Meet Jen and Cindy. [1:10]
Jen came to Accepted after serving as Assistant Director of Admissions for Cornell’s EMBA program. Cindy joined Accepted in 1998, after working as a writer and editor. She specializes in MBA and EMBA admissions. Welcome, Jen and Cindy!
What makes a good EMBA applicant? [2:10]
Cindy: Someone who has a lens on their industry and experience—something that makes them memorable.
Jen: Candidates who would contribute to the learning environment.
How are the criteria different for EMBA programs (vs full-time MBA programs)? [3:30]
Since EMBA programs attract applicants with more work experience (10-15 years vs 4-5 years for MBA), there’s more of an emphasis on your professional experience. Academics and GMAT are still important to show academic readiness, but aren’t as crucial.
Full-time programs have more of a focus on the applicant’s recruiting potential (whether candidates can be placed upon graduation). But EMBA students won’t generally be relying on the program to place them on graduation. They are employed and expect to remain so while going to school.
It’s important for EMBA applicants to show management experience [5:40]
Career services and EMBA students [6:30]
In the past, most programs didn’t provide EMBA students with access to career services. Now most programs offer something—such as a career assessment or access to the “resume book” for recruiters. But not on-campus recruitment.
What do they wish EMBA applicants knew? [8:40]
Jen: trying to hide weaknesses in a profile doesn’t work. Somebody’s going to notice. It’s better to address it rather than be in a defensive position later on. This is why Cornell asks whether your academic record is an accurate reflection of your ability.
Cindy: Being able to self-critique shows strength. Also: if you’re changing careers, you need to be able to show how that will happen – present a plan. And take into account relationships with your company, particularly if they’re supporting you with time off. And most of all, make it interesting.
What makes an application great? [13:35]
Cindy: Confidence. Assuming that someone is already qualified – what sets an application apart is the ability to tell lively stories, write well, show the ability to prioritize, make decisions, etc.
Jen: I want to see who the person is, beyond their career progression – beyond the resume and transcript. Show something of yourself.
The point of anecdotes: not just what you did or experienced, but what you got out of it/learned from it. Your perspective on those events. [17:00]
How to distill lots of experience into a short essay [18:00]
Jen: Relate experiences to courses they’ll be taking – how those experiences will elevate the overall learning environment.
Cindy: Remember that everything you write about requires a strategic decision. What will support your application and portray you effectively? Think about experiences that show your executive level experience and skills – making decisions, managing people.
The shorter the essay, the more time you should spend sifting experiences to find the best one(s).
How does working while in school affect the evaluation process? [20:30]
Cindy: the significance of the current position is even greater, because it’s what you’ll bring to the table, and you’ll take new skills back to work. It depends on the question, but you can usually talk about your current job in the goals essay.
Jen: How will you fit this into your life? Some schools ask directly about balancing school, work, and life. Show that you have realistic expectations for balancing EMBA program with work and life.
Interview tips [25:45]
Jen: EMBA interviews tend to be a conversation – no gotcha questions. They’re interested in your experience, background, goals, why their program.
Cindy: Schools have different formats, but most EMBA interviews are not blind (the interviewer has read your application).
Why MBA/EMBA? [28:00]
Schools want applicants who are pursuing the degree for the right reasons – career goals that make sense.
Importance of goals in the EMBA process [29:30]
Goals start right where you are, since you’ll start to apply your learning while still in the program. Identify concrete goals – positions, what you want to achieve, your contributions, your motives.
Parting advice for EMBA applicants [31:55]
Cindy: There’s great diversity in the EMBA realm – different strengths and formats – so do your research and find the right fit. Up-front research is vital.
Jen: If you have the chance to visit, do. Meet students, sit in on classes, even meet with admissions representatives. It’s a 2-year investment and a lifelong credential, so make sure it’s the right fit for you.
• Applying to EMBA Programs
• Ace the EMBA, by Cindy Tokumitsu
• Top Executive MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right!, by Cindy Tokumitsu
• Perfect Answers to MBA Interview Questions, by Jen Weld
• Cindy Tokumitsu’s Bio
• Jen Weld’s Bio