Articles from Forbes

The Top 4 Mistakes MBA Students Make During The Internship (And How To Prevent Them)...

For many MBA students, the path to the internship took a lot of hard work. First, you have to get excellent grades in undergrad. Then, you need to work for a few years (and be successful) at a branded, impressive company known for selective hiring. Next, you line up the grades, the essays, the GMAT, and the references to land a coveted spot in a top MBA program. And finally, you get an internship offer at a top company—often a company that only recruits from five to 10 top MBA programs. Students from around the world would work for free for such an opportunity. You can see the light at the tunnel. What matters now is succeeding during the internship. Can you successfully adapt to a top company’s expectations? And to a new culture? You only have three months—what will it take to demonstrate competence and fit? I was recently talking to Elizabeth Diley, the recruiting manager for MBA hiring at General Mill’s, one of the world’s best companies at developing leaders (No. 3 on Fortune’s list). After almost eight years in recruiting, Elizabeth has since moved to an internal staffing role within General Mills developing marketing talent through their rotational and leadership programs. I asked her how students can succeed during the internship. Because of Diley’s connection to the recruiting industry, she had several illuminating stories to share. Below is her insight on the mistakes MBA students make—and how to prevent them. Top Mistakes MBA Students Make and How to Prevent Them 1. Believing That The Company Must Adapt To Them: One of the most common mistakes MBA students make, across industries, is to focus on what they want, or what they need. However, the business community is...

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 MBA Grads Can Overcome 3 Startup Hiring Objections...

Job prospects look about as sunny as possible for 2016’s MBA grads. In fact, 85 percent of employers plan on hiring as many or more MBAs this year than last, according to The Economist. I’m sure stats like this come as welcome relief to the thousands of people who have taken on over $70,000 in debt to earn their advanced business degrees. Still, if you’re an MBA grad looking to join a startup, don’t let a positive jobs forecast lull you into a false sense of security. While you might have a degree from a top program and may even know about a particular industry inside and out, you can still be an expensive hire who might not have what it takes to make a meaningful contribution in the eyes of a founder. When founders tell me that MBA candidates aren’t “the right fit,” their objections generally often fall into a few different categories: experience, attitude, and salary. If you’re serious about getting your foot in the door at a startup, here are some tips on how to overcome these three common areas of founder skepticism. You lack the right experience It’s quite possible that you have built up a very impressive resume from working at larger companies. However, a startup might dismiss your big-name business experience because it isn’t an apples to apples comparison. A founder’s line of thinking could go something like this: “How do I know you’ll succeed when you have to complete a project with significantly fewer resources and in a shorter timeframe?” The burden is on you to convince startups that you thrive in small team environments when the deadlines are tight, and the stakes are high for a project’s success or failure. If...

Navigating Your Career Journey After The MBA

Having taught and talked with many MBA students, I am struck by an observation. Some students see their first job as the destination, rather than the beginning of a very long journey with the destination (the final point on their career trek) to occur decades in the future. This makes some sense. Many planned after college to work for a few years, apply for graduate school, attend graduate school, obtain an internship, and then get a job. What seems to a 19-year-old a very long and arduous process (taking more than 10 years) culminates with the attainment of a job that often can increase their income two- or three-fold. However, the first job places them at the bottom of another mountain. It is not the pinnacle. To understand how to think about a career journey, I talked with Debra Bass, the President of Johnson and Johnson’s Global Baby Franchise Organization, who has crafted an interesting journey from Procter and Gamble to JNJ, after obtaining her MBA from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Management. Below, Debra shares her thoughts on how to think about a career. 1. Your career is a lattice … and not a ladder. In reality, there is never just one path to achieve your career aspirations. Putting pressure on yourself to pick the “right” path is unnecessary. 2. But start with a destination. It’s important to think of your career as a journey with a North Star destination point—one that can guide you toward a vision of your future but enable you to take multiple different paths to get there. While your North Star doesn’t need to be hard and fast at age 28, it should provide a direction for you to move toward....

