Wednesday, February 25, 2009

International MBA Application Numbers Decline

An article in last week's Cornell Daily Sun described what may initially seem like a surprising trend, but one that more than one top business school has described. Despite the sagging economy, the overall number of applications to some top MBA programs have actually dropped this year as the financial crisis has discouraged international applicants from applying because of the difficulty they will likely face in getting student loans.

According to the article, while Cornell has seen a 10-15% in domestic applications vs. last year, that has been more than offset by a 30% decrease in applications from international applicants, resulting in an overall 14% decrease in the number of applications that the Johnson School has seen so far this year. The school's academic dean, Joseph Thomas, attributes this decline in international applicants to the tightening credit situation for international students at U.S. schools.

Domestically, not surprisingly, the school has seen a surge in applications from the financial sector. According to Randall Sawyer, director of admissions and financial aid at Johnson, the school has seen more laid-off applicants than it has seen in many years. This trend is consistent with what all of the other top business schools have described.

On the flip side, while Johnson's overall numbers are down, the school's yield (the percentage of admitted students who matriculate) from the first round is near 70%, which is pretty strong. It seems that those who are lucky enough to get into a top MBA program this year aren't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wharton Round 2 Interview Invitations

If you applied to Wharton in Round 2 but still haven't heard from the school about an admissions interview, there's still hope! Yesterday the Wharton admissions office posted an update on its blog to let applicants know that the school will release all Round 2 interview invitations by tomorrow (Feb. 19).

The Wharton admissions office writes:

The Admissions Committee has already begun releasing interview invitations and will continue to do so daily until 5:00pm EST on Thursday, 19 February 09. Due to the nature and complexity of the admissions process, there is no particular order in which invitations are released. Complete details on how, when, and where to schedule an interview will be provided at the time of invitation. Candidates who are not invited to interview and are no longer being considered for admission will receive a “Deny” decision on 19 February 09.

For help in preparing for your Wharton interview (or your interview for any other top business school), read our blog entry titled MBA Admissions Interview Tips. Good luck!

Monday, February 16, 2009

HBS Employment Update

On Friday Dee Leopold posted an update on Harvard Business School students' job prospects for this year. This update is especially interesting for anyone who is preparing to leave a steady job this year to enter a full-time MBA program.

According to Leopold, 77% of the HBS Class of 2009's job seekers (this excludes anyone who will continue academic work or who will return to a previous employer) have found full-time jobs. She writes:

I don't have any more details to offer at this point, but we are proud of both our students and our Career Services team who have helped many of our students discover and pursue their dreams and find new opportunities in the midst of great uncertainty in the market. It is still months from graduation and companies and organizations continue to be a big presence on campus - spring will be lively here at HBS. We will provide updates as the season progresses.

Hopefully for those HBS students -- and for students at all business schools this year -- spring will indeed prove to be a lively recruiting period.

To get a feel for your chances of getting into Harvard Business School, try Veritas Prep's Business School Selector.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Job Recruiting Down for MBA Grads

Not surprisingly, this week the Wall Street Journal ran a story about how business schools have seen a record drop-off in recruitment for internships and for full-time jobs.

According to a survey that the Journal conducted in January, 56% of career services offices said that on-campus recruiting was down more than 10% this winter. While that's not surprising, the trend seems to be accelerating: last fall only 12% estimated that recruiting was down vs. year ago. And activity on the schools' jobs boards is sluggish, with 50% of career offices reporting that activity was down more than 10%, and 20% saying that job-posting activity was down more than 20%.

If you're applying to business school now, or are getting ready to apply soon, the obvious questions are: What does this mean for you? Should you apply to business school now? As we always tell our admissions consulting clients at Veritas Prep, going back to the school (or NOT going back to school) just because of the economy doesn't make sense. And, if you have a good job right now, the thought of leaving it for an uncertain future can be intimidating. However, know that these downturns typically last no more than 2-3 years, meaning that, by the time you would graduate in 2011 or 2012, the odds are pretty good that the job market will once again return to form.

I have personally walked in these shoes. I applied to business school in 2001/2002, right as the coming recession was compounded by the shock of 9/11 to create headlines about worsening job prospects and rescinded job offers for MBAs. By the time I graduated from Kellogg in 2004, the job market was once again pretty robust, and we battle-hardened second-year students regaled jaded first-years with tales about how rough we had it back in the day. Fast-forward three years, and the Kellogg Management Center again had to enforce rules to keep recruiters from not overdoing it on campus.

My point? The job market is always cyclical. While this is a particularly rough cycle, especially for someone who will graduate this spring, the job market will bounce back. It may take a while, but it will bounce back.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

MBA Admissions Online Seminar with the Toigo Foundation

On February 25 Veritas Prep and the Robert A. Toigo foundation will host an online seminar for anyone who is considering an MBA and a career in finance.

The Robert A. Toigo Foundation was created to build a greater minority presence at senior levels across all areas of finance. Consistent with this mission, the Foundation recruits the best, the brightest, and the most committed minority students pursuing finance-related careers.

Minority MBA applicants may apply to become Toigo Fellows who receive tuition assistance, but the grants are really just one part of the Fellowship. The Foundation prides itself on the providing mentors and coaches to advise, support and guide up-and-coming MBAs in finance. The organization also provides career counseling, continuing education programs, leadership training, and a host of formal and informal networking opportunities for its members.

In the webinar on February 25, Veritas Prep will provide an overview of the MBA admissions process. This is an ideal way for a new applicant to get a broad strategic overview of what it takes to get into a top business school. Then, a representative from the Toigo Foundation will provide an introduction to the Foundation's mission, its specific programs, and the benefits it provides to its members.

