F1GMAT's Newsletter - Subscribe

Get Post-MBA Trends, MBA Application Essay Tips & Funding Information in your Inbox. Select the MBA programs.
* indicates required
Interested MBA Programs

Business School Research

MBA ComparisonWe are not designed to notice gradual changes. Each of us has an attention threshold, and small changes go unnoticed. Only when a change is considerable does our brain signals that the stimulus is worth noticing. When Business Schools makes small changes in the number of scholarships or report changes in the percentage placement within 3-months of graduation, the change is negligible.

Have you noticed that the 90+ post-MBA placement percentage that was common, pre-2008 financial meltdown is nonexistent now? The acceptable range among top Business Schools is in the mid-80 percentage. Several changes have happened over the past 5 years. For a comprehensive analysis, download our Research Guide. It will help you pick the right MBA program.

In 1998, Simons and Levin demonstrated how majority of the subjects missed important cues including change in appearance, clothes,...

UPenn's Wharton School vs. Columbia Business SchoolAlthough Wharton has a slight advantage over Columbia in terms of history and reputation, the demand from our readers to do a detailed analysis allowed us to dig deeper into 9 comparison factors: location, ranking, cost, funding, incoming class, curriculum, International Exchange, post-MBA opportunities and Alumni network.


Columbia Business School is located in Manhattan, New York City(NYC). The City is number 1 in the US and the world in terms of GMP and attracts professional in Banking & Finance, real estate, advertising, media and retail. Wharton School is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although Philadelphia is 4th in the US, and 9th in the world, in terms of cities by GDP, the newly evolving service and IT industry will soon replace the Financial industry as a leading contributor. Choice of location depends on your post-MBA industry and cost of living. According to Numbeo, living in Philadephia means cheaper rent, restaurant and consumer goods. If you look at the overall local purchasing power, living in Philly gives you 10% more purchasing power than NYC.


According to US News...

MBA Super SpecializationJoining an MBA program when the job market is going through depression is a strategy that has been adopted by professionals over the past 10 years. But looking for an additional MBA, an MBA from an International school to compensate for a low branded MBA is a strategy that can backfire, even if the school accepts your candidacy. Of late, we have been receiving queries about Double MBA. For some, the Employers have been too choosy, and are looking for the best fit. Instead of a general MBA, specialists are in great demand. This is a leading indicator that another slowdown is inevitable. What we found out among MBAs from tier 2 Business Schools is the misconception that an MBA from a premier school is a shortcut for better offers.

MBA Brand value alone is not enough in a competitive job market. Top MBA programs attract leading recruiters but believing that a change into a specialist role can be facilitated with another MBA is little far-...

Chinese Luxury Market SlowdownWhen we wrote the Top MBA in Luxury Management in 2012, we took the estimates of Bain & Co , and PWC, and summarized the markets that would see a surge in luxury brand adoption. China was the leader, and the luxury experience industry was customizing their services for the Chinese tourists. Two years reversed the trends. In 2011, the estimates were that the industry would grow at 30% per annum. In reality, the growth fell to 7% in 2012 and 2% in 2013. Although Chinese Govt’s anti-corruption drive were held responsible, Chinese economy was showing signs of fatigue. Consumers tend to cut down on luxury and dining out when they see their disposable income as a temporary splurging opportunity.

In 2011, MBA and Masters Programs offering specialization in Luxury, sensing the trends in China, were proactive when they included learning opportunities in China. When a market that is responsible for half the revenue is hit by a slowdown, the recruiting rates are likely to go down. Strategies are developed and expansion plans postponed. Kering and LVMH have both reported sales slowdown in China and put on hold their...

Canada - Oil & Gas IndustryCanada is the world’s 3rd largest natural gas producer, 5th largest crude oil producer and accounts for 13% of the world’s total oil reserves second to only Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. The Industry is the single largest private investor in Canada.

Oil and gas companies constitute about 20% of the value at the Toronto Stock Exchange and the industry contributes 5% of the total GDP for Canada, a big number considering that Canada is mostly a service driven country.

