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Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog

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What Does the AdComm Really Think About Round 3?  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Mar 2019, 08:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What Does the AdComm Really Think About Round 3?
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Round 3 deadlines are nearly upon us, and while the final round is the biggest gamble of the application cycle, schools have that round for a reason and use it to admit those stellar students that add something really special to their classes.

Special meaning unusual work experience, substantial community service, a diverse background, compelling leadership examples, unique or uncommon interests outside of business or entrepreneurial success of some sort.

Here’s a sampling of reactions from the admissions teams at well-ranked MBA programs on whether Round 3 really is a viable option for applicants.

Yale School of Management
“I often get asked if it makes sense to apply in Round 3,” says Assistant Dean for Admissions Bruce DelMonico in this recent blog post.  “While it is consistently our smallest round, we do still receive very strong applicants who end up gaining admission and becoming strong contributors to our community.”

DelMonico echoes advice we tell our clients: only apply when your application is as strong as possible. You must feel ready to take on the rigors of an elite MBA program.  Make sure you’re crystal clear on why the degree makes sense for you professionally and personally.

He also reminds those who apply in the final round that they must be ready to begin their MBA just a few months after receiving  an offer of admission. In other words, get ready to uproot everything with little time to spare.

With that said, “If you apply Round 3 and your decision is not favorable, no harm done. We encourage those students to refine their applications and reapply the next year,” DelMonico explains.

The round three deadline at Yale SOM is coming up on April 16, 2019.

Duke Fuqua School of Business
Fuqua is on a mission to dispel some of the most persistent misconceptions about applying in round three. In fact, we recently featured one second-year Fuqua student’s personal journey as a final round applicant. Here’s what the admissions team would like potential applicants to know:

“Each year, these final applications help to round out and complete our class, and they’re an essential part of the admissions life cycle. Again, it all comes down to your readiness—and if Round 3 feels like the right time, we encourage you to go for it.

If you are applying in Round 3 it’s important to help the admissions team understand your timing. Sometimes that’s related to a work project. Maybe you needed more time to prepare your application because you took the GMAT or GRE multiple times hoping to get the score you were seeking prior to applying.

Or perhaps it’s simply an epiphany you had recently about where you want to be in the next two to five years. Whatever the case, make it clear in the application what that catalyst was and why this timing is right.”

The round three deadline at Duke Fuqua is coming up on March 20, 2019.

UT McCombs School of Business
“Our goal in all of our programs is to build the best and most diverse class that we can, NOT to fill all of our seats as fast as we can. So the best time to submit your application is when you are ready to do so, when you’re confident it will be the best representation of you and your fit with the program. You can trust that we’ll be ready to start the review process,” the admissions team writes on the McCombs MBA Insider blog.

The round three deadline at McCombs is coming up on April  2, 2019.

Michigan Ross School of Business
And finally, admissions Director Soojin Kwon gives these three, succinct reasons to apply in Round 3.

  • We reserve space in the class for Round 3.
  • We like Round 3 applicants. Last year, some of our best students – academically and leadership-wise – were admitted in Round 3.
  • There’s no chance of being admitted if you don’t apply.
The admissions team also has a Round 3 App Tips webinar with tips on how to pull together a successful app for the final round.

The round three deadline at Michigan Ross is coming up on March 18, 2019.

SBC’s Advice for Round 3 Applicants
You should definitely use the required or optional MBA admission essays to explain your reasons for waiting until the third – or final – round to apply. You don’t want anyone to jump to the conclusion that you are using round three as a last-ditch effort to get into business school in the fall after receiving rejections from other schools in earlier rounds.

With fewer slots available, fine-tune your focus on schools where you’ll be a compelling candidate. A strong, well-thought-out application is critical. Make sure your academic profile aligns with the school’s median GMAT and average GPA. Also, consider whether you add something special to the class that the admissions committee didn’t see earlier in the season.

Standing out from the pack is imperative, and never more so than when applying later in the game. As I mentioned in this US News blog post, if you want to do well in the admissions process, you have to communicate who you are, not just what you do.

Finally, it’s important to have a Plan B in case things don’t go your way. You can always apply to a set of schools in round three knowing there is a good chance you will need to reapply to them and add in some new ones next season.

The post What Does the AdComm Really Think About Round 3? appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.

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_________________
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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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Joined: 03 Nov 2010
Posts: 1539
Location: Los Angeles, CA
P&Q Names Top MBA Programs for Entrepreneurship  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2019, 14:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: P&Q Names Top MBA Programs for Entrepreneurship
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Are you itching to start your own company and wondering which business schools would best help you achieve that dream? This week, Poets & Quants announced the results of their 2019 survey of the top MBA programs for entrepreneurship.

Granted, the best programs acknowledge that they don’t actually create entrepreneurs—they merely nurture innate ability. More than 1 in 10 business school alumni are self-employed, and the longer they’ve been out of business school the more likely they are to have taken an entrepreneurial career path, previous Graduate Management Admission Council surveys have shown.

These are the programs that offer a broad range of courses in entrepreneurship, as well as  significant opportunities for networking with established entrepreneurs, launching start-ups, and developing the skills needed to start successful businesses.

Top MBA Programs for Entrepreneurship
1. Babson College (tie)

1. Stanford Graduate School of Business (tie)

3. MIT Sloan School of Management

4. Harvard Business School

5. Wharton School

6. USC Marshall School of Business

7. Michigan Ross School of Business

8. Chicago Booth School of Business

9. UV Darden School of Business

10. Rice Jones Graduate School of Business

So what methodology does P&Q use, and how does it compare with other popular rankings? “We at Poets&Quants take a dollars-and-cents look at business school success in the startup space,” explains editor-in-chief John A Byrne. “One clear takeaway from the 2019 list is that access to capital for a young MBA entrepreneur is brand dependent. In general, the better the business school brand, the more likely it will help you raise funding for your idea.”

Why an MBA Makes Sense for Entrepreneurs

B-school will teach you how to run and grow a company – not just launch it. Many entrepreneurs have failed at getting their business idea off the ground precisely because they didn’t have some of the necessary tools in their arsenal that they would have learned at business school.

You have to be able to transition your idea into an actual business. It might be a startup, but you want it to grow – and last. More than many other business roles, an entrepreneur needs to know a little bit of everything. Even if you start a tech company, someone has to do the accounting, know how to market your product or service and act as a leader for the team.

If you choose a business school that relies heavily on the case method, you’ll likely learn from others’ successes and mistakes about growing too quickly. Also, those classes in human resource management, business law or venture capital financing could help you head off some thorny workplace issues later on.

We’ll leave you with these words of wisdom from Alejandro Cremades, author of The Art of Startup Fundraising:

“Business success requires business preparation. You don’t have to be a master tactician, but you do need to have a plan in place. This plan will act as a foundation for everything you want to achieve.”

The post P&Q Names Top MBA Programs for Entrepreneurship appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.

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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
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Joined: 03 Nov 2010
Posts: 1539
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Yale SOM Names New Dean, Economist Kerwin Charles  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2019, 14:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Yale SOM Names New Dean, Economist Kerwin Charles
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Yale University has tapped University of Chicago economist Kerwin Charles as the next Indra K. Nooyi Dean of the Yale School of Management, effective July 1, 2019.

Charles, the first dean of color at the SOM, follows one of the most successful b-school deans of his generation.

University President Peter Salovey’s announcement comes almost exactly a year after popular SOM Dean Edward Snyder revealed that he would step down this summer at the end of his eight-year tenure.

“I am confident that Professor Charles, a renowned economist and award-winning educator, will advance SOM’s role as a global center for the study of business and prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities of a complex interconnected world,” Salovey said.

Charles earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University.  He later joined the University of Michigan as a faculty member in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the Department of Economics. In 2005, he moved to the University of Chicago and its Harris School.

Indra Nooyi noted in the announcement that Charles understands the core beliefs of the SOM community. Namely, that businesses can accomplish more through understanding the intersection points between business and society.

