4 Tips for Better B-School Visits

Looking for more MBA admissions advice? Check out our MBA Admissions 101 Pages!

Prepare good questions.

First, let me begin by saying that if you have the time and money to visit the schools that you’re thinking about applying to, then you absolutely should. And the reason isn’t because of the imaginary “brownie points”; it is because visiting a school will transform you into a much more informed applicant. There’s so much about a school’s culture, teaching style, and student body that can only be understood fully through experience.

The following 4 tips will help you make the most of your b-school visit.

1) Timing is everything. Visit the school when classes are in session so that you can see the learning in action. Don’t go during finals as students will likely be stressed out and not as eager to leisurely sit and talk with you.

2) Research before you go. You should read up on the school before you pay your visit. Your familiarity will enable you to ask better questions, make deeper connections with student, faculty, and adcom members, and feel more comfortable overall.

3) Prepare good questions. You’ll likely to speaking to lots of students, adcom members, and professors. Come prepared with good questions so you’re not left tongue tied when a good opportunity for a question presents itself. (See below for sample questions.)

4) Participate in visitor activities. Take advantage of all options presented to you, including attending class, a tour, info sessions, one-on-one meetings with students, etc.

Sample questions:

• What is a typical day like for you here?

• What would you like to see improved here?

• What kinds of extracurricular activities are you involved in?

• Is it easy for someone to start their own club or group?

• How do professors balance teaching and research?

• Is there a bidding process for internship and full-time job interviews?

You should also ask questions that are specific to your target program and needs, like about individual professors or classes. Another good, program-specific question for students may be, “Why did you decide to attend this program?” You can also ask about their post-MBA goals and how this program will help them achieve them.

Finally the best questions are those about specific programs at the school that you are interested in because they will help you achieve your post-MBA goals.

Attending an MBA Fair?

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• What You Must Know Before Meeting Admissions Directors
Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One
• What to Do at an MBA Fair [Podcast Interview]

What You Should NOT Include in Your MBA Essays

Is my personal statement too personal?

Don’t share too much personal information!

Do this. Write that. Include the other. What TO put in your MBA essays is the topic of many discussions. But what NOT to include is a less talked about conversation. Until now…

Check out these three things that you should NEVER include your MBA application essays:

1. Private, intimate details about your life.

You want to provide a personal account that highlights your character, experiences, and achievements; but tread carefully – too much information will cross the line into an inappropriate zone. Topics to steer clear of: sex, divorce, gross medical details, childbirth, bathroom humor, heavy partying etc. Hopefully you’re thinking, “Why on earth would anyone include that in an application!” If, however, you’re thinking, “Wow, I never thought to avoid these subjects – this is good to know,” then I’m glad you’re reading this!

The only time when it may be acceptable to discuss any of the above is to mention it as context for poor performance in the past. And then less is more. Focus on how you have dealt with the issue, overcome it, and moved on.

2. Broad declarative statements unsubstantiated by specific examples.

You probably learned this rule in elementary school, but we’ll review it – each topic sentence you write must be followed by supporting sentences. So if you claim that you are a team leader, you can’t just leave it at that. Instead, follow that with a few examples: What have you done to show your leadership abilities? How many people were on your team? How did you motivate your team members? Did you encounter any obstacles? If so, how did you overcome them? What did you gain from the experience overall?

This is particularly important when talking about work accomplishments. Saying that you developed a new product or organized a huge event begs for more questions. Answer those questions so that the adcom readers don’t need to ask them.

3. Exaggerations and lies.

Fact-checking has become a regular part of an admissions reader’s job. Please don’t exaggerate or lie. It’s unethical and unwise. It’ll only come back to bite you.

So there you have it: three places you don’t want to go in your MBA essays – at least if you do want to go to b-school.

MBA 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid



Related Resources:

The Biggest Application Essay Mistake
• How Personal is Too Personal?
• Weakness, What Weakness?

The Georgetown McDonough MBA: Everything You Need to Know

Shari_HubertGeorgetown McDonough is famous for being the place where business and policy meet, but there is so much more to say about this top MBA Program.

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Shari Hubert, Associate Dean of MBA Admissions at Georgetown McDonough School of Business, for a phenomenal overview of what’s new and exciting at the school.

00:04:38 – About the Full-Time MBA at Georgetown McDonough.

00:08:57 – How the global focus plays out.

00:15:21 – The intersection of Business & Policy.

00:20:15 – Other strengths of the McDonough program.

00:25:14 – The Real Estate Initiative.

00:27:37 – What McDonough is looking for in their one required essay question: “Why You?”

00:29:20 – The admissions office as a resource for applicants and the role of admissions advisors.

00:35:43 – What Shari wishes applicants would think about before applying!

00:39:52 – It’s 10pm and you are reading one last application after a long day: What would make you jump for joy and what would really bother you?

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

Related Links:

Georgetown McDonough MBA 
The Real Estate Finance Initiative
• Where Does Wall St. Hire: U.S. B-Schools Sending Grads into Financial Services
• McDonough on Tumblr
McDonough on Twitter
• McDonough on Facebook
• Global Social Enterprise Initiative
 Georgetown McDonough 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
• Georgetown McDonough B-School Zone

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Jeff Reid
• MBA Project Search
• Honing in On the Cornell Johnson MBA
• The Tuck School of Business and the Global Insight Requirement

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MIT Master in Finance – Is It the Right Fit for You (and Vice Versa)?

Listen to our Popular Podcast Episode - Masters in Finance: What You Need to KnowPracticality is the essence of MIT’s Master in Finance program. It’s just one year, as opposed to numerous MFin programs that are 1.5 to 2 years, and, as the website notes, it was developed “as a direct response to demand in the financial industry.” In spite of the short duration, the program offers flexibility to tailor it to your needs. Moreover, it’s an “early career” program – students’ pre-program experience averages 0-4 years, according to the website, with about 50% coming directly from undergrad.

Here are some additional distinguishing elements of the program:

• Its location in the business school deepens its opportunities; you’ll take some courses with MBA, PhD, and Sloan Fellows students, giving you direct access to people with deep experience and networks across many industries and functions. You can also participate in certain clubs such as Venture Capital and Private Equity Club.

• The flexibility extends to the option to take some courses at the School of Engineering and/or School of Science.

• The practical nature of the program includes a Finance Research Practicum, which addresses real-world situations and problems.

• The opportunity to build strong, enduring relationships arises from the extensive small-group work, which also prepares you to succeed in an increasingly interconnected and team-focused work environment.

• Career development is an ongoing focus from the first semester, with a “Career Core” curriculum. There are also career treks and opportunities to explore industry segments.

• About 88% of 2013 graduates received employment offers as of October 2013, notes the Employment Report.

• It’s a truly global program, with 84% of students from outside the US.

Now, what does it take to win access to these delectable resources and opportunities? With an acceptance rate of around 10%, a lot.

• Solid academic achievement and test scores, with average GPA of 3.7 (in programs spanning various disciplines, from economics and math to engineering and business to humanities and science), GMAT mid 80% range 700-770, with quant 48-51; GRE quant mid 80% range 161-170.

• Prerequisite quantitative coursework – if you click on the link, scroll down and take the self-assessment!

• Most desired personal qualities are ability to collaborate, willingness to think/look outside of the proverbial box (a classic MIT value), and high motivation (use your essays to demonstrate these qualities).

• While many students have no official professional experience, the adcom wants to see at least a related internship, so that students come with some practical exposure.

• Interviews are selective (about 30%) and by invitation only; every accepted applicant is interviewed (about 30% of those interviewed are admitted).

• Good news for internationals: a TOEFL score is not required!

By the way, on the program’s website there is an extensive and thorough discussion of recruiting, careers, etc. in the FAQ – I recommend perusing it.

Click here for the lowdown on one of the most up and coming specialized masters programs in the business world.

Cindy Tokumitsu By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.com.

Related Resources:

MIT Sloan B-School Zone
• Princeton University Master in Finance: Is It Right for You, and Are You Right for Princeton?
• The Facts About Financial Services

HEC Paris Launches New MBA-MIF Program

Check out our HEC Paris b-school zone!HEC Paris Business School just announced the launch of its new MBA-MIF program in a press release Monday. The 20-month program (16 months for the MBA and 10 months for the Masters in Finance) will provide students with an integrated curriculum, allowing for different tracks for students with different skills and experience levels. Within the MBA component of the program, students will be able specialize in entrepreneurship, strategy, or general management, and combine that with the finance specialization in the MIF component. Students will receive “early intensive training in finance, thereby enhancing preparation for banking and consulting interviews.”

Upon completion of the dual degree program, students will receive an MBA and an MSc in International Finance.

According to Jacques Olivier, HEC Paris Professor of Finance and Program Director, “The financial crisis has challenged business schools to find new ways to equip their graduates with the right set of knowledge, skills and values. HEC Paris has designed the MBA-MIF dual degree for young professionals who wish to acquire not only the general management education and leadership skills from a leading MBA program, but also advanced technical knowledge in finance to differentiate themselves from their peers. This unique combination will allow dual degree students to fast-track onto senior management positions within finance and consulting.”

See the HEC Paris website for more information on the MBA-MIF program.

For advice on how to get accepted to HEC Paris, please see our HEC Paris B-School Zone.

Click here for the lowdown on one of the most up and coming specialized masters programs in the business world.

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

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• The Facts About Financial Services