Tag Archives: Stanford GSB

Weigh Trying a MOOC Before an MBA

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com 2013 may well become known as the year of the massive open online course, commonly abbreviated MOOC, as more and more prestigious business …

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

2013 may well become known as the year of the massive open online course, commonly abbreviated MOOC, as more and more prestigious business schools began offering their courses for free to anyone in the world with an Internet connection.

Stanford Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, Michigan’s Ross School of Business and Spain’s IE Business School are just a few of the top MBA programs bringing their courses to the people, and it seems more are joining the party every month.

Most elite schools use the Palo Alto-based education company Coursera to host their MOOC content. While universities don’t offer official credit for their MOOCs, some offer participants a certificate – either free or for a fee – confirming completion of the course and a demonstrated understanding of the material.

In the fall, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Harvard Business School and HEC Paris announced they will offer numerous MOOCs as a way to enhance the academic experience and allow teaching to go beyond the confines of the classroom. HEC Paris is the first business school in France to launch a MOOC and will offer two courses, European law and corporate finance, in early spring 2014.

When announcing the news, HEC Dean Bernard Ramanantsoa said, “This partnership with Coursera offers HEC an opportunity to open up our courses to people who might not usually have access to higher education, whether for practical or economic considerations. Sharing our faculty’s expertise with the general public at no cost is a truly exciting and meaningful challenge.”

Meanwhile, with the Wharton MBA Foundation Series, faculty teach four core classes in financial accounting, operations management, marketing and corporate finance, allowing students all over the world to learn the same material a first-year Wharton MBA student would.

“This is the first time that a business school has bundled a collection of MOOCs together in this fashion,” Don Huesman, managing director of the innovation group at Wharton, told Bloomberg Businessweek in September. “We’re taking our core required classes in the MBA program, with the same instructors, to provide those same core concepts.”

Harvard Business School is playing it close to the vest with its initial foray into online education, perhaps because it must consider how to impart its knowledge to the masses without tarnishing the school’s venerable brand.

Brian C. Kenny, chief marketing and communications officer for HBS, told The Chronicle of Higher Education that the school needs to figure out how to translate its signature pedagogical technique, the case method, to an online educational experience.

“Whether or not the case method can work online,” said Kenny, “is a question that we haven’t answered yet.”

For its part, Darden has upcoming courses in foundations of business strategy, smart growth for private businesses, design thinking for business innovation and new models of business in society. Darden’s Dean Bob Bruner remarked in an interview that the school is proud to be one of the most active schools in online learning.

“Everyone says ‘you’re a business school, why are you giving it away for free,'” Bruner said, but he explains that “MOOCs are consistent with our mission and we’re learning a great deal about digital instruction with practice.”

These online courses may also be one of the best marketing tools the schools have at their fingertips. As Bruner noted, MOOCs are “helping a part of the world to learn about Darden, a population that was pretty much oblivious to the existence of the school beforehand.”

For MBA applicants wondering whether to enroll in a MOOC at one of their target schools, I say go for it. There’s no harm in getting an early taste of the course work to come, and the experience might actually help inform your decision to apply or allow you to reference something concrete about the curriculum in your essays.

The courses typically require a high level of motivation to complete, and doing so shows a commitment to self-improvement the admissions committee would find laudable.

Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that completing a set of MOOCs from Wharton will put you in the same league as a student on campus. The conversations that occur in class and out, and the networking opportunities business school provides, remain the most valuable aspects of the MBA experience.

No one is exactly sure yet how free online courses factor into the world of students, nonstudents and applicants. Does it merely offer a taste of the school, or will it one day replace live classes? Right now, this kind of online learning is still in its infancy, but it is a very real part of the education world and good to experiment with rather than ignore.

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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.

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Stanford MBA Class of 2015 Largest Ever

Stanford Graduate School of Business recently posted details of the MBA Class of 2015 profile, noting that at 406 students, this is the largest class in the history of the GSB. While quick to point …

school-stanford-grad

Stanford Graduate School of Business recently posted details of the MBA Class of 2015 profile, noting that at 406 students, this is the largest class in the history of the GSB.

