Category Archives: General

Columbia Business School Gives Back

Columbia Business School has announced its first large-scale, student-led volunteering initiative coming up on April 4th. The school’s inaugural Day of Impact includes ten service projects throughout New York City and will give students, faculty, …

Columbia Business School has announced its first large-scale, student-led volunteering initiative coming up on April 4th. The school’s inaugural Day of Impact includes ten service projects throughout New York City and will give students, faculty, and staff a chance to give back to the communities where they live and study.

Participants will partner with several different organizations, including the Citymeals-on-Wheels, Food Bank for New York City, The Humane Society of New York, and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Projects will include:

  • Beautifying various city parks — Morningside Park, St. Mary’s Park, and Hamilton Grange National Park;
  • Delivering meals to the home ridden through meal providers Jan Hus Church, Leonard Covello Senior Center, and Goddard-WEME Mainstream Nutrition Program;
  • Preparing dinner for the Food Bank of New York; and
  • Caring for animals in need at the Humane Society of New York City.

“Making an impact on society — however large or small — is a huge part of who we are at Columbia Business School,” says Sheila Lalani ’14, vice president of community service for the School’s Graduate Business Association. “The idea behind Day of Impact is to demonstrate our community’s commitment to not only bettering the business world once we graduate, but also working to improve the community in which we live.”

Lalani presented the idea in 2013 to the school’s administration. Since then, it has been embraced by the entire Columbia Business School community.  Lalani’s hope and expectation is that the Day of Impact will become an annual event that grows in scope and impact each year.

Volunteers will be communicating with each other throughout the day using social media.  The student organizers have set up the hashtag #CBSDayOfImpact and asked volunteers to post photos, videos, and updates about the progress of their efforts.

Associate Dean Michael Malone, who will be volunteering as part of the Morningside Park beautification efforts, commends the School’s community for giving back to society. “We are so proud of our students for bringing this opportunity to life.  They are constantly looking for new ways to demonstrate the impact Columbia can have outside of the classroom,” Malone says.

“This initiative really reflects what we believe in most strongly at Columbia: leadership through action, community-wide collaboration, and rolling our sleeves up to make a difference.”

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What Happens During an ‘Undercover’ Admissions Interview?

In the latest installment of Bloomberg Businessweek journalist Amy S. Choi‘s attempt to walk in the shoes of b-school applicants, the intrepid writer shares how being herself worked out during her recent MBA interview experience …

In the latest installment of Bloomberg Businessweek journalist Amy S. Choi‘s attempt to walk in the shoes of b-school applicants, the intrepid writer shares how being herself worked out during her recent MBA interview experience at NYU Stern School of Business.

From taking wardrobe risks to over-preparing to bungled answers, applicants can take away several useful tips from this story, particularly those with Stern on their shortlist.

“The interview process is typically to confirm a ‘yes,’” Alison Goggin, senior director of MBA admissions at Stern, tells Choi. “For the 30 percent of applicants that interview but don’t receive an invitation, it means that there were already questionable elements to their application, but we wanted to see if the interview might change our minds.”

After sketching out one “fumbled” Q and A, Choi acknowledges she might have been more succinct if she’d run through her answers at least once. I’m quoted in the piece advising Choi to practice out loud to avoid rambling and, even worse, becoming boring.

“Luckily, the next few questions are fairly typical: What are my greatest professional accomplishments? Challenges? Blackman recommends the STAR method for answering situational questions such as ‘Tell me about a professional hurdle.’ Discuss the situation, task, action, and result. This works like a charm,” Choi writes.

Ultimately, Choi learns that the key to acing an MBA interview is being professional, prepared, and most of all, true to yourself. As Goggin assures Choi, “We sincerely do want to have a conversation and learn about you. This isn’t a job interview. It’s an admissions interview.”

Follow the link above to learn more about Choi’s MBA interview experience at Stern, as well as what happened when she winged the GMAT with no preparation…all in the name of journalism.

