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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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Myth-Busting at Michigan Ross School [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Myth-Busting at Michigan Ross School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Economist Releases 2017 MBA Rankings [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The Economist Releases 2017 MBA Rankings

The Economist has released its annual ranking of the best full-time MBA programs in the world, and U.S. b-schools dominate the list, taking 16 of the top 20 spots.  The Kellogg School of Management, which this year opened its $250 million state-of-the-art education center known as the Global Hub, has finally unseated local rival Chicago Booth School of Business, which held the top spot in The Economist’s rankings for five consecutive years.

Kellogg has made incredible strides toward the top over these past five years; it placed 23rd in the 2013 ranking, jumped to 14th place in 2014, rocketed to seventh in 2016, and landed in second place last year.

Average salaries of new MBA graduates at Kellogg were just under $124,000, a 72% increase over pre-MBA salaries, according to the ranking’s data. At Chicago Booth, meanwhile, new MBA grads had average salaries of $126,000 but a slightly lower salary increase at 71%.

The Economist’s Top Ten Best Full-Time MBA Programs 

  • Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Harvard Business School
  • University of Pennsylvania Wharton School
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • UCLA Anderson School of Management
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  • Dartmouth Tuck School of Business
  • Columbia Business School
  • UV Darden School of Business
Rankings are inherently controversial—what makes a good MBA program varies for each individual—but The Economist aims to look at business schools from the students’ perspective.

Their responses on how well the program delivers the things students themselves cite as most important inform the criteria The Economist measures and the weightings they apply. Four factors have consistently emerged when students assess the quality of their MBA program:

  • open new career opportunities and/or further current career (35% weighting)
  • personal development and educational experience (35%)
  • increase salary (20%)
  • networking potential (10%)
While we don’t like to encourage clients to focus too heavily on rankings when they’re making their MBA program selections, we also know those headed for b-school really can’t help themselves. But placing too heavy an emphasis on rankings can actually become a distraction for some applicants, so be sure to consider multiple factors when making your final school selection.

Image credit: Mike Willis (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Your Social Media Profile May Affect Admission Chances, Kaplan Survey [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Your Social Media Profile May Affect Admission Chances, Kaplan Survey Finds

Are you active on social media? That’s kind of a silly question in 2017, because, who isn’t these days? Increasingly, prospective employers, admissions committees and even future classmates search online and develop opinions before ever meeting you in person. Kaplan Test Prep’s recent survey of over 150 business schools across the United States confirms this, revealing that a growing number of them tap into social media to help them decide who gets in and who does not.

Of the admissions officers surveyed, over a third (35 percent) say they have visited applicants’ social media profiles to learn more about them, a jump from less than a quarter (22 percent) in 2011. Additionally, many who check profiles do it frequently — of those business school admissions officers who’ve said they’ve visited applicants’ social media profiles, 33 percent say they do it “often.”

Notably, social media both hurt and helped applicants in nearly equal proportion. Among admissions officers who visit applicants’ social media footprints, half say have they found something that negatively impacted an applicant’s admissions chances — more than triple the 14 percent who reported this in 2011. Among the online discoveries that have hurt students:

  • “I found one student who made it clear that he wanted to flip houses. I thought, ‘Why should we offer a slot to him when you don’t need an MBA to do that.’”
  • “I learned about a student’s racial attitudes and didn’t want to bring that into the school.”
  • “We have had applicants who had disturbing pictures on their Facebook account.”
On the flip side, almost as many (48 percent) reported finding something that positively impacted an applicant’s admissions chances. (This question was not asked in 2011.) Here’s what helped applicants:

  • “We saw lots of information regarding volunteer work that was not included in the application.”
  • “We got a better understanding of the student. We got to learn more about their hobbies, and ambitions.”
  • “We were able to see their writing samples and creative thinking.”
Among all admissions officers, 61 percent agree with the statement “What students post on their social media pages is in the public sphere, so it’s ‘fair game’ for us to use to help make admissions decisions,” which may signal there is room for more taking this route.

“Successful business school applicants are the ones who are prepared. They submit strong GMAT or GRE scores, high GPAs, compelling letters of recommendation, impressive essays, and wow at the interviews. In a sense, that makes it scripted and choreographed, though rigorous. Business school admissions may take to social media to look for the less polished version of the applicant, not necessarily to find their weak spots, but just to see how they are in everyday life,” says Brian Carlidge, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduates programs, Kaplan Test Prep.

