Tag Archives: MBA program

Tuesday Tips: 2014 University of Pennsylvania Wharton Essay Tips

This year Wharton has streamlined the essay questions even further and asks only one required question for new applicants to the program. If you are a reapplicant there is an additional required question. The Wharton …

This year Wharton has streamlined the essay questions even further and asks only one required question for new applicants to the program. If you are a reapplicant there is an additional required question. The Wharton optional question is entirely open ended. This is a good opportunity to explain anything that may be unclear from your transcripts, recommendations, or resume. It could also be a place to discuss anything interesting about your personal background that you did not cover in the required question.

Required Question: What do you hope to gain both personally and professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

The career goals essay is a standard MBA prompt. Wharton has traditionally kept the career goals question focused entirely on professional goals, but this year expands this essay question to also include your personal goals for the MBA. This is certainly about fit with Wharton and to gauge more about your personality and potential success in the program.

Be careful to answer the specific question in this career goals essay. Notice that you are not asked about your professional background or your key accomplishments. To answer the question asked, you will want to focus mainly on the future and what you are planning to pursue with your MBA degree. At the same time, there is certainly room to add color by using your background information where it is most relevant to your goals. Think about the key moments of your professional life that crystallized your goals for you, and focus on illuminating those decision points rather than reciting your entire resume.

Wharton has asked a specific question about the Wharton culture in the last several years. Just because this question is missing does not mean you will get away without doing your research! Understanding exactly how you fit in will help you describe what Wharton will do for you, as well as navigate interviews and other interactions with the Wharton admissions committee. Consider including specific information from your Wharton research in this essay such as Wharton faculty you would like to study with or unique educational opportunities at Wharton.

When you address your personal goals for the MBA make sure you are making the case for Wharton specifically. Consider what living in Philadelphia might be like, the many clubs and student activities, and leadership development opportunities like traveling to Antarctica with your classmates that may address some of your personal life goals.

Reapplicant Essay: All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete the Optional Essay. Explain how you have reflected on the previous decision about your application, and discuss any updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). You may also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)

All reapplicants are required to provide information that supports your renewed candidacy. The most successful version of the reapplicant essay will provide tangible evidence that you have improved the overall package you are submitting this year. Improvements like GMAT score or new quantitative classes as especially tangible, but a promotion, increase in responsibility at work, a job change or even a change of goals and mission can apply.

A rejection or waitlist last year is a form of feedback, and may have led to soul searching for you. When you describe your changes make sure reflect your ability to take feedback and improve. Describe how you approached the reapplication process after assessing your own strengths and weaknesses as a candidate and making the appropriate efforts to improve.

Optional Essay: Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words)

If you think that your application materials and the required essay are enough to provide a complete picture of your candidacy you may want to forgo this essay. There is no need to submit additional material just to submit something – consider whether the admissions committee will appreciate the information or think you are wasting their time.

If you do choose to answer this question note that the essay can be used for any topic that you would like. If there is something about your personal background you did not cover in the required essay and it is relevant and useful for your application, this is the place to cover it. Perhaps you didn’t have room in the required essay to describe an important accomplishment or to tell a story about your life that is relevant to your pursuit of an MBA. Anything that you think will be an asset to your application is fair game as a topic for this essay.

This is also a potential place to address any areas of concern in your application. If you have a low GPA or GMAT, gaps in your resume, disciplinary action in undergrad or anything else that you want to explain, this is where you would provide a brief explanation and any supporting evidence to show you have moved past the setback.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has over a decade of experience assisting candidates to achieve their Wharton MBA dreams. We offer customized advice, including specific preparation for the Wharton group interview, to give you a competitive edge. Contact us to learn more.

Posted in Application Tips, UPenn Wharton Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

HBS Alumni Break Record in 2013 with $22M in Donations

Harvard Business School‘s recently released annual report notes, among other achievements, that the school received a record-breaking $22 million in unrestricted current use gifts from former students in 2013. This unrestricted funding was crucial in …

HBS alumni giving

Harvard Business School‘s recently released annual report notes, among other achievements, that the school received a record-breaking $22 million in unrestricted current use gifts from former students in 2013.

This unrestricted funding was crucial in allowing the school to expand entrepreneurship programs at the Harvard i-Lab and to pursue other strategic initiatives without drawing on unrestricted reserves, the report reveals.

In addition to expanding entrepreneurship programming, the donations also helped increase the amount of tuition assistance for MBA students. HBS sets MBA tuition and fees at levels that don’t fully recover annual operating expenses, and the shortfall is offset primarily by income and gifts from alumni and friends of the school.

Roughly half of the school’s student body receives fellowship support, and the average amount of aid per student rose three percent in 2013 to $30,725, more than half of the annual tuition bill. First-year MBA tuition in fiscal 2013 was $53,500—near the midpoint among the seven comparable schools tracked by HBS.

The Harvard Business School Campaign, which launches in April, “aims to find new ways to engage with alumni as it seeks to fulfill the School’s mission of making a difference in the world.”

Noting rising operating costs across the school and lower margins at Harvard Business Press and Executive Education, the school anticipates even greater pressure to grow revenue from gifts and endowment distribution in the coming year.

source: Harvard Business School 2013 Annual Report

Posted in General | Tagged , , , ,

Forbes Announces Top MBA Rankings

Forbes has just released its biennial ranking of full-time MBA programs, with a methodology based solely on return on investment (ROI). Forbes compared the earnings of MBA grads in their first five years out of …

Forbes has just released its biennial ranking of full-time MBA programs, with a methodology based solely on return on investment (ROI). Forbes compared the earnings of MBA grads in their first five years out of business school to their opportunity cost (two years of forgone compensation, tuition and required fees) to arrive at a “5-year M.B.A. Gain.”

Surveys went out to 17,000 alumni from 100 schools, and Forbes heard back from 27% of those grads. Salaries five years out of school were down from two years ago for all but two schools in the top 10, Forbes reports, with only Stanford Graduate School of Business and Michigan’s Ross School of Business bucking the trend.

Here’s a snapshot of the best-ranked programs, which compares salaries pre- and post-MBA:

Top 10 Best U.S. MBA Programs

1. Stanford Graduate School of Business

5-year MBA gain: $99,700
Pre-MBA salary: $80,000
2012 salary: $221,000

2. Chicago Booth School of Business

5-year MBA gain: $92,600
Pre-MBA salary: $76,000
2012 salary: $200,000

3. Harvard Business School

5-year MBA gain: $79,600
Pre-MBA salary: $80,000
2012 salary: $205,000

4. University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School

5-year MBA gain: $74,400
Pre-MBA salary: $80,000
2012 salary: $205,000

5. Northwestern Kellogg School of Management

5-year MBA gain: $73,100
Pre-MBA salary: $73,000
2012 salary: $176,000

6. Dartmouth Tuck School of Business

5-year MBA gain: $71,000
Pre-MBA salary: $72,000
2012 salary: $189,000

7. Columbia Business School

5-year MBA gain: $70,200
Pre-MBA salary: $74,000
2012 salary: $192,000

8. Duke Fuqua School of Business

5-year MBA gain: $69,800
Pre-MBA salary: $63,000
2012 salary: $152,000

9. Cornell Johnson School of Management

5-year MBA gain: $68,100
Pre-MBA salary: $59,000
2012 salary: $155,000

10. Michigan Ross School of Business

5-year MBA gain: $68,000
Pre-MBA salary: $61,000
2012 salary: $153,000

Forbes editor Kurt Badenhausen tells Poets & Quants that an MBA pays off very quickly, particularly at the top schools, though the average payback for the Class of 2008 was 3.7 years, versus 2.7 years a decade ago.

“Graduates often see their salaries triple coming out of school,” he says. “This year’s data will tell an interesting story because these top schools are sending so many MBAs into consulting that their ROIs are fantastic. This year, with the shift in job placement, we’ll see a slowdown in that salary growth.”

For more on this story, read the complete 2013 Forbes MBA rankings.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , ,

Dartmouth Tuck School of Business Essay Tips

The Dartmouth Tuck School of Business has a small student body and a rural location, combined with world-class faculty and academic focus. As you approach your Dartmouth Tuck MBA application it will be important to …

The Dartmouth Tuck School of Business has a small student body and a rural location, combined with world-class faculty and academic focus. As you approach your Dartmouth Tuck MBA application it will be important to consistently show how you will fit into the school values of leadership, teamwork and collaboration and bring your own unique qualities and experiences to the community.

Before you begin the essays think about the areas you want to communicate to the Tuck Business School admissions committee. As you consider each topic be sure to provide specific examples to illustrate your unique qualities. Real life experiences are your best evidence of leadership qualities, teamwork skills and management potential.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has worked with successful Tuck applicants for over a decade, contact us to learn more about the customized assistance we can provide for your application.

Essay 1
Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA fit for you and your goals and why are you the best fit for Tuck?

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.

Essay 2
Tell us about your most meaningful collaborative leadership experience and what role you played. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?

This question gets at your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. An addition to this question this year is the use of the word “collaborative” when associated with leadership. Tuck is a close knit community with a strong alumni network, and considering your leadership skills in a group context will be important to demonstrate fit with the program.

This essay requires that you describe one specific example that illustrates your leadership challenges and strengths. 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.

Essay 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. Did you learn from the experience and did it impact your life or demonstrate a specific aspect of your character, goals or accomplishments? Even the most difficult situations often lead to personal growth and change and have contributed to who you are today.

Essay 4
(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.

You could potentially use this space to add something new that was not covered in the previous essays or in the application, resume or recommendations, however use your judgment about the topics as Tuck asks that you only complete this question if you “feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.”

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

SBC Scoop: Diversity Application Through The Consortium

Lydia was confused about the various options available to her as she started researching for her MBA application. As an African-American applicant she realized that her profile was underrepresented in the MBA application pool, and …

Lydia was confused about the various options available to her as she started researching for her MBA application. As an African-American applicant she realized that her profile was underrepresented in the MBA application pool, and was both encouraged by her admissions chances and discouraged by the application process.

When she approached Stacy Blackman Consulting seeking advice, we suggested looking into several programs aimed directly at her. With her Stacy Blackman consultant Lydia researched Management Leadership for Tomorrow, The Robert Toigo Foundation, the Consortium and all of the diversity programs at her target schools (HBS, Stanford, Darden, Haas and Yale).

After discussion with her consultant, Lydia decided to apply through the Consortium for her applications to Darden, Haas and Yale while adding Cornell (HBS and Stanford are not Consortium member schools). This streamlined her application process and gave her the opportunity to apply to more schools, but also required her to demonstrate to the Consortium that she was involved in activities to promote their mission.

Luckily, along with her impressive career trajectory in technology and a strong undergraduate record in engineering, Lydia had also been a student leader in the African-American community on campus at Virginia Tech and remained involved as an alumna.

Lydia and her consultant put together a compelling application demonstrating Lydia’s continued involvement and support for her community along with her career success and ambitious goals. Lydia’s application to the Consortium and her MBA programs were highly successful, resulting in acceptances from Yale, Stanford, Haas and Cornell.

Considering your own application through the Consortium? Contact us to learn more about how to position yourself for application success.

Posted in SBC Scoop: Client Case Studies | Tagged , , , , ,

Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips

Chicago Booth is consistently rated in the top echelon of MBA programs in the United States and is known for a strong intellectual community. This application is designed to evaluate candidates on their ability to …

Chicago Booth is consistently rated in the top echelon of MBA programs in the United States and is known for a strong intellectual community. This application is designed to evaluate candidates on their ability to handle the Chicago curriculum, contribute to the community, and grow in their careers. This year Chicago has discarded a longer essay on your career goals in favor of two short essays and the creative powerpoint presentation question.

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 creative presentation or essay confounds many candidates. Whether you choose to write an essay or prepare a four slide presentation, 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. Stacy Blackman Consulting has significant experience coaching applicants through the Chicago creative essay. Contact us to learn more about our strategic approach.

Short Answer Essays
Please respond to the following two essay prompts:
a. My favorite part of my work is… (250 words maximum)

This short answer essay is the only explicit inquiry about your career in this set of essays. It is notable that the essay question focuses on passions, not goals. For a question like that it’s important to distill your career aspirations and feelings about your work into a clear statement. Think about why you go to work everyday and the moments that inspire you at your job and in your career. Ideally your career passions hint at what drives you on a deeper level and fit with your personal and extracurricular pursuits as well.

b. I started to think differently when… (250 words maximum)

Chicago is a school with a tradition of intellectual rigor, and the second short answer essay 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.

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 rest of 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 any 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 prior essays, the presentation could focus on personal stories. If there wasn’t enough opportunity to outline your core career passions in your resume or other essays this could be a place to illuminate that detail.

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.

Reapplicant Question: Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words maximum)

This reapplication essay question gives you the opportunity to focus on your thinking and development rather than any tangible changes you have made since you last applied. Of course, if you do have new accomplishments like a promotion or higher GMAT score that will be of significant value to your re-application. If you do not have any new hard changes to your profile this essay is an opportunity to show that 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 thoughtful consideration of Chicago, your future and your MBA plans.

Posted in Application Tips, Chicago Booth Advice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,