What Does that GMAT Score MEAN?

Learn how to decipher your GMAT score when you attend Accepted.com’s FREE, live webinar, That GMAT Score: Implications for Your MBA Application. During the webinar, Accepted.com CEO Linda Abraham will answer a number of GMAT questions, including:

  • Should you take a GMAT prep course?
  • How competitive is your GMAT score?
  • Should you retake the GMAT?
  • How do the adcom view your score?

…and more!

Register for That GMAT Score: Implications for Your MBA Application now, and don’t forget to mark your calendars – Wed., May 22nd at 5pm PT/8pm ET.

 

Getting a European MBA: A Unique Experience

When choosing between business schools in Europe and the United States, the main thing to keep in mind is that the decision is very personal. Take a good look at the available options and do not let yourself be influenced by rankings. If your background fits in better with a school that may be a little outside the top 10, 20 or 30, don’t let that worry you. Here are some of the advantages European business schools have over their overseas counterparts.

Less Expensive. The two-year program is still considered to be the American standard for the full-time MBA. In Europe, the duration of an MBA program is one year or eighteen months, which becomes less expensive than a two-year program and entails lower overall living costs. Nevertheless the quality of the programs can be very high, which explains the growing number of triple-accredited business schools in Europe.

More Specialized MBA Programs. Europe boasts schools that are known for certain specific  core competencies. Ranked the best European business school by the Financial Times in 2012, IE Business School is, for example, the perfect place to develop your career with its focus on  innovation, diversity and  entrepreneurship.

Expand your international network

A More International Network. Reports by GMAC state that 38% of participants in US business school are from foreign countries. The percentage of international  students in European  MBA programs is 83%. Due to this, the teaching language at most business schools in Europe is English. University alliances and exchange programs contribute to  highly diverse and international student bodies, and ultimately expand personal networks and ability to work on a global level. IESE Business School, which offers the fifth best worldwide MBA program according to The Economist in 2012, has between 26 and 28 exchange partners including 16 top US schools, such as Columbia and NYU-Stern. In 2010, IESE became the first European school to open its New York City campus.

High MBA Salaries. During times of economic growth or in times of crisis, it is important to have a diploma that employers favor. 87% of the European business school graduates of the class of 2012 was employed after graduation, according to a GMAC survey. Getting a European MBA is also a great opportunity to change careers or find a better job, as 43% of graduates found new employers after graduation. The median starting salary for all management program graduates in the Old Continent is higher by more than US$22,000. Last year, MBA employees in Europe were even better paid than in America – US$108,355 compared to US$100,000.

Better Return on Investment. The Financial Times value-for-money  rankings show that European schools are doing  better than  their  American counterparts. With  all due  critical attitudes towards such calculations and lists, the top 10 European and American  schools would be as follows: The  first  10 are  made  up  of  European institutions and the second 10 are American. The question of business  school quality is open  to debate, and  can  never  be fully resolved. Although, in terms of ROI,  the European MBA seems to be gaining the upper hand.

More Experienced Classmates. The  age  of  MBA students in  Europe is generally higher than that of American schools. This   may   give   experienced  professionals who  want  to  go back to school an argument in favour of  the  Old  Continent. On  the  other hand,  US  institutions accept more  a larger number of students in their  programs.

Smaller Classes,  More  Individual Attention. The size and culture of a school are often  overlooked when  considering business schools. In general, US business schools are larger, with  an average intake of 287 full-time MBA students, compared with  124  in Europe. Professors in the US may therefore have a limited amount of time for individual work  with each  student compared with professors in Europe.

Better  Career Mobility. Thanks to the Bologna higher education accord,  European degrees are  recognized in most  countries within the  Eurasian continent, giving unprecedented access to career opportunities worldwide. This  also  means that  MBA  graduates are  not  confined to  working in  the country they  graduated, but  can  benefit from  the pan-European job market.

language learning opportunities

Cultural Diversity. Cultural differences between European countries shouldn’t   be underestimated   when  considering the added value of an MBA program. Historically-built   attitudes  and   social  order  vary greatly and create a secondary learning environment outside the classes.

Language Learning Options. It is a well  known fact  that  a new  language is most   efficiently learned when in the foreign country.  Even   though English is  the  teaching language of MBA programs, students have  the option to perfect their  language skills with native speakers outside of the classroom.

 

MBA 2014 – READY, SET, GO!

Why am I nagging you to get moving on your MBA application prep?

Not just because those Round 1 deadlines creep up with wicked stealth and speed (last year, HBS broke the September barrier). But also because there is so much you can still do between now and then to improve your candidacy (sometimes a lot, sometimes on the margins, but margins matter). Also, preparing now will enable you to apply to more programs earlier, and therefore to adjust strategy in Round 2 if necessary.

So, what should you be doing NOW?

First, two obvious things.

GMAT: I’ve seen too many people leave the GMAT till late summer or early fall, get a lower score than they expect, and have to recalculate their plans. If you don’t have a GMAT score yet, NOW is the time to prepare and take the GMAT, ideally by end of spring. Then, if your score isn’t realistic for your schools of choice, you have time to retake the test, reconsider your target schools, or both. And you will have it behind you when you focus on the applications.

SCHOOL RESEARCH: It’s best to visit schools when classes are in session. So NOW is the ideal time to research schools for a preliminary list. I developed an easy-to-use resource, Best MBA Programs, A Guide to Selecting the Right One, to walk you through this process. This effort will also get you thinking about your profile strategically.

Then there are the less obvious things.

ACADEMIC RECORD: Is your academic record a potential weakness? There is time (not much), NOW, to take a relevant course or two, complete it, and have an A or two to report to the adcom as evidence of your ability to excel academically.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Not sure whom to ask for recommendations? Sort it out NOW, while there’s time to weigh the pros and cons of various options, to possibly broach the issue (directly or indirectly) with people, and adapt as needed. You do know whom you’ll ask? NOW is time to enhance your positive visibility to them, so they can’t help but write a scintillating letter.

LEADERSHIP: You can improve – deepen, broaden, refine – your leadership NOW and every day before your application. Whether or not you have a formal leadership role, you can always find ways to exercise informal leadership. And you can’t have too much leadership in an MBA application. If there isn’t space to write about it in essays, portray it in your resume.

GOALS: Naturally, since you’re planning to apply for an MBA, you know what your goals are. But what are you going to say about them of interest? About your planned industry, company, function? Read. Books, journals, company reports, not just the WSJ. And do informational interviews (use your undergrad alumni network). An interview needn’t be longer than 10 minutes with two good questions to be illuminating! Interesting, informed perspective on your goals will make your essay jump out from the sea of merely competent essays. But do this research NOW, to digest and integrate it well.

RESUME: NOW is also the perfect time to prepare or adapt your resume for business school. You can get it at least 95% done, and adjust as needed for any new developments later. This way, if you have a chance to visit or school or meet with an adcom member earlier than you planned, you’re ready.

Six months and counting to round 1 deadlines…

By Cindy Tokumitsu, senior editor at Accepted.com, co-author of The Finance Professional’s Guide to MBA Admissions Success, and author of numerous MBA ebooks, articles, and special reports.

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.

10 Tips for Getting Into a Top MBA Program

By Betsy Massar, founder, Master Admissions

The business school application scares most people. Sure, it looks simple enough – fill out a few forms, take a standardized test, send transcripts, answer some essay questions, get recommendations, and voilà, you’re in.

If only.

As the founder of Master Admissions, a veteran of the investment banking and investment management worlds, a graduate of Harvard Business School and resume coach at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, I’ve seen a lot of people reach their goals successfully, so for MBA Podcaster, I’ve put together a list of 10 Tips for an outstanding MBA application.

Start Early!

1. Start Early.

To really research MBA schools beyond the rankings, give yourself time to explore on school websites, blogs, and in person. Also, give yourself twice as long to study for the GMAT, if you haven’t taken it already.

2. Take Inventory.

Look at your resume and think about your career progression – how did you get from A to B?  Look at your gaps at work or outside – do you need to take extra class to prove your quantitative ability? Figure out what you’ve got and what you need.

3. Connect with Your Inner Rock Star.

Connect with Your Inner Rock Star

It’s your rock-star qualities that make you a real leader. Leadership is about inspiring others, enabling them to do great things. Or influencing a group to make something happen.  It’s not about title, but about effectiveness.

4. Articulate Your Career Vision. 

Even if the essays don’t specifically ask, it’s helpful for you to envision your post-MBA future.  If you can articulate the possible steps to get there, you boost your credibility as an applicant.

5. Perform Service.

You can do this by being an active part of your community, whether it’s at your workplace, in your town, or in the wider world. Use this service to find out more about yourself.

6. Stay Sane. 

The business school application is like a marathon or a political campaign. You’ll be project-managing your recommenders, getting transcripts, keeping your day job, and figuring out how to write the MBA essays.  Get exercise, eat right, and keep your head on straight.

7. Daydream. 

Business schools want people who can reach for the stars. The open-ended application questions will require a lot of self-reflection so you can be in a better position to realize your dreams.  Don’t forget to take notes on your musings.

8. Talk Around. 

Find sounding boards – family, friends, colleagues. You might as well start networking now, to learn from others who have been through the process, or to make connections and have fun.

9. Work Only on the Part You Can Control.

There is some luck involved in the application system. Do your homework, keep your eyes on the deadlines, and stay upbeat and optimistic.

The final one is the most obvious, but the most important:

Relax & Be Yourself

10. Be Yourself. 

Sounds corny, but it’s true. MBA admissions committee members world-over proclaim that they want to learn about you, not an idealized version of an MBA student.  I guarantee this one fact: YOU are more interesting than that mythical person.

If you’ve got the right attitude, the application process can be fun and a learning experience.  And the potential outcome? Priceless.

 

 

 

MBA Exclusive: the Access MBA One-to-One Tour in New York

When: May 22nd from 4pm to 9:30pm

Where:  Warwick New York Hotel

How to Attend: Register online

Meet the world’s top business schools and find the MBA program that is right for you! The Access MBA Tour will soon bring together the best MBA programs and interested candidates in New York. This is a unique opportunity to invest in your career and choose the business school that best meets your expectations.

Highlights of the Tour: One-to-One meetings and workshops with Admissions Directors of the world’s best MBA programs, interactive panel discussions featuring school representatives, individual MBA consulting sessions and GMAT advising, as well as a complimentary Access MBA Guide. Participating schools include IESE Business School, IE Business School, Copenhagen Business School, Durham Business School, HULT International Business School, International University of Monaco, Manchester Business School and many more!

Places are limited for One-to-One meetings and early registration is recommended on

http://www.accessmba.com/mba-events/access-mba-events/2013/mba-event-new-york-may-22-2013/index.html?ui=G06FQP1366734181

Clear Admit Releases Updated School Snapshots for 2013-2014, Offering Free Summaries of 27 Leading MBA Programs

Clear Admit School Snapshots

Clear Admit announced the release of their 2013-2014 School Snapshots, free overviews of 27 of the world’s top MBA programs packed with essential information to help early bird applicants learn about their target schools. Last year, MBA hopefuls downloaded tens of thousands of inaugural-edition Snapshots as a critical “first step” in their MBA application journeys.

The Snapshots provide objective, concise information on each program’s faculty, curriculum, campus life, job placement statistics, admissions procedures and more. “By updating the Clear Admit School Snapshots we are continuing to deliver early-stage applicants need-to-know information that’s well organized and free of marketing spin,” says Clear Admit Co-founder Graham Richmond.

School Snapshots updated for 2013-2014 are now available for free download in the Clear Admit Shop.

Here is a complete list of titles in the Clear Admit School Snapshot series:

Chicago Booth School of Business
Columbia Business School
Darden School of Business
Fuqua School of Business
Haas School of Business
Harvard Business School
IESE Business School
INSEAD
Indian School of Business
Judge Business School
Kellogg School of Management
Kenan-Flagler Business School
London Business School
MIT Sloan School of Management
McCombs School of Business
McDonough School of Business
NYU Stern School of Business
Ross School of Business
S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management
Saïd Business School
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Tepper School of Business
The Wharton School
Tuck School of Business
UCLA Anderson School of Management
USC Marshall School of Business
Yale School of Management

Student Voices: Taking the Next Step with MBA@UNC

I have been extremely fortunate in my career. I have worked in Canada, Africa and Southeast Asia; I have experience in multiple sectors; and I have had many wonderful mentors. I was freelancing part-time and seeking a full-time job when I realized that I needed an MBA to be more competitive in the workforce. I looked for a highly selective program that would allow me to continue to work as I earned my degree. That is how I discovered MBA@UNC.

During my undergraduate education at Vanderbilt, resources were abundant. It was a short walk to the financial aid, student affairs and career services offices, and it was easy to schedule a quick coffee or lunch with someone if I needed assistance. Prior to finding MBA@UNC, I had assumed that an online program would not offer me that ease of access to resources and, more importantly for my situation, I was afraid I would not be able to bank on any sort of quality career services support. Fortunately, I was wrong.

I could list several examples of excellent service I received from the staff at MBA@UNC, including the fantastic admissions team that answered my endless questions and erased my concerns, as well as the student support, registrar and financial aid teams. For this post, however, I would like to specifically highlight the support I received during my job search.

The career management department at MBA@UNC was not only helpful in my job search, but was also proactive and thoughtful. Shawnice Meador, the director of career management for MBA@UNC, took the time to really get to know me, understand my goals, passions and skill sets, and provided me with concrete action steps and advice. The result: I secured an amazing job. Shawnice and I spoke using the MBA@UNC platform, and the ease of establishing a personal connection was no different than if we were sitting in a room together. The company I now work for is based in Chapel Hill, and during my first week, Shawnice invited me to breakfast to congratulate me and to provide a few more words of advice.

I was attracted to the flexibility of MBA@UNC, but I was concerned that I would miss out when it came to networking and the support systems. I am now nearly eight months into the program and do not have one complaint. This program is well-rounded, high quality and has a sense of community. MBA@UNC was everything I need and want in an MBA program, and I am so glad I made the decision to further my education here.

Guest blog post by Megan Schneider from the MBA@UNC Blog

About Megan Schneider: Megan has six years of experience in a variety of organizational development, marketing and fundraising-positions in the US and abroad with community-oriented firms, such as SW Global, an African technology company in Ghana, and not-for-profit organizations such as the ALS Association and Canadian Cancer Society. She is now a marketing consultant for the Futures Company, working with clients to understand the consumer landscape and unlock new sources of growth within their business. Megan also continues to freelance with international organizations to help them grow their marketing and communications efforts.

The MBA@UNC Advantage: An Interactive Experience

When I tell people I’m earning my MBA online, they always ask, “How do you meet people? Isn’t networking part of the reason you go to business school in the first place? Why would you give up that experience?”

“Why yes, meeting classmates is an important part of business school,” I say, and explain that the idea that an online program lacks networking is one of the misconceptions about online education, at least based on my MBA@UNC experience. I describe how the diversity of my network grows in ways I couldn’t have imagined and that I don’t think would have been possible in a traditional program because the platform keeps us connected regardless of geographic location.

I also tell skeptics how the learning platform itself and global immersions help my MBA@UNC classmates and I overcome any concerns about networking. The weekly live sessions and extensive group work in every course are key aspects of the program. These requirements promote a collaborative experience and mimic the on-campus classroom environment, which ultimately differentiates UNC’s program from other online programs. This could not be accomplished without our courses being designed for online learning and the appropriate technology.

Our classes meet in a video chat room similar to a Skype group chat. While it’s not the same as sitting in the same room with classmates, it works better than you would think, and the small class sizes ensure no one gets lost in the shuffle. The professors can break the class up into smaller groups or write on the whiteboard, just like they would in a traditional classroom.

The platform is not just where classes are held, but also where we meet for group meetings and study sessions (and even virtual happy hours on occasion). Earning an MBA is not a solitary venture for me; we spend a significant amount of time with our classmates in this program. Even though I can’t meet most of my classmates at the local pub or coffee shop to catch up and not talk about homework, the platform allows us to get together socially whenever we want.

In addition to meeting up on the platform, MBA@UNC students can meet in person at the global immersions. These quarterly immersions feel as much like a reunion as a networking opportunity, which is why my total hours of sleep during the last immersion barely made it into the double digits. The weekends are filled with lectures and learning exercises centered on a particular topic such as “Leading and Managing in a High-Growth Environment,” which was the focus of the recent immersion in Brazil.

The topical nature of the immersions and their actionable takeaways give us the educational benefits of an industry conference, but transcend any one industry. The immersions also help us solidify the relationships we have formed throughout our courses, adding to the social quality and the networking benefits of the program.

With the MBA@UNC platform, global immersions and the interactivity of live, online classes, I can honestly say that MBA@UNC has provided me with maximum learning opportunities, maximum networking and maximum flexibility. The idea that an online program sacrifices socializing or networking, remains a myth when it comes to MBA@UNC.

Guest blog post by Kristen Fanarakis from the MBA@UNC Blog

About Kristen Fanarakis: Kristen spent the last 13 years working in financial services after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in economics and political science.  She started her career in investment management in Boston where she earned her masters in international economics part-time.  She spent the last seven years in foreign exchange sales covering institutional managers for various Wall Street banks.

Why having an MBA is Important in 2013

When you make the decision to go to graduate school, you take a lot into consideration. Is it worth the tuition money? Will an MBA benefit my career path? Is pursuing another degree worth the time?

While an MBA isn’t for everyone, everyone needs a job. If the past couple years have solidified anything, it’s that the job market is unpredictable. In a volatile economy, it’s important to stand out from the crowd when applying for sought-after jobs.

Having an MBA when applying for a job could help to immediately set your resume apart from the rest of the applicant pool. Most job descriptions require at the minimum a 4-year degree – an MBA could exemplify to recruiters more experience than the rest of the applicant field.

Beyond that, you might not even be able to apply for a job without an MBA. You’ll see that more and more job descriptions specify that applicants have to have an MBA to even be considered for the job. Recruiters often look for future employees that will require less nesting time in a new role.

Having an MBA could illustrate the picture that you have more skills and practice than someone with a bachelor’s degree.

An MBA is also helpful because it can fill in the gaps left by your undergraduate education. If your MBA is in a different, but related, field to your undergraduate education, you show that you have a broader range of interests and expertise. That dual-threat education can lead to better job offers, or even better opportunities in your current career.

Another reason an MBA is a benefit? Networking. Of course through an undergraduate education you can make great networking connections, but through the course of an MBA program, those connections only strengthen.

Working more closely with professors and individuals dedicated to a certain field will certainly bring forth opportunities that might not present themselves with a standard four-year degree.

By Taylor Kinsey, a technology/Internet expert, blogger for CenturyLink High Speed Internet and freelance writer.


Student Voices: Lessons Learned from MBA@UNC

The other day it dawned on me that I am more than halfway through the MBA@UNC program. With this realization, I mostly felt relief that I have managed to make it this far, but I also felt a sense of nostalgia for the unfettered optimism and enthusiasm with which I began my studies. Though my optimism and enthusiasm remain, I can admit that the first year of MBA@UNC—as with any MBA program—is difficult. When I look back, I realize that I can offer a few tips that will make the first year in MBA@UNC just a little bit easier.

1. Time management is key

I thought I knew this going into the program. In fact, being able to manage my time effectively and efficiently has always been a source of pride for me. What I didn’t realize was that a program as rigorous as MBA@UNC tests everyone’s time management skills. There is more involved than just setting aside time for weekly live classes and group meetings. And it’s not just carving out chunks of time to watch the asynchronous material. The challenge goes beyond doing homework and setting up times to meet with group members who are undoubtedly as busy as you are.

The real challenge is doing all that while balancing personal and work obligations.

MBA@UNC is a program for working professionals, but it is most definitely not a watered-down version of UNC’s traditional MBA program. Although the delivery is different, we receive a UNC Kenan-Flagler education through and through. For most of my classmates and me, the ability to experience a top-ranked MBA program while also having the flexibility of online learning is the allure of MBA@UNC. MBA@UNC is hard work and takes the same level of dedication as a traditional MBA. The good news is that you also reap all the same rewards.

2. Support is necessary

I cannot emphasize enough how instrumental it is to have the support of family, friends and your employer. In this MBA program, there will be times when you will have to pass on dinner with your family or happy hour with your co-workers to participate in your weekly live class. I’ve been on weekend vacations where, after a day of hiking, I’ve left my friends to watch asynchronous material. Lucky for me, I have incredibly understanding people in my life. Before you begin your online program, talk to the people in your life. Make sure they understand what you’ve signed on for so that there are no surprises down the line.

Of course, success in an MBA program goes beyond personal support. One of the benefits of MBA@UNC is the unwavering support of UNC’s faculty and staff. The program’s leadership team says they have an open door policy—and in their case it’s actually true. Associate Dean Doug Shackelford and Executive Director Susan Cates request questions and take the time to answer them during the Town Hall meetings at each immersion. And the faculty members who teach in the program are similarly accessible. From live, online office hours to Saturday morning phone calls to study sessions before exams, the professors are eager to support students.

3. Be ready to learn!

This lesson seems obvious, but I am still pleasantly surprised at the breadth and depth of the knowledge I’m gaining.

I have a legal background, so I have a lot to learn about business. For me, learning about balance sheets, valuation and projecting cash flows has been a challenge that is expanding my knowledge base. Even fellow classmates who are well versed in finance and accounting admit to looking at things differently since beginning the program.

Recently, one classmate realized he was not maximizing the present value of money; he had been letting his business expenses accumulate for months at a time instead of submitting them to his company every month. He was open to the lively discussion that followed about the time value of money and how applicable it is in our everyday lives. The discussion was strengthened by the diverse backgrounds represented by our cohort. This happens often in my MBA@UNC classes, and being active and ready to engage leads to more productive and detailed debates.

Stay tuned for part two of Lessons from MBA@UNC.

About Ana-Laura Diaz: About Ana-Laura: Ana-Laura Diaz is currently a practicing attorney living in the South Florida area. After attending UNC-Chapel Hill as an undergraduate, she received her J.D. from the University of Miami. Her love for all things Carolina and the desire to expand her horizons led her to the MBA@UNC program, where she continues to be “Tar Heel bred.”

UNC Kenan-Flagler Online MBA Program: MBA@UNC: UNC-Chapel Hill’s Online MBA program,MBA@UNC, offers professionals the opportunity to earn a top-ranked MBA while maintaining personal and professional commitments. MBA@UNC blends the flexibility of an online program with the rigor and quality of an on-campus experience.

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