As admissions committees release decisions, many business school candidates suddenly find themselves with more than one option for the coming year. But how does one choose between two or more schools? If you cannot determine a definitive “winner” based on specific academic or professional criteria, you may now need to make a campus visit or, for some, another campus visit. We strongly advise those of you who have not yet had a chance to visit your target school(s) that you get to know the program(s) better before deciding where to invest two years and $100K or more in your graduate education. However, even if you have already visited your target campuses, this may be a good time for a second, more focused trip.
Many candidates go on marathon tours of business school campuses in the fall but have only a limited window in which to get to know each program … Read full post
With approximately six months to go before first-round deadlines for the 2014–2015 MBA application season, many business school aspirants are considering ways they might enhance their candidacy. While candidates can take a variety of steps to accomplish this—from boosting their community and personal profiles, to pursuing additional classes, to reinvigorating relationships with potential recommenders—some even consider seeking a new position with a different firm or industry. Is this a good idea?
If you are contemplating such a move, the first thing to consider is your tenure at your current firm. If you have been with the company for less than one year, changing positions is generally unwise. MBA admissions committees tend to appreciate consistency and frown on what they perceive as opportunism. So, if you have had several positions in the past that you have held for approximately one year or less, staying put now and proving your commitment may … Read full post
Data Sufficiency (DS) questions are unique to the GMAT. When first encountered they are cumbersome, confusing, and generally frustrating. Admittedly, Data Sufficiency questions often remain cumbersome, confusing, and generally frustrating, but such is the nature of the GMAT. After all, the better you do, the harder the test gets! However, thorough understanding of the characteristics and attributes of these questions coupled with a proven method of attack will allow you to handle just about anything the GMAT has to offer. In this blog entry, I will offer some GMAT Data Sufficiency tips to help you master this challenging question type.
The prescribed task for Data Sufficiency questions is straightforward enough: based on provided information, determine whether a posed question can be answered. The structure of these questions is unwaveringly consistent: a question is asked, two statements of additional information are provided, and the five answer choices that follow are always … Read full post
Business school candidates who have an obvious weakness in their profile—such as a low GPA or GMAT score or a prolonged gap in work experience—often worry that they are destined to attend a virtually unknown business school. Whenever such applicants ask admissions officers how their weakness might affect their candidacy, they hear this straightforward and common refrain: “We look at applications holistically.”
Although this may sound like a cliché, it is actually the truth; at mbaMission, we have seen dozens of candidates with sub-600 GMAT scores and GPAs under 3.0 find their respective ways into top-ten programs. The key to overcoming any weakness in your candidacy is to address it in the optional essay, not with excuses, but by taking responsibility:
“In my freshman year, I had the flu the day before my midterms and did quite badly on my first batch. As a result, my … Read full post
You have an online reputation. You might not know what it is, your friends and family might not know what it is, but it is there. Granted, it is reasonable to conclude that some people (remember, “some” just means “at least one”) interested in applying to b-school do not have nor have ever had a social media or social networking account. Perhaps there’s at least someone out there that has never been ‘tagged’ in anything, never written anything, or been written about in anything published online.
Guess what. That is a reputation.
As we march relentlessly into the future… Wait a minute. Aren’t we already in the future? Whatever the case, the way in which we are perceived online can matter, and for MBA aspirants that perception matters more and more. While most schools have not yet spelled out official policies and procedures for screening online reputations, according to a … Read full post
While not every b-school requires an interview, for many it is an important requirement for MBA admissions. Some schools use MBA admissions interviews to evaluate borderline cases. Whatever the reason for the interview, it’s important that you schedule with the admissions officer early.
In a recent story in Bloomberg Businessweek, Amy Choi goes ‘undercover’ as a b-school applicant to find out what it’s like to go through the interview process. She fumbles a couple of answers and makes a slightly risky wardrobe choice, but gets an overall thumbs up from her Stern School of Business interviewer. Her takeaways?
- “Be professional, but show your personality.”
- “Practice, but not so much that you become an automaton.”
- “Show up with detailed knowledge of the school—and of your résumé.”
- “Mostly: Take confidence from having been invited. A decent interview is usually good enough.”
This is helpful guidance from someone who has been through the … Read full post
We often get questions about part-time MBA programs and their value. We thought it would be good to take a look at some of the pros and cons of this MBA option.
As for the pros, the one candidates cite most frequently is that the part-time MBA has a limited opportunity cost. Unlike the full-time MBA student, the part-time MBA student does not miss out on two years of salary and still has the opportunity to earn raises and promotions while completing his/her studies. Furthermore, firm sponsorship seems to be more prevalent for part-time MBAs, so candidates who have this option can truly come out ahead, with a free education and continued earning throughout.
Beyond the financial rationale, many part-time MBA students see an academic advantage; they can learn both in the classroom and at work and can then turn theory into practice (and vice versa) in real time, … Read full post
When assessing business school and an MBA, the ‘Money Issue’ is nothing if not multi-faceted. Since graduate degrees are an investment, like any other investment, there is up front cost. Some are fortunate enough to not have to secure student loans to help pay for graduate school, but most, unfortunately, do need this type of financial assistance. So, how do you pay for business school once you’re in?
Last year, I wrote about a proclamation made by the student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), Rohit Chopra. Mr. Chopra declared the student loan system in the United States economy as ‘too big to fail.’ The student loan debt market, comprised of public and private lenders, shot past $1 trillion in early 2013 and continues its relentless climb.
It is a wonderful thing to not have to take on debt in order to pursue a graduate … Read full post
We at mbaMission find that because the overall pool of MBA candidates is so anonymous, many applicants believe that any negative difference, however minimal, that exists between them and other candidates could represent a huge disadvantage. For example, a candidate who has no alumni connection to his/her target school may become anxious that he/she is already “behind” at the starting line. While alumni help, we can assure you that if you are a strong candidate, you will not be “dinged” by a program just because you do not have a relationship with any of the school’s alumni. In fact, the vast majority of applicants do not have direct connections with alumni from their target business schools.
The bottom line is that in some cases, if you know a powerful alumnus or alumna, he/she may be able to help you in your candidacy. However, a standout candidate who does not have … Read full post
We have noted before in our Mission Admission series that it is never too late to improve your business school candidacy by engaging in community activities. Today, we send a similar message with regard to personal leadership—you always have time to take steps to bolster your chances of admission.
Many business school candidates completely ignore the personal side of their candidacy. But if you have completed a triathlon, learned a language, published an article or simply been an inordinately dedicated neighbor/sibling/mentor in an unofficial capacity (for example), these kinds of stories can provide interesting points of differentiation. Your personal goals help you stand out from the rest of the applicants. So, if you have an activity or adventure in mind that you would otherwise complete later, go ahead and pursue it now. We are not suggesting that you go out and start writing poetry tomorrow in hopes of getting … Read full post