“What you post on social media is a wildcard in the MBA admissions process and not nearly as important as the traditional factors, but always be mindful of what you share. Your social media footprint can potentially give you an admissions boost, but in some cases it can and will be used against you,” Carlidge warns.

Here at SBC, we reassure clients that being active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms isn’t a complete no-no. In fact, savvy candidates use these venues to boost their credibility and solidify the good impressions made through their application materials.

If you don’t consider social media to be another way to strengthen your candidacy, you may be missing out on a great opportunity that other MBA applicants will most certainly take advantage of.

If you need help, Stacy Blackman Consulting offers a dedicated social media strategy service that provides direction for an overhaul of your online brand, allowing you to take charge of those first impressions. Whether you need to professionalize an existing profile or develop a presence on an entirely new platform, we provide informed direction on which steps to take.

For a b-school applicant, proper management of social media channels can also help you expand the scope of your application without infringing on limited essay word counts. Reach out today and we’ll show you how to make the best impression possible with your online brand.

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The Bigger Picture: Hard Work – To Be Effective It Must Be Ugly [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The Bigger Picture: Hard Work – To Be Effective It Must Be Ugly
Most of us know the feeling; it’s one I associate with new year’s resolutions. You’ve decided to begin drafting your HBS application or start a new diet, a new non-profit venture or a new exercise routine. You are finally going to begin writing your novel, recording your podcast or posting in your blog. Whatever your goal, you are filled with excitement, energy, passion and determination. You know that it is going to be a lot of hard work. But you want to work hard. You are ready. You can see it, taste it…bring it on! You read inspirational quotes and you feel so inspired and determined.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what I call “pretty” hard work. (I mean, aren’t those quotes pretty?)

We all have good intentions because we understand that important goals take a lot of hard work. But what I have discovered is that while most people can tackle the pretty hard work, the going gets really tough when the work gets ugly.

Envision an entrepreneur in the early days of business, armed with an idea about which they are passionate. They sit at their desk with a list of work to be done: come up with a name, design a logo, hire a web designer, open an AdWords account, purchase the QuickBooks software. They work long hours, focused and determined. Day after day, they show up, answering the phone, scheduling meetings and catching up on email. They are busy, They are working hard. It’s both challenging and exhilarating.

Speaking from my personal experience, it’s never really happened quite like that. That’s a glamorized, pretty vision of hard work. In reality, it gets ugly and sometimes rather dark. Personally, I was filled with self-doubt, uncertainty and frustration. I worked hard to prep for a seminar that only one person showed up to. I had months when not one single person signed up for my services, the phone never rang and inquiries never came in. I was juggling several client deadlines and both my nanny and I got sick. I had to scramble for sub-optimal childcare so that I could sit at my desk all day with a big box of tissues, absolutely miserable but plowing through those client essays. After pouring my heart into one of my very early client’s applications, he posted a scathing online review that took me by surprise and rattled me to the point of tears. (I have since developed a thicker skin.) My right-hand woman left to go back to school. A former employee launched a competing venture, literally copying my website word for word. A vendor ran off with a big chunk of money, never to be heard from again.

My challenges are tiny compared to ones faced by other much more well-known entrepreneurs who face daily lawsuits, receive very public criticism and make risky investments that have the potential to completely wipe out the company.

It gets hard. But not the pretty, exciting kind of hard we dream of plowing through with enthusiasm. It gets hard where you really doubt what you are doing, are on the verge of giving up, where you are scared and stressed and up all night tossing and turning with anxiety. It gets ugly hard.

In honor of Halloween, here is Freddy Kruger, the Ugly hard mascot:



I say this not to turn everyone away from pursuing big dreams. I say it so that you are prepared. When things get really scary and go terribly wrong and you are about to shut it all down, that’s when you need to roll up your sleeves and get to work. These are not unfortunate anomalies that only happen to you. This is the real hard work. This is the work that most people can’t make it through.

If you can make it through the ugly, that’s when the magic can happen.

 

 

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Former AdCom Officers Have Some Advice for You [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Former AdCom Officers Have Some Advice for You
Did you know that Stacy Blackman Consulting has former admissions officers from all of the top MBA programs on our team? Well, we do!

Our ex-adcom consultants help with Flight Test™ reviews for each of our All-In clients, contribute their inside knowledge of the admissions process to our internal message boards (so that our entire team can benefit from their experience), and can also weigh in on program-specific or client-specific questions when the need arises.

We asked these valuable resources on our team to share their insights with those of you gearing up to submit your materials in Round 2.

Here’s what they had to say. Stay tuned for more next week!

  • The adcom will spend about 20 minutes in total reading all of your application materials.
  • During the early part of the screening process in each round, adcom members may review as many as 50 to 100 applications per day. Details and unique stories about your personal background can make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Each application is read by at least two individuals: either 2 adcom members, or the first pass is done by a contract reader, followed by an adcom member.
  • Admissions teams will often compare applicants from the same industry, the same firm, or even the same office location. Your toughest competition may be working a few cubicles away.
  • The application questionnaire is one of the most overlooked opportunities to highlight your accomplishments. Many candidates simply copy text from their resume into the application. It should instead be viewed as an opportunity to add rich details and expand on your limited resume bullet points.
  • You can take the GMAT or GRE as many times as you want! It looks good to adcom members if you keep trying to improve your score (assuming it needs improvement).
Heed this good advice when it comes to your applications (and life in general):



Learn more about our consultants here!

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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3 Reasons to Earn an MBA Outside the U.S. [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 3 Reasons to Earn an MBA Outside the U.S.


This post originally appeared on Stacy’s ‘Strictly Business’ MBA blog on U.S. News
It seems there’s never been a better time to consider pursuing an MBA abroad. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s recently released “Application Trends Survey Report,” in 2017 a majority of business school programs in Europe, Canada, both East and Southeast Asia and India reported growing application volumes.

These days, a high-quality graduate business education can be found in almost every corner of the world. For years, Europe has rivaled the U.S. with top-notch programs. With several excellent one-year program options that carry a lower price tag than their American counterparts, Europe lures in many international professionals looking to enhance their careers without sacrificing two years of salary and opportunity costs.

But the possibility of shorter, cheaper MBA programs isn’t the only appealing aspect of earning an MBA overseas. Consider these additional three reasons to expand your b-school search beyond U.S. borders.

1. You’ll build an international network. We’ve all heard the adage, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Nowhere is that more true than in business school, where the potential to network is arguably the most valuable aspect of the MBA experience.

Although American business schools offer powerful alumni networks, so do international MBA programs. For example, HEC Paris offers one of the largest alumni networks in Europe, with more than 50,000 individuals based in 130-plus countries.

If your professional aspirations include globe-trotting and working in international locations, it makes sense to either study in the region where you hope to one day work or among an ultra-diverse cohort of students who can help you land that coveted position in Paris, Hong Kong or Dubai.

2. You’ll be more attractive to employers.Having international experience that goes beyond a two-week immersion project or even a semester abroad will get you noticed by CEOs, especially those whose organizations maintain offices or clients in multiple countries.

Choosing one geographic area can limit your possibilities, because employers need people who have insider experience in foreign markets and industries, can lead a global team and have the cultural awareness that makes transitioning into new markets successful.

Also, attending a program in a country where English isn’t the primary language allows you to use or strengthen a second language in a professional setting – a skill employers find extremely valuable.

3. Your age and GMAT scores may play better abroad. Competition is fierce at elite U.S. MBA programs, and older applicants or those with middling  GMAT or GRE scores may find themselves out of the running when pitted against a pool of applicants averaging 720 on the GMAT. Students at business schools outside of the U.S. tend to be in their late 20s or early 30s.

With this uptick in age usually comes more seasoned personal and professional development, which European MBA programs value. Lower average GMAT scores, likely due to the numerous applicants who are nonnative English speakers, can also make global MBA programs more accessible.

At the University of Oxford’s Said Business School, for example, the average GMAT score for the Class of 2018 was 690, with an average of five years of work experience.

Meanwhile, at IMD in Switzerland, admitted applicants had an average GMAT of 670, with seven years of work experience. And at HEC Paris, successful candidates of late have averaged a 690 GMAT and had an average of six years of work experience.

If your personal and professional goal is to live and work abroad, considering schools outside the U.S. is a no-brainer. Not only will an overseas education likely cost less, yield attractive employment offers and provide you with an unparalleled network that spans the globe, it can also provide a rewarding personal experience you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Image credit: Flickr user ElitattCC by 2.0

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Chicago Booth Gets $5 Million Gift for Private Equity Education [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Chicago Booth Gets $5 Million Gift for Private Equity Education

Students and alumni at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business who are interested in private equity will now have an expanded suite of programming opportunities thanks to a $5 million gift from Chicago Booth alumnus Raymond Svider.

Svider’s gift will establish the Svider Private Equity Program at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The University of Chicago’s Polsky Center currently runs a variety of programs in private equity, and has experienced an increased demand from students and alumni for both experiential and academic private equity learning opportunities.

Each year, some 300 students compete for entry to the Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab, which combines an intensive internship at a private equity or venture capital firm with an academic course. The number of students who secure internships has more than doubled in the last five years—from 53 students in 2015 to 116 in 2017.

The Svider Private Equity Program has three main goals: to increase the resources available to students and alumni pursuing private equity careers; to strengthen Booth’s private equity alumni community; and to build Booth’s national and global brand as a hub for private equity education.

Programming enhancements include expanded opportunities for students to connect with private equity alumni and other experts in the field through additional Entrepreneur-in-Residence positions and programming; enhanced networking and educational opportunities for alumni; and broader distribution of Chicago Booth’s thought leadership in the industry.

“Chicago Booth was an ideal complement – both academically and culturally – to my undergraduate engineering background,” the French-born financier said.  “An MBA from one of the top programs in the U.S. helped me gain access to the most attractive private equity jobs after graduation – my Booth degree was an ideal stepping stone, an entry ticket to my ideal career,” Svider added. “I hope the gift will enable Booth to attract top students in this academic specialty, and make other Booth alumni consider doing the same.”

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Former AdCom Officers Have Some (More) Advice for You [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Former AdCom Officers Have Some (More) Advice for You

Last week we talked about how Stacy Blackman Consulting has former admissions officers from all of the top MBA programs on our team, and how these ex-adcom consultants help with Flight Test™ reviews for each of our All-In clients, contribute their insiders’ knowledge to our internal message boards and assist with program-specific questions.

We asked these valuable team members if they had any advice for our readers who are applying in Round 2.

Here’s Part Two of what they had to say:

  • For some schools (such as Columbia Business School), fit and knowledge of the school can be equally as important as qualifications. You still have to have the qualifications, but if you have them and don’t have the knowledge of the school, it can be a reason for rejection. Know where and why you are applying!
  • Schools like to see a mention of you attending their events or speaking with their students (or both!) in your essays.
  • Programs have a lot more to offer visiting prospective students on campus during the school year versus over the summer, so plan your campus visits accordingly.
  • It is a good idea to have items and examples to discuss in your interview that are not on your resume.
  • For some schools (such as Kellogg School of Management), interviews are truly blind; your interviewer will have only seen your resume.
  • Connected alums can email admissions directly on your behalf without counting as one of your formal recommenders. (Tip: use this very sparingly!)
  • In a group interview situation (such as at Wharton School), highlighting the ideas of others or effectively drawing out quieter members of the group is seen as a plus.
Learn more about our consultants here!

Until next time,

The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting

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Tuesday Tips: Rejection, Reapplication, Resilience [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Rejection, Reapplication, Resilience
It’s that time of year…business schools are making decisions and not all news is good news. In this video, I provide three basic tips to keep in mind if you are faced with rejection and contemplating next steps. I also talk about resilience, which is incredibly important if you need to reapply. However, it is also important in LIFE. If you are putting your best out there, you will fail (at least you should fail). And if you want to be successful you need to learn how to bounce back and try again.

Check out this video for some instruction as well as some inspiration. Even if you are flying high with great MBA news, the second half of this video applies to anyone striving to get somewhere in life. This video is inspired by the world of magic and a talk that magician David Blaine once gave at the Ted Conference. Watch and enjoy!



Interested in watching more? Click HERE to access the Stacy Blackman Youtube Channel.

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Princeton Review’s 2018 MBA Rankings [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Princeton Review’s 2018 MBA Rankings

The Princeton Review, known for its college rankings in dozens of categories based on how students rate their schools, is now expanding its coverage of business school programs. The company recently released its 2018 annual ranking lists of business schools.

Available on the company’s website, The Princeton Review reports the top 10 ranking schools in 18 categories of interest to students applying to on-campus MBA programs.

In addition, the company announced the result of its 3 rd annual ranking of the top 25 online MBA programs for 2018.

“We want to offer students a truly robust resource to find information about business school programs,” said Robert Franek, Editor-in-Chief, The Princeton Review. “Students who came to us for help selecting their college can now find equally comprehensive information on our website about choosing a business school program. We want students to be aware that on-campus and online MBA programs have different strengths and they can use that information to find the best business school for their interests.”

“Top business schools now offer online MBAs, and employers do see them as credible and valuable,” added Mr. Franek. “For working professionals unable to move to a ‘brick and mortar’ campus for an MBA, these schools offer an opportunity to learn from some of the world’s best business school professors and earn their degree from anywhere in the world.”

How Do On-Campus MBA Students and Online MBA Students Differ?

