Category Archives: General

Planning for Your MBA Expenses

Business school is an expensive investment, and it’s never too early to start figuring out how to pay for it, even if you are not thinking of applying until a year or two from now. Fortunately, …

Paying for your mba

Business school is an expensive investment, and it’s never too early to start figuring out how to pay for it, even if you are not thinking of applying until a year or two from now. Fortunately, schools want to work with students to find a solution to financing school through a combination of loans and scholarships.

The MBA admissions blog at the Chicago Booth School of Business recently posted a great article with tips from the Financial Aid Office that will help orient potential b-school applicants no matter where they ultimately plan to apply. The first step is knowing what expenses to expect.

Begin by checking out the tuition rate at your target schools online, and take note also of the typical cost of attendance on top of tuition, which includes housing, textbooks, health insurance, living expenses, etc. that all students need to pay for.

While the school’s published cost of attendance is a clear starting point that factors in tuition as well as cost of living estimates, you may need to cover additional costs before, during and after your program.

To address the before costs, you’ll want to assess your personal financial situation carefully to see what your cost of attendance really entails. For example, it might cost you money to relocate to a new city or commute to campus.

You also might still have recurring bills that can’t be changed, such as an installment loan on a large purchase. Even updating your business wardrobe to prepare for interview season can amount to several hundred dollars if you’re not planning carefully.

Prior to even starting their MBA, many students create a savings goal for how much money they want to set aside by the time school begins. The rationale being that every extra dollar you save now is one you won’t have to borrow.

“Your MBA costs, however, won’t be limited to tuition and the necessities mentioned above,” the article notes, since “Many programs also offer endless travel opportunities – academic, career-related, and purely social.”

In fact, the travel and networking experiences that MBA students have at their fingertips is just one of the many amazing benefits of business school. Whether the motive is a tech trek to Silicon Valley, an finance industry conference in New York, or a trip bonding with peers in Belize, these adventures can make quite a dent in a student’s wallet.

And don’t forget that “You will also likely get involved with several student groups, which generally have fees to join,” the Financial Aid Office adds.

While it can be daunting to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to earn an MBA, most business school graduates experience a substantial salary increase. The vast majority report having greater job satisfaction and the ability to advance quickly and, therefore, earn more in shorter time.

“Your lifestyle during your time as an MBA student can vary wildly based on your choices and, ultimately, you can control how far your money will take you,” the Booth financial aid team notes. “Be mindful in choosing the right balance for you and plan to be strategic with your spending. “

The article concludes with advice on other funding options for MBA hopefuls, so click over for more information that’s Booth-specific.

If you have any financing questions at all, you should contact your prospective school’s financial aid office. You can also get advice through admissions events. Financial aid officers are an amazing resource; they’ve seen it all before, and they want to ensure qualified candidates can pay for a degree.

Starting early – about three months before applying – is also really helpful if you’re pursuing scholarships, fellowships or grants. Since scholarships are free money, competition can be fierce, and you’ll benefit from having the extra time to create strong scholarship applications and from knowing the key deadlines so that opportunities don’t pass you by.

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Consider the 3 C’s of Fit When Choosing a Business School

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News. One piece of advice you’ll hear often as an MBA applicant is to consider fit when deciding which business schools to target. Many …

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

One piece of advice you’ll hear often as an MBA applicant is to consider fit when deciding which business schools to target. Many factors go into determining fit, and many candidates focus too heavily on rankings and brand over finding the business school where they will truly thrive.

But what exactly is this elusive fit? Basically, fit means feeling like you belong as soon as you set foot on campus, feeling comfortable in the learning environment when you sit in on a class, and knowing this is the program that is going to help you reach your career goals.

Whether you’re a prospective applicant starting to pull together a list of programs or you’re in the enviable position of choosing between two or more admissions offers, start determining the best fit for you by considering the three C’s – curriculum, communication and culture.

Curriculum: Business schools periodically revamp their course offerings to keep up with trends in management education, leadership research and innovations in the business world at large. Lately, common additions or changes include more required and elective experiential courses, as well as new opportunities for students to customize their learning experience.

All general management MBA programs will provide you with the fundamentals of core management skills. The next step to determining fit requires you to find out just how well the programs align with your post-MBA career goals.

Top business schools are often known for their strengths in specific fields – finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, health care, real estate development, etc. – so start by narrowing your list based on how well the program meets your needs and can prepare you for that industry.

If you have laser-focused career goals, you may want to consider business schools that offer a concentration in your area of interest. Also, you might prefer a school with a more versatile curriculum from the beginning that you can really tailor to your needs.

For example, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business offers a flexible curriculum that allows students to choose which courses to take and when based on their experience and career goals.

Students at Harvard Business School meanwhile spend the entire first year in core classes and have the second year to customize their learning focus. Choose a program with a curriculum that suits you and your learning style best.

Communication: MBA hopefuls spend a lot of time creating an application that allows the admissions committee to get a feel for who they are beyond test scores, a resume and transcripts.

You may also want to consider whether the admissions team seems genuinely interested in getting to know applicants, too. A great way to gauge this – in addition to evaluating your own communications with the school – is by seeing how often and how much engagement the admissions committee offers you.

Take, for example, the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor’s Ross School of Business, where the director of MBA admissions and financial aid Soojin Kwon updates her blog every few weeks, offering application tips, deadline and interview news, school events and other thoughts. She or someone in her department also answer each post’s comments. It may just be that famous Midwestern hospitality, but Ross candidates seem to feel a genuine connection that starts during their admissions experience.

Another excellent source of communication comes from the school-sponsored student blogs. You can read first- or second-year students’ blogs that cover everything from their social environment and career musings to travel highlights and student life for international MBA students. These blogs a great way to connect with current students and learn more about the daily experience at your target schools.

Culture: Getting a feel for the prevailing culture at a school is an important part of deciding whether the program is a good fit for your personality. You can begin your assessment by determining whether the culture is predominantly competitive or collaborative.

Size and location often play an important role in this regard – larger programs in urban centers, such as Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Chicago Booth typically feel much more competitive and intense.

Smaller business schools and those located in rural settings usually foster a close-knit community feeling, with many students living on campus and socializing with fellow students and faculty on a regular basis. MBA programs with smaller cohorts, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Yale School of Management take pride in their down-to-earth, collaborative cultures.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to a school’s culture – it’s simply a matter of choosing the environment where you think you’ll thrive.

Choosing where to pursue an MBA is a huge decision, so do your homework and understand the strengths and potential drawbacks of each option. Knowing yourself and how a particular school suits your professional goals and needs is the essence of making the right choice about fit.

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Alumni Gift Creates Advance Access Program for the Wharton MBA

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has announced that alumni Ken Moelis and Julie Taffet Moelis have made a $10 million gift to establish the Ken Moelis and Julie Taffet Moelis Advance Access Program, …

wharton deferred enrollment

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has announced that alumni Ken Moelis and Julie Taffet Moelis have made a $10 million gift to establish the Ken Moelis and Julie Taffet Moelis Advance Access Program, a deferred admission opportunity that will provide a pathway to a Wharton MBA for highly-qualified Penn undergraduates whose academic and career interests expand traditional notions of business education.

The program adds to the school’s existing Submatriculation Program with a deferred-enrollment plan for the most competitive candidates, enabling them to apply and gain guaranteed admission as undergraduates, work for several years, and return to Wharton for their MBA.

The program is similar to Harvard Business School’s (2+2) program, though the Moelis’s gift may attract graduates from the humanities who have never considered an elite MBA program because of financial constraints.

It opens access to all Penn undergraduate students who aspire to set the stage early for their advanced education and highly successful careers. Ultimately, the program will expand to allow applications from the best undergraduate institutions across the U.S. and around the world.

The Moelis Advance Access Program helps Penn retain exceptional students from across the University – the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Nursing, the Wharton School, and coordinated dual-degree programs – to continue their graduate degree at Penn through the MBA program.

The idea is to broaden the mix of students beyond typical MBA-seekers, who tend to apply after working in finance or consulting roles, Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett told the Wall Street Journal. “We don’t want students to have to choose between following their intellectual passion or social values and getting a good job,” he added.

“Increasing access to a Penn education is a pillar of the Penn Compact 2020, and I am so grateful to Ken and Julie for creating innovative ways to expand educational opportunity through their amazing commitment,” said President Amy Gutmann. “Ken and Julie are encouraging students to think early about their graduate degree, venture into diverse fields after graduation, and bring these robust, interdisciplinary experiences to their Wharton MBA journey.”

In the Moelis Advance Access Program, undergraduates may apply to the MBA Program during their senior year and, for those admitted, enter the workforce for two to four years before returning to Wharton for graduate school.

During this time, students will be empowered to pursue job opportunities in a range of fields, including those that capture their greatest interest and extend beyond the conventional definitions of business. They will also engage in the program and their fellow future classmates through professional development, mentoring opportunities, and social events.

Mr. and Mrs. Moelis’ gift will also provide financial assistance for selected students in this premiere program. Students in the program will be considered for a $10,000 fellowship each year during the two-year full-time MBA program in additional to other financial aid awards.

The results lie in the future generations of Moelis Fellows, the proud graduates who promise to shape a range of important and emerging industries – from analytics, to health care, and beyond. Students who participate in the new deferred-enrollment plan as well as those who complete their BS/MBA in five years as part of the existing Submatriculation Program will share the title, support, and distinction of being Moelis Fellows.

“In my personal experience as a submatric student, and now as CEO of a firm that recruits top MBAs from across the country, it is clear that ambitious students with unique aspirations do not always benefit from the one-size-fits-all track for MBAs,” said Mr. Moelis. “Julie and I are excited to unlock the potential of these students – to help them consider an expanded view of the fields that need their leadership and gain valuable, practical experience after completing their undergraduate degree and before starting their MBA.”

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TransparentCareer Releases MBA Startup Recruiting Guide

If you haven’t heard of it already, it’s time to become acquainted with TransparentCareer, the career management platform and brainchild of Chicago Booth School of Business MBAs Mitch Kirby and Kevin Marvinac. Frustrated by the lack of …

startup salaries

If you haven’t heard of it already, it’s time to become acquainted with TransparentCareer, the career management platform and brainchild of Chicago Booth School of Business MBAs Mitch Kirby and Kevin Marvinac.

Frustrated by the lack of relevant compensation and satisfaction data available to MBA students, they created their company in 2015 to provide both industry and company-specific info on effective hourly wage across a multitude of post-MBA roles, and took the idea through Chicago Booth’s New Venture Challenge (NVC), a top-ranked accelerator program that has helped to fund over 140 successful businesses.

On the website you’ll find out which are the best tech companies and consulting firms, the top companies ranked by women, and the top ten MBA jobs ranked by salary and satisfaction. You’ll also find data-driven career guides, company rankings, and scoring of the top MBA programs based on employment outcomes.

But that’s not all. “Since we started TransparentCareer last year, we’ve received hundreds of inquires about MBA startup compensation, equity vs. salary tradeoffs, work-life balance, and recruiting strategies,” says Marvinac.

To answer those many inquiries, look no further than their newly released MBA Startup Recruiting 101. Billed as, “Everything you’ve ever wanted to know (and probably more) about recruiting for startups and high-growth companies as an MBA,” the guide uses hard data to paint a picture of what the median opportunity for an MBA looks like.

The guide addresses common questions such as:

  • What kind of startups hire MBAs?
  • Where do MBAs fit within a typical startup?
  • How much can a startup pay me?
  • What are top MBA programs doing about the trend toward startup recruiting?

The founders share that the platform, less than two-years-old, is already used by 40% of all current US-based MBAs. This is definitely a site worth bookmarking, as the intel can greatly help those considering business school figure out just what type of salary bump they can look forward to based on the industry or company they plan to target upon graduating.

You may also be interested in:

Maximize the ROI of Your B-School Decision: Are You Thinking Deep Enough?

 

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Stanford GSB Names New Asst. Dean of MBA Admissions

The Stanford Graduate School of Business has named Kirsten Moss as the new Assistant Dean and Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid. In this role, Moss will oversee and manage Stanford GSB’s admissions and financial …

The Stanford Graduate School of Business has named Kirsten Moss as the new Assistant Dean and Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid. In this role, Moss will oversee and manage Stanford GSB’s admissions and financial aid team and map out a vision for reaching, recruiting and selecting top MBA candidates.

