Stacy Blackman’s 2017 Year in Review

best of SBC in 2016

How is it possible that we’re already at the final days of 2017? Once again, the time is upon us to make new resolutions, push ourselves to learn and grow, and rededicate ourselves to our personal and professional goals.

With that in mind, we’d like to share some of our most popular blog posts from the past year, each selected to help you better prepare as you journey along the road to business school.

5 Times it Makes Sense to Apply to Only One MBA Program—While the majority of applicants target four to six MBA programs, deciding how many business schools to apply to is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Here you’ll find five scenarios where putting all of your eggs in one basket is a perfectly valid decision.

Dealing with Impostor Syndrome at B-School—When you have your sights set on one of the top business schools in the world, you probably feel confident that your skills and experiences will sway the admissions committee to take a closer look at your application. Despite that confidence, many accepted candidates go through a period of self-doubt once they start learning more about all of the amazing people they will be working alongside in class.

Consider the 3 C’s of Fit When Choosing a Business School—Whether you’re a prospective applicant starting to pull together a list of programs or you’re in the enviable position of choosing between two or more admissions offers, start determining the best fit for you by considering the three C’s – curriculum, communication and culture.

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

The Bigger Picture: Beginnings Are Hard—In the early days of SBC, my husband gave me a little annex room in his office, where I sat all day and worked in silence, alone and…nothing. Nobody called. Nobody emailed. I was overwhelmed by feelings of self-doubt and self-pity. I’m still not sure what made me keep going, but I suppose it came down to truly believing in the service and knowing I could help people achieve their goals. I made it through the beginning. It was ugly and messy and very un-glamorous, but I kept going.

Sorry Military MBA Applicants, There’s No Manual for B-School Research—One of the defining characteristics of military veterans is their independence. This is taught and reinforced by the continual expectation that you will figure things out for yourself, and the military enables that. Now, I’m transitioning out of the military to business school…where’s the manual?

3 Ways to Explain a Job Loss in the MBA Application—If you’re feeling anxious about explaining a gap in employment history in your MBA application, take heart. The members of the admissions committee are human beings who will empathize with someone who has faced a lay-off or firing and lived to tell the tale. By addressing the elephant in the room head on, you’ll avoid any unintended negative inferences by the admissions team.

Eyeing a US Business School? Tips for International MBA Applicants—Nearly a third of students in some of the top MBA programs are international, which offers great professional and cultural diversity and enriches the classroom experience. Applying from abroad involves certain expected obstacles, such as the logistics of campus visits, securing visas and financial aid and demonstrating language proficiency, but students share other challenges as well.

How to Address Weaknesses, Strengths as MBA Applicant—Almost every MBA application asks some version of the strengths-and-weaknesses question, either as part of an essay or as a question for your recommenders. Understandably, applicants dread the thought of discussing anything negative within their application. But admissions committees specifically ask you to reveal your weaknesses to assess your fit with the program.

The Bigger Picture: There is No Try—I know that we have all been taught to try our very best, but sometimes trying isn’t enough.This became clear to me many years ago when I heard Yoda say, “Do or do not. There is no try.” He really is so wise, isn’t he?  With many things in life, you can do it, or not do it. Period. No one cares if you tried. I never say that I will try to do something. I make a decision. Is this something that I want to commit to? Yes or no…and then I commit…or not.

4 Areas Admissions Committees Focus on When Evaluating Your Candidacy—The admissions committee focuses on four very specific areas when evaluating your candidacy and fit with their program. The welcome news for applicants of all stripes is that standing out in these aspects can happen no matter where you’ve worked before or what background you have.

Do More Than Wait for MBA Admissions Responses—Though the b-school message boards provide a tempting distraction for MBA hopefuls waiting for interview invites and admit decisions, they also stir up enormous stress in candidates and often spread misinformation that can derail your carefully considered MBA application plans. You’re much better off focusing your energies on the following activities to pass the time productively.

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My goal with this blog has always been to bring b-school applicants the latest news from the schools, insightful application and essay tips, and to explore major trends affecting the future of management education.

Thank you so much for making us a top destination for your b-school research. We hope this resource continues to serve you well as you embark on what is definitely a life-changing, career-boosting journey.

Have a wonderful holiday, and see you back here in 2018!

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