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Tuesday Tips: CMU Tepper School Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: CMU Tepper School Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips

Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business continues to ask for only one required essay for the MBA application. That means that your resume, transcripts, recommendations and other application data will need to tell the story of your career achievement and academic accomplishments while adding the necessary color through the required essay.

Tepper offers several options for completing your MBA, from Full-Time MBA to Part-Time On-Campus MBA to Part-Time Online Hybrid MBA. The Tepper community is diverse with various goals, and Tepper is not looking for one particular profile, but rather candidates who are willing to engage with a tight-knit community and are interested in a highly analytical course structure.

Questions about your Tepper MBA application? Contact us to learn more about how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help.

REQUIRED ESSAY

Imagine that you meet up with a member of the admission committee at an airport while on a layover. You have an opportunity to make a memorable impression. Use this essay to introduce yourself. Include any information that you believe is important for the committee member to know about you, both professionally and personally.

Only one essay is required.


Requirements: 300-350 words maximum, 12-point font, double-spaced

This is the only required essay for CMU Tepper’s MBA application, and it will be important to explain anything about your personal and professional background that can enhance the data Tepper’s admissions committee has already received from your resume, academic scores and recommendations.

This format is similar to an elevator pitch, except you presumably have more than 30-seconds while on an airport layover. With only 300-350 words you do have to be disciplined about the story you tell, so thinking about it like a pitch can be a helpful framework.

As you consider what to describe about your professional background you should focus on accomplishments and filter your experiences with your future goals. For example, if you are seeking an MBA to make a career switch in either function or industry, focus on career stories that show a transferable element to the way you work. If you are looking for an MBA to enhance your current career path then you may want to highlight the moments you are most proud of in your career history.

CMU values analytical skills, so you may want to highlight your analytical skills or that you enjoy intellectual challenges at work. Perhaps you have a story that shows how you learned on the job and applied your decision making skills to a tough problem.

On the personal side, CMU Tepper has a small and close-knit community, and your personality and background will be of interest to the admissions committee. What would your future classmates and professors want to know about you? How might you contribute to Tepper both while in school and after graduation? To add a solid example, think about the formative experiences in your life that might illustrate how you think and behave in a community.

OPTIONAL ESSAY

Use this essay to convey important information that you may not have otherwise been able to convey. This may include unexplained resume gaps, context for recommender selection, etc.

If you are a re-applicant, explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.


CMU Tepper’s optional essay provides room to explain any important context to potential issues in your application. As outlined, resume gaps, a recommendation that is from someone other than a current or former supervisor, etc.

Other possible areas you might want to explain include academic issues like low grades in quantitative classes or academic probation. A low GMAT score or other profile issue may be worth addressing if applicable.

Re-applicants should always use this space to showcase a strengthened candidacy. If you have improved your profile with a stronger GMAT score or new grades from quantitative classes, that is great information to highlight. If you have increased your responsibilities at work, refined career goals or added new extracurricular activities those are also valid updates to communicate.

Note this is not an open-ended essay, and CMU Tepper is not asking for you to explain anything you want in this essay. Therefore it is wisest to stick with the two categories of information specifically outlined. The required essay is open-ended enough to give you the space for other information you want to convey.

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Tuesday Tips: Dartmouth Tuck Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Dartmouth Tuck Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth has a small student body and a rural location, combined with world-class faculty and academic focus. As you approach your Dartmouth Tuck MBA application it will be important to consistently show how you will fit into the school values of leadership, teamwork and collaboration and how you plan to bring your own unique qualities and experiences to the community.

Tuck’s advice to applicants on the new essays includes: “Remember, the essays are an opportunity to share with us who you are beyond the numbers and resume, so reflect, take your time, and be genuine. Communicate clearly and in your voice, not who you think we want you to be; and most importantly, answer the question you are asked.”

Tuck adds this note on word counts: “All noted word counts are meant as a guideline—we won’t be counting, but do have great sense of what 500 words looks like.”

Stacy Blackman Consulting can help you put together a successful Tuck application, contact us to learn more about the customized assistance we can provide for you.



Essay One (Required):


What are your short and long-term goals? Why is an MBA a critical next step toward achieving those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)?

Consistent with a standard MBA career goals essay Tuck asks you to outline your short- and long-term career goals. Your short-term goals are the aspirations you have for your job immediately after graduation, while your long-term goals may be 10 or 20 years after you complete your MBA.

The second part of this essay question focuses on “Why MBA.” This is an important question whether you are in a career that typically requires an MBA, or a career that does not. Tuck is not looking for candidates who just need to check the box on an MBA, but rather candidates who will use the experience of a top-tier MBA program to accelerate their careers. If you are going into a career that is not typically an MBA feeder, think about the skills an MBA will provide and how you will use them to create excellence as a manager or executive in your target industry.

“Why Tuck” is another crucial element to this essay. Make sure you have researched the school’s programs and determined how your education will help you achieve your goals. For example, Tuck has multiple global business programs, including a class where you can consult to an international company and short Global Insight Expeditions. By reaching out to current students and alumni you can learn more about the experiences and classes that would inform your development as a global leader.

Essay Two (Required):

Tuck’s mission is to educate wise leaders to better the world of business. Wisdom encompasses the essential aptitudes of confident humility, about what one does and does not know; empathy, towards the diverse ideas and experiences of others; and judgment, about when and how to take risks for the better.

With Tuck’s mission in mind, and with a focus on confident humility, tell us about a time you:

• received tough feedback,

• experienced failure, or

• disappointed yourself or others.

How did you respond, and what did you learn about yourself as a result? (500 words)


Wisdom is an important value to Tuck and one that is rarely discussed in MBA programs. All MBA programs look for maturity and judgment from candidates, and the quality of wisdom is similar. It’s interesting to review the specifics of wisdom that Tuck outlines: humility, empathy, and judgment.

A compelling narrative will demonstrate how you have developed those qualities through interacting with others, specifically in the examples suggested (tough feedback, failure, or disappointment). Think about a time when you were truly challenged and how you resolved the experience. Did you learn humility and the desire to learn, along with empathy for others’ viewpoint? Then, did you learn how to apply your judgment fairly?

Interacting with your Tuck classmates may challenge you in a similar way, and showing a growth mentality, along with the humility to know what you don’t know, is attractive to the admissions committee.

This essay is not only an opportunity to discuss your ability to learn from others, you can also show that you are a leader in the Tuck tradition. The Tuck School of Business definition of leadership is inherently collaborative. Team based experiences are preferable, and as you describe working with someone different from yourself you can likely work in a strong collaborative leadership example.

Essay Three (Optional):

Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere and may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.

This is your opportunity to discuss any perceived weaknesses in your application such as low GPA or gaps in your work experience. When approaching a question of this nature, focus on explanations rather than excuses and explain what you have done since the event you are explaining to demonstrate your academic ability or management potential.

You could potentially use this space to add something new that was not covered in the previous essays or in the application, resume or recommendations, however use your judgment about the topics as Tuck asks that you only complete this question if you “feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.”

Essay Four (To be completed by all reapplicants):

How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally. (500 words)

If you are re-applying to Tuck this essay is the place for you to showcase any developments since your last application. Ideally you have concrete improvements like a stronger GMAT score, grades from business classes, or a promotion. Even if nothing quantitative has changed in your profile you likely have developed more leadership activities or progressed in your job responsibilities.

If you are struggling to think of any clear improvements you can describe refined goals or deeper thinking about your future that has led you to apply again to Tuck. Demonstrating growth in wisdom, humility or empathy can be a huge improvement to your application to Tuck and absolutely should be highlighted.

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Preparing for Video Statements, Essays in the MBA Application [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Preparing for Video Statements, Essays in the MBA Application

An increasing number of MBA applications now include the use of online video platforms, where you must either introduce yourself to future classmates, or record responses to one or more short-answer prompts, before your application is considered complete. Why do schools add this extra step?

The goal of using videos from an admissions standpoint is simply to make better decisions about which candidates are the strongest match with the program. This component will better demonstrate communication skills, the ability to think on one’s feet, and possibly help identify those applicants who, while not quite as strong on paper, may actually be the diamonds in the rough that enrich the learning experience for all.

The new format also strengthens the written essays by demonstrating the candidate’s verbal/visual communication skills. The adcom has seen what you have going for you on paper; a video interview can give them a better sense of your personality and help them judge whether or not the “real you” matches the impression you’ve built through your other materials.

This season, MIT Sloan School of Management has joined the ranks of top b-schools including a video statement in the MBA application. All candidates are asked to “Please introduce yourself to your future classmates via a brief video statement.” Sloan requests that videos be shot as a single take (no editing) lasting no more than one minute.

In a video posted to the Sloan admissions blog, adcom member Shauna LaFauci Berry shares some words of advice for applicants nervous about how to approach this new requirement.

She says the admissions committee is really excited about this new application component, because it gives her team the chance to get to know applicants better. “We’ll be looking at your presence, what passions you have, and what interests, so feel free to use professional or personal examples in your 60 seconds,” LaFauci Berry explains.”Be authentic. Be yourself. This is a great opportunity for you to get to tell the admissions committee more about yourself.”

Unfortunately, video statements and essays can also be a source of major stress for already-anxious prospective students. But here’s some good news: the reality is that it’s unlikely you will totally bomb your statement or essay answers. Just make sure you understand what your program’s video “rules” are before you start the camera rolling.

With just a little bit of confidence and preparation, you could give a response that makes the adcom think, “We just have to meet this person!” Here are some video-specific tips:

  • Prepare (and practice) succinct responses for all of the typical MBA-related questions: Why Program X, Why an MBA overall, Why now, What are your career goals, Summarize your career to date, and so on.
  • Then practice by adding some “fun” questions and responses into the mix: Review the last book you read/movie you saw/TV show you watched; What is your favorite song and why; Where’s the best place you’ve gone on vacation, et cetera.
  • Record yourself answering these questions. Have a trusted friend review your responses and tell you how you’re coming off. Tweak your style accordingly.
If you have an upcoming video interview or statement for schools including INSEAD, Yale SOM, Michigan Ross or Wharton, PRACTICE is essential to success. This awkward format requires you to think on your feet and record your answer to a question (or questions) while speaking into your computer screen. It’s a new format for many and one that requires some rehearsal in order to become comfortable conversing with a computer screen.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has an online video platform that grants you unlimited practice doing exactly this. You can answer from a wide menu of questions, record yourself, watch and assess, tweak and try again. Invest 30 minutes a night and reap the benefits of increased comfort level and more articulate answers when you have your live interview. You can even choose an interview to submit to the SBC team for review and professional written feedback.

Set yourself up for success with this small investment and rock your video interviews. Purchase your package here today.

