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mbaMission Admissions Consultant
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Networking in a Virtual Age [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Networking in a Virtual Age
This post was written by our resident Career Coach, [url=https://www.mbamission.com/who-we-are/team/elissa-harris/]Elissa Harris[/url]. To sign up for a free 30-minute career consultation with Elissa, please [url=https://www.mbamission.com/consult/career-coaching/]click here[/url].

MBAs know networking is a big part of a successful job search, but it typically causes many candidates a good bit of anxiety. With networking now being conducted primarily through virtual channels, anxiousness about navigating this process is heightened.

We want to assure you that even though networking may feel different during the novel coronavirus outbreak, the basics remain the same:

[list]
[*]Networking is an exchange of information—the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and engage in conversations about topics of interest.[/*]
[*]Effective networkers seek to build relationships versus engage in transactional conversations with contacts. Generosity and graciousness are important themes in networking.[/*]
[*]Candidates should prepare to maximize each networking opportunity. Research the company/contact. Know your story and how it relates to the event/person. Determine your goal before the events begin. [/*]
[/list]
We encourage you to read our previous networking advice that also applies to virtual interactions: “[b][url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2014/07/29/mba-career-advice-do-you-know-what-networking-is/]Do You Know What Networking Is?[/url][/b],” “[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2014/11/18/mba-career-advice-take-the-transaction-out-of-networking/][b]Take the Transaction Out of Networking[/b][/url],” “[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2014/12/30/mba-career-advice-effective-networking-openers/][b]Effective Networking Openers[/b][/url],” “[b][url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2014/10/14/mba-career-advice-stop-talking-about-work-at-networking-events/]Stop Talking About Work at Networking Events[/url][/b],” and “[b][url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/2017/03/19/overcoming-networking-nerves/]Overcoming Networking Nerves[/url][/b].”

So, what is different about virtual networking? Mostly, it is just the logistics and the formality of interactions. Here are six tips to make the most of both small and large group virtual networking events:

[list]
[*][b]Learn about the format of the event.[/b] Will there be small or large group interactions? Are you expected to turn on your camera? Should you use the direct message/chat function during the presentation? Will there be breakout rooms? Should you dress in formal business attire?   [/*]
[*][b]Commit and engage fully.[/b] Do not try to do a problem set while an employer presentation is taking place in the background. Participate in the breakout rooms and Q&A chat sessions.[/*]
[*][b]Prepare interesting questions based on the presentation content.[/b] Ask questions about things the speaker expressed knowledge on or was passionate about.   [/*]
[*][b]Take notes and follow up.[/b] Use the information you gathered to personalize your proactive post-event networking outreach. Thank the speakers for participating in the event, mention something specific you found compelling, and ask for one-on-one time to discuss that particular topic in more depth. [/*]
[*][b]Speak, but avoid talking too much and interrupting others.[/b] Find the appropriate venues for engagement, and let your peers get airtime too! Make it feel like a group conversation versus an interview or several separate conversations.  [/*]
[*][b]Follow virtual meeting best practices.[/b] Mute yourself to avoid background noise. Make sure your background is professional. Look into the camera when speaking, not at the image of the speaker. [/*]
[/list]
Despite these tips, we want to set realistic expectations. It is uncommon to develop a deep relationship with a company representative at large virtual events. This is not surprising; in fact, it rarely happens at large in-person networking events. Instead, you need to find smaller group or one-on-one opportunities where you can connect with people who share your interests or experiences.

Stay tuned for our next blog post on creating meaningful relationships in a virtual world.
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Multidimensional Brainstorming for Your MBA Application Essays [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Multidimensional Brainstorming for Your MBA Application Essays
We at mbaMission often tell candidates, “You cannot turn a bad idea into a good essay.” We insist on taking our clients through a lengthy brainstorming process—starting with a thorough questionnaire—to discover the stories that make them distinct. As you uncover your stories, consider each one from as many different angles as possible. Doing so will not only help ensure you understand the various “weapons in your arsenal” but also provide you with maximum flexibility, considering that MBA admissions committees ask questions that vary dramatically from school to school.

For example, an experience coaching a baseball team at an underfunded high school may have multiple dimensions, such as the following:

  • Creatively motivating an underachieving team and changing attitudes, despite losses
  • Initiating and leading fund-raising efforts so that each player could afford proper equipment
  • Mentoring struggling players and seeing an improvement in their on-field performance
  • Helping a player deal with a family issue off the field
  • Recruiting other coaches and then working to improve a team’s on-field performance
These are just a few of the stories that could be gleaned through brainstorming, proving that considering your experiences from various angles can help you discover multiple unique approaches to your essays.

In addition, many MBA candidates—whether they work as bankers or lawyers, in internal corporate finance or corporate strategy—feel they must tell a “deal story” in their application essays. Although discussing a deal can be a good idea, what is vital is showing your distinct impact on the deal in question. You are the central character, not the deal. A straightforward story about how you dutifully completed your work and steadily supported others as a deal became a reality will not likely be very compelling. Further, the important thing is that the admissions committee gain insight into your personality, not your spreadsheets.

Ask yourself the following questions to ensure your story is truly about you:

  • What did you do that was beyond expectations for your role? Did you grow into additional responsibilities at a crucial time?
  • Did any particular interactions take place in which you used your personality to change the dynamic, thereby ensuring the deal’s progress or success?
  • Did you need to take a principled stand at any moment or speak out on behalf of a needful party?
  • Did you help others overcome any corporate or international cultural barriers?
These questions can get you started, but the point remains: do not simply offer any deal; instead, provide insight into your deal.
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How to Prep for Your HBS Interview the Right Way [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Prep for Your HBS Interview the Right Way
[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/devi-vallabhaneni.jpg][img]https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/devi-vallabhaneni-225x300.jpg[/img][/url]
Devi Vallabhaneni, mbaMission’s HBS Interviewer in Residence

[b][url=https://www.mbamission.com/who-we-are/team/devi-vallabhaneni/]Devi Vallabhaneni[/url][/b], a Harvard Business School (HBS) graduate and former HBS MBA interviewer, is mbaMission’s HBS Interviewer in Residence and conducts [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/services/products/hbs-in-person-intensive-interview-simulation]HBS Intensive Interview Simulations[/url][/b].

Predicting exactly what questions you will be asked in your HBS interview is impossible, given the dynamic nature of the meeting and the school’s individualized approach, but this does not mean you cannot prepare to navigate the interaction effectively and increase your chances of leaving your desired impression.

Drawing on her six years as an interviewer at HBS, Devi Vallabhaneni shares a few helpful tips on how to properly prepare for your HBS interview, what to expect, and how to answer the questions you are asked.

[b]Know what it means to prep.

[/b][b]

[/b]There is no perfect way to prepare for your HBS interview. Feedback from my clients indicates that they generally prepare multi-dimensionally.

Some people prep by writing. I have heard of applicants writing out talking points to remind them of important aspects of their stories. Make sure that what you write are indeed talking points and not full answers that you are tempted to memorize.

Some people prep by speaking in front of a mirror. This way, you can hear and see yourself answer a question. It may feel awkward at first, but this method could be an important part of your “interview practice repertoire.” However, the downside is that for some, practicing too much in front of a mirror can lead them to edit themselves too much and their answers may not come across as natural.

Some people prep by dialoguing back and forth with a friend or colleague. This helps develop the ability to answer both anticipated and unanticipated questions naturally and spontaneously. The feedback you receive from dialoguing can then be incorporated in your next mock interview. 

[b]Yes, it is okay to feel nervous.[/b]

[b]

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

[b]You have to know your story cold.

[/b][b]

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

[b]Learn to master the what and how.

[/b][b]

[/b]How you accomplished something is just as important as, if not more important than, what you actually accomplished. The how shows the real level of effort you had to expend to reach your end result. To me, the how also lets you share a deeper version of your story with your interviewer.

I once interviewed an applicant who had worked on a seemingly common financial transaction. Because of the regulatory and political complexity of the transaction, she had to create more than 30 different potential scenarios to anticipate and quantify the client’s next steps. In this case, the how gave me better insight into the applicant’s depth of analysis, creativity, and experience. Without that information, this project, on its face, may not have stood out to me as something meaningful. Be sure to detail the how of your achievements for your HBS interviewer so that they can better understand the rigor and impact of your experience.

[b]Give full answers.[/b]

[b]

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

[b]Strive for practiced, not scripted.

[/b][b]

[/b]You worked really hard on your HBS application, which is what led to this interview opportunity. But your application probably took weeks or months to complete and required multiple revisions and edits, whereas your interview is a one-shot 30 minutes. This is why practicing your answers verbally is a great idea, but practice does not mean memorization or rehearsal.

I once interviewed a woman I later ran into on campus when she was a first-year student. While we were catching up, she told me how nervous she had been for our interview and how she had practiced by writing out bullet points and verbalizing them in front of a mirror. I still remember her interview to this day. She was natural, conversational, and in the moment. The way she had practiced enabled her to convey what was salient while still being fully present and engaged. In contrast, another candidate I interviewed responded to my every question with “I have three reasons…” or “I have three examples…,” and in most cases, his replies did not match my questions! He had memorized pre-made answers and simply recited them when given the chance to speak.

When preparing for your interview, the most important thing to avoid is memorization of the answers you prepared. It is important to be present and answer the question you are being asked and not the question you perhaps practiced. Listening is just as important as, if not more important than, responding. Think of the interview as a dialogue and a conversation, which are two-way communications, and not as a speech, which is a one-way communication. Make sure to prepare useful points and stories and practice verbalizing them before your interview, but once you are in the meeting, pay attention to the questions being asked and call on those points and stories as appropriate.

[b]Forget about the introvert-versus-extrovert factor.

[/b][b]

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

[b]Anticipate the interviewer’s homework.

[/b][b]

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

[b]Remember to enjoy the moment.

[/b][b]

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

If you feel you can benefit from targeted interview preparation, [b][url=https://www.mbamission.com/who-we-are/team/devi-vallabhaneni/]Devi Vallabhaneni[/url][/b] will be conducting [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/services/products/hbs-in-person-intensive-interview-simulation]HBS Intensive Interview Simulations[/url][/b] throughout the fall. [b][url=https://shop.mbamission.com/collections/services/products/hbs-in-person-intensive-interview-simulation]Click here[/url][/b] to view all the details on this offering and book your sessions today.
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The Dos and Don’ts of GMAT CATs, Part 1 [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: The Dos and Don’ts of GMAT CATs, Part 1
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.

What are the Dos and Don’ts to get the most out of your CATs? Learn more in this three-part series.

Know WHY you take CATs

Practice CATs are very useful for three things:

(1) Figuring out your current scoring level (assuming you took the test under official conditions)

(2) Practicing stamina and/or timing

(3) Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses

The third item is the MOST important—this is how we actually get better at this test!

Practice CATs do not help us to improve while taking the test. If you have been training to run a marathon, you will not learn how to get better while running the marathon itself; at that stage, you are just trying to survive. Rather, you learn how to improve in between races while doing all kinds of training activities and analyzing your performance.

DO take a CAT at the beginning of your study

Many people put off taking their first CAT, often because they say that they have not studied yet, so they know they will not do well. Your goal in taking your first CAT is NOT to do “well.” Your goal is simply to get a handle on your strengths and weaknesses. Whatever they are, you want to know them right away so you can prioritize your study.

One caveat: Familiarizing yourself with the five question types before that first exam (particularly Data Sufficiency) is important, but definitely do not worry about learning all of the formulas and grammar rules. Your first test performance will tell you what you do and do not yet know.

One caution in particular here: a decent percentage of the people who put off their first CAT do so because they are feeling significant anxiety about taking the test. These are the people who do need to take that first test early—pushing off the practice tests will just exacerbate your anxiety.

DON’T take a CAT more than once a week

Have you ever had this happen? You take a CAT and you get a disappointing score. Maybe you even really mess things up—run out of time or finish 20 minutes early—and your score plummets. So, a couple of days later, you take another CAT to “prove” to yourself that the bad test was just a fluke.

If you have ever done that, you wasted your time and a practice CAT, both of which are very valuable.

That bad test was not a fluke. Something happened to cause that performance. Figure out what that thing was and fix it before you spend another 3.5 hours taking a second test.

In fact, whether you like the score or not, whenever you take a CAT, do not waste time taking another until you have addressed whatever issues popped up during your analysis of the first test. (This article will help you analyze MGMAT CATs.)
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Professor Profiles: Vijay Govindarajan, Dartmouth College Tuck School [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Vijay Govindarajan, Dartmouth College Tuck 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 Vijay Govindarajan from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Vijay Govindarajan, affectionately known by students as simply “VG,” is the Coxe Distinguished Professor at Tuck and has been cited by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and The Times as a top-ten strategy professor. His research focus includes global strategy, strategic innovation, strategy execution, and strategic controls. Govindarajan has been a consultant to several well-known companies, including Walmart, FedEx, and Microsoft, and in 2008, he served as chief innovation consultant to General Electric. In addition to his residency at Tuck, Govindarajan was named a Marvin Bower Faculty Fellow at Harvard Business School in 2015 for a two-year period. He was also the 2015 recipient of the Association of Management Consulting Firms Award of Excellence.

One alumnus told mbaMission, “VG’s class is great, and the cases have been interesting. Most of the cases are about manufacturing companies; however, they are not boring at all. He’s a great speaker and great lecturer.” Another graduate described Govindarajan’s classroom style to mbaMission by saying, “VG maintains a balance between lecture and class participation. He never cold-calls because he believes that students will be prepared. He doesn’t want students to comment for the sake of commenting and wants people to say something meaningful, which might be different from the approach at other schools.” Another alumnus shared that Govindarajan often brings great speakers to class.

For more information about Dartmouth Tuck and 16 other top-ranked MBA schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Two Boston-Based MBAs: Public and Nonprofit Management at Boston Unive [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Two Boston-Based MBAs: Public and Nonprofit Management at Boston University and Core Values at Boston College
[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Questrom.jpg][img]https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Questrom-300x188.jpg[/img][/url]
The Boston University (BU) Questrom School of Business

Since 1973, the Boston University (BU) [url=https://www.bu.edu/questrom/][b]Questrom School of Business[/b][/url] (formerly the School of Management) has offered a [url=https://www.bu.edu/questrom/degree-programs/full-time-mba/social-impact-mba/][b]Social Impact MBA[/b][/url] (formerly the Public & Nonprofit Management MBA), specifically designed to cultivate business management skills that can make a real difference in the world. Standing at 44th among U.S. MBA programs in the The Economist’s 2019 rankings and seventh among the best MBA programs for nonprofit in the Princeton Review 2018 ranking, Questrom exposes Social Impact students to a robust general management core curriculum, mirroring that of the full-time MBA program, with one additional core course titled “Social Impact: Business, Society, and the Natural Environment.” Students in the Social Impact MBA program take ten elective courses, just like students in the full-time MBA program, but four of the ten must focus on social impact. Electives that fulfill the requirement include such courses as “Social Impact Seminar,” “Health Sector Issues and Opportunities,” “Clean Technologies and Supply Chains,” and “Starting New Ventures.”

Boston College’s (BC’s) Carroll School of Management

Nearby, at [url=https://www.bc.edu/bc-web/schools/carroll-school.html][b]Boston College’s (BC’s) Carroll School of Management[/b][/url], students enjoy a close-knit classroom environment in which they gain exposure to broad management skills, with a particular emphasis on business ethics. Both the school’s curriculum and the student community engender a set of core values: “honesty,” “integrity,” “mutual respect,” “the relentless pursuit of excellence,” and “accountability to self and others.” In addition to, for example, taking three courses on data analytics, full-time MBA students at the Carroll School must complete a 20-hour community service requirement, which the school believes will help instill an appreciation for and a spirit of giving back to the community in its MBAs.

These values are also reflected in the school’s core “Thinking Strategically: A Global Integrative Simulation” course, in which students learn to think critically about the challenges involved in business leadership. As one graduate commented in a past Bloomberg Businessweek profile of the Carroll School, “In the background of your core classes, and many electives, is a strong consideration on the moral and ethical dilemmas that often arise in the business world. I never felt that ‘morality’ was being pushed on us, but the consequences of each decision we make were always placed in front of us and we were left to make up our own mind.”
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Wharton Team-Based Discussion 2020: What to Expect and How to Prepare [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Wharton Team-Based Discussion 2020: What to Expect and How to Prepare
[url=https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/wharton-320x320.png][img]https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/wharton-320x320.png[/img][/url]
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania plans to send out Round 1 interview invitations on October 28,  and once again, the school is using its team-based discussion format rather than a traditional admissions interview to evaluate its candidates. This year, Wharton announced that all Round 1 (2020) Team-Based Discussions [b][url=https://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/interview-process/]will be held virtually[/url][/b].

Understandably, Wharton applicants get anxious about this atypical interview because the approach creates a very different dynamic from what one usually encounters in a one-on-one meeting—and with other applicants also in the virtual meeting room, one cannot help but feel less in control of the content and direction of the conversation. Yet despite the uncertainty, here are a few things that interviewees can expect:

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

The 2020 Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation Round 1 schedule is as follows:

[list]
[*]GROUP A: Sunday, November 1 at 12:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP B: Sunday, November 1 at 6:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP C: Monday, November 2 at 9:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP D: Wednesday, November 4 at 3:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP E: Thursday, November 5 at 6:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP F: Friday, November 6 at 3:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP G: Saturday, November 7 at 12:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP H: Saturday, November 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP I: Sunday, November 8 at 12:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP J: Sunday, November 8 at 3:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP K: Monday, November 9 at 3:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP L: Monday, November 9 at 6:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP M: Tuesday, November 10 at 9:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP N: Thursday, November 12 at 3:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP O: Friday, November 13at 6:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP P: Saturday, November 14 at 3:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[*]GROUP Q: Sunday, November 15 at 6:00 p.m. ET [/*]
[/list]
To learn more or sign up for a session, visit our [url=https://shop.mbamission.com/products/wharton-team-based-discussion-simulation][b]Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation page[/b][/url].
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Am a Simple Product [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Am a Simple Product
Many candidates who approach us are concerned that they cannot get their stories out in one sentence or worried that their personal branding is too muddled. Some candidates feel that they must have a single narrative and continuously speak to it to make an impression on the admissions committees. But, of course, you are not a simple product with just one or two attributes—a Budweiser beer, for example, which can be represented with a straightforward slogan, “The Great American Lager.” MBA candidates are far more complex than consumer products. So, presenting yourself as one-dimensional (“I am an entrepreneur in everything I do,” “I am a finance guy”) is definitely a mistake that prevents you from revealing your depth of character and experience.

Let us consider a basic example: Jon built a lawn care business from a single truck into ten trucks, and he also coached Little League baseball, becoming a de facto “big brother” to one of the kids on the team. Why should Jon address only his entrepreneurial side in his applications and ignore his empathetic and altruistic treatment of this young baseball player? Why would Jon not reveal his depth and versatility instead, telling both stories and revealing distinct but complementary strengths?

We at mbaMission encourage candidates to brainstorm thoroughly and consider each of their stories from as many different perspectives as possible. No one simple formula exists for presenting yourself to the admissions committee. In fact, showing that you are a multitalented and sophisticated individual is incredibly important. After all, admissions committees are looking for the world’s next great business leaders, and the true legends of international business cannot be easily summarized in a mere handful of words.
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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 alum 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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The Dos and Don’ts of GMAT CATs, Part 2 [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: The Dos and Don’ts of GMAT CATs, Part 2
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.

What are the Dos and Don’ts to get the most out of your CATs? If you have not yet read the earlier installment of this series here, go take a look!

Most of the time, DON’T take a CAT more than once every three weeks

There are two broad modes of study: the “trying to improve” phase and the “final review” phase. Most of our study is the first phase; the final review phase kicks in for just the last couple of weeks.

During the “trying to improve” phase, taking a CAT more frequently than about every three weeks is a complete waste of time. Really! The whole point of taking the practice CAT is to figure out what needs to get better. Then, go get better! Until you have made substantial progress toward whatever issues were uncovered, taking another practice CAT is just going to tell you that you still have those same issues.

That even applies when you are trying to improve timing or stamina issues; you have other ways of addressing these issues besides taking a CAT. If quant timing is a struggle, GMAT Focus is a great “intermediate” resource from the real test makers. You can also set up longer sets of questions for yourself (in the 15- to 20-question range)—your practice sets do not have to be 37 or 41 questions for you to learn to handle the timing better. (Read this article on time management for more.)

You can practice building stamina every time you study. Figure out everything that you are going to do for the next hour or two hours. (I try to set up what I think will be three hours’ worth of work, just in case I finish faster than I think; if I do not finish, I save the rest for the next day.) Then, go for one hour without stopping—no email, no smart phone, no food, nothing. If you want to do a second hour, take a 15-minute break and go again for a second hour without stopping.

After that second hour, do take a substantial break (at least one hour, but ideally two) before you study any more that day. Making new memories is more mentally fatiguing than recalling memories (you only need to recall memories during a CAT), so do not do this exercise for more than about two hours in a row or your study will suffer.

Once you hit the “final review” phase, you can take a CAT once a week for the last couple of weeks; at this point, your goal is to solidify everything and develop your game plan.
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Professor Profiles: Adam Brandenburger, NYU Stern School of Business [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Adam Brandenburger, NYU Stern 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 Adam Brandenburger from New York University’s (NYU’s) Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

An expert on game theory and its practical application to business strategy, Adam Brandenburger was voted the NYU Stern MBA Professor of the Year in 2006, and in 2008 he received an NYU Excellence in Teaching award in recognition of his teaching and course development work. From 2011–2014, he served as vice dean for innovation at NYU Stern, and he is now the J.P. Valles Professor at the school. His latest book—called The Language of Game Theory: Putting Epistemics into the Mathematics of Games (World Scientific, 2014)—contains eight papers coauthored by Brandenburger and his colleagues over a period of 25 years. Students with whom mbaMission spoke reported being consistently impressed by his capacity to make the complex simple in the classroom, stating that Brandenburger is able to take the “complicated, theoretical and intangible” world of game theory and make it “easy to understand and practical.” Brandenburger holds additional appointments at NYU as global network professor, distinguished professor at the Tandon School of Engineering, and faculty director of the university’s Shanghai Program on Creativity and Innovation.

For more information about NYU Stern and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Hands-On Finance Opportunities at Michigan Ross and UCLA Anderson [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Hands-On Finance Opportunities at Michigan Ross and UCLA Anderson
You may not realize that students at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan do not have to travel all that far to get hands-on Wall Street experience. Through the John R. and Georgene M. Tozzi Electronic Business and Finance Center (known as simply the Tozzi Center), students can find themselves “on” Wall Street without ever having to leave Ann Arbor. Housed in a 5,800-square-foot facility on campus, the Tozzi Center boasts a state-of-the-art mock trading floor as well as an electronic modular classroom and an e-lab seminar room. The latest financial tools—including live news wires, trading systems, and data and research services—can be found at the center. The space has been designed to look and feel like the real thing, so do not be surprised if you hear “Sell, Sell, Sell!” when you walk by students in action.

Many acknowledge UCLA Anderson’s unique connections to the media and entertainment industry. However, far fewer MBA aspirants are aware of the tremendous opportunities Anderson provides to students interested in investment management. Established in 1987, the Anderson Student Asset Management (ASAM) program (formerly the Student Investment Fund) is a fellowship that provides up to 20 students with a hands-on opportunity to apply what they have learned thus far about investment theory. Students must apply for the opportunity to manage the portfolio, currently worth approximately $1M, for five academic quarters. ASAM Fellows engage in investment strategy, asset allocation, and security analysis, and they explore both value and growth approaches to investment as well as fixed income investments. Fellows get together weekly during the academic year and visit investment professionals throughout the fellowship to learn about different investment philosophies. Those interested in a career in investment management should give UCLA Anderson a closer look.

For more information on Michigan Ross, UCLA Anderson, or 15 other leading MBA programs, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Should Worry Because My Coworker Is [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Should Worry Because My Coworker Is Also Applying
You look around your office and think to yourself: “I wish my coworker were not applying to the same school as I am. They can’t take two people who sit at the same desk. Also, their GPA is 0.15 higher!” On the surface, this reasoning may seem logical, and it can thus cause anxiety for some candidates—especially for those who are in positions for which an MBA is virtually a “must have” to move forward, such as in consulting and banking.

However—not to worry—this thinking has two significant flaws:

  • You are not the same candidate as the person at the desk beside you. They may have similar work experience, but you have had different interactions with team members and clients and have worked on different projects. So, you have different perspectives on your experiences and so do your recommenders. Furthermore, your work experience is only one piece of the puzzle that is your application. Even if your coworker does have a slightly higher GPA or GMAT/GRE score, you are still quite different in terms of your personal/life experiences, community/leadership activities, ability to perform during interviews, and more. Instead of worrying that the admissions committee will make an apples-to-apples comparison and cast you out, you must focus on what makes you distinct and present your best self.
  • The top schools have room for two great candidates. When we asked Harvard Business School’s (HBS’s) former admissions director whether she would accept two candidates who had worked at the same company, she quipped, “We have room for Larry and Sergei” (referencing the two founders of Google). An mbaMission consultant recalled that when she was at HBS, she had two classmates who worked on the same desk at the same private equity firm. At HBS, they ended up in the same section. Top-ranked MBA programs do not have quotas for certain firms, towns, ethnicities, etc. They just want the best candidates out there.
So, in short, as you eye that individual across the desk, try to avoid simplified comparisons. Focus on that which makes you distinct, and expect that the admissions committees will not fulfill quotas, but rather identify talent.
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How to Build the Ideal Resume for Your MBA Application [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Build the Ideal Resume for Your MBA Application

Present Both Responsibilities and Results

In your MBA resume, be sure to showcase your accomplishments, rather than merely stating the responsibilities of your position. When your responsibilities are presented with no accompanying results, the reader has no understanding of whether you were effective in the role you are describing. For example, consider the following entry, in which only responsibilities are offered:

2018–Present Household Products Group, Flocter & Gramble Cincinnati, Ohio

Brand Manager



  • Responsible for managing a $10M media campaign, supervising a staff of five junior brand managers, monitoring daily sales volumes, and ensuring the consistent supply of product from five production facilities in three countries.
The reader is left wondering, “Was the media campaign successful? Did the staff of five progress? Did sales volumes increase? Did the supply of products reach its destination?” When this one long bullet point is instead broken down into individual bulleted entries that elaborate on each task and show clear results, the reader learns not just about the candidate’s responsibilities but also about that person’s ultimate effectiveness and successes.

2018–Present Flocter & Gramble Cincinnati, Ohio

Brand Manager

  • Initiated $10M television/Internet “Island Vacation” promotion introducing new Shine brand detergent, surpassing first-year sales targets within three months.
  • Mentored and supervised five junior brand managers, each of whom was promoted to brand manager (company traditionally promotes 25%).
  • Analyzed daily sales volumes and identified opportunity to increase price point in Midwest, resulting in 26% margin improvement and $35M in new profits.
  • Secured “safety supply” of vital chemicals from alternate suppliers, ensuring 99% order fulfillment.
By comparing the first entry with the second, you can see how much more effective an accomplishment-driven resume is than one that simply lists responsibilities.

Demonstrate Nonquantifiable Results

Presenting quantifiable results in your resume is preferred because such results clearly convey your success in the actions you undertook. However, in some instances, you simply cannot quantify your success. In such cases, you can instead demonstrate nonquantifiable or even potential results. Consider the following examples:

  • Persuaded management to review existing operations; currently leading Manufacturing Review Committee, which will table its final report in June 2020.
  • Established divisional continuing education series, noted on review as “crucial” and “game changing.”
  • Initiated biweekly “Tuesday at Five” team social event, resulting in enhanced workplace morale.
In each of these bullet points, the results of the writer’s actions are not measurable, but they are nonetheless important. The accomplishments, while “soft,” are conveyed as clearly positive.

Keep It Concise

Ideally, your resume should be only one page long; admissions committees generally expect and appreciate the conciseness of this format. If you choose to submit a resume consisting of two pages or more, your reader may have difficulty scanning it and identifying (and remembering) important facts. With these space constraints in mind, we offer two fairly straightforward “space saver” ideas:

  • Do not include a mission statement at the beginning of your resume. Your mission in this case is to get into the MBA program to which you are applying—and, of course, the admissions committee already knows this! A mission statement will take up precious space that can be used more effectively for other purposes.
  • Your address should take up no more than one line of your resume. Many applicants will “stack” their address, using four, five, or even six lines, as if they were writing an address on an envelope. Consider how much space an address occupies when presented in the following format:
Ms. X

123 Y Street

1st Floor

City, State 10001

646-111-2222

x@y.com

You just wasted five lines of real estate! To help whittle your resume down to one page, try putting your address on just one line so you can save five others for valuable bullets.

And, while we are discussing the document’s length, resist the urge to shrink your font or margins to make your resume fit on one page. Your font should be no smaller than ten-point type, and your margins should be no smaller than 1″ on either side and 0.75″ at the top and bottom. Rather than trying to squeeze too much information onto the page, commit yourself to showcasing only your most important accomplishments that tell your story best.
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The Dos and Don’ts of GMAT CATs, Part 3 [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: The Dos and Don’ts of GMAT CATs, 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.

What are the Dos and Don’ts to get the most out of your CATs? If you have not yet read the earlier installments of this series here and here, go take a look!

DON’T take a practice CAT within five days of the real test

Would you run a practice marathon a few days before a real marathon? Of course not! You risk tiring yourself out or (mentally) injuring yourself (by reducing your confidence) just before the real test.

If your score is not where you want it to be, postpone the test; you are not going to change it substantially by taking a practice CAT at the last minute (or doing anything else).

DON’T go months without taking a CAT

When someone does this, the impetus is usually anxiety. You feel nervous that you will not get the results that you want, so you avoid getting any results at all. Alternatively, maybe you plan to study everything and then when you take the test, you are confident that you will get the score you want… but practicing without any CAT data is going to cause you to build bad habits (such as spending too much time on a question) and fail to build good ones (such as learning how and when to cut yourself off and guess).

If your last CAT was so long ago that you are no longer sure what your strengths and weaknesses are under testing conditions, it is time to take another CAT.



Takeaways


In short, do take a CAT pretty early on in your study process. Then analyze the results and use that analysis to inform your study plan. When you have addressed a substantial proportion of the major issues identified via that analysis, take another CAT. Most of the time, you should be able to find at least two to three weeks’ worth of issues to address after every CAT.

Once you have your score where you want it to be, start your final review. During this phase (which typically lasts a couple of weeks), plan to take one CAT two weeks before and another CAT one week before your real test date. Read the article “The Last 14 Days: Building Your Game Plan” to learn what to do with this data.

Good luck and happy studying!
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Professor Profiles: Jeffrey Carr, NYU Stern School of Business [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Jeffrey Carr, NYU Stern 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 profile Jeffrey Carr from New York University’s (NYU’s) Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Having taught at Stern for more than a decade as an adjunct associate professor (and earning the 1996 Stern/Citibank Teacher of the Year Award), Jeffrey Carr joined Stern’s full-time faculty in 2007 and is now a clinical professor of marketing and entrepreneurship. Carr also serves as director of the NYU Stern Fashion and Luxury Lab, which was launched in 2017. He was formerly the executive director of the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and has garnered a reputation as one of the school’s most respected marketing experts, featured by such major news outlets as NBC and the New York Times. Carr is president of Marketing Foundations Inc. and has worked on projects for such companies as Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, General Electric, Pfizer, Kodak, Time Inc., and Unilever.

As one first year we interviewed said of his experience at Stern, “So far, the most impressive class has been ‘Marketing’ with Jeff Carr,” adding, “He’s super engaging and makes you think more about the consequences of your actions in marketing than simply teaching you the tools. The class structure is very informal, but all of the students are learning a ton.”

For more information about NYU Stern and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Global Perspective MBAs at Georgetown University and George Washington [#permalink]
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FROM mbaMission Blog: Global Perspective MBAs at Georgetown University and George Washington University
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business

[url=https://msb.georgetown.edu/][b]Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business[/b][/url]  has featured a global emphasis in its curriculum for the past several years, starting with the unveiled an updating of its MBA curriculum in 2012. The school’s dean at the time, David A. Thomas, announced the changes as a response to the evolving global business landscape, meant to equip students “with the skills to be innovative leaders—whether they are joining established organizations or becoming entrepreneurs.” During the fall semester, first-year students are required to take “Structure of Global Industries,” an immersive core course that provides a foundation in international business. The global emphasis continues in the second year, when students take the core course “Business and Policy in a Global Economy,” and culminates with the school’s signature “Global Business Experience”. In this program, students take on consulting roles working for actual international organizations or Fortune 500 companies. In the spring, student teams travel to their respective client’s country—in 2019, these included Ghana, South Korea, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and India—to gain firsthand experience working in a global consulting and management setting. After the participating students return to campus, they present the stories and takeaways from their experiences to their classmates at the school’s Global Business Conference.

[img]https://www.mbamission.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/George-Washington-University-School-of-Business--300x130.jpg[/img]
George Washington University School of Business

Just four miles away from Georgetown, the [url=https://business.gwu.edu/][b]George Washington University School of Business[/b][/url] offers a similarly international MBA experience—in fact, the program is titled “[url=https://business.gwu.edu/academics/programs/mba/global-mba][b]Global MBA[/b][/url].” During the first year of the program, students take such core courses as “Micro for Global Economy” and “Competition in the Global Economy,” before taking part in the Consulting Abroad Program, during which all Global MBA students spend seven weeks preparing on campus in Washington, DC, and two weeks abroad in the partner company’s country. Although the novel coronavirus outbreak prevented students from traveling abroad in 2020, the teams delivered their presentations virtually to their partner companies in Germany, South Africa, and Singapore.

Finally, Global MBA students have the option of enrolling in one of the school’s graduate certificate programs—such certificates as “Global Management” and “Tourism Management” may be of interest to those hoping to focus on international experiences.
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