GMAT Impact: The Role of Confusion in Your GMAT Prep

GMAT Impact: The Role of Confusion in Your GMAT Prep - mbaMissionWith 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.

That seems like it should be a typo. Maybe I meant “Confucius,” the Chinese teacher and philosopher?

No, I really do mean confusion. Journalist Annie Murphy Paul contributed a post to NPR’s Mind/Shift blog: Why Confusion Can Be a Good Thing.

Why Is Confusion Good?

Murphy Paul supports her thesis with an important point: When we do not know the “right” way to do something, we open up our minds to many potential paths—and sometimes an alternate potential path is better than the “official” path.

When a test like the GMAT is concerned, the discomfort inherent in figuring out that best path allows us to determine why a certain approach is preferable. That knowledge, in turn, helps us to know when we can reuse a certain line of thinking or solution process on a different (but similar) question in the future.

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August 28, 2016

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M7 Financial

MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Am Too Old to Get into Business School!

We at mbaMission often receive panicked phone calls from applicants in their late twenties, asking if they are too old to get into business school. Why?
MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Am Too Old To Get Into Business School! - mbaMission

For much of the last decade, several top schools have declared their openness to younger candidates and have even been courting them. Harvard Business School has welcomed “direct-admits” (those entering immediately after completing their undergraduate degrees) and started the 2+2 Program to encourage undergraduates to consider deferred acceptance. Chicago Booth followed suit, launching the Chicago Booth Scholars Program, granting deferred admission to University of Chicago seniors, and various Early Career Candidate programs to attract students with one to three years of experience. Although the Stanford Graduate School of Business does not publish the average age of its students, it does state that its students’ median work experience is four years. So, if you are an “older” candidate at 27, 28, 29, or—dare we even write—30, should you even bother applying?

First of all, it is worth noting that not all schools are on the bandwagon to admit younger candidates. Tuck, for example, states that “in general” it does not accept students with fewer than two years of work experience. The average amount of work experience at Darden is currently listed as four years, although the school has reported its range in the past as one to ten years—meaning that it typically does not accept direct-admits. Michigan Ross requires that students complete their degree before applying, meaning that seniors are ineligible.

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Manhattan Prep

International Students Seeking Post-MBA Roles in the United States: A Checklist for Success

In this new blog series, “MBA Career News,” 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.

Concerned international business school students often ask us a myriad of questions about how best to fulfill their career aspirations in the United States. What challenges will they face in constructing their job applications? What can they do now to simplify the process? In this blog post, mbaMission Career Coach Elissa Harris identifies some of the major challenges international students often face when seeking post-MBA roles in the United States and offers her insightful Checklist for Success as a tool for understanding—and in some cases, addressing—those challenges.

Challenges for International Students

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Friday Factoid: Earn a Sustainability Certificate at MIT Sloan

Sustainability is at the heart of MIT Sloan’s nonprofit/social entrepreneurship curriculum. In 2007, the school launched the Sustainability Initiative (formerly titled the Initiative for Sustainable Business and Society), whose goal is “to inspire change by engaging people in open dialogue around sustainability issues and challenging them to consider their own values related to social justice, care for future generations, and the flourishing of life,” according to its Web site. The initiative serves as an umbrella for the many components that fall under its purview, including the “Strategies for Sustainable Business” lab course, the “System Dynamics” course, the Sustainability Lunch Series, and an internship program.

In 2010, Sloan announced its third specialty certificate option, the Sustainability Certificate. Open to any master’s level MIT student as an add-on to an existing degree program, the offering, according to a 2010 MIT Newsroom article, “views sustainability as a function of the interdependent dynamics of economic, societal, and environmental systems, where success overall is influenced by success across all areas and not upon a single factor.” In addition to receiving the certificate along with their MBA, students who pursue it will receive access to Summer Sustainability Internships and alumni events.

For more information on other defining characteristics of the MBA program at MIT Sloan or one of 15 other top business schools, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

Diamonds in the Rough: Innovative Opportunities at the Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine

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: Innovative Opportunities at the Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine - mbaMissionDiamonds in the Rough: Innovative Opportunities at the Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine - mbaMission

Thanks to its proximity to the Tech Coast, the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine, offers significant opportunities for students with an eye toward innovative business. “Whether it’s fashion, interactive entertainment, real estate, medical or biotech,” states the school’s site, “Orange County is where these industries flourish.” Indeed, an emphasis on innovation and business pioneering is built directly into what Merage calls its “visionary curriculum,” supplementing conventional business disciplines with three core, cross-disciplinary areas: Strategic Innovation, Information Technology, and Analytic Decision Making.

In addition, several of Merage’s special course offerings and programs showcase the school’s commitment to putting students in contact with the rapidly shifting face of business. The “EDGE” course, for example, which can be taken during students’ second year of study, offers a notable opportunity to gain cutting-edge insight into the relationship between business trends, globalization, and technology. Similarly, through the school’s MBA Applied Consulting Project, students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with current business practices by working directly with locally based global companies. Merage students can also participate each year in the university-wide Business Plan Competition, whose winner claims $15K in funding for his/her proposed start-up venture.

