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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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Oxford Saïd Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines, Essay Questions [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Oxford Saïd Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines, Essay Questions

University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School has announced the application deadlines and essay questions for the MBA class entering in Fall 2016.

Stage 1

Application due: September 11, 2015

Decision released: October 16, 2015

Stage 2

Application due: October 30, 2015

Decision released: December 11, 2015

Stage 3

Application due: January 8, 2016

Decision released: March 4, 2016

Stage 4

Application due: March 18, 2016

Decision released: April 29, 2016

Stage 5

Application due: May 6, 2016

Decision released: June 10, 2016

Stage 6

Application due: June 10, 2016

Decision released: July 8, 2016

Applicants should note that you can apply in any of these six application stages. However, you are advised to apply as early as possible. If your college choice and college accommodation is important to you, Oxford Saïd recommends that you apply in the early stages (1-3).

Essay Questions
  • How do you fit with Oxford Saïd’s mission? (Maximum 500 words)
  • Is there anything not covered in the application form which you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you? (Maximum 250 words)
If you are applying under the 1+1 scheme you also need to submit the following essay:

  •  Explain why you see this as particularly beneficial for you and how it fits with your careers and personal development aims (Maximum 250 words)
Re-applicants will need to complete the essays mentioned above and another essay on the topic:

  • What improvements have you made in your candidacy since you last applied to the Oxford MBA? (Maximum 250 words)
When reviewing your essays the Admissions Committee will be looking for evidence of the following: Good communication skills, leadership potential, analytical skills, fit within the Oxford MBA community, among other characteristics.

For more information, please visit the Oxford MBA admissions website.

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Essay Advice from the Texas MBA Program [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Essay Advice from the Texas MBA Program

The Texas MBA Insider blog at UT McCombs School of Business recently posted tips for applicants wondering what is the best way to approach this year’s updated MBA essay prompts. Although the advice is specific to the questions asked at McCombs, we feel that these suggestions will work for you no matter where you’re applying.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of things the Texas MBA program suggests you think about before starting on your application essays:

  • First impressions are important in person and are equally important in an admissions application.
  • What makes you interesting and unique are both your personal and professional interests and attributes. Give a rounded mix, so that AdCom better understands who you are in a more complete sense.
  • Convey your passion, excitement, personality, and experience, while also addressing how that experience relates to your MBA and career goals.
  • Meditate on “how do I love McCombs, let me count the ways,” and write a list of your top reasons why McCombs is total MBA perfection.
  • Clearly connect how McCombs will help you achieve your career objectives and personal goals.  Create a 5 and 10 year plan for yourself, then see what classes, organizations, and experiential opportunities specifically relate to this career plan.
  • In what ways will you contribute?  How will you give back while you are there? How can you leverage the program offerings and combine it with your skill set to propel the entire program forward.
  • In any submission, just be yourself have fun with it.
  • And last but not least, don’t reuse essays from other schools (the McCombs’s admission team says they can totally tell)!
Remember, avoid any attempt to manufacture a memorable impression. Simply by allowing your individual personality to shine through, you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicant pool. Good luck!

You may also be interested in:
UT McCombs 2015-2016 MBA Application Essays

UT McCombs 2015-2016 Application Deadlines

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Which MBA Essays Should You Work on First? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Which MBA Essays Should You Work on First?
While not all Class of 2018 MBA applications have been posted yet, several programs have listed their essay requirements online so that applicants can get going on their drafts. But how should you pick which school to start with?

Some people prefer to start with the essay set that’s due first—which is totally fine—but that might not be the best strategy for other b-school hopefuls. It might simply come down to what you feel most motivated to work on right now, because we all know that if you’re dreading something, you’ll find reasons to keep putting it off.

Since you have two or three months before the majority of Round 1 deadlines, another tactic is to start with the school you want to get into the most. You will inevitably end up circling back and revising those essays as the due date nears, but it may help lower your stress level to know that you’re giving yourself the absolute most time possible to work on your dream school.

Another option is to review the essays for all of the schools you’re interested in and then pick the most extensive set to begin drafting. That way, you may be able to leverage some content—such as your short- and long-term career goals—for your remaining applications.

Or you could take the exact opposite approach: start with the school whose essays seem the least daunting. It’ll be that much easier for the words and thoughts to start flowing if you already have ideas about what to write. This process is about creating momentum to carry yourself through the coming weeks, and getting one school crossed off your list sooner rather than later can be a huge motivator.

So if a voice in the back of your head is telling you to start with School X, listen to that voice and get going!

Think of it this way:



***

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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Berkeley Haas Fall 2016 Application Deadlines [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Berkeley Haas Fall 2016 Application Deadlines

The Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley has posted the MBA application deadlines for the 2015-2016 admissions season.

Round 1
Application due: October 1, 2015

Decision released: December 17, 2015

Round 2
Application due: January 7, 2016

Decision released: March 24, 2016

Round 3
Application due: March 31, 2016

Decision released: May 12, 2016

For more information, please visit the Berkeley MBA admissions website.

You may also be interested in:
Berkeley Haas MBA Essay Tips

UC Berkeley Haas to Study Crowdfunding

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3 Ways to Get a Head Start When Building Your B-School Network [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 3 Ways to Get a Head Start When Building Your B-School Network
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
With the availability of the Internet and social media, it’s possible to get a head start on developing your business school network as early as the application phase.

That network can help you research schools, decide where to apply and support you throughout your candidacy. As most incoming MBA students know, the network you cultivate during business school is likely the most valuable part of the experience. In addition to making those two years a whole lot of fun, these relationships will become a lasting set of connections that have the potential to change the course of your professional life forever.

Here are three ways to build your business school network before you even set foot on campus.

1. Be social media savvy: Business schools want to expand their follower base in order to share school news, application deadlines and admissions events with prospective students. Follow your target MBA programs on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and through school-sponsored student blogs, such as the first-rate blog Booth Experience blog from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Use these online vehicles to learn about the school and to personally connect. Friend people who can be your peers – it’s an easy way to stay in touch once you’re admitted and can take all of this social networking one step further. Don’t attempt to friend any of the admissions folks on Facebook, but do feel free to follow them on Twitter, engage by asking thoughtful questions about the admissions process and learn all you can from them.

Another way to get on the admissions team’s radar is by keeping them apprised of your progress with a tweet. For example, you could write something like: “Submitted my Round 1 application to @MichiganRoss? ?today. Super excited for a chance to participate in the team-based interview.”

If you don’t consider social media to be another way to strengthen your candidacy, you may be missing out on a great opportunity that other MBA applicants will most certainly take advantage of.

2. Ask to be introduced to current students who share your interests: Visit campus and go out of your way to meet specific students in person whenever possible. If you’re interested in finance, ask someone to introduce you to the head of the finance club. Find out who is running the women’s association if you’re a female candidate targeting that school.

Call the admissions office and ask to be connected to a student who is doing something you want to do, such as pursuing your dream entrepreneurial goals, focusing on a mix of statistics and management? or concentrating on green business practices?. Admissions should be able to hook you up with like-minded individuals who can help you understand how the school can serve your goals.

Once you’ve made contact, these are great people to stay loosely in touch with as you make up your final list of schools. Sometimes, you can even name drop a bit in your essays? to show you have really done personal research and gotten to know the program and its student body.

Now is also a great time to reach out to alumni and current students that you already know. Reinvest in those relationships and talk to them about their experiences and how an MBA degree has enhanced their careers.

3. Work MBA admissions events to your advantage: Go to as many business school admissions events as you possibly can. This is a great way to decide if a certain program is legitimately the right place for you by hearing students and alums speak, and by sizing up the way a school markets itself.

As a ?bonus, attending an event shows you are interested and have done your homework. It makes a school feel loved. Everyone likes to feel loved, even admissions committee members.

While it can be hard to stand out at these events swarming with people hoping to make a good impression, sometimes you will have that meaningful conversation that can make a world of difference. Business schools often recruit local alumni to attend these events and help sell their program to prospective students, and you may encounter people working in the same industry you hope to after earning an MBA degree.

Try to find two or three people who match up with your experience and goals, and learn how their business school experience transformed them personally or professionally. If you establish a rapport and the person is willing to continue speaking with you outside of the event, ask for an informational interview over coffee or even email to learn more about how he or she successfully transitioned to their current career.

It truly is the people, not the brochure bullet points, that bring a school to life, so the more person-to-person contact you have the more informed you will be when it comes time to apply – and when you finally set foot on campus.

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Tuesday Tips: INSEAD MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: INSEAD MBA Essay Tips

INSEAD, “the business school of the world” is a dynamic, diverse and highly international MBA option. INSEAD was recently ranked the #1 most diverse MBA program by Business Insider. Along with the basic MBA questions most other schools ask, INSEAD is looking for significant exploration of your career goals and background. Along with career aspirations and leadership experience, an international focus is important to INSEAD.

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

JOB DESCRIPTION ESSAYS

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

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

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

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

This is essentially a walk-through of your resume using the essay format to allow you to provide a unifying thread through the narrative. INSEAD is seeking to understand your career trajectory and how you have grown and progressed through your career. Think about the choices you have made in your career, and how your past experiences have combined to provide you with your current skill set. If you have a fairly straightforward career path you can take the opportunity to comment on some of the learnings from each position.

The second part of the question also needs to be answered. Think about the next step at your job, and where you might land if you did not leave to pursue an MBA. While this is a straightforward question, you may need to demonstrate that you can’t get where you want to go from your pre-MBA career role and that you will need an MBA to achieve your goals.

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

If you are not employed at the moment, you will want to answer this question to show how you are utilizing your time without full time employment. Ideally you are currently involved in an activity that is going to further your career or personal goals at this time. The best answer is one that shows you are self-motivated and do not need paid work to continue developing yourself.

For example, perhaps you are volunteering in a non-profit that is related to your career goals. Maybe you are working with a friend on a start-up. Or you are consulting and building contacts in your industry. If you are out of work only briefly, it’s also perfectly reasonable to be pursuing travel or other activities that develop your international awareness and perspective. However, make sure that your activities can tie back to your long-term goals or other key aspects of your application strategy.

ESSAYS

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

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

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

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

This essay is an opportunity to showcase one of your most important achievements. Impressive achievements that stand on their own are great, but you will want to pay equal attention to explaining why these accomplishments are valuable to you. If you concisely explain the accomplishment and how you were able to bring it to fruition, you will have room to provide the context for your personal pride in the accomplishment. If you don’t have an achievement that you think is incredibly impressive on its face, consider an example that demonstrates the activities you value. Remember, not everyone has sold a company or won an Olympic medal prior to business school!

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

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

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

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

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

When you describe the experience and judge it to be either positive or negative it will be important to provide some individual context. Every applicant from INSEAD is coming from a unique background and from many different countries. Your perception of positive or negative cultural diversity will be a view into how you interact with the world.

For example, you could view the lack of diversity in a workplace or school environment as a significant negative, or perhaps you had an experience of being the only “diverse” person in a work or personal situation. On the positive side perhaps you learned more about others through a new cultural experience or through team building with a group of people different from yourself. Where you are coming from will be the deciding factor in terms of what experiences are ultimately positive or negative.

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

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



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

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

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

This essay is 300 words you can use for anything you would like to showcase and that you were unable to work into the rest of your application. Because INSEAD’s questions are quite thorough you may have covered all aspects of your candidacy and personal qualities in the other five essay questions, in which case you can feel comfortable skipping this question (it IS optional). If you did not have a place for an interesting hobby, new aspect of your background to describe, or key accomplishment, it may be appropriate to use this space to tell that story.

It is far better to fully explain any issues in your application than to leave the admissions committee to guess what happened. If you have any challenging aspects to your candidacy like a low GPA or a failing grade in college, this is the correct place to address those concerns. Explain your issue clearly and focus most of the essay on the correction for the issue.

For example, if you had a disciplinary issue in college, spend most of the essay demonstrating that you learned from the experience and have been an ideal citizen ever since rather than focusing on the negative. Avoid blaming anyone else for your issue, and relentlessly show why this one incident is in your past and will stay there.

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Tuesday Tips: Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips

Duke Fuqua’s website tells applicants to “Be a leader who demonstrates competence, character, and purpose—a thinker and a doer who can maneuver the complexities of interdependent issues.” With the right application strategy you can use this set of essays to demonstrate you are the kind of leader the admissions committee is looking for.

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

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

REQUIRED SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS

Instructions: Answer all 3 of the following questions. For each short answer question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).

1. What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?

2. What are your long-term goals?

3. Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?

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

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

For example, perhaps you are focused on becoming a marketing executive at a CPG company. If you don’t find the suitable position after Duke, maybe you would consider marketing for a retailer as your alternate career path because marketing is still the core function you are interested in. Alternatively, you may have two disparate interests and want to consider both of them. Perhaps your Plan A is to join a consulting firm after graduation, but if you don’t receive a spot among your top choices you would think about being in management for a start up as another possible path. Think about your range of interests and go from there.

Because you have limited space, you’ll have to boil your plans down in a clear statement of what you plan to do, but ideally any plans are supported by the information provided in your resume, recommendations, and other essays.

FIRST REQUIRED ESSAY: 25 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF

Instructions: Answer the following question — present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.

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

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

This essay is entirely open ended and you can cover topics spanning your personal background, work experiences, values or extracurriculars. If you have a particularly interesting story in any of those areas, this is the place to tell that story. Whatever areas you choose to highlight, make sure you are following the admissions committee’s advice to share what makes you a dynamic, multi-dimensional person.

Coming up with 25 random things to list in this essay may seem daunting at first. To jumpstart your creative process you may want to brainstorm with friends and family about what is most interesting and memorable about you. Or keep a notebook with you to record thoughts as you go about work and personal activities.

When you have decided what the 25 random things about you are you’ll likely be wondering how to set up the list. There’s a few possible ways to structure the list: chronologically, chunking the list into themes, or even alphabetically. Structuring the list to make it easy to read and follow will be appreciated, but resist the urge to package the list too perfectly. Remember that the primary purpose of this essay/list is to show Duke your multi-faceted life and interests.

SECOND REQUIRED ESSAY (CHOOSE 1 OF 2)

Instructions: Choose only 1 of the following 2 essay questions to answer. Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length, and should reflect your knowledge of the Fuqua program and experience, and the types of activities and leadership you would engage in as a Fuqua student.

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

Option 1: Why Duke: When asked by your family, friends, and colleagues why you want to go to Duke, what do you tell them? Share the reasons that are most meaningful to you.

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

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

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

Option 2: Team Fuqua Principles: The Team Fuqua community is as unique as the individuals who comprise it. Underlying our individuality are a number of shared ideas and principles that we live out in our own ways. Our students have identified and defined 6 “Team Fuqua Principles” that we feel are the guiding philosophies that make our community special. At the end of your 2 years at Fuqua, if you were to receive an award for exemplifying one of the 6 Principles listed below, which one would it be and why? Your response should reflect your knowledge of Fuqua and the Daytime MBA program and experience, and the types of activities and leadership you would engage in as a Fuqua student.

1. Authentic Engagement: We care and we take action. We each make a difference to Team Fuqua by being ourselves and engaging in and supporting activities about which we are passionate.

2. Supportive Ambition: We support each other to achieve great things, because your success is my success. The success of each individual member of Team Fuqua makes the whole of Team Fuqua better.

3. Collective Diversity: We embrace all of our classmates because our individuality is better and stronger together.

4. Impactful Stewardship: We are leaders who focus on solutions to improve our communities both now and in the future. We aren’t satisfied with just maintaining the status quo.

5. Loyal Community: We are a family who looks out for each other. Team Fuqua supports you when you need it the most.

6. Uncompromising Integrity: We internalize and live the honor code in the classroom and beyond. We conduct ourselves with integrity within Fuqua, within Duke, and within all communities of which we are a part.

This option for the “Why Duke” essay requires as much introspection as the previous option, but more explicitly asks for research into the community and the aspects you identify with most. In some ways this a more structured question to answer and it may be a reasonable place to start whether you choose to answer this option or the previous option.

Choosing one of the six principles certainly doesn’t mean the other five are not relevant. While you will want to choose the one you think resonates most with your personality and values, it will enhance your application to touch upon the others that are particularly meaningful to you.

As in the prior option you can use this essay to also communicate a bit about your career goals at Duke, particularly if you focus on Supportive Ambition or Impactful Stewardship and factors of how the community will impact your future career and how you plan to give back to others or what kind of leader you will be. However, the main focus should be your community involvement and how you plan to improve the experience of others at Duke both in and outside the classroom.

Optional Essay

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

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

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

Limit your response to two pages.

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

When approaching any concerns about your background in the optional essay it’s important to focus on recent performance, whether academic or professional, and what such performance demonstrates about your ability. Your goal is to remove questions from your application and to address in a factual manner any information the admissions committee needs to know to fairly evaluate your application. The essay should convey, in a positive manner, that you know there could be questions about your background but you have thoroughly improved in any areas necessary.

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3 Ways to Get a Head Start When Building Your B-School Network [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 3 Ways to Get a Head Start When Building Your B-School Network
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
With the availability of the Internet and social media, it’s possible to get a head start on developing your business school network as early as the application phase.

That network can help you research schools, decide where to apply and support you throughout your candidacy. As most incoming MBA students know, the network you cultivate during business school is likely the most valuable part of the experience. In addition to making those two years a whole lot of fun, these relationships will become a lasting set of connections that have the potential to change the course of your professional life forever.

Here are three ways to build your business school network before you even set foot on campus.

1. Be social media savvy: Business schools want to expand their follower base in order to share school news, application deadlines and admissions events with prospective students. Follow your target MBA programs on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and through school-sponsored student blogs, such as the first-rate blog Booth Experience blog from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Use these online vehicles to learn about the school and to personally connect. Friend people who can be your peers – it’s an easy way to stay in touch once you’re admitted and can take all of this social networking one step further. Don’t attempt to friend any of the admissions folks on Facebook, but do feel free to follow them on Twitter, engage by asking thoughtful questions about the admissions process and learn all you can from them.

Another way to get on the admissions team’s radar is by keeping them apprised of your progress with a tweet. For example, you could write something like: “Submitted my Round 1 application to @MichiganRoss? ?today. Super excited for a chance to participate in the team-based interview.”

If you don’t consider social media to be another way to strengthen your candidacy, you may be missing out on a great opportunity that other MBA applicants will most certainly take advantage of.

2. Ask to be introduced to current students who share your interests: Visit campus and go out of your way to meet specific students in person whenever possible. If you’re interested in finance, ask someone to introduce you to the head of the finance club. Find out who is running the women’s association if you’re a female candidate targeting that school.

Call the admissions office and ask to be connected to a student who is doing something you want to do, such as pursuing your dream entrepreneurial goals, focusing on a mix of statistics and management? or concentrating on green business practices?. Admissions should be able to hook you up with like-minded individuals who can help you understand how the school can serve your goals.

Once you’ve made contact, these are great people to stay loosely in touch with as you make up your final list of schools. Sometimes, you can even name drop a bit in your essays? to show you have really done personal research and gotten to know the program and its student body.

Now is also a great time to reach out to alumni and current students that you already know. Reinvest in those relationships and talk to them about their experiences and how an MBA degree has enhanced their careers.

3. Work MBA admissions events to your advantage: Go to as many business school admissions events as you possibly can. This is a great way to decide if a certain program is legitimately the right place for you by hearing students and alums speak, and by sizing up the way a school markets itself.

As a ?bonus, attending an event shows you are interested and have done your homework. It makes a school feel loved. Everyone likes to feel loved, even admissions committee members.

While it can be hard to stand out at these events swarming with people hoping to make a good impression, sometimes you will have that meaningful conversation that can make a world of difference. Business schools often recruit local alumni to attend these events and help sell their program to prospective students, and you may encounter people working in the same industry you hope to after earning an MBA degree.

Try to find two or three people who match up with your experience and goals, and learn how their business school experience transformed them personally or professionally. If you establish a rapport and the person is willing to continue speaking with you outside of the event, ask for an informational interview over coffee or even email to learn more about how he or she successfully transitioned to their current career.

It truly is the people, not the brochure bullet points, that bring a school to life, so the more person-to-person contact you have the more informed you will be when it comes time to apply – and when you finally set foot on campus.

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IESE 2015-2016 MBA Application Deadlines [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: IESE 2015-2016 MBA Application Deadlines

IESE Business School has posted the following MBA application deadlines for the 2015-2016 admissions season.

Round 1

Application deadline: October 6, 2015

Decision notification: December 11, 2015

Round 2

Application deadline: January 5, 2016

Decision notification: March 11, 2016

Round 3

Application deadline: February 23, 2016

Decision notification: May 6, 2016

Round 4

Application deadline: April 26, 2016

Decision notification: July 17, 2016

IESE will be moving to a new application platform starting from July 20th, 2015. If you are interested in applying for the MBA starting in September 2016, please check back after this date.

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Kellogg School Posts Fall 2016 Deadlines, Essay Questions [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Kellogg School Posts Fall 2016 Deadlines, Essay Questions

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has announced the application deadlines and essay topics for the 2015-2016 admissions season.

Deadlines
Round 1

Application due: September 22, 2015

Decision released: December 16, 2015

Round 2

Application due: January 6, 2016

Decision released: March 23, 2016

Round 3

Application due: April 6, 2016

Decision released: May 11, 2016

Applications are due no later than 5 p.m. CT on the application deadline date. All applicants are considered equally; however, the earlier you apply, the greater chance of accommodating your interview preference. If you’re an international applicant, Kellogg encourages you to apply in Round 1 or 2 to allow time for your visa application.

MBA Essay Questions
  •  Leadership and teamwork are integral parts of the Kellogg experience. Describe a recent and meaningful time you were a leader. What challenges did you face, and what did you learn? (450 words)
  • Pursuing an MBA is a catalyst for personal and professional growth. How have you grown in the past? How do you intend to grow at Kellogg? (450 words)
Certain applicants will respond to additional questions:

  • Dual-degree applicants: For applicants to the MMM or JD-MBA dual degree programs, please explain why that program is right for you. (250 words)
  • Re-applicants: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)
All applicants have the opportunity to provide explanations or clarification in Additional Information:

  • If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)
After submitting a completed application, each applicant will be asked to complete two Video Essay Questions. One will be about the candidate’s interest in Kellogg and the other will be a “getting to know you” type of question.

Please look over the instructions on the Kellogg MBA admissions website for detailed information on how to practice for this format.

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Chicago Booth Debuts Bold New MBA Essay Format [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Chicago Booth Debuts Bold New MBA Essay Format

The Chicago Booth School of Business is breaking ground with its Fall 2016 MBA essay prompt, which asks applicants to choose one of 16 photos depicting various aspects of Booth student life, and to write “How it resonates with your own viewpoint on why the Booth community is the right fit for you.”

Within the variety of images, you’ll see team-building exercises, adventure treks, classroom shots, cultural events, commencement celebration, and even a captivating image of architecture at Chicago Booth.

In the latest Booth Insider blog post, Kurt Ahlm, Associate Dean of Student Recruitment and Admissions, explains that the admissions team wants to share with applicants more complete picture of what the Booth community is all about.

This new format, Ahlm writes, was conceived “In the spirit of diverse perspectives and challenging the status quo—even our own status quo,” and the team is excited about prompting applicants to think in a different way.

In the instructions, applicants are urged to select whatever format is right for them—a traditional essay, a slide presentation, or any format that best captures your response. There is no set size limit to this response, though candidates should use good judgement in how best to allocate the space.

The Fall 2016 application is now live on the website, and we’ll be bringing you tips on how to approach this exciting new essay format very soon. Until then, good luck and have fun!

 

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Chicago Booth Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Chicago Booth Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines

The Chicago Booth School of Business has announced the following MBA application deadlines for the 2015-2016 admissions season.

Round 1
Application due: September 17, 2015

Decision released: December 10, 2015

Round 2
Application due: January 5, 2016

Decision released: March 24, 2016

Round 3
Application due: April 5, 2016

Decision released: May 19, 2016

Your application must be submitted by 5 p.m. (CST/Chicago time) on the day of the deadline in order to be considered for a particular application round. The Fall 2016 application is now live; please refer to the Chicago Booth admissions website for additional information.

You may also be interested in:

Chicago Booth Debuts Bold New MBA Essay Format

 

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Georgetown MBA’s Fall 2016 Essay Topics [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Georgetown MBA’s Fall 2016 Essay Topics

Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business has recently revamped its admissions website, but the changes don’t extend to the MBA essays within the 2015-2016 application. Once again, the Georgetown MBA essays are:

  • Essay One: We would like to learn more about you. Please answer the following essay question in 750 words or less: “Why you?”
  • Optional Essay One: If you are not currently employed full-time, use this essay to provide information about your current activities. (250 words or fewer)
  • Optional Essay Two: Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included. (500 words or fewer)
  • Re-Applicant Essay: How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally. (500 words or fewer)
The MBA admissions team urges applicants to tell their own unique story, and says when responding to the only required essay, be authentic and take time to reflect on your goals and past experiences. Craft a response that explains how these experiences led you to pursue an MBA.

For more information, please visit the Georgetown MBA admissions website.

You may also be interested in:
Georgetown MBA Program 2015-2016 Application Deadlines

Georgetown McDonough’s New Global Real Estate Center

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HEC Paris 2015-2016 MBA Essay Questions [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HEC Paris 2015-2016 MBA Essay Questions

We recently shared the September 2016 application deadlines to HEC Paris, and the following are the five required and one optional MBA essay questions found within the online application:

Essay One: Why are you applying to the HEC MBA Program now? What is the professional objective that will guide your career choice after your MBA, and how will the HEC MBA contribute to the achievement of this objective? (500 words)

Essay Two: What do you consider your most significant life achievement? (250 words)

Essay Three: Leadership and ethics are inevitably intertwined in the business world. Describe a situation in which you have dealt with these issues and how they have influenced you. (250 words)

Essay Four: Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be? (250 words)

Essay Five: Please choose from one of the following essays (250 words):

a) What monument or site would you advise a first-time visitor to your country or city to discover, and why?

b) Certain books, movies or plays have had an international success that you believe to be undeserved. Choose an example and analyse it.

c) What figure do you most admire and why? You may choose from any field (arts, literature, politics, business, etc).

Optional Essay: Is there any additional information you would like to share with us? (900 words)

For more information, please visit the HEC Paris MBA admissionswebsite.

You may also be interested in:
HEC Paris to Launch Open Online Courses

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Prove You’re MBA Material, Even if You’re Not a Quant Jock [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Prove You’re MBA Material, Even if You’re Not a Quant Jock
Many business school applicants worry that they don’t have a strong enough quantitative background to be accepted into a top program. If your entire career has been spent in marketing, for example, how can you convince an admissions committee that you’ll be able to handle core classes like Finance and Accounting?

The good news is that business schools aren’t looking to put together a graduating class made up of only bankers and accountants. They are well aware that a private equity analyst can learn a lot from a brand manager, and vice versa. So rest assured that AdComs are looking for qualified candidates from all industries and functions in order to make up a diverse classroom.

That being said, AdComs do not want to admit someone who gives them reason to believe they may struggle with an intense MBA curriculum. Thankfully, even if your day-to-day responsibilities don’t include building financial models or computing figures, there are still several other ways an AdCom member can assess your analytical skills.

We’d suggest asking your recommenders to highlight any analytical work you’ve done—they might even be willing to review your career to date and help you remember quantitative aspects of past projects you may have overlooked. Along those same lines, you should consider rewriting your resume so that quantifiable results of your work are included wherever possible.

AdComs will also be paying attention to your undergraduate grades (specifically courses like Statistics or Calculus) and your quantitative GMAT score. Clearly there’s nothing you can do about your college grades at this point, but you can (and should) take the GMAT a few times if you don’t do well initially. Invest a lot of time (we’re talking 100+ hours) in preparing and studying, as your score can go a long way in proving that you can handle the toughest MBA courses.

Remember:



 

 

 

 

 

 

***

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UM Ross School Receives $60M Gift for Entrepreneurship Program [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UM Ross School Receives $60M Gift for Entrepreneurship Program
The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has received a pledge of $60 million from the Zell Family Foundation to further fund entrepreneurial programs at the Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.



Sam Zell Photo By Peter Ross

According to a statement released Monday announcing the news, the funds will provide endowed support to the institute for continued delivery and development of entrepreneurship programs for students and alumni. This includes $10 million dedicated to a new fund that will invest in new student business ventures, Ross dean Alison Davis-Blake says.

UM’s Ross School of Business is a pioneer in entrepreneurial education, introducing the nation’s first course on entrepreneurship in 1927, and the first student-led venture fund, The Wolverine Venture Fund, in 1997. Two years later, the Zell Lurie Institute was established as one of the country’s first full programs dedicated to entrepreneurial education.

“Our goal is to accelerate the learning curve and the opportunities for budding entrepreneurs, as well as to build a powerful alumni network,” says Sam Zell, a University of Michigan alumnus and chairman of Equity Group Investments. “Entrepreneurs have always been a primary driver of growth for this country. I believe that fostering entrepreneurial education is an investment in the future.”

Sam and Helen Zell both have been strong supporters of their alma mater. Under their leadership, the Zell Family Foundation has provided financial support to University of Michigan of more than $150 million.

For more information about this gift, please click here.

You may also be interested in:
Michigan Ross Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

Michigan Ross Dean to Step Down in 2016

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Re: Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog [#permalink]
In addition to (or instead of) hiring a consulting expert, you should take advantage of free resources that are available for prospective students.

For example, pymetrics provides a free career assessment test that reveals your cognitive and social traits. This is an excellent source of ideas for your weaknesses essays and information to use at interviews.

https://bit.ly/1JxEviS

Poets & Quants also has great guides. Their recent blog post "How the Admissions Game is Changing" is very helpful

https://poetsandquants.com/2015/07/11/ho ... -changing/
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Re: Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog [#permalink]
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