Tag Archives: Yale School of Management

Is There Such Thing as Too Old, Too Young for an MBA?

The profile of the typical business school applicant has changed significantly over the past decade. Once upon a time, few would contemplate applying without first having the requisite 5 to 7 years of work experience …

Many prospective business school students confront whether now is the right time to get an MBA.

The profile of the typical business school applicant has changed significantly over the past decade. Once upon a time, few would contemplate applying without first having the requisite 5 to 7 years of work experience under their belts. The prevailing wisdom held that older candidates would have more to contribute to class discussions because of their substantial real-world experience.

Flash forward to today and you’ll see schools taking a closer look at younger candidates, including those with no work experience. The reason for this shift is that business schools fear some applicants would attain so much success after only a few years that they would not want to go back for an MBA.

Some candidates really are ready for business school right after graduating from college; some have started a company while in school, played a strong role in a family business, or gained relevant experiences in other areas.

But as more MBA programs welcome younger applicants, and in some cases actively court them with programs geared toward younger students—such as Harvard Business School‘s 2+2 Program, Yale School of Management‘s three-year Silver Scholars M.B.A. Program, and the deferred enrollment option for college seniors offered by the Stanford Graduate School of Business—anyone over age 28 may feel that she or he doesn’t stand a chance of getting in.

When a client asks, “Am I too old (or too young) for an MBA?” I respond that it’s not about chronological age. It’s more about maturity, readiness, and where you are in your career. Sometimes these things can be linked to age, but that’s not a certainty.

Instead, think about what you want to gain from and what you can contribute to an MBA program. You may be 22 but have a ton of insight to share and highly focused career goals. That would give you a leg up on the 28-year-old who is lost and just using the MBA as something to fill the time.

While older candidates do face certain obstacles, these applicants get into the top programs every year, and can and should apply if an MBA is the necessary stepping stone to advance their career. If you’re contemplating business school in your mid-30s, the key is to demonstrate confidence, how you’ve progressed professionally, and what you’ve contributed on the job.

A 38-year-old candidate who has spent more than a decade in the same position without showing progression will have a hard time being admitted to a top MBA program. This is not because of age. Rather, it is because the candidate may not demonstrated growth during that time.

If you’re applying to an elite school like Harvard, which values great leadership, you should’ve already developed terrific leadership skills. Many people with great leadership skills have achieved so much by the time they near 40 that they’re not interested in going back to school.

However, if one of these people is interested and can demonstrate great achievement balanced with a legitimate need or desire to return to school, then they have a good chance. Proving that you are a strong and accomplished 40-year-old leader, and balancing that with the fact that you want to improve in order to get to the next step, is tough to pull off. That said, “old” people are admitted every season!

Younger applicants, meanwhile, have their own set of obstacles to overcome. They’ll need to demonstrate to the admissions committee that they have the focus and maturity required to succeed in an MBA program.

Since a huge part of the b-school classroom experience is the exchange of ideas from diverse individuals, younger candidates will also need to prove that they have enough life experience to contribute to an incoming class. Business schools are looking for authentic experience, not just students who subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. Finally, younger applicants will need to show an admissions team they have a strong reason for returning to school so soon after graduation.

Regardless of whether you are young or old, if you can achieve what is written above, you will have a good chance of getting into a program that is the right fit for you. Your age should never be the sole deciding factor of whether to apply to business school.

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Do These 4 Exercises Now to Crystallize Your Post-MBA Career Path

These days, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who stays with one company or even one industry throughout his or her entire professional life. If you’re looking for the fast track to gain the …

Determining Career GoalsThese days, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who stays with one company or even one industry throughout his or her entire professional life. If you’re looking for the fast track to gain the skills and network to launch your career in a new direction, a popular way to do so is through an MBA program. In fact, by some estimates, two-thirds or more of graduating MBAs use the degree as a means of switching careers.

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.

But what if you’re having trouble distilling what that goal is? Julia Zupko, Assistant Dean for Career Development at the Yale School of Management, recently tackled this very topic.

Most people don’t spend enough time proactively managing their careers, and time and again Zupko has encountered applicants whose post-college career path was greatly influenced by family or friends, campus recruiting limitations, or the heavy burden of student loan debt.

Before you launch into the MBA admissions process, take time for some serious introspection to determine what you have liked or disliked about your professional experiences thus far. What awoke your passions or bored you to tears?

To help you with this process, Zupko recommends four exercises to get you thinking deeply about your post-MBA career goals:

At My Best
The At My Best exercise focuses on peak experiences—an amazing accomplishment you’re proud of, a transformational personal experience—where you’re at your best and fully leveraging your strengths.
Available through: StrengthsQuest Activity Workbook

Job Envy
Think about jobs you have heard about and think you would enjoy. After conducting the job envy exercise, you can review your notes to identify job themes.
Available through: Discovering Your Career in Business, Tim Butler and Jim Waldroop

Letters about You
Choose at least five people who know you really well to write a letter to you. Ask them to answer questions like: What would be the ideal career for you? What are your blind spots?
Available through: Discovering Your Career in Business, Tim Butler and Jim Waldroop

StrengthsFinder
Decades of Gallup research have proved that when individuals have the opportunity to discover their natural talents and purposely develop them into strengths, the effect on individual and organizational performance is transformational.

