Posts by Metro MBA

Oct 16, 2017 by

[Webinar] The GRE® General Test for Business School: What You Need to Know

gre test webinar

Stand out from the crowd with a stellar business school application.

Thinking of going to business school? Join Clear Admit CEO Eliot Ingram and GRE® General Test expert Matt Bashi-Kadlubowski for a free webinar.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
10:00am Eastern Time

Sign Up Today

In this online information session, you will be provided with an overview of taking the GRE® General Test for business school, including tips on how to do your best on the test so you can stand out to your top schools.

Attendees will receive:

  • Overview of the GRE® General Test
  • Growth of MBA Programs Accepting GRE® Scores
  • Registration Tips
  • What to expect on test day
  • Getting and sending your scores
  • Tools to help you prepare

There also will be time for a Q&A with our presenters—an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

Sign Up Today

Can’t make it?

Don’t worry. Register for this webinar anyway and you’ll get a recording sent to you after the webinar has completed.

This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit.

Posted in: Featured Home, News | 0 comments

Oct 2, 2017 by

Admissions Tip: Word Limits and Character Counts

Essay Word Limits

MBA candidates naturally have a good deal of information they want—and need—to convey in their materials, and getting the important ideas down under restrictive word counts is a difficult task. While it might be tempting to run a bit beyond the guidelines to slip in that one extra thought, it’s important to keep the reasons for these limits in mind.

Essay Word Limits

In addition to being a medium for explaining your goals and sharing your story, the essays and short answers also serve as a test of the applicant’s ability to communicate clearly and concisely, not to mention follow directions and answer a question. Because business schools and post-MBA employers place a premium on all of these elements, adhering to word and character counts ultimately works to the candidate’s advantage.

Another important consideration is the reader’s time. Because of high application volume and the need to give every applicant fair and thorough consideration, schools are forced to limit the amount of information in each file. If you consistently extend your answers beyond the suggested limits, you are essentially asking the reader to give you more time than they are devoting to the other applicants. In other words, if you were to ignore the limits and overshoot by 30 percent throughout, this might imply that you consider yourself to be 30 percent more interesting than everyone else who applied – which could create concerns for your own lack of self-awareness.

That being said, there can be some leeway. For the vast majority of programs, it’s generally acceptable to exceed the word limit by 5 percent. There are, of course, a few exceptions:

  • Caveat #1: If a school gives you a range (e.g., 250-750 words), you should ideally stay within that range.
  • Caveat #2: If a school gives you a page limit (e.g., 2 pages), you should stay within that limit – without excessive margin manipulation or font size reduction.
  • Caveat #3: In the rare case that a school’s application system truncates the answer once the limit is exceeded, then it is absolutely important to remain under the limit.

In terms of the other end of the length issue, it is unwise to consistently fall more than 5 percent below the limits; this is valuable room in which to share further relevant information about your candidacy. By falling short, it might signal a lack of effort on your part for developing your best application, or a lack of experiences or accomplishments for you to share with the admissions committee. There is one exception to this, the schools’ optional essays.  While some of these essays include word count limits, brevity is typically the rule when choosing to include additional information; the word limit should not be the target.

Beyond the long-form essays that most schools require, many programs also include what are commonly referred to as ‘short answer’ questions in their application data forms. These range from schools asking candidates to describe their post-MBA career plans in a sentence or two to broader queries about how a candidate first learned of a given MBA program.  In these ‘short answers’ schools often use character limits instead of word count, and their online systems often truncate responses that run long. As such, we advise a more strict adherence to the word count or character limits associated with ‘short answers’

Best of luck to all those fine tuning their applications!

This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit.

Posted in: Admissions Tips, Advice, Essay tips, Featured Home, News | 0 comments

Sep 19, 2017 by

Choosing the Best Business School for Consulting

best business school consulting

If you are a prospective MBA applicant looking to business school as a way to enter or accelerate your career in the consulting industry, you are certainly not alone. According to the 2017 Prospective Student Survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), consulting is once again the most sought-after postgraduate industry, with 33 percent of applicants surveyed citing consulting firms as their destination of choice. The consulting function, too, is a top draw. One in four indicated it as their chosen job function, after just marketing/sales (30 percent) and finance/accounting (28 percent).

With so many MBA graduates vying for roles in the consulting field, one of the best ways to distinguish yourself is by going to one of the business schools best known for training top-notch consultants. Of course, this requires thorough research and a deep knowledge of individual school programs. Lucky for you, Clear Admit has done some of the legwork.

Consulting Continues to Be a Top Draw for MBAs

Finance—and investment banking in particular—took a hit following the financial crash of 2008. And the tech sector has been gaining ground as a top destination for MBA grads. But along the way, the consulting industry has held its own, with MBAs clamoring to work for both towering giants in the field as well as at an increasing number of boutique firms now in the marketplace.

What’s the allure? Part of it is the diverse work. Consultants get to think creatively and solve problems, analyze both the big picture and the details, and work on teams juggling multiple assignments. Top salaries don’t hurt either. Recent MBA graduates taking jobs at firms like McKinsey & CompanyBoston Consulting Group (BCG), and Bain & Company—known as ‘the MBB firms’ in industry parlance—reported base salaries in 2017 of between $147,000 to $152,500, with additional signing bonuses of $25,000, according to managementconsulted.com, an online resource for the consulting industry.

Choosing the Best Business School for Consulting

Determining which leading business school will best prepare you for a career in consulting requires looking at a range of factors. A logical place to start is by examining career outcomes at individual schools, both in terms of summer internships and full-time jobs. If possible with the available data, you also want to get a sense of how well a school has done placing career-switchers, namely those without prior consulting experience, in coveted consulting roles, since barriers for entry for these grads are understandably higher than for their counterparts who have already worked in the field.

It can also be instructive to see which of the powerhouse consulting firms donate to which leading business schools. Finally, it helps to understand how a given school goes about teaching its students to be consultants, what role experiential learning plays, whether you can hope to learn directly from superstar professors in the field, and what extracurricular resources are in place to help you land your dream consulting gig.

Consulting at UVA Darden

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business sent more of its MBA graduates into consulting than any other U.S. school, with 38 percent of the Class of 2016 pursuing work in the consulting industry and 38 percent choosing a consulting function. By comparison, Harvard Business School (HBS) sent 25 percent of its 2016 graduates into consulting, and Stanford Graduate School of Business sent just 16 percent.

As for the top recruiting companies at Darden, Boston Consulting Group snapped up 18 members of the Class of 2016, followed by McKinsey & Company (14), PwC (13), and Accenture (10).

In terms of pay, the average base salary for a Darden MBA heading into consulting was $135,771 with a signing bonus of $26,927. While this isn’t the highest salary in the industry—it falls a few thousand dollars short of offers reported by students at schools like Kellogg School of Management—it is the highest average salary for all Darden MBAs.

Darden’s Classroom, Curriculum, and Professors

As for how Darden trains its MBAs to enter a career in consulting, the school offers a career track concentration in strategy consulting. This concentration is designed to immerse MBA students into the consulting process by helping them identify and deepen their consulting skill sets.

Darden is also known for its case study method of teaching and learning. This method confronts Darden MBA students with challenging, real-life business situations and teaches them how to analyze each situation to come up with a solution—just as they will be called upon to do in a consulting career. Over the course of MBA students’ two years at Darden, they’ll complete in more than 500 case studies on a variety of topics, industries, and diverse environments.

As for Darden’s faculty, many of the school’s professors have an in-depth knowledge of consulting with a breadth of research dedicated to all facets of the field. For example, Samuel E. Bodily, a professor of business administration, teaches “Decision Analysis” to first-year students and “Management Decision Models” to second-year students while also consulting with many corporations, utilities, and government agencies. And Scott. C. Beardsley, Darden dean since 2015, spent 26 years at McKinsey & Company before joining the school.

Outside the Classroom

Darden is home to the Consulting Club, a student organization designed to support students interested in the consulting industry. The club regularly holds events such as consulting industry panels, networking 101, consulting conferences, case competitions, mock interview sessions, internship preparation workshops, and more. And many large consulting companies are club sponsors, including Deloitte, AT Kearney, Bain & Company, EY, and Accenture.

In addition, there are also a variety of consulting projects for MBAs to participate in. These projects help MBAs learn how to develop business plans, create financial forecasts, and perform marketing analysis. For each project, teams of three to six students will work with corporations, global businesses, or non-profit organizations to provide strategy evaluation and planning services.

INSEAD For Consulting

In terms of sheer numbers, no school sends more students into consulting jobs than INSEAD. According to the school’s latest 2016 MBA employment report, 46 percent of INSEAD MBAs took a job in the consulting sector and 48 percent assumed a consulting function. That’s a whopping 479 students accepting a position as a consultant—almost half of the 999 students who filled out the employment report.

INSEAD’s MBA graduates took jobs with such companies as McKinsey (which hired 125 INSEAD grads in 2016), BCG (67), Bain (48), Strategy& (24), and Accenture (16). And it’s no wonder the major players like INSEAD. Many alumni hold prominent positions such as chairmen, CEO, or senior leader at these same top consulting firms.

As for where these consulting grads work, they’re spread out around the world. More than 100 consulting graduates took jobs in Western Europe, 41 of those in the United Kingdom. Another 83 graduates headed off to consulting offices in Asia Pacific, including 23 each in Singapore and Australia. But the single most attractive country for INSEAD consulting grads was the United Arab Emirates, which drew 42.

INSEAD also features an alliance with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, allowing INSEAD students to spend one of their five periods studying at the U.S. school. INSEAD has a similar campus exchange with Kellogg as well. These exchanges afford INSEAD students access to those schools’ career management centers as well, which can be especially valuable in terms of making connections to U.S. recruiters for students who are interested in working in consulting in the United States after graduation.

In terms of what its consulting grads command in salary, INSEAD also shows strong numbers, albeit lower than Kellogg and Darden. For 2016, the overall mean salary in consulting was $107,300 USD, the overall median salary was $109,500 USD, and the overall annual median sign-on bonus was $25,000, with 76 percent of salaries coming with a sign-on bonus and 83 percent with a performance bonus around $24,500.

Proud of its success in helping career switchers enter new industries, INSEAD shares data about how many of its graduates heading into consulting started out there and how many used business school to make a pivot. Of those graduates taking jobs in consulting after INSEAD, 67 percent held pre-MBA roles in consulting. But 34 percent of those who were financial services professionals also successfully switched to consulting, as did 56 percent of former technology, media, and telecommunications professionals and 38 percent of former corporate sector professionals.

How Consulting Is Taught at INSEAD

INSEAD’s accelerated 10-month MBA is composed of five, eight-week periods built around core courses and electives and concluding with an exam, essay, and/or project. There is no preferred teaching method at INSEAD; instead, individual professors choose the method they feel is best. However, no matter the teaching style or technique, each class is sure to have lively exchange opportunities and diverse study groups.

In terms of core courses, students will start out their first eight weeks with an “Introduction to Strategy” course and will continue their learning into the next period with “Process & Operations Management.” As for electives, over a dozen courses are offered under the Strategy heading including the “Strategy Lab,” which provides MBA students with a practitioner’s view of how consultants tackle projects.

Who Trains Consultants at INSEAD

There are more than 25 resident strategy professors across INSEAD’s three campuses, as well as around a dozen visiting faculty members. Of these, several are former consultants, bringing experience straight from the trenches at McKinsey, Monitor Group, and Accenture, among other leading firms.

Two INSEAD professors, W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, authored a best-selling book called Blue Ocean Strategy, which spawned the 2007 launch of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute. The institute offers several programs and electives that support the development of aspiring con­sultants, including a mini-elective, “Blue Ocean Strategy Simulation,” that lets students apply the trademark Blue Ocean Strategy toward managing a fictional company.

Beyond the Classroom at INSEAD

INSEAD’s accelerated 10-month program can make it hard for some student groups to gel, but despite this obstacle, the INSEAD Consulting Club seems to have an active campus presence. Much like at Darden, the Consulting Club at INSEAD provides resources to help INSEAD students prepare for consulting interviews and careers, including workshops, networking, and recruiting events with consulting firms. It also publishes the INSEAD Consulting Club Handbook, free to Consulting Club members, which offers an overview of the industry, profiles of individual firms, and sample cover letters, résumés, interview tips, and practice case questions.

INSEAD also features regular consulting case competitions, including the A.T. Kearney Global Prize Competition. As many as 15 teams from INSEAD compete against each other, with winners advancing to represent INSEAD in a regional competition against seven other European business schools. The winning European school then battles the winning North American school for the Global Prize.

Continue reading…

Posted in: Consulting, Featured Home, Featured Region, News | 0 comments

Aug 28, 2017 by

The MBA Application: Know Your Audience

mba application know audience

As Round 1 deadlines approach, applicants are coming to understand that applying to business school is an incredibly demanding process. In addition to taking the GMAT, assembling academic transcripts and providing recommendation letters, candidates are required to draft multiple essays, job descriptions, lists of activities and more.

With the obvious incentive to save time wherever possible, it’s understandable that many applicants simply cut and paste content from an existing résumé and write about their work in the manner that comes most naturally. However, in doing so, countless candidates each year assemble their materials without ever asking a fundamental question.

Who will read my MBA application?

While the answer to this question may vary from school to school, one thing is certain: It is unlikely that the person reading your MBA application will have an intimate level of familiarity with your specific industry or job function. This being the case, if you use industry-specific jargon or assume prior knowledge of your field on the part of the admissions officer, you will undoubtedly lose your reader.

It’s also important to keep the big picture in mind; many applicants become so mired in the details of their own work and role that they fail to provide sufficient context for an outsider to understand the impact of one’s efforts to the department or organization as a whole. Write about your experiences in a way that the average person will understand. While this is easier said than done, it underlines the importance of sharing your materials with an unbiased adviser (ideally not a work colleague or family member) to make sure that you aren’t off-base with some of your assumptions.

For some extra resources on how to perfect your application, read up on the Clear Admit Essay Topic Analyses for each school, read interviews with members admissions committees, and visit the Clear Admit shop for the informative Clear Admit School Guides. The School Guides offer in-depth, side-by-side comparisons of your target schools and their peer programs. The Clear Admit Strategy Guides and Interview Guides provide added insight into all aspects of the admissions process.

This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit.

Posted in: Admissions Tips, Advice, Featured Home, News, Resume Tips | 0 comments

Aug 15, 2017 by

Savvy MBA Application Strategy: How Many, Which Schools, and When to Apply

MBA Application Strategy

You’ve decided the MBA is the next stop on your career path. What now? The smartest applicants are those who take the time to create an informed MBA application strategy—a well thought-out game plan that can help you obtain your goals as efficiently and effectively as possible.

One of the first challenges you’ll face is school selection—strategically choosing which schools to target, bearing in mind the competitive mix of those schools.

In recent years, MBA applicants appear to be trending downward in terms of the total number of schools to which they apply. Research we have undertaken on data from MBA DecisionWire suggests that candidates now typically apply to about five programs. You can also explore MBA ApplyWire to learn more about other candidates application strategies.

“A combination of factors could be at play here,” suggests Alex Brown, a consultant to Clear Admit who spent years working in MBA admissions at Wharton. “More information is now available about schools, so it is easier for candidates to determine which are truly target schools, rather than the more shotgun approach of yesteryear,” he says. “The complicated nature of the application, engaging recommenders and so forth, may also be encouraging applicants to really refine their school list before applying.”

Making Your List

So what types of schools should make up the list a candidate ultimately applies to? While the answer will obviously depend on the individual candidate, one piece of advice applies to all. “Remember: Only apply to schools you would be absolutely happy to attend,” says Brown. “There is no value in applying to a school just to get an acceptance letter if it’s not a school that will help you reach your goals.”

With that main tenet as a guide, many candidates find it valuable to classify schools into three buckets: reach schools, realistic schools and safety schools. Applying to at least one school in each of these buckets helps position a candidate to get into and ultimately attend the best possible school her candidacy will allow.

Say you apply to all safety and/or realistic schools and gain admission to every school. While on the surface this appears like a successful MBA application strategy, that is only true if your mix of schools included the best possible school to reach your goals. “If you only apply to ‘realistic’ schools, you will never know if you could have achieved something that you presumed was beyond your reach,” Brown points out. Therefore, a truly successful application strategy often includes one or two rejections along with acceptances at schools where you will thrive.

The final consideration of a comprehensive MBA application strategy is when to apply to your selected schools. That is, what admissions round should you target for which schools and why. More on that in an upcoming post, so stay tuned.

This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit.

Posted in: Admissions Tips, Advice, Featured Home | 0 comments

Aug 9, 2017 by

2017 Forté Forums Scheduled in 12 Cities Beginning August 14

2017 Forté Forums

It’s August, which means it’s almost time for the Forté Forums. These free events are hosted by the Forté Foundation, a nonprofit consortium of leading companies and top business schools committed to advancing the role of women in business. Scheduled for 10 U.S. cities as well as Toronto and London beginning on August 14, they are designed to help women learn more about the value of the MBA.

Whether you are a college student looking to explore options for the future, have been in your job for a few years and are thinking about a change, or are looking for a way to catapult yourself to the next level in your career, the Forté Forums are for you.

Choose to attend a forum in a city near you, and you can learn more about how the MBA can help you advance in your career, expand your earning potential, or provide opportunities to study abroad. With more than 100 leading business schools in attendance, you can also learn more about different programs directly from the school representatives who know them best.

The Forté Forums also draw leading MBA businesswomen from a range of industries and career stages, eager to share their experiences and provide advice and guidance. And they give you a chance to network with other high-achieving women interested in learning more about the MBA. Former attendees of the Forté Forums report that women they’ve met at the events have become part of a lasting peer support network.

Last but not least, the forums can help you begin to think about how to finance your MBA, offering valuable information about Forté’s scholarship opportunities, as well as many other funding sources.

Whether you know nothing at all about business school and want to see what it’s all about—or you’re planning to apply this fall and want to connect with others doing the same, don’t miss out. Register for a nearby Forté Forum today!

2017 Forté Forums Calendar:

August 14th: Washington, DC
August 15th: Boston
August 16th: Atlanta
August 17th: Miami
August 21st: Seattle
August 22nd: San Francisco
August 23rd: Los Angeles
August 24th: Houston
August 28th: Chicago
August 29th and 30th: New York City
August 31st: Toronto
October 16th: London

Learn more about the Forté Forums, including how to register.

This article has been edited and republished with permissions from Clear Admit.

Posted in: Featured Home, News | 0 comments