Michigan Ross Director Calms Common Applicant Concerns

Applying to a top-tier business school is a time of high anxiety for many MBA hopefuls. With such fiercely competitive admission rates, it’s only natural that candidates might feel vulnerable about their chances. Plus, going for …

Ross MBA admissions

Applying to a top-tier business school is a time of high anxiety for many MBA hopefuls. With such fiercely competitive admission rates, it’s only natural that candidates might feel vulnerable about their chances. Plus, going for an MBA is a huge and expensive decision, so how do you know if the school you’re targeting will be right for you?

In a recent update to the Admission Director’s Blog at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Director Soojin Kwon shared the reflections of several second-year Ross Student Ambassadors who were in your shoes not that long ago. Their experiences should help calm any fears or concerns you have about the application process in general and, in particular, about choosing to apply to the Ross School.

Here are some key excerpts from Kwon’s post:

 Applicant Fear #1: “I wasn’t sure that Ross and Ann Arbor would be as diverse as other schools/cities I was considering.”

Kwon: Nearly a third of our students come from outside of the U.S., with India, Brazil, China and Peru as our leading international countries. Within the U.S., the state with the highest representation at Ross is California. The metro area where the most students lived prior to Ross is New York, followed by Washington, D.C.

Our entering class has worked in a wide range of industries – from consulting, banking, marketing, and startups to the military, education, nonprofit, healthcare/pharma, tech, law and hospitality. They’ve worked in 340 different organizations including the Kenya Ministry of Health, the Turkish Treasury, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, NBCUniversal, Time Warner Cable, Coach Inc, and Coca-Cola.

Women comprise 40% of our entering class. Minorities comprise 24%.

As far as Ann Arbor goes, it may surprise you to know that we have more restaurants and independent bookstores per capita than any other city in the U.S. It’s been ranked among the most educated city in the U.S.

Applicant Fear #2: “I heard mixed messages about which round to apply in. Obviously, it worked out in the end, but I was worried I’d hurt my chances if I applied in one round vs another.”

Kwon: Chances are, you have an idea of which school is your top choice. Let’s call it “School A.” You submit an app to School A in Round 1. Your app to Schools B and C are nearly ready but you decide to wait until Round 2 to submit those apps. In the months following your Round 1 submission to School A, you visit the campus of Schools B and C. You connect with students and alumni of those schools. You fall in love with School B and decide that that school is your new top choice. (We see this a LOT.)

You resolve to submit a killer app for School B in Round 2. In December, you find out from School A you’re admitted. Great! School A requires you to submit a non-refundable enrollment deposit in February…before you find out if you’re admitted to your new top choice school. Now you have to either (1) put money down to hold your spot at School A or (2) take your chances on being admitted to School B. We frequently see applicants choose Option 1.

The moral of this story: if you’re close to being ready to submit an app for several schools, you should strive to submit them in the same round.

It’ll give you the benefit of being able to make a decision with all your options laid out at once. Of course, you should apply when your application is as strong as it can be. But if your app is ready for one school, chances are, you’re probably close to being ready for another school. The main difference is generally only the essays.

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The Ross admissions director also shares advice on handling low GMAT/GRE scores,  enlightens applicants who are unfamiliar with what Michigan Ross is “good at,” and reveals why you don’t need to devote an excessive amount of effort to answering the Ross essay questions.

Read Soojin Kwon’s complete post, and with any luck, you’ll feel much more relaxed about the whole process…well, at least a little bit!

You may also be interested in:

Michigan Ross School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips

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Ask the AdCom: Reading Recommendations

Hey everybody! We’re back with our second installment of our new weekly column “Ask the AdCom.” We know MBA applicants love to get information straight from the source, and in this space we’ll be sharing tips and …

Hey everybody! We’re back with our second installment of our new weekly column “Ask the AdCom.” We know MBA applicants love to get information straight from the source, and in this space we’ll be sharing tips and advice from admissions team members from a dozen top business schools.

Since AdCom members are human, too, we thought our readers might enjoy seeing  a different side of what makes these guys tick. This fun space is not really about the application process but more about real-life topics, like where’s the best place on campus to eat or study, what are the can’t-miss courses, and all the fun stuff that happens at b-school that makes lifelong memories for students.

We hope you enjoy their insights!

Today’s question is: What’s a good book for b-school student or an aspirant (not a text book)?

Morgan Bernstein, Executive Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions  at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, recommends:

Life is Good – The Book: How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy the Ride, by Bert and John Jacobs, co-founders of the socially conscious lifestyle company/brand Life is Good. The book celebrates the power of optimism, sharing stories and advice for living simpler, happier, and more fulfilling lives. Given the fast-paced (and oftentimes stressful) lives of MBA students, this book provides a welcome and refreshing retreat from the chaos.

John Roeder, Assistant Dean Graduate Admissions  at SMU Cox School of Business, recommends:

Texas Got It Right by Sam and Andrew Wyly.  While most states are floundering over the last decade, this is an interesting look into Texas history, traits, and policies that have made Texas successful, prosperous and an entrepreneurial powerhouse. After reading this book, aspiring MBAs will have a good idea of why business is booming in the state of Texas and why so many companies are re-locating their corporate Headquarters from the east and west coast.

Texas should be on the radar of any aspiring MBA whether they are choosing to ultimately live in the state or just do business there.

 Rodrigo Malta, Director of Admissions at UT McCombs School of Business, says: Crossing the Chasm is a perennial favorite amongst students and professors.

Kelly R. Wilson, Executive Director of Admissions  at the CMU Tepper School of Business, recommends: Professor Allan Meltzer’s Why Capitalism?

Melissa Fogerty, Director of Admissions at Yale School of Management and obviously an avid reader, recommends:  Prospective MBA students should check out our Yale SOM faculty’s Summer Reading List. This list includes our faculty’s favorite business books, as well as works of fiction, history, and more.

I’ll point out in particular Professor Will Goetzmann’s new book, Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible, published in 2016 by Princeton University Press, which explores how the development of finance has made the growth of civilizations possible.

As someone who loves to read, I’m looking forward to exploring Goetzmann’s idea of finance as a time machine, which Felix Martin (New York Times Book Review) notes “is a fascinating thesis, brilliantly illuminated by scores of vivid examples, generously illustrated with a wealth of pictures, comprehensive in its geographical and temporal scope, and in my view almost entirely convincing.”

In fiction, I’ll also recommend M.L. Stedman’s New York Times bestselling novel The Light Between Oceans, which I recently read for my book club. I’m looking forward to comparing it to the Derek Cianfrance film starring Rachel Weisz, Alicia Vikander, and Michael Fassbender, which will be out in theaters in September.

Shari Hubert, Associate Dean, MBA Admissions  at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, also has a long list of recommendations:

The Start Up of You –by Reid Hoffman

Banker to the Poor –by Muhammad Yunus

How to Change the World – by David Bornstein

Zero to One –by Peter Thiel

Conscious Capitalism – by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia

The 10-Day MBA – by Steven Silbiger

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them (by Meg Jay – there’s also a Ted Talk on this) – This book helps to put into context why individuals pursue their MBA and helps to prepare students for the most transformative and defining period of their lives.

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Look out for the #AskAdCom in our social media channels, and we’ll see you again next week when we check in to Ask the AdCom to name a great restaurant around campus!

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7 Qualities of the Ideal Wharton MBA

What does it take to land a seat at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School? As one of the top MBA programs in the world, Wharton is very selective about who it accepts—just 20% of …

What Wharton looks for in MBA applicants

What does it take to land a seat at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School? As one of the top MBA programs in the world, Wharton is very selective about who it accepts—just 20% of applicants in 2015—and the admissions team has some specific traits in mind when it assesses candidates.

Reflecting on my 15 years of experience helping clients get into Wharton, I recently shared my take on the seven characteristics Wharton is looking for in MBA applicants with Business Insider.

1. Global awareness is key.  

Candidates must show they are able to adapt, accept, and understand in a diverse environment. Wharton graduates will compete in a global marketplace, so experience with the challenges of doing business globally and a natural curiosity for learning more about other countries and cultures will be valued by the admissions committee and should therefore be emphasized during your interview.

2. Entrepreneurial abilities are a must.

Being entrepreneurial means knowing how to recognize and capture opportunity, minimize risk, make the most of limited resources, and make excellent decisions even with inadequate or incomplete information. You can demonstrate an entrepreneurial mindset if you have identified opportunities to make an impact above and beyond the call of duty.

3. Community involvement is paramount.

Finding time to do community service can demonstrate your devotion to making your community better. The hours required for a Wharton MBA are comparable to your current job, so you have to prove the ability to manage your time and energy and put it toward a good cause.

But admissions officers at Wharton aren’t only interested in whether you’ve done community service. They are also interested in the character revelations that come with the projects you took on.

To read four more traits Wharton looks for in the ideal MBA candidate, follow the link to the original post on Business Insider. 

You may also be interested in:

Wharton School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips

Image credit: Jack Duval (CC BY 2.0)

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GMAC Releases 2016 Application Trends Survey

Nearly half (49 percent) of all graduate business programs received more applications in 2016 compared with 2015, according to a global survey report released today by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). European programs across …

Nearly half (49 percent) of all graduate business programs received more applications in 2016 compared with 2015, according to a global survey report released today by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

European programs across the board, plus full-time one-year MBA, executive MBA, and online MBA programs appear to be experiencing stronger application growth, whereas full-time two-year, part-time, and flexible MBA programs worldwide are indicating declines this year.

GMAC 2016 application trends

“Business degrees continue to be one of the most sought-after educational credentials,” said Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC. “With the creation of more tailored business programs such as the Master in Data Analytics, the demand for entrance into business school is spreading across a growing supply of programs. With the competitive landscape changing, applicants have more options from which to choose, creating a mixed picture for business schools today.”

GMAC conducted its 17th annual Application Trends Survey from early June to mid-July 2016. The survey findings are based on a record number of responses from 335 business schools and faculties worldwide representing 872 graduate management programs, including MBA, non-MBA business master’s, and doctoral-level programs.

Participating programs received a combined total of 440,000 applications during the 2016 application cycle. Ninety-three percent of all participating programs report that the applicants this year are similarly or more academically qualified than candidates last year.

Key Findings: Program Application Growth

A key finding within the report reveals that European business programs — which have seen stagnant volumes for several years — are experiencing an influx in applications this year. Sixty-five percent of European programs (across all program types combined) grew their application volumes. Forty-six percent of U.S. programs and 41 percent of programs in East and Southeast Asia grew their application volumes as well.

European business schools

Further, European full-time one-year MBA programs stand out in this year’s findings — nearly 3 in 4 (74 percent) programs report year-on-year increases. Nearly half of U.S.-based programs (43 percent) and programs in East and Southeast Asia (45 percent) report volume growth in the full-time one-year MBA market.

Additional program types experiencing application gains include the full-time one-year MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, Master of Finance and the Master in Data Analytics.

  • A majority of all full-time one-year MBA programs (57 percent) report growing application volumes this year, building on the momentum of last year’s results when 51 percent reported growth.
  • For the first time since 2008, a majority (51 percent) of executive MBA programs report growing volumes, 8 percentage points higher than programs that reported growing volumes in 2015.
  • For the second consecutive year, a majority (57 percent) of online MBA programs report growing application volumes, up from 50 percent of programs that reported volume growth last year. Survey responses also show that 9 percent of online programs are new in 2017, signaling schools are implementing programs that are of high interest to prospective students.
  • Also for the second year in a row, a majority of Master of Finance programs report growing volumes. More than half of the European (65 percent) and U.S.-based programs (55 percent) report growth this year.
  • One of the newest programs in the graduate management education space — Master in Data Analytics — continues to see growing demand. Nearly all (94 percent) of the 16 data analytics programs that submitted data comparing 2015 with this year report application volume growth in 2016. The survey also shows program growth in this area as nine new programs will be seating their first classes this year.
  • After three years of slowing growth, the Master in Management program holds steady in 2016 with a majority (51 percent) of programs reporting growing application volumes. More European programs (58 percent) report growth compared with half (50 percent) of U.S.-based programs.

Key Findings: Decreasing Volumes for Some Flagship Programs

A select number of program types realized fewer application submissions or held steady with last year.

  • For the first time since 2012, fewer than half of full-time two-year MBA programs (43 percent) experienced year-on-year application growth this year. This is the second straight year that the share of programs reporting growth is down from a high of 61 percent in 2014.
  • Part-time MBA and flexible MBA programs continue to exhibit the same application volume patterns seen over the past seven years since the end of the Great Recession. This year, just 43 percent of part-time MBA programs and 44 percent of flexible MBA programs report application volume growth.
  • Master of Accounting programs continue a trend of declining growth. Less than half (44 percent) of programs experienced rising application volumes in 2016.

Other Points of Interest: Candidate Diversification and Tuition Assistance

Business schools continue to diversify their outreach and recruitment efforts to broaden their appeal to targeted candidate segments. Seventy percent of full-time two-year MBA programs recruit international candidates. These candidates, especially those from China, India and the U.S., also are a priority for outreach and recruitment by a majority of full-time one-year MBA programs and master’s programs in management and finance.

The most common form of tuition assistance that graduate management programs offer is merit scholarships. The majority of all program types offer financial aid, including 78 percent of full-time MBA programs. Two-thirds of programs (68 percent) report that the percentage of their incoming students receiving employer-based tuition reimbursement this year will be similar to 2015.

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No. 1 Trait HBS Looks for in MBA Applicants

Do you have an idea about what the number one characteristic the admissions team at Harvard Business School is looking for in MBA applicants? I recently shared my thoughts on the subject with Business Insider, …

HBS applicantsDo you have an idea about what the number one characteristic the admissions team at Harvard Business School is looking for in MBA applicants? I recently shared my thoughts on the subject with Business Insider, based on my 15 years of experience advising clients on how to position themselves when applying to the world’s top business schools.

It may not surprise you to learn that the most important trait the AdCom looks for is high-impact leadership, or what I call the “big kahuna” at HBS.

When evaluating your leadership potential, the admissions committee will be looking for evidence that you have made a positive impact on the communities of which you’ve been a part, both personally and professionally. However, it’s not about the scale of your achievements – rather, it’s the fact that you left indelible footprints.

Click on over to Business Insider to read more about what I believe are the 10 traits Harvard Business School looks for in the ideal MBA candidate.

Image by Flickr user Chris Han (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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SBC Debuts New Column: Ask the AdCom

Hey everybody! We’re really excited around here about “Ask the AdCom,” our new weekly column debuting today. We know MBA applicants love to get information straight from the source, and we’ll be sharing tips and advice from …

Hey everybody! We’re really excited around here about “Ask the AdCom,” our new weekly column debuting today. We know MBA applicants love to get information straight from the source, and we’ll be sharing tips and advice from admissions team members from a dozen top schools.

Since AdCom members are human, too, we thought our readers might enjoy seeing  a different side of what makes these guys tick. This fun space is not really about the application process but more about real-life topics, like where’s the best place on campus to eat or study, what are the can’t-miss courses, and all the fun stuff that happens at b-school that makes lifelong memories for students.

We hope you enjoy their insights!

best apps for MBA students

Today’s question is: What are the best apps for students?

Melissa Fogerty, Director of Admissions (Yale School of Management): Look for apps that will assist MBA students with their career search. I recommend Jobtreks, a job search organizational tool launched in 2015 by Yale SOM alumna Susan Weil ’88, an Advisory Board Member and Board Member of the Program on Entrepreneurship at Yale SOM, and her co-founder Terri Wein. Jobtreks is a personalized “CRM” platform that allows users to manage their job search, network, and explore careers through job boards, interview prep, and more.

Twitter to follow the companies that interest them and to stay current on trends in their target industry. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times mobile readers are other great tools for this purpose, and you’ll want to be an avid follower of digital news publications relevant to your industry (TechCrunch, Ad Age, etc.).

 Shari Hubert, Associate Dean, MBA Admissions (McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University): GroupMe or What’s App are used quite frequently to keep up with study teams, connect in advance of starting classes, and during breaks.

 Judi Byers, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid (Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University) shares these tips from students: 

  • Groupie (an App for sharing road trips) and Facebook for communicating with classmates. I also use Instagram. Peter Su, MBA ’17 (Cornell)
  • I like Groupme and Spotify. Daniel Greenhaw, MBA ’16 (Cornell)

Virginie Fougea, Associate Director of Admissions (INSEAD): We know that many applicants like to follow the Facebook page of INSEAD. They also use You Tube to watch videos on the MBA programme.

Other applications to be mentioned are the INSEAD Knowledge App, which features new research from INSEAD faculty and comments on news stories, the Life@INSEAD app, and the Blue Ocean Strategy app.

John Roeder, Assistant Dean Graduate Admissions (SMU Cox School of Business): Whatsapp, Microsoft OneNote are some real good ones that students use.

Rodrigo Malta, Director of Admissions (McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin): The “Canvas” app is useful for classes, while apps like “GroupMe” are useful for group texts with study teams, friends, etc. and our Executive MBAs love “Slack.”

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Look out for the #AskAdCom in our social media channels, and we’ll see you again next week when we check in to Ask the AdCom what are some of the best reads for b-school aspirants!

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