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Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs

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16 Benefits of an MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Apr 2018, 17:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: 16 Benefits of an MBA
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Earning a professional business degree, or an MBA, can have a number of both expected and unexpected benefits in your life. In fact, those benefits often extend beyond your career and professional goals and are applicable to your non-work life as well.

If you’re on the fence about pursuing an MBA or attempting to weigh the benefits of earning an MBA against its cost, consider these 16 benefits. Some of them may surprise you.

16 Benefits of an MBA
1. Increased Self-Confidence
One study surveyed MBA graduates about their perceived financial and nonfinancial costs and benefits of their professional degree. Surprisingly, increased confidence was one of the highest-weighing and most important nonfinancial benefits of earning an MBA degree.

The feeling of accomplishment and the education and skill sets gained by earning this degree can improve anyone’s confidence as they make their way through the business world—and through life. By earning this degree while also balancing work, family, social life, and other personal commitments (and not losing your sanity) you will find an immense sense of reward and personal achievement.

2. Credibility
There are different ways you can establish credibility in your firm and in your industry. You could volunteer for a project at work that stretches you beyond your comfort zone and shows off your hidden talents to company management. You could begin a solo side business or co-found one with family or friends to establish early credibility as a budding entrepreneur. But the academic version of street cred in the business world is the MBA degree.

3. Transferable Skills
Much of the knowledge and hard and soft skills you gain from earning your MBA is applicable across many industries. You become more skilled and versatile regardless of your industry or job title thanks to widely applicable qualities like leadership, critical and analytical thinking, creativity, and communication. Unlike career-specific advanced degrees like a teaching credential or a medical degree, an MBA can transfer easily to many industries and offer you a wide array of careers throughout your life.

4. Curiosity
MBA graduates often possess an innate and insatiable curiosity. They know there is always something more to learn, and they endeavor to learn it. Earning the degree hones their ability to dig into competitive analyses, study emerging industries, and stay on top of all the newest developments, technologies, and trends in their industry. As Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

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5. Strategic Thinking
The strategic thinking skills you learn while earning your MBA are not only applicable in the business world but across various areas of your life such as your personal goals and finances. You’ll be able to think outside-the-box and weigh multiple options or solutions in your mind while you work to fix a problem.

6. Better Communication
MBA graduates often find themselves communicating better at work with colleagues, bosses, or employees. But these communication skills can also apply at home with your significant other, kids, parents, or siblings, as well as in social situations such as networking events or company functions. Being a better communicator is essential in everyday life, no matter where or when you communicate your needs and ideas for solutions.

7. Self-Discipline
To earn your MBA degree, you have to attend classes and study sessions, complete assignments on time, and push yourself to work through rigorous, complex coursework. Possibly, you have to dothis while you continue to work. All of this takes a level of self-discipline that you may not take to naturally, but can cultivate with time and effort while working through the MBA program.

8. Better Time Management
A side effect of better self-discipline is the ability to better manage time. That could mean better understanding of your capabilities for producing work in an allotted time so you don’t overextend yourself, burn yourself out, or overcommit and underdeliver. It could also mean being more efficient during work hours to get more done in less time or with less effort.

9. Broader Worldview
While earning your MBA, you address big business issues and real-world business challenges which hones your ability to look beyond your role and see how organizations operate as a whole. This also increases your exposure to diverse perspectives on global, social, and business issues as you collaborate with students whose backgrounds, experiences, and career goals differ from yours.

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10. Network of Colleagues
While earning your MBA, you come into contact with faculty and fellow students and alumni of the program who begin to form—or add to your existing—network of colleagues. These include people both within your industry and outside of it, and are often spread out across the world, which can translate to promising opportunities in the future. 

11. More Job Opportunities
Many companies now require or prefer candidates with an MBA for a number of roles. Earning this degree significantly expands the number of potential job opportunities for which you qualify.

12. Differentiation as a Job Candidate
Even if an MBA isn’t a minimum requirement, the degree can be a powerful differentiator when you’re competing against dozens of candidates all vying for the same position—especially when they are all impressive in their own way. But as impressed as employers may be about managerial accomplishments in the field, the fact that you’ve earned an MBA degree is likely to take your application up a notch in the minds of potential employers.

13. A Re-Energized Career
Sometimes you can get stuck in a rut career-wise. Earning an MBA degree can pull you out of a funk, re-energize past career goals, or help you uncover new ones as you work through the program. Whether you’re trying to improve your job position and salary options, or enter the world of entrepreneurialism, this experience could be the motivation you need to jumpstart a new career.

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14. Higher Income
The financial benefits are generally why many people enter MBA programs, but since higher income and signing bonuses are definitely some of the most significant benefits of earning your MBA, we thought it should be included in this list!

15. Better Management of Personal Finances
A sharpened financial acumen is another draw for many MBA applicants, as they can apply these skills to their own personal finances and investments in addition to any business pursuits. Through their coursework, students become better at assessing risk, understanding how inflation and interest rates work, and responding to economic changes and market fluctuations.

16. Increased Creativity
The coursework for an MBA may seem based in facts and numbers, but the entire experience often ends up sharpening creative thinking and inspiring creative endeavors for MBA graduates. Thinking outside the box is just as important for business as it is for art or music.

Did you expect all 16 of these different benefits to come out of earning your MBA? Remember to keep these in mind as you weigh your decision and take the next critical step down your career path.

We invite you to learn more about the Evening & Weekend, Executive, and Full-time MBA Programs at Berkeley Haas. 

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Part-time MBA ROI: A Career Change to Management Consulting  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Apr 2018, 13:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Part-time MBA ROI: A Career Change to Management Consulting
When Desirae Early, MBA 15, looked at part-time MBA programs, the extensive career resources in theEvening & Weekend MBA Programwere an important factor in her decision to enroll at Berkeley-Haas.

She had no idea how important they would prove to be to her ROI. She went from part-time MBA career switcher to entrepreneur back to making a career change—ultimately landing a position with McKinsey & Company.

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It’s not that work as a sustainability specialist at Levi Strauss & Co. wasn’t satisfying,but she was curious about what else was out there. Success in a business plan competition with a full-time MBA student prompted the duo to see if they could launch their own enterprise. While she enjoyed that, it wasn’t quite right either. 

“Classmates and recent grads who work in the (consulting) field were so generous with their insights and advice.”

The more this evening and weekend MBA student talked with the Career Management Group (CMG), the more career panels she attended, the more she felt drawn to management consulting.

For Desirae, consulting constituted meaningful work. Interested in exploring what meaningful work means to you? Get our free ebook.
Her decision made, Desirae jumped into the arduous task of preparing for on-campus recruiting. “I didn’t even know what a case interview was,” she recalls.

It didn’t take her long to learn. CMG’s Jeanne Lew and members of the Haas Consulting Club put her through her paces. “A group of my classmates organized ourselves to practice case studies,” she said. “Classmates and recent grads who work in the field were so generous with their insights and advice.”

The topper may have been Desirae’s experience in Social Sector Solutions, a class in which student teams consult with a nonprofit on a specific issue. Co-led by a former McKinsey director, each team is advised by a McKinsey consultant.

Desirae calls it a “rich experience all the way around. It felt good to help, and I got to test-drive consulting and come away with a portfolio example to show potential employers.”

Potential soon became actual. In Fall 2015, Desirae joined McKinsey & Company as an associate in the Atlanta, Georgia office. “When career doors started opening up, I decided why not try a new city, too? That makes me one more member of the Haas Alumni Network in Atlanta.”

She's found much of what she learned at Berkeley-Haas to be helpful already. “Many of my Berkeley MBA classes have been applicable in my role at McKinsey,” she says. “I used methods taught in Leif Nelson's Marketing Research class to change our approach on a client project. Other skills from marketing, operations, and finance classes are in my mind on a daily basis.”

And she's been happy she made the career change. “Consulting is very fast-paced, and changes day to day,” she says. “One week it might include analysis, problem solving, or even piloting a solution. Getting the client on board with our ideas and proving that a solution works in a short timeframe has been rewarding because you get to see the results and the immediate impact of your work.”