While quick to point out that Stanford’s relatively small class size naturally includes percentage shifts here and there each year, the school also reports a greater diversity of experience and background this year as a result of the larger class size.

Here are some of the most notable shifts within the Class of 2015, as shared by Victoria Hendel De La O in admissions:

  • The class comprises a record number of international and U.S. schools.
  • Representation of both women and U.S. minorities in the class increased.
  • As always, there was fluctuation in industry representation, with increases in biotech, consulting, and consumer-products sectors.
  • The number of humanities and sciences majors in the class jumped, while a handful fewer students studied business or engineering.
  • Average TOEFL and GMAT scores crept up slightly. The score ranges, however, stayed consistent.
  • Average years of pre-MBA work experience fell slightly from last year’s decade-long high. The range of years of work experience also narrowed slightly.

For the most up-to-date information about the entering class profile, read more here.

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Stanford GSB Interview Timeline

Here’s a heads-up for applicants regarding a recent update on the interview process at Stanford Graduate School of Business. According to the MBA Admission Blog, the school has decided to compress the interview timeline. This …

stanford interview timeline

Here’s a heads-up for applicants regarding a recent update on the interview process at Stanford Graduate School of Business. According to the MBA Admission Blog, the school has decided to compress the interview timeline.

This means interview invitations for Round 1 applicants will only go out from October 28-Novembr 26, 2013, instead of over the entire round. Final notification is still December 11th, but you’ll know on November 26th whether you’re still being considered for admission.

“Some of you have told us that if the answer is a definite ‘no,’ you’d rather know earlier to give you more time to work on Round 2 applications for other schools,” writes Victoria Hendel De La O in Stanford MBA admissions. “Our hope is that this compressed timeline helps ease your anxiety as you navigate the application process.”

Because this condensed interview process is still a pilot, interview dates for Rounds 2 and 3 have not yet been set.

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Which B-Schools are Social Media Savvy?

Are you at all surprised that Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business boast the strongest performance in MBA50’s 2013 US B-School Social Media Ranking? According to the results presented by chief editor …

Are you at all surprised that Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business boast the strongest performance in MBA50’s 2013 US B-School Social Media Ranking? According to the results presented by chief editor of MBA50 Matt Symonds, HBS leads the pack on Facebook and Linkedin, while Stanford GSB attracts the biggest following on Twitter and You Tube.

In fact, the data gathered shows these two schools are way ahead of other elite American MBA programs, and Symonds calls the difference between the top 5 and top 25 striking, noting that “many business schools have been slow to embrace social media, particularly in the way they market themselves.”

Top Five in Twitter Followers

  1. Stanford GSB (113,560)
  2. HBS (67,811)
  3. UPenn Wharton School (63,670)
  4. MIT Sloan School of Management (40,943)
  5. Georgetown McDonough (39,214)

Top Five in Facebook Likes

  1. HBS (121,678)
  2. UV Darden School of Business (71,850)
  3. Stanford GSB (71,662)
  4. Wharton (37,285)
  5. MIT Sloan (25,061)

Top Five in LinkedIn Followers

  1. HBS (32,670)
  2. Wharton (18,523)
  3. Stanford GSB (11,991)
  4. UV Darden (8,533)
  5. MIT Sloan (7,878)

Top Five in YouTube Subscribers

  1. Stanford GSB (53,797)
  2. HBS (32,436)
  3. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business (7,863)
  4. Columbia Business School (7,052)
  5. Wharton (6,070)

As the numbers show, the difference between first and fifth in each category is stark, indicating that today’s business schools need to significantly ramp up their social media participation if they hope to land the attention of this generation of tech-native consumers.

Today’s students don’t see social media as a trend; rather, this is a generation that has grown up with the Internet. Business schools, like any enterprise, need to adapt and evolve to this new reality in order to prepare graduates who can develop and manage marketing strategies that address the nuances of the online world.

