Insignts

Business Schools

Like it is with most matters, humanity acts not at the right time, but reacts when the damage has been done. There are econometric theories that prove we follow the herd, mostly because we don’t understand what we are doing, until the bubble bursts. The easiest analogy is the financial market. Are they efficient? Does the price of the stock represent the true value of the asset? These anomalies have been observed and studied, and these questions have been discussed in finance and behavioral science classes for ages. What is – is not always real. But change does not happen with observation. We also love what is – to follow the status quo. Few have the muscle, the will, the intelligence, and the time to move away from stability and challenge existing systems and power structures. Change happens when it’s late. And late it is, for an age-old admissions process in which applications are created by consultants, who are now available at every corner of the world and at every price point. The industry has zero barriers to entry.

Admissions Offices can read an application and find out whether the applicant has written it. Business Schools even know that most recommendations are gamed; applicants have drafted them and their consultants or editors have added behavioral touches and cleaned them up. Where is the originality business schools once sought? Where is the applicant’s real voice? More so, why are schools putting up with this?

Essays were introduced at a time when telecommunications systems were not developed. Admissions offices substituted essays as a means to evaluate interpersonal skills because face-to-face meetings were not possible. Interviews were not required. Essays were a reflection of the candidate’s motivations. But now, and for quite some time, things have been different. People can meet, interact, and do video interviews. When a picture speaks a thousand words, and when a sequence of moving images can easily be created on your phone, what role does a 500-word essay serve?

‘Why do you want to do an MBA, why now, and why from our oh so great School?’ Give me a break! Is it fair to expect original answers to questions that are so unoriginal? Are schools going to admit a candidate simply because they are interested in them? I’m not sure. You can talk about starting clubs and driving global treks, you can discuss the superior leadership skills you developed in the extensive four years you spent post college, you can drop alum names in your essays, and you can try to project the perfect image of a candidate who so wishes to make the world a better place and give back to his community, but you know what, the prom queen is not going to date you because you are begging to be with her? She wants a rockstar – a genetic structure superior to hers, a personal brand bigger than her own.

Adcom officers too can humor themselves reading fake answers about big plans candidates have to solve the world’s problems, admire the pretense they are projecting of a utopian world viewed through rose-tinted glasses, or even empathize with each other on their contribution to human development, but even they know you only want the brand, the network, and oh, I almost forgot, that job in consulting. And why not – who will hire you later if you don’t have top brands earlier? Even founders without pedigreed backgrounds have preference for people with experience in top firms. If anyone tells you that brands are not important, or that grades are not important, or that education is not important, be wary, because most of them are really successful or they are naysayers. Read the requirements of jobs posted even by startups, and you will frequently find ‘Consulting,’ ‘I-banking’ and ‘top-tier MBA’ on their descriptions.

The entire process is also not geared for any efficiency. Great candidates land up not applying to B-schools because navigating recommenders again and again, and coming up with innovative answers to an array of essay questions for each application is difficult. Even the GMAT could be a roadblock for many, those who would otherwise make great candidates but who haven’t been able to score well on tests because of socio-cultural, economic, also diverse academic backgrounds. Many applicants, even the smartest, land up taking the GMAT multiple times, adding another layer of stress, and wasted time, energy, and money.

One solution – A common application created and managed by the T20 schools. One written essay, such as Yale’s ‘Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made’ or MIT’s cover letter, one video essay, and one recommendation. GRE/ GMAT to be made optional for those who cannot validate their quantitative aptitude through prior coursework. Think about it – if you graduate with a 3.8 GPA from the Ivy Leagues or another top school, do you need to prove you are intelligent? If you attended the IITs, can someone claim you have no brain?

This common application, managed by the Schools, should allow the candidate to apply to all the places she wishes to apply to – in one go. She saves time, energy, and effort. But this cannot be done by a profiteering private company that is claiming to solve problems in the name of humanity and making millions on the side. This has to be a non-profit controlled by the Schools. Else it will be one more company driven by a profit-maximizing agenda that will suit some but not all, ultimately creating more problems and more divide.

MIT’s process is admirable:-

  • A cover letter allows you the freedom to talk about whatever you feel is relevant
  • It asks for a video essay, which they have not outsourced to a private company; they retain control.
  • It only requires one letter of recommendation.
  • It has made the GMAT optional, which will now allow many great candidates to apply. I have come across many who have sound business acumen and would make great MBA candidates, but haven’t scored high on standardized tests. Many of these candidates should be given a shot. A great artist can come from anywhere – Ratatouille, the movie!
  • The interviewing process is holistic and mirrors a conversation, rather than a series of checkmarks.

Life is not a series of checkboxes. All boxes checked do not maketh a great candidate. Likewise, few boxes checked do not make an undeserving one. Who would know that better than MIT, the school that brought us System Dynamics!


