The month of June is just over halfway complete and July is right around the corner. As I continue to make the re-adjustment from full-time MBA student to young working professional, I stop for a moment to realize that all across the country, the new full-time MBA class of 2014 is preparing for their journey… not quite sure what to expect about the road ahead of them, but definitely ready to dive into the list of items that they received as part of their admitted student acceptance packet.
I pause and continue to take a moment to reminisce about my pre-MBA experience and remember the excitement, the anticipation as well as the nervousness that I had in preparing for this moment. Below is a list of 5 ideas that you, the class of 2014 can do over the summer to help prepare you, for the next step in the MBA process:
There’s nothing quite like a good opera or musical theater production to provide me an occasional emotional catharsis. From the songs of a madman who drowns in a pond to the belting of the misunderstood green witch from the west, I enjoy drama at its finest. The stage is an appropriate place for drama. Your workplace is not, and your essays for a top-quality MBA program are definitely not.
The essays required for your UST MBA application provide you a great opportunity to illustrate your professional savvy, your character, and some of the unique attributes you bring to the business world. To my chagrin, I recently read an essay that did not illustrate these things; it was fit for the stage.
Have you ever been on an elevator, and just before you get to your selected floor, you jump with perfect timing and feel weightlessness for one blissful second? This was a favorite pastime of mine. (OK, it is a favorite present-time of mine, but I probably shouldn’t admit that). Still it makes for a good segue to my topic of the week, “Elevator speeches are not just for elevators job interviews!”
Admissions representatives from the UST MBA programs interview hundreds of candidates each year, and we’re looking for the “best and the brightest.” So whether you are coming to learn more about the program or for a formal admissions interview, you need to know your elevator speech.
I was in high school the first time I requested letters of recommendation. I asked my two favorite teachers to write a glowing report on how brilliant and accomplished I was and how I would grace any university I attended. They were happy to oblige, and when I read the letters (I requested extras and later opened them), my ego expanded markedly.
That anecdote is pointless except as an introduction to my topic of the week – letters of recommendation. I regularly get questions from candidates about who they should ask:
Should I ask the CEO of my company? Should I try to find a St. Thomas alumnus? Can I ask a professor from my undergraduate degree? What if my dad is my boss?
The thesaurus can be your friend…I mean, your companion, or maybe your ally. But it can also be your downfall if used inappropriately.
Describe an ethical dilemma you have faced and how you resolved the issue.
This is hands down my favorite of the three essays we require for our UST MBA application. It illustrates the extraordinary character and breadth of experience UST MBA students bring into the program. Occasionally, though, some of my applicants quite badly misunderstand what is an ethical dilemma. So let’s turn to the sage wisdom of Wikipedia:
Ethical dilemma is a complex situation that will often involve an apparent mental conflict between moral imperatives, in which to obey one would result in transgressing another.
I am sometimes befuddled when I ask what I think is an innocuous question in a one on one with a candidate and receive a frighteningly long, personal answer. “Too much information” has become so commonly utilized in recent years, it has been deemed worthy of an acronym. So let’s talk about the famed TMI.
The Dictionary of Cliches
Here’s an almost-direct quote from an essay I read recently:
In matching finance and risk management skills with advanced teachings in consulting and supply chain processes will prove a thriving, well positioned combination of skills to expand my tool set.
First of all, this makes no sense. The grammar is flawed, leaving the reader confounded by the end of the sentence. Second, it is so full of clichés that is loses meaning. What is a “thriving, well positioned combination of skills to expand my tool set”?
As admissions adviser for the UST MBA Programs, I have a passion for the exceptional program we offer. That is why I “hit the streets” telling people about our fully-developed, relevant MBA curriculum, our unique culture that is at once cutting-edge and collaborative, our highly credentialed faculty, and the list goes on… As I review applications, I am looking for candidates who similarly understand and respect the value of the St. Thomas MBA, for candidates who have done their research and choose to apply here because they know what makes us unique.
Now, I understand that many candidates apply to more than one school. This is wise
We live in a world where meeting, getting-to-know you, and decision-making happens regularly and sometimes solely through e-mail correspondence. For the UST MBA programs, this is often the medium for first impressions with the admissions advisers, the people who make the decision on your acceptance or rejection. Today let’s talk about the very first of first impressions in this world of cyber communication, your e-mail address.