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Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog

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Leverage your Banking Resume to get an MBA at Harvard, Wharton or Stan  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jul 2018, 06:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Leverage your Banking Resume to get an MBA at Harvard, Wharton or Stanford
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 The strong work ethic associated with investment bankers and money managers and the prestige that comes with working for a big brand are attributes that business schools such as Harvard, Wharton and Stanford covet, as they demonstrate readiness for the rigors of the MBA classroom. In my recent article for eFinancial Careers, I note that MBA admissions officers used to look more favorably upon applicants with financial services experience.

These days, finance candidates have to take a more critical approach to MBA application strategy, as they represent the largest pool of incoming students at top business schools. And while MBA admissions committees do accept applications from oversubscribed populations, they are now focusing more on diversity of profession, gender and nationality, because it enriches peer-to-peer learning and contributes to their success in the rankings. With finance an overwhelmingly male-dominated profession, men in particular have a higher bar to reach in the current MBA admissions climate.

So, how do you rise to the top of a competitive pool when you’re a common commodity? Every element of the MBA application should be optimized if you are to set yourself apart from the financial herd. Here’s how to leverage your banking resume to get an MBA at Harvard, Wharton or Stanford.

Image
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: 2182
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Should Your MBA Application Strategy Include ‘Safety’ Schools?  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2018, 12:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Should Your MBA Application Strategy Include ‘Safety’ Schools?
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The term safety school gets thrown around quite a bit in MBA admissions, and it’s important for applicants to have a clear understanding of what that term means before they start the business school selection process.

The rule when coming up with a list of business schools is that you must feel genuine enthusiasm about attending each and every one of them, regardless of whether they are dream schools or programs you might consider a safer bet. If you would feel disappointed rather than ecstatic about advancing your career by attending a school, then do not apply. That’s a waste of everyone’s time and your money.

A good way to determine whether your list should include one or more safety schools is by asking yourself how important it is for you to go to business school next year. If the need is immediate, then definitely include a range of schools of varying degrees of competitiveness. The application pool fluctuates each year, and all you need is one admit, so spread some risk around.

However, if you’ve zeroed in on a handful of highly competitive programs that you strongly feel are the best choices for advancing your professional goals, and you have some flexibility with the timing, it would be better to focus your energies on the GMAT and elevating your profile in line with your target programs’ characteristics.

What Exactly is a “Safety” School?
A safety school doesn’t mean you’d be guaranteed an offer of admission, though. It merely means your chances are far greater than at a program with an acceptance rate of 15 percent or lower.

So, in order to decide what qualifies as a safety school for you, start with the hard data points. As a general guideline, take a look at programs you like where your profile falls within the top 10 percent of admitted students.

Compare your undergraduate GPA, GMAT score, years of work experience and particular industry with those of accepted applicants reported by the school in their class profile page. If your industry is underrepresented, consider that an advantage for your application.

Everyone has different reasons for applying to business school. Your main focus may be on networking prospects, the educational experience, geographic location, culture, special programming or even family tradition. If you’re excited about any of those elements at a school and would be happy to attend for any of those reasons, then consider it, even if it’s a safe choice.

I had a client who applied to both University of California—Los Angeles Anderson School of Management and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Of the two, Stanford is obviously the more competitive “reach” school, but my client was from Los Angeles and would have been happy to go to Anderson, thus making it a great selection for a safety school.

Ultimately, he did get into Stanford and chose that school over the full scholarship offer he received from UCLA.

Another client faced the difficult decision of remaining on the waitlist at the University of California—Berkeley Haas School of Business, his dream choice, or accepting an offer of admission from the University of Texas—Austin McCombs School of Business, his safety school and one he would be thrilled to attend.

When the waitlist purgatory continued into summer, even after he’d submitted a deposit to hold his place at McCombs, he finally decided to withdraw from the Haas wait list and commit to a sure thing. He was increasingly happy with McCombs as he met his future classmates and weighed the significant financial benefits of in-state tuition.

If you do apply to a range of schools, make sure each is a good fit and that your excitement, level of research and passion for the program comes through in your application regardless of whether it’s a safety school or not. The folks in the admissions committee have typically been at it long enough and can tell when an applicant has lukewarm feelings for them – and that’s the surest way your safe bet will become a bust.

Image
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: 2182
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Writing About Your MBA Career Goals  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2018, 06:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Writing About Your MBA Career Goals
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

You were probably asked this question all of the time as a little kid. Thanks to your business school applications, you’ll have to answer it again. Only now you must envision where you’ll be in your career ten to twenty years out — after you’re armed with an MBA. You’ll also have to detail the path you intend to take to get there.

But how do you go about explaining your short- and long-term career goals if you’re not really sure what you want to be doing in the first place? Maybe you’re pursuing an MBA in hopes that the classes and people you’re exposed to will help that light bulb go on in your head.

Career Goals Can be Flexible
That’s perfectly fine, and you’re certainly not alone. Here’s a little secret: the adcom doesn’t expect you to know exactly what you want to be doing decades from now. And no one’s going to hold you to what you write in your essay. However, your answer to the career goals question is still important. If an applicant doesn’t appear to have given any serious thought to his or her own future, that could be a red flag.

If you already know how you’d like your career to progress, that’s wonderful. But if you aren’t sure about what you want to do, our advice is to spend some significant time thinking about what kind of career would make you happy. More importantly, consider whether or not your dream career is realistic based on your skills and past achievements (combined with what you’ll learn at business school).

If your goal is something general like “running a company,” you need to keep working. Vague responses such as “starting a firm,” “being a CEO” or “launching a nonprofit” won’t differentiate you from other applicants. Think about (and include in your essay!) exactly what kind of company you want to run/launch, WHY you want to do what you want to do, and how you’ll get there; those details are more likely to set you apart.

We’ll leave you with this bit of career-related inspiration:

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SBC Client Testimonial
“I signed up for an all in package with SBC. From my initial conversation with my consultant, I knew I was working with someone who was going to speak their mind, hold me accountable, provide a personalized experience and allow me to put my best foot forward.

My consultant is organized, responsive, and thoughtful. The feedback I received on essays went beyond grammar and editing — my consultant truly took the time to help me craft a strong narrative and has an uncanny ability to take disjointed stories and help craft a strong cohesive essay.

It was clear that my consultant was knowledgeable about the admission process and knew how to take advantage of each competent (resume, data forms, short questions answers). After many many iterations, my materials looked drastically different from start to finish.

The SBC team exceeded my expectations. I can confidently say that without my consultant’s guidance and support, I wouldn’t be going to my dream school in the fall!”

 – Admitted to both HBS and Stanford GSB Class of 2020

See more SBC client testimonials 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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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: 2182
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday Tips: Duke Fuqua Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2018, 10:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Duke Fuqua Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips
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Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business is a community oriented MBA program seeking a diverse class of accomplished students. Fuqua has a relatively new admissions director, Shari Hubert, who has written some excellent blog posts about Duke and what they are searching for in the admissions process.

