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No. 1 Trait HBS Looks for in MBA Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: No. 1 Trait HBS Looks for in MBA Applicants

Do you have an idea about what the number one characteristic the admissions team at Harvard Business School is looking for in MBA applicants? I recently shared my thoughts on the subject with Business Insider, based on my 15 years of experience advising clients on how to position themselves when applying to the world’s top business schools.

It may not surprise you to learn that the most important trait the AdCom looks for is high-impact leadership, or what I call the “big kahuna” at HBS.

When evaluating your leadership potential, the admissions committee will be looking for evidence that you have made a positive impact on the communities of which you’ve been a part, both personally and professionally. However, it’s not about the scale of your achievements – rather, it’s the fact that you left indelible footprints.

Click on over to Business Insider to read more about what I believe are the 10 traits Harvard Business School looks for in the ideal MBA candidate.

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GMAC Releases 2016 Application Trends Survey [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: GMAC Releases 2016 Application Trends Survey
Nearly half (49 percent) of all graduate business programs received more applications in 2016 compared with 2015, according to a global survey report released today by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

European programs across the board, plus full-time one-year MBA, executive MBA, and online MBA programs appear to be experiencing stronger application growth, whereas full-time two-year, part-time, and flexible MBA programs worldwide are indicating declines this year.



“Business degrees continue to be one of the most sought-after educational credentials,” said Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC. “With the creation of more tailored business programs such as the Master in Data Analytics, the demand for entrance into business school is spreading across a growing supply of programs. With the competitive landscape changing, applicants have more options from which to choose, creating a mixed picture for business schools today.”

GMAC conducted its 17th annual Application Trends Survey from early June to mid-July 2016. The survey findings are based on a record number of responses from 335 business schools and faculties worldwide representing 872 graduate management programs, including MBA, non-MBA business master’s, and doctoral-level programs.

Participating programs received a combined total of 440,000 applications during the 2016 application cycle. Ninety-three percent of all participating programs report that the applicants this year are similarly or more academically qualified than candidates last year.

Key Findings: Program Application Growth
A key finding within the report reveals that European business programs — which have seen stagnant volumes for several years — are experiencing an influx in applications this year. Sixty-five percent of European programs (across all program types combined) grew their application volumes. Forty-six percent of U.S. programs and 41 percent of programs in East and Southeast Asia grew their application volumes as well.



Further, European full-time one-year MBA programs stand out in this year’s findings — nearly 3 in 4 (74 percent) programs report year-on-year increases. Nearly half of U.S.-based programs (43 percent) and programs in East and Southeast Asia (45 percent) report volume growth in the full-time one-year MBA market.

Additional program types experiencing application gains include the full-time one-year MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, Master of Finance and the Master in Data Analytics.

  • A majority of all full-time one-year MBA programs (57 percent) report growing application volumes this year, building on the momentum of last year’s results when 51 percent reported growth.
  • For the first time since 2008, a majority (51 percent) of executive MBA programs report growing volumes, 8 percentage points higher than programs that reported growing volumes in 2015.
  • For the second consecutive year, a majority (57 percent) of online MBA programs report growing application volumes, up from 50 percent of programs that reported volume growth last year. Survey responses also show that 9 percent of online programs are new in 2017, signaling schools are implementing programs that are of high interest to prospective students.
  • Also for the second year in a row, a majority of Master of Finance programs report growing volumes. More than half of the European (65 percent) and U.S.-based programs (55 percent) report growth this year.
  • One of the newest programs in the graduate management education space — Master in Data Analytics — continues to see growing demand. Nearly all (94 percent) of the 16 data analytics programs that submitted data comparing 2015 with this year report application volume growth in 2016. The survey also shows program growth in this area as nine new programs will be seating their first classes this year.
  • After three years of slowing growth, the Master in Management program holds steady in 2016 with a majority (51 percent) of programs reporting growing application volumes. More European programs (58 percent) report growth compared with half (50 percent) of U.S.-based programs.
Key Findings: Decreasing Volumes for Some Flagship Programs
A select number of program types realized fewer application submissions or held steady with last year.

  • For the first time since 2012, fewer than half of full-time two-year MBA programs (43 percent) experienced year-on-year application growth this year. This is the second straight year that the share of programs reporting growth is down from a high of 61 percent in 2014.
  • Part-time MBA and flexible MBA programs continue to exhibit the same application volume patterns seen over the past seven years since the end of the Great Recession. This year, just 43 percent of part-time MBA programs and 44 percent of flexible MBA programs report application volume growth.
  • Master of Accounting programs continue a trend of declining growth. Less than half (44 percent) of programs experienced rising application volumes in 2016.
Other Points of Interest: Candidate Diversification and Tuition Assistance
Business schools continue to diversify their outreach and recruitment efforts to broaden their appeal to targeted candidate segments. Seventy percent of full-time two-year MBA programs recruit international candidates. These candidates, especially those from China, India and the U.S., also are a priority for outreach and recruitment by a majority of full-time one-year MBA programs and master’s programs in management and finance.

The most common form of tuition assistance that graduate management programs offer is merit scholarships. The majority of all program types offer financial aid, including 78 percent of full-time MBA programs. Two-thirds of programs (68 percent) report that the percentage of their incoming students receiving employer-based tuition reimbursement this year will be similar to 2015.

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7 Qualities of the Ideal Wharton MBA [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 7 Qualities of the Ideal Wharton MBA


What does it take to land a seat at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School? As one of the top MBA programs in the world, Wharton is very selective about who it accepts—just 20% of applicants in 2015—and the admissions team has some specific traits in mind when it assesses candidates.

