Three questions to ponder before applying to an MBA Program

This fall, thousands of MBA-hopefuls will take the GMAT, attend career fairs, and write a handful of essays in hopes of landing a spot in a MBA program. As Poets and Quants notes, there are plenty of reasons why people choose to forgo a salary, take out loans and pursue a full-time MBA. While the allure of higher salaries, better jobs, and actualizing career dreams seems appealing, many applicants struggle to with understanding why getting an MBA is right for them.

As a 2 Year MBA student at the University of North Carolina Chapel-Hill (UNC Kenan-Flagler) I often get asked how I made the decision to pursue an MBA. To those of you thinking this might be the next step in your career, I’ve outlined three questions that will help you decide if it makes sense for you to pursue an MBA.

Why do I want an MBA right now?

Understanding the factors that are pushing you in this direction is a critical piece to determining if this is the right career decision. What’s driving you to leave a paying job, take out loans, and forgo salary for 2 years? Are you unhappy with your job? Do you have a desire to pursue another career? Do you need it to advance in your current company, field, or industry? There are many valid answers to this question, the key is understanding what is driving you.

After working in tax and finance roles before business school, Evan Speece, a 2 Year MBA Candidate at Duke University (Fuqua) wanted to round out his business acumen, leadership skills, and learning experiences to tackle bigger challenges and opportunities in his career. Here is what Evan had to say:

“One of the reasons why I was attracted to an MBA was for the opportunity to learn from and with the best and brightest. In a Top-MBA program, you are constantly required to “break out of your shell” and deliver recommendations, strategies and decisions with confidence. However, at any top business school, you will also be amazed by the sheer talent and experience of your peers. An MBA will teach you how to collaborate effectively with those who may possess greater talents in certain areas than you. This skill of confident humility, which is difficult for many MBAs to master given their extremely ambitious mentalities, is immensely important as you re-enter the workforce and become part of and eventually manage teams with very diverse skillsets and personalities.”

Where do I want to go to next?

Once you understand why you want to leave your job and go to a full-time program you next want to determine where you want to go when upon graduation. It’s helpful to map out a few possible “next steps” and then evaluate the pros and cons of each step. The other element of this is the feasibility of what you decide as your next step. “Is it reasonable to believe that my experience combined with an MBA from X school help me get to where I want to go?” This question serves as your short-term “north star.” Many students’ answer to this question changes when they go through an MBA program. This is normal and in when you go through an immersive and transformational learning experience. While it’s okay to change your short-term answer to this question, you should always have something you are working towards.

Here is how Jason Perocho, a 2 year MBA Candidate at the University of North Carolina (UNC Kenan-Flagler)decided upon where to go next:

“I made the decision to transition out of the military and after research and reflection I decided to focus my career search in marketing. Unfortunately for me, most veterans find themselves moving into operations roles due to the general management experience we received while in the service. As such, in order to achieve this career goal, an MBA was necessary right now so I could obtain the hard skills necessary of a marketer as well as build a network in my future industry.”

What will an MBA do for career development?

This is a broader and perhaps more long-term question about where you want your career to be like in the future. At later points in your career, where do you want to be? What are the kinds of jobs, skills, roles, or experiences do you want to have in your career? Projecting your career many years out might be difficult because so many things can change. It’s totally acceptable of this goal is a little bit broader, abstract or ambiguous. Most importantly, it’s important to have some semblance of end point, or at least a sense of the kinds of stops you’d like to make along the way.

Upon entering New York University (Stern), Nick Johnson, a 2 Year MBA Candidate, didn’t have his entire career mapped out in front of him. However, he had a list of short term goals along with good sense of how his MBA would help him develop his longer-term career. Here is what Nick had to say:

Coming into business school, I was aware of my core strengths and development areas. While I have spent my time honing my strengths and filling the gaps in my skillset, I’ve realized it’s impossible for anyone to have everything worked out by the time they graduate. The MBA is helpful in “learning how to learn” so that later in your career when you do need to pick up a new skill or opportunity you have the ability to do so. Furthermore, an additional benefit of the MBA is the network and career development. An MBA is a large step forward in your career, but most people will have a couple more steps post-MBA in their career journey. Having a strong network of Alum and career management resources to support helps you make these steps.

These are only a handful of questions that can help you make your decision. What questions helped you make your decision to get an MBA? I’d love to hear in the comments some of the questions you thought about before entering business school

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Five lessons for First-Year MBA students

Almost one year ago I began my first day of classes of my MBA Program at the University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler).While I was aware of the challenges and opportunities that were in front of me I couldn’t reasonably predict for things to happen how they did. Over the next few weeks, many first-year MBA students will embark on their first day of classes, and as a reflect upon what I learned in the past year I asked myself what insights could I share that might be helpful to those who are embarking on their first few days of class as an MBA student? What could I share that would have helped in my endeavors or in the endeavors of the newest crop of MBA students. Here is what I came up with:

If you think you’re missing out on something, you probably aren’t – Business school presents so many awesome opportunities. Whether it’s studying abroad, entrepreneurial ventures, or insert amazing theme party of the week here there is a never ending flow of awesome things to do. As things heat up you will inevitably talk with your classmates about who is pursuing what, and it will be easy to go with the herd mentality or overload yourself because you don’t want to “miss out.” From my experience, there is always another opportunity around the corner, so don’t get too much FOMO from not pursuing something. The great thing about business school is that there are so many great options and opportunities to pursue, which is exactly why I believe that even when you think you are missing out, you probably aren’t. Sure, there are definitely things that may seem (and probably are) “once in a lifetime” but there are probably a lot fewer than you will originally think there are. And rest assured, the 80’s theme party will come back around…

Evaluate your priorities, then pursue them relentlessly – Your priorities will help you evaluate which opportunities to chase and which to pass on. For some of you, you will know these immediately and you will be off and running. For others, you came to business school because you wanted to find out. Both options are OK, especially because experiences like business school can sometimes alter your priorities. It’s perfectly acceptable (and good practice) to test and refine what your priorities are. However, once you know what they are it’s important to pursue them relentlessly. Your priorities will guide you in your decision making of how to allocate your time, which truly becomes your most important asset. Not coming to terms with your priorities will either leave you paralyzed by choice or overextended into too many things, neither of which are great places to be in. However, honing in on your priorities can be extremely helpful as it will always serve as your gut check or litmus test for pursuing that class, study abroad program, or internship – if it aligns with your priorities, go for it. If not, perhaps its best to pass.

Be OK with your Peaks and Valleys – Knowing your Peaks (Strengths) and Valleys (Weaknesses) is not only a great exercise of self-awareness but helpful for your personal learning and development plan while in business school. There are plenty of debates out there as to the strategies you should use for personal development and self-improvement and you can and should choose the strategy that works best for you. I’d like to offer you my own: Make the peaks as high as they can possibly be, and bring your valleys up to a
level. Now, since we are in business school we will often come across the handful of individuals who are just so incredibly talented and gifted that everything comes easy to them. That wasn’t me. For me, my valleys were the areas that involved heavy formula manipulation and quantitative concepts, so finance and operations problem sets were going to be difficult for me. But on the flip side, my strengths were anything that was analytical or involved connecting high-level disparate concepts together, and more qualitative in nature – I could whip up summary on an HBR case without blinking an eye. My focus during the year was to get use part of my time getting weak areas to a point where I was comfortable enough and then using the rest of my time focusing on getting my peaks as high as they could possibly be.

Know (and accept) yourself for who you are – Top MBA programs are littered with high-performers, overachievers and rockstars – and that’s a great thing. I believe there’s no better way to learn than to surround yourself by the absolute best of the best. Not to mention, these are the kinds of people you want in your Alumni network after you graduate! However, the challenge with being around exceptionally talented people is that you can easily feel inadequate when you begin to compare yourself to others, especially when you have to start applying to internships or opportunities that you know your classmates are gunning for. Maybe your study teammate had a higher GMAT, or GPA, or perhaps in Finance everyone else seemed like they understood CAPM. (First, who cares if they had a higher GMAT score, and second, they definitely didn’t understand CAPM)

Jokes aside, the reality is that everyone in your program has exceptional talents along with a bevy of opportunities to develop skills they don’t currently have. What may come easy to you might be hard for someone else. And when MBA programs are at their best classmates help one another overcome this challenges by teaching, sharing and collaborating with one another so everyone learns together. The key is to be honest and comfortable with who you are and to be confident that you bring a set of talents to the table that others can benefit from. While it can be easy to feel insecure or to constantly compare yourself to others, if you accept who you are and what you bring to the table I think you will be more comfortable and confident with taking advantage of opportunities to share your strengths but also, ask for help in developing your weaknesses.

Ignore the herd – march to the tune of your own drum – While it is sometimes really hard to ignore the herd mentality, choosing something you think you should do because you think everyone else is doing it will only makes you follow a path that others want, and not necessarily a path that you want. Not everyone was made to be an investment banker or consultant, or marketer, so if it’s not who you are or what you want then find what it is you want. It is easier said than done, and often takes confidence, I’ve often found that it feels more worthwhile and rewarding to pursue a challenge that you truly believe in and deem worthy, as opposed to one that you feel you ought to be chasing because others are chasing it.

Do you agree? Is there anything I missed? What did you wish you knew before starting classes at your MBA program?

5 things I learned from my summer at Salesforce

Reposting this from a blogpost that I wrote for Salesforce.com

Alex Dea is an MBA Candidate from the University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler) For the past 11 weeks, he has spent the summer working for salesforce.com on the Platform Product Marketing team. Here, Alex shares some of the takeaways from his summer at salesforce.com.

So you might be wondering, “Why salesforce.com?” I came to business school with an interest in working with technology that drives transformative impact. The fact that salesforce.com’s products are rewiring the way that companies of all sizes conduct business on a day-to-day basis and are used by thousands of businesses across the world sold me on the opportunity.

In addition, I felt that salesforce.com had a great mission and set of values that its employees believed in and strove to achieve. And last but not least, I was impressed with the people. The people I met in the interview process were intelligent but friendly, hard-working but down-to-earth, and able to take their work seriously without taking themselves too seriously. For me, it was a no-brainer!

So without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned during the past couple of months:

1. Speak with conviction

There were countless times throughout the summer where people asked for my opinion on a project, idea, or discussion. Even though I was an MBA intern, people wanted my thoughts and insights. Regardless of your title or background, it’s important to have an opinion and to speak with confidence and conviction when you share it with others.

2. Selling is a team sport

One of the main goals of the product marketing team is to support the efforts of our sales team. It was amazing to see the outputs of work being used by the sales team on a daily basis. Furthermore, getting their feedback and insight into their customer conversations was enlightening, as it shed light on how challenging the selling process can sometimes be. No wonder there is a need for software like Salesforce!

3. Culture matters

People here are excited and passionate about protecting and celebrating the salesforce.com company culture. While it’s easy to recognize the perks and benefits, it was incredibly motivating to see others get excited about coming to work every day and speak so passionately about their time at Salesforce.

4. Tell a story

One thing a great product marketer does is take abstract or ambiguous concepts and makes them simple to understand. One of the ways salesforce.com Product Marketers do this everyday is through the use of stories. Being able to succinctly tell a story that resonates with an audience and sets off a “lightbulb” or “aha” moment is a difficult task—but when it’s done correctly, it creates a deep and engaging connection between you and your audience. The art of telling a story is applicable to many areas of life, even beyond of the realm of product marketing.

5. Stand Up

One of the rewarding aspects of being a product marketer at salesforce.com is you get to collaborate with people across the entire organization. Often, it means getting others input or support, or reaching and introducing yourselves to people from different teams and getting their buy-in, time, or resources on a particular project or initiative. At first, this can be intimidating or daunting—nobody wants to be the person who is always asking others for help! However, I’ve found when you take the time to reach out to others and explain how what you are working on will impact the company, customer, and individual people are understanding and willing to collaborate and help achieve the desired objective.

 

MBA Intern Insights: What I learned from our SVP of HR

Yesterday, our SVP of Human Resources did a lunch and learn talk for our intern class. In addition to learning about her background and professional career, she talked about a myriad of topics such as her approach to recruiting and talent development, our company culture, the impact of the millennial generation on the workplace, and the future of work. Finally, she wrapped up with a Q&A session and answered a handful of questions from us interns. While she spoke for about 45 minutes I wish she had gone longer. I enjoyed hearing what she had to say and learned some interesting insights about what the company is doing to build its culture, how it plans to attract, develop and retain talent, and what it takes to be successful as a professional employee. I thought I’d share a few of the highlights:

On the impact of “Gen-Y” and Millennials on the workforce:
– The impact is real. Millennials and their ideas, attitudes, desires and demands truly are shifting the workforce. While some of this might seem overblown (or sweeping generalizations) there is definitely truth to what they say about how millennials view the work and the workforce and as they continue to join the workforce the impact continues to grow. Millennials want to do meaningful work, they also truly believe its important to work for a company that shares their ideas, beliefs or values, and if they see that the company doesn’t they’ll look for another company that does. As such, Salesforce has focused on developing a set of values and beliefs and sticking to them. Furthermore, these beliefs and values tend to appeal to many young professionals which helps it attract top young talent.

On what makes a great potential job candidate:
– Technical competency (aka being able to actually execute your work) in her mind was simply tablestakes. Salesforce (like many other top companies) has a very rigorous recruiting process and there are plenty of talented candidates who don’t get hired, so simply being able to do the technical aspects of the job is a given.
– Passion – Passion to her was important. Simply put, are you passionate, or at least incredibly dedicated/committed to something? Can you talk about it in an interview in a way that demonstrates a steadfast and unwavering commitment to something? She values passion or dedication because it shows conviction and follow through, two things that are critical to being able to succeed.
– Airport test – The age old airport test is also important to her. For those of you don’t know the airport test it goes like this: if you were stranded in an airport and your flight was delayed for 12 hours would you want to spend 12 hours with that other person?

On advice for finding your dreamjob:
Crush it – no matter what it is – Her #1 piece of advice for being successful and eventually finding your dream job was to just crush whatever task or project you are given. She told us that “you will not love every job you have, and even in jobs that you love you may have days when you hate it.” As an example, she talked about a job she had early on in her career and everything about the job was horrible. Even though she dreaded coming to work. Despite this, she was able to do the job and did it well, and was better off for the experience. In addition to knowing that it was over, she also felt incredibly accomplished (and proud) for having won. In her words, “you can slog through just about anything.”
Have a purpose – In order to eventually find your dream job, she said it was important to have a purpose or key rationale for what you are doing. When you’re out slogging through something try to find a reason or purpose for slogging through it. Or even if you aren’t slogging, she suggested taking the time to think through the key things you want to get out of whatever role you are currently in. Surely, it is hard to see when we are moving forward how to connect the dots, but having a purpose can serve as a compass/guide to help us navigate our careers, and when we look back and connect the dots, that purpose will be the thing that weaves our experiences together.
Accept that it might not happen right away – As I said before, dreamjobs don’t always happen immediately. Sometimes it takes a few wrong ones to find the right one. She encouraged us to be patient, especially considering how often people change jobs/roles in their careers.

While the talk lasted for just under an hour I felt I gained a lot of great insight in such a short time. It made me yet again appreciate the intelligence and insight of my colleagues With only 5 more weeks left in my internship, I hope to use some of my time to continue meeting and connecting with other colleagues and hopefully gaining more information into the company, and perhaps more importantly, how I can find my dream job.

Early thoughts on my MBA internship experience

It’s been awhile since I last made an update but since I’m 25% of my way through my summer internship I figured it was time to check in and report back on life in San Francisco.

