Tag Archives: international applicants

Guidance for International MBA Applicants

Recent changes to immigration procedures have caused some confusion and concern among international MBA candidates applying to business schools in the United States. To help clarify matters, the Graduate Management Admission Council has created a page …

international MBA applicantsRecent changes to immigration procedures have caused some confusion and concern among international MBA candidates applying to business schools in the United States. To help clarify matters, the Graduate Management Admission Council has created a page on its website mba.com to help alleviate some of these concerns.

Here you’ll find resources and information that apply to international students, including an overview on applying for a visa to study in the U.S., and information from leading GMAT-using schools for students navigating U.S. travel and immigration policies.

If you’re looking for how to convert your grades to the GPA scale, want to hear from others who have chosen to go abroad for their MBA, or simply interested in general tips for successful international study, bookmark this resource today.

You may also be interested in:

3 Common Hurdles for International MBA Applicants
Show International Experience When Applying to Business School
Advice for Business School Applicants from Asia

Image credit: Flickr user Fedecomite (CC BY 2.0) 

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Considering a Second MBA Degree?

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com The idea of pursuing a second MBA degree may sound strange, but it happens with a small number of applicants during every admissions …

get a second MBA

Applicants who received an MBA abroad can use a second MBA to strengthen job prospects.

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com

The idea of pursuing a second MBA degree may sound strange, but it happens with a small number of applicants during every admissions season and can make sense under the right, very specific, circumstances.

Some applicants consider a second degree after earning an MBA from a for-profit university or an unaccredited program. They may find they have hit a ceiling with their employment prospects as they vie for positions against candidates from better-known schools.

More often, people who seek a second degree are international candidates who have discovered that their professional dreams cannot be fulfilled with their current degree alone.

In India, for example, it’s common for a student to jump into an MBA program straight out of university, which makes for a very theoretical learning experience rather than a practical one in which to contextualize management problems. Once these MBA grads get into the workforce, they discover they must further develop various skills to become strong business leaders.

For professionals working in international firms who aspire to relocate abroad, a degree earned in-country will not open doors the way a highly ranked MBA from a name-brand university will. A second MBA is seen as an efficient way to move out of a stagnant career and enhance their competitiveness, allowing the degree holder to shift into a new function, industry or geography after completing their studies.

Creating a rich classroom experience through diversity is a huge focus of the top business schools, offering students the opportunity to interact with peers from an array of countries and professional backgrounds. While the educational component of the degree in South Asian business schools, for example, may sometimes rival their international counterparts, the ability to create networking ties across the globe is nowhere near as strong. For career switchers looking to break into competitive industries such as finance or consulting, earning an MBA from a globally recognized brand becomes paramount.

As with any blip or oddity in candidates’ background, they need to think through their story as they prepare application essays.

What did you not get from a prior MBA that you can get this time around? How is the target program different, or a better fit? Or maybe it’s a matter of timing, and the first one was a mistake you need to acknowledge. What skills are you looking to gain, and why couldn’t you acquire them with your first degree? An applicant needs to show why it would make sense to repeat the same degree from a different school. It can be a hard narrative to flesh out and tell in a compelling way, but it’s not impossible.

When I first read through the profile for our client Vijay, I saw strong academic numbers, volunteer involvement, an interesting entrepreneurial venture – and that he already had an MBA from one of the Indian Institutes of Management. My first question was the same any admissions committee member would ask him: “Why do you need a second MBA?”

Vijay entered an IIM program when he was a university student to supplement his engineering coursework. While he had received an MBA credential, he considered the degree as an addendum to his undergraduate diploma. Also, his degree did not provide the same career advantages he would get from one of his target schools in the U.S., which were the MIT Sloan School of Management, the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

For his career goals essay, we discussed exactly what this second MBA degree would do for Vijay’s career. We also used the optional essay to clearly outline how specific coursework in entrepreneurship, international experience and networking opportunities at each program made a second MBA absolutely necessary. His hard work and compelling argument paid off, and Vijay pursued his second MBA at Sloan, where he made some great contacts for future entrepreneurial ventures.

Many top business schools in the U.S. and Europe welcome applicants who already hold an MBA degree. If your first MBA is from a smaller international school, the elite programs are well aware of their advantages over the initial degree. Fortunately, your prior MBA degree won’t be a problem for on-campus recruiting, though you should be able to explain why you needed the two degrees. Assuming you have a solid story, the emphasis will be on your work experience and skills. If you are admitted to a strong program, the degree — combined with your skills — will enable you to land a great job come graduation.

Contact the admissions department at the programs you are interested in to find out the specifics for each school, and be ready to make a rock-solid case for why a second MBA is the next logical step for you.

Image credit: KMo Foto (CC BY 2.0)

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Business School Trends in 2015

              The MBA degree continues to evolve, as more and more business schools expand their focus to include greater numbers of women, international opportunities and experiential learning requirements, and …

MBA trends 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The MBA degree continues to evolve, as more and more business schools expand their focus to include greater numbers of women, international opportunities and experiential learning requirements, and new formats like online degree programs and free MOOCs.

Current and prospective applicants always seem interested in the latest trends related to graduate management education. I recently spoke with John Dodig at the education website Noodle to talk about what’s going on in the world of MBA admissions these days, and want to share some excerpts from our conversation here.

You’ve talked about how “white spaces” — or the things between the listed items on someone’s resume — can convey just as important a story as the bullet points on a person’s MBA application. Do you think that your “white spaces” along the way are typical of someone with an MBA?

I think a lot of people apply for MBA programs, and they kinda want to fit into one of four traditional types of jobs — like marketing, consulting, banking, entrepreneurship — and as time goes on, seeds are planted during the program. Whether it’s immediate or gradual, there are often a lot of twists and turns. So, in a way, it’s typical to have a lot of these twists and turns and to end up finding yourself. Yes, I would say I was typical in the sense that there isn’t really any typical.

Do you work with a lot of American students who are interested in going to business school abroad? Or, on the flip side, do you work with a lot of international students interested in studying in the U.S. for an MBA?

We do both, for sure. I would say probably there are more international students who want to come to the U.S. than the reverse, but we’re definitely placing plenty of Americans in international programs. And that is something that I think has grown a lot over the past 10 years — the growth of different types of programs, different options, and the increased popularity of programs outside the U.S.

Is there any big advice that you give to international students who want to come here for business school?

I think there can be challenging logistics for people who are coming from abroad to go to school in the U.S. In the beginning, things are a lot harder, ranging from financial aid, to finding housing, to overcoming some culture shock and finding their way. It’s very common for someone in the States to have friends in their class, you know, people they know from college, or just throughout life. But coming internationally, they may know no one. It can just be more challenging.

My advice would be, in the beginning, be realistic. Take it slow. Being careful and clearing all those hurdles can lead to a very, very rewarding experience.

To read more of my Noodle interview about the state of MBA admissions in 2015, please follow this link to the original article.

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Admissions Updates from Michigan Ross

Yesterday, October 7th, marked the Round 1 deadline at Michigan Ross School of Business, and Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Soojin Kwon posted some information on her blog today that will be helpful …

admissions updates at Michigan Ross

Yesterday, October 7th, marked the Round 1 deadline at Michigan Ross School of Business, and Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Soojin Kwon posted some information on her blog today that will be helpful for R1 as well as future applicants.

Perhaps the biggest news is for international candidates, who applied in greater numbers this year and will be able to take advantage of a new non-cosigner international student loan by Prodigy Finance, available to Ross students as well as admits to 15 other top business schools in the pilot U.S. program.

In a departure from many business schools, Kwon notes that this year’s required essay questions don’t touch upon the most common queries of all: What are your career goals? Why an MBA? Why Ross? It isn’t because the program isn’t interested in hearing about these subjects. Rather, the questions will be addressed during the MBA interview instead.

