Valentine’s Day, Economics, and Stanford GSB

Listen to our interview with Dr. Paul Oyer!The Valentine’s Day episode of Admissions Straight Talk — the perfect opportunity to invite… an economist to be our guest on the show.

Listen to the full recording of our enlightening conversation with Dr. Paul Oyer, Professor of Economics, at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Dr. Oyer and Linda discuss the common thread between dating, economics, and admissions. Spot-on, right?

00:02:12 – Featured Applicant Question: Do I need to explain my low GPA to the adcom?

00:06:18 – Why Dr. Oyer wrote Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating.

00:11:04 – The limits of economics in explaining online dating.

00:15:49 – How offline dating is like an economic market too. (Yup, economists take the fun out of everything.)

00:17:42 – Signaling: Why education is a waste, but still serves a purpose. How virtual roses signify credibility. And what the college/grad school admissions process has to do with signaling.

00:32:06 – The parallels between economics and dating – Wonderful, but not surprising.

00:33:47 – An interesting aspect of the law and MBA student internship-to-job-offer ratios.

00:38:20 – A Stanford GSB professor’s reflection on the defining characteristic of students at that b-school.

00:40:51 – How Dr. Oyer’s books have changed his teaching.

00:43:36 – What MBA students need to know before they start school.

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

Related Links:

• Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating
Roadside MBA: Back Road Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners 
• How to Be a Better Valentine, Through Economics
• Stanford GSB Zone
• Stanford GSB 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips
• Get Accepted to Stanford GSB, a free webinar

Related Shows:

• A B-School Professor on Main Street, USA
• The Stanford MSx Program for Experienced Leaders
• MBA Project Search: Matchmaking for MBAs and Businesses
• Entrepreneurship at Stanford GSB: Carlypso Drives Down the Startup St.

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Are Schools Reducing Their Number of Admissions Essays?

Applying to Stanford GSB? Check out our Stanford application essay tips!

Is Stanford a trendsetter?

Elite schools like Yale, Wharton, and Stanford looked like they were starting a trend in cutting the number of required admissions essays for applicants, but according to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2014 business school admissions officers survey, most U.S. MBA programs haven’t followed their lead. The survey indicates that just 13% of the participating 204 business schools say they reduced the number of essays for this admissions cycle, compared to last year. Only 3% of schools plan on further reducing the number of required essays for the next application cycle.

According to Kaplan Test Prep’s executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs, Brian Carlidge, “Our survey finds that the overwhelming number of MBA programs continue to see value in applicants submitting more information about themselves. From what we’ve seen, the business schools that have cut their number of admissions essays are doing so to streamline the process, believing they can get what they need from applicants through fewer, more focused essays. While it may sound counter-intuitive, some applicants may find fewer essays and lower word counts difficult as it forces them to be more succinct. We encourage all aspiring MBAs to put effort into their essays, no matter the number or word count, as this piece of the application gives them the opportunity to show admissions officers why they’d be a good fit for the school in a way that their GMAT score, undergraduate GPA and work experience cannot.”

Analysis.

I certainly agree with Kaplan that MBA applicants need to put serious effort into their essays regardless of how many there are, but I found the disconnect between the highly publicized drop in essays for top-ranked programs vs. the relatively constant number of essays for lower ranked programs curious.

I’m going to indulge in speculating about the causes of this discrepancy:

The competition among the elite programs is intense. Application volume is a factor in rankings and also in perception of a school’s panache. Since more application work essentially raises the cost of applying, more essays could mean fewer applicants for these highly competitive programs. And they don’t want the hit to their application volume.

Perhaps lower ranked programs are more concerned about yield than about application volume. They want to accept people who put a little more effort into their applications. That effort implies the applicants are more invested in the application and are signaling more strongly that they really are interested in attending the programs they are applying to.

Finally another thought that really calls into question the validity of the Kaplan conclusions: While the Kaplan survey asks specifically about essays, it doesn’t discuss information being collected in short-answer responses and in boxes in the application. Many schools, notably HBS, have moved much of the information gathering to these boxes and short-form answers as opposed to the essays of a few years ago.

It’s a mistake to assume that those short-form answers are any less important than the essays.
MBA 5 Fatal Flaws
Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

School-Specific MBA Application Essay Tips
MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know
How to Answer “Mini” MBA Essay Questions

Entrepreneurship at Stanford GSB: Carlypso Drives Down the Startup Street

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

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

00:01:37 – You asked, Linda answers! Linda explains why you should only give ONE example or story when application questions ask for one example.  Adding more than one can do more harm than good.

00:05:08 – What is Carlypso?