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Kellogg’s Dean Sally Blount to Step Down [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Kellogg’s Dean Sally Blount to Step Down

Northwestern University Provost Jonathan Holloway has announced that Kellogg School of Management’s Dean Sally Blount—the first woman to lead a global business school—will step down at the end of the 2017-18 academic year after solidifying Kellogg’s place among the world’s premier business schools.

In addition to finishing the school’s $350 million capital campaign in August with a record-setting $365 million dollars, a crowning achievement earlier this year was the opening of the 415,000-square-foot lakefront building on Northwestern’s Evanston campus known as the Kellogg Global Hub, for which Blount led the fundraising, oversaw the design and guided the move-in.

Dean Blount posted a video message to the Kellogg community explaining her decision to step down, calling it, “an ideal moment for a new leader to be selected, and to take the reins.”

“I’m so excited about Kellogg’s next chapter, but I’m also aware that this moment offers a rare opportunity in my own life,” Blunt says, noting that next summer will mark 30 years since she came to Kellogg as a young graduate student.

“This inflection point creates an opportunity for me the to start thinking bravely about my own life in the ways that I have about the institutions I’ve led. I’ve long dreamed of taking a sabbatical year, to travel and to write, and I want to spend some time thinking about my own final chapters in education as the pace of transformation accelerates in our marketplace.”

Provost Holloway expressed his deep appreciation for Blount’s collaborative approach and dynamic stewardship of Kellogg, and said he is excited to have her leading the school for one more year. Holloway will oversee an international search to select Blount’s successor during the coming academic year.

“It is truly one of my life’s greatest honors that when President Shapiro and former Provost Linzer selected me to be Kellogg dean, I became the first woman to lead a top global business school,” Blount concludes in the video, adding,”I am grateful to the thousands of you who have partnered with me to make Kellogg soar again.”

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Choose Your MBA Advisers Wisely [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Choose Your MBA Advisers Wisely
As Round 1 deadlines near, you’ll probably think about asking a trusted friend or family member to review your materials. There are obvious benefits to having a fresh set of eyes on your work, but there can also be a few drawbacks.

The upside to someone new looking at your essays and data forms is that they may be more likely to spot a typo, missing word or extra period at the end of a sentence. At some point you’ll have read your responses so many times that errors will no longer jump out at you. This is where a friend or family member’s assistance is undoubtedly valuable.

However, it’s really tough for someone to read through your materials and not also want to give “advice.” Human beings are full of opinions, after all, and anyone close to you would just be trying to help. But the issue is that if you’ve already planned out your application strategy—especially if you’ve worked on that strategy with an admissions consultant—it would be a shame to derail your progress just because a well-meaning friend made you doubt yourself.

If someone who has an MBA reviews your materials, they may be under the incorrect assumption that since they were accepted to a program, the way they approached certain essay questions is the only guaranteed path to admission. Or maybe your parents attended business school decades ago and want to give you advice. That can be problematic because the programs themselves—not to mention the qualities adcoms are looking for in candidates—have changed pretty dramatically over the years.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if someone who’s completely unfamiliar with the business school application process reviews your documents, they may be confused if you included personal stories or otherwise let your personality come through in your essays. There’s a stereotype that MBAs need to be all business, all the time, and this leads to an expectation of essays filled with lists of achievements, not-so-subtle bragging and loads of buzzwords.

That’s why you should consider: 1) limiting the people you involve to no more than two, and 2) telling those reviewers up front that they would be helping you most if they could focus solely on spelling, grammar, or other obvious mistakes when they do their read-through.

They’ll probably still give you unsolicited advice, and you can always listen politely and share any concerns you may have with your admissions consultant. Just keep in mind that it’s hardly ever a good idea to switch things up at the last minute after putting significant effort into your positioning.

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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HBS Receives $12M in Scholarship Aid for First-Generation Students [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HBS Receives $12M in Scholarship Aid for First-Generation Students


Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine, courtesy of Harvard Business School

This week, Harvard Business School announced it has received a major gift from alumni Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine, who have pledged a total of $12.5 million to support student fellowships. This is the largest amount ever donated to the business school for scholarship aid and the HBS Fund. Jonathan currently serves as co-managing partner of Bain Capital, one of the world’s largest private investment firms.

The largest component of the gift, $10 million, will go to the Lavine Family Fellowship Challenge Fund, to increase significantly the impact of this gift by engaging and motivating others to make donations in support of the school’s scholarship needs.

Additionally, the gift will endow, at $1 million each, the Lavine Family Fellowship and the Herbert J. Bachelor Fellowship, the latter named in honor of Jeannie’s father (MBA 1968), while $500,000 will go to the HBS Fund to be used for various school priorities.

Approximately fifty percent of Harvard MBA students receive financial aid from the school each year. HBS is committed to a merit-based admissions policy, meaning that applicants’ financial resources are not considered during the admissions process. Once students are admitted, fellowships are granted based solely on their financial need. HBS provided $35 million in financial aid to MBA students in the 2016-17 academic year.

“Fellowships provide the gift of possibility,” said Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria. “For many students, being admitted to Harvard Business School becomes a reality only when they know there is financial support available to make it possible for them to attend. We are so very grateful to Jeannie and Jonathan for this extraordinary gift, which will impact the lives of generations of our students for decades to come.”

