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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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Texas MBA Gives Admissions Perspective on GMAT vs GRE [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Texas MBA Gives Admissions Perspective on GMAT vs GRE

A great many MBA programs now accept the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT as an entrance requirement, but applicants may still wonder whether business schools truly view both equally. If you find yourself on the fence about which exam to take, the recent post, Which Test is Best?, on the Texas MBA Insider blog at UT McCombs School of Business should be required reading.

Kimberly Jones, author of the article, makes a strong case for making the choice between the GMAT and GRE based on your career and degree goals,  as well as your more personal perception of both tests’ reputations.

For instance, consulting and investment banking companies use the GMAT score as a baseline qualifier for the recruiting process, Jones explains.

“If Consulting or I-Banking are in your sights, this means that the GMAT is the best choice because you could take it once and use your score for both your Admissions application as well as your career recruitment profile.”

However, there are many cases where applicants, particularly those targeting a dual degree, coming from a humanities background, or applying to both business school and other graduate programs, will benefit from going with the GRE instead.

For MBA candidates with career aspirations outside of banking and consulting, the choice may boil down to perception. As Jones points out, companies that hire MBAs are very familiar with the score scale of the GMAT but may need clarification regarding how GRE scores compare.

“MBA Admissions Officers are also new to the GRE setting,” Jones says. “However, many of us have worked with the test and have recruited amazing candidates to our programs since we started accepting it a few years ago and are more comfortable assessing verbal and quantitative skill sets based on those scores.”

As MBA admissions consultants, we generally advise clients to go for the GMAT exam. After all, the GMAT has long been considered the gold standard for the specific academic skills needed in graduate business school, and therefore the admissions committees’ level of familiarity with it compared to the GRE is still nowhere near equal.

If you are a great test-taker and it’s all the same to you, I would stick with GMAT for now. It’s more of a known entity and “tried and true” for the schools—no questions asked about why you chose it.

You may also be interested in:
Applicants Overwhelming Favor GMAT Over GRE, Kaplan Survey Reveals

HBS Admissions Director Talks GMAT/GRE Scores

GRE vs. GMAT, Which Test is Right for You?

 

 

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The Importance of Picking the Right Recommenders [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The Importance of Picking the Right Recommenders
Although most Round 1 applications aren’t due until the fall, it’s definitely not too early to start thinking about who’s going to support you as you pull together your materials. Your recommenders in particular will play a critical role in the process. So how do you ensure you ask the right people to write letters on your behalf?

The majority of programs require two recommendation letters and usually prefer one of those to be from a direct manager. However, almost all schools will waive that requirement if you think your position (or bonus) would be adversely affected by informing your employer of your intention to go back to school. If that’s the situation you’re in, simply note it in the “Additional Information” or “Optional Essay” space.

You also may be in a position where you don’t have just one direct manager. In that case you have an option of who to approach. In both this scenario and when considering who will write your second letter, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of asking the most appropriate people.

Adcomms greatly prefer to hear from managers and co-workers who know you well, both personally and professionally. They’re looking for more insight into what makes you tick, how you perform in groups, and what your potential is for the future. They are rarely impressed or swayed by a recommender’s title or alumni status—what they care about is whether or not you will be an asset to the program because of what you’ve achieved to date.

One of the biggest mistakes we see applicants make is asking their company’s CEO—who they barely know or may have never even met in person—to write their recommendation letter. If your recommender cannot go into specifics about your accomplishments or provide detailed anecdotes that highlight your positive personality traits, you’ve just missed a huge opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition.

We suggest taking some time to list out all of the people you could ask to write a letter of support for your MBA applications. Who are your biggest cheerleaders at work? Who would jump at the chance to help you get into your dream school? Who would feel like they, too, got in to Program X if you were accepted? Those are the people to focus in on, because they will go above and beyond to write a stellar—and most importantly, memorable—reference.

Remember:



 

 

 

 

 

***

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Focus on Career Progression, Results for a Successful MBA Resume [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Focus on Career Progression, Results for a Successful MBA Resume
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
While most business school applicants might readily accept the need to spend weeks or months on test prep and MBA essays, many wrongly assume they can simply tweak their current professional resumes and hit submit along with the rest of the required data forms.

In doing so, they have missed a tremendous opportunity to create a powerful first impression on both the admissions committee and, fingers crossed, their future MBA interviewer.

The MBA resume is quite different from a traditional business resume in that it should focus heavily on MBA skills and traits such as leadership, teamwork and international work experience. Admissions committee members often view the resume as one of the most important parts of an application, so think of it as a marketing and branding tool and make it shine while keeping it simple.

Imagine someone scanning an MBA application resume for the first time on the 30-second walk down the hall to the interview. That person should be able to get a clear picture of the candidate – and that quickly.

You do want to provide a snapshot of your functional skills, but the admissions committee will be more interested in the fact that you led a cross-functional team to develop a new version of your product than the fact that you coded in three computer languages to develop the new version.

To the extent possible, illustrate career progression through the resume. Highlight a promotion or show how skills were cultivated after switching to a new job.

For example, if you have worked for the same company for five years but were promoted twice, you should highlight all three job titles, with separate dates of employment and separate descriptions. The descriptions should reflect your increasing levels of responsibility.

Business schools in general today aren’t as strict as they used to be regarding years of work experience, and some programs regularly admit students right out of college.

Whether you have five years on the job or one, don’t go so far back as to list high school jobs on your resume – they are just not relevant anymore.? In some cases, even part-time college positions aren’t worthy of more than a mention, so focus on highlighting your most recent roles.

Admissions committees like to see results-oriented phrases in resumes, so for every bullet point, try to quantify results in dollar amounts or percentages whenever possible. It is much more powerful to write that you “created a marketing plan that resulted in a 30 percent increase in leads,” as opposed to noting that you simply “created a marketing plan.”

Business school applicants often find it helpful to frame their accomplishments using the STAR method, which stands for situation, task, action and result. For each employment position listed on your resume, think of a project, initiative or transaction where you made a meaningful contribution. Then describe the situation, your task, the actions you undertook and the results.

For example, one client who had worked as a summer associate at McKinsey & Co. noted on her resume that she “isolated regional sales performance weaknesses and designed a plan to recover $50 million in revenue.”

We see that the situation involved regional sales performance, the task was to isolate weaknesses and the action included designing a plan that resulted in recovering $50 million in revenue. The description was clear, brief and powerful.

?The last couple lines of the MBA resume can highlight various interests and skills such as computer proficiency, second languages spoken or a love of travel. This is also an opportunity for a personal touch by adding something fun that shows a bit of personality and can become an icebreaker during interviews.

My resume included that I collect Pez dispensers, and that was always the first thing that the interviewer touched on that warmed things up and made the exchange more conversational.

Finally, for applicants with a noticeable gap in employment history, the best place to address this is in the optional essay, ?not the resume. Candidates want to fully explain any anomalies to the admissions committee so that no one jumps to an incorrect conclusion, and there’s simply not enough space to do so in a one-page resume.

The MBA resume may only receive a few minutes of attention from the admissions committee and MBA interviewer, but applicants should do all they can to make this first impression as powerful, compelling? and concise as possible.

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Tuesday Tips: Chicago Booth Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Chicago Booth Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

Chicago Booth School of Business is consistently rated in the top echelon of MBA programs in the United States and is known for a strong intellectual community. This application is designed to evaluate candidates on their ability to handle the Chicago curriculum, contribute to the community, and grow in their careers. This year Chicago has asked an entirely new essay question, focused specifically on the Chicago Booth community and your fit within it.

Academic ability will largely be communicated through your GPA/GMAT, transcripts and other fixed data points, though intellectual curiosity can be demonstrated in the essays and the interview. Along with academics, Chicago will be looking for demonstrated leadership, team building skills and community involvement, as well as your fit with Chicago Booth and the perspective you will share with your classmates.

Consider how to work in leadership and work accomplishments into your application. Certainly you can use the essay to discuss both in the context of community, or you may be able to use your resume and certainly the interview.

Essay Prompt

Chicago Booth values individuality because of what we can learn from the diverse experiences and perspectives of others. This mutual respect creates an open-minded community that supports curiosity, inspires us to think more broadly, take risks, and challenge assumptions. At Booth, community is about collaborative thinking and tapping into each other’s different viewpoints to cultivate new ideas and realize breakthrough moments every day.

Using one of the photos below, tell us how it resonates with your own viewpoint on why the Booth community is the right fit for you.

Essay Guidelines

Choose the format that works for you. Feel free to submit a traditional essay, slide presentation or any format that you feel best captures your response. Please use the format you feel most comfortable with, the Admissions Committee has no preference.

