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The mbaMission Blog

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Texas McCombs Essay Analysis, 2016–2017  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2016, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Texas McCombs Essay Analysis, 2016–2017
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Each year, the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin tweaks the wording of its application essay questions just a bit, though the core of what the program hopes to learn from its applicants seems to stay largely the same. For its first essay, McCombs has continued to narrow the scope of the implied intended audience, shifting from one’s entire class (in 2013 and 2014) to one’s cohort of approximately 65 students (in 2015) to one’s study group of four to six classmates. For its second essay, the school has also simplified the query but thankfully retained the essay’s 500-word length. If needed, applicants also have an opportunity to submit an additional essay to share key information not included elsewhere or to explain any sticky issues in their profile. Altogether, candidates should be able to create a multidimensional impression of themselves for the McCombs admissions committee, and with our analysis, we hope to make doing so just a little easier.

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

Write an essay (250 words) OR  Share a video introduction (one minute)

One of the things that stands out immediately to us when we read this prompt is that McCombs no longer offers the option of submitting an about.me profile as a response, as it has done for at least the past three application seasons. We could find no explanation from the school as to why, though we suspect that the about.me submissions—while no doubt interesting and dynamic in many cases—were not providing the admissions committee with the same level or kind of information it was getting from the other two options, which likely offer more opportunity to cover multiple aspects of a person’s profile within the MBA context. At first glance, the prompt seems to be a simple invitation to “introduce yourself,” but a closer inspection reveals some leading phrases not included in previous years’ questions and that you should definitely consider as you brainstorm for and plan your response:  “collaborative environment,” “distinct individual contributions,” and “classmates from various backgrounds.” To us, these variations indicate the admissions committee’s interest in learning what is distinct or special about you that you believe will enable you to assist your fellow students and enhance the McCombs MBA experience for all. So, you need to convey not only your personality and motivations in just 250 words, but also the value you can bring. But do not be intimidated! You can absolutely accomplish this.

First, determine the format that is more compatible with your personality. If you are the quiet, thoughtful type, an essay may be the better choice; if you are typically the life of the party or a better speaker than writer, you should probably select the video option. Next, start identifying the kind of information you might share by thinking about what you would like to know about your future study group members and would find interesting, helpful, or intriguing. For example, would you consider a classmate’s age or undergraduate institution particularly important or compelling? Probably not, so you should skip mentioning such facts in your own introduction. More likely, you are curious about what your future fellow students do in their spare time, what skills they bring to the table, whether they are approachable/funny/hyperorganized/a risk taker/etc., whether they have extensive experience in a certain area or a more wide-ranging background, and so on.

So think about the aspects of your personality and profile that you believe truly define you as an individual—not just what you do and have done, but who you are—and fully explore your background, hobbies, talents, experiences, values, goals, and quirks. Brainstorm an extensive list and then eliminate any items that seem too common (e.g., a BA in finance) or basic (e.g., your hometown) until you have a collection of truly distinctive qualities you can weave into your response. Your goal is to provide a well-rounded picture of yourself that draws from multiple areas and shows that you possess characteristics and/or knowledge that would make you a positive addition to McCombs’ diverse community.

Remember to bring energy and enthusiasm to your submission. You are not filling out a job application—you are trying to connect with others, so charisma is key, and a less rigid and traditionally “professional” demeanor is okay. Truly imagine yourself in the situation described. If you were meeting a small group of peers, how would you start that conversation? Forego any fancy essay-writing or dramatic tactics (e.g., starting with a quotation, launching into an anecdote) and just be as natural and authentic as possible. Do not pitch your candidacy, detail your career goals, or express your admiration for the program. As they say, you only have one chance to make a first impression, so dedicate the time and work necessary to ensure that your introduction is engaging, substantive, and true to who you are.

If you choose to submit a video, think beyond what you will say and also consider the clothing you will wear, the setting or background of your video, your tone of voice, your language style, whether you will include music, and other similar details. Brainstorm ways of nonverbally communicating some of your strongest attributes and key aspects of your life to help permeate your submission with as much information as possible. For example, if you are an avid biker, consider filming your video while you are actively riding. If you are a dedicated musician, perhaps incorporate your instrument into your message by playing it while you speak (if you are especially confident, you might even sing about yourself!). Think about what makes you who you are today, decide what you most want to share with your future classmates, and then let your creativity flow.

On a practical note, be sure to speak clearly in your video. You naturally do not want any part of your message to be lost or misunderstood, and the admissions committee may view your communication skills and style as indicators of how you might interact with your classmates and/or speak in the classroom. Spend some time practicing in front of a mirror or a friend, but do not overrehearse. And definitely do not try to read from an off-camera script or notes (trust us—they will be able to tell!). You want to come across as genuine and natural.

Essay 2: Based on your post-MBA goals and what drives you in your personal and professional life, why is the Texas MBA the ideal program for you and how do you plan to engage in our community? (500 words) [in 2013–2014: In the Texas MBA program we value our tight-knit and highly collaborative culture. Outside of your professional goals, please discuss why you are a good fit with the Texas MBA program and how you intend to impact the Texas MBA community? (250 words)] [2014–2015: In the Texas MBA program, we promote a diverse and collaborative community by providing opportunities for growth in an academically rigorous environment.  Please discuss why McCombs is the right program for you, what you hope to gain from your time in the Texas MBA Program both personally and professionally, and how you will contribute to your classmates’ experiences. (500 words)] [2015–2016: The McCombs School of Business is where leadership is earned.  We have an inclusive environment where our dynamic and driven students take an active role in the Texas MBA community.  Please discuss why the Texas MBA is the ideal program for you, what you hope to achieve, and how you will contribute to your classmates’ experience. (500 words)]

McCombs has actually streamlined this essay question a bit from the versions seen in recent years, which is a good thing, in that this might give candidates a little more room in which to present their messages. Still, this prompt includes some implied questions that you will need to address in addition to the overt queries of “why McCombs?” and “how will you engage with our community?,” namely, “what are your post-MBA goals?” and “what drives you in your personal and professional life?”

The school is seeking to understand on several levels why you have selected the McCombs programs in particular. Why is it the most appropriate school for your goals, and why/how does it fit you personally? The assumption is that something you have learned about McCombs makes you feel that the school could provide the experience, knowledge, skills, exposure, and/or other element you feel you need for your long-term aspirations and chosen career. Likewise, something you have discovered leads you to believe that you would fit into the McCombs environment and be comfortable there, that you would be able to be and express the “real” you. So what are those things? All the top MBA programs want to know that the candidates they admit have not applied to them simply because of reputation or ranking; they want to be confident that the applicant is truly excited to be a part of their community and to benefit from their specific learning experience. McCombs is not just looking for warm bodies to fill seats in its classrooms; it is striving to add to a long history of effective global business leaders and a network of alumni dedicated to the school and each other. Demonstrating your authentic interest in the program by offering concrete examples and drawing clear connections between what it offers, what you need, and who you are is key to crafting a compelling essay response here.

If you have targeted McCombs because you feel it is the right program for you, you likely already have an idea of why that is true and how you would function as part of its community. If you do not yet have a handle on these points, you definitely need to start researching the school thoroughly, including interacting directly with students and/or alumni. Identify at least one (ideally more) resource, offering, or quality that McCombs offers that is unique or that it excels in that directly relates to what you need to attain your goals. And you cannot simply offer a list—you must explain how the identified element(s) will fulfill particular needs for you.

At the same time, you must show how you will give back, based on your experience, knowledge, and passion (either professional or personal). Recognize that the school asks why it is “the ideal program for you” rather than the other way around, so your approach should put the focus on the school first and yourself second. By this we mean that rather than saying  “With almost 18 years of experience both on and behind the stage for school and community drama productions, I could bring a real depth of experience to McCombs’s Drama Club that would enhance the group’s offerings,” you should frame the sentiment more like “The Drama Club is appealing to me because I have been working both on and behind the stage since I was 7 years old.”

In some ways, the content for this essay could overlap the content for Essay 1—especially given that the school uses the exact same phrasing of  “what drives you in your personal and professional life” in both prompts—so take care to not cannibalize your message there and repeat any information. We suggest making a plan for Essay 1 and Essay 2 before you move ahead with either one to make sure you have your messages clear for both and that they complement each other effectively.

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

We tend to believe that the best use of the optional essay is to explain confusing or problematic issues in your candidacy, and this prompt offers an opportunity to do just that. However, because McCombs does not stipulate that you can only discuss a problem area in this essay, you have some leeway to share anything you think may be pivotal or particularly compelling. So, if you need to, this is your chance to address any questions an admissions officer might have about your profile—a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT or GRE score, a gap in your work experience, etc. In our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, we offer detailed advice on how best to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your application.

Because the question can be interpreted rather broadly, however, the door is technically open for you to discuss anything that is not addressed elsewhere in your application and that you feel is truly critical for the admissions committee to know to be able to evaluate you fully and effectively. We caution you against trying to fill this space simply because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you. Remember, by submitting an additional essay, you are asking the admissions committee to do extra work on your behalf, so you need to make sure that time is warranted. If you are using the essay to emphasize something that if omitted would render your application incomplete, take this opportunity to write a very brief narrative that reveals this key new aspect of your candidacy.

The post Texas McCombs Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Mission Admission: Waitlist Strategies, Part 2  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2016, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: Waitlist Strategies, Part 2
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

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Last week, we focused on how waitlisted MBA candidates should respond when their target school asks them to not send any follow-up information. This week, we examine waitlist situations in which the school encourages applicants to provide updates on their progress. In the first scenario, the frustration candidates experience derives from a sense of helplessness, but in the second, candidates tend to lament the lack of time in which to have accomplished anything significant, often thinking, “What can I offer the MBA admissions committee as an update? I submitted my application only three months ago!”

First and foremost, if you have worked to target any weaknesses in your candidacy—for example, by retaking the GMAT and increasing your score, or by taking a supplemental math class and earning an A grade—the admissions committee will certainly want to hear about this. Further, if you have any concrete news regarding promotions or the assumption of additional responsibilities in the community sphere, be sure to update the admissions committee on this news as well.