“These gifts are the lifeblood of the institution,” said Prof. Felix Oberholzer-Gee, Senior Associate Dean of the MBA Program. “They allow us to focus exclusively on filling our classrooms with the very best students. Our learning community is enriched by diversity in all its forms, and the fellowships we offer make it possible to bring people here from all walks of life around the globe.”

The Lavines have specified that where possible, the fellowships should be made available to students who are the first in their families to go to college, in tribute to Jeannie’s father, Herbert Bachelor, 73, who was the first in his family to go to college, graduating from both Harvard College and Harvard Business School.

The Lavines have focused a significant portion of their philanthropic efforts toward leveling the playing field for individuals and families, with a particular focus on access to quality educational opportunities. The couple’s philanthropic roots at Harvard also run deep.

In 2011, they established the Lavine Family Cornerstone Scholarship Fund, which supports four undergraduates through Harvard’s financial aid program. In 2012, they established the Lavine Family Humanitarian Studies Initiative at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, which supports the training and education of humanitarian relief workers.

“We’re proud to support the work of great academic institutions, because we know first-hand the impact they can have on the world,” said Jonathan Lavine. “There is no greater way to improve someone’s future than giving them access to high quality, post-secondary education. We spent a great deal of time discussing with Dean Nohria our passion for education and how inspired we are by my father-in-law’s journey and appreciative of the opportunity our parents provided us. As a result, we decided that this is the best way to bring those interests together.”

Click here to learn more about the Lavine family’s inspirations and philanthropic efforts.

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3 Factors to Help Determine Target MBA Programs [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 3 Factors to Help Determine Target MBA Programs


This post originally appeared on Stacy’s ‘Strictly Business’ MBA blog on U.S. News

While the majority of business school applicants we’ve surveyed in recent years say reputation is the most important factor they consider when choosing which MBA programs to target, prospective students should consider other equally – or perhaps more – important things as well.

Round one application deadlines are just around the corner, and you’ll need to finalize your shortlist of programs ASAP. Look beyond rankings and reputation to weigh these other aspects that will help you narrow your choices to the MBA programs that will truly meet your professional and personal needs.

1. Flexible or fixed curriculum: There are two common approaches to coursework at the world’s top business schools: one is a first year of foundational classes followed by second-year elective coursework tailored to your specific objectives and the other is a flexible curriculum from the outset.

Which option is right for you depends entirely on your professional background, career goals, personal preference and, often, skill areas that need strengthening. A required core curriculum provides all students with a broad understanding of business fundamentals and is a format common to schools such as Harvard Business School, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business and University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

A flexible curriculum – like that found at London Business School, Stanford University Graduate School of Business, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and the University of California—Los Angeles’ Anderson School of Management – allows students to design their MBA program in a way that best accommodates their career objectives.

There’s an upside and downside to having a required core curriculum. For students who already have a deep background in, say, finance or marketing, the first-year experience may be somewhat boring academically. The considerable benefit of having all students take the same core classes early on is that the shared experience fosters strong social connections among classmates.

A final thought on MBA courses and their importance where school selection is concerned: Only apply to programs where you can clearly see how its core and elective courses over the next two years will thoroughly prepare you to reach your post-MBA professional goals.

2. Career services: When you’re researching potential business schools, one of the most important and often overlooked things to consider is the career center. After all, a primary reason for going for an MBA is to land a much better job upon graduation, and business schools know that a major selling point for MBA programs is their alumni’s career success rate.

Several programs involve the career center in the admissions process to make sure the applicant’s professional goals can be reached using the school’s resources. Having well-defined career goals is crucial to determining the best MBA program for you, so find out whether the career services office specializes in specific industries or sectors or has dedicated consultants for each industry. And if you are interested in working for specific companies after you graduate, don’t forget to call those companies directly and ask them where they recruit.

Some career services departments also include personal and leadership coaching, knowing that tomorrow’s MBAs will change jobs more often than previous generations and, therefore, need transferable tools and skills for long-term career success. You are ultimately the one in charge of your professional growth, so once admitted, stay proactive and start working with the career services department as soon as you hit campus.

3. Community culture: In SBC’s 2016 survey of MBA applicants, a mere 12.7 percent of respondents said that the MBA program’s culture was the most important factor influencing their decision to attend a particular business school. This is surprising, since we believe that finding that good fit with the MBA programs you’re targeting is one of the best predictors of your overall enjoyment of the b-school experience.

If you’re an applicant for whom getting into the best-ranked school takes precedence over all other considerations, the vibe of the school’s MBA community won’t matter. If that’s not you, talk to current and former students, visit the campus and evaluate your interactions with the admissions team to find out how comfortable you would be attending the program.

Are there clubs you can’t wait to join? Trips abroad that sound fascinating? Experiential learning opportunities that are completely in synch with your personal or career goals? A friendly or more competitive energy on campus? There are so many factors that shape the MBA experience – try not to focus too heavily on rankings and prestige over finding a program where you will truly be able to thrive.

For some applicants, there may be a clear winner after studying all of the quantitative and qualitative data. Or after researching all of these elements, you may still feel pulled in different directions. But at least you have a head start in finding the programs that fit you best.

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5 Top B-Schools to Offer Dual-Degree Programs for Globally Minded Stud [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 5 Top B-Schools to Offer Dual-Degree Programs for Globally Minded Students

This fall, five top business schools are launching the M2M, a portfolio of double degreesgiving recent university graduates the opportunity to complete two master’s degrees by attending two top business schools in two different countries over two years.

