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4 Times Pursuing an MBA Makes Sense [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 4 Times Pursuing an MBA Makes Sense


This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
For many people, business school is the ideal platform to continue their professional and personal development and achieve their career goals. Take a look at these common motivating factors to determine whether you, too, should head back to the classroom for an MBA.

1. You want to switch careers. By some estimates, at least two-thirds of MBA applicants look to business school as a surefire way to launch their career in a new direction.

One past client, Sheila, worked as a real estate attorney focused on commercial transactions when she decided that she found working with the financial details of transactions more interesting than the legal intricacies. She passed the first level of the Certified Financial Analyst exam and had a great deal of financial knowledge, but a very limited understanding of other areas of business management.

Sheila had come to a point in her career where she knew what she wanted to work on for the rest of her professional life. Though the CFA program is a tremendous resource, she had enough experience to know that she needed to develop the skills best provided by earning an MBA. Going to business school became the next logical step toward her objective of working in real estate banking at a Wall Street firm.

2. Your target company demands it. If your sights are set on working for companies such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co., McKinsey & Co. or Boston Consulting Group, know that having the MBA credential is typically an unspoken requirement. These top banking and consulting firms mandate MBA degrees for upper management positions.

While they hire employees with bachelor’s degrees for entry-level positions, the understanding is that associates will work for a few years and then head to business school to earn the degree that will open doors to senior management and partner positions.

Even if smaller firms don’t require the MBA outright, employees find they advance up the ladder much faster with the graduate management degree.

3. You hit a ceiling. When Constance first came to us, she had already spent six years working in consulting and banking, but in her current role her contributions were narrowly focused on one piece of the client’s puzzle. To broaden her role and shift to strategic consulting for financial institutions, Constance needed an MBA.

She knew her experience with strategy and working for banks would enable her to participate in the classroom, but MBA courses in financial accounting, financial engineering and risk management would expand her knowledge and give her the full toolkit for landing a position as an associate at a top-tier consulting firm in the U.S. or Europe.

Constance’s long-term goal involved eventually taking a partner role at a smaller, niche consulting firm. Business school was a crucial next step for transition.

4. You need new skills. Our former client Peter’s undergraduate degree was in art history from a small liberal arts college. While most of his classmates had pursued Ph.Ds for a career in academia, he had always wanted to find a way to combine his creative interests within a team-based environment.

Peter began his career in an entry-level position at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the arts education group. Within a few years he was on a strong trajectory within MoMA, but Peter really wanted to focus on entrepreneurial activity within the arts world. He decided he needed an MBA to gain the hard financial and management skills required to meet that goal.

As you can see, every individual’s needs and motivations are different. When you map out your medium- and long-term professional goals, think about what gaps you have and whether an MBA could be that transformational experience that changes your career trajectory forever.

Image credit: Flickr user Stefan(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
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4 Times Pursuing an MBA Makes Total Sense [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 4 Times Pursuing an MBA Makes Total Sense


This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
For many people, business school is the ideal platform to continue their professional and personal development and achieve their career goals. Take a look at these common motivating factors to determine whether you, too, should head back to the classroom for an MBA.

1. You want to switch careers. By some estimates, at least two-thirds of MBA applicants look to business school as a surefire way to launch their career in a new direction.

One past client, Sheila, worked as a real estate attorney focused on commercial transactions when she decided that she found working with the financial details of transactions more interesting than the legal intricacies. She passed the first level of the Certified Financial Analyst exam and had a great deal of financial knowledge, but a very limited understanding of other areas of business management.

Sheila had come to a point in her career where she knew what she wanted to work on for the rest of her professional life. Though the CFA program is a tremendous resource, she had enough experience to know that she needed to develop the skills best provided by earning an MBA. Going to business school became the next logical step toward her objective of working in real estate banking at a Wall Street firm.

2. Your target company demands it. If your sights are set on working for companies such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co., McKinsey & Co. or Boston Consulting Group, know that having the MBA credential is typically an unspoken requirement. These top banking and consulting firms mandate MBA degrees for upper management positions.

While they hire employees with bachelor’s degrees for entry-level positions, the understanding is that associates will work for a few years and then head to business school to earn the degree that will open doors to senior management and partner positions.

Even if smaller firms don’t require the MBA outright, employees find they advance up the ladder much faster with the graduate management degree.

