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The mbaMission Blog

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Friday Factoid: Alumni Generosity at Dartmouth Tuck [#permalink]

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New post 01 May 2015, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: Alumni Generosity at Dartmouth Tuck
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth has roughly 9,500 living alumni, and although that figure may sound small compared with a larger school’s alumni base, numerous students and graduates we have interviewed report that Tuck has an active and close-knit alumni community. Through their continued involvement with the school as mentors, visiting executives, recruiting contacts, and internship providers, Tuck alumni maintain an open channel between the MBA program and the business world. Tuck students with whom we spoke could not say enough about the strength of student-alumni interactions, emphasizing that the vitality of Tuck’s close-knit community endures long after graduation.

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

Tuck alumni also stay connected to the school through its annual fund-raising campaign. The school reportedly boasts the highest giving rate of all U.S. MBA programs. Tuck notes that its giving rate is “more than double the average giving rate of other business schools” on its Web site, and the school’s current online annual giving page boasts, “Tuck’s giving rate continues to set the standard among business schools: the alumni participation for TAG [Tuck Annual Giving] ’14 reached over 70% for the fourth year in a row.”

For more information on other defining characteristics of the MBA program at Dartmouth Tuck or one of 15 other top business schools, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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MBA News: Harvard Business School Announces First Details about Upcomi [#permalink]

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New post 01 May 2015, 17:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: Harvard Business School Announces First Details about Upcoming Admissions Season
If you are hoping to be part of the Harvard Business School (HBS) Class of 2018, mark your calendar. Deirdre Leopold, managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid at HBS, announced in a blog post on Wednesday that the application deadline for round one candidates will be September 9th, while the essay and recommender questions will be posted online on May 15th—a mere two weeks away. We here at mbaMission will post our annual essay analysis shortly after, so stay tuned and perhaps refresh your memory on what HBS asked its applicants last year.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Jen Kedrowski
mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
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GMAT Impact: What to Do When You Do Not Have Much Time [#permalink]

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New post 02 May 2015, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: GMAT Impact: What to Do When You Do Not Have Much Time
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this blog series, Manhattan Prep‘s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

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

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

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

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

Next, identify the practice materials you want to use. You are going to need at least one source for official practice questions (perhaps the Official Guide 2015 Edition). You are also going to need some materials that help you get better in your areas of greatest weakness—for example, if you are struggling with word problems and sentence correction, then you are going to need some test prep materials that teach those specific areas.

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

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

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

Last step: Start working! Tons of resources are available on the Manhattan GMAT blog to help you in your studies, but I will point you toward two particular article compilations that should be the most helpful. Both articles were written as comprehensive articles for people who have months to study, so you will once again have to prioritize and cut out things for which you just do not have time—but these will provide you with the best starting point from which to make those decisions.

Just Starting Out

Studying and Struggling

Good luck and happy studying!
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission

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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Have a Recommendation from My S [#permalink]

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New post 03 May 2015, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must Have a Recommendation from My Supervisor!
Sure, the admissions committees say they understand if an applicant does not have a recommendation from a supervisor, but do they really mean it? Even if they say it is okay, if everyone else has a supervisor writing, not having one would put you at a disadvantage, right? Wrong.

We estimate that one of every five applicants has an issue with one of their current supervisors that prevents them from asking for a recommendation. Common issues include the following:

* Brief tenure with current firm

* Disclosing business school plans could compromise promotions, bonuses, or potential increases in salary

* Supervisor is “too busy” to help and either refuses the request or tells the applicant to write the recommendation him/herself, which the applicant is unprepared to do

* Supervisor does not believe in the MBA degree and would not be supportive of this path

* Supervisor is a poor manager and refuses to assist junior staff

* Candidate is an entrepreneur or works in a family business and thus lacks a credible supervisor

We at mbaMission have previously explained that admissions offices have no reason to disadvantage one group (candidates who have issues with recommenders) over another (those who have secured recommendations from supervisors). What incentive would they have to “disqualify” approximately 20% of the applicant pool for reasons beyond its control?

Thus, if you cannot ask your supervisor for his assistance, you should not worry about your situation, though you should seek to remedy it. Start by considering your alternatives—a past employer, mentor, supplier, client, legal counsel, representative from an industry association, or anyone else who knows your work particularly well. Then, once you have made your alternate selection, briefly explain the nature of your situation and your relationship with this recommender in your optional essay. As long as you explain your choice, the admissions committee will understand your situation.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Watch Out for Repetition [#permalink]

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New post 04 May 2015, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Watch Out for Repetition
Some time ago, a prospective MBA student emailed mbaMission with the following question: “What is the most basic stylistic error that candidates make when writing their MBA application essays?” Our answer: unnecessary repetition. Although repeating a word within a single sentence or in consecutive sentences does not constitute a grammatical mistake, it can still be grating to a reader.

Consider this example:

“During my time at XYZ Sales, I increased productivity by 31% and increased revenue by 21%. Meanwhile, I increased my client base by an industry-leading 81%, bringing increased prestige to my firm.”

Although this example—which uses the word “increased” four times in just two sentences—may seem like an exaggerated case, it is actually not as rare as you might expect. However, the repetition can be easily eliminated and the sentences made increasingly reader friendly with just a few simple changes:

“During my time at XYZ Sales, I increased productivity by 31% and revenue by 21%. Meanwhile, I grew my client base by an industry-leading 81%, enhancing my firm’s prestige.”

The key to eliminating repetition is to first become aware of the potential problem and then gain distance from your work. By stepping away from your essay drafts for a day or two and then going back to reread them, you will gain the objectivity necessary to catch—and correct—this easily avoidable mistake.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Mission Admission: Begin with One MBA Application and Start Early [#permalink]

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New post 05 May 2015, 11:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: Begin with One MBA Application and Start Early
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

MBA candidates often ask us whether they should complete one application before moving on to the next or whether they should attack all of their applications at once. Although this question has no definitively “right” answer, we generally advise candidates who start early to make significant progress on their first application before beginning their second or third.

Why? Simply put, business school candidates can learn a tremendous amount from the process of completing their first application, and this can prevent them from repeating any mistakes two or three times. By mistakes, we mean errors not just in terms of grammar and style, but also in terms of approach. For example, once an applicant starts writing, he/she might discover that achieving the right “balance” in his/her essays is difficult or that conforming to stringent word counts is tougher than expected. In this case, the candidate would benefit from “battling” through the first few essays and using them as an opportunity to refine his/her message and approach, rather than attacking multiple essays at once. After working through these issues and having completed a full set of essays, the applicant can then move forward with the next application(s) and can do so with confidence that he/she is not repeating the same mistakes.

This is a simple recommendation, but if followed, it can save an applicant a tremendous amount of time, especially those candidates who intend to start early and make steady progress.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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MBA Career Advice: Mistaken Mistakes People Make Part 3 [#permalink]

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New post 05 May 2015, 19:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Career Advice: Mistaken Mistakes People Make Part 3
In this weekly series, our friends at MBA Career Coaches will be dispensing invaluable advice 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. For more information or to sign up for a free career consultation, visit www.mbacareercoaches.com.

Failures, mistakes, and setbacks are a critical part of professional advancement. You need to leverage each mistake and setback you encounter with an eye to your personal development. We have a whole series about this on the MBA Career Coaches blog so check it out. In our interview series, we’ve covered choosing the right mistakes – ones that are honest but not in conflict with your target company’s culture – and then framing them in the context of what you learned.

We cautioned against naming strengths and trying to disguise them as weaknesses. Interviewers will see this as a dodge and you will lose authenticity points and fail to make a true human connection with your interviewer. “I’m a perfectionist,” or “I take on too much,” are not authentic weaknesses. Unless they are. Sometimes your best choice answer to “Tell me about a weakness or mistake” is in fact a consequence of a quality that is ordinarily one of your strengths. This is true because too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. To know if this is true for you, you will need to do some honest self-reflection. Something we always recommend doing more of.

For example, your perfectionism gives you a high level of detail-orientation, integrity, and quality work product (all good things), but it, at least occasionally, causes problems for you. Think about times when your tendency to perfectionism actually hurt your overall performance. Was there a time when you locked yourself in your office for a week trying to nail a model only to learn after five days that you had made rookie mistakes that your boss could have helped you correct in a day two if you had sought his input? How about that time you skipped dinner with friends to stay late and perfect a presentation that ended up being scrapped the next day? Or the time you micromanaged a subordinate’s work product and limited her creative contribution and development because you were too concerned with perfecting the final outcome to your own specific expectations.

There is a another side to every coin. Perfectionism’s ugly twins are obsessiveness, inability to prioritize and micromanagement. These are certainly weaknesses. Only you can decide if your strengths also represent weaknesses under certain circumstances. If you choose one of these to talk about in an interview, then you have to reveal honestly and specifically show how this strength manifests as a weakness. Some examples…

  • “Ordinarily my desire for perfection helps me do better work, but on one occasion I caused a huge delay for the team by belaboring my part of the case without seeking my manager’s input….”
  • “I take on too much, and although I know that is usually a good thing, it has actually caused my performance to suffer at times because I did not have an accurate sense of my own capabilities. A wake-up call for me was when I submitted work late and below the quality level I expected of myself, because I had taken on too much…”
And although we are always advocating for more self reflection, there is even such a thing as too much of that:

  •  “My tendency to reflect has really helped me grow throughout my career, but it sometimes paralyzes me and causes me to put off important decisions because I am trying to predict all the possible externalities. I can get myself caught in a doom loop of thinking….”
Of course don’t forget the redemption part of the story. How are you striving to improve in this regard, what have you learned and how have you changed? Any competent professional who has identified a weakness should also be able to show how he/she has worked at improving.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission

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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Professor Profiles: Youngme Moon, Harvard Business School [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2015, 12:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Youngme Moon, Harvard Business School
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a school to attend, but the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Each Wednesday, we profile a standout professor as identified by students. Today, we focus on Youngme Moon from Harvard Business School (HBS).

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Having received the HBS Faculty Award for teaching excellence (voted on by students) from the first-year (aka RC) class in 2002 and the Faculty Award from the second-year (aka EC) class in 2005 and 2007, Youngme Moon is also the inaugural recipient of the 2002–2003 Hellman Faculty Fellowship for distinction in research. Her work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the Journal of Experimental Psychology, and the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

Moon’s 2010 book Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd (Crown Business) is described on her Web site as showing “how to succeed in a world where conformity reigns … but exceptions rule.” Students told mbaMission they enjoy Moon’s “Consumer Marketing” class because of the sometimes counterintuitive ideas she presents in it, including explanations of “hostile brands” such as Harley Davidson and of IKEA’s “reverse positioning,” as well as discussions of innovative marketing models, such as (Product)Red and BMW Films. She was also described as being extremely friendly and accessible, even going out for casual dinners with students.

For more information about HBS and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Beyond the MBA Classroom: MIT Sloan Charity Auctions [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2015, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: MIT Sloan Charity Auctions
When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

Twice a year, in the fall and in the spring, students at the MIT Sloan School of Management organize charity auctions. Each “ocean” (the 60-person cohort with which students take their first-semester core classes) selects a charity to support and identifies items to be auctioned, ranging from lunch with a professor to a home-cooked meal by a student to more unusual offerings, like having a professor chauffeur you to class in his classic car. First-year oceans compete to see which one can raise the most money, and second-year students organize a similar auction. In 2014, the oceans raised more than $48,000, and in 2013, the total was more than $70,000. Over the years, the events have benefitted such organizations as Children of Fallen Patriots, Heifer International, Curing Kids Cancer, the Cancer Research Institute, Pencils of Promise, and the Wounded Warrior Program. Items up for bid have included a personal White House Tour, a weekend tour of Napa Valley, and a week at a Costa Rican beach house.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at MIT Sloan and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission

Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Diamonds in the Rough: Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of B [#permalink]

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New post 07 May 2015, 19:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business
MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

Corporate connections are a major selling point atSouthern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. Located in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, the school offers its MBA students access to a large network of corporate representatives and recruiters—from the 18 Fortune 500 companies with headquarters in the area to a global alumni base in excess of 115,000. One highlight of the networking resources Cox provides is the Associate Board, an executive mentoring program that pairs MBA students with business leaders and entrepreneur from every major industry.

The Economist ranked Cox’s small, collaborative program 23rd for “potential to network” in 2014. In addition, Entrepreneur magazine has ranked business-friendly Dallas second among U.S. cities for entrepreneurs.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission

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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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Friday Factoid: Wall Street Experience at Michigan Ross [#permalink]

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New post 08 May 2015, 14:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: Wall Street Experience at Michigan Ross
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 a flexible and wireless electronic 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 are walking by students in action.

For more information on the defining characteristics of the MBA program at Michigan Ross or one of 15 other top business schools, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

 
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission

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MBA News: Stanford GSB and Wharton Release 2015-2016 Deadlines [#permalink]

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New post 08 May 2015, 17:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA News: Stanford GSB and Wharton Release 2015-2016 Deadlines
It is that time of the year again! Schools are beginning to release information concerning the Class of 2018—namely, application deadlines and essay questions. This week, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania were among the first, while other programs will likely follow suit shortly. Note that Stanford has advanced its Round 1 deadline from last year’s by a few weeks—perhaps they are seeking a cat and mouse game with another top-ranked program, Harvard Business School?

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Application Deadlines:

Round 1: September 22, 2015

Round 2: January 12, 2016

Round 3: April 5, 2016

Decisions Released:

Round 1: December 9, 2015

Round 2: March 30, 2016

Round 3: May 11, 2016

 

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Application Deadlines:

Round 1: September 29, 2015

Round 2: January 5, 2016

Round 3: March 30, 2016

Decisions Released:

Round 1: December 17, 2015

Round 2: March 29, 2016

Round 3: May 3, 2016
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GMAT Impact: How Do Business Schools View the GRE? [#permalink]

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New post 09 May 2015, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: GMAT Impact: How Do Business Schools View the GRE?
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this blog series, Manhattan Prep‘s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

Many business schools, including Stanford, Harvard, and Wharton, accept either the GMAT or the GRE. I have spoken with a couple of admissions officers about this topic, as well as several students who have had their own conversations with admissions officers about which test to take.

The general consensus seems to be that taking the GRE instead of the GMAT confers no major disadvantage, but some schools do (as we suspected) discount the GRE quant score a bit because they feel that the GMAT quant is more challenging. (And I think they are right about that.)

No one would discuss specifics, but here are some things I inferred. First, the discount is not enormous—my guess is that it is on the order of perhaps five to ten percentile points. If you, for whatever reason, find the GRE quant much easier than the GMAT quant, then it still might be to your advantage to take the GRE.

Second, so far, I have only heard top schools acknowledge doing this. Certainly, any schools could discount the GRE quant; my guess, though, is that everyone else is not as concerned about the small differences in score/difficulty level between the two tests. The top schools receive so many applications that choosing among all of the highly qualified candidates is extremely difficult, so they are even more concerned about making an apples-to-apples comparison (as much as they can).

Finally, no one expressed any concern about the verbal portion of the GRE; the schools seem to view the two tests as equally challenging in this area. (And, again, I agree with this assessment.) The GRE and GMAT do test somewhat different verbal skills, but vocabulary (GRE) is just as important as grammar (GMAT) in business communication, so neither test has an edge here. (Both tests address meaning in their vocabulary- and grammar-based verbal questions.)

What does this mean? If you are applying to a top school, you should have a slight preference for the GMAT over the GRE, but if you are really struggling with GMAT quant, then try a GRE practice test (under 100% official conditions, please!). If you find the GRE quant a lot easier (enough that you can score at least ten percentile points higher), then you may want to consider taking the GRE instead.

And be sure to check out our GMAT vs. GRE infographic for even more help deciding which test to take!
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Free Budget Planning Session from M7 Financial [#permalink]

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New post 09 May 2015, 17:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Free Budget Planning Session from M7 Financial
Are you one of the thousands of MBA admits thinking about how much your degree will really cost and how you will pay for it?

Our sister firm M7 Financial is offering a free Budget Planning Session for MBA students who want a realistic view on direct and indirect  B-school expenses, tips for avoiding common budgeting mistakes, and information on how to fund their degrees. First, you will have a 30-minute, one-on-one session with an M7 budgeting coach, after which you will receive a personalized budget presentation that covers the following:

  • An assessment of your potential school-specific and personal expenses
  • Anticipated job search and networking expenses
  • Areas where your MBA program’s suggested budget may not be appropriate for your circumstances
  • Potential sources for funding all your expenses
If you plan to attend an MBA program based in the United States in 2015, sign up for your free Budget Planning Session here: http://www.m7financial.com/free-budget-session/

Note: At this time, the M7 Financial Web site does not provide access to loans for international students without a co-signer based in the United States.

If you have questions about this complimentary offering, please email M7 Financial at info@m7financial.com.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Why Worry? I Served! [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2015, 14:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Why Worry? I Served!
Some applicants mistakenly regard community service as a prerequisite for getting into a top MBA program. And some who believe that it is a prerequisite will sign up for community activities without considering whether their chosen organization or cause is a reasonable fit for them. Although community service is generally a positive, given that it demonstrates altruism on the part of the participant and frequently indicates leadership as well—attributes that may not be revealed in the workplace—community service is not a panacea. As you contemplate your involvements, keep in mind that “hours served” are not as important as the spirit of your participation and the extent of your impact.

We encourage MBA candidates to carefully consider their community experiences in the same way that they would examine and evaluate their professional or entrepreneurial opportunities. Although people can sometimes make mistakes in their career paths, most gravitate toward areas where they can excel, justifiably to further their own interests.  So, for example, if you do not enjoy one-to-one interactions, you likely would not consider a position in sales, because you could never thrive in such a position. In contrast, if working in sales were to bring out the best in you, you just might earn promotions, think of new sales techniques, train others, etc. Stories develop as a by-product of performance.

So, for example, if you have always enjoyed a particularly close relationship with your grandmother and want to share this kind of positive experience with others, you might decide to volunteer to spend time with seniors at a retirement home, where you would naturally be predisposed toward success. If you were quite passionate about your work there, you just might get others involved, expand the volunteer program at the home, take greater leadership in the program, and show other forms of initiative and enthusiasm. However, if you are not that passionate about the elderly, but you just happen to live near a retirement home, volunteering there just for convenience would likely be a mistake, because you would lack the spirit of commitment/adventure necessary to ensure that you have an impact—and therefore have a story worth telling the admissions committees.

Whether you are already committed to an activity or just considering becoming involved in one, carefully determine whether you have the spirit necessary to truly commit yourself to your chosen cause and make a difference. If all you can commit to is merely putting in the hours, you will only be wasting your time.
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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Avoid Mentioning Rankings [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2015, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Avoid Mentioning Rankings
In their essays and interviews, business school candidates should thoroughly explain their interest in a specific program by developing and presenting arguments that center on the school’s academic and environmental attributes (e.g., research institutes, professors, experiential learning opportunities, classes, pedagogies)—but applicants should definitely not refer to the school’s position in the various MBA rankings as a reason for applying. Although applicants, administrators, students, and alumni all pay tremendous attention to rankings, within a candidate’s application, the topic is entirely taboo.

Why is this? Rankings are a measure of a school’s reputation and tend to fluctuate from year to year. By citing rankings, you indicate that you could (or would) be dissatisfied by a drop in your target program’s prestige as conveyed by such rankings—a drop that would be out of the school’s control and that, from the institution’s perspective, could ostensibly put your relationship as a future student (and later as an alumnus/alumna) at risk. Further, MBA programs want to be sure that you are attracted to their various academic offerings and that you have profound professional needs that they can satisfy. Rankings, however, are superficial, and referencing them in your application materials undermines the profundity of your research and motives.
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Mission Admission: Look at Schools Beyond the Rankings [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2015, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: Look at Schools Beyond the Rankings
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

On our blog, in our publications, and in public presentations, we have tried repeatedly to persuade business school candidates who are deciding which MBA programs to target to downplay the schools’ rankings, which can fluctuate wildly, and instead focus on fit, which is enduring. Now, as a new admissions season is about to begin, we recommend that you accelerate and broaden your evaluation process.

One way to look beyond rankings is to speak with MBA students. Even if you do not have direct access to students, reaching out to them in a targeted way—via email, club Web sites, and social media—can be quite easy. You should not feel as though you are being “pushy” when contacting a student in this way, because most students take pride in their school and are open to speaking with candidates. They are a de facto part of the school’s marketing arm. For example, if you are interested in a certain program for its entrepreneurship offerings, you can reach out to the individual(s) leading the entrepreneurship club to learn more about the program (and the club!). Of course, you should be respectful of each individual’s time and be well prepared for your conversation. If you are conscientious, you will be able to gain some great insight into the school’s academic environment and then have time to find out more about the atmosphere on campus. Networking now should enable you to begin narrowing your search and more effectively focus your limited “free” time over the next few months.
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Professor Profiles: Jonathan Knee, Columbia Business School [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2015, 14:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Jonathan Knee, Columbia Business School
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when choosing a business school, but the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Each Wednesday, we profile a standout professor as identified by students. Today, we focus on Jonathan Knee from Columbia Business School (CBS).

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

For more information about CBS and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2015–2016 [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2015, 17:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2015–2016
Columbia Business School (CBS), you usurper! For as long as we could remember, Harvard Business School had kicked off the MBA application season with the release of its essay questions, but then, three years ago, CBS showed that it waits for no one, and again this year, the school has struck first by releasing its essay prompts before any other program. In some ways, releasing the application earlier and earlier each year makes sense. As soon as the questions and requirements are out, applicants begin working on their submissions, invest more time and effort into their essays, and maybe even commit to applying to a school that they otherwise may have only considered a choice, had the application been released later, alongside those of a number of other schools. When you have only one option at hand, and it is one you like, you proceed! We cannot say for sure why the CBS admissions committee takes this approach, but we certainly plan to ask Amanda Carlson, CBS’s assistant dean of admissions, the next time we get to interview her. We recently hosted an admissions officer Q&A featuring Ms. Carlson. You can read the summary of that session here. She is very passionate about MBA applicants lowering their guards and understanding that she is eager to learn about each and every candidate. We would also ask her about the school’s ever-shrinking short-answer question, whose character count has decreased from 200 three years ago, to 100 two years ago, to 75 last year, to just 50 this year. Clearly, CBS values succinctness in this particular case. Our analysis of all the school’s essay questions follows…

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Applicants must complete one short answer question and three essays.


Short Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

Examples of possible responses:

  • “Work in business development for a media company.”
  • “Join a strategy consulting firm.”
  • “Launch a data-management start-up.”
Reveal true goals, not what you think CBS wants.

This directive—which may sound to you as though Yoda wrote it—is a mere 48 characters and could suffice as a tribute form of essay analysis. Yes, we stayed within the character count, but we do have more to say…

You can see now just how brief you need to be with CBS’s short-answer question, yet you must still demonstrate that you can convey a point within such strict limits. So, we are sticking with the advice in our example. Do not misguidedly believe that admissions officers have a preference for specific professions or industries—they do not. Think about what you truly want to do with your career and state it directly. Then be sure that the rest of your application provides evidence that this goal connects to your existing skills and profound interests, making your professed goal achievable and lending credibility to your statement. If you can do this in 50 characters—and remember that we are talking about characters, not words—you will have answered this question quite well.

Essay 1: Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals going forward, and how will the Columbia MBA help you achieve them? (Maximum 500 words)

Did you not just write about your career goals for CBS’s short-answer question? Well, yes, but clearly the admissions committee wants to know more. Here is your opportunity to elaborate on your aspirations and share why they truly make sense for you. We would suggest starting by giving some context to your goals, because a declarative statement alone can often seem naïve, detached, or whimsical, especially if some might consider your intentions adventurous. Declaring, “I plan to ultimately become president of the New York Yankees” may be an audacious and eye-catching way to start your essay, but it will not be an effective one if you do not subsequently provide context for how and why—once you have your MBA—this just might be possible. (Maybe you have significant experience in the entertainment or sports industries already? Maybe your last name is Steinbrenner?)

First, you must provide some brief context for your goals—revealing that a crucial and legitimate connection exists between where you have been and where you want to go, so that you are not merely expressing an unfounded “want”—and then you can reveal your goals. The key here is to go far beyond the 50 characters the school gave you for its short-answer question. For this essay, you have to go into more detail and show that you really understand what someone in your target field does. Too many applicants write statements like “I want to be a consultant at McKinsey or BCG” or “I want to join a start-up.” Using the start-up declaration as an example, what kind of start-up? Seed stage? Venture backed? What position within the start-up venture do you intend to fill? After all, a start-up is a business, not a specific job. Our point is that you must show that you have given your career path a lot of thought and truly understand what your immediate post-MBA role entails, why you are (or will be) properly equipped to perform it, and how it is the right fit for you personally. Then you can show that you have envisioned an ideal path for your career by sharing your long-term goals, which of course must represent a well-founded yet aspirational progression from your short-term goals.

In addition to clearly and logically presenting your goals, you need to demonstrate that you have dedicated just as much thought—or maybe even more—to why you want to study at CBS. Many applicants make the mistake of simply offering a litany of pandering clichés about the school, but because you are reading this essay analysis, you will not! Think carefully about what you need to learn to achieve your set goals and then write about which specific resources at CBS will allow you to develop your managerial skill set to achieve those goals. Do not just tell the school about its own strengths; show the admissions committee that you understand how CBS is the missing link between you and your career goals.

Because personal statements are similar from one application to the next, we have produced the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge. Please feel free to download your copy today.

For a thorough exploration of CBS’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment and more, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to Columbia Business School.

Essay 2: Columbia Business School’s location enables us to bridge theory and practice in multiple ways: through Master Classes, internships, the New York Immersion Seminars, and, most importantly, through a combination of distinguished research faculty and accomplished practitioners. How will you take advantage of being “at the very center of business”? (Maximum 250 words)

This question has vexed many an applicant, especially those who have never been to New York City or contemplated why being there might be advantageous in their careers. Maybe this is precisely why the CBS admissions committee asks this question—to ensure that you give some serious thought to this aspect of your potential MBA environment or perhaps to motivate you to come to New York and take charge. Whatever the reason, the key here is not to consider what New York City offers in general, but to instead focus on what you need from your educational experience and then address how this will be fulfilled or enhanced by the school’s proximity (beyond its campus) to numerous practical opportunities.

To effectively answer this question, many applicants will need to conduct some significant research about the city. If you are interested in entering the fashion world after you graduate, for example, New York has bountiful resources in this area that you could discuss. Simply saying that you want to attend New York Fashion Week would not be sufficient, however. You need to “own” this essay and show that you have a true depth of understanding not just of the resources available, but also of how they would factor into your CBS experience. You have only 250 words in which to convey all this, so make each one count in your efforts to reveal that depth!

Essay 3: CBS Matters, a key element of the School’s culture, allows the people in your Cluster to learn more about you on a personal level. What will your Clustermates be pleasantly surprised to learn about you? (Maximum 250 words)

Stop now and consider what the admissions officers will already know about you at this point from the other elements of your application they have reviewed thus far. They will probably have read your resume and thus gotten a sense of your career path to date. Your other essays should have provided an understanding of your goals and why you want to be at CBS and in New York City. The admissions committee may have had some brief glimpses into your personality through these avenues, but this essay is your overt opportunity—albeit brief—to give a sense of your true character.

The key words in this question are “pleasantly surprised.” Although you certainly want to offer something surprising, you obviously do not want that surprise to be unpleasant. “Surprise” does not need to be understood as “shocked.” Do not think you need to totally revolutionize their understanding of you in a mere 250 words (though if you can, that is fine).

Our point is that you should not worry if you have not climbed Mount Everest or launched a $50M venture capital–backed start-up. You are not expected to have spectacular achievement to share—CBS just wants to get to know you better by learning about an interesting aspect of your life. Whether you spent a month volunteering in Peru, helped put your sister through school or are passionate about flamenco dancing, these are all suitable stories, and one is not necessarily better than the other. What is important is that you show how what you do is manifest. You must offer a narrative that engages the reader in your actions and emphasizes how you conduct yourself.

We should note that you do not need to answer a question that was not asked. So in this case, you do not need to tie your response to CBS and explain how this aspect of your life will allow you to contribute to the school or your cluster. You may certainly do so if it is organic to your story, but do not in any way feel obligated to include a mention of CBS

Optional Essay: An optional fourth essay will allow you to discuss any issues that do not fall within the purview of the required essays.

However tempted you might be, this is not the place to paste in a strong essay from another school or to offer a few anecdotes that you were unable to use in any of your other essays. Instead, this is your opportunity, if needed, to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer may have about your candidacy, such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc. In our mbaMission Optional Statement Guide, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.
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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Kellogg Students Embark on KWEST [#permalink]

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New post 14 May 2015, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Kellogg Students Embark on KWEST
When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

Each year, incoming Kellogg School of Management students gather for the four-day Kellogg Worldwide Experiences and Service Trips (KWEST), during which they engage in volunteerism and tourist activities alongside the veritable strangers who will soon become their friends. More than 80% of each incoming class typically participates in KWEST. Voyages occur throughout the United States and internationally; in 2014, trips and activities were organized to more than 30 locations around the world, including cycling in the Netherlands, beer tasting in Germany, zip-lining and surfing in Nicaragua, and meeting with a U.S. ambassador in Denmark/Austria. In 2013, trips were organized to such locations as Argentina, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Romania, and Turkey. Some students even participate in a mystery trip: they do not learn their destination until they check in at the airport!

During KWEST, students are not expected to discuss their work experience or academic/professional plans. Instead, students get to know each other on a more personal and intellectual level, returning to campus well acquainted and, ideally, even bonded.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at Kellogg and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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