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.”


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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Cornell University Launches Dual MBA/MS

Cornell University’s Samuel Johnson Graduate School of Management and the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences have announced a new dual-degree program that will provide the next generation of health care leaders with a broad set …

Cornells Dual MBA/MS degreeCornell University’s Samuel Johnson Graduate School of Management and the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences have announced a new dual-degree program that will provide the next generation of health care leaders with a broad set of skills for success in a rapidly changing environment.

The program will focus on health care throughout the United States, in particular health care systems that are experiencing vast changes in structure, payment and regulatory requirements.

Designed to satisfy the evolving professional needs of the U.S. health care industry, the program will educate leaders of academic medical centers, community hospitals, large group multi-specialty or single-specialty practices, health insurers, health care consultants, pharmaceutical professionals and health care innovators, among others.

“Succeeding in today’s rapidly changing health care market requires an advanced understanding of business management, health care economics and health care policy,” says Johnson Dean Mark Nelson. “We’ve developed this program to meet these critical needs.”

Students participating in the two-year Executive MBA/M.S. Healthcare Leadership program will receive a Master of Science degree from the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and an MBA from Johnson.

The program will begin accepting applications in October for fall of 2017.  Applicants will be evaluated on their academic record, communication and leadership skills, management experience, career progression, health care area of expertise, experience in research or evaluation, and ethical values in health care.

Strong candidates for the program should be able to clearly articulate their career goals, add a unique perspective to the classroom environment, be willing and able to work effectively in teams and show a demonstrated ability to master quantitative material.

Enrolled students will take all core courses required for each of the degrees and have an opportunity to take specialized electives. Courses will cover such topics as managing and leading organizations, managerial finance, health policy, health informatics and business strategy.

Students will meet in Weill Cornell Medicine facilities in New York City and will participate in two weeklong residential sessions during each of the program’s two years – one in the spring in the New York City area and one on Cornell’s Ithaca campus in the summer.

Students will be required to complete a capstone project intended to help them manage and work with stakeholders in the health care sector. The capstone project is a six-month intensive team engagement with a health care organization facing specific management challenges. At the conclusion of the engagement, the student teams will provide the organizations with a detailed plan recommending strategies for resolving their challenges.

“As our health care landscape continues to evolve, it is increasingly important that we cultivate leaders in the field who can drive national dialogue and spearhead new initiatives in health care policy and delivery,” said Dr. Gary Koretzky, dean of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

“Our unique collaboration with Johnson will equip aspiring health care leaders with a keen grasp of health policy and informatics – specialized skills that will lead to further innovation and ensure that patients receive the finest care at the greatest value.”

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4 Bad Reasons to Skip Applying for B-School

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News. Self-sabotage is any behavior or emotion that keeps individuals from going after something they want. This mental safety mechanism keeps them in their …

MBA rejection

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

Self-sabotage is any behavior or emotion that keeps individuals from going after something they want. This mental safety mechanism keeps them in their comfort zone and protects against disappointment, but it also prevents people from stretching and growing to reach their highest potential.

If you really believe that going to business school is the key to unlocking a more fulfilling and lucrative professional life, then don’t sabotage that goal by letting yourself get swayed by these four bad reasons for not pursuing an MBA degree.

1. I have too little or too much work experience. While business schools used to have a requirement of previous work experience – often averaging five years – that has changed considerably over the past decade. Limited professional experience is no longer a hindrance in many cases, since schools actively court applicants of different ages, genders and backgrounds.

Earlier entrance to business school would allow women who plan to have a family to establish their careers first. Also, younger applicants can make the case that the MBA degree is crucial to attaining their already crystalized career goals. Most students would be financially better off in the long run as well if they didn’t delay too long in seeking an MBA, particularly when taking into account the opportunity cost of forgone salary – and schools are aware of this.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have more than eight years of work experience, there’s no need to fear that your MBA ship has sailed. It’s not about chronological age – it’s more about maturity, readiness and where you are in your career.

If you’re contemplating business school in your mid-30s, the key is to demonstrate confidence, how you’ve progressed professionally and what you’ve contributed on the job. Both younger and olderapplicants get accepted into top programs, so your age and experience level should never be the sole deciding factor of whether to apply to business school.

2. I was denied admission last year. Some people have a hard time dealing with what they perceive as rejection. If you’ve been feeling down ever since you received rejection letters, remember to keep your chin up.

First, elite MBA programs are extremely selective. At the top schools, out of every 100 applications, only around seven to 12 are accepted.

In other words, it’s very much a numbers game when you’re applying to such competitive programs. Only so many spots are available for an overwhelming number of extremely talented candidates.

Applying to an MBA program is seriously hard work. Give yourself some time to recharge from the last go-around, but then get ready to take a critical look at where you can enhance your candidacy before applying again. Make sure every aspect of your application is as polished as humanly possible.

Whether it’s retaking the GMAT to boost your score, taking a calculus course to prove your quantitative skills or looking at what you can do to strengthen your profile professionally or within your extracurriculars, everyone has room for improvement. We’ve seen many triumphant cases of reapplicants receiving offers of admission from their dream school, so one unsuccessful season should never deter you from trying again.