Reflecting on my 15 years of experience helping clients get into Wharton, I recently shared my take on the seven characteristics Wharton is looking for in MBA applicants with Business Insider.

1. Global awareness is key.  
Candidates must show they are able to adapt, accept, and understand in a diverse environment. Wharton graduates will compete in a global marketplace, so experience with the challenges of doing business globally and a natural curiosity for learning more about other countries and cultures will be valued by the admissions committee and should therefore be emphasized during your interview.

2. Entrepreneurial abilities are a must.
Being entrepreneurial means knowing how to recognize and capture opportunity, minimize risk, make the most of limited resources, and make excellent decisions even with inadequate or incomplete information. You can demonstrate an entrepreneurial mindset if you have identified opportunities to make an impact above and beyond the call of duty.

3. Community involvement is paramount.
Finding time to do community service can demonstrate your devotion to making your community better. The hours required for a Wharton MBA are comparable to your current job, so you have to prove the ability to manage your time and energy and put it toward a good cause.

But admissions officers at Wharton aren’t only interested in whether you’ve done community service. They are also interested in the character revelations that come with the projects you took on.

To read four more traits Wharton looks for in the ideal MBA candidate, follow the link to the original post on Business Insider.

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

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Ask the AdCom: Reading Recommendations [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Ask the AdCom: Reading Recommendations
Hey everybody! We’re back with our second installment of our new weekly column “Ask the AdCom.” We know MBA applicants love to get information straight from the source, and in this space we’ll be sharing tips and advice from admissions team members from a dozen top business schools.

Since AdCom members are human, too, we thought our readers might enjoy seeing  a different side of what makes these guys tick. This fun space is not really about the application process but more about real-life topics, like where’s the best place on campus to eat or study, what are the can’t-miss courses, and all the fun stuff that happens at b-school that makes lifelong memories for students.

We hope you enjoy their insights!



Today’s question is: What’s a good book for b-school student or an aspirant (not a text book)?
Morgan Bernstein, Executive Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions  at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, recommends:

Life is Good – The Book: How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy the Ride, by Bert and John Jacobs, co-founders of the socially conscious lifestyle company/brand Life is Good. The book celebrates the power of optimism, sharing stories and advice for living simpler, happier, and more fulfilling lives. Given the fast-paced (and oftentimes stressful) lives of MBA students, this book provides a welcome and refreshing retreat from the chaos.

John Roeder, Assistant Dean Graduate Admissions  at SMU Cox School of Business, recommends:

Texas Got It Right by Sam and Andrew Wyly.  While most states are floundering over the last decade, this is an interesting look into Texas history, traits, and policies that have made Texas successful, prosperous and an entrepreneurial powerhouse. After reading this book, aspiring MBAs will have a good idea of why business is booming in the state of Texas and why so many companies are re-locating their corporate Headquarters from the east and west coast.

Texas should be on the radar of any aspiring MBA whether they are choosing to ultimately live in the state or just do business there.

 Rodrigo Malta, Director of Admissions at UT McCombs School of Business, says: Crossing the Chasm is a perennial favorite amongst students and professors.

Kelly R. Wilson, Executive Director of Admissions  at the CMU Tepper School of Business, recommends: Professor Allan Meltzer’s Why Capitalism?

Melissa Fogerty, Director of Admissions at Yale School of Management and obviously an avid reader, recommends:  Prospective MBA students should check out our Yale SOM faculty’s Summer Reading List. This list includes our faculty’s favorite business books, as well as works of fiction, history, and more.

I’ll point out in particular Professor Will Goetzmann’s new book, Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible, published in 2016 by Princeton University Press, which explores how the development of finance has made the growth of civilizations possible.

As someone who loves to read, I’m looking forward to exploring Goetzmann’s idea of finance as a time machine, which Felix Martin (New York Times Book Review) notes “is a fascinating thesis, brilliantly illuminated by scores of vivid examples, generously illustrated with a wealth of pictures, comprehensive in its geographical and temporal scope, and in my view almost entirely convincing.”

In fiction, I’ll also recommend M.L. Stedman’s New York Times bestselling novel The Light Between Oceans, which I recently read for my book club. I’m looking forward to comparing it to the Derek Cianfrance film starring Rachel Weisz, Alicia Vikander, and Michael Fassbender, which will be out in theaters in September.

Shari Hubert, Associate Dean, MBA Admissions  at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, also has a long list of recommendations:

The Start Up of You –by Reid Hoffman

Banker to the Poor –by Muhammad Yunus

How to Change the World – by David Bornstein

Zero to One –by Peter Thiel

Conscious Capitalism – by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia

The 10-Day MBA – by Steven Silbiger

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them (by Meg Jay – there’s also a Ted Talk on this) – This book helps to put into context why individuals pursue their MBA and helps to prepare students for the most transformative and defining period of their lives.

******

Look out for the #AskAdCom in our social media channels, and we’ll see you again next week when we check in to Ask the AdCom to name a great restaurant around campus!

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Michigan Ross Director Calms Common Applicant Concerns [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Michigan Ross Director Calms Common Applicant Concerns

Applying to a top-tier business school is a time of high anxiety for many MBA hopefuls. With such fiercely competitive admission rates, it’s only natural that candidates might feel vulnerable about their chances. Plus, going for an MBA is a huge and expensive decision, so how do you know if the school you’re targeting will be right for you?

In a recent update to the Admission Director’s Blog at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Director Soojin Kwon shared the reflections of several second-year Ross Student Ambassadors who were in your shoes not that long ago. Their experiences should help calm any fears or concerns you have about the application process in general and, in particular, about choosing to apply to the Ross School.

