Category Archives: General

MBA Essay Do’s and Don’ts from Kenan-Flagler

The admissions team at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School recently provided a list of helpful do’s and dont’s for applicants working on their MBA admissions essay, and their advice holds no matter which program you’re currently …

The admissions team at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School recently provided a list of helpful do’s and dont’s for applicants working on their MBA admissions essay, and their advice holds no matter which program you’re currently contemplating.

Three Things to Do:

  • Tell a compelling story if you hope to stand out amid the thousands of essays read by the admissions team each year. Make sure your personality comes through so the team gets a real sense of who you are, as well as why you want to attend UNC Kenan-Flagler, and how your past experiences have shaped you as a professional.
  • Recruit at least one other person to proofread your essay for those pesky punctuation errors or grammatical mistakes that we tend not to see ourselves after re-reading and tinkering along the way.
  • Thou shalt adhere strictly to the word count limit unless thou wishes to antagonize the overworked folks in admissions.

Three Things to Avoid:

  • One hopes this goes without saying, but please refrain from regurgitating your resume in essay form and calling it a day. Use examples to illustrate the highlights of your professional experience. Remember, you’ve got a story to tell and a personality to sell!
  • To build upon the previous point: don’t forget to make the case for why Kenan-Flagler is the right program for you. The admissions team is adept at sussing out applicants who have merely switched out the school name from another essay…so don’t be that applicant!
  • Don’t forget to proofread, spell-check, and proofread some more. “Submitting an essay riddled with spelling, punctuation and grammar errors is the equivalent to wearing pajamas to your admissions interview,” the admissions team warns.

You may also be interested in:

UNC Kenan-Flagler 2014-2015 MBA Essay Topics

UNC Kenan-Flager’s History of Sustainable Enterprise

 

 

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Choose Safety Schools for Your MBA Applications Carefully

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com Landing a seat at a top MBA program isn’t a slam-dunk for anybody. It’s getting increasingly competitive to get into the highest-ranked schools. …

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

Landing a seat at a top MBA program isn’t a slam-dunk for anybody. It’s getting increasingly competitive to get into the highest-ranked schools.

The term safety school gets thrown around quite a bit in MBA admissions, and it’s important for applicants to have a clear understanding of what that term means before they start the school selection process.

The rule when coming up with a list of business schools is that you must feel genuine enthusiasm about attending each and every one of them, regardless of whether they are dream schools or programs you might consider a safer bet. If you would feel disappointed rather than ecstatic about advancing your career by attending a school, then do not apply. That’s a waste of everyone’s time and your money.

[Consider the benefits of looking beyond the top-ranked business schools.]

A good way to determine whether your list should include one or more safety schools is by asking yourself how important it is for you to go to business school next year. If the need is immediate, then definitely include a range of schools of varying degrees of competitiveness. The application pool fluctuates each year, and all you need is one admit, so spread some risk around.

However, if you’ve zeroed in on a handful of highly competitive programs that you strongly feel are the best choices for advancing your professional goals, and you have some flexibility with the timing, it would be better to focus your energies on the GMAT and elevating your profile in line with your target programs’ characteristics.

If you don’t get in the first time, you can learn from your weak points and reapply in the next application cycle.

A safety school doesn’t mean you’d be guaranteed an offer of admission, though. It merely means your chances are far greater than at a program with an acceptance rate of 15 percent or lower.

[Here are some tips to narrow down your b-school application list.]

So, in order to decide what qualifies as a safety school for you, start with the hard data points. As a general guideline, take a look at programs you like where your profile falls within the top 10 percent of admitted students.

Compare your undergraduate GPA, GMAT score, years of work experience and particular industry with those of accepted applicants reported by the school in their class profile page. If your industry is underrepresented, consider that an advantage for your application.

Everyone has different reasons for applying to business school. Your main focus may be on networking prospects, the educational experience, geographic location, culture, special programming or even family tradition. If you’re excited about any of those elements at a school and would be happy to attend for any of those reasons, then consider it, even if it’s a safe choice.

