One of the most contentious components of a business school application is the part where you detail your involvement in activities outside of work. Every year, hopeful b-school applicants face down the ghost of a busy career, one which often haunts them with the fact they have had very little time to do anything other than drive work results in their job since they graduated. But how much does it really matter to the admissions committees whether or not you are engaged in your community?
Did you get your MBA degree years ago? Or did you perhaps get your MBA from a school that didn’t live up to your expectations? Wouldn’t you like to get a do-over? Every year, we see applicants who already have an MBA degree, but who have decided to try and go back to get the degree again. Some find this to be more challenging than they realized.
The MBA has always been the stalwart of business education. A terminal degree from the start, once achieving the MBA, graduates have always been able to call it quits on their formal education. While the prevailing arc of the MBA curriculum has remained fairly consistent over time, there has been some interesting changes over the years, which have resulted in a new world MBA which bears only a modicum of similarity to the degrees that came before it.
An MBA degree is good for lots of things—for example, it’s fantastic job insurance, as anyone who worked their way through the great recession can attest. It’s also good for getting promoted throughout your career, since there are many corporate ladder-climbers who go back to get their business degree purely to move up in their company. But what about the throngs of MBA candidates who are going back to change careers? One of the best and most common uses of the MBA degree is to break into a new field. Let’s discuss how you can do this in the best possible way.
One mistake applicants often make is to misunderstand their audience. When crafting a winning MBA application package there is much to consider, but how much thought have you given to who will actually read your essays? Who is analyzing your resume? Common sense may dictate that an essay about going to a top MBA program should be crafted for an MBA crowd, but did you know that most essay readers at the top schools never attended an MBA program and don’t have an MBA themselves? Remembering this in the application process can help you communicate your story in a much more effective way to the adcom. Read on for tips…
Ok so there’s lots to talk this time of year regarding school selection, application strategy, essay writing, recommendations, and resumes, but let’s daydream for a minute that you have been accepted into your school of choice. Have you considered yet how you will make the move to business school and where you will live? It’s not a bad idea to start thinking about this lifestyle choice early in the process.
It's the time of year where I start having the "Round 2 conversation" a lot with individual clients, so I thought I'd once again take it out wide. Basically, the idea is that Round 2 might be offering a slight advantage, based on theories of market inefficiencies and so forth. For years, I would say the prevailing belief is that Round 1 is the best round in which to apply to business and while there is no hard-core evidence to suggest otherwise, some common sense and deduction may point to a different result. So let's quickly run this down.
There are plenty of criteria you should be considering when making the decision on where to apply for b-school, but it is always fascinating to hear what clients prioritize in this process. While in many cases, it becomes like splitting hairs to differentiate amongst schools in the areas of course offerings or job availability at graduation, there are other areas where schools actually begin to look quite different. One question we rarely hear from prospective applicants is “How good is my target school’s faculty?” Not asking this could be the biggest mistake you make when choosing where you do your MBA.
Other than buying a house, there is likely no other expense in your life as substantial as graduate school. Most MBA hopefuls dive headlong into the opportunity without much thought about the financials, since they know the utility and opportunity they will receive generally outweigh the fiscal burden. Coupled with the ready availability of student loans (some schools even offer their own loans), committing to a six figure graduate business education can be as simple as signing on the line that this dotted. But have you analyzed the decision like you would any other investment?
For most applicants, the thought of quitting a well-paying job and committing to full time graduate school is a scary one indeed. Especially if you have spent a little too much on Starbucks and Spotify since graduating college, you may find yourself a little short on cash—and it takes a heck of a lot of cash to pay for an MBA. With price tags more than $120,000 in most cases, the thought of continuing to work in some way while embarking on an MBA program might be tempting. Not so fast, type-A grasshopper.
In the ever-increasing competition amongst the world’s top business schools, there are several ways each school tries to stand out from the crowd. For the longest time, the best schools could rely on reputation alone, and the flood of top students matriculating at these schools coupled with the incredible opportunities for graduates with top firms on the backend made for a nearly permanent lofty position in the rankings tables. As the demand for the MBA heated up, however, and the philanthropic investment in these schools climbed, each program found itself with plenty of money in their endowment pool to plow back into the program. What has resulted is a facilities arms race that now extends well beyond the top ten or twenty business schools.
This post is going to feel like its about Wharton, but its not - not really. I'm prompted to write it because of Wharton, but it is about a larger issue, which is whether or not you should have a takeaway when you see that an MBA program is going all in on its marketing. Should you read into it or ignore it? And if you do search out some meaning, is it is good or bad thing when a business school suddenly seems to have hired a new marketing whiz who knows how to game the headlines? Let's dive in.
For most young professionals considering an MBA, the decision to go back is an easy one. Whether you are stalling out in your current career or are progressing so rapidly, you can hardly be stopped, the appeal of a prestigious MBA degree can be almost too alluring to resist in order to boost the earnings trajectory of your financial future. But at what cost?
One of the main challenges at the schools with both part time and full time programs has nothing to do with rankings, but rather with job placement. Getting your MBA is mostly about landing that dream job at the end, and the last thing a graduating MBA needs to worry about is whether or not they will be able to land one. But this can sometimes be exactly the challenge at schools with large part time programs. In fact, since these schools often have a far larger part time program than their full time program, there is sometimes a glut of graduating MBAs at these schools who are competing against each other for jobs from both tracks.
One thing that seems to be on the rise in our little corner of the academic world is an interest in joint degree programs, be it combining an MBA with a policy program, a more niche degree (such as a masters in something very quantitative), or the tried-and-true JD-MBA, there has been a push to fuse a business education with “something else.” This is especially true at Harvard, where HBS is always a powerful draw for our clients, but also boasts Harvard Law and the Kennedy School, creating truly dynamic and elite pathways for students seeking a joint-degree program.