Business School
(MBA and other degrees)

In working on behalf of clients intending to go to business school, my focus is to help them:

 
  • Determine which type of program would be best for them

 
  • Evaluate and develop career options

 
  • Develop their credentials and skills

 
  • Create the appropriate marketing strategy and story

 
  • Choose the programs and schools they will apply to

 
  • Write high-impact essays

 
  • Put together a highly readable, targeted resume

 
  • Select and brief their recommenders

 
  • Prepare to ace their interviews

 
  • Minimize the total cost of business school

 
  • Select the best option among the schools offering admission

 
  • Prepare for business school and maximize the career value of their efforts in law school

 

Of course, not all clients need all or even many of these services. My work is customized to what my clients want; there is no one-size-fits-all approach involved.

The nature of my work

Rather than try to describe in detail each of the services above, I’ll note just a few aspects of two of them, the selection of programs and preparation for interviews, to give some of the flavor of the work I do.

Program selection

Would-be MBA applicants are spoiled for choice, given that high-quality programs of various sorts are available:

  • Full-time and part-time

 
  • Executive and traditional

 
  • Generalist or highly specialized, whether by function or industry or another dimension

 
  • Joint degree programs, combining business with everything IT to forestry to wine

 
  • Longer and shorter (with high-quality full-time programs, for example, available in as short as 10 months or as long as 21 months)

 

In addition, the United States is no longer the only provider of highly-regarded programs. Europe has long offered a substantial number of excellent programs, and Asia increasingly does, too.

But the days of the MBA being the only sensible graduate business degree are also long gone. Thus, recent graduates might want to consider Masters of Management degrees, now offered at various leading American business schools as well as European schools (which first developed them). The masters in finance is another serious contender for high-flying candidates. So, too, are tech degrees as well as non-degree tech (and business) programs.

As a result, helping clients sort through the multiplying options is an important early step in our work together.

Interviews

For those who have already had a great deal of interview experience, possibly as interviewer as well as interviewee, all that may be necessary is to brief them as to what to expect in each school’s interviews, and to suggest how they should prepare.

In many cases, however, my clients understandably want more than a briefing. I frequently put clients through mock interviews in the style of one or more of the schools they are targeting, along with detailed critiques of their performance.

Getting started: timing

Some of my most successful clients sign up for my services one or more years in advance of actually applying to business school, in order to discuss long-term strategy and goals that are best addressed long before applications are put together. This allows them to be best prepared to market themselves when the time comes.

On the other hand, plenty of clients come to me at a later stage in the game—at the beginning of the application season or even in the midst of applying. I am prepared to help clients at any point in their application efforts and encourage panicked applicants who find themselves behind schedule to contact me for immediate assistance.

Typical concerns of my business school clients

General issues:

  • What can I do in college to help me get into a great MBA program?

  • Are there good MBA programs available straight out of college?

  • Are there good alternatives to an MBA? Other degree programs? Non-degree programs?

  • Should I work before going to business school? What if I can’t get a great job?

  • What sort of job—or actions on the job—will be most helpful when I apply for an MBA?

  • How can I get a substantial scholarship (or otherwise cut the cost of an MBA program)?

  • Should I do a joint degree? Is it worth the extra money?
    The extra time?

  • Should I limit myself to full-time programs? American (European) schools?

  • Will attending school X give me a good shot at a job in industry Y (or firm Z)?

  • How important are the rankings? Which rankings?

  • What are my chances at a top 5 (10, 20) school?

  • Which of the schools that I have a shot at would be best for me?

 

Admissions issues:

 
  • What are top schools looking for?

 
  • What can I do in the short run to improve my chances? In the longer run?

 
  • How much will those steps improve my chances?

 
  • Can I still get into school X in spite of my 2.95 (or whatever) GPA?

 
  • How about my unfortunate GMAT score? Do I need to re-take it? What sort of preparation should I undertake?

 
  • What can make up for these missteps?

 
  • What are my chances if I apply now? If I apply in another year (or more)?

 

Post-Admissions Issues:

  • How can I best prepare for business school?

  • How can I get the most out of business school?

  • What do I need to know to get the best possible job in tech/consulting/finance/marketing?