Here Are Poets&Quants Top MBA Startups

Do you need an MBA to do a successful startup? Of course not. But when it comes to using an MBA experience to launch a company, you won’t get much of an argument from the business school graduates whose companies have landed on Poets&Quants’ third annual ranking of the Top 100 MBA Startups. For the first time since the rankings were created, the top spot goes to a venture that had not already been sold. SoFi, a Stanford-founded student loan refinancing company, charged to the top of this year’s list with a monstrous $1.4 billion raised for operations in the past five years. Their leap up the rankings was anchored by a $1 billion Series E round announced last September. Next was GrabTaxi, the Southeastern Asia taxi booking app founded by a team from Harvard, with $680 million in venture backing. Rounding out the top three was Stanford-founded RelateIQ, which was acquired by Salesforce for $390 million and is now SalesforceIQ. Cultural Moment or Frothy VC Market? While SoFi and Grabtaxi certainly set the pace in the race for later series funding, they were not the only two startups to make big moves this year. Harvard-founded Oscar Insurance zoomed from $150 million and ninth place last year to $327.5 million and fourth place this year. Wharton-founded razor venture, Harry’s, nudged up one spot to fifth this year, with $287 million in total funding. And PillPack, founded by an MIT Sloan School of Management team, catapulted from 70th to 13th, with total backing of $62.8 million. Whether they’re enjoying a cultural moment or a frothy venture capital market, startup fever on business school campuses has never been hotter. Last year, 84 out of the 908 graduating MBAs from Harvard launched...

Avoid These 10 Mistakes in MBA Application Essays...

The essay component of the MBA application is a chance to really wow the admissions committee and stand out from potentially thousands of other candidates with similar GMAT scores or GPAs. There are many ways to craft a stellar essay that will give the reader a better sense of who you are, but there are also several mistakes to avoid as you’re answering these required prompts. Make sure you sidestep the following pitfalls at all costs. 1. Neglecting to answer the question: Applicants often become so determined to drive home a particular point, or worse, drift off into a tangent, that they fail to succinctly answer the question. Don’t answer with “what” when the question asks “how?” or “why?” Business schools create their essays with the goal of finding out how you fit their program, and not answering the question immediately indicates poor fit. 2. Using industry jargon or pretentious language: Never assume the admissions committee member reviewing your application is intimately familiar with your particular industry. Write for a lay audience, and avoid flowery or stuffy language – use familiar words instead. With hundreds of applications on their desks, the admissions staff has only a few minutes to review each essay. It should be immediately digestible. 3. Basing essays on ​what you think the admissions committee is looking for: Even if you have a pretty good idea of what a particular business school looks for in MBA candidates,​ this isn’t the time to remake yourself into what you think their ideal student would be. This is a major pet peeve of the admissions committee, which is why they have gone to great lengths recently to come up with creative essay prompts. Stay true to yourself and your professional...

MBA Rankings: Take With A Pinch Of Salt

The MBA is a global phenomenon. From its humble beginnings with four students taking the Master of Science in Commerce at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School more than a century ago, it is now the world’s most popular postgraduate program. In 2011/12, the latest year for which figures are available, 191,571 students graduated from U.S. universities with masters degrees in business, up 65% on a decade before and a 620% increase on the figure 40 years ago. Business courses now make up more than a quarter of all masters degrees, compared with one in four as recently as 2000. All this makes MBAs big business. Average tuition for a two year MBA is around $60,000, although factoring in living costs and other expenses can take the total cost from a leading business school up towards $200,000. Add the opportunity cost of quitting a job for two years and it becomes more eye-watering still. Little wonder that prospective MBA students spend many hours scouring ranking tables to try to work out if that investment is going to pay off. And when faced with such a bewildering choice of business schools, these rankings are invaluable. They allow students to compare business schools on a range of factors, from the average score in admission tests of new entrants to the salary bump for graduates…Read full story:...

Insead tops ‘Financial Times’ MBA rankings...

Insead, the business school with campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, has topped the Financial Times’ Global MBA rankings for the first time since they were introduced in 1999. This is the first time that an MBA programme with a substantial Asian presence has been ranked number one by the Financial Times , and marks a growing interest from elite students in Asian business and business schools. Insead is still the only top-ranked business school to teach its full-time MBA on multiple campuses, with 75 per cent of the 1,000 students studying in Singapore or in Fontainebleau, just outside Paris. It is also the first time a one-year MBA programme has been ranked in the top slot. The flagship MBA programmes of the four previous winners – Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in the US, and London Business School in the UK – are all two-year degrees. These schools have been ranked in the top five slots along with Insead for the past three years by the FT. The full-time MBA programme at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School has been ranked 79th in the world and 24th in Europe in the survey. The school had been ranked 73rd in the 2015 rankings. The Insead MBA was the world’s first one-year programme when it began in 1959, though many others have followed. As the cost of studying for an MBA has steadily risen, many students are wary of taking on the debt associated with two-year degrees – students are frequently more than $100,000 in debt when they graduate. Though fees and living costs can be substantial, it is often the opportunity cost of lost salary that is the biggest...

How To Stand Out In A Crowd Of Freshly-Minted Grads...

In today’s very competitive job market, graduate students, especially those with limited work experience, must develop an array of skills that will help them to stand out in a crowd of freshly minted graduates all competing for the same available jobs. I have seen a common thread — business schools are doing a fine job in preparing their graduates with solid core skills, whether in accounting, finance, marketing, or operations. Some schools make an attempt in leveraging those skills by adding management, leadership, negotiation, business ethics, and similar subjects to strengthen the available tool-sets of their students. What we often hear from employers and alumni alike is that additional skills, some call them soft-skills or complex skills, are needed to succeed in securing MBA jobs. To prepare for today’s competitive jobs market, here are five recommendations: 1) Obtaining an advanced degree is a smart career booster — it is often needed, and sometimes even required, for many roles in the business world. Companies often seek graduates with an MBA, masters in finance, or an advanced technology degree in engineering or computer science. In general, multinational companies like to recruit candidates who have a global mind-set and have experience studying and/or working abroad. For example, according to an article in the New York Times, employers in China are very interested in recruiting prospective employees who have a Chinese undergraduate degree and an MBA from a business school in the US. Understanding global economic complexity is a prerequisite to being able to interact and negotiate with international partners. 2) Previous business experience of one-to-three years — and success in that field — is often on a recruiter’s check-list. 3) A recent survey of recruiters, conducted by the National Association of Colleges...

Avoid 4 Mistakes Wait-Listed MBA Applicants Make...

Applying for an MBA program requires patience. Once prospective students submit applications, it can be weeks or months before they know if they’ve been accepted. The waiting game can be extended even longer when applicants get the news that they’ve been wait-listed. “We try to kind of wrap up our waitlist decisions sometime in July,” says James Holmen, director of admissions and financial aid at Indiana University —Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business. New MBA students usually have orientation in August, he says. There are rules for what applicants should or should not do when wait-listed, and applicants who break these guidelines can push schools from saying “maybe” to “no.” Here are four common mistakes that experts say,​ wait-listed students have been known to make and how to avoid them. Refusing to listen to sound advice: Some applicants will call the schools that have wait-listed them to say they’ll do whatever it takes to be admitted – but they don’t really mean it, says Treavor Peterson, managing director of MBA programs at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management. Certain schools, such as Marriott, tell wait-listed applicants why they’ve been wait-listed and what they can do to increase their chances of admittance, says Peterson​. Applicants don’t always agree with the school’s feedback,​ though. “They don’t want to follow the direction we gave them,” he says. In other cases, applicants will take it upon themselves to update schools with information they think will improve their candidacy, regardless of if ​the school has asked for this type of information or not, says Leah Derus, founder of the admissions consulting company fxMBAConsulting. Applicants should first listen to any instructions or feedback a school has given, experts say, and use those as guidelines​ for...

4 characteristics Wharton looks for in top MBA candidates...