As Hubert wrote in December 2017, “This place is truly special. It wasn’t long after joining Fuqua in October that I came to that realization, and every day I continue to encounter things that affirm it. … I’ve been struck by how real and authentic everyone is, and getting to know my colleagues and our students has been one of the most enjoyable parts of my job so far.”

Duke is interested in understanding who you are, and asks for a snapshot of your personality with the enduring “25 random things” essay. Along with using this set of essays to tell the story of your personality and background, it is important to demonstrate that you know Duke Fuqua well and are a strong fit with the program. Starting your research and personal networking now will put you in a solid position to prepare the most specific and effective essays.

Stacy Blackman Consulting can help you prepare a compelling, individualized strategy to approach your Duke Fuqua application this year, contact us to learn more.

REQUIRED SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
Instructions: Answer all 3 of the following questions. For each question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).

1. What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?

2. What are your long-term goals?

3. Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?


This career goals essay asks for your plan in three parts. First, you should describe what you plan to do immediately after your MBA. Then you’ll explain the long-term vision for your career. Finally, Duke admits that many career paths are forged through circumstance, and asks you for your Plan B.

Think big picture and focus on the overall story trajectory. What would be the most logical (and interesting) progression from your current skill set and MBA education? How will your next step flow from the combination of those experiences? The career goals essay is about your ability to assess your background and plan your future, not a promise you are required to fulfill.

As you consider your alternative path for this question, think about plans that fit with your background and goals, but show what you could explore if your primary plan doesn’t materialize. Flexibility is a useful character trait in a changing world, and showing that you can adapt is part of the task of this essay.

For example, perhaps you are focused on becoming a marketing executive within the consumer packaged goods industry, such as General Mills. If you don’t find the suitable position after Duke, maybe you would consider marketing for a retailer, such as Target, as your alternate career path because it allows you to develop a marketing career as well.

Or, you may have two disparate interests and want to consider both of them. Perhaps your Plan A is to join a strategy consulting firm after graduation, but if you don’t receive a spot among your top choices you would think about co-founding a start up as another possible path. Think about your range of interests and go from there.

Because you have limited space, you’ll have to boil your plans down in a clear statement of what you plan to do, but ideally any plans are supported by the information provided in your resume, recommendations, and other essays.

FIRST REQUIRED ESSAY: 25 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF
Instructions: Present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed two pages.

For context: Fuqua believes different types of people, points of view, and experiences bring out the best in everyone. And above all, we place a premium on succeeding while making a positive impact on businesses, organizations, and the world. These ways of thinking set the Duke MBA experience apart, and this concept extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of “25 Random Things About Yourself.” As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire’s professional and academic background, so learning these “25 Random Things” helps us get to know someone’s personality, background, special talents, and more.

In this spirit, the admissions committee also wants to get to know you–beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. You can share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU.

This essay is entirely open ended and you can cover topics spanning your personal background, work experiences, values and hobbies. If you have a particularly interesting story in any of those areas, this is the place to tell that story.

Director Hubert has posted her own 25 random things, including items from her famous aunt to her love of vegetables. This list shows her personality and also ranges from the serious to the frivolous. Consider that range as you compose your own list.

Coming up with 25 random things to list in this essay may seem daunting at first. To jumpstart your creative process you may want to brainstorm with friends and family about what is most interesting and memorable about you. Or keep a notebook with you to record thoughts as you go about work and personal activities.

Once you have 25 random things, how do you structure your list? There’s a few possible ways to proceed: chronologically, chunking the list into themes, or even alphabetically.

You may want to organize the list so that it builds from shorter to longer items, or you may want to intersperse some of the 25 random things that require a paragraph explanation between sets of things that are easy to understand in one sentence.

Structuring the list to make it easy to read and follow will be appreciated, but resist the urge to package the list too perfectly. Content is always the most important factor and remember that the primary purpose of this essay/list is to show Duke your multi-faceted life, personality, and interests.

SECOND REQUIRED ESSAY: THE FUQUA COMMUNITY AND YOU
Instructions: Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length.

Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society. Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and are vital to providing you with a range of experiential learning and individual development experiences.



Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community outside of the classroom?


The best essays will be both specific and personal, while demonstrating you have done your homework on Fuqua. While everyone benefits from a diverse alumni network, what specifically do you want to give and receive from your classmates?

If you describe clubs and classes you are attracted to, also offer specific examples from your past experiences to show your consistent personal or professional passions.

Your fit with the program is crucial, and it will be ideal to show the personal qualities that Duke prizes. The Duke MBA program is especially interested in your role within the community, and will place significant weight on this factor. If you research thoroughly and are specific, you should be able to clearly demonstrate why you are going to be strong contributor to Team Fuqua.

This essay can also be a place to talk about how the Duke MBA fits into your career goals. What do you know now that will be enhanced through your MBA education? And what crucial aspects of the skill set required for your future career will be augmented by attending Duke?

However, the main focus should be your community involvement and how you plan to improve the experience of others at Duke both in and outside the classroom.

OPTIONAL ESSAY: TELL US MORE
If you feel there are circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (such as unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance).

Please do not upload additional essays or additional recommendations in this area of the application, and limit your response to one page.

The Admissions committee at Fuqua asks that you use this space only to explain extenuating circumstances, not just to add new information to your application profile. If you have a low GPA, lack a recommendation from your current supervisor or have gaps in work history this is the correct place to address those issues. If you do not have any of those areas to explain, just skip the question and focus on the previous three essays.

When approaching any concerns about your background in the optional essay it’s important to show that your recent performance, whether academic or professional, has demonstrated recovery from the issues of the past.

Your goal is to remove questions from your application and to address in a factual manner any information the admissions committee needs to know to fairly evaluate your application. The essay should convey, in a positive manner, that you know there could be questions about your background but you have thoroughly improved in any areas necessary and are now ready to contribute to the program at Duke Fuqua.

Image
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: 2182
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday Tips: UT McCombs School Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2018, 10:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: UT McCombs School Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips
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The UT McCombs School of Business is a globally recognized MBA program, located in Austin, Texas, a center of technology and business for the region. Entrepreneurship is a huge focus for McCombs, and one of the top 5 concentrations (along with Management Consulting, Clean Tech, Innovation Leadership and Supply Chain & Operations Management). Class size is small and close knit, and the students’ backgrounds are diverse.

Stacey Kammerdiener, Senior Texas Full-Time MBA Admissions Officer, advises prospective students, “Be honest. These essays are our way to learn more about you. Our students value authenticity and we look for essays that reflect your authentic self.” More advice can be found at the Texas MBA Insider blog.

ESSAY ONE
We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation. We want to get to know you further. Please introduce yourself using an essays of 250 words, OR a video introduction of one minute.

For an open-ended essay with a creative option (the video) it can be daunting to think of a topic. Rather than focusing on how you are going to communicate, start thinking about what you want to communicate to the Texas MBA admissions committee by introducing yourself to your new study group.

