Category Archives: General

Don’t Hide From MBA Admissions Background Checks

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com Background checks in MBA admissions are more common for some schools than others, but their overall use is growing. Some programs vet every …

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

Background checks in MBA admissions are more common for some schools than others, but their overall use is growing. Some programs vet every admitted applicant, others randomly select a percentage of candidates and still others delve further only when something seems to raise a red flag. The process usually take place in the spring, after all application rounds have passed and candidates begin sending in their deposits.

The vast majority of people shouldn’t stress over this verification process. Business schools aren’t on a mission to grill candidates about every last detail of their applications. They simply want to ensure that applicants have honestly represented themselves, their experience and their accomplishments.

[Learn to overcome the fear of MBA admissions failure.]

Sometimes applicants are screened because their profile is unusual or difficult to verify, such as if their work experience included time in a startup or at a failed startup, in a small family firm or at a company abroad, and the admissions office simply needs to clarify and confirm the details.

Typical reasons for rejecting a candidate include ethical lapses or questionable behavior, not disclosing a layoff or firing, evidence of plagiarism and not disclosing a criminal conviction. Willful deception or lying by omission will jeopardize your admission – not minor discrepancies such as being off by a month when listing your employment dates. Most schools give applicants a chance to explain any plausible mistakes.

Though I can’t share specific examples due to confidentiality issues, I have had clients who have had problems with background checks. In some cases, an offer of admission was revoked following the background check. In one situation, the student had already started school and was escorted out due to an omission on the application. It wasn’t because of a lie, but rather that this person failed to  include information the program would have wanted to know about during the application process.

[Dodge three surprising application mistakes MBA students make.]

According to a Wall Street Journal piece published earlier this year, Stanford Graduate School of Business began instituting background checks within the past decade under Dean Derrick Bolton, and now all accepted students go through verification tests. Business schools can investigate application details that include everything from recommenders, employment and education history, extracurricular and professional involvements, leadership roles and even authenticate anecdotes from application essays.

The Wall Street Journal piece goes on to note that the school typically rescinds offers to a few students each year based on these tests, but the omissions are the hardest to deal with. Bolton told the Journal that two candidates last year did not disclose prior graduate studies, even though they had each graduated with top marks.

“There was no issue had it been disclosed. The issue was the deception,” he’s quoted as saying, and their acceptance offers were rescinded.

If you’re on the fence about whether to include or explain something in your application, chances are you probably should mention it. When the issue is something like poor academic performance or a gap in employment history, it’s always best to come completely clean. The admissions team isn’t looking for perfection in applicants.

[Learn about the nuances of the MBA resume.]

Major failures can translate into a story about lessons learned and self-improvement which can actually help your candidacy if you show how you’ve become a wiser, more humble person because of them. However, if the incident you’re wondering about including is personal in nature and does not appear anywhere on your official record, you may decide not to draw unnecessary attention to it.

If you learn that your admission is conditional pending corroboration of your professional, academic or personal background, your best option is to cooperate quickly and completely to facilitate the verification process. The schools just want to make sure all applicants are who they say they are.

If you’re meticulous about presenting the facts, haven’t exaggerated or lied, and have explained any lapses in judgment that could come back to haunt you, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

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Applicants Overwhelming Favor GMAT Over GRE, Kaplan Survey Reveals

Acceptance of the GRE as an admissions alternative to the GMAT among U.S. business schools has reached critical mass, according to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2014 survey of business school admissions officers. According to the survey, …

Acceptance of the GRE as an admissions alternative to the GMAT among U.S. business schools has reached critical mass, according to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2014 survey of business school admissions officers.

According to the survey, 85% of MBA programs now give students the option to submit a score from the GRE instead of a GMAT score. This percentage has steadily increased year-over-year since Kaplan first began tracking the issue in 2009, when only 24% of business schools said they accepted the GRE.

The caveat in wider GRE acceptance: Still only a trickle of MBA applicants are submitting a GRE score instead of a GMAT score. Over half of the admissions officers surveyed said that just one in ten or fewer applicants took this admissions path last application cycle, representing a slight uptick from Kaplan’s past surveys.

But is this apprehension from applicants warranted?

Additional Kaplan data shows that 78% of MBA programs say scores from both tests are viewed equally, but 18% of MBA programs say applicants who submit a GMAT score have an advantage over applicants who submit a GRE score.

“The trendline for business schools that accept the GRE as an admissions alternative to the GMAT has been unmistakable over the past five years. What was once seen as an almost exotic admissions policy by business schools has become nearly ubiquitous,” says Brian Carlidge, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs, Kaplan Test Prep.

“Our advice to prospective MBAs is if all the business schools they plan to apply to accept the GRE in addition to the GMAT, then contact those schools and find out if they have a preference for one exam over the other. We also advise students to take the GMAT if some of the schools to which they intend on applying do not accept the GRE. While the GRE is widely accepted, the only exam that is universally accepted is the GMAT.”

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Bloomberg Businessweek Launches #WhyMBA Social Media Project

Bloomberg Businessweek has launched #WhyMBA, a Web and social media campaign that calls upon current business school students, graduates, teachers, and anyone with an opinion and a Twitter handle, to engage in a real-time debate …

#WhyMBA

Bloomberg Businessweek has launched #WhyMBA, a Web and social media campaign that calls upon current business school students, graduates, teachers, and anyone with an opinion and a Twitter handle, to engage in a real-time debate about the true value of a graduate business education. #WhyMBA comes at a moment when the costs and benefits of an MBA are a source of passionate discussion across the country.

