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

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New post 17 Jan 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Jonathan Knee, Columbia Business School
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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. Today, we focus on Jonathan Knee from Columbia Business School (CBS).

Jonathan Knee is the Michael T. Fries Professor of Professional Practice of Media and Technology 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. In his latest book, Class Clowns: How the Smartest Investors Lost Billions in Education (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2017), Knee explores investors’ efforts in higher education. 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 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out the free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Common GMAT Concerns: Taking the Test Again, and Dealing with Low AWA   [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jan 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Common GMAT Concerns: Taking the Test Again, and Dealing with Low AWA Scores
When candidates who have already taken the GMAT exam once ask us whether they should take the test again, we always reply with this key question: “Do you think you can do better?” If the individual does indeed believe that he/she can improve, the next question we inevitably get is “What do business schools think of multiple scores?”

Fortunately, most MBA admissions committees do not frown on candidates taking the GMAT more than once. Many applicants feel that they have to be “perfect” the first time and that any subsequent test they take—particularly if they receive a lower score on it—might be damaging to their candidacy. This is not the case. Dartmouth Tuck, for one, anticipates that applicants will take the exam more than once and openly states its willingness to “consider your highest quantitative and highest verbal scores,” if they occur on separate tests. Meanwhile, other programs have been known to call candidates and tell them that if they can increase their GMAT scores, they will be offered admission.

Accepting a candidate’s highest GMAT scores is actually in an MBA program’s best interest, because doing so will raise the school’s GMAT average, which is then reported to rankings bodies such as Bloomberg Businessweek and U.S. News & World Report and could positively affect the school’s position in these surveys. So, do not be afraid to take the test two or even three times. It can only help.

Now, if you took the GMAT and feel like you finally “nailed” the exam but later learn that your score on the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), the essay portion, is low, should you panic? In short, the answer is no. Although we have always encouraged business school candidates to do the best they can on the AWA, the truth is that we have never been told by an admissions officer—nor, as far as we know, has a candidate ever been told in a feedback session—that the AWA score is a factor in a school’s decisions. Generally, the AWA is not used to evaluate candidates but to detect fraud.

If, hypothetically, you had tremendous difficulty expressing yourself via the AWA essays but wrote like a Pulitzer Prize winner in your application essays, the school would get suspicious and begin to compare the two. Not to worry—the schools are not punitive and are not acting as fraud squads. Your AWA essays are expected to be unpolished, so no one will seek out your file if you did your best in both areas. However, if an enormous discrepancy arises between the two, the AWA serves a purpose.

So, if you did well on the GMAT and have a low AWA score, that is unfortunate, but it will not be the difference in a school’s decision about your candidacy. Rest easy—as long as you truly did write both!
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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Charity Auctions and the Sports “Dorkapalooza” at MIT Sloan  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jan 2019, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Charity Auctions and the Sports “Dorkapalooza” at MIT Sloan
MIT Sloan students organize charity auctions typically twice a year. Each “ocean” (the approximately 70-person cohort with which students take their first-semester core classes) selects a charity to support and identifies items to be auctioned, such as lunch with a professor, a home-cooked meal by a student, and more unusual offerings, like having a professor chauffeur you to class in his classic car. First-year oceans compete to see which one can raise the most money, and second-year students organize a similar auction. All together, the auctions raise tens of thousands of dollars each year for such charities as the California Wildfires Fund, Children of Uganda, Pencils of Promise, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, and the Sloan Social Impact Fellowship.

MIT Sloan students are active in organizing conferences as well. Did you know that some of the biggest names in sports have met annually since 2007 for an event at the school that former ESPN columnist Bill Simmons once described as “dorkapalooza”? At the student-run Sports Analytics Conference, participants discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry, and students have ample opportunity to network with the elite of the sports world.

The 12th annual conference was held over two days in February 2018 in Boston, where 3,500 attendees witnessed industry experts, leaders, and professionals participate in nearly 40 panel discussions. Among the event’s speakers was former President Barack Obama. The panels covered such topics as “NBA 2.0: New Rules to Transform the Game,” “The Beautiful Game’s Global Reach,” “Nuts and Bolts of Acquiring a Franchise,” “Inventing Modern Basketball,” and “Next Frontier in Baseball Analytics.” Other conference events included a research papers exhibition, a start-up competition, and drop-in resume reviews. A second-year EMS Club member told mbaMission, “The event is one of the largest student-organized conferences in the country and was named the third most innovative company in all of sports (behind only the NFL and MLB Advanced Media) by Fast Company [magazine].”

For a thorough exploration of what MIT Sloan and 16 other top business schools have to offer, please check out the free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Reapplicants Should Not Reapply  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2019, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Reapplicants Should Not Reapply
You applied to business schools once and did not get in. It took a lot of effort and caused a lot of heartache. Now what do you do? You cannot apply to those schools again, can you? What would be the point? They already rejected you once, so they will definitely do the same thing next time, right? Not quite so.

Remember, MBA admissions committees are governed by self-interest. Simply put, the schools want the best candidates out there. If you are among the best candidates, why would any admissions director think, “Well, this is an outstanding candidate who can add something special to our school and has unique potential going forward, but he applied last year, so we’ll just forget about him.” Indeed, the reapplication process is not a practical joke or a disingenuous olive branch to those permanently on the outside. If the schools were not willing to admit reapplicants, they would not waste time and resources reviewing their applications.

Although many candidates fret about being reapplicants, some admissions officers actually see a reapplication as a positive—a new opportunity. Soojin Kwon, the managing director of full-time MBA admissions and student experience at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, told mbaMission, “They are certainly not ‘damaged goods.’ We have had many successful reapplicants join our program after they’ve spent a year strengthening their candidacies.”

Meanwhile, the Yale School of Management’s assistant dean and director of admissions, Bruce DelMonico, noted, “I can certainly bust [that] myth. Our admit rate for reapplicants is actually the same as it is for first-time applicants. It’s important, though, for reapplicants to explain to us how their candidacy has improved from the previous time they applied. Reapplicants need to make sure they enhance their application, rather than just resubmitting the same application.”

In short, reapplicants, you have no reason to believe that you only have one chance. Like any competitive MBA applicant, continue to strive and achieve; if things do not work out this time, they just might the next time.
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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How to Approach Freelance Work and Layoffs in Your MBA Application  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jan 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Approach Freelance Work and Layoffs in Your MBA Application
If you do mostly short-term, project-based work, you might struggle with how to structure your resume so that it does not give the impression that you switch jobs every few months. If you list each job separately, not only will your resume be too long, but you also run the risk that your reader will think you have not had a stable career—when in fact, if you are a successful freelancer or contractor, the opposite is the case. So, how can you organize your resume so that it showcases the strength of your work and avoid having the variety and number of your work experiences come across as a weakness instead?

The key here is “clustering.” Rather than listing each short-term job separately, cluster them all under one heading, such as “independent contractor” or “freelance project manager.” Next to this heading, note the time range (i.e., start and end dates) during which you have worked for yourself. Then, using bullet points, list the individual projects you completed as a freelancer, noting your primary accomplishments for each one, followed by the related company/organization name and dates. The goal is to keep the focus on your accomplishments.

Similarly, many business school applicants worry about the impact having been laid off might have on their candidacy. Do the admissions committees view a layoff as a sign of failure?

One thing to remember is that many MBA candidates share this worry—thousands of them worldwide, in fact. For the admissions committees to dismiss all such applicants outright would simply not be practical. Moreover, the admissions committees know that the global financial crisis and subsequent recession are at the root of the problem, not necessarily the individual candidate’s performance. Indeed, layoffs and firings are not the same thing, so admissions committees will examine your application with that in mind, seeking your broader story.

If you find yourself in this situation, what is important is that you show that you have made good use of your time since the layoff by studying, volunteering, seeking work, enhancing your skills, etc. Each candidate will react differently, of course, but you need to have a story to tell of how you made the most of a difficult situation.
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: James E. Schrager, the University of Chicago Booth  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: James E. Schrager, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
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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. Today, we focus on James E. Schrager from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Although he has a PhD from the University of Chicago in organizational behavior and policy, James E. Schrager is not just an academic, but also a practitioner who helped take the first private American company public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and helped turn around aspects of the Pritzker family holdings, which were ultimately sold to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Students we interviewed noted that Schrager brings his high-level experiences to class but remains entirely in touch with students’ more modest perspectives, adapting his anecdotes accordingly and creating practical learning points that pertain to what students will face early in their post-MBA careers. Schrager is a three-time winner of the university’s Emory Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching (in 2007, 2001, and 1996), and he received the Faculty Excellence Teaching Award in 2017. One second-year student told mbaMission, “He is not up in the sky, but very practical, and by the way, his class is always full.” Students’ grades in Schrager’s “New Venture Strategy” class are based in part on the success of a business idea the students present to their peers—the other students act as venture capitalists and give feedback on the idea.

For more information about Chicago Booth and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free 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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Kelley School of Business and Fisher College of Business Offer MBAs in  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jan 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Kelley School of Business and Fisher College of Business Offer MBAs in the Midwest
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Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business

As the demand for business-savvy health care professionals grows, business schools are taking notice. Leading the way is the Business of Medicine Physician MBA at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, which is designed to train practicing physicians to assume management positions and face a changing health care business environment. The two-year degree program was launched in the fall of 2013 and presents a new kind of opportunity at the intersection of business management and medical practice.

The degree combines the basic curriculum of Kelley’s full-time MBA with specialized health care courses supported by the school’s Center for the Business of Life Sciences. Idalene (Idie) Kesner, who was interim dean at the time but has since been appointed dean, said in a Financial Times article regarding the launch of the program, “With this degree, physician leaders will emerge with the full skillset to transform individual institutions, the broad healthcare field and, most important, patient outcomes.” Part of the Business of Medicine Physician MBA program—approximately 10–14 hours a week—is taught online, drawing on Kelley’s pioneering strengths in distance learning, while the other part entails one weekend residence per month, allowing for a more flexible time commitment.

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Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business

Despite the size of its parent institution, the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, another Midwestern business school, boasts a relatively intimate classroom experience—with approximately 100 students in each incoming full-time MBA class—and a close-knit community. Fisher students consequently benefit from the school’s wider university network (more than 550,000 alumni) and its proximity to major companies based both in Columbus and throughout the Midwest. Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Fisher 53rd in its list of top U.S. full-time MBA programs in 2018.

The Fisher curriculum consists of a core sequence spanning the first year of the program and offers a plethora of optional pathways in which students can major, including Finance, Sports Management, and Supply Chain. Of the 60 credit hours required for graduation, 7.5 credits consist of experiential coursework, including Business Lab Projects and the Core Capstone Experience. In these hands-on projects, students work with local and international businesses to apply the skills they have learned within the classroom to real-life scenarios. Nearly half (27 credit hours) of the required credit hours are dedicated to elective courses, proving that the Fisher MBA is a widely customizable program.
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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Four GMAT Myths Busted  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jan 2019, 11:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Four GMAT Myths Busted
There is a lot of well-meaning advice for GMAT test takers out there. Unfortunately, some of the most reasonable-sounding and frequently repeated claims are actually false. In this article, our friends at Manhattan Prep look at four of the most common GMAT myths and what you should do instead.

1. I need to get 90% of the questions right to get a 700.

It’s true: somebody who got a 700 on the GMAT probably got more questions right than somebody who got a 400. However, the opposite is not true: just getting more questions right does not increase your score. The GMAT scoring algorithm does not look at how many questions you answered correctly in a section. Instead, it looks at the difficulty level you have reached by the end of that section. You could reach the same difficulty level by missing a lot of questions, or by only missing a few, depending on where in the test you miss them and whether you finish the section on time. Check out this article for more info on what your GMAT score really means.

2. Quant is more important than Verbal.
This is a tricky one. In part, it depends on the programs you are applying to and the strengths and weaknesses of the rest of your profile. Some schools will want a high Quant score, while others will care more about whether you hit a particular overall number. In some situations, Quant might be very important.

However, when it comes to achieving a high overall GMAT score, Verbal is slightly more important than Quant. Getting a 90th percentile Verbal score and a 50th percentile Quant score, for example, will give you a slightly higher overall score than if they were swapped. Also, many students, especially native English speakers, find it easier, quicker, and more fun to improve Verbal than Quant. If you just want to earn a particular overall score, you might get there faster by focusing on Verbal. Do not leave points on the table by ignoring Verbal! Even if you are starting with a high Verbal score, an improvement of just ten percentile points can go a long way.

3. The first eight problems in each section are the most important.
Like most GMAT myths, this one has a kernel of truth to it. As you work through each section of the GMAT, the test will get harder when you answer a question correctly, and easier when you answer a question incorrectly. These difficulty changes are larger at the beginning of the section than at the end. This makes it seem as if the earlier questions are very important, while the later questions hardly matter at all.

However, that is not really the case. Getting the first eight questions right would cause your GMAT to rapidly increase in difficulty, up to the maximum level. However, your score is not based on the highest difficulty level you hit. Instead, it is based on the difficulty level at the end of the test. A strong start is nice, but spending extra time on the early problems means having very little time to answer hard problems later on. You might even run out of time at the end, which carries a hefty score penalty. So, if you can answer all of the early questions correctly and quickly, go for it. Otherwise, work at a steady pace throughout the test, and proactively guess on hard questions that you cannot answer quickly—even at the beginning of each section.

4. If I want a 700, I should mostly study 700–800 level problems.

Do not base the problems you study on the score you want. Instead, base your studies on your current ability level. When you take the GMAT, the difficulty of the test will change depending on your performance. In order to get the test to show you tough questions, you need to be very quick and consistent on the slightly easier questions. If you are not quite there yet, you will not even see the super-hard stuff—so there is no point in studying it just yet.

In fact, spending a lot of energy on studying hard material can be counterproductive. If you see a very hard question on test day, the best move is often to proactively guess on it: missing a hard question will not hurt your score very much, and attempting it could waste a lot of time. However, if you have spent a lot of time studying really tough questions, it will be harder to make yourself guess on them when you need to. Instead, study the questions that will really help you on test day: the ones right at or slightly above your level, or easier questions in areas that tend to trip you up. Happy studying!

Manhattan Prep is one of the world’s leading test prep providers. Every one of its instructors has a 99th percentile score on the GMAT and substantial teaching experience. The result? More than 18 years and thousands of satisfied students. By providing an outstanding curriculum and the highest-quality instructors in the industry, it empowers students to accomplish their goals. Manhattan Prep allows you to sit in on any of its live GMAT classes—in person or online—for free! Check out a trial class today.

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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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Am Too Old to Get into Business Scho  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2019, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Am Too Old to Get into Business School
We at mbaMission often receive panicked phone calls from applicants in their late 20s, asking if they are too old to get into business school. Why does this happen?

Over the past decade or so, several top schools have declared their openness to younger candidates and have even been courting them. Harvard Business School has welcomed “direct admits” (those entering immediately after completing their undergraduate degrees) and started the 2+2 Program to encourage undergraduates to consider deferred acceptance. Chicago Booth followed suit, launching the Chicago Booth Scholars Program, granting deferred admission to University of Chicago seniors, in addition to various Early Career Candidate programs to attract candidates with one to three years of experience. Although the Stanford Graduate School of Business does not publish the average age of its students, it does state that its students’ average work experience is four years. So, if you are an “older” candidate at 27, 28, 29, or—dare we even write it?—30, should you even bother applying?

First of all, we must note that not all schools are on the bandwagon to admit younger candidates. Dartmouth Tuck, for example, states that “in general,” it does not accept students with fewer than two years of work experience. The average work experience of students at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business is listed as one to ten years—meaning that the school typically does not accept direct admits, although the school notes on its website that it does not have an official minimum work experience requirement. Michigan Ross requires that students complete their undergraduate degree before applying, meaning that seniors are ineligible.

However, if you are focused on a school that is open to younger candidates, you should still think logically about the situation: you cannot get any younger, so you can either self-select out of the application process or let the admissions committees read your applications and make their own decision. Further, applicants should not mistake an openness to younger candidates as an aversion to older candidates. If you have something special to offer, you are still in the running—no secret cutoff is in play that would immediately eliminate you from the applicant pool.

As we have written before, business schools are governed by self-interest. They want the best candidates out there! If you are among the best, your age will not be an obstacle.
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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Harvard Business School Interview Invites Are Out! Here Are Some Helpf  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jan 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Harvard Business School Interview Invites Are Out! Here Are Some Helpful Resources
Harvard Business School (HBS) will send out its first batch of Round 2 interview invitations today at noon eastern time. Recently, HBS’s admissions director, Chad Losee, addressed the impending invitations in a blog post:

“As I think you know, interviews happen with a member of the Admissions Board who has read your application and comes prepared for a friendly and deep conversation about your background. Remember that we are rooting for you!

After holistically reading each application, we invite about 1 in 5 applicants to interview with us. Typically, just over half of those interviewed are admitted.”

On January 31,  HBS will release its final batch of interview invitations, along with notifications of “release” for those who are not invited to interview.

If you are among the candidates who receive an interview invitation this week, congratulations! Now is the time to get ready for this crucial step in your application process. Check out these important resources created by mbaMission specifically for Harvard Business School interview candidates.

INTENSIVE SIMULATION

Devi Vallabhaneni, a veteran admissions interviewer with years of experience interviewing hundreds of HBS candidates and mbaMission’s HBS Interviewer in Residence, will offer intensive interview simulations online via webcam to help HBS applicants prepare for the real thing.

The live interview simulation includes the following components:

  • Two or three 30-minute interview experiences customized to your application. Before your first session, Devi will spend several hours reviewing your written application, following the same process she used when conducting candidate interviews for HBS. This allows her to target her questions based on what she discovers about you from your application.
  • Personalized feedback. After each interview session, Devi will provide you with targeted feedback, talking you through her impressions and offering strategic advice for improving your HBS interview skills.
  • Reflection period. You will have time between your interview sessions with Devi so that you can internalize the feedback and adjust accordingly before trying again.
For more information and to secure your spot, please visit our HBS Intensive Interview Simulation page.

MOCK INTERVIEW AND POST-INTERVIEW REFLECTION SUPPORT

Another option to help you prepare is our HBS Mock Interview and Post-Interview Reflection Support sessions. Through this service, you will work with an experienced mbaMission Senior Consultant who will have read your entire HBS application and prepared customized questions based on your candidacy. Through Q&A, feedback, and thorough response planning, we will help you improve the content of your answers, your time management skills, and your overall presentation.

HBS asks all interviewed applicants to write a post-interview essay and submit it within 24 hours of their interview. This essay has no word limit, and HBS suggests that candidates think of it as an email they would write to a friend or colleague, rather than as a formal essay.

As part of our targeted HBS interview package, an mbaMission Senior Consultant will help you strategize your approach to this special essay. Your consultant will also review a draft of the essay and provide feedback intended to assist you in making it stronger and more effective. Please note that because the HBS Admissions Office explicitly states that applicants are not to write anything in advance or receive outside help with this essay, your mbaMission Senior Consultant will not edit your writing but will instead offer detailed strategic direction via comments only.

To purchase your HBS mock interview preparation session, click here!

HBS INTERVIEW GUIDE

Download your complimentary copy of mbaMission’s Harvard Business School Interview Primer today.

In creating our primers, we have drawn on countless communications with MBA students, alumni, admissions officers, and applicants, in addition to our vast library of interview reports submitted by current and past clients. Our HBS Interview Primer provides the following information:

  • Insight into what the school is evaluating and hoping to gain from the interview
  • An explanation of the school’s approach to interviewing (self-scheduled or invite only, blind versus comprehensive, etc.)
  • Past applicants’ firsthand accounts of their interview experiences and multiple sample interview question sequences
  • Tips on preparing for and responding to questions that most typically vex applicants
  • Help in formulating compelling questions of your own
Good luck to all Round 2 applicants! If you believe you can benefit from one of our interview planning services—or simply would like some more information on the process—feel free to contact us anytime!
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 Offers Free In-Person Consultations in Austin, Boston, Dall  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jan 2019, 10:01
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FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission Offers Free In-Person Consultations in Austin, Boston, Dallas, New York, and San Francisco!
Are you a business school applicant in need of some guidance from an admissions advisor? If so, then we want to meet you for a free in-person consultation! In the coming weeks, mbaMission will be hosting FREE in-person, one-on-one consultations* in the following cities:

  • Austin, Texas: Monday, February 18, 2019
  • Boston, Massachusetts: Various Tuesdays in February and March
  • Dallas, Texas: Thursday, February 21, 2019
  • New York, New York: Various Wednesdays in February and March 
  • San Francisco, California: Monday, February 4, 2019 
During your free in-person consultation, your admissions advisor will answer all your most pressing MBA application questions, including the following:

  • What are my chances of being admitted?
  • How can I differentiate myself from so many other applicants?
  • What is the best way to showcase my accomplishments or mitigate my weaknesses?
To sign up for a free in-person consultation in any of these cities, please fill out the form located on our Free Consultation submission page at www.mbamission.com/consult. We will reply to you within one business day with a link to schedule your appointment.

We look forward to getting to know some of this season’s best and brightest business school applicants!

*This offer is valid only for those applicants who have not already had an mbaMission free 30-minute consultation. Please note that all mbaMission consultant appointments are booked in Eastern Time. After booking, if you would like to confirm the local time of your appointment, please contact denise@mbamission.com.
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Prepare for Your HBS Interview with a Former HBS Interviewer  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2019, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Prepare for Your HBS Interview with a Former HBS Interviewer
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Devi Vallabhaneni, mbaMission’s HBS Interviewer in Residence

One of the most critical steps in the MBA application process is the interview, and none is more legendary—or stress inducing—than Harvard Business School’s (HBS’s). The HBS interview is particularly fast-paced and can cover a wide range of topics, all based on your specific application and personal story. It is designed to help the admissions representative get to know the real you.

Devi Vallabhaneni, a veteran admissions interviewer with years of experience interviewing hundreds of HBS candidates and mbaMission’s HBS Interviewer in Residence, emphasizes how much preparation goes into an HBS interview. “Your submitted HBS application includes so many different elements—your essay, your short answers, your transcripts, your letters of recommendation… I review everything extensively so that during our interview, I already know your story and can push deeper into the areas that interest me. You’ve worked so hard to show HBS who you are through your application; the interview reflects this same intensity back to you.”

Although the HBS admissions interview is specialized and unpredictable, Devi asserts that preparing for it is still both important and possible, and she encourages candidates to take steps to ready themselves for this pivotal discussion. “In just 30 minutes, even though you have no control over the questions, you have to convey the kind of HBS student and future leader you will be. To prepare, make sure that you know everything you submitted in your application. This sounds elementary, but I have seen people forget details about their own experiences! Practicing ahead of time is more than worth your while.”

With that in mind, this winter, Devi will be offering intensive interview simulations online via webcam to help HBS applicants prepare for the real thing. She will also hold an HBS Interview Workshop exclusively for mbaMission Complete “Start-to-Finish” Package clients.

The live interview simulation includes

  • Two or three 30-minute interview experiences customized to your application. Before your first session, Devi will spend several hours reviewing your written application, following the same process she used when conducting candidate interviews for HBS. This allows her to target her questions based on what she discovers about you from your application.
  • Personalized feedback. After each interview session, Devi will provide you with targeted feedback, talking you through her impressions and offering strategic advice for improving your HBS interview skills.
  • Reflection period. You will have time between your interview sessions with Devi so that you can internalize the feedback and adjust accordingly before trying again.
For more information and to secure your spot, please visit our HBS Intensive Interview Simulation page.
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Tips from Inside the HBS Interview Experience  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Feb 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Tips from Inside the HBS Interview Experience
Devi Vallabhaneni, an HBS graduate and former HBS MBA interviewer, is now mbaMission’s HBS Interviewer in Residence, conducting HBS Intensive Interview Simulations.

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Harvard Business School

Congrats—you received an invitation to interview with Harvard Business School (HBS)! Suddenly, your heart rate picks up because entry into HBS’s hallowed grounds seems that much more real. What do you need to know? Drawing on my six years as an interviewer at HBS, I have a few helpful tips.

Feeling Nervous

Feeling your nerves kick in is totally normal, but would you believe that every time I interviewed an HBS prospect, I was just as nervous? You might find that hard to imagine, but it is the truth! I felt like I owed each and every interviewee the courtesy of bringing my best to them, really getting to know them, and working just as hard as they had to arrive at the interview. So, first things first, know that the person on the other side of your HBS interview is eager and sincere in wanting to know the real you.

Know Your Story Cold

Your story should be within you, right? Well, maybe you wrote about your love of Chinese cookery in the personal section of your resume, but since then, you have not given another thought to the last cooking class you took—which, by the way, was a good story two years ago! Although I was never specifically trying to find weak spots in interviewees’ stories, I would sometimes start by asking about interests and hobbies they had listed that sounded interesting, so I just might have asked you about your Chinese cooking. Before your interview, refresh your familiarity with your entire application, even the parts you think are trivial.

Master the What & How

How you accomplished something is just as important, if not more than, what you actually accomplished. The how shows the real level of effort you had to expend to reach your end result. To me, the how also lets you share a deeper version of your story with your interviewer. I once interviewed an applicant who had worked on a seemingly common financial transaction. Because of the regulatory and political complexity of the transaction, she had to create more than 30 different potential scenarios to anticipate and quantify the client’s next steps. In this case, the how gave me better insight into the applicant’s depth of analysis, creativity, and experience. Without that information, this project, on its face, may not have stood out to me as something meaningful. Be sure to detail the how of your achievements for your HBS interviewer so that he or she can better understand the rigor and impact of your experience.

Give Full Answers

I once asked an applicant to tell me about a growth experience he had had while studying abroad. He responded by reporting that he had learned to make his bed. I have to admit that, on the surface, this is not much of an answer. However, after a few follow-up questions, I realized that he was humbly trying to explain that he had been coddled and that he had ultimately had an awakening about independence. I wish he had proactively connected the ideas, because we ultimately spent much more time than necessary on this topic, which precluded us from fully exploring other parts of his background. Giving full answers means demonstrating the broader context of your responses and anticipating the interviewer’s potential perceptions so that you use your 30 minutes as wisely and efficiently as possible.

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mbaMission’s HBS Interviewer in Residence, Devi Vallabhaneni

Strive for Practiced, Not Scripted

You worked really hard on your HBS application, which is what led to this interview opportunity. But your application probably took weeks or months to complete and required multiple revisions and edits, whereas your interview is a one-shot 30 minutes. This is why practicing your answers verbally is a great idea, but practice does not mean memorization or rehearsal. I once interviewed a woman I later ran into on campus when she was a first-year student. While we were catching up, she told me how nervous she had been for our interview and how she had practiced by writing out bullet points and verbalizing them in front of a mirror. I still remember her interview to this day. She was natural, conversational, and in the moment. The way she had practiced enabled her to convey what was salient while still being fully present and engaged. In contrast, another candidate I interviewed responded to my every question with “I have three reasons…” or “I have three examples…,” and in most cases, his replies did not match my questions! He had memorized pre-made answers and simply recited them when given the chance to speak. Make sure to prepare useful points and stories and practice verbalizing them before your interview, but once you are in the meeting, pay attention to the questions being asked and call on those points and stories as appropriate.

Forget About the Introvert vs. Extrovert Factor

Prospective interviewees regularly ask me, “Am I at a disadvantage if I’m an introvert?” and assume the interview is better suited to—and more beneficial for—extroverts. The truth is that I have seen both be extremely successful. Shy, quiet, low-key people can be just as compelling as those who are outgoing, animated, or gregarious. I remember an interview I had with a soft-spoken individual who had intriguing manufacturing experience in a foreign country. He really blossomed when he shared his worries about that country’s upcoming elections and how the outcome might affect his company and export potential. Your HBS interviewer is much more interested in your experiences, background, values, and interests than in your personality—so just be thoroughly you.

Anticipate the Interviewer’s Homework

I once interviewed an HBS applicant who was working at a start-up in a foreign country. I had never heard of it, so I read up on it, including its funding structure, mission, and founding team. I even found a news report that explained that one of the funding rounds had not gone smoothly. During the interview, we got on the topic of raising money, and the candidate was shocked when I asked about one of the investors. When he asked how I knew about that investor, I explained that I had researched his start-up—not to create “gotcha” questions but to better understand his work environment. Expect your HBS interviewer to go beyond just reading through the information you included in your application. The philosophy has always been (1) to meet candidates where they are and (2) that the more we know about an interviewee beforehand, the deeper and more helpful the interview will be.

Be Earlier than Early

I interviewed a candidate once who was 15 minutes late. His interview was essentially over before he even (finally!) walked in the door.  Just as you would plan to arrive early for an important work meeting to make sure you are physically and mentally ready, plan to arrive for your HBS interview earlier than necessary. If you know you have a problem with timeliness, plan to arrive even earlier still. This way you can have a few peaceful moments to gather your thoughts and prepare. If you end up being so early you have extra time on your hands, you can use the opportunity to meet other applicants, walk around campus, or just sit back and enjoy the moment. Whatever you do, just never be late!

Enjoy the Moment

I used to begin my HBS interviews by briefly introducing myself and then enthusiastically asking, “Ready to have some fun?” The candidates would look at me like I was crazy, clearly incapable of thinking the interview could possibly be fun, but by the end of our conversation, they understood what I had meant. Your interview is an opportunity to talk about yourself, your background, your goals, and your experiences—and to let your personality and style shine through. Try to loosen up and enjoy it! The 30 minutes go by really fast. By the time the interview starts, you cannot do anything more to prepare, so try to push through any nervousness you may be feeling and make the most of the experience! The HBS interview is an extremely human process for both the interviewer and interviewee. Embrace the opportunity to engage with the school on this next level and show your readiness for its unique MBA experience.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Should Quit My Job to Study for the   [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2019, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Should Quit My Job to Study for the GMAT
The GMAT is the sole piece of data that is truly consistent from one candidate to another. Therefore, many MBA applicants get carried away and place undue emphasis on it, when the test is only one of several important aspects of an application. In extreme cases, some applicants consider quitting their jobs to focus on the GMAT full time—not a great idea!

Why is it not ideal to quit your job to improve your GMAT score? Quite simply, it sends the message that you cannot manage what many other MBA candidates can manage quite well. In your application, you will need to account for any time off; if you honestly note that you quit your job to study for the GMAT, you will place yourself at a relative disadvantage to others who have proved that they can manage work, study, and possibly volunteer work simultaneously. By taking time off, you will send the unintended message that you cannot achieve what many do unless you have an uneven playing field. This is not the message you want to send your target academic institution, which wants to be sure that you can handle the academic course load, a job hunt, community commitments, and more.

Regardless of the admissions committees’ perceptions of taking time off, we believe a calm and methodical approach is your best bet. By furthering your career as you study, you will have a sense of balance in your life. On test day, you will have a far better chance of keeping a level head, ensuring that you will do your best—which, of course, was the point in the first place.
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Pluralize Nouns and Vary Sentence Length in Your MBA Application Essay  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2019, 11:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Pluralize Nouns and Vary Sentence Length in Your MBA Application Essays
One way to conserve words in your MBA application essays and short-answer responses is by pluralizing nouns whenever possible. Singular words often require an article such as “a,” “an,” or “the.” These words can add unnecessarily to your word count, thereby cluttering your page without contributing to your argument or style. Consider the following example:

“A manager with an MBA can ascend the corporate ladder faster than a manager who lacks an MBA.” (18 words)

Now consider this version, in which many of the singular nouns have been pluralized:

“Managers with MBAs can ascend the corporate ladder faster than managers without MBAs.” (13 words)

As you can see, both sentences present the same idea, but one sentence is five words shorter than the other. Given that essays can include dozens or even hundreds of sentences, pluralizing wherever possible is helpful in meeting word count requirements and decluttering the text.

Although decluttering your essays is important, ensure that all of your sentences are not the same length. Many business school applicants use medium-length sentences (like this one) in their essays. Few use short sentences (like this one). Likewise, few use long sentences in their essays, even though long sentences (like this one) can often play a useful role in an essay’s structure and story.

Confused? Consider the following example:

“At XYZ Inc., I was the manager in charge of leading a team of 12 staff members. Included in my team were four engineers, four marketing professionals, and four market analysts. Our goal was to develop a new thingamajig within six months. We worked really hard over the six months and succeeded. The new thingamajig is now on the market and is selling well. As a result of my efforts, I was promoted to vice president.”

All these sentences have approximately the same number of words and the same rhythm/cadence, making the paragraph fairly boring to read. Nothing changes—the structure just repeats itself over and over again, with one medium-length sentence following another medium-length sentence.

Now consider this example:*

“At XYZ Inc., I was the manager in charge of leading a thingamajig development team of 12 staff members, four of whom were engineers, four were marketing professionals, and four were market analysts. We had just six months to launch our new product. The team worked really hard and succeeded, and the new thingamajig is now on the market, where it is selling well. As a result of my efforts, I was promoted to vice president.”

The sentences in this paragraph are varied—the first is quite long, the second is very short, the third is medium-long, and the fourth is medium-short. Sentence variety makes for a much more interesting read, and one very short sentence in the middle of some longer ones can provide precisely the kind of contrast and drama that MBA application essays so often need.

*Please note that this is a simplified example for illustration purposes. If this were an actual essay, we would encourage the applicant to offer greater insight into his/her experience launching the product.
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Wharton Team-Based Discussion 2019: What to Expect and How to Prepare  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Feb 2019, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Wharton Team-Based Discussion 2019: What to Expect and How to Prepare
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania plans to send out Round 2 interview invitations on February 7, and once again, the school is using its team-based discussion format rather than a traditional admissions interview to evaluate its candidates. Understandably, Wharton applicants get anxious about this atypical interview, because the approach creates a very different dynamic from what one usually encounters in a one-on-one meeting—and with other applicants also in the room, one cannot help but feel less in control of the content and direction of the conversation. Yet despite the uncertainty, here are a few things that interviewees can expect:

  • You will need to arrive at the interview with an idea—a response to a challenge that will be presented in your interview invitation.
  • Having the best idea is much less important than how you interact with others in the group and communicate your thoughts. So while you should prepare an idea ahead of time, that is only part of what you will be evaluated on.
  • Your peers will have prepared their ideas as well. Chances are that ideas will be raised that you know little or nothing about. Do not worry! The admissions committee members are not measuring your topical expertise. Instead, they want to see how you add to the collective output of the team.
  • After the team-based discussion, you will have a short one-on-one session with someone representing Wharton’s admissions team. More than likely, you will be asked to reflect on how the team-based discussion went for you; this will require self-awareness on your part.
To give candidates the opportunity to undergo a realistic test run before experiencing the actual event, we created our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation. Via this simulation, applicants participate anonymously with three to five other MBA candidates in an online conversation, which is moderated by two of our experienced Senior Consultants familiar with Wharton’s format and approach. All participants then receive feedback on their performance, with special focus on their interpersonal skills and communication abilities. The simulation builds confidence by highlighting your role in a team, examining how you communicate your ideas to—and within—a group of (equally talented) peers, and discovering how you react when you are thrown “in the deep end” and have to swim. Our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation allows you to test the experience so you are ready for the real thing!

The 2019 Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation Round 2 schedule is as follows:

  • Group A: Saturday, February 9 at 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Group B: Sunday,February 10 at 3:00 p.m. ET 
  • Group C: Tuesday, February 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET 
  • Group D: Wednesday, February 13 at 6:00 p.m. ET 
  • Group E: Thursday, February 14 at 6:00 p.m. ET 
  • Group F: Saturday, February 16 at 3:00 p.m. ET 
  • Group G: Sunday, February 17 at 9:00 a.m. ET 
  • Group H: Sunday, February 17 at 3:00 p.m. ET 
  • Group I: Monday, February 18 at 9:00 p.m. ET 
  • Group J: Tuesday, February 19 at 9:00 p.m. ET 
  • Group K: Wednesday, February 20 at 6:00 p.m. ET 
  • Group L: Wednesday, February 20 at 9:00 p.m. ET 
  • Group M:Thursday, February 21 at 9:00 p.m. ET 
  • Group N: Saturday, February 23 at 3:00 p.m. ET 
  • Group 0: Sunday, February 24 at 12:00 p.m. ET 

To learn more or sign up for a session, visit our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation page.
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Cold Calls and Capital Management at Darden  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Feb 2019, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Cold Calls and Capital Management at Darden
MBA students at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business are known to work quite hard amid the rigors of the case method. Each day, they are expected to read a business case and perform their own analysis of the situation presented. Then, they must compare and reason through their analysis with a small, diverse group of fellow students—their Learning Team. Students can often spend two to four hours prepping on their own and then two to three more with their teammates to arrive at an answer (as opposed to the answer). And what might be the reward for all this work? The student may be selected for a “cold call” to start off the class.

At Darden, most first-year and some second-year classes begin with a professor randomly selecting a student to lead the day’s discussion by presenting his/her case analysis. This student can be subjected to anywhere from five to 20 minutes of questioning, as the professor teases out key points of discussion for the broader class to explore. Many a student has sweated through a cold call only to gain the applause of his/her peers at the end. (Others, of course, may not do as well.) These cold calls can be daunting, but they force students to prepare thoroughly and think on their feet—a key feature of the Darden learning experience.

Outside the Darden classroom, students can apply principles of the school’s general management program in the Darden Capital Management (DCM) club, where they evaluate equities to understand the entire firm while also specializing in asset management to further their careers in this finance industry niche. Many think that because Darden casts itself as offering a general management program, the school has no specialties. General management, however, is a philosophy that suggests that no business problem can be viewed in isolation—for example, a finance problem relates to marketing, a marketing problem relates to operations, and so on.

Through DCM, first-year students pitch long and short investment ideas to second-year student fund managers who oversee approximately $18M of Darden’s endowment, which is divided among five funds, each with its own focal area. The first years ultimately “graduate” and run these funds themselves for credit as second years, reporting on their investment decisions and performance to Darden’s finance board. Students who manage these funds report that they have had an advantage breaking into asset management, because this hands-on experience gives them plenty to discuss in interviews. Managing around $18M will do that…

For more information on Darden or 16 other leading MBA programs, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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MBA Admissions Officers Cite U.S. Political Climate as Top Cause for A  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Feb 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Officers Cite U.S. Political Climate as Top Cause for Application Decline
Admissions officers at U.S.-based business schools believe that such factors as the current political climate and a strong job market are to blame for the recent decline in MBA applications, a new Kaplan Test Prep survey reveals. Kaplan interviewed admissions officers from more than 150 business schools across the country for the survey, which seeks to explain why 70% of U.S. business schools reported declines in full-time, two-year MBA applications last year. The slight majority, 31%, of respondents believe that international students are hesitant to apply to business schools in the United States due to the current political climate, while 30% think that the relatively strong job market is leading possible applicants to stay in the workforce instead. Other responses included the cost of an MBA (17% of respondents), uncertainty regarding the value of an MBA (13%), the lack of one-year MBA programs in the country (7%), and the belief that an MBA is needed for fewer jobs than in previous years (3%).

More admissions officers are concerned about the long-term effects of the political climate than in 2017—indeed, 74% of survey participants claimed to be worried about a possible decline in international applications in the future, up from 68% in the previous year. “When the job market is robust, as it has been for the past two years, applications tend to be down,” Jeff Thomas, the executive director of admissions programs at Kaplan Test Prep, commented in the press release about the survey. He also noted, “But even if the economy does take a downturn, an American political climate that discourages international students from coming may erode any normal application increase. We’ll continue to track this trend.”
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Testing Accommodations on the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Testing Accommodations on the GMAT
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

Do you qualify for testing accommodations on the GMAT? Or do you think you might?

Broadly speaking, the term “accommodations” refers to altering the testing conditions for a particular student to “level the playing field” for that student. Someone with serious vision problems, for example, may need some kind of altered test format to read the test questions. These accommodations do not make the test easier for the student; rather, they make the test possible at the same level as for a regular student.

What is the process for applying for testing accommodations, and how are the decisions made? Glad you asked. I have spent the past couple months reading everything I can find and talking to representatives from GMAC. In addition, I spoke with a psychologist who deals with various kinds of learning disabilities.

All this research culminated in our unofficial GMAT Testing Accommodations Encyclopedia! I will give you the highlights here and then link to the full article at the end.

GMAC lists five main categories of issues covered and also offers an “other” category (if you feel your particular issue does not fit into one of these five areas).

The general application process is the same for all categories, but the material required to document your condition can vary, and the full article (linked to at the end) covers these details.

What qualifies… and what does not?

No easy answer to this question exists. The overarching issue, according to both neuropsychologist Dr. Teresa Elliott and private psychologist Dr. Tova Elberg, is a condition that results in some kind of impaired functioning in daily life that meets the criteria of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the DSM-IV or DSM-V.

A diagnosis by itself is not enough, though. The condition must be shown to affect current functioning, and this impact must be documented carefully.

Everyone was very clear that a diagnosis does not necessarily mean that someone qualifies for testing accommodations. The diagnosis must result in functional impairment that has an impact on daily work and living situations in general, not just testing situations. This is precisely why the application asks you to explain how a particular issue or disability affects your current functioning across work and academic settings.

Many additional nuances must be considered, so dive into the GMAT Testing Accommodations Encyclopedia and let us know if you have any questions or comments!
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Post-MBA Employment Among the Class of 2018 at Top-Ranked Business Sch  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Feb 2019, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Post-MBA Employment Among the Class of 2018 at Top-Ranked Business Schools
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As the Class of 2019 completes its final semester before graduation, hopefully members of the Class of 2018 are settling comfortably into their post-MBA jobs. Business schools take pride in their ability to help students advance in their careers after graduation, and many top-ranked MBA programs see the vast majority of their graduating classes accept great positions across numerous business fields. In this chart, we examine what percentage of each top-ranked school’s Class of 2018 received at least one job offer three months after graduation. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania came out on top, as 98.4% of its Class of 2018 had received offers by the fall of 2018. MIT Sloan was second with 97%, while 96.3% of Chicago Booth’s latest graduating class had offers three months after graduation. All of the 14 schools we examined reported that more than 90% of their 2018 graduating class had received offers by the fall.
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