3. I haven’t done anything amazing to get into a top school. It’s hard not to feel intimidated when you read the admitted student profiles at many of the elite MBA programs, which might include Olympians, successful entrepreneurs, decorated military officers and candidates with outstanding public service experience. However, don’t get psyched out of applying just because you can’t list anything similarly noteworthy on your application.

To stand out in the eyes of the admissions committee, you just need to provide hard proof that you made a difference. But it’s not about the scale of your achievements – rather, it’s the fact that you left indelible footprints. Show that you’re solutions-oriented and provide evidence of situations where you have applied your analysis, formulated an action plan and, most importantly, executed the plan.

Community service is very important to the admissions committee because it provides insights into your deeper interests and the causes you care about. It also shows that you are the type of person who devotes energy to making a community stronger.

Again, it’s not about demonstrating the most compelling act of service. Just show what you care about and how that activity or involvement enriches your life while helping others.

4. Business school is expensive. I won’t try to tell you that an MBA degree from a top business school isn’t pricey. Not only are you spending money on tuition and all of the other associated costs, but in many cases you will forego salary during the length of the program.

While figuring out how to pay for it all can be challenging and intimidating, look at an MBA as a long-term financial investment. Fortunately, schools are deeply committed to working with students to find a solution to financing school through a combination of loans and scholarships.

I strongly believe that where there’s a will there’s a way and that the MBA degree pays off in many ways, both quantifiable and priceless. So shake off those self-sabotaging thoughts and get started on creating your own path to the professional goals you seek.

 Image credit:: Flickr user Yuwen Memon (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Military MBA Applicants: It’s Not About You…Until Now

In the second of our new series of guest posts directed at military applicants, army veteran and Cornell MBA Peter Sukits shares candid, actionable advice for military veterans considering a transition to a full-time MBA program. …

In the second of our new series of guest posts directed at military applicants, army veteran and Cornell MBA Peter Sukits shares candid, actionable advice for military veterans considering a transition to a full-time MBA program.
Pete is an aspiring career coach, author and finance professional living in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served for five years as a commissioned officer in the United States Army, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. After separating from active duty, he earned an MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.
Through the process of transitioning, he learned many valuable lessons in the areas of expectations, mindset and preparation when undertaking the shift from military to academic and civilian life. We look forward to sharing his advice with you here.

With service in any branch of the military comes several unwritten rules. Many of us former commissioned and noncommissioned officers especially, know this – it’s just part of the culture.

  • On a training exercise, you don’t eat until all your soldiers have eaten.
  • You give credit to your soldiers at all opportunity when you are praised for doing a good job.
  • You don’t talk about money. You don’t talk about medals. Period.

All of these rules have a common theme – it’s not about you and your accomplishments. It’s about the unit. It’s about the mission. It’s about your soldiers. In your evaluation reports, your main successes are predicated upon how your team accomplishes its mission. If the team fails, you fail.

Former Army officer and Rhodes Scholar, Craig Mullaney put it very succinctly in his book The Unforgiving Minute about his experience in Ranger School. It was stressed to him that he wasn’t there for an award or a career booster. The skills he was learning, and the experience he was going through was for the benefit of his future soldiers.

In the military realm, you’re rewarded for selflessness and ostracized for self-promotion.

advice for military mba applicants

Sukits in Afghanistan

In my humble opinion, this is one of the single most difficult concepts with which newly separated veterans must come to grips. Once you have made the decision to enter an MBA program, you’ve shed the weight of your subordinate unit off of your shoulders, and are focused on improving yourself and beginning a new career. To do that, it’s going to take a lot more than great academic performance and experiences to achieve your new goals.

You need to make sure people know about your great academic performance and experiences.

Maybe it’s because a career path in the military is structured and almost preset, or maybe it’s because everybody wears their “resume” on their uniform. For better or for worse, there is no need to sell yourself while serving. So naturally, this will be an area where at best you will need some practice, and at worst…an area that will make you cringe in your desert boots.

As I found out very quickly, the art form, or “soft skill”, of selling myself, which flies in the face of the environment I had just left, is essential for success in business school and the business world. You need to be able to communicate your experiences to your classmates, your recruiters, your interviewers, your mentors etc. Anyone that has a vested interest in seeing you succeed needs to know what makes you, you.

No, it’s not what your team did. It’s what you brought to the table personally that ensured mission success. For the first time in a long time, it’s about you.

Your opportunities to practice and implement this skill will come in many forms. Primarily, job and admissions interviews will require to literally trace your career for the past several years – that famous “walk me through your resume” question, among others. These will often be the “make or break” events that will secure you admission or the position.

Likewise, networking is key in your MBA journey (more specifics on that topic later). Often times, the people you are looking to connect with at a career event, at a cocktail reception or at a company visit, won’t know you at all and they will not have seen your resume. This is not to say that you need to blow your horn so loudly that security needs to escort you out. But they need to get a picture of what you’ve done and what your intentions are.

Where to start? It’s going to be uncomfortable at first. One of the best things that my colleagues and I have done is literally write down what you are going to say to someone. Write down your answers to interview questions. Write down how you’ll introduce yourself to a recruiter. Write down the words you will say to a 2nd year you’re looking to meet. Then, say it. Then, say it again. Practice with people. It’s going to sound awkward at first, but eventually you’ll get used to it. By the time the real thing comes around, you should be in a position where you’re able to effectively market yourself without coming across as rehearsed, and without feeling arrogant.

Tasks to Prospective Students:

  • Take every opportunity to interact with potential classmates. If you know any veterans that are already in business school or have gone, reach out to them for mentorship. They can help you navigate this challenge and coach you along.
  • Immerse yourself as much as you can in the culture of the school you’ll be attending (if you’ve decided on it). What is the reputation of the student body among companies? Learn how you can position yourself for success among your future classmates.
  • Take your Officer Evaluation Report (OER), or NCOER and rewrite out all the things you accomplished in your most recent rating period. You can also do this with your academic record. Even if it is just a simply list of statements. Frame the statements entirely in terms of what you have done, nobody else. Practice getting used to telling folks about this. The idea is to get comfortable in this frame of mind.

It’s about you now, and that’s a great thing, because you have a lot to bring to the table. All you need to do is embrace the new challenge.

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3 Reasons Future Entrepreneurs Need an MBA, and 1 Exception

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News. If you’re planning on launching your own company, you don’t need to go to business school, right? Many would-be entrepreneurs think that a …

entrepreneurs and the MBA

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

If you’re planning on launching your own company, you don’t need to go to business school, right? Many would-be entrepreneurs think that a brilliant idea alone will take them to the top, just as it did for the MBA-less Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

The reality, though, is that for every super successful entrepreneur who eschewed the MBA, there are scores more entrepreneurs with MBA degrees who have changed the world, such as Nike co-founder Phil Knight, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman or Warren Buffett, who grew Berkshire Hathaway from a textile manufacturing business into the world’s fourth-largest public company.

An MBA program can’t teach you to feel more comfortable with taking risks or to be more passionate about your idea, and it won’t give you a constant thirst for new projects – those are some of the innate qualities a successful entrepreneur has.

However, an MBA program can teach you how to turn a good idea into a good business. If you have startup fever, here are three reasons you should go to business school first and one time you may not need that MBA.

B-school is the best incubator for budding entrepreneurs. MBA programs have always prepared students to launch and manage their own businesses. But over the last decade, the number of courses, centers and contests dedicated exclusively to entrepreneurship has mushroomed.

Business school has become the safe place to test out your most creative, outrageous and ambitious ideas without the pressure and fear of failure if that company or those ideas don’t work. In fact, failure is just as valuable a learning tool as success, because it offers students the chance to find out what went wrong and refine their business models to nail it next time out in the real world, when the stakes are much higher.

You’ll have teachers and mentors guiding you along the way as you search for that big idea that will change lives. You’ll also see all sides of the entrepreneurial experience, find out what it’s like to collaborate to execute your vision and ultimately have a better understanding of whether entrepreneurship really is your calling.

B-school offers the best environment to build your team. Entrepreneurial success requires teamwork, strong business relationships and a network of classmates who can provide introductions or advise on various areas, as well as seasoned professors who can weigh in on business dilemmas as you build a plan. In fact, good relationships with your professors can translate into a lifelong pipeline of talent connecting graduates with current MBA students.

Even if – like the majority of applicants – you don’t plan on pursuing a joint MBA degree, you can still take advantage of interdisciplinary studies in other areas that interest you. As a part of the greater university community, top-tier business schools often offer MBA students the chance to take courses alongside students from other graduate programs.

For example, the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business provides students with real-world entrepreneurial experiences through cross-campus initiatives and involvement with the business community. You might find someone outside of the MBA program who could become a valuable asset to your team down the line.

B-school will teach you how to run and grow a company – not just launch it. So many entrepreneurs have failed at getting their business idea off the ground precisely because they didn’t have some of the necessary tools in their arsenal that they would have learned at business school.

You have to be able to transition your idea into an actual business. It might be a startup, but you want it to grow – and last. More than many other business roles, an entrepreneur needs to know a little bit of everything. Even if you start a tech company, someone has to do the accounting, know how to market your product or service and act as a leader for the team.

If you choose a business school that relies heavily on the case method, you’ll likely learn from others’ successes and mistakes about growing too quickly. Also, those classes in human resource management, business law or venture capital financing could help you head off some thorny workplace issues later on.

Skip b-school altogether if you are in a rush to launch a company right now. Competition moves fast, especially in the tech industry. So if you already have your product or service fully developed, a crystal clear business plan, sufficient funding to sustain you and an awesome team in place and ready to execute—and if you think spending two years in a classroom might be an undesirable distraction—then it’s time to hit the ground running.

Image credit: inertia NC (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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