3. You hit a ceiling. When Constance first came to us, she had already spent six years working in consulting and banking, but in her current role her contributions were narrowly focused on one piece of the client’s puzzle. To broaden her role and shift to strategic consulting for financial institutions, Constance needed an MBA.

She knew her experience with strategy and working for banks would enable her to participate in the classroom, but MBA courses in financial accounting, financial engineering and risk management would expand her knowledge and give her the full toolkit for landing a position as an associate at a top-tier consulting firm in the U.S. or Europe.

Constance’s long-term goal involved eventually taking a partner role at a smaller, niche consulting firm. Business school was a crucial next step for transition.

4. You need new skills. Our former client Peter’s undergraduate degree was in art history from a small liberal arts college. While most of his classmates had pursued Ph.Ds for a career in academia, he had always wanted to find a way to combine his creative interests within a team-based environment.

Peter began his career in an entry-level position at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the arts education group. Within a few years he was on a strong trajectory within MoMA, but Peter really wanted to focus on entrepreneurial activity within the arts world. He decided he needed an MBA to gain the hard financial and management skills required to meet that goal.

As you can see, every individual’s needs and motivations are different. When you map out your medium- and long-term professional goals, think about what gaps you have and whether an MBA could be that transformational experience that changes your career trajectory forever.

Image credit: Flickr user Stefan(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
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Deciding Which MBA Program is Right for You [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Deciding Which MBA Program is Right for You


Are you gearing up to apply for an MBA program this fall? I can’t stress enough how important it is to put significant thought into which programs you’re going to dedicate dozens of hours to over the coming months, so here are just a few of the things you should be thinking about.

First and foremost, you should look beyond the MBA rankings and give serious consideration to your own preferences regarding teaching methods, curriculum flexibility, rural or urban setting, large or small program, general management approach or concentration-focused, as programs vary widely and the MBA is not a one-size-fits-all degree.

Many people wonder whether  they should pursue a general or specialized MBA. Personally, I feel that a general MBA prepares you better to be a business leader, because running a business involves an understanding of all aspects of the business. It also allows networking and an exchange of ideas with all different types of people with different backgrounds and goals.

Next, do your research to come up with a shortlist of business schools that meet those requirements, and then focus on how these programs can deliver on each of those attributes. Speak to alumni and current students at each school, and don’t forget to pick the brains of your mentors and colleagues who have MBAs to learn about their personal experiences.

Much of your list can be determined as you progress through the process. As you become more invested in going to business school, and your story solidifies, you may decide to add additional schools. As you clarify your goals, you may consider schools that you had never looked at in the past. Similarly, this process may cause you to drop schools.

Once you clearly see what makes each school different, you’ll understand which schools may best fit your needs. This will help you write your essays in a way that clearly shows fit by linking your needs to the schools’ culture.

But fit goes both ways. Schools are also seeking candidates that fit their unique culture. You can better understand the school’s culture by attending events this summer and fall. Also, don’t forget to keep up with those school-hosted online chats that provide admissions advice as well as insider knowledge about specific career paths or concentrations on offer.

Part of preparing a strong application includes knowing yourself well by doing a self-assessment. Know what you want to get out of your MBA experience and why a particular program fits your educational and personal needs.

Finally, I suggest creating a timeline of the deadlines of when you plan to apply. Working backward from this timeline will help you set goals in terms of GMAT preparation, essay writing, planning to attend events, etc. The sooner you hash out these details, the better prepared you’ll be to fine-tune your application and polish those essays.

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Tuck MBA Has 3 Tips for Military Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuck MBA Has 3 Tips for Military Applicants


Coming from the armed forces rather than a civilian career path prior to business school can give rise to certain difficulties when drafting an application. Luckily, the Tuck 360 MBA Blog at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business has published a post with advice targeted toward veteran applicants just in time for its upcoming Military Visit Day on April 18th.

Earlier this week, first-year MBA student David Donahue described his own journey from the Marines to b-school, and now shares three tips for business school candidates with military backgrounds.

Here’s an overview of his tips, but definitely check out Donahue’s story through the link above for more details.

Tip 1: get comfortable talking about yourself. “What sets you apart from other applicants? It’s okay to replace the ‘we’ with an ‘I’ here or there in an effort to really explain your impact,” says Donahue.

Tip 2: Decide which learning environment suits you best. “Understanding the environment in which you would be most successful is crucial to narrowing down the schools that appeal the most to you,” he notes.

Tip 3: What’s your story? Donahue says applicants should be able to answer these questions: “Why did you join the military? Why do you want to go to business school? What do you want to do after business school?”

An MBA is a great next step for transitioning veterans no matter what branch of service they come from. Applicants from the military should know that business school admissions teams highly value their experience, so if that’s your background, make sure your  applications highlight those powerful and unique qualities.

You may also be interested in:
Attention, Military Applicants

Overcome 3 MBA Application Challenges Facing Military Veterans

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To-Do List for Admitted, Waitlisted or Denied MBA Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: To-Do List for Admitted, Waitlisted or Denied MBA Applicants


With round two notifications pouring in from many schools, MBA hopefuls need to know what to do now, no matter which status group—admitted, waitlisted, denied—they fall into.

Once the celebrating has died down, admitted applicants should focus on two things: getting their finances in order, and tactfully informing supervisors of their impending departure, especially if the news will come as a surprise.

Admitted students will receive a package of information from their school about public and private loans and scholarships. Many top schools offer varying types of financial support, though the majority of students will need to figure out how to pay for the bulk of their graduate management education.

The program may have access to loans or lines of credit for both domestic and international MBA students and will sometimes act as the guarantor for private loans. Getting your credit in order before applying for a loan is crucial, so make sure to regularly check your credit report and fix any errors that appear before it’s time to begin the loan application process.

When it comes to letting your bosses know of your plans, diplomacy and professionalism are key. In an ideal world, you would have already included your supervisor in the process by asking her or him to act as a recommender for your application.

If that was not possible, use good judgment to determine how much notice your employer should reasonably expect. Present your resignation in writing, and explain why you’re moving on. Remember, your supervisor and colleagues form a part of your developing network, and you should make every effort to avoid burning bridges from this point in your career.

Applicants who have just received word that they’ve landed on the wait list of their dream school need to manage this state of MBA limbo well. Follow the rules of your particular school and know that the wait list is often a test of your judgment.

If the program does provide the option of submitting additional materials, be judicious when deciding what to send. Exercise restraint in communications, but also convey your enthusiasm whenever possible, as they want to be sure you’ll say yes if admitted.

For those facing the dreaded “ding” from their program of choice, the blow can feel devastating. If possible, seek feedback from the admissions committee to learn precisely what, if any, were the weaknesses in your application.

Give yourself time to detox and cool off, but not too long. Planning needs to start as soon as possible, so you can show improvement before you apply in the next Round 1, which is only six months away. Schools look quite favorably upon re-applicants, as it shows a strong interest in the program.

Be ruthless in assessing the good and the less-than-stellar aspects of your application, and act on the feedback you receive so that when you do reapply, the admissions committee will be able to see real growth and commitment to strengthening your candidacy.

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How to Decide Between MBA Programs [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: How to Decide Between MBA Programs
If  you’ve been accepted into more than one MBA program, congratulations! Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how many people wish they were you right now. We certainly hope you understand how impressive this achievement is and have taken some time to celebrate accordingly.

But, now you have a tough decision to make. You probably only applied to schools you were truly interested in, and soon it will be time to choose between two of them (or more). How should you figure out where to spend eighteen months of your life—not to mention tens of thousands of dollars?

Step one is to attend each program’s Admit Weekend. Spending time on campus and around current students and other admitted applicants will go a long way in helping you decide which program is the better fit. If you cannot find a way to go to the Admit Weekend for each school you’ve been accepted to, do everything else you can to at least visit campus and sit in on a few classes. Worst-case scenario: try to speak or Skype with alumni and current students.

Then think about where you want to end up geographically after graduation. Is one program in your desired city—or at least in the same overall region? Does one program have a reputation for helping its students land jobs in the area you want to live?

If location isn’t a concern, then focus on what does matter most to you: recruitment stats for certain industries? Diversity? International opportunities? We know you reviewed all of this information when you were deciding where to apply in the first place, but now it warrants a second, closer look.

In the end, this may be the best advice of all:



 

 

 

 

 

***

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Georgetown McDonough Partners with Peace Corps for MBA Scholarship Pro [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Georgetown McDonough Partners with Peace Corps for MBA Scholarship Program


The Peace Corps has chosen Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business to join its Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship Program, the school announced this week. Coverdell Fellows will receive a rigorous business education that also prepares them to make a positive impact on the community through careers in for-profit, non-profit, or non-governmental organizations.

Georgetown McDonough says it will waive the application fee for all returned Peace Corps volunteers who apply to the program, and those admitted to the full-time MBA program as a Coverdell Fellow will receive a minimum of $10,000 in tuition scholarship funding per year as well as the ability to apply for graduate assistantships.

Once enrolled, all fellows complete internships in under-served American communities, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as volunteers. A highlight of the Fellows program is the required Global Business Experience, which allows students to consult for an international company and solve real-world problems for a client. This six to eight-week experience culminates in a one-week global trip to meet with and present recommendations to the client.

“Georgetown University has a longstanding commitment to being men and women for others, as well as understanding the intricacies of different cultures around the world,” said David A. Thomas, dean of Georgetown McDonough, in a statement announcing the news. “By joining the Coverdell Fellows Program, we can reward incoming MBAs who already have the global mindset and value for serving society that we teach in our programs.”

In Georgetown’s optional application essay, eligible volunteers should note that they would like to be considered for the fellowship. Visit the Peace Corps website for more information.

Image credit: Georgetown McDonough School of Business

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INSEAD Deadlines for September 2017, January 2018 Intakes [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: INSEAD Deadlines for September 2017, January 2018 Intakes


INSEAD has posted the MBA application deadlines for the September 2017 and January 2018 intakes. They are as follows:

September 2017 Intake (Class of July 2018)
Round 1

Deadline: September 21, 2016

Interview Decision Notification: October 21, 2016

Final Decision Notification: November 25, 2016

Round 2

Deadline: November 30, 2016

Interview Decision Notification: January 13, 2017

Final Decision Notification: February 17, 2017

Round 3

Deadline: January 25, 2017

Interview Decision Notification: February 24, 2017

Final Decision Notification: March 31, 2017

Round 4

Deadline: March 1, 2017

Interview Decision Notification: April 7, 2017

Final Decision Notification: May 12, 2017

January 2018 Intake (Class of December 2018)
Round 1

Deadline: March 15, 2017

Interview Decision Notification: April 21, 2017

Final Decision Notification: May 24, 2017

Round 2

Deadline: May 3, 2017

Interview Decision Notification: June 2, 2017

Final Decision Notification: July 7, 2017

Round 3

Deadline: June 14, 2017

Interview Decision Notification: July 13, 2017

Final Decision Notification: September 8, 2017

Round 4

Deadline: July 26, 2017

Interview Decision Notification: August 26, 2017

Final Decision Notification: September 25, 2017

Applications must be completed and submitted by midnight French Time on the day of the deadline. For more information, please visit INSEAD’s admissions website.

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Chicago Booth Alum Gifts $10M for Veteran MBA Scholarships [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Chicago Booth Alum Gifts $10M for Veteran MBA Scholarships

Military veterans seeking an MBA degree at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business will have a significant leg up, thanks to the $10 million gift from alumnus Eric Gleacher to fund a groundbreaking scholarship program for U.S. veterans.

The Gleacher Veteran Scholars Fund will provide a permanent source of scholarship support to help veterans bridge the gap between the benefits they have earned from the government and the remaining costs associated with receiving their MBA degrees from Booth.

The number of veteran students in Booth’s programs has increased substantially over the past several years, and currently, there are 78 veterans enrolled.

The Marines taught me a great deal about leadership, which is crucial to the success of every business.  A Booth MBA can inspire veteran students as future business leaders, preparing them for successful careers as entrepreneurs and executives in major companies.

“It was a winning combination, and I want to make it possible for those who have served our country to have the same opportunity,” Gleacher said.

Booth has built a reputation for providing veteran support through participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a voluntary program that allows universities to enter into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the established thresholds under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

The Gleacher Veteran Scholars Fund will allow Booth to sustain and expand its financial support for veterans.

“Military veterans bring a great deal to the Chicago Booth community in terms of their experience, commitment to service, and maturity. I’m delighted we have significantly increased the number of veterans in our programs,” said Sunil Kumar, Booth Dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Operations Management.

“Eric’s gift will make pursuing an MBA at Booth significantly more affordable for many of these veterans, and thus will have a substantially positive impact on the Booth community as a whole.”

To learn more about Gleacher’s gift, please click here.

Photo by: Mackenzie Stroh for Chicago Booth School of Business
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Seemingly Similar MBA Applicants, Different Outcomes [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Seemingly Similar MBA Applicants, Different Outcomes
If Round 2 results from your dream school are in and you didn’t get the news you were hoping for, it can be pretty devastating. After months of hard work on your application and then a few more months of anxiety-ridden waiting, finding out that you weren’t accepted is tough.