This initiative is an effort by leading business schools on multiple continents to meet the demands of a globalized economy and provide future business leaders with a distinctive learning experience that will accelerate their careers.

The M2M programs are a collaboration among five schools: FGV Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo, HEC Paris, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School, Sauder School of Business University of British Columbia, and the Yale School of Management.

David Bach, Deputy Dean at Yale SOM, says that the M2M is all about choice: “Whatever pathway students choose, young leaders who are interested in having impact throughout their careers will quickly develop skills that set them apart in the global marketplace, while building a deep network of like-minded peers around the world. The world needs more globally minded leaders, not fewer, and with this initiative we seek to positively impact organizations confronting challenging issues at the nexus of business and society.”

The five participating schools are all members of the Global Network for Advanced Management, a network of top business schools committed to educating global leaders through collaboration and innovation.

Six M2M double degrees are available as of September 2017 for student applications: FGV-Yale, HEC-FGV, HEC-HKUST, HEC-Yale, HKUST-Yale, and Sauder-Yale. After they complete both academic years, students will graduate with two master’s degrees, one from each school they attended. Graduates will be alumni of both schools and will have access to the schools’ career resources.

This innovative program gives ambitious students an unparalleled advantage by grounding them in the distinctive academic cultures and approaches of two top business schools in different countries, while preparing them for global roles. Students get the chance to study alongside peers from all continents with diverse experiences. They will benefit from curricular and extracurricular collaborations among the schools, highly personalized career services, and the networks of two global business schools.

“The innovation here is to go to the market with a range of world class academic partners sharing joint admission processes and aiming at recruiting together a significant number of students,” says HEC Paris Dean Peter Todd. “We are convinced that this offer meets the demand of growing numbers of extremely talented and globally-mobile students who target prestigious double degree programs as passports for international careers.”

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Best Strategies for GMAT Reading Comprehension [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Best Strategies for GMAT Reading Comprehension

First of all, I will point out: no one strategy will be perfect for everyone.  You’ll need to tweak these suggestions to find what works best for you and your own study plan.  This post will give you a clear starting point for that process of exploration.

On a GMAT Verbal Section, you will typically have four Reading Comprehension passages, each with associated questions.  The danger of Reading Comprehension is that it becomes a major time-sink, stealing valuable time away from Sentence Correction and Critical Reasoning.

Ready to dive in? Here goes…

Read, Don’t Skim
First of all, the point of this question is to read.  Some GMAT prep sources will recommend skimming the passage, or reading only the first paragraph, then skimming the rest.  In my view, this is a mistaken approach.  Read carefully, so that you only have to read once.

What does it mean to read carefully?  First of all, it means to take notes, summarizing each paragraph briefly on scrap paper or on your notepad (on the real GMAT).  Students resist the process of taking written notes, but if you practice it and become good at it, it will always be a time-saver.  Even if you never again look at your notes, just the fact that you invested the mental effort in deciding how to summarize means that you thereby were understanding that part of the passage.

Reading carefully means summarizing paragraphs and identifying the main idea of the passage.  It DOES NOT mean reading every single stinking word.  For example, if an author makes a point and then follows it with a detailed example (“for instance”), you can skim that example.

This careful reading should take about 3.5 minutes for a short passage and about 4.5 for a long passage.  Then, spend about 1 minute per question, and that will leave you ample time for SC and CR questions.  You should time yourself, to verify to yourself that you can keep this pace.

Understand, Don’t Memorize
Your goal in reading the passage should be to understand.  It will help to feign interest in the material, to generate a genuine sense of curiosity about what’s being discussed.  If you are a visual person, it will help considerably to form a mental picture of what the author is describing.

Your goal is not to memorize obscure details: dates, complicated scientific terms, names of theories or processes.  It’s enough to note where that detail is in the passage, so if a detail question addresses it, you can find it quickly.

Remember: GMAT Reading Comprehension is not a speed-reading test.   It is not a memory test.  GMAT Reading Comprehension is about developing your own understanding of a passage in order to identify the correct answers in the questions that follow.

Test Prep Services at Stacy Blackman Consulting
Did you know that SBC also provides test prep services? Our test prep team will help you recognize your individual learning style, discover flaws in your foundation knowledge and set manageable yet ambitious goals. We are not only experts in the GMAT and GRE exams, we are expert teachers and understand that clear explanation, goal setting, and reinforced practice are crucial.

Partner with best in class GMAT and GRE experts and increase your score significantly. Learn more today at SBC Test Prep.

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Why Do You Need an MBA? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Why Do You Need an MBA?
There’s a lot to think about when you’re pulling together your business school application materials. You’ve got to make sure your resume is in top shape, that your recommenders will have their letters uploaded on time, that your essays are compelling and position you well—the list goes on.

One thing that is easy to forget in the whole process is communicating to the adcom why you need an MBA in the first place. (Oh, the irony!) Have you taken some time to really think about this yet? If going back to school has always been a part of your plan, the application process could turn into something you “just have to do” in order to reach your goal. You might get so focused on trying to impress the adcom that you fail to explain how their program could actually help you.

We’re not talking about the “Why school X?” type of responses where you show you’ve researched a program by integrating classes, professors, clubs and other parts of the curriculum into your essays. We’re talking about clearly detailing what you still need to learn and what experience you must gain in order to reach your career goals.

If—in the process of highlighting your background, achievements and future plans—you don’t say why you need an MBA, the adcom may decide that someone else would benefit more from their program.

So don’t be afraid to point out what gaps you have and exactly how an MBA can help. The adcom isn’t looking to put together a class of people who are already perfect and have nothing to learn from each other!

Think of it this way: if he could admit it, you can, too.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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The Bigger Picture: Turn Envy into Inspiration [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The Bigger Picture: Turn Envy into Inspiration
Envy gets a bad rap. It all began in the Bible, where the tenth commandment reads, “you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or belongings.” Following that commandment essentially means that you banish all envy from your life. Shakespeare agreed, writing that jealousy is the “green eyed monster.”  We generally don’t feel good when we envy someone and it can be embarrassing to admit that we feel envy. It’s such a powerful emotion that it can make people nasty and hateful.



It’s hard to completely squash out envy. What are we to do if we really wish we had that person’s car…house…credential…job…spouse…life…? Is it really so terrible to aspire to something different? Is it truly wrong to like what others have, are and do? In my opinion, it’s only a bad thing if we treat it as a negative, and turn that envy into negativity or become a hater.

I choose to transform my envy into inspiration.

If I pay close attention, my feelings of envy are clues into what I really want in life. It’s so critical to define our goals; if we don’t know where we are going, we float along and life just happens. And yet strangely…sometimes it’s hard to identify what we really want. By the way, I discuss how envy ties into going after what we want in my “Get More Done” 21 Day Project.

I often tell clients who are struggling to define career goals to tune into to people they envy. Focus in on that which they are literally jealous of and they will have clues into what they really want to do and be. I have a whole circle of people that I admire for different reasons, and I keep an eye on them because they inspire me to go where I want to. If I feel that itch of not liking someone, I take a closer look and often realize that there is something they are doing that I want to be doing.

It’s quite liberating to view envy as a positive signal and in fact, transform it into a tool that propels me to better.

Next time you feel envy, take a moment to dissect that emotion and consider whether there is something that you can pull out of it to inspire you. And if you are struggling to define what it is that you want in life, reflect on who you envy and why, and you may find clues.

What do you think? Are haters just gonna hate…or can we leverage envy as a positive tool and become something better?

 

 

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Michigan Ross School Receives Another Major Gift from its Namesake [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Michigan Ross School Receives Another Major Gift from its Namesake

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

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

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

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



The Michigan Ross School reveals that the new gift will create:

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

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

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

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Round 1 Interview Update from HBS Admissions [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Round 1 Interview Update from HBS Admissions

For those of you on pins and needles since submitting your application to Harvard Business School a few weeks ago, Chad Losee, director of MBA admissions and financial aid, has some good news regarding interview notifications: it won’t be long now.

In his latest update to the Director’s Blog, Losee shares that Round 1 invites will go out on October 2nd and 5th.  Whether you’re notified on the first or second day has no bearing on the strength of your application; the staggered notification dates merely spreads out the traffic on the interview sign-up pages, Losee explains.

On October 5th, remaining applicants will hear one of three things:

  • invitation to interview
  • release
  • further consideration
“By ‘releasing’ those of you who we cannot move forward in the process, rather than waiting until December to let you know—we hope to give you time to explore other potential options,” Losee explains, adding that, “For group 3), we would like to ‘further consider’ your applications in Round 2, and more details will be shared directly about next steps.”

In addition to on-campus interviews held between mid-October and mid-November, the HBS admissions team will also conduct interviews across the globe in Shanghai, Tokyo, Dubai, Mumbai, São Paulo, New York City, Bay Area CA, London, and Paris.

“Choose what’s most convenient for you,” says Losee, “If you aren’t able to travel, we will work something out via Skype.”

SBC’s Interview Advice in a Nut Shell
As you prepare for your interview, one of the most important tips to remember is to sound natural—not scripted—during the exchange.  Instead of trying to remember and include every last one of your memorized bullet points, focus on succinctly answering only the question at hand.

If you can get from point A to point B in a clear, logical way; maintain an open, friendly, and professional demeanor; dress appropriately; and have an inquisitive attitude about the school and all it has to offer students, you stand a very good chance of coming out of the interview with flying colors.

Good luck to all R1 applicants awaiting notification!

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Prove You Are Ready to Go From College to MBA [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Prove You Are Ready to Go From College to MBA


This post originally appeared on Stacy’s ‘Strictly Business’ MBA blog on U.S. News
Over the past decade, business schools have become increasingly open to admitting younger applicants, realizing that such candidates can make significant contributions to the classroom dynamic despite their lack of post-college professional experience.

It’s important to understand, though, that such candidates must demonstrate a high level of talent, academic strength and promise if they hope to persuade a top-tier MBA program to take a chance on them.

If you’re a college junior or senior wondering whether pursuing an MBA degree straight after college is the right move, you need to do some serious introspection. You must convince the MBA admissions committees that you don’t need those two-plus years in the workforce first. You’ll have to show that you come to the program armed with the knowledge, maturity and experience that most people take those extra years to acquire.

Also, know that some schools – such as Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the University of California—Berkeley Haas School of Business, among others – have fairly firm work experience preferences, so make sure to check with the schools that interest you before making your decision.

Here are three key qualities you will need to demonstrate to admissions committees as a young business school applicant.

• Maturity: A key way to demonstrate maturity in your applications is to show that you have experience handling adult issues and problems and that you’re not intimidated by older, more senior professionals. Your letters of recommendation can speak to your level of maturity and focus, particularly how you compare to other people your age.

