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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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Dont Play the MBA Comparison Game [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Don’t Play the MBA Comparison Game


It can feel pretty devastating if Round 2 results from your dream school have come in, and you didn’t get good news. After months of hard work on your application and a few more months of anxiety-ridden waiting, finding out that you weren’t accepted stinks. That’s when many dinged applicants start to play the MBA comparison game.

When you already feel confused, down, or angry, learning that a friend or co-worker did get in feels like having salt poured on your proverbial wound. If you believe you’re more qualified than that person, it’s even worse.

Why do scenarios like this come to pass? How can two people who work at the same place or are similar “on paper” meet such different MBA fates? How can a stellar candidate receive a ding when a seemingly so-so applicant gets admitted?

Let’s break it down.

The MBA application process is subjective.
Admissions committees consider thousands and thousands of qualified applicants each year. They’ve developed a strong sense of who will best fit their program. While you may think you’d be more of an asset to a particular school than an acquaintance who got in, the admissions committee felt differently.



You don’t know absolutely everything about your friend or co-worker’s candidacy.
If you did your homework on the MBA process, you know that AdComs are looking for what makes applicants tick. They want to understand your personality. They are interested in more than just your career experience and “stats.”

Even if you read your friend’s essays, you probably don’t know every detail of their applications and recommendation letters. Nor do you know they performed in their interview. Maybe your demographics, backgrounds, and motivations don’t overlap as much as you thought. Perhaps the AdCom saw something they were specifically looking for in your friend.

You may not have even been competing with your friend for a spot in the first place.
As mentioned above, we know that each program strives to put together a diverse class of impressive people. However, no one knows the magic formula any given AdCom uses to fill open spots.

But what we do know is that it’s not as straightforward as most applicants assume. Everything from your gender to your industry to your nationality, career aspirations, community service, and personality comes into play when an AdCom attempts to build a graduating class.

We know how tempting it is to play the MBA comparison game.
But unfortunately, doing so won’t change anything or make you feel any better. The best thing you can do is try to be objective about how you could improve your candidacy if you reapply next year—or consider additional programs that might improve your odds.

Finally, consider this advice:



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

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B-Schooled Podcast Episode #100: MBA Trends & What They Mean for You [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-Schooled Podcast Episode #100: MBA Trends & What They Mean for You


We’ve made it to our 100th episode of the B-Schooled podcast! Woot woot! So of course we wanted it to be special. That’s why we invited journalist Francesca Di Meglio—who’s reported on MBA programs for 20 years—to the podcast to share her insights on what’s changed most over time … and what those trends mean for MBA students and applicants today.

B-Schooled episode #100 can be found below, or you can listen to it on any of the major podcast platforms linked in this post. Thank you to everyone who’s supported the podcast!

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. Also, 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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The Most Important Part of the MBA Application Is [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The Most Important Part of the MBA Application Is…


Every day, we receive e-mails and phone calls from potential new clients. They often go something like this: “I have a 2.9 GPA, 680 GMAT, and four years of work experience in consulting. I’ve been promoted twice; I have good extracurriculars. What are my chances?” B-school hopefuls then want to find out what is the most important part of the MBA application. Is it the GMAT score, undergraduate transcript, essays, interview, letters of recommendation, or something else entirely?

What part of the MBA application is *most* important?
Everyone wants to know what to focus on in their application and how their circumstances rate. Top business schools don’t admit you based purely on your statistics, though they count quite a bit.

While a 550 GMAT or a 2.5 GPA will raise a red flag at an MBA program like the Stanford Graduate School of Business, a 700 GMAT and a 3.6 GPA make you a strong candidate. But even someone with an 800 GMAT score and a perfect GPA can get rejected at an elite MBA program.

Ask most admissions committee members, and they will tell you that it’s the sum of many pieces—there is no one “most important” part of the MBA application.

The top schools want to know who you are, and statistics and a résumé don’t tell them that.

It’s the essays, interviews, and recommendations that ultimately reveal the person beyond the paper. Compelling essays, recommendations, and interviews can provide context for a low GMAT score or GPA. But the reverse is not true. As Stacy Blackman recently shared with Find MBA, strong numbers will never make up for weak essays or a disorganized, negative recommendation.

Time to reevaluate your shortcomings
Some say the most critical part of the application is your so-called “weakest” part. One weakness could completely change how admissions committee members perceive your application.



Indeed, many admissions officers urge applicants to be upfront about their shortcomings. Everyone has weaknesses. You’re better off acknowledging and incorporating them into your application than hoping the person reading your application will miss them.

While we doubt that many business school admissions committees would formally support this statement, we would cast our vote for essays as the most important part of your application.

Why MBA essays carry so much weight
The essays allow the admissions committee to discover the real you. It’s where you write why an MBA makes sense as the next step of your career path. Also, it’s how you differentiate yourself from everyone else who scored in the 700s on their GMAT.

The essays are your opportunity to present your strengths and explain your weaknesses. They also go a long way toward convincing the adcomm that you have a lot to offer the program and that you belong in their class.



The essays are also consistent among all applicants. In that way, they are less difficult to evaluate and compare. All candidates receive the same set of questions. The same group of admissions members reviews those answers. This creates a level playing field that can simplify the review process.

Interviews are very different in that they’re all handled by different types of individuals with unique approaches.

Recommendations vary as well. While all applicants do their best to find great recommenders, some work with MBAs who understand the process. Others work with people who have no idea what to write.

You should know that most applicants to the top schools are qualified because they would be able to handle the curriculum and benefit from the program. The essays are each individual’s opportunity to talk about their true self.



The most important part of the MBA application is…You
Finally, you need to demonstrate that you are more than merely qualified to be admitted. It’s the story you put together about your goals, passions, and prior experience—and how business school fits into the mix—that will make all the difference for you. Once you assemble that story, we can better answer the question: “What are my chances?”

***

Want to discover the best way to address weaknesses and strengths in the MBA app? Hop over to Stacy’s post in US News & World Report for pro tips.

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How to Decide Between MBA Programs [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: How to Decide Between MBA Programs


Are you reading this post based on its headline? If so, you’re likely in a very envious position: you’ve been accepted into more than one MBA program. Congratulations! Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to appreciate how many people wish they were you right now. We hope you understand just how impressive this achievement is, in this of all years. So, take some time to celebrate accordingly.

But now you have a tough decision to make. You probably only applied to schools that truly interested you. That means soon it will be time to choose between two or more programs. How should you figure out where to spend eighteen months of your life, plus tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars?

Tips to Help You Decide Between MBA Programs
Step one is to attend each program’s (possibly virtual) Admit Weekend, if possible. Spending time with current students and other admitted applicants — even if it’s only online — will still go a long way toward helping you decide which program is the better fit. If you can’t join the Admit Weekend for each school, do everything else you can to try at least to speak or do a video chat with recently graduated alumni or current students.

Next, think about where you want to end up geographically after graduation. Is one program in your desired city, or perhaps the same overall region? Does one program have a reputation for helping its students land jobs in the area they want to live?

If location isn’t a concern, focus on what matters most to you: recruitment stats for certain industries? Diversity? International opportunities? We know you reviewed all this information as you decided where to apply in the first place. But now it warrants a second, closer look.

Finally, we covered additional factors that can help you decide between MBA programs in episode #39 of our B-Schooled podcast. So check that out at Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, or TuneIn.

In the end, this may be the best advice of all:



 

 

 

 

 

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

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Admitted MBA Student To-Do List [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Admitted MBA Student To-Do List

Has the euphoria over your acceptance to the b-school of your dreams subsided slightly? Then it’s time to refocus your energies on all of the big and little details that make up your admitted MBA student To-Do List. Here are some of the specific areas that need your immediate attention.

Give notice gracefully
If your supervisor already supported your plans to attend business school, sharing the great news of your admission won’t be awkward at all. However, some applicants need to keep their application plans quiet so as not to jeopardize their employment. In that case, now is the time to let your employer know you’re leaving.

You should explain your reasons, give plenty of notice, and offer to help train your replacement if applicable. Make every possible effort to leave on good terms to keep this part of your professional network intact.



Set up a budget
Step one of your admitted MBA student To-Do List: get your finances in order. Avoid credit card debt, and save, save, save as much as you can before school starts. Forgo unnecessary purchases, and try to live slightly below your means. Remember, your projected budget should factor in expenses beyond tuition and living costs. Travel, student clubs, and study abroad trips greatly enrich the b-school experience.

Make housing arrangements
This aspect varies depending on the school. For example, at Harvard Business School, 80% of MBA students live on campus. Housing in residence halls at HBS is assigned by lottery. Other schools offer limited on-campus housing and refer new students to nearby rental houses or apartment complexes.

Prospective students can visit apartments and houses in their new city during Welcome Weekend. But start the process early. Schools have strict deadlines for campus housing. Make sure to find out those important dates early on if you prefer to live on campus.



Brush up on quant skills
Business schools regularly report that many soon-to-be first-year students lack some basic quantitative skills. A quant refresh should be on your admitted MBA student To-Do List if that sounds like you. Review the course syllabus online and purchase textbooks in advance if you can.

Many top MBA programs offer so-called math camps for accepted students during the summer. If you have any weak spots in this area, sign up so that you’re ready to hit the ground running once school starts.

Consider a pre-MBA program
Many admits do pre-MBA internships to explore a new field of interest, gain training insights, and begin networking with recruiters months before the formal recruiting process begins.

Others participate in short, company-sponsored programs, such as McKinsey Early Access, BCG Unlock, and Experience Bain. Applications are poised to open, and deadlines come quickly, so don’t delay if this option interests you.

Still other admits take advantage of pre-term, non-academic travel programs, such as Kellogg Worldwide Experiences & Service Trips (KWEST), which unite more than 80% of incoming students through social, site-seeing, and community service activities.



Reach out to fellow classmates
Schools often host receptions for admits where they can mingle and network with alumni and their fellow admits. Welcome Weekend is another prime opportunity to begin connecting with your future cohort. If you’ve followed the MBA forums, you may already have a head start on building relationships with other admits.

Find out if your program hosts a Facebook group for your class. If not, offer to help set one up. Business schools make it easy for classmates to get to know each other pre-term. Take advantage of these social opportunities, and you’ll arrive on campus feeling already at home.



Finally, enjoying some quiet time before things get crazy should also be on your admitted MBA student To-Do List. Cross a few items off your bucket list. Connect with family and friends you won’t see much of during the next two years. Dive back into those hobbies and extracurriculars that made you a desirable, well-rounded candidate in the first place.

The months leading up to the start of business school is an exciting time. But it flies by in a flash. Knowing what to expect and laying the foundation for a smooth transition to student life will make your first year less stressful and even more rewarding.

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B-Schooled Podcast Episode #101: Replay of interview with Nick, SBC Cl [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-Schooled Podcast Episode #101: Replay of interview with Nick, SBC Client and HBS/GSB Admit


This week we are replaying our most popular episode ever! In it, our host — SBC admissions consultant Erika — has an all-encompassing chat with her former client Nick, who was accepted to both HBS and Stanford GSB and (at the time of the interview) was about to graduate from HBS. They cover:

  • Nick’s “stats,” and what approach Erika and Nick took to his MBA application positioning
  • What Nick thought was the most important part of the process
  • Nick’s essay topics (and what Erika steered him away from including)
  • Nick’s advice for other applicants, particularly those with a military background like his
  • An in-depth description of Nick’s interview experiences with both Harvard and Stanford
  • Nick’s time at HBS, including the switch to virtual classes due to COVID-19
Listen 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. Also, 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 Podcast Episode #101: Replay of interview with Nick, SBC Client and HBS/GSB Admit appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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B-Schooled Podcast Episode #101: Replay of Interview with Nick, SBC Cl [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-Schooled Podcast Episode #101: Replay of Interview with Nick, SBC Client and HBS/GSB Admit


This week we are replaying our most popular episode ever! In it, our host — SBC admissions consultant Erika — has an all-encompassing chat with her former client Nick, who was accepted to both HBS and Stanford GSB and (at the time of the interview) was about to graduate from HBS. They cover:

  • Nick’s “stats,” and what approach Erika and Nick took to his MBA application positioning
  • What Nick thought was the most important part of the process
  • Nick’s essay topics (and what Erika steered him away from including)
  • Nick’s advice for other applicants, particularly those with a military background like his
  • An in-depth description of Nick’s interview experiences with both Harvard and Stanford
  • Nick’s time at HBS, including the switch to virtual classes due to COVID-19
Listen 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. Also, 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 Podcast Episode #101: Replay of Interview with Nick, SBC Client and HBS/GSB Admit appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Why Negative Thinking Can Help You Reach Greater Success [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Why Negative Thinking Can Help You Reach Greater Success
[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/Mr_Pipo_Lip_to_Ear.svg-negative-thinking-734x557.png[/img]

[b]“FRESH IDEAS FROM THE BLACKLIGHT”[/b]
SBC’s Weekly Newsletter for Professionals
When it comes to strategies for reaching our goals, most of us adopt an optimistic outlook. We see ourselves triumphant at the finish line and believe a positive mindset is essential to maintaining motivation. But what if we told you that you would have a higher chance of achieving your ambitions if you harnessed the power of negative thinking instead? That’s the premise of a great conversation on the [url=https://www.schwab.com/resource-center/insights/content/choiceology-season-8-episode-6]Choiceology[/url] podcast between the Wharton School’s [url=https://www.katymilkman.com/]Katy Milkman[/url] and [url=https://www.annieduke.com/]Annie Duke[/url], author of How to Decide.

It sounds counterintuitive because we associate negative thinking with pessimism and demotivation. It’s downright unpleasant to imagine a future where we don’t lose those extra 20 pounds or fail to launch that startup. Yet the reason negative thinking is effective at helping us reach our goals is simple. In short, it involves imagining all the roadblocks we might encounter so that we can avoid them if/when they arise.

[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/pexels-capriauto-2323411-734x481.jpg[/img]

Negative thinking activates you hormonally like a lion coming at you would. It gets you to move and to act.—Annie Duke

This framing device prepares you not to get derailed when the bad thing happens, Duke explains, because you plan out what you’ll do if something goes wrong.

 Negative Thinking in the Form of a Premortem
 A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-mortem#:~:text=A%20pre-mortem%2C%20or%20premortem,of%20the%20project%20or%20organization.]premortem[/url], for the uninitiated, is a popular managerial strategy where a team imagines that a project has failed. Then, they work backward to find out what could have led to that result. Project leaders tend to be [url=https://theblacklight.co/2021/01/28/tips-overcome-your-overconfidence/]overconfident[/url], which is often dangerous. At its worst, it leads people to make poor decisions or waste time and money pursuing ideas doomed to fail.

 According to this [url=https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/bias-busters-premortems-being-smart-at-the-start]piece by McKinsey[/url], the reason this exercise works so well is that “under this approach, the psychology is flipped, and blind support for ideas gives way to creative problem solving.”

[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/grave-2036220_1920-734x489.jpg[/img]

As Duke explains, “the more of that future landscape that you can identify, obviously the better you’re going to be able to navigate it.” Prepare for those possibilities so that you can react with a cool head when they appear. All these steps, she adds, will increase your chances of success.

 So, how can we harness the power of negative thinking to make better decisions? First, by becoming tolerant of the discomfort. “The biggest advice that I have for people to improve their decision-making by using the power of negative thinking is to realize that imagining failure is not really a bad thing,” says Duke.

 “It might cause you a little distress right now,” she admits. “But it’s going to be very protective of the future version of you.”

Huzzah! You made it to the end of the post!
This tip sheet on the power of negative thinking appeared initially on [url=https://theblacklight.co/newsletter/]the Blacklight[/url], our weekly newsletter for professionals. At the Blacklight, we [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/blacklight-career-hacks-life-inspo/]aim to illuminate[/url] 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, [url=https://theblacklight.co/]sign up[/url] today!

Main image credit: [url=https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mr_Pipo_Lip_to_Ear.svg]Nevit Dilmen[/url] ([url=https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en]CC BY-SA 3.0[/url])

The post [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/why-negative-thinking-can-help-you-reach-greater-success/]Why Negative Thinking Can Help You Reach Greater Success[/url] appeared first on [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com]Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting[/url].
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What to Think about as You Begin the MBA Application Journey [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What to Think about as You Begin the MBA Application Journey

As a prospective student, you’ll benefit enormously from taking time at the beginning of your MBA application journey to contemplate the path you’re about to take. This is a great time to ask yourself some critical questions. Self-evaluation and reflection are crucial. Set aside some time for heavy thinking before you start writing your essays. This will prepare you for a solid and strategic application.

What are your career goals?
As you contemplate applying to MBA programs, the very first step in your self-evaluation process is to consider where you want to be in your career. Ask yourself what you would do if you didn’t need to work for money and what your core values are.

If your career goals are not immediately revealed, ask your friends and family what they see you doing. This process should reveal good ideas and a spark of passion for your career path.

Do you work in a field where MBAs are not traditionally required? You may still benefit from the degree. Especially if your career goals include rising to senior management within your company or starting your own company. As a first step, look around at the people you most admire and want to be like within your target company or industry. Read their bios to see their skillset and educational background.



Talking to people who are pursuing your target career, at any level, is also a great way to understand what you need to do to accomplish your goals. Harvard Business Review has a helpful article on the subject: A Simple Way to Map Out your Career Ambitions.

Why do you want an MBA?
While an MBA is a great experience, ultimately it’s a tool to advance your professional aims. The degree is highly focused on practical business applications, not intellectual curiosity.

Preferably when you answer the question of your career goals it will be clear why an MBA is the right degree for you. If your career path doesn’t immediately reveal the need for an MBA, yet you know you want one, you may want to delve into your motivations.

Consider your expectations for the degree and critically evaluate whether your hopes match the reality of an MBA program. Do you know any current MBA students or alumni? Sounding them out is a great way to start your research and make sure you are committed to the MBA application journey.



Is an MBA the right degree for you?
Evaluating your professional goals might reveal that a different type of graduate degree would be useful.

Those interested in finance might also consider a master’s in finance. This degree typically prepares students more specifically for a career in corporate finance, financial analysis, or investment management. That degree may prepare you to be the chief financial officer of a company, but may not be the ideal degree for a general manager or CEO.

Does public policy work or management in the nonprofit sector interest you? You might look into a law degree, a master’s in public policy or master’s in public administration. On top of those options, you could pursue a joint JD/MBA or a joint MPP/MBA or MPA/MBA.

Any one of these degrees can help you achieve your goals. But you may want to consider the environment of each school. Think about the academic focus, the time you will spend pursuing the degree, and what works best for you personally.



Are you competitive in the MBA applicant pool?
As you think about launching your MBA application journey, you should be aware of the competitive pool of candidates who apply every year. Evaluate yourself against successful candidates to the schools you are considering. Find out what is the mean GMAT and GPA for a successful applicant to your target programs.

Finally, there’s still hope if your “numbers” are much lower than the mean at your dream schools. You may want to consider taking classes to build an alternative transcript or retaking the GMAT. No candidate is perfect. But minimizing any red flags in your application will ensure that you have a strong chance at admission.

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B-Schooled Podcast Episode #102: Financing Your MBA [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-Schooled Podcast Episode #102: Financing Your MBA


After you’re accepted into an MBA program, you’re bound to feel like you’re walking on air for days or weeks after receiving the happy news. And you absolutely should celebrate this huge accomplishment after all the time and energy you poured into your materials. But then at some point, you need to figure out exactly how you’re going to pay for those two phenomenal years!

This episode focuses on the three mains ways you could finance your MBA: with your own money, free money, or loaned money (or a combination of those methods). We talk about why the FAFSA is so important, how graduate-school financing is very different from undergrad financing, and important factors you should consider when taking on federal or private loans.

We think investing in yourself by earning an MBA is worth it, but it’s critical to go into the process with your eyes wide open.

Listen to episode #102 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. Also, 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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Advice for European MBA Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Advice for European MBA Applicants

Creating a robust and dynamic classroom experience is the primary focus of the top business schools in the United States. Diversity is necessary to achieve this goal; therefore, international candidates make up a significant percentage of each cohort.

To put this in perspective, international students make up 36% of the MBA Class of 2023 at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. That figure is a titch higher—37%—at Harvard Business School. Meanwhile, over at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, international students represent a whopping 47 percent of the Class of 2023. Today, we’re sharing some advice for European MBA applicants eying business schools in the United States.

Why target schools in the U.S.?
Whether you value the academic experience, immersive opportunities, available resources, or brand power, top U.S. schools have it all. One exciting prospect about earning an MBA at a well-ranked school in the States is the variety of settings available.

Naturally, you can find several options in big cities such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. However, you can also study in smaller towns that offer a quintessential American college experience. Think Duke Fuqua in Durham, North Carolina, or its nearby rival, the UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.  Another top-ranked option is Dartmouth’s Tuck School, in Hanover, New Hampshire.



Many prospective applicants want to use the MBA degree to change course in their career. The two-year MBA common in the U.S. is an ideal format to achieve that goal. You’ll have the chance to do a summer internship to try out a new industry or job function. Then, your second year will provide the time you need to crystalize your career path.

Plus, you’ll also have more time to get involved with clubs and other activities to broaden your interests and experiences.  Having more time to spend with your classmates deepens the relationships and connections that will form your lifelong professional network.

Finally, the boom in STEM-designated MBA programs in the U.S. is making it even easier for European and other international students to extend their work experience after graduation by up to 36 months.



Targeted advice for European MBA Applicants:
  • Back home, a stellar academic pedigree may be enough to clinch your admissions chances. Top MBA programs in the U.S. want to see more than strong stats. Remember, you are not just your resume. You are the white spaces in between.
  • Show that you have done your homework on the program. Don’t overlook school culture when creating an MBA shortlist.
  • Get ready to rewrite your resume. The typical European-style CV needs serious modification to become a winning MBA resume.
  • Boost your volunteering efforts if needed. While admissions requirements in other countries place less importance on volunteering experience, U.S. business schools care a lot about your community involvement and extracurriculars.
  • Learn how to strengthen your MBA candidacy through your LinkedIn profile. It can bolster your candidacy while providing a fuller, multi-dimensional view of yourself to the admissions committee as well as future recruiters.
Connect with current European students
Our advice for European MBA applicants is to reach out now to current students or alumni from your home country or region at your target schools. Ask for their honest feedback about the school, resources, and the environment.



Business schools often have official programs that connect applicants via email or Skype with current and former students of similar backgrounds and profiles. These individuals can offer the inside scoop on student life and what makes their school unique.

Also, as the world continues to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, participating in online information sessions and virtual webinars allows all applicants to get a better sense of the school’s culture.

Both options provide a great introduction to a program and can help you narrow down which schools to focus on for your MBA. Don’t worry if there’s no such formal program in place. Most admissions officers will happily put candidates in touch with an alum or current student if asked.

In the end, our advice for European MBA applicants reflects what we tell all of our clients. Get to know the programs that interest you. Share your enthusiasm for the school throughout your application.  Above all, find ways to differentiate yourself from seemingly similar applicants.

SBC’s team of stellar consultants can help you favorably position your candidacy at elite business schools as a European MBA applicant. Get in touch today for a complimentary analysis, and let us help you reach your U.S. MBA degree dreams.

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B-Schooled Podcast Episode #103: The Power of Authenticity in MBA Appl [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-Schooled Podcast Episode #103: The Power of Authenticity in MBA Applications


Chandler Arnold joins the B-Schooled podcast as a new host, and he welcomes SBC colleague Christina Fu to have an extraordinary conversation about a hot topic in the world of MBA applications: authenticity. Chandler and Christina share several excerpts from their past admissions consulting clients’ essays as examples of how to use candor, vulnerability, and boldness effectively.

You can listen to B-Schooled episode #103 here, or on any of the major podcast platforms 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. Also, 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 Podcast Episode #103: The Power of Authenticity in MBA Applications appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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GMAT and Your MBA Application Strategy [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: GMAT and Your MBA Application Strategy


Nearly every MBA candidate submits a GMAT or GRE score as part of their business school admissions package. Yet not everyone understands how the GMAT fits into the overall MBA application strategy. Ideally, you would take the test right out of college while still in study and test mode. Both GMAT and GRE scores are valid for five years. Therefore, getting the exams out of the way early frees you to focus on the other elements of the application.

But what if, like most applicants, you didn’t have the foresight to take the exam right after college? The next best step is to get the GMAT out of the way before you finalize your list of schools. Your score isn’t everything, but it is an integral part of the admissions equation.

If you bomb the exam and can’t improve your score, you may need to reassess your target schools to include less-competitive options. Conversely, you may be able to add one more reach school if you scored higher than expected.

The round one deadline is about five months away at many elite schools. If you still need to take the GMAT or GRE, you have a lot of work ahead of you! Unless you’re a whiz at standardized tests, you’ll need to train your brain to get it back into test-taking form.



The GMAT and Your MBA Application Strategy
Most applicants devote at least 100 hours to test preparation. Depending on where you are in the process, you may have to take a prep class and perhaps take the test more than once. If this is the case, the first round may not be a realistic option—unless you’re prepared to immerse yourself in the process completely.

One client, Tasha, came to us just five weeks before the round she was targeting with some idea of her school choices and a GMAT score she wanted to improve. With her limited time, she needed to schedule the GMAT for two weeks before her application deadlines. That meant she didn’t have the luxury of focused studying for the GMAT in all her free time.

To help Tasha, we first wrote down all her tasks, including the number of essay iterations we expected of her. Next, we worked backward from her deadlines to see how many days she had to work. Tasha then started alternating essay writing and GMAT study until the day she took the test.

This abbreviated yet methodical time management system worked for her. Tasha improved her GMAT by 30 points and submitted a solid application to her three target schools. She ultimately gained admission to Stanford Graduate School of Business and Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Tasha’s strategy won’t work for everybody, but we see applicants pull off the impossible every season.

We typically advise clients to plan for two attempts at the GRE or GMAT, leaving a buffer for a retake if needed. There’s no harm in taking the test two or even three times. Unless you score well right out of the gate, often, you will do better the second time. You’ll have fewer nerves, more familiarity with the process, and no big surprises.

There is no such thing as a bad test, just opportunities to build on and learn from.

Average scores are increasing every year at top MBA programs, making it hard to offset a bad GMAT score. We cringe when we read essays where people try to rationalize a low score. What you can do, however, is acknowledge the score and say you don’t find it truly reflective of your abilities. Then show why you are strong in quant or going to excel academically by pointing to your college GPA, work experience, or by encouraging your recommenders to focus heavily on your intellect.

Timing and planning are crucial to reducing the stress of the application process. We encourage applicants not to cram everything into too short of a timeline, but everyone has their own studying style. You just need to figure out what makes the most sense for you, your goals, and your schedule.

***

Are you struggling with the GMAT or GRE? Stacy Blackman Consulting can help with our test-prep services. Learn more here. If admissions tests are on your mind, don’t miss episodes 23 and 27 of our B-Schooled podcast. You can find it on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherTuneIn, or wherever you listen.

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Beware of Time Confetti [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Beware of Time Confetti
[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/joshua-coleman-tRGKjUH6xwg-unsplash-1500x1000.jpg[/img]

[b]“FRESH IDEAS FROM THE BLACKLIGHT”[/b]
SBC’s Weekly Newsletter for Professionals
Today we’re bringing you a PSA about a pervasive problem plaguing us all. More than ever before, we’re suffering from the ill effects of [b]time confetti[/b] on our hard-earned moments of leisure. While it sounds like a party, author [url=https://www.brigidschulte.com/]Brigid Schulte[/url], who coined the term, described time confetti as trying to do “Everything. All at once. All the time.”

It also happens when the blocks of free time we need to recharge get interrupted by a relentless influx of notifications. We’ve witnessed the creep of time confetti since the beginning of the smartphone era. But the pandemic has intensified the crisis as divisions between work and home life become blurred.

“We adopt mobile technologies to gain autonomy over when and how long we work,” says [url=https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=943704]Ashley Whillans[/url], a behavioral scientist and assistant professor of negotiations at Harvard Business School. “Yet, ironically, we end up working all the time.” Whillans’ latest book is called [url=https://www.awhillans.com/new-book-ndash-time-smart.html]Time Smart[/url], and she’s on a mission to help us become aware of when time confetti happens so we can get better at avoiding it.

[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3754675-1500x1000.jpg[/img]

Observe Time Confetti in Action
Here is how Whillans illustrates the concept of time confetti. Imagine that you have one hour to relax each day. Yet during that window, you receive four email notifications, a handful of text or Slack alerts, and one calendar alarm. Individually, these interruptions may not require a lengthy response. But they do snatch away your attention for several minutes when added up. And since they likely came scattered throughout those 60 minutes, Whillans points out that your “hour” to recharge has now become several smaller chunks that are only five or six minutes long.

Each bit alone seems not very bad. Collectively, though, all that confetti adds up to something more pernicious than you might expect. —Ashley Whillans

At the end of the hour, you can’t help but feel cheated out of a proper mental break. “This situation taxes us cognitively,” Whillans explains in [url=https://behavioralscientist.org/time-confetti-and-the-broken-promise-of-leisure/]this piece[/url] for Behavioral Scientist. Plus, it “fragments our leisure time in a way that makes it hard to use this time for something that will relieve stress or make us happy.”

[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/pexels-cottonbro-4684372-1500x1000.jpg[/img]

Take Back Control of Your Free Time
When our time “off” is fractured into several unenjoyable little bits, we feel stressed out and time-poor. If you’re ready to stop time confetti from eroding your free time, try these next steps.

Become intentional with your breaks
Like most of us, you’re probably scrolling through Twitter, Insta, or Tik Tok whenever you have downtime. Instead, opt for a proper pause that allows you to regroup and refresh (a break to play Wordle is allowed). Go for a walk around the block, have a healthy snack, listen to a podcast, or read a book. Slowing down to notice your surroundings will help you feel connected to the present.

Set boundaries
 Since communication interruptions are a common culprit of time confetti, setting boundaries can limit their intrusion. For instance, you could resolve to check email only at set moments each day. If you just checked your inbox at 9 a.m., noon, and 4 p.m., imagine how much time you would save.

Nir Eyal, Stanford MBA and author of [url=https://www.nirandfar.com/indistractable/]Indistractible[/url], has a simple solution for anyone struggling to avoid the siren’s call of app notifications, especially those from group chats. Instead of responding as messages come through, [url=https://theblacklight.co/2020/04/09/fight-distractions-stretch-attention-span/]schedule a block of time[/url] to catch up on the conversation.

[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/dimitri-karastelev-ynJaWgrwSlM-unsplash-1500x1000.jpg[/img]

Likewise, you can create white space in your calendar each week for deep thinking or focused work. Make sure to stick to it, and that other people also respect that sacred time commitment. It’s okay not to be available 24/7.

Or…just put away your phone
Studies show that the mere presence of a phone nearby distracts us, something known as the [url=https://www.dataquest.io/blog/phone-proximity-effect/]phone proximity effect[/url]. If you want to ensure that your leisure time remains interruption-free, get as far away from your phone as possible. You can find heaps of inspiration in Tiffany Shlain’s weekly [url=https://theblacklight.co/2020/06/25/tech-shabbat/]tech Shabbat[/url]. She says going completely unplugged for one day a week is like hitting the reset button for your mind, body, and heart.

“We all have the power to overcome the time traps we have fallen victim to,” Whillans says. By becoming more conscious about potential time confetti, we can increase our happiness and enjoy those leisure moments in ways that genuinely recharge us.

Huzzah! You made it to the end of the post!
This primer on time confetti appeared initially on [url=https://theblacklight.co/newsletter/]the Blacklight[/url], our weekly newsletter for professionals. At the Blacklight, we [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/blacklight-career-hacks-life-inspo/]aim to illuminate[/url] 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, [url=https://theblacklight.co/]sign up[/url] today!

The post [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/beware-of-time-confetti/]Beware of Time Confetti[/url] appeared first on [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com]Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting[/url].
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B-Schooled Podcast Episode #104: The Importance of Extracurriculars an [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-Schooled Podcast Episode #104: The Importance of Extracurriculars and Community Service


What should you do if you’re light on extracurriculars, volunteer work, and community service? Is it worth it to try and beef up this aspect of your MBA candidacy when there are only a few months before Round 1 deadlines? This episode—which we originally aired in May 2020—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 #104 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. Also, 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!

And before we leave you today, we want to share an excerpt from an email that B-Schooled’s host Erika received last week. It’s always so gratifying to hear how our work makes an impact on MBA applicants, even those with whom we don’t work directly.  Take a look.

“I’m reaching out to say THANK YOU for your amazing podcast. I started the process of applying to an MBA program more than a year ago—during a pandemic, of course—full of doubt and a million questions. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the funds to book a consulting session with your team. But I am happy to tell you the podcast alone gave me so many valuable and useful tips and tools, and for that, I am extremely grateful.
Two days ago, I got an invitation for an interview for my #1 program at the school of my dreams. First thing that came to my mind was: “It was the podcast.” I wish more people listened to this since even before starting the application process. You are an awesome team and made a huge difference throughout my process. Thank you again for having such amazing, rich, and resourceful content in the podcast. Keep the good work up!”
The post B-Schooled Podcast Episode #104: The Importance of Extracurriculars and Community Service appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Beware of Time Confetti [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Beware of Time Confetti
[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/joshua-coleman-tRGKjUH6xwg-unsplash-1500x1000.jpg[/img]

[b]“FRESH IDEAS FROM THE BLACKLIGHT”[/b]
SBC’s Weekly Newsletter for Professionals
Today we’re bringing you a PSA about a pervasive problem plaguing us all. More than ever before, we’re suffering from the ill effects of [b]time confetti[/b] on our hard-earned moments of leisure. While it sounds like a party, author [url=https://www.brigidschulte.com/]Brigid Schulte[/url], who coined the term, described time confetti as trying to do “Everything. All at once. All the time.”

It also happens when the blocks of free time we need to recharge get interrupted by a relentless influx of notifications. We’ve witnessed the creep of time confetti since the beginning of the smartphone era. But the pandemic has intensified the crisis as divisions between work and home life become blurred.

“We adopt mobile technologies to gain autonomy over when and how long we work,” says [url=https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facId=943704]Ashley Whillans[/url], a behavioral scientist and assistant professor of negotiations at Harvard Business School. “Yet, ironically, we end up working all the time.” Whillans’ latest book is called [url=https://www.awhillans.com/new-book-ndash-time-smart.html]Time Smart[/url], and she’s on a mission to help us become aware of when time confetti happens so we can get better at avoiding it.

[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3754675-1500x1000.jpg[/img]

Observe Time Confetti in Action
Here is how Whillans illustrates the concept of time confetti. Imagine that you have one hour to relax each day. Yet during that window, you receive four email notifications, a handful of text or Slack alerts, and one calendar alarm. Individually, these interruptions may not require a lengthy response. But they do snatch away your attention for several minutes when added up. And since they likely came scattered throughout those 60 minutes, Whillans points out that your “hour” to recharge has now become several smaller chunks that are only five or six minutes long.

Each bit alone seems not very bad. Collectively, though, all that confetti adds up to something more pernicious than you might expect. —Ashley Whillans

At the end of the hour, you can’t help but feel cheated out of a proper mental break. “This situation taxes us cognitively,” Whillans explains in [url=https://behavioralscientist.org/time-confetti-and-the-broken-promise-of-leisure/]this piece[/url] for Behavioral Scientist. Plus, it “fragments our leisure time in a way that makes it hard to use this time for something that will relieve stress or make us happy.”

[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/pexels-cottonbro-4684372-1500x1000.jpg[/img]

Take Back Control of Your Free Time
When our time “off” is fractured into several unenjoyable little bits, we feel stressed out and time-poor. If you’re ready to stop time confetti from eroding your free time, try these next steps.

Become intentional with your breaks
Like most of us, you’re probably scrolling through Twitter, Insta, or Tik Tok whenever you have downtime. Instead, opt for a proper pause that allows you to regroup and refresh (a break to play Wordle is allowed). Go for a walk around the block, have a healthy snack, listen to a podcast, or read a book. Slowing down to notice your surroundings will help you feel connected to the present.

Set boundaries
 Since communication interruptions are a common culprit of time confetti, setting boundaries can limit their intrusion. For instance, you could resolve to check email only at set moments each day. If you just checked your inbox at 9 a.m., noon, and 4 p.m., imagine how much time you would save.

Nir Eyal, Stanford MBA and author of [url=https://www.nirandfar.com/indistractable/]Indistractible[/url], has a simple solution for anyone struggling to avoid the siren’s call of app notifications, especially those from group chats. Instead of responding as messages come through, [url=https://theblacklight.co/2020/04/09/fight-distractions-stretch-attention-span/]schedule a block of time[/url] to catch up on the conversation.

[img]https://www.stacyblackman.com/wp-content/uploads/dimitri-karastelev-ynJaWgrwSlM-unsplash-1500x1000.jpg[/img]

Likewise, you can create white space in your calendar each week for deep thinking or focused work. Make sure to stick to it, and that other people also respect that sacred time commitment. It’s okay not to be available 24/7.

Or…just put away your phone
Studies show that the mere presence of a phone nearby distracts us, something known as the [url=https://www.dataquest.io/blog/phone-proximity-effect/]phone proximity effect[/url]. If you want to ensure that your leisure time remains interruption-free, get as far away from your phone as possible. You can find heaps of inspiration in Tiffany Shlain’s weekly [url=https://theblacklight.co/2020/06/25/tech-shabbat/]tech Shabbat[/url]. She says going completely unplugged for one day a week is like hitting the reset button for your mind, body, and heart.

“We all have the power to overcome the time traps we have fallen victim to,” Whillans says. By becoming more conscious about potential time confetti, we can increase our happiness and enjoy those leisure moments in ways that genuinely recharge us.

Huzzah! You made it to the end of the post!
This primer on time confetti appeared initially on [url=https://theblacklight.co/newsletter/]the Blacklight[/url], our weekly newsletter for professionals. At the Blacklight, we [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/blacklight-career-hacks-life-inspo/]aim to illuminate[/url] 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, [url=https://theblacklight.co/]sign up[/url] today!

The post [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com/blog/beware-of-time-confetti/]Beware of Time Confetti[/url] appeared first on [url=https://www.stacyblackman.com]Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting[/url].
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-Schooled Podcast Episode #104: The Importance of Extracurriculars and Community Service


What should you do if you’re light on extracurriculars, volunteer work, and community service? Is it worth it to try and beef up this aspect of your MBA candidacy when there are only a few months before Round 1 deadlines? This episode—which we originally aired in May 2020—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 #104 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. Also, 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!

And before we leave you today, we want to share an excerpt from an email that B-Schooled’s host Erika received last week. It’s always so gratifying to hear how our work makes an impact on MBA applicants, even those with whom we don’t work directly.  Take a look.

“I’m reaching out to say THANK YOU for your amazing podcast. I started the process of applying to an MBA program more than a year ago—during a pandemic, of course—full of doubt and a million questions. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the funds to book a consulting session with your team. But I am happy to tell you the podcast alone gave me so many valuable and useful tips and tools, and for that, I am extremely grateful.
Two days ago, I got an invitation for an interview for my #1 program at the school of my dreams. First thing that came to my mind was: “It was the podcast.” I wish more people listened to this since even before starting the application process. You are an awesome team and made a huge difference throughout my process. Thank you again for having such amazing, rich, and resourceful content in the podcast. Keep the good work up!”
The post B-Schooled Podcast Episode #104: The Importance of Extracurriculars and Community Service appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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B-Schooled Podcast Episode #104: The Importance of Extracurriculars an [#permalink]
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