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Admissions, Admissions, Career Services, Newsroom

5 Tips to Prepare for Your MBA Interview – Inside the Black Box


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): Continue Reading

Admissions, Admissions, EveningMBA, Executive MBA, FTMBA, Health Care MBA, Newsroom, UST MBC

Application and Admissions Advice: 4 Ways To Make Your MBA Application Stand Out

Make your file stand outDeadlines 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.” Continue Reading

Admissions, FTMBA, Newsroom, Student Life

Profiling the Full-time UST MBA Class of 2014

By Dan Jackson, M.B.A. ’12

I was nervous, and did not know what to expect as I walked from the 11th and Harmon Parking Lot into Schulze Hall.  As I descended the stairs towards the Schulze Hall Auditorium, excitement started to build as I saw members of my MBA class (the Class of 2012) being greeted by the full-time MBA faculty and staff, obtaining the necessary packet of information, name badges and name plates that were needed for the week ahead and introducing themselves to each other.  It was a moment that I will never forget and continues to be one of the vivid memories of my full-time MBA experience.

Working in the MBA admissions office, I had an opportunity to re-live this experience recently as members of the full-time Class of 2014 began their 21-month journey at the Opus College of Business during Launch Week.  Being on the other side of the table this time, I could relate to what many students in the Class of 2014 were feeling on Monday morning.  It was great being able to greet students and put them at ease, ensuring that they had everything they needed and all of their questions answered.

While most MBA programs have orientation sessions of various lengths, we at the University of St. Thomas host Launch Week.  Launch is a time to get acclimated to the expectations of MBA life as well as get to know the group of people with whom you will spend the next few months.  Outside of the traditional welcome activities that are completed during an orientation session.  Students are fully engaged in what to expect in their classes and are led by professors down the pathway towards a productive and successful MBA experience. Continue Reading

Admissions, FTMBA, Newsroom

Could you be the first Opus Scholar?

The Full-time UST MBA program recently announced an exciting new scholarship initiative for fall 2012 applicants.  Twelve full-tuition scholarships will be awarded to top candidates, and several additional half-tuition scholarships will also be awarded. 

Candidates for the Opus Scholars program are asked to submit their applications by February 1.  Competitive applicants will have several years of professional work experience, strong academic potential (as evidenced by their undergraduate GPA and GMAT scores), demonstrated leadership abilities, and effective written and oral communication skills.  Finalists for the Opus Scholars program will be invited to campus in March for a full day of interviews and activities with faculty, students, and staff from the admissions, student life, and career services offices.

img350_ftmba-viewbookFall 2012 will mark the 10th entering class for the Full-time UST MBA, and it will undoubtedly be one of the best incoming classes we’ve enrolled.  If you’d like to be considered for the Opus Scholars program, please contact the Full-time UST MBA admissions team at or 651-962-8800. 

If you’d like to refer a friend, colleague, or relative you think would be a great candidate for Opus Scholars consideration, let us know here!

Admissions, FTMBA, Newsroom

Finding the Fit

We in admissions enjoy sifting through our applications, noting why each applicant has interest in an MBA, how they foresee themselves utilizing it, and what specifically brought them to apply to the University of St. Thomas.  To be honest, one of my favorite parts of my job is reading the essays submitted, where these reasons and explanations are addressed.  Each person’s path is unique and interesting, and seeing into this window of sorts is a privilege.  “How they’re coming at it” is what interests me most—once we know this, it’s an enjoyable journey with every applicant.    

A recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek spoke to finding the right school and the importance of “fit” to an MBA program.  We at the University of St. Thomas could not agree more when it comes to fit and finding a niche in a school.  Many times culture of the program isn’t necessarily given much weight by an applicant when initially applying.  It deserves weight and consideration.  As the article points out, finding a culture that one feels passionate about is key.  Rod Garcia, senior director of admissions at MIT Sloan School of Management noted it this way: “One’s happiness and how well the school’s offerings match an applicant’s needs should take precedence.”     Continue Reading

Admissions, EveningMBA, FTMBA, Newsroom

QS World MBA Tour visits Minneapolis on Friday

For more than a decade, the QS World MBA Tour has organized MBA fairs in major cities on every inhabited continent in the world.  While New York, London, Shanghai, and Buenos Aires have long been part of the tour, this is the first year that the World MBA Tour has come to Minneapolis.

