letter did not also include information about a financial award, then you may not have been selected for a fellowship or scholarship.  Another form of fellowship, however is the federal work study program or school-specific work options.  If you find yourself without a great plan to pay for school, reach out to the admissions office and inquire about Graduate Research Fellowship opportunities, where you can work 10-15 hours per week in the admissions office, for example or for a professor in exchange for a partial or full tuition waiver in some cases.
For information on how we can guide your business school application process, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact

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