“This more closely replicates the experience you’re going to have as an MBA student going through the recruiting process,” Kwon explains. “And, asking those questions in an interview enables us to ask follow-up questions.”

The admissions director also highlights upcoming events this week at Ross, including UpClose, a diversity preview event October 10-11th for more than one hundred prospective students and alumni. Ross will also host a Social Innovation Summit this Friday, featuring speakers working in social entrepreneurship, impact investing, food security and urban farming, and workforce development.

Finally, Kwon encourages applicants to connect with the Ross Student Ambassadors, who can provide the inside scoop on what student life at Ross is like. This may be especially helpful for those unable to come to campus and attend an admissions event in person.

You may also be interested in:

Michigan Ross MBA Essay Tips

Michigan Ross Students Launch Private Equity Club

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Target U.S. Business Schools as a Latin American MBA Hopeful

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com International students typically make up 25 percent to 40 percent of MBA cohorts at top U.S. business schools. It’s not surprising that the overwhelming …

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com

International students typically make up 25 percent to 40 percent of MBA cohorts at top U.S. business schools.

It’s not surprising that the overwhelming majority of applicants from Latin America want to pursue an MBA degree in the U.S. According to data from the most recent QS Top MBA Applicant Survey, more than 70 percent say the U.S. is their destination of choice, followed by Canada at 30.3 percent.

The poll also confirms that Latin American applicants place a high value on specializations – higher than any other world region – in order to meet their individual needs. While all b-school hopefuls should tailor their school selections to those that will enhance their career, this is particularly important for students who plan to return to their home countries after graduation. Latin American applicants should research the strength of each potential school’s international placement records and alumni network before applying.

[Overcome three common hurdles of international MBA applicants.]

Travel expenses can make campus visits difficult, so applicants from Latin America should not miss the opportunity to participate in local “coffee chats,” which are typically organized and led by current students while visiting their home countries during winter break.

In an April post to the Daytime MBA Student Blog of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Joaquin Brahm of Chile calls coffee chats “a must” in the application process.? These informal events, often held in homes, are a great resource for applicants to hear firsthand? about all aspects of the MBA experience, including personal questions about everyday student life.

“We received only good feedback about coffee chats in Latin America,”? says Yonathan Lapchik, admissions cabinet member of the Latin American Student Association at Fuqua. “Prospective students found it a very useful step in their application process. Our idea is to continue developing these kinds of events in the future and establish them as another resource for applicants in their pathway to Fuqua.”

Many MBA programs offer incentives and scholarships to applicants from Latin America, and some schools are introducing efforts to attract potential candidates. Last year, the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School launched a Latin American Visitor Program ?designed to encourage prospective full-time MBA students from Latin America to visit the campus.

The program provides a travel subsidy of $600 and waives the $145 admissions application fee for up to 20 sponsored students. Kenan-Flagler also offers up to 10 full-tuition fellowships to applicants from Latin America each year as part of the new Fellowship for the Americas award.

As I often write on this blog, the admissions committee wants to get to know each applicant beyond their resume, and the MBA essays are the perfect opportunity to share unique personal or family background information that would allow the reader to understand your core values and motivations.

One of my clients discussed being the first from his family to go to college, and the intensity of breaking family tradition and moving away. This made for a much more interesting essay than merely naming the school that he went to. In other words, that back story – the discussion of the decision – was the most interesting part.

Another client also wove family into her application by addressing a brother’s serious illness and how it affected family relations, events and her personal and professional goals. Don’t be afraid to open up with details of experiences that set you apart and have shaped the person you are today.

Since English likely isn’t your first language, it’s important to demonstrate a high level of fluency that will allow you to contribute actively to class discussions. This you can do during your MBA interview.

Whether you interview over the phone, by video chat or in-person, make sure you practice beforehand with a native English speaker or someone who has lived in the U.S. for a long time and who can provide feedback on American business etiquette or your English language usage.