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed on this site and in this article are opinions, and all data and information provided here are for informational purposes only. CollegeStation Eduservices LLP, its partners, clients, or any of its associates make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information provided on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Read More

To begin, I hope that you, your families, and your friends are well. During these trying times, I pray that you are safe and come out on the other side of this pandemic stronger than before.

Across popular MBA news platforms and forums, growing concerns about business school and the future of MBA education are fueling discussions. Travel and visa insecurities are driving up deferral requests by incoming students, therefore hinting at low yield. Most schools have delayed R3 and final round deadlines to May and June.  GMAC and ETS have launched at-home online GMAT and GRE testing, albeit with mixed reviews. And many top schools including Kellogg and Darden have altogether waived off testing requirements. Rumors also exist that many tier 2 and 3 schools are in hot waters with regard to filing classes and experiencing difficulties. There is no doubt that the current situation has had an impact on everyone.  With this brief article, I hope to provide my interpretation of how COVID -19 will affect 1) placements, 2) program delivery and 3) admissions.

Placements

Given that many organizations have halted hiring, and that millions have lost their jobs, there are concerns around the health of the job market in America, the destination of choice, for the most part, for MBA hopefuls. Arguably, this is a good time to re-skill.

There is historical precedence that the beginning of recessionary periods is a good time for education because time taken by the economy to recover can be used effectively to develop abilities that will be of value when the market bounces back. Those who do not develop additional capabilities now may struggle in the future and lose out to competition that is at the forefront of new thinking.  Unlike labor markets, organizations cannot and do not spend time playing catch up. They have to compete irrespective of the environment and win or lose. In the innovation age, systems can become outdated even before they can be executed and hence, employers do not have the luxury of providing employees long learning curves. They will hire those who are most relevant, and those who can immediately contribute.

I know many international students who gave up the American Dream in 2008/09 during the housing crisis, only to find a rich job market in 2011/12; this was likely the right time to catch the tide low, when tech companies were growing, and hiring. Also well known is that economists who study the future of work frequently recommend education as a path to economic prosperity. Data science, digital technologies, and cross-cultural acumen are skills that will be in demand in the future. Also, I have always held the belief that specialization, whether it is function or industry, will be the order of the day. I am not saying that generalist skills are not valuable – they are, but as you navigate your career, consider diving deep in marketing analytics, taking a course or more in applications of AI/ML, learning a foreign language, and gaining exposure to work in an international environment such as Asia or Africa. Fortunately, the MBA is well designed for such learning.

I am confident that any kind of formal education, even a Masters or a PhD, will at this stage be favorable to your career in the future. Careers in or related to automation and robotics, virtual work and communications, digital entertainment and education, integration of home and workspace, data security, and healthcare will be sought-after. Services and products that reduce human contact, such as food delivery, are also likely to be hot.

Program Delivery

There are concerns around the value or price tag of the MBA, and how education will be delivered. The MBA is a premium, expensive and professional degree program, and business schools are well aware that experiential learning, group work, industry outreach and networking opportunities are important elements amongst its offerings. While schools will take advantage of digital learning technologies, not all coursework will go online. If that happens, demand for education will fall, and schools’ ability to charge a premium will be lost. In the long and short run, I feel there will be no impact on the quality of delivery. If at all, schools will blend the best of learning practices in both digital and classroom to create an experience better than ever before. 

Evolution, any which way is inevitable; top business schools regularly revamp their programs to offer the latest in management thinking and through the best delivery channels. As examples, MIT is successfully running blended programs through EDX, and Harvard offers many courses through its well-received HBX platform. Best practices from these platforms, and others, will eventually make their way into MBA programs, and I am sure schools have been thinking on these lines for quite some time now.

Trivia: almost all schools in the top 18 have invested millions in state-of-the-art facilities – these facilities are designed for social interaction.

Admissions

At the top schools, I foresee a very competitive year ahead, given that many students have deferred and postponed their plans this year. For schools not in the top 10, getting in may be easier than before. The current situation in America is tipping the scales – if an attribute for a product becomes less attractive, another attribute has to become more desirable for the product to remain attractive. So if the prospect of an American education is becoming less attractive to you because of underlying current insecurities, it has to be compensated by a better brand. Hence, more people will aim higher.

Nonetheless, for those who value a global brand on their résumés over other attributes, such as a degree that could generate opportunities anywhere in the world, this is still a good time to apply. Even if you view yourself as a Silver or Bronze candidate – with a lower GMAT and work experience in a less well-known company, or if you are someone who is still contemplating an MBA, consider taking the plunge now. I am positive you have a shot at the top 20. Management education is an American concept; it is here to stay.

