UMD Smith School to Offer Blended Part-Time MBA

Part-time MBA students in the nation’s capital no longer have to choose between online and classroom delivery. Starting in fall 2014, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business will offer the region’s …

Part-time MBA students in the nation’s capital no longer have to choose between online and classroom delivery. Starting in fall 2014, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business will offer the region’s first blended program for working professionals at its Washington campus.

The more flexible format will require participants in the school’s D.C. weekend program to meet on two Saturdays per month instead of three for traditional classroom instruction. Web-based learning modules designed by Smith faculty will provide the remainder of the content, allowing Smith students more latitude to structure their schedules. Participants in the pioneering program can complete their degree in two years.

“This eliminates 30 percent of the classroom time, giving students a huge amount of flexibility with their own lives,” Edward Lavino, Smith’s director of admissions for part-time MBA programs, said in a news release. “That three-Saturday-per month commitment takes away from an already small amount of free time from the program’s typical student — a 27- to 28-year-old professional.”

He said the blended format also allows assigned reading and skills practice to be designated for off-site engagement.

“About one-third of classroom time is currently consumed by students practicing skills via laptops or through other teacher-led exercises, and case studies sometimes are read in class prior to group discussion,” Lavino explained. “Now students will be able to engage in the same work at a quicker pace — off-site and on their own.”

Ken White, Smith’s associate dean of MBA and Master of Science programs, said flexibility is a major element of the program, but so is rigor.

“Students in the blended program will have the same classes and same professors available as in our full-time MBA program,” he said. “This is a high-quality program created for busy working professionals.”

The response among working professionals in the region has been positive. “Every applicant and current D.C. weekend student is on board,” Lavino said.

Upcoming application deadlines for the program are April 14 and June 2.

You may also be interested in:

Smith School Appoints New Dean with Global Outlook

Posted in School News | Tagged , ,

Kellogg School Takes 1st Place in Sustainable Investing Challenge

A team of students from the Kellogg School of Management has taken first place in the 2014 Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge with their proposed investment vehicle that would remediate contaminated land in the U.S. …

A team of students from the Kellogg School of Management has taken first place in the 2014 Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge with their proposed investment vehicle that would remediate contaminated land in the U.S. through reforestation.

This preeminent global competition is geared for students to develop investment vehicles aiming at delivering positive social and environmental impact and competitive financial returns.

Last week at Morgan Stanley’s New York City headquarters, Kellogg’s Nicole Chavas, Nathen Holub, Laura Kimes and April Mendez presented their winning idea for the Fresh Coast Forest Fund, which would lease 25,000 acres of contaminated municipal land to plant poplar tree farms on contaminated urban and industrial sites. Poplars naturally clean and restore soil by absorbing toxins, and could be harvested for use as biomass or wood product.

As a collaboration among the Kellogg School of Management, INSEAD, and the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, the competition seeks to identify the next generation of sustainable investing practitioners, connect emerging leaders with industry professionals, and foster even greater emphasis on sustainability at graduate schools around the world.

At last week’s event, ten finalist teams proposed investment vehicles addressing issues including agriculture, solar energy and sanitation. In February, more than 220 students from 39 schools in 10 different countries submitted prospectuses for the competition.

A team from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business won second place for their proposal, myCatch, a lending vehicle that would provide loans to organizations on behalf of small-scale sustainable fisheries.

“It is exciting to see today’s students—tomorrow’s financial professionals—pushing the frontiers of financial innovation to achieve positive social or environmental impact,” says Jamie Jones, Director of Social Entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School of Management. “The young leaders who participated in the competition will be a driving force for the conversation about sustainable investing at their academic institutions.”

Posted in General, School News | Tagged , , , , ,

3 Exercises to Help MBA Applicants Develop a Personal Brand

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com Some b-school applicants balk at thinking of themselves as a “product” or “brand.” However, by taking the time to really examine your personal …

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

Some b-school applicants balk at thinking of themselves as a “product” or “brand.” However, by taking the time to really examine your personal qualities, values and aspirations, you’ll ultimately be able to find out which MBA programs provide the best match for your unique profile.