She said Charles’ research interests in labor economics; economic inequality; and racial and gender discrimination demonstrate his willingness to take on the “most daunting and meaningful challenges.”

In an email to the Yale Daily News, Snyder also expressed his delight in Salovey’s announcement and added that Kerwin Charles will have “a profound impact on SOM, the Yale community and beyond.”

When Charles assumes the deanship in July, Snyder will return to full-time teaching and research at the School of Management.

The post Yale SOM Names New Dean, Economist Kerwin Charles appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.

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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: 1539
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Do This, Not That, if You’re Reapplying to Business School  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2019, 09:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Do This, Not That, if You’re Reapplying to Business School
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Many business schools, even the most elite and well-ranked ones, welcome re-applicants. Reapplying shows you are very serious about your interest in the program, as this Tuck School blog post affirms. The best way to approach the process when you’re reapplying to business school is to highlight how you have improved your candidacy.

Take a closer look at the following aspects of the MBA application package to determine where you should focus your energies to improve your odds next time around.

Decide How Many and Which Programs to Target
If you received multiple dings in your first application attempt, add new programs next time you’re reapplying to business school. You might have applied to ones that didn’t match up well with your profile. Make sure your focus is on fit over brand strength, and match your preferred learning style to the school’s style of instruction.

Do: Apply to at least four schools to maximize your chances of success. These programs should represent varying levels of competitiveness.

Don’t: Apply to too many schools – usually six or more – believing that hedging your bets in this way will guarantee admission somewhere. While that strategy sounds logical, in reality your efforts will become diluted with each successive application. There just won’t be enough passion there to sway the admissions committee.

Do: Include your dream school in the mix. It may be a real reach, but go for it anyway and you’ll have no regrets later.

Tweak Letters of Recommendation
Unsuccessful applicants sometimes don’t realize that the rejection occurred because their letters of recommendation came across as weak endorsements at best.

Do: Make sure whomever you ask is willing to write a very compelling recommendation for you. Since it’s not a given that you’ll see the letter once it’s written, it’s perfectly OK to come right out and explicitly ask for what you need.

Don’t: Choose a recommender for superficial reasons. I’ve seen too many applicants dinged for committing this mistake. Asking the president of a company, an alum of your dream school or any other bigwig won’t do you any good if they cannot speak intimately and enthusiastically about your many virtues

Do: Remind your recommenders to address specific examples of your accomplishments and leadership abilities. Also, they should discuss your work ethic or team-building skills. Writing a strong endorsement requires some effort, so make it easy for your recommender by providing a list of the accomplishments you want to highlight.

Pump Up Your GMAT
Business schools always stress that test scores are just one metric of admissions decisions. But they are important, because the admissions committee has to make sure the people they accept can handle the quantitative work.

If your initial scores don’t come close to those of an average student’s at the schools you’re applying to, you need to make significant gains on your GMAT score in subsequent sittings or have other, extremely impressive qualifications when reapplying to business school.

Do: Allow time to take the exam again. Nerves or lack of preparation might have torpedoed your first effort.  The familiarity of taking it a second or even third time will often lead to a higher score.

Don’t: Wait until the last minute to take your GMAT. Take care of it early in the year, before you have to juggle the other aspects of the application.

Do: Consider alternative preparation methods to see if they yield better results. If you studied on your own last year, see if a formal class or working with a GMAT tutor helps you improve your weak areas more efficiently.

Don’t: Cancel a score when the option appears upon completing the test, even if you’re pretty sure you’ve blown it. Schools will evaluate your highest score, so don’t worry about a low score reflecting negatively on you.

That initial score provides valuable feedback about your testing strengths and weaknesses. You may also find out that your performance was not as bad as you imagined.

Rock Those Essays
Sometimes applicants get hung up on writing the “perfect” essay. In reality, they should focus on writing a compelling essay instead.  Candidates must really do their homework about the schools they have targeted. By doing so, they can create compelling essays that convince the adcom how the program will help them reach their career goals. This also predicts how they would contribute to the school as students and eventual alumni.

Do:  Use the additional essay to explain what’s changed in your situation to make you a stronger candidate when reapplying to business school. Make sure to address both professional and personal advancements, but show that you are realistic and self-aware. Revealing your humanity in the form of quirks, weaknesses and flaws can often help the admissions committee to like you.

Don’t: Recycle essays from the first time around, and don’t use the same essay for multiple schools. At best, the byproduct of being all-inclusive is that you will sound generic. At worst, you might accidentally leave the wrong school name in the essay. Trust us, you’ll get rejected out of hand for your lack of attention to detail.

Finally, take comfort in knowing many people in business school right now were dinged the first time they applied. The MBA admissions process requires resilience, so take some time to recover, reassess and dive back in.

The post Do This, Not That, if You’re Reapplying to Business School appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.

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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: 1539
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Targeted Strategies for Female MBA Applicants  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2019, 11:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Targeted Strategies for Female MBA Applicants
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Today is International Women’s Day—a perfect opportunity to discuss targeted strategies for female MBA applicants. As an MBA, entrepreneur and businessperson, I know that women can more than handle business school and the application process just as well or better than anyone.  Stereotypes do persist, however. In reality, women pursuing graduate management education are still an underrepresented demographic on campus.

Enrollment Outlook in 2019
Thankfully, the outlook has improved over the past decade. Women now make up 43% of Harvard Business School’s Class of 2019; they also represent 43% of the incoming class at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School; and Stanford Graduate School of Business reported female enrollment at 41% for the Class of 2019.

Business schools have really ramped up their efforts to recruit and groom future women leaders. If you’re a woman planning on pursuing an MBA, make sure to take advantage of every available opportunity. A great place to start is at a workshop event for women hosted by the program you’re considering.

While you’ll also want to attend general information sessions, these diversity events can help shape your school selection process. Here, you’ll meet and network with other prospective students, current students, alumni, and faculty. You can also ask questions about the specific opportunities for woman in the MBA program.

Self-Confidence is Key
When putting their application together, female candidates have to make sure that they exude confidence. The admissions committee shouldn’t have any doubt about whether the applicant will raise her hand and contribute to the classroom discussions that form a crucial part of the MBA learning experience. Essays, interviews and recommendation letters should indicate a high comfort level with speaking out, defending points of view, and collaborating with all types of people.

Another area of potential weakness, particularly for women who majored in the liberal arts for undergrad, is demonstrating strong quantitative skills. The admissions committee wants to make sure you can handle the MBA course load. A solid GMAT score, supplemented by additional finance, calculus, or statistics classes taken at the local community college, will go a long way toward proving you have the bona fides to succeed.

Try not to become intimidated by all of the amazing things your fellow applicants have accomplished and second-guess the value of your own strengths and experiences. Focus instead on what makes you unique, and how you plan on contributing to the MBA community once admitted.

During the MBA interview, female candidates frequently begin their answers with a disclaimer that reveals their insecurities and detracts from any positive information that follows. Don’t downplay achievements for fear of coming across as bragging. There’s a difference between boasting and conveying your skills and accomplishments with pride. Confidence without attitude is what you’re aiming for.

Don’t Let the Expense Scare You Off
Finally, women shouldn’t let the financial expense of business school be a barrier to pursuing an MBA degree. Look into all of the resources—loans, scholarships, employee sponsorships, fellowships, work-study options—that can offset the high cost of an MBA.

Take a long view of the return on investment your target schools provide. Many candidates find they can pay off their student debt within five years of graduating. With the right financial aid package, it’s possible to attend almost any business school.

Despite some barriers, real or perceived, women considering business school should know the MBA degree truly is the one of the best ways to transform their career by giving them the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful.

Image credit: WOCinTech Chat (CC BY 2.0)

The post Targeted Strategies for Female MBA Applicants appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.

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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: 1539
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Is MBA Admissions Fraud-Free?  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Mar 2019, 12:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Is MBA Admissions Fraud-Free?
This week, the FBI indicted 50 individuals—including celebrities, CEOs, college coaches, and test administrators—in a massive college admissions fraud scheme. By all accounts, this is most egregious cheating scandal in the history of higher education.

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It’s no secret that corruption can exist in every institution, at any level. There’s fertile ground for fraud whenever you have outdated systems with loopholes. Someone will always find a way to manipulate the system with money, connections, and/or criminal activity.

At the college level, you’ll find loopholes via “back channels” like athletics. Here, a broker (e.g. college coach) will have a side conversation with admissions to boost their applicant. That’s a weak system that countless candidates have exploited.

What about in business school admissions?
Less brokering occurs at the MBA level, but tales of admissions fraud do exist. Merit-based systems have a greater level of checks and balances for these applicants, however. It’s easy to do a “sanity” check to see if the GPA, college degree, GMAT, work rigor etc., logically align.

The MBA version of “Varsity Blues” could touch on the legitimacy of the some of the rankings reports. Another sensitive topic might concern whether the in-house relationship managers at traditional feeders such as management consulting firms and private equity shops give their employees an advantage by networking with MBA admissions—that’s all fair and legit, though. In fact, we know of many applicants from these feeder firms who don’t get in, despite having the back channeling benefits.

There’s less parental desperation and involvement in the MBA space, though we do see some epic helicopter parenting. We’ve had conference calls with the child of a billionaire and their team of handlers discussing how an unqualified kid can get into HBS, and what sums of money are involved. While unfair, it’s not illegal. Still, that’s an aspect of the application process we walk away from, and focus exclusively on crafting the strongest possible package.

What’s Stacy’s take on MBA admissions fraud?
Here at Stacy Blackman, we often connect with adcomm representatives at top schools for intel and insight. But we never have a conversation about a particular applicant. Maintaining ethical standards is a top priority at SBC and any attempt at admissions fraud is dead on arrival.

In almost 20 years, no one has asked me to do anything fraudulent. But that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. I am sure it is, though it’s more difficult with smaller classes, fewer back doors like athletics, etc.

Likewise, SBC Principal Esther Magna recalls only a few instances of special treatment during her nine years with the company. Special treatment meaning privileged applicants with good—but not stellar—profiles.

“We’ve seen some offspring from big donor families get a magical admit into top 3 programs due to the influence of the donation,” she says. Similarly, a super heavy hitter, i.e. influential alumnus, going to bat for an applicant can be a dealmaker through the MBA admissions process.

“The vast majority of MBA applicants from big donor families actually are highly competitive,” says Magna. “So it’s not surprising when they get into Harvard, Wharton, or Stanford.” More surprising, Magna says, is how many children from big donor and/or legacy families get dinged without interview, or even a courtesy interview.

“Not one inquiry over the years, and I speak with about 1,000 per year, has asked me or even hinted about paying off a test taker/ broker/ admissions person,” Magna says. “These activities may exist at the black-market level, but not at the visible level like ours.”

This will likely become on ongoing conversation on fairness, privilege, ethics, and the win-at-all-costs ethos in academic admissions. We’ll weigh in on those issues again in this space in the future.

The post Is MBA Admissions Fraud-Free? appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.

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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: 1539
Location: Los Angeles, CA
US News 2020 Ranking of Top B-Schools  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Mar 2019, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: US News 2020 Ranking of Top B-Schools
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U.S. News & World Report has announced its ranking of the 2020 Best Graduate Schools, and in the business school category, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School takes the sole No. 1 spot for full-time MBA programs for the very first time.

Wharton moved up two spots in the US News 2020 ranking after demonstrating high employment rates, starting salaries and bonuses for its graduates. Stanford Graduate School of Business also improved its rank to come in at No. 2.

Harvard University – the previous No. 1 full-time MBA program for three years running – ties at No. 3 along with University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and MIT Sloan School of Management. Here’s a look at the order line up in the new ranking:

US News Top Ten Best Business Schools
1. Wharton

2. Stanford GSB

3. Harvard Business School (tie)

3. MIT Sloan School of Management (tie)

3. Chicago Booth School of Business (tie)

6. Kellogg School of Management (tie)

6. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business (tie)

9. Yale School of Management

10. Duke Fuqua School of Business

Methodology of the US News 2020 Ranking
Factors that go into rankings include test scores, starting salaries and employment rates after graduation. Rankings come from statistical surveys of the programs, as well as reputation surveys sent to 475 AACSB-accredited MBA programs between fall 2018 and the beginning of 2019.

A total of 367 responded for the US News 2020 ranking. Of those, US News ranked 131 because they provided enough of the required data on their full-time MBA program to calculate the full-time MBA rankings, based on a weighted average of the indicators described below.

Last year, US News reduced the value of reported GPA, GRE and GMAT scores for full-time and part-time MBA programs and GRE scores in the education rankings if less than 50 percent of an entering class submitted these scores. US News believed this lack of data means the scores are not representative of the entire class.

MBA rankings are a tricky subject
For an analysis of this year’s rankings, check out this story by editor-in-chief John A. Byrne at Poets & Quants. Byrne shares what he considers the ten biggest surprises in the new US News ranking.

Most applicants put an enormous amount of credence in rankings when making their school selections, but the results aren’t always as clear-cut as they seem.  Over at Find MBA, Seb Murray has a great piece today on why MBA rankings are set for a rethink.

It’s important to remember that the various media outlets publishing this information each have a specific focal point, which often differs from their competitors.  At times, it can feel more like an “apples and oranges” comparison.

We encourage prospective applicants to think hard about the data points that are important to your own career path when determining the value of a particular ranking. You don’t have to go to the best business school of all. Just figure out which MBA program is the best one for you.

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MBA Applicant Reality Check  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2019, 14:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Applicant Reality Check
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When it comes to making mistakes on a business school application, there are many places where candidates can run afoul and ruin their chances at admission. The road to an MBA contains countless potential pitfalls.

You might  input the wrong school name or otherwise failing to proofread. You could have generic essays designed to impress rather than reveal. Applicants often err by choosing recommenders based on their titles, not their relationship with them.

However, there are also more process-oriented mistakes students make – and ways to avoid them. Time for an MBA applicant reality check to help you sidestep the most common blunders.

MBA Applicant Reality Check #1: Unrealistic School Selection

There’s a lot of hype around the top b-school brands.  Of course most applicants dream of earning their MBA at Harvard or Stanford. But the cold, hard truth is that these schools admit a tiny fraction of applicants each cycle.

Harvard Business School admitted about 10 percent of applicants to the class of 2020. Stanford acceptance rates hover around a mere 6 percent. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business or MIT Sloan School of Management are only a tad less competitive, with acceptance rates of about 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

This doesn’t mean you should abandon all hope of attending one of the world’s best business schools. If you have strong stats and varied leadership examples and extracurriculars, go for it. But, should you to fall in the camp of the other 85 percent of applicants, then having appropriate back-up schools is a must.

Not all programs are the same. Applicants should do a lot of research and soul-searching before the school selection process. Be realistic about your profile. Aligning yourself with programs that mesh with your academic and professional background is the surest recipe for success.

MBA Applicant Reality Check #2: Scores Affect Selection

As we’ve talked about in this space before, preparing early for the entrance exam is critical. Then, you can focus on compelling application essays or cultivating extra leadership opportunities.

Truth is, your GMAT or GRE score will influence your school selection process. Sure, each year we hear of that miracle case where someone gets into Harvard with a 550. But that person likely had an extraordinary profile in every other way, so it offset the low score.

Use your GMAT or GRE score as a barometer to determine a comfortable range of schools to target. You can go for the “reach school” as well despite a middling test score. But make sure you incorporate the fact that you have a low score into your overall strategy.

MBA Applicant Reality Check #3: You’re Not Ready for B-School – Yet

A huge mistake is applying to business school before you are really ready. It is true MBA admissions skew younger these days. Now it’s common to accept applicants with five or fewer years of work experience. But that means candidates need to be even more amazing in less time.

Have you had enough life experiences to provide an interesting perspective to a class? Will your recommenders act as champions for your cause?

Or is your relationship with a supervisor still new and untested? Can you devote time to improving your test score to expand your portfolio of program options? Would taking another year to strengthen your profile make more sense and yield better results?

Making 100 percent sure that an MBA is the right step now is a crucial part of the soul-searching. once you can answer in the affirmative, you can embark on the challenging but rewarding journey toward an MBA.

Image by Kristian Bjornard (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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For Lasting Success, Forget the Big Moves and Focus on Baby Steps  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Mar 2019, 08:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: For Lasting Success, Forget the Big Moves and Focus on Baby Steps
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It’s now March. How many of your new year’s resolutions have you managed to keep? Still hitting the gym five days a week? Waking up at 4:30 a.m. to reap the many benefits touted by early risers? And that vow to save more and spend less this year…how’s that one going? Research shows about 80% of us fail at our resolutions by six weeks into the new year. Why is that?

Often, the culprit is having a laundry list of life-altering changes we aspire to make. Setting lofty goals and attempting to accomplish every one of them simultaneously all but guarantees failure.

The better strategy is to stay realistic. Avoid “stressure” by paring down your aspirations to a few manageable objectives. Then, for lasting success, don’t get hung up on the outcome. Instead, put all your effort into making steady progress toward your goal.

So, how do I get started?
Jack Canfield, entrepreneur and co-author of the blockbuster series “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” swears by the Rule of 5. Every day, take five small steps that get you closer to achieving your goal. What that looks like will vary depending on what you want to achieve. But making those small steps a non-negotiable part of your daily schedule is key.

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Protip: Don’t fall for the temptation of brushing them off some days because they seem insignificant. Incremental progress, however small, has a compound effect. Canfield also recommends you keep track and record your progress. Review it regularly, and be amazed at how far you’ve come.

Author Seth Godin lays it out this way:

“The thing is, incremental daily progress (negative or positive) is what actually causes transformation. A figurative drip, drip, drip. Showing up, every single day, gaining in strength, organizing for the long haul, building connection, laying track-this subtle but difficult work is how culture changes.”

We’re several weeks into the new year, but you can still fine-tune your approach to one of your floundering resolutions. Put into action a plan guided by incremental actions rather than dramatic changes. A small investment made daily will yield a degree of progress that will blow your mind in the waning days of 2019.

***

Like what you read here? Then sign up for the Blacklight, our weekly email with the news, advice and inspiration you need to be your best. No matter what stage of life or career you find yourself, everyone can use a few hacks to work smarter in today’s hyper-paced world.

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Do This When You Visit the Campus of Your Target B-Schools  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Mar 2019, 12:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Do This When You Visit the Campus of Your Target B-Schools
You wouldn’t buy a house you hadn’t seen in person first, would you? The average total cost of an MBA education at the most elite business schools has crept upwards of $200,000. Therefore, it makes good sense to visit the campus to get to know a program beyond its ranking.

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Kellogg School of Management

During a visit, you’ll observe the general routine of students and get a feel for in-class dynamics. You’ll also be able to imagine yourself as a part of the community where you will spend the next two years.

Some applicants have likened the school selection process to online dating. Sure, you have an idea in mind of how amazing a school is. But you have to spend time together in person before you can truly decide whether it’s The One.

Some admissions departments, such as those at Harvard Business School and Stanford University Graduate School of Business, are quick to point out that a campus visit has no bearing on admissions decisions.

Schools such as the relatively remote Tuck School of Business do take note of who has toured the school. This extra effort to visit the campus in person strongly signals that a candidate is serious about that particular school.

Spring is the ideal time to visit the campus
It makes little sense to check out the campus during summer.  When classes aren’t in session, you can’t assess the one key characteristic you want to observe: the interaction between students and faculty. While on campus, make sure you check out the whole university because its entire resources may someday be available to you.

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Columbia Business School

Through the MBA admissions office, you can schedule a visit that typically includes an information session, the option of attending a class, and a chance to chat with a current student over coffee or a meal. During the class visit, take note of the dynamic between the students and professor before and after class. This can be an indicator of how close-knit and collaborative the community is.

In some cases, the admissions office may put you in contact with a student with similar career goals.  This provides an ideal way to learn more specifics about the program as it relates to your professional needs.

Straight from the MBA student’s mouth
Talking to current students when you visit the campus is the best way to learn about the program. And don’t just talk to a couple of people. This is too big a decision to make without first experiencing a variety of conversations and points of view. Explain that you’re trying to get a feel for the community. Find out more about why they chose this particular school. Chances are excellent they will gladly share their insights with you.

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Married b-school hopefuls, especially those with young children, should also attempt to find out how family-friendly the MBA program is to get a better idea of what life in their situation would be like.

A huge part of the b-school experience is the social aspect. This helps forge the strong network you’ll rely on after graduation. While visiting the school, find out where students go to relax and unwind. Check out the local watering holes, as MBAs do enjoy their potent libations!

If you can stay for a few days, try to immerse yourself in the MBA social scene. Connect with students who are interested in the same activities you hope to become involved in. Often you’ll learn more about your fit with a particular school over these types of encounters than during an official admissions tour.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to plan your visit before applying, once you’ve been invited to interview, or after you’ve received an offer of admission is a personal one. Each has its merits, and barring the prohibitive expense of multiple visits, would be worthwhile.

Whichever option you choose, figuring out for yourself how a particular program suits your needs is a crucial step in the b-school application process.

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Success at All Costs  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Mar 2019, 08:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Success at All Costs
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You’ve heard by now about the massive college admissions cheating scandal? In a nutshell, it’s a story of privileged people using wealth/influence to pave the way for their kids’ entry into elite universities. It has ensnared celebrities, CEOs, coaches, counselors and test administrators—the FBI indicted 50 people in the $25 million fraud scheme. By all accounts, this is the most egregious scandal in the history of higher education.

What has many onlookers steaming is that, in some of these cases, the children had zero desire for a higher education. Actress Lori Loughlin’s daughter Olivia Jade, who started at USC in fall 2018, shared this gem with her social media fan base at the time:

“I do want the experience of like game days, partying. I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.”

Out of the 30 parents indicted, two were Stanford MBAs. Three were HBS alums. One graduated from Michigan Ross. And yet another is an alum of my alma mater, Kellogg School of Management.

We’ve already tackled the issue of whether admissions fraud also exists at the MBA level. But the greater societal questions remain unanswered: Why were these parents hell-bent on helping their children achieve success at all costs?

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Parents refuse to give up the wheel
These MBA grads, successful by every measure, could have hired legit tutors and consultants to boost their kids’s chances of admission. But these “lawnmower parents”  had little faith in their own children’s abilities. So they decided to game the system instead.  What values are they passing on to the next generation? What does this say about how b-schoolers define success?

Duke University professor of behavioral economics Dan Ariely thinks being a parent creates blinders “as to what’s moral and not moral.” This article on ethical parenting suggests that someone who would never lie on his or her own résumé may lie on their kid’s school application and feel that “they’re doing something for a good cause, that they’re actually being altruistic.”

Too late to learn ethical behavior?
Universities and their business schools have honor codes, and devote millions to centers and initiatives focused on ethics. But now we’re left wondering whether it’s too little, too late.

Professor Jonathan Haidt of NYU Stern School of Business wrote this in The Washington Posta few years back: “After much searching, I have yet to find any evidence that a single ethics class, on its own, can improve ethical behavior after the course has ended.”

Lecturer Walter Pavlo agrees, as his article last year in Forbes, “Business Schools Should Stop Teaching Ethics And Start Teaching Federal Sentencing Guidelines.” made plain.

“The reality is that most ethics training occurs long before students enter business school.  Parents, family, friends, coaches and faith leaders all have a hand in forming the beliefs of our youth,” Pavlo wrote.

The future looks hazy
Business schools should continue to elevate a culture around success in other ways. They can prioritize doing good, being kind, doing the right thing even if it’s not monetarily advantageous. But there’s only so much professors and MBA programs can do on the back end. Perhaps it falls to admissions to more clearly identify applicants who embody the values to which the schools adhere.

All of us—rich, poor, and in between—need to stop trying to clear away every obstacle for those we care about. Getting caught clearly harmed the children involved in this scandal. But not getting caught would have also been damaging in other ways. Namely, by normalizing this type of behavior in future generations.

How can business schools identify and groom individuals who are driven to success and improving the world without feeling the need to artificially create an upper hand? I’m not sure. But it’s a discussion we should all engage in.

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The Benefits of Working with an MBA Admissions Consultant  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2019, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The Benefits of Working with an MBA Admissions Consultant
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Acceptance rates at the most elite business schools range from six to 21 percent. Tough competition drives many MBA hopefuls to weigh the benefits of working with an MBA admissions consultant to help them stand out amid a sea of equally amazing applicants.

The majority seek assistance with their essays, resume evaluation, and interview preparation.  There are numerous upsides to working with an MBA admissions consultant.

We believe a consultant can nearly always help, whether you are a first-time or a repeat business school applicant; whether you are in the dark or more knowledgeable about the admissions process.
After all, both beginning athletes and Olympians have coaches.

The one caveat to this situation?  If the admissions committee at the school to which you are applying is heavily focused on numbers.  In this case, you may not need a consultant to help flesh out things like your essays or interviews.

Capitalize on the experiences of a seasoned consulting team
An MBA admissions consultant offers a trained second pair of eyes to review your material, help steer strategy, and provide a sanity check. Our admissions consultants have years of MBA admissions and marketing experience.

(See how Stacy Blackman Consulting ranks compared to other firms in our industry.)

You’ll have the ability to leverage the database of knowledge of a collected group of experts. When taken together, these folks have experience with thousands of clients in programs across the globe. Input from one friend who applied, or even someone who attended the school, provides only a limited snapshot.

Here at SBC, we have perspective on what has worked—and what hasn’t—over time, as journalist Seb Murray touches on in his article about consultant use in MiM admissions. We can answer any questions or concerns you have about a particular program in-house. This saves you tons of time researching online or trolling business school forums.

There’s a lot of information about the MBA admissions process readily available online for free. Blogs like mine offer application advice, school-specific essay tips, and more. But some people feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of info out there. We believe applicants can do their own research and still benefit from personalized guidance and coaching.

Detractors might argue that if you’re a strong MBA candidate, consulting services will provide little added value. After all, your stats and profile should speak for themselves, right?
We disagree. In fact, we’ve seen many cases of stellar candidates who were shocked when denied admission to programs that seemed like sure things.

For example, we worked with one Cornell University graduate who had three years of experience in a top investment bank, a high GPA, a high GMAT score, phenomenal extracurriculars and competent writing skills.

However, when he came to us he had zero introspection and was unable to look inward to mine his unique and interesting strengths. He definitely belonged in a top program. With our guidance in how to market himself, his application package went from generic to compelling.

Know yourself before signing on with an admissions consultant
Cost is the obvious potential drawback of working with an MBA admissions consultant. Fees run anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a la carte editing services to several thousand dollars for comprehensive packages targeting multiple schools.

If you’re not committed to completing the process, it’s a huge waste of money.  Some potential clients think hiring a business school consultant means they don’t have to do any work. A good consultant is not an essay-writing service. We won’t do the work for you, and we’re not here to agree with whatever the client says.

This type of relationship won’t work for personality types that have difficulty accepting criticism, coaching, and input from others. Only invest in a consultant if you’re ready for a true partnership—not if you want a ghostwriter.

Consultants can push you, point out errors and opportunities, and help you submit your very best application. But they still need you on the team.

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Don’t Overlook School Culture When Creating an MBA Shortlist  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2019, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Don’t Overlook School Culture When Creating an MBA Shortlist
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Now is the time when many potential MBA applicants are neck-deep in the school research phase of the admissions process. When choosing which business schools make your Top Five list, what matters most? Do you prioritize rankings and reputation, or the institution’s culture and values?

Defining a school’s culture is a smart strategic move that many applicants overlook. Getting a feel for the prevailing culture will help you decide whether the program fits well with your personality.

Is the school culture predominantly competitive, or collaborative?

Size and location often play an important role in this regard – larger programs in urban centers, such as Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Chicago Booth typically feel much more competitive and intense.

Smaller business schools and those located in rural settings usually foster a close-knit community feeling. Here, many students live on campus and socialize with fellow students and faculty on a regular basis.

MBA programs with smaller cohorts, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of BusinessStanford Graduate School of Business and Yale School of Management take pride in their down-to-earth, collaborative cultures.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to evaluating school culture. It’s simply a matter of choosing the environment that’s best for you. For more insight, read this article on the MBA programs with the best cultures and classmates.

A student who feels comfortable and engaged will have a more enjoyable and rewarding business school experience. Remember, the relationships you forge with the school and your classmates last a lifetime.

Knowing whether you’d thrive in a collegial, teamwork-driven environment, or in a more intense and competitive program is just one question you can ask yourself when gauging “fit” with a particular school. A little research and a hefty dose of self-reflection will help you find which MBA program is the best fit for YOU.

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Grit Without Passion is Just Drudgery  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Apr 2019, 11:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Grit Without Passion is Just Drudgery
Got grit? This buzzword has grabbed a lot of headlines lately. But stories of perseverance have captured our collective imagination since, well, forever. We love rooting for those who overcome obstacles through hard work and determination.

Just last year, tennis superstar Serena Williams, who faced a life-threatening medical crisis after giving birth to her daughter in 2017, fought her way back to the Wimbledon finals in what Time magazine called, “…one of the most spectacular displays of will, skill and grit in the history of the game.”

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What’s been missing in the grit analysis?
But, is having grit alone enough to achieve success in life? Until now, researchers hadn’t found consistent proof that grittier people are more likely to succeed. Critics began calling the concept of grit an “overhyped mirage.” That should change with a new study by Columbia Business School and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

Earlier analyses of grit fell short, say these researchers, because they primarily focused on perseverance and undervalued the key ingredient of passion. Sure, persistence can lead to achievement, but it won’t necessarily lead to happiness. As the researchers note, perseverance without that clear sense of direction that passion provides does not propel people forward.

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“We were not surprised to find that dogged dedication to an objective – without a true passion for the goal – is mere drudgery,” says Columbia Professor Adam Galinsky. “But until now, research on grit failed to factor in the propulsive force that animated grit’s perseverance. By properly incorporating passion into the grit equation, we now have evidence that people who are passionate for their goal and persevere towards it will reach higher heights.”

How to up your own grit factor
Finding your passion can be the most challenging element of building up grit. After all, forging ahead on tasks that fill you with dread may technically qualify you as persistent, but won’t make you gritty. Dr. Angela Duckworth, author of the New York Times bestseller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, acknowledges that it isn’t always easy to find your passion.

In a recent interview published in Psychology Today, Duckworth explains, “It would seem on the face of things that perseverance would be the harder part of grit to master, but my recent experience and conversations with millennials as well as younger generations and middle-aged professionals is that figuring out something that you love is harder.”

Her advice? Stop ruminating and start doing. Fan that initial spark through action.  “If you think you might want to be a doctor, start volunteering in a hospital. If you think you might want to be a writer, start writing,” Duckworth says. “Sampling is better than specialization, especially early on.”

Forget what others expect from you and focus on finding the things that actually ignite your interest. Do you feel a pull toward certain projects at work or beyond? What activities cause you to focus so intently that you forget about everything else around you?  Once you identify your passions, tap into them and relentlessly pursue the life and career goals you’ve deemed worthy of your time and energy. This powerful combination will allow you to maximize the true potential for success that defines grit today.

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Client Case Study: How the GRE® General Test Can Complement an Unconve  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Apr 2019, 06:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Client Case Study: How the GRE® General Test Can Complement an Unconventional Applicant
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The decision to pursue an MBA requires serious thought. Motivations vary by person, but prospective business school students should first make sure they’ve identified gaps in their professional development, have clear career goals, and feel ready to contribute to the MBA experience.