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.”...

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...

Ten Reasons You Don’t Need An MBA

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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:...

The Five Worst Reasons To Get An MBA

I could use your advice. I am 27. I got a BA in Marketing because my parents pushed me hard in the direction of business and I didn’t really know what to major in. I didn’t love my program but my college isn’t known for its undergraduate business courses. However, they have an excellent MBA program. I got my degree five years ago and I’ve had one decent job and two pretty awful ones since then. My first job came from a referral from my Stats professor who also consults with a biotech firm. They hired me in as a Business Analyst and I loved that job, but they moved the position to their headquarters in New York. I could have taken a job in Client Support at the same firm but I didn’t see any reason to take a step back. My manager got me an interview at a temp firm that our company worked with. I took the job at the temp firm and it was horrible. I lasted seven and a half months at that job. One of my clients at the temp firm hired me into the job I have now, which is better than the temp firm but not that great. In my current job I manage a client database which is just as boring as it sounds. My manager is okay but the office atmosphere is oppressive. No one likes it here and it’s hard to get through the day. I’m thinking about going back to my alma mater for an MBA which would qualify me for higher-level jobs. I got good grades in high school and my undergrad program and I’ve been active with my alumni association so I’m pretty sure they...

How To Ace The Job Interview: Advice For MBA Students...

This post was cowritten with Ellen Regan, a first year MBA student at the Darden School of Business, actively recruiting for internships in marketing. To help Marketing/GM students prepare for the recruiting gauntlet, we sat in on a couple of interviewing workshop sessions led by Johnson & Johnson and E.&J. Gallo at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia. To see tips on how to ace the interview from Johnson & Johnson, click here. Below are tips from Lee Susen, Marketing Director, from E.&J. Gallo (the world’s largest wine company and one of the top 100 companies for flexible green jobs). Tips from E.&J. Gallo: 1. Understand what the interviewer is looking for – Typically an interviewer is trying to get a sense of four things when speaking with a candidate: interest, fit, leadership, and skill. Make sure you can answer the following questions: Can you articulate why you are interested in the industry/company/role? Can you demonstrate that you understand the core values of the company? Have you been a leader in the past and are you well positioned to lead people in the future? Do you have direct or transferable marketing skills that can add immediate value? 2. Know what a technical marketing interview question is – Technical marketing questions test your ability to demonstrate skill in marketing and passion for brand-building. They are typically shorter than marketing case questions (one sentence) and provide less parameters to candidates answering the question. Examples include: How would you improve the positioning of [brand]? Why is [brand] performing poorly and what would you do to fix it? How would you increase the penetration of [brand]? How would you extend [brand] into another category? Because these questions don’t provide a lot...

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...

How To Fix The MBA Recruiting Process

This answer by Laura Parker, an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business, originally appeared on Quora as an answer to the question: What are some common mistakes people make when job hunting? 1. Not having enough leads going at the same time I went to the career office to get assistance when I was looking for a job and the advisor suggested I actively follow up on 40 leads/positions. I was so shocked — that seemed like a lot. Granted it was during the abysmal 2009 economy, but you need to have a lot of irons in the fire. 2. Not doing enough research on the company Read recent articles and press releases, know about recent product launches, or shifts in top leadership, understand what major moves their competitors have made, and know if they have done any recent acquisitions. And think about how those things could affect the department and role that you are interviewing for. 3. Not doing a Google/LinkedIn search on the people you are interviewing with It shows true interest and is probably expected. It may give you something in common to talk about — maybe you both worked at the same company before, or have colleagues in common. It can help you make a strong connection. 4. Not reaching out to your network — and following up It is the most important thing that you get a job, but it might not be the most important thing to your well-intentioned friend. Make sure you follow up if they said they’d help you or connect you with someone, because it could easily slip their mind. 5. Not following up promptly with a thank you I have interviewed many people in my life and I...