There are times when things feel so crazy, out of control, and even hopeless that our own individual pursuits start to feel trivial, selfish, and even misguided.
I can remember vivid moments over the past 10+ years where I had a distinct feeling of living the wrong life, given what was going on around me. When the financial collapse took hold in 2009, I thought to myself "why did I leave corporate law - where I could be part of the solution - to instead help people apply to business school right in the teeth of a recession?" I watched "Making a Murderer" on Netflix and kicked myself for not remaining a lawyer ... but this time not a corporate lawyer, but instead a constitutional attorney like the individuals portrayed early in that documentary series. And now, as police/citizen animus and race problems in America reach new heights, as the EU teeters, as a sitting US President remains clouded in controversy, and as [seriously, enter any of a dozen paralyzing issues] I sometimes am not even sure what I should be doing. But I do know it doesn't feel like enough; it feels to insular and self-absorbed and small. But then it occurred to me: I bet a lot of people feel that way, including my past and present clients pursuing an MBA. So let's talk about that.
Time to go full PSA here. I'm talking all alarms ringing, sirens, whatever it takes to get your attention. By "you" I mean: anyone applying to business school. You need to stop doing something immediately. Here it is:
Stop trying to "differentiate" yourself.
Or at least, stop doing it without a professional by your side. Let's dive into the 4 Rules of Differentiation before someone gets hurt.
Rule #1 - Do not "differentiate yourself" with a panicked career change.
Rule #2 - Listing a hard job to get as your short-term goal is not "differentiating."
Rule #3 - The "quick and easy" place to differentiate is in the WHY of your long-term career goal.
Rule #4 - The real, pure way to differentiate yourself is to do the app right.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite HBS featuring the most publicized changing of the guard in admissions that I can remember, they are basically keeping their "open-ended" question style intact. In fact, more than keeping it intact, they have reverted to the more straight forward version they used in 2013 and 2014, rather than the more clever (but probably ultimately less effective) "introduction" prompt from last year.
And because they are staying in this lane, it means that my three thoughts need to stay in the same lane they have been in for years - because understanding the psychology behind this essay goes a long way to explaining how you might solve it.
Entering 2015 school year, Duke Fuqua comes out on top when it comes to sending MBA graduates (as a percentage of all graduates in 2014) into the pharmaceutical, biotech and healthcare industries - 9% of its graduating class get jobs in these industries. Dartmouth Tuck, Wharton and MIT Sloan hold their own, coming in at 2nd, 3rd and 4th best.
Today's blog post is a follow up to our Best MBA Programs in Finance ranking. It's also our attempt at ranking top MBA programs by industry and based on publicly available data. We've never felt completely comfortable with the rankings because (to our knowledge) the raw data that drives the rankings has never been fully disclosed. So we decided to start over and with the very numbers that the school's career centers are reporting via their respective employment reporting.
Rankings: Best MBA Programs for Finance Jobs (2015) - Amerasia's attempt at ranking top MBA programs by industry and based on publicly available data. Our motivation for doing this is quite simple - business school rankings differ quite drastically from publication to publication. We started with the very numbers that the school's career centers are reporting via their respective employment reporting. You need to see the end result first. In other words, what industries are hiring MBA graduates and from what schools?
I wanted to try something a bit different today when breaking down the new Ross essays, which is to post the decision tree I am going to be asking my clients to use this year.
Why would I just share this with the public, you might ask? In part because the real value of our services with Ross (unlike with some other schools) is going to be in implementation rather than in the setting of strategy - so I don't feel I am cheating my clients at all. Further, we just don't have that many clients select Ross, to be honest. This is confusing to me, as Ross is an amazing school and a true value pick ... but that's a column for a different time. Today, I want to present a really simple way to work through Ross' seemingly wide open essays. I'll be using one part common sense and one part program knowledge, but both are born out of lots of experience just being someone in this world (by "in this world" I mean working in "higher education" and with "people trying to maximize their lives and abilities"). Let's get into it.