Research U.S. MBA Programs Without Visiting Campus

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com Many would agree that visiting campus is the single best way to get a feel for the business schools you are considering. You …

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com

Many would agree that visiting campus is the single best way to get a feel for the business schools you are considering. You can sit in on a class, meet current students and really envision yourself as a part of that community.

Often, the campus visit will fuel your excitement about the program, and other times, the in-person experience isn’t quite what you imagined and you’ll know right away that the culture just isn’t a good fit for you.

However, for many MBA hopefuls, particularly those targeting multiple programs and coming from abroad, a campus visit can be a real challenge during the application phase. Whether the problem is the prohibitive expense of air travel and lodging or the time off from work required, these candidates must turn to other sources to fill in the blanks as they decide on which programs to target.

A great starting point for any applicant is connecting with students and alumni at the schools you are considering. Top MBA programs host numerous events around the world each year, so plan on attending the event nearest you in order to meet admissions officers, alumni and current students, and to gain valuable application advice.

These individuals can offer the inside scoop on student life and what makes their school unique. Participating in online information sessions and virtual webinars is another valuable way for candidates to get a better sense of the school’s culture.

Business schools often have programs that connect applicants via email or Skype with current and former students of similar backgrounds and profiles, and this is a great introduction to the program that can help you narrow down which schools to focus on for your MBA. Even if there’s no such formal program in place, most admissions officers will happily put candidates in touch with an alum or current student if asked.

Hugo Varela conducted most of his school research from Madrid, Spain, and was able to visit only one U.S. school in person due to work and financial constraints. Despite that fact, Varela was accepted at MIT Sloan School of Management, Duke University Fuqua School of Business and Dartmouth University Tuck School of Business.

“I tried to talk to current students and attend events hosted by many schools in my city, before and after applying, in order to get to know as much as I could about every school,” says Varela. “This cannot make up for a campus visit, but is the best you can do from afar, and current students and alumni really have been key for me to decide where to apply and where to attend.”

“Reading student blogs and talking to alumni and current students were invaluable in helping me gauge the right schools to apply to,” agrees Vandana Sathpathy, an applicant based in India who received offers of admission to three elite MBA programs without visiting any of the campuses and heads to the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University this fall.

She says she was especially impressed by current students who went out of their way to spend time answering questions patiently and enthusiastically, and really showed how passionate they were about their schools.

“There is a wealth of information available online if you are motivated enough to find it – and I was,” Sathpathy adds. In addition to scouring every inch of the school websites, she read the official school blogs and followed all of her target schools on every social media network possible – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and particularly YouTube.

By watching everything from guest lectures, Ted Talks events, orientation videos, talks given by professors at her target schools and even Bollywood Bash Night videos, she says, “I knew the pros and cons of each school by the time I applied, and the reasons I really wanted to go there.”

Positive engagement with the admissions committee via social media is another excellent strategy and could help you stand out in a competitive applicant pool. Schools that actively monitor their social media sites can often answer an applicant’s questions in mere hours, whereas an emailed query could take days to receive a reply. Prospective students should also subscribe to the feeds of student and admissions blogs to find out immediately about any news that could influence their interest in the program.

Online research can’t replace the value of the in-person experience, but candidates who simply cannot visit their selected schools before applying should take comfort in knowing that there are many ways to thoroughly get to know a program without a campus visit to guide them. Diligence and motivation are all you really need.

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Tuesday Tips: 2015 Michigan Ross MBA Essay Tips

Michigan Ross is a program that emphasizes learning both inside and outside the classroom, and is seeking candidates that are intellectually curious and able to accomplish their goals. Ross is also a close-knit community and …

Michigan Ross is a program that emphasizes learning both inside and outside the classroom, and is seeking candidates that are intellectually curious and able to accomplish their goals. Ross is also a close-knit community and fit with the program is important to demonstrate in the application process. Visiting Ross or learning about the program through current students, alumni or faculty would be helpful before starting this set of essays.

The Ross admissions blog states that concise, clear and simple language is prized in the essay portion of the application. Make sure you are using the limited space to explain specifics about you and your experiences and goals rather than generic statements.

Essay One: What are you most proud of and why? How does it shape who you are today? (up to 400 words)

Last year Ross separated the professional and personal in this question, asking candidates to explain what they were most proud of in both realms. This year you have the flexibility to pull from any area of your life to discuss what you are most proud of and why.

If you choose a professional topic remember that intellectual ability, professional achievements and teamwork are all among the qualities the Ross admissions committee is looking for in applicants. As you consider topics for this essay focus on the ones that will demonstrate you are a strong leader and that you can learn from experience.

The personal attributes the admissions committee are looking for in applicants include community engagement and interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills.

When you consider topics for this essay you may want to write about an important extracurricular accomplishment, a challenge you overcame, or an event in your life that highlights something unique about your background. For example, if you have a track record of club leadership through college and afterwards that can be compelling evidence of your community engagement and leadership skills. On the other end of the spectrum perhaps you have spent time outside your home country for school or work and that has shaped your teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills.

In some cases you may be most proud of an accomplishment because of what you learned and how it shaped your career. In other cases the follow up questions are two separate components of the essay. Either way the why behind your pride in accomplishment will reveal what you value most – whether prestige, credit, or the motivation to achieve your goals. Make sure that your values are aligned with how you want to be perceived by the admissions committee.

Whatever you are most proud of, make sure you are addressing why it is important to you. What you learned and how you have used what you learned since in your life can offer invaluable insight as well.

Essay Two: What is your desired career path and why? (up to 400 words)

Michigan Ross is interested to hear what you plan to do after your MBA and what is motivating that decision. The Ross admissions blog is clear that the question is meant to understand your motivation and interests, and that no specific “correct” career is expected. Both traditional and non-traditional MBA goals are welcomed as long as you are sincere about the path you plan to take.

Answering “why” you chose your career path is crucial. As you describe your career path make sure you explain what has led you to pursue it, and why it resonates with you. The answer doesn’t need to be elaborate or dramatic, but it should be convincing and real. The question doesn’t ask “Why MBA?” or “Why Ross?” but you may want to address both questions. Particularly if Ross has unique resources that will help you achieve your goal, it may help your case to explain why Ross.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has worked with successful candidates to Michigan Ross for over a decade and can offer comprehensive strategic advice every step of the way. Contact us to learn more.

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Don’t Be “Joe MBA”

As you begin to work on your Round 1 MBA materials, we have some advice for you: don’t try to be “Joe MBA.” One of the biggest mistakes we see applicants make is assuming that …

As you begin to work on your Round 1 MBA materials, we have some advice for you: don’t try to be “Joe MBA.”

One of the biggest mistakes we see applicants make is assuming that the surest route to business school admission is playing it safe and doing what “everyone else” does. We hear things like, “Well my friend went to Stanford and he wrote about how he wanted to launch a start-up, so I’m going to say that, too.” Or, “My co-worker who got into Kellogg last year isn’t that different from me, so if she says my materials are fine then I should probably shouldn’t change anything.”

Remember: no two people are the same, and that’s a good thing! The key to a successful MBA application is showing exactly what you—and nobody else but you—can bring to the program. So please don’t be afraid to let your originality and your true personality come through in your materials.

On that same note, if you honestly spew out multiple three- and four-syllable words in a normal conversation, then it’s fine to do so in your essays. But if you have a trusted friend review what you’ve written and they remark that it sounds nothing like you, that’s a red flag. Did you include a bunch of “big words”—or worse, buzzwords and industry jargon—because you thought it would make you sound like a dream candidate? We’d suggest making your responses less formal and having your friend review them again to ensure your unique voice is represented.

Here’s an easy way to judge whether or not you’re on the right track: read over your materials and ask if you’d honestly want to be in class with yourself. Are you coming across as someone who’s interesting, has a lot to share with others, and would be a great addition to any MBA program? Or do you sound like Joe MBA—accomplished, sure . . . but also pretty darn boring.

Think of it this way:

don't be average

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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INSEAD Deadlines, Essays for September 2016 Intake

Here are the application deadlines for the INSEAD MBA Program’s Class of July 2017. Round 1 Application due: September 16, 2015 Decision notification: November 27, 2015 Round 2 Application due: October 14, 2015 Decision notification: …

INSEAD deadlines, essays

Here are the application deadlines for the INSEAD MBA Program’s Class of July 2017.

Round 1

Application due: September 16, 2015

Decision notification: November 27, 2015

Round 2

Application due: October 14, 2015

Decision notification: December 18, 2015

Round 3

Application due: January 13, 2016

Decision notification: March 18, 2016

Round 4

Application due: February 24, 2016

Decision notification: April 29, 2016

Essay Questions

Essay 1: Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (600 words max.)

Essay 2: Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. (400 words max.)

Essay 3: Tell us about an experience where you were significantly impacted by cultural diversity, in a positive or negative way. (300 words max.)

Essay 4: Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (300 words max.)

Essay 5 (Optional): Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (300 words max.)

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Competition for each round is equal regardless of the intake or round you apply for, INSEAD notes. The program has added a fourth round of admissions to better manage the influx of incoming applications and to provide additional flexibility to applicants.

To be included in a specific round, applications must be complete and submitted by 23:59pm Central European Time on the day of the deadline.

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Michigan Ross 2015-2016 MBA Application Deadlines

The University of Michigan Ross School of Business has announced the following MBA application deadlines for the 2015-2016 admissions cycle. Round 1 Application due: October 5, 2015 Decision released: December 18, 2015 Round 2 Application …

The University of Michigan Ross School of Business has announced the following MBA application deadlines for the 2015-2016 admissions cycle.

Round 1

Application due: October 5, 2015

Decision released: December 18, 2015

Round 2

Application due: January 4, 2016

Decision released: March 18, 2016

Round 3

Application due: March 21, 2016

Decision released: May 13, 2016

All applications are due by 11:59 EST on the day of the deadline in order to be considered within that round. Michigan Ross also encourages international students apply in Round 1 or Round 2 because of visa requirements and to ensure consideration for scholarships.

For more information, please visit the Michigan Ross MBA admissions website.

You may also be interested in:

Michigan Ross 2015-2016 MBA Application Essays

Michigan Ross Dean to Step Down in 2016

 

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Michigan Ross 2015-2016 MBA Essay Questions

The University of Michigan Ross School of Business has posted the following MBA essay questions for the 2015-2016 application cycle. While the first essay also appeared last year, the second is a revamped essay prompt. …

Michigan Ross MBA essays

The University of Michigan Ross School of Business has posted the following MBA essay questions for the 2015-2016 application cycle. While the first essay also appeared last year, the second is a revamped essay prompt.

  1. What are you most proud of and why? How does it shape who you are today? (up to 400 words)
  2. What is your desired career path and why? (up to 400 words)

The Michigan Ross admissions blog states that:

The first question is intentionally broad. We want to give you the option to pick something from either your personal or professional life. The context (personal or professional) is less important than your reason for being proud of something. We want to understand what makes something important to you. It gives us a glimpse into how you think about and process things, and what your priorities and values are.

This is how we assess fit – through alignment of your values with the values of our community – not whether you pick a personal or professional example.

The main purpose of the career path question is so we can evaluate whether business school makes sense.  A “good” answer isn’t about saying you want to go into a traditional business field. In fact, many of our students pursue a wide range of careers outside of traditional business fields (e.g., education, nonprofit, emerging markets). A good answer will describe your rationale for being interested in a particular path.

For both questions, there isn’t an answer that we “want to hear” other than a response that demonstrates that you’ve done some self-reflection and gives us a sense of you as a person.

A note about writing style: we like clear and succinct. “Up to 400 words” means it can be less than 400 words. It’s not a word count test, nor is it a creative writing test. Don’t write two paragraphs of introduction before stating what you’re most proud of. You can even start with, “I am most proud of….” Write as you would speak. To a real person. We, who read the essays, are real people.

For more information, please visit the Michigan Ross MBA admissions page.

 You may also be interested in:

Michigan Ross 2015-2016 MBA Application Deadlines

Michigan Ross Dean to Step Down in 2016

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