Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship

Browse through other episodes of Admissions Straight Talk.Admit it: You love the ring of ‘venture capital’ and ‘private equity.’

Enter Pitchbook, the ultimate resource for those looking for a future in PE/VC (and those looking for VCs to fund their futures).

Listen to the full recording of our conversation with Andy White, Senior Research Associate for Pitchbook for some great stats, info, and predictions that every PE/VC wannabe should know.

00:02:22 – PitchBook: Cat-and-mouse game or encyclopedia? (Or both?)

00:04:34 – “Top Universities Producing VC-backed Entrepreneurs.” Why this topic and why these schools.

00:07:54 – Several reasons that some schools just manage to produce more funding-receiving entrepreneurs.

00:13:55 – There is hope for you to get a PE/VC job if you don’t attend Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Booth, Kellogg. But there is even more hope if you do.

00:19:11 – Another important factor for breaking into the VC industry: your pre-MBA work.

00:22:36 – Spreading the word about the world of VC & PE.

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss any segments! Stay in the admissions know.

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Relevant Links:

•  MBA in Sight: Focus on Finance
•  Accepted Blog: Posts on Entrepreneurship
•  PitchBook.com
•  PitchBook Blog
•   “Harvard, 4 Other Schools, Make Up Most MBAs at PE & VC Firms
•  “Top Universities Producing VC-backed Entrepreneurs
•  “Could You Live Without Private Equity?”

Related Episodes

•  Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman
•  Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC
•  From Luxury Marketing to Entrepreneurship: A Talk with Daria Burke
•  Jeff Reid on Entrepreneurship
•  Interview with Anne Perigo, UM Master in Entrepreneurship


•  Admissions Straight Talk on iTunes
•  Admissions Straight Talk on Stitcher

Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman

Check out other podcast episodes here.Want to start a business? Partner in a law firm? Go into private equity? Run a media and entertainment company? How about all of the above?

Learn from someone who has done it all. And doesn’t normally give interviews.

Listen to the full recording of our interview with John Engelman, for tips, advice and insights from a guy who’s made the journey from lawyer to private equity dealmaker to media and entertainment entrepreneur and executive.

00:01:40 – Meet our guest, John Engelman. Sounds like he’s been busy for the past few years.

00:03:45 – From crisis control to strategic planning: The transition from law partner to businessperson.

00:04:58 – When (and if) a law degree is a good path to the business world.

00:07:19 – An MBA, JD, both, or neither?

00:09:12 – The skill a would-be-entrepreneur needs to master. (Is entrepreneurship class a contradiction?)

00:12:48 – Media & entertainment: The most dynamic, regulated, and international industry out there. Are they paying me or am I paying them?

00:15:37 – The lifecycle of a media property (for Linda, the hills are still alive with the sound of music).

00:19:27 – The definition of good networking? Mom was right – you really should be nice to your roommate.

00:22:39 – Top tips for negotiating and the biggest negotiating mistakes people make.

00:26:43 – What separates a good businessperson from a bad businessperson. Hint: it isn’t IQ points.

00:29:14 – The secret of maintaining a work-life balance and the tragic risk of burnout.

00:35:12 – John’s best piece of advice for someone considering a career in business or law.

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss any segments! Stay in the admissions know.

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Relevant Links:

•  Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One
•  MBA in Sight: Focus on Finance

Related Episodes

•  Case Interview Secrets and More with Victor Cheng
•  MBAs Across America: The Coolest HBS Internship
•  Interview with Anne Perigo, UM Master in Entrepreneurship
•  Jeff Reid on Entrepreneurship
•  Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC


•  Admissions Straight Talk on iTunes
•  Admissions Straight Talk on Stitcher

Which B-Schools are Best for Finance Students?

You’ll find the answer to that question in our newest special report, MBA In Sight: Focus on Finance.

FocusOnFinance Cover

If you’re aiming for a future in finance, then you’ll want to attend the schools that will support your finance goal. MBA In Sight: Focus on Finance will introduce you to top programs that put a heavy emphasis on finance.

In this free guide we highlight the courses, research centers, study abroad options, career stats, courses, and clubs at some of the best b-schools in the world that will position finance students for a successful future in the finance industry.

Download your free copy of MBA In Sight: Focus on Finance now!


Gender Pay Gap Widens Among B-School Graduates

Gender Pay Gap WidensNew Bloomberg Businessweek research shows that women make $0.05 less than men do for every dollar in their first post-MBA jobs. A decade ago, the BW article states, this gender wage gap was virtually non-existent. Below are some of the recent findings:

  • In the general workforce, women earn only 82% of male earnings.
  • 2012 women graduates from Stanford made $0.79 on the male dollar.
  • At Wharton they earned $0.86 on the dollar. In 2002 women were earning 99% of what men earned.
  • In the b-school world in 2002, women earned $0.98 cents to the male dollar. In 2004, that percentage dropped to 94.1. It went up and down over the next few years, bottoming out at 93.2% in 2012.
  • Some women MBA graduates are making more than men, like at Texas McCombs where women earned 102% of male earnings in 2012.

According to the BW article:

The growing pay disparity may be partly explained by shifts in the career choices women MBAs are making today, compared to those they made a decade ago, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek analysis of 114 MBA programs surveyed in 2012 and 88 in 2002. One such shift involves finance jobs. Fewer MBA graduates of either gender are pursuing finance careers this year, when pay cuts and headcount reductions have made Wall Street jobs less attractive to some. But women have fled finance in substantially larger numbers, driving down average female salaries.

In 2012, 16% of women went into finance positions; in 2002, that number was as high as 29%. In 2012, 2% of women took high-paying investment banking positions; in 2002, 6% took similar jobs.

One factor that may play into the widening gender pay gap may include age – according to the Graduate Management Admission Council, the average age of women GMAT test takers is a year younger than men test takers, which likely means that they have less work experience, and thus, earn lower wages.

Another study shows that men generally have higher GPAs which would account for different pay wages.

The article concludes by stating that the greater concern here isn’t the slight pay gap during that first year post-MBA, but how the gap widens 10 years down the line, to about 50%.


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Top B-School App Volume Plummets

applications go down at top b-schools

Applications are down at top b-schools

A recent Bloomberg Businessweek article explains that as Wall Street faces turmoil, applications go down at top b-schools with close finance industry ties, specifically Columbia Business School and NYU Stern.

Half of Columbia’s 2012 graduates entered financial services, with 18 MBAs heading to Goldman Sachs alone. This year, Columbia experienced a 19% decrease in full-time MBA applications.

According to Columbia’s vice dean, Amir Ziv, “There’s merit to the argument that if the financial industry isn’t doing well, it should hit schools that are more exposed to it than others. In the long run, if it’s not doing well, you’ll have fewer students interested in schools that are excellent in finance.”

Last year, NYU Stern sent 46% of its graduating class into the financial service industry. This year, applications are down 12%.

The hit on application volume is much lighter, the article goes on to say, at schools that rely less on Wall Street jobs. At Harvard Business School, for example, applications are down only 2%, and at Wharton, only 1%. These schools, as well as Chicago Booth which has also experienced only a slight decline in applications, report that about 40% of 2012 graduates entered the financial services industry.

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) reported that interest in financial jobs has been down since 2008 (with a short upward jump in 2010).

A Poets & Quants article shows that despite these declines, Columbia has a silver lining to celebrate: It just received an anonymous $25 million gift. And let’s not forget the $100 million gift CBS received two years ago.

For more information on the current application volume drops, please see “Chicago Booth Apps Down 3%” and “Columbia MBA Apps Plunge 19%,” two more recent P&Q articles.

My Take + Takeaways for Applicants:

I’m not convinced that the sharp plunge for Columbia and serious drop for NYU is solely due to their ties to Wall Street. Chicago, Wharton, and Yale, for example, send and receive similar percentages of their classes to and from Wall Street and suffered much smaller drops in application volume. Lack of no-co-signer loans for international applicants certainly is likely a contributing factor at CBS. I also saw some speculation that the documentary Inside Job, which does not portray Columbia’s dean favorably, may also have hurt the school.  Dependence on Wall Street accounts for some of the drop, but I don’t believe that it accounts for all of it.

However, as both Poets and Quants and Bloomberg Businessweek point out, the drop means a higher acceptance rate at Columbia and NYU. It means that if Columbia is to maintain its high average GMAT score, it will need to be a little less choosy about grades or extra-curriculars. It may welcome (and again be a little less choosy) about non-financial types so that it can diversify. (FYI: Diversification is one of those things b-schools say is a good thing.)

At the same time, it’s too early to break out the champagne in anticipation of an easy acceptance at this Ivy League program. If Columbia admits the same number of applicants as it did in previous years, even with the drop in applications, it will still have only an acceptance rate slightly above 20%. While significantly higher than Columbia’s 15.9% acceptance rate in 2011, CBS will still reject roughly four applicants for every one that it accepts.

If you take the purpose-driven approach to admissions that I advocate, apply to Columbia, NYU, and any other program if you feel it supports your goals and that you have a reasonable chance of acceptance. Columbia has excellent programs in value investing, private equity, real estate, luxury goods marketing, retail, and a host of other fields. If those programs will help you achieve your goals, your chances of acceptance have improved and the quality of those programs has not changed. BUT, you will still need to do better than the competition. You can just expect less competition than those applicants who applied two years ago, when Columbia accepted approximately one out of six applicants.

Accepted.com Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Current Student Interview – Richard from NYU Stern

NYU student - Richard Liao

NYU student – Richard Liao

Here’s a talk with Richard Liao, who is about to start his second year at NYU Stern. Thank you Richard for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!

This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself – where are you from? What and where did you study as an undergraduate and when did you graduate? Do you hold any other degrees?

Richard:  I was born in the States, and I went back to Taiwan to go through my childhood until the age of 13, and came back to LA to study for high school. I then decided to go to the east coast to check out the different dynamics, so I enrolled in Cornell University first in Operations Research & Industrial Engineering, and then did a Master of Financial Engineering in Cornell as well as preparation for transition into Finance, investment banking. After a couple of years of stink at Wall Street I decided to pursue an MBA at Stern to transform myself into a management consultant.

Accepted: Why did you choose NYU Stern? 

Richard: I think there are three pillars about NYU Stern that really attract me.

  1. Smart, driven, yet down to earth people - Every top 10 business school is full of smart people, and we all know that. So nothing too particular about it. What really sets Stern apart from the rest is that we are a very practical, realistic group of people. We execute on what we said, and we walk the talk. You can be a charismatic leader but if all you do is talk, in the long-run it won’t work when the business condition shifts. Therefore. NYU Stern is about a practical, executionable attitude when they select future MBAs.
  2. New York City – I am a city person, and there are just so many resources you can leverage in a city. No matter if it is networking for recruiting or just socializing with friends and classmates, NYC has so much to offer…this is important if you can be level-headed yourself in a more intense yet energetic environment.
  3. Finance & Strategy focus curriculum - NYU Stern has great strategy & finance professors. Professor Marciano is a famous strategy professor and she is one of the best at teaching strategic management. Professor Demodaran is a frequently quoted speaker from CNBC and the Wall Street Journal, and his corporate finance course is a must. I think if you want to work in finance or consulting, you can’t go wrong with NYU Stern.

Accepted: Can you tell us a bit about your MFE from Cornell? What is financial engineering?

Richard: If you think about engineering, it is about assembling individual components and constructing something out of this creation. For example, mechanical engineering assembles different components such as an engine or pipeline into a car. Similarly, financial engineering is about constructing the financial instruments by using derivatives to feed into enterprising clients’ needs.

Accepted: What are some of your favorite things about living in New York City? 

Richard: New York City can satisfy all different kinds of palates. You can go for Indian food one day and the next day you can enjoy Brazilian BBQ. In addition, if you enjoy meeting new people and going out, there is no better place than NYC to do so. It can be quite intense when you go out on a consecutive basis…but it is a life-style that you can pick and decide. Of course, a lot of cultural stuff happens in NYC as well such as museums, street fairs, Broadway shows, etc.

Accepted: How does studying in the Big Apple compare to studying in Ithaca?

Richard: It is quite different. And I will be honest – I love every aspect of living in a city, and don’t really enjoy Ithaca.

Accepted: I see you’re now interning at IBM. What is your position there and what role did NYU play in helping you secure that position?

Richard: I am a Summer MBA consultant at IBM’s Strategy & Transformation (S&T), which is a management consulting arm for IBM Global Business Services. My role is to become a capable consultant to support my team in the industrial sector in all strategic initiatives when we engage with our client. I will say NYU Stern opens the door for you to recruit with IBM S&T, but it is more about you needing to nail your interviews to be able to get in.

Accepted: Do you have any advice for some of our applicants who will be applying to NYU Stern?

Richard: I think it is more about really understanding why you want an MBA. You should spend 75% of your time brainstorming and understanding what you wanna do and what you wanna get out of it. Put in consulting jargon, what is the value added from an MBA and particularly for you, because every case is different just like different core client engagement. And be prepared to present yourself to your interviewer because NYU really cares about the interview; a perfect resume does not get you in, but a well-conducted interview will.

For one-on-one guidance on the Stern application, please see our NYU Stern packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for NYU see Linda’s NYU Stern 2013 Essay Questions, Deadlines, and Tips.


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GMAC Survey Reveals New Trends

The Graduate Management Admissions Council’s annual Application Trends Survey reveals up-and-down admissions trends in specialized master’s programs in finance and management, as well as MBA programs. While the economy remains shaky and applications are down at full-time MBA programs, graduate business schools continue to receive strong applications from highly qualified applicants. Schools also report an increasing number of applications from international candidates.

Important survey findings include:

  • 67% of full-time, two-year MBA programs report a decline in application volume in 2011. Down approximately 10% from 2010, according to the WSJ.
  • 83% of masters in finance programs report an increase in application volume, as did 69% of masters in management programs.
  • Most schools claim that “applicant quality” has increased or remained the same in 2011.
  • For all degree types covered in this survey, schools report an increase in applications from foreign students, with India and China leading the way.
  • Part-time MBA programs report fairly flat application volume.
  • Executive MBA programs were down from 2010, but up from 2009.
  • Almost 75% of two-year full-time MBA applicants in 2011 were from outside a school’s local area. 45% of applicants come from outside the US.
  • 57% of one-year full-time MBA programs reported a decline in application volume.

So what’s your take on these numbers? Can you explain the sudden attraction of Masters in Finance programs? My guess is that it correlates with an increase in applications from India and China, two areas of the world where applicants tend to excel in number crunching. Many MiFs are also one-year programs, which makes them less costly, although that fact hasn’t saved the one-year MBA programs.

My main take-away: there is opportunity in these numbers, specifically the decline in MBA applications. And while the elite schools may not be hurting for applicants, I strongly suspect that the decline is affecting all programs at least somewhat.

If you are a borderline applicant or even a competitive but not stellar MBA applicant, you will have a slightly better chance of acceptance this year than last.  And maybe even a better chance this year than next year. GMAT volume for the first half of 2011 is up.

“Ah,” you say, “but the economy!” Valid concern.  (See “Look at the Economy! Is Now the Right Time to Apply to Business School?”)

I can’t tell you what the economy will be like in 2014. And I certainly don’t recommend applying if you aren’t ready. I can tell you that those intrepid souls who applied to b-school in 2002 and 2003 when applications were way down, graduated into a growing economy in 2005 and 2006. They had plenty of job offers.

So if you know you need an MBA to achieve your professional goals, this year could be a great year to apply. At least that’s my take. What’s yours?

Linda Abraham By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com


MBA Admissions: Yale SOM and Management Consulting


This post about Yale SOM and management consulting is part of a series of interviews of top MBA programs called “MBA Career Goals and the B-Schools that Support Them.” Please subscribe to our blog to ensure that you receive all the interviews exploring the elements at each school that support career goals in finance, consulting, general management, entrepreneurship, marketing and more.

Here is the interview with the Admissions Office and Career Development Office at Yale SOM.

What kind of background and skills do you like to see in applicants expressing interest in a career in management consulting?

The backgrounds for prospective management consultants can vary widely from analyst positions at consulting companies to work experience as part of Teach for America.  The generalist model consulting companies are looking for the “best and brightest” regardless of industry background, so strong analytical skills and communication skills (for example, as demonstrated by high GMAT scores) are essential.  The interview process is extensive and is focused on “casing,” which requires candidates to demonstrate business acumen, problem framing and solution development while engaging in a collaborative discussion with the interviewer.

The generalist consulting companies do value to some degree prior experiences in consulting, finance, operations, or marketing; however those experiences are not essential.

More specialized firms expect undergraduate education and prior experiences in related fields.  For example, healthcare consulting companies consider more candidates that have scientific undergraduate degrees and have worked in the healthcare industry prior to Yale SOM and finance consulting companies consider more candidates with a related financial work experience.

What aspects of your curriculum are best suited to students who want to eventually pursue a career in management consulting?

The “core” course for the strategy curriculum is Competitive Strategy. Students can pursue an ‘emphasis’ in strategy; for those students or students interested in consulting/general management, the second “core” course of the strategy curriculum is Internal Competitive Strategy and the Internal Organization of the Firm. Students considering a career in strategy are also recommended to take Statistical Modeling. Other courses to consider include Technology Strategy, Behavioral Economics and Strategy, and Developing Winning Strategies.

Which school clubs and extra-curricular events are most relevant to people interested in management consulting?

Membership in the Consulting Club is essential for prospective consultants.  The club conducts a curriculum that is focused on case interviewing, enabling students to develop essential techniques and offering an environment for practicing case interviewing in groups and one-on-one.  Additionally, the Club holds case competitions in conjunction with prospective employers, which both sharpen skills and build professional contacts for networking.  Club leads and 2nd year members act as coaches to help students sharpen their resumes, prepare for interviews, and navigate employer opportunities.

Since “management consulting” is a very broad term, can you break down some of the some of the sub-categories in the field that Yale SOM excels in?

A wide variety of consulting firms recruit Yale SOM students, including strategic consulting firms, operational consulting, human capital, financial consulting, healthcare consulting, and innovation consulting.

Which management consulting firms recruit at Yale SOM? How many graduates of your 2010 class received offers from each of these firms?

Many consulting firms recruit at Yale SOM.  A sampling of them includes Bain, BCG, McKinsey, Deloitte, PwC, Booz Allen Hamilton, Arthur D. Little, Charles River Associates, PA Consulting, Casey, Quirk and Associates, CCS Fund Raising, Chartis Group, Frankel Group, The Hay Group, Innosight, Mars Consulting, The Parthenon Group, and Putnam Associates.  Additionally there are many firms that recruit Yale SOM graduates through other channels such as diversity programs.  Approximately 20% of our 2011 students have taken full-time positions at companies within the consulting sector.

Thanks to the Yale SOM Admissions Office and Career Development Office for granting us this interview. 

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MBA Sample Essays!


MBA Admissions: Interview with Nunzio Quacquarelli of QS World MBA Tour


Accepted.com turned recently to Nunzio Quacquarelli, Managing Director, QS World MBA Tour for his perspective on the MBA scene. In addition to organizing the QS World MBA Tour, Nunzio, who earned his MBA from Wharton, authors TopMBA Jobs & Salary Trends Report and QS Global 200 Business Schools: The MBA Employer’s Choice. He writes and speaks extensively on trends in graduate business education. He has generously shared his thoughts in response to a few questions below:

What do you see as three of the most significant changes in the graduate business education market in the last ten years?

QS World MBA TourIn terms of MBA employment opportunities, the high growth has taken place the emerging markets over the past decade. I think that we’ll see the overall volume of MBA opportunities in Asia out-stripping the US quite soon. Some employers in China and India are literally employing thousands of MBAs every year. There are also multinationals operating, or planning to grow, in emerging markets that are looking to take MBAs from the west and employ them in those economies. So, there is more and more mobility of MBAs – not necessarily candidates from emerging markets coming to the west, but actually candidates from the west going to the emerging markets. What is happening now is quite a fundamental change in the flow of talent and, I think over the next decade, it will accelerate a lot.

Over the decade there has been a sharp increase in demand for MBAs with over six years of work experience, spawning a huge growth in the number of executive MBA programs on offer around the world and yielding far higher average salaries. MBAs are no longer viewed as a homogenous group. As business schools produce ever more pre-experience masters students, employers are increasingly paying premium salaries for more experienced MBA candidates with strength in the ‘soft’ skills, such as leadership, communication, interpersonal and strategic thinking. These skills are often considered a more important outcome of an MBA qualification by employers than say accounting or other traditional ‘hard’ MBA skills, according to QS TopMBA.com Jobs & Salary Trends Report 2011/12, which surveyed over 12,000 employers worldwide.  Local employers will settle for MBAs with less than two years of experience, but they won’t pay much more than a pre-experience graduate. Multinational employers paying $100,000 salaries continue to prioritise MBAs with three to five years of experience, but executive MBA salaries can often be double this level.

Socially responsible careers and social entrepreneurship, in particular, have become a much more important and attractive career priorities for MBAs. The shock of the credit crunch and a loss of confidence amongst young people in the banking sector in particular, has inspired a new generation of MBA candidates to prioritise socially responsible careers, both within the corporate sector and as start ups. In QS TopMBA.com Applicant Survey 2011, 33% of applicants specified an interest in starting their own business, compared to 23% a decade ago, whilst the numbers of applicants reporting a desire to specialise in finance is at an all time low. The Aspen Institute publishes ‘Beyond Grey Pinstripes’ ranking of business schools, based on the extent of their socially responsible course content.

Do you feel that the rise of European and Asian business schools could dethrone U.S. schools as leaders in graduate business education? What are they doing right?

Demand for MBA programs in Western Europe and several emerging markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and China continue to rise, as an inevitable result of the burgeoning demand for MBA graduates amongst local, regional and multinational employers.  

The US remains the most popular MBA study destination worldwide with over 60% of MBA applicants considering an US MBA, though this is down from over 80% a decade ago, according to the QS TopMBA.com Applicant Survey. The QS survey also found 30% of full-time MBA applicants from the US are specifying an interest in taking an MBA outside the US, with Europe and Asia the most popular regions.

Attitudes to MBA study are definitely changing. People are placing greater emphasis on access to local alumni and employer networks, ahead of the long established global reputation of many US business schools.  Australian and European business schools have been particularly successful in building international recognition and reputation to compete with US institutions over the last decade, as well as creating strong alumni networks. Shorter courses, more international classes and ‘live’ consulting assignments are all part of the offerings of these upstart MBA programs. Asian business schools are perhaps a decade further behind in building the faculty and infrastructure required to maintain an international reputation, but few would bet against several Asian business schools developing world class status within the next ten years.

Do you feel that experiential learning is going to replace cases? Or do you feel that case study schools will still use primarily case study in the classroom, but also add experiential elements to their curricula?

MBA curricula are undergoing changes at business schools around the world. The majority of European business schools and many US business schools now include consulting assignments and experiential learning as part of their curricula, whilst retaining some case study delivery.

Where do you see graduate business education going in terms of geography and methodology in the next 5-10 years?

I would identify three trends: 1) Online delivery opens up many innovative opportunities for schools. 2) Recent market failures have placed greater emphasis on delivery of corporate social responsibility and business ethics at the heart of MBA programs. 3) Globalisation is placing greater emphasis on cross cultural learning, languages and leadership.

Business schools seem to be selecting combinations of these three trends when they revise their curricula. For example, recent curricula reform at The Wharton School has included:

  1. Strengthened teaching of the analytics
  2. An integrated focus on ethical and legal responsibility in business
  3. An increased focus on oral and written communication
  4. New methods of leadership development emphasizing self-analysis

How have MBA fairs changed in the last ten years? Are there any lessons for applicants?

Attending an MBA fair like our QS World MBA Tour in a nearby city is a way for a candidate to meet Admissions officers and alumni face-to-face. The format of the Tour has changed little over the last decade. We have typically 70 to 130 of the top business schools from around the world attending, with seminars on MBA admissions, GMAT, MBA Careers and other pertinent topics. The application process starts here, because strong candidates will develop a personal link to the Admissions officer who may ultimately be the person making the decision to admit, or not. Talking to alumni will make sure the cultural fit is right and confirm your school selection.(www.topmba.com/qs-world-mba-tour )

QS has innovated with our TopMBA Connect 121 events which are designed for candidates in the final stages of their MBA selection process. These events are open only to pre-selected qualifying candidates who have taken their required tests and are looking to complete applications and start their MBA in the near future. One-to-one interviews are arranged with admission officers to finally determine the suitability of the candidate and to fast track their application. (www.topmba.com/connect)

Lessons for MBA applicants would include:

  • Lesson one: Consider your career goals from the start – think about why you want to take an MBA and how it can benefit your career? Are you seeking a career change, or career progression? Which industry and function interests you most? Do you want to stay and work in your home country or move overseas? How do you aspirations match up with market trends and opportunities? Even if you are unsure and feel you want to consider your options during your MBA, having clear career goals will help you put together a better application.
  • Lesson two: Conduct an honest self-assessment – Also consider your strengths and the weaknesses you want to develop as a result of your MBA. An honest self-assessment will save you a great deal of time and energy and help you make a more focused selection of schools.
  • Lesson three: Budget and feasibility – Do you have enough savings to be able to give up work and study full-time, or do you need an Executive part-time MBA or distance MBA, so you can carry on working?
  • Lesson four: Research and Selection – undertake a systematic, rational research exercise to narrow down your choice of schools – create your personalised ranking (see www.topmba.com/scorecard for example). Then pick no more than six schools you would seriously consider applying to: perhaps two elite schools which may be difficult to gain entry to but would be your dream, two highly rated schools which are perhaps just a bit more in reach, two high quality schools with lower entry criteria (to make sure you are accepted somewhere decent).
  • Lesson five: Don’t skip the opportunity to meet the Admissions Officers and Alumni face-to face at a fair. An MBA is a huge investment and you really do want to make sure there is a cultural fit and that your assumptions about the school are correct before you make your final decision.

The QS World MBA Tour will be in over 60 cities across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, India and the Middle East. Participate in an event near you to benefit from $1,200,000 of exclusive scholarships available for attendees, admissions strategy workshops, careers panel with MBA recruiters and alumni and more. Visit QS World MBA Tour in a city near you.

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MBA Applicant Bloggers: Interview with “A” of Mistakes, Lessons, MBA, and More


I recently had the pleasure of interviewing a number of MBA applicant bloggers. We follow the blogs, and learn from them, so our hope is that by sharing these individual stories with you, that you will also learn more about the MBA admissions process and applicant journey.

Our first featured interview is with “A” of the blog, Mistakes, Lessons, MBA, and more….

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself – where are you from, where did you go to school and when did you graduate; and what prior degrees do you hold?

A: I was born and brought up in Mawana, a small town of Uttar Pradesh in North India, and did my schooling from CBSE board, Translam International School. Owing to my interest in technology, I joined KIET, one of the most reputed private Engineering colleges in Uttar Pradesh. I completed my studies (Bachelor of Technology) in 2004 with a major in Information Technology (IT) and since then I have gained experience in IT in varied domains. I have been working in Finance for last five years.

Accepted: How long have you planned on applying to business school?

A: I started off with my GMAT preparations in mid 2009, took the GMAT in late 2009 and applied to a few top-notch business schools in fall 2010.

Accepted: Why do you want to go to business school? What are some of the factors motivating you (for example, a pay increase, skill building, prestige, etc.)?

A: I have been working in the technology department of a multinational financial institution for the last five years. During this period, in addition to building my technology expertise, I have gained project management skills and Fixed Income domain knowledge. Now, my short term career goal is to be a part of management team as a head of a Fixed Income technology group. To accomplish my career goal, I need a strong understanding of Finance, Strategy, Technology Management and General Management. An MBA could empower me with these required skills and knowledge.

Accepted: Where do you plan on applying? What sort of criteria did you use in choosing where you’d like to attend?

A: I am getting married in December 2011 and I want to enjoy my marital life for sometime :-). I plan to apply in the fall of 2012. I would like to attend a one-year business school, reputed for finance and technology that has decent placements and reasonable ROI (depending on my savings, I will have the responsibilities of a married man after all ;-)).

Accepted: If you don’t get into b-school this year, will you apply again next year?

A: I am still waiting for one of my school’s results, so my fingers are crossed. But as I said, I am not planning on applying this year to any other schools. But for sure, I will apply next year.

Accepted: Why did you choose to blog about the MBA application experience?

A: I chose to blog so that one day I would be interviewed by Accepted.com. LOL :-). Jokes apart, I chose to blog, as my blog’s name suggests, to keep track of all my mistakes made and lessons learnt during my MBA journey. This has really helped me throughout and I strongly believe that my blog posts help my readers as well.

Do you want to be featured in Accepted.com’s blog, Accepted Admissions Almanac? If you want to share your MBA admissions journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at mbabloggers@accepted.com.

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