Application Volume Drops at Top MBA Programs in US

The Financial Times reported this week that four of the most prestigious business schools in the US saw a drop in MBA application volume for 2018 matriculation. Harvard, NYU Stern, Duke Fuqua, and Berkeley Haas each reported a decrease in applications from 2017 that ranged from 4 percent to 7.5 percent.

According to Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) data, in the US full-time two-year MBA programs’ application volumes have been in decline since 2014. However, this is not consistent across programs. In 2017, those with larger classes (201 or more students) accounted for 6 percent of MBA programs, but 55 percent of applications and 32 percent of enrollments. Larger schools were more likely to report application volume increases in 2017, while smaller were more likely to have experienced decreases. This decrease now appears to have expanded to the large, prestigious MBA programs.

While the decline in applications has not yet affected Harvard’s 11 percent acceptance rate or median GMAT score of 730, it was fairly significant at 4.5 percent. Similarly, NYU Stern reported a nearly 4 percent drop, while Duke Fuqua and Berkeley Haas were at about 6 percent and 7.5 percent respectively.

In contrast, MBA application numbers globally continue to increase. “When looked at internationally, graduate business education is a growth stock. Applications to Canadian, European, and Asian schools are increasing at an enormous rate,” said Bill Boulding, Dean of Duke Fuqua. Other admissions representatives who spoke with the Financial Times pointed out a multi-faceted cause for the lower application rates in the US:

  • Decreasing numbers of international applicants to US schools, due to a less welcoming political climate, as well as increasingly rigid immigration requirements.

  • Increasingly competitive European and Asian MBAs, offered in English, for those wanting a global experience. Some of these well-ranked programs also offer expedited timelines.

  • Increasing tuition and a robust economic climate in the US, which increases the cost of an MBA in both direct costs and wages-lost.

  • Increasing interest in part-time, online, and/or one-year MBA programs.

Take-aways for prospective MBA students

  • If you have dual-citizenship, don’t forget to note this on your application. It could be advantageous for you in the admissions process.

  • Be sure to highlight your international experiences and interests in your application. Admissions officers want to create a diverse student body and, with fewer international applicants, these experiences are likely to stand out more.

  • Consider that in strong economic climates, with low unemployment, schools are likely to receive fewer applicants. While this may not significantly change acceptance rates at all of the most prestigious programs, it can provide some benefit with regard to both admissions likelihood, as well as the possibility for substantial merit-based scholarships.

  • Choose your MBA program carefully, rather than automatically selecting a full-time, two-year program. Learn from these trends, by thinking carefully about the type of MBA that will benefit you most. International programs, one-year or expedited programs, and part-time cohort-based programs can all be worthwhile for you and your career.

Considering Public Interest Law? Lucrative Fellowships and Loan Assistance Programs Available

Public interest law can provide incredible fulfillment and satisfaction, but the cost of law school is significant and the salaries for public interest lawyers are lower than those going into private practice.

U.S News and World Report recently published average entry-level salary data for all ranked law schools.  Law graduates in 2016 who entered the private sector averaged just under $85,000, while those from a top 15 ranked institution averaged $180,000. Those entering the public sector, however, collected a much lower average of $53,500. Graduates from the top 15 ranked schools who accepted public sector positions averaged slightly more, at $65,000.  

Luckily, there are a plethora of scholarships, fellowships, and loan repayment assistance programs, which may be available to you. So, when evaluating specific law schools, don’t forget to fully evaluate the following: 

  • Tuition and Scholarship Opportunities: While it is advantageous to attend a top-tier school, you may want to expand your list to include those programs more likely to offer scholarships to students interested in public interest law. That is, if you feel ready to commit to that career path.
  • School Fellowships: Many top-tier law programs grant fellowships, which pay for summer and post-graduate public interest employment, to those interested in pursuing public interest law.
  • Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP) or Low Income Protection Plans (LIPP): The LRAP is more common and is generally limited to those working in public interest law, while the LIPP works more like scholarship money that is received after graduation. Over 100 law schools have an LRAP in place, and the American Bar Association has compiled a list of programs. When considering a school’s LRAP, consider if an LRAP is funded through a specific endowment or designated fund and how many applicants typically receive LRAP funding. Most schools are not able to provide funding to all applicants.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): The PSLF provides debt forgiveness to those who work for a qualifying government, non-profit, or public interest organization, and who make 120 qualifying student loan repayments while working for that organization. There is some uncertainty regarding the future of this program, however. It has been slated for elimination in two of the President’s proposed budgets.
  • Other Federal Repayment Adjustment programs: There are other existing repayment programs based on income, such as the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and Income-Based Repayment (IBR). These adjust monthly payments based on your income.

While public interest law may require some additional planning in terms of selecting and paying for law school, there are many resources available for prospective law students who feel passionate about pursuing this career path. Some additional research during the school selection and application period can go a long way towards making your dream come true.

More Pre-Law Students Striving to Work for Public Interest

The “Trump Bump” theory is real. Earlier this year, Kaplan Test Prep released the results of a survey of over 500 pre-law students and found that 30 percent of respondents said the 2016 election impacted their decision to apply to law school. “We’ve seen significant jumps in both LSAT takers and law school applications over the past admissions cycle, which has fueled speculation about how much impact, if any, the 2016 election and subsequent political climate has had on this year’s law school admissions landscape. We now have an answer: It’s significant,” said Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs at Kaplan.

Survey data released by BARBRI Law Preview, which includes responses from 500 pre-law students expected to matriculate into the Class of 2021, demonstrate a similar finding. When asked to provide a primary reason for attending law school, the top two most selected options “I have always wanted to be a lawyer” and “I want to advocate for change of social policies in the United States” garnered almost identical responses at 38.2 percent and 37.6 percent, respectively. The survey also found that almost 98 percent of respondents plan to practice law after graduation, with the plurality of respondents selecting public interest (13.5 percent) as the type of law which they want to practice. The next most selected choices were business (corporate) law (12.2 percent) and criminal law (12.0 percent). Furthermore, when asked where they would like to practice law, over half of the respondents reported that they would want to practice law as an attorney working for the government (33.9 percent) or for a non-profit/non-governmental organization (22.5 percent). 39.8 percent reported wanting to work for a private firm.

Lynn Page, a pre-law advisor at Northwestern University provides anecdotal evidence supporting the BARBRI survey findings when describing the students who she advises and their goals in a recent Chicago Tribune article. “If it’s not immigration (law), it’s an interest in public interest law. Most students are interested in civic engagement (and) social justice” she said.  

As Physician Demand Will Continue to Outpace Supply, Medical School Admissions Committees are Particularly Interested in Applicants Committed to Practicing Primary Care in Underserved Locations

The AAMC recently published updated results of its physician workforce analysis, which modeled physician demand and supply to project the needs of the 2030 workforce. The analysis shows that physician demand will continue to outpace supply, which will lead to a physician shortage of between 42,600 and 121,300 full time equivalencies (FTEs) by 2030.

Within primary care, the shortage is projected to fall between 14,800 and 49,300 physicians, which incorporates various assumptions about the supply and partnership of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physicians Assistants in the future, as well as the current estimated need for 13,800 physicians to reconcile the primary care shortage from currently designated shortage areas.