Here are some key excerpts from Kwon’s post:

 Applicant Fear #1: “I wasn’t sure that Ross and Ann Arbor would be as diverse as other schools/cities I was considering.”
Kwon: Nearly a third of our students come from outside of the U.S., with India, Brazil, China and Peru as our leading international countries. Within the U.S., the state with the highest representation at Ross is California. The metro area where the most students lived prior to Ross is New York, followed by Washington, D.C.

Our entering class has worked in a wide range of industries – from consulting, banking, marketing, and startups to the military, education, nonprofit, healthcare/pharma, tech, law and hospitality. They’ve worked in 340 different organizations including the Kenya Ministry of Health, the Turkish Treasury, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, NBCUniversal, Time Warner Cable, Coach Inc, and Coca-Cola.

Women comprise 40% of our entering class. Minorities comprise 24%.

As far as Ann Arbor goes, it may surprise you to know that we have more restaurants and independent bookstores per capita than any other city in the U.S. It’s been ranked among the most educated city in the U.S.

Applicant Fear #2: “I heard mixed messages about which round to apply in. Obviously, it worked out in the end, but I was worried I’d hurt my chances if I applied in one round vs another.”
Kwon: Chances are, you have an idea of which school is your top choice. Let’s call it “School A.” You submit an app to School A in Round 1. Your app to Schools B and C are nearly ready but you decide to wait until Round 2 to submit those apps. In the months following your Round 1 submission to School A, you visit the campus of Schools B and C. You connect with students and alumni of those schools. You fall in love with School B and decide that that school is your new top choice. (We see this a LOT.)

You resolve to submit a killer app for School B in Round 2. In December, you find out from School A you’re admitted. Great! School A requires you to submit a non-refundable enrollment deposit in February…before you find out if you’re admitted to your new top choice school. Now you have to either (1) put money down to hold your spot at School A or (2) take your chances on being admitted to School B. We frequently see applicants choose Option 1.

The moral of this story: if you’re close to being ready to submit an app for several schools, you should strive to submit them in the same round.

It’ll give you the benefit of being able to make a decision with all your options laid out at once. Of course, you should apply when your application is as strong as it can be. But if your app is ready for one school, chances are, you’re probably close to being ready for another school. The main difference is generally only the essays.

***

The Ross admissions director also shares advice on handling low GMAT/GRE scores,  enlightens applicants who are unfamiliar with what Michigan Ross is “good at,” and reveals why you don’t need to devote an excessive amount of effort to answering the Ross essay questions.

Read Soojin Kwon’s complete post, and with any luck, you’ll feel much more relaxed about the whole process…well, at least a little bit!

You may also be interested in:
Michigan Ross School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips

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You’re Not Perfect…That’s Why You Need an MBA [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: You’re Not Perfect…That’s Why You Need an MBA
There’s a lot to think about when you’re pulling together your business school application materials. You’ve got to make sure your resume is in top shape, that your recommenders will have their letters uploaded on time, that your essays are compelling and position you well—the list goes on.

One thing that is easy to forget in the whole process is communicating to the adcom why you need an MBA in the first place. (Oh, the irony!) Have you taken some time to really think about this yet? If going back to school has always been a part of your plan, the application process could turn into something you “just have to do” in order to reach your goal. You might get so focused on trying to impress the adcom that you fail to explain how their program could actually help you.

We’re not talking about the “Why school X?” type of responses where you show you’ve researched a program by integrating classes, professors, clubs and other parts of the curriculum into your essays. We’re talking about clearly detailing what you still need to learn and what experience you must gain in order to reach your career goals.

If—in the process of highlighting your background, achievements and future plans—you don’t say why you need an MBA, the adcom may decide that someone else would benefit more from their program.

So don’t be afraid to point out what gaps you have and exactly how an MBA can help. The adcom isn’t looking to put together a class of people who are already perfect and have nothing to learn from each other!

Think of it this way: if he could admit it, you can, too.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

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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Pros, Cons for MBA Applicants of the Single-Essay Trend [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Pros, Cons for MBA Applicants of the Single-Essay Trend


This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.
A decade ago, business school applications commonly included up to six essay questions for applicants to fret and labor over. For at least the past three application seasons, however, many top-ranked MBA programs have abbreviated their required essays. Several now ask candidates to answer just a single prompt.

My immediate reaction to these changing requirements has been, “I love it!” It makes sense to test applicants in this way. After all, the world’s best b-schools want students who are future leaders – those who can act quickly and decisively, with little to no direction, under stressful circumstances.

Client feedback in recent cycles has ranged from confusion to outright panic, so applicants may benefit from plenty of guidance as they grapple with how to present themselves and thoughtfully tell their story.

Prospective MBA applicants should know there are pros and cons to the streamlining trend.

Pro:[/b] Having to write just one essay eases the burden on applicants applying to multiple programs. Our 2016 SBC Survey of Prospective Applicants revealed that almost 38 percent of applicants plan to apply to five or more schools this year, and fewer and shorter essay requirements are precisely what motivated nearly 52 percent of respondents to apply to more schools.

As a bonus, admissions teams are betting that requiring a single essay means applicants will be less able to recycle essays for other schools.

Con:[/b] This increase in applications skews the overall application, acceptance, and yield numbers as the volume of the applicant pool increases but the quality declines. Schools need to adjust to these new figures, as they may influence a prospective applicant’s decision not to target a specific school if the program is perceived as less competitive and therefore, less desirable.

Pro:[/b] They say high self-awareness is the strongest predictor of overall success. The single prompt forces you to be very clear about who you are and what you want to communicate. In fact, many admissions committee members believe serious self-reflection prior to applying lays the foundation for compelling essays. A lot of thought will have to go into distilling your messages, which is hard work, but will ultimately benefit you.

