Michigan Ross Director on Interviewing, Team Exercise

This weekend, on-campus interviews kick off at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Soojin Kwon has some reminders for MBA applicants on how to shine during your …

This weekend, on-campus interviews kick off at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Soojin Kwon has some reminders for MBA applicants on how to shine during your interview, and also shares Ross’s perspective on why the team exercise, though optional, is so important.

Based on their experience with Round 1 interviews, the admissions committee is stressing the following points for the next round of interviewees:

  1. Make your answers clear and succinct. This is an important skill. But don’t come across as scripted.
  2. Answer the questions that are asked. This will differentiate the scripted interviewees from those who aren’t. It’ll also demonstrate listening and thinking skills.
  3. Do your research. Know why Ross, why XYZ career (pre- and post-MBA).
  4. Don’t agonize over how you can differentiate yourself, or the fact that you work in a non-business field. If you tell your unique story, and follow Tips 1 – 3, you’ll go a long way towards making a positive impression.

How you present yourself, and your ability to react and respond gracefully in unfamiliar situations, weigh heavily in both the MBA admissions process and later on when recruiting kicks up. Kwon points to data collected by the Graduate Management Admission Counsel’s most recent Corporate Recruiters Report, which indicates that employers consider communication as the most important skill set for new graduate business school hires.

Finally, the director offers some frank advice about the currently optional team exercise. “Opting-in sends us some important positive signals: (1) that you embrace opportunities to shine; (2) that you are comfortable with ambiguity, since you can’t control the team exercise experience; and, (3) finding the right fit is important to you,” says Kwon, noting that MBA recruiters are also looking for these qualities.

From our perspective as MBA admissions consultants, you should never pass up the opportunity for face time with the admissions committee. Allowing them to get to know the real you, beyond the version on paper, is critical to your chances of receiving an offer of admission.

Good luck!

You may also be interested in:

Group Interview Advice from Michigan Ross Admissions Director

If you have been invited to interview with a school that is using the group interview format, you will absolutely want to take advantage of Stacy Blackman’s live group practice session. This format can be fun, but also challenging and stress inducing! Success comes from practice and becoming comfortable with the format.

We’ll have dedicated groups of 3-6 people for Wharton and Ross, with experienced moderators and admissions experience. You’ll receive preparation tips and a one-hour mock experience, followed by written feedback with actionable advice. For more on this new service, click here.

Posted in Michigan Ross Advice | Tagged , , , ,

Endowment Creates Social Enterprise Center at Columbia

A new center created at Columbia Business School will help develop the next generation of business leaders’ understanding of how management impacts society and the environment. In a statement released Wednesday, Columbia Business School announced …

new Tamer social enterprise center

A new center created at Columbia Business School will help develop the next generation of business leaders’ understanding of how management impacts society and the environment.

In a statement released Wednesday, Columbia Business School announced that Sandra and Tony Tamer made a “transformative endowment gift” that will also serve as the educational, curricular, research, and strategic hub of all social entrepreneurship activities at Columbia.

Columbia Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard thanked the Tamers for their generosity, noting that the new Tamer Center will build upon the school’s existing Social Enterprise Program, “(…) allowing for a more robust array of options for the growing number of Columbia community members who are looking to put social problem solving at the heart of their careers.”

The new Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School will:

  • Establish the Tamer Fund for Social Ventures: The Fund will provide seed grants of up to $25,000 to select nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid early-stage social ventures that demonstrate a high degree of social innovation and impact.
  • Enhance the Loan Assistance Program: This program helps alleviate the financial burden of repaying education loans while pursuing a career in the public, nonprofit and social entrepreneurial sectors. The new Center will increase the number of alumni who can receive financial support, as well as the duration of that financial commitment from a maximum of five years to 10 years.
  • Broaden the Summer Fellowship Program: The Summer Fellowship Program pairs social enterprise students with organizations that are creating social and environmental value. Currently reserved for business school students, the program will now include graduate and undergraduate students from across Columbia University so that social ventures may benefit from student talent across disciplines.
  • Support Social Entrepreneurs at the Columbia Startup Lab: The Tamer Center will offer additional financial support to social entrepreneurs who are participating in the Columbia Startup Lab and who receive funding from the Tamer Fund for Social Ventures.
  • Develop a Social Entrepreneurs Network: Aspiring social entrepreneurs need to tap into an advisory network of seasoned professionals and experts. To create such a network, the Tamer Center will leverage the School’s Social Enterprise Leadership Forum, a collection of 100 leaders, practitioners, funders, policymakers, and faculty members who regularly participate in social enterprise and entrepreneurship events at Columbia.

