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B-Schools Say GRE Option Attracts More Non-Traditional MBA Applicants [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2016, 09:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: B-Schools Say GRE Option Attracts More Non-Traditional MBA Applicants
Kaplan Test Prep’s 2016 business school admissions officers survey finds that 92 percent accept the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT, giving aspiring MBAs more flexibility than ever in deciding which exam to take to get in.

This all-time high percentage in Kaplan’s annual survey represents a huge jump from its 2009 survey — the first year Kaplan asked the question — when only 24 percent of business schools said they accepted GRE scores.

But despite increased acceptance of the GRE among business schools, there’s a point of consideration for MBA applicants who are considering this option: The GMAT might still give applicants an edge at some schools. Twenty-six percent of admissions officer say those who submit a GMAT score have an admissions advantage over those who submit a GRE score.

Only 2 percent say GRE takers have the advantage; the remaining 73 percent say neither exam taker has the advantage, essentially unchanged from Kaplan’s 2015 survey.

Business schools have contended that accepting the GRE as an alternative to the GMAT — long the only accepted admissions exam –widens the pool of applicants beyond students from ‘traditional’ MBA backgrounds like finance, banking or consulting.

Kaplan survey data supports this notion and finds that schools have been successful in this effort, with 61 percent saying offering the GRE option has resulted in the enrollment of more students from nontraditional backgrounds. The GRE has not, however, significantly contributed to business schools enrolling more female students (25 percent), students of color (24 percent), or low income students (16 percent).

It’s important to note, unrelated to the GRE, that the percentage of female students at top business schools has increased over the past several years and there are other efforts underway to increase the number of students of color; and the GRE alone isn’t the only reason business schools have enrolled more students from non-traditional MBA backgrounds.

“One reason acceptance of the GRE continues to grow seems to be because it generally broadens the application pool to include prospective students who might bring a different set of experiences and skills to business school and the business world, which is important as the economy continues to diversify. It’s also possible that business schools that don’t offer the GRE option may lose excellent prospective students to schools that do,” said Brian Carlidge, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs, Kaplan Test Prep.

“We continue to stress to students to understand that some schools are still reluctant to give both tests equal cachet, even though they accept both exams. Our advice is to gather intel and ask admissions officers if their program has preference for one exam over the other.”

*The survey was conducted between August 2016 and October 2016 of admissions officers at 224 business schools in the United States. Among the 224 business schools are 18 of the top 50, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

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Ask the AdCom: Resources for MBA Students with Startup Fever [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2016, 09:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Ask the AdCom: Resources for MBA Students with Startup Fever
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 readbest place to study, where you can find a killer meal near campus, and all the fun stuff happening at b-school that creates those lifelong, cherished memories for MBA students.

We hope you become inspired, too!

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Today’s question is: What resources are available for student entrepreneurs?
Isser Gallogly, Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions at NYU Stern School of Business: The W.R. Berkley Innovation Lab includes an annual $200K Entrepreneurs Challenge.  This past year, 231 teams comprising more than 800 entrants from 16 schools at NYU competed in one of three challenges: New Venture, Social Venture and Technology Venture.

Melissa Fogerty, Director of Admissions at Yale School of Management: Students from across campus participate in the courses and programs run by our Program on Entrepreneurship, which hosts numerous entrepreneurship electives like Venture Capital & Private Equity Investments, Start-up Founder Practicum (a mechanism for SOM students to work on their start-up ventures for credit), Impact Investing, and New Ventures in Healthcare and the Life Sciences.

Our students also connect with their peers and faculty around Yale through the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, a campus-wide convening space for entrepreneurs, to start new ventures. This points to one of the huge reasons we put so much energy into engaging with the rest of Yale: it gives our students the opportunity to build diverse teams around meaningful projects, and by doing so, to forge relationships that will benefit them throughout their careers.

Alex Lawrence, Assistant Dean of  MBA Admissions at UCLA Anderson School of Management: The Price Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which includes the Anderson Venture Accelerator, 24 courses involving 20 faculty members, and Entrepreneur Association (student club) presents more than 150 events each year.

Kelly R. Wilson, Executive Director of Admissions at CMU Tepper School of Business: The Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship unites the Tepper School with the world’s top-ranked Computer Science college, acclaimed Engineering and Fine Arts schools, and students, faculty and innovation from across a campus that is acclaimed for its startups, research and new big ideas.

Allison Jamison, Admissions Director at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business: Fuqua has a very active entrepreneurship community.  The Program 4 Entrepreneurs (P4E) is a great way for those interested in entrepreneurship to gain experience or grow an idea. If you have an idea for a start up, or want to be a part of a start up team, this is the place to start.  We also maintain a network of alumni entrepreneurs at DukeGEN that works with our staff, faculty, students, and alumni to advance entrepreneurial activities.

John Roeder, Assistant Dean Graduate Admissions at SMU Cox School of Business: Since its founding more than three decades ago, theCaruth Institute for Entrepreneurship has continuously developed innovative courses and programs to help students keep pace with the dynamic, rapidly changing field of entrepreneurship. They sponsor the Cox MBA Venture fund, the Southwest Venture Forum, and the Dallas 100 Awards, which is an annual event that identifies and honors the 100 fastest-growing privately held companies in the Dallas area.

Judi Byers, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, tapped Najeen Riazi (MBA ’17) for input: Multiple internal resources at Cornell include a university-wide incubator and resource office, support for numerous case competitions, and graduate-level programming. Br Ventures is a seed-stage venture capital fund focused on providing funding to early-stage, high-growth businesses.

BR Consulting offers commercial and strategic consulting to startup companies, helping them bridge the gap between business idea and company growth. BR Microenterprise offers business advising and lending services to needs-based local entrepreneurs. BR Microenterprise is based at Johnson’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise in partnership with a local credit union.

BR Advisory assists on getting young companies off on the right legal track. BR Tech Transfer is a continuous business collaboration between our Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute (EII) and the Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization to help commercialize more Cornell technology faster.

Shari Hubert, Associate Dean of  MBA Admissions at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business: The Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative has created a vibrant community for entrepreneurs both on campus and within the D.C. community. Students can take advantage of Venture Competitions, StartUpHoyas Summer Launch Program, Entrepreneurs Fellows Program, and the 1776 Partnership Incubator in downtown Washington DC, among other offerings.

Morgan Bernstein, Executive Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions at UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business: The Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship Program(BHEP), is an umbrella program that supports startups & students interested in entrepreneurship, and also connects them with campus resources such as the SkyDeck accelerator—a joint program of Haas, Berkeley Engineering, and UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Research Office.

Also, our Dean’s Seed Fund provides funding to qualified startups that involve Haas students, and our start-up events such as LAUNCH and the Global Social Venture Competition give students a chance to pitch their business plans to prospective investors.

******

It seems there’s no hotter topic at b-schools today than entrepreneurship, right?  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 about their favorite watering holes near campus!

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Finance Professionals: Don’t Make These Common MBA Application Mistake [#permalink]

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New post 02 Dec 2016, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Finance Professionals: Don’t Make These Common MBA Application Mistakes
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While other business school applicants have to work hard to demonstrate that they can handle classes such as finance, accounting and statistics, if you hail from finance, the admissions committee already knows you can excel in the core classes, and that gives you one less thing to worry about as you craft your killer MBA application. But don’t rest on your laurels!

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. As we pointed out in our previous posts (part 1 and part 2) highlighting the Top 10 list of common MBA application mistakes, there’s a right way and a wrong way to attract the admission committee’s attention. We’ll wrap up today with the final things to avoid to make yours a successful MBA application.

Mistake #8: Not thinking through the “Why an MBA?” question

Many firms expect analysts or other junior bankers to leave for an MBA at approximately the two-year mark. Other possible options for you are to join a PE firm or hedge fund, or find a job in industry. If you’re at this crossroads in your career and now is the expected time to apply to MBA programs, you will need to actively counteract any impression that your MBA is simply to “check a box” before the next level in your career.

It’s time to step back from your practical brain and access your creative side to come up with your ideal career vision statement. You have amazing skills –there is no doubt an MBA will add to your overall skill set. The hope is that you will arrive on your MBA campus with a burning desire to make the world a better place. Passion and vision are critical to MBA admissions committee evaluation because they are both essential elements of effective leadership.

Mistake #9: Thinking you’re too busy for extracurricular activities

The reality for finance professionals is that a demanding work schedule rarely allows time for meaningful extracurriculars. What can you do if your work really is your life? If your 80-hour work week didn’t allow time for community involvement, realize that not every extracurricular has to be literally outside of work. Take some time to look inside your office building for those leadership opportunities that may have nothing to do with your day-to-day responsibilities.

And remember, not all volunteering requires a time commitment every week. With your schedule you’ll need to be creative to find flexible opportunities to contribute. Look for activities that are not face-time based, but that focus on impact or a small amount of time on weekends. A track record of volunteering and community service—no matter how big or small—adds a lot of strength to your candidacy.

Mistake #10: Not letting your personality shine through

An MBA application is a hybrid between a business communication and a personal essay. While it’s important to keep the focus and precision of a business writing exercise, you don’t need to sacrifice the color of a personal essay. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, even if that means injecting humor, fear or humility. You are not expected to be a perfect robot; that is not an appealing quality for an MBA student. Using your emotions effectively will help your essays come alive and show that you are more than a list of your accomplishments.

You already knew that your work experience is impressive and a key selling point for your candidacy. But now you also know it’s very important to highlight those extra-curricular activities, hobbies, or interesting personal stories in your application, and demonstrate you’ve made a deep personal connection to the programs on your list. Avoid these 10 mistakes commonly made by finance applicants, and you’ll offer the admissions committee a truly holistic picture of your candidacy. Best of luck!

***

If you enjoyed this article, please follow SBC in social media and sign up for the SBC newsletter, where you’ll receive our expert advice on all aspects of the MBA application process delivered straight in your inbox each week.

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What to Do at an MBA Info Session [#permalink]

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New post 05 Dec 2016, 10:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: What to Do at an MBA Info Session
As Round 2 deadlines inch closer, several top programs are hitting the road and holding informational sessions in cities across the world. If you have the opportunity to attend one of these events, you might find yourself face to face with an influential adcom member. THEN what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember this great advice:

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***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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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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London Business School Tops FT’s 2016 European B-School Ranking [#permalink]

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New post 06 Dec 2016, 13:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: London Business School Tops FT’s 2016 European B-School Ranking
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For the third straight year, London Business School tops the Financial Times‘s overall ranking of the best business schools in Europe, but France’s HEC Paris and INSEAD came in close on its heels. The FT publishes five main rankings each year: MBA, Executive MBA, Masters in Management, and the two rankings for executive education. Only schools that take part in all five are eligible for a full score.

Given that this is a relative ranking based on the aggregated performances across five rankings, FT stresses that a good score in one or two does not automatically mean a better placing overall. London Business School performed strongly across all five rankings: its full-time MBA ranked second, and its joint EMBA program with Columbia Business School as well as its customized executive education courses both ranked in fourth place.

One of the main strengths of the LBS programs, notes the FT, is the wide range of students from different countries; more than 90% of its 2015 MBA cohort came from overseas, hailing from about 60 different countries.

In this ranking, INSEAD leads the field for full-time and EMBA programs, while the University of St Gallen in Switzerland is top for MiM. Spain’s IESE Business School and IMD of Switzerland were ranked number one for customized and open-enrollment executive education programs respectively.

2016 Top Ten Best European Business Schools
  • London Business School
  • HEC Paris
  • INSEAD
  • IE Business School
  • University of St Gallen
  • ESADE Business School
  • SDA Bocconi
  • IESE Business School
  • IMD
  • Rotterdam School of Management
To determine this composite ranking, the Financial Times compiles a significant amount of data from the participating business schools, including average salaries, the increase in salary its graduates receive three years after completing their degree, and the percentage of graduates employed three months after finishing school.

You can read the complete methodology for the FT’s European composite ranking here.

You may also be interested in:
Why US Applicants Should Consider MBA Programs Abroad

Study Abroad: Key to Competing in the International Economy

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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LBS is Businessweek’s Top-Ranked International Business School [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2016, 09:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: LBS is Businessweek’s Top-Ranked International Business School
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A few weeks ago, Bloomberg Businessweek crowned Harvard Business School as the best MBA program in the United States. This week, Bloomberg has released its 2016 ranking of the best international business schools based on data compiled from more than 1,000 recruiters, 15,000 alumni, and 9,000 recent graduates.

Out of 31 International MBA programs, London Business School ranks first, INSEAD is number two and Oxford’s Saïd Business School is number three. The 2015 #1-ranked program, Western-Ivey Business School, fell to tenth place this year.

This year, the United Kingdom—well known for having one of the world’s most desirable MBA markets—dominated the ranking: in addition to LBS grabbing the No. 1 spot, Cambridge and Oxford both ranked in the top five.

Top Ten Best International MBA Programs
  • London Business School
  • INSEAD
  • Oxford’s Said Business School
  • Cambridge Judge Business School
  • IESE Business School
  • IE Business School
  • IMD
  • SDA Bocconi
  • Melbourne Business School
  • Western Ivey Business School

So what sets apart an international MBA? Student body diversity is one. European business schools, for example, boast a roughly 80 percent non-national ratio, compared to 30 percent at their U.S. counterparts. Whether these programs include class trips to work in emerging economies or offer a cohort with students from numerous different countries, they compete on equal footing with the best North American schools.

Ultimately, you have to choose a program you genuinely connect with. Evaluate qualities like the school fit, culture, location, class size and teaching methodology. Don’t worry about whether you’ll get into “the best MBA program of all.” Just figure out which business school is the best one for you.

You may also be interested in:
London Business School Tops FT’s 2016 European B-School Ranking

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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Forté Foundation Launches Men as Allies Initiative [#permalink]

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New post 08 Dec 2016, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Forté Foundation Launches Men as Allies Initiative
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Forté Foundation has introduced its new Men As Allies Initiative to help male students benefit from, and get involved in, enhancing gender equity on business school campuses and to take that experience back to the business world.

The new initiative leverages insights from male ally programs started on 10 business schools campuses —  including Harvard Business School, the Wharton School, and Columbia Business School — and is part of a growing movement in recent years to enhance gender equity in business and society.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a surge of interest from men in getting involved in issues of gender equality on business school campuses,” said Elissa Sangster, Executive Director of the Forté Foundation, a non-profit consortium of leading multinational companies and top business schools working together to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education, opportunities, and a community of successful women.

Many men have felt like outsiders and did not know how to get involved.

“Our initiative sheds light on what male MBA students can do to enhance diversity on campus, which will create a positive ripple effect both at school and when they return to the business world,” Sangster added.

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The initiative, designed to foster the creation of male-led gender equity groups on campus, includes a new “Men as Allies” website, which contains a toolkit for male students at business schools interested in creating their own initiatives on campus to enhance gender equity, but who need more information to move forward. The toolkit includes insight on reasons to start a group and how to do it, what activities and events are successful, and how to adopt gender-supportive behaviors and work effectively with the Women in Business club on campus.

The website also features insights and podcasts of recent MBA graduates who played a leadership role in the male ally group at pioneering business schools that have walked this road and can share best practices and stumbling blocks. The podcasts feature male allies discussing why they wanted to get involved, what they’ve learned, and what they took back to the workforce. In addition, the site contains valuable research that provides ample evidence of the positive impact of gender diversity in business.

“We may have reached a tipping point as more women are pursuing an MBA and more men are interested in supporting gender equity,” Sangster explained. “While we are making great progress, and getting closer to 40 percent women’s enrollment at our member business schools, initiatives like this one that foster inclusiveness, will help us get to gender parity faster.”

The Forté Foundation initiative launched with help from its business school members and diversity experts, and thanks to generous financial support from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

The initiative leverages the momentum and insights of business schools that have created programs to engage men as champions of gender equity, known as “Manbassadors” programs at some schools. These 10 business schools include:

[*]London Business School – ManBassadors, started in 2016[/*]
[*]Columbia Business School – Manbassadors program, started in 2015[/*]
[*]NYU Stern School of Business – Male Allies, started in 2015[/*]
[*]UCLA Anderson School of Management – Manbassadors, started in 2014[/*]
[*]Michigan Ross School of Business – MBW Allies, started in 2014[/*]
[*]The Wharton School – 22’s, started in 2014[/*]
[*]Stanford Graduate School of Business – WiMEN, started in 2014[/*]
[*]Duke Fuqua School of Business – Male Ambassador Program, started in 2013[/*]
[*]Harvard Business School – Manbassadors program, started in 2013[/*]
[*]Kellogg School of Management – Male Allies, started in 2013[/*]
[/list]
“There are multiple benefits to men who join the movement to create greater gender equity,” said Sangster. “Understanding gender equity positions men ahead of the curve in school and in business. This increased awareness gives them an edge in providing support to female colleagues, and retaining them in the workplace. It also leads to greater organizational health, financial success, and life satisfaction for both men and women.”

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Ask the AdCom: How Do MBA Students Get Goofy? [#permalink]

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New post 09 Dec 2016, 13:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Ask the AdCom: How Do MBA Students Get Goofy?
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 readbest place to study, where you can find a killer meal near campus, and all the fun stuff happening at b-school that creates those lifelong, cherished memories for MBA students.

We hope you become inspired, too!

Image

Today’s question is: Describe a goofy tradition in your program.
Morgan Bernstein, Executive Director of Full-time MBA Admissions at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, says: No Shave/No Shame November, a charitable fundraiser where students get creative about embarrassing themselves for a good cause.

Allison Jamison, Admissions Director at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, says: Campout!  Students camp out for 36 hours one weekend for a chance to be entered in a lottery to win season basketball tickets.  Fuqua students do campout in style – rented RV’s, dance floors, and BBQs make the weekend a great bonding experience, and at the end of all, you get to watch Duke Basketball!

Shari Hubert, Associate Dean of MBA Admissions at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, says: For the Annual Report, students create spoofs/skits of their experiences in the MBA Program and film them. They then rent a movie theater in Virginia and host a movie night to view the videos.

They invite faculty and staff to act in the videos in ways that are both fun and silly, but allow for everyone to make fun of themselves a bit and have a sense of humor about all of the crazy, yet awesome experiences that transpire in business school.

Kelly R. Wilson, Executive Director of Admissions at CMU Tepper School of Business, says: We ring a large, metal bell, donated by a past class, to kick off our weekly social gathering for MBAs, faculty, staff and families.

Judi Byers, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Cornell’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, asked two recent MBA grads to share their favorites:

  • Sydney Chernish, MBA ’16: Each year we host “Battle of the Brews” where people spend Spring Semester coming up with a home-brewed beer and compete for glory.
  • Daniel Greenhaw, MBA ’16: Taking Cornell’s famous wine class. It’s a semester long foray into wines and some have even gone on to take the first sommelier exam.
John Roeder, Assistant Dean Graduate Admissions at SMU Cox School of Business, says: The annual Cox Cup competition between the 1st and 2nd year classes offers networking opportunities and camaraderie between the classes through competition that involves kickball, paintball, trivia night, flag football, tennis and various community service efforts.

******

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 about their famous alumni!

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Making the Most of Each MBA Application Component [#permalink]

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New post 12 Dec 2016, 13:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Making the Most of Each MBA Application Component
As you pull together your MBA application materials for Round 2, try to think of each component as an opportunity to tell the adcom something new about yourself.

What we mean is, don’t simply copy and paste bullet points from your resume into your data forms. Offer up new details when you supply responses for fields such as “role responsibilities,” “key accomplishments” or “biggest challenge.”

Similarly, if you focused on your volunteer work in one of your essays, highlight a different extracurricular activity in your data forms or resume. And don’t have your recommenders tout the exact same “significant achievement” in their letters that you already covered elsewhere.

Certain aspects of your package, such as your GMAT/GRE score and your undergraduate GPA, are truly data points in the most literal sense of the word. But everything else should be viewed as complementary chapters of an interesting story—a story about you. After the adcom is finished reviewing all of your materials, they should have an understanding of your personality, what you’ve achieved, what your goals are, and what you could offer their program.

Your test scores, transcripts and GPA will tell them something about your capacity to handle their curriculum. Your resume shows your career progression, increased responsibilities and demonstrated results. Depending on the school, some data forms offer a chance to add color to personal and professional achievements. Your recommendation letters can offer even more proof of your leadership potential. And your essays can give them a sense of your “voice,” as well as provide insight into what makes you tick or what you’re passionate about.

It’s a good thing that the adcom will be judging you on your entire package, though, right? We’re all so much more than just our jobs, our grades, or our volunteer experience.

Think of it this way:

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5 Resume Traits that Wow the MBA Admissions Committee [#permalink]

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New post 13 Dec 2016, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: 5 Resume Traits that Wow the MBA Admissions Committee
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If you’re thinking of submitting a standard resume along with your MBA application, you’re missing an important opportunity to sell your candidacy to the admissions committee. Like a traditional CV, the purpose of the MBA resume is to make a good first impression and persuade the reviewer to take a closer look at you.  However, the reader of your MBA resume will be different than the person hiring you for an investment banking job or an engineering position.

Rework your resume so that it functions more as a narrative about your career and outside interests—not a dry list of responsibilities and achievements. The MBA resume should focus heavily on MBA skills and traits such as leadership, teamwork and international work experience. Some admissions officers consider your resume just as important as the MBA essays, so the extra work you put into it could make the difference between a ding and an interview offer.

#1: Shows Career Progression

Illustrate career progression by highlighting promotions or showing how skills were cultivated after switching to a new job. For example, if you have worked for the same company for five years but were promoted twice, you should highlight all three job titles, with separate dates of employment and separate descriptions. The descriptions should reflect your increasing levels of responsibility.

Applicants who have been in the workforce for a number of years, possibly at various companies, may need to be selective in detailing professional progress. When deciding which experiences to include and which to ax, ask yourself if the work was meaningful and if it can be used to illustrate a specific skill set or important accomplishment. Consider if it supports your career path as well as your future goals, and include it only if it makes sense for your overall story.

Demonstrate that over the course of your career, you have picked up new skills, assumed new responsibilities and developed as an individual. Emphasize that this growth has been recognized by others.

#2: Provides Leadership Examples

Although you’ll further hone your management abilities during an MBA program, the admissions committee wants to know that a foundation of strong leadership skills is already in place. Show when you united people behind a common goal, made use of other’s talents and skills, instilled a vision, challenged the status quo, identified a new problem or prioritized the needs of the organization above personal needs.

It’s important to note if you manage one or more people. Even if you informally supervise and mentor someone, it’s worth including on the resume. Mention if you’ve taken a lead in recruiting, as it means you’re acting as the face of your company. This demonstrates that leaders at your company respect you and trust that you will represent them well. Remember, your resume is a tool to tell your story, so keep your resume focused on the experiences that highlight the story of you as a leader.

#3: Quantifies Results

It’s great to describe your responsibilities, but don’t miss the chance to quantify your results whenever possible. Managing a staff is interesting, but the fact that you managed a staff of over 30 employees and improved profitability by 25%, is something a reader can understand. By giving the reader a number, you give them the chance to see just what kind of leader you were, and will be.

Business school applicants often find it helpful to bullet point their accomplishments using the STAR method, which stands for situation, task, action and result. For each employment position listed on your resume, think of a project, initiative or transaction where you made a meaningful contribution. Then describe the situation, your task, the actions you undertook and the results.

#4: Avoids Industry Jargon or Acronyms

Never assume the admissions committee member reviewing your application is intimately familiar with your particular industry. Write for a lay audience, and avoid flowery or stuffy language – use familiar words instead.  You do want to provide a snapshot of your functional skills, but the admissions committee will be more interested in the fact that you led a cross-functional team to develop a new version of your product than the fact that you coded in three computer languages to develop the new version.

To appeal to an MBA audience, an applicant must think beyond technical tasks. He or she must identify what lies behind those tasks that might reveal an effective business leader. Rephrase your accomplishments so that anyone could understand them. With hundreds of applications on their desks, the admissions staff has only a few minutes to review each resume. It should be immediately digestible.

#5: Looks Clean and Polished

Imagine someone scanning an MBA application resume for the first time on the 30-second walk down the hall to the interview. That person should be able to get a clear picture of the candidate – and that quickly.

Appearances matter when it comes to a winning MBA resume, so be sure to adhere to proper margins, spacing, and accepted fonts. Some applicants try to squeeze it all in by reducing font and eliminating margins. This is a good way to ensure that your resume is not reviewed, as no one wants to go blind scrutinizing resume number 207 of the day. Some business schools specify formatting requirements; if so, do not deviate from the requested format.

Since admissions committees and alumni interviewers look for people who others will enjoy being around both inside and outside of class, it’s also a great idea to include at least some brief mention of your interests and hobbies at the bottom of the document. A lot of times it’s this information that interviewers use to break the ice when they first meet you.

Never underestimate the power of a well-executed resume.  Use this opportunity to create a powerful first impression on the admissions committee and show why you’d be an asset to their program, and, fingers crossed, your future MBA interviewer.

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Prepare Now to Apply for B-School in Round 2 [#permalink]

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New post 15 Dec 2016, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Prepare Now to Apply for B-School in Round 2
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This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.
It’s mid-December – a time when people around the world make travel plans, exchange gifts, feast with friends and family and enjoy the magic of the coming holidays and new year. However, for those applying to business school in round two, the merriment can get tamped down by the last-minute hustle required to pull together a polished application for the first week of January.

If you’re submitting your MBA application next month, here are four things you need to do right now to make the process as smooth as possible and still enjoy all the upcoming year-end festivities.

1. Manage your recommenders: By now, each person writing a letter of recommendation on your behalf should have all the necessary forms and prep materials. Gently remind them of the upcoming deadline, which you should target a few days in advance of the actual deadline to reduce your stress. And make sure they have everything they need to create a strong letter in support of your candidacy.

Don’t expect your recommenders to remember every great thing you’ve done, and definitely don’t leave this process to chance. If you haven’t yet done so explicitly, remind them of the strengths you would like the letter to vouch for – such as leadership skills, teamwork, passion – as well as anecdotes that support those characteristics.

Many programs also ask recommenders to address a weakness, so make sure to remind them of a growth area and give examples of how you have already begun working to improve this weakness. A recent performance evaluation can provide a jumping-off point for this type of question.

