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Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog

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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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Posts: 1322
Location: Los Angeles, CA
11 Ways to Prepare for Your B-School Interview  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2018, 15:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 11 Ways to Prepare for Your B-School Interview
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As you may guess, the purpose of the MBA admissions interview is twofold: it gives the AdCom a chance to see a candidate’s personality, leadership qualities and motivation for pursuing an MBA, and it also lets applicants tell their own story beyond the essays and other materials in the application. Once you receive an interview invitation, your focus should be on preparation.

Do these 11 things, and you’ll knock it out of the park on the big day.

  • Go into it with confidence.
  • Know yourself, or the version of yourself that you want to display.
  • Cover your weaknesses.
  • Build up a broad base of knowledge about business and the world.
  • Study the school in depth, and, if possible, research the person who will interview you, too.
  • Practice.
  • Dress the part.
  • Have a list of stories that you can adapt to various questions ready.
  • Keep your answers concise, but always have a lot more to say.
  • Stay cool.
  • Know what questions to ask.
Wrap up the interview with a sincere thank you for the interviewer’s time, and remember to ask for a business card if you haven’t already received one. Send a thank-you note or email within the week, and try to include a memorable detail from your conversation to help the interviewer remember you as well as to reiterate your interest in attending the school.

The interaction in an MBA interview speaks volumes about what kind of teammate you will be when you are in the program, so make sure the right message is coming across loud and clear.

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

_________________

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

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

Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
User avatar
Joined: 03 Nov 2010
Posts: 1322
Location: Los Angeles, CA
3 Things You May Not Know About Online MBAs  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2018, 15:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 3 Things You May Not Know About Online MBAs
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A version of this post originally appeared on Stacy’s ‘Strictly Business’ MBA blog on U.S. News
Online MBA programs continue to expand in the graduate management education marketplace, with 47% of online MBA programs reporting application growth in 2017, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s Application Trends Survey Report (pg 14). But some stereotypes persist regarding the kind of experience you’ll receive compared to a traditional MBA format.

Many wonder how good the professors online will be, if the instruction really rivals that of students learning on campus, and whether such programs offer the types of scholarships or financial assistance found at full-time MBA programs.

The good news for online MBA applicants, particularly women, whose interest in this format option has outpaced men in recent years, is that several programs continue to deliver an ever more competitive educational experience. Let’s take a look at three important considerations for prospective students, and see how online programs are performing of late.

They Offer Top-Notch Faculty and Instruction
The mark of a high-quality online MBA program lies in who is providing the instruction. “Students take the same classes from the same faculty as they would in our on-campus programs,” says Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business and Rusty Lyon Chair in Strategy. “We began offering online degrees in the early 2000s, long before it was as widely accepted as it is now. So, we know from experience how to deliver great content to students and offer a flexible degree that will ultimately help them take that next step in their careers.”

At Temple University’s Fox School of Business, on-campus faculty creates and delivers all course content. The part-time online MBA offered by Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, tied for second in this year’s US News ranking, offers working students flexibility as well as the exact same faculty, curriculum, career planning resources, and degree. Plus, candidates can switch to the full-time format at any time.

When it comes to instruction, the USC Marshall Online MBA program takes an innovative approach, with courses often taught by faculty teams rather than individual professors. “Each course is interdisciplinary, so rather than offering a series of courses on discrete topics such as economics or statistics, OMBA courses are structured around a particular topic such as ‘Managing Inside the Firm’,” explains Miriam Burgos, associate professor of clinical marketing and the academic director of the online MBA program.

“Faculty members, each an expert in a different discipline, teach the course together, providing students with multiple perspectives that may include, for example, marketing, accounting, data analytics and communication. This holistic approach to learning mirrors 21st century global business practices,” Burgos says.

Online MBA faculty often welcome questions from prospective students, so if you would like more information about a particular course, or to learn more about the research interests of a certain faculty member, Burgos suggests contacting the admissions team to ask if you can set up a one-on-one conversation with that professor prior to applying.

Stephen Taylor, assistant dean of graduate programs at the Carey School, says students of the online program enjoy close connections to their faculty and peer students that start on day one. “We believe that a graduate program is a fundamentally collaborative experience; even before a student applies to a program, our admissions team works closely with candidates to understand their goals and to find a program that works best for them.”

They Include Experiential Learning
While experiential learning is now the norm at most traditional business school programs, online MBA programs also recognize the value of bringing real business courses to life and some have introduced similar opportunities for their students as well.

Immersion courses at Kelley Direct Online at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, tied for second place in US News’s latest online MBA program rankings, focus on particular business areas, such as advertising and branding in New York, or the Washington Campus program, which allows students to navigate the gap between business and politics.

Kelley Direct also has a global leadership course known as AGILE—Accelerating Global Leadership Education. Here, students solve thorny business problems in emerging markets, often in conjunction with students from other top business schools around the world.

Ranked 4th this year in US News’s online MBA program rankings, MBA@UNC at University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, has the Student Teams Achieving Results program, or STAR, where students take on the role of consultants to real companies such as NASCAR, GE Healthcare, and Lowe’s Companies, INC. Teams of five to seven students, guided by a faculty advisor and an executive from the client organization, assess real business problems and recommend actionable solutions to the client.

You Can Find Scholarships for Online MBA Programs
According to GMAC’s 2017 Application Trends Report, 38% of online MBA students expect to receive employer support for their studies (pg. 24). For everyone else, know that if you plan to apply for an online MBA at an AACSB International-accredited school, you’ll find that the financial aid process is much the same as for traditional programs. Your first stop for information and assistance should be your online MBA program’s finance department.

Many schools have specific scholarships for online MBA applicants, such as Babson College, which offers merit-based diversity and women’s leadership scholarships for its Blended Learning MBA program. And MBA@UNC awards some partial tuition fellowships to outstanding admitted applicants.

Whether they have grants, scholarships, and loans specific to their school, or special scholarship resources, your online MBA program administrators can point you in the right direction when it comes to financial assistance. For a thorough overview of the subject, visit this online scholarship page on bschool.com.

As you can see, for many busy professionals, an online MBA program makes perfect sense as a way to achieve their career goals through a flexible format that adapts to their schedule. Whichever program you choose in your MBA journey, a great fit with your goals and lifestyle will ensure the best results from application to graduation.

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

_________________

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

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

Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
User avatar
Joined: 03 Nov 2010
Posts: 1322
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Considering Applying in Round 3? Read This First  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2018, 08:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Considering Applying in Round 3? Read This First
You tried your best, but you just couldn’t pull together all of your business school materials before Round 2 deadlines hit. Now what should you do? Isn’t Round 3 where MBA applications go to die?

Not always.

In general, it is tougher to earn a spot at most top MBA programs when you apply in Round 3. Admissions committees have seen thousands of qualified applicants throughout Rounds 1 and 2, have pulled together a fairly good idea of what the incoming class will look like, and have also compiled a waitlist of additional candidates.

Before Round 3 closes out, a certain percentage of people who were admitted in Round 1 and 2 will have already committed to a program. In short, there will be precious few spots left when the adcom finally turns its attention toward final-round applications.

So where does that leave you? It depends. If it’s been more than five years since you graduated from college, you should seriously consider applying in Round 3. While every situation is different, time could start to work against you at programs that tend to focus on younger applicants.

Plus, the odds of your candidacy significantly improving over the next eight months after you’ve already been in the workforce for so long are probably slim. If this is your situation and all you need to do is put the finishing touches on your materials, go for Round 3.

There are also other circumstances that make Round 3 a perfectly fine option: you’re in the military and recently received your release papers; you are going through a job change or rolling off of a major project; you had extenuating circumstances that prevented you from applying earlier (and which you can reference in the optional essay); or you are most interested in MBA programs outside of the “top 20.”

However, if you’re only two or three years into your career, it may make sense to wait until next season’s Round 1. Focus on building more leadership and community service/volunteer experience in the meantime and make your application even stronger.

And remember:

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See why Stacy Blackman is Julie Finn’s “Fairygodboss.” (Spoiler alert: it’s because she rocks!)

On that note, Stacy shares some valuable MBA applicant advice on the Getting In and Getting Ready webinar from RelishCareers. (It’s free, but a quick registration is required.)

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

_________________

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

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

Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
User avatar
Joined: 03 Nov 2010
Posts: 1322
Location: Los Angeles, CA
The Bigger Picture: What Could Happen?  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Feb 2018, 07:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The Bigger Picture: What Could Happen?
My birthday is next month. I’ve been thinking about the past year and all of the things that happened, that I experienced and accomplished.

I visited the Grand Canyon. I slept in an RV. I traveled to Japan. I skied, river rafted, zip-lined, mountain biked and paddle boarded. I started taking tennis lessons. I launched my 21 Day Project series. I became physically stronger, thanks to my almost daily Bar Method classes. I visited the Museum of Ice Cream and the Color Factory. I supported a lot of causes that are important to me, such as Beit Issie Shapiro and the Joyful Heart Foundation. I tasted the most delicious food truck meal ever.  Not everything was perfect. A very close friend has suffered from severe depression. My daughter had surgery. SBC clients reported back to me that a competitor is spreading false information about us. Good or bad, the year passed. 365 days, 24 hours each day.

I’ve also been thinking about opportunities missed. Despite living a full year, there is a lot I did not do. There were days that I felt lazy. Days that I made excuses. Days where I didn’t accomplish anything I had planned. Of course, I think that’s pretty normal; even to be expected. In between all those Facebook posts of friends climbing mountains and visiting exotic locales, there are days we don’t see, where they lounge in bed eating Lucky Charms.

But as I look towards this next year of my life, I think to myself: What could happen? What could happen if I worked just a little harder, focused more intensely, took a few more risks?

What could happen?

I think back to an article I read several years ago about a woman named Liz Murray. She had grown up in terrible circumstances, with negligent, drug addicted parents. By age 16 she was a homeless high school dropout. However, she eventually attended Harvard University. At 17, she made a decision to turn things around for herself, no excuses. She had nowhere to live and had not attended school regularly for years, but she pledged to become a “straight A” student and complete her high school education in just two years.

This is what she said in the interview that really stuck with me:

“I said to myself: what if I woke up, and every single day I did everything within my ability during that day to change my life. What could happen in just a month? A year?”

I love this idea. I love it because she had a very concrete goal, and she decided to pursue it in the simplest, most focused way, one day at a time.

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Many of you who are reading this post share a concrete goal of applying to graduate school. Many of you didn’t work on that goal yesterday despite your best intentions and desires. But today is a new day. Today you can draft an entire essay…or spend an hour on test prep…or put together recommender guidelines…or research programs. We can all binge watch Netflix tonight. Or, we can make a decision to make things happen.

I continue to contemplate my next year. As I define what I want to experience, I realize that the choice is mine. I’m inspired to set some ambitious goals and to take the required steps every single day.

Our time is now. What could happen?

 

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

_________________

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

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

Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
User avatar
Joined: 03 Nov 2010
Posts: 1322
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Kellogg Ranks Winners, Losers in 2018 Super Bowl Ad Review  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2018, 08:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Kellogg Ranks Winners, Losers in 2018 Super Bowl Ad Review
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Alexa Loses Her Voice – Amazon Super Bowl LII Commercial

Sure, the Eagles’s first-ever Super Bowl win is a big deal, but according to a team of 50-odd MBA students at the Kellogg School of Management, Amazon was a big winner in strategic ad rankings with its “Alexa Loses Her Voice” ad in the 14th consecutive Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review.

Two Kellogg marketing professors think businesses can learn a lot from which ads resonate with the audience, and for the past 14 years have been leading a panel of MBA students who grade the spots on their effectiveness in real time during the game.

“Amazon used a cast of celebrities that focused us on the brand, reinforced the equity in Alexa, and ultimately was fun to discuss and share with those around you,” says Derek D. Rucker, Sandy & Morton Goldman Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies in Marketing at the Kellogg School.

Other brands that earned top marks this year include Mountain Dew, Doritos, Tide, Avocados from Mexico, and Wendy’s.  “However, Squarespace and T-Mobile both missed the mark with questionable positioning and unclear calls to action,” Rucker notes. Each received an F for least effective advertising during this year’s Super Bowl.

The Kellogg School Super Bowl Advertising Review uses a strategic academic framework known as ADPLAN to evaluate the effectiveness of Super Bowl spots in building the advertiser’s brand. The acronym instructs viewers to grade ads based on:

Attention: Does the ad engage the audience?

Distinction: Is the execution unique in delivery?

Positioning: Is the appropriate category represented and a strong benefit featured?

Linkage: Will the brand and benefit be remembered?

Amplification: Are viewers’ thoughts favorable?

Net equity: Is the ad consistent with the brand’s history and reputation?

Two ongoing trends emerged throughout the big game – competitive angle in many ads and philanthropic efforts.

“As competitive as the game was, the category wars were equally competitive.  For example, there was hard hitting competition in the wireless wars with some brands calling one another out,” said Tim Calkins, Clinical Professor of Marketing at Kellogg, who co-leads the school’s Ad Review. “Many brands tried to appeal to viewers through philanthropic causes, including Toyota, Ram and Hyundai.”

However, social media backlash against the Ram advertisement, which featured a voice-over of a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr and a message of serving others, was immediate. Writes one sarcastic user on Twitter: “If you thought that MLK/Dodge commercial was bad, just wait until you see the upcoming Carl’s Jr. ad starring Gandhi.”

With a base price of $4.5 million for these ads, advertisers take an expensive gamble on commercial spots they hope will resonate and stick with consumers. The Ram ad may have garnered a C grade from the Kellogg team, but folks across the interwebs gave Ram a solid Fail for it.

A full list of the rankings is available here.

[image via screengrab]

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

_________________

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

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

Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
User avatar
Joined: 03 Nov 2010
Posts: 1322
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Two Top Female Deans to Assume Presidencies Elsewhere  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2018, 15:01
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Two Top Female Deans to Assume Presidencies Elsewhere
This week, one current and one former dean from two of the country’s most elite business schools have announced they will assume the presidency at other institutions.