As the Texas Admissions Blog reminds you, “While your professional life is important, this essay is your opportunity to share who you are outside of the bullet points on your resume.” The best essays will dive deep into your motivations and aspirations, perhaps getting into your cultural background, formative moments in your life and friends, family and colleagues who have influenced you. To identify one or two key stories you may want to tell, think about those pivotal moments of change in your life.

For many people the transition from high school to college and from college to work led to personal change. Others had formative childhood experiences or experiences that led to shifts in perspective like travel or living outside your home country. Any one of these moments could be a good way to illustrate who you are and what motivates you.

Once you have identified the content of your essay you can decide how to present it. A video could give you the opportunity to add elements of emotion, such as humor, that are harder to convey in writing. A video also allows you to include graphics, photos or other visual elements (though you should appear in the video for the bulk of it). If your story fits better into a written narrative you may choose the written essay instead.

If you choose a video essay you will still want to write a script for your video. Think about the bullet points you want to cover, and any important points you need to convey. If you decide to talk into the camera, rehearsing will be especially important, and consider having a friend or family member there so you can talk to a person instead of the camera. If you are able to edit the video after you record footage it will be easier to keep it smooth and on topic. Either way, make sure you take the time to record several takes of the video content so you can choose the best one to submit to McCombs.

ESSAY TWO
Picture yourself at graduation. Describe how you spent your two years as a Texas MBA student, and how that experience helped to prepare you for the post-MBA world. (500 words)

This essay is your opportunity to demonstrate strong fit with the Texas MBA program. As part of your homework before starting this set of essays you have hopefully learned as much as possible about the school, now you can bring in your own aspirations and goals. Use your imagination to think about how you might describe your MBA experience at graduation. You’ll likely have experienced both professional and personal growth, and met interesting people who will be part of your lifelong network. The Admissions Blog reminds you that “We have also already reviewed your short and long term goals. Essay two is meant to explain to us how you believe McCombs will help get you there.”

To help you get started, research some of the unique opportunities at McCombs like the Venture Labs, if you have entrepreneurial dreams, and The MBA+ Program, with opportunities to work with influential companies through a variety of touch points. Being part of the city of Austin is another unique benefit to the program that you may want to consider in the context of your background and goals.

For example, perhaps you were interested in working for a major technology firm to learn product manager skills to use in starting your own business. While at McCombs you might have tested ideas with the Venture Labs, and also consulted for major companies like Adobe or HP to learn how large companies worked. These experiences were likely formative as you made career plans.

Don’t forget the personal – McCombs has an active and engaged student culture with many student organizations you likely joined. And your classmates and friends you made in the program were definitely an influence as well.

OPTIONAL STATEMENT
Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words)

This optional essay provides space for you to add your own context to any information that should be explained to the admissions committee. Some areas that may need explanation are: lower than average test score, any grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation or a significant resume gap, you can explain here. Keep your explanation concise and factual, and focused on context for the issue rather than excuses.

Stacy Blackman Consulting can provide personalized, strategic guidance for your Texas MBA application. Contact us to learn more.

Image
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: 2182
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday Tips: Duke Fuqua Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2018, 19:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Duke Fuqua Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips
Image
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business is a community oriented MBA program seeking a diverse class of accomplished students. Fuqua has a relatively new admissions director, Shari Hubert, who has written some excellent blog posts about Duke and what they are searching for in the admissions process.

As Hubert wrote in December 2017, “This place is truly special. It wasn’t long after joining Fuqua in October that I came to that realization, and every day I continue to encounter things that affirm it. … I’ve been struck by how real and authentic everyone is, and getting to know my colleagues and our students has been one of the most enjoyable parts of my job so far.”

Duke is interested in understanding who you are, and asks for a snapshot of your personality with the enduring “25 random things” essay. Along with using this set of essays to tell the story of your personality and background, it is important to demonstrate that you know Duke Fuqua well and are a strong fit with the program. Starting your research and personal networking now will put you in a solid position to prepare the most specific and effective essays.

Stacy Blackman Consulting can help you prepare a compelling, individualized strategy to approach your Duke Fuqua application this year, contact us to learn more.

REQUIRED SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
Instructions: Answer all 3 of the following questions. For each question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).

1. What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?

2. What are your long-term goals?

3. Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?


This career goals essay asks for your plan in three parts. First, you should describe what you plan to do immediately after your MBA. Then you’ll explain the long-term vision for your career. Finally, Duke admits that many career paths are forged through circumstance, and asks you for your Plan B.

Think big picture and focus on the overall story trajectory. What would be the most logical (and interesting) progression from your current skill set and MBA education? How will your next step flow from the combination of those experiences? The career goals essay is about your ability to assess your background and plan your future, not a promise you are required to fulfill.

As you consider your alternative path for this question, think about plans that fit with your background and goals, but show what you could explore if your primary plan doesn’t materialize. Flexibility is a useful character trait in a changing world, and showing that you can adapt is part of the task of this essay.

For example, perhaps you are focused on becoming a marketing executive within the consumer packaged goods industry, such as General Mills. If you don’t find the suitable position after Duke, maybe you would consider marketing for a retailer, such as Target, as your alternate career path because it allows you to develop a marketing career as well.

Or, you may have two disparate interests and want to consider both of them. Perhaps your Plan A is to join a strategy consulting firm after graduation, but if you don’t receive a spot among your top choices you would think about co-founding a start up as another possible path. Think about your range of interests and go from there.

Because you have limited space, you’ll have to boil your plans down in a clear statement of what you plan to do, but ideally any plans are supported by the information provided in your resume, recommendations, and other essays.

FIRST REQUIRED ESSAY: 25 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF
Instructions: Present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed two pages.

For context: Fuqua believes different types of people, points of view, and experiences bring out the best in everyone. And above all, we place a premium on succeeding while making a positive impact on businesses, organizations, and the world. These ways of thinking set the Duke MBA experience apart, and this concept extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of “25 Random Things About Yourself.” As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire’s professional and academic background, so learning these “25 Random Things” helps us get to know someone’s personality, background, special talents, and more.

In this spirit, the admissions committee also wants to get to know you–beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. You can share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU.

This essay is entirely open ended and you can cover topics spanning your personal background, work experiences, values and hobbies. If you have a particularly interesting story in any of those areas, this is the place to tell that story.

Director Hubert has posted her own 25 random things, including items from her famous aunt to her love of vegetables. This list shows her personality and also ranges from the serious to the frivolous. Consider that range as you compose your own list.

Coming up with 25 random things to list in this essay may seem daunting at first. To jumpstart your creative process you may want to brainstorm with friends and family about what is most interesting and memorable about you. Or keep a notebook with you to record thoughts as you go about work and personal activities.

Once you have 25 random things, how do you structure your list? There’s a few possible ways to proceed: chronologically, chunking the list into themes, or even alphabetically.

You may want to organize the list so that it builds from shorter to longer items, or you may want to intersperse some of the 25 random things that require a paragraph explanation between sets of things that are easy to understand in one sentence.

Structuring the list to make it easy to read and follow will be appreciated, but resist the urge to package the list too perfectly. Content is always the most important factor and remember that the primary purpose of this essay/list is to show Duke your multi-faceted life, personality, and interests.

SECOND REQUIRED ESSAY: THE FUQUA COMMUNITY AND YOU
Instructions: Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length.

Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society. Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and are vital to providing you with a range of experiential learning and individual development experiences.



Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community outside of the classroom?


The best essays will be both specific and personal, while demonstrating you have done your homework on Fuqua. While everyone benefits from a diverse alumni network, what specifically do you want to give and receive from your classmates?

If you describe clubs and classes you are attracted to, also offer specific examples from your past experiences to show your consistent personal or professional passions.

Your fit with the program is crucial, and it will be ideal to show the personal qualities that Duke prizes. The Duke MBA program is especially interested in your role within the community, and will place significant weight on this factor. If you research thoroughly and are specific, you should be able to clearly demonstrate why you are going to be strong contributor to Team Fuqua.

This essay can also be a place to talk about how the Duke MBA fits into your career goals. What do you know now that will be enhanced through your MBA education? And what crucial aspects of the skill set required for your future career will be augmented by attending Duke?

However, the main focus should be your community involvement and how you plan to improve the experience of others at Duke both in and outside the classroom.

OPTIONAL ESSAY: TELL US MORE
If you feel there are circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (such as unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance).

Please do not upload additional essays or additional recommendations in this area of the application, and limit your response to one page.

The Admissions committee at Fuqua asks that you use this space only to explain extenuating circumstances, not just to add new information to your application profile. If you have a low GPA, lack a recommendation from your current supervisor or have gaps in work history this is the correct place to address those issues. If you do not have any of those areas to explain, just skip the question and focus on the previous three essays.

When approaching any concerns about your background in the optional essay it’s important to show that your recent performance, whether academic or professional, has demonstrated recovery from the issues of the past.

Your goal is to remove questions from your application and to address in a factual manner any information the admissions committee needs to know to fairly evaluate your application. The essay should convey, in a positive manner, that you know there could be questions about your background but you have thoroughly improved in any areas necessary and are now ready to contribute to the program at Duke Fuqua.

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Tuesday Tips: UT McCombs School Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2018, 19:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: UT McCombs School Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips
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The UT McCombs School of Business is a globally recognized MBA program, located in Austin, Texas, a center of technology and business for the region. Entrepreneurship is a huge focus for McCombs, and one of the top 5 concentrations (along with Management Consulting, Clean Tech, Innovation Leadership and Supply Chain & Operations Management). Class size is small and close knit, and the students’ backgrounds are diverse.

Stacey Kammerdiener, Senior Texas Full-Time MBA Admissions Officer, advises prospective students, “Be honest. These essays are our way to learn more about you. Our students value authenticity and we look for essays that reflect your authentic self.” More advice can be found at the Texas MBA Insider blog.

ESSAY ONE
We will learn a lot about your professional background through your resume and letter of recommendation. We want to get to know you further. Please introduce yourself using an essays of 250 words, OR a video introduction of one minute.

For an open-ended essay with a creative option (the video) it can be daunting to think of a topic. Rather than focusing on how you are going to communicate, start thinking about what you want to communicate to the Texas MBA admissions committee by introducing yourself to your new study group.

As the Texas Admissions Blog reminds you, “While your professional life is important, this essay is your opportunity to share who you are outside of the bullet points on your resume.” The best essays will dive deep into your motivations and aspirations, perhaps getting into your cultural background, formative moments in your life and friends, family and colleagues who have influenced you. To identify one or two key stories you may want to tell, think about those pivotal moments of change in your life.

For many people the transition from high school to college and from college to work led to personal change. Others had formative childhood experiences or experiences that led to shifts in perspective like travel or living outside your home country. Any one of these moments could be a good way to illustrate who you are and what motivates you.

Once you have identified the content of your essay you can decide how to present it. A video could give you the opportunity to add elements of emotion, such as humor, that are harder to convey in writing. A video also allows you to include graphics, photos or other visual elements (though you should appear in the video for the bulk of it). If your story fits better into a written narrative you may choose the written essay instead.

If you choose a video essay you will still want to write a script for your video. Think about the bullet points you want to cover, and any important points you need to convey. If you decide to talk into the camera, rehearsing will be especially important, and consider having a friend or family member there so you can talk to a person instead of the camera. If you are able to edit the video after you record footage it will be easier to keep it smooth and on topic. Either way, make sure you take the time to record several takes of the video content so you can choose the best one to submit to McCombs.

ESSAY TWO
Picture yourself at graduation. Describe how you spent your two years as a Texas MBA student, and how that experience helped to prepare you for the post-MBA world. (500 words)

This essay is your opportunity to demonstrate strong fit with the Texas MBA program. As part of your homework before starting this set of essays you have hopefully learned as much as possible about the school, now you can bring in your own aspirations and goals. Use your imagination to think about how you might describe your MBA experience at graduation. You’ll likely have experienced both professional and personal growth, and met interesting people who will be part of your lifelong network. The Admissions Blog reminds you that “We have also already reviewed your short and long term goals. Essay two is meant to explain to us how you believe McCombs will help get you there.”

To help you get started, research some of the unique opportunities at McCombs like the Venture Labs, if you have entrepreneurial dreams, and The MBA+ Program, with opportunities to work with influential companies through a variety of touch points. Being part of the city of Austin is another unique benefit to the program that you may want to consider in the context of your background and goals.

For example, perhaps you were interested in working for a major technology firm to learn product manager skills to use in starting your own business. While at McCombs you might have tested ideas with the Venture Labs, and also consulted for major companies like Adobe or HP to learn how large companies worked. These experiences were likely formative as you made career plans.

Don’t forget the personal – McCombs has an active and engaged student culture with many student organizations you likely joined. And your classmates and friends you made in the program were definitely an influence as well.

OPTIONAL STATEMENT
Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words)

This optional essay provides space for you to add your own context to any information that should be explained to the admissions committee. Some areas that may need explanation are: lower than average test score, any grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation or a significant resume gap, you can explain here. Keep your explanation concise and factual, and focused on context for the issue rather than excuses.

Stacy Blackman Consulting can provide personalized, strategic guidance for your Texas MBA application. Contact us to learn more.

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Georgetown McDonough Introduces Flex MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2018, 11:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Georgetown McDonough Introduces Flex MBA
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Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business has announced it is adding greater flexibility to its part-time MBA with innovations in the use of technology, delivery of courses, and adjustable duration to ensure working professionals can better balance their career commitments with their personal commitments. The new Flex MBA is the evolution of the school’s Evening MBA. Applications are now open for the program, which will begin in the fall of 2019.

“At Georgetown, we value cura personalis, or care for the whole person. It’s important to us that students can concurrently gain an education, advance their careers, and remain connected to family and friends,” said Prashant Malaviya, senior associate dean for MBA programs.

