Friday, November 28, 2008

Veritas Prep Featured in BusinessWeek

The folks at BusinessWeek are working on an interesting and valuable series: If someone could start planning their business school application five years in advance, what should they plan and do each year leading up to submitting their application? For the first story in this series, called Five Years to B-School: The First Year, she turned to Veritas Prep's own Scott Shrum for advice for future MBA applicants.

While there's no one-size-fits all plan for a future applicant, and not many people necessarily know five years out that they'll one day apply to business school, Francesca Di Meglio nicely sums up what a future business school applicant should have done by the end of year one. According to the article, by this time you should have:

  • Begun developing your skill set

  • Found a few mentors who have given you a better idea about the jobs you might like to do in the future

  • Found a way to translate your passions into a couple of activities in which you'd really liked to get involved

  • Decided how you can make an impact at the office and in those extracurricular activities and start implementing a plan of action to do just that

  • Kept your mind on business by reading relevant books and articles

  • Made a decision about when you'd like to take the GMAT

  • Started building a satisfying, well-rounded life and career

You can read the entire article at BusinessWeek. If you would like more advice on the MBA application process and you live in the New York area, there's just one week left to register for MBA Admissions Blueprint and meet one-on-one with a Veritas Prep admissions expert on Dec. 6 and 7!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Announcing MBA Admissions Blueprint 2009

Due to overwhelming demand for our admissions consulting services in the New York area, next month Veritas Prep will run its first annual MBA Admissions Blueprint event, on December 6 and 7, at NYU's Kimmel Center in New York City. This event will bring together some of Veritas Prep's most experienced admissions experts to help you quickly improve your business school applications.

If you plan on applying to business school this year, MBA Admissions Blueprint 2009 will help you jump start your application and significantly boost your chances of success. This year's economic news means that this is shaping up to be the most competitive year in MBA admissions yet, especially for people coming from the financial services sector. This event will help you quickly get up to speed on what admissions officers look for in the perfect applicant -- and how to stand out from a crowded field of applicants who all have a background similar to yours.

Especially if you only recently have decided to apply -- and we know that's the case for many of our clients, who have unfortunately lost their jobs or seen their job prospects deteriorate because of the economy -- this event will help you get up to speed on your application in just one weekend.

MBA Admissions Blueprint 2009 will also give you a chance to meet one-on-one with a Veritas Prep admissions expert. You can use this hour however you'd like -- to get a feel for your chances, formulate an application strategy, give your essays a thorough review, or prepare for an upcoming MBA admissions interview.

For $250 you will attend the Saturday admissions workshop as well as an hour with a Veritas Prep admissions expert on Sunday -- all for the price of what applicants normally to work with one of our consultants for just one hour.

Enrollment is limited to the first 50 people who respond. Register here!

MBA Admissions Interview Tips

Since many top MBA programs have started to release interview invitations for Round One, we thought it would be a good time to review some basic principles for how to effectively approach your MBA admissions interview:

In your interview, you want to come across as personable, confident, interested, interesting, and sincere. For everyone one of these descriptors, think of the opposite. No one would want to be surrounded by arrogant, tentative, indifferent, dull, or phony people. In short, you want to convey that you are who you said you are in your application, and you want to show the interviewer that you're someone who would make a great classmate in business school. Yes, this may seem daunting, given the application themes that you already want to communicate. Most of these personality traits, though, should come through if you can relax and simply be yourself.

For the most part, your interviewer will set the tone of the discussion. As described earlier, some will be laid back and interested in getting to know you personally, while others will want to drill down on specific parts of your resume or application. Obviously, how serious or informal you are will largely depend on the person across from you. Your job is to make adjustments accordingly, and to answer the questions that they ask. But you must make sure that by the end of the interview you have covered the main themes that you came in with. For instance, you may have a laid-back, "get to know you" kind of interviewer who doesn't ask you the kinds of pointed questions that would allow you to talk about your strengths. If this is the case, it's perfectly appropriate to say, "By the way, there are a couple of things that I think make me a good fit for this school. I'd like to talk about them and hear your thoughts," before the interview is over. You don't want to be too transparent, but all but the most inept interviewers will appreciate the fact that there are certain ideas that you’re trying to get across before the discussion is over.

If you have a stone-faced interviewer who won't laugh at your jokes, don't press the matter. Act professionally, answer the questions that are asked, and make sure to hit your main themes. In a way, these interviews can sometimes be easier because the interviewer's business-like questions will more likely give you a chance to strut your stuff. If you have a downright hostile interviewer (which happens from time to time), don't let yourself get flustered or goaded into an argument. Relax, think of it as the interviewer's half-baked way of testing your mettle, and answer the questions as they come. Don't be argumentative, but don't be afraid to be assertive, either. A hostile interviewer may be looking for poise and confidence more than anything else, so make sure to demonstrate these.

These tips have been adapted with permission from Your MBA Game Plan, the leading guide on MBA admissions strategy. For more hands-on help with your interviews, take a a look at Veritas Prep's business school admissions interview preparation services.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

GMAC's New MBA Alumni Survey Results

According to the results of a new survey published by the Graduate Management Admission Council, most business school grads agree that an MBA is well worth the investment.

In the 2008 MBA Alumni Perspectives Survey, nine out of 10 grads from the Class of 2008 reports that their graduate business education met or exceeded their expectations. Additionally, 80% of MBA grads in the workforce believe that they couldn't have obtained their first job without their degree.

Even more encouraging are the numbers regarding job satisfaction. According to the survey, two out of three alumni reported that their first job was the one they wanted, which actually represented a rise in job satisfaction vs. previous years.

Another point of interest was the average number of job offers that each Class of 2008 grad received -- 2.7 job offers per person. Unfortunately, this number will likely trend down as the economy suffers, but the survey overall confirms the value of an MBA, regardless of whether a grad receives one, two, or ten job offers.

If you're applying to business school this year, be sure to check out the Veritas Prep MBA admissions resources page.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

BusinessWeek MBA Rankings for 2008

This just in! In an online chat, BusinessWeek has just revealed its 2008 business school rankings. Without further ado, here are the top 25 U.S. MBA programs for 2008:

1. Chicago (Booth)
2. Harvard Business School
3. Northwestern (Kellogg)
4. Penn (Wharton)
5. Michigan (Ross)
6. Stanford
7. Columbia
8. Duke (Fuqua)
9. MIT (Sloan)
10. UC Berkeley (Haas)
11. Cornell (Johnson)
12. Dartmouth (Tuck)
13. NYU (Stern)
14. UCLA (Anderson)
15. Indiana (Kelley)
16. Virginia (Darden)
17. UNC (Kenan-Flagler)
18. Southern Methodist (Cox)
19. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)
20. Notre Dame(Mendoza)
21. UT Austin (McCombs)
22. BYU (Marriott)
23. Emory (Goizueta)
24. Yale
25. USC (Marshall)

And here are the top ten MBA programs outside of the United States:

1. Queen's School of Business
2. IE Business School
4. Western Ontario (Ivey)
5. London Business School
7. IMD
8. Toronto (Rotman)
10. Oxford (Said)

U.S. News and BusinessWeek vie for the title of most closely watched business schools rankings. While it's debatable as to whether the BusinessWeek MBA ranking system or the U.S. News ranking system is more valid, the fact that BW's rankings only come out every two years always makes this announcement a little extra exciting. To its credit, BusinessWeek does a good job of building up the drama with its online chat format for announcing their business school rankings.

For more help with the business school application process, take a look at Veritas Prep's MBA admissions consulting services.

The Day the LSAT Died?

On November 7, the American Bar Association Journal posted an entry about a very interesting study being conducted at the UC-Berkeley School of Law. According to the ABA post, the study is being conducted by "researchers" and has unearthed tests that measure legal skills such as negotiation and problem solving (in addition to the rather ridiculous "skill" of stress management). The biggest news of all? Berkeley's law school dean, Christopher Edley has announced that two professors have validated the test and is now pushing to take the study to a national level. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) is taking a look and plans to help fund the research. Amazing!

Setting aside whether the LSAT is a valid test, or whether any test can (or should) assess "lawyering skills" (rather than the skills that would project well for law school success, which I don't have to remind anyone, is a staging ground for more than just lawyers), it seems impossible that LSAC would ever throw its support behind any test other than its prized LSAT.

It is commendable that Edley and the good people at Berkeley are striving for a better test and the fairest possible assessment process, and I suppose that November 7 could go down as the day that the LSAT died, but we'll believe it when we see it.

In the meantime, if you're applying to law school, take a look at Veritas Prep's law school application tips.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Harvard's Endowment May Face Losses

In another sign of economic stress, Harvard has announced that its $36.9 billion endowment may face "unprecedented" losses in the coming year.

While a Harvard spokeperson declined to comment specifically on how the anticipated losses would affect university operations, the university has confirmed that it will continue to offer free tuition to students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year, and offer reduced tuition to families with annual incomes of as much as $180,000.

Other Ivy League schools are taking additional steps to mitigate students' pain: Princeton will make more financial aid funds available to students, and Brown will relax rules barring students with unpaid tuition balances from registering for classes. Given the size of Harvard's endowment, even if it faces losses this year, we wouldn't be surprised to see the school take similar steps to protect its students.

If you're applying to graduate school this year, the bottom line is that top schools don't want to have to turn away anyone because of fianances, even in this economy. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and have a frank conversation with the financial aid office at your target school. Chances are that they want to work with you to help you make it work.

For more information on Harvard, visit the Veritas Prep HBS information page and read about the HBS 2+2 Program.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

HBS on International Student Loans

Amid all of the grim news lately regarding the availability of student loans, Dee Leopold posted an update on the HBS admissions blog to let international applicants know that they will still have access to need-based loans without a U.S.-based cosigner.

Writes Leopold:

While at this time we do not have further details about specific loan programs with private lenders, we are able to make this important - and reassuring - statement about continued accessibility.

She went on to say that all students will still be eligible for HBS fellowships, which don't need to be repaid. The average need-based fellowship is about $25,000 per year, making them critical in keeping down HBS students' total costs.

If you're applying to Harvard, visit the Veritas Prep HBS information page for more application advice and resources.