Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting Winning Marketing Strategy for Business School Admissions Fri, 12 Sep 2014 04:17:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UV Darden School Class Profile, Admissions Updates Fri, 12 Sep 2014 04:14:27 +0000 ]]> The University of Virginia Darden School of Business, which was ranked no. 7 in the recent HispanicBusiness 2014 ranking of best business schools for Hispanics, has posted a snapshot on its website of the full-time MBA Class of 2016.

This new cohort is 32 percent women, has more Hispanic students than any previous class, and includes pilots, painters, rock climbers, a professional musician and a number of professional athletes (one was a National Football League player), the school reveals.

Here are a few of the key data points:

  • Total Class Size: 324
  • Countries Represented: 36
  • Average Age at Entry: 27
  • International (born outside the U.S.): 36%
  • Domestic Minorities: 16%
  • Average GMAT Score: 705

On the admissions front, the team at Darden will hit the road to meet with candidates in Miami, Charlotte and Atlanta next week; and London, Paris and Madrid at the end of the month. Southest Asian candidates will soon have the opportunity to meet with admissions in Taipei, Ho Chi Minh, Singapore, and Jakarta. Visit the Events & Receptions page to learn more.

Darden will also host a Military Open House on October 13th. Active duty military and veteran applicants are highly encouraged to attend.

Finally, be sure to check out the Darden admissions webinars, held every other Wednesday. These live exchanges with admissions representatives cover a variety of topics to help you discover what sets Darden apart from other top programs.

Career development at Darden is the topic of the next webinar coming up on September 24th, from 12:30–1:15 p.m. There will be a 15-minute presentation, followed by a 30-minute Q&A session. Register now and be ready to learn all about Darden’s integrated career curriculum.

You may also be interested in:

2014 University of Virginia Darden School of Business MBA essay tips

]]> 0
Tuesday Tips: INSEAD MBA essay tips Wed, 10 Sep 2014 02:12:07 +0000 ]]> Two campuses, multiple degree options and a diverse and international class set INSEAD apart. When you approach this set of essays, make sure you are ready to explain your career plans in detail, and highlight any International experiences in your background.

INSEAD focuses separately on the job and personal portion of your MBA application essays, seeking to understand candidate’s current career position in detail before delving into the personal aspect. Though career is covered in several essays rather than one, you should make sure that all of the essays work coherently together. As INSEAD states on the website: “We evaluate each applicant against four central criteria: leadership potential and work experience; academic capacity; international motivation; and ability to contribute to the INSEAD experience.”

Stumped by the INSEAD application? Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to see how we can help.

Job Description Essays
Essay 1. Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and, where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of budget, clients/products and results achieved.

This question should focus entirely on your current (or most recent) work situation. Though you will want to provide relevant context for your current role, make sure you are devoting most of the essay to describing the details of your day-to-day responsibilities and oversight. If you are lighter on supervising others or managing a budget, you have the opportunity to highlight some key responsibilities and results.

When you are composing this essay make sure you focus on what you uniquely have contributed to the role, rather than reciting the job description. What have you done that is above and beyond?

Essay 2. Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. If you were to remain with your present employer, what would be your next step in terms of position?

This is essentially a walk-through of your resume using the essay format to allow you to provide a unifying thread through the narrative. INSEAD is seeking to understand your career trajectory and how you have grown and progressed through your career. Think about the choices you have made in your career, and how your past experiences have combined to provide you with your current skill set. If you have a fairly straightforward career path you can take the opportunity to comment on some of the learnings from each position. The second part of the question also needs to be answered. Think about the next step at your job, and where you might land if you did not leave to pursue an MBA. While this is a straightforward question, you may need to demonstrate that you can’t get where you want to go from here ”“ and that you will need an MBA to achieve your goals.

