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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Meet mbaMission’s Rachel Beck at Poets&Quants’ CentreCourt New York Fe [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Meet mbaMission’s Rachel Beck at Poets&Quants’ CentreCourt New York Festival!
Are you considering applying to business school sometime in the next few years? Whether you are still in the contemplation stage or ready to choose your target schools and start applying this season, mbaMission can help you put your best foot forward.

This March, we are proud to be part of Poets&Quants’ CentreCourt festival in New York City, where prospective MBAs meet and network with business school representatives, admissions professionals, and like-minded applicants from across the country. During the festival, mbaMission Senior Consultant Rachel Beck will be available to chat with attendees and will present an exclusive session outlining the skills you need to map out your career goals and find the right MBA program for you.

Join us on Saturday, March 30, 2019, in New York City to

  • engage in hands-on workshops led by top business schools and designed for the individual applicant.
  • hear from top deans, directors, and recruiters about the state of business education, the value/return on investment of the MBA degree, and how schools might adapt and thrive in changing times.
  • meet face-to-face in a casual setting with admissions officers from the world’s top 50 business schools.
  • receive targeted advice from an mbaMission admissions expert, as well as other helpful business school resources, including a hard copy of our Complete Start-to-Finish MBA Admissions Guide (while supplies last).
Register today on the Poets&Quants website to reserve your spot. We look forward to meeting you soon!
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Meet mbaMission’s Rachel Beck and Susan Kaplan at Poets&Quants’ Centre [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Meet mbaMission’s Rachel Beck and Susan Kaplan at Poets&Quants’ CentreCourt New York Festival!
Are you considering applying to business school sometime in the next few years? Whether you are still in the contemplation stage or ready to choose your target schools and start applying this season, mbaMission can help you put your best foot forward.

This March, we are proud to be part of Poets&Quants’ CentreCourt festival in New York City, where prospective MBAs meet and network with business school representatives, admissions professionals, and like-minded applicants from across the country. During the festival, mbaMission Senior Consultants Rachel Beck and Susan Kaplan will be available to chat with attendees and will present an exclusive session outlining the skills you need to map out your career goals and find the right MBA program for you.

Join us on Saturday, March 30, 2019, in New York City to

  • engage in hands-on workshops led by top business schools and designed for the individual applicant.
  • hear from top deans, directors, and recruiters about the state of business education, the value/return on investment of the MBA degree, and how schools might adapt and thrive in changing times.
  • meet face-to-face in a casual setting with admissions officers from the world’s top 50 business schools.
  • receive targeted advice from an mbaMission admissions expert, as well as other helpful business school resources, including a hard copy of our Complete Start-to-Finish MBA Admissions Guide (while supplies last).
Register today on the Poets&Quants website to reserve your spot. We look forward to meeting you soon!
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Alumni Generosity and Research-to-Practice at Dartmouth Tuck [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Alumni Generosity and Research-to-Practice at Dartmouth Tuck

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth has approximately 10,500 living alumni. Although that figure may sound small compared with a larger school’s alumni base, numerous students and graduates we have interviewed report that Tuck has an active and close-knit alumni community. Through their continued involvement with the school as mentors, visiting executives, recruiting contacts, and internship providers, Tuck alumni maintain an open channel between the MBA program and the business world. The Tuck students with whom we have spoken cannot say enough about the strength of student-alumni interactions, emphasizing that the vitality of Tuck’s close-knit community endures long after graduation.

One second-year student shared that he had had pretty high expectations with regard to the school’s alumni network “but still underestimated how strong the network can be.” He explained, “The connections were instant. I received same-day responses, all the time. There is a strong pay-it-forward mentality and a genuine interest in seeing people from Tuck do well. Alums go out of their way to help with networking, job preparation, anything.”

Tuck alumni also stay connected to the school through its annual fund-raising campaign. The school reportedly boasts the highest giving rate of all U.S. MBA programs. Tuck noted that its giving rate is “more than double the average giving rate of other business schools” in an August 2015 news article on the school’s website, and in an August 2016 article, the school boasted, “More than two-thirds of Tuck’s [alumni] gave to their alma mater this year, continuing the school’s tradition of unparalleled alumni loyalty and participation.” This pattern continued in 2017, when more than two-thirds of the Tuck alumni pool donated to the school, for the 11th year in a row. In fact, the school raised a record $31.1 million in 2017. In 2018, Tuck set a new record when it raised $51.3M from its alumni. In April 2018, the school launched a new capital campaign titled “The Tuck Difference: The Campaign for Tomorrow’s Wise Leaders.” The fundraiser is part of the larger university’s $3B campaign, for which Tuck has set an investment target of $250M.

Tuck takes pride in not only its active alumni pool, but also its close-knit community and small faculty-to-student ratio. The school’s Research-to-Practice Seminars complement these characteristics and allow incoming students to quickly get acquainted with the Tuck culture. An article on the school’s Tuck Today website explained that “International Entrepreneurship” was the first of several such seminars designed to give students insight into a real-world business issue. The seminars were conceived as a key component of the school’s strategic five-year plan, called “Tuck 2012.” The courses bring together a small group of second-year students with top faculty for a “deep dive” into a specific topic. Research-to-Practice Seminars that have been offered in the past include the following:

  • “Corporate Takeovers”
  • “Deconstructing Apple”
  • “Management of Investment Portfolios”
  • “Marketing Good and Evil: Consumer Moral Judgment and Well-Being”
  • “Strategy in Innovation Ecosystems”
  • “Time in the Consumer Mind”
For more information on other defining characteristics of the MBA program at Dartmouth Tuck or one of 16 other top business schools, please check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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What to Do When You Do Not Have Much Time to Prepare for the GMAT [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: What to Do When You Do Not Have Much Time to Prepare for 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.

Some time ago, I flew over to London to give an all-day workshop at London Business School. The audience comprised about 35 students who had already been admitted to a weekend master’s program, but that admission was contingent upon taking the GMAT and getting a “good enough” score (as defined by the school). The students had only about a month or two to fulfill this requirement.

What can you do in a six-hour crash course? Not much more than an introduction and orientation—but even that is incredibly valuable in helping people get started and know what to expect.

So what should someone do who is in the position of taking the test in four to eight weeks and has not studied a ton yet?

First, take a practice test under 100% official conditions. I always recommend this first step for anyone, but this is especially crucial for someone with limited time. You are going to have to prioritize heavily, and you have no effective way to do that without good practice test data.

Next, identify the practice materials you want to use. You are going to need at least one source for official practice questions (perhaps the Official Guide 2018 Edition). You are also going to need some materials that help you get better in your areas of greatest weakness—for example, if you are struggling with word problems and sentence correction, then you are going to need some test prep materials that teach those specific areas.

When determining which question types and content areas to prioritize, remember two important things:

(1) All areas are not created equal. Struggling with Combinatorics? Great. Those are infrequently tested, so you can get away with just dropping that topic entirely. Struggling with exponents and roots? Those are much more common, so you are going to need to dig in there. Frequently versus infrequently tested areas can change over time, so ask an expert on an online forum at whatever point you need to figure this out.

(2) Timing is an enormous factor on this exam. Everyone has timing problems, ranging from mild to severe. I cannot tell you how many students I have spoken with who study for months but do not get much better on their practice tests because they have not been practicing timing. Everyone needs to deal with timing right from the start—and this is especially true for someone who has only four to eight weeks to take the test.

Last step: Start working! Tons of resources are available on the Manhattan Prep blog to help you in your studies, but I will point you toward two particular article compilations that should be the most helpful. Both articles were written as comprehensive articles for people who have months to study, so you will once again have to prioritize and cut out things for which you just do not have time—but these will provide you with the best starting point from which to make those decisions.
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Wealthy, Successful, and Miserable: Find Out Now What Drives You [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Wealthy, Successful, and Miserable: Find Out Now What Drives You
In this blog series, our mbaMission Career 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.

As you think about your post-MBA career or are trying to come to terms with recruiting results that are not what you anticipated, we strongly encourage you to read this recent New York Times article: “Wealthy, Successful and Miserable” by journalist and author Charles Duhigg.

Our mbaMission Career Coaches felt this article was important to share for the following reasons:

  • MBAs frequently look to their peers and wonder why they have not met with as much success as their peers. However, success (or securing a job with a “top” firm) does not always equal happiness or satisfaction at work.
  • Being forced to scramble for work early in your career helps build resilience. Learning from your setbacks helps you make smarter decisions in the future and enables you to be more content with your career choices.
  • There is no one “right” or “perfect” job; instead, the process of determining whether a job suits you is complicated and based upon what you value as an individual.
So, what can you do now to avoid being miserable in your job in 15 or more years?

  • Define and find your own version of success. Identify both the type of role and the organizations that align with your values.
  • Gather insights from books such as Designing Your Life and Why We Work, and try the exercises outlined in our “Defining Your Career Goals” and “Prep for Your Post-MBA Job Now” blog posts. Take the career assessment from CareerLeader. Talk with mentors, career coaches, former managers, and peers.
  • Talk with people in your target roles and see if their drivers of satisfaction match yours.
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 a free 30-minute consultation!
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Your MBA Program Is the Sole Determina [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Your MBA Program Is the Sole Determinant of Your Future
Human nature dictates that amid a competitive application process—exaggerated by the pervasiveness of rankings and the chatter surrounding them—some MBA students will perceive that they are ahead of others because they were accepted at a top school, while others will perceive that they are behind their peers because they gained acceptance from a lower-ranked school. What is often lost amid all of this worrying is that you, not your business school, are the independent variable. You, not your school, will determine your success.

Many regard such prestigious institutions as Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business as a holy grail of sorts. Their reasoning is along the lines of, “All you have to do is get in and you are set for life!” This is undoubtedly wrong. Although tremendous opportunities exist for those who graduate from Harvard or Stanford, no graduate is simply given a free pass. When MBAs find summer or full-time positions at prestigious firms, they are still competing with others from many schools once they enter their workplaces, where (surprise!) their individual performance—not their pedigree—then determines their success.

An mbaMission consultant recalls her MBA summer internship at J.P. Morgan, wherein the firm recruited students from 17 top MBA programs. At the end of the summer, students from Wharton, Michigan Ross, UVA Darden, Texas McCombs, and NYU Stern were offered full-time positions, while students from many other schools were left out. This simple anecdote features a very small sampling from one firm and one summer, but it can be an eye-opener for an MBA applicant who assumes that a top ten school is the “ticket.”

Further, a myriad of studies suggest that lower-ranked schools offer a greater return on investment than top-ranked schools. In one study sponsored by GMAC (the collective of MBA programs that administers the GMAT), data suggests that lower-ranked schools offer lower costs and higher returns over a ten-year period (185% vs. 118%). We are not suggesting that you start applying exclusively to lower-ranked schools or that you shun Stanford or Harvard—both have excellent programs. Our point is simply that some applicants can too closely identify with their target schools and neglect to recognize that their internal motors have gotten them to a place where they can compete for acceptances. These internal motors will not be shut off during or after business school, but will continue to drive the applicants in the future.
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Finding Suitable Recommendation Writers and Ensuring Their Punctuality [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Finding Suitable Recommendation Writers and Ensuring Their Punctuality
Letters of recommendation are an important part of your overall application package—they provide the only outside information the admissions committee receives about you. One of the most stressful parts of the application process can be picking your recommender. The first question you should ask is who can write a valuable letter on my behalf?

Like many candidates, you may believe that your recommenders must have remarkable credentials and titles to impress the admissions committee. However, what is far more important is selecting individuals who can write a personal and knowledgeable letter that discusses your talents, accomplishments, personality, and potential. If senior managers at your company can only describe your work in vague and general terms, they will not help your cause. Lower-level managers who directly supervise your work, on the other hand, can often offer powerful examples of the impact you have had on your company. As a result, their letters can be far more effective.

Nonetheless, not everyone who knows you and your capabilities well will make a good recommender. For starters, you should of course feel confident that your potential recommender likes you and will write a positive letter on your behalf. As you contemplate your choices, try to gather some intelligence on your potential recommenders. Have they written letters for anyone else? Are they generous with their time with regard to employee feedback and review sessions? Will they devote the effort and time necessary to write a letter that will really shine? (See also our blog post on choosing “safe” recommenders.)

If your prospective MBA program asks for two letters of recommendation, you should generally approach two of your recent supervisors, with one ideally being your current supervisor. Your letters will have added credibility if they are written by individuals who are senior to you, because your recommenders are in evaluative positions and will not have anything to lose by critically appraising your candidacy.

As application deadlines approach, many candidates find themselves immersed in stress—busy juggling multiple essays and revising their resume. Often in the midst of all this, an alarming question suddenly springs to mind: What if my recommenders do not get their letters done by the deadline?

In our opinion, the easiest way to ensure that your recommenders complete their letters on time is to present them with your own deadline—one that is a bit earlier than the school’s—when you first ask them to provide a recommendation for you. If the application to your school of choice is due on January 15, for example, tell your recommenders that you are submitting on January 8. Incidentally, submitting your application early can be good for your sanity as well. By setting this advanced deadline, you can put some additional pressure on your recommender on the 8th if he/she has not yet finished the letter, so you should still be able to submit by the school’s official deadline.

Most people work to deadlines. Alleviate unnecessary stress by setting your recommenders’ deadlines one week early, and “enjoy” the application process a little bit more.
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Professor Profiles: Katherine Schipper, Duke University Fuqua School o [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Katherine Schipper, Duke University Fuqua School of Business

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 Katherine Schipper from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business.

Katherine Schipper is the Thomas F. Keller Professor of Business Administration at Fuqua and has typically taught one of the MBA program’s core accounting courses, “Financial Accounting.” She previously served in several roles for the American Accounting Association and is currently the president of the International Association for Accounting Education and Research. Schipper was editor of the Journal of Accounting Research for many years and was a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board from 2001 to 2006, before joining Fuqua. In 2007, Schipper was the first woman inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame.

A second-year student we interviewed who had taken the course “Global Institutions and Environment” with Schipper (co-taught with a fellow professor) said, “She was outstanding. It was amazing to have professors of their caliber teaching the first class we experienced at Fuqua.” Another second year told us, “I was really nervous about accounting, but she made it very accessible, and even occasionally fun.” When asked which professor impressed her most, a second year we interviewed named Schipper, praising her rigor in the classroom: “She held every single person to an impeccably high standard and set the tone for graduate level expectations.”

For more information about the Duke University Fuqua School of Business and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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B-School Insider Interview: Second-Year Student, University of Virgini [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: B-School Insider Interview: Second-Year Student, University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business
Periodically, mbaMission interviews business school students and alumni to gain insight into their experience attending top MBA programs. We recently spoke with a second-year student at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business who graduated from a small liberal arts college before spending several years in retail with firms on both U.S. coasts. After working on a strategic project for a family business in the industry over the summer, she has her sights set on joining a mid-sized retail company after graduating later this year. (February 2019)

mbaMission: When you were deciding where you wanted to pursue your MBA degree, what led you to ultimately choose Darden?

Darden Second Year: From the time I began researching business schools, Darden stood out to me. I was particularly interested in the case method, the emphasis on the student experience, the general management curriculum, and the quality of the professors. mbaMission’s guides [Insider’s Guides] to the different schools helped me to learn more about Darden and some other schools. They included a lot of information on the actual, current student experience. The priority for me in the business school application process was finding the right fit. I wanted to make sure that I went to a school that was a good fit for me.

During the application process, I spoke to a recent Darden alum—a friend of a friend from college—who answered my questions, shared about her experience, and provided necessary links for me between what I valued about our college and what I would find at Darden. Soon after, I realized that Darden would be the right fit for me for business school. The admissions team handled the process so well, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to be here.

mbaMission: I’m glad it worked out! Now that you’re in your second year of the program, would you say the school has matched your expectations?

Darden Second Year: Darden has matched—and exceeded—my expectations. The school was absolutely the right fit for me. I have thoroughly enjoyed it, and particularly the in-class experience. The school delivers on what it is known for and genuinely cares about its students. It has been a challenging, rewarding, and meaningful experience.

mbaMission: That’s great. How do you like living in Charlottesville, and how do you think it’s affected your MBA experience?

Darden Second Year: The University of Virginia [UVA] is a unique and special learning environment. If someone in any way is attracted to what it stands for and what Darden has to offer, I would encourage that person to visit the school and just apply. UVA and Darden communicate well, and student safety is a priority.

mbaMission: What are your overall thoughts on the core curriculum and the way Darden in particular executes it?

Darden Second Year: I think Darden’s first-year core curriculum is extremely effective. Everyone takes everything, and this is a key part of the collective experience. Through the case method discussions, there are numerous relevant, direct applications for business leaders and managers. The faculty is attuned to the topics covered in other classes and helps the students to make important connections—including teaching joint classes that combine the subject material. These gave us examples of how various functions within a workplace can intersect in productive ways. In my experience, putting in the hard work, effort, and preparation—and fully listening in class—will lead to tremendous learning and valuable takeaways for any future business role.

mbaMission: I know that Darden puts students into groups of six or seven to prepare for classes together and that these Learning Teams are a large part of the school’s MBA program. How has your Learning Team experience been?

Darden Second Year: My Learning Team was great. My Learning Teammates were nice, collaborative, and patient students. The nightly group sessions prior to each class were important to us, and we remained collectively committed throughout our time together. I learned a lot from my Learning Team and appreciated that everyone came prepared for each other. I think Learning Teams are an important and necessary part of the first-year experience at Darden.

mbaMission: UVA is rather well known for its honor code. How does that code come into play at Darden?

Darden Second Year: The honor code at the University of Virginia is a big deal. It is at the foundation of the student experience. Each of us has a responsibility to abide by and uphold it. At Darden specifically, there is a sense of trust, and with that comes certain privileges for students that make the academic experience distinct.

mbaMission: Have you done any Darden-related traveling during your MBA experience, whether as part of a course or an exchange or just for fun?

Darden Second Year: I haven’t personally, but many of my classmates have. And the school offers many wonderful opportunities to travel in a small group with a faculty lead. These combine culture and business to create interesting and relevant learning experiences. My classmates have really enjoyed their Darden Worldwide Courses.

mbaMission: Speaking of classmates, how would you characterize your fellow students and the Darden community as a whole?

Darden Second Year: The Darden community is a nice, positive, and safe learning environment. People are willing to listen to others’ viewpoints. Ideas are challenged in a way that encourages more thinking. And Darden is collaborative, not competitive. Students are supportive of each other both inside and outside of the classroom. The faculty are genuinely interested in students’ contributions and enjoy learning from us, too. The professors care about the students here, and they often do more than what is expected. They enjoy getting to know the students and always make time for us. Multiple professors have helped me outside of the classroom, and many have positively added to my experience at Darden.

mbaMission: Are there any professors in particular that you’ve found especially impressive? Or specific courses that have stood out for some reason?

Darden Second Year: Overall, the professors at Darden are excellent. There are so many good ones. They can teach complicated material in a way that is accessible, easy to understand, interesting, and stimulating. And they want to know what students are thinking about. Many of them make class fun, light, and enjoyable. Prior to business school, I had taken no business or math courses in college and only one introductory economics course. Yet all of the required quantitative classes were doable. And I was pleased with how I did in them. There are various resources available to students to aid in our learning. Some of these were extremely useful for me during the first year and helped me to better understand new and challenging concepts.

Many of the first-year core curriculum courses were relevant, useful, and worthwhile. Second-year courses that stand out for me are “Management Planning and Control Systems,” “Strategic Intuition and Eastern Philosophy,” “Ultimate Questions for Responsible Management and Value in Business,” and “Organic Growth: A Challenge for Public Companies.” Most of these are not “traditional” or “core” business courses, but I found them to be extremely relevant and useful on a business and personal level. I have also learned a lot from all of my other second-year courses, which have covered a wide variety of topics from business law to understanding the nonprofit sector.

mbaMission: What is the student body’s general impression of Dean (Scott) Beardsley? Is he very accessible to students?

Darden Second Year: I was fortunate to be in a class in which Dean Beardsley guest-taught. It was enjoyable, and he was very effective at engaging students and encouraging us to think more deeply. He teaches his own class here for second years. He is committed to the school, its mission, its values, and making Darden better. I have seen immediate improvements during my time here, which I think reflects the school’s leadership and the dean’s vision. There are also good processes in place at Darden to act on student feedback and to improve the student experience. Darden has shown me just how effectively a school can operate. I look forward to seeing how it will continue to evolve and improve.

mbaMission: Have you been involved with any of the student clubs while at Darden?

Darden Second Year: I am a member of the Retail & Luxury Goods Club, the Darden Business Innovation & Design Club, the Marketing Club, and the General Management & Operations Club. The second years in each club work hard to provide resources and create experiences that set up first years for success in the recruiting process. The clubs also offer opportunities to hear from alums and other industry experts.

mbaMission: So, have you had much interaction with members of the Darden alumni? Would you say the alumni are fairly receptive to students?

Darden Second Year: My experience has been that Darden alumni are willing to help. I have enjoyed listening to different alumni return to school to speak, both inside and outside of the classroom. For example, Hal Lawton, the president of Macy’s, spoke as part of the Darden Leadership Speaker Series.

mbaMission: What would you say are some of the best parts of Darden’s campus and facilities?

Darden Second Year: Darden—and the University of Virginia, in general—is a beautiful place. The technology in the classrooms and in the Learning Team rooms is great, and it all contributes to the collaborative and multifaceted experience. The close proximity of the faculty offices and the classrooms is also nice and contributes to the professors’ accessibility.

mbaMission: What do you think more people should know about the Darden MBA program that they probably do not know, particularly candidates who might be considering the school—or who are not considering it and should?

Darden Second Year: The Darden MBA program is unique and special. During my admissions interview, the second-year student interviewer shared that his time at Darden has been the most transformative two years of his life. I would add that if you are interested in what Darden has to offer and, once you arrive, if you trust the school’s process, you will learn and grow tremendously—as a business professional and a person—in ways that may be hard to imagine right now. I’m so grateful to have had this experience.

mbaMission: Thank you so much for your time!
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mbaMission Celebrates Reaching 1,000 Verified Reviews on GMAT Club [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission Celebrates Reaching 1,000 Verified Reviews on GMAT Club
Here at mbaMission, admissions consulting is both a professional calling and a full-time career. After more than a decade of helping business school applicants gain admission to their dream MBA programs, we are proud to have built a dominant presence on GMAT Club, one of the leading websites for verified admissions consulting reviews.

With an average rating of 5.0/5 stars, we not only are the leader in five-star reviews but also have more five-star ratings than many of our competitors combined. Today, we are celebrating reaching yet another profound milestone on the GMAT Club platform: 1,000 reviews left by happy clients!

We are extremely proud of our standing both in the eyes of our past clients and in the admissions consulting landscape. We hope to have the chance to provide you with exceptional service in 2019!






Click the image above to continue reading mbaMission verified reviews on gmatclub.com
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Columbia Business School’s Financial Studies Program and Increasingly [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Columbia Business School’s Financial Studies Program and Increasingly Flexible Curriculum
Already well known as a finance powerhouse, Columbia Business School (CBS) stepped up its finance game in 2010 with the establishment of the Program for Financial Studies. This umbrella initiative connects faculty who approach financial studies from a variety of disciplines with students, alumni, and external organizations. The program’s main goals are to support research, to enhance the CBS finance curriculum and related resources, and to create opportunities for the exchange of ideas between CBS students and faculty and members of the external finance community. The program’s case studies include “The Norwegian Government Pension Fund: The Divestiture of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.,” written by Professor Andrew Ang, and “Don’t Be Evil: Google’s 2004 Dutch Auction Initial Public Offering,” written by the program’s founding director, Professor Laurie Simon Hodrick.

The structure of CBS’s core curriculum has also evolved—the school’s first-year was at one time very rigid, and all first-year students took all core courses with their cluster unless they were able to pass an exemption exam. Students complained, however, that this inflexible system meant they could take only one elective course their first year, which could put them at a disadvantage when competing for summer internships. For example, previously, a CBS student who accepted a summer internship at a bank may have completed only one finance elective by the end of his/her first year, but that student’s counterparts on the internship from other schools may have taken two or three—thus potentially putting the CBS student at a disadvantage with regard to being considered for a full-time job at the end of the internship. So, after an intense process of research and evaluation, CBS launched a more flexible core curriculum in 2008.

Five years later, in 2013, CBS implemented further changes to its core curriculum, including an increased emphasis on cross-disciplinary thinking, in addition to even more flexibility. The revamped core courses also make greater use of online teaching tools in an attempt to “free up more classroom time for deeper dives and discussions,” as a 2013 Poets&Quants article explains. In the second semester of the first year, students can pick three full-term electives and three half-term electives, replacing the school’s previous “flex-core” configuration and allowing students to better prepare for summer internships. In addition, students may take exemption exams in areas in which they are already proficient, thereby accessing the option to replace core courses with electives. This revised curriculum was developed in response to student feedback that a full term was not needed to cover the “core” elements in certain courses, and the change has given students significantly more flexibility in the first year.

CBS has thereby attempted to find a middle ground where students learn what the school considers fundamentals while having the latitude to specialize, and anecdotally, students have responded favorably.

For a thorough exploration of what CBS and 16 other top U.S. business schools have to offer, please check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Wharton Tops the U.S. News MBA Ranking for the First Time [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Wharton Tops the U.S. News MBA Ranking for the First Time

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

U.S. News and World Report released its 2020 Best Business Schools ranking this week with a new name on top: the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Although Wharton has shared the top spot in a tie before (most recently in 2017), this year marks the first time that the school has been ranked first by itself. The Stanford Graduate School of Business was second, two spots higher than last year. Meanwhile, the two programs that tied for number one last year, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Harvard Business School, shared third place this time, along with the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Among the most notable changes of the year was the rise of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University to 21st place, up six spots from the previous year. Similarly, the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business came in 17th place, three spots higher than in 2018 and its highest ranking to date. The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College fell out of the top ten for the first time in years and was ranked in 12th place, in a tie with the NYU Stern School of Business and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Well, I Had My Chance on the GMAT [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Well, I Had My Chance on the GMAT
You finally took the GMAT, and though your score was not bad, it was not what you had hoped—not your best score, but certainly not so low that you need to take the test again. With a score just below where you think you should be, should you risk it all and take the test again? The truth is that there is actually no risk in taking the GMAT a second—or even a third—time in pursuit of a better outcome.

If you feel like you do your best on the GMAT on your first try, you can rest easy and move on. However, if you do poorly or simply do not live up to your potential, go ahead and take the test again. Simply put, do not worry that if you do worse on your second try, your target school will average your score down or consider only your lower score. In fact, whether your score improves or gets worse, your target school will consider only your highest score, thereby eliminating any risk to you or your candidacy. So, if you score a 700 on your first test and a 670 on your second, you are better off than if you had scored a 690 on both.

It is worth noting that Dartmouth Tuck tacitly encourages multiple attempts at the GMAT by allowing applicants to report all valid scores from the last five years. Tuck will consider an applicant’s best performance on each section of the GMAT (verbal and quantitative), even if the individual scores are from different tests, but will not combine scores to consider a new total score.

So, relax and take the test again if you have time and—more importantly—can do better. However, unless you feel that you can improve, taking the test over and over again is pointless. You would be surprised how many people take the GMAT repeatedly without considering improvement at all.
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Avoid Negativity and Multiple Famous Quotes in Your MBA Application Es [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Avoid Negativity and Multiple Famous Quotes in Your MBA Application Essays
Sincerity. Honesty. Candor. We encourage MBA candidates to incorporate these attributes into their applications, and when they do, successful essays tend to follow. Yet, can an applicant go too far? The answer is “yes,” especially when candor turns to negativity. Sometimes, when MBA candidates believe they are being candid, they are in fact revealing themselves to be predisposed to pessimism; as a result, the admissions committee has difficulty identifying with their file. Such situations are unfortunate, but luckily, they are often also avoidable; an ostensibly “negative” idea can almost always be expressed in a positive and optimistic manner.

Example:

“In my current position, I am no longer learning and am afraid I will continue to stagnate without my MBA. I cannot achieve my objective of becoming a leader in the marketing department at my firm unless…”

Common sense would say that the admissions committee would likely not be very excited about accepting an applicant who believes he/she has stopped learning or that his/her career progress can be thwarted by basic obstacles.

Revised Example:

“As I look to the future, I recognize that with MBA training, I could dramatically increase my impact on my firm. With an eye toward a leadership position in our marketing department, I am…”

In this revised example, the candidate is expressing the exact same need for an MBA in positive terms and is thus making him-/herself a more warm and engaging prospect, while still candidly stating a need for further education.

Before submitting your file, check for unnecessarily negative statements. Although we would never suggest that every line in your essays must be full of sunshine, you should certainly take steps to avoid portraying yourself as a pessimist.

Like negativity, you should also avoid relying on quotes in your MBA application essays. Sometimes, incorporating a famous quote (or perhaps a lesser-known quote by a well-known person) can add a little something special to the story you are trying to tell. If the quotation truly enhances your message in a significant way, it can serve as an effective tool, making your submission that much more compelling. Consider the following examples:

Example 1:

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

Roosevelt’s words are as true today as when he spoke them. The essence of a manager is…

Example 2:

As Peter F. Drucker said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” I have found the distinction between management and leadership especially important…

However, some candidates may be tempted to use a quotation as a kind of crutch, essentially relying on someone else’s clever or poignant wordsmanship in place of their own. Think of using a quotation as a way of enriching an already interesting narrative, rather than as an easy shortcut to a more impressive essay.

Before using a quotation in your writing, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Does the quotation fit the essay’s main theme?
  • Does the quotation reflect who you are or what you believe?
  • Does the quotation truly enhance the essay?
If you can answer “yes” to all three questions, incorporating the quotation into your essay might be a good idea. But first make sure that your story is sufficiently strong to stand on its own without the quote, and limit yourself to just one quotation per application—not per essay.
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How Many Class of 2018 MBAs Started New Businesses? [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: How Many Class of 2018 MBAs Started New Businesses?
Entrepreneurship’s popularity among MBAs has been cemented in recent years, as many top-ranked business schools have further emphasized relevant studies and experiential learning possibilities in their curriculums. For example, approximately 7% of each Harvard Business School (HBS) graduating class in the past decade skipped the traditional job search and instead started their own businesses. We examined top-ranked schools’ employment reports for the Class of 2018, which graduated last spring, to see which freshly minted MBA classes featured the highest number of new business founders. Of course, the size of each graduating class makes it difficult to compare the numbers directly, but our chart offers an idea of which schools appear to spark the entrepreneurial fire within students—or, perhaps, attract more entrepreneurship-minded applicants than others.



Within the Class of 2018 at HBS, 70 students (7.5% of the 934 graduating students) planned to start their own businesses. The Stanford Graduate School of Business had 68 entrepreneurship-oriented graduates, although its graduating class was much smaller in comparison to that of HBS (417 students, making the percentage of students starting new businesses 16.3%). MIT Sloan, which had a similarly mid-sized class of 409 students, saw 39 individuals (or 9.5%) go into entrepreneurship. Columbia Business School (CBS) and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania boasted fairly large graduating classes (727 and 813 students, respectively, within each Class of 2018) and sent similar numbers of students into the world of start-ups: 37 (5.1% of the class) at CBS and 34 (4.2%) at Wharton.
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Professor Profiles: John Morgan, University of California, Berkeley, H [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: John Morgan, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business

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 John Morgan from the University of California (UC), Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

John Morgan has been teaching at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business since 2002. He won the Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006 and was the first recipient of the Oliver E. Williamson Award in 2014. In an admissions podcast (“Game Theory and Strategy”), Morgan discussed how he has grown his “Game Theory” course, which studies how nations and industries interact strategically with each other. Morgan, who has served as the Oliver E. and Dolores W. Williamson Chair of the Economics of Organizations since 2006, recommends that all Haas MBA students take the course, which is designed to cover all functions and industries, in their last semester at the school so that they apply the “mind-set to think strategically” to what they have learned in the program. Morgan expects the teams in his class to be ready to defend their strategies, but plenty of laughter is part of the course as well—as it reportedly is in all Morgan’s courses. An alumna even commented via Twitter in 2012, “Loving John Morgan’s Disruptive Technologies seminar. Great comedic timing.”

For more information about UC-Berkeley Haas and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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B-School Insider Interview: Alumnus, University of Chicago Booth Schoo [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: B-School Insider Interview: Alumnus, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Class of 2018
Periodically, mbaMission interviews business school students and alumni to gain insight into their experience attending top MBA programs. Entering business school with a background in accounting, finance, and mergers and acquisitions consulting, this Chicago Booth alumnus from Asia embraced the school’s flexible curriculum with an open mind about what the next phase of his career would hold. He now works at one of the world’s top consulting firms. (February 2019)

mbaMission: Thank you so much for talking with me today. To start, what inspired you to choose Chicago Booth for your degree? And has it met your expectations?

Chicago Booth Alumnus: Oh, absolutely. I think that part of what made me choose Chicago was that I didn’t have a 100% clear idea of exactly what I wanted to get into. So I was kind of toying with “Do I maybe want to go into finance? Do I maybe want to go into consulting? Do I not want to do any of those things, and maybe do something like tech strategy? Or corporate strategy?” I was a little unsure, to be honest. When I looked at my initial set of schools, I looked at schools that gave me a very good chance to get into any one of these spots, should I change my mind later on. I was a little wary about going to a school where only specific employers recruited on campus, so the sort of opportunities that I thought about getting into was very important.

It was less about stereotypes the schools had, to be honest, because what I saw, based on the data on the ground, was very different from what was actually being talked about. For example, Booth is supposedly a “finance school,” but the last three or four years, we’ve consistently sent the largest percentage of students to consulting and tech, with finance being a distant third. So I could follow any of these three paths, if I wanted to. The second thing that was important for me, as someone with a business background, was tailoring my experience to what I wanted to learn. There were experiences I wanted to get, classes I wanted to take. Learning was important, but I didn’t want to spend time doing the same classes repetitively. I really valued curricula where there was a little bit of flexibility. I would be lying if I said prestige and brand name didn’t factor into the decision, too, so I primarily looked at M7 schools.

mbaMission: You mentioned the core curriculum. How did you feel about Booth’s and how the school executes it?

CBA: I really liked it. One thing that really stood out for me when I was deciding was, given that I was a CFA and had worked in M&A [mergers and acquisitions] consulting, I knew I had a fair amount of training in introductory accounting, finance, etc. I wanted to take some very specialized finance classes or classes with rock star professors. One example was Raghuram Rajan’s “International Corporate Finance” class, just because he was fresh off a stint as governor of the Central Bank in India and a bit of a celebrity back in Asia. But I also wanted to take some econ classes and classes in data analytics, because that was something I did not have a strong background in, and also because of the school’s reputation as a mecca for these subjects. On the other end of the spectrum, I wanted to take a ton of “soft classes,” like “Managing in Organizations,” “Negotiations,” etc., and every Boothie I spoke to spoke very highly of these classes. So having the flexibility to choose exactly what I wanted was very attractive to me, and Booth definitely lived up to its reputation in my two years.

mbaMission: That’s great. How did you like living in Chicago, especially coming from the Middle East?

CBA: I was definitely afraid. It’s funny you’re talking to me today, the day after a polar vortex in the Midwest. I was terrified of a day like this when I was accepted. But as much as people told me to factor the location into my equation, I think, outside of New York, it never factored in. One of the reasons I was never really attracted to the New York schools was how expensive New York was, but also the fact that everyone already has a base in New York when they come into business school. That was in the back of my mind when I was thinking about New York as a location. I think what I appreciated about Booth versus [Northwestern] Kellogg was that Booth was a little more in the city, versus in Evanston. So I got the benefits of being in a big city. I had heard good things about Chicago, and while I was a little worried about the winters, it never factored into my decision.

mbaMission: Was it as bad as you thought it might be, once you were there?

CBA: Not the two years I was there. Actually, we had pretty good winters those two years. It’s funny, after I decide to finally hitch my wagon to Chicago, we now have this polar vortex going on! My wife moved with me; she got a transfer with her workplace. We came in thinking, unless we hated the city, most likely we would stay because she was excited by her work. And it turned out my wife and I loved Chicago, so it was a very easy decision to want to stay. I didn’t even think about moving anywhere else.

mbaMission: That’s great to hear! How was her experience as a partner? And how was having a partner for you?

CBA: My wife was very much involved in all the partner activities, especially my first year. My second year, she was a lot more selective about the types of things she did as a partner. By the second, third quarter, most of my friends were my wife’s close friends, so she would pretty much do all the things that I did, versus doing partner-only activities in the second year. But she was one of the co-chairs of the partner’s club [Booth Partners], planning events in Chicago, so she was pretty involved.

She liked it, but given that she was working as well, she probably had a little less time for the partner activities. She told me she never felt excluded with my core group, and all of my close friends at school were her close friends as well. She really appreciated the fact that she never felt like she was just a partner, at the end of the day.

mbaMission: That says a lot about the community. How would you describe your classmates and the Booth community as a whole?

CBA: The easiest way to say it, the cliché—and I always used to roll my eyes at this—is “We have a great community. Everyone watches out for each other.” Fortunately, it’s actually true and why the cliché exists. It was one of my favorite things about the school. People take a lot of pride in it. You can see that in the way second years help out first years. Probably the only reason I got a job was because of the amount of help I got from other students and the school. I would say the other thing I heard a lot was “Oh, it’s a commuter school.” But really, it’s not, because everyone lives within a two-block radius in downtown Chicago, and we all commute together! My closest friends would bond in that 20- to 30-minute commute, where we’re either in an Uber or on the Metra together.

Take this with a grain of salt because I’m an international student. Maybe there are other colleges in the U.S. where campuses and communities are different—I had never lived on campus before this—but I never once felt like I didn’t have a community around me. If anything, it was the other way around; there were a lot of Boothies around me. It was almost like you could not not bump into someone you knew when you were walking in downtown Chicago.

mbaMission: I wouldn’t expect that in a city as big as Chicago. What would you say is the most surprising thing you encountered as a Booth student?

CBA: I feel like this is more of an MBA thing, or a business school–specific thing, but I felt there was a huge emphasis on “Okay. We’re here. We want to get a job.” I was surprised, given that I’ve heard so much about Booth being one of the most rigorous academic MBA programs, I personally felt that the focus was more on building a network, building friendships, getting a job, etc., and less on academics. I came in wanting to spend my time learning, but I would say I was definitely in the minority. The more I speak to people, the more I feel like it’s an MBA-wide thing, where people are more interested in what job they get and internships and recruiting and the social aspects. I would say learning is a distant third, which was a little surprising.

mbaMission: Interesting. Did you do any traveling as a student, either socially or for a course?

CBA: I did! I did a Random Walk in Belize, right before business school. Then I did one of the spring break trips to Columbia with about 150 of us. It was a massive trip. I also did the Booth Ski Trip during my winter break. Those were the three big ones. And then a little bit of traveling around the U.S. with close friends from school, but those three were the big MBA trips.

mbaMission: Did you feel like they were organized well?

CBA: Yeah. Absolutely fantastic. The Random Walk almost single-handedly changed my mind about organized trips, only because you wake up and everything is ready and waiting for you, and I always scoffed at those kind of trips. I always thought the fun of going somewhere was in the planning and figuring things out. And I almost got a little spoiled by the experience of having someone else figure everything out, and you just show up. It was great. I formed some of my closest friendships on these trips.

mbaMission: That’s really cool. Which professors or courses did you take that were particularly impressive or really stood out to you?

CBA: We call it Turbo Micro. I don’t remember what the actual name of the class is [“Advanced Microeconomic Analysis”]. It was with Kevin Murphy, who was fantastic. I did a class called “Data Science for Marketing Decision Making,” with Professor Günter Hitsch. It was probably the class that taught me the best set of skills that I use at my job on a daily basis. I took “Managing in Organizations” with Ann McGill. It is considered a soft class, but she is amazing, and the way she thinks makes you think about how to behave in the workplace, and she puts research in front of you that actually changes your mind about a lot of things. It was one of my favorite classes.

International Corporate Finance” with Raghuram Rajan was an amazing class, just because he had a world of experience to speak to, and his knowledge of finance is probably better than that of anyone I’ve ever met. There’s a class called “Platform Competition” with Professor Austan Goolsbee, who used to be on the Council of Economic Advisers for President Obama. That class was all about platforms and marketplaces like Facebook, Amazon, etc., and strategies for them. It was very grounded in economics, just like you’d expect from someone who sat on the Council of Economic Advisers to be. He’s hilarious as a professor. Most Booth students would reflect fondly on that class. I took a bunch of other classes that were also really good, but those were my top four or five.

mbaMission: Interesting! Did you have any access to the dean?

CBA: A lot of access, I would say. We have a dean of student life, [Deputy Dean for MBA Programs] Stacey Kole, who was very accessible. I was also on what we called the GBC, the Graduate Business Council, which was the student government. We met with her a couple of times in that capacity, but outside of that, she used to host coffee hours, where at least once a month, she would have coffee and snacks out in the garden and stand around and talk to people. And you could always walk into her office, if you needed. Dean [Madhav V.] Rajan’s transition was between my first and second year. For the first three or four months, he did a lot of traveling, so he was more external facing, and then after that, he started participating in the dean coffee hours. He became a very visible presence on campus; we had a lot of access to him. I’m sure he’s even more settled in right now.

mbaMission: You mentioned the GBC. Can you tell me more about that?

CBA: The GBC was one of the most impactful groups I was a part of, and I specifically led what was called the Faculty Liaison Committee. It dealt with engaging faculty and students outside the classroom setting. We sponsored “Take a Professor Out for Coffee” events. Those were always oversubscribed. And if we had any concerns, like “We want to see more of this topic or of these type of classes” from the student body surveys, we would take them to the dean’s office or the faculty office and say, “When you’re planning, please add these things.” We also hosted a bunch of professor presentations on research topics, which always pleasantly surprised me on how well attended they were by students. This is not curriculum; this is not class time. There was just a lunch, and they’d grab food and learn about topics the professors had been working on and ask questions. That was always really fun to see. In fact, one of our last talks went on the Chicago Booth Review web series called The Big Question, which is hosted by Howard Weissman. We ran series on income and inequality, big data, etc. It became a pretty big thing towards the end of my time there.

mbaMission: That sounds great. Any other groups you were part of?

CBA: Yeah, I was one of those people who probably oversubscribed to clubs, so I was definitely part of more than I should have been. One was the 1Y/2Y committee. So, we ran two big programs. One was a mentorship program in which we paired each first year with a second-year mentor when they started out at Booth, so if they wanted someone to talk to, not a professional mentor, but anything about school in general. The second thing was doing small Mix-It-Up dinners between first years and second years. Second years would cook food and host three or four first years at their home. Or if they didn’t want to cook, we’d just all make dinner and bring it to the second year’s house, and they would have a few first years over and talk about their experiences and what’s going on.

mbaMission: Nice! What would you say were the best parts of Booth’s facilities or any areas where the school should maybe work on upping its game?

CBA: Best parts: definitely the study facilities. Booking group study rooms was very easy; they were available in plenty and handy. The fact that most of us live downtown and could use the downtown campus to do that was really helpful. It’s a fairly new building on campus, and it’s really nice. To be honest, the classrooms were fantastic. From a facilities standpoint, it’s really hard to complain. You could throw in some first-world problems and say, “Oh, our school doesn’t have a gym,” because I know [Northwestern] Kellogg’s new building has a gym, and that was a big thing on campus at one point. Honestly, everywhere people lived had a gym in the building. It’s one of those things where if you have it, you use it. If you don’t have it, you don’t really miss it. I would say that was the one thing to improve. But I’ve always heard employers talk about how many interview rooms were on our campus and how easy it was for them, so they never had to conduct interviews off campus, which people have to do at some other schools.

mbaMission: If you’re biggest complaint is no gym, that’s probably pretty good. How’s your interaction been with Booth alumni?

