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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Ross’s Thursday Happy Hours at Scorekeepers [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2015, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Ross’s Thursday Happy Hours at Scorekeepers
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.

Students at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business gather for Happy Hour, which is sponsored by the Ross Student Association (RSA), every Thursday at Scorekeepers, or “Skeeps,” a watering hole near campus. This sports bar and grill offers cheap drinks, good music, and lots of TVs—especially important when a game is on. (Members of the RSA usually drink for free for the first few hours of the evening.) The casual atmosphere offers an opportunity for MBA students to “unwind, free their minds from assignments and corporate recruiting, and socialize with classmates,” asserts the RSA’s Web site. Happy Hours are occasionally frequented by faculty and often co-sponsored by Ross clubs and organizations.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at Michigan Ross 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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Diamonds in the Rough: Core Values at Boston College’s Carroll School  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2015, 17:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: Core Values at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management
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.

First years at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management begin their MBA experience within a cohort of just 100 students, enjoying a close-knit classroom environment in which they gain exposure to broad management skills, with a particular emphasis on business ethics. Both the curriculum and the student community at the school engender a set of core values: “honesty and integrity,” “mutual respect,” “pursuit of excellence,” and “personal accountability.” In addition to completing a first-year project on corporate social responsibility, a hands-on consulting project, and a second-year team business plan project, students at the Carroll School must complete at least 20 hours of community service, which the school requires to help instill an appreciation for and a spirit of community service in its MBAs.

These values are also reflected in the school’s core “Management Practice” course sequence—taken throughout the first year and into the first semester of the second year—in which students learn to think critically about the challenges involved in business leadership. As one graduate commented in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2012 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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Friday Factoid: Thinking Social at NYU Stern [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jun 2015, 12:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: Thinking Social at NYU Stern
Although New York University’s (NYU’s) Stern School of Business is perhaps not well known among the top MBA programs for sustainable enterprise or social entrepreneurship, the school actually offers an array of resources for those interested in pursuing careers in these fields. The Berkley Center Program in Social Entrepreneurship (formerly the Stewart Satter Program in Social Entrepreneurship) serves as the hub of all socially entrepreneurial activities and events at the school, and in 2008, Stern introduced a Social Innovation and Impact specialization, thereby formalizing an academic track for students with this career path in mind.

Attending or helping to plan the Social Enterprise Association’s “Think Social, Drink Local” marquee fundraiser is one of many options that socially conscious aspiring MBAs will find to fulfill their interests at Stern. With help from corporate sponsors such as Brooklyn Brewery and Crop Organic Vodka, the school’s Social Enterprise Association hosts the event in partnership with the Luxury and Retail Club. In March 2015, the tenth annual event took place at 404 NYC and featured an open bar showcasing local and/or sustainably sourced food and drink. This annual event also involves an “I Heart New York” runway fashion show—a fundraiser for Stern’s Social Impact Internship Fund—in which Stern students and administrators model clothing by ecofriendly designers. The fashion show is a highlight of the evening and has raised more than $10,000 in past years.

Through Stern Consulting Corps, students can partner on consulting projects with New York City–based nonprofits such as the William J. Clinton Foundation’s Economic Opportunity Initiative. And for those who also have the entrepreneurial bug, Stern added a Social Venture Competition to its traditional for-profit Annual Business Plan Competition, in which participants compete for a $50,000 prize.

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

For a thorough exploration of what NYU Stern and 15 other top business schools have to offer, 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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UC Berkeley Haas Essay Analysis, 2015–2016 [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jun 2015, 16:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: UC Berkeley Haas Essay Analysis, 2015–2016
The Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, continues to offer an “old school” set of essay questions. The school’s admissions committee therefore seems to be a real maverick, resisting the move to requiring just one long essay—as many MBA programs have done in recent years—and instead posing three essay questions, one of which involves three options. The whole thing is so 2009. With this surfeit of questions comes opportunity, however. Berkeley Haas allows you to present a fuller picture of who you are and the experiences that have shaped you. As always, think carefully about what you want to reveal to the admissions committee. With each question/essay, you want to be sure the admissions committee is learning something new about you! This does not mean, for example, that you can share only one story from your work environment, but it does mean that you can relate only one project management story from any environment. Consider your essays as a collective whole to ensure that you are presenting a broad representation of yourself/your experiences that draws from multiple areas. Read on for our full analysis of Haas’s application essay prompts for this season.

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Essay 1: If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why? (250 words maximum)


Let us begin by making one thing very clear—the admissions committee is not interested in evaluating your taste in music! If you like ’80s glam rock, and your admissions reader enjoys jazz standards, the difference in your musical preferences will be completely irrelevant. We should also note that the admissions committee definitely does not need to readily recognize the song or artist you choose. What is important here is that the song you select is truly meaningful to and representative of you.

By posing a creative question of this kind, all the Haas admissions committee is doing is giving you a wide open opportunity to offer an appealing, and perhaps even fun, metaphor—not to try to impress them with your musical tastes or knowledge. So, do not dedicate too many words to discussing the song itself. Simply introduce the song, explain in a concise and straightforward manner why it is important to you, and then reveal several key experiences that relate to and support your musical choice.

In the 250 words the school allots for this essay, you have plenty of room to name a song and offer a few clear examples from your life that reinforce or substantiate the thesis that you embody the spirit of the song. That said, do not merely present a list of accomplishments, but instead strive to engage your reader in a brief narrative that validates the link between your experiences and values and the song you have selected.

Essay 2: Please respond to one of the following prompts (250 words maximum):

a. Describe an experience that has fundamentally changed the way you see the world and how it transformed you.

Interestingly, this was a standalone essay question for the school last year, whereas this season, it has been relegated to merely a choice and the maximum allowable word count slashed from 500 to just 250. If you select this option, your essay needs to be about change. And to show how you have changed, you will need to offer not just the “after” but a clear “before and after” scenario. Do not just assume that the admissions committee will understand that you had a powerful experience. You will need to figuratively hold the admissions reader’s hand, lead him/her through the situation—being sure to explain how you originally perceived the world before the incident—and then describe the “transformative” moment when everything changed, leading to new and different behaviors and perceptions on your part.

Begin your essay by narratively building up to that pivotal moment or experience, showing how you previously viewed your world. Then, share the story of the deeply influential experience that sharply contrasted with your perceptions at the time, leaving you no choice but to change your views. The experience you describe can be professional or personal, and it can be something you did or that happened to or around you. Although the catalyst itself is important, the admissions committee is far more interested in your capacity for change. Take care not to focus exclusively on recounting the experience, and be sure to devote a good portion of your essay to responding to the second half of the prompt: how the experience transformed you. Haas is not expecting you to have become a completely new person, but the admissions committee does want to know that you are open to the world, critically evaluating your thoughts and adapting when necessary. Your narrative should demonstrate some or all of these traits!

b. Describe a significant accomplishment and why it makes you proud.

This classic essay question was also a standalone prompt last application season. So many schools used to pose this query, but now Haas is one of the very few that still does. Why not give applicants a chance to showcase their best professional accomplishments as they apply to a school that is meant to be a catalyst for professional success? The school has made one key addition to the query, however, and now asks applicants to explain why they feel pride in the achievement.

Your response should be very straightforward. Describe the accomplishment, using a narrative approach to illustrate how you achieved your goal, and then share why this particular victory makes you feel proud. Keep in mind, however, that this is not the place to brag. The admissions committee should understand that you performed very well without your explicitly saying so! Present what you did, how you did it, and why the experience is particularly meaningful for you, rather than claiming that you are so great—this will show both that you are an elite performer and that you are appropriately humble.

Remember, any great accomplishment is hard won. If your story does not involve a clear challenge or conflict, it is not the right story to share. You do not want to portray yourself as a combative hothead, of course, but you do need to show that through your efforts, you encountered difficulties and ultimately overcame them. And yes, you can do all this in just 250 words!

c. Describe a difficult decision you have made and why it was challenging.

If you choose to respond to this essay prompt, you will need to share an anecdote in which something was at stake—the reader must feel and understand that your decision involved some level of risk. If you faced no possibility of negative ramifications, reaching your decision could not have been very challenging, as the school’s question specifically stipulates. You can use a story from any facet of your life—professional, community, or personal—and once you have chosen an experience to explore, focus on the challenge involved. Reveal your thought process so that the admissions committee can understand how you made your decision. Also, know that your decision does not need to have been proven right. You could even show that all the options available to you at the time were less than ideal and explain how you optimized the imperfect outcomes. The key is that your reader understand your thought process and learning. If you consider an anecdote from your life and feel that it does not encompass a “sharp” enough set of conflicting options, definitely pick a different story to share. We suspect that few applicants will choose this essay prompt, but those who do should be able to hit a home run with it, if it is executed properly.

Essay 3: Tell us about your path to business school and your future plans. How will the Berkeley-Haas experience help you along this journey? (500 words maximum)

Last year, Haas posed a very similar essay question: What is your desired post-MBA role and at what company or organization? The school then requested that applicants address relevant aspects of their background, something they would do for the company that would exceed what other employees could offer, and why an MBA (and specifically, a Haas MBA) is critical to their success with the firm. At its core, the current version of the prompt is not terribly dissimilar from last season’s.

Basically, Haas wants to know about your goals and why you need its MBA program in particular to facilitate/accelerate your career. However, the school asks you to discuss your career path in an indirect way—essentially forcing you to walk a few steps in your post-MBA shoes, rather than imagine an ideal now. Haas appears to be pushing candidates to really think about their long-term aspirations and consider the plausibility of their paths, possibly to lessen the chance of admitting those who do not have sufficient direction to succeed.

First, you should relate your strengths to your target company, showing examples from your existing professional life and, in some rare cases, personal interests. Definitely take the time to research your desired firm to understand what it seeks and the values it holds dear. Avoid clichés like “I am tech savvy and dynamic and would be a perfect fit for Google.” Such declarations are way too superficial—you must show a profound understanding of your target company to demonstrate the “fit” that will impress the admissions committee.

This essay question ultimately reverts back to pretty typical personal statement phraseology. And 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.

Optional Essay: Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? You may also use this essay to provide further explanation of employment gaps or your quantitative abilities. (500 words maximum)

However difficult this might be, avoid the temptation to simply reuse a strong essay you wrote for another school here or to take the opportunity to offer a few anecdotes you were unable to incorporate into any of your other Haas essays. Instead—if you truly need to—use this essay to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might 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, available through our online store, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (including multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

 
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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Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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GMAT Impact: What to Do During the Last Two Weeks Before the GMAT [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2015, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: GMAT Impact: What to Do During the Last Two Weeks Before the GMAT
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.

Application season is here, and many candidates are gearing up to take the GMAT. Are you aware that during the last 7 to 14 days before you take the real test, your entire study focus changes? Most people have no idea and keep doing more of the same—trying to fix weaknesses and lift their scores. While that should be your focus up until the last week or two, if you continue to focus on weaknesses during the last length of time, you will not likely be able to maximize your score on test day.

Why? You’ve been studying an enormous number of things, right? (Sometimes, it seems like it will never end!) Toward the end of our study time frame, we have to take time to do two very important things: build a game plan and conduct a comprehensive review.

To learn how to construct a game plan, take a look at the first part of this article: The Last 14 Days: Building Your Game Plan (Part 1). That article contains a link to the second half, which discusses how to conduct a review of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your timing and other strategies.

Ideally, you will take a full 14 days for this process, but you can compress the activities into seven to ten days if need be. Just do not try to do it all in seven days; you will have to cut down on the amount of review you do to avoid tiring yourself out before Game Day.

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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Admissions Myths Destroyed: Yikes, a Typo—I Am Done! [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jun 2015, 13:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Admissions Myths Destroyed: Yikes, a Typo—I Am Done!
You have worked painstakingly on your application. You have checked and rechecked your work. You finally press the Submit button, and then you discover—to your horror—that you are missing a comma and you inadvertently used “too” instead of “to.” The admissions committee is just going to throw your application out, right? Wrong.

There is a fine line between a typo and pervasive sloppiness. If you have typos and grammatical errors everywhere, you send a negative message about your sense of professionalism and your desire to represent yourself—and thus the target school—in a positive way going forward. If you have a minor mistake or too (oops, we meant “mistake or two”) in your text, you have an unfortunate but not devastating situation on your hands. Admissions committees understand that you are only human and, if you are a strong candidate, the entirety of your professional, community, personal, and academic endeavors will outweigh these blips.

Do not dwell on the mistakes. Do not send new essays. Just accept your own fallibility and move on.
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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Monday Morning Essay Tip: Aim for a Descriptive Writing Style [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2015, 09:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Monday Morning Essay Tip: Aim for a Descriptive Writing Style
Many writers tend to confuse adjectives and adverbs with details. When adjectives and adverbs are used to emphasize an emotion or an emotional state, they can actually end up adding very little to the description of an experience and possibly even undermine it. However, when that emotion or emotional state is described properly, it can add real life to a story.

Consider the following example:

Example 1: “With my award in hand, I felt extremely proud of my accomplishment.”

In this example, the word “extremely” does not help create or enhance the reader’s mental picture; it merely states the obvious. After all, the difference between being “extremely proud” and being “proud” is negligible, considering that pride is naturally an “extreme” emotion. This just does not effectively convey how the writer actually felt. Now consider this second example:

Example 2: “Approaching the podium to receive my award, I felt faint. Even though my hands were shaking, I managed to give our company president a firm handshake when she passed me the award. As I began speaking to a crowd of my colleagues, I finally understood what being proud of myself really means.”

In this second example, the details of the story (“felt faint,” “my hands were shaking”) create an image in the reader’s mind. The reader is not relating to the simple adjectives that reinforce existing impressions, but experiencing details that bring color to the story. In the first example, the story does not change if the word “extremely” is removed, but in the second, real emotion is conveyed.

We encourage you to avoid adjectives that simply reinforce an expressed emotion and to write descriptively to capture the true spirit of the experience you are sharing.
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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Website: http://www.mbamission.com
Blog: http://www.mbamission.com/blog
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New York University (Stern) Essay Analysis, 2015–2016 [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2015, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: New York University (Stern) Essay Analysis, 2015–2016
New York University’s (NYU’s) Stern School of Business has streamlined its essay questions this application season after having made no changes to them at all last year. Gone is the option to write an essay about two different but possible career paths. Our guess is that so few applicants responded to this prompt that Stern simply got rid of it. After all, the other option candidates could choose was about “personal expression” (the school has maintained this long-time essay question, which is now required of all applicants), which tends to result in significantly more revealing essays. This year, you have just one essay in which to discuss your career goals, plus the “personal expression” essay, which offers a very broad opportunity to discuss your life, albeit in a microcosm. NYU Stern’s essay prompts seem to give applicants what they want—a shot at addressing the “Why an MBA?” question as well as the “Who am I as a person?” issue. Dare we say that in an era of shrinking application requirements, these two questions are almost applicant friendly?

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Essay 1: Professional Aspirations (750 words maximum)


  • Why pursue an MBA (or dual degree) at this point in your life?
  • What actions have you taken to determine that Stern is the best fit for your MBA experience?
  • What do you see yourself doing professionally upon graduation?
The three points that make up Stern’s Essay 1 question basically constitute a personal statement, and 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.

And for a thorough exploration of NYU Stern’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, important statistics, social life, academic environment, and more, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Essay 2: Personal Expression (500 words maximum if submitted as a written essay)

  • Please describe yourself to your MBA classmates. You may use almost any method to convey your message (e.g., words, illustrations). Feel free to be creative.
(If you submit a non-written piece for this essay [i.e., artwork or multimedia] or if you submit this essay via mail, please upload a brief description of your submission with your online application.)

In NYU Stern’s famed “personal expression” essay, you have a phenomenal opportunity to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicant pool in two distinct ways. The first is the vehicle through which you choose to reveal your persona. By using a creative and captivating format, you can grab the admissions committee’s interest and compel your “reader” to pay close attention to your content. However, be sure to consider the possible limitations of certain clever options, not just their uniqueness. For example, although a baseball card may be aesthetically pleasing, this format severely limits the amount of information you can convey because of its size and anticipated style. Instead, if you were to submit a eulogy theoretically written by your best friend—note that you can submit a written piece—the format would be sufficiently broad to allow you to touch on all that is unique about you. (Do not use this idea, however; it is now public.)

The second way this essay prompt allows you to differentiate yourself is through your content. Ideally, you will use this opportunity to showcase a diversity of professional, personal, academic, and community accomplishments that you were not able to share in Essay 1. The personal expression piece allows you to reveal your true personality and “likeability” beyond your professional/academic competencies.

One important note: Although NYU Stern is open to accepting multimedia presentations, do not feel compelled to use this option if this is not something with which you are comfortable. Similarly, if you do choose this method, do not worry about the level of your Web design or video production skills relative to others’. For this essay, content trumps style. In fact, at an mbaMission event, we interviewed various admissions officers, students, and alumni from NYU Stern who spoke of some incredibly simple “personal expression” submissions that had captivated the admissions committee—and many of these were straightforward essays!
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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University of Virginia (Darden) Essay Analysis, 2015–2016 [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2015, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: University of Virginia (Darden) Essay Analysis, 2015–2016
Once again, the University of Virginia’s Darden School has started the MBA application season with a single essay question. Before you get too comfortable, though, we must inform you that for the past two years, when the school has released its official application, it has snuck in few additional queries—albeit short ones—to which applicants must respond. Last year, for example, Darden added essay prompts related to personal contributions and career goals, thereby requiring two mini essays totaling 400 words. So, we suggest that you begin working on the primary essay now, but keep in mind that you may not be done with Darden quite so easily and will likely need to pen several more brief pieces to complete the school’s application. We will update our essay analysis here after Darden releases its full application.

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Essay 1: Describe the most important professional feedback you have received and how you responded to it. (500 words maximum)

With this question, Darden definitely wants to know more than just what others may think of your professional capabilities. The admissions committee also wants evidence that you are capable of reflecting, learning, and growing. If you are not able to do this, the school might assume that you are simply not cut out to become a standout manager. To craft an effective essay response to this query, focus on describing a “before and after” situation in which the suggestion or input you received served as an inflection point that triggered a dramatic change in you. If you start your essay by simply leading with the feedback you received, you will kill any mystery in your story. Instead, consider relating a narrative that involves a lot of momentum in one direction that is suddenly derailed when you are disarmed by someone else’s input—input that leads to clear and tactical change.

One thing to keep in mind is that feedback is a response. Many applicants will mistake or interpret the word “feedback” in Darden’s query to mean “advice,” but these are two very different things. If your father always told you, for example, that “hard work is the most important thing in life,” that aphorism may have indeed shaped your professional career, but it would not necessarily be considered feedback offered in response to or in light of a specific effort. Some candidates might confuse general advice with feedback and in doing so, will essentially fail to answer the school’s question. Do not let this be you! So, to reiterate, ensure that the incident you choose to highlight in your essay has that element of response and change, and your submission should be an effective one.
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Mission Admission: I’m a Freelancer—My Resume Looks Like I Can’t Hold  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2015, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Mission Admission: I’m a Freelancer—My Resume Looks Like I Can’t Hold a Job!
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

If you work for yourself doing short-term, project-based work, you might struggle with how to structure your resume so that it does not give the impression that you switch jobs every few months. If you list each job separately, not only will your resume be too long, but you also run the risk that your reader will think you have not had a stable career, when in fact, if you are a successful freelancer or contractor, the opposite is the case. So how can you organize your resume so that it showcases the strength of your work and avoid having the variety and number of your work experiences come across as a weakness instead?

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

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New post 23 Jun 2015, 15:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Career Advice: Three Tests for Your Resume: The Cause and Effect Test
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.

Once you have refined your understanding of the results you have produced in your work and couched each bullet on your resume in lay terms that a high school graduate could understand, it is time to make sure your bullets pass the Cause and Effect Test. If you have really thought about the impact of your work and ensured each bullet passes The CEO Test, then there is a good chance you are also passing The Cause and Effect Test. But it happens occasionally that even though a bullet delineates a clear result, it is unclear how the candidate directly achieved that result. Let’ consider an example:

Cause and Effect Test Fail:

  • Improved margins by 26% and created $35M in new profits.
This bullet passes both of the previous tests: it is clear that the CEO would care about this fact, and anyone with a high school education can follow this language. But what is unclear is exactly how the candidate achieved the result. If the reader can’t connect the dots between your actions and your results, then you will at best get partial credit for them.

Cause and Effect Test Pass:

  • Analyzed daily sales volumes and identified opportunity to increase price point in Midwest, resulting in 26% margin improvement and $35M in new profits.
Now we can see!! The candidate produced this result through her analytical skills – she looked at a big data set, extracted some valuable takeaways, and used those to drive profitability improvements. Now we want to give her a job! Let’s look at a few more.

Cause and Effect Test Fail:

  • Received exceptional promotion during a hiring freeze
Cause and Effect Test Pass:

  • Received exceptional promotion during a hiring freeze due to demonstrated excellence in client relationship management and top 10% revenue generation in class
Cause and Effect Test Fail:

  • Reduced customer dissatisfaction from 40% to 0 in three months
Cause and Effect Test Pass:

  • Reduced customer dissatisfaction from 40% to 0 in three months by streamlining issue response process, training customer service team, and directly managing key relationships
Notice how much more credible the candidate appears because the cause and effect are both clear. If you ensure that each of your bullets not only conveys your results, but also reveals the specific actions you took to produce them, your resume will truly help you differentiate yourself and stand out from even the most competitive field.
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University of California Los Angeles (Anderson) Essay Analysis, 2015–2 [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2015, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: University of California Los Angeles (Anderson) Essay Analysis, 2015–2016
The Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), has decided to stick with the same essay question it offered applicants last year—no changes are afoot. Someone in Anderson’s admissions office (if not the entire admissions committee) must have liked the submissions the school received in response to this prompt last season. By giving you 750 words with which to work, UCLA Anderson offers an opportunity to develop your thoughts, whereas a number of other schools are allowing just 500 words or fewer for their application essay(s). However, even with this slight benefit of “length,” you will have only a single essay in which to tell your story. This means that you will need to pay extra close attention to the full suite of materials in your application—including your resume, recommendations, short answers, and interview—to ensure that you cover all your most compelling accomplishments and traits. (This is true for all schools to which you plan to apply, of course, but in this case, it is especially so.) Our analysis of Anderson’s sole essay prompt follows…

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Essay 1: UCLA Anderson is distinguished by three defining principles: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, Drive Change. What principles have defined your life and pre-MBA career? How do you believe that UCLA Anderson’s principles, and the environment they create, will help you attain your post-MBA career goals? (750 words maximum)


 

The presentation of Anderson’s defining principles—“Share Success, Think Fearlessly, Drive Change”—early in this prompt is a bit of a red herring, or diversionary tactic, if you will. The school requests that you examine and share your defining principles, but do not take this to mean that yours must match or even directly align with any or all of Anderson’s stated tenets. We recommend that you select two, possibly three, principles that have “defined” your life and pre-MBA career and back each one up with clear and powerful examples of the role they have played in your professional and/or personal life.

By choosing these principles to highlight in your application essay, you are saying that they have helped define who you are today, so you had better be able to substantiate them. You do not necessarily have to craft a story that leads directly to business school—the principles you share can simply lead to interesting places in your life—but in many cases, you should naturally be able to apply the principles to your career goals, which brings us to the second part of Anderson’s query.

Before you can explore how Anderson’s principles and environment will affect your life after graduation, you will need to describe your goals and expectations for that time. And to ensure that your response is effective and compelling, you must show that you truly understand your anticipated post-MBA environment and your role within it. Fortunately, the principles that Anderson stands for are sufficiently broad that a would-be hedge fund manager, for example, could argue that she will think fearlessly in developing a portfolio, share success in rewarding those who generate good ideas, and drive change by allocating capital to sectors of the economy that need it. Similarly, a product manager could think fearlessly in creating innovative features, share success in… well, you get the point. What is important here is that you demonstrate a nuanced understanding of where your career is going. Exactly which principles you highlight is less relevant than conveying a genuine awareness of the field you are targeting.

As we noted earlier, do not get sucked into believing that Anderson only wants candidates whose principles directly match its own, but if one of your does, you should be able to clearly make that connection and explain how Anderson’s environment will help you support and further cultivate that belief while you are preparing to enter your post-graduate career. If, on the other hand, your principles differ from those of the school, look instead for ways in which Anderson’s beliefs would complement your own, helping make you more well-rounded or effective in your life after business school.

Optional Essay: Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)

 

However tempted you might be, this is not the place to simply reuse a strong essay you wrote for another school or to offer a few anecdotes you were unable to include in any of your other essays. Instead, this is your opportunity—if needed—to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might 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, available through our online store, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay (including multiple sample essays) to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.
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Professor Profiles: Gavan Fitzsimons, Duke University’s Fuqua School o [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2015, 11:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Gavan Fitzsimons, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business
Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose an MBA program, 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 Gavan Fitzsimons from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

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Students and administration members alike sing the praises of Fuqua’s “fun” and “engaging” marketing professor, GavanFitzsimons, who spearheaded the creation of the Duke/Synovate Shopper Insights Center for Leadership and Innovation in January 2011. Fitzsimons is the R. David Thomas professor of marketing and psychology at Fuqua; his work, which focuses on the ways in which consumers are subconsciously influenced, has been published and popularized in prestigious academic journals and media outlets from the Journal of Consumer Research and the Journal of Marketing Research to NPR, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal. Fitzsimons has also served as an associate editor of the Journal of Consumer Research.

For more information about Duke Fuqua and 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Diamonds in the Rough: One-Year MBA in Sustainability at Duquesne [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2015, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Diamonds in the Rough: One-Year MBA in Sustainability at Duquesne
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.

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Appealing to professionals at all stages of their careers, Duquesne University’s Palumbo Donahue School of Business offers an accelerated, 12-month MBA degree with an “integrated” focus on sustainability and the environment. With core course work centered on four foundational areas—social, economic, environmental, and ethical—students gain exposure to the basic problems and frameworks of sustainable development beyond conventional notions of “green” business. In addition, the program includes global study trips, in which students travel abroad to examine global sustainability practices firsthand; two required sustainability consulting projects with sponsoring nonprofit or governmental organizations; and a capstone practicum course that challenges students to develop strategy and management skills.
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Beyond the MBA Classroom: Get Together for Small Group Dinners at Stan [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2015, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Beyond the MBA Classroom: Get Together for Small Group Dinners at Stanford
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.

At the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), Small Group Dinners, which the school sponsors, provide a way for first- and second-year students to interact in small groups. Each dinner must be announced publicly and must involve a small number of people who have not had such a get-together before. On his blog, one second-year student wrote that the dinners are “an excellent way to make new friends and learn more about classmates.”

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at the Stanford GSB and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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New GMAT Policies Change The Testing Game [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2015, 13:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: New GMAT Policies Change The Testing Game
On June 24, GMAC (the organization that makes the GMAT) made two announcements that change the GMAT testing game. Read on to find out what they are!

Canceled scores will NOT show on your score report

In the past, we have counseled students not to worry much about canceling scores, because the vast majority of business schools are interested only in your highest scores (and this is still true). Besides, the school would have been able to see that you took a test and then canceled the scores, so they could guess that you had a “bad” test on record.

As of July 19, if you cancel the scores from a test administration, those scores will not even show up on your record. The schools won’t have any idea that you took a GMAT that day!

As such, the conversation about when to cancel becomes trickier. I need to think about this some more, but I think I am going to advise my students to keep any scores that are within 100 points of their goal scores.

Why? There are two possible scenarios. #1: you eventually get to your goal score. In this case, schools will see that you buckled down, studied, and really improved. Obviously, that’s a win. #2: you do not eventually reach your goal score. (Perhaps your goal score is unrealistic.) In this case, at least you still do have this other score on your record. It would be terrible to have taken the test three times, with scores in a certain range, but to have canceled all those scores; now you have nothing on record!

As I mentioned, GMAC has announced that this policy change will take effect on July 19. It will apply retroactively. If you have not yet sent your scores to a particular school, then when you do finally send the scores, they will remove the canceled scores from your report.

The re-take period has been shortened to 16 days (from 31)

As of July 19, instead of waiting 31 days to re-take the exam, you’ll only have to wait 16 days. This is fantastic for someone who got sick during the exam or got really nervous and seriously messed up the timing.

Note that this could create a problem for those students who really should take longer to study for a re-take but instead try to cram it in too fast. In my experience, most people need a solid 4 to 8 weeks (if not longer!) before a re-take. Maybe 10% to 15% of the students with whom I talk could reasonably re-take in 2.5 to 3 weeks and expect to get a different score. So just be careful about this one—it’s a double-edged sword.

Thanks, GMAC!

These changes are huge so I just wanted to say that. Oh, and if you want to read the full official announcement, here you go.
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2015 Dates for mbaMission’s MBA Application Boot Camp! [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jun 2015, 07:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: 2015 Dates for mbaMission’s MBA Application Boot Camp!
We are pleased to announce our 2015 MBA Application Boot Camp dates!

Through seven hours of live instruction, two hours of recorded materialsdirect review of your work and 30 minutes of one-on-one feedback from your expert instructor, we will guide you step-by-step through the process of creating a compelling MBA application that will reveal your unique character and catch the attention of the MBA admissions committee. In a classroom workshop environment over the course of one weekend day, you will brainstorm for creative ideas, practice the techniques of effective storytelling and resume construction and learn how to structure and draft your essays for your target school. You will also get a head start on your recommendations and interviews in the two additional hours of recorded content and develop a process for completing the rest of your applications. This class is designed to jump-start your application process and get you headed in the right direction.

Throughout the course, you will benefit from direct feedback from both the instructor, an mbaMission Senior Consultant, and your classmates. And after the formal instruction is complete, you will have one half hour of one-on-one coaching from your instructor on some of the specific work you developed during class.

Class Dates:

  • Online A: Saturday, August 1
  • Online B: Saturday, August 15
  • Online C: Saturday, September 12
  • Online D: Saturday, December 5
All boot camps are held in our online workshop environment from 10:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time, with ample breaks. Then, about 7-10 days after your boot camp, you will schedule your one-on-one review session with your mbaMission instructor. The cost of each boot camp is $799.

For more information or to register for one of our MBA Application Boot Camps, click here.
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Friday Factoid: MIT Sloan’s Sports “Dorkapalooza” [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jun 2015, 12:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Friday Factoid: MIT Sloan’s Sports “Dorkapalooza”
Did you know that some of the biggest names in sports have met annually since 2007 for an event at the MIT Sloan School of Management that ESPN columnist Bill Simmons once described as “dorkapalooza”? At the student-run Sports Analytics Conference, participants discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry, and students have ample opportunity to network with the elite of the sports world.

The ninth annual conference was held over two days in February 2015 and featured four invited speakers, including the research director of the American Sports Medicine Institute and the editor of WIRED.com. In addition, more than 120 industry experts, leaders, and professionals participated in the event’s almost 30 panel discussions, among them representatives from MSG Sports, the MLB Network, the National Football League (NFL), the United States Soccer Federation, and the Boston Celtics. The panels covered such topics as “Changing on the Fly: The State of Advanced Analytics in the NHL [National Hockey League],” “Beating the Shift: Baseball Analytics in the Age of Big Data,” “Sharing, Liking, Streaming: The Future of Sports and Media,” and “Three at the Back: Accelerating the Pace of Soccer Analytics.” Other conference events included drop-in resume reviews, career conversations, and a cocktail reception.A second-year EMS Club member told mbaMission, “The event is one of the largest student-organized conferences in the country and was named the third most innovative company in all of sports (behind only the NFL and MLB Advanced Media) by Fast Company [magazine].”

For a thorough exploration of what MIT Sloan and 15 other top business schools have to offer, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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mbaMission’s Exclusive Interview with Isser Gallogly, Assistant Dean o [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2015, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission’s Exclusive Interview with Isser Gallogly, Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions at NYU Stern
A recent conversation we had with Isser Gallogly, the assistant dean of MBA admissions at New York University’s Stern School of Business, revealed a number of interesting insights about the school’s long-standing and well-respected MBA program. Gallogly provided clarification and his personal perspective on a number of topics that we imagine aspiring Sternies will likely find useful, such as the following:

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  • Stern’s history of experiential learning
  • The addition of an accelerated part-time MBA option
  • Creating a close community in one of the world’s largest cities
  • Whether (and which) applicants should opt for the GMAT or the GRE
  • How the school assesses candidates’ employability and how this factors into selection
  • Tips on preparing for the Stern interview
  • The admission’s committee’s stance on communications from waitlisted candidates
mbaMission: Thank you so much for taking time to speak with us. To start, why don’t you tell me three things that you think NYU Stern is best known for.

Isser Gallogly: Sure. First and foremost, I think people regard us as one of the elite business schools with our reputation as an exceptional academic institution. I think the second point, and it’s in our name, of course, is New York—and not just that we’re in New York, a capital of world business, but how we leverage the city as an extension of our classroom. I think the fact that people gain incredible access to experts in industry coming into our classrooms, in addition to real-world learning taking place outside of the classroom, in the business community directly—these benefits are huge advantages.

And the third is our diversity of offerings. No matter what industry or function, we occupy that space, and just like the diversity of the city itself, the way we approach business and management is very diverse. Sure, we have strengths in finance, marketing, management, but we also have social enterprise, luxury retail, real estate, and entertainment and media. We offer a broad range of program offerings, of course starting with the full-time MBA. In addition, we have our executive MBA, our part-time MBA program—with the option to study in Manhattan or Westchester. When you start to realize that full-time MBA students can harness a lot of the classes that are also taught for part-time MBA students, it really expands how many electives we can deliver.

mbaMission: Can you tell me a little bit about why you decided to establish the accelerated part-time program?

IG: Yes. It’s a two-year program that we launched in early 2015. Historically, parts of the MBA program have always been flexible. So in terms of where you go, we have a campus here in New York, and we also have one up in Westchester. So people living or working in Westchester County and Fairfield County have access to a convenient location. We offer classes on weeknights, Monday through Thursday. We also have classes on weekends; we have a Saturday program. These have always been options. And then, it’s about how fast you can go. We’ve always been able to offer students the opportunity to complete the program in two years, and then, on the other end of things, students can take up to six years to do it. Students can vary what location to go to, when to take classes, how fast to go. It’s a self-directed, flexible experience.

I think what’s changed is that we spent a lot of time talking with prospective students and doing our market research, and in the process, we heard two things. The first is just how fast people want to move these days. People want to be getting their return on their investment more quickly. They want to be bringing knowledge into the business world where they’re working more quickly as well. And I think just generally, the pace of everything today is faster than ever. There’s a need for speed.

The second is clarity, particularly when you’re talking about the millennial generation. They really want things to be spelled out extremely clearly and succinctly—quick programs and short, pointed communication. So what we decided to do is basically take our two-year option and sample schedule, optimize it, make sure that everyone is fully up to speed in terms of how to communicate about it, how it works, all those kinds of things, and then we made it its own option for applicants to select. We want prospective students to know that there is a way they can pursue our MBA on a part-time basis very quickly. And here it is, here is how you apply for it, here’s what a good schedule would look like. So it’s really trying to meet the needs of the consumer in terms of letting them know that we have a program that can be done in two years, making it as good as we can, and being really clear in letting people know. There’s definitely a lot of interest.

mbaMission: Yes, we actually hear from a lot of people who might not be right for your full-time program or your executive program but kind of fall in between and don’t want the process to take so long. With this option, you can make any schedule you want, so it’s a great option, especially for that slightly older applicant who isn’t ready for an Executive MBA.

IG: Yes. We also heard from some people in information sessions who are a lot younger, too, recently out of college or school, who don’t have a family, are early in their career, and want to do this quickly and while they have the time and the desire to invest more in school. It’s a great option for people like that. Another way is our intensive programs—we’re able to offer classes during what would normally be January break and August break, and even through the summer. Full-time students, in the summer, they’re usually doing an internship. As for the part-time students, one of the reasons they can do this is that they actually go to school during the summer. That helps offset some of the time that they’re in school.

mbaMission: That’s good. So a buzzword we hear often in business school admissions is “experiential learning,” and Stern has touched on that with respect to the New York advantage, right? Being in New York provides numerous opportunities. So is this an area that you see growing in terms of your curriculum?

IG: You know, we’ve always had experiential learning opportunities at Stern. It’s kind of part of our DNA. It always has been. How we do it and what we do has definitely changed over time and been modified, but we’ve always been committed. For example, the Stern Consulting Corps  started back in 2002 to partner students with organizations throughout New York that could benefit from MBA-type consulting. This is a great opportunity for students to take their classroom learning and bring it into the real world. We have an engagement with City Harvest going on right now; we have one with the New Jersey City of Economic Development Corporation. Projects have been featured in the Financial Times and the New York Post.

We also have Stern Signature Projects, though not all of them are in New York. For example, students worked on an urbanization policy change in Mexico City. There’s a tremendous range of these types of programs. We also have offerings for people who are interested in the social enterprise or nonprofit space, such as our Board Fellows Program, where students in their second year can serve on the board of a New York–based nonprofit for a nine-month fellowship. They act as nonvoting members, but they work on committees and complete strategic projects, among other activities. We’ve had people engaged in the Fresh Air Fund, the Alzheimer’s Association of New York, Grow New York. It’s a great opportunity for people to understand what it is like to be on a board, how corporate governance works, and how to get engaged in the community—for potentially later in life when they might be a board member, but also early when they might be a committee member.

All these opportunities are available, not to mention the lectures and conferences and people that come to Stern all the time. But it’s something we’ve always had as part of our DNA, and it’s just the way we work here. To think that learning should be exclusively in the classroom just isn’t the way we think.

mbaMission: Great. One thing that we hear a lot about Stern is that it has a great, tight-knit community within the big city. How do you help create that culture?

IG: I think our culture is amazing for any campus, anywhere. We’re very lucky. We’re one of the most selective business schools there is, and I think people don’t always realize that, so it surprises them. In the most recent U.S. News & World Report [ranking], we rank number six most selective. [Editor’s note: When all ranked schools are reordered by acceptance rate, Stern appears sixth.] We get a tremendous amount of applications, and we have a medium-sized program deliberately, about 400 students in the incoming class for full-time. Because it’s a medium-sized program, people can get to know each other and really understand and learn from one another. So I think the size is pretty optimal.

But how do we do it? Being as selective as we are, we’re able to really look in the admissions process for sort of Stern DNA types of things in people. One of the things we talk about here is a collaborative community, and we really look for people who understand that more can be accomplished as a team or as a group than can be accomplished individually. We care about IQ plus EQ. We’re looking for people who are smart, obviously. That’s necessary in business but not sufficient to be an effective leader. You also need emotional intelligence, or what we call EQ. You need to be able to learn from people, motivate people, and understand how to work with people from different functions, industries, countries, points of view.

And the first part of how we determine this is the formal written application. Some of that comes through in people’s recommendations. Some comes through in activities, interests, things they’ve been involved with. Some comes through in their essays, particularly through our personal expression, our creative essay, which is now required among all applicants—to give us a feel for the person. But ultimately, it’s our unique interview process that really helps us find Sternies. And our interview process has been in place for a long, long time. We do interviews by invitation only, so only about a third of our applicants are invited to interview. We’ve read the application. We feel like this is someone we want to get to know better.

The interviews are done almost exclusively here in New York at our campus, because we want the opportunity for them to see the campus if they haven’t and to engage with students, go to lunch, go to a class, go on a tour, make sure that this is the place they want to be. And those interviews are conducted almost exclusively by our admissions team, and they are trained assessors of talent. We use admissions officers to interview.

And our interviews are not blind. If you had an alumni interview, a lot of times, you might meet in a Starbucks and hand the person your resume, and they’d ask you general questions, things that are often covered in their essays. But we want to go a lot deeper. So the admissions officer conducting the interview has read the application completely and thoroughly and has a much deeper level of questions ready in terms of getting to know the individual. So with that level of care, attention, and personal selection, it really makes the Stern community unique, and it shows. We hear from recruiters all the time how exceptional the interpersonal skills are of the Stern students, and I ask our Stern students all the time, do you like your classmates? What do you like about them? And again and again, I hear how much they really enjoy the network that they form. People become more than classmates; they get very involved in each other’s lives. I mean, you hear often about how many Sternies are at someone’s wedding, so it’s a very tight community.

I also think being in New York works to our advantage. We have one central building, and that’s where everything happens. People come in here and spend a lot of time together. And in New York, everything’s kind of like a close space. So just the fact that everyone’s in the same building interacting with each other, the faculty are in the same building, the physical space just fosters the sense of community as well. It is something really unique that sets us apart, and I would tell any prospective student to visit the school they’re thinking about and spend time talking to the students, because you will get a feel for the place that can’t be translated through a brochure or even a Web site.

mbaMission: Absolutely. So you mentioned that only about one-third of your applicants get to the interview stage. How do you screen candidates for fit up to that point? What traits do you look for to help you make that assessment?

IG: During the application review process, we’re looking for three basic things. We look for how they’ll do as a student, how they’ll do as a professional, and who they are. So you can think about it in terms of classroom, career, and character. As for the academic piece, the major things you look at are how they did in undergraduate, how they did on their standardized tests, other certifications they might have, advanced degrees, the kinds of work they’ve done as a professional—things that would give us an indicator as to how they’re going to do in a very rigorous academic program, We want people to do well in class and excel. And for career, we want to look at what they’ve done, where they’re headed, their goals, whether they’ve thought it through, what is their plan, do they understand their new industries and functions if they’re changing, do they have a reasonable expectation as to what they need to do to get there and how their

As for the character piece, a lot of it comes down to things like what the recommender says about the individual. For example, we ask recommenders specifically to comment on the applicant’s interpersonal skills, so that gets at how they work with people. So we get some insight from a third party about the applicant’s emotional intelligence and their ability to work with people. Also, things like the tone in the essay, appropriateness of topics, general passion around working with groups or individuals. You get a sense of those things by looking at activities, by reading recommendations, by looking through essays. It’s a bunch of individual points you have to synthesize into what you would consider a projection of the individual’s character. But of course, that needs to be verified with an interview.

mbaMission: I see. Obviously, we hear a lot about the GRE, and increasingly, people are coming to us asking whether they can apply to business school successfully with the GRE rather than the GMAT. More and more, schools are saying yes, but this is still a bit of a blind spot in the application process. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the GMAT versus the GRE.

IG: Sure. The value of these standardized tests is they have a predictive value in terms of how someone’s going to do in the classroom. The Graduate Management Admissions Council has done regression studies where they look at the correlation of how someone performs on an exam like the GMAT with respect to how they’re going to do in their first year of the core curriculum, academically. And there is a good R2 predictive value of this. You can also add someone’s undergraduate GPA as a factor in the equation. And being a standardized test, it helps equalize that information when people are going to such different academic programs all over the world. So the value of the test is an indicator, one of many indicators, of how the student will do academically. It’s no more, no less, and only one component of the application. I think the standardized tests probably get a little more emphasis than they should.

But that said, it is an important indicator and a useful indicator. The GRE is again an indicator of how someone will do academically. We started accepting it a few years ago. It’s used in a variety of graduate programs to help provide that type of insight, and we feel it gives us a data point in terms of what we need. It’s a nice thing to offer in that we have a range of dual degree programs, so somebody who might be applying to one of those programs, for which that’s the standard test, this allows them to take just one test for both schools. That’s nice. So somebody who takes the GRE right out of undergraduate, this being a broad-based test for graduate programs, and then a couple years later decides business is really where they want to be, they can leverage that test they took a couple years earlier and not necessarily have to take the GMAT, a second test.

We accept both. We don’t necessarily have a preference for one test or the other. I would tell people to try them both if you want and see which test you seem to be more comfortable with, which one reflects your true academic potential better, and then feel free to take that test and submit it to us. We really are open.

mbaMission: Sure. As far as those applicants who have opted for the GRE, do they tend to come from certain industries or backgrounds?

IG: No, it’s more across the board. I think people understand that it’s one of the tests we accept, and it’s really up to them which one they want to take.

mbaMission: Got it. So when you are evaluating a candidate in terms of career, how do you judge that person’s potential employability? How do you gauge whether applicants are capable of achieving the career goals they’ve set for themselves?

IG: When someone’s coming to an MBA program, they’re often looking to have something happen in their career, so they have an ambition and a desire. We care about our students being extremely satisfied with the Stern experience, getting them where they want to go. We do very well in our exit surveys where we ask people how satisfied they were with the program. And part of that satisfaction is their experience academically, their experience with their classmates, and also that they’re reaching their career goals. We look at ourselves as a partner in helping students achieve what they want to. So for us, it’s less about the school needing to place people and more that we’re helping people reach their dreams and aspirations. We want people to get where they want to go and be happy.

So we definitely look at their career aspirations and if they’re reasonable, if they make sense, if we feel that they are achievable. We spend a lot of time talking with our Office of Career Development about what skills are needed to be successful in industries, the latest trends in terms of functions and industries, who’s done well in the recruiting process and why, you know—what are some things we need to look for? And we really look at the person’s past accomplishments and why they want to take their next step. It could be advancing in their field, or it could be changing industries, functions, or both. So what is their rationale? What are the transferrable skills they’re looking to bring over? Do they have realistic expectations as to what that industry or function is about, how the recruiting process works, what some target organizations are, maybe what their contingency plans are?

An MBA program is not college. It’s two years, not four. The recruiting cycle happens as soon as you get on campus. We’re going to ask for your resume in a certain format. Companies are going to be coming a month later. It happens really, really fast. There’s not a heck of a lot of time to figure it all out and do a broad-based exploration like you could in undergraduate. There’s the opportunity to try and look at a couple different things, sure, but it’s just much more compressed.

So people have to realize, okay, I’m not happy doing what I’m doing. What might I want to do? And create their list of possible ideas and then take the next step and really investigate those industries. There’s a lot of information on our Web site about a range of industries. We have second-year students in our office who are happy to chat with prospective students about it. So if someone wants to get the Stern point of view, that’s really easy. In addition, they should also reach out to friends and family members, their undergraduate alumni network, colleagues they may know through work and really spend time doing a range of informational interviews. An MBA program, you do it once, and it’s for life. There aren’t a lot of things that are like that, and you want to get the maximum return from it. And having a clear goal in mind, you will get much more out of it. An MBA is not for everybody, and I think the more that they know themselves, the more they have a really good sense as to how this fits into their career plan, the better off they’ll be.

mbaMission: Sure. So when you’re reading an application, what would you consider a red flag?

IG: On the more nuanced level, it comes down to judgment. I wish common sense were more common. I think it’s important to understand that when you’re applying, you want to be professional and to be appropriate. We do want to know the character of the individual. At the same time, it’s a business school application.

mbaMission: Absolutely. What advice would you give a candidate who has been invited to interview and is preparing for that meeting?

IG: First and foremost, be excited. About 60% to 70% of those we interview are admitted, so you’ve already got a very good chance of being admitted to Stern once you’ve been invited to interview. You should feel good and confident about that. The second thing is that in some ways, you want to look at this like you’re interviewing for the summer internship you want to get. So if you’ve done your homework on yourself, on your industries, on the target companies, contingency plans, all the things you should be doing when you’re thinking about very soon being involved in the recruiting process, you should be prepared to talk about those things.

If you ask yourself what you would say to a recruiter for a summer internship about why you want to switch from economic consulting into investment banking, what you’re going to be telling that recruiter about why you’re doing this and how you’re qualified to work at their institution, those types of questions, that type of thinking, is what I would recommend bringing into the interview. Be able to really talk about your career plan in significant depth, depth that you could not get into in an essay with a limited word count, but in a half-hour conversation you could spend a lot of time getting a lot deeper. I think it’s a great opportunity to exhibit all the research that you’ve done.

Another thing I’d say is, again in terms of thinking about this more as a job interview than an admissions interview, it’s a business school, and we’re looking for people to approach this in a more businesslike way. So it’s simple things like how you dress, when you show up, turning off your cell phone, all these things that you think are fairly basic, but if you’re thinking about this as a job interview, what are you going to do to come across as professional and prepared and poised and polished as possible? I would also say, be authentic. We want to hear what you really want to do, who you really are, so if you’re trying to present some sort of overprepared version of yourself or some spin version of yourself, it does come across as a put-on to us. You can really tell when someone is speaking from the heart and when they’re saying something that’s been scripted. The key is to find your authentic self and deliver it in a professional way. That’s the balance. Let us see how much you want to go to business school and how much you’re excited for your future and the energy that you’re going to bring to it.

mbaMission: That’s great advice. Thank you.

IG: Sure. And on the backside, you know, you always have the opportunity to maximize your visit. I cannot encourage people to do this enough. This is a big investment. You’re going to come to Stern to do your interview, most likely, so spend time while you’re here to really be sure that this is where you want to go. Interviews should be a two-way assessment. We’re seeing if you’re a fit with us; make sure that we’re a fit with you. There are a lot of great schools. You want to find the one where you feel great. Go to lunch with a student, go to a class, go on the tour. Stop people as they get off the elevator and say, “I’m interviewing today. What do you like about Stern?” Talk to as many people as you can and get as much as you can out of that interview experience, for you, in terms of making your decision. That’s something people maybe don’t spend as much as time thinking about, that it’s two-way.

mbaMission: Sure. I have a question about the timing of interview invitations. So Stern added a new October deadline a few years ago, but we often hear from clients that there doesn’t seem to be any link between when people apply and when they are invited to interview. It seems that the process is more of a rolling one. What exactly is the system?

IG: Well, we added an earlier deadline a couple years ago. That’s correct. We have never operated on a “round” system here, where everyone applies on one date, and everyone hears on one date. We’ve always issued decisions on an ongoing basis. We do provide a notification deadline, so someone who’s applying October 15th will receive an initial notification anywhere between October 15th and December 15th. Everyone will get a notification, assuming their application was complete, by December 15th. But in the majority of cases, you’re going to hear earlier. The notifications are either an invitation to interview, an opportunity to be on the waitlist, or denied admission. Obviously, none of those options are being admitted because our interview is a requirement first. So we get the applications, we start reading through them one at a time, and as we have decisions, we send them out.

We get a tremendous amount of applications, and we want to give each one of them personal attention. We will read them all. We go through them all, and everyone will hear before the notification, though definitely some people are going to hear before others. But for us, the interview is so important in our process and such a great opportunity. We understand that people would love a date specifically when they’ll hear by, but our process doesn’t really accommodate or allow for that.

mbaMission: That makes sense. It’s good to know that the process moves in different ways for different people. That’s important to understand.

IG: Yeah, it’s a broad window from November 15th to February 15th. And when they do their interview also affects their end timing, because if they’re invited to interview and then schedule their interview a month later, well, obviously, they’re not going to hear a result within that month. And then after the interviews, we try and get people a decision within one to three weeks, typically, and the options there are they can be admitted, they can be offered a place on the waitlist, or denied. I think sometimes people wonder why they were waitlisted before an interview or after an interview, and in rare cases, someone can be waitlisted before an interview and again after the interview. It’s not ideal, but it does happen from time to time. The majority of our candidates are put on the waitlist prior to the interview, is the reality.

mbaMission: Speaking of the waitlist, we get a lot of questions about how best to approach that process. What are you at Stern really looking for from applicants who have been waitlisted?

IG: If people are put on the waitlist, it means that we’ve seen a lot of positives in their application, but there may be some things that we need clarity around or we may feel like there’s an opportunity for this candidate to present a stronger case to us. The best thing waitlisted applicants can do is an honest, objective assessment in terms of where your strengths are on your application and potential areas to make it better.

There are some things you can do and things you can’t do. You can’t go back and change your undergraduate GPA. It is what it is. You could retake the GMAT. You could try the GRE if you submitted the GMAT or vice versa to try to enhance how you present in terms of how you’ll do academically. Reread your essays about your career goals and aspirations. Are they clear? Do they show the level of research that is required for us to feel like you know where you’re going and why and have a good plan to get there? Do the recommenders feel like people who know the person very, very well and can provide good insight, or would another recommendation be helpful in terms of providing another point of view or greater depth? Is there an issue we might see in the application that maybe you didn’t fully explain, and an additional essay with respect to that might be helpful? Were you not working at the time that you applied and have subsequently been employed?

I guess it’s material changes that enhance a candidate’s qualifications. I think those things can have a really good impact. If you’re going to retake the test, send us an email and tell us when you’re taking it. Tell us the date and then, regardless of the result, send us the result, close the loop. Even if you didn’t perform better, the fact that you tried and followed through shows about your character.

I just think those types of things are great. Of course, it’s fine to write us an essay and say, “Stern is my number one choice. I would love to be there.” That’s fine. You don’t have to go too crazy with it. We certainly don’t need to hear it every day, but continuing to exhibit enthusiasm every once in a while through the process is fine. Ultimately, take charge of your case, and try to make yourself as competitive as you can in the time that you have.

mbaMission: So you’re not against an update every few weeks if the situation warrants it?

IG: That’s okay. I know some schools don’t want to hear from you when you’re on the waitlist, but we’re happy to be in communication. The waitlist period can be a long time. It can create a lot of anxiety. We know that people would prefer to hear one way or the other. But a waitlist is not a deny. There’s still the opportunity. So just think about it as more time to make your application more and more competitive. If you’re going to write us every few weeks and give us an update or continue to express your enthusiasm, that’s totally acceptable. Just be professional, be appropriate, be considerate of the admission committee’s time. Make it worthwhile.

mbaMission: Great. Thank you so much. This has been very helpful, and we really appreciate your time.

IG: Sure. It was a pleasure. I’m glad I was helpful!

 
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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Admissions Myths Destroyed: Title Trumps All! [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2015, 10:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: Admissions Myths Destroyed: Title Trumps All!
In the past, we have tackled the myth that you must know alumni of top MBA programs to gain acceptance into those schools. Without rehashing that argument, a myth that is somewhat similar—in that it pertains to who you know instead of who you are—is that your recommendation must be written by someone with a flashy title. Each year, many candidates will persuade either someone outside their workplace (a congressman, for example) or an insider who does not know their work all that well (e.g., a managing director or CEO) to write on their behalf.

Unfortunately, when you obtain a recommendation from someone who depends on his/her title and not on actual knowledge of you when writing this important letter, the result is a vague endorsement. Consequently, the admissions committee will not get to know you—and this undermines the very purpose of recommendations. Even if you can educate someone far above you in the corporate hierarchy about your achievements and he/she can write a seemingly personal letter, it still will not make sense that a CEO, for example, knows what you—one of hundreds of analysts—is doing on a daily basis. So the intimacy of this individual’s letter just might seem absurd. Of course, if your CEO does actually know you and can write a personal letter that makes a logical connection between your position and his/hers, it should be helpful.

Instead of merely seeking a title when considering possible sources for your recommendations, you should identify an individual who knows you well and can write about your strengths and even your weaknesses with sincerity. If your supervisor has an unspectacular title, it will not reflect negatively on you;what will matter is what he/she writes. If that person can discuss your performance while providingpowerful examples of standout achievements, then he/she will help you to the fullest.

 

The post Admissions Myths Destroyed: Title Trumps All! appeared first on mbaMission - MBA Admissions Consulting.
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
mbaMission Insiders Guides: http://www.mbamission.com/guides.php?category=insiders
Free Consultation: http://www.mbamission.com/consult.php

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