1000+ Students to Compete in Europe’s 24th Annual MBA Tournament

Students from 13 European business schools compete to take home some sporting glory.

Students from 13 European business schools compete to take home some sporting glory.

This year’s MBA Tournament (MBAT), a three-day sporting event organized by HEC Paris students in which 1,150 students from 13 European business schools compete to take home some sporting glory, will take place this weekend from the 8th-10th. This year there will be 23 sport competitions, including cricket, rugby, football, poker, chess, and ultimate frisbee.

According to MBAT Co-President Katrina Senn, “The MBAT is one of the best things we do at HEC Paris. The competition brings classmates together as a team and lets us show other schools what we’re capable of. In fact, this year, we’re seeing increased participation from all of the schools coming to compete as it continues to gain in popularity.”

The event, which is the largest gathering of MBA students in Europe, provides students an opportunity to network, develop team skills, and have fun.

This year’s participating schools are:

University of Cambridge Judge Business School
• Cranfield University School of Management
IE Business School
London Business School
• Manchester Business School
• University of Oxford Saïd Business School
• RSM Erasmus University
• TiasNimbas Business School
• ESADE Business School
• IESE Business School
• Lancaster University Management School
HEC Paris

Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs


FT’s Best Global MBA Programs in 2014

The Financial Times released its 2014 global MBA rankings! Read on for the list, the facts, the analysis, and the sources.

The List:

2014 Rank

3 Year

School Country 
1 1 Harvard Business School USA
2 2 Stanford Graduate
School of Business
3 4 London Business School UK
4 3 U Penn Wharton USA
5 5 Columbia Business
6 6 INSEAD France/Singapore
7 8 IESE Business School Spain
8 8 MIT Sloan USA
9 10 Chicago Booth USA
10 15 Yale School of Management USA
11 12 UC Berkeley Haas USA
12 15 IMD Switzerland
13 11 IE Business School Spain
14 11 Hong Kong UST
Business School
15 15 Northwestern Kellogg USA
16 19 Cambridge Judge UK
17 17 Duke Fuqua USA
17 18 NYU Stern USA
17 19 CEIBS China
20 18 Dartmouth Tuck USA

To truly understand the rankings, much less use them, please see the methodology so you’ll know what’s being ranked. While there are twenty factors considered in the FT rankings, the FT methodology puts the most weight on increase in salary in $US PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) and weighted salary in $US PPP.

Poets and Quants criticizes the FT rankings for absurd results in calculating “Value for Money” as well as for having too many criteria and several criteria that really don’t reflect the quality of education. Others say that it is biased against U.S. programs.

Regardless of the criticism’s validity, the FT ranking is arguably the most cited ranking of global programs because it compares U.S. and international programs in one ranking and seems to do a better job of it than the alternatives. That prominence doesn’t mean these rankings are Gospel. It does mean you have a lot of data in a format where you can easily compare MBA programs from around the world on designated criteria.

The Facts:

Here are some fun facts about FT’s 2014 rankings:

• 7 of the top 10 and 12 of the top 20 programs ranked are US schools.

• Big jumpers this year include Boston University’s business school and Washington Forster, which each jumped 20 spots, to 75th and 58th place, respectively. Another big US jumper this year was USC Marshall which jumped 17 spots to 65th place. UNC Kenan Flagler jumped up 12 slots this year from its 3-year average rank, moving from #45 to #33.

• The biggest losers this year include Dublin’s Smurfit School (dropped 27 spots to 91st place) and Vlerick Business School (fell 16 places to 100th place), as well as the schools which disappeared off the list entirely: U of Iowa’s Tippie School (74th last year), Korea University Business School (86th last year), Incae Business School in Costa Rica (90th last year), Case Western’s Weatherhead School (94th last year), and others.

• Newcomers to the list include: UC Davis (98th), Wake Forest (94th), BYU’s Marriott School (93rd), and ESMT European School of Management and Technology in Germany (89th).

• In terms of geographic representation, the top 20 schools are all in the US, UK, Europe (France, Spain, Switzerland), China, and Singapore, but further down the list, other countries gain their spots: India comes in at 30th place with the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad; SDA Bocconi in 31st place represents Italy; South Korea appears in 45th place with Sungkyunkwan University’s GSB; Canada’s first school on the list is Toronto Rotman at 51st place; Portugal follows with The Lisbon MBA in 52nd place (new to list); South Africa’s U. of Cape Town GSB comes in at 59th place; in the 62nd slot we have Australia’s Australian Graduate School of Management; and Brazil’s Coppead is in 79th place.