  • Age of student population: On-campus students are younger; the average age is 28 while the average age of online MBA students is 34.
  • Work experience: On-campus MBA students average 5 years of work experience; online MBA students average 11 years.
  • Starting salary: The average starting salary for students at top on-campus MBA programs is $115,000 vs. $107,000 for students at top online MBA programs.
On The Princeton Review website, prospective students can find detailed profiles of the business schools, which include admission, academics, financial aid, campus life and career/employment information. In addition to the profiles and the rankings, the site includes helpful business school advice articles about taking the GMAT, crafting a stellar MBA application, and finding a program best tailored to your goals.

“Our purpose is not to rank schools hierarchically or crown any school as ‘best’ overall. Our goal is to provide school profiles combined with multiple rating scores and ranking lists to help applicants choose the best business school for them,” added Franek. “Their program offerings vary considerably, and we salute and highlight those distinctions in our profiles.”

Top On-Campus MBA Programs
The Princeton Review tallied its lists based on its surveys of 23,000 students attending 267 business schools. In these categories, the following schools were ranked #1:

  • Best Career Prospects – Harvard University
  • Toughest to Get Into – Stanford University
  • Best Professors – University of Virginia
  • Best Classroom Experience – Stanford University
  • Most Competitive Students – Acton School of Business
  • Best Campus Environment – University of Virginia
  • Best Administered – Acton School of Business
  • Greatest Resources for Women – Stanford University
  • Greatest Resources for Minority Students – Howard University
  • Most Family Friendly – Brigham Young University
  • Best Green MBA – University of Vermont
In addition, this year’s survey of 23,000 students evaluated their schools to find the best MBA programs in 7 new categories for (schools below were ranked #1):

  • Best MBA for Consulting – Northwestern University
  • Best MBA for Finance – Columbia University
  • Best MBA for Human Resources – University of Florida
  • Best MBA for Management – Stanford University
  • Best MBA for Marketing – Northwestern University
  • Best MBA for Nonprofit – Columbia University
  • Best MBA for Operations – Carnegie Mellon University
Top 10 Online MBA Programs
The Princeton Review surveyed more than 4,700 online MBA students at more than 75 business schools offering online MBAs to come up with this year’s list of top online MBA programs. The Top 10 are:

  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Temple University (PA)
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Florida
  • Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
  • IE University (Spain)
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (NY)
  • Arizona State University
  • Babson College (MA)
Among students surveyed at the top 25 online MBA programs:

  • 56% were receiving financial assistance from their employers to pay for their degree: they reported their companies were covering 62% of the degree cost
  • 34% reported receiving a promotion while earning their online MBA
  • $107,000 was the students’ average base salary upon graduating from the program
  • 30% was the average salary increase graduates reported they received after completing the degree
While here at SBC we don’t like to encourage clients to focus too heavily on rankings when they’re making their MBA program selections, we also know those headed for b-school really can’t help themselves. Be sure to consider multiple factors when making your final school selection.

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Nervous About Your MBA Interview? Heed This Advice [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Nervous About Your MBA Interview? Heed This Advice

‘Tis the season for interviews! This is the most unpredictable portion of the MBA application process, since every interviewer is different. The same interviewer may even react differently depending on his or her mood that day. For the lucky Round One MBA applicants who have been invited to interview by their target business schools, here are several tips for preparing and guidance on what to expect.

The role of the interview varies by program, so if possible, reach out to your network of current or former students at the school for an insider perspective. Most MBA programs will offer the option to interview on campus or with a local alumni volunteer. You should make your decision based on your personal needs, rather than on the basis of how it may look to the admissions committee.

If you have the time and resources to visit the school, you’ll have a great opportunity to meet current students and attend classes. However, if an on-campus interview coincides with a big quarterly meeting at your job, the additional stress would likely make the experience far less beneficial, so it’s probably better to interview with a local volunteer. No matter which option you choose, the admissions committee uses the same metrics to evaluate your performance.

The first step in preparing for your interview is to review your applications. A few weeks have probably passed since you hit the submit button, so you’ll need to return to the MBA applicant mindset by reviewing your overall application strategy. If your interview is “blind”—meaning the interviewer hasn’t seen any of your application materials—this review will help you remember what aspects of your background you want to highlight.

At some MBA programs, such as Harvard Business School, the interviewer will have already reviewed your application and will tailor his or her questions specifically to help the admissions committee learn more about you.

