B-school Life

Getting an MBA While the World Falls Apart (2018)

Getting an MBA While the World Falls Apart (2018)

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.

Where Should You Live During B-School

Where Should You Live During B-School

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. 

MBA Networking Tips

MBA Networking Tips

We have established that MBA networking should begin well before business school and that some schools have better networking than others.  What we haven’t really covered yet, are the nuts and bolts of networking and how you go about doing it effectively.  Below is a baker’s dozen tips for building a network which will pay dividends as you apply to business school, as you attend business school and as you dive into your post MBA career…

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.

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?"

Business School Culture, School Fit, and Your MBA Experience

Business School Culture, School Fit, and Your MBA Experience

When applying to business school, one of the most reliable questions you will get from just about any institution deals with how you feel you will fit within that school’s culture.  While it’s fairly easy to see if you have an academic fit or a professional fit at a school (by researching their curriculum and statistics for admitted students), it’s far more difficult sometimes to ascertain the “culture” of a school.

Monday MBA Resource: The Charisma Myth by Cynthia Fox Cabene

Monday MBA Resource: The Charisma Myth by Cynthia Fox Cabene

Time for another edition of Monday MBA Resource, where we share the things we are reading, watching, and listening to that might be helpful to people in the MBA community.  Some are more focused on applicants, others are better for students, some for both - but all of them offer great insights that are worth soaking up.  Two weeks we broke down the Knowledge @Wharton podcast and people seem to really be enjoying it.  Last week it was one of my favorite articles in years: "Happy Ambition: Striving for Success, Avoiding Status Cocaine, and Prioritizing Happiness" by Ben Casnocha.  Let's hope we can keep it up with this next entry, which is the book:

 

THE CHARISMA MYTH: HOW ANYONE CAN MASTER THE ART AND SCIENCE OF PERSONAL MAGNETISM by Olivia Fox Cabene

Monday MBA Resource: "Happy Ambition" by Ben Casnocha

Monday MBA Resource: "Happy Ambition" by Ben Casnocha

Time for another edition of Monday MBA Resource, where we share the things we are reading, watching, and listening to that might be helpful to people in the MBA community.  Some are more focused on applicants, others are better for students, some for both - but all of them offer great insights that are worth soaking up.  Last week we broke down the Knowledge @Wharton podcast and people seem to really be enjoying it. Let's hope we can keep it up with this next entry, which is the article: 

"Happy Ambition: Striving for Success, Avoiding Status Cocaine, and Prioritizing Happiness" by Ben Casnocha. 

Monday MBA Resource: Knowledge@Wharton Podcast

Monday MBA Resource: Knowledge@Wharton Podcast

Trying something new for Mondays, which is to pass along my favorite MBA resource that I found that weekend.  It's a good way to start the week, a way to get great tools out into the MBA community, and, quite frankly, a good for me to remember these items myself so I can show them to future candidates and corporate clients.  

Today's Resource is the Knowledge@Wharton podcast

What an Aspiring MBA Can Learn from Daily Fantasy Sports

What an Aspiring MBA Can Learn from Daily Fantasy Sports

I've been around DFS to know that many "MBA types" do really well as players, due to comfort with quantitative analysis, modeling skills, and even the ability to build robust and sophisticated trading algorithms.  But even if you are not a finance wizard and/or a sports fanatic, can you learn something from Daily Fantasy Sports as an MBA applicant?  Oh let us count the ways: 

Why do an MBA? Is it right for me?

Why do an MBA?  Is it right for me?

I detailed a list in another entry that I laid out.  And it rattled off a number of items that are notable about top MBA programs.

But instead of diving into each one separately, I’m going to discuss the primary answer that you hear on actual business school campuses, from students, faculty, and alumni alike.

What is it that makes this place so special?

The answer is…. You guessed it.  The people.

Where Would You Go: Wharton or Booth?

Where Would You Go: Wharton or Booth?

Amerasia's Adam Hoff lays down his opinion on Booth versus Wharton in an article by Poets & Quants author John Byrne.

