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Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog

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Paying for Your MBA with Fellowships, Scholarships [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jul 2015, 07:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Paying for Your MBA with Fellowships, Scholarships
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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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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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UCLA Anderson Reveals New Fall 2016 MBA Essay Question [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2015, 12:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UCLA Anderson Reveals New Fall 2016 MBA Essay Question
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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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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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UCLA Anderson Requires 2 Recommendation Letters for Fall 2016 Applicat [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2015, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UCLA Anderson Requires 2 Recommendation Letters for Fall 2016 Application
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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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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Get to the Point in Your MBA Essays [#permalink]

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New post 03 Aug 2015, 07:00
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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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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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Tuesday Tips: UCLA Anderson MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2015, 10:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: UCLA Anderson MBA Essay Tips
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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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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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3 Ways to Show Business Schools You’ll Make an Impact [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2015, 07:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 3 Ways to Show Business Schools You’ll Make an Impact
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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.

Image credit: Flickr user Bureau of IIP  (CC BY-ND 2.0)
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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Ask HR: Why Hire MBAs? [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2015, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Ask HR: Why Hire MBAs?
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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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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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What’s it Like to Work with the SBC Team? [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2015, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What’s it Like to Work with the SBC Team?
Those who are new to the MBA admissions process often wonder whether they should engage the services of a professional consultant, and if so, to what extent. I believe an experienced consultant can always help, whether you are a first-time or a repeat business school applicant, whether you are in the dark or more knowledgeable about the admissions process.

My consultants coach clients in their up-front strategy, help them develop compelling stories that play out across the application, prep for interviews, review and retool resumes, and much more.

To give you an even better idea of how we can help, I’d like to share with you some of the feedback we’ve received from clients who applied during the 2014-2015 MBA admissions season. See below for insights on Essay Guidance, Personal Branding, Strategy, Younger Applicants, Non-Traditional Applicants and Overall Support. Scroll through to find the area important to you!

Essay Guidance
“I was given a choice of consultants to work with, and chose Sherry given her experience in MBA admissions. We had an initial conversation so I could introduce my goals and she could explain the process. Most of the help I needed was with essays so the remaining interactions were mostly  through email as I sent essay drafts and she provided comments.

I probably wrote 50% extra on most essays throughout the process. While this was more work than I expected, it undeniably created a better application as Sherry would select examples / topics that better fit with my overall application. Sherry was very fast yet thorough at revising, so relatively less time was reduced from my account and draft turns were very quick. We also had time to have a mock interview and revise my resume.

The biggest impact was having each aspect of an application articulate and cohesive to the overall application ‘story.’ I recommend this service to anyone who has not worked in MBA admissions. It was a hit to my wallet for sure… but I was accepted to all four schools I applied to, including a top-20 and two scholarship offers, as a < 3.0 GPA / < 700 GMAT even though I thought my chances were slim/not good at three of the schools.”

Developing Your Personal Brand
“I can not thank SBC and my consultant Maureen enough for their help through out the b-school process! Maureen was patient, diligent and her insights were critical at every step of the process. She took a lot of time upfront to get to know me and was able to draw out strengths/unique characteristics from my profile that I would never have thought of on my own. I had a tremendous gaps in my profile and Maureen was very direct about what I had to do to fill those in (additional courses, leveraging work experience, etc). She had a lot of perspective on what Admissions was looking for in a candidate, and a lot of school-specific knowledge.

When we went through our mock interview prep, she was intimately aware of what the school in question was looking for. I asked Maureen just about anything and everything (and my questions were frequently borderline ridiculous!), but she always replied on time and with comprehensive advice. Often times, Maureen’s response time exceeded our agreed upon time. She was a thorough professional and an exceptional support throughput. I would recommend SBC unequivocally to anyone looking to get into a top school!”

Honing Strategy
“I just want to give many thanks to Bill. I think he is an amazing consultant and he does his job super professionally. It is really hard to underestimate his participation in my success. I got two out of two! Chicago Booth EMBA and LBS-Columbia GEMBA program have accepted me. I hesitated before getting a consulting service and was not sure of its worth for EMBA. I tried six different firms and consultants but he seemed the best. It was one of the best choices in my life.

His guideline changed my view not only on the application process but really helped me to develop my personal mid- and long-term strategy. His answers were always efficient and came very quickly. During the interviews, I felt very confident as adcoms asked exactly the same questions that we discussed. I just gave them a very impressive story of my life that he helped me to create. I will strongly recommend him to anyone who may be looking for a top program.”

Helping Younger Applicants
“As a younger candidate, expecting only 2 years of full-time experience before entering school, I was worried how MBA programs would perceive my experience when I re-applied. I had already applied to one school, unsuccessfully, so I decided to work with a consulting agency to help me create a strong personal brand.

I had a very positive experience working with Meredith on my 5 applications. She was very helpful in making sure I was displaying the different aspects that admissions committees want to see. While I was responsible for writing the essays and making corrections based on her suggestions, Meredith gave me confidence that I was sharing the best parts of my application while patching any holes that I had. Specifically, she helped me convey my work experience so that employers could see that there was great substance to it, despite its limited duration. In addition, she helped me address the fact that despite showing improving grades, my GPA was below the average for a top school.

I would recommend Stacy Blackman to a friend. While consulting services are expensive, they can pay off greatly. Not only do you know you are picking schools that you have a shot getting into, but you also know that you are putting your best foot forward. Stacy Blackman provided an objective and experienced point of view that give you constructive feedback and guidance through the application process.

In the end, I got interviews to four of my five schools (all top 25). I will update this review when I hear back from all of my schools.”

Helping Older/Non-Traditional Applicants
“Last week I got the good news that I have been admitted to my desired b-school. About 4 months back from now I was very concerned about completing admission requirements of the school including GMAT, essays, references, customized resume etc. Then I found Stacey Blackman Consulting. Kevin from SBC was assigned my case. I admit that my case was quite difficult.

I was about 7-8 years older than the average age of the part-time MBA students in my desired school, plus I had no business degree or experience. Kevin’s initial assessment of my case provided me invaluable advices that gave me a clear direction on how to work toward completing the requirements. Kevin reviewed my essays and resume several times and at the end the product was very impressive.

My essays clearly defined my goal and the reason for pursuing for MBA. My resume clearly described my achievements. My essays and resume together made perfect sense of what I have done so far, my vision for future and how MBA will help me to achieve my goal. Kevin’s great experience and insight were great help all the way. I am very grateful to SBC and particularly to Kevin.”

Support on all Fronts
“I was initially hesitant to engage a professional consultancy. I had planned to ask my friends for tips based on what they had learned from their own application processes. I ultimately invested in the comprehensive package with SBC after a current Wharton student told me that I risked putting myself at a disadvantage otherwise. This was great advice.

I was paired with Margaret, a great match for my personality and work style– in her words, we’re both ‘hard-assed perfectionists.’ Margaret’s help was invaluable every step of the way, from developing my story and polishing essays to tactical questions regarding recommenders and school-specific minutiae. She exchanged hundreds of emails of the summer and she reviewed scores of drafts of my various essays, always promptly and incisively. During the long interview season in the fall, she helped to coach me on my standard responses and generally prepare me to excel in interviews. After she discovered I love cooking (which featured in my applications) we even exchanged a few recipes.

With the comprehensive package, I also had access to a “flight test” of my application by a former MBA admissions committee member, and after I received an interview offer from Wharton, I was able to practice their unusual group interview with other SBC applicants over Skype. My real Wharton interview went almost exactly the way it did in the practice session, which helped me to stay calm and confident despite the unusual format.

Ultimately, I was accepted to Booth with a scholarship and to my dream program at Wharton. Based on that alone, I’d say SBC is well worth the investment as a way of reducing downside risk. But I’d endorse them even if I hadn’t been as fortunate in what is ultimately a capricious and subjective process. SBC’s consultants act as mentors and coaches, and when it matters Margaret can be as demanding as my former investment banking bosses. I gained valuable experience and I learned practical and tactical lessons about positioning myself as a candidate, which I will apply to my post-MBA goals.”

***

You can also view Stacy Blackman Consulting’s  reviews on Yelp! We have stronger reviews there than any company in the industry and are so proud of our track record.

Working with a respected consulting team gives you the ability to leverage the database of knowledge of a collected group of experts who together have experience with thousands of clients in programs across the globe.

We have high standards, for ourselves and for you. We know what it takes to be successful and we’re excited to help you reach your goals. If you think you might be interested in working with an admissions consultant, I invite you to contact Stacy Blackman Consulting for a free consultation about your candidacy today.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Use Social Media to Your Advantage [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2015, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Use Social Media to Your Advantage
We’re going to tell you something you probably already know: if you’re applying to an MBA program this year, be careful about what you post online. It’s possible that business school AdCom members could do a quick search on your name before admitting you to their program, and you don’t want something written in haste to derail your chances of getting in.

But being active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms isn’t a complete no-no. In fact, savvy candidates could actually use these venues to boost their credibility and solidify the good impressions made through their application materials.

For example, let’s say that you’re hoping to switch careers after business school, and in one of your essays you share your intention to work for a company that develops clean-energy options in third-world countries. You could tweet links to articles or books you’re reading on the subject, you could post about a local conference you attended, or you could give your take on the most promising advancements in the field.

Or maybe your career to date has led you to become somewhat of an expert on microfinance. Reinforce that reputation through your online presence. Let people know when you were quoted in an article or asked to be on a panel.

Are you a marketing guru? It would be easy to weigh in on—or share—what some of the biggest brands are doing on social media.

The key is to keep things professional and on point. It’s absolutely fine to let your personality shine through, too—just as it should in your essays.

Remember, 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.

Think of it this way:

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*** 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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London Business School Fall 2016 MBA Essay Questions [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2015, 15:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: London Business School Fall 2016 MBA Essay Questions
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The application for the August 2016 intake at London Business School is now open, and the MBA essay questions are as follows:

Essay One: What are your post-MBA plans and how will your past experience and the London Business School programme contribute? (500 words)

Essay Two: What specific areas of London Business School life are you most excited about getting involved in and where will you add value? (300 words)

Optional Essay: Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (300 words)

For additional information, please visit the LBS admissions website.

You may also be interested in:
London Business School 2015-2016 MBA Application Deadlines

FT Crowns London Business School in 2014 European Ranking

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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B-School Deans Convene at White House to Promote Women in Business [#permalink]

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New post 12 Aug 2015, 10:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-School Deans Convene at White House to Promote Women in Business
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Business schools play a critical role in helping workers, companies, and leaders adapt to meet the needs of the 21st-century workforce. On August 5th, the Council on Women and Girls and the Council of Economic Advisers hosted a convening at the White House focusing on opportunities for the business community and business schools to work together to encourage success for women in business, helping companies to incorporate the full range of talent and diversity of American workers.

The convening brought together leaders from the business and business school communities as well as other stakeholders for a conversation on recruiting, training, and retaining leaders for the 21st-century workplace and the importance of implementing policies that work for families.

In conjunction with the event, over 45 business schools committed to a set of best practices that offer concrete strategies for business schools to help women succeed throughout school and their careers and to build a business school experience that prepares students for the workforce of tomorrow.  These best practices focus on four key areas:

  • Ensuring access to business schools and business careers
  • Building a business school experience that prepares students for the workforce of tomorrow
  • Ensuring career services that go beyond the needs of traditional students
  • Exemplifying how organizations should be run
Actions Address Unique Barriers Women in Business Careers Face

The Council of Economic Advisers released a new Issue Brief highlighting the unique barriers that women face in business careers and the need for business schools and the business community alike to work together to encourage women’s success. Together, these changes would help businesses fully reap the benefits of diversity, maximize innovation, and boost productivity. Among the Issue Brief’s highlights:

  • Although women have become more equal players in the labor market and have increasingly entered previously male-dominated occupations like medicine and law, women have made relatively fewer strides in business careers. In 2014, only 5 percent of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies were female, and in 2013 only 17 percent of board seats in the Fortune 500 were held by women.
  • Undergraduate women are currently about 30 percent less likely than male undergraduates to major in business.
  • A recent study by a global organization to accredit business schools found that enrollment in North American MBA programs is sharply skewed towards men, with women representing only 38 percent of students. Among specialized master’s degree programs offered by business schools, however, men and women were enrolled at essentially equal rates.
  • While men and women in MBA programs have fairly similar earnings at graduation, after 5 years, men earn approximately 30 percent more than women, and after 10 or more years, this gap stretches to 60 percent.
  • An increased role for women in business is good news for our economy, in part because research has shown that greater diversity in the workforce increases productivity, improves decision making, and heightens performance.
As the global membership association for more than 1,450 business schools, and the accrediting body for more than 700 institutions worldwide, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) has committed to supporting business schools in their efforts to expand opportunity for women in business careers. To help lead these efforts, AACSB announced on Monday, August 3rd the appointment of its first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Advocate, Christine Clements, who will lead this effort.

Business schools and the business community as a whole have a critical role to play in helping prepare future leaders for a 21st century workplace. This event, along with the commitments by business schools and the AACSB, is a concrete step forward in helping women succeed throughout the business community and broader workforce.

Follow this link to read the complete press release issued by the White House.

Image credit: Flickr user Steve Wilson (CC BY 2.0)

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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MBA Students Hit Campus Early to Brush Up Skills, Network [#permalink]

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New post 13 Aug 2015, 11:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Students Hit Campus Early to Brush Up Skills, Network
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While classes may not officially start for weeks, a new article in the Wall Street Journal reports that more and more MBA students are coming to campus early to participate in the crash quant courses traditionally offered to bring candidates from non-finance backgrounds up to speed before school starts.

The reason? Many students—even those with a finance background—have realized these early weeks on campus provide a valuable opportunity to network and bond with their future classmates before the rush of  classes and recruiting hit in the fall.

In response, business schools have expanded beyond statistics or math courses for these early birds. At Kenan-Flagler Business School, first-year MBAs can also participate in career workshops, resume reviews, and receive coaching on presentation skills, the WSJ reveals.

Meanwhile, summer program enrollment is up 30% over last year at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, which told the WSJ that about 300 of the incoming class of 850 arrived on campus early for refresher classes and to take exams that might allow them to place out of required courses.

Pre-term coursework functions a bit differently at NYU Stern School of Business, which allows some students to start in July in order to lighten their course load during the school year. Isser Gallogly, assistant dean of MBA admissions at Stern, told the WSJ the school has seen a jump in requests for these spots, which allow students to “get to know each other quite well” and form close bonds.

It’s interesting to note that Harvard Business School is not providing summer courses this year to bring new students up to speed. Instead, WSJ reports that the school has offered members of the HBS Class of 2017 its online learning program known as HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness) at a slightly reduced rate: incoming first-years pay $1,500 for the program rather than the full price of $1,800.

You may also be interested in:
Summer Programs Bridge Biz Gap

Image credit: Flickr user Richard Foster  (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Kelley School Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines, Essay Questions [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2015, 11:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Kelley School Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines, Essay Questions
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Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business has posted the following MBA application deadlines and essay prompts for the 2015-2016 admissions season.

Early Round

Deadline: October 15, 2015

Notification by: December 20, 2015

Priority Round

Deadline: January 5, 2016

Notification by: March 15, 2016

Third Round

Deadline: March 1, 2016

Notification by: April 30, 2016

Final Round

Deadline: April 15, 2016

Notification by: May 31, 2016

Fall 2016 Essay Questions
Required Essays:

1. Please discuss your immediate post-MBA professional goals. How will your professional experience, when combined with a Kelley MBA degree, allow you to achieve these goals? Should the short-term goals you have identified not materialize, what alternate career paths might you consider? (500 words)

2. Please respond to one of the following short essay prompts. (300 words)

  • My greatest memory is…
  • I’m most afraid of…
  • My greatest challenge has been…
  • I’m most proud of…
3. Please share with the admissions committee an interesting or surprising fact about you. (25 words)

Optional Essay:

Is there anything else you think we should know as we evaluation your application? If you believe your essays and credentials represent you fairly, you shouldn’t fell obligated to answer this question. (300 words)

Please visit the Kelley MBA programadmissions website for more information.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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How to Think (and Write) About Your Career Goals [#permalink]

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New post 17 Aug 2015, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: How to Think (and Write) About Your Career Goals
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

You were probably asked this question all of the time as a little kid. Thanks to your business school applications, you’ll have to answer it again. Only now you must envision where you’ll be in your career ten to twenty years out—after you’re armed with an MBA. You’ll also have to detail the path you intend to take to get there.

But how do you go about explaining your short- and long-term career goals if you’re not really sure what you want to be doing in the first place? Maybe you’re pursuing an MBA in hopes that the classes and people you’re exposed to will help that light bulb go on in your head.

That’s perfectly fine, and you’re certainly not alone. Here’s a little secret: the AdCom doesn’t expect you to know exactly what you want to be doing decades from now. And no one’s going to hold you to what you write in your essay. However, your answer to the career goals question is still important. If an applicant doesn’t appear to have given any serious thought to his or her own future, that could be a red flag.

If you already know how you’d like your career to progress, that’s wonderful. But if you aren’t sure about what you want to do, our advice is to spend some significant time thinking about what kind of career would make you happy. More importantly, consider whether or not your dream career is realistic based on your skills and past achievements (combined with what you’ll learn at business school).

If your goal is something general like “running a company,” you need to keep working. Vague responses such as “starting a firm,” “being a CEO” or “launching a nonprofit” won’t differentiate you from other applicants. Think about (and include in your essay!) exactly what kind of company you want to run/launch, WHY you want to do what you want to do, and how you’ll get there; those details are more likely to set you apart.

We’ll leave you with this bit of career-related inspiration:

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*** 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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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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Michigan Ross Reports Record GMAT Scores for Class of 2017 [#permalink]

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New post 18 Aug 2015, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Michigan Ross Reports Record GMAT Scores for Class of 2017
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What do a Broadway violinist, a former White House aide, the founders of a single origin Colombian coffee company, and a former member of a boy band in Taiwan have in common? For one, they are all members of the MBA class of 2017 at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

The program is celebrating its most competitive admissions season in a decade in terms of the volume and quality of applications, MBA admissions director Soojin Kwon reveals in her latest blog post detailing some of the unique aspects of the newest Ross MBA class.

For one, Kwon says this incoming class has the highest GMAT average ever at 708. Approximately 35% of students hail from outside the United States, and 25% of the class is made up of students from non-traditional backgrounds, which includes education, government, medicine, the military and non-profits. “In fact, this year’s class boasts the largest cohort of veterans and teachers to date,” Kwon notes.

Almost two-thirds of the accepted applicants participated in the optional Team Exercise, which thrilled the admissions director because it shows “they value the team-oriented environment at Ross and aren’t afraid of ambiguity,” since this is one aspect of the admissions process that candidates cannot prepare for.

As you consider which schools to apply to this season, make sure to look beyond the websites and reach out to students and alumni to find out if they are truly passionate about their MBA experience or merely came to “check the box and get a great job,” as Kwon describes it.

Fit is hard to describe or define—you know it when you feel it—but is such an important aspect of the MBA experience that applicants should make every effort to ensure the schools they apply to are a good “fit” for them.

“It can mean the difference between just going through the motions so you can check the MBA box and loving your MBA experience,” Kwon says.

You may also be interested in:
UM Ross School Receives $60M Gift for Entrepreneurship Program

Tuesday Tips: 2015 Michigan Ross MBA Essay Tips

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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Tuesday Tips: London Business School Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]

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New post 18 Aug 2015, 14:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: London Business School Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips
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London Business School is a close-knit program with an international focus, set in one of the most exciting centers of culture in Europe. Among one of the top-ranked programs in the world, LBS is equally valued by employers in both the US and Europe. LBS is an excellent choice for MBA hopefuls who have international experience, a goal to work in London or other parts of Europe, or just an interest in attending school outside the US.

LBS has a slim set of required questions. It will be a challenge for you to present everything you may want about your career, extracurriculars and personal attributes. Make sure you formulate a clear game plan for this set of essays so you can maximize the questions and the space permitted to make your case for admission.

Essay 1

What are your post-MBA plans and how will your past experience and the London Business School programme contribute? (500 words)

Most MBA applicants are pursuing the degree for a specific career goal post-MBA, but if you need a bit more reflection to answer this question it is worth doing the work. Self-awareness about your strengths and interests will help you refine what you want. To take your research deeper it could be helpful to talk to colleagues and alumni who have MBAs in your field to identify your career path options. Make sure that your career goals are both realistic and aspirational. An MBA will certainly open doors for you, and also may define a specific career path.

Your past experiences have certainly informed your post-MBA plans, and touching on those most relevant will be helpful to setting the background for your current pursuit of an MBA. To make this essay more than a rehash of your resume, think about explaining the rationale for your decisions throughout the essay. Why did you pursue your past experience and what has been the impetus behind subsequent career choices? At this point, why are you choosing LBS? If space permits, you will want to discuss the question of timing – why you have made the choice to pursue an MBA at this time, and why you want to attend LBS now.

Essay 2

What specific areas of London Business School life are you most excited about getting involved in and where will you add value? (300 words)

This essay is an opportunity to demonstrate passion for the school, London, activities and the community. Thorough research will be crucial here, whether online or in person. Consider both the academic community and the extracurricular communities. Reaching out to the clubs and organizations you are most interested in may allow you to interact with current students who can provide context for you. Visiting LBS would be an invaluable experience to feel the excitement in person.

To be most effective in answering this question you will want to be specific and logical in your choices of activities you will impact. What activities make the most sense in the context of your career and industry interests? What about your hobbies? Any community involvement you are currently pursuing and plan to continue could start to demonstrate your value to the groups you plan to join or lead at LBS.

International experience may be another area that is important to the LBS community and where you can add value. LBS is seeking applicants who are well traveled and thoughtful about cultural differences beyond their home countries. If you focus on your international background make sure you are able to explain what you have learned from interacting with cultures that are not your own, and relate your experiences back to what you will bring to LBS.

Optional Essay

Is there any other information you believe the Admissions Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School? (300 words)

This essay can be used to explain possible weaknesses in your application like a low GPA or GMAT score, or could be another opportunity to reveal an aspect of your candidacy that has not been covered in the previous questions.

If you use this space to explain a less than stellar aspect of your candidacy make sure you are offering explanations and not excuses. Keep all background information succinct and factual (no whining!) and explain the concrete steps you have taken to improve your candidacy and to be ready for an MBA programme like LBS.

If you are in the enviable position of having nothing to explain, this open-ended question would be a great opportunity to touch on a personal story or add color to your career goals. This could be the ideal place to describe a unique background, experience or attribute that did not fit elsewhere in the application.

Challenged by the LBS essay questions? Contact us to learn how Stacy Blackman Consulting can help.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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5 Don’ts for Managing MBA Recommendation Writers [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2015, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 5 Don’ts for Managing MBA Recommendation Writers
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
I recently got off the phone with a business school applicant who believes poor recommendations were a key reason she was not admitted to school last year.

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She carefully selected her recommenders and gave them several months’ advance notice. Her first recommender gave her a copy of his letter after submitting it. It was six pages long, written with care – and all wrong. He emphasized the wrong qualities, rambled like crazy and did not provide relevant examples.

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon, and it’s the reason why properly managing your recommenders is just as important as selecting the right ones. Heed these five don’ts for doing so, and you’ll avoid a lot of unnecessary anxiety at a time when you are already under a lot of pressure.

1. Don’t assume he or she will remember all of your achievements or know what to write about: Your recommender is probably time-strapped and doesn’t remember those three amazing examples of your leadership. They also probably don’t know exactly what schools are looking for in letters of recommendation.

Show your reccomender your essays and decide on four or five key traits that you would like him or her to emphasize throughout the letter, such as leadership, teamwork, creative thinking, determination, focus, intelligence, charisma and integrity.

Come up with at least one concrete example that you feel illustrates each characteristic.

Here’s what an instance of initiative might look like: “Last year, when I learned that international sales were declining, I took it upon myself to research the competitive landscape and learned of two recent market entrants. I then offered to lead a team to analyze these new competitors and develop a strategy for regaining our market share. Our team of five analysts proposed a solution after one week of work. The solution was implemented and within six months, we gained back 5 percent of lost market share.”

2. Don’t bombard them with too many materials or reminders: Doing this can overwhelm your recommender and lead them to ignore what you’ve prepared for them. Create a bulleted list of all of the projects that you have worked on and an outline of your strengths that go into more detail than your resume.

You want your recommenders to actually read this document, so try to keep it to one page and do not overload them with information. It should be a helpful, quick reference.

3. Don’t allow your recommender to provide a rave review without supporting their statements with solid facts: The cardinal rule of good writing – show, don’t tell – is equally important in a letter of recommendation. The admissions committee really wants to get that third-party perspective missing from your essays, test scores and interview.

No one expects the applicant to be perfect, however. The best recommendation letters paint a vivid picture of the candidate that brings the candidate on paper to life.

4. Don’t let them submit late under any circumstances: It’s important to get started on this process as early as possible. Your recommender should know that writing such a letter is both an honor and responsibility.

Give them plenty of time to prepare for your deadline. You may find it helpful to advance the due date by a week or so in order to remove one last-minute worry from your plate.

5. Don’t write the recommendation letter for them: In an effort to save time or ease their burden, a recommender may ask you to write the letter for them to sign. Don’t do it!

For one, the admissions committee will probably recognize your writing style from your essays and that will immediately raise a red flag. And secondly, if the individual doesn’t have enough time to write a proper recommendation, you would be better off seeking out someone who is more enthusiastic about championing your business school dreams.

On the other hand, if the reason for the request is because English is a second language for your supervisor and he or she is worried about sounding unprofessional, you have two options. The first is simply to not worry about it and explain that the admissions committee is focused solely on the content of the message and understands any language limitations that may exist. However, if you fear it might become a distraction, hire a translator and eliminate that concern.

If you can help your recommenders stay on message, deliver on time and provide vivid examples of your professional skills, you will have this element of your MBA application well in hand.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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USC Marshall Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines, Essay Questions [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2015, 15:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: USC Marshall Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines, Essay Questions
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The online application is now live at the USC Marshall School of Business, so we’re sharing the  2015-2016 application deadlines and required MBA essays for the upcoming admissions season.

Round One

Application deadline: October 19, 2015

Notification begins: December 18, 2015

Round 2

Application deadline: January 8, 2016

Notification begins: April 1, 2016

Round 3

Application deadline: April 8, 2016

Notification begins: May 27, 2016

Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on the day of the deadline.

Required MBA Essays
  • Please complete both sections in no more than 700 words combined:
  • What is your immediate short-term goal post-graduation from the USC Marshall MBA program? (please include industry and function information in your answer.)
  • How will USC Marshall enable you to develop or improve your skills in order to reach your goals?
2. Tell us about a time went you went beyond what was defined, established, or expected.

For more information, please visit the USC Marshall MBA admissions website.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Cornell’s Johnson School Posts Fall 2016 MBA Essay Prompts [#permalink]

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New post 21 Aug 2015, 06:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Cornell’s Johnson School Posts Fall 2016 MBA Essay Prompts
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The Johnson School of Management at Cornell University has announced the required and optional essay questions that are part of the 2015-2016 MBA application. The school has fine-tuned the application process this year in an effort to help candidates convey their strengths and attributes.

“We’ve refined the application process at Johnson to better help candidates reflect on their personal journey and goals, and to present their best selves, as potential MBA students and future Cornellians,” says Judi Byers, executive director of admissions and financial aid.

“Discovering each candidate’s unique strengths is always exciting, and we are looking forward to seeing how applicants choose to convey their strengths through the essay submissions this year.”

Fall 2016 Required Essays
Table of Contents

Applicants are now encouraged to show enhanced creativity in submission medium. For example, the essay may be delivered by video or a creative slide deck.

You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. In 500 words or less, please create the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style. Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions.

Maximum file size is 5 MB. We recommend that you upload your submission in MS Word, PowerPoint, or PDF format. We cannot accept .zip or .exe files.

Goals

The prompt for this essay has been simplified to help applicants hone in on their objectives in getting an MBA.

What are your short and long term goals and how do you see the Cornell MBA enabling you to achieve both? Please limit your response to 500 words or less.

Optional Essay
Complete this essay if you would like to add additional details regarding your candidacy. For instance, if you believe one or more aspects of your application (e.g., undergraduate record or test scores) do not accurately reflect your potential for success at the Johnson School.

If you are reapplying for admission, please use this essay to indicate how you have strengthened your application since the last time you applied.

Please limit your response to 500 words or less.

You may also be interested in:
Cornell Johnson Fall 2016 MBA Application Deadlines

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Think Like the MBA Admissions Committee [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2015, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Think Like the MBA Admissions Committee
When you’re hard at work on your MBA applications, it’s easy to get caught up in what sounds great to you, or what seems impressive to your friends, co-workers or parents. But what you really need to be doing is considering your materials from the admissions committee’s point of view.

Granted, it can be tough to form a truly objective opinion of your own candidacy. For example, some candidates think that if they have a high undergraduate GPA, aced the GMAT and have been successful in their career so far, their admission is all but guaranteed to the top programs. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

The majority of candidates who apply to the leading business schools are bright, personable overachievers who would be an asset to any program. AdComs see literally thousands of deserving profiles come across their desks each year. That’s why you need to think beyond your obvious achievements and differentiate yourself through your essays and interviews by picking stories and experiences that are memorable and unique. This becomes even more critical if you’re in an industry that typically makes up a bigger portion of the applicant pool, such as investment banking or consulting.

Having said all of that, if you’re so down about your shot at getting into a certain school that you’re considering not even applying there in the first place, take heart. While the process is extremely competitive, you shouldn’t count yourself out before the game even begins. Chances are your humility is a trait the AdCom would appreciate.

Focus on highlighting what you can share with your classmates that would be valuable to them—experience or knowledge that others can learn and benefit from. Look at your application from the viewpoint of the people who are charged with putting together a diverse group of outgoing students. How will you enlighten your classmates over the next two years?

Here’s one way to think about it:

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Think Like the MBA Admissions Committee   [#permalink] 24 Aug 2015, 07:00

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