The second step in your interview prep is to review some typical questions. Many candidates post their experiences online in boards, forums, and blog posts. In fact, the Chicago Booth School of Business recently shared interview advice from alumni interviewers on the Booth Insider blog, and here are a few of the tips I found most beneficial:

“The best candidates weave their story in such way that it becomes easy for the interviewer to visualize how they will fit into the Booth class and use the business school experience, in all its many facets, to pursue their aspirations.” – Chris Della Porta, ‘16

“I always tell candidates to practice their story and to think deeply about why they want to go to business school, and why Booth in particular. Being able to explain that concisely is a critical piece of the interview.” – Ankur Raniwala, ‘14

“Don’t try to mold yourself into what Booth thinks you should be. You’re going to be a more compelling candidate if you speak with confidence about the things you know best.” – Tatiana Hodapp, ‘14

Once you have a list of likely questions in hand, you can use those questions to practice. Being concise, focused, and enthusiastic is your goal, and knowing what talking points you want and need to share will help. Write out short bullet points to outline what you would say in response to your practice questions.

When I was at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University meeting on-campus recruiters for a summer internship, I learned about an interview technique called the STAR method. I consider it one of the most useful frameworks for effectively answering interview questions.

For those unfamiliar with this technique, STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result. The STAR technique can be applied when asked “situational” questions, such as: “Tell me about a time you failed;” “Tell me about a time you came up with an innovative solution;” “Tell me about a time you managed a difficult project;” and “Tell me about a time you led a team.”

The power of the STAR method is that it allows you to formulate a very complete answer, but it keeps your answer organized and prevents you from rambling on and on—a common occurrence in interviews.

Here’s one example of how you can organize your notes:

Situation: “Product A was losing market share to a new competitor.”

Task: “I needed to create a plan to regain our lost share.”

Action: “I led a team to implement tactics A, B, and C.”

Result: “We regained lost share, plus 10 percent.”

And then you stop.

Often, the interviewer will probe further, asking for very specific details related to your story. You need to be prepared to elaborate, but just start with the basic elements of your story. STAR will help you get there.

Once you know what you need to say, the only thing left to do is to practice. Enlist the help of family and friends, and ask them to provide constructive feedback. After you have undergone several mock interviews, you will feel more relaxed and be able to focus on connecting with your interviewer and demonstrating your enthusiasm for the school.

If time permits, think of a few interesting questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the conversation. Alumni interviewers will enjoy reminiscing about their experiences, and will especially like any questions about clubs or activities they were part of. Current students can provide a great perspective on what they wish they had known, or the most interesting aspect of their MBA experience.

Now that you have done your interview homework, the final step is simply to relax and enjoy the process.

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Course Spotlight: Living Business Leadership Experience at Michigan Ro [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Course Spotlight: Living Business Leadership Experience at Michigan Ross

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

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

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

“Learning by doing prepares students for the challenges of their careers by developing their abilities to think independently, function with limited data, manage ambiguity, collaborate effectively, and continually grow from their experiences,” says DeRue. “Developing these abilities is the principal objective of experiential learning and it forms the core of our academic philosophy at Michigan Ross.”

Shinola
The MAP experience with Shinola began as a study of whether the Detroit-based luxury brand could and should enter the men’s grooming category. Students examined every aspect of the business, including finance, marketing, and supply chain. Students also had to navigate the relationship between Shinola and a consumer-products giant with which the small company was partnering for the initiative.

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

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

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

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

Students are managing all aspects of this expansion, which includes the scaling of Detroit-based manufacturing, pricing, and marketing, and especially figuring out how the Shinola brand can best be merchandised to audiophiles who will be key to the product line’s credibility in the marketplace.

Ford Smart Mobility
Ross students are working with Ford Motor Co. on its Smart Mobility business, developing a global business plan for the unit that has autonomous driving at its core.

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

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

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

Elyse Hovanesian, BBA’18, is getting to do more hands-on work than she imagined. “Working for a real business has brought up the challenges and rewards I am used to only reading about in cases. While the work is more demanding and complex, I enjoy being part of the results and having an experience to prepare me for my career.”

NRP Group
The NRP Group, the Cleveland-based real-estate development company, has turned to Ross students to develop a scalable business model for its urban affordable housing projects.

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

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

“This support can take many forms, including everything from mentoring services for at-risk teens to elder care. While we have achieved success stories to date, we are turning to Ross students to help us manage the efforts going forward and develop expertise such that we can offer consulting services to other companies that see the benefit of providing superior supportive services to residents,” says Heller.

Winter 2018
For the winter semester, the LBLE course will be adding three additional companies, which will be partners and offer students a unique hands-on opportunity to guide real businesses through the obstacle course that any company faces in their start-up period:

  • OOKLA

    The company is behind Speedtest, and is the global leader in internet testing and analysis. Speedtest has been used over ten billion times worldwide, and is the most accurate way to measure internet performance.
  • DAILY FUEL

    This digital media and news site/service, which brings subscribers daily content from thought leaders, business leaders, and others, is in ramp up, and students will be working to build out the business model.
  • A third company is being finalized for the course.
Faculty Mentoring
“The LBLE vision is to put students into an ambiguous, unstructured environment in which they must choose which tool, framework, or perspective to apply, and when. This is a capstone-style experience that is designed to distill and integrate the core and elective material they learn at Ross,” observes Bill Lovejoy, associate dean for specialty master’s programs, who oversees the Shinola team.

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

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Re: Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog [#permalink]
MBA entrance advisory boards need to get a feeling of your identity on a more individual level. MBA admissions coach enlightens affirmations authorities regarding you through what you say, as well as by the way you say it. Is it true that you are mindful, for instance, and would you be able to ponder past difficulties or mix-ups attentively? Do you exhibit understanding into your identity and your objectives? How you answer inquiries concerning yourself, your profession, and your voyage can help MBA affirmations authorities recognize your level of basic considering and individual understanding.
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Tips for a Successful MBA Group Interview [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tips for a Successful MBA Group Interview
Have you been invited to a group interview — or hope you will be? Some of the world’s top MBA programs use a team-based interview format, and we won’t be surprised if this trend grows in the future. Business schools want students who will play nice with others, and so watching how someone interacts with peers before anyone’s even admitted can be very telling.

Here’s what you don’t want to do during a group interview:

  • Dominate the conversation
  • Cut others off or dismiss someone’s idea entirely
  • Raise your voice
  • Roll your eyes, cross your arms, or display any other kind of negative body language
  • Take out your phone or any other electronic device
Those may seem like obvious tips, but in the heat of the moment you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget you’re being judged. (Once again, this is exactly why some schools like this approach!)

Here’s what you should try to accomplish:

  • Demonstrate you’ve done your research (if given a topic in advance)
  • Listen — truly listen — to the others in your group when they speak
  • Seize any opportunities to either build upon or refer to someone else’s point
  • Put the group’s goal ahead of trying to get airtime
  • Offer to summarize if the conversation has reached a point where the group would benefit from a quick recap
As many MBA applicants are born leaders who are used to taking charge, you’ll need to be conscious of the fact that you might be surrounded by lots of Type A personalities and adjust your style accordingly.

However, if you tend to be on the shy side, don’t let others intimidate you. If no one’s given you the chance to get a word in, you’re going to have to find an appropriate way to join the conversation before it’s too late.

Remember:



 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time,

The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting

****

If you have been invited to interview with a school that is using the group interview format, you will absolutely want to take advantage of Stacy Blackman’s live group practice session. This format can be fun, but also challenging and stress inducing! Success comes from practice and becoming comfortable with the format.

We’ll have dedicated groups of 3-6 people for Wharton and Ross, with experienced moderators and admissions experience. You’ll receive preparation tips and a one-hour mock experience, followed by written feedback with actionable advice. For more on this service, click here.

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The Bigger Picture: Test and Learn [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The Bigger Picture: Test and Learn
When I was launching my career post-business school, I had a mentor who was constantly pushing me to “test and learn”. He was not a fan of 200-page business plans, extended market research, surveys, focus groups and other actions that would postpone implementation. He argued that the best research is just to do it. Be scrappy, throw the idea out there and watch what happens.

We all have ideas, and varying amounts of creativity, but without action, it doesn’t amount to anything. Innovation, on the other hand, requires action. Innovation is basically the ability to fail quickly, learn from mistakes and reinvent.



When I started Stacy Blackman Consulting in 2001, MBA admissions consulting didn’t really exist. There were several people who informed me that they had been inspired by that exact same idea. This made sense; It wasn’t an outlandish concept and we could clearly see the need. The issue is that most people had the idea but did not try it. They did not test. They did not fail. They did not learn. True innovation requires action and failure, and the failure part may not be a lot of fun.

My husband has a plaque on his desk that asks, ‘What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Sometimes I contemplate that. What would I do? If I were 100% certain it would succeed…what crazy thing would I try? And since I know that failure is always part of the equation, what am I really afraid of? Why don’t I just try? Often an attempt does not go down the intended path. But it takes you somewhere, and that is part of the adventure.