•  The city with the highest concentration of schools in the top 100 is (of course) Boston with six top b-schools – Harvard (1), MIT Sloan (8), Hult International Business School (61), BU School of Management (75), Boston College Carroll (82), and Babson Olin (95).

The Analysis:

While it’s fun to look at the changes – who climbed and who sank – for me the real lessons from this ranking are:

1. The top programs move and change very slowly. That lack of drama in these rankings is a better reflection of reality than the gyrations one sees outside the top twenty. Significant change takes time so sharp jumps and dives probably mean nothing. Sustained change in ranking has greater credibility – if you value the same qualities as the FT.

2. The one point made repeatedly in the commentary on this ranking, and it is the same conclusion I draw from both the FT ranking and the Forbes ranking, which both emphasize ROI and increase in salary, is this: The MBA education at top programs provides a solid return on investment for most students. The MBAs surveyed for the FT rankings started their MBA in 2008, just as the Great Recession hit, and graduated in 2010. These MBAs still report on average a 100% increase in salary over what they were making before they started business school.

There are obviously critics of graduate business education, specifically the MBA, and those detractors either believe an MBA isn’t valuable or that the value has declined. I agree with the latter group. However, the questions for today’s applicants are:

1. “Given my current professional background and salary and my anticipated salary after I earn an MBA, do the anticipated financial rewards plus increased job satisfaction justify the investment (both out of pocket and opportunity costs)?” The fact that those entering b-school ten or twenty years ago could anticipate a higher ROI is irrelevant. It is merely a historical curiosity and for you an unfortunate one.

2. “Is the full-time MBA – or whatever flavor you are considering – the optimal way for me to attain my MBA goals?”

FT, to its credit, also has an article on those claiming the MBA is not worth the effort. Sometimes they are right. Each one of you individually needs to examine your circumstances and goals to see if for you the MBA is an expensive waste of time and effort, or if for you it is likely to be worth both. Clearly, most of the people surveyed by Forbes, the Financial Times, and GMAC are in the latter group.

In this video  Della Bradshaw, FT’s Business Education Editor, discusses the results of this year’s FT Global MBA rankings including the finding that MBAs in the class of 2010 are now enjoying salaries double those they were earning before they entered b-school.

The Sources

• FT Global MBA Ranking 2014

•  FT: MBA Ranking 2014: Key & Methodology

•  FT: Big Names Dominate FT MBA Ranking Top Spots

•  P&Q: Winners & Losers in 2014 FT MBA Ranking

•  Accepted: 4 Ways You Should NOT Use the MBA Rankings

•  Accepted: MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know

Learn how to evaluate your profile to determine the best business school for you!

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

European MBA Admissions: GMAT or GRE?

Thinking of a European MBA? Find Out if You Should Take the GMAT or GRE! The question of whether applicants to European b-schools should take the GMAT or GRE was addressed in our most recent Q&A – 2014 Virtual Panel: Exploring European B-Schools with IMD, London Business School and INSEAD – as well as many other topics, including the length of different programs, program updates, career opportunities, diversity, and more.

Missed the event? Click here to get the recording and transcript.

See the following excerpt for a look into the GMAT/GRE question:

Linda Abraham: Do you accept the GRE?

Pejay Belland: Yes, we do.

Lisa Piguet: Yes, we do accept it. We do but we prefer the GMAT just because we find that it’s more – it’s a better predictor of success in the MBA. But we do accept it.

Linda Abraham: Okay, fair enough. That’s good to know.

Oliver Ashby: We only accept the GMAT for the MBA program. And what I’d say is, if you do, I generally believe you do on all career and in top-tier management consulting. You need to take the GMAT.

Lisa Piguet: Yes. And Oli, that’s actually a really good point because I was on another chat today with something else and somebody else asked that question. And I brought that point up, that if you want to do top-tier management consulting, they will ask for your GMAT score, not GRE.

Linda Abraham: They will have to take the GMAT.

Lisa Piguet: And I think that’s also true for investment banking and at least financial…and even some industrial-type companies, even like Google and some of those top-tier companies now are starting to ask for GMAT scores. Yes, so not GRE. It’s because they’re getting so many applications. It’s one way of weeding people out. So it’s the GMAT that they’re wanting now.

Linda Abraham: I didn’t know that. And I would think that with the IR, the consulting firms, they’re going to start wanting it even more.

Lisa Piguet: Yes, exactly. Yes, that’s a good point, Oli. I forgot about that.

Read through the full 2014 Virtual Panel: Exploring European B-Schools with IMD, London Business School and INSEAD transcript or listen to the audio for more information on applying to b-school in Europe! You can also listen to this Q&A recording (and others) on-the-go when you download the Accepted Admissions Podcast.

Need help prepping for the GMAT? See GMAT & MBA Admissions 101 – a tip-filled resource brimming with advice on how to increase your chances of acing your GMAT.

To automatically receive notices about these MBA admissions chats and other MBA admissions events, please subscribe to our MBA events list. To listen to the Q&A recordings on-the-go, please subscribe to the Accepted Admissions Podcast.




London Business School 2014 MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines

LBSIf you look at the London Business School questions, you’ll see that a lot of introspection is required if you want to answer the questions thoroughly, thoughtfully, and compellingly. When elaborating on your career goals, your desire to participate in the global workforce, and your strong leadership skills, make sure you consider how each of these elements is important to the London Business School. The adcom doesn’t just want to see how impressive you are; it also wants to see how you will contribute to the dynamic London Business School community.

These three questions, together, create a comprehensive picture of your candidacy: future goals (what), your contributions to the program (who), and your thinking and conceptual ability (how/why). In answering each one, keep in mind the picture that they create together, and fit your tone and approach in each closely to the question.  LBS has historically been very concerned about your contribution and fit, and these essays carry that forward.


Q1.What will your future look like after completing your MBA? (500 words)

It’s a goals question with a twist: the crisp tone and wording invite a fresh, direct answer; an answer that is both concrete and visionary.  The question wastes no words, and neither should you.  Keep the phrase “look like” in mind as you portray your envisioned future – largely your career but also possibly including relevant non-work factors such as major community or philanthropic commitments – the description should be “real” and concrete.  Decrease the detail as you progress in time to your longer-term goals and plans.

Q2. What value will you add to London Business School? (300 words)

Present two to three distinctive points (can be professional or non-work, but at least one should be professional) that show the adcom what you’ll contribute to the program.  Don’t just say they will add value; specify how.  In doing so, consider the culture of the program.  This short essay is a way to demonstrate your appreciation for and understanding of the program’s culture, values, and personality, so address those factors in discussing how you will add value.   

Q3. What is the School’s responsibility to you and what is your responsibility to the school? (400 words)

To make this essay work for you, keep it focused and specific.  Identify one to two points each for your and the school’s responsibility, and root each point in concrete experience and/or fact and/or example.  Don’t struggle to come up with points you think no one else will mention; rather, strive to be thoughtful, clear, and insightful about the points you do mention – that is how to make this essay memorable.  And bear in mind, it’s a further opportunity to demonstrate your fit with the program.

If you would like professional guidance with your London Business School MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the London Business School application.

London Business School 2014 Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline Decision Notification
Round 1 October 4, 2013 December 12, 2013
Round 2 January 3, 2014 March 27, 2014
Round 3 February 28, 2014 May 15, 2014
Round 4 April 16, 2014 June 26, 2014

Get clear, practical guidelines for answering the MBA goals essay question. Click here to download our free report.

Cindy Tokumitsu By , co-author of The Finance Professional’s Guide to MBA Admissions Success, and author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last fifteen years with Accepted.com.

The MBA Admissions Directors’ Recipe for Rejection

We asked 14 admissions directors, “What behavior or information would cause you to reject an MBA applicant who otherwise is a strong candidate?

For tips on how to get accepted to b-school, check out MBA Admissions 101While the recipe for instant rejection may vary slightly from school to school, the common ingredients are ethical lapses and poor behavior. These are broad categories that each admissions director elaborates on below, but one sentiment provides the dominant seasoning – dishonesty and rudeness are simply not tolerated. For example, Sara Neher, Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions at UVA Darden, writes, “Treating others with respect is something of paramount importance to Darden. Sometimes rudeness is an indicator of bad character and sometimes it means that the applicant is not really that interested in Darden. In either case, I do not want to admit that person, no matter the quality of their work experience or GMAT.”

A clear lack of fit or improper motivation for choosing a particular program frequently peppers the responses. For example, Sherry Wallace, Director of Admissions at UNC Kenan-Flagler explains: “Regardless of whether we are the top choice or the third choice, we want to see some passion and enthusiasm in the candidate.”

For the full recipe, read the admissions directors’ responses in full to the question: “What behavior or information would cause you to reject an MBA applicant who otherwise is a strong candidate?”


Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Liz Riley Hargrove, Associate Dean for Admissions

Behavior: Off the bat, candidates who falsify or plagiarize any component of their application would be denied. We also deny candidates whom we feel would not represent the school well or would not be positive contributors in the classroom and Fuqua/Duke communities.

Information: We collect a lot of information on our applicants and this information is used to determine the academic ability as well as overall fit with our culture and community. If we determined that a candidate did not have the necessary background to be successful academically, we would not admit them to our programs.


Georgetown McDonough, Shari Hubert, Associate Dean of Admissions

• Rude or offensive behavior towards any staff member throughout the application process.

• Finding out that the applicant lied on their application (i.e., not being truthful about a position, title, transcript etc., or not disclosing a lay-off, being fired, etc.) or did not disclose a criminal conviction.

• Finding out that the applicant misrepresented him or herself in taking an exam (TOEFL, GMAT/GRE) or in an interview (i.e., sent someone else in their place to conduct the interview. We can usually guard against this since we ask for IDs from each interviewee, even those we conduct via Skype).


HEC Paris MBA, Philippe Oster, Communication, Development & Admissions Director

When discussing the characteristics and behaviours that turn us off a candidate, the same things always spring to mind: a lack of respect for both the admissions process and the interviewers, telling lies on the application, poor letters of recommendation….But there are few other habits that will put us off a seemingly strong candidate.

Whilst it is important to sell yourself on your application, it is important to remain true to yourself and your achievements. When a candidate goes overboard trying to sell themselves, it raises a few eyebrows. We double check our applications, and if we find out that a candidate has been less than honest about the scale of his or her achievements – even if it was all in the name of making themselves sound a more appealing candidate – we will not be best impressed. We are fully aware that the top MBA courses are competitive but we also know at the same time that the perfect candidate doesn’t exist; when a candidate seems almost too good to be true, they usually are!

Another key factor in a candidate’s application is coherence. We want to attract the best, most driven candidates, and so their motivation in applying for HEC Paris MBA has to be clear. It is completely normal for a candidate to apply for more than one business school, but when someone just blindly applies to the top 25 without thinking about whether that school offers the best experience for them and their professional aspirations, it doesn’t motivate us to accept them. Eclectic choices with little consideration are not an indicator of the strong-decision making and foresight that is so important when studying for an MBA.

Each business school is different, and so it is important for the candidate to carefully consider their choices and only apply for the ones that cater to both their professional goals and personality. We wouldn’t expect a candidate to find that more than four of the top MBAs complement them perfectly, and so their application should reflect this.


IE Business School, Jean Marie Winikates, Director of North America at IE Business School

1. Information that doesn’t add up on the application and is still unclear after the interview.

2. Behavior that exhibits poor judgment.

3. Someone who exhibits goals that do not align with the program outcomes.


IMD, Lisa Piguet, Associate Director MBA Admissions and Marketing

As far as behaviour goes – as you know, our interview process is the most unique in the industry so we get to witness all kinds of behaviours. For me, I do not tolerate people who do not give space to others in a discussion. IMD is 95% international so English is the second language to most of our class (if not the third, fourth or fifth language). Therefore it is really important to me that people give each other the respect and courtesy to express themselves in the best way they know how. If someone in a group discussion does not allow this, I do not tolerate it.

The second part to the question – rejecting someone. We reject people when we see that they have written their own letters of recommendation or if they’ve lied on their application. We also do background checks at IMD (only after someone has been accepted) so if anyone has lied in the application we will find it out here as well and this is automatic grounds for dismissal (obviously we give them a chance to explain or clear things up before dismissing them).


London Business School, Oliver Ashby, Senior Manager, Recruitment & Admissions, MBA Programme

Every communication and information point is a valuable addition to our assessment of a candidate. We have a set of values that define us as a learning community and we look for evidence that candidates are aligned with those when assessing their fit for our school. We do not seek out behaviour to exclude applicants but instead actively seek to champion evidence that a candidate has the right ‘cultural fit’ for LBS. That is to say they demonstrate they are communal, open and engaged. We also look for candidates who we feel are likely to play an enduring role in the schools future.


Michigan RossSoojin Kwon, Director of Admissions

Here are some things that would cause us to reject a seemingly strong MBA applicant:

• Evidence of plagiarism

• Falsification of background

• Poor judgment – could be demonstrated through an essay, a recommendation letter, an interview, a formal or informal interactions

• Lack of cultural awareness and openness to diversity

• Inability to work well with others


Notre Dame Mendoza, Debby Herczeg, Assistant Director, Graduate Business Programs Admissions

Our focus is in ethics and values, so something that may cause us to reject an otherwise strong candidate, would be behavior or information that has shown the candidate to be unethical. There are many situations where a person can fall into this category, so of course, we would review the entire case to see if there would be need for concern.

The additional consideration is values. Does the candidate have any example of not having similar values as the University? Ethics and values are an important part of our curriculum and we hope that all of our graduates represent the program and University based on what they learn here at Notre Dame.


Toronto Rotman, Niki da Silva, Director, Recruitment & Admissions, Full Time MBA

The behaviour that would cause our admissions committee to reject an otherwise strong candidate would be arrogance. The culture at Rotman is a program of equals where individuality is a core value at the School, so a candidate who comes across as arrogant simply won’t be a good fit with others in the program, despite having otherwise impressive qualifications.

We are looking for people who value the contribution and unique skills/experiences others can bring and admitting candidates who believe they are superior to others is far too damaging to the culture to be considered. This arrogance can come across in an admissions interview, sometimes in an essay, and also in reference letters.


The Lauder Institute, (Joint-Degree MA International Studies & Wharton MBA/Penn Law JD), Meghan Ellis, Associate Director of Lauder Admissions

As a program that focuses on international business and management issues, global and regional studies, and cross-cultural proficiency, the Lauder Institute has a strong emphasis on foreign language skills. A successful Lauder applicant must have at least an advanced level of proficiency in one of our non-native language programs (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish).

The only exceptions are that native-level Spanish, French, and Italian speakers can enter our Portuguese program without prior knowledge of the language, and for our new Global program we ask that applicants have strong proficiency in two languages other than English.

The above comments refer specifically to the Lauder Institute – not the Wharton MBA.


UVA Darden, Sara E. Neher, Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions

I’m continually amazed by how some applicants every year are rude, either directly to me, or to members of the Admissions team. Examples are things like signing up for events and not attending, short, terse emails, or canceling a class visit or interview at the last minute and expecting the admissions team to be able to accommodate you at your convenience (amazingly – expecting a class visit when there are not classes, like Fridays).

Treating others with respect is something of paramount importance to Darden. Sometimes rudeness is an indicator of bad character and sometimes it means that the applicant is not really that interested in Darden. In either case, I do not want to admit that person, no matter the quality of their work experience or GMAT.


UNC Kenan-FlaglerSherry Wallace, Director of Admissions

Some of the reasons we would avoid admitting applicants that might appear to be strong candidates, include:

• Candidate perceived to be a mismatch with our school. Maybe the candidate’s values (expressed or witnessed) don’t match Kenan-Flagler values. Maybe the candidate seeks a particular curriculum that we don’t offer or a career outcome that we don’t think we are best suited to help them achieve.

• Candidate has been excessive in contacting the admissions office and requesting individual attention. Too many inquiries, too many requests for one-on-one meetings or phone calls – beyond that which is appropriate. Note that we encourage candidates to engage with us. I’m referring here only to those people whose demands for individual attention are unreasonable.

• Candidate received negative feedback from staff or students. Perhaps the candidate came to campus and was rude or inappropriate with the staff or students they met.

• Candidate doesn’t display sincere interest in being a student at our school. We expect that most applicants will consider multiple schools. Regardless of whether we the top choice or the third choice, we want to see some passion and enthusiasm in the candidate.

• Candidate presented fraudulent information.


Vanderbilt Owen, Christie St. John, Director of Admissions

What are reasons we would deny an otherwise strong candidate? I can think of three main reasons.

First, if we hear from our students that a candidate has acted inappropriately in a social situation with the students, i.e., having said or done something highly offensive, we would not admit the person. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when our students report such an incident, we know that the person would not be a good fit in our community.

Second, if we feel that the person has career goals that are simply not feasible, whether because of their lack of essential work experience, their interpersonal skills, or maybe because they want something that we don’t feel our program can help them with. We talk very frankly and honestly with applicants whose goals don’t seem to align with their experience. We explain that we want them to get a job and that we will do everything we can to help, but they may need to be flexible and be willing to work very hard to get into something they just don’t have the background for. We feel this is the only ethical way to do business – to set people up for success.

Finally, we occasionally “google” some of the people we are interviewing, just to get an idea of what their interests are. Many times we discover fun facts that help us find the right students to connect with the applicant. But once, a colleague actually discovered some very serious criminal allegations against an applicant which led to his incarceration. No mention of this was made in the application, and had we not done some searching, we would not have known about this. Many schools use background checks for all admitted students to verify credentials and check for criminal offenses. We haven’t done that for a while at Vanderbilt but we are considering it now.

There are probably other things but these are at the top of the list.


UCLA Anderson, Jessica Chung, Associate Director, MBA Admissions

Blatant plagiarism in the application essay is something that can make an otherwise strong MBA candidate inadmissible. An applicant can have great academics, work experience and other qualities, but if he/she behaves unethically by copying passages from other sources and passing off as his/her own work, there’s a strong chance that this behavior can continue as a student in the program and that’s not someone we want as a part of our community.


Get clear, practical guidelines for answering the MBA goals essay question. Click here to download our free report.