Tag Archives: Wharton School

Turn Failure Into a Great B-School Essay

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News. It’s the dreaded failure topic: “Describe a situation taken from your personal or professional life where you failed.” MBA applicants often freak out …

failure essay MBA

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

It’s the dreaded failure topic: “Describe a situation taken from your personal or professional life where you failed.” MBA applicants often freak out when faced with this common admissions essay question because they fear that showing any weakness will torpedo their admissions chances. However, at one point or another, everyone faces adversity, failure or setbacks, whether at work or in life.

Your response to these situations demonstrates your character, and business schools understand that failure represents a learning opportunity.

This essay is your chance to demonstrate your maturity, flexibility and leadership qualities. Leaders aren’t always successful; rather, they are willing to admit to failure and find motivation in their misfortune.

So how do you tell the business school admissions committee how failure has truly affected you?

First, start with some real introspection. It’s important to use a failure that is emotionally important to you.

Your failure should also be real and something that led you to gain some insight about yourself. The negative situation could have led to a transformative experience for your team, a positive opportunity for someone else or a chance for you to better understand another person through a team challenge.

The admissions committee will easily see through an accomplishment that you frame as a failure; furthermore, that will not demonstrate your maturity or ability to grow. Think creatively about this aspect – do your best to describe how you have changed your approach as a result of the failure.

When brainstorming for this essay, think first about what you learned from the situation you plan to detail; then work backward to describe the circumstances and the initial challenge or hurdle. That will help you more optimistically view the whole situation. What did you learn from the experience and how did it impact your life or demonstrate a specific aspect of your character, goals or accomplishments?

Think honestly about all the emotions you felt. As ugly as they may have been, be honest and write them down.

From there, try to more eloquently describe your feelings in your essay. Remember, even the most difficult situations often lead to personal growth and likely have contributed to the individual you are today.

For example, one of my clients was caught plagiarizing a term paper during college. He was very lucky the school did not expel him, but he did fail and have to repeat that course.

This startling wakeup call became a valuable life lesson. It spurred him to join student government, help develop for the school policy guidelines on cheating and speak publicly about his plagiarism experience and the importance of respecting intellectual property. When he applied for business school, his transformative experience resonated with the admissions committee and he ultimately attended one of the top-three MBA programs in the country.

The key here is detailing not only your actions but also your feelings. Another client I worked with chose to write about her layoffs at three different companies over a five-year period. Although the layoffs had nothing to do with her job performance, each experience devastated her, and she struggled both financially and emotionally until she finally landed a position that allowed her to flourish.

She turned those low moments into a powerful admissions essay of resilience and problem-solving. She showed how the experience ultimately taught her waysto better evaluate career opportunities. Demonstrating this type of humility and self-awareness made a positive impact on the admissions committee, and she ultimately attended the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania – with a scholarship to boot.

As you finalize this essay, focus on embracing the positive aspects of your past mistake and demonstrating the ways you have used the incident as an opportunity to learn and grow. This may just be the factor that makes your candidacy stand out amid a sea of so-called “perfect” applicants.

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Wharton School Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines, Essay Questions

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has posted the MBA application deadlines and required essay prompts for the 2016-2017 admissions season. They are as follows: Deadlines Round 1 Application due: September 27, 2016 Decision released: …

wharton school deadlines and essay questions

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has posted the MBA application deadlines and required essay prompts for the 2016-2017 admissions season. They are as follows:

Deadlines

Round 1
Application due: September 27, 2016
Decision released: TBA

Round 2
Application due: January 5, 2017
Decision released: TBA

Round 3
Application due: March 28, 2017
Decision released: TBA

Essay Questions

Essay 1:  What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

Essay 2: Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words)

According to Maryellen Reilly, Deputy Vice Dean of MBA Admissions, Financial Aid & Career Management, “By asking these two questions, effectively breaking apart and expanding on last year’s essay question, our hope is to give applicants ample space to more fully explain their aspirations, goals, and how Wharton fits into those.

We want to be able to view applicants from both sides of their world – one where they are professionals developing skills and seeking career advancement, but also the personal growth side where they are seeking out enriching experiences to become better, stronger, wiser, and a more robust person.

Take these two questions as an important opportunity to express who you are and what and who you want to be.  It is important for us to know the real you and be able to envision you as part of the Wharton community.”

For more information on applying to the full-time MBA program, please visit the Wharton School admissions website.

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B-Schools and Big Data

Just what is Big Data? And how is it used to make real business decisions? Anyone interested in the burgeoning field of business analytics should check out this story in the Wall Street Journal on …

Big Data

Just what is Big Data? And how is it used to make real business decisions? Anyone interested in the burgeoning field of business analytics should check out this story in the Wall Street Journal on how the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania is expanding its offerings in this area and will now offer an MBA major in the subject.

The move comes as fewer students head to b-school with a career in finance in mind after graduation. According to the WSJ, 306 students in Wharton’s 2008 MBA class entered the financial-services industry right after graduation; last year, the school reports that number was 219.

While many professionals understand the technical side of business analytics, they don’t know precisely how to frame their business strategy. Companies need people who can also understand the business side and offer data-based solutions.

Wharton Professor Adam Grant tells WSJ that the strengthened focus on analytics will train students in rigorous thinking and decision-making based on large data sets, rather than the isolated scenarios students encounter in a case study.

“We want to create a hub where evidence-based management is the norm rather than the exception,” says Grant.

But Wharton isn’t the only elite business school upping its Big Data game. NYU Stern School of Business and USC Marshall School of Business also offer specialist masters courses in business analytics.

In March, MIT Sloan School of Management announced the launch of a new, specialized Master of Business Analytics program designed to prepare students for careers in business analytics. The inaugural class will enter MIT Sloan in fall 2016.

“The professional opportunities for our graduates will be extensive,” says MIT Sloan Professor Dimitris Bertsimas, the co-director of the MIT Operations Research Center. “Companies from IBM to Dell to Amazon to Google are collectively investing billions of dollars in data collection to build models that help them make better, more informed decisions. This is a transformational moment in business and management science.”

Wharton administrators, meanwhile, have said the school has no plans to create a separate degree program, and aims instead to further integrate analytics content into its full-time MBA program.

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Wharton Business Plan Competition’s “Great 8” Finalists

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has announced the “Great Eight” finalists who will compete for over $125,000 in prizes at the Wharton Business Plan Competition Venture Finals coming up on Thursday, April 28, 2016. …

wharton business plan competition

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has announced the “Great Eight” finalists who will compete for over $125,000 in prizes at the Wharton Business Plan Competition Venture Finals coming up on Thursday, April 28, 2016.

The Wharton Business Plan Competition “Great Eight” finalists are:

  • Barn Owl Systems For livestock ranchers who spend significant time and money monitoring resources over large areas, Barn Owl provides drone hardware and software for autonomous data gathering.
  • BioCellection Inc. BioCellection upcycles unrecyclable plastic waste into valuable compound rhamnolipid for textiles using genetically engineered bacteria. This invention has the potential to clean plastic pollution around the world, disrupt the textiles industry, and grow into a $100MM business in 5 years.
  • brEDcrumb brEDcrumb is the only college admission consulting platform that provides free, one-on-one, college mentoring online. The startup connects underserved high schoolers with undergraduates or recent graduates who have shared backgrounds.
  • Daylight OB, LLC Daylight OB, LLC is a medical device company developing technologies to improve health and safety in labor & delivery units. The firm’s first product, now in development, is a disposable obstetrics device, called Daylight, used to elevate a baby’s head to enable a safer, faster, and easier urgent cesarean section delivery.
  • Our Frontier Crowd Our Frontier Crowd is the premiere residential real estate platform dedicated to investment opportunities in Africa. The startup’s technology harnesses the insights of the crowd to connect African real estate developers and potential home buyers with foreign investors.
  • Qorum, Inc. Qorum is a mobile app providing discerning millennials a curated list of quality bars. After enjoying their final beverage, users hail a free ride home through the app.
  • QTEK The QTEK team offers Surfion, a durable, safe, and effective chemical additive that could make any surface antibacterial and antifungal. Surfion will not wash off or wear away; it will provide continuous self-decontamination protection over the lifetime of myriad products.
  • WeTrain WeTrain is a proud Veteran-owned, fitness-technology company building the “Uber of Personal Training.” Every day, 700,000 training sessions are conducted in the US. Using a specially designed application, members request trainers for affordable sessions ($17/half hour or $25/full hour) while trainers receive 30% more compensation than typical gyms.

The competition is open to any University of Pennsylvania student and is managed by Wharton Entrepreneurship. The eight finalist teams face off at the Venture Finals with 20-minute presentations to judges drawn from the business and venture capital community, who will then evaluate the persuasiveness and viability of each venture.

Venture Finals BPC judges are:

  • David Cohen (PAR’14/PAR’16/PAR’17), CEO, Chief Investment Officer and Co-founder, Karlin Asset Management, Inc.
  • Carol Curley (WG’81), Managing Director, Golden Seeds
  • Marc Lore (Wharton alum), Founder and CEO, Jet.com
  • Richard Perlman (W’68), Founder & Executive Chairman, ExamWorks Group, Inc.
  • Stephen Tang (WG’92), President and CEO, University City Science Center
  • Tracey Weber (WG’95), Strategic Advisor, Gilt and Hudson’s Bay Company

Previous participants in the Competition include ventures such as eyeglass phenom Warby Parker, dominant Brazilian baby e-commerce site Baby.com.br, and drug R&D company Integral Molecular.

Students will receive up to $128,500 in cash prizes and in-kind awards including the $30,000 Perlman Grand Prize, which is made possible by the generosity of Ellen Hanson Perlman and Richard E. Perlman (W’68). The event annually attracts over 200 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, investment bankers, alumni, faculty and students.

image credit: Wharton School

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4 Key Career Benefits From MBA Programs

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com Business school graduates benefit not only from a solid return on investment through substantial salary increases, but also by deepening the knowledge, skills …

career benefits of MBA

In one survey, 96 percent of employers said hiring business school graduates creates value for their companies.

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

Business school graduates benefit not only from a solid return on investment through substantial salary increases, but also by deepening the knowledge, skills and abilities they will need for future professional success.

Here are just four of the key career benefits MBA programs can offer.

1. Transferable skills: Business school gives you new skills and knowledge that will turbocharge your career. While MBA students often set their sights on a job in finance or consulting, the hard and soft skills acquired during an MBA program are transferable to myriad other roles. Today, you’ll find an increasing number of MBAs working in tech, health care, consumer goods, government and nonprofits, and many other industries.

The skills typically strengthened during an MBA – leadership, intellectual creativity, analysis and critical thinking, cross-cultural awareness, communication, even greater IT mastery – will serve you well as you find your way toward your ultimate career goal.

You may start out at a financial firm such as Morgan Stanley and learn a tremendous amount about banking and analysis before deciding that it’s not a good fit, as happened with my client, May. She built upon those skills when she eventually became involved with running a business as a gourmet food importer. Once you have a deeper understanding of the complexities of the business world, those problem-solving skills mastered during your MBA will carry over to your next position, and the one after that, too.

2. Higher employment rates: Having an MBA is a powerful tool that can increase job security with your current employer or within your current industry. When the Graduate Management Admission Council released its latest annual poll of employers, it forecasted robust 2016 hiring that reflects high demand for MBA graduates. A whopping 96 percent of responding employers agreed that hiring business school graduates creates value for their companies.

The MBA degree is also a powerful differentiator in a crowded marketplace. Recruiters have said that some of their corporate clients will not consider any candidate without an MBA, which shows just how much business leaders value this qualification. Employers believe it vets potential hires; you can safely assume an MBA graduate from Harvard Business School or the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania is going to bring considerable skills and business acumen to the job from day one.

Without a doubt, companies appreciate managers who have risen through the ranks, know the business inside and out and can get the job done. But they also like hiring MBAs for their ability to handle complex situations, be nimble and adapt in the face of a rapidly changing global environment. As outsiders, MBA hires can provide a broad or fresh perspective to see how to improve inefficiencies or come up with innovative solutions to business problems.

3. Degree specializations: Most MBA programs offer specializations or concentrations that allow you to do a deep dive into the nuances of a particular industry. These courses provide students with an opportunity to sample a few different industries or career paths to see whether it’s a good fit before taking the plunge.

Adding a concentration to an MBA is a good move for people who know exactly what they want to do with their career and who want to build a stronger skill base in that area. If you already know that you’re interested in something really specific, such as digital marketing, real estate, business analytics, social innovation, health care and so forth, earning an MBA with a concentration can make you even more marketable.

In today’s competitive job market, listing a concentration on your resume helps you stand out. However, if you are a career switcher and still testing the waters, you would be better off focusing on a general business education instead.

4. Networking opportunities: At business school, you’ll interact closely with talented individuals from all over the globe, which enhances the experience by exposing you to different business practices, cultures and points of view.

The connections you make are, for many, the single most valuable aspect of the MBA, so make sure you capitalize on the opportunities in and out of the classroom during your MBA studies. Your alumni network helps you stay connected to the university as well as to countless professional opportunities you can tap into throughout your career.

While the quality of the education at the most elite programs is guaranteed across the board, when you’re spending two years of your life and paying more than $100,000, it’s the network of contacts you build that make your MBA experience truly priceless.

Image credit: e3Learning  (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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B-School Deans to Discuss Future of Management Ed.

“Focusing on creating flexible, adept leaders is critical for business schools to continue attracting top talent,” says Glenn Hubbard, Dean of Columbia Business School. This underlying sentiment will serve as the foundation for a landmark …

Columbia Centennial Symposium

“Focusing on creating flexible, adept leaders is critical for business schools to continue attracting top talent,” says Glenn Hubbard, Dean of Columbia Business School. This underlying sentiment will serve as the foundation for a landmark discussion between the deans of the nation’s top business schools as they come together to address critical questions about the future of management education.

“My fellow panelists are all esteemed leaders in the field, and I am hopeful we will bring forward innovative approaches to bridging theory and practice in the curriculums, experiences, and ideas we offer students,” Hubbard adds.

The panel, entitled “What’s Next in Management Education,” is one of three to be held during Columbia Business School’s Centennial Symposium on May 2nd.

Jan Hopkins, former anchor and correspondent for CNN and owner of the Jan Hopkins Group, will moderate the conversation, which will feature deans from the business schools of Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and Columbia and address critical issues such as:

  • Will the MBA degree continue to be valued in the future?
  • How can business schools evolve to meet the demands of a changing economy?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities facing today’s MBA programs?

In addition to the panel on management education, the Symposium will feature two other panels. The first will explore the changing face of global business and examine how multinational companies can continue to flourish in a rapidly changing business environment. The second will focus on how business can define and identify value in the twenty-first century.

As one of the premier events of Columbia Business School’s centennial celebration, this Symposium will commemorate the school’s landmark achievements in key areas of business over the past century, while challenging thought leaders in management education to look to the future and examine the major forces that will impact business in the years ahead.

Photo Credit: Paul Warchol

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