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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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Does an MBA Pay Off? Ask Paul Ollinger [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Does an MBA Pay Off? Ask Paul Ollinger

Sometimes, applying to business school can seem like such an uphill slog that you really need to disconnect from the process from time to time in order to recharge and remember that there are other people in your life that you’ve probably been neglecting, and other interesting things you could be doing in addition to brainstorming MBA essays and filling in data forms.

If you’re looking for something to occupy that down time, you should check out the new book by Tuck School of Business grad Paul Ollinger, “You Should Totally Get an MBA: A Comedian’s Guide to Top U.S. Business Schools.”

Ollinger has graciously allowed us to post some excerpts of his book on the blog. Here, we’re sharing a chapter that will answer a burning question for many professionals wondering whether going to business school is a wise financial decision.

Chapter 5: Does An MBA Pay Off?
Me: Hell yes it pays off.

You: Is that a guarantee?

Me: Yeah, man. Haven’t you been paying attention?

You: So it will absolutely, positively have a positive financial ROI?

Me: Well… While attaining an MBA will move you down the road to enlightenment, getting an MBA is still really, really expensive. You might logically ask yourself, “What’s the ROI on enlightenment?” Excellent question!

Now you’re thinking like an MBA. Let’s do the math. For our purposes here, we’ll assume that you are going to HBS (hey, you deserve it).

Investment:

  • HBS first year tuition for Class of 2017 = $61,225
  • HBS books, materials, fees = $7,655
  • Total for first year = $68,88011 We will assume that tuition and fees increase 5% for year two, so that:
  • Total tuition and fees for second year = $72,324
  • Two year total = $141,204
Yikes! That’s a lot of dough. And like the guy selling knives on late night TV says, “But wait—there’s more!” The average HBS grad walks out with about $84,000 in student debt, and that debt costs money. The price is the interest that you pay until you pay it off.

If you have the means, you can pay it off more quickly, but let’s assume it takes you a decade to knock it all out:

  •  Student loan interest: 6% * $84,000 * 10 yrs = approx. $27,908
  • $141k in tuition/fees + $28k in interest = $169,000
And we’re still not done. Because you won’t be working during your two years at HBS you have to factor in your lost wages in the calculation. Let’s say you make $85,000/year at your good preMBA job.

Including your foregone income of $170,000, the total cost of getting a Harvard MBA (or one similar) is about $339,000. Holy crap. Enlightenment is expensive! Is it really worth $339,000?

Enlightenment is hard to put an exact number on, but wage growth isn’t. And this is where HBS has a dynamite return on average (we’ll get back to the assumptions we’re making a little later). If you go to HBS, you will not only get a bunch of crazy smart friends and a closet full of crimson hoodies, you’ll also get on average a very juicy pay bump and an accelerated career path.

Here’s what that might look like:

Return:

  • Base pay bump from $85,000 to $140,000
  • Signing bonus: $25,000
  • Summer internship income: $20,000
  • Career accelerator (4% raises v. 2% raises)
Let’s take a look at what that pay bump and career accelerator look like in action. Your MBA begins paying off in the form of increased income in your first year out of school. You make $55,000 more than you would have without it, and life is good. But wait—there’s more!

Because HBS has put you on an accelerated career path (and the steeper income growth trajectory that comes with it), your pay grows at a faster rate than it would have sans-MBA. So that annual pay differential continues growing as you relish your MBAness and continue to kick business world ass.

It is in this stream of MBA-powered increased income that we answer the question, “Does an MBA pay off?” You can see that over your first 10 years out of HBS, your income will be $750k more than it would have been had you never pursued that MBA. Using our friend NPV (Net Present Value), we then measure how much that stream of income is worth today, relative to the $369k that the MBA costs.

While the NPV is less than the $750k, and varies depending on your weighted average cost of capital, in both scenarios, an HBS MBA is a homerun, positive ROI fiesta de dinero! By the way, weighted average cost-of-capital is one of those great things you’ll learn about at business school.

And this is just for the first 10 years out of HBS. You will likely work for another decade or two beyond this, and in those prime earning years, that pay differential will—theoretically—be even more pronounced.

ON THE OTHER HAND… There are some really meaningful and impactful assumptions we’re making in the model above. And, to paraphrase the monetary philosopher Ol’ Dirty Bastard, assumptions’ll “bust yer ass.” So we should be aware of them, lest our assuming asses get busted.

First, remember that the average first year income for HBS alumni includes very non-average people making crazy money in consulting, investment banking, hedge funds and the like. If you are not committed to a career in one of these fields (or if you’re in these fields but below the mean earners in those fields), your income will likely be lower-to-much-lower.

This doesn’t mean that your HBS degree will have a negative ROI over the long run, but it just might take longer to break even. That’s worth keeping in mind. Second, these reported incomes are skewed way high by alumni living in New York, London, San Francisco and Hong Kong, i.e. the most expensive cities in the world. So while they may be making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, they may also be paying $4,000/month (or lots more) to rent a one-bedroom apartment.

You shouldn’t look at these average incomes and think, “I am going to live like a king on $175,000/year in Tulsa, OK!” ‘Cuz that’s probably not where you’re going to find these juicy pay packages. Third, you are a growing and evolving human being. Your interests, desires and passions will change over time. The career you find intriguing right out of business school might not float your boat 5, 10 or 15 years later.

Maybe you just decide that you’re not interested in doing [fill in the name of career] any more, and that you really want to [work with kids / do something for the developing world / become a stand-up comedian]. Or maybe the grind of an 80+ hour work week is something you can tolerate when you’re young and single but not when you’re older, married and raising children.

Or maybe some health issues present themselves and you need to hit “pause” on your career to deal with them. In any of these scenarios, the juicy comp packages and steepened earning curves pretty much fly out the window.

Fourth, the model above represents an uninterrupted, positive career trajectory. Due to the vicissitudes of the market, the economy and personal wackness, careers often do not maintain a smooth progression upward and to the right. If historical economic trends continue, you should expect some kind of ugly macroeconomic tornado to blow through every seven years or so.

