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Business School Ranking FlawsBusiness School Ranking is tricky, and for publications, the evaluation is based on feedback from Alumni, Current Students, Professors, and Recruiters. Biases emerge from different actors in management education. The result is a concocted list with a high margin of error. Historical ranking plays a major role in maintaining status quo. Are you saying that Harvard, Stanford and Wharton remain the only top three schools offering world class education? There are at least four more equal or better schools that are not even featured in the top 10 list.

But the ranking is not based on an independent review but through the response from Alma matter and the beneficiary – the Recruiter. When you look closer, the response rates are as low as 20-25%.  Such low numbers should not influence the opinions of future MBAs, who will use the ranking information as the basis for their belief. Schools featuring in the top 20 list will spread the news furthest, and those who are not featured in top 50 will use...

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MBA Networking RealityI have analyzed Business School networks on a case-by-case basis over the past seven years and through several interviews in our ‘Ask the MBA Admissions Team’ section. Most Business School teams would iterate that networking is one of the key reasons why applicants should consider their school. For one, without networking, you are unlikely to get the right job. You might get any job but the idea of sacrificing 3 years – one year on MBA Admission preparation and two years on the MBA and post-MBA fine-tuning, is not to get any job.

During 2008-09, the worst time for an MBA to graduate, even the likes of Chicago booth and Wharton struggled to match the candidate’s expectation. So what does networking means? It doesn’t matter if the school promotes itself as having 4000 or 40,000 sized Alumni network. If you don’t find opportunities to get an interview through events hosted by the school or other informal events, the number is insignificant. If the career services team provides access to job listings, you have to realize that the same openings are available to your classmates.

Understanding Competition
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MBA Research Tough Questions

I can understand how a current student praises the MBA program through student blogs, social media, and other interactions. However, a recent trend that I have seen in some message boards is the die-hard fandom of MBA aspirants. Most of them have just finished their GMAT, and have decided to apply to an MBA program. But they are already big fans of some MBA programs!

Fandom is not a disease but it is irrational. When you are making $150,000 to $200,000 decisions, last thing that should influence you are irrational thoughts. If you have gone through student blogs, 90% of them will be about the ‘awesome experience’, ‘the amazing professors’, and ‘the great opportunity’ that lie ahead for all MBAs. Some message boards are filled with a few sour grapes who bash the Business School on every given opportunity, just because they did not fully understand the value of the MBA program, and overestimated the return on investment.

The truth is somewhere in the middle.


Talk to the Alumni

While I was shortlisting Business Schools, my decision - not to pursue an MBA, and instead start F1GMAT was influenced...

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QS Business School ReportMBA Aspirants bet their future on this data and Business Schools pump out PR articles on it. Yes – Business school rankings, an important indicator that influences MBA applicants to pick one school over the other. Just a few pages into QS Global 200 Business School Report, some glaring contradictions become visible.

The team at QS should be appreciated for making the ranking all about Employability. It is simple, and MBAs cite career progression or career switching as the primary motivation for an MBA. Picking schools that have a good reputation among recruiters is a strategy that will help MBA aspirants reach their post-MBA career goals. The ranking is based on the rating that recruiters provide for each full-time MBA program. Full-time MBA programs are categorized into four categories – Elite Global, Emerging Global, Elite Regional, and Emerging Regional.

The methodology is sound, the focus on Full-time MBA programs, and participating recruiters large but the...

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Thank you MBA ApplicationAlthough Thanksgiving Day has evolved from a day of reform and gratitude to “Turkey Day”, when families willingly or unwillingly sit around a table, and pretend to enjoy each other’s company, the day signifies the importance of gratitude. For MBA applicants, it is a day to forget about Round 2 deadlines, and GMAT preparation. The 6 month to 1-year journey of MBA application, right from picking the school to arranging funds can be stressful. You don’t have to sacrifice the sense of well-being during this long journey.

According to studies by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, groups that wrote about things that they were grateful tends to feel better about their lives, had fewer visits to the Doctor, and exercised more. In contrast, the group that focused on all the problems in their life felt irritated and unhappy.

If you think about the journey, there are websites, forums, supervisors, managers, admission consultants, alumni, current B-School Students, friends, and family who have made your journey a less stressful one. Consider this week as a “Thanksgiving Week.”

So how can MBA Applicants thank the individuals?

...

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MBA Admission Consultant - Dont Waste TimeLast week, I visited a specialist doctor and discussed with him about being part of an Entrepreneurial venture that will allow readers to ask questions directly to doctors. The reply was interesting.

“I have no problem answering the questions but don’t show my details including my phone number. The queries should be filtered through your website”

 I thought it was a fair request, and loudly guessed his intentions.

“You don’t want to offer your consulting time for free?”

“No. It’s not about the consulting time but this tendency to call doctors will be a nuisance and I don’t want my routine to be disturbed. In my opinion, those who call Doctors without fixing an appointment are hypochondriacs or don’t have anything to do”

Early in our article about Picking the Right MBA Admission consultant, one of our advice was:

“When you sign up for 1-2 hours, try to get a feel on how flexible they are with the communication or appointment. Consultants who are too rigid or charge for extra seconds are not the right people that you should...

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Indian MBA ApplicantsIt is interesting to learn about Indian MBA applicants and their motivations for an MBA. The conversation with Mr. X (An Indian Male Applicant) started through our Facebook Page and recently I had the chance to discuss with him about picking the right MBA Admission consultant.

