HBS Launches International Seminar Program

Following the lead of other top MBA programs, reports a recent article in The Financial Times, Harvard Business School will be expanding its international immersion programs this year by holding small, intensive seminars across the globe.  

According to the FT, HBS has been “slow to initiate such projects, as data from the Financial Times 2009 rankings show.” Other top US b-schools rank higher in the international experiences offered to their first- and second-year MBA students. Stanford, the forerunner of such international immersion programs, ranks highest, followed by (in order) NYU Stern, MIT Sloan, Chicago Booth, Kellogg, Wharton, Columbia, and then lagging, Harvard Business School.

A recent press release on the HBS website elaborates on the b-school’s new “Global, Field-Based Immersions.” January term seminars give “students the opportunity to reflect in a different way on what they are learning in the classroom through in-depth study and by applying their learning in the field,” explains Professor Joseph Badaracco, HBS faculty chair.

According the January 13 press release, this year’s IXPs (Immersion Experience Programs) schedule will go as follows: 

  • China IXP: Understanding a Business Environment (Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai)
    -led by Elisabeth Koll
  • India IXP: Creating and Transforming Competitive Advantage (Mumbai, Delhi, and Agra)
    -led by Stephen Bradley and Bhaskar Chakravorti
  • Peru IXP: Escaping the Natural Resource Curse (Lima, Caral, Puerto Maldonado, and Cusco)
    -led by Diego Comin
  • Rwanda IXP: Business and Social Enterprise in a Post-Conflict Country (Kigali and Akagera)
    -led by Louis Wells
  • United Arab Emirates & Bahrain IXP: Energy and Globalization: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Manama)
    -led by Noel Maurer
  • Vietnam IXP: Globalization and Entrepreneurship Today (Hanoi, Can Tho, and Ho Chi Minh City)
    -led by Regina Abrami
  • Boston IXP: High Potential Entrepreneurial Ventures in the Boston Metropolitan Area
    -led by Shikhar Ghosh, Robert Higgins, and Joseph Lassiter
  • New Orleans IXP: Service and Leadership in an Entrepreneurial Environment
    -led by Shawn Cole, Alnoor Ebrahim, and Herman “Dutch” Leonard
  • Silicon Valley IXP in Partnership with the HBS Rock Center for Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurial Ventures in Silicon Valley (Palo Alto)
    -led by Thomas Eisenmann and Michael Roberts

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Chicago’s Ted Snyder To Become Dean of Yale SOM in 2011

President Richard Levin announced today that Edward A. Snyder, currently the dean of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, will become the dean of Yale’s School of Management on July 1, 2011. According to Yale’s announcement:

Last month, he announced his decision to step down as Dean of Chicago Booth effective June 30, 2010. Following a year’s leave, he will assume the Deanship of Yale SOM in July of 2011. Sharon M. Oster will continue as Dean of Yale SOM during Snyder’s sabbatical year.

“Ted Snyder is widely regarded as the most successful business school dean in the nation,” Levin said. “He brings experience, enthusiasm, and vision to the Yale School of Management, and he looks forward to maintaining the school’s tradition of preparing students for leadership in business and society by raising their awareness of the context in which business operates. Ted especially appreciates Yale’s openness to collaboration across its schools and departments and its strong institutional commitment to infusing its educational programs with global experiences and global awareness. Ted is also committed to advancing the curricular innovations begun by the SOM faculty three years ago.” 

Snyder has served as Dean of Chicago Booth since 2001. Under his leadership, the school almost doubled its number of endowed professorships and more than tripled its scholarship assistance to students. Snyder oversaw the move to the school’s new Hyde Park campus on time and on budget, expanded the school’s presence in Singapore, and established a new campus in London. In 2008, Snyder announced a $300 million gift from Chicago alumnus David Booth and his family, which was the largest donation in the history of the University of Chicago and the largest gift to any business school in the world. In recognition of this gift, the school was renamed in Booth’s honor. During Snyder’s tenure, the school also successfully completed a capital campaign and more than doubled its endowment. 

The appointment of Snyder is a coup for Yale SOM. He is well-regarded and had significant success at Chicago in raising money, attracting talent, and increasing the prestige and prominence of Chicago’s MBA program. 

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of Accepted.com.

Stanford Wins First Place for Forbes’ “The Most Satisfied MBAs”

Forbes took its survey findings from “The Best Business Schools” and compiled a second rankings report: “The Most Satisfied MBAs.”