Canadian Oil & Gas Industry – Supply & Demand

Though the Oil & Gas industry as a whole is quite developed in Canada, there continue to be parts of the country which are under exploration for its petroleum reserves – namely the Arctic and offshore regions. Natural gas production in Canada was at 13.7 billion cubic feet per day – one of the highest volumes. Canada exported about 8.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in the year 2012 with a reported $62 billion spent in the year 2012 alone of which $18 billion were paid in taxes and royalties to the Government in 2012.

History of Canadian Oil Industry

To trace back the history of the Canadian oil...

MBA Research Dont Follow your HeartI wanted to be an astronaut when I was in 2nd grade, a writer in 3rd grade, a medical doctor in 7th grade and a businessman when I was 25. Only two dreams became a reality. When you compare the difficulty of achieving each goal, astronaut was a little far-fetched. Starting your own Business, becoming a writer, or dedicating 7-10 years for being a Doctor was difficult but achievable. So why do career experts keep repeating the mantra “Follow your heart”?.

What they really mean is “Follow your heart but figure out your real strengths”. Our heart’s desires are many and the career paths after an MBA diverse. If you follow ‘Expert’ advice, you will be miserable after 2-3 years. Resentment of investing $1,75,000 and 1-2 years on an MBA won’t die down even if you get a high-paying job. The question of “What if” I had taken “that” career path will haunt you. If you define your MBA career path by Employment report then you are limited by the job functions and industries.

Avoid Herd Mentality

Don’t discard the trends in employment but don’t either define...

Bocconi vs MIP MBAWe had written about top MBA in Italy but MBA applicants planning to complete their MBA from Italy have requested us to compare SDA Bocconi with MIP Milano. In this first part of the Bocconi vs MIP MBA series; we will look at three key comparative factors: course structure, exchange programs, & ranking. In the second part, we will look at post-MBA statistics and class profile.

Course Structure

MIP Milan International MBA is a 14-Month Full-time MBA program with 11-month of classroom and 3-month of project experience. The program commences in May and concludes in June, the following year. A day in the classroom is divided into two three-hour sessions – one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Although there is no scheduled daily after-class time, students are required to stay back for the speaker series or activities according to the curriculum.

Bocconi, on the other hand, is a 15-month Full-time MBA program with classes starting in October and concluding in December, the following year. A typical day in the classroom is divided into three hours in the morning and six hours in the evening. The 4.5...

Tuck MBA Employment Report 2013Tuck MBA students have retained the median salary at $115,000 with the lowest salary dropping further by $9,000 at $56,000 compared to last year’s trend and highest salary reaching $175,000 a jump of $6,000. What most MBA applicants have asked us about the trends in Tuck MBA Employment report is the demand for Finance and Consulting jobs.

Job by Industry

30% of the job offers are in Financial Services, the majority of which are in Investment banking (14%) and a distant 2nd and 3rd are in Investment Management (7%) and Private Equity (2%). Incidentally, the lowest paying industry is Investment Banking with the low at $56,000 and the high at $130,000. 27% of Tuck MBAs looking for employment opted for consulting with the median salary at a healthy $135,000, the highs reaching $140,000 and the lows at a respectable $86,000. Technology and Consumer Goods/Retail were the third and fourth popular industries with 13% and 10% opting for them.

Job By Function

As expected 35% of the MBAs opted for consulting roles that paid a median salary of $132,500. The high...

MBA Program Selection Apply this RuleSuzy Welch, Business Writer, for BusinessWeek has popularized the 10-10-10 rule. According to the rule, before making any tough decisions, ask three questions: How would you feel after 10 minutes, How would you feel after 10 months, and How would you feel after 10 years. We would like to modify the rule, by a touch, and apply it while selecting MBA programs: MIT vs Stanford, Wharton vs Harvard, Kellogg vs Booth, LBS vs Insead, IE vs IESE, and other close ones.

The 10 Minute impact of the rule seems a little stretched unless they are decisions like proposing to your partner, saying yes to non-refundable products, and other decisions where backtracking is not encouraged, or consequences are catastrophic. Although selecting MBA programs is a 1 month to 3-month process, the decision should be reviewed and changed if...

Bookending Top MBA ChancesMost of us are optimists or ‘dutiful’ pessimists when it comes to decision making. It is no different when we are selecting MBA programs. We don’t have to deal in the extremes but take a middle of the path thinking when it comes to decision making. Chip and Dan Heath in their extremely popular book – Decisive: How to make better choices in life & work, have shared how Byron Penstock, an investment analyst, uses bookending to make optimum investment decisions.

How Bookending Works

For an investor, the timing of a purchase is one factor that would decide between a profit and loss. No matter how strong the fundamentals are if you invest in good stocks at the wrong time, you are likely to get marginal returns or in most high beta stocks, a probable loss. In “bookending”, investors consider two scenarios – best and worst.

In the best-case scenario, the investor considers all favorable factors – large deal flows, positive environment for future deals, and change in market demands that would be beneficial for the company. Based on the expectation that all factors would be...

MBA Research Art of QuestioningThere are plenty of reliable sources covering Business School comparison, Interview with Admission Officers, Interview with Alumni & Current Students, and Business School ranking. What MBA aspirants must develop is a process of questioning that would help them with decision making.

Socratic Method of questioning and dialogue might be useful in classroom discussions, and interactions with Alumni & Current students. But use it with care as a pretense of intellectual superiority can quickly discourage Alumni from opening up.

The process that we recommend is useful after you have collected all relevant information about Business Schools, and MBA programs. It follows 3-step:

1) Question Assumption

As we collect information, and interact with Alumni & Current...

MBA Research and Sleep DeprivationSleep Deprivation is an increasingly common phenomenon for a professional in 21st Century. With a 24x7 connected world, the constant communication and pressure of work creates a situation where an average sleep is limited to 6 hours, 2 hours short of an ideal sleep cycle. Short-term sleep deprivation will impair your decision-making, especially selecting top MBA programs that require shortlisting a large list of schools, revising the list, and finally picking the top five.

High Optimism

A feeling of Optimism is essential for putting the hard work necessary to pursue a goal. But a recent study by two neuroscientists at Duke University Medical Schools have shown that Sleep Deprivation can lead to the activation of brain regions that analyze positive outcomes, and suppresses the part that process negative outcomes. This leads to a situation where the individual is more likely to make choices that maximize financial gain, in our case, picking MBA programs offering higher ROI without analyzing multiple factors that influence the return. Effective decision-making involves utilizing attention, memory, and responding to an integrative feedback mechanism; all of which get impaired in a...

MBA Career Plan Three Step ProcessWhen Business School & MBA research start, aspirants will analyze the curriculum, and evaluate the effectiveness of the program to fulfill their post-MBA goals. Customizing the learning experience through electives, and experiential learning often happens during the second half of the program. With $80,000 to $120,000 investment in an MBA every year, it is important to understand how much control the student has in customizing the curriculum.

Initial Plan

Before writing about post-BA goals, aspirants should evaluate their skills in an unbiased manner. After that, a career plan is developed aligning the aspirant’s personality traits & future contribution with post-MBA goals. Once aspirants have a clear career path they should evaluate the curriculum, and look closely at the course structure. Most MBA programs will offer the Foundational courses in management during the first 6-months....

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...

Our innate curiosity has made us a species that is dominant over all the animals. The “Why”, “When”, “What”, “Where”, and “How” questioning is useful not only for our daily lives but extremely useful for MBA Admissions. Each stage of the admission process requires us to ‘ask questions’.

Evaluating Business School Ranking

Business School ranking is one data that MBA applicants look closely before picking their top 5 schools. Unfortunately, applicants tend to switch off their curiosity when it comes to published ranking from leading news sources without questioning the data collection methodology, ranking criteria, and response rate.

One data that applicants have always assumed to be valid and thorough is the response rate. Most surveys get anywhere between 20-30% responses from the entire alumni pool. This is much worse than the average voter turnout in leading democracies – United States (48%) and India (58%). Citizens in these countries are vocal about the apathetic state of the election process, and quality of candidates. However, when it comes to a $75,000 to $200,000 decision, our...

Filter by Topic

Filter by School