Category Archives: MBA School Information

Weekend Round-up: The Latest MBA Admissions News

Here is some recommended reading from the world of MBA admissions this past week (please click on colored article titles):

1. Oliver Ashby, Senior Manager of Recruitments and Admissions at London Business School, discusses a number of topics from job hunting to career goals to the GMAT IR in this detailed interview with PaGaLGuY:

Despite tough UK visa rules, you can wriggle out 8 months for job hunting after London Business School MBA

2. Garth Saloner, Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, talks about the value of a Stanford education at Poets & Quants:

An Interview With Stanford Dean Garth Saloner

3. BloombergBusinessweek offers some tips on how to get through the group MBA interview which the University of Michigan, Wharton and IMD have been conducting:

How to Stand Out in an MBA Group Interview

4. US News & World Report has some tips on how to get more financial aid from graduate school, and your efforts should continue even after you have enrolled:

4 Tips for Getting More Graduate School Financial Aid

And finally, a couple of links that are not directly related to admissions but perhaps could be of interest to you:

The Choices for Japanese Youth – Recommendations for this generation of young Japanese, by London Business School’s Professor of Management Practice Lynda Gratton

The Top 10 Motivational Books of All Time Inc.‘s Geoffrey James lists the top 1o books “that drive readers to change their lives, improve their lot, and build better careers.”

Happy reading and have a good weekend!


HEC Paris Information Session (July 23, 2011)

This is the third in a series of information session reports written by our correspondent during his attendance at the MBA Tour’s July 23rd event in New York City. (Cecilia Wu Tanaka’s note: My apologies for the delay uploading this post…)

The HEC Paris representative, Marie-Laurence Lemaire, Development Manager, started off her presentation with a bit of history. HEC Paris was established two centuries ago and is ranked the #1 business school in Europe (I would later look this up; according to the website the source is The Financial Times.) The school is actually not located in Paris; they moved out because the students were too "distracted" (this drew a few chuckles from the audience.) This was good for getting to know each other anyway, the representative said (and the campus is not that far from Paris, about 18 kilometers.)

The student body is diverse: 85% is not French. There are 150 students in the September intake. Students are divided into working groups that rotate every few months. They also make sure a student is the only one of his or her nationality. HEC Paris wants students to get out of their comfort zone. Just when you get comfortable, your surroundings change. While other schools may do this, I like that this is something articulated explicitly, as change helps one grow.

Some general information:

Language. You don’t need to learn French as the program is conducted in English but if you don’t know French  you’ll study the language. Those who already speak two languages will study a third. A language is not just language but  about the culture.

Essay. Very important. Have people read your essays.

Recommendations. These can be from clients. Job titles of the writer are not important; choose people who know you, your work, and your personality.

GMAT (average: 690) is very important. If you have a low GMAT score then another part of your application must be strong. If you have a low quantitative score the admissions committee will look more closely at transcripts and calculus courses you’ve taken.

Interview. You will also be asked to give a 10 minute oral presentation in the subject of your choice. This presentation is very important.

Work experience. If you have more than 10 years of experience you’ll be rerouted into the executive MBA program. The school does not feel that less than 3 years of work experience constitute enough experiences to share.

Cornell Johnson School Information Session (July 23, 2011)

This is the second in a series of information session reports written by our correspondent during his attendance at the MBA Tour’s July 23rd event in New York City.

Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management

Cornell was represented by Christine Sneva, Acting Director of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Sneva talked about meat and potato topics like “experiential learning” that goes beyond case studies and immersion programs. And she talked about areas of study including finance (and how Cornell has a trading floor on the premises, which I thought was very neat), sustainability, and entrepreneurship. (At which point she said either you’re an entrepreneur or you’re not, and if you don’t understand that, you’re probably not.) She talked about dual degree programs. And then–


This was only my second information session of the morning and I already was starting a bit of eye rolling. So every school prides itself on academic quality and community. She talked about how the Cornell community is tight knit, that students mingle with faculty in social events. There’s even a place for social gatherings, called Sage Hall. Because Cornell is in Ithaca I just picture people all hanging out locally on campus simply because there’s nowhere else to go. At NYU I imagine students probably have their own friends outside of school and socialize with them. Professors may be working at night (this is speculation on my part.) At Cornell people tend to live and work in one general area. Someone in the audience actually brought this up. He asked why on earth anyone would want to go to school in Ithaca. (OK, those are my words but he basically asked this question, just a bit more diplomatically.) Give credit to Sneva, who was prepared for this question. For one, it’s a beautiful campus. The classes are smaller and Cornell makes it a point to keep classes smaller rather than bigger. Then she launched into her spiel about the vast alumni network of Cornell. I wasn’t wholly satisfied by her answer and wasn’t convinced as to why I would potentially want to spend two years of my life in Ithaca but to her credit, she did not make a hard sell. Ithaca is not for everyone. (Side note: Cornell undergraduate alumni, whom she referred to as “Cornellians,” appear to have an edge in the admissions process because they, like no others, are intimately aware of what it’s like to live and study/work in Cornell.)

What reached me about this information session in a way that NYU did not was how Sneva talked about Cornell looking for leaders that will influence their organizations. If Cornell is successful in enrolling such people, I get the sense that Cornell is not populated with people who just want to make riches. I liked this criterion. And in speaking about alumni, she talked about “passion” and “legacy”–because after graduation these students, now alumni, will represent the Cornell brand. I found this appealing as this should make for a stronger network.

She then went into the application. The resume is very important. The essay is important. Why Cornell Johnson? Why an MBA? This was all quite conventional advice but this tidbit was gold: ONCE YOU MAKE IT TO THE INTERVIEW, 90% OF YOUR DECISION IS BASED ON THE INTERVIEW.

To me this was a bombshell because it would probably encourage me a little and scare the hell out of me a lot. So the weeks and months of preparation and essay writing and GMAT taking have brought me to this place. And the future course of my life boils down to this 45-minute conversation. Wow.

Actually, I think it’s good to know this because then it means, as an applicant, I’m close. She gave more information and advice. The nature of the interview itself is spontaneous, conversational. There are no staged questions. Show enthusiasm. Do your research. Visit the school (especially for New Yorkers, who are at least in the same state.) She mentioned the Cornell Club in midtown and buses that go to Ithaca.

The evaluation covers three areas:

1. Academics

2. Career decision-making and self-efficacy. This means one’s belief in one’s own ability. (She added, to my amusement, that this was probably “through the roof” for the people in this audience.)

3. Leadership and community.

They’re looking for people who are easy to talk to (extroversion/introversion doesn’t matter but outliers are obvious. In a small class, it’s easy to tell who sticks out.) Is the applicant proactive? Connects with people? Has a good sense of the school?

When the Cornell information session ended I felt that I had some sense of the school, and a positive one at that. I’m still not sure I’d want to study in such a remote location but at least now I’d be willing to look into the school, which I previously hadn’t considered before. On that level, at least, I think this session was a very successful one.

NYU Stern School of Business Information Session

This is the first in a series of information reports written by our correspondent during his attendance at the MBA Tour’s July 23rd event in New York city.

NYU Stern School of Business

The first thing the NYU rep did was have everyone stand up and introduce himself to the person next to him. After some spirited chatter she indicated that this kind of thing was what Stern was about: community. She spoke about the growth of professional relationships. She talked about the numerous professional and social clubs, some of which may lead to jobs; and that second year students mentor first years. Indeed, community was one of Stern’s core values, which follow:

1. Academic Excellence. Faculty with real life experience. (In mentioning the new dean, she briefly mentioned how NYU Stern wants its students to think of how the economy relates to society as a whole, or something along those lines. I would have liked to hear more about this philosophy because it was one of the few things that made Stern unique sounding.)

2. Leveraging Location.

3. Community.

4. IQ and EQ. The importance of “soft skills” (her words, not mine); interpersonal skills.

While it seems that just about every school includes these values as their own, NYU is unique in its location (aside from its noticeably absent rival, Columbia.) The NYU rep indicated that its students work with case studies involving the New York Mets, the Metropolitan Opera, and Steinway Piano. And the room was packed, in part I imagine, due to its location in lower Manhattan (Cornell, despite its Ivy League status, had noticeably fewer attendees.)

The Stern rep gave some basic pointers on the application:

An applicant is judged on:

1. Academic potential

2. Career aspiration and achievements

3. Personal characteristics


– Take practice tests.

– NYU only looks at the highest score.

– NYU now accepts the GRE as it reaches more people.


These should be from professional to convey how you are in the workplace.


Show where you are; where you want to go; how to get there.

Optional essay:

Explain anything. Don’t make the admissions committee make guesses about you.

The NYU rep ended by providing the various deadlines.

During the introduction the person next to me was a man from Maryland with a background in real estate finance. After NYU’s presentation was over he deadpanned, “Everything she said was off the website.”

Thinking back on NYU’s information session I can’t say I have a clearer picture of the school. I really didn’t get anything out of this session. My impression is that NYU is diverse (as she cited significant proportions of women and minorities) and is well located. And my feeling that NYU is hip is left intact. I may know nothing of its academic rigor or what companies Stern graduates go on to work for but I’ll probably get to meet a lot of people.

Curriculum Changes at Berkeley’s Haas MBA Program

Anyone considering Haas should be aware of the new curriculum changes that have recently been approved by the Haas faculty. Actually, perhaps these changes will attract those of you who have not yet seriously considered applying to Haas. Among the innovations will be those in their core leadership course, a new experiential initiative, and increased focus on international business. Please click on the following link for further details: