A few days ago, first year UST MBA students who were awarded Outreach scholarships gathered for a potluck dinner and conversation. There, they were joined by a group that had never existed before this year—second-year Outreach Scholars; role models who could reassure them that the intensity of the Full-time UST MBA was nothing they couldn’t handle. Role models who, over the past 14 months, have already established a track record of excellence, taking on leadership roles and graduate assistantships, securing internships with Fortune 500 companies and earning national recognition for themselves and the university with a top three finish in the annual NBMBAA Chrysler Case Competition.
While the Outreach Scholars program is only in its second year, every alumnus of the Full-time UST MBA program (and there are hundreds) has made lifelong connections during his or her time here. Some have the distinction of being one of fewer than 75 graduates of the UST JD/MBA dual degree program; others participated in the Aristotle Fund or the Mayo Innovation Scholars program. These shared experiences made their time in the UST MBA program memorable, but at the end of the day, the strongest bonds are reinforced by, if not built upon, the connection each student makes with classmates who have common career interests, belong to the same clubs, same team, or some other group within the larger UST MBA community.
Earning an MBA… even Michael Scott, notorious Scranton branch manager of fictional paper-producer Dunder-Mifflin, knows it’s a game-changer for business leaders, career advancers or career changers. It’s particularly important for those of us not gifted with enough athletic prowess to enter the NBA directly from high school.
So, how can you get a leg up on the rest MBA applicants? What is the best way to start researching business schools, learning about application requirements, preparing for the GMAT, and connecting with students and alumni at the schools to which you are applying? The University of St. Thomas Evening MBA and Full Time MBA programs have your answer: The UST MBA Forum, Saturday, October 12 from 9 a.m. – noon.
UST Photo by Mike Ekern.
It’s back to school time, but for the first time since 2005 I am not going back to graduate school this fall. After completing the Evening UST MBA program in 2009, I continued taking classes through the business communication certificate program until I finished itthis spring. With eight years of classes under my belt, I feel like this is a good time to reflect on what I would do differently if I could hop in a time machine. If you are starting a graduate program this fall or thinking about it in the near future, hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and have an ever better graduate degree experience than I did. (Although, mine was pretty great!)
- Build your network. Social media provides a very easy way to keep connected with classmates. Each semester, go through and add your classmates on Linked In. Make note of which class(es) you took with them in case it is helpful in the future. You never know when having a connection at xyz company or remembering the name of someone you were in class with will be helpful. Connecting with a classmate on Linked In, Twitter or Facebook is one thing. Actually getting to know them is another. Take the time to get to know some of your classmates well. Don’t just talk with them in class. Even though it is late, take the time to grab a drink after class. Set up a quick dinner or happy hour before class with friends you met in past semesters. If you are doing things right, the better you know others in the program, the more advocates you will have moving through your career.
Twenty eight of the top business schools in the country, including the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, recently gathered at the University of Minnesota for the inaugural National Diversity MBA Summit. The conference brought together high quality prospective students from historically underrepresented groups in MBA programs – racial minorities, female candidates, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ – with recruiters from nationally recognized business schools who understand and value the richness of a diverse student body in MBA programs.
The overarching goal of the National Diversity MBA Summit, and of the universities attending the Summit was to recruit and enroll more diverse student bodies to reflect the population of the United States as it exists today and becomes even more diverse tomorrow. Why focus on diversity in MBA programs, and why the focus on underrepresented groups now? The answer: Value – these candidates’ experiences, unique perspective, and leadership potential is becoming increasingly critical to success in the business world. By encouraging MBA programs to mirror the greater population and by supporting diversity, MBA graduates will be better able to serve clients and operate in a dynamic and international environment.
Bill Woodson, our assistant dean, told Minnesota Public Radio’s The Daily Circuit why increased diversity is a growing topic in business schools: “When we talk to employers, they make it very clear that they have a preference for recruiting from schools that not only have terrifically well-prepared talent and high-potential talent, but also talent that represents the diversity of the populations that those companies are serving.” Woodson also highlighted UST’s efforts to recruit a high potential group of diverse MBA students noting that 15 full-tuition scholarships are available for underrepresented minorities (details below).
Applying to business school is typically associated with a lengthy checklist of items to submit for evaluation – an application form, application fees, several essays, letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and the age-old favorite… GMAT scores. The GMAT is consistently the most asked-about item on the University of St. Thomas (UST) Full-Time and Evening MBA application checklists. Questions from prospective students such as, “how should I prepare for the GMAT?” and “where can I access test-preparation tools?” are fielded by UST admissions directors on a daily basis.
As such, the Evening and Full Time UST MBA admissions teams are excited to share a new resource that is available for GMAT preparation and practice. The Opus College of Business now offers three GMAT test simulation tools for verbal and quantitative questions. The tests include a Micro Test (20 minutes), Mini Test (75 minutes), and a Full Test (150 minutes). At the end of the Mini Test and Full Test, participants will receive a GMAT score estimate, as well as a list of questions answered correctly and incorrectly with corresponding explanations.
One of the big components of an application to a business school program is the often-dreaded standardized test. The GMAT, for most applicants here, is by far the most-taken test. We often are asked about how to prepare for these tests and how much time to spend studying. Of course, the answer is different for every applicant, but there are some generalizations that apply. I often suggested planning on devoting about 100 hours to test preparation. The next question becomes: how should you spend those hours? Reading vocabulary cards, taking practice tests, studying algebra textbooks? The Bell Curves Blog recently posted some interesting advice that helps to provide an answer:
Let me set the scene… You just completed your MBA admissions interview, the end to a very long day that has also included a class visit and lunch with a student ambassador. You know you rocked the interview because a) you were well prepared, b) you had the right responses to the questions asked, c) you knew all about the entire MBA program and d) you prepared a good list of follow-up questions. Your admissions application had no grammatical errors and you did not make the mistake of calling this school by another business school name to which you are also applying. One month later, you receive your anticipated package from the business school. You hurry with excitement to open it, only to find out that the school has denied you admission into their fall cohort class.
While there are many factors that contribute to students not gaining acceptance into the business school of their choice, I thought I would outline a few items that often get overlooked by many prospective students. While the information presented here might seem logical, I have witnessed the occurrence of at least one of these items more than once during my time here in the UST MBA Admissions office. Realize that while you might have a formal interview on campus at a specified time, the interview process begins once you first connect with the school of your choice.
Applying to business school can be a time consuming process. Many prospective students wonder about the “black box” of the admissions evaluation process, which often not only includes taking the GMAT, writing essays, and completing various application requirements, but an interview with admissions team members as well. Interviews can be nerve-wracking for prospective students, but as one of the Assistant Directors of Admissions in the Full Time MBA program here at the Opus College of Business, interviews are one of my favorite parts of the job. Why? Meeting applicants in person is an important part of getting to know candidates on a personal level and assessing fit with our MBA program, which overall, is the goal of most admissions interviews. Admissions directors want students to be successful, and meeting applicants in person to learn about what they will uniquely contribute to their MBA program is an important part of the evaluation process.
That said, interviews do not have to be the anxiety-producing event that some applicants believe they are! From an admissions insider’s view, here are some tips to prepare for – and ace – your MBA admissions interview (p.s. These tips can also apply to interviews for MBA-level internships or full time positions):
Having trouble opening new career doors? Consider the ways an MBA can help. (We had a great post titled “Why You Should Get Your MBA.”) The upcoming UST MBA Forum, featuring Kaplan, helps MBA candidates learn more about opportunities to open new doors in their careers and personal lives and take the first step in preparing for the GMAT.
With a few weeks of winter still left ahead of us, it may seem like the fall semester lies far in the future. However, now is the time to begin working on your application if you’d like to enroll in one of the Opus College of Business graduate programs this fall.
The UST MBA Forum is designed to help you learn about the graduate business options available at St. Thomas and provide insight into the application process.
Deadlines are approaching–and in some cases passed–for B-school applications. The Evening UST MBA‘s priority deadline for Spring 2013 admissions was November 1, applications are still welcomed and reviewed once the file is complete. So, as you’re working on your application, how can you stand out (in a good way) to get a spot in the class?
We’ve got an old series of posts here on Opus Magnum with application and admissions advice called “Take it From Me” with some of the bad examples and recently, Business Insider published a great list of 4 Ways To Make Your MBA Application Stand Out.
One of the biggest mistakes candidates make is that “they act on what they perceive the committees want rather than reveal what’s interesting within themselves,” says Jeremy Shinewald, author of “The Complete Start-to-Finish MBA Admissions Guide” and founder of mbaMission, a consulting firm for business school candidates. “They try to become something that they’re not to impress the committee.”