On Friday, October 28, prospective MBA students are invited to meet with top MBA programs from around the world at the Hyatt Regency on Nicollet Mall.  Representatives from the Full-time UST MBA and Evening UST MBA programs will be available to answer your questions, and all participants will have the opportunity to attend panels and information sessions about the MBA application process.

Click here to learn more about the event and register online.  We hope to see you at the fair on Friday night!

QS World MBA Tour


Admissions, FTMBA, Newsroom, OCB Commentary, social media

The $37,000 haiku tweet

Application tweet
Showed his creativity
Earned a scholarship

There are many parts to an MBA application, but one of the most time-consuming is writing the essay.  At UST (as at many universities), we suggest word limits for each essay—in most cases 500 or 750 words.  But the Tippie School at the University of Iowa recently held a contest that limited applicants to 140 characters—one Twitter message.

The winner of the Tippie School’s contest was selected based on the creativity he showed in combining one of the world’s oldest forms of poetry (the haiku) with a new form of social media.  I summarized the Business Week story in a haiku of my own at the top of this blog post for those readers who don’t have time to read the entire article.

What do you think about tweeting your graduate school application essays?  As an admissions director, I have always said there is value in keeping essays short and sweet, but this takes it to a whole new level.  While the UST MBA doesn’t have immediate plans to institute a Twitter-based application process, I’ll leave you with an example of what a good UST Twitter haiku might look like.  Feel free to contribute your own in the comments section!

Ethical leaders
Who are globally minded
Choose our MBA

EveningMBA, FTMBA, Media, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Essential summer reading for new MBA students

Most applicants breathe a sigh of relief once they receive their long-awaited admission packets in the mail.  Your hard work has paid off–you’re in!  It’s definitely a good idea to take some time to enjoy the feeling and congratulate yourself on your accomplishment.  But as most students soon come to realize, the real work has just begun.

One of the most common questions I hear from admitted students is “How should I prepare for the start of the MBA program?”  Business Week recently addressed this topic and published a list of books recommended by dozens of professors at top-ranked business schools. 

The UST MBA staff and faculty also created a list a few years ago of recommended pre-readings for incoming students:

Magazines and Periodicals

As an MBA student, you should be familiar with the following magazines and periodicals. They provide a wealth of information and other resources about current issues in the national and international business


Most of the following are available in UST Libraries or the CLIC (consortium).

Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets of Creating Lasting Value
Bill George

Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date
Robert X. Cringely

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
Eliyahu M. Goldratt, Jeff Cox

Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life
David Friedman

Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA
Peter Robinson

So, to all of our incoming MBA students–enjoy your summer, but be sure to bring some light reading along with you to the beach!

Career Services, EveningMBA, FTMBA, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

MBA students: focus on your goals, not your grades

gradesMargaret Heffernan, CEO, author and noted business lecturer, has some blunt advice for today’s MBA students:  “You’re not there for the grades: you’re there for the learning.”  For American students, this can be quite a mental shift.  Over the past couple of decades, American schools have focused on testing and grades to measure achievement.  Colleges and universities have seen average GPAs rise significantly.

Perhaps it is not surprising that many MBA students hyper-focus on their grades.  After all, habits are hard to break:  students have to earn excellent grades in high school to gain acceptance into top universities, and undergraduate grades play a role in the MBA admissions process.  As Heffernan notes in her blog, however, MBA grades are not a major concern for most employers. Continue Reading

Admissions, EveningMBA, FTMBA, Newsroom

Considering an MBA? Join us for the UST MBA Forum!

Schulze Hall atrium

Schulze Hall atrium

With a few weeks of winter still left ahead of us, it may seem like the fall 2011 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.  Information about all of our graduate business programs will be available to attendees, and representatives from the Full-time and Evening UST MBA programs will lead a fast-paced, informative session highlighting the distinctive features of each program. 

Students and alumni will take part in a Q&A session following the presentation, and additional current student ambassadors will be on hand to answer your individual questions about the UST MBA experience.  You can choose to attend a 20-minute sample MBA class as well as participate in a Princeton Review GMAT preparation class.

Join us on the Minneapolis campus from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday, February 26–register here.  The event is free of charge, a light breakfast will be available, and we’ll provide parking validation.  We’ll even waive your application fee to the MBA program of your choice just for attending.