Whether it’s dot-com bubbles busting, global mortgages imploding or Adam Smith’s invisible hand getting caught in the cookie jar, bad stuff that is way out of your control happens, and it’s going to affect your career. You get out of school and everything goes dandy for two years. Then in year three, the world explodes and you get fired/laid-off/made redundant from your job.

Maybe you saw it coming or maybe you didn’t, but that doesn’t really matter as you getting canned is the result of an industry-wide meltdown and no one—I mean no one—in your industry is hiring. So you sit on the sidelines for a whole year and log a goose-egg in the old income column. Meanwhile, you still got those big ol’ student loans hanging over your head, with the interest meter still running.

An MBA isn’t a Harry Potter invisibility cloak that hides you from nuclear macroeconomic meltdown. It also won’t give you x-ray vision or the ability to fly. Further, some people just aren’t down for the whole business school experience itself. The long hours, grueling workload and late night stress-busting parties don’t suit everyone’s lifestyle.

Prospective business school students should do their due diligence to make sure they know what they are getting into. Some MBA programs saddle their graduates with massive piles of debt without providing an income that enables the graduate to battle that debt monster.

A degree from a school ranked #50 might provide you with a leg up, but it will not do the same thing for a career that a degree from Wharton or Kellogg would. Even from the top schools, an MBA is a powerful credential, but it is only potential financial energy until you turn it into debt-slashing income through year after year of hard work.

Net: don’t pursue business school unless you can pay for it outright or you’re committed to paying back your loans. Enter the process with eyes wide open—these loans are big numbers that grow while you sleep. Their very existence will exacerbate the stress of any fluctuations in your career. Banishing them from your post-grad life might mean sticking with a job you don’t love for a lot longer than you otherwise would have…assuming that’s even within your control.

You may also be interested in:

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Why Do You Want to Go to B-School? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Why Do You Want to Go to B-School?

You’re going to be asked that question a lot over the next several months, so you need to come up with a good answer.  Actually, several different good answers, each tailored for distinct constituencies.

MBA Admissions Committees: Show them that you know appreciate the value of learning opportunities and have taken advantage of them.  Illustrate how the MBA program will be a better place to develop your skills and further your interests than your current job or even your likely next job would be.

Colleagues/Managers: There are many firms where young professionals regularly exit to attend MBA programs, and a fresh crop of MBAs cycle in every fall.  In other workplaces, some colleagues might view an exit as “giving up on the team.” You don’t want your MBA admission to cast a pall over your final months in your current job.

If you explain your MBA as an opportunity to prepare yourself for opportunities a decade or two down the road—rather than as a route to get a better job than you could get coming from your current position—they may be more supportive.

The Doubters: Last year, a couple of my clients recounted how alumni interviewers probed deeply on why they were applying, even going so far as to say to an entrepreneurially inclined individual, “You don’t need an MBA to do what you want to do.”

Candidates who may want to stay in the same field (or return to the same firm) after graduation and those who want to enter the not-for-profit or government sectors often hear the same stuff.  My would-be-entrepreneur candidate was prepared: she countered with a list of a half dozen world-renowned entrepreneurs from this particular MBA program.

The Haters: There are people who don’t see the value of business school at all (shocking, I know).  After all, business people usually don’t need accreditation like doctors, lawyers and some other professionals.  With these folks, you should be prepared to talk about why this will not just be a “two-year vacation” for you.

So, dear readers, how many of these scenarios have you already come up against?

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


Michigan Ross is a program that emphasizes learning both inside and outside the classroom, and is seeking candidates that are intellectually curious and able to accomplish their goals.

Ross is also a close-knit community and fit with the program is important to demonstrate in the application process. Visiting Ross or learning about the program through current students, alumni or faculty would be helpful before starting this set of essays.

The Ross admissions blog is an excellent resource for tips to approach these essay questions, and gives you a window into what the admissions committee is looking for.

Essay One: What are you most proud of outside of your professional life? How does it shape who you are today? (up to 400 words)

Last year Ross permitted either a professional or personal example for this essay. This year, Ross Admissions Director Soojin Kwon explains: “The motivation for adding “outside of your professional life” (to Q1, which asks what you’re most proud of) was to get to glimpse into the personal side of you. We’ll already have your resume and rec letter to give us a sense of your professional life. Besides, would you want to read thousands of essays about the time someone was a project manager and completed the project on time and under budget? (I hope you said “no”). Me either. (I’m going to assume you said “no”).”

Some of the personal attributes most valued at Ross include community engagement and interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills. When you consider topics for this essay you may want to write about an important extracurricular moment, a challenge you overcame, or an event in your life that highlights something unique about your background.

For example, if you have a track record of club leadership through college and afterwards that can be compelling evidence of your community engagement and leadership skills. On the other end of the spectrum perhaps you have spent time outside your home country for school or work and that has shaped how you approach your life and decisions.

Take note that this essay is really about getting to know you as a person, not as a collection of accomplishments. Your values and personal life will ideally shine through, as you explain what is most important to you and why.

“Why” is a crucial part of this essay, along with how your values have impacted your life. Finally, make sure that your values, as expressed in this essay, are aligned with how you want to be perceived by the admissions committee.

Essay Two: What is your desired career path and why? (up to 250 words)

Michigan Ross is interested to hear what you plan to do after your MBA and what is motivating that decision. Both traditional and non-traditional MBA goals are welcomed as long as you are sincere about the path you plan to take.

This essay is straightforward and Ross is not looking for extra explanation. Ideally you can describe your career path in a sentence or two and use the remainder of the space to elaborate.

Answering “why” you chose your career path is crucial. As you describe your career path make sure you explain what has led you to pursue it, and why it resonates with you. The answer doesn’t need to be elaborate or dramatic, but it should be convincing and real.

The question doesn’t ask “Why MBA?” or “Why Ross?” but you may want to address both questions. If Ross has unique resources that will help you achieve your goal, this is a great place to describe how you will use them.

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.

Take it directly from the Ross admissions director: “The optional essay should only be used if there’s something in your background that requires a brief explanation. It’s not the place to submit an essay you wrote for another school, or to tell us how much you love Ross.”

Think about anything that may raise questions while reviewing a resume, transcript or recommendations. Typically the kinds of gaps that raise questions are significant gaps in employment (more than a few months), anything below a C on your college transcript (particularly in quantitative coursework) and low test scores.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has worked with successful candidates to Michigan Ross for over a decade and can offer comprehensive strategic advice every step of the way. Contact us to learn more.

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Tuesday Tips: The University of Texas at Austin McCombs 2017 MBA Essay [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: The University of Texas at Austin McCombs 2017 MBA Essay Tips

University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business is a globally recognized MBA program, located in the center of technology and creativity that is Austin. Programs like McCombs can provide an especially strong regional network if you are currently in Texas or plan to settle in Texas after your MBA.

When approaching these essay questions think about the reasons you are pursuing an MBA, particularly at McCombs. Thorough school research will help you come up with specifics, by taking to current or former students, visiting campus, or attending admissions events.

Essay 1. The University of Texas at Austin values unique perspectives and cultivates a collaborative environment of distinct individual contributions. It is the first day of orientation. You are meeting your study group, comprised of five of your classmates from various backgrounds. Please introduce yourself to your new team, highlighting what drives you in your personal and professional life.

Select only one communication method that you would like to use for your response.

• Write an essay (250 words)

• Share a video introduction (one minute)


For an open-ended essay with a creative option (the video) it can be daunting to think of a topic. Rather than focusing on how you are going to communicate, start thinking about what you want to communicate to the McCombs admissions committee by introducing yourself to your new study group.

The best essays will dive deep into your motivations and aspirations, perhaps getting into your cultural background, formative moments in your life and friends, family and colleagues who have influenced you. To identify one or two key stories you may want to tell, think about those pivotal moments of change in your life.

For many people the transition from high school to college and from college to work led to personal change. Others had formative childhood experiences or experiences that led to shifts in perspective like travel or living outside your home country. Any one of these moments could be a good way to illustrate who you are and what motivates you.

Once you have identified the content of your essay you can decide how to present it. A video could give you the opportunity to add elements of emotion, such as humor, that are harder to convey in writing. A video also allows you to include graphics, photos or other visual elements. If your story fits better into a written narrative you may choose the written essay instead.

Essay 2. Based on your post-MBA goals and what drives you in your personal and professional life, why is the Texas MBA the ideal program for you and how do you plan to engage in our community? (500 words)

This essay is your opportunity to demonstrate strong fit with the Texas McCombs program. As part of your homework before starting this set of essays you have learned as much as possible about the school, now you can bring in your own aspirations and goals to describe what you plan to be part of.

Some of the unique opportunities at McCombs include the Venture Labs, supporting your entrepreneurial dreams, and The MBA+ Program, with opportunities to work with influential companies through a variety of touch points. Austin is another unique benefit to the program that you may want to discuss in the context of your background and goals.

For example, perhaps you are interested in working for a major technology firm to learn product manager skills that you will then take into starting your own business. While at McCombs you can test ideas with the Venture Labs, and also consult for major companies like Adobe or HP to learn how large companies work. These experiences will certainly give you an advantage as your build your post MBA career.

Don’t forget the personal – Texas McCombs has an active and engaged student culture with many student organizations you may be interested in joining.

Optional Statement: Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words)

This optional essay provides space for you to add your own context to any information that may hinder your admission prospects. For example, if you have a lower than average test score, any grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation or a significant resume gap, you can explain here. Keep your explanation concise and factual, and focused on context for the issue rather than excuses.

Stacy Blackman Consulting can provide personalized, strategic guidance for your Texas McCombs MBA application. Contact us to learn more.

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Weigh Being a Generalist, Specialist in Business School [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Weigh Being a Generalist, Specialist in Business School


This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.
After the Great Recession hit in 2008, business schools started ramping up their menu of specializations to meet the demand of students eager to differentiate themselves as experts in a given area.

This expansion into concentrations has become a way for schools to innovate while they educate the next generation of business leaders. It has also become a way for them to distinguish their own MBA programs from other top business schools.

Unlike a master’s degree in finance or accounting or other specialty, an MBA is by definition a generalist program, which exposes students to many different disciplines – both hard disciplines like finance and soft like organizational behavior.

If you’re contemplating business school, think about whether you’d prefer a general management approach or one that offers majors or concentrations. Choosing to be a generalist or specialist at business school depends heavily on your end goals.

Advantages of being a generalist:[/b] Business schools want to fill their classes with students who will not only get hired after graduation but eventually run the firm.

Most applicants see business school as a way to grow as a leader and advance their career. The degree imparts a strong foundation of general business knowledge, allowing students to gain a greater understanding of how various departments operate.

Although students typically come to b-school with a clear career goal in mind for after graduation, an MBA program is actually an excellent time to explore a variety of subjects and experiences that may ultimately redirect your path. For long-term flexibility in the global marketplace, career-switchers need a breadth of courses to prepare them for the myriad management responsibilities they will encounter in whichever sector they end up.

The only potential drawback to a general MBA is that you may not acquire the depth of knowledge required for a particular position. However, that broader know-how and wider range of career opportunities that come from earning an MBA at a top program is almost always worth it.

Advantages of being a specialist:[/b] MBA specialization is a good move for individuals 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 an area like digital marketing, real estate, business analytics, social innovation, health care and so forth, then earning an MBA with a concentration can make you even more marketable. Recruiters like to see a strong focus on a particular field or functional area.

In today’s competitive job market, having that specialization on your resume, bolstered by a supporting internship or extracurricular activities, will help you stand out from the crowd. Students who specialize can also grow their niche network during the MBA program and then be ready to hit the ground running on day one.

Drawbacks of being a specialist:[/b] While specializing in a certain area of business is fine, know that it can be limiting.

One could even argue that you should just earn a degree in that specialty instead. Depending on the career path you have chosen after graduation, by specializing you could inadvertently pigeonhole yourself and narrow your job prospects, especially if you’re a career-changer.