You may also be interested in:

Give Yourself a Social Media Makeover as a B-School Applicant

Social Media Influences Curricula, Affects Applicants

 

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Look Beyond the Top Business Schools for Your MBA

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com People typically pursue an MBA because they are looking to improve their career opportunities and increase their future income. What some applicants don’t …

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

People typically pursue an MBA because they are looking to improve their career opportunities and increase their future income. What some applicants don’t consider is that you can achieve both of those objectives even if you don’t make it into the business programs at Harvard, Wharton or Stanford.

While rankings are a valuable piece of the puzzle when you’re narrowing down your school list, don’t get hung up on the top few programs. It’s more important to be pragmatic and align your expectations with the MBA programs that match your particular profile, particularly if your GMAT score isn’t through the roof or your career trajectory has stalled out.

MBA programs update their career or recruiting reports annually and post them online, so a good strategy is to think about the company or industry you want to work in, and find out whether they recruit at your target schools.

[Research b-schools that match your learning style and personality.]

For example, top MBA employers including McKinsey & Co., Goldman Sachs, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Co. and Deloitte Consulting recruit heavily at the most elite schools. But they also recruit other schools, such as at UCLA Anderson School of Management, Emory’s Goizueta Business School and Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. These graduate business schools all placed in the Top 25 of the 2014 U.S. News Best Graduate Schools rankings.

While most schools don’t disclose the number of hires per company, MBA applicants can extrapolate that you might not need to get into a top school in order to land at the company of your dreams.

A few years ago, our client Priya had her sights set on attending one of the top three ranked schools in the U.S. However, as her consultant worked with her on her applications, it became apparent that her chances of admission were less than ideal.

Priya had taken a few swings at the GMAT, but test-taking was a significant weakness for her and her scores topped out at 640. She had a few years of work experience, but promotion freezes had left her stuck at her initial position without advancement.

[Find out how to fix a low GMAT score.]

Priya was starting to wonder if she should apply to business school at all. Before letting her quit, Priya’s consultant asked why she wanted to apply to those top three schools.

Priya wanted to work in corporate finance at a specific Fortune 500 firm after graduating, and had chosen the top schools where that company heavily recruited. With her career goal in mind, Priya and her consultant decided to change strategies.

Since an MBA was the key to achieving her career goals, Priya cast a wider net to include schools ranked in the top 50. She also retooled her application to emphasize her specific, concrete career plan, which helped shift focus away from her weaknesses.

Priya found a great fit in the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Though not as competitive for admission as the very top schools, it ranks No. 20 in the U.S. News rankings and in the top twenty of several other lists, and offers a concentration in corporate finance that Priya found appealing.

She maximized her academic and networking opportunities while on campus and found a job with her chosen finance firm after graduating using the skills and contacts she gained, rather than relying solely on recruiting. Priya is now moving up the ranks and is encouraged by the fact that her firm’s CEO obtained his MBA from a school that rarely even appears on a business school ranking list.

[Get MBA admissions tips for applicants with a finance background.]

Location is often overlooked by candidates choosing a b-school, but is extremely important. Recruiters give priority to candidates who have already lived or worked in the same region where the position is located, and graduates tend to gain employment near the geographic location of their MBA program.

While an MBA from Harvard opens doors anywhere, if you’re interested in working in the energy sector, you might have a better shot going where the energy industry thrives. Examples in the oil and gas industry include the University of Texas—Austin McCombs School of Business or Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business.

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business offers an MBA concentration in energy & environment, as well as a new concentration in energy finance.

The point is, if you’re not going into finance or consulting, you have greater flexibility in finding a niche program that’s the right fit for you.

While a degree from an elite business school is a goal and dream for many, several factors – such as test scores, undergraduate academic performance and tuition costs – influence whether it’s a viable option. If you believe the degree is critical to your career goals, consider expanding your school options while still getting a great return on investment.

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