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Amerasia MBA Blog

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Cram or Defer?  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Dec 2019, 20:01
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, 20:01
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, 17:01
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, 21:01
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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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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Never Settle  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Dec 2019, 18:02
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 31 Dec 2019, 23:01
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 01 Jan 2020, 23:01
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, 20:01
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, 20:01
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, 08:01
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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MBA for Entrepreneurs  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jan 2020, 15:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: MBA for Entrepreneurs
Thinking about going to business school to become an entrepreneur?  Read this first. Being an entrepreneur is just about the easiest thing in the world to do.  Simply declare, ”I’m an entrepreneur!”  Of course, finding success as one is an entirely different thing.  It’s this elusive success that sends some entrepreneurs back to business school.  Is this a good idea?
If you’re already a successful entrepreneur, it’s unlikely you would get much out of business school. Finding success as an entrepreneur is a rare thing, so if you’ve already done it, you might be better off just polishing off your skillset with some supplementary classes or continuing education on the side as you can find the time to do it.  Business school is an all-in endeavor, so unless you do a part time MBA (also a decent option for “true” entrepreneurs), you won’t even be able to pull it off.  Top schools generally make you agree up front that you will not carry outside employment or operate a business while in school in most cases, so trying to do both is usually a non-starter. Plus, you literally would not have time to do both.
If you have dreams of becoming a post MBA entrepreneur, you might reconsider. Reality check---most of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs are not MBAs.  If you do your research you will find this to be true.  Achieving results with your own business idea takes that elusive special “something,” the moxie or secret sauce that is ethereal and difficult to describe.  This is  why there are no go-to resources on the web or in books that anyone can use to hit the proverbial home run with their business idea.  Even the most respected business schools cannot promise you skills and strategies to make a winning run at launching your business idea.  Still, there are a few schools famous for their entrepreneurship programs, but do you have the chops to get accepted to schools like Stanford or Haas?  Even if you do, you can’t rely on the school to get you to self-made mogul status.  It’s got to be inside you already.  And if it is, you might be better off putting that $200K into your business.
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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Take One For the Team  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2020, 19:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Take One For the Team
One of the most important things to demonstrate when applying to business school is teamwork skills. Applying to business school requires a deep and thoughtful self assessment as well as a thorough and accurate demonstration of some critical core competencies including aptitude for quantitative analysis, leadership potential and most importantly, teamwork skills.
Business is a team sport and top b-schools are serious about bringing in candidates who play well in the sandbox with others.  They have also gotten really good at sniffing out who don’t. But why is teamwork so important?
Just about everything in b-school is done as a group. There is actually very little individual work in a business school curriculum.  Sometimes, even tests are done with your study group or class partner.  The reason for this is that business schools know in the real world, nobody works in a vacuum.  Getting along with others is a critical skill to achieving results in the workplace and most projects on the job are done either in concert with others or with the approval of others.  When you go to business school, the assignments and projects are allocated accordingly and professors are often just as interested in seeing how you perform with partners and groups as they are interested in your individual performance.
Teamwork is not always easy to demonstrate. Saying you are a people person is easy but showing that you are one is hard.  Start by telling business schools about projects or activities which required you to work with others.  This sounds simple, but a common mistake b-school applicants make is to over-emphasize their personal achievements because they feel like they need to impress the admissions committee.  What really impresses the adcom is to talk about how your achievements came by leveraging the collective power of collaboration. 
Working across varied cultures or locales is particularly impressive.The world is a global marketplace and working with diverse teams especially in areas outside the US tells the admissions committees you offer a unique perspective that will be valuable to your classmates.  Since what you bring to the table is just as (if not more) valuable than what you have accomplished at work, convincing the adcoms you can work in a culturally diverse environment will communicate your value working in a culturally diverse classroom.  B-school students hail from almost every developed country in the world, with a typical class being at least 30% international.  Being able to bridge this culture gap by leveraging your experience having worked in a culturally rich environment will only encourage the top schools to bring you in.
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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Online MBAs  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jan 2020, 20:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Online MBAs
Once a joke in the MBA universe, the online MBA has come of age.Getting an MBA used to be a two choice option:  full time or part time.  Now, there are so many versions of the MBA degree, it’s almost hard to keep up.  Add to that all the new MBA alternatives, such as MSM, MiM and of course just a good, old-fashioned Masters degree in Finance, Accounting, Marketing or even Data Analytics, and it gets really overwhelming.
Our digital age has legitimized online degrees. In most cases, there is no difference at all on the diploma you receive nor what you see on resumes, so unless an employer asks explicitly, there is literally no distinguishing someone who earns their degree in person or online.  Even background checks will not reveal how a degree was obtained, only verifies whether you have the credential or not.  This is good news for those who for whatever reason either choose to get their degree online or must do so for some other reason. 
Just like in-person degrees, the online MBA choice is about the granting institution. While the online MBA has become a perfectly acceptable choice professionally, the overall quality and reputation of the degree will be connected to the school from which you obtain it, just like all the traditional MBA degrees.  You should choose a school the same way you would have chosen a school if you were going in person---look at the rankings and reputation and also figure out the kinds of recruiters, employers and internships that commonly associate with the students and graduates.  The one exception to this is school culture.  The online degree experience is clearly not comparable culture-wise to what you experience on campus.  Even online degrees which have a portion of the requirement on campus, you just won’t get enough time with your fellow classmates to really get a sense of personality or culture within the program like you would have if you had gone traditionally.
Expect the cost to be more. That’s right, often the online version of a degree can be even more expensive than the in-degree one.  This is not always the case, but some schools have figured out that students are willing to pay a premium for the convenience, and like EMBA programs, they know that most participants are working full time and have the extra disposable cash to spend.
Most of the top schools do not offer an online-only option.  If your hopes are to ever get a Harvard MBA online, don’t hold your breath.  Top schools still rely heavily on the benefits of a cohort-driven, in-person MBA program.  While there are schools in the top 20 with online programs, the bulk still rely on the time-tested tradition of the on-campus MBA degree.  Unfortunately for MBA seekers, applying and getting accepted to the top online programs is often just as hard or harder than going the traditional route.
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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Going Global  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Feb 2020, 21:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Going Global
Getting into business school is a lot easier if you bring some international experience to the table. The global marketplace is not just lip service anymore.  Few companies in the Fortune 500 lack an international presence or at the very least, deal with international vendors or suppliers.  This means that having a global perspective on business is not just an interesting bonus for the admissions committees, it’s almost gotten to the point of being a requirement. 
Having a global perspective is more than just business knowledge. It’s about being able to bridge the cultural gap between US-domestic students and international students in your cohort. Bringing real global experience to the table is incredibly valuable since much of what you learn in business school is from your fellow classmates.  When adcoms are trying to bring new students into the mix they want students with a diversity of experience and perspectives. Having an international viewpoint which stems from real world global experience, it’s like a bonus for the admissions team.
International experience doesn’t necessarily have to be business experience. There are lots of ways to demonstrate an international perspective beyond just working for a multinational business.  Perhaps you work in the US, but you often collaborate with international teams in other offices?  Or maybe you have dealings with international vendors or suppliers?  Some people are just well traveled, and while they have zero work experience outside the US, they have a broad or deep knowledge of international culture from either their family background or personal travel experiences.  Whatever you can show to demonstrate an understanding and empathy for global culture or business practices is potentially valuable in an MBA application.
What if you are coming up short on global experience? There’s not a whole lot you can do other than defer your application until you get some international experience.  If you can punt your application to a later round, it might give you time to request an international assignment from your boss, or perhaps even switch to another job altogether which can broaden your horizons.
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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Groundhog Season  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Feb 2020, 18:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Groundhog Season
Groundhog Day has come and gone.  With the predicted early springs fast approaching, what are you doing at work to enhance your MBA readiness? We just had the warmest January on record which, when coupled with Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of an early spring, will hopefully ignite some energetic inspiration in your daily work grind.  Whether you have already been accepted to b-school or are just beginning to think about applying, the most important thing you can do right now is to maximize your impact and effectiveness on the job.
Besides your GMAT score, the single most determining factor of b-school readiness is the quality of your work experience.Admissions committees heavily scrutinize not only what you have done in your career, but where you have done it and how well you have done it.  If you can imagine how mundane it must get for the readers of your essays to see the trite and tired usual suspects each year, you will have insight into how difficult it must be to differentiate amongst applicants. 
This is what most MBA hopefuls fail to think about:  how they truly compare against someone exactly like themselves. The best way to combat banal work syndrome is to simply do some really impressive things at work.  While you may have the same title and similar responsibilities, only you have your unique experience, so you need to put considerable time into making that experience truly special.  Avoid describing your responsibilities with industry-specific language and details.  Remember that admissions committee members will likely not have any experience in your field, so using layman’s terminology and straightforward but descriptive words vs. jargon will be far better received.
Claiming you have had an impact is one thing, but demonstrating your impact is more effective. Don’t fall into the trap of just describing what you do, rather write in your essays about how you do it differently and why you even do it in the first place.  When you explain how your work affects others it will provide valuable insight into what makes you tick, which is way more interesting to business schools.  Once you have some differentiated stories of impact to relate, make sure you remind your recommenders about them.  There’s nothing more powerful than third party corroboration and being in sync with those who vouch for you in the application process will make for a consistent narrative that will be memorable.  And at the end of the day, being remembered in the MBA application process is a coveted goal.
For information on how we can guide your business school applications, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contactProvide
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The Bleak Midwinter  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Feb 2020, 20:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: The Bleak Midwinter

Winter is the ideal time to snuggle in and begin making progress towards a winning MBA application.  Are you taking full advantage?Unless you’re off skiing every weekend, the bleak midwinter is extremely useful for guarding against the avalanche of things you need to do before pushing the submit button.  Not only are you able to find time for yourself to work through the seemingly endless list of to-dos, but also the others you will need to work with to get everything done will have more time too.
Finding a consultant you like is far easier to do in the off season. Consultants are not very busy right now, so are more willing to take some extra time to answer your initial questions.  Finding a good fit with a consultant is very important, since you will be working with them over a period of several months.  Come summer, they will all be covered in work with new clients, so finding someone now and building rapport will position you well when things begin getting crazy later.
Tracking down old documentation takes more time than most people realize. Did you know that b-schools require official copies of transcripts from every single undergraduate institution you attended?  That’s right---even the little community college course you took when you were home for the summer several years ago will need to be properly documented if you used that course towards your ultimate degree.  Often smaller schools will require that you show up in person to retrieve these official copies, although most have gotten better about providing them electronically.  Still, with all the small college consolidation that has gone on in the past many years, it’s a good idea to get on these tasks earlier rather than later, especially if you are going to be applying to multiple schools, all of which may have different documentation requirements.
Reaching out to potential recommenders is best done sooner than later. People are busy.  Don’t expect it to be easy to get a well-written, thoughtful recommendation without putting in some time beforehand with some people you trust and who know your background intimately.  Simply asking for a recommendation is not enough.  You have to meet with or at least speak with potential recommenders to unpack you vision and plans---and to remind them of your achievements and positive qualities.  If you take folks to lunch now, you will not only be ahead of the game when things get busy, but you will also appear to be well-organized and thoughtful to those whom will validate your MBA readiness through strong recommendations.
Self-reflection time is far under-rated. Taking a few weekends to marinate in your past and really think about why you are undertaking the MBA journey at all will pay dividends by the time applications are released.  You may think you have all these answers squared away already, but experience has demonstrated that most MBA applicants go through at least one major re-tooling of their story and approach by the time their applications are finished.  Leverage the bleak midwinter to wring out the first iteration of your MBA strategy so you can move along to what’s really going to work for your admission.
For information on how we can guide your business school applications, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contactProvide
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The Busy Executive MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2020, 14:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: The Busy Executive MBA

No time to go back for your MBA?  It may be easier than you think to make it happen.
The busy executive is a universal trope and finding time to keep all the plates spinning requires an ever-increasing level of skill.  Just keeping up with technology advances is hard enough, but what about other areas such as leadership, innovation and strategy?
Most executives at some point in their careers find themselves having risen to the point of incompetence.
This is also known as the Peter Principle, named for Laurence J. Peter who wrote a book in 1969 by the same title which postulates that in hierarchical organizations, leaders tend to get promoted based on their success until they reach a point where they no longer have the skills and abilities to adequately execute in their current role.  The Peter Principle is basically what sends crowds of busy executives clamoring for an MBA, so they can shore up the shortcomings that have come with higher levels of responsibility.
The executive MBA has evolved along with the high-demand needs of the marketplace.
In response to the ever-increasing workload which has only been matched with the skyrocketing compensation of successful c-suite executives, MBA programs have become more creative in offering a pace and schedule that is more easily accomodated, all without sacrificing the exeperiential quality of any good full time program. Keeping up with everything is not easy, but anything worth pursuing rarely is. The key will be finding a program that fits not only your schedule, but also your desired method of learning.
Also remember that most quality exec programs require at least ten years of high-level business experience so your classmates can actually learn something of value from you.
Not all top programs even have an executive MBA program.
Hoping to get that Harvard MBA as an executive?  Sorry, but they don’t offer anything but the full time two-year program.  While they do have some executive seminars and sessions, only those who attend HBS in their traditional MBA program can call themselves Harvard MBAs.  Still, there are other well-respected programs in the top tier which do have executive programs, so once you have narrowed it down, reach out for guidance on how you can ensure you get in.
For information on how we can guide your business school applications, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contactProvide
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Crushing IT  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2020, 17:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Crushing IT
It’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.  Here’s how you can tell MBA programs you are crushing it without coming off as obnoxious. The profile characteristics of a top MBA program candidate is, in a word, impressive.  Not only do they possess the indicators which are self-evident of achievement and smarts (such as a 700+ GMAT score or a high GPA, credentials which need no explanation), they generally also have a laundry list of other lofty accomplishments which would intimidate even the most ambitious professional.
Sometimes it’s difficult to promote your successes without appearing boastful.
One of the first things you are told when applying to b-school is that you must toot your own horn.  If you fail to demonstrate your strengths yourself, there’s nobody else who will.  Often this results in essays or interviews where the applicant comes off as arrogant or prideful.  While adcoms understand that people have good reasons to be proud of their career, they are always very cautious to make sure they are inviting MBA candidates into their program who also understand teamwork and can play in the sandbox well with others.  It’s not that they want to “put people in their place,” but rather, they want to ensure everyone gets along.  The MBA curriculum is busy, so the administration and staff can’t be spending their time breaking up arguments or mediating difficult classmate interactions.
How do you draw attention to yourself without turning people off?
In written form, be factual and don’t over-embellish.  When writing about your job accomplishments, it’s fine to tell them you were the top sales person in a certain quarter or that you exceeded goals, but don’t go subjective with words like being the “best,” especially referring to yourself as better than others.   Business is competitive to be sure, and business school can be competitive as well, but you should never position yourself as being competitive against your colleagues.
Draw attention to progress and upward mobility towards a vision.
The bottom line is, there’s a difference between touting your achievements and weaving a story of success that has propelled you towards a vision for your future.  Business schools are attracted to candidates who have a clear understanding of where they are headed and a solid plan for how they will get there.  When you can demonstrate steps you have taken or progress you have made in your career to this end, you will be far better positioned than someone who merely describes a goal or metric they have achieved in the workplace.  In the end, don’t be nervous about illustrating your accomplishments.  If you’re truly crushing it, you won’t have to work too hard for that to be obvious.
For information on how we can guide your business school applications, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contactProvide

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Brand Name MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Mar 2020, 06:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Brand Name MBA
Is the business school you are targeting on the A-list?  Getting an MBA and getting an A-list MBA are two different things.  What is an A-list MBA?  Pretty much anything in the top tier, or the top 30. Given that there are over 1000 MBA programs in the US alone, being in the top 30 is impressive indeed.
Does is really make a difference if you go to a top tier school or not?The answer, like most things, is it depends.  In order for business schools to offer an MBA degree, they must be accredited by the AACSB, so any MBA program you attend will offer you the same kinds of core classes .  So why should it matter where you go?
The better the school, the better the faculty. Just like Fortune 50 companies attract top talent as employees, so do top business schools attract star faculty.  Top faculty in turn get high profile publications and further enhance that school’s reputation.  The reputation is what attracts top students to apply and the momentum builds.  This is why it’s so hard for schools who are not already in the top tier to break in.  Once a school establishes itself as a top institution, it becomes very hard for other schools to knock it down.  The money that flows in only adds to the school’s fortified position.
Why should you care about how well your school is ranked? In a word, jobs.  Most companies limit the schools where they recruit.  Top companies recruit from top schools, so if you think all MBAs are created equally, you will be in for a big shock if you try to go get a job for a big company like Amazon or Coca-Cola only to be told your school is not on the list.  Make sure you do your research on which schools your targeted employer recruits from before you waste time applying.  Career centers are more than willing and able to provide you with a list of their most prolific recruiters. The tough part, of course, is getting in.
For information on how we can guide your business school applications, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or go to http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contactProvide

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New post 01 Mar 2020, 14:01
FROM Amerasia MBA Blog: Candyland
Getting your MBA is like a trip to Candyland.It’s not often spoken about, but going back to business school is really kind of a cake walk.  A rather easy affair.  How can this be, given the horror stories of drinking from the firehose and pulling all-nighters?  Let me be clear: nobody fails out of b-school.  There’s no thesis to write and no research.  You don’t even have to write any papers.  In short, getting through business school is really like a trip to Candyland---you get to spend two years sampling your favorite treats and you leave satisfied.
Why does business school have a reputation for being so intense? Just because it’s hard to fail out doesn’t mean everything about b-school is easy, but the things that make business school difficult at all are typically the things MBA candidates are naturally good at such as time management and working hard.  Do you have to study?  Absolutely.  Do you have to spend considerable time out of class doing work?  Yes.  But because it’s subject matter you truly enjoy and are going to leverage to open up your entire future career vision, everyone seems to find the extra energy required.  Like anything difficult, MBA programs leave you with an extreme amount of accomplishment at graduation, a professional glow that remains throughout your entire career if you leverage it well.
The toughest part about business school is getting in.The dirty little secret about how easy b-school is relative to other graduate program has a flip side: it’s a lot tougher to get admitted than those other programs.  The selectivity of business school is also why it has such a high graduation rate---it’s bringing in some of the most successful, driven and high-performing young  people in the world.  This, in turn makes it even more competitive in the application process.  It’s truly a nasty catch-22.  As application season draws nearer with each passing month, you must begin putting real effort into plotting your MBA game plan.
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 via http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact

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