The Graduate Advisor PERICLES ABLE PROJECT (AMERICAN BUSINESS AND LEGAL EDUCATION) WWW.PERICLES.RU/ABLE INFO@PERICLES.RU SPECIAL: BUSINESS SCHOOL SELECTION CRITERIA FOR INTERNATIONAL MBA DATE: SPRING 2013 ISSUE: #28Top MBA Programs of Oxford. Academics from Oxford and Zen and Art of GMAT Cambridge always stress how reallyEngland: Part 1, Oxford and different it is. So I wanted to understand By Andrew Mendelssohn, GMAT & LegalCambridge. what all the fuss was about. Skills Professor. Pericles, Moscow.By Marian Dent, Dean, Pericles. In the United States, and I think in most I have been preparingDent holds a Juris Doctorate from the countries, “university” is a word that students for the GMATUniversity of California, Berkeley describes an institution of learning that is exam and assisting them “universal”, that involves many through the application I got stranded in disciplines and departments of learning. admission procedures for London for two These departments are often called a number of years, and weeks last summer colleges, where students study; but one of the phrases I due to a Russian visa students turn to the University for the commonly hear from perspective MBA delay. (There are common facilities, such as the library, the applicants is that they need to “pass the worse places to be dorms, the bookshops, etc. I, for example, GMAT.” In fact, in my opinion there is no such stranded, I know.) got my bachelor ’s degree from the thing as “passing the GMAT.” So, the first Department of Political Science, in the piece of advice that I give any prospective I decided to use the unexpected free time College of Arts and Letters within my MBA applicant is that the GMAT can simplyto visit the historic universities of American university San Diego State be likened to a door they need to pass throughCambridge and Oxford, places I had always University. I lived in a university to reach their goal of being admitted to aheard about but never had the chance dormitory, ate at the university commons business school. Of course, the GMAT is areally to understand. While there I visited and only took my classes in the political very important door, but like any rite of passage,the Cambridge Judge School of Business science department. I only knew that I getting past it painlessly only requires havingand the Oxford Said School of Business, was attached to a “college” at all because the right attitude, a focused approach, andand the idea for this article germinated. it said so on my diploma when I graduated. adequate preparation. The “College” System of Oxford and The opposite is true at Oxford and However, before anything else, I stronglyCambridge Cambridge. The Oxford or Cambridge encourage you (my audience today) to identify “College” really is the center of life, not the business schools where you want to apply. Oxford and Cambridge are the heart of the center of one specific academic Deciding where you want to take your MBAswhat is known as “the College System.” In discipline. is the first step in being adequately preparedthe United States we use the word “college” for the exam, and the main reason why there isand “university” but (with the exception of My guide to the college system was my no real “passing” or “failing” the exam. EachColumbia) not at all in the same sense as friend Demetrius Floudas, a Fellow of and every business school has its own specificthey use the words here at Cambridge and entry requirements. Hence, until you actually Continued, next page ... sit, research your potential choices, and make a decision, you actually do not know what score you need. Too many students approach their GMAT preparation with the firm conviction that they MUST go to Harvard (or someplace similar) without ever really considering whether Harvard is the right place for them. Does this mean I am telling you not to apply to Harvard? No, of course it does not, but I am saying that proper GMAT preparation only begins by identifying where you do want to apply, and that your ultimate decision should be well informed and researched. Too many people rush to apply to a school that is not right for them because they read a set of rankings in a magazine. An MBA is a very expensive and time consuming degree, and the decision about where to take it should not be made lightly. And actually, until you identify where you are going to apply, you do not know what score you really need, which makes your real preparation like studying in an information vacuum, without a reference point against which to mark your progress. Oxford feels like a university within a town See ZEN, page 6.
Hughs Hall College, Cambridge. Thatdoesn’t mean he studied at Hughs Hall -instead, he lived and dined there whilestudying for his advanced degree. Whilea student, he attended guest lectures andspecial events at Hughs Hall, receivedtutorials from higher level students there,and basically became emotionally attachedto his college. Demetrius happened tohave studied in the law school, but othermembers of Hughs Hall studied politics,mathematics, whatever, in all differentdisciplines of the university. Demetrius graduated years ago andreturned to Hughs Hall to give a guestlecture, something that Fellows regularlydo apparently. Although he is not workingat Cambridge full time, as a Fellow, he stillhas the right to live in guest rooms at hiscollege, and the right to use the Fellow’sroom, a beautifully appointed privatelounge for entertaining guests. At first I was skeptical about this One of the oldest colleges at Cambridge“college” idea. It’s nothing different than Cambridge and the Judge School of steroids! It certainly wasn’t what I expected,a dormitory, I thought. But then I began to Business but I really liked it.realize that students really are attached totheir college like a fraternity or social club, Cambridge is an historic university town. Academically, I also liked what the Judgein a way they wouldn’t be to just a The university, and the river Cam seem to be School was about. I spoke with James Barker,dormitory. The colleges have their own the heart of everything. The towering in admissions, who was extremely responsivesocial events, raise their own sports teams, steeples of a bygone era, and presence of to my emails requesting a visit, and wasand have a rather stiff rivalry with some students everywhere, simply inspires obviously very proud of his school. Judgeother colleges (especially in rowing). learning and exudes college life. From the has a small class size—about 150—whichMembers of a Cambridge or Oxford college tree that dropped an apple on his head and allows everyone to get to know one another.can be called upon to help each other for caused Isaac Newton to theorize gravity, to They are “not looking for conveyer beltlife. the bar where Watson and Crick argued about students” Barker emphasized. He explained the structure of DNA, you can’t help feeling that the school attracts interesting students, For a business student, the different that great thinking happens at Cambridge. I who sometimes have unusual backgroundsdisciplines that members of the college was a little awestruck in fact. for B-school. He described art and theaterstudy can also be a future business students who had gotten MBAs at Judge.advantage. Instead of always socializing The school has a reputation for being originalwith other business students the way you and open to new ideas. Just seeing thewould do in many business schools, at building, I really believe that.Oxford or Cambridge you will spend a lot Despite their non-conveyor beltof time socializing in your college with backgrounds, students apparently findcomputer geeks, engineering whizzes, finance the most popular concentration ofgeographers, etc. How handy might that study. About 50-60% of Judge graduates endbe when the geek and the whiz are looking up in finance in London. That’s quite a highfor business experts to take their newest statistic considering that the school is veryinvention public? How handy might it be international and only about 7% of studentswhen you are going off on a global originate from the U.K. Other popularconsulting project to Brazil, and the concentrations are entrepreneurship andgeographer just finished a paper with full technology. The school has two newprojections on deforestation in the Outside Judge blends well with the professors of entrepreneurship who startedcountry? Cambridge styletown just this year. In sum, the Oxford and Cambridge college Judge School of Business continues that Another thing Judge is looking for in itssystems are designed to give their feeling but in a totally different way. The students is a collaborative attitude. Typicalgraduates social networks and school is synonymous with innovation and Judge students are a bit older and moreunderstanding of disciplines much broader that starts with the building, which is modern, experienced than their counterparts in U.S.and more varied than students could get but is done in an exterior style that fits MBA programs, and the school is activelyin a purely B-school environment. Now beautifully and unobtrusively into the searching for collaborative experience andI’m sold on the idea. historic style of Cambridge. Inside, however, traits when perusing student applications. It’s the Judge building is a masterpiece of color an essential quality really, because here So now that you understand Colleges, lets and fun: blue portal windows, blue and pink students are assigned to study groups—onelook at Cambridge and Oxford business schools. striped columns, pattern-painted ceilings and in the first term and another in the second. criss-crossing wood and wire railed It’s an important part of the Judge learning walkways. It’s like a child’s playhouse on experience to work with a team that you2
are out of session, sends students to prepare and present consulting projects for top international companies. Most of the projects also involve travel abroad, to Brazil, India, Africa, the U.S. or elsewhere. The Judge School lines up several projects, and students pitch for the ones they want to work on and the country they want to go to. Students can also suggest their own projects. In the late Spring, students join one of eight specialization groups that attend coaching nights, speaker events, dinner debates, etc ., in their chosen field, and which culminate in a group Capstone Consulting Project and presentation that is supposed to bring together everything that the students have learned over their year and in their specialization. The possible specializations, with such names as “Beyond Profit” and “Cultural Arts and Media Management” imply that the innovation motif Punting on the River Cam Inside Judge is like a childs continues here too at Judge. to 720. There were five Russian students in playhouse last year’s class, and two in the current class, Alongside the projects, of course, are the and the school is actively interested in Russianprobably wouldn’t have selected for yourself. regular academics. The