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What I Learned From My First Year at the Stanford Graduate School of B [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2017, 09:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What I Learned From My First Year at the Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Here at SBC, we absolutely love hearing from former clients! Natasha Malpani, now a member of the Stanford GSB MBA Class of 2018, got in touch to share some words of wisdom with the next crop of applicants targeting the world’s top business schools.
The first year of the MBA program has been a whirlwind. I moved to a different country, changed roles, co-founded a company and met some unbelievably amazing people. But I also struggled with adjusting to being a student again, building a new home, career and circle of friends.

Looking back, I’m extremely grateful for both the opportunities and the challenges I faced. In the hopes of making the journey easier for those of you that will be enrolling in business school shortly, these are my key take-aways from the past nine months:

  • Keep an open mind: The most interesting people and opportunities are not always the most obvious or visible ones. Take the time to step away from the whirlwind of recruiting and social events, to truly reflect on what you want to get out of the many opportunities you will have. But also make the time to go to some events that you would never have otherwise chosen to. You never know which conversation will lead to you finding your next role. But even more importantly, be willing to willing to change your first impressions of people. Your peers are every bit as overwhelmed and uncertain as you at the start. Don’t be fooled by the act: no one has their shit together.
  • Learning to learn: You only get out what you put in. Being at a great school, and having access to a ridiculously great network will not help you, unless you’re willing to be confused, challenged and/or unstimulated first. Make the time to do the homework assignments and group projects well. Even if they seem meaningless or unnecessary at the time, they’re being assigned for a reason. The dots will connect over time.
  • The best things take time: The things worth learning, doing and having take time. You cannot rush the process. You will not learn to read financial statements, run a regression or make your best friend in the first week of school. Breathe and lean in to the process. It’s so easy to believe that everyone is smarter than you, is hanging out without you: that you’re the only one that’s lonely or disengaged or confused. Stay away from social media. Get away from your phone and just turn up to events. Alone. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to connect with people. And in any case, you can’t really plan to make friends. Your community will form in the most unexpected places.
  • Don’t let your calendar control you: Pick the top three things you want to get out of the year. You’re not going to be able to build that company, switch careers, transition to a new geography, be the most popular person on campus and meet your future partner at the same time. Decide how you want to spend your time, or the decision will be made for you: and you might not like where you end up. But don’t forget to always put your mental and physical health first.
  • Entrepreneurship is a buzzword: Building a company is not sexy. Don’t get taken in by the buzz & glamorisation. The work can be overwhelming, boring and repetitive. Building a team & engaging with customers is much harder than building a product. On the other hand, if there really is a problem you want to solve, don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done.
  • Soft skills are harder than hard skills: Developing self-awareness, building relationships and communicating clearly is a lot harder than learning basic programming or design thinking skills. Don’t underestimate the amount of hard work and pain this takes: and make the time to stretch yourself. You will never have this dedicated time and freedom to focus on personal development: or this much room to fail freely, without consequences.
  • Your community will shape you: In the end, you might end up building a $1 billion company, finding your dream job, or your future partner. And you might not. But you will be blown away by the people around you. You will discover that everyone has a story. The more you get to know the people around you, the more you see the distance they have traveled, the more in awe you will be of their courage, strength and perspective. And you will have conversations and experiences that change the way you see the world, and perhaps your self. Stay vulnerable and open. The more you express your weaknesses, the more you will connect with the people around you. Make the time to see yourself and the people around you in a new light.
Ride the wave: it’s only fun when it’s a little choppy.

Photo by Natasha Malpani

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

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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Cornell Johnson Fall 2018 MBA Essays [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2017, 13:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Cornell Johnson Fall 2018 MBA Essays
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The Johnson School of Management at Cornell University has announced a unique twist to the updated essay prompts for the 2017-2018 admissions season. Candidates are required to complete a Goals Statement as well as two essays: 1) Impact Essay and 2) Table of Contents Essay.

Goals Statement
Use this short answer question to succinctly share your short and long term goals. If invited to interview, you will have the opportunity to elaborate further and should be prepared to connect your prior experience with your future aspirations.

A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience. To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long term goals by completing the following sentences:

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:

Industry:

In 5 – 10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:

Industry:

Impact Essay
This essay is designed to explore the intersection of engagement and community culture. Whether during the program or following graduation, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve. To help you explore your potential for impact, we encourage you to engage with our students, alumni, faculty, and professional staff.

You may choose to connect with them via email or phone or in person during one of our on campus or off campus events. As you seek their input and insight, please be respectful of their time and prepare a few discussion points or questions in advance.

At Cornell we value, students who create impact. Please indicate the opportunities for impact that you’ve identified through engagement with our community and describe how what you learned has influenced your decision to apply to Johnson. Please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer.

Table of Contents Essay
This essay is an opportunity to present yourself as an individual. We encourage you to think about your proudest accomplishments, moments of adversity that have been overcome, and interesting personal highlights that will help us to get to know you as a person and potential community member.

You are the author of your Life Story. Please create the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style. Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube, etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions.

Maximum file size is 5 MB. If you choose to submit a written Table of Contents, please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer. Multimedia submissions should be under 5 minutes.

Optional Essay
This essay is required for applicants seeking re-admission and should call attention to the steps taken to strengthen one’s candidacy. Candidates may also use the optional essay to call attention to items needing clarification or to address any gaps in experience.

For additional information, please visit the Johnson School admissions website.

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

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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UNC Kenan-Flagler Fall 2018 MBA Application Deadlines [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jul 2017, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UNC Kenan-Flagler Fall 2018 MBA Application Deadlines
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UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School has announced the following MBA application deadlines for the 2017-18 admissions season.

Round 1 (Early Action)
Application due: October 16, 2017

Decision released: December 11, 217

Round 2
Application due: December 4, 2017

Decision released: January 29, 2018

Round 3
Application due: January 15, 2018

Decision released: March 12, 2018

Round 4*
Application due: March 12, 2018

Decision released: April 23, 2018

*If space is still available in the class, we will accept applications after the Round 4 deadline. Decisions on applications submitted after the Round 4 deadline will be released on a rolling basis.

Applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the application date. For more information, please visit the UNC Kenan-Flagler admissionswebsite.

