Monday, December 20, 2010
Once I knew I would be applying to business school in the fall of 2009, I pulled together my list of target schools and their recommendation letter requests. Most schools request two letters from people who know you in a professional setting, and I felt very lucky that my two previous bosses each agreed to write a letter for my application. Writing rec letters can be time consuming and each school varies slightly with deadlines, process, and questions, so I pulled together an overview spreadsheet to capture all the important information for my bosses. Within the sheet I grouped similar questions together, so that my bosses could see the universe of questions they would be asked to address but also so they could (if they wanted) write one paragraph on a particular topic (strengths, weaknesses, etc) that would still address the specifics of each school. Lastly, along with this spreadsheet I also sent them some of my draft essays and resume so that, in addition to conversations about my interests and motivation for attending business school, they could see how I was positioning my candidacy and experience.
As deadlines came and went, I made sure to stay in touch with my rec letter writers through occasional email reminders about upcoming deadlines and messages of thanks for their help throughout this lengthy process! And of course, if you are inclined, a gift of some kind at the conclusion of the process can also be a way to show your appreciation for their support – though of course don’t forget, these people can be great resources once you survive the application process too, in deciding which school to attend or where to focus a career search once you’re in school. I couldn’t be happier with where I ended up – attending the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley – and I couldn’t have done it without the support from some great rec letter writers!
Dana Ledyard, Forte Fellow
Class of 2012
UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
“Congratulations! You have been placed on the closed list for company X.”
Oh, right. Recruiting – the very thing I came to school to do. At Tuck, companies come on campus to interview potential interns immediately following winter break. In between getting ready for finals, students have been steadily dropping their resumes and cover letters to potential employers with the very hope of getting on a closed list. Luckily, all is not lost if a student doesn’t make a particular closed list. If recruiters want to come on campus at Tuck, they can choose half of the students they will interview (the closed list) and the other half can “bid” their way on to the interview schedule. Each student is given 1,000 points to bid on interview slots which are essentially auctioned off. This process acts as a way to level the playing field for career switchers and it is proven to work: a historically high percentage of internship offers actually go to students who use their bid points to land an interview!
Don’t get me wrong; I am absolutely thrilled to be placed on a closed list for company X, especially since this particular company is one of my top choices for a summer internship. Yet, reality has set in that I might spend more time winter break preparing fit interview questions and scouring the aisles of Target for marketing and packaging innovations to get ready for marketing cases. Moreover, as the rest of the closed lists come out, I will need to figure out on which companies I will need to bid. Since I just took my Decision Science final, maybe I should build a model and use the Risk Solver skills I developed this term to optimize my own bid strategy…
Julie L. Reimer, Forte Fellow
Class of 2012
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
Monday, December 13, 2010
Wash U invites several companies from around the area to submit real problems they are experiencing and then selects a couple cases that we, in our assigned groups of four, review and present our recommendations. These cases form a type of capstone for our core studies, requiring us to pull our understanding of finance, accounting, marketing, operations, etc. In particular, though, we must rely on our critical thinking capabilities, which we have enhanced throughout the semester in our analysis of numerous cases. More and more employers are requiring their associates to enhance their critical thinking skills before promoting to managerial roles. At Wash U, we have the opportunity to show select local employers our abilities, and, in return, we have the opportunity to win various prizes plus the ultimate reward of implementing our recommendation if selected.
Once the chaos of finals and the case competition subsides, I must push forward on an event geared towards all MBA students and alumni. I noticed that Wash U alumni events are organized by faculty and quite formal in nature. I found an opportunity to create a small group of students to plan and organize informal social gatherings for students and alumni without all the networking expectations of the formal events. Networking is definitely a large piece of a successful career, but there should always be some fun mixed in there, too. Our first event is scheduled for late-January, and our small group has lots of planning to do before then!
As the semester draws to a close, I find myself yearning for a nice, relaxing break but simultaneously eager to participate in the case competition and to finalize the details of the alumni social event.
Forte Fellow Class of 2012
Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis
Friday, December 3, 2010
My decision to return to school after 20 years in the work force, making movies like Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo was based on a desire to master the skills needed to take my career to the next level. As a film production manager I’ve been able to contribute to blockbuster films for world audiences. But, I found that in order to step into executive management, I wanted the understanding of world markets, the knowledge of how firms maximize profit, and to really grasp some deeper fundamentals of human resource management. So far, this first semester has proven to be really worthwhile. I’ve been able to sink my mind deeply into my course load and have already started applying new skills to my latest project for Dreamworks, the MegaMind eStoryBook app which was just launched in the iTunes store.
A highlight of my first semester at Mills was that I was selected as the Graduate Speaker for Fall Convocation, along with renown US labor leader Dolores Huerta. What an honor to share the stage with this amazing woman. My speech focused on having the courage to self-determine, in the face of hardship. To carve out our own path, as women leaders in business. Mills is proving to be a fertile place to grow my new self. I can’t wait to choose my courses for next semester at Mills.
Lately I’ve been wondering if I made the right decision to return to school full time, versus a part time, or executive MBA program. What I can say now is that having the chance to immerse myself deeply in my studies, and in the culture of education has given me time to learn deeply. I am not distracted by the day to day demands of my office. I can fully apply myself to the coursework. Being a long time professional I know that I will carry this new knowledge easily back into the marketplace. Giving myself the freedom to really focus on my MBA is a gift I’m giving to myself.
Julie M. McDonald
Class of 2012
Forté Foundation Fellow
Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business Mills College
Thursday, December 2, 2010
You can get a better sense of whether the program is a good fit for you. Admissions events for women are typically more intimate (and less intimidating) than large-scale MBA fairs and provide many chances to talk with representatives from the school one-on-one or in small groups. Take advantage of the friendly setting and get all of your questions answered. Do the students seem happy? What would it be like to live in that city? How are core courses structured?
There are numerous opportunities to network with current students. Current MBA women can give their personal perspective on questions you may otherwise be hesitant to ask. For example, what is it like being the only female in a study group? What activities are there for my partner/family? If you have a great conversation with a current student, ask for her contact information so you can follow up later with any additional questions.
You can get tips on the admissions process. Oftentimes these events provide valuable information on how to position yourself as a top female applicant. If you haven’t submitted your application, you can use information you learn from the women’s event in essays to demonstrate your interest in the school. Sign up for on-campus interviews (if offered) and class visits while attending the event to maximize your time.
You will meet other prospective female MBAs. The other prospective students I met were a fantastic resource. The application process can be stressful and it was reassuring to share stories with others in the same boat. I kept in touch with the prospective students I met at these events and they provided advice and support throughout the admissions process. Some of them are now classmates at Kenan-Flagler and others are Forté Fellows at other schools, so it’s a great way to start building your network (and friendships) early!