Projections for non-primary care specialties, including medical, surgical and other specialties, show an estimated shortage of between 33,800 and 72,700 physicians. The greatest projected gap is for surgeons, which is between 20,700 and 30,500 by 2030. While the supply of surgeons is projected to stay steady over time, the demand is expected to increase. “Other” specialties, which include emergency medicine, anesthesiology, psychiatry, radiology, and others, has a projected gap of between 18,600 and 31,800.

The main driver behind the increasing demand for physicians is the growing and aging U.S. population. Between 2016 and 2030, “the U.S. population is projected to grow about 11 percent, from about 324 million to 359 million. The population under age 18 is projected to grow by 3 percent; the population aged 65 and older is projected to grow by 50 percent; and the population aged 75 and older is projected to grow by 69 percent.”[i] Similarly, on the supply side, the aging population of physicians and their associated retirement decisions will impact the severity of the gap. “More than one-third of all currently active physicians will be 65 or older within the next decade. Physicians aged 65 and older account for 13.5 percent of the active workforce, and those between the ages of 55 and 64 make up nearly 27.2 percent of the active workforce.” [ii] Physicians’ weekly working hours are also currently trending downward across all physician age groups.

The report also modeled access to care, which is another factor that may impact demand in the future. There are currently inequities in access to care based on geographic, economic and sociodemographic factors. While projected physician shortages based on these factors was not included in the long-term projection estimates, the 2016 models show that if the country commits to improving access to care for disenfranchised groups, the demand for physicians will be drastically increased.

The AAMC is currently advocating for a multipronged approach to address the physician shortage including the improved use of technology, team-based care, and delivery innovations, as well as the increase of federal funding for additional residency positions. The AAMC is clear that the U.S. government needs to act in the short-term to expand graduate medical education to address the long-term physician demand identified in the report, as physician training is a ten-year process. Federal funding for residency positions has not been expanded since the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. While there have been two pieces of legislation recently introduced (explained below), which would provide funding for additional residency spots,[iii] neither have gained much traction since introduction.

  • The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2017 provides comprehensive reform to federal funding for graduate medical education.
  • Lifts the funding cap placed on the number of residents and fellows funded by Medicare
  • Adds an additional 3,000 federally-supported residency positions each year for the next five years
  • The Opioid Workforce Act of 2018 specifically targets and funds residency training for areas of critical need.
  • Adds an additional 1,000 federally-supported resident positions over the next five years in hospitals that have, or are establishing, programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management

Prospective and current medical students should familiarize themselves with this report, especially when considering their future fields of study.  Many medical schools are echoing the demand for students interested in primary care, as well as those committed to working in rural or otherwise underserved locations; In 2017, the AAMC reports that nearly 30% of those entering medical school plan to work in an underserved area. Additionally, these topics are likely to come up in interviews and at networking events.  

The AAMC has committed to updating the projections on an annual basis and makes the report available online.

The final report for 2018 created by IHS Markit Ltd for the AAMC is available here: https://aamc-black.global.ssl.fastly.net/production/media/filer_public/85/d7/85d7b689-f417-4ef0-97fb-ecc129836829/aamc_2018_workforce_projections_update_april_11_2018.pdf

 

[i] https://aamc-black.global.ssl.fastly.net/production/media/filer_public/85/d7/85d7b689-f417-4ef0-97fb-ecc129836829/aamc_2018_workforce_projections_update_april_11_2018.pdf

[ii] https://aamc-black.global.ssl.fastly.net/production/media/filer_public/85/d7/85d7b689-f417-4ef0-97fb-ecc129836829/aamc_2018_workforce_projections_update_april_11_2018.pdf

[iii] https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2018/05/17/congressional-bill-would-add-1000-doctors-to-fight-opioid-addiction/#60926102684a

 

What are Corporate Recruiters Really Looking for in the 2018 MBA Graduate?

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) recently released its 2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey results, providing insight into current employer hiring demand for MBA graduates.

In 2018, nearly three-fourths of corporate recruiters globally project to hire MBA graduates to fill business development roles. Functions also in high demand world-wide are data analytics (71 percent), marketing (70 percent), and finance (69 percent). The chart below shows the job function recruitment projections for recent MBA hires, globally and in the U.S.

job functions.jpg

As one would expect, the job functions MBA hires are placed into vary by both region and industry. Below, are a few key industries with the job functions companies plan to fill with MBA hires in 2018.

-          Consulting: consulting, business development, data analytics

-          Finance: finance, investment banking, accounting

-          Health Care: marketing, business development, finance

-          Technology: marketing, business development, data analytics

-          Products: marketing, business development, finance

Globally, recruiters are more likely to hire MBAs into specialist, rather than generalist roles (52 percent and 48 percent, respectively) and into strategic over operational positions (also 52 percent and 48 percent, respectively). In the U.S., recruiters are equally likely to hire MBA students to fill specialist and generalist jobs and just slightly more likely to place an MBA into a strategic role over an operational one (51 percent and 49 percent, respectively).

Delving more deeply into the specific skill-sets recruiters are looking for when hiring MBAs, a Financial Times survey published in late 2017 asked 48 leading employers what skills they want in MBA graduates, and what skills they have a hard time finding.

The most important skills named by these employers included both soft-skills and strategy. Three of the most important skills, however, were also listed among the least difficult to recruit for: networking, solving complex problems, and working with a wide variety of people. The least important skills were function-specific. And the most difficult to recruit for skills were not listed among the most important, but included a cross-section of disciplines.

FT mostleast.png

Key Take-Aways

Both the GMAC and Financial Times surveys provide telling information on how recruiters classify and evaluate MBA candidates. Begin to think like a recruiter. It will be immensely helpful to you as you embark on your management studies.

1.       When considering your career prospects, you should first define your desired role in terms of:

a.       Specialist or Generalist;

b.       Strategic or Operational; and

c.       Job function

Having clear insight into your desired role will help you to find companies and jobs that offer the best fit for your goals. Additionally, knowing precisely what you want in your post-MBA role will help you to develop your elevator pitch and articulate your career vision clearly as you network and interview.  

2.       Staying abreast of recruiting trends by function, as well as highly coveted and/or difficult to recruit for skills can provide insight on areas where additional experience can help you to differentiate yourself. For example, data analytics is not only a function where hiring is very active for MBA recruiters, but also a skill that has been named as difficult to recruit for. Gaining some experience in this area may help to set you apart in interviews, even if this is not the primary function for which you want to be hired.

3.       Consider how you are highlighting not only the most important skills, but also those that are named as difficult to recruit for in your resume, elevator pitch, and interview responses. While your resume should list your specialized skills, this data suggests that highlighting soft and strategic thinking skills may better serve you in those precious networking and interview minutes with potential employers.

4.       Finally, think through your differentiating factors and experiences. Recognize that some skills are easier to recruit for than others, and make sure that you’re aware of and highlighting experiences, coursework, and skills that make you unique among the general MBA population.

The MBA Tour US: MBA & Business Master's Conferences

Meet Columbia, MIT Sloan, UCLA, Chicago Booth, Kellogg, Stanford, and more top business programs!