 

3 weeks ago I began interning on the product marketing team for a tech company in San Francisco. After getting an orientation and spending a few days getting familiar with my team I was ready to roll. I find myself in a pretty unique and special position for the rest of the summer. Right now, my team is pretty busy and is also short staffed. As such, they are treating me like a regular full-time team member, and have given me the green light to work on pretty much anything I have an interest in provided it contributes to progress for the team. So while I have been given some assignments for the summer, things are constantly changing which presents great opportunity. For my company, product marketing is responsible for the marketing messaging surrounding the product and ensuring that the story that gets told externally is relevant and engaging to potential customers. Product Marketing also helps our sales teams so they have the information, tools and resources they need to effectively sell to potential customers. Finally, they focus heavily on lead generation which then gets turned over to the sales team to act upon, and they do this in a number of different ways (content, webinars, events, etc.) Working for a top tech company on a product marketing team with a great new product is an exciting opportunity, and it’s been interesting to learn about how marketing works in a technology, B2B, enterprise software based environment. While I could go into the nuances of this (working in B2B Marketing vs B2C) I’d like to spend the time to share a few key lessons that I’ve learned thus far. While it’s only been three weeks, I’m confident that what I will share with you will still hold true for the remainder of the internship.

 

 

Business school prepares you well – So far, I feel pretty comfortable with what I have done and what is expected of me at my company. While some of this is attributed to my past work experience and prior education, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give some credit to the rigor of your first year of a full-time MBA program. After going through a year of “the core,” study teams, group projects, mid-terms and finals, activities, recruiting (and hopefully some social time!) Working Monday-Friday for the majority of the day has been fairly manageable thus far. This isn’t to say that it’s been easy, but having gone through one year where I had to relentlessly manage every hour of every day has made the first few weeks seem much more manageable. While I work hard during the day while I’m at work, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my down time after work by going for a run, meeting up with friends, or simply catching up on TV or reading on the couch – things I definitely wasn’t able to do as much of during the school year. On weekends, it’s been great to unwind, explore San Francisco and meet up with new and old friends. While I’m sure I will at some point have my share of long or busy days, I felt that the rigor and discipline that the MBA program demanded prepared me well to handle my work week hours thus far.

 

Getting up to speed quickly will only help your chances of success –Prior to working for this company I had some solid experience working with their products and getting a sense of their business and operations. Furthermore, I actually had 2 phone calls with my manager before I started to get a better sense of the team and what they were working on. As such, the time it took me to get up to speed was a little bit less than the average. This enabled me to hit the ground running and begin progress on my projects much sooner than I think my manager had expected. As such, they were very impressed with the work I had done and gave me some additional responsibilities upon seeing what I was able to produce. Whether it’s through past experience or going above and beyond in taking the time to learn about the company, the team and your specific role, the ability to “get smart quickly” will only enable you to succeed in your internship.

 

Learning how to scope and manage your work is a helpful skill – On paper, a 12-week internship seems like a long time. The reality is that it’s much shorter than it seems. First off, I’m already 1/3 of the way through the internship – and more importantly, summer is usually a time when many employees go on vacations (July 4th is coming up) and finally, when you throw in the fact that you usually have a few days-week set aside for an orientation, the time it could take to get up to speed, finishing your actual project and the date of your end-of internship presentation it suddenly becomes a lot less than 12 weeks. Learning how to manage and scope your project(s) is a critical skill, one that is developed through experience. Ideally, it is best to go into your final internship presentation feeling comfortable and confident, not rushed and hurried.

 

 

Leaving work at the door – In my previous job as consultant, I worked a lot of hours and at all parts of the week. While we’d typically leave at somewhat reasonable hours (anywhere from 7-9pm) it often meant going back to the hotel, eating dinner and opening the laptop  or returning home from the office and doing a few hours of work before bed. While my teams always did their best to afford flexibility based on our schedules, it often made it difficult to really step outside and “leave work at the door.” Leaving work early on a Friday meant I’d have to open the laptop back up on Sunday afternoon. Or, deciding to go to the gym on a Thursday meant I’d be up fairly late on Thursday night. At the time, these may have seemed like small victories that came with working in a client service role, but this summer I’ve really made an effort to “leave work at the door.” Under this mantra, I stay at the office as long as I need to in order to get my work done. This may mean staying later during some nights of the week but it also means that when I do get home I don’t have to think or do any work. Furthermore, it also means that when I am home on weekends I am free to do what I choose without having to think about scheduling events around work. It’s been four weeks and I have really enjoyed this mantra. Trying to finish my work before leaving the office has caused me to focus my efforts during the day to make sure I accomplish what I need to get done so I can leave at a reasonable hour. It has also made the time not working more enjoyable and allowed me to really be present and attentive to whatever else I am doing. As a result, I truly feel relaxed when I am not at work, and have been able to do get more done outside of work, such as seeing friends more regularly, reading books more often, and working out on a consistent basis.

 

Sales and Product rule all – Even though it’s only been four weeks I’ve learned a great deal about the software and technology business. Among the most interesting things is that sales and product really do rule all. In reality, this makes sense – in order to generate revenue and profits you need to sell. Furthermore, you need to have something (a product) to sell in order to generate money. While the work of everyone here ultimately serves the greater good of the organization, sales and product development really drive the organization forward while the rest of the organization supports and enables these two functions. For instance, in my role as a product marketer, one of my projects is to develop new sales training materials so our Account Executives are more informed on some of the technical aspects of our product. Someone else on my team spends 2 hours every two weeks running training sessions for Sales Engineers specifically on the differences of selling to a Line of Business Executive versus a technology executive. Surely, we are all in this together and working towards the collective efforts of the organization, but at tech and software companies’ product and sales really does lead the way.

 

I have 8 weeks left but I know that time will fly by. It’s been a positive experience thus far and although I’ve learned many things thus far I know there are plenty more to come. 

MBA reflections: 3 key insights from my first year in business school

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of leading our Class of 2016 Admitted Students weekend. The purpose of this weekend was to allow potential admits a first-hand look into life at UNC Kenan-Flagler and the opportunities that they could have if they choose to accept their admission offer. With the help of some good old Carolina weather (how could you not want to come here when it’s 80 and sunny out) we had a successful weekend and we are looking forward to welcoming a talented and diverse class of students for the upcoming year. As the weekend came to a close, I began to reflect on the fact that my first year of business school was 3 weeks away from completion. It’s hard to believe how quickly time has gone by and even more difficult to process just how much has happened over the past 8 months. I feel like there hasn’t been a week where I wasn’t busy running from one thing to the next, and while I certainly could use a bit more sleep, I wouldn’t trade away any of the things that I’ve gotten to do. As I think back about the past 8 months, I’ve developed a number of key takeaways and insights, and I wanted to share a few that might resonate with other MBA students and aspiring MBA students.

 

Number 1: I’m happy with my decision to come to business school – Like many of you, I had quite a journey to business school. I faced some significant challenges early on in the process, spent a ton of time on multiple waitlists, and debated putting off school for another year to try to apply again. I wasn’t 100% sold when I first stepped on campus. I spent significant time early on in the semester wondering if I had made the right decision and often envied the stories told to me by friends at other peer schools. Eventually, I realized that I had an incredible opportunity in front of me and there was a lot to be gained. Because I was initially so on the fence about coming, I was initially hesitant to invest and go all in. Like al things in life, business school, especially at top business schools have so many resources; what you get out of it going to rely on what you put into it. Now that I’m all in, I couldn’t be happier. It didn’t happen overnight, it didn’t come easily, but I’m happy to say that I feel confident in my decision and I’m truly happy to be here.

 

Number 2: FOMO sucks, but life goes on – FOMO, aka Fear of Missing Out, is definitely a real thing, but let’s also acknowledge that at best it’s a First world problem. It takes itself to a whole new level in business school. For some people, Business school is the “last time to do x, or y” and as a result people get caught up in making sure they can do everything on the checklist. I’m here to say while you can go about your MBA experience pursuing that strategy there are many other options that will cause you less stress, heartache, and perhaps less cash.  Sure, it’s definitely true that business school is the time to explore, try new things and perhaps do things that you might not always get the chance to do. But I’m about 95% confident that whatever trip or party or company visit you miss out on there will be another opportunity down the road to do something similar. The FOMO mentality can make every single decision paralyzing, and if you are like me and sometimes struggle with decision making it can be really frustrating. This is why having a clear set of prioritized goals/objectives can help guide you through your decisions on what to pursue.  Trust me, you can’t do everything. If you wish, you can do a lot, but, trying to do it all will only lead to challenge and disappointment.

 

Number 3: Resiliency and persistence lead to opportunity and luck – If you’re pursuing an MBA at a respected business school it probably means you’ve excelled in some way, shape or form in your personal and professional career. It probably also means you’ve had some level of accomplishment or success. Eventually, at some point in business school you’ll mess up, fail, do something wrong, or have something not go your way. It may even happen to you multiple times. Maybe you totally screw up the interview with your favorite company. Or maybe you have a miserable time working on a group project that ends up impacting your grade. It happens, and it’s probably not going to be the last time that it happens in business school and certainly not in life. Business school is an interesting experience because it takes a whole bunch of people who have been moderately to very successful and puts them in situations where the outcome or result will not always end up with a success. (otherwise known to most people as real life) It can be tough sometimes for MBA students who are so used to going out and getting the result that they are aiming for. The good news is that there is a lot to be learned and gained from these experiences. I’d even argue that if you’re not falling down, or messing up it means you might not be stretching yourself to your fullest potential. They key in these situations is to be resilient and persistent. Mess up an interview? Figure out what you did wrong, work on it and make sure you get better before the next one. Not getting the interviews you want? Re-work your resume and cover letters with the help of a 2nd year or the Career Center and try again. I’ve found time and time again that those who choose be persistent and who demonstrate a resiliency through tough times will often benefit from luck and opportunities even when they stumble. Stumbling leads you down roads that you may not have initially considered. If continue to be persistent in your quest, and don’t let the frustration or setbacks bring you down, I think you’ll find that there are opportunities to be had.

 

With only 3 weeks to go in the semester and summer coming right around the corner, I’m excited about the future and the road that lies ahead. Just remember: business school, like life, is what you make of it, and I’m looking forward to getting as much as possible out of this experience..

MBA Reading Roundup: 3/25-Present

Each week, I read quite a few articles on the MBA landscape and I wanted to start sharing these with others. Below is a list of MBA related articles that I came across in the past week

 

CEOs to Business schools: “You’re out of touch” – Hult Labs, part of the Hult business school conducted a survey amongst 90 C-Suite Executives and ogt osme interesting answers .44% of respondents had negative views of business schools and 23% shared a mixed or neutral impression. While you can read the report directly, the top three concerns the executives had about MBA programs were:

1) Doesn’t adequately measure if their students are actually learning new, relevant skills and behaviors.

2) Doesn’t place enough emphasis on building ten critical skills and abilities.

3. Continues to overemphasize theory and should instead concentrate more on simulating real-world experiences.

Can a Sub-700 GMAT take you out? P&Q sheds a little light on the impact of having below 700 GMAT score. In short, while 700 was a great score about 11 years ago, the averages at the Top Business schools are creeping higher and higher, making a 700 much more commonplace and pedestrian today than it once was. For instance, for the Class of 2015 at Wharton, 80% of applicants admitted had a score between 690-760. A former Wharton admissions officer sums it up best, ““We sometimes saw candidates with great professional experience and a strong academic record who had a GMAT score in the mid or even low 600s, but who we believed had all the qualities to flourish in the MBA program and excel as alumni. So despite their GMAT, we fought to see them admitted. But at the top schools the pool of high quality applicants is so deep that it can be hard to justify admitting candidates with below par GMATs.” It is possible to get admitted to a Top 25 MBA program with a lower than 700 GMAT score, but in order to do so you will have to demonstrate you are incredibly exceptional in many other areas of your MBA application.

 

 

The real skinny on Wall Street Pay – Wall Street Oasis, an online forum for those interested in Wall Street released some interesting data on the payscale for investment bankers from Target, Semi-Target, and Non-Target schools. If you’re into investment banking it’s worth a look.

 

Which Business School are you? – A fun Buzzfeed-like quiz to find out which MBA program matches you.