Remember to show your gratitude for their help, especially if your recommenders will need to take time away from their families to work on your letters over the holidays. They’ll appreciate your assistance and thoroughness and produce a better recommendation on your behalf.

2. Continue getting to know your top-choice schools: It may have been love at first sight when you visited campus and sat in on a class, but as with any relationship, a deeper dive into programs will solidify your feelings and confirm whether your top-choice schools really are the best fit. Contact the student clubs that interest you, become a devoted reader of the MBA student blogs many programs have and, if possible, reach out to alumni.

During the winter break, many students return home and host informal coffee chats with prospective students – these offer a golden opportunity to get answers to any questions you have about applying, student life, academics and more. The feeling you walk away with after having personal contact with students past and present will speak volumes about whether the choice will provide the best learning environment for you.

3. Seek feedback from a trusted source: Don’t forget to proofread, spellcheck and then proofread your application essays more. Grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes reflect poorly on your candidacy and can overshadow other impressive qualities like a high GMAT score or interesting work experience.

At some point, though, you’ll have read your responses so many times that errors will no longer jump out at you. This is where outside assistance becomes invaluable.

If you haven’t yet sought feedback on your essays, go ahead and enlist a family member, colleague or trusted friend to look them over. Their primary focus should be on your spelling and grammar and not making you second-guess your strategy.

However, they can provide feedback as to whether you come across as an interesting person who has a lot to share with others and would be a great addition to any MBA program. A fresh pair of eyes can also see how well you have conveyed your goals, experiences and strengths to an audience outside of your industry.

• Pull back for a holistic review: [/b]Over the next few weeks, [/b]take time to reflect on your essay responses to ensure that they hit all the crucial points.

Have you conveyed the passion that makes you leap out of bed every morning? Have you laid out your career goals in a sensible way, showing that you understand the industry in which you hope to work and how an MBA from X school will help you achieve that goal? Make sure you have shared the things in life that inspire you, what matters to you or what moved you to make the decisions you have made.

Every component of the MBA application is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes time for the admissions committee to evaluate your candidacy. Your test scores, transcripts and GPA will tell them something about your capacity to handle their curriculum.

Your resume shows your career progression, increased responsibilities and demonstrated results. Your recommendation letters can offer even more proof of your leadership potential. And your essays can give the committee a sense of your voice, as well as provide insight into what makes you tick.

Ideally, these pieces come together to create an intriguing, layered and thoughtful representation of the student you will be if admitted to the program. So, take this time in the home stretch to make sure your application will make a memorable impression and spark greater curiosity in whomever reads it. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to get back to celebrating the end of another year and toasting to the prospects that 2017 will bring.

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Ask the AdCom: Share a Cool Company Born of Your MBA Program [#permalink]

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New post 16 Dec 2016, 12:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Ask the AdCom: Share a Cool Company Born of Your MBA Program
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 readbest place to study, where you can find a killer meal near campus, and all the fun stuff happening at b-school that creates those lifelong, cherished memories for MBA students.

We hope you become inspired, too!

Today’s Question is: What’s a cool entrepreneurship project or company born out of your MBA program?
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Kelly R. Wilson, Executive Director of Admissions at CMU Tepper School of Business, says that ModCloth– a vintage clothing, ecommerce business with hundreds of millions in annual revenue – sprang from the Tepper School MBA program.

Judi Byers, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management, asked second-year MBA student Najeen Riazi for feedback, and she gave a shout-out for Big Red Bullet: Another bridge to NYC! and Nutribridge: an international effort to solve child nutrition and women’s financial independence at the same time.

Virginie Fougea, Associate Director of Admissions at INSEAD, says recent examples include Blablacar, a ridesharing service with the concept of connecting people who need to travel with drivers who have empty seats (Founder and CEO Frederic Mazzella, INSEAD MBA’07D). Or, Michel et Augustin, a French food brand, started by Michel de Rovira, MBA’04D but there are many others.

 Rodrigo Malta, Director of Admissions at UT McCombs School of Business, says that theTexas MBA powered start-up Beatbox Beverages struck a deal with business mogul Mark Cuban on the hit ABC show Shark Tank in October. For a one-third stake in the company, Cuban invested one million dollars. The three Texas MBA alums impressed the panel of judges with their entrepreneurial know-how and their clear strategy for the future of their company to ensure continued success. Beatbox has definitely been “booming” since the show aired, Malta says.

Morgan Bernstein, Executive Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions at UC Berkeley-Haas School of Business, shares many successful student startups: Revolution Foods, founded by ’06 MBA grads Kristin Groos Richmond and Kirsten Saenz Tobey, provides healthy meals for kids; Ashesi University in Ghana, a non-profit, private university, was founded by Patrick Awuah, MBA ’99; crowdfunding website Indiegogowas founded by Danae Ringelmann and Eric Schell, both MBA ’08; and Back to the Roots, purveyor of ready-to-grow and ready-to-eat products, from mushrooms to cereal, was founded by Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora, both BS ’09.

Shari Hubert, Associate Dean of MBA Admissions at Georgetown McDonough School of Business, points to alumni Michael Chasen of Blackboard; Egon Durban of Silver Lake, Jason McCarthy of GORuck; and Logan Soya of Aquicore.

John Roeder, Assistant Dean of Graduate Admissions at SMU Cox School of Business, points to Gabriella Draney Zielke, who is co-founder and CEO of Tech Wildcatters – a Top 10 seed accelerator for technology startups, and who recently launched Health Wildcatters, a healthcare-based seed accelerator.  Gabriella worked with the Caruth Center for Entrepreneurship at Cox while she pursued her MBA at Cox with a Strategy and Entrepreneurship concentration, Roeder says.

******

The variety and success of these b-school bred companies is really inspiring, right? 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 about some of the little-known fun facts about their schools!

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Tips for Video Interviews [#permalink]

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New post 19 Dec 2016, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Tips for Video Interviews
An increasing number of MBA programs are making use of online video-interview platforms, where you must record responses to one or more short-answer prompts before your application is considered complete. Sometimes, the system will allow for an extra try if you’re not thrilled with your initial response. (Phew.) Make sure you understand what your program’s video-interview “rules” are before you start the camera rolling!

Why do schools add this extra step? Simple: they want to get a better sense of your personality. They’ve seen what you have going for you on paper; a video interview can help them judge whether or not the “real you” matches the impression you’ve built through your other materials.

Unfortunately, video essays can be a source of major stress for already-anxious prospective students.

But here’s some good news: the reality is that it’s unlikely you will totally bomb your answer (especially if you have the chance to re-record it). In fact, with just a little bit of confidence and preparation, you could give a response that makes the adcom think, “We just have to meet this person!”