CBA: I spoke to a few alumni while I was applying, and when I got my offer as well. I met a ton of alumni through the recruiting process, and they were always super receptive, I believe, mostly in their capacity as Boothies, versus as BCGers [Boston Consulting Group] or people from other firms. I’ve never had an issue, in terms of alumni engagement. Then again, our alumni base is super strong in the U.S. We’re still expanding our base internationally. In my year and the year before and now, we’re seeing a lot more people from Booth go international, which is really good. It’s a weird side-effect of the whole immigration policy, but a positive one. We’re building a much stronger alumni base outside the U.S. I think that’s going to pay a lot of dividends in the years to come.

mbaMission: That makes sense. Did you work through Booth Career Services to get your current job?

CBA: Yes. The other club I was a co-chair of was the Management Consulting Group [MCG]. One of the reasons I wanted to do it was just how much the Career Services Office and the second years in MCG had helped me out personally. Honestly, I only have the most positive things to say about them. Since I was looking for consulting, so much of my help was from second-year students versus the Career Services Office. But I got to know them a lot more after I got my job, to be honest. After I became the MCG co-chair, I started dealing with them, and I saw that a lot of their work is done in the background, making sure employers come to campus and are happy. As someone on the other side of the table at BCG now, I see a lot of people at our firm speak eloquently about Booth and the support we get from Career Services. Most BCGers love Booth’s facilities and how Booth treats us. So, from that standpoint, I have nothing really to complain about.

mbaMission: Can you talk about the entrepreneurship scene at Booth?

CBA: Definitely. It is a major focus. I did the New Venture Challenge [NVC] in my first year, and I got to see firsthand how much Booth actually invests in entrepreneurship, which is an almost absurd amount of resources. I know recently Booth opened up the New Venture Challenge to alumni as well, which is a huge unlock, in my opinion. What used to happen was alumni would try to get a Booth student to participate in the New Venture Challenge and typically, alumni teams did really well. Now, making it a more formal program, I think they’re going to really boost it.

Chicago as a whole has a ways to go to ever come to the level of a Silicon Valley, but I think what I saw, being a part of it, was a very energized entrepreneur base both at Booth and in the Chicago tech community, which works very closely with the NVC and the professors at Booth. If I ever reached out to anyone when I was doing the NVC, I would get instant responses. And I think the prize money for the NVC has increased every single year, and that’s telling in terms of how much funding goes into it. It’s not just talk.

mbaMission: That’s cool. I think you’ve touched on this already, but what resources would you say helped you the most when preparing for the job you have now?

CBA: Second years! The Management Consulting Group, which is almost entirely run by second years. The individual case work that all the second years did for me. I have a have a job only because of second years.

mbaMission: I’m sure it’s not only because of them!

CBA: No, I genuinely knew nothing about recruiting when I landed on campus. Honestly, I cannot stress this enough, how much they do. Second years give so much of their time to first years. I would say in the first quarter of my second year, I probably did more case interviews—meaning, giving cases to first years—than I did when I was actually prepping for my own interviews.

mbaMission: It sound like a very pay-it-forward kind of mind-set.

CBA: Yeah, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to use that phrase, given how much it gets used as part of the whole business school concept, but it really is true! It is definitely amazing.

mbaMission: What were some of your favorite social or extracurricular activities?

CBA: I never did this, but the one I had the most FOMO about was not being a part of the Wine Club. They have a fantastic slate of events. They’re always busy and always doing something interesting. I kick myself for not being a part of it.

mbaMission: Did you say the Wine Club?

CBA: Yes, it was massive. It’s hard to pick one. Another that I wasn’t part of, but everyone who did it absolutely loved it, was Booth Insights. It was basically a small group of four or five people, a bottle of wine, and one moderator. And every week, they’d meet in someone’s home, and they’d have a topic which was pretty deep. It was a closed-door setting where people just spoke about how they felt about the topic, their own personal experiences, and the conversation went much deeper than you’d normally expect. Anyone I heard from who’d done it, some of their best friends came from Booth Insights. It wasn’t like people all agreed—people would disagree a lot. It was a pretty big part of Booth life.

I did a different version of it called Booth Stories, where every month or so, people would gather in one of the classrooms. There would be a theme, and people would talk about it to a classroom full of Boothies. We would always dim the lights, and we’d have a virtual fireplace running in the background. It was a thing the GBC saw as very important. Health and wellness was very big when I was at Booth. There were so many events around making sure you were in a safe space to be vulnerable. When I reflect back, those events are what really stood out to me.

Other than that, you name it: Winter Formal was fantastic. Spring Fling was really nice. We have a cruise every year, which is always fun. Everyone dresses up, gets on a boat on Lake Michigan. There’s music and food. It’s really fun. There were so many social events, but I think the lesser, more intimate stuff was what really stood out to me.

mbaMission: Is it hard to balance so much social stuff with the work you have to do?

CBA: I think in the first six months or so, people are still finding the ropes and the balance between saying no and picking the things they want to be invested in. The latter half of the first year and most of the second, people are more clear about what they want to do and what they want to get out of it.

mbaMission: What do you think more people should know about Booth that they might not?

CBA: I would say, intellectual curiosity is definitely valued at Booth. And I don’t mean intellectual curiosity from an academic standpoint. It could be from a professional development standpoint, a personal development standpoint. You could be intellectually curious about how to grow as a person over two years. Those kinds of things are very valued. I remember at one of the town halls, our dean said, “I would rather give up on a stellar-resume, gold-plated student, if that student is not here to be intellectually curious and learn, because that is the purpose of this school.” And that is very reflective of the kind of people I saw around me. It was like a bell curve, and you could find people at each extreme. There were people who were all about learning new things and people who weren’t. But I would say the average Boothie is someone who is curious to learn, curious to find new things, to disagree. That’s a big part of it.

The other thing is the flexible curriculum. That’s a huge benefit at Booth, but I fear people misunderstand it. If you’re an engineer who has never had any business education, and the biggest draw for you to Booth is the flexible curriculum—that doesn’t make sense to me. Booth gives you a lot of guidance on what you should do if you’re coming from a nontraditional background. Academic services will help advise you on what to take if you land here without any clue about what’s right. You can leverage the flexible curriculum in different ways, especially after you’ve got your foundation set in the first one or two quarters, but think a little about what those things mean to you versus just using the same generic spiel in your interviews.

mbaMission: This has been really interesting! Thank you so much for your time.
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