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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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Yale SOM Welcomes Diverse MBA Class of 2016 [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Yale SOM Welcomes Diverse MBA Class of 2016
Bruce DelMonico, director of MBA admissions at the Yale School of Management, recently shared the details of the incoming class of 2016 MBA students. With 39% hailing from outside the United States, 37% women, and 25% U.S. minorities, this class is one of the most diverse in the school’s history. The Class of 2015 is made up of 32% international students, 39% women, 22% U.S. minorities.

Students come from more than 150 different schools, DelMonico reveals, noting that the most common are Yale, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, the Indian Institute of Technology, and Princeton.

With an average GMAT score of 719—five points higher than the Class of 2015—and an average GPA over 3.5, Yale’s incoming MBAs are academically accomplished and have been university valedictorians, class presidents, and recipients of Rhodes, Fulbright, Soros, and Humanity in Action Scholarships and Fellowships.

Yale SOM continues its tradition of attracting mission-driven and dynamic people, says DelMonico, as the school prepares to welcome class members who are table tennis champions, mountaineers, poker champions, world travelers, published novelists, and a former co-captain of the White House softball team, among many other talented individuals.

To learn more about this year’s incoming class, follow the link above to the Yale MBA blog.

You may also be interested in:
Yale SOM Introduces Sliding Scale Application Fee

Yale SOM 2014-2015 Essay Question

Yale SOM Deepens Commitment to Entrepreneurship

 

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HBS Admissions Director Talks GMAT/GRE Scores [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HBS Admissions Director Talks GMAT/GRE Scores
Although most of the elite MBA programs now accept either the GMAT or GRE as part of the admissions process, many applicants wonder if business schools really consider the exams equally.

In an attempt to clarify the matter, Harvard Business School Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Dee Leopold recently provided a breakdown of just how many applicants submitted each test, and how many were ultimately offered a place in the program, during the 2013-2014 admissions cycle.

“Please don’t over-crunch,” Leopold urges, pointing out that the admissions team isn’t looking so much at the overall score as at the sub-scores in the context of the candidate’s profile. “An engineer with top grades doing highly quantitative work doesn’t need a high GMAT/GRE-Q to convince us he/she is capable of doing the quantitative work at HBS,” says the director.

As logic would dictate, applicants from the humanities with no quantitative coursework or professional experience need to demonstrate preparedness for the rigorous HBS program with a strong GMAT or GRE quant score.

Going forward, Harvard Business School will accept either a GMAT score or GRE score, not both, as were submitted by 140 applicants this past admissions season. “We need to officially verify scores and prefer to do it for only one test per candidate,” Leopold explains.

The Round 1 deadline at Harvard Business School is just a couple of weeks away on September 9th. If you’re still polishing your open-ended essay, take a look at our HBS MBA application essay tips for guidance and inspiration.

You may also be interested in:
MBA Trends at Harvard Business School and Beyond

What My MBA at Harvard Did Not Teach Me

 

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Stacy Blackman’s B-School Buzz [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Stacy Blackman’s B-School Buzz

Welcome to the latest edition of Stacy Blackman’s B-School Buzz, our periodic check-in with some of the MBA blogosphere’s applicant and student contributors. This week, MBA bloggers share tactics for analyzing test errors, highlights from various information sessions, and advice for creating presentations that will knock those AdComs’ socks off.

New tactic for analyzing practice testsPro GMAT has created an Excel error log to help him figure out where his thinking went astray on the verbal side during the practice tests. He also came away with a positive impression of the ISB info session, and promises a post covering school selection soon.

Fuqua rocks!—Although the love for Duke Fuqua was already fairly firmly cemented, the recent information session PTMT attended completely sealed the deal. While Yale SOM is a strong second, she plans to apply in Early Action round because, as she says, “I can’t wait to be a part of this family.”

When three just isn’t enough—A recent conversation with a colleague/HBS grad at work spurred Scott Duncan to change plans and expand his school list from the three he had previously settled on to a robust roster of seven schools. He’s adding Wharton to the other Round 1 applications going in at Kellogg, HBS, and MIT Sloan, and will target Berkeley Haas, UCLA Anderson, and Tuck in Round 2.

Presentation advice—With her Chicago Booth presentation ready and out for review, Naija, a self-proclaimed lover of presentations, offers both basic and specific tips for creating an amazing presentation that will guide anyone feeling some angst about this element of an application package.

Do you have an MBA-centric blog? Want it featured in an upcoming B-School Buzz post? If so, email me at buzz@StacyBlackman.com.

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10 Ways to Make the Most of Your B-School Experience [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 10 Ways to Make the Most of Your B-School Experience
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
If you’re heading to business school in the coming weeks, you’re about to embark on a transformative experience, both personally and professionally. If you are a soon-to-be member of the MBA class of 2016, you may be wondering how to best prepare for what comes next.

Just as you spent ample time strategizing how to get into business school, you should now put together your plan for getting the most out of your MBA experience. Here’s a top ten list of things you should keep in mind as you’re bombarded with all of the wonderful, exhausting opportunities that come your way.

1. Remember your attributes as a student: Your classmates will seem to be phenomenally accomplished, and perhaps even intimidating. Don’t forget that you, too, were accepted into the class for a reason. The school believes that you have a great deal to contribute, so make sure that you do.