Every candidate is unique, and a detailed analysis can only be done by taking into consideration your situation, background and interests. To move out of the uncertainty of where you stand in the scheme of placements and job opportunities, to invest in your future the right way, now is the time to give a hard look at your opportunities for the future. We are a boutique firm, and work with no more than 50 candidates for each season. We provide our clients unlimited consulting hours and promise a deep and meaningful engagement. In case you wish to discuss your profile or learn more, give us a call!


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed on this site and in this article are opinions, and all data and information provided here are for informational purposes only. CollegeStation Eduservices LLP, its partners, clients or any of its associates make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information provided on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Read More

In case you didn’t make it this season – worry not!  The nature of the game will result in many applicants not getting an offer; top schools have low acceptance rates, suggesting that in any given year most people won’t get in. To hedge your bets, you have to be careful about the schools you select, apply to a few schools, and take into consideration your interests, professional goals and cultural fit while doing so. We work with many re-applicants every year, many of whom come to me at low stages, after they have received a reject, if not more.

For the most part, I can easily identify what went wrong with their applications, but sometimes, it is not as straightforward; even great candidates get rejected. This is no way an indication of your abilities, nor is it a failure.

But the brain can trick you into giving up. Because giving up will prevent you from the pain of dealing with rejection. This is the way our DNA has evolved over millennia – to cope with the situation, some may decide to move away from the goal.  But the only way to ensure success is to go on, to objectively and unemotionally work on the next steps. I tell all my clients that one has to be in the game to win the game.

I have divided my response in two parts, a) how do you cope with rejection, and b), what are your options.

Firstly, continue doing what you are doing. Do not quit your job in frustration hoping that you will regroup. It will not get better. It is important that you feel you are mastering something, even if it is not your chosen career path. Make sure you go to work and keep busy. Secondly, it is important to try to be ‘in flow.’ In case you are not getting enough punch at work, pick up a hobby and try to master it. Play a sport, join a club, develop a new professional skill, or maybe learn a new language. Thirdly, socialize. The easiest thing to do is to go into a cocoon in defeat. By doing so you will lose energy and feel even worse. In acting, there are two popular methods: without getting into details, one theory suggests that for an internal feeling to manifest, you have to drive it from outside. By enveloping yourself in gloomy environment, you will manifest that. Force yourself to go out and interact. A progressive and happy external environment will lead to the same feelings internally. In no time your mind will wander away from your burdens and you will feel renewed energy. Fourthly, give back. It is not the end of the world and there are people who need you. Tutor children, help the needy – whatever works with you. You will feel better.

Lastly, don’t blame yourself.  The more you believe you were responsible for the outcome, the more miserable you will be. Reality is that external factors played a role, just like they play everywhere in life. I have observed the workings of a top school’s admissions office for years. I assure you that the same application read on different days or by different people will lead to different outcomes. Just tell yourself that you did your best, and that circumstances beyond your control were not in your favor, and that you could have done nothing to change the current state.

In case you are looking to start in January, there are a number of great options: Columbia, INSEAD, HEC France, IE Spain, Ivey in Canada, and AGSM in Australia all have January intakes. In Canada, a number of Schools such as Queen’s Smith School and York’s Schulich offer Master’s programs that start in January or throughout the year. As an example, Queen’s runs its Masters of Management Analytics in January and May, and the Masters of Management in Artificial Intelligence in August. Specialized programs are a great alternative to the MBA, and can provide very fulfilling academic experiences and rewarding careers.

We have deep experience with all these schools. If you would like to learn more about them, of if you need help with your applications, please reach out.


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed on this site and in this article are opinions, and all data and information provided here are for informational purposes only. CollegeStation Eduservices LLP, its partners, clients or any of its associates make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information provided on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Read More

The world has evolved over the last two decades, and today, the pace of change is faster than ever before. Sign onto Linkedin and look at jobs posted by multinationals and well-known firms, and you will observe, without any question, that ‘data,’ ‘digital’ and ‘technology’ are routine keywords on their descriptions.  In fact, in Canada, where I recently spent considerable time, rarely did I come across a job that didn’t require an understanding of technology and data. So much so that even traditional consulting and accounting firms now have specialized innovation hubs and AI practices. As examples, look at Accenture Innovation Hub and Deloitte Omnia AI.

The world is evolving, and over the last two decades, the pace of change is faster than ever before. Sign onto Linkedin and look at jobs posted by multinationals and well-known firms, and you will observe, without any question, that the keywords ‘data,’ ‘digital’ and ‘technology’ are routine on their descriptions.  In fact, in Canada, where I recently spent considerable time, rarely did I come across a job that didn’t require an understanding of technology and data. So much so that even traditional consulting and accounting firms now have specialized innovation hubs and AI practices. As examples, look at Accenture Innovation Hub and Deloitte Omnia AI.