Think of it this way: If you had to create a marketing campaign for a new car, and you decided to focus on the vehicle’s seat warmers and sound system – when these days, potential customers are all about fuel economy – then your marketing messages would miss the mark.

The pitfalls in formulating your MBA application brand messages are similar. I recommend clients start the process with three exercises that can help them think like a marketing strategist, identify strengths and develop a personal brand.

[Find out what to do to sell yourself to an MBA admissions committee.]

Exercise 1: Create a “Brag Sheet”

In the real world, the practice of bragging is generally frowned upon. But when it comes to effectively brainstorming a set of messages you will ultimately want to convey to the admissions committee, a great way to begin is by jotting down every possible unique, exciting, wonderful, dazzling thing you can think of about yourself. Think of it as “brag-storming.”

Don’t worry about anyone seeing your list, and don’t try to do this exercise in one sitting. Keep a notebook handy or start a memo in your smartphone?, and write down ideas whenever inspiration strikes. This list not only serves to jog your memory, but also helps you realize that your hobbies, travels, volunteering and personal or family life experiences can provide raw material for brand messages and eventually essays.

Admissions committees seek out well-rounded candidates who have experienced life, pursued their passions and achieved as much outside of the professional setting as within it. We came up with the idea of the brag sheet after I spent three months working with a client who insisted he had nothing interesting going on besides work.

Just days before the application was due, he casually revealed he had a deep, lifelong interest in martial arts, which he felt was not appropriate for a b-school application. Weaving in this aspect was a great way to balance out a work-heavy application and added a lot of color and interest to his profile.

Now we always have clients do a brain dump of everything under the sun so that these types of stories don’t slip through the cracks.

Exercise 2: Generate Stories

In our work with applicants, we’ve learned that it’s better to sift through an array of life experiences and see what emerges as a core strength, rather than lead off with what clients perceive as their strengths and then try to find example stories that back those up.

You don’t need to actually write the stories at this time. Scratching out a few notes, like “how I overcame a speech impediment,” “the time I backpacked through Asia for six months on $2,000″ or “Have worked in the family business since I was 14 years old,” is fine.

To get the wheels turning, consider personal achievements, leadership achievements in and outside of work, times when your actions made an impact on a person or group, instances when you motivated others or a time you solved a problem with ingenuity. Don’t be afraid to touch upon setbacks or failures, as your strategies for overcoming them may be the best indicator of your future success in the business world.

To determine whether a story is worth fleshing out, see if you can list the concrete actions you took and the results you achieved. The actions you took reveal your approach to a particular problem and provide some clues about your strengths, capabilities and character. The results indicate that your actions made a difference.

[Find out how a learning agenda can help your MBA application.]

Exercise 3: Mine Stories for Strengths

Once you’ve winnowed? down your list of stories, it’s time to figure out precisely which aspects of your skills, talents, strengths and character contributed to your accomplishments.

Ask yourself how this experience shaped your life and made you stronger, or which strengths, talents or attributes helped you make a difference. The answers you come up with will add to the pool of potential brand messages that you might highlight in your application and essays.

I had a client applying to Harvard Business School who wanted to write about his organizational skills as a core strength. Instead, we advised him to write about his ability to lead and inspire others. After all, he had written on his brag sheet about developing a program to provide vaccinations to the poor in underdeveloped countries – an enormous undertaking he developed from scratch. I’m sure his organizational skills helped, but the latter strength was more compelling, and it rose to the surface after viewing his stories.

As with a traditional marketing plan, the goal is to launch a product thoughtfully and effectively. In this case, the product is you. The goal is self-awareness, and combing through your list of accomplishments can be an enormous help. Once these elements have been clarified, you can effectively put your best MBA strategy into action.

Posted in Application Tips | Tagged , , , , , , ,

How to Maximize Your MBA Experience

The MBA Student Voice blog of UCLA Anderson School of Management recently posted some great advice from second-year student Nathan Adelman on how to make the most of your MBA experience, and it rings true …

school-ucla-anderson

The MBA Student Voice blog of UCLA Anderson School of Management recently posted some great advice from second-year student Nathan Adelman on how to make the most of your MBA experience, and it rings true no matter where you eventually end up.

Adelman lists key lessons he’s learned while at Anderson, and we’ve summarized four of them below. For more of his thoughts on each subject, click over to the original post linked above.

Lesson 1: The difference between a good MBA experience and a great one is about $10,000.

No one is denying that business school is an expensive endeavor, but Adelman says ponying up an extra $10K will cover the international trips, clubs, and social events that will take your entire MBA experience to the next level.

“These experiences will impart to you a global perspective, lifelong friends, and a strong business network that will benefit you for the next 40 years of your career,” Adelman says.

Lesson 2: Not studying for a test is actually harder than studying for the test.

Getting straight A’s doesn’t open any more doors for your career path than getting B’s, Adelman says, who believes classes are the activity in business school that have had the least influence on landing his dream job.

“Once I was comfortable with that feeling, it enabled me to better manage my time and prioritize my commitments which in turn  allowed me to get the most out of my business school experience, inside and outside of the classroom,” he explains.

Lesson 3: Greater career focus yields more career opportunities.

Recruiting for multiple industries and job functions actually creates fewer opportunities for finding something you truly like, Adelman believes. Be as focused as possible, he urges, and take the time to go for something that really gets you excited.

“All this extra time allows you to focus on specializing in your specific area of interest.  This means you actually have the time to do industry research, network with people in the industry, and get to know the companies intimately – all things that you will actually talk about in your interview!” Adelman advises.

After all, he says, it’s much easier to help the “Restaurant Girl” or the “The Pharma Guy” than it is to help the “Maybe consulting, maybe marketing, maybe tech Guy.”

Lesson 4: Mentors cannot be assigned, they must be found.

While most schools have mentorship programs that pair students with someone experienced in their field of interest, Adelman believes the best mentorship relationships happen organically between people with an authentic connection both professional and personal.

“It is this personal connection that really separates an ‘advisor’ from a ‘mentor’, and also it cannot be faked,” he says. “So don’t be afraid to seek out those people whom you admire and want to emulate – odds are one of them will see something in you as well.”

You may also be interested in:

Maximize Your MBA Experience

Thoughts on the UCLA Anderson Interview

UCLA Anderson School of Management MBA Essay Tips

Posted in School News | Tagged , , ,

How NOT to Approach GMAT IR

Guest post by our friends at Magoosh As of June 2012, the GMAT lost an essay and gained a new section. The GMAT Integrated Reasoning (IR) was born. This section appears at the beginning of …

Guest post by our friends at Magoosh

As of June 2012, the GMAT lost an essay and gained a new section. The GMAT Integrated Reasoning (IR) was born. This section appears at the beginning of the test and asks students to deal with complex and disperse forms of data to solve problems. The test makers explicitly state that this section is meant to mimic skills that students will need in business school, and more importantly, in business.

These skills, as stated by the GMAT, are “synthesizing information presented in graphics, text, and numbers; evaluating relevant information from different sources; organizing information to see relationships and to solve multiple, interrelated problems; combining and manipulating information from multiple sources to solve complex problems.”

If all this is true, and I think it is, the IR section is an important measure of your potential success in school and in business. As such, practicing for the IR section will benefit you long after you take the GMAT, and the GMAC has evidence from actual test takers to prove it.

But what exactly are these skills and how do you prepare for this new section? I’d like to walk you through what not to do and end with what you should do to prepare for the IR section.

Not Just About Math

You will need to exercise your math brain and use your logical, numerical reasoning powers for this section, but you are greatly mistaken if you think that your preparation for Quantitative Reasoning is sufficient preparation for the IR section.

Students may find that being strong in algebra or data analysis will help them through some of the IR section, but most of what they will see there is in the form of text, tables, or graphs. The closest things to IR, in the Quantitative Section, are the word problems that require both reading comprehension and math sense. But even these questions don’t touch the level of complexity that you will see in IR.

You will need to do more.

Not Just About Reading

The IR contains a lot to read—messages and emails, announcements and descriptions, explanations of graphs and prompts to answer, statements to evaluate and column headings to understand. Having strong reading skills is a must, as with the entire test, but again, it is not sufficient for success.

