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Expert advice for Ross from Admissions Consultant blogs

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Expert advice for Ross from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Aug 2017, 17:01
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At Michigan Ross School of Business, MBA admissions director Soojin Kwon is a straight shooter who always strives to offer b-school hopefuls the clearest, most authentic application advice possible.

We think Kwon’s latest blog post on how she would answer this season’s MBA essays provides both concrete examples for the short answer questions as well as a great tip for how you might get the brainstorm session started.

As you know by now if targeting Michigan Ross, this year the school has decided to introduce a short-answer section with three groups of prompts. Applicants need to chose one prompt from each section and respond in 100 words or less.

“We want to get to know more about you than we would in a traditional essay where you’d talk at length about one topic,” Kwon explained in May when announcing the changes. “You’ll get to share different sides of yourself that will be relevant to your experience during business school.”

This week, the admissions director shares a helpful starting point for applicants, based on her experience with coworkers who asked Kwon the questions out loud.

“As a first pass, I responded verbally, to see what would come to mind first to each question, then picked the responses that felt the most ‘authentically me’ within each group,” Kwon writes. “If you’re like me, this may be an easier way to start the reflection process than staring at a blank screen.”

Click on over to the Admissions Director Blog to read exactly how Kwon answered these short-answer questions:

Group 1: I made a difference when…
Group 2: I was out of my comfort zone when…
Group 3: A valuable thing I have taught someone is…

“The hardest part of doing this wasn’t coming up with the ‘what’,” she reveals. “The hardest part was getting each word count down to 100 words. It required boiling each response down to its core elements. Every word had to be critical to the story. It was like solving a puzzle to try to balance content with brevity.”

Here at Stacy Blackman, we’ve coached Ross applicants by reminding them that the personal attributes most valued at Ross include community engagement and interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills. When you think about your short answers you may want to write about an important extracurricular moment, a challenge you overcame, or an event in your life that highlights something unique about your background.

Take note that these short answers are about getting to know you as a person, not as a collection of accomplishments. Your values and personal life will ideally shine through.

The Michigan Ross admissions team will host a webinar on Tuesday, August 29th from 1-2 pm CST.  Register today for more information about applying to Ross.
***

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: Expert advice for Ross from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Aug 2017, 17:02
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At Michigan Ross School of Business, MBA admissions director Soojin Kwon is a straight shooter who always strives to offer b-school hopefuls the clearest, most authentic application advice possible.

We think Kwon’s latest blog post on how she would answer this season’s MBA essays provides both concrete examples for the short answer questions as well as a great tip for how you might get the brainstorm session started.

As you know by now if targeting Michigan Ross, this year the school has decided to introduce a short-answer section with three groups of prompts. Applicants need to chose one prompt from each section and respond in 100 words or less.

“We want to get to know more about you than we would in a traditional essay where you’d talk at length about one topic,” Kwon explained in May when announcing the changes. “You’ll get to share different sides of yourself that will be relevant to your experience during business school.”

This week, the admissions director shares a helpful starting point for applicants, based on her experience with coworkers who asked Kwon the questions out loud.

“As a first pass, I responded verbally, to see what would come to mind first to each question, then picked the responses that felt the most ‘authentically me’ within each group,” Kwon writes. “If you’re like me, this may be an easier way to start the reflection process than staring at a blank screen.”

Click on over to the Admissions Director Blog to read exactly how Kwon answered these short-answer questions:

Group 1: I made a difference when…
Group 2: I was out of my comfort zone when…
Group 3: A valuable thing I have taught someone is…

“The hardest part of doing this wasn’t coming up with the ‘what’,” she reveals. “The hardest part was getting each word count down to 100 words. It required boiling each response down to its core elements. Every word had to be critical to the story. It was like solving a puzzle to try to balance content with brevity.”

Here at Stacy Blackman, we’ve coached Ross applicants by reminding them that the personal attributes most valued at Ross include community engagement and interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills. When you think about your short answers you may want to write about an important extracurricular moment, a challenge you overcame, or an event in your life that highlights something unique about your background.

Take note that these short answers are about getting to know you as a person, not as a collection of accomplishments. Your values and personal life will ideally shine through.

The Michigan Ross admissions team will host a webinar on Tuesday, August 29th from 1-2 pm CST.  Register today for more information about applying to Ross.
***

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: Expert advice for Ross from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Sep 2017, 12:00
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The University of Michigan’s Stephen M Ross School of Business has $50 million new reasons to celebrate with today’s announcement that real estate developer and namesake alumnus Stephen Ross will make yet another major contribution to the school. The $50 million pledge brings the philanthropist’s total giving to nearly $400 million, and makes him by far the most prolific donor to the university.

According to a statement announcing the news, the bulk of this new gift will support career development programs for students, innovative action-based learning experiences such as student-run investment funds and new business ventures, and resources for attracting and developing junior faculty.

“It gives me enormous joy to continue to give back to the University of Michigan, an institution that had such a profound impact on my life,” says Mr. Ross in the statement. “I am extremely proud of the physical transformation we have achieved at the business school, creating modern, new facilities and places students and faculty and future leaders can thrive.

“It has become a world-class center of innovation and a magnet for attracting the best and the brightest students and faculty, and these new initiatives will even further enhance those efforts.”

The Michigan Ross School reveals that the new gift will create:
  • [b]A $16 million Student Success initiative[/b] that will help students develop career and professional skills, build a robust network of advisers and career advocates, personalize their learning journey, and access internships and career opportunities with leading companies around the globe. The Student Success initiative will help realize the vision of Michigan Ross as the most powerful career accelerator and best source of leadership talent in business education.
  • [b]A $16 million Stephen M. Ross Faculty Support Fund[/b] for faculty who develop academic innovations that advance the school’s commitment to action-based learning, interdisciplinary education and leadership development. The fund also will support expanded mentoring and coaching for junior faculty, prestigious junior faculty professorships and additional research support—all of which will help Michigan Ross attract and retain rising stars in business education.
  • [b]An $8 million Stephen M. Ross Student Investment Fund[/b] for academic programs and learning experiences in asset and investment management, including venture capital, private equity, commercial real estate and publicly traded securities. The fund will enable Michigan Ross to continue developing the world’s most innovative portfolio of student-run investment funds and build academic programs that accelerate student learning and career placement.
  • The rest, $10 million, goes toward completing and maintaining the Ross School campus.

“Now that we have a state-of-the-art, inspiring space for faculty, staff and students, our focus is on attracting great talent and creating the most action-based, transformative student experiences in business education,” says Ross School Dean Scott DeRue. “To help us realize our vision, Stephen Ross is once again directing his generosity to our school.

“Steve’s dedication and his unwavering commitment to excellence have greatly enhanced the reputation of our business school globally, and we are excited for the future of Michigan Ross.”

Mr. Ross signed the Giving Pledge in 2013, committing to give at least half of his wealth to charity. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Michigan Business School in 1962. He went on to earn a law degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and a master of law degree in taxation from New York University.

 
***

If you are looking for guidance on your Michigan Ross 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: Expert advice for Ross from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Oct 2017, 12:33
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The University of Michigan Ross School of Business is an academic powerhouse no matter which way you slice it. However, the top-ranked school still faces misconceptions and stereotypes that might dissuade some MBA hopefuls from applying, and admissions director Soojin Kwon is on a myth-busting mission in her latest blog post.

Here, in brief, are some of the common misconceptions Kwon would like applicants to get straight.

Myth #1 If you go to Ross, you’ll be “stuck” in the Midwest.

Truth: Not even close. Half of last year’s graduates headed for the coasts, and only about 20% remained in the South/Southwest and Midwest.

Myth #2 Top companies don’t recruit at Ross. 

Truth: The impressive stats of Ross students draw the cream of the recruiting crop:  Accenture, Apple Inc., Bain & Co, Deloitte, Ford Motor Company, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Tiffany & Co, and the list goes on and on…..

Myth #3 Ross isn’t strong in any concentrations.

Truth: “Ross is strong in many concentrations,” Kwon says, adding that, “In fact, Ross is second only to Stanford in terms of the number of academic specialties ranked in the top 10.”

Myth #4 All business schools have experiential learning; Ross is no different. 

Truth: “I get really excited when I hear this one, because it couldn’t be further from the truth! Ross offers students the most expansive suite of hands-on learning experiences across MBA programs,” Kwon says.

From student-run investment funds to starting or leading a real business, to advising an organization facing a real business challenge, Michigan Ross offers unparalleled hands-on opportunities for students.

As you can see, the Michigan Ross School has much more to offer than you might have suspected at first glance. If Ross isn’t already on your MBA shortlist, maybe it’s time for a second look.
***

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 30 Nov 2017, 12:02
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Nearly a third of students in some of the top MBA programs are international, which offers great professional and cultural diversity and enriches the classroom experience. But sometimes, international students face unique challenges during recruiting, when it comes time to start networking with potential employers.

Culture Shock, a new student group recently launched by second-year MBA students at the Michigan Ross School of Business, uses role play, one-on-one chats, and detailed tips to help boost the comfort level of international students during this stressful experience.

Taylor Johnson launched the group in partnership with fellow second-year MBA students Abhi Das and Parker Caldwell and said the idea for the group sprung from a year of chatting with her international student friends.

“One of the most enriching parts of coming to Ross has been meeting so many people from all over the world,” Johnson explained. “And as I became friends with international students and we were going through recruiting, we were all dealing with a lot of the same challenges.

“The challenges of recruiting are often amplified for those coming from other cultures, especially for non-native speakers. If it was hard for me, it was even harder for international students,” Johnson added.

The majority of international students at U.S. MBA programs come from Asia, where the cultural differences related to networking are stark. However, even European or Latin American students often find it awkward to send introductory emails or chat up strangers at networking events,  even though both practices are commonplace in the job-search process in this country.

“My friends from Latin America will say that things are very informal there and it’s all about conversation and connections,”  said Johnson. “It’s much more to the point in the U.S.”

Business school career centers do worry that these cultural differences can put international students at a disadvantage during their internship and job searches. But, through forums discussing communication differences, coaching workshops designed to help students develop elevator pitches for potential employers, and mock-interviews to troubleshoot areas of weakness, many of today’s MBA programs are making the networking customs of the U.S. much less daunting for international students.

Cultural acclimation can challenge even the most well-traveled individuals, but international MBA students have much to offer their American peers, and learning how to network “American-style” will put them on equal footing with their classmates when competing for those prime employment opportunities.

However, as Johnson points out, “This isn’t just ‘here’s how to recruit in America.’ This is about valuing each other’s culture and helping our international peers bring forth the richness of diversity in the recruiting process. We’re at an interesting time in our country and diversity is really important. The more that we can support that, the better off we’ll all be as people and the better off our community will be as a whole.”
***

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 30 Nov 2017, 12:03
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Giving students the opportunity to lead real businesses as part of the Ross experience has been a vision of Scott DeRue, the Edward J. Frey Dean of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, since before he assumed his current role in 2016.

This fall, that vision became a reality as MBA students and BBA students are running actual businesses, starting businesses, and vetting business ideas for three major companies.

The idea was piloted with Shinola as a Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP) in spring 2017. But to kick off an actual class, now called the Living Business Leadership Experience Course, Ross has added Ford Smart Mobility and The NRP Group to the companies partnering with students and the William Davidson Institute at University of Michigan. And there are more companies coming to the course in the winter-spring session.

“Learning by doing prepares students for the challenges of their careers by developing their abilities to think independently, function with limited data, manage ambiguity, collaborate effectively, and continually grow from their experiences,” says DeRue. “Developing these abilities is the principal objective of experiential learning and it forms the core of our academic philosophy at Michigan Ross.”
Shinola
The MAP experience with Shinola began as a study of whether the Detroit-based luxury brand could and should enter the men’s grooming category. Students examined every aspect of the business, including finance, marketing, and supply chain. Students also had to navigate the relationship between Shinola and a consumer-products giant with which the small company was partnering for the initiative.

The MAP experience immersed the first-year Ross MBA students in Shinola for seven weeks. And they have been reporting directly to Shinola CEO Tom Lewand, MBA ‘96, who is also on Michigan Ross’ Board of Advisers to the dean.

“This idea is not only a natural progression of the Ross approach and vision for learning business by doing business, but it is an amazing opportunity for Shinola to tap into incredibly smart minds to get a whole new line of business off the ground in a timely way,” says Lewand. “It would be difficult any other way given how busy we are and how stretched we are as we grow.”

“The Shinola brand can give a product a real boost…a cool factor that separates it from anything else in the category,” says team member Katherine Moriarty, MBA ’18. “A lot of our work was customer interviews and studying what people valued so we could best tailor the product insights into whether and how the Shinola brand would justify premium pricing in this category.”

In the end, though, Shinola and the students decided to back-burner the men’s grooming line it was exploring. For the fall ‘17 course, students have turned their attention to high-end audio. Shinola has been piloting the sale of a turntable and speakers at its stores, but wants to scale the audio business into a third tent-pole business line to complement its watches and leather goods.

Students are managing all aspects of this expansion, which includes the scaling of Detroit-based manufacturing, pricing, and marketing, and especially figuring out how the Shinola brand can best be merchandised to audiophiles who will be key to the product line’s credibility in the marketplace.
Ford Smart Mobility
Ross students are working with Ford Motor Co. on its Smart Mobility business, developing a global business plan for the unit that has autonomous driving at its core.

At the center of this work with Ford is the Transportation Operating System (TOS) that is a central part of the automaker’s plan to make the eventual launch of autonomous vehicles profitable.

Part of the challenge and opportunity for students with this business unit is that it requires that Ford work extensively with different cities and municipalities that have a huge stake in how autonomous driving is rolled out. The infrastructure to support all the technical capabilities of the TOS varies from city to city, state to state, and country to country.

The partnership with Ross not only encompasses students generating ideas for expanding the autonomous car business model, but eventually perhaps serving as a consultancy to city and state governments on their infrastructure investments needed to keep up with the transportation technology being developed by Ford and other automakers.

Elyse Hovanesian, BBA’18, is getting to do more hands-on work than she imagined. “Working for a real business has brought up the challenges and rewards I am used to only reading about in cases. While the work is more demanding and complex, I enjoy being part of the results and having an experience to prepare me for my career.”
NRP Group
The NRP Group, the Cleveland-based real-estate development company, has turned to Ross students to develop a scalable business model for its urban affordable housing projects.

The company has developed and constructed well over 27,000 residential units in 13 states, and manages more than 100 properties – encompassing 16,000 luxury, family, and senior rental units – in eight states. The company is a national leader in building both affordable and luxury apartment communities.

But NRP co-founder and principal David Heller says the new norm for building affordable urban housing is that companies like NRP must also provide social and support services to residents of their developments.

“This support can take many forms, including everything from mentoring services for at-risk teens to elder care. While we have achieved success stories to date, we are turning to Ross students to help us manage the efforts going forward and develop expertise such that we can offer consulting services to other companies that see the benefit of providing superior supportive services to residents,” says Heller.
Winter 2018
For the winter semester, the LBLE course will be adding three additional companies, which will be partners and offer students a unique hands-on opportunity to guide real businesses through the obstacle course that any company faces in their start-up period:
  • OOKLA
    The company is behind Speedtest, and is the global leader in internet testing and analysis. Speedtest has been used over ten billion times worldwide, and is the most accurate way to measure internet performance.
  • DAILY FUEL
    This digital media and news site/service, which brings subscribers daily content from thought leaders, business leaders, and others, is in ramp up, and students will be working to build out the business model.
  • A third company is being finalized for the course.

Faculty Mentoring
“The LBLE vision is to put students into an ambiguous, unstructured environment in which they must choose which tool, framework, or perspective to apply, and when. This is a capstone-style experience that is designed to distill and integrate the core and elective material they learn at Ross,” observes Bill Lovejoy, associate dean for specialty master’s programs, who oversees the Shinola team.

Current LBLE participants will help choose the next class of students. For more information about the Living Business Leadership Experience, visit the program site.
***

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 Feb 2018, 15:16
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Many MBA applicants make the same wrong assumption: No matter which top business school you attend, its teaching style will be more or less the same. While there are similarities across the top-tier programs, each school has a different teaching style. There’s the case method approach; lecture-based instruction; and the experiential learning and team-based focus approach. Some schools concentrate almost entirely on one style, while others employ a mixture.

Finding a fit in teaching style is important, and we advise clients to seek out a program where they can thrive and feel comfortable. However, this piece of the puzzle is often pushed aside, with more weight placed on factors like rankings, career center offerings, location and culture.

In fact, teaching style is often one of the last things applicants focus on. Although there are many different aspects of a program to consider as you select your target schools, we believe this one should have more weight, as it not only directly affects your enjoyment of your two-year investment, but the quality of knowledge that you walk away with.

• Case method: The case method approach was established by Harvard Business School more than a century ago and is still widely used at top MBA programs worldwide. With this method, students analyze and debate authentic management scenarios to create recommendations that the firm in question should employ in the future.

Harvard relies on case studies for approximately 80 percent of its instruction, and students at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business are exposed to more than 500 cases in a variety of industries and functions during their two-year program.

Considered by many to be the gold standard in management education, the case method relies on lively class discussions with myriad points of view. A good case analysis requires a lot of preparation from students, who must feel at ease sharing their ideas in front of large groups.

Gregarious personalities will thrive in this environment, while shy individuals may cringe at the thought of showing up to class. This is not the learning environment for those uncomfortable speaking in front of strangers or those who fear they might say something embarrassing.

• Lecture: All top MBA programs include courses taught using a lecture format, though some schools stand out for their significant use of this traditional pedagogic technique. Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business uses approximately 50 percent lecture-based instruction, while the lecture format at University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business comes in as a close second at 48 percent.

The Anderson School of Management at UCLA, Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management and Said Business School at the University of Oxford use lectures about 40 percent of the time.

Fans of the lecture method believe this is the best way to concretely teach students the business concepts and theories they will need once they’re back in the work force. This environment may also be more comfortable for introverted students, as well as those who enjoy absorbing the wisdom of a seasoned professor.

In some instances, the lecture approach is simply the most expeditious way to get the information across. Columbia Business School devotes about 40 percent of class time to lecture and 40 percent to case studies.

Experiential approach: In recent years, more and more schools have expanded the experiential components in their curricula, adding in more team challenges, simulations, field work and extracurricular activities.

A leader in this area of action-based learning is the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor’s Ross School of Business, which has a seven-week, full-time consulting project known as the Multi-disciplinary Action Project. Ross connects first-year MBA students with corporate, entrepreneurial and nonprofit projects both in the U.S. and abroad that require thoughtful recommendations on organizational challenges.

Harvard Business School has the yearlong Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development course for first-year students, which offers small-group learning experiences that are experiential, immersive and field-based.

This hands-on approach to learning benefits those with an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as generalists who enjoy working in groups and want to learn how to get things done. Unlike the lecture and case methods, which focus on theory, experiential learning encourages students to learn by doing.

As you can see, there is significant variation in how material is presented in an MBA program. Take a close look at your personal preferences and learning style to find the business school that’s best for you.
***

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 30 Apr 2018, 10:57
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Business education news portal Poets & Quants is partnering with Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan for an interactive MBA panel event on May 1st that will address key questions about the MBA admissions process from prospective b-school applicants.

The live and live-streaming program, hosted by Poets & Quants founder and editor-in-chief John A. Byrne, will include admissions directors from Michigan Ross, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, and Yale School of Management, as well as executives from top recruiters at Google, McKinsey, and Amazon. MBA program graduates will also be there to answer questions about the applicant, student and recruiting experiences.

Byrne calls this a unique event designed to provide a window into the whole MBA experience. “Over the course of three panels, students and alumni will get the inside scoop on finding the right MBA program, the application process, and finally what the top recruiters look for in an MBA — all streamed live to the Poets&Quants homepage and website.”

And as Ross admissions director Soojin Kwon explains in a recent update to her blog, “We will answer questions like: how we assess and weight each part of the application, and what to do if you have a less-than-stellar GPA.”

 The MBA Summit invites prospective students to attend the event in person on the Ann Arbor campus (seating is limited), or to register to view the livestream on May 1, 2018 at 9 a.m. ET. Learn more about the MBA Summit event and register  for this great opportunity today.

***

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 30 Apr 2018, 11:00
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We live in an era where analytics can make or break a company’s success, and employers need workers who understand and can manage one of today’s most important business issues.

Prospective MBA students looking to really hone their skills to develop data-driven business strategies should know that the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has just announced a new concentration in this area for the full-time MBA program.

Beginning in fall 2018, the Data and Business Analytics Concentration will launch under the leadership of Brad Killaly, associate dean of full-time and global MBA programs.  The FTMBA program began developing this concentration in 2017, spurred by feedback from students wanting a more specialized concentration focusing on big data.

“We’ve developed the Data and Business Analytics Concentration to meet the needs of today’s MBA student as well as today’s evolving business world,” says Killaly. “As students continue to seek careers in data-intensive industries, such as consulting and technology, Michigan Ross will offer the necessary business acumen that students can utilize to give themselves a competitive edge.”

Andrew Crisp, co-founder of education consultancy CarringtonCrisp, recently explained in the Financial Times (“Data science is the big draw in business schools”) that demand for big data courses is driven by an increase in lucrative job opportunities advertised for people with such qualifications.

This new, sharper focus on analytics will train Ross students in rigorous thinking and decision-making based on large data sets, rather than the isolated scenarios students might encounter in a typical case study.

Students in the concentration will take courses from an array of options that include big data management, marketing research, marketing engineering, advanced big data analysis, data mining, digital marketing, mobile innovation development, and information econometrics.

“We are excited to introduce the new data and business analytics concentration to the Michigan Ross FTMBA Program,” says Heather Byrne, Director of the Michigan Ross Career Development Office.

“Companies want individuals who can lead their organizations using data and thinking analytically. Our goal is to prepare students to explore career options in which they can apply these skills, and help companies source exceptionally-qualified talent.”
***

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 30 Apr 2018, 11:01
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The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has launched a brand-new concept in experiential learning called Ross Experiences in Action-Based Learning — REAL.

According to an announcement accompanying the launch, “REAL is a unifying concept that brings together the curricular and co-curricular opportunities that Michigan Ross students have now, and will have in the future, to start, advise, lead, and invest in real-world businesses.”

The four pillars of this initiative are:

REAL Start: Students develop a new business based on an original idea with the intent of achieving economic viability.

Michigan Ross students have the opportunity to take courses that have them developing real businesses as part of the curriculum, as well as co-curricular opportunities to develop their ideas can also lead to deeper mentoring, stronger business plan development, and large amounts of extra funding — the Michigan Business Challenge had its largest prize pool ever available for student startups this year.

REAL Advise: Student teams consult with a real-world organization on a pressing issue of strategic importance, providing substantive analysis and recommendations.

MAP remains the most immersive action-based program of it’s kind for full-time MBA students, sending the entire class of first-year students to work directly with an organization on solving a real business challenge.

This spring, Full-Time MBA students on MAP are partnering with more than 70 companies including  Facebook, Microsoft, Experian, Kraft, Google, and many more.

REAL Invest: Students manage seven focused investment funds, totaling more than $10 million in assets, in all aspects of their operations.

From early stage funds to funds that invest in more mature companies who are already making a profit, there are a diversity of experiences available to students interested in venture capital and fund management.

REAL Lead: In some of the newest REAL experiences available to Ross students, they assume functional responsibility for leading and operating an ongoing business concern, working with established corporate partners.

The Living Business Leadership Experience class, which kicked off last year, has students join teams working with companies like Shinola and Ford Smart Mobility. Read about how the teams working with Shinola this past semester were responsible for launching the company’s first ever line of headphones, in a recent post from one of the students responsible.

“I’m incredibly excited about the progress we’ve already made and the direction we’re heading,” said Scott DeRue, Edward J Frey Dean of Michigan Ross. “REAL represents the most comprehensive and effective experiential learning platform in business education, and it’s just getting started.”

You can learn more about Ross Experiences in Action-Based Learning courses and co-curricular opportunities here.
***

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: Expert advice for Ross from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business is a program that emphasizes learning both inside and outside the classroom, and is seeking candidates that are intellectually curious and able to accomplish their goals.

Ross is also a close-knit community and fit with the program is important to demonstrate in the application process. Visiting Ross or learning about the program through current students, alumni or faculty would be helpful before starting this set of essays.

Admissions Director Soojin Kwon explains on her blog that “One of the things we heard from this year’s applicants was that they loved having the option to choose which essay prompt to respond to. So we’re keeping that feature but providing two options per short answer group rather than three.”

Kwon goes on to say that: “we kept the ones that seemed to provide the best platform for sharing something meaningful and unique about yourselves.”
PART 1: SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
Select one prompt from each group. Respond to your selected prompts using 100 words or fewer (<100 words each; 300 words total).

Group 1

• I want people to know that I:

• I made a difference when I:

Group 2

• I was humbled when:

• I am out of my comfort zone when:

Group 3

• I was aware that I am different when:

• I find it challenging when people:

Take note that these short answers are about getting to know you and your personality, not your collection of accomplishments. Some of the personal attributes most valued at Ross include community engagement and interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills.

When you think about your short answers you may want to write about an important extracurricular moment, a challenge you overcame, or an event in your life that highlights something unique about your background.

Looking at each group in turn, Group 1 might be an opportunity to talk about impact and action. It reads as a place to highlight accomplishments. The first prompt is entirely open-ended and allows you to talk about something you are proud of, a personal quality, or an experience. For the next prompt, you could describe when you made a difference to an organization, person or advanced a cause that is important to you.

Group 2 is more about your reaction to events in your life and your character. How do you interpret what happens to you and how do you handle adversity and discomfort? This is certainly a place to talk about some of the unique experiences in your life, like living outside your home country, working with people different from yourself, or facing a challenge at work or in your personal life.

Group 3 is an opportunity to highlight how you are unique as compared to other people you know. These questions ask for some self-awareness as you describe who you are and how others may view you. What makes you different from your peers? What is a particular challenge to you that may not be to other people?
PART 2: ESSAY
Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. Please share your short-term career goal. Why is this the right choice for you? (300 words)

Admissions Director Kwon said in her blog post about the new essays that they “made a minor tweak to the career goal essay to make it more straightforward, because that’s what we’re looking for — straightforward.”
To meet the goal of a straightforward answer to this question you should your career goal in a sentence or two and use the remainder of the space to elaborate.

Answering “why” you chose your short-term career goal is crucial. As you describe your goal make sure you explain what has led you to pursue it, and why it resonates with you. The answer doesn’t need to be elaborate or dramatic, but it should be convincing and real. Note that the question highlights “all backgrounds and different career goals” that all thrive at Ross. If you have a unique background or goal it can be an asset to show how you will contribute to this environment where everyone thrives.

As Kwon advised last year, the admissions committee does not expect you to have all the experience needed for your career goals right now, but “We want to know that you understand the skills that are important for your desired career.

Recruiters assess whether you’re able to bring relevant skills/strengths to the table, so we do the same. Some of the skills and knowledge you’ll need will be developed during your time in the MBA program, but students are more successful in their career search if they understand the skills required to succeed in their chosen field.”

Finally, a successful essay will explain why Ross is the right program for you. Thorough school research will help you compose the best answer. Make sure you connect with current and former students personally if possible. You can still visit Ross this summer before round 1, but you may want to make your trip in the fall when you can meet students on campus.

If you cannot find people to speak to through your network of friends, family and colleagues, most MBA students are open and willing to speak to interested prospective students. To find current Michigan Ross students you can reach out through student clubs or the admissions office.
OPTIONAL STATEMENT
This section should only be used to convey information not addressed elsewhere in your application, for example, completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate.

Take it directly from the Ross admissions director: “The optional essay should only be used if there’s something in your background that requires a brief explanation. It’s not the place to submit an essay you wrote for another school, or to tell us how much you love Ross.”

Think about anything that may raise questions while reviewing a resume, transcript or recommendations. Typically the kinds of gaps that raise questions are significant gaps in employment (more than a few months), anything below a C on your college transcript (particularly in quantitative coursework) and low test scores.
***

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: Expert advice for Ross from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 31 May 2018, 14:12
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The University of Michigan Ross School of Business has opened its application for the 2018-2019 admissions season, and this year’s app features slight updates to the required MBA essays, as follows.
Part 1: Short Answer Questions
Select one prompt from each group. Respond to your selected prompts using 100 words or fewer (<100 words each; 300 words total).

Group 1
  • I want people to know that I:
  • I made a difference when I:
Group 2
  • I was humbled when:
  • I am out of my comfort zone when:
Group 3
  • I was aware that I am different when:
  • I find it challenging when people:

“One of the things we heard from this year’s applicants was that they loved having the option to choose which essay prompt to respond to. So we’re keeping that feature but providing two options per short answer group rather than three,” Admissions Director Soojin Kwon explains on her blog.

“We kept the ones that seemed to provide the best platform for sharing something meaningful and unique about yourselves. We also made a minor tweak to the career goal essay to make it more straightforward, because that’s what we’re looking for — straightforward,” the director adds.
Part 2: Essay
Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. Please share your short-term career goal. Why is this the right choice for you? (300 words)
Optional Statement
This section should only be used to convey information not addressed elsewhere in your application, for example, completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate.

***

If you’re interested in visiting the campus this summer, Michigan Ross does offer its Visit in Person program once in June and once in July. You may also find a Ross event near you throughout the summer and fall.

For more information about the Ross MBA program, please visit the admissions website.
***

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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The Ross School of Business at University of Michigan has posted the following MBA application deadlines for the 2018-19 admissions season.
Round 1
Application due: October 1, 2018
Decision released: December 21, 2018
Round 2
Application due: January 7, 2019
Decision released: March 15, 2019
Round 3
Application due: March 18, 2019
Decision released: May 10, 2019

All applications are due by 11:59 EST on the day of the deadline in order to be considered within that round. Michigan Ross also encourages international students apply in Round 1 or Round 2 because of visa requirements and to ensure consideration for scholarships.

For more information, please visit the Ross MBA admissions website.
***

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 14 Jun 2018, 10:00
The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan must have liked the essay questions it used last year, because it has made only the smallest of tweaks to them for this season. Previously, the school gave applicants nine options for its 100-word short answers—this year, candidates have just six. One has to wonder whether the admissions committee received an abundance of responses to the prompts that were kept, while those that were largely ignored by applicants were discarded. Similarly, Michigan Ross has maintained a second 300-word career goal essay but has refined it, dropping verbiage about long-term goals and asking only about applicants’ short-term goals. Again, we will make an inference here: Michigan Ross is saying that most long-term goals are so vague and prone to change that it is interested in learning only about the short term, which the school can more directly influence. Anyway, those are the tweaks; our analysis of the essay prompts themselves follows. . .

Part 1: Short Answer Questions

Select one prompt from each group of the three groups below. Respond to each selected prompt in 100 words or fewer (<100 words each; 300 words total).

Group 1
I want people to know that I:
I made a difference when I:

Group 2
I was humbled when:
I am out of my comfort zone when:

Group 3
I was aware that I was different when:
I find it challenging when people:

In a blog post last year, Michigan Ross Managing Director of Full-Time Admissions Soojin Kwon said of the then new short-answer prompts, “[We want to] get to know more about you than we would in a traditional essay where you’d talk at length about one topic.” So, we encourage you to thoughtfully brainstorm and carefully consider which response in each group feels most authentic to and revelatory of who you are as an individual. You might be tempted with a 100-word response to just start writing, but thinking strategically about who you are as an applicant is critical to making the most of these “short answers,” which we think of more as mini essays.

We recommend starting by reading through all the options for the three groups and considering each one thoroughly in turn. You want to be able to “own” your answer—as we like to say—meaning that no other applicant could write the same thing as you do. Using the second prompt of the first group as an example (“I made a difference when I …”), writing something like “committed the entirety of myself to a public service project” would be far too general a response and could easily be stated by a large number of applicants. Although this person may very well have committed him/herself to this project in a fiercely original manner, the reader does not have a window into howhe/she performed. Instead, something much more specific like “…ignored the objections of countless peers and launched a charity pie-eating contest” would stand out for its originality and paint a clearer picture of the candidate who wrote it with respect to his/her values, persistence with an unpopular idea, and sense of humor in executing an idea. We suggest that in treating this as a mini essay, you use a narrative approach to allow the reader to enter into your story. With only five sentences (or so), you can still craft a visual of how you conduct yourself and engage and guide a reader with a compelling story that has a clear beginning, middle, and end. If you choose to simply discuss a trait without a narrative, at worst, you will risk bragging, and at best, you will waste an opportunity for the admissions reader to get to know you.

When you are done writing, take a look at your two responses and see if they are complementary of one another. If you feel they seem repetitive or focus on the same general idea, story, or area of your life, you will likely want to rewrite one. Your goal is to have each response reveal something new and interesting about you. Another factor to consider is everything the admissions committee will already know about you from the other portions of your application; you do not want to waste this opportunity to paint a well-rounded picture of yourself by repeating information the school already has.

So, to recap, strive to make sure your responses (1) genuinely reflect who you are as a candidate and are as specific to you alone as possible; (2) present a narrative that allows the reader to walk in your shoes, so to speak; (3) are complementary of each other, with each one revealing something different about you; and (4) do not discuss a part of your profile that is already well explained or represented elsewhere in your application.

​Part 2: Essay

Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. Please share your short-term career goal. Why is this the right choice for you? (300 words)

With just 300 words, you do not have any space to waste here, so focus on presenting your answer as clearly and thoroughly as possible—and give the admissions committee what it wants! That said, this is a rare instance where we suggest giving the school a tiny amount of what it has not specifically asked for. Stating your goals in a vacuum, without any connection to where you have been, can be a little bit confusing for the reader, especially if you are a career changer. Imagine you plan to move from consumer marketing to equity research for consumer goods companies after graduating. If you were to simply state, “Post-MBA, I want to join a boutique equity research firm” as your opening sentence, your reader could be left wondering where this interest comes from. But if you were to instead write, “For the past four years, I have lived and breathed Fruity Pebbles in a way I would not have believed humanly possible. I now understand how the tiniest increase in the price of coconut oil or a ten-cent Cocoa Pebbles coupon can affect my product’s margins. As a result, I have become obsessed with the big data that drive computer goods and want to spend the next phase of my career in equity research, helping investors to understand the riddle.” These are two very different answers, all because of some helpful context. From here, you can delve deeper into why equity research is right for you—how you intend to grow in your role and further develop your passion for the position.

Michigan Ross does not ask you why its program is the right one for you, but we encourage you to nevertheless note two or three resources at the school that would enable you to make this professional goal a reality. Remember to not just tout stereotypes but truly integrate your mention of these resources into your essay in a way that shows true professional need. We explain these concepts and how to achieve them in more detail in our mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which is available free of charge. Download your complimentary copy today!

And for a thorough exploration of Michigan Ross’s academic program/merits, social life, unique offerings, and other key characteristics, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, which is also available for free.

Optional Statement

This section should only be used to convey information not addressed elsewhere in your application, for example, completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate.

This optional essay prompt may start out sounding like an invitation to discuss anything more you wish to share with the admissions committee, but a closer look—paying particular attention to the word “only” and the nature of the examples offered—seems to restrict the possible topics to problem areas and auxiliary elements of your profile that may not be readily conveyed elsewhere in your application. The additional directive about bullet points seems to be a not-too-veiled implication that the school wants you to focus on imparting key information rather than offering a detailed and longwinded explanation of the issue in question. This is not the time or place to share another cool story or otherwise try to impress or pander to the admissions committee. If you do not truly need to explain an issue or potentially confusing element of your candidacy (a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc.), we do not recommend that you submit an option essay; if you do have issues to clarify, keep things concise. In our free mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, including multiple examples.

The Next Step—Mastering Your Michigan Ross Interview:Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. We therefore offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the Michigan Ross Interview Primer today.
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Re: Expert advice for Ross from Admissions Consultant blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jul 2018, 14:08
The MBA application process can feel like it touches every corner of your life and career. Applicants need to take the GMAT (or GRE), conduct school research, develop their story and and career goals, write and revise essays and resumes, request recommendations, and attend interviews, to name a key steps – enough to warrant the creation of 600-page MBA application guides for goodness' sake!

In working with clients, doing ding reviews for non-clients, holding Free Consultations with prospective applicants, and chatting with curious folks on GMAT Club, several elements of the MBA application process consistently stand out to me as overlooked or underappreciated. These are essentially the "Oh wow, I had no idea I needed to..." parts of the MBA application journey.

With that in mind, I decided to put together a summary that highlights these key themes, and I've included a series of steps and prompts to consider within category. Many will feel obvious if you're deep into the application game – but even then, perhaps one or two will help refine your focus. If you're new to application land, I hope this helps you think through your strategy. A lot of these are really cornerstones of the MBA application process more than they are surprises or hidden gems.

1. Career Goal Specificity

The most basic "under-articulation" of career goals comes in the form of simply citing an industry of interest or offering too vague a notion of one's short-term and long-term career goals. I often encourage applicants to develop their goals to the point that they can answer not only "question one" about them (the most basic), but also "questions two through 12" (the why and the details).

Twelve is something of a made-up number – the point is that you need to be able to articulate a clear, coherent, connected, and specific career vision. What company or companies do you want to work for? Where? Why? What type of projects do you hope to work on and impact do you hope to have? Within your industry, what specializations will you aim to develop or areas will you focus on?

Where do you hope to intern? Where will your first post-MBA job lead? Consider the medium-term "bridge" between your short- and long-term goals. What are your long-term goals? What is your dream job? Why is that your dream job? What exactly do you hope to accomplish if you achieve it?

How does who you are and what you've done to this point – plus the MBA – lead to your short-term goals? How does all of that together enable your medium- and long-term goals? What knowledge, skills, and experience do you already have that are relevant to these goals? What knowledge, skills, and experience do you lack and therefore need to acquire via the MBA? Why is now the right time?

2. School Specificity

That last piece begins to address why you believe you need an MBA. And it segues nicely into "school specificity" – another critical area that is all too commonly under-articulated in MBA essays. You have certain knowledge, skills, and experience that are relevant. But there's also a whole lot more you need to achieve your goals. How exactly are you going to fill those gaps at XYZ program?

Through what courses, clubs, extracurriculars, and special programs? Which case competitions, conferences, and community initiatives? What about each program's culture, community, and career opportunities make it a good fit? And remember – while you hope to grow toward your goals, it's also critical to articulate how exactly you'll contribute to the MBA program and your classmates.

Be specific but not self-aggrandizing or individualistic. What (unique) contributions can you make to study groups, classes, clubs, and social initiatives? Beyond mere "participation," consider what leadership positions you would want to pursue (and why), and what you and your classmates could together accomplish in those positions for the benefit of the MBA community and beyond.

3. School Research and Engagement

How does one build such a deep understanding of each program? The short answer is school research and engagement. Get to know the programs and their people. MBA program websites are loaded with details on every element on the MBA experience. But that's just a start. To make a compelling and school-specific case, you'll need to do more than just click around on the Internet.

Attend single- or multi-school admissions events. Go to school-sponsored coffee chats. Reach out to alumni who work at your company. Speak with friends or acquaintances who went to the programs you're interested in. Visit if you can. If you live in a remote location, participate in online events. And if you don't really know any alumni, reach out to each program's Student Ambassadors.

Deep school research and engagement helps you get to know and understand the programs and decide whether you want to apply. It significantly enriches your essays (and doesn't leave you awkwardly scratching your head when an application asks whom you've spoken with and what events you've attend). And it shows a credible pattern of interest. Adcoms will know you're serious.

4. Passion, Purpose, and Personal Story

Another subset of applicants might have the "brick and mortar" of career goals and school fit well covered, but in crafting their essays and applications, they don't adequately or authentically reveal what drives them, what's shaped them, who they are, and what makes them unique. This can feel a lot more abstract than articulating a career or school narrative – but it's of extreme importance.

Admissions directors shared their own insight into this topic (and many others) at Poets & Quants' MBA Summit back in May. At a most fundamental level, Michigan Ross's Soojin Kwon noted that Ross wants "to know [applicants] as a whole person," while Yale SOM's Bruce DelMonico pointed out that "one of the biggest mistakes applicants make is to tell us what they think we want to hear."

Berkeley-Haas's Morgan Bernstein added further nuance: "As I reflect back on some of the applications that really stand out, it's the candidates who are willing to take a risk in their application, in the sense that they have the courage to show their authentic self. There's a little bit of vulnerability that comes through, and that's different to every candidate." And later: "We're really interested in what your passion is, what your purpose is... what is the fuel that's igniting that fire?"

5. Recommendation Quality

Whereas articulating your career goals, engaging with programs, and telling your story very clearly fall under your purview as an MBA applicant, recommendations can sometimes feel like they don't. With so much to think through and do yourself, it can be very tempting to simply tap your current and former supervisors on the shoulder, ask them for recommendations, and forget about the rest.

If it only it were that easy. The two main "categories" of problems I see with MBA recommendations are (1) many recommenders do not understand how thoughtful and specific their recommendations need to be, and (2) even if they think they do understand, the content they deliver and examples they cite often make candidates sound nice / solid / good – but they don't make candidates stand out.

Choose your recommenders wisely. Meet with them to explain the process, go over the questions, and discuss why you're pursuing an MBA. Imbue upon them how (again) thoughtful and specific they need to be. Prepare a document that details what you've worked on and accomplished, along with key qualities and themes you hope they might consider. Examples and evidence are critical.

Mediocre and overly general (or generic) recommendations can keep you out of the schools you want to get into. Bad recommendations can undo strong candidacies. And superb recommendations can be the difference in getting in. So own the process as much as you can. Recommender selection, recommender prep, and recommendation feedback are often major parts of my work with clients.

6. Interview Prep

If you handled the previous bullet points properly and applied in a reasonable round, you've got a decent shot at getting an interview invite to schools that are solidly within your profile range (and maybe even a reach or two!). As soon as that invitation is in hand, your goal is turn it into an admit.

That requires work, prep, and practice. Everything you submitted to this point now needs to come to life, and you need to be able to articulate all of it smoothly, specifically, and succinctly. Those last two words are not contradictory, either. Balancing specificity and conciseness is key. It's also hard.

I view Interview Prep as "overlooked" and "underappreciated" because every year after decisions are in, I speak with candidates who received a bunch of interview invites, felt (a little too) good about themselves, didn't adequately prepare for the interviews, didn't end up getting in anywhere (or only got into their last choice), and want to know what they can do differently in the future.

The most effective Interview Prep is school-specific and super-methodical – we're talking a mock interview (in the style of a given program) followed by question-by-question feedback that leaves no point or nuance related to content, style, or delivery unaddressed. You can read more about Avanti Prep's Interview Prep offering from the perspective of former clients by clicking here.

There's a lot to digest in this post, so hopefully you've skipped around to the parts that are most interesting or relevant to you. (Or maybe you wanted to dive into the whole thing!) Either way, I'm always happy to discuss the particulars of your situation. So sign up for a Free Consultation today!
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