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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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Tuesday Tips: UNC Kenan-Flagler Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: UNC Kenan-Flagler Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips

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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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Doing an MBA in The Big Apple

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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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.


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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Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog [#permalink]
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 an arab 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

Originally posted by yousefa on 09 Aug 2018, 11:14.
Last edited by yousefa on 05 Oct 2018, 01:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Is There a ‘Right’ Age for Business School? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Is There a ‘Right’ Age for Business School?

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



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Tuesday Tips: CMU Tepper School Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: CMU Tepper School Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips


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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Should You Specialize Your MBA Degree? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Should You Specialize Your MBA Degree?


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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MBA and Social Entrepreneurship [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA and Social Entrepreneurship

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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MBA Admissions Comparison: Wharton vs Chicago Booth [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Admissions Comparison: Wharton vs Chicago Booth

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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Use Social Media to Strengthen Your MBA Application [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Use Social Media to Strengthen Your MBA Application
We’re going to tell you something you probably already know: if you’re applying to an MBA program this year, be careful about what you post online. It’s possible that business school adcom members could do a quick search on your name before admitting you to their program, and you don’t want something written in haste to derail your chances of getting in.

But being active on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms isn’t a complete no-no. In fact, savvy MBA candidates could actually use these venues to boost their credibility and solidify the good impressions made through their application materials.

Social Media Can Reinforce Your MBA Brand
For example, let’s say that you’re hoping to switch careers after business school, and in one of your essays you share your intention to work for a company that develops clean-energy options in third-world countries. You could tweet links to articles or books you’re reading on the subject, you could post about a local conference you attended, or you could give your take on the most promising advancements in the field.

Or maybe your career to date has led you to become somewhat of an expert on microfinance. Reinforce that reputation through your online presence. Let people know when you were quoted in an article or asked to be on a panel.

Are you a marketing guru? It would be easy to weigh in on — or share — what some of the biggest brands are doing on social media. The key is to keep things professional and on point. It’s absolutely fine to let your personality shine through, too — just as it should in your essays.

And you’re already following the programs you’re applying to, right? Doing so could be a great way to get some insight about a school that you could work into your essays. Remember, if you don’t consider social media to be another way to strengthen your candidacy, you may be missing out on a great opportunity that other MBA applicants will most certainly take advantage of.

Think of it this way:



 

 

 

 

 

 

Need help building a positive social media presence? Stacy Blackman Consulting offers a dedicated social media strategy service.

Until next time,

The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting

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

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Tuesday Tips: Emory Goizueta Business School Fall 2019 Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Emory Goizueta Business School Fall 2019 Essay Tips

The Emory MBA program at Goizueta Business School in Atlanta offers a variety of programs, including a one-year MBA, a business analytics program and the traditional two-year MBA. The program is designed to give students practical, hands-on experience to be “day one ready” for their careers. Emory also provides a wide range of joint degree programs, expanding options for the MBA. Prospective students start working with a personalized career coach before setting foot on campus, and Emory claims high rankings with recruiters.

Before approaching your Emory MBA essays, you may benefit from viewing some of the video tips posted by the admissions committee. One tip that is especially useful to everyone preparing MBA applications is to take some time to brainstorm and really think about each essay question. As the student in the video describes, sometimes your immediate reaction is not actually the essay topic you will end up with.

ESSAY ONE

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

This career goals essay focuses on the short-term and asks about your strengths, past experiences and personal attributes in support of those goals. Rather than reciting your resume, think about the key moments that have formed your experience, accomplishments and shaped your goals. Once you have identified a few defining career moments, you can describe how they demonstrated the strengths and personal attributes that will help you achieve your goal.

This essay is most effective if you are able to clearly show the through line between your past experience, the Emory MBA program and ultimately reaching your short-term post-MBA goals.

For example, if you have been working in management consulting and want to use your Emory MBA to shift into a strategy roll internal to a company, you might talk about how your past experience will help you to understand advising company’s on strategy, and how your classes and clubs at Emory will help you gain the relevant industry experience and academic knowledge to contribute to your new company.