Do you need the degree to advance in your current company or industry? Maybe you’re ready to switch careers and need business school to launch into that new direction. Or, perhaps you want to start your own business and need the hard and soft skills an MBA program will provide.

One of the most important decisions you’ll make during the MBA application process is which schools you’re going to apply to. It’s crucial that you understand your own criteria and preferences to take your business school selection past the level of rankings. Do you want to be in the city or in a rural setting? Do you like the Case Study method or experiential learning? Do you prefer a close-knit class or a large network?

Figure out which schools will be a good fit for your personal goals. Once you develop a better understanding of the programs that might interest you, you can then filter those down to the select few where you will eventually apply. This is the process followed by the international applicant featured in this case study. Watch this video for more insight on finding the right school from admissions consultant Caryn Altman.

Case Study: An International Applicant Determined to Pursue an MBA at Columbia
When this client first contacted Stacy Blackman Consulting (SBC) for guidance with his MBA application, he told us how he had struggled with the GMAT. Test-taking was not one of his strengths. After two attempts, he could not raise his score enough to be competitive with other candidates applying to his dream MBA program at Columbia Business School.

We knew from reviewing his academic transcript and professional accomplishments that he could handle the rigorous quant load of an MBA at Columbia. From that initial call, we recommended he consider the GRE® General Test. We sensed that it would complement his academic strengths and allow him to shine.

Why the GRE® General Test Became His Best Option
We believed the GRE® General Test could be a valuable differentiator for his candidacy. MBA programs began accepting this exam to attract a wider, more diverse set of applicants. As a candidate from the Middle East, we wanted to showcase two of his main strengths: his atypical background and the under-represented cultural perspective he could share with his cohort. (Learn more about taking the GRE® General Test as an international student.)

Using the GRE® General Test to Differentiate Your Candidacy
Submitting GRE® scores shifted the focus of the application to his unique interests and remarkable personal growth, and complemented the story being told in his MBA essays and the rest of his application. Because the GRE® General Test is accepted at a diverse set of graduate programs, incorporating the test into an application strategy often bolsters positioning as a non-traditional applicant. Those that submit GRE® scores may be highlighting strengths outside of the more common business skill-set. When developing a full strategy, choosing the GRE® General Test is another way to highlight your unique path.

Our client spent his childhood in a poor, rural community and was the first in his family to graduate from university. Rich family traditions colored his story. A deeply embedded work ethic, sense of focus, and commitment fueled his entire family, whether working with their hands within their community or pursuing academic goals.

While his college ranked mid-level, relative to international standings, he nonetheless excelled academically and professionally. The contrast between his educational background, created by his economic circumstance, and his family’s pride in his progress were important highlights of his story. His exceptional path to college and his progress as a student and graduate were critical aspects of his brand. That decision differentiated him from other applicants in the international business management candidate pool.

Our application game plan was effective. In the end, our client did well on the GRE® General Test and was admitted to his top-choice MBA program at Columbia Business School.

After graduation, our client became a UK-based management consultant with a multinational firm. In his role as a consultant, he excelled in many quantitative-based tasks and was a leader among his peers. After his first year, he launched and helped lead a mentoring program for new analysts. Part of his strategy also involved coaching his recommenders to highlight and support these aspects of his story: his skills and his character.

For detailed guidance on how to develop your personal MBA brand, download our business school application branding guide, free courtesy of the GRE® General Test.

Hear more about how taking the GRE® General Test can be a smart strategic decision to display your quant skills from Stacy Blackman Consulting principal Esther Magna:



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Forté Releases MBA Gender Inequality Update  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Apr 2019, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Forté Releases MBA Gender Inequality Update
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Does an MBA degree eliminate gender inequality – such as the pay gap – when graduates return to the workplace? Unfortunately, no, says new research from Forté Foundation. However, both MBAs and their employers are taking steps to address gender inequality at work.

In addition, business school increasingly helps prepare graduates to tackle these issues. These combined efforts appear to be having a positive impact on reducing gender inequality at work.

Forté’s online survey polled 900 male and female MBA alumni who graduated between 2005-2017. This research is the second in a series. Early this year, Forté released research that explored whether an MBA holds the key to help women and minorities increase earning power and equality in the workplace — including the impact on the pay gap.

Workplace Gender Equality?
Have women and men achieved gender equality in the workplace? It certainly depends on who you ask. Overall, more than three-fourths of MBA respondents (76%) believe gender equality has not been achieved in the workplace. There is, however, a significant difference by gender.

  • More than eight in 10 female MBAs (82%) believe gender equality has not been achieved. This figure is even higher for minority women (87%).
  • Only six in 10 male MBAs (63%) agree that gender equality has not been achieved.
Types of MBA Gender Inequality Experienced
  • Female MBAs “personally experienced” three main types of gender inequality. They include: unequal opportunities for promotions or career advancement; hostile work environment; and unequal career opportunities (global assignments, special projects, etc.).
  • Male MBAs, meanwhile, have “personally experienced” three main types of gender inequality. They include: gender preference in recruiting and hiring practices; hostile work environment; lack of or inadequate parental leave policies.
  • The top three types of gender inequality female and male MBA respondents have “heard of” are: hostile work environment, unequal access to training or educational opportunities, unequal opportunities for promotions or career advancement.
How the MBA Prepares Graduates to Tackle Workplace Gender Inequality
A majority of recent MBA graduates (62%) believe that business school helps prepare them to address gender inequality at work. In contrast, less than half of earlier business school graduates (40% of graduates from 2005-2015) say the same.

MBA respondents say business school helps them to address gender inequality at work through a variety of ways. For instance, building awareness and confidence to address issues through: case studies, courses, frameworks and toolkits, affinity groups and workshops, open discussion, and more. Interestingly, men and women report differences in how MBA programs prepared them.

  • Men were more likely to cite “developing awareness” (men 18%, women 12%), “individual courses” (19%, 7%) and case studies (14%, 4%) as having the most impact.
  • Women were more likely to say they “gained confidence” to address gender inequality in the workplace (women 34%, men 1%) and that “affinity groups and workshops” helped prepare them (women 13%, men 3%).
“This new research sheds light on whether we’re seeing improvements in workplace gender equality for MBAs, what issues impact women and men the most, and how business school helps to prepare alumni to address,” says Elissa Sangster, CEO, Forté Foundation.

“We found that while gender inequality in the workplace is still pervasive, we may be starting to see improvements in MBA’s personal experiences from their past to current employer. And recent MBA graduates are more likely to say than earlier alumni that the degree helped prepare them to tackle these issues in the workplace.”

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Mitigate Red Flags in the MBA Application  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Apr 2019, 13:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Mitigate Red Flags in the MBA Application
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Nobody likes drawing attention to their past mistakes, academic or otherwise. But when applying for a seat at a competitive business school,  not addressing obvious weaknesses does more harm than good. Being up front about your foibles can go a long way toward minimizing the damage. In fact, it can actually boost your chances of admission. Below you’ll find three common red flags in the MBA application. See how b-school applicants can deal with them successfully.

Explaining a layoff
Many people assume that a significant gap in their employment history will raise a red flag in the MBA application. Yes, the admissions committee will notice the time out of the workforce. However, they care more about how you spent that time. The goal is to show how you used that break in your career productively.

Briefly explain the layoff, and then draw attention to how you bounced back from the experience. We’ve had several clients in this situation, and we advised each to approach the challenge differently.

Some may have used the time away to hike solo through Tibet. Others dove into volunteer work that allowed them to hone their business skills while giving something back. Still others used the time to flesh out their entrepreneurial dreams, unencumbered by the 9-to-5 grind.

Handling a low GPA
After a few years in the workforce, most MBA applicants would say they’ve matured significantly from their college days. They’re ready to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to the academic rigors of a top-tier business school. The trouble is that a ho-hum GPA—meaning anything below a 3.5—will follow them to every admissions office and is seldom well received.

When MBA programs look at academic records such as GMAT scores and GPAs, there’s a question of aptitude (“Can this applicant do the work?”) and a question of application (“Will this applicant work hard?”). A low GPA might signal that the applicant would have trouble dedicating themselves to the MBA coursework.

Addressing this red flag in the MBA application may require a two-pronged approach, depending on the individual circumstances. Some clients have chosen to take pre-MBA courses to boost their quantitative profile and alleviate any concerns about their ability to handle MBA-level coursework. We also typically advise such applicants to use the optional essay to address the matter directly.

We can sympathize with not wanting to draw attention to a poor academic performance. But if you don’t provide all of the details, the adcomm might make unfavorable assumptions. Isn’t it better to supply the admissions committee with the facts and tell them your story, rather than have the committee jump to the wrong conclusions?

One client made no excuses, but freely admitted that he had lacked the maturity to see the big picture during undergrad. He had only worked hard in classes that he considered intellectually interesting. Coupled with his career trajectory and assorted extracurricular involvements, his essay demonstrated clear evidence that he had since developed that maturity and was prepared to dedicate himself to his MBA studies.

Addressing a criminal record
This red flag in the MBA application may seem insurmountable, but we have helped more than one client explain an embarrassing episode from their past. In one such case, the applicant had been arrested for underage drinking and a DUI during her sophomore year at a well-regarded liberal arts college. Having to disclose this information on her MBA applications mortified her.  She feared no top business school would accept her due to her criminal record.

In this case, honesty is the only policy in order to assure that the background check yields no surprises. We turned this setback into an opportunity, and decided to actively address the arrest in one of her essays for each school. Because the incident sparked a period of serious self-reflection and change, her story was ultimately inspiring.

Many MBA programs ask you to explain a mistake you have made, or discuss a challenge you overcame. The most interesting candidates have faced difficulty and learned from it, preferably changing their behavior for the better. We took a youthful mistake and showcased a person determined to improve her life.

Admissions officers look for applicants who will succeed in their particular program, as well as in the world after graduation. Showing who you are, your potential, and even how you have overcome blemishes to your otherwise perfect record gives the school insight into your potential as a student and as a future business leader. We all fail sometimes, but the trick is to try to look at your failures through a fresh lens and figure out the good that came from it.

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Know When to Retake the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Apr 2019, 13:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Know When to Retake the GMAT
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Occasionally, we hear tales of MBA applicants offered admission in a top business school with a 640 GMAT score. But in truth, accepting students with scores of 700+ is more the norm at the most competitive programs. So, should you automatically retake the GMAT if you don’t hit 700?

Before you start to panic and become hung up on achieving the highest score possible, or fixate on the average GMAT score reported by the schools, we urge test-challenged clients to focus instead on aligning their scores within the 80 percent range. Schools usually list this information within their admitted class profile.

Many experts in the test prep industry advise all students to plan on taking the test twice. If you score at or above your goal the first try, you can always cancel the second sitting.

Remember, top schools want to see scores in the 80th percentile in the quantitative section. So if you score 100 percent in verbal and low in quantitative, you would want to retake the GMAT exam. This holds true especially if you don’t have a strong quantitative background outside of the GMAT.

What’s a “good enough” score? 
There is absolutely no reason to retake the GMAT when you score over 700. You’ve already proven you can handle the quantitative component of the curriculum. Now turn your focus toward ensuring all of the other parts of your application are as strong as possible.

Keep in mind that this high number is primarily for those targeting a top-tier MBA program. If you scored a 680, the decision to retake should be carefully considered. You may be better off focusing on your essays or coaching recommenders instead. Applicants looking at programs in the top 20 or 50 should check the average scores of admitted students to determine their personal target GMAT score.

If illness, nerves, exhaustion, or simply a lack of adequate preparation resulted in a low score, then a second attempt becomes a necessity. Repeat test-taking, with additional preparation, typically results in a higher score as students become familiar with the experience, and therefore, less stressed out.

The Graduate Management Admission Council allows you to retake the GMAT as many times as you like. Make sure to check your target schools’ deadlines to allow enough time to send in your final scores.

AdCom has no problem if you retake the GMAT
Applicants self-report their highest score, and it’s worth noting that the admissions committee has no issue with students taking the exam more than once. In fact, committees may look positively on the dedication you’ve shown to improve upon your prior performance. Mind you, we’re talking about a score report with two or three scores, max—not one that shows you’ve sat for the GMAT seven times.

After your first test, it’s time to reflect on your entire GMAT performance. Determine your weaknesses, and double-down in those areas as you resume your studies. Don’t completely ignore the sections you did well on, however. You wouldn’t want to improve in one area but do worse in another the next time.

If you studied alone or took a class for your initial preparation, consider studying with a GMAT tutor for the second go-round. A test prep expert can work around your schedule and tailor the curriculum to your needs.

Advice for applicants with test-taking anxiety
Finally, some people aren’t natural test-takers and have a less-than-optimal performance no matter how well they know the material. One of the primary causes is stress under pressure, and it may help to watch this video tour of the GMAT Test Center and detailed explanation of all procedures to increase your comfort level about what to expect.

If that familiarity still isn’t enough to calm your nerves come test day, consider using relaxation techniques such as meditation and visualization to reduce test anxiety. Also, try to retake the GMAT in the same center will help you feel more comfortable.

Business school hopefuls can be incredibly hard on themselves when they make mistakes on the GMAT, but each error is a learning opportunity and a chance to improve. So don’t become discouraged if your first score isn’t where you’d hoped. Relax, and think of it as a dress rehearsal for a stellar performance to come.

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Face Off: Kellogg vs. Ross  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2019, 14:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Face Off: Kellogg vs. Ross
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The school selection process for MBA applicants can seem daunting. With so many highly ranked business schools, how can you decide which one is right for you? Today, SBC introduces a new blog series called Face Off. Here, we’ll tease out the strengths and differences between two similarly ranked b-schools and explore their admissions processes. First up: the Kellogg MBA application versus the Ross MBA application.

How do the admissions requirements and selectivity compare between the pair? 
“Kellogg wants sparkly, dynamic people,” says a former Kellogg Admissions Officer at SBC. “In the Kellogg MBA application process, there’s also a significant focus on academic rigor and GMAT average in the two year full-time program.” For the class entering in 2018, Kellogg’s GMAT average of 732 was number 2 behind Stanford.

The Kellogg MBA application entails video essays that show how a candidate can think on their feet. Icebreaker questions in the past have included “What would you do with an extra hour every day?” or “What celebrity would you most want to go to Starbucks with?”

These nuances allow the Kellogg MBA application to screen for personality through an “elevator pitch” ability. Kellogg wants candidates to show strong interview skills and authentic excitement about Kellogg program specifics via its novel application format.

In its application, Ross’s essay prompts are traditional (not video-based) but entail more flexibility than Kellogg.

“One of the things we heard from applicants was that they loved having the option to choose which essay prompt to respond to. So we’re keeping that feature but providing two options per short answer group rather than three,” Admissions Director Soojin Kwon explained last season on her blog.  “We kept the ones that seemed to provide the best platform for sharing something meaningful and unique about yourselves.”

Ultimately, both schools want to know what you’ll contribute to the learning environment
Like Kellogg, Ross also looks for candidates who truly understand the program values. They hope to meet applicants who want to be there, and who demonstrate how they intend to contribute to the learning and extracurricular environment.

The Kellogg MBA application process includes an interview for the vast majority applicants, and it is a traditional 1:1 interview. However, Ross is more selective about interview invitations than Kellogg.  Ross offers a group interview process with its Michigan Team Based Exercise “Interview.” This exercise is designed to assess team dynamics and communication styles.

Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and the Michigan Ross School of Business have similar program strengths. Plus, they attract similar recruiters and are both highly ranked. What key differences between the two schools should an MBA applicant consider? 
Both programs seek well-rounded candidates with strong academic attributes and depth of character. Likewise, both programs boast a very team-focused culture and environment.  A former Ross Admissions Officer on the SBC team says that Ross focuses on “leadership, teamwork, intellectual aptitude, and creativity,” in its admissions process.

Kellogg’s focus is similar. “Kellogg is looking for leadership, strong academic record and a track record of involvement,” explains a former Kellogg Admissions Officer on our consulting team.  Still, within these general categories, Kellogg is more selective on most application criteria—GMAT/GRE, GPA, work experience, community leadership, etc—relative to Ross.

The key difference between the programs  is reputation. Kellogg consistently ranks in the top 5 of MBA programs in the US. Most rankings place Ross between 10 and 20 range. Higher brand value for Kellogg typically correlates with more robust alumni networks and student peer groups.

“Given the choice between two disparate ranked programs, the majority of our past clients turn down the lower ranked program for a better brand,” Stacy Blackman says.

A tough decision to make 
“In one instance this past season, a client took several weeks to decide between a full ride scholarship to Ross versus a no scholarship offer to Kellogg. The client was initially quite torn. She felt that both programs would open the same doors upon graduation, given that employment reports show nearly identical data points.

Not being $200k in debt, through the Ross scholarship, was very tempting for this client. After attending the admit events for both programs and extensive diligence, this client decided on Kellogg. She felt that Kellogg, with its stronger reputation, would afford an edge throughout short and long-term career changes in her future.”

Next up: How do the two schools’ locations compare?  What impact will this have on the student experience and/or job opportunities? 
Both locations, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Evanston, Ill., are appealing and vibrant college towns. Evanston is adjacent to Chicago, which is a U.S. mecca of urban life and cultural experiences. That urban proximity gives the advantage to Kellogg, even with its cold winters.  Ann Arbor’s proximate city of Detroit isn’t the finest urban experience the US has to offer.

Now then, how do the two schools’ MBA cohorts compare in terms of quality and culture? 
Michigan Ross’s full time MBA program class of 2020 is slightly smaller at 423, versus Kellogg’s 478. Kellogg has a higher percentage of both woman (46%) and internationals (34%), relative to Ross which is at woman (43%) and international (32%) representation. Kellogg has an advantage with respect to diverse perspectives, although both programs are known for their collaborative culture.

How do the two curriculums and teaching methods compare?
Historically, Kellogg has been stereotyped as a marketing program. In reality, by function and industry, Kellogg’s outplacement into marketing is almost identical to that of Ross. Marketing has become less of a hot area for Kellogg in recent years, overshadowed by other specialty areas.

Noteworthy for Kellogg is that it has diverse tracks and specialized programs. Data Analytics, Tech, Entrepreneurship are all hot at Kellogg. With a smaller cohort of 60 students, Kellogg’s MMM curriculum is a dual-degree combination of MBA and Master of Design Innovation. It has attracted strong appeal to consultants and people oriented towards design-thinking.

The 1 year (1Y) program at Kellogg class is growing in enrollment. This could be an excellent option for applicants with a softer GMAT who have already completed a few undergrad business classes.

“If an applicant wants to stay in same field, and doesn’t need an internship, Kellogg 1Y could be a good option for a top tier program,” says a former Kellogg Admissions Officer at SBC.  Additional specialized tracks at Kellogg include:

  • Real Estate
  • Healthcare
  • Energy
  • Traditional Marketing/CPG – less popular in recent seasons
  • Data analysis – very popular as is entrepreneurship/tech
Ross offers a personalized experience through its specialized electives for second year students. Social enterprise, emerging markets, entrepreneurial management,  environmentally sustainable business are among the courses offered.

Aside from range of specialized programs, the teaching methods at both programs are a mix of experiential learning, case studies, lectures, etc. But, teamwork goes deeper at Kellogg.

“Part of what makes Kellogg different,” says former dean Sally Blount, “is what is underneath the words ‘team’ and ‘collaborative.’ It’s about making everyone in the room more productive. We get ahead in the world by having everyone win, not by eating someone’s lunch.”

How do the career outcomes between the schools stack up? 
The breakdown is almost identical in industries including consulting, tech, and financial services. Consumer products had a slight advantage at Kellogg, with 12% placement relative to 9% at Ross, in the 2017 employment reports (see graphics).

Ross by Industry

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Kellogg by Industry

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Placement is also almost identical by function, with Ross varying by function only with a higher finance placement rate—18% relative to Kellogg’s 14%. Similarly, the geographical placement is remarkably comparable, with slight differences only for the international placement for Kellogg (11%) varying from that of Ross (7.5%).

Ross by Function

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Kellogg by Function

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***

We hope this deep-dive comparison between the Kellogg MBA application and Ross MBA application has given you helpful intel as you make your school selection decisions this season. Finally, please leave any questions you may still have in the comment section below. Stay tuned for more Face Off posts to come!

The post Face Off: Kellogg vs. Ross appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.

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B-School Rejection Recovery Plan  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Apr 2019, 11:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-School Rejection Recovery Plan
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This is the time of year when business schools release their final decisions. Unfortunately, it isn’t always good news. You poured your heart and soul into the arduous MBA application process. Then, when your status changes to officially denied, a b-school rejection can seem like the end of the world.

For those of you feeling disillusioned by a rejection from your dream school, remember this: just 419 candidates became members of theStanford Graduate School of Business MBA class of 2020, out of 7,797 applicants. At Harvard Business School, 930 out of  9,886 applicants joined the MBA class of 2020.

Getting into a top MBA program is no easy feat
When the news comes in, the disappointment can feel overwhelming. It especially stings when other friends you’ve made during this process seem to receive acceptances left and right. The process of recovering from a b-school rejection has three main phases. First, there’s disbelief and devastation. Then comes soul-searching for reasons why. Finally, the resilient will actively strive to improve.

Step back and give yourself a break. Starting over without taking a breather only sets you up for failure. You’re mentally fried before you even begin. Take time to regroup emotionally. Focus on friends, family, hobbies or other interests that languished on back burner over the past several months.

Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that you won’t start business school in the fall, it’s time to swallow your pride and cast a critical eye on your initial application to find out why it was rejected.

Go through every component to suss out any weak elements. Is your work experience too limited? Did you clearly demonstrate why an MBA makes sense at this point in your career? Have you shown why you “fit” with a particular school, and what you would contribute to the class?

Did any of these red flags lead to your b-school rejection?
Though it’s rarely one thing that rings a warning bell, frequent red flags include a lack of leadership skills and experience, less than stellar recommendations and low GMAT test scores or undergraduate grade point averages.

Whether given intentionally or not, a lukewarm endorsement of a candidate is a definite warning sign for admissions committees. Since you usually won’t see the finished letter, it’s important to guide your recommenders by reminding them of concrete examples of your leadership skills and accomplishments.

We suggest saying something like, “I want you to feel comfortable, but I also want to make it as easy as possible for you, so I put together this list of accomplishments.” If you have doubts about whether your supervisors would write you an outstanding letter of recommendation, then you may need to postpone applying to business school until you do feel confident of their support.

Feedback on your weaknesses directly from the schools is, unfortunately, hard to come by. If you do have the opportunity to speak with a member of the admissions committee, take advantage by asking for details about each area of your application and make sure you walk away from any feedback session with action items for next year.

Think hard about the suitability of your target schools
Also, make sure you applied to the right school. Some people apply to the wrong places for them, and they’ll need to do some soul-searching before they reapply. If your scores don’t come close to those of an average student at the school, it’s not likely you’ll get in next time unless you make tremendous strides on your GMAT and have other extremely impressive qualifications, too.

Finally, many schools include an additional essay question for reapplicants. This helps them better understand what has changed in your situation to make you a stronger candidate this time around. Of course you should stress your new accomplishments. But we always encourage applicants to also address any weaknesses they may have.

Have an awareness of your failures and address them. Finally, be humble. Admissions committees know there’s no such thing as a “perfect” candidate, and one of the best ways to bounce back from a b-school rejection is to show how self-aware you are is by acknowledging your shortcomings.

The post B-School Rejection Recovery Plan appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.

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

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MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap
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B-School Rejection Recovery Plan   [#permalink] 12 Apr 2019, 11:01

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