“Columbia is uniquely qualified and positioned to serve as a source of inspiration and education for budding social entrepreneurs,” said Tony Tamer. “Combine that with its already well-established Social Enterprise Program and its strategic position in New York City (…) and you have all the ingredients necessary to be the preeminent center and source of leadership talent for the social enterprise community.”

“One of the most exciting opportunities is bringing the diverse interdisciplinary perspectives of Columbia together,” added Sandra Tamer. “Students studying business, engineering, law, medicine, or public policy will now be able to come together to develop new ideas, innovative solutions, and practical models to solve emerging challenges facing society today.”

To learn more about the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School, please visit www.gsb.columbia.edu/socialenterprise.

Posted in School News | Tagged , , ,

Negotiating Merit Scholarships

Being accepted into an MBA program is a major accomplishment that makes the months of application preparation (and worrying) all worth it. Icing on the cake is learning that you’ve also been awarded a merit …

Being accepted into an MBA program is a major accomplishment that makes the months of application preparation (and worrying) all worth it. Icing on the cake is learning that you’ve also been awarded a merit scholarship.

If you suddenly find yourself with a financial incentive to attend a certain school, you’ll be understandably honored and overjoyed at your good fortune. However, if you’ve been accepted into more than one program, this unexpected twist can often make your ultimate decision that much harder.

Here’s something such lucky future students often forget: you can try to negotiate merit scholarships. This is one of those rare situations in life where—if handled professionally, of course—you really have nothing to lose.

If you received drastically different scholarship amounts for two or more programs—or were given a financial award for one school but nothing for another—why not contact the AdCom and explain your situation?

This is probably obvious, but we wouldn’t recommend naming the competing institution, sharing your offer letter or making demands. Rather, simply reach out to the admissions office, reiterate your deep interest in attending their program, and then ask if it’s possible to be considered for a higher scholarship amount (or any scholarship amount) because you now have another offer of acceptance and financial incentive on the table.

Good luck!

And remember:

dare to ask the question

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Application Tips | Tagged , , ,

The MBA Tour Hosts Events Across North America in 2015

If you’re considering pursuing an MBA degree, attending an MBA fair is a great place to start. The MBA Tour is hosting six events across North America this winter 2015. What are the benefits of …

MBA TourIf you’re considering pursuing an MBA degree, attending an MBA fair is a great place to start. The MBA Tour is hosting six events across North America this winter 2015.

What are the benefits of attending an MBA Tour conference? Hear from students who have attended:

 1:1 INTERACTION WITH ADMISSION REPRESENTATIVES

MeetUp Sessions provide an opportunity for candidates to meet one on one and in small groups with admission directors and alumni from various programs. Meeting in-person allows candidates to make a personal connection with their top-choice schools and enhances the overall MBA application process by keeping lines of communication open with admission representatives.

MBA Fair The fair is an open floor forum to facilitate interaction between students and representatives, where personal and specific questions are encouraged and answered. Candidates can make a great impression on school reps and learn more about how a program appeals to individual needs.

COLLECT INFORMATION AND EASILY COMPARE PROGRAMS

MBA Panel Presentations cover valuable business school admissions topics and answer a wide range of MBA applicant questions. The panels are hosted by professionals with expertise spanning several topics, including: Preparing Your MBA Application, Financing Your MBA, and GMAT Strategy.

School Presentations highlight unique program features in a 30-minute session given by admission representatives. These presentations  are ideal for candidates to learn detailed information, compare different programs, and prepare for speaking with representatives during the MeetUp Sessions or MBA Fair.

Coming to a city near you:

New York City January 31, 2015

Toronto February 4, 2015

San Francisco February 7, 2015

Los Angeles February 8, 2015

Boston February 10, 2015

Washington DC February 12, 2015

 Participating Business Schools (For full list of schools, visit The MBA Tour website):

American University, Babson College, Boston University, Durham Business School, Fordham University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Hult International Business School, IE Business School, McGill University, Northeastern University, Penn State University, Queen’s University, Suffolk University, Syracuse University, The College of William & Mary, University of British Columbia, UC Davis, University of Maryland, University of Miami, University of Rochester, University of Toronto, Washington University in St. Louis, and more!

Posted in General | Tagged

Harvard Tops Financial Times 2015 Global MBA Ranking

Earlier this week, Financial Times released its 2015 global MBA ranking of the best business schools, and the results showed no surprises—only a shuffling—at the very top. This is the third time in a row …

Earlier this week, Financial Times released its 2015 global MBA ranking of the best business schools, and the results showed no surprises—only a shuffling—at the very top. This is the third time in a row Harvard Business School has taken the crown, and the sixth time since the ranking began in 1999.