Students Can Select the MBA Program Format that Works for Them
“There is more than one way to successfully deliver an MBA program. By adding flexibility to our MBA format while retaining our close-knit cohort community, high-quality education, and signature learning experiences, we ensure that our students co-create the program that is the right fit for them,” Malaviya added.

The new Flex MBA is a continuation of the school’s Evening MBA offering, which has been one of the nation’s premier part-time MBA programs since 2005. It will retain its commitment to a cohort format and an identical curriculum to the school’s highly ranked Full-time MBA, including the foundational Structure of Global Industries course in the opening term and the capstone Global Business Experience consulting project.



The program’s flexibility comes from three new features. First, the school is infusing innovations in the use of technology to adapt several electives into a hybrid format, with on-campus class sessions supplemented with virtual ones. These courses allow for less travel time to and from campus and provide a way for students who travel for work, have a long commute, or have other personal and professional obligations to continue to participate in their classes in a more flexible delivery method.

Second, the program will offer a more flexible schedule for delivery of its courses, with select electives now offered on Saturdays to ease students’ weekday commitments and commute time. There also will be more times during the course of the program when one- and two-week-long Intensive Learning Experience (ILE) courses are available to part-time students.

Third, while the traditional timeline to complete the program is three years, the program can now potentially be completed in as little as 28 months or as long as five years. For students who have completed prior graduate coursework, they can request approval to transfer up to 12 credit hours into the program to shorten the duration required to complete the degree.

Meeting MBA Student Lifestyle Needs
“Our new Flex MBA is a reflection of market research and feedback we’ve received from prospective students,” said Shelly Heinrich, interim associate dean for MBA Admissions. “The need for greater flexibility often comes from work responsibilities that vary in intensity through the year, impending military deployments or changes in duty station, the desire to complete a degree while balancing demands of raising a family, and budget constraints. The Flex MBA meets these needs so our students can focus on what’s most important to them.”

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USC Marshall School Fall 2019 Application Deadlines  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2018, 10:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: USC Marshall School Fall 2019 Application Deadlines
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The Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California has posted the following MBA application deadlines for the 2018-19 admissions season.

Round 1
Application due: October 15, 2018

Decision released: December 31, 2018

Round 2
Application due: January 5, 2019

Decision released: March 31, 2019

Round 3
Application due: March 1, 2019

Decision released: May 15, 2019

Round 4
Application due: April 15, 2019

Decision released: June 15, 2019

Round 5
Rolling Admissions*

*USC Marshall will continue to accept applications after April 15, 2019. Applications received after this date will be considered on a first-come, first-served and space-available basis.

For more information about applying, please visit the USC Marshall MBA admissions website.

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Best MBA Essay Writing Strategies  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2018, 06:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Best MBA Essay Writing Strategies
Have you heard of the STAR interview technique? It’s when an interviewer asks you a behavioral question (which usually begins, “Tell me about a time when you…”) and you respond by laying out the Situation, the Task you were given, the Action you took, and then the Result you achieved. It’s an excellent method for MBA hopefuls to leverage in adcom or alumni interviews.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember:

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***

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Tuesday Tips: UNC Kenan-Flagler Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2018, 06:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: UNC Kenan-Flagler Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips
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University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School offers a flexible program with multiple ways to earn an MBA. With a world-class university offering resources beyond the MBA program, Kenan-Flagler touts a strong career focus, with a dedicated team to design a personalized career plan for you.

In addition, there is a global focus and several global immersion opportunities with each program at Kenan-Flagler. Students love the environment in Chapel Hill, a beautiful college town, and enjoy the friendly and welcoming atmosphere at UNC.

QUESTION 1: REQUIRED (500 words)
Please respond to the questions below that will assist us in learning more about you:

• Tell us what your immediate career goals are and how you will benefit personally and professionally from earning an MBA at Kenan-Flagler Business School.

• As the business world continues to evolve, circumstances can change and guide you in a different direction. Should your goals that you provided above not transpire, what other opportunities would you explore?

The main required question for UNC asks a basic career goals question and also for a “Plan B.”


The first part of the question focuses on the short term, asking for a very clear link between your immediate career goals and your MBA. Due to Kenan-Flagler’s focus on the perspective of recruiters and your career advancement, this focus on the short term helps the admissions committee to understand if you are realistic about your career goals.

Another important part of this question is to explain why an MBA at Kenan-Flagler will benefit you both personally and professionally. Thorough school research will help you to answer this question with details of courses and clubs you are interested in.

Beyond your own growth, think about the contribution you will make to the Kenan-Flagler community. Think about clubs or activities you will join and what you will do to enhance the experience of other students.

Because everyone’s life takes twists and turns that may not have been planned, Kenan-Flagler wants to know if you have a Plan B that is as well thought out as your Plan A. If you want to work in consulting, but you aren’t able to land a job at the firm you prefer, perhaps you will pursue a role as in-house strategy in your target long-term industry.

Finally, make sure that you have career goals that require an MBA and that you can cite specific classes, professors and programs at UNC that will help you achieve your goals.

QUESTION 2: REQUIRED (250 words)
The UNC Kenan-Flagler community lives by its core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork.

• Pick a core value that resonates most deeply with you.

• Identify the most challenging situation that you have encountered and how you responded while upholding that core value.


This question will give the admissions committee a sense of how you think and behave. You may want to choose your challenging situation and then think about which UNC Kenan-Flagler community core value this experience embodies.

For example, if you were challenged because you were working with a manager or team who asked you to obscure or lie about company results, that would be a challenge to your integrity. If you struggled with a difficult teammate, you likely showed leadership or teamwork to resolve the situation.

Excellence can be demonstrated in many situations, such as innovating or creating a new line of business or product, but in this case it is likely to be more impressive if your excellence was also joined by integrity and leadership or teamwork (rather than just a sense of perfectionism).

Whatever the topic you choose, make sure you are specific about how you felt, what was said, the actions you took and the results of those actions.

QUESTION 3: OPTIONAL (300 words)
Is there any additional information not presented elsewhere in your application that you would like the admissions committee to consider? Optional areas to address include:

• If you have not had coursework in the core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), how will you prepare yourself?

• Inconsistent academics, gaps in work, or low standardized test scores

• Choice of recommenders


Kenan-Flagler has supplied a few areas that may be gaps to fill for the admissions committee. If you do not have the requisite coursework listed, you may have gained training through work that will result in the same preparation. If you do not have the preparation through work or courses, it may be worth registering for continuing education classes and informing the admissions committee in this essay.

Lower than average test scores or grades below a C in undergraduate can be explained in a similar way – describe what you have done or achieved that shows you are prepared for a full-time MBA program.

Gaps in work can be concerning to many applicants, but taking time to travel, spend time with family, change careers or to pursue personal interests are all legitimate reasons to take a break from your career. If you were laid off or your company had challenges, it may be an interesting opportunity to describe how you handle adversity.

Recommenders other than a current or former supervisor should be explained as well. Ideally your recommender can speak to your abilities and achievements and adds a different perspective than the other recommenders.

If interested, you can gain more information about the executive MBA, and online MBA and executive development at the admissions website.

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Doing an MBA in The Big Apple  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2018, 06:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Doing an MBA in The Big Apple
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Are you contemplating both NYU’s Stern School of Business and Columbia Business School for your MBA degree in the commercial dynamo that is New York City? I recently shared my thoughts on this tough decision in an article published by Find MBA.

NYC’s urban business setting is definitely an advantage for many career paths, including finance. At both Columbia and NYU, accessibility to recruiters and world-class industry experts and professors is unparalleled.

Why Columbia Business School Rocks
While Columbia’s academics are certainly on par with other top tier schools, its status as the only Ivy League business school based in Manhattan draws the most accolades from graduates. As the school claims, New York’s flourishing financial community — which includes Wall Street and thousands of multi-national corporations — is a “living laboratory” for students interested in discovering the business world up close through internships and frequent visits from top CEOs.

While Columbia’s academic strength is its Finance department, graduates from the program tend to have well-rounded interests, international connections, and a solid network of alumni willing to help them explore all their options.

Says one graduate: “Columbia Business School uniquely combines competition with cooperation — many times my fellow students sent me copies of their class notes before exams, and we studied together with ease. However, we all fought to make our best possible effort and to land the best job interviews possible.”

Why NYU Stern is Awesome
NYU boasts a diverse program, with full-time and part-time offerings for working professionals as well as a PhD program and even an undergraduate major. Students have the opportunity to learn from experts, studying with professors who are regularly quoted in The Wall Street Journal.

Case studies become real world experiences when students can examine an issue and then visit that business some mere blocks away. NYU Stern is committed to providing a top tier business education in the heart of the most diverse, vibrant business center of North America and its central location allows both full-time and part-time students to draw heavily from the city’s resources.

NYU typically shows more flexibility in admitting candidates. The school is more willing than Columbia to accept a candidate whose employer is not well-known or whose GMAT score is not high. One potential upside of this relative flexibility by NYU is that the program tends to attract a down-to-earth, humble student class.

“Any sign of competitiveness or arrogance was a turn off,” says a former NYU admissions officer who works at SBC. “We also were sensitive to those ‘leaders’ that were pushy or always needing to lead.”

Read more about NYU Stern vs. Columbia Business School, including a career outcomes comparison, on Find MBA.

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Professor Profiles: USC Marshall’s Pai-Ling Yin  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2018, 07:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Professor Profiles: USC Marshall’s Pai-Ling Yin
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.

In our new limited series of professor interviews on the SBC blog, readers will get to know a bit more about these brilliant academics, 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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Meet Pai-Ling Yin, Assoc. Professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship and Director of the Technology Commercialization Initiative at the USC Marshall School of Business.

Education: PhD, Stanford University; MSc, London School of Economics; BA, BS, Indiana University

Courses Taught: Tech Commercialization, Tech Entrepreneurship, Structured Analysis for Unstructured Problems, Problem Solving & Decision Making: An Integrative Approach, The Global Context of Business, Capstone Course

What triggered your interest in your subject matter?
I started studying mobile apps because they represented the power of technology and platforms to lower costs and accessibility and permit widespread engagement in entrepreneurship and innovation.

What do you like about the school you are teaching at?
The supportive culture of the Trojan Family is the type of organizational asset that firms struggle to achieve. Faculty and students call on alumni, who always pick up the phone and help when they can. The alums often say, “I remember that someone in the Trojan Network took time out of their busy lives to talk to me, so I pay it forward.”

How do you leverage technology in your classroom?
For the past two years, I have coordinated with NASA, US Navy, and US Stevens Center for Innovation to have students come up with commercialization plans for patented technologies. We are literally trying to use the classroom to bring technology from the lab to the market.

What can you do in the classroom to best prepare students for the real world?
My classroom is a safe space where students can practice analytical and persuasive communication. Discussion is how we practice giving and synthesizing feedback to move others towards our goal. Each moment spent in class is an opportunity to practice this vital skill in the rare and precious context of motivated peers.

Can you speak to interesting trends in your field?
The way humans interact with computing will change dramatically in the next few years with augmented and virtual reality. Los Angeles will be a locus of the new applications arising to take advantage of these technologies, since the talent for creating immersive storytelling experiences is right here in the movie-making industry.

How can business leaders make better decisions?
 Practice the Principle of Charity from philosophy: put yourself in the shoes of someone opposed to their decision. What is the best argument you can make for their side? If you can defend against that argument, you’ve probably got a strong case.

Best advice for an aspiring business mogul?
Strategy is about knowing what you DON’T do: To which customers, investors, advisors, partners and potential employees do you say no?

What’s the impact you want to leave on your students? … On the world?
I hope that my students all pause before making any decision. I want them to make decisions more slowly, because they take the time to consider the impact on the welfare of all stakeholders: themselves, employees, investors, customers, partners, and the global community.

Thank you so much Professor Yin for sharing your insights and experiences with our readers!

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Re: Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2018, 11:14
Dear admissions experts,

I would like to share my profile with you so that I could get some insight about the next step of my application process.

Overview- I am a Kuwaiti who has studied in the UK but has since moved back to work in the middle east.

My educational background:

I graduated from Durham University in the UK (top tier university in case you don’t know the UK education system), with an Upper-Second Class Bachelors in Modern Languages and Cultures.

First attempt GMAT (August 2016): 680 *can’t remember quant and verbal as I cancelled my score, but it was somewhere in the region of 46 Q 37 V

Work experience:

At university I set up my own music promotion business. (sold my stake in it to move back to the middle east)

Since graduating, I have spent 3 years running my family retail business in Kuwait and Iraq.

I have taken the business as far as I can and in two months I am joining one of the MBB consulting firms as an associate out of one of their middle east offices.

I have two questions I would really appreciate help with.

1) Main question is, considering my profile, how badly do I need to take the GMAT again in order to score a 730, which is my target score. My target school is HBS, but I am also interested in Wharton, Stanford and Columbia.

My second question is, if I do need a higher test score, whether I should take the GMAT or the GRE. I am currently prepping for another attempt at the GMAT, and have got myself back to the 680 range in my practice test. I have also just taken a GRE practice test and score a 163 Q and 157 V (I made some silly mistakes in the verbal format and didn’t realise you had to choose two answers for some questions). I find the GRE more suitable to my skills, and was wondering with my profile which exam you think would be better, if there is a difference at all that is.

Any advice would be highly appreciated.

Kind regards,


Yousef
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Is There a ‘Right’ Age for Business School?  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2018, 07:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Is There a ‘Right’ Age for Business School?
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The profile of the typical business school applicant has changed significantly over the past decade. Once upon a time, few would contemplate applying without first having the requisite five to seven years of work experience under their belts. The prevailing wisdom held that older candidates would have more to contribute to class discussions because of their substantial real-world experience.

Flash forward to today and you’ll see many business schools courting younger candidates, including those with no work experience. The reason for this shift is that business schools fear some applicants would attain so much success after only a few years that they would not want to go back for an MBA.

