Tag Archives: Chicago Booth

MBA as Great Equalizer for Women

Although US Labor statistics still report women’s wages lag behind their male counterparts at 81 cents on the dollar, Forté Foundation‘s Elissa Ellis Sangster believes the gap could well shrink as more women enter the upper …

Although US Labor statistics still report women’s wages lag behind their male counterparts at 81 cents on the dollar, Forté Foundation‘s Elissa Ellis Sangster believes the gap could well shrink as more women enter the upper echelons of business management upon earning an MBA degree.

In addition to opening up new career opportunities for women, who are more likely than men to switch careers, an MBA could boost a woman’s lifetime earning potential by $3 million, Forté Foundation has found.

While this is encouraging news, Sangster’s recent editorial in the Financial Times notes that the problem continues to be lower enrollment levels for women at the world’s elite business schools.

University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School sets the record among top programs with a 42 percent female Class of 2015, while 41 percent are women at Harvard Business School. At Stanford Graduate School of Business, women represent 36 percent of the entering class, and at Chicago Booth School of Business, women make up just 35 percent of the Class of 2015.

To encourage more women to pursue an MBA, Sangster believes the key, among other efforts, is early exposure to business careers, and getting more women to major in business at the undergraduate level.

Also, business needs to become more responsive to the needs of both women and men for flexibility that helps balance employee’s personal and professional lives.

“Statistic after statistic show that women are good for business, but business is lagging behind in returning the favour,” Sangster writes. “While not a magic bullet, an MBA can boost earning potential and open up a broad range of opportunities for women. We just need to make sure that they get the memo.”

You can read Sangster’s editorial in its entirety at the Financial Times.

 

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Evaluate in Which Round to Submit Your B-School Application

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf This …

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com – See more at: http://www.stacyblackman.com/2013/07/08/dont-ignore-a-low-gpa-in-b-school-applications/#sthash.ThWkBFpR.dpuf

This post originally appeared on Stacy's "Strictly Business" MBA Blog on U.S.News.com

I field questions every admissions season from clients about when to submit business school applications. They ask if they have a better shot in round two rather than round one, or if it's even worth submitting in the final round.

Schools regularly address this question on admissions blogs, but seldom provide insight beyond the standard advice of applying whenever you can put forth the strongest application.

I polled several consultants on my team and while there may be no definitive answer, I believe you'll find their feedback informative.

Applying in round one: First-round applicants tend to be extremely well-prepared candidates who have known they want to go to business school for awhile. They have spent considerable effort preparing for the GMAT, cultivating extracurricular activities and seeking out leadership opportunities either at work or in volunteer settings.

Early applications show serious interest and planning. In this round, you may have the greatest statistical chance, since you're only being compared to the current candidate pool.

In fact, a former Chicago Booth School of Business admissions committee member says the committee accepted 65 percent of Booth's students during this round.

For applicants to second-tier schools, the top 20 to 40, applying in the first round conveys that the school is a top choice and could result in a scholarship, says a former committee member at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business.

Applying early also allows you to submit applications to other programs in later rounds if you're not admitted in round one. Programs with an early action or early decision round, such as the Tuck School of Business and Columbia Business School, value the commitment shown by applying ahead of the crowd.

An ex-Tuck admissions committee member shared reports that showed early action applications were up 30 percent this year. Since Tuck's class size is so small, earlier truly is your best shot.

Likewise, a consultant formerly with Columbia admissions says if you're committed to Columbia Business School, you should absolutely apply in the early decision round, as it's the only school with a binding decision. Columbia will also frequently offer applicants a spot in the January start if September is full.

In the end, there are more slots available in round one and more opportunities to be placed on the waitlist if that's the route the admissions committee decides to take, says a former Duke Fuqua School of Business admissions committee member.

On the other hand, a lot of strong applications come in during the first round, says one former Wharton School admissions staffer. According to an ex-Kellogg admissions committee member, you're more likely to be wait-listed for this round versus round two.

