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.