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Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs

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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Oct 2018, 04:02
FROM Nomadsmba: Interview prep…
Preparing for the Tuck interview took a lot of research and speaking to a current student. If you can also get access to alumni you should take advantage of this. The first thing I did was to go on MBA forums to search for all the possible questions I could be asked and prepared answers for them. I also decided on the ‘scenario’ to use for certain types of question e.g. “tell me about a time where you showed leadership.” Remember that you could be asked for instances at work or outside work so don’t just focus on work related responses. I won’t bore you with the exhaustive list but will tell you what I got asked. The questions I am 100% sure you will get asked and I got asked are:

Why an MBA? This is a question I have discussed previously with you and is also the title of one of my blogs. You have to convince them you have thought through why you want to do an MBA and how it is the logical next step. This kind of follows on to some cases where you also get asked “Why now?” with the the “Why an MBA” question. In answering the “Why an MBA?” question you will usually find yourself answering the “Why now?” question as well.

Walk me through your resume. This is a standard question and was the one I spent a lot of time preparing for. You will be surprised how tough preparing for this question is. You want to go through your timeline starting with the earliest e.g. I always start with “My name is ….. and I was born in ….. I graduated from the University of …. ” I then go on to talk about my different professional roles. When talking about your roles it is important to highlight your key achievements in each role. I used the STAR approach (Situation, Task, Action, Result). There are a number of websites that offer advice on this that are just a google search away. You do not want to spend more than 2 mins going through your whole resume. You also want to go through a number of dry runs where you record your voice and listen back. It took 20 attempts to get to a point where I could do the walk through in 2 mins.

The other questions I got asked were “What do you think of Hanover”, “What will you contribute to the Tuck environment”, “Give me an example of when you had to deal with a difficult individual at work”, “What has been your biggest achievement so far.” The interviewer had a genuine interest in where I was from and wanted to know what the biggest difference was when I moved back home after being abroad for a number of years.

The Tuck interviewer was very friendly and the interview was more of a conversation. You however do not want to get too relaxed and should always remember this is a formal interview.

This was a virtual interview due to my location. Tuck send you a calendar of all the available slots and I was allowed to pick one that was convenient for me. A second year conducted the interview and they contacted me before the interview date to provide their skype number. You should do a dry run under interview conditions and consider the following:

  • The interview time was in EST. I had to find out what time this would be in my country.
  • As I hadn’t used skype in a while I had to ensure my log in details still worked and my profile picture was appropriate.
  • I needed to figure out whether to use a laptop, phone or notepad (this was discounted as the skype version that was available was no longer supported on my notepad!).
  • Ensure your audio and video work well.
  • Find the most appropriate internet connection. My country has terrible internet connection so I wanted to make sure the time of the interview wasn’t during peak usage hours. I also made the interviewer aware that it could get disconnected anytime during the conversation.
  • Power outages. This is another issue where I am from and I had to select a location where I was guarded against this during the time of the interview.
  • You also need to be in a room where you won’t get interrupted.
I have attached a youtube video which helped me prepare for my virtual interview by Curry College

I think the interview went well but I will just have to wait till decision day to know. I am yet to hear from Ross or McCombs
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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New post 15 Oct 2018, 05:02
FROM Nomadsmba: The age old problem…
I have decided to write on this as its one I get asked all the time and is also one that has always been at the back of my mind. As you would have noticed from my profile, I am in my mid-thirties. I had initially decided to just do a Masters in Finance (MSF) at McCombs which is a 10mth intensive program. In addition I would have been allowed to work in the States for 3 years as the course will be STEM eligible in 2019. I had given up on the idea of a full time MBA as I thought I was too old. I definitely don’t want to do an online MBA as I think the benefits to me will be minimal while a part time MBA was not an option as I am not resident in the States. The average age of most MBA classes in the US is 28. Of course this means you have candidates on either side of 28 but if you drill down to the age range, you will find the upper range to be 34/35 which will suggest I will, more likely than not, be an outlier in any program that takes me.