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

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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UNC Kenan-Flagler Fall 2018 MBA Essays [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jul 2017, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UNC Kenan-Flagler Fall 2018 MBA Essays
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The Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina has announced the MBA essay questions for the 2017-18 admissions season.

  • Essay One (Required)

    Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how your professional experience has shaped these goals, why this career option appeals to you, and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. Additionally, please briefly address a backup plan should your short-term goal not come to fruition for any reason. (500 words maximum)
  • Essay Two (Optional)

    What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (300 words maximum)
  • Essay Three (Optional)

    If your standardized test scores are low, or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum. (300 words maximum)
  • Essay Four (Optional)

    Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words maximum)
For more information, please visit the UNC Kenan-Flagler admissions website.

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

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Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Why Your MBA Short List Should Include Dream, Target and (Maybe) Safet [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2017, 09:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Why Your MBA Short List Should Include Dream, Target and (Maybe) Safety Schools
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This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
One of the most important decisions you’ll make during the MBA application process—big surprise—is which schools you’re going to apply to in the first place. I cannot stress enough how important it is to put significant thought into which programs you’re going to dedicate dozens of hours to over the coming months.

The MBA application process takes up a huge amount of time and effort, and most candidates feel overwhelmed with applying to more than the average of four or five schools. Therefore, it’s crucial to be strategic when it comes to school selection and come up with a competitive mix of MBA programs to target.

Dream Schools

The majority of candidates who apply to the leading business schools are bright, personable overachievers who would be an asset to any program. However, each year we see excellent candidates who prematurely take themselves out of the running for some of the top programs. Certain programs have single-digit acceptance rates, and literally thousands of more-than-qualified applicants are turned away each year.

But if you don’t even give yourself a chance at admission, you may always wonder, “What if…” Is there anything worse? B-school is an ambitious dream, so shoot for the stars or you might regret not trying. While the process is extremely competitive, you shouldn’t count yourself out before the game even begins.

That’s why we typically recommend that people ask themselves whether or not getting an MBA is most important to them—or if getting an MBA from a certain school is what really matters most. If you’d truly be at peace with never getting an MBA if you weren’t accepted to School X, then you can move forward by focusing all of your efforts solely on your dream school or schools.

Word of advice: If your test scores are much lower than the average at your dream school, consider giving the GMAT or GRE another shot, and start thinking about how to explain your academic weaknesses and highlight the unique strengths you would bring to the classroom setting.  In any case, come decision time, it’s important to be realistic.

Target Schools

While an acceptance to Harvard Business School or Wharton would thrill almost any applicant, you’re ultimately going to have to balance what school you want to attend with where you can actually get in. Start with the hard data points. As a general guideline, take a look at MBA programs you like where your profile falls within the top 10 percent of admitted students.

Compare your undergraduate GPA, GMAT score, years of work experience and particular industry with those of accepted applicants reported by the school in their class profile page. If your industry is underrepresented, consider that an advantage for your application. Research the schools, make sure you know what’s important to you, and figure out which ones fit well for you. Remember the Golden Rule of MBA admissions—only apply to schools you would be thrilled to attend.

Word of advice: If you’re in an industry that typically makes up a bigger portion of the applicant pool, such as investment banking or consulting, make sure within your application that you think beyond your obvious achievements and differentiate yourself through your essays and interviews by picking stories and experiences that are memorable and unique.

Safety Schools

A good way to determine whether your list should include one or more so-called safety schools is by asking yourself how important it is for you to go to business school next year. Perhaps there’s a compelling reason you need to exit your job and make the move to grad school ASAP. If so, including safety schools among your targets would be a smart strategy.

If the need is immediate, then definitely include a range of schools of varying degrees of competitiveness. The application pool fluctuates each year, and all you need is one admit, so spread some risk around.

It’s important to be pragmatic and align your expectations with the MBA programs that match your particular profile, particularly if your GMAT score isn’t through the roof or your career trajectory has stalled out.

Word of advice: Safety schools don’t mean bad or less desirable schools—they’re simply a more obvious fit with your numbers and profile. Remember though, you’re still not guaranteed an offer of admission. Safety merely means your chances are far greater than at a program with an acceptance rate of 15 percent or lower.

In the end, I can’t overemphasize how important it is to really be yourself in your application and find the school that is right for you.  Contrary to popular belief, it’s not uncommon to be admitted into a more highly ranked program, and denied by a seemingly less competitive one.  That’s because the MBA admissions process is not only about numbers – it’s about numbers and experiences and personalities and fit.

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

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Make Your Resume MBA-Ready [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jul 2017, 09:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Make Your Resume MBA-Ready
First, the (kinda) bad news: it’s unlikely you’ll be able to use the current version of your resume for your business school applications. In fact, you’re probably going to want to spend a significant amount of time on a complete resume overhaul. But the good news is that your resume is a very important part of your materials, and the extra work you put into revising it could be what makes the difference between a ding and an interview offer.

A resume gives you one whole page (and, in some special cases—mainly if you’re in your 30s or have military experience—two pages) to tell the adcom why you’d be an asset to their program. From this document, they should be able to clearly understand what sort of work stories you’d be talking about in class, or what sorts of “lessons learned” you’ll be able to speak to from either your professional or community-service experiences.

We recommend:

  • Reworking your resume so that it functions more as a narrative about your career and outside interests (versus a dry list of responsibilities and achievements).
  • Getting rid of acronyms and industry jargon, and then rephrasing your accomplishments so that anyone could understand them.
  • Doing away with any bullet points (or sub-headlines) that only list general, vague or high-level responsibilities for a given role.
  • Deleting unnecessary company or casework/deal descriptions (which are especially popular on consultants’ and bankers’ resumes). You’ll be able to include this information on the school’s application, so no need to repeat it here.
  • Using the space you have to explain exactly what YOU did on a project, showcase specific achievements and results, and highlight your skill progression and increased responsibilities over time.
Since admissions committees and alumni interviewers are looking for people who others will enjoy being around both inside and outside of class, it’s also a great idea to include at least some brief mention of your interests and hobbies at the bottom of the document. A lot of times it’s this information that interviewers use to “break the ice” when they first meet you.

Here’s a little inspiration as you begin to revise your resume so that it will catch the adcom’s attention:

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Until next time,

The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting

***Do you need help differentiating yourself from other MBA applicants? Work with us! Do you want to stay on top of the application process with timely tips like these? Please subscribe to our weekly newsletter and you’ll receive our expert advice straight in your mailbox before it appears on the blog, plus special offers, promotions, discounts, invitations to events, and more.

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

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Tuesday Tips: MIT Sloan Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2017, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: MIT Sloan Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips
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MIT Sloan School of Management has updated their MBA application essays for this year, keeping the cover letter essay and adding a personal video statement. The Sloan MBA program is focused on innovation with a diverse and accomplished group of students. MIT’s motto is “Mens et Manus” or “Mind and Hand”, which MIT interprets as a mission to transform and improve the world through innovation. According to MIT, its alumni entrepreneur’s companies have generated nearly $2 trillion in annual revenue and millions of jobs. Applicants are expected to be exceptional and continue the tradition of practical innovation.

COVER LETTER

MIT Sloan seek students whose personal characteristics demonstrate that they will make the most of the incredible opportunities at MIT, both academic and non-academic. We are on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students. We seek thoughtful leaders with exceptional intellectual abilities and the drive and determination to put their stamp on the world. We welcome people who are independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative — true doers. We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems, and strive to preempt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas. We demand integrity and respect passion. 

Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).

The cover letter is an interesting format for an MBA application, and reflects the MIT goal to admit candidates who have practical ideas and experience. The cover letter is a way to describe your key accomplishments and use them to prove that you embody the criteria for admission outlined by the committee.

Approach this essay as if you are applying for a demanding new job. What would you highlight in your background to prove you take an innovative approach? What are the stories you can tell about your experience that will show you have integrity and passion?

Specifically, think about examples of a time when you have approached a business problem and provided a creative solution. Have you innovated a process at work? Perhaps you have suggested a new approach to a customer problem? Think about times when you have been able to provide a fresh perspective at work and describe what you did in those situations to demonstrate problem-solving skills and passion.

As directed, you should have one or more examples to show what kind of student you will be at Sloan. Those examples can focus on two different accomplishments in your background but should demonstrate the qualities Sloan is seeking.

VIDEO STATEMENT

Please introduce yourself to your future classmates via a brief video statement.

You will need to use an internet-connected computer, with a webcam and microphone.  As part of the application review, the Admission Committee will evaluate your response to see how you express yourself and to assess fit with the MIT Sloan culture. The simple, open-ended question is designed to help us get to know you better.

• Once the video statement question is viewed you will have 60 seconds to prepare, and then 60 seconds to record your answer.

• You will only have one attempt to record your response.


This video essay is designed to capture your personality and how you think on your feet. Similar to an interview, you won’t have a lot of time to react and prepare, and you won’t have an opportunity to review your response.

We suggest preparing for this video statement the way you might prepare for an interview. The intent is to introduce yourself to your classmates, so you will want to think of interesting personal stories to tell. Consider writing out several possible examples and stories that you could use. For example, you might be passionate about travel and experiencing new cultures. You have made several interesting trips in your life, and each has given you new perspective. Write down each of them and what you learned from each experience.

Maybe you developed a passion for Thai cuisine after a trip there, and have collected Brazilian art from your travels to that country. Think of a few discrete examples and practice those stories and the introduction several times before you open the application link and start recording.

When recording the video essay response, take your time and speak slowly and clearly into the camera. Think of it as an interview, and try to be natural and comfortable as you respond. The most important part is to convey your personality!

OPTIONAL ESSAY

Please provide any additional information you would like the Admissions Committee to know that may be helpful in evaluating your candidacy (i.e. choice of recommenders, areas of concern in your academic record, other extenuating circumstances, etc.). This information should be provided in a written format (200 words or less).

This optional essay provides space for you to add your own context to any areas of concern that should be explained to the admissions committee. For example, if you have a lower than average test score, any grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation or a significant resume gap, you can explain here.

Keep your explanation concise and factual, and focused on context for the issue rather than excuses. While last year’s version of the optional essay provided flexibility to use the space to add to your overall application, this question is narrower in scope. If you do not have extenuating circumstances to provide context for, it’s best not to use this optional essay.

Stumped by your MIT Sloan MBA application? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.

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

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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How Life and Career Impact the Choice and Number of Potential B-School [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jul 2017, 09:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: How Life and Career Impact the Choice and Number of Potential B-Schools
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“How many schools should I apply to? Which schools should I apply to?”

These are key questions aspiring MBAs ponder during the summer before the busy application-writing season in fall and winter. The answers are different depending on where the applicant is within his or her “window” of applying to business school.

The vast majority of MBA students are in their mid-20s to early 30s. Only a small portion come directly from college and only a few attend full-time business school in their late-30s and into their 40s. But even within the, say, eight-year “window”—from 24-32 years of age—applicants have a variety of inputs to consider when deciding the portfolio of MBA programs they should apply to.

Age: Many applicants in their mid-20s decide they will only apply to their first two choices this year, figuring they can reapply a couple years down the line when they have a bit more experience. We can understand this approach for some younger candidates, but applicants who are a bit older should strongly consider a different approach.

They should apply to a wider array of schools to ensure that they will at least have the option of attending business school in the fall of ’18. Of course, the best scenario involves an intelligent mix of top schools and “safer” schools that will yield a choice of MBA programs for the applicant. Some candidates get on an “Harvard or Stanford or nothing!” kick that doesn’t serve anyone’s interests.

Next career alternative: Some MBA aspirants are in positions in which they could continue on for many more years. Others hold roles at places like consulting firms or top investment banks where policy and/or tradition encourage young employees to get further education. In environments where one can continue to advance unfettered, a candidate might consider applying solely to his or her top choice programs. However, candidates coming from companies with 2-3 year analyst programs that don’t allow for much upward progression should probably cast their nets a bit wider, assembling a bigger portfolio of schools.

Career track satisfaction: We’ve talked to several MBA aspirants who feel they are “locked” in roles that are too technical or too narrowly defined. Yet, some still want apply to just a couple of very highly ranked programs. When people desire to make a career transition to an entirely new role or industry, we highly encourage them to apply to a broader array of business schools. There are incredible programs throughout the top 20 in the b-school rankings (and even beyond) that can provide the classes, career programs and alumni networks that aid this kind of transition.

First timer or re-applicant?: A candidate who is going through his or her second round of business school applications should almost always apply to more schools. If the candidate is applying a couple of years down the line after dramatically improving her experience base, then she might add a couple of new schools to the mix but still target her top programs from a few years before.

However, if the candidate is applying the very next year without significant changes in role, experience or extracurriculars,  it makes a lot of sense to pursue a different base of schools, with perhaps one or two holdovers from the year before.



Family considerations:
Taking two years to get an MBA is not just a business decision, it’s a life decision. Sometimes, the interests of boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives and children are critical factors in making the decision of if, when and where to apply. These considerations are much more complex and varied than the factors listed above, so it’s difficult to work through them in depth here.

For instance, we’ve met some students who wanted to get through business school quickly so that they could start a family afterward, but have also known of others who thought that business school (with day-care, low travel requirements, etc.) was a great environment to begin to build up their brood.

Candidates should talk with family, friends and mentors (and potentially an MBA application advisor) early in the application process to determine where they are in this “window” for business school. It’s an absolutely critical step in managing this multi-month application process thoughtfully.

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Sell the MBA Admissions Committee on Your Employability [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jul 2017, 09:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Sell the MBA Admissions Committee on Your Employability
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This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
The vast majority of MBA applicants seek the degree with the primary purpose of advancing their careers and earning considerably more than they did prior to b-school. But many MBA hopefuls don’t realize that the career services department at their target business schools often has an outsized impact on their acceptance or rejection into the program.

Career placement and starting salary factors heavily into many of the well-known MBA rankings, so it only makes sense that the admissions committee and career services staff regularly team up to make sure the offers of admission they make go to candidates who won’t be difficult to place and thus negatively affect the school’s employment stats.

The admissions team will often ask for career services to weigh in if the applicant is significantly above the average years of work experience, if her stated professional goals seem far afield from previous experience, or if those ambitions will be challenging to achieve through the resources available at the school.  Input from the career services department also lets the admissions team know exactly what recruiters are looking for in new hires. Armed with that information, the admissions committee can then create the most competitive class possible.

It’s really a matter of providing the best service to its customer—the potential student—because no school wants to admit someone who will have little chance of landing their dream job after they’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the degree. Therefore, post-MBA employability is one of the most important aspects you must prove as an applicant. You need to do all you can to convince the admissions team that you’ll have no trouble finding a great job come graduation.

How to Demonstrate Employability

 Having clear, logical, and realistic career goals is a must in any successful MBA application. The best and most obvious way to let the MBA admissions committee know they should have no concerns in this area by showing how much your previous employers have valued your workplace contributions. In fact, your resume, interview, essays, and references can all work to support your employability.

In your resume, highlighting a healthy career progression and multiple promotions, bolstered by glowing recommendations from supervisors, will show that you are employable and put the adcomm’s mind at ease.

The MBA essays offer another opportunity to showcase an applicant’s well-thought-out career goals. Explaining how you plan to make good use of every tool at your disposal during the program—from specific classes or concentrations, to student clubs, study abroad options, competitions, and more—lets the admissions team see how well their program fits with your goals and shows that you will capitalize on the school’s network and resources.

Recruiters have noticed that even students from the best schools can’t always communicate well, or don’t know how to express their concerns tactfully during presentations. Many rejected applicants also face this hurdle, and don’t understand why they didn’t get in even though they scored a 790 on the GMAT. If you’re applying to business school in the fall, you’ll impress the admissions committee right out of the gate if you can demonstrate that you already possess strong communication skills during your MBA interview.

In b-school admissions as with job interviews, there will always be many more qualified candidates than spots or positions available. One way the powers that be make a decision among equally qualified applicants is by looking at their soft skills, people skills, or EQ—emotional intelligence. Some interviewers employ a version of the so-called “airport test,” where your interviewer gauges whether she would enjoy being stuck chatting with you during a layover—or would rather be swallowed up by baggage claim.

Show that you have those soft skills that future employers will value highly by captivating your essay reader or interviewer with a unique or compelling anecdote that sticks in his or her mind long after you’ve left the table. With competition for a seat at one of the top schools as tough as it is, you’ll need to use every tool in your arsenal to win over the admissions committee, and career services members, deciding your fate.

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Kellogg Shares 10 Ways to Strengthen Your MBA Application [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jul 2017, 10:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Kellogg Shares 10 Ways to Strengthen Your MBA Application
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If you’re planning to apply to business school in the fall, you’re probably strategizing how you can create the strongest application possible. One of the biggest mistakes we see applicants make is assuming that the surest route to business school admission is playing it safe and doing what it seems like “everyone else” does. Not so!

“When submitting your materials for consideration, ensure that your total application, including the interview, reflects your authentic story,” urges the admissions team at Kellogg School of Management. “Above all else, be thoughtful, be honest and be yourself.”

Kellogg recently shared 10 ways to strengthen your MBA application, and we think their advice for identifying key focus areas holds true no matter where you apply.

Take a look at these excerpts:

Prepare a well-rounded application to convey intellectual ability and creativity.

Our goal is to ensure that you can handle the rigor in the Kellogg classroom. Your undergraduate GPA, course selection and GMAT score help us assess your readiness. But we’re also invested in finding creative thinkers who can solve problems. Qualitative evidence of intellectual ability is going to come out in your essays, your interview and your recommendations. We truly take a holistic look at our applicants rather than only relying on a number.

Highlight the quality of your professional experience, regardless of where you are in your career, to distinguish your application.

The Kellogg experience is enriched by the diversity of our student body, both personally and professionally. We admit applicants from a variety of fields, with varying years of experience. We also consider each applicant within the context of his or her own career path, rather than against each other. Be sure to include your resume and details to help us understand what the career advancement standards are within your industry and your particular company or organization.

Share how you have made an impact on the world around you.

Passion and engagement are universal features within the Kellogg community, and there are a lot of ways to show us that you’re the type of person who makes a difference, whether inside your workplace or through activities outside of the office.

Click on over to the Kellogg blog to read the other seven tips, and remember: no two people are the same, and that’s a good thing! The key to a successful MBA application is showing exactly what you—and nobody else but you—can bring to the program. So please don’t be afraid to let your originality and your true personality come through in your materials.

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Distilling Your Career Goals for the MBA Application [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2017, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Distilling Your Career Goals for the MBA Application
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

You were probably asked this question all of the time as a little kid. Thanks to your business school applications, you’ll have to answer it again. Only now you must envision where you’ll be in your career ten to twenty years out—after you’re armed with an MBA. You’ll also have to detail the path you intend to take to get there.

But how do you go about explaining your short- and long-term career goals if you’re not really sure what you want to be doing in the first place? Maybe you’re pursuing an MBA in hopes that the classes and people you’re exposed to will help that light bulb go on in your head.

That’s perfectly fine, and you’re certainly not alone. Here’s a little secret: the adcom doesn’t expect you to know exactly what you want to be doing decades from now. And no one’s going to hold you to what you write in your essay. However, your answer to the career goals question is still important. If an applicant doesn’t appear to have given any serious thought to his or her own future, that could be a red flag.

If you already know how you’d like your career to progress, that’s wonderful. But if you aren’t sure about what you want to do, our advice is to spend some significant time thinking about what kind of career would make you happy. More importantly, consider whether or not your dream career is realistic based on your skills and past achievements (combined with what you’ll learn at business school).

If your goal is something general like “running a company,” you need to keep working. Vague responses such as “starting a firm,” “being a CEO” or “launching a nonprofit” won’t differentiate you from other applicants. Think about (and include in your essay!) exactly what kind of company you want to run/launch, WHY you want to do what you want to do, and how you’ll get there; those details are more likely to set you apart.

We’ll leave you with this bit of career-related inspiration:

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Until next time,

The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting

***Do you want to stay on top of the application process with timely tips like these? Please subscribe to our weekly newsletter and you’ll receive our expert advice straight in your mailbox before it appears on the blog, plus special offers, promotions, discounts, invitations to events, and more.

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London Business School Fall 2018 Essay Questions [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2017, 15:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: London Business School Fall 2018 Essay Questions
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The London Business School has published the following essay questions for the 2017-2018 admissions season.

Required Essay
What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School programme contribute towards these? (500 words)

Optional Essay
Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (Optional) (500 words)

***

The MBA 2020 application will open in early August. For additional information on applying, please visit the LBS admissions website.

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London Business School Fall 2018 Application Deadlines [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2017, 15:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: London Business School Fall 2018 Application Deadlines
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The London Business School has posted the  following MBA application deadlines for the 2017-18 admissions season.

Round 1
Application due: September 15, 2017

Decision released: November 22, 2017

Round 2
Application due: January 3, 2018

Decision released: March 27, 2018

Round 3
Application due: March 2, 2018

Decision released: May 22, 2018

Round 4
Application due: April 20, 2018

Decision released: June 19, 2018

***

All application deadlines are 17:00 UK time. All Admissions Committee decisions are communicated via email and will be sent on the relevant deadline day by 23:30pm UK time.

For more information about applying, please visit the LBS admissions website.

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Tuesday Tips: Cornell Johnson Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jul 2017, 11:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Cornell Johnson Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips
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Cornell University’sJohnson Graduate School of Management is a flexible MBA program housed within an Ivy League campus. Cornell Johnson offers multiple full-time options, including a one-year MBA, executive programs and a tech-focused program. Whatever your goals and background Cornell has a program that can help you achieve your goals. In terms of culture, Cornell has a close-knit community, which is facilitated by a small class size. Cornell also has a dedicated office of diversity and inclusion, which shows dedication to a diverse community.

When approaching this set of Cornell essays it will be useful to set your application strategy before you start working. Identify the program you are most interested in and do substantial school research. Then examine your background and goals to see what is most important to explain as part of your story.

Next, add the layer of personal background and experiences – consider what makes you truly unique. Finally, make sure you have solid academics, work experience and extracurriculars covered in your essays, resume or recommendations. If you identify any holes in your profile or story, take the time to fill them prior to starting your application and explain anything necessary in the optional essay.

GOALS STATEMENT

Use this short answer question to succinctly share your short and long term goals. If invited to interview, you will have the opportunity to elaborate further and should be prepared to connect your prior experience with your future aspirations.



A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience. To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long term goals by completing the following sentences:



Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:

Industry:

In 5 – 10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:

Industry:


This short answer question is succinct and covers most of the relevant career goals questions an MBA program would have. Make sure that your answers are logical in the context of your overall application and are mirrored by your recommenders. Your resume should show any transferable skills you may need to accomplish your goals, and you can get more into how Johnson will assist your aspirations in the essays below.

CREATING IMPACT

At Cornell we value, students who create impact. Please indicate the opportunities for impact that you’ve identified through engagement with our community and describe how what you learned has influenced your decision to apply to Johnson. Please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer.

The Cornell Johnson admissions committee advises you to use this “to explore the intersection of engagement and community culture. Whether during the program or following graduation, our students and alumni share a desire to positively impact the organizations and communities they serve.

To help you explore your potential for impact, we encourage you to engage with our students, alumni, faculty, and professional staff. You may choose to connect with them via email or phone or in person during one of our on campus or off campus events. As you seek their input and insight, please be respectful of their time and prepare a few discussion points or questions in advance.”

The first step in answering this question is to do your research. Ideally you will have an opportunity to either visit Johnson or to attend an admissions event in your city, or, as Johnson suggests, connect via phone or email. Another way to find a personal connection is to reach out friends, family and work colleagues to see if anyone knows a current or future member of the Johnson community.

As you prepare for conversations to learn more about Cornell Johnson, think about programs, extracurricular activities and the informal ways that students might interact. Johnson offers groups for interests ranging from cooking to ice hockey, and has professional clubs for every possible career path. Those formal groups or connecting in a classroom or party may be ways you make connections at Johnson.

Once you have identified opportunities for you to contribute to campus life at Johnson, ideally you support your story with evidence from your past experiences. For example, if you want to bring new speakers to the Johnson Marketing Association because you have contributed to your young professionals group at work, explain that you have successfully organized events featuring major speakers for a large group of people and can bring that skill to create impact for your peers at Johnson.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

You are the author of your Life Story. Please create the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style.

Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube, etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions.

Maximum file size is 5 MB.


If you choose to submit a written Table of Contents, please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer. Multimedia submissions should be under 5 minutes.

This essay is an opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are on a personal level. Think about highlighting areas you may not have been able to touch in the previous essays, and demonstrate your unique personal attributes or community involvement.

If you have a consistent theme of involvement in a charity or activity this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate why you became involved and what you have done over the years.

When structuring the story, think of this essay as a way to communicate a narrative theme of your life to the admissions committee. What are the key moments that are meaningful to you? Were there pivotal experiences with your friends, family, hobbies or interests that led you to become the person you are today?

This essay can be delivered in any of the media specified above (slide presentation, website, digital portfolio, YouTube) and you should tailor the format you use to the message you want to send. Though a creative format can impress the admissions committee, substance is always the most important part of the essay.

Make sure you are highlighting unique, individual qualities that will make the case for admission to Cornell and supplementing with other media when it makes sense to the story.

OPTIONAL ESSAY

This essay is required for applicants seeking re-admission and should call attention to the steps taken to strengthen one’s candidacy. Candidates may also use the optional essay to call attention to items needing clarification or to address any gaps in experience.

This optional essay allows for either an explanation of any weaknesses in your application or additional information that may bolster your application. If you have a poor GPA or GMAT, concerns with your undergraduate record, or were unable to provide a recommendation from a current supervisor, this is the place to offer explanations, not excuses.

Quickly describe the situation and what may have contributed to the issue (illness, family difficulties, etc.) without editorializing. Focus the balance of your essay on looking forward: what have you done in the recent past to demonstrate your skills and intelligence?

If you are a re-applicant this is the ideal place to explain what you have done since your last application to strengthen your case for admission. If you have a new GMAT score or took classes in calculus or statistics you have a solid case for improved academics. A promotion could signal career development and leadership.

Even if you don’t have a clear-cut or quantitative update to describe you can use this space to explain how you have improved your thinking, career goals, or fit with Cornell.

Stuck on the Johnson Cornell essay questions? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.

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Tuesday Tips: Duke Fuqua Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jul 2017, 11:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Duke Fuqua Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips
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Duke University’s  Fuqua School of Business is a community focused MBA program seeking candidates who can navigate an interconnected world. Looking for both thinkers and doers, the Admissions committee wants to see people who are excited to join Team Fuqua.

The Fuqua culture is more about holistic personal qualities than quant stats, and reading stories from Fuqua student bloggers shows that the warmth of the community is real.

In this essay set you are asked for 25 new facts, to outline your career goals and explain why Fuqua to round out your resume, academic profile and recommendations.

As always, it is important to demonstrate that you know Duke Fuqua well and are a strong fit with the program. Starting your research and personal networking now will put you in a solid position to prepare the most specific and effective essays.

Stacy Blackman Consulting can help you prepare a compelling, individualized strategy to approach your Duke Fuqua application this year, contact us to learn more.

REQUIRED SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS

Instructions: Answer all 3 of the following questions. For each question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).

1. What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?

2. What are your long-term goals?

3. Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?


This career goals essay asks for your plan in three parts. First, you should describe what you plan to do immediately after your MBA. Then you’ll explain the long-term vision for your career. Finally, Duke admits that many career paths are forged through circumstance, and asks you for your Plan B.

Think big picture and focus on the overall story trajectory. What would be the most logical (and interesting) progression from your current skill set and MBA education? How will your next step flow from the combination of those experiences? In this post-MBA employment environment it will help you to have a realistic goal for your future career. If you are a career switcher it will be helpful to highlight transferable skills.

As you consider your alternative path for this question, ideally it’s not a massive departure, but simply shows the areas you could see yourself exploring if your primary plan doesn’t materialize.

For example, perhaps you are focused on becoming a marketing executive within the consumer packaged goods industry, such as General Mills. If you don’t find the suitable position after Duke, maybe you would consider marketing for a retailer, such as Target, as your alternate career path because it allows you to develop a marketing career as well.

Or, you may have two disparate interests and want to consider both of them. Perhaps your Plan A is to join a strategy consulting firm after graduation, but if you don’t receive a spot among your top choices you would think about co-founding a start up as another possible path. Think about your range of interests and go from there.

Because you have limited space, you’ll have to boil your plans down in a clear statement of what you plan to do, but ideally any plans are supported by the information provided in your resume, recommendations, and other essays.

FIRST REQUIRED ESSAY: 25 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF

Instructions: Present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.

The “Team Fuqua” spirit and community is one of the things that sets The Duke MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of “25 Random Things About Yourself.” As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire’s professional and academic background, so learning these “25 Random Things” helps us get to know someone’s personality, background, special talents, and more.

In this spirit, the Admissions Committee also wants to get to know you–beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. You can share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU.

This essay is entirely open ended and you can cover topics spanning your personal background, work experiences, values and hobbies. If you have a particularly interesting story in any of those areas, this is the place to tell that story.

Fuqua has asked this question for a few years, and their admissions bloggers have posted some of their own responses to the question, which is invaluable research for you to read before you start your version.

Coming up with 25 random things to list in this essay may seem daunting at first. To jumpstart your creative process you may want to brainstorm with friends and family about what is most interesting and memorable about you. Or keep a notebook with you to record thoughts as you go about work and personal activities.

Once you have 25 random things, how do you structure your list? There’s a few possible ways to proceed: chronologically, chunking the list into themes, or even alphabetically.

You may want to organize the list so that it builds from shorter to longer items, or you may want to intersperse some of the 25 random things that require a paragraph explanation between sets of things that are easy to understand in one sentence. Structuring the list to make it easy to read and follow will be appreciated, but resist the urge to package the list too perfectly. Content is always the most important factor and remember that the primary purpose of this essay/list is to show Duke your multi-faceted life and interests.

SECOND REQUIRED ESSAY

Instructions: Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length.

Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society.
Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and are vital to providing you with a range of experiential learning and individual development experiences. Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community, outside of the classroom?

The best essays will be both specific and personal, while demonstrating you have done your homework on Fuqua. While everyone benefits from a diverse alumni network, what specifically do you want to give and receive from your classmates?

If you describe clubs and classes you are attracted to, also offer specific examples from your past experiences to show your consistent personal or professional passions.

Your fit with the program is crucial, and it will be ideal to show the personal qualities that Duke prizes. The Duke MBA program is especially interested in your role within the community, and will place significant weight on this factor. If you research thoroughly and are specific, you should be able to clearly demonstrate why you are going to be strong contributor to Team Fuqua.

This essay can also be a place to talk about how the Duke MBA fits into your career goals. What do you know now that will be enhanced through your MBA education? And what crucial aspects of the skill set required for your future career will be augmented by attending Duke?

However, the main focus should be your community involvement and how you plan to improve the experience of others at Duke both in and outside the classroom.

OPTIONAL ESSAY

If you feel there are circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (such as unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance).

• Do NOT upload additional essays nor additional recommendations in this area of the application.

• The Optional Essay is intended to provide the Admissions Committee with insight into your circumstances only.

• Limit your response to one page.


The Admissions committee at Fuqua asks that you use this space only to explain extenuating circumstances, not just to add new information to your application profile. If you have a low GPA, lack a recommendation from your current supervisor or have gaps in work history this is the correct place to address those issues. If you do not have any of those areas to explain, just skip the question and focus on the previous three essays.

When approaching any concerns about your background in the optional essay it’s important to show that your recent performance, whether academic or professional, has demonstrated recovery from the issues of the past.

Your goal is to remove questions from your application and to address in a factual manner any information the admissions committee needs to know to fairly evaluate your application. The essay should convey, in a positive manner, that you know there could be questions about your background but you have thoroughly improved in any areas necessary and are now ready to contribute to the program at Duke Fuqua.

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The Bigger Picture: How Can We Ever Know When It’s The Last Time? [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jul 2017, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The Bigger Picture: How Can We Ever Know When It’s The Last Time?
Last night, my two girls decided they wanted to crash in bed with Mom and Dad. When we woke in the morning, groggy and cranky, my husband and I both complained about being kicked and cramped, covers stolen throughout the night, knees in our backs, feet in our faces.  My son was blissfully asleep downstairs. My son would never climb into bed with us.  I tried to remember when Adam became a really good sleeper. Was he 6? 8? 11? All of a sudden, my heart ached for that little boy in Spiderman pajamas who wanted to cuddle and demanded that we all watch Blue’s Clues together at 5:30AM.  If I had known that the last time would be the last time, I would have cherished that snuggle.

What about the last time we see someone we care about? I think of my clique in high school. Girls that I saw almost every day for six years, with whom I shared my deepest teenage secrets, who meant more to me than anyone during that time in my life. Several have moved out of Los Angeles. Will I ever see them again? The last time I saw them…bumped into one randomly, another at a high school reunion…was that the last time? Should I have asked certain questions…taken a few pictures…savored the moment more?

When my husband and I got married we traveled around the world for months visiting places such as New Zealand, Southeast Asia, China and Southern France. Which places will I return to? Which won’t I? I find it odd, knowing that I likely won’t ever return to certain locales. My time is finite, and I know that, and some things are finished. I think of the night in my twenties that I totaled my Jeep Cherokee. I had no idea that night would be the last time I would drive it. The last day of my third pregnancy; why didn’t I savor that special day more? Make more of a mental imprint?

Is it important to preserve memories…or to be in the moment? I think it’s a mixture of both. I don’t think of myself as overly sentimental but I do several things to preserve my memories, and I believe they enrich my life. A year ago, I started a new Instagram account. Every day I post one photo. I capture fun times, not so fun moments and personal messages that I want to hold onto. Scrolling through the images, scanning one year in a few moments, reminds me what a rich, full life I have.

In contrast, we often spend so much time creating memories that we don’t appreciate the actual moment. Have you seen this hilarious clip by Louis K? I think about this a lot as we miss life in the process of trying to capture it.

On a recent family vacation, I realized that the moments that I am captured in photos are different from the moments that I truly savor. In social media, it’s biking in Sun Valley, horseback riding in Yellowstone, paddle boarding in Deer Valley.

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Zion National Park

But there was a moment when we were driving through Wyoming, the fields seemingly stretched out forever on every side, listening to Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, the kids quietly playing cards in the back. My husband squeezed my hand and that was it, a moment, a feeling that I cannot capture on Instagram or Facebook or in our photo book when we return home, but it was perfect in that moment and I think I will remember it forever. Savoring the moment…how do we do that? How do I stop feeling annoyed when my covers are stolen night after night? How do I take a moment to treasure an ordinary lunch with my mom or weekend with friends? How do I make a point of cherishing the good, the bad, the realness?

Why does it matter if it’s the last time or the first time or a time in between? I want to savor it all.

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3 Ways to Explain a Job Loss in the MBA Application [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2017, 09:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 3 Ways to Explain a Job Loss in the MBA Application
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This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
If you’re feeling anxious about explaining a gap in employment history in your MBA application, take heart. The members of the admissions committee are human beings who will empathize with someone who has faced a lay-off or firing and lived to tell the tale.

You should address an employment gap lasting longer than three months in the optional essay, and/or in the application data forms if requested. Ideally, you’ll show that you did more than just look for a job during that period, and what you learned from the experience. Never say unemployment has motivated you to apply to business school, and if you’re currently unemployed, definitely don’t say you’re working on your MBA applications in lieu of finding a job.

The biggest mistake you can make is leaving that time period unexplained and up to the imagination of your application reviewer.  By addressing the elephant in the room head on, you’ll avoid any unintended negative inferences by the admissions team.

Don’t blame anyone—not even yourself.

You’re walking a fine line here, as you don’t want to appear bitter or willing to throw your previous employer under the bus if you were laid off or fired. Nor do you want to draw unnecessary attention to your possible shortcomings by blaming yourself for the parting of ways. The key is keeping the tone matter-of-fact and acknowledging what you may have done wrong.

Perhaps you picked the wrong company to work for and it folded. You may have erred by not communicating enough with your team; not making your work accomplishments more visible to your supervisors; not taking initiative; or not doing a project well. Steer clear of any negative tone and quickly move on to the next, crucial step toward counteracting those drawbacks.

Discuss what you learned.

As I’ve covered here before, self-reflection and personal growth are critical elements of the MBA application journey. We often learn more from our failures than we do from our successes, and the ability to process your mistakes and move forward to better and greater things is an invaluable skill.

Take the opportunity to demonstrate how you can or already have incorporated those lessons learned going forward. Whether you realized the hard way that you should be more discerning about your employment selection; or learned the importance of speaking up and showing initiative at work; or gained better time management skills that later led to improved performance, an honest assessment and sincere efforts to improve will go a long way toward persuading the admissions committee to take a chance on you.

Show how you have bounced back.

Resilience and being proactive are the hallmark characteristics of successful business people.  Every client I’ve worked with has approached the challenge of an employment gap differently. Some may have used the time away to travel extensively; others dove into volunteer work that allowed them to hone their business skills while giving something back; and still others used the time to give life to their entrepreneurial dreams.

Our client Christian had been laid off from his position as an analyst at a large social media website that ultimately couldn’t compete with Facebook. Other than his unemployment, Christian was a strong MBA candidate with a 3.7 GPA from Emory University and a 740 GMAT score.

While unemployed, Christian was working on a niche retail website in his spare time, and volunteering with an organization called Taproot to keep his strategy skills fresh. Christian wanted to pursue his MBA to give him a foundation in marketing and accounting that would help him operate his own company.

The key aspect that helped us shape Christian’s profile was that he had remained busy and optimistic. Christian saw his layoff as an opportunity to pursue a dream of entrepreneurship. His volunteer work gave him an opportunity to cite recent teamwork and also showed that he was interested in giving back, even while he went through tough times himself.

Overall, Christian demonstrated that he had the grit to persevere through a difficult experience—a quality in high demand within MBA programs. Christian ultimately attended UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where he made the most of the opportunity to become an expert on marketing and accounting for his start-up.

Admissions committees repeatedly stress that no single element of your application will make or break your chances of acceptance, so try not to fret too much about your “interrupted” resume. Relax and have confidence in both your career successes and detours, knowing that it’s all in how you paint the picture.

Image credit: Flickr user Ed Yourdon (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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

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USC Marshall Fall 2018 MBA Essays [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2017, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: USC Marshall Fall 2018 MBA Essays
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The Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California has posted the following MBA essay questions for the 2017-18 admissions season.

Essay #1
What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (word limit: 100)

Essay #2
Please respond to ONLY ONE of the following essay topics. (word limit: 500)

  • Please describe the contributions you expect to make to your classmates outside of the classroom during your time at USC.
  • You have been asked to design a course to be taught at the Marshall School of Business. Please provide a title and description for the course.
  • What has been the most interesting day or moment in your life and why?
  • You have been hired by the Marshall MBA Admissions Committee to create an essay question for next year’s application. Please state the question and answer it.
Essay #3 (Optional)
Please provide any additional information that will enhance our understanding of your candidacy for the program. (word limit: 250)

For additional information on applying, please visit the Marshall School MBA admissions website.

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USC Marshall School Fall 2018 Application Deadlines [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2017, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: USC Marshall School Fall 2018 Application Deadlines
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The Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California has posted the following MBA application deadlines for the 2017-18 admissions season.

Round 1
Application due: October 15, 2017

Decision released: December 31, 2017

Round 2
Application due: January 5, 2018

Decision released: March 31, 2018

Round 3
Application due: March 1, 2018

Decision released: May 15, 2018

Round 4
Application due: April 15, 2018

Decision released: June 15, 2018

Round 5
Rolling Admissions*

*USC Marshall will continue to accept applications after April 15, 2018. Applications received after this date will be considered on a first-come, first-served and space-available basis.

The Fall 2018 application will be available beginning August 15, 2017. For more information about applying, please visit the USC Marshall MBA admissions website.

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

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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Which MBA Program Option is Right for You? [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jul 2017, 09:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Which MBA Program Option is Right for You?
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If you are early in your MBA application process you may be considering a range of options from where you may pursue an MBA to which type of MBA program you should consider. The most important aspect to consider in these decisions is your ultimate career and personal goals, and to make a decision based on what will suit your objectives best.

United States vs. International MBA Programs
As the world shifts in focus and international business becomes an attractive path for both US residents and international students, a range of international options have arisen. From CEIBS to Cambridge Judge, HEC Paris to IE, the main advantage of international MBA programs is more flexibility. European, Canadian and Asian programs often offer programs that can be completed in far less time than a traditional 24-month program in the United States and can offer a range of locations and types of programs.

Cost is another consideration that may lead you to consider International programs. Many programs are significantly less expensive than the top US programs, and combined with the lower opportunity cost of time spent away from your career, could be an economical option for you.

If you are an international applicant, a program in your home country or region may offer equal opportunity for career advancement in your location. And as a student from the United States pursuing international opportunities, a school in your target region may have similar benefits. If you are seeking jobs in the United States, it is often a better option to pursue either a program such as INSEAD or LBS that is well-known in the US, or a US program.

Executive vs. Full-Time vs. Part-Time MBA
The key element in your decision to pursue an executive vs. full-time program is where you are on your own career path. If you have been working for 5 years or less and are on a typical career path in terms of promotions, you will likely want to pursue a full-time MBA. If you have progressed rapidly in your career, or have been working for more than five years, you may want to consider an Executive MBA. A viable third option is a part-time MBA. Students are more similar to full-time MBA applicants, yet have the advantage of staying at work while obtaining an MBA.

Isser Gallogly, Associate Dean of MBA Admissions at New York University’s Stern School of Business, says deciding which format is best depends largely on what is most important to you. “If being fully immersed in your experience in business school is incredibly important to you, a full-time program obviously optimizes that,” Gallogly recently told Business Insider.

“With a full-time program, there’s more investment in terms of the cost because you’re forgoing income but you have more time to invest in the program,” Gallogly said. “With part-time, you’re obviously keeping your job, keeping your income, so there’s less opportunity cost, but on the flip side, you have less time to go to business school and get engaged and involved.”

So be sure to consider your own life-stage and current job. If you are an applicant a bit older than the mean for the full-time program you may find more success with a part-time or executive program. If you are married with children and do not want to disrupt your family’s lifestyle, an executive program may be a great choice. Another factor is your current career path. If you enjoy your company and do not want to change careers, an executive or part time program may allow you to pursue your long-term goals while maintaining your current career trajectory.

Whichever program you choose in your MBA journey, a great fit with your goals and lifestyle will ensure the best results from application to graduation.

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

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Which MBA Program Option is Right for You?   [#permalink] 28 Jul 2017, 09:00

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