Stanford won top slot for both rankings. It is #1 for providing the best return on investment for its graduates, as well as for churning out MBAs who are extremely satisfied with their current jobs and their completed b-school experience.

The survey shows that Stanford alumni are more likely than grads from any other business school to sing praises to their alma mater. School satisfaction and job satisfaction are closely intertwined with financial success, says Pulin Sanghvi, Stanford GSB Director of Career Management and Stanford GSB ’97 alum. “True satisfaction happens from work-life actualization,” he says, referring to the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness at Work. “We nurture students to pursue career decisions based on their internal drivers. That they then become financial successes is just a bonus.”

The Top Ten US B-Schools with the Most Satisfied Graduates

1.   Stanford GSB

2.   Wharton

3.   Chicago Booth

4.   NYU Stern

5.   Brigham Young University

6.   UC Berkeley Haas

7.   Dartmouth Tuck

8.   UCLA Anderson (tied)

8.   University of Rochester Simon Graduate School of Business (tied)

10. University of Virginia Darden

The Top Ten Non-US B-Schools with the Most Satisfied Graduates

1.   Oxford

2.   IESE

3.   London Business School

4.   IPADE

5.   Insead

6.   HEC-Paris

7.   IMD

8.   ESADE (tied)

8.   IE (tied)

10. Cranfield School of Management

For more information on the value of rankings and how you should (or should not) use them, check out Accepted.com’s new special report on MBA rankings.


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New “No-Co-Signer” Loans Aid Foreign MBA Students

According to BusinessWeek, Chicago Booth, Northwestern University, Rochester’s Simon School, and UCLA Anderson are among the six universities and 15 graduate programs that have joined the Affiliated Loan Program for Students (ALPS), a solution to the international student loan crisis. In 2008, just as admissions season was approaching, a few major international student loan lenders (like Sallie Mae and CitiAssist loan programs) disappeared, leaving future international b-school students financially stranded.

US universities can join ALPS, a program funded by the Deutsche Bank (DB) in order to help their international students acquire adequate funding without the domestic co-signer that most other lending programs require. Other student benefits: International students do not need to establish credit, interest rates are below 10%, and according to one international student, there’s very little paperwork.

Participating schools also benefit from adopting the loan program: The program boosts a school’s credit rating, there are no up-front expenses, and the school doesn’t need to worry about setting limits on loan volume.

For schools like Rochester’s Simon School, BusinessWeek describes the ALPS program as a “lifeline.” About half of Simon’s students are international; one-third of the international students have already signed up for the ALPS no-co-signer loans.

Medical schools, law schools, and more b-schools are expected to follow the example of these few ALPS-active b-schools and join ALPS in the coming year.

There are some b-schools (including HBS, Stanford, Wharton, and MIT Sloan) that are not joining the ALPS program, but that are joining other no-co-signer loan programs with credit unions.

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GMAT or GRE: Which is Best for You?

Now that top b-schools (including HBS, Stanford, Wharton, and MIT Sloan, among others) are accepting either GMAT or GRE scores, MBA applicants are a bit at a loss as to which test might enhance their chances of acceptance.

BusinessWeek calls the recent GMAT-GRE showdown the “business school version of the Coke-or-Pepsi debate.” Obviously choosing between taking the GMAT or the GRE is a lot less trivial than choosing between two soft drinks. You need to think carefully about your testing options.

BW explores the different factors and offers tips to b-school applicants:

  1. Take the GMAT if you’re applying to any MBA programs that do not accept the GRE (like Chicago Booth).
  2. Take the GMAT if you plan on a post-MBA career in an investment bank or management consulting firm—recruiters from such places use GMAT scores as a screening tool.
  3. Take the GMAT if you plan on applying to b-school this year or next. For now at least, the GMAT is the more highly regarded test among b-school adcoms (even if they claim that the tests are on equal footing).
  4. Take the GRE if you are fresh out of college, aren’t quite sure what you plan on doing next, feel pumped and prepared to take one final exam while you’re still in testing-mode, and are open to the possibility of applying to b-school in the next five years. (The GRE scores can be submitted within five years.) According to the BW article, this younger crowd (particularly the females) is an attractive demographic to b-schools who are attempting to diversify their applicant pools.
  5. Take the GRE if your schools accept the scores and if you consistently score higher on the GRE on practice tests. BW quotes me and my suggestion to take practice tests and see where you earn the higher scores. Your goal is to reach the 80th percentile or higher on each segment of the exam.
  6. Take the GRE if you want to save about $100 and have a hard time getting to a GMAT testing center. GREs are cheaper and are administered in more geographic locations.

