Tag Archives: MBA myths

6 Ways to Play the MBA Waiting Game

After months of planning, studying for the admissions exam, writing essays, and wrangling recommenders, once you hit the submit button for your business school applications you’ve probably been wondering what to do with yourself during the MBA waiting game. Here …

MBA wait listAfter months of planning, studying for the admissions exam, writing essays, and wrangling recommenders, once you hit the submit button for your business school applications you’ve probably been wondering what to do with yourself during the MBA waiting game. Here are six tips to make the most of this period.

1. Be happy: What did you enjoy before essays and GMAT scores became the focal point of your life? Take this opportunity to relax a bit, read a book, or go for a run.

It’s likely your social life has languished on the back burner for the past few months, so spend some time reconnecting with your family and friends before every waking minute is spent job hunting and networking with your fellow MBA classmates. While accomplishing a huge goal such as gaining admission to an MBA program will feel good, friends, exercise, and relationships are the path to longer-lasting happiness.

2. Fantasize about your plan B: It’s tempting to start planning out your first few weeks on campus—the clubs you plan to join and the apartment you will hunt for—but reminding yourself that you have alternatives is healthy. You’re young, intelligent, and accomplished. If you didn’t go to business school in the fall, what career shift or huge dream might you fulfill?

Maybe you would flee to Paris and take art lessons, learn Mandarin (in China), or hike the Appalachian Trail. Fantasizing about plan B is more practical than you think; when you start receiving those acceptance letters, you’ll have a head start on your summer plans!

3. Avoid discussion boards: While commiserating with strangers over the Internet may seem like an attractive outlet for your anxiety, focusing on an outcome you can no longer control will only add to stress in your life. While it’s certainly positive to network with your potential future classmates, make sure you approach any rumors or myths with a balanced perspective.

It is natural to search for certainty in an uncertain process. With admission rates hovering at 10 percent for the most competitive programs, many candidates feel anxiety about the final decisions. However, if you have put together the strongest possible application you can and worked to impact every factor under your control, it’s time to relax and wait for the results.

4. Prepare for interviews: If you absolutely must remain focused on your MBA plans, starting your interview prep is a good outlet for your energy. Working on your communication and presentation skills can be an ongoing challenge.

Practicing common interview questions with friends and family will both make you more prepared when the interview invitation arrives and minimize your anxiety.

5. Become a local, even if only for a few days: MBA candidates should remember that they will be choosing not just a school but a city or town as well. Therefore, now is an ideal time to plan that campus visit, and to explore the region you may soon call home for the next two years.

6. Stay connected: Demonstrating continued and genuine interest in your MBA program of choice is one of the best ways to show the admissions committee that you are strongly committed to attending their program. How to do this? Reach out to alumni for an insider view of the program, and perhaps some interview pointers as well.

If the school plans to hold an information session online or in a city nearby, sign up or show up. You can never have too much information about your target school. The more opportunities you create to connect with the program, the better you’ll be able to judge its culture and community to determine if it’s the right fit for you.

Posted in Application Tips | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Stanford GSB Debunks MBA Admissions Myths

The Stanford MBA Admission Blog has published a trio of posts this month designed to dispel some of the misleading myths that continue to confound applicants. From interview questions to recommendation letter queries to work …

The Stanford MBA Admission Blog has published a trio of posts this month designed to dispel some of the misleading myths that continue to confound applicants. From interview questions to recommendation letter queries to work experience concerns, the admissions team at Stanford Graduate School of Business once again attempts to set the record straight and, with any luck, helps calm the nerves of worried b-school hopefuls.

Here, in one place for ease of viewing, is a condensed version of the myths addressed in all three posts—and the corrections—the admissions team would like applicants to know.

MYTH: The interview has a lot of weight so if I blow the interview, I have blown my chances of being admitted.
THE TRUTH: There is no specific weight assigned to the interview; the interview is one part of a comprehensive process. A positive interview does not guarantee admission, while a less than favorable interview does not, by itself, preclude admission. The written application, including the essays and letters of reference, is a critical part of the evaluation process. The interview is a key source of supplemental information.

MYTH: I received my interview invitation early in the round so it must mean I have a better chance of getting admitted.
THE TRUTH: The timing of your interview invitation reflects only the order in which your application was reviewed (and the order in which your application was reviewed doesn’t mean anything, honest!). Applications are not reviewed in any particular order, and applicants are not ranked.

MYTH: Visiting campus before or after I’ve submitted my application is an important way to demonstrate my interest in Stanford and increase my chances of being admitted.
THE TRUTH: Visiting campus does not affect your chances of admission whatsoever. You may wish to visit if it’s helpful to your research and decision-making process about schools. If you have only one chance to visit, save your time and money and come after you’ve been admitted for Admit Weekend, where you’ll meet students, alumni, faculty, and your future classmates.

MYTH: If I work in a family business, am self-employed, or can’t tell my boss that I’m applying, I will be at a disadvantage since I cannot get a recommendation from a current direct supervisor.
THE TRUTH: Rest assured that you are not the only applicant in this situation. You just need to be a little more creative in terms of where you get your recommendation. You could ask anyone who is in a position to evaluate your work: a previous supervisor, a client, or a member of your board of directors.

MYTH: It is okay to submit more than three recommendations. In fact, more is better!
THE TRUTH: We discourage you from sending additional letters. More is not better. In fact, it can have the opposite of the intended effect as it adds an additional burden to our staff who review literally thousands and thousands of pages over the application season. When we receive additional letters of reference either before or after the application deadline, we do add them to your application file, but there’s no guarantee that they will be reviewed.

MYTH: It is better to get my recommendations from three different sources to highlight different aspects of my professional and personal background.
THE TRUTH: It’s your decision how to present yourself in your application, what to highlight and what to focus on. There is no one right way. When choosing a recommender, our best advice is to (1) choose someone who knows you really well and can provide the detail, examples, and specifics that support his/her assertions; and (2) choose someone who is truly enthused to write a recommendation for you and will spend sufficient time writing a thoughtful letter.

MYTH: Recommendations must be written in English.
THE TRUTH: Recommendations must be submitted in English. However, if you and your recommenders think that their English is not sufficient to convey complex ideas, it may be to your advantage to have them write in their native language and then get it translated. The translation does not need to be from a paid service unless that is the only option available to the recommender. The translation is the responsibility of the recommender; the translator cannot be the applicant or a friend or family member of the applicant.

MYTH: It’s OK to provide a letter of recommendation from a professor as long as I did really well in the class.
THE TRUTH: We love professors – we are a school, after all – but faculty members typically are not the best choices for MBA recommendations. We find that they often ignore the questions we ask of recommenders, and instead, focus on how well you did in their classes (which we already know from your academic transcripts). If you are applying as a college senior and do not have much professional experience, there may be cases when a recommendation from a faculty member would be appropriate.

For example, if you worked with a faculty member outside the classroom, perhaps as a teaching assistant or on an independent research opportunity, then that professor might be in a position to write a helpful recommendation. Still, you need to think carefully about whether that person can address the questions we ask in the recommendation form.

MYTH: If I worked full-time during or before college, I can count those months as “full-time work experience.”
THE TRUTH: We value all work experience, including jobs or military service you’ve had before graduating college. We ask that in the box for “months of full-time work experience,” you include only the months of full-time work experience SINCE you graduated from your undergraduate university, calculating the number of months from your college graduation until September 1, 2014.

Since the application form doesn’t fit every person’s situation, we ask that applicants who have worked full-time before graduating college report that in the Part-Time Employment section and indicate 40 hours in the “hours/week” box. We will connect the dots that you were working before or throughout college. Also, the resume we ask you to submit will show us your career path.

MYTH: If my application doesn’t meet certain criteria, the admissions office won’t even look at it.
THE TRUTH: We review each and every application to understand your background, aspirations, and potential. While scores and grades command attention in the blogosphere, each of you is more than a combination of statistics; we are building a community as well as a class. Real people are getting to know you through your application. This is not an automated process; it’s a very human process that takes time and deliberation.

MYTH: Even though Stanford GSB accepts either the GMAT or GRE, it’s better to submit GMAT scores.
THE TRUTH: Nope. We don’t have a preference either way; and if we did, we’d tell you. Do what makes sense for you.

Posted in School News, Stanford Advice | Tagged , , , ,

6 Ways to Play the MBA Waiting Game

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA blog on U.S.News.com After months of planning, studying for the admissions exam, writing essays, and wrangling recommenders, you have just hit the submit button for your business …

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

After months of planning, studying for the admissions exam, writing essays, and wrangling recommenders, you have just hit the submit button for your business school applications and are now wondering what’s next as the MBA waiting game begins. Here are six tips to make the most of this period.

1. Be happy: What did you enjoy before essays and GMAT scores became the focal point of your life? Take this opportunity to relax a bit, read a book, or go for a run.

It’s likely your social life has languished on the back burner for the past few months, so spend some time reconnecting with your family and friends before every waking minute is spent job hunting and networking with your fellow MBA classmates. While accomplishing a huge goal such as gaining admission to an MBA program will feel good, friends, exercise, and relationships are the path to longer-lasting happiness.

2. Fantasize about your plan B: It’s tempting to start planning out your first few weeks on campus””the clubs you plan to join and the apartment you will hunt for””but reminding yourself that you have alternatives is healthy. You’re young, intelligent, and accomplished. If you didn’t go to business school in the fall, what career shift or huge dream might you fulfill?

Maybe you would flee to Paris and take art lessons, learn Mandarin (in China), or hike the Appalachian Trail. Fantasizing about plan B is more practical than you think; when you start receiving those acceptance letters, you’ll have a head start on your summer plans!

3. Avoid discussion boards: While commiserating with strangers over the Internet may seem like an attractive outlet for your anxiety, focusing on an outcome you can no longer control will only add to stress in your life. While it’s certainly positive to network with your potential future classmates, make sure you approach any rumors or myths with a balanced perspective.

In fact, Internet rumors are so rampant in the MBA admissions process, schools like the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business have posts or webpages dedicated to dispelling some of the most common offenders.

It is natural to search for certainty in an uncertain process. With admission rates hovering at 10 percent for the most competitive programs, many candidates feel anxiety about the final decisions. However, if you have put together the strongest possible application you can and worked to impact every factor under your control, it’s time to relax and wait for the results.

4. Prepare for interviews: If you absolutely must remain focused on your MBA plans, starting your interview prep is a good outlet for your energy. Working on your communication and presentation skills can be an ongoing challenge.

Practicing common interview questions with friends and family will both make you more prepared when the interview invitation arrives and minimize your anxiety.

5. Become a local, even if only for a few days: Kurt Ahlm, associate dean of student recruitment and admissions at Booth, says MBA candidates should remember that they will be choosing not just a school but a city or town as well. Therefore, now is an ideal time to plan that campus visit, and to explore the region you may soon call home for the next two years.

“Investigating average rent prices, transportation, cost of living, entertainment and overall appeal will give you even more information with which to make a final decision,” Ahlm says.

6. Stay connected: Demonstrating continued and genuine interest in your MBA program of choice is one of the best ways to show the admissions committee that you are strongly committed to attending their program. How to do this? Reach out to alumni for an insider view of the program, and perhaps some interview pointers as well.

If the school plans to hold an information session online or in a city nearby, sign up or show up. You can never have too much information about your target school. The more opportunities you create to connect with the program, the better you’ll be able to judge its culture and community to determine if it’s the right fit for you.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , ,

MBA Myth-Busting at Chicago Booth

It seems some myths never die, particularly where MBA admissions are concerned. With that in mind, we bring you a new myth-busting post featuring Joanne Legler, associate director of admissions at the Chicago Booth School …

It seems some myths never die, particularly where MBA admissions are concerned. With that in mind, we bring you a new myth-busting post featuring Joanne Legler, associate director of admissions at the Chicago Booth School of Business, who frequently encounters misconceptions among prospective applicants while on the road. Here, Legler sets the record straight on everything from interviews, minimum test scores, letters of recommendation, and your chances in Round 3.

