Tag Archives: Harvard Business School
November 20, 2014
Are there specific tips and tactics just for women who are applying to business school? While it’s tempting to dismiss the existence of any gender differences in the application process or in student life, you …
Are there specific tips and tactics just for women who are applying to business school? While it’s tempting to dismiss the existence of any gender differences in the application process or in student life, you don’t have to look back very far to see just how controversial the subject still is.
Harvard Business School celebrated 50 years of women at the school in January 2014, and the occasion drew massive attention for the unexpected apology issued by HBS dean Nitin Nohria to female students and professors past and present for any sexist or offensive behavior they experienced at the revered business school.
Given this reality, I happily shared some of the advice we offer female applicants at Stacy Blackman Consulting for MBA Channel’s recent article, Applying to business school: What’s the right approach for women?
Obviously, these tips won’t apply for every female applicant. But there are certain demographic stereotypes that persist, and being on the lookout for these red flags just makes good sense.
I have had several clients with recommenders who have told them that they received calls from the admissions committee to probe on certain points. In particular: “is the applicant confident, will she speak up in class discussions, is she timid, etc…” Almost all of these anecdotes have occurred with female clients.
In the application process, it is critical to make sure that they exude that comfort and confidence. Essays, interviews and recommendations need to indicate a comfort level with speaking out, defending points of view, collaborating with all types of people.
An interview coach I worked with also had direction for women: don’t play with your hair, don’t fiddle with jewellery, don’t adjust your clothing – just focus on looking your interviewer straight in the eye and answering questions with complete focus and confidence.
Business schools have made significant efforts to increase female enrollment in recent years, and the numbers are much higher than when I was at Kellogg School of Management. Some male-dominated post-MBA career paths, such as finance, are more hungry for women as well. So a woman targeting finance may have an advantage over one pursuing a role in brand management. This is true in the MBA admissions process as well as in the job search.
If more women become interested in business school earlier in the pipeline, I think we’ll see the numbers continue to rise. Ultimately, better representation in the C-suite means more equality, which contributes to a stronger economy and ultimately a positive effect on society and the next generation of women.
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November 17, 2014
Harvard Business School‘s new digital learning initiative, HBX, held a closing ceremony earlier this month to formally mark the completion of its first offering, HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness). CORe is an interactive online program …
Harvard Business School‘s new digital learning initiative, HBX, held a closing ceremony earlier this month to formally mark the completion of its first offering, HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness).
CORe is an interactive online program specially designed by HBS faculty members and was first offered this summer to undergraduates and recent graduates interested in learning the fundamentals of business through a suite of three courses in Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting.
More than 100 of the nearly 500 participants who finished the nine-week CORe program and exam came to the Harvard Business School campus to take part in various activities and a ceremony, as well as the distribution of a credential recognizing successful completion of the program.
“We are delighted to honor these and all the other students who completed these courses in the basics of business,” said Dean Nitin Nohria.
“From beginning to end, they were engaged in the kind of rigorous, interactive learning that has long been the hallmark of Harvard Business School’s pedagogy. We believe this program also marks an important milestone in the development of online education.”
The CORe program was offered for a fee to a targeted group of students, in contrast to free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, and was based on an innovative technological platform specifically designed to offer an interactive experience that mirrors many of the elements in the HBS case teaching approach.
“The fact that 85 percent of those who began the HBX CORe program finished it is testament to the success of this new model of online education,” Dean Nohria observed.
In offering the CORe program for the first time, HBX facilitated the process by limiting eligibility to students enrolled in Massachusetts colleges and universities and to the children of Harvard University faculty, staff, and alumni.
“Our intent behind CORe was to create a program that would allow students from very different backgrounds – humanities, social sciences, and STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] majors – to gain basic fluency in essential business concepts and decision making,” said Professor Bharat Anand, faculty chair of HBX.
“Through the efforts of our faculty and the HBX staff members, we have been able to create an immersive online experience that prompted a high level of participant engagement, including rich peer-to-peer interactions that greatly enhanced the learning experience,” Anand continued. “We’ve been delighted to see that the participant response to CORe has been overwhelmingly positive.As one student put it, ‘This has been the best proxy for any classroom experience I have seen so far’.”
The next offering of the CORe program will begin on Feb. 25, 2015. Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Future cohort start dates will be announced shortly.
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November 11, 2014
In honor of Veterans Day, we are re-posting a story from earlier this year with advice on transitioning from the military to business school. This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on …
In honor of Veterans Day, we are re-posting a story from earlier this year with advice on transitioning from the military to business school.
This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com
When it comes to some of the key qualities elite business school admissions officers are looking for in MBA applicants – demonstrated leadership and management skills, an ability to motivate and work well in a team and international and cultural awareness – military veterans typically display them in spades.
Coming from the armed forces rather than a civilian career path prior to business school can give rise to certain difficulties when drafting an application, however. Let’s take a look at some common areas in the application where veterans face challenges and find out how to mitigate them.
1. Difficulty explaining experiences in civilian terms: Top MBA programs welcome military applicants and offer seats to veterans each year. So while it’s logical to assume the admissions committee is very familiar with the perspective of applicants with a military background, your application essays, resume and interviews need to make sense to a civilian reader.
“Language and terms from the military are often hard to translate into civilian terms, making it hard to communicate what you accomplished and why it matters,” says Ben Faw, an Army combat veteran from West Point who received his MBA from Harvard Business School this spring. “With limited experience in telling their stories to the civilian world, sometimes a veteran will have trouble clearly and succinctly explaining their own personal story.”
To counteract that, military veteran applicants should enlist trusted advisers outside of the military to proofread essays and help translate any military jargon in the MBA resume into plain English. Ask yourself if what you were writing would make sense to a civilian with no military experience.
Weaving stories from the military into your MBA essays is expected and encouraged, particularly where they illustrate leadership accomplishments in a high stress environment, or how you persevered in the face of setbacks. But your essays should also highlight experiences outside of the armed forces, either during college or related to your extracurricular interests.
Veteran applicants often worry about presenting a clear, concise career goal post-MBA, especially if they have little experience in business. This is not as critical as you might think, since many MBA students change industries entirely as they explore the myriad possibilities offered at business school. Begin by clearly articulating why you’re leaving the military, and why an MBA is necessary to achieve that goal.
[Follow these steps to develop a personal brand as an MBA hopeful.]
2. Trouble handling recommenders and interviews: When trying to decide whom to approach for a letter of recommendation, think about people who have encouraged your development as an individual and leader, and, as you prepare to leave the service, ask if they would provide a supportive reference.
I suggest all applicants create a recommender package, which contains instructions on the process, a reminder list of your strengths with on-the-job examples as well as a growth area you’re working on, and a summary of your career goals that the recommender can use as a reference.
While military applicants may feel uncomfortable approaching a senior officer with this level of coaching, leaving matters to fate could result in a lackluster recommendation, especially if the officer doesn’t have a lot of experience writing letters of recommendation. In most cases, your recommenders will appreciate your assistance and thoroughness, and will produce a better recommendation on your behalf.
If you’ve passed that first important hurdle and are invited to interview, congratulations!
Interviewers will usually be very interested in learning about your military experiences, so capitalize on that enthusiasm. Organize your thoughts by jotting down all of your really cool stories. Then, for each one, write a brief summary of what you did, how it made a difference and what you learned from it. Practice mock interviews with family and friends until you feel at ease discussing your military experience in a way everyone will understand.
And remember, it’s okay to talk about your successes in the first person rather than recounting everything as a team victory. This is how you differentiate yourself and reinforce your personal brand.
3. Not knowing how to maximize your resources: The single best resource for applicants coming from the armed forces is the MBA veterans club of the schools you’re considering. Those who have gone before you and succeeded are almost always willing to go above and beyond to share their advice on what has worked for them.
From providing essay and resume tips to offering an authentic view of the veteran experience on campus, these groups are your go-to resource for insight into the school and guidance for your application.
Many schools waive the application fee for U.S. military members and veterans who have served on active duty, and the federal agency Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, known as DANTES, will reimburse the GMAT or GRE General fee for eligible military personnel. Also, pre-MBA candidates can take advantage of boot camps and paid fellowships through MBA Veterans during the summer before their first term.
An MBA is a great next step for transitioning veterans no matter what branch of service they come from. When asked what advice he would offer future applicants, Faw says veterans should know, “There is something special about you, your experience in the military and what you want to do next. Make sure your application reflects those unique aspects that make you who you are. Authenticity is awesome.”
October 9, 2014
Earlier this week, Harvard Business School‘s Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Dee Leopold announced that the first wave of interview invites to Round 1 applicants were heading out to roughly 800 lucky inboxes, …
Earlier this week, Harvard Business School‘s Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Dee Leopold announced that the first wave of interview invites to Round 1 applicants were heading out to roughly 800 lucky inboxes, with another batch of 150 to come on October 15th.
On that date, HBS will also inform about 200 applicants via email that the admissions team would like to “further consider” their applications in Round 2. Applicants to the 2+2 program will be invited to interview on the October 15th wave as well.
October 15th is also the date HBS will “release” candidates who are not moving forward. “We hope that by doing this early, we are enabling this group to pursue other options sooner vs. later,” the director explains.
Finally, Leopold requests that applicants refrain from sending in any additional supporting documents. “We’ve designed an evaluation process that we believe is as thorough and fair as we can make it,” she says. “It’s not perfect, but it certainly is a process to which we dedicate a tremendous amount of care and concern.”
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October 6, 2014
MBA programs place a major emphasis on networking skills with their students and graduates, but a new study written by professors at Harvard Business School, Rotman School of Management, and Kellogg School of Management looks …
MBA programs place a major emphasis on networking skills with their students and graduates, but a new study written by professors at Harvard Business School, Rotman School of Management, and Kellogg School of Management looks at the sometimes negative psychological impact professional networking can have on an individual.
Financial Times covers the study in a recent article, and looks at the issue of how professional networking can make people feel awkward and insincere because it’s perceived as being about career self-interest rather than making friends.
This sense of “moral impurity”, as its labeled by the researchers, prevents people from networking further, says the Rotman School’s Tiziana Casciaro, who is an associate professor of organizational behavior and human resource management.
“[These feelings] really have an impact on someone’s career. Networking is better for people’s development and advancement, this is how you learn the job, acquire knowledge and opportunities. It is important,” Casciaro tells FT.
To break out of the negative mindset toward networking, professionals must remember that cultivating a reciprocal relationship where both parties share knowledge and have mutual respect is a valid and important goal. Be willing to put time into building the relationship, and also be open to discovering new relationships, which may come from the most unlikely of places.
The best way to feel good about professional networking is to give before you get. Become a resource for others: pass on articles that could be helpful, or share employment leads when appropriate.
“If you keep an open mind and see it as an exchange of knowledge it becomes a much less selfish exercise,” Casciaro says, adding that having a genuine curiosity about the person they are talking to will make the networking far more successful.
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September 30, 2014
Harvard Business School will publish a new case study next week examining Beyoncé’s stealth release of her self-titled 2013 “visual album” from a variety of business-related perspectives, the Harvard Gazette reports. To refresh your memory, …
Harvard Business School will publish a new case study next week examining Beyoncé’s stealth release of her self-titled 2013 “visual album” from a variety of business-related perspectives, the Harvard Gazette reports.
To refresh your memory, Beyoncé and her entire management team and corporate partners kept the album a secret until its release just after midnight on December 13, 2013, and fans had to buy the entire album—no individual song purchases allowed.
HBS students will look at what it took to pull off this ambitious campaign, market conditions at the time, the structural and technical obstacles, and the many difficult decisions that cropped up for Beyoncé and her team along the way, the Gazette reveals, adding that the case asks MBA students what they would have done it they were working for the pop idol.
“She’s clearly among the most powerful people in the music industry at the moment … so to understand the operation behind such a powerful figure is always very interesting,” says Anita Elberse, the Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at HBS who co-wrote the case study with a former student, Stacie Smith, MBA ’14.
The study will be taught in Elberse’s course “Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries” in early October, the Gazette reports.