Its alumni have the highest average salary three years after graduation, at $179,910 (weighted), nearly doubling their pre-MBA pay. Harvard is among the top schools for career progression and its MBA was the most highly recommended by graduates of other schools.

The ranking is based on surveys of business schools and their 2011 graduates, and the Financial Times methodology involves assessing MBA programs according to the career progression of alumni, the school’s idea generation, and the diversity of students and faculty.

Top Ten Business Schools in FT’s 2015 Global MBA Rankings

  1. Harvard Business School
  2. London Business School
  3. University of Pennsylvania Wharton School
  4. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  5. INSEAD
  6. Columbia Business School
  7. IESE Business School
  8. MIT Sloan School of Management
  9. Chicago Booth School of Business
  10. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

HBS alumni may top the ranking for salaries, but Wharton’s doctoral program in business has made it the world’s leading research-based business school with the most articles published in the FT45 list of peer-reviewed and practitioner journals, the FT reports.

You can learn more about this year’s results and methodology by checking out the complete Financial Times ranking coverage.

You may also be interested in:

Rethinking MBA Rankings

The Truth Behind Three Common MBA Rankings Myths

Posted in General | Tagged , , , ,

Should You Retake the GMAT?

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com While I occasionally hear tales of MBA applicants offered admission in a top business school with a 640 GMAT score, the truth is that  accepting students …

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

While I occasionally hear tales of MBA applicants offered admission in a top business school with a 640 GMAT score, the truth is that  accepting students with stellar scores of 700 or higher is more the norm at the most competitive programs.

Before you start to panic and become hung up on achieving the highest score possible, or fixate on the average GMAT score reported by the schools, I urge test-challenged clients to focus instead on aligning their scores within the 80 percent range, which schools usually list within their admitted class profile.

Many experts in the test prep industry advise all students to plan on taking the test twice. If your score after the first attempt is already at or above your goal, you can always cancel the second sitting. Remember, top schools want to see scores in the 80th percentile in the quantitative section. So if you score 100 percent in verbal and low in quantitative, you would want to retake the exam, especially if you don’t have a strong quantitative background outside of the GMAT.

[Learn about ways to fix a low GMAT score.]

There is absolutely no reason to retake the GMAT when you score over 700, test prep company Magoosh says emphatically. You’ve already proven you can handle the quantitative component of the curriculum, so turn your focus toward ensuring all of the other parts of your application are as strong as possible.

Keep in mind that this high number is primarily for those targeting a top-tier MBA program. If you scored a 680, the decision to retake should be carefully considered, as you may be better off focusing on your essays or coaching recommenders instead. Applicants looking at programs in the top 20 or 50 should check the average scores of admitted students to determine their personal target GMAT score.

If illness, nerves, exhaustion, or simply a lack of adequate preparation resulted in a low score, then a second attempt becomes a necessity. Repeat test-taking, with additional preparation, typically results in a higher score as students become familiar with the experience, and therefore, less stressed out.

[Learn to dodge your fear of failure when applying to business school.]

Although the Graduate Management Admission Council allows you to take the test as many times as you like, you must wait 31 calendar days before retaking the exam. Make sure to check your target schools’ application deadlines in order to allow enough time to send in your final scores.

Applicants self-report their highest score, and it’s worth noting that the admissions committee doesn’t have an issue with students taking the exam more than once. In fact, committees may look positively on the dedication you’ve shown to improve upon your prior performance. Mind you, I’m talking about a score report with two or three scores, max – not one that shows you’ve sat for the GMAT seven times.

After your first test, it’s time to go over your entire GMAT performance to determine your weaknesses and double-down in those areas as you resume your studies. Don’t completely ignore the sections you did well on, however. You wouldn’t want to improve in one area but do worse in another the next time.

If you studied alone or took a class for your initial preparation, you might consider studying one on one with a GMAT tutor for the second go-round. A test prep expert can work around your schedule and tailor the curriculum to your needs.

Finally, some people aren’t natural test-takers and have a less-than-optimal performance no matter how well they know the material. One of the primary causes is stress under pressure, and it may help to watch this video tour of the GMAT Test Center and detailed explanation of all procedures to increase your comfort levels about what to expect.

If that familiarity still isn’t enough to calm your nerves come test day, consider using relaxation techniques such as meditation and visualization to reduce test anxiety. Also, taking the GMAT in the same center will help you feel more comfortable with the test-taking process and any logistics that may have thrown you off the first time.

Business school hopefuls can be incredibly hard on themselves when they make mistakes on the GMAT, but each error is a learning opportunity and a chance to improve. So don’t become discouraged if your first score isn’t where you’d hoped. Relax, and think of it as a dress rehearsal for a stellar performance to come.

Posted in Application Tips, General, Test Prep Advice | Tagged , , , ,