I was shocked to learn that the candidate was expecting the consultant to pick a school for him. It’s like asking your parents to pick a career or a spouse for you; this is not uncommon in India, and I wondered how any non-Indian consultant will ever understand this cultural disparity. Don't just rely on the consultant's opinion for your future. Do your own research and then contact the consultant.

Unfortunately, majority of Indian applicants will not reach top 50 MBA programs in the world. They fall under:

a) Applicants graduating from tier-2...

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Ethics and MBA Programs
Business Schools have accelerated the inclusion of ethics courses in MBA program post-2008 financial meltdown, across specialization. But the question still remains – can MBA programs change human behavior? Drastic changes cannot be expected with a few courses on ethics. Curriculum designers should develop a learning framework that includes ethics as one of the foundation for decision-making.

Environment Dictates Behavior


The unfortunate truth is that the environment influences our behavior the most. Genes and Gender influence aggression and behavior in the early years but the environments sets behavior patterns that are conducive for success in a chosen field. In an environment where profit margins is the most revered metric, behavior that maximizes profits are sub-consciously chosen.

Although Business Schools have the right intention, the effort to understand how environment influence behavior is limited. The student who leads the ethics committee or professes about ethical decision-making can change behavior when the stakes are high in a real-world Business environment. The true test of character comes at a time when an MBA’s career is at jeopardy for not following a...

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Diversity MBA Program DisadvantagesResearching about the Diversity of the MBA Class is important to get a deeper understanding of how the learning experiences would be. The diversity is not limited to nationality and race, but spans to socio-economic status, gender, professional background, experiences, and goals.  Consider the following factors while evaluating diversity of an MBA program

1) Nationality vs. Origin


Although Business Schools clarifies the difference between nationality and country of origin, the details are often hidden inside the employment report. The summary page will have statistics like MBA class is comprised of 27 nationalities. The important question that MBA Aspirants should ask the team is the breakdown on the nationality and country of origin for this number.

Nationality is the important metric that should be considered while evaluating diversity in an MBA Class. A second generation Chinese-American will have the same working knowledge as any other American student regarding the processes and methodologies adopted in Chinese Manufacturing and Luxury product companies. Whereas a Chinese student with 3-5 years’ work experience in a leading Manufacturing company in...

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High GMAT Score FraudAccording to a new research by Raj Aggarwal and John Goodell from the University of Akron College of Business Administration and Joanne Goodell from Cleveland State University, there is a negative correlation between GMAT Scores of MBA candidates and ethical decision-making. A high GMAT scoring MBA candidate shows increased tendency to be unethical.

This is a classic example where researchers are taking independent variables and correlating it without understanding the context. A high GMAT score might give us hints about the student profiles, their ambition, and competitiveness but it does not necessarily offer you any conclusion about future behavior. GMAT is not a behavioral test.

A more balanced study would involve analyzing the career paths (10-15 years) of MBA students who had a relatively low GMAT score. To confirm the correlation between high GMAT score and unethical behavior, we should compare the incidence of fraud and unethical behavior for low GMAT scoring (below 630) MBAs. It would be a hasty conclusion to label majority of high GMAT scoring MBA applicants as having a tendency to be unethical. The study does not show the percentage of management professionals who are unethical...

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MBA Goals QuestionA recent study When Intentions Go Public - Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap? by Peter M. Gollwitzer,Paschal Sheeran,Verena Michalski,and Andrea E. Seifert shows that revealing your goals in public might hamper your chances to achieve them, especially if it is personal and professional development goals.

Business Schools over the years have made it mandatory to answer some form of goals essay. Business Schools would prefer to include students who have a clear goal rather than some creative hippie who might derail from the preordained career path. However, the reality is a little different.

Post-MBA Goal - Switching Industries

If you have read our earlier analysis of 2012 Alumni Perspectives GMAC report, you would have realized why Switching industries as a post-MBA goal does not work out for most MBAs, either due to competitiveness of the market, economy, lower attrition rate and plain old theory of supply and demand.

New Passion during MBA


No matter how extensive the research have been for applicants before writing an MBA Application, the...

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MBA Application Motivational FactorsMost MBA Aspirants look at MBA as a mean to switch career both in job function and in industry. But when do you know that you have reached the saturation point in your career?

After joining your first job, there are three phases before you hit the saturation point

Learning Phase

This is the phase where you are introduced to terminologies, technologies, and techniques to solve the problem in the industry. Depending on the industry, this might last between 6 months to 1 year.

Application Phase

Once you have learned the fundamentals and gained experienced through smaller projects, you begin to apply what you have learned. This is an interesting phase. It will test your leadership, problem solving and communication skills. Cherish this phase. If you are lucky, this phase will give you insights into customer problems and goals rather than a narrow scope of the project. This phase can last between 1 to 1.5 years.

Growth Phase


You have several smaller projects and a couple of major projects under your belt. Your boss now wants you to step up to the next level. What would you do?...


Top Business Schools with Creative MBA ApplicationWhen the MBA Application Essay Questions are filled with the “Why MBA” and “Why our Business School” questions in a written format, and Interviews restricted to the standard format, there were some Business Schools that have tried to be innovative.

1) Tippie Twitter Essay – Pulling the Plug too soon?

When Tippie School of Management retired the Twitter Essay, it was not because of poor response. In fact, when the pilot was run the responses were overwhelming and this led the AdCom to make the Twitter Essay a formal part of the application.

So what went wrong?


Innovation by definition “is the use of novel ideas or methods for better results” and Tippie AdCom was innovative in their approach.

The culprit was the instruction in the question.

Here is the excerpt of the 2011 Application...