Targeted Tips for Women MBA Applicants

Are there specific tips and tactics just for women who are applying to business school? While it’s tempting to dismiss the existence of any gender differences in the application process or in student life, you …

Are there specific tips and tactics just for women who are applying to business school? While it’s tempting to dismiss the existence of any gender differences in the application process or in student life, you don’t have to look back very far to see just how controversial the subject still is.

Harvard Business School celebrated 50 years of women at the school in January 2014, and the occasion drew massive attention for the unexpected apology issued by HBS dean Nitin Nohria to female students and professors past and present for any sexist or offensive behavior they experienced at the revered business school.

Given this reality, I happily shared some of the advice we offer female applicants at Stacy Blackman Consulting for MBA Channel’s recent article, Applying to business school: What’s the right approach for women?

Obviously, these tips won’t apply for every female applicant. But there are certain demographic stereotypes that persist, and being on the lookout for these red flags just makes good sense.

I have had several clients with recommenders who have told them that they received calls from the admissions committee to probe on certain points.  In particular: “is the applicant confident, will she speak up in class discussions, is she timid, etc…”  Almost all of these anecdotes have occurred with female clients.

In the application process, it is critical to make sure that they exude that comfort and confidence.  Essays, interviews and recommendations need to indicate a comfort level with speaking out, defending points of view, collaborating with all types of people.

An interview coach I worked with also had direction for women: don’t play with your hair, don’t fiddle with jewellery, don’t adjust your clothing – just focus on looking your interviewer straight in the eye and answering questions with complete focus and confidence.

Business schools have made significant efforts to increase female enrollment in recent years, and the numbers are much higher than when I was at Kellogg School of Management. Some male-dominated post-MBA career paths, such as finance, are more hungry for women as well.  So a woman targeting finance may have an advantage over one pursuing a role in brand management.  This is true in the MBA admissions process as well as in the job search.

If more women become interested in business school earlier in the pipeline, I think we’ll see the numbers continue to rise. Ultimately, better representation in the C-suite means more equality, which contributes to a stronger economy and ultimately a positive effect on society and the next generation of women.

You may also be interested in:

Gender or Social Gap: What’s the Real Issue at HBS?

Enrollment Flags for Women Pursuing the MBA

 

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Make the Most of Each Application Component

As you pull together your MBA application materials, try to think of each component as an opportunity to tell the AdCom something new about yourself. What we mean is, don’t simply copy and paste bullet …

As you pull together your MBA application materials, try to think of each component as an opportunity to tell the AdCom something new about yourself.

What we mean is, don’t simply copy and paste bullet points from your resume into your data forms. Offer up new details when you supply responses for fields such as “role responsibilities,” “key accomplishments” or “biggest challenge.”

Similarly, if you focused on your volunteer work in one of your essays, highlight a different extracurricular activity in your data forms or resume. And don’t have your recommenders tout the exact same “significant achievement” in their letters that you already covered elsewhere.

Certain aspects of your package, such as your GMAT/GRE score and your undergraduate GPA, are truly data points in the most literal sense of the word. But everything else should be viewed as complementary chapters of an interesting story—a story about you. After the AdCom is finished reviewing all of your materials, they should have an understanding of your personality, what you’ve achieved, what your goals are, and what you could offer their program.

Your test scores, transcripts and GPA will tell them something about your capacity to handle their curriculum. Your resume shows your career progression, increased responsibilities and demonstrated results. Depending on the school, some data forms offer a chance to add color to personal and professional achievements. Your recommendation letters can offer even more proof of your leadership potential. And your essays can give them a sense of your “voice,” as well as provide insight into what makes you tick or what you’re passionate about.

It’s a good thing that the AdCom will be judging you on your entire package, though, right? We’re all so much more than just our jobs, our grades, or our volunteer experience.

Think of it this way:

WholeGreaterThanSum

 

 

 

 

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USC Marshall Introduces MS in Marketing Degree

The USC Marshall School of Business has announced the launch of a new Master of Science in Marketing  that will help develop and enhance students’ innovative marketing skills. This degree is designed for managers and …

MS in Marketing at USC

The USC Marshall School of Business has announced the launch of a new Master of Science in Marketing  that will help develop and enhance students’ innovative marketing skills. This degree is designed for managers and those with a few years of work experience who are eager to earn an advanced degree in a one-year, full-time program, or a two-year, part-time option.

The program establishes a strong foundation in business fundamentals, including marketing management, marketing strategy and business analytics, or market demand and sales forecasting.

Students will then build on that foundation with other marketing courses, including advertising and promotion management, branding strategy, consumer behavior, marketing and consumer research, marketing channels, new product development and pricing strategies.

Expanding into other business disciplines, students can choose from electives ranging from data warehousing, business intelligence and data mining, to technology commercialization.

Marketing crosses all disciplinary boundaries, and the modern marketer must have polished technical skill and deep topical knowledge, says James G. Ellis, dean of the Marshall School of Business.

The MS in Marketing curriculum takes full advantage of the breadth of offerings at USC, with cross-disciplinary electives including case studies in digital entertainment, visual storytelling, the television industry, digital technologies and the entertainment industry, foundations in health education and promotion, public health policy and politics and health care ventures.

“We want our marketing students to be able to tailor their study to their particular interests, whether that is in digital entertainment, health care or public policy,” says  Diane Badame, academic director of the full-time MBA Program and professor of clinical marketing, who is spearheading the new degree program.

“Students in our marketing program will gain artistry and analytics that will position them for success in this rapidly evolving discipline,” Badame adds.

As a culminating experience, MS in Marketing students will collaborate to craft an innovative marketing strategy for prospective employers.

The marketing program is now accepting applications for summer 2015 from working professionals with bachelor or advanced degrees and at least two years of experience.

For additional information about the program please go to: http://www.marshall.usc.edu/msmkt

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First Cohort of Harvard Business School’s HBX CORe Now Complete

Harvard Business School‘s new digital learning initiative, HBX, held a closing ceremony earlier this month to formally mark the completion of its first offering, HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness). CORe is an interactive online program …

Harvard Business School‘s new digital learning initiative, HBX, held a closing ceremony earlier this month to formally mark the completion of its first offering, HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness).

CORe is an interactive online program specially designed by HBS faculty members and was first offered this summer to undergraduates and recent graduates interested in learning the fundamentals of business through a suite of three courses in Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting.

More than 100 of the nearly 500 participants who finished the nine-week CORe program and exam came to the Harvard Business School campus to take part in various activities and a ceremony, as well as the distribution of a credential recognizing successful completion of the program.

“We are delighted to honor these and all the other students who completed these courses in the basics of business,” said Dean Nitin Nohria.

“From beginning to end, they were engaged in the kind of rigorous, interactive learning that has long been the hallmark of Harvard Business School’s pedagogy. We believe this program also marks an important milestone in the development of online education.”

The CORe program was offered for a fee to a targeted group of students, in contrast to free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, and was based on an innovative technological platform specifically designed to offer an interactive experience that mirrors many of the elements in the HBS case teaching approach.

“The fact that 85 percent of those who began the HBX CORe program finished it is testament to the success of this new model of online education,” Dean Nohria observed.

In offering the CORe program for the first time, HBX facilitated the process by limiting eligibility to students enrolled in Massachusetts colleges and universities and to the children of Harvard University faculty, staff, and alumni.

“Our intent behind CORe was to create a program that would allow students from very different backgrounds – humanities, social sciences, and STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] majors – to gain basic fluency in essential business concepts and decision making,” said Professor Bharat Anand, faculty chair of HBX.

“Through the efforts of our faculty and the HBX staff members, we have been able to create an immersive online experience that prompted a high level of participant engagement, including rich peer-to-peer interactions that greatly enhanced the learning experience,” Anand continued. “We’ve been delighted to see that the participant response to CORe has been overwhelmingly positive.As one student put it, ‘This has been the best proxy for any classroom experience I have seen so far’.”

The next offering of the CORe program will begin on Feb. 25, 2015. Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Future cohort start dates will be announced shortly.

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Separate GMAT Rankings for U.S. and Asian Applicants

Segregation in education sounds like a relic of the distant past, but according to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, Asian and Indian applicants to U.S. MBA programs trounce American applicants so badly …

Segregation in education sounds like a relic of the distant past, but according to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, Asian and Indian applicants to U.S. MBA programs trounce American applicants so badly on the quantitative portion of the GMAT that business schools will now sort candidates based on the country and region of the world they hail from.

Over the last ten years, the score gap between Asia-Pacific and U.S. applicants in the math portion has only widened, with the former group scoring an average of 45—seven points above the worldwide average of 38, and 12 points higher than the American applicant’s average of 33.

The disparity in scores is likely rooted in the problems with math instruction in this country, but the situation isn’t helped by the vast difference in test preparation. According to GMAC, students in Asia spend an average of 151 hours in test prep, while U.S. students average just 64 hours.

Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC’s chief executive officer, told the WSJ schools have complained that the test’s global rankings were becoming more difficult to interpret, and asked for new ways to assess both U.S. and foreign test-takers separately. In response, GMAC has introduced a tool that allows schools to apply filters to benchmark scores by country of citizenship, gender, and college GPA.

Sara Neher, assistant dean of MBA admissions at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, was among those who reached out to GMAC for help. “I need to be able to show my scholarship committee, which includes faculty, that this person is in the top 5% of test takers in his region,” even though that individual might not rank highly against test takers world-wide, she told the WSJ.

It sounds like in the future, business schools will increasingly need to deny seats to the top scorers if they want to stay true to their mission of creating a dynamic learning environment through a cohort with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

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Duke Fuqua Tops Businessweek’s Biennial MBA Ranking

Bloomberg Businessweek has released its 14th biennial ranking of 112 full-time MBA programs globally to determine which business schools offer the strongest education and best prepare MBAs for their careers. Duke University’s Fuqua School of …

Bloomberg Businessweek has released its 14th biennial ranking of 112 full-time MBA programs globally to determine which business schools offer the strongest education and best prepare MBAs for their careers.

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business claims the number one spot among U.S. programs. The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business—which had been number one on the past four rankings—fell to number three.

The University of Pennsylvania is number two, Stanford University is number four, and Columbia University is number five. Harvard Business School is out of the top five for the first time since the Businessweek ranking began in 1988.

Internationally, Western University’s Ivey Business School in Ontario, Canada is number one, IE Business School in Madrid, Spain is number two, and ESMT in Berlin, Germany is number three. London Business School, Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2012 international winner, falls to number four.

Below are Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2014 Top 20 U.S. Full-Time MBA Programs:

2014 Rank 2012 Rank U.S. Business School
1 6 Duke University (Fuqua)
2 3 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
3 1 University of Chicago (Booth)
4 4 Stanford University
5 13 Columbia University
6 21 Yale University
7 5 Northwestern University (Kellogg)
8 2 Harvard University
9 8 University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (Ross)
10 11 Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
11 18 University of California at Los Angeles (Anderson)
12 17 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
13 7 Cornell University (Johnson)
14 9 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
15 12 Dartmouth College (Tuck)
16 15 Indiana University (Kelley)
17 24 University of Maryland (Smith)
18 22 Emory University (Goizueta)
19 14 University of California at Berkeley (Haas)
20 10 University of Virginia (Darden)

The closest Fuqua has come to the top spot on Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking of MBA programs was its fifth place finish in 2000—it ranked sixth in 2012. “Fuqua’s number one ranking this year is thanks in large part to employers’ esteem for its graduates,” says Jonathan Rodkin, research and rankings coordinator, Bloomberg Businessweek. “Fuqua ranked second overall among employers, rising from number seven in 2012, with recruiters noting that its students are exceptionally good at working collaboratively.”

Eighty-five U.S. and 27 international MBA programs were ranked on three measures: 1Employer Assessment (45 percent): how recruiters at companies that hire MBAs judge each school’s graduates, measured by a survey administered by Bloomberg Businessweek. 2. Student Experience (45 percent of the ranking): how graduating MBA students rated their education, measured by a second survey. 3. Intellectual Capital (10 percent): the expertise of its faculty, determined by a tally of faculty research in esteemed journals. The full methodology can be found at http://buswk.co/2014MBAMethodology.

“Don’t let rankings alone make your school decision for you,” says Francesca Levy, business education editor, Bloomberg Businessweek. “Our rankings, school profiles and editorial analyses offer a thorough picture of the current landscape of full-time MBA programs, but deciding where to go to school is a personal decision. A school that is right for one student may be wrong for another.”

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