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Judy Olian
, dean of UCLA Anderson School of Management, has announced her plans to step down at the end of the academic year to become the president of Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, according to a message sent on Monday to faculty and staff from Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh.

The Daily Bruin reports that Olian spearheaded new research centers and introduced degree programs during her tenure at Anderson, including the business analytics program launched in the fall. Olian also helped start the Anderson Venture Accelerator, which helps students start their own businesses, and introduced hybrid courses that include online and in-class elements. Provost Waugh praised Olian’s efforts in the Daily Bruin to increase the gender diversity of faculty and students in the school, and lauded her fundraising achievements, which brought in nearly $400 million for Anderson.

“The opportunity to lead Quinnipiac University is especially gratifying,” says Olian. “Quinnipiac achieves strong alignment between learning and market needs and impacts a broad mix of students and professionals through life-changing development and career opportunities. Quinnipiac is a very nimble, bold and creative institution. I believe that Quinnipiac can be a model for higher education, preparing young people and professionals for work, life and citizenry in the 21st century.”

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Meanwhile,  Alison Davis-Blake, the former dean of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, has been appointed the eighth president of Bentley University.

As dean of the Ross School, Davis-Blake led a series of curricular and co-curricular innovations including state-of-the-art learning opportunities that improved the student experience, increased applications by 32 percent, received substantial media attention and served as a model for other business schools.

Under her leadership, the school quadrupled the number of undergraduates who study abroad, expanded the school’s footprint with a new MBA program in Los Angeles, increased the proportion of women and underrepresented minorities in the student body, and raised more than $300 million as part of the university’s capital campaign, increasing annual giving by 37 percent.

“Bentley is a university on the rise, with impressive enrollment growth, an educational experience that is both well-rounded and relevant to today’s workplace, and a stunning track record of career placements for graduates,” says Dr. Davis-Blake.

“Bentley’s core business curriculum combined with an emphasis on the arts and sciences differentiates it from business schools around the country. A Bentley education is exactly what the country is asking of higher education today, and I couldn’t be more excited to join the university and continue that momentum.”

Both Davis-Blake and Olian will officially become president of their respective universities on July 1, 2018.

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

_________________

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

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

Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
User avatar
Joined: 03 Nov 2010
Posts: 1322
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Tackling Background Blemishes for the MBA Application  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Feb 2018, 07:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tackling Background Blemishes for the MBA Application
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This post originally appeared on Stacy’s ‘Strictly Business’ MBA blog on U.S. News
When you apply to an MBA program, particularly at a prestigious business school, the admissions committee will scrutinize every element of your background to determine how well-rounded you are and whether you’re up to the program’s academic rigors.

Of course, not every applicant has a sterling backstory, and you may find yourself concerned that something in your past will hurt your chances at your dream school.

Understand, though, that you have time in advance of applying to address blemishes in your past. Here are three common challenges for MBA applicants and ways to overcome them.

• Nonrigorous undergraduate academics: Your ability to handle the MBA coursework is paramount to your academic success – the admissions team will notice if your undergraduate degree is from a university with a party school reputation or if you have a high GPA but the majority of the classes you took were deemed naturally easy.

While reviewing your application, the admissions committee will assess any up and down trends in your transcript and will look for your exposure to and performance in quant classes.

If your undergraduate academics are lacking and you’re a few years removed from student life, your best course of action is to show awareness of these weaknesses and enroll in a calculus or statistics class at a local community college.

You want to show that you can handle the heavy math right now, despite what your transcript may lead the committee to believe. As a busy professional, adding to your workload in this way shows your ability to multitask – a strength worth highlighting.

Also ask your recommenders to specifically emphasize your quantitative abilities in their letters of recommendation. The three-pronged approach – adequate GMAT or GRE score, supplemental college coursework and a sponsor vouching for your skills – should convince the admissions team that your non-rigorous undergrad academics won’t hinder your performance in business school.

• Lack of extracurricular activities: This is a significant red flag for admissions committees that you need to address before applying to business school, especially if you are aiming for admission to the most elite MBA programs.

Part of what makes business school such an enriching experience is the personal and professional growth that occurs when a diverse group of people come together. Often, an applicant’s hobbies and interests outside of work will intrigue the admissions team so much that they have to meet the prospective student.

If that doesn’t sound like you right now, it’s time to make an investment in nurturing another side of your personality.

If you’re struggling to figure out where to spend your time and energy in a way that feels authentic, think about your past passions and interests. Activities or causes that excited you as a teen or child can remain – think of ways to incorporate those interests into your life outside of work and build upon them.

Even if you have a grueling work life that involves a lot of travel or leaves you with an unreliable schedule, find an activity to do on your own.

I have a client who reached out to the career services department at his undergraduate university and offered to mentor students who wanted to follow his similar career path. This was something he set up on his own and could do while traveling, as needed.

If you’re planning to apply to business school for the upcoming admissions season, you may think it’s too late to do anything about scant extracurricular or volunteer work. However, in our experience, even less than a year before your application deadlines is still enough time to address any shortcomings in your involvements outside of work.

• No teamwork: The MBA admissions committee seeks applicants who are both individually capable as well as able to work well with others to reach common goals.

Teamwork is a hallmark at many elite business schools. Some – such as the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business – even require a team-based discussion or exercise as part of the application process so they may directly observe applicants’ skills in this area prior to offering admission.

If your professional experience thus far has included little to no work in teams, you’ll have to dig deeper to find examples you can share with the admissions committee. Luckily, teamwork appears in many forms.

Think back to your college days for experiences within a sorority or fraternity, participation on a sports team, volunteer missions or case competitions. Next, consider your activities after graduation from college. Can you find examples from a volunteer, hobby or community service setting or a time when you took an active role in a political organization or a local campaign?

Understanding the importance of collaboration and teamwork is vital to growing and learning at b-school. Make sure your application contains examples of your ability to play the roles of both leader and team member effectively. The key in your application is to speak to all of the individual attributes that make you a strong candidate and reveal how you will be a great fit once admitted.

If you’re still concerned that your efforts to improve in these three areas will not sufficiently sway the admissions committee, emphasize within your application and during your interview that you have a plan for further improvement during your time at business school through class work and extracurricular activities. This self-awareness and dedication to continual growth will be noted and appreciated.

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

_________________

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

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

Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
User avatar
Joined: 03 Nov 2010
Posts: 1322
Location: Los Angeles, CA
MBA Group Interview Tips  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Feb 2018, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Group Interview Tips
You may have noticed that some of the world’s top MBA programs now use a team-based interview format instead of traditional one-on-one conversations. Why? Because business schools want students who work well with others, and seeing how someone interacts with peers before anyone’s even admitted can be quite illuminating. If you’ve been invited to a group interview, 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
  • Show you’re flexible; if the group doesn’t pick your idea or if the conversation moves in a direction you didn’t anticipate, roll with it and keep the discussion moving forward
  • 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.

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
  • Be completely silent the entire time
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. (Again, this is precisely why some schools like this approach!)

And finally, always remember:

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Did you receive a group interview invitation? Take advantage of Stacy Blackman’s live group practice sessions that are designed specifically for candidates interviewing with Wharton and Ross. You’ll receive preparation tips and a one-hour mock experience, followed by written feedback with actionable advice. Read more about this new service and our other interview-prep resources 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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HBS Launches RISE to Help Alumni Entrepreneurs  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Feb 2018, 14:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HBS Launches RISE to Help Alumni Entrepreneurs
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It’s a well-known yet unfortunate fact that most new ventures fail. Harvard Business School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship aims to change that outcome for the better for its alumni entrepreneurs with the launch of its Rise Program. The Rock Center Rise Program will help HBS graduates in New York City accelerate the growth of their new enterprises.

Among other benefits, the program will help entrepreneurs navigate through the challenges of building culture, hiring employees, developing leadership skills, managing boards, raising funds, optimizing sales and marketing channels, and growing from a handful of employees to hundreds. Participants in the program must have raised a minimum of $1 million in funding, and their company must be revenue generating.

“There is considerable anecdotal evidence regarding how to scale, but resulting advice does not apply across all companies equally,” says Professor Thomas Eisenmann, Faculty Chair of the Rock Center.

“In the RISE program, HBS faculty members, alongside seasoned entrepreneurs, will convey best practices and frameworks to help entrepreneurs address startup challenges that can make or break a company. The program has been developed to leverage extensive faculty research on what it takes to successfully scale an enterprise,” Eisenmann adds.

The first RISE cohort includes the following HBS alumni-founded companies:

Borrowell

Gamer Sensei

IVY

Orchard Mile

Show Score

The Plunge

Trendalytics

Walden Local

“RISE will provide a focused approach for founders to learn from faculty and peers, discuss issues around scaling, and be inspired. Each session will consist of curated content led by our faculty and successful alumni entrepreneurs and investors. At the end of each session, the Rock Center will host a roundtable discussion, where founders can candidly discuss their challenges or offer guidance and advice to peers,” explains Jodi Gernon, Director of the Rock Center

“With this program, founders will be better equipped to handle the rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship.”

Image credit: Michael A. Herzog (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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

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MBA Application Advice for Couples  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Feb 2018, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Application Advice for Couples
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In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re taking a look at a relationship question for power couples considering an MBA: does the couple that studies together really have more fun?
For some professional couples, there comes a time when both partners realize that pursuing an MBA degree is the key to exploring new career paths and accessing an array of high-quality professional opportunities. However, the MBA admissions process is challenging enough for one person, and couples face additional considerations as they figure out their priorities and application strategy.

Finding an MBA program that meets your needs when it comes to learning style, environment, size and so forth, must mesh with your partner’s preferences as well – and this is one of the hardest parts of applying jointly to business school. To avoid any unwelcome compromises or resentments that might damage your relationship, you’ll need to make a list of target programs where you both will be thrilled to study.

Here are tips to help you and your partner successfully navigate the application process and chart your course for career growth as a couple.

• School selection: No two candidates – even couples – are alike when it comes to test scores, leadership experiences, professional background or extracurricular interests. Before applying to b-school, make sure each application is competitive and can stand on its own merit at the schools you plan to target, because the strength of one candidate won’t compensate for an unqualified partner.

In addition to applying to the same set of schools, couples can expand their range of options by focusing on cities or regions where both would thrive. Think in terms of applying to schools in the same area.

For example, you might apply to the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University, the Columbia University Business School in New York City or the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in nearby Philadelphia, or Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business or the University of California—Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in the Bay Area.

Other options include Harvard Business School or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management in the Boston area, or Chicago’s Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management or the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

A smart strategy for couples open to this option is applying to identical schools in Round 1 and then expanding to nearby schools in Round 2 as a backup plan.

Campus visits are also essential for couples, so take the time to get a good feel for each school and connect with current married or partnered students who can provide invaluable insight into their own application experiences and give you a better sense of how accepting the school is of joint applicants.

• Timing your applications: It perhaps goes without saying, but you should both apply in the same round, which makes the decision much easier when you know whether you both got in.

Also, if possible, apply in the first round to leave some wiggle room, if needed. The MBA application process can become all-consuming, and with two people balancing full-time jobs with test prep and essay writing, you might find that one of you is struggling and needs extra time to pull together the best possible application.

A different approach for couples who know the region or city they ultimately want to work in is to stagger your MBA enrollment. One person continues to work while the other goes to business school and then enrolls in an MBA program once the partner has graduated.

• Advising the admissions team: The admissions committee is made up of compassionate human beings, not mere number crunchers. If both applicants are qualified to attend and are a good fit with the program, the admissions committee will usually try to keep couples together.

Some schools explicitly ask in the application if you’re applying jointly with a partner, but even if they don’t, it’s important to share that information with the admissions committee, especially if rejection of one applicant means the partner wouldn’t attend if accepted. Both you and your partner should use the supplemental essay to explain that you’re part of a package deal.

Also, make the admissions team aware of your joint application intentions as early as possible. When attending events on the road or on campus, touch base with representatives to explain your situation and show them why you and your partner would make a great fit for their program.

When it comes to making admissions decisions, your relationship status will likely come into play when the admissions committee is hesitant about just one of you. If the school feels that one candidate is outstanding and knows that he or she will only attend if the partner is also admitted, chances are that both will receive admissions offers.

An MBA is an emotionally intense and enriching experience, and one of the best things about attending business school as a couple is witnessing each other’s growth in this unique environment and taking pride in each other’s accomplishments.

From the support you can give each other during the application process to coming home at the end of each day during the degree process to share and debate your respective classroom experiences, going to business school with your partner may turn out to be the best decision you’ve ever made for both your career and personal life.

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Tuck School Receives $15M Gift for Scholarship Funding  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Feb 2018, 08:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuck School Receives $15M Gift for Scholarship Funding
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Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business has received a gift of $15 million from alumnus Paul Raether and his family in support of scholarship funding. The gift ties the record for the largest philanthropic donation ever given to Tuck.

This historic pledge comes at the end of a banner year for scholarship fundraising for Tuck, the school noted when announcing the news. Tuck alumni in 2017 have pledged or given $20 million for scholarship support, which will substantially strengthen Tuck’s ability to enroll outstanding students who, absent funding, might not attend Tuck.

“This gift will have a tremendous impact on one of Tuck’s most important strategic priorities: enrolling incoming students who aspire to wise leadership, and who will contribute to and thrive in Tuck’s distinctly immersive learning community,” says Luke Anthony Peña, executive director of admissions and financial aid.

The Raethers are long-time and broad supporters of Tuck who have benefited nearly every aspect of the school. Their philanthropy at Tuck includes prior scholarships, faculty endowments, facilities, Tuck Annual Giving, and the innovative Next Step: Transition to Business program for military veterans and elite athletes.