From speaking to a number of admission officers from Tuck, Fuqua, Cornell, Darden, Stern, the general feedback is age is not a factor for them. What is most important to them is your reason for wanting to do an MBA and how you will contribute to the program. A lot of them will tell you about a 40 year old they had in one of their classes. But when you go ahead and look at different posts, you will hear a lot of talk on why recruiters prefer candidates between the ages of 28 and 32. This generally revolve around the demands of investment banking and consulting being for much younger people and being too old for a leadership development program.

My conclusion is that you should just apply to the school of your choice. The most important factors are why you want to do an MBA and why you think this is the best time for you to do it. If you go through this process and still feel a full time program is the best choice for you then just go ahead and apply. You might want to research the age range of various full time programs to see which one suits your age profile the most. Try and make the most compelling case for their program through your resume and essays. No one can tell you what will be going through the mind of the admission officer that will process your application. You just never know!
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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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Oct 2018, 01:02
FROM Nomadsmba: GRE vs GMAT
I know this was a subsection in an earlier blog – Before the application windows open… – but I did a bit more research and let’s just say it left me nervous.

Most schools will tell you that they do not have a preference for which test a candidate takes and treat both equally. All the admission officers I spoke to also echoed the same sentiments. However when I researched this a bit further, the data left me confused and I will tell you why.

So I got an average GRE of 320 (Q158, V162). This is the 68th percentile for Q and the 91st percentile for V. I wasn’t too please with the quant results but this was after a couple of attempts. If one isn’t too careful, you can end up spending a lot of money redoing tests believing you can do better the next time round. When you use the GRE to GMAT converter provided by ETS, this equates to a GMAT score of 630. I was left crushed. As you will see when you look at the top MBA programs, you need a score of over 730 to be competitive.

You always get told that MBA admissions teams consider the entirety of your application and no one area carries more weight than the other. Let’s just say this hasn’t made me feel any better. I was also a bit confused in addition to being crushed.

I then thought, if Iuse my percentiles and apply them to the GMAT I would have a total score of 710 (Q47, V40). However this is very different to how the converter calculates. There are a lot of technicalities in how they compute the conversion but in looking at a lot of the articles that compare the GRE and GMAT, the general conclusion is that for quants, the GMAT is tougher and for verbal, the GRE is tougher. I can go on and on as to why I do not feel the conversions are appropriate but I know a number of you will tell me to just study harder and get better marks!

Most MBA schools do not publish the average GRE scores of their MBA classes. MBA Crystal Ball however provides some insight. The fact that schools do not publish their average GRE scores also adds to my worry in that they believe these are generally weaker than their GMAT equivalent which is a shame if true.

Unfortunately this is one topic I do not have an opinion on as all the information out there is just conjecture. The only useful information will be from admissions teams but they do not provide any. Even if they did it will surely vary from school to school. Again you will find a lot of material out there and most of which isn’t in favour of the GRE. I however do believe that you should take the test you are most comfortable with and give it your all. I will take the admissions officers at their word in that it’s your all round application that matters. You also have the opportunity to bolster scores you do not deem strong enough by taking additional verbal and quant classes. I for example have taken professional accountancy courses. A friend also made me aware of this course that is run by Berkeley. At $825 it is not cheap. There are also much cheaper courses run by Udemy and Coursera that are good. I will however discourage you from submitting the results from these classes if they are not strong. I have already been invited to interview by Tuck so that should count for something. I guess we will know better come decision date!

As always I welcome any feedback or insight into the topics discussed. I am happy to put my hands up and accept that I do not know that much when it comes to MBAs. All I provide here are my thoughts and experiences. Have a wonderful day!
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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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2018, 10:13
FROM AUSJ: Introduction
I’m making this blog hoping that it others may find useful during their MBA Journey.

A bit about me;

I am Australian with;  4 years experience in Consulting , a below average GMAT, and significant experience in Asia  targeting T10 US Schools as well as INSEAD / LBS.