Some candidates really are ready for business school right after graduating from college; some have started a company while in school, played a strong role in a family business, or gained relevant experiences in other areas.

But as more MBA programs welcome younger applicants, and in some cases have designed programs geared toward younger students—such as Harvard Business School‘s 2+2 Program, Yale School of Management‘s three-year Silver Scholars MBA Program, and the deferred enrollment option for college seniors offered by the Stanford Graduate School of Business—anyone over age 28 may feel that she or he doesn’t stand a chance of getting in.

When a client asks, “Am I too old (or too young) for an MBA?” we tell them that it’s not about chronological age. It’s more about maturity, readiness, and where you are in your career. Sometimes these things can be linked to age, but that’s not a certainty.

Instead, think about what you want to gain from and what you can contribute to an MBA program. You may be 22 but have a ton of insight to share and highly focused career goals. That would give you a leg up on the 28-year-old who is lost and just using the MBA as something to fill the time.

CHALLENGES FOR OLDER MBA APPLICANTS
If you’re contemplating business school in your mid-30s, the key is to demonstrate confidence, how you’ve progressed professionally, and what you’ve contributed on the job. A 38-year-old candidate who has spent more than a decade in the same position without showing progression will have a hard time being admitted to a top MBA program.

This is not because of age. Rather, it is because the candidate may not demonstrated growth during that time. If you’re applying to an elite school like Harvard, which values great leadership, you should’ve already developed terrific leadership skills. Many people with great leadership skills have achieved so much by the time they near 40 that they’re not interested in going back to school.

However, if one of these people is interested and can demonstrate great achievement balanced with a legitimate need or desire to return to school, then they have a good chance. Proving that you are a strong and accomplished 40-year-old leader, and balancing that with the fact that you want to improve in order to get to the next step, is tough to pull off. That said, “old” people are admitted every season!

CHALLENGES FOR YOUNGER MBA APPLICANTS
Younger applicants, meanwhile, have their own set of obstacles to overcome. They’ll need to demonstrate to the admissions committee that they have the focus and maturity required to succeed in an MBA program.

Since a huge part of the b-school classroom experience is the exchange of ideas from diverse individuals, younger candidates will also need to prove that they have enough life experience to contribute to an incoming class. Business schools are looking for authentic experience, not just students who subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. Finally, younger applicants will need to show an admissions team they have a strong reason for returning to school so soon after graduation.

Regardless of whether you are young or old, if you can achieve what is written above, you will have a good chance of getting into a program that is the right fit for you. Your age should never be the sole deciding factor of whether to apply to business school.

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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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What Does the MBA Admissions Committee Really Want  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Aug 2018, 07:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What Does the MBA Admissions Committee Really Want
When you’re hard at work on your MBA applications, it’s easy to get caught up in what sounds great to you, or what seems impressive to your friends, co-workers or parents—especially when you’re targeting top business school programs like Harvard Business School and Wharton. But what you really need to be doing is considering your business school materials from the admissions committee’s point of view.

Granted, it can be tough to form a truly objective opinion of your own candidacy. For example, some candidates think that if they have a high undergraduate GPA, aced the GMAT and have been successful in their career so far, their admission is all but guaranteed to the top programs. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

How to Differentiate Yourself in MBA Admissions
The majority of candidates who apply to the leading business schools are bright, personable overachievers who would be an asset to any program. Adcoms see literally thousands of deserving profiles come across their desks each year.

That’s why you need to think beyond your obvious achievements and differentiate yourself through your essays and interviews by picking stories and experiences that are memorable and unique. This becomes even more critical if you’re in an industry that typically makes up a bigger portion of the applicant pool, such as investment banking or consulting.

Having said all of that, if you’re so down about your shot at getting into a certain school that you’re considering not even applying there in the first place, take heart. While the process is extremely competitive, you shouldn’t count yourself out before the game even begins. Chances are your humility is a trait the adcom would appreciate.

Focus on highlighting what you can share with your classmates that would be valuable to them — experience or knowledge that others can learn and benefit from. Look at your application from the viewpoint of the people who are charged with putting together a diverse group of outgoing students. How will you enlighten your classmates over the next two years?

Here’s one way to think about it:

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Freaked out about your essays? Make sure you’ve read Stacy’s tips for ALL top programs here!

Planning to start your own company after graduation? Make sure you’ve read the Financial Times’ 2018 list of top entrepreneurship programs.

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

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Tuesday Tips: CMU Tepper School Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2018, 06:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: CMU Tepper School Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips
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Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business continues to ask for only one required essay for the MBA application, though has expanded the options for that essay this year. Your resume, transcripts, recommendations and other application data will tell the story of your career achievement and academic accomplishments, so the essay should describe your character and personality.

CMU Tepper has a new building called the Tepper Quad, which delivers a campus with several interconnected parts. Tepper considers the program to be interdisciplinary and embraces unique centers like Sustainability & Architecture, Technology and a start up incubator. As part of the new Tepper Quad space, CMU will look to increase the size of the Tepper school.

The Tepper community is diverse with various goals, and Tepper is not looking for one particular profile, but rather candidates who are willing to engage with a tight-knit community and are interested in a highly analytical course structure.

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

REQUIRED ESSAY
At Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School, we love to tell our story. Below is your chance to tell yours. Please select only ONE of the options below to complete the essay requirement (maximum 300–350 words).

Option #1: Carnegie Mellon University is an institution that never stops looking and moving ahead, pioneering the next way forward with technology, business and research to answer questions big and small. Personally, or professionally, in what way have you been a pioneer?



Option #2: Amidst the ambiguous and unchartered nature of change, Carnegie Mellon University students and alumni rise above to envision and create. Discuss how you have anticipated change in your professional life. In what ways did you effectively collaborate to create your desired outcome?



Option #3: At Carnegie Mellon University, our difference is what we imagine for the world and how we answer its challenges. What impact have you had on the world around you?

There are three options for this required essay, and each allows you to highlight a different aspect of your character. That said, there are a few universal values of the CMU community you should keep in mind.

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

On the personal side, CMU Tepper has a small and close-knit community, and your personality and background will be of interest to the admissions committee. Think about what your future classmates and professors would want to know about you?

Each of these essay options asks for an example of a time you have demonstrated the quality described. This is a behavioral essay question, and helps the admissions committee to see beyond your resume to how you think and act in real-life situations. Think about an experience that would show the admissions committee what kind of character you have demonstrated in your career or life thus far.

Once you have a few examples that seem appropriate and interesting, think about how they might fit into one of the three options: innovation/pioneering, teamwork/collaboration or community orientation/impact on the world.

Whichever question you choose, make sure you are explaining the details of what the situation was, your actions, and the result of those actions. Lessons learned are always useful for the admissions committee to understand how you think and grow over time.

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

[/b]

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Should You Specialize Your MBA Degree?  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2018, 06:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Should You Specialize Your MBA Degree?
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Unlike a master’s degree in finance or accounting or other specialty, an MBA is by definition a generalist program, exposing students to many different disciplines – both hard disciplines like finance and soft like organizational behavior.

