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Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog

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Harvard Crowned No. 1 in Bloomberg Businessweek 2015 MBA Ranking [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2015, 11:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Harvard Crowned No. 1 in Bloomberg Businessweek 2015 MBA Ranking
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Bloomberg Businessweek has released its 2015 global rankings of best business schools,and Harvard Business School claims the number one spot among 74 full-time U.S. programs. Chicago Booth School of Business is number two, and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management is number three. Bloomberg Businessweek‘s top school of 2014, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, fell to number eight.

Of 29 international MBA programs, Western University’s Ivey Business School in Ontario, Canada is number one (retaining its top spot in 2014’s ranking), London Business School is number two and INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France is number three.

Among the 74 part-time U.S. MBA programs evaluated, Northwestern’s Kellogg ranks number one, Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business ranks number two, and Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business ranks number three.

Top Ten Full-Time MBA Programs in 2015
  • Harvard Business School
  • Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Kellogg School of Management
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • UPenn Wharton School
  • Columbia Business School
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Duke/Fuqua School of Business
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  • Michigan Ross School of Business
For the first time, Bloomberg Businessweek says it has placed a sharper focus on what people most hope to find after business school—career growth and job satisfaction—and how well MBA programs promote both. Businessweek compiled what it calls its deepest and broadest set of data ever from over 13,150 current students, 18,540 alumni, and 1,460 recruiters across 177 business school programs.

According to the news magazine, the rankings are based on five measures:

1. Employer Survey (35 percent of total score): Recruiter feedback on the skills they look for in MBAs, and which programs best equip their students with those skills;

2. Alumni Survey (30 percent of total score): Feedback from the Classes of 2007, 2008, and 2009 on how their MBAs have affected their careers, their compensation change over time, and their mid-career job satisfaction;

3. Student Survey (15 percent of total score): The Class of 2015’s take on academics, career services, campus climate, and more;

4. Job Placement Rate (10 percent of total score): The most recent data on how many MBAs seeking full-time jobs get them within three months of graduation;

5. Starting Salary (10 percent of total score): The most recent data on how much MBAs make in their first jobs after graduation, adjusted for industry and regional variation.

“By refining our focus and updating our methodology, we’ve created the most effective ranking yet for helping career-oriented students choose an MBA program,” says Ellen Pollock, editor, Bloomberg Businessweek.

Not everyone agrees, however, that the updated methodology accurately reflects the standing of the best business schools in the land.

“Changes in methodology…result in vast swings in rankings that have nothing to do with the quality of an MBA program’s experience,” notes Poets & Quants editor John A. Byrne in his analysis of the new rankings. “Even among the truly elite MBA programs, there were double-digit changes which tend to be rare and hardly credible,” Byrne writes.

In the article he calls out some head scratchers—schools that have either skyrocketed or plummeted over last year’s standing—but Byrne says that in general, the new methodology has produced a somewhat more credible list than last year’s, “which severely damaged the standing of the Businessweek ranking.”

In the end, despite any debate over rankings and methodology, one thing remains clear: the MBA continues to be a sound investment in one’s career.

Jonathan Rodkin, research and rankings coordinator at Bloomberg Businessweek, says, “Most MBAs have no trouble landing jobs: Three months after graduation, 88 percent of MBAs have been hired—and offered a nice pay bump. Graduates saw an 81 percent jump over their median compensation before B-School. After six to eight years, pay typically increased another 64 percent to around $169,000 a year.”

You may also be interested in:
Chicago Booth Tops the Economist MBA Rankings Again

Columbia’s Dean Hubbard on MBA Rankings

Rethinking MBA Rankings

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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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Flexibility is Key for Women Pursuing MBAs [#permalink]

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New post 22 Oct 2015, 11:02
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Flexibility is Key for Women Pursuing MBAs
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Guest post by MBA@UNC’s Molly Greenberg

There is a clear lack of female representation in senior leadership positions in the corporate world, and leading businesses are failing to rectify this imbalance even though gender diversity is good for business.

While only five percent of Fortune 1000 companies are led by a female CEO, they generate seven percent of the Fortune 1000’s total revenue. These woman-led companies, including Mary Barra’s General Motors, outperformed the S&P 500 index over the course of their respective tenures.

Companies with a woman at the helm reward investors well, generating high returns. Given these facts, why aren’t more women present in the upper ranks of Corporate America? That’s the question The Wall Street Journal’s Joann S. Lublin and Nikki Waller set out to answer.

In a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, Lublin and Waller wrote about a study of women in the workplace conducted by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company. The study found that apprehension about balancing work and family life are among the biggest deterrents for women interested in an executive role, even though 93 percent of women CEOs in the Fortune 1000 are married and 84 percent have children.

Women interested in pursuing an MBA experience this same hesitation where timing is called into question. Kristen Fanarakis would know. She is a graduate of MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s online MBA program.

In a blog post for her alma mater, Fanarakis asks: “If an MBA is one of the key conduits to top positions in the Fortune 500 and the time versus investment trade-off tips the scale against pursuing the degree, then what is the solution?” The answer is flexibility.

According to Fanarakis, top business schools need to offer more programs that better align with a woman’s life and career. “Many top business school programs offer part-time or executive MBA programs, but these programs can take three to four years to complete and students are still required to live in a specific location,” writes Fanarakis. Leading business schools need to provide geographically neutral programs that can be completed in two years.

Fanarakis cites the study in The Wall Street Journal, which explains why businesses must help funnel women into line roles that lead to the C-suite, rather than staff roles. However, it’s not just businesses that must propel women forward.