“Over the last 30 years, education has been the biggest emphasis of charitable giving by my wife and me,” said Raether, a member of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. since 1986, “and that really came from both of our parents. Tuck has been a wonderful institution for us and for my daughter and son-in-law, so we are motivated to actively support it. We want Tuck to attract the best and the brightest students, and hopefully this gift will help.”

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

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Tips for 3 Common MBA Interview Questions  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Feb 2018, 11:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tips for 3 Common MBA Interview Questions
Round 2 applicants, get ready for your interviews! Whether you’ve already received an interview invitation or are hoping to get an invite over the next few weeks, you want to make sure you’re prepared to do your best when the big day arrives.

Here are tips for three common MBA interview questions:

Tell me about yourself.
Our first piece of advice: don’t go on and on. It’s easy to do when you’ve been asked such an open-ended question, so make sure you practice your response out loud a few times. There’s no need to recite your life story — talking about where you were born, your family, or your childhood is not what they’re looking for here.

We recommend approaching this question as if they’d asked you to walk them through your resume: quickly summarize the highlights of your college years and then move on to your professional career. Explain why you took the roles you did, what your main responsibilities were, and what you enjoyed or took away from each position. If you’ve stayed at the same company for several years, you could talk about how your responsibilities have increased over time.

Why do you want to go School X?
If you haven’t discussed your short- and long-term career goals by the time you are asked this question, you could begin your response by briefly explaining what you’re hoping to do after graduation. Then you can state the specific skills and knowledge you’ll need to be successful in the future — and how School X can help you fill those gaps.

You should be prepared to mention school-specific examples of courses, clubs, and other aspects of the curriculum that fit with your career goals. In short, do your homework and refresh your memory of School X’s program before your interview!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The worst thing you could say in response to this question is “Nope, we’re good.” Even if you’ve had an hour-long discussion that covered everything under the sun and you’re feeling confident about how things have gone, you still should take this opportunity to reiterate why you’re excited about the program and why you’d be an asset to the incoming class.

And, of course, if there’s something specific about your candidacy that you feel could improve your odds and you haven’t been able to discuss it up to this point, now’s the time to do so.

Our parting advice: be yourself. You want the adcom to admit you for who you really are, right?

Finally, you might want to jot this down the morning of your interview:

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Until next time,

The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting

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

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

_________________

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Bolster Your MBA Candidacy in 3 Key Areas  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Feb 2018, 17:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Bolster Your MBA Candidacy in 3 Key Areas
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Planning to apply to business school this fall or next? Nine or more months out is the perfect moment to take stock of your strengths and weaknesses as a candidate.

There’s still time to make improvements that will help you stay competitive with peers also striving for a place at one of the top MBA programs. Let’s take a look at three common problem areas for b-school applicants, and some solutions to remedy the situation.

Problem: No quant background.

Solution: Provide concrete proof you can handle the math.

An undergrad degree in the humanities is not, in and of itself, a problem. In fact, today’s business schools want to build a class with a diverse range of personalities and backgrounds so as to create the richest possible learning environment. But even the so-called “poets” pursuing an MBA must prove they can handle a rigorous academic course load.

If you’ve already taken the GMAT once or twice and aren’t satisfied with your score, consider a prep course to enhance your skills and remind you how to solve those high school math logic problems. Think about whether your academic profile would benefit from additional college-level coursework, particularly if your undergraduate performance in quantitative courses was weak—or non-existent.

If the answer is yes, your best bet is to sign up for a calculus, micro-economics, or statistics class at your local community college and make sure you ace it.

One of my clients, Jackie, received a conditional acceptance to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, provided she took a calculus course and received a B+ or higher.

MBA candidate Derek overcame his no-quant hurdle by signing up for MBAmath.com, a self-paced online course covering topics relevant to an MBA curriculum. He passed quickly, with flying colors, and was eventually granted admission to the Anderson School of Management at the University of California–Los Angeles. UCLA admissions told Derek that the course made the difference for them in terms of clearing up their concerns.

Problem: No time for extracurriculars.

Solution: Find something you’re passionate about and act on it—now!

In an ideal world, you should have a harmonious work-life balance that allows you to cultivate your hobbies and passions, and to make a difference in your community. In reality, many young professionals find they have zero activities outside of work and often complain of barely having time to go to the gym and catch up with friends during their limited time off.

Tap into something you really care about, perhaps by reconnecting with something that held your interest before, during, or right after college. For Jasmine, sports had been a huge part of life until university. She was an avid lacrosse player and had played competitively through high school, so I asked her to look into community service opportunities that might involve that sport. Jasmine started teaching lacrosse to inner city kids mostly to benefit her MBA application, but she also found the experience incredibly rewarding.

Some may view this as “gaming” the admissions system, but I don’t agree. The organizations benefit from the influx of talented help, and you, the applicant, benefit as you get back in touch with something you’re passionate about other than work. You still have several months to create a meaningful impact before your first-round application deadlines, even if your free time is limited.

Problem: A lack of leadership.

Solution: Find creative ways to show management potential.

If a promotion isn’t in the cards, don’t despair. It’s time to think of other ways you can demonstrate your leadership abilities. When you review your career trajectory, is there any instance where you can claim to be the “first,” “youngest,” or “only” person to have accomplished a particular goal? Have you taken on additional assignments beyond those expected of you?

Take another look at your community involvement. Is there a chance to kick things into high gear by organizing a fundraising event, or taking on a leadership role that will allow you to show a real impact by year’s end?

Find examples where you motivated others, brought out the passions of those working with you, or helped them see organizational priorities in new ways. Business schools want to see you have demonstrated the potential to lead and inspire, so get creative and focus on the concrete ways you have motivated a team toward success.

As you can see, with a little advanced planning and a commitment of just a few hours a week, MBA applicants can do a great deal this spring to bolster their overall candidacy before that final mad rush of the fall and winter.

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

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UT McCombs Inaugurates New Home for Texas MBA Program  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Feb 2018, 12:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UT McCombs Inaugurates New Home for Texas MBA Program
The UT McCombs School of Business is celebrating the long-anticipated grand opening of Robert B. Rowling Hall, its new 497,500-square-foot graduate business education center. Rowling Hall will house the Texas McCombs MBA and M.S. in Technology Commercialization programs.

According to a statement accompanying the opening of its new graduate business facility, Texas McCombs will lead future generations, and influence “…how business leaders will think and behave in a future that is volatile, unknown, and brimming with opportunity.”



The facility is also home to the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs, the John C. Goff Labs, and the Center for Leadership and Ethics, as well as being a site for Texas Executive Education classes and programs.

Rowling Hall will serve as a hub for graduate students to meet with peers, faculty members, recruiters and members of the building community to openly exchange ideas, network and work in teams.

The building will also double the space available for Texas Executive Education programs and, in conjunction with the AT&T Education and Conference Center, increase the convention and conference activities at the university.

A gift of $25 million from Bob Rowling, McCombs alumnus and former regent,  launched the campaign to fund the construction of the building, which broke ground in 2014.

