Category Archives: Application Tips
April 1, 2016
Coming from the armed forces rather than a civilian career path prior to business school can give rise to certain difficulties when drafting an application. Luckily, the Tuck 360 MBA Blog at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of …
Coming from the armed forces rather than a civilian career path prior to business school can give rise to certain difficulties when drafting an application. Luckily, the Tuck 360 MBA Blog at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business has published a post with advice targeted toward veteran applicants just in time for its upcoming Military Visit Day on April 18th.
Earlier this week, first-year MBA student David Donahue described his own journey from the Marines to b-school, and now shares three tips for business school candidates with military backgrounds.
Here’s an overview of his tips, but definitely check out Donahue’s story through the link above for more details.
Tip 1: get comfortable talking about yourself. “What sets you apart from other applicants? It’s okay to replace the ‘we’ with an ‘I’ here or there in an effort to really explain your impact,” says Donahue.
Tip 2: Decide which learning environment suits you best. “Understanding the environment in which you would be most successful is crucial to narrowing down the schools that appeal the most to you,” he notes.
Tip 3: What’s your story? Donahue says applicants should be able to answer these questions: “Why did you join the military? Why do you want to go to business school? What do you want to do after business school?”
An MBA is a great next step for transitioning veterans no matter what branch of service they come from. Applicants from the military should know that business school admissions teams highly value their experience, so if that’s your background, make sure your applications highlight those powerful and unique qualities.
You may also be interested in:
March 31, 2016
Are you gearing up to apply for an MBA program this fall? I can’t stress enough how important it is to put significant thought into which programs you’re going to dedicate dozens of hours to over the coming months, so here are just a few of the things you should be thinking about.
First and foremost, you should look beyond the MBA rankings and give serious consideration to your own preferences regarding teaching methods, curriculum flexibility, rural or urban setting, large or small program, general management approach or concentration-focused, as programs vary widely and the MBA is not a one-size-fits-all degree.
Many people wonder whether they should pursue a general or specialized MBA. Personally, I feel that a general MBA prepares you better to be a business leader, because running a business involves an understanding of all aspects of the business. It also allows networking and an exchange of ideas with all different types of people with different backgrounds and goals.
Next, do your research to come up with a shortlist of business schools that meet those requirements, and then focus on how these programs can deliver on each of those attributes. Speak to alumni and current students at each school, and don’t forget to pick the brains of your mentors and colleagues who have MBAs to learn about their personal experiences.
Much of your list can be determined as you progress through the process. As you become more invested in going to business school, and your story solidifies, you may decide to add additional schools. As you clarify your goals, you may consider schools that you had never looked at in the past. Similarly, this process may cause you to drop schools.
Once you clearly see what makes each school different, you’ll understand which schools may best fit your needs. This will help you write your essays in a way that clearly shows fit by linking your needs to the schools’ culture.
But fit goes both ways. Schools are also seeking candidates that fit their unique culture. You can better understand the school’s culture by attending events this summer and fall. Also, don’t forget to keep up with those school-hosted online chats that provide admissions advice as well as insider knowledge about specific career paths or concentrations on offer.
Part of preparing a strong application includes knowing yourself well by doing a self-assessment. Know what you want to get out of your MBA experience and why a particular program fits your educational and personal needs.
Finally, I suggest creating a timeline of the deadlines of when you plan to apply. Working backward from this timeline will help you set goals in terms of GMAT preparation, essay writing, planning to attend events, etc. The sooner you hash out these details, the better prepared you’ll be to fine-tune your application and polish those essays.
Image credit: inertia NC (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
March 30, 2016
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com For many people, business school is the ideal platform to continue their professional and personal development and achieve their career goals. Take a look at …
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
For many people, business school is the ideal platform to continue their professional and personal development and achieve their career goals. Take a look at these common motivating factors to determine whether you, too, should head back to the classroom for an MBA.
1. You want to switch careers. By some estimates, at least two-thirds of MBA applicants look to business school as a surefire way to launch their career in a new direction.
One past client, Sheila, worked as a real estate attorney focused on commercial transactions when she decided that she found working with the financial details of transactions more interesting than the legal intricacies. She passed the first level of the Certified Financial Analyst exam and had a great deal of financial knowledge, but a very limited understanding of other areas of business management.
Sheila had come to a point in her career where she knew what she wanted to work on for the rest of her professional life. Though the CFA program is a tremendous resource, she had enough experience to know that she needed to develop the skills best provided by earning an MBA. Going to business school became the next logical step toward her objective of working in real estate banking at a Wall Street firm.
2. Your target company demands it. If your sights are set on working for companies such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co., McKinsey & Co. or Boston Consulting Group, know that having the MBA credential is typically an unspoken requirement. These top banking and consulting firms mandate MBA degrees for upper management positions.
While they hire employees with bachelor’s degrees for entry-level positions, the understanding is that associates will work for a few years and then head to business school to earn the degree that will open doors to senior management and partner positions.
Even if smaller firms don’t require the MBA outright, employees find they advance up the ladder much faster with the graduate management degree.
3. You hit a ceiling. When Constance first came to us, she had already spent six years working in consulting and banking, but in her current role her contributions were narrowly focused on one piece of the client’s puzzle. To broaden her role and shift to strategic consulting for financial institutions, Constance needed an MBA.
She knew her experience with strategy and working for banks would enable her to participate in the classroom, but MBA courses in financial accounting, financial engineering and risk management would expand her knowledge and give her the full toolkit for landing a position as an associate at a top-tier consulting firm in the U.S. or Europe.
Constance’s long-term goal involved eventually taking a partner role at a smaller, niche consulting firm. Business school was a crucial next step for transition.
4. You need new skills. Our former client Peter’s undergraduate degree was in art history from a small liberal arts college. While most of his classmates had pursued Ph.Ds for a career in academia, he had always wanted to find a way to combine his creative interests within a team-based environment.
Peter began his career in an entry-level position at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the arts education group. Within a few years he was on a strong trajectory within MoMA, but Peter really wanted to focus on entrepreneurial activity within the arts world. He decided he needed an MBA to gain the hard financial and management skills required to meet that goal.
As you can see, every individual’s needs and motivations are different. When you map out your medium- and long-term professional goals, think about what gaps you have and whether an MBA could be that transformational experience that changes your career trajectory forever.
Image credit: Flickr user Stefan (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)