Tag Archives: MBA rankings

7 Common Mistakes International MBA Applicants Make

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News. Creating a robust and dynamic classroom experience through diversity is a primary focus of the top business schools in the United States, offering …

advice for international applicant

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

Creating a robust and dynamic classroom experience through diversity is a primary focus of the top business schools in the United States, offering students the chance to interact with peers from an array of countries and professional backgrounds.

In fact, international candidates made up a significant percentage of the 2016 incoming class: 32 percent at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, 35 percent at Harvard Business School and 40 percent at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

However, sometimes cultural differences or a simple lack of awareness regarding what a strong MBA application should include can unwittingly derail even the most stellar applicants. With that in mind, international students should avoid these seven common hurdles when targeting top-ranked U.S. business schools.

1. Choosing business schools solely with rankings: Many international students are unable to visit each prospective school in person due to financial or time constraints, so poring over published rankings is an obvious method to create a short list of schools.

But don’t let this be your only method. While brand and cache carry a lot of weight worldwide, you need to look beyond rankings to find the programs that best serve yourr individual needs.

2. Omitting unique personal experiences in essays: In many cultures, sharing personal stories with strangers is taboo. International applicants may be strongly tempted to keep the focus solely on previous education and professional experience.

But to stand out from the masses of similarly qualified applicants, you must focus your essays on aspects other than your quantitative or technical background.

The key to a successful MBA application is showing exactly what you – and nobody else but you – can bring to the program. Don’t be afraid to let your originality and true personality come through in your application materials.

3. Focusing too much on MBA message boards: It’s unsettling to be so far away geographically, and the instinct is to seek out all news and information possible about your dream programs in the U.S.

But local MBA websites and message boards can be rife with rumors and inaccurate information that can steer you in the wrong direction as you consider application strategies.

Remember that no one except the admissions committee knows what’s going on with interview invites, acceptance rates, waitlists or anything else of importance for prospective students.

4. Failing to correctly translate or explain GPA and undergrad transcript: This is a common yet complicated issue, since there’s no universal standard to convert an international GPA to the American 4.0 system. Once you’ve translated your home country’s GPA using an online grade conversion calculator, assess whether it accurately reflects the rigor of your undergrad institution.

Variations in course difficulty can lead to confusion – for some transcripts, a 75 percent would be equivalent to an American A-plus, and at other, more difficult programs, a percentage as low as 60 would translate to an A grade.

If you feel there is some ambiguity in this metric of your transcript, briefly explain to the admissions committee any relevant information that would clarify its understanding of your academic performance.

5. Appearing uncomfortable with a new culture and language: Feeling comfortable working across cultures is crucial in today’s global business landscape. Make sure to highlight any previous study or work abroad experiences, and include examples within your application of times where you have worked with people from other cultural or language backgrounds.

The ability to communicate effectively and fluently in English is also nonnegotiable at top MBA programs. This is one reason some schools have introduced a video interview question in their applications to verify candidate’s comfort with the language. Enroll in conversation courses if needed and continue to read business publications in English to bolster your vocabulary and increase fluency.

6. Failing to manage recommenders, especially nonnative English speakers: You have to convey to your recommenders the criteria for a successful letter of recommendation to a top business school. Otherwise, you’re left with well-intentioned but generic platitudes that provide little insight into exactly what makes you a strong leader, team player or an asset to the program.

Determine exactly what your recommenders should highlight and guide them by providing anecdotes or themes you’d like them to mention.

If your recommenders are not native English speakers, you need to make sure the letter is well-written or, if needed, translated into English.

7. Applying in round three: Round three is difficult to pull off successfully for any applicant, but international candidates should avoid this application cycle for practical reasons. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, so applying in one of the earlier rounds reduces the stress of managing this process once you’re already received an offer of admission and can apply for a student visa.

Also, the earlier you apply, the more time you have to secure and provide proof of funding, whether through work, loans, family or other means. At some schools, scholarship offers go out at the same time as admissions offers, so more award funding is generally available the earlier you apply.

Planning, planning and more planning are key to a smooth application process no matter where you are applying, but the logistics are even more critical for international students.

You may also be interested in:

Guidance for International MBA Applicants
Advice for Business School Applicants from Asia

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US News Announces 2018 Ranking of Best Business Schools

U.S. News & World Report has released the 2018 Best Graduate Schools rankings, designed to help prospective students research programs across six disciplines and evaluate the potential return on their investment. In this year’s full-time MBA rankings, …

U.S. News & World Report has released the 2018 Best Graduate Schools rankings, designed to help prospective students research programs across six disciplines and evaluate the potential return on their investment.

Harvard Business School interview

In this year’s full-time MBA rankings, Harvard Business School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School have tied for the No. 1 program in the country. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business holds the No. 3 spot, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business drops from last year’s second place to share fourth place with MIT Sloan School of Management and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Among part-time MBA programs, the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business once again retains the top spot, followed by Chicago’s Booth School of Business at No. 2. The NYU Stern School of Business and UCLA Anderson School of Management tie at third place.

US News’s Best Business Schools

  • Harvard Business School (#1 tie)
  • Wharton School (#1 tie)
  • Chicago Booth School of Business (#3)
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business (#4 tie)
  • MIT Sloan School of Management (#4 tie)
  • Kellogg School of Management (#4 tie)
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business (#7)
  • Tuck School of Business (#8)
  • Columbia Business School (#9 tie)
  • Yale School of Management  (#9 tie)

The six graduate disciplines U.S. News ranks annually are evaluated on factors such as employment rates for graduates, starting salary and standardized test scores of newly enrolled students. Because each graduate program is different, the rankings methodology varies across disciplines.

Different output measures are available for different fields, U.S. News explains, saying that in business, they use starting salaries and the ability of new MBAs to find jobs upon graduation or three months later.

“A graduate degree can lead to professional advancement and a potential salary increase,” says Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News. “Whether you are interested in pursuing a full-time program or taking classes part-time, the grad school rankings and advice offer guidance on finding programs that help you fulfill your personal goals.”

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Harvard Business School Tops Bloomberg’s 2016 US Rankings

Bloomberg Businessweek has released its 2016 ranking of the best U.S. business schools, based on data compiled from more than 1,000 recruiters, 15,000 alumni, and 9,000 recent graduates. Harvard Business School claims the number one spot …

Bloomberg Businessweek has released its 2016 ranking of the best U.S. business schools, based on data compiled from more than 1,000 recruiters, 15,000 alumni, and 9,000 recent graduates. Harvard Business School claims the number one spot among 87 full-time U.S. MBA programs. Stanford Graduate School of Business is number two, and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business is number three. This is the second year in a row that Harvard came out on top—and this time by a wider margin.

Harvard Business School tops bloomberg ranking

HBS was rated No.1 by the more than 1,000 corporate recruiters, and No.3 among alumni. Its graduates left with the second highest salaries. Competition for the No.2 spot was particularly close this year, with Stanford edging out Duke-Fuqua by .08 percentage point for its highest ever Businessweek rank.

Bloomberg’s Top Ten U.S. Full-Time MBA Programs 

  1. Harvard Business School
  2. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  3. Duke University Fuqua School of Business
  4. Chicago Booth School of Business
  5. Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
  6. University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School
  7. MIT Sloan School of Management
  8. Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business
  9. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management
  10. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

“We continue last year’s focus on how well the schools channel their graduates into good jobs and, with a new survey of MBAs after graduation, offer more insight into what grads can expect from their careers,”  writes Bloomberg’s Lance Lambert.

Highlights of the 2016 ranking include:

  • Harvard had more than a nine point lead on its nearest competitor this year, up from less than two points in 2015.
  • Indiana University received the highest score among recent graduates.
  • Rutgers University’s 2015 grads had the highest job placement rate.
  • The University of Michigan does not appear in the top ten for the first time since Businessweek started the rankings in 1988.
  • This is the first year that Rice University has ranked in the top ten.
  • Alumni, recent graduates and recruiters all gave the University of Texas at Dallas better scores, helping to propel it 13 spots.

The Bloomberg ranking methodology includes an employer survey (35% of score), alumni survey (30%), student survey (15%), job placement rate (10%), and starting salary (10%).

“Our Full-Time MBA rankings comprise five elements. So it’s possible to rank highly without knocking every category out of the park,” Lambert explains. “For example, Stanford which is the No. 2 school on our list, ranked No. 57 for job placement.”

This year’s rankings includes 15 U.S. MBA programs that weren’t ranked last year, moving the list from 74 programs in 2015 to 87 in 2016. “With so many new programs added to the list, we saw a lot of movement throughout the rankings,”  Lambert notes.

The top 30 full-time U.S. MBA programs will be highlighted in the print issue of Bloomberg Businessweek on newsstands Friday, November 18, 2016.

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Harvard Bumps Stanford in Latest US News MBA Ranking

U.S. News & World Report today released the 2017 Best Graduate Schools rankings, designed to help prospective students research programs across six disciplines and evaluate the potential return on their investment. In the full-time MBA …

Harvard Business School-Flickr

U.S. News & World Report today released the 2017 Best Graduate Schools rankings, designed to help prospective students research programs across six disciplines and evaluate the potential return on their investment.

In the full-time MBA rankings, Harvard University is the No. 1 program in the country. The University of Chicago—Booth moves up two places to tie with Stanford Graduate School of Business at No. 2. This is Booth’s highest placement ever in this list, and the first time in seven years that Stanford GSB has been knocked out of the first place ranking held either on its own or tied with another school.

Yale School of Management, meanwhile, has achieved its highest ranking ever on this list, tied for eighth place with Dartmouth’s Tuck School after finishing at No. 13 last year. For anyone wondering what happened to NYU Stern School of Business, which ranks 20th this year, according to a blog post by US News’s rankings guru Bob Morse, it’s because Stern did not provide complete data in time for use in calculating the rankings.

Among part-time MBA programs, the Haas School of Business at the University of California—Berkeley remains No. 1, Chicago Booth comes in second, Kellogg School of Management is No. 3, UCLA Anderson School of Management is No. 4, and Michigan Ross School of Business rounds out the top five.

Best Business Schools

1. Harvard School of Business
2. Stanford Graduate School of Business
2. University of Chicago Booth School of Business
4. University of Pennsylvania Wharton School
5. MIT Sloan School of Management
5. Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
7. University of California—Berkeley Haas School of Business
8. Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business
8. Yale School of Management
10. Columbia School of Business

The six graduate disciplines U.S. News ranks annually are evaluated on factors such as employment rates for graduates, starting salary and standardized test scores of newly enrolled students. Because each graduate program is different, the rankings methodology varies across disciplines.

Different output measures are available for different fields, U.S. News explains, saying that in business, they use starting salaries and the ability of new MBAs to find jobs upon graduation or three months later.

“Going to graduate school is a major commitment of time and money,” said Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News. “Our rankings and advice offer guidance throughout the decision-making process to help prospective students and their families find the right fit.”

Image credit: Michael A. Herzog (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Harvard Crowned No. 1 in Bloomberg Businessweek 2015 MBA Ranking

Bloomberg Businessweek has released its 2015 global rankings of best business schools, and Harvard Business School claims the number one spot among 74 full-time U.S. programs. Chicago Booth School of Business is number two, and …

Bloomberg Businessweek has released its 2015 global rankings of best business schools, and Harvard Business School claims the number one spot among 74 full-time U.S. programs. Chicago Booth School of Business is number two, and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management is number three. Bloomberg Businessweek‘s top school of 2014, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, fell to number eight.

Of 29 international MBA programs, Western University’s Ivey Business School in Ontario, Canada is number one (retaining its top spot in 2014’s ranking), London Business School is number two and INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France is number three.

Among the 74 part-time U.S. MBA programs evaluated, Northwestern’s Kellogg ranks number one, Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business ranks number two, and Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business ranks number three.

Top Ten Full-Time MBA Programs in 2015

  1. Harvard Business School
  2. Chicago Booth School of Business
  3. Kellogg School of Management
  4. MIT Sloan School of Management
  5. UPenn Wharton School
  6. Columbia Business School
  7. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  8. Duke/Fuqua School of Business
  9. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  10. Michigan Ross School of Business

For the first time, Bloomberg Businessweek says it has placed a sharper focus on what people most hope to find after business school—career growth and job satisfaction—and how well MBA programs promote both. Businessweek compiled what it calls its deepest and broadest set of data ever from over 13,150 current students, 18,540 alumni, and 1,460 recruiters across 177 business school programs.

According to the news magazine, the rankings are based on five measures:

1. Employer Survey (35 percent of total score): Recruiter feedback on the skills they look for in MBAs, and which programs best equip their students with those skills;

2. Alumni Survey (30 percent of total score): Feedback from the Classes of 2007, 2008, and 2009 on how their MBAs have affected their careers, their compensation change over time, and their mid-career job satisfaction;

3. Student Survey (15 percent of total score): The Class of 2015’s take on academics, career services, campus climate, and more;

4. Job Placement Rate (10 percent of total score): The most recent data on how many MBAs seeking full-time jobs get them within three months of graduation;

5. Starting Salary (10 percent of total score): The most recent data on how much MBAs make in their first jobs after graduation, adjusted for industry and regional variation.

“By refining our focus and updating our methodology, we’ve created the most effective ranking yet for helping career-oriented students choose an MBA program,” says Ellen Pollock, editor, Bloomberg Businessweek.

Not everyone agrees, however, that the updated methodology accurately reflects the standing of the best business schools in the land.

“Changes in methodology…result in vast swings in rankings that have nothing to do with the quality of an MBA program’s experience,” notes Poets & Quants editor John A. Byrne in his analysis of the new rankings. “Even among the truly elite MBA programs, there were double-digit changes which tend to be rare and hardly credible,” Byrne writes.

In the article he calls out some head scratchers—schools that have either skyrocketed or plummeted over last year’s standing—but Byrne says that in general, the new methodology has produced a somewhat more credible list than last year’s, “which severely damaged the standing of the Businessweek ranking.”

In the end, despite any debate over rankings and methodology, one thing remains clear: the MBA continues to be a sound investment in one’s career.

Jonathan Rodkin, research and rankings coordinator at Bloomberg Businessweek, says, “Most MBAs have no trouble landing jobs: Three months after graduation, 88 percent of MBAs have been hired—and offered a nice pay bump. Graduates saw an 81 percent jump over their median compensation before B-School. After six to eight years, pay typically increased another 64 percent to around $169,000 a year.”

You may also be interested in:

Chicago Booth Tops the Economist MBA Rankings Again
Columbia’s Dean Hubbard on MBA Rankings
Rethinking MBA Rankings

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Chicago Booth Tops The Economist MBA Rankings Again

For the fifth time in six years, the Chicago Booth School of Business takes the top spot in The Economist’s annual ranking of the best business schools in the world. Despite Booth’s reputation for finance …

chicago booth tops economist rankingsFor the fifth time in six years, the Chicago Booth School of Business takes the top spot in The Economist’s annual ranking of the best business schools in the world.

Despite Booth’s reputation for finance and “super quants”, The Economist finds it to be a well-rounded MBA program, with graduates gushing about finding nearly guaranteed employment in the widest range of industries, and students believing the Chicago Booth career services, faculty, and facilities were top-notch.

Although the rankings are global, 14 of the top 20 schools in the 2015 ranking are located in the U.S. Here’s a look at this year’s Top Ten:

  1. Chicago Booth School of Business
  2. UV Darden School of Business
  3. Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business
  4. Harvard Business School
  5. HEC Paris
  6. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  7. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management
  8. INSEAD
  9. UCLA Anderson School of Management
  10. The Wharton School

There were some notable shifts from last year’s ranking, which placed Kellogg at 14, INSEAD at 18, and UCLA Anderson at 13. Another surprise was Spain’s IESE, which took the 5th spot in 2014 but came in at 14 this year. IE Business School, also in Spain, made great strides over last year’s ranking, coming in at 36 in 2014 and 17th in 2015.

The Economist wants to find out how effective the MBA degree is at opening up new professional opportunities, and says its ranking is based on a mix of hard data and subjective marks given by the students.

“Each year we ask students why they decided to take an MBA. Our ranking weights data according to what they say is important. The four categories covered are: opening new career opportunities (35% weighting), personal development and educational experience (35%), increasing salary (20%) and the potential to network (10%),” the magazine explains.

While we don’t like to encourage clients to focus too heavily on rankings when they’re making their MBA program selections, we also know those headed for b-school really can’t help themselves. But placing too heavy an emphasis on rankings can actually become a distraction for some applicants, so be sure to consider multiple factors when making your final school selection.

You may also be interested in:

Columbia’s Dean Hubbard on MBA Rankings
Rethinking MBA Rankings
The Truth Behind 3 Common MBA Rankings Myths

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