A recent Harvard Business Review article detailed how Tulane Assistant Professor Jennifer Merluzzi and Columbia Business School Professor Damon Phillips studied the records of almost 400 students, who in 2008 and 2009 graduated from top U.S. MBA programs and then entered the investment banking field.

Among their findings, the researchers discovered that, “specialists were definitely penalized by the market. Not only were they less likely to receive multiple offers, but they were offered smaller signing bonuses. In some cases the specialists earned up to $48,000 less than their generalist peers.”

The classroom experience may also differ notably for specialists. Instead of classes with individuals who have multiple, diverse perspectives that enrich a traditional MBA experience, participants in the same specialization will likely have similar backgrounds and professional experiences from which to call on.

Ultimately, when you’re running a company, chances are you won’t be pulling together the financial models or balancing the books. Understanding those aspects is important, but you don’t need to be a master – ideally you will hire others to do the deep dive.

My friend and executive at a Fortune 100 company, who has thousands of employees reporting to him, once explained his role to me. He said, “I know what needs to be done and I get people to do it for me.”

Whether you choose to pursue a general or specialty MBA, pay close attention in all of your classes – even the areas you would plan to outsource when you have the budget.

Image credit: EIO on Flickr(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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What Burning Man and B-School Have in Common [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What Burning Man and B-School Have in Common


As part of our month-long anniversary celebration, I’m highlighting some of my favorite blog posts from along the way that I think will really resonate with applicants who are gearing up for submission this fall. 
Enjoy!
I’m devoting today’s post to Burning Man, the late-summer ritual that draws over 60,000 participants to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada every year.

For the uninitiated, here’s how Burning Man works: Each year, participants build an entire city from scratch and live in it for a week. People work together to build elaborate camps and villages—their themes and functions varying widely. You can find open mic lounges, yoga and meditation spaces, collaborative art installations and just about anything else imaginable.

While Burning Man is unique on many levels—it is the self-described “annual art event and temporary community based on radical self-expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada”—one of its most fascinating rules is that nothing can be bought or sold, with the exceptions of ice and coffee. No one receives any financial compensation for his or her efforts.


Then, at the end of the week, all the camps are burned or completely dismantled. One of the rules of Burning Man is to leave the desert exactly as you found it.

On the surface, it would seem that there is very little overlap between the cultures of Burning Man and business school. The former’s participants are largely stereotyped as hippies and artists running off to escape the constraints of society for a week, while MBAs are seen as leaders of the types of industry and societal structures that Burning Man participants are trying to flee.

However, a closer look reveals that there is more in common between the two than one would think. In fact, aspiring MBAs can learn valuable lessons from the Burning Man community:

1. Self-sufficiency is key.

Because Burning Man has no vendors (there’s no money, remember?), attendees must make sure they come in with ample provisions for the week—food, water, gear and clothing—enough for 100- degree days and near-freezing nights. Participants must be prepared for anything.

Similarly, many MBA grads describe the time they spent in B-school as the two most intense years of their lives. Admissions committees are well aware of this. When reviewing applications, they will look for candidates whose stories demonstrate resiliency. They will also want to ensure that you have a realistic understanding of the drive and dedication it will take to succeed in their program.

2. Your leadership skills will be tested.

Time and again, aspiring MBAs tell me that one of the main reasons they want to get in is so they can improve and refine their leadership skills. Burning Man is nothing if not a week-long leadership intensive.

Consider this: How can you get people to work for you when you can’t offer them the usual forms of compensation like money and promotions? How can you get them to build something that will be completely dismantled at the end of the week?

The camps and projects that succeed at Burning Man have one thing in common: leaders who clearly express their vision and create a positive shared experience for their fellow participants.

3. Teamwork is key.

At the same time, it’s important to know when to step away from leading and become part of the team. That’s essential to the Burning Man experience, where the point isn’t simply to build your own structure but to participate in others’ camps and villages as well.

Understanding the importance of collaboration and teamwork is vital to growing and learning at B-school.  Make sure that your application contains examples of your ability to play both roles—leader and team member—effectively.

4. Creativity counts.

At Burning Man, people express their creativity through their appearance and by being problem solvers—for example, figuring out how to anchor installations against high desert winds. While you won’t have too many opportunities to wear tutus and animal costumes at B-school, you will be asked to apply creative thought to problems.

The admission committee will look for evidence in your essays and your interview responses that show you have a unique perspective that will add something new to the classroom.

5. Be an individual but participate in the collective.

Every year, Burning Man has a theme. Participants can interpret these themes however they like, and part of the fun is seeing the variety of installations and spaces that spring up according to themes like “Rites of Passage” and “American Dream.”

Like Burning Man, all MBA programs have their own unique culture. The key for your application is to speak to the individual attributes that make you a great candidate, conveys your understanding of the school’s culture and reveals how you will be a great fit there.

Image credits: Flickr users Bexx Brown-Spinelli(CC BY-ND 2.0) and Aaron Logan (CC BY 2.0)

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Alumni Gift Launches NYU Stern Venture Fellows Program [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Alumni Gift Launches NYU Stern Venture Fellows Program

New York University Stern School of Business has announced the establishment of The NYU Stern Venture Fellows Program with a $1 million gift from technology executive and alumnus David Ko and his wife Jennifer Ko.

With this gift, Stern MBAs will have the opportunity to apply to this new immersion program in lieu of a traditional summer internship and benefit from financial support, mentorship, workshops and access to NYC and Silicon Valley tech companies.

The launch of this program coincides with David’s appointment to Stern’s Board of Overseers and extends the commitment to education that he and his wife initiated in 2012 with the establishment of the Jennifer and David Y. Ko Family Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship at NYU Stern.

“We are grateful to the Ko family for their generosity and to David for his decision to get more deeply engaged with his alma mater and help us continue creating innovative new student experiences,” said Peter Henry, dean of NYU Stern.

“The NYU Stern Venture Fellows Program is an extraordinary opportunity for MBA students who come to Stern to set their entrepreneurial ambitions and dreams in motion.”

Incoming full-time MBA students will apply in Fall 2016 for consideration to become the first NYU Stern Venture Fellows. The program will start in Summer 2017 under the administration of Stern’s W.R. Berkley Innovation Lab and Office of Student Engagement.

It will provide each Fellow with a $10,000 stipend, a prototyping fee, workspace and access to a multi-week summer program featuring a “Silicon Valley Immersion Week” that includes company visits and access to VCs, mentors and Stern alumni.  Fellows will continue to receive mentorship support in their second year at Stern and can opt to earn course credit through a faculty-supervised independent study in which they can focus on their start up.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help Stern MBAs transform their ideas into viable businesses through the resources that will be available to them from the NYU Stern Venture Fellows Program,” said Ko.  “My goal is to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with early, firsthand access to leaders in the Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley tech communities and help them get a jumpstart.”

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Re: Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog [#permalink]
Hello

I am looking forward to apply in international MBA programs for fall 2017 session. Could you please give me insight which programs I should choose for a career in management consulting post MBA.
My Profile:
Nationality/Gender/Age - Indian/M/27
GMAT- 720 (50,38)
Academic qualification - BTech, IIT Roorkee
CGPA - 8.43/10
10th- 88%
12th- 88%

Work experience:
A total of 6.5 years experience in manufacturing an engineering sector.
Currently working as Senior Engineer in engineering department of the one of India's largest manufacturing company. This is a public sector company as well.
~6.5 years experience in thermal power plants set up, plants operations, manufacturing of various components and selection of their materials.
- Consultant to Design group for material selection
- Responsible for quality control of incoming material.
- Vendor development and material inspection.
- Review various metallurgical processes like steel making, forging, casting, weld repair, heat treatment.
- Part of material management team.
~ Done number of projects as a leader as well as member to enhance productivity or to save money for the company.
~Done a course on project management

International Exposure:
Did internship in Germany for 3 month during BTech
Worked with people from diverse nationalities and ethnic backgrounds.

Extra –Curricular activities/Achievements:
Published a research paper in an International journal of high impact factor
Won various awards in paper presentation contest during BTech
Received DAAD scholarship to pursue internship in Germany
Organized various events during college festivals.

Post MBA plans:
Work in management/strategy consulting


Kindly evaluate my profile and let me know which schools Should I target. I have shortlisted some colleges like Emory, Hass, Darden, Anderson, Tuck. Pls tell me what are the chances in these colleges and some practical colleges as well. I will also be applying for indian clgs like ISB and IIMs.



Look forward to hearing back
Thanks
Panbhl
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Make the Most of Your MBA Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Make the Most of Your MBA Essays
Essay-writing is a funny thing. Before you dive into your MBA applications, 400 or 500 words can seem like the equivalent of a doorstop-size Russian novel. But once you really get going on your first drafts, you quickly realize just how little space you have to work with.

We’re familiar with the pit that can form in your stomach when you’ve written the perfect essay—but it’s more than three times the word-count limit. How do you decide what stays and what goes?

First, cut out basic information that’s already established on your resume. You don’t need to explain what your firm does or rehash what your specific job responsibilities are or what city you were in at the time.

Second, look for sections where you might come off like you’re lecturing the reader. The admissions committee doesn’t need a speech about your industry or what your product does or how you think the world should work, they just need to know how you contributed to a specific project or why you want to do what you want to do post-graduation.

They also don’t need to be educated on their own MBA program, so watch out for sentences that read like they were ripped from a school’s website. This is an easy trap to fall into when crafting “Why School X?” responses. Stick to how a certain class or club is relevant to your goals—no need to describe what the class is about. They already know!

Sometimes the story you choose is the word-sucking culprit. For prompts that ask you to describe specific achievements, it’s best to pick an easy-to-explain example that doesn’t take eighty percent of the essay to set up.

If you can’t succinctly summarize a situation that you helped to improve, you might want to find another anecdote that will let you spend most of the word count describing your contributions and successful results. Long setups don’t tell them anything about you.

Also be sure to keep this sage writing advice in mind: “show, don’t tell.” If you’ve done a good job of describing a time when you displayed leadership, then there is absolutely no need to add a sentence like this: “I really stepped up in this situation and went above and beyond to lead my team.”

Finally, you might need to bid adieu to descriptive words. As Stephen King said best, “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” Keep it simple!

If all else fails, take a break. Step away from the essay for a few days, and then revisit it with fresh eyes. You’re likely to find some words or sentences that aren’t critical.

On that note, remember:



 

 

 

 

 

***

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Tuesday Tips: Kelley School of Business at Indiana University 2017 Ess [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tuesday Tips: Kelley School of Business at Indiana University 2017 Essay Tips
Kelley School of Business at Indiana University is a top-tier business school with an innovative program. From the moment you decide to attend Kelley you will be focusing on your career and leadership development.

You’ll receive personalized coaching, leadership training, and real-world industry projects within the first year of your MBA. Kelley’s program is unique and close-knit, so your fit with the program and your desire to participate fully will be important to the admissions committee.

Essay 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)

Entering Kelley with a crystallized career vision and an idea of how you will accomplish your goals will help you take full advantage of the program. Kelley’s curriculum is tailored to help you reach your career goals.

For example, students can specialize almost immediately by choosing one of the first-year Academies in your industry area of focus. Think about these opportunities at Kelley when you answer this career goals question, and specifically how you see yourself using the tools available.

The second half of this question deals with your flexibility around your career goal and your ability to handle change. The business world changes constantly and your ability to recognize opportunity, even outside your anticipated career goals, will be crucial to success. Think about the core elements that are important to you in forming your career goals.

Perhaps you are passionate about a specific industry, but you could imagine pursing either a strategy role or a finance role in that industry. Or perhaps you love marketing and are more flexible about the industry where you practice your craft. Showing that you can capitalize on change and opportunity while staying true to your core values and interests will position you well in this set of essays.