“In any given year, approximately 40 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs have an MBA,” says Fanarakis. “Education is clearly one of the keys to staying on the path to the C-suite and colleges and universities must do their part to address one of the root causes of this disparity.”

With women comprising of only 25 percent of the business school population, business schools need to determine new ways to attract and retain female students. They can do so by “providing advanced degree programs that allow women to fit education into their lives rather than having to fit their life around education,” says Fanarakis. Business school changes like this will contribute to resetting the balance of the top ranks of Fortune 500 companies.

You may also be interested in:
B-School Deans Convene at White House to Promote Women in Business

Gender Balance Scorecard at B-Schools Worldwide

Targeted Tips for Women MBA Applicants

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
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Stay in the Know with News Recommended by MBAs [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2015, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Stay in the Know with News Recommended by MBAs
Once you’re in b-school, your time is at a premium and it can be a struggle to stay on top of everything that’s going on across the business world. I think the new website 10Thoughts, started by a Darden School of Business 2015 MBA grad, can really help applicants and students (or anyone, actually) who want to keep up with today’s relevant problem solving, thinking and ideas across the business spectrum.

Jack Mara, founder and CEO of 10Thoughts, says he became frustrated with having to search through many publications in order to stay well-versed on important topics and issues in business while a student at Darden.

The site shares original content as well as news stories recommended and vetted by actual MBAs, professors, and executives, and covers content across different topics, functions, and publications.

“Our readers trust the quality of the content because it comes with the recommendation of a talented peer rather than a machine or algorithm,” Mara says, adding that 35% of students across the top 20 schools in the incoming class of 2017 currently use 10Thoughts.

The site is a great resource for b-school applicants because, while most professionals tend to focus closely on their own area of expertise, it’s really important to be conversant on a range of relevant business issues—particularly for those MBA interviews.

“Companies are looking for general managers and leaders that can think across functions and understand how different pieces of the puzzle all interact,” Mara says. ” This will help you speak more intelligently about the business world and different career paths in both your MBA applications and interviews.”

I contributed an article of my own last week called , but the advice rings true for MBA applicants as well. So go ahead and check out 10Thoughts – it’s free – and you can sign up to receive the weekly featured article email, too.

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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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Keep MBA Message Board Comments in Perspective [#permalink]

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New post 26 Oct 2015, 06:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Keep MBA Message Board Comments in Perspective
Is there anything more tempting to an MBA applicant than business school-related message boards? We understand the allure—in fact, many of our consultants cop to obsessively scouring those sites and threads when they were pulling together their own applications.

But here’s something we all agree on now: browsing message boards can serve as a way to distract yourself from the agony of waiting for interview invites, at best. At worst, participation in these online conversations can subconsciously influence your application strategy and send you off in the wrong direction.

Who’s on these message boards? Mostly it’s other applicants, just like yourself. They are not AdCom members and cannot judge your odds of being accepted somewhere, nor do they have any special insight into a certain school’s admissions process, as much as they might like to think they do.

Here are just a few of the types of posts you’ll find on b-school message boards:

“My father went to Wharton and talked with someone there who said…”

“My old co-worker who’s got the exact same profile as me got into Stanford, so…”

“I’ve crunched the numbers from this site and it looks like only people from Ivys with 730+ GMATs are getting HBS invites this year.”

“I have a friend who got a 650 on the GMAT and was accepted at HBS two years ago, so that must mean…”

“I have a friend at Kellogg, and she said…”

Now, really.

We challenge you to take a step back and ask yourself why you would ever let anything posted by a complete stranger worry you or stress you out about your own chances of being admitted to your dream school.

We’ve been advising MBA applicants since 2001, and we can assure you that nothing good has ever come from listening to—or comparing yourself to—other business school hopefuls. Use that precious time to beef up your resume, work on your essays, or do something else productive.

Remember:

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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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4 Reasons to Write an Optional Business School Application Essay [#permalink]

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New post 27 Oct 2015, 06:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 4 Reasons to Write an Optional Business School Application Essay
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When brainstorming ideas for this essay, make sure to choose a subject that cannot be addressed elsewhere in your application packet.

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
When it comes to the optional essay question posed by most business schools, MBA hopefuls often wonder if it is really optional. Many applicants feel an obligation to write something, and struggle with what that something should be.

While some programs state explicitly that this essay should only be used to address extenuating circumstances, others ask more broadly whether there is anything else about your candidacy you would like to share with the admissions committee.

My advice regarding the optional essay is to first complete your entire application package, except for the optional essay. Don’t worry about that piece of the puzzle just yet. Once you have finished, review your application and ask yourself if there is something extra you would like to communicate. Make sure that you cannot address the subject elsewhere in the application. However, if there is something missing, by all means, use the optional essay as an opportunity to say what you need to say.

The following advice should be considered within the context of your overall strategy and the school you are considering, but these areas are prime material for the optional essay.

Academic Weaknesses

If there is a grade of C or below on your undergraduate transcript, the admissions committee will want to know why and feel comfortable that it’s simply an outlier in your overall academic record. Strike an upbeat tone here and avoid excuses. Make sure you emphasize your improved performance either later in your college career or in subsequent work or classes since college.

Explain your issue clearly and focus the balance of your essay on looking forward. Explain what have you done in the recent past to prove your skills and intelligence. If you have a new GMAT score or took classes in calculus or statistics, you have a solid case for improved academics.

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 there are extenuating circumstances that affected your academic performance, definitely explain what those were.

But if it was a simple case of immaturity, you need to own up to that also. Though embarrassing to admit, if you don’t provide those details the admissions committee will make assumptions that may not be in your favor.

Employment Gaps or Major Career Changes

You don’t have to explain a short gap between school and a secured job, but something like several months between two jobs should be addressed. Otherwise, the admissions team may assume you spent that time binge-watching “Game of Thrones.”?

Did you use that time off to do volunteer work in Guatemala, or care for an ailing parent? Maybe you used the time away to focus on an entrepreneurial dream unencumbered by the 9-to-5 grind. Ideally you can point to additional education, training, volunteering or traveling that you engaged in while unemployed.

If you recently switched careers and feel concerned that the admissions committee may not see how you arrived at the conclusion that an MBA would help further your professional aspirations, use the optional essay space to make an airtight case for why you want to go into this new field and show that the decision was not capricious, but reasoned and well-thought-out.

Choice of Recommender

Business schools almost always ask for a letter of recommendation from a current supervisor, as typically this is the person most able to observe and comment on your abilities and leadership skills as they stand today. Not every applicant feels comfortable asking their employer for a recommendation letter, however.

Perhaps they aren’t ready to let their boss know of their MBA plans, or maybe there is a personality conflict that might not lead to the most glowing recommendation. Sometimes, the issue is that the applicant hasn’t worked with the supervisor long enough for him or her to comment meaningfully on the candidate’s performance.

Whatever the reason, you should briefly address your decision not to seek a recommendation from your current supervisor in the optional essay space. The admissions committee understands the various circumstances which may prevent it, but you need to explain why anyway to eliminate any doubts or wrong assumptions about the quality of your working relationship with your employer.

Information That Adds to Your Candidacy

This is where you can introduce information about yourself that you simply couldn’t find a way to incorporate elsewhere. If you are a re-applicant, the optional essay is the ideal place to explain what you have done since your last application to strengthen your case for admission – such as receiving a promotion – which would signal career development and leadership. Even if you don’t have a clear-cut development to describe, you can use this space to explain how you have improved your thinking, career goals or fit.

Finally, if you don’t have a weakness to address and the school has an open-ended optional essay question, this is opportunity to provide information you couldn’t work into the other required essays. For example, if you have an unusual background, hobby or extracurricular experience, this may be a chance to showcase your unique profile.

Yes, the optional essay truly is optional. So take advantage of it if necessary, but exercise good judgement and restraint.

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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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HBS Admissions Director Leopold to Step Down in May 2016 [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2015, 10:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HBS Admissions Director Leopold to Step Down in May 2016
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Managing Director of MBA Admissions & Financial Aid Dee Leopold, the voice of Harvard Business School admissions for the past decade, announced today that she will be moving on in May 2016 at the end of this admissions season.

In a brief post on her blog to officially announce the news to applicants, Leopold assures she will be on the job until the Class of 2018 is all set and ready to go.

“It’s Business As Usual in Dillon House,” the director writes, quoting the headline of her post. “I’ve told you many times that Dillonites are the Dream Team – and I will say it again. So please go back to figuring out how to Introduce Yourself and Round One interviewees should be making sure they have clean socks picked out for their interview!”

You may also be interested in:
5 Common Interview Questions from Harvard Business School

Harvard Crowned No. 1 in Bloomberg Businessweek 2015 MBA 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

_________________

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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Free Download on Success from the Wharton School [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2015, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Free Download on Success from the Wharton School
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Act fast, because today is the final day to access Conversations on Success: 6 Thought Leaders Redefine What It Means to Succeed, the free download from the newly launched Knowledge@Wharton Books.

The interviews featured in this eBook include:

  • Wharton professor Richard Shell on defining personal success
  • Barnard College president Debora Spar on women’s (impossible) quest for perfection
  • Bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell on the advantages of disadvantages
  • New York Times Corner Office columnist Adam Bryant on the 5 qualities of successful leaders
  • Wharton Work/Life Integration Project director Stewart Friedman on young people’s changing views on career and family success
  • Bestselling author Adam Grant on the surprising truth about who gets ahead
Conversations on Success is drawn from the archives of Knowledge@Wharton and is a must-read for those who are faced with defining success for themselves and those they lead.

Don’t delay…October 29th is the last day to download a free copy.

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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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New Lifelong Learning Options Offered for Kellogg Alumni [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2015, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: New Lifelong Learning Options Offered for Kellogg Alumni
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As part of Kellogg School of Management‘s Lifelong Learning program for alumni, the school has announced it will offer a suite of five free Organizational Leadership online courses.

Offered in partnership with four of Northwestern’s schools, participants will learn the essential skills to build and motivate teams, design and deliver powerful stories, develop strategies to influence, understand customer analytics and apply innovative approaches to deliver impact.

The first course, High Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork, and Negotiation, taught by Kellogg School of Management professor Leigh Thompson, will provide participants with the opportunity to learn how to cultivate your own leadership skills and coach others, optimally design a team for success and how to negotiate in a collaborative fashion in large and small business situations.

The full Organizational Leadership specialization features courses taught by faculty across Northwestern University including the following:

  • High Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork, and Negotiation (Kellogg). Register Now
  • Leadership Communication for Maximum Impact: Storytelling (Medill). Register Now
  • Leadership through Social Influence (School of Communication). Available Mid November 2015
  • Leadership through Marketing (Kellogg).

    Available Mid-January 2016
  • Leadership through Design Innovation (McCormick).

    Available Mid-January 2016
These free courses provide a great opportunity to experience ongoing learning whenever it’s most convenient. This is just the latest example of business schools reaching out online to continue mentoring and investing in their alumni long after graduation.

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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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R1 Interview Updates from the Ross School [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2015, 15:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: R1 Interview Updates from the Ross School
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Earlier this week, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business sent out interview invitations to Round 1 applicants, and MBA admissions director Soojin Kwon posted information on her blog for applicants who did not yet receive a coveted invitation.

If you have been waitlisted, this means your application will receive further consideration against the pool of Round 2 candidates. Now, as for why you may have been waitlisted, this is what Kwon has to say.

“Here are the two most common reasons for being waitlisted: (1) your academic record wasn’t as competitive as other applicants whose experience or background was similar to yours; (2) your work experience wasn’t as strong as others in the pool (in terms of what you’ve accomplished to date). If the reason is #1, there’s opportunity to do something about it (i.e., retake the GMAT or GRE). If it’s #2, there’s not much you can do other than wait to see how you stack up in the Round 2 pool.”

The admissions director also notes that this is the second consecutive year Ross has seen an increase in applications, as well as an increase in interview invitations for both U.S. and international applicants.

“The pool was strong, so we wanted a chance to meet more candidates and evaluate their experience and fit in person,” Kwon explains.

Although the waitlist isn’t an ideal place to be, those who find themselves in this position should take heart: schools offer admission to applicants on the waitlist every year, and it means your application was strong enough to merit further consideration. This is good!

You may also be interested in:
What to Do if You’re Waitlisted

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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 to Do at an MBA Info Session [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2015, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What to Do at an MBA Info Session
As Round 2 deadlines inch closer, several top programs are hitting the road and holding informational sessions in cities across the world. If you have the opportunity to attend one of these events, you might find yourself face to face with an influential AdCom member. THEN what?

First and foremost: keep calm. Unless you make a scene, ask an offensive question or do something really unprofessional in front of everyone, it’s very unlikely that you can negatively impact your chances for admission while mingling with program representatives and other prospective students.

In fact, since many applicants will never be able to make it to an in-person informational session, it would be tough for AdCom members to let anything that happened at such an event—positive or negative—affect their judgment of someone’s candidacy. It just wouldn’t be fair.

But that’s not to say that you won’t be able to take something valuable away from talking with representatives from your dream school. If you get into a discussion about your future career goals, you might learn about a few relevant aspects of the curriculum that you hadn’t been aware of before. Or if you receive answers to your burning questions about the program, you’ll have that much more material to work with in your “Why School X?” essay or interview response.

Many applicants worry about what they should ask at informational sessions. Our first bit of advice is to of course ask any questions that you actually and honestly have. Keep in mind, however, that not all representatives will know every last detail about their school—but they may be able to connect you with someone who does.

Another option is to really listen during any presentations that are given, take notes, and then ask a related question to show that you were engaged. Or dig into the program’s web site beforehand and jot down a few questions based on what you found there.

The most important thing is to be polite and professional. You don’t have to stress out about asking some jaw-droppingly brilliant question. Just take note of anything you may be able to work into your essays and enjoy yourself!

Remember this great advice:

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Leading Chinese B-School Establishes Campus in Europe [#permalink]

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New post 03 Nov 2015, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Leading Chinese B-School Establishes Campus in Europe
As Chinese executives turn their eyes to the global stage and understanding the Chinese economy becomes increasingly vital for the rest of the world, Asia’s top-ranked business school China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) recently announced it has deepened its presence in Europe.

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CEIBS school leaders announce that the school will use the newly-acquired Lorange Institute of Business in Zurich as CEIBS’ base in Europe. From left: Vice President & Dean Professor Ding Yuan, Chinese President Professor Li Mingjun, European President Professor Pedro Nueno and Vice President & Co-Dean Professor Zhang Weijiong

Global since inception as a joint China-EU project, this is another initiative being driven from CEIBS’ European side, and it has secured the Lorange Institute of Business Zurich‘s (LIBZ) as an operating base and global center for China-EU studies in Europe.

“An increasing number of our alumni are doing business globally, so we have to better serve this group,” explains CEIBS European President Professor Pedro Nueno. “At the same time, the Chinese economy is growing larger and more complex and its impact on the rest of the world is undeniable; so it’s time to better summarize and develop business theories and models, based on Chinese practices, and convey those messages worldwide.”

In the initial stages, the Lorange Institute of Business Zurich will retain its name, CEIBS Vice President and Dean Professor Ding Yuan will serve as Chairman, CEIBS Associate Dean Katherine Xin will be in charge of academics and teaching, while LIBZ’s current Chairman Peter Lorange will remain as Honorary President and the business school’s operations will be maintained and headed by its CEO & President Philipp Boksberger.

“This move will further enhance our concept of the ‘business school of the future’ by strengthening the international network of faculty members and business competences with an added focus on key future markets,” says Lorange.

Students and alumni from CEIBS’ wide range of programs will be hosted by the LIBZ while on study tours to Europe. The Institute will also be a source of training for employees of CEIBS alumni companies and/or business units in Europe, as well as European companies doing business in China.

“We have been very successful at bringing knowledge to China, educating and developing competent managers for multinationals, SOEs and private companies. You could say we provided a ‘set menu’,” says Yuan. “Now it will be more ‘a la carte’.”