 
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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R1 Strategy and Essays  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2018, 10:13
1
FROM AUSJ: R1 Strategy and Essays
Last week was my final application for R1 (Duke) and has finally given me some time to breathe and start writing this blog.

The schools I applied to R1 are as follows;

  • London Business School
  • Dartmouth Tuck
  • Berkeley Haas
  • Duke Fuqua
  • Yale SOM
I’d also intended to apply to INSEAD and Ross however I massively underestimated INSEADs essay and had issues with the LOR for Ross, meaning I will push those schools back to R2.

Why did I chose these schools?

I wanted schools that ;

  • Are well known internationally and travel well (particularly in Australia / Asia)
  • That place relatively well into consulting &/or tech
  • That I head a realistic shot of getting into with a below average GMAT.
 

As for the essays, I cannot understate how draining writing and editing essays is, particularly if you are applying to many schools. As mentioned, I’d originally planned to apply to 7 schools in R1 but only ended up applying to 5. I also started writing them very late in the application cycle (mid-August) which gave me 6 weeks max for Duke and only 4 weeks for LBS.

Thankfully I began with Ross and the 3 mini essays as well as standard career goals essay formed a solid base for the rest of my applications. Once I had my career goals and why MBA story nailed, much of the other essays were significantly quicker, i.e LBS and Haas.

The essays I spent the most time on where definitely Duke and Tuck. Duke’s 25 random thing seems easy but is actually incredibly challenging. I consider myself to be a fairly interesting person with a lot of unique experiences but still struggled once I hit the 20 mark. Tuck’s ‘Nice Essay’ was also very difficult. Explaining in detail a time when I helped someone else succeed in 500 words took a lot of reflection and introspection, something that I found much more challenging than the traditional why MBA essay.

Key Takeaway

Start with career goals and why MBA essay first and get a solid story locked down. You should be able to use this as a base for all other schools. Then move onto the personal and reflection essays allowing yourself significant time for introspection.

 
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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Journey to Tuck Part 1  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2018, 18:02
FROM AUSJ: Journey to Tuck Part 1
To self initiate or not? 

So Tuck has always been one of my top choice schools ever since I began researching MBA programs. The tight knit community,  outdoor focused location,  strength in consulting, and focus on international experiences (TuckGO) made it very very appealing.

Tuck is a little different to other schools in that you can actually self initiate an interview with the school. If you don’t self initiate then you have to be invited from the adcoms to interview.  I always considered Tuck somewhat of a reach for me due to being below the GMAT average and because of this, I didn’t actually self initiate an interview in NH. I decided it wasn’t worth the risk of  2k USD , 30 hours of flying and 3 of my prized annual leave days (Asia doesn’t value annual leave compared to Australia) on a potentially fruitless endeavor and instead, I hoped for an interview invite.

I didn’t make this decision lightly. According to some data analysis on gmatclub , GMAT Club Data Crunch, interviewing at tuck gives you an admission chance of 42%. This in comparison to their admit rate of around %20 suggests that you basically double your chance of admission simply by visiting Tuck and interviewing.

Thankfully, to my surprise,  I received an invitation to interview just 5 days after application deadlines. I was shocked that Tuck was able to get through my application so fast and decide that I was worthy of an interview. This filled me with a bit of confidence that my application strategy and essays were quite strong.

Adcom Initiated Interview 

The adcom initiated interview lists 3 different interview options;

  • Visit Hanover, NH and interview in person
  • Visit a hub city and interview.
  • Do a virtual interview (skype)
 

After checking where the hub cities where, I realised most of them were in India and South America  That rules out option 1. I also really dislike skype interviews as I am way too awkward and never sure where to look. Option 2 ruled out.

That only left me with option one – to visit Tuck in person. It was clear at this point that Tuck was at least somewhat interested in my application so I have decided to take the plunge and visit Tuck in person. My interview and class visit is in the first week of November. Unfortunately due to a hectic work schedule I have less than 24 hours scheduled in Hanover but nonetheless, am very much looking forward to visiting in person.

Next steps

Flights are booked, hotel in NYC is booked and Airbnb in Hanover is booked.

Time to spend the next 2 weeks prepping for my interview.
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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R1 Update and LBS Interview Details  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2018, 22:02
FROM AUSJ: R1 Update and LBS Interview Details
Unexpected but welcome results

To be completely honest I’m surprised how well R1 has gone for me. Not to humble brag but so far I have received interview invites to 4 out of the 5 schools I’ve applied to, all scheduled over the coming weeks

  • London Business School : Alumni Interview
  • Darmouth Tuck :  On Campus (See my other post)
  • Yale SOM: Skype Interview
  • Berkeley Haas: Alumni Interview
  • Duke Fuqua: Nov 8 release date.
Being below the GMAT average for pretty much all schools I’ve applied to, receiving these interview invites has been a great feeling. It seems school are at least somewhat interested in me and my story.

The last of the interview invites to come in was from Haas, which was the one I least expected.  Haas acceptance rate is about 12% which is around the same as MIT Sloan and Harvard and only properly beaten by Stanford GSB at a grueling  6%. Haas admits about 50% of people that they interview so at this point it looks like  I have a 1/2 chance of getting into Haas.

LBS and the non blind interview

From what I understand so far, all school interviews will be blind. Meaning that the interviewer only has access to my resume. One school that does not follow this process is LBS. My understanding is that the  LBS  alumnus has access to my full application, including essays, transcript and resume etc.  I’m not sure how this changes things, if at all, but I am curious to see if there is any difference based on this information.

LBS and the video interview

In addition to an Alumni interview, LBS also asks applicants to do a recorded interview with 2 questions – one known question and one unknown question.

“As part of the video component, we will ask you to answer two video questions, one of which will be:

1)      What will you gain from the London Business School MBA Programme that you won’t gain from another MBA programme?”

As mentioned in another post, I really dislike video interviews but nonetheless, they are a necessary component of the application process.  I’ve been delaying this video interview and now just have one week left to complete it. Time to start preparing I guess .

 

 
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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McCombs Interview  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2018, 07:02
FROM Nomadsmba: McCombs Interview
Apologies for the mini-break. I know I started off by writing a number of blogs in a short space of time and then went AWOL. I promise you this was not intentional and was work related. I was put on a new engagement on very short notice. It has been an intense couple of weeks having to deal with a very difficult Client but I now have some breathing time which I have decided to use writing this. The only upside to this is I can say I have more examples for my interview on ‘dealing with difficult Clients and how I handled the situation..’

I was invited to interview with McCombs and scheduled the online video interview for  Tuesday (23rd October). McCombs allows you three options to interview – On campus, Alumni or online. On campus was not a possibility as I am located on a different continent, I initially opted for the Alumni but when I tried to find one in my area none came up so I was left with the online option.

I had a conversation with a family friend who is a current first year student at McCombs to get an insight into the culture and his experiences at McCombs. I cannot emphasise how useful this is. Speaking to the admissions officers is one thing as they will always tell you the positives of the school but having someone who will be frank with you is invaluable. If you are wondering, he had mostly positive things to say about McCombs. His only concerns were not specific to McCombs but the MBA in general. These included the workload – especially for those who do not have an economics or finance background

McCombs send you a link which can be activated at the time scheduled for the interview. You are not able to access the link beforehand. This obviously got me nervous as I wasn’t sure of its compatibility with my laptop (it is a work laptop so there was a risk of it being one of the many links that are blocked) and wasn’t able to test it before hand. I took my personal laptop with me as a precaution.

