September 28, 2009 — apphelp
While one gets involved in the mba application process, it is also important to think about what one will need post selection. One of the most important things you would need after you get the admit – money to finance your MBA.
While most of the top business school offer (or intend to offer) loans (without cosigner) to international students, recession has taken some toll. Owing to economic situation, banks have cancelled tie ups with some top b-schools and cancelled loan programs. A few mba programs impacted due to this have found some alternate solutions.
Here is a list of b-schools (and corresponding universities) offering loans with no cosigner requirement to international applicants. This list also has very useful and latest links that would give you good information on loans offered by various b-schools.
Duke University – Fuqua school of business: Fuqua offers relatively low interest rate of 8.25%, in partnership with Coastal (a local financial institution)
Visit this link for further details: http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/student_resources/financial_aid_executive/financial_assistance/#doc5
Harvard Business School – Harvard University Credit Union partnered with the university to give education loan without cosigner to international students. No further details available. Please visit http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/internationalapplications.html for announcement regarding loans for international applicants.
University of Chicago – Booth school of business: Via participation with “International Student Loan Program”, Chicago Booth offers loan with cosigner to its MBA admits. The amount of loan will exclude any other financial aid/scholarship (offered by the bschool) from the tuition fee.
Please read http://chronicle.uchicago.edu/090528/international.shtml for details
University of Pennsylvania – Wharton business school: Citi had cancelled its loan program in October 2008. Now, through a tie-up with Digital Federal Credit Union, Wharton offers loans to international students with no co-signer. Your tuition fee and living expenses can be covered by this loan but please note that interest rate is at a premium.
For further details, visit http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/whartonfacts/news_and_events/newsreleases/2009/p_2009_4_853.html
University of Michigan, Ross school of business– Ross gives loans without cosigner to all international admits. This is done via ‘International Student Loan Program’ in tie up with the university’s credit union. This comes with a floating interest rate, upto 20 years repayment period and 6 month grace period after you pass out.
Please visit http://www.bus.umich.edu/admissions/financialaid/loans/Private.htm for information. The loan application guidelines are available at http://www.bus.umich.edu/pdf/RSBUMCUInternationalStudentLoanProgram.pdf
Yale school of Management – Yale university: Through this loan without cosigner you can cover you tuition fee excluding any aid/ scholarship given by Yale. Repayment period of 10 years is fairly okay and grace period of 6 months after you pass out can be treated as another positive factor here. Fixed interest rate is 7.75% and origination fee is 5%.
Visit http://mba.yale.edu/MBA/admissions/financial_aid/loans.shtml for details
MIT Sloan –MIT Sloan has various loan options. Please visit http://web.mit.edu/sfs/loans/sloan_loans.html for details.
Stanford – Stanford GSB has partnered with Citibank and Star One Credit Union to give loans without cosigner. Visit http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/mba/financial_aid/loans.html for information.
Tuck – A self funded loan program, with loan term of 10 years, variable interest rate (currently 9%), 3 years grace period after graduation and loan amount equal to tuition fee minus financial aid by Tuck
For further details, please visit http://www.tuck.dartmouth.edu/admissions/aid/loans.html
Stern – NYU (New York University): For international students without cosigner, Stern offers 2 types of loans (a) Chase Select International Loan – by JP Morgan Chase (b) Global Student Loan – by Global Student Loan Corporation (GSLC) and HSBC. This currently applies to Indian students but will expand to include other countries also.
Please visit http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/finaid/types.cfm?doc_id=3489 for further details. A maximum of USD 50,000 can be borrowed. Interest rates are slightly higher at 13.5%
Haas (University of California – Berkley) –Loans are provided under a program called “Berkeley MBA Student Loan Program”. Upto USD 20,500 can be borrowed through ‘Federal Direct Loan Program’. The interest rate is fixed and is fairly low at 6.8%. Repayment term is 10 years and grace period is 6 months.
