If at First You Don’t Succeed on the GMAT…

The classic comic W. C. Fields said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point being a damn fool about it.” Relatedly, the modern humorist Stephen Wright said, “If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving definitely isn’t for you.” Obviously, both of these are playful takes on the timeworn platitude: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” As positive and optimistic as that banality tries to be, it’s hard not to read it with at least an edge of cynicism.

There’s every reason to be discouraged after gearing up for a challenge such as the GMAT and then being slapped down by it. In part, this is a common experience because so many users hold high standards for a good GMAT score. By definition, 90% of the folks who take the GMAT will not get a score in the top 10% percent, and yet a considerably higher slice than 10% of the test-taking population wants to get into that top 10% of the scores. It’s a scenario in which, with mathematic certainty, not everyone will achieve their goal.

Then again, the GMAT is not all that different from the world into which it grants access: the world of the modern business executive. There are always lots of companies that fail and only a few that win big. Of course, your chances of winning big are enhanced if you have the drive to succeed, including what it takes to get back into the game after each failure — even as the platitude above suggests.

What does it take to have the drive to succeed on the GMAT? First of all, you should be realistic about achieving something far beyond average GMAT scores. We folks who write test questions know that some questions, both math and verbal, have the most predictable mistakes: if we set up a question containing such-and-such trap, folks will simply run in swarms into the big butterfly net. The first part of success on the GMAT involves identifying all the common traps: that alone will set you apart from the masses. Relatedly, pouring over problem explanations when you make a mistake is an often-under appreciated aspect of learning. If you get a practice question wrong, it’s not enough to get the gist of the explanation. The mark of a truly exceptional student is: never making the same mistake twice. That’s a lofty standard, but with sufficient and sustained review after each question you get wrong, you can approach this standard.

If you are planning to retake the GMAT after a less-than-stellar performance, your very first question should be: “What am I going to do differently this time to guarantee that I don’t repeat the same result?” A review of the common traps would be helpful for many re-takers. For folks who are secure in their knowledge of the content, moving beyond the content to the logic typical of question design would be helpful. Ideally, you would find some GMAT preparation service with a score guarantee, so that you won’t waste your money duplicating the same low score.

Even if you get many questions wrong in your practice, even if you have already done poorly on a real GMAT, take heart! With determination and practice, using the best GMAT prep materials, you can strengthen your performance and move up in the percentiles. If you can cultivate the skill of getting the most out of your mistakes and setbacks, that will accelerate you toward greater GMAT success. Even if you are pro at learning from failures, though, you still might want to approach skydiving with caution!

This post was written by Mike McGarry, resident GMAT expert at Magoosh. For more advice on taking the GMAT, check out Magoosh’s GMAT blog.

Big Data and MBAs

“Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it…” – Dan Ariely

Big data is Big now. A few schools in the USA have started programs in Business Analytics. IBM and HEC Paris are collaborating for the 1st European MBA in Analytics.

Read More about Big Data:

Mining a Seam

Practical Advice to Obtain a Big Data MBA

 

 

Cornell’s Tech MBA

For the first MBA class at Cornell’s New York tech campus the slots are halfway filled up. Unlike other MBA programs this program is a 1 year intensive. Instead of a traditional internship this program requires that its students work in a start-up environment. You can read the complete article in Businessweek “How Much Space is Left in Cornell’s First MBA Class at its NYC Tech Campus?

Is the wave of the future the intensive MBA?

The Economist Launches GMAT Tutor for iPhone, a Comprehensive and Mobile GMAT Prep Course

The Economist recently announced the launch of an iPhone app called GMAT Tutor (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-economist-gmat-tutor/id630426298), which allows students to prepare for the GMAT by focusing on their individual learning needs.

The app offers 100 hours of content and over 5,000 practice questions. GMAT Tutor employs patent-pending artificial intelligence so the more time students spend learning with the program, the more customized it becomes.

“Future MBAs are on the go, so we wanted to provide an intuitive prep tool that fitted with their lives,” said Isaac Showman, vice-president at The Economist and general manager of Economist Education. “GMAT Tutor combines cutting-edge adaptive learning technology with the portability of an iPhone. The app has a conversational, almost human tone, and for students around the world, the best GMAT instructor they can find is probably in their pocket.”

Access to GMAT Tutor is free for 7 days after which students can pick between two learning plans priced between $475 and $695. Support is offered via a global team of GMAT instructors who are available to answer questions via in-app messaging or live video chats.

The iPhone app is supported by an online version which provides extra features such as full-length Computer Adaptive Testing GMAT practice tests, essay support, and customized progress reports.

The Economist is backing GMAT Tutor’s courses with a comprehensive improvement guarantee. If students’ GMAT scores don’t improve by at least 50 points (or 70 for the advanced program) they will receive a full refund for the course. The Economist plans to release an Android version of GMAT Tutor within the next few weeks.

iPad App

2013 FORTÉ Forum

This fall, Forté is coming to cities across North America, making a stop in London with our Forum event series.  The Forté Forums are an intimate and interactive event specifically for women who are pursuing their MBA.

Top women business leaders share candid advice drawn from their own career experiences. They’ll be joined by admissions officers from leading business schools, who will answer questions and give advice about the admissions process.

The event includes plenty of time to mingle with school representatives and alumnae for one-on-one networking opportunities.

Women can expect to:

  • Connect with admissions staff from leading business schools in Europe and North America
  • Learn ways to finance their MBA
  • Hear advice and stories from MBA women across multiple industries and career stages
  • Learn how an MBA can help them succeed in virtually any career or industry – even the non-profit sector

The 2013 Forté Forum schedule of events is as follows:

August 19, Chicago

August 20, Boston

August 21, Washington, DC

August 22, Atlanta

August 26, Houston

August 28, San Francisco

August 29, Los Angeles

September 3, New York I
September 4, New York II

September 5, Toronto

October 2, London

*The cost to attend a Forté Forum is FREE for pre-registrants. Onsite registration is $5 in North America and £5 in London.  To register and see a full list of participating schools by city, visit http://bit.ly/13guI78.

Interact virtually and experience our online resources for women considering pursuing an MBA—Visit http://bit.ly/13guI78 to learn more about our Podcast series, upcoming Forum webinars and Pre-MBA blog.

Forté Foundation is dedicated to encouraging women to pursue careers in business leadership by providing access to information, scholarships and networking opportunities. Forté is backed by 29 leading corporations, 41 top business schools in the U.S. and abroad, and The Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®).

For more information, contact Forté at info@fortefoundation.org

Press Release originally posted by http://forum.fortefoundation.org/

 

Will Facebook Destroy Your Admissions Chances?

When Kaplan Test Prep released the results of its survey of business school admissions officers, revealing that 32% of business school admissions officers performed internet searches on applicants, 27% visited an applicant’s social media (Facebook, Myspace, etc.) page, and 10% had found something online that negatively impacted an applicant’s admission chances, applicants around the world collectively shuddered. Not only do we have to consider every comma and turn of phrase in the applications themselves, now we have to worry about what we may have posted online in the past as well?! YES! Here are a few tips to consider when using Facebook given these stark statistics.

1. Make sure that your Facebook profile is for Friends only (and not open to Friends of Friends or Everyone), and also remember to check that you’ve selected this option for every picture that you post.

2. As a general rule, never post any comments or pictures that you wouldn’t want everyone in the world to see. That way no one of your closest 1300 friends who is offended by your post can simply take a screenshot of it for global dissemination. Think very hard before using Facebook as a forum to comment on a political matter, your satisfaction with your job, your affinity for a particular teacher or supervisor, etc. Go through now and delete any questionable posts.

3. Even if your Facebook profile is private and viewable only to Friends, you need to keep in mind that some things are viewable by anyone on Facebook: all of the data you’ve entered in Basic Information, the names of Groups you’re a member of, the pages you’ve Liked, all of the pictures you’ve saved as Profile or Cover Photos, and any pictures or comments you’ve posted to an open group. Be conservative in your Group memberships and contributions to open groups, and delete any cover or profile photos that you don’t want in your application file.

This guest blog post was written by Jennifer Bloom of Accepted.com, and was originally featured hereJennifer Bloom has been successfully helping applicants demonstrate their readiness for the top MBA programs around the world for 14 years.  

Clear Admit Releases Revised 2013-2014 School Guides to Columbia, Harvard, Kellogg, Stanford, Wharton and more!

We are excited to announce the first release of the Clear Admit School Guides, updated for 2013-2014!  Praised by both admissions officers and applicants, the School Guides profile top business schools in detail, addressing programs from the perspectives of students, faculty, alumni and the popular press.  The latest editions of the Chicago Booth, Columbia, Harvard, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern, Stanford, Tuck and Wharton guides, among a number of other titles in our publication lines, are available for immediate download in their new more mobile-friendly PDF format, offering the information, convenience and timeliness that busy MBA applicants need.

Included in the 2013-2014 editions are the most current information from leading programs – ranging from areas such as admissions guidelines to class demographics and placement statistics – as well as insights into year-over-year trends.  Their guides include quotes from students, information on school-specific special programs, exclusive Clear Admit Q&As with admissions directors and career services directors, and our team’s analysis of essay topics.

The Clear Admit School Guides will help you to:

  • Become an expert on your target schools overnight
  • Craft essays that stand out in the admissions process
  • Compare schools head-to-head using objective data that goes beyond published rankings and school-published marketing materials
  • Prepare for your admissions interviews by knowing your target schools inside and out
  • Make an informed decision about where to enroll

Stay tuned to our blog for the release of the 2013-2014 versions of their remaining 18 School Guides throughout this month!

To purchase the latest editions of the Clear Admit School Guides, visit the Clear Admit Shop.

Going Global Boosts MBA Admissions Chances

If you are applying to one of the best business schools in the world, a great way to differentiate yourself is through global work experience. Most candidates I have worked with who have had meaningful international experience get a lot of attention from top-ranked MBA schools.

Now I want to emphasize that the key point is  meaningful global experience. That means a two-week trip to Costa Rica doesn’t count. I mean something more like a year-long (or more) stint in a country with a completely different language and culture from your own.  This isn’t just my idea. According to Sweeny Chhabra, a recent Forté Fellow and 2013 graduate of INSEAD, the experience represents to others (admissions committees and future employers)  both leadership and risk-taking.  As a Connecticut Yankee who lived ended up in greater China for 10 years, I feel compelled to add another key characteristic: flexibility.

MBA Programs Look for Leadership Talent

It shouldn’t be any secret by now that business schools seek out those who have demonstrated leadership.  They are not looking at the narrow definition of a fancy title or a huge team of direct reports.   MBA admissions committees  favor candidates have a pattern of behaviors of demonstrating leadership in a more emotionally intelligent way. They are looking for a pattern of taking on responsibility as well as influencing in more subtle ways. They are also looking for an ability to cut across cultures – as can be seen by Sweeny Chhabra’s experience. She rapidly boosted her international I.Q. by transferring from Canada to Singapore,

“My interactions with individuals from … Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea and Japan have provided me with tremendous opportunity to learn country-specific business practices. I have also learned that… reactions could be as a result of different cultural norms, their emotions, their personality or just their communication style.”

If you hail from the U.S. (or some other developed English-speaking nation) you may be find some real challenges if you choose to work in a developing economy. Even if you know the language, you may be in for a surprise. I recently worked with a pre-MBA candidate who was born and spent her childhood in Poland.  She decided to go to her native country for a few start-up and marketing consulting gigs. Despite being perfectly fluent, and having spent her summers in Poland, she had never worked in business in Poland, finding that the post-Communist regime made for some huge challenges with business trust.  It meant that she had to rethink and rework an entire proposal for providing services to local Polish businesses.

Business schools also want to know that you are willing to go outside your comfort zone and take some risks, says Meeghan Keedy of Chicago Booth Admissions in an April 2013 blog post: “We are looking for people who are creative, collaborative and willing to take risks.”  That’s because you’ll be taking risks during your MBA career and afterwards, and the admissions committee wants verifiable evidence that you are willing to challenge yourself.

Anyone Can Do It

Crossing borders and cultures is risky; but that’s part of the fun and part of the challenge. And you really do push yourself, especially in the area of flexibility and adaptability.

I began my own overseas career in Taiwan, not knowing anything about the language or Chinese culture.  Taipei was nowhere near as international or as “grown up” as it is now.  I was constantly stumbling my way around and learning each day. From walking through a live poultry market on my way to work, to using my get-around Mandarin to get myself home by taxi, to reading street signs, to working for an all-Taiwanese investment firm. The highlight of it all was being able to convince my landlord to replace a broken window in the middle of a fierce typhoon.

It’s a challenge to live and work overseas, but that’s all part of the beauty of the experience. You really push yourself and learn about what you are capable of. Kind of like business school.

By Betsy Massar, Master Admissions

Tags: MBA admissions, best business schools in the world, pre-MBA experience, Betsy Massar, Master Admissions, boutique admissions consulting

 

Against the Odds: Indian MBA Hopefuls Must Prep for Uphill Battle

Indian candidates face fierce competition on their quest to MBA admission abroad. But that probably isn’t news to you.

The importance of networking!

India alone offers up the highest number of foreign MBA applicants (43%), followed by China (27%) then the US (6%) according to a 2012 study by the Graduate Management Admission Council. Applicants “from China and India are more than four to five times likely to be turned down for admission than either domestic applicants or those from Europe, Latin America, Africa, or the Middle East,” states a recent article by Poets&Quants on CNN Money.

For MBA programs, the main issue behind the disparity in foreign applicant pool numbers and their slice of acceptances can be attributed to many factors: the sheer volume of applications from a particular background, the schools’ desire to diversify their classes, anticipated student loan debt burdens, and visa hurdles for foreign students who want to work abroad after graduation, according to interviews with MBA officers and another Poets&Quants article.

This is the first in a series of five blog posts oriented to Indian MBA hopefuls on how you can set yourself apart before, during and after (i.e. job hunt) the application process. Your potential success in front of a recruiter is ultimately what many admissions committees are judging too.

“For us, at Duke, we see lots of candidates from India who are strong in a functional role,” says Dan McCleary, Regional Director for India at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. “The biggest question we ask when trying to decide is how this person going to fair when they are being interviewed for a client-facing role.”

“Getting into business school is only half the battle. We are looking for candidates who can go the distance and get hired by these organizations.”

McCleary goes on to say that over the past four years he’s seen Indian candidates become much more sophisticated in their application approach. They’re not just looking at marketing materials. They’re connecting with business school representatives, current students and alumni. They’re reading blogs to find out insider details. They’re showing a good fit with the school’s curriculum and culture. Those who don’t will stand out — but not in a good way.

“We still see applicants from people who haven’t done their homework, and it becomes more obvious.” McCleary advises, “Pick a smaller set of schools to apply to and connect with more people.”

What can you do to get to know more people at your array of school choices –(which should include your dream picks, good fits, and safeties!)

1. Network with those you know. Ask among your batchmate network or among family friends for referrals to b-school connects. Gauge whether or not it’s safe to ask work mentors or colleagues for introductions to MBA alums (but be careful not to tip off your interest in leaving the company if it’s a sensitive issue). Be prepared with a brief message (about 200 words) detailing why you’re interested in the school and your future career goals. Ask your friends to pass it along in an email introduction.

2. Prepare to ace the first of many MBA interviews. Once you’re connected, inquire about meeting for tea/coffee or stopping in for a brief chat. Or if distance doesn’t allow, set up a phone call or Skype session. Be prepared and respect their time! You should know the basics about the school and why you think you’re a good fit. Come up with good questions so you can get an insider’s perspective. If you feel like you’ve really hit it off, ask for referrals to other alums, a note on your behalf to the admissions committee, and any other advice they can give.

3. Visit the campus, or attend a school-sponsored MBA event. This shows the school that you’re really interested in their program. It’s not the time for you to monopolize the presentation with all your questions, or rattle out your specific profile and ask if you have a chance to get in! MBA programs are more and more looking at emotional intelligence when they decide whom to admit. They want to see that you’re personable and approachable, just as you hope they would be. So show them! Come prepared with one or two insightful questions, introduce yourself to other applicants and current students, and gather contact information for follow-ups.

Bottom line: Prepare yourself now to be the type of student or alum you’d like to network with if you become accepted. Well-informed, articulate, and resourceful.

By Michelle Stockman, a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant. 

This article was originally published on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog

MBA Admissions: Does Extracurricular Equal Extra Credit?

YES! Don’t underestimate the value of non-academic, non-work activities! These activities that you participate in – hobbies, sports, volunteering, etc. – do tons to liven up your otherwise one-dimensional application.

Here are some reasons why you should bulk up your extracurricular quotient:

• Extracurricular activities add life and texture to your application. As mentioned a moment ago, MBA applications can appear flat and single-dimensioned. Add a little stamp collecting, your involvement in your church’s softball league, a splash of trumpet lessons, and the fact that you started a neighborhood bi-seasonal clothing drive, and VOILA – you’ve got yourself one heck of a vibrant profile!

• Extracurricular activities show you know how to commit. You’ve been volunteer tutoring at the school for the blind in your city for the last 11 years? You must be a reliable, dependable, and committed person. Adcoms like this. Period.

• Extracurricular activities demonstrate passion and creativity. Your extracurricular activities don’t need to be run-of-the-mill Big Brother or soup kitchen experiences. They can include the summers you spent doing AIDS research in a hospital in Swaziland or taking your autistic nephew to the park once a week for a game of tag. Neither of these examples are related to business, yet leadership, initiative, passion, and creativity can all still be read into each experience. Share your passions and inspire your readers!

• Extracurricular activities give you an opportunity to show leadership and organizational skill. It can be hard in a hierarchical organization when you are in your early or mid-twenties to show lots of leadership. But in a community service or volunteer context, there are leadership opportunities galore. Grab them and demonstrate the attribute admissions committees can’t get enough of.

I’d like to end by sharing an important side point. Many applicants ask what they should do if they don’t have long-term extracurricular or volunteer commitments. Is it worth it to start an activity or resume a hobby just a few months before applying to b-school, or will that look shallow?

My answer: A little volunteering is better than no volunteering at all, and the impact that you can make and the effect the experience can have on you can be great, even in a short period of time. Also, maybe you’ll be waitlisted, and then this last-minute volunteering will turn into a long-term commitment that will look great in a waitlist letter update, not to mention how it will add if you need to reapply.

By 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.

Accepted.com has guided thousands of applicants to acceptances at top MBA programs since 1994 – we know what works and what doesn’t, so contact us to get started or visit Accepted.com for all your admissions & application needs today!

This article was originally published on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog

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