Con:[/b] It’s much harder to mold your agenda with fewer words and only one question.But whether you have multiple essays, or a single prompt, 1,500 words or 500, the process of coming up with your personal brand is the same. You need to have a strategy for your application process that includes a lot of brainstorming up front to help you come up with the highlights of your candidacy that you want to convey, regardless of what is being asked.

Pro:[/b] From the photo commentary essay at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, to the “cover letter in lieu of essay” requested by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, to the “meet-and-greet at the airport layover” scenario posed by Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business, these single essays provide an exciting opportunity for more creativity and meaningful content, rather than multiple, potentially more rambling essays of what applicants think the committee wants to see.

Con:[/b] Having a lot to say is overwhelming and can be stressful, but then having to stuff all an applicant wants to say into limited words only compounds that feeling. With so many accomplishments to highlight and leadership examples to share, the critical task of editing leaves many applicants incredibly anxious since it’s their one shining moment to share their story.

As communication in general seems to have condensed on many fronts thanks to social media, the single-essay trend appears here to stay. Ultimately, I see these types of questions as an invigorating exercise in presenting oneself, knowing what needs to be told and what can be left out. Just remember that having a well-thought-out strategy will be the key to making this lean essay format work for you.

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Ask the AdCom: What’s Your Favorite Restaurant Near Campus? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Ask the AdCom: What’s Your Favorite Restaurant Near Campus?
Hey everybody! We’re back with another installment of “Ask the AdCom,” where we share a wide range of tips and advice from admissions team members from a dozen top business schools. Since AdCom members are human, too, we know our readers will enjoy seeing  a different side of what makes these guys tick.

This fun space is not really about the application process but more about real-life topics, like what’s a good book to read, what mobile apps are amazeballs, what are the can’t-miss courses, and all the fun stuff happening at b-school that makes lifelong memories for students.

So dig in…We hope you enjoy their insights!


Today’s question is: What’s a great place to eat around campus?
Allison Jamison, Admissions Director (Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business), says: There are a ton of great restaurants around Durham!  Durham was recently named the Foodie Capital of the South by the New York Post.  Depending on your mood, you can enjoy the gourmet eatery Parker & Otis, or a gourmet wood-fired pizza at Pizzeria Toro.  If North Carolina barbecue is on your list, don’t miss The Pit – amazing food and a rooftop view of Durham.  For Mexican fare, try Nana Tacos, or try Spanish food at Mateo.

Morgan Bernstein, Executive Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions (Berkeley-Haas School of Business), recommends: Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’ famous Berkeley restaurant; Comal for upscale Mexican, great margaritas & an outdoor patio; and Dumpling Express for homemade Shanghai soup dumplings on the go.

Isser Gallogly, Assistant Dean, MBA Admissions (NYU Stern School of Business), just can’t decide, since: NYU Stern is located in the heart of Greenwich Village.  You can find every cuisine imaginable just steps from our building.

 John Roeder, Assistant Dean Graduate Admissions (SMU Cox School of Business), says: Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant is a classic Dallas Italian restaurant that dates back to the early 50s.  The name is misleading as it has nothing to do with Egyptian food.  The story is that when the Campisi family moved into the location near SMU, they spent all of their money on renovations to the space and chose to leave up the sign for the previous tenant “The Egyptian Lounge”. Walking into the place is like stepping back in time to 1950s Dallas.  The pizza is amazing and just about every big name in Dallas can be found there at one time or another.

Kelly R. Wilson, Executive Director of Admissions (CMU Tepper School of Business), recommends: The Porch at Schenley Park, and Joe’s hot-dog cart.

Rodrigo Malta, Director of Admissions (UT McCombs School of Business), says: For a casual spot near campus, Torchy’s Tacos or Verts (started by MBA Alums!). There was a nice article on Poets and Quants about Verts earlier in the year.

Melissa Fogerty, Director of Admissions (Yale School of Management), says: We recently welcomed the newest admissions officer to our staff with a lunch at Prime 16 Tap House & Burgers on Temple Street in New Haven, and it’s my new favorite if you plan to do nothing productive for the rest of the day! Their fantastic burger selection covers everything from the Honey Truffle Burger to the Cajun Patty Melt. Finish off your meal with Truffle Parmesan Fries and a draft from their rotating selection of local beers.

Shari Hubert, Associate Dean, MBA Admissions (Georgetown McDonough School of Business), recommends The Tombs – it’s a Georgetown landmark founded by one of our alumni.

Judi Byers, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid (Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management), asked students and alumni for suggestions, and they recommend:

******

Look out for the #AskAdCom in our social media channels, and we’ll see you again next week when we check in to Ask the AdCom where’s a good place to study on campus.

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Kellogg School Receives $10M Gift, Global Hub on Track for 2017 Openin [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Kellogg School Receives $10M Gift, Global Hub on Track for 2017 Opening

Photograph by Mike Crews

Nearly two years after breaking ground on its $220 million, state-of-the-art education center known as the Global Hub, Kellogg School of Management has confirmed that the 410,000 square-foot facility is inching toward completion and on track for an early 2017 inauguration.

The school also reported this week that a gift of $10 million by the Christopher B. Galvin Family Foundation has catapulted Kellogg School of Management’s Transforming Together campaign past $300 million, toward its $350 million goal.

The Galvin gift also pushed Northwestern University past the $3 billion mark in its “We Will” campaign. In honor of his notable contribution, the school will name the Global Hub’s new Design Wing along with a conference center within the wing after the Galvin Family.


