Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting Winning Marketing Strategy for Business School Admissions Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:39:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 HBS Names New Director of Social Enterprise Initiative Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:39:29 +0000 ]]> new director of HBS Social Enterprise Initiative

Matthew M. Segneri, who earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 2010, will become the new director of its Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI), the school recently announced.

Launched in 1993, the SEI pioneered the concept of “social enterprise” by adopting a problem-focused approach toward understanding the management and leadership challenges facing organizations involved in creating social value, regardless of their structure or funding source.

Segneri, working with the Initiative’s faculty co-chairs Herman B. “Dutch” Leonard and V. Kasturi “Kash” Rangan, will manage a range of programs and activities, including those that support research and teaching, educational programs within the MBA and Executive Education curricula, MBA field-based learning and career support programs, and alumni outreach and engagement.

While an MBA student at Harvard Business School, Segneri was co-president of the Social Enterprise Club and a team leader for the New Orleans Service and Leadership Immersion Program, which brought HBS students to New Orleans to work on various projects after the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Segneri comes to the position with a broad range of leadership experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, most recently at Bloomberg Philanthropies in New York City, where he was a senior leader on the Government Innovation team.

“From his days as a Harvard MBA student to his work at the highest levels of big city governments, he has made a lasting impact through his vision, strategic and operational skills, and energy and hard work,” says Professor Rangan.

Segneri succeeds Laura Moon, who has become Managing Director of the School’s wide array of Initiatives, which focus on research and course development in specific topics such as leadership, health care, and digital technology.

“I am excited and honored to return to HBS and the Social Enterprise Initiative, both of which have been so influential in my personal and professional life,” Segneri says. “This is an incredible opportunity to give back to the School and inspire, educate, and support leaders committed to solving our most intractable social and economic problems.”

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Exam Lifehacks for a Higher Test Score Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:36:52 +0000 ]]> magoosh GMAT life hack

You can’t avoid it. Every exam prep checklist has it, and every experienced tutor will advise you to do it: STUDY! Yes, we all hate to have to do it, but it really is the key to your success on every exam you’ll have to take.

But, the fact is, even after you’ve studied all you can for whatever test you have coming up, you’re not guaranteed success. You might have heard stories of a classmate who crumbled under the pressure of studying for a test, or who slept right through his alarm on the morning of the test, or who ran out of energy and collapsed right on top of her desk during the exam. It really could happen to anyone.

Before you panic about the chances of this happening to you, we’ve got good news! Our friends at Magoosh put together an Exam lifehack infographic to make sure you safely avoid any test-day nightmares. The infographic includes study tools and tips you probably didn’t consider before but that are crucial to keeping you sane all the way up to your test date. So, take some time to browse their list of exam lifehacks and master the 18 unexpected tips you’ll need for a higher test score.

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CMU Tepper 2014-2015 Deadlines, Essays Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:01:50 +0000 ]]> Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business has posted the following deadlines and essay questions for the upcoming MBA admissions season.

Round 1
Deadline: October 5, 2014
Decision: December 15, 2014

Round 2
Deadline: January 4, 2015
Decision: March 25, 2015

Round 3
Deadline: March 15, 2015
Decision: May 15, 2015

Note to Full-Time Applicants: Following Round 3, Tepper will continue to accept applications on a rolling base. International students are encouraged to apply no later than Round 2 to ensure adequate time for the student visa process.

Essay Questions

Essay 1    (Maximum 300 words):
Describe a defining moment in your life, and explain how it shaped you as a person.

Essay 2    (Maximum 300 words):
Based on your research and interactions with the Tepper community, please share why you are a good fit with the Tepper MBA program.

You may also be interested in:

Tepper School to Expand FlexMBA

Carnegie Mellon Receives $67M Gift from David Tepper

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Tuesday Tips: Northwestern Kellogg MBA Essay Tips Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:00:04 +0000 ]]> Kellogg’s close-knit community values leadership and teamwork. At the same time, diversity in experience, background and thought is important to the Kellogg admissions committee. Do your research on the programs, activities, clubs, classes and professors at Kellogg as you approach your essays. While you are reading and conversing with students and alumni, keep in mind how you envision your own background adding to the community.

Kellogg added a mandatory video essay to the application process last year and is continuing the practice this year. While it won’t replace the in-person interview for Kellogg, it is an opportunity for the admissions committee to see the person behind the accomplishments you will describe.

Video interviews can be daunting, and Stacy Blackman Consulting has developed customized preparation to help you practice for this important component of the application and provide our expert feedback. Contact us to learn more about how we can prepare you for the entire Kellogg application.

Essay 1
Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)

This essay question is designed to evaluate your character and how you handle a challenge. The obstacle is not as important as the lesson, so consider moments in your life when you changed perspective or learned how to solve problems as a result of a difficult situation. A challenge does not need to be a dramatic difficulty.

No one has a completely smooth road to success, and it is often the obstacles that clarify your true passions and lead to growth. Leaders are not always perfect when difficulties arise, so even if you made mistakes along the way it is likely you learned from them. The bulk of this short essay should focus on how you overcame the obstacle and what you learned that has prepared you to solve problems or handle challenges. To get to the heart of what you learned consider how you would approach a similar difficulty now and what you might advise a friend going through the same thing.

Essay 2
Leadership requires an ability to collaborate with and motivate others. Describe a professional experience that required you to influence people. What did this experience teach you about working with others, and how will it make you a better leader? (450 words)

This behavioral question requires a very specific example to work effectively. The intention for this question is to see an example of a past experience that indicates how you will behave in the future, potentially when you must lead at Kellogg and in your future career. Make sure you include details about exactly what you did and said in your leadership story.

Collaborative leadership is an important value to the Kellogg MBA program and the situation you describe should demonstrate what people skills you bring to a team. When Kellogg asks about influencing others the question gets at whether you have the empathetic skills to understand other people, or if you believe you can persuade others through debate or force. Leaders have many differing styles and this question is meant to unearth yours. Showing the ability to persuade and influence in an honest and collaborative way will be a winning approach to this essay.

Dual-degree applicants
For applicants to the MMM or JD-MBA dual degree programs, please explain why that program is right for you. (250 words)

Doing your research on Kellogg MBA’s academics and resources will help you answer the question about why you need a dual degree to achieve your goals. If you are applying to the MMM program, you’ll have to show how the MEM degree will prepare you more effectively for your career goals than the MBA alone. Be able to articulate what is different about the Kellogg MMM program as compared to the MBA and other joint degrees. Know the classes you want to take, the professors you hope to work for, and how the MMM experience will be an asset in your future career.

Similarly, the JD-MBA at Kellogg is a highly competitive admissions process and will require a very clear explanation of what you will do with both degrees after school. Consider the unique attributes of the Kellogg JD-MBA program as compared to others, and also why you specifically need both a JD and an MBA.

Re-Applicants Only
Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)

In answering this question make sure you provide tangible evidence that you have improved the overall package you are submitting this year. Improvements like GMAT score or new quantitative classes are especially tangible, but a promotion, increase in responsibility at work, a job change or even a change of goals and mission can apply.

Additional Information (Optional)
If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)

If there are any areas of concern, this is the correct place to address them. Strike an upbeat tone here and avoid excuses. 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.

Low GPA issues should be explained here, and if there is a grade of C or below on your transcript the admissions committee will want to know why and feel comfortable it is an outlier in your overall academic record. For academic questions make sure you emphasize your improved performance either later in your college career or in subsequent work or classes since college.

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Emory Business School 2014-2015 Deadlines Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:36:20 +0000 ]]> Emory’s Goitzueta Business School has posted the deadlines for the upcoming MBA admissions cycle.

Round 1
Deadline: October 1, 2014
Decision: December 4, 2014

Round 2
Deadline: November 14, 2014
Decision: January 29, 2015

Round 3
Deadline: January 9, 2015
Decision: March 5, 2015 (domestic), March 13, 2015 (international)

Round 4
Deadline: March 13, 2015
Decision: May 1, 2015

For more information, please visit the Emory MBA admissions website.

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Uncover the Hidden Costs of an MBA Education Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:05:02 +0000 ]]> This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on

Almost every business school publishes an official cost of attendance figure, but getting an MBA could cost you thousands more.

From experiential learning trips to club dues to interviewing for jobs, there are costs that your school may not advertise. And whether you’re applying to business school or have already been accepted, it’s up to you to plan for these fees.

Additionally, there are many costs that you may incur long before you get an acceptance letter. Many people overlook the true costs of the application process, or at least don’t have a complete picture.

The costs of researching schools, taking the GMAT and submitting your applications may seem obvious and easy to plan for. However, not so obvious costs of a great application include the price of visiting your target schools to strengthen your application, as well as traveling to events hosted by the schools’ admissions committees. If you use test prep services and admissions consultants, you could easily run up bills for several thousands of dollars before you even submit your applications.

When you do accept a spot in an MBA program, you’ll need to take a closer look at your chosen school’s COA calculation. This figure encompasses all of the costs that your school believes a student will incur in a given year, and is used to set the maximum amount of financial aid – in the form of scholarships or loans –  that your school will certify for your use.

However, you should take this figure with some caution. For instance, not every school includes the cost of living with a partner or supporting a dependent, and often do not cover the expenses associated with international courses and projects or other immersive learning experiences.

Another potential pitfall of COAs is that they only include expenses for the school calendar year. For many students, a key part of the MBA experience is a paid summer internship, often in another city or across the country, and its stipend may not cover transportation and moving expenses.

If you’re planning to take a lower-paying internship at a startup or nonprofit or potential start your own company over the summer, room and board costs alone may exceed your income for the summer. Remember that you may need to also purchase appropriate interview attire for landing that new gig.

There are certainly other expenses your COA may not cover. While these are largely tied to lifestyle costs, the value of building a strong social network of your MBA peers can’t be overstated.

Be critical when reviewing a school’s miscellaneous and even broad spending categories. If you join a handful of clubs, as nearly every MBA student does, note that dues run about $50 to $150 for each organization, and some club events may come with additional costs.

There are also the expenses of once-in-a-lifetime retreats, trips and dues for your class, cohort or section, not to mention dinners and drinks with new friends.

As one Harvard Business School student recalls, “I didn’t realize how much all of the club dues, trips and social events would add up. While they are technically optional, you don’t want to cut them out because they are part of the experience and they help build friendships.”

All these assorted extra fees don’t necessarily mean that an MBA isn’t worth it. Start creating your budget as soon as you’re accepted into your target program, and contact your financial aid office if you have any questions.

Financial aid officers can be a wonderful resource for new students. They are on your side, and have a lot of experience with a wide variety of different student financial situations. CommonBond, which lends to MBA students at many programs in the U.S., has a nifty calculator that allows you to add in additional costs to your COA and build a custom budget specific for your needs.

Also, vet your financial aid options and student loan lenders carefully so that you can rest assured that, if you do ultimately need to increase your spending during the year, you can do so hassle-free. Business school can be an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience – there’s no reason you can’t enjoy it to the fullest if you go in with your eyes open.

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