Even if you do not have these sorts of quantifiable accomplishments to report, you should still have some news to share. If you have undertaken any additional networking or have completed a class visit since you submitted your application, you can discuss your continued (or increased) interest; when you are on a waitlist, the admissions committee wants to know that you are passionately committed to the school. If you have not been promoted, you could creatively reflect on a new project that you have started and identify the professional skills/exposure that this project is providing or has provided (for example, managing people off-site for the first time or executing with greater independence). Finally, the personal realm is not off-limits, so feel free to discuss any personal accomplishments—for example, anything from advancing in the study of a language, to visiting a new country, to completing a marathon.

With some thought and creativity, you should be able to draft a concise but powerful letter that conveys your continued professional and personal growth while expressing your sincere and growing interest in the school—all of which will fulfill your goal of increasing your chances of gaining admission.

The post Mission Admission: Waitlist Strategies, Part 2 appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Professor Profiles: Youngme Moon, Harvard Business School  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2016, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Youngme Moon, Harvard Business School
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have 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 focus on Youngme Moon from Harvard Business School (HBS).

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In addition to receiving the HBS Student Association Faculty Award from the first-year class in 2002 and the Faculty Award from the second-year class in 2005 and 2007, Youngme Moon was also the inaugural recipient of the Hellman Faculty Fellowship in 2002–2003 for distinction in research. Moon is currently the Donald K. David Professor of Business Administration and the senior associate dean for strategy and innovation at the school. Her work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the Journal of Experimental Psychology, and the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

Moon’s 2010 book, Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd (Crown Business), is described on the publisher’s Web site as showing “how to succeed in a world where conformity reigns…but exceptions rule.” Students described her to mbaMission as being extremely friendly and accessible, even going out for casual dinners with students.

For more information about HBS and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

The post Professor Profiles: Youngme Moon, Harvard Business School appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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MBA Career News: Introducing Yourself with Purpose and Passion  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2016, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Career News: Introducing Yourself with Purpose and Passion
In this new blog series, our mbaMissionCareer Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

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Whether in a casual conversation or at a formal networking event, the way you talk about your professional experiences and interests creates an impression—make sure it is the right one.

Your introduction will help your audience understand what makes you stand out and what makes your story compelling. The content and length of your introduction should be customized to each specific situation:

  • Content: Focus your message on your target audience and your goals for the interaction. Show how your interests/skills match with their needs. Explain your work in terms that will be understandable to your target audience. Highlight common experiences and/or passions.
  • Length: If it is a group conversation, you should limit your introduction to a headline (one to two sentences about your background). If it is a one-on-one conversation, your pitch could be 60 seconds.

When looking to draft your introduction, consider the following steps:

  • Write down the five to seven key requirements for your target role/company (use job descriptions and notes from networking conversations to help you identify them). Rate your proficiency on each requirement.
  • Circle the key requirements for your target role where you have experience and a high proficiency; these are your relevant skills.
  • List two to three experiences/accomplishments that demonstrate each of your relevant skills.
  • Think about how to put those skills into a compelling headline/statement about your value proposition and interests.
  • Draft multiple versions of your introduction—different lengths and different content for different audiences. Make sure that it sounds natural and conversational.
  • Practice (out loud) and edit.
Here are some example introductions:

  • Person A: “In the past three years of my career, I have been most focused on helping people communicate more effectively in a professional context.”
  • Person B: “I’ve been an engineer since college, and I have really loved breaking down different business problems and using technology to solve them.”
  • Person C: “During my consulting years, I realized that the experiences I most valued were those that allowed me to help build something new. So I joined STARTCO, where I helped launch new products for a year before starting business school.”
Then you can vividly explain more with an example:

  • Person A: “For example, I lead workshops for students in business school and teach them how to tell their personal stories in a way that inspires both them and their potential employers. I use ideas from Hollywood movies to help people uncover their natural storytelling abilities.”
  • Person B: “In fact, on my last project, I examined a resuscitation device designed specifically for premature babies and discovered a way to make it more flexible and consistent, leading to 20% better outcomes.”
  • Person C: “The coolest product I helped launch is called a ‘widget.’ In a span of only six months, we got the thing designed, manufactured, and distributed to a small market in southern California. It’s already profitable, so the company is planning to scale up production for a national launch in the next year.”
Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via afree 30-minute consultation!

The post MBA Career News: Introducing Yourself with Purpose and Passion appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Show Off Your Talent at the NYU Stern Follie  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2016, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Show Off Your Talent at the NYU Stern Follies
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.

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With skits such as “Sterndog Millionaire” and songs such as “We Didn’t Start the Crisis” (set to the tune of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”), the annual NYU Stern Follies talent show entertains students and faculty alike. Anyone at Stern can put together a team and apply to participate in the show. The Follies’ creative committee, which is made up of students, decides which skits and performers will ultimately be part of the show. “Follies is a huge deal,” remarked a first year with whom we spoke. “It was a lot of fun. It’s just nice to see your classmates kind of poke fun at being business school students.”

