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Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs

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Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2015, 18:09
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ImageBy Adam Hoff, Amerasia Consulting Group

Time to break out an annual PSA here.  I'm talking all alarms ringing, sirens, whatever it takes to get your attention.  By "you" I mean: anyone applying to business school.  You need to stop doing something immediately.  Here it is:
STOP TRYING TO "DIFFERENTIATE" YOURSELF.  [/b]
Or at least, stop doing it without a professional by your side.  Let's dive into the 4 Rules of Differentiation before someone gets hurt.

Rule #1 - Do not "differentiate yourself" with a panicked career change.  [/b]Throwing a Hail Mary at the last second is not a good idea.  Trying to scramble to a cooler or sexier or "more noble" company is not going to make you stand out as a candidate - it's going to make you look directionless or (worse) fake.  Now, some people change jobs (even right before applying) and that is fine, as long as there is a logical reason for it - ranging from "I hate my current job and may walk into traffic unless I leave it" to "this is a unique opportunity that I have to take."  However, don't change just to change under some faulty logic that they are going to see "Adam Hoff, SpaceX" rather than "Adam Hoff, J.P. Morgan" and start doing backflips.  If there is no logical reason to go work at SpaceX, then don't go work there.  They look at your whole resume - and mainly to see what skills you have, not what brands you racked up - so it's not like changing the "current employer" line is going to change the formula for who you are. This is all risk, no reward.  Would you do anything else in your life that is "all risk, no reward"?  I am guessing not.

Rule #2 - Listing a hard job to get as your short-term goal is not "differentiating."  If you only read one rule, read this one.  Please!  Read it again. Done?  Read it again.  Okay, you get the point.  I have heard many, many times the past two years the idea from candidates that they want to pick post-MBA job X or Y because it will help "differentiate" them.  In basically every case, the job in question is somewhere between "insanely hard" and "impossible" to get after graduating from business school.  I'm talking hedge funds, VC, luxury retail, etc.  I've even heard the quote, "What I really want to do is work in management consulting so I can really see what works and what doesn't and build towards my dream of starting company Z - but I feel like everyone puts management consulting so I want to find something else."  Well, yeah, everyone puts it because management consulting firms hire lots of MBA grads.  And they do that because they need talent and energy to feed an "up or out" machine - and the reason that grads take those jobs is because they can indeed learn what works and what doesn't as they make some good money and build towards the next step.  It's a win for both parties ... so if that is what you want to do and it makes sense, why fight it?  Either way, the worst thing to do is list a job you pretty much can't get, all in some misguided attempt to stand out.  You will stand out all right -for your cratering effect on their employment stats.  Insta-ding.

Rule #3 - The "quick and easy" place to differentiate is in the WHY of your long-term career goal.  I have probably written more about MBA career goals than any subject on earth, so I won't belabor the point now, except to say that you can use your long-term goal to share parts of yourself that are deeply held, introspective, and unique.  That's how you differentiate yourself.  Not "hey, look at how I left Goldman to go work at an oil company for no reason" and not "all these other guys may want to take the slam dunk of management consulting, but I want a c-suite job at Prada!" - no, it's "what I want to do for the rest of my life is X, and the reason is [something that is unique and specific and deeply personal to you.]  That is how you do it.  If you need a mental shifting device, try this: most admissions officers would much rather read a great novel or watch a great TV show than hear a business pitch or dial up a TED Talk.  Don't try to stand out ("differentiate") with your ambition, win them with your humanity.
Rule #4 - The real, pure way to differentiate yourself is to do the app right.  Do you know how many people submit truly great apps?  No joke, my guess from what I've seen is about 1% of the applicant pool.  I'm talking about: 1) a strong baseline profile (3.3 and above, 700 and above, solid impact in the workplace), 2) a really good resume (a sales document that advertises that impact in different contexts), 3) essays that are easy to read, 4) essays that are structured correctly, 5) essays with thesis statements, 6) essays that are introspective (see Rule #3), and 7) essays that nail the DNA of the school in question.  If you check all seven boxes, you just differentiated yourself.  Rather than searching for some magic bullet, just do a really good job.  If you had to read dozens of files each day and only a few were really good, you'd be pumped when you read the handful that were.  I know it's boring and self-serving to lay this out for you, but that doesn't make the advice any less true, so there you have it.

 

If you need help differentiating yourself in a way that does good rather than harm to your app, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or visit us at http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.  You aren't going to hear buzz words or lame gimmicks, just a breakdown of the hard, steady work required for a great app.  

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Re: Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2016, 09:59
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UC Berkeley Haas School of Business has announced the MBA application deadlines for the 2016-2017 admissions cycle. They are as follows:
Round 1
Application due: September 29, 2016
Decision released: December 15, 2016
Round 2
Application due: January 5, 2017
Decision released: March 23, 2017
Round 3
Application due: April 6, 2017
Decision released: May 11, 2017

All applications must be submitted on or before the application deadline at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. For more information, please visit the Berkeley MBA admissions website.
You may also be interested in:
Berkeley Haas Fall 2017 MBA Essay Questions

Berkeley Haas Appoints New Asst. Dean of MBA Program, AdmissionsImage

***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.

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Re: Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2016, 10:00
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Former MBA admissions director Peter Johnson has returned to Berkeley-Haas School of Business to serve as the new assistant dean of the Full-time MBA Program and Admissions, the school announced last week.

Johnson previously served in Berkeley MBA Admissions for 11 years, first as associate director (1999-2001), then as director of international admissions (2001-2006), and finally as executive director of MBA Admissions from February 2006 until August 2010.

During his time at Haas, he developed and implemented strategy for recruiting applicants worldwide, managed application review and evaluations process for 4,000+ applicants annually, developed and maintained alumni and student volunteer networks, and worked closely with the university’s legal counsel to expand diversity recruitment efforts.

“Love when we lure a former member of the team back to Haas,” Dean Rich Lyons tweeted. “Pete Johnson is back to head our full-time MBA program.”

Most recently, Johnson served as vice president for enrollment & international programs at Dominican University, where he has been responsible for the enrollment and international programs units, including undergraduate admissions, graduate admissions, admissions operations, financial aid, marketing & communications, and global education.

Before that, he was vice president for student services at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, where he developed strategy for worldwide student recruitment, enrollment, admissions, financial aid, and student life; oversaw university medical and psychological counseling services; and developed and implemented partnerships for student exchanges.

Johnson’s appointment as assistant dean was effective June 1, 2016.

Source: Berkeley-Haas School of Business
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If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.

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Re: Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2016, 10:00
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The UC Berkeley Haas School of Business has posted the updated essay questions for the 2016-2017 MBA application cycle. The Haas School asks applicants to use the essays as an opportunity to share the values, experiences, and accomplishments that have helped shape who you are.
Required Essays
Essay 1: If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 words maximum)

Your song can be in any language, from any culture, and does not need to contain lyrics. The strongest responses will focus on answering why this song expresses who you are.

Essay 2: Please respond to one of the following prompts: (250 words maximum)
  • Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world and how it transformed you.
  • Describe a time when you were challenged by perspectives different from your own and how you responded.
  • Describe a difficult decision you have made and why it was challenging.
In your response, clearly indicate to which prompt (1, 2, or 3) you are responding. We do not have a preference among the prompts and suggest that you select the one for which you can share a specific experience, professional or personal.

Essay 3: Tell us about your career plans. How have your past experiences prepared you to achieve these goals? How will Berkeley-Haas help you? (500 words maximum)

You are encouraged to reflect on what it is you want to do after business school, including the types of roles, responsibilities, and organizations that are of interest. Through this essay we hope to learn about your professional journey to date and how an MBA will facilitate your success – broadly defined – in the future.
Optional Essay
Use this essay to share information that is not presented elsewhere in the application, for example:
  • Explanation of employment gaps or academic aberrations
  • Quantitative abilities
  • For re-applicants, improvements to your candidacy

***

Fall 2017 deadlines will be announced soon. Meanwhile, for more information about applying to the Berkeley-Haas MBA program, please visit the Haas School admissions website.Image

***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.

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Re: Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2016, 10:31
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The set of essays for admission to UC Berkeley Haas School of Business is a holistic exploration of personal to professional topics. A clear understanding of your application strategy, particularly your career goals and strengths/weaknesses, is the key to putting together a cohesive application. While challenging, this is also an opportunity to demonstrate several different aspects of your personality to the admissions committee.

