Monday, December 20, 2010

Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation should be the easy part of your application, right? Unlike studying for the GMAT or writing essays, these letters aren’t actually your responsibility to complete. However, they are an important part of your application to business school, and willrequire a significant amount of time and effort from someone else (whoever is writing on your behalf). I found that getting organized and connecting with my recommendation writers early on helped me support them through this process.

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

FINALS…and Recruiting?

It’s finals time at the Tuck School of Business and everyone is hunkered down in their dorm rooms trying to decipher between a deferred tax asset and liability and seeking to understand how to properly hedge one’s stock portfolio. Three finals and two papers stand in my way before two weeks of lying on my parents’ sofa, watching terrible reality television and decompressing from thirteen weeks of intense study groups, quantitative courses and innumerable assignments to be turned into each class every day. However, after receiving an email from our career services office today, I realize my winter break plans might not be as relaxing as I once thought:
“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

Semester-End Reflections

Can you believe it? Less than a week until finals, then case competition, finalizing plans for a student-alumni event and WINTER BREAK! Last time I wrote, I had just begun my first year as an MBA student at Washington University in St. Louis, and now I’m almost a quarter of the way through the program! I don’t have much to say about finals except it’s always nice to know I’m in good company. I do want to tell you about the case competition that I am thrilled to participate in, along with a new and exciting student-alumni endeavor I have started.

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.

Kelly Bien
Forte Fellow Class of 2012
Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis

Friday, December 3, 2010

Giving the Gift of the MBA

Well, December is finally here, and that means finals week! A great end to a great first few months! My first semester at the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College has been filled with new material to master, new friends to meet and new challenges to overcome.

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

MBA Admissions Events for Women

UNC Kenan-Flagler recently hosted an enthusiastic group of prospective MBA women for our annual Women’s Weekend event. The weekend reminded me of how beneficial the women’s events at various Forté Foundation member schools were for me as an applicant. As many of my fellow bloggers have noted, campus visits can help give you a true sense of the culture of the MBA program. Read on for some of the many reasons why on-campus admissions events specifically for women can be a great investment of your time.

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

Exam Season at London Business School

It’s exam period, with final exams scattered across the last four weeks of the autumn term here at London Business School. I want to write about exams because they illustrate three really fundamental characteristics of business school (or at least London Business School):

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’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

Liz Aab, Forte Fellow
London Business School, MBA 2012

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I had an interesting conversation the other day. And then another one. And then another one.

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.

Liz Aab

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halfway Through the First Semester!

Well, we have cleared the halfway point of the first semester here at Kelley. I say “we” and not I, because the camaraderie and support of my classmates has been so fundamental to the experience that I feel as though all of us first years are really making our way through together.
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

Telling your boss you are going back to school?

“Tact” is one of the most important weapons you will need in your “back to school” arsenal. You have finally convinced yourself that it is time to take a break from the corporate world to pursue an MBA; you have slowly accepted the reality of forgone wages and have even begun searching for a new apartment. But wait, when all is said and done, how do you break the news to your supervisor? I say, it depends. Different firms have different cultures – some firms have processes and contracts in place that provide the option for employees to take a leave of absence to pursue higher degrees, while many others don’t. Pursuing an MBA might also be a route for dissatisfied employees or career switchers, in which case your exit notice might not be received with fist pumps and celebrations.
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

Harvard Business School - Forte Sponsor Events

Come visit the campus of Harvard Business School to learn more about our MBA Program. We offer many different campus programs, including Friday lunches with members of the HBS Women’s Student Association, (WSA). You can find more information here or view the WSA calendar.

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


To say that business school is going to stretch you more ways you can imagine is an understatement. There are so many opportunities to be involved with organizations that are aligned with your career interests, talents, and mission in life that after you’ve wrapped up academics and extra-curriculars plus some social time and job searching, you aren’t left with much time to sleep. And that’s a reality in business school, but also part of the fun.
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

Talking About Money

This week in “magic” (Wharton shorthand for MGEC: 621 Managerial Economics) we discussed the concept of expected utility - the idea that our valuation of opportunity is not simply a function of monetary worth but also a reflection of our current assets and preferences. For example, a person with $500,000 in existing wealth will value the same job offer differently than someone with $50,000.
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

*Name changed.
**For those of you interested in learning more about social finance check out the Global Impact Investing Network’s website.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How to Deal with Multiple Acceptances

Tears of joy flooded my eyes when I received my first acceptance call from one of the four schools that I applied to. All the things I worked so hard on—the GMATs, essays, recommendation letters and interviews—had finally paid off. I was going to business school!
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.
Good luck!
Starza Kolman, Forte Fellow
Class of 2012, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Women's Workshop - Forte Sponsor Event

October 29-30, 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

Welcome to Business School – Do you like theme parties?