Mary B. Galvin (foreground) with Cynthia B. Galvin, Dawn Galvin Meiners and Christopher Galvin (photo courtesy of Kellogg School)

“This is an opportunity to give back,” says Christopher B. Galvin ’77, former chairman and CEO of Motorola Inc. “Kellogg played an important role in my career, especially in my post-Motorola investing and business management.” Several members of the Galvin family have also received degrees from Northwestern.

“The Galvin family’s gift is testimony to their profound and lasting commitment to Kellogg ideals,” said Kellogg Dean Sally Blount when announcing the news. “It is an especially fitting tribute that the Design Wing will be named for them. The Galvins are a family of innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors, and the new space will invite tomorrow’s business leaders to work together to solve relevant, real-world issues in new ways. We are so grateful for their support.”

Special features of Kellogg’s new home include flexible classrooms and common spaces that can accommodate any teaching style or requirement. Office layout and locations will promote cross-functional connection and collaboration, and its emphasis on green technology and energy conservation ensures the building’s long-term sustainability and efficiency.

The Global Hub offers many capabilities and amenities, the most unique being the flexibility of its classrooms and communal spaces. Each classroom can become flat, tiered, divided or expanded to meet the varied goals of faculty year after year.

“We designed a building that’s adaptable so that as technology and programs change in the future, the building can adapt with those needs,” said Leann Paul, Kellogg’s lead project manager for the building.

As Dean Blount said at the groundbreaking ceremony, the Global Hub promises to “set a standard for how we teach at Kellogg.” I’m thrilled to see this transformation of the Kellogg campus and cannot wait to visit my alma mater again once the doors officially open.

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Stop Comparing Yourself to Other MBA Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Stop Comparing Yourself to Other MBA Applicants
When you’re working on business school applications, it’s only human to want to compare your qualifications to others you know who’ve already graduated from—or are currently attending—a top program.

You might think that their undergraduate schools, GPAs, GMAT scores and career paths may provide insight into what adcoms are looking for, and to some extent that’s true. Alumni of or current students at prestigious business schools do represent what those programs were looking for… in the year they applied.

The problem with comparing yourself to those who applied before you is that it’s truly like comparing apples to oranges. No two years are the same. The candidate pool last year is going to be different from this year’s. And you’ll only be directly competing for a spot against a slice of that pool anyway.

What will ultimately determine whether or not you get acceptance letters or dings is how the adcom views your qualifications versus those of candidates who are in similar demographic and industry/role categories. This year. Right now. Which is something no one has any insight into but the adcoms at each school.

Another problem with comparing yourself to MBA students or fellow MBA hopefuls is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Meaning, there is much more to a person than what school they went to, their past grades, their test scores and the company they work for.

You might not even be aware of their extensive community service involvement over the past several years or the volunteer hours they’ve dedicated to a cause that was deeply personal. They may have never shared the private stories they wrote about in their essays. You’ll also never have any idea what their recommenders said about them.

We know that it would be nice to get a better sense of your “odds of admission” by comparing yourself to others. But unfortunately it just doesn’t work that way, because no two people are exactly the same.

On the bright side, you shouldn’t let yourself get discouraged if someone with the same “on-paper” qualifications as you didn’t get into their dream school in the past. You’re not them, so their outcome truly has no bearing on what will happen to you!

So when you feel the urge to start lining up your stats against someone else’s, remember this:



 

 

 

 

***

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New Ranking Shows Top Choice B-Schools for 2016 Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: New Ranking Shows Top Choice B-Schools for 2016 Applicants

Ready4, a Boston-area company that creates test prep apps, has unveiled its second annual rankings of the most desired business schools around the globe. Unlike traditional business school rankings that are based on complex methodology and, in many cases, information self reported by participating schools, Ready4’s rankings represent the voice of current and prospective students and provide unique insight into what schools students most want to attend.

This ranking represents the top schools chosen by 250,000 users of Ready4GMAT app using its “School Matcher” and “Top Picks” functions.

The Top 25 Most Desired Business Schools
1. Harvard

2. Stanford

3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

4. MIT (Sloan)

5. Indian School of Business

6. Columbia

7. London Business School

8. New York University (Stern)

9. INSEAD

10. University of California Berkeley (Haas)

11. University of Chicago (Booth)

12. Northwestern (Kellogg)

13. Indian Institute of Management

14. Yale

15. Duke (Fuqua)

16. University of Oxford

17. London School of Economics

18. HEC Paris

19. Cornell

20. University of Cambridge

21. National University of Singapore

22. UCLA

23. SP Jain Institute of Management

24. University of Michigan Ann Arbor (Ross)

25. Dartmouth (Tuck)

Notable observations from this year’s ranking include:

  • Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business are the top two most desired schools for the second year in a row, while the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School moved up two positions into the third spot, displacing MIT Sloan School of Management, which is now fourth
  • University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business made the biggest leap in the Top 10 category, moving up 5 positions (15 in 2015 to 10 in 2016)
  • Four schools are new to the list this year: London School of Economics (17), Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management (19), University of Michigan Ross School of Business (24) and Dartmouth Tuck School of Business (25)
  • Five schools fell off the list of the Most Desired Schools in this year’s ranking: Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business, University of Cambridge Judge Business School, Boston College, Imperial College London, USC Marshall School of Business
Statistics represent the time period between September 2015 and September 2016, and users were allowed to pick more than one school.



“With more than a million downloads of our test prep apps, Ready4 sits in a unique position to not only understand where students want to pursue their MBA or other business degree, but also to guide them on their journey to find and get into the right program,” says Elad Shoushan, Ready4’s founder and CEO.

“We are in business to ensure that a generation is ready, willing and able to take on the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century economy, and in many cases, that starts with helping match students to their preferred schools and preparing them to get the scores they need to be considered in the admissions process.”

