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Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs

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Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2015, 18:10
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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.  

Kudos [?]: 243 [2], given: 0

Director
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Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 623

Kudos [?]: 243 [0], given: 0

Re: Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2015, 18:10
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 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.  

Kudos [?]: 243 [0], given: 0

Director
Director
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Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 623

Kudos [?]: 243 [0], given: 0

Re: Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2015, 18:27
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Image
By Adam Hoff, Amerasia Consulting Group

Today's blog post is about negotiating your offer of admission ... except that it's not.  Because "negotiation" is not what you do when it comes to securing more financial aid from a business school.  The term of art for what you are going to be doing is "asking."  Let us explain. Obviously, any discussion of an offer in this context automatically means we're dealing with some good news: you've been accepted.  So congrats on that!  However, with the news that a b-school wants you to enroll comes the sobering reality that they also want you to *pay* for that privilege.  Sure, offers often come with dollar signs attached, but the amount left in the "you" column is almost always going to be the bigger number.  And that fact tends to bring up the following question: "How can I negotiate my offer?"

Again, let's rephrase the question entirely.  Don't think of this as a negotiation, but rather a request: "How can I request more aid?"  That is a much better frame of reference, especially in light of the the advice that follows.  Here's how we typically approach this process:

1. Be respectful. There are a lot of ways you might be able to get a little more scholarship money from a business school, but we know of one sure way that you WON'T get money and that's if you try to "hardball" them.  We have witnessed countless admits go from months of wishing and hoping to sudden arrogance and a "you better wine and dine me" attitude.  Ditch it.  Immediately.  If you call an admissions office and try to leverage another offer or you give them the "so what can you do to sweeten the deal?" treatment, you will inevitably find yourself on the line with a tired and supremely annoyed member of that school's staff.  Go in polite, grateful, and professional.  Always.  This is not an M&A deal and you are not "negotiating" with anyone.  You are "asking" a business school to grant you more free funding.  Big difference and on that is not lost on the schools themselves, we assure you.

2. Instead, go for the heartstrings. Okay, you have your hat in hand and you are determined to avoid acting entitled.  Now what?  Not to be too blunt about it, but in our experience, a good old sob story seems to work best.  So if you have authentic hurdles - and most of us do - to paying over $100Kfor your MBA, share them.  You don't have to impress anyone at this point with your huge salary or countless offers from heavy hitters; they've already decided they want you to attend their school.  And they are far more likely to try to work something out if they find you nice, respectful, and, yes, a bit needy.  A long-term career goal that eschews riches is probably best, but there are a lot of ways you can be honest about your situation and paint a very realistic picture as to how an extra $20K could make all the difference for you.

3. Never lie! If you don't have the "heartstrings" story, then don't go there.  Of even greater importance is that you don't make up offers or dollar amounts from other programs.  It damages the integrity of the financial aid process (which is designed to get money to those who deserve it and who need it most) and the school may ask to see proof in making a decision on revising your award.

4. Wait a beat. One of the keys to even getting yourself in the running for more aid is to wait a little bit so the dust can settle.  Sure, on the one hand, the money could be gone and the class full and the school might have no incentive to sweeten the offer.  I've heard people worry that if they wait, this scenario could result.  And they are right - it totally could.  But here's the dirty secret ... they alwaysspend all the money!  When decisions go out, they throw out all the scholarship awards with them, hoping to entice and bring in the necessary yield.  It is only when people start turning down offers - and scholarship awards - that the directors and staff start to see where there might be A) enrollment needs and B) financial aid surplus.  In other words, if Booth gave you a $20K scholarship last week, don't call *this* week hoping for more.  They won't have any more - at least not on paper.  That spreadsheet is going to show every dollar spent.  Wait for people to turn them down and for some of that paper money to flow back into the Booth coffers.  Doing so will give you a better chance at there even being something to ask for, let alone get.  Plus, while this isn't necessarily likely, if you wait, you might also catch a school getting shorted a bit on enrollment, in which case they will be far more likely to help you meet your needs.  (Think of what is better for a program - going to the waitlist and thereby increasing their "admitted student" number in the process, or getting a 1-for-1 right off the existing list by spending a bit more money.  It's a no-brainer.)

5. Follow up. If you talk to someone and they say they will get into it (most likely scenario other than "sorry" is "let me get back to you" ... "here's more money!" is a distant third), don't be afraid to follow up.  The squeaky wheel can get the grease given that an admissions office is like a battlefield this time of year - it's not crazy that your request might land on someone's desk for a full week.  In that time, hundreds of thousands of dollars might funnel back and forth on paper, leaving you in the cold.  So wait a day or two and then call back to ask - respectfully, of course - if there has been any progress and if there is anything else you can or should do.  As long as you are really nice and polite about it, no one is going to fault you for being angst-ridden about your financial future.  And we should add here - since people seem to worry about it - you are not going to lose your offer by calling about this stuff.

We hope that these hints help you navigate that latest stress in this process.  Remember that you catch more flies with honey, honesty in the best policy, and patience is a virtue.  Armed with a few cliches, you'll do great.

Kudos [?]: 243 [0], given: 0

Director
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Joined: 23 Mar 2014
Posts: 623

Kudos [?]: 243 [0], given: 0

Re: Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2015, 18:32
Image
By Adam Hoff, Amerasia Consulting Group

Today's blog post is about negotiating your offer of admission ... except that it's not.  Because "negotiation" is not what you do when it comes to securing more financial aid from a business school.  The term of art for what you are going to be doing is "asking."  Let us explain. Obviously, any discussion of an offer in this context automatically means we're dealing with some good news: you've been accepted.  So congrats on that!  However, with the news that a b-school wants you to enroll comes the sobering reality that they also want you to *pay* for that privilege.  Sure, offers often come with dollar signs attached, but the amount left in the "you" column is almost always going to be the bigger number.  And that fact tends to bring up the following question: "How can I negotiate my offer?"

Again, let's rephrase the question entirely.  Don't think of this as a negotiation, but rather a request: "How can I request more aid?"  That is a much better frame of reference, especially in light of the the advice that follows.  Here's how we typically approach this process:

1. Be respectful. There are a lot of ways you might be able to get a little more scholarship money from a business school, but we know of one sure way that you WON'T get money and that's if you try to "hardball" them.  We have witnessed countless admits go from months of wishing and hoping to sudden arrogance and a "you better wine and dine me" attitude.  Ditch it.  Immediately.  If you call an admissions office and try to leverage another offer or you give them the "so what can you do to sweeten the deal?" treatment, you will inevitably find yourself on the line with a tired and supremely annoyed member of that school's staff.  Go in polite, grateful, and professional.  Always.  This is not an M&A deal and you are not "negotiating" with anyone.  You are "asking" a business school to grant you more free funding.  Big difference and on that is not lost on the schools themselves, we assure you.

2. Instead, go for the heartstrings. Okay, you have your hat in hand and you are determined to avoid acting entitled.  Now what?  Not to be too blunt about it, but in our experience, a good old sob story seems to work best.  So if you have authentic hurdles - and most of us do - to paying over $100Kfor your MBA, share them.  You don't have to impress anyone at this point with your huge salary or countless offers from heavy hitters; they've already decided they want you to attend their school.  And they are far more likely to try to work something out if they find you nice, respectful, and, yes, a bit needy.  A long-term career goal that eschews riches is probably best, but there are a lot of ways you can be honest about your situation and paint a very realistic picture as to how an extra $20K could make all the difference for you.

3. Never lie! If you don't have the "heartstrings" story, then don't go there.  Of even greater importance is that you don't make up offers or dollar amounts from other programs.  It damages the integrity of the financial aid process (which is designed to get money to those who deserve it and who need it most) and the school may ask to see proof in making a decision on revising your award.

4. Wait a beat. One of the keys to even getting yourself in the running for more aid is to wait a little bit so the dust can settle.  Sure, on the one hand, the money could be gone and the class full and the school might have no incentive to sweeten the offer.  I've heard people worry that if they wait, this scenario could result.  And they are right - it totally could.  But here's the dirty secret ... they alwaysspend all the money!  When decisions go out, they throw out all the scholarship awards with them, hoping to entice and bring in the necessary yield.  It is only when people start turning down offers - and scholarship awards - that the directors and staff start to see where there might be A) enrollment needs and B) financial aid surplus.  In other words, if Booth gave you a $20K scholarship last week, don't call *this* week hoping for more.  They won't have any more - at least not on paper.  That spreadsheet is going to show every dollar spent.  Wait for people to turn them down and for some of that paper money to flow back into the Booth coffers.  Doing so will give you a better chance at there even being something to ask for, let alone get.  Plus, while this isn't necessarily likely, if you wait, you might also catch a school getting shorted a bit on enrollment, in which case they will be far more likely to help you meet your needs.  (Think of what is better for a program - going to the waitlist and thereby increasing their "admitted student" number in the process, or getting a 1-for-1 right off the existing list by spending a bit more money.  It's a no-brainer.)

5. Follow up. If you talk to someone and they say they will get into it (most likely scenario other than "sorry" is "let me get back to you" ... "here's more money!" is a distant third), don't be afraid to follow up.  The squeaky wheel can get the grease given that an admissions office is like a battlefield this time of year - it's not crazy that your request might land on someone's desk for a full week.  In that time, hundreds of thousands of dollars might funnel back and forth on paper, leaving you in the cold.  So wait a day or two and then call back to ask - respectfully, of course - if there has been any progress and if there is anything else you can or should do.  As long as you are really nice and polite about it, no one is going to fault you for being angst-ridden about your financial future.  And we should add here - since people seem to worry about it - you are not going to lose your offer by calling about this stuff.

We hope that these hints help you navigate that latest stress in this process.  Remember that you catch more flies with honey, honesty in the best policy, and patience is a virtue.  Armed with a few cliches, you'll do great.

 

If you are in the midst of this process, congrats and good luck!   If you are just starting out on your admissions journey, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com for a free consultation. 

Kudos [?]: 243 [0], given: 0

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Re: Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 04 Dec 2015, 01:48
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One question that we get a lot from clients is "what does the adcom want to hear?"  Not only is this the wrong way to approach the process in terms of being an authentic, introspective, and interesting candidate, but it also completely misunderstands who is reading your file.  We don't believe in trying to play pin-the-tail-on-the-admissions-officer when it comes to your essays, but we do believe to writing to your audience.  Sending out essays that don't understand the end user is a dreadful mistake indeed.  If you are imagining a room full of ponderous people smoking corncob pipes and debating each file, you are not understanding the end user.  Not even close.  Put another way: when you imagine your audience, you do not want to be picturing the admissions committee (or "adcom," as everyone is fond of saying).

Okay, if the audience is not a room full of people, who is it?  The way files are reviewed in an admissions office is almost universal: applications are batched and rendered complete by a records department, put into a queue for a reader, and then reviewed out of that queue by a single admissions officer.  THAT individual is your audience.  Yes, there are other steps that follow (an initial decision made, interview invites, admissions committee reviews on pending admits, etc.), but the one person who will most control your fate - by rendering your initial decision and by potentially becoming your advocate in the process - is the person assigned to your file on the first read.  That person is your audience. Not the whole school.  Not an abstract collective.  Not the "adcom."

So … now that we know who your audience is, how do you write to that person?  Here are three steps for "writing to your audience":

1. Know what you can't know.  Sounds like armchair philosophy, but this is an important point, worthy of being placed first on this list.  You have to come to grips with the fact that you simply can't know what makes this person tick.  You won't know his or her interests, passions, or beliefs.  I have had clients hesitant to write about things that truly matter to them (religious views, family experiences, etc.) because they worry that others might not agree or might be offended.  Well, that other person might also hate bankers, or misunderstand what consultants do, or despise the college you attended because of the basketball team.  You have NO IDEA what they like and don't like, so why even worry about it?  This is to say nothing of the fact that most people who read files are professional enough to set their own viewpoints to the side; what they want is honest, introspective, and passionate content, not "stuff they agree with."  So please, don't try to figure out what other people want to hear; write what is inside of you.  What makes you tick, what inspires you, what molds you, what you are good at … make this process about who you really are, not what you think someone else wants you to be.

2. Write with incredible clarity.  Have you ever wondered why good admissions consultants are so successful, able to boast of amazing results?  Surely, it is either luck, smoke and mirrors, unethical practices, or fabricated results, right?  After all, how else could the simple addition of a consultant so radically alter the results that people experience?  Allow me to offer one explanation: a good admissions consultant demands and ensures clarity in essay writing.  From overall structure to easy-to-find career goals to use of thesis statements to paragraph balance to respect of words counts, good consultants know how to make an essay easy to read.  And crafting an essay that is easy to read is the most critical thing you can do to respect your audience - and therefore, write to your audience.  Imagine if you had to read 50 or 100 files a day.  Now imagine that a majority of them are full of esoteric concepts, paragraphs of massive length (or, worse, tons of scattered paragraphs), buried answers, and "creative" writing (that goes nowhere).  Pretty frustrating, right?  Pretty exhausting, no?  Now imagine that an application pops up that is incredibly easy to read and follow.  That person is basically twice as likely to get in, just on this fact alone.  We honestly can't state strongly enough how important this is to your chances.

3. Write like a human being, for human beings.  Do not write a jargon-filled essay.  Do not write like an MBA Bot created in a lab.  Don't try to impress people with how smart you are.  Look, I can say it 10 different ways, but the point here is you want to humanize yourself through your essays - and to do that, you need to humanize your writing.  I would say one of the most common mistakes I see from otherwise strong candidates is that they write in a really dense, overly complicated style.  Don't picture your boss or a famous investor when you write - picture a college buddy, a fun aunt, or maybe your favorite coffee shop barista.  How would you explain your goals to those people?  How would you share a key moment from your life with someone like that?  Let that be your guide.

4. Understand the DNA of the school.  We're taking a slight turn here.  So far we have stripped away the idea of trying to "figure out" the person on the other end of the process, instead focusing on introspection and then structured, clear writing.  Now though, we fold back in the idea that each school is indeed different.  We still don't know what the admissions officer at MIT might be thinking relative to the second-year student at Booth, so there's no use trying to understand them on an individual level.  And we still don't want to think of the file as being reviewed by a boardroom full of people with nothing but time on their hands. However, we do want to contextualize our individual reader.  We know that this person is a professional, wants to read essays about the real "you," and that he or she craves clear writing.  Is there anything else we can know without truly knowing this exact person?  Yes.  We know that they - in all likelihood - have great affinity for the school at which they work.  Why else would they take this job?  And not only do they love the school, but they subscribe to a viewpoint of that school that differentiates it from the other top programs.  The surest way to take your personal, clear, human writing and and elevate it for your audience (to make this person fall in love with your candidacy, basically) is to make sure you hit the DNA of the school in question.  Know what makes that program special and unique.  Know how they see themselves on the spectrum of MBA programs.  Really showcase your desire to be there, beyond "I want to take Class X from Professor Y."  Make them read your file and think, "wow, this person is PERFECT for our school!"

If you are able to follow these four steps - and you have handled the basics (proper career goals, strong business school themes, overall merit and qualifications) - you will enjoy incredible results.  This is because you are no longer just another qualified applicant with a decent set of essays, but someone who is connecting directly with the person who controls your fate.  You will be "writing to your audience" … and it has nothing do with figuring out what the "adcom wants to hear."

 

 

We believe that we understand how to write for the audience better than anyone out there and - more importantly - we have the talent, experience, and work ethic to back those theories up.  To find out why our clients are doing so well, please email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com for more information and to request a free consultation.

 

 

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New post 04 Dec 2015, 12:52
Harvard Business School has announced the initial details for its2016 Peek Weekend, an educational experience designed to give current college sophomores, juniors, and seniors insight into the Harvard MBA program.

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From Friday June 10th to Sunday June 12th, Peek Weekend participants will visit the HBS campus in Boston to develop a broader understanding of the challenges leaders face, the many dimensions inherent in the business world, and the impact participants can have on their community and the world through organizational leadership.

Peek, which began in 2015 focusing on candidates from women’s colleges, will expand its applicant pool this year. The 2016 Weekend will include three cohorts, with each cohort having its own specific curriculum in addition to joint sessions for all Peek participants. Students should be in the Class of 2016, 2017 or 2018 and meet one of the following criteria to attend the Weekend:
  • Be enrolled at a women’s college
  • Be majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (the so-called STEM subjects)
  • Come from a family-owned business background

“These groups can be underrepresented in business school applicant pools,” says Dee Leopold, managing director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at HBS. “We want to do all we can to ensure that our admissions process reaches as many qualified students as possible and help them understand the many different options and opportunities a Harvard MBA can lead to in a graduate’s life.”

Peek participants will learn from faculty members who teach MBA courses at Harvard Business School during the academic year. Using the case method of instruction that HBS pioneered in the teaching of management and leadership, professors will lead participant-based class discussions on current management challenges and opportunities.

Peek students will spend their evenings preparing for class by analyzing cases based on real companies and situations. In the mornings before class, they will form small study groups to discuss their ideas before joining the rest of their classmates. The Weekend experience will also include sessions with staff as well as current and former HBS students.

The 2016 Peek Weekend costs $500, which includes case materials, weekend accommodations in the school’s on-campus dormitories, and all meals. A limited number of need-based fellowships will be available. Students will learn about available financial aid awards after their acceptance to attend the Weekend. Applicants are encouraged to inquire about the possibility of additional funding from their own college or university.

The application for Peek 2016 goes live online at the beginning of March and will require eligible students to supply a resume, an undergraduate transcript, and an essay on a topic to be announced at a later date.

Materials will be due no later than noon on Thursday, April 21. There is no application fee. Decisions will be released at noon on Thursday, May 5.

Interested students can receive updates on the Weekend by joining the Peek mailing list: https://apply.hbs.edu/register/PeekInquiryForm

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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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New post 04 Dec 2015, 12:53
Harvard Business School has announced it will open its first workspace for HBS alumni startups in New York City, which will act as both an ecosystem for high potential ventures, and a community gathering space for alumni who are part of the NYC startup culture.

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The new HBS Startup Studio will feature:

[*]3,000 square feet of subsidized co-working space for 8-10 alumni ventures[/*]
[*]Collaboration and community building with other HBS Alumni founders in NYC[/*]
[*]A director and a coordinator on staff to support you in your venture[/*]
[*]Access to programs and events for founders, investors and other entrepreneurial focused HBS alumni.[/*]
[/list]
“We look forward to the groundbreaking of HBS’s first co-working space in NYC.  With so many amazing HBS-founded companies in NYC — including Rent the Runway, Birchbox, and Blue Apron – we expect that this will help fuel growth of the HBS and Harvard entrepreneurial ecosystem in the NYC area,” say the alumni co-heading the new workspace, Diana Dowling and Jasaon E. Klein.

As part of the Harvard Business School Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, the Startup Studio will be permanently located near Union Square, but while that space is being built out, will be temporarily located at the WeWork location at 39th and Broadway.  Teams will move to the new location in Spring of 2016.

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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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New post 04 Dec 2015, 12:54
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Poets & Quants released its 2015 MBA ranking this week, and Harvard Business School has reclaimed the title of world’s best business school after rebounding from second place last year. HBS has landed the top spot for five of the six years P&Q has published its composite ranking.

The school will continue to have a huge head start in maintaining that lead given its $3 billion endowment, which is three times the size of Stanford Graduate School of Business, its nearest competitor, notes P&Q editor John A. Byrne in Fortune. HBS has already raised more than $860 million toward the school’s $1 billion capital campaign, which still has three years remaining.

“No rival beats Harvard in the formidable resources it brings to the game: more superstar professors than any other school, the diversity of its course offerings, the stellar quality of its students, the size and scope of its campus, and the career achievements of its alumni spread all over the world,” writes Byrnes.
Top Ten U.S. MBA Programs
  • Harvard Business School
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Chicago Booth School of Business
  • University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School
  • Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management
  • Columbia Business School
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  • Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business
  • Yale School of Management
Top Ten International MBA Programs
  • INSEAD
  • London Business School
  • IESE Business School
  • IE Business School
  • HEC Paris
  • IMD
  • Cambridge Judge Business School
  • ESADE
  • SDA Bocconi
  • Oxford Saïd Business School

According to Poets & Quants, the lineup of the best U.S. MBA programs combines the five most influential rankings but each is weighted separately to reflect P&Q’s view of their authority: U.S. News & World Report is given a weight of 35%, Forbes 25%, Bloomberg Businessweek 15%, The Financial Times 15%, and The Economist receives a weight of 10%.

“The list is far more stable–and reliable–than most rankings published elsewhere, taking into account a massive wealth of quantitative and qualitative data captured in these major lists, from surveys of corporate recruiters, MBA graduates, deans and faculty publication records to median GPA and GMAT scores of entering students as well as the latest salary and employment statistics of alumni,” Byrne explains.
You may also be interested in:
Columbia’s Dean Hubbard on MBA Rankings
Rethinking MBA Rankings

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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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New post 04 Dec 2015, 12:55
The Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation has pledged $20 million to Harvard Business School to create the Kraft Endowment for Advancing Precision Medicine, the school announced this week. The pledge, which is part of Harvard University’s $6.5 billion capital campaign, was announced at the Partners Precision Medicine Conference yesterday at Harvard Medical School, with foundation president Robert Kraft in attendance.

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(LtoR): Jonathan Kraft, Richard Hamermesh, Robert Kraft, Todd Golub, Robert Huckman
Photo: Justin Knight

The Kraft Endowment will be used to support research and other activities that advance the field of precision medicine. Precision medicine is a growing movement in patient care that allows scientists and physicians to use genomic and other information to understand a disease based on its biological mechanisms and to precisely diagnose and develop tailored treatments.

The growth of the industry is hampered by gaps that exist between scientific discoveries and the development and commercialization of medical solutions for public benefit. The rising cost of clinical trials and a lack of collaboration among scientists, the pharmaceutical industry and investors also hinder growth.

Harvard Business School will collaborate with the Broad Institute, a pioneer in precision medicine, and others in Boston, to find ways to accelerate breakthroughs and advance commercialization of precision medicine by harnessing the energy and ideas of the medical, science and entrepreneurial communities in the city.

Myra Kraft, the wife of Robert and mother of Jonathan (MBA 1990), Daniel, Joshua (EdM 1993), and David (MBA 1999), died of ovarian cancer in 2011. Through her illness,  the Kraft family came to understand firsthand the promise of precision medicine.

“At heart, many of the challenges facing the advancement of precision medicine today are business challenges,” says HBS Dean Nitin Nohria. “We are honored that the Krafts, who epitomize Harvard Business School’s mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world, see the potential for HBS to work with world-class organizations like the Broad to develop innovative and integrative new models — from organizational structures to collaborative data centers — that will position Boston at the epicenter of this arena in the future. The endowment is a wonderful and fitting tribute to Myra Kraft, who throughout her life devoted herself to helping others.”

To learn more about this gift, and the upcoming initial research pilots designed to accelerate the discovery and trials process, please click here.

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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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New post 12 Dec 2015, 02:12
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By Adam Hoff, Amerasia Consulting Group


Source: www.amerasiaconsulting.com/blog/reasons-why-you-just-got-dinged-from-business-school
These days, in addition to helping our clients get ready for interviews we also meet a lot of new folks who didn't use admissions consulting services to apply - but now are wondering if perhaps they should have.  Most often, they are asking for "ding analysis," which is basically "please tell me if I did something wrong and whether I can fix it for next time."  We are happy to oblige, of course, and so we see a lot (we mean A LOT) of rejected applications, to a lot of schools.  In giving feedback time and again, we naturally are starting to see some of the same issues cropping up.  The good news is that these issues are in keeping with the feedback we give from the outset of an engagement, but the bad news is that obviously some people aren't getting that advice.  (Note: I understand how pedantic and self-serving this all sounds, but it's simply true.  Our clients avoid the "triangle" of ding reasons by virtue of working with us, and, therefore, they are getting droves of interview invites and admit letters to top schools.  Yes, it's self-serving, but that doesn't make it false.  Not sure what else to say.)  Anyway, let's dive into the three reasons - or the "Triangle" - of typical ding issues that we see.

(Note: We ran a version of this back in the spring and it seems well worth running it again now that it's "ding season.")
Other than "bad luck" or "well, this school is one of the hardest in the world to get into" or "you never should have applied to this school," these are the three most common reasons that people get dinged.  Put differently, they are the three reasons you could have avoided:

1. Failure to have properly articulated goals.  It's amazing to me how often I open up a set of essays and start looking for goals ... and find that I have to keep looking ... and looking ... and looking.  Applicants love to bury their goals in broad proclamations, quotes, misdirection, sentimental nonsense, and all other manner of articulation that has the net effect of making it extremely hard to figure out what they want to do.  I believe that part of the problem is that people misunderstand the purpose of career goals and how to properly think about both the short-term and long-term elements.
  • The short-term goals should be A) achievable, B) a good fit based on your transferable skills (which MUST be articulated in your essays), C) clearly stated, and D) achievable.  Did I list "achievable" twice?  You bet I did.  This is because schools want to admit applicants that they can place into jobs.  Period.  You have exceptions like HBS, GSB, and MIT - all schools that don't really care much about ST goals.  However, for the most part, schools want to know they can help you gain employment - for your sake and theirs (employment reports are a big part of rankings).  I can't tell you how many people I have spoken to on consult calls or essays I have read where a strange ST goal is in place, with the explanation, "I wanted to differentiate myself a bit."  I also hear applicants (sometimes smugly) tell me that schools "don't want to see yet another person who wants to do consulting."  Um, yes, actually they do.  Because they can get students jobs in consulting!  Don't put that you want a short-term job working for Prada or doing freshwater turbine investing - those aren't jobs they can help you get.  Be smart about this.
  • The long-term goals are for sharing who you are.  This is where you can differentiate and showcase passion and tell them where you come from and all that good stuff.  You SHOULD have fun with this and be creative and reach for the stars.  So what if every other applicant and their brother is saying they want to start their own business; if starting your own business is the best way to share your dream and articulate what makes you tick, share that goal.  So, so, soooooo many people invert the ST and LT goals - they go exotic with the ST and staid with the LT.  This is the opposite of what you should do, it's probably the opposite of the truth, and it's usually fatal.

Of course, this doesn't even include the people who straight up forget to include their goals in a goals essay.  And yes, this happens all the time.  I just assume if you are reading this blog post, you won't make that mistake.

(Last thing: vague statements of what you want to do with your life - like "impact the world" or "make a difference" - are not goals.  Just so we're clear on that.)

2. Failure to be an individual.  Many dinged elite applicants that I see suffer from the same problem, which is that they never showcased what makes them a cool, unique person.  I'm not talking about having a "brand" or billing yourself as the "such and such candidate" - readers are not idiots, so they aren't going to be swept off their feet for something that rudimentary.  I'm talking about setting aside your desire to sound smart or to cover every last detail or to (the worst) "write what they want to hear," and instead being a real person with real interests and a real personality.  So many dinged applications are dry, rigid, and only technically sound - there is a skeleton but no heartbeat.  (Note: the cousin of this failure is less common, but also a problem, which is the "I am going to try to sound interesting" applicant - where they use weird phrasing or lofty prose to create "interesting" material.  Please understand that the material is anything but interesting.  It's excruciating.  You can have clean paragraphs, topic sentences, and easy-to-follow prose and still be interesting - it's what you say, not the flourish with which you say it.)

3. Failure to understand and connect with the DNA of the individual school.  And now we get to the big one.  A certain specialty of ours has become working with elite candidates who "somehow" got dinged at every single school the year before.  This is a group of Type A people who have worked hard and strived to make it this far and so they typically do okay on the first two bullets (although not always and almost never to perfection - there's a reason we have a firm that grows every single year; this stuff is not easy).  It's the third bullet that kills them.  I will ask a 3.7, 720 PE guy to send me his four dinged files and I'll open them up to find that Wharton and Kellogg have the same leadership stories inside and that HBS and GSB feature the exact same tone and approach.  Dings, for sure - or at least at two of the four.  (If it's not clear why that's the case, I would say again, that's why we have a business.)  I see people who *should* get into Booth, for instance, but they didn't share their capacity for risk.  That tells Booth, "I'm probably going somewhere else" at worst and "I don't understand your culture and therefore am giving you no idea whether I am a fit there or not" at best.  I see people who do not showcase readiness at INSEAD, who put risky career goals in a Columbia essay, who fail to touch on the four principles at Haas, who don't write about global focus at Wharton, who ignore the "think, feel, say, do" element with MIT, and on and on and on.  And these are just the easy parts.  A good application - a set of essays that will transform a reader from a mere gatekeeper into your advocate - knows the DNA of the school in question, taps into it, and then uses it to say "I am one of you!" to the reader.  A failure to do this invites massive risk, even for the best candidates, as you go into admissions committee "naked," which is to say, without someone fighting for you.  At that point, anything can happen - bad demographics, a test score 10 points too low, a C in a class, a low quant split, bad luck, you name it.  And even though it seems cruel and unfair, the same candidate can experience bad luck 3, 4, or 5 times in the same round.

Time after time, I review a file and explain "this is what is wrong with the goals," "you could have been more interesting and personal throughout," and - most of all - "you just didn't tap into the DNA of these schools."  It almost never fails.  This is why I've taken to calling it the Ding Triangle.  Almost every ding features each of these three sides to it, forming together to generate that result.  I'm happy to say that all three can be address and improved upon in almost every case and that we've had great success in doing so.  Therefore, if you have been dinged, don't give up hope, but instead, be honest with yourself - or, better yet, find someone who can give you an honest appraisal in these areas.  Then, get back after it.

 

If you are a dinged applicant, we are happy to see where you went wrong and to help you improve.  Reapplicants have been a true specialty given the sheer number we work with every year - and the success that they have had.  If you are starting fresh, be sure to engage someone who knows what they are doing so you can avoid a Ding Triangle of your own.  Email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com

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New post 12 Dec 2015, 03:12
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By Adam Hoff, Amerasia Consulting Group
Today's blog post is about negotiating your offer of admission ... except that it's not.  Because "negotiation" is not what you do when it comes to securing more financial aid from a business school.  The term of art for what you are going to be doing is "asking."  Let us explain. Obviously, any discussion of an offer in this context automatically means we're dealing with some good news: you've been accepted.  So congrats on that!  However, with the news that a b-school wants you to enroll comes the sobering reality that they also want you to *pay* for that privilege.  Sure, offers often come with dollar signs attached, but the amount left in the "you" column is almost always going to be the bigger number.  And that fact tends to bring up the following question: "How can I negotiate my offer?"

Again, let's rephrase the question entirely.  Don't think of this as a negotiation, but rather a request: "How can I request more aid?"  That is a much better frame of reference, especially in light of the the advice that follows.  Here's how we typically approach this process:

1. Be respectful. There are a lot of ways you might be able to get a little more scholarship money from a business school, but we know of one sure way that you WON'T get money and that's if you try to "hardball" them.  We have witnessed countless admits go from months of wishing and hoping to sudden arrogance and a "you better wine and dine me" attitude.  Ditch it.  Immediately.  If you call an admissions office and try to leverage another offer or you give them the "so what can you do to sweeten the deal?" treatment, you will inevitably find yourself on the line with a tired and supremely annoyed member of that school's staff.  Go in polite, grateful, and professional.  Always.  This is not an M&A deal and you are not "negotiating" with anyone.  You are "asking" a business school to grant you more free funding.  Big difference and on that is not lost on the schools themselves, we assure you.

2. Instead, go for the heartstrings. Okay, you have your hat in hand and you are determined to avoid acting entitled.  Now what?  Not to be too blunt about it, but in our experience, a good old sob story seems to work best.  So if you have authentic hurdles - and most of us do - to paying over $100Kfor your MBA, share them.  You don't have to impress anyone at this point with your huge salary or countless offers from heavy hitters; they've already decided they want you to attend their school.  And they are far more likely to try to work something out if they find you nice, respectful, and, yes, a bit needy.  A long-term career goal that eschews riches is probably best, but there are a lot of ways you can be honest about your situation and paint a very realistic picture as to how an extra $20K could make all the difference for you.

3. Never lie! If you don't have the "heartstrings" story, then don't go there.  Of even greater importance is that you don't make up offers or dollar amounts from other programs.  It damages the integrity of the financial aid process (which is designed to get money to those who deserve it and who need it most) and the school may ask to see proof in making a decision on revising your award.

4. Wait a beat. One of the keys to even getting yourself in the running for more aid is to wait a little bit so the dust can settle.  Sure, on the one hand, the money could be gone and the class full and the school might have no incentive to sweeten the offer.  I've heard people worry that if they wait, this scenario could result.  And they are right - it totally could.  But here's the dirty secret ... they alwaysspend all the money!  When decisions go out, they throw out all the scholarship awards with them, hoping to entice and bring in the necessary yield.  It is only when people start turning down offers - and scholarship awards - that the directors and staff start to see where there might be A) enrollment needs and B) financial aid surplus.  In other words, if Booth gave you a $20K scholarship last week, don't call *this* week hoping for more.  They won't have any more - at least not on paper.  That spreadsheet is going to show every dollar spent.  Wait for people to turn them down and for some of that paper money to flow back into the Booth coffers.  Doing so will give you a better chance at there even being something to ask for, let alone get.  Plus, while this isn't necessarily likely, if you wait, you might also catch a school getting shorted a bit on enrollment, in which case they will be far more likely to help you meet your needs.  (Think of what is better for a program - going to the waitlist and thereby increasing their "admitted student" number in the process, or getting a 1-for-1 right off the existing list by spending a bit more money.  It's a no-brainer.)

5. Follow up. If you talk to someone and they say they will get into it (most likely scenario other than "sorry" is "let me get back to you" ... "here's more money!" is a distant third), don't be afraid to follow up.  The squeaky wheel can get the grease given that an admissions office is like a battlefield this time of year - it's not crazy that your request might land on someone's desk for a full week.  In that time, hundreds of thousands of dollars might funnel back and forth on paper, leaving you in the cold.  So wait a day or two and then call back to ask - respectfully, of course - if there has been any progress and if there is anything else you can or should do.  As long as you are really nice and polite about it, no one is going to fault you for being angst-ridden about your financial future.  And we should add here - since people seem to worry about it - you are not going to lose your offer by calling about this stuff.

We hope that these hints help you navigate that latest stress in this process.  Remember that you catch more flies with honey, honesty in the best policy, and patience is a virtue.  Armed with a few cliches, you'll do great.

If you are in the midst of this process, congrats and good luck!   If you are just starting out on your admissions journey, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com for a free consultation.

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New post 24 Dec 2015, 01:01
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It's the Season of Giving, and what better way to celebrate that by replaying one of our most popular podcasts of 2015.

Listen to our conversation with current Harvard Business School student and Products Manager at The Harbus, Alula Eshete, as he shares excellent admissions and interview tips and great insight into one of the most prestigious b-schools in the world.

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*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com

Related Links:
• Harbus• Harbus MBA Essay GuideThe Harbus MBA Admissions & Interview Guide
• Alula Eshete• Get Accepted to Harvard Business School, Accepted’s on-demand webinar
• Harvard Business School 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines10 Tips for Your HBS Essay (From HBS Students)
• How to Ace Your MBA Interviews

Related shows:
Tuck Talk: IV With The Dean Of Admissions
Linda Abraham’s Admissions Assortment
Breaking Some HBS Stereotypes: An Interview with Ben FawLife as an HBS MBAMBAs Across America: Entrepreneurs with a Heart• MBAs Across America: The Coolest HBS Internship

Subscribe:

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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 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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Harvard Business School just announced the opening of the HBS Startup Studio, an off-campus center dedicated to supporting HBS entrepreneurial alumni and serving as a gathering place and workspace for New York-based teams (with at least one HBS alumni founder).

According to the Harvard press release, the mission of the Start-Up Studio will be "to help foster connections and collaborations among alumni, whether they are founders, investors, or among those who have joined one of the many high-growth startups for which New York City has become well known."

Teams applying for Studio access must have more than $500,000 in seed funding and fewer than seven employees.

The Startup Studio is currently located in midtown Manhattan. There are plans to move to Silicon Alley in the spring.

The initial teams in the Startup Studio include Archway Health, Booya Fitness, BringMeThat, Bundle Organics, Local Hero, Show Score, and others (see the press release for the full list and for company descriptions).

Avani Patel, founder of TrendSeeder, will serve as the center's director. Patel has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a JD from the Northwestern University School of Law.

“Harvard Business School has proved itself to be the leader in the entrepreneurial space,” Patel says. “I am delighted to be able to share my knowledge and experience with HBS alumni who are eager to make a difference in the world by creating and developing new products and services.”
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Related Resources:
• Leadership In Admissions [Free Guide]
• Jon Medved & Ourcrowd: The Remarkable Story of an Entrepreneur [podcast]
• Harvard Business School: The Habit of Leadership

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 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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New post 15 Feb 2016, 09:26
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By Adam Hoff, Amerasia Consulting Group
As we move through the winter months and host calls with b-school candidates for the upcoming cycle, it's interesting to note that some admissions questions come up a lot more this time of year than they do later.  We are going to try to use that as a cue to address these types of issues and concerns here on the blog - and we are starting with a very common question this far out from the process, which is "what round should I apply in?"

THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION DEPENDS LARGELY ON THREE FACTORS: [/b]

Level of readiness (will you have everything done by Round 1, will have you time to put forward your best effort, are there any post-Round 1 events that would strengthen your case such that you should wait)[/*]
[*]Which schools you are applying to[/*]
[*]Your level of desire to keep your entire process "in lockstep" (having all your deadlines, interviews, decisions, etc. take place around the same time)[/*]
[/list]
We can throw out #1 for the purposes of this post, as each person is different and there is no reason trying to cover every permutation.  #3 can be handled quickly.  Basically, if you are someone that looks to group things up, or avoid protracted periods of ambiguity, or even just logistically have things organized, you should probably try to pick a round and apply to your schools that round, rather than spread them out or try to "game" things.  If you don't care about that, or you even prefer to spread out a process, than a blend of Round 1 and Round 2 may be for you.

WITH THAT OUT OF THE WAY, HOW DO SCHOOLS PLAY A ROLE IN ALL THIS? 
Basically, you want to think about the schools as belonging to three groups: "Round 1 is better", "Round 2 (possibly) is better", and "It doesn't matter."
ROUND 1 IS BETTER
In my opinion, there are five schools where it is better to apply to the earliest round (technically, we've been using "Round 1" but what this means is basically the earliest deadline).  They are:

[*]Columbia Business School Early Decision[/*]
Duke Fuqua Early Decision[/*]
[*]Dartmouth Tuck Early Action (Decision)[/*]
[*]MIT Sloan Round 1[/*]
[*]Stanford GSB Round 1[/*]
[/list]
Columbia is a full-on Early Decision, and both logic and stats bear out that it's better to apply early if it's a top choice (and/or you are willing to eat a huge deposit).  Duke and Tuck also have early application periods and in the case of Tuck in particular, they like to see real interest given the school's remote location, and applying early can be a good way to show that level of passion.  With MIT Sloan it's more of a feel thing - because they only have two rounds, I would much rather see someone apply to the "first" rather than the "last" round.

Stanford GSB is the one where it's more nuanced.  Because Stanford uses a more curatorial approach to building a class (think of most schools as customs agents stamping a long line of passports, whereas Stanford GSB is someone putting a seating chart together for a wedding reception), it follows that you want to be seen earlier in the process rather than later.  This is because you run a larger risk of them already have people "like you" from Round 1 if you wait.  We're obviously talking about the margins here, given the school's obscenely low acceptance rate, but then again, winning on the margins is often the key.
ROUND 2 IS (POSSIBLY) BETTER
  • HBS
  • EU Schools

Let's start with the EU b-schools, because these MBA programs are less controversial.  Most people will tell you that being "fashionably late" with the European programs is not only acceptable, but probably better.  EU programs have a ton of rounds and to apply in the very first one is not only unnecessary but also carries some risk of looking overeager.

With HBS, this take is a little more unique, but I actually believe you have a slight advantage waiting for Rd 2.  I wrote about Rd 2 in general here (http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/blog/2015/7/15/looking-for-an-mba-advantage-consider-round-2), but will quote the relevant part about HBS:
"Display of confidence.  I have seen more HBS clients of mine get in during Round 2 the last few years, honestly, and I think it's in part because it shows a really assured attitude.  It's almost "I don't need to scramble around like a maniac for your increasingly, insanely early deadline.  I'll lay back.  I'm good."  And I truly believe that confidence gets rewarded.  Again, I can't prove it, so I'm not going to tell all of my HBS clients to NOT apply Round 1 ... but I truly think they might have a slightly better chance if they wait."
The idea here is that as HBS continues to test how confident and self-possessed the applicants are, the more merit there is to possibly waiting.  You can let all your Type A peers rush to meet a deadline that gets earlier every year, while you hang back and show a little more confidence that your abilities and accomplishments are more than enough to carry the day.  It's once again a battle on the margins, but as with GSB, that can make a difference.

IT DOESN'T MATTER
All the other schools.  Seriously, you will hear them say Round 1 is better if you go to an information session before Round 1, but that is to drive applications.  If you go to the same session you will hear a new spin saying how Round 2 is just as good.  At every other top school in the world - I have seen no evidence (statistical or anecdotal) that there is a difference between Round 1 and Round 2.

So ... "If I am applying to Stanford AND HBS, what should I do?"

You should apply Round 1.  Unless you are someone okay with spreading out your process and using multiple rounds (which means doubling the length of this ordeal, having two waves of interviews, having competing enrollment deadlines, etc.), you are going to want to apply to your schools in lockstep.  And, to me, the upside of of applying Round 1 to GSB is much higher than applying to Rd 2 to HBS.
FINAL THOUGHT
It goes without saying, but we will say it anyway, that you need to apply with the best possible application.  If you submit something mechanical or shoddy or lacking depth or that fails to connect with program DNA, it won't matter which round you apply.

 

 

No matter the round, we have helped more than 1000 clients successfully apply to top business schools worldwide since 2008. Let us help you figure out your next step. Schedule a complimentary, one-hour consultation with a member of our expert admissions team. Email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or visit us online at www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.

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Re: Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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A five-month search culminated yesterday with Harvard Business School’s announcement that Chad Losee, Harvard MBA Class of 2013, will be its next Managing Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid.

Losee will succeed Dee Leopold, who has headed the school’s MBA selection process since 2006. Leopold will remain at HBS as Program Director for 2+2, a deferred admission process for students in college or full-time master’s programs.

After graduating from HBS in 2013 as a Baker Scholar (an academic honor awarded to the top 5% of the graduating class of some 900 students), Losee worked for a year as an HBS Leadership Fellow in the Dean’s Office. In that role, he collaborated with the school’s senior leadership on a range of strategic projects.

One such effort was at HBX, where Losee helped to launch and set strategy for this unique digital learning platform. In particular, he co-led the exam and credential strategy for CORe (Credential of Readiness), which teaches students the fundamentals of accounting, business analytics, and economics for managers.

In addition, he worked with HBS professor Clayton Christensen to develop an HBX course on Disruptive Strategy, an offering designed for executives around the world.

Losee also served as an observer with the HBS Admissions Board, evaluating prospective students during their interviews – an interest that had been piqued during his student days when he was an Admissions Ambassador for his HBS section, helping candidates during their visits to the campus. Losee has remained active as an HBS alumnus, serving a term on the HBS Alumni Board, one of about 70 graduates appointed to provide expertise and input to the School’s leaders.

I am a real believer in Harvard Business School’s mission to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, says Losee.

In 2014, Losee returned to Bain & Company’s Dallas office, where he had worked from 2008 to 2011, including a stint in Stockholm. As a manager at Bain, Losee has led consulting teams in client engagements across multiple industries. He graduated in 2008 from the Honors Program at Brigham Young University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations summa cum laude.

“I’ve seen firsthand how my classmates, the amazing body of HBS alumni, and the outstanding faculty and staff all strive to shape the world around them for the better,” Losee says.

“The experience of a two-year, full-time MBA at HBS continues to have a great impact on me personally and as a leader. My goal as Dee’s successor is to make sure that each diverse MBA class continues to have a transformative experience at HBS and go on to make a real difference in the world.”

“We are delighted to welcome Chad back to the School and his family back to Boston,” said Jana Pompadur Kierstead, Executive Director of the MBA Program. “He has a deep understanding of HBS and its pedagogy and mission; superb interpersonal, analytical, and strategic skills; and a passion for admissions. That combination of talent and experience positions him well to lead our Admissions and Financial Aid teams.”

Losee will begin his new role in June.
Image credit: Harvard Business School

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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: Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2016, 15:14
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To apply or not to apply in the final round, that is the perennial question. Harvard Business School‘s Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid, Dee Leopold, recently gave a crystal-clear answer…for college seniors, at least.

“If you are a college senior who has the bandwidth to complete an application, I think that you should,” Leopold says, noting that there’s really no downside risk other than missing out on the last weeks of college life to prep for the GMAT or GRE.

“The worst that can happen is that you get turned down to the very small 2+2 Program. Many current students at HBS found themselves in that situation, went out and joined the work world, and reapplied successfully,” she adds.

As for candidates with a few years of work experience under their belts, Leopold acknowledges the third round is more complicated since most of the seats in the Class of 2018 have already been taken and it may be difficult to get a visa.

Despite those potential challenges, the director clears up a few myths that may be keeping qualified candidates from considering Round 3. Contrary to popular wisdom, needs-based financial aid is just as available for last-round applicants as it is for Round 1 admits.

If you do apply and are not successful, rest assured you can reapply in the future with absolutely no negative repercussions.

One plus of Round Three is the quick turnaround time between interview invitations going out and final decisions coming down. Invites will be sent by April 20th at noon, and your fate will be revealed on May 11th.

As always, we at SBC suggest candidates submit only once they feel their application is as strong as possible. If you apply in the final round, do make use of the optional essay to explain why you waited so that the admissions committee doesn’t come to the conclusion that this is just a last-ditch effort after failing to receive an admit at another MBA program in an earlier round.

“We ALWAYS admit people from Round 3,” Leopold says. “And they are always very wonderful.”
You may also be interested in:
What are My Round 3 Chances?
Should You Consider Applying in Round 3?
Face the Challenge of Round 3 Business School Applications
Image credit: Visionello(CC BY-NC 2.0)

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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: Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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U.S. News & World Report today released the 2017 Best Graduate Schools rankings, designed to help prospective students research programs across six disciplines and evaluate the potential return on their investment.

In the full-time MBA rankings, Harvard University is the No. 1 program in the country. The University of Chicago—Booth moves up two places to tie with Stanford Graduate School of Business at No. 2. This is Booth’s highest placement ever in this list, and the first time in seven years that Stanford GSB has been knocked out of the first place ranking held either on its own or tied with another school.

Yale School of Management, meanwhile, has achieved its highest ranking ever on this list, tied for eighth place with Dartmouth’s Tuck School after finishing at No. 13 last year. For anyone wondering what happened to NYU Stern School of Business, which ranks 20th this year, according to a blog post by US News’s rankings guru Bob Morse, it’s because Stern did not provide complete data in time for use in calculating the rankings.

Among part-time MBA programs, the Haas School of Business at the University of California—Berkeley remains No. 1, Chicago Booth comes in second, Kellogg School of Management is No. 3, UCLA Anderson School of Management is No. 4, and Michigan Ross School of Business rounds out the top five.

Best Business Schools
1. Harvard School of Business
2. Stanford Graduate School of Business
2. University of Chicago Booth School of Business
4. University of Pennsylvania Wharton School
5. MIT Sloan School of Management
5. Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
7. University of California—Berkeley Haas School of Business
8. Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business
8. Yale School of Management
10. Columbia School of Business

The six graduate disciplines U.S. News ranks annually are evaluated on factors such as employment rates for graduates, starting salary and standardized test scores of newly enrolled students. Because each graduate program is different, the rankings methodology varies across disciplines.

Different output measures are available for different fields, U.S. News explains, saying that in business, they use starting salaries and the ability of new MBAs to find jobs upon graduation or three months later.

“Going to graduate school is a major commitment of time and money,” said Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News. “Our rankings and advice offer guidance throughout the decision-making process to help prospective students and their families find the right fit.”
Image credit: Michael A. Herzog (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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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: Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2016, 15:18
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I recently stumbled across this quiz on Harvard Business ReviewDo You Know What a Strong B-School Application Looks Like—and I think it’s a great tool to illustrate  exactly what makes for a powerful or weak answer to some of the most common MBA essay questions.

You know by now that competition for a spot at one of the world’s elite business schools is fierce, so you’ll need to come up with dynamic and compelling essays that allow the admissions committee to find out exactly what makes you interesting and unique.

Take a look at the six essay answers in this assessment and decide whether you think the sample response is weak or strong. Once your answer is registered, you’ll see detailed feedback pointing out the good or bad in each response.

It’s fun, eye-opening, and helpful, so what are you waiting for? Follow the link above and see how many essay answers you can accurately assess. It may well inform your own essay writing when the time comes to buckle down on those Fall 2017 MBA applications.

***

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: Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 31 May 2016, 09:56
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Earlier this month, Harvard Business School announced a significant change to the application process for its 2+2 program. This deferred admissions program is designed for college seniors, who, if accepted, work for two years (or more) after their college graduations before entering the b-school.

Going forward, there will be a single deadline for these applicants—April 3, 2017—and one decision notification in mid-May.

In an update to the Director’s Blog, outgoing head of MBA admissions Dee Leopold notes that the change now offers the admissions team the opportunity to see applicants’ fall term grades and activities, and allows the team to review the entire pool at once.

While applicants can submit their materials earlier, Leopold stresses that this is not a rolling admissions process and no application will be considered prior to the April deadline.

“Many participants elect to work for three years and some for four,” adds Leopold. “You’ve heard us say this before and we’ll say it again: 2+2 probably should be re-named ‘Flex+2’…Your plans for employment need to be approved by us but we encourage a wide range of career exploration.”

Interview dates have not yet been set, though successful applicants can anticipate interviewing in late April-early May.
Image credit: Michael A. Herzog (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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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: Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs [#permalink]

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New post 31 May 2016, 09:58
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Harvard Business School has introduced a new essay prompt for the 2016-2017 MBA application season. It is as follows:

As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

Per HBS: There is no word limit for this question.  We think you know what guidance we’re going to give here. Don’t overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don’t know your world can understand.

For more information, please visit the HBS MBA admissions website. And stay tuned for our expert tips on how best to answer this revised prompt!
You may also be interested in:

 Image credit: Chris Han  (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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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: Harvard MBA Admissions & Related Blogs   [#permalink] 31 May 2016, 09:58

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