Essay 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…


This essay seeks to understand your core personal motivations. Beyond career, what have been formative moments in your life? The story you choose to tell in this essay will be revealing to the admissions committee and will show your personality and values.

Think about the moments in your life when you have changed or matured. Was there an experience that led you to learn more about yourself? Perhaps you interacted with someone who challenged you, or inspired you. Or you may have traveled outside your comfort zone, either literally outside your home country, or in a transition like leaving home for college.

Option b, “I’m most afraid of…” is the one prompt that does not specifically call on a past experience. However, it’s likely that your fear has its roots in a formative moment in your life.

Once you have a story to tell, make sure you are explaining why this moment is important to you. You can either narrate your thoughts, reactions and opinions as you retell the story, or take time at the end of the essay to reflect upon what you learned and why it was important to you.

Essay 3

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

The admissions committee has read your career goals, read about a pivotal experience and likely has reviewed your resume and application fact sheet. This fact is one that didn’t come up in any of those demographic or background data sheets in your application.

Perhaps you were a competitive swimmer in high school, but didn’t pursue it in college. Or your grandmother was from Sweden and taught you traditional cooking techniques that no one else in your life knows.

If you are struggling to come up with an interesting or surprising fact, this is a great question to poll friends and family about. You will want to use something that is unique about you, and that most other applicants would not be able to say.

Your friends and family likely know the elements of your background and personality that go far deeper than your resume or application fact sheet.

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)

Kelley’s optional question is open-ended, allowing you to add almost any story or additional background data you would like. Before you take full advantage of the extra space, make sure you are truly adding to your application. If you have done the work on a comprehensive resume, excellent recommendations and finely honed essays you likely don’t need this space.

If there is anything to explain in your application, definitely use this space to do so. That may be a poor grade in a quantitative course in college, academic probation, or the lack of a recommendation from a current supervisor. Whatever you need to discuss, make sure you are focused on explanations rather than excuses, and you provide solid, recent evidence that you have done better since the event.

Struggling with the Kelley MBA application? Stacy Blackman Consulting can help.Contact us to learn more.

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Wharton Announces Application Fee Waiver for Military Veterans [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Wharton Announces Application Fee Waiver for Military Veterans

Starting this admissions season, military veterans applying to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School will not have to pay an application fee.

In an announcement recently posted to the Wharton MBA admissions blog, Maryellen Reilly Lamb, Deputy Vice Dean of MBA Admissions, Financial Aid and Career Management, explained that this change is part of an effort to attract top military talent in partnership with Wharton’s MBA Veterans Club.

“Last year, 224 active duty and honorably discharged U.S. veterans applied to Wharton,” says Reilly Lamb. “We hope this program encourages more to take that step as well. We thank all veterans for their service to our country and are pleased to offer this well-deserved incentive.”

You may also be interested in:
Wharton Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips

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Yale SOM to Cap Full-Time MBA Class Size [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Yale SOM to Cap Full-Time MBA Class Size

In an effort to preserve its unique and close-knit culture, the Yale School of Management has announced it will put the brakes on the ballooning admissions increases it has seen over the past six years and cap the class at around 340 students.

According to the Yale News, the MBA program is 150 percent larger than it was in 2010, going from 238 to 334 students.

In its latest MBA admissions cycle for the incoming class of 2018, which ended this summer, the SOM received 3,649 applications — exactly 200 more than the record-breaking number last year. The school admitted 692 applicants, registering an admissions rate of 19 percent, one of the lowest in its history.

“We are bucking the trend. All the schools have not seen the same increase [in applicants] that we have,” SOM Assistant Dean of Admissions Bruce DelMonico told Yale News. “It is a testimony to all the positive things happening here.”

The school is also touting this year’s very diverse cohort; woman make up 43 percent of the MBA Class of 2018, 46 percent are international students, and 13 percent are from underrepresented ethnic groups.

Also, more than a quarter of the incoming students have a STEM background, which DelMonico calls an unusual case at business schools.

SOM Senior Associate Dean for the MBA Program Anjani Jain attributes the school’s increase in popularity to the fact that employers are becoming more aware of the unique attributes of the Yale MBA, notably its integrated core curriculum, interconnectedness with Yale’s other professional schools, and the Global Network for Advanced Management, founded by SOM Dean Edward Snyder in 2012.

For students and alumni reportedly worried that the SOM’s sudden expansion would have a negative affect on the school’s culture, this plan to cap the class is welcome news.

You may also be interested in:
Yale School of Management Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips

PepsiCo CEO Endows Deanship at the SOM

Yale SOM Dean Snyder Named ‘Dean of the Year’

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HEC Paris Fall 2017 Application Deadlines and Essays [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: HEC Paris Fall 2017 Application Deadlines and Essays

Here are the upcoming deadlines and essay questions for the 2016-2017 admissions season at HEC Paris. The admissions process at this prestigious European business school operates on on a rolling basis throughout the year and aims to take applicants through the entire process from submission to decision in five weeks.

Deadlines
September Round

Application deadline: September 15, 2016

Decision released: October 21, 2016

October Round

Application deadline: October 15, 2016

Decision released: November 18, 2016

November Round

Application deadline: November 15, 2016

Decision released: December 16, 2016

January Round

Application deadline: January 1, 2017

Decision released: February 8, 2017

February Round

Application deadline: February 1, 2017

Decision released: March 13, 2017

March Round

Application deadline: March 1, 2017

Decision released: April 10, 2017

April Round

Application deadline: April 1, 2017

Decision released: May 11, 2017

May Round

Application deadline: May 1, 2017

Decision released: June 8, 2017

June Round

Application deadline: June 1, 2017

Decision released: July 11, 2017

HEC Paris encourages applicants to apply sooner should they require on-campus housing or student visas.

Essay Questions
Essay 1. Why are you applying to the HEC MBA Program now? What is the professional objective that will guide your career choice after your MBA, and how will the HEC MBA contribute to the achievement of this objective? (500 words max.)

Essay 2. What do you consider your most significant life achievement? (250 words max.)

