MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.
The Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech may rival MIT Sloan and Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business with respect to its focus on the direct application of Internet technology to global business problems. The school’s rather small (approximately 60–80 students each year) and innovation-focused program was nevertheless ranked 23rd among full-time MBA programs by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2015.
Situated in the heart of Technology Square in Midtown Atlanta, Scheller offers students numerous networking and innovation resources within the city’s high-tech business community, including the Advanced Technology Development Center business incubator. In addition, the Enterprise Innovation Institute, or EI2, bills itself as “the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development” on its Web site and provides students with resources for career options at the intersection of business and technology. As an indicator of the school’s overall strengths in information technology and operations management, a large portion of Scheller’s student body tends to come from science, technology, engineering, and math backgrounds (50% of the Class of 2017, for example).
When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment but are also committing to becoming part of a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.
Every Friday evening, students, partners, professors, and administrators at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business meet for drinks and snacks at the Fox Center for Fuqua Fridays. One second year told mbaMission, “Fuqua Friday’s a really great way to bring everyone together in the same place. It provides a chance to unwind.” It is the primary regular event at which the school’s greater community comes together—one-half to three-quarters of the student body usually attends. Some Fuqua Fridays have themes, such as Casino Night, a version of television’s Top Chef or Iron Chef, an International Food Festival, and Green Week. Another second-year student we interviewed insisted that Fuqua Fridays are not to be missed, adding, “It brings everyone together when we are in a positive mind-set.”
At the end of each term, students let off steam at an End-of-Term Party—past events have included a Halloween party, a luau, and a black-tie optional party. These parties sometimes draw as many as 500 attendees, if not more. A second-year student told mbaMission, “[The] end-of-term parties are crazy. [They’re] a huge part of our fabric and a way to spend social time bonding with people you might not see outside of class. They’re a huge reason why I love this school.”
For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at Duke Fuqua and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
In this new blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.
We know that requesting informational networking meetings can be intimidating, but we believe preparation can help increase your confidence and, more importantly, your success!
As you prepare to reach out to a potential contact, we advise you to consider the following questions:
- What is my personal brand/pitch? How is my experience relevant to my target audience? How can I communicate this in a concise and memorable way?
- What information do I need to know about the contact to be prepared to email/call him or her?
- What do I want from this contact? What is the goal of my conversation?
- What can I offer the contact? (Remember: networking is a two-way street!)
When you are ready to reach out, follow these tips for crafting your email:
- Make it short and concise (i.e., fewer than 150 words).
- Use a detailed, descriptive, and direct subject line.
- Write in a courteous and appreciative tone (and be sure to proofread before hitting Send!).
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Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Each Wednesday, we profile a standout professor as identified by students. Today, we focus on Terry Taylor from the Haas School of Business at the University of California (UC), Berkeley.
After stints at Columbia Business School and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Terry Taylor joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business in 2007. Considering that Taylor, who has a PhD from Stanford in management science and engineering, is often named in student blogs and online student chats as a favorite among the school’s aspiring MBAs, he not surprisingly won the Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009 and again in 2011. He was also named the fifth most popular professor at a top U.S. business school by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2011.
Taylor’s academic interests include the economics of operations management and supply chain management. His core “Operations” (previously “Operations Management”) course looks at operational issues confronted by manufacturing and service companies. In addition to reportedly having a well-organized curriculum and classes—which a second year we interviewed said include “no down time”—Taylor can make technical subjects very interesting, sometimes even using references to Seinfeld episodes to illuminate concepts. A second year told mbaMission, “He’s pretty young and has a style that mixes high energy with a dry sense of humor.”
For more information on the defining characteristics of the MBA program at UC Berkeley Haas or one of 15 other top business schools, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.
As Round 2 application deadlines approach, many candidates find themselves immersed in stress—busy juggling multiple essays and revising their resume. Often in the midst of all this, an alarming question suddenly springs to mind: “What if my supervisors do not get their letters done by the deadline?”
In our opinion, the easiest way to ensure that your recommenders complete their letters on time is to present them with your own deadline—one that is a bit earlier than the school’s—when you first ask them to provide a recommendation for you. If the application to your school of choice is due on January 15, for example, tell your recommenders that you are submitting on January 8. Incidentally, submitting your application early can be good for your sanity as well. By setting this advanced deadline, you can put some additional pressure on your recommender on the 8th if he/she has not yet finished the letter, so you should still be able to submit by the school’s official deadline.
Most people work to deadlines. Alleviate unnecessary stress by setting your recommenders’ deadlines one week early, and “enjoy” the application process a little bit more.
For more information on properly selecting, communicating with, and managing your recommenders, check out our Letters of Recommendation Guide.
Have you ever wondered what business school admissions committees are looking for in MBA interviews?
Drawing on our experience in preparing countless clients for their MBA interviews, we have updated our series of Interview Primers, which now covers 17 individual top-ranked schools—including our new additions, INSEAD and London Business School (LBS)—for the 2016–2017 admissions season! The primers feature valuable information about the programs’ interview processes, notoriously difficult questions, and past applicants’ experiences.
To help you understand what to expect in an interview with your target school and prepare accordingly, each Interview Primer provides the following useful details:
- Insight into what the school is evaluating and hoping to gain from the interview
- An explanation of the school’s approach to interviewing (self-scheduled or invite only, blind versus comprehensive, etc.)
- Lists of the school’s most common questions and themes
- Past applicants’ firsthand accounts of their interview experiences
- Tips on preparing for and responding to common question types
- Help with formulating compelling questions of your own
- Advice on managing the entire interview process, from scheduling to thank you notes
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Many business school candidates unwittingly start their essays with platitudes—obvious or trite remarks written as though they were original. For example, when responding to the essay question, “Tell us about a time when you made a difficult decision,” an applicant might mistakenly write the following:
“Managers constantly face difficult decisions. Still, everyone hates indecision.”
The applicant does not “own” this idea and cannot lay claim to this statement. A simple alternative would be to insert his/her personal experience and viewpoint into the sentence:
“I found myself back in the boardroom with Steve, anticipating that yet again, he would change his mind on the mbaMission file.”
By discussing your personal and unique experiences, you demonstrate ownership of your story while engaging your reader. Avoiding platitudes and generalities—and ensuring that you are sharing your experience, rather than one that could belong to anyone else—is a simple but often overlooked step in creating a compelling message.
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. In this blog series, Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.
Which type of Critical Reasoning (CR) question drives you crazy? Boldface? Find the Assumption? Inference?
The Critical Reasoning Process
Before you dive into individual question types, knowing the overall CR process is critical. Here are a few key notes:
- There are four major* and five minor question subtypes, and each one has its own particular technique details. We will talk about the four major types in this post; check back next week for more information on the five minor types.
- Your job is to learn the overall process/strategy for CR as well as the techniques specific to each question subtype.
*Note: Major types show up more frequently than minor types.
To master CR, you should be able to answer the following questions about each question type:
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Today, many aspiring MBAs and MBA graduates want to join start-ups or launch such companies themselves. Is entrepreneurship as exciting as it seems? Is it really for you? mbaMission Founder Jeremy Shinewald has teamed up with Venture for America and CBS Interactive to launch Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast. Each week, Shinewald interviews another entrepreneur so you can hear the gritty stories of their ups and downs on the road to success.
Daniel Chait, CEO of Greenhouse
Daniel Chait is a veteran entrepreneur with three businesses under his belt—the first of which, software product company Business Velocity, was born in 1998 at the height of the dot-com boom. After subsequently cofounding the consulting firm Lab49, Chait launched Greenhouse, a recruiting software company, in 2012. Listen to the podcast episode to hear what Chait learned from each company as he touches on these details and more:
- Why his summer vacations consisted of paid software projects from an early age instead of the more typical trips or relaxation
- How Greenhouse has quickly risen from its launch in 2012 to a $60M company
- What the founding and lifespan of each company taught Chait as he prepared for his next endeavor
Subscribing to the podcast series brings you the latest episodes as they are released!
So, you have taken the GMAT and exceeded even your highest expectations, scoring at the very top of the scale. Congratulations! However, do not assume that earning such a high GMAT score means you can relax with respect to the other components of your application. Every year, applicants who have scored 750 or higher are rejected from their target business schools—even when their GMAT score falls within the top 10% of the schools’ range. Many of these candidates were rejected because of a fatal, but ultimately avoidable, mistake: they became overconfident and assumed their GMAT score alone would get them in.
Business schools want to learn a lot more about you than your GMAT score alone can convey. MBA admissions committees are interested in hearing about your ambitions, accomplishments, leadership skills, teamwork experience, perseverance, motivation, integrity, compassion… The list goes on and on. Fundamentally, admissions committees need to determine whether you will be a vital and contributing member of their community, and your GMAT score tells them only that you can do the work.
Heed our advice—even (or especially!) those of you with a 780 score—and commit yourself to the rest of your application with the same enthusiasm with which you approached the GMAT.