The 2016 Follies, themed “Sternflix & Chill,” featured skits based on TV shows, including Game of Thrones (“Game of Loans”) and Arrested Development (“Arrested Career Development”), in addition to such skits as “Between Two Sterns” (a take on the Funny Or Die Web site series Between Two Ferns) and “Mean Girls,” which parodied the popular 2004 comedy film.

Modeled after the classic TV show Saturday Night Live, the 2015 Follies was themed “Sternie Night Live” and featured skits inspired by Taylor Swift, the Serial podcast series, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (“The Fresh Prince of Washington Square”).

In 2014, the Follies’ Academy Awards–inspired theme was “The Torchy Awards,” and students were invited to vote on the best performances. Parodies of House of Cards, the game Candy Crush, and the band Daft Punk were among the show’s highlights.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at NYU Stern and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides. If you are applying to Stern, our NYU Stern Interview Primer can help you put your best foot forward.

The post Beyond the MBA Classroom: Show Off Your Talent at the NYU Stern Follies appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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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Diamonds in the Rough: Core Values at Boston College’s Carroll School   [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2016, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: Core Values at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management
MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

[img]https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Boston-College’s-Carroll-School-300x225.jpg[/img]

First years at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management begin their MBA experience within two cohorts, enjoying a close-knit classroom environment in which they gain exposure to broad management skills, with a particular emphasis on business ethics. Both the curriculum and the student community at the school engender a set of core values: “honesty and integrity,” “mutual respect,” “pursuit of excellence,” and “personal accountability.” In addition to taking a class on public speaking and a structure, analysis, and integration workshop, students at the Carroll School must complete at least 20 hours of community service, which the school requires to help instill an appreciation for and a spirit of community service in its MBAs.

These values are also reflected in the school’s core “Management Practice Experience” simulation, in which students learn to think critically about the challenges involved in business leadership. As one graduate commented in a past Bloomberg Businessweek profile of the Carroll School, “In the background of your core classes, and many electives, is a strong consideration on the moral and ethical dilemmas that often arise in the business world. I never felt that ‘morality’ was being pushed on us, but the consequences of each decision we make were always placed in front of us and we were left to make up our own mind.”

The post Diamonds in the Rough: Core Values at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Friday Factoid: Campus Development at MIT Sloan  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2016, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: Campus Development at MIT Sloan
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In 2006, MIT’s president at the time, Susan Hockfield, announced a major campus development program that would invest approximately three-quarters of a billion dollars in new and renovated facilities on the school’s 154-acre Cambridge campus, and which included the Sloan School Expansion. This expansion added a new classroom building, E62 (address: 100 Main St.), with approximately 210,000 square feet of space that houses 205 offices, 6 classrooms, more than 30 group study rooms, a dining area, an Executive Education suite, lounge areas, and new, usable outdoor spaces. It was completed in time for the start of classes in fall 2010 and dedicated in May 2011, to coincide with MIT’s 150th anniversary.

The classroom building is described on the MIT Web site as “the ‘greenest’ building at MIT.” A student from the Class of 2012, the first class to enter Sloan after the new building opened, described E62 to us at mbaMission as “the social hub at Sloan. It’s where students meet to socialize, eat—the cafeteria provides some of the best food in the neighborhood—and work on class projects. It’s probably one of the more significant things Sloan has done recently, as it provides the ideal networking space not only for students but also for the many professionals who come to check out the new building and recruit MBAs. The new building really adds to the Sloan experience, and I can’t imagine life before it!”

For a thorough exploration of what MIT Sloan and other top business schools have to offer, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

The post Friday Factoid: Campus Development at MIT Sloan appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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UNC Kenan Flagler Essay Analysis, 2016–2017  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2016, 14:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: UNC Kenan Flagler Essay Analysis, 2016–2017
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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School has not yet opted to take the ultra creative approach with its application essays as we have seen other top programs do in recent years, with requests for “introduce yourself” videos, hypothetical tables of contents for one’s life story, lists of “random things,” representative songs, and so on. In fact, the school’s essay prompts for this season are exactly the same, including word limits, as they have been for the previous two, so the program appears to have hit on a formula that works for it. Only one essay is required, covering many of the elements of a traditional personal statement, while three optional essays allow candidates to address various other angles of their profile and candidacy, as needed. In our analysis, we share our ideas on how to address the various essay choices you have been given to best present yourself to the Kenan-Flagler admissions committee.

We have one required essay and three optional essays. The essays for the 2016–2017 application season are

Essay 1 (Required): Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how your professional experience has shaped these goals, why this career option appeals to you, and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. (500 words maximum)

Although the word “why” appears only once in this prompt for Kenan-Flagler’s sole required essay, the overall query actually includes multiple implied “why” requests. In addition to soliciting the reasons behind your specified career aspirations, the school wants to know why you believe an MBA is the next logical step on your professional path and why you need the degree at this particular time. We believe that the crux of the prompt as a whole is that Kenan-Flagler wants to know that you have considered this next step in your career very carefully and thoroughly and are applying to business school for very clear, specific reasons—not because you feel you are supposed to or because you are following in a parent’s footsteps, and definitely not because you do not know what else to do at this juncture in your life! (Believe it or not, these are all actual reasons some people choose to pursue an MBA.) Kenan-Flagler, like all top programs, wants engaged, driven, and focused students who are ready to be an active part of its MBA experience and to do big things with the knowledge and skills they acquire from it.

This prompt encompasses many of the core elements of a traditional personal statement essay for the most part, so we first encourage you to download our free mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants respond to these types of questions for any school. In short, the most effective way to address this query is to simply provide the information the school is seeking, though we encourage you to also try to incorporate a sense of your personality and individuality into your essay to make the delivery of these basic facts more interesting to your admissions reader.

Note that the school does not ask you to explain “why Kenan-Flagler?,” so you do not need to dedicate word count to addressing this point, and you certainly should not waste space pandering to or flattering the school. However, if you have chosen Kenan-Flagler largely because it offers a particular resource or experience that you believe is vital to you in achieving your goals and is not available elsewhere, that would definitely be worth including.

Optional Essay 1:What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (300 words maximum)

This essay is a great opportunity to provide the Kenan-Flagler admissions committee with a better understanding of you as a unique individual, particularly given that Essay 1 focuses more on your professional and academic life. Start by thinking about the aspects of your personality that you believe truly define you as an individual—not just what you do and have done, but who you are—and fully explore your background, hobbies, talents, values, motivations, and quirks. Put together an extensive list and then eliminate any items that seem too common or basic (e.g., your age, hometown) until you have identified some truly distinctive qualities you can use in your response. You want to provide a well-rounded picture of yourself that draws from multiple areas and shows that you possess characteristics and/or knowledge that would make you a positive addition to the school’s diverse community.

As for the other option here, the “life experiences” angle, do not worry if you have not climbed Mount Everest or launched a $50M venture capital–backed start-up. You are not expected to have a particularly spectacular achievement to share—the value is not in the scope, size, or shock value of the incident you describe. Kenan-Flagler just wants to get to know you better by learning about an interesting event in your life. Perhaps you spent a month volunteering in Peru, helped put your sister through school, taught yourself three languages using just a phone app, or are a passionate, competitive flamenco dancer; these are all suitable stories, and one is not necessarily better than the other. What is important is that you offer a narrative that engages the reader and showcases an interesting and distinctive angle of your profile.

Do not overlook that the school also asks you to address how this aspect of your character or life has prepared you to add value in some way to the Kenan Flagler MBA experience. To effectively do so, you must have a thorough understanding of the program and community—well beyond what you can readily find on the school’s Web site. Connect with students and alumni, visit the campus if you can, read through blogs and news stories, and evaluate the school’s special events, offerings, and resources until you find a related opportunity or avenue that speaks to you.

We feel compelled to add that if after thoroughly brainstorming, combing through the various facets of your candidacy, and conducting in-depth research into the Kenan-Flagler MBA program, you still find yourself struggling with how to respond to this query, you should probably consider skipping it rather than forcing the issue. Focusing your energy on other, more accessible, and perhaps effective topics is better than ultimately submitting an essay here that risks portraying you as one of the crowd rather than as a standout applicant.

Optional Essay 2: If your standardized test scores are low, or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum. (300 words maximum)

The issue at hand here is pretty straightforward. Kenan-Flagler needs to know that if you enroll in its program, you will be able to keep up with the necessary course and project work, both for your own sake and for that of your fellow students. Likewise, the admissions committee want to be sure that you will be extracting what you should (and what you need) from your classes and assignments, not struggling just to keep up and handle basic calculations and concepts. After all, the school’s goal is to teach you about business, not math. If you are in this position, we recommend pursuing relevant quant and business courses in your area that you can complete well before matriculation time. Doing so not only helps prepare you for the work ahead but also demonstrates drive, determination, commitment, and problem solving on your part. Recognizing where you are lacking in certain skills and experience and taking the proper steps to address this lack reveals your self-awareness and reinforces the message that you are serious about attaining your goals and will not hesitate to seek out and apply the appropriate resources and opportunities to stay on track.

Optional Essay 3: Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words maximum)

As a general rule, we believe that the best use of this kind of optional essay is to explain confusing or problematic issues in your candidacy, which this prompt allows. However, Kenan-Flagler leaves the door open for you to discuss something other than a problem area if you feel you have information to convey about your candidacy that may be pivotal or particularly compelling. So, if you need to, use this opportunity to address any questions the admissions committee might have about your profile (except about poor or missing quant experience/training, which should instead be covered in the school’s second optional essay). If you elect to take this route, consider downloading our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, in which we offer detailed advice (and multiple examples) on how best to approach the optional essay to mitigate any problem areas in your application.

However, as we noted, the question can be interpreted rather broadly, so you could opt to share something that is not covered elsewhere in your application and that you feel the admissions committee truly needs to know to be able to evaluate you fully and effectively. We caution you against submitting a response to this prompt just because you fear that not doing so would somehow count against you, though. Remember, with each additional essay you write, you are asking the admissions committee to do extra work on your behalf, so you must make sure that added time is warranted. If you decide to using this essay to impart information that if omitted would render your application incomplete, strive to keep your submission brief and on point.

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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have to Write the Optional Essay  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Nov 2016, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have to Write the Optional Essay
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In the past, we have discussed how challenging competing against a faceless mass of fellow applicants can be and how disadvantaged a person can feel if he/she does not seize every opportunity to do so. Although we want you to make the most of every possible chance to set yourself apart, you also need to be judicious in choosing those opportunities. Some can actually work against you and thereby turn into negatives. Allow us to elaborate…

Everyone does not have to write the optional essay, and by neglecting to write it, you are not at a disadvantage. The essay is an opportunity for you to discuss problems that the admissions committee will likely notice in your profile, and this essay can allow you to “get ahead of the scandal,” so to speak. So, if you earned an F grade, had a bad semester in college, received a low GMAT score, or have been dismissed from a position, you should write the optional essay to address the issue proactively. Similarly, if you are applying with a partner and the admissions committee may not be aware of your situation, you might want to use the optional essay to inform them of this relevant and potentially interesting information.

MBA candidates have many reasons for writing the optional essay, but you should absolutely not feel that you need to write it. If you have nothing to explain and have generally performed well, do not use this opportunity to submit an essay from a different school just to fill the space or write a new essay repackaging your strengths. If you have nothing new or important to share, you are in an advantageous position and should take a step back and appreciate it, not fret.

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GMAT Impact: All About Critical Reasoning, Part 3  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Nov 2016, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: GMAT Impact: All About Critical Reasoning, Part 3
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this blog series, Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.Image

In Part 1 of this series, we talked about the overall process for tackling Critical Reasoning (CR), as well as the four major CR question types. In Part 2, we reviewed the five minor question types. Now, let’s put it all together!

What is my strategy?

As we discussed in Part 1, the four major CR types are Find the Assumption, Strengthen, Weaken, and Inference. The majority of your CR questions will be in one of those four categories. If you are going for up to about 75th percentile on verbal, concentrate on those.

Of the minor types, discussed in Part 2, the most common are Discrepancy, Describe the Role, and Evaluate. If you want to break the 75th percentile on verbal, then also take a look at those three minor types, but still spend more time on the four major types. If CR is your weakest verbal area, you can also skip whichever of those three minor types is hardest for you—some people really hate boldface questions, and others think Evaluate questions are the worst.

If you are looking to break the 90th percentile on verbal, then you have to study everything. You can still pick one minor type as your “I’ll guess/bail quickly if I have to” question type, but you still have to try to learn how to do it and, during the test, take a crack at the question unless you are already behind on time and must bail on a question.

Great, I have mastered CR!

Let’s test that theory, shall we? After you have studied all of the above and you feel pretty comfortable with CR, try this problem. I am not even going to tell you which type it is (in fact, that is one of the things that makes this problem so hard—what is it, in the first place?).

If you struggle with it, do not get discouraged. It is a very challenging problem. Instead, use it as an opportunity to get even better! By the way, the best outcome is not necessarily to get it right. Depending on your score goals and your other strengths and weaknesses, the best outcome may very well be to recognize that the question is too hard and to make a guess before the two-minute mark.

Happy studying!

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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Limit the Use of “I” When Beginning Sentence  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2016, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Limit the Use of “I” When Beginning Sentences
Although putting yourself at the center of the stories in your MBA application essays is certainly important, a common mistake applicants tend to make is beginning too many sentences with the word “I.” As a general rule, you should never begin two sentences in a row this way. Consider the following example:

“I worked for three years at ABC Plastics, a small injection molding company. I was responsible for overseeing the overall management of ABC Plastics, from day-to-day operations to strategic planning. I managed 100 people. I worked very long hours, but I learned more than I could have ever imagined.”

Now, consider the same statement reworked to avoid using “I” at the beginning of subsequent sentences:

“For three years, I worked at ABC Plastics, a small injection molding company. My responsibilities at ABC included overseeing the overall management of the company, from day-to-day operations to strategic planning. Because I supervised more than 100 staff members, my days were long, but the experience taught me more than I could have ever imagined.”

As you can see, the second example reads much better than the first—and none of the sentences in the second example begin with “I.”

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Tune in to Facebook Live on November 16 for Last-Minute MBA Admissions  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2016, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Tune in to Facebook Live on November 16 for Last-Minute MBA Admissions and GMAT Tips!
You want to enroll in business school next year, but your applications and GMAT score are far from complete—or maybe you have not even started the application process yet. Round 2 deadlines are fast approaching, and now is the time to make the mad dash to meet them. If you miss Round 2, then Round 3 is still an option—but is this approach advisable?

Where do you begin to start tackling applications and amassing GMAT scores when you realize late in the game that you need to begin earning your MBA next year?

mbaMission has teamed up with our exclusive partner, Manhattan Prep GMAT, to bring you a one-of-a-kind presentation that answers all of your last-minute application questions—and introduce our new and exciting offering, exclusively for Manhattan Prep students!

Join us live on the Manhattan Prep GMAT Facebook page next Wednesday, November 16, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern for a special presentation on last-minute tips for getting accepted to business school. The presentation will be delivered by two experts on MBA admissions and the GMAT, and you will have the opportunity to ask them any questions you have.