Essay 3. Leadership and ethics are inevitably intertwined in the business world. Describe a situation in which you have dealt with these issues and how they have influenced you. (250 words max.)

Essay 4. Imagine a life entirely different from the one you now lead, what would it be? (250 words max.)

Essay 5. Please choose from one of the following essays (250 words max):

a) What monument or site would you advise a first-time visitor to your country or city to discover, and why?

b) Certain books, movies or plays have had an international success that you believe to be undeserved. Choose an example and analyse it.

c) What figure do you most admire and why? You may choose from any field (arts, literature, politics, business, etc).

Optional: Is there any additional information you would like to share with us? (900 words max.)

For more information on the full-time MBA program at HEC Paris, please visit the HEC admissions website.

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Should You Be ‘Strategic’ About Your MBA Career Goals? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Should You Be ‘Strategic’ About Your MBA Career Goals?
When you pull together your MBA application materials, you might find yourself stumped (in a few different ways) about how to explain your career goals. Thankfully, as we wrote about last month, the adcom isn’t going to hold you to what you write in your essay.

However, they do expect that you have given enough serious thought to your own future that you can clearly articulate your short- and long-term plans. More importantly, they want to hear about why you have those goals.

But sometimes this brings up another conundrum: should you be totally honest about your future career vision, or should you try to somewhat tailor it based on what each program you’re applying to is known for—or who the major recruiters are on campus?

We find it’s usually best to tell the adcom what you really want to do. They’re pretty good at sniffing out insincerity, and writing what you think they want to hear falls into that category.

Plus, it will be harder for you to share a convincing “why” for your goals if they’re not really your goals! If you get to the interview stage, you’ll have to worry about continuing the act.

The good news is that while each program may have a reputation for strength in certain functional areas or industries, almost all of the top business schools still have plenty of courses, clubs, conference and other parts of their curriculum that cater to just about every type of career goal.

So that’s how you customize your responses for each school: show them you’ve done your research and know exactly how they can help you.

Think of it this way:



 

 

 

 

 

 

***

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3 Reasons Future Entrepreneurs Need an MBA, and 1 Exception [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 3 Reasons Future Entrepreneurs Need an MBA, and 1 Exception


This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.
If you’re planning on launching your own company, you don’t need to go to business school, right? Many would-be entrepreneurs think that a brilliant idea alone will take them to the top, just as it did for the MBA-less Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

The reality, though, is that for every super successful entrepreneur who eschewed the MBA, there are scores more entrepreneurs with MBA degrees who have changed the world, such as Nike co-founder Phil Knight, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman or Warren Buffett, who grew Berkshire Hathaway from a textile manufacturing business into the world’s fourth-largest public company.

An MBA program can’t teach you to feel more comfortable with taking risks or to be more passionate about your idea, and it won’t give you a constant thirst for new projects – those are some of the innate qualities a successful entrepreneur has.

However, an MBA program can teach you how to turn a good idea into a good business. If you have startup fever, here are three reasons you should go to business school first and one time you may not need that MBA.

B-school is the best incubator for budding entrepreneurs. [/b]MBA programs have always prepared students to launch and manage their own businesses. But over the last decade, the number of courses, centers and contests dedicated exclusively to entrepreneurship has mushroomed.

Business school has become the safe place to test out your most creative, outrageous and ambitious ideas without the pressure and fear of failure if that company or those ideas don’t work. In fact, failure is just as valuable a learning tool as success, because it offers students the chance to find out what went wrong and refine their business models to nail it next time out in the real world, when the stakes are much higher.

You’ll have teachers and mentors guiding you along the way as you search for that big idea that will change lives. You’ll also see all sides of the entrepreneurial experience, find out what it’s like to collaborate to execute your vision and ultimately have a better understanding of whether entrepreneurship really is your calling.

B-school offers the best environment to build your team. [/b]Entrepreneurial success requires teamwork, strong business relationships and a network of classmates who can provide introductions or advise on various areas, as well as seasoned professors who can weigh in on business dilemmas as you build a plan. In fact, good relationships with your professors can translate into a lifelong pipeline of talent connecting graduates with current MBA students.

Even if – like the majority of applicants – you don’t plan on pursuing a joint MBA degree, you can still take advantage of interdisciplinary studies in other areas that interest you. As a part of the greater university community, top-tier business schools often offer MBA students the chance to take courses alongside students from other graduate programs.

For example, the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business provides students with real-world entrepreneurial experiences through cross-campus initiatives and involvement with the business community. You might find someone outside of the MBA program who could become a valuable asset to your team down the line.

B-school will teach you how to run and grow a company – not just launch it. [/b]So many entrepreneurs have failed at getting their business idea off the ground precisely because they didn’t have some of the necessary tools in their arsenal that they would have learned at business school.

You have to be able to transition your idea into an actual business. It might be a startup, but you want it to grow – and last. More than many other business roles, an entrepreneur needs to know a little bit of everything. Even if you start a tech company, someone has to do the accounting, know how to market your product or service and act as a leader for the team.

If you choose a business school that relies heavily on the case method, you’ll likely learn from others’ successes and mistakes about growing too quickly. Also, those classes in human resource management, business law or venture capital financing could help you head off some thorny workplace issues later on.

Skip b-school altogether if you are in a rush to launch a company right now. Competition moves fast, especially in the tech industry. So if you already have your product or service fully developed, a crystal clear business plan, sufficient funding to sustain you and an awesome team in place and ready to execute—and if you think spending two years in a classroom might be an undesirable distraction—then it’s time to hit the ground running.

Image credit: inertia NC (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Military MBA Applicants: It’s Not About You…Until Now [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Military MBA Applicants: It’s Not About You…Until Now
In the second of our new series of guest posts directed at military applicants, army veteran and Cornell MBA Peter Sukits shares candid, actionable advice for military veterans considering a transition to a full-time MBA program.
Pete is an aspiring career coach, author and finance professional living in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served for five years as a commissioned officer in the United States Army, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. After separating from active duty, he earned an MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.
Through the process of transitioning, he learned many valuable lessons in the areas of expectations, mindset and preparation when undertaking the shift from military to academic and civilian life. We look forward to sharing his advice with you here.
With service in any branch of the military comes several unwritten rules. Many of us former commissioned and noncommissioned officers especially, know this – it’s just part of the culture.

  • On a training exercise, you don’t eat until all your soldiers have eaten.
  • You give credit to your soldiers at all opportunity when you are praised for doing a good job.
  • You don’t talk about money. You don’t talk about medals. Period.
All of these rules have a common theme – it’s not about you and your accomplishments. It’s about the unit. It’s about the mission. It’s about your soldiers. In your evaluation reports, your main successes are predicated upon how your team accomplishes its mission. If the team fails, you fail.

Former Army officer and Rhodes Scholar, Craig Mullaney put it very succinctly in his book The Unforgiving Minute about his experience in Ranger School. It was stressed to him that he wasn’t there for an award or a career booster. The skills he was learning, and the experience he was going through was for the benefit of his future soldiers.

In the military realm, you’re rewarded for selflessness and ostracized for self-promotion.


Sukits in Afghanistan

In my humble opinion, this is one of the single most difficult concepts with which newly separated veterans must come to grips. Once you have made the decision to enter an MBA program, you’ve shed the weight of your subordinate unit off of your shoulders, and are focused on improving yourself and beginning a new career. To do that, it’s going to take a lot more than great academic performance and experiences to achieve your new goals.

You need to make sure people know about your great academic performance and experiences.

Maybe it’s because a career path in the military is structured and almost preset, or maybe it’s because everybody wears their “resume” on their uniform. For better or for worse, there is no need to sell yourself while serving. So naturally, this will be an area where at best you will need some practice, and at worst…an area that will make you cringe in your desert boots.

As I found out very quickly, the art form, or “soft skill”, of selling myself, which flies in the face of the environment I had just left, is essential for success in business school and the business world. You need to be able to communicate your experiences to your classmates, your recruiters, your interviewers, your mentors etc. Anyone that has a vested interest in seeing you succeed needs to know what makes you, you.

No, it’s not what your team did. It’s what you brought to the table personally that ensured mission success. For the first time in a long time, it’s about you.

Your opportunities to practice and implement this skill will come in many forms. Primarily, job and admissions interviews will require to literally trace your career for the past several years – that famous “walk me through your resume” question, among others. These will often be the “make or break” events that will secure you admission or the position.

Likewise, networking is key in your MBA journey (more specifics on that topic later). Often times, the people you are looking to connect with at a career event, at a cocktail reception or at a company visit, won’t know you at all and they will not have seen your resume. This is not to say that you need to blow your horn so loudly that security needs to escort you out. But they need to get a picture of what you’ve done and what your intentions are.

Where to start? It’s going to be uncomfortable at first. One of the best things that my colleagues and I have done is literally write down what you are going to say to someone. Write down your answers to interview questions. Write down how you’ll introduce yourself to a recruiter. Write down the words you will say to a 2nd year you’re looking to meet. Then, say it. Then, say it again. Practice with people. It’s going to sound awkward at first, but eventually you’ll get used to it. By the time the real thing comes around, you should be in a position where you’re able to effectively market yourself without coming across as rehearsed, and without feeling arrogant.

Tasks to Prospective Students:

  • Take every opportunity to interact with potential classmates. If you know any veterans that are already in business school or have gone, reach out to them for mentorship. They can help you navigate this challenge and coach you along.
  • Immerse yourself as much as you can in the culture of the school you’ll be attending (if you’ve decided on it). What is the reputation of the student body among companies? Learn how you can position yourself for success among your future classmates.
  • Take your Officer Evaluation Report (OER), or NCOER and rewrite out all the things you accomplished in your most recent rating period. You can also do this with your academic record. Even if it is just a simply list of statements. Frame the statements entirely in terms of what you have done, nobody else. Practice getting used to telling folks about this. The idea is to get comfortable in this frame of mind.
It’s about you now, and that’s a great thing, because you have a lot to bring to the table. All you need to do is embrace the new challenge.

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Stacy Blackman Consulting Representative
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Beware of Friendly MBA “Advice” [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Beware of Friendly MBA “Advice”
As Round 1 deadlines near, you’ll probably think about asking a trusted friend or family member to review your materials. There are obvious benefits to having a fresh set of eyes on your work, but there can also be a few drawbacks.

The upside to someone new looking at your essays and data forms is that they may be more likely to spot a typo, missing word or extra period at the end of a sentence. At some point you’ll have read your responses so many times that errors will no longer jump out at you. This is where a friend or family member’s assistance is undoubtedly valuable.

However, it’s really tough for someone to read through your materials and not also want to give “advice.” Human beings are full of opinions, after all, and anyone close to you would just be trying to help.

But the issue is that if you’ve already planned out your application strategy—especially if you’ve worked on that strategy with an admissions consultant—it would be a shame to derail your progress just because a well-meaning friend made you doubt yourself.

If someone who has an MBA reviews your materials, they may be under the incorrect assumption that since they were accepted to a program, the way they approached certain essay questions is the only guaranteed path to admission.

Or maybe your parents attended business school decades ago and want to give you advice. That can be problematic because the programs themselves—not to mention the qualities adcoms are looking for in candidates—have changed pretty dramatically over the years.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if someone who’s completely unfamiliar with the business school application process reviews your documents, they may be confused if you included personal stories or otherwise let your personality come through in your essays.

There’s a stereotype that MBAs need to be all business, all the time, and this leads to an expectation of essays filled with lists of achievements, not-so-subtle bragging, and loads of buzzwords.

That’s why you should consider: 1) limiting the people you involve to no more than two, and, 2) telling those reviewers up front that they would be helping you most if they could focus solely on spelling, grammar, or other obvious mistakes when they do their read-through.

They’ll probably still give you unsolicited advice, and you can always listen politely and share any concerns you may have with your admissions consultant. Just keep in mind that it’s hardly ever a good idea to switch things up at the last minute after putting significant effort into your positioning.

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