I actually disagree with BW’s take on #3. Even if you are applying this year or next to schools that accept the GRE and GMAT, if your GMAT is low and your GRE is high, then apply with the GRE—especially if you are otherwise a strong candidate. Why? Because of the one element this otherwise excellent article did not address: the role of the school’s average GMAT score in rankings and in the perception of potential applicants and alumni donors.

A higher average GMAT means the school will rank better in US News and attract more applications, which will further raise its standing. Furthermore, potential applicants (and alumni donors) look at the incoming class’ average GMAT as an indication of class “quality.” The GRE is not used by US News in its highly influential rankings. There is no (at least not yet) published average GRE score for incoming MBA classes. If an applicant has good grades and work experience, but bombs the GMAT, submitting a GRE is an option that allows the school to admit him or her without taking even a slight hit to its average GMAT.

Assuming your target schools accept the GRE and you are not going into a field that may use the GMAT as a screening mechanism (#2 above), the GRE is a viable option. The GMAT probably is still the gold standard even at those schools that say they evaluate both scores equally. However, if your GMAT is more like fool’s gold, you may be better off going for the silver.

If you decide to go the traditional route and take the GMAT, don’t forget to take advantage of Accepted.com’s free GMAT prep resources, including:

  By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of Accepted.com.


Chicago Booth Dean Announces Resignation

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business Dean Edward A. Snyder announced that he will end his tenure as dean at the conclusion of his current term on June 30, 2010. In a gracious letter to the Chicago community he pays tribute to David Booth and the people in the Booth administration with whom he works most closely. In explaining his decision, he writes:

“By way of background, I am in my ninth year as Dean.  Since World War II, no Dean of the school has served more than two five-year terms.  No surprise to you, I understand that the option to deviate from standard practice is valuable.  However, given the strong state of our school and what we have accomplished, I believe now is the right time for the school to search for its next Dean.  On the personal side, I look forward to taking some time to (a) reflect on the challenges facing management education, (b) analyze some major public policy issues, and (c) to consider my future.”

Harvard Business School Dean Jay Light also recently announced his decision to stop down this summer. 

 By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of Accepted.com.

B-Schools Search Globally for International Students

Reaching out to countries like India and China is old news already. The recent trend, according to BusinessWeek in “In Hunt for Students, Business Schools Go Global”  is to recruit from economically developing countries like Chile, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. The number of U.S. B-school attendants from these emerging markets is up since last year, so it makes sense that schools would target these already interested markets.

In fact, business schools in America deem students from regions like Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia so important to their student bodies that they’re starting to venture out to these areas to do in-person recruiting.

Boston University School of Management, for example, has already sent staff out to Dubai twice and Cairo once in the last few months, in an effort to boost the Middle Eastern appearance at the BU program. Anderson School of Management (UCLA) is spending their recruiting energy on Latin America, as is Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business.

Recently Chicago’s Booth School, UVA’s Darden, Dartmouth’s Tuck, and Northwestern’s Kellogg joined forces and went to Ghana together to recruit students—a truly one-of-a-kind experience for the admissions staff and for the prospective students in Ghana.

Tuck is setting yet another trend that expands their international recruiting footprint even further: by placing full-time admissions officers on-site in these far-out regions.

Similarly, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business has established its global network by establishing global campuses in Dubai, London, Delhi, St. Petersburg, and Shanghai. Their presence in these places allows them to study these emerging markets, speak with prospective applicants in person, and attend local MBA fairs.

Organizations like the QS World MBA Tour are making it their business to scope out these countries personally to find applicants and bring them back to U.S. MBA programs. Last year the Africa Tour (led by the World Tour) only had European business school represented at their traveling school fair, but the U.S. programs have shown interest in joining in the near future.

MBA programs all over the United States are taking innovative and creative measures to reach students that have never been reached before. There are student groups that are doing the outreach, as well as alumni groups that have pooled together for this initiative. New scholarships and funding opportunities also help the emerging international crowd achieve their goals of studying in a U.S. top B-school.

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MBA Admissions: Good News, No News, and Bad News

Since November 1 I have heard from more and more nervous, round 1 MBA applicants, worried because they have not yet received an interview invitation. I am also starting to hear from those who were not and now realize they will not be invited to interview at particular schools, specifically Booth. (See “Gone Booth Gone” ).

What should you do now if you are among those who have not received interview invitations and don’t expect to receive one? What if you are not optimistic about already submitted applications?

If you used the earlier round 1 deadlines to push the envelope a little and apply to programs where you chances of acceptance were lower, you can now proceed to Plan B and apply round 2 to programs where you are more competitive.

If you felt you are a competitive candidate at the programs you applied to and are surprised by the lack of interview invitations and the anticipated rejections, I encourage you to have one of your submitted applications evaluated. If you made mistakes in your essays or in assessing your strengths, you want to know about them before you submit your round 2 applications. Having us tell you how to improve is much cheaper and faster than receiving an additional rash of dings after round 2.

In either case, you have the time to develop solid applications before the early January deadlines — if you start now.  Here are a few resources to help you:

For those of you in proud possession of interview invitations, congratulations! The interview invitations, are not as good as acceptances (a few clients have already contacted us to share happy news of acceptances), but those invitations are definitely good news. You’re getting closer.

Now how do you go the distance? As Rose Martinelli points out, MBA interview preparation is key.

To ready yourself, visit Accepted’s MBA Interview Feedback Database which has multiple resources to help you prepare.

After you interview, please share the experience by filling out the MBAIFDB questionnaire. In addition, all those who submit an interview report are eligible to participate in Acceptedcom’s It’s a 10! contest.

Whether you heard good news, no news, or bad news, remember the words of Louis Pasteur, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”

BusinessWeek EMBA and Part Time MBA Rankings

BusinessWeek has published its biannual rankings of EMBA programs. The top five EMBA programs are:

  1. Kellogg
  2. Chicago Booth
  3. Wharton
  4. Columbia
  5. USC Marshall

BusinessWeek also published its part-time MBA program rankings and its rankings of executive education programs. Its methodology in all three cases focuses on “end-user satisfaction.”

The articles and videos accompanying the rankings are recommended if you are considering an EMBA or part-time MBA program. Like everything and everyone else, these programs were hit hard by the Great Recession.

A few highlights from the lead article:

  • EMBA student satisfaction has plummeted as students increasingly foot the bill and expect career placement services commensurate with those offered their full-time MBA colleagues.
  • Of the 83 EMBA programs surveyed, only the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business boosted student satisfaction since the last survey.
  • “Nearly half of all EMBA programs and part-time programs” reported a decline in application volume in 2009.
  • 80% of participating part-time programs experienced a decline in student satisfaction.

MBA Admissions News: Tuck, Rankings, Global Entrepreneurship, MBA Interviews

Let’s take a look at a few developments during a busy October for MBA applicants:

  • The Dartmouth News published an article about the increasing percentage of women at Tuck with a couple of factoids about Harvard and Wharton. Unfortunately, there is an inaccuracy in the article regarding a non-existent experience requirement at Tuck. I checked with Dawna Clarke, Director of Admissions, who clarified,  “While the average years of work experience (at matriculation) is 4-5 years, that is not a requirement for admission.”
  • The Economist this week published its eighth annual rankings of international business schools, which it bases on responses to surveys sent to students/alumni and over 100 top MBA programs. The criteria are “open new career opportunities; personal development and educational experience; increase in salary; and potential to network.The Economist’s Top Ten:
  1. IESE
  2. IMD
  3. Haas
  4. Chicago
  5. Harvard
  6. Tuck
  7. Stanford
  8. London Business School
  9. Wharton
  10. Vlerick Leuven Gent
  • New Global Entrepreneurship Program. EMLYON in France,  Babson College in the USA, and Zhejiang University in China have partnered to create the first ‘Global Entrepreneurship Program’ which opens its doors this month. The program begins with 65 students, who will study on each of the three campuses en route to earning an MSc in Entrepreneurship.
  • First round deadlines are slowing getting checked off, and their passing means that round one interview invitations will be arriving soon. In fact, they have already started to arrive. As a result, BusinessWeek just published an excellent piece, “Acing the MBA Application Interview“, which I want to bring to your attention along with the many MBA interview resources at Accepted, specifically: