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.

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.”...

11 MBA Programs With the Highest GMAT Scores

Preparing for the GMAT can be a tiring process, but scoring high is critical to gaining admittance to a top-ranked MBA program. At the 11 schools with the highest GMAT scores, incoming full-time students in fall 2015 had an average score of 715 or higher on the admissions exam, which has a maximum score of 800. Stanford University had the highest average GMAT score – 733 – among the 129 business schools that submitted this data. While the average GMAT score at Stanford rose by one point from its 2014 class, the school dropped a spot in the U.S. News Best Business Schools rankings, tying for No. 2. Harvard University, which took over the No. 1 spot in the rankings this year, had an average GMAT score of 725 – one point lower than its fall 2014 average. Harvard Business School also had more full-time students enroll in fall 2015 than any other school that submitted this data, boasting a class of 937. Among all the MBA programs that provided data on GMAT scores, the average was 630, much lower than the 722 average among the top 11. Below are the 11 business schools with the highest average GMAT scores for incoming full-time students in fall 2015. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report. Business school (name) (state) Incoming full-time enrollment (fall 2015) Average GMAT score U.S. News b-school rank Stanford University (CA) 733 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 732 University of Chicago (Booth) 726 Harvard University (MA) 725 Northwestern University (Kellogg) (IL) 724 Yale University (CT) 721 New York University (Stern) 720 Dartmouth College (Tuck) (NH) 717 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) 716 Columbia...

3 interview questions every applicant to Columbia b-school must nail...

If you have your sights set on Columbia, it pays to be ready for the kinds of questions they’ll ask during the interview process. Columbia is unique among top business schools in that they don’t require an applicant to undergo an interview as a requirement for admission. However, being granted an interview can be a good sign in Columbia’s notoriously competitive process. Typically, between 5,500 and 7,000 applications to the business school are received each year. In 2010, for example, only 15% were accepted. So answering questions in the right way is key. Here are three sample interview questions from Columbia business school interviews — and tips on how to navigate each. 1. What kind of leader are you? Although this is an open-ended question, it’s best to respond with a concrete example. Giving a list of adjectives, such as “goal-oriented,” “collaborative” or “future-focused,” won’t set you apart from the crowd as much as a brief yet specific story that illustrates the kind of leader you are. Columbia is looking for high-impact leaders who seek out to achieve results — and who get them. However, the way you pursue those results is also important. The school wants students who can work well together on teams and who can leverage the best of what each person brings to the table; after all, these are skills that will serve well not only in the learning community but also in the business world beyond. Make sure to include results in your response. Since Columbia wants high-impact leaders, show how your efforts made a positive impact on a situation or group of people. A good response might include something like, “I am proud to report that we were able to raise $75,000 in...

50 Reasons Why You Should Get An MBA

To MBA or not to MBA? There’s no question! The Masters in Business Administration has been catapulting careers to unprecedented heights since Harvard Business School launched the first ever MBA program in 1908. Today, the MBA is the world’s most sought-after business management degree; the pièce de résistance for many an international b-school. Michael Bloomberg has one, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has one, Donald Trump sometimes says he has one. Heck, even Shaquille O’Neal has one. Basically, MBAs are cool. BusinessBecause (also cool) is in the business of supporting people on their MBA journey all the way from the very beginning. With this in mind, we spoke to MBA students, grads, professors, admissions staff, bloggers and entrepreneurs — and asked them all the same simple question: Why should I get an MBA? Here’s what they said: Browse by category: Click any of the links below to jump to each category Fast-Track Your Career Go Global Entrepreneurship Hard Skills, Soft Skills Networking, Parties and Social Life Me, Myself and I Fast-Track Your Career 1. Go From MBA To CEO Who runs the world? MBAs. MBAs grads hold the reigns of some of the world’s biggest firms: Apple, Google, JPMorgan and Coca-Cola included. 2. Double Your Earnings Get rich quick with a return on your investment in under four years. 3. Change Industry Want to switch from finance to fashion? An MBA is the perfect opportunity to start afresh. 4. Get Access To Top Employers Julia Sanchez, head of global alumni relations at Spain’s IE Business School, says an MBA will “open your eyes to infinite possibilities”. 5. Scholarships MBAs can be costly. Prodigy Finance lets you fund your degree with community-funded student loans. 6. Go From MBA To US President...

Prepare for Short Answer MBA Application Essay Questions...

Ten years ago, lengthy MBA essays were a staple of business school applications. Flash forward to today, and admissions departments worldwide have reduced the word count and number of essays candidates must tackle. Whether the influence is social media, with its condensed communication style, or simply that the admissions committee has grown weary of reading thousand-word essays from thousands of applicants, it seems short and sweet is here to stay. Many applicants struggle with short-answer essay questions because they feel like they cannot adequately convey everything they want the admissions committee to know in so few words. The challenge of these brief prompts is to give the admissions committee what they ask for while still providing a compelling snapshot of yourself. I always advise applicants to do two things as they work on their MBA essays: make sure to answer the question asked and spend a lot of time brainstorming up front. You would be amazed at how many applicants start to answer an essay prompt and veer off-subject entirely. With such a limited word count, even answering a “why” question with a “how” response will be a turnoff to the admissions officer reviewing your application. The brainstorming phase is the same whether you have a word count of 750 or 200. First, find a theme, or a couple of main points, you want to convey. Consider the essay set for each MBA application as a whole, and make sure your answers do not overlap but rather build upon each other. Then whittle away anything non-essential, and always avoid the passive voice as it eats up valuable space in your allotted word count. Whenever possible, share details that show a glimpse of your personal interests or something amazing that...

Warren Buffett on the Importance of an MBA

In 2001, Warren Buffett was interviewed by the University of Nebraska Business Magazine with regards to his views on the importance of earning an MBA nowadays. His comments provide a wide view on knowledge, learning and, in his view, the correct attitude that we should have toward learning. “If you are interested in business, or likely to be in business, an MBA is very useful. But, what is really important is what you bring to a class in terms of being interested in the subject. If you view a course like accounting as a drudge and a requirement, you are missing the whole game. Any course can be exciting. Mastering accounting is like mastering a new language, it can be so much fun. The attitude should be one of discovery, that you are coming there and discovering. Accounting is the Rosetta Stone of business. Economics is fascinating, the first page of economics describes how mankind deals with insatiable wants and creates the systems to fulfill these wants. It’s great stuff. Really how the world works. Business is a subsection, a fairly understandable subsection, not like black holes, which are fairly hard to visualize, but business is everyday stuff and you are learning how the world works. You are 18-19 years old and learning about the world, understanding how this great world works. The GDP per capita in the 20th century increased 6 to 1. Think of that, six times. Why does that work here in the U.S., why doesn’t it work other places? The U.S. is a small part of the universe, but a very important part and understanding that and seeing everything else against that backdrop for the rest of your life is fabulous.” My favorite points from...

Is Business School Worth the Money?

Over time, MBAs earn $1 million more than non-MBAs, says a new study. If you’re on the fence about whether to spend the time and money to pursue a graduate business degree, a new report from the Graduate Management Admission Council could help you decide—including what kind of program might give you the biggest returns. Based on a survey of 14,279 alumni of 275 MBA programs worldwide, the study says these MBAs reported base salaries that totaled $1 million more over the two decades following graduation than if they had not gone to B-school. GMAC’s calculations show that, even taking into account the opportunity cost of two years of lost pay, people who graduate from two-year, full-time MBA programs recoup their investment, on average, in three-and-a-half years. Can’t take two years away from your job (and spend an average of $105,000 in tuition, in addition to lost pay)? That’s not necessarily a problem since, the report says,“graduates with lower investment costs tend to recoup their expenses more quickly and show a larger ROI.” For instance, MBAs who got their degree part-time, at an average tuition cost of $25,000, took just two-and-a-half years to earn back their investment, as did executive MBA grads who paid roughly the same tuition. After five years, the two groups reported total ROIs (including pay increases minus the cost of their degrees) of 221% and 491%, respectively. By contrast, because their MBAs cost so much more, the full-time two-year students’ five-year ROI was 132%—still not too shabby—and climbed to 445% only after an average of 10 years. In all, 89% of the alums said their MBAs have proved “professionally rewarding,” and 9 out of 10 said they’d go to B-school if they had it to...

How an MBA Admissions Committee Decides

It’s not just GMAT scores any more. On a chilly winter day in Boston, the group is huddled in a windowless, nondescript room. Piled high on a side table is enough junk food—potato chips, popcorn and Oreo cookies—to put an extra five pounds on every person in the room. It’s evidence of the likelihood that the locked-door session will test everyone’s endurance. The seven people around the rectangular table in room 112G are enacting a scene that is playing out at business schools all over the world, as admission committees decide the fate of tens of thousands of applicants to their MBA programs. In this case, the group is the MBA admissions team at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. Led by Assistant Dean of Graduate Admissions Meredith Siegel, the seven members of the committee will present dozens of candidates today, mull over the pros and cons of each application, and ultimately decide whether to admit, reject, or waitlist an applicant. A Record $50 Million Gift For BU, this is an uplifting time. Less than a year ago, the school received a $50 million naming gift from alumnus and long-time retailing giant Allen Questrom and his wife, Kelli. The gift, the largest ever received by the university, is going toward the endowment of 10 faculty chairs and will result in a new graduate program facility. Ken Freeman, a former corporate executive who is now in his sixth year as dean, not only reeled in the unprecedented gift. He has also put new life into a school that for years competed neck-and-neck with Boston College behind the two giants of business education in town, Harvard and MIT. “We have basically turned everything over,” he says. “There is no aspect of...

4 Questions to Ask at MBA Admissions Events

When it comes to applying to business school, connecting with a school’s admissions team can be a key part of the process. For prospective students, this connection often happens at admissions events. School representatives travel to Chicago, Denver and dozens of other cities to attend business school fairs where they can meet applicants. Aspiring MBAs can learn about curriculum offerings, class sizes and experiential learning, often without having to visit the school. For those who are able to travel, admissions staffers also host on-campus open houses throughout the year. While applicants can learn about a school online or through a brochure, there’s an advantage to attending one of these meetups. “The dialogue that occurs is often much richer if you are present with somebody in person,” says Kelly R. Wilson, executive director of masters admissions at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. “I can get a better sense for who a candidate is in person, I believe, than I can over the phone or via email.” Prospective students can also use these occasions to learn key tips about how to boost their applications. Applicants often have five-minute, one-on-one chats with a member of a program’s admissions team during school fairs and can use the time to learn how to improve their personal statements or other application components. Below, admissions experts outline four questions applicants should ask to make sure they’re selling themselves to schools in the best way. 1. What’s an appropriate length for a resume? Many MBA programs prefer applicants work for a few years before applying and like to see resumes with a certain look. “I would say no more than two pages for their resume,” says Stephan Kolodiy, a senior admissions officer for the business...

MBA by numbers: inside the $200.000 cost

When it comes to value for money, European MBA programmes outperform their North American counterparts. Nine out of 10 of the best value-for-money programmes in the Financial Times Global MBA ranking 2016 are in Europe, while 44 of the North American programmes are in the bottom 50. But what are the cost considerations that underpin such comparisons? A full-time MBA programme can be a mighty investment. Not only do most come with a hefty price tag but, unlike part-time or online MBAs, also bring an added penalty in lost salary, or opportunity cost. A full-time programme at a top 100 school costs on average just under $200,000, according to a survey of MBA students graduating in 2012, conducted as part of the FT’s 2016 rankings. This includes tuition, accommodation and day-to-day costs totalling $112,000, and an opportunity cost of $106,000. As for tuition, the 101 schools ranked by the FT in 2016 have average fees ranging from less than $30,000 for Birmingham Business School to around $135,000 for the top four US programmes: Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Columbia Business School. Data from the class of 2012 show that students paid tuition fees of $78,000 on average. Part of Europe’s value-for-money appeal boils down to course length. Full-time MBA programmes last about 18 months, but in Europe they are typically a year, or 10 months at Insead. Some North American programmes have one-year and two-year tracks, but most students opt for the longer version, which lasts on average 21 months… Read full story: Financial...

Can An MBA Change Lives? This Stanford AND Harvard Grad Thinks So...

Investing in a business education is a major undertaking, and applicants focus a lot of attention on the immediate return that a place in a top business school will achieve. Whether in the data provided by schools on the latest graduating class, or in media rankings such as Forbes and the FT, emphasis is on the financial return on investment – post-MBA salary, securing a position at McKinsey, Google or Goldman, etc. But an MBA can provide a lifelong return that goes far beyond the initial career success you might enjoy. You have a business skill set that helps you perform to the highest level, a network of talented high-achievers to support your future ambitions, and friendships that can last a lifetime. Studying at Harvard Business School or Stanford GSB is the dream of many young professionals, but there are a small handful of individuals that study at Harvard and Stanford. That is the case for Heriberto Diarte, who graduated with a Stanford MBA in 1998, and then completed the Harvard Kennedy Masters in Public Administration (MPA) a year later. He sat in on a number of classes at HBS during his time in Boston, providing him with the rare opportunity to compare the students, teaching styles and personalities of the schools. In this interview, Heriberto talks about how his Stanford and Harvard experiences have accompanied his international career path, and continue to provide a return on his investment fifteen years later, as his latest venture hereO brings a GPS Watch tracking device for young children to market. Matt Symonds: Did your business education prove to be a good investment? Heriberto Diarte: The irony is that I did not maximize my post-MBA compensation nor position. I graduated from Stanford...