“Chicago and it’s not close.  Reasons: I believe that we are only now seeing the full force of Ted Snyder’s run there (and that we will see the same trail at Yale over time).  I believe he might be the best graduate school dean of my lifetime, so it’s no surprise that Chicago has a massive up arrow next to it in my mind."

HBS 2+2's New Look

Today, on her "Director's Blog", Dee Leopold of HBS explained some of the new ins and outs of the HBS 2+2 program. 

Her explanation centered on the way all college seniors are being folded into the 2+2 pool of applicants and she stressed that it did not signal a sea change for 2+2 as much as it did reinforce that no college seniors will be going straight to Harvard Business School after graduation.  In other words, HBS has always offered deferred admission spots to college seniors applying in the regular rounds one, two, and three, so now they will just be formally moved into the 2+2 pool. The part that Dee (one of my favorite admissions professionals, by the way - incredibly smart, loves her school, plays chess while others are often playing checkers) didn't get into was the removal of the "business major restriction" - in the past, business majors were not allowed to apply to 2+2, as the program was designed to pull people from disciplines such as engineering, humanities, and the arts. Obviously, now that all college seniors are being pushed out of the regular pool and into 2+2, that restriction had to be removed. 

So what does any of it mean, exactly?

For starters - and we will stress that this is has a minor impact - it possibly makes the 2+2 pool a little tougher and it definitely makes the regular pool a little easier. 

  • Say there were 15 amazing college seniors to apply in a year that HBS decided to offer deferred admission to.  In the past, those 15 spots were coming out of the 900 full-time seats, two years down the road.  Now, either those spots will come out of those earmarked for traditional 2+2 students, or, since college seniors will be applying AFTER their more traditional "junior summer" counterparts, the size of that year's cohort will just swell a bit.

As for business majors, our instinct is that it will still be harder to earn a spot in the 2+2 program if you are coming from a business background. 

  • This is in part because the road is now paved for you to go do all the things a great HBS applicant should do in the business sector, but also because we believe the program was originally conceived in order to draw would-be law students, public policy students, med students, and PhDs into the b-school orbit.  If that is a core philosophy - to capture incredibly bright young leaders and give them business training - then it stands to reason that there won't be massive changes in "typing."

Who should apply to 2+2?

  • We actually haven't changed our stance on this much.  We believe that anyone - yes, even a business major - who has strong academic chops, has displayed great leadership, and has the passion to apply SHOULD DO SO. 
  • Why?  A couple of reasons: first, worst case scenario, this is a dry run that will transform the way you approach the next 2 - 6 years.  Being asked to sit down and map out your strengths, articulate your goals, analyze who you are ... that's intense stuff and if you do it for real, with actual stakes, you will become a better employee and eventual b-school applicant.  Even if you didn't get into HBS 2+2, if you take a real run at it and take the process seriously, you will absolutely accelerate your career and grad school time line. 
  • Second, there still seems to be a *slightly* easier chance at getting in.  There simply aren't as many 20 and 21 year olds who have academic excellence, great leadership, and self awareness as there are 24, 25, and 26 year olds who have those same attributes.  The field tends to crowd the more you hit the HBS sweet spot of 3 or 4 years out of school.  You are up against not only the elite juniors and seniors from your year, but also the people who had the light bulb go off post-college.  In other words, if you enjoy an advantage - ANY advantage - now, you should try to press it before people who currently aren't on your radar wind up passing you.  Conversely, if you are not competitive now, take heart that you can lap a lot of superior candidates in a few years.

All told, whatever the reasons it was created and whatever small changes are being made administratively, 2+2 is a really cool program that gives college students a unique opportunity to walk the walk and see what they are made of. 

A lot of truly exceptional people have been "found" this way already, and HBS is confident they will find many more.  So are we.


Applying to HBS 2+2? Be sure to check out our free guide on How to Apply to HBS.

Since 2008, we've worked with more than 1000 applicants to top MBA programs. 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.

For an overview of our MBA admissions consulting services, visit http://www.amerasiaconsulting.com/mba-admissions-consultants-client-commitment/.