Here are some video-interview tips:

  • Prepare (and practice) succinct responses for all of the typical MBA-related questions: Why Program X, Why an MBA overall, Why now, What are your career goals, Summarize your career to date, and so on.
  • Then add some “fun” questions and responses into the mix: Review the last book you read/movie you saw/TV show you watched, What’s your favorite song and why, Where’s the best place you’ve gone on vacation, et cetera.
  • Record yourself answering these questions. Have a trusted friend review your responses and tell you how you’re coming off. Tweak your style accordingly.
  • When the big moment arrives and it’s time for the real thing, remember that no one is trying to trick you into embarrassing yourself. It’s just another opportunity for you to show what an asset you’ll be to an MBA program.
And here’s some more great advice:

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And, if you’re feeling unsure about your video-interviewing skills, you might be interested in Stacy Blackman Consulting’s online practice platform. We’re here to help!

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Showing Leadership in Your B-School Application [#permalink]

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New post 20 Dec 2016, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Showing Leadership in Your B-School Application
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At Stacy Blackman Consulting, we do a lot of thinking about leadership – what is leadership, how best to showcase it, why it matters, and more. If asked what is the single most important quality for business school applications, I would say leadership. While some schools emphasize it more than others, leadership is extremely important to every school. They are grooming overall leaders, not just number-crunchers, marketers or statisticians.

When faced with any iteration of the leadership question on their MBA essays, many applicants freak out because they imagine they’ve got to come up with an example that is basically their greatest life or professional achievement. But just because you achieved something outstanding does not always mean leadership skills were involved, especially if you did most or all of the work. Also, leadership often gets confused with management, but being a great leader is not just about managing something, although that can be a part of it. It’s about leaving a footprint on whatever situation you’re in and doing more than a good job.

Remember, leadership is never a solo effort. One of the central tenets of leadership essays is showing that you can galvanize the actions of other people.  You bring out their passions.  You educate them.  You help them see organizational priorities in new ways.  And then they share in the achievement.  You’re inspiring others and bringing out the best in them. These two points are critical and help to explain how leadership differs from just any great achievement.

The most impacting leadership essays will have heroes other than yourself.  If you helped Henry in accounts receivable realize his full potential on a project you led, showcase him as a hero in your leadership tale. In the best of all worlds, people create a good balance between these types of essays at the beginning of their application process, even before they start writing.  However the good news is that, in many instances, you can still adjust your application fairly late in the process to achieve the appropriate balance between individual achievement and leadership.

Adding in a few sentences here and there about enabling others, or educating and defining priorities for group endeavors, will go a long way toward rounding out your profile. What kind of experiences will make the best tales of leadership? Think about challenges where the following came into play:

  • Identifying/defining a problem
  • Resisting conventional approaches; challenging status quo
  • Marshaling resources to address problem
  • Motivating others
  • Making good use of others’ talents
  • Being open to new information, input, etc.
  • Building consensus with appropriate stakeholders
  • Guiding strong mid-course corrections; overcoming mistakes
  • Building on success
Keep in mind, leadership is not just about the titles. Some candidates try to build their leadership essays around the fact that they were selected for or elected to certain positions where they had a high level of authority and responsibility: editor-in-chief of a college paper, fraternity president, captain of the hockey team, director of product development, V.P. of marketing, etc. Collecting impressive titles does not make someone a great leader—helping a team overcome great challenges does.

Don’t get hung up on coming up with wildly impressive situations, even if you’re applying to the most elite MBA program in the world. You can solve smaller problems and still show leadership potential. I remember one candidate who was applying to business school with just six months of work experience under her belt. As a result, she had few obvious leadership examples, but she had taken it upon herself to overhaul an Excel spreadsheet for the investment bank where she worked.

To do this, she had to state the problem, come up with a solution, and sell others, including supervisors, on her idea. Her improved spreadsheet—containing market information including Treasury rates—saved time, became a great internal resource, and helped the bank communicate better with clients. Taking the initiative to change this spreadsheet was what she wrote about in her application.

You can also look to your extracurricular activities to show leadership without clear career progression. Starting a club, organization, or charitable group works, too. If you have been involved in an activity as a member, think about taking on a leadership role. This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you can run a project and motivate a team.  

One of my clients launched an English club in his native China because he needed to improve his language skills for business school and thought his neighbors might benefit, too. The club grew, and he made his mark in the community, which was something he could point out to admissions committees. He showed he could inspire and motivate others, organize a group, and learn a new language to boot. The applicant ultimately was accepted at Harvard Business School.

When it comes to evaluating your application, members of the MBA admissions committee believe your past leadership achievements are the best gauge of your potential for realizing your future ambitions. You can’t go wrong if you use your essays to show how you’ve worked to inspire others and bring out the best in them.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Online or Traditional MBA Program: Which is Right for You? [#permalink]

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New post 21 Dec 2016, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Online or Traditional MBA Program: Which is Right for You?
Business schools have become increasingly innovative in their approaches to management education in recent years, and it comes as little surprise that we’re seeing an increased interest in online MBA programs as more and more schools now offer this option to meet the needs of working professionals who need greater flexibility.

In fact, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s 2016 Application Trends Survey, 57% of online MBA programs reported increases in their application volumes, up from 50 percent in 2015. Two-thirds (63%) of online MBA programs expect to increase their class size in 2016 compared with last year, which may reflect the growing interest in this educational format.

To determine whether an online or traditional MBA program is right for you, you’ll need to consider many factors, such as cost, reputation, your preferred learning style, and career goals.

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Where Online MBA Programs Shine
Flexibility. For MBA aspirants who are either unwilling or unable to leave their job and family to pursue a full time, two-year degree, a program that can taken from the comfort of one’s own home could be the ideal solution. Not everyone can afford to take two years off from work to pursue their degree, and the online MBA path is even more appealing given the lower cost of most online programs.

On-campus programs have far less flexibility by comparison. You need to be in the same city and able to attend classes on a set schedule in order to receive your assignments and meet with study groups.

Keep in mind that this format requires a high degree of self-motivation and excellent time management, and, like the one-year MBA, is best suited for candidates who are intent on sticking to the same career path or moving ahead within their current company.

Credibility Can Rival Traditional Programs. The caliber of online options has improved dramatically, with offerings coming from such highly ranked schools as Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, Spain’s IE Business School, University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, and the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. You often receive the same education with the same professors as the on-campus MBA students, without having to leave your job and uproot your life.

Many news publications publish annual rankings for online MBA programs, which can aid your school selection process and help you determine whether a particular program is able to meet your needs and help you reach your MBA career goals.

