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
18 18 NYU Stern USA
19 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.

USC Marshall 2014 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

For more info about USC Marshall, check out our Marshall Zone page. What will you gain from your two years at USC Marshall, and what will the school gain from you during that time? These are the questions you’ll need to keep in the back of your mind as you prepare your USC Marshall application essays. The adcom wants to hear about how you will give and receive when you obtain your MBA from this top B-school.


1. Introduce yourself. How are you a good fit for the Marshall MBA community? The Trojan Network is highly regarded worldwide, how do your professional and person goals add value to this expansive and collaborative brand? (500-750 words)

This question is multifaceted, and, frankly, a bit convoluted. It asks several things, but the key themes are fit with and contribution to Marshall. To answer it well, first discern what you consider to be Marshall’s character and culture, its “collaborative brand.” With those qualities in mind, “introduce yourself” by highlighting a couple of key relevant points about your life and career, and discuss your goals, in both cases underscoring congruence with the program. Don’t overlook the “worldwide” regard; if global experience is part of what you bring and/or is part of your goals, try to weave it in.

Optional essay: Here you may choose to provide additional information with regard to personal characteristics and/or challenges you have had which might enhance the diversity of your Class. (250 words)

Please see “The Optional Essay: To Be or Not to Be.”

Re-application Essay: Please describe any significant professional, personal, or academic growth since your last application to the USC Marshall School of Business. Discuss your specific professional goals and how the USC Marshall Full-Time Program will help you achieve these goals. (500 words)

The key to a successful reapplication is to show growth and that’s the job of this essay. At least one of the specific growth points you present should be professional – there are the obvious things like a promotion or a new project to lead, and less obvious things like new industry or functional exposure, informal leadership, a challenge or problem that “stretched” your skills and perspective. In describing goals, if they’ve changed from the previous application, note why.

If you would like professional guidance with your USC Marshall 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 USC Marshall application.

Learn how to determine your MBA goals and then weave them into a compelling MBA goals essay.

USC Marshall 2014 MBA Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline Decision Notification Begins
Round 1 October 15, 2013 December 15, 2013
Round 2 January 10, 2014 March 15, 2014
Round 3 April 15, 2014 June 1, 2014


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.

MBA Applicant Blogger Interview with Bschoolgirl

bschoolgirl_avatarWe’d like to introduce you to Bschoolgirl, an anonymous blogger at Girl Meets B-School who will be starting her first year at USC Marshall this fall. A self-proclaimed non-traditional applicant, Bschoolgirl made it into one of her top picks, and shares lots of good advice about her admissions experience. Thank you Bschoolgirl!

Accepted: First, some basics: Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? And what is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?

Bschoolgirl: I’m born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I majored in Cinema and Dance at San Francisco State University. In other words, I have the sort of background that makes MBA admissions officers scratch their heads in confusion.

Pride and Prejudice never fails to cheer me up. I listened to the audiobook over and over while waiting for Round 2 decisions.

Accepted: You mention in your blog that you were a reapplicant. What do you think went wrong during your first round of applications? And what did you do the second time around to improve your candidacy?

Bschoolgirl: By pitting myself against business and finance majors, I knew I would have to work harder to prove that I could keep up. Unfortunately I hadn’t taken a ton of quantitative courses and I was on the younger side, with only two and a half years of work experience and less than a year in management. So the first time around, I received three rejections and a waitlist.

In hindsight I’m glad that I failed, because I learned a ton about the admissions process. Admissions officers aren’t sadists. They truly want you to succeed in the program, and it’s your job to convince them that you will. I simply needed to provide more evidence that I had a plan for my career, that I could handle the quantitative coursework, and that I could lead people. I thought I wanted to get into marketing, so I started talking to everyone I knew in that field to learn what skills it would take to make the switch. I took additional courses in Finance and Accounting from a local community college. And I volunteered for a committee at work that involved training others on a new software program. By the time I reapplied, I looked like a totally different candidate. I was admitted to three of my four schools, and decided to attend the USC Marshall School of Business.

Accepted: Why do you think you are a good fit with USC Marshall?

Bschoolgirl: From the moment I stepped on campus I felt at home. Marshall students are diverse, dynamic, and entrepreneurial, which really appealed to me as a nontraditional candidate. The class size is ideal, not so big that I would get lost in the crowd or so small that I would lose out on the network. And with my background, I felt that it was important to be in Los Angeles and to attend a school with a great reputation in the media and entertainment industry.

Accepted: What are you most looking forward to this coming fall? 

Bschoolgirl: Of course I’m excited for the social stuff. I can’t wait to meet my classmates and get involved with some of the student organizations. And this might sound nerdy, but I’m kind of looking forward to the academics. I think taking Finance for the first time has awakened my inner Quant.

Accepted: Do you have any reservations – anything that you’re worried about?

Bschoolgirl: I’m a little concerned about managing my time. I have a tendency to want to get involved in everything, and I’ve heard it’s really easy to overbook yourself in the first year.

Accepted: What have you been doing since graduating college?

Bschoolgirl: I worked as a video editor for about a year after college, but the hours were long and the gigs inconsistent. My next job was at a media services company working with radio and television commercials. We handled distribution for everything from the infomercials you see on late night TV to Super Bowl commercials.

Accepted: Do you plan on staying in the same career post-MBA or moving to a new industry/function?

Bschoolgirl: I’m taking the hard road by attempting to switch industry and function at once: from media to high tech, and from operations to marketing. Marketing appeals to me because it’s both creative and analytical, and I’m completely fascinated by the ways technology is changing how people consume video. Did I mention that I’m kind of a geek?

Accepted: Why did you decide to blog about your MBA experience?

Bschoolgirl: I started my blog, Girl Meets B-School, because I literally ran out of people to talk to about the things that were stressing me out. Strangely enough, my friends and family weren’t interested in GMAT percentiles and notification deadlines. I try to keep it funny because the rest of the application process is so gosh darn serious. It’s been awesome to discover other MBA blogs and see people stumble across mine, and for a moment we can smile knowingly at each other with that fierce, tired glint in our eyes that says, “Sure, I survived application season. What’s next?”

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


More 2012 Economist MBA Rankings Data

MBA Rankings Data for 2012We already analyzed The Economist’s rankings of the top 25 global MBA programs; now we’re going to provide insights from the Poets & Quants article, “The Economist’s Winners & Losers.” In short, volatility is the name of the game.

  • 23 of the 100 top global MBA programs saw double-digit changes (jumps or falls) this year.
  • The awards for the biggest falls go to University College Dublin’s Smurfit School and Vlerick Leuven, both of which dropped 25 places.
  • In the U.S., USC Marshall takes the loser’s cake with a 21-spot drop from 22nd to 43rd place. Penn State’s Smeal School of Business dropped 18 places from 50th to 68th.
  • The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmadehad wins points for the biggest jump, going from 28th place in 2011 to 56th place this year (22 places). The next biggest jump was Lancaster University Management School which went from 100th to 80th place over the course of the year.
  • The biggest jumpers in the U.S. were Temple University Fox (89th to 77th), Cornell Johnson (25th to 15th), and Georgetown McDonough (44th to 35th).
  • Newcomers to the top 100 list include Arizona State (59th), Texas Christian (71st), the International University of Japan (79th), St. Gallen University (81st), WHU Germany (87th), the International University of Monaco (97th), and Case Western Reserve Weatherhead (100th).

Please see our article on The Economist’s top 25 MBA programs for 2012 for more information.


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USC Marshall 2013 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips

USC MarshallWhat will you gain from your two years at USC Marshall, and what will the school gain from you during that time? These are the questions you’ll need to keep in the back of your mind as you prepare your USC Marshall application essays. The adcoms want to hear about how you will give and receive when you obtain your MBA from this top B-school.

Essay Questions:

1) What are your short-term and long-term post-MBA goals? How will USC Marshall help you achieve these goals? (750 words)

This is a straight-forward MBA goals question. As always with this type of question, connect the dots. Let the reader see that your goals grow organically from your experience and are achievable given your experience and an MBA from Marshall.

2) How will other USC Marshall MBA students benefit from your background, experience, leadership and teamwork skills? (500 words)

What can you contribute to your class? Where at Marshall do you want to contribute. In which clubs and organizations do you want to invest your talents?

I suggest you choose 1-3 examples from your past where you contributed to your school, club, church, or company and show how the very qualities you utilized then you intend to use at Marshall. Is Social Enterprise calling your name? Then perhaps Marshall Net Impact is where you intend to have impact? Perhaps you are a vet. Can you contribute to the Marshall Military Veterans Association. How will you contribute?

3) Select three from the following and describe: (250 words each)

a) A challenging international business experience

b) How would you contribute to the “Trojan Network.”

c) Your most significant accomplishment.

d) A personal or professional setback.

e) Introduce yourself to your future Marshall classmates in 100 words or less

First question: Which to choose? Those three that you can write most easily and enthusiastically and which complement the other essays and information found elsewhere.  If you don’t have much international experience, don’t choose A. If you have been very active either as an undergrad or perhaps in your company’s CSR initiative and you would like to continue to contribute in that way, then you should choose B.

While the question only asks you to describe the situation, go beyond that instruction. Do describe and then analyze. Why is this event important to you? What was your impact? What did you learn? And try to stay away from the cliched, “I learned that if I try hard enough I can do anything.” You can’t, and we all know it. Go deeper, and be real.

4) Optional Essay: Please add any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to consider in evaluating your application. Also, if you are applying to a dual-degree program, please address that in this essay.

Please see ”The Optional Essay: To Be or Not to Be.”

Re-applicant Essays:

1) What steps have you taken to strengthen your application since your last submission? Please reiterate your post-MBA goals. (750 words)

The first part of this question is the key question for any MBA applicant. What’s changed? What’s improved. Please tie your MBA goal into your essay. Have the year’s experiences changed it? Better prepared you for it? Strengthened it? And of course, state clearly what it is.

2) Select three from the following and describe: (250 words each)

a) A challenging international business experience.

b) How would you contribute to the “Trojan Network.”

c) Your most significant accomplishment.

d) A personal or professional setback.

e) Introduce yourself to your future Marshall classmates in 100 words or less

Please see response to #3 for first-time applicants above.

3) Optional Essay: Please add any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to consider in evaluating your application. Also, if you are applying to a dual-degree program, please address that in this essay.

Show that you have grown since your last application. Reveal that you have addressed weaknesses. Demonstrate increased leadership. Present evidence that you have improved enormously since your last application. For more information, please see:


Application Deadlines*

Test Deadlines**

Interview Invitations

Notification Dates***

Nov. 1, 2012 Nov. 1, 2012 Dec. 7, 2012 Feb. 1, 2013
Jan. 15, 2013 Jan. 15, 2013 Feb. 15, 2013 Apr. 5, 2013
Mar. 15, 2013 Mar. 15, 2013 Apr. 15, 2013 May 17, 2013

*We must receive your application by 11:59 p.m. PST on this day.
***Notifications/Decisions: Admit, Deny, Waitlist, or you may be invited to interview

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.

USC Marshall Launches New Master of Business for Veterans Program

Master of Business for Veterans ProgramUniversity of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business created a new master’s in business program this year for military veterans. According to the Marshall website, the Master of Business for Veterans (MBV) is designed for “military veterans, active military and active duty military, who wish to gain formal business knowledge and develop critical thinking skills to manage or grow a business and discover the transferability of military experience and skill sets.”

The 8-month, part-time program is two semesters long (25 units), with 16 full-day sessions held each semester (on Fridays and Saturdays). Additional content will be presented via distance learning, so this program combines residential and distance elements. The program includes “intensive class discussions, project work, experiential exercises, and group activities.”

Please see our Marshall B-School Zone for advice on getting into USC’s Marshall School of Business.


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Current Student Interview – Christina from USC Marshall

Christina Marshall

USC Marshall student – Christina Marshall

Here’s a talk with Christina Marshall, a student at USC Marshall who is loving relaxed west coast living, but missing the vibe of the Big Apple. Thank you Christina 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?

Christina: I’m originally from Waverly Hall, GA, a small, quiet country town. But I went to undergrad at New York University in the middle of New York City. I graduated in 2005 with a degree in Marketing, Advertising and Cultural Identity Politics from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your major? It sounds like an interesting degree. 

Christina: Attending NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study allowed me to create my own concentration based on what I was most passionate about. After some exploration I found that my passion was in brand building and cultural identity so I created a concentration that allowed me to explore how media, brands and popular culture influence expressions of personal identity and vice versa. Fortunately for me, my unique degree perfectly positioned me for an early career in multicultural advertising and my subsequent marketing roles at general market agencies.

Accepted: How many business schools did you apply to? Why did you decide to attend USC Marshall? 

Christina: I applied to 4 business schools, but USC Marshall School of Business was the right choice for me. When I outlined all my needs and expectations for my individualized MBA journey, I saw that Marshall delivered:

  • International exposure in a rich and interesting way.
  • A world class entrepreneurship center that boasted many successful entrepreneurs.
  • The opportunity to cover core course work in one semester so I could customize my experience over 3 semesters.
  • A truly collaborative and spirited environment.
  • The LA location that afforded me access to a diverse and relaxed coastal culture.

Accepted: What is your favorite class so far? Which class has been the most challenging?

Christina: My favorite course was my Global Strategy course. Through this course I was more than a student; I became an international consultant for a Thai textile company looking to enter the U.S. retail and/or hospitality markets. After a few months of research and preparation, Marshall took my team and I to Thailand (and Vietnam) where we presented our findings to our partner company.

Accepted: Which do you prefer – studying on the east coast or the west coast?

Christina: There are so many pros for both. I miss the energy of the east coast, especially NYC. The city became part of your education and gave you access to countless companies and other professionals. But the west coast is refreshingly relaxed and is ripe with creative thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs. It’s an inspiring place to be.

Accepted: Do you have a summer internship? If so, can you tell us about the role USC played in securing that position?

Christina: This summer, I’m an MBA level Buyer intern at Target Corporation in Minneapolis, MN. I secured this internship independent of USC’s recruitment process, but I can say that the school prepared me to nail the interview process. USC Marshall began prepping me for the recruitment process before orientation started. I arrived at the school ready to recruit.

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

Christina: At Marshall, your unique perspective is valued. The program welcomes those who are authentic and those who can bring their whole selves to the table. Be genuine and let your passion/ambition shine through.

Learn how we can help you get accepted to USC Marshall.

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Current Student Interview – Lydia from USC Marshall

USC Marshall student - Lydia Kung

USC Marshall student – Lydia Kung

Here’s a talk with Lydia Kung, a USC Marshall student interested in pursuing a career in international business. Thank you Lydia 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?

Lydia: My name is Lydia Kung and I was born and raised in San Francisco. I am a double Trojan so in addition to currently pursuing my MBA at USC, I also attended USC as an undergraduate student. My field of study was international business in the Marshall Business School and I graduated in May 2006. I have a background in Information Technology recruiting and non-profit event planning and fundraising.

Accepted: Why did you choose to attend Marshall? How does your graduate experience at Marshall differ from your undergraduate experience there?

Lydia: I chose to attend Marshall’s MBA program for several reasons. First, I had an amazing experience at Marshall as an undergraduate student and loved being a part of the Trojan family. Second, Marshall’s MBA curriculum was very appealing because of the diverse array of courses it offers and the flexibility for students to customize their schedules. Lastly, Marshall’s PRIME program (Pacific Rim International Management Education) was a top selling point. I have a background in international business and have always wanted to work overseas. This program, which consists of a semester-long course and 10-day excursion in the Pacific Rim, was the perfect opportunity to expand my knowledge and gain hands-on experience working on a global consulting project.

My experience at Marshall the second time around has been phenomenal, and I can honestly say I love USC even more now. The class size is much smaller compared to the undergraduate program with roughly 220 students, and the courses are more strategic and interactive. Class participation and group discussions are heavily emphasized, and a strong focus is placed on developing presentation and communication skills. There are also significantly more group projects so you learn quickly how to work in teams and collaborate with individuals with different personalities and backgrounds.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your experience with the Forte Foundation?

Lydia: My experience with the Forte Foundation has been great. I receive frequent emails with information about upcoming events (i.e. workshops, seminars, networking socials) and there are countless opportunities to get involved. I highly recommend Forte to anyone interested in pursuing business, increasing their professional development or just connecting with others.

Accepted: What’s your favorite class so far?

Lydia: My favorite class has been the Management Communications course I took my first semester. It taught me the importance of effective communication and challenged me to step outside my comfort zone to hone my “soft” skills. You are required to make numerous individual and group presentations, which greatly helped improve my public speaking and leadership abilities.

Accepted: Can you tell us about the Marshall MBA Ambassador Program and your role with the group?

Lydia: The Ambassador Program is a wonderful opportunity for prospective students to visit and interact with current MBA students to learn more about the Marshall experience. It currently consists of 26 first year full-time students who guide class visits, lead Admit Weekend and act as liaisons between the admissions office and applicants interested in Marshall. I am the Co-Director for the Ambassador Program and my responsibilities have included spearheading event logistics for Admit Weekend, scheduling class visits, conducting Q&A sessions, meeting prospective students and overseeing the Ambassador team.

Accepted: Do you have an internship lined up for the summer? What role did Marshall play in helping you secure that position?

Lydia: I am currently interning at Mattel for the summer in the Human Resources department specializing in Leadership Development and Talent Acquisition. Marshall played a significant role in helping secure my internship because I found the job posting through the school’s career services website and was able to network with Mattel employees through on-campus and off-site recruiting events.

Accepted: What are some of your favorite things about living and studying in Los Angeles?

Lydia: Los Angeles is a bustling, vibrant town and it’s exciting to be surrounded by such diverse groups of people and communities. The weather is amazing and I enjoy not only being able to hang out at the beach, but also to experience the Hollywood lifestyle since Los Angeles is the entertainment capital. Studying in the area is fantastic because there are a wide range of industries and ample opportunities to find internships and employment after graduation, especially with the help of the Trojan network which has a strong presence in the community.

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

Lydia: I would advise prospective students to have a clear understanding of their motivation to attend business school and relay that message through their applications. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to pursue, but it will be helpful to have a pretty strong picture of the function and/or industry you are interested in so your goals for earning your MBA are evident. Marshall is also looking for well-rounded individuals that demonstrate leadership potential and a desire to make a difference in the community. Therefore, applicants should highlight their professional and extra-curricular leadership experience and be explicit about how they intend to make an impact at USC.

For complete, soup-to-nuts guidance on the MBA admissions process, please purchase Linda Abraham’s new book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools – now available in paperback and Kindle editions!

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MBA Admissions: USC Marshall and Management Consulting

Popovich Hall at USC Marshall

Popovich Hall at USC Marshall

This post about USC’s Marshall School of Business focusing on management consulting is part of a series of interviews about 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 USC Marshall:

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

For a career in consulting, students do need a business background. If they want to practice in a particular industry, they need industry experience. But as a baseline, they need to understand how business operates.

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

Marshall has a considerable number of classes in management, as well as courses in financial modeling—all topics from which consultants draw knowledge and learn to formulate and apply strategy.

In addition, the school provides opportunities for students to secure consulting internships.

While the above coursework provides the foundation for a career in consulting, Marshall has also changed its curriculum to allow for more flexibility and greater choice of electives. With this variety of courses, our students tend to be very well rounded—which serves our graduates well when they act as consultants across industries. In addition, since we train our students to develop a global perspective and as mandatory part of curriculum the students visit companies in different countries via experiential learning trips–Marshall students learn to appreciate the dynamics at play in different corporate cultures. This helps our students succeed as consultants.

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

The Consulting and Strategy Club includes professional development and networking and relationship building. In addition it provides case and interview preparation.  The L & O Club (Leadership and Organization Club) is for those students who are interested in management and leadership development.  The club also is a hub for students who are interested in pursuing management rotation programs, corporate HR, and human capital or HR consulting.

Also there are clubs that pertain to certain industries.

Consulting Certification Program

In addition to the support of a dedicated career services advisor, Marshall Consulting Club’s Case Certification Program prepares candidates for case interviews.  Members receive a set of around 60 practice cases and access to a library of hundreds of additional cases from major consulting firms as well as our peer business schools, two days of mock interviews and advice and guidance through the entire interview preparation process. The process culminates with candidates interviewing with top-tier professional consultants who make a final decision on awarding the case certified status to the candidates.

High Profile Events: Global Consulting Challenge

For 10 years, USC Marshall has been hosting the Marshall MBA Global Consulting Challenge, an annual case competition that challenges the problem-solving of MBA students from the world’s leading business schools. Students get to showcase their skills and connect with executives from top companies and industry executives who assess their performance—introductions which can put our students top-of-mind for job interviews and professional opportunities.

The Global Consulting Challenge has allowed students to meet with executives from companies such as Cingular, Intel, Toyota, Twentieth-Century Fox, AT &T, Electronic Arts and Hewlett Packard.

An outgrowth of this competition is an ongoing student consulting practice that operates out of the Consulting Club.

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

  • Information Technology
  • Management and Strategy
  • Operations and Supply Chain
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Human Resources and Organizational Behavior
  • Pharmaceutical and Healthcare

Which management consulting firms recruit the most USC Marshall graduates?

  • Deloitte
  • Ernst and Young
  • IBM
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers
  • KPMG

What kinds of positions do your graduates focused on consulting generally go into?

Normally, our students receive offers and take positions as senior consulting associates.

Thanks to Amy Blumenthal in Media Relations at the USC Marshall School of Business for granting us this interview.

Eliot SloanBy Eliot Sloan, Accepted.com editor.  Eliot is a college writing professor specializing in the personal narrative, a journalist, writing coach, and admissions counselor. She has helped applicants gain acceptance to Ivy League schools and other top programs.

USC Marshall MBA Admissions Director Interview Available Online

Popovich Hall at USC MarshallThank you to the USC Marshall representatives for an excellent admissions Q&A. They covered lots of important topics, offering tips on all aspects of the admissions process. Read the excerpt below to learn more about the culture at Marshall and what qualities the adcom members look for in applicants:

Linda Abraham: Art asks, “What strengths do you believe separate your school from some of the other MBA programs?”

Grace Kim: There are great programs out there, ours being one of them. Academically, any school that you go to, you will get a great academic education. So it’s really about fit – where do you fit culturally? What sort of experiences are you looking for as you are going to graduate school? I think that makes the difference as far as distinguishing factors from schools. Because when you go to an academic environment – a college, a graduate program – there are certain standards that everyone maintains to give you that type of education. But the other component is – what kind of network do you want to have? What type of culture? What type of experience? And that is what is unique from school to school.

So we always encourage our applicants, whether you are starting the application process or you’re thinking about schools, or even during the application process, to really go and visit the schools that you are going to apply to because that will give you a very good idea what the school is about and what the students are about. When we say teamwork and camaraderie, what are we talking about? How do people interact in class? What is the relationship between the professors and teachers? You will be able to get that kind of feeling and sense for the school when you actually visit. So we encourage our applicants to always visit the schools. Most schools have a visitation program. We certainly have one here; it’s called the Ambassador Program. Anyone can come Monday-Thursday. There is a morning class or an afternoon class, and a student will host you and take you around. They’ll give you a tour, answer any of your questions, and introduce you to the professors and other students so that you really get a feel for the school and what the unique characteristics of the school are. So we encourage you to do that. Feel free to call us any time in your application process to schedule an appointment.

You can view the full transcript or listen to the audio file here and see our blog post, USC Marshall Application Questions, Deadlines, & Tips, for more advice on how to optimize your USC Marshall application.

Still not sure if Marshall is the best b-school for you? Download Accepted’s free special report, Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One, now for valuable tips on choosing an MBA program based on your individual qualifications and experiences.

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