Category Archives: Stacy Blackman in the News

Business School Trends in 2015

              The MBA degree continues to evolve, as more and more business schools expand their focus to include greater numbers of women, international opportunities and experiential learning requirements, and …

MBA trends 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The MBA degree continues to evolve, as more and more business schools expand their focus to include greater numbers of women, international opportunities and experiential learning requirements, and new formats like online degree programs and free MOOCs.

Current and prospective applicants always seem interested in the latest trends related to graduate management education. I recently spoke with John Dodig at the education website Noodle to talk about what’s going on in the world of MBA admissions these days, and want to share some excerpts from our conversation here.

You’ve talked about how “white spaces” — or the things between the listed items on someone’s resume — can convey just as important a story as the bullet points on a person’s MBA application. Do you think that your “white spaces” along the way are typical of someone with an MBA?

I think a lot of people apply for MBA programs, and they kinda want to fit into one of four traditional types of jobs — like marketing, consulting, banking, entrepreneurship — and as time goes on, seeds are planted during the program. Whether it’s immediate or gradual, there are often a lot of twists and turns. So, in a way, it’s typical to have a lot of these twists and turns and to end up finding yourself. Yes, I would say I was typical in the sense that there isn’t really any typical.

Do you work with a lot of American students who are interested in going to business school abroad? Or, on the flip side, do you work with a lot of international students interested in studying in the U.S. for an MBA?

We do both, for sure. I would say probably there are more international students who want to come to the U.S. than the reverse, but we’re definitely placing plenty of Americans in international programs. And that is something that I think has grown a lot over the past 10 years — the growth of different types of programs, different options, and the increased popularity of programs outside the U.S.

Is there any big advice that you give to international students who want to come here for business school?

I think there can be challenging logistics for people who are coming from abroad to go to school in the U.S. In the beginning, things are a lot harder, ranging from financial aid, to finding housing, to overcoming some culture shock and finding their way. It’s very common for someone in the States to have friends in their class, you know, people they know from college, or just throughout life. But coming internationally, they may know no one. It can just be more challenging.

My advice would be, in the beginning, be realistic. Take it slow. Being careful and clearing all those hurdles can lead to a very, very rewarding experience.

To read more of my Noodle interview about the state of MBA admissions in 2015, please follow this link to the original article.

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MBA Essay Advice for Harvard Business School

Today’s the Round 1 deadline at Harvard Business School, but if you’re still planning on applying in Rounds 2 or 3, you’ll want to take a look at some of the essay advice I shared …

HBS interview adviceToday’s the Round 1 deadline at Harvard Business School, but if you’re still planning on applying in Rounds 2 or 3, you’ll want to take a look at some of the essay advice I shared in a recent Business Insider article.

Unlike last season, when the essay question was completely open-ended—and optional—this year the school has taken a different tack to see if they can really get to know their applicants.

It now asks:

It’s the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your “section.” This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know each other very well. The bonds you collectively create throughout this shared experience will be lasting. Introduce yourself.

The goal of this essay is to know yourself, know HBS, and know how to match the two to demonstrate your fit for the school as you introduce yourself to your classmates. I invite you to read the rest on the article on the Business Insider site for several more important tips on how to successfully market your candidacy for this ultra-elite school.

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My Confessions of an MBA Admissions Consultant

As previously published in Poets & Quants…learn how I helped a client turn a glaring weakness into a point of strength, and successfully parlayed her story into an MBA admit.

As previously published in Poets & Quants…learn how I helped a client turn a glaring weakness into a point of strength, and successfully parlayed her story into an MBA admit.

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Social Media Influences Curricula, Affects Applicants

MBA students and applicants live and breathe through social media, which is a good thing, considering the growing demand in the business world for employees with honed social media skills. According to a recent Financial …

MBA students and applicants live and breathe through social media, which is a good thing, considering the growing demand in the business world for employees with honed social media skills. According to a recent Financial Times article—which quotes me—this relatively new form of social dialogue is revolutionizing the way business schools interact with applicants, students, companies and alumni.

Social media is a topic that interests me greatly, as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube make up a huge part of my company’s communication efforts and help reinforce my brand reputation. Last year, I wrote a post for my U.S. News blog in which I discussed some of the courses in social media now available at business schools. In it, I explain that familiarity with the various forms of social media communication is no longer enough; graduates have to be able to transfer this experience into the commercial landscape.

Harvard Business School professor Misiek Psikorski, who teaches a course called Competing with Social Networks,  agrees, telling FT that social media presents a new way of approaching markets, and “It is critical for our students to understand these media.”

One important point that I make in the FT article concerns managing one’s online presence, particularly where b-school applicants are concerned.  MBA admissions committees are increasingly tech-savvy, and often research applicants’ Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts to confirm information on an application and generally check for appropriateness in his or her online persona.

If you have concerns about how you might be perceived by AdCom, read this SBC Scoop on Matching Your Face(book) to Your Name, which explains in detail how one client handled this situation.

Today’s students don’t see social media as a trend; rather, this is a generation that has grown up with the Internet. Business schools, like any enterprise, must adapt and evolve to this new reality in order to prepare graduates who can develop and manage marketing strategies that address the nuances of the online world.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Applying to Business School

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com We’re coming up on MBA application season again, with Round One deadlines just a few short months away. If you’re applying to business …

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

We’re coming up on MBA application season again, with Round One deadlines just a few short months away. If you’re applying to business school in the fall, now is the time to set your strategy. Here are some of my top tips to ease your journey as you navigate this challenging process.

Testing strategies:

In a sea of highly qualified candidates, the GMAT is an important screening tool, so take this element of your application seriously, as it’s very much within your control.

DO take a class in order to prepare rigorously. Establish and adhere to a study schedule and practice exams in a realistic environment. One basic key to success is familiarity””both with question type and the computer-adapted format.

DON’T wait until the last minute to sit for your GMAT. Take care of it early in the season, before you have to hone your focus on other aspects of the application.

DO plan to take the exam more than once. Calmer nerves and more experience often lead to a higher score the second time around.

DON’T cancel a score, no matter how badly you think you have done. Schools will evaluate only your highest score. In any case, it will provide valuable information about your testing strengths and weaknesses. And you may be surprised that a score is not as low as you expected.

DO consider sitting for the GRE. Because the GRE isn’t reported in class profiles and isn’t a factor in b-school rankings, if you struggle with the GMAT but have good grades and other strong credentials, submitting a GRE may make it easier for a school to take a chance on you. If you do well on the GMAT, though, submit it.

Narrowing your school list:

DO apply to your dream school, even if it’s a stretch. This is your only chance, so don’t leave yourself open for regrets later.

DO apply to at least four schools of varying levels of competitiveness to maximize your chances of success.

DON’T apply to more than six schools. This is an intense and time-consuming process. Applying to too many schools leads to burnout and diminishing returns.

DON’T rely solely on rankings when deciding where to apply. Only you can decide which program is the right fit for your personality and goals, so engage in first-hand research by visiting schools and speaking with current students and alumni.

Recommendation letters:

Letters of recommendation are an essential part of the admissions process””some top schools have said they are the most important part””so choose your recommenders carefully!

DO use references from your current and most recent jobs. An academic reference won’t be able to answer the most common recommendation questions. Insights from your supervisors help create a picture of you now. The admissions committee isn’t as concerned with how you behaved eight years ago.

DON’T be tempted to seek a letter of recommendation from the CEO of your company, or another high ranking person, if he or she hardly knows you. The admissions committee always prefers placement over prestige, so make sure your recommender knows you well enough to comment in a thoughtful way, with supportive examples that help flesh out the candidate they see on paper.

DO prepare your recommenders and manage them closely. These references are a small but crucial test of your management abilities. If you can’t ensure that your recommenders submit on time or follow other directions, what does this say about your skills as a manager?

The interview:

As with all aspects of this process, it’s important to prep for the interviews. The subject matter of the interview will be you, and you will be expected to be the polished expert.

DO practice out loud, rather than just mentally preparing answers. Conduct mock interviews with a friend, or speak to yourself in the mirror.

DON’T opt to interview on campus if you would perform better off campus. Set yourself up for success by choosing the environment where you’ll feel most relaxed.

DO follow up with a thank you note, via E-mail or regular mail.

Reapplying:

Many schools welcome reapplicants; it shows you are seriously interested in the program. If you approach the process correctly as a reapplicant, you can feel cautiously optimistic.

DO be sure to highlight how you have progressed since your previous application. Demonstrate professional and personal advancements. Help the admissions committee understand how you’ve evolved and become a better applicant since your last attempt.

DON’T completely overhaul your application. Some schools ask you to submit an entirely new application, but too much change can signal that you’re not being honest.

DO apply to new schools in addition to the old ones. If you were unsuccessful the first time, it may be because you applied to the wrong set of schools.

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Stacy Blackman Consulting in the News

We are in the news this week! Economist – Application Dos and Don’ts Economist again – Essay Tips Financial Times – How to choose MBA programs to apply to

We are in the news this week!

Economist – Application Dos and Don’ts

Economist again – Essay Tips

Financial Times – How to choose MBA programs to apply to

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