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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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Distilling Your Career Goals for the MBA Application [#permalink]
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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:



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: London Business School Fall 2018 Essay Questions

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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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: London Business School Fall 2018 Application Deadlines

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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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Cornell Johnson Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips

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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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Duke Fuqua Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips

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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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.



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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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 3 Ways to Explain a Job Loss in the MBA Application


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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USC Marshall Fall 2018 MBA Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: USC Marshall Fall 2018 MBA Essays

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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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: USC Marshall School Fall 2018 Application Deadlines

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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Which MBA Program Option is Right for You? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Which MBA Program Option is Right for You?

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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HEC Paris Fall 2018 MBA Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HEC Paris Fall 2018 MBA Essays

Applications for the HEC Paris MBA September 2018 intake are now open, and the following are the required essay questions found within the application.

Essay 1. Why are you applying to the HEC MBA Program now? What is the professional objective that will guide your career choice after your MBA, and how will the HEC MBA contribute to the achievement of this objective? (500 words max.)

Essay 2. What do you consider your most significant life achievement? (250 words max.)

Essay 3. Leadership and ethics are inevitably intertwined in the business world. Describe a situation in which you have dealt with these issues and how they have influenced you. (250 words max.)

Essay 4. Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be? (250 words max.)

Essay 5. Please choose from one of the following essays, 250 words max.:

a) What monument or site would you advise a first-time visitor to your country or city to discover, and why?

b) Certain books, movies or plays have had an international success that you believe to be undeserved. Choose an example and analyse it.

c) What figure do you most admire and why? You may choose from any field (arts, literature, politics, business, etc)

Essay 6. Optional: Is there any additional information you would like to share with us? (900 words max.)

***

For additional information on applying, please visit the HEC Paris MBA admissions website.

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HEC Paris Deadlines for September 2018 Intake [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HEC Paris Deadlines for September 2018 Intake

The following are the MBA application deadlines for the HEC Paris September 2018 intake.

Round 1
Application due: August 15, 2017

Decision released: September 14, 2017

Round 2
Application due: September 15, 2017

Decision released: October 12, 2017

Round 3
Application due: October 15, 2017

Decision released: November 16, 2017

Round 4
Application due: November 15, 2017

Decision released: December 14, 2017

Round 5
Application due: January 1, 2018

Decision released: February 8, 2017

Round 6
Application due: February 1, 2018

Decision released: March 8, 2018

Round 7
Application due: March 1, 2018

Decision released: April 5, 2018

Round 8
Application due: April 1, 2018

Decision released: May 3, 2018

Round 9
Application due: May 1, 2018

Decision released: June 7, 2018

Round 10
Application due: June 1, 2018

Decision released: July 5, 2018

Round 11
Application due: July 1, 2018

Decision released: July 26, 2018

Application deadlines are subject to change, and decision date may be affected by interviewer availability. For more information on applying, please visit the HEC Paris MBA admissions website.

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Be Concise in Your MBA Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Be Concise in Your MBA Essays
Have you heard of the STAR interview technique? It’s when an interviewer asks you a behavioral question (which usually begins, “Tell me about a time when you…”) and you respond by laying out the Situation, the Task you were given, the Action you took, and then the Result you achieved. It’s an excellent method for MBA hopefuls to leverage in adcom or alumni interviews.

But the STAR technique shouldn’t be thought of as only an interview-response strategy. We’ve found that it’s also a helpful way to organize essays, short-answer responses and even resume bullet points.

For example, let’s take an essay that asks you to describe your greatest professional achievement—in only 300 words. The STAR method helps you pare down all of the information you could possibly include. You’ll want to set up the Situation for your reader as succinctly and clearly as possible. Leave out industry jargon, acronyms, and “inside baseball” details that the adcom is unlikely to care about. Remember, they want to learn about what YOU did—not the intricate complexities of your company or client’s issue.

Next, pinpoint exactly what Task you were responsible for. Sure, business schools are looking for team players, but if they’ve asked you to describe your most impressive accomplishment, they want to understand precisely what your marching orders were.

The Action section is where you should expand a bit more. This is your chance to shine by explaining exactly what you did, and ideally showing how you went above and beyond in your role. Then you can wrap up by revealing what Results you achieved. Keep in mind that both qualitative and quantitative outcomes are important to include if possible.

After you’ve got your S, T, A and R information covered in your essay, take a read through it again to ensure the emphasis is on the Actions you took and the the Results you achieved. We know it’s hard to condense what may sometimes be a years-long project into only a few sentences at the beginning, but it’s better to keep the focus on why YOU will be a welcome addition to any MBA program.

Your final task is to ensure that you’re within the word count limit and that you’ve told the story of your achievement in a compelling, memorable way.

Remember:



 

 

 

 

 

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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Tuesday Tips: Kelley School of Business at Indiana University 2018 Ess [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Kelley School of Business at Indiana University 2018 Essay Tips

Kelley School of Business at Indiana University is a top-tier business school with an innovative program. From the moment you decide to attend Kelley you will be focusing on your career and leadership development. Before you start classes, you will be part of an orientation program called Me Inc.

You’ll receive personalized coaching, leadership training, and real-world industry projects within the first year of your MBA. This will help you focus on the right career and jobs for your internship and full-time job search.

Kelley’s program is unique and close-knit, so your fit with the program and your desire to participate fully will be important to the admissions committee. Kelly has an academically strong class of students, a large number are from outside the United States, and the class is diverse.

REQUIRED ESSAYS

Essay One: Please discuss your immediate post-MBA professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley MBA degree, allow you to achieve these goals? Should the short-term goals you have identified not materialize, what alternate career paths might you consider? (500 words)

Entering Kelley with a crystallized career vision and an idea of how you will accomplish your goals will help you take full advantage of the program. Kelley’s curriculum is tailored to help you reach your career goals. For example, students can specialize almost immediately by choosing one of the first-year Academies in your industry area of focus. Think about these opportunities at Kelley when you answer this career goals question, and specifically how you see yourself using the tools available.

The second half of this question deals with your flexibility around your career goal and your ability to handle change. The business world changes constantly and your ability to recognize opportunity, even outside your anticipated career goals, will be crucial to success. Think about the core elements that are important to you in forming your career goals.

Perhaps you are passionate about a specific industry, but you could imagine pursing either a strategy role or a finance role in that industry. Or perhaps you love marketing and are more flexible about the industry where you practice your craft. Showing that you can capitalize on change and opportunity while staying true to your core values and interests will position you well in this set of essays.



Essay Two: Please respond to one of the following short essay prompts. (300 words)

• My greatest memory is…

• I’m most afraid of…

• My greatest challenge has been…

• I’m most proud of…


This essay seeks to understand your core personal motivations. Beyond career, what have been formative moments in your life? The story you choose to tell in this essay will be revealing to the admissions committee and will show your personality and values.

Think about the moments in your life when you have changed or matured. Was there an experience that led you to learn more about yourself? Perhaps you interacted with someone who challenged you, or inspired you. Or you may have traveled outside your comfort zone, either literally outside your home country, or in a transition like leaving home for college.

Option b, “I’m most afraid of…” is the one prompt that does not specifically call on a past experience. However, it’s likely that your fear has its roots in a formative moment in your life.

Once you have a story to tell, make sure you are explaining why this moment is important to you. You can either narrate your thoughts, reactions and opinions as you retell the story, or take time at the end of the essay to reflect upon what you learned and why it was important to you.

Essay Three: Please share with the admissions committee an interesting or surprising fact about you (25 words)

The admissions committee has read your career goals, read about a pivotal experience and likely has reviewed your resume and application fact sheet. What you describe here is something that didn’t come up in any of those demographic or background data sheets in your application. It’s also something short and easy to explain in 25 words.

Perhaps you were a competitive swimmer in high school, but didn’t pursue it in college. Or your grandmother was from Sweden and taught you traditional cooking techniques that no one else in your life knows. Maybe you are heavily involved in a hobby that has impacted your life.

If you are struggling to come up with an interesting or surprising fact, this is a great question to poll friends and family about. You will want to use something that is unique about you, and that most other applicants would not be able to say.

Your friends and family likely know the elements of your background and personality that go far deeper than your resume or application fact sheet and would know what is unique about you.



OPTIONAL ESSAY


Is there anything else you think we should know as we evaluation your application? If you believe your essays and credentials represent you fairly, you shouldn’t fell obligated to answer this question. (300 words)

Kelley’s optional question is open-ended, allowing you to add almost any story or additional background data you would like. Before you take full advantage of the extra space, make sure you are truly adding to your application. If you have done the work on a comprehensive resume, excellent recommendations and finely honed essays you likely don’t need this space.

If there is anything to explain in your application, definitely use this space to do so. That may be a poor grade in a quantitative course in college, academic probation, or the lack of a recommendation from a current supervisor. Whatever you need to discuss, make sure you are focused on explanations rather than excuses, and you provide solid, recent evidence that you have done better since the event.

Struggling with the Kelley MBA application? Stacy Blackman Consulting can help. Contact us to learn more.

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Tuesday Tips: London Business School Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: London Business School Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips
London Business School is a close-knit program with an international focus, set in one of the most exciting centers of culture in Europe. London Business School has student social clubs covering everything from board games to wine and spirits. The experience of living and studying in London is a formative part of LBS, and visiting the city and campus would be an excellent way to understand the benefits of the program.

If you can’t visit LBS before you apply, make sure you reach out to one of the many Student Ambassadors available to share their experiences and tell you more about the school. To learn more about the culture at London Business School, you can read the LBS admissions blog where admissions staff and students (and many who are both) share their thoughts about the school and programs.

This application is streamlined, with only two essay questions. In order to showcase all of your career accomplishments, extracurriculars and personal attributes you will likely need to maximize other parts of the application, like your resume and recommendations. Talk to your recommenders about the experiences in your background you might want to highlight through their letters, and use your resume to describe key moments at work.

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)

Self-awareness about your strengths and interests will help you refine what you truly want in your career. To take your research into your post-LBS options deeper it could be helpful to talk to colleagues and alumni who have MBAs in your field to identify various career paths. Make sure that your career goals are both realistic and aspirational. Think about the short term roles post-MBA that may lead to your most ambitious longer term goals.

Your past experiences have certainly informed your post-MBA plans, and touching on those most relevant will be helpful to setting the background for your current pursuit of an MBA. To make this essay more than a rehash of your resume, think about explaining the rationale for your decisions throughout the essay. Why did you pursue your past experience and what has been the impetus behind subsequent career choices? At this point, why are you choosing LBS?

As you speak with current LBS students and visit campus or other events, learn as much as you can about the programs, professors, and classes that may help you achieve your goals. What do you think you will learn at LBS and in your time in London that will lead to achievement of your career goals? The network you create during your MBA will open doors for you, and preparing for this essay can help you to make the most of the experience.

OPTIONAL ESSAY

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

In describing the LBS vision, continued business impact, the school describes the culture: “We challenge how things are done and we teach our students to constantly question and innovate. We believe in providing our students with the most diverse, world-class and rewarding business education in the world.” This open-ended question is a great opportunity to touch on a personal story and add color to your story to demonstrate how you will be part of this culture. This could be the ideal place to describe a unique background, experience or attribute that did not fit elsewhere in the application.

Diversity can be about where you are from, the culture you identify with, the people you grew up with, or your approach to life. If diversity of experience or attitude doesn’t resonate for you, consider when you have approached a challenge and innovated. When have you taken a new view or challenged conventional wisdom? Global perspective is invaluable as well. Think about stories that could illustrate how you have demonstrated any of these qualities that are valued by LBS.

Challenged by the LBS essay questions? Contact us to learn how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help.

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People Love SBC on Yelp! [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: People Love SBC on Yelp!

This arrived in the mail last week and I’m so thrilled to share it with you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of our busy clients who took the time to share their experiences with SBC on Yelp! so that others might benefit as well.

Check us out for yourselves, and see if this is the year you make all of your MBA dreams come true with a little help from SBC!

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What MBA Applicants Can Learn From Fidget Spinners [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What MBA Applicants Can Learn From Fidget Spinners

If you’ve spent any time lately with members of the elementary or middle school set, you’re likely aware of fidget spinners, the wildly popular palm-sized toy comprised of three propellers and a middle bearing that you spin between your fingers and thumbs.

There’s not much more to it, unless you’re one of the advanced users who posts videos of your fidget spinner tricks on YouTube. (In which case, you’re probably a little young for business school at the moment, but a budding entrepreneur for sure.)

Like most trends, this one has a few takeaways that may be useful for MBA applicants to keep in mind.

Keep It Simple

In a marketplace offering personal drones and VR headsets, the humble fidget spinner became the toy of 2017. This makes the case for simplicity, which also has a place in your MBA application. So often, I see essays and resumes that attempt to dress up accomplishments and end up sounding convoluted and unconvincing.

A straightforward approach is superior. Clearly state where you’ve been, where you want to go, and how the program you’re applying to will help you get there. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, though at the same time…

Click on over to Wharton Magazine to read the rest of my article, where you’ll discover four other things MBA applicants can learn from the recent explosion of fidget spinners in the marketplace.

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What MBA Applicants Can Learn From Fidget Spinners [#permalink]
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