Moss previously served in several roles within the Stanford GSB MBA Admissions team, including Director of MBA Admissions and Associate Director of Evaluation. During her tenure, Moss managed the evaluation, marketing and operations teams and developed a new approach to assessing leadership capability.

Prior to joining Stanford GSB, Moss worked at Harvard Business School as Managing Director, MBA Admissions and Financial Aid. Moss has also held positions in corporate consulting and finance.

“Kirsten has deep experience in admissions and leadership talent evaluation both inside and outside Stanford GSB,” says Senior Academic Dean Yossi Feinberg, who chaired the selection process. “Throughout our search process, Kirsten demonstrated her expertise and commitment to helping Stanford GSB continue to attract and develop the future leaders of tomorrow. I have every confidence that Kirsten will continue the MBA’s strong trajectory.”

Moss succeeds Derrick Bolton, who served as Assistant Dean for MBA Admissions and Financial Aid for 15 years before accepting a new position in September 2016 as Dean of Admissions for Stanford’s Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program.

“Kirsten has a strong understanding of our school’s vision and immediately impressed us with her ideas for connecting with the next generation of students making a positive, measurable difference in the world,” says Jonathan Levin, Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean of Stanford GSB. “Kirsten brings a wealth of knowledge and experience—from top-tier MBA admissions programs to business consulting—and will provide fresh insight as we achieve new levels of excellence.”

“Stanford GSB has a rich legacy of equipping students with the tools necessary to create change—individually, within organizations and throughout the world,” says Moss. “I’m thrilled to join the team in this new capacity as we work together to cultivate the next generation of leaders poised to make an impact.”

Moss earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Psychology from William James College.

Moss’s appointment will begin June 1.

You may also be interested in:

Six Steps to Acing Your Stanford GSB Interview
Jonathan Levin Named Dean of Stanford GSB

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Should You Take the GMAT or GRE?

Now that most of the top business schools in the United States accept both the GMAT and GRE exam for admission, how do you decide which test you should take? Many elite schools hope to diversify their applicant …

MBA application

Now that most of the top business schools in the United States accept both the GMAT and GRE exam for admission, how do you decide which test you should take? Many elite schools hope to diversify their applicant pool by accepting the GRE as an alternative in the admissions process. Another favorable aspect for business schools: it creates a more competitive enrollment rate; the number of available spots stays the same but the volume of applications goes up.

Prospective grad students of the arts and sciences have typically submitted GRE scores, so applicants deciding between business school and other graduate programs appreciate having one less test to study and pay for. Meanwhile the GMAT, long considered the gold standard for the specific academic skills needed in graduate business school, is more expensive and offered in fewer locations worldwide.

One essential difference between the tests is that the GRE requires you to do the arguing, whereas in the GMAT you analyze what has been argued. The style expected from GRE test readers is more abstract and draws from various sources and disciplines for examples or references, whereas it is more concrete and analytical for the GMAT. This supports the suitability of the GRE for the more academically-minded student.

A recent US News and World Report article weighs in with the following five factors MBA applicants should consider when choosing between the GMAT and GRE:

  1. Does the school have a strong preference for the GMAT?
  2. Are your math skills especially strong? The GMAT is generally more difficult in the quant section
  3. Are you a wordsmith at heart? The GRE is more challenging in verbal, particularly for non-native English speakers.
  4. Consider your post-MBA career goals. Some firms require applicants to submit GMAT scores.
  5. Test anxiety is generally lower with the GRE, which allows you to save and return to questions to check your work.

In general, top business schools will be looking for fairly high percentile scores on the GRE, especially on the quantitative section. I had one client who, while phenomenal in many ways, could not achieve a GMAT score above 600. Her quantitative percentile came in around 40—half of the target score.

Although I’ve seen applicants admitted with very low GMAT scores in the past, we decided to take advantage of this new option and submit her application to Harvard Business School with the GRE instead. Despite a lower overall performance, her GRE results boasted a much higher quant score, and in the end, she was admitted to HBS.

Ultimately though, the GMAT remains the “tried and true” entrance exam for business schools—the admissions team will have no questions about why you chose it. If you are a great test-taker and it’s all the same to you, I would stick with the GMAT.

You may also be interested in:

Texas MBA Gives Admissions Perspective on GMAT vs GRE

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