Getting into Business School

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If you are not there yet, here’s where you should start. Some important decisions: which program is the right one for you? How to get accepted? How much will it cost, and can you afford it? This section will guide you through the process.

Turn Failure Into a Great Business School Admissions Essay...

It’s the dreaded failure topic: “Describe a situation taken from your personal or professional life where you failed.” MBA applicants often freak out when faced with this common admissions essay question because they fear that showing any weakness will torpedo their admissions chances. However, at one point or another, everyone faces adversity, failure or setbacks, whether at work or in life. Your response to these situations demonstrates your character, and business schools understand that failure represents a learning opportunity. This essay is your chance to demonstrate your maturity, flexibility and leadership qualities. Leaders aren’t always successful; rather, they are willing to admit to failure and find motivation in their misfortune. So how do you tell the business school admissions committee how failure has truly affected you? First, start with some real introspection. It’s important to use a failure that is emotionally important to you. Your failure should also be real and something that led you to gain some insight about yourself. The negative situation could have led to a transformative experience for your team, a positive opportunity for someone else or a chance for you to better understand another person through a team challenge. The admissions committee will easily see through an accomplishment that you frame as a failure; furthermore, that will not demonstrate your maturity or ability to grow. Think creatively about this aspect – do your best to describe how you have changed your approach as a result of the failure. When brainstorming for this essay, think first about what you learned from the situation you plan to detail; then work backward to describe the circumstances and the initial challenge or hurdle. That will help you more optimistically view the whole situation. What did you learn from...

Is An MBA Necessary For Success In Business?

The total cost of an MBA at Harvard is an estimated $102,000 a year. At that price, how much difference does an MBA make in the real world? “I’ve got a lot of young people who are qualified up to their eyeballs with MBAs and BAs, but not a shred of common sense” said Optiv’s Wendy Hoey. Ingram Micro’s Gina Masanuano said a lot of the degree’s worth depends on circumstances. “I think it depends on where they are in their career, and it depends on the area,” she said. “Past a certain level, I don’t even look at education anymore,” she added. Verizon’s Wendy Petty agreed and said she values experience over an impressive education. Red Hat’s Margaret-Ann Bolton said for those individuals who are looking to switch to business, an MBA will help the transition. “If they’re trying to make a change in their career, like if they’re on one path and they really want to do something that’s completely different,” she said. “What I found with an MBA that is so valuable is when you haven’t done your undergrad in business, and your education is in a different area, it is a huge benefit to learn if you’re going into marketing, or finance or sales,” said Extreme Networks’ Paige Powers. Read full story:...

6 questions to ask yourself before taking the MBA plunge...

Choosing whether to go to business school is a big decision. On one hand, an MBA could propel your career or business. But it comes with a hefty price tag in terms of time, tuition and lost wages. Students, alumni and university staff gave us the lowdown on how to make the big decision of whether to take the MBA plunge. Here are six questions to ask yourself to help you decide. 1. Why do I want to get an MBA? Don’t just get a degree to get a degree, professors and students said. Instead, think about what you want for yourself over the next five to 10 years. “I think it’s important for [prospective applicants] to think about their career goals in a more long-term perspective. Candidates for MBA programs may say, ‘I want to go because I want to start my own business.’ But you know, life changes. Three years from now, their plans and aspirations may change,” said Stefanos Zenios, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business’s director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “They may decide that they want to work for a large organization or a high-growth company. So they should take a holistic view of their plans — of what is plan A and what is plan B, and how an MBA will help them achieve those goals,” Zenios said. 2. Can I improve my leadership skills? Getting an MBA is just as much a personal decision as it is a professional one. Kyle Jensen, an entrepreneur himself and the Yale School of Management associate dean and director of entrepreneurship, said one of the most important questions is about leadership. “Do I need to learn to be a better leader? If the answer is...

10 Career decisions which make more sense than an MBA...

Five years ago, the society evaluated your “market value” solely based on your grades, college, and the number of degrees you owned. Thankfully, through the influence of digital age, these stereotypes are slowly finding their exit route. Today, your grades don’t matter as much as they used to and if you’re talented, you can find yourself an amazing job even with basic qualifications. Those looking to take their careers to the next level, often find themselves considering the pros and cons of taking up an MBA. For most of us, an MBA programme would either be to increase our business acumen or simply because we need that feather in our cap to show the world. Let’s run some quick numbers The cost of your MBA programme abroad would range anywhere between Rs 40 and 70 lakh, whereas an Indian MBA will cost somewhere between Rs 7.5 and 25 lakh. In India, if you happen to do an internship or a job that roughly pays around 25,000 per month, and your MBA fees happen to be Rs 15 lakh; you’ll still take five years to recover the money spent on your education. Not to mention the living expenses, and other miscellaneous costs. Add two more years, may be? In other words, MBA seems like a dicey choice. Of course, you will earn more in the future and definitely learn a lot but what are the stakes? With these points in mind, here are a few career choices that cost less than an MBA but will probably do more to advance your career: Start your own business. There’s no better feeling in this world than being your own boss. Starting your own business would not only boast your moral, but will...

Is an MBA really worth it? Billionaire Tilman Fertitta has your answer...

If you’re debating whether or not to get a Master of Business Administration, billionaire Tilman Fertitta has some advice for you. “Let me just say this, God gave me a gift of understanding business, but if God didn’t give you that gift and you want to be an entrepreneur and you want to be a business person, go get your MBA,” said Fertitta, CEO of Fertitta Entertainment, which owns Landry’s and the Golden Nugget casinos. Going back to school can be a difficult decision. Getting an MBA can come with a steep price tag. Tuition at top schools can reach north of $60,000 per year in addition to lost wages while away from the workforce. But what if you have an undergraduate degree in business? “[I] don’t even care if you major in business and finance, you just don’t get a grasp of the problems and the experience unless you get your master’s,” he said about undergraduate school. “And that’s just from dealing with people over the years that were young, that had an MBA or didn’t have an MBA that I could personally communicate with.” It’s all about knowing your strengths and weakness , he said. The self-made business titan definitely knows what he’s good at, and what he’s bad at. “I know that I can’t play a musical instrument. I know that I can’t change an oil filter on a car. But you can bring me any kind of business issue or problem, and I will detect it and tell you what the problem is and the solution within a few minutes,” he said. So is business school worth it? If you know you have a knack for business, Fertitta said, “Don’t worry about it.” tilm”I’m for...

Your guide to acing an MBA interview

The average MBA interview lasts about 45 minutes. In those 45 minutes, you’ll need to convince the school that they were correct in showing interest in you and that you’ll be able to contribute something meaningful to the cohort that they’re designing for the next year. While the essays tend to be the part of the MBA application process that causes the most trouble for applicants, the interview tends to cause the most confusion as applicants struggle to know how to prepare. Over the years, we’ve developed some proven techniques to help applicants breeze through the interview for their top choice MBA program. Follow our Five Ps to guide you in acing your MBA interviews. PREPARE There’s no way around it. In order to have the answers you need on hand, you’ll need to prepare. Know your resume back and forth—this means you’ll also need to prepare anecdotes about times you’ve experienced failure, faced ethical dilemmas or received negative feedback. In addition, have a set of questions that you’d like to ask the interviewer. If you can work them into the interview, great. If not, then the interviewer will likely ask you at the end of the interview if there’s anything else you’d like to know about the program. You can ask your questions then. PRACTICE The anecdotes that you choose to prepare for the interview might sound great in your head or look good on paper, but you won’t know how they’re going to perform during the interview until you practice saying them aloud. You shouldn’t memorize your anecdotes or your responses to likely questions in the interview process—you’ll sound stilted and a little fake. However, you should have the basic storyline down pat and be able to...

When Is The Best Time To Apply For Your MBA?

The business school application process is intense, and with good reason. Getting an MBA is a significant investment in time and money. Going into the process without giving it a lot of thought beforehand is a recipe for disaster. If you aren’t prepared for the b-school experience, you won’t be able to take full advantage of the opportunity. But when you go into it deliberately, after a lot of careful thought, getting an MBA can be a life and career-changing move. Here are five questions you need to be able to answer “yes” to, before you’re ready to apply: 1. Do you know your post-MBA goals? It’s not a good idea to go to business school in order to figure yourself out, or to get away from the working world for a bit. Most MBA programs move very fast, and if you want to take full advantage of the experience, you’ll need to have a plan. Think about where you want to be in five years. Not just in your career, but where in the world you want to be, and what you want your life to look like. Do you want to work globally, start a business of your own or move into higher management positions within your current organization? 2. Do you know how an MBA will help you accomplish those goals? Lower-tier schools and diploma mills may be happy to admit anyone who seems interested and can foot the bill, but top business schools want to know that you have given a lot of thought to the prospect of getting an MBA. They are looking for students who will take the opportunity seriously, and reflect well upon the school as alumni. When you know how an...

6 career moves that are worth more than an MBA...

If your career plan is to become a hedge fund trader or play some other role in the financial services business, you probably need an MBA just as the price of admission. If that’s you, don’t bother reading this post. For everyone else, you may be considering an MBA program as a way to increase your business acumen, enhance your personal brand, and make yourself more competitive. If that’s the case, there may be some cheaper and better alternatives. Let’s run some quick numbers. Tuition and fees for a two year degree program at a top private college will cost you about $120,000. If you earn $50,000 a year, you won’t be making $100,000 during that time. If your living expenses are $45,000 a year, you’ll still need to pay that $90,000. In other words, an MBA from a top business school could cost you as much as $320,000. Invest that amount at an annual return of 5%. and you’ll have roughly $2.3 million when you retire in 40 years. With an MBA, of course, you will earn more in the future. According to New Accountant, an MBA will earn a CFO an estimated $463,440 in extra lifetime income. But that’s only an extra $11,586 a year, which compounds over 40 years to only $1.6 million. Of course, if you get your MBA from a lower tier school, tuition and fees will be less, and you may get your current employer to pay some of your costs. Still, even if you earn the degree in your spare time, there’s still lost opportunity cost. With that in mind, here are six career moves that cost lest than earning an MBA but will probably do more to advance your career and...

3 Ways International Students Can Strengthen U.S. MBA Applications...

The U.S. is a popular destination for those from around the globe who want to pursue higher education, and prospective business school students are helping lead the trend of studying in the U.S. Fifty-two percent of prospective students for graduate business programs attempted to study outside their country of citizenship, up from 40 percent in 2010, according to the most recent data from the Graduate Management Admission Council. This growth is seen mostly among Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern citizens, the report states, and the U.S. is the top region of choice. “Schools want diversity in their programs. You want people from all different places,” says Erin Town, director of MBA admissions at University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. With such a strong interest in U.S. MBA programs from overseas candidates, getting into school is often a competitive process for international applicants. Business school admissions experts offered these three tips to help prospective students improve their chances of getting accepted. 1. Connect with current students: Prospective MBA candidates interested in Foster, which typically has between 30 and 35 percent of full-time MBA students who are international, should try to speak with current students from a similar background, says Town. “If you can talk with someone who’s from your home country and get a feel for their experience here, what they like about the program, how they’re spending their time,” and then mention the conversation in an application, she says, “that really impresses us and shows us they’re very interested in Foster.” When 30-year-old Ting Tseng was applying to business school, speaking with students helped her decide which program to attend. “I talked to several Foster alumni, and they were all very helpful and willing to share,” says Tseng, a...

5 Awesome Benefits Millennials Gain From Their MBA...

Congratulations! You’ve earned your undergraduate degree and have started your very first job out of college. Those all-nighters have finally paid off. After receiving my B.A. in English and Political Science from The University of Texas at Austin, I decided to put my degree to good use and sell women’s shoes at Nordstrom for six months. I eventually went back for a Masters Degree and found out that a background in English can actually get you far in the startup world as a Content Marketer. But enough about me. The point I’m trying to make here is that college grads don’t always know what career path they wish to pursue straight out of college. If you aren’t going to law or medical school directly after your undergraduate studies, you are suddenly left with a variety of random options and job paths. This in mind, millennials today are recognizing the value of pursuing a higher degree of education. Of course, additional degrees aren’t necessary in order to be successful, but they can open a door of opportunities that otherwise would have remained closed. Consider an MBA, for example. Sure, there are many well-known entrepreneurs (i.e. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg) who have remained “MBAless” and have had wildly successful careers. Unfortunately, not all of us have what it takes to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. Time for an MBA? Paul Ollinger, stand-up Comedian and Author of the new book, You Should Totally Get an MBA: A Comedian’s Guide to Top U.S. Business Schools, uses humor as a vehicle to provide business school applicants (of all ages) with great advice about what it takes to earn an MBA. After receiving his MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, Ollinger decided to write...

Calculate the Return on Investment for an MBA

A political campaigner in Washington, D.C., Kate Doehring, 31, decided to pack her bags and move to the Midwest to earn an MBA in a place with a cheaper cost of living. “I was looking at Georgetown and George Washington here,” says Doehring, who is about to finish her first year of business school at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. “To stay in D.C., just sheer cost would have been at least double or triple than Madison.” Like many prospective MBA students, Doehring looked at her MBA as an investment and weighed the cost of living, lost wages and potential debt along with a projected post-degree salary of $100,000. Average salary after graduation compared with debt, referred to as salary-to-debt ratio, is one tool for calculating the return on investment for prospective MBA students. “I used just over $100,000 annually, plus or minus $10,000,” says Doehring, who is on target to finish the program with less than $15,000 in debt. “I used $100,000 as a benchmark because those numbers were communicated when I did my campus visit.” According to data submitted to U.S. News by ranked business schools, UW—Madison had the highest annual salary-to-debt ratio for full-time MBA graduates who found jobs paying an average of more than $100,000 in salary and bonus within three months of earning their degree. Students at Wisconsin School of Business can expect a 7.4-to-1 salary and bonus-to-debt ratio. That translates into an average salary and bonus of $114,815 and $15,481, on average, in debt. Of the other ranked business schools with grads earning more than $100,000 in salary and bonuses, these schools had the highest salary and bonus-to-debt ratio for the Class of 2015: the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University at...

30 Tips For Your MBA Admissions Success

Fortune may favor the brave, but when applying to business school it is careful planning and meaningful self-reflection that win the day. With round-one deadlines for the world’s top MBA programs less than six months away, this is the time to put together a plan for admissions success. You’ve got a lot of ground to cover: • Introspection about your personal and professional goals • Research to identify the schools that match your objectives • Study for the GMAT or GRE, and any courses that boost your academic record • Outstanding professional performance to strengthen letters of recommendation • Purposeful community engagement and genuine leadership opportunities • Outreach to b-school students and alumni combined with campus visits That’s quite a to-do list, but MBA admissions success doesn’t just happen — you create it. And that means accepting all the challenges that are involved, and not just pursuing the ones you like. You don’t have to go to business to make a success of your life, but this is your chance to shape your own path, and not rely on somebody else’s. To more accurately quote business philosopher Jim Rohn, “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” So where do you get started? Pursuing the theme of insightful quotes, I asked my colleagues at Fortuna Admissions for their advice, based on years of insider experience working in the admissions offices of the world’s top business schools. Here are their 30 tips for MBA admissions success. Self-Awareness And Defining Your Personal And Professional Goals 1. “Be your authentic self in your application. The most engaging candidates strip away the pretence, and don’t try to fit into a mould.”...