Monday, July 29, 2013
Friday, July 26, 2013
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
MBA fairs are intimidating, plain and simple. After all, they are massive, overwhelming, and complete with seemingly endless superficial conversations where you have to “sell yourself” over and over again. They usually occur after your workday, when you are already tired and hungry as it is, and you may have a coffee stain on your shirt from the morning but you didn’t have time to change clothes. You might even be tempted to dismiss the MBA fair entirely, opting for your long sought after post-work exercise class, happy hour, or a Bravo TV marathon. My challenge is this, ladies: use the below tips and tricks to walk into your next MBA fair with swag, make solid impressions when you’re there, and walk out with results.
- Schools—You should review the list of schools attending, and narrow down that list to top preference and secondary preference schools. There is typically only 1-2 hours for mingling amongst the school booths, and much of your time at the fair may be spent waiting in line to talk to recruiters. Therefore, you should have a strategy for approaching your top 3-5 schools first that you will definitely meet with before leaving, and approaching your secondary list of schools if there is time.
- Specific Questions—MBA fairs are nowhere near as formal as interviews, but similar to an interview, they are opportunities for you to ask some specific questions that you should have prepared in advance. I will never forget how mortified I was when I asked a school which semester MBA candidates typically study abroad, only to be corrected by the recruiter that the school is on the quarter system. Details like these are basic! To be your most polished self, come armed with several questions you’d like to ask specifically in advance.
- Invites to Events in your Area—If you live in a major city, chances are that your top schools may have receptions, panels, and information sessions with alumni and recruiters in your area. At many MBA fairs, there will be handouts with follow-on event information, or recruiters may provide you with an invitation to a future event.
- Invites to Events on Campus—In addition to getting information about when the best time is to visit campus, you may receive invitations to specific events on campus. For example, while at the Forte Forum 2012 in the Washington, DC area, the Colombia Business School recruiter notified me about the “Spotlight On” series that the MBA program puts on. This series is open to recruits, and features high-profile business individuals who speak to students and the community on campus. I most likely wouldn’t have known about this opportunity without meeting the recruiter at the fair, which in turn provided me with a more targeted time to visit campus and attend a “Spotlight On” event which appeals to me.
- Informational Interviews—Some fairs, such as at the QS MBA World Fair, offer you the opportunity to sign-up for informational interviews with school recruiters in a one-on-one setting during the week leading up to the MBA fair. While not all schools at the fair will participate in this aspect, this can still be a great opportunity to practice for your school interviews and ask broad questions that any MBA program can speak to.
Monday, July 8, 2013
Our guest blogger is Ashley Wells, a member of Forte's MBA Launch program for MBA applicants. She is excited to share her perspectives on the process of pursuing an MBA.
- People who care about your GMAT success—These are your friends who understand your goals and level of commitment. They may be taking the test at the same time or have taken it before. Your parents most likely fall into this category. They want you to succeed, understand your frustrations, encourage you, and tell you to keep going when you want to quit.
- People who could care less about your GMAT success—These people are the ones who encourage you to go away for a beach trip in the middle of your study sprint and want you to go out on Saturday nights instead of staying in and studying. It is wise to politely decline their text message, email, and phone invitations about 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time, you should go out with them for your own personal wellbeing. Being around people whose face would not change if you told them you got a 300 or an 800 score can be liberating.
- People who you do not know but commiserate with you and the GMAT—These individuals are strangers who you can find on the world wide web. I referenced many study support sites, mainly the blog on GMATClub.com, to hear honest GMAT stories and struggles from people all over the world taking the test. There are inspiring stories with titles such as “From 450 to 780,” and ones less positive but that are real and let you know you are not alone in your frustrations.
Good luck studying!
I’d love to hear your feedback and questions in the comments section below.
Ashley Wells is a Strategy and Operations consultant at Deloitte. She is currently enrolled in Forte’s inaugural MBA Launch program for women. She is an MBA 2014 candidate hopeful and is excited to share her experiences and insights throughout the MBA application process. She has a degree in Political Science from The George Washington University.
Monday, July 1, 2013
- It is required for you to pursue the MBA in order to move up—It may seem like a no-brainer. Everyone at a certain level takes off for the MBA and you are expected to file suit. Before you start penning your applications, take a breath and think about who you look up to in the firm or organization. Regain the enthusiasm of your first year in the workforce and your energy for networking, and take time to meet with these individuals to ask them about: their MBA path, how expectations of you will be different post-MBA, and what skills you should be looking to gain through the MBA experience. This guidance can be helpful to you during the application process and will help you keep perspective throughout your MBA experience.
- It is not necessarily a requirement to move up—This is a slightly tougher position to be in, as the path is less defined. In most cases, there will be executives and partners in your field who don’t have MBAs, and who pursued interesting life paths to get where they are today without the degree. There also may be an “unspoken” skew towards the MBA degree, where these “interesting” leaders are actually the exceptions to the rule and in fact most leaders in your field do have the degree and have found it useful. Talk to both those who do and don’t have the MBA under their belt to offer you contrasting perspectives on the necessity or advantage of the degree.