Beyond the MBA Classroom: Bar of the Week at Haas

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.
Beyond the MBA Classroom: Bar of the Week at Haas - mbaMission

Thursdays at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, Haas School of Business have a set social agenda—this is when students congregate at the current “Bar of the Week,” as selected each week by the vice president of social (an elected student position within the school’s MBA Association) from the variety of options located in San Francisco and Berkeley. A student described the event on the school’s Web site as “an opportunity to kick back, stop thinking about school for an hour or two, and drink a beer or two.” Often, Bar of the Week—which can reportedly attract upward of 200 students—is hosted by a student club and held at a venue of that club’s choosing. For example, Q@Haas (the school’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender professional and social club) has in the past hosted a Bar of the Week in San Francisco’s famous Castro District.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at UC Berkeley Haas and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

In Other News… London Business School’s Next Dean, Harvard’s Online Finance Program, and New Hope for MBA Tuition Tax Deductions

In Other News… London Business School’s Next Dean, Harvard’s Online Finance Program, and New Hope for MBA Tuition Tax Deductions - mbaMission

François Ortalo-Magné

The business school world is constantly buzzing with change and innovation. In addition to our regular news posts, we briefly touch on a few notable stories from this dynamic field in one roundup. 

  • François Ortalo-Magné, who is currently serving as the dean of the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has been appointed the next dean of London Business School. The school announced recently that Ortalo-Magné will succeed its current dean, Sir Andrew Likierman, in August 2017. Likierman will return to his previous position on the school’s faculty.
  • Harvard Business School (HBS) is launching a new finance certificate program on its online learning platform, HBX. The six-week program, titled “HBX Finance: Leading with Finance,” was designed by HBS professor Mihir A. Desai and will allow participants—who are expected to either have at least a decade of professional experience and an undergraduate degree or have completed the HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness)—to approach financial literacy via interactive online tools and multimedia case studies. Applications for the first installment of the program, which begins in November, are open until October 19.
  • It might soon become easier to claim MBA tuition as a tax deduction. According to a recent lawsuit between MBA Alex Kopaigora and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the IRS declined Kopaigora’s requests to deduct tuition expenses for an executive MBA program. A judge, however, ruled in his favor and allowed him to deduct some of his tuition. The case was the first to allow tax deductions for an executive MBA program, raising hopes for current and future MBA and executive MBA students. “This case is a big win for all MBA students,” Columbia Business School professor and tax expert Robert Willens commented to the Wall Street Journal.

Dean Profiles: William Boulding, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

William Boulding, Fuqua

William Boudling

Business school deans are more than administrative figureheads. Their character and leadership often reflect an MBA program’s unique culture and sense of community. Periodically, we profile the dean of a top-ranking program. Today, we focus on William Boulding from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

In the fall of 2011, William Boulding became dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Boulding began teaching at Fuqua in 1984 and served as the business program’s deputy dean before being appointed to a shortened two-year term as dean (a full term is five years) upon the previous dean’s departure. Boulding was then recommended by an international search committee in early 2013 to continue his deanship for a further five years. He has received several distinctions for his teaching in the areas of management, marketing, and strategy, including the school’s 1989 Outstanding Teacher Award and the 1997 NationsBank Faculty Award. A member of the search committee stated in a 2013 article in Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, that Boulding’s vision for the school would “address globalization with more innovation and modernization in the classrooms, while also focusing on stabilizing the school’s budget.” Another search committee member noted in the article that Boulding “has the whole package, plus he knows Fuqua and Duke intimately.”

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Mission Admission: Look for Personalized Recommendations

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

If your supervisor is writing your business school recommendation and you are having trouble ensuring that he/she is putting the proper thought and effort into your letter, you are not alone. Because of this asymmetry of power, a junior employee can only do so much to compel his/her supervisor to commit the necessary time and write thoughtfully. So, before you designate your supervisor as a recommender, you must first perceive how committed this person really is to helping you with your business school candidacy. In particular, your recommender needs to understand that using a single template to create identical letters for multiple business schools is not okay and that each letter must be personalized and each MBA program’s questions must be answered using specific examples.

If your recommender intends to simply write a single letter and force it to “fit” the school’s questions or to attach a standard letter to the end of the school’s recommendation form (for example, including it in the question “Is there anything else that you think the committee should know about the candidate?”), then he/she could be doing you a disservice. By neglecting to put the proper time and effort into your letter, your recommender is sending a very clear message to the admissions committee: “I don’t really care about this candidate.”

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B-School Chart of the Week: July 2016 Social Currency Rankings

Rankings come in all shapes and sizes, but can any ranking truly capture social cachet? For a different perspective on the value of an MBA, we turn to the New York Times society pages, where the editors select and profile promising couples. Each month, we dedicate one B-School Chart of the Week to tallying how alumni from top-ranked business schools are advancing their social currency ranking.

B-School Chart of the Week: July 2016 Social Currency Rankings - mbaMission

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