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4 Factors to Consider About European MBA Programs [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 4 Factors to Consider About European MBA Programs
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
As business becomes more global, future MBA applicants may ask themselves if they should consider heading abroad for business school. In many cases, the answer will be yes.

The best business schools attract international students and faculty of the highest caliber, and in terms of rankings, elite European programs perform as well as many top programs in the U.S.

According to the latest top MBA salary and job trends report, international study experience is sought by 67 percent of MBA employers, and recruiters “most significantly agree that candidates with international experience outperform those without.”

There are four factors you should weigh to determine if a European business school is a better fit to help you reach your career goals.

1. Global networking optionsIf you want to build a global network in a multicultural environment, then apply to schools that can help you fulfill those goals.

While MBA programs at Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business have sterling reputations worldwide, just 17 percent of 2013 HBS grads and 13 percent of 2014 Stanford MBA grads found work abroad after graduation. If you know you want to work in Europe, you’d be better off choosing a local school where you can network directly with employers.

2. Greater classroom diversity: The top programs in Europe tend to be much more internationally oriented, with 96 percent of the class coming from outside the country at some schools. Think about how that culturally diverse mix enriches class discussions, as well as creates networking opportunities that span the globe.

There is one caveat to the diversity of top European programs: They typically enroll fewer women compared with U.S. business schools. For example, IMD, a business school in Switzerland, is 96 percent international with a 24 percent female representation. INSEAD, in France, is 96 percent international but women make up 36 percent of the student body.

[Know the four questions to ask yourself before applying to b-school.]

3. Lower average GMAT scores: Test scores are one of the key data points in the MBA admissions process, and in Europe you’ll often find GMAT scores trending lower than in the U.S., making them slightly less competitive. This is likely due to the fact that many students attending European schools are not native English speakers, so the admissions committees allow applicants a bit more wiggle room with their scores.

At the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the average GMAT score was 723 for the class of 2014, 721 at New York University Stern School of Business and 728 at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. However, at similarly ranked schools in Europe the averages were much more attainable: 700 at London Business School, 685 at HEC Paris and 670 at IE Business School.

[Don't make one of these surprising application mistakes of prospective MBAs.]

4. More established students: Students at European business schools also tend to have more years of work experience under their belts than those attending U.S. schools, which could come as a relief to applicants worried they skew too “mature” for a seat at the most competitive programs.

Another draw: Most of the programs are one year in length, saving both time and money for older candidates with families who don’t want to be out of the workforce too long. The shorter time frame doesn’t mean a skimp on learning, however. One-year European MBA programs will have a heavier workload in order to maintain the quality and integrity of the program.

If your professional goal is to live and work abroad, pursuing an MBA in your desired location is arguably the best introduction to business life in that country. A cultural immersion experience of this kind is not without its challenges, but most participants would agree studying abroad is not just financially rewarding, but personally fulfilling as well.

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Overcome 3 MBA Application Challenges Facing Military Veterans [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Overcome 3 MBA Application Challenges Facing Military Veterans
In honor of Veterans Day, we are re-posting a story from earlier this year with advice on transitioning from the military to business school.

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
When it comes to some of the key qualities elite business school admissions officers are looking for in MBA applicants – demonstrated leadership and management skills, an ability to motivate and work well in a team and international and cultural awareness – military veterans typically display them in spades.



Benjamin Faw, HBS MBA ’14

Coming from the armed forces rather than a civilian career path prior to business school can give rise to certain difficulties when drafting an application, however. Let’s take a look at some common areas in the application where veterans face challenges and find out how to mitigate them.

1. Difficulty explaining experiences in civilian terms: Top MBA programs welcome military applicants and offer seats to veterans each year. So while it’s logical to assume the admissions committee is very familiar with the perspective of applicants with a military background, your application essays, resume and interviews need to make sense to a civilian reader.

“Language and terms from the military are often hard to translate into civilian terms, making it hard to communicate what you accomplished and why it matters,” says Ben Faw, an Army combat veteran from West Point who received his MBA from Harvard Business School this spring. “With limited experience in telling their stories to the civilian world, sometimes a veteran will have trouble clearly and succinctly explaining their own personal story.”

To counteract that, military veteran applicants should enlist trusted advisers outside of the military to proofread essays and help translate any military jargon in the MBA resume into plain English. Ask yourself if what you were writing would make sense to a civilian with no military experience.

Weaving stories from the military into your MBA essays is expected and encouraged, particularly where they illustrate leadership accomplishments in a high stress environment, or how you persevered in the face of setbacks. But your essays should also highlight experiences outside of the armed forces, either during college or related to your extracurricular interests.

Veteran applicants often worry about presenting a clear, concise career goal post-MBA, especially if they have little experience in business. This is not as critical as you might think, since many MBA students change industries entirely as they explore the myriad possibilities offered at business school. Begin by clearly articulating why you’re leaving the military, and why an MBA is necessary to achieve that goal.

[Follow these steps to develop a personal brand as an MBA hopeful.]

2. Trouble handling recommenders and interviews: When trying to decide whom to approach for a letter of recommendation, think about people who have encouraged your development as an individual and leader, and, as you prepare to leave the service, ask if they would provide a supportive reference.

I suggest all applicants create a recommender package, which contains instructions on the process, a reminder list of your strengths with on-the-job examples as well as a growth area you’re working on, and a summary of your career goals that the recommender can use as a reference.

While military applicants may feel uncomfortable approaching a senior officer with this level of coaching, leaving matters to fate could result in a lackluster recommendation, especially if the officer doesn’t have a lot of experience writing letters of recommendation. In most cases, your recommenders will appreciate your assistance and thoroughness, and will produce a better recommendation on your behalf.

If you’ve passed that first important hurdle and are invited to interview, congratulations!

Interviewers will usually be very interested in learning about your military experiences, so capitalize on that enthusiasm. Organize your thoughts by jotting down all of your really cool stories. Then, for each one, write a brief summary of what you did, how it made a difference and what you learned from it. Practice mock interviews with family and friends until you feel at ease discussing your military experience in a way everyone will understand.

And remember, it’s okay to talk about your successes in the first person rather than recounting everything as a team victory. This is how you differentiate yourself and reinforce your personal brand.

3. Not knowing how to maximize your resources: The single best resource for applicants coming from the armed forces is the MBA veterans club of the schools you’re considering. Those who have gone before you and succeeded are almost always willing to go above and beyond to share their advice on what has worked for them.

From providing essay and resume tips to offering an authentic view of the veteran experience on campus, these groups are your go-to resource for insight into the school and guidance for your application.

Many schools waive the application fee for U.S. military members and veterans who have served on active duty, and the federal agency Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, known as DANTES, will reimburse the GMAT or GRE General fee for eligible military personnel. Also, pre-MBA candidates can take advantage of boot camps and paid fellowships through MBA Veterans during the summer before their first term.

An MBA is a great next step for transitioning veterans no matter what branch of service they come from. When asked what advice he would offer future applicants, Faw says veterans should know, “There is something special about you, your experience in the military and what you want to do next. Make sure your application reflects those unique aspects that make you who you are. Authenticity is awesome.”

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What is a Good GRE Score? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What is a Good GRE Score?
Are you heading to business school and thinking about taking the GRE? Our friends at Magoosh have created a nifty infographic to help answer the million dollar question: what is a good GRE score?


The fact is, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Depending on the programs you’re applying to, a “good score” could take on various amounts. The infographic is organized by grad school programs, so you can quickly scroll through to find the average test scores necessary to get into any engineering, physical sciences, business, and more, grad programs.

So take a look at the Magoosh infographic and learn to answer the loaded “what’s a good GRE score?” question with ease!

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Plan Your Time Wisely in Round 2 [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Plan Your Time Wisely in Round 2
By the end of this week, we’ll be halfway through November already—can you believe it? What’s even harder to believe is that Round 2 deadlines will start to hit in less than two months. And since end-of-year wrap-ups at work—not to mention the holidays—will consume a ton of your time in the coming weeks, those deadlines will be here in the blink of an eye. That’s why getting application materials finalized before early January requires a laser-like focus.

You need to ask yourself the following questions before you get started:

  • How many hours per week can I dedicate to applications before deadlines arrive?
  • Which schools on my list have the highest priority—and why?
  • What’s more important: increasing my odds of getting in somewhere, or knowing that I at least gave my best shot to the top programs I’m interested in, even if I am not accepted?
  • Am I prepared to wait until next year to apply, or is it “now or never”?
If you want to go back to school next year no matter what, but don’t have enough spare time to pull together quality MBA applications in about eight or nine weeks, something’s gotta give.

