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The mbaMission Blog

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MBA News: Tuck Dean Paul Danos to Step Down [#permalink]

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New post 02 Apr 2014, 14:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: Tuck Dean Paul Danos to Step Down
After 20 years as the dean of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, Paul Danos has announced in a letter that he will not seek reappointment for a sixth term in June 2015. Given his lengthy tenure—which, Bloomberg Businessweek notes, is far beyond that of the three-and-a-half year average of business school deans—it is unsurprising that Danos can lays claim to an impressive number of accomplishments and contributions to the Tuck community, including faculty expansion and launching new curricular offerings.

“The MBA program at Tuck has never been stronger, with student quality indicators, employment levels, and compensation rates for our graduates among the highest in the world,” Danos stated, adding that he looks forward to a return to the classroom. In the meantime, Dartmouth College administrators will reportedly appoint a search committee to evaluate community feedback in looking to replace Danos. We will keep you posted as soon as we hear any news about the appointment of a new Dean…
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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Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Winning the Golden Briefcase [#permalink]

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New post 03 Apr 2014, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Winning the Golden Briefcase
When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment, but are also making a commitment to a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

Founded by a Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) student in 1984, Challenge for Charity (C4C) is a well-attended annual fundraiser that brings students from nine business schools across the West Coast to the Stanford campus to compete in events such as billiards, bowling and basketball to raise money for Special Olympics and a local nonprofit organization (each participating school selects a nonprofit organization in its area to support). Students earn points by winning the competitions in which their team participates and for each hour of volunteer work they completed during the year. Students who have committed a minimum of five hours of C4C service in one year are eligible to take part in the sports competitions and trivia quizzes that take place during this two-day event, held each spring, for the chance to win bragging rights and the coveted Golden Briefcase award.

A first-year student told mbaMission about the “White Party,” also a C4C fundraiser, which takes place in early March: “Everyone wears white and raises a bunch of money for charities … [over $250,000 in spring 2011]. Students offer whatever they can, and others bid, so it’s another good way for folks to interact more. Some examples that I can remember were cooking classes, a class on how to make sushi, other learning-type experiences and tickets to a baseball game. Everyone tries to participate. I’d guess that over 80% of the students here give back.”

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at Stanford, UCLA Anderson, UC Berkeley Haas or 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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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mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
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B-School Insider Interview: First-Year Student, Haas School  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Apr 2014, 15:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: B-School Insider Interview: First-Year Student, Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, Class of 2015
A first year at UC-Berkeley’s Hass School of Business provided us with some insight into the school’s MBA program and his experience as a student thus far. Having entered Haas with an engineering background, he is planning to pursue either a strategy or business development role in the technology industry after graduating, or may explore the option of working in the tech practice of a consulting firm.

mbaMission: When you were deciding where to pursue your MBA, what led you to choose UC-Berkeley Haas? And how has the school matched your expectations thus far?

Haas First Year: The school’s culture really got me hooked. It was interesting to note that Haas had articulated its values and what it seeks in students so eloquently. On top of that, everyone I met seemed to embody those qualities. What I could only infer prior to admission, I know for certain now. Everyone is super down to earth, no matter how accomplished they are. Challenging [the] status quo and being students always are also principles that can be commonly observed. The MBA program office itself constantly strives to better the student experience by collecting feedback and acting on it. There are supplements such as courses on strategic innovation and even actual coding for the MBA students.

Another important consideration for me was the strong experiential component of the program. There are endless opportunities to get involved and work with actual clients, from semester-long consulting engagements with actual clients to courses such as Cleantech to Market and [the] International Business Development [Program].

mbaMission:  I see. How do you like living in the San Francisco area? Do you feel like the school’s location has had any impact on your MBA experience?

HFY: I lived in the Bay Area prior to Haas, and this is one of the reasons I chose Haas. Being close to the city as well as the epicenter of tech is really useful when it comes to networking and job hunting and being able to get great speakers for talks and events. Of course the weather, the outdoor activities and the proximity to wine country are not bad perks, either, and Haasies make the most of it with the Redwoods@Haas and the Wine Industry Club.

mbaMission:  So how would you characterize your Haas classmates?

HFY: Supportive, collaborative and humble. As I said, most of them exemplify the Haas principles of “confidence without attitude” and “beyond yourself.”

mbaMission:  Nice. And what would  you say about the greater community as a whole?

HFY: The community itself is really tight-knit and has an intimate feel to it.

mbaMission:  Great. What resources at the school do you feel have been the most helpful or interesting to you so far, would you say?

HFY: Several events all year round, like the speaker series, and club events bring in experts and business leaders from the industry and academia, so there is never any dearth of interesting talks to go to. The clubs are all student run and really in touch with the needs of the student body. For example, there was a workshop to teach students how to write SQL queries—and that’s a skill that is needed for a lot of tech jobs.

mbaMission:  Sure. That’s pretty cool. Have you had any interaction with the dean during your time at Haas? What impression would you say students seem to have of him?

HFY: Dean [Rich] Lyons is regarded very highly here. He was the one who really captured the essence of Haas in the culture and the four principles. Students have frequent access to him at events. For example, there is a breakfast with the dean once every few months. There is also a Dean’s Scotch Tasting event in the spring with the Chatham House Rule to encourage candid discussions.

mbaMission:  That’s great. What has been your experience with the school’s alumni? Did you contact any Hass graduates before you got into the school, and have you reached out to any so far as a student?

HFY: There are several alumni mixer events held throughout the year, and alums come in all the time for recruiting events as well as club events and talks. Before I was enrolled, I got a chance to network with alums at Haas admissions events as well.

mbaMission:  Okay. What would you say are some of the best parts and perhaps less great parts of the school’s facilities?

HFY: Being part of a crowded campus means that expansion of the current facilities is an issue. Classroom availability can sometimes become a problem, and meeting space can be hard to find. Having said that, we have just gotten access to a new facility within the new Memorial Stadium known as thei-Lab [Innovation Lab]. It is open space available to students to use and meet at whenever there is no class taking place.

mbaMission:  That sounds like an important addition. What has been your favorite social event so far at Haas? Or is there one you are particularly looking forward to?

HFY: Oh, wow, several. Orientation week was a whirlwind of activities culminating in a bomb-diggity ‘80s party. We usually have themed Consumption Functions every two weeks, and the International Consumption Function as well as the Black History Month Consumption Functions were awesome events. VegHaas was another memorable event—several hundred Haasies descend on [Las] Vegas and take over several night clubs. The student treks are very popular as well. There are spring treks to Japan, Morocco, Israel and Cuba.

mbaMission:  So what is the most important thing you feel more people should know about Haas?

HFY: I think there can be a perception that Haas is just a tech school. This is absolutely not the case, and many of my classmates are looking at careers in finance, private equity, banking, energy and the social sector. The other thing that has been a pleasant surprise is how much the school cares about input from the students. Course feedback as well as identified curriculum development needs are dealt with in almost real time, something the students who are here for a short two years appreciate very much.

mbaMission:  I can imagine. To finish up, which professors have you found particularly impressive thus far? Or is there anyone you are really looking forward to taking a class with?

HFY: Sure. Well, there’s Cameron Anderson. I haven’t taken any classes with him yet, but his power and politics as well as his negotiations course are both very, very highly rated.  And I haven’t done the pricing course with Teck Ho yet, since the course was completely bid out by second years by the time first-year bidding started, but I’m looking forward to it in second year.

Terry Taylor teaches the core operations course at Haas, and I can safely say that a lot of skeptics going into ops were blown away by Terry. He uses a variety of teaching tools, from regular cases to Seinfeld videos to supply chain games. For example, there’s one where we drink beer while managing a beer supply chain. Students love Terry’s teaching style as well as his masterful handling of class case discussions.

mbaMission: Thank you so much again for taking the time to talk with us a bit. We really appreciate it.

HFY: No problem!
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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Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Friday Factoid: Student and Faculty Research at Tuck [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2014, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: Student and Faculty Research at Tuck
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College is known for its close-knit community and small faculty-to-student ratio. The school’s research-to-practice seminars complement these characteristics. An article on the school’s Tuck Today Web site explains that “International Entrepreneurship” was the first of several such seminars designed to give students insight into a real-world business issue. The seminars were conceived as a key component of the school’s strategic plan, Tuck 2012. The courses bring together 15 second-year students with top faculty for a “deep dive” into a specific topic. Research-to-practice seminars that were offered in recent years include the following:

  • “Deconstructing Apple”
  • “Organizational Alignment”
  • “Economics of the Credit Crisis”
  • “Time in the Consumer Mind”
  • “Mergers and Acquisitions, Alliances, and Corporate Strategy”
  • “Management and Dynamics of Multidisciplinary Teams”
For more information on other defining characteristics of the MBA program at Dartmouth Tuck or one of 15 other top business schools, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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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Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Simple Word Replacements That Save [#permalink]

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New post 07 Apr 2014, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Simple Word Replacements That Save Word Count
One element of MBA application essays that can be challenging for business school candidates, no matter how skilled they are as writers, is staying within the target school’s word limits. Sometimes, cutting just a few words is all that is needed to keep from exceeding the set maximum, but after looking at a draft multiple times, seeing where the opportunities are to do this can be difficult. Here are a few common phrases that can be shortened without negatively affecting a sentence’s meaning (and that in many cases may even improve the text).

1. be able to

Replacing variations of  “be able to” with simply “can” in the present tense or “will” in future tense constructions can easily save you two or three words.

          Because of my strong organizational skills, I am able to accomplish more work in less time. (16 words)

          *Because of my strong organizational skills, I can accomplish more work in less time. (14 words)

          With this latest round of funding, my venture will be able to expand into new districts. (16 words)

          *With this latest round of funding, my venture will expand into new districts.  (13 words)

2. decided to

If something you mention occurred because of a decision you or someone else made, you can bypass discussing the decision part of the process and focus exclusively on describing the resulting action. Avoid using “decided to” and make your action verb the primary verb of your statement.

          Once I saw the numbers, I decided to call a meeting.  (11 words)

          *Once I saw the numbers, I called a meeting. (9 words)

          My supervisor decided to promote me first. (7 words)

          *My supervisor promoted me first. (5 words)

3. despite the fact that

This wordy phrase can and should be replaced with simply “even though.”

          I was passed over for the promotion despite the fact that I had committed more hours to the project. (19 words)

          *I was passed over for the promotion even though I had committed more hours to the project. (17 words)

4. in order to/in order for

Very simply, “in order” adds nothing to the clarity or meaning of the phrase that follows it. Simply use “to” or “for,” as appropriate.

          We had to wake up three hours early in order to get to the site on time. (17 words)

          *We had to wake up three hours early to get to the site on time. (15 words)

          I knew that in order for my team to stay on budget, we needed to find a new distributor. (19 words)

          *I knew that for my team to stay on budget, we needed to find a new distributor. (17 words)

5. prior to/in advance of

When discussing something that occurs ahead of something else, simply use “before.” “Prior to” and “in advance of” confer no special or additional meaning and can sound affected, in addition to being wordy.

          Prior to leaving for the airport, I called to confirm my flight. (12 words)

          *Before leaving for the airport, I called to confirm my flight. (11 words)

          The club officers contacted all the contracted sponsors in advance of the conference. (13 words)

          *The club officers contacted all the contracted sponsors before the conference. (11 words)

 

These simple changes can tighten your writing and save you a few words—and sometimes, that is all you need!
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

_________________

Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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B-School Insider Interview: First-Year Student, UPenn Wharto [#permalink]

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New post 07 Apr 2014, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: B-School Insider Interview: First-Year Student, UPenn Wharton, Class of 2015
Recently, we spoke at length with a Wharton first year about his experiences at the school thus far. A finance major, this student spent several years after graduation working in an entrepreneurial fellowship before joining a high growth-tech firm. There, he was part of a leadership development program in operations, sales and marketing. He chose to pursue an MBA to see where business school could take him next.

mbaMission: How do you like being in Philadelphia for your MBA?

Wharton First Year: It’s great. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the kinds of opportunities that are in Philadelphia. I think it gets disregarded as a big city, because a lot of people are coming from New York, and there’s so much more culture, I’d say, and opportunities [there] because of the amount of people, and it’s bigger. But for me, Philadelphia is a great upsize, given I was in the Midwest prior.

mbaMission: I could see that. How do you think Philadelphia is as a setting for a business school in general?

WFY: I think it’s great for a couple of reasons. I mean, obviously it’s got a big-city vibe, so there’s a lot of people here. There’s definitely a downtown scene with culture and everything that comes with a bigger downtown in terms of art and sports, you name it. From a business school student perspective, I think being in a larger city helps because you can get more speakers to come to campus. I think that’s something that’s undervalued when you go to a smaller school or a school that’s not in a large city. It’s harder to attract big-name speakers to campus. We draw a lot of people because Philadelphia’s a major hub, but also, it’s so close to New York. It’s a quick train ride down. It’s like an hour and ten minutes on the Acela. So Philadelphia’s great, has all four seasons, if you’re interested in that, and a lot of the students live in one part of town, which is about 20 blocks from campus. And it’s definitely got more of an artsy, European feel.

mbaMission: Sure. Where do most students live?

WFY: In this section of town called Rittenhouse Square. Like I said 25, 20 blocks east of campus, but it’s across a bridge, across the Schuylkill River. Most MBA students don’t live in University City, which is where a lot of undergrads live, but I think predominately, most of the grad school students live across the river, which again is more downtown in Center City.

mbaMission: So does that mean people typically have cars, or do they take public transportation?

WFY: Mostly public transportation and taxis. Very few students have cars. I think a lot of it’s just a parking issue, but for the most part, I’d say 95% of students live in Rittenhouse, and I’d say of that group, 2% may have cars. The ones who don’t live in Rittenhouse probably do have cars, and that’s because they’re probably in more suburban areas. Rittenhouse is also one of the more  expensive areas of Philly, so some students choose to live in much more affordable housing, but unfortunately, you forego some of the social scene, because everyone else lives in the area.

mbaMission: That makes sense. So why did you choose Wharton for your MBA?

WFY: A couple of things. I knew I wanted to go to a top business school, and so there you cut it down to I’d say ten, maybe five schools. I was looking to be in a bigger city, since I came from a smaller Midwest city, but also as an LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] student, it was important for me to have that larger city experience. So that knocked off maybe some other top schools, like Duke [Fuqua] and Dartmouth. I applied to four schools I thought were top caliber, and of the ones where I was admitted, Wharton was the best in terms of not only brand name, but [also] the opportunities it gave me. There are a lot of things that I think Wharton does really well, but also being closer to [where I grew up] was a huge plus. So again, it’s a great name, it’s obviously a top school, a huge school, which I was kind of nervous about, but actually I found to be a really good thing. I also received some scholarship money, so that was a nice icing on the cake.

mbaMission: Definitely. So did you know when you were applying to business school what you wanted to do post MBA, or were you open to different things?

WFY: I had an idea, but I definitely didn’t have anything solidified, and I think part of business school is figuring it out—you don’t know what you don’t know. I wanted to learn from my classmates, which gets to my point earlier about why a large school is helpful. You could say community is not as strong maybe as if you went to a school with a much smaller class size, in the middle of nowhere or in a much smaller city, but one of the good things is that between the two classes of 1,600 students, there is someone who has done what you might be interested in doing long term, whether that be marketing or finance or whatever, right? I was considering possibly going into strategy within the higher education space, and wouldn’t you know, one of my classmates worked in strategy for Yale University prior to coming to Wharton. So the size of the school, and the alumni by extension, really is one huge benefit.

mbaMission: That totally makes sense. So you were basically going to business school thinking you wanted to further your career but maybe not 100% sure of what that career would be, so you really just wanted to go to a good school.

WFY: Exactly. For me, I thought maybe consulting would be a good option. I knew I wasn’t going to get into banking, but I really wanted to see what other students had done, what my interests were and my skill set and kind of identify that in business school. And I think I have reaffirmed what I thought I was good at, what maybe I’d want to do long term, and can kind of match that up with career opportunities.

mbaMission: Got it. So how has Wharton met your expectations so far?

WFY: As far as academics, it’s definitely kept me challenged, especially first semester, when you’re taking a lot of core classes. There’s a reason Wharton is known for its quantitative background. There were a lot of quant-heavy classes first semester. I think some individuals applying to business school view the experience as a two-year vacation, and for some students at certain schools, it might be. But at Wharton—I can only speak to Wharton—it isn’t like that at all. Don’t get me wrong—we have more than our fair share of fun, but we also work hard.

I wanted to come here to push myself and definitely did that. The nature of the curriculum helps build community, When everyone’s experiencing so much together, it helps people bond and build relationships. Every first year is going through the same core classes. So in terms of academics, I definitely think it met, if not exceeded, my expectations. As a finance major in undergrad, I think these classes definitely exceeded the level of intensity I had hoped.

Student life, I’ve been more than impressed. I think that’s one of the big areas where Wharton might be branded incorrectly to the outside world, but student life here is much more fun than I was expecting. I think a lot of people get this idea that because Wharton is very quant focused, because it’s located in a big city, because we have off on Fridays, that there isn’t much of a community. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s a huge community here, and I’ve found that it’s been a really welcoming environment, and that’s something I didn’t expect because of third party write-ups about the school.

I think people think of Wharton as this quant jock school, which sometimes misleads people to think the student body might be less social. My really good friend is going to Kellogg right now, and Kellogg’s known as this really fun, social school. I’d say Wharton probably matches Kellogg. I think a lot of the top schools do. I think Wharton helps to facilitate a positive student life and overall B-school experience.

Wharton is on par, as I expected, as far as career services, but that’s because I expected a lot from Wharton to begin with. And it’s been in the business school scene for so long, obviously as the first business school, so I think it has it down to a science in terms of the fundamentals of what individuals need for career services. And they start early, right in the pre-term.

mbaMission: Sure.

WFY: So in pre-term, you’re immediately immersed in career services, and they realize that a lot of students are career switchers, so those students might need services immediately. In undergrad, you had to be proactive, but for Wharton, they’re reaching out to you and making sure you’re on the radar, and they’re checking in with you. It’s not intrusive or like they’re babying you. It’s like, “Hey, we recognize that you want our help. You’re paying a lot of money to go here, and we want you to get a lot out of your experience.” And for many people, that’s landing a great job after school. They recognize that if you do well in your career search, you’re going to recommend Wharton to others.

mbaMission: Right. You mentioned the core curriculum, and you seemed to think that that was beneficial as far as getting everybody up to speed and providing that shared experience, but as far as laying the foundation for further learning in your elective classes, do you feel it was pretty effective? Do you feel like what you learned is going to be useful?

WFY: Yeah, so I think it was twofold. Obviously, it gives you experience in the basic fundamentals in business, but it also gets you immersed in your one class of 70 for the entire first year. It really gets you to build a community and close ties. It’s helping you academically, but it’s also helping you facilitate a social network that I think is a major part of the business school experience. The core classes seem to be—and this is not the appropriate terminology, but I’m going to say it—a necessary evil. I think students would rather take elective classes in subjects they want to actually learn more about and dive deep into a certain subject area. So not just management, but management with a specific function, or finance with a specific direction. So I think your broad classes are needed to teach all the basics, but most students prefer to take electives.

So again, I think students enjoy their second semester of first year and their second year much more than their first semester, academically, because these are classes they want to take, but I imagine every business school that is set up similarly must experience the same thing to some extent.

mbaMission: I would think so. Some people get more out of the core than others, of course.

WFY: Right. So I was a finance undergrad, but if you didn’t have a business undergrad, that might be a huge learning curve. Because if I had some trouble with the quant, there might be somebody who came from a nonprofit or had a law background who might really struggle, but I think all the resources are there to make sure they’re successful. I don’t think there’s any reason a student should not be successful, and we have non-grade disclosure, which is a huge benefit to making sure you take risks and do things you may not do normally. I wasn’t really sure about that policy initially, but I can’t imagine going to a school that doesn’t have that now after going to Wharton, because it really does let you choose whatever you want to do and really take risks in classes and in clubs where maybe you would have played it safe otherwise.

mbaMission: Sure. Can you test out of any of the core classes?

WFY: You can, yeah. So for starters, you can test out in the very beginning of the semester, in August. Students can also show proof that they have either taken a class in undergrad or have some sort of skill set that meets the requirements for the class. I think 40% of students place out of at least one class. But I think they really encourage you to take the full core to make sure you understand the basics—because even though I took stats in undergrad, stats is slightly different here—but I also think to make sure you’re getting that full experience. So those individuals who only take one core class are missing a lot of that cohort component and the social component.

I think it’s a give and take. You may not want to sit in a class you’ve already taken for a year, but you get to hear feedback in class from 69 other students who you’ve never met and want to know more about. And there’s definitely allegiances toward your cohort and your larger clusters, so I think that being in class with those individuals makes you feel more part of that community, which I would argue is very important.

mbaMission: Especially at a school with 1,600 students, I would think.

WFY: Exactly.

mbaMission: So how would you characterize your classmates? What’s a typical Wharton student like?

WFY: I am far more impressed than I expected in terms of the quality of my peers and what they’ve done in the past, and their intellectual and social capabilities. So that’s probably one of the biggest pluses in terms of what I was expecting from Wharton. I’m continually impressed with my peer group. I mean, my learning team of six people—I’m not sure how familiar you are with how this works at Wharton, but you’re in a larger cluster of 210, which is divided into three cohorts of 70 students. Then from there it goes to a pod, so divided into three or four, and from there, you’re in teams of six or seven. So I was in a learning team and did all my group projects with that team for the entire first semester. And it’s an intentionally diverse learning team, in terms of background, culture, gender, race, you name it, and they’re really trying to make sure you understand that in a business setting, you’re not going to have one homogenous group that really is dominating the workforce, right? And I think that’s good, especially for someone like myself who didn’t have a really diverse background or work experience.

So on my learning team, it was me. There was a girl who worked in banking at Goldman for five years. A guy who’s half Brazilian who worked in private equity and was coming from Los Angeles. Another woman who had started and sold two companies, and she was from Turkey—both of them were e-commerce businesses. Another one was a guard for the Taiwanese president, and he ended up working at McKinsey for two years after. And the last one came from China to work at an investment bank in New York.

mbaMission: Wow.

WFY: So here I am with those five amazing people, and then me—I worked at a small tech start-up in the Midwest. [Laughs.] But my point is, again going back to my being continually impressed, we didn’t find out until a month into our discussions what all of us did—and really, you guarded the president of your country?

mbaMission: Right.

WFY: And people aren’t bragging here; they’re very humble on the whole, which is great.

mbaMission: That’s very cool. So can you help me understand what the pod system is like? I understand cohorts and clusters and learning teams, but what does a pod do?

WFY: Yeah, this is a way for second years to help mentor first years. So we have Student Life Fellows that are charged with one pod of three learning teams to make sure that everyone in that group is having a good student experience, maximizing their opportunities and ensuring no one falls through the cracks. There’s a Leadership Fellow who is also assigned to a pod to make sure that every person is pushed to develop their personal leadership skills. Basically, the pod helps create a group of 18 that hits the sweet spot for initiatives and events that are too big for groups of six but too small for groups of 70.

mbaMission: That makes sense.

WFY: Pods are definitely the least mentioned of the cluster, cohort, learning team delineations. They’ve changed student life here to a cluster format; everything’s around the cluster. So it’s pretty much like four larger groups versus 12 smaller groups. But then the pod was developed from that concept.

mbaMission: I see. Thanks for explaining that. You spoke about the career development office a little bit. What kind of resources and assistance has that office provided for you so far?

WFY: Yeah. Every day at lunch, there seems to be a different career services meeting or function of some sort, whether it’s bringing in a guest speaker to talk about an industry or an alumnus who works in an industry—really giving you breadth of the tech, consulting, banking, entrepreneurship, marketing industries and their background. A lot of these are working in conjunction with a student club. So the students lead it, but they [career services] definitely offer support. And in terms of some of the basics, especially during the very first month of school, they were there to provide those resources. They were able to meet with students one-on-one to go over individual career tracks. They do a survey at the very beginning of the year that basically takes down your personality traits and what you’re interested in learning and where you’re successful, and they kind of plot out what possible careers you might want to research further.

They’re there as much as you need them, really. I’ve never been denied for a meeting or had an individual tell me they’re not able to meet. In fact, they’re often willing to stay late. Another thing I will say is a plus is that a lot of our career services staff have experience in particular industries, which I think is huge. And for a lot of driven MBA candidates, you want to trust someone who has knowledge of the industry you’re trying to break into. And so you have these career services staff who have actually worked in banking, who have actually worked in internal strategy positions and so on. So these are people who have done some pretty big things and have had the jobs that we’re going after, so they can speak to a level of actual commitment and involvement and what it takes. It also increases their legitimacy, which I think is very unique. I’m not sure if every business school has that, but that’s a big win for Wharton.

mbaMission: I could see how that might make a difference, because you know the person who’s guiding you has actually been there.

WFY: I trust their opinion more, because some of them have held the jobs that we are initially looking to get.

mbaMission: Right. What other resources at the school do you feel have been particularly helpful or interesting?

WFY: There’s just so much at Wharton, right? If you can think of it, it exists, and I just never expected that. I talk to my friends who are in smaller schools, and resources are limited. There’s a club for almost everything here at Wharton. There’s even breakouts within clubs, so there’s the Consulting Club, but there’s also the Health Care Consulting Club. The opportunities are endless, and I think sometimes students spread themselves too thin because they want to get involved in everything. So you see second years kind of scale back and really take on one leadership role, whereas first years are doing a lot of different clubs and really getting immersed in the student life.

And the speaker series—I’m blown away by the level of speakers that we have that come to class, as well as individuals who just speak on the executive level, and a lot of it is because they’re Wharton alums. We have these things called Power Dinners where they bring in some pretty big-name speakers for dinner. And it’s 12 students and that individual speaker, so you get a really intimate setting with that one individual. I was in entrepreneurship class yesterday, and we had the CEO of a company that just started up in 2010, and it’s valued right now at over $100M. He was teaching our class, and it was a class with 18 people. I wouldn’t say that’s common every day, but the fact that that level of engagement exists, I think it’s pretty rare.

I think the student life office has really done a big push recently. I think the biggest thing from this interview, if you want to take something away, is that student life has changed here at Wharton, compared to three years ago, even. There’s been a really big push for culture. They’ve actually appointed a student life dean [deputy vice dean of student life] who is in charge of fully immersing himself in student life. His name is Kembrel [Jones], and he really just makes sure that every student is happy. He knows almost every student’s name and attends a large percentage of the events on campus. Each individual cluster has their own associate director who’s in charge of making sure that student life experience is up to par with Wharton’s high expectations.

And so I think in the past, you might have seen Wharton as this very transactional experience—go in, get a degree and leave. But now, they really are trying to build this cluster experience, and every individual cluster has its own cheer, its own mascot, its own colors. Throughout the year we have the Cluster Cup, which fosters friendly competition by engaging the clusters in different academic, sport and social activities.

The other thing the school did recently was it purchased a floor in a high-rise in downtown Center City, and that opened up the amount of study space immensely. So now students don’t have to walk 25 blocks to campus. They can actually walk five to ten minutes, depending on how far you live from this building, and there’s an open study space, open communal area, that everyone can walk to, which is huge. I think that helped fill in the gap of “I want to meet with my group and my learning team, but where are we going to meet?” Everyone meets at this one location that’s right in Center City, which is where most students live. That’s a big win, and that opened up in 2013. This is the first year students have experienced using it for a full year. And it opened to some great feedback.

mbaMission: Yeah. Are you involved in any specific clubs that you really like or that you feel have been really helpful?

WFY: Yeah, so I chose to be more of a depth versus breadth person here. In undergrad, I was student body president, and I got a wide variety of experiences there. At Wharton, I wanted to really focus on a few things and give myself a lot of free time to enjoy the experience and be able to add things to my calendar last minute. I’m involved with the WGA [Wharton Graduate Association] by way of being cluster president, as well as the Tech[nology] Club and the LGBT Out for Business Group.

And I’m part of the Dean’s Graduate Student Advisory Committee, which advises the dean on certain things, almost like a student consulting group for the dean of the business school. Next year, I may try to stretch myself by joining the stand-up comedy club, maybe even the hockey club, which is very popular here on campus.

mbaMission: That sounds busy.

WFY: Yeah, I guess I didn’t do that great of a job at going in depth with one of two activities. [Laughs.] But I think that’s a big part of business school. If you have an hour to give, you fill it up somehow, there’s never a free hour. Right now I signed up for this interview, but there’s also two guest lectures going on concurrently that I’m missing. There’s always something on campus that you can work on or attend if you want. Which goes back again to this being a huge school, and I think that’s a huge plus.

mbaMission: Right. Well, you can always sleep after you graduate, right?

WFY: Yes, exactly, that’s what I tell myself.

mbaMission: So what kind of interaction have you had with the school’s alumni beyond what you’ve already mentioned? Did you contact anyone before you got in, or have you contacted them for your job search?

WFY: Job search, definitely, and career services encourages you to do that. You can always look through our database and find individuals who are working in the industry you’re looking at. I think a lot more of that networking happens for the less traditional paths, some of those companies that aren’t as big and don’t recruit on campus. I contacted a few alums in terms of helping me think through applying to business school, in terms of learning what Wharton was. And they were all very responsive. I mean, from my personal experience, you almost always receive a response within I’d say 24 hours or 48 hours, as long as you mention that you are a Wharton student. It all depends on their schedule and what they’re doing, but usually they’re very responsive.

mbaMission: Great. You talked about the facilities a bit, but I wanted to touch on that topic more specifically. Are there any really great parts of the facilities or any parts that the school could possibly work on?

WFY: Really, the addition of that extra study space in Center City is big, and I don’t think you really recognize what that means to the school and the student body until you come here and see the dynamic at play. Cutting the travel time by two-thirds to get to a study room everyone can meet at is pretty important.

Huntsman Hall is still relatively new, and it’s a great building, probably one of the better ones on campus. Most of the classrooms are set up with USB ports and power outlets built into the desk space. I’ve never had any issues with that. And there’s tech support on hand if you ever need any help with what they call “Whartonizing” your computer. There’s resources for that as well. If I ever have a problem with my computer, iPad or my iPhone, I just bring it to them, and they fix it.

mbaMission: That’s great. So let’s focus on the fun stuff, the social life. What can you tell me about that?

WFY: Yeah, so one of the big things I liked about Wharton was how active the LGBT community was here, and that they host the two most well-attended parties of the year. One is called the White Party, which happens in September. The other one is Wharton 54, which takes place in late March or early April. For the White Party, everyone just dresses in white, and Wharton 54 is usually ’70s themed. Every weekend, there is some event or party on Friday and Saturday, even Thursday night. So if there is an open day, you can bet that a student group is planning an event then. And it’s all over—cultural clubs, academic conferences, social clubs. There’s Dance Studio, the Charity Fashion Show, Fight Night—something that appeals to everyone.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention , too. It’s our annual show that’s student run and pokes fun at the business school experience. There’s also a ski trip that happens every year, and we went out to Breckenridge, Colorado, this past February. We usually go out west for one extended weekend, and I think Wharton sent over a thousand students. We just took over Breckenridge. Prices were high for United flights that weekend! [Laughs.]

I think one of the cool parts about Wharton is the amount of travel, which I really I didn’t expect before coming to Wharton. I went to Argentina over Thanksgiving break. I went to Tahiti and did a tall ship sailing leadership venture over Christmas. I went to Costa Rica for spring break, and I’m headed to Israel in May. And I think it’s pretty common for people to take a few international trips,  though it’s definitely not a requirement. And there’s also a decent amount of U.S. travel. We had a southern city tour earlier this year. They have West Coast treks. We also had a New England trek. And some of these treks are professionally focused, and some are purely social. I know a bunch of students went to New Orleans over fall break. I think some of the international students from other countries like seeing other parts of the States.

I’ve heard Wharton is above average in terms of the amount of traveling, and I’ve really enjoyed that. Obviously, it does cost money to travel, so that’s definitely adding to my loans, but there’s never been any time when I could travel with this many people. That’s the best part of the traveling—I can travel with a friend, maybe, or by myself when I’m older, but right now I have the opportunity to travel with 20 people who represent an unparalleled peer group. It seems like a no-brainer.

mbaMission: You’re definitely making the most of your experience, it sounds like. What’s been your general impression of the faculty so far?

WFY: There’s definitely no shortage of notable faculty here. I’ve been very impressed. In grad school, I’m trying to get a lot closer to my professors on a personal level, and professors are constantly willing to meet with you outside of classes. The entrepreneurship professors will talk about getting funding and how that process works. Management professors talk about possible jobs in the future and office politics and influence in the workplace. And a lot of them are really invested in their research and love to share that with you. Most of the professors—I’d say at least 70%—offer some sort of dinners or small-group lunches so you can get to know them on an outside-the-classroom level, which is great. You get to see them as real people versus just these one-dimensional individuals who come into the classroom and teach.

mbaMission: Absolutely. What do you think people more people should know about Wharton that they probably don’t?

WFY: I think the biggest thing is right now Wharton is at this crossroads where we’re a very finance-branded school, and that’s great. We do have an excellent finance program here, with top-notch faculty. But what people may not know is that we’re producing more entrepreneurs, by total number, than any other business school in the country. As at most business schools, entrepreneurship has witnessed a heavy increase in interest. I think Wharton is trying to determine the right way to balance marketing its classic finance strengths while also displaying its great resources for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Also, student life is much more fun—plain and simple. In a recent internal student survey, student rating of student life received its highest marks in the past 20 years. Wharton in general is more fun than it was ten years ago, at least in students’ perception. A lot of this newfound strength correlates with the resurgence of the student life office. An important part of the MBA program is not just getting education, but enjoying education while you’re here for those two years. I wish I had known just how much fun I’d be having right out of the gate at Wharton. I traveled to other business schools and did a lot of research—Wharton competes right up there with other schools in terms of the level of socialness as well as academic rigor.

mbaMission: That sounds great. Every time I talk to one of you students, it makes me want to go to business school, because it sounds so fantastic. Is there anything else you’d want to say about Wharton?

WFY: We’ve covered a lot. The leadership office is a huge win for Wharton. They actually have an entire office dedicated to leadership. I mentioned going on a Leadership Venture over the holidays, where students go to different remote locations, are placed in high-stress situations and are tasked with working on a team to achieve a goal—for example, climbing Kilimanjaro, trekking through Antarctica, facing the wilderness of Alaska. We also have individual executive coaches, which is a great new program. You get assigned an executive coach who works with you on ways to get you to become a better C-level executive in the long term. We constantly have speakers, leaders and authors coming in to talk about different works or research they’ve done. I think the leadership office is another big differentiator for Wharton.

mbaMission: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today about Wharton. You’ve given us a lot of great information.

WFY: No problem. Thank you!
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Re: The mbaMission Blog [#permalink]

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New post 08 Apr 2014, 00:18
helpful post..i got my answer thanks

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Mission Admission: Visit Campus … Again [#permalink]

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New post 08 Apr 2014, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: Visit Campus … Again
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

As admissions committees release decisions, many candidates suddenly find themselves with more than one option for the coming year. But how does one choose between two or more schools? If you cannot determine a definitive “winner” based on specific academic or professional criteria, you may now need to make a campus visit or, for some, another campus visit. We strongly advise those of you who have not yet had a chance to visit your target school(s) that you get to know the program(s) better before deciding where to invest two years and $100K or more in your graduate education. However, even if you have already visited your target campuses, this may be a good time for a second, more focused trip.

Many candidates go on marathon tours of business school campuses in the fall but have only a limited window in which to get to know each program they visit. After the MBA admissions committees have defined your choices and shifted the decision power back to you, you have the opportunity to really spend some time familiarizing yourself with your target schools and completing diligence that may not have been possible before. For example, as a nervous prospective student, you may not have truly pushed current students to define a program’s weaknesses, or you may not have felt that delving deeply into the recruiting situation on campus was appropriate during your initial visit. Similarly, you may not have experienced the social environment on campus, preferring to maintain a strictly professional profile. Although attending “welcome weekends” will allow you to meet and mingle with your potential future classmates, visiting campuses now—while classes are in session and the schools are operating as they will next year—will provide valuable insight that will facilitate one of the most important choices of your life.
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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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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What I Learned at…Stanford Graduate School of Business, Part [#permalink]

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New post 08 Apr 2014, 17:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: What I Learned at…Stanford Graduate School of Business, Part 1
In our “What I Learned at…” series, MBAs discuss the tools and skills their business schools provided as they launched their careers.

Sandi Lin is the CEO and founder of Skilljar, which provides businesses with online course software. Before founding Skilljar, Sandi was a senior manager at Amazon.com in Seattle. She earned her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In Part 1 of this three-part series, Sandi reflects on the advantages of having gained experience at a “real job” before starting her own company.

Entrepreneurship is in the air at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB). In 2011, 16% of the GSB class started their own companies after graduation, and many more chose to join start-ups as nonfounders. Stanford’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley, the extremely high caliber of engineering and business students on campus, and the university’s active support of start-up accelerator programs like StartX all fuel the school’s awesome entrepreneurial engine. Even the GSB’s tagline, “Change Lives, Change Organizations, Change the World,” leads students to dream big.

I arrived at Stanford knowing that I wanted to start (or work at) a tech start-up after business school. My background was in transportation consulting, so this would be a significant career change for me. Unfortunately, in 2008, the global economy collapsed—Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy in September, just as I was just starting my second year at Stanford. It is hard to imagine now, but virtually all big companies declared a hiring freeze that fall and even began laying off seasoned employees.

My goal had been to join a start-up, but I also had a product management job offer from Amazon.com in Seattle, where I had interned the previous summer. Although Amazon is a very well respected company today, in 2008, most people believed that Amazon was “just a retailer” and that its era of innovation was long over. I knew differently, having just witnessed the early days of the Kindle, Amazon Web Services and Fulfillment by Amazon (all of which were very small teams with MBA interns back in the summer of 2008). Not sure what to do, I looked to the Stanford network for advice.

I first talked to an alumna at a Bay Area start-up that I had my eye on. She had worked at several big companies before founding her company. Her advice was gentle but blunt—her company was always looking for talented people, but I had very little experience. In addition, well-known tech giants were laying off hundreds of experienced product managers. That was the reality of the job market I would be competing in. At the same time, she told me that work experience at Amazon was very well respected in the industry and that I could not go wrong by taking a position there.

At Stanford, I was lucky enough to take a supply chain class with Michael Marks, an amazing leader I admired both personally and professionally. When I asked him for advice, he told me, “No matter when you decide to start a company, you will need to know how a well-run company operates. And there is no better-run company in the world than Amazon.com right now.”

With their advice, I decided to put my start-up dreams on pause and take the job at Amazon, where I spent the next four years in various product management roles. Looking back now, I cannot imagine taking the entrepreneurial leap without the experience I developed during those years. Thanks to Amazon, I met my co-founders, most of my early employees and several of my future investors. I learned how to build and launch a tech product, how to hire and manage a team and how to run a business. While it may be true that nothing prepares you for a start-up like launching a start-up, I now know that my decision to work at an established company after graduation has given me the best chance of success with Skilljar.
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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Professor Profiles: Roberto Rigobon, MIT Sloan School of Man [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2014, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Roberto Rigobon, MIT Sloan School of Management
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand, but the educational experience itself is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Each Wednesday, we profile a standout professor as identified by students. Today, we profile Roberto Rigobon from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

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Roberto Rigobon (“Applied Macro and International Economics” and “Applied International Macroeconomics: Development and Sustainability”) specializes in international economics, monetary economics and development economics. At an awards ceremony in 2005, Sloan students described him as someone who “epitomized the fine line between madness and genius.” Other award-related descriptions of Rigobon refer to him as “serious but hilarious,” “crazy and brilliant” and “high energy.” He teaches the reportedly very popular “Applied Macro and International Economics” course, which is often taken by up to 30% of Sloan students at a time. Rigobon handles as many as four sections (six hours) back to back, three days a week. He has won numerous teaching awards during his time at Sloan (including the school’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000, 2003 and 2005, and Teacher of the Year in 1999, 2002 and 2004) and is primarily recognized for his accessibility. As one second-year student blogged, “The door to his office was always open.”

For more information about MIT Sloan and 15 other top-ranked MBA schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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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B-School Chart of the Week: March 2014 Social Currency Ranki [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2014, 19:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: B-School Chart of the Week: March 2014 Social Currency Ranking
Rankings come in all shapes and sizes, but can any ranking truly capture social cachet? For a different perspective on the value of an MBA, we turn to the New York Times society pages, where the editors select and profile promising couples. Each month, we dedicate one B-School Chart of the Week to tallying how alumni from top-ranked business schools are advancing their social currency ranking.

Our year-to-date tally of MBA weddings saw a 135% increase from February to March, hitting a total of 40 mentions out of 188 weddings for 2014 (compared with 34 out of 163 mentions in 2013). With spring just around the corner, these figures will likely continue to spike in the coming weeks.

Of the 23 wedding announcements in March that included a mention of a business school student or graduate, Wharton claimed the most (seven), including that of first-year student Theodore Wiles and Elizabeth Gardner, a second-year medical student at Jefferson Medical College. Wharton was followed closely by Columbia Business School, which had six mentions for the month—including that of alumna Pamela Blechman to Harvard Business School (HBS) alumnus Alec Ellison. Only one other HBS marriage made it into March’s society pages—that of alumnus Kenneth Holmstrom to Chrystie Perry—bringing the school’s year-to-date total to three and putting it behind its 2013 figure.

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Beyond the MBA Classroom: The Tuck Scavenger Hunt [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2014, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: The Tuck Scavenger Hunt
When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment, but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

The Tuck scavenger hunt takes place at the beginning of the academic year—after the first years’ second week of school—and is organized by second-year students for the incoming class of students. However, we learned that very little “hunting” actually takes place; in fact, one second year described the event to mbaMission as “a light hazing” of first years. The students enjoy carnival games as well as tricycle rides, three-legged races, puzzles, building a human pyramid and bobbing for apples. Students form teams, and each team dresses in costume according to a theme of its choosing. A recent graduate described her team experience to mbaMission by saying, “One team wore colors of the rainbow. Another group dressed as characters from the movie Zoolander.” Individuals earn points for each activity in which they participate, and the winning team gets to plan the event for the next year’s incoming class. One second year told mbaMission the hunt is “a great way for students to get to meet each other. It allows for lots of contact,” and another proclaimed it “one of my best memories at Tuck.”

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at Dartmouth Tuck and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Diamonds in the Rough: Kelley School of Business’s Kelley Ac [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2014, 15:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: Kelley School of Business’s Kelley Academies
MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools which are typically ranked outside the top 15.

Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business believes strongly in experiential learning, with its Kelley Academies at the heart of this model. Each Kelley student can choose an academy—a practical and intensive specialization—to complement their educational experiences. Business Marketing, Consulting, Entrepreneurial Innovation, Supply Chain and Capital Markets are among the eight options. In these academies, students build personal and professional relationships with their Academy Directors, who have contacts in their industry, to facilitate greater career opportunities. Although each academy includes a slightly different “training plan,” most combine classroom curriculum with three Academy Intensive Weeks, during which students stop all other course work for a “full-immersion” experience. Most academies also meet on Fridays for guest speakers and industry discussions. According to Philip Powell, a Clinical Associate Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at Kelley, “The classes teach you the science of what you want to do; the academies will teach you the art.” That art—the hands-on experiences and real-world projects in a specialized field—ensures that the school’s MBAs graduate with the skills and experience necessary to be seen as experts worth hiring.
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Meet mbaMission’s Angela Guido in Istanbul! [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2014, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Meet mbaMission’s Angela Guido in Istanbul!
Are you interested in applying to business school? Could you use some help and advice from an admissions professional? Do you live in or near Istanbul, Turkey? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then we want to meet you!

mbaMission senior consultant Angela Guido will be in Istabul on Saturday, April 19, doing  free, in-person, one-on-one consultations! If you would like to meet with Angela to get a head start on your MBA applications and get your most pressing questions answered, please email [email=%20info@mbamission.com]info@mbamission.com[/email] to let us know what times you are available on the 19th, and we will get back to you with scheduling information shortly!
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Friday Factoid: Career Resources at HBS [#permalink]

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New post 11 Apr 2014, 15:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: Career Resources at HBS
With the job market mixed for new MBAs these days, Harvard Business School (HBS) has put together an arsenal of resources to help students in their job search. Students begin by completing an online self-assessment program before they even arrive on campus. The CareerLeader tool, developed by a member of the HBS faculty, helps incoming students identify their life interests, professional skills and “work/reward” values.  When they get to school, first-year students participate in a class that helps them interpret their CareerLeader results while discussing cases on the careers of HBS alumni. Later in the semester, but before official recruiting begins, students can attend Industry Weeks, which are on-campus programs and panels that provide overviews of a variety of industries and address how to plan a successful industry-specific job search. These are taught by career coaches, alumni, Career Services staff members and company representatives. First years can also join Career Teams, which are small groups of first-year students who use exercises—facilitated by trained second-year leaders—to help identify and advance their professional goals. Students may also arrange to meet with one of 35 career coaches for one-on-one guidance or take advantage of one of the many student clubs that help prepare their members for interviews. Clearly, HBS is committed to helping its students not just find jobs, but find the “right” jobs.

For more information on other defining characteristics of the MBA program at HBS or one of 15 other top business schools, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Avoiding Dangling and Misplaced Mo [#permalink]

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New post 14 Apr 2014, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Avoiding Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers
A dangling or misplaced modifier is a word or phrase that is intended to describe one thing, but because of its placement in a sentence, it actually describes something else. Misplaced modifiers are a common mistake in MBA application essays and can be very distracting to a reader, in addition to possibly misrepresenting what the writer had intended. Although misplaced modifiers can appear anywhere in a sentence, the most common, most obvious and (thankfully) easiest to correct are those that occur at the beginning of a sentence. Consider the following examples:

As the highest-rated professor at the school, West’s academic writings are primarily analyses of recent developments in tort law.

Even after studying all night, the test was still too difficult for John to pass.

In the first sample sentence, “the highest-rated professor at the school” is meant to describe West, but it instead refers to “West’s academic writings.” In the second example, we can assume that John was the one who studied all night, but because of the way the sentence is constructed, “the test” is supposedly what did the extensive studying.

To avoid these kinds of confusing constructions, make sure that the first thing that is mentioned after a descriptive introductory phrase is what that phrase is meant to describe. To correct our examples, we could reword them as follows:

As the highest-rated professor at the school, West produces academic writings that are primarily analyses of recent developments in tort law.

Even after studying all night, John was unable to pass the test.

However, misplaced modifiers can appear anywhere within a sentence, when a phrase is juxtaposed with a different part of the sentence than is intended. Consider the following:

As I became aware of what I wanted in life, I shared my dream of starting a charitable foundation with my parents.

With this wording, the writer is saying that he dreams of starting a foundation with his parents, yet we can safely assume that the writer instead meant that he shared his dream with his parents. To correct this sentence, you could move the misplaced phrase or even reword the sentence to clarify.