Jeff Bezos is known for saying, “If you double the number of experiments you do per year you’re going to double your inventiveness.” Maybe it’s not that hard to be more innovative. Just try more things. Test. Learn. Test again. Progress. Wisdom. Success.

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New Ross School Club Helps International Students Adapt to US Recruiti [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: New Ross School Club Helps International Students Adapt to US Recruiting Style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MBA Round 2 Applicants: Use This Year-End To-Do List [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Round 2 Applicants: Use This Year-End To-Do List


This post originally appeared on Stacy’s ‘Strictly Business’ MBA blog on U.S. News
The next two months will be “go time” for Round 2 MBA applicants, with numerous deadlines hitting just after the New Year. B-school hopefuls will need to manage their time wisely in order to complete several application components amid the distraction of the upcoming holidays.

Round two is typically the most competitive round, so if you need an assist to organize your time and efforts in these coming weeks, review this end-of-year To Do List for MBA applicants to stay on track and avoid becoming overwhelmed. If you plan ahead and stick to a schedule, you’ll still be able to join your friends and family for all of the celebrations without a shred of guilt for shirking your MBA application duties.

Brainstorming/drafting MBA essays: Since this portion of the application requires the most heavy lifting, allow six weeks—starting now—to draft, redraft, and produce the final edit of your MBA essays. This is the place to show off your individuality, leadership potential, and exactly why you’re b-school material. Applicants from overrepresented industries such as finance, information technology, engineering, or consulting should use the essays to focus on the aspects of your personal life that make you unique: hobbies, community service activities, passions and interests that make you stand out.

Many candidates find it helpful to kick off the essay writing process with rough drafts that go 50% or more above the required word count. While that seems like more work, it ultimately creates a better final product since the revision process helps you distill the best topics or anecdotes to support your overall application.

If you’re targeting a top ten business school and need extra insight about what the admissions committee is looking for, consider using one of SBC’s strategy guides, which analyze the qualities that each school seeks, and help applicants understand which stories to emphasize throughout their materials.

Retake the GMAT: Unless you already scored well enough to exceed your target b-school’s posted average, you might consider retaking the test to improve your score and boost your overall application quality. Though this element is highly individual, you should spend about three weeks of daily study sessions and then retake the exam. However, do not retake the test if you haven’t done any additional preparation.

Applicants often take the test two or more times before seeking a tutor or doing additional practice, hoping to somehow get lucky on the retake. Painful as it is to hear, the only way to substantially raise your score is to master the skills and test-taking strategies they require. A well-planned retake can give you the boost you need to improve your application and clear the path to the business school of your dreams.

Visit the campus: While not feasible for every applicant, if time permits, schedule your campus visit as early as possible. Most business schools opened their class visit programs in October, and admissions committees usually appreciate it when prospective students take the time to experience the learning environment in person. Ultimately, your visit can go a long way toward fueling your final decision of where to apply, and also supply content for your MBA essays that demonstrates your fit with the program.

Create an MBA Resume:  It surprises many MBA candidates when they learn that the current version of their resume is not the best format for business school applications. The person reviewing your MBA application just isn’t looking for the same specifics as a person hiring you for an engineering position or a job in consulting. You’re going to want to spend about one week as a breather between essay writing sessions to do a complete resume overhaul that highlights the aspects that are important to the program.

Rework your MBA resume so that it functions more as a narrative about your career and outside interests, rather than a dry list of responsibilities and achievements. From this document, the admissions committee should clearly understand what sort of work stories you’d be talking about in class, or what sorts of “lessons learned” you’ll be able to speak to from either your professional or community-service experiences.

Prepare for Interviews:  Interview season is already underway for round one applicants, and the following advice holds true no matter where you are in the admissions process: once your MBA interview is scheduled, you should spend 30 minutes a day prepping for the exchange.

You can never over-prepare for this all-important event in your journey to b-school; the conversation should move as smoothly as a Viennese waltz —which means no one’s toes get crushed. Pay attention to non-verbal cues, and don’t plow ahead with too much information during the interview, or become mum when a longer response to a question is in order.  The interaction during your interview speaks volumes to what type of teammate you’ll be if accepted into the MBA program; make sure you’re sending the right signals.

I hope this rough timeline will keep you on track and sane during these final weeks before we say so long to 2017 and hello to round two. Stay focused and engaged with the process, but make sure to allow some time for fun and celebration, too.

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MBA Round 2 Applicants: Use This Year-End To-Do List [#permalink]
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