Join us in a city near you:

Seattle: Thursday, July 12
Los Angeles: Saturday, July 14
San Francisco: Sunday, July 15
Houston: Tuesday, July 17
Atlanta: Thursday, July 19
NYC: Saturday, July 21
Chicago: Monday, July 23
DC: Wednesday, July 25
Boston: Thursday, July 2


Why should I attend The MBA Tour?

The world's top business schools, all in one place.

Stand out from the competition and meet with Admissions Directors from top domestic and international business schools. Connect in-person to ask your MBA questions, learn about program offerings, and discover how a graduate business degree can help you boost your career.

  • Small group meetings
  • Admissions panels
  • GMAT strategy sessions
  • School presentations
  • Networking fair
  • & much more!

 

Who will I meet?

Connect with admissions decision makers.

  • You'll have the unique opportunity to meet with admissions decision makers to increase your chances of acceptance.
  • Learn in-depth program information and ask your MBA questions during MeetUp discussions (invite only, small group meetings).
  • Discover admissions tips from industry leaders.
  • Network with the people that matter when it comes to getting accepted to your dream school.

 

How should I prepare?

Complete your online profile to be matched with top schools.

  • Provide helpful information during registration to let schools learn about you and your goals and have them invite you to meet with them during MeetUps or School Presentations.
  • Use The MBA Tour's Research Schools platform to learn more about program offerings and options.
  • Log into The MBA Tour's online portal to easily confirm MeetUps and build your schedule to make the most of your event.

 

Great, sign me up!

Register free today to reserve your spot. Space is limited!


Business Schools Attending

*Schools vary by city; check event pages for individual listings. More schools to come.

Insights from Last Year’s Applicants: The 2018 AIGAC (Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants) MBA Applicant Survey

The 2018 AIGAC (Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants) MBA Applicant Survey emphasized the “great expectations” last year’s applicants had during the admissions process. The survey data includes 1,979 interviews with 1,377 respondents who applied to at least one school. Data was collected during the Spring of 2018.

Like the 2017 responses, this wave of applicants relied heavily on online and technology-based resources to learn about MBA programs, but mentioned the importance of combining these resources with a personalized experience with school representatives.

Students used both school supplied resources, as well as information from independent sources. Over 80 percent of last year’s applicants used school websites for gathering program information. And over 50 percent relied on online information sessions hosted by schools and interactions with current students. When asked about the most valuable school specific resource, the most common response was school website, followed by current student referrals, and on-campus information sessions.

While most applicants, 86 percent, used MBA rankings for school research, responses on the value of the rankings were mixed. Twenty-two percent of respondents selected MBA rankings as the most valuable independent resource, yet it was also the most commonly selected response for least valuable resource at 24 percent. Respondents named online communities/forums as the most valuable independent resource (24 percent), though only 59 percent of survey respondents used this resource in their research.

The majority reported an expectation schools would proactively get to know them through various initiatives, including formal visit programs, diversity and women’s events, and interviews. Respondents spoke to the importance of these face-to-face interactions, noting instances where a positive or negative encounter changed their personal ranking of the program.

The following schools were rated in the top and bottom quartiles for how well they got to know applicants:

AIGAC.jpg

 

Furthermore, when it came to finalizing their school lists, over 60 percent of prospective students named reputation (66 percent) and ranking (61 percent) as top factors to consider, followed by school culture (53 percent).  Others, however, named geographic proximity to their desired work as the predominant concern as networking is critical, particularly in finding employment with small firms and start-ups.

Take-aways for current applicants

The survey emphasized the critical and personal nature of the school selection and application process. While school and independent online resources can provide comprehensive and useful information, nothing can replace interpersonal interactions. Ideally, applicants will be able to visit the schools they are most interested in, but if not, they should look for opportunities to attend school-hosted events in the city where they live.

MBAs Looking Away from Financial Services and Towards Companies that Offer Better Work-Life Balance

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article examining the “battle for MBA talent,” which looked at current trends in MBA graduate employer preferences. Authors, Laurence Fletcher and Pat Minczeski found that Wall Street is no longer as appealing to MBAs as consulting and technology firms, despite banks’ increasing starting salaries. “The share of full-time M.B.A. graduates from the top 10 business schools accepting jobs at financial-services firms dropped between 2012 and 2017 from 36 percent to 26 percent, based on a weighted average calculated by the Journal. The share accepting jobs in technology rose from 13 percent to 20 percent in the same period. Consulting edged out financial services as the top draw in 2017, as the choice of 29 percent of grads, up from 27 percent in 2012.”

The same article quotes Jean Ann Schulte, director of employer relations and recruiting services at MIT Sloan, who said “Over the last ten years we’ve had an almost complete flip between finance and technology.” In pointing to the working hours typical in the banking industry, she went on to say, “You can have a lucrative career without those lifestyle costs.”

An analysis published in Forbes by John Byrne earlier this year, which examined the average working hours for MBA graduates in various industries, supported the theory that MBAs are increasingly drawn to companies that offer better work-life balance. He found that, while overall, the median work week for MBA graduates is 54 hours per week, financial firms made up six of the top ten companies with the longest working hours. MBA graduates working at Goldman Sachs averaged 86 hours per week, followed by Barclays (73 hours), J.P. Morgan (72), Morgan Stanley (70), Credit Suisse (70), and Fidelity Investments (68).  Consulting firms round out the top ten, with average hours worked ranging from number three, McKinsey & Co. with an average of 72, to A.T. Kearney and Boston Consulting Group with averages of 63[1]. Bryne goes on to highlight that the MBA jobs with the lowest average working hours are at technology firms and large corporations. “MBAs who work for Microsoft average just 44 hours a week, while those who toil for Apple put in 52-hour weeks, a couple of hours below the median. Facebook MBAs average just an hour a week more at 53 hours, while Amazon MBAs hit the 54-hour a week median working for the e-commerce giant.” Those working for IBM, PepsiCo, and 3M company worked just under 45 hours per week.

Byrne then calculated hourly wages for various sub-industries and his analysis revealed that hedge fund and mutual fund employees earn the highest hourly rate at $129.46/hour. The average MBA makes about $75/hour. As an industry, high-tech placed third and fifth for e-commerce and software respectively, validating the supposition that technology companies may appeal to MBA graduates who value work-life balance, in addition to high pay and interesting work.

Some corporations need to do a better job addressing quality of life concerns if they want to recruit top MBA talent. And current MBAs considering various industries, corporations, or even offers should compare compensation alongside workload expectations in order to achieve both their career and lifestyle goals.  

[1] See full list here: https://poetsandquants.com/2016/06/17/mba-envy-not-know-hard-work/2/

MBA Employment Trends and Projections

Demand is high for recent MBA graduates. In 2017 in the U.S. and Canada, technology firms increased year-over-year MBA hiring by 22 percent and consulting and financial services firms increased hiring by 7 percent and 4 percent respectively. The same report (QS Top MBA Jobs & Salary Trends Report 2018)  projects that overall MBA recruiting in the U.S. and Canada will continue to demonstrate robust growth in 2018 (7 percent) and marginal growth in 2019 (2 percent).   

Technology: The growth in technology firms’ MBA hiring corresponds with reports that Amazon is hiring about 1,000 MBA graduates per year, almost double that of the next largest MBA employer, consulting firm McKinsey[i]. And the growth isn’t expected to slow in 2018. The QS Top MBA Salary Trends Report projects that recruiting in the U.S. and Canada by technology firms will continue growing in 2018 (15 percent) with more marginal growth predicted for 2019 (two percent).

In addition to Amazon, Microsoft and Google also recruit consistently within MBA programs, but with lower overall hiring. It is worthy of note that, among the Top 10 programs (US News and World Report), the largest percentage of 2017 graduates who accepted positions in the technology industry came from Berkeley Haas. 

tech.png

Consulting: Consulting firms recruit a large percentage of MBA graduates (approximately a quarter to a third of each class at Top 10 MBA Programs) and this is expected to continue. The QS Top MBA Salary Trends Report projects that recruiting in the U.S. and Canada by consulting firms will increase by 15 percent in 2018 with a slight dip to 7 percent in 2019.

McKinsey, the second largest employer of MBAs, is the top employer of MBA graduates at Northwestern Kellogg, Chicago Booth, and Columbia Business School. Following McKinsey in MBA recruiting are Bain and Company, The Boston Consulting Group, and Deloitte.

At Stanford, the percentage of graduates securing roles in consulting is lower but trending upwards.

consulting.png

Finance: Developments in technology, political uncertainty, and greater competition from technology and other firms, has negatively impacted MBA recruiting by financial services firms. Wharton, as well as Chicago Booth, and Columbia Business School have experienced recent employment dips in the sector. According to a 2017 MBA Employment Survey by Training the Street, students reported lower interest in working for Wall Street and expressed wanting to explore options with companies, such as boutique banks, that may offer a higher quality of life.[ii]

The Salary Trends Report projects another year of modest growth for the industry in 2018 (4 percent) with a slight decline predicted for 2019 (-1 percent). 

Finserv.png

[i] https://poetsandquants.com/2017/10/04/amazon-now-hiring-1000-mbas-a-year/

[ii] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-09/record-percentage-of-mbas-don-t-want-to-work-on-wall-street

MBA Application Resource Roundup

For prospective business school students, we’ve created a short list of resources, including Apply Point blogs and information from external organizations, that will help guide you through the application process.

Apply Point Blog Posts

·       Deciding where to apply

o   MBA School Selection: Important Considerations When Building Your School List

o   MBA School Selection: What are the Alumni Saying?

o   Want a Career Abroad? Consider a European MBA.

·       Application

o   MBA Application Submission: Is There an Optimal Deadline?

o   The GMAT V. The GRE: Which Test is Best for You?

o   MBA Application Essays: Prompts Designed to Get Beyond Applicants’ Professional Experiences to Gauge Creativity and Assess Values

o   IQ is Important, but Don’t Forget About EQ

o    Using Recommendations to Strategically Enhance Your MBA Application

·       Interview preparation and tips

o   Top Ten Tips for the MBA Behavioral Interview

o   The Wharton Interview: Excel in the Team Based Discussion

o   MBA Interviews: When the Interview Requires More than an Interview

·       Use Social Media to Enhance Your Graduate School Application  

·       Unemployed and Considering Graduate School? Ensure This Time is Meaningful and Productive

·       Unconventional Applicants to MBA Programs Must Consider Abilities in Innovation, Leadership, and Teamwork

Online resources and social networks for prospective and current MBA students

·       Poets and Quants

·       Beat the GMAT

Organizations and Resources

·       The MBA Tour is an independent and high-quality information source regarding MBA admissions. Events emphasize personal interaction between prospective MBA students, business school admissions representatives, alumni, and other like-minded education enthusiasts.

·       The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management is a continually growing and evolving alliance of some of the world’s leading graduate business schools and business organizations, supported by the strength of an extended network of students and alumni.

·       The National Black MBA Association is the premier business organization serving black professionals.  

·       Prospanica, formerly the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), emphasizes educational and professional development programs to improve the Hispanic community as a whole.

·       The Forte Foundation is a non-profit consortium of leading companies and top business schools working together to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education, opportunities, and a community of successful women.

The Latest Law School Employment Rates from The American Bar Association

A helpful resource for prospective law students, The American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar published a report detailing the employment of 2016 law school graduates based on different employment classifications, including Bar Passage Required and JD Advantage (without bar passage).

For the graduating class of 2016, 64.5 percent of law school graduates were hired into Bar Passage Required employment, an increase of two percentage points from 2015 (62.4 percent). Additionally, 14.1 percent were hired into JD Advantage positions and only 8.8 percent were described as Unemployed/Seeking, both statistics slightly improved from 2015.

We have compiled the list of Top 20 Schools based on the percentage of graduates who reported having a full-time, long-term position in a Bar Passage Required role for the class of 2016. The graph also shows the percentage of students who held full-time, long-term JD Advantage Positions as well as the percent of students who are classified as Unemployed (Seeking). This chart shows that there are many law schools with excellent job placement, which may help to inform and broaden your search. 

 

 Additionally, the ABA report includes information on what types of employment graduates are obtaining. The graph below shows the same schools, but with the percentages of full-time, long-term employees in various legal industries. If you are confident in the career path you are seeking after law school, it is worthwhile to see where previous graduating classes have found employment. It can provide valuable insight into the existing alumni network you will have access to.

Additionally, the ABA report includes information on what types of employment graduates are obtaining. The graph below shows the same schools, but with the percentages of full-time, long-term employees in various legal industries. If you are confident in the career path you are seeking after law school, it is worthwhile to see where previous graduating classes have found employment. It can provide valuable insight into the existing alumni network you will have access to.

 Use the links provided below to find additional school-level and detailed information on employment for the class of 2016.  Individual School Summary Reports (Includes information on the size of law firms where graduates are employed):  http://employmentsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/   Summary Class of 2016 Employment:  https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_education_and_admissions_to_the_bar/statistics/2016_law_graduate_employment_data.authcheckdam.pdf

Use the links provided below to find additional school-level and detailed information on employment for the class of 2016.

Individual School Summary Reports (Includes information on the size of law firms where graduates are employed): http://employmentsummary.abaquestionnaire.org/

Summary Class of 2016 Employment: https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_education_and_admissions_to_the_bar/statistics/2016_law_graduate_employment_data.authcheckdam.pdf

Make the Most of The MBA Tour: Create a Targeted School List

The MBA Tour presents an incredible opportunity for you, as a prospective MBA student, to gather information, make contacts, and advance yourself in the admissions process. But to make the most of the event, you will need to consider it a targeted mission rather than merely time to explore. The MBA Tour will have many booths distributing information, including school tables with admissions representatives expounding on their latest and greatest offerings. It is an easy environment in which to get distracted. As such, prior to the event, you should carefully consider your preliminary school list, the programs that are most compelling to you, and information you’d like to collect at the tour to help you finalize a sound school selection strategy. This preparation will help you to stay focused on your own priorities, rather than ending up overwhelmed with extraneous information.

We recommend utilizing the following three criteria to compile a list of ten schools’ tables that you want to visit at the event, and to prioritize your top choice schools (3-5), which you will likely want to spend additional time researching and networking with while there.

1.       Rankings/Prestige: While we would discourage you from judging schools on rankings alone, US News & World Report’s list of Best Business Schools, for example, is still important to consider when gaining an in-depth understanding of how potential employers will view your investment. Many rankings are also based on algorithms that incorporate various factors of interest to students such as quality assessments, placement success, and student selectivity. As such, you might want to research various rankings and find the one that most closely suits your interests.

2.       Geography/Network. The second, and perhaps somewhat surprising aspect to consider when putting together a school list is geography. Place will play a crucial role in your ability to network. Thus, we often encourage students who know they want to end up in a certain location to consider the top MBA programs in that city, or within the geographic region. Similarly, if your goals are related to a certain industry, it can be invaluable to attend a school near one of the industry’s hubs.

3.       Career Placement. The last, but perhaps most critical component, is to develop a thorough understanding of which companies are recruiting and hiring employees from the MBA programs you are interested in. We suggest prospective students gain a thorough knowledge of the information contained in each school’s career placement report and engage with the school’s counselors in the career center to learn more. It can also be helpful to look for student clubs or associations within a business school relevant to your goals (e.g., Finance Club, Luxury Goods Club, Marketing Club), as they will often host events connecting potential employers with interested students, as well as providing other resources.

Enjoy The MBA Tour!  If you’ve thought through your goals and school selection priorities, it will likely be a memorable experience.

Alternatives to Allopathic Medical Programs in the United States

For the 2017-2018 school year, over 51,600 students submitted an average of 16 applications each for placement into a U.S. Allopathic Medical School. With a resulting, 43 percent admittance rate and 41 percent matriculation rate, almost three out of every five applicants found themselves without a spot. While re-applicants made up just under 30 percent of the applicant pool in 2017 – 2018, and schools look favorably on re-applicants, there are some medical career alternatives worth considering.

1.       Osteopathic medicine. According to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), more than 20 percent of current medical students in the United States are training to be osteopathic physicians. These physicians or surgeons, who receive a D.O. rather than an M.D. degree, are doctors licensed to practice in the United States. While the education and certification paths are similar, differences exist in both the training curriculum and philosophy of patient care. AACOM says, “Osteopathic physicians use all of the tools and technology available to modern medicine with the added benefits of a holistic philosophy and a system of hands-on diagnosis and treatment known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. Doctors of osteopathic medicine emphasize helping each person achieve a high level of wellness by focusing on health education, injury prevention, and disease prevention.”

Osteopathic residency is currently in a transition to a single accreditation system for those pursuing both osteopathic and allopathic degrees. By 2020, all medical internship, fellowship, and residency programs will be accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), whereas previously the ACGME accredited allopathic programs and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) accredited all osteopathic. The changes are very much underway, and according to National Resident Matching Program 2017 data, 3,590 D.O. candidates submitted rank order lists of programs with a match rate of 81.7 percent. Both the number of candidates and match rates were all time highs.

2.       International Medical Programs. While the U.S. is home to many excellent medical schools, there are also compelling programs in Israel and the Caribbean, which tend to be less competitive from an admissions standpoint. Caribbean schools often have the benefit of rolling admissions, and allow for students to start in January. In Israel you can attend an American Medical Program where classes are facilitated in English, though you may need to acquire some Hebrew for matriculation at The Technion and the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University.

In 2017, according to the National Resident Matching Program, the number of U.S. citizen graduates of international medical schools who registered for the match and submitted rank order lists of programs declined. However, for the 5,069 who submitted rank order lists of programs, the match rate was the highest since 2004 at 54.8 percent. Match rates tend to be higher among those attending American medical programs in Israel, as compared to graduates of Caribbean programs.

3.       Podiatry School. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine are certified physicians or surgeons who specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg. These Physicians receive a DPM, rather than an MD, and undergo a similar education, residency, and certification process. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects faster than average growth in the employment of podiatrists, with projected growth of 10 percent from 2016 to 2026. This is due to the aging population and the likely increase in demand for medical and surgical care of the foot and ankle, as well as for treatment of issues associated with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, that impact patients’ feet and ankles.

4.       Physician’s Assistant. A Physician’s Assistant works closely with a licensed physician or surgeon as a part of a collaborative medical team and can examine, diagnose, and treat patients under supervision. While certification requirements vary by state, most PAs graduate with a master’s degree from a Physician Assistant degree program and then need to complete a set number of clinical work hours before sitting for the National Certification exam.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects much faster than average growth in the employment of PAs, with projected growth of 37 percent from 2016 to 2026. This is due to the growing and aging population and a projected increase in the demand for healthcare services.

Innovation and Technology: Key Topics in Today’s Law School Curriculum

As the legal industry continues to evolve, so too has legal education. Thus, prospective law students should pay careful attention to the changing markets for legal services, how technology may be disrupting their fields of interest, and how schools on their list are responding to such change.

In a recent Forbes Online article, Mark Cohen describes the changing landscape of legal services as the role of legal technology increases. He references a Thomson Reuters analysis, issued earlier this year, that showed a 484 percent increase in new legal services technology patents filed globally over the past five years, with the majority filed in U.S. and China (38 percent and 34 percent respectively). The analysis reports that these numbers “reflect the rise of alternative legal services—such as virtual law firms—and the rapid expansion of the online legal industry. This trend is in large part being driven by businesses and individuals looking beyond traditional channels for legal advice.” And it supports findings presented in Deloitte’s Future Trends for Legal Services report, published in 2016, which reported data from a survey of in-house legal services purchasers. Over half of respondents predicted technology would replace the tasks of in-house lawyers in just five years. Additionally, respondents reported a need for legal partners that go “beyond legal,” or what a major law firm typically delivers, and incorporate expertise on industry topics, cyber and data security, and proactive knowledge sharing.

The future for practicing lawyers is shaping up to look considerably different from what we’ve grown accustomed to. Cohen predicts that in the future, “Fewer lawyers will engage in pure ‘practice’ and many more will leverage practice skills and a suite of new ‘delivery’ skillsets to perform as-yet unidentified legal delivery functions.“

So, what does this mean for prospective law students? It means they should be paying close attention to how schools’ are adapting their curricular offerings and knowledge center initiatives to integrate technology and business topics. Daniel Linna, Director of LegalRnD at the The Center for Legal Services Innovation at the Michigan State University College of Law recently launched a prototype for the Legal Services Innovation Index. This is a tool that can be used to track and measure innovation in legal education. While Linna warns that it does not measure quality and should not be considered a ranking, in using this tool, prospective law students can quickly gather information and compare technology-related offerings at various schools. The prototype model currently uses ten technology and legal-service delivery disciplines and includes 38 schools. It is not yet a comprehensive tool, but there are plans for increasing its scope.

Most importantly, Linna’s prototype is a much-needed acknowledgement of the changing nature of the field and the need for law schools to think innovatively about how best to prepare the lawyers of the future. “We need to start measuring these things, start describing innovation and measuring it,” Linna said. “We need metrics for what is happening in the legal industry.”

The Center for Legal Services Innovation has also created an innovation measurement for Law Firms, which is in Phase One.

MBA Application Essays: Prompts Designed to Get Beyond Applicants’ Professional Experiences to Gauge Creativity and Assess Values

Throughout the MBA admissions process, schools’ admissions committees are looking to get to know applicants as fully as possible so they can put together a diverse but cohesive group of students. Thus, many schools will require you to respond to “out of the box” essay prompts designed to explore your creativity, communication skills, and values. We examine some such prompts below, as well as some strategies you could consider when responding to them.

Booth Moments Presentation/Essay

University of Chicago Booth

 Exercise:  Booth asks applicants to choose a photograph or “moment” from a small collection that resonates with them, then explain why in an essay or slideshow.

Strategy: While this essay is an invitation for you to showcase your personality and interests to the admissions committee, it is also the only essay requested, which means you must convey a lot of information. We recommend that you organize your essay content prior to selecting a photograph. You’ll want to consider your past experiences and future goals, how the Booth MBA will help you to achieve your goals, and what you will offer the Booth community. Then, look through the photographs and determine the one that will allow you to transition smoothly from the “moment” to the rest of your content. While you do not want the photograph to seem like an afterthought, you do want to make sure that it serves as a means to an end.

Tactics: As a rule of thumb, your essay should be approximately 750 to 1,000 words in length. We recommend the slideshow option only for applicants who are exceptionally well versed in creating this type of visual.

From the Admissions Committee: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/blog/ftadmissions/2017/201718-essay

Video Questions

Kellogg School of Management and Yale School of Management

 Exercise: Kellogg and Yale ask applicants to respond to several short video essay questions, in order to exhibit their personality, grasp of the English language, and what they could bring to the MBA community.

Rationale: Kellogg states that the video essay questions are “designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.” Student culture is a key focus in Kellogg’s admissions efforts, and they want to get to know applicants as fully as possible to ensure they construct a close-knit and collaborative class. Similarly, Yale is looking to gauge your communication skills and your ability to think on your feet. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your values, interests, creative thinking ability, and goals rather than worrying too much about the “correct” or expected response. 

Your Strategy: While the video essay may feel uncomfortable at first, it is an excellent opportunity for the admissions committee to get to know you better. Prior to participating in the video essay, review your submitted application and think through your personal goals and interests and how those align with the MBA program. While you do not want to look scripted in your responses, you do want to be prepared, which will help you to relax and show your personality and communication skills.

Tactics: Both Kellogg and Yale provide practice questions that will help you to get comfortable with the format and technology, and we recommend taking advantage of this. You can also practice with a friend using Skype to get a feel for the interview format.

From the Admissions Committees:

http://som.yale.edu/apptips-video-questions

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20140823/ISSUE02/308239995/how-to-ace-the-new-trend-in-mba-admissions-online-video-essays

Video Statement

MIT Sloan

Exercise: Sloan requests applicants to provide a 60 second video statement introducing themselves to their future classmates. It is important to note that the video will only be used during the admissions process and will not be shown more widely.

Strategy: Familiarize yourself with the Sloan values and culture and then take time to clearly link your own values, passions and goals with those of the greater Sloan community. The Admissions Committee should gain a clear understanding of why you want to attend the school and what you will bring to your class.

Tactics: Create an outline of ideas that you want to express in your video and practice saying the content aloud. While we do not recommend memorizing a script, as you will want to sound natural in the video, we do want you to feel confident with your talking points prior to making the recording. Finally, take advantage of the fact that you can record the video as many times as you want.

From the Admissions Committee: https://mitsloanadmissions.com/2017/09/06/advice-for-mba-applicants-how-to-master-the-video-statement/

25 Facts

Duke Fuqua

Exercise: Fuqua asks applicants to create a list of 25 (numbered) facts about themselves, not to exceed two pages.

Rationale: Duke believes that their program is served by putting together a diverse community from each applicant class and that “different types of people, points of view, and experiences bring out the best in everyone”. To get to know you better, beyond your professional and academic background, they are looking for 25 facts that will provide them insight into your likes/dislikes, passions, and hobbies.

Strategy: You will want to use this space to differentiate yourself from other applicants and to provide the admissions committee insight into how you can bring a unique perspective, skill set, or passion to the incoming class. Spend some time thinking through potential facts and talk to your friends, family, and others to brainstorm ideas. While your facts may involve inspirational figures in your life, be sure to keep the focus on yourself. And, while it is perfectly acceptable to use facts spanning your entire life, it is important to note that most should be inspired by experiences you’ve had as an adult (18+).

Tactics: While this is an atypical essay type, remain conscientious about your use of grammar in the facts. They may take on a more conversational writing style, but each one should be technically correct.

From the Admissions Committee: https://blogs.fuqua.duke.edu/duke-mba/2012/07/19/megan-lynam-overbay/application-essays-change-to-gain-greater-insights?category=admissions#.WjKlE7pFyuU

Pick Six

NYU Stern  

Exercise: Stern asks applicants to describe themselves to the admissions committee and future classmates using six images, a brief introduction, and image captions.

Rationale: This format is reflective of current social media trends, and is becoming a more common form of expression for individuals and brands; the admissions committee is looking for your competency in putting together such a deliverable.  

Strategy: Think of your response to this prompt as you would an advertising campaign or curated art exhibition. Individual pieces should be able to stand on their own, but they must also meaningfully connect and contribute to a larger story. Prior to looking through images, consider first what you could convey overall. Keep in mind the themes of the business school application: innovation, leadership, and teamwork. But also explore other possibilities: a unique passion, a personal mantra, your life’s unique path to this point, future aspirations, and/or how you will contribute to the Stern Community. Additionally, consider a cohesive theme that could bind your images together. To choose your theme, consider your interests and passions, and how you could incorporate them into your image selections. If you are an artist, you may want to select images of your own work, while a movie buff may choose to incorporate screenshots of famous scenes, to represent their strengths and future goals. If you’re an analytical type, don’t let this exercise overwhelm you. Your images don’t have to be pictures, but can also be graphs, maps, or word clouds. Try to find a mix that feels true to you, while ensuring that each image gives the admissions committee insight into your personality.

Tactics:  Do not let the captions become an afterthought. While it is easy to get attached to an image, remember that the words and images must work together to tell your story.

From the Admissions Committee: https://poetsandquants.com/2017/06/12/nyu-stern-unveils-big-changes-mba-app/2/

Waitlisted? Don’t Give Up Hope. Write a Letter of Intent.

News you have been waitlisted at one of your top-choice medical schools can bring a range of emotions. It’s not the desired outcome, of course, but the game isn’t over. Their admissions committee still sees you as a worthy applicant, capable of handling the rigors of the program.

The number of students who are admitted each year from the waitlist varies based on the school. Highly ranked and competitive programs will typically admit fewer from the waitlist than those further down in the rankings, as they will have a higher yield (acceptances resulting from initial admissions offers).

You can influence your chance of being selected from the waitlist of any school by continuing to showcase your interest in their program. Just as it is critical for medical schools not to overfill their incoming class, they do not want to have empty seats when the school year begins. Therefore, if you can show that you will improve their yield, a key component in medical school rankings, they will be more likely to send to you a letter of acceptance. Engagement with the program through visits and meetings with professors, admissions directors, and current students is an effective way to show interest. But don’t forget to craft a compelling letter of intent too. It should include the following:

  • Meaningful updates since you’ve submitted your application. Did your research study finally get published? What have been the key takeaways in that internship you began in August?
  • Reiterate your interest in the school by citing specific courses, experiential learning opportunities, professors, etc. that make sense given where you’ve been in your life and career so far and where you want to go. Why do you believe you are a good fit?  What will you bring to the incoming class? How will their program help you achieve your goals?
  • Mention any experiences you’ve had on a campus visit/tour or during your interview that increased your commitment to the school.
  • The Yield Protection Statement: “Medical School X is my first choice and, if admitted, I would absolutely attend.” If you can make such a statement, this will be the most impactful component of your letter.

As the waiting game continues, keep in mind that many schools do not use “rolling waitlists.” Instead, they often wait until they have received final admissions decisions from prospective students on May 15th. After this date, prospective students will only be able to hold a seat at one medical school. While prospective students can withdraw from a school if they are accepted from the waitlist into a preferred school up to the point of matriculation, students cannot hold a seat at both schools.

Good luck!        

MBA Interviews: When the Interview Requires More than an Interview

To get to know applicants better, some MBA programs will ask interview participants to submit additional materials or participate in supplementary activities. We have profiled a few of these exercises below to provide you with additional insight. 

1.       Harvard Business School, Post-Interview Reflections

Description: Within 24 hours of the interview, candidates are required to submit a written reflection through Harvard Business School’s online application system. The submission is not a formal essay. Rather, it should be written similarly to a post-meeting summary one would write to a colleague or supervisor at work.  

Rationale:  Shortly after instituting the Post-Interview Reflection, Harvard’s Admission Blog described the exercise as a chance to both get students’ opinions regarding their interviews, as well as a real-world practicum. Professionals routinely need to send emails summarizing meetings and offering assessments and their ability to do this well is critical for workplace success.

Your Strategy: Be genuine and think critically about the interview. What were the highlights? What could have gone better? Were there remaining “gaps” after your interview, and if so, how do you wish you could have addressed these? The post-interview reflection is an opportunity for you to demonstrate real-world critical thinking and writing skills, as well as offer any information that you feel you did not adequately explain in the interview. In other words, Harvard is not expecting your most polished product, but rather a thoughtful assessment of your interview coupled with a compelling communication. As such, this piece should not be crafted prior to the interview, adapted from another essay, or used as additional resume space. However, you may want to take some time immediately after your interview to make notes on areas that you’ll want to include in your submission. Then give yourself a bit of reflection time prior to producing your final product. You’ll want to make the most of this final opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are and how you think.

2.       MIT Sloan, Pre-Interview Essay Submission

Description: Those invited to interview at Sloan will be asked to answer the following question: The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. We believe that a commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and well-being is a key component of both principled leadership and sound management practice. In 250 words or less, please describe how you, as a member of the MIT Sloan community, would work to create a campus that is welcoming, inclusive and increasingly diverse. 

Rationale: The interview process is about getting to know applicants more thoroughly. This is a chance to not only demonstrate that your values match those of MIT Sloan, but that you are willing to proactively work to put those values into action during your business school tenure.

Your Strategy: Your response to this question should go beyond what clubs and extracurricular activities you will participate in at Sloan. Rather, it should examine how you will demonstrate leadership in creating a diverse environment and promoting wellbeing among your peers. Using examples from your past leadership experiences, demonstrate your ability to cultivate a positive culture. And be sure to clearly link the perspective you gained from these experiences to what you hope to accomplish at Sloan. 

3.       Northwestern Kellogg, Video Essay

Description: In responding to several short video essay questions, Kellogg’s video essay allows you to further demonstrate what you will bring to the community in an interactive way.

Rationale: Kellogg states that the video essay questions are “designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.” Student culture is a key focus in Kellogg’s admissions efforts, and they want to get to know applicants as fully as possible to ensure they construct a close-knit and collaborative class. As such, this is an opportunity to showcase your personality, values, interests, and goals rather than worrying too much about the “correct” or expected response. 

Your Strategy: While the video essay may feel uncomfortable at first, it is an excellent opportunity to allow the admissions committee to know you better. Kellogg provides practice questions that will help you to get comfortable with the format and the technology, and we recommend taking advantage of this. Prior to the video essay, review your submitted application and think through your personal goals and interests and how those align with Kellogg. While you do not want to look scripted in your responses, you do want to be prepared, which will help you to relax and show your personality.

4.       University of Michigan Ross, Team Experience 2.0

Description: Those invited to interview at Ross will also be invited to participate in the Team Experience 2.0. In this exercise, teams are tasked with developing a business challenge and solution using random words. Then, they are required to present the case to an evaluator, who will ask each group a follow-up question based on the solution they present.

Rationale: The Ross Admissions Committee says that the goal of the exercise is to assess how an applicant can contribute to and problem-solve as a team-member in real-time. This exercise will mimic the format of most business school group work and will demonstrate to the admissions committee your ability to lead, collaborate, and contribute to a group’s shared goal.  

Your Strategy: As you take part in the Team Experience 2.0, you will want to consistently show your leadership and collaboration abilities. This includes ensuring that all members of the team are participating, celebrating and enhancing good ideas, kindly but productively questioning your teammates, and ultimately encouraging the group towards a decision. Similar to the Wharton Team Based Discussion, you will succeed to the extent that your team succeeds. As such, do not become overly competitive or domineering in the discourse. Instead, look for the ways in which you can help your team to determine the best solution.

Top Ten Tips for the MBA Behavioral Interview

If you have been invited to interview at any or all of the schools on your list, congratulations!  Now you must begin preparing for a memorable and acceptance-worthy performance.

1.       Upon receiving the invitation, schedule the interview as soon as possible. This will enable you to avoid scheduling conflicts and select the time of day when you have the most energy.

2.       Read all you can about the school. If possible, schedule a full visit prior to the interview, which often will include a tour, class observation, and conversations with current students. Additionally, talk to current or former students already in your network to gain insight on the interview process and other aspects of their MBA experience.

3.       Review your application and think through how you will coherently explain your path to this point, as well as your decision-making and most meaningful experiences at each step. You will likely have some introductory question(s), which will require a three-minute elevator-pitch response, as well as several other questions that will require you to illustrate your points regarding such things as your ability to thrive in a team-based environment, etc., with specific examples from your work experience. 

4.       Be able to thoroughly explain why the school is the perfect intersection of where you’ve been and where you want to go. Elaborate on specifics, such as courses, professors, and extracurricular activities that make sense given your past experiences, interests, and achievements, as well as future plans. Remember, though, depth is better than breadth.  We would rather you explain at length one or two specifics that really set that school apart for you, than briefly mention of 7-10 attributes.

5.       Be prepared to weave into your responses what you will be able to offer the school. Make it clear how your experiences and interests, personal and professional, will benefit the school and create a stronger, more diverse MBA class and alumni base.

6.       Think through your career successes and failures and consider what you learned from both. Especially when answering a question regarding a failure, it is vital to spend only 20 percent of the response covering the situation. The rest should be devoted to action you took to prevent similar failures going forward and what you’ve learned as a result.

7.       Determine if there are any red flags in your application materials, and, if so, craft a response that addresses the issue without making excuses.  For example, if asked about the ‘C’ you received in calculus sophomore year, make mention of those specific areas in your transcript and post-baccalaureate experience that are more indicative of your ability to compete in a rigorous academic environment.  

8.       Stay current on domestic and international news. The Economist is a good, wide-reaching source for this. You will also want to be aware of any news related to your current company, industry and desired career path as these are great topics for an interviewer to draw from.  Setting up google alerts for key phrases related to your company and industry will help.

9.       Prepare three questions for the end of the interview, which will show your knowledge of and enthusiasm for the school.

10.   Compose a hand-written thank you note on high quality stock, and snail mail it to your interviewer. In the note, thank them for their time, reiterate your interest in the school, mentioning a specific or two, and if you can, make note of something memorable you spoke about during the interview.

The Wharton Interview: Excel in the Team Based Discussion

An invitation to Wharton’s Team Based Discussion can be as nerve-wracking as it is exciting. But with preparation and the proper mind-set, it can be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your ability to think on your feet and respond under pressure. To ace the interview, consider the following tips:

1. Prepare thoroughly. After you receive the scenario, create a proposal and know it inside and out. Practice your presentation, out loud. Present in front of a mirror, or a live-audience of friends. Be sure that you feel confident about your ability to present your idea in a relaxed way, showcasing how you thought through the exercise. While, you don’t want to memorize your presentation word-for-word or sound overly rehearsed, you do want to be able to describe your idea in an articulate and conversational way. Your interview day may include other activities, such as attending a lecture and/or interacting with current and prospective students. You will want to be confident prior to arriving on campus with no need for last minute prepping.

2. Be prepared to explain and answer questions on your proposed idea. You can do this by considering what questions may arise from your proposal and writing out your responses to them. The more people you can share your idea with and collect questions from, the better. After working with an idea for a long period, it becomes harder and harder to poke holes in it. Let your friends, co-workers, or parents help you with this process.

  • To help you start, make sure that you are comfortable responding to the following.
  1. What are the beneficial outcomes of your proposal for students? For Wharton?
  2. What are the risks of your proposal?
  3. What assumptions are you making?
  4. What are the drawbacks or limitations of your idea? Why are these acceptable?
  • Be able to articulate the “why?” behind all the components of your proposal, as well as the “why not?” for other potential possibilities. This is important because (most likely) your proposal will not be selected. However, if you can find other students who have a similar “why?” as the foundation of their ideas, it will help you to collaborate with them and contribute to the discussion.

3. Prepare yourself to provide meaningful input to the discussion by continuing to be well informed of international business news. The Economist is a good, wide-reaching source for this. While there is no expectation that you will be an expert on everything, you should be conversant in current events and be able to make high-level social, political and economic observations about others’ proposals.

4. Be a team player. This cannot be stressed enough. While there is an aspect of competition to the interview, the team-based discussion is an opportunity to show your collaborative nature. Don’t try to “win” by pressuring the group to select your proposal. Instead, demonstrate how you will fit into the MBA community by being inclusive and showing leadership, humility, and adaptability. Articulate your thought process clearly, be positive about others’ ideas, continue to move the group forward by summarizing ideas, and question respectfully. Remember that the point of the exercise is to drive towards a strong team outcome; the better the team interacts together, the better all of you look individually.

5. Day-of tips:

  • Wear a business suit.
  • Feel free to bring notes, but do not read them directly or rely on them for more than a memory trigger.
  • Introduce yourself to other prospective students and work to build a friendly rapport prior to the interview.
  • Prepare three to five questions for the evaluators during the wrap-up portion of the interview.
  • As much as possible, relax and try to enjoy the experience. This could be representative of the dynamic you’ll live in for the next two years. Ensure it feels right to you.

Use Social Media to Enhance Your Graduate School Application

Last week, Kaplan Test Prep released data from their survey of over 150 business schools across the U.S. on the role of social media in the admissions process. Of the admissions officers surveyed:

  • 35 percent say they have visited applicants’ social media profiles to learn more about them, up 13 percentage points from 2011
  • 33 percent of those admissions officers who’ve visited applicants’ social media profiles say that they do so “often”
  • Social media has helped and harmed applicants’ admission prospects in almost equal proportions (48 percent and 50 percent respectively)
See the full press release, including a video summary of the findings here: http://press.kaptest.com/press-releases/kaplan-test-prep-survey-growing-number-business-schools-turn-social-media-help-make-admissions-decisions 

Admissions officers who are reviewing students’ social media pages are looking to get to know the student and their background more fully. Prospective students can take advantage of this by ensuring that their social media profiles are up to date and supportive of the personal brand they’ve put forth in their applications. As such, we recommend that anyone applying to a graduate program, or an internship or residency, take at the least a cursory social media scan. Below, we have provided guidelines for doing so.

The Basics: If nothing else, confirm the following.

  • Ensure that your social media privacy settings reflect your preferences, but keep in mind that even private information can leak or be distributed more widely.
  • Review your pictures. Are there any that present you in a manner that would be embarrassing for an admissions officer to see? Be sure to go back and review even your oldest pictures. Remove those that you deem inappropriate, borderline, or simply not reflective of you.
  • Ensure that your LinkedIn resume is up to date, grammatically correct, and in line with what you’ve submitted to the admissions committees. Similarly, confirm that your posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are grammatically correct.
  • Confirm that none of your content could even potentially be considered racist, sexist, or containing prejudicial language. You should consistently represent yourself as someone who will add to a diverse intellectual environment. Make it clear to your friends that you should not be tagged or otherwise included in groups that don’t share this spirit.
  • Review your profiles often. Ensure that others are aware that you don’t want to be tagged in inappropriate pictures, videos, or comments.

The Upgrade: Use social media to enhance your application.

  • Consider if your pictures are showcasing your hobbies and interests beyond, but including, time spent with friends. If not, add pictures that show a broader array of “you”. This might include shots from travel, volunteer work, cultural activities, time with pets, or engaging in other hobbies that show off aspects of your personality that will bring your essays and interviews to life.
  • Ask co-workers from various points in your career to post recommendations on your LinkedIn account.
  • Ensure that your goals are consistent between your application and social media posts. Don’t post different career goals than those that appear in your application, or actively discuss pursuing full-time careers that don’t require the graduate program to which you are applying.
  • Keep your accounts up to date. Post about your current activities and events including conferences, speeches, or panels and include your reactions to the events. Share news or research articles on areas that you’re interested in. Take this opportunity to show off your writing and critical thinking skills or link to a blog containing your writing.
  • Don’t hide those things which make you different. Admissions officers want a diverse graduate population, and social media is the perfect way to show off qualities and interests that set you apart from the crowd, as well as demonstrate how you currently contribute to the diversity of your community.

While, social media should continue to be a personalized and fun outlet for you, don’t forget to consider that it may also inform admissions committees or future employers about who you are, and ultimately impact their final decision.