Every MBA program has a personality — and some candidates are a better fit for certain schools than for others. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School is no exception. After more than 15 years of helping our clients receive highly coveted admissions letters to Wharton, we’ve pulled together some key characteristics that, together, paint a unique picture of what Wharton is looking for in MBA students. Before we launch into the list, one caveat: Knowing what a particular business school is looking for isn’t an opportunity to re-make yourself into what you think their “ideal” student would be. Rather, it’s a chance to find a learning community that values your strengths and where you can make a positive contribution with the unique skills, experiences, and perspectives you bring to the table. If you have your sights set on Wharton, here are a few qualities that successful MBA candidates often have in common. If your values and Wharton’s line up, Wharton might be a great fit for you — and you might be a great fit for their world-renowned MBA program. Here are four characteristics that Wharton looks for in MBA candidates: 1. An innovative mindset “Innovation” is such a buzzword today that it’s commonly used to describe almost everything. But at Wharton, the willingness to take an innovative approach is something they not only look for in prospective MBA candidates — it’s also a standard they hold themselves to, starting with their MBA admissions process. For example, Wharton was one of the first business schools in the US to pioneer a new team-based conversation as part of the interview process, to gauge how candidates express their ideas and relate to others in a conversation that mirrors those they’d have...

Why an MBA won’t get you the banking job you want. And what you can do about this...

Do you aspire to a job in an investment bank in order to recoup the tens of thousands you’ve spent on your MBA? Before you hit “submit” on your application, here are a few things you should bear in mind about looking for a job in investment banking in Europe with an MBA. Before the financial crisis, investment banks were some of the biggest recruiters of MBAs. I was one of the people recruiting MBAs on their behalf. In 2008, Lehman Brothers was one of the top 5 hirers of MBAs globally. Merrill Lynch, where I’d also worked, was one of the top employers too. Eight years on, and banks have fallen away. Instead, the consulting firms are the biggest recruiters of MBAs from top schools. For example, London Business School’s most recent MBA employment report, for 2014, shows that the biggest hirers of its MBAs were McKinsey & Co, the Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Co and A.T. Kearney. Collectively, these firms hired 71 students. By comparison, the biggest banking hirers (Citi, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Nomura) hired just 25 people. Banks generally hire MBAs into a far narrower range of roles than previously. Ten years ago, banks often hired MBA associates into IBD (M&A and corporate finance) sales and trading, equity research, private banking and wealth management. Now, most MBAs are hired into IBD. A few are hired into wealth management and commercial banking roles, but not many. Trading floors tend to focus on students from financial masters programmes and undergrads. Although banks are looking for relatively small numbers of MBAs, you don’t necessarily need to have worked in banking prior to the MBA. However, banks behave as most employers would...

Consider a Second MBA Degree

The idea of pursuing a second MBA degree may sound strange, but it happens with a small number of applicants during every admissions season and can make sense under the right, very specific, circumstances. Some applicants consider a second degree after earning an MBA from a for-profit university or an unaccredited program. They may find they have hit a ceiling with their employment prospects as they vie for positions against candidates from better-known schools. More often, people who seek a second degree are international candidates who have discovered that their professional dreams cannot be fulfilled with their current degree alone. In India, for example, it’s common for a student to jump into an MBA program straight out of university, which makes for a very theoretical learning experience rather than a practical one in which to contextualize management problems. Once these MBA grads get into the workforce, they discover they must further develop various skills to become strong business leaders. For professionals working in international firms who aspire to relocate abroad, a degree earned in-country will not open doors the way a highly ranked MBA from a name-brand university will. A second MBA is seen as an efficient way to move out of a stagnant career and enhance their competitiveness, allowing the degree holder to shift into a new function, industry or geography after completing their studies. Creating a rich classroom experience through diversity is a huge focus of the top business schools, offering students the opportunity to interact with peers from an array of countries and professional backgrounds. While the educational component of the degree in South Asian business schools, for example, may sometimes rival their international counterparts, the ability to create networking ties across the globe is nowhere...

MBA programmes that yield the best salaries

One major component of Business Insider’s ranking is the average starting salary. Looking at this exclusively, you can filter out the business schools that yield the best salaries after graduation. Among the 50 leading schools, students from 22 schools went on achieving base salaries over 100,000 US-Dollar. Although Stanford placed fourth on the overall list, its graduates earn the highest starting salaries of all the schools, averaging more than 133,000 US-Dollar. Other high achievers like Harvard and Wharton fared well as well. Harvard graduates earn an average of more than 131,000 US-Dollar after school and Wharton graduates average on more than 127,000 US-Dollar, though Wharton’s tuition cost also amounts to 144,340 US-Dollar. The Wharton School topped the Business Insider ranking overall in 2015 for all-around excellence (see article above). Wharton’s salary expectation is similar to Columbia Business School’s as well as Sloan School of Management’s and the Booth School of Business’s. Graduates of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business follow with an average starting salary of 123,900 US-Dollar. Amongst the 22 schools are many more well-known schools like the Anderson School of Management, the Fuqua School of Business, Yale School of Management, London Business School, Darden Business School, the Booth School of Business or the Kellogg School of Management. But other not as well-known universities do well in the salary category as well. Graduates from the Foster School of Business, the Jones Graduate School of Business or the McCombs School of Business also break the ranks of the 100,000 US-Dollarfor example. Read full story: MBA...

Don’t Rush The MBA Decision: Not All Work Experience Is Created Equal...

We all know some things look good on paper but don’t always work in practice. And that sentiment should be taken into consideration when deciding if the time is right for an MBA. Just because you have the two years of experience that many of the world’s business schools require, doesn’t mean you are ready for an MBA. You should think more deeply about how to get the most out of your investment of time and money before applying to an MBA. We often see applicants rush this decision. At the Ivey Business School, we believe that a key question candidates should be asking themselves before applying to an MBA is: Does it make sense for me to get this degree right now? Here are some things to consider: 1.The admissions teams can help: The admissions team at Ivey is not in place to scrutinize or judge applicants. Instead, an important part of the team’s role is to ensure that you make the best decision possible, so you can get the most out of the program and contribute to the class community in a meaningful way. Where you are at in your own work journey before you arrive is a critical part of a successful outcome. Talk to us. We can help; 2.Quality over quantity: Be prepared to talk about the kind of work you have done. We are not interested in the length of time you have spent collecting a paycheque, but instead your ability to talk about the quality of work you have done. Tell us about the interactions you have experienced with internal or external clients and the projects you have contributed to moving forward. Bringing these kinds of experiences to formal classroom discussions is a...

Top Tips for Meeting an MBA Admissions Officer Face-to-Face...

You’re dressed in your best business attire, you have a flawless resume in hand, and you’re ready to network! Yet, when you approach the booth for your dream school your mind draws a blank. What do you say? How do you make the best first impression? Meeting Admissions Officers face-to-face can be intimidating, but if you prepare ahead and follow these tips it will easily become second nature. 1) Do Your Research Before attending the event take note of the schools that will be there. Highlight the ones that you are most interested in and do research online about specific programs, classes, admissions processes, etc. Most answers to common questions (grades, requirements, scholarships) can be found online. You’ll want to formulate questions that will be of value in a conversational setting. For example, instead of asking if the GMAT is required, ask about the competitive advantages of the school’s MBA program. This probing question will provide the basis for a better conversation. 2) Practice Your Pitch Take a few minutes to write down why you are interested in doing an MBA. By putting your goals down on paper you’ll be able to better articulate them to the Admissions Officers you meet. Be clear and concise when introducing yourself. 3) Confidence is Key Remember, Admissions Officers are there to help you! They want to answer your questions and provide you with the best information possible. Be confidant when introducing yourself and speaking about why you are interested in that specific school. 4) Relax! The more at ease you are, the more information you’ll absorb, and the better your interactions will be. For more information on how to prepare for the event and advice from Admissions Officers, visit The MBA Tour’s...