Tag Archives | Haas

Financial Times Global Rankings — What they Mean to You

The Financial Times‘ Global Rankings came out last Monday, and everyone is a winner.  That’s what I always say about rankings, because there are always ways to slice and dice the data so that a school can claim they are highly ranked according to someone.

I, for one, am glad that there are a number of rankings (USNews, BloombergBusinessWeek,FT, Economist, WSJ, Forbes, and an aggregated version by Poets & Quants) – although the FT and the Economist really do dominate the global rankings – and I am glad that they all emphasize something different. That’s because the business school experience is different for everyone, and it’s very hard for a rank to represent just how good a school is for you.

HBS Wins Overall – Sort Of
But like Oscars, rankings are a part of life in the admissions industry, and there are definitely some quirks.  For example, although Harvard Business School ranks #1 in the survey overall, it is only #17 for “aims achieved.”  It’s also ranked #77 for “value” and #43 for “international mobility.”  This tells me that I probably need to dig a lot deeper to understand the methodology, something most of my clients will never do. All they know is that Harvard Business School is on top of the charts, and that’s a good thing.

Good News for Columbia
Columbia Business School administrators should be cheering by the fifth-place overall ranking especially after applications for last year’s entering class declined 19%.

The ranking also puts CBS as fourth in the United States, just behind HBS, Stanford GSB, and Penn.  One of the boosts in Columbia’s methodology seems to be its 92% employment figure, that is, percentage of students who have accepted a job offer within three months of graduation. Of the US business schools, this ranks higher than Harvard and Stanford’s 89%, but lower than Emory’s 96%, or UC Berkeley’s and Tuck’s 93%.  Given the high exposure of Columbia students to the financial industry, that’s not bad.   In the mystifying category of “aims achieved,”  the score came in #24, vs.  #4 for Yale and #13 for Carnegie Mellon Tepper.  Tepper, by the way also had a 90% employment-after-three-months figure.

International Mobility
Here’s an interesting ranking for those who want to go to business school to “see the world.”  If you want to do so, don’t stay in the US, because the highest ranked US school in the list is Wharton, coming in at #40 for “international mobility.”  I know that’s one that begs for methodology, but other name schools in the US that followed Penn were Harvard, Berkeley Haas, our friend Columbia and MIT Sloan.

Ranking By Alumni
The FT also lets alumni have their say on their schools in certain categories.  For example, the top US schools for economics in this survey are Booth, MIT, Yale, and Tepper (again!)

For general management UVA Darden bests HBS, followed by Tuck, Stanford, Ross and Kellogg.  Here’s good marketing for you, alumni of Indiana University’s Kelley School ranked their alma mater #2 for marketing, after Kellogg, (of course) and before Duke. And here’s a fun one, showing you that Wharton is not just a finance school, alumni ranked Penn below the following schools for “Top for Finance” : Chicago Booth, NYU Stern, and Univeristy of Rochester’s Simon School.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read
I admit, I have cherry picked some of the points to make in this blog post. Mostly because it is fun, but rankings are really hard to figure, and they really don’t matter as much as what is the right school for you.  Rankings only tell a small part of the story .

Also, rankings can be misleading. Because I came from finance, I used to get a lot of questions about the best school for finance – and maintain that you need to do a whole lot of your own research and networking to figure out your right path.   So visit schools, talk to students and professors, and see what’s happening beyond just what pundits like me write on the internet. Spring is around the corner –the best time for campus visits — so take advantage of the time you have now to see if those rankings really tell the whole story.

A Treasury of MBA WaitList Strategies and Resources

Quite a few of you are trying now to figure out what to do while hanging out on the waitlist for your top-choice MBA program. It’s a tough position, and I prefer the Wharton model, which doesn’t allow you to add anything. It is so much easier to let the universe do its business. But for those who have to act, I’ve got a few resources for you.  Some are from admissions officers themselves, such as in this YouTube video put together by Vault.com not too long ago.

Another link that I like very much is a podcast from a student who lobbied his way off the waiting list into MIT Sloan. It’s a fun story, and you get really excited for the student, Galen Li, and his enthusiasm.

You can also get some ideas from schools who have been willing to do online chats about waitlist strategies, including UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business or Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and Cornell’s Johnson School.

Accepted.com does a very good job of managing chat transcripts for a variety of schools. I encourage you to look at Linda Abraham’s recommendations for your actions while on the waitlist, advice which is straightforward and to the point. I know Linda from our work on the Association of International Graduate Admissions (AIGAC.org) board, and she really knows what she is talking about.  I love her #1 recommendation – FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS.  If the school doesn’t want to hear from you, don’t violate it, and if they do, be judicious.  Stay focused – and don’t overwhelm them with lots of data points. Keep it crisp.

My favorite piece of advice comes from the great Jeremy Wilson, who is a student member of the Northwestern Kellogg JD/MBA admissions committee. His article, “Playing the Waiting List Game,” is both thoughtful and action-oriented. Please do remember, however, that his experience is from Kellogg only. But it’s really very cool.

Generally, the waitlisted applicants are considered solid candidates, even star candidates. Now is the time to showcase more subtle aspects of your profile. Be ready to articulate your story again, but this time better. Give them a few golden nuggets you may have forgotten to dig out from your past and put in your essays. Also, distinguish how you stand out from the other number-crunching bankers, consultants, or whatever professional you are and how you can add perspective to the classroom.

And be more introspective the next few weeks, so that you’re better prepared to talk about your leadership or entrepreneurial goals. Instead of using industry buzz words, overused resume verbs, and clichéd MBA language, think more deeply about your leadership style and talk more about stuff that motivates you, what you did, how you felt, and what you learned. And if you’re really up to it, try really spilling your guts a bit more and really putting the details out there—always remembering to stay professional of course—because this might just be your last chance.

Business Schools that Accept the GRE or GMAT

More and more business schools are accepting the GRE in lieu of the GMAT these days. In response to a query I received from the academic adviser to students at one of the world’s top undergraduate schools, I thought I would put together a handy table for you to identify which schools accept either the GRE or GMAT. Below you can see that many do, but not all.




Columbia YES Columbia Business School
Darden YES UVA Darden
Fuqua YES Duke Fuqua
HBS YES Harvard Business School
Mich Ross YES University of Michigan Ross School
Tuck YES Dartmouth Tuck
Stanford YES Stanford GSB
Wharton YES Wharton MBA
Yale YES Yale School of Management
Chicago NO Chicago Booth
Cornell NO Cornell Johnson
Haas NO UC Berkeley Haas
Kellogg NO Kellogg

If you have any questions about updates to this information, please email me at betsy@masteradmissions.com

A few notes: Cornell does not indicate it accepts the GRE, but they haven’t said they *don’t* accept it, as Haas and Chicago Booth have. UCLA Anderson’s MBA program doesn’t accept it, but their Executive Program does.

Further, things do change! so please check the links and make sure the information you have is current.

Meanwhile, if you need any advice on studying for standardized tests, please see last week’s blog post on test anxiety and your brain.

Bay Area Admissions Events – Updated!

Now that it’s September, the MBA admissions visits are in full swing. I’ve updated the list to include some additional schools, and expanded the list to include Peninsula events. The list is still a work-in-progress, and I hope to keep updating it.  Please note also that I added an Essay Workshop that I will be leading on Sept. 22 in San Francisco.

I hope to see you at some of these gatherings — they should be fun and helpful as you make your choices.  Meanwhile, if you have any questions about business school, applications, or what to do next, please email, and let’s talk about it!
Business School
Registration & Info
Starting 8/30/2010
UC Berkeley Haas (Full-Time)
1:00 pm –
2:00 pm (daily)
UC Berkeley                   Haas, Room C250
UC Berkeley Haas (Part-Time)
6:30 PM
Hyatt Regency Santa Clara
5101 Great American Pkwy
7:00 PM
Stanford Court Renaissance, 905 California, SF
7:00 PM
Marriott Santa Clara, 2700 Mission College Blvd
7:00 PM
PG&E, 245 Market St, SF
UC Berkeley Haas Part-Time
6:00 PM
Grand Hyatt San Francisco, 345 Stockton St.
Stanford GSB
6:00 PM
Bishop Auditorium
GSB Campus
518 Memorial Drive, Stanford
Master Admissions’ Essay-writing workshop
6:30 PM
Citizen Space, 425 2nd Ave., SF
Chicago Booth
7:00 PM
PG&E, 245 Market St, SF
6:00 PM
Wells Fargo Bldg. 420 Montgomery St., SF
Haas Part-Time
6:30 PM
Hyatt Regency SF Airport, 1333 Bayshore Hwy, Burlingame
MIT Sloan
6:30 PM
JW Marriott, 500 Post St. SF
MIT Sloan
6:30 PM
Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel, 625 El Camino Real
NYU Stern
7:00 PM
Mich. Ross
UVA Darden
UC Berkeley Haas (Full-Time)
6:30 PM
Wells Fargo Bldg. 420 Montgomery St., SF
Ongoing Mondays & Fridays
Stanford (on campus in Palo Alto)
11:45 am – 1:00 pm
GSB South Building, Room S151
*Dates TBD
Stanford GSB in SF, NYU Stern in Palo Alto

Group events:

9/12/2010: QS World tour note — LBS’ only scheduled SF visit
9/14/2010: Forte Forum — note: INSEAD only scheduled SF visit
9/26/2010: MBA Tour — note: see UCLA here or the Forte Forum

What Admissions Officers Tell Us

The admissions process to business school is getting increasingly transparent. As a result, more students are focused on applying to the right school, rather than a scatter-shot of programs in the top rankings.

That’s a good thing – for you, the applicant, and for the school, that wants to attract a student that will be happy and thrive in its environment. Last week I had the privilege of learning this first-hand from admissions professionals from about 15 business schools, including MIT Sloan and Harvard Business School, our hosts.

The Real You
One thing all admissions officers agreed upon was authenticity. They wanted to see candidates who presented their authentic selves –not someone that can be found in a book of sample essays. The top programs look for work success, or as Rod Garcia from MIT’s Sloan School said, “Not work experience, but success, and where you are relative to your peer group.” Additionally, admissions officers were key in on emotional intelligence, particularly self-awareness. (I’ve blogged on emotional intelligence and admissions in the past; here’s a link to a post regarding Daniel Goleman’s five components of EQ.)

Emotional intelligence shows up everywhere – in every interaction with the school; admissions officers use your interactions all along the process as a proxy for how you will act at school, and in the real world with employers. This is all consistent with the 85 Broads Jam Session: 10 Tips to Make Your Application Rock.

A Worldly View
Many of the admissions officers were looking for students that can adapt to multicultural organizations – that goes beyond coming from a country different from the MBA program’s location. Peter Johnson of Berkeley’s Haas program told us that recruiters are looking for adaptability, and someone who “has the ability to move beyond what they already know.”
Admissions officers from INSEAD, Columbia, and Harvard Business School all referred to a global outlook.

And here’s an easy tip: every one of the admissions officers agreed that one-page resume trumped a two-pager. “Less is more,” they said.

The Sloan School
MIT Sloan impressed us with a wonderful description of all their programs – not just the MBA program, but a new executive MBA program, the Master in Finance Program, and the Leaders for Global Operations program, a Global Operations MBA & Masters in Engineering joint degree. We were lucky enough to see two faculty presentations, both of which underscored that MIT Sloan believes in “action-based learning.” I became a huge fan of Professor Steven Eppinger’sProduct Design and Development Course – oh how I wish I could go back and do my MBA all over again!

Harvard Business School
The final day was at my alma mater, Harvard Business School. I was surprised and delighted to see that facilities don’t seem to have changed since I was last there, but have just gotten better and better. In Aldrich Hall, where first-year classes are held, HBS director of admissions Dee Leopold told us why the school is different – largely due to the case study method, where students “build muscles around judgment.” I was delighted by her reference to the Wizard of Oz in terms of a successful applicant’s qualities: HBS is looking for students with a combination of “brains, heart, and courage.” Dee also talked about different leadership styles (I’ve seen her talk about this in her presentations to prospective HBS applicants), and the rigor of the program. “It’s hard,” she said. You won’t get an argument from me on that one.

So keep doing your research on the programs. Ask yourself the hard questions: do I want to go to business school? Is it right for me? Is this program right for me or something that will impress my employer (Or my parents? Or my ex?). Think like a Harvard MBA student, where, as they say, self-examination is a varsity sport.

And what you learn from this process is yours to keep.

Taken while at the HBS library, June 2010