00:07:30 – Where did the idea for Carlypso come from.

00:10:39 – Who benefits from using Carlypso?

00:12:40 – Did their Stanford MBA degree really help them?

00:19:10 – Are people overestimating entrepreneurship at Stanford?

00:21:42 –  The Stanford MBA’s impact on Nick’s and Chris’s work.

00:23:10 – The $50,000 coffee that helped start Carlypso.

00:26:14 – Interested in attending Stanford? Nick and Chris give tips on how to get accepted (and rejected).

00:27:45 – Fail, and fail gracefully, but don’t do it again.

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

Relevant Links:

• Carlypso
• Tushar’s comment and my response
• Carlypso Could Change Everything About How We Buy And Sell Used Cars
• Stanford GSB Essay Tips 

Relevant shows:

• Life as an HBS MBA
• Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC
• Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman
• The Stanford MSx Program for Experienced Leaders
• Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship
• Jeff Reid on Entrepreneurship

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

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Get Accepted to Stanford Graduate School of Business! Click here to learn more!

Accepted.com: The Premier Admissions Consultancy

 

QS Global TopMBA Rankings 2014

TopMBA’s new 2014/2015 global report ranks business programs according to geographic location based on surveys completed by 5,669 actively-hiring MBA employers and 7,187 academics in the field of business and management. (See more about the methodology here.)

Top 20 B-Schools in North America

Learn how to make the business school rankings work for you, not against you!

Some highlights:

•  The top 10 remained virtually the same this year as last, with two rather large exceptions: Ross and Stern entered the top 10 scene from 12th place to 8th place for Ross and 12th place to 10th place for Stern. Losing top 10 stature this year were Duke Fuqua which fell from 10th to 13th place and Toronto Rotman which fell from 8th to 14th.

•  There were three newcomers to the top 10 this year – NYU Stern (see above), Texas McCombs (29th last year to 19th this year), and BU School of Management (24th to 20th). HEC Montreal fell from the top 20 (16th place last year to 22nd this year), as did York Schulich (13th to 28th) and Queen’s School of Business (18th to 31st).

•  Big jumpers further down in the rankings include USC Marshall (42nd to 23rd), UC Irvine Merage (51st to 33rd), UC Davis (54th to 36th), Michigan State Broad (71st to 38th), UC San Diego Rady (61st to 40th), Ohio State Fisher (60th to 42nd), UT Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management (83rd to 45th), Washington Olin (83rd to 47th), and Minnesota Carlson (87th to 49th).

•  Big droppers include UVA Darden (28th to 37th), University of Miami School of Business Administration (32nd to 77th), Rutgers Business School (67th to 82nd), and Vanderbilt Owen (37th to 86th).

Top 20 B-Schools in Europe

Learn how to make the rankings work for you and not against you!Some highlights:

•  HEC Paris jumped from 10th place last year to 4th place this year and Cambridge Judge jumped from 13th to 10th place; otherwise, the top 10 in Europe remain pretty much the same. Copenhagen fell from the top 10, from 9th place last year to 12th place this year.

•  New to the top 20 this year are ESSEC (29th place to 16th place), Manchester Bossiness School (27th to 14th place), and European Business School (21st to 19th). Trinity MBA in Dublin fell from the top 20, from 12th place to 21st

•  UK programs dominate the 65 schools on the European list with 26 programs represented. This is followed by France (9), Spain (5), Switzerland (4), Germany (4), the Netherlands (4), Italy (3), Denmark (2), Ireland (2), Greece (2), Finland (1), Portugal (1), Turkey (1), and Belgium (1).

You can download the full report here.

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Businessweek Rankings 2014
• 2014 Economist MBA Rankings
• MBA Rankings: Why Should I Care?

MBA Interview with Stanford MSx Student Erik Moon

Get the scoop on the Stanford MSx Program! 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. And now for a chat with Erik Moon, a recent graduate from Stanford MSx.

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Where did you go to business school?

Erik: First of all, I’m a bit older than the typical MBA student. I’m in my early 40s and have nearly 20 years of experience in product management, project management and operations in telecom, data centers and corporate IT. I’ve spent about half my career in Silicon Valley and the other half in Northern Virginia – so the two primary schools I was interested in were UVA / Darden and Stanford GSB.

I did my undergrad (BS Economics) as well as a masters degree (MS Information Systems) at George Washington University in Washington DC. I just graduated (2014) from the Stanford MSx program (previously known as the Sloan Fellows program). It is a full-time one-year program for experienced professionals. The summer / fall quarters are spent taking mostly core classes (like an MBA 1st year) and the winter / spring quarters are mostly electives (like an MBA 2nd year).

