MBA Experience

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This section provides information about MBA life, with a strong emphasis on issues for International MBA students in the US.

Mobile apps that can smooth MBA path

Business school students need to maximise their study time, be able to contact classmates easily and keep abreast of extracurricular events. So which smartphone apps are the most useful when it comes to streamlining timetables and workload? The Financial Times’ MBA bloggers offer their top choices. Jess Webb, at the University of Edinburgh Business School, says WhatsApp has been essential from day one. Its group conversation function means there is an all-class group and mini groups for assignments, treks and clubs. “And someone is always online to help with questions,” she says. The app’s ability to work with international numbers and various languages really helps “when you have 23 nationalities in your cohort”, she says. Her school offers easy access to course material through a mobile learning app called Blackboard, while ParticiPoll allows real-time online polling in class discussions. Marta Szczerba favours GroupMe, a messaging app that works across smartphones, tablets and a desktop computer. The Harvard Business School student also relies on Venmo to make instant payments. She adds that HBS has two apps that were invaluable when trying to get an administrative grip on campus life. An app called Thrive provides everything from canteen opening times to fitness sessions, while Learning Hub lists details for all courses and classes. Some apps can help in your preparations for an MBA. Apricot Wilson will start China Europe International Business School in Shanghai next year and is using Skritter to get up to speed with the language’s characters. “It lets you practice writing them on screen and then compares the character you have drawn with a flashcard,” she says.Read full story: Financial...

Am I Networking With The Wrong People?

I went to speak at B-school networking event. At this event, local business owners and executives mingled with MBA candidates. A young woman introduced herself to me. She was the student organizer for the event. “Great job putting this event together!” I said. “I had the idea to make the huge name badges that you see on everyone’s chests,” she said. My name badge was about six by eight inches in size. Everybody else’s name badge was enormous, too. “I was wondering about that,” I said. “Did you make the badges and the lettering huge so that people with impaired vision can read them easily?” “No,” she said. “I made them huge so that students can spot the business people across the room and see which ones are worth meeting. We are busy and we don’t have time to waste networking with the wrong people.” I think my heart stopped for a second. “How would the MBA candidates know which people are worth meeting, when all they can see from a distance is each person’s name badge?” I asked. “No one wants to meet some independent consultant who works for himself,” said Sarah, the sweet young event chair. “We want to meet the CEOs and CFOs of big companies — the powerful people, the impressive people!” “Aha,” I said. “Do you agree that that is the most effective networking strategy?” she asked me. “I don’t,” I said. “Power is a funny thing. What is power, to an MBA candidate who will graduate soon? Power is the ability to get a great job that deserves you. The local entrepreneur who works for himself or herself goes in and out of those large companies every day. “If you want a job...

How to get the most out of an MBA

For Katia Beauchamp, attending business school wasn’t just a “pivotal moment,” it was also where the Birchbox CEO found her co-founder. The pair met while attending the same Harvard Business School class and later launched beauty start-up Birchbox, which has raised $71.9 million in funding to date. Beauchamp describes her time at business school as “monumental.” Her best advice for current and upcoming students? “To really be there,” she said. “It’s a real opportunity to really question what you really want your life to be,” she said. While getting an MBA comes with a steep price tag (lost wages, tuition and housing costs to name a few), the degree can help students transition careers and move up the corporate ladder. So how should students maximize the investment? Come with an open mind It’s crucial for students to stay in their “stretch zone” rather than their comfort zone, said Maura Herson, MIT Sloan School of Management’s MBA program director. This can be a tough mental transition to make, especially for students who are used to being superstars at work and then arrive on campus surrounded by equally driven people. “If you come into it thinking you’re an expert, you’re not going to maximize your learning,” she said. Introduce yourself (on repeat…) “Equally if not more important than the knowledge you’re acquiring” is the network you’re building, Herson said. She cited the example of a student who had tea with someone new each day to get to know more people at Sloan. At the end of the day, what’s the marginal utility of one more problem set versus getting to know a couple more classmates, she added. Fight the FOMO “Everyone seems to be doing something cool or interesting so how...

Admitted MBA’s Guide To Quitting Your Job...

