Friday, October 30, 2009

Work experience: more than just years on the job.

When reviewing applications for admission to MBA programs, it's likely
that you'll begin to notice a pattern. Most programs request similar
information regarding your place of residence, academic record and GMAT
score. Some programs have begun to accept the GRE as well.

It is fairly standard for a program to ask you to quantify your work
experience by total number of years or months you've committed to the
full-time workforce. Others may even inquire about internship, co-op, or
part-time experience.

Regardless of how the question is asked, the weight of the importance
lies not with how many years/months/days you braved the elements to catch
the train/bus/car to work to assume your position in your corporate-beige
yet tastefully decorated office/cubicle/desk. The significance of your
work, and therefore relevance to the MBA application, is directly related
to your contribution, the challenges you overcame, the transferable
skills you acquired, and how you grew as a leader.

At Indiana University, most successful applicants have had two or more
years of relevant work experience after an undergraduate degree. We look
at full-time and part-time job responsibilities, and consider your
skills, accomplishments, aptitude for a managerial career and knowledge
of the business environment. We also request a detailed résumé to better
understand your career progress and achievements.

Demonstration of significant and relevant work experience may be judged
slightly differently across programs; however, its importance is
universal. The experience that you've amassed in your pre-MBA career,
provides a frame of reference during classroom discussions, giving you
and your classmates a deeper, more colorful curricular debate. Additionally,
in the competitive post-MBA employment environment that exists today,
the ability to translate your work experience into demonstrated skills and leadership ability may help differentiate you from other strong candidates.

If you are currently working and planning on an MBA down the road, what
can you do now to best prepare yourself, in terms of work experience, for
a successful application? Ensure that the work you perform today and its
results are not merely ecbatic but purposeful. Take on responsibilities
in and out of the workplace that will allow you to grow as a manager and
a leader. Good luck!

Kate O'Malley
Indiana University
Kelley School of Business
Marketing and Admissions
MBA '07

Friday, October 23, 2009

Take a Walk through the Forte MBA School Virtual Neighborhood

So many schools, so much information! The process of researching business schools can be overwhelming and the volume of information available online can easily take you off track. Let Forté help you simplify your efforts! We’re excited to launch a new feature on our website, the MBA School Virtual Neighborhood. This content-rich hub is an online research tool with access to the most important information for women who are exploring their MBA options. Find all of the information you need on Forté sponsor schools - the top business schools in the world - in one central location. Read blogs, listen to podcasts and watch school videos. We also provide a searchable calendar of admissions and women’s events and a convenient Google Map to identify schools by geographic region. Content will be updated regularly so visit often!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When is the Right Time to Apply for an MBA?

So, you’re planning to apply for business school, but are unsure about the “best” time to apply. Should you wait until you have significant professional accomplishments to share with the admissions team? What about application rounds – is there a round you should target if you’re planning to apply for Fall 2010?

If these are some of your questions about the business school application process, you’re not alone. However, like the components of your MBA application, the “best time” to apply to business school will truly vary by individual.

My admissions colleagues and I see successful applicants who bring with them a wealth of experience from many years in the business world – and we also see successful students who apply to business school early in their careers. When reviewing your application for your potential for professional success, we are typically more interested in the quality of your experience rather than the quantity. Think about the impact you've already had on your organization, whether you've led a team, a project, or an intiative. Be prepared to share examples of your teamwork and leadership experiences.

In this, as in all areas of your application, you will want to do your research with each school you are targeting for admission. Some schools will require a certain number of years of experience. Other schools will welcome applications from talented applicants who may not have significant professional experience. Regardless of when you apply, if you spend time thinking about examples of your potential for professional success, you’ll present a stronger application.

If you’ve decided that you’ll be applying for b-school this year, you’re now likely deciding what application round to target. You should research each school you are targeting for their specific admissions deadlines and preferences. Some b-schools operate on a rolling basis, with more spots available for admissions early in the process. Other schools have strict scholarship deadlines that typically occur earlier in the admissions year.

You may also have personal reasons for applying early in the process. An earlier application submission often means you will receive an earlier decision. This will allow you more time to make your decision, plan for a move, or participate in pre-MBA programs.

Does that mean earlier in the process is always better? Not necessarily. Your application to business school should represent the best picture of you, your strengths, and your possible contributions to your future classmates. It’s important for you to apply when your application is at its strongest. That may mean applying in a later round so you can study for your GMAT, take time and care on your essays, or allow your references to submit a strong, thorough recommendation.

So, what’s the bottom line? The timeline for applying to business school will vary by individual. Your decision to apply this year or in the future will depend on personal factors as well as admissions guidelines. If you do target this year, remember to get in contact with each school you are targeting to get their feedback regarding your application. When you have taken time to put together an application that adequately reflects your strengths and are prepared to embark on your MBA journey, that will be your “best” time to apply.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions about your MBA application or timeline. I’ll be happy to help!

Krystal Brooks
Assistant Director – Masters Admissions
Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon

Friday, October 9, 2009

Women in Business Conferences – Worth Your Time

It’s the time of year when Forté schools start hosting their Women in Business Conferences. Only 5 years ago a handful of MBA programs offered these opportunities. Now about 75% of Forté schools offer events for women with great success. They are wonderful opportunities to meet other prospective women, talk with current women students and alumnae and get a feel for whether the school is a match with your goals and interests. Forté encourages you to attend a couple of these conferences this year – you will not regret it. You can see a comprehensive schedule on the Forté website: And another great way to find out more is to visit the individual schools’ events webpages and blogs. See below for an example of a blog posting about the Tuck Women in Business Conference on November 13-14 (

No-iron pants and women in business?
This post is dedicated to my cohorts, who spent many hours this summer preparing for the annual Women in Business Conference...I can't wait for this event!

Living in New England is an eye opening experience for an Ohio native. There are things that are part of life that were never explained, including no-iron khaki pants, water bottles, backpacks with clips, etc. until I arrived at Tuck. Among the many uses for these items is that they constitute what a good business student needs, to travel to school in the elements AND still look impeccable for interviews and roundtables, once they arrive on campus.

Being a long-time product designer, I love the innovation people develop when there is a tough problem to solve! If people can create ubiquitous solutions for making the business attire more effective, I contend someone can come up with solutions for women, like myself, who often wear multiple hats: student, job-seeker, friend, employee, and eventually (again) business woman? I believe that “balancing” it all remains one of the many challenges of business school classes consistently exceeding 33% women in MBA classes, when women represent half of the population.

I know balance can be achieved because when I was in my corporate role, I was a part of the exciting transformation at my company as the ranks of women leaders approached 50%. The key to our success was women connecting with other women, supporting one another and identifying solutions that enabled women to meet their career AND life objectives. Maintaining a critical mass and gathering often were also important because together we had the power to enrich the broader culture with our values and key life lessons, thereby making the entire company better.

So I will be honest in saying, I wouldn’t be at Tuck if it wasn’t consistent with this part of my career. As a single mother and someone who is unwilling to compromise balance in my life (for too long!), I needed to be in an environment with an active dialogue among women. Throughout my first year at Tuck, I was impressed with the programming of the Women in Business Club at Tuck and the commitment of this group to make a difference for women undertaking the challenge of business leadership.

If you are considering Tuck or business school, I strongly encourage you to attend Tuck Women in Business Annual Conference with the theme of “Developing Relationships that Matter”. This is a great way to spend a weekend, meet women business leaders and gain real solutions for developing a plan that works for you! The conference will take place November 13-14 at Tuck. You can find more details and registration information at tuck.dartmouth,edu/wibc.

Be a part of creating something even more breakthrough than no-iron pants – take a risk and make an investment in creating you!
Posted by Aisha B. T'10

Monday, October 5, 2009

Forté Forum Webinars - Another Great Resource on the Road to an MBA

Maybe you weren’t able to attend one of our Forum events this fall or you attended but would like to learn more. Join us for an upcoming webinar to gain all the information you need to know about getting your MBA. From financing your MBA to learning more about the MBA admissions process to hearing from women of color who’ve sought their MBA, the Forum webinars will put you in touch with successful businesswomen who can provide you with the answers you’re looking for to make this important decision.

Review the complete schedule and Register today at Forté’s Online Events Page. We look forward to seeing you online this month!

Tuesday, October 6
Financing your MBA
Presenter: Don Martin, former Dean of Enrollment at University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Author of “Roadmap to Graduate School”

Wednesday, October 7
MBA Admissions
Presenters: Directors of Admissions at Haas, Darden, Wharton, and Washington University at St. Louis

Thursday, October 8
EMBA Value Proposition
Presenters: EMBA alumnae from Forté sponsor schools including Wharton, Chicago Booth, Queens, Cornell & NYU Stern

Tuesday, October 13
MBA Value Proposition in Non-traditional Industries
Presenters: MBA alumnae from Tepper, MIT Sloan, Carlson and UNC working in non-traditional business industries including media, education, energy and government

Wednesday, October 14
MBA Value Proposition for Women of Color, co-sponsored by the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management
Presenters: Consortium Fellows and other women MBA graduates of color from Mills, Michigan and Cornell

Thursday, October 15
International MBA Programs
Presenters: Women MBA graduates of international Forté sponsor schools including London Business School, HEC, Queens, SDA Bocconi and INSEAD

Tuesday, October 20
EMBA Fundamentals
Presenters: EMBA and Fast Track MBA admissions and marketing directors from Wharton, Cornell, Babson and NYU Stern