Category Archives: General

Dealing with Impostor Syndrome at B-School

When you have your sights set on one of the top business schools in the world, you probably feel rather confident that your skills and experiences will sufficiently sway the admissions committee to take a …

When you have your sights set on one of the top business schools in the world, you probably feel rather confident that your skills and experiences will sufficiently sway the admissions committee to take a closer look at your application.

However, despite that confidence, many accepted candidates go through a period of self-doubt once they start learning more about all of the amazing people they will be working alongside in class.

If you take a look at Poets & Quants‘s terrific series highlighting noteworthy members of the Class of 2018, you’ll see that the elite programs worldwide have admitted candidates from all walks of life, from skydivers, former White House employees, chess champions, Navy Seals and rocket scientists, to opera singers, cheese experts, and professional dancers.

With all of these impressive backgrounds, anyone might feel intimidated or experience self-doubt about whether you’re acceptance was…maybe…a mistake? That’s why we think this post from the INSEAD MBA Experience blog is an important read for both applicants and the newly admitted.

Everywhere I turn at INSEAD, I see bright, talented, young people, with rich life experiences, careers spanning several countries and incredible stories. And when I hear all that, I quietly think to myself: “What am I doing here? These people are so amazing, have such incredible career successes, they sound extraordinary compared to my puny engineering background… how did I ever get in?”

Yann Parer, MBA ’17D, writes frankly about impostor syndrome: “A psychological condition in which the subject, usually a high achiever, is convinced that they are not deserving of their success.”

When you’re used to being the smartest person in the room, it’s very unnerving to suddenly find yourself completely surrounded by gifted individuals.  “In the face of such talent and success you feel like your own personal achievements are trivial,” he explains.

Take a look at Parer’s post and see what conclusions he has arrived at regarding impostor syndrome now that he’s six weeks into the INSEAD program. We promise, you’ll feel much better about your own possible affliction!

You may also be interested in:

CBS Professor Offers 5 Tips to Boost Your Self-Confidence
4 Bad Reasons to Skip Applying for B-School 
Don’t Let Fear Derail Your MBA Dreams

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You Got into B-School…Now How Do You Pay for It?

If you’ve been accepted into business school, congratulations and bravo! Soon it will be time to get serious about planning for your next two years. On the financial front, people will tell you that you will find …

If you’ve been accepted into business school, congratulations and bravo! Soon it will be time to get serious about planning for your next two years. On the financial front, people will tell you that you will find the money you need to go, but we know that thinking about all those zeros can get overwhelming and intimidating.

Luckily, there are hundreds of thousands of resources that will point you in the direction of loans, scholarships, and how to apply for all of them. But, before you become too entrenched in the micro-details attached to funding your MBA, take some time to zoom out and consider the big factors.

Most students use multiple sources

You’re unlikely to use only loans to fund your MBA. Candidates also approach family members, dip into savings, charge books to their credit cards, and feel relief when scholarships appear out of nowhere. It’s more a financing package than a single source of funding.

You can never start too soon

You should definitely enjoy an evening (or more) celebrating the success of your acceptance with friends and family. But, don’t wait too long to begin the hunt for your MBA funding.

Some sources are limited or competitive; others require lengthy processing times. There are so many reasons to start as quickly as you can, including the time it takes to crunch and splice your budget with your financing options until you can make it work.

Don’t underestimate your costs

Every program provides estimated attendance totals, but you shouldn’t take those numbers at face value. Clubs and associations charge membership fees, drinks with study groups aren’t free, and there are always at least a few international treks planned.

Don’t underestimate your budget for the sake of securing the lowest possible student loan. Though you may have the option to increase your financing if you must, it’s not always easy and takes time away from your b-school experience. Find the money you need the first time around.

Schools want you to find funding

Universities haven’t put that hefty price tag on their education to keep you away. They want you there—but they also want to offer the best possible education. That makes the university’s financial aid office your new best friend.

You’ll find scholarship opportunities, as well as uncover school loan products, flexible payment terms, and trusted independent sources of financing. It’s your first and last stop as you put together your funding package.

When all’s said and done, you’ll probably realize “they” were right: finding the financing isn’t as difficult as expected, even with all those zeros.

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Financial Times 2017 Global MBA Ranking

The Financial Times has once again crowned INSEAD—with campuses in France, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi—as the world’s best business school. This year’s Global MBA Ranking saw strong performances from many European schools, and a surprising …

INSEAD ranked first global MBAThe Financial Times has once again crowned INSEAD—with campuses in France, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi—as the world’s best business school. This year’s Global MBA Ranking saw strong performances from many European schools, and a surprising dip from elite US MBA programs.

Harvard Business School did not crack the top-three for the first time in nine years, and MIT Sloan School of Management fell out of the top ten for the first time in a decade. Perennial favorite London Business School fell three places to sixth—its lowest position in 14 years—giving Judge Business School in 5th place the title of top-ranked UK school for the first time ever.

This year the United States is home to five of the world’s top 10 business schools, but when the Financial Times introduced the global MBA ranking in 1999, only one non-US university, London Business School, made it into the top tier.

The Top Ten in FT’s 2017 Global MBA Ranking

  1. INSEAD
  2. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  3. University of Pennsylvania Wharton School
  4. Harvard Business School
  5. Cambridge University Judge Business School
  6. London Business School
  7. Columbia Business School
  8. IE Business School
  9. Chicago Booth School of Business
  10. IESE Business School

The FT’s ranking is based on surveys of business schools and their 2013 graduates. MBA programs are assessed according to the career progression of their alumni, the school’s idea generation, and the diversity of students and faculty.

A likely explanation for the surge of European schools’ popularity has to do with the growing appeal of one-year degree programs which are more common outside of the United States. Since the FT ranking is based in part on career progression, shorter programs and lower tuition get graduates back in the workplace sooner and can be viewed as a better value for the money.

Top-ranked INSEAD receives high marks for its strong international culture and extensive and diverse alumni; about 95% of its faculty and students are international.  “Insead enormously boosted our intercultural experience,” said one alumni survey respondent from Switzerland. “It is a place to learn global culture better than anywhere else.”

The wealth and depth of knowledge from around the world adds tremendous value to the course, wrote another graduate from the US, adding that “with so many cultures and experiences represented, a classroom ethics discussion about bribery is not your typical boring USA version.”

One-year MBA programs are still a growing option in the United States, but already a few top schools—Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Cornell’s SC Johnson College of Business, Emory’s Goizueta Business School—have introduced the format to attract candidates put off by the two-year time commitment and forgone salary.

Meanwhile, this year’s ranking reveals that graduates of second-place Stanford Graduate School of Business have the highest salary on average at $195,000, as well as the best career progression. Roughly 42%  of alumni hold positions at director level or above three years after graduation, compared with 22% on average for ranked programs, the FT has found.

“Stanford GSB is both a long-term investment and a personal self-investment,” said one graduate from the class of 2013. “The results put me on a path to achieve full career satisfaction.”

While we don’t like to encourage clients to focus too heavily on rankings when they’re making their MBA program selections, we also know those headed for b-school really can’t help themselves. But placing too heavy an emphasis on rankings can actually become a distraction for some applicants, so be sure to consider multiple factors when making your final school selection.

Conrad Chua, MBA admissions director at the 5th place Judge Business School, had this to say when the 2017 Global MBA Rankings results came in. “We know that rankings are naturally volatile, as you can see from the number of schools that have double digit changes in their rankings every year.

“It is impossible to reduce an MBA experience in whatever school to just a number. Don’t ignore the rankings but make your own judgement of a school from speaking to its staff, its alums and students and make your own decision whether that is the right school for you,” Chua writes.

So remember, keep things in perspective and make sure you’re looking at the data points that are important to your own career path when determining the value of a particular ranking.

You may also be interested in:

The Truth Behind 3 Common MBA Ranking Myths

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Which B-Schools Dominate Entrepreneurship?

Are you itching to start your own company and wondering which business schools would best help you achieve that dream? Entrepreneurship is a super popular course of study at today’s b-schools. As someone who has started …

entrepreneurshipAre you itching to start your own company and wondering which business schools would best help you achieve that dream? Entrepreneurship is a super popular course of study at today’s b-schools. As someone who has started more than one successful company, I can attest that I leveraged a lot of my MBA classes and resources into my business ventures.