Visit http://mba.haas.berkeley.edu/admissions/finaid/index.html and http://mba.haas.berkeley.edu/admissions/finaid/federalloanoptions.html for more details
September 27, 2009 — apphelp
A strong profile is often weakened by poorly-written essays which don’t provide the requisite information.
We have seen, year after year, that B-school Adcoms put a lot of thought into framing their essay questions. Many schools often modify their essay topics, either by rewording existing questions or by choosing new topics altogether. This is done to elicit relevant information, which the Adcom needs to carefully consider before making an offer of admission. So it is critical for applicants to analyze the questions, understand what is being sought, give the right weight to each part of a multipart question and provide precise answers.
Consider this example from a premier B-school’s application package: “Describe a challenging assignment you have handled (at work or outside) to date. What were the challenges and how did you handle them? What were the personal learnings you derived from this assignment?”
Most often, applicants will write a great deal about the enormity of the challenge and everything that was going wrong before they were called in to deal with it. They will then spend a small amount of time talking about the things they did right. Finally, they will mention their key takeaways in the last line of the essay. This is the wrong way to answer this question as it provides a lot of useless data at the cost of relevant information.
A good, organized way to approach this essay is with the help of the STAR framework: Situation, Tasks, Actions, Results. Very briefly describe the Situation and outline the Tasks that lay ahead. Describe in detail the Actions you took. Finally, discuss the Results and learning. If you look at the way the question is framed, this is exactly what they are looking for. “Describe a challenging assignment” (Situation), “What were the challenges (Tasks) and how did you handle them (Actions)”, “What were the personal learnings (Results)”. The Adcom knows what it wants from you, but do you know what that is?
Think about it. The Adcom doesn’t really care about the Situation and Tasks – they are required just to set the context for the rest of the essay. So keep these descriptions brief. What the Adcom actually wants to know is more about the applicant: how did he/she react to the assignment, what was the thought process used in identifying a solution, what actions were taken in executing the solution, etc. This tells them of the abilities and maturity level of the applicant. Most important: what did the applicant learn from this experience, how did he/she improve, what does that say about him/her, etc. Actions and Results need to be described in greater detail, so allocate more space and time to describe them. These are the applicant-centric aspects of the essay and the answers to these questions will help the Adcom decide whether to extend an offer of admission or not.
Analyzing essay questions helps you understand what information is being sought. Provide that information and make it easy for the B-school to send you your admission letter!
September 27, 2009 — apphelp
Time is money. For people who believe this, one year MBA programs present a good way to get management education within optimum time duration.
Many b-schools across the world offer full time MBA programs of 1 year (12-16 months to present the complete range) duration. Many of these are from highly reputed schools. While these programs are more hectic than the regular 2 year MBA curriculum, they generally are smaller variants of the 2 year programs. For example, many of these programs come without a summer internship. Number of class hours is definitely less. Moreover, these 1 year programs are primarily aimed at people with a certain minimum work experience.
Here is the list of some top 1 year MBA programs. Please note that these programs are in no particular order as the rankings by various sources – US News, The Wall Street Journal, Princeton Review, Financial Times (FT) and BusinessWeek – show a fairly wide range of variation. However, you can definitely count these amongst top one year programs. Some programs are famous for specific specializations and this has been highlighted, as applicable.
Kellogg School of Management: This is a program designed for those who have done their undergraduate or graduate degree in business education. The duration is 12 months and the cost is about USD 60,000
INSEAD: This is a 10 month program, offered in 2 campuses and with two start dates (August and January). INSEAD has campuses is France and Singapore. The choice of campuses depends on multiple parameters including language, preferred areas one wishes to work in and the number of opportunities in each region.This top rated program costs approximately $ 78,000
Babson (Massachusetts, United States): For all entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs, Babson is probably the best for post graduation in management education. You should be a graduate in business domain and possess a minimum of 2 years of work experience to be eligible for this program. This also costs lower as compared to the average cost of 1 year programs – $ 53,000
Instituto de Empresa (IE) Business school, Spain: This school in Madrid offers International MBA program with 13 month duration. One must be prepared to learn some Spanish. The cost of this program is approximately USD 76,000
Said (Oxford): Said offers a one year program which starts in October. The cost of this program is about USD 65,000
Johnson school (Cornell University): This is a one year accelerated MBA program which starts in May. If you are a graduate in science and/or technology field, this program makes the right choice. You would need to spend about $ 68,000 for this course.