At the time of the interview I was able to log in with no issues. The internet connection was intermittent on my end which got a bit frustrating but I had already explained this to the interviewer beforehand and she was understanding. The interviewer was a second year student who made every effort to put me at ease. She asked the usual questions:

  • Tell me about yourself, walk me through your resume
  • Why an MBA?
  • Why now?
  • What are your short and long term goals?
  • How will McCombs help you achieve this? Why McCombs?
  • Tell me about your proudest achievement (could be anything, not just workplace related)
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a challenging situation at work and how did you resolve it?
  • She then left time for questions
I thought the interview went really well but as is always the case, one won’t know until decision day! So far I have been impressed with the interviewers from Tuck and McCombs. They were both warm and friendly and made every effort to keep the interview as conversational as possible.e
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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Rice Interview  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2018, 12:02
FROM Nomadsmba: Rice Interview
A couple of days after the McCombs interview I had my Rice interview. I chose to have them a couple of days apart because I knew I would have some capacity and didn’t want to risk scheduling the Rice interview for the following week and something coming up at work (and that is exactly what happened).

I have been most impressed with Rice as a whole even though I wasn’t able to meet anyone from their admissions team. For example, I noticed that their website did not have any information on the experiences of the spouses of students and this is something my other half wanted some insight on. I reached out to them asking where I could get this information. The admissions officer provided a detailed response where she shared a number of ways spouses are made to feel a part of the community. I then got a message two days later from a second year student saying the admissions officer had been in touch informing him I wanted to know about the experiences of the spouses of MBA students and that he would be happy to have a chat with me. He is married and shared the experiences of his wife. He was very generous with his time (call lasted about 30/40 mins) and the conversation went really well. This all happened before the interview.

Like McCombs, Rice send you a link to access the interview at the time given. The interviewer was a second year student, and has been the case with my interaction throughout the process with Rice he was very pleasant. He asked all the same questions as with McCombs. What was interesting about him was he also shared his own experiences of the questions he asked which enabled me get to know him better. He encouraged me to ask him as many questions as I could and we have kept in touch since. Rice are a very small, tight knit community and this has been very apparent in my experiences with them.

 
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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Re: Directory of MBA Applicant Blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2018, 17:37
I interviewed for a few schools and in general they ask:

- Why an MBA & Why now?
- How will you help your class?
- Why the school?
- Behaviorals (leadership, adverse situation, etc.)
- Long term goal & where do you see yourself in the next 5 years
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Ross Interview  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Nov 2018, 09:02
FROM Nomadsmba: Ross Interview
I had my Ross interview last week. At one point, I thought I was going to miss it. The calendar on my phone reminded me that the interview was meant to be at 4:45 pm my time. It had been a really busy day on my Client’s site and I was only able to get away at 4:30 pm but then got stuck in rush hour traffic. The interview was meant to be via Skype. I received a ‘wave’ from the Ross Admissions team at 4:40 pm on Skype at which point I was still on the way to my office where I had booked a meeting room to have the call.

I finally arrived at 4:50 pm and was convinced I had screwed up. Things only got worse when I tried to call them back on Skype and there was no answer. I then decided to call the Admissions Officer who had confirmed the interview details. She was really lovely and told me my interview wasn’t for another hour. So for some reason I got my EST conversion all wrong. This was a blessing in disguise as I was able to compose myself and do some last minute preparations.

The interview seemed to go well. Ross are the only school who had said I should have a form of identification ready for the call but they didn’t ask for it. The interview was with a second year student. She started off by telling me about herself (her background and what she was doing at Ross). She was on a dual degree programme (I will talk about this later). We then went into the standard MBA questions: Tell me about yourself? Why you want to want to do an MBA now? Why Ross? etc. We then got to the scenario based questions and she asked me about:

  • a time when I encountered difficulties while on a job and how I managed to come through;
  • a situation where I had shown leadership;
  • a situation where I had to work with different functions/unit to deliver a project, and;
  • an experience of working with a difficult manager.
When she finished with her questions she then gave me the opportunity to ask mine which I did. I have become more interested in dual degree programs as I have gone through this MBA process. I will explain this in another blog. This is where I feel Ross has a big advantage. One of the stats they are very proud of is that they have 97 top 10 graduate programs. Students are also allowed to self initiate their dual degree programs. This gives students the opportunity to create a ‘specialised academic program to meet their specific career interest.’ To do this you have to be accepted by both the schools you are interested in. The advantage of this is you can wait till you have started your first program and then apply to the additional academic unit you are interested in. It is then up to you and the faculty to come up with an agreed plan to complete the program. From my understanding the dual degree programs usually take 3 years but I think if you pick two programs that have similar allowable credits you have the opportunity to double count which could reduce the time. This is my understanding of the information I have gathered through speaking to my interviewer and my research but am happy to be corrected.
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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Me, Myself & OPT  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2018, 03:02
FROM Nomadsmba: Me, Myself & OPT
This is probably the most concerning issue for us international students. Getting a job in the US post MBA. I constantly ask myself what the job prospects are as an international student? How my lack of US citizenship/green card impacts my chances of landing internships? What will be the impact of the current climate – Trump and all – on me? From my interactions with current students and alumni these concerns are valid and is something we as international students seriously need to consider when applying to business schools in the US.

As international students on F1 status, we are entitled to the OPT. What is OPT? According to Wikipedia, OPT (Optional Practical Training) “is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students with F-1 status who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than three months are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work for one year on a student visa towards getting practical training to complement their education.”

If you complete a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) designated program, and meet other specified requirements, you are allowed to apply for a 24 month extension after completing your OPT, giving you a total of 36 months of OPT. So what is the point of all this information I am giving you. Let me try and break it down.

Firstly, my chances of landing an internship are reduced because I am not a US citizen/green card holder. This is the feedback I have received from current international students. One student I spoke to chose her location because they have a large number of tech startups and technology is her passion. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to land an internship with any of them as they do not consider international applicants. Companies argue that they employ graduates from business schools for the long term and the investment is huge. The risk of losing you after one year because you are unable to stay beyond your 12 month OPT is one they are not willing to take.

Secondly, if you are seriously considering working in the US for more than the 12 month OPT, you want to look for a way to get a STEM designation. This is where it gets complicated. Not many of the top business schools have STEM designated MBAs. From my research, University of Rochester became the first school to offer a STEM designated full time MBA. This only happened in 2018. There are a number of schools who already offer specialty Masters of Science degrees that are STEM eligible. McCombs have advised their MSF program will be getting a STEM designation this year. A number of schools offer Master’s degree programs in Data Analytics and Supply Chain Management that are STEM eligible but these are all specialised degrees. University of Wisconsin offer a Supply Chain Management specialization, which is STEM-designated and so do a number of other schools listed in this article. This then brings me to my next point.

This then got me thinking “Isn’t there a way to combine these into one program?” Let me expand. The curriculum for a lot of the MBA programs I looked at have core classes in the first (and sometimes second) semester. After this, are electives where you get to choose your classes. Some schools offer concentrations in Finance, Marketing, Operations, Real Estate etc. where you have to sit a number of specific classes to graduate with a concentration in those areas but generally you are allowed to design the program to suit your interests. I began to wonder if, for example, I go to McCombs, can I pick as my electives all the classes in their MSF program and graduate with a dual degree (MBA/MSF) which will then give me the STEM designation I desire? I have asked this question and am waiting for their response.

Remember I mentioned in my last blog that I will expand on the dual degrees and self initiated degrees at Ross, Michigan. This is an advantage I believe Ross has. They have a number of dual degree programs for the MBA but more importantly they allow students initiate their own dual degree programs so you can pick a program that will qualify for STEM and do it in tandem with your MBA. As previously mentioned, you will have to apply to and be accepted by both programs you are interested in. As an FYI, their Masters in Supply Chain Management is STEM eligible and can be done in conjunction with an MBA.

I personally believe it is important to consider all this while having discussions with potential MBA schools. We need to look beyond just the strength of the school or the program but also the opportunities that will exist in the US (if this is where you will like to work) post graduation. You should ask schools about their STEM eligible programs, whether there is a way to tailor these around an MBA and employment opportunities for international students. Do not think these are no go areas. Schools are aware the applications from international students on the whole has dropped in recent years and they are happy to have conversations on how this can be improved.
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Me, Myself & OPT &nbs [#permalink] 14 Nov 2018, 03:02

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