Future B-schoolers: you’re a leader-in-training now; make sure to act like it. As the day you received your MBA acceptance letter recedes into memory, the actual work and logistics of preparing for school will replace the joy and relief of realizing you got into one (or more) of your target schools. Getting a graduate business degree entails a great deal of personal and professional change, some of it before you even arrive on campus. Most likely, you will be moving to a new place and leaving behind much of your pre-MBA life – including your employer. There are some relevant considerations for admitted MBAs wondering when to quit their job, along with several broader issues of timeline and prep work for business school. As for what to say to your boss, when to provide your notice, and how to behave at work as you prepare to leave, these are personal decisions that are highly dependent upon your particular circumstances (in general, though, the answers are: be nice to your boss, give two to four weeks notice, and behave like an adult). Breaking up is hard to do Like ending a relationship with your significant other, quitting your job can be awkward, intense, and in some cases even acrimonious. Unlike ending a relationship with your significant other, quitting your job doesn’t have to be unpleasant or involve any hurt feelings, though. Our friends at the Forte Foundation have a great post that covers some of the basic best practices for breaking the news to your manager, and there are plenty of good reasons to handle the process of leaving your job as delicately as possible. One of the biggest reasons is purely pragmatic: your recruiting prospects in business school and...

A cheap way of hiring MBA graduates

MBA students are adept at putting a value on long-term cash flows. New research suggests this mentality is also present in their evaluation of job offers — particularly if an alumnus of their business school is doing the recruiting. Professors from NYU Stern and MIT Sloan found that students securing a job through a member of their institution’s alumni network received a starting package worth 16 per cent less than those recruited through more traditional — and more impersonal — campus hiring events. They took that lower offer after being comforted by the fact it originated from a former student on the same top programme, argues NYU Stern’s Jason Greenberg, co-author of the research — to be published in Sociological Science — with MIT Sloan’s Roberto Fernandez. “The jobs coming through the alumni channel are perceived as having significantly better growth potential,” he says, linking this preoccupation with long-term cash flow to the net present value calculations that are a staple of MBA courses. “They are willing to take less today for a job that has better prospects in the long run.” As well as giving a clearer view of what the job entails, an approach from an alumnus can offer a reassuring vision of what the young graduate’s career might look like in a few years’ time. “You get a window into your potential future.” How can recruiters exploit this bond of trust? Prof Greenberg suggests that smaller employers who cannot afford the hoopla of on-campus hiring could use their MBA graduates to target young prospects in their old classrooms. But the strategy may not yield long-term savings: even net present value addicts will at some point demand to be paid the prevailing market rate. Read full story:...

4 Stats to Measure Before Signing Up for an MBA...

As a young professional working at the International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank, Bruno de Faria had a solid career but worried his business acumen was weak. “I was a political science major in college. I had a little bit of an international relations background, but my work was becoming more and more related to business – finance, accounting, marketing,” the 36-year-old says.​ “I wanted to develop, personally, those skills.” He decided an MBA would give him the knowledge he lacked, but a business school degree often comes at a cost. Many schools charge students $50,000 or more in tuition and fees per year, and full-time MBA programs usually require a two-year commitment. Business school experts recommend applicants weigh their return on investment before enrolling and how long it will take to recoup the money lost​. The investment includes the time in school, the salary a full-time student gives up while in school​ and the total cost of attendance.​ For de Faria, measuring his income before and after graduation was important. “I looked at my salary going away, our incremental expenses and then what would be the expected salary that I’d get after graduation. So, that would be the return,” says de Faria, whose wife worked while he was an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. “Then I looked at in how many years, more or less, what would be my payback period?” Graduates from two-year, full-time MBA programs usually recoup their investment in three and a half years, according to a February report from the Graduate Management Admission Council. Their median cumulative base salary three years after graduation is $348,000. Prospective business school students should consider four factors in determining...

7 Money-saving Tips for MBA Students and New Grads...

In business school, you learn how a disciplined, strategic approach to finances helps organizations ultimately achieve great things. Along the way, it becomes important for you to apply that lesson to yourself. The years in business school and then working as a new MBA are, for many, a budget-conscious time. Between leaving your job to complete the degree and perhaps incurring student-loan debt to ease the financial burden, you may need to pinch some pennies before you reach your full earning potential as an MBA. Here are seven ways that soon-to-be and recently graduated MBAs can save money: 1. Make a budget with specific goals. For many people, making a budget is a chore, but not you — as an MBA, this is your bread and butter! Think of it as you would an assignment in business school: What does Company X (i.e., you) need to do in order to meet shareholder expectations (i.e., have enough money to pay all your bills while still enjoying life and generating some savings)? The more specific you can get about your spending allowances and savings goals the better. If you have trouble tracking your expenses and sticking to a budget, try using a free money-management app such as Mint. If you end up with money left over in your budget, consider investing in the future. There are many new companies that help automate this process and optimize your investments, such as Betterment. 2. Cut back on inessentials. In business school and then as a new MBA, you’re exposed to a lot of wealth. It can be tempting to want to join the party. But now is the time to buckle down and wait for the years when you have more disposable income....

13 Tips From MBA Students On How To Succeed In A Top-Tier Program...

MBA students spend months if not years working to get into an MBA program. However, once they are in a program, the everyday demands take over and students have little time to think about how to get the most out of their program. To better understand how to hit the ground running and to make sure you maximize success in your MBA program, we turned to recent and current students of top-tier MBA programs for advice. Tip #1: Focus on Career Experimentation Alex Haddock, Darden School of Business (University of Virginia), Interned at Goldman Sachs Alex Haddock, a rising Second Year at Darden, suggests that you go beyond the career exploration offered through recruiting. During the recruiting process, you will have access to top companies that will try to give you a sense of what it’s like to work in different fields and functions. However, business school offers many other opportunities to learn about new roles and industries – and the chance to actually use and experiment with the skills required in a variety of roles. Classes, clubs and extracurricular experiences will let you engage in real consulting, marketing and entrepreneurial engagements, just to name a few. During his first year, Alex was able to help a local company organize its accounting records, work with a public school to streamline its planning processes, and compete in a start-up pitch competition. If you take advantage of the resources at your school, you can leave after two years already having lived the roles of marketer, banker, consultant and more. Then you can make the best decision about your career path and your future. Tip #2: Make the Most of the MBA “Card” David Newsome, Sloan School of Management (Massachusetts Institute of...

The Top Business Schools for Networking

Online graduate school guide graduateprograms.com has published its list of the top 25 business schools for networking. Over 13,000 business school students and alumni were surveyed and asked to rank their schools’ network quality on a scale of one to 10. Networking is amongst the foremost components of professional life. For MBAs, a business school is a networking nirvana; a melting pot of aspiring business leaders, experts and entrepreneurs providing an endless pool of potential partners, colleagues, employers and employees. Stanford GSB took first position with a network quality of 9.90. Columbia and Harvard made up the top three. INSEAD came close behind in fourth position with 9.75; its Fontainebleau campus the chief networking hub in Europe. With the rankings dominated by US schools, INSEAD along with London Business School in ninth fly the flag for Europe. Making up the rest of the top ten are Texas A&M University and Chicago’s Booth School in joint fifth; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in seventh; the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in eighth; and Cornell University: Johnson in tenth. Exposure to a strong network of business professionals is crucial for an MBA’s future career development. MBA applicants choosing and comparing business schools will always have networking opportunities at the forefront of their minds. The top business schools for networking boast an impressive array of high-level alumni. Stanford’s influential MBA alumni include the CEO of eBay, John Donahoe, and the chief executive of General Motors, Mary Barra. Harvard yields an impressive amount of top CEOs including the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, and the CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt. INSEAD is also a breeding ground for successful professionals, including the CEO of Lloyds Banking Group, Antonio Horta-Osorio,...

The MBA alternative report from the class of 2011...

Studying for an MBA is all about getting a better job, but there is nothing wrong with having a good time along the way. In the second FT alternative MBA survey, we asked alumni from the MBA class of 2011 to tell us how they rated categories such as food, accommodation and the social life of their business schools. More than 1,860 respondents worldwide took part. Social life and local amenities The good news is that nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of alumni were impressed by the social life they enjoyed during their studies. US schools, such as NYU Stern School of Business and Wisconsin School of Business, were the front runners in this category. Insead, in France and Singapore, lived up to its reputation as the party school. As one graduate from the school put it: “You can never expect a more interesting party outside of Insead.” When it came to the best on-campus clubs, there were big hits on both sides of the pond. The poll shows that Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business in the US and the University of Strathclyde Business School in the UK won top marks in this category. For those who appreciate a more cultured social life, some 60 per cent of respondents highly commended nearby art galleries, museums, bookshops and concerts. Top of the pile here is Imperial College Business Schooll and others in the major cities of London and New York. For MBA students who like to travel, University of Hong Kong and George Washington University in the US are among several schools to be ideal for overseas trips. Food and accommodation For those looking for a square meal after an evening of clubbing or the all-night study of an...

Business schools with the most billionaire alumni...

Harvard Business School’s MBA program has produced more billionaires than any other business school,according to a recent report from Wealth-X. With 64 billionaire MBA alumni, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based school has nearly three times as many as runner up Stanford University. Seven of the top 10 business schools with the most billionaire alumni are based in the U.S.. Three of them are Ivy League colleges. View the top 10 above, along with the number of billionaire MBA alumni and notable billionaire alumni. Wealth-X highlighted Philip Knight, who founded Nike Inc. after earning his MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1962. While the recent Wealth-X study focused on MBA programs, several of those colleges also appear on the list of schools with the most billionaire undergraduate alumni, released by Wealth-X in October. University of Pennsylvania took the top spot on that list, with 25 billionaire undergraduate alumni, followed by Harvard University. There are 2,325 billionaires in the world, with a combined net worth of $7.3 trillion, according to the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014. Europe is home to more billionaires than any other continent, while the United States has more billionaires than any other country. New York City has the largest population of billionaires of any city. 10. London Business School (London) Number of billionaire alumni: 4 | Notable billionaire alumnus: Kumar Mangalam Birla 9. University of Southern California (Los Angeles) Number of billionaire alumni: 5 | Notable billionaire alumnus: Ivan Glasenberg 8. International Institute for Management Development (Lausanne, Switzerland) Number of billionaire alumni: 5 | Notable billionaire alumnus: Susanne Hanna Ursula Klatten 7. New York University (New York) Number of billionaire alumni: 7 | Notable billionaire alumnus: Forrest Edward Mars, 6. INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France; Singapore campus is...

10 Best MBA Programs for Minting Billionaires

Where should you go to get your MBA if you want to be a billionaire? Likely one of these schools, the top 10 when it comes to number of billionaire alumni. With 64, Harvard University is No. 1 when it comes claiming the most graduates who are now billionaires, according to a ranking by Wealth-X, a high-net-worth intelligence firm. Harvard produced nearly three times more billionaires with MBA degrees than Stanford University, the runner up and more than four times as many as Columbia University, the No. 3 ranked school. Of the 2,325 billionaires in the world, two-thirds have received a tertiary education, with approximately 21% of those getting their MBA degrees. Half of those have obtained their MBA from one of the 10 institutions named on the Wealth-X list. Top universities in the U.S. aren’t the only schools producing billionaires. Three international institutions made the Wealth-X list – France’s INSEAD, Switzerland’s International Institute for Management Development and the London Business School. Curious about the MBA programs that produced the most billionaires? Click through to see which schools can make you filthy rich. 10. London Business School Number of Billionaire MBA Alumni: 4 Notable Billionaire Alumnus: Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla Group, one of the largest conglomerates in India. Net Worth: $9.2 billion. 9. International Institute for Management Development (tied with No. 8, University of Southern California) Number of Billionaire MBA Alumni: 5 Notable Billionaire Alumnus: Susanne Hanna Ursula Klatten, daughter of German industrialist Herbert Quandt. Net Worth: $15.3 billion. 8. University of Southern California (tied) Number of Billionaire MBA Alumni: 5 Notable Billionaire Alumnus: Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore Xstrata, the Swiss commodity trading and mining company. Net Worth: $5.9 billion. 7. New York University Number...