2. Make friends with people of all backgrounds: You’ll probably gravitate to the people like you, who are from the same country or similar backgrounds. Your MBA cohort is an extremely diverse group. If you make an effort to get to know those outside of your comfort zone, your experience will be greatly enriched.

3. Get involved in extracurriculars: If you don’t get involved with some activity outside of the classroom, you won’t be reaping the full benefit of the MBA experience. There’sa multitude of ways to get involved, and you’ll learn as much from these activities as you will from your studies. Activities will also help you with networking and give you something to talk about in your interviews.

4. Don’t put too much weight on grades: Your grades really don’t count all that much. Even if your school has a grading system, no one is going to ask about them after you graduate. So go to class to learn, but don’t study so much that you miss out on the rest of the experience.

5. Take time to explore academic options: Even if you’re entering school with a firm idea of your career goals, use this time to explore a few options. Go to diverse corporate presentations, take classes in new subjects and interview with one company outside of your focus. You may be surprised at what you discover you like.

[Here's how b-school students can choose a concentration.]

6. Be respectful of recruiters: Not long ago, most of your recruiters were in your shoes. They too are human, so be respectful but not fawning. You should go to interviews and corporate presentations prepared to have a conversation and tell them about yourself.

7. Don’t stress over internships: Even if you don’t land your dream internship, you still have a great chance at the same job full time. Summer positions are often more competitive than full-time offers.

8. Learn from your summer internships:  While plenty of people go back to their summer employer, many do not. If you end up not enjoying your summer internship, it’s still worthwhile to have had the experience and learn from it.

It’s better to find out you don’t like banking while working as an intern rather than after being hired for a full-time job. Do your best, and know that no matter what happens, it is a valuable learning experience.

9. Speak up when something bothers you: Most MBA programs are very flexible and constantly evolving. If you’re dissatisfied with some aspect of the curriculum or programming, don’t sit back and complain. Speak up and do something. Often, you’ll be able to initiate a new class, trip, club or conference.

10. Stay connected to your classmates: Remember that your classmates, whether you like them or not, are your professional network. Your class and the classes above and below you are all members of this priceless network.

While you’ll want to relax, enjoy and make friends, always keep in mind that you may network with any of these people down the line.

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Recruiters Seek Specialist MBAs with Soft Skills [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Recruiters Seek Specialist MBAs with Soft Skills
At the Association of MBAs (AMBA) annual Employers Forum in August, two topics dominated the event: the need for MBAs with well-developed ‘soft’ skills, and the increased demand for graduate hires with specialist MBAs.

The forum attracted 24 leading multi-nationals, including KPMG, Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg and BP, as well as recruitment and career managers from 22 AMBA-accredited business schools.

Due to a changing landscape for employers, graduates and business schools, employers do not necessarily want their staff to possess a financial services MBA, but now seek graduate hires with sector-specific specialist MBAs in a variety of fields.

This trend is reinforced by data from the Graduate Management Admission Council, which indicates roughly 64% of business school deans expect MBA programs to increasingly specialize.

As the 2014 GMAC Employer Survey also demonstrates, the days when the ‘hard’ skills of analytical and strategic thinking dominated are over, and it’s oral and written communication, presentation, adaptability and the ability to negotiate that companies are asking the schools to teach their students. Accenture, for example, introduced a ‘soft’ skills measurement technique which combines “defined critical characteristics for success, which are assessed by behavioral questions.”

The event included a discussion of the future of management education, which will likely move toward a blended model of MBAs, and how experiential learning will replace classroom-based learning, and that both of these shifts can be of benefit to employers.

However at this time, recruiters still do not consider job seekers from online business programs to be of the same caliber as those that have graduated from a face-to-face MBA program.

London’s Imperial Business School hosted the event, and its dean, Professor G. Anandalingham, brought home the point that an MBA is “the premium, flagship program – hence schools should partner with corporates to produce the kind of graduate they are looking for.”

You may also be interested in:
GMAC Launches Online Assessment Tool for Soft Skills

How B-School Students Can Choose an MBA Concentration

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2014 Best Business Schools for Hispanics [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 2014 Best Business Schools for Hispanics
HispanicBusiness recently announced the 2014 ranking of the best business schools for diversity practices. The rankings look at Hispanic graduate enrollment, full-time Hispanic faculty in the MBA programs, and the percent of MBA degrees earned by Hispanics.

According to the editors, enrollment is just one piece of the puzzle though. Some schools on this list do have relatively lower Hispanic enrollment rates than schools that didn’t make the list, but HispanicBusiness is also looking at faculty numbers and programs to attract and retain Hispanic students. The schools appearing on this list are well-rounded, say the editors, and have made notable efforts to engage the Hispanic community.

2014 Top Ten Best Business Schools for Hispanics
1. University of Texas at El Paso

Total graduate enrollment 275
Hispanic graduate enrollment 176
Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment 64.0%
Full-time MBA school faculty 60
Full-time MBA school Hispanic faculty 16
Percent Hispanic faculty in MBA school 26.7%

2. New York University Stern School of Business

Total graduate enrollment 786
Hispanic graduate enrollment 53
Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment 6.7%
Full-time MBA school faculty 177
Full-time MBA school Hispanic faculty 6
Percent Hispanic faculty in MBA school 3.4%

3. UT McCombs School of Business

Total graduate enrollment 511
Hispanic graduate enrollment 35
Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment 6.8%
Full-time MBA school faculty 95
Full-time MBA school Hispanic faculty 4
Percent Hispanic faculty in MBA school 4.2%

4. University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management

Total graduate enrollment 622
Hispanic graduate enrollment 224
Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment 36.0%
Full-time MBA school faculty 61
Full-time MBA school Hispanic faculty 8
Percent Hispanic faculty in MBA school 13.1%

5. Stanford Graduate School of Business

Total graduate enrollment 809
Hispanic graduate enrollment 44
Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment 5.4%
Full-time MBA school faculty 122
Full-time MBA school Hispanic faculty 2
Percent Hispanic faculty in MBA school 1.6%

6. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

Total graduate enrollment 497
Hispanic graduate enrollment 26
Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment 5.2%
Full-time MBA school faculty 81
Full-time MBA school Hispanic faculty 3
Percent Hispanic faculty in MBA school 3.7%

7. UV Darden School of Business

Total graduate enrollment 628
Hispanic graduate enrollment 31
Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment 4.9%
Full-time MBA school faculty 109
Full-time MBA school Hispanic faculty 4
Percent Hispanic faculty in MBA school 3.7%

8. University of Miami School of Business Administration

Total graduate enrollment 111
Hispanic graduate enrollment 22
Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment 19.8%
Full-time MBA school faculty 52
Full-time MBA school Hispanic faculty 10

Percent Hispanic faculty in MBA school 19.2%

9. Yale School of Management

Total graduate enrollment 552

Hispanic graduate enrollment 30

Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment 5.4%

Full-time MBA school faculty 68

Full-time MBA school Hispanic faculty 2

Percent Hispanic faculty in MBA school 2.9%

10. University of Texas at San Antonio College of Business

Total graduate enrollment 226

Hispanic graduate enrollment 41

Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment 18.1%

Full-time MBA school faculty 92

Full-time MBA school Hispanic faculty 11

Percent Hispanic faculty in MBA school 12.0%

Universities still have some work to do before the number of Hispanics at the graduate level corresponds to the size of the Hispanic population in this country, note the editors of HispanicBusiness, but the organization sees the trend both in student enrollment and full-time faculty moving in the right direction.

You may also be interested in:
The MBA Toolbox for Minority Applicants

B-Schools Seek to Shrink the Minority Faculty Gap

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Tuck School Creates New Global Insight Requirement [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuck School Creates New Global Insight Requirement

Beginning in fall 2015, students at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth will be required to complete an immersive global experience as part of their MBA education, the school announced earlier this week. The new Tuck Global Insight Requirement, which goes into effect for the class of 2017, aims to ensure that every student at Tuck receives the global immersion they need to lead in today’s business environment.

“The world has become much more global,” says Phillip C. Stocken, associate dean for the MBA program at Tuck. “As a result, we believe our graduates must have a global business capability—a global mindset—to successfully navigate the different cultures, countries, and markets in which they will inevitably work. There is no better way to do this than spending time on the ground in another country.”

To satisfy the new requirement, students will choose from an array of carefully-designed, credit-bearing immersive courses that will provide them with the skills and knowledge required to solve problems effectively across cultures and lead in diverse business environments.

Each course will be faculty-led and include pre-travel orientation; an immersive experience in a country that is new to the student; and reflection. Like all MBA courses at Tuck, these will be academically rigorous and boast a high degree of faculty-student interaction. Qualifying courses currently include OnSite Global Consulting, a global First-Year Project, and Global Insight Expeditions.

The requirement extends to all MBA candidates what is already an integral part of the learning experience for a majority of students at Tuck. Nearly 67 percent of the class of 2014 reported spending time in a country that was new to them during their time at Tuck, and demand for such experiences is expected to grow in the future.

Matthew Slaughter, associate dean for faculty and the Signal Companies’ Professor of Management, says, “Making an immersive global experience a required part of the curriculum strengthens this commitment to ensure that every Tuck student receives outstanding preparation for the global leadership that businesses are today seeking.”

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NFL Partners with IU Kelley School for Online MBA Program [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: NFL Partners with IU Kelley School for Online MBA Program

The National Football League Players Association has announced a partnership with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business to provide customized graduate-level educational programs to current and former NFL players.

The Kelley School will offer NFL players a unique model that will guide them from initial career development through professional and certificate programs and ultimately to an MBA degree.

“For more than a quarter century, the Kelley School has provided customized programs that have met the needs of many students within a variety of corporate and educational settings,” says Idalene Kesner, dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management.

“Our leadership and innovation in delivering online programs provides the flexibility to design a winning experience for these accomplished athletes, many of whom will one day transition to new careers away from the football field,” Kesner adds.

Among the tools that will be available to players is the Kelley School’s acclaimed Me Inc. program, which enables participants to gain a better understanding of their goals and identifies a structured path toward attaining them. The program includes career coaching and career services.

After completion of the initial career development program, players may continue and enroll in online, noncredit programs on specialty topics such as personal finance, real estate, wealth management and entrepreneurship.

Upon completion of a noncredit professional program, players interested in developing more expertise will be able to enroll in a four-course certificate program. Many players will be able to directly enroll in the credit-bearing certificate programs as well.

Credits earned through the certificate programs will be transferable toward a 30-credit Master of Science degree or a 45-credit MBA. The programs will be delivered in a blended format that includes in-residence and online components.

A key feature of the NFLPA-Kelley MBA program will be the Kelley Capstone Experience, which puts teams of students to work on real-world strategic projects. This will provide students with an opportunity to apply skills and knowledge acquired in the MBA program to actual business problems that directly relate to each person’s goals and objectives.

Those in the NFLPA-Kelley MBA program also will have an opportunity to participate in the school’s global immersion courses, which present students with opportunities to understand and address problems faced by businesses in an emerging market. Currently the program is undertaking projects in India, Myanmar, Botswana, Ghana and South Africa.

All graduates of the NFLPA-Kelley MBA program who are interested in pursuing corporate careers will receive support from the same career services available to other Kelley graduates. In its most recent survey of MBA programs, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Kelley No. 1 in terms of student satisfaction, career services and teaching.

“We are excited about the new opportunity the Indiana University Kelley School of Business is offering our players,” says NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. “We pride ourselves in helping our members be knowledgeable about the business of football and putting them on the right path to succeed off the field. This relationship will achieve both.”

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Business Schools Respond to Market Demands [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Business Schools Respond to Market Demands
Technology and entrepreneurship are changing the face of management education, a story in Monday’s Chicago Tribune reports. Economic and social challenges require creative solutions, and business schools have found themselves rapidly adapting to address those issues head-on.

To meet the needs of a volatile job market, many elite MBA programs have begun to shift away from case studies and quantitative models to place greater emphasis on experiential learning and degree concentrations so that graduates are ready to hit the ground running on Day 1.

The globalization of business requires a new generation of leadership that is able to comfortably navigate in various cultural contexts. To meet that challenge, more and more schools have made international projects a degree requirement, such as the new global insight program announced by Tuck School of Business last week.

For MBA applicants who already know what they want to do post-graduation, the one-year MBA is an option that has grown tremendously in the past couple of years.

Since Dean Sally Blount took the helm at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2010, the school has refocused its energies to boost one-year MBA enrollment to keep pace with the global marketplace. However, this type of program is for students who aren’t looking to change careers, because it offers no internship.

Meanwhile, top MBA programs across the country are adding multiple courses in entrepreneurship to meet a growing demand, despite the fact that only an estimated five percent of graduates start their own company straight out of business school.

Ultimately, “Business school is all about constant change and improvement and response to the market,” Elissa Sangster, executive director of the Forte Foundation, a nonprofit consortium of companies and business schools supporting women’s access to business education, tells the Tribune. “It’s always good to look for the next thing to produce better future leaders.”

You may also be interested in:
The Case Method: Alive and Thriving or On its Way Out?

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Last-Minute Checklist for Round 1 Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Last-Minute Checklist for Round 1 Applicants
Are you planning on applying in Round 1, which at many schools is just weeks (or days, in the case of HBS) away? There are several reasons to apply in the first round, from demonstrating your strong interest and preparation, improving your chances of landing a spot while every possible seat is available, to having first crack at financial aid opportunities.

Bloomberg Businessweek just ran a story discussing what to do to prepare for round 1 deadlines, and I shared some of my thoughts with Katy Finneran, author of the piece. One important thing I stress to clients, and mentioned to Finneran, is the importance of managing your social media presence and beefing up your online persona.

If you can demonstrate you’re social media savvy, and perhaps show that side of yourself through a blog, Twitter feed, or even through Instagram if you’ve touched on an interest such as photography in your application, these factors can really work to your advantage.

By now, you should also have your recommenders firmly on board in support of your candidacy. If you’re aiming at round 2, make sure they have their instructions and hard deadlines about 12 weeks before you want their letters.

Another thing to remember is to adapt your resume for an MBA application, which should have a greater emphasis on your general accomplishments and anything that would showcase your leadership qualities.

Finally, I would urge applicants to apply a few days ahead of the deadline just to ease some of the last-minute pressure, as well as congestion on the programs’ servers. Do a thorough review, hit submit, and take comfort in knowing that you did your very best.

You may also be interested in:
5 Last-Minute Tips for Round 1 Applicants

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Tuesday Tips: INSEAD MBA essay tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: INSEAD MBA essay tips
Two campuses, multiple degree options and a diverse and international class set INSEAD apart. When you approach this set of essays, make sure you are ready to explain your career plans in detail, and highlight any International experiences in your background.

INSEAD focuses separately on the job and personal portion of your MBA application essays, seeking to understand candidate’s current career position in detail before delving into the personal aspect. Though career is covered in several essays rather than one, you should make sure that all of the essays work coherently together. As INSEAD states on the website: “We evaluate each applicant against four central criteria: leadership potential and work experience; academic capacity; international motivation; and ability to contribute to the INSEAD experience.”

Stumped by the INSEAD application? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to see how we can help.

Job Description Essays
Essay 1. Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and, where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved.

This question should focus entirely on your current (or most recent) work situation. Though you will want to provide relevant context for your current role, make sure you are devoting most of the essay to describing the details of your day-to-day responsibilities and oversight. If you are lighter on supervising others or managing a budget, you have the opportunity to highlight some key responsibilities and results.

When you are composing this essay make sure you focus on what you uniquely have contributed to the role, rather than reciting the job description. What have you done that is above and beyond?

Essay 2. Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. If you were to remain with your present employer, what would be your next step in terms of position?

This is essentially a walk-through of your resume using the essay format to allow you to provide a unifying thread through the narrative. INSEAD is seeking to understand your career trajectory and how you have grown and progressed through your career. Think about the choices you have made in your career, and how your past experiences have combined to provide you with your current skill set. If you have a fairly straightforward career path you can take the opportunity to comment on some of the learnings from each position. The second part of the question also needs to be answered. Think about the next step at your job, and where you might land if you did not leave to pursue an MBA. While this is a straightforward question, you may need to demonstrate that you can’t get where you want to go from here ”“ and that you will need an MBA to achieve your goals.

Essay 3. If you are currently not working, what are you doing and what do you plan to do until you start the MBA programme if applicable? (250 words maximum)

If you are not employed at the moment, you will want to answer this question to show how you are utilizing your time without full time employment. Ideally you are currently involved in an activity that is going to further your career or personal goals at this time. The best answer is one that shows you are self-motivated and do not need paid work to continue developing yourself. Perhaps you are volunteering in a non-profit that is related to your career goals. Maybe you are working with a friend on a start-up. Or you are consulting and building contacts in your industry. If you are out of work only briefly, it’s also perfectly reasonable to be pursuing travel or other activities that develop your international awareness and perspective. However, make sure that your activities can tie back to your long-term goals or other key aspects of your application strategy.

Essays
Essay 1. Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (600 words max.)

Strengths and weaknesses are a common topic for MBA applications. This is a great opportunity to highlight some of your skills and attributes that demonstrate leadership, teamwork or other qualities that will drive your future career success. Demonstrating self-awareness and the ability to assess your own performance will be impressive. While examples aren’t required, consider that adcomm is reading a vast number of essays and that concrete examples are both easy to understand, and may help you stand out from the crowd.

When describing weaknesses you will want to focus on those weaknesses that you have taken concrete steps to address, or that have been a route to learning more about yourself. Often strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin, in which case you can even tie your key weaknesses to your key strengths. Because it is often difficult to write about one’s weaknesses this is an especially important essay to share with others to seek feedback on tone and impact.

Essay 2. Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. (400 words max.)

This essay is an opportunity to showcase one of your most important achievements. Impressive achievements that stand on their own are great, but you will want to pay equal attention to explaining why these accomplishments are valuable to you. If you concisely explain the accomplishment and how you were able to bring it to fruition, you will have room to provide the context for your personal pride in the accomplishment. If you don’t have an achievement that you think is incredibly impressive on your own focus mainly on what is important to you and an example that shows the activities you value.

The flip side of achievement is failure, and INSEAD wants to understand how you view both. When approaching any failure essay it’s important to use a real failure that has emotional resonance for you. An accomplishment framed as a failure will be easy to see through and will not demonstrate anything about your maturity or ability to grow. Your failure should be real, and also something that led you to grow or learn. If you can describe how you have changed your approach as a result of the failure that is an excellent outcome.

The third part of the essay deals with how these experiences impacted the others around you and what you learned. Whether you were part of a team or the main impact was on a loved one, this part of the essay encourages you to step outside your own narrative of success and failure and think about how you have impacted other people through your actions. Most obviously a success led to happiness from a team or a manager, while a failure was disappointing to those around you. However, your particular achievement or failure could have led to a learning experience for your team, an opportunity for someone else, or a chance for you to be closer to another person through a team challenge. Think creatively about this aspect.

Note that your application to INSEAD ideally covers both the personal and professional. This essay could be an opportunity in this essay set to bring in a new angle on your profile through describing one of your most substantial accomplishments outside of work.

Essay 3. Tell us about an experience where you were significantly impacted by cultural diversity, in a positive or negative way. (300 words max.)

This essay should demonstrate your awareness of the world outside your own ethnic or cultural identity. INSEAD is a highly international program and seeks candidates that both demonstrate and value diversity. This could be an opportunity to highlight any international or cross culture exposure you have had such as traveling outside your home country, or when experiencing diversity within your home country.

When you describe the experience and judge it to be either positive or negative it will be important to provide some individual context. Every applicant from INSEAD is coming from a unique background and from many different countries. Your perception of positive or negative cultural diversity will be a view into how you interact with the world. For example, you could view the lack of diversity in a workplace or school environment as a significant negative, or perhaps you had an experience of being the only “diverse” person in a work or personal situation. On the positive side perhaps you learned more about others through a new cultural experience or through team building with a group of people different from yourself. Where you are coming from will be the deciding factor in terms of what experiences are ultimately positive or negative.

At all times consider the environment at INSEAD and what your essay is saying about your ability to fit in among a highly diverse group of people.

Essay 4. Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (300 words max.)

Nothing is more personal than what you choose to do outside of school or work. What are the most meaningful pursuits you have spent your time on? You should both describe the main interests you have outside of your professional pursuits and explain why they are meaningful to you and why you spend time on them.

Ideally you can also explain how you will continue your involvement while at INSEAD and cite some specific clubs or groups where you see your interests contributing to the community.



Optional Essay: Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the admissions committee? (300 words max.)


This essay is 350 words you can use for anything you would like to showcase and that you were unable to work into the rest of your application. Because INSEAD’s questions are quite thorough you may have covered all aspects of your candidacy and personal qualities in the other five essay questions, in which case you can feel comfortable skipping this question (it IS optional). If you did not have a place for an interesting hobby, new aspect of your background to describe, or key accomplishment, it may be appropriate to use this space to tell that story.

It is far better to fully explain any issues in your application than to leave the admissions committee to guess what happened. If you have any challenging aspects to your candidacy like a low GPA or a failing grade in college, this is the correct place to address those concerns. Explain your issue clearly and focus most of the essay on the correction for the issue. For example, if you had a disciplinary issue in college, spend most of the essay demonstrating that you learned from the experience and have been an ideal citizen ever since rather than focusing on the negative. Avoid blaming anyone else for your issue, and relentlessly show why this one incident is in your past and will stay there.

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UV Darden School Class Profile, Admissions Updates [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UV Darden School Class Profile, Admissions Updates
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business, which was ranked no. 7 in the recent HispanicBusiness 2014 ranking of best business schools for Hispanics, has posted a snapshot on its website of the full-time MBA Class of 2016.

This new cohort is 32 percent women, has more Hispanic students than any previous class, and includes pilots, painters, rock climbers, a professional musician and a number of professional athletes (one was a National Football League player), the school reveals.

Here are a few of the key data points:

  • Total Class Size: 324
  • Countries Represented: 36
  • Average Age at Entry: 27
  • International (born outside the U.S.): 36%
  • Domestic Minorities: 16%
  • Average GMAT Score: 705
On the admissions front, the team at Darden will hit the road to meet with candidates in Miami, Charlotte and Atlanta next week; and London, Paris and Madrid at the end of the month. Southest Asian candidates will soon have the opportunity to meet with admissions in Taipei, Ho Chi Minh, Singapore, and Jakarta. Visit the Events & Receptions page to learn more.

Darden will also host a Military Open House on October 13th. Active duty military and veteran applicants are highly encouraged to attend.

Finally, be sure to check out the Darden admissions webinars, held every other Wednesday. These live exchanges with admissions representatives cover a variety of topics to help you discover what sets Darden apart from other top programs.

Career development at Darden is the topic of the next webinar coming up on September 24th, from 12:30–1:15 p.m. There will be a 15-minute presentation, followed by a 30-minute Q&A session. Register now and be ready to learn all about Darden’s integrated career curriculum.

You may also be interested in:
2014 University of Virginia Darden School of Business MBA essay tips

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Avoid 3 Mistakes When Building Your MBA Budget [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Avoid 3 Mistakes When Building Your MBA Budget
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
The MBA admissions process requires determination, dedication and hard work. But don’t let the effort required to gain admission stop you from tackling another important aspect of business school success: your budget.

Given the rising cost of a top business degree, even a small budgeting mistake can cost you a fair amount. Here are three mistakes to avoid as you create your plan to pay for business school.

1. Not starting early enough: Ideally, you would have considered the cost of an MBA when deciding whether to attend business school or in the first place. This includes thinking about tuition along with external costs such as wages lost by leaving your job.

Either way, as soon as you have any financing questions at all, you should contact your prospective school’s financial aid office. You can also get advice through admissions events. Financial aid officers are an amazing resource. They’ve seen it all before, and they want to ensure qualified candidates can pay for a degree.

[Check out 10 ways to make the most of business school.]

Starting early – about three months before applying – is also important if you’re pursuing scholarships, fellowships or grants. Since scholarships are free money, competition can be fierce, and you’ll benefit from having the time to create strong scholarship applications and from knowing the key deadlines so that opportunities don’t pass you by.

2. Not thinking beyond your cost of attendance: The advantage you’ll get from early budgeting is only as good as the numbers you’re starting with. While the school’s published cost of attendance is a clear starting point that factors in tuition as well as cost of living estimates, you may need to cover additional costs before, during and after your program.

To address the before costs, you’ll want to assess your personal financial situation carefully to see what your cost of attendance really entails. For example, it might cost you money to relocate to a new city or commute to campus.

You also might still have recurring bills that can’t be changed, such as an installment loan on a large purchase. Even updating your business wardrobe to prepare for interview season can amount to several hundred dollars if you’re not planning carefully.

[Uncover the hidden costs of paying for an MBA program.]

To understand what added costs you might incur during and after school, brainstorm all the opportunities you’re interested in that require extra spending: dues for your target clubs, study abroad expenses, and attendance fees for conferences are three great starting points. (One student lending company, CommonBond, has a that allows you to factor “once in a lifetime” trips into your business school budget.) If you’re planning to intern in a new city during the summer, you’ll need to budget for the upfront cost of moving in as well.

If you’re planning to intern in a new city during the summer, you’ll need to budget for the upfront cost of moving as well.

3. Not investigating all your options: Once you’ve gotten a head start and pinned down the amount you’ll need to budget, make sure you don’t leave any funding options on the table. It might seem daunting to call up student loan companies and interview these potential lenders, but finding the best student loan option out there will save you thousands of dollars and avoid hours of logistical headaches.

Don’t be afraid to get creative either or even to ask for money. If you know your post-MBA plans, you may be able to negotiate with your employer for sponsorship during your MBA. Finally, review your existing assets and whether you’ll benefit from tapping into retirement accounts or other investments to fund your MBA.

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HBS Lays Out Next Steps for R1 Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HBS Lays Out Next Steps for R1 Applicants
In her recent blog update, Harvard Business School‘s director of admissions and financial aid Dee Leopold explained exactly what MBA hopefuls who submitted their applications last week for Round 1 can expect over the next two months.

Candidates invited to interview will receive an email invitation on either October 8th or October 15th with detailed instructions about the sign-up procedure. Applicants who are not invited to interview will be notified of their release on October 15th.

Leopold expects 100-150 Round 1 applicants to fall under the category of “further consideration,” aka the waitlist. These candidates will either be reviewed and invited to interview during Round 2, or released on the R2 timetable, she explains.

Harvard Business School will conduct Round 1 interviews between October 20–November 21 on campus and at various locations around the globe. These off-sight locations are: New York City, Palo Alto, London, Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo, Dubai, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, and Santiago, Chile. Candidates who are unable to travel may be accommodated via Skype, the director assures.

The Round 2 deadline at HBS is January 5, 2015. If you’d like a little extra guidance on how to approach the optional essay question, read our Harvard Business School MBA essay tips for an array of possible strategies.

You may also be interested in:
MBA Trends at Harvard Business School and Beyond

Harvard Business School Admitted Student Profile

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Tuesday Tips: Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips
A clear application strategy is crucial to approaching these essays. Duke Fuqua’s mission is to “identify, engage, and foster the development of future leaders of consequence,” and you will want to demonstrate you are the kind of leader the admissions committee is looking for.

Don’t forget the personal – in this essay set you have the opportunity to add 25 new facts to round out your profile. As always, it is important to demonstrate that you know Duke Fuqua well and are a strong fit with the program. Starting your research and personal networking now will put you in a solid position to prepare the most specific and effective essays.

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

Required Short Answer Questions: Answer all 3 questions. For each short answer question, respond in 250 characters only (the equivalent of about 50 words).
1. What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?
2. What are your long-term goals?
3. Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?


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

Think big picture and focus on the overall story trajectory. What would be the most logical (and interesting) progression from your current skill set and MBA education? How will your next step flow from the combination of those experiences? And your alternative path ideally isn’t a massive departure, but simply shows the areas you could see yourself exploring if your primary plan doesn’t materialize.

For example, perhaps you are focused on becoming a marketing executive at a CPG company. If you don’t find the suitable position after Duke, maybe you would consider another industry for your career path. Think about your range of interests and go from there. Because you have limited space, you’ll have to boil your plans down in a clear statement of what you plan to do, but ideally any plans are supported by the information provided in your resume, recommendations, and other essays.

Required Essays: Answer both essay questions


The “Team Fuqua” spirit and community is one of the things that sets The Duke MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of “25 Random Things About Yourself.” As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire’s professional and academic background, so learning these “25 Random Things” helps us get to know someone’s personality, background, special talents, and more.


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

Please present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.

This essay is entirely open ended and topics can span your personal background, work experiences, values or extracurriculars. If you have a particularly interesting story in any of those areas, this is the place to tell that story. This creative exercise is certainly an opportunity to follow the admissions committee’s advice to share what makes you a dynamic, multi-dimensional person.

Coming up with 25 random things to list in this essay may seem daunting at first. To jumpstart your creative process you may want to brainstorm with friends and family about what is most interesting and memorable about you. Or keep a notebook with you to record thoughts as you go about work and personal activities. A themed list that ties into a bigger point may be effective, but resist the urge to package the list too perfectly. In the end, Duke is interested in who you actually are and how your life has unfolded until now.

When asked by your family, friends, and colleagues why you want to go to Duke, what do you tell them? Share the reasons that are most meaningful to you.
Your response to this essay question should be no more than 2 pages in length. Please respond fully and concisely using 1.5 line spacing.

This essay is entirely focused on why the Duke MBA program is the right place for you specifically. This may be another opportunity to demonstrate your multi-dimensional personality as you explain which classes, clubs, and community activities most resonate with you.

The best essays will be both specific and personal. While everyone benefits from a diverse alumni network, what specifically do you want to give and receive from your classmates? If you describe clubs and classes you are attracted to, also offer specific examples from your past experiences to show your consistent personal or professional passions.

While the focus of the essay is the Duke MBA program, you are also being asked why these aspects are most meaningful. Your fit with the program is crucial, and therefore you must exhibit the qualities Duke is seeking as well. The Duke MBA program is especially interested in your role within the community, and will place significant weight on this factor. If you research thoroughly and are specific, you should be able to clearly demonstrate why you are going to be strong contributor and teammate.

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

Optional Essay

If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (e.g. unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, or any significant weakness in your application).

• Do NOT upload additional essays nor additional recommendations in this area of the application.

• The Optional Essay is intended to provide the Admissions Committee with insight into your extenuating circumstances only.

• Limit your response to two pages.


As with most optional essays, the Duke MBA asks that you use this space only to explain extenuating circumstances. If you have a low GPA, a non-typical recommender or gaps in work history this is the correct place to address those issues. If you do not have any of those areas to explain, it’s best to skip this question and focus only on the previous three essays.

When approaching any concerns about your background in the optional essay it’s important to focus on recent performance, whether academic or professional, and what such performance demonstrates about your ability. Your goal is to remove questions from your application and to address in a factual manner any information the admissions committee needs to know to fairly evaluate your application.

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Tuesday Tips: Yale School of Management MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Yale School of Management MBA Essay Tips
Yale School of Management is part of an Ivy League university with expertise across fields. The school now investing heavily in continuing to improve the business education at Yale with a new campus, top talent in faculty, and the admissions process.

This year, Yale SOM has streamlined the admissions process by reducing the essays to one 500 word essay (reduced from with two essays coming in under 1,000 words total last year). As we reported when Yale posted the question: “Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico explains that the change from two questions last year to a single prompt for the class entering Fall 2015 is an effort to focus on what really matters to the admissions team: finding out how applicants are making an impact in their professional and personal lives.”

Yale is still using the video interview platform to add an additional personal touch to your application. Stacy Blackman Consulting has been working with a similar video interview platform as the one Yale is using and we are familiar with the technology and process. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you prepare for the Yale application and interview process.

Because there is no specific career goals essay, make sure your resume and recommendations highlight the key elements to your work experience that influence your desire to pursue an MBA. You may want to highlight specific projects at work that have most excited you and shaped your future goals and discuss why. The key is to add some insight to your background through those additional parts of your application.

The Yale School of Management educates individuals who will have deep and lasting impact on the organizations they lead. Describe how you have positively influenced an organization as an employee, a member, or an outside constituent. (500 words maximum)

Impact and leadership are key components to this question. Impact could range from driving business results for your company to starting an affinity group for an underrepresented employee population. Overall the impact story should be one that you are proud of and that showcases both your values and your leadership traits. Remember the type of MBA student Yale is most interested in admitting. Ideally you are coming across as an intellectually curious student with a diverse background deeply interested in the integrated curriculum.

Behavioral questions like this one seek to understand how you actually operate in various situations. Try to be as specific as possible about how you positively influenced the organization. What did you think or say when you were determining what to do? What did you actually do? How did you feel about the result? Start by describing each step in detail in terms of what you did, the reaction of others and your own reaction. From there you can cut out anything that is too detailed or too superfluous to the story to maintain the 500 word maximum.

Note that while this question could focus on a key solo accomplishment at work since most MBA applicants are individual contributors, ideally you can demonstrate how you work with others as you lead. Regardless of whether you choose an individual or team accomplishment it should show a significant positive impact on the organization or people within the organization.

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A Strategy of Inspired Growth at Kellogg [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: A Strategy of Inspired Growth at Kellogg

This week, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management announced it has reached several key milestones in its Envision Kellogg plan for transformation, including a new brand strategy focused on “inspiring growth.”

The new brand strategy, “brave leaders inspire growth in people, organizations and markets,” sharpens how the school articulates the Kellogg difference in developing growth-minded leaders.

“Growth has long been the imperative and continues to be the biggest challenge that every organization faces,” says Kellogg Dean Sally Blount. “But the rules have changed since 2000. Bigger is not always better.”

Kellogg has also announced the launch of a new global experiential learning program entitled International Growth Lab, a course where students from Kellogg and a network school will collaborate remotely and on the ground to develop international growth strategies for global companies. This program provides the opportunity to gain real-world experience managing diverse teams across geographic boundaries and time zones.

Blount notes that currently 125 to 150 of Kellogg’s MBA candidates are doing a quarter abroad at a partner or exchange school, while another 200 do a two-week experiential learning course abroad. “About 50% of all our MBA students are choosing to participate in these options,” the dean tells Poets & Quants.

Additionally, Kellogg has increased the size of its One-Year MBA Program by nearly 20 percent over the past two years, and will continue to evolve with the market. The two-year program will shrink slightly in what Blount calls a rebalancing of the portfolio to meet market demands.

A core tenet of the Kellogg strategic plan is its distinctive approach to thought leadership that integrates foundational departments with four cross-disciplinary initiatives: Markets and Customers; Architectures of Collaboration; Innovation and Entrepreneurship; and Public-Private Interface.

Thomas Hubbard, senior associate dean of strategic initiatives and professor of strategy at Kellogg, says, “This thought leadership translates directly into what and how we teach.” In three years, Kellogg has launched more than 55 new courses, focused on innovation and entrepreneurship, growth and scaling, and data analytics, comprising 25 percent of its total curriculum.

This includes six new courses focused on growth and scaling, ranging from scaling operations to personnel management in a rapidly growing organization, as well as three new courses in data analytics. Kellogg today offers 11 elective courses in data analytics across six foundational departments, the most robust curriculum in the industry.

Although universally known for its strength in marketing, these bold moves show Blount’s mission to change the public’s perception of the school. “We have always been a general management school,” Blount explains in Poets & Quants. “There were people in the market who tried to portray us as just a this-or-that school. That was a defensive tactic by competitors. Yes, we had stronger marketing relative to our peers, but it was a market-created perspective to categorize Kellogg as a marketing school and not make us as fierce a competitor. We have to push back on that by showing that we have never been just that.”

All of these milestones in Kellogg’s strategic plan have been enabled, at least in part, by its campaign. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Kellogg raised $47 million, bringing the capital campaign to $215 million under Dean Blount’s leadership that began in 2010. The Kellogg campaign is focused on enhancing thought leadership, increasing scholarships, expanding global connectivity and building a lakefront global hub.

“Sometimes growth means pulling back to attain greater clarity and focus,” says Dean Blount. “Our ‘inspiring growth’ brand strategy highlights the important dual meaning of the English word ‘growth’ – both in terms of increasing economic value and increasing self-knowledge and insight.”

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