The ability to quickly read for meaning will help. The ability to organize information from multiple sources will help. The ability to locate details will help. But none of it is sufficient.

You will need to do more.

Not Just About Graphs and Tables

Students sometimes misunderstand the IR section. It’s not just graphs, charts, and tables. Yes, they are there. Yes, you’ll be dealing with scatter plots, radar charts, and graphs like this one. Having experience in statistics will help, but that won’t be all that you need to be ready.

Understanding U.S. Today charts is a start, but you’ll probably want to move on to The Wall Street Journal and The Economist tables and charts to be ready. But even comfort with graphs at that level is only part of what you need.

Here’s What You Need to Do

First thing you’ll need to do is take the time to learn all the question types. There are four of them—Two-Part Analysis, Multi-Source Reasoning, Table Analysis, and Graphical Interpretation. Learn the difference among these questions and also learn how much variety exists within each question type.

Although the general format will be the same, the types of information and presentation of data can vary greatly. For example, a Two-Part Analysis question can involve algebraic expressions or valid statements based on a passage.

Next you’ll need to deal with timing. Integrated Reasoning is deceptively long. The test makers tell us that we have twelve questions to answer in 30 minutes, but in reality, we have twelve pages that have anywhere from two to five questions to answer.

We must answer all questions correctly on a page to receive credit. As such, we all need to practice these questions in a timed environment. We all need an impeccable pacing strategy to avoid guessing on questions as time is running out.

Finally, you’ll need to work on your executive function. No, not that type of executive. I am talking about neuroscience. Executive function refers to the management and control of certain cognitive processes. These processes are skills needed for success on the test and later in life.

They include deciding priorities, weighing benefits and liabilities, designing strategies, resolving conflicting values, planning, and execution. The key to honing these skills, as with most skills, is practice. And not only practice of IR questions, but also general practice of these skills in your life, while reading the newspaper or managing your finances.

Takeaway

Preparing for the IR section is not the same as preparing for the Verbal section or the Quantitative section. But the preparation can greatly benefit you. Not only will it help you in understanding a GMAT score report or help you in applying to Wharton, but it also will make you a more competitive student and a more competent employee.

More than anything else you will practice for the test, besides good reading skills perhaps, is IR prep. You are practicing life skills—not abstract math concepts or contrived arguments. Practice them well.

This post was written by Kevin Rocci, resident GMAT expert at Magoosh, a leader in GMAT prep. For more advice on taking the GMAT, check out Magoosh’s GMAT blog.

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

NYU Stern MBA Program Appoints New Dean of Students

New York University Stern School of Business announced it has appointed alumnus Conor Grennan as Dean of Students for the MBA program, a position which acts as a liaison between the administration and more than …

NYU Stern dean of students

New York University Stern School of Business announced it has appointed alumnus Conor Grennan as Dean of Students for the MBA program, a position which acts as a liaison between the administration and more than 2,500 full-time and Langone MBA students.

Grennan earned his MBA at NYU Stern in 2010, and served as student body president during the second year of his MBA studies. Before earning his MBA, Conor founded Next Generation Nepal, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that has rescued and reconnected with their families approximately 500 trafficked children in post-war Nepal.

While at Stern, Conor wrote “Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal,” a New York Times best-selling book that chronicles his motivations for and experiences with his NGO.

“Conor instantly grasps what we mean when we say we’re in the business of inspiring future leaders to create value in the world because he has transformed our promise into real outcomes in the real world,” says Peter Henry, dean of NYU Stern.

“Conor is a bridge builder who successfully discovers unforeseen opportunities to make a meaningful difference where business, society, culture and people intersect,” Henry adds. “We are delighted to have one of our own return to Stern in this important administrative capacity to mentor and guide future generations of Stern students.”

In 2014, Conor was named a recipient of the Unsung Heroes of Compassion, which was awarded to him by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Huffington Post named Conor one of its “Game Changers of the Year” in 2011. His book, “Little Princes,” is now required reading in numerous colleges and universities around the country. Conor will continue to serve as a member of Next Generation Nepal’s Board of Directors.

Posted in School News | Tagged , , , ,