Monthly Archives: January 2010

Is the MBA Job Market Finally Thawing?

A recent Reuters article described the job outlook for a bunch of MIT Sloan students as they returned from their annual “Tech Treck” job trips, in which they visit employers all over the United States. It sounds as though companies — especially the more tech-oriented ones that Sloan students visit — could finally start hiring again this year.

According to the article:

And what they found gave them reason to hope; tech outfits are finally seeing demand pick up, energy companies are pushing hard to develop renewable fuels and together the two sectors could lead the way out of a job market morass.

Employment growth in the United States has famously been powered by small- and medium-sized businesses. So far in the fragile economic recovery many small firms have been reluctant or unable to take on new staff.

Normally MIT Sloan graduates find themselves choosing among multiple six-figure job offers, but last year even healthy and growing companies such as Google significantly cut back on the number of Sloan grads that it hired. Now, as companies expect demand to warm up and some spot opportunities that they will need managerial talent to go after, grads at Sloan and other top business schools can expect the job offers to start flowing again, at least more than they did last year.

For students in the Class of 2010, many of whom still hope to land jobs before they graduate this spring, the news that some companies are ready to hire again is obviously a very welcome sign. It’s even better news for the Class of 2011, though — assuming they can find some sort of meaningful internship work this coming summer, they still have at least a year’s more time for the economy to warm up again before they they need to find full-time work. And, today’s applicants (the Class of 2012) can expect the market to be even better by the time they’re looking for work, although in today’s market anything can happen.

If you’re interested in MIT Sloan or any other top business school now, subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter for all of the latest updates in the world of MBA admissions.

Financial Times MBA Rankings for 2010

The Financial Times has just released its 2010 business school rankings, with London Business School holding on to the #1 spot. LBS and Wharton actually shared the #1 position in last year’s rankings, but :BS has pulled ahead of its American rival.

The Financial Times’ top ten MBA programs in 2010 are:

  1. London Business School
  2. Wharton
  3. Harvard Business School
  4. Stanford GSB
  5. INSEAD
  6. Columbia Business School
  7. IE Business School
  8. MIT Sloan
  9. Chicago Booth
  10. Hong Kong UST

Big gainers vs. last year include Booth (which cracked the top ten), HKUST, Indian School of Business, and HEC Paris. Meanwhile, CEIBS, NYU Stern (which dropped out of the top ten), and Cambridge saw the biggest declines among the top MBA programs.

For a deeper comparison of how the programs performed in thie year’s rankings vs. the previous year’s, FT.com offers this handy downloadable document.

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Edward Snyder to Take Over at Yale SOM

Today the Yale School of Management announced that Edward A. Snyder, currently Dean and George Shultz Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, has agreed to become the next Dean of the Yale School of Management. Snyder, who last fall announced his decision to step down from the role of Dean at Chicago Booth on June 30, 2010, won’t actually begin his term immediately. He will take a year off, and then step into the Dean’s office at Yale SOM on July 1, 2011. Current Yale SOM Dean Sharon Oster will continue on in her current role until then.

Snyder comes off one of the most successful tenures of any business school dean in recent memory. Under his leadership, Chicago Booth almost doubled its number of endowed professorships and more than tripled its scholarship assistance to its student body. He led the move to the school’s new Hyde Park campus and established a new campus in London. The school is now expanding its presence in Singapore and is playing a significant role in the University’s involvement in China. In 2008, he announced a $300 million gift from Chicago alumnus David Booth and his family, which was the largest donation in the history of the University of Chicago and the largest gift to any business school in the world. In recognition of this gift, the school was renamed in Booth’s honor.

Snyder has had an impressive career in both the public sector and in academia. He received both his M.A. in public policy, in 1978, and Ph.D. in economics, in 1984, from Chicago. He first started his professional career Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served for four years. He then moved on to academia at the business school of the University of Michigan, where he also served as Senior Associate Dean and founding director of the school’s Davidson Institute, which focuses on emerging markets.

Before taking over at Chicago in 2001, Snyder served as dean at UVA’s Darden School of Business from 1998 to 2001. There he directed an expansion of the school’s MBA program, worked to improve the diversity of the student body, significantly increased the school’s executive education offerings, and led highly successful fundraising efforts, including a record gift from a single donor.

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More Women Are Pursuing MBAs Than Ever Before

A new article in the Financial Times reports that the typical MBA classroom now has more women in it than ever before. The article cites a study by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which shows that women now make up about 37% of the student body at traditional full-time business schools in the U.S., up from 33% just five years ago.

And, this positive trend isn’t just happening in the U.S. — most top business schools in Europe also have attracted more women. INSEAD’s most recent graduating class, for example, was 34% women, up from 23% in 2000.

MBA admissions officers seem to agree that graduate business programs face one significant hurdle in attracting women, compared to other professional graduate programs: Most top business schools expect applicant to have at least several years of full-time work experience before applying. For some young women thinking of starting a family soon, the idea of needing to wait a few years before applying to grad school means that they may have to wait longer than they would like before having children.

This partly explains top business schools’ push to attract younger applicants, and early results at one school seem to suggest that these programs are in fact attracting more women: Approximately 50% of the students in the HBS 2+2 Program’s inaugural class are women, compared to the full-time MBA program’s Class of 2010, which is make up of 38% women.