Make sure you’re casting a wide net with the programs you’re targeting. Do some research on acceptance rates and average class demographics; try to think positively, but still realistically, about your odds and select your schools accordingly.

If you’re just not going to be able to pull yourself away from career, extracurricular and family obligations in the near future, focus on only the schools you’re most interested in rather than making a half-baked effort across several applications.

Then buckle down, start politely declining as many non-essential commitments as you can, and get to work. Competition is fierce in Round 2, and it’s a tough time of the year to find extra hours. Use that knowledge to fuel your commitment to your MBA applications and put together the best materials you can.

Remember:



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What Burning Man and B-School Have in Common [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What Burning Man and B-School Have in Common
Though it’s November and fall is in full swing, I’m devoting today’s post to Burning Man, the late-summer ritual that draws over 60,000 participants to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada every year.

On the surface, it would seem that there is very little overlap between the cultures of Burning Man and business school. The former’s participants are largely stereotyped as hippies and artists running off to escape the constraints of society for a week, while MBAs are seen as leaders of the types of industry and societal structures that Burning Man participants are trying to flee.

However, a closer look reveals that there is more in common between the two than one would think. In fact, aspiring MBAs can learn valuable lessons from the Burning Man community…

Please click over to the Wharton Blog Network to read the rest of this article. I promise you’ll see Burning Man and b-school in a whole new light!

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MBA@UNC Honors Pioneering Women in Business [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA@UNC Honors Pioneering Women in Business
Female entrepreneurs make up more than 30% of all enterprises in the United States, and the MBA@UNC blog celebrates that fact with its recently published list of 33 female founders forging their own path.

Each of the women featured has an MBA degree, and has experienced first-hand how going to business school transformed their career by giving them the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful. I’m honored to share a place on this list among such bold and innovative women who have made their mark across a variety of industries, from health to technology, media to e-commerce.

Going through an MBA program helped me to think outside of the box. It completely opened my mind with regards to what I believed I was able to accomplish. I gained the broad range of skills needed to work on strategy, marketing, management and accounting issues, and I developed a network that I have tapped into and relied on every step of the way.

Most importantly, the MBA brought about a mind-shift which allowed me to come up with an idea and believe that I could be the one to make it happen…and then actually go for it and make it a reality.

I invite you to learn more about these inspiring entrepreneurs by following the link above.

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Duke Fuqua Tops Businessweek’s Biennial MBA Ranking [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Duke Fuqua Tops Businessweek’s Biennial MBA Ranking
Bloomberg Businessweek has released its 14th biennial ranking of 112 full-time MBA programs globally to determine which business schools offer the strongest education and best prepare MBAs for their careers.

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business claims the number one spot among U.S. programs. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business—which had been number one on the past four rankings—fell to number three.

The University of Pennsylvania is number two, Stanford University is number four, and Columbia University is number five. Harvard Business School is out of the top five for the first time since the Businessweek ranking began in 1988.

Internationally, Western University’s Ivey Business School in Ontario, Canada is number one, IE Business School in Madrid, Spain is number two, and ESMT in Berlin, Germany is number three. London Business School, Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2012 international winner, falls to number four.

Below are Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2014 Top 20 U.S. Full-Time MBA Programs:

2014 Rank

2012 Rank

U.S. Business School

1

6

Duke University (Fuqua)

2

3

University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

3

1

University of Chicago (Booth)

4

4

Stanford University

5

13

Columbia University

6

21

Yale University

7

5

Northwestern University (Kellogg)

8

2

Harvard University

9

8

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (Ross)

10

11

Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

11

18

University of California at Los Angeles (Anderson)

12

17

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)

13

7

Cornell University (Johnson)

14

9

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

15

12

Dartmouth College (Tuck)

16

15

Indiana University (Kelley)

17

24

University of Maryland (Smith)

18

22

Emory University (Goizueta)

19

14

University of California at Berkeley (Haas)

20

10

University of Virginia (Darden)

The closest Fuqua has come to the top spot on Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking of MBA programs was its fifth place finish in 2000—it ranked sixth in 2012. “Fuqua’s number one ranking this year is thanks in large part to employers’ esteem for its graduates,” says Jonathan Rodkin, research and rankings coordinator, Bloomberg Businessweek. “Fuqua ranked second overall among employers, rising from number seven in 2012, with recruiters noting that its students are exceptionally good at working collaboratively.”

Eighty-five U.S. and 27 international MBA programs were ranked on three measures: 1. Employer Assessment (45 percent): how recruiters at companies that hire MBAs judge each school’s graduates, measured by a survey administered by Bloomberg Businessweek. 2. Student Experience (45 percent of the ranking): how graduating MBA students rated their education, measured by a second survey. 3. Intellectual Capital (10 percent): the expertise of its faculty, determined by a tally of faculty research in esteemed journals. The full methodology can be found at https://buswk.co/2014MBAMethodology.

“Don’t let rankings alone make your school decision for you,” says Francesca Levy, business education editor, Bloomberg Businessweek. “Our rankings, school profiles and editorial analyses offer a thorough picture of the current landscape of full-time MBA programs, but deciding where to go to school is a personal decision. A school that is right for one student may be wrong for another.”

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Separate GMAT Rankings for U.S. and Asian Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Separate GMAT Rankings for U.S. and Asian Applicants
Segregation in education sounds like a relic of the distant past, but according to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, Asian and Indian applicants to U.S. MBA programs trounce American applicants so badly on the quantitative portion of the GMAT that business schools will now sort candidates based on the country and region of the world they hail from.

Over the last ten years, the score gap between Asia-Pacific and U.S. applicants in the math portion has only widened, with the former group scoring an average of 45—seven points above the worldwide average of 38, and 12 points higher than the American applicant’s average of 33.

The disparity in scores is likely rooted in the problems with math instruction in this country, but the situation isn’t helped by the vast difference in test preparation. According to GMAC, students in Asia spend an average of 151 hours in test prep, while U.S. students average just 64 hours.

Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC’s chief executive officer, told the WSJ schools have complained that the test’s global rankings were becoming more difficult to interpret, and asked for new ways to assess both U.S. and foreign test-takers separately. In response, GMAC has introduced a tool that allows schools to apply filters to benchmark scores by country of citizenship, gender, and college GPA.

Sara Neher, assistant dean of MBA admissions at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, was among those who reached out to GMAC for help. “I need to be able to show my scholarship committee, which includes faculty, that this person is in the top 5% of test takers in his region,” even though that individual might not rank highly against test takers world-wide, she told the WSJ.

In the future, business schools may increasingly need to deny seats to the top scorers if they want to stay true to their mission of creating a dynamic learning environment through a cohort with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

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First Cohort of Harvard Business School’s HBX CORe Now Complete [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: First Cohort of Harvard Business School’s HBX CORe Now Complete
Harvard Business School‘s new digital learning initiative, HBX, held a closing ceremony earlier this month to formally mark the completion of its first offering, HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness).

CORe is an interactive online program specially designed by HBS faculty members and was first offered this summer to undergraduates and recent graduates interested in learning the fundamentals of business through a suite of three courses in Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting.

More than 100 of the nearly 500 participants who finished the nine-week CORe program and exam came to the Harvard Business School campus to take part in various activities and a ceremony, as well as the distribution of a credential recognizing successful completion of the program.

“We are delighted to honor these and all the other students who completed these courses in the basics of business,” said Dean Nitin Nohria.

“From beginning to end, they were engaged in the kind of rigorous, interactive learning that has long been the hallmark of Harvard Business School’s pedagogy. We believe this program also marks an important milestone in the development of online education.”

The CORe program was offered for a fee to a targeted group of students, in contrast to free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, and was based on an innovative technological platform specifically designed to offer an interactive experience that mirrors many of the elements in the HBS case teaching approach.

“The fact that 85 percent of those who began the HBX CORe program finished it is testament to the success of this new model of online education,” Dean Nohria observed.

In offering the CORe program for the first time, HBX facilitated the process by limiting eligibility to students enrolled in Massachusetts colleges and universities and to the children of Harvard University faculty, staff, and alumni.

“Our intent behind CORe was to create a program that would allow students from very different backgrounds – humanities, social sciences, and STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] majors – to gain basic fluency in essential business concepts and decision making,” said Professor Bharat Anand, faculty chair of HBX.

“Through the efforts of our faculty and the HBX staff members, we have been able to create an immersive online experience that prompted a high level of participant engagement, including rich peer-to-peer interactions that greatly enhanced the learning experience,” Anand continued. “We’ve been delighted to see that the participant response to CORe has been overwhelmingly positive.As one student put it, ‘This has been the best proxy for any classroom experience I have seen so far’.”

The next offering of the CORe program will begin on Feb. 25, 2015. Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Future cohort start dates will be announced shortly.

***
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USC Marshall Introduces MS in Marketing Degree [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: USC Marshall Introduces MS in Marketing Degree

The USC Marshall School of Business has announced the launch of a new Master of Science in Marketing  that will help develop and enhance students’ innovative marketing skills. This degree is designed for managers and those with a few years of work experience who are eager to earn an advanced degree in a one-year, full-time program, or a two-year, part-time option.

The program establishes a strong foundation in business fundamentals, including marketing management, marketing strategy and business analytics, or market demand and sales forecasting.

Students will then build on that foundation with other marketing courses, including advertising and promotion management, branding strategy, consumer behavior, marketing and consumer research, marketing channels, new product development and pricing strategies.

Expanding into other business disciplines, students can choose from electives ranging from data warehousing, business intelligence and data mining, to technology commercialization.

Marketing crosses all disciplinary boundaries, and the modern marketer must have polished technical skill and deep topical knowledge, says James G. Ellis, dean of the Marshall School of Business.

The MS in Marketing curriculum takes full advantage of the breadth of offerings at USC, with cross-disciplinary electives including case studies in digital entertainment, visual storytelling, the television industry, digital technologies and the entertainment industry, foundations in health education and promotion, public health policy and politics and health care ventures.

“We want our marketing students to be able to tailor their study to their particular interests, whether that is in digital entertainment, health care or public policy,” says  Diane Badame, academic director of the full-time MBA Program and professor of clinical marketing, who is spearheading the new degree program.

“Students in our marketing program will gain artistry and analytics that will position them for success in this rapidly evolving discipline,” Badame adds.

As a culminating experience, MS in Marketing students will collaborate to craft an innovative marketing strategy for prospective employers.

The marketing program is now accepting applications for summer 2015 from working professionals with bachelor or advanced degrees and at least two years of experience.

For additional information about the program please go to: https://www.marshall.usc.edu/msmkt

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Make the Most of Each Application Component [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Make the Most of Each Application Component
As you pull together your MBA application materials, try to think of each component as an opportunity to tell the AdCom something new about yourself.

What we mean is, don’t simply copy and paste bullet points from your resume into your data forms. Offer up new details when you supply responses for fields such as “role responsibilities,” “key accomplishments” or “biggest challenge.”

Similarly, if you focused on your volunteer work in one of your essays, highlight a different extracurricular activity in your data forms or resume. And don’t have your recommenders tout the exact same “significant achievement” in their letters that you already covered elsewhere.

Certain aspects of your package, such as your GMAT/GRE score and your undergraduate GPA, are truly data points in the most literal sense of the word. But everything else should be viewed as complementary chapters of an interesting story—a story about you. After the AdCom is finished reviewing all of your materials, they should have an understanding of your personality, what you’ve achieved, what your goals are, and what you could offer their program.

Your test scores, transcripts and GPA will tell them something about your capacity to handle their curriculum. Your resume shows your career progression, increased responsibilities and demonstrated results. Depending on the school, some data forms offer a chance to add color to personal and professional achievements. Your recommendation letters can offer even more proof of your leadership potential. And your essays can give them a sense of your “voice,” as well as provide insight into what makes you tick or what you’re passionate about.

It’s a good thing that the AdCom will be judging you on your entire package, though, right? We’re all so much more than just our jobs, our grades, or our volunteer experience.

Think of it this way:



 

 

 

 

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Targeted Tips for Women MBA Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Targeted Tips for Women MBA Applicants
Are there specific tips and tactics just for women who are applying to business school? While it’s tempting to dismiss the existence of any gender differences in the application process or in student life, you don’t have to look back very far to see just how controversial the subject still is.

Harvard Business School celebrated 50 years of women at the school in January 2014, and the occasion drew massive attention for the unexpected apology issued by HBS dean Nitin Nohria to female students and professors past and present for any sexist or offensive behavior they experienced at the revered business school.

Given this reality, I happily shared some of the advice we offer female applicants at Stacy Blackman Consulting for MBA Channel’s recent article, Applying to business school: What’s the right approach for women?

Obviously, these tips won’t apply for every female applicant. But there are certain demographic stereotypes that persist, and being on the lookout for these red flags just makes good sense.

I have had several clients with recommenders who have told them that they received calls from the admissions committee to probe on certain points.  In particular: “is the applicant confident, will she speak up in class discussions, is she timid, etc…”  Almost all of these anecdotes have occurred with female clients.

In the application process, it is critical to make sure that they exude that comfort and confidence.  Essays, interviews and recommendations need to indicate a comfort level with speaking out, defending points of view, collaborating with all types of people.

An interview coach I worked with also had direction for women: don’t play with your hair, don’t fiddle with jewellery, don’t adjust your clothing – just focus on looking your interviewer straight in the eye and answering questions with complete focus and confidence.

Business schools have made significant efforts to increase female enrollment in recent years, and the numbers are much higher than when I was at Kellogg School of Management. Some male-dominated post-MBA career paths, such as finance, are more hungry for women as well.  So a woman targeting finance may have an advantage over one pursuing a role in brand management.  This is true in the MBA admissions process as well as in the job search.

If more women become interested in business school earlier in the pipeline, I think we’ll see the numbers continue to rise. Ultimately, better representation in the C-suite means more equality, which contributes to a stronger economy and ultimately a positive effect on society and the next generation of women.

You may also be interested in:
Gender or Social Gap: What’s the Real Issue at HBS?

Enrollment Flags for Women Pursuing the MBA

 

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Do’s and Don’ts of Convincing MBA Programs You’re a Good Fit [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Do’s and Don’ts of Convincing MBA Programs You’re a Good Fit
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
Focusing on fit is one of the most important elements of finding the right business school. This can seem like an abstract thing to determine at first glance. After all, many students assume they’d be just as happy at Harvard Business School as they would at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business or MIT Sloan School of Management.

This might be true, but these top business schools really aren’t one-size-fits-all.

Your job, then, is to find out what is unique about each program, determine what about the program will most benefit your career goals, and persuade the admissions committee to take a chance that you will be a vibrant addition to its community. Many schools ask a version of the essay question, “Why Us?” – so here are some do’s and don’ts for addressing that prompt either in your application essay, or later on during the admissions interview.

Don’t: Regurgitate the well-known characteristics of the program as a way of explaining your interest. I’ve read countless first drafts of essays that cite the “unmatched student body, world-class faculty, and committed alumni network” as the reasons the applicant has chosen a certain MBA program. The admissions committee knows what the program’s strengths are and doesn’t want to read essay after essay of its own marketing messages.

Do: Show what you’ve learned about the program, beyond what you’ve read in the brochures and website, that makes it stand out for you. Your first point of entry will often be by participating in information sessions online or in your area, but the best way to really get to know the school is by visiting the campus and sitting in on a class. There’s no replacement for spending time in that environment to soak up the energy and get an authentic feel for the student experience.

Other ways to obtain a deeper understanding of the program include contacting the student clubs you are interested in, becoming a regular reader of the MBA student blogs many programs have and speaking to alumni. The feeling you walk away with after having personal contact with students past and present will speak volumes about whether the choice is a good fit for you.

[Follow these exercises to help MBA applicants develop a personal brand.]

If you can you already see yourself learning alongside the students at the MBA program you’re considering, or if your coffee chat with an alum gave you a great impression about the strength of the alumni network, make sure you say so in your application.

Don’t: Make the common mistake of extolling the superiority of the program you’re targeting over all other schools. The admissions committee isn’t interested in declarations of eternal love and will likely suspect that you’re professing the same adoration for every school to which you’re applying.

Do: Focus on how your career goals, interests and educational needs are a good match for the program. Whether the school is known for its emphasis on the case method, experiential learning or lecture-based learning, explain why you too favor that format. Discuss which specific courses would help you develop some of the skills that are missing from your toolbox.

Applicants usually have a clear picture of where they want to work after graduation, so let the admissions committee know if you think the program’s geographic location is an ideal place to launch your post-MBA career.

If you love the fact that the program provides ample opportunities for working and studying abroad, explain how having that experience ties in to your plans. Also, if you discover there is a club on campus dedicated to one of your hobbies or passions, show how you would participate and contribute to that side of the student experience.

[Learn how to stand out in a competitive business school application pool.]

Don’t: Assume the admissions committee will immediately understand why you want to do an MBA based on your previous career experience.

Do: Explain in great detail why the degree is the next logical step in your career trajectory, and provide concrete examples of how a particular program will help you reach those goals. Perhaps the program is known for its strengths in an area you wish to specialize in, or offers an intriguing dual degree program.

If there’s a particular industry you want to break into, or a company you really want to work for, research placement stats through the career services office to find out if they recruit heavily at your target program. After all, the school wants to make sure they can help you find work after you graduate.

As you can see, there are many ways to determine a genuine interest in a program that goes far beyond the latest MBA rankings. Going to business school is an expensive yet rewarding experience, and arming yourself with as much information as possible will go a long way toward making an informed decision.

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New MOOC Partnership Between Coursera and ISB [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: New MOOC Partnership Between Coursera and ISB
Coursera, the US-based online education provider, and the Indian School of Business (ISB) signed a partnership agreement earlier this month to develop courses for Coursera’s 10-million-plus learners. A course on “A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment,” designed by Professor Raj Raghunathan, visiting professor at the ISB, will be the first to be offered in the series.

ISB will also be Coursera’s first Indian partner to produce and own content. India is Coursera’s largest user base outside the US with over 700,000 learners, and it’s a country with enormous unmet demand for higher education and skill development.

According to researchers, India currently has the capacity to serve 28 million undergraduate students — only about 20% of high school graduates — and faces challenges in adequately preparing graduates for jobs.

“With Coursera participating actively in the India education market, we believe we will be able to provide access to quality resources that will enable generations, now and in the future, to compete in a global economy,” says Dr. Vivek Goel, former Provost of the University of Toronto and Chief Academic Strategist at Coursera.

In recent years, ISB has introduced technology in different ways in its bouquet of programs. The school has a Technology Entrepreneurship Program for young engineers, a course on Business Analytics that combines online as well as classroom learning, and was the first amongst B-schools in the country to adopt a “flipped” classroom model of learning.  The two campuses at Hyderabad and Mohali are connected by smart classrooms and video conferencing making it function as a single entity seamlessly.

“ISB will enhance its footprint in the online education space globally through its association with Coursera,” says Professor Arun Pereira, Executive Director of the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Case Development at the ISB.

“Having introduced several technology based initiatives that have enhanced the learning experience of its students—including blended learning and smart classrooms—ISB will now leverage the expertise of its world class faculty to design and deliver cutting edge courses that are accessible to the world,” Pereira adds.

You may also be interested in:
Indian School of Business Prof on ‘Flipped’ MBA Classrooms

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3 Challenges Facing B-School Recruitment [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 3 Challenges Facing B-School Recruitment
Top MBA programs worldwide value diversity because the presence of distinctly different points of view usually leads to more enriching discussions in the classroom and beyond. However, there are challenges to creating a diversified cohort, as Diana Sloan, director of Graduate Marketing & Alumni Relations at the College of Business, Iowa State University, points out in a recent article for Graduate Management News.

In this excerpt, Sloan presents three key challenges business schools are facing, along with suggestions for beginning to address them.

    • Demographics of Business: Gender inequality in the business arena, starting with enrollment in business school, is the byproduct of barriers that have hampered the efforts of generations of women to join the workforce.(…) While a paradigm shift is necessary, business school recruiters can start by educating prospects about opportunities and resources available to them, and presenting a much needed update in expectations regarding gender roles and work-life balance.
    • Geographic Location: Some regions are very demographically homogeneous, making the recruitment of under-represented minorities much more complicated due to the sheer low volume of diverse ethnic groups residing in the region. And, while ideally it should not be a deciding factor for choosing a business school, weather does end up influencing decisions, especially when candidates are choosing between comparable alternatives, one located on a warm sunny coast and the other buried in winter weather for more than half the year.
    • Socioeconomic Factors: Typically, immigrant parents come to the United States seeking a better quality of life for their family, often with the ultimate goal of having their children become first-generation college graduates. (…)Knowing the struggles that their parents went through, these first and second generation Americans may be hesitant to burden the family with additional student loans and related costs to finance their education. In these specific cases, researching and providing clear information on partnerships and resources to aid in their success during and after business school may be the best course of action.
Many business school students express a desire for greater diversity when it comes to issues of gender and sexuality in the workplace, as well as extending the concept of diversity to include a broader socioeconomic range. Although there is no magic bullet to create the ideal, diverse learning setting, groups like The Consortium and Forté Foundation have partnered with schools and are making a concerted effort to reach out to women, the LGBT community, and applicants of color. It will be interesting to see how the landscape shifts over the next decade.

You may also be interested in:
2014 Best Business Schools for Hispanics

Targeted Tips for Women MBA Applicants

 

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Time to Thank Those Supporting Your MBA Dream [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Time to Thank Those Supporting Your MBA Dream
It’s Thanksgiving week in the United States, and on Thursday, millions of people will take a break to reflect on everything they have to be grateful for. It’s a good time for MBA hopefuls to do the same.

If you only applied to schools in Round 1, you’re getting close to learning the final results of your efforts. Before you do, you should make a point to circle back with everyone who helped you along the way. Sure, you’ll touch base with them again to let them know where you’re going to end up. But it’s nice to thank people now so it doesn’t seem like you’re only grateful for their help because you were accepted to a certain school.

Think back to when you first downloaded your applications and make a list of those who played a role in ensuring you felt confident once you hit “submit.” Your recommenders, your friends and family members who proofread your materials or gave you great advice, your co-workers who helped calm your nerves after everything was sent in—everyone who’s supported you. We’re sure they’d appreciate a quick note of thanks.

If you’re currently in the midst of interviewing, remember to shoot a short thank-you email or letter to your interviewers, too! Don’t be discouraged or worried if you don’t hear back, though; some schools have policies about interviewers responding to candidates before final decisions are out. But we know they’ll be impressed by the gesture nonetheless.

What if you’re working to hit Round 2 deadlines? It’s still appropriate to thank those who have been helping you so far—especially your recommenders, who may be taking time away from their families to work on your letters over the holidays.

Remember:



 

 

 

 

 

 

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Taking Your GMAT Score to the Next Level [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Taking Your GMAT Score to the Next Level
Guest post by Rich Cohen, Co-Founder, EMPOWERgmat
The process of putting together a study plan for tackling the GMAT can be a daunting one. First, there are a myriad of different resources. Second, it’s tough to predict how much time will be required. Third, there’s no way to know if your plan is actually going to help you succeed until you get deep into it (and realize that you may have made some ineffective choices along the way).

After putting together a reasonable plan and studying for some appreciable amount of time, the nightmare situation happens: you’re STUCK at a particular score level! Maybe it’s the 500s, maybe it’s the low-to-mid 600s, but you can’t seem to get past it. So now what?

The above situation is arguably the most common problem to strike GMAT test takers during their studies. Thankfully, the solution isn’t that hard to come by, but some serious adjustments must be made.

1) Acknowledge that what you’ve done so far has not gotten you to your goal. Continuing to approach the GMAT in the same way is NOT going to magically fix your problem. Investing in new materials and lessons, and putting in the necessary practice to change how you approach the GMAT, is what’s required.

2) The little areas that you “cheat” on (or skip altogether) during practice are costing you BIG when you take the GMAT. The “reality” of test day should not be ignored. For example, the GMAT requires you to face the Essay and IR sections, so you should include those sections when you take your practice CAT tests. Think about all of the little details that will occur on your test day and do your best to mimic them during practice.

3) YOU are likely causing your pacing problem. Maybe you keep rereading and rereading and rereading prompts. Maybe you don’t take enough notes. Maybe you’re trying to solve a problem the “long” way when faster, more efficient methods are available.

4) Mental acuity is tied to physical well-being. If you have trouble focusing or you lose your will at the end of the Verbal section (and think “I just want this test to be over”), then your problem might actually be physical.

The EMPOWERgmat Score Booster has become wildly successful in helping thousands of test takers to improve on their existing scores, and it’s currently free to try out at www.empowergmat.com. Studying for the GMAT is a BIG task, but it doesn’t have to be a hard one. With the right tools and the proper guidance, you can get “unstuck” in a hurry.

 

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Taking Your GMAT Score to the Next Level [#permalink]
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