Choose recommenders such as a summer employer, internship supervisor or other individual who can objectively assess your professional promise and comment on your managerial abilities. Some MBA programs, such as Columbia University’s Columbia Business School, will accept a second recommendation letter from a professor.

Remember, maturity isn’t a matter of growing older – it’s a matter of growing wiser. Since you can’t focus on how long you’ve been doing something, instead demonstrate how you’ve grown, from your values to your view of the world.

This should go without saying, but make sure your MBA application process doesn’t include active participation from your parents. At this critical career crossroads, the admissions committee wants to see applicants who have demonstrated leadership and wisdom, both of which are hard to convey with parents chiming in at every step.

• Leadership: This requirement is always daunting for younger applicants, but take comfort in the fact that leadership doesn’t necessarily have to happen in a workplace context.

Can you show that you launched initiatives, programs or ventures of some kind? Were you a teaching assistant? Perhaps you started a small business while in school, led a nonprofit, founded and led a club or spearheaded a major fundraiser.

To stand out in the eyes of the admissions committee, you need to provide hard proof that you made a difference. But it’s not about the scale of your achievements – rather, it’s the fact that you made your mark.

Also, don’t neglect to mention teamwork. Your leadership experience may arise from an extracurricular activity, and sensitivity to teamwork and collaboration in any leadership story demonstrates maturity and people skills.

Make sure the admissions committee can see that you have lots of interesting experiences and insights that would allow you to actively participate in class discussions with stories that will benefit fellow students.

• Confidence: It’s fine to be ready for business school, but are you truly going to benefit from skipping those two years of work experience? Is b-school just a solution to the question of what to do after college, or is it truly a logical next step for your career?

Maybe you’re at a pivotal point in the company you started but desperately need to learn the general management tools to make it succeed. Or perhaps someone wants to recruit you sooner rather than later.

You’ll need to convince the admissions committee that you are ready for an MBA and that you have crystallized professional goals. Show how your background to date has given you a true taste of what you want to do with your career and that you’re confident that this is the best next step for you.

Your job as a younger MBA applicant is to search internally for what you have to offer. Think about what you want to gain from and what you can contribute to an MBA program.

If you can demonstrate maturity, highly focused career goals, leadership skills and enough life experience to contribute to an incoming class, your age or thin amount of work experience becomes far less important to admissions committees.

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Answering MBA Essay Questions Completely [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Answering MBA Essay Questions Completely
As admissions consultants, we sometimes review first drafts of a client’s essays and are impressed with what the applicant has accomplished or are moved by a particular story, but we still have to let them know that their response needs to be overhauled. When this happens, our comments are usually along the lines of, “This is great, but . . . you’re not actually answering the essay question.”

Believe it or not, this is one of the most common missteps we see as extraordinarily talented candidates pull their materials together. They might be so intent on positioning themselves in a particular way or highlighting a certain achievement that they fail to directly respond to what their target program has asked, either completely or partially.

For example, Stanford inquires, “What matters most to you, and why?” In our view, the “and why” part is more important than the “what,” but many applicants overlook it when they begin to outline their responses. Kellogg asks, “Tell us about a time you have demonstrated leadership and created lasting value. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn?” We find applicants usually have lots to say about a time they’ve shown leadership, but they forget to mention the setbacks they had to overcome in the process or include a summary of what they learned from the experience.

So as you put the final touches on your Round 1 materials or get ready to buckle down for Round 2, take a step back and make sure you’re actually answering the adcom’s questions.

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: Emory Goizueta Business School Fall 2018 Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Emory Goizueta Business School Fall 2018 Essay Tips
The Emory MBA program in Atlanta offers a variety of programs, including a one-year MBA, a business analytics program and the traditional two-year MBA. The program is designed to give students practical, hands-on experience to be “day one ready” for their careers. Prospective students start working with a personalized career coach before setting foot on campus, and Emory claims high rankings with recruiters.

When approaching the Emory MBA essays, it is important to be focused on your overall application strategy and clearly understand your own unique strengths and weaknesses. You will want to demonstrate your professional skills and personal qualities, along with clearly demonstrating that you are familiar with the Emory MBA program and that it is an appropriate fit for you.

ESSAY ONE

Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 word limit)


This career goals essay asks how you will achieve your goals, supported by examples from your past. Rather than reciting your resume, focus on the key moments that have formed your experience, accomplishments and shaped your goals. This essay is most effective if you are able to clearly show the through line between your past experience, the Emory MBA program and ultimately reaching your short-term post-MBA goals.

ESSAY TWO

The business school is named for Roberto C. Goizueta, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, who led the organization for 16 years, extending its global reach, quadrupling consumption, building brand responsibility, and creating unprecedented shareholder wealth. Mr. Goizueta’s core values guide us in educating Principled Leaders for Global Enterprise.

Provide an example of your leadership – professional or personal – and explain what you learned about yourself through the experience. (300 word limit)


When you are asked to provide an example, the admissions committee is trying to understand how you think, act and behave in a specific circumstance. The best predictor of your future behavior is your past, and this question asks you to think about how the past has shaped your development as a leader.

Use a specific story as your example and make sure you provide detail about the situation, what you did, and what you accomplished. Think about the lessons you learned and the way you were able to grow as a result of the experience. To be thoroughly convincing, a recent example of a time that you used these learnings would be effective.

Because Emory is asking specifically about a leadership element based on the school’s namesake, this is also a great place to incorporate your research on Goizueta’s leadership programs and values. In researching the program you will want to take advantage of the formal programs available, from school visits to admissions information sessions, as well as informal networking with current and former students.

ESSAY THREE

Complete one of the following statements. (250 word limit)

• I am passionate about…

• The best piece of advice I’ve received is…

• The best day of my life was…

• A personal goal I want to accomplish is…


This essay is open-ended and provides an opportunity to express yourself. Starting with the topic you want to cover and then backing into the question you will answer is a more structured way to approach this essay if you are daunted by the options.

Think about what examples, stories and ideas you have communicated in the prior questions and fill in the gaps with this response. You have covered your career progress thus far and your goals, and you have described your leadership style. Your resume and recommendations will provide more insight along both angles. This essay is an opportunity to add something additional to your application and round out the admissions committee’s view of your profile.

Your passions can be from your personal life, community involvement or career. For example, if you have entrepreneurial plans you are most likely passionate about building a business or your specific business idea. The best day of your life might be when you ran a marathon, earned a promotion, or got married. The question about the best piece of advice you have received is similarly open. The last option, “a personal goal I want to accomplish is…” is the only option that limits you to a personal response.

OPTIONAL ESSAY

If you have additional information or feel there are extenuating circumstances which you would like to share with the MBA Admissions Committee (i.e. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance issues or areas of weakness in application). Please limit your response to 250 words.

Ideally you have focused on your personal attributes and goals in the prior question, and can use this optional essay purely for anything you need to explain about your profile and application. For example, if you have periods of unemployment and need to describe how you spent your time, this is the place to do it. Other gaps might be a low GPA or GMAT, lack of advancement at work, or a recommender that is not a current supervisor.

To focus on one possible topic, if you do have unexplained gaps in your resume, how do you handle it? The ideal explanation is that you were doing something productive. That something productive could be traveling the world and learning more about yourself. It should not be sitting on the couch watching Netflix. If you were unemployed and still looking for work, perhaps you volunteered, pursued other hobbies, or took time to conduct informational interviews to learn about your career goals. Think about how you can frame your activities to show that you are motivated and responsible.

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Forbes Releases 2017 Biennial MBA Rankings [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Forbes Releases 2017 Biennial MBA Rankings


IMD, Wharton School, London Business School

This week, Forbes released its 10th biennial ranking of MBA programs, which are divided into three categories: top U.S. programs; top one-year, non-U.S. programs; and top two-year, non-U.S. programs.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, each major ranking has its own particular emphasis, and the Forbes ranking attempts to answer the question: is an MBA worth it?—based solely on the median returns on investment achieved by the graduates from the class of 2012.

“Our ranking of business schools is based on the return on investment achieved by the class of 2012. We examined more than 100 schools and reached out to 17,500 alumni around the globe. We compared graduates’ earnings in their first five years out of business school to their opportunity cost (two years of forgone compensation, tuition and required fees) to arrive at a five-year MBA gain, which is the basis for the final rank.”

University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School unseated Stanford Graduate School of Business to top the ranking of US-based MBA programs for the first time ever, with a five-year MBA gain of $97,100 (Wharton ranked seventh in 2015). With Stanford GSB now in second, Harvard Business School came in third, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business round out the top five.

IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, takes the top spot this year among the one-year MBA programs, up one spot from 2015. The school had a five-year gain of $194,700. “IMD caps its annual enrollment at 90 students, allowing for a very individual approach regarding career services,” Forbes notes, adding that as many as 70 companies work with the school annually to recruit IMD grads.

INSEAD, which is ten times larger than IMD with a class size of 1,055 in 2017, ranks second among one-year programs. “With a five-year gain of $150,400, the payback period is a brisk 2.7 years thanks to salaries five years of school of nearly $190,000.”

Spain’s IE Business School moved up two spots in the rankings and now comes in third, based on its gain of $145,400. With an annual enrollment of 547 students, Forbes notes that IE is the second-biggest international MBA program behind INSEAD.

The Judge Business School at University of Cambridge ($140,000) and  Italy’s SDA Bocconi School of Management ($138,100) round out the top five one-year MBA programs.

For the fifth consecutive time, London Business School tops the list for two-year international MBA programs. “Alumni of its class of 2012 realized a 5-year gain of $119,100, the highest of any 2-year program in the world, and it took the typical graduate 3.4 years to pay back their investment,” Forbes explains, noting that, “In comparison, alumni of Wharton, the top-ranked MBA program in the U.S., saw a 5-year gain of $97,100 and took 3.8 years to pay back.”

Spain’s IESE Business School takes the second position, also for the fifth time in a row. “With a five-year gain of $97,100, up 15.5% compared to 2015, graduates of the Class of 2012 reported earning $156,140 in salary and bonus, the highest first year compensation among our ranked two-year international programs,” the rankings reveal.

The MBA program at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) took the third position, with a five-year gain of $95,000, up 32% compared to 2015. ” The main contributing factor is the Class of 2012 reported having less work experience than prior surveyed classes, and as such, lower pre-MBA incomes,” Forbes explains.

Meanwhile, HEC Paris and Spain’s ESADE Business School round out the top-five non-US two-year MBA programs.

For more on this story, read the complete 2017 Forbes MBA rankings.

 

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Forbes Releases 2017 Biennial MBA Rankings [#permalink]
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