For more help in applying to business school, call the admissions experts at Veritas prep at 800-925-7737 for a free initial consultation. And, be sure to follow MBA Game Plan on Twitter!

Harvard Business School on Essay Word Limits

Applicants always ask us how strictly they need to follow word limits in their MBA admissions essays. There’s no better source to go to than the head of admissions at HBS, Dee Leopold. He had this to say on the subject on the HBS admissions blog earlier this week:

Your essays do not get cut off if you go over the word limit. That being said, after reading many, many essays, we have a good feel for whether an essay is going over the limit. I think it’s fair to say that we expect a candidate to be able to edit effectively, but don’t stress over a few extra words.

We’re getting a lot of similar questions from recommenders wondering if their remarks are being cut short. They aren’t. We have suggested word limits for recommenders that amount to roughly a page of text; we do this to give those not familiar with writing recommendations a sense of an appropriate length of response. If your recommenders have more to say, that’s fine. Their file upload doesn’t get cut off after a single page or after a certain number of words.

While the following guideline can’t be really quantified, you want to avoid having an admissions officer think, “Hmm, this is getting pretty long.” Many consultants and applicants talk about the “10% rule,” which says that you’re fine if you don’t go over an essay’s word limit by more than 10%. While there’s nothing magical about the number 10%, we do believe this is a reasonable rule of thumb. Beyond that, and your application reader is much more likely to notice that you’re going over the limit.

Remember that going too far over the word limit not only indicates an inability to express yourself succinctly, but it also suggests a lack of respect for admissions officers’ time. What you’re writing surely is important to you, but keep in mind that admissions officers each must read hundreds and hundreds of applications every year, and they appreciate it when an applicant doesn’t waste their time (They also like it when you can lighten their day with a fun essay or a unique story, but we’ll cover that another another day!)

To learn more about Harvard Business School, take a look at Veritas Prep’s HBS Annual Report, one of 15 completely free guides to the world’s top business schools, available here. For more updates on HBS and other top business schools, subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter!

How to Have a Successful MBA Admissions Interview

Most applicants consider themselves lucky to even get to the interview part of the MBA admissions process. Still, interviews are much more than a formality — they’re the only chance that admissions officers have to evaluate you face-to-face, so you need to make sure that your interviews go as well as possible.

No pressure! If you can focus on these five things, your MBA admissions interview will likely go well:

  • Be confident without being arrogant. Many interview experts stress that you need to project confidence, while others tell their clients they absolutely cannot come off as arrogant. They’re both right, and you need to strike a balance between the two. You don’t want the interviewer to feel sorry for you as you sweat through every question and answer, but as little humility is always appealing.
  • Keep your answers succinct. Perhaps the surest sign that an interview is going badly is when you find yourself rambling through answers. This means that you weren’t prepared for the question, or you have an answer but can’t present it in a brief, coherent way. Your answers should be conversational, but should always have a clear beginning, middle, and end, and should take no more than a minute or two each.
  • Make sure you get all of your application themes on the table. If you go into the interview knowing that you need to really drive home your leadership ability and your analytical skills, for example, then you absolutely must do that by the end of the interview! Interviews often start off with “Walk me through your resume,” or “Tell me about yourself” — this is a great way for you to hit on your key themes right away.
  • Keep it a two-way conversation. Interviewers will vary greatly in their style, but you ideally won’t do all of the talking during your interview. Comments such as “That’s interesting, tell me more,” and “That’s pretty impressive,” are good signs that you’re getting through to your interviewer.
  • … but remember it’s still an interview. Ideally, you will be able to strike a smart balance between having an enjoyable conversation but still maintaining the structure of the interview, making sure that your themes are covered and that your interviewer covers everything he needs to cover.. After all, when your interviewer is done he needs to answer some questions about you, and he can’t do that if you’ve just spent 45 minutes talking about politics and football. Make it enjoyable, but remember that it’s still an interview!

If you’re now preparing for your admissions interview and want some expert help, Your MBA Game Plan contains dozens of sample MBA interview questions to help you get ready. Good luck!

Round Two Admissions Advice from Chicago Booth

Earlier this week Rose Martinelli, Chicago Booth’s Associate Dean for Student Recruitment and Admissions, posted some advice for applicants who are trying to hit today’s Round 2 deadline. Here’s what she covered:

  • The school will accept letters of recommendation as late as January 13. As long as YOU get your materials in by 5 PM CST today, Booth will accept your application as part of Round 2 even if your recommenders are a few days late. Note, however, that the admissions committee won’t start reviewing your application until they receive both letters of recommendation.
  • Chicago Booth only requires an official transcripts after you have been admitted. All you need to submit with your application is a scanned copy of your transcripts.
  • Similarly, you only need to report your own GMAT score in your application by the deadline. Assuming you’ve let the test providers know that Booth is one of your target schools, the school will receive the official score reports. This does not need to happen by the deadline.

Good luck to all of our readers who are applying to Chicago Booth in Round 2!

If you’re working on your application for Chicago Booth or any other top business school now, subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter for all of the latest updates in the world of MBA admissions.