Management Science applicants. James Barker laughed a bit when IGood management, after all, is knowing how to course is apparently extremely popular with asked if any Russian students had difficultiesget the most out of workmates with diverse students, plus of course students receive all with U.K. visas. Visas are not generally abackgrounds. the usual required courses in a B-school problem for students admitted to Cambridge. Indeed, collaboration continues into the curriculum, and can choose courses fromschool’s attitude to grades. Students work hard among 35electives. That’s a lot of choice for a Judge also has an Executive MBA and severalat Judge, but there isn’t the kind of grade stress one year program. masters programs, but I didn’t discuss these inthat permeates some lesser B-schools. The top my interview.10% of the class makes the Dean’s List (ie the This action packed year at Cambridge isequivalent of a red diploma). But, although successful careerwise, with 98% of job seekers Oxford Said School of Businessemployers could ask for students’ transcripts, employed within three months of graduation,the reality is that they don’t. A Cambridge and many, as mentioned, staying in the U.K. If Cambridge can be described as a Universitydiploma speaks for itself with H.R. Town, then Oxford is more of a University within Of course, in the Cambridge tradition, besides a town. The town of Oxford is considerably Judge has a flexibly timed program, lasting being admitted to Judge, a student must also larger than Cambridge, and the colleges andfrom nine months to a year. Students begin in be admitted to a college. Judge helps students buildings of the University are more spreadSeptember, and may end in June if they wish. with this, they make suggestions and advise out. Still though, the city feels old, and theBut most continue until August to get involved their accepted applicants about surroundings inspire an academic mindset. Iin research, internships, study trips and other accommodations. It’s rare for a student to be managed to get time for a commercial touractivities that occur during the summer. Those accepted by Judge and then rejected by the around the University, with my fellow touristswho leave earlier are doing so because of colleges. (Unlike in undergraduate programs snapping numerous pictures of Christ Churchemployer demands. “The good thing about at Cambridge and Oxford , where students College - the set of the infamous Hogwortsbeing a small school” said James “is that we apply first to a college, for students in business Academy from Harry Potter.can be reactive and flexible to student needs.” school, the college application is a minor,In either case, it’s a very short time frame for the secondary addition to the B-schoolamount of activities that Judge puts into its application.) I was warned that there are someprogram. So it looks like students are busy of the trade offs in associating with thefrom their first day onward. prestigious, historic, but rather uncomfortable, oldest colleges such as Kings, where rooms Three of those things that keep students busy are small, ceilings are low, toilets are scarceare the Cambridge Venture Project in the first and central heating is a rare luxury. Most Judgeterm, the Global Consulting Project that takes students prefer to live in the relative comfortplace in the Spring, and the Capstone Project of the “newer” colleges, or just to associatethat is designed to help consolidate a student’s with a college but to actually live off campus.chosen specialization. Demetrius’ beloved Hughs Hall is apparently a popular choice for Judge students. The Cambridge Venture Project happens fortwo to three weeks alongside classes. Students Judge school is not cheap, but is reasonableare assigned to groups that help high tech as far as business schools go: at approximatelystartups. Of course, with the whole of 38,000 pounds a year, college fees of aroundCambridge University’s brainpower to tap into, another 2,500 pounds, plus about anotherI’m guessing the availability of fascinating 10,000 for living expenses. But about 60% ofstartup projects to work with is really broad. the students receive partial scholarships, at The mandatory Global Consulting Project, an average of 5000 to 10,000 pounds. Judge’s 80% range of GMAT scores is 640 Parts of Harry Potter were filmedconducted over the Easter break when classes here at Oxford 3
Said School itself is a little out of the historiccenter of Oxford, but it’s still walkable fromthe rest of the university, and it does have theadvantage of being near the train station forthose who hanker for a quick trip into Londonto visit potential employers. The building is a modern brick and glass block.Frankly, it’s not charming at all from the outside.And going inside, you walk through a largeopen lobby, sparsely furnished with blackcouches. A large reception desk is at the back,where the receptionist glances at securitycameras to make sure no one is attempting atheft from the bike rack on the side of thebuilding. It could be any large, anonymous,office building in metropolitan any city. After getting past reception though, thebuilding improves a lot. The neutral beige andblack is the antithesis of the colorful playgroundat Judge, but lots of space and light abounds.And in the coffee shop they have a scale modelof a new outdoor amphitheater where they planto hold concerts, guest speaker events and Outside Said is a big brick blockgraduation. Raquel Lisson, who showed me center offers five full “skollarships” for The highlight of the school year at Said is aaround explained “Oxford Said is a good place promising social entrepreneurs from all over summer Strategic Consulting Project thatthat mixes the traditions of an ancient university the world. The center also collaborates with students undertake. They can choose towith a very new place that has upcoming the Skoll Foundation that invests in social propose their topics, or can pick from amongtechnology and modern ideas.” entrepreneurship projects and innovations; those offered by the school all over the world. and it hosts the Skoll World Forum, a platform Students who prefer to can also elect to take for innovative thinking and discussion about courses, prepare research projects, or social issues. undertake internships in the summer. Said is quite a bit bigger than Judge. Each Getting in to Said is only slightly less class has about 220-250 students. To keep competitive than getting into Judge. The 80% the feeling of the class smaller though, Said range of GMAT scores is 620-700. I was told divides its entering class into three groups of that if you get below 600 it would be advisable 75-85 students each. For the first term, to retake the exam before applying. students take classes within their core group, and get to know their group very well. Despite the slightly lower competitiveness, however, the tuition is a little bit higher: 41,000 Inside Said is all light and space The second term consists of working on an pounds this year, plus there is a 3,150 pound entrepreneurship project, taking two more college fees and of course living expenses of at Said School is indeed new. It was set up in core courses, and your choice of two electives. least 13,000 pounds. 95% of Said’s students1996. They have a 12 month, full time MBA At Easter break, most Said students attend come from outside of England, so Said is quiteprogram for those with a minimum three to about “treks” to different areas of the world, where familiar with helping foreign students arrangesix years of work experience. Raquel they meet with Said alumni and potential loans, although they admit that there have beenemphasized that work experience is important employers or business partners, and learn applicants who were accepted but couldn’t cometo Said’s admissions office. Rhodes scholars what doing business is like in the country up with the money to attend.may have less than three years, but otherwise they are visiting.it’s best to wait to apply until you have the If you apply to Said, Raquel Lisson stressed,requisite experience to contribute meaningfully After the treks, the rest of the study year is you should try to apply early. If you wait untilto class discussion. all elective courses. They use a bid system the third round there is less financial aid available for students to choose what electives they and less space available in the colleges. Said also has an executive MBA that mainly want to take, and with which professors. I’mattracts candidates with 13 to 15 years of told that Professor Tom Suzuki’s accounting If Said accepts students, then some college atexperience. The executive program starts in course is very popular, as is a private equity Oxford has to accept them, so there is no worryJanuaries, and lasts for 21 months, with students course taught by Professor Tim Jenkinson. about that end of it. Indeed, the college systemspending one week on campus every five to was downplayed more here than at Cambridge.six weeks. As befits a school that favors teaching Most MBA students live in apartments and only entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs over visit and dine in their colleges a few times a year. If Judge could be characterized by the word “old economy” sector people, Said does not I was told that, frankly, the MBA program was“innovation” then “entrepreneurship” seems have a strict study team approach. Whether very demanding and students didn’t have muchto be the word characterizing Said. Said is to use teams to prepare case studies for class time for the social life and events that the collegesextremely proud of its Jeffrey Skoll Center for is at the discretion of the individual professor, have to offer. I believe it.Social Enterpreneurship. Each year the Skoll and tends to vary according to whether the team approach fits the subject matter.4
Unsolicited Advice from Uncle Al: (summarizing their interview) within 24 hours canned. Here are some tips to prepare you for aIssue 3. Business Schools in the Process after its finish. The purpose of this change is to video interview (most of which can be used in see how well and how accurately students can any general interview situation):of Innovating the Application Procedure: express themselves when dealing with timeprepare to be on video. Do a lot of preparation. Think about possible pressure, which Harvard feels will give it just a questions, and your answers to them. Why do slightly more accurate picture of its applicants. For many years, business I want an MBA? Why do I want to go to this schools have used the same school? What are my strong points? What are Harvard is not alone among the top-10 in tools for assessing their my weak points? How would I interact in a small introducing new innovations in the application team? Or a large team? What are my greatest applicants’ potential: in procedure. The Wharton School has recently addition to the GRE, TOEFL, achievements? Where do I want to be 10 years introduced the concept they call Team Based from now?and GMAT, they demanded letters of Discussion as an integral part of their interviewrecommendation, resumes, and essays process. Applicants face the interview panel Practice in front of a mirror, or with one orexplaining why the applicants wanted to be as part of a group. The interview consists of several friends or family members. Inviteadmitted and what they planned on doing with group questions. critique; not criticism necessarily, but critique.their MBAs after graduation. Listen, listen, listen. Listen to the question, Wharton bases its evaluation on three and if necessary, take a pause for a few seconds More recently, business schools have started important criteria: academic backgrounds andto change the admission format, introducing to formulate an excellent answer. achievements, exceptional professionalnew application evaluation methods, such as trajectories and accomplishments, and Avoid clichés, repetition and awkwardtwitter and Powerpoint presentations, which individual personal qualities. Wharton believes pauses, shun overused words and phrasesthey hope will give them more accurate overall that the Team Based Discussion will improve such as “basically”, “proactive”, “time frame”.impressions of applicants. applicant screening for two basic reasons. First, If you must fill the conversation, use much as in a standard interview, it gives expressions that are easy on the ear, such as “I To cite just one example of this new trend in applicants a chance to demonstrate aspects of see would you mean,” or “I understand yourapplication procedures, the University of themselves that they found difficult to bring question.” A little flattery such as “An excellentToronto’s Rotman School has replaced one of out in writing. Second, this group interaction question I was just thinking about that myself,”its traditional written essays with a video also give applicants the opportunity to is not amiss, provided you use it no more thaninterview, as they felt that four lengthy written experience for themselves those values, such once.essays did not give them enough differentiation as intellectual curiosity and interpersonalbetween candidates. The Rotman School Have a genuine conversation. Use a engagement, that the Wharton school feels are conversational tone, do not lecture orintroduced the video interview to replace one of paramount importance. The latter also givesof the written essays, hopefully reproducing pontificate. Wharton a chance to see how well applicantsthe spontaneity of an in-person interview. actually do in a group environment before they Be ready for questions out of left field. IfApplicants log on and are allowed to practice are actually admitted. Proponents of the new you’re really caught unaware, use one of thewith an unlimited number of sample questions. technique are absolutely certain that it reveals phrases suggested above to give yourself aWhen they are ready, they are asked two much more of an applicants’ true characters by little time to think of a good answer.questions: the first is given to all applicants; showcasing how they interact with other If you are asked a question to which youthe second is computer-selected from an members of a bigger team. don’t know the answer, don’t make somethingexisting bank. Applicants have 45 seconds to up. Interviewers are expert at picking up a bluff,formulate their answers, and 45 seconds to Of course, attempts to change and improve and it would cost you dearly. Admit you don’tverbalize it. the application procedure have been going on know an answer, but say you will look that up for years. Chicago Booth has regularly required immediately. The subject of the second question may be a applicants to submit their third essay as alife- or career-changing event; or it may be an Powerpoint presentation. Students are given Do not wander, answer the question, do notexplanation of how a colleague, or former boss, four slides and 600 words to present who they volunteer additional information that may beor former professor would describe the are to the admissions committee. NYU Stern unimportant, or worse, which may distract fromapplicant. The 90-second length was not has likewise allowed students to complete its your conversation.chosen arbitrarily: it was decided on after a last admissions essay in a number of formats, This should not, however, prevent you fromlengthy study. In that time, a candidate is including a video presentation, tweets, song, opening windows into possible new vistas ofexpected to make at least one important and poetry, and yes, a traditional essay. conversation.succinct point in his or her favor. Business Schools in general, in an attempt to Prepare intelligent questions of your own. These innovations in the admissions format modernize, are adjusting not just their Having looked up the school program online,are indicative of changes happening in the application procedures but their programs as or perhaps spoken with someone at the school,whole MBA application process. Formerly, well. Many schools, such as Kellogg, have you will doubtless have questions of your ownbusiness schools usually called candidates for implemented one-year programs in addition to that will show the interviewer that you havean interview only after reviewing their the traditional US two-year MBAs. The ability taken the time and made the effort to find outapplications. The Rotman School is just one to study part of the MBA abroad is also now relevant facts about the school, and this willexample of a school changing the usual part of many US programs, an example being weigh in your favor. Do not ask questions theapproach. the collaboration between Wharton and answers to which are easily available in INSEAD. pamphlets or on the school’s site. Recently, the Harvard Business School wasdeluged with approximately 9,500 applications; In the near future, applicants should expect Dress appropriately. Once again, I stress thatthe school sent out 855 interview invitations to have a much greater choice in programs and first impressions are the lasting ones. An(approximately 9%) for the first round, and much more innovative application procedures. interviewer who sees an applicant in a sloppyabout the same percentage for the second The MBA interviews will see more and more T-shirt, and with hair that is not combed, willround. Harvard admits around 90% of its 900 experimental techniques, such as video not be impressed at all.students from candidates in the first two rounds, interviews, and other alternatives to written essays. A thank-you note as a follow-up will leave aso the chances of being admitted if called up very nice impression with the interviewer.for an interview are close to 50%. Harvard, One of the advantages of a video interview Mention a specific point or two that you thinkhowever, has also moved past the standard is that you can keep a sheet of facts out of you made outstandingly well, and of courseessay then interview format. As of this year, sight of the camera that you can refer to so that tell the interviewer how much you appreciateapplicants who have been interviewed will have your answers will sound cohesive, but be sure his or her time.to submit a third and final application essay not to over-rehearse so that they do not sound 5
immediately tell you to forget that score as Finally, I will say a word about preparation:ZEN, continued from Page 1. your goal while you are studying. Why? In study! I am not going to tell you exactly how my experience, focusing on a very high score to study, but I do believe that you need to For the sake of argument, let us say that you (before you actually know your own level) take a preparation course (the one I teach, Ido, in fact, want to go to Harvard. I would makes studying harder. I have seen many hope). Taking a course will put you in a teamimagine, based on my experience, that your examples of early members of the “700+ Club” environment, and again, based on mynext sentence would be how you MUST score stressing themselves out so badly that they experience, those people who take a“700 or higher” on the GMAT. The problem perform terribly on the exam. Once you have preparation course do better than those whohere, though, is that while everybody identified what score range you need, try to do not. Having said that, preparation reallyobviously wants to score as high as possible forget about it. Yes, you need to consider involves more than studying. All of you, ifon the exam, not everybody (even people scores when assessing your practice you are really considering taking an MBA,applying to the very top schools) needs a 700+ performance. However, you will do much need to be reading material in English on ascore. better if you learn, somehow, to “just not daily basis. Reading comprehension takes time So, the next step after identifying where you care.” to develop, and once you begin your studieswant to apply is to identify what score you you will need to read hundreds of pages ofprobably do need, and this is done by looking I do not mean do not care about getting into text per week. Start reading now! An hour aat the schools’ statistics. Ideally, you want to business school: I mean you need to relax. day reading internet articles or novels will gobe in what I call the 80% range – in other words, Relax! Do not get emotionally or intellectually a long way towards helping you achieve yourwithin the top 80% of all people admitted. Yes, involved in the GMAT. The GMAT is just an GMAT target in a passive, stress-free way.getting as high a score as possible is still a exam you must deal with on your way to bigger Next, if you are not a native speaker, practicegood thing, but focusing on some artificially and better things, and you will not care about your English. Take any chance you get tohigh score can be counter-productive to doing your score past the first day of your MBA speak, to use your language skills! Insist onwell on the exam. All you need to do is look at program. Worrying about what score you are watching films with subtitles instead ofthe statistics: even the very top schools admit going to get before you have even taken the dubbing. These small steps alone willpeople with sub-700 scores. So, do not focus exam will only stress you, not help you. The significantly help you prepare for both GMATon some ridiculously high score! Set yourself GMAT is a CAT test, meaning that the and your MBA program.a score range, something reasonable: “I need difficulty and points-value of each questionto score between 650 and 700.” is based those of the previous question(s). And, for the last time, Relax! GMAT is simply The last thing you want to do when taking a passing concern – never get so focused on All of this relates to one of the most the exam is to be worrying about question 4 the exam that you forget what your ultimateimportant aspects of GMAT preparation: when you are dealing with question 10. You goal is: a world class business education thatattitude. I encourage my students to practice need to compartmentalize everything and to will hopefully lead to a bigger and brightersomething I call ‘Zen and the Art of GMAT.” deal with every aspect of preparation (and professional future.GMAT “Zen” works something like this: the eventually every question) as they come,less you care, the better you will do. In fact, I stress free. To do this, your attitude shouldwant you to score that 700+ score, but I will include this GMAT “Zen” approach. While the case approach is best suited for be accounting in every b-school, but whatB-schools selection, learning the real-world applications of the differs from school to school is the culture ofcontinued from Page 8. concepts first hand, it might be sometimes the school. Every business school has its Most business schools put information not very suitable to courses which a studentabout their city of location on their might not have any background about. In mywebsite. Research more via Google. opinion, case approach is best suited when aDiscussion forums on various websites student has some background into the coursemight be useful here. content and then he learns to use those concepts to solve real problems. 4. Teaching Methodologies Now this is one more The theoretical lecture based teaching will important thing that I help learn the fundamentals but only in a feel can impact our theoretical sense, there will be limited learning. Although I opportunities to see the concepts being have come to applied to real world problems. distinct signature of the student culture. One understand that much has to find his fit within the studentof the learning in a business school happens Thus while selecting a business school, an community.through peers, for whatever part that happens applicant must gauge his best learningin the classroom, the teaching methodology methodology based on past experience and This fit is very important as it appears everywill definitely play a significant role in grasping knowledge about business fundamentals. time during discussions of business schoolthe fundamentals of some courses. Information about teaching methods is selection. Business schools have either usually available on the Curriculum section competitive or collaborative student culture. Most popularly, there are two types of of the business school’s website. Even within these two broad categories, thereteaching methods viz. Case Based Approach is a lot of distinction and focus across schools.and the Lecture based approach. These days, 5. Student Culture – Collaborative vs. Unfortunately, getting to know about thesome business schools believe that not one Competitive student culture of the business school becomesapproach is suited for everything and hence This is again one of the major factors that the toughest job in business school research.depending on the course content, business must go into the decision making process A fit into the culture of the school helps toschools are combining courses with a mix of while selecting a business school. As an realize the true potential of the MBA program.cases, lectures and group discussions. Let us alumnus once told me, the business concepts The best way to learn about culture of theconsider the values of each approach. remain the same everywhere, accounting will school is to visit the school. However, this might6 not be possible for every applicant and hence,
as applicants, we must talk to current students/ Be an informed citizen to learn more about of the needed amount Hence, for applicantsalumni at the business school. The online this. Talking to current students also helps in like me, we need international student loansdiscussion forums are a great tool to connect understand the recruiting of international from banks in the U.S/Europe or other countryto current students. A lot of current students candidates at the business school. where the business school is located. The hardfrom various schools have started discussion fact about international student loans in thethreads which are usually like “XYZ business 7. Alumni Network U.S is that they need a U.S co-signor forschool – Current Students taking questions”. Alumni network will be giving the loan and the co-signor must have a of special significance credit history in the U.S. Now, for an applicant 6. Career Center, Recruitment, Work Visa considering the fact that like me who has no connection to the U.S, itPolicies, Desired Companies. a strong alumni network will be really difficult to finance the MBA One goes to business which is tightly program. Here come the co-signor free loans school with a desire to associated to the being offered by some business schools. finally end up in his business school goes a long way in networking Actually, in this case, the university/business desired function/ for career and recruiting. A strong alumni school becomes the co-signor for the loan i n d u s t r y / c o m p a n y. presence in a region or industry helps in and hence the student does not have to look Hence, as applicants we opening doors that might not be easy to get in for a co-signor. Unfortunately, not every must understand the otherwise. business school offers this, but most of theresources provided by the concerned Career top business schools offer co-signor freeManagement Center in helping through the During my business school research, I’ve student loans.recruiting process. The job hunt in US or for come across instances where a strong alumni Information on co-signor free loans isthat matter in most desirable places to work is network has helped new admits secure a pre- usually available in the Fee and Financialdifficult. The student has to do a lot of MBA internship. Now this is something which Aid section of the respective business school’snetworking before he gets shortlisted for the can’t be ignored. Moreover, if you are an website. However, these policies keep oninterview. Networking drives a lot of recruiting. international student like me and planning to changing depending on the market scenario.The thing to look out for here is how active return to your home country in the short to Hence, it is not a bad idea to drop a line toand responsive is the career management medium term then you must consider this the admissions office to check of the co-signorcentre towards the students’ requirements. In aspect more strongly. Especially, we must look free loan program is being offered or not!my research, unfortunately, I have come to at the alumni presence from the business school And last but not the least..!!!understand that not every career management in our home country. This will be very importantcentre is same and hence a lot of research is in re-locating back. 9. Brand Namenecessary in this direction. Finally, I would say Information on this can be availed only by When I talk of strong alumni network, it does that brand name istalking to current students at various schools not necessarily mean a very large alumni base. very important. Itand then one has to make his own conclusions It essentially means how tightly knit are the can open doorsbased on the conversation. alumni to the business school. A very large which are normally alumni base without significant engagement always closed to Apart from the career management centre with the business school should be less relevant people fromconsideration, a prospective applicant must than even a small alumni base but a tightly knit elsewhere. The brand name helps to getalso know if his desired dream companies come one. I’ve talked to a couple of current students connect to people at very senior positionsto the campus for interviews. More so, the from some top business schools where they in the industry. Some alumni have sharednumber of candidates being hired by one’s expressed that had it not been for the alumni, their experience of how they could connectdream companies from a particular campus they would never have gotten that interview in and get an appointment with CEOs of MNCsmust be seen for. Almost all big firms go to the first place. by flashing their business school brandmany campuses but recruit in different Now, the only way to learn about alumni name. So it matters and matters a lot.quantum. One should look out for the business network is to talk to alumni and preferablyschool where the desired dream company current students. Ask them to share their This brand name can be of much morerecruits big time. experience where they have contacted an significant value if you are an international The school employment statistics are a great alumnus for something and the response of applicant and want to come back to yourresource to learn this aspect about the the alumnus thereafter. Try to learn the home country post-MBA. Consider thebusiness school. activities and efforts the business school makes brand recall of the business school in your to engage with the alumni. home country. This will be very important One other aspect of selecting a business to get your desired career once you re-locateschool based on this criterion is the work visa 8. Co-signor Free Loans back.policies of the respective country. Obviously, This could be of BIG Talk to your contacts in the industry andthis should be a part of the “Location” criteria concern to applicants get to know the brand reputation of thepointed out above but I’ve deliberately put it like me who don’t come business school in their industry.here as it is more relevant to career/recruiting from a financially good I’ve myself used the above criterion topost-MBA. As pointed out above, the location background to bear the shortlist an initial list of business schools.where one wants to work post-MBA is a almost around $ I’ve to do further deeper research againsignificant parameter for business school 200,000 for the international MBA program. If based on the above criterion to decide onselection as the recruiting process is often more you are wondering if the above amount is true, the final list of business schools where Ilocal. In this connection, a prospective just check the website of any business school. will apply.applicant must be aware of the ground realities The total cost of attending the class (i.e.regarding the post-MBA work VISA issues. It Tuitions and Living Expenses) comes tois easier to get work VISA in some countries around $ 80,000 - $ 90,000 per year.than others. In some countries it is really Here comes the need for bank educationdifficult to get work permits these days. In such loans. Unfortunately, in many developingsituations, one’s dream company might be countries the amount of money that can bereluctant to hire international candidates. borrowed through local banks is less than half 7
Business School Selection Criteriafor International MBABy Amit Pandey, Engineer. Graduated fromNIT, Nagpur in Electronics &Communication, Engineering in 2009.Reprinted with permision of the authorhttp://amitkpandeyece.blogspot.com Hi Readers and my fellow Applicants, Over the past couple of months, I’ve been researching and reading about International MBA admissions. One thingthat has clearly come up is that an admissionto top MBA programs is all about FIT. As anapplicant, one must look at one’s prioritiesand career goals among other things thatshould become the guide for business about the industry/company first-hand and student club in the desired career focus is aschool selection. hence one gets to know his fit with the good signal of the student community’s focus industry/company before taking a full-time in the area. Read through online forums, This business school is a very important offer. This becomes especially important there is tons of info out there. Talk to alumnidecision considering the unquestionable fact considering the fact than an MBA, in most and current students. Do careerthat each international MBA program has its cases, will be the last formal education and informational interviews with people in theown signature and has something unique to also, to some extent, the last chance to change industry to understand a career option.offer. Moreover, in most of the cases, MBA careers.becomes the last formal education in one’s Program duration information is 3. Location (Connectivity, Business Hub)career and is also almost the last chance to available on the website of respectivemake a significant career change. Hence, one business schools. During my personalshould have a clear understanding of one’s research, location hasexpectations from the MBA program and 2. Desired Career Focus come up as one of thechoose the business school that fits them. What do you want to do most importantFrom the research that I’ve done until now, post-MBA? This is the business schoolhere are a few parameters that one should most important question selection criteria. Someconsider in his business school selection, that an applicant must ask have even gone as far as to say that businessas per my opinion. while selecting a business school is all about Location, Location and school. Different business Location. These criteria are from the perspective of schools have different strengths. Whenan International Applicant and hence some deciding about pursuing an MBA, one must Location is useful in 2 senses: (i) where ispoints may not be applicable for non- have a clear understanding of what he wants the school located and (ii) where do you wantinternational/domestic applicants, although to do in his professional career. This helps a to work in future post-MBA.this is purely my personal opinion. lot both in securing an admit to a desired MBA program and a recruiting. The first point i.e. the school location is 1. Program Duration especially critical to international students. Here, the choice boils down to choosing Having a Plan B also matters a lot here. We I say this because, international studentsbetween European and US business applicants must look out for business schools might not have the network that residentschools. European MBA programs are where our career goals will best be fulfilled. student might already have.typically of 1 year whereas US MBAprograms are typically 2 year programs. There Caution: I talked to an alumnus and he Networking is a very very important aspectare obviously 1 year executive MBA suggested that business school is such a of recruiting at international businessprograms in US business schools as well but dynamic place that students experience many schools and hence, in my opinion, if you aremy focus here is on Full-Time Regular MBA things on campus. During the numerous in the middle of nowhere, you might have toprograms. The opportunity cost of being out networking and other activities, some travel every now and then to attend aof full time work is definitely a factor which students normally realize that they want to networking event in a relatively distant city.should be considered while choosing do something else, other than what they had This apart from increasing the expenses, mayprogram duration. earlier planned to do in their careers. In such significantly affect your on-campus MBA situations, it is better to go to a business experience. In my personal belief, people with NO school which is generally strong in all areas.business background are more suited to 2 In my opinion, one cannot be sure of all the Just in case, at least be sure to go to a placeyear programs. People who have worked in things in ones’ life. Here comes the Plan B. which is well connected to everywhere else.business areas and have a business We should choose a business school where My second point above regarding theexposure may consider 1 year programs. both the Plan A and Plan B should work out location where one wants to work is connected nicely. to the first point too. In my research, I’ve found Moreover, 1 year programs don’t normally For information regarding this, in my that except for a few industries, the hiring ishave an option to do an internship, which belief, applicants must look for the more or less local and hence the region wheremight be not be a good thing for somebody Employment Statistics, find out if a student you want to work comes to play a verythinking of changing careers post-MBA. club of the desired focus is available and important role in business school selection.Internships offer a good platform to know more importantly how active is it? An active See B-schools selection, page 6.