When you’re already feeling confused, down or angry, learning that a friend or co-worker did get in is like having salt poured in your proverbial wound. If you believe you’re actually more qualified than the person you know who was accepted, it’s even worse.

Why do scenarios like this come to pass? How can it be that two people who work at the same place or are similar “on paper” meet such different MBA fates? How can someone who’s a stellar candidate receive a ding when a seemingly so-so applicant is accepted?

There are three main answers to those questions:

The MBA application process is subjective. Admissions committees consider thousands and thousands of qualified applicants each year and have developed a strong sense for who will fit best with their program. While you may think you’d be more of an asset to a certain school than an acquaintance who got in, the admissions committee felt differently.

You don’t know absolutely everything about your friend or co-worker’s candidacy. If you did your homework on the MBA process, you know that AdComs are looking for what makes applicants tick. They want to understand your personality. They are interested in more than just your career experience and “stats.”

Even if you read your friend’s essays, you probably don’t know every single detail that was included in their applications and recommendation letters, nor do you know everything that was discussed in their interview. Chances are your demographics, backgrounds and motivations are not as similar as you might have thought, and the AdCom saw something in your friend that they were looking for.

You may not have even been competing with your friend for a spot in the first place. As alluded to above, we know that each program strives to put together a diverse class of impressive people. However, no one knows the magic formula that any given AdCom uses to fill open spots.

But what we do know is that it’s not as straightforward as most applicants assume—meaning that everything from your gender to your industry to your nationality to your career aspirations, community service and personality comes into play when an AdCom attempts to build a graduating class.

We know how tempting it is to play the comparison game. But unfortunately, doing so won’t change anything or make you feel any better. The best thing you can do is try to be objective about how you could improve your candidacy if you reapply next year—or consider additional programs that might improve your odds.

Think of it this way:



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Key Career Benefits From MBA Programs [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 4 Key Career Benefits From MBA Programs

In one survey, 96 percent of employers said hiring business school graduates creates value for their companies.

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
Business school graduates benefit not only from a solid return on investment through substantial salary increases, but also by deepening the knowledge, skills and abilities they will need for future professional success.

Here are just four of the key career benefits MBA programs can offer.

1. Transferable skills: Business school gives you new skills and knowledge that will turbocharge your career. While MBA students often set their sights on a job in finance or consulting, the hard and soft skills acquired during an MBA program are transferable to myriad other roles. Today, you’ll find an increasing number of MBAs working in tech, health care, consumer goods, government and nonprofits, and many other industries.

The skills typically strengthened during an MBA – leadership, intellectual creativity, analysis and critical thinking, cross-cultural awareness, communication, even greater IT mastery – will serve you well as you find your way toward your ultimate career goal.

You may start out at a financial firm such as Morgan Stanley and learn a tremendous amount about banking and analysis before deciding that it’s not a good fit, as happened with my client, May. She built upon those skills when she eventually became involved with running a business as a gourmet food importer. Once you have a deeper understanding of the complexities of the business world, those problem-solving skills mastered during your MBA will carry over to your next position, and the one after that, too.

2. Higher employment rates: Having an MBA is a powerful tool that can increase job security with your current employer or within your current industry. When the Graduate Management Admission Council released its latest annual poll of employers, it forecasted robust 2016 hiring that reflects high demand for MBA graduates. A whopping 96 percent of responding employers agreed that hiring business school graduates creates value for their companies.

The MBA degree is also a powerful differentiator in a crowded marketplace. Recruiters have said that some of their corporate clients will not consider any candidate without an MBA, which shows just how much business leaders value this qualification. Employers believe it vets potential hires; you can safely assume an MBA graduate from Harvard Business School or the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania is going to bring considerable skills and business acumen to the job from day one.

Without a doubt, companies appreciate managers who have risen through the ranks, know the business inside and out and can get the job done. But they also like hiring MBAs for their ability to handle complex situations, be nimble and adapt in the face of a rapidly changing global environment. As outsiders, MBA hires can provide a broad or fresh perspective to see how to improve inefficiencies or come up with innovative solutions to business problems.

3. Degree specializations: Most MBA programs offer specializations or concentrations that allow you to do a deep dive into the nuances of a particular industry. These courses provide students with an opportunity to sample a few different industries or career paths to see whether it’s a good fit before taking the plunge.

Adding a concentration to an MBA is a good move for people who know exactly what they want to do with their career and who want to build a stronger skill base in that area. If you already know that you’re interested in something really specific, such as digital marketing, real estate, business analytics, social innovation, health care and so forth, earning an MBA with a concentration can make you even more marketable.

In today’s competitive job market, listing a concentration on your resume helps you stand out. However, if you are a career switcher and still testing the waters, you would be better off focusing on a general business education instead.

4. Networking opportunities: At business school, you’ll interact closely with talented individuals from all over the globe, which enhances the experience by exposing you to different business practices, cultures and points of view.

The connections you make are, for many, the single most valuable aspect of the MBA, so make sure you capitalize on the opportunities in and out of the classroom during your MBA studies. Your alumni network helps you stay connected to the university as well as to countless professional opportunities you can tap into throughout your career.

While the quality of the education at the most elite programs is guaranteed across the board, when you’re spending two years of your life and paying more than $100,000, it’s the network of contacts you build that make your MBA experience truly priceless.

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Choosing Among Multiple Offers of Admission [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Choosing Among Multiple Offers of Admission


Round Two business school decisions have come pouring in and some MBA applicants face not just two, but three or more offers of admission from their target schools.  Despite the adage, “You can never have too much of a good thing,” in reality, multiple b-school acceptances can produce a lot of anxiety in candidates.

If you find yourself with this enviable problem, consider the following when weighing multiple admissions offers. Forget about rankings and reputation and think long and hard about the other particulars of each school, such as size, academics or location

Does your desire to live in an urban setting outweigh a preference for a smaller class size? Is there a financial incentive that puts one school in the lead? Is the diversity of the student body important? Is the academic focus on case studies, or more experiential?

You might not have had a strong preference before, but you should tally up the different characteristics to see which way the wind really blows.

If you haven’t already visited the campus as part of your application process, now’s the time to do so. Sit in on a class, chat with students and professors, hang out on campus and generally soak up the atmosphere. This is where you’ll be spending the next two years of your life, so making sure the program is a good fit for you academically and socially is imperative.

Even if you have already toured the school, consider visiting again to attend events designed for admitted students so you can scope out your potential classmates. Fit is very important, and these people will become a part of your future network, so it makes sense to test drive your comfort level with them prior to committing. After all, if you just don’t  click with them now, how will you make those solid relationships that will serve you throughout your career?

Talking to alumni is another great way to guide your decision. Make sure the school graduates people who are working in your target industry, and who are excited about sharing their experiences and advice with current students.

The decision of where to pursue an MBA is a weighty one, so do your homework and understand the strengths and potential drawbacks of each of your options. But in the end keep in mind that there’s rarely a “wrong” choice to be made.

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What Does Columbia Business School Look for in Applicants? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What Does Columbia Business School Look for in Applicants?


Just like people, each MBA program has its own unique personality — and each has its own idea of a perfect match. Knowing what a business school is looking for in potential students can help you frame your skills, experience, and personality around the qualities they most value.

I recently shared my insights with Business Insider on the six characteristics that Columbia Business School looks for in its MBA applicants. CBS is known for its intellectually driven students who come from a wide array of educational, economic, social, cultural, and geographic backgrounds.

While the student body is certainly diverse, students do have a number of qualities in common, including strong leadership skills, a record of achievement, and the ability to work in teams.

Follow the link above and you’ll find out exactly what are the qualities Columbia admissions committee members seek out in potential students to ensure they’re cultivating the learning community that’s unique to their top-rated MBA program.

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Columbia Launches First Student-Run Portfolio Fund [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Columbia Launches First Student-Run Portfolio Fund


Columbia Business School has launched its first student-led value investing portfolio, known as the 5x5x5 Student Value Investment Fund. The fund, named for its innovative structure, gives students the opportunity to connect value-oriented investment theories to real-world practice as they apply their classroom learning to the management of this fund.

“Five by five by five arose from my long-held belief that students ought to have an opportunity to derive deep and lasting lessons from student investment funds,” said  Thomas Russo, who has funded the gift and is also an advisory board member for the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing at Columbia Business School.

The biggest lessons occur over time. The fund is trying to get investors’ horizons stretched out beyond five minutes, five days or even five quarters. I want the 5x5x5 portfolio to succeed and underscore the message that long-term investing is actually a worthy and profitable pursuit, Russo says.

Investment ideas for the portfolio are submitted by students in the School’s Value Investing course taught by Professors Bruce Greenwald and Tano Santos, faculty directors of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing. Each year, five students will be selected to participate in the management of the fund based on the strength of their proposed investments.

Companies pitched should be capable of delivering compound returns over a five-year holding period and students must provide no more than five clearly expressed, understandable, and brief reasons for their selection. The top 15 student recommendations will be submitted to the fund’s investment board, which will vote each year on the five new investments to be included in the portfolio.

Five new investments will be added yearly and by the fifth year, the fund will be comprised of a total of 25 investments. At the end of the five-year holding period, each selected investment will be liquidated to provide capital for future 5x5x5 fund participants to invest. The monetary amount will be increased to adjust for inflation, and the remainder of any gains will be used for student scholarships.

Each student participant has been requested to make a five-year commitment to return to Columbia each year to personally interact with the new student managers. “Each new class of student investors will have the benefit of hearing from the original sponsors of earlier portfolio selections why investments have or have not performed according to expectations,” said Meredith Trivedi, administrative director of the Heilbrunn Center.

Russo’s desire to help form and nurture the next generation of value investors prompted the donation. “I wanted to respect Columbia Business School with this gift for the great education that has been offered to so many people I have revered within the value investment community over so many years.”

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Columbia Business School Fall 2017 Deadlines, Essay Questions [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Columbia Business School Fall 2017 Deadlines, Essay Questions


Columbia Business School has announced the MBA application deadlines and essay questions for the 2016-2017 admissions cycle. They are as follows:

January 2017 Entry
Final Deadline: October 5, 2016

August 2017 Entry
Early Decision: October 5, 2016

Merit Fellowship Consideration: January 4, 2017

Regular Decision: April 12, 2017

Essay Questions
Goal: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters)

Essay #1: Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (100-750 words)

Essay #2: Columbia Business School’s students participate in industry focused New York immersion seminars; in project based Master Classes; and in school year internships. Most importantly, they are taught by a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (100-500 Words)

Essay #3: CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (100-250 Words)

***

Columbia Business School students may enroll in either August or January. The CBS admissions website notes that the paths are identical in terms of competitiveness of admissions, academic rigor, and student resources, but they differ in terms of timing and the opportunity to complete a summer internship.

The August entry has two review periods — early decision and regular decision. Because CBS uses a rolling admissions process, it is always to your advantage to apply well before the deadline.

All applications are due at 11:59 p.m. EST on the day of the deadline. For more information, visit the Columbia Business School admissions website.

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What to Do if You Didn’t Get In Anywhere [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What to Do if You Didn’t Get In Anywhere
While we know that lots of people are still waiting for the results of their Round 2 application efforts—or are hoping to get off of waitlists or be accepted somewhere in Round 3—we also know there are MBA hopefuls whose journey has come to a disappointing end. What should you do if you were not accepted into any program?

In general, there are five different paths forward:

  • Apply to other schools you’re interested in before Round 3 deadlines hit. If you chose this option you’ve likely already submitted additional applications, as the vast majority of Round 3 cutoffs have now past. As you probably already know, Round 3 is usually not an ideal option unless you have a strong reason for waiting so long and can communicate that reason to the AdCom. Otherwise they may view your application as a last-ditch effort to go somewhere and not believe you are genuinely interested in their program. There are, of course, some unique circumstances in which we would recommend this route, but typically it’s not the way to go.
  • Reapply at the appropriate time in the future. We work with successful re-applicants every year, so this route can definitely lead to acceptance at your dream school. However, for the most competitive programs, your odds of being admitted as a re-applicant are better if you were asked to interview during your previous attempt; it’s clear the program in question was interested in you before, but luck just wasn’t on your side. (And no, you weren’t dinged last time because you bombed your interview—trust us.) The most important thing to do as a re-applicant is to reapply at the right time. As anxious as you may be to go back to school, you really have to demonstrate growth and have something new to talk about that strengthens your candidacy. (And in case you’re wondering, a higher GMAT score alone usually wouldn’t be enough.) This might mean waiting more than one application-year cycle before you reapply, especially if you are on the younger side of the candidate pool.
  • Apply to different schools in the next application year. If you’re willing to cast a larger net, so to speak, then applying to business school again sooner rather than later is a totally acceptable plan. In fact, the process will still be fresh in your mind and you might not need to change much about your resume or data forms—you may even be able to ask your same recommenders to prepare additional letters. Just be sure you take a really objective look at what your weaknesses might have been in your previous materials so that you can tweak as necessary.
  • Apply to part-time or evening MBA programs. If you really want to get an MBA but full-time programs are not working out for you, a part-time, weekend or evening program may be the way to go. You’ll still make lifelong friends, get a top-notch education, have access to the same alumni network as the full-time program and earn the same degree in the end!
  • Forgo business school. We know you may not even be able to imagine this path right now… and we also know it’s a bit weird for MBA admissions consultants to tell anyone that getting an MBA might not be the way to go. But the reality is that a good chunk of the world’s most respected and inspiring leaders and innovators do not hold a business degree. If you really want to achieve your long-term career goals, we have no doubt that you can do so without an MBA.
Think of it this way:



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wharton Business Plan Competition’s “Great 8” Finalists [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Wharton Business Plan Competition’s “Great 8” Finalists


The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has announced the “Great Eight” finalists who will compete for over $125,000 in prizes at the Wharton Business Plan Competition Venture Finals coming up on Thursday, April 28, 2016.

The Wharton Business Plan Competition “Great Eight” finalists are:

  • Barn Owl Systems For livestock ranchers who spend significant time and money monitoring resources over large areas, Barn Owl provides drone hardware and software for autonomous data gathering.
  • BioCellection Inc. BioCellection upcycles unrecyclable plastic waste into valuable compound rhamnolipid for textiles using genetically engineered bacteria. This invention has the potential to clean plastic pollution around the world, disrupt the textiles industry, and grow into a $100MM business in 5 years.
  • brEDcrumb brEDcrumb is the only college admission consulting platform that provides free, one-on-one, college mentoring online. The startup connects underserved high schoolers with undergraduates or recent graduates who have shared backgrounds.
  • Daylight OB, LLC Daylight OB, LLC is a medical device company developing technologies to improve health and safety in labor & delivery units. The firm’s first product, now in development, is a disposable obstetrics device, called Daylight, used to elevate a baby’s head to enable a safer, faster, and easier urgent cesarean section delivery.
  • Our Frontier Crowd Our Frontier Crowd is the premiere residential real estate platform dedicated to investment opportunities in Africa. The startup’s technology harnesses the insights of the crowd to connect African real estate developers and potential home buyers with foreign investors.
  • Qorum, Inc. Qorum is a mobile app providing discerning millennials a curated list of quality bars. After enjoying their final beverage, users hail a free ride home through the app.
  • QTEK The QTEK team offers Surfion, a durable, safe, and effective chemical additive that could make any surface antibacterial and antifungal. Surfion will not wash off or wear away; it will provide continuous self-decontamination protection over the lifetime of myriad products.
  • WeTrain WeTrain is a proud Veteran-owned, fitness-technology company building the “Uber of Personal Training.” Every day, 700,000 training sessions are conducted in the US. Using a specially designed application, members request trainers for affordable sessions ($17/half hour or $25/full hour) while trainers receive 30% more compensation than typical gyms.
The competition is open to any University of Pennsylvania student and is managed by Wharton Entrepreneurship. The eight finalist teams face off at the Venture Finals with 20-minute presentations to judges drawn from the business and venture capital community, who will then evaluate the persuasiveness and viability of each venture.

Venture Finals BPC judges are:

  • David Cohen (PAR’14/PAR’16/PAR’17), CEO, Chief Investment Officer and Co-founder, Karlin Asset Management, Inc.
  • Carol Curley (WG’81), Managing Director, Golden Seeds
  • Marc Lore (Wharton alum), Founder and CEO, Jet.com
  • Richard Perlman (W’68), Founder & Executive Chairman, ExamWorks Group, Inc.
  • Stephen Tang (WG’92), President and CEO, University City Science Center
  • Tracey Weber (WG’95), Strategic Advisor, Gilt and Hudson’s Bay Company
Previous participants in the Competition include ventures such as eyeglass phenom Warby Parker, dominant Brazilian baby e-commerce site Baby.com.br, and drug R&D company Integral Molecular.

Students will receive up to $128,500 in cash prizes and in-kind awards including the $30,000 Perlman Grand Prize, which is made possible by the generosity of Ellen Hanson Perlman and Richard E. Perlman (W’68). The event annually attracts over 200 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, investment bankers, alumni, faculty and students.

image credit: Wharton School
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Wharton Business Plan Competition’s “Great 8” Finalists [#permalink]
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