Accepted: What’s the difference between Stanford Sloan and Stanford’s MSx degree? 

Erik: Same thing… The Sloan program has almost 60 years of history as a degree program for experienced professionals. The program has changed significantly in the last few years to make the curriculum more flexible and incorporate the opportunity for many more electives than in years past. It is a 4-quarter full-time degree program, so Stanford doesn’t like to call it an EMBA – so students are not able to continue work while taking classes, but many students (approx 30%) are sponsored by their employers.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about Stanford? And if you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?

Erik: That is a huge question! My favorite thing about Stanford has to be the optimism – the students all expect to be doing great things some day. People don’t come to Stanford just to slowly climb into middle management. The GSB motto – Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world. – is not an exaggeration…

If I could change one thing, I would want to increase awareness of the MSx program. It is a hidden gem that many people have simply never heard of in their b-school search. I think the branding (not wanting to call the program an EMBA) makes it very confusing. When mid-career applicants ask if Stanford GSB has an EMBA, the first answer is “NO” – then these applicants simply look elsewhere. But if they ask the right question – “Does Stanford GSB have a mid-career graduate business degree program?” – they would find the best “executive-level” business degree at the best b-school in the world.

Accepted: Can you share some advice to incoming students, to help make their adjustment to b-school easier? What do you wish you would’ve known when you started the program?

Erik: Since it is only a 1-year program, it is important to understand exactly what you want to get out of your short time on campus and quickly figure out how to get it. It requires a lot of initiative and focus when there are lots of life changes and distractions all around. You can’t sit back and expect all the good things to come to you – students need to actively seek opportunities and grab it.

That said, Stanford GSB has an acronym – FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out – there are so many events, clubs, guest speakers, presentations, brown-bag-lunches and other things happening that it is really easy to get frustrated or swamped. You have to come to the realization that you will never be able to attend everything. Again, important to quickly determined what you will get the best value for your time and prioritize!

Accepted: Can you tell us about Stanford’s unusual six-point grading system?

Erik: I blogged about this here: http://sloanlife.com/2014/08/02/gsb-grades-the-elusive-h/

Bottom line: Get your highest possible marks as early as possible and anchor your GPA nice and high while you’re taking relatively straightforward core classes. This affords you the freedom to later take classes you WANT to take and not worry at all about the grades.

Accepted: Were you involved in any clubs on campus? How central to student life is club involvement?

Erik: Not at all central, but the clubs are great ways to find other students with similar interests (and usually get a lot of free food / beer). I mostly spent my time with Entrepreneurship Club and High Tech Club. Participation is completely optional and you could certainly get by with never attending a club event…

Accepted: Now that you’ve graduated, what are you up to?

Erik: I’m currently working on a startup – Hinted.com – we’re building a platform for personal and professional feedback.

Accepetd: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the b-school admissions process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it?

Erik: I should have gotten off my ass and applied sooner… I could easily have done this 3-4 years ago… The GMATs were a perfect excuse for me to procrastinate. In retrospect, should have just bitten the bullet a long time ago when the quant material was a lot more fresh in my mind.

Accepted: Do you have any other advice for our business school applicant readers?

Erik: Apply to the best school you know you will get into first (and that you would be willing to go to) – and apply early! This will take off all the pressure. Once you have this acceptance, you can go pursue the dream schools top down, instead of inching upwards. This is the approach I took – I first applied to UVA Darden GEMBA and was accepted. I was completely willing to take that program – but then I started realizing that maybe I should try getting into more exclusive programs. I applied to Stanford MSx and intended to apply to Wharton San Francisco. I was accepted into Stanford and didn’t even have to fill out another application.

Also, if you want to go to a top school, don’t even bother applying until you can post a 700 GMAT or better. The application process is simply too competitive.

You also need to distinguish yourself in some way. You can have a 750 GMAT, a 3.9 GPA and great work experience and not look like an interesting candidate. Find something interesting about yourself where you can truly say that you have world-class talent / skills / experience to differentiate yourself.

Don’t hold back – you are your own best advocate – your b-school application is not the time for modesty (but don’t lie either). Demonstrate how you will take what Stanford (or other school) will give you and leverage that to give back to the community.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages

You can read more about Erik’s b-school journey by checking out his blog, Sloan Life. Thank you Erik for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Get Accepted to Stanford Graduate School of Business! Click here to learn more!

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• The Stanford MSx Program for Experienced Leaders
• What Stanford is Looking for: Personal Qualities and Contributions
• Stanford GSB 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips