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Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog

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Snapshot of a Successful SBC Client  [#permalink]

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New post 18 May 2020, 05:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Snapshot of a Successful SBC Client
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Sometimes, it’s instructive (not to mention, fun!) to share a granular look at a successful SBC client and their MBA application journey. Today, we’ve asked SBC consultant Caryn (pictured) to reveal some of the details of an applicant she worked with during the 2019-2020 admissions season.

Let’s take a look at the particulars of this client case study.  You just may find similarities between her profile and your own. Please note, we’ve anonymized some of the specifics of this candidate to protect her privacy.

Snapshot of a Successful SBC Client
Demography: White U.S. female, 26-years-old.  First-time applicant

Education: Top 50 West Coast state school

Exam Scores Submitted: GMAT – 700 (V40, Q45, IR 6). Tried GRE instead for Round 2 application ( V158 Q162)

Professional Experience: She worked for four years in market research at a sports apparel company. She had interesting stories of leadership through project management and showed initiative through taking on roles beyond her existing position.  Good global experience as well, leading international efforts in APAC.

Extracurricular: She had strong involvement during undergrad in student government with multiple leadership roles on a large campus. In addition, she had a solid track record of mentorship that began in high school and continued throughout college and beyond (albeit lighter post-college).

Post MBA Goals: In the short term, she wants to pivot to brand management at a consumer packaged goods (CPG) company. Her long-term goal is to become a chief marketing officer (CMO) at a CPG company.

Target Schools: Round 1 Kellogg School of Management, Michigan Ross School of Business, Duke Fuqua School of Business (all with GMAT score submitted). Round 2 Harvard Business School (with GRE score submitted)

Interviewed at: Kellogg, Ross, Fuqua, and HBS

Waitlisted at: Kellogg

Accepted at: Fuqua (with a significant scholarship), Ross (with scholarship), and HBS

What did this applicant do well?
We spent a great deal of time upfront on strategy. We wanted to ensure that her goals aligned well with her background and interests. In addition, we developed a robust school research/outreach plan. She did significant networking with the business schools she applied to (attending events, talking to current students and alums, etc.).

She also wrote compelling essays that highlighted her strong personality and communication skills. Specifically, she emphasized her leadership roles throughout all aspects of the application, in both professional and extracurricular capacities. It was clear she’d be a terrific team member.

Finally, we prepped for interviews extensively. She had great interviews (most likely a highlight of her application).

What, if anything, could she have done better?
She could have switched from the GMAT to the GRE earlier in the process.  She had already committed a great deal of study time to the GMAT and remained laser-focused on seeing it through. However, even with continued practice tests, her scores were not in the ideal range.

Once she switched to the GRE, it enabled HBS to get comfortable with her scores. Plus, it potentially added to scholarship opportunities for her R1 schools. (She updated those programs with her GRE scores one month after submitting her applications).

***

Thanks, Caryn, for sharing this successful SBC client profile with our readers! If you would like to learn more about how SBC can help make your MBA dreams a reality, get in touch for a free 15-minute consultation today!

The post Snapshot of a Successful SBC Client 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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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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Harvard MBA Essay for 2020-2021  [#permalink]

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New post 19 May 2020, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Harvard MBA Essay for 2020-2021
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In addition to the HBS deadlines, the Harvard MBA essay for the 2020-21 admissions season has been confirmed. As MBA Admissions Director Chad Losee recently explained, “Amidst all the uncertainty globally, we plan to minimize changes in our application process this year.”

Therefore, the essay question remains unchanged from the last admissions cycle.

Harvard MBA Essay for 2020-2021:
“As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program?” (no word limit)

The application will open up again in mid-June 2020, Losee added. Meanwhile, he encourages applicants to download the Application Guide to learn more about the requirements.

“The essay really is make or break for HBS,” shares one of the former HBS Admissions Officers on the SBC team. “So many applications have acceptable credentials up to that point of the application. It really is the essay that sets the overall application apart and earns it the interview.”

Check out our updated tips for the 2020-2021 Harvard MBA essay. And don’t hesitate to contact us to learn how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with your Harvard MBA application.

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

The post Harvard MBA Essay for 2020-2021 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: 1682
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday Tips: Harvard MBA Essay Advice for 2020-2021  [#permalink]

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New post 19 May 2020, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Harvard MBA Essay Advice for 2020-2021
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Harvard Business School has confirmed that the Harvard MBA essay question for the class of 2023 remains unchanged. According to MBA Admissions Director Chad Losee, “Amidst all the uncertainty globally, we plan to minimize changes in our application process this year.”  The admissions committee understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted plans, employment, and personal lives.

The Harvard MBA essay is challenging because it is open-ended. Therefore, you must remain disciplined while writing this essay. You will feel tempted to write a laundry list of everything interesting or impressive you have ever done with unlimited space. That urge could backfire. The admissions committee uses the essay to weed out those who aren’t a fit for HBS. On the other hand, a persuasive essay can move you into the interview round for a closer look.

First, think about who Harvard is looking for. The admissions committee writes that “Habit of Leadership, Analytical Aptitude and Appetite, and Engaged Community Citizenship” are the common characteristics of a successful applicant.

One of the former HBS Admissions Officers on the SBC team shared, “The essay really is make or break for HBS – so many applications have acceptable credentials up to that point of the application and it is the essay that sets the overall application apart and earns it the interview.”

Class of 2023 Harvard MBA essay question:
As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program? (no word count limit)

 A note on word count: HBS values brevity in essays. Don’t go overboard with a 2,000-word essay. Instead, focus on concise and clear writing and consider keeping it in the ~1,000-word range. Our clients have successfully composed essays anywhere from 500-1,300 words. If you find yourself on the upper end of that range, review and cut any unnecessary words.

Because there is no stated word count for the Harvard MBA essay, you have the flexibility to take extra space if you are telling a compelling story that needs it.

The goal of this essay is to know yourself, know HBS, and know how to match the two. Your task is to demonstrate your fit with Harvard Business School. First, evaluate all of the other aspects of your candidacy – what is the story your resume tells? What do you think recommenders will say? How does your transcript communicate your skills, accomplishments, and interests? Then, evaluate how to fill the gaps with the essay.

“At the end of the essay, the reader should feel so moved they want to meet you immediately – can’t wait to get to know you better, hear more of the story, ask you specific questions to learn more, be inspired, etc,” shared one of the former HBS Admissions Officers on the SBC team.

Learn more about current HBS students
Check out the incoming class profile for some idea of the “typical” HBS student. Keep in mind that both personal and career-oriented topics can work for this essay. In fact, most candidates tell more than one story in the essay. In the past, we have seen successful HBS essays demonstrate a core driving passion. HBS students are ambitious, motivated, and never dull.