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Tuck Dean Danos to Step Down After 19 Years

Tuck School of Business Dean Paul Danos has announced his plans to step down when his current term ends in 2015. At 19 years, his tenure is the longest in Tuck’s history and one of …

Tuck School of Business Dean Paul Danos has announced his plans to step down when his current term ends in 2015. At 19 years, his tenure is the longest in Tuck’s history and one of the longest in management education. By the end of his fifth term, nearly half of Tuck’s 10,000-plus living alumni will have graduated under his deanship.

Danos joined Tuck in 1995 and has guided the school through one of the most transformative periods in its history. He led a dramatic expansion of Tuck’s world-class faculty; oversaw the launch of nine centers and initiatives; and introduced a broad array of MBA curriculum innovations that enabled the school to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of global business.

“I realize that none of our achievements would have been possible without the contributions of our entire community—our skilled and caring faculty, our outstanding students, our committed staff, and our loyal and dedicated alumni,” Danos said in a letter to the Tuck community announcing  that he would not seek reappointment for a sixth term.

“Your support and encouragement over the last two decades has been vital to Tuck’s continued success and has meant the world to me. Tuck is a great school with a virtuous circle of caring people who will ensure that its future will be as bright as its past,” he added.

Under Danos, Tuck has consistently been cited for the excellence of its MBA program, and is known for its world-leading alumni giving rate, which is nearly three times the average participation rate of other business schools.

Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon also expressed the school’s gratitude to Dean Danos, saying his “commitment to the quality of the MBA program and to preparing students for a lifetime of responsible leadership has earned Tuck a unique place among the world’s top graduate schools of business. “

At Tuck, Danos also presided over an increase in both the size and quality of the student body, as classes became more international, diverse, and balanced between genders. The size of the faculty also grew during this period. Under his leadership, the number of full-time faculty at Tuck rose from 36 to 51, as did their levels recognition and accomplishment.

Board of Overseers Chair Christopher J. Williams said he anticipates significant global interest in this deanship, since “The opportunity to lead one of the world’s truly great business schools is a rare one.”

President Hanlon will be working with incoming Provost Carolyn Dever to form a search committee and will be seeking input from faculty, senior administrators, students, and alumni as they conduct a thoughtful search for the next dean. Williams said Tuck will likely announce a new dean in early 2015.

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GRE vs. GMAT, Which Test is Right for You?

Did you know that more and more business schools allow you to choose whether to take the GMAT or the GRE for your application? It’s true! And, it means that you have some decisions to …

Did you know that more and more business schools allow you to choose whether to take the GMAT or the GRE for your application? It’s true! And, it means that you have some decisions to make.

Luckily, we have a resource that can help! Our friends at Magoosh have just released a new GRE vs. GMAT Infographic that presents a side-by-side comparison of the GRE and the GMAT. Check it out, share it, and decide which test is right for your b-school applications!Magoosh GRE vs GMAT Infographic

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B-School Opens Doors to Entrepreneurship, New Survey Shows

More than 1 in 10 business school alumni are self-employed, and the longer they’ve been out of business school the more likely they are to have taken an entrepreneurial career path, says a worldwide survey …

More than 1 in 10 business school alumni are self-employed, and the longer they’ve been out of business school the more likely they are to have taken an entrepreneurial career path, says a worldwide survey of nearly 21,000 business school alumni from the classes of 1959-2013, released this week by the Graduate Management Admission Council.

“While entrepreneurship is a hot topic and is a very popular course of study at today’s business schools, these findings suggest that business schools have always prepared students to launch and manage their own businesses,” says Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC, the worldwide association of business schools that conducts the GMAT exam.

“Even if alumni don’t become entrepreneurs at graduation — something more common with today’s graduates — their business education provides the career flexibility and the skills that help them start businesses years later.”

Surveying alumni from 132 business schools around the world, the 2014 Alumni Perspectives Survey is the largest and most far-reaching alumni survey GMAC has ever produced and offers insights into career progression, job and degree satisfaction, and school engagement with alumni spanning more than five decades.

Around the world, the vast majority of MBA and other graduate business degree holders rate the value of their degree highly (94 percent), report high degrees of job satisfaction (83 percent), and say their expectations for the financial return on investment of their graduate management education were met or exceeded (79 percent).

In general, the percentages of alumni reporting satisfaction with their business degrees, jobs, and careers increased the longer they have been out of school.

The survey found that overall, 79 percent of alumni from the classes of 1959-2013 currently work for an employer, 11 percent are self-employed, and 5 percent were retired. The findings include a snapshot view of business school alumni entrepreneurs:

  • The percentage of business school alumni who are now self-employed ranges from 5 percent of the classes of 2010-2013 to 23 percent of those who graduated before 1990. Average time from graduation to self-employment also varies by graduation decade: three years for the classes of 2000-2009, nine years for 1990s graduates, 15 years for 1980s graduates, and 20 years for those who graduated before 1980.
  • Forty-five percent of alumni entrepreneurs from the classes of 2010-2013 started businesses at graduation, as compared with just 7 percent of alumni entrepreneurs who graduated before 1990.
  • 14 percent of recent (2010-2013) alumni entrepreneurs work in the technology sector, compared with just 2 percent of those graduating before 1990. More than 3 in 10 self-employed alumni work in both products and services and consulting (each 31 percent).
  • Entrepreneurship rates among business school alumni vary by world region, with higher entrepreneurship rates in Asia/Pacific Islands, Canada, and Latin American than the United States. Across all regions, the proportion of alumni who are self-employed increases with time out of business school.

“Without the entrepreneurship education I received [while at business school], I would very likely not have started my own company and therefore I would not have become financially independent and surely not have become a professor for entrepreneurship myself,” commented one alumnus.

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Martoma: a Lesson for MBA Applicants on Owning Up to Mistakes

Earlier this month, Stanford Graduate School of Business made the unprecedented move of nullifying the MBA degree of Mathew Martoma, the SAC Capital Advisors LP employee convicted of insider trading. For those unfamiliar with the education …

Earlier this month, Stanford Graduate School of Business made the unprecedented move of nullifying the MBA degree of Mathew Martoma, the SAC Capital Advisors LP employee convicted of insider trading.

For those unfamiliar with the education angle of the story, Martoma was expelled from Harvard Law School in 1999 for falsifying his transcripts. He subsequently gained admission to the Stanford Graduate School of Business—without disclosing the expulsion from Harvard Law—and received an MBA degree in 2003.

As part of its admissions policy, prospective GSB students must disclose any prior academic disciplinary actions, including suspensions and expulsions. Therefore, Stanford’s decision to revoke the degree is based not on Martoma becoming a convicted felon, but because he gained admission under false pretenses.

According to Wall Street Journal‘s Melissa Korn, the move “highlights the lengths to which schools may go to protect their reputations when graduates become enmeshed in scandal long after leaving campus.”

I spoke to Bloomberg BusinessWeek in the days following the announcement, because while invalidating degrees isn’t common, I have seen instances where people have been accepted into school and then escorted out of class within the first couple of weeks. Admits can be revoked, and I believe Stanford is putting Martoma out there as a lesson.

B-school hopefuls should always come clean about a criminal record when applying, because this is not the sort of information you want discovered during a background check. This issue may seem insurmountable, but I have helped more than one client explain an embarrassing episode from their past.

Many MBA programs ask you to explain a mistake you have made, or discuss a challenge you overcame. The most interesting candidates have faced difficulty and learned from it, preferably changing their behavior for the better. If you can turn a setback into an opportunity, and show how the incident sparked a period of serious self-reflection and change, your story may actually become inspiring.

Showing who you are, your potential, and even how you have overcome blemishes to your otherwise perfect record gives the school insight into your potential as a student, and as a future business leader.

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