Note that Haas describes four defining principles for the community: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always and Beyond Yourself. Which of these principles do you identify with? Make sure you have strong examples that illustrate how you have demonstrated these principles and use them in the following essay set.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has successfully coached applicants to the Haas MBA program for 15 years. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you set a winning application strategy.

REQUIRED ESSAYS
Essay 1: If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 words maximum)

This is a creative and open-ended question that invites you to show your personality as you open this set of essays. Take the opportunity to think about your favorite music and what song most represents you.

Perhaps it’s a song that you grew up listening to with your family, that reminds you where you came from. Maybe it’s a song that helps you feel optimistic about your future. Music often evokes emotion, and the essay should capture that feeling and describe why it is meaningful to you.

Essay 2: Please respond to one of the following prompts: (250 words maximum)

All three of the potential essay prompts for Essay 2 deal with change, growth and transformation. This essay is seeking to understand how you handle challenges to your own status quo, and what you learn as a result. Flexibility, curiosity and the ability to handle change would be positive personal qualities to demonstrate with whatever example you choose.

Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world and how it transformed you.

If you decide to answer this question think about the moments that have truly changed you. One approach is to think through transitions. Perhaps the transition from high school to college showed you a different way of life, or the transition to working from college exposed you to new people and new ideas.

Traveling for the first time outside your home country may have been another transition. If none of those transitions lead to a topic for this essay you can delve into the smaller incidents in your life. A friendship, family experience, or volunteer opportunity could have opened your eyes to something new about yourself and the world.

Once you have selected a topic for this essay you will need to explain how you were transformed. What was your attitude like before the experience and what are you like now? Was the transformation internal or did you change how you approached other people? Ideally you learned something from this transformation and explaining that lesson learned would be a strong finish.

Describe a time when you were challenged by perspectives different from your own and how you responded.

The brainstorming process for this question can be similar to the option above. Consider the transitions in life when you have been in a new environment or culture that didn’t quite fit with your past experiences.

Those could be the moments when you were exposed to new perspectives and were forced to respond. Another possible scenario would be a new person introduced to your school or workplace, one who brought a new perspective or culture.

While it is normal to be taken aback or threatened by new perspectives, ideally you were open minded and tried to understand and learn through this experience. Describe the experience, your initial reaction, and then use a significant portion of the essay to describe what you learned and how you changed as a result.

Describe a difficult decision you have made and why it was challenging.

Difficult decisions are often a moment to reflect again upon your values. What were the stakes of your decision and why did you struggle to make a clear choice? Perhaps you were choosing between priorities in your life, family or work, where to study for university or what career path to pursue. No matter what the decision was it will be important to talk a bit about your process for making it. Why did you choose one option over another and what did you learn about yourself?

Essay 3: Tell us about your career plans. How have your past experiences prepared you to achieve these goals? How will Berkeley-Haas help you? (500 words maximum)

This is a short career goals essay and asks you to describe your path to business school along with your future goals. As you describe your path you don’t need to recite your resume here – rather highlight the key experiences that will be relevant in your future career. Think about the cover letter you would write to explain your background for a desired next job, and tailor your approach accordingly.

Describe your future goals in a succinct manner, considering what aspects of your background to explain in the “path” section that will support your goals development.

Be specific about why the Haas School of Business is the right program to pursue your goals as well. As you consider past experiences and your future goals you will be able to see what you want to gain from the Haas experience to fill any gaps.

If you have an advertising background and want to become a brand manager you’ll likely need classes in operations and finance to understand the analytical side of brand management.

Other goals will require specific skills gained from an MBA and your own unique background will inform how you take advantage of the Haas experience.

Make sure you have determined exactly what courses make sense for your career goals and the programs and clubs that you will participate in to reach your personal and professional goals. Thorough school research will be invaluable in approaching this question.

OPTIONAL ESSAY
Use this essay to share information that is not presented elsewhere in the application, for example:
Explanation of employment gaps or academic aberrations
Quantitative abilities
For re-applicants, improvements to your candidacy

Haas recommends using this space to address any information that was not adequately covered elsewhere, specifically suggesting that any employment gaps or lack of apparent quantitative skills be covered.

A short gap between school and a secured job is not necessary to explain, but an unexplained gap of several months between two jobs should be addressed. If your resume has significant employment gaps you should describe what you did between jobs in this space. Ideally you can point to additional education, training, volunteering or traveling that you engaged in while unemployed.

If you have a strong quantitative background like an engineering or hard sciences degree, or you work in a quantitative field like finance, it is likely unnecessary to further explain your quantitative skills.

Otherwise, you may want to take one or two examples to demonstrate that you have an analytical mind and can take a quantitative approach to problem solving and evaluating data. As the question specifically asks you not to focus on the grades on your transcript, use this space to describe projects at work, additional post-graduate coursework, or your plans to strengthen your quant skills before you enroll at Haas.

Reapplicants can describe hard improvements to your candidacy such as an improved GMAT score, new grades from quantitative classes, or a promotion. Other improvements might include refined career goals and additional leadership responsibilities at work or within a volunteer activity.Image

***

If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.

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Re: Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 28 Sep 2016, 14:43
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Our guest today is Peter Johnson, Assistant Dean of the Full-Time MBA Program and Admissions at Haas School of Management. He has been on the admissions team almost continually at Haas since 2004, becoming the director in 2006 and the Assistant Dean of Admissions in 2012. Welcome, Peter!

Can you give us an overview of the full-time MBA at Haas? [1:30]

It’s a traditional two-year full-time MBA, with an internship between the first and second year. We’re located in Berkeley, which if you’re not familiar is 12 miles NE of downtown San Francisco.

We have a special focus on developing entrepreneurial leaders who can make a positive impact on their organizations. We’re one of the smaller programs in the top-10 – we just welcomed an incoming class of 252 students.

Haas’s mission is “leading through innovation.” What does that mean, practically, to students? [2:55]

“Purposeful differentiation” is what makes organizations successful. We give students a strong b-school foundation (fundamentals of management, etc), plus opportunities to explore areas of specialization – an understanding of the changing dimensions of business and changing technology, so that they can explore ways to become entrepreneurs (or intrepreneurs, within established organizations).

You don’t become successful by doing what’s always been done – the key is to bring new ideas into your organization.

How does Haas take advantage of its connection to UC Berkeley and Silicon Valley? [5:35]

When people talk about Silicon Valley, they’re really talking about the Bay Area innovation ecosystem, which encompasses San Francisco and the whole area, both established tech companies and disruptive startups. We have faculty and adjunct lecturers who come from that environment; we know what those companies are looking for in employees.

We are on the Berkeley campus, and we’re fully part of the grad environment there. We have ties with engineering, etc. One example of that is our Clean Tech to Market program, where our students work directly with students in the sciences. Another collaborative project is the Blum Center for Developing Economies – our students work with students from Public Policy and other programs.

What does “global focus” mean at Haas? [8:30]

Cases in class connect to a global focus; businesses’ growth strategy is a global strategy.

Some things that are most impactful are experiential, such as our International Business Development Program. Through this program, over half of our full-time students work on a project for an international company or organization – they spend a semester on the ground in Berkeley and then go overseas to produce a deliverable for the client company.

Students can also spend a semester abroad with a partner school, and can go abroad during breaks. We also offer joint programs in business and International Area Studies.

“Leading Through Innovation” – what does it mean to applicants? [10:50]

People assume it means they need to be planning to launch a startup, but that’s not the case. We’re looking for people who challenge the status quo – who can become innovative leaders.

We have a course called “Problem Finding/Problem Solving.” We’re interested in students who are interested in developing themselves as this type of leader.

And what does the mission (“leading through innovation”) mean to alumni? [14:37]

You’re connected with a network of people who have a similar “innovation” skillset. Fellow alumni can become partners for cross-company collaboration or entrepreneurial activity.

A lot of alumni come back and talk about what it’s meant to them in their career. Hearing stories of how people put these skills to work is really meaningful.

What’s one of your favorite stories? [16:25]

There are so many, but I think of Chris Barton, the founder of Shazam – the app that identifies a song and provides links to purchase it.

They developed this technology a while ago, in the early 2000s. It works really well in the smartphone era – but when they first launched, they needed the phone company to provide a number to dial (you would call in, play the song, and the service would identify the song). It was clever, but there was no direct link to the purchase of the music, and it wasn’t easy to use.

But in the smartphone era, it connects to how you purchase the music, and the company is successful. You have to have a lot of vision for that kind of stick-to-itiveness.

Can you give more examples of experiential learning at Haas? [20:20]

Beyond the International Business Development Program I’ve already mentioned, we have a number of opportunities.

There’s the Haas at Work program, where teams of students work on solving problems for businesses (similar to the international program, except US businesses). In the Clean Tech to Market program, students work with scientists and engineers to figure out how to bring a new technology to market. Basically, they’re taking skills learned in class and using them on the ground.

We also have the Lean Launchpad program for students with entrepreneurial ideas – there’s an entrepreneur in residence to help develop the idea.

Social Sector Solutions provides consulting for non-profits. And our Board Fellows Program trains and places students on the boards of Bay Area non-profits.

Those are just a few of the ways we give students the opportunity for experiential learning.

What are some areas Haas students can specialize in? [23:05]

It’s diverse: finance, marketing, clean tech, real estate, entrepreneurship, global management.

We offer joint programs such as the JD/MBA, and one of the more popular ones, the MBA-MPH (a lot of students in that area are going into biotech, managed care, etc). It really depends on people’s individual goals.

We see our role as helping people develop in the direction they want to go.

Can you pass out of some required courses? [24:40]

Yes, and the core only takes up about 40% of the total units (mostly in the first year). And you also take some electives in the first year.

What’s coming down the pike at Haas? [25:20]

We have a new building opening soon – a soft opening in the new year, and fully open in the next academic year. It’s entirely devoted to student-focused space (event space, meeting space, core classrooms). And that added space will allow us to grow our program. We expect to increase our class size to 275 next year and 300 in 2018.

We’re excited about expanding the class – it will give us critical mass for some new initiatives, and help us create a larger pool to attract recruiters.

We also want to strengthen our core principles:
1. Challenge the status quo
2. Confidence without attitude
3. Students always
4. Beyond yourself

We’re going to spend more time talking to students intentionally about how you think about these principles as a leader – the broader implications of what you do in your career.

Based on the Accepted Selectivity Index, Haas is the 3rd most selective b-school in the country. Do you anticipate the acceptance rate increasing when the class size goes up? [33:25]

The application rate has been increasing, and we expect that to continue. I don’t expect it to get easier to get in.

How is Haas adapting to changes in recruiting? [34:35]

You’re right that the opportunities are expanding in ways that people wouldn’t have envisioned a few years ago, and it creates challenges for career management.

Our top three areas are tech, management consulting, and financial services. But if you put those together, it’s maybe half the class. So there’s a huge diversity.

Companies are doing less formal on campus recruiting. So our Career Management has transitioned to help students find the right opportunities.

We’ve extended our staffing – hiring more industry experts and business development specialists. We maintain relationships with companies and help them see the value that an MBA brings.

In such a rapidly changing environment, this requires constant attention.

How can applicants show they fit? [38:05]

Strong academics are the first step (GPA, GMAT/GRE).

What makes people uncomfortable is the essay or interview question: why do they want the MBA and why Haas – too often people are looking for the one “right answer.”

We’re looking for people who are self-aware enough to articulate their goals and why our program is right for them.

Start early: get the GMAT/GRE out of the way. And then be introspective about the process. It takes some effort and thought.

What’s the worst advice you’ve heard given to MBA applicants? [41:10]

“Tell them what they want to hear.” It results in an application that doesn’t reflect what the applicant believes or values, and they fall apart in an interview. If you’re not passionate about the goals you’ve stated in the essay, you won’t be able to talk about them passionately in an interview, and the application won’t make sense.

One of the things we spend time with students on is how to articulate their story and goals: it’s not just valuable to business schools, but also to employers. The people who are able to articulate that well are the people who get the job they want.

What advice do you have for applicants? [45:40]

Get standard stuff out of the way early.

Allow plenty of time for essays.

Give yourself plenty of time to think about your motivation and goals.

Why did you leave Haas, and why did you come back? [46:35]

I wanted to develop my own skillset, so I went to work at Central European University in Budapest. It was a different set of challenges – there, I also worked in student and academic affairs.

Then, I was fortunate to come back to Haas in the Assistant Dean role, combining my former role with some of the work I did while I was away.

Sometimes you need to stretch yourself a bit to grow. I’m thrilled to be back at Haas.

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Related Links:
The Berkeley MBA
• UC Berkeley Haas 2016-17 MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines
• UC Berkeley Haas Business School Zone Page

Related Shows:
• Haas, McCombs, and Case Interviews
• Mission and Admissions at Yale School of Management
• A 20-Year MBA Admissions Veteran Shares His Insights• UCLA Anderson: Cool, Chic, and Tech

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This article originally appeared on blog.accepted.com.

Applying to a top b-school? The talented folks at Accepted have helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to their dream programs. Whether you are figuring out where to apply, writing your application essays, or prepping for your interviews, we are just a call (or click) away.

Contact us, and get matched up with the consultant who will help you get accepted!

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Re: Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 12 Oct 2016, 12:23
Hey everybody! We’re back with our second installment of our new weekly column “Ask the AdCom.” We know MBA applicants love to get information straight from the source, and in this space we’ll be sharing tips and advice from admissions team members from a dozen top business schools.

Since AdCom members are human, too, we thought our readers might enjoy seeing  a different side of what makes these guys tick. This fun space is not really about the application process but more about real-life topics, like where’s the best place on campus to eat or study, what are the can’t-miss courses, and all the fun stuff that happens at b-school that makes lifelong memories for students.

We hope you enjoy their insights!

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Today’s question is: What’s a good book for b-school student or an aspirant (not a text book)?
Morgan Bernstein, Executive Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions  at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, recommends:

Life is Good – The Book: How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy the Ride, by Bert and John Jacobs, co-founders of the socially conscious lifestyle company/brand Life is Good. The book celebrates the power of optimism, sharing stories and advice for living simpler, happier, and more fulfilling lives. Given the fast-paced (and oftentimes stressful) lives of MBA students, this book provides a welcome and refreshing retreat from the chaos.

John Roeder, Assistant Dean Graduate Admissions  at SMU Cox School of Business, recommends:

Texas Got It Right by Sam and Andrew Wyly.  While most states are floundering over the last decade, this is an interesting look into Texas history, traits, and policies that have made Texas successful, prosperous and an entrepreneurial powerhouse. After reading this book, aspiring MBAs will have a good idea of why business is booming in the state of Texas and why so many companies are re-locating their corporate Headquarters from the east and west coast.

Texas should be on the radar of any aspiring MBA whether they are choosing to ultimately live in the state or just do business there.

 Rodrigo Malta, Director of Admissions at UT McCombs School of Business, says: Crossing the Chasm is a perennial favorite amongst students and professors.

Kelly R. Wilson, Executive Director of Admissions  at the CMU Tepper School of Business, recommends: Professor Allan Meltzer’s Why Capitalism?

Melissa Fogerty, Director of Admissions at Yale School of Management and obviously an avid reader, recommends:  Prospective MBA students should check out our Yale SOM faculty’s Summer Reading List. This list includes our faculty’s favorite business books, as well as works of fiction, history, and more.

I’ll point out in particular Professor Will Goetzmann’s new book, Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible, published in 2016 by Princeton University Press, which explores how the development of finance has made the growth of civilizations possible.

As someone who loves to read, I’m looking forward to exploring Goetzmann’s idea of finance as a time machine, which Felix Martin (New York Times Book Review) notes “is a fascinating thesis, brilliantly illuminated by scores of vivid examples, generously illustrated with a wealth of pictures, comprehensive in its geographical and temporal scope, and in my view almost entirely convincing.”

In fiction, I’ll also recommend M.L. Stedman’s New York Times bestselling novel The Light Between Oceans, which I recently read for my book club. I’m looking forward to comparing it to the Derek Cianfrance film starring Rachel Weisz, Alicia Vikander, and Michael Fassbender, which will be out in theaters in September.

Shari Hubert, Associate Dean, MBA Admissions  at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, also has a long list of recommendations:

The Start Up of You –by Reid Hoffman

Banker to the Poor –by Muhammad Yunus

How to Change the World – by David Bornstein

Zero to One –by Peter Thiel

Conscious Capitalism – by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia

The 10-Day MBA – by Steven Silbiger

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them (by Meg Jay – there’s also a Ted Talk on this) – This book helps to put into context why individuals pursue their MBA and helps to prepare students for the most transformative and defining period of their lives.

******

Look out for the #AskAdCom in our social media channels, and we’ll see you again next week when we check in to Ask the AdCom to name a great restaurant around campus!

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If you are looking for guidance on your MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.

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Planning a Trip to learn about Haas? [#permalink]

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New post 06 Feb 2017, 14:16
Whether you are visiting Haas, or any other business school program, there is a right way and a wrong way to maximize the visit. Make sure you do your research in advance and line up some meetings with students, staff and even faculty if you can make those connections. Here are 6 tips about how to maximize your MBA visit:
https://stratusprep.com/6-planning-tips ... ol-visits/

For more advice about how Stratus can help you make the most of your MBA admissions experience, visit our website here for a free consult: https://stratusprep.com/admissions/busi ... b-visitor/
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Re: Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2017, 04:05
Pay particular attention to the question that some b-schools ask during the interview and/or on your application:

What Other MBA Programs Are You Applying To?
[/*]
[/list]
Why would they ask this question? The reason is this:

B-schools are keen to know who they are competing against.  They want to see how serious you are about eventually matriculating at their school.  They want to know how applicants view the correlation between programs but also if you are using the school as a backup or safe school.[/*]
Note that this question is pretty much asked by MBA programs who have been burned by their "yield" in year's past.  That is, the admissions committee extends a lot of invites and only gets a handful of positive replies.[/*]
[/list]
Let's use UCLA Anderson as an illustrative example.

On the UCLA Anderson application, if you list that you are applying to Stanford and Haas, in addition to Anderson, the admissions committee will pretty much know you are using them as a backup.  Thus, you'll be under the gun (even more so) to prove to the Anderson adcom that you're serious about the school.[/*]
If you do not make compelling reasons for "Why Anderson?", then the negative effect of your "other schools" is magnified.  That is, it becomes even more apparent that you are using UCLA Anderson as a backup.[/*]
A good way to test the efficacy of your case for "Why Anderson"  (on your essays) is this - if you can unplug the "UCLA Anderson" name from the essays and plug back in any other business school, the adcom knows you're not really interested, and will see right through it.[/*]
[/list]
What should you do if you answered "Stanford GSB" and " Berkeley Haas" on your application?

Nothing.  Just hang tight and see if you get the interview.  Answering "Stanford GSB" and "Berkeley Haas" isn't a deal breaker in the near term, but it could be in the end if you don't play your hand right.[/*]
[/list]
So you got the interview, now what?

During your admissions interview, if you can't get beyond a laundry list of clubs and courses that you "plan" to join at UCLA Anderson, then you playing your requiem.  Yes, every school you are applying to has a finance club, but during the interview that is not your concern.  Being able to articulate how exactly you will contribute to club X or class Y at Anderson is your challenge on interview day.  You have to be over the top on this one, especially if you listed Stanford GSB or Berkeley Haas on your application as your "other schools."[/*]
So a bad answer is a laundry list.  A good answer is: "Given my fundraising background with the United Way as well as my lifelong participation in club sports, I plan on joining Anderson's Challenge 4 Charity. I hope to gain a position on C4C's board as we work with Special Olympics and each Section to raise our volunteer hours and funds. I know we can retake the Golden Briefcase from USC Marshall during the C4C Olympics at Stanford."   with "pull through" issues or low acceptance rates of extended offers know that they are going to get dinged in the rankings.  They are keen to see that you are serious.[/*]
[/list]
Keep in mind that the advice above is addition to:

Your ability to articulate clear reasons why you need an MBA, your short and longer term goals and why you need to get that MBA now as opposed to a year from now.[/*]
[/list]
Finally:

If you do not have clear reasons for wanting to go to a particular school, the adcom will see through it.  They review thousands of applications, they have a pretty good BS detector.  On paper you might be qualified, but in reality you might be overqualified.  That is, you look like an applicant who considers themselves too good for the school in question.[/*]
[/list]
---

If you are interested in mock interview services please email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com. This is how we think about the process - from every angle. It's not enough to know yourself and the story you want to tell, you have to understand the challenges, obligations, and desires of your audience as well. We're here to help with all that and we do it at a higher level than anyone out there.

Source: How to Answer the "What Other MBA Programs Are You Applying To?" Question — Amerasia Consulting Group - <http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/blog/2008/09/17/the-what-other-programs-are-you-applying-to-question>

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Re: Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2017, 11:50
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UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business announced it has received the largest gift made by an alumnus under the age of 40Kevin Chou, the 36-year-old founding CEO of mobile gaming firm Kabam, and his wife, Dr. Connie Chen, have pledged $15 million, with two potential step-ups of $5 million or $10 million at the end of five years.

In recognition of the gift, the school will name its new, state-of-the-art academic building opening later this year, seen in the above rendering, Connie & Kevin Chou Hall.

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree from Berkeley-Haas in 2002, Chou co-founded Kabam along with two fellow Berkeley alumni. Late last year, he sold the majority of Kabam’s assets to South Korea’s Netmarble Games Corp. in an $800 million deal, according to theWall Street Journal.

Chou says it is important to him to give back to the school early in his career to inspire current and future Haas students to become entrepreneurs.

“Beyond Yourself is a principle that really resonates with me today,” says Chou, citing one of the four Haas Defining Principles. “I’m excited to be able to do this at this point in my career because I get to spend time with students and with Haas professors and other administrators, collaborating and helping them think about the new student space and the program.”

Chou is one of 176 Berkeley entrepreneurs who have signed theBerkeley Founders’ Pledge, a personal, non-binding pledge to give a portion of the value of their venture to support the university’s schools and programs, if and when they have a liquidity event.

The couple says their gift is also a testament to their support for UC Berkeley’s role in providing world-class public education to students of all backgrounds.

“We believe that diversity is so important in terms of shaping future leaders. We’re excited about bringing together students of all backgrounds—not just business students—to formulate ideas that will improve the world,” says Chen, 29, a practicing physician and co-founder of Vida Health, a venture-backed startup providing health coaching and programming.

Dean Rich Lyons calls the Chou and Chen gift transformative for Berkeley-Haas, noting that, “What makes this gift so special is that these are two people in their 30s—an extraordinary time in life to be making a commitment to an institution that Kevin says has had so much of an impact on his life. Their donation is going to have a catalytic effect on generations of donors to come.”
You may also be interested in:
UC Berkeley Haas Joins the Global Network
UC Berkeley Haas to Provide Seed Funding to Student Entrepreneurs

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If you are looking for guidance on your  Berkeley Haas MBA application, Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with hourly and comprehensive consulting services. Contact us to learn more. Visit the website for Stacy Blackman Reviews, and check out the company’s e-publications for more in depth school-by-school guidance.

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What Can You Contribute to an MBA Class? [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jun 2017, 08:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: What Can You Contribute to an MBA Class?
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Business schools look for candidates who not only have something to gain from an MBA program, but also something to contribute. Think about that. What can you contribute to an MBA class? If you don't already see yourself as an MBA candidate, you might not have an immediate answer, and that's okay—you’ll soon discover that self-reflection is a big part of the MBA application process.

We invite you to meet two students who have already gone through the process of determining how they could contribute to an MBA class and then to explore the different types of contributions you can demonstrate through your application.

Underscoring design thinking experience
Shivam Goyal,  senior product manager at Adobe Systems and a second year student in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program, evaluated his potential contributions by examining his past, and he recommends that other applicants do the same.

"It is important not to discount the uniqueness of your own journey," says Shivam. "Admissions committees care less about big achievements or awards and more about personal anecdotes that will help them assess you as human being. When you dig deep and think about what triggered the events in your life to get you where you are today, it helps you understand and demonstrate who you are.”

“Self-reflection helped me think about what I am bringing to the program, why that makes me unique, and what past events shaped my work and education experiences. For example, I started off as a design thinker. When I saw problems in the area where I was growing up, such as people not having universal access to information because of the digital divide between rural and urban populations and the lack of technology penetration in all strata of the society, it instilled a sense of humility and keenness to solve difficult social problems and made me think about the benefits of a design education."

Want to learn more about the contribution you could make to an MBA program? Download our free ebook Five Signs You're Ready for an MBA
"I started off as a user experience designer and was really close to the customer in terms of building the product. I started thinking about how I could contribute more by influencing product strategy at its inception and moved into a product management role. In that role, I realized the need for gaining business acumen to compliment my design and technology background. That's what led me to an MBA program.”

“The design experience I acquired in undergraduate school and at work was unique to me and I thought it might be something valuable that I could bring to the program. I knew I could talk about customer empathy and solving real-world cases for a particular user problem to get the right outcome when introducing a product into the market. When I started writing my essays, I pushed myself to think and write about those experiences so that I could really tell a story about me as a person."

Providing value inside and outside the classroom
Sera Lee, bank examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco and a first year student in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program, did a lot of research prior to applying to the program and realized that her work experience was one of her most valuable assets.

It's important to be open to exploration and change...If you're open to learning, being adventurous, and meeting new people, you're ready to contribute to an MBA class."

"Looking at the statistics, I knew that fewer Evening & Weekend MBA students were on the banking side," says Sera. "When considering what I could contribute to the program, I thought about how I could provide the value of my work experience in classes like ethics, finance, or macroeconomics. I figured I could be the voice of the banking industry and share some of the experiences that I have gone through in my work. And by being around people in different industries, I have been able to learn what's going on in their worlds.”

“I also have a passion for community volunteering. In my admissions essay, I wrote about the possibility of creating a program or student club committed to volunteering as an example of how I could contribute to the program outside of class."

Sera recommends that applicants do a lot of research in order to figure out which MBA program is the best fit for their contributions, but she also encourages them to be open to exploring.

"I sometimes tell my friends that they should get an MBA, and they tell me they don't see themselves as a 'business person' or a 'leader type.' I'm sure all of us have thought that at one time during the pre-application or application process. It's important to be open to exploration and change. Don't let the voice inside your head prevent you from taking that step forward. If you're open to learning, being adventurous, and meeting new people, you're ready to contribute to an MBA class."

Demonstrating your work experience, academic potential, and passion to an MBA program
The application review process for the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA, Full-time MBA, and Berkeley MBA for Executives programs is quite holistic, meaning that your whole application is examined to determine the value of your experience and expertise.

"We look at every aspect of someone's candidacy to evaluate program contributions and make that final decision," says Eileen Jacob, senior assistant director of admissions of MBA Programs for Working Professionals. "This includes looking at applicants' job responsibilities, investments they’ve made in their team and department, impacts they've made at their companies, formal and informal leadership experience, and opportunities they've taken advantage of with professional organizations or events and clubs at work. We also look at contributions outside of work, including community involvement, active membership or leadership in organizations, and interest in various hobbies or causes.”

We look at every aspect of someone's candidacy to evaluate program contributions."

“When considering academic potential, we examine undergraduate and any graduate transcripts and overall academic progress in chosen areas of study. We also notice when applicants take an active role in making themselves as competitive as possible. For example, some Berkeley MBA applicants show initiative by bolstering their quantitative abilities with math courses like the UC Berkeley Extension Math for Management course.”

“Aside from professional and academic experience, we want to see students who have drive and who are getting their MBA because they have passion for their career plans and for creating new opportunities for the future. If you're showing those areas of excitement early on, you will get us more interested in learning how you can contribute to the Berkeley MBA community."

Are you asking yourself the big question: Am I ready for an MBA? Download our free ebook, Five Signs You're Ready for an MBA, to get the answer.

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Pursuing an MBA to Move from Exec to Entrepreneur [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jun 2017, 08:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Pursuing an MBA to Move from Exec to Entrepreneur
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President of Lucy Activewear and Berkeley MBA for Executives student . Laurie sees herself moving from exec to entrepreneur in the next phase of her career and told Poets & Quants, "I realized I was reading and studying about all of these topics on my own...so I thought: why not formalize this education, supercharge the capabilities I am seeking, place myself in a world-class environment with the best thinkers and teachers?

The question brought her to Berkeley-Haas, whose core values align well with her beliefs. “The strong reputation of the Berkeley EMBA program was very appealing, and my experience with the program office was incredible,” Laurie told Poets & Quants.

While Laurie had concerns about how she would balance an MBA with work and life, she discovered that the biggest myth about going back to school is that there won’t be enough time. “Somehow you find the time for homework and studying,” she says. “You repurpose time and become much more productive quickly. You figure it out!”

She's also seen synergies between school and family, as she and 14-year-old son, Harrison, share study tips and reading material. “Being students together has given us an entirely new world to enjoy at the same time. It’s been so fun to show him that learning never ends.”

A leader who is most proud of the teams she has built and the integrity and courage she has shown, Laurie's ultimate goal is “to create and lead a business with an inspired team of people...solving big, global problems.” Fitting for someone who describes herself as a “driven by the cause.”

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Yes, It’s Possible to Achieve MBA-Work-Life Balance [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jun 2017, 11:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Yes, It’s Possible to Achieve MBA-Work-Life Balance
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Swetha Tupelly used her Berkeley MBA from the Evening & Weekend Program to successfully transition from a previous career as an engineer. But within that simple statement lies a complicated story of juggling job, family, and school – a daunting triumvirate for anyone thinking about adding MBA studies to an already full agenda.

How was she able to achieve MBA work life balance? In part II of our conversation with Swetha, we found out how she decided on the best program format for her—and how she managed to fit in the various demands on her schedule. She chose the Evening & Weekend format because it felt to her most in line with the full-time program.

“I liked that we would be meeting every week, with the same curriculum, format, professors, and recruiting opportunities as the full-time MBA,” she says. “There seemed to be the possibility for deeper relationships and more continuity.”

Skills for Balancing an MBA with work and life
As a classic type-A-super-achiever, Swetha was used to exerting a high level of control over her work and her schedule. However, she found that accepting a certain loss of control was critical to her new normal as a part-time MBA student.

Letting go was one trick—sharpening skills, like prioritizing and multi-tasking, was another.

“I like to succeed at whatever I do,” she says. “But with so much going on in my life – three really diverse areas of demands – I found I just couldn’t do it all. I had to prioritize the heck out of everything and make peace with the fact that I couldn’t excel all the time.”

Her greatest challenge was having to switch tracks at a moment’s notice – taking a conference call while she was caring for her young daughter, for example. “There’s never a time you’re not multi-tasking,” she laughs. “But what keeps you going are all the fascinating things you’re learning and the interesting colleagues you’re working with.”

MBA Student. Product Manager. Partner. Parent.
For her first year-and-a-half at Berkeley, Swetha finished work at four o’clock on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then took the school shuttle from Santa Clara to arrive on campus by six o’clock, and then return home by eleven. As a mother of a very young child, she says that having a supportive and understanding husband was essential to her success.

Still, there were some bumps. “I had been our daughter’s primary care provider, and she would only go to bed with me,” she explains. “But because I was doing the evening program, I had to train my husband on the bedtime ritual. Everyone survived!”

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Swetha completed her Berkeley MBA in December, and her husband and daughter proudly sat in the audience when she walked with her cohort at graduation in May – the family has also enjoyed attending a Cal football game together. “My MBA has greatly enhanced my professional trajectory, and the benefits will ultimately extend to my family and other aspects of my life,” Swetha says. “It was challenging at times, but totally worth it!”

Swetha Tupelly decided a part-time MBA was an achievable goal within her work-life schedule. Find out how you, too, could make it work; get our free ebook Life + Work + MBA

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You may also like Part I of our conversation with Swetha, Why Business School? for a Career Switch to Product Management

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Berkeley MBA Students Share Tips for Improving Your GMAT Quant Score [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jun 2017, 16:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Berkeley MBA Students Share Tips for Improving Your GMAT Quant Score
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Taking (and doing well on) the GMAT or GRE is one way to show you are ready for the quantitative rigor of an MBA program. But getting a good score on the quant sections of these tests isn't always easy. That's why we're sharing Berkeley MBA student tips for improving your GMAT quant score.

GMAT Quant Prep Tips

Preparation is important even if you have experience with advanced college math. Alicea Wu, associate director of Drug Safety and Public Health at Gilead Sciences and a recent graduate of the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program, had studied up to Calculus 3, but found that her advanced math skills did not necessarily translate into preparedness  for the GMAT Quantitative section. 

"Many of the quant questions involved a level of thinking beyond simple calculations," says Alicea. "While reviewing math concepts is important, doing practice questions is more important—as that is exactly how the test will be,” she says.

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Every weekend for 16 weeks, Alicea would simulate test conditions and challenges by running through 37 practice questions in 75 minutes. "Being consistent in preparation had the most impact on my GMAT quant score." 

Alicea structured her practice sessions to hone one particular skill at a time. "I consistently made practical and purposeful goals for each study session," says Alicea, "For example, ‘My goal for today is to review trigonometry concepts with practice problems.’"

Prepping for business school entrance exams? Download our free ebook with Berkeley MBA GMAT/GRE Test Prep Tips
Andrea Michaelian, Marketing Manager at BlackRock and a third-year Evening and Weekend MBA student, also learned the value of practice while preparing for the GMAT.

"In addition to taking prep classes and learning the strategies, repetition of practice problems was the best thing I did," says Andrea. "The classes will only take you so far. You have to practice in order to apply the strategies and remember them when you're under pressure in the test environment. You want it to be almost like muscle memory by the time you get into the room."

"I also recommend periodically doing diagnostics throughout your study plan to figure out how the practice is affecting your score and what you need to focus on," says Andrea. "Being able to go into the test room and feel like ‘I've done this and I know what my score range is going to be’ will help you get through the test with minimal nerves."

The Benefits of GMAT Quant Prep

Preparing for the GMAT or GRE not only ensures that you are ready for the exam, it also helps you brush up on study skills that will help you succeed in a rigorous MBA program, such as the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA, Full-time MBA, and Berkeley MBA for Executives Programs.

"An MBA program requires a variety of both quantitative and non-quantitative skills,” says Berkeley MBA lecturer Gregory LaBlanc. “But quantitative skill isn't always about the ability to perform certain mathematical operations. It’s also about the ability to think analytically,"

"Some of the things you do on the GMAT, may not reflect what you do in practice, but they reflect an ability to think analytically. That ability is really important. If people didn't bring that underlying quantitative fluency to class, we would spend a lot of time at the beginning of the program doing a mathematics review."

"The first year of the MBA program consists of core classes such as statistics, microeconomics, accounting, and finance. Even classes like operations require you to be comfortable with complex formulas and calculations,” says Alicea Wu.. “Before enrolling in Berkeley-Haas, it had been many years since I had taken a math class, so reviewing math concepts and doing practice questions for the GMAT helped me prepare for these quant heavy classes."

Are you thinking about taking the GMAT or GRE? Download our free ebook Avoiding the GMAT/GRE Blues.

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Using an MBA and FinTech to Empower Underserved Communities [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jul 2017, 09:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Using an MBA and FinTech to Empower Underserved Communities
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Oportun product manager Pedro Moura works to create scalable solutions to the financial challenges faced by underserved communities. A third year student in theEvening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program, he spoke with us about his MBA and FinTech work and about what led him to Berkeley-Haas.

Immigrant experience fuels the desire to serve low income communities
I immigrated with my family to the U.S. when I was 15. We left Brazil to escape financial hardship. My mother, who was a business owner in Brazil, came to America hoping to build a new life from scratch. She cleaned houses, worked as a babysitter, and did everything she could to accomplish the goal of giving her children a better education.

She eventually moved back to Brazil when things improved economically. However, I stayed in the U.S. in order to enroll in an undergraduate program and to play Volleyball at UC Davis.

While studying economics and international relations at Davis, I took a class with Professor Steve Boucher where I was introduced to the academic side of both microfinance and microinsurance. The idea of providing small dollar loans to underserved communities was planted.

From traditional finance to FinTech—and alignment with personal goals
Although I initially tried a more traditional finance career, interning at Morgan Stanley and subsequently taking a job at JPMorgan Chase after earning my undergraduate degree, I eventually realized it wasn't my calling.

In 2011, I was lucky enough to bump into Oportun, the organization where I have worked for the last six years. We focus on providing affordable loans to individuals with little to no credit. Oportun is a company with a mission that is much aligned with my personal goals.

Haas seemed like the perfect fit for me...Berkeley’s focus on entrepreneurship and social impact were definitely important drivers in my decision.

Working at Oportun for about four years during a rapid growth period has been quite rewarding. We grew from a company of less than 300 people to over 2,000 and from 60 retail locations to 200+ locations and online operations. So for me, it was time again to maximize personal growth and think more broadly about the impact I wanted to have on financial services for underserved communities.

I wanted to build on previous experience with new skills, meet and collaborate with individuals who care about the cause, and take innovation and entrepreneurial classes to better understand what other products could be designed for underserved communities.

After evaluating a number of other programs, Haas seemed like the perfect fit for me and a place where I could achieve all of these goals. Berkeley’s focus on entrepreneurship and social impact were definitely important drivers in my decision.

Why he chose a part-time MBA program
My organization was in a pre-IPO stage when I decided to get an MBA. Although I valued the opportunities offered bythe full-time MBA program, foregoing the work experience and my income did not seem like the smartest decision for my career.

Instead, I built in some flexibility at my job to reduce my workload and enrolled in theEvening & Weekend MBA Program. I went from a full-time position at the company to a part-time position with different responsibilities. This has really allowed me to spend more time on campus and get involved as well as reflect on my experiences.

Applying MBA lessons to real life (while still in school)
While completing core classes in my first year, I participated in a lot of extracurricular activities, such as theHaas Impact Investing Network (HIIN), which allowed me to look at a lot of early-stage start-ups within financial empowerment to get inspiration and ideas. It also helped me to see the other side of things and learn what venture capitalists look at and think about when deciding to invest in companies.  

I have also been able to directly add value to Oportun by leveraging class learnings and immediately applying it to projects I directly work on or influence.

For example, Applied Innovation (an innovation class that uses lean methodology and design thinking) has really helped to facilitate a project I am working on that involves identifying customer needs in a new market and designing a digital customer experience.

And, I’ve been able to use class projects, such as pricing projects, to do work related to Oportun. That really is one of the key benefits of doing the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program—I don't have to wait until the program ends to begin applying what I have learned.

Making sure individuals have the proper tools to succeed is important to me.

Like many other immigrants who move in pursuit of a better future, my family and I have endured financial hardships. I was fortunate enough to move to the U.S. and get a great education. This background has shaped a personal philosophy built on the desire to give back to people who are facing similar experiences and adversity. There aren't a lot of financial services companies out there thinking about ways to design responsible services for low-income communities. Making sure that individuals have the proper tools to succeed is important to me.

Hence, I decided to dedicate my career to spearheading innovation and creating scalable solutions to tackle financial challenges experienced by underserved communities.  At the end of the day, I get inspired by knowing that the people I interact with and the products that I design can truly make an impact in lives of individuals.

Are you focused on giving others the tools to succeed? Learn more about how the Berkeley MBA can help you have the social impact you seek.

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 Photo by Trevor Henley, Desire to Inspire Studios 

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How Much Work Experience Do EMBA Students Have? Our 2018 Class Profile [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2017, 14:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: How Much Work Experience Do EMBA Students Have? Our 2018 Class Profile
If you're looking at EMBA programs, you're likely seeking answers to questions like: How many women are in the program? What is the mix of industries represented? How much work experience do EMBA students have?

In short, you'd like to know who pursues an MBA through an executive program and what that might tell you about whether an EMBA is right for you.

A look at top EMBA programs will show that women make up anywhere from 20-33 percent of EMBA classes and that, in general, work experience of at least 8-10 years is recommended.

While EMBA students in top programs have typically been in the workforce 11-14 years, most programs evaluate your application holistically--interested in your career trajectory, demonstrated leadership and leadership potential, and in the industry perspective you bring to the mix.  

Review EMBA class profiles to get a feel for the kinds of students in programs that interest you—and to learn more about our program, take a look at the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program class of 2018:

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Can an MBA Help You Find More Rewarding Work? Ask Swetha Tupelly. [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jul 2017, 08:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Can an MBA Help You Find More Rewarding Work? Ask Swetha Tupelly.
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When Swetha Tupelly came to Berkeley-Haas to get herBerkeley MBA in the Evening & Weekend Program, she had a specific goal in mind: to find her way to more personally meaningful work by transitioning from a career in engineering to one in product management.

As a technical lead and engineer at the San Diego semiconductor firm Qualcomm, Swetha worked for eight years building connectivity in consumer devices. Although she trained for years to be an engineer – with a bachelor’s degree from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University and a master’s from Villanova University – she became restless in the engineering wheelhouse.

A Desire to Move Beyond Pre-defined Problems
“The products we were building had already been defined,” she remembers. “I enjoy problem discovery and prioritizing what gets built first. I wanted to own more of the product lifecycle and define the vision and direction of the product. And, because I have a very outgoing personality, I wanted to get out and talk to customers."

“The business acumen I’ve learned, coupled with my solid engineering background, allows me to take the product from idea to launch in new and exciting ways."

But her path was a steep one: not only did she want switch positions, she would end up switching industries – from semiconductors to software. Swetha had determined that Berkeley-Haas was the school of her choice, and decided that the Evening & Weekend MBA Program would best fit her already busy life.

In addition to coursework, she took advantage of the extra activities and resources offered by career services: visits to high-tech companies, informational interviews with product managers, a resume review, and coaching on how best to tell her professional story. “I was very religious about it,” she says.

Using the MBA Network to Land her Next Job
When the time came to start looking for a new job, Swetha found the perfect one through the Haas Alumni Network. She found the position through the Career Management Group and was able to reach out directly to the posting alum. 

Any advice for others looking to make such a dramatic transition? “Be very clear on what you want,” she says. “Be open to an internship, especially if you want to break into a different industry. Take advantage of all available resources and start the recruiting process early.”

Now, as a product manager for the Pleasanton-based ServiceMax – a SaaS division of GE Digital that provides field service software for big businesses – Swetha has the job she dreamed about—one that, with her Berkeley MBA, gives her the chance to “develop products and go-to market strategy in a more informed way,” she says.

“The business acumen I’ve learned, coupled with my solid engineering background, allows me to take the product from idea to launch in new and exciting ways, such as predictive analytics and the internet of things."

Does Swetha have any advice for those considering a similar path? “When people learn about your Berkeley MBA, they treat you like an expert,” she laughs. “You have to present yourself with confidence, because you already have so much credibility

Can an MBA help you find more rewarding work? Swetha Tupelly found her new job with the help of a Berkeley MBA. Get our Five Steps Toward Making Your Next Career Move.

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An International Student Perspective: Should I Move Abroad for My MBA? [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2017, 09:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: An International Student Perspective: Should I Move Abroad for My MBA?
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When I was accepted to Haas, I wasn’t sure whether moving abroad for business school would be worth it. I already had a business background and a career in a prestigious management consulting in Brazil, I did not know if I would learn new things at B-School. But, By the third day of my first week at school, I realized this experience would be life-changing.

And now that I’ve completed my first year, I am even more sure that I made the right decision.

Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Haas empowered me with an entrepreneurial mindset

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Being at Haas as an international student is a privilege. On top of the whole MBA experience, there is another layer of learnings on a daily basis: I am experiencing a new way of seeing the world and how it is translated into corporate culture and ways of doing business in the Bay Area.

I was surprised to learn that being in the Bay Area automatically makes you an entrepreneur! I’m exaggerating just slightly here. But I’ve found that discussions about business opportunities and problems which could be solved happen every day.

My classes push that to the next level. This spring, I took two amazing electives: Hands-on Rapid Prototyping, in which I created and tested a prototype of a new product in five weeks; and Opportunity Recognition in Silicon Valley, in which CEOs of disruptive technology companies discuss their go-to-market strategies with us every week.

Being exposed to this environment has awakened my entrepreneurial side, and empowered me with tools and a can-do attitude to create new solutions and implement them. During the spring semester, I worked with a startup, mapping its competitive landscape and creating reports to the board. For the summer, I decided to use my internship to gain experience in the tech industry and put into practice some of the concepts I learned at Haas. I am passionate about consulting and strategy, but this summer I am working as a product manager at Walmart e-commerce. PMs (as product managers are called) are responsible for “shipping” (bringing to reality) products and features. I am super-excited to see something that I created and owned going live, and getting used by millions of customers.

2. Haas is more multicultural that I ever thought it would be

Complementing the professional side, the personal experience of being an international student in such a diverse environment is very gratifying. I have learned that at Haas, nationality and culture show themselves in many colors and tones—far beyond just where you were born. I’ve met Americans who have lived many years abroad and carry that experience in their DNA. I’ve also realized how many second-generation American and bi-cultural students are at Haas, and how this enriches our perspectives.

This is a very encouraging environment to share my ideas inside and outside of class. This year, I attended several events where people share their unique points of view. My favorite one is “Hot Topics,” where students speak controversial themes such as immigration or gentrification. These events gave me a chance to listen and discuss emotionally charged subjects, build empathy, and listen other perspectives that I hadn’t considered. Those are essential leadership skills that I am learning inside and outside of the classroom.

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3. I have found many ways to grow as a leader

One way that I found to contribute within this environment was by assuming a leadership position at the MBA Association student-led government organization (pictured above—photo by Eric Tecza). My role as VP of International is to represent the 40 percent of the MBA student body that is international, making sure that school initiatives take into account our needs. I have had meetings with the program office, the career management group, and my peers in the MBAA. This has given me the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of people and learn a about the program from different perspectives. In parallel to MBAA, I also am the Haas ambassador for GNAM, the Global Network of Advanced Management, a league of 29 business schools from diverse regions, countries, cultures, and economies in different phases of development.

The leadership opportunities in Haas are endless! You can work in clubs, organizing events, representing the school as a student ambassador, and organizing treks. One of my most memorable experiences was to co-led with an amazing classmate a trek to our home country of Brazil (below—photo by Will Myers). It was incredible to show the places that made me who I am to my beloved classmates, and to rediscover my country through their eyes.

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I am not only am learning valuable skills inside the classroom, but also, I am developing my leadership skills outside of it.

Finding home away from home

Ultimately, the Haas community is about sharing. This two-year experience definitely pays off being far from my country, family and friends, because at Haas I always feel at home.

Could Berkeley-Haas be your home away from home? Learn more about the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program.

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Student Perspectives: Is an EMBA Right for Me? [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2017, 16:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Student Perspectives: Is an EMBA Right for Me?
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Sometimes, people don't see themselves as a fit for an EMBA program. They often worry that they are the wrong age or that they aren't executive material—or even, that they’re not currently executives. These fears are common, but unnecessary. Admissions committees work hard to populate EMBA programs with students who have a diverse array of experience and expertise.

"We try to craft a class that brings a wide variety of experience both from industries as well as job functions. We also look for people at different levels of expertise to provide a diverse perspective," says Susan Petty, Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program.

Susan also likes to remind applicants that they aren't on their own when it comes to assessing their qualifications and MBA-readiness.

"We encourage prospective students to send us their resume. We love to sit down with them, either in person or over the phone, to review their CV and advise them on whether or not we think it's the right time for them to get their MBA and whether the format of the EMBA program is the right fit."

Is an EMBA right for entrepreneurs?
Manoj Thomas, an entrepreneur and student in the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program, wasn't really thinking about an MBA until he heard former and current Berkeley EMBA students speak as part of an entrepreneurship panel.

"When I heard their success stories, I realized the big role the EMBA program had played in shaping the entrepreneurs in them. I also realized that formal business education and association with other entrepreneurs could take my company to the next level," says Manoj.

Manoj does wish that he had sought an MBA earlier in his career and advises others to seize the opportunities that are available to them right now.

Is the time right? Get our free ebook: Five Signs You're Ready for an MBA
"I was always waiting to have more spare time. My advice to those who are currently evaluating their readiness is to do your due diligence and take the plunge now. Regardless of how busy you are in life, often, the right time is now," says Manoj.

Is an EMBA right for managers?
Katherine Mlika, an EMBA student and Manager of Product and Program Management at Fitbit, originally applied to the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program and then decided to switch to the EMBA program after having her baby earlier than expected.

"I felt like I could be a fit for either one. What came through to me when I sat in on a class and spoke to some of the folks in the current EMBA class was their level of real-world experience. I remember being impressed by the variety of experiences that people were bringing to the conversation. It was definitely something that I appreciated."

Katherine recommends that prospective applicants assess their readiness by thinking about whether or not they are really ready to contribute and learn from others.

"If applicants are willing to participate, consider other viewpoints, argue in a friendly way, and really engage with the professors and fellow students on multiple levels, then they are probably ready for an EMBA program," says Katherine.

Is an EMBA right for more deeply experienced professionals?
Kevin Blake, a student in Berkeley EMBA Program and Managing Director at Berkeley Research Group, a strategic advisory and consulting firm, had 15 years of career experience and wasn't interested in any other program except the EMBA program.

"I wanted to experience learning with a diverse, but also seasoned, group of people," says Kevin. "I chose Berkeley because of the people and the culture, and I have not regretted it for a single second. It's one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life."

Kevin suggests engaging in self-reflection and considering your mindset to determine whether or not you're ready for an EMBA.

"I don't know if you can ever know if you're ready. There will always be some self-doubt before, during, and after the program. You're never going to be 100 percent sure and confident, but if you come in with the right mindset of wanting to give and wanting to experience and explore, I think that's the right mindset to have," says Kevin.

Before asking themselves, "Is an EMBA right for me," these students first asked, "Am I ready for an MBA?" Our free ebook can help you answer that question—and requesting a personal consultation can help you decide if an EMBA is the way to go.

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Can a Part-Time MBA Help You Change Careers? Ask Yi Lin Pei. [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 17:00
FROM Haas Admissions Blog: Can a Part-Time MBA Help You Change Careers? Ask Yi Lin Pei.
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Although there are people who attend part-time MBA programs to advance along their current career trajectories, there are some people who attend business school to find their true career path—like Yi Lin Pei.

Before enrolling in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program, Yi Lin worked as a civil engineer at a consulting company. She made a significant pivot in her career and now works as a marketing manager for Autodesk. 

Discovering her true passion: A love for storytelling
"While I really enjoyed all aspects of my job, the part I enjoyed most was storytelling. I decided I wanted to explore that more deeply, so I came to Haas to learn about where that career path could lead me," says Yi Lin.

It is a common misconception that everyone who enrolls in an MBA program does so with a specific career plan in mind, but Yi Lin learned that she wasn't the only one who was still trying to figure it out. "From my experience with classmates, I saw that few people have a true idea of what they want to do," she says.

Six months into the program, Yi Lin took her first marketing class, and everything clicked for her. She realized that marketing requires storytelling and creativity as well as a strong handle on data and analytics to determine whether or not creative efforts actually make a real impact.

"I felt that was a great way to combine both the left side and my right side of my brain," she says.

Using an MBA Internship to Gain Experience
Yi Lin quit her engineering job to focus on landing a marketing internship, but after getting rejected by all the big companies, she knew she needed to find a way to stand out among other applicants.

"I wasn't emphasizing my competitive advantage over others," she says.

After reflecting on her experience, she determined that her competitive advantage was her people skills. She emphasized those skills during interviews and switched her focus to global companies that would appreciate the fact that she had lived in many different countries while growing up. Her new approach landed her an internship at Nestle.

Making a second pivot to tech marketing
"Right after my internship at Nestle, I realized I love marketing, but also missed tech. I decided to do pivot number two," she says.

Yi Lin began targeting companies where she had a competitive advantage and made the switch from CPG marketing to tech marketing. Autodesk was one of her top choices based on her experiences with AutoCAD.

"The next thing for me was to identify people who worked at Autodesk because, through experience, I found out that a referral is about 100 times more powerful than an online application," she says.

Yi Lin got a referral from a classmate, who happened to work at Autodesk, and landed her first interview.

Getting a Job Offer
After three interviews at Autodesk, Yi Lin determined that, once again, she needed to do something extra to get the job offer she was looking for. She decided to demonstrate her ability to implement marketing content through video productions.

With the help of her friends, she produced a sample marketing video for an AutoCAD product. Two weeks later, she got an offer letter from Autodesk for a job in the marketing department. The video had made an impression

"It was a big differentiating factor. They chose me because of that," she says.

Relying on the MBA Network
The support Yi Lin received from classmates, alumni, and the Career Management Group (CMG) turned out to be one of the best values of the MBA program.

"When I was prepping for my interview at Autodesk, there was an alumni who practiced with me for every stage of the interview," she says. "I also had classmates who were going through the same process with me. They would practice with me, and we would check up on each other to see how we were doing. I never felt alone in that process."

Yi Lin credits the Career Management Group with helping her find her sweet spot through behavioral interview practice and strategy questions.

"I would not be where I am without the help of the CMG. I really mean it. Even from day one, when I was prepping, they were there to help me," she says.

Can a part-time MBA help you change careers and find even more fulfilling work? Yi Lin Pei found her true career path with the help of a Berkeley MBA, and we can help you with our Five Steps Toward Making Your Next Career Move.

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Can a Part-Time MBA Help You Change Careers? Ask Yi Lin Pei.   [#permalink] 09 Aug 2017, 17:00

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