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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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SBC’s 2016 MBA Applicant Survey [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: SBC’s 2016 MBA Applicant Survey

2016 could be a life-changing year for you: You may already know that you’ll be headed to business school in the fall, or you might be planning to start your MBA journey now. Either way, exciting things lie ahead.

With Round One deadlines just a few months out, we at Stacy Blackman Consulting want to check the pulse of this year’s crop of b-school applicants by polling them about their MBA plans.

So, here’s the deal: we’re asking for a favor. Please fill out our one-minute survey. We know how precious your time is—you’ll only have to “check the box” in response to a few simple MBA-related questions.

Then, keep an eye out for the survey results here on the blog, which will give you insight into how other prospective students are thinking about the application process.

Every participant has the opportunity to enter a sweepstakes to win a $100 Amazon gift card. The survey is live now and will close at 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 25, 2016. So please, take a moment to share with us your thoughts and experiences related to the MBA application process.

Enter survey here.

Thanks so much for your participation!

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HBS 2+2 Program Now Has Single Application Deadline [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HBS 2+2 Program Now Has Single Application Deadline


Earlier this month, Harvard Business School announced a significant change to the application process for its 2+2 program. This deferred admissions program is designed for college seniors, who, if accepted, work for two years (or more) after their college graduations before entering the b-school.

Going forward, there will be a single deadline for these applicants—April 3, 2017—and one decision notification in mid-May.

In an update to the Director’s Blog, outgoing head of MBA admissions Dee Leopold notes that the change now offers the admissions team the opportunity to see applicants’ fall term grades and activities, and allows the team to review the entire pool at once.

While applicants can submit their materials earlier, Leopold stresses that this is not a rolling admissions process and no application will be considered prior to the April deadline.

“Many participants elect to work for three years and some for four,” adds Leopold. “You’ve heard us say this before and we’ll say it again: 2+2 probably should be re-named ‘Flex+2’…Your plans for employment need to be approved by us but we encourage a wide range of career exploration.”

Interview dates have not yet been set, though successful applicants can anticipate interviewing in late April-early May.

Image credit: Michael A. Herzog (CC BY-ND 2.0)
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What One MBA Applicant Would Have Done Differently [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What One MBA Applicant Would Have Done Differently
Something unique and completely unexpected arrived in my inbox this week. With the author’s permission and encouragement, I share this letter in the hopes that some of my blog readers might benefit from it…especially anyone on the fence about the value of working with an MBA admissions consultant.



 

 

“Dear Stacy Blackman,

I didn’t use your services, but after going through the entire application process on my own over this last year, I wish I would have.

As a point of context I am from the West Coast but I live in New York where I work as an economist at a large government agency. It has been a really interesting job where I have been able to work on large scale and high profile projects that have helped to shape the New York region.

It has been an ideal first job after I did my masters in economics at a top ranked policy school but I am ready to go back to school and try to switch careers into consulting. I am in my mid-late twenties and I have lots of volunteer experience here in New York – I am even the youngest deacon at my Manhattan based church.

The reason I wish I would have used your services is because I don’t think I completely capitalized on my profile. I didn’t end up with a terrible outcome – I will be attending a top 25 MBA program in the fall on a 90% fellowship and I am currently on the wait list at another top 25 program.

Many people would be envious of my position and I am excited about this new chapter in my life. I have a very generous offer from a very good school, but it is not the school I started out this process dreaming about. After going through the process completely alone, I am convinced that there must be a better way that would allow me to display my full potential and get my closer to my dream schools.

About a month ago I reached out through the website for a free consultation and was paired with Bill Chionis. At the time I had been admitted to the MBA program with a large fellowship, but I was thinking about turning it down and applying to schools again this coming fall with the hope that I could get into my dream schools. I wanted to know what he thought the possibilities were if I used your help the next year. Right after I hung up the phone I realized I had made a mistake by not reaching out to you at the very beginning.

The phone call made me realize how alone I had been throughout the process. I am not someone who came from an Ivy league background where everyone seems to know the ins and outs of the highly competitive MBA admissions process – or at least can talk to their networks about what they should do. I was completely alone and in the dark – reading up on every blog to figure out what I should do.