Judge (Cambridge University): Located in the heart of a large number of organizations in technology domain, Judge offers a 12 month MBA program which costs approximately USD 64,000
ESADE (Spain): This is a 12 month program which starts relatively early (April) as compared to its counterparts. An apt choice for somebody who is an undergraduate or graduate in either of these domains (a) Engineering (b) Business/ Economics
Goizueta (at Emory University): This 12 month program looks for people with a good amount of work experience. One year MBA at Goizueta is also one of early starters as the program begins in month of May. Expect to shell out about USD 60,000 for the same.
Please note that:
- There are a few other programs (For example those offered by offered by University of Florida and Cranfield school of Management (UK)) which are not a part of our list.
- There are other 1 year programs offered as executive MBA. These programs typically need a fairly high level of work ex. Some schools which offer this type of program are UCLA, Michigan and USC
- The average age for these one year/ accelerated MBA programs is typically 28-29 years and the GMAT scores typically range from 640-760
September 25, 2009 — apphelp
Writing the MBA application essays is an art which may not be that easy to learn and implement. However, knowing what not to do during MBA application process is definitely a science. Here is an attempt to translate this into 10 simple tips on what one must avoid while selecting the b-schools and writing the essays, which form a critical parameter for selection.
1) Not researching the schools well –
MBA is big decision and perhaps a life changing event. One must do a good amount of introspection regarding short term and long term goals, interests, individual personality before identifying the schools to apply to. MBA schools are very particular about fit and one must do research on culture, specializations, activities and student profiles of various b-schools while short-listing.
Also, do not forget parameters such as location, duration and your budget while taking the call.
2) Not being yourself –
A very common mistake applicants make is faking either what they have done or what they are as a person. This does not help at all. Even if a candidate manages to get an interview call, adcoms are smart enough to identify what you have made up.
Self reflection should tell you what the strengths you actually possess are and what are your weaknesses. Writing what you are in essays will give you confidence to face interviews well.
3) Being flamboyant or demeaning others –
This is a complete NO. Do not ever try to boast too much about yourself. You do need to sell your profile to the adcom but never give a feeling of being arrogant.
While you are free to appreciate your qualities, you are not supposed to demean others. For example – you can’t say, “I often took initiative in my team while other team members never did so”.
4) Usage of heavy English –
The MBA selection board wants to know you and this may not necessarily need heavy English. A good usage of vocabulary is advised. However, one should not expect the adcom to read the essays with a dictionary in hand.
Write the way you are comfortable. Do not insert heavy words just for the sake of it.
5) Using the abused words and buzzwords –
Sometimes applicants feel that usage of hot words such as globalization, e-commerce, synergy, diversity etc will put some more weight to their application. On the contrary, it reduces the quality of your essays. An occasional or relevant usage is fine but please do not overuse these.
Also try to highlight your traits indirectly rather than using the abused words like ‘Leadership’, ‘Team player” etc which have become cliché. Instead you could use traits that reflect leadership. Eg – “Standing for the team in hour of need” or “creating examples for others to follow”
6) Inconsistency –
If you have written taking initiative as strength at one place, you can not indicate the same as an improvement area somewhere else in your application.
Contradictions of any kind should be eliminated during the essay reviews.
7) Not being specific –
Details do matter. You have to support your points with examples. Demonstrated qualities add more value to your profile than just saying, I have been excellent at a particular skill.
8) Problem of plenty –
An essay should not contain too many points. In order to leave a mark on the admissions committee when it reads your essay, it is imperative that story is built around a few points and a coherent theme emerges.
This also applies to overall application. Hence you cannot bring out 10 strength areas in different essays. Just focus on say 3-4 traits and highlight them in different ways throughout the application.
9) Excess of ornamentation –
Creativity is good but one should note that you are not writing a poem. Refrain from excessive mentions of quotations or using too much of rhyme or artistic language
10) Only explaining ‘What’, not explaining ‘How’ and ‘Why’ –
It does not suffice to write that you got business worth USD 20 million for your organization, you must briefly mention how (i.e. what specific steps you took to get this).
Similarly if you say you like social service, do mention why do you do this (what motivates you)
September 23, 2009 — apphelp
Letters of recommendation are a very important part of a successful MBA application. Selection committees often see recommendations as an independent and reliable method of gathering inputs about the candidate. The sheer fact that a person who has observed your qualities first hand is writing about you, surpasses whatever you have written about yourself in the essays.
Recommendation letters provide you a platform to distinguish yourself from the rest of applicant pool. One must remember that they have the potential to make or break the case for your selection in your dream business schools.
Here are 5 useful tips on what makes a good letter of recommendation.
- Mention the Level of interaction: It is very important to specifically mention about the amount of interaction, type of interaction and the closeness of interaction between the recommender and the applicant. Here, amount of interaction means time duration in months/ years. The type of interaction indicates the context and relation. For example: relation of supervisor in a professional context. The level of interaction is both qualitative and quantitative. For example – one can say “I have worked closely with ABC” or it would also be fine to say “I used to have daily/ weekly interactions with ABC during our project work”
- Specific details matter: While nobody in admissions committee is looking for long stories of what the candidate did to demonstrate his skills, brief examples supporting the strengths are imperative to be written. It is not enough to say that the candidate has very good people management skills. It must be substantiated by an example such as: “He led a team of 10 people to successfully manage a project with very strict timelines, with a Fortune 20 company”
- Be genuine – also talk about weaknesses: The adcom does not expect a candidate to be perfect. It is hence important that some areas of improvement (if asked for in the recommendation letter) must be mentioned. Avoid using words such as perfectionist. Such words are too cliché and do not sound genuine. One can be honest to write small improvement areas such as multitasking, giving feedback etc. Make sure that you also mention some bit about the efforts that the candidate has made to improve on the weakness.
- Consistency is the key – Recommendations determine your credibility, hence consistency is very important. If you have highlighted patience as your strength and one of your recommender states aggression as your improvement area, you have had it. One should have a discussion about the recommendation with the recommender, if possible and an honest feedback may be taken by the applicant even before one starts writing the essays/ application so that consistency does not become a problem later on.
- Why you are the right candidate– Recommender should write a few lines on why (or on basis of what qualities) he is recommending you. Recommender should also tell how he sees the candidate as a manager post MBA.
Apphelp – India’s # 1 MBA Admission Consulting Service
September 23, 2009 — apphelp
Very often, B-school aspirants get de-motivated or discouraged by a GMAT score that is below their expectations. They let their application efforts get sidetracked, do a half-hearted job or decide not to apply at all. Well, this may come as a surprise to some, but the GMAT score is not the most important criterion in the evaluation of B-school applications!
The GMAT Official Score Report states that you will “most likely earn a Total score within about 30 points of a score reflecting your true ability”. So one could argue that a person who got 570, 30 points less than his “true” score, is just as good as another person who got 630, 30 points more than his “true” score, “true” scores for both being 600. Similarly, someone who gets 690 may be just as good as someone who gets 750. Extreme cases, no doubt, but they demonstrate an underlying inaccuracy in the standardized test scores. B-schools recognize this inaccuracy. That is why they use the GMAT score as one of several approximate indicators of an individual’s academic ability and not as an exact measurement of his or her potential for success in life.
What schools say they care about (and this is what they actually do care about!) is the overall strength of the candidate. Schools evaluate candidates, through essays and interviews, on 4 key factors (or a variation of these):
- Purpose and value proposition – Articulation of short term and long term goals, need for business education, role of the school in the achievement of the goals, strengths the applicant brings to the table, diversity, a mutually beneficial relationship, etc.
- Work experience – quality, quantity, leadership skills, teamwork, international and cross-cultural exposure, in-depth domain knowledge, contacts and networks in the industry, etc.
- Personality – Well-rounded and multi-dimensional personality, good communication skills, extra-curricular activities outside of work and school, travel and variety of experiences, fit with the school, diversity w.r.t. the rest of the applicant pool, contributions to society, ethical values, etc.
- Academic ability – Performance in undergraduate classes, results of standardized tests (this includes GMAT), certifications, courses, workshops, etc.
As can be seen, the decision to make an offer of admission depends on one’s ability to showcase various strengths and facets of your personality – mainly through essays and interviews. The GMAT score, in that sense, plays a rather diminished role in the decision-making process.
So if you are an MBA aspirant with a not-so-great GMAT score, don’t worry. Instead, put in the effort to craft an application that can’t be ignored! Clearly state your goals and value proposition, showcase your personality, and write powerful, compelling essays to make a strong case for why you should be admitted. Then wait for your interview call.
Apphelp – India’s # 1 MBA Admission Consulting Service
September 23, 2009 — apphelp
The MBA Tour is one of the most renowned educational events in the world. The MBA tour’s purpose is to provide MBA aspirants an opportunity to get good quality and genuine information by direct interaction with the concerned b-schools.
Why to attend
There are many reasons to attend the MBA tour. Some key one are:
- Help in decision making: This event is an important source of information for MBA candidates. Direct interaction with the admissions team and alumni will help you take a more informed decision when yoyu shortlist the b-schools.
- One stop shop – Many of the elite b-schools participate in the event. This hence becomes a single point for to get well informed about the schools and benchmark them on various parameters such as curriculum, fee, financial aid options and most importantly, what each b-school might look for in a candidate
- Real world – Remember that a face to face interaction can’t be substituted for by any online information that you can gather.
- Personal contact – If the visiting school’s admission team members are convinced about your fit with the school, they are likely to take your contact details, give theirs and contact you after the event to interact at length. This is a good opportunity to establish personal contact with your target b-schools
- Individual school presentations – Some schools schedule for special information sessions about their programs. If some of your targeted schools are doing this, it gives you a better opportunity to talk at a closer level.
- Know the unknown – You may find some schools and/or programs which were hitherto not known to you but may be a good fit with your needs. This could include some MS, M.Sc, executive programs for example.
- It’s FREE – Last but not the least, all that attending this event takes is some time of yours. Since MBA is a career critical and high investment decision, one has all reasons to attend this event
What should you do before/at the event
- Homework – Make a list of schools you are interested in. The parameters for making this list could range from rank of a school to your interest area such as General Management or Finance. Subsequently you should see the names of schools attending the MBA tour and map with your list.
- Take your latest resume, with a photograph on it and business –cards along. Give your resume and business cards at counters where you have interest and also good interaction with the b-school team.
- Don’t disperse the effort – There is no point talking to schools which do not map to your choice due to whatever reasons. Make sure that you interact well with select schools.
- Prepare questions for alumni and adcom – You should prepare some intelligent questions that you may ask to admissions team and alumni. These may range from information about the program (curriculum, teaching methods used, faculty etc) to MBA batch profiles and school’s culture.
- Dress well – There is no room for floaters, Hawaii chappals, shorts and casual tees. Dress in decent attire (business casuals are recommended). A ultra casual attire gives an impression of non seriousness.
- After the event – If you have collected contact information from some b-schools, make sure that you send them a mail in which you can talk a bit about yourself, the meeting you had at the event and any other queries about the MBA program.
September 22, 2009 — apphelp
Letters of recommendation play a very crucial role in the MBA application process. Best recommendations are those which are consistent with what you write in your essays, which detail out and support your qualities/ weaknesses with examples and which come from somebody credible. One should keep in mind that the quality of recommendations depends on the choice of recommenders to a large extent.
Hence, choosing the right recommenders hence becomes very important. Here are some useful tips on how to choose the recommenders for MBA application
a) Knowing closely matters: You should look for a person who knows you closely and hence has enough stuff to write about you. This could be your boss, a client with whom you have worked closely or even a close friend with whom you have worked at-least at some point in your life.
b) Brands and Designations are secondary: Remember that the admissions committee is not looking for recommenders, who are brands in themselves, have celebrity status, work in Fortune 100 companies or have fancy designations. What matters is how well the recommender knows you.
c) Seniority matters: While it is never stated but one must look for people who are senior (to the applicant) in the organization to give recommendations. If you get your recommendation from colleagues, it is likely to leave an impression that you could not get anybody better (in terms of professional seniority) to build your case
d) Writing skills also matter: Try to choose a recommender who has decent writing skills. He/ She may not be a terrific writer but some skills are required to express the thoughts he/she has for you. A recommender with shallow writing skills will not be able to strengthen your case irrespective of how high he thinks of you.
e) Different perspective: If you are getting 2 recommendations (or 3 for some b-schools) ensure that both recommenders do not end up writing exactly the same about you (especially the examples/ anecdotes). While some qualities are expected to be common, 2 recommendations should be replicas in terms of content. Example: If you have dotted line relation with 2 managers in one project and you foresee that they will quote same points about you, then you should choose one out of these managers and look for second recommender somewhere else.
f) Alums of b-schools you are applying to: This is just an icing on the cake. If you can find people who themselves are alumni of mba schools you are applying to, nothing like it. It adds to credibility. Also, since they have been through the process themselves, they know how to go about writing recommendations.
Apphelp – India’s # 1 MBA Admission Consulting Service
September 22, 2009 — apphelp
B-School essays can be broadly categorized into three types
a) The diversity essay
b) The why MBA-why this school-goals essay
c) The general personality questions – leadership, ethical dilemma, challenges.
I am going to elaborate on the diversity essay here.
The diversity essay is the most crucial one and usually the toughest one to write. The schools do not necessarily expect to see things such as “I was a national level dancer”, in this essay. Two points that should be kept in mind while writing this essay are – what is it that makes you different from your comparable group and secondly, what was your learning from this experience and how is that going to help you/your peers at the B-School.
By “comparable group”, I mean people who are coming from similar backgrounds. So, if you are a doctor, you would be compared with other applicants from the medical background. By “different”, I mean something that you did better than others in your regular responsibilities or something that you did apart from your regular responsibilities. By “learning”, I mean something that will take you closer to your goals or help you contribute to the MBA class, in terms of soft skills, knowledge sharing or domain expertise.
The next thing is – structure of this essay. Most people, when asked to write this essay in 500 words, tend to put down as many as 5 diversity points. Ideally, if not asked for a certain number of points, this essay should be woven around one central theme or, at the maximum, three diversity points. Every diversity point should have the following components
- Explicit statement of the point you are trying to make
- Some data from your professional life/ academics/ extra activities to support this point
- The learning from this experience and the contribution that you are going to make to the peer group with the help of this experience.
The “learning/contribution” is the most important component, which most of the applicants tend to ignore. Research more about the school, the clubs and other activities, class size and experience and think more about your goals, this will help you in writing this component.
Lastly, one common mistake that I have seen across applications – people write things such as “I have a positive attitude”, “I am a quick learner”. These are great adjectives but these never count as diversity points. Who would ever say that he doesn’t have positive attitude. Think deeper about your life and I am sure you’ll get better points for this essay.