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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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How to Approach Overrepresentation and Old Achievements in Your MBA Ap [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Approach Overrepresentation and Old Achievements in Your MBA Application Essays
Many MBA applicants—such as male investment bankers and Indian software engineers—worry that they are overrepresented in the candidate pool. Applicants cannot change their work histories, of course, but they can change the way they introduce themselves to the admissions committee. Consider the following examples:

Example 1: “As an investment banker, I…”

Example 2: “Managing a team to code a new software product for ABC Corp., I…”

In these brief examples, the candidates blatantly introduce the very overrepresentation they would like to minimize. Many applicants feel they must start their essays by presenting their titles or company names, but this approach can immediately make the reader pause and think, “Here we go again.”

Overrepresented business school candidates should therefore consider the opening lines of their essays especially carefully. Rather than stating the obvious, an applicant might instead immerse the reader in a situation or present a special aspect of their position:

Example 1 (launching into a story): “At 5:30 pm, I could rest easy. The deadline for all other offers had passed. At that point, I knew…”

Example 2 (stand out): “While managing a multinational team, half in Silicon Valley and half in Pakistan, I…”

In the first example here, the banker candidate avoids drab self-introduction and instead plunges the reader into the midst of a mystery that is playing out. In the second example, the software engineer candidate is introduced not as a “coder” but as a multinational manager. Of course, every applicant’s situation is different, but with some effort, your story can be told in a way that avoids the pitfalls of overrepresentation.

Another issue that aspiring MBAs should consider is the relevance of the stories they tell in their application essays. Because business school candidates must share examples of a variety of experiences with admissions committees, we encourage applicants to truly reflect on their lives and consider all potential stories, including academic, professional, community, extracurricular, athletic, international, and personal. However, candidates inevitably have questions about which anecdotes are truly appropriate and effective. “Can I use stories from high school and college?” “Can I use a story from four years ago?” “How far in the past is too far in the past?” Although no definitive rule exists, with the exception of questions that specifically ask about personal history or family background, schools generally want to learn about the mature you—the individual you are today. So we ask you, “How long have you been the you that you are today?”

When considering experiences that occurred long ago, ask yourself, “Would this impress an MBA admissions committee today?” If you ran a few successful bake sales six years ago when you were in college, this clearly would not stand the test of time and impress a stranger today. However, if, while you were still a student, you started a small business that grew and was ultimately sold to a local firm when you graduated, you would have a story to tell that would likely impress an admissions reader.

Inevitably, judgment is always involved in these decisions. Nonetheless, we offer this simple example as a starting point to help you decide which stories to share.
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Addressing Sustainability at UCLA Anderson and Thinking Social at NYU [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Addressing Sustainability at UCLA Anderson and Thinking Social at NYU Stern
Applicants to the UCLA Anderson School of Management may be well aware of the school’s strengths in media and real estate, but they might be surprised to learn that Anderson also offers a cutting-edge multidisciplinary program for students interested in environmental sustainability. The school’s Leaders in Sustainability (LiS) certificate program allows Anderson students to take courses at different graduate schools within the university network, thereby offering them opportunities to address issues of environmental sustainability in an interdisciplinary manner. Students must apply to the program, which typically has more than 190 participants from graduate programs across the university.

Students in the LiS program must take four classes, including the LiS core course and three sustainability-related elective courses—at least one of which must be taught outside the students’ primary graduate school. In total, the greater university offers more than 50 sustainability-related courses that Anderson students may choose from, ranging from “Business and Environment” to “Economic Analysis for Managers” to even “Marine Ecology” and “Oceanology.” In addition to completing the program’s required four courses, LiS students must complete a leadership project related to sustainability.

Meanwhile, on the East Coast, New York University’s (NYU’s) Stern School of Business is perhaps not well known among the top MBA programs for sustainable enterprise or social entrepreneurship. However, the school in fact offers an array of resources for those interested in pursuing careers in such fields. The W.R. Berkley Innovation Labs serve as the hub of all entrepreneurial activities and events at the school, and in 2008, Stern introduced a Sustainable Business and Innovation (formerly Social Innovation and Impact) specialization, thereby formalizing an academic track for students with this career path in mind. Courses available within the specialization include “Corporate Branding and Sustainability,” “Investing for Environmental and Social Impact,” and “Strategy with a Social Purpose.”

Attending or helping to plan the “Stern Struts” (formerly “Think Social, Drink Local”) marquee fundraiser is one of many options that socially conscious aspiring MBAs will find to fulfill their interests at Stern. The school’s Luxury & Retail Club hosts the event with help from corporate sponsors, which in the past have included Brooklyn Brewery and Crop Organic Vodka. In April 2018, the event took place at the 1 OAK NYC nightclub and featured an open bar and a “Style Icons” runway fashion show, in which Stern students modeled clothing from designers. The fashion show is a highlight of the evening and has raised more than $10K in past years.

Through the Stern Consulting Corps program, students can partner on consulting projects with New York City–based nonprofits. And for those who also have the entrepreneurial bug, Stern added a Social Venture Competition—in which participants compete for a $75K prize—to its traditional for-profit $300K Entrepreneurs Challenge.

In short, socially conscious Sternies have quite a bit to keep them busy!

For a thorough exploration of what UCLA Anderson, NYU Stern, and 15 other top business schools have to offer, please check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Professor Profiles: Eric Sussman, UCLA Anderson [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Eric Sussman, UCLA Anderson

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 Eric Sussman from UCLA Anderson.

Eric Sussman is an adjunct professor in Anderson’s accounting department and also serves as president of Amber Capital, a real estate investment company. He has been voted Teacher of the Year 13 times by Anderson students and received the Citibank Teaching Award in 1998 and the Neidorf Decade Teaching Award in 2008—both honors decided by a faculty committee. In addition, in 2009, Sussman won the Teaching Excellence Award in the full-time MBA program, which is decided by a vote of second-year students. In 2015, he received the University-Wide Distinguished Teacher Award. Sussman has also been recognized by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of Anderson’s Outstanding Faculty members each year since 1996, and in 2011, the publication named Sussman one of the Top Ten Most Popular Business School Professors.

In addition to his work in the classroom, Sussman created Insight FSA, a software tool that measures and evaluates the financial accounting and corporate reporting risk for public companies via Edgar Online. A second-year student blogger at Anderson described Sussman in a 2010 post as “one of what I call the five rock-star professors here,” and a first year we interviewed stated that Sussman “has an outstanding reputation at the school.” An alumnus we spoke with who had taken Sussman’s “Corporate Financial Reporting” class agreed: “[Sussman is] probably the best professor at Anderson in my eyes and to a lot of other students,” the alumnus said, continuing, “Professor Sussman is also incredibly flexible when it comes to helping students. If you need the help, he will find a way to make time for you no matter your level. He truly was a passionate practitioner who invested so much in the students and school. People like him make Anderson exceptional.”

For more information about UCLA Anderson and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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The Master Resource List for GMAT Reading Comprehension, Part 3 [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: The Master Resource List for GMAT Reading Comprehension, Part 3
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.

Part 1 of this series covered how to read Reading Comprehension (RC), and Part 2 introduced the first two major question types: Main Idea and Specific Detail. Start with those posts and then continue with this post.

Inference



In this section, we are going to talk about two big things: how to handle Inference questions and how to analyze RC problems in general (you can then use these techniques on any question type).

Inference questions ask about specific details in the passage, but they add a twist: we have to deduce something that must be true, given certain facts from the passage.

For example, if I tell you that my favorite type of book to read is biography, what could you deduce?

Watch out for the trap: do not use your “real world” conclusion-drawing skills. In the real world, you might conclude that I like reading books in general or perhaps that I am interested in history or maybe that I am a nerd. (Really? Biographies are my favorite?) These things do not have to be true, though.

What has to be true? I do not like fiction as much as I like biographies. I have read at least one book in a nonbiography category (otherwise, I would not be able to tell that I prefer biographies, which implies a comparison).

What is the difference? GMAT deductions are usually things that would cause us to say “Duh!” in the real world.

“My favorite category of book is biography.”

“Oh, so you must not like fiction as much as you like biographies.”

“Uh… well, yeah, that’s what ‘favorite’ means. I don’t like anything else better.”

A GMAT deduction should feel like a “duh” deduction—something totally boring that must be true, given the information in the passage.

Why Questions

Specific questions can come in one other (not as common) flavor: the Why question. Why questions are sort of a cross between Specific Detail and Inference questions: you need to review some specific information in the passage, but the answer to the question is not literally right in the passage. You have to figure out the most reasonable explanation for why the author chose to include a particular piece of information.

Timing

As I mentioned earlier, we really do not have much time to read RC passages. Aim for approximately two to two and a half minutes on shorter passages and closer to three minutes for longer ones. Of course, you cannot possibly read everything closely and carefully in such a short time frame—but that is not your goal! The goal is to get the big picture on that first read-through.

Aim to answer main idea questions in roughly one minute. You can spend up to two minutes on the more specific questions. In particular, if you run across an Except question, expect to spend pretty close to two minutes; Except questions nearly always take a while.

As always, be aware of your overall time. If you find that you are running behind, skip one question entirely; do not try to save 30 seconds each on a bunch of questions. Also, if RC is your weakest verbal area, and you also struggle with speed, consider guessing immediately on one question per passage and spreading your time over the remaining questions.

Great, I Have Mastered RC!

Let us test that theory, shall we? Your next step is to implement all these techniques on your next practice test while also managing your timing well. Good luck!
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January 2020 Event Roundup [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: January 2020 Event Roundup
Are you applying to business school this year? If so, you can enroll in one of our free business school workshops, which are offered both online and in person in major cities across the country!

This January, the event lineup includes the following sessions:

  • January 14, 2020

    Assessing Your MBA Profile (Online)

    How will admissions officers weigh your MBA application? An experienced senior consultant will help prospective MBAs understand how admissions committees choose from thousands of strong candidates to fill a relatively small number of spots in their classes.
  • January 21, 2020

    MBA Interview Workshop (Online)

    What do you need to do to prepare for your business school interview? An experienced Senior Consultant will help prospective MBAs understand the types of questions that may be asked to best prepare for interviews.
  • January 27, 2020

    Standing Out from the 2+2 and Deferred Admissions Pack! (Online)

    HBS started the 2+2/deferred admissions trend, and now every other top MBA program seems to be jumping on board or preparing to do so soon. What do you need to do to be a standout applicant for one of these programs? Because this trend is still relatively new, not enough information is available to enable us to fully characterize an ideal candidate. Nonetheless, we can offer you a sense of why some applicants tend to succeed and where others often falter. Please join us for this must-attend session before creating your application
To enroll in one of our free seminars, click the event title in the list above. We look forward to having you join us!

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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The “Right” Path [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The “Right” Path
Each year, we hear from a few people who think their professional position is a liability when applying to business school: “I am a school teacher. Maybe if I transitioned to consulting, I would get into the school of my dreams.” Although bankers and consultants are certainly much more represented at top business schools than teachers, this is not evidence of a bias among admissions officers but of the nature of those workplaces. Most bankers and consultants need an MBA to progress past a certain point on the corporate ladder, whereas no teacher truly needs an MBA to progress.

What is more important than focusing on an industry or on a particular community endeavor is your performance in your endeavors. Classes at top-ranked MBA programs have space for high-performing consultants, bankers, and teachers—but not for low-performing individuals in any field. Top programs want a diversity of experience in their classrooms and the promise of achievement going forward, not a specific job title.
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The Chicago Booth Scholars Program Opens an Early Door to the Full-Tim [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: The Chicago Booth Scholars Program Opens an Early Door to the Full-Time MBA Program
Deferred admissions MBA programs have grown increasingly popular in the last several years, and schools are responding to the interest. In fact, just within the last 12 months, such schools as the MIT Sloan School of Management and Columbia Business School have launched programs allowing admitted applicants to delay their enrollment in order to gain work experience first. Applying to a deferred admissions program is often viewed as a “safe” and risk-free option for undergraduates who feel certain that an MBA is the right path for them.

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business launched the Booth Scholars program in 2002 and initially only offered admission to University of Chicago undergraduate students. In October 2018, however, the school announced that the Booth Scholars program is now available to applicants from all undergraduate universities, as long as the applicants are in their last year of studies. In addition, although interested parties must apply for entry to the full-time MBA program, admitted Booth Scholars students now have the option of working for more than the previously allotted time period and can eventually enroll in the Booth Evening or Weekend MBA programs if they so choose.

Each admitted Booth Scholars class is kept relatively small—the most recent admitted class, for example, features 57 individuals—and each student is expected to work for at least two, but up to four or more, years following admission. Admitted Booth Scholars tend to come from a plethora of majors and backgrounds, but the school notes on its site that all eligible candidates have some things in common: “[they are] intellectually curious with personal maturity, competitive scores, and demonstrated leadership throughout college, [in addition to displaying] a track record of quality internships, part-time jobs, and/or an entrepreneurial spirit.” The application fee for the MBA program is waived for Booth Scholars applicants.

Find out more about the Booth Scholars program and other deferred admissions MBA programs, including those offered by such schools as the Yale School of Management, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, in our free HBS 2+2 and Deferred Admissions Primer.
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Waitlist Strategies for MBA Applicants [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Waitlist Strategies for MBA Applicants

Each admissions season, many candidates receive a response from MBA admissions committees that can sometimes be far more frustrating than a rejection: “You have been placed on our waitlist.” What should you do when your status is uncertain?

The first and most important thing is to listen to the admissions committee. If the committee tells you not to send follow-up material of any sort, then do not yield to temptation and send material that you think will bolster your case. If you misguidedly choose to do so after being specifically instructed not to, you will most definitely identify yourself in a negative way—not the type of message you want to send to the group that will decide your fate.

Does this rule have any exceptions? Yes, actually. If you know a current student or an alumnus/alumna who can tactfully, diplomatically, and independently work on your behalf, you can have this third party write a letter to or otherwise contact the admissions committee in support of your candidacy. But again, this is acceptable only if this individual truly understands the delicate nature of the interaction. If you have no such person on your side, you will have to wait patiently, as difficult as that may be.

Conversely, if the school encourages applicants to provide updates on their progress, the situation changes. In the previous scenario, the frustration candidates experience derives from a sense of helplessness. But in this scenario, candidates tend to lament the lack of time in which to have accomplished anything significant, often thinking, “What can I offer the MBA admissions committee as an update? I submitted my application only three months ago!”

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

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

With some thought and creativity, you should be able to draft a concise but powerful letter that conveys your continued professional and personal growth while expressing your sincere and growing interest in the school—all of which will fulfill your goal of increasing your chances of gaining admission.
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Professor Profiles: Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, Harvard Business School [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, Harvard Business School

Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we focus on Ramon Casadesus-Masanell from Harvard Business School (HBS).

Ramon Casadesus-Masanell has been a member of the Harvard Business School faculty since 2000 and is currently the Herman C. Krannert Professor of Business Administration. His “Competing Through Business Models” course is an elective that, according to a second-year student we interviewed, is typically oversubscribed. The second year noted that students must rank it among their top five course choices to have a shot at getting in, adding, “People enjoyed him so much they were willing to sign up for his 8:30 a.m. class.” As a part of the course, Casadesus-Masanell teaches cases on many industries, including airlines, consumer packaged goods, and manufacturing. A recent graduate we interviewed mentioned that Casadesus-Masanell keeps cases fresh and includes interesting business models such as Betfair (an online betting website), Greenpeace, and Osho (the spiritual guru). He also teaches the RC “Strategy” course.

Students told mbaMission they love his teaching style, which they describe as incredibly engaging and high energy—sometimes he even jumps up on tables or runs quickly around the classroom. He pushes students in a good, even-tempered way and leverages technology well, incorporating video and game simulations into case discussions. Casadesus-Masanell also serves as co-editor of the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, which his faculty profile describes as “the leading academic journal on the economics of strategy.”

For more information about HBS and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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The Master Resource List for GMAT Reading Comprehension, Part 4 [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: The Master Resource List for GMAT Reading Comprehension, Part 4
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.

Part 1 of this series covered how to read Reading Comprehension (RC), and Part 2 introduced the first two major question types: Main Idea and Specific Detail. In Part 3, we discussed Inference questions and Why questions. If you have not already done so, start by reading those posts, and then continue with this final post in the series.

Put It All Together

All right, now you have all the pieces:

  • What to read and what not to read
  • How to find the main point
  • How to answer Main Idea, Specific Detail, Inference, and Why questions
We should now test your skills! This first article talks about how to read tough science passages.

Next, test your understanding of the passage on this Inference question, and then try this Why question.

Timing

As I mentioned earlier, we really do not have much time to read RC passages. Aim for approximately two to two and a half minutes on shorter passages and closer to three minutes for longer ones. Of course, you cannot possibly read everything closely and carefully in such a short time frame—but that is not your goal! The goal is to get the big picture on that first read-through.

Aim to answer Main Idea questions in roughly one minute. You can spend up to two minutes on the more specific questions. In particular, if you run across an Except question, expect to spend pretty close to two minutes; Except questions nearly always take a while.

As always, be aware of your overall time. If you find that you are running behind, skip one question entirely; do not try to save 30 seconds each on a bunch of questions. Also, if RC is your weakest verbal area, and you also struggle with speed, consider guessing immediately on one question per passage and spreading your time over the remaining questions.

Great, I Have Mastered RC!

Let us test that theory, shall we? Your next step is to implement all these techniques on your next practice test while also managing your timing well. Good luck!
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have No Managerial Experience [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have No Managerial Experience
Formal managerial experience is not a prerequisite for admission to a top MBA program—a truth some applicants may find ironic. Keep in mind that an MBA education is for individuals who aspire to become managers and is not exclusive to those who already are managers. If you are fretting about the fact that you have not had any subordinates to date and believe that having overseen a staff is a prerequisite to gaining admission to a top program, you are adhering to a myth and can stop worrying. Instead, think about the ways you have excelled in your position and made the most of the leadership opportunities before you.

For example, consider the numerous investment banking analysts who apply to MBA programs each year. While analysts are at the bottom of the banks’ organizational charts and therefore do not have staffs to manage, they still have demanding jobs and must perform exceptionally well each day to succeed. Most analysts can tell the story of thriving in an ultracompetitive environment and thus reveal their professional excellence via their resumes, essays, and recommendations. And even if most analysts do not have staffs of their own, ample opportunities still exist for senior analysts to train and mentor newer analysts. So, even without a title and a staff, investment banking analysts can find ways to demonstrate their leadership and de facto management skills. And we imagine that with sufficient reflection and brainstorming, you can, too.
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How to Use Anecdotes and Captivate with Experience in Your MBA Applica [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Use Anecdotes and Captivate with Experience in Your MBA Application Essays
Many business school candidates take a straightforward, historical approach in their personal statement essays. Although this can be an easy way to organize an essay, it may deprive applicants of an opportunity to deliver a more focused and gripping introduction. Nothing is fundamentally wrong with taking a historical approach, of course, but an anecdotal approach can better maintain a reader’s interest in certain circumstances. Of course, this all comes down to execution.

Example: Historical

“When I graduated from New York University with a finance degree, I eschewed Wall Street and pursued my own distinct path; I opened a flower shop in midtown New York, never imagining the challenges I would face as I strived to bring in new customers and locate products around the world. With time, I learned to advertise selectively (on billboards in local office buildings) and developed relationships with suppliers, particularly one in Peru, with whom I obtained an exclusive on Heliconia flowers. After one year, we started to specialize in foreign flowers, and with a niche identified, we developed a strong client base. My firm stabilized, and I was no longer bleeding cash to support my 11 employees; we were cash-flow neutral and contemplating a new location.”

This introduction is very direct and informative but involves almost no drama or emotion. To be more effective, the writer might instead consider positioning themselves as “the hero” and drawing the reader in with some anecdotal tension.

Example: Anecdotal

“My hand quivered as I signed the lease for 1,000 square feet of retail space in midtown New York. Two months later, I threw open the doors to my flower shop and was stunned when I did not make a sale until my third day. Admittedly, I began to question the wisdom of entrepreneurship and wondered if I should have joined my peers from New York University’s finance program as an analyst on Wall Street instead. However, each day, a trickle of customers came in, and more often than not, they commented on the colorful and rare flowers in my window, like the Peruvian Heliconia, exclusive to my shop. Within weeks, I had core customers picking up scheduled orders and referring friends; I bolstered this ‘word of mouth’ with select advertising on electronic billboards in the four 50-story office towers surrounding the shop. Soon, I noticed a surge of customers and was no longer bleeding cash. After one year, we were cash-flow neutral, and I was even contemplating opening another location.”

In this version, the same information is conveyed, but the tension inherent in the “quivering hand” and the empty store acts as a “hook” to draw the reader in. By taking this more personal, emotional, and indeed anecdotal approach, the writer allows the reader to identify with their struggle and thereby maintains the reader’s interest. Again, this is not a case of right or wrong, and each MBA candidate should decide what works best in their own essays.

Indeed, our philosophy is that candidates should let their experiences, not just their word choices, captivate the admissions committees. Sometimes we find that applicants attempt to emphasize their actions with “extreme” adjectives and adverbs—an approach we strongly discourage.

Example: “As others withdrew their support, I remained remarkably dedicated to our crucial fundraising efforts. I dramatically increased my participation in our strategic planning meetings and insisted that we push forward with a wildly creative guerrilla marketing plan, which brought forth tremendous results—$1M in ‘instant’ proceeds.”

In these two sentences, the writer uses the descriptors “remarkably,” “dramatically,” “wildly,” and “tremendous” to make their impression. We find that a more effective approach is to eliminate these “extreme” descriptions and let the experiences do the “talking.”

Example: “As others withdrew their support, I remained dedicated to our fundraising efforts. I increased my participation in our strategic planning meetings and insisted that we push forward with a guerrilla marketing plan that brought $1M in ‘instant’ proceeds.”

In this second example, the writer does not need to say that the results were “tremendous,” because the $1M in proceeds speaks for itself; we do not need to be told that the marketing campaign was “wildly creative,” because this is implied in the nature of guerrilla marketing. In addition to truly showing a level of humility on the part of the candidate, this approach is also less wordy. Although the eight words saved in the latter example may seem inconsequential, we removed them from only two sentences. If you can remove four words from every sentence in your original draft, you could significantly but humbly augment your essay with other compelling ideas.
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Selecting the Right Stories to Share in Interviews [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Selecting the Right Stories to Share in Interviews
In this blog series, our mbaMission [url=https://www.mbamission.com/about/?display=team]Career Coaches[/url] 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, [url=https://www.mbamission.com/consult/?display=career-coaching]click here[/url].

We at mbaMission have written a lot about interviewing—how to tell your story in a structured way, what questions to expect in a typical behavioral-based interview, what questions to ask at the end of an interview, and how to avoid common interviewing pitfalls—and you can find those posts if you search for “career news” in our blog.

But today, we share our advice for tackling a different approach to excelling in an interview: identifying and selecting the right stories to tell.

[b]Identify Ten Stories: Resources to Leverage[/b]

[list]
[*]Review your brainstorming materials and final business school essays. [/*]
[*]Examine and think about the situation behind each bullet on your resume. [/*]
[*]Brainstorm with previous colleagues and managers, and read past performance reviews.[/*]
[*]Think about your biggest accomplishments and your proudest moments. [/*]
[*]Find stories about both work and extracurricular activities, but focus the majority (roughly 75%) of your stories on professional experiences. [/*]
[/list]
[b]Choose Your Best Stories: Questions to Ask Yourself[/b]

[list]
[*]Can this story be pivoted to speak to more than one competency? You need least two stories for each competency or attribute required for your target role. Tell stories that demonstrate you have the attributes your target company wants in its employees. [/*]
[*]Does the story require a lot of technical/industry-specific knowledge or substantial context? Find ways to help the interviewer understand the situation without using jargon.[/*]
[*]Did this situation happen recently? Ideally, you should share stories that happened within the last two to three years, as you are more likely to have significant responsibility and to remember the specific details in order to tell the story in an authentic and engaging manner. [/*]
[*]What was your role in the example? You need to tell what you did—not what the team did—to achieve the goal. You need to show your ability to think critically, identify insights, influence others, and improve outcomes. [/*]
[*]Does the story demonstrate your ability to navigate unexpected situations? Often, interview questions are not straightforward (e.g., “Tell me your biggest accomplishment.”) but seek to uncover how you behaved in a challenging circumstance. [/*]
[*]Was the outcome important or impressive? Use numbers to show the scope or level of complexity of your work as well as the result of your actions. [/*]
[/list]
[b]Bottom Line:[/b] If the answer to the above questions is “yes,” then you have likely picked an interesting and relatable story in which your actions allowed you to overcome substantial challenges and achieve significant results. 

Stay tuned for our next post about how to address common interviewing mistakes. In the meantime, connect with mbaMission for a complimentary consult call with one of our MBA Career Coaches or read our interview preparation blog posts, including the following: “[b][url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2016/12/07/mba-career-news-strategically-answering-behavioral-interview-questions/]Strategically Answering Behavioral Interview Questions[/url][/b],” “[b][url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2017/08/09/avoiding-interviewing-pitfalls/]Avoiding Interviewing Pitfalls[/url][/b],” and “[b][url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2016/12/21/mba-career-news-ending-the-interview-strong/]Ending the Interview Strong[/url][/b].”

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 [url=https://www.mbamission.com/consult/?display=career-coaching]free 30-minute consultation[/url]!
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Luxury Brand Management at the GCU British School of Fashion and Londo [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Luxury Brand Management at the GCU British School of Fashion and London Business School

In the fall of 2013, Scotland’s Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU)—known as a leader in fashion education since the 19th century—inaugurated a new fashion business school in London and soon after opened a satellite campus in New York City. Rather than focusing on the design aspect of fashion, however, the GCU British School of Fashion aims to offer a specialized business education with applications to the fashion industry, as the school’s then director, Christopher Moore, explained in a BBC article at the time the new campuses were being revealed: “The remit of the school is clear: we are about the business of fashion. And while there are other great international design schools, we are quite different. Our aim is to be a leading school for the business of fashion.”

The British School of Fashion’s MBA in Luxury Brand Management program aims to impart industry tools and skills related to such topics as consumer behavior, globalization, and strategic management. The school also professes a commitment to social responsibility, sustainability, and fair trade as part of its core values. With support from a number of British fashion brands, which have included Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, AllSaints, and the Arcadia Group, the school’s faculty also features a team of honorary professors and fashion industry leaders. The program was designed “to equip candidates who have the relevant managerial experience with specialist advanced knowledge and skills to move on to the next level of their career,” the school’s website states.

London Business School has also taken steps to attract applicants with an interest in luxury brand management and retail. Although the school does not offer a degree on the subject, students can partake in numerous activities in the field throughout their studies. One of the most notable opportunities is the Walpole Luxury Programme, a partnership with the Walpole British Luxury brand. The program equips students with the tools necessary to enter global management positions after graduation. Students take elective courses, visit companies, participate in workshops, complete internships, and work with a mentor from Walpole throughout the program.

The London Core Application Practicum (LondonCAP) module, which was launched in 2017, is a hands-on learning opportunity during which students work with companies on projects related to their interests—a notable past partner is the British Fashion Council. Students can join the Retail & Luxury Goods Club, which is one of the largest clubs on campus, with more than 4,500 members. The group welcomes industry speakers and organizes career treks to such locations as Milan and Paris, in addition to hosting an annual e-commerce conference, whose past speakers have represented such companies as Net-a-Porter, Marks & Spencer, and LVMH.
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Professor Profiles: Adam Grant, The Wharton School of the University o [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Adam Grant, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

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 Adam Grant from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to receiving multiple teaching awards at Wharton and having been named one of HR’s “Most Influential International Thinkers” each year since at least 2015, Adam Grant is also reportedly a student favorite. The author of New York Times bestsellers Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (Knopf, 2017; co-authored with Sheryl Sandberg), Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (Viking Press, 2016), and Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (Viking Press, 2013; named one of the best books of the year by Amazon), and more than 60 articles, Grant has received numerous awards for his research on work motivation, including a Cummings Scholarly Achievement Award from the Academy of Management, the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution from the American Psychological Association, and a fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Grant’s books have been translated into 35 languages.

Grant is quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2012 profile of him as saying, “There is a long list of reasons that make me passionate about teaching, but every one revolves around the observation that we spend the majority of our waking hours at work, and there are many ways in which organizational psychology lets people lead more reward[ing] and productive work lives and makes the experience and organizations of others more productive, too.” In addition, Class of 2011 students quoted by Poets&Quants remarked of him, “I’m always struck by his humility (and humanity). It’s actually more like a bedside manner, almost like charisma, but more humble and personable” and “Adam is an amazing teacher and friend. In both my classes with him, he’s shown that in addition to being passionate about his subject matter, he really cares about his students. He also has an uncanny ability to remember the name of every student he teaches.”

For information on other defining characteristics of the MBA program at Wharton or any of 16 other top business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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When Will I Be Ready to Take the GMAT? [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: When Will I Be Ready to Take the GMAT?
Trying to figure out when you should take the GMAT and how to fit studying into your schedule can be stressful. Manhattan Prep instructor Elaine Loh explains how to organize your study process to succeed. 

How long do I need to study for the GMAT? When will I be ready? How much time per week should I invest?

These are questions I get over and over and over, particularly from students who have not started studying yet. They are usually trying to figure out whether or not they can manage class, and they are on the verge of a mild freak-out.

You want the quick, bullet-point answer?

Okay, here you go. We offer a nine-session class (typically once a week), and we say you will probably want two to three weeks after the class to finish studying. That is assuming that you do all the homework, and that is also assuming that the homework takes you five to ten hours to complete between sessions.

Now, here is the longer answer that you are not going to like.

I cannot answer those questions for you. Like, at all. Everybody is different, and there is no magic bullet, one-size-fits-all plan to studying for the GMAT. I can make a prediction for you based on your current life schedule and your previous academic habits. But what it really comes down to is this: how much do you want it? Seriously. That is the number one determining factor of how long it will take. If you are not sure that you want to go to B-school, and you are just checking out your options, chances are, you will drop out of class. Truly. It happens all the time. And that is okay! But why invest a lot of time, money, and effort toward something that you maybe would give a three on a scale of one to ten? If that is you, that is cool. Stop reading now and go grab a latte with all the money you will save from not taking the class at the wrong time. We will be here for you when you are ready.

If, however, you know you want to make this life change, here are some questions to help you figure out when you will be ready:

Do you have a full-time job?

If so, it is going to be relatively harder for you to find time and energy. Therefore, it will take you longer to study. For example, you might study after work two to three times a week for an hour and a half, and once on the weekend. You must give yourself days off—from both work and studying—or you will burn out. You might end up needing several months after class is over to catch up on homework and feel ready.

Have you not done math since 11th grade?

If you are out of college and you have not done math for a while, it will take you longer to study. You will need to invest a lot of time up front learning foundational math skills. What I do not recommend is trying to study math on your own first before enrolling in a class or getting a tutor. I have seen people do that a million times, and 990,000 of them end up giving up and not taking the GMAT at all. (Figure out that percentage as a quick math check!) Math is too overwhelming and, frankly, too complicated to teach yourself! You need someone to guide you even more at the beginning. Once you have your foundation, you can work on it on your own. But that will take time.

Do you have family obligations?

Kids? Friends? Relationships? Refer to question #1. Life takes time and energy, so again, it will take you longer to study. But the good news is that these people who take your time and energy can also give you time and energy, through their love and support. Make sure you tell the right people what you are doing and how they can help. Very often, family members and friends do not even know what a challenge it is to go from a 560 to a 720, so they do not understand what you need. Spell it out for them. Set your study schedule and have them help you stick to it! And on the flip side, do not tell those family members or friends who will not actually support you. You know who those people are. Just be ready to sidestep them for the next few months.

Now, if you do not have a job, are independently wealthy, are a math genius, and do not have any obligations that eat up your time—tell me how you did that, because clearly, I am living the wrong life! The truth of the matter is that most of you reading this will answer yes to one (or more!) of these three questions, so take heart that you are all in the same boat. Thousands of people manage to find the time to study and do well on the test every year, and you can be one of them. Take the anxiety you feel about finding that time, and channel it into creating a study schedule that is realistic and that you can stick to. If you are not sure how to do that, start here. Know that the road will be at least several months long, possibly even a year long. And that is okay. But go into it with realistic expectations. This will be hard, and it will take a while. But if you really want it, it will be worth it.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Should Quit My Job to Study for the [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Should Quit My Job to Study for the GMAT
The GMAT score is the sole piece of data that is truly consistent from one candidate to another. Therefore, many MBA applicants place undue emphasis on it, when the test is only one of several important aspects of a person’s application. In extreme cases, some candidates even consider quitting their jobs to focus on the GMAT full time—not a great idea!

Why is leaving your job to focus on improving your GMAT score not ideal? Quite simply, it sends the message that you are incapable of managing what thousands of other MBA candidates can manage quite well. In your application, you will need to account for any time off; if you honestly admit that you quit your job to study for the GMAT, you will place yourself at a disadvantage relative to others who have demonstrated that they can successfully manage their work, study, and possibly volunteer commitments simultaneously. By taking time off, you will send the (unintended) message that you cannot achieve what many other applicants do unless you have an uneven playing field. This is not a message you want to send your target academic institution, which wants to know that you can handle the academic course load an MBA requires, not to mention a job hunt, community commitments, and other such responsibilities.

Regardless of the admissions committees’ perception of taking time off, we believe a calm and methodical approach is your best bet. By furthering your career as you study, you will maintain a sense of balance in your life. On test day, you will have a far better chance of keeping a level head, which will ensure that you will do your best—and of course, this was the whole point all along.
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