ESSAY TWO

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

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


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

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

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

ESSAY THREE

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

• I am passionate about…

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

• The best day of my life was…

• A personal goal I want to accomplish is…


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

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

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

ESSAY FOUR

Share with the committee and your future classmates a fun or noteworthy fact about you. (25 word limit)

This essay introduces a classic icebreaker as a way for you to set yourself apart and show another side of your candidacy. What is the most surprising fact about you? Or perhaps the largest accomplishment you have achieved thus far? Since MBA applications tend to focus mostly on recent events in your life, this might be a place to tell the admissions committee that you were a champion volleyball player in high school, or that you wrote and directed a high school play.

OPTIONAL ESSAY

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

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

To focus on one possible topic, if you do have unexplained gaps in your resume, how do you handle it? The ideal explanation is that you were doing something productive. That something productive could be traveling the world and learning more about yourself, volunteering, or even taking care of a family member or handling a family crisis.

Perhaps you were unemployed but wanted to be working and your job hunt took up most of your time. Even so, ideally you volunteered, pursued other hobbies, or took time to conduct informational interviews to learn about your career goals during the gap in employment. Think about how you can frame your activities to show that you are motivated and responsible.

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Tuesday Tips: Georgetown McDonough Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Georgetown McDonough Fall 2019 MBA Essay Tips

The Washington D.C. setting of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business puts the school at the epicenter of public policy and international business. The program requires all students to participate in an international consulting project called the Global Business Experience, and Georgetown also has the Steers Global Real Estate Center and a new entrepreneurship initiative.

Along with the academic and career benefits of the school, Georgetown’s community is close-knit, intellectually curious and diverse. Shelly Heinrich, interim associate dean of admissions has announced that the new essay questions this year are designed to “give applicants the flexibility to distinguish themselves from a competitive applicant pool.” Additionally, she says that it’s important to Georgetown “that our students represent a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, cultures, and more.”

The new structure for the essays allows you to choose from several options for the first required essay. These questions are applicable for both the Full-time MBA and the Flex MBA.

Please select one of the following three essays to complete in 500 words or less and include the essay prompt and your first/last name at the top of your submission.

Essay Option One: It can be said that life begins outside your comfort zone. Describe a situation when you were asked to lead outside of your comfort zone. What leadership characteristics did you exemplify in this situation that allowed you to succeed?

Many leadership experts believe that stretch assignments are the best way to develop high potential employees, and the definition of a stretch assignment is something outside your comfort zone that you need to learn and develop to achieve. As you reflect upon some of your best leadership moments you may find that you were outside your comfort zone. If so, this is a great essay to demonstrate what you learned and developed in that process.

One of our clients found herself out of her comfort zone when her boss was on maternity leave and she was asked to cover the work. Suddenly she was responsible for answering questions and managing clients as the sole representative for the company, rather than always depending on her boss as a sounding board. She discovered that she really enjoyed making decisions and that she grew and learned as she needed to find her own answers to difficult questions.

When her boss returned from leave she was in a position to ask for a promotion and more responsibility. You may have faced a similar situation, whether planned or impromptu, and discovered that you had leadership skills ready to hone through this stretch assignment.

As you write this essay, include details and descriptions. Make sure you describe the situation as well as what you did, any hiccups in the plan, and what you learned about yourself and leading teams and projects.

Essay Option Two: “Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to be POWERED by. Failure is the high-octane fuel your life can run on. You’ve got to learn to make failure your fuel.” -Abby Wambach.

Describe a situation when failure has been your fuel. What was your failure (or when did you not succeed to your full potential), and how did you use this as motivation to move forward and be successful in a future situation?

If you are the kind of person who thrives in the face of adversity, this is the question for you to answer. This option provides an opportunity to reflect upon a moment in your life when things did not go smoothly. We all have pivotal moments in our lives, and often they felt like failures as they were occurring.

Perhaps you were asked to take on a project in a subject area you knew nothing about and it did not go well. Or you managed an employee who was more experienced than you, and did not respect your contribution. You might have joined a team that did not welcome your input. How did you take those professional challenges and use the failure to fuel you to eventual success? What tools did you use or develop to create success in a future situation?

If this question appeals to you it likely means you have the personality type that can turn a lemon into lemonade and thrives in the process. It will be helpful to demonstrate that mindset in this essay and show how you think. As you answer the question about how you used this experience to be successful in future situations, make sure you reflect a bit on your own development and what you learned in the process.

Essay Option Three: Your personal brand reflects your values and beliefs, and impacts your relationships and community. Describe the personal brand that you will bring to business school using examples or experiences that support how you’ve developed it. How do you believe your personal brand will strengthen the McDonough community? As you complete your MBA program, how do you hope to see your personal brand evolve through the transformative experience of business school?

Essay option three is a bit different from the prior two questions, which focused on a single situation from your past. This question draws from your entire background to understand more about how you see yourself and present yourself to the world.

Additionally, this question allows you to showcase what you understand about McDonough and why it is the right fit for you. If you have a strong sense of your personal brand and how that brand will develop at McDonough, this question is a good option for you.

As you describe yourself and your experiences, make sure you have a handful of vivid examples to support what you say about your brand. For example, if you say that you are a career matchmaker, have a few examples of a time when you uncovered the ideal job for your colleague or helped a friend create the perfect resume for her dream job.

If you are a world traveler, make sure you describe a few of your pivotal journeys. And as you think about your brand, what will you bring to McDonough and what will you learn and develop while you are attending the program?

Video Essay: We ask that you introduce yourself to your cohort in one minute or less. The Admissions Committee would like for you to appear in person during part of your video, and we strongly encourage you to speak outside of the experiences we can read on your resume. Use this video as an opportunity to bring life to your application. For more instructions, view our Video Essay Guide.

McDonough’s video essay guide specifically asks you to appear in the one-minute video and to address situations outside your resume. However, you will have unlimited time to record and edit this video (unlike a video interview). While you have been asked to show yourself in the video, you may add other elements aside from your talking head, including interviews with family and friends, photos or graphics and music.

One minute seems like a short amount of time, but consider that television commercials are generally 30 seconds, and you realize that a lot of information can fit into a one-minute video.

Like all interactive MBA admissions essays, the content is the most important aspect of this exercise. The admissions committee wants to get to know you and your dreams, background and personality. Think about personal stories that you did not describe in your resume, recommendations or your written essays. Perhaps you have a family story to tell, a hobby you are passionate about or a significant extracurricular responsibility.

This is also the ideal place to demonstrate your fit with Georgetown (unless you focused on option three of the previous required essays). Can you take your hobbies to school and share with your classmates? Will your background add to the diversity of the class? Or can you open doors for your classmates professionally? Always think about your own contributions to McDonough.

If you can demonstrate enthusiasm as you speak to the camera and add additional elements to the video it should be compelling to the admissions committee, but keep in mind that content is the most crucial part of this video.

Optional Essay: Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included. (500 words or fewer)

This is an entirely open-ended optional essay. Most optional essays ask for an explanation for a gap in employment, the lack of a current supervisor recommendation, or academic issues. If you do want to address any of those elements to your application this is the ideal place.

If you do not have anything to explain about your overall application you may want to use this space to highlight another aspect of your experience at work or in your extracurricular activities. Perhaps you have an amazing leadership experience you want to discuss. Or a learning experience that was not covered in essay one.

There is no obligation to use the space, however, so do not write an essay just to add more for the admissions committee to read. If you do use this space to elaborate on your application profile, do not recycle essays from other schools that ask specific and recognizable questions.

Re-Applicant Essay: Required for re-applicants. How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally. (500 words or fewer)

Many candidates can write about a specific improvement since your last application like a promotion, improved GMAT, or increased responsibilities or experience. Georgetown is also interested in the less tangible improvements like a revised career goal, personal growth or increase in maturity. Make sure you are able to make the case that you are now ready for a McDonough MBA and that any new development has only strengthened your resolve.

Need assistance with your Georgetown McDonough MBA application? Stacy Blackman consulting can help. Contact us to learn more.

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SBC’s 2018 Survey of Prospective MBAs [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: SBC’s 2018 Survey of Prospective MBAs

With Round One deadlines nearly upon us, we at Stacy Blackman Consulting want to check the pulse of this year’s crop of b-school applicants by polling them about their MBA plans.

So, here’s the deal: we’re asking for a favor. Please fill out our one-minute surveyWe know how precious your time is—you’ll only have to “check the box” in response to a few simple MBA-related questions.

Then, keep an eye out for the survey results here on the blog, which will give you insight into how other prospective students are thinking about the application process.

Every participant has the opportunity to enter a sweepstakes to win a $100 Amazon gift card. The survey is live now and will close at 12 p.m. PST tomorrow, Friday, September 7, 2018. So please, take a moment to share with us your thoughts and experiences related to the MBA application process.

Enter survey here.

Thanks so much for your participation!

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MBA Success Story: From 24 Apps, 19 Dings to 1st in Class at Emory [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Success Story: From 24 Apps, 19 Dings to 1st in Class at Emory
“I wrote 24 applications over two years and was turned down nineteen times in a row before anyone said yes, and all said-and-done I received only two “yesses.”  Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars I spent trying to get in, and was rejected over and over,” shares Ed Luggen.



Perseverance paid off for Ed Luggen, who graduated first in his class at Goizueta Business School and started a career with The Boston Consulting Group in July.

When Luggen signed up with Stacy Blackman Consulting in 2015, he had received more rejections than almost anyone we had ever worked with. The fact that he wanted to persevere was a true testament to his character, his resilience, drive and problem-solving abilities.

Recently, Luggen received his MBA from Emory’s Goizueta Business School, graduating #1 in the class. He was on the dean’s list for four semesters at Goizueta, receiving the most outstanding academic achievement award. Before going to Emory, Luggen was an associate attorney at Kurtz & Blum in the Raleigh-Durham area for just over three years.

He had graduated summa cum laude with his law degree from Michigan State University in 2012 and earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Miami University. He did his MBA internship at Ford Motor Co. in global strategy before starting a career with The Boston Consulting Group in July.

This accomplishment was a test of character. Throughout his long journey, Luggen leveraged the challenges he faced and the wisdom he acquired through the admissions cycles to gain an admit to Emory GBS, even with a low undergrad GPA and a career that MBA admissions likely viewed as unfocused.

Within his story are five learnings that all applicants can benefit from.

#1 Embrace being the underdog
Ed’s success should serve as an engaging example for those who have had difficult setbacks and imperfect academic statistics.  His advice to others in this underdog category: “It’s going to be tougher for you than it will be for many other applicants and future classmates.  You are going to have to work harder to get admitted, know your story and how to tell it in a compelling fashion, spend more time networking to create opportunities, and suffer from more rejection.”

When Ed finally signed up with SBC he learned to embrace his shortcomings rather than trying to hide them. He learned to reveal the character created by his hardship and shortcomings.  MBA admissions officers know that struggle builds character.  Ed advises, “If you can turn your weakness into a strength, show the toughness your life has instilled in you, exercise the determination that’s gotten you this far, and package it in a polished and compelling story, you will find a school and a company that value you.”

#2 Don’t let adversity trip you up
“The biggest challenge in the application process was finding a school that would believe in me and my potential, and staying resolved in the face of rejection,” shared Luggen.  Ed knew he was good enough and stuck with it using the strategy developed with the Stacy Blackman Consulting team.

“I see now that it was a necessary process that landed me exactly where I should have been: at a school that appreciated my strengths and cared for my success.  Emory GBS was the perfect place for me, and my early struggles made me appreciate the school and the opportunities it brought me all the more.  Goizueta believed in me, and two years later I graduated first in my class.” Developing resilience is incredibly important during the MBA process, but it’s also essential in life. To be successful, you need to learn how to bounce back and try again.

#3 One size doesn’t fit all
The MBA is not a one-size-fits-all degree, and not every business school is equipped to help every person reach his or her unique professional goals.  After his experience at Goizueta with peers he described as “remarkable, yet down-to-earth,” Luggen advises future students to carefully consider student culture and community.

Ed shared, “Building a network of former classmates who will answer when you call and alumni who will go out of their way for you because they know where you’ve come from and the character your shared experience has built, that’s what it’s really about.”

Find an MBA program that appreciates what you have to offer, as it will be better suited to helping you achieve your unique professional aspirations. “I’ve left GBS feeling like I grew as a person and belonged to something very special.  Every student there was impressive in some way or another, and it was rewarding to get to know them as people and learn their strengths. You can take basic corporate finance anywhere, but leaving school feeling like you’ve been enriched in all facets of your life is a priceless benefit.” As well, Luggen shared, “GBS’s career opportunities well outpaced its position in the rankings.”

#4 Be Laser Focused
Nothing beats hard work and defined goals.  Luggen shared, “Many pursue an MBA… because it seems like a good next step in their life process; a foregone conclusion. But the people who really succeed both in their recruiting and academically know what they want and what they’re working toward. Knowing what you want will likely help you craft the story you tell to the MBA admissions committee, to recruiters, to contacts, and to classmates.  People love stories, and particularly they like good stories.  If you can tell a good story about yourself and why you have chosen your goals, it will help in many ways.”

#5 Stay tough and enlist the support you need
“My other advice is to stay tough,” says Luggen. After so many rejections, he could have given up, but he regrouped, and tried again with a different approach. When it came to recruiting, he similarly had to keep the faith.

“We had a few rock-star students who seemed to get every interview they applied for, but the majority of us would get dinged for reasons unknown, walking out of an interview thinking it went great.  We get declined for a first-round interview without explanation, even though we think ourselves a good fit.  We get to the final decision round and go home empty-handed on the same flight as our cheering classmates thinking ‘why them instead of me?’ That’s the life, though. Embrace it, keep faith in yourself, and let it make you stronger.”

In closing, a big thank you to Ed for placing his trust in SBC and for agreeing to be highlighted in the article. We are confident that many of you will be as inspired by Ed’s journey as we have been!

Ed’s journey first appeared as a guest post for the business school news portal Poets & Quants.

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IU Kelley School Fall 2019 MBA Application Deadlines [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: IU Kelley School Fall 2019 MBA Application Deadlines

The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University has published the following MBA application deadlines for the 2018-19 admissions season.

Early Round
Application due: October 15, 2018

Decision released by: December 20, 2018

Priority Round
Application due: January 5, 2019

Decision released by: March 15, 2019

Third Round
Application due: March 1, 2019

Decision released by: April 30, 2019

Final Round
Application due: April 15, 2019

Decision released by: May 31, 2019

***

Early application is encouraged. The first two deadlines are priority deadlines for merit-based financial aid consideration. For additional information on applying, please visit the Kelley MBA admissions website.

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IU Kelley School Fall 2019 MBA Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: IU Kelley School Fall 2019 MBA Essays

Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business has confirmed that the MBA essay questions for the 2018-19 admissions season remain the same as the previous application cycle.

Required MBA Essays 
1. Please discuss your immediate post-MBA professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley MBA degree, allow you to achieve these goals? Should the short-term goals you have identified not materialize, what alternate career paths might you consider? (500 words)

2. Please respond to one of the following short essay prompts. (300 words)

  • My greatest memory is…
  • I’m most afraid of…
  • My greatest challenge has been…
  • I’m most proud of…
3. Please share with the admissions committee an interesting or surprising fact about you (25 words)

Optional Essay
Is there anything else you think we should know as we evaluation your application? If you believe your essays and credentials represent you fairly, you shouldn’t fell obligated to answer this question. (300 words)

For more information on applying, please visit the IU Kelley MBA admissions website.

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IU Kelley School Fall 2019 MBA Essays [#permalink]
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