Determine your own length. There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length. We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.

The new Chicago Booth essay question gives you a set of photos depicting a range of student activities at Booth – from the classroom to experiencing the city of Chicago – and asks you to choose one that illustrates why Chicago Booth is the right community for you.

Your first step is to do as much school research as possible on Chicago. Visit campus. Attend events. Speak to alumni. Read the admissions blog. Whatever you are capable of doing to experience the community for yourself before starting your application will be invaluable as you set pen to paper.

Chicago Booth’s open-ended essay format may be daunting. Whether you choose to write an essay or prepare a presentation, take a step back from the unique format and think about the question strategically. The format’s agnostic setup simply gives you the freedom to express who you are in words, images, graphics or some combination.

The best essays will be simple, evocative and expressive. Remember, content is far more important than visual drama of presentation. Stacy Blackman Consulting has significant experience coaching applicants through the Chicago creative essay. Contact us to learn more about our strategic approach.

As your one opportunity to showcase why Chicago Booth is the right place for you to pursue an MBA, consider the photo that resonates most specifically with you. If it’s a classroom photo, make sure you cover additional elements that may not be obvious at first like the interaction between students depicted, along with the professor and learning aspects.

Keep in mind what Chicago Booth represents in whatever option you choose. Booth is a school with a tradition of intellectual rigor, non-conformity, and innovation. When you introduce yourself to Chicago Booth you can share anything from any context, from work to home to extracurricular activities.

If you decide to write an essay response, you have enough space to tell a story that describes something new about yourself. If you decide to prepare a PowerPoint in response to this essay question, refine your story to its key elements. To keep a visual essay interesting and high-impact, consider how you will format. Can you use photos? Drawings? If you use words, keep them clear and focused. Take every point up a level, so you are communicating a vision rather than a thesis.

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CMU Tepper Fall 2016 MBA Essay Questions [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: CMU Tepper Fall 2016 MBA Essay Questions

Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business has updated the two required essay questions for the 2015-2016 MBA application season.

Essay 1    (Maximum 300 words)

Describe a defining moment in your life. How has it shaped you professionally?

Essay 2    (Maximum 300 words)  

Based on your research and interactions, describe how your strengths contribute to the Tepper School community. How will you benefit from being a member of the Tepper School MBA program?

Tepper School also offers an optional essay if there is additional information you wish to share about your candidacy. For more information, please visit the Tepper MBA admissions website.

You may also be interested in:
CMU Tepper School Fall 2016 Deadlines

CMU Tepper Appoints New Head of MBA Program

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How to Make a Positive Impression on HBS Admissions Team [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: How to Make a Positive Impression on HBS Admissions Team
Round one application deadlines are less than two months away at most top MBA programs, and that means many candidates are currently hustling to put together an application package that will make a powerful impression on the admissions committee at their dream school.


If Harvard Business School is on your shortlist, take a look at two new articles published by Business Insider that share my experiences with the interview questions asked by HBS, as well as the ten qualities Harvard looks for in applicants.

While everyone knows HBS is looking to admit the leaders of tomorrow, you may not realize that the program also places a high priority on candidates with self-awareness and a commitment to service.

For those fortunate to receive an invitation to interview at HBS, you’ll want to know the best ways to answer some of the questions about past experiences, present attributes, and future goals that will surely come your way.

Maturity, accomplishment, and leadership are highly valued qualities at Harvard Business School, so make sure you know yourself, know HBS, and know how to match the two to demonstrate your fit for the school.

You may also be interested in:
2015 Harvard Business School MBA Application Essay Tips

HBS Admissions Director Talks GMAT/GRE Scores

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London Business School 2015-2016 Application Deadlines [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: London Business School 2015-2016 Application Deadlines

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

Stage  1

Application deadline: September 25, 2015

Interview decision: October 21, 2015

Admission decision: December 2, 2015

Stage  2

Application deadline: January 5, 2016

Interview decision: February 3, 2016

Admission decision: March 23, 2016

Stage  3

Application deadline: February 25, 2016

Interview decision: March 30, 2016

Admission decision: May 11, 2016

Stage  4

Application deadline: April 21, 2016

Interview decision: May 18, 2016

Admission decision: June 22, 2016

All application deadlines are 17:00 GMT. All decisions are communicated via email and may go out at different times on the decision dates, often in the evening.

For more information, please visit the LBS admissions website.

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Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines at Cornell’s Johnson School [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines at Cornell’s Johnson School

The Johnson School of Management at Cornell University has posted the following MBA application deadlines for the 2015-2016 admissions season.

Round 1

Application deadline: October 1, 2015

Decision notification: December 15, 2015

Round 2

Application deadline: November 17, 2015

Decision notification: February 15, 2016

Round 3

Application deadline: January 15, 2016

Decision notification: March 15, 2016

Round 4*

Application deadline: March 17, 2016

Decision notification: April 15, 2016

*After Round 4, applications will be received and reviewed on a space available basis. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on the day of the deadline to be considered in that round.

You may also be interested in:
Cornell’s Johnson School Bolsters Admissions Team

New MBA Curriculum at Cornell’s Johnson School

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MBA Your Resume [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Your Resume
First, the (kinda) bad news: it’s unlikely you’ll be able to use the current version of your resume for your business school applications. In fact, you’re probably going to want to spend a significant amount of time on a complete resume overhaul. But the good news is that your resume is a very important part of your materials, and the extra work you put into revising it could be what makes the difference between a ding and an interview offer.

A resume gives you one whole page (and, in some special cases—mainly if you’re in your 30s or have military experience—two pages) to tell the AdCom why you’d be an asset to their program. From this document, they should be able to clearly understand what sort of work stories you’d be talking about in class, or what sorts of “lessons learned” you’ll be able to speak to from either your professional or community-service experiences.

We recommend:

    • Reworking your resume so that it functions more as a narrative about your career and outside interests (versus a dry list of responsibilities and achievements).
    • Getting rid of acronyms and industry jargon, and then rephrasing your accomplishments so that anyone could understand them.
    • Doing away with any bullet points (or sub-headlines) that only list general, vague or high-level responsibilities for a given role.
    • Deleting unnecessary company or casework/deal descriptions (which are especially popular on consultants’ and bankers’ resumes). You’ll be able to include this information on the school’s application, so no need to repeat it here.
    • Using the space you have to explain exactly what YOU did on a project, showcase specific achievements and results, and highlight your skill progression and increased responsibilities over time.
Since admissions committees and alumni interviewers are looking for people who others will enjoy being around both inside and outside of class, it’s also a great idea to include at least some brief mention of your interests and hobbies at the bottom of the document. A lot of times it’s this information that interviewers use to “break the ice” when they first meet you.

Here’s a little inspiration as you begin to revise your resume so that it will catch the AdCom’s attention:



***

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Tuesday Tips: Columbia Business School MBA Application Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Columbia Business School MBA Application Essay Tips

Columbia Business School is highly concerned about fit and your knowledge of the program. New York City is another aspect of the school that pervades its culture and defines some of the unique opportunities of the program. Thorough school research is crucial to your preparation for this application. Before you get started with this set of essays it will be helpful to brainstorm your career objectives, strengths and weaknesses, and to review the personal elements you will want to discuss.

Stumped by the Columbia essays? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help.

Short Answer Question:

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

This is a simple question, but may require you to condense your career goals into one clear career vision statement. Columbia presents several examples on their website, all of which have some unique aspect. Rather than a generic statement like: “Work in finance” the goal is to infuse some specificity. Something like: “Work in real estate finance within a private equity firm” tells the admissions committee far more about your interests and goals. Note that the limited character count is intended to get you to the point quickly and that all of the examples Columbia has provided are concise and lack any elaboration.

Essay 1:

Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (Maximum 500 words)

Remember that this essay has two purposes: demonstrate that you know why you are interested in Columbia, and showcase why you are an excellent fit for the program. Both goals should be kept in mind as you answer the question.

This question is entirely future focused and specifically asks you to get away from a recitation of your resume. Spend the majority of the space describing your career goals and what you envision you will learn and experience at Columbia to help you achieve your goals. As you talk about your future you may need to refer to your past career and personal experiences. As you consider what to say make sure you are citing only relevant examples from your career. Think about the experiences you can describe that were truly pivotal and can support your future goals.

For example, perhaps you want to be a general manager of a company or division, and right now you have been working primarily in marketing. You might spend your time at Columbia learning about finance and strategy, being part of consulting projects and interning at a start up to round out your experience and start on your general management path. Make sure your goals are both achievable and aspirational and that you have specifics about Columbia to support your assertion that it is the right place for you.

Essay 2:

Columbia Business School’s location enables us to bridge theory and practice in multiple ways: through Master Classes, internships, the New York Immersion Seminars, and, most importantly, through a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (Maximum 250 words)

As you decide how to approach this question make sure that your individual goals for learning and career are impacting how you answer. You should consider the industry you plan to enter, and either the key adjunct professors from that industry at Columbia or the access to major companies from that industry in New York City. Consider your personal interests and how you might pursue them in the diversity of such an international city, and also the ways that Columbia’s alumni network can provide opportunities within the metropolitan area.

A mix of personal and professional interests may be covered in this topic, and you may want to emphasize either one of those angles depending on the answers you present to the other core questions.

Essay 3:

CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (Maximum 250 words)

If you watch the linked video, you’ll see that CBS Matters is a part of the Columbia cluster experience that centers around a personal presentation. This essay is entirely about your life story and how you will be perceived by your peers at Columbia. If you did not cover anything personal in the prior two essays this is your opportunity to stand out from the pack of other applicants.

This essay is somewhat about what matters most to you, and what you would share if asked who you really are. Dig deep into your passions and background and find the aspects that resonate emotionally with you and seem to convey a truth about who you really are. If you are stumped by this essay prompt you may want to ask friends, family members or colleagues what they view as interesting and unique about you.

Once you have ideas about how to approach this question make sure that you are describing something about yourself that will be interesting both to your peers and to the admissions committee. Something that is a passion point for you and that demonstrates a bit more about your background and motivations will likely be interesting both your clustermates and the admissions committee.

Optional Essay:

An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.

If there are any areas of concern, this is the correct place to address them. Strike an upbeat tone here and avoid excuses. 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.

If you do not have a weakness to address here, it’s an ideal opportunity to provide any information that you were unable to work into the other three essays. If you have an unusual background, hobby or extracurricular experience, this may be an opportunity to showcase your unique profile.

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Paying for Your MBA with Fellowships, Scholarships [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Paying for Your MBA with Fellowships, Scholarships

Business school is an expensive investment, and it’s never too early to start figuring out how you will pay for it. An MBA must be seen as a long-term investment, and fortunately, schools are committed to working with students to find a solution to financing school through a combination of loans and scholarships.

As you create your plan to pay for business school, you should contact your prospective school’s financial aid office. You can also get advice through admissions events. Financial aid officers are an amazing resource. They’ve seen it all before, and they want to ensure qualified candidates can pay for a degree.

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

You may also need to submit a different application for each fellowship or scholarship. Don’t lose out because of a missed deadline. Look beyond your business school, too, to organizations like the Forte Foundation or Consortium for Graduate Study in Management that offer highly valuable scholarships for MBA students.

You may be considered for merit fellowships based on your academic credentials, accomplishments and experience that has already been communicated in your application. Some schools may also offer additional fellowships that you can apply for directly through the program.

Applying for the Money

There are many different application processes for financial aid, from demonstrating need to demonstrating merit. Organize the deadlines and submission guidelines to make sure you have a plan to complete the applications, and carefully follow the directions of each scholarship, fellowship or loan you are applying for.

If you are required to submit an essay, answer the question thoroughly and succinctly as you would any other MBA essay. Questions may vary, though this question is representative of the type of question you may receive:

Describe what you see as the value of fellowships/scholarships to students. Why should you receive one? What impact will it have on you and/or your Wharton experience? (500 words)

The value of fellowships/scholarships should be fairly straightforward, though you may emphasize either need or merit in your response, depending upon the direction you plan to take in the argument for your own application.

The need based direction may be difficult to prove without serious financial hardship. If you did have difficulties with finances throughout your life and would not be able to attend business school without such assistance, you may have a good argument. If not, you should pursue the merit-based direction.

Providing evidence for the need-based direction of the argument should be fairly straightforward. Describe your situation and why you would have difficulty paying for your MBA education. Avoid any complaining or blame, and instead focus on what you have been able to accomplish in your life with little resources and how you would be able to continue to accomplish as you benefit from greater resources.

If you are going with a merit-based argument you should outline your accomplishments, both academic and professional. Sell yourself as you would in a job interview, and provide solid evidence for your accomplishments as you did in your application essays.

The impact of financial assistance may allow you to pursue activities such as travel and leadership opportunities. In addition, your receipt of aid may benefit the people around you. If you have been involved in your community or with charity, you can certainly describe the impact you have made on the lives of others thus far and how that impact will be even greater with a business education.

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UCLA Anderson Reveals New Fall 2016 MBA Essay Question [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UCLA Anderson Reveals New Fall 2016 MBA Essay Question

The UCLA Anderson School of Management has updated the onerequired MBA essay question for the 2015-2016 admissions season. It asks:

We believe that the best results are achieved when you share success, think fearlessly and drive change. With this in mind, what are your goals at UCLA Anderson and in your short-term and long-term career? (750 words maximum)

According to admissions officer Craig Hubbell’s post on the MBA Insider Blog, “The best essays show that you understand our school’s culture and how to use it to optimize your future.”

When approaching this essay, applicants should think about their long-term goals and work backward to show how Anderson will help them reach those goals; brainstorm professional or personal events that demonstrate thinking fearlessly; and convince the admissions committee of their passion for UCLA Anderson.

The admissions officer shares several other tips for applicants as well, so if UCLA Anderson is on your short list of schools, take a look at his post and start thinking about how you’ll make a case for your candidacy. “Whatever your target may be, your essay is the platform to distinguish yourself with your passion, clarity, planning and eloquence,” Hubbell writes.

Below are the additional essay questions within the Fall 2016 application:

Optional Essay:

The following essay is optional. No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit an optional essay. Please note that UCLA Anderson only accepts written essays.

Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)

Re-Applicants – One Required Essay:

Reapplicants who applied for the class entering in fall 2014 or 2015 are required to complete the following essay:

Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (750 words maximum)

The UCLA Anderson MBA application will go live August 1st.

You may also be interested in:
UCLA Anderson 2015-2016 MBA Application Deadlines

UCLA Anderson Receives $100 Million Gift from Namesake’s Widow

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UCLA Anderson Requires 2 Recommendation Letters for Fall 2016 Applicat [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UCLA Anderson Requires 2 Recommendation Letters for Fall 2016 Application

The latest post on the MBA Insider’s Blog at UCLA Anderson School of Management reveals that the full-time MBA program will require applicants to submit two letters of recommendation for the class entering in Fall 2016.

It seems many applicants in previous years were submitting two letters anyway, so the program decided to make it official this season and will monitor how useful the extra recommendation will be to the admissions committee.

“The letters of recommendation are very helpful in providing a third party’s perspective on your leadership and management potential, readiness/fit for business school, interpersonal skills and teamwork abilities,” writes admissions officer Jessica Chung.

In addition to listing who you should and should not choose as a recommender, Chung also details what kind of information these champions for your b-school candidacy should share with the admissions team.

Finally, she stresses the importance of managing your recommenders and providing them with reminders of your strengths and past accomplishments to make the process just a little bit easier.

“It’s a small investment of time on your part,” Chung notes, “But your recommenders will absolutely appreciate your insight because it will make their job easier!”

We completely agree with the advice and suggestions shared by the admissions team at UCLA Anderson. As MBA admissions consultants, we’re always coaching clients on how to strategize and manage the MBA recommendation process, avoid choosing the wrong MBA recommenders, and decide whether they should juice up MBA recommendations with alumni and VIPS.

Letters of recommendation are one of the most influential components of your business school application, and you want yours to be as strong and compelling as possible.

You may also be interested in:

Recommendation Letters for MBA Applications

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Get to the Point in Your MBA Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Get to the Point in Your MBA Essays
Have you heard of the STAR interview technique? It’s when an interviewer asks you a behavioral question (which usually begins, “Tell me about a time when you…”) and you respond by laying out the Situation, the Task you were given, the Action you took, and then the Result you achieved. It’s an excellent method for MBA hopefuls to leverage in AdCom or alumni interviews.

But the STAR technique shouldn’t be thought of as only an interview-response strategy. We’ve found that it’s also a helpful way to organize essays, short-answer responses and even resume bullet points.

For example, let’s take an essay that asks you to describe your greatest professional achievement—in only 300 words. The STAR method helps you pare down all of the information you could possibly include. You’ll want to set up the Situation for your reader as succinctly and clearly as possible. Leave out industry jargon, acronyms, and “inside baseball” details that the AdCom is unlikely to care about. Remember, they want to learn about what YOU did—not the intricate complexities of your company or client’s issue.

Next, pinpoint exactly what Task you were responsible for. Sure, business schools are looking for team players, but if they’ve asked you to describe your most impressive accomplishment, they want to understand precisely what your marching orders were.

The Action section is where you should expand a bit more. This is your chance to shine by explaining exactly what you did, and ideally showing how you went above and beyond in your role. Then you can wrap up by revealing what Results you achieved. Keep in mind that both qualitative and quantitative outcomes are important to include if possible.

After you’ve got your S, T, A and R information covered in your essay, take a read through it again to ensure the emphasis is on the Actions you took, and then the Results you achieved. We know it’s hard to condense what may sometimes be a years-long project into only a few sentences at the beginning, but it’s better to keep the focus on why YOU will be a welcome addition to any MBA program.

Your final task is to ensure that you’re within the word count limit and that you’ve told the story of your achievement in a compelling, memorable way.

Remember:



 

 

 

 

 

***

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

UCLA Anderson is a small and close-knit school with particular focus on entrepreneurship, entertainment, real estate and other major industries in Southern California. While UCLA has a dominant position in the region it is also a nationally known program that will position you well in whatever career you pursue.

Anderson can be selective about the composition of each MBA class, therefore your fit with the values and principles of the school is of primary importance. When approaching this set of essays make sure you understand what Anderson will do for you and what you plan to bring to the community.

We have helped countless applicants achieve their UCLA Anderson dreams. Contact us to learn how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help you.

Required Essay

We believe that the best results are achieved when you share success, think fearlessly and drive change. With this in mind, what are your goals at UCLA Anderson and in your short-term and long-term career? (750 words maximum)

UCLA Anderson’s values are embodied by “share success, think fearlessly and drive change” and by demonstrating that you possess those qualities you will be demonstrating your fit with UCLA Anderson. Thorough school research will provide examples you can use to describe why these values and principles drive your goals while attending UCLA Anderson. Your career goals should be examined through the filter of Anderson’s values and how you plan to use those values in your post-Anderson life.

When structuring this essay consider telling one or two pivotal stories to illuminate who you are. UCLA is looking for personal expression in this essay, and to understand how you are different from other applicants. Consider the turning points or moments that triggered reflection for you. Have you experienced a significant personal setback? What is your family background? Have you lived outside your home country? When did you face a turning point or make a big decision about your career? What were some of your proudest accomplishments? What moments have called upon your need to collaborate, lead or innovate?

For the second part of the essay briefly explain what you plan to do immediately after graduation, and then what you want to accomplish over the long-term with your career. A career path that focuses on demonstrated passions and interests throughout your life is going to be most compelling as you write this essay and each section should bridge seamlessly into the next.

For the part of the essay focusing on UCLA Anderson’s part in your plans, UCLA specifically requests citing specific classes, professors and programs. To express a bit more on the personal side it will be helpful to include the social and extracurricular aspects that attract you to the small and close-knit experience at Anderson. Be specific as you discuss the clubs and conferences that are unique to the UCLA MBA.

Optional Essay

Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? (250 words maximum)

It is important to focus on explanations rather than excuses in this essay. Potential extenuating circumstances may be a very low GPA, academic probation or using a recommender other than your current supervisor. Clearly explain the situation, and if it is a situation from the past, explain why you have changed. Providing evidence that you will not repeat the actions in question will help to solidify your answer.

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3 Ways to Show Business Schools You’ll Make an Impact [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 3 Ways to Show Business Schools You’ll Make an Impact
 
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
Most candidates approach the MBA application process by putting their own needs first. Perhaps you have decided to pursue an MBA because you want to achieve something new, change careers or advance more than you would otherwise.

However, what can set you apart from many candidates is thinking about what you can add to the business schools you are targeting. While everyone benefits from a diverse alumni network, what specifically do you want to give and receive from your classmates?

Applicants should frame their essays and interviews with the goal of convincing the admissions committee that they will enhance the student experience once on campus and will continue to make a positive impact as an alumnus down the road. Here are three ways to accomplish this.

1. Show how your skills and interests will benefit the program: Business schools strive to assemble a cohort filled with impressive individuals who will use their unique characteristics to enrich the learning environment. This is the perfect opportunity to distinguish yourself from those who may have a similar educational or work profile.

It’s effective to start with what you bring to the table. Think about what your points of differentiation are from other MBA candidates. Perhaps you have a distinctive leadership style or knowledge you can share with the class. Share with the admissions committee how you will contribute to the organizations that already exist, or mention your ideas for creating new ones.

Consider how you can add knowledge to a classroom. Maybe you have contacts in your industry that can help other students obtain jobs. Think about whether you can you provide connections to interesting speakers or if you will bring special skills to a club or classroom.

Remember, if your answers can be easily replicated by other applicants, they will add little to your candidacy.

2. Connect your past and present experiences to the future: You should be aware of the major academic, extracurricular and social components of the MBA programs you apply to and think about how you will enhance the mix. Perhaps your professional experience will further a case discussion in your strategy class, or it may also help your classmates with a panel on the industry they are putting together as part of a professional club.

Maybe you want to start a club or a conference based on your specialized industry knowledge. Perhaps you aspire to help a professor with her research because of a special interest you have. Or, you might be planning to return to the school as an alumnus to be a panelist or mentor once you develop your individual professional pursuits.

Since fit is so important, this is also an opportunity to reveal your depth of knowledge of the school’s culture. To be most effective, you will want to be both specific and logical in what you choose to highlight, focusing on the activities that make the most sense in the overall context of your career and industry interests.

3. Make the case for why each program is the best place to achieve your goals: Whatever your own personal reasons for seeking an MBA may be, make sure you can point out specific aspects of the skill set required for your future career that will be augmented by attending that school.

The admissions committee wants to know why your particular aspirations will be uniquely satisfied by their program, so use the essays and interview to show you have done your research. You should know everything about the aspects of the program that most appeal to you.

Know the classes you want to take, the professors you hope to work for, and how any specialized programs will be an asset in your future career. Make sure to reach out to current students and alumni, as those conversations will give you crucial insights that will provide a personal perspective on the culture of the school.

As you can see, business schools today seek a symbiotic relationship with their students. The highly competitive state of MBA admissions now requires applicants to show not only that they are qualified to attend the program, but that they will raise the bar by positively impacting the experience of everyone around them.

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Ask HR: Why Hire MBAs? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Ask HR: Why Hire MBAs?

Special guest post provided by MBA@UNC
The demand for candidates who have earned an MBA is clear across all business sectors. According to a Graduate Management Admission Council survey (the administrator of the GMAT), nine out of 10 employers say they expect to maintain or increase job opportunities for graduates of MBA programs in 2015.

As a bonus, the majority of the employers who responded also plan to increase base salaries for new hires this year. So the question is, what makes MBA graduates so employable?

To find out, MBA@UNC decided to go right to the source: HR executives. Professionals from a variety of industries were asked to answer the question, “Why does an MBA give candidates an advantage?” Here’s what they had to say:

Erin Anderson, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, 2U

“Candidates with MBAs tend to have a broader set of skills that enable them to address business needs with a more comprehensive understanding of how their actions will impact the organization.”

Katie Burke, Director of Talent and Culture, HubSpot

“At HubSpot we give employees significant autonomy to create solutions for our customers and our company. MBAs are incredibly valuable to our team because they drive data-driven decisions to impact change and lead cross-functional projects all while thinking like founders, and that’s a hybrid skill set we need in spades as we grow and scale globally.”

Tisa Head, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Navy Federal

“MBA candidates have experienced rigorous academic programs, project work in a team environment, internships with industry leaders, and, in many cases, international business experiences. All of these experiences, in and out of the classroom, develop critical thinking, problem solving and team-oriented skills that enhance their overall business acumen and provide advantages in a very competitive job market.”

Julie Hodges, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion, Disney Parks & Resorts

“We find that MBA graduates joining Disney possess a passion for our company, brand and unique experiences, and they offer a wide range of business knowledge and intense enthusiasm for what is possible. Their ability to handle complex business situations and capacity to adapt and be nimble in a rapidly changing global environment has been an asset for us.”

Sandy Hynes, Senior Vice President of People, Opower

“Having an MBA is so much more than a few additional years of education. Candidates with MBAs stand out because they are able to take theoretical knowledge and apply it to real business situations, enabling them to get up to speed and deliver results more rapidly, which is what top companies need to compete globally.”

As you can see, there were trends among the 24 responses that included the desire to hire people with diverse skill-sets and those with the ability to discover innovation solutions. Other answers focused on the global perspective and the exposure to real-world business challenges that MBA graduates possess.

To read the full list of responses from companies like Accenture, Costco Wholesale, KPMG, LinkedIn, and Wegmans, visit MBA@UNC’s website here.

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