“Our students and alumni are looking to us to provide them with the business management training they need to face the new challenges of the Chinese economy.”

CEIBS has campuses in China’s economic and political capitals – Shanghai and Beijing – as well as operations in Shenzhen to the south of China and Accra in Ghana. Among the school’s more than 17,000 alumni around the globe, the majority are in leadership positions. As the needs of its students and alumni have changed over the years, CEIBS has adapted to better fulfill its goal of educating responsible business leaders.

“CEIBS students can learn from European cases and experts on innovation and family business. At the same time, European students can get first-hand knowledge on cases and teaching from China while still in Europe,” Yuan says.

“We need to educate business executives – both Chinese and those from other countries – on how to navigate China’s increasingly complex market, and we do all this within a global context. This is now CEIBS 2.0, and it’s quite different from our 1.0 version of 20 years ago.”

You may also be interested in:
Advice for B-School Applicants from Asia

Top Asia B-Schools: An Ivy League of Their Own

GMAC Survey Shows Chinese Flocking to B-School

 

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HBS Names New Group of Entrepreneurs-in-Residence [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2015, 13:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HBS Names New Group of Entrepreneurs-in-Residence
Harvard Business School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship is considered by many as the top program for entrepreneurial studies in the nation. One of many benefits HBS students can take advantage of is the experience of the school’s annual cohort of Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.

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Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, the program invites seasoned and successful entrepreneurs and investors to spend time on the HBS campus throughout the academic year, advising MBA students eager to start their own companies and working with faculty on research and course development.

The nineteen Entrepreneurs-in-Residence for 2015-16 are:

  • Ajay Agarwal (MBA 1995), a managing director at Bain Capital Ventures in Palo Alto, where he focuses on early-stage software, mobile, and internet investing.
  • Julia Austin, formerly of Akamai and VMware and currently an independent advisor and investor at Austinfish in Cambridge, MA, with an interest in early-stage companies across multiple verticals.
  • Stephen Bonner, formerly president and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America and now a member of its board of directors.
  • David Chang (MBA 2001), a five-time entrepreneur/operator, angel investor in 35 startups, and leader in the entrepreneurship community who recently ran the PayPal Boston office.
  • Sam Clemens (MBA 2004), founder and chief product officer at InsightSquared in Cambridge, MA, whose expertise is in product management and development for business-to-business software startups.
  • Chuck Davis (MBA 1986), a venture partner with Technology Crossover Ventures in Los Angeles and CEO of Swagbucks, the leading online rewards and cash-back shopping program.
  • David Frankel (MBA 2003), founder and managing partner of Founder Collective, a seed-stage fund based in Boston and New York.
  • Janet Kraus, a serial entrepreneur who is now CEO of Peach, a startup that provides women with better fitting, more thoughtfully designed lingerie and basics in the privacy of their home.
  • Sharon Peyer (MBA 2006), founder and head of business development for Boston-based HitBliss, a digital equipment service.
  • Jules Pieri (MBA 1986), cofounder and CEO of The Grommet, a product launch platform in Somerville, MA, that has helped FitBit and SodaStream get off the ground.
  • Ruben Pinchanski (MBA 1993), cofounder of Digitas and an expert in building and advising e-commerce businesses.
  • Katie Rae, cofounder and managing director of Project 11, a venture fund in Boston that partners with early-stage startups to accelerate growth. She was previously managing director of TechStars Boston.
  • Duke Rohlen (MBA 2001), CEO of medical-device maker Spirox as well as chairman and CEO of Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics.
  • Rudina Seseri (MBA 2005), a partner at Fairhaven Capital in Boston, where she invests in startups, works with founders and executive teams, and develops strategies for growing businesses.
  • Jim Sharpe (MBA 1976), an entrepreneur with years of experience in running small and medium enterprises and turnarounds and meeting the challenges of work/life balance issues with his wife, also an HBS alum.
  • Martin Sinozich, founding partner of Venn Capital and an active angel investor and entrepreneur, with interests in fundraising and pitching, scaling rapid-growth businesses, and positioning closely-held businesses for exit.
  • Michael Skok, cofounding partner of Assemble.VC an active early stage venture fund. Michael has enabled billions of dollars of value creation as both a venture investor for the past 12 years and an entrepreneur of more than 20 years, and is the creator of the popular startupsecrets.com course he teaches at the Harvard Innovation Lab.
  • Jim Southern (MBA 1983), a founding partner of Pacific Lake Partners in Boston, which concentrates on small capitalization buyouts via the search fund model, and provides entrepreneurs with search and acquisition capital.
  • Russ Wilcox (MBA 1995), former CEO of E Ink, the company behind the display technology used in the Kindle and other e-readers.
Through a community of support, access to content, and a gateway to entrepreneurial ecosystems everywhere, the Rock Center helps students and alumni create ventures that revolutionize and galvanizes the entire HBS community with the energy and spirit for What’s Next.

You may also be interested in:
Harvard Appoints New iLab Director

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What to Expect During the MIT Sloan MBA Interview [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2015, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What to Expect During the MIT Sloan MBA Interview
Earlier this week, Jennifer Barba, Associate Director of Admissions at MIT Sloan School of Management, posted a video describing what applicants can expect during their MBA interview.

As a reminder, the school has introduced a second short-answer question this year, which is only for students invited to interview and must be completed prior to the interview. The question is:

The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. Please share with us something about your past that aligns with this mission. (250 words or fewer)

At the interview, which usually lasts 30-45 minutes, Barba says applicants will meet with a professional member of the admissions committee whether they interview on the road or on campus. The conversation will kick off with a few clarifying questions based on data from your application, followed by three or four behavioral questions about your past experiences.

Barba says this type of question could cover something like, “Tell me about a situation where you had a difficult interaction with a team member.” You can then expect several followup questions based on your response, as well as time at the end to ask questions of your own.

To prepare for the interview, Barba suggests applicants come prepared to talk about things they haven’t already shared in their application. Also, come with questions that are different, or more thoughtful, than what you can easily find on the website FAQs. Show that you’ve really done your research on MIT Sloan, because the admissions team is trying to assess your fit and see how much you really want to be there.

As always, dress professionally and be mindful that the AdCom is paying attention to every interaction you have with the school, from your application to the day of your interview, to the thank-you note you send afterward, and all of it will help Sloan evaluate your fit with the school.

Invitations to interview will continue to be released until next week, at which time all R1 applicants will have received word of their status. Good luck to all MIT Sloan interviewees!

You may also be interested in:
MIT Sloan Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

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UC Berkeley Haas Joins the Global Network [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2015, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: UC Berkeley Haas Joins the Global Network
The UC Berkeley Haas School of Business has become the 28th member of the Global Network for Advanced Management, a network of top business schools committed to educating global leaders, the school announced yesterday.

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Berkeley-Haas is the second top U.S.-based business school to join the Global Network, established by Yale School of Management Dean Edward Snyder in 2012, and brings unique depth in innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology as well as a close connection with Silicon Valley. Since its launch, the Global Network has added seven member schools.

As the newest member school, Berkeley-Haas will gain full access to the Global Network’s innovative pedagogical initiatives that connect students and faculty with peers across a range of global economies, including both developed nations and fast-growing economies, such as Indonesia, Turkey, and Chile.

Some of the most popular Global Network programs include Global Network Weeks, through which students travel to other member schools for mini-courses in areas of special expertise on those campuses, and Global Network Courses, online for-credit courses offered by member schools in which students learn about pressing global questions and work in dispersed, culturally diverse teams.

“Participation in the Global Network for Advanced Management will add a rich global opportunity to the education we offer,” says Berkeley-Haas Dean Rich Lyons. “Global business is a top interest of our students, and the network model enables us to connect with more regions, cultures, and economies at once than would be possible through partnerships or other conventional programs.”

Yale SOM Dean Snyder said that Berkeley-Haas will increase the power of the Global Network to impact the full range of programs at top business schools, including the full-time MBA as well as non-degree executive education.

“Every top school must prepare students for the intensely globalized business world,” says  Snyder. “Working in teams with peers across institutional boundaries and from diverse backgrounds is now an imperative.  Those who have greater experience will be more effective in addressing the major challenges of our age.”

You may also be interested in:
Yale SOM Has Global Partnerships in the Works

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The Dreaded Ding [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2015, 07:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: The Dreaded Ding
A few weeks ago, Harvard Business School sent out the balance of its Round 1 interview invitations—followed by “release” notices to the majority of applicants. That means thousands of MBA hopefuls around the world recently received their first big fat DING.

While some people are able to easily shrug off this unfortunate news, others have a tough time dealing with what they see as “rejection.” If you’ve been feeling down ever since mid-October, we want to remind you why you should keep your chin up.

First off, all of the top MBA programs are notorious for being extremely selective. It may be that out of every 100 people who submit materials, only 7 – 12 are accepted. In other words, it’s very much a numbers game when you’re applying to such competitive programs. There are only so many spots for an overwhelming number of extremely talented candidates.

As such, a past dean of HBS used to kick off his speech to new first-year students by stating that the school could’ve easily added an additional 900 candidates to the graduating class who were equally qualified. His point was that while admitted students were certainly accomplished and deserving, a little bit of luck played into their outcomes as well.

That may be hard to accept for people who have reached every single goal they’ve ever gone after. But it’s the truth. Once you’ve pulled together a strong application and hit “submit,” the process is out of your hands. You will never be able to do anything about who (or how many people) you were truly competing against for a spot, who read your application, or what kind of mood they were in that day.

The good news is that your results for a certain school are only the results for that school. They have absolutely no bearing on what you’ll hear from other programs. So there’s no need to panic or to question your approach. You should remain hopeful that positive news from another school may be right around the corner.

Remember:

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Women Now Make Up 40% at Many Elite MBA Programs [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2015, 12:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Women Now Make Up 40% at Many Elite MBA Programs
New data released this week by the Forté Foundation shows that the number of women in top business schools is slowly inching upward. The organization, which is dedicated to launching women into successful careers through access to business education, noted an increase of nearly 4% since 2011.

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This momentum is further supported by the findings that females make up 40% or more of students at 12 Forté member business schools in the U.S. this year, compared to 2014, when just five schools were able to make that claim.

Also, 16 elite business schools reported having 35% female enrollment, a dramatic increase over a decade ago in 2005, when only three schools hit that target.

Top-ranked U.S. Forté Foundation member schools with 40% or more female enrollment include:

  • Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business
  • Harvard Business School
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  • Chicago Booth School of Business
  • The Wharton School
  • Yale School of Management
Notable Forté member schools with female enrollment at 35% or more:

  • Columbia Business School
  • Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business
  • Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business
  • University of Maryland’s Robert H Smith School of Business
  • London Business School
Forté Foundation has introduced many initiatives to help build the female MBA and business leadership pipelines since its creation in 2001. Its most recent pilot initiative called “Rising Star” launched in September 2015 on 10 U.S. campuses, and is geared toward helping undergraduate women become better informed about their career options in business, and to compete for top jobs.

“There is some evidence that earning an MBA is a ticket to the top as 41% of Fortune 100 CEOs have an MBA, according to our research. While we’re asking women to lean in, we need to also consider the education gap at business schools,” says Elissa Sangster, Executive Director of the Forté Foundation.

“In 2011, less than a third of MBA students were women. Today we’re inching closer to 40% in the U.S. and working to close the gap significantly in another five years. Every percentage point is not only hard earned, but something to celebrate, and should go a long way in building the senior leadership pipeline at companies and on boards,” Sangster says.

Image credit: Flickr user Penn State (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
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3 Research Tips for Veterans Applying to Business Schools [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2015, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 3 Research Tips for Veterans Applying to Business Schools
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Although some armed forces veterans might not immediately see the correlation between their skills and experiences from the military and those needed to lead a Fortune 500 company, the truth is that business schools admire the leadership skills, grit and mental agility these applicants typically possess.

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria once wrote an editorial in the Washington Post about how MBA programs should target more veterans, saying, “Business school can be a pathway for integrating our service members back into civilian life, and for finding new ways to engage their intellect, integrity and leadership at home.”

If you are planning a transition from active military service to business school, begin your research by finding out how each of the programs measures up in the following three areas.

1. Explore culture and fit: Every applicant should consider whether the business schools that interest them are good fits as far as class size, teaching method, location and general culture are concerned. A good fit is even more important for veterans, however, since their background is quite different from the majority of candidates. The adjustment from active service to a classroom can be challenging, and having strong outlets of support from the school makes a world of difference.

Once on campus, find out how many students are in the MBA program. Veterans at top-tier business schools typically make up about 5 percent of each incoming class, and too few fellow service men and women may leave students wishing for more peers they can relate to.

Find out what kinds of special programs for veterans exist, and whether the business school has student clubs or organizations created specifically for veterans. Also, look into what kind of personalized academic and career support is available to veterans to help translate their military skills into civilian life.

Reach out to current students for their honest feedback about daily life in the program with details that go beyond what you discover on the school website or by chatting with admissions officers.

2. Consider recruiting efforts: Another telltale sign of a highly military-friendly school is whether it hosts MBA admissions events exclusively to recruit veterans. Examples include the Veteran Prospective Student Day at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School; the Veteran’s Ambassadors event at MIT Sloan School of Management; and Military Visit Day at Tuck School of Business. Coming up next week on November 13th, Columbia Business School will host its own Spotlight on: Military in Business Association.

Even if the school you’re thinking about doesn’t host an admissions event specifically for military applicants, you can still get a fair assessment of how eager the program is to recruit veterans by looking at whether it provides support services starting during the application phase – not only once you’re admitted. Also, find out if the school offers deferment flexibility to candidates whose needs may change at the last minute if still on active duty.

3. Look into financial aid: The high cost of business school often deters veteran applicants. Many already have families of their own, and the concern over lost wages while they study cannot be overstated.

However, there are so many financial incentives specifically designed for this group that one’s actual out-of-pocket expense goes down dramatically once you factor in Veterans Affairs benefits, dedicated veterans scholarships, waived application fees and the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Under this program, the federal government matches, dollar for dollar, any financial aid that participating schools commit, essentially providing eligible student veterans with free or reduced-cost tuition. It’s designed to make out-of-state public colleges, private institutions and graduate programs more affordable for veterans.

Schools offer varying levels of support under the Yellow Ribbon Program, so visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website to learn whether the business school has limits on the number of recipients eligible annually – some are unlimited – and to see the exact dollar amount of the maximum school contribution per student, per year.

Stanford Graduate School of Business, for example, has no limits on the number of eligible veterans and contributes $16,500 per student, per year. The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University caps the number at 40 participants and offers $18,000 annually. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, meanwhile, accepts 50 students under the Yellow Ribbon Program and contributes up to $15,000 a year.

“The Yellow Ribbon Program is the best indicator of how much a school truly supports veterans and when you apply it really should be part of your research,” wrote Dave Dauphinais, a Navy veteran who served in special operations for 10 years and is currently enrolled in the joint MBA and MPA program between Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, on Tuck’s website.

“The program is voluntary for schools in the amount of money offered by the school and in the number of veterans they will support so it serves as a telling indicator,” he wrote.

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Round 1 Reactions to Chicago Booth’s New Photo Essay Question [#permalink]

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New post 12 Nov 2015, 14:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Round 1 Reactions to Chicago Booth’s New Photo Essay Question
The Chicago Booth School of Business made a dramatic departure this application season with its innovative essay question based on a series of photographs—applicants must select one picture and explain how it resonates with their own viewpoint on why the Booth community is the right fit for them.

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As Round 1 interviews get underway, associate dean of admissions Kurt Ahlm shares some insight on the Booth Insider blog about how applicants have approached the photo essay.

“The intent of the essay is to get a better feel for who you are, how you think, and the unique impact you bring to the Booth community,” Ahlm explains. “We’ve been really impressed and have seen applicants take a very personal approach with their chosen image, as well as give profound reasons for wanting to be a part of this community.”

The photo is simply a way to contextualize and personalize the response, says Ahlm.

Michael Scichili, a Booth applicant featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article about the trend of unusual MBA essay prompts, said he thought the concept was “a little weird” at first.

He ultimately chose to write about a picture of Cloud Gate, the bean-shaped sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Scichili told the WSJ his essay focused on how the sculpture “distorts reality a little bit and makes things seem as though they’re not the way they are,” a reminder that in solving business problems, “you have to make sure you’re cognizant of your own bias.”

We’ve advised clients to think strategically about this question and chose a photo which resonates most specifically with them. You have the freedom to express who you are in words, images, graphics or some combination.

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.

The Booth admissions dean says that, “At the end of the day, we are looking for you to bring a new element about yourself into the essay, something that you haven’t already shared in other sections of the application.”

You may also be interested in:

Chicago Booth Debuts Bold New Essay Format

Chicago Booth Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

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Guiding Your Business School Recommenders [#permalink]

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New post 16 Nov 2015, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Guiding Your Business School Recommenders
As the majority of Round 2 deadlines are in early January, you should follow up with your recommenders now to ensure they are pacing themselves and won’t be crunched for time once all of the year-end craziness hits.

These contacts are doing you a huge favor, and it would be a shame if they had to take time away from their families and friends over the holidays because you hadn’t gently reminded them about their upcoming responsibility. While b-school applications might be consuming your life right now, they’re probably not top-of-mind for your recommenders.

When you do your check-in, there’s a chance your recommenders may ask you to review what they’ve written so far. Or they may just want to verbally confirm that they’re covering the right points in their letters.

This is your opportunity to remind them that the most critical thing they can do is include examples to back up any claims they’ve made about your strengths or personality traits.

Many recommenders—especially those who aren’t familiar with the MBA application process—think that if they simply sing your praises and repeat how great you are in various different ways, that will be enough. Unfortunately, it’s not. The best way for your recommenders to help you stand out from thousands of other highly qualified applicants is by painting a clear picture of who you are both professionally and personally.

Sharing details of how you contributed to projects or giving specific examples of how you interact with others or went above and beyond (including funny anecdotes or quips that give insight into your personality)—these are the things that make for a great recommendation letter.

Having said all that, if your recommenders don’t intend to share what they’ve written, don’t worry! Chances are you asked them to do this very important task because you know they’re competent people who will try their best to set you apart from the pack. But if they do ask for any advice as the deadlines near, just be sure to drive home the importance of going heavy on the examples.

And when your recommenders’ letters are in, don’t forget to do something nice to thank them!

Think of it this way:

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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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MBA Interview Tips to Help You Knock It Out of the Park [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2015, 07:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: MBA Interview Tips to Help You Knock It Out of the Park
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As you may guess, the purpose of the MBA admissions interview is twofold: it gives the AdCom a chance to see a candidate’s personality, leadership qualities and motivation for pursuing an MBA, and it also lets applicants tell their own story beyond the essays and other materials in the application. Once you receive an interview invitation, your focus should be on preparation.

Research your target program thoroughly, which means tapping into all resources available to you, such as networking with alumni at admissions events or reaching out to current students. Try coming up with a list of questions and see how many of them you can answer after a simple search of the school’s website. If you can’t easily find an answer, that’s probably a good topic to discuss in your interview.

Many interviews will begin with some version of “Tell me about yourself” or “Walk me through your resume.” It can be hard to know where to begin with this.  One approach is to simply ask, “Where would you like me to begin?”  As an applicant, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for further clarification, as this also makes the interview more of a conversation.

Remember that the interview is a dialog, often with someone who could soon be your peer. Don’t feel like you need to read their mind and immediately know what they are looking for. In general, you will begin this question with college and provide a brief chronology regarding decisions from there.

In addition to asking insightful questions, make sure you explain why the school you’re interviewing with is the best fit for you. What are the specific courses, programs, and professors that will help you reach your goals? It’s even better if you can highlight your need for academic offerings unique to this school.

Some applicants have reported being asked, “Tell me about yourself—not the resume stuff.” This is a different type of question, where you might start with where you grew up and provide more personal anecdotes about family and personal interests.

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Schools are trying to create a well-rounded class of individuals. They want to know that you’re bringing personal interests to their campus that you’ll share with other classmates. So you should tell them about your recent scuba diving trip in Belize, your role as the food and wine connoisseur among friends, your love for historical fiction, your favorite college class in evolutionary biology, and your opinions on globalization.

Interviewers should be able to imagine you as the classmate who will organize trips, plan dinners, start a book club, etc.  They don’t want to think that you are just about business and academics all of the time.

Alumni interviewers enjoy reminiscing about their experiences, and will especially like any questions about clubs or activities they were part of, while current students can provide a great perspective on what they wish they had known, or the most interesting aspect of their MBA experience.

As you prepare for your interview, one of the most important tips to remember is to sound natural—not scripted—during the exchange.  Instead of trying to remember and include every last one of your memorized bullet points, focus on succinctly answering only the question at hand.

Wrap up the interview with a sincere thank you for the interviewer’s time, and remember to ask for a business card if you haven’t already received one. Send a thank-you note or email within the week, and try to include a memorable detail from your conversation to help the interviewer remember you as well as to reiterate your interest in attending the school.

The interaction in an MBA interview speaks volumes about what kind of teammate you will be when you are in the program, so make sure the right message is coming across loud and clear.

Image credit: Flickr user thinkpanama(CC BY-NC 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

MBA Interview Tips to Help You Knock It Out of the Park   [#permalink] 17 Nov 2015, 07:00

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