Check out Forté’s calendar for when these admissions events will be taking place and let me know what you think. How have your campus visits been? Do you have any advice for other applicants?
Katie Harris, Forté Fellow
Class of 2012, UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School
Monday, November 29, 2010
1)The only thing that matters is what you’ll remember after business school. Business school exams are similar to those language exams: people don’t care how well you did on a test. They only care how well you speak the language, and if you can apply what you learned in the real world.
The focus of teaching is on retention and application, and our exams therefore test us on what our professors think we should remember in 10 years. For instance, our mid-term exam in Strategy class asked “what should eHarmony do, given the entrance of Match.com’s Chemistry?” A question in our Corporate Finance exam asked us to calculate and use the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) to assess investment decisions. Because only relevant things are taught and tested, my classmates and I study for exams to make sure that we understood the main lessons – not because we care about our grades.
2)Teamwork matters more than coursework.
About half our grades in most classes are based on work done in collaboration with our assigned study group of 6 people – one group, one grade. So a large part of our transcript is out of our direct control. If you have been assigned a group that happens to work well together, those weekly Financial Accounting problem sets will be easy; if your group is rife with conflict, the homework will be tough, no matter how many CPAs on your team.
The purpose of having forced study groups is to get good at working with other people, since organizations are, by definition, collections of people working together to achieve a shared goal. Indeed, mastering the art of working on a team is a far more useful skill than mastering any single class lesson. While it may seem strange that so much of our grades are based on the performance of people we didn’t chose to work with, isn’t that how true in any job as well?
3)Grades don’t appear anywhere – really, they don’t.London Business School has a non-disclosure policy for grades, and grades on a forgiving curve: basically half the class gets an A, the other half a B, with the top and bottom 10% getting A+ or C/F. These are two wonderful policies -- especially when you get together a group of highly driven and academically accomplished students. There are so many ways to learn in business school; classes are just one of them. By deemphasizing grades, the school makes sure we don’t chain ourselves to our books instead of interacting with visiting business leaders, exploring London, getting to know each other, or contributing to campus club activities. London Business School seems to have the view that it will offer a tremendous wealth of resources, and then leave it up to us how to make the most out of them.
I’d love to write more, but I should probably study for my exams… If you have any questions about London Business School, drop me an email at email@example.com.
Liz Aab, Forte Fellow
London Business School, MBA 2012
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
It’s been a month since I started my MBA at London Business School, and if I had to describe the experience so far in one word, it would be “conversations.” Indeed, few nights have gone by without someone inviting me out for a “drink at the Windsor Pub” next to school. The focus is not drinking, but talking, whether about our studies, or lives, or the world, or just the weather (we’re in London after all).
In the classroom too, our courses are all about conversations; the 80 of us in my “stream” sit in U-shaped lecture halls, where it’s easy to see and respond to each other’s input, eye-to-eye. Because of these classroom dialogues, in just a few short weeks, our stream has already developed a clear rhythm in its interactions, and a distinctive personality.
Moreover, conversations here have been noticeably less purposeful than those I’ve encountered before. In the past, my conversations usually focused on offering and obtaining relevant information. For instance, when I was working in New York, the “Three Questions” people asked each other when they first met were: (1) “Where do you work?”; (2) “Where did you go to school?”; and (3) “Where (in NYC) do you live?” Then during the four years I lived in Beijing, expats also asked each other a set of three predictable questions, though different ones, namely: (1) “How long have you been in Beijing?”; (2) “How long are you staying here?”; and (3) “What do you do?” The answers to those questions helped figure out how you thought the other person might factor into your life; they were intentional.
But here at London Business School, surprisingly, I haven’t found a fixed set of “Three Questions” nor a structured set of answers. Because we’re such an international school, the first question tends to be “Where are you from?” But where the conversation goes from there is anyone’s guess. Today over lunch, for instance, the answers to “Where are you from?” set us off on conversations about the deregulation of Nigeria’s telecom market, and the violent post-partition history of Bangladesh. Later, at the pub before acting class tonight, a few of us tried to predict each other’s Myers-Briggs personality types, chatted about white-collar wages in Peru, and planned a class trip to a London Business School alum’s newly-opened burrito shop.
The MBA so far has been wonderful because these conversations have been so fascinating. If you would to chat more about the experience, Forte, or London Business School itself, feel free to drop me a line – I look forward to continuing the conversation.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The amount of material has been a little overwhelming to learn, and midterms were intense. However, the most challenging part of the first semester so far has been figuring out how to properly, adequately, and respectfully navigate the professional world. Career services has really whipped us into shape so that we present ourselves well and everyone has been getting out there and meeting new people. I am shy (not really, but for a business student, I am shy), and since the beginning of the semester, I have begun to feel a lot more comfortable speaking with highly intelligent, revered people from different industries and walks of life.
I’m looking forward to the next semester and a half. We have the case competition in a couple weeks, which will be hectic, but also a little exciting. I have Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, during which I will be able to visit friends, family, and also great professional contacts I have made in my home area. Next March I will be traveling to San Francisco for the Velocity Conference with students from Kelley. Directly after that, I will head to rural India for two weeks with a different group Kelley students to work with community entrepreneurs.
Yeah, the decision to come to business school was definitely a great one.
Anna Narem, Forte Fellow
JD/MBA Class of 2012 at Indiana University Kelley School of Business
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Here are a few tips to guide you:
1)Who will be writing your recommendation? MBA applications have traditionally requested recommendations from current or former supervisors and colleagues, among other valid options. If your supervisor is writing your recommendation, it is only rational that he/she understands your future intentions and will keep tabs on your acceptance rate. If you trust your supervisor enough to involve him/her in the process, you should have no anxiety. Make sure you reassure your boss of your commitment to maintain the same standards of productivity till you leave. On the other hand, if you opt for either a former boss, college professor, highly secretive colleague or someone other than your boss to write your recommendation, depending on your impetus, it is only wise to hold off till the two week notice.
2)Relationship with your supervisor. Do you plan to return to the same company after graduation? If so, your exit strategy may impact your re-entry. Be careful to burn as less bridges as possible. Take the time now to make the right management and HR connections. Regardless of your future plan, remember that your supervisor/ colleagues become an essential part of your network.
3)Historical experience of former colleagues. Seek advice from former employees or friends who have left similar industries in pursuit of an MBA. They will most likely have a relatively accurate view of the best approach. Make sure your plan and timeline aligns with the company culture.
Coming from the consulting industry, analysts/ junior consultants are encouraged to pursue higher degrees. I involved my supervisor early in the process – taking the time to discuss my future aspirations, my MBA plan and the schools I was interested in attending. He was enthusiastic and agreed to write every recommendation I needed. Even though I started hearing from schools in March, I was not eager to make my final decision until I was certain. This bought me some time to hold-off on providing the final verdict to my supervisor. After which I was able to candidly discuss my exit strategy.
Whatever timeline you choose – Be tactful!
Oyinade Ogunbekun, Forte Fellow
Class of 2012, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Please check our MBA calendar to see available dates/times for campus tours, Admissions information sessions, student lunch programs, and class visits.
Also, feel free to ‘Introduce Yourself’ on our website. We will keep you up to date with events that are of interest to you in or near your area. For now, check out our Event page.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Two years will fly by – my 13 weeks already has. Therefore, my advice to those of you seriously considering business school is this: Get ready mentally and physically for the business school process. Starting from studying for the GMAT to your applications, and then to the actual two years in school. It will test you, grow you, and mold you into the person you want to be (or at least get you on that path).
Most importantly, it is a process that will involve some moments of introspection. Please remember to pause and really take a step back at various phases when you’re studying and writing your essays to even after you’ve started your program. I am constantly and realistically evaluating my goals and passions in life. Business school is all about having an endless amount of resources but very little time to refine and figure out what you want to do when you graduate. Dig deep to find out what makes you tick and pursue it diligently. People don’t tell you this enough before you come to business school, but I’ll say it over and over again: Have a plan BEFORE you start school. If you have a plan, you’ll get there!
With that, I want to leave you with two books worth reading prior to starting business school to provide some perspective and a worthwhile study break.
·A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Burton G. Malkiel
·Capitalism at the Crossroads: Aligning Business, Earth, and Humanity, Stuart L. Hart
That said, I’m curious… what are some things you’re most looking forward to in business school? Clubs? Social/Networking? Getting started on your new career? Finance courses? Comment back and let me know!
Jennie Wu, Forte Fellow
Class of 2012, USC Marshall School of Business
Friday, October 29, 2010
The lecture reminded me of a Laurine*, a Congolese woman I worked with several years ago who once said to me, “In America you work so hard for cars and bigger houses. At home, people work hard for food and water. It’s strange to think about. Feeding your children is more satisfying.”
Coming to Wharton from a non-profit background, I knew the M.B.A. experience would be challenge. I would be introduced to new ideas, industries and worldviews which would require me to operate out of my comfort zone (in fact, this is one of the reasons I chose to get an M.B.A.). However, the most surprising change I’ve had to make hasn’t been adjusting to the culture or lingo (elephant hunting?!), it has been shifting the way I think and talk about wealth. As a senior manager for Women Thrive Worldwide, a non-profit that helps women in developing countries lift themselves and their families out of poverty, I worked with many women who struggled to survive on $1 a day or less (the rough definition of extreme poverty). In fact, my colleagues and I thought about the value of $1 countless times a day: “How many ears of corn can a mother in Nicaragua buy with $1?” “What percentage of $1 in foreign aid reaches women’s cooperatives in Ghana and how can we maximize it?” At Wharton, I’m in classes with people who have been thinking about wealth from the opposite end of the spectrum. Many of my peers have led multi-million dollar marketing campaigns or managed investments for prominent hedge funds. One of my goals here is to learn how the expertise from both these perspectives can be merged.
I’ve begun this quest by joining the Wharton Social Venture Fund, a student run organization which partners with venture capital funds focusing on a triple bottom line (people, planet, and profits) investing**. I’ve met a community of students who are equally interested in figuring out how traditional finance and investing can be combined with large scale poverty reduction, access to education, and environmental preservation. At our first training we mixed a heated debate on measuring social impact with a detailed presentation on the venture capital process. While I didn’t leave with the “answer,” I did come away with a feeling of purpose and potential. I will keep you posted on our progress!
Mckenzie Lock, Forte Fellow
Class of 2012, The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania
**For those of you interested in learning more about social finance check out the Global Impact Investing Network’s website.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Shortly after the first acceptance call, I received another and then another and then another! Every single one of the schools that I had applied to accepted me. I was absolutely ecstatic! Then I realized that the most important part of my admissions journey was about to begin. I had to choose a school and it wasn’t going to be easy.
I decided to visit each school again. This time around, I knew I would look at the schools differently without the pressure of an interview looming overhead. I booked flights to each of the non-local schools and scheduled tours and class visits with admissions.
The single most important advice I can offer when faced with multiple acceptances is to visit each school. I cannot stress this enough! Students and admissions teams treat you differently when they know you might be a future student. The current students were much more candid than they were during my interview visit and it was easier to get a good feel for each school. Additionally, visitation allows you to see the town, see the housing situation and get a general feel of prices, atmosphere and community. You’re going to be in the town you choose for at least two years, so make sure it’s a place you like!
From the moment I stepped on campus at the University of Illinois, I knew it was the school for me—it just felt right. You can’t get those types of feelings from phone calls. If it weren’t for visiting the schools, I’m not sure I would’ve made the right choice. Luckily, I took my visits very seriously and made the best choice for me.
In case you were wondering, I did the visitations by myself so that I would be the only one influencing my decision. If anyone would like advice on how to travel by yourself or what to look at while touring a school and its town, feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.
Starza Kolman, Forte Fellow
Class of 2012, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Begin Your Beyond. Beyond managing to leading. Beyond knowledge to insight.
Women’s Workshop is an annual opportunity for prospective MBA and EMBA students to assemble with UNC women in business for networking and informational workshops. Keynote speakers, faculty, and student/alumni panelists will provide prospective MBA and EMBA students with helpful application tips and career management opportunities. The workshop is an all-day event hosted at the Paul J. Rizzo center in Chapel Hill. Meals and refreshments will be provided. Hosted by MBA Admissions and the MBA for Executives Programs. Register today!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Tuck has an extremely sophisticated method in building its infamously tight network of Tuckies: theme parties. Since classes began, I have worn a costume at least once a weekend, be it for Bar Golf, the 80’s party, the Mexican Independence Day Celebration, or just yesterday at the Tuck Scavenger Hunt. How does dressing like an idiot on a regular basis build your network, you might ask? Well, it is certainly easier to approach that intimidating ex-McKinsey consultant who always contributes insightful comments in class when he is dressed like a pirate and uttering “Arghhh” after ever third sentence. Or, after a tense study group meeting, it’s hard to stay mad at your group members when they are dancing in sumo suits or imitating Double Dare contestants. Theme parties have the ability to break down all of the pretenses of business school and let us put any differences aside and truly bond as a class. Plus, I’m pretty sure that if I call up a classmate in ten years to discuss a business opportunity, he might not remember me by name, but will at least recognize me as “the girl in the Nascar jumpsuit”. I’ve been told that your network is the most valuable thing you take away from business school, and I can’t think of a better or more fun way of building it!
Julie Reimer, Forté Fellow
Class of 2012, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
Monday, October 11, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
At the same time, I couldn’t be happier. There’s something so satisfying about tackling a great challenge like this. My mother once told me that some of the most meaningful things in life are the most difficult to achieve. Not only that, but the issues discussed in class are, for the most part, so relevant and practical. Sure I may never run a multiple regression statistical model to determine the best market price for a home, but I do think my business knowledge will help me make better strategic decisions in my professional and personal life going forward.
To hold my own in the classroom, I have collaborated with the study group I was assigned to in my cohort; I have formed another study group with three women who have become good friends; I have had tutoring sessions with a second-year student; and I have pushed myself hard to study efficiently and effectively. Outside of school, I am fortunate to have a supportive husband, family and friends. So while I may not get the top grade on my finals this week, I am proud that I have already expanded my horizons and grown personally in this short time. Do you have any questions or concerns about the academics in business school?
Class of 2012, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
-Location, Location, Location: After making a list of the programs that would best enable me to achieve my career goals, we discussed location. If we had to move, was the school located in a city that my fiancé would want to live in? Did we know anyone living in that city that could function as a support system? Was a long-distance relationship an option for us? Would we be willing to move again after graduation to pursue career opportunities?
- Partner’s Career: If you are moving with your partner, talk about how your partner’s career will be affected. Will he or she be able to grow in their career if they move with you? Will he or she have to change their career path, and are they ok with that?
-Debt: As you are thinking about financing your MBA, consider the amount of debt you’ll have to take on and what implications that will have on your lifestyle after school. It was helpful to discuss the timeframe for paying off student loans and how that would affect our future.
-During the MBA: During the MBA, you will be extremely busy with your academics, career search, and club opportunities. Talk about how your partner will be involved in the community you are entering. Do your target programs offer opportunities for partners? Is that something that is important to you?
Though it can be overwhelming to consider all of these issues as you are taking the GMAT, writing essays, and lining up recommendations, it is helpful to decide which of these factors are going to influence your decision about which school to attend. Hopefully, by considering them early in the process, you’ll be able to successfully embark on an MBA at a program that is fulfilling for both you and your partner.
Julia Suarez, Forté Fellow Class of 2012
Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Sponsored by the Office of Graduate Business Admissions and the Wake Graduate Women in Business organization, Women’s Weekend will be held on February 26, 2011. This two-day event includes interactions with alumnae, teambuilding activities, and opportunities to connect with faculty, staff and future classmates. Prospective students are welcome to attend.
Join us for Open House and participate in a host of activities that will give you a better understanding of what it means to be a Full-time MBA student at Wake Forest University. Friday includes our renowned Done in a Day program (separate registration required) and a mix and mingle reception. Saturday's schedule offers a mock class, an admissions workshop, a conversation with our Career Management Center, and lunch with our faculty and staff. Guests are encouraged and welcomed, as there is a luncheon for guests sponsored by the Partners Association on Saturday afternoon. Open House is offered on Jan. 21 and March 19.
To expedite your admissions decision, join Wake Forest for Done in a Day, an accelerated admissions process where candidates receive a decision by the end of the day. What's more, Done in a Day has been nationally recognized by BusinessWeek! In order to be eligible, your application and all application components (official transcript, two recommendations and GRE or GMAT score) must be received two weeks before the event. In addition, participants must meet specific GMAT/GRE score minimums. Space is limited. Done in a Day is offered on Nov.19, Jan. 21, Feb. 11, March 18 & 25, April 29 and June 3.
Monday, October 4, 2010
I am now beginning my fourth week of school, fifth including our orientation. I have met some great people at the University of Illinois. Even before stepping on campus, the Admissions Team was supportive and informative throughout the application process. The Dean and his staff, the professors, the alumni, our career services department, and my fellow classmates have all been extremely impressive. I can tell I am creating a great network here.
Although I have only been down in Champaign for a month, I feel as if I have accomplished so much already. I have completed a written case competition for NAWMBA which is to be presented the first weekend of October at their National Conference. This week also marks “mid-terms,” since our classes are broken down into eight week modules and our Career Fair. It seems most employers are optimistic about the hiring prospects for MBA students. I have also joined some great organizations on campus: IBC (Illinois Business Consulting), GFA (Graduate Finance Association), WIB (Women in Business), the Kola Foundation, and the Service Association.
My days and nights have been filled with class, study group sessions, group projects, networking events, an internship search, and meetings for the organizations I am a member of. I had a recruiter ask me after looking at my resume if he thinks I am spreading myself too thin. I simply responded that I came to Business School to challenge myself, further develop my knowledge, and extend my professional network. I believe my experience in B-School will be directly correlated with the inputs of time and effort, and so far it has been great.
Please leave any comments or questions you may have. Cheers!
Jill Krivacek, Forté Fellow
Class of 2012, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Learn More and Register Today: www.fortefoundation.org/online
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
You may be asking me how microeconomics and statistics can apply to real-world management decisions. Well, in our classes, we must solve problems such as if a company wants to manufacture a new product only if at least 25% of customers will purchase it, given the results of a sample of the population, should the company manufacture the new product? We read cases daily and must analyze management’s decision using the tools we’ve learned in other classes.
So, the school work is intriguing and fast-paced, but the social life is a nice offset to de-stress and release some energy. Olin has a large variety of clubs, including those focused towards ethnic outreach, industry-specific, athletic and service agendas. I have joined the Healthcare and Life Sciences, Women in Business and Olin Cares (community service) clubs, and I am a Graduate Business Student Association Senator. In addition to clubs, Olin also holds happy hour every Thursday to bring first-year and second-year MBA students together in a social atmosphere.
Although the work is intense, I have taken advantage of the activities offered through the program. As a potential MBA applicant, I recommend you find a school that offers a healthy balance of schoolwork and social activities. There are many excellent MBA programs around the nation, so make sure you find the one that best fits your personality. If you select Olin, I’ll look forward to meeting you next year!
Kelly Bien, Forte Fellow
Class of 2012 at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Click here for more information and to register.
Visit the Simon School at University of Rochester on October 24- 25, for a weekend event that provides networking between prospective female candidates and current female students, alumnae, faculty and administrators. The sessions for this event help you learn more about our full-time MBA program. Discover Simon’s affiliation with the Forté Foundation and the associated benefits, including merit-based fellowships, networking, and career opportunities with designated corporate partners. You may also request to conduct your admission interview during the event. Meals and one-night’s hotel accommodations offered to all attendees, and partial travel stipends awarded on both merit and need basis.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
For the next 3 years, I analyzed the MBA through Forte and school presentations, learning about the differences between programs and homing in on my motivations for going. In 2008 I finally felt ready and after twelve weeks of GMAT prep I obtained my target score! Unfortunately, it was the same week that Lehman Brothers dissolved and the world and everything I knew about business changed. With a cloud of uncertainty over the world, I headed out for my first school-visit the next weekend. Despite a great visit, I came home to discover that my personal financial position had drastically changed and I realized the debt I planned to incur for B-school would only make my situation worse. I made the decision to postpone applying for one more year and spent time saving money and evaluating what B-school meant in the new environment. Over the course of the year, I learned more in my job about making difficult business decisions than any time in my career and more about my personal motivations for getting an MBA than I had in the prior four years of research.