As I became aware of what I wanted in life, I shared with my parents my dream of starting a charitable foundation.

As I became aware of what I wanted in life, I told my parents about my dream of starting a charitable foundation.

Always make sure your descriptive phrases are in proper proximity to the elements of your sentence that you want them to modify.
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What I Learned at…Stanford Graduate School of Business, Part [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2014, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: What I Learned at…Stanford Graduate School of Business, Part 2
In our “What I Learned at…” series, MBAs discuss the tools and skills their business schools provided as they launched their careers.

Sandi Lin is the CEO and founder of Skilljar, which provides businesses with online course software. Before founding Skilljar, Sandi was a senior manager at Amazon.com in Seattle. She earned her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In Part 2 of this three-part series, Sandi discusses some ways in which the school’s notable “Touchy Feely” course prepared her for the real-world challenges associated with founding a start-up.

Most Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) alumni will tell you that the most impactful class they took at Stanford was “Interpersonal Dynamics,” also known as “Touchy Feely.” Five years out from graduation, I can certainly tell you that “Touchy Feely” is something I use every day. I can look up the details of Porter’s five forces analysis or of the generally accepted accounting principles when I need to, but the lessons of communication are universal.

There are already several great posts on the impact of “Touchy Feely,” including a Quora thread and a facilitator’s blog post. What happens inside a T-Group [training group] is confidential, but at a high level, the groups are intense learning labs for active listening, communication and influence. It is easy to read about these topics in the abstract, but it is another matter to deeply understand how I am perceived by others, how I communicate and what my biases are.

I use “Touchy Feely” lessons in multiple ways at work. Here are three tactical examples:

“I feel [feeling word].In “Touchy Feely,” I learned that I can only know my own feelings and my interpretation of other people’s actions (for more information, see the Johari window). But I cannot know other people’s feelings or their motivations for why they took those actions. So instead of assuming, “Joe Smith is so inconsiderate. He’s always interrupting me when I’m working,” I should talk to Joe directly and say, “I feel frustrated when you drop by to ask me questions. I want to give you my full attention, but I also lose track of what I am doing. Can we figure out a strategy that will work for both of us?” The key technique I remember to use is to say, “I feel [feeling word].” Try it—it is harder than it sounds.

“Tell me more.” I learned that the word “why” is inherently challenging and puts a burden (no matter how slight) on the other person to explain themselves. Using phrases such as “tell me more” are more inviting and produce the same result.

“What I’m hearing is…” One of my biggest weaknesses in terms of communication is cutting people off and immediately jumping to solutions. I learned firsthand in “Touchy Feely” that often the most valuable part of a conversation is first acknowledging that I do hear what the other person is saying.

Most of entrepreneurship comes down to communication. As a founder, I am constantly asking investors to believe in my company, asking customers to trust our product and asking potential hires to join the team for long hours and little pay. Understanding the potential impact of my words and actions, experienced firsthand through “Touchy Feely,” has made a profound difference in both my professional and personal interactions.
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Professor Profiles: Vijay Govindarajan, Tuck School of Busin [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2014, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Vijay Govindarajan, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they select a business school, but the educational experience itself is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Each Wednesday, we profile a standout professor as identified by students. Today, we profile Vijay Govindarajan from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

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Vijay Govindarajan (“Implementing Strategy: Management Control Systems,” “Managing Corporate Entrepreneurship” and “Global Strategy and Implementation”), affectionately known by students as simply “VG,” has been cited by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and The London Times as a top-ten strategy professor. His research focus includes global strategy, strategic innovation, strategy execution and strategic controls. VG has been a consultant to several well-known companies, including Walmart, FedEx and Microsoft, and in 2008, he served as chief innovation consultant to General Electric. One alumnus told mbaMission, “VG’s class is great, and the cases have been interesting. Most of the cases are about manufacturing companies; however, they are not boring at all. He’s a great speaker and great lecturer.”

A recent graduate described Govindarajan’s classroom style to mbaMission by saying, “VG maintains a balance between lecture and class participation. He never cold-calls because he believes that students will be prepared. He doesn’t want students to comment for the sake of commenting and wants people to say something meaningful, which might be different from the approach at other schools.” Another alumnus shared that VG often brings great speakers to class.

For more information about Dartmouth Tuck and 15 other top-ranked MBA schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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mbaMission’s Exclusive Interview with Dustin Cornwell, Direc [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2014, 17:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission’s Exclusive Interview with Dustin Cornwell, Director of Admissions at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business
We had the pleasure of chatting with Dustin Cornwell, who is the director of admissions at Southern Methodist University’s (SMU’s) Cox School of Business and who provided us with some interesting insights on various aspects of the MBA program it offers. In addition to addressing Cox’s identity as a business school, Dustin shared his thoughts on the following:

  • What drew him, as a veteran of the admissions world with more than a decade of experience, to want to be a part of SMU Cox
  • The unique nature of the school’s primary mentoring program
  • Cox’s new business analytics concentration and one-year master’s degree
  • The program’s compelling dual degree and specialty programs, including its MA in arts administration and exciting CFA Fast Track offering
  • What makes an applicant stand out in a positive way and what he sees as red flags
  • What alumni tell him was their “favorite and most memorable” part of the Cox experience
mbaMission: Thanks so much for joining me today, Dustin.

Dustin Cornwell: You’re welcome. I’m happy to be taking part in this.

mbaMission: We’ve been trying to for a couple years now to interview admissions directors to get beyond the surface-level questions and the things you can basically pick up on a school’s Web site. We want to get people learning more about different aspects of the experiences the programs have to offer.

DC:  That’s great. I think that is key for candidates, too, standing out with their story, because part of what the admissions committee does is looking beyond the stats and seeing what’s really there. Somebody with the same metrics as somebody else might get admitted and the other person might not, you know? And it’s because of other things in their background, their goals, their work experience, that kind of stuff.

mbaMission:  True. So when I think of the Cox MBA, I think of small class size, I think of Dallas—and I’ve heard from a variety of people that Dallas has a tremendous trajectory for the next couple decades. And I was surprised when I looked through the employment stats and saw that the percentage of graduates entering the financial industry is just slightly higher than the percentage entering the energy industry. So, do you feel that you’re an energy school, or a financial school, or basically, what you feel your professional identity should be?

DC:  Sure. Well, about half of our students are interested in some aspect of finance. That tends to be our largest area of concentration. And within finance, we have four tracks. So within a concentration, sometimes there are different tracks. Energy finance is one of those. So energy is kind of a subspecialty within our finance concentration, and we see some overlap there with students looking at working in the financial aspects of the energy industry. We see a lot of students who are going into other roles in energy as well, things like consulting opportunities, project management opportunities, things like that, particularly for our students who come from an engineering undergrad background. Primarily, though, when students are interested in the energy industry, it tends to be more on the financial side, the investing side—investing in the growth of that industry, because it is booming right now in the United States—or working with wealth management, working with corporate finance with one of the energy companies, something along those lines. So they are kind of intertwined within our program.

mbaMission: Sure. So how would you describe Cox’s identity as a school?

DC:  That’s a tough question. It’s interesting talking with alumni and talking with students. I think it means different things to different people. The thing that really attracted me to come work here at SMU Cox was the strength of the alumni. I’ve worked at three other MBA programs in the past, and I’ve been in the industry for over ten years, and I think every school’s going to have a core of dedicated alumni. That’s going to be true just about anywhere. You’re going to have people who really enjoyed their experience and want to give back. I think what’s really distinctive here is how large that group is, how many alumni want to stay involved. And you see that in so many ways.

For example, when we have events for admitted students on campus or for prospective students, we often invite alumni to come and mix and mingle and talk with students about their experience. And I always have more volunteers than I need when I send out an invite to alumni, and I haven’t had that experience in other places. So that’s something that kind of struck me right away when I first started here over two years ago. And also, alumni join us for a number of events we have on campus, whether it’s as guest speakers, on panels or to talk to our current students, even tailgating events for football games in the fall. Typically, that’s associated with undergraduate alumni at most schools. You really have that affiliation very strongly with your undergraduate school, and here we get a lot of MBA alumni who come to those events and hang out with current students and have that sense of identity as part of SMU Cox. I think that really strengthens it.

So to get back to your question, I think in the Dallas–Fort Worth area and across Texas, SMU really enjoys a very strong reputation. It’s well known in the area. It’s something everybody’s familiar with, and it has the identity of a high-quality program. Students are well qualified for their positions, regardless of whether it’s marketing or finance or any other area, and they give back, you know? They really have that affiliation and affinity for the school and want to stay involved. So all those types of things are what come to mind when you’re talking about the identity of Cox.

mbaMission: Right. I’m pretty impressed by the Associate Board Mentoring Program and how vast it is. I think the number was like 260 executives who volunteer to be mentors in that program. Can you tell me more about how it works? Would a student ever not participate for some reason?

DC: Well, students are not required to; it’s not a requirement, but it’s very rare for someone not to. I think there have been instances in the past where students have opted out for whatever reason, but it’s very rare. I mean, 90% or more of our MBA students do participate in that program. The way the program works—and I think this is one of the distinctive features of our program—you’re not just assigned a mentor. I think at a lot of programs, you say, “I’m going to be focusing on X industry” or “I want to work at such-and-such a company,” and they assign you a mentor, someone who works there or someone who works in that industry. And that’s as far as it goes, and you kind of have to build that relationship.

Here, we do something really great where we hold a couple of receptions during the students’ first semester in the program, and we invite all of our Associate Board Mentors to come. And we have all the full-time MBA students attend those events. And ahead of time, the students get brief biographies about all of our mentors—what their professional and academic backgrounds are, what they’ve done in their industry, that type of thing—so they can go through that and decide who they really want to meet. They can prioritize who they’d like to meet at these events. So at the event, they can spend their time actually talking one-on-one with the mentors. They can hopefully meet a dozen or more different mentors during the receptions. Then afterward, the students will make a list of their top five or six choices. So after having met them and read about their backgrounds, they can prioritize who they want as their mentor.

Now, we do a one-to-one matching process. So if ten students want the same mentor, nine people are going to be disappointed, unfortunately. They maybe won’t get their first choice, but the idea is that you’ve got a lot of people out there who can help you in your career, and hopefully you’ve met several people who you feel would be good matches for you. And we try to give every student one of their top few choices on their list, so that they are excited about working with that person. Then the mentor and the mentee are notified of the match, and it’s up to the student to make that first contact after they’ve been matched. We want the students leading their own professional development and their own networking strategies, so we have them contact their mentor and set up the initial visit. That might be going to lunch. It might be visiting them at their office, whatever it is, and it goes from there.

And many students stay in touch with their mentors throughout the program and beyond. I’ve talked with many alumni who have stayed in touch with their mentors well beyond their time here at Cox. And how often they meet and in what way they meet is really up to them, whatever works with their schedule and their style. So for some people, it’s a lot of phone and email contact. Other people meet on a pretty regular basis with their mentor in person, so it’s really up to them.

mbaMission: I was impressed also that a lot of mentors make themselves available even if they’re not actively mentoring someone. There’s a willingness to just do their part and be in it for anyone who needs or wants help.

DC: Absolutely. I mean, the associate board, that’s a more formalized mentoring program, and these are really high-level executives, people with 20, 30 years of experience who are very accomplished in their careers. There are other, more informal mentoring opportunities within the program, too. For example, we have second-year students who serve as mentors for our first-year student teams. So we’ll have a second-year student who will work with five of our students in their first year and help them navigate the elective course selection process, how to balance searching for a job and maintaining your activities, doing well in class, things like that. So someone who’s just gone through it helping them through that.

We also have other more informal mentor relationships with more recent graduates. So people who are maybe one to five years out of the program can address that transition period from school to the work force and how to make that transition. What are the steps to take? How do you get yourself noticed within your company if you want to be on the ladder to rise to higher-level positions? That sort of thing. So all those different points from being a student to being a recent alum to being a more experienced alumnus, those are all important targets for our students to have contacts with.

mbaMission: Are there any aspects of the program that possibly are not as well known right now that you want to highlight?

DC: Yeah, one of the newer programs that we’re really excited about is our business analytics concentration. Business analytics has had a lot of media coverage the past few years—big data, that type of thing—and we offer quite a bit of course work in that now for our students. That can be done as an MBA concentration, which many of our students are doing, and it’s a great complement either to marketing or to finance. Really being able to work with data and do data analysis, that’s very helpful in marketing research. It’s also very helpful, of course, in analyzing financial data. So we’re seeing more and more students being very interested in that, and we’re actually seeing some candidates specifically looking at Cox because we offer that.

This fall we will be launching a standalone, one-year master’s degree called a master of science [MS] in business analytics. So for candidates who don’t necessarily want the full package of the MBA but want to focus more narrowly on business analytics, they can do that in a one-year program, and that’s a good option for recent college graduates. In our full-time MBA program, typically students have at least three years of full-time work experience before they enroll, whereas the MS in business analytics would be open to anyone who has a college degree. So it can be a one-year master’s degree for recent graduates who want to get more data analysis experience.

mbaMission: Great. Well that’s a natural segue to the fact that Cox seems to have a variety of complements, as I would say, for a school its size, like the JD/MBA, the MBA/MA in arts, the MBA/CFA program. Are these programs particularly popular? How many students enroll in these programs?

DC: The CFA track, that’s brand new this year. That’s not really a dual degree in terms of education, but we did that because we have such an interest in finance. We know many of our students are pursuing that, so we wanted to give them a way to do that in a more structured manner and really help them be successful. So at the end of the first what we call module—we divide semesters into two parts, so module A and module B—so at the end of the first module of their first year, students who’ve done well in their introductory courses in accounting, finance and statistics and who want to pursue a finance concentration are eligible to take part in the CFA Fast Track, is what we call it.

What that allows them to do is take more of their finance courses earlier in the program. They’re able to defer some of their other core courses to the second year, ones they would normally be taking in the first-year core, so they can move forward more quickly in the finance track. And that will help prepare them better for summer internships and to sit for the CFA exam. We also provide review courses and things like that specifically for that exam, so that students can take either Level 1, 2 or 3. Most students would be doing Level 1 after the first year and Level 2 after the second year of the program, but some students come in already having passed one or more levels of that. This year, I believe, we have about 15 students who are in that pilot program. This is the first year we’re doing it, so we don’t know yet what the outcomes will be, of course, but students are pretty excited about it, and it’s a good option for them. We’re hoping to grow that slightly, maybe 20 to 25 students next year. It’ll be interesting to see how that goes.

The MA in arts administration and MBA is a dual degree, two-year program where students can get an MBA from the Cox School and a master of arts administration from the Meadows School of Arts on SMU’s campus. We have about ten students per class in that program, so in the first year, those students take all the same core courses that our MBA students do, and in addition to that, they take one arts management course each term the first year. Then, in the second year of the program, those students spend a semester over in Italy. They have a study abroad semester in the fall, and they’re really hands-on with arts administration and fine arts work there in Italy. Then when they return to campus for the spring semester, they take some additional business courses to complete the MBA portion of their degree, along with doing their internships in arts management.

A lot of people don’t realize Dallas has an amazing arts community. It’s been growing by leaps and bounds, and we have an arts district downtown that is phenomenal. We have the opera. We have all kinds of theatres. We have all kinds of music organizations. So a lot of our students do intern here in Dallas, but we also have students who work in many other places. One of our students was interviewing for a summer internship with the Seattle Opera just the other day. So, we do place students around the country in terms of internships and full-time positions out of that degree as well. We’ve had that program for a number of years.

mbaMission: Is Cox targeting any particular type or group of students?

DC: Like most MBA programs, we’re really conscious of wanting to reach out to women. I think women by and large are underrepresented in MBA programs. We’re a member of the Forte Foundation, which is a great consortium of business schools and top corporations here in the United States, and other organizations that are committed to success for women in business. So that’s something we’ve really increased our participation with. They hold a number of MBA fairs in the fall for prospective MBA students, so we attend those and follow up with candidates from that, and we also have been very proactive at getting our admitted students and current students to attend their annual conferences. They hold a great annual conference every summer, and incoming students are able to attend that in June before they even start the program. Of course, our returning students can attend that conference as well.

At those conferences, many of the employers are there. They have a career fair portion, so students can get an early jump on looking for an internship or a full-time job by networking with the companies that are there. We’ve seen students who’ve gotten internship interviews out of the contacts they have made at the conference. And it’s just a great way to network with women in other MBA programs and talk about the issues women are facing in the business world, how they are dealing with those—and to hear from a lot of prominent women who are in leadership roles, when they have panels and discussion groups. I think it’s just something good, especially for our incoming students, to be able to discuss and think about prior to starting their experience here at Cox.

mbaMission: Is there a particular peer school that you feel like you guys are competing with for candidates?

DC: I think our biggest overlaps are Rice [the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University] and UT Austin [the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Austin], certainly our largest overlaps in terms of our applicant pools. I think Rice is a very similar school to us in many respects, with strengths in energy, a very similar class size, it’s a private university—there’s all kinds of similarities—located here in Texas, obviously.

UT Austin’s enrollment is more than twice the size of Rice’s or SMU’s. So they are certainly a competitor for us, but it’s a different experience. It’s a larger public school, larger class size, that type of thing. So I think candidates look at it slightly differently. Certainly they consider both the programs, but in terms of what they’re looking for, in terms of fit, that may affect how they view the different schools. I think some of the other schools that we see quite a bit of overlap with in terms of applications are Vanderbilt, Emory, Indiana, Washington University and then here in Texas, we do see some overlap with Texas A&M, and then locally also TCU [Texas Christian University] and Baylor. We see candidates who look at those schools as well.

mbaMission: How important are rankings internally? Do you have a target or a mandate to achieve a certain ranking?

DC: No, and I think a mandate to achieve a certain ranking, that would be very difficult for any school to accomplish, because there are so many factors that go into that. As admissions officers, we have some level of control over the admission rate. Obviously, the selectivity of the average GMAT and GPA of our students, certainly we can control that, but rankings encompass so many different things in terms of job placement rates, alumni rates, peer ratings, that type of thing. What I always tell students about rankings is that they’re a good starting point. I never tell candidates, “Don’t look at rankings.” You need to look at them as a starting point and look at what is in the ranking. How is that ranking computed? What factors are they considering, and of those factors, what is important to you as a student? What is it you’re looking to accomplish in your MBA, and what school might be the best fit for you?

If you look at any of the schools in the top ten, for example, or even the top 30, you’re going to get a great education at just about any of them. In terms of the faculty there, in terms of the resources the schools can provide, you’re very likely to get a good education and learn a lot at any of those programs. What you have to kind of drill down and look at, though, is what experience do you want? Some people thrive in a large environment. They want to meet a lot of people. They want to have hundreds of companies recruiting on campus. They really want that type of an experience, and there are a number of schools that have anywhere from 300 to upward of 800 students per class. That might be a great fit for that type of student.

We hear a lot of our candidates say, “I want that personal attention. I want to have a small class size. I want to know my classmates. I want to know my professors personally, and I want to make sure that I’m not lost in the crowd.” And so a program our size fits that person well. They’re able to know their classmates very well and to really have an impact on campus, maybe be a club leader, maybe get involved in student government and leave their mark on the school. So I think you can use rankings as a starting point, but you really have to look a lot more closely at other factors when you’re making a decision.

mbaMission:  I agree completely. So you’ve kind of touched on this a bit, but in terms of “fit,” what kind of student do you think is a good match for Cox and who might not be such a good match?

DC: Sure. What we like to see is applicants who are focused on why they’re pursuing an MBA. They have a career goal in mind, and they’ve done their research enough about our program to know that we’re able to help them in achieving that goal. Many candidates don’t know exactly what they want to do. They know they need to get an MBA to gain more experience, perhaps, or if they’re switching careers from marketing into finance or vice versa, for example, that’s a good reason to get an MBA. And I always encourage candidates, when I’m talking to them on the road and at recruiting events, to take that next step further. Okay, now you’ve identified why you need an MBA, what do you want to do with that? How are you going to make that transition? If you are making a rather dramatic career switch from one industry to another, think about the skill set that you have, be ready to talk to recruiters about how you can transfer what you’ve done to that new position.

I think many students, because they are early in their careers, haven’t had to do that before. And many students may have only had one or two full-time jobs by the time they apply for an MBA. So that’s something that maybe isn’t obvious to them, right? And so we want to really encourage students to think about that. An MBA goes by so quickly. I have talked to so many students who say, “You know, I’ve got two years to think about what I want in an MBA, so I’m going to take some time to take different courses and figure out what I want to do.” And I have to kind of stop them and say, “Listen, your internship interviews start in September or October of your first semester. So if you don’t know what you’re looking for in terms of a job, you’re going to miss out on a lot of the early companies that are coming to campus, because if you say something like that in an interview, they’re going to pass on you.” Corporate interviewers want to hear, “This is what I want to do. This is why I want to work at your company, and this is how I would be an asset to your organization.”

If students are not able to do that, they’re probably not going to get job offers at top employers. I think that is a surprise to a lot of students. They don’t realize how early that starts and how it’s so important to be thinking about that before they ever set foot on campus for their MBA. So to me, the applicants who can really articulate that well in the interview and in their essays—and can back it up by explaining how they’re going to be able to do that—I think that makes them a very good fit for our program. The other thing that we really look for is communication skills. We require interviews for all the students that we admit to our program, and our staff do all the interviews. We don’t have alumni or current students conducting admissions interviews. It’s always done by the admissions staff, either in person or by Skype.

So you’re getting to talk to somebody who’s on the admissions committee when you apply to our program, and you get a chance to tell your story. It complements what you put in your essays. You get a chance to spend 30 to 45 minutes with us really telling your story and explaining why you want to come to our program. So that’s something we want to see, students who are confident, who can tell good stories about their experience, who can explain to us what their vision is for their future and who really understand why SMU Cox might be a good fit for them. Show that they’ve done the research about programs, that they know what they’re getting into and why they want to be here.

mbaMission: You stated that you like to see candidates who can articulate their goals very clearly. Does that mean, then, that applicants who are not so sure might not benefit from being forthright about that? If a candidate expresses a desire to use the MBA experience to explore where he or she might ultimately want to go, would that be a red flag for you?

DC: There are different levels of that. I think for somebody to come in saying point blank, “I don’t know what I want to do,” that would be a red flag—somebody who really can’t articulate any sort of goal or industry or direction. But somebody who says, “I am really strong in quantitative skills. I really enjoy finance, but I don’t know what company I want to work for or even specifically what aspect of finance I want to go into. That’s something I want to explore through electives early on in the program,” that would be okay. That at least gives you a starting point, so when they meet with their career coach, they’re able to say, “Okay, here’s what I do and don’t like to do. Here are my skills. Here’s my experience. Help me understand what my options are.”

Some students may not have thought of consulting careers, for example. They might know they like finance but not really know what the difference is between private equity and wealth management and corporate finance and energy finance. There are all these different areas, and students may not have had exposure to all of them yet, so the MBA program certainly can open their eyes to opportunities. But I think you have to come in with some direction. You have to have some idea of where it is you want to go, because we can’t start from square one. You need to have at least walked down that path a little and meet us halfway so we can help you get where you’re going.

mbaMission: There’s no penalty for being honest as long as you’re thoughtful, I guess.

DC: Exactly. And we don’t expect you to know exactly where you’re going to be ten years from now, but we want you to have an idea and be able to talk intelligently about that, to have done some research, to be aware of the companies in the industry that you might be looking at, to be able to maybe name four or five and say, “Here are some companies I’ve thought about pursuing, and here’s why. I’d like to know more about which way might make the most sense for me.”

mbaMission: Are there any other significant red flags for you?

DC: Well, I think like many MBA programs, we look pretty closely at people’s quantitative backgrounds, and we do accept students with any type of undergraduate degree. So that could be engineering. It could be business. It could be liberal arts. It could be fine arts. It could be social sciences. We get students with such a broad range of backgrounds, and I think that’s great. That makes the classroom a lot more interesting. For students who have not had a lot of quantitative preparation in their undergraduate degree, we really need to be confident that they’re able to handle the quantitative rigor of our program. The first semester, students take finance. They take accounting, they take statistics. We’re throwing a lot of quant at them pretty early on in the program. So for students who maybe haven’t had that level, we really want them to be able to demonstrate their ability with quantitative skills on the GMAT.

We’ll look at your GMAT score, and if you haven’t done anything like that in your undergrad, you might want to take a finance course or an accounting course or a business calculus course at a community college or online prior to applying and show us your grade in that. Show us that you have the ability to do that, because that will get your mind working. It will also show the admissions committee that you’re serious about the program and that you have the ability to succeed. We make all our incoming students take a course called “MBA Math.” That’s a self-paced online course created by a professor from Dartmouth University, and students teach themselves the different aspects of finance, accounting, statistics, and they take quizzes to show their progress and their mastery of those concepts prior to coming into the program. So over the summer, everybody does that.

If you’re somebody who has a business degree and has been working in finance, you’re going to go through that very quickly. You’d be able to pass those quizzes very quickly, just spending a couple of hours doing that over the course of the summer. If you’re somebody who has not had an introduction to any of those courses, you might be spending 30 to 40 hours of your time over the summer learning those concepts and showing that you can do that. Either way, we want everybody to be coming in knowing the basics. You come into the class on day one, you know the terminology. You may not know all the details, but you at least know what a T account is, what debits and credits are, what a Z score is, because the professor’s going to expect you to have that basic level of knowledge coming into the classroom.

mbaMission: Is there anything else that you think people should know about the school or about the program?

DC: Well, one of the things I always like to highlight about our program, and I think it’s such a phenomenal aspect of the program, is our Global Leadership Program. It is a required experience for all of our full-time MBA students, and it is included in our tuition, so students don’t pay separately for it. Students go on a ten-day trip abroad at the end of their first year as kind of a capstone, if you will, over the first year. We’ve run four trips every year, and about 30 students go on each of the four trips. Over the past few years, we’ve typically run two trips to Asia, one to Latin America and one to Europe. On each trip, you’ll go to two different cities, and you’ll be doing corporate visits. You’ll be having alumni receptions. You’ll be really learning about business, meeting with government officials in many cases. How is business done in that country? How is it different from the United States? Who are their main trading partners? What are the major issues facing that region or that country?

We have some students who have traveled extensively before they’ve come into our program, so for them, they like traveling, they enjoy it, they’re really excited about it, but then we always have some students every year who have never set foot outside the United States, and this is truly their first experience leaving the United States and getting some international exposure, and that’s so valuable. We have a mix of those types of students on every trip, and they help each other out, and they travel together. It’s been phenomenal. This, I believe, is the 15th year that we have run this program, and everybody takes part. When I talk with alumni, almost to a person, they cite that as their favorite and most memorable aspect of the program. That’s something we’re really proud of, and I think that just emphasizes that we believe being familiar with global issues and international business issues is key. I don’t think you can get an MBA today without some significant exposure to that.

Every business pretty much is an international business at this point, so we want our students to have had that experience as part of their program. Students can also do a semester abroad if they want to. We offer that option as well, but everybody has to take part in the Global Leadership Program.

mbaMission: Thank you so much. This has been great, and I think applicants will learn a ton about the program and the school.

DC:  Excellent. I appreciate you taking the time.
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MBA News: Darden’s Dean Bruner to Step Down after 10 Years [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2014, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: Darden’s Dean Bruner to Step Down after 10 Years
After two celebrated terms leading the University of Virginia’s Darden School, Dean Bob Bruner has officially announced this week that he will be stepping down at the end of July, 2015, with plans to return to the school’s faculty following a one-year leave of absence. Over the course of his decade of service as dean and previous 23 years of teaching, Bruner has served as executive director of the school’s Batten Institute, led two curriculum overhauls, hired world-renowned faculty, elevated the school’s academic profile, and raised $150 million to fund several new research initiatives.

As a press release from the school explains, a committee has been appointed to find a successor to Bruner. “We will conduct a thorough search and offer opportunities for all of Darden’s constituencies to engage in the process,” commented the school’s executive vice president/provost. Bruner made his intentions to step down widely known prior to the school’s official announcement, attributing his decision to his academic passion. “I love to teach and write, for which I entered academic life,” Bruner wrote on his blog, adding, “Being Dean is quite exciting but crowds out the deep reflection required to teach, research, and write very well.”
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