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Stanford GSB Creates New MBA Fellowship [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Stanford GSB Creates New MBA Fellowship

As part of its mission to educate business leaders to solve society’s most pressing problems, the Stanford Graduate School of Business announced it has established a fellowship to provide financial support for up to three students with a passion for generating economic development in underserved regions of the country. In its inaugural year, the Stanford USA MBA Fellowship will focus specifically on the Midwest.

Students applying to the Stanford MBA Program in the first of two rounds in the 2016-2017 academic year will be able to apply for the fellowship. Up to three applicants will be selected to receive up to $160,000 over two academic years to cover tuition and associated fees.

Selection will be evaluated on the basis of general Stanford MBA admission criteria, as well as Fellowship-specific criteria. Applicants must demonstrate both financial necessity and strong ties to at least one of 12 Midwestern states.

Within two years of graduation, the three Fellows will be required to return to the Midwest to work in a professional capacity for at least two years to help contribute to the region’s economic vitality.

To be eligible for the fellowship program, students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Those with dual citizenship must also be citizens of the United States. Candidates will demonstrate strong connections and a commitment to improve the economic development of at least one of the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Defining what’s considered a strong connection to the Midwest includes current residency in one of those states, prior residency for a minimum of three consecutive years in one of those states, or having graduated from high school in the Midwest. Other experiences demonstrating a commitment to the region could also be considered.

Applicants will supply information about their income and assets, including copies of tax returns. Once admitted to the MBA program, Stanford will assess the financial needs of students based on the information provided during the financial aid application process.

Applicants must apply in Round 1, or Round 2 by January 10, 2017. Candidates for Stanford’s MBA program must indicate their interest in the fellowship on their application. Fellows will be selected by May 2017.

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

Stanford GSB Announces Fall 2017 MBA Admission Deadlines

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Ask the AdCom: Where Can I Find Some Peace and Quiet? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Ask the AdCom: Where Can I Find Some Peace and Quiet?
Hey everybody! We’re back with another installment of “Ask the AdCom,” where we share a wide range of tips and advice from admissions team members from a dozen top business schools. Since AdCom members are human, too, we know our readers will enjoy seeing  a different side of what makes these guys tick.

This fun space is not really about the application process but more about real-life topics, like what’s a good book to read, what mobile apps are amazeballs, where you can find a killer meal near campus, and all the fun stuff happening at b-school that makes lifelong memories for students.

We hope you enjoy their insights!


The A.D. White Reading Room within Uris Library, Cornell University

Today’s question is: Where is good place to study?
 John Roeder, Assistant Dean Graduate Admissions at SMU Cox School of Business, says the Collins Center for Executive Education is where most of our MBAs can be found.  The building has plenty of study rooms, is solely for graduate students, and is the newest addition to the Cox School of Business.

Morgan Bernstein, Executive Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions  at UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business, says the Thomas J.  Long Library is nice. Under a redwood tree or on the lawn outside Memorial Stadium is even nicer.

Kelly R. Wilson, Executive Director of Admissions  at CMU Tepper School of Business, recommends the third-floor meeting rooms (but reserve early).

Isser Gallogly, Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions  at NYU Stern School of Business, says for study time, Stern has quiet study lounges, and NYU’s Bobst library is a couple of blocks away.  Students can also use dedicated collaboration spaces around the school for group study.

Allison Jamison, Admissions Director  at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, says it depends on how you like to study.  If you like to be around classmates and near food and beverage, the Fox Center is a popular choice.  The hub of Fuqua, the Fox Center is where you can find a quiet place (try the outdoor seating just outside the Fox Center enjoying the NC weather), or settle in the hub of activity and find a study partner.

For those who want a quieter space, the Ford Library is a popular choice.  Library fans suggest the chairs under the stairs on the first floor.  Still others prefer the team rooms, which can be reserved, and have write-on walls for you to organize your thoughts.

Melissa Fogerty, Director of Admissions  at Yale School of Management, notes that in 2014, Yale SOM moved to its new home, Edward P. Evans Hall, which you can tour on our website. One of my favorite places in the building is theKenney Reading Room that floats 24 feet above the Ross Library, with views through the glass façade of Yale campus and the Evans Hall courtyard. The ample study spaces within Evans Hall make it easy for students to enjoy classes, club meetings, gym workouts, meals, and study groups all within the same space.

Judi Byers, the Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid  at Cornell’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, went straight to the source and asked current and recently graduated students for their vote.

  • Peter Su, MBA ’17: Study room in Sage Hall, Uris Library or Libe Slope.
  • Sydney Chernish, MBA ‘ 16: One of the great things about Sage Hall is that there are a wide variety of spaces to use depending on your study need or style. For group projects or casual work, 301 is my favorite room. For serious studying, I like the quiet study space in the second floor library. When I want to socialize I usually head to the Atrium.
  • Najeen Riazi, MBA ’17: When I’m with a group, I prefer the study rooms.  When I’m on my own, I usually choose one of the impressive libraries on campus.
  • Daniel Greenhaw, MBA ’16: 301 Sage Hall
Virginie Fougea, Associate Director of Admissions  at INSEAD, says the libraries on the Asia campus in Singapore and Europe campus in Fontainebleau are very welcoming and accessible 24hrs. We can also see participants working in groups everywhere on campus or in down town pizzerias in Fontainebleau for instance or within the park of the Château de Fontainebleau.

Rodrigo Malta, Director of Admissions  at the UT McCombs School of Business, recommends the quiet study rooms on the fourth or fifth floor of McCombs on campus, and says off-campus favorites include local coffee shops like Thunderbirdor Mozart’s.

