Discovering a B-school's Personality

It may sound strange to think of a school having a personality, but the culture found within the walls of the most popular business schools can vary just as widely as the personalities of people. 

Finding the right fit between a school’s culture and your own personality can be tricky and is not something you can ignore if you want to be happy and maximize your potential in an MBA program.

Of course “knowing thyself” is the first step in finding a good match with any institutional program. 

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  Do you thrive in a competitive environment or do you prefer to operate with an “everyone wins” approach?   Do you have a learning style that is energized in the classroom from lectures and discussions, or do you come alive through hands-on, experiential learning?  These considerations can help you tune into the programs which will align with the way you are wired, but they don’t even begin to address all the things you should consider.  Simple phase of life situations can also affect how well you will dovetail with an MBA program.  For example, some programs have mostly single students, while others have a large population of married students, even many with children.  Often, schools with more single students do more social events where you end up hanging out with your classmates after classes or on weekends.  Does that sound appealing or like your worst nightmare?  Even the average number of years of work experience at an MBA program can radically affect that school’s culture, since age is often correlated to maturity and level of seriousness.

Once you do a thorough self-assessment and have a strong feeling for your personal preferences, you can begin to assessment of the schools themselves. 

Some schools have a similar culture, and are sometimes associated with each other, such as HBS and Darden, or Fuqua and Kellogg, but don’t think that such reputations mean these schools are exactly the same.  Subtle differences can sometimes make a big difference. As an example, Chicago Booth is often compared to Wharton, but did you know that at Wharton, students are ranked?  This creates a healthy competition amongst students, but could also add stress to your time there.  Often, feedback from Wharton students indicates they are fairly miserable during the program, but tend to enjoy their post-MBA careers more than other program’s graduates.

As we have mentioned before, the best way to ascertain the personality of each school is to visit in person. 

Surfing a school’s website or even chatting with current or former students will only get you so far, but visiting a school, sitting in on a class and personally interviewing faculty, staff and students can reveal insights which are otherwise elusive or superficial if only viewed from the outside.  You would never marry someone without dating them first, and you should be thinking of b-school in a similar way.  Making the wrong decision could derail your career and seriously impact your post MBA happiness.  Let us guide your school selection process—you might be surprised how much it can help.

To find out more about your options and how we can help you with your business school application, email us at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com or contact us via http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/contact.

 

How to Identify the Right MBA Program for You

How to Identify the Right MBA Program for You

Finding the best MBA programs in the world is not a difficult task.  To be sure, resources abound which slice, dice and rank top programs from just about every angle imaginable.  The digital age has made this process even easier.  In fact, there is so much data out there, one can quickly get mired down in “analysis paralysis,” in the absence of a perspective.  Your main focus, however, should not be to find the best programs, but rather to find the best programs for you.  How can you do this?

Ranking the Best US MBA Programs According to Jobs Data | Updated for 2017

Ranking the Best US MBA Programs According to Jobs Data | Updated for 2017

Today, we are going to rank business schools across several industry categories: finance, consulting, technology, CPG, pharma, biotechnology, health care, media & entertainment, energy, and real estate.

Instead of esoteric formulas, we rely on each schools published career center data as the basis for our business school rankings.

Advice on Early Career MBA Programs

Advice on Early Career MBA Programs

While most MBA applicants approach the admissions process after several years of post-undergrad work experience, there has been a rise in “early career admissions” programs at top schools to capitalize on those who are targeting MBA programs not only before they log work experience, but also on those who have no work experience at all.  These early career MBA programs in some cases admit applicants on a deferred basis, and in other cases, simply go ahead and let MBA hopefuls go ahead and start the program.

Columbia Business School Strategy Memo Excerpt: How to Write Essay Question 2

Columbia Business School Strategy Memo Excerpt: How to Write Essay Question 2

Every so often, we like to put an excerpt out there from one of our school-specific Strategy Memos.  Full disclosure, the main reason to do this is to show off how we approach the process and to give potential clients a sense of what they might get (across the board, with all their schools and all the questions) if they become clients.  But we also try to coordinate these with moments where we can get some really helpful strategy out there - basic, core ideas that will help people avoid pitfalls, even if they don't have help in executing perfectly.  In this instance, Columbia Business School's Essay Question 2 is a nice overlap that allows us to do both.  So let's dive in.  

5 Tips for MBA Initial Consultation Calls

5 Tips for MBA Initial Consultation Calls

Obviously we take a ton of "free consults" or Initial Consultation calls as part of our business model, so it seemed like a good idea to pass along some thoughts on how applicants can best utilize these.  It depends on the people involved (both the consultant and the applicant) obviously, but as general rules, these might help you go in better prepared - not only to respond to questions, but to have a clear agenda for what you can achieve and take away from the experience.  

Advice on Selecting Recommenders for B-school Applications

Advice on Selecting Recommenders for B-school Applications

Before application season gets in full swing, many clients are beginning to reach out to their recommenders.  We often get questions about the best approach to ensuring this portion of your application is the best it can be, so it might be helpful to see some tips for working with your recommenders so your end result is just that. 

Taking MBA Admissions Feedback With a Grain of Salt

Taking MBA Admissions Feedback With a Grain of Salt

I have been getting a lot of emails lately that center on the same basic idea: "I got feedback directly from the admissions office and they told me X."  Sometimes the feedback is ultra specific ("you should seriously consider retaking your GMAT") and other times it is extremely vague ("there were elements of your application that just weren't quite where they needed to be"), usually somewhere in between.  The question is: should you put stock in what they are saying?  Let's just say that - spoiler alert - my post title may indicate where I land on this. 

Are you a dream weaver or a vision caster?

Are you a dream weaver or a vision caster?

So many applicants these days look alike on paper in terms of experience and education, test scores and outside involvement that even highly qualified candidates get lost in the shuffle.  We all think we’re pretty unique until we find out that the next guy also volunteered at a similar NGO, or was promoted to VP before his colleagues.  Particularly if you come from a feeder industry such as banking, finance or technology/engineering, it gets harder every year to stand out. 

Advice On Scheduling an MBA Visiting Tour

Advice On Scheduling an MBA Visiting Tour

As the 2017 academic year winds to a close, students all over the world are preparing themselves for final exams.  With a similar amount of angst and tension, hopeful business school applicants are beginning to prepare as well, but instead of taking tests, they will be writing applications. 

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for this, is to visit each of your target schools in person.

How Important is the Integrated Reasoning Section of the GMAT

How Important is the Integrated Reasoning Section of the GMAT

This is the time of year when many b-school hopefuls are taking the GMAT test in anticipation of nailing down a great score before application season begins in earnest.

 After all, your score will help determine where you will be a competitive applicant and can also help you narrow down your school selections. It is essentially everyone's jumping off point in the application process, and one that gets most people feeling anxious.  A common point of stress is often over which sections of the GMAT are most important.

Can I Quit My Job to Get Ready for B-school?

Can I Quit My Job to Get Ready for B-school?

Lots of folks ask about quitting their jobs when applying to business school, but are there reasons for doing so that will not put off the admissions committees?  Perhaps.

Applying to B-school Straight out of Undergrad

Applying to B-school Straight out of Undergrad

This time of year is replete with many young candidates who want to apply to business school directly out of undergrad.  Is this possible?  In some cases, yes it is. 

How to prepare for Application Season

How to prepare for Application Season

While for those who just finished off their third round b-school applications, it’s already time for others to begin thinking about “next season.”  Application season begins in earnest after all of last year’s applications are processed, and every final offer of admission is made and filled. 

Path-Bending Leadership at Haas: a de facto 5th Defining Principle

Path-Bending Leadership at Haas: a de facto 5th Defining Principle

We have all known about Berkeley-Haas' 4 "Defining Principles" for a while now.  Personally, I consider Haas' emphasis on "Path-bending leadership" to be a de facto "5th principle" that builds upon the Defining Principles. Most significantly and over the past year, I have seen path-bending leadership take on a greater significance with faculty, alumni and student discussions alike. This trend has implications for your essays and "why Haas?"

How to Personalize Your Interest in an MBA Program

How to Personalize Your Interest in an MBA Program

The simplest and most important thing you can do to improve your Why School X portion of career goals essay is to personalize any and all content.  

What do I mean by "personalize?"  Simple: make anything you write about the school specific to you, your experience, your desires, or what you require from a program.  Never just state absolutes, generalities, or even known truths and facts - always make them personally-held viewpoints. Examples are the best way to understand this (after the jump): 

Tips for Getting Off the Waitlist and into B-school (Updated)

Tips for Getting Off the Waitlist and into B-school (Updated)

Waitlist season is in full bloom and with R3 notification deadlines wrapping up the countdown clock is ticking for those still waiting in line.  Of course it’s inevitable that most of you will be waitlisted at some of your top school choices - after all, getting waitlisted at a stretch school means that you hedged effectively.  (Note - my opinion is that an effective hedging strategy should include a stretch, safe-stretch and backup school selections.)

So what can you do at this point in the game?

MBA Candidates: Your Audience is not "the Adcom"

MBA Candidates: Your Audience is not "the Adcom"

One question that we get a lot from clients is "what does the adcom want to hear?"  Not only is this the wrong way to approach the process in terms of being an authentic, introspective, and interesting candidate, but it also completely misunderstands who is reading your file.  We don't believe in trying to play pin-the-tail-on-the-admissions-officer when it comes to your essays, but we do believe to writing to your audience.