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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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Words of Advice for Round 2 HBS Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Words of Advice for Round 2 HBS Applicants

The Round 2 deadline is coming up at Harvard Business School on January 3rd, and there’s no time like the present to review some of the key elements your MBA application should highlight if you’re targeting this upcoming round.

It may not surprise you to learn that high-impact leadership, or what we call the “Big Kahuna” at HBS, is the most important trait the AdCom looks for. When evaluating your leadership potential, the admissions committee will look for evidence that you’ve made a positive impact on the communities of which you’ve been a part, both personally and professionally.

Your past leadership achievements are the best gauge of your potential for realizing your future ambitions, so make sure to highlight instances that support your case in this area. The admissions committee understands you may not have several years of work experience from which to draw. Take comfort in knowing that it’s not about the scale of your achievements – rather, it’s the fact that you left indelible footprints.

Be sure also to focus on service to others in your application. As with leadership, the committee is concerned with the connection between your achievements and how they reflect who you are. Community service is important because a.) it provides insights into your deeper interests and the causes that you care about; and b.) the admissions officers want to see evidence that you’re the type of person who devotes energy to making a community stronger because they may be inviting you into their community.

With a mission to “educate leaders to make a difference in the world,” HBS isn’t looking for candidates who simply want a résumé boost. If you’re applying to Harvard, you have to have passion and vision–think big. Passion is a useful tool for staying motivated and productive, whether it’s in school or business.

But it goes much deeper than simply being passionate about what you’re doing. You need to express your passion in a way that inspires and projects energy onto those you work with. It’s not just your footprints that interest HBS admissions; they also want to see the footprints of those who follow you as you blaze a new trail in an area of passion.

Finally, applicants may want to take advantage of today’s admissions Q&A webinar at 4 p.m. Eastern time. Harvard Business School is closed from December 22 through January 1, so this will be your last chance to communicate with the admissions team regarding any questions that might help as you put those finishing touches on your application over the next two weeks.

Image by Flickr user Chris Han (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Holiday Time Management for MBA Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Holiday Time Management for MBA Applicants


In 9 days, 2017 draws to a close. And just 12 days from today, the first Round 2 MBA deadlines hit. Are you ready? If you’re not a “list person,” it’s time to become one — at least until the rest of your applications are in.

We’ll help by giving you this outline for your Round 2 Still-To-Do list:

  • Assuming your recommenders have not yet submitted their letters, touch base with them again if it’s been more than two weeks since you last checked in. Remind them that it would be great if they could upload their responses a few days before the deadlines to avoid any last-minute system-crash drama. And thank them again for their time! Ensuring your recommenders are on track is your top priority because this is a tough time of the year for people to be pulled away from family obligations. You know you’ll get everything in, but this isn’t consuming their lives like it is yours.
  • Make sure you have all of the documentation each school requires — things like test-score reports and undergraduate or exchange-program transcripts. If you’re missing something at this point, you’ll probably have to hustle to secure what you need.
  • Finalize your resume. Many schools have cut down on essay requirements, so resumes are playing a larger role in deciding prospective students’ fates. It’s critical that your resume tells the full story of your professional, educational and extracurricular achievements.
  • Complete the applications/data forms for each school. Why do this before putting the finishing touches on your essays? Because when left to the ultimate last minute, applications fields are extremely easy to screw up. There’s no spellcheck available on these forms, and if you’re rushing through them you are likely to make a mistake. Don’t risk having the very first thing the adcom sees be riddled with typos!
  • And now . . . the essays. We’ll be honest: we hope you aren’t just starting your essays this late in the game. But it certainly is possible to pull together quality responses within two weeks if you buckle down right this second. You can have a few friends or family members on standby to help you firm up your themes and cut down extra words, but if you’re working with an admissions consultant, don’t let advice from others derail the strategy and positioning your consultant has helped you set.
  • Take a little time off to enjoy the holidays!
Remember:



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need a second set of eyes on your Round 2 applications? Work with a Stacy Blackman consultant on an hourly basis.

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: Look Up [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The Bigger Picture: Look Up
I lived in San Francisco for eight years and recently went back for a quick visit. That weekend, I decided to do something I had never done before. I biked from the Ferry Building, across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. It was a perfect, not too hot and not too cold, clear, blue-sky day. Absolutely stunning, spectacular views all around.

I enjoyed the ride. Cruising through downtown. Loosening the gears and pedaling up a quintessential San Francisco hill.  Coasting along the bridge, knowing that we were almost there.

But as I was cycling towards my goal, I occasionally stopped and realized that I was spending most of my time staring at the ground beneath me.

Have you ever done that? On a walk or a hike? Doesn’t matter if you are hiking along the Cinque Terre coastline in the Italian Riviera. You have a goal in mind and you walk, walk, walk, trekking to the finish line.  You end up staring, sometimes for hours on end, at the dirt below.

I compare it to working towards any goal. You are focused on the task at hand, and you keep your “head down.”  Sometimes it’s beneficial, important, even essential to keep your head down. But sometimes it’s good to look up. On my bike ride, I looked up and was flooded with memories of some of the most pivotal times in my life: working downtown in Embarcadero 4, pounding out b-school essays in my apartment in the Marina, my first date with my now-husband in North Beach, strolling my newborn son in Russian Hill and of course, countless watering holes and party sites in every corner of the city.

My mind started to wander and fill with ideas. I noticed the people and sites. I thought about this very post that I am writing now. I was inspired. When I looked up and soaked in the incredible landscape and views, I started to really enjoy the process of getting there.


I MEAN…

The new year is upon us. Many of us will set resolutions. Including me – I love resolutions and goals! We will settle in on January 1 and start plugging away with determination at whatever it is that drives us. And that’s a great thing: to work passionately and furiously towards things that we value. But as you embark on this new journey, don’t forget to look up, be inspired and enjoy the ride. You might see things you have never seen before or view things in a different light. If you consistently keep your head down and simply follow your preconceived map, you might miss a detour that leads to something even more spectacular. You might miss out on all the fun.

Happy New Year and look up in 2018.

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New Dean at NYU Stern School of Business [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: New Dean at NYU Stern School of Business

The NYU Stern School of Business has announced that Rangarajan “Raghu” Sundaram will become dean of the school as of January 1, 2018. Professor Sundaram joined Stern’s faculty a little more than two decades ago and has been Vice Dean of MBA Programs since 2016. He succeeds Peter Henry, who held the deanship since January 2010.

Sundaram was selected by Dean Henry to join Stern’s leadership team as Vice Dean for MBA Programs, overseeing the school’s full-time MBA program; the Langone part-time MBA program; multiple dual degrees, including seven offered in partnership with the University; the Executive MBA program; the MS in Accounting program; and Advanced Professional Certificate programs.

Among his accomplishments as Vice Dean were the establishment of the Creative Destruction Lab; the launch of new, specialized one-year MBA programs; his outreach to industry, securing the support of key business leaders to join the School’s newly created Tech MBA Advisory Board; the extension of the New York City-based Executive MBA program to downtown Washington, D.C., where it is now the highest ranked EMBA in that market; and Stern’s entry into online education, including launching the first in a series of online certificate programs, among others.

Professor Sundaram’s scholarly interests include agency problems, executive compensation, corporate finance, derivatives pricing, credit risk, and credit derivatives. He has received research grants from the National Science Foundation and other organizations.  He has won the Jensen Prize, was a finalist for the Brattle Prize, and received the Stern School’s inaugural Distinguished Teaching Award.

Sundaram received his BA in economics from the University of Madras in 1982, and received his MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Ahemedabad in 1984.  He received his MA in economics from Cornell University in 1987, and his PhD in economics from Cornell in 1988.

When announcing the appointment, NYU President Andrew Hamilton said, “Stern’s reputation is such that it had an outstanding group of candidates for the dean’s post.  But in the end, the Search Committee found the best candidate here in our own midst.  And rightly so.  Raghu Sundaram has a strong, highly regarded record of leadership and innovation, scholarship and teaching, and collegiality and service to both Stern and the University.  In a field of distinguished candidates for Stern’s deanship, Raghu stood out.”

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Finding Zen When You’re Waitlisted [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Finding Zen When You’re Waitlisted

If you were a Round 1 applicant this season, over the last few weeks you may have received great news, upsetting news or a mix of both— otherwise known as placement on the waitlist.

First of all, the waitlist is encouraging feedback. It means that you are qualified to attend the program, and that the school was interested in your application and your profile. Unfortunately, it was a competitive year and they couldn’t offer you a solid place in the class. No matter the reason, the waitlist is still a tough place to be. So try to stay calm and adopt a zen mindset that helps you accept what is, while making any changes within your power.

Will I get in?

There is almost no way to know if you will be admitted off the waitlist. It certainly does happen, often, yet you have little information about the ranking of the waitlist, how many people are on the waitlist, or whether the school will reach the yield they are looking for with regular applicants. Therefore, being on the waitlist means a certain comfort with ambiguity. Hopefully you were admitted to another school and can decide whether to remain in limbo or not.

Should I stay on the waitlist?

The decision to stay on the waitlist depends on your interest level in the MBA program you have been waitlisted for. If it is your top choice, you may be willing to remain on the list until school begins, especially if you are willing to move quickly and give up a deposit on a school that has offered you firm admission.

If the waitlisting program is not your first choice, or you would like to settle your MBA plans before school starts, you may choose to remove your name from the list. It is a great service to another applicant if you do so promptly, allowing someone else a chance at their MBA dream.

Can I improve my chances of admission from the waitlist?

You may be able to improve your chances. The number one rule of waitlists is to follow directions. The school provided you with instructions about how to handle the waitlist process, and you must follow these directions to avoid having a negative impact on your standing with the admissions committee. If the school tells you that no additional materials are required, no additional materials are required, and you should not submit any under any circumstances.

If the MBA program does provide the option of submitting additional materials, apply consistent application strategy to the task. The AdCom may welcome letters of recommendation, improved GMAT scores or additional essays/letters from you.

Carefully consider your strengths and weaknesses, and whether the following would be beneficial in your situation:

Letter/Essay
If you have recently been promoted at work, have accomplished a personal goal, or have completed an academic class with a strong grade, it may be worth writing a letter to update the admissions committee with your news. Try to keep your essay or letter factual, and do not repeat information that was already included in your original application.

Recommendations
A supplemental recommendation may add information about you to strengthen your position on the waitlist. If you have been involved in an extracurricular activity, know someone associated with the school, or can use a letter to strengthen a part of your application, the letter may be the right direction to proceed in. Make sure your additional recommendation is brief, focused and adds significant additional information to your overall profile.

GMAT scores/Transcripts
Factual information like improved GMAT scores or transcripts from successful business related classes could go a long way towards bolstering your chances.

While the waitlist may be frustrating, it is a positive indication for your application, and you may be fortunate enough to receive final admission from your chosen program. In the meantime, do yoga, meditate, go for a run–whatever you can do to maintain your inner peace as you wait to hear a formal decision.

Good luck!

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Stacy Blackman’s 2017 Year in Review [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Stacy Blackman’s 2017 Year in Review


How is it possible that we’re already at the final days of 2017? Once again, the time is upon us to make new resolutions, push ourselves to learn and grow, and rededicate ourselves to our personal and professional goals.

With that in mind, we’d like to share some of our most popular blog posts from the past year, each selected to help you better prepare as you journey along the road to business school.

5 Times it Makes Sense to Apply to Only One MBA Program—While the majority of applicants target four to six MBA programs, deciding how many business schools to apply to is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Here you’ll find five scenarios where putting all of your eggs in one basket is a perfectly valid decision.

Dealing with Impostor Syndrome at B-School—When you have your sights set on one of the top business schools in the world, you probably feel confident that your skills and experiences will sway the admissions committee to take a closer look at your application. Despite that confidence, many accepted candidates go through a period of self-doubt once they start learning more about all of the amazing people they will be working alongside in class.

Consider the 3 C’s of Fit When Choosing a Business School—Whether you’re a prospective applicant starting to pull together a list of programs or you’re in the enviable position of choosing between two or more admissions offers, start determining the best fit for you by considering the three C’s – curriculum, communication and culture.

Is There Such Thing as Too Old, Too Young for an MBA?—Think about what you want to gain from and what you can contribute to an MBA program. You may be 22 but have a ton of insight to share and highly focused career goals. That would give you a leg up on the 28-year-old who is lost and just using the MBA as something to fill the time.

The Bigger Picture: Beginnings Are Hard—In the early days of SBC, my husband gave me a little annex room in his office, where I sat all day and worked in silence, alone and…nothing. Nobody called. Nobody emailed. I was overwhelmed by feelings of self-doubt and self-pity. I’m still not sure what made me keep going, but I suppose it came down to truly believing in the service and knowing I could help people achieve their goals. I made it through the beginning. It was ugly and messy and very un-glamorous, but I kept going.

Sorry Military MBA Applicants, There’s No Manual for B-School Research—One of the defining characteristics of military veterans is their independence. This is taught and reinforced by the continual expectation that you will figure things out for yourself, and the military enables that. Now, I’m transitioning out of the military to business school…where’s the manual?

3 Ways to Explain a Job Loss in the MBA Application—If you’re feeling anxious about explaining a gap in employment history in your MBA application, take heart. The members of the admissions committee are human beings who will empathize with someone who has faced a lay-off or firing and lived to tell the tale. By addressing the elephant in the room head on, you’ll avoid any unintended negative inferences by the admissions team.

Eyeing a US Business School? Tips for International MBA Applicants—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. Applying from abroad involves certain expected obstacles, such as the logistics of campus visits, securing visas and financial aid and demonstrating language proficiency, but students share other challenges as well.

How to Address Weaknesses, Strengths as MBA Applicant—Almost every MBA application asks some version of the strengths-and-weaknesses question, either as part of an essay or as a question for your recommenders. Understandably, applicants dread the thought of discussing anything negative within their application. But admissions committees specifically ask you to reveal your weaknesses to assess your fit with the program.

The Bigger Picture: There is No Try—I know that we have all been taught to try our very best, but sometimes trying isn’t enough.This became clear to me many years ago when I heard Yoda say, “Do or do not. There is no try.” He really is so wise, isn’t he?  With many things in life, you can do it, or not do it. Period. No one cares if you tried. I never say that I will try to do something. I make a decision. Is this something that I want to commit to? Yes or no…and then I commit…or not.

4 Areas Admissions Committees Focus on When Evaluating Your Candidacy—The admissions committee focuses on four very specific areas when evaluating your candidacy and fit with their program. The welcome news for applicants of all stripes is that standing out in these aspects can happen no matter where you’ve worked before or what background you have.

Do More Than Wait for MBA Admissions Responses—Though the b-school message boards provide a tempting distraction for MBA hopefuls waiting for interview invites and admit decisions, they also stir up enormous stress in candidates and often spread misinformation that can derail your carefully considered MBA application plans. You’re much better off focusing your energies on the following activities to pass the time productively.

***

My goal with this blog has always been to bring b-school applicants the latest news from the schools, insightful application and essay tips, and to explore major trends affecting the future of management education.

Thank you so much for making us a top destination for your b-school research. We hope this resource continues to serve you well as you embark on what is definitely a life-changing, career-boosting journey.

Have a wonderful holiday, and see you back here in 2018!



 

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Last-Minute Round 2 Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Last-Minute Round 2 Tips
Starting tomorrow — and then on a rolling basis over the next few weeks — more than a dozen top MBA programs will close out their Round 2 application periods. If you are targeting one of those schools and haven’t hit “Submit” yet, here are some last-minute tips for you:

  • Ensure your recommendation letters are in. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: you know you’ll get your materials uploaded in time, but you simply can’t be as confident about your recommenders. If you haven’t received confirmation that they’ve submitted their letters, stop everything and do what you can to help them finish this critical task. Seriously. Right now. Go call them. (Don’t email or text them — call)
  • Give both your resume and your essays to a family member or friend to review for typos. And just typos or other errors! At this point, it’s not wise to change much about the content itself, so be clear that you are not looking for their thoughts on whether there’s a better story to use or example to discuss. Their concern should be your spelling and grammar; this isn’t the time to second-guess your overall strategy.
  • The application itself — or, the “data form” — also needs a careful review. Here are specific things to look for before you hand it over to someone else with fresh eyes:
    • Spelling errors, missing letters/words, stray punctuation, inconsistent or incorrect punctuation. There’s no spellcheck feature in most applications, and if you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to make a mistake.
    • Consistency. Ensure you’ve remained consistent in everything from titles to organization names to date ranges across the data form, your resume and your essays. If something doesn’t match up across your materials, it may raise a red flag to the adcom.
    • Redundancy. While you want to present your background consistently across each piece of your MBA application, if you simply copy and paste your resume bullets into data-form fields such as “Most significant accomplishment,” you’re wasting an opportunity to tell the adcom something new. Even if time is tight, you should be able to describe an achievement in a fresh way or give additional details that didn’t fit on your resume.
    • Correct program name. The “optional essay” or “additional information” field in particular can be a dangerous one if you re-use the same content across applications — ensure you don’t have School X’s name in School Y’s materials.
Best of luck getting everything in!

Think of it this way:



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And happy new year!

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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SBC Boost: Your MBA Motivation for 2018 [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: SBC Boost: Your MBA Motivation for 2018

It’s a brand-new year, and the perfect time to set new goals and a plan of action if business school is in your future. Let Stacy Blackman Consulting help keep you motivated every step of the way on your journey toward the MBA. Don’t wait—sign up at boost@stacyblackman.com today!

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UV Darden Announces Full Scholarship for Promising Indonesian Candidat [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UV Darden Announces Full Scholarship for Promising Indonesian Candidates

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business recently announced a new full scholarship called the Indonesia Fellowship, created through a gift from the Jakarta-based Rainbow Foundation.

The fellowship, originally created in 2012, is now offered as a scholarship providing up to the full cost of attendance for an academically qualified Indonesian national with proven need for financial support. Selected students can attend Darden’s full-time MBA program or Executive MBA program, with an option for the Global Executive MBA format.

“This is an incredibly generous offer for talented students from Indonesia,” says Dawna Clarke, Darden’s executive director of admissions and financial aid. “The level of funding the fellowship provides exceeds that provided by other scholarships in the market, and it gives deserving students the opportunity to study at one of the world’s top business schools.”

The Indonesia Fellowship will cover for recipients the cost of Darden tuition and fees, course materials, health insurance, computer, living and travel expenses.

“In a world of astonishing complexity and rapid change, Darden develops global leaders from an inspiring premise: Business combined with purpose will improve the world,” says Darden Dean Scott Beardsley. “We are incredibly grateful to the Rainbow Foundation for its generosity inspiring the next generation of leaders from Indonesia to pursue their purpose.”

To learn more, visit www.darden.virginia.edu/indonesia.

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Maximize Your MBA Application Feedback Session [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Maximize Your MBA Application Feedback Session

All MBA hopefuls fear getting denied, but if there’s any silver lining to rejection, it’s that many business schools now offer feedback sessions to help unsuccessful candidates figure out where they might have gone wrong.

This availability of application feedback confirms that the schools really do welcome and encourage re-applicants, who often find success the second time around. In fact, in the past, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has shared with us anecdotally that applicants who reapplied often have a slight edge in the applicant pool.

Find out the policy of your school of choice and get in touch with the admissions office right away, making it clear that you will use the feedback to reapply next year, if that’s the case. These meetings usually take place on a first-come, first-served basis in the spring, at the end of the admissions season.

Due to the brevity of these sessions, it’s important to prepare in advance. Write down a few pointed questions that will help you make the most of your meeting. If you questioned anything during the application process, you now have the opportunity to clear things up. In order to gather actionable information, your questions should sound something like this:

• Was there any concern about my quantitative abilities? If so, what can I do to demonstrate my capabilities?

• Were my career goals clear?

• Are my reasons for wanting an MBA sound?

• What were some of the biggest weaknesses in my application? Do you have any suggestions for how I can ease your concerns in those areas?

Have a plan to make sure the session stays on pace, because you’ll usually have a maximum of 15 minutes. Keep track of the time and strive to end the conversation gracefully.

It’s unlikely that members of the admissions committee will tell you flat out that you don’t have the stats, background or qualifications to attend their MBA program, even if that is the case. Nor will they tell you to change your life plans just for the sake of the application. There’s an art to extracting information, but don’t expect to receive the secret key to success during this brief conversation. Take what you can get.

Ultimately, the feedback session may or may not provide helpful insight. You might receive a very actionable comment, such as “you need more work experience” or “you should raise your GMAT score at least 30 points.” But with more qualified applicants than available seats in the program, the advice is often quite general and you’ll have to work hard to pin down specific takeaways.

Think of this as one additional opportunity to build upon your relationship with the school, so maintain a pleasant, engaging and polite tone. The admissions committee also takes notes during the exchange that will go into your file and form a part of the evaluation you when you reapply next year, so make sure you don’t get defensive about their feedback.

Treat this as an extension of your interview: Jot down the name and email address of the person you speak with, and remember to follow up with a thank-you note.

Finally, don’t spend a lot of time or energy fretting about elements of your application that you cannot change in less than 12 months. Instead, use the feedback from the admissions committee and your own honest self-analysis to determine where you can improve in order to better position your application for the next admissions cycle.

Image by Flickr user Giulia Forsythe (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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SBC’s Offering 1-on-1 Resume Review at QS World MBA Tour [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: SBC’s Offering 1-on-1 Resume Review at QS World MBA Tour


For many who are just embarking on their B-school journey, attending an MBA fair is a stellar way to meet admissions representatives from several programs and impress them with your thoughtfulness and preparation…in other words, stand out from the crowd.

If you’ll be in the New York City area on Saturday, January 20th, Stacy Blackman Consulting invites you to sign up for a session at our one-on-one resume clinic, happening at the upcoming NYC stop of the QS MBA World Tour.

As you probably know, most MBA programs require a resume submission as part of the written application, and members of the admissions team have often told us that in their view, the resume is just as important as the essays.

Sign up for a 15-minute resume review session with an expert from the team at SBC. During your intensive session, we’ll review your resume and provide actionable feedback on how to transform it. You’ll also receive free resources to assist you with your resume going forward.

You’ll first need to register to attend the QS MBA World Tour event, and then sign up for the resume clinic with SBC. Space is extremely limited, so don’t delay—sign up today!

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The Bigger Picture: The Opposite of Comfortable [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The Bigger Picture: The Opposite of Comfortable
January. It’s still a new year. Full of possibility. So many plans, so many dreams.

2018 has 8,760 hours and we have only used up about 216. Yup, believe it or not, more than 200 hours have already slipped by.

8,544 hours to go.

What will you do with your year?

You could eliminate fear of rejection like Jia Jiang.

You could walk across a continent.

You could write 12 novels.

Or, you could ditch a bad habit or create a positive one. Changing a habit sounds simpler and easier than walking across the United States. But that’s not necessarily the case. If it were easy to change a habit 25% of us would not have already abandoned our new year’s resolutions. Yes, that’s right, 25% of people who make a resolution don’t even stick with it for one week!

Why is that? Are we lazy? Uncommitted? Do we not really want what we believe we want?

I don’t think so.

I see it this way: If we keep doing what we have always been doing, we will get the exact same results. So, if we want things to turn out differently, we have to change. I know, it seems obvious. Even George Costanza figured that out on the famous “Do the Opposite” episode of Seinfeld.



But think about it. If you haven’t been making progress on your novel, or your applications, your diet, your start up, your travel adventure, your relationship or your PhD…you may need to change what you have been doing.

And change is uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable. It’s draining. It can generate anxiety, fear or failure. It can even be physically uncomfortable; just ask my friend who is training for an Iron Man.

Change is uncomfortable until it’s not. At some point, whatever you are working on becomes habit. Once it’s a habit, it’s a lot easier to go sugar-free, to wake up 30 minutes earlier, to fit in an hour of daily MBA application work.

But before it’s a habit, it’s not a habit. It’s a struggle and that’s uncomfortable. It’s during that uncomfortable time that our brains try to trick us. Part of the brain is literally designed to protect us from discomfort with a fight or flight type response. And, often, this brain response makes it very challenging to be effective at what we actually want to do.

That’s when the vast majority of us abandon resolutions. So how do we outsmart our own brains? Start by following your discomfort. Expect it to be hard, to feel bad, to be physically and mentally challenging.

There are all kinds of tricks to get through the hard stuff, but we need to begin by pointing ourselves in the right direction, however uncomfortable.

As you move ahead with the goal to make 2018 the year, be sure to chase feelings of discomfort. In order to change you often have to go against everything your brain is telling you. But it’s like Jerry Seinfeld said: “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”

By the way…if you need a little boost making changes in your life, check out my 21 Day Projects. I will send you an email every day for 21 days with concrete advice to help you move towards your particular goal, whether it is Getting More Done, or Creating An MBA Resume. Check out all the 21 Day Projects in theSBC store.

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18 Venture Capitalists Join HBS’s Inaugural VC Partner Program [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 18 Venture Capitalists Join HBS’s Inaugural VC Partner Program

Harvard Business School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship has named 18 people to its inaugural group of Rock Venture Capital Partners, who provide in-person mentoring and advice to HBS student entrepreneurs.

The Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, which has earned accolades as the top provider in the nation of programs for entrepreneurial studies, supports faculty and their research in the field of entrepreneurial management as well as provides the HBS community with the energy and spirit needed for new ideas and innovations to thrive and grow.

“The Rock VC Partner Program brings leading managing and general partners from the top early stage VC firms to Harvard Business School to build relationships with student founders,” says Jodi Gernon, Director of the Rock Center.

“We are delighted to have these outstanding venture capitalists share their wisdom and insights with student entrepreneurs. Thanks to this program, HBS students will have unprecedented access to feedback from top investors regarding their ideas, testing plans, fund-raising activities, and more.”

Since 1947, the study of entrepreneurship has been a vital part of the Harvard Business School MBA program, which includes a required course in the first year curriculum, numerous electives in the second-year, and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem that includes the annual New Venture Competition, the Rock Accelerator ProgramRock Summer FellowsRock Loan Reduction, and the Rock 100.

Through a community that provides support, access to content, and a gateway to entrepreneurial ecosystems everywhere, the Rock Center helps students and alumni create ventures that revolutionize in both the for-profit and social enterprise sectors.

Learn more about each of the 2018-Rock Venture Capital Partners here.

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Don’t Fear Those MBA Admissions Background Checks [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Don’t Fear Those MBA Admissions Background Checks

Background checks in MBA admissions are more common for some schools than others, but their overall use is growing. Some programs vet every admitted applicant, others randomly select a percentage of candidates and still others delve further only when something seems to raise a red flag. The process usually take place in the spring, after all application rounds have passed and candidates begin sending in their deposits.

The vast majority of people shouldn’t stress over this verification process. Business schools aren’t on a mission to grill candidates about every last detail of their applications. They simply want to ensure that applicants have honestly represented themselves, their experience and their accomplishments.

Sometimes applicants are screened because their profile is unusual or difficult to verify, such as if their work experience included time in a startup or at a failed startup, in a small family firm or at a company abroad, and the admissions office simply needs to clarify and confirm the details.

Typical reasons for rejecting a candidate include ethical lapses or questionable behavior, not disclosing a layoff or firing, evidence of plagiarism and not disclosing a criminal conviction. Willful deception or lying by omission will jeopardize your admission – not minor discrepancies such as being off by a month when listing your employment dates. Most schools give applicants a chance to explain any plausible mistakes.

Though we can’t share specific examples due to confidentiality issues, we have had clients who have had problems with background checks. In some cases, an offer of admission was revoked following the background check. In one situation, the student had already started school and was escorted out due to an omission on the application. It wasn’t because of a lie, but rather that this person failed to  include information the program would have wanted to know about during the application process.

Business schools can investigate application details that include everything from recommenders, employment and education history, extracurricular and professional involvements, leadership roles and even authenticate anecdotes from application essays.

If you’re on the fence about whether to include or explain something in your application, chances are you probably should mention it. When the issue is something like poor academic performance or a gap in employment history, it’s always best to come completely clean. The admissions team isn’t looking for perfection in applicants.

Major failures can translate into a story about lessons learned and self-improvement which can actually help your candidacy if you show how you’ve become a wiser, more humble person because of them. However, if the incident you’re wondering about including is personal in nature and does not appear anywhere on your official record, you may decide not to draw unnecessary attention to it.

If you learn that your admission is conditional pending corroboration of your professional, academic or personal background, your best option is to cooperate quickly and completely to facilitate the verification process. The schools just want to make sure all applicants are who they say they are.

Make sure you’re meticulous about presenting the facts, haven’t exaggerated or lied, and have explained any lapses in judgment that could come back to haunt you,  and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

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Free SBC Resume Clinic at Upcoming QS World MBA Tour [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Free SBC Resume Clinic at Upcoming QS World MBA Tour


As we begin the new year, it’s important to consider your goals and how you see yourself developing in your career.

Join us at the QS World MBA Tour event in New York on January 20th for the opportunity to meet with top business schools, and learn more about the MBA admissions process. By attending, you’ll also be eligible to apply for a pool of scholarships, worth $7 million.

Need more reasons to attend? In the U.S. and Canada, MBA hiring increased by 10% in 2017, and the average salary for someone with an MBA was $98,900. Discover the ROI of an MBA at our panels and seminars!

Stacy Blackman Consulting is offering a free resume clinic at this stop of the tour. Founded in 2001, our company has helped thousands of MBA applicants gain admission to the most selective business schools in the world. The SBC team, comprised of former admissions officers from every top school as well as expert writers, editors and marketers, helps clients develop and implement a winning marketing strategy.

The 15 minute sessions, available only to attendees, are open from the start of registration, until the end of the fair. You’ll need to register to attend the fair first, and then book your session, or sign up on the day.

Already happy with your resume? You can work on your bio or your pitch to business schools instead. Don’t miss this opportunity to make your profile stand out. Bring a copy of your CV/Resume/Bio on the day to attend this session.

You can also get your LinkedIn profile picture taken by a professional photographer at the event. So much great MBA intel, scholarship opportunities, and expert help awaits, so sign up today!

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SBC Launches GMAT, GRE Test Prep Service [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: SBC Launches GMAT, GRE Test Prep Service

Did you know that Stacy Blackman Consulting has added test prep to our suite of MBA admissions services?  We’ve officially launched the Stacy Blackman GMAT and GRE test prep service, which uses a unique approach that focuses on recognizing individual learning styles, discovering flaws in foundation knowledge, and setting goals.

Our team of brilliant teachers are not only experts in the GMAT and GRE exams, but also understand that clear explanation, goal setting, and reinforced practice are crucial. The curriculum is based on an individualized approach, using the best available test prep materials.  The instructor tailors the test prep program for each client’s strengths and learning style, with a focus on deeper understanding of the content and smart test strategies.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is intended to assess analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to a graduate management program.

The GRE meanwhile has more test takers than any other graduate school exam and is used to determine graduate school admissions, including b-school.    It is designed to be a critical thinking exam, with two essays sections (issue essay and analysis of the argument essay), verbal reasoning section and quantitative reasoning section.

We believe SBC offers the best-in-class GMAT and GRE experts to help test takers increase their score significantly.  This new service is a natural extension of our b-school consulting service, and will help MBA applicants shine on these standardized tests and be even more successful with their applications.

Fees for the GRE and GMAT test prep service with Stacy Blackman Consulting are based on hourly rates, with packages of one, five, ten, 20 and 30 hours available. Learn more about our test prep services here.

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Tips for Making the Most of MBA Fairs [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tips for Making the Most of MBA Fairs

If you’re seriously considering pursuing an MBA degree and want the convenience of meeting representatives from many top business schools in a single location, attending an MBA fair is a great place to start. And if you’re going to be in the New York area this weekend, I invite you to check out the QS MBA World Fair on Saturday, January 20th, where Stacy Blackman Consulting will be hosting free one-one-one resume clinics available only to attendees.

Applicants tend to forget that schools cannot exist without great students, so these fairs are the schools’ opportunity to market themselves to applicants and get them interested enough so they apply to their schools. While candidates should act professional—since you never know whether you’ll forge an important connection at this type of event—applicants shouldn’t attempt to impress the schools. In fact, it’s the other way around. I say let the schools impress you.

In addition to the meet-and-greets with admissions officials, candidates can also attend free seminars covering myriad MBA issues and participate in master classes, taught by leading professors, which simulate the b-school classroom experience right there at the fair.

Applicants should approach an MBA fair with an open mind, ask good questions, and leave a positive impression on admissions officers. That means no flip-flops, please! The most egregious fair faux pas is asking for information that can be found after a cursory glance at the program’s website, such as class size, deadlines, or average test scores.

Instead, consider focusing on areas that are specific to your application—your work experience and post-MBA goals, or any potential red flags such as a layoff or low GPA—in order to gauge how they might view your application package.

If alumni are present, use the opportunity to learn from those who have already gone through the b-school trenches by asking for feedback on course workload, extracurriculars, housing, campus facilities, network strength, and how (if?) they achieved that elusive work/life balance.

While a campus visit is the ideal way to gauge a school’s culture and fit, that’s not always possible—especially prior to applying. You can and should take advantage of these events by chatting with representatives about aspects such as student life, the faculty’s teaching style, and expectation of students, the types of careers alumni pursue post-graduation, and so on. Candidates should also find out what resources the school provides—e.g. alumni networks, corporate contacts—to assist during their job search.

The more you know about the elements you believe to be an important part of the b-school experience, the better chance you have of whittling down your list of programs to the ones that more closely match your personal career goals.

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Tips for Making the Most of MBA Fairs [#permalink]
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