Meet the experts:

mbaMission Senior Consultant Liza Weale attended MIT Sloan for her MBA and joined Bain & Company after graduation, where she worked with clients across industries, while also guiding her associate consultants through the MBA admissions process. Liza later served as executive director of Kaplan Test Prep’s GMAT and GRE business lines, where she led all strategic, marketing, and curriculum development efforts. Her true passion lies in helping people “market” themselves in their MBA applications.

Joe Martin is a GMAT instructor at Manhattan Prep GMAT. He has earned not only a 99th percentile GMAT score (an eye-popping 790), but also 99th percentile scores on the LSAT and GRE. He is what we call a “triple threat” in test prep. Joe majored in astrophysics at Colgate University, where he led tutoring sessions for his peers. Now, Joe has found his dream job teaching full time, serving as an instructor manager, and helping to develop Manhattan Prep’s interactive video lessons, “Interact.”

So, join us on Wednesday, November 16, live on the Manhattan Prep GMAT Facebook page for a special opportunity to harness the wisdom of Liza and Joe. Even if you are not in a rush to apply this year, feel free to tune in for future reference. We hope to see you there!

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Mission Admission: Choosing Safe Recommenders  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2016, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: Choosing Safe Recommenders
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Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

Given that you still have significant time before next year’s first-round application deadlines, you have the opportunity to take some steps now to ensure you submit your strongest applications possible. One such step is doing some background work on your recommenders to make sure your choices are indeed “safe.” After all, if you are playing by the strictest interpretation of the rules of recommendations, you will not get to see what your recommenders ultimately write about you. By doing a little intelligence work in advance, you can better understand whether you are making the right decision before committing to a certain individual.

By “intelligence,” we mean contacting past colleagues when possible in a discreet and diplomatic way to find out what their experiences were like with your potential recommender. For example, was your potential recommender a generous advocate, or was he/she a disinterested third party who had a tendency to be harsh? Clearly, learning more about your target recommender’s approach in advance can help you understand whether or not you should offer him/her this important responsibility. Past colleagues can also guide you in how best to manage your recommenders, which can be just as important as choosing them. Knowing up front that your recommender is a procrastinator or performed better after being given a list of accomplishments from which to work can help ensure the best letter possible and can prevent you from inadvertently antagonizing your recommender or delaying the process.

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B-School Chart of the Week: October 2016 Social Currency Rankings  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2016, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: B-School Chart of the Week: October 2016 Social Currency Rankings
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.

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MBAs have been busy hosting fall weddings. Last month, the New York Times profiled 35 weddings featuring MBAs, and Harvard Business School (HBS) graduates appeared to have been the busiest of all—ten October weddings featured HBS MBAs! Two such couples, Christopher Pierce and Jonathan Pollock and Catherine McKenzie and Carter Williams, met at the school during their studies. HBS was not the only matchmaker school, however. Elizabeth Reisman and Adam Byrnes, graduates of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, first crossed paths at an accepted students’ event before enrolling in the MBA program.

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MBA Career News: Writing Compelling Cover Letters  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2016, 16:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Career News: Writing Compelling Cover Letters
In this new blog series, our mbaMissionCareer Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

When you see a job posting of interest, you should (quickly) take advantage of the opportunity and submit a compelling application featuring a targeted resume and a personalized cover letter. (You can find details about effective resume writing in one of our earlier blog posts.)

Although some people question whether potential employers read cover letters, you should assume yours will be read. Use the cover letter as an opportunity to solidify your networking efforts or explain why you want the job and why you are qualified.

The following table presents a suggested cover letter format as well as our tips for making the most of this application component.

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Finally, when writing and editing your cover letter, avoid the following common pitfalls:

  • Adjectives/adverbs with weak nouns/verbs
  • Vague language, cliches, empty jargon
  • Typos/grammatical errors
  • Long words, long sentences, long paragraphs (The ideal cover letter length is about three-quarters of a page.)
  • Failing to pass the “So what?” test (i.e., What purpose does the sentence serve? Is it conveying critical information that is relevant to the reader?)
Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via afree 30-minute consultation!

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Professor Profiles: Jonathan Knee, Columbia Business School  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Nov 2016, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Jonathan Knee, Columbia Business School
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have 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 focus on Jonathan Knee from Columbia Business School (CBS).

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Jonathan Knee is a professor of professional practice at CBS and the co-director of the school’s Media and Technology Program. Knee is also still active in the private sector as a senior advisor (formerly a senior managing director) at the advisory and investment firm Evercore Partners. He is perhaps best known among CBS students for his book The Accidental Investment Banker: Inside the Decade that Transformed Wall Street (Oxford University Press, 2006) and, we are told, brings a unique perspective into the classroom by showing where entertainment and finance cross paths. Students reported to mbaMission that his “Mergers and Acquisitions in Media” class is intense and that the course’s final presentation—made before a guest panel of practicing investors—feels like the real deal. One alumnus who took a class with Knee said the benefits of having an active advisor as a teacher were the business insight and guest speakers the professor brought into the classroom.

For more information about CBS and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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MBA News: A Closer Look at the Class of 2018  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Nov 2016, 13:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: A Closer Look at the Class of 2018
The Class of 2018 is already hard at work inside business school classrooms. Class profiles, which schools release shortly after matriculation, reveal a diverse crowd among the latest incoming MBA students. We at mbaMission examined the class profiles of 16 top-ranked business schools to bring you a clearer picture of who, exactly, enrolled in MBA programs this fall.

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Three highly prestigious institutions, Harvard Business School (HBS), the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, received the most applications throughout the 2015–2016 application season. Nearly 10,000 individuals—9,759, to be exact—applied to HBS, while the Stanford GSB received 8,116 applications, and Wharton received 6,679. Perhaps unsurprisingly, HBS also has the largest incoming class, with 934 individuals. The New York University Stern School of Business, which received 3,773 applications last year, has the second-largest group of new MBA students: 872 men and women. The third-largest class among the schools we examined enrolled at Wharton, where 851 students began their MBA studies this year.

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Diversity is perhaps more sought after than ever in business school classrooms, as is evident in the incoming class statistics. Each of the 16 top-ranked schools we examined have an incoming class comprising more than 30% women, and nearly half (eight schools) reported female representation of 40% or greater. At Wharton and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, women represent 44% of the Class of 2018, and at HBS and the Yale School of Management (SOM), the figure is similar, at 43%. Underrepresented U.S. minorities account for more than 20% of the class at most schools, while Wharton and the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, reported the highest figures, at 32% each.

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Although all of the schools we examined are based within the United States, the class profiles show that the rest of the world is well represented—each school reported the enrollment of students from more than 30 countries. At Wharton, incoming students hail from a whopping 71 countries, and at HBS, from 68 countries. At Columbia Business School (CBS), nearly half (48%) of students are international. Other schools with the highest percentages of international students are Yale SOM (46%), Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business (40%), and the Stanford GSB (40%).

Educational and work-related statistics offered few surprises, as incoming students’ average GPAs hover around the typical 3.5–3.6 range, and their average GMAT scores are between 710 and 730, as in many previous years. Business was the most popular undergraduate major among new MBA students at six schools, with humanities and social sciences not far behind. At nearly every school that reported such information, the average amount of professional work experience years is five years. In addition, five schools reported the average age of their incoming students as 28.

The Class of 2018 consists of a plethora of applicants, hailing from countless different backgrounds. What the Class of 2019 will look like remains to be seen. Will you be a part of it next year?

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Beyond the MBA Classroom: The MIT Energy Conference  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2016, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: The MIT Energy Conference
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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.

Held each spring since 2006, the MIT Energy Conference attracts technologists, investors, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and energy professionals who are defining the world’s energy future. The conference theme in 2016 was “Big Meets Small: A New Era Emerges.” The event’s numerous keynote speakers included a senior executive director at GE, the U.S. secretary of energy, and the director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. Panel sessions focused on such topics as “Global Environmental Policy: Balancing International and Domestic Needs,” “The Innovation Roadmap for Solar Energy,” and “Energy Access in Emerging Economies: The Trade-off Between Short Term and Long Term.”

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at MIT Sloan and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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MBA News: Harvard Business School Still Reigns Supreme in the Bloomber  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2016, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: Harvard Business School Still Reigns Supreme in the Bloomberg Businessweek 2016 MBA Ranking
Bloomberg Businessweek released its 2016 MBA rankings on Wednesday, with Harvard Business School in the top spot for the second year in a row. The rest of the top five, however, held some surprises: the Stanford Graduate School of Business rose five spots from last year’s seventh place to second this year. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business saw an equally impressive climb, landing in third place after being ranked eighth in 2015. One of the strongest ascents was that of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, as the school was fifth this year despite last year’s 14th position. The Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University was perhaps one of the biggest surprises this year—the school was ranked eighth after an 11-spot rise from last year. This is the school’s first time in the Bloomberg Businessweek top ten—quite impressive!

Of course, not everyone can have a good year. Many highly prestigious institutions were left out of the top ten, perhaps indicating that schools previously considered “diamonds in the rough” have come to challenge the ranks. Columbia Business School fell from the top ten, where it stood in 2015 in the sixth spot, and was ranked 11th this year. The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business was ranked 13th, down three spots from the previous year. The Yale School of Management was similarly ranked three spots down from 2015 and is now standing in 14th place.

The post MBA News: Harvard Business School Still Reigns Supreme in the Bloomberg Businessweek 2016 MBA Ranking appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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Diamonds in the Rough: Immersion Weeks at Penn State Smeal  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2016, 12:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: Immersion Weeks at Penn State Smeal
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MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business is known for balancing traditional coursework with immersive learning. Smeal’s modular curriculum structure includes four seven-week modules over the course of the two-year MBA program. Beginning with “Concentration Week,” students participate in various seminars to learn more about the program’s seven available concentrations. The third module, for example, focuses on such themes as “Leadership Communications” and “Strategy.” The first year culminates in a capstone case competition, in which students work in teams to present business strategies to a panel. Smeal’s curriculum also includes a required international experience component, the “Global Immersion,” which takes place in the second year. Students travel to such countries as Chile, India, and China to visit international organizations across various industries.

The post Diamonds in the Rough: Immersion Weeks at Penn State Smeal appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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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