Category Archives: Stacy Blackman in the News

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.

Posted in Stacy Blackman in the News |

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.

Posted in General, SBC Scoop: Client Case Studies, School News, Stacy Blackman in the News | Tagged , , , ,

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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First Year of Business School: Advice from the Trenches

This post originally appeared on MBAsocial: Social Life, News and Advice for MBAs 1. Not long ago, most of your recruiters were in your shoes ”“ they are human. Be respectful, but don’t be overly …

This post originally appeared on MBAsocial: Social Life, News and Advice for MBAs

Kellogg MBAs

1. Not long ago, most of your recruiters were in your shoes ”“ they are human. Be respectful, but don’t be overly impressed. You should go to interviews and corporate presentations prepared to have a conversation and tell them about yourselves.

2. If you do not get involved with some activity outside of the classroom, you will not be reaping the full benefit of the MBA experience. There is a multitude of ways to get involved, and you will learn as much from these activities as you will from your studies. Activities will also help with you with networking and give you something to talk about in your interviews.

3. While plenty of people go back to their summer employer, many do not. Even if you end up not enjoying your summer internship, it’s still worthwhile to have the experience, and learn from it. Better to find out you don’t like banking on an internship than a full time job. Do your best and know that no matter what happens, it is a valuable learning experience.

4. Summer positions are often more competitive than full time offers. If you are not able to land your dream internship, you still have a great chance at the same job full-time.

5. Your grades really don’t count all that much. Even if your school has a grading system, after you graduate, no one is going to ask. So go to class to learn but don’t study so much that you miss out on the rest of the experience.

6. Your classmates will seem to be phenomenally accomplished, perhaps even intimidating. Don’t forget that you, too, were accepted into the class for a reason.The school believes that you have a great deal to contribute so make sure that you do.

7. Even if you are entering school with a firm idea of your career goals, use this time to explore a few options. Go to diverse corporate presentations, take classes in new subjects, interview with one company outside of your focus ”“ you may be surprised.

8. You will probably gravitate to the “people like you”, from the same country, with similar backgrounds. Your MBA class is an extremely diverse group. If you make an effort to get to know those outside of your comfort zone, your experience will be greatly enriched.

9. Not all, but most MBA programs are very flexible and constantly evolving. If you are dissatisfied with some aspect of the curriculum or programming, don’t sit back and complain, rather speak up and do something. Often you will be able to initiate a new class, a trip, a club, a conference and more.

10. Remember that your classmates, whether you like them or not, are your professional network. Your class and the classes above and below you are all members of this priceless network. While you will want to relax, enjoy and make friends, always keep in mind that you may network with any of these people down the line.

Posted in General, Stacy Blackman in the News | Tagged , , , ,

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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