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

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Calculate the Return on Investment of Your MBA Degree  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Feb 2018, 12:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Calculate the Return on Investment of Your MBA Degree
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With the high cost of admission to a top-tier business school, prospective students should determine whether pursuing the MBA degree makes financial sense as a long-term investment. We advise applicants to ask themselves three questions: Will the degree help me switch careers? Can I expect a significant salary increase? Will an MBA help me reach a leadership position sooner?

Paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to earn an MBA sounds painful, but most business school graduates experience a substantial salary increase. The degree also acts as a powerful differentiator in a crowded marketplace. The vast majority of graduates report having greater job satisfaction and the ability to advance quickly and, therefore, earn more in shorter time.

In fact, the Graduate Management Admission Council’s 2016 Alumni Perspectives survey revealed that b-school grads earn a median of US$2.5 million in cumulative base salary over 20 years following graduation. Alumni — on average — recoup their b-school investment within four years after graduation, depending on the type of program attended.

Last fall, when Forbes released its 2017 ranking of the best b-schools based on the ROI of the MBA Class of 2012, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School took the top spot for the first time in this ranking’s history with a 5-year MBA gain of $97,100.  The concentration of graduates moving into the finance and consulting sectors “pushed Wharton’s current total compensation for the class of 2012 to the highest of any school in the world at $225,000.”

Calculating the return on investment requires a simple formula. It’s the return acquired from an investment minus the cost of the investment, divided by the cost of the investment. Students of two-year MBA programs typically have the largest investment expense because they miss two years of employment. They need to recoup the cost of the MBA degree plus the opportunity cost in order to get a positive return on their investment.

Prospective students should consider payback time with projected cumulative growth, and average growth rate, when looking at return on investment as a motivating factor for pursuing an MBA. But keep in mind, the value of the MBA degree varies depending on your post-graduation plans, as well as the brand of the business school where you earn the degree.

Remember, every choice that you make when deciding whether an MBA makes sense for you– ranging from the cost of the city you decide to live in, the field you move into, to the school you choose – will impact your financial return on investment.  Nevertheless, we believe that no other degree can open doors as the MBA does.

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

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MBA Interview Thank-You Notes  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Feb 2018, 08:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Interview Thank-You Notes
Our clients often ask us if they should write thank-you notes to their interviewers. While handwritten messages of appreciation will always be a classy move — and we certainly encourage applicants to write such notes if they’re so inclined — an email message is just as acceptable in this day and age. Plus, you know it will get to your interviewer more quickly, perhaps before they need to turn in their notes or make a final decision about your candidacy (if they’re part of the adcom).

The most important thing is to ensure you have your interviewer’s contact information. This is especially critical if your discussion is taking place on campus and you won’t know who your interviewer is going to be until you arrive. Don’t forget to ask for that person’s business card when you’re wrapping up!

If you’re interviewing with a local alum, then you’ll have already been supplied with their email address.

As for the content of the message, you shouldn’t feel the need to go on and on. There are only two must-includes: 1) thank the interviewer for his or her time and 2) reiterate your interest in the program. If you can throw in a sentence or two that references something you talked about, all the better. But a thank-you note is not the place to try and sell yourself any further or write another mini-essay. The point is to show that you’re excited about and thankful for the opportunity to be considered for a spot in Program X.

Some adcoms need to make accept and denial decisions very quickly, so you shouldn’t let more than 24 hours go by before you send your message. If you interviewed in the morning, send it before the business day is over. If your talk was in the late afternoon or evening, get your email out first thing the next morning.

If you have to type out a quick message from your phone because you’ll be traveling back home after the interview, please don’t forget to read things over carefully to ensure spellcheck or autocorrect didn’t do you wrong. You don’t want the last impression you leave to be a negative one!

Finally, don’t worry if you don’t get a response after you’ve sent your message. Some schools have strict policies regarding post-interview contact with applicants and don’t want to risk their communication being misinterpreted.

Have MBA hopefuls been accepted to their dream programs without writing any sort of thank-you note? Yes, of course. But showing that you have manners and are aware of the proper etiquette is never a bad move — it’s just the right thing to do.

Remember:

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Until next time,

The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting

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

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

_________________

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

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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Professor Profiles: Cornell Johnson’s Drew Pascarella  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2018, 14:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Professor Profiles: Cornell Johnson’s Drew Pascarella
Having the opportunity to learn from the best and brightest minds in business is one of the top motivators for many applicants considering an MBA degree at an elite business school. The professors and lecturers you’ll encounter have worked in the trenches, and bring an incredible wealth of real-world experiences into the classroom setting.

Today, we’re introducing a limited series of interviews on the SBC blog that will allow readers to get to know a bit more about these brilliant professors, what fields most excite them, the trends they foresee, what they enjoy most about teaching at their respective universities, and how it all comes together with their students.

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Let’s kick things off by meeting Drew Pascarella, Lecturer of Finance at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. Pascarella is also Managing Director and Head of East Coast Banking of Vista Point Advisors.

Education: MBA, Johnson at Cornell University

Courses Taught: Faculty Director, Fintech Intensive. Investment Banking Immersion Practicum. Investment Banking Essentials.

What triggered your interest in your subject matter?
I’ve spent over twenty years on Wall Street. Throughout my career, I’ve seen multiple boom and bust cycles, the democratization and digitization of trading, and the consistent redevelopment of one of America’s great export industries: finance. That said, over the past 3-4 years, the pace of change – the revolution we call FinTech – has been unprecedented.

Further, unlike many revolutions, or disruptions, which begin in the labs of the great research universities, FinTech really began on the outside. In garages. In coffee shops. It was started by customers who were untrusting of the current system, and unsatisfied by the products and services they were being offered by the financial services firms I knew so well.

These frustrated customers-turned-founders could also build upon a technology trend that was decades in the making: ubiquitously-distributed, handheld, connected, portable devices with ridiculous processing power and intuitive usability. I had to know more.

What’s changed since you entered the field?
The early disruptions were made by outsiders. Paypal is the classic example. Frustrated customers who were not satisfied by the current suite of products offered to make non-cash payments. In the area of wealth management, Betterment is a great story of a newcomer taking on an entire established industry.

Now, in addition to outsiders marching on the the turf of the establishment, traditional financial services firms are disrupting themselves. They are focused on the customer as never before. Wall Street is not known to lie down when it is challenged; the response has been fascinating to watch.

What do you like about the school you are teaching at?
I love the fact that Johnson chooses to lead. If you think about FinTech, very few MBA programs are currently teaching it. There are student FinTech clubs at many programs, but only a handful of schools have decided to dive in and make FinTech an academic focus. Johnson decided to lead in this area, which, as an alumnus of the school, makes me very proud.

What are you most excited about that’s happening in your field?
The next area to watch is insurance; Insurtech. If you think about how insurance works, large, established insurance companies, with hundreds of years of data, can pretty accurately tell you when you’re going to die, the probability of your house burning down, the chance you’ll crash your car.

But AI is introducing a new set of challenges. What’s the probability that a driverless car will crash and seriously injure a passenger? We have no idea, but there are big data companies that are in the process of building capabilities to figure this out and calculate how much that premium should cost.

Traditional insurance companies have had the benefit of watching their cousins in banking get disrupted; you can be sure they’re doing everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen to them.

Can you speak to interesting trends in your field?
I think it’s safe to say that any repetitive decision that involves a discrete number of choices will become software in the next 10 years. If you think about that, there are very few job functions, inside or outside of financial services, that won’t be impacted. So, where does that leave us?

In many ways, it’s too early to tell, but there will no doubt be great opportunity available both to companies and employees to adapt, evolve, and attack new markets. In my function, the key, then, will be to develop MBA talent that will envisage, understand, and lead the changes as they happen.

Best advice for an aspiring business mogul?
Returning to the conversation about the digitization of repetitive decision making, MBA students need to be more agile and comfortable with change than ever before. Alternatively, they can focus on areas which are likely immune to digitization, such as strategy consulting or M&A.

What can you do in the classroom to best prepare students for the real world?
We hear pretty consistently that our FinTech employers expect our students to be cross-functional, fluent in the language of FinTech, and able to hit the ground running on day one. Our FinTech program was built to meet these expectations.

In addition to the great classroom content we provide, we send our students out to a FinTech client for a field project. We want them to be a part of the disruption from the inside. This field project gives them experience, relevance, and a great story to tell in interviews.

How can business leaders make better decisions?
One of the keys of effective business decisions is empathy. We hear that theme over and over from the FinTech industry leaders we have partnered with for the FinTech Intensive. The historical lack of empathy within the big financial services firms led to poor decision making, which created an opening for smaller, nimbler, more empathetic startups.

The good news is that it’s never to late to learn how to be empathetic; traditional financial services firms have made enormous strides in this regard over the past few years.

Thank you Drew for sharing your time and insights with our readers!

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Transitioning from the Armed Forces? MBA Advice from a Kellogg Veteran  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2018, 15:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Transitioning from the Armed Forces? MBA Advice from a Kellogg Veteran
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Guest post by  Joe Marshall, Admissions Lead for Kellogg Veterans at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management
Transitioning out of the military can be a scary process.  Not only are you giving up the camaraderie and sense of mission that comes from service, but you’re also not sure what’s out there in corporate America and where you best fit.

For many veterans, going to business school is a fantastic opportunity to close skill gaps in functional business knowledge that enable you to better leverage leadership and other qualities honed in service.

However, the decision to apply for an MBA comes with its own set of unknowns. What should I put in my resume?  What schools should I apply to?  How do I knock off the rust from five years spent doing ruck marches instead of math to study for the GMAT?

Luckily, just like in the military, there is a lineage of veterans who have made a similar transition and are happy to assist you not only in getting accepted to an MBA program, but also in finding the right fit for you and your goals.

Here are five lessons I learned from my MBA applications.

Start GMAT Prep Early
For some the GMAT is a one-and-done deal, for others it requires perseverance and multiple attempts to hit that target score. The test covers math and verbal concepts that most veteran applicants have not dealt with in years.

The earlier in the process that you start studying for this test, the greater the likelihood that this part of the application will be in the rear-view mirror as you prepare your resume and essays for submission.

The test is valid for five years, so there is almost no applicant looking at business schools for whom it is “too early” to start studying for the GMAT. If you are still studying for that last retake of the GMAT as application deadlines approach, your essays and other materials will likely suffer as a result.

Reach Out to Veteran Communities at Target Schools
One of the best lessons a young service member can learn is to not unnecessarily recreate the wheel. The same lesson applies to business school applications.  There are veteran communities at every school who were in your shoes just a few years prior.

Find these veteran association websites and connect with their admissions reps.  These clubs, like the Kellogg Veterans Association, for which I serve as Admissions Lead, are happy to help because somebody did the exact same thing for them when they were applying. Do not hesitate to reach out, and more importantly, be prepared to give back in the same way once you hit campus.

Translate Your Resume
An important role these veteran clubs will play is to help translate your resume to properly convey your accomplishments to a wider audience. A common misconception is that your military experience does not give you marketable skills to a civilian employer.

This is certainly not the case, but the problem often lies in how these skills are presented to civilian employers. Work with those who transitioned before you to remove jargon and convey your accomplishments and skills in a manner that will properly demonstrate the value you will bring to that organization.

Tailor Your Essays to the School
For many veterans, it will make sense to work with an admissions consultant to package your story in the most effective way possible.  Each school will have a particular prompt that requires a unique answer that incorporates the school’s culture and distinctive traits.

Work with current students at that school to gain an understanding for what makes that school special and why you would be a great fit.

No matter the approach, starting early in your research pays dividends in the days before the deadline. Admissions reps for clubs will be inundated with essays and calls in the days before the deadline, but have much more time to work on a personal basis in the weeks leading up to it.  Proactive applicants are able to refine and hone their message, leading to more effective essays.

Visit Target Schools
I would strongly discourage anybody from attending a school they did not visit first. You want to get a feel for the community, surrounding area, and whether this is someplace that you would enjoy spending the next two years of your life.

If your travel schedule permits, preview days at schools provide a great opportunity to get a feel for that school long before you even click submit on the application.  Many schools host a military or veteran preview day to showcase the school and answer specific questions and concerns that veterans often have.

Now, Come Check Out Kellogg!
Kellogg is hosting an upcoming Military Preview Day on March 16th at its brand new building, the Global Hub. This event will include a mock class taught by a renowned faculty member, an alumni panel, current-students panel, and presentations from our admissions, career management, and financial-aid departments. 

The event will conclude with a dinner in downtown Evanston with current veteran students. Those in need of lodging can stay with a current student as part of our Sofas for Soldiers program.  Sign up here . Looking forward to seeing many of you in Evanston!

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

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The 5 Hardest MBA Interview Questions and Tips for How to Answer Them  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Mar 2018, 08:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The 5 Hardest MBA Interview Questions and Tips for How to Answer Them
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Although euphoria is the first feeling applicants experience upon receiving an interview invitation from the business school of their dreams, what follow is often a mixture of anxiety, nervousness and, in extreme cases, dread.

If you tank your MBA interview, your odds of admission plummet. You can help ensure that doesn’t happen to you by thoroughly preparing for the exchange and the hardball questions that await.

Some schools famously ask their applicants out-of-left-field questions such as, “If you were a tree, what kind would you be?” While you can’t prepare for every random query, here’s how to prep for five of the toughest yet most common MBA interview questions.

What is your biggest weakness?No one relishes the notion of painting themselves in a less-than-flattering light, so plan to address your weaknesses in a way that shows self-reflection and a dedication to improvement.

If you have a shortcoming from within your application, such as a lack of meaningful community service or middling undergrad academic performance, use the interview to remove doubt about any potential red flags. Explain how you have already begun the hard work of improving on your negative traits and that you have a plan for further betterment while at business school through specific classwork and activities.