If you’re contemplating business school, think about whether you’d prefer a general management approach or one that offers majors or concentrations. Choosing to be a generalist or specialist at business school depends heavily on your end goals.

Advantages of a Generalist MBA Degree[/b]
Business schools want to fill their classes with students who will not only get hired after graduation but eventually run the firm.

Most applicants see business school as a way to grow as a leader and advance their career. The degree imparts a strong foundation of general business knowledge, allowing students to gain a greater understanding of how various departments operate.

Although students typically come to b-school with a clear career goal in mind for after graduation, an MBA program is actually an excellent time to explore a variety of subjects and experiences that may ultimately redirect your path. For long-term flexibility in the global marketplace, career-switchers need a breadth of courses to prepare them for the myriad management responsibilities they will encounter in whichever sector they end up.

The only potential drawback to a general MBA is that you may not acquire the depth of knowledge required for a particular position. However, that broader know-how and wider range of career opportunities that come from earning an MBA at a top program is almost always worth it.

Advantages of  a Specialized MBA Degree[/b]
MBA specialization is a good move for individuals who know exactly what they want to do with their career and who want to build a stronger skill base in that area.

If you already know that you’re interested in an area like digital marketing, real estate, business analytics, social innovation, health care and so forth, then earning an MBA with a concentration can make you even more marketable. Recruiters like to see a strong focus on a particular field or functional area.

In today’s competitive job market, having that specialization on your resume, bolstered by a supporting internship or extracurricular activities, will help you stand out from the crowd. Students who specialize can also grow their niche network during the MBA program and then be ready to hit the ground running on day one.

Drawbacks of a Specialized MBA Degree[/b]
While specializing in a certain area of business is fine, know that it can be limiting. One could even argue that you should just earn a degree in that specialty instead. Depending on the career path you have chosen after graduation, by specializing you could inadvertently pigeonhole yourself and narrow your job prospects, especially if you’re a career-changer.

The classroom experience may differ notably for specialists. Instead of classes with individuals who have multiple, diverse perspectives that enrich a traditional MBA experience, participants in the same specialization will likely have similar backgrounds and professional experiences from which to call on.

Ultimately, when you’re running a company, chances are you won’t be pulling together the financial models or balancing the books. Understanding those aspects is important, but you don’t need to be a master – ideally you will hire others to do the deep dive.

My friend and executive at a Fortune 100 company, who has thousands of employees reporting to him, once explained his role this way: “I know what needs to be done and I get people to do it for me.”

Whether you choose to pursue a general or specialty MBA, pay close attention in all of your classes – even the areas you would plan to outsource when you have the budget.

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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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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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MBA and Social Entrepreneurship  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2018, 08:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA and Social Entrepreneurship
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The notion of using a management degree to do good while doing well has grown in popularity on today’s business school campuses, where an ever-increasing number of students plan on putting their business savvy to use within the nonprofit sector—often trading high-status, well-remunerated jobs for careers with a positive social impact.

In order to keep and develop the competitive edge needed to survive in today’s economy, nonprofits must run themselves just like any other successful business. When you need to run a tight ship, as is often the case within this sector, business skills are essential. So are people skills, management skills, financial-analysis skills, IT skills—the list goes on. That’s where business school comes in.

B-SCHOOL RESOURCES FOR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
While at business school, social enterprise-minded students can take advantage of numerous clubs, competitions, global experiences, and centers designed to teach students about topics ranging from nonprofit management to starting businesses that serve underrepresented communities.

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business received a $20 million gift from Tandean Rustandy in 2017 to support expanded research and programming in social innovation and entrepreneurship at the newly named Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation.

Serving as a hub at the Booth School of Business for students, alumni, and faculty tackling complex social and environmental problems, the new center builds on the school’s grounding in business fundamentals, experiential learning and research-based insights.

For more than a decade, New York University’s Stern School of Business and the Citi Foundation have collaborated on programming to educate students about ways for the private and public sectors to work together to address the world’s most intractable problems and stimulate sustainable economic growth.

The Social Enterprise at Kellogg (SEEK) program, created at Northwestern in 2005 for students interested in the intersection between management and society across all organizations and industries, has developed a curriculum that gives students management skills for a variety of for-profit corporation positions, as well as non-profit and government positions.

As an additional incentive, the Kellogg School of Management’s Loan Assistance Program (LAP) enables Kellogg graduates to enter careers in the public and nonprofit sectors by reducing the educational debt burden that sometimes limits graduates from pursuing positions within these sectors.

Meanwhile, the research and educational programs of centers such as the Kenan Institute at Kenan-Flagler Business School focus on how private sector resources can serve the public interest. And Stanford Graduate Business School runs a course on strategic philanthropy through its Center for Social Innovation.

In Europe, Spain’s IESE Business School’s course in “Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship” explores the connection between social and financial objectives. MBA students work directly with companies from different sectors, and discover what it means to run a social enterprise from a hands-on perspective, learning how the course concepts play out in the real world.

As you can see, the offerings abound at all of the top business schools around the globe.

MBA APPLICANT WITH NON-PROFIT BACKGROUND
Nonprofits and private-sector organizations have more in common than is often acknowledged, and the role of an MBA in a nonprofit is basically the same of an MBA in a leadership role at any firm:  to lead, to manage and to use available resources to deliver results.

Applicants who pursued nonprofit or social enterprise work after undergrad are often less likely to return to school for a high priced professional degree like an MBA, though top MBA programs are always interested in the diversity of experience offered by nonprofit applicants. If you are approaching an MBA application with a nonprofit background, Peter’s story might help you think about how to approach your own application strategy.

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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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MBA Admissions Comparison: Wharton vs Chicago Booth  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Aug 2018, 12:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Admissions Comparison: Wharton vs Chicago Booth
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When thinking about the top business schools in the world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that all of the elite MBA programs are pretty much the same. While you will find consistencies as far as cost and quality of the education are concerned, many subtle—and some not so subtle—differences exist among highly ranked b-schools.

Find MBA’s Seb Murray recently wrote up a compare-and-contrast piece looking at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the Chicago Booth School of Business, and we shared our admissions intel with Murray based on what we’ve gleaned over the years from working with clients targeting both schools.

Side-By-Side Comparison of Booth and Wharton
These two programs share common ground when it comes to rankings—both regularly make the top seven—campus environment, access to an array of business resources, and a sterling reputation in finance. However, brand perception plays especially strong in favor of Wharton, given UPenn’s Ivy League status.

Click over to Murray’s article to see how each program stacks up as far as admissions requirements, selectivity and class profiles are concerned. As SBC principal Esther Magna puts it, “If quality is defined as a collaborative culture, Booth likely wins. If quality is defined as prestige of a student’s past work experience, Wharton likely wins.”

Do you have a strong favorite between these two top-ranked business schools? If so, leave a comment telling us why your choice is the better MBA option.

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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

MBA Admissions Comparison: Wharton vs Chicago Booth &nbs [#permalink] 17 Aug 2018, 12:01

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