Category Archives: General

Today’s MBA Applicants Know What They Want

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has released its 2016 mba.com Prospective Students Survey Report, which shows that business school candidates today consider applying to fewer program types and are more focused on a particular …

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has released its 2016 mba.com Prospective Students Survey Report, which shows that business school candidates today consider applying to fewer program types and are more focused on a particular postgraduate career path.

On average, prospective students considered 2.8 program types in 2015, down from 3.1 in 2014. For their postgraduate careers, 71% of those surveyed cited a single industry of interest, compared with 58% in 2014.

GMAc surveyIn addition, 61% of prospective students cited a single job function of interest, compared with 46% in 2014. The economy may play a role in this phenomenon as prospective students may perceive it to be easier to go after their “dream job” in this market compared with the post-recession years.

GMAC’s mba.com Prospective Students Survey, conducted throughout 2015, explores the global business school pipeline from the candidates’ points of view — analyzing the motivations, intended career outcomes and program choices shared by more than 10,000 individuals worldwide who responded.

“Each year graduate business programs set admission goals to engage students from around the world who are the most likely to succeed in their classrooms,” says Bob Alig, GMAC’s executive vice president for school products. “The insights provided within this survey report are timely and actionable and a valuable resource to schools seeking to grow their candidate pipelines.”

Additional key findings within the report focus on preferred program types, school selection criteria, career aspirations, timing, and social media.

Greater Interest in Specialized Business Master’s Programs: Globally, 50% of prospective students are considering only MBA programs, and slightly more than a quarter, or 28% , are considering both MBA and specialized business master’s programs.

One-fourth (23%) are considering only specialized business master’s programs, such as Master of Accounting or Master of Finance, which represents an increase since 2009, when just 15% of candidates were considering only specialized master’s programs.

In Western Europe, however, the pipeline has notably shifted toward specialized (pre-experience) business master’s programs, especially within the past seven years. In 2009, 49% of prospective students were considering only MBA programs and 22% were considering only specialized business master’s programs. In 2015, 36% were considering only MBA programs and 45% were considering only specialized master’s programs.

Prospective Students Seek Blend of Classroom and Online Learning: Most candidates considering graduate management education seek a blend of classroom instruction and online learning, regardless of program type preferred.

GMAC survey

According to the survey results, even candidates who prefer to enroll in an online MBA program still expect 10% of their course instruction to be delivered in the classroom to allow for networking and experiential learning opportunities. Those contemplating a full-time two-year MBA expect to experience 86% of their coursework in a classroom setting and want 14% of their courses delivered online.

Timing of Application Submission: Prospective students begin forming their short lists of schools one year prior to application submission, on average. A specific event or circumstance often triggers a prospective student’s consideration of earning a graduate management degree.

Most common events include: seeking a new job but lacking skills to be competitive for the positions sought (27%), reaching a plateau at work (17%), and lacking knowledge to do a job (17%).

Social Media Use Is Pervasive: Almost all (96%) prospective students use social media. Of those that do, 67% use it for activities related to the pursuit of graduate management education, such as getting program information, learning about upcoming events, connecting with current students, alumni, or faculty, and researching graduate management education.

Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular social media sites used globally, with the exception of China, where the instant messaging platform Tencent QQ is most popular.

“For the first time, members of Generation Z are included in our analysis,” says Alig. “We found that Millennial and Gen Z candidates are more likely than past generations to have ‘stretch schools’ on their short lists. All things considered, these candidates want to get into the best program possible — an indication of their high level of aspiration.”

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Stacy Blackman’s 2016 B-School Application Survey

2016 could be a life-changing year for you: You may already know that you’ll be headed to business school in the fall, or you might be planning to start your MBA journey now. Either way, …

sbc-meetstacy2016 could be a life-changing year for you: You may already know that you’ll be headed to business school in the fall, or you might be planning to start your MBA journey now. Either way, exciting things lie ahead.

With Round One deadlines just a few short months away, we at Stacy Blackman Consulting want to check the pulse of this year’s crop of b-school applicants by polling them about their MBA plans.

So, here’s the deal: we’re asking for a favor. Please fill out our one-minute survey. We know how precious your time is—you’ll only have to “check the box” in response to a few simple MBA-related questions.

Then, keep an eye out for the survey results here on the blog, which will give you insight into how other prospective students are thinking about the application process.

Every participant has the opportunity to enter a sweepstakes to win a $100 Amazon gift card. The survey is live now and will close at 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday, May 25, 2016. So please, take a moment to share with us your thoughts and experiences related to the MBA application process.

Enter survey here.

Thanks so much for your participation!