I had a client who applied to both University of California—Los Angeles Anderson School of Management and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Of the two, Stanford is obviously the more competitive “reach” school, but my client was from Los Angeles and would have been happy to go to Anderson, thus making it a great selection for a safety school.

[Fight the fear of failure when applying to MBA programs.]

Ultimately, he did get into Stanford and chose that school over the full scholarship offer he received from UCLA.

Another client faced the difficult decision of remaining on the waitlist at the University of California—Berkeley Haas School of Business, his dream choice, or accepting an offer of admission from the University of Texas—Austin McCombs School of Business, his safety school and one he would be thrilled to attend.

When the waitlist purgatory continued into summer, even after he’d submitted a deposit to hold his place at McCombs, he finally decided to withdraw from the Haas wait list and commit to a sure thing. He was increasingly happy with McCombs as he met his future classmates and weighed the significant financial benefits of in-state tuition.

If you do apply to a range of schools, make sure each is a good fit and that your excitement, level of research and passion for the program comes through in your application regardless of whether it’s a safety school or not. The folks in the admissions committee have typically been at it long enough and can tell when an applicant has lukewarm feelings for them – and that’s the surest way your safe bet will become a bust.

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Nothing ‘Dirty’ About Professional Networking

MBA programs place a major emphasis on networking skills with their students and graduates, but a new study written by professors at Harvard Business School, Rotman School of Management, and Kellogg School of Management looks …

MBA programs place a major emphasis on networking skills with their students and graduates, but a new study written by professors at Harvard Business School, Rotman School of Management, and Kellogg School of Management looks at the sometimes negative psychological impact professional networking can have on an individual.

Financial Times covers the study in a recent article, and looks at the issue of how professional networking can make people feel awkward and insincere because it’s perceived as being about career self-interest rather than making friends.

This sense of “moral impurity”, as its labeled by the researchers, prevents people from networking further, says the Rotman School’s Tiziana Casciaro, who is an associate professor of organizational behavior and human resource management.

“[These feelings] really have an impact on someone’s career. Networking is better for people’s development and advancement, this is how you learn the job, acquire knowledge and opportunities. It is important,” Casciaro tells FT.

To break out of the negative mindset toward networking, professionals must remember that cultivating a reciprocal relationship where both parties share knowledge and have mutual respect is a valid and important goal. Be willing to put time into building the relationship, and also be open to discovering new relationships, which may come from the most unlikely of places.

The best way to feel good about professional networking is to give before you get. Become a resource for others: pass on articles that could be helpful, or share employment leads when appropriate.

“If you keep an open mind and see it as an exchange of knowledge it becomes a much less selfish exercise,” Casciaro says, adding that having a genuine curiosity about the person they are talking to will make the networking far more successful.

You may also be interested in:

Economist Ranks MBA Programs for Networking Potential

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/10/05/3464961/dont-be-affair-to-say-hello-because.html#storylink=cpy

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Wharton MBA Class of ’16’s Entrepreneurial Mindset

It seems this year’s incoming MBA students to University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School are an incredibly entrepreneurial-minded bunch, with 5% coming in with prior entrepreneurship experience, and 23% who say they plan to start their …

It seems this year’s incoming MBA students to University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School are an incredibly entrepreneurial-minded bunch, with 5% coming in with prior entrepreneurship experience, and 23% who say they plan to start their own company after graduation.

“In addition, 82 students in the Class of 2016 have held significant roles at startups—that’s up from just over 30 last year. So we know they’ve got the startup bug,” writes Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship, on the school’s entrepreneurship blog.

Take at look at the chart below to see how this new class continues to build upon Wharton’s entrepreneurial drive, as compared to the Class of 2015.

image credit: UPenn Wharton School

image credit: UPenn Wharton School

With all of the programs, contests, and awards available at Wharton, Kavanaugh says,”We look forward to a lifetime of supporting these dynamic individuals as they pursue the often complex career path of entrepreneurship, whether they launch their first businesses the day before graduation or 25 years after.”

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Is an MD/MBA Degree Right for You?

Earlier this week, The Atlantic published an in-depth piece exploring the rise of the M.D./MBA degree. It seems there’s been an explosion of joint MD/MBA programs in the United States, growing from six to 65 in …

Earlier this week, The Atlantic published an in-depth piece exploring the rise of the M.D./MBA degree. It seems there’s been an explosion of joint MD/MBA programs in the United States, growing from six to 65 in 20 years, The Atlantic reports, noting that from 2011 and 2012 alone, the number increased by 25%.

In its characteristic exhaustive fashion, The Atlantic looks at the numerous advantages for hospital administrators that have both degrees, because, as one MD/MBA graduate quoted in the piece says, “Many of the greatest challenges in healthcare today are business problems.”

An interesting cultural point mentioned in the article is how differently these two disciplines operate. In medicine, there’s a rigid hierarchy with absolute respect for attending physicians, while in business school, students are taught that the next great idea can come from anyone, no matter their age or professional experience.

It’s a great read, and chock-full of ideas on how merging these two disciplines can greatly benefit today’s complex healthcare industry. I urge anyone considering this dual degree option to check out the article by following the link above.

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Applications Rising for Two-Year MBA Programs

For a third straight year, applications to full-time, two-year MBA programs showed marked growth, according to the 2014 Application Trends Survey, released by the Graduate Management Admission Council. By comparison, the survey reported a flattening …

For a third straight year, applications to full-time, two-year MBA programs showed marked growth, according to the 2014 Application Trends Survey, released by the Graduate Management Admission Council. By comparison, the survey reported a flattening or decrease in applications to other graduate management program types.

The survey also highlighted trends observed in GMAT testing that show a growing number of students seeking to study outside their country of citizenship. These candidates make up a significant portion of the talent pool for many MBA and non-MBA master’s programs and are driving changes in year-on-year application volume globally.

The increasingly global talent pool has been emerging for more than a decade, and has shaped the development of management education — both in where it is growing, as well as the in the mix of programs types offered to meet the needs of global students.

“Viewed in tandem, there is good news for both students and schools in this survey, as well as in our recent Corporate Recruiters Survey [released in May 2014], where 4 out of 5 companies said they planned to hire MBA graduates in 2014,” says Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president and CEO.

The 2014 Applications Trend Survey found that 61 percent of global full-time two-year MBA programs participating in the survey reported application growth — up from 50 percent of programs in 2013.

Among other findings of the 2014 survey are:

  • The percentage of professional MBA programs (part-time, flexible, online, and executive MBA) reporting increased application volume was higher this year than in 2013, however, the majority of programs is not yet experiencing growth.
  • Results for 2014 are mixed for the specialized business master’s (non-MBA) programs. Growth in application volume is seen among Master in Marketing and Communications, Master in Information Technology, Master in Management, and Master of Accounting programs. Master of Finance programs are experiencing declining volume for the third year in a row.
  • In the United States, 65 percent of full-time two-year MBA programs report receiving more applications from foreign candidates, while demand also continues to improve among domestic candidates (up for 48% of programs in 2014 compared with 22% in 2012).
  • The following programs reported a majority of foreign candidates in their applicant pools:
    • Master of Finance (82% of applicants)
    • Master in Management (73%)
    • Master in Marketing and Communications (69%)
    • Full-time one-year MBA (56%)
    • Full-time two-year MBA (52%)
  • Citizens of countries in East and Southeast Asia and Central and South Asia make up the majority of foreign candidates applying to programs in Asia-Pacific, Canada, India, and the United States.
  • Programs located in Europe received their largest share of foreign candidates from East and Southeast Asia and from other European countries.

“For schools, the rise over the last three years in two-year applications is welcome. This echoes other research that tells us how highly students value their two-year MBA degrees for the personal, professional and financial advantages it conveys,” says Chofla. “For students, GMAC’s Corporate Recruiters Survey may very well signal a change in hiring from a cost-driven, recession-driven organizational focus, to a growth-driven focus utilizing the skills that MBA programs are designed to develop.”

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