Adaptive to Today’s Working Conditions. In today’s global business environment, much of the day-to-day interaction takes place remotely, via E-mail, text, or video conference. An online MBA format maximizes these technologies and perhaps even better prepares tomorrow’s business leaders for navigating within the dominant communication methods. Students can also apply what they learn in class on the job the next day and see real-time results.

If you decide that the online MBA experience is right for you, there are a couple of things you should look for in a program. Ideally, choose one that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which also accredits all of the top brick-and-mortar b-schools and ensures that the program meets educational standards.

If at all possible, I also recommend pursuing online degrees with short-term in person residencies. For example, the UNC Kenan-Flagler program will feature up to four weekend residencies at different locations worldwide. IE Business School requires two one-week residencies in Madrid, and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business includes five short residency sessions along with the online work.

While the residencies might not yield the lifelong friendships and business partners many acquire during their traditional b-school experiences, they still offer chances to interact with professors and classmates face-to-face, which will remain an important business skill no matter how much of our work and education can be conducted online.

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The Case for Traditional MBA Programs
The classic MBA experience is still the gold standard for many applicants because the full-immersion experience is invaluable for the networking opportunities and alumni connections. Students pursuing their degrees online inevitably give up many benefits offered by full-time programs.

While technology allows online students to easily communicate with their professors and even carry on discussions with their fellow learners, they don’t participate in campus clubs and interact with their cohorts during study sessions and off-campus activities, which are big parts of the b-school experience. The peers you move through the program with, who have similar interests and goals, will make up a huge part of your professional network for life.

In addition, opportunities for internships and recruiting are, by and large, far less prominent for the online student. Many of them also face the added stress of completing challenging course material while trying to maintain their career at the same time, something full-time MBAs usually don’t have to worry about.

In reality, every candidate has his or her own unique needs that must be aligned with the format that makes the most sense. Whichever program you choose in your MBA journey, a great fit with your goals and lifestyle will ensure the best results from application to graduation.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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How to Avoid the Mistake of Generic MBA Application Essays  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2016, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: How to Avoid the Mistake of Generic MBA Application Essays 
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On the surface, many applicants to elite MBA programs share similar backgrounds and traits. They are ambitious, driven, accomplished, and have strong academic records and impressive test scores. In short, they are leaders and achievers. But just because candidates share these characteristics doesn’t mean their MBA application essays have to beat the same drum.  Unfortunately, loads of applicants make the mistake of writing about what they think the admissions committee wants to hear, as opposed to what really resonates for them personally.

We already know that Kellogg School of Management is bombarded with people wanting to go into packaged goods marketing, or that Chicago Booth School of Business is overloaded with finance wannabes. Despite having many of the same career goals, applicants need to think of how they can brand themselves distinctly. Too often stories get overdone, with candidates devoting paragraph upon paragraph to describing assorted business projects because hey, this is business school we’re talking about, right? Wrong tactic! This course of action does nothing to enhance their candidacy because it’s obvious these experiences weren’t at all meaningful to them.

If you leave out the stories about your martial arts training, extensive travel experience, or obsession with college basketball because you figure it’s not relevant to b-school, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to allow the admissions committee a chance to get to know the real you behind the data points.

Another common mistake is looking at applications submitted by friends who have been successful, and thinking, “Well, it worked for them so I’m going to do that, too.” The thing is, you never know whether they were admitted in spite of a tactic or story, not because of it. You have to focus on what works for you and reveals something unique about yourself.  Business schools look for qualities that can translate into leadership, so being a school teacher who can communicate effectively and move and motivate groups of people can actually be more relevant than someone who sits alone in a cube at a “business” job crunching numbers.

When brainstorming stories from your background to share in your MBA essays, you should absolutely include some traditional work stuff. But also think about family, friendships, languages, interests, passions, dreams—categories that are not necessarily “business-y” but that reveal character traits you want to emphasize. Also, think about a real and attainable career goal, something that truly excites you personally and that makes sense given your interests and trajectory to date, not just something that seems to make a good story for b-school.

For example, let’s say you are a first year analyst at an investment bank—just like hundreds of other applicants. Don’t give the three-bullet pointed job description that appears on your resume. Talk about the little spreadsheet that you identified as inefficient and decided to overhaul.  Try to identify smaller but more personal and unique stories that tell how you were a different analyst than all the others.

One client we worked with showcased his leadership activities in a Kellogg School of Management essay by describing how he put together guidelines for his firm that became a part of new employee training. Maybe you created a new process or led recruiting efforts – any of these work activities can help your application stand out.

While many applicants have similar credentials, the beauty of the MBA application process is that it allows candidates a chance for self-reflection, and to discover that they are more unique than they first imagine. All applicants, even those from typical pre-MBA backgrounds, have a story to tell, and an opportunity to go beyond numbers and statistics to present the admissions committee with a snapshot of who they really are.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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Seasons Greetings! [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2016, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Seasons Greetings!
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On behalf of the entire team at Stacy Blackman Consulting, I want to thank our loyal blog readers for logging on each day for the latest news from the B-school universe, and extend our very best wishes for a joyous holiday season!

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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Get Organized Before the New Year [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2016, 10:00
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Get Organized Before the New Year
As 2016 draws to a close, we’re less than two weeks away from the first Round 2 deadlines. Are you ready? If you’re not a “list person,” it’s time to become one—at least until the rest of your applications are in.

We’ll help by giving you this outline for your Round 2 To-Do list:

  • Assuming your recommenders have not yet submitted their letters, touch base with them again if it’s been more than two weeks since you last checked in. Remind them that it would be great if they could upload their responses a few days before the deadlines to avoid any last-minute system-crash drama. And thank them again for their time! Ensuring your recommenders are on track is your top priority because this is a tough time of the year for people to be pulled away from family obligations. You know you’ll get everything in, but this isn’t consuming their lives like it is yours.
  • Make sure you have all of the documentation each school requires—things like test-score reports and undergraduate or exchange-program transcripts. If you’re missing something at this point, you’ll probably have to hustle to secure what you need.
  • Finalize your resume. Many schools have cut down on essay requirements, so resumes are playing a larger role in deciding prospective students’ fates. It’s critical that your resume tells the full story of your professional, educational and extracurricular achievements.
  • Complete the applications/data forms for each school. Why do this before putting the finishing touches on your essays? Because when left to the ultimate last minute, applications fields are extremely easy to screw up. There’s no spellcheck available on these forms, and if you’re rushing through them you are likely to make a mistake. Don’t risk having the very first thing the adcom sees be riddled with typos!
  • And now . . . the essays. We’ll be honest: we hope you aren’t just starting your essays this late in the game. But it certainly is possible to pull together quality responses within two weeks. You can have a few friends or family members on standby to help you firm up your themes and cut down extra words, but if you’re working with an admissions consultant, don’t let advice from others derail the strategy and positioning your consultant has helped you set.
  • Take a little time off to enjoy the end of year celebrations!
Remember:

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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.