Once on campus, you’ll gain access to a network stretching across the U.S. and around the globe. Try to network with Latino alumni who hold leadership positions in the U.S. and are often looking to groom the next generation.

During recruiting, keep in mind U.S. companies may not want to hire someone if it involves helping them obtain an H-1B visa, since the employer must prove it has searched extensively for a qualified U.S. citizen or permanent resident and that the international candidate is the best option.

However, if the company is an international firm and you’re willing to relocate elsewhere in Latin America or to a region where visa sponsorship won’t be an issue, ask about hiring options outside of the U.S. Your American MBA will put you leagues ahead of local applicants.

As business relationships across the Americas continue to expand, MBA applicants from Latin America can rest assured they have much to contribute to the U.S. business school classroom, particularly where cultural differences, language issues and differing business practices come into play.

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Darden’s Dean On the Value of International MBA Students

Against a backdrop of public debate on immigration, and assertions that international students are taking away places on college campuses that should go to American-born students, Dean Robert Bruner of the University of Virginia’s Darden …

Against a backdrop of public debate on immigration, and assertions that international students are taking away places on college campuses that should go to American-born students, Dean Robert Bruner of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business explains in a recent blog post why international students are vital to our educational system.

According to the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business, international students comprised 14.2% of all students enrolled in U.S. B-schools in 2012-2013. The number of GMAT test takers abroad, particularly from Asia, continues to rise, and Bruner notes that international applications at Darden increased by 21% this year, with just a 1% increase in domestic applications.

In this excerpt, Dean Bruner specifies exactly what motivates Darden to recruit international students:

  • It is right for the students. I challenge any parent: given what you know about the trends in the global economy, would you be satisfied to have your child educated only with people of your own country? The professional world into which American and international students will graduate requires managers and leaders who are globally confident and competent. One learns so much about navigating across borders from studying with internationally-diverse classmates. Our best American applicants demand an internationally diverse classroom and network. They know that the future will require both understanding of and cooperation with other nations.
  • It is right for the companies who recruit our students. Darden’s corporate partners actively look to hire our international students. No wonder. Our analysis shows that the top 15 corporate non-financial recruiters at Darden report an average of 45% of their revenues originating outside of the U.S. America’s business economy is not an island unto itself; it is hugely dependent on global trade. American firms of all sizes must look beyond our borders. Some 46.6% of the sales of the S&P500 companies originate internationally.
  • It is right for our society. International students contribute much more than the measures of student spending indicate. They promote global awareness among American students. They spur innovation and creativity (diversity does this generally). They found companies and create jobs here. Generally, international students carry values that are quite consistent with the heritage of America. These students are optimists, pioneers, and risk-takers who leave their familiar lands, languages, and cultures to strive for a better life. They are drawn to the American Dream as much as many Americans—and the international students help to sustain that dream. Since Darden is financially self-sufficient, it delivers these benefits to society without funding from taxpayers or the University.
  • It can help the native countries of our international students. America spends 1% of its Federal budget on foreign aid and humanitarian assistance. Educating international students is a high-impact complement to such aid. As the saying goes, ‘Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime.’
  • It is right for Darden. Our vision for Darden is succinct: “World-class impact and stature.” Our Mission calls us to “improve the world by developing and inspiring responsible leaders and by advancing knowledge.” We want to make a positive impact in the world. Educating international students helps us fulfill our Mission and Vision.”

Dean Bruner goes on to sketch out the financial aid and loan programs available to international applicants at Darden, while stressing that he always advises B-school hopefuls to first tap into personal savings, family, a working spouse, and/or part-time employment to help pay for their education—using loans only as a last resort.

With references to Mark Twain and Thomas Jefferson, Dean Bruner makes a compelling and relevant argument about the value of expanding our experiences beyond our own backyards. To learn more about how Bruner makes the case for international students, read the complete blog post here.

You may also be interested in:

3 Common Hurdles for International MBA Applicants

 

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