In the run-up to announcing its full-time MBA program rankings on Tuesday, November 11, Bloomberg Businessweek will pose a series of daily questions on Twitter, soliciting feedback from aspiring, current and alumni MBA students, as well as professionals, entrepreneurs and industry leaders with or without an MBA. An accompanying website will track the #WhyMBA conversation, highlight trends, and visualize responses and sentiment.

The site allows users to select specific schools, identify and respond to active conversations and topics, and boost a school’s standing by tweeting about it. A live leaderboard will reveal which schools are getting the most mentions on Twitter.

Ways to participate:

  • Follow @BW and @BWbschools and watch for Tweets featuring the hashtag #WhyMBA
  • Retweet interesting questions from @BW and @BWbschools to your followers
  • Respond to Twitter questions and highlight your school’s unique attributes
  • Check out the website at http://buswk.co/WhyMBA and watch the results unfold

“The #WhyMBA project was devised to broaden the business school discussion,” says  Francesca Levy, Business Education Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek.

“We want to find out how people really feel about MBA programs in today’s market. Our upcoming full-time MBA program rankings will help answer the very specific question, ‘which school is right for me?,’ but #WhyMBA opens the real debate to graduates and everyone else: What does a good B-School accomplish or teach? And do those lessons make it worth the time and expense of getting an MBA?”

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How to Stay Sane During B-School

By now, you’ve either fantasized about how hectic yet amazing business school life is,  or you’re living it right now. Rohan Rajiv, a first-year student in Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management‘s two-year MBA program, …

By now, you’ve either fantasized about how hectic yet amazing business school life is,  or you’re living it right now. Rohan Rajiv, a first-year student in Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management‘s two-year MBA program, has written a thoughtful blog post on how to prioritize your experiences—and it begins with putting yourself above all else.

While he started the program fully aware of the many interesting academic things he would learn throughout his time at Kellogg, Rajiv says he didn’t expect he would have to learn about such things as decision-making and trade-offs, both of which guide the daily experience at business school.

The challenge of competing priorities—academics, career planning, extra-curriculars, social, family, ourselves—can sap all your energy until you learn to rank them in order of importance. Rajiv shares three core ideas he’s learned about maintaining balance so far:

Make decisions easy for yourself by being crystal clear about your core priorities.
“If you aren’t clear about the relative importance of your core priorities, you are going to drain your energy every day just thinking about these decisions. Once you get clear on your own priorities, decisions get much easier.”

Pre-decide your days and weeks as far as possible.
“Most of the time you have enough information to plan in advance. There’s a high return-on-investment on being brutally organized. Pre-decide by blocking off your time for the week based on your priorities. If you don’t prioritize exercise and sleep, other things will get in the way. Be proactive to drive your own agenda. Or someone else will.”

Make time to reflect.
“The busier things are, the more you need time to reflect. Learning-by-doing is incredibly inefficient if you don’t have enough time to take stock. Again, the return-on-investment on a little reflection time is incredibly high.”

The competing priorities never go away, Rajiv acknowledges, but figuring out the best way for you to get a handle on it will make all the difference in your enjoyment level throughout your MBA experience.

You may also be interested in:

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your B-School Experience

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Social Media Will Change the B-School Landscape

Social media as it relates to management education continues to be a hot topic, and I found the comments in a recent Huffington Post blog piece really fascinating. For Millennials, memories of the world prior …

Social media as it relates to management education continues to be a hot topic, and I found the comments in a recent Huffington Post blog piece really fascinating. For Millennials, memories of the world prior to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram may be hazy, while members of Generation X have perfect recall of the pre-Internet days.

John T. Delaney, dean of Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and the College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh, writes about the irony of rising loneliness in our connected world, and how the social media disconnect will affect business schools.  This disconnect relates to a growing inability among the youngest professionals to interact face-to-face and to collaborate in an era of truncated communication.

“Because this dynamic affects human interactions and society, it will affect business schools,” Delaney writes. “I see it exacerbating the existing trend of students coming to school with higher test scores but having a growing need for the development of emotional intelligence and social graces.”

One of the best ways to combat those deficiencies, and one that’s already in play at many top MBA programs, is to shift greater focus on experiential learning and soft skills in tandem with the typical foundation courses.

The dean points to ways technology has already disrupted the classroom experience and altered professor/student relationships, but he also recognizes the numerous advantages of social media—including its ability to democratize and increase transparency in the academic setting.

It may be too soon to fully grasp the effects social media will have on management education even ten years from now, but Delaney is grappling with these issues now, and his article offers much food for thought.

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Princeton Review 2015 B-School Rankings

The Princeton Review recently released the 2015 editions of its guides to business and law schools, which also include annual ranking lists uniquely based on student surveys. Among the ranking list categories and schools ranked …

The Princeton Review recently released the 2015 editions of its guides to business and law schools, which also include annual ranking lists uniquely based on student surveys. Among the ranking list categories and schools ranked #1 on them, you’ll find:

“Best Career Prospects”—Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Best Professors”—Yale School of Management

“Best Classroom Experience”—New York University Stern School of Business

“Toughest to Get Into” (the only ranking list in the books based on school-reported data)— Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Greatest Opportunity for Women”—Simmons College

“Best Green MBA”—Yale School of Management

Unlike other popular rankings, the Princeton Review does not rank the business or law schools hierarchically. “Each school in our books offers outstanding academics: no single law or b-school is ‘best’ overall,” says Robert Franek, SVP / Publisher of the Princeton Review.

“We publish rankings in several categories along with our detailed profiles of the schools to give applicants the broader information they need to determine which school will be best for them.”

 

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