Category Archives: General

SBC’s Very First Blog Post

Exactly 11 years ago today, I launched this blog with these words: After more than five years of private one on one consulting and larger group work in corporate settings, I have decided to disseminate …

SBC 15th anniversary

Exactly 11 years ago today, I launched this blog with these words:

After more than five years of private one on one consulting and larger group work in corporate settings, I have decided to disseminate my knowledge on a larger scale through the Stacy Blackman blog. I will post answers to questions that I am asked with regularity, direct attention to topics that I believe are interesting, and hope to be a valuable resource to anyone applying to business school.
Enjoy and learn!

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The blog has grown to become a vital resource for business school applicants eager to stay on top of news from the schools, important deadlines, and of course, a treasure trove of tips to help you create a winning MBA application.

Whether you need inspiration for your essays, guidance on how to chose recommenders, strategies for reapplying, advice on how to improve your candidacy, and everything in between, we’re here for every step of your application journey.

As we celebrate 15 successful years in business this month, I thank you so much for making us a top destination for your b-school research. I hope this resource continues to serve you well as you embark on what is definitely a life-changing, career-boosting journey.

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The Email That Launched SBC

As we kick off our month-long anniversary celebration of 15 years as leaders in the MBA admissions consulting industry, I thought readers might enjoy seeing the email from 2001 that started it all.   *** Subject: Help with …

SBC 15th anniversary

As we kick off our month-long anniversary celebration of 15 years as leaders in the MBA admissions consulting industry, I thought readers might enjoy seeing the email from 2001 that started it all.

Stacy_sig

 

***

Subject: Help with Business School Applications

Consultant available to help with every aspect of the business school
application process, including:

-finding the school that best meets your needs
-writing personal statements & essays
-creating a resume
-selecting recommenders

Candid advice on presenting certain sensitive aspects of an application,
such as low GPA.

Step-by-step guidance on creating the most effective admissions package.

I can assist you with the entire process or the piece with which you most
need help.

I have a B.S. from Wharton and an MBA from Kellogg and have worked with both
admissions committees. I have assisted many individuals with their business
school application strategy and have seen tremendous results. I also have
experience working with non-native English speakers.

Rates depend on subject and needs. If you only need help with your essays, I can give you a flat rate.

I look forward to hearing from you!

***

I’m just as excited by what we’re accomplishing here every day at SBC as I was in 2001, and I can’t wait to see how we grow and continue to help others reach their highest educational and professional goals over the next 15 years!

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SBC Celebrates 15 Years…See How it All Started!

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen.” There’s no doubt that I’m a people-person. Since childhood, I’ve had a knack for drawing out the personal …

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen.”

There’s no doubt that I’m a people-person. Since childhood, I’ve had a knack for drawing out the personal stories of people I’ve just met. SBC started in 2001, two years after I earned my MBA at the Kellogg School of Management, as a way for me to channel that talent to help other MBA applicants.

My number-one goal continues to be helping people to think strategically about their own unique stories and experiences, which is where they’ll often find the qualities that make them an asset to a top MBA program. I can’t believe 15 years have passed since I took on my first client!

To celebrate this important milestone, we’ve made a video to show who we are, what we do, and why we love doing it every day. Thanks for tuning in to watch our journey, and I wish each of you the very best as you chart an amazing career path of your own.

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Paul Ollinger Says, “You Should Totally Get an MBA”

Sometimes, applying to business school can seem like such an uphill slog that you really need to disconnect from the process from time to time in order to recharge and remember that there are other people in …

Sometimes, applying to business school can seem like such an uphill slog that you really need to disconnect from the process from time to time in order to recharge and remember that there are other people in your life that you’ve probably been neglecting, and other interesting things you could be doing in addition to brainstorming MBA essays and filling in data forms.

Paul Ollinger book coverIf you’re looking for something to occupy that down time, I cannot recommend highly enough the new book by Tuck School of Business grad Paul Ollinger, “You Should Totally Get an MBA: A Comedian’s Guide to Top U.S. Business Schools.” 

But don’t just take my word for it. Greg Coleman, President of Buzzfeed and an adjunct professor at NYU Stern School of Business, calls it, “A hilarious read and pretty damn solid advice for any young professional considering the MBA.”

Kerry Trainor, CEO of Vimeo, meanwhile, says “Paul’s writing is funny and sometimes bizarre, but he knows what he’s talking about. If you’re thinking about applying to business school, you have to read this book.”

Paul has generously allowed us to share excerpts from his book here on the blog, and I hope you’ll find it a welcome diversion…just don’t let the laughs totally derail your well-planned study schedule or writing sessions!

***

An MBA is the gateway to awesomeness. After you obtain this coveted degree, people who would otherwise think less of you will ask, “You have an MBA?” You will reply, “In fact I do.” They will then desire you physically, offer you a job and give you lots of money. Having—nay, being—an MBA will improve your life in ways you have never even considered.

