Student Case

Is it true that attending all but top business schools (for an MBA) is a personal and financial mistake?

Kate:
Since you’ve probably seen me rail on the MBA (despite sending a solid number of candidates in each year), I’m addressing another aspect: the candidate who needs the degree as a check mark. I’ve reframed the question just a touch. If you essentially have to have the MBA for a career step down the line, does it make sense to get just any MBA or should it be top tier?

This is still a challenge for those in the Fortune 500. Big companies still …”

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Tips for Applicants

Test tip

Think the GRE is easier than the GMAT? Think again. If you are doing better at the GMAT practice tests than you are on the GMAT, don't switch to the GRE. GRE isn’t as “easy” as it may seem as the schools seem to prefer higher percentiles for the quant. Remember, the nice thing about Business School admission process is, if the school really wants you, there are ways around a mediocre to lousy GMAT results. Read a student question HERE about practice testing and why to sticking to the GMAT will be more helpful to you in the long run.

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Business and social responsibility.

Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter makes the case that business can help tackle social problems such as healthcare, access to water and climate change. He believes that although the common belief is that economical and social problems can be profitable for businesses, providing a solution to these problems will be the true benefit to businesses in the long run. "Having a safer working environment actually, and avoiding accidents, it makes the business more profitable, because it's a sign of good processes."

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Application tip

BUSINESS SCHOOL TIP - For Round 1:
Last week you asked for the letters. If you haven't already given your writers their packets, get that done before mid-August if you can. June-August is slower at most firms. Once School starts, families and frenzy are back. Help your letter writers do their best work by getting this done in August.

For everyone:
The schools are experimenting with different essays and short answers again! I like this one from Columbia. Most schools have something similar. If it isn't on the application, you'll definitely need it for the interview.What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

Examples of possible responses:
“Work in business development for a media company.”
“Join a strategy consulting firm.”
“Launch a data-management start-up.”

Getting ahead.

Getting ahead in your career or school can feel great, but don't forget the benefits of socialization every now and again. Meeting together with one another -- whether it's friends, family or even coworkers -- can oftentimes refresh you before tackling the next project, or come back to the same task with more relaxation and clarity. "To maximize the benefit we get from socializing, Vanderkam encourages readers to set "relationship priorities," the same way they'd set priorities at work. She writes: "Few people would show up at work at 8 a.m. with no idea about what they'd do until 1 p.m., and yet people will come home at 6 p.m. having given no thought to what they'll do until 11 p.m."

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