You can take Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment to discover your top five strengths. Your results will include a Signature Theme report detailing those top five strengths, what they mean, and how they are typically recognized and applied.
Available through: www.gallupstrengthscenter.com; $15 for assessment and bestselling StrengthsFinder 2.0 e-book

“While it may seem early, now is the time to catalogue those likes and dislikes, to read and learn more about positions you see in the employment reports of business school graduates, and to think deeply about yourself—what strengths you want to leverage in the future, what values and motivators are critical to you in your next position,” Zupko writes.

“Doing so will help you stay true to yourself as you pursue—and eliminate—some of the various career opportunities that will be available to you during your time in business school.”

You may also be interested in:

Ask Yourself 4 Questions Before Applying to Business School

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Ask the AdCom: Reading Recommendations

Hey everybody! We’re back with our second installment of our new weekly column “Ask the AdCom.” We know MBA applicants love to get information straight from the source, and in this space we’ll be sharing tips and …

Hey everybody! We’re back with our second installment of our new weekly column “Ask the AdCom.” We know MBA applicants love to get information straight from the source, and in this space we’ll be sharing tips and advice from admissions team members from a dozen top business schools.

Since AdCom members are human, too, we thought our readers might enjoy seeing  a different side of what makes these guys tick. This fun space is not really about the application process but more about real-life topics, like where’s the best place on campus to eat or study, what are the can’t-miss courses, and all the fun stuff that happens at b-school that makes lifelong memories for students.

We hope you enjoy their insights!

Today’s question is: What’s a good book for b-school student or an aspirant (not a text book)?

Morgan Bernstein, Executive Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions  at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, recommends:

Life is Good – The Book: How to Live with Purpose and Enjoy the Ride, by Bert and John Jacobs, co-founders of the socially conscious lifestyle company/brand Life is Good. The book celebrates the power of optimism, sharing stories and advice for living simpler, happier, and more fulfilling lives. Given the fast-paced (and oftentimes stressful) lives of MBA students, this book provides a welcome and refreshing retreat from the chaos.

John Roeder, Assistant Dean Graduate Admissions  at SMU Cox School of Business, recommends:

Texas Got It Right by Sam and Andrew Wyly.  While most states are floundering over the last decade, this is an interesting look into Texas history, traits, and policies that have made Texas successful, prosperous and an entrepreneurial powerhouse. After reading this book, aspiring MBAs will have a good idea of why business is booming in the state of Texas and why so many companies are re-locating their corporate Headquarters from the east and west coast.

Texas should be on the radar of any aspiring MBA whether they are choosing to ultimately live in the state or just do business there.

 Rodrigo Malta, Director of Admissions at UT McCombs School of Business, says: Crossing the Chasm is a perennial favorite amongst students and professors.

Kelly R. Wilson, Executive Director of Admissions  at the CMU Tepper School of Business, recommends: Professor Allan Meltzer’s Why Capitalism?

Melissa Fogerty, Director of Admissions at Yale School of Management and obviously an avid reader, recommends:  Prospective MBA students should check out our Yale SOM faculty’s Summer Reading List. This list includes our faculty’s favorite business books, as well as works of fiction, history, and more.

I’ll point out in particular Professor Will Goetzmann’s new book, Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible, published in 2016 by Princeton University Press, which explores how the development of finance has made the growth of civilizations possible.

As someone who loves to read, I’m looking forward to exploring Goetzmann’s idea of finance as a time machine, which Felix Martin (New York Times Book Review) notes “is a fascinating thesis, brilliantly illuminated by scores of vivid examples, generously illustrated with a wealth of pictures, comprehensive in its geographical and temporal scope, and in my view almost entirely convincing.”

In fiction, I’ll also recommend M.L. Stedman’s New York Times bestselling novel The Light Between Oceans, which I recently read for my book club. I’m looking forward to comparing it to the Derek Cianfrance film starring Rachel Weisz, Alicia Vikander, and Michael Fassbender, which will be out in theaters in September.

Shari Hubert, Associate Dean, MBA Admissions  at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, also has a long list of recommendations:

The Start Up of You –by Reid Hoffman

Banker to the Poor –by Muhammad Yunus

How to Change the World – by David Bornstein

Zero to One –by Peter Thiel

Conscious Capitalism – by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia

The 10-Day MBA – by Steven Silbiger

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them (by Meg Jay – there’s also a Ted Talk on this) – This book helps to put into context why individuals pursue their MBA and helps to prepare students for the most transformative and defining period of their lives.

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Look out for the #AskAdCom in our social media channels, and we’ll see you again next week when we check in to Ask the AdCom to name a great restaurant around campus!

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Yale SOM to Cap Full-Time MBA Class Size

In an effort to preserve its unique and close-knit culture, the Yale School of Management has announced it will put the brakes on the ballooning admissions increases it has seen over the past six years and cap the …

Yale SOM Caps Class SizeIn an effort to preserve its unique and close-knit culture, the Yale School of Management has announced it will put the brakes on the ballooning admissions increases it has seen over the past six years and cap the class at around 340 students.

According to the Yale News, the MBA program is 150 percent larger than it was in 2010, going from 238 to 334 students.

In its latest MBA admissions cycle for the incoming class of 2018, which ended this summer, the SOM received 3,649 applications — exactly 200 more than the record-breaking number last year. The school admitted 692 applicants, registering an admissions rate of 19 percent, one of the lowest in its history.

“We are bucking the trend. All the schools have not seen the same increase [in applicants] that we have,” SOM Assistant Dean of Admissions Bruce DelMonico told Yale News. “It is a testimony to all the positive things happening here.”

The school is also touting this year’s very diverse cohort; woman make up 43 percent of the MBA Class of 2018, 46 percent are international students, and 13 percent are from underrepresented ethnic groups.

Also, more than a quarter of the incoming students have a STEM background, which DelMonico calls an unusual case at business schools.

SOM Senior Associate Dean for the MBA Program Anjani Jain attributes the school’s increase in popularity to the fact that employers are becoming more aware of the unique attributes of the Yale MBA, notably its integrated core curriculum, interconnectedness with Yale’s other professional schools, and the Global Network for Advanced Management, founded by SOM Dean Edward Snyder in 2012.

For students and alumni reportedly worried that the SOM’s sudden expansion would have a negative affect on the school’s culture, this plan to cap the class is welcome news.

You may also be interested in:

Yale School of Management Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips
PepsiCo CEO Endows Deanship at the SOM
Yale SOM Dean Snyder Named ‘Dean of the Year’

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Tuesday Tips: Yale School of Management Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips

Yale School of Management continues to have only one required essay as part of the MBA application, yet has streamlined that question this year and left the answer open ended. Because there is only one essay …

Yale SOM essay tipsYale School of Management continues to have only one required essay as part of the MBA application, yet has streamlined that question this year and left the answer open ended.

Because there is only one essay question to highlight your personal qualities and leadership ability, and no specific career goals essay, make sure your resume and recommendations showcase your key accomplishments.

You may want to highlight specific projects at work that have most excited you and shaped your future goals on your resume and ask your recommenders to comment on those same projects. Strategically designing all of the application components to support your key accomplishments and showcase your best qualities will enhance your candidacy.

Keep in mind the Yale values: “Leaders for business and society think broadly about global trends and challenges, bring a sense of purpose to their work every day, and move forward with analytical rigor.”

Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)

As you approach this essay remember the type of MBA student Yale is most interested in admitting. Ideally you are coming across as an intellectually curious student with a diverse background deeply interested in the integrated curriculum.

Behavioral questions like this one (the tip off is “describe”) seek to understand how you actually operate in various situations. Try to be as specific as possible about how you positively influenced the organization. What did you think or say when you were determining what to do? What did you actually do? How did you feel about the result?

Start by describing each step in detail in terms of what you did, the reaction of others and your own reaction. From there you can cut out anything that is too detailed or too superfluous to the story to maintain the 500 word maximum.

You may decide to focus on a key solo accomplishment at work, and that may be entirely appropriate since most MBA applicants are individual contributors. However, ideally you can demonstrate how you work with others as a leader. Regardless of whether you choose an individual or team accomplishment it should show a significant positive impact on the organization or people within the organization.

Contact us To learn more about designing the best Yale application possible with Stacy Blackman Consulting.

image credit: Yale School of Management

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Yale SOM Announces Fall 2017 Essay Topic

Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean for admissions at Yale School of Management, has previewed the new essay question that will be a part of the fall 2017 MBA application. The Yale SOM admissions committee would like you …

Yale SOM application essayBruce DelMonico, assistant dean for admissions at Yale School of Management, has previewed the new essay question that will be a part of the fall 2017 MBA application. The Yale SOM admissions committee would like you to:

Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)

This seemingly simple and straightforward prompt, DelMonico says, was developed in collaboration with Yale SOM professor of organizational behavior Amy Wrzesniewski.

The SOM will continue using a slide-scale application fee, which ties your application fee to your total annual compensation, for the upcoming year, DelMonico adds.

“The sliding-scale fee helps us attract diverse applicants from all over the world, including those from countries where pay scales are different from the United States and from industries where compensation varies,” he writes.

The 2016-2017 application goes live in mid-July. For more information, please visit the Yale SOM admissions website.

You may also be interested in:

Yale SOM Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines

 

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