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Motherhood and the MBA

While it’s true that going to business school with children in tow is no cake walk, many MBA moms are finding more resources and support on campus than ever before. With Mother’s Day coming up, …

working mom

While it’s true that going to business school with children in tow is no cake walk, many MBA moms are finding more resources and support on campus than ever before. With Mother’s Day coming up, I wanted to share this post on being a student mom recently published on the MBA Voices blog at Harvard Business School.

Elena Rodighiero started at HBS in August 2014 with a three-month-old son, and is graduating this spring with a second child, a baby girl this time, who is just a few months old.

The need to prioritize is paramount for MBA moms, and what I found inspiring about her post was how she took an existing student association at HBS and expanded it to better meet her specific needs and to give back to future mothers pursuing the degree.

She and other moms created a new group within the Women Student Association called moMBAs, and she says the group focuses on building community and improving the HBS experience for student-moms, moms-to-be, and everyone who is interested in parenthood.

“My classmates and I wanted to institutionalize motherhood at HBS.”

“If we could collect and curate our combined experiences (including tips and tricks on things like childcare and lactation rooms on campus) we could help future generations of moms at HBS,” Rodighiero writes.

The group also worked with HBS’s Career and Professional Development Office to create a list of coaches able to help students structure a career path that considers their family’s needs as well, Rodighiero explains.

MoMBAs at HBS also has a speaker series planned for Fall 2016, and Rodighiero shares how she has integrated her interest in the topic of motherhood into her studies.  Together with classmate Carina Rutgers, she created an independent project on motherhood that “hinged on the consideration that in our professional careers we will all deal with parenthood, as managers or coworkers, even if parenthood is not part of our own personal lives. This is an important message for students at a business school, who will encounter this issue throughout their lives.”

Pursuing an MBA as a mother has its unique challenges and requirements, but it’s definitely feasible. Every woman interested in forging a new career path should know that business school, career advancement and having children are not mutually exclusive. I invite you to read the complete post on the MBA Voices blog to learn more about experiencing Harvard Business School from this unique point of view.

Image credit: Sal (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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B-School Profs Offer Strategies for the Networking-Averse

Everyone knows that a huge part of the b-school experience is creating a network that you’ll be tapping into for the rest of your career. But what if you’re naturally shy, or simply hate the …

Shy guy

Everyone knows that a huge part of the b-school experience is creating a network that you’ll be tapping into for the rest of your career. But what if you’re naturally shy, or simply hate the idea of networking because it makes you feel phony, opportunistic, or just plain “dirty”?

The majority of international students at U.S. MBA programs come from Asia, where the cultural differences related to networking are stark. Even European students often find it awkward to send introductory emails or chat up strangers at networking events. Career centers in turn worry these cultural differences put international students at a disadvantage during their internship and job searches.

In the May issue of Harvard Business Review, professors Tiziana Casciaro of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School, and Marvam Kouchaki of Kellogg School of Management share strategies for making networking not only more bearable, but perhaps even enjoyable for the networking-averse among us.

The quickest way to flip the switch in your negative mindset about networking? Stop making it about you.

For example, at a networking event, take the focus off of yourself and instead focus on the other people at the event. The researchers discovered that when people focus on how they can help others — instead of how others can help them — the act of networking suddenly takes on a different tone.

“When you think more about what you can give to others than what you can get from them,” they write, “networking will seem less self-promotional and more selfless — and therefore more worthy of your time.”

The professors offer other strategies to help recast networking in a more positive light, including how you can make the focus about learning, identify common interests, or assign a higher purpose to the practice. Take a look at the original article on Harvard Business Review and see if their tips alleviate some of the discomfort you’ve been feeling up til now.

You may also be interested in:

Use Your Network to help You Get Into Business School
3 Ways to Get a Head Start When Building Your B-School Network

Image credit: Amir Kurbanov (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Ross MBA Admissions Director Shares Her B-School Comparison Spreadsheet

Now is the time when many potential business school applicants are neck-deep in the school research phase of the MBA admissions process. With that in mind, we’d like to share this excellent video posted by …

Now is the time when many potential business school applicants are neck-deep in the school research phase of the MBA admissions process. With that in mind, we’d like to share this excellent video posted by Soojin Kwon, director of MBA admissions at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Kwon, who always appears so down-to-earth and approachable in her videos, celebrates the “nerdiness” of applicants who create detailed spreadsheets to compare and contrast the various business schools they are considering…and she shares her very own that you can download and start using today!

As Kwon points out, by looking at the career opportunities, learning experiences specific to each program, and culture of each school, you’ll be several steps closer to making the right choice for you when deadlines hit this fall.

You may also be interested in:

Reputation and Rankings Trump All in B-School Selection
Tips on Finalizing Your B-School List
How to Narrow Down Your B-School Application list

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