Join me on Magnifi and connect for a free brief consultation.
Researching MBA programs can be a daunting task. Most of the time you are better off talking to someone live. Traveling MBA fairs is one way to get in front of several MBA programs without the need to travel far.
Check out the QS World MBA Tour. They offer tour stops all around the world including 23 currently scheduled in the US and Canada alone.
While there you can receive an admissions’ profile view, learn about GMAT Prep, get your resume checked, and visit the 30+ schools in attendance (depending on your location).
I only recommend one GMAT program. And I recommend it because I truly believe it is the best. I want you to be able to benefit from my experience, where I spent 10 weeks and $1600 on another program that left me 70 points short of my goal after the instructor quit half-way through. This program helped me get into HBS…
One problem with most GMAT prep courses out there is they don’t adapt to you, the test taker. They force you to spend the same amount of time on the things you already know and the things you are just learning. Already, mastered Geometry?…Too bad, plan on giving them ten hours of your life understanding the differences between triangles and squares. Need to work on Reading Comprehension?…Not until you work through all your Sentence Correction! …and by the way…does it really make sense to study for a computer adaptive test using a printed set of books and worksheets? I don’t think so.
Ok, maybe they aren’t so bad, but personally, I found a ton of value in identifying my strengths and improving my weaknesses.
Hence, reason #1 I recommend The Economist: GMAT Tutor: Their advanced learning technology adapts to your strengths and weaknesses so you can focus on what you need to know.
Your GMAT prep has to go with you. In order to get the 100 hours of prep that I recommend, you will need to be able to study anywhere. Bus, train, or while you bottle feed your newborn, you need a program that minimizes the life disruption by utilizing your downtime.
Reason #2: You can take The Economist with you anywhere with seamlessly integrated Android and iOS apps.
The technology from The Economist GMAT Tutor is great, but ultimately it isn’t good enough. You shouldn’t trust a computer to be the only grader on your AWA practice exams and you are not going to maximize your score if you don’t develop a test day strategy. You are going to need a human for both of these things.
Reason #3: The Economist GMAT Tutor offers excellent live support and every plan includes one-on-one tutoring.
Finally, who am I again? Why should you listen to me? You need some reassurance that if you spend this kind of money and do the work, you are going to get what you pay for.
Reason #4: The Economist GMAT Tutor has the best guarantee I have seen (up to 70 points improvement or your money back) and you can try it yourself risk-free for 7 days. There is your reassurance.
If you are on this blog, chances are you are looking to attend a primarily English-language business school. Also, chances are English is your second or third language and we all know English is not an easy language. Is this causing some anxiety? Don’t fear…
Verbal and Written Participation in MBA Programs:
Not all English programs are going to feel the same to a non-native speaker. It comes down to how you are going to be graded. Heavy case-based programs like my alma-mater, HBS or University of Virgina’s Darden, are going to derive 50% of your grade from your verbal participation in the case discussions. Of course, nearly every program is going to have some case-based classes, but these two programs contain greater than 80% cased-based classes. That might feel like a lot if you are struggling to keep up. Discussions can move very quickly, and if you are still translating English into your native language in your head, the discussion will likely have moved on by the time you formulate a response. This can really hurt your ability to participate and lead to low grades and dissatisfaction.
The other 50% of your grade at HBS is going to come from written case analysis. Generally, this is less of a problem for most people because instructors provide ample time for you to formulate a thoughtful response.
Business schools will adapt their admission practices to meet the needs of their program, but most business schools do offer a minimum TOEFL (or similar score) requirement.
The English language part of the admissions process doesn’t end with you meeting the minimum requirement. Your communication and English skills will be assessed throughout the admissions process: as your writing skills will be evaluated in your essays, your verbal communication will be tested in the interview, and the verbal section of the GMAT will test your reading comprehension.
Most schools will wave TOEFL requirements for anyone who attended an undergraduate university taught entirely in English. If you did not attend such a program, you should make sure you get that minimum score or score near the median (if a minimum score isn’t supplied).
There are plenty of online and printed resources for prepping for the GMAT, below you will find some links to some highly rated resources:
Alternatively, if you don’t want to limit your studying to cramming for the TOEFL or just want to brush up on your English skills before heading off to school, check out some of the advanced offerings from services like Babbel.
Hope this helps and Good Luck!
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
Inspired me to start my own micro-business.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Real leaders perform best under pressure.
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by
Mandatory reading for anyone starting a new business relationship.
The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth by Clayton Christensen
Clay is HBS royalty and The Innovator’s Solution is his most practical guide for business managers.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Know when to stop losses (i.e. Don’t chase bad money with good money).
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Easily my favorite business book of all time. Once got me out of a speeding ticket.
Leadership is not about being the boss. It is about inspiring others to follow your direction. If you have direct supervisory experience, great! If not, think of situations where you influenced others without a position of authority. This can be an even more powerful example for a MBA applicant.
2. Tell us about your most meaningful leadership experience and what role you played. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?
It was midnight in Japan. My team was in the process of completing the improbable, reconfiguring our Western European accounting system, a task that had previously taken 6 years. However, we had advantages: I had assembled an all-star team, had built momentum in Eastern Europe, and had been given motivation. Our Chief Accounting Officer asked for this project to be finished in six weeks, which came as a surprise. I was scheduled to be in Kobe, Japan to train engineers and accountants on the processes I had designed over the last year. During the day, I trained my Japanese colleagues, and at night, I returned to the hotel to lead my team in the US and Europe.
When I joined the company, Eli Lilly & Co. had 44 affiliate countries disconnected from its central accounting system, Systems Applications Products (SAP). My task was to partner with each country’s leadership, implement SAP, and supervise the data migration of 35,000 Fixed Asset records. This position, especially my time in Japan, required me to perform at a mature level early in my career. I was the youngest member of a 200 person team and, moreover, the least-tenured process leader.
In this position, I learned how to lead subordinates and peers. This helped me discover a strength: caring for others. After a colleague realized that she had more work than time to complete the work, we met one-on-one. She quickly steered the conversation to what she needed to do and how long each task would take. I read in between her words and realized that she believed, if unsuccessful, her job would be in jeopardy. After having a discussion about what was truly expected of her, we developed a careful prioritization plan to complete the critical tasks and to ensure her success. I once viewed caring for others as a personality trait. After witnessing what people can achieve when they know you care about them, I now view it as my greatest strength.
I asked an experienced team member to help identify my weaknesses. He told me in some tough situations, like a mistake I made on a tax entry for the United Kingdom, my stress had affected my ability to lead. We agreed that if someone else had made the same mistake, I would have sprung into action, solving the issue and minimizing the damage. He could not understand why I would react differently to my own mistake. His honesty made me better.
Awareness of my strengths and weaknesses helped me lead my team from that hotel room in Kobe. Instead of allowing stress to slow me down, I organized the team before leaving for Japan, placed the European financial manager in charge during my absence, and scheduled daily virtual meetings to solve issues. The success of this project, completing the improbable in only six weeks, has served as an example for me of what I can accomplish as a leader by leveraging my strengths and mitigating my weaknesses.
International Women’s Day last Friday is hopefully indicative of a world that is ready to accept and adapt to ensure there are more women leaders in business and society. Not only will this deliver positive performance outcomes, it just doesn’t makes sense to do anything less than be fully inclusive. But while this day sends […]