Let’s take a look at the latest Poets & Quants listing of the best b-schools for aspiring entrepreneurs. Since 2013, Poets & Quants has ranked startups based on one criterion: venture capital-backed funding.

“For the first time, Harvard Business School cannot claim to have more startups on the list than any other school. After dominating last year’s list with 42 ventures (out of 100 on the list), the HBS machine has dropped to 24 ventures raising a combined $618.29 million,” Nathan Allen writes. “Meanwhile, Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (…) added a startup from last year’s list to tie HBS at 24 total ventures raising a combined $958.64 million.”

2017’s top business schools for aspiring entrepreneurs:

Harvard Business School: 24 companies
Stanford Graduate School of Business: 24 companies
The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School: 12 companies
Columbia Business School: 11 companies
Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management: 8 companies
MIT Sloan School of Management: 6 companies
NYU Stern School of Business: 5 companies
UC Berkeley Haas School of Business: 4 companies
UCLA Anderson School of Management: 3 companies
University of Texas Austin McCombs: 2 companies
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business: 2 companies

Sure, some of history’s most successful entrepreneurs did not go to business school, but the best MBA programs acknowledge they don’t actually create entrepreneurs…they merely nurture innate ability.

These elite programs offer a broad range of courses in entrepreneurship, as well as  opportunities for networking with established entrepreneurs, launching start-ups, and developing the skills needed to start successful businesses. Even if alumni don’t become entrepreneurs immediately after graduating, their MBA degree provides the career flexibility and the skills that help them start businesses years later.

The excellent piece in Poets & Quants takes an in-depth look at specific companies started by various alumni, as well as the role of entrepreneurship centers at the schools. To see the complete list of the top 100 MBA start-ups, check out the full data set from Poets & Quants here.

You may also be interested in:

Ask the AdCom: Share a Cool Company Born of Your MBA Program

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Tips for Waitlisted MBA Applicants

If you were a Round 1 or Round 2 applicant this season, over the last several weeks you may have received great news, upsetting news or a mix of both—otherwise known as placement on the …

MBA waitlistIf you were a Round 1 or Round 2 applicant this season, over the last several weeks you may have received great news, upsetting news or a mix of both—otherwise known as placement on the wait list. First of all, the wait list is great feedback. It means that you are qualified to attend the program, and that the school was interested in your application and your profile. Unfortunately, it was a competitive year and they couldn’t offer you a solid place in the class. For most applicants, the wait list is a tough place to be.

Will I get in?
There is almost no way to know if you will be admitted off the wait list. It certainly does happen, often, yet you have little information about the ranking of the wait list, how many people are on the wait list, or whether the school will reach the yield they are looking for with regular applicants. Therefore, being on the wait list means a certain comfort with ambiguity. Hopefully you were admitted to another school and can decide whether to remain in limbo or not.

Should I stay on the wait list?
The decision to stay on the wait list depends on your interest level in the MBA program you have been waitlisted for. If it is your top choice, you may be willing to remain on the list until school begins, especially if you are willing to move quickly and give up a deposit on a school that has offered you firm admission.

If the wait-listing program is not your first choice, or you would like to settle your MBA plans before school starts, you may choose to remove your name from the list. It is a great service to another applicant if you do so promptly, allowing someone else a chance at their MBA dream.

Can I improve my chances of admission from the wait list?
You may be able to improve your chances. The number one rule of wait lists is to follow directions. The school provided you with instructions about how to handle the wait list process, and you must follow these directions to avoid having a negative impact on your standing with the admissions committee. If the school tells you that no additional materials are required, no additional materials are required, and you should not submit any under any circumstances.

If the MBA program does provide the option of submitting additional materials, apply consistent application strategy to the task. The AdCom may welcome letters of recommendation, improved GMAT scores or additional essays/letters from you. Carefully consider your strengths and weaknesses and what may be most beneficial in your situation.

When should I submit an additional letter?
If you have recently been promoted at work, have accomplished a personal goal, or have completed an academic class with a strong grade, it may be worth writing a letter to update the admissions committee with your news. Keep your  letter factual, and do not repeat information that was already included in your original application.

Can I submit supplemental recommendations?
A supplemental recommendation may add information about you to strengthen your position on the wait list. If you have been involved in an extracurricular activity, know someone associated with the school, or can use a letter to strengthen a part of your application, the letter may be the right direction to proceed in. Make sure your additional recommendation is brief, focused and adds significant additional information to your overall profile.

What about updated GMAT scores/transcripts?
Factual information like improved GMAT scores or transcripts from successful business related classes could go a long way towards bolstering your chances.

While the wait list may be frustrating, it’s a positive indication for your application and you may be fortunate enough to receive final admission from your chosen program. Good luck!

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11 New Courses at Kellogg School Address Global Business Issues

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management launched 11 new courses for the 2016-17 academic year, with topics that range from the business of social impact to leading startups to the human-machine partnerships of the future. “With …

new Kellogg school coursesNorthwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management launched 11 new courses for the 2016-17 academic year, with topics that range from the business of social impact to leading startups to the human-machine partnerships of the future.

“With increasingly complex problems facing our rapidly changing business environment, curriculum innovation in the MBA program is key,” says Therese McGuire, Senior Associate Dean of Curriculum and Teaching. “As we train the future business leaders of the world, it’s critical to create new courses that foster innovation and take our students to the forefront of knowledge in their respective areas.”

Here’s a glimpse of what the new course offerings, which incorporate applied learning applications and guest speakers, include:

Human and Machine Intelligence
 (Adam Pah, Spring 2017)
Human and Machine Intelligence delves into new research findings on artificial intelligence and the applications for modern business leaders. Using sophisticated AI programs like IBM’s Deep Blue and Google’s AlphaGo, this course will develop students’ data science skills and teach them to apply “human+machine thought partnerships” to grow businesses.

“While there are many examples of machines outperforming humans at some tasks, its less clear when machines can augment human decision-making and creativity,” says Adam Pah, Clinical Assistant Professor of Management & Organizations.

“We will focus on how students can leverage machine intelligence, while discussing the possibility and limitations of machine-learning to enhance their output and performance beyond a human or machine alone.”

Launching and Leading Startups
 (Brad Morehead, Winter 2017; Carter Cast, Spring 2017)
Launching and Leading Startups examines some of the most challenging and pervasive problems faced by entrepreneurial CEOs – including evaluating markets, developing products, mitigating risk, and creating effective go-to-market strategies while leading teams and managing boards from the CEO “hot seat.”

“Our Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative leadership team realized there was an opportunity to offer a broad survey course for innovative, entrepreneurially-minded students who want to gain exposure to entrepreneurship,” said Carter Cast, Clinical Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

“This will be a good class for students who are curious about entrepreneurship and who think they may pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor in the near future, whether through starting their own business, acquiring a business or joining an early-stage startup.”

Business of Social Change (Megan Kashner, Winter 2017) Business of Social Change studies a singular social issue to help students understand the causes, measurement, levers and outcomes inherent to the business of social change work. With this term’s focus on uneducated and unemployed American youths, students will hear from guest speakers including policy experts, large-scale employers of youth, impact measurement experts and experts on labor, detention and workforce development.

“We’ve added this new course to provide students with the foundational tools and approaches to follow a social or sustainability challenge from etiology to measurement to levers for change and impact,” says Megan Kashner, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Kellogg Public-Private Interface. “Students will complete this course with the skills to determine the roots of a problem and the paths to large-scale and market-driven change.”

Consumers, Culture and Leadership (Greg Carpenter, Fall 2016)
Consumers, Culture and Leadership explores how firms develop a deep understanding of customers, how leaders can create more agile, innovative organizations and how leaders can create new markets, redefine existing ones and deliver value to demanding buyers.

“Much of the thinking behind customer centricity was developed at Kellogg and remains central to our distinctive approach,” says Greg Carpenter, James Farley/Booz Allen Hamilton Professor of Marketing Strategy. “The timing seems right to offer a new course to more formally explore the rising influence of consumers, how organizations are transforming their culture to focus more on consumers, and successful leadership models for customer-centric firms.”

Other new courses for the 2016-2017 academic year include:

As the Kellogg School of Management continues to roll out new courses such as these, which emerged from cross-disciplinary strategic initiatives and academic departments, the school  appears to be making good on its intentions to educate brave leaders and prepare its students to meet the real-world business challenges of tomorrow.

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