Once you achieve MBA-ness, you will never again experience self-doubt, misunderstanding or halitosis. Young people will find you captivating. Auto mechanics will take you more seriously. Airline attendants will seat you early and bring you extra peanuts and unlimited Diet Sprites. Those lacking an MBA will view you as a sorcerer of business… not just as Master of Business Administration but as a Magical Business Animal…a Muscle-Bound Angel…a Much-Beloved Astronaut. For the MBA is not just a credential.

It is a portal to the best version of you, and without it you would be a less-complete human being. Earning an MBA is like eating every great business book ever written and living them as if they were your own flesh-and-blood. Once endowed with an MBA, you will awaken the giant within. You will be a great (not good) outlier. You will not sweat the small stuff. You will play liar’s poker with the smartest guys in the room and never fear the barbarians at the gate. And no one—NO ONE—will ever move your fucking cheese. Okay, I may be exaggerating. Just a tiny, little bit.

Said more accurately, I’m lying. I’m lying through my teastained teeth. (I just lied again—they’re not stained by tea, they’re stained by coffee, cheap merlot and gas station taquitos.) But I do believe in the MBA degree and experience, which—if done right—will earn you a whole mess o’ value. So let’s be clear:

An MBA will not give you…

  • Wisdom
  • Ambition
  • Sexual prowess
  • Tact (as I have just proven)

An MBA will give you…

  • Some very solid skills / knowledge
  • A great network/ some open doors
  • A prettier resume

Business school will not only teach you about business, it will teach you how to think about business. At top programs, you’ll meet great people who will broaden your thinking and raise your standards. And once finished with your studies, you will have at your disposal super-cool tools like the 2×2 Matrix for strategy, the 4 P’s for marketing and that one for finance that I forgot right after I got out of school.

Sure, you’ve been moderately successful in your career so far, but once you are outfitted with these powerful weapons, you will be an unstoppable business super-hero.

How Did You Get Here?

So it’s come to this. You have been out of college for two or three years. Perhaps even two or three times that. Work is going okay… maybe it’s even going great. But you want more. You want a change 17 you should totally get an mba of careers. You want to be on the fast track. Or maybe you just want to learn some cool buzzwords and how to make fancy charts.

Understandably, you’re thinking that business school might be for you. Before you rush on off and sign up for the GMAT or the GRE, let’s make sure that business school is right for you.

Peruse the list of qualifiers below and check all that apply:

  • My career is stalling.
  • I want to make more money.
  • I have exhausted all honest means of making a living.
  • I want to make more money.
  • I’m looking for a spouse who knows how to use Excel.
  • I want to make more money.
  • I heard MBAs make better lovers.
  • I want to make more money.
  • I’m 25, tending bar, blowing beer burps into the face of my future career. My dad recently took me aside for a “come-to-Jesus” discussion. He promised to pay for a GMAT prep course if I could contain the partying just long enough to get through it. He also reminded me that I made decent grades at Ithaca and if he knew I was going to be this kind of a deadbeat, he would have sent me to public school. So the beast within me awoke and declared: “I will make something of my life. I will be someone. I will get—and be—an MBA!”
  • I want to make more money.

If you answered YES to any (or half) of the questions above, then you should totally go to business school! On the other hand… Just as there are very good reasons for going to business school, there are also some pretty bad reasons for going to business school.

Given the time and money required to earn an MBA from a top program, anything less than a deep-burning commitment to get an MBA will not suffice. Here are some common excuses misguided people use to consider pursuing an MBA. You will find many of these on abandoned applications and in the files of mid-year drop-outs.

Please check all that apply:

  • Just broke up with my boo and am feeling totes sad.
  • Bored / Nothing better to do.
  • Will make Mom and/or Dad proud.
  • I have no idea what to do with my career.

If you checked any of the above, you need to check that gut. Why? Feeling sad is best remedied by writing a poem, doing yoga or taking up macramé. Sadness is nowhere near the career motivator that greed is. Come on! (Caveat here is that if being single opens you up to new life experiences and re-establishing yourself as an independent entity, then you’re better off without that loser.)

Bored / Nothing better to do: applying to business school isn’t fun—it’s a GIGANTIC pain in the ass. If you’re not totally fired up about the process, the admissions folks are going to smell stink all over your turd of an application. Do better!

Similarly, “Need to make Mom/Dad proud” won’t get you through…unless they’re paying your tuition, in which case, #1—Lucky you (jerk), and #2—Go for it.

Don’t know what to do with my career: we’ll discuss this one at length in Chapter 4. For the time being, keep that to yourself.

So, really, who should apply to business school? There’s no one answer. The typical applicant to a top U.S. business school has been out of school a few years, is in her mid-to-late 20’s. Her few years since undergrad (where she made good grades and was very involved) have provided “real world” work knowledge and some life lessons, but she’s hungry to accelerate her career and/or build her skillset so she can set out on her own.

Another applicant might have been in the Peace Corps or the Army, and is now looking to optimize his entry into the corporate world with the MBA credential, knowledge and network. Others are those with undergrad majors in Chemistry, English or Sociology who want to gain a mastery of business skills so that they can climb the management ladder.

Should you decide to go to business school, your classmates will come from a multitude of professions and countries all around the world. They will include not just bankers and consultants, but PhD’s, chefs, entrepreneurs, engineers, salespeople, sky-divers, jugglers, singers and—yes—even lawyers. You might go to school with an Olympic skier from Lake Tahoe, the son of a Korean billionaire or a woman who grew up in poverty in one of the poorest areas of Mexico City.

Whatever the resume, these applicants are looking for a way to take their careers to the next level. And they know that business school can be an amazing springboard to help them get there.

***

We’ll share additional excerpts from Paul’s new book in the weeks to come, so stay tuned for more hilarity and distractions from what you should actually be working on this summer!

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Georgetown MBA Program Fall 2017 Essays

The McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University has updated the MBA essay requirements for the 2016-2017 admissions season and now asks applicants to respond in a video essay in addition to written prompts. The Georgetown …

Georgetown-McDonoughThe McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University has updated the MBA essay requirements for the 2016-2017 admissions season and now asks applicants to respond in a video essay in addition to written prompts.

The Georgetown MBA Program says: We want to hear your story. When responding to our required essays, be authentic and take time to reflect on your goals and past experiences. Craft a response that explains how these experiences led you to pursue an MBA.

MBA Essays

  • Essay One: We would like to learn more about you. Please answer the following essay question in 500 words or less: “What matters to you? Please share an experience from your past that illustrates why this matters to you and how it will enable you to contribute during your MBA Program.” (note: this does not necessarily need to be related to your professional goals)
  • Video Essay:  The required video essay is an opportunity for you to bring life to your application. Please introduce yourself to your future Georgetown MBA cohort in a one minute video.
  • Optional Essay One: If you are not currently employed full-time, use this essay to provide information about your current activities. (250 words or fewer)
  • Optional Essay Two: Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included. (500 words or fewer)
  • Re-Applicant Essay: Required for re-applicants. How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally. (500 words or fewer)

For additional information on applying, please visit the Georgetown MBA program admissions website.

Image credit: Georgetown McDonough School of Business 

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Georgetown MBA Program Fall 2017 Application Deadlines

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SBC Survey Results: More MBA Applicants Drawn to Consulting, Swayed by Scholarships

More than 50% of business school applicants say they would attend a less desirable program if awarded a scholarship, according to SBC’s annual survey of MBA applicants. Our survey also reported that a post-MBA career in consulting (47.9%) …

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More than 50% of business school applicants say they would attend a less desirable program if awarded a scholarship, according to SBC’s annual survey of MBA applicants.

Our survey also reported that a post-MBA career in consulting (47.9%) was the top pick, up from 39.2% last year.

After consulting, finance is the most popular post-MBA career choice, according to 26.75% of respondents this year, up from 18.37% last year.

Interest in entrepreneurship continues to grow, capturing 26.47% this year, compared to 24% last year. Technology is also a popular career choice, with 23.11 % planning to pursue a career in technology according to this year’s study.

The survey also reported that 37.69% of applicants plan to apply to five or more schools this year, down from the 44.9% that planned to apply to that many schools last year. Last year, 17.1% planned to apply to six schools and 23.34% to five schools.

At the same time, traditional two-year, full-time programs continue to be the most popular, with 85.75% of respondents considering two-year programs, 35% considering one-year programs, 14.51% considering part-time options, and only 4.13% planning to apply to online programs.

Reduced application requirements (fewer and shorter essays) motivated 51.8% of respondents to apply to more schools (down from 60.49% last year).

While video essays and interviews have become more common in the application process, they don’t get high marks from prospective students, with only 11.48% indicating video-based application elements represented them “extremely well,” 39.65% “well,” and 32.98% indicating such requirements are “limited.”

Other survey results include:

*49.47% of respondents indicated reputation is the most important factor influencing their decision to attend a particular business school, followed by 17.38% for strength of job placement, 12.7% for the culture of the program, and 8.56% for the strength of a school’s alumni network.

*Career advancement continued to rank as the top reason to attend business school at 47.76% (44.95% ranking it as most important last year), followed by career change at 32.31% (compared to 34.02%  of respondents last year).

*Interest in the GRE declined, with only 8.95% planning to take it this year, compared to 10.91% last year. Whereas 91.05% plan to take the GMAT this year, compared to 89.09% last year.

The survey was conducted with 751 respondents between May 1 and May 31, 2016. For more of my thoughts and reactions to these survey results, check out my interview with Poets & Quants.

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