Choose stories that show your management potential. HBS has always focused on leadership and loves candidates with a track record of leadership impact and future potential. Your goal is to demonstrate a success trajectory to indicate upper management potential. And, your path should show a passion for impact in both business and society.

In past years, Harvard MBA essay questions focused on accomplishments. Therefore, consider telling an accomplishment story in this essay. If your key achievements are not evident in your resume or transcripts, you can use this essay to explain them.

That said, this essay aims to discover who you are. “Be genuine,” advises the HBS admissions blog, and continues: “Yes, we want you to put your best foot forward, but be careful not to be so ‘polished’ that we can’t get to know the real you.” Especially at this time of global hardship, your story doesn’t need to be perfect. Embrace the challenges that you have overcome and tell your story. Remember that focusing on the lessons in your setbacks can be inspiring and revealing.

A note on what not to do
Many applicants feel compelled to include “why HBS” type information in the Harvard MBA essay. Unlike most MBA programs, HBS has never asked “why HBS” in an application essay question. If you feel strongly that you want to explain why Harvard is the right fit, focus on tangible differences like the Case Method learning style.

However, avoid lengthy explanations about how HBS is your top choice. Instead, use the space to provide detailed information about you and your strong candidacy.

Contact us to learn more about how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help you with your Harvard MBA application.

The post Tuesday Tips: Harvard MBA Essay Advice for 2020-2021 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
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B-Schooled Episode #4: How Important are Extracurriculars and Communit  [#permalink]

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New post 20 May 2020, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-Schooled Episode #4: How Important are Extracurriculars and Community Service
What should you do if you’re light on extracurriculars, volunteer work, and community service? And is it even worth it to try and beef up this aspect of your MBA candidacy during COVID-19 lockdowns … and when there are only a few months before Round 1 deadlines? This episode gives MBA applicants some tactical ideas for how to ensure they’re not just relying on their academic and professional achievements in their materials.

Listen to B-Schooled episode #4 here, or on any of the podcast apps listed below.

B-Schooled is available on most major podcast apps, including:

Please be sure to subscribe to B-Schooled so that you don’t miss a thing. If there’s something you’d like for us to cover in a future episode, please email podcast@stacyblackman.com. We’d love to hear from you!

The post B-Schooled Episode #4: How Important are Extracurriculars and Community Service 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
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Wharton Application Deadlines for 2020-2021  [#permalink]

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New post 21 May 2020, 09:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Wharton Application Deadlines for 2020-2021
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Is the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School on your shortlist of target b-schools? Then mark your calendar, because here are the Wharton application deadlines for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle!

Wharton Application Deadlines
Round 1
Application due: September 15, 2020

Decision released: December 16, 2020

Round 2
Application due: January 5, 2021

Decision released: March 25, 2021

Round 3
Application due: March 31, 2021

Decision released: May 11, 2021

Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the day of the deadline.

Applications submitted after the deadline for Round 1 or 2 will get rolled into the next round. Wharton will not accept applications submitted after the Round 3 deadline.

Ultimately, by applying earlier in a round, you will have more time to schedule an interview. For this reason, Wharton recommends submitting your application as soon as possible.  Notably, some programs require you to apply during Round 1 or 2.

For more information on applying, please visit the Wharton School admissions site.  Meanwhile, if you need guidance on your Wharton MBA application, or wish to discuss your MBA plans, reach out for a complimentary analysis of your candidacy. We’re here to help!

The post Wharton Application Deadlines for 2020-2021 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: 1682
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Insider Intel for Chicago Booth Applicants  [#permalink]

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New post 22 May 2020, 05:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Insider Intel for Chicago Booth Applicants
Starting an MBA in this economic, political, and social climate shows a real strength of character.  These students have stepped forward to become change-makers, showing faith in the programs they’ve chosen. But more importantly, they have confidence in their ability to adapt to whatever the COVID-19 pandemic does to their learning environment and recruiting landscape.

We’re betting that the class of 2022 is going to share similarities with those who graduated in 2010 and 2011, following the global financial crisis. That is to say, innovative, adaptable, and hard-hustling. What happens in the fall is anyone’s guess. Yet the demand for an MBA from a high-profile school has never been greater.

[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/SBC-consultant-Meg-cropped-and-flipped-669x734.jpg[/img]
Today we’re welcoming [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/consultant/meg/]Meg[/url], who has been with the SBC consulting team since 2017, with a Q&A specifically for Chicago Booth applicants. Meg served as a Senior Associate Director of Admissions at [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/mba-application-advice/chicago-booth/]Chicago Booth School of Business[/url] in their full-time MBA program for over two years.

In addition to her role as an AdCom, Meg oversaw the planning and execution of Booth’s First Day. This event welcomed hundreds of admitted students and their significant others twice annually.  The Campus Visit Program, which brought hundreds of students to campus throughout the year, also fell under her purview.

These on-campus events allowed her to observe an abundance of prospective students. More importantly, she saw what it took for Chicago Booth applicants to get admitted into this prestigious full-time MBA program.

[b]Q: What were the biggest mistakes applicants made when applying to Booth?[/b]
A: The first mistake that comes to mind is when an applicant doesn’t directly answer the essay questions. The creative process is different for everyone. But you must take the time to respond thoughtfully to the question asked. Second, referencing another business school anywhere in your application always results in a ding against you.

[b]Q: You oversaw the campus visit program at Booth. Do you think making the trip is worth it for a prospective Chicago Booth applicant?[/b]
A: ABSOLUTELY. Think about visiting campus as a critical part of your application checklist. The COVID-19 pandemic has made in-person visits off the table for now. Regardless, it’s essential to show up in whatever way you can to learn more about the program, the institution, and the community.

The idea behind engaging (whether in-person or digitally) is that you develop a deep understanding of fit. It doesn’t matter how majestic the campus or how highly-ranked the program. If you don’t feel the connection and fit with the community, keep looking. You want to walk away from these visits and discussions feeling like you’ve found “your people.”

[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/Chicago-Booth-supplied-by-school-734x490.jpg[/img]

[b]Q: When an applicant asks you, “What are my chances of getting into Booth?”, what is your response? [/b]
A: The truth is that no one in the world, except for the Deans of Admissions at these institutions, knows your odds. Although it’s tempting to try to figure it out, it’s exponentially more productive to direct that energy toward your essays, engaging with the community, or your application.

[b]Q: Do you think there is an area Chicago Booth applicants tend to underrate or overrate the importance of?[/b]
A: Booth has a special community, and the same can be said for a lot of business schools. Applicants underrate the importance of knowing why that particular school is a fit for them. They have to go beyond the highlights they can read about online.

Be sure to have a deep appreciation for the unique qualities of whatever school you have targeted. Then, make sure to speak to those specific components in your application. This includes your essays, your interview, as well as in discussions you have with anyone connected to the school.

[b]Q: If you had to pick one thing, what did you love about working in Booth’s full-time MBA program? [/b]
A: There’s certainly a LOT to appreciate about a Chicago Booth MBA. Applicants will likely hear about Booth’s pay-it-forward mentality, their discipline-based approach to learning, or the fact that they happen to have [url=https://review.chicagobooth.edu/content/nobel-laureates]Nobel-prize winners[/url] teaching there.

For me, I loved the fact that the students were encouraged, even expected, to be involved in the growth of the institution. Booth is a place that values tension in the classroom. Every year, Donna Swinford (Associate Dean of Recruitment and Admissions) and her team put together [url=https://www.chicagobooth.edu/mba/mba-life/the-classroom-experience?sc_lang=en]classes of students[/url] who don’t think alike.

There are countless examples of diverse student groups uniting to lead initiatives that have ultimately made Booth a better place. The point is to have a diversity of thought. Booth students embrace the opportunity to learn and grow from each other’s unique perspectives. In doing so, they become better versions of themselves.

The post [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/blog/intel-chicago-booth-applicants/]Insider Intel for Chicago Booth Applicants[/url] appeared first on [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com]Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting[/url].

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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: 1682
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Focus on These 5 Areas for MBA Admissions Success  [#permalink]

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New post 26 May 2020, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Focus on These 5 Areas for MBA Admissions Success
[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/MBA-APPLICATION-JOURNEY-734x413.png[/img]

The MBA admissions process is rigorous and time-consuming. Therefore, having a strategy in place to guide you will go a long way toward helping you manage this experience. Admissions committee members evaluate MBA applicants across a host of components, so your goal is to maximize the impact of each one. Turn your focus to these five specific areas for MBA admissions success in the fall.

Remember, each touchpoint is an opportunity to tell the admissions office something new about yourself. As we recently shared with [url=https://find-mba.com/articles/your-guide-to-the-entire-mba-application]Find MBA[/url], it’s a good thing that the adcom will judge you on your entire package.  After all, we’re so much more than just our jobs, our grades, and our volunteer experience.

Focus Areas for MBA Admissions Success
[b]GPA[/b]
Your GPA is a significant element of your MBA application. Besides your admissions test score, it’s a clear signal of your ability to handle the academic rigor of business school.

Unfortunately, it is also one of the only components already set in stone. Keep in mind that a 3.5 or better undergraduate GPA is acceptable for most MBA applications. Check the mean standard for admitted students at your target programs to see whether you have a problem to overcome.

If you do have a [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/blog/3-ways-to-offset-a-low-gpa-when-applying-to-business-school/]below-average GPA[/url] or low grades in quantitative/business classes, consider taking an online course this summer. Earning A’s in college-level quant courses will help convince the admissions committee that you can succeed in a challenging, fast-paced MBA program. Also, taking steps to shore up those weaknesses shows maturity and your ability to balance academics with work.

[b]Career Progression[/b]
When applying to a top-tier business school, show a clear path of professional growth in your application. The admissions team likes to meet potential students who have the drive to advance their skills and leadership abilities continually.

[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/man-in-black-suit-achieved-an-accomplishment-3779409-734x489.jpg[/img]

If this is a trouble spot for you, it’s time to get creative. Think of ways to add value and continue to develop your career. If an official title change is not in the cards in the coming months, find other ways to take on more senior responsibilities at work. Ask to join a high-level project. Take on a leadership role. If you have a new member on the team, volunteer to mentor that person.

Even within a flat organization with no title change, you can still [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/blog/focus-on-career-progression-results-for-a-successful-mba-resume/]show career progression[/url] on your resume. Review your accomplishments and see how you can portray them in a way that reveals your professional growth. Each time your responsibilities grew, you can describe it in a bullet point with the date. For example:

[list]
[*]Directed a staff of three in servicing 45 client relationships of global corporations with a total of more than $25B in assets. (2019) [/*]
[*]Contributed to the growth of $34B business through a mix of market research, marketing, and client servicing. (2017-2018)[/*]
[/list]
The essays also provide ample opportunities to summarize career progress as well as to explain the structure of your organization.

[b]Admissions Test[/b]
Unlike your GPA, business school aspirants have a great deal of control over this aspect of the application. Try to get the test out of the way as soon as possible. Then you can focus your energy on the essays and recommendation letters during the summer months.

Explore your options and take a practice test. Consider taking a free or paid prep course, studying with a friend, or hiring a tutor if possible. These strategies can help you maintain discipline while studying. If English is not your first language, factor this into your plan as well. After all, preparation is essential for most candidates to excel on the test.

If you received a below-average score the first time, [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/blog/retake-gmat/]plan to [/url]retake the exam.  Reflect on whether you genuinely gave it 100 percent the first time around. Admissions committees often look favorably upon applicants who try to improve their scores. A score boost can help clear the path for MBA admissions success.

[b]Recommendation Letters[/b]
The admissions committee pays close attention to the content of recommendation letters in support of your MBA candidacy. Therefore, you should only choose recommenders who will champion your business school aspirations. A lukewarm letter of recommendation could do more damage to your chances of admission than a lower GPA or test score.

Few applicants realize how much they can influence their recommenders to help them draft powerful, persuasive letters of support. While you should never write the letter yourself, you can guide your recommender to focus on key traits—leadership, communication skills, integrity, innovation mindset—that you wish to highlight.

[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/Highly_Recommended-2-734x309.jpg[/img]

Remind them of at least three compelling, work-related anecdotes that show how you contributed to a project, led a team, inspired others, communicated effectively, etc. Your recommenders can help you stand out from thousands of other highly qualified applicants by painting a clear picture of both the personal and professional you.

Recommenders need to do a lot of work on your behalf. Start identifying who you want to approach now and have a preliminary chat with them about your MBA plans. Once they are on board, begin assembling materials so you can guide them to write the [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/blog/mba-recommendation-letter/]most effective letter[/url] on your behalf.

[b]Essays[/b]
While most schools have yet to publish their essays for the 2020-2021 season, you can get a good idea of the types of stories you will need by reading last year’s application. Knowing that you will have to describe a leadership experience may motivate you to take on a new leadership role – in or outside of work. Realizing that you will see questions about your level of community involvement may push you to step up your volunteering efforts.

It is also a good idea to [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/blog/3-unconventional-steps-to-writing-great-mba-essays/]begin brainstorming[/url] your answers to two questions that will crop up in either essay questions or the MBA interview. First, what are your career goals? And second, why do you need an MBA now? Reflect on your background and what stories you could share. If you identify gaps, create a plan to fill them.

We recommend that candidates allocate two to three hours each time they sit down to work on their essays, especially for the first few drafts. Non-native English speakers may find they need to allow even more time for their applications, particularly on writing, revising, editing, proofing, formatting, and inputting essays. That said, applicants should also avoid the “marathon session.” Few people remain sharp or creative during eight hours of writing and editing.

June is right around the corner. Now is the time to launch into your MBA application journey with an eye toward MBA admissions success. Make this the year you take those vital first steps toward transforming your career.

The post [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/blog/mba-admissions-success/]Focus on These 5 Areas for MBA Admissions Success[/url] appeared first on [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com]Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting[/url].

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INSEAD MBA Deadlines for 2020-2021  [#permalink]

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New post 26 May 2020, 15:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: INSEAD MBA Deadlines for 2020-2021
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Are you interested in an MBA from the highly ranked international business school INSEAD? Then check out these INSEAD MBA deadlines for the September and January intakes.

INSEAD MBA Deadlines: September Intake (Class of July 2022)
Round 1
Application due: September 11, 2020

Decision released: November 20, 2020

Round 2
Application due: November 6, 2020

Decision released: January 22, 2021

Round 3
Application due: January 8, 2021

Decision released: March 19, 2021

Round 4
Application due: February 26, 2021

Decision released: May 7, 2021

INSEAD MBA Deadlines: January Intake (Class of December 2022)
Round 1
Application due: March 5, 2021

Decision released: May 14, 2021

Round 2
Application due: April 23, 2021

Decision released: July 2, 2021

Round 3
Application due: June 18, 2021

Decision released: September 3, 2021

Round 4
Application due: July 30, 2021

Decision released: September 24, 2021

***

To be included in a specific round, you must submit your completed application by 23:59pm French time on the day of the deadline.

To enjoy an optimum application experience and to avoid the peak period, INSEAD strongly encourages you to apply a couple of weeks prior to the application deadline, if possible.

Competition for each round is equal regardless of the intake or round you apply for. INSEAD reviews the pool of applications submitted within each round independently. This keeps the “offer ratio” (percentage of candidates accepted vs. applications received) fairly constant across all rounds.

For more information on applying, please visit the INSEAD admissions website.

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B-Schooled Episode #5: Round 1 Kickoff  [#permalink]

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New post 27 May 2020, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-Schooled Episode #5: Round 1 Kickoff
Memorial Day weekend — which we just wrapped up here in the United States — marks the start of the 2020-2021 MBA application season. In this week’s episode of the B-Schooled podcast we’ll cover:

• Round 1 deadline news from some top schools

• How Covid-19 may or may not be affecting timelines and the applicant pool this year

• What it makes sense to be working on right now to start preparing your MBA application materials as Round 1 kicks off

Listen to B-Schooled episode #5 here, or on any of the podcast apps listed below.

B-Schooled is available on most major podcast apps, including:

Apple Podcasts

Spotify

Stitcher

TuneIn

Please be sure to subscribe to B-Schooled so that you don’t miss a thing. If there’s something you’d like for us to cover in a future episode, please email podcast@stacyblackman.com. We’d love to hear from you!

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Stanford MBA Essay Questions for 2020-2021  [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2020, 14:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Stanford MBA Essay Questions for 2020-2021
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Stanford Graduate School of Business has confirmed the essays for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. The Stanford MBA essay questions remain unchanged from previous admissions seasons.

Stanford asks for two personal essays in order to gain a greater understanding of applicants’ character and hopes.  “In each essay we want to hear your genuine voice,” the admissions team explains. “Think carefully about your values, passions, aims, and dreams prior to writing them.”

Stanford MBA Essay Questions
Essay A: What matters most to you, and why?
For this essay, Stanford would like you to:

  • Do some deep self-examination, so you can genuinely illustrate who you are and how you came to be the person you are.
  • Share the insights, experiences, and lessons that shaped your perspectives, rather than focusing merely on what you’ve done or accomplished.
  • Write from the heart, and illustrate how a person, situation, or event has influenced you.
  • Focus on the “why” rather than the “what.”
Essay B: Why Stanford?
Enlighten us on how earning your MBA at Stanford will enable you to realize your ambitions.

  • Explain your decision to pursue graduate education in management.
  • Explain the distinctive opportunities you will pursue at Stanford.
  • If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs.
LENGTH
Your answers for both essay questions combined may not exceed 1,150 words (1,200 words if you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs).  Each of you has your own story to tell, so please allocate these words between the essays in the way that is most effective for you.

We recommend up to 750 words for Essay A and up to 400 words for Essay B. We often find effective essays written in far fewer words.

Optional Short-Answer Question
The two required essays shed light on who you are and how you imagine Stanford will help you achieve your aspirations. We are also interested in learning about the things you have done that are most meaningful to you. In this section, we provide an optional opportunity to go beyond your resume to discuss some of your contributions more fully.

Please do not include your short-answer response in your essays upload; use the text boxes provided in the application.

Question:
Think about times you’ve created a positive impact, whether in professional, extracurricular, academic, or other settings. What was your impact? What made it significant to you or to others? You are welcome to share up to three examples. (Up to 1500 characters, approximately 250 words, for each example)

***

For more information, please visit the Stanford GSB admissions website. If you need guidance on your Stanford MBA application or wish to discuss your MBA plans, reach out for a complimentary analysis of your candidacy. We’re here to help!

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Stanford MBA Deadlines for 2020-2021  [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2020, 14:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Stanford MBA Deadlines for 2020-2021
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Is the Stanford Graduate School of Business on your shortlist of target MBA programs? Then get ready to mark your calendar. The Stanford MBA deadlines for the 2020-2021 admissions season have been announced!

Stanford MBA Deadlines
Round 1
Application due: September 15, 2020

Decision released: December 10, 2020

Round 2
Application due: January 6, 2021

Decision released: April 1, 2021

Round 3
Application due: April 6, 2021

Decision released: May 20, 2021

Applications are due by 4 p.m. PST on the day of the deadline. For additional information on applying, please visit the Stanford GSB admissions website.

If you need guidance on your  Stanford MBA application or wish to discuss your MBA plans, reach out for a complimentary analysis of your candidacy. We’re here to help!

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Crush the GRE Ranks SBC Top MBA Admissions Firm in 2020  [#permalink]

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New post 29 May 2020, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Crush the GRE Ranks SBC Top MBA Admissions Firm in 2020
Stacy Blackman is pleased to announce that, once again, Crush the GRE has ranked us number one in its latest ranking of the best MBA admissions consultants! Six leading companies appear in this year’s ranking. But, SBC is the only firm that ticks off every box to meet MBA applicants’ wide range of needs.

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From “Top Schools Admissions Experience” to “Advanced Application Strategy” to our library of “Admissions Strategy Guides,” no other consulting firm offers the comprehensive resources and expertise that define SBC.

Here is how Crush the GRE describes our services:

Over the course of almost two decades, the Stacy Blackman Consulting team has built a successful track record using time-tested techniques and best practices.
They have deep experience with every top-tier school and a variety of industries, and their team of consultants consist of more high-level MBA admissions administrators than any other consultant service on our list.
Their All-In package is one of the best truly all-inclusive packages available, with access to your consultant day and night. We love their team approach with individual partnerships as well as the meticulous nature of their consultant matching and application review.
Overall, we rank Stacy Blackman Consulting as our number one MBA admissions consulting firm.

To determine the ranking, Crush the GRE evaluated each firm on the following criteria:

  • Experience—how many years in the business?
  • Matchmaking process—This should include criteria like target-school expertise, industry alignment, personality, and demographic knowledge.
  • Is unlimited truly unlimited?—Some firms expressly limit the number of hours in their “unlimited” packages.
  • Top-tier admissions experience—Representation across many schools is essential.
  • Limits on consultant load—Consultants that are spread too thin cannot offer the necessary attention.
  • Team vs. individual approach—The best scenario includes a team headed by a personal consultant.
  • Yelp—Consider the quality of reviews over time.
  • Free evaluation—Get a feel for not only the style and experience of a consultant but also their personality.
  • Additional resources—Consultants should also have relationships with current admissions committees and industry elites.
(Click here to read more about each of these aspects in detail.)

We thank Crush the GRE for this important acknowledgment and appreciate the rigorous criteria in place to make the assessment. Crush the GRE has produced the only extensive and evidence-based ranking system of our industry. We admire their diligent efforts to demystify the process for applicants to evaluate MBA admissions consulting firms.

If you’d like to learn more about working with us, get in touch today for a free analysis of your MBA candidacy.

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Visualize Your Future with an Odyssey Plan  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2020, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Visualize Your Future with an Odyssey Plan
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“Fresh ideas from the Blacklight”
SBC’s Weekly Newsletter for Professionals
Life is pretty much upside down right now. On top of freaking out about the prospect of getting sick (or that a loved one will come down with coronavirus), many people are in a professional limbo as well. That’s why today, we’re assigning some homework to help you visualize the better days ahead. So, whether you are chugging along with work as usual, suddenly laid off, or a new grad facing a hiring freeze, drafting your Odyssey Plan is the perfect distraction for this moment in time.

If you’ve never heard the term before, an Odyssey Plan is a brainstorm about how you would like your life to look in the future. Flash-forward five years from now and come up with elements that make up the version of you that’s “living your best life.”

Focus on specific areas, such as work, fun, love, and health. When you rate your current satisfaction levels in those areas, how do they stack up? What changes could you make to get closer to that best-life goal?

“If you plan for nothing, you’re going to get nothing.”
Bill Burnett, Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford University.
(Also, he coined the term Odyssey Plan.)

How to make an Odyssey Plan
We recommend you watch Burnett’s entire Odyssey Plan playlist to really get your design juices flowing for this project. (A complete Odyssey Plan has many different elements.) But here’s a preview of the concept.

Start by creating three different five-year timelines. Each of these versions should include professional and personal milestones, as well as bucket list items. But remember, the timelines must look distinct from each other. If you’re having trouble visualizing three radically different versions of your future self, Burnett suggests you frame the plans this way.

In one version, you blow out a plan based on what you think you’re going to do. In the second timeline, ask yourself what might happen if Plan 1 disappeared, and you needed to pivot. Finally, version three is what your life would look like in five years if money or image were no object.

As you consider each plan, ask yourself questions such as: What will I learn if I do this? Will this fulfill me? What will I enjoy about this path?

Come Up with a Prototype
When you’re ready to explore one of these plans further, it’s time for the prototype phase. Here, you find out whether you’re on the right track with something that’s a good fit for you. While getting started seems daunting, Burnett breaks it down into three simple steps.

  • Get curious.
  • Talk to people.
  • Try stuff.
Find someone who’s already doing what you’re interested in, who has your preferred life, he suggests. These people are already living your future. See if something in those conversations resonates and confirms that you’re moving in the right direction.

Then, find ways to try on that life for size. You need both conversations and “lived experiences” to help you decide, Burnett explains. “An experience will tell you something that a conversation can’t,” he says. “But both are important mechanisms for coming up with ways to prototype your way into the future to see if it’s going to fit for you.”

How often should you make an Odyssey Plan?
There’s no prescribed time to make an Odyssey Plan, but many people find it a useful exercise to do every few years. Make one when you are:

  • facing a lot of change
  • graduating from college
  • want to change your job
  • want to change your career
Transitional moments like these lend themselves to Odyssey Plan-making because they force you to figure out what you need to do to move forward. More ideas create more choices, so brainstorming like a designer can help you get “unstuck” in your thinking.

Burnett believes having an Odyssey Plan helps us invent the future we want because we get charged up with ideas and ready for action. “When you have a plan, and you put your intention out in the world,” says Burnett, “you give the world an opportunity to step up and give you what you want.”

***

Did you enjoy this post about visualizing your future self?  It originally appeared on the Blacklight, our weekly newsletter for professionals. At the Blacklight, we aim to illuminate with every dispatch that lands in your inbox. If you’re thirsty for guidance to help you slay it at work or as a student and move your goalposts closer, sign up today!

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Michigan Ross MBA Essays for 2020-2021  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2020, 15:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Michigan Ross MBA Essays for 2020-2021
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The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has announced the Ross MBA essays for the 2020-2021 admissions season. This year, the Ross School has streamlined the short-answer questions and trimmed the word count for its Career Goal essay.

Michigan Ross MBA Essays
Part 1: Short-answer questions
Select one prompt from each group of the two groups below. Respond to each selected prompt in 100 words or less (<100 words each; 200 words total). Every word counts here — the tight word count is intentional to force you to focus.

Group 1

I want people to know that I:

I made a difference when I:

I was aware that I was different when:

Group 2

I am out of my comfort zone when:

I was humbled when:

I was challenged when:

Part 2: Career Goal Essay
Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. What is your short-term career goal and why? (200 words)

For more information on applying, please visit the Michigan Ross admissions site.  If you need guidance on your Ross MBA essays or wish to discuss your MBA plans, reach out for a complimentary analysis of your candidacy. We’re here to help!

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We Are All in This Together  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2020, 05:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: We Are All in This Together
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Stacy Blackman Consulting does not often comment on politics or current events outside of the realm of business school. We have stayed quietly cocooned in our b-school-centric world. However, the events of the past few months — let alone weeks — have demonstrated that there is no cocoon.

We are all connected and we are all in this together. Both the peaceful, impassioned protests and the sporadic rioting that has erupted across the nation shine a harsh light on a realization from which we cannot escape. And that is, “White Silence is Violence.”

This quote from American author and historian Ibram X. Kendi could not put it more plainly:

“What’s the problem with being ‘not racist’? It is a claim that signifies neutrality: ‘I am not a racist, but neither am I aggressively against racism.’ But there is no neutrality in the racism struggle.
One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe place of ‘not racist.’ The claim of a ‘not racist’ neutrality is a mask for racism.”

I have listed some organizations below that can help us make an immediate impact as we continue this journey toward peace and unity.

Color of Change designs campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champions solutions that move us all forward. Until justice is real.

The NAACP‘s mission is to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.

The Black Visions Collective believes in a future where all Black people have autonomy, safety is community-led, and we are in right relationship within our ecosystems.

The Minnesota Freedom Fund works to end cash bail, release those held because of the inability to pay, and release all ICE detainees.

The Brooklyn Community Bail Fund is committed to challenging the racism, inequality, and injustice of a criminal legal system and immigration and deportation regime that disproportionately target and harm low-income communities of color.

I am listening, learning, and growing. I hope that we all are.

To our Black team members at SBC, and past, present and future clients, please know that I see you and I hear you — now much more clearly than ever.

Respectfully yours,

Image

 

 

Image credit: Mark Dixon  on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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B-Schooled Episode #6: Strengthening Your Quantitative Profile  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2020, 06:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-Schooled Episode #6: Strengthening Your Quantitative Profile
In this week’s episode of the B-Schooled podcast, our host Erika and fellow SBC admissions consultant (and former Kellogg adcom) Caryn have a discussion that covers:

  • Several tactics applicants can use to strengthen their quantitative profiles
  • What applicants should do if they have not taken the GMAT yet amidst test-center closures
  • How to use the Additional Info field/essay to address any quantitative weaknesses in your candidacy
Listen to B-Schooled episode #6 here, or on any of the podcast apps listed below.

B-Schooled is available on most major podcast apps, including:

Apple Podcasts

Spotify

Stitcher

TuneIn

Please be sure to subscribe to B-Schooled so that you don’t miss a thing. If there’s something you’d like for us to cover in a future episode, please email podcast@stacyblackman.com. We’d love to hear from you!

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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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COVID-19 MBA Admissions Forecast  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2020, 05:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: COVID-19 MBA Admissions Forecast
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About two weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, when the paralysis and shock started to fade,  the volume of inquiries for round one MBA deadlines sharply increased at SBC. Many in the business school consulting field expect to see a COVID-19 MBA admissions spike during the 2020-2021 season.

By every measure since then—including numbers of inquiries, visitors on our website, clients who have signed on for services—the interest in the MBA has increased for us by at least 50% compared to last year at this time. In fact, we’ve had weeks where demand has doubled.

Why the skyrocketing interest?
We often hear the obvious drivers: MBA demand is counter-cyclical to the economy. Opportunity costs are now lower. MBA applicants typically are debt-free in their twenties and can manage the expense. Some young professionals see the MBA as an escape from unemployment or furlough status.

But, at a deeper level, many of the MBA applicants we’ve talked to in recent weeks say they need cutting-edge knowledge from a top MBA program to navigate the dynamic business changes ahead.

MBA applicants look to the MBA to gain the vital tools and frameworks to thrive in the radically-changing business landscape. Technology, supply chain, and other disciplines will become reimagined within the business school environment. That is a huge lure. It’s an exciting time for young, MBA-aspiring professionals. Many view the 2023 MBA class as a symbol of new beginnings and hope.

Our COVID-19 MBA Admissions Prediction
As we recently shared with Poets & Quants, we predict that MBA demand will increase significantly for the top MBA programs. (The number of seats going to deferrals from this cycle may further compound the issue. ) Both quality and quantity are about to be re-defined. Without a doubt, the caliber of the applicant pool with respect to diversity, leadership, industry, and career visions will soar in the application season that is upon us.

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Getting an MBA During the Pandemic  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2020, 05:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Getting an MBA During the Pandemic
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Are you thinking about applying for an MBA during the pandemic? You’ll have plenty of company, as some news outlets predict the largest year-over-year increase in MBA applications in history.

There’s no better time to hedge against the widespread professional volatility than by investing in academic and personal growth. Applicants in 2020-2021 will become the MBA Class of 2023 and will benefit from a refreshed economic landscape.

We’ve seen a steep increase in interest for the MBA since the COVID-19 pandemic began. MBA demand is counter-cyclical to the economy.  As we shared with U.S.News and World Report, during soaring economic times, MBA aspirants feel hesitant to leave their secure, well-paid career paths.  Now, many career paths are tenuous, impacted as they are by the coronavirus. Therefore, the opportunity costs for the MBA investment have become lower and look more favorable for business school applicants.

Job security is at risk for many around the world. Pursuing an MBA will become a necessity for many in the short term. Indeed, numerous career paths for young professionals, such as those in private equity or consulting, have a built-in “up and out” mechanism that drives MBA matriculation.

Many employers will push forward with this “up and out” process in the short term to weather the storm of COVID-19.  MBA applicants in their twenties are typically debt-free and can incur the costs of their education. Some young professionals consider the MBA as an escape from unemployment or furlough status.  We see all these drivers playing out via a recent boost in MBA applicants engaging with us.

Changes Ahead for Those Who Seek an MBA During the Pandemic
Top programs such as the M7 in the U.S. have the technical prowess to adapt in extraordinary ways due to intelligence, deep financial resources, and innovation. The M7 programs in the U.S. will create, through their own connections of recruiters and in-house professors, a profound value advantage and improved educational model for its students. Top MBA graduates in 2023 and beyond will benefit from this transformative education and will become well-equipped to tackle the next series of unknowns ahead.

We have seen MBA applicants become more particular about the brand of the program in which they invest. We encourage our clients to aim high because this is now a new normal. Suddenly, aspects such as test scores may become trivial to even the elite programs. Instead, the character and resilience of applicants will factor in more heavily.

Meanwhile, international MBA applicants may have a different set of tradeoffs and unknowns ahead.  We talk with international candidates about their options and help them decide what’s best for their situation. In some cases, even if they can secure a visa to get here, it might not be their best choice because the job market for internships will be even harder for them.

OPT Foreign Workers Program & Politics
President Donald Trump had been expected to make an announcement on Optional Practical Training (OPT), the foreign worker program. But, a recent push in favor of keeping OPT is underway.  Many business schools in the past year have become STEM certified for their graduates to qualify for this post-graduation employment extension.

A lot can change in the months ahead, especially with the U.S. presidential elections in November. Regardless, we predict that MBA demand will increase significantly for the top MBA programs. As a matter of fact, we believe the caliber of the applicant pool with respect to diversity, leadership, industry, and career visions will soar in the application season that is upon us.

The post Getting an MBA During the Pandemic appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.

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Tuesday Tips: Columbia MBA Essay Tips for 2020-2021  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2020, 05:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Columbia MBA Essay Tips for 2020-2021
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Columbia Business School has released the application and essay questions for candidates beginning the MBA program in 2021. These Columbia MBA essay questions include a new question about leadership and your fit with Columbia Business School.  Columbia asks you to choose a leader you admire, which could be anyone from Melinda Gates to Columbia professor Bruce Craven’s choice, Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones.

What is the admissions team looking for in Columbia MBA applicants?

One of SBC’s former CBS Admissions Officers shared, “With CBS, it really is a holistic approach, but the fit is VERY important.  They want to know why CBS- that is a big part of their culture. They want to know you’re going to fit in.”

The desire to attend Columbia is an essential part of the Columbia MBA application process. Another aspect is having the academic background to handle the rigor of Columbia.

Columbia is a fast-paced program in a fast-paced city. The kind of MBA student who is a good fit for Columbia and its setting in New York City will be those that plan to take full advantage of the unique opportunities offered by the environment.

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It’s up to you to prepare your case for admission with thorough research into the school. To accomplish this, speak to current students, alumni, and research the classes and faculty at the school to understand the full offering at Columbia.

Columbia is looking for students who have big plans for their lives, MBA or not. Therefore, before you get started with this set of essays, it will be helpful to brainstorm your career objectives, strengths, and weaknesses. Also, think about your overall life dreams.

Columbia offers several flexible options for admission, from full-time MBA programs starting in the Fall, to a January entry session. In addition, Columbia has an excellent executive MBA program. Columbia also offers an early decision option for candidates committed to attending the school. Note that Columbia has up-to-date COVID information on the admissions website.

The Columbia admissions cycle is rolling, so the earlier you submit your application, the sooner you will receive feedback. We recommend you try to submit your application as early as possible while maintaining high quality.

Feeling stumped by the Columbia MBA essays? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help with MBA admissions consulting.

Short Answer Question:

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

Examples of possible responses:

“Work in business development for a media company.”

“Join a strategy consulting firm.”

“Launch a data-management start-up.”

This is a deceptively simple question that requires you to condense your career goals into one clear career vision statement. As part of the question, Columbia provides a few examples, which are concise and to the point.

If your goal is to work at an investment bank after graduation, you could always just say: “Work in finance.” To try to add a bit more detail, consider adding a little more color. Something like: “Work in real estate finance for a private equity firm” tells the admissions committee far more about your interests and goals than just “work in finance.” It also sets the tone for the first essay.

Essay 1:

Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years, and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)

This question addresses your short- and long-term goals and plans. The word “imagination” conjures up your aspirational dreams, not just your practical plans. Those who seek a top-tier MBA at a school like Columbia have Big Ideas. Also, the program will expose you to people and opportunities that will expand your horizons. Think about your true passions, and feel free to explore your biggest dreams.

As you talk about your future, you may need to refer to your past career and personal experiences. Consider what to say while citing only relevant examples from your career. Also, think about the moments you can describe that were genuinely pivotal and can support your future goals. Your goals should have a logical progression, but you can (and should!) show how you plan to change and adapt.

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For example, perhaps you want to be a general manager of a company or division, and right now, you have been working primarily in marketing. Subsequently, you might spend your time at Columbia learning about finance and strategy, being part of consulting projects, and interning at a start-up to round out your experience and start on your general management path.

Most importantly, Columbia wants to know who you are and how you are different from other applicants. Don’t try to be an ideal applicant; instead reveal your real personality, motivations, goals, and plans.

Essay 2:

Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)

Thorough school research will help you answer the question well. The best way to research a school is to visit, talk to current students, and attend classes. If that’s not possible this year, see if you can network with alumni and research the school online.

The question posed here is, how will you, specifically, benefit from Columbia? Will you take classes from an industry expert you admire? Intern at a target company or within an industry that interests you? What other resources in New York City excite you?

Columbia takes advantage of the location by employing adjunct professors from industry, encouraging internships during the school year for MBA students, and frequent lectures and mentoring from executives in various businesses.

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You might mix personal and professional interests in this essay. You could focus on either of those angles, depending on the topics of your other essays. Specifics will help you set yourself apart with this essay.

Know yourself and know the school. As you address this question, make sure to tailor your answer to your individual goals for learning and career. Also, keep in mind Columbia’s academic and professional opportunities.

Essay 3:

Who is a leader you admire, and why? (250 words)

This essay question is new for the class entering in 2020. In prior years Columbia asked for a team failure, while this question focuses specifically on leadership.

The type of leader you admire will reveal what you are working towards in your own leadership development. There are many different types of leaders and endless ideas about which kind of leader is best.

One leadership filter is from the business classic by Jim Collins, “Good to Great.” Collins describes a Level 5 leader, who is motivated by an organization and its cause, not by personal gain. A Level 5 leader exhibits a mix of personal humility and persistence. However, Level 5 leaders are not the only effective type of leader, so consider some leaders you have read about, worked with, or admired, and why.

Once you have chosen your admired leader, describe why you chose this person. Think about: the attributes that you particularly appreciate, leadership skills, persistence, and other qualities. Describe what you admire and why that quality is particularly important to you. Maybe because you are working to develop the trait in yourself, or because you share that quality and have learned to be more effective.

Optional Essay:

Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee? If so, use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)

Note that this question is entirely optional. You do not need to answer if there is nothing more to communicate.

If you do choose to write an optional essay, we recommend keeping this essay brief. Focus only on specific areas of concern. For example, these may be a lack of demonstrated quantitative abilities or the lack of a recommendation from a current supervisor. Or, it could be gaps in work experience or low grades. Finally, It is best to explain the issue factually, then show how you have addressed the issue. Conclude by explaining why it should not concern the admissions committee in terms of your abilities.

The post Tuesday Tips: Columbia MBA Essay Tips for 2020-2021 appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.

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Tuesday Tips: Stanford MBA Essay Tips for 2020-2021  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2020, 08:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Stanford MBA Essay Tips for 2020-2021
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The Stanford Graduate School of Business has announced the Stanford MBA essay questions for this year’s application. Today, we’re sharing our Stanford MBA essay tips to help you create a positive impression through your application materials. This year’s essays are the same as they were last year. As you prepare your applications for the fall, note that Stanford has published FAQs about COVID and its effect on admissions.

The admissions committee at Stanford has gained significant insight into applicants by asking, “What matters most, and why?” along with “Why Stanford?” These questions are simple, yet the answers are revealing. Also, the optional essay allows you to go beyond your resume and describe a time you had an impact.

What is Stanford Looking For?

One of SBC’s former GSB Admissions Officers shared, “GSB is looking for people who will make a big difference AND have a better shot than most in being able to execute. Stanford GSB students also seem to have this ‘X’ factor associated with them. Almost like an ‘unexpected’ trait, talent, or experience.”

In light of its high ranking and competitive admissions numbers, many students are intimidated to apply to Stanford GSB for their MBA. However, here at Stacy Blackman Consulting, we have worked with hundreds of applicants over the years who have successfully gained admission to Stanford. We shared some of our successful applicants’ essential traits to help everyone working for admission to top-tier schools.

Our successful Stanford MBA applicants demonstrated real character. That means they have helped others and shown they share a sense of community. Also, they showed that they cared about the world beyond their own material wants and needs in their essays.

As Stanford advises, “answer the question. Resist the urge to ‘package’ yourself into what you think Stanford wants to see. Doing so will only prevent us from understanding who you really are and what you hope to accomplish. The most impressive essays are the most authentic.” Therefore, these essays need to be personal and reveal your personality and what drives you.

Understanding Stanford’s culture and academics will help you tailor your application. Before starting these essays, it will be useful to speak to Stanford students and alumni. If you need to start your research online, read stories from current students. You can begin with our former client, Natasha Malpani.

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Stanford MBA Essay Tips for 2020-2021
LENGTH

Both essays combined may not exceed 1,150 words. We recommend up to 750 words for Essay A and up to 400 words for Essay B. We often find effective essays written in far fewer words.
ESSAY A: WHAT MATTERS MOST TO YOU, AND WHY?

For this essay, we would like you to reflect deeply and write from the heart. Once you’ve identified what matters most to you, help us understand why. You might consider, for example, what makes this so important to you? What people, insights, or experiences have shaped your perspectives?
This Stanford MBA essay is about diving deep into what motivates you and why. Topics can range from personal history to big picture visions of the future. This essay should not be explicitly career related (and the most persuasive essays are likely not career oriented at all). However, some of your themes will likely continue in the next essay, which may focus more on your career.

For example, you may have a personal passion that also has led you into a related career aspiration. Your character should shine through, and ideally, introspection and honesty carry through the entire set of essays. To generate ideas, try brainstorming for a few days. Ask friends and family what values they see you demonstrating in your life and choices.

What keeps you awake at night?
Keep a notebook by your bed so you can record your first thoughts upon waking up. Review your personal history for ideas. When you look back at your life, what do you admire and regret about your choices? Are there moments in your life that have led to a change in direction? Who has impacted your decisions? These are the kind of questions to ask yourself as you brainstorm topics for this essay.

It is tough to write such an open-ended and challenging essay. To focus, use detailed and specific anecdotes. Clear examples will provide the reader with images and stories to understand your perspective. After reading hundreds of essays, the ones that have vivid stories in them stand out the most.

However, Stanford GSB specifically advises focusing on people and experiences that have influenced you. Accomplishments and achievements are great, but Stanford wants to know you. Don’t be scared of the tough moments in life – often, self-awareness emerges from challenges. Whatever experiences you choose, it’s imperative to talk about why they made an impact on your life and your values.

Along with colorful examples, talk about how you felt, thought, and reacted both at the time and as you reflected later. The “why” will come out of your reactions to your life experience or people who have influenced you, and the resulting introspection.

ESSAY B: WHY STANFORD?

Describe your aspirations and how your Stanford GSB experience will help you realize them. If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs.
After you have explained who you are, you will tell why your next step is a Stanford MBA. If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx, make sure you can highlight the advantages of both programs for your specific situation. You might have significant work experience but also see the benefits of attending a two-year program to achieve your goals. Therefore, you could be interested in either option.

The sub-questions for this essay cover both why you are interested in pursuing an MBA, and why you specifically want to attend Stanford GSB for your MBA. Stanford GSB wants to know your aspirations will be uniquely satisfied by their program. Thorough school research will help you determine what aspects of the academic program, community, and students are crucial to your aspirations.

Be as specific as possible in your response to provide evidence that you have done your research. Consider everything about the aspects of the program that most appeal to you. Have you met current students and alumni? Who are the professors you are excited about? What are the unique programs? Is Stanford’s culture appealing to you, and why? Think about using specific examples, like the career path of one particular alum you admire.

If the question seems too vast, take a few minutes to close your eyes and reflect.
Envision your life in twenty years. Where do you live? How do you spend your days? What is your favorite activity? Does this vision fit into your career aspirations? Don’t be shy about your ambitions. Once you have identified your dream career, make sure an MBA is a big part of achieving your plans.

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Consider that Stanford likes to see applicants who dream big and also have the credibility to achieve their goals. Be bold with your aspirations. Write about global, big picture issues you would like to solve. Not what your parents or partner want you to do, and not the next job on the corporate ladder. In particular, explain what you—with your unique background and values—want for your life.

Even though you should think big, don’t make the mistake of acting as if you are already perfect with no development needed. After all, you are a work in progress, and that’s appropriate. Remember that MBA programs want to help promising candidates reach their goals and be a step on an ambitious career trajectory.

Optional Short-Answer Question:

Think about times you’ve created a positive impact, whether in professional, extracurricular, academic, or other settings. What was your impact? What made it significant to you or to others? You are welcome to share up to three examples. (Up to 1500 characters, approximately 250 words, for each example)
This essay is optional and should be answered in the space provided in the application. In other words, do not submit this essay with the other two. You can use up to 250 words for each example, for a total of 750 words on this essay.

Many applicants to Stanford write personal stories and describe internal motivations in the “what matters most” essay. This leaves very little space to talk about your impact on organizations or teams. If you are one of those applicants, this is the perfect place to show off some of your leadership stories. Stanford is looking for people who have inner strength and drive. But also, Stanford seeks those who can influence others.

Once again, think about stories from your various roles in life. Work is usually a place to practice leadership skills, but positive leadership impact can happen anywhere. You might have a vital volunteer role where leadership literally impacts lives. Or perhaps you are part of a cultural organization or political activity that is meaningful to you. Think about the stories of your life that can demonstrate the kind of leader you are. This essay is the perfect place to showcase examples of your positive leadership.

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If, after reading these Stanford MBA essay tips, you still find the essays challenging, then don’t hesitate to contact Stacy Blackman Consulting for guidance through the process.

The post Tuesday Tips: Stanford MBA Essay Tips for 2020-2021 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
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Tuesday Tips: Stanford MBA Essay Tips for 2020-2021   [#permalink] 09 Jun 2020, 08:00

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