Upcoming Forté Forum Events + FREE Smarties Books!

Forté Forum

Eminent women business leaders will be available.

Eminent women business leaders and admission officers from top MBA programs will be available for mingling, networking, and advising on MBA admissions, financial aid, and careers for women during the upcoming Forté Forum events.

Additionally, four lucky participants will win free copies of Linda Abraham’s and Judy Gruen’s book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top B-Schools!

The 2012 Forté Forum schedule is as follows:

August 20, Chicago
August 21, Boston
August 22, Washington, DC
August 23, Atlanta
August 27, Dallas
August 29, San Francisco
August 30, Los Angeles
September 4, New York I
September 5, New York II
September 6, Toronto

Register for free at http://www.Fortéfoundation.org/forumonline to reserve your spot now.

For more information on what the Forté Forum does and how they can help you, please see our recent podcast with Elissa Ellis Sangster, the head of Forté.

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Three More Days to Save 20% on Financing Your Future Ebook!

sale ends in THREE DAYS

Sale ends in THREE DAYS!

Time is running out for you to save 20% on July’s featured ebook, Financing Your Future: Winning Fellowships, Scholarships and Awards for Grad School.

This ebook contains critical information on:

  • Different types of scholarships
  • How to create the best scholarship application
  • The best time to apply for financial aid

…and more!

The sale ends in THREE DAYS, on Tuesday, July 31st, so act quickly! Enter promo code FUTURE20 at checkout to cash in on these great savings.

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Law School Applicants Finally Get a Leg Up

Law School

Maybe this isn’t such a bad time to apply to law school anyway…

It may sound backwards, but law school applicants can now use the dismal job market to their advantage, The National Law Journal reports. Due to the lower employment potential and a greater awareness of the risk in attending law school, the past two years saw a 25 percent drop in law school applicants across the country. In response, law schools have started accepting more applicants and “sweetening their scholarship packages.”

While in the past merit scholarships were typically offered to those with impressive GPAs and LSAT scores, many applicants with less impressive credentials are being wooed this year. Plus, wait-list activity is buzzing, as “more schools are dipping into their wait lists to fill classes, which is having a domino effect on lower-ranked schools where admittees who appeared to be committed are slipping away.” Many schools are thus left with smaller classes, despite their higher acceptance rates this year.

And as to which applicants are being accepted and offered scholarships, the decisions seem somewhat arbitrary. Lower-performing students can negotiate their way to much lower tuition than some of their higher-performing peers. However, anyone with a scholarship offer must read the fine print, since many require students to maintain a certain GPA. It is more important than ever to take these grade stipulations into account, considering the academic credentials of those receiving scholarships this year.

Regardless, “applicants should take advantage of the relaxed admissions standards and unusually deep pot of scholarship money while they can — there simply isn’t enough money to keep doling out scholarships at this pace every year.” Maybe this isn’t such a bad time to apply to law school anyway…
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Save 20% on Valuable Grad School Financing Ebook

Financing Your Future

Financing Your Future

For many applicants, the most stressful part of applying to graduate school (in any field) is paying for it. That’s why this month’s featured ebook, Financing Your Future: Winning Fellowships, Scholarships and Awards for Grad School, available at 20% off through Tuesday, July 31, 2012, is a must-have for any future grad student who is trying to figure out how to cover tuition costs.

In Financing Your Future, financial aid experts Linda Abraham and Rebecca Blustein will teach you about the different types of scholarships, fellowships, and awards that are available to graduate students, as well as when to apply for financial aid, how to assemble a strong financial aid application, and specific program tips and interview advice.

You’ll likely be juggling fellowship applications and your grad school applications simultaneously. Grad school itself can be a constant dance of deadlines, projects, courses, extracurricular activities, and work. Organization, needless to say, is key.

Whatever organizational system works best for you – using paper files, going electronic, programming deadlines into your phone – make sure you use it consistently.

Invest in Financing Your Future today to save what could be thousands of dollars later! Use coupon code FUTURE20 during the month of July to save 20%.

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Darden and Stamps Foundation to Jointly Offer Full Scholarships

Stamps Fellowship

Those nominated will exemplify a readiness to share their perspectives…

The Stamps Family Charitable Foundation has generously offered a gift of $1.8 million to the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. The gift will be used to match support from Darden in establishing 26 full-tuition scholarships that will be presented over the next six years starting in the fall of 2013.

The Penny and Roe Stamps IV Leadership Fellowship Awards will be given to students based on their merit and “core values,” such as innovation, scholarship, perseverance, service, and leadership. Plus, “those nominated for a Stamps Fellowship will exemplify a superior level of readiness to share their perspectives in the classroom, get involved with the School, University and surrounding community and make an overall leadership impact on society.”

Stamps Fellows will also receive a $5,000 award, which they can use as students at Darden “to help defray the costs of participating in Global Business Experiences, academic or co-curricular conferences, national case competitions, and other activities.”

The Stamps Foundation supports grad and undergrad students from other schools, as well. This coming fall, nearly 300 students supported by Stamps Scholarships will be enrolled at colleges and universities throughout the country.

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MBA Applicant Blogger Interview: Abhishek’s Journey

Next up in our series of featured MBA applicant bloggers is Abhishek, author of the blog, “Beyond GMAT: The Quest Begins.” Please enjoy Abhishek’s thoughtful answers and use them to help you make your way through the MBA admissions process.

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?

Abhishek: I am Abhishek Chakravarty, a middle class Bengali Brahmin boy born in Palamu, in the tribal state of Jharkhand, India. I went to Sacred Heart School, the only English medium school in the district of Palamu and later graduated from Manipal Institute of Technology in Karnataka, India as an electrical and electronics engineer in 2007.

Accepted: When do you plan on applying to business school? Which schools will you apply to? Do you think you’ll apply to a “safety school”?

Abhishek: I will apply to b-schools this year for full-time MBA curriculums commencing in 2012. I will apply to top US and non-US (India and Singapore) business schools. My application spectrum includes one from the Top 10, three from the Top 20 and two Safety Schools. (Two considering the fact that I want to get back to work latest by 2014. Fingers crossed!).

Accepted: How many times did you take the GMAT? Are you happy with your score?

Abhishek: I took the GMAT once and got a 710. Although I feel I underachieved by 20-30 points, I am not complaining; a 710 would still make me competitive for top b-schools provided I have stellar apps.

Accepted: Does cost play a factor in where you’re applying? Do you plan on applying for financial aid or scholarships? Has your current job offered to pick up part or all of your b-school tab?

Abhishek: Coming from a middle class Indian family, cost of the b-school is definitely one of the factors that will determine where I am applying. I understand that getting a top MBA is a significant investment and I need to figure out all possible sources of funding that would help me attend a particular b-school. In that light, scholarships become hugely important.

My post MBA plans are to enter the core Information technology consulting business. And since my current company is more of a services company, it offering to pick up all or part of my b-school tab is more or less ruled out, and is not an option really.

Accepted: What courses or experiences or people have motivated you to go to business school? How?

Abhishek: I am well versed in technology processes and I foresee a paradigm shift towards the way we look at technology. However, I lack formal management skills and definitely need better insights into the details of just how an enterprise takes shape, and survives. Also, the recent technological developments and changing business scenarios around these developments make a strong case for attending a b- school. Needless to say, a top MBA will not only expand my professional horizons but also equip me with strong networks to give my career a boost in the right direction.

Accepted: How has the current economy affected your decision to attend business school?

Abhishek: The current world economy while extremely volatile is also full of opportunities. It’s best to sit back, get your business basics right and learn from the present failures. I am an optimist all the way, and while the current economy does not emit great vibes, I sense a lot of activity in the technology domain. I want to be done with business basics and bolster my networks while things look down, because when they start looking back up (and we all know they will), I want to see myself as somebody who used the volatility to his advantage.

In the end, the current economy has not affected my decision to attend business school.

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

Abhishek: With a full-time job and simultaneously preparing for the GMAT, I came across a lot of issues that needed to be addressed. These issues ranged from what to study for the GMAT to where to apply after one had the GMAT score ready! And I always found most answers on the MBA blogging forums. Since I myself was a recipient of such useful data and information while I prepared for the GMAT and as I apply to b-schools, I decided to tell my application journey as well and add to the store of very useful advice. It not only helps future GMAT aspirants in their quest to the best GMAT, but also keeps fellow applicants informed and motivated about important b-school info and save a lot of valuable time.

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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Wharton MBA Admissions Q&A Tomorrow!


Do you have questions about U Penn Wharton‘s flexible yet rigorous curriculum? Do you want to hear more about the school’s emphasis on “leadership in action,” its collaborative environment, or its strong alumni network? Ask all your pressing MBA admissions questions to Wharton’s Ankur Kumar, Deputy Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, and Anthony Penna, Associate Director of Admissions, in an interactive admissions Q&A, on Monday, September 12, 2011, at 10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET / 5:00 PM GMT. If you are applying to Wharton – one of the top three business schools – then this is an outstanding opportunity to ask all your questions and learn more about what life is like at the top.

Register now to reserve your spot for our View from the Top: Wharton MBA Admissions Q&A.

What time is that for me? Click on the link to find out the exact time for your location.

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MBA Applicant Blogger Interview: Motown, Ms. HR, and Mads Mom’s Journey


Next up in our series of featured MBA applicant bloggers are Motown, Ms. HR, and Mads Mom from the blog, “Fortune 800: Our Journey to an MBA.” Please enjoy their thoughtful answers and use them to help you make your way through the MBA admissions process.

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?

Ms. HR: I was born and raised in Michigan. I grew up right outside of Ann Arbor (Canton) so it was no surprise that I wanted to attend the University of Michigan. I graduated from the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!!!) in December 2007 with a BSE in Electrical Engineering.

Mads Mom: I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, but was never an Ohio State fan, although everyone assumes that I should be because I am from Ohio. Obviously, I did the complete opposite and went to the University of Michigan where I graduated in 2007 with a BA in Sociology.

Motown: I was born and raised in Detroit, MI. I also went to the University of Michigan and graduated in 2008 with a degree in Civil Engineering and minor in History.

Accepted: When do you plan on applying to business school? Which schools will you apply to? Do you think you’ll apply to a “safety school”?

Ms. HR: I’m planning on applying this year in either round 1 or 2. It depends on when I complete the best application possible for me. I have about 7 schools on my list as of now but I plan on narrowing that list down to 5 schools. My top 3 schools are Cornell, Vanderbilt and Kellogg. I’m DEFINITELY planning on applying to a safety school. I know where I want my career to go and I need an MBA to get there so I’m anxious to get started.

Mads Mom:
I am planning to apply to business school for Fall 2012, during round 1 or 2. I have not narrowed my list of schools down yet, but some possible schools include University of Michigan, UCLA, Berkeley, NYU, and Cornell. I will definitely be applying to a “safety school” because I ultimately want to go back to school next year no matter what.

I’m pretty set on Round 2. That’s when I will have my transcript available for the class I am currently taking and when I know I will be very confident in my application. Also, I want to interview and apply at the same time. Not to mention, I want to visit some schools this Fall before apps are due. I feel like a lot of business schools are great, and I will be happy attending any of the schools I’m applying to, which is why I don’t have a ‘top’ choice. I am applying to 6 schools, 2 are Consortium and the rest are a range of safeties and reaches.

Accepted: Why do you want to go to business school? What are some of the factors motivating you?

Ms. HR:  I want to build some fundamental knowledge on business and HR. Coming from an engineering background I feel like it’s a necessity in order to be successful in my career change to HR Management. The main motivating factor for going back to school is most HR leadership rotational programs require an MBA or Master’s in HR. I know that an MBA will give me that fundamental knowledge so I can be successful in my future career. Another motivating factor, is just my pure passion for HR. I’ve had to work on some projects with HR and after every project I felt like running straight over to HR. I know without a doubt that’s where I’m supposed to be.

Mads Mom:
I am a career changer, so I want to go back to business school because I plan to break into the new career field of high tech marketing. Some of the factors that are motivating me include the fact that I want to get into a career that combines my two passions for technology and design. Going back to school will give me the foundation I need, and the possible pay increase doesn’t hurt either.
Motown: I’ve always had a passion for helping out Detroit. So once I looked at my grad school options and did some research, I realized that an MBA was the best fit for me. I would love to increase my business acumen, expand my network, and hone in on my leadership skills. I desire to first pursue non-profit consulting and then eventually open a non-profit back in Detroit that focuses on urban and economic development.

Accepted: Does cost play a factor in where you’re applying? Do you plan on applying for financial aid or scholarships? Has your current job offered to pick up part or all of your b-school tab?

Ms. HR: Cost is a factor but at the same time it’s not really. If I get into my top choice school I doubt I would turn it down due to cost. I’ve done some research and there is money out there that you can get. I will be working extra hard to try and nail down some scholarships. I also plan on applying for financial aid. My current job does tuition reimbursement but I would have to go to school part time. I would like to take the time off and just focus on school and take in all a full time MBA has to offer as well as expand my network.

Mads Mom:
At this point in time, cost is not really playing a factor in where I am applying. I definitely plan on applying for financial aid and scholarships, but I pretty much don’t want the factor of money to deter me from going to a great school. My current job has not yet offered to pick up part of my tab, but I haven’t asked or persuaded them yet either.

Cost definitely plays a factor, which is part of the reason I am applying through the Consortium. I also looked into schools that have loan forgiveness programs since I am interested in the non-profit/social enterprise space, which does not pay as lucratively as some other jobs. I will be applying for financial aid and seeking out scholarships/grants as well. My current job doesn’t offer to pay for business school for people that want to go FT.

Accepted: Do you plan on returning to your pre-MBA job (in a more prestigious/lucrative position) after you finish business school? Or do you plan on moving to a new function or industry?

Ms. HR: Eventually I would love to come back and work at my current company. I really enjoy working here but at the same time I would like to work elsewhere for a little bit to gain a different perspective and really see if the grass is greener elsewhere.

Mads Mom:
I do not plan on returning to my pre-MBA job because it is in a totally different industry that I want to get into.

I’ve spoken to a few MBA’s at my company, so it’s not totally out of the picture. But for now, I plan on moving into a new company within a totally new function.

Accepted: What courses or experiences or people have motivated you to go to business school? How?

Ms. HR: The main thing that motivated me to go to business school is the exposure I’ve had to HR at my current company. That exposure made me realize HR is where I would like to go with my career. An MBA will help get me there. Another motivating factor was hearing the career paths my HR colleagues took. Knowing that an MBA helped some of them tremendously I’m more than willing to go back to school so I too can have some of those same opportunities.

Mads Mom:
My mother has a number of degrees and if there was someone that motivated me to go to business school it would be her. Personally, I decided that I wanted a career change and to get where I wanted to go I knew I was going to need and MBA to get there.

Motown: As far as coursework, at Michigan I took this really cool class where we worked with a village in the Dominican Republic where we helped them filter their own clean water. That really changed my perspectives on technology and the possibility of leveraging it to help communities. Also, last fall one particular conversation I had with a JD/MBA was really inspiring and made me finally decide that an MBA was for me in order to reach my future goals. For a long time I thought MBA’s were just people that did investment banking, I had no idea about the wide range of careers that MBA’s could have!

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

Ms. HR: At first I was really against blogging. I didn’t think I would have enough time to write or enough things to say. It was Mads Mom that kept on pushing it and I’m so glad she did. Now that I’m in the groove of things I’m really glad we are documenting our journey. Hopefully it will help current and future applicants out and we will always have detailed memories of our journey. Without question, I’ve learned a lot from our readers. I think the collaboration between us and the readers benefits everyone. Also for me, blogging makes me think long and hard about the b-school process and I hope this in depth thinking will help me build a great application.

Mads Mom: While doing all my b-school research I came across a number of blogs, and just figured that maybe someone would want to read about mine. I knew I was going to be extra busy because I have a little girl, so pushed for Motown and Ms. HR to get into it together and it seems to be working out great. It’s fun to just write a quick note, even if no one reads it, so that you can look back and remember what you went through to get to where you want to go.

I personally love blogs and read them all the time. So when Mads Mom suggested it, I was excited about it. It’s great to just document this whole, introspective process and be able to look back and see how far we have all come!

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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Graduate School News Roundup


  • Inside Higher Ed offers some words of wisdom for graduate students struggling with the challenges of working independently. Nobody wants to hear “nobody cares about you,” but it can be a helpful mantra to remind students that whether you succeed or fail is completely up to you.  If you manage your advisor and believe in your work then you should come out of graduate school alive.
  • While there may be an increasing number of students pursuing graduate degrees, The Chronicle of Education reports that two-thirds of students in master’s programs in the US are receiving financial aid, according to the 2007-2008 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study. The study also showed that 80% of law students, 82% of medical and other health-sciences students, 75% of professional students, 42% of doctoral students in education, and 14% of Ph.D students are also borrowing money to pay for their education.
  • Inside Higher Ed examines the improving employment trends in the political science job market. The number of jobs listed with the American Political Science Association rose 11% in 2010-11, and the number of assistant professor positions rose 15%.  The APSA research also shows which sector of political science has been most successful, who is getting tenure, and follows the placement trends of permanent academics and postdocs.
  • Inside Higher Ed writes about a new movement to create doctoral programs in remedial and developmental education. More than one-third of all students beginning college have taken at least one remedial course, and there is a need for more specialization in the area.  At the moment there is only one existing doctoral program in developmental education at Grambling State University, however, the field is growing.
  • Slate takes a look at the issues facing graduates students who are overqualified for almost all jobs by the time they enter the job market. The article identifies ways that higher education in the humanities could actually pay off in the future by being more public with the information graduate schools share and training students for real careers.

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4 Ways You Should NOT Use the MBA Rankings


You’ll find loads of articles online enumerating the ways in which you can use the MBA rankings to your benefit. Most of these articles are found on the ranking websites. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t trust what you read on BusinessWeek, The Financial Times, or U.S. News – after all, the rankings do offer data comparing top MBA programs – but I do believe these sites are not offering you a complete picture.

So now I’d like to present you with the other side of the story – the rankings’ limitations. Blinding yourself to the rankings’ flaws could lead to an expensive, time-consuming mistake: choosing the wrong MBA program for you.

  1. They don’t measure your priorities.
  2. General rankings hide strengths (and weaknesses) in specific areas. There are numerous “gem” programs that thrive outside the top ten or top twenty. Many MBA students have a great chance of gaining acceptance PLUS receiving financial aid at these gem schools.
  3. Averages are exactly that. Average. They aren’t a cut-off and don’t reflect extenuating circumstances or the interplay between myriad factors in an admissions decision. At every school there will always be applicants who are accepted with below-average stats and who are rejected with above-average stats.
  4. Surveys, especially surveys of students and alumni, can be gamed. Students and alumni know that higher rankings increase the value of their degrees and have an incentive to think kindly of their schools.

In short, don’t give the rankings too much importance. Don’t replace school research and self-reflection with rankings to determine where you should apply or attend.

For more tips on how you should and should not use school rankings please see Accepted’s free, instantly downloadable special report, MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know.

~ Helping You Write Your Best