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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have No Real Options!

In the late 2000s, Harvard Business School (HBS) made a change to its application essay questions that surprised many. Its previously mandatory “long- and short-term goals” essay prompt changed its focus more broadly to “career vision” and became one of four topic choices from which applicants could select two. Immediately, MBA candidates tried to read between the lines and decipher HBS’s hidden agenda behind the change. As a result, many perplexed applicants called us, asking, “Every other school asks about goals, so HBS must want to know about them, too. I need to answer the essay question option about career vision, right?”

This question, in turn, compelled us to ask rhetorically: Why would HBS make a question an option if the admissions committee expected you to answer it? If it did, why would the school not simply designate the question as mandatory, as it had been previously? We believe that in this case, HBS made the question an option because the admissions committee did not feel that applicants must have a definite career vision to be admitted. Essentially, HBS was saying, “If you have a well-defined career vision that would help us better understand who you are as a candidate, tell us about it. If not, we would love to hear something else that is interesting about you.” Note that HBS no longer poses this particular essay question, but we offer it here as a way of illustrating how candidates can sometimes overthink or misinterpret the “optional” elements of a school’s application.

Essay options are just that: options. None of HBS’s essay choices—or those of any other MBA program—are necessarily “right” or “wrong.” The admissions committees are not trying to trick you, nor does a secret answer exist that will guarantee your acceptance. The programs offer multiple essay question options because they know that each applicant is different, and they want to provide an opportunity for each candidate to tell his/her unique story. So, as you approach your essays, focus on what you want to say—not what you think the admissions committee wants to hear.

M7 Financial

MBA News: London Business School Reclaims the Top Spot in Bloomberg Businessweek’s International MBA Ranking

London Business School Essay Analysis, 2016–2017 - mbaMissionBloomberg Businessweek released its 2016 ranking of international MBA programs recently, with a new school at the top of the list. The Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario, which was ranked the best international program in 2014 and 2015, dropped to the tenth spot this year—making way for London Business School to take over first place, which it last held in 2012. INSEAD, last year’s number-three program, was ranked second this year, while Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford rose three spots to claim third place.

Melbourne Business School was one of the year’s most notable shifters. The school entered the top ten at ninth place after ranking 23rd in 2015. The rest of the top schools were otherwise largely similar to last year’s. Such renowned institutions as IE Business School, IMD, Cambridge Judge Business School, IESE Business School, and SDA Bocconi School of Management moved slightly in their respective rankings, but all remained within the top ten for at least the second year in a row.

Manhattan Prep

Friday Factoid: Chicago Booth for Marketing?

You may be surprised to learn that Chicago Booth is making inroads into an area that its crosstown rival (Northwestern Kellogg) is known to dominate: marketing. Through the James M. Kilts Center for Marketing—named for the Chicago Booth alumnus who was formerly CEO of Gillette and Nabisco (and is now a partner at Centerview Partners)—Chicago Booth offers students roughly ten marketing electives. In particular, the school is growing its experiential opportunities in the marketing field, with students taking part in marketing management labs (semester-long consulting projects) at such companies as Abbott Laboratories, Bank of America, and Honeywell International. Further, professors in the department saw opportunities for increased practical involvement and created “hybrid” classes in “Marketing Research” and “New Product Development” that involve a lecture component but also allow students to work on shorter-term consulting projects.

Students can also sign up to be paired with an alumni marketing mentor or apply for Marketing Fellowships, which provide scholarship funds and a two-year mentoring relationship. Although Kellogg’s reputation for excellence in marketing is firmly intact, we have to assume that the folks in Evanston are occasionally glancing over their shoulder to see whether Chicago Booth is continuing to gain ground.

For a thorough exploration of what Chicago Booth and other top business schools have to offer, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

Applications Are Done—Your MBA Job Hunt Starts Now (Really!)

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, congratulations! You are about to embark on an exciting and rewarding journey—one that will eventually help prepare you for the job of your dreams!

Applications Are Done—Your MBA Job Hunt Starts Now (Really!) - mbaMissionMany MBA admits make the critical mistake of waiting until they arrive on campus to start their job hunt. During this pivotal moment in your life—before your MBA program begins—you must have a clear plan to get your dream job. Have you carefully considered your career goals? Do you know what it takes—and do you have the network—to get that job? Have you considered pursuing pre-MBA internships to facilitate a career transition?

We have created a one-of-a-kind online presentation to help answer all of your questions on how to prepare for—and eventually land—your ideal full-time post-MBA position!

Join mbaMission’s founder and president, Jeremy Shinewald, on December 20 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern for an eye-opening online event and ensuing Q&A! Enroll for free today.

Are you an MBA admit, current student, or alum? Do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!

Diamonds in the Rough: Luxury Brand Management at the GCU British School of Fashion

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.
Diamonds in the Rough: Luxury Brand Management at the GCU British School of Fashion - mbaMission

In the fall of 2013, Scotland’s Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU)—known as a leader in fashion education since the 19th century—inaugurated a new fashion business school in London and soon after opened a satellite campus in New York City. Rather than focusing on the design aspect of fashion, however, the GCU British School of Fashion instead aims to offer a specialized business education with applications to the fashion industry, as the school’s director, Christopher Moore, explained in a FashionUnited article at the time the new campuses were being revealed: “The remit of the School is clear: we are about the business of fashion. While there are other great international design schools, we are quite different. Our aim is to be a leading School for the business of fashion.”

The British School of Fashion’s MBA in Luxury Brand Management program aims to impart industry tools and skills related to such topics as consumer behavior, globalization, and strategic management. The school also professes a commitment to social responsibility, sustainability, and fair trade as part of its core values. The MBA curriculum consists of eight core modules. With support from a number of British fashion brands, which in the past have included Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, AllSaints, and the Arcadia Group, the school’s faculty also features a team of honorary professors and fashion industry leaders. Moore told the BBC, “Over the past decade, there has been a significant professionalization of the fashion sector, and there is now a need for high-quality fashion business graduates.”


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Upcoming Deadlines

  • Nov 30, 2016 INSEAD (Round 2)
  • Dec 2, 2016 UNC Kenan-Flagler (Round 2)
  • Jan 1, 2017 UCLA Anderson (Round 2)
  • Jan 2, 2017 Carnegie Mellon Tepper (Round 2)
  • Jan 2, 2017 Michigan Ross (Round 2)

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