Applicants believe they must have five years of work experience and a minimum GPA and GMAT/GRE score to be considered for admission, but Legler says that’s simply not true. Like most schools, Chicago Booth takes a holistic approach to the evaluation process and has no minimum requirement for work experience. Chicago Booth urges applicants to apply when they feel ready, which might be after just a few years in the work force, or much later in their careers.

When it comes to the interview, MBA candidates think an interview with a staff member is different than one with a second-year student or alum. It’s true that no two interview experiences will be alike. However, Legler points out that anyone who interviews Booth applicants has been carefully trained, and every interview is blind, meaning your interviewer won’t have seen your application beforehand. The feedback, says Legler, is used equally in each and every case, regardless of who your interviewer may be.

Due to Chicago Booth’s reputation as a powerhouse in the fields of finance and consulting, some applicants fear they are at a disadvantage if they weren’t a business major or have work experience in other industries. “It’s not what you do that matters – it’s how you do it and the experience you’ll bring to the classroom and study groups,” Legler says, pointing out that 46 percent of students have a liberal arts or science background.

Another notion that’s really hard for applicants to shake is the urge to seek out “prestige recommenders”. In reality, it’s almost always a bad idea to seek out a recommendation from someone with an impressive title but little insight to offer regarding your individual merits as a candidate. Instead, look to a current or former supervisor, or a colleague, who can truly speak to your accomplishments and talent. In other words, choose your recommenders carefully, Legler cautions.

Lastly, the associate admissions director addresses the myth of whether being accepted in Round 3 is impossible. Obviously, the schools do accept candidates in the final round or there wouldn’t be one. But your competition is fierce as spaces are awarded in the class as the rounds progress. The best advice, says Legler, is to apply when you can turn in your absolutely strongest application. Even if that means waiting until the final round.

***

The round 2 deadline at Chicago Booth is coming up on Tuesday January 8th, so if you need last-minute application tips and information, read our section devoted to Chicago Booth advice.

Posted in Chicago Booth Advice, General | Tagged , , ,

Stanford GSB Debunks MBA Interview Myths

Allison Davis from the admissions office at Stanford Graduate School of Business updated the MBA admission blog yesterday with this information, designed to sooth the frayed nerves of those suffering from pre-interview angst. Here, she …

Allison Davis from the admissions office at Stanford Graduate School of Business updated the MBA admission blog yesterday with this information, designed to sooth the frayed nerves of those suffering from pre-interview angst.

Here, she dispels three persistent myths surrounding this part of the admissions process at the GSB.

MYTH 1: The interview has a lot of weight so if I blow the interview, I have blown my chances of being admitted.

THE TRUTH: There is no specific weight assigned to the interview; the interview is one part of a comprehensive process. A positive interview does not guarantee admission, while a less than favorable interview does not, by itself, preclude admission. The written application, including the essays and letters of reference, is a critical part of the evaluation process. The interview is a key source of supplemental information.

MYTH 2: I received my interview invitation early in the round so it must mean I have a better chance of getting admitted.

THE TRUTH: The timing of your interview invitation reflects only the order in which your application was reviewed (and the order in which your application was reviewed doesn’t mean anything, honest!). Interview invitations are extended from about a week or so after the round’s deadline until about a week before the round’s notification date, because it takes the Admissions Committee that entire period to review all applications thoroughly.

MYTH 3: I will be interviewed only if there is an alumni interviewer in my local area.

THE TRUTH: Please rest assured that we will work with you to match you with an interviewer. If there is none in your area, we may ask if you’d like to fly to another location or consider a “virtual” interview.

Remember, if you’re invited to interview at the Stanford GSB, or other b-school of your dreams, prep and practice will help ease any interview performance concerns you may have. Start by reviewing your applications, review typical questions, and write out some bullet points to outline what you would say in response to those questions.

Finally, practice, practice, practice! Enlist the help of family and friends, and ask them to provide constructive feedback. Perhaps most importantly, try to have fun and not to get too stressed out by the process.

Posted in Stanford Advice | Tagged , , ,