As I sit down to write my first post about my business school experience, I realize that despite having only been at Tuck for a month, it has felt much longer. We have already taken (and survived) mid-terms for Fall A; been overwhelmed by a deluge of recruiters from every top investment bank, management consultancy and Fortune 500 company in existence; and been asked to join each social and professional club the school has to offer. Yet, what I keep coming back to as an appropriate and helpful topic for this post is exactly the case we are set to discuss in my Leading Individuals and Teams class tomorrow: Building a Network.

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

Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business - Forte Sponsor Event

Georgetown MBA invites prospective MBA students to campus to attend Focus on Diversity – a special program designed engage top-performing Full-Time and Evening MBA candidates from diverse communities. Focus on Diversity welcomes women and members of the International, LGBT, Military, and Minority communities to campus to learn how a Georgetown MBA can support their professional and personal endeavors. The program will be offered on Saturday, November 20 from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the McDonough School of Business Rafik B. Hariri Building on the Georgetown University campus in Washington D.C. To learn more and register, visit us online.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Succeeding in Business School with a Non-Business Background

Just two months into my MBA program and at times it feels like it’s been two years already! Especially on days like today, as I prepare for final exams and realize how much material my classes have covered since they began in early August. At the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin, the first semester of the MBA program is split into two quarters. The quarter I am completing now included Accounting, Finance, Statistics, Microeconomics, and Career Planning. I realize many of you have had extensive experience in these areas, and I have to say, you may have an easier transition into the academics in business school. But if you are like me, coming from an “untraditional” background of non-profit management, jumping back into school after several years, especially into heavily quantitative courses, can be a challenge.

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?

Adrienne Lowenstein
Forté Fellow
Class of 2012, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Wharton Women in Business 2010 Conference - Forte Sponsor Event

The Wharton Women in Business 2010 conference will take place on Friday, October 15, 2010 at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia. The Conference features an impressive array of speakers from a wide variety of professions and industries, including finance, marketing, human resources, general management, and consulting. This year’s Conference, entitled “Perspectives on Success: Visionary Leadership in a Changing World” gives insight into how women from all walks of life have found their path in an evolving business environment. They will share their professional and personal journeys with the conference attendees, providing a diversity of thoughts and opinions on what defines success and how women today can achieve success in their own way. Check out the conference website for more information.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When Getting Your MBA - Considerations for Your Partner

Your life is about to be changed by the MBA experience: you are preparing to expand your knowledge base and your network, to embark on a program that will launch a new and exciting phase of your career. This experience will also change the lives of the people around you, most notably that of your partner. Last year, I started making my list of target programs two weeks after getting engaged. It became very clear that I wasn’t taking my MBA journey alone and that I needed to involve my fiancé in the decision making process. Here are a few of the issues we discussed as I put together my list of target schools:

-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

Wake Forest University Schools of Business - Forte Sponsor Event

Visit and learn more about the Full-time MBA program offered at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business. Access our website for program eligibility, application deadlines, or to plan your campus visit.

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

First-term MBA - Busy is an Understatement

Hello, my name is Jill Krivacek and I am a first year student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I graduated from Notre Dame in 2007 and after working for Countrywide and Bank of America I decided to pursue an MBA to grow my strategic business acumen. The decision to leave a good job at a great company in a tough economy was difficult, but I know that my decision will pay off as I strive to be a senior leader at a Fortune 500 company.
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

Forte MBA Webinar Series starts October 5!

Whether you've attended a Forte Forum or are still undecided about your MBA, a Forte Forum webinar is for you. Continue to do your research, learn about different programs and be prepared for the applications process by participating in our Forum webinar series. Join us for an upcoming webinar to gain all the information you need to know about getting your MBA. From financing your MBA to getting advice on the application 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.

Learn More and Register Today:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

5 Weeks in…an Update from a First-Year MBA

I’m in my fifth week as an MBA student at Washington University in St. Louis, and, wow, have I learned more than I thought was possible! My strategy class has engrained the proper steps of critical thinking into my head, and my microeconomics and statistics classes have filled my brain with charts, formulas and analytical tools useful to solving various management problems. I always live by the mantra that no matter how much I think I know, there’s always something more to learn. After these five weeks, boy, do I have a lot to learn!

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

The Duke MBA Weekend for Women - Forte Sponsor Event

The Duke MBA Weekend for Women will be held December 2-5, 2010, and is tailored to the needs of women interested in management careers in business. The three-day experience is designed to give students an overview of the MBA experience, starting with the admissions process and continuing through the career beyond the MBA. Members of the Association of Women in Business serve as hosts for this event, which incorporates formal and informal interactions with current students, alumni, faculty and administrators. Prospective students who attend the Weekend for Women will have an opportunity to have their admissions interview completed during their visit. Space is limited, so you are encouraged to find out more and submit your questionnaire for consideration today.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Women’s Conference at Simon School at University of Rochester - Forte Sponsor Event

October 24-25
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

How do you know if this is the right time to get an MBA?

From finances to geography to career interests to partners, there are lots of variables to account for when trying to determine the best time to get an MBA. While not the case for everyone, I spent several years considering an MBA. Three months after undergraduate, I found myself in Boston for work and I decided to attend an HBS information session. I felt confident that my undergraduate leadership experience and newly minted associate consultant title made me a viable candidate for the program. Five minutes in to my class visit I was invigorated by the discussion and at the same it hit me that I had nothing to say about any of it. I decided then that I would not apply for my MBA until I felt that I had as much to contribute as I expected to gain.

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

Apply in the Sky introduces the smart way to manage your MBA applications

Applying to business school is remarkably time-consuming and stressful, even for the savviest applicants. But it can also be a valuable and enlightening process – characterized by months of self-reflection that encourages you to synthesize thoughts on past experiences and future goals. At Apply in the Sky, we’re former applicants who understand your hopes and challenges… and have experienced the pain points in the process. Below are three tips on smarter ways to manage your applications, based on our personal experiences:
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 (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

Mills College Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business - Forte Sponsor Event

Preparing women for leadership roles in business: Information Sessions

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 Light refreshments will be provided.

Initial Reactions of a Brand New MBA

I have never felt quite as lost as I have these first few weeks at Indiana University Kelley School of Business, and that statement is coming from a JD/MBA who has already been through the first two years of law school. Assignments for all eight classes were difficult to find and even harder to organize in my head. I have never had a business class, beyond a little accounting, and so a lot of the assignments were very intimidating. On top of assignments and life organization skills, we have an aggressive career services schedule and networking events to attend. The rigor is starting to affect everyone, but it is also uniting us as partners, “in this together”, so to speak. I remember the same dynamic from the first year of law school. You depend on those who are in the same uniquely stressful situation as a support system and as an outlet, and great friendships supported by an innate understanding form.

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

To those with an “interrupted” resume...

Congratulations on choosing to tackle the MBA application! Undoubtedly, there are many of you who may be a little nervous about the process and your specific application. I hope I can allay some of your concerns by sharing some areas of my application that caused me some anxiety.

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

Ross School of Business at Michigan’s Visit Day for Women - Forte Sponsor Event

Friday, November 5, 2010
Register today!

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

Yale Events for Women - Forte Sponsor Event

Fall Friday for Women at Yale SOM
October 1, 2010, 9am-6pm EDT
Event Registration
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
Event Registration
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

Reflections and Advice on the MBA Application Journey

The first rule of applying for an MBA is that preparing your applications is always going to take longer than you expect… Planning is everything, especially if you’re applying to multiple schools. You will not only need to dedicate time to researching schools and programmes, but also to meeting students and alumni where possible; all this amidst an already hectic work schedule! Let’s start with the GMAT. The most important advice I can give you is to practice computerised tests (you usually get a few with a good GMAT book or find further information on; they’re worth their cost in time and money and prepare you for what the test is really like. I would suggest taking the GMAT as you are serious about an MBA as there is a lot of deadline-related pressure with essays, letters and interviews. In hindsight I wish I’d taken it soon after finishing my undergraduate degree.

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

Simmons School of Management Special MBA Admission Event - Forte Sponsor Event

Two Powerful Events – One Empowering Day

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

Off to a Good Start at London Business School

We just finished our first day of class– which started today at 8:15 am with Understanding General Management, when we reviewed a case where Honda displaced established motorcycle brands in the U.S., and ended at 6:00pm in the computer lab running simulations on statistical data sampling for Data Analysis for Management.

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

NYU Stern School of Business - Forte Sponsor Event

Global Events
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

Goizueta Business School Women's Open House - Forte Sponsor Event

November 13, 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:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Berkeley MBA Women’s Workshop - Forte Sponsor Event

Saturday, October 2, 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

Kelley MBA Events - Forte Sponsor Event

Kelley MBA Events for Women
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 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 To register for the Second Annual Kelley Women's Weekend, contact Analilia Silva in MBA Admissions at 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 If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Brad Rosenwinkel in MBA Admissions at

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth’s 2010 Women in Business Conference - Forte Sponsor Event

“Charting Your Own Course…” The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth’s 2010 Women in Business Conference unites influential professionals, MBA students and prospective applicants in a 2-day event in Hanover, NH that creates an environment for inquiry and challenge as it tackles myriad contemporary business topics. Highlights of this year’s forum include: admissions and student life discussions; a negotiations workshop; a “Gauntlet” experience for rising entrepreneurs; panel discussions on balanced careers, entrepreneurship, international business, corporate citizenship, and board membership; social networking opportunities and two keynote events. Join us for an inspired fall weekend in New England, November 5-7, 2010 at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. For details: or contact our conference co-chairs at

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wharton Women in Business: Visit Days - Forte Sponsor Event

Are you a woman considering your MBA at Wharton? Wharton Women in Business and Wharton's MBA Office of Admissions invite you to join us for a full day of programming, including class visits, an overview of Wharton's many opportunities for leadership, and time to get to know more about Wharton's amazing community of women. We are excited to introduce you to our vibrant and diverse community, and we look forward to welcoming you to campus. Click on a date below to register.
23 September 2010
30 September 2010
14 October 2010
28 October 2010

INSEAD The Business School for the World - Forte Sponsor Event

INSEAD’s full-time MBA programme hosts Information Sessions & Master Classes Worldwide. Click here for events in your country. Join us at one of these events to learn more about our MBA Programme and admissions process, and to meet INSEAD alumni local to you. With two fully-integrated campuses in Europe and Asia and over 70 different nationalities in the classroom, no other business school offers such a multicultural experience. The accelerated 10-month curriculum develops successful, thoughtful leaders and entrepreneurs who create value for their organisations and their communities. Our alumni often say that their year at INSEAD was life-changing. Contact us at

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meet Chicago Booth in Your City - Forte Sponsor Event

Registration is now available for Chicago Booth Admissions Receptions! Chicago Booth’s Admissions Receptions are hosted by a member of the admissions staff and local alumni and consist of a traditional presentation, alumni panel, and networking reception. Chicago Booth Admissions hosts events in over 60 cities around the world each year. These events are a great way to learn about our unique program and to begin determining if Chicago Booth is the right fit for you! Click here for more information and to register for upcoming events.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

UCLA Anderson School of Management: Women in the MBA - Forte Sponsor Event

November 1, 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

McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin - Forte Sponsor Event

Texas MBA Women’s Forum
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

Friday, August 13, 2010

London Business School Global Information Events - Forte Sponsor Event

London Business School holds regular information sessions and networking events at our London campus and in other key locations across the globe.

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 School of Management - Forte Sponsor Event

We invite you to learn more about the MIT Sloan MBA program by attending any of our events. More details and registration information is online.

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


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chicago Booth Evening and Weekend MBA Events - Forte Sponsor Event

Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Diversity events
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

The Johnson School of Management at Cornell - Johnson Women In Business - Forte Sponsor Event

November 11 - 12, 2010 (Deadline to apply is October 4, 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:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon: Women and the MBA Workshop - Forte Sponsor Event

The Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon's Masters Admissions Office and the Tepper Women in Business (TWIB) cordially invite you to Women and the MBA: A Workshop hosted by the Tepper School of Business. This workshop is ideal for all women who are interested in learning more about the MBA, whether business school is an immediate or distant destination. The Women and the MBA workshop offers you a unique opportunity to explore the value of an MBA. You will engage in a variety of presentations and panel discussions focusing on the MBA experience, work/life integration, and the culture specific to the Tepper School. We will even give you helpful hints for your MBA application! You will have an opportunity to interview, attend class, and interact with current students, faculty, alumni, and fellow prospective students.

How to Register: Online registration is available at

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Krystal Brooks in the MBA Admissions Office via email at or at 412-268-9932.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Registration Now Open: Forté Forum Event Series September 13 - October 5

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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Inside the MBA: perspectives from an NYU Stern MBA2 - vol. el fin

I've thought for awhile about what my final (business school blog) words would be. And now that the time is here to put thought to paper, I have a small confession to make - I'm drawing a blank. Well, not quite...I do have these five words stuck in my head: "What goes around, comes around..." And over the last two years, I certainly feel like I've made it all the way around!

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

Inside the MBA: perspectives from an NYU Stern MBA2 - vol. 5

"To thine own self be true" - Polonius, Hamlet Act 1, scene 3.

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

Inside the MBA: perspectives from an NYU Stern MBA2 - Vol. 4

One of my business school friends started a countdown to graduation on her Facebook status last week. 70 days until May 13, 2010 (eek!). This leaves 70 days, give or take, to cement everything I've learned over the last couple of years and to think about how I can apply those lessons over the course of my career.

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

Inside the MBA: perspectives from an NYU Stern MBA2 - Vol. 3

My final semester of business school just started this week and I'm already having a hard time. But why? you may be asking. After all, it's the last semester! A large part of my current difficulty is due to my jet-lag. You see, I spent the better part of my winter break in Australia. One of the unique courses that Stern offers is DBi (Doing Business In), a mini-intensive study abroad course. Australia is one of the most popular offerings, but I had classmates studying all over the world, in India, Hong Kong and Singapore over the break.

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 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!