If you need to demonstrate your commitment to improving your quantitative profile by taking additional course work, or believe you can perform significantly better on the GMAT, you probably should wait for a later round.

Applying in round two: Second-round applicants have the advantage of visiting campus in the fall, which can help tremendously when it comes to drafting compelling essays and demonstrating that all-important fit with your target schools.

The general population tends to apply in this round, so it may be more favorable for candidates with less-than-perfect backgrounds, says the former Kellogg admissions committee representative. If you're accepted in this round, you'll have plenty of time to start preparing for this next phase of your life, from leaving a job to moving.

This is when most of the seats fill up, explains a former Wharton admissions committee member, so accepted candidates have a chance to participate in a welcome weekend and make a sound decision on a school. On the flip side, rejected applicants will have time to start strategizing their applications for the next year, notes one ex-Chicago Booth admissions member.

Round two receives the highest number of applications, which makes competition fierce as candidates are compared with the round two pool as well as the accepted candidates from first round. Your application may not stand out as much if you have a common profile, warns a former Wharton admissions committee member.

The increased volume may also mean longer processing times, and some schools might wait-list applicants they never had a chance to interview. Also, says an ex-Kellogg admissions committee, applicants are less likely to be wait-listed or get in off the waitlist.

Applying in round three: Round three is the trickiest time to apply, as almost all b-school seats have been filled and programs are waiting for stellar candidates who will help round out the class profile. While schools encourage students with a solid application to apply in the final round, they candidly admit it is uber-competitive and often counsel including an optional essay to explain why you've waited.

While it's better to submit a strong application in the final round than a weak one in round two, applying with a generic background is far less compelling at this point. It was almost impossible to find a consultant to endorse applying during this round.

One former admissions employee explains that people best suited for this round have a highly unique background that would truly add to the class. A former admissions committee member from the Haas School of Business says there were admission spots available at the end because by that time, the school knew who had already accepted offers elsewhere.

Aside from the potential drawbacks of having no choice but to interview on-campus and miss out on welcome weekends, our ex-Chicago Booth insider reveals that programs say this round is reserved for wait-listed candidates and the "superhuman," such as, for example, the Olympic gold medalist from Cameroon. Statistically speaking, one's chances are slim.

The bottom line: There are many outside factors that come into play when it comes to making admissions decisions. It can depend on who reads your file, their mood and what other applications they read that day, notes the former Haas representative.

Everything else being equal, I would always advise a client to apply as early as possible to any program, so long as you aren't sacrificing the quality of your application.

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Tuesday Tips: Chicago Booth MBA Application Example

Today, we’re going to provide insight into the admissions process by discussing an MBA application example. The updated Chicago Booth Essay Questions are posted for this admissions season, along with the deadlines. The overall goal …

Today, we’re going to provide insight into the admissions process by discussing an MBA application example. The updated Chicago Booth Essay Questions are posted for this admissions season, along with the deadlines. The overall goal of this application is to evaluate candidates on their ability to handle the Chicago curriculum, contribute to the community, and grow in their careers. We hope the following MBA application example will be of help.

Academic ability will largely be communicated through your GPA/GMAT, transcripts and other fixed data points, though intellectual curiosity can be demonstrated in essays and the interview. Community focuses on your demonstrated leadership, team building skills and community involvement, as well as your fit with Chicago Booth and the perspective you will share with your classmates. All MBA candidates are ultimately looking for a degree that will enhance their career. Chicago Booth wants to know about your track record of success, expectations for the MBA, and plans for the future.

Chicago Booth’s open-ended power point example question is back this year, and confounds many candidates. This year you have the opportunity to write an essay rather than preparing a power point presentation. Either way, take a step back from the unique format and think about the question strategically. The power point format simply gives you the freedom to express that answer in words, images, graphics or some combination. The best presentations will be simple, evocative and expressive. Remember, content is far more important than creativity of presentation.

1 – MBA Application Example Essay
What are your short- and long-term goals, and how will an MBA from Chicago Booth help you reach them? (500 words)

Re-applicants only: Upon reflection, how has your thinking regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words)

As you explain what your goals are and incorporate your background into that discussion, make sure you describe both why you made the choices you did, and think about why you didn’t make other choices. Self-awareness about your career goals will go far to distinguish you in this essay.

When you address how a Chicago Booth MBA will help you reach your short and long-term goals, think about the specific classes and programs at Chicago Booth that appeal to you. Are you looking for flexible program? International experiences? How will these aspects of the program fit with your future career goals?

If you are reapplying, make sure you have done the work to evaluate your candidacy and have made changes this time around. The word reflection is explicit in the question, and the admissions committee will be looking for your revised thinking as well as any new accomplishments you can describe. This is your opportunity to show the admissions committee why Chicago is a great fit for you and your refined career goals.

2 – MBA Application Example Short Answer Essays
a. What has been your biggest challenge, and what have you learned from it? (200 words maximum)
b. Tell us about something that has fundamentally transformed the way you think. (200 words maximum)

New this year to the Chicago Booth application are two brief questions that require focus. We’re going to discuss this Booth MBA application example short essay. With only 200 words to address question one, you will need to present your example of the challenge very quickly and then use some of the space to talk about what you learned. This question provides an opportunity to demonstrate your maturity, flexibility and leadership qualities. As you consider what to write about, think about challenges that taught you something about yourself and provided insight into your decisions about career and life.

Chicago is a school with a tradition of intellectual rigor, and the second short answer focuses on how your thinking has evolved over time. This question gives you an opportunity to discuss something that has changed your thinking fundamentally. This could be an experience at work, home, or in an extracurricular activity. It could even be a travel experience or something that you saw someone else go through. For example, perhaps a trip to another country changed fundamentally your ideas about society and economics. Or watching a family member struggle with an illness convinced you that preserving health was a fundamental goal of your own life. Whatever the experience was, make sure you are able to succinctly describe it and the way it changed your thinking.

3 – MBA Application Example Presentation/Essay
The Chicago experience will take you deeper into issues, force you to challenge assumptions, and broaden your perspective. In a four-slide presentation or an essay of no more than 600 words, broaden our perspective about who you are. Understanding what we currently know about you from the application, what else would you like us to know?

This creative essay offers you a blank slate to express yourself with any content you choose. When approaching the question focus first on content, and then on delivery.

This is the ideal opportunity to bring in any aspect of your overall story that does not fit in any other essay. Think about the aspects of leadership, teamwork and intellectual curiosity you have already presented in the previous essays, and where the gaps are. If you wrote about your professional experiences in the prior essays, essay three could focus on personal stories.

If you decide to write an essay response, you have enough space to tell a story that describes something new about yourself.

If you decide to prepare a power point in response to this essay question, refine your story to its key elements. Four slides is a limited amount of space to communicate a lot of detail. Can you use photos? Drawings? If you use words, keep them clear and focused. Take every point up a level, so you are communicating a vision rather than a thesis.

We hope this MBA application example was of help. Struggling with your Chicago Booth MBA essays? Stacy Blackman Consulting can help – contact us to learn more.

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Chicago Booth Waitlist Update

Waitlisted candidates at the Chicago Booth School of Business may be feeling some uncertainty regarding the next steps in the process right about now.  Associate Director of Admissions Carrie Lydon urges such applicants to take …

Waitlisted candidates at the Chicago Booth School of Business may be feeling some uncertainty regarding the next steps in the process right about now.  Associate Director of Admissions Carrie Lydon urges such applicants to take heart—the waitlist is a good place to be, she says—and attempts to clarify matters while highlighting some changes Booth has made to the process this year.

In the latest update to the MBA admissions blog, Lydon reveals that the school has introduced a waitlist enrollment form which allows candidates to immediately opt in or out of the waitlist. “This allows you to decide what is best for you,” Lydon says, “and helps us better understand who is genuinely interested in remaining on the waitlist.” The enrollment form isn’t binding and you can withdraw from it at any time by emailing admissions@chicagobooth.edu.

Those candidates who accept a place on the waitlist will have their application considered for admission again in Round 2 and will receive an updated decision on March 21, 2012, the final decision date for that round. Most applicants will hear a definitive answer by that point, though it’s possible to remain on the waitlist through Round 3, Lydon notes.

Chicago Booth invites candidates to submit relevant updates regarding their candidacy should these additional materials provide insight into their qualifications and strength of fit with the school. Another new, optional feature this year is the ability to upload a 90-second video for the admissions committee.

“In the age of digital media, we recognize that video is a common tool of communication, and want to provide any interested candidate with the opportunity to use it,” Lydon explains. This medium is ideal for candidates who would like to create a personal connection in lieu of visiting campus, and is completely open in terms of content.

While the waitlist may be a frustrating place to be, applicants should view it as a positive sign of the strength of their application. With patience, such candidates may be fortunate enough to receive final admission from their chosen program.

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Tuesday Tips: Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips

The updated Chicago Booth Essay Questions are posted for this admissions season, along with the deadlines . The admissions committee has provided some tips to make sure you approach the questions as they would prefer. …

The updated Chicago Booth Essay Questions are posted for this admissions season, along with the deadlines . The admissions committee has provided some tips to make sure you approach the questions as they would prefer. The overall goal of this application is to evaluate you on clear criteria around your ability to handle curriculum, contribute to the community, and your career potential. Curriculum refers to your demonstrated academic ability, and will largely be communicated through your GPA/GMAT, transcripts and other fixed data points, though intellectual curiosity can be demonstrated in essays and the interview. Community focuses on your demonstrated leadership, team building skills and community involvement, as well as your fit with Chicago Booth and the perspective you will share with your classmates. All MBA candidates are ultimately looking for a degree that will enhance their career. Chicago Booth wants to know about your track record of success, expectations for the MBA, and plans for the future.

Chicago Booth’s famous power point question is back this year, and confounds many candidates. Take a step back from the unique format and think about the question as if it was an essay. The power point format simply gives you the freedom to express that answer in words, images, graphics or some combination. The best presentations will be simple, evocative and expressive. Remember, content is far more important than creativity of presentation.

Chicago Booth 2011-2012 essay questions
Essay One: What are your short and long-term goals, and how will a Chicago Booth MBA help you reach them? (600 words)

Re-applicant Essay:
Upon reflection, how has your thinking regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words)

As you explain what your goals are and incorporate your background into that discussion, make sure you describe both why you made the choices you did, and think about why you didn’t make other choices. Self-awareness about your career and goals will go far to distinguish you in this essay.

When you address how a Chicago Booth MBA will help you reach your short and long-term goals, think about the specific classes and programs at Chicago Booth that appeal to you. Are you looking for flexible program? International experiences? How will these aspects of the program fit with your future career goals?
If you are reapplying, make sure you have done the work to evaluate your candidacy and have made changes this time around. The word reflection is explicit in the question, and the admissions committee will be looking for your revised thinking as well as any new accomplishments you can describe. This is your opportunity to show the adcomm why Chicago is a great fit for you and your refined career goals.

Essay Two:
At Chicago Booth, we believe each individual has his or her own leadership style. How has your family, culture, and/or environment influenced you as a leader? (750 words)

This question is the ideal place to describe what sets you apart from every other applicant, and to address the “community” part of the Chicago Booth Criteria. Leadership is often a result of your own personality and background. Think about your early experiences that may have shaped the way you approach leading others. If you have worked or lived across cultures that is always a strong leadership attribute that could be described. If your experiences have been more typical, think about what your family and cultural background has contributed to your approach in key interpersonal situations.

Leadership is very much about self-awareness and your relationship to others. If you can provide one or two examples that clearly show your own leadership style and how it was forged, this essay will be successful.

Slide Presentation
Essay Three:
Considering what you’ve already included in the application, what else should we know about you? In a maximum of four slides, tell us about yourself.

The power point question offers you a blank slate to express yourself with any content you choose. When approaching the question focus first on content, and then on delivery.

This is the ideal opportunity to bring in any aspect of your overall story that does not fit in any other essay. Think about the aspects of leadership, team work and intellectual curiosity you have already presented in the previous essays, and where the gaps are. If you wrote about your professional leadership in essay 2, consider a personal or community story in essay 3.

To present the content effectively in a power point or pdf slide, refine your story to its key elements. Four slides is limited space to communicate a lot of detail, and you are discouraged from simply pasting an essay into the slides. Can you use photos? Drawings? If you use words, keep them clear and focused. Take every point up a level, so you are communicating a vision rather than a thesis.

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SBC Scoop: Crafting Credibility for a Family Business Applicant

Ahmed was the son of a self-made billionaire who owned a real estate empire in the Middle East. When Ahmed started thinking about business school he decided to work with Stacy Blackman Consulting because he …

Ahmed was the son of a self-made billionaire who owned a real estate empire in the Middle East. When Ahmed started thinking about business school he decided to work with Stacy Blackman Consulting because he saw his experience within the family business, largely working directly for family members, as his largest challenge in the application process.

In reality having work experience and goals that center around a family business can be a huge asset to an MBA application. After all, family business applicants are guaranteed to have a job after graduation, which minimizes any placement stress for the career services office! On a serious note, having a leadership role in your family business can be just as impressive as working for a stranger if you position your experience and recommenders correctly.

Ahmed had strong numbers with a 3.6 GPA from Cornell and a 720 GMAT that was balanced between quant and verbal. He had demonstrated leadership in college, specifically as the President of the International Student Program Board, with a mission to develop international cultural experiences for Cornell students. Ahmed had immediately returned to his family business upon graduation, and he had never worked for any other organization professionally.

We addressed his recommenders immediately upon starting our work together. Ahmed worked closely with his father, the CEO, yet we advised that an immediate family member would look biased if he wrote the recommendation.

Ahmed’s career path within his father’s real estate empire was impressive by any measure, and I was immediately excited to help craft his story when he recounted his work history. Ahmed started as part of the strategic acquisitions team and learned how to structure deals and operate within a challenging political environment to achieve the company’s business goals in commercial real estate. Ahmed had a vision for expanding the company into temporary housing and hotels to serve a growing expatriate worker population, and pitched the board an idea to develop their first apartment building. When his pitch was approved Ahmed moved from an analyst role to supervising construction, sales and operations of the apartment property. His building was an immediate success, after Ahmed’s team signed corporate relocation deals at a higher profit than the region’s average. Ahmed now wanted to return to school for his MBA with a long term goal to run the residential division of the family business and drive rapid growth. Ultimately Ahmed was positioned to take over the entire business from his father.

While Ahmed’s work history was impressive, he needed the confirmation of unbiased outside observers to give his work experience credibility. We had to delve into Ahmed’s work history within the firm to generate a list of possible recommenders who were not family members. After two brainstorming sessions we finalized the following list:

The firm’s head counsel ”“ he was not part of the family, but did report into Ahmed’s father
An independent business consultant who had worked with Ahmed on several acquisitions ”“ he was not a direct report of Ahmed’s father, but did have a vested interest in working with the company again
The banker who worked with Ahmed’s company to finance big deals ”“ again, not directly related to the company but invested in its success

We determined that these three professionals were the most unbiased of the possibilities, and had the added benefit of being unrelated to Ahmed. In the end he used the consultant and banker as references for Wharton, Chicago and Kellogg, and used all three recommendations for Harvard. For Stanford he asked the banker, consultant and a classmate who had worked with Ahmed as part of the International Student Program Board for a peer recommendation.

In addition to formulating a strong recommender strategy for Ahmed, we showcased his strong results for the business by quantifying the revenue his new division generated for the business. Luckily his numbers were impressive and the combination of strong leadership skills, business acumen, and independent recommendations earned Ahmed an admit to Harvard.

To read more SBC Case Studies, click HERE.

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