Essay 3. If you are currently not working, what are you doing and what do you plan to do until you start the MBA programme if applicable? (250 words maximum)

If you are not employed at the moment, you will want to answer this question to show how you are utilizing your time without full time employment. Ideally you are currently involved in an activity that is going to further your career or personal goals at this time. The best answer is one that shows you are self-motivated and do not need paid work to continue developing yourself. Perhaps you are volunteering in a non-profit that is related to your career goals. Maybe you are working with a friend on a start-up. Or you are consulting and building contacts in your industry. If you are out of work only briefly, it’s also perfectly reasonable to be pursuing travel or other activities that develop your international awareness and perspective. However, make sure that your activities can tie back to your long-term goals or other key aspects of your application strategy.

Essay 1. Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary. (600 words max.)

Strengths and weaknesses are a common topic for MBA applications. This is a great opportunity to highlight some of your skills and attributes that demonstrate leadership, teamwork or other qualities that will drive your future career success. Demonstrating self-awareness and the ability to assess your own performance will be impressive. While examples aren’t required, consider that adcomm is reading a vast number of essays and that concrete examples are both easy to understand, and may help you stand out from the crowd.

When describing weaknesses you will want to focus on those weaknesses that you have taken concrete steps to address, or that have been a route to learning more about yourself. Often strengths and weaknesses are two sides of the same coin, in which case you can even tie your key weaknesses to your key strengths. Because it is often difficult to write about one’s weaknesses this is an especially important essay to share with others to seek feedback on tone and impact.

Essay 2. Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned. (400 words max.)

This essay is an opportunity to showcase one of your most important achievements. Impressive achievements that stand on their own are great, but you will want to pay equal attention to explaining why these accomplishments are valuable to you. If you concisely explain the accomplishment and how you were able to bring it to fruition, you will have room to provide the context for your personal pride in the accomplishment. If you don’t have an achievement that you think is incredibly impressive on your own focus mainly on what is important to you and an example that shows the activities you value.

The flip side of achievement is failure, and INSEAD wants to understand how you view both. When approaching any failure essay it’s important to use a real failure that has emotional resonance for you. An accomplishment framed as a failure will be easy to see through and will not demonstrate anything about your maturity or ability to grow. Your failure should be real, and also something that led you to grow or learn. If you can describe how you have changed your approach as a result of the failure that is an excellent outcome.

The third part of the essay deals with how these experiences impacted the others around you and what you learned. Whether you were part of a team or the main impact was on a loved one, this part of the essay encourages you to step outside your own narrative of success and failure and think about how you have impacted other people through your actions. Most obviously a success led to happiness from a team or a manager, while a failure was disappointing to those around you. However, your particular achievement or failure could have led to a learning experience for your team, an opportunity for someone else, or a chance for you to be closer to another person through a team challenge. Think creatively about this aspect.

Note that your application to INSEAD ideally covers both the personal and professional. This essay could be an opportunity in this essay set to bring in a new angle on your profile through describing one of your most substantial accomplishments outside of work.

Essay 3. Tell us about an experience where you were significantly impacted by cultural diversity, in a positive or negative way. (300 words max.)

This essay should demonstrate your awareness of the world outside your own ethnic or cultural identity. INSEAD is a highly international program and seeks candidates that both demonstrate and value diversity. This could be an opportunity to highlight any international or cross culture exposure you have had such as traveling outside your home country, or when experiencing diversity within your home country.

When you describe the experience and judge it to be either positive or negative it will be important to provide some individual context. Every applicant from INSEAD is coming from a unique background and from many different countries. Your perception of positive or negative cultural diversity will be a view into how you interact with the world. For example, you could view the lack of diversity in a workplace or school environment as a significant negative, or perhaps you had an experience of being the only “diverse” person in a work or personal situation. On the positive side perhaps you learned more about others through a new cultural experience or through team building with a group of people different from yourself. Where you are coming from will be the deciding factor in terms of what experiences are ultimately positive or negative.

At all times consider the environment at INSEAD and what your essay is saying about your ability to fit in among a highly diverse group of people.

Essay 4. Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (300 words max.)

Nothing is more personal than what you choose to do outside of school or work. What are the most meaningful pursuits you have spent your time on? You should both describe the main interests you have outside of your professional pursuits and explain why they are meaningful to you and why you spend time on them.

Ideally you can also explain how you will continue your involvement while at INSEAD and cite some specific clubs or groups where you see your interests contributing to the community.

Optional Essay: Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the admissions committee? (300 words max.)

This essay is 350 words you can use for anything you would like to showcase and that you were unable to work into the rest of your application. Because INSEAD’s questions are quite thorough you may have covered all aspects of your candidacy and personal qualities in the other five essay questions, in which case you can feel comfortable skipping this question (it IS optional). If you did not have a place for an interesting hobby, new aspect of your background to describe, or key accomplishment, it may be appropriate to use this space to tell that story.

It is far better to fully explain any issues in your application than to leave the admissions committee to guess what happened. If you have any challenging aspects to your candidacy like a low GPA or a failing grade in college, this is the correct place to address those concerns. Explain your issue clearly and focus most of the essay on the correction for the issue. For example, if you had a disciplinary issue in college, spend most of the essay demonstrating that you learned from the experience and have been an ideal citizen ever since rather than focusing on the negative. Avoid blaming anyone else for your issue, and relentlessly show why this one incident is in your past and will stay there.

]]> 0
Last-Minute Checklist for Round 1 Applicants Tue, 09 Sep 2014 14:05:16 +0000 ]]> Are you planning on applying in Round 1, which at many schools is just weeks (or September 9th, in the case of HBS) away? There are several reasons to apply in the first round, from demonstrating your strong interest and preparation, improving your chances of landing a spot while every possible seat is available, to having first crack at financial aid opportunities.

Bloomberg Businessweek just ran a story discussing what to do to prepare for round 1 deadlines, and I shared some of my thoughts with Katy Finneran, author of the piece. One important thing I stress to clients, and mentioned to Finneran, is the importance of managing your social media presence and beefing up your online persona.

If you can demonstrate you’re social media savvy, and perhaps show that side of yourself through a blog, Twitter feed, or even through Instagram if you’ve touched on an interest such as photography in your application, these factors can really work to your advantage.

By now, you should also have your recommenders firmly on board in support of your candidacy. If you’re aiming at round 2, make sure they have their instructions and hard deadlines about 12 weeks before you want their letters.

Another thing to remember is to adapt your resume for an MBA application, which should have a greater emphasis on your general accomplishments and anything that would showcase your leadership qualities.

Finally, I would urge applicants to apply a few days ahead of the deadline just to ease some of the last-minute pressure, as well as congestion on the programs’ servers. Do a thorough review, hit submit, and take comfort in knowing that you did your very best.

You may also be interested in:

5 Last-Minute Tips for Round 1 Applicants

]]> 0
Business Schools Respond to Market Demands Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:14:26 +0000 ]]> Technology and entrepreneurship are changing the face of management education, a story in Monday’s Chicago Tribune reports. Economic and social challenges require creative solutions, and business schools have found themselves rapidly adapting to address those issues head-on.

To meet the needs of a volatile job market, many elite MBA programs have begun to shift away from case studies and quantitative models to place greater emphasis on experiential learning and degree concentrations so that graduates are ready to hit the ground running on Day 1.

The globalization of business requires a new generation of leadership that is able to comfortably navigate in various cultural contexts. To meet that challenge, more and more schools have made international projects a degree requirement, such as the new global insight program announced by Tuck School of Business last week.

For MBA applicants who already know what they want to do post-graduation, the one-year MBA is an option that has grown tremendously in the past couple of years.

Since Dean Sally Blount took the helm at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2010, the school has refocused its energies to boost one-year MBA enrollment to keep pace with the global marketplace. However, this type of program is for students who aren’t looking to change careers, because it offers no internship.

Meanwhile, top MBA programs across the country are adding multiple courses in entrepreneurship to meet a growing demand, despite the fact that only an estimated five percent of graduates start their own company straight out of business school.

Ultimately, “Business school is all about constant change and improvement and response to the market,” Elissa Sangster, executive director of the Forte Foundation, a nonprofit consortium of companies and business schools supporting women’s access to business education, tells the Tribune. “It’s always good to look for the next thing to produce better future leaders.”

You may also be interested in:

The Case Method: Alive and Thriving or On its Way Out?