This event is open to anyone who would like to learn more about the MBA admissions process and what the Robert A. Toigo Foundation has to offer. Register now to reserve your spot!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Info for Disabled GMAT Test Takers

As the world's fastest-growing GMAT prep company, Veritas Prep often receives questions from test takers who want to know how they can take the GMAT with a disability. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the organization that runs the GMAT, is committed to providing access to the exam to test takers with a variety of disabilities. Fortunately, GMAC has a page on its web site that contains most of what you need to know in case you have a disability and are considering taking the GMAT.

GMAC's site provides a general overview of how to register for the exam and request specific accomodations if you have a disability. Also, be sure to read this document: Supplement for Test Takers with Disabilities. GMAC will accomodate you if any of these disabilities apply to you:
  • Learning Disabilities

  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • Physical or Systemic Disabilities

  • Psychiatric Disabilities

  • Deafness or Hard-of-Hearing Disabilities

  • Blindness or Low-Vision Disabilities

If you fall into one of the above camps, GMAC and Pearson VUE (the company that runs the test centers where you will take the GMAT) can make a variety of accommodations. including giving you more time on the exam, extended rest breaks during the exam, a reader who can read test questions aloud to you, or enlarged fonts on the computer screen. Overall, GMAC wants the GMAT to measure your true ability, and does not want it to be clouded by a disability that you may have.

If you are preparing for the GMAT now, Veritas Prep offers a variety of flexible GMAT tutoring options in dozens of cities around the world.

Friday, February 6, 2009

GMAC Appealing to Army Reserve Vets

The Graduate Management Admission Council recently announced that it has partnered with the Army Reserve to attract Army Reserve officers and senior enlisted soldiers to business school. With the war in Iraq possibly winding down soon, thousands of military vets may soon apply to business school, so the timing of this announcement is perfect.

"We are excited and honored to join with the U.S. Army Reserve in this effort," said GMAC president David Wilson in a press release. "Education can change someone's life. No one deserves that opportunity more than those who serve our country. Moreover, officers and other leaders are among the very best candidates for business school. Their experience in managing resources and developing strategy enrich the dialogue in the classroom, a cornerstone of the MBA program. Their discipline prepares them well for the rigors of the program and for management upon graduation."

The program, which has been referred to as "Operation MBA," will give soldiers access to unique information and tools to help them prepare for the GMAT and the MBA admissions process. They will also have access to a list of schools that have agreed to waive the admissions fee for military personnel, make financial aid available, or grant deferments based on soldier's service commitments.

If you are in the military and are considering business school, know that schools love the kind of experience and leadership you can bring to the classroom. As we write in Your MBA Game Plan, business schools are hungry for applicants with this kind of background!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Waitlist Advice from Dartmouth (Tuck)

Recently Karen Marks, Tuck's Associate of Recruiting and Enrollment, wrote a post on Tuck's blog about the school's upcoming decisions for their November round. (Tuck's admissions deadlines aren't called Round 1 and Round 2, etc. Instead, they have an Early Round, a November Round, January Round, and an April Round.) This Friday Tuck's November Round applicants will learn their fates: accepted, denied, or waitlisted.

Most of Karen's post is devoted to answering questions that Tuck's waitlisted applicants will likely have:

First, let me explain how we decide to waitlist someone. Candidates are placed on the waitlist for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we need more information about an applicant, but see many positive qualities and are interested enough to seek additional data. Sometimes we have questions about English or quantitative proficiency, so we will encourage the candidate to retake their GMAT or Toefl or to complete additional coursework. In other cases there are no particular areas of concern but we are unable to offer admission at that point in our cycle.

Tuck is one of the better schools in terms of communicating with waitlisted candidates. If you are waitlisted by Tuck, you will be assigned a single point of contact, and that person will give you feedback on any outstanding questions that the admissions committee has. However, if they tell you that there isn't any other information that they need, you should believe them -- they have no incentive not to keep you fully informed of how they view your candidacy.

If there's big news in your life, though, this is always a good reason to reach out to your Tuck point of contact and let them know -- such as if you just got a promotion on your job, took a new job, or have recently achieved something else significant.

In terms of your chances of being admitted off of the waitlist and expected timing, Karen says:

Historically, we have admitted people from the waitlist every year - but the number varies, as does the profile of those admitted off the waitlist. Most of the time we do not admit waitlisted candidates until later in the cycle - usually not until the Spring.

So, be patient, follow the rules, take all the feedback you can get, and good luck!

If you need help in navigating Tuck's or any other school's waitlist, Veritas Prep's MBA admissions experts can help!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Harvard Business School Admissions Interviews

Last week Dee Leopold, Harvard Business School's Director of Admissions, posted a short message on the HBS Director's Blog about the timing for Round 2 admissions interview invites:

On February 9 we will send out invitations to interview. The invitation will come in an email from HBS MBA Admissions and will contain detailed instructions about how to sign up for interviews both on campus and in hub cities. Please be assured that if we see you haven't signed up for an interview by the end of the week, we will contact you by phone...thus there's no reason to be anxious about lost emails, etc.

Shortly afterward, I'll update you here as to how many invitations have been issued and how many we expect will go out between February 10 and the April 2 notification date.

Note the second part of what Dee says. While a majority of interview invites will likely go out on Feb. 9, don't worry if you don't hear anything on that day. The HBS admissions office will be working through thousands of applications, and they may not get to yours for another few weeks or more.

Visit Veritas Prep for more advice on applying to HBS and how to ace your MBA admissions interviews.