Successful career changes: Just one reason people choose the Berkeley MBA. Is the time right for you? Find out in our free ebook Five Signs You're Ready for an MBA.

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This post has been updated with new quotes. It was originally published February 18, 2015.

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An Executive MBA: Worth So Much More Than the Financial ROI  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Apr 2018, 17:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: An Executive MBA: Worth So Much More Than the Financial ROI
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As an engineer, Tom Duggan (above left) took an analytical approach when considering whether an executive MBA (EMBA) would be worth the time and money. His salary projections led him to expect a marginal return on investment (ROI) over 10 or 15 years. But now, just one year after earning his degree in the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program, he’s made a dream career move that took him from Idaho to California—and achieved his ROI in less than three years.

Born and raised in Ireland, Tom acquired a bachelor’s of engineering degree and a master’s in business from University College Dublin then spent a decade working at Glanbia Nutritionals where he rose from process engineer to director of project management. But in 2015, toward the end of a large capital-investment program, Tom saw an opportunity to pursue his executive MBA. After completing his Berkeley degree in 2017, he joined Delicato Family Vineyards in California’s Central Valley as vice president of engineering and maintenance. Delicato’s operation includes four wineries that collectively produces about five percent of the U.S. wine supply—more than 10 million cases a year.

“This position wasn’t part of a long-term strategy,” Tom says. “It was frightening to move out of my industry and out of my comfort zone, but I’d seen my Haas classmates taking great risks. I applied for it on the spur of the moment, and it really turned out in my favor.” In his new role, he’s doing the same kind of engineering work he’d done before but with projects, divisions, and teams at a much greater scale. Tom’s EMBA has given him the skills to think more strategically, use data more effectively, and ask the right questions. Now he also understands how to motivate and get the best out of people.

Tom’s return on investment began before he’d even completed his EMBA while he was still at his previous job. “Initially I viewed the time and mental energy spent away from work as a cost, but dealing with those challenges forced me to work more strategically,” he says. While still at Glanbia, rather than trying to complete a project as a direct contributor, Tom built a hypothetical organization chart with specialists capable of performing each required function. He lobbied to get the positions approved and built a team to execute the project more efficiently than he could have on his own. At the same time, he created whitespace for himself to be able to continue focusing on higher-level strategic tasks. “That led to being promoted twice at my old job, then rising to my current role as VP of engineering for an entire organization,” he says.

Costs vs. benefits
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Finally, there is the personal ROI. Traveling from Idaho to Berkeley for five days every three weeks added even more time to the classes, assignments, required reading, and stress for Tom. He even had to be in class on his wife’s due date with their first child. But the personal benefits have already paid for that sacrifice many times over, he claims. “Experiencing such a challenging and exciting adventure with 69 other classmates has forged bonds that will last a lifetime,” he says. “I realized a dream to relocate to California and new communication and leadership tools have given me the confidence to aim higher and to become a better husband and father.”

To those considering the costs and benefits of getting an EMBA degree, Tom offers this advice: “When evaluating the time and financial burdens of the endeavor, keep in mind that the benefits in other areas of your life – personally, socially, and emotionally – will considerably outweigh them.”

You can learn more about the ROI of an MBA in 16 Benefits of an MBA. We also invite you to learn more about the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program.

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Why Business School? Berkeley MBA Students Share Their Reasons  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Apr 2018, 12:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Why Business School? Berkeley MBA Students Share Their Reasons
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At its core, a decision to pursue an MBA is a decision to take ownership of one's career. We hear often from students about the desire to explore and to move their careers forward in new ways. They also tell us they want to have greater impact and refuel their passion for work—perhaps find even more meaningful work. They want to hone their leadership skills.

Why go to business school? Here are a few reasons shared by students in the Evening & Weekend, Full-time, and MBA for Executives programs at Berkeley-Haas

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"Prior to business school, I worked in the education sector. After four years in my last role, I started to seek outside opportunities and found other employers were looking for a more professionalized skillset. I knew I needed an MBA if I wanted more career optionality. In the long term, I want to do nonprofit M&A and integration, helping nonprofits deepen impact."—Farah Dilber

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"Being a Student Always includes setting a good example for my children when they see me doing my homework while they are doing theirs. Knowledge is one of the few things in life that gives you more the more you share it with others." — Zeeshan Mokarim

 

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While my medical background gave me knowledge and experience with healthcare, I knew that an MBA would help me understand parts of the puzzle that I didn't have exposure to in medicine. Deepening my knowledge of finance and economics will help me in creating thought-out strategies to create and implement healthcare reform." — Kate Mansalis

 

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"What I want to do is build something from scratch, or help someone else do this. Whether it’s a happy customer or a great product, the process of building something yourself is the most rewarding." — Ricky Tan

 

 

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"I want to focus my career toward a position where I can have a greater positive social impact on my community. Berkeley-Haas is hands-down the best school in that sector. It not only offers great classes on the topic, I’m forming networks with companies and individuals who are committed to social impact.” — Ijeh Ogbechie

 

 

 

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"A popular misconception is that you go back to school when you are in a lull in your career. What motivated me was exactly the opposite. I feel I reached a peak in my career and wanted add to my skills without leaving the industry. I also wanted to learn from people with an expertise in this region, because being in the Bay Area gives you such a cutting edge in technology." — Kas Farsad

 

 

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"It’s important to learn from other professions and sectors. Otherwise, you run the risk of talking in circles and never getting out of your pigeonhole. I’m getting an MBA to be a more well-rounded professional." — Amelia Kusar

 

 

 

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"Prior to Haas, I worked in advertising and marketing, and a lot of what I did was tactical with day-to-day client service, project management, and execution. I realized I wanted to do something that was close to the core of the business and help shape the vision and long-term strategic decisions." —Ekene Anene

 

 

If you're considering an MBA, we invite you to compare the three MBA programs at Berkeley-Haas.

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And if you're looking for more reasons people might choose to go to business school, check out these posts:

 Main image by Blake Marvin

Images and student quotes have been refreshed on this blog post, originally published September 7, 2015

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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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What exactly do people do with an MBA? Stories from Berkeley Haas  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Apr 2018, 11:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: What exactly do people do with an MBA? Stories from Berkeley Haas
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What exactly to people do with an MBA? There are as many answers to that question as there are students—maybe even more if you consider the changes possible over the course of a career.

Here are a few stories from the MBA programs at Berkeley-Haas, full-time, evening and weekend, and executive, that might intrigue or inspire you:

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Evening & Weekend MBA grad Desirae Early made a move from sustainability specialist with Levi Strauss to McKinsey & Company Associate to Engagement Manager with McKinsey. She has enjoyed the fast pace and finds it rewarding because "you get to see the immediate impact of your work. Read Desirae's story.

EMBA grad Ashok Sundararajan used his degree to make a desired jump from consulting to product management in a startup environment – and to pursue a lifelong passion for transportation. Previously working in engineering consulting, he's now a senior product manager at San Francisco-based Ridecell,part of producting a technology platform to launch, operate, and scale new mobility services. He says the MBA helped him to define his course, address his skill gaps, and build up a strong network. Read Ashok's story.

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Rachel Adams
, a graduate of the full-time Berkeley MBA program, was a financial analyst for an energy company who wanted to work in tech and have a broader business view. Now she's a senior category merchant manager at Amazon, overseeing the strategy for a large portion of Amazon's apparel business. "It’s exciting to know that my ideas, the bets I make, and the risks I take will legitimately impact the bottom line,” she say. Read about Rachel and two other full-time grads who made career changes into tech.

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Lots of MBA grads pursue entrepreneurship. Meet 3 Berkeley MBA ventures from the classes of 2017 and 18: Social Filter, a tool built around software that uses machine learning and natural language processing to analyze social media posts and flag potentially harmful content; NecesitoDoc, an online solution to bring low-cost health care to patients in the US and Mexico who have difficulty traveling to a doctor’s office; and LikeWallet, developing an analytics tool to measure the performance and ROI of posts by an influencers. Read the Startup Roundup.