******
Look out for the #AskAdCom in our social media channels, and we’ll see you again next week when we check in to Ask the AdCom to share their favorite inspirational quotes.

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10 Common MBA Application Mistakes of Finance Professionals-Part 1 [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 10 Common MBA Application Mistakes of Finance Professionals-Part 1

Surprised to hear that MBA applicants from finance make up the largest percentage of the incoming classes at many of the top business schools? I didn’t think so. Several firms require the MBA for top-level positions, and finance industries feed heavily into the most competitive programs.

At the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, for example, 45% of the Class of 2018 has previously worked in finance, followed by 36% of the entering class at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and 27% at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

While other applicants will have to work hard to demonstrate that they can handle classes such as finance, accounting and statistics, if you hail from finance, this box is already checked without question.  The admissions committee is quite confident that you can excel in the core classes. Consider it one less thing you have to worry about!

Because applicants from finance are overrepresented in the admissions pool, your goal is to stand out as much as possible from peers with similar backgrounds. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to attract the admission committee’s attention, so make sure to avoid these 10 common MBA application mistakes made by finance professionals.

Mistake #1: Failing to develop an overall strategy

Applicants with a highly typical career background face one of the largest hurdles to admission. You need to develop a comprehensive application strategy that sets you apart from equally impressive peers. No matter how remarkable your pedigree, business schools don’t want a class filled with individuals of the same profile.

The MBA journey begins with considerable self-reflection to crystalize your life and professional goals, and find the right schools that fit and align with those aspirations. From your resume to your essays to your letters of recommendation to your interview, you’ll need to differentiate yourself through stories and examples that highlight both your analytical expertise and personal pursuits to add another dimension to your MBA application.

Mistake #2: Not filling in the “white spaces”

When strong finance applicants don’t get in, much of the time it’s not because they are unqualified or didn’t deliver when it comes to their GMAT, but because they erroneously believed that a perfect score or having Morgan Stanley on their resume was enough to make them the perfect candidate. With such fierce competition, you have to realize you are not just your resume. You are the white spaces in between.

MBA programs seek to attract applicants who show curiosity about the wider world, whether through academic, extracurricular or life experiences. You never know if those years on the college water polo team, the minor in game design or those articles you published in the school newspaper are just the ticket to creating a standout application.

Mistake #3: underwhelming recommendation letters

As an evaluation from an independent observer, letters of recommendation are a secret weapon for your application success. Your recommenders will be asked to evaluate you against your peers, and may even be writing letters for your peers, so you need to ensure that your recommenders consider you the top-ranked employee in their area.

Don’t leave them to their own devices. Make sure your recommenders share specific examples of your excellent work. To help them out, you may want to provide a bulleted list of projects you worked on together, especially if you were praised for the results. Sometimes a performance review or meeting can be a useful source for specific compliments if you are unsure how to steer your recommenders.

***

We’ll have more common mistakes that finance applicants need to avoid ready for you soon. Until then, please follow SBC in social media and sign up for the SBC newsletter, where you’ll receive expert advice on all aspects of the MBA application process delivered straight in your inbox each week.

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How Important is a Campus Visit in MBA Admissions? [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: How Important is a Campus Visit in MBA Admissions?
You might have experienced a moment of panic as you began to work on your MBA applications for Round 2. It may have occurred after you took note of the January deadlines. And it could have gone something like this: “Wait a second—I won’t have time to visit any schools before my materials are due! Does that put me at a disadvantage?”

The answer is no. If you weren’t able to sit in on a class or take a campus tour of a program you’re interested in before it’s time to submit your application, you’re not going to be dinged for it.

International applicants really don’t have to fret over this; no admissions committee member is going to expect candidates to shell out thousands of dollars for a multi-day trip to their school before they’re even admitted. You’re going to be paying enough money for tuition as it is!

The same logic applies for cross-country applicants in the United States. Adcoms understand that it may be impossible for you to take time off of work—much less afford—to visit a campus that’s hours and hours away.

But what if you live in, say, Manhattan, and are applying to several programs within a fairly close radius? A campus visit would certainly help prove that you’re serious about the school and could help differentiate you from other similar applicants. However, it’s hard to believe that sitting in on a class could outweigh any red flags in your materials. The adcom is going to judge you on your years of accomplishments at school and at work—not whether you were able to visit them in person.

That being said, if you live in or are otherwise going to be near a city that’s home to a program you’re interested in and you have time to spare, why not swing by? Even easier is if the school comes to you in the form of a traveling road show. Many top programs hold informational events in cities across the world, and their web sites list these schedules. Even easier than that is to dial in or log in to an online admissions webinar hosted by your dream school.

From diving into a program’s extensive web resources to talking to alums to experiencing a class firsthand, there are several ways to get to know a particular business school better. You certainly don’t have to stress out if you’re not able to make it to campus. That won’t be what’s going to ultimately determine whether you get in or not!

Remember:



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

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Highlight Teamwork in MBA Applications [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Highlight Teamwork in MBA Applications


This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.
This fall and winter, career services departments in business schools worldwide can anticipate an increased presence of corporate recruiters on campus, predicts the Graduate Management Admission Council. MBA programs will want to make those recruiters happy by providing a highly competent pool of candidates for them to meet with. But what do employers really want in candidates?

GMAC answers that question in its 2016 Corporate Recruiters Survey, which asked 842 employers that represent more than 530 companies in 40 countries to identify the most important skills and traits when evaluating MBA and non-MBA business master’s graduates as potential new hires for their companies.

Among 12 traits that survey respondents ranked as most valuable, a candidate’s ability to fit within an organization’s culture was highest overall, followed by the candidate’s ability to work in teams and the ability to make an impact.

If companies want team players, you can bet that admissions committees do, too. Schools want to know that applicants are individually capable, but they don’t expect you to do everything on your own. They want to see that you are able to work with others to reach a common goal.

The good news is that you can show admissions committees that you already possess this quality. Here are three parts of the application process where you can highlight your teamwork skills.

• Essays:[/b] Themes of leadership and teamwork run through many business schools’ essay topics, but simply acknowledging that you have worked in teams won’t prove to the admissions committee that you know how to do it well. Illustrate your success in this area by citing specific experiences.

For example, talk about a time when you encountered a conflict, such as over ideas on the best way to tackle a project, or personal conflicts with people on your team. Perhaps you worked with someone who was bossy and overbearing or with people who didn’t do their share of the work – show how you brought dissenters together to achieve that shared goal.

Mine those workplace or extracurricular experiences where you handled the normal pitfalls of teamwork. Maybe you have successfully dealt with communication challenges stemming from cultural differences, multiple time zones or just working with a client or coworker who preferred to discuss everything over the phone instead of email. The actual situation is irrelevant – the admissions committee simply wants to know that you can succeed in a program that is focused on a team environment and group projects.

Resume: The MBA resume should include details that explain what you did on a project,showcase specific achievements and results and highlight your increased responsibilities over time. Use these details to demonstrate your ability to work well on a team.

The following examples are from former clients’ resumes and help support their abilities to work well with others.

One client from strategy consulting had a bullet point that stated, “Conducted focus groups with influential client representatives to validate and communicate the strategy.” Another client from private equity noted, “Considerable client exposure: participated in pitches, due diligence and drafting sessions and preparing Fairness Opinions.”

A military applicant displayed his impressive interpersonal skills when he listed on his resume, “Represent and advocate for detainees during Law of Armed Conflict Detainee Review Boards.”

Every applicant is different, but most b-school candidates can find some way to convey teamwork experience on their resume. Think of examples of when and how you united people behind a common goal, capitalized on others’ talents and skills, instilled a vision, identified a new problem or prioritized the project’s needs above personal ones.

Interview: During an MBA interview, whether it’s with an alumnus or admissions staff member, you’ll likely be asked about a time when you worked as part of a team. The interviewer is trying to get to know you but is also assessing your fit with future classmates.

If you go to the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, for instance, and work on a project within a study group, will your fellow students like working with you? Will you be timid about speaking up or will you communicate effectively and get things done?

Show off your teamwork abilities by mentioning a situation where you listened to others and bridged a gap between diverse participants to help foster collaboration on a project. Or talk about a time when you boosted morale or facilitated a compromise between two stubborn teammates.

You will likely encounter scenarios like these during business school, and if your interviewer feels you are already well-prepared for the inevitable challenges, your application is much more likely to receive a green light.

Building or running a business is not a solo endeavor. To create anything scalable, you’ll need to rely on others.

Even small enterprises require working with others to get things done. Prove you already have the skills in this area, and you’ll impress not only the MBA admissions committee but also future employers.

Image credit: Kellogg School of Management

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Harvard’s Bio-Tech Life Lab Set to Open [#permalink]
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FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Harvard’s Bio-Tech Life Lab Set to Open


A rendering of the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab by Shepley Bulfinch

The Harvard Life Lab, poised to open in November, is the newest addition to the growing portfolio of innovation facilities at Harvard Business School. Made possible by a gift from HBS alumni Judy and Steve Pagliuca, the lab will connect students and alumni interested in biotech, pharma, and other life sciences-related fields with a fully equipped wet lab environment and the resources they need to take their ventures to the next stage of development.

Building on the success of the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab), the Harvard Launch Lab, and the One Harvard mission, the Life Lab offers shared space for high-potential life sciences and biotech startups founded by Harvard faculty, alumni, students, and postdoctoral scholars.

Over the past five years the i-lab has attracted students and faculty from across the university, some of whom want to pursue ideas in the life sciences that require wet lab facilities. Wet labs are laboratories that test chemicals, drugs or other materials that require direct ventilation and specialized accommodations.

The Life Lab will contribute to building a thriving start-up community in Allston by seeding the campus with early stage scientific ventures. Together with the i-lab and Launch Lab, the Life Lab will foster the cross-disciplinary approach to entrepreneurship that will enable deeper impact and outcomes, and will reinforce President Drew Faust’s vision of One Harvard.

“The Life Lab is a vital building block in Harvard’s efforts to create an innovation hub in Allston that encourages our students and faculty to explore and nurture ideas that lead to new knowledge, new products, new services and perhaps even new industries,” says Faust.

The 15,000-square-foot facility will have fully equipped and permitted laboratory and office space for early-stage companies. The Life Lab will house approximately 20 ventures at a time, and typically would comprise two to five individuals who demonstrate expertise in the technology/science, as well as an understanding of the commercial/market need, and a vision for how they will build a viable business. The ventures represent eight different Harvard schools and nearly 50% have a female founder.

“We hope by building community we will accelerate their development and increase their likelihood of future success and ultimate impact on the world,” says Jodi Goldstein, Managing Director of the Harvard Innovation Labs, who notes that the inaugural teams reflect the breadth and diversity of Harvard representing the One Harvard, cross disciplinary approach to innovation that builds community and connection among the ventures.

“We believe innovation in the life sciences is critically important to the future of our region from an economic standpoint and equally important to all of our futures in its potential to solve complex health problems,” says Steve Pagliuca.

“We are thrilled to be able to contribute to the innovation movement at Harvard and we are excited at the potential of the ideas that will emerge from this new space,” added Judy Pagliuca.

Image via Harvard Business School
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Harvard’s Bio-Tech Life Lab Set to Open [#permalink]
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