MBA Admissions: Is Community Service Important?

MBA admissions: Does extracurricular equal extra credit?It’s winter, and many of you probably haven’t started thinking about next year’s MBA applications yet. But now is actually an excellent time to get started – not just on test prep and boosting GPAs, but on taking time to examine your community service. At most top b-schools, community service is virtually a requirement, and if yours is on the weak side, then you have just enough time to start bulking up your experience…if you start NOW.

First let’s discuss what “community service” is and isn’t. I define it as:

“Active participation in and assumption of responsibility for your community.”

That is an intentionally broad definition that includes taking an active role in sports teams, professional organizations, alumni groups, churches, literacy programs, political campaigns, environmental causes, fund raising for immigrant assistance groups…whatever you define as your community. Community service almost always does – and should – reflect your values and priorities.

The operative phrases in the definition are “active” and “responsibility.” Writing checks is not enough. And helping your elderly neighbor occasionally makes you a nice person, but doesn’t mean you are taking responsibility for your community. Community service requires commitment.

So why is community service important?

1. It provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate attributes that young applicants frequently can’t reveal in the classroom or in their jobs: leadership, initiative, interpersonal skills, and the ability to handle responsibility. It expresses your willingness to contribute.

2. A foundational principle of admissions is “Past behavior predicts future behavior.” To adcoms a history of activism and participation evidences that you will be an active participant in their student and alumni communities. That’s exactly the impression you want your application to make.

3. It indicates breadth and well-roundedness. Surprise. Surprise. Top MBA programs don’t want workaholic nerds.

At the most competitive schools, community service and extracurricular activities frequently make the difference between who is accepted and rejected among otherwise competitive applicants. If you have been involved in community service, great. Keep up the good work and strive for a leadership role. If you haven’t been an active participant or leader, become one. Choose an activity, cause, or organization that you would like to contribute to. And then be consistently and actively involved so that you will have a commitment to write about other than school and work. You may even find that you enjoy it.

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Related Resources:

Leadership in Admissions
MBA Admissions: Does Extracurricular Equal Extra Credit?
Harvard Business School: Engaged Community Citizenship

Entrepreneurship at Stanford GSB: Carlypso Drives Down the Startup Street

Found this podcast interesting?  Click here to listen to more. Thinking of launching a disruptive start-up? Dying to attend a leading entrepreneurial MBA program? Well meet Nick Hinrichsen and Chris Colemen, founders of the start-up Carlypso, which Tech Crunch calls a “brilliant concept.” Oh, and they earned their MBAs in 2013 from Stanford GSB.

Listen to the recording of this intriguing interview as we discuss the founding of Carlypso, life as a Stanford GSB MBA student and the impact of the Stanford experience on the Carlypso launch.

00:1:37 –  You asked, Linda answers! Linda explains why you should only give ONE example or story when application questions ask for one example.  Adding more than one can do more harm than good.

00:5:08 – What is Carlypso?

00:7:30 – Where did the idea for Carlypso come from.

10:39 – Who benefits from using Carlypso?

12:40 – Did their Stanford MBA degree really help them?

19:10 – Are people overestimating entrepreneurship at Stanford?

21:42 –  The Stanford MBA’s impact on Nick’s and Chris’s work.

23:10 – The $50,000 coffee that helped start Carlypso.

26:14 – Interested in attending Stanford? Nick and Chris give tips on how to get accepted (and rejected).

27:45 – Fail, and fail gracefully, but don’t do it again.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

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MBA Hiring Expected to Increase in 2015

MBA hiring expected to increase in 2015

72% of employers plan on hiring MBA graduates in 2015

GMAC’s 2014 Year-End Employer Poll

Here are some highlights from GMAC’s 2014 Year-End Employer Poll. Spoiler: It’s good news!

• 169 employers from 33 countries were interviewed. This is a relatively small sample.

• Overall, the job market remains strong for 2015 b-school grads.

• 90% of employers that expect to hire b-school graduates in 2015 expect to maintain or increase the number of job openings compared with hiring in 2014.

• 72% of employers plan on hiring MBA graduates in 2015, compared to 69% in 2014.

• The majority of employers (54%-74%) plan on increasing starting salaries at or above the rate of inflation in 2015.

• 64% of employers say that their companies are expanding and that they plan on hiring more business school graduates.

• 87% of employers expect to offer internships to students. Usually these internships will go towards bachelor’s graduates (73% of employers). This is followed by MBA grads (55% of employers).

• 96% of employers agree that business school graduates create value for their companies.

As usual, the greatest hiring demand is for MBA graduates; though Master in Management grads are projected to experience the largest increase in hiring.

GMAC Hiring report 2015 projections

According to GMAC’s Survey Research Manager, Rebecca Estrada Worthingon, “The solid job prospects for b-school talent seen over the past several years and again reflected in this poll, give prospective students good reason to consider pursuing these degrees as part of a strategy to drive their career goals….Our data show that even in the depths of the recession, business and management degrees can provide a measure of job protection and opportunity. Today, in a recovering global economy, management degrees can be a powerful driver of confidence and provide fuel for an individual’s career growth.”

See the 2014 Year-End Poll of Employers Report and the GMAC press release for more details.

Click here to download your free copy of Focus on Management Consulting
Accepted.com: The Premier Admissions Consultancy
Related Resources:

MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Terrific Tips
Payscale: How Much Can You Earn, and How To Earn It
25 Top MBA Employers According to MBA Students

Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2015

The MBA Rankings: What You Need to KnowFinancial Times 2015 global MBA rankings  were released this morning. Let’s see how our top schools fared this year…

Top 25 2015 Global MBA Programs (last year’s rank in parentheses)

1. Harvard Business School, USA (1)
2. London Business School, UK (3)
3. UPenn Wharton, USA (4)
4. Stanford GSB, USA (2)
5. INSEAD, France/Singapore (5)
6. Columbia Business School, USA (5)
7. IESE, Spain (7)
8. MIT Sloan, USA (8)
9. Chicago Booth, USA (9)
10. UC Berkeley Haas, USA (11)
11. CEIBS, China (17)
12. IE Business School, Spain (13)
13. Cambridge Judge, UK (16)
14. HKUST, China (14)
15. Northwestern Kellogg, USA (15)
16. HEC Paris, France (21)
17. Yale SOM, USA (10)
18. NYU Stern, USA (17)
19. ESADE Business School, Spain (22)
20. IMD, Switzerland (12)
21. Duke Fuqua, USA (17)
22. Oxford Saïd, UK (23)
23. Dartmouth Tuck, USA (20)
24. Michigan Ross, USA (23)
25. UCLA Anderson, USA (26)

The big news is how little the top 10 changed. More significant movement occurred outside the top 10, as is typical of most rankings. Here are some highlights:

• New to the top 10 in 2015 is UC Berkeley Haas which climbed one spot from 11th place last year to 10th place this year.

• Yale SOM, on the other hand, lost its top-10 berth and fell 7 places from 10th place last year to 17th place this year.

• Big jumpers in the top 25 include HEC Paris which moved from 21st place in 2014 to 16th place in 2015, and CEIBS which jumped from 17th place last year to 11th this year.

• IMD fell 8 slots this year from 12th place to 20th place. For possible reasons behind the drop, please see “5 Key IMD Officials Resign.”

• 7 of the top 10 business schools in 2015 are programs in the USA, which is the same number as last year.

• This is the third year in a row that Harvard Business School snagged the first place position.

• Further down the rankings (top 50), we see more big jumpers, including Imperial College Business School (UK) which jumped from 49th place in 2014 to 34th place this year; Manchester Business School (UK) which went from 43rd to 35th place; The Lisbon MBA (Portugal) which jumped from 52nd to 36th place; and Lancaster University Management School (UK) which jumped from 77th place to 50th place.

• The school that fell the most in the top 50 was Warwick Business School (UK) which fell from 25th place in 2014 to 38th place in 2015.

• Overall the FT rankings reflect the growing strength of Asian and European business schools.

The Financial Times rankings measure average salaries of alumni along with several other factors. Its lead article on the rankings notes that “the financial returns from completing a full-time MBA have fallen over the past three years and while a graduate can still expect to nearly double their salary, the average boost to earnings is down by almost a third from the qualification’s heyday.” It continues to explain that this is particularly true among b-schools in the U.S. (which account for 50 of the top 100 global programs). For an excellent critique of the FT methodology, please see P&Q’s analysis.

Here are some additional highlights from that article:

• In 2015, MBAs who were three years post-MBA reported salary increases of 92%. This is compared to 110% in 2012 and 153% in 2002 and 2003.

• In 2003, b-school alumni from 82% of programs ranked saw salary increases of more than 120% over 4-5 years post-MBA. This year, only 7% saw the equivalent increase.

• A factor contributing to this trend is the drop in MBAs heading into finance and banking (25% in 2015 compared to 29% in 2005). Survey respondents from the finance sector reported an average salary of $152,000 compared to the overall average salary of respondents of $133,000.

My take:

In terms of the flaws in the FT rankings, I suggest you see Poets & Quants excellent critique.

I also suggest you read “Boost to earning from MBAs falls.” The article reflects on the decline in earnings increase from the MBA as well as the weakness in the graduate business education market outside the top tier.

The two are related. Grads from the top business schools by definition snag the highest salaries and sometimes the biggest increase in salaries. The lower ranked schools are struggling to compete, keep themselves affordable, and provide an ROI. Consequently several traditional two-year programs have closed – notably Thunderbird and Wake Forest. One-year programs and specialized masters are increasingly popular and experiencing increasing recruiter demand along with ROI.

For you as a prospective student, you need to focus not on the overall trend in salary increase for MBAs, and not even your ROI today vs what it maybe could have been 13 years ago when you were middle school, but your anticipated return on investment today and which degree is most likely to maximize it.

Frankly 92% increase in salary can be a phenomenal increase depending on where you start at and what you paid for it. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving since the increased salary continues and usually climbs annually for the rest of your career.

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?
Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

 

Related Resources:

MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know
2014 BusinessWeek Rankings
The Benefits of an MBA According to John Byrn

Round 3 or Next Year Webinar Reminder!

Don’t forget to register for Wednesday’s webinar, Round 3 vs. Next Year: The MBA Admissions Debate. Remember – this is a MUST-attend webinar for anyone facing the difficult decision of applying to b-school R3 or next year.

Register for the upcoming webinar!

During the webinar, Linda Abraham, founder & CEO of Accepted.com, will provide the pros and cons of each option, as well as loads of examples of how she would advise different applicants with various profiles/backgrounds.

Mark your calendars!

Date: Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Time: 10:00 AM PST/1:00 PM EST

Reserve your spot now

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