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EMBA grad Tansy Brook wanted to scale her marketing impact by working for a larger firm. “I wanted to move beyond design thinking (how do you creatively see the problem, find the solution, build it?) to systems thinking (how do you scale solutions for maximum impact?).”  She's made the move from a smaller company to Oracle, where she is now product marketing director the Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Enterprise Performance Management (EMP) team, helping to lead companies through digital transformations and empowering them with emerging technologies. Read Tansy's story

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Christopher Jones
of the Evening & Weekend MBA Program hoped to transition from a long career in banking to a new career in tech. Within the first few months of starting the program, he found a sales role in Google Cloud Platform that was focused on financial services in banking as a vertical—exactly where he came from. Today he covers Google Cloud Platform's San Francisco customers, managing B2B relationships. And he has plans to continue his career growth: "Sales was my way into tech, but there are classes at Haas that have given me skills to move to a role in other areas within Google's cloud platform like business development or marketing." Read Christopher's story.

These students and graduates all used the Berkeley MBA to get where they wanted to go. Want to learn more? Compare our three MBA programs.

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This post, originally published September 7, 2015 has been updated with new student stories.

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Evening & Weekend MBA sense of community inspires grants for commuters  [#permalink]

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New post 03 May 2018, 14:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Evening & Weekend MBA sense of community inspires grants for commuters
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Abhishek Sharma spent hundreds of hours on Amtrak trains and in cars while earning his MBA, commuting to Berkeley Haas from his home in Sacramento.

For some, the commute would be grueling. But Abhishek, a 2016 graduate of the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA (EWMBA) Program, says he never minded. “I could sit and think and write in my journal,” says Abhishek, who decided to stay in Sacramento to be close to his parents. “I had a lot of time for self reflection.”

Since graduating, Abhishek, a senior product manager at San Diego-based medical device company Dexcom, has decided to pay it forward to other Haas commuters with a gift to support the school’s travel grants for students who live beyond the nine counties of the Bay Area.

His three-year pledge to the Haas Foundation for Excellence campaign will be used to expand the Outside Of Bay Area Grant Program, which provides financial assistance to evening & weekend MBA students who live outside the nine-county Bay Area counties. Now, all EWMBA students will be eligible to apply for the grants, instead of just first-years.

The gift is part of Abhishek’s ambitious long-term giving plan, which includes a goal to create his own foundation. He’s also a committee member for the Beyond Yourself Challenge Match, a group of donors who match student gifts—and he also started another fund with Education First, an organization founded by Chris Bryan, MBA 00, to focus on providing college scholarships to low-income high school students.

Abhishek moved to the U.S. from India at age 15. His parents, who worked as a professor and engineer in India, had to take retail and factory jobs after they arrived in the U.S., and the family lived in a basement.

“We didn’t even have hot water,” Abhishek says.

Many mentors and scholarships eventually helped point Abhishek toward an undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Bowdoin College and then to an MBA at Haas. Abhishek says his favorite course at Haas was Leadership Communications with Mark Rittenberg.

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“The class strengthened my skill set as a storyteller,” he notes. “Learning how to start presentations with a 'vertical takeoff' was a game changer as I am in situations every day selling solutions internally or to customers.”

While some commuting students might worry that they would not form tight connections with their classmates, Abhishek says he developed a strong bond with the other half-dozen Haas students who lived in the greater Sacramento region.

He hosted events to bring together the Haas Sacramento community, and also went out of his way to connect with both evening & weekend and full-time MBA students—even sleeping in a nearby Berkeley hostel at times so he could spend more time with classmates.

Now he is on the board of the San Diego Haas alumni group and is devoted to his work at Dexcom, focused on making Type 2 diabetes solutions viable. In his free time, he is qualifying to become a Kundalini Yoga teacher.

As for the newest class of commuting students who will benefit from his gift, Abhishek says he hopes they will try the train.

“Cherish the time spent commuting with Haas mates,” he advises. “It’s a big part of the support system and creates trust for ideas of future.”

Could students and alumni in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program be part of your next community? We invite you to learn more.

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5 Reasons Why MBAs Are Landing the Jobs You’d Love to Have  [#permalink]

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New post 09 May 2018, 06:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: 5 Reasons Why MBAs Are Landing the Jobs You’d Love to Have
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How many hours have you spent searching for jobs on websites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Indeed? How many times have you found the perfect position only to learn that you aren’t qualified due to some specific requirement you never saw coming?

Competition in the job market today is fierce, and many employers have become much stricter about their candidate requirements. In fact, a recent study by Glassdoor for Employers proves how difficult it can be to make a good first impression:

  • On average, every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes
  • Only 4-6 of those applicants will be called in for an interview
It’s more important than ever to find a way to set yourself apart from the crowd, and one of the most effective ways to get a leg up on the competition is with a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). An applicant with an MBA degree may more easily receive an interview—and the job offer—over competition with fewer relevant degrees. Many job descriptions even specify that the company requires or at least prefers to hire someone with an MBA.

So what kind of advantages does an MBA offer, and why do employers think it is so important?

Key Advantages to Having an MBA When Applying for Jobs
1. MBAs deliver managerial skills many other applicants don’t
Unless you have directly managed a team of employees in your current or previous position, chances are you don’t automatically have proof of your managerial or leadership skills. With an MBA, employers feel confident in your ability to manage a team because it is a primary focus of any MBA program. To have that vote of confidence without actually having real-life job experience in a managerial position can boost your chances significantly of getting in the door.

If you already have managerial experience prior to earning an MBA, your degree only solidifies the confidence an employer has in your ability to supervise employees or entire departments. Managerial experience in conjunction with an MBA degree also means you have better leverage and demonstrable value when it comes time to negotiate your starting pay and signing bonus.

2. MBAs can manage a vast professional network
Employers know that MBA graduates have learned the importance of networking and can bring those communication and relationship-building skills to their company. Those skills can be vital for growing the company’s own network of clients, partners, and investors.

MBA graduates may have initially laid the foundation for their professional network long before actually starting their MBA program, but more connections mean more opportunities. In an MBA program, you build relationships with peers, the school’s alumni, professors, and other faculty, who come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and may become vital contacts in the future.

A business school’s network helps the MBA grad learn how how to build relationships and manage a vast network of colleagues, clients, and mentors while also, of course, serving him or her as a job applicant. Someone who works at a company of interest or knows someone else who works there could be within an MBA’s network, and that “in” could be the final push to receive a job offer.

3. MBAs offer sharpened critical thinking skills
Critical thinking is a cornerstone of higher education, but an MBA program enhances and sharpens that level of critical thinking. Through rigorous practical application of complex business concepts to solve real-world problems, MBA graduates can entertain a diverse range of opinions while deducing which solution is best for a particular circumstance.

That kind of intuitiveness and quick thinking is vital in high-pressure business scenarios, deal-making, presentations, and other interactions and decision-making tasks. You don’t have to have an MBA to attain this level of critical thinking but the MBA degree suggests this automatically to potential employers and investors.

4. MBAs understand and apply strategic prioritization
In any management position, you will likely wear many hats and oversee many different types of tasks at once. Your time is valuable as is your company’s and your employees’. Understanding which tasks are most important to complete in which order is fundamental to being an effective manager.

While earning your MBA degree, you gain an understanding and application of strategic prioritization from completing the coursework and participating in class discussion. The value of these skills appears at both macro and micro levels. In class, you learn the ins and outs of setting strategic priorities for teams and organizations—macro applications you could apply at your current job or one to which you are applying.

These prioritization strategies also apply on a micro level to your own personal life. This includes in the curriculum itself as you juggle a heavy course load and the endless stream of new information that comes with it. At the same time, you must also balance that coursework against a slew of co-curricular options that build your knowledge and skill sets alongside class time and other non-educational commitments

An MBA degree signals to prospective employers that you have experience honing these skills which can give you a competitive advantage over much of the candidate pool.

5. MBAs prove they can fit within an organizational culture
According to the GMAC Recruiters’ Survey, employers ranked a candidate’s ability to fit within an organizational culture as themost desirable trait for MBA graduates. This makes sense when you consider how important it is to morale and teamwork to have shared values driving aims and actions.

Additionally, in the process of applying to business school, MBA students gain experience in choosing--and being chosen--for fit with culture and in living or reflecting an organization’s values. This helps them make a better decision when it’s time to choose a workplace.

An employer’s confidence in your alignment with company culture is an extremely valuable part of earning an MBA degree.

With these five core skills and a number of other benefits you gain with an MBA degree, it’s easy to see why employers often select MBA graduates over others—or even require an MBA. If you’re interested in acquiring this edge for yourself (along with other tangible and intangible assets you may have yet to consider), you might want to check out our post on 16 Benefits of an MBA.

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From Entrepreneurship to Finance: How an MBA Community Helps With the   [#permalink]

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New post 16 May 2018, 07:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: From Entrepreneurship to Finance: How an MBA Community Helps With the Next Move
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As a successful entrepreneur of several ventures—including two e-commerce sites and a co-working space—Sean Li first decided to pursue his MBA to scale his current businesses. Based in Los Angeles, Li chose the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Programin hopes that he'd build the finance skills to take his projects even further. And while he's honed the skills he has needed to do this, he's also found the Haas experience and network to be more impactful than he imagined—so much so that he's now exploring a career move into finance as a way to advance both his business impact and himself.

"After almost 10 years of being an entrepreneur, I had worn multiple hats, so I hadn't really developed any one dominant skill. I always felt like I wanted to learn more about finance because it plays a big role in scaling business. I wanted to hone my quantitative skills so I can help businesses grow." He adds, "For me, it's not about the money. It's about providing more value to more people. That should be at the heart of every entrepreneur’s and business person’s goals. How many people's problems am I solving?"

In his first year, Sean has already deepened his quantitative skills in useful ways for his businesses. "I've used what I learned in class to dig deeper into analysis of our e-commerce businesses and look at customer data that I never knew how to read before."

But Sean's decision to attend Haas went deeper than his goal to hone certain skills; he chose Haas for its unique exposure and access to the tech industry. "I knew I was interested in high finance around tech and media. I wanted to grow my network of tech enthusiasts, and peers who could lend some guidance in next steps for a career move in finance related to tech."

"Haas has helped me realize that I want my next chapter to be in finance, specifically in banking. Haas is already helping me gain both the skills and network to make this shift successfully. Haas students are extremely helpful. They've shared resources on how to get from point A to point B, they've introduced me to professors who can connect me with summer internships, and they've advised me on the clubs to join to improve my exposure to finance opportunities."

Indeed, Sean has found his growing Haas network to be the most exciting part of the MBA experience.  His classmates have opened new doors for him in terms of career possibilities and advancing his interest in finance. "The EWMBA community has certainly been helpful in my pursuit of finance and banking. When I started at Haas, I explored Management Consulting and Product Management (PM) tracks like many students and was able to easily connect with Haas students in those fields. Recently, fellow classmates reached out about PM interview practice and multiple students with backgrounds in PM immediately volunteered to help. That speaks volumes about the community here at Haas." Through meeting with other Haas students who worked in this field, Sean learned how they shifted from other roles, like consulting or supply chain management, to banking and finance. He's been able to plan his own steps based on their valuable experience and advice.  

As a student who commutes from LA to the Bay Area, Sean is still constantly interacting with his classmates—whether it's in person or through Slack or WhatsApp. "We connect on everything, from asking about car insurance to important dates and tips on tax filings."

"For commuters and locals alike, we all stay in touch digitally so it rarely feels like I’m out of the loop on anything at school. There are school and club events that occur during the week that I prioritize based on my interests, and I have always been able to participate in case competitions because many classmates interact online."

Sean has been so active in connecting with students across Haas programs that he's launched yet another new project: a OneHaas podcast. "I'm always networking and meeting with Haas students, and I thought a podcast would be a great way to share these conversations and connections with others. I get to interview and talk with interesting students while helping spread their stories with listeners who may be interested in similar work. I want to be part of others finding their network," he says.

While the relationships Sean has formed at Haas will help him in his next step to intern as a summer associate at an investment bank or private equity fund, he's also confident that his MBA experience will help him in the longer-term. "Haas is the kind of culture that is driven by self-initiators. It's very compatible with my approach as an entrepreneur, and it’s this kind of culture that will prepare me the most when I use my MBA to enhance higher-stake businesses in the future."

The network and skills to make a career change are among Sean Li's benefits from an MBA. For more, see our 16 benefits of an MBA.

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5 Ways to Earn ROI Before You Complete Your MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 23 May 2018, 08:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: 5 Ways to Earn ROI Before You Complete Your MBA
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When many prospective applicants calculate the return on investment (ROI) of their Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree, they often use figures and equations that only account for life after graduation. However, you can begin earning returns on your MBA while you are still working through the program.

These returns are not always financial in nature: they may indirectly impact your finances, or they may simply improve your quality of life in other areas—the monetary value of which can be more difficult to calculate. To make the most out of your MBA prior to graduation, consider these five MBA benefits and how you can start earning a ROI from those benefits while still in school.

How to Earn ROI on Your MBA While Still in Business School
MBA Benefit #1: Career Advancement Even Before Graduation
While in School: Apply what you learn to your current job for faster benefits
Many MBA students continue to work full- or part-time jobs while earning their degree, and these students may be among the earliest to earn returns from their MBA. The sooner you begin applying what you learn in the classroom in real-world business scenarios, the sooner you could begin reaping financial benefits in the office. For example, you may earn yourself a raise or promotion from your current employer, or you may make a change to a more lucrative position, company, or industry entirely--all while still in school.

Students who are in the workplace while earning their degree also often find that including a degree-in-progress on their resumes or LinkedIn profiles attracts interest and establishes credibility even before completion.

Further, applying management or financial concepts and strategies to your actual job also serves as additional homework and real-world practicum outside of the classroom. This practice solidifies what you learn in school which could lead to better grades and a deeper understanding of your MBA coursework as you earn your degree.

By applying what you learn to your current job, you could begin enjoying the financial rewards of your degree before you graduate.

MBA Benefit #2: Time Management and Prioritization
While in School: Learn to prioritize many tasks and commitments while your time is limited
Strategic prioritization is a critical soft skill and an element of MBA coursework, but it also has a practical application in managing your own personal or professional life. Many MBA students juggle not just coursework but often also any of these other critical but time-consuming commitments:

  • A part-time or full-time job
  • Internship(s)
  • Family obligations
  • Relationship with a spouse, significant other, or simply dating
  • Friends and a social calendar
  • Volunteer work and other community efforts
  • Regular exercise and/or organized team sports
Prioritization becomes key to completing your MBA and making the most of it while still earning the degree itself. You simply cannot dedicate 100% of your time, energy, and focus to every one of the commitments above and your MBA at the same time. You can begin applying the prioritization strategies you learn in business management classes to your own busy slate of coursework and assorted commitments.

If you’re still working a part- or full-time job while earning your MBA, you can also begin applying your new prioritization skills at your company right away. Or, you may be able to use your time management strategies to convince your family or current boss that the coursework will not interfere with other commitments.

How much is it worth to you to better manage and prioritize your own resources? The answer to the question may vary, but its result can be compared to the cost of business school to add to its ROI.

MBA Benefit #3: Career Support Services
While in School: Utilize services your school offers to potentially find, secure, and negotiate your future job title and salary
This may be one of the more obvious suggestions and one that ties more directly to your MBA's financial ROI. For example, your program may cost more in part due to better career support service offerings at your school.

However, students may still easily overlook the value of the career support services included with their MBA.

Career support services can vary widely among schools and MBA programs, including, but not limited to:

  • Job fairs
  • On-campus recruitment opportunities
  • Personalized coaching
  • Workshops and programs focused on particular topics and skill sets
  • Industry-specific clubs
  • Industry-specific classes
  • Business card printing
  • Resume and cover letter assistance
Taking advantage of these career support services inherently strengthens your chances as a job candidate before your graduate. You leave with a stronger sense of what you want professionally and a stronger resume, cover letters, and networking and interview skills to get there.

Earning a better position and higher salary are two key reasons prospective MBA applicants decide to pursue the degree in the first place. An MBA program with a truly high ROI arms its students not only with the hard and soft skills needed for success in the business world, but also offers the services to help its students potentially find, secure, and negotiate their future job title and salary.

Your MBA program can pay for itself before it is done by helping you find a job and maximizing your salary.

MBA Benefit #4: Professional Network
While in School: Take every opportunity to establish and follow-up with business connections at your school—from students and teachers to visiting faculty and guest speakers
Your fellow students are likely among the foundational members of your invaluable professional network, even if you’ve been in the workplace for awhile. The connections you make while earning your MBA can last a lifetime and lead to an array of both work and personal opportunities.

Use this opportunity to offer assistance to--and accept it from--your fellow students. You might exchange updates on industry developments, figureheads, or regulations. You may even share tips on job openings, investment deals, or company mergers and acquisitions deals. By establishing and nurturing these relationships before graduation, you’ve already proven yourself a dependable and helpful connection to have.

Aside from students, the professors and faculty working within your MBA program can also be essential members of your professional network. They offer expertise and a litany of career-related experiences you may recall during just the right moment during an exam, team meeting, or client call.

Take advantage of office hours and learn more about your professors and their career paths. These individuals could eventually become mentors and have a more direct impact on your career path in the future. They may also potentially offer access to their own networks of business contacts and experiences.

Thought leaders in your industry and the business world in general may visit your school as public speakers or participants in panels and other events. Make a point to introduce yourself and strike up a conversation with these individuals during or after the event as appropriate.

All of these different individuals can be valuable additions to a mutually beneficial professional network that you can cultivate while earning your degree.

The more you build a meaningful professional network while still in school, the more value and ROI you create from your MBA experience.

MBA Benefit #5: Listening as a Skill
While in School: Start applying attentive listening skills to class discussions, job interviews, and when pitching ideas to classmates in group projects
In a client meeting or any discussion with a boss or colleague, being able to not only hear the words but understand the sentiments and context behind them is one of the most invaluable skill sets across industries. By learning to appreciate and master the art of listening, you become a more intuitive thinker and can often more easily solve problems and create benefits for your company and clients.

You can most easily apply the listening skills you acquire (unsurprisingly) to your in-class discussions and when pitching ideas to classmates and hearing their ideas during group projects. You may find yourself remembering more about and understanding more deeply the topics discussed in class, which could boost your testing and writing grades.  If you continue to work while earning your MBA, the same goes for team meetings at your current company.

Finally, these experiences could be direct sources of anecdotes you use in a future job interview to describe your strengths as a good listener and team player. Being a better listener could also make you a stronger candidate for a position even before your graduate simply by demonstrating your ability to follow directions and clearly interpret and answer questions.

Listening is a great way to strengthen your critical thinking and to mine diverse opinions for seeds of greatness for your team endeavors. Though hard to quantify, this is a great way to attain ROI from your MBA while you are still at it.

How to make the most of your MBA while still in school
Making the most of your MBA and enjoying your ROI while still in business school boils down to this: Apply the skills you're building—prioritization, networking, listening, and so on—while you are still in school. Apply them at school, on the job, and in your personal life. Managing your experience in an MBA program may be more similar to effectively running a business than you realize.

If you're undecided about pursuing an MBA, our blog post on 16 benefits of an MBA offers more than a dozen financial and non-financial factors you should consider when calculating the potential ROI of earning an MBA degree.

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7 Ways to Justify the Cost of an MBA to Yourself, Your Partner, and Yo  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2018, 08:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: 7 Ways to Justify the Cost of an MBA to Yourself, Your Partner, and Your Boss
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Congratulations! You’vemade the decision to pursue an MBA. But before you can proceed, you may need to think about the price tag and ensure you’re able to justify the cost of an MBA program to yourself, your significant other, or your boss. Choosing to go to business school is a major commitment of time, money, energy, and other resources. The realization of those costs alone can deter many potential candidates who already have steady jobs, partners, or kids.

Need some talking points? You’ll find each of the seven following justifications for the cost of an MBA broken down for three different parties, as applicable:

  • Personal: Benefit to yourself (and your career or entrepreneurial pursuits)
  • Partner: Benefit of your MBA to your spouse or significant other
  • Boss: Benefit of your MBA to your employer and/or direct supervisor
Consider these seven ways you can justify the cost of an MBA to anyone who asks, especially if they depend on you financially.

How to Justify the Cost of an MBA Degree
1. Higher Salary Projections
Personal: This may be the easiest and most obvious justification for the cost of an MBA because, once you earn your degree, your potential salary can increase significantly. The cost of an MBA is significant, and paying for the program takes time but finding one with a decent salary-to-debt ratio is a great way to justify earning the degree.

Partner: Debt is a major concern for many people, so include any relevant salary-to-debt ratios to assuage those fears for both you and your partner. Include a comparison of your current salary projections for the next 10 years versus your salary projections after you’ve earned your MBA. A higher salary also ultimately contributes to significant purchases for your family, such as a home, travel, or your children’s college fund, if applicable.

Boss: Those higher salary projections in part stem from the assumption that MBA graduates generate more income for or otherwise bring additional value to their employers. When companies make more money—or become more cost-effective—they have greater flexibility to pay higher salaries to reward high-performing employees. MBA graduates come armed with the business knowledge that can drive income and profits, cut costs, and improve efficiency, which makes their higher salaries a worthwhile investment for employers.

2. Greater Mobility
Personal: Earning your MBA degree helps you stand out in a pool of job applicants, which makes finding a job with a desirable wage easier than before. When it’s easier for you to qualify for more jobs, it gives you more options for where and how you choose to earn a solid income and live your day-to-day life.

Partner: Between your higher potential salary projections and having a strong differentiator among other applicants, and MBA can introduce an array of opportunities for places to live and general lifestyle options over time. This also means a greater potential of opportunities for your partner to pursue.

Boss: Greater mobility can also make your boss’s life easier by making you more versatile across departments. You can apply many of the skills and knowledge you acquire while earning your MBA degree to anything from sales and marketing to operations and investments. If your boss needs someone the company can trust to sort out a problem or improve a particular division, an MBA graduate is a strong choice no matter which department or location needs assistance.

3. Better Handling of Personal Finances
Personal: While working through theMBA coursework, you naturally learn more about financial concepts that you can apply not only in the business world but also to your own personal finances. Money smarts is a useful type of intelligence to have no matter your profession, and you can’t help but pick up on many of these money management skills while you earn your MBA.

Partner: This includes a better understanding of budgeting, which leads to greater savings and fewer debts for you and your family. It also means being better at assessing risk, which can benefit any investments you and your partner choose to make.

Boss: Risk assessment, budgeting, and other personal financial concepts are just as applicable to companies as they are to individuals. But having employees who are more knowledgeable and responsible about their personal finances can also mean having employees who are less stressed and distracted and more focused while at work.

4. Increased Self-Confidence
Personal: MBA graduates regularly mention increased self-confidence as one of the most important and heavily weighted intangible benefits of an MBA. This makes sense, as you naturally feel more confident due to the personal achievement of earning an advanced degree. That increased self-confidence produces benefits, such as a willingness or eagerness to pursue higher-value opportunities or to share ideas in a meeting that catch your boss or investor’s ear.

Partner: That confidence can then spill over into other areas of your life to improve relationships and your ability to identify and express your needs. Increased self-confidence can also impact the level of mental, emotional, and physical intimacy with your partner, or you may find yourself more confident in social situations with your significant other.

Boss: The confidence you exude with your newfound business acumen comes in handy when presenting new ideas to a potential investor, lead, or employee. Your confidence can also shine through during high-pressure, high-stakes business meetings when you have to represent your company and its best interests.

5. Better Communication Skills
Personal: Communication skills are critical in the business world. But you can also apply many of the communication skills you learn in your MBA coursework to other areas of your life. For example, you may be able to better express your needs and suggestions for solutions when you encounter everyday problems in or outside of the office. Like increased self-confidence, the ability to be a better communicator can significantly benefit many of your relationships, not to mention your ability to navigate daily life.

Partner: Better conflict resolutions skills can benefit your relationship with your significant other. You can also better express your thoughts which can enliven your conversations and improve your ability to communicate about almost any topic or relationship issue.

Boss: Communication skills are critical in the business world, from handling complaints from customers or colleagues to overseeing or participating in meetings, whether one-on-one or in groups with other staff or clients. Your employer needs someone who can also reliably communicate the needs and solutions of the company and its clientele at conferences, forums, and other networking or business-related events.

6. Skills Applicable to Any Industry
Personal: As part of your MBA coursework, you’ll learn a number of business-specific terms and strategies. You may even choose to specialize your MBA to focus on one particular industry, such as technology. But as an MBA graduate, you also gain a number of widely applicable skills and qualities, such as:

  • Leadership
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity

These skill sets can help you succeed in your job or business, regardless of your industry, and can also contribute to greater job mobility.

Partner: Qualities like creativity and skills like teamwork or critical thinking are also applicable to everyday life with your partner. Being a better team player or being able to approach problems at home with a sharper mind and more open perspective can also benefit your relationship and your partner’s day-to-day life.

Boss: The general skill sets above benefit supervisors and employers across industries, and your versatility makes their lives easier. When they can rely on an MBA graduate in whom they have confidence, they can focus on other areas or problems that need their attention.

7. A Jumpstart to Your Career
Personal: If you’re like many MBA applicants, you may be feeling stagnant in your career. That feeling can stem from hitting a ceiling in your potential pay rate or possible promotion opportunities. You may feel stuck in an industry or job position that has left you feeling unfulfilled and unmotivated. These feelings can all too easily bleed into other relationships and parts of your life and create unnecessary stress or conflict.

Partner: Sometimes the final push you need is to simply explain how earning an MBA can not only bring you more money and mobility but also more happiness and job fulfillment. It may be impossible to accurately measure the monetary value of happiness and job satisfaction, but this talking point alone may outweigh many others for you and your partner—even higher salary projections!

Boss: Employee morale is critical for companies and their ability to thrive, particularly during the most stressful parts of a company’s financial or calendar year. If you’re feeling stagnant in your career, this can also impact your performance at work. If an MBA can jumpstart your career again and improve your morale in the office, it can directly benefit your employer as well.

If your partner or boss is hesitant about your decision, consider these seven talking points when it comes time to justify the cost of an MBA to those who depend on you. You may find the conversation going more smoothly than you’d imagine. And then you’ll be one step closer to earning your MBA and potentially changing your life—and theirs.

To learn more about how you can (and should) justify your MBA dreams to those who rely on you most, read our post on 16 benefits of an MBA.

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Finding a Community of Like-Minded MBA Women  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2018, 07:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Finding a Community of Like-Minded MBA Women
For Sarah Reichenbacher, meeting the Berkeley MBA for Executives community made it easy to choose the program for her MBA. "I wanted to be sure that I would be in a place that really aligned with my personal values," she says, "one that would be supportive and nurturing and where I would feel really excited to learn from the people around me. That's very much how it feels in the classroom here."

The strength of that community has only become more apparent over time. "There is no competition, there is no stockpiling of answers and not sharing what you're learning with people around you. My classmates are some of the most intelligent, kind, funny people that I have ever gotten to spend time with."

 

She has found the relationships forged with other women in the program to be particularly rewarding. "A lot of them have been through the same experiences I'm going through right now in my career and family life. To have other women who can really relate to both a strong, professional drive and a desire to have family life balance is amazing. What's more, I now have all these women in my life who, at the drop of a hat, are available for advice--both personally and professionally."

 

Learning How Different Business Functions and Disciplines Relate 
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Sarah works for Stitch Fix, previously as learning and development manager and now as a business partner, in an extremely cross-functional role. "Before coming to Berkeley Haas, I had a general idea of what each of the business functions did, but now I'm able to engage and understand my partners' work and metrics on a much deeper level," she says.

This is exactly what she wanted out of her MBA: to better understand how different business disciplines and functions relate to each other—and to boost her business acumen.

Her interest in exploring a wide variety of topics made Berkeley Haas even more appealing, with its options to take classes across the UC Berkeley campus and to go deep with the program's immersive schedule.

"I love that we're here for three days at a time. I try to put everything else on pause, and truly focus on my schoolwork and classmates," she says. "I also love the week-long immersion structure. I like to learn in an immersive setting, and they have been a wonderful way to dive deeply into one topic at a time."

Newfound Confidence at Work—and a Common Misconception
Since enrolling, Sarah has a newfound confidence at work. "I am able to participate in conversations, especially those related to more quantitative topics at an entirely different level than before," she says.

The Berkeley EMBA was clearly right for Sarah, but she knows some prospective students have hesitations. One false assumption she's noticed people make "is that you need to be a C-suite executive to be in an executive MBA program. That's just not true; I am not an executive, though I do hope to be one someday. To be in this program what you do have to have is that drive and excitement to learn more, to take it back to your career and apply it, and to help the rest of your cohort do the same."

Do you have that drive and excitement to learn more about the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program?

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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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Video: Finding an MBA Community of Like-Minded Women  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2018, 09:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Video: Finding an MBA Community of Like-Minded Women
For Sarah Reichenbacher, meeting the Berkeley MBA for Executives community made it easy to choose the program for her MBA. "I wanted to be sure that I would be in a place that really aligned with my personal values," she says, "one that would be supportive and nurturing and where I would feel really excited to learn from the people around me. That's very much how it feels in the classroom here."

The strength of that community has only become more apparent over time. "There is no competition, there is no stockpiling of answers and not sharing what you're learning with people around you. My classmates are some of the most intelligent, kind, funny people that I have ever gotten to spend time with."

 

She has found the relationships forged with other women in the program to be particularly rewarding. "A lot of them have been through the same experiences I'm going through right now in my career and family life. To have other women who can really relate to both a strong, professional drive and a desire to have family life balance is amazing. What's more, I now have all these women in my life who, at the drop of a hat, are available for advice--both personally and professionally."

 

Learning How Different Business Functions and Disciplines Relate 
Image
Sarah works for Stitch Fix, previously as learning and development manager and now as a business partner, in an extremely cross-functional role. "Before coming to Berkeley Haas, I had a general idea of what each of the business functions did, but now I'm able to engage and understand my partners' work and metrics on a much deeper level," she says.

This is exactly what she wanted out of her MBA: to better understand how different business disciplines and functions relate to each other—and to boost her business acumen.

Her interest in exploring a wide variety of topics made Berkeley Haas even more appealing, with its options to take classes across the UC Berkeley campus and to go deep with the program's immersive schedule.

"I love that we're here for three days at a time. I try to put everything else on pause, and truly focus on my schoolwork and classmates," she says. "I also love the week-long immersion structure. I like to learn in an immersive setting, and they have been a wonderful way to dive deeply into one topic at a time."

Newfound Confidence at Work—and a Common Misconception
Since enrolling, Sarah has a newfound confidence at work. "I am able to participate in conversations, especially those related to more quantitative topics at an entirely different level than before," she says.

The Berkeley EMBA was clearly right for Sarah, but she knows some prospective students have hesitations. One false assumption she's noticed people make "is that you need to be a C-suite executive to be in an executive MBA program. That's just not true; I am not an executive, though I do hope to be one someday. To be in this program what you do have to have is that drive and excitement to learn more, to take it back to your career and apply it, and to help the rest of your cohort do the same."

Do you have that drive and excitement to learn more about the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program?

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Calculating the ROI of an MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2018, 11:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Calculating the ROI of an MBA
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Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduate degree can revitalize career paths and change lives—but it can come at a high financial cost. Tuition and fees at the top-20 ranked business schools total $34,000 to $69,000 per year, though most tend to cost between $55,000 and $68,000 per year. That kind of investment understandably gives pause to many potential MBA students, some of whom may still be paying off student debt left over from their undergraduate degrees.

While MBAs are certainly a significant investment, they may be a wise one. For the right people looking to shift or improve their career paths, an MBA degree can open doors not previously imagined and can offer both tangible and intangible, financial and non-financial benefits.

Once you know what those assorted benefits are, you have something against which to measure the estimated cost of your MBA degree. This allows you to more accurately and contextually calculate a return on investment for a professional business degree. And if you decide to pursue an MBA, this same line of thought can also help you select the best MBA program for your needs.

MBAs by the Numbers
Consider these statistics for 2017 graduates from the the 20 top-ranked full-time MBA programs in the U.S., quoted directly from U.S. News & World Report:

  • Overall, 91 percent of job-seeking MBAs from those schools found jobs within three months after graduation
  • Graduates who were employed within three months of receiving a degree earned an average base salary of more than $125,000, but those in high-demand metropolitan areas often earn much more. 2017 graduates of the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program, for example, entered the program with an average salary of $73,072 and went on to land post-MBA positions at an average salary of $125,572—a nearly 72 percent increase.
  • Those same graduates’ salary plus signing bonus on average totaled more than $147,000.
  • Graduates of the 10 top-ranked full-time MBA programs earned an average base salary of more than $131,000 and an average of more than $152,000 for base salary plus signing bonus.
However, these statistics only scratch the surface at the potential ROI an MBA could offer.

14 Steps to Calculate the ROI of an MBA
Statistics are one way you can judge the ROI of an MBA degree, but many other lesser-recognized benefits should also factor in to how you measure the true return on investment of your degree.

1. Determine the average salary-to-debt ratioImage

The cost of an MBA can be relatively high, but that cost coincides with higher starting salaries for MBA graduates. Experts predominantly calculate and compare an MBA program’s ROI to others using theaverage salary-to-debt ratio. The figure used for the salary component tends to be based on starting salaries, while the debt figure is the total debt you would assume to attain the degree. This is one of the most common methods you’ll see quoted by experts and news media. 

For example, the US News study found that the average starting salary was around $125,000 (MBA salaries in large metro areas, such as the San Francisco Bay area, are likely much higher), while the debt reported from 11 of the top 20 schools started at 74,199 (average of 95,260). That is a salary-to-debt ratio of 1.7-to-1.

2. Factor potential signing bonuses into that ratio
In addition to starting salary, MBA graduates should also consider potential signing bonuses, which can help make a dent in student loan payments. U.S. News reports that of the top 20 ranked business schools for 2019, the average salary and bonus is $147,530 -- more than enough to quickly pay back the debt incurred in obtaining the MBA..

3. Consider long-term salary projections
Long-term salary projections account for raises and other income boosts an MBA graduate might earn over time. You can then use that projection instead of a starting salary to calculate the salary-to-debt ratio. The time period may vary, but about 10 years is a typical length of time to calculate. Experts can then compare their projected 10-year salary with a 10-year salary without an MBA for another ROI factor.

4. Compare MBA programs in general to other professional degreesImage

Aside from the degree itself and the education and implications it brings, you can also compare the MBA experience with other professional degrees. Atypical full-time MBA degree program takes about one to two years of school. Medicine or law degrees, however, take longer to complete—and take longer for you to begin working at your new higher pay rate.

5. Assess the value of the education itself…
The skill sets and knowledge of advanced business concepts are a clear benefit of any MBA degree, as you, personally, become a more knowledgeable and capable manager or business owner. But it also benefits any future employer thanks to the increased productivity and higher-quality employee that MBA programs tend to produce.

6. …And the soft skills that came with it
In addition to more complex business concepts, an MBA program will also emphasize the importance and teach the finer points of effective teamwork, leadership, problem solving, self-reflection and assessment, and critical thinking. These more pragmatic concepts may apply more generally for successful people across the board, but they are especially critical.

7. Weigh the freedom of entrepreneurship (when applicable)Image

The sense of independence that comes from owning your own business cannot be understated, but it’s also not easily financially quantified. Some individuals prefer to have control over their entire business, while others may prefer smaller managerial roles with another company to actual business ownership. This is a personal preference, and entrepreneurship certainly is not for everyone. But for those whom entrepreneurship does work for, the freedom alone can be well worth the cost of the degree.

8. Improve your job mobility
If you are already employed with a company, earning an MBA could fast-track your next promotion—and the raise that will undoubtedly come with it. If you’re out of a job or unhappy with your current one, your MBA could be the final weight in a decision for another employer to hire you. And if you own your own business, this degree could be key to establishing and increasing trust among your clientele and colleagues.

9. Expand your Rolodex (or LinkedIn network) with your program’s alumni networkImage

The alumni from your MBA program could easily produce a built-in Rolodex of business colleagues scattered across any and all industries. Fellow grads could end up being networking aids or referral sources, depending on where your MBA experience leads you. Beyond professional relationships, this alumni network could also produce valuable friendships and the lifelong encouragement, support, and work-related understanding that comes with them.

Whether you befriend fellow students during the program or network with them afterward, this group of people could be instrumental in your shared successes.

10. Take advantage of your school’s pool of professors
Like fellow MBA students and graduates, professors can also be invaluable as potential personal and professional mentors. They themselves could introduce you to anyone in their own Rolodex of business contacts, cultivated possibly over decades. With many programs offering lifelong learning benefits, professors can be an invaluable source of knowledge even after you graduate, which increases the more intangible return you enjoy from this degree over time.

11. Utilize your program’s career resources
Besides professors, your school may also offer an array of online or on-campus career coaching and career-development resources and services. These could also offer an advantage when seeking a new position during your studies (if you’re in a part-time or executive program, the first post-MBA job position), or when seeking further educational opportunities after graduation.

12. Reduce your opportunity cost with a part-time or executive MBA
If a full-time MBA program is too much of a commitment, you could reduce your opportunity cost by choosing a part-time or executive MBA program, options which also let you apply learning in the workplace in real time. The cost structure and class schedule may less intensely impact your time, budget, or other resources. To calculate this portion of ROI for an MBA, you can factor in the foregone salary cost of a full-time program compared to the part-time or executive MBA you chose instead.

13. Broaden your worldviewImage

MBA graduates were surveyed about their perceivedfinancial and non-financial costs and benefits of their professional degree. Among the top non-financial costs was a broadened worldview and increased wisdom, gleaned from the classroom and from on-the-ground travel and global consulting opportunities. While certainly applicable to business, this broadened worldview can positively impact many other aspects and relationships in an MBA grad’s life.

14. Increase your self-confidence and self-worth
In that same study, participants also ranked increased confidence as one of the highest-weighing and most important non-financial benefits of earning an MBA degree. The power behind those three letters is palpable in the business world and among those in the know.

Anyone who puts in the time, effort, and dedication to completing this degree achieves something worth being proud of. Not only is this a noteworthy achievement in general, but an investment in yourself and career that will continue to propel your efforts going forward.

Overall ROI of an MBA
The overall return on investment for an MBA can be difficult to quantify to the cent. What makes more sense is looking at the bigger picture and visualizing the way your career will level up with the help of this investment in a degree and, more importantly, in yourself.

Download our free ebook Calculating the ROI of an MBA for ready access to this content and for a worksheet that helps you think through what an MBA could be worth to you.



 

 

 

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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How Storytelling as a Product Manager Helps You Build Great Products  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2018, 17:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: How Storytelling as a Product Manager Helps You Build Great Products
You may have thought "Once upon a time…" was primarily a way for parents to get children to sleep, but it turns out that stories can also be used to engage and motivate a business audience. Stories are stickier than data, and in the business world they can serve as a way to capture attention and drive support for or adoption of a new product.

Product managers (PMs) rely on their ability to tell a good story when communicating about a product with internal teams, upper management, and external customers. Storytelling as a product manager is a lot like storytelling as a filmmaker. PMs need to understand the character's motivations, present the conflict in an understandable way, and tell a memorable story that engages and excites the audience.

Using Storytelling as a Strategic Tool
Storytelling is more than just a communication tool

Although most people associate storytelling with communication, David Riemer, a Berkeley Haas Executive-in-Residence who consults with students in Berkeley MBA programs, says that storytelling should initially be thought of as a strategic tool rather than as a communication tool. David, former VP of marketing for Yahoo, says that when you are in the strategic planning stage of the product cycle, storytelling can help you evaluate a problem and determine what type of product needs to be built to solve it.

"Storytelling can be used to make sure you are building the right product in the first place," says David. "When I teach storytelling, I use a narrative framework to help people answer basic questions that are the foundation for anyone building a product."

David identifies six basic questions that PMs need to ask:

  • Who am I building this product for?
  • What is their big challenge?
  • What problem am I solving for the customer?
  • What is the value proposition?
  • How are we going to build it?
  • How is it going to be different from the competition?
Asking these questions forces the product manager to think about the protagonist (the customer), the protagonist's motivations (the product features the customer needs), and the conflict (the problem that needs to be solved) and determine whether or not they have a story that works.

Creating a Narrative Framework
Compelling stories are built with a strong narrative

"Filmmakers create a storyboard before they shoot a film,” says David. “I have product managers create a simple six-frame narrative storyboard that helps them think through core principles like the character (customer), the character's motivations, the core conflicts, the aspiration of the character, and the setting of the story, which is the place, time, and competitive context in which customers might use the product," says David.

Once the strategic framework is complete, and the product is built to fit the story, product managers work with the communications team to tell the story to the customer in a compelling way.

"There are three things that you want to accomplish when you tell a story: you want people to remember it, you want people to be motivated by it, and you want to make sure they understand it," says David. "You have to sweat the details to make sure you have a good story to tell."

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Acquiring a specific set of skills can help you tell a better story David says that the first step in learning to tell a compelling story is to loosen up and realize that it is okay to tell stories in a business environment.

"Many people think that stories are not appropriate for business settings. They assume that talking about numbers, relaying facts, and presenting spreadsheets are the best ways to convince people in the business world. Data and facts have their place, but are rendered more powerful and become more memorable when they're delivered in the context of a story. Once you get comfortable with the idea of storytelling, you can really begin building your skills."

When you're ready, David suggests focusing on acquiring specific skills such as learning how to tell a personal story, introducing a character, creating an antagonist, and diving into a story in a way that immediately engages the audience. You can learn to tell a personal story through practice. Try to build informal personal stories around events in your own life or in the lives of the people around you. To learn how to introduce a character, clarify their motivations and establish a clear conflict, try writing short stories and seeking critiques from local or online writing groups.

Since writing skills and presentation skills are two different things, you may also want to practice presenting stories to an audience. You can do this by telling stories to your friends or family in informal settings or by joining a group like Toastmasters, where you can practice your public speaking and presentation skills in a more formal setting.

Want to learn more about the skills PMs need to succeed? Download our free ebook on breaking into product management. You may also be interested in our blog post: Do I need an MBA to be a product manager.

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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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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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Video: Pursuing an MBA to Scale Impact—at Open IDEO and as an Entrepre  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2018, 12:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Video: Pursuing an MBA to Scale Impact—at Open IDEO and as an Entrepreneur
Hannah Lennett began her career as an actor and theater teacher. A love of storytelling led her to marketing, and a desire to have greater impact led her to pursue her MBA in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.

She thought that without a business background, she might not be a typical applicant but quickly felt comfortable at Berkeley Haas. "I had a background in the arts and in nonprofit work and wasn't interested in letting those values go. I really loved what Berkeley Haas put forward with its Defining Leadership Principles."

 

She chose the evening and weekend program not only because she found a cohort of people with a similar amount of work experience, but because she found "a self selecting group, making a decision to invest in themselves and invest that back into their work on a daily basis. That was a group I wanted to be a part of."

Like anyone else considering adding MBA studies to an already-busy life, balancing work and school was a concern for Hannah. "I've always been someone who really likes to push myself, and I think it ended up just being a frame of mind," she says. "If you think about school as something that you get to do at the end of your day that is making you better and where you get to spend time with people you really enjoy then it's not very hard to fit it into your day."

A supportive community makes all the difference
Finding a supportive community, especially of women, has made the experience easier. "We're constantly asking for and giving each other advice about our work, our personal relationships, and about balancing it all," says Hannah. "I am blown away by the energy and compassion of these women. Many are who are married, have children, have extremely demanding full-time jobs, are doing this program, and also have some kind of venture that they're starting on the side. They are unstoppable. Melanie Akwule, for example, founded MINWO and is doing amazing work for minority and women business owners."

Hannah, a marketing manager for IDEO's open innovation team, OpenIDEO, is one of those who is starting a venture on the side, too. "I'm co-founding a social venture called "QuidProNo" with my classmate, Lori Chen. Our goal is to help those who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace navigate the aftermath and come out with a path to move forward," says Hannah. "Lori and I wouldn't have found each other, and I wouldn't have had the courage to start this project without this program."

"My life has changed a lot since I enrolled at Berkeley Haas," says Hannah. "I landed a job that I never imagined I would've been able to have before this program at a company that I really only dreamed of working for. I feel so lucky and so privileged to be able to do purposeful work at the scale that I do."

For Hannah, the experience has been as important as the outcomes. "The people I spend time with, the friends that I've made at Berkeley Haas are just incredible. The level of conversation we have, the experiences that we share have really changed the way I see the world. I am challenged in ways that I hadn't been challenged before, and that's been really important in growing as a person and as a business leader."

For more about Hannah, watch her video above, and, if you'd like to be challenged in new ways, learn more about the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.

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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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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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Video: Pursuing an MBA to Scale Impact—at OpenIDEO and as an Entrepren  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Aug 2018, 10:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Video: Pursuing an MBA to Scale Impact—at OpenIDEO and as an Entrepreneur
Hannah Lennett began her career as an actor and theater teacher. A love of storytelling led her to marketing, and a desire to have greater impact led her to pursue her MBA in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.

She thought that without a business background, she might not be a typical applicant but quickly felt comfortable at Berkeley Haas. "I had a background in the arts and in nonprofit work and wasn't interested in letting those values go. I really loved what Berkeley Haas put forward with its Defining Leadership Principles."

 

She chose the evening and weekend program not only because she found a cohort of people with a similar amount of work experience, but because she found "a self selecting group, making a decision to invest in themselves and invest that back into their work on a daily basis. That was a group I wanted to be a part of."

Like anyone else considering adding MBA studies to an already-busy life, balancing work and school was a concern for Hannah. "I've always been someone who really likes to push myself, and I think it ended up just being a frame of mind," she says. "If you think about school as something that you get to do at the end of your day that is making you better and where you get to spend time with people you really enjoy then it's not very hard to fit it into your day."

A supportive community makes all the difference
Finding a supportive community, especially of women, has made the experience easier. "We're constantly asking for and giving each other advice about our work, our personal relationships, and about balancing it all," says Hannah. "I am blown away by the energy and compassion of these women. Many are who are married, have children, have extremely demanding full-time jobs, are doing this program, and also have some kind of venture that they're starting on the side. They are unstoppable. Melanie Akwule, for example, founded MINWO and is doing amazing work for minority and women business owners."

Hannah, a marketing manager for IDEO's open innovation team, OpenIDEO, is one of those who is starting a venture on the side, too. "I'm co-founding a social venture called "QuidProNo" with my classmate, Lori Chen. Our goal is to help those who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace navigate the aftermath and come out with a path to move forward," says Hannah. "Lori and I wouldn't have found each other, and I wouldn't have had the courage to start this project without this program."

"My life has changed a lot since I enrolled at Berkeley Haas," says Hannah. "I landed a job that I never imagined I would've been able to have before this program at a company that I really only dreamed of working for. I feel so lucky and so privileged to be able to do purposeful work at the scale that I do."

For Hannah, the experience has been as important as the outcomes. "The people I spend time with, the friends that I've made at Berkeley Haas are just incredible. The level of conversation we have, the experiences that we share have really changed the way I see the world. I am challenged in ways that I hadn't been challenged before, and that's been really important in growing as a person and as a business leader."

For more about Hannah, watch her video above, and, if you'd like to be challenged in new ways, learn more about the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.

Image

 

Image
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

_________________

This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

Video: Pursuing an MBA to Scale Impact—at OpenIDEO and as an Entrepren &nbs [#permalink] 01 Aug 2018, 10:00

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