Tag Archives: Dartmouth Tuck

Why B-Schools Need to Teach PR

This post originally appeared on the U.S. News–Strictly Business blog. According to a new study, many American business leaders regard recent M.B.A. grads as ill-prepared to manage corporate crises due to a lack of strategic …

This post originally appeared on the U.S. News–Strictly Business blog.

According to a new study, many American business leaders regard recent M.B.A. grads as ill-prepared to manage corporate crises due to a lack of strategic communication and reputation management skills. To combat this, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has launched an M.B.A. Initiative aimed at incorporating more public relations coursework into b-school curricula to better prepare future C-suite executives for handling the evolving reputational challenges they will face.

Commissioned by PRSA and funded by the public relations firm MWW Group, the Kelton Research study found that 93 percent of business leaders believe public relations is just as important to their companies as other forms of communication, including advertising and marketing.

“The need for these skills has never been greater,” notes MWW Group President and CEO Michael Kempner on his personal blog. “With social media driving the conversation, what used to be considered a small setback can now turn into a major PR disaster in a matter of minutes.”

While 59 percent of business leaders say their companies have hired recent M.B.A. grads within the last three years, only four in 10 find the skill sets of these grads to be extremely strong in the areas of building and protecting the company’s reputation (41 percent) and credibility (40 percent). Nearly all executives (98 percent) believe that business schools should incorporate instruction on corporate communications and reputation management strategy into M.B.A. curricula.

“If you ask business executives how important organizational and brand reputation are to their jobs, they’re likely to answer ‘extremely,'” says Anthony D’Angelo, co-chair of PRSA’s M.B.A. Initiative along with Ray Crockett, retired Coca-Cola communications director. “The difficulty is, if you ask them how much formal education””however basic””they’ve had in these disciplines, the answer usually falls between very little and a blank stare.”

A Businessweek article on the subject earlier in 2011 identifies the main reason elite M.B.A. programs aren’t doing a stellar job of preparing students for future responsibilities in reputation management. A paltry 16 percent of top-ranked schools “offer a single course in crisis and conflict management, strategic communications, public relations, or whatever label one chooses to describe management of a precious organizational asset: reputation,” according to the article.

To help address this lack of training, PRSA has created a turn-key program based on course curricula developed over three decades by Paul Argenti, professor of corporate communications at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. The class will include lessons on communication strategy, media relations, international corporate responsibility, reputation management, and investor relations.

Developed with the support of the Arthur W. Page Society, the course incorporates flexible full-semester, mini-semester, and seminar formats, thus increasing the likelihood of adoption by the nation’s M.B.A. programs.

Argenti believes that now is the perfect time for M.B.A. programs to place a greater emphasis on strategic communication and reputation management studies.

“It’s exciting to think of Tuck’s enduring and successful approach to corporate communication getting recognition and acceptance in the wider business school community,” Argenti says. “We look forward to working with PRSA and its partners to help spread the message about the imperative for today’s business leaders to understand reputation and corporate communication strategy and methodology.”

PRSA says it’s in the process of identifying four charter schools, in addition to the Tuck School of Business, to take part in a pilot program, through which the schools will formally integrate the public relations course into their M.B.A. programs for their fall 2012 semesters. PRSA set a timeline to launch the initiative with M.B.A. programs nationwide in 2013.

Public relations should be taught right up there with accounting and talent management, says Kempner, who feels PR is as intrinsic to a business strategy as the advertising budget, finances, or inventory. “Business schools have the opportunity and a responsibility to graduate well-rounded leaders, who have all the tools in their toolbox, including a core set of public relations skills.”

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Tuesday Tips – Dartmouth Tuck MBA Essay Tips

The Dartmouth Tuck School of Business has a small student body and a rural location, combined with a world class faculty and academic focus. As expressed on the website, “Tuck is well known for fostering …

The Dartmouth Tuck School of Business has a small student body and a rural location, combined with a world class faculty and academic focus. As expressed on the website, “Tuck is well known for fostering a close-knit community. This is not merely a feel-good exercise but a conscious strategy to build and refine the values of collaboration, support, respect, and stewardship.” As you approach your Dartmouth Tuck MBA application it will be important to consistently show how you will fit into these values of teamwork and collaboration and bring your own unique perspective to the unique community.

If you are targeting the Round One deadline on October 12th, you may be thinking about how to approach this set of Tuck School of Business essay questions.

Setting strategy is your best first step. Clearly assess which of Tuck’s desired traits are ones that you can demonstrate through your own experience. What are the areas you want to communicate to the Tuck Business School admissions committee? Which essays work best for a work example or a community service example? Be sure to provide specific examples for each essay. Real life experiences are your best evidence of leadership qualities, teamwork skills and management potential.

While Tuck Business School does not specify a word limit, the 500-word guidance should be adhered to. Generally 10% plus or minus the word limit suggestion is reasonable when there is no formal limit.

1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you? (If you are applying for a joint or dual degree, please explain how the additional degree will contribute to those goals.)
This standard career goals question requires you to clearly outline your short- and long-term career goals. Your short term goals are the aspirations you have for your job immediately after graduation, while your long-term goals may be 10 or 20 years after you complete your MBA. In this relatively short essay you will need to explain what you have been pursuing in your career thus far, and why you need an MBA at this point in your life, along with your career goals.

“Why Tuck Business School” is an important aspect to this essay, and your opportunity to demonstrate fit. Make sure you have researched the school’s programs and determined your education will suit your plans. By reaching out to current students and alumni you will gain crucial insights that will provide a personal perspective on the culture of the school.

2. Discuss your most meaningful leadership experience. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?
This essay is similar to Kellogg’s leadership essay. As in the Kellogg essay, you will want to define your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. What are you good at, and what do you hope to develop at Tuck Business School? Unlike the Kellogg essay, this version requires that you describe one specific example that illustrates your leadership challenges and strengths. When you contemplate your most meaningful leadership experience, it may not be the most impressive example. Think about the leadership opportunities that led to a deeper understanding of yourself and others, and may have resulted in definition of your strengths or an improvement in your weaknesses.

The example you choose can be from work or community involvement, as “great leadership can be accomplished in the pursuit or business and societal goals.” You will need to adhere to the Tuck School of Business definition of leadership and include a team-based aspect to your example. As you describe your leadership experience, make sure you explain how you were able to inspire and enable others to accomplish.

3. Describe a circumstance in your life in which you faced adversity, failure, or setback. What actions did you take as a result and what did you learn from this experience?
This question is your opportunity to show how you handle challenging situations. Everyone faces adversity, failure or setbacks at work or in personal life, and it is how you decide to react that demonstrates your character. Revealing your emotions and thought process along with your actions in this essay will provide a window into how you process difficult experiences and emerge from them with a new direction. Think back to Tuck Business School’s criteria, and consider using this essay to either demonstrate your interpersonal skills (if your challenge was of the interpersonal variety) or to show something from your background or experience that is unique.

When brainstorming for this essay think first about what you learned from the situation, and then work backwards to describe the circumstances and the initial challenge or hurdle, that will help you see the whole situation from a more optimistic viewpoint. Is there a learning from the experience that impacted your life or carried a thread through your character, goals or accomplishments?

4. Tuck seeks candidates of various backgrounds who can bring new perspectives to our community. How will your unique personal history, values, and/or life experiences contribute to the culture at Tuck?
This question provides you with an opportunity to describe why you are different from other applicants. Do you have a unique background? Unusual work experience? Or have you demonstrated a consistent history of community involvement? The part of your application strategy that is most unique and surprising should be described here.

Once you have determined what is special about your candidacy, you need to tie your personal history, values and/or life experiences to how you will interact with your fellow students at Tuck Business School. The most obvious approach is to outline the clubs and organizations you will contribute to. Beyond formal groups, you may contribute your unique perspective to the classroom, provide networking opportunities in your industry to your classmates, or mentor your fellow students.

5. (Optional) Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.
This is your opportunity to discuss any perceived weaknesses in your application such as low GPA or gaps in your work experience. When approaching a question of this nature, focus on explanations rather than excuses and explain what you have done since the event you are explaining to demonstrate your academic ability, or management potential. If you do not have a weakness to explain, this may be an opportunity to address any additional facet of your application strategy you have not been able to illuminate in previous questions. There is no requirement to complete this question, and it would be wise to use the space for something truly new and important to your application that has not been addressed elsewhere.

Posted in Application Tips, Dartmouth Tuck Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Advice for Reapplicants from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business

If you’ve applied to Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business in the past but were not successful in obtaining admission, a recent blog posting by Patricia Harrison, an associate director of admissions at Tuck, has terrific …

If you’ve applied to Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business in the past but were not successful in obtaining admission, a recent blog posting by Patricia Harrison, an associate director of admissions at Tuck, has terrific advice and words of consolation that can guide you no matter where you are reapplying.

While some schools, such as INSEAD, are not especially keen on reapplicants, Harrison says Tuck welcomes b-school hopefuls who try to gain admission again”¦with the caveat that they have got to show they’ve made a sincere effort to improve upon their previous application and strengthened their candidacy.

Improved how? Perhaps by brushing up on your quantitative skills by taking additional classes in financial accounting, statistics and microeconomics; a stronger GMAT score; more leadership experience; and clearly stated career goals that explain how Tuck fits into your grand plan. The goal, says Harrison, is to show how much you’ve accomplished since your application last crossed the admissions desk.

“In terms of work experience, again there is no magic number as to how many years you must have, but if you are only a year or two out of school, you might want to think about waiting a little longer to reapply until you get some more experience under your belt,” she advises. Whether your employment history is brief or lengthy, it is crucial to show the quality of the experience.

Unclear goals and/or reasons for wanting to come to Tuck is something we see from a lot of applicants, says Harrison. That’s why how you explain your short and long-term goals is so important–and short-term means want you want to do post-MBA, not simply getting into b-school, she clarifies, adding that, “While we don’t need to see your life plan down to the most specific detail, having a good sense of where you are heading is important.”

Like all programs, it’s important to connect the dots as to how an MBA is going to help you further your career goals, and why, in this case, Tuck is the place to do so. “Talk about unique programs we offer that are related to your area of interest or how the community will support your plans,” Harrison advises.

For more tips from the admissions committee at Tuck School of Business, including procedural information for those reapplying, follow this link. I’ve also recently written about reapplying to business school on my US News–Strictly Business blog; you can read the article here.

 

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SBC Scoop: A Nonprofit Success Story

Top MBA programs are filled with students who have a traditional business background in fields like management consulting and finance, or with experience in large corporate environments. Applicants who pursued nonprofit or social enterprise work …

Top MBA programs are filled with students who have a traditional business background in fields like management consulting and finance, or with experience in large corporate environments. Applicants who pursued nonprofit or social enterprise work after undergrad are often less likely to return to school for a high priced professional degree like an MBA, though top MBA programs are always interested in the diversity of experience offered by nonprofit applicants. If you are approaching an MBA application with a nonprofit background, Peter’s story might help you think about how to approach your own application strategy.

Peter signed up with Stacy Blackman Consulting seeking advice about how to frame his nonprofit arts management background for HBS, Tuck, Kellogg and NYU applications. His degree was in Art History from a small liberal arts college on the west coast, and most of his classmates had pursued PhDs for a career in academia. Peter had always been interested in combining his creative approach with a team based environment, and didn’t see a future researching and teaching at the University level. Through a family friend he was able to land an entry level position at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the arts education group. Though he enjoyed spending time with art lovers and learning the museum business, he used his free time to explore his desire to lead teams to a common goal. Peter started a small collective with some of his artist friends, who were not established in the art world. The purpose of the collective was to promote the artists’ work as well as outreach programs to NYC public school kids as the city’s budget cuts impacted arts education.

Peter’s background and initiative was impressive. His career was on a strong trajectory within MoMA and his volunteer activities were going well, but Peter wanted to pursue entrepreneurial activity within the arts world more aggressively and decided to pursue an MBA.
Our challenge with Peter’s application, like many non-traditional applicants, was that we needed to highlight how well Peter would fit in with his peers, despite a very different career thus far. While many traditional MBA applicants need to differentiate, Peter needed to demonstrate how well suited he was for a competitive MBA program.

The first hurdle was to overcome Peter’s less quantitative academic background. He had achieved a 3.8 GPA and a 690 GMAT score (after three tries), which we decided was a good academic profile for his demographic and background. We did want to make sure there were no questions about his ability to perform in a quantitative program. Rather than advising another try at the GMAT we suggested he take calculus and statistics. He did so and was able to earn As in both and submit those scores with his application to create a solid academic profile.

The softer aspect of fitting in was personal qualities and goals. Sitting down with Peter and discussing his leadership track record and aspirations, it was clear that Peter was a highly motivated, organized and ambitious person who was a clear fit for a top MBA program. Now we just needed to work on showcasing these traits and his fit with each specific school.
For his career goals essay we outlined Peter’s vision for his volunteer organization: to work with corporate arts programs and grow his collective into a social enterprise that created value for artists (allowing them to live on their work) while also providing arts education for urban children.

A natural network of people who have MBAs or are in MBA programs happens less frequently for applicants from a nonprofit background. We encouraged Peter to use his contacts in traditional business roles, who he had met in his volunteer activities and at MoMA, and to find alumni from each of his target schools to meet with. Peter spent several months working his network, and was able to meet with alumni from his target schools to discuss his goals and fit with the programs. This research was incorporated into his career goals and “why MBA” essays and made a huge difference in his results.

Peter was able to demonstrate leadership effectively by discussing how he formed and led his collective to achieve an impact in NYC schools and for its members, and he used his experience within a large museum to discuss his view of organization dynamics in nonprofits and how he wanted to use an MBA to design his own future organization.

Because of Peter’s drive, ambition, networking and strong story he ultimately gained admission to Tuck.

To read more SBC Case Studies, click HERE.

 

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Posted in Dartmouth Tuck Advice, SBC Scoop: Client Case Studies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

B-Schools Affected by Budget Deficits, Too

Though the labor protests in Wisconsin have focused our nation’s attention on state budget woes, many other organizations have been adversely affected by budget shortcomings, including top business schools.

Though the labor protests in Wisconsin have focused our nation’s attention on state budget woes, many other organizations have been adversely affected by budget shortcomings, including top business schools.

In the article “Business Schools Get Lean,” BusinessWeek‘s Francesca Di Meglio reported that many b-schools have been forced to reduce spending, due to decreased endowments and state cuts to higher education in the wake of the recent recession. Avoiding layoffs has been a priority for most schools, but could not always be avoided. Here are a few of the cutting-back strategies employed by the b-schools featured in the article:

Tuck School of Business – Reorganized existing tasks, such as centralizing the school’s recycling system, which saved labor hours. Also reduced travel in favor of technologies such as videoconferencing.

Chicago Booth School of Business – While Booth didn’t lay off existing faculty, the school held off on filling openings and has reduced its temporary and contract workers. Like Tuck, Booth has also cut its travel budget and implemented a policy requiring approval from the dean’s office for travel.

Wharton School of Business – One round of layoffs in executive education department. Renegotiated contracts with vendors and cut down on travel and entertainment expenses.

Harvard Business School – Turned off heating and cooling systems during non-business hours. According to Meghan Duggan, assistant director of sustainability and energy management at HBS, this simple action resulted in six-figure savings.

Program cuts aren’t the only concern for potential b-school students. As businesses also struggle with their budgets, many of them are cutting back on tuition assistance programs, another BusinessWeek article reports. In “Tuition Benefits Drying Up,” Erin Zlomek writes, “In 2010, 56 percent of employers offered graduate school assistance, down from 69 percent in 2003, according to annual benefits data collected by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).”

Posted in Chicago Booth Advice, Dartmouth Tuck Advice, General, Harvard Advice, UPenn Wharton Advice | Tagged , , , ,

Tuck Unveils Master of Health Care Delivery Science

Quality healthcare goes beyond the physician-patient relationship; it also requires efficiency that comes from a well-executed management plan. The June issue of Tuck Today profiles Dartmouth College president Dr. Jim Yong Kim, a medical doctor, …

Quality healthcare goes beyond the physician-patient relationship; it also requires efficiency that comes from a well-executed management plan. The June issue of Tuck Today profiles Dartmouth College president Dr. Jim Yong Kim, a medical doctor, anthropologist, and the co-founder of the nongovernmental organization Partners in Health. Kim believes delivering quality health care is one of the greatest challenges facing the next generation of business leaders.

To meet that challenge, Dartmouth’s president plans to harness the college’s vast resources””including Tuck’s management expertise.

The school recently announced the creation of a new master’s program of health care delivery science, geared for mid-career health care executives and offered as a cooperative effort between Tuck School of Business and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI). The program will likely include distance learning components in combination with the team-based residential learning that forms the bedrock of the Tuck experience.

“This is President Kim’s deep expertise and his deep interest,” says Tuck’s dean Paul Danos. “He’s done this for years at the highest level, and now he wants to take Tuck’s particular expertise, together with the science of health care outcomes available at TDI, to improve management of hospitals and clinics all over the world.”

Danos explains that the new program will leverage Tuck’s management and leadership training with TDI’s pioneering expertise in the science of measuring health care delivery and outcomes. “This is aimed at people who are already managing health care operations, so we don’t expect them to be here full-time the way an MBA student would be,” Danos says. “But we do want to imbue the program with the same teamwork, camaraderie, and cooperation that you get in the Tuck MBA.”

In keeping with Tuck’s strong emphasis on “action-learning projects,” the article explains that participants will work in teams to solve real organizational management issues, using what they learn from both Tuck and TDI faculty. Elements of Tuck’s new leadership curriculum emphasizing peer coaching and self-awareness will likely be integrated into the program as well, says senior associate dean Bob Hansen.

The program may launch as early as next year if all components fall into place. “We want to get the right mix of participants, working together on real projects. We’ll combine Tuck management knowledge and pedagogy, TDI’s research-based knowledge, leadership training, and action learning,” Hansen says. “That’s a powerful program.”

For more details on the Tuck Healthcare Initiative, its new courses, and president Kim’s plans in this area, follow this link to the original article.

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