Far from being a disservice, this sincerity can actually enhance your shot at admission into a top MBA program. When you convey an honest assessment of your weaknesses, any of your strengths mentioned during the interview will have more credibility.

Tell me about a time you failed.Business schools realize that failure represents a learning opportunity for everyone, from companies to individuals. In this case, the MBA interviewer is asking about a specific event, so choose your anecdote wisely and refrain from sharing pseudo failures that ultimately show your poor judgment.

Your example can come from a professional setting or something from your personal life. We once worked with an applicant from a country that has different ethical standards than the United States regarding plagiarism. During his undergrad at an American university, he was accused of plagiarizing parts of a major college term paper–something that in his home country is quite normal among students. He failed the course and had to repeat it, and the entire experience was hugely humiliating and humbling for him. Ultimately, he turned that negative episode into something positive when he later ran for student government and championed change in plagiarism standards and communications at the school.

When you discuss your failure, acknowledge your role in the incident, explain your reaction and discuss what lessons you learned from the experience or what you wish you could have done differently. Don’t blame others; your overall tone should come across as positive.

As you prepare for MBA admissions interviews, focus on discussing how you used the occasion as an opportunity to grow. It just might be the factor that differentiates your candidacy amid a sea of seemingly “perfect” applicants.

Describe a poor manager you’ve had. This question requires a delicate balance of assigning blame to another person with articulating your thoughts on good management and leadership. Your best bet is to briefly explain, with no bitterness, your issues with the manager and quickly move on to the positives: how you adapted, became empathetic, reached a compromise or confronted the situation to ultimately achieve a favorable outcome.

One of our clients previously worked for a manager with whom she got along well on a personal level but who did not provide constructive feedback on mistakes and frequently opted to just re-do work herself rather than explaining or delegating assignments. Our applicant eventually discovered she was working in a bubble, unwittingly making several errors. This was a blissfully ignorant situation, and not an environment where she could grow her competencies.

Your MBA interviewer uses this question to judge your fitness with the program. In b-school as in life, you will encounter difficult classmates and colleagues. How you handle these types of situations shows your character and how you might behave with your cohort once admitted.

Tell me about an ethical dilemma you faced. MBA programs want to equip students with the ability to analyze business situations that raise moral dilemmas or appear to call for unpopular actions. The ethical dilemma question gives the admissions interviewer a glimpse of your unique moral filter and a gauge on how life has tested you.

Choose your ethical dilemma carefully to make sure the situation has no clear-cut answer – and remember, it doesn’t need to be a large-scale conundrum. Situations that rest in the gray area are most effective with this sort of question, as those circumstances require leadership, nuance and maturity.

For example, we consulted with an applicant who, in a previous position, had discovered that his bosses were fudging the numbers of valuation reports to make a client happy, but which were not truly accurate for investors. He was running numbers and providing data, and he had to decide whether to confront his bosses or the client about the lack of integrity in the reports.

When answering this type of question, you should describe the situation briefly, explain how you responded and the action you took, and then reflect on what you learned from the experience.

The ethical dilemma question on the spot can trip up even the savviest of applicants. Seek input from friends, family or your application adviser to ensure you appear both sincere and mature in the example you’ve chosen.

Tell me about yourself. This seems like the easiest question, but because it’s so open-ended, applicants often ramble and get lost in the weeds. Structure your thoughts and come up with your “elevator pitch,” the one-to-two minute speech where you convey who you are and what motivates you, your education, work accomplishments and passions, why you want an MBA and what professional goals the degree will help you reach.

Your interviewer wants to assess whether you would contribute enthusiastically to the program, so practice your MBA elevator pitch with multiple audiences until it flows effortlessly and sounds conversational, authentic, and most of all, memorable.

A solid MBA interview won’t necessarily get you in, but a poorly conducted one might keep you out of your dream school. Do your interview homework and use these tips to boost your chances. The final step is simply to relax and enjoy the process.

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

_________________

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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Interview Advice for Wharton MBA Applicants  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Mar 2018, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Interview Advice for Wharton MBA Applicants
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Every year, top business schools receive thousands of applications for admission, but they only admit an average of 25% of those who apply.

The story is no different at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where approximately half of all applicants are interviewed, but less than one in 10 are ultimately granted admission — and no student is admitted without an interview.

As consultants who help clients earn admission to top MBA programs, we know first-hand the importance of interviews. They’re a key component of how the admissions committee gets a full picture of you as an applicant, and evaluates whether you’ll fit into the Wharton community.

See our three tips for ensuring your Wharton interview strategy shows your assets and skills off to their best advantage:

1. Prepare for the team-based discussion.
Wharton was among the first business schools in the US to implement a team-based discussion component as part of the interview process, in which five to six applicants discuss a topic while being observed by admissions committee members.

This aspect of the application is designed to get a sense of who you are outside of a well-written essay or even a well-rehearsed interview. Wharton is looking for team players and people who can be analytical while working well with others.

Keep in mind that observers want to see candidates contributing without dominating the discussion; the idea is to see how you might engage in a productive conversation with a group of future classmates. To make a positive impression, be sure to share your point of view, but also listen thoughtfully; respect differing points of view; and bring others into the conversation.

2. Emphasize your experience as an innovator.
Innovation is integral to Wharton’s brand. This doesn’t have to mean you’ve invented the next billion-dollar app or founded a company, but it does denote someone who creates something that has not existed before — whether that’s a new product, process, or way of seeing the world.

To emphasize this aspect of your personality or experience, think of ways you’ve acted as a “change agent” in your workplace or community. Wharton wants students who are dynamic and energized about looking to change industries, economies, and even their countries.

Find examples of how you’ve seen the potential to make things better — and taken action to create positive change.

3. Show your aptitude for thriving in a global environment.
Approximately 40% of Wharton’s students hail from countries outside the US, so awareness and appreciation of other cultures is key to an applicant’s ability to survive and thrive at Wharton and in today’s multinational world of business.

Showing global awareness isn’t necessarily about the number of stamps on your passport. Rather, it’s about showing that you thrive in new and unfamiliar environments, and can successfully navigate the challenges of competing in a global marketplace.

If your career goals transcend borders, be sure to share your planned career path, and if you have experience working with global teams, be prepared with examples of challenges and successes. Above all, an honest curiosity and willingness to learn about other cultures and countries will go a long way.

Ultimately, remember that interviews for Wharton or any other top business school are designed not to be another hurdle standing in the way of your MBA, but as a way for the admissions committee to get to know you better.

The interview allows you to connect the dots of your personal narrative and tell your story in your unique voice. Emphasizing your strengths and experiences as they relate to qualities that are important to each school’s learning community will help show how you’ll fit in and be a contributing member, and indeed an asset, to that school’s learning community.

So if you’re prepared to work well with a team, emphasize innovation in your approach, and share your global perspective, and you could find yourself on the positive side of Wharton’s competitive interview and application process.

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

_________________

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

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

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Interview Advice for Wharton MBA Applicants &nbs [#permalink] 02 Mar 2018, 11:00

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