The following fall, with a realigned focus and greater financial security, the time was finally right and my confidence in my decision allowed me to secure admission at my top choice. An MBA is a personal decision with lots of considerations both internal and external. Taking your time to evaluate the decision from all angles will guarantee that when the time is right you have the time of your life!
Emily Cangie, Forte Fellow
MBA Class of 2012 at Stern School of Business at New York University
1. Give yourself enough time to be thoughtful. MBA applications are not something you should start a month before deadlines. Essay writing, itself, can require weeks of introspection, before you start writing. Familiarize yourself with requirements early on (tip: requirements and essay questions for over 50 schools are provided at Apply in the Sky), and keep a note pad handy to jot down inspiration, which may come when you least expect it.
2. Know what you’re in for. For the uninitiated, MBA applicants should prepare for a chaotic jumble of requirements. But the process need not be difficult to manage. The problem is: most applicants don’t realize how overwhelming the organizational challenges are until they’re mid-way through. By understanding what to expect upfront, you can be proactive in your organizational approach. (Tip: Apply in the Sky organizes it all through one simple interface, where you can write essays, seek feedback, and focus your time on crafting more thoughtful applications.)
3. Seek out tools to manage your time. While there are many test prep and consulting services, existing tools neglect to address the time management necessary to prepare successful applications. Traditionally, applicants have relied on a scattered mix of spreadsheets, emails, reminders and to-do lists, but this has changed.
Apply in the Sky is the first online workspace to help you streamline, manage and organize your MBA applications, across schools. To learn more, visit www.applyinthesky.com. (We offer Forté Members a 15% discount!) Best of luck as you embark on this process!
Emily, Chiara & Ryan
The Apply in the Sky Team
Friday, September 10, 2010
Visit our beautiful Bay Area Oakland campus and attend an Information Session with the Dean. Meet alumni, students, and faculty. Learn about our rigorous program and collaborative learning environment.
September 16, 2010 at 6 pm in GSB, room 101 (mini-session before Corporate Social Responsibility Lecture on how Charles Schwab serves communities)
September 18, 2010, at 10 am in GSB, room 101
October 6, 2010 at 7 pm in GSB, room 101
October 23, 2010, at 10 am in GSB, room 101
November 10, 2010, at 7 pm in GSB, room 101
December 7, 2010, at 7 pm, TBD
We are accepting applications for January and Fall 2011. Please register at firstname.lastname@example.org. Light refreshments will be provided.
However, despite being overwhelmed with stress at the amount of work, I am also overwhelmed with excitement about everything I am learning. The classes are engaging and fill in the theoretical and numerical gaps between the logical conclusions about business I have made over the years. The networking was intimidating at first, but now I look forward to it. Speaking to a huge variety of people in a short time who have all done really different, but really cool things puts my own experiences into perspective. I cannot wait to learn more about this whole process.
Anna Narem, Forte Fellow
JD/MBA Class of 2012 at Indiana University Kelley School of Business
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
For those of you “fortunate” enough to have worked through the recent economic downturn, it is reasonably likely that you were laid-off or left a job at least once. This may have created a “gap” in your employment history. Business schools will ask you to explain this gap. Don’t panic: remember that you are not the only one – the economy has been bad everywhere. Find a way to feel confident in explaining that gap. Tell admissions what you did during this gap and what you learned; removing ambiguity can reduce negative inferences that may otherwise be made. Put slightly differently, it can actually be pretty meaningful to show how you adapted to adverse conditions and created a new path for yourself during a difficult time. Additionally, for all the Ad Com knows, you took that “time off” to volunteer in Guatemala? Either way, explain with confidence and don’t feel disadvantaged by a glitch in your application.
The same advice goes for discrepancies in GMAT scores. It is very likely that you may need to take the test more than once. If (fingers crossed) your second score showed marked improvement over your first, that’s a good thing. However, it may look a little weird to have a weak first score and relatively strong second score. Be able to explain (not excuse) how you improved so dramatically. Admissions should take your highest test score only, but may still question the degree of improvement. Feel free to refer to other areas of your academic or professional record that indicate strong examples of consistency and high caliber performance.
Remember, no one part of your application is going to “make or break” you. The overall cohesion of your story is what will convince the admissions committee that you belong at their school – not one specific component. Have confidence if your application and yourself during the process – show how fun and interesting and accomplished you really are!
Laura Bentzien, Forte Fellow
Class of 2012
UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
Join us on Friday, November 5 for a special visit day focused on women. Get the inside scoop on life at Ross from current students, tour our LEED certified building, hear from our Office of Career Development, and network with alumnae.
Friday, September 3, 2010
October 1, 2010, 9am-6pm EDT
Please join us for a unique opportunity to get a glimpse inside the Yale School of Management community. Meet women from around campus — including faculty, alumni, students and staff — and learn about the distinct advantages of our integrated curriculum. A tentative agenda for the day will be posted shortly.
Yale SOM Women in Management Club Chat
November 3, 2010, 6pm EDT
Do you want to find out what it’s like to be a student at Yale SOM? Join students from the Women in Management Club for an online chat to learn more about classes, careers, networking and life in New Haven. If you are interested in attending, please register and we will send you the log-on information in advance of the event.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
For your essays and recommendation letters, I think it’s important to present yourself in an interesting but consistent way. You need your file to stand out amidst thousands of applicants so think clarity, brevity and focus. Think carefully about what you will personally bring to the class and what you stand for; essentially you need to define your value proposition and then articulate this within the specific context of every school. You also need to strike a balance between capturing what you have to offer and what you’re trying to develop or achieve through an MBA. Coming back to consistency, I think managers who know you well and who believe in you are best placed to write your recommendation letters. Remember that writing recommendations take time, so ensure you give your referees enough time for these. When it comes to interviews (usually conducted by alumni) schools’ approaches can be quite different. It’s worth doing up-front research so you know what to expect. Again, consistency is key. It is important to convey your motivations clearly and also to show that you have ideas and opinions. Staying abreast of current affairs is an easy way to do this. They’re looking for people who will add positively and significantly to the class and remember, one day you’ll potentially be joining your interviewer’s alumni network… Finally – enjoy it! You’ll learn about yourself through the process.
What are your experiences with applications? Do you have other suggestions? Please share here.
Sam Streicher, Forte Fellow
London Business School, Class of 2012
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Investing in Your Future – What Women Need to Know for Financial and Career Success and the Simmons MBA Information Session
On Saturday, September 11, 2010 Simmons School of Management and 85 Broads are teaming up to bring you two powerful events aimed at enhancing your future.
Investing in Your Future: What Women Need to Know for Financial and Career Success
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location: Simmons School of Management, 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA
Cost: $75 (see below to be a guest of the MBA Admission Office)
Join leading experts on career planning, networking, entrepreneurship, investing, and the economy as we tackle the issues and trends affecting women’s career advancement and financial outlook. Gain valuable skills, network, and broaden your understanding of the global investing landscape.
MBA Information Session
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: Simmons School of Management, 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA
Learn why Simmons has been ranked #1 for Women by the Princeton Review. Meet the Dean; participate in a GMAT preparation session with the Princeton Review; and network with students and alumnae. PLUS, you can be our guest at the Investing in Your Future conference ($75 value) and have an opportunity to experience our world-renowned faculty firsthand.
Register online or contact a member of the admissions team at 617-521-3840.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Despite the long first day, LBS has been kind to us, easing us back into school after, on average, over 5 years away in the work place. This easing in started three weeks ago, when most of us arrived in London, just in time for Flat Hunters Pub Crawl. At “Flat Hunters” those seeking flats/flatmates wrote their names on nametags in green; those who were already all sorted wrote theirs in red. By the end of two weeks, and when Orientation started properly, most of us knew several familiar faces – and had found flats!
The official Orientation, which lasted throughout last week, eased us into the program even more (or I should say, “programme”). It started with two days of learning about what lies ahead, including a helpful lecture on how to prepare for and participate in case study discussions, and tons of opportunities to get to know the other 400 people in our MBA class. Then they sent us out of London, where, cheesy as it sounds, we practiced working on teams through physical puzzles and ropes courses. (My very-non-professional-grade photos from Orientation are here.
Thanks to all this mingling, orienting, and team-building, we were able to just enjoy and dig into class today. For instance, we had been forced to come up with a “contract” last week for how our 6-person study group would work together this year, and had agreed to prioritize teaching and learning from each other over executing a task as quickly as possible. We did exactly that when analyzing grade distributions in a probability exercise today. All in all, a good start to what promises to be a great two years ahead!
Liz Aab, Forte Fellow
Class of 2012, London Business School
Monday, August 30, 2010
Stern MBA Admissions will host more than 75 events in 20 countries this fall. Events include admissions presentations, special events and fairs. View our For more information and to register for an event near you, please view our Fall 2010 Event Schedule.
Opening Doors for Women
On Sunday, November 7, NYU Stern will hold Opening Doors for Women, our marquee women's admissions event. It includes breakfast with SWIB members and alumnae, a student/alumnae panel and remarks by the SWIB Co-Presidents. Please RSVP to attend.
Information session and Class visit program
NYU Stern MBA Admissions offers daily information sessions. Prospective students may visit a class during the Fall semester. Please check our website in September to sign up for a class visit. Spring class visits are reserved for Stern applicants who have been invited to interview.
We look forward to meeting you soon!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Women are key contributors at Goizueta, so we are committed to enrolling top-quality female applicants each year. At Women’s Open House, you will hear from women at Goizueta as they share their experiences within our diverse community. You will also have the chance to network with current women leaders, students, alumnae and faculty. This will be a great opportunity for you to take a close look at the Goizueta community and see the resources available to our students. RSVP link: http://www.goizueta.emory.edu/cgi-bin/te/te_preview.pl?id=665&seed=41090636635262460
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and the Haas Women in Leadership (WIL) Club invite you to join us on campus for a full-day workshop to learn more about graduate studies in business management in all three Berkeley MBA programs: Full-Time, Evening & Weekend, and Berkeley-Columbia Executive. The Berkeley MBA Women’s Workshop will give you an opportunity to explore the value of an MBA, network with current students and alumni, hear helpful application tips from members of the admissions committee, and learn about scholarships and financial aid opportunities. We look forward to welcoming you to our vibrant Haas community. All are welcome to attend! Online registration will be available in early September.
If you are not able to join us for the Berkeley MBA Women’s Workshop, please look for us at other admissions events in your area!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Meet Kelley MBA alumnae, faculty, and staff in a city near you. This is a great opportunity to find out what it's like to study at Indiana University and the benefits of a Kelley School of Business education from those who have experienced the Program first-hand. We hope to see you there! Visit http://kelley.iu.edu/mba/admissions/onTheRoad.cfm for more details. To register, please call 1-800-994-8622.
Kelley Women's Weekend: Oct 15-17, 2010
The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University continues to reinforce the importance of women in the business world. Through many of our nationwide dinners, cooking classes and other creative events, the Kelley School has attracted the interest of many high potential women who are looking to pursue their MBA. This fall, we’re reaching out even further to demonstrate our continued commitment. This October, the Kelley School invites female prospective students to join us for a weekend dedicated to providing in-depth information on the Kelley MBA, introducing you to a network of great women, and most importantly, exploring the exciting career options that are available upon graduation! Find out more at http://kelley.iu.edu/mba/kelleyLife/women.cfm. To register for the Second Annual Kelley Women's Weekend, contact Analilia Silva in MBA Admissions at email@example.com or 812-855-8006.
Kelley In Focus Diversity Recruitment Weekend: Oct 8-10
Each October, the Kelley School of Business MBA Program presents a special diversity weekend for unique and talented applicants to see for themselves what the Kelley Program is all about. We call the weekend Kelley In Focus and we pack it with information, interactive sessions, engaging conversations, social activities, and, of course, the jewel-colored brilliance of Bloomington in the fall. Online registration is available at http://kelley.iu.edu/mba/kelleyLife/kelleyInFocus.cfm. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Brad Rosenwinkel in MBA Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
23 September 2010
30 September 2010
14 October 2010
28 October 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Join us in Los Angeles for a day of activities to learn more about the UCLA Anderson experience and our commitment to developing female business leaders. The day includes lunch, a campus tour, class observation, an information session and the opportunity to engage in intimate dialogues with current students, alumni and staff.
Date: November 1, 2010
Time: 12:30 to 7:00 p.m. (attendance for the whole day is not required)
Location: UCLA Anderson School
Address: 110 Westwood Plaza
Executive Dining Room, B210
Los Angeles, CA 90095
For registration information, visit our website.
Monday, August 16, 2010
October 28-29, 2010
Forum activities will introduce you to the program and connect you with current students, alumni, faculty and staff. You will also have the opportunity to attend a portion of the Women in Business Leadership Conference, hosted by our Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) organization. Registration information will be available September 1st, or contact Vicki Duran at email@example.com.