What I lacked was a person who could honestly and objectively look at my profile and help me communicate the whole of my profile. I needed someone who could look at my application materials, identify the holes and help me overcome them. I needed someone who could push me to take my application from good to great. I needed someone who could tell me what the programs were really like beyond all of the recruiting nonsense and sales pitches. After hanging up the phone I realized that these people exist and that they certainly exist at Stacey Blackman Consulting.

Would I have gotten into my dream school? Maybe. There are so many highly qualified people applying it is hard to tell. Do I think I would have had a much better shot at getting into my dream schools? Absolutely. Using your services would definitely have been worth the investment. The amount of time and guesswork they would have saved me would have undoubtedly made my applications significantly stronger and made my life through the process much less stressful.

This is likely not the typical email you receive – I am writing to tell you that I wished I would have gone to you last year. It’s a little strange. That said, I have a motive. I hope this email helps you convince someone else like me to take advantage of what you offer. It is an investment that really is worth it. From someone that did it on their own – it would have been worth every penny to get help.

Thanks! Even though I didn’t take advantage of it, I appreciate what you do!

Sincerely,

-B”

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Michigan Ross School Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Michigan Ross School Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines


The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has announced the application deadlines for the 2016-2017 MBA admissions season. They are as follows:

Round 1
Application due: October 3, 2016

Decision released: December 16, 2016

Round 2
Application due: January 2, 2017

Decision released: March 17, 2017

Round 3
Application due: March 20, 2017

Decision released: May 12, 2017

All applications are due by 11:59 EST on the day of the deadline in order to be considered within that round. International applicants are encouraged to apply in rounds one or two to provide enough time for visa processing.

For more information, please visit the Michigan Ross MBA admissions website.

Image credit: Ross School of Business (CC BY-NC 2.0)
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Michigan Ross School Names Scott DeRue as New Dean [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Michigan Ross School Names Scott DeRue as New Dean


The Michigan Ross School of Business has appointed Scott DeRue as its next dean, effective July 1. DeRue will succeed Alison Davis-Blake, who one year ago today announced she would resign when her five-year term ends in June 2016.

Many in the Ross community are well familiar with DeRue, who is currently associate dean for Executive Education, director of the Sanger Leadership Center, professor of management, and faculty director of the Emerging Leaders Program.

According to the announcement made by the school, DeRue brings a blend of both academic and business success to Michigan Ross. His research focuses on how leaders and teams learn, adapt, and perform in complex and dynamic environments.

Prior to academia, he had a successful career spanning private equity investments, management consulting, and luxury yachts. As a professor at Michigan Ross, he has authored award-winning research, won teaching awards, and advised executives around the world on matters such as leadership and change management, culture, and team development.

“Since 2007 when I joined the Michigan Ross faculty, I have come to cherish the commitment to excellence and collaborative culture that define this school,” says DeRue. “We are already among the best business schools in the world, ranking top 5 in areas as diverse as leadership and management, entrepreneurship, accounting, operations, and supply chain management. Looking forward, I am thrilled to be working with our world-class faculty, staff, students, and alumni to build on that success and propel Michigan Ross into the future.”

You may also be interested in:
Michigan Ross Dean to Step Down in 2016

Image credit: Michigan Ross School of Business
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Michigan Ross Fall 2017 MBA Application Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Michigan Ross Fall 2017 MBA Application Essays


The University of Michigan Ross School of Business poses these two required essay questions and one optional statement in the Fall 2017 MBA application:

  • What are you most proud of outside of your professional life? How does it shape who you are today? (up to 400 words)
  • What is your desired career path and why? (up to 400 words)
Optional Statement:

This section should only be used to convey information not addressed elsewhere in your application, for example, completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate.

This season’s MBA applicants may be interested in revisiting the advice Soojin Kwon, director of MBA admissions at the Ross School, offered last year when addressing a similar iteration of these questions.

For the first question, Kwon said, “The context … is less important than your reason for being proud of something. We want to understand what makes something important to you. It gives us a glimpse into how you think about and process things, and what your priorities and values are. This is how we assess fit – through alignment of your values with the values of our community.“

For the second question, the admissions director explained that, “The main purpose of the career path question is so we can evaluate whether business school makes sense. A ‘good’ answer isn’t about saying you want to go into a traditional business field. In fact, many of our students pursue a wide range of careers outside of traditional business fields (e.g., education, nonprofit, emerging markets). A good answer will describe your rationale for being interested in a particular path.”

Finally, the Ross School admissions team wants to see essays that are clear and succinct. “It’s not a word count test, nor is it a creative writing test. Don’t write two paragraphs of introduction before stating what you’re most proud of,” Kwon advised last season, adding, “You can even start with, ‘I am most proud of….’ Write as you would speak. To a real person. We, who read the essays, are real people.”

For more information about applying, please visit the Ross School admissions website.

You may also be interested in:
Michigan Ross School Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines

Image credit: Michigan Ross (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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Jonathan Levin Named Dean of Stanford GSB [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Jonathan Levin Named Dean of Stanford GSB


The Stanford Graduate School of Business has named economist  Jonathan Levin, former chair of the Stanford Department of Economics and a renowned expert in the field of industrial organization, as the next dean of the GSB, President John Hennessy and Provost John Etchemendy announced today.

Levin will succeed Garth Saloner, who is stepping down after seven years as dean. Levin’s appointment is effective September 1, 2016.

Levin joined the Stanford faculty in 2000 and is the Holbrook Working Professor in Price Theory at Stanford University. He was chair of the Department of Economics from 2011 to 2014. He is also a professor, by courtesy, at Stanford GSB, a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and director of the Industrial Organization Program at the National Bureau for Economic Research.

The new dean is known for his scholarship in industrial organization. Levin’s research has spanned a range of topics including auctions and marketplace design, the economics of organizations, consumer finance and econometric methods for analyzing imperfect competition. His current interests include Internet platforms, the health care system and ways to incorporate new datasets into economic research.

“Jonathan is an outstanding teacher, a skilled and innovative administrator and a brilliant scholar who has deep understanding of both the academic enterprise and the workings of industry and government,” Etchemendy said. “Importantly, he brings a vision for the future of management education that is rooted in his extensive scholarship on the evolving needs of a global business community. I have every confidence he will continue the school’s strong trajectory.”

For more information about Levin, please see Stanford’s news release announcing his appointment as the tenth dean at the Graduate School of Business.

You may also be interested in:
Stanford GSB Dean Saloner to Step Down

image credit: Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Before You Post That Selfie… [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Before You Post That Selfie…
Do you have a profile on any of the major social media platforms? Do you frequently tweet, upload pictures to Instagram or Flickr, or post updates on Facebook? If so, you might want to make sure your online presence won’t derail your MBA application efforts.

If an admissions team is leaning toward admitting you to their program, it’s possible that they could do a quick Google search on your name before making their final decision. If you’ve demonstrated bad judgment by posting pictures of yourself doing not-so-upstanding things or making offensive or otherwise politically incorrect comments, you’ve given them a reason to move your application to the ding pile.

You may remember when The New York Times reported on a high school senior who caused a stir at Bowdoin College after posting disparaging tweets about other attendees at the school’s information session. If some undergraduate admissions committees are using teenagers’ social media behavior against them, it’s possible that business schools won’t be any more forgiving with adults who should know better.

It doesn’t end with the admissions committee, either. Let’s say you are invited to interview with a local alum; that person might try to find out as much information about you as possible before your chat. Once you’re at school, potential internship and full-time employers could perform an even more extensive online background check. Your fellow classmates might do some digging, too!

So while you may believe it’s funny and harmless to post that selfie after you’ve tipped back one too many, think again. There’s a chance you could compromise your MBA candidacy because of a fleeting moment of indiscretion. If an admissions committee member comes across something that raises a red flag, they’ll likely move on to the next candidate.

Remember:



 

 

 

*** Do you want to stay on top of the application process with timely tips like these? Please subscribe to our weekly newsletter and you’ll receive our expert advice straight in your mailbox before it appears on the blog, plus special offers, promotions, discounts, invitations to events, and more.

Concerned about your online brand? Work with Stacy Blackman Consulting on your social media strategy.

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Final Days of SBC’s 2016 B-School Application Survey [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Final Days of SBC’s 2016 B-School Application Survey

Hey everyone! Have you answered our survey yet? We at Stacy Blackman Consulting want to check the pulse of this year’s crop of b-school applicants by polling them about their MBA plans. The survey poses 13 super simple questions, such as “How many schools are you applying to?”, and the whole questionnaire should take less than a minute to complete.

Every participant has the opportunity to enter a sweepstakes to win a $100 Amazon gift card. What are you waiting for? The survey closes at 5 p.m. EST on May 25. That’s right, it ends tomorrow! So please, take a moment to share with us your thoughts and experiences related to the MBA application process.

Enter survey here.

Thanks so much for your participation!



 

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Emory MBA Program Fall 2017 Application Deadlines [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Emory MBA Program Fall 2017 Application Deadlines


The Goitzueta Business School at Emory University has announced the MBA application deadlines for the 2016-2017 admissions season. They are as follows:

Round 1
Application due: October 14, 2016

Decision released: December 1, 2016

Round 2
Application due: November 11, 2016

Decision released: January 26, 2017

Round 3
Application due: January 4, 2017

Decision released: March 3, 2017 (Domestic) / March 10, 2017 (International)

Round 4
Application due: March 10, 2017

Decision released: April 28, 2017

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

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Cornell Receives $25M Donation To Expand MBA Program [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Cornell Receives $25M Donation To Expand MBA Program

The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management has received a $25 million gift from alumnus David Breazzano, one of the largest donations ever made to business education at Cornell.

Breazzano’s gift will help fund the state-of-the-art, six-story classroom and office complex currently under construction in Ithaca’s Collegetown.

In recognition of the historic gift, Dean Soumitra Dutta said the Cornell University leadership will recommend the Cornell Board of Trustees name the MBA program’s new Collegetown building the Breazzano Family Center for Business Education.

“Johnson helped me discover my passion and aptitude… That solid foundation has helped me throughout my career… I always knew I wanted to give back when I was in a position to do so.” David Breazzano

The 76,000-square-foot building, a modern design of glass and wood, is set to open in summer 2017 and will serve Johnson MBA and executive education students.

While conceived primarily to support Johnson’s growth in programs, the school says the Breazzano Family Center will also serve a broader cross-section of business students on the Ithaca campus via its lecture halls, breakout rooms and event space.

“This is the first major gift since the creation of the Cornell College of Business,” said Breazzano, who believes the gift will underscore “the value of combining the synergies of the schools.”

“Dave is an extraordinary leader of the Johnson alumni community,” said Dutta, who will assume his new role as dean of the Cornell College of Business later this year. “He has supported greater collaboration among schools at Cornell and believes the synergies that will result from the Cornell College of Business will benefit all. We are deeply grateful for his willingness to provide such a generous investment in support of Johnson’s continued excellence in business education.”

image credit: The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
You may also be interested in:
Cornell to Establish Integrated College of Business

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Targeted Advice for MIT Sloan Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Targeted Advice for MIT Sloan Applicants


Is MIT Sloan School of Management on your short list of target schools for this fall’s MBA application season? It’s a phenomenal, highly academic program that draws on the MIT culture at large to offer cutting-edge classes and services, recruit acclaimed faculty, and foster collaborative and educational efforts that involve students, alumni and business partners.

Even among world-class MBA programs, MIT Sloan is in an elite group, with extremely high GMAT scores and GPAs higher than many other top programs. So how can applicants stand out with such a competitive applicant pool?

I recently shared my take with Business Insider readers on the three qualities MIT Sloan looks for in MBA candidates—innovation, global awareness, and analytical abilities—and offer the inside scoop on how you can concretely demonstrate you possess those stellar qualities. Take a look at the original article for my tips.

If you can show that you’d thrive in a program that is international in perspective, highly quantitative, and grounded in innovative approaches, you’ll have a good chance of demonstrating to the admissions team that you’d be an ideal candidate for MIT Sloan’s rigorous — and rewarding — program.

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IU Kelley MBA Program Fall 2017 Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: IU Kelley MBA Program Fall 2017 Essays


The Kelley MBA program at Indiana University has posted the MBA essay questions for the 2016-2017 admissions cycle. They remain unchanged from last season, and are as follows:

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

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

a. My greatest memory is…

b. I’m most afraid of…

c. My greatest challenge has been…

d. I’m most proud of…

3. Please share with the admissions committee an interesting or surprising fact about you. (25 words)

Optional Essay:

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

For more information, please visit the Kelley MBA program admissions website.

You may also be interested in:
IU Kelley School Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines

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What to Do if You’re Light on Extracurriculars [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What to Do if You’re Light on Extracurriculars
If you’re applying to business schools in Round 1, the process of pulling your materials together will consume much of your life in the coming months. Of particular focus will be planning how to best position yourself. If you’ve taken on leadership roles in volunteer organizations or have actively engaged with a nonprofit you’re passionate about, you’ll want to be sure you play up that angle in your materials.

But what if you’ve done nothing on that front? No volunteering, no extracurricular involvement—nada. Is your candidacy doomed?

No. Admissions committees understand that it’s extremely hard for some people to have meaningful involvement in an organization outside of work. This is often the case for those whose jobs constantly keep them on the road, or whose typical workday doesn’t even afford them the opportunity for a full night’s sleep.

The good news is that we have certainly seen compelling candidates be accepted to top programs even though they lack post-college extracurriculars.

However, if you weren’t involved in anything outside of class when you were an undergraduate, either, that might be a red flag. The MBA experience is about leveraging all facets of your life—not just what you’ve achieved on the job—to help your classmates learn.

So if you have no volunteer work or extracurricular activities to talk about, brainstorm what other relevant things you could share with fellow students in class. Think along the lines of travel or cultural experiences, or even a family situation. What else are you passionate about besides your job, and how has that passion manifested itself?

While it could look disingenuous to join a bunch of volunteer organizations in the months leading up to Round 1 deadlines, you could always see if your employer has any community-focused committees or sponsors any local events that you could get involved with in the near future.

Admissions committees are looking for well-rounded people. Remember:



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*** Do you want to stay on top of the application process with timely tips like these? Please subscribe to our weekly newsletter and you’ll receive our expert advice straight in your mailbox before it appears on the blog, plus special offers, promotions, discounts, invitations to events, and more.

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Tuesday Tips: Stanford GSB Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Stanford GSB Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips


Stanford Graduate School of Business continues to ask applicants to delve deep into their personality, values and motivations for this set of MBA essays. The classic “what matters most” essay should be your primary focus, and secondly you will answer why Stanford is the next step in your journey.

Total word count for the essays must not exceed 1,150 words, so be judicious in deciding how much or little to write for each prompt. As a general guideline, Stanford GSB suggests 750 words for essay one and 400 words for essay two. Check your deadlines before you get started to make sure you are maximizing the time on your essays.

Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (suggested 750 word limit)

– Focus on the “why” rather than the “what.”

– Do some deep self-examination, so you can genuinely illustrate who you are and how you came to be the person you are.

– Share the insights, experiences, and lessons that shaped your perspectives, rather than focusing merely on what you’ve done or accomplished.

– Write from the heart, and illustrate how a person, situation, or event has influenced you.

This classic Stanford GSB MBA essay is your opportunity to demonstrate who you are, what motivates you, and why. Topics can range from personal history to grand visions of the future. While this topic should not be explicitly career related (and the strongest essays are likely not career oriented at all) it is possible that some of your themes will continue in your career essay.

Your accomplishments and achievements are part of why you have developed into the person you are today, however it’s far more important to explain your influences, lessons learned and motivations. Introspection and honesty should persist through the entire set of essays.

To generate ideas, try brainstorming over a period of a few days. Ask friends and family what values they see you demonstrating in your life and choices. Keep a notebook by your bed so you can record your first thoughts upon waking up, and mine your personal history for ideas. What keeps you awake at night? When you look back at your life what will you admire and regret about your choices? These are the kind of questions to ask yourself as you approach topics for this essay.

Though the essay question may seem open-ended, answering the question with vivid and specific examples will provide solid evidence that you have demonstrated or experienced “what matters most” throughout your life. Keep in mind as you select examples that Stanford GSB specifically advises focusing on people and experiences that have influenced you, rather than accomplishments or achievements.

Essay B: Why Stanford?

Enlighten us on how earning your MBA at Stanford will enable you to realize your ambitions. (suggested 400 word limit, 450 for applicants to both the MBA and MBx programs)

– Explain your decision to pursue graduate education in management.

– Explain the distinctive opportunities you will pursue at Stanford.

-If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs.

After you have explained what is most important to you in life you need to explain why your next step is a Stanford MBA. The sub questions for this essay cover both why you are interested in pursuing an MBA at all, and why you specifically want to attend Stanford GSB. Stanford GSB wants to know your aspirations will be uniquely satisfied by the program at Stanford GSB, and research will help you determine what aspects of the academic program, community and students are crucial to your aspirations.

Be as specific as possible in your response to provide evidence that you have done your research. You should know everything about the aspects of the program that most appeal to you. Have you met current students and alumni? Who are the professors you are excited about? What are the unique programs?

When you discuss how Stanford will help you achieve your ambitions consider that Stanford likes to see applicants who dream big, and have the credibility to achieve their goals. Be bold with your aspirations. Don’t focus on what your parents or partner want you to do. Don’t think about the next job on the corporate ladder. What do you, with your own unique background and values, want for your life?

If the question seems too vast, take a few minutes to close your eyes and reflect. Envision your life in twenty years. Where do you live? How do you spend your days? What is your favorite activity? How does this vision fit into your career aspirations? Don’t be shy about your ambitions. Once you have identified your dream career, you also need to make sure an MBA is an important part of achieving your plans and explain that part in your essay.

Though you should think big, don’t make the mistake of acting as if you are already perfect with no development needed. Remember that MBA programs want to help promising candidates reach their goals and be a step on an ambitious career trajectory.

Finding the Stanford essays challenging? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting for personalized guidance through the application process.

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Show International Experience When Applying to Business School [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Show International Experience When Applying to Business School


This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.
The ability to work well with people from other cultures has never been more critical. More companies than ever are conducting international business, and business schools everywhere have spent the past few years deepening their own focus on globalization through coursework and study abroad programs.

Business school admissions committees look for applicants who are open-minded, curious, adventurous and eager to learn about the world at large. Though not an explicit requirement for admission, having meaningful work, study or travel experience outside your home country makes you more desirable as an MBA applicant.

These global experiences are especially appreciated – after graduation, they translate into marketable job skills, such as adaptability, leadership, cultural awareness and communication and language abilities. Here are two key reasons why international experience matters when applying to business school.

• Diverse perspective:[/b] If you look at the demographics of any elite MBA program, you will see a considerable percentage of non-citizens enrolled. Having students from a wide array of backgrounds, cultures and languages strengthens and enriches everyone’s experience.

Whether you are applying to a program in- or outside your home country, having a broader perspective of global business issues in your arsenal means you bring a unique viewpoint to class discussions and team projects. It also expands your network as you tap into professional associations with your contacts in other countries.

MBA applicants should highlight any experiences traveling, studying or working outside their home country. The admissions committee wants to ensure these candidates can actually thrive – not just survive – in the program and work well with a diverse group of classmates.

• Adaptability and vision: If you have already logged significant international work experience or education prior to business school, you are three steps ahead of the game. Think about it: When you immerse yourself in another language or culture, you likely encounter some form of culture shock that ultimately becomes a valuable learning experience.

You are demonstrating real leadership skills when you break through communication barriers, learn how business practices work in the new environment, adapt to new social and business norms, work with diverse teams, solve problems or go beyond your comfort zone. These skills are a crucial differentiator in a competitive MBA applicant pool.

International travel and work experience can also offer a wealth of material for your MBA essays. Often such experiences will spur new career goals and a broader vision for your life.

Perhaps your travels shaped your views about health care or education, inspired a passion for Spanish literature, introduced you to the thrill of mountaineering or helped you become more outgoing and confident in unfamiliar situations. Whatever the effect, you can explain what you learned about yourself and others and in turn convey your uniqueness to the admissions committee.

Even if you haven’t traveled extensively, you can still highlight any applicable experiences you have had working with individuals from other countries and cultures. If you have the time and resources to travel in the months before applying, research international volunteer opportunities or continuing education study abroad programs. If these options aren’t feasible, consider taking on a project at work that puts you in contact with international offices or teams.

Rest assured, your application likely won’t be rejected due to a lack of international exposure if every other component is compelling and strong. In your essays, reference your enthusiasm for the school’s diverse culture and your plans to take advantage of study abroad programs, as well as your desire to participate in any clubs or student groups that will increase your cross-cultural awareness. As long as you can show your intent to expand your mindset and increase your international exposure during business school, you should be fine.

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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Maximize the ROI of Your B-School Decision: Are You Thinking Deep Enough?


With the high cost of admission to a top-tier business school, prospective students should determine whether pursuing the MBA degree makes financial sense as a long-term investment. I advise applicants to ask themselves three questions: Will the degree help me switch careers? Can I expect a significant salary increase? Will an MBA help me reach a leadership position sooner?

While it can be daunting to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to earn an MBA, most business school graduates experience a substantial salary increase. The degree is also a powerful differentiator in a crowded marketplace. The vast majority of graduates report having greater job satisfaction and the ability to advance quickly and, therefore, earn more in shorter time.

In fact, Graduate Management Admission Council’s survey gets very specific about the dollar value such a degree can bring. Business school alumni earn a median of US$2.5 million in cumulative base salary over 20 years following graduation. Alumni — on average — recoup their b-school investment within four years after graduation, depending on the type of program attended.

Last fall, when Forbes released its 2015 ranking of the best b-schools based on the ROI of the MBA Class of 2010, Stanford Graduate School of Business nudged out Harvard Business School for the top spot for the second straight time, with a five-year gain of $89,100 for graduates. In fact, according to the report, the class of 2010 tripled their pre-MBA total compensation to $255,000 five years out of school.

Calculating the return on investment requires a simple formula. It’s the return acquired from an investment minus the cost of the investment, divided by the cost of the investment. Students of two-year MBA programs typically have the largest investment expense because they miss two years of employment. They need to recoup the cost of the MBA degree plus the opportunity cost in order to get a positive return on their investment.

To dive deeper into the numbers, TransparentMBA, a company started in 2015 by University of Chicago Booth School of Business students who were frustrated by the lack of relevant compensation and satisfaction data available to MBA students, provides both industry and company-specific on effective hourly wage across a multitude of post-MBA roles.

This can greatly help those considering business school figure out just what type of salary bump they can look forward to based on the industry or company they plan to target upon graduating.

Prospective students should consider payback time with projected cumulative growth, and average growth rate, when looking at return on investment as a motivating factor for pursuing an MBA. But keep in mind, the value of the MBA degree varies depending on your post-graduation plans, as well as the brand of the business school where you earn the degree.

In an earlier post on ROI, Paul Danos, former dean of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, noted that while the elite programs require a significant investment in time and money, it pays off in both career options and compensation. “The top programs are able to recruit the best qualified students, provide a truly excellent educational experience, and therefore attract top recruiters who recognize the value of that experience.”

Remember, every choice that you make when deciding whether an MBA makes sense for you– ranging from the cost of the city you decide to live in, the field you move into, to the school you choose – will impact your financial return on investment.  Nevertheless, I believe that no other degree can open doors as the MBA does.

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