]]> 0
NFL Partners with IU Kelley School for Online MBA Program Mon, 08 Sep 2014 12:58:42 +0000 ]]> NFL and IU Kelley MBA

The National Football League Players Association has announced a partnership with the Indiana University Kelley School of Business to provide customized graduate-level educational programs to current and former NFL players.

The Kelley School will offer NFL players a unique model that will guide them from initial career development through professional and certificate programs and ultimately to an MBA degree.

“For more than a quarter century, the Kelley School has provided customized programs that have met the needs of many students within a variety of corporate and educational settings,” says Idalene Kesner, dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management.

“Our leadership and innovation in delivering online programs provides the flexibility to design a winning experience for these accomplished athletes, many of whom will one day transition to new careers away from the football field,” Kesner adds.

Among the tools that will be available to players is the Kelley School’s acclaimed Me Inc. program, which enables participants to gain a better understanding of their goals and identifies a structured path toward attaining them. The program includes career coaching and career services.

After completion of the initial career development program, players may continue and enroll in online, noncredit programs on specialty topics such as personal finance, real estate, wealth management and entrepreneurship.

Upon completion of a noncredit professional program, players interested in developing more expertise will be able to enroll in a four-course certificate program. Many players will be able to directly enroll in the credit-bearing certificate programs as well.

Credits earned through the certificate programs will be transferable toward a 30-credit Master of Science degree or a 45-credit MBA. The programs will be delivered in a blended format that includes in-residence and online components.

A key feature of the NFLPA-Kelley MBA program will be the Kelley Capstone Experience, which puts teams of students to work on real-world strategic projects. This will provide students with an opportunity to apply skills and knowledge acquired in the MBA program to actual business problems that directly relate to each person’s goals and objectives.

Those in the NFLPA-Kelley MBA program also will have an opportunity to participate in the school’s global immersion courses, which present students with opportunities to understand and address problems faced by businesses in an emerging market. Currently the program is undertaking projects in India, Myanmar, Botswana, Ghana and South Africa.

All graduates of the NFLPA-Kelley MBA program who are interested in pursuing corporate careers will receive support from the same career services available to other Kelley graduates. In its most recent survey of MBA programs, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Kelley No. 1 in terms of student satisfaction, career services and teaching.

“We are excited about the new opportunity the Indiana University Kelley School of Business is offering our players,” says NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. “We pride ourselves in helping our members be knowledgeable about the business of football and putting them on the right path to succeed off the field. This relationship will achieve both.”

]]> 0
Tuck School Creates New Global Insight Requirement Fri, 05 Sep 2014 12:43:32 +0000 ]]> Tuck School of Business

Beginning in fall 2015, students at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth will be required to complete an immersive global experience as part of their MBA education, the school announced earlier this week. The new Tuck Global Insight Requirement, which goes into effect for the class of 2017, aims to ensure that every student at Tuck receives the global immersion they need to lead in today’s business environment.

“The world has become much more global,” says Phillip C. Stocken, associate dean for the MBA program at Tuck. “As a result, we believe our graduates must have a global business capability—a global mindset—to successfully navigate the different cultures, countries, and markets in which they will inevitably work. There is no better way to do this than spending time on the ground in another country.”

To satisfy the new requirement, students will choose from an array of carefully-designed, credit-bearing immersive courses that will provide them with the skills and knowledge required to solve problems effectively across cultures and lead in diverse business environments.

Each course will be faculty-led and include pre-travel orientation; an immersive experience in a country that is new to the student; and reflection. Like all MBA courses at Tuck, these will be academically rigorous and boast a high degree of faculty-student interaction. Qualifying courses currently include OnSite Global Consulting, a global First-Year Project, and Global Insight Expeditions.

The requirement extends to all MBA candidates what is already an integral part of the learning experience for a majority of students at Tuck. Nearly 67 percent of the class of 2014 reported spending time in a country that was new to them during their time at Tuck, and demand for such experiences is expected to grow in the future.

Matthew Slaughter, associate dean for faculty and the Signal Companies’ Professor of Management, says, “Making an immersive global experience a required part of the curriculum strengthens this commitment to ensure that every Tuck student receives outstanding preparation for the global leadership that businesses are today seeking.”

]]> 1