Friday, August 13, 2010
The events provide you with an opportunity to find out more about our diverse portfolio of Masters and Executive Education programmes, meet with admissions representatives and alumni of the School, and hear from our world-class faculty.
Click here for details on forthcoming events and to register.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
MIT Sloan on the Road information sessions include a presentation of the goals and character of our MBA Program and offer you a chance to talk with the people who know MIT Sloan the best — our MBA Admissions staff and alumni.
On-campus information sessions offer you an opportunity to learn the details of what makes MIT Sloan unique, the ins-and-outs of the MIT Sloan MBA application process and to ask questions.
Ambassadors Program is a highly interactive half-day session hosted by current students; you will attend classes, join an information session with a member of the admissions committee, and enjoy a casual informational lunch with first- and second-year students. The Ambassadors Program is scheduled in the fall and spring semesters.
Online chats are a fun way to have your questions answered personally by Admissions staff.
If you have questions or need additional information, please email MBAadmissions@Sloan.MIT.edu
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
At Chicago Booth we embrace the value of diversity and are committed to recruiting a diverse student body. In an effort to keep students of all academic, professional, and cultural backgrounds engaged, the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Programs at Chicago Booth host Diversity Open House and Diversity Networking events.
Click here to register today!
Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Open Houses
The Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Programs’ Open House events are held monthly at Gleacher Center, our downtown Chicago campus, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Prospective students will have the opportunity to learn more about the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Programs at Chicago Booth through a presentation as well as meet alumni and current students who can answer questions regarding curriculum, student life, and networking opportunities available at Chicago Booth.
Click here to register today!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
- Experience the Johnson School at Cornell and learn about the Johnson MBA
- Gain valuable information about applying to a top MBA program
- Learn how to position yourself as a top female candidate for MBA admissions
- Meet Johnson School female students, faculty, and staff
Johnson Women in Women Business (JWIB) is our Women’s weekend on the Cornell campus. At JWIB, you will learn about our MBA programs, gain valuable insight on how to position yourself as a top female candidate for MBA admissions, understand what the business school experience is really like from current Johnson Women, and network with female Johnson School faculty and staff.
Click here to register: http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/odi/women.html
Monday, August 9, 2010
How to Register: Online registration is available at http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/womenandthemba.
If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Krystal Brooks in the MBA Admissions Office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 412-268-9932.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Forté Forum: The MBA Value Proposition
9 cities across the US and London
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Thinking about an MBA? Don’t miss the premier MBA event for women! The Forté Foundation invites you to attend a Forté Forum event to learn, network, and discover what an MBA can do for your career. At the event you'll:
- Meet with admissions representatives from over 35 top business schools across the country
- Talk to GMAT test-preparation companies
- Learn from the experiences of MBA alumnae and current employees at prestigious companies
Pre-registration fee is $10; Onsite registration is $15.
Learn more and register at www.fortefoundation.org/forum.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
In particular, I've really come full-circle with Forte Foundation and my business school experience. The Forte Forum was the first event I ever attended as a prospective student. The Forte Forum is when I first was able to envision myself as an MBA and particularly, when I could see myself as part of the Stern community. It was at this event that I first met one of the Admissions Directors from NYU Stern, who is now my manager since I am a Graduate Ambassador for Stern! It's largely because of this Admissions Director I met that I knew I wanted to actively share my positive Stern experience with prospective students, particularly with women. When I started at Stern, I was designated a Forte Fellow, which was a great honor to receive. Through my involvement with Stern Women In Business over the past two years, I've worked with Forte Foundation on several initiatives, most recently in developing the Career Lab at NYU. Even after graduation, I will be closely tied with Forte as I will be attending the Forte MBA Women's Conference in Chicago in June (hope to see many of you there!).
My experience with Forte and at Stern has taught me that the most meaningful relationships you can build are those where it's truly symbiotic. Or, to put it in business school terms, truly collaborative. One of my primary goals when I started at Stern was to build a strong network. Over the past two years, I have gotten to know a former CIA agent, a soon-to-be best-selling author, and just today, I found out one of my classmates was (intentionally) the last foreigner to leave India during the India/Pakistan Kashmir conflict(!) Getting to know my fellow Sternies has left me amazed, impressed and often, simply laughing. Now that I'm on the cusp of my graduation, I am feeling lots of different things at the same time - anxiety about finishing my classes, relief at completing my MBA, sadness to be leaving my friends and, more than anything, a sense of anticipation and hope. Simply put, I can not wait to see the amazing things that my classmates will achieve over the next few years and how our community will develop and leave its impact in the business (and other) world(s).
Over the next two weeks, I'll be finishing two final exams, enjoying Post-Term activities (fittingly, Stern has a two-week pre-graduation celebration that bookends Pre-Term, our two-week orientation), hosting my family, saying goodbye to some of my friends, and adjusting back to what I have jokingly referred to as "civilian" life. For those of you about to embark on this amazing MBA experience, I wish you all the best no matter where you are or what you choose to study. Business school is both the most challenging and most rewarding experience I have ever had. Even though there were some days when I was overwhelmed, there were so many more when I couldn't believe how incredibly lucky I was to be surrounded by such amazing and interesting people. I have enjoyed every opportunity to speak with all of you, whether you were just starting to consider your MBA, were actively applying to business school, or trying to decide where you were going to build your network. Thank you for letting me share part of my MBA experience with you and many well wishes as you begin yours!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
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Thursday, April 1, 2010
How many times have we heard this phrase (or a version of this phrase that our parents adapted to conveniently fit a given situation) and rolled our eyes ever-so-slightly? No matter how tired and overplayed this phrase may seem, it is a classic for a reason. And this morning, my subconscious was paid a visit by our dear Bard of Avon. Nope, business schools have not started offering courses in English Literature. I was in my New Venture Financing class and the guest lecturer, David Rosenberg (CEO of Hycrete and graduate of Columbia Business School), was doling out some advice on some of the things he wishes he had learned in business school. Because I was sitting in a quantitative-focused Entrepreneurship class, I was fully expecting him to say he wishes he had mastered valuations or how to negotiate term sheets more effectively. But instead, the key thing David said he wishes he had learned was management - how to hire/fire people, how to motivate your teams, etc. Wait. You're telling me you wish you had spent more time focusing on the soft skills?! Isn't that exactly what I've been trying to avoid focusing on for the last two years?
As women, I think we often take for granted our inherent talent at the "soft skills". Particularly in a business-school environment, where quantitative skills are often heralded above others, it can be intimidating to proclaim that you prefer the management side over the analytical. Personally, however, not only have I always been more comfortable at the qualitative "soft skills", I've simply enjoyed them more. Granted, in order to become a great leader, one must exhibit a strong grasp of both management and analytical skills. However, most people will have tendencies and proclivities toward one over the other.
What the MBA experience has taught me (after somewhat of a much-needed roundabout...but hey, it's always nice to realize you were kinda right all along) is that it is your responsibility to not only determine what your core skills and interests are, but to cultivate and adhere to them even when it may seem like everyone else is doing something different. I'd encourage you to have the courage to do what it is you really want to do...not just what you think you (or others) think you SHOULD be doing. Pick the school that you really want to go to. Focus on the areas that are really of interest to you. Pursue what it is you'd really like to do, not what you think you should be doing.
Of course, saying that you'll do something is far easier than actually doing it. I've certainly wavered many times and had plenty of self-doubts! But there are a couple of things that have helped me maintain a bit of clarity through the business school haze. So, for your consideration...
1. This is one I've heard from the time I was a prospective. Find a mentor. Your mentor can be female or male, but should be someone who knows you well enough to understand you well and also someone who you trust enough to have your best interests in mind. I've been extremely lucky to have some amazing managers in my career and, to this day, I value the candid and honest advice I have received from them.
2. Without my support network, I simply would not have made it through my first semester. As you begin to think about your transition to being an MBA, think about the relationships and activities outside of business school you want to maintain and how you will do that. Business school, particularly first semester, is an extremely hectic time. You will have plenty of people to meet and things to do within business school, but just like it's important to build your network with your new classmates, it's also important to keep yourself surrounded by people who know you outside of the context of the MBA. This way, when you find yourself able to only think and speak words like upside/downside, risk and return, synergy, network effect, economies of scale/scope, yada yada yada...the people who know and love you can remind you that there is a great big world out there full of many interesting things.
3. Laugh. Often. This is one that, admittedly, I sometimes forget to do in my stressful moments. Too many things to-do to think about! I can't have a giggle now! But of all the memories I will take with me from business school, the best ones are those when I was sitting in a study room with my group, simply laughing our heads off about the April Fools' joke one of them fell for.
4. Go west, young woman. Or wherever else you want to go. I think I have learned as much, if not more, from the travel I've done while in business school. For example, I was recently on safari in Tanzania with 17 of my classmates and observing animals in their natural habitat was more enlightening on human relationships than anything I could have learned in a management course (see above note on management skills).
As the weather warms and the school year starts to wind down, I hope you are all excited thinking about your futures. A little less than 6 weeks remain in my MBA career, but I'll be back with one more post before graduation!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned the classes I'm taking during my last semester that I was really excited about. Well, that list has evolved slightly (that's the beauty of Drop/Add!) but I'm still just as excited because my courses this semester complement each other, and hopefully my skill set, really well. I'm currently studying New Venture Financing, Business Plan Practicum, Corporate Turnarounds, and Restructuring (to name a few). These are all courses that focus on how to take an unstable business - either because it's already failed or because it's not yet proven - and how to make it into a successful one. Through each of these classes, I'm learning to essentially strip through the bad or unpromising, and focus on the viable core or promising opportunity, and develop a strategy for how to make that piece thrive. Sounds fun, right?
Most of you are probably somewhere on the spectrum of either waiting to hear, deciding between business schools, or already preparing for matriculation. More than likely, you've put your essays (and the introspection and the self-analysis that's required) far behind you! But regardless of where you are in the waiting game, the type of self-analysis that goes into a business school application should be an ongoing process. In a way, your current situation can always be viewed as a sort of unsteady state that can be readjusted for even greater success with some modifications. What I've learned through my classes this semester is that what may appear to be steady state can also be opportunity for great success (or failure!) and that sometimes, all it takes is the smallest of catalysts to affect that change. To avoid failure, it helps to have clear insight of the situation and to be prepared to face whatever adverse conditions may come your way.
For those of you waiting for the next step, I'd encourage you to spend some time to keep doing a bit of that self analysis while you wait. Think about what value proposition you offer, why should consumers want your product, what is your viable core, and what you may need to restructure or reassess in order to be as successful as you can be. While it may seem like you just completed this exercise for your application essays, these are questions you should be asking throughout. Spend some time now talking to people whose jobs sound interesting to you and ask them how they got there. Take some time to read through the paper and read up on the companies that catch your eye and think about why they pique your interest. Business school is a rapid two-years and the more that you can do now to prepare for it, the better prepared you'll be and the more efficiently you can spend that valuable time (maybe even to have a little bit more fun!)
Thursday, January 28, 2010
This was actually my return trip to Australia because I had done a semester in Sydney in college, but I was excited about the prospect of traveling and studying with my Stern friends and classmates in Oz (as Aussies refer to it). Prior to the DBi, I spent two weeks traveling in other parts of Australia. Some highlights were celebrating New Years' Eve at Darling Harbor in Sydney with 20 of my Stern friends and sailing through the beautiful Whitsunday Islands on a 3-day trip with 20 other Sternies.
The DBi itself is actually a partnership with Melbourne Business School. In exchange for 8 MBS students spending a semester at Stern, 38 of us were there for two weeks, learning from various MBS faculty on everything from the Australian financial and legal systems, to how sport and wine are integral parts of Australian business and culture. The lectures on wine and sport were complemented by a trip to the Australian Open and a visit to a winery in the Yarra Valley...talk about experiential learning!
One of my favorite lectures was on innovation, which is something I'm already interested in, but was particularly interesting given the context of Australia's egalitarian culture. In the US (particularly as MBAs), we constantly strive to innovate, improve and excel above our competitors. In Australia, however, entrepreneurship and innovation are approached with the angle of what will benefit the greater good vs. individual success. For MBAs who are conditioned to constantly think about how to add and increase value, this seemed counter-intuitive in some ways.
But one of the areas where I think Australia surpasses the US in terms of innovation is sustainability. Full disclosure: I've never been one who has focused much energy (no pun intended) on natural resources and the environment; however, my interest in this area has been piqued recently, especially after living for a month in a part of the world where the ozone layer has been severely depleted. Hearing from the MBS professors and speaking with several Aussies who think about issues like sustainability on a daily basis, made me realize that there are large global issues that I haven't thought about much before but that I may need to pay more attention to ongoing. This, I think, is the value I gained from my experience in Australia - in addition to having fun with my Stern friends, I've also returned to New York with a new global perspective and new considerations for what I can do in my professional and personal life to contribute to global issues.
With this new perspective, I'm extremely excited about what the next two weeks hold. Stern Women in Business (SWIB) will be hosting its annual Conference on February 5th around the theme, "Adaptation: Creating Opportunity in a Changing Environment." As Co-President of SWIB, I am looking forward to the amazing keynote speakers we will hear from, including Andrea Jung of Avon and Terri Dial, both incredible women who have adapted throughout their careers with great success. Now that I think about it, I guess the time I'm having right now isn't so hard after all!