If you need a second set of eyes on your Round 2 applications, find out how you can work with a Stacy Blackman consultant on an hourly basis.

 

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
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Will a Low GMAT Score Doom Your MBA Application? [#permalink]

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New post 27 Dec 2016, 13:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Will a Low GMAT Score Doom Your MBA Application?
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The GMAT. It’s an acronym that strikes fear in the hearts of many a prospective MBA student. And for good reason: while your GMAT score is just one data point out of your entire package for the AdCom to consider, it’s often viewed as proof of academic prowess. A strong performance on the GMAT is a key component of the MBA application to most top business schools. But what can you do if your score isn’t where you want or need it to be?

Whether your lower-than-desired score is a result of illness, test anxiety, or just plain insufficient prep time, don’t let it throw you off your game. Make peace with the fact that it’s totally normal to take the GMAT more than once. In fact, I typically advise clients to plan for two attempts at the GMAT, leaving a buffer for a retake if needed.

There’s really no harm in taking the test several times, and unless you score well right out of the gate, you often will do better the second time—you’ll have fewer nerves, more familiarity with the process, and no big surprises. There’s no such thing as a bad test, just opportunities to build on and learn from.

If you didn’t prepare enough, then ramp up your studying, take a class, or consider hiring a tutor who can help you streamline your efforts and teach you the best methods for answering the various question types.

Also, don’t worry about how the schools will perceive those multiple tests. Admissions committee members often interpret this dedication to improving your score as a sign that you’ll do whatever it takes to prove you’re ready for business school.

While it’s natural to become hung up on achieving the highest score possible, or fixate on the average GMAT score reported by the schools, I urge test-challenged clients to focus instead on aligning their scores within the 80 percent range. Many schools list this information directly within their class profiles.

Keep in mind that this high number is primarily for those targeting a top-tier MBA program. For example, the 80 percent range for the MBA class entering UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in fall 2016 is 680-750. Columbia Business School had a similar 80 percent range this year of 680-760, and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School listed the 80 percent range as 700-770 for the class of 2017.

If you scored a 680, think carefully about whether a retake would significantly improve your overall candidacy. You may decide your energies should instead go toward focusing on your essays, or coaching recommenders.

Targeting these numbers at the lower end, rather than at the out-of-reach average, may keep your application viable. However, if you’re 50 points away, it’s time to rethink your selected programs and consider adding options in the top 20 or 30.

You can still leave the highest-ranked options on the table, but these have officially become what we call “reach” schools. Applicants looking at programs in the top 20 or 50 should check the average scores of admitted students to determine their personal target GMAT score.

If your score hasn’t improved significantly despite two or more attempts, don’t beat yourself up over it. Turn your focus to taking a broader look at your entire application strategy. The GMAT score foretells how well one would do in the core academic courses of an MBA program, but isn’t a predictor of success throughout the entire b-school experience. This is why most schools have a holistic approach to considering each application.

It’s entirely possible to offset a low GMAT score with a proven track record in a quantitative job, a high GPA from a respected undergraduate school, and compelling leadership activities. Put your energies toward boosting your candidacy in the areas of your application you can control, namely the essays, extracurriculars, and to some extent, the recommendation letters, where your recommenders can highlight your quantitative skills.

Although you may feel tempted to use the optional essay to explain a low test score, try to resist, as this will likely come across as making excuses rather than providing additional information.

Business school hopefuls can be incredibly hard on themselves when they make mistakes on the GMAT, but should actually think of each error as a learning opportunity and a chance to improve. So don’t become discouraged if your first score isn’t where you’d hoped.

The admissions process is a complex one, so after you’ve done the best you can on the GMAT, it’s time to focus on developing your personal brand by packaging your goals, passions, work experience and “why business school, why now” into a compelling case for your admission. In the end, your exceptional accomplishments will likely shine through despite some academic challenges.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

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Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

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Ask the AdCom: Fun Facts About Your School [#permalink]

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New post 28 Dec 2016, 13:01
FROM Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog: Ask the AdCom: Fun Facts About Your School
Hey everybody! We’re back with another installment of “Ask the AdCom,” where we share a wide range of tips, trivia, 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 readbest place to study, where you can find a killer meal near campus, and all the fun stuff happening at b-school that creates those lifelong, cherished memories for MBA students.

We hope you become inspired, too!

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Today’s question is: What’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about your school?
Judi Byers, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, asked Sydney Chernish, MBA ’16, who said: “Cornell is home to one of the five copies of the Gettysburg Address, illuminated manuscripts, an ice cream production line, and a large brain collection. Any person, any study!”

Shari Hubert, Associate Dean of MBA Admissions  at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, mentions Hoya Saxa, the school’s mantra, which means “What Rocks” (Hoya is Ancient Greek for what and Saxa is Latin for rocks).

“For the 14th-oldest university and the oldest Jesuit university in the United States to have a very modern, millennial sounding mantra – that was developed in the late 1800s — is fun, yet oxymoronic at the same time,” says Hubert.

Also of note: 100% of the construction funding for the Rafik Hariri Building (McDonough School of Business), which opened in 2009, came from alumni donations.

Morgan Bernstein, Executive Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, informs us that Haas was founded in 1898 with the financial support of a woman, Cora Jane Flood. It was the second b-school founded in the United States.

Kelly R. Wilson, Executive Director of Admissions at CMU Tepper School of Business, says that artificial intelligence, computer science and management science (data-driven decision making) were founded at the Tepper School or by Tepper School faculty.

 Allison Jamison, Admissions Director at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, explains that Fuqua was founded by a grant from JB Fuqua.  “Mr. Fuqua grew up on a farm in Virginia, and sent a letter to Duke University asking if the school would send him some books from its library.

“The lending relationship continued for many years, and while Mr. Fuqua never went to college, he educated himself and became a multi-millionaire businessman.  His donation to Duke University was used to found the business school named in his honor.”

John Roeder, Assistant Dean Graduate Admissions at SMU Cox School of Business, reminisces about the time when George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush visited Southern Methodist University in 2013 for the opening of the Bush Library at SMU.

“It marked only the second time in U.S. history that 5 current or former U.S. presidents were in the same location at the same time,” Roeder says. “Being two blocks away from the Bush Library, the Cox school had a front-row seat of the festivities.”

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Such interesting trivia, right? 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 about their famous alumni.

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Interested in a free 30 minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Stacy Blackman | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com | +1 323.934.3936
MBA blogger, US News and Author, The MBA Application Roadmap

Kudos [?]: 124 [0], given: 0

Ask the AdCom: Fun Facts About Your School   [#permalink] 28 Dec 2016, 13:01

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