As market needs are shifting, so are business schools. First, they are seeking the STEM designation for their MBA programs, such as at CMU’s Tepper and Michigan’s Ross, which now offer a STEM MBA curriculum, and second, they are offering specialized programs such as a Masters in Analytics. As examples, MIT Sloan, UCLA Anderson, UVA Darden, CMU Tepper, and LBS are few top schools that offer a degree in Analytics. Some of these programs are more difficult to get into than their respective school’s MBA programs!

Canada seems to have been ahead in this data revolution. U of Toronto’s Rotman School, Western’s Ivey School, Queen’s Smith School, British Columbia’s Sauder School, and York University’s Schulich School, all offer a Masters in Analytics. These programs are well regarded in the country. In fact, Queen’s University was also the first to start a Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence in Toronto. The program features a state-of-the-art blended curriculum, star faculty, weekly interaction with industry experts, company visits, and a capstone project, all very well managed by the School.

I have always advised my clients to (a) follow their interest, in case they know what they want, and (b) prepare for where the ball will be in the future. The MBA is here to stay, and the future is digital. Whether you get an MBA or a Masters, successful professionals will be at the forefront of data and AI. And if you opt for an MBA, you should, at the very least, expect to equip yourself with technical tools within your focus area, whether function or industry. For example, if you wish to study Marketing, plan to get deep knowledge in marketing analytics, and if you wish to study the entertainment industry, intend to get comfortable with technology trends in that space. All top MBA programs now offer a plethora of courses that will allow you to gain skills you need for your chosen space.

Ultimately, both degrees offer a path to corporate leadership. Once you join a company, other factors, both internal and external will play a role in your progression. What program to opt for will warrant a more detailed observation of individual profiles. Each candidate has a set of circumstances, and it is impractical to generalize with simple frameworks. With this article, I hope to provide you with some information to aid your decision-making.

 My recommendation is as follows – in case you are on the less experienced side, and prefer to fast track your career with a degree, a Masters in Analytics may very well be the way. Also, if you have an undergraduate degree in business or commerce, a degree in Analytics will add depth to your profile. For those who have technical backgrounds, such as in computer science or engineering, or for those who wish to seek broader industry exposure and keep options open, the MBA will likely be the degree of choice.

Then there are other programs. In case you have identified an area of interest, you could go for a specialized program, such as a degree in Supply Chain, Digital Product Management, Real Estate, Fashion Merchandising, Hospitality, or Finance. There are top-ranked programs in every space, and career opportunities post them are aplenty.

In case you need help with your Masters or MBA applications, please feel free to reach out to me.

The world has evolved over the last two decades, and today, the pace of change is faster than ever before. Sign onto Linkedin and look at jobs posted by multinationals and well-known firms, and you will observe, without any question, that ‘data,’ ‘digital’ and ‘technology’ are routine keywords on their descriptions.  In fact, in Canada, where I recently spent considerable time, rarely did I come across a job that didn’t require an understanding of technology and data. So much so that even traditional consulting and accounting firms now have specialized innovation hubs and AI practices. As examples, look at Accenture Innovation Hub and Deloitte Omnia AI.

As market needs are shifting, two things are happening in business schools. First, they are seeking the STEM designation for their MBA programs, such as at CMU’s Tepper and Michigan’s Ross, which now offer a STEM MBA curriculum, and second, they are offering a Masters program in Analytics. As examples, MIT Sloan, UCLA Anderson, UVA Darden, CMU Tepper, and LBS are few top schools that offer a degree in Analytics. Some of these programs are more difficult to get into than their respective school’s MBA programs!

Canada seems to have been ahead in this data revolution. U of Toronto’s Rotman School, Western’s Ivey School, Queen’s Smith School, British Columbia’s Sauder School, and York University’s Schulich School, all offer a Masters in Analytics. These programs are well regarded in the country. In fact, Queen’s University offers the only program of its kind, a Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence in Toronto. The program features a state-of-the-art blended curriculum, star faculty, weekly interaction with industry experts, company visits, and a capstone project, all very well managed by the School.

I have always advised my clients to (a) follow their interest, in case they know what they want, and (b) prepare for where the ball will be in the future. The MBA is here to stay, but the future is digital. Whether you get an MBA or a Masters, successful professionals will be at the forefront of data and AI. And if you opt for an MBA, you should, at the very least, expect to equip yourself with technical tools within your focus area, whether function or industry. For example, if you wish to study Marketing, plan to get knowledge in marketing analytics, and if you wish to study the entertainment industry, intend to get comfortable with technology trends in that space. All top MBA programs now offer a plethora of courses for you to gain skills you need for your chosen space.

Ultimately, both degrees offer a path to corporate leadership. Once you join a company, other factors, both internal and external will play a role in your progression. What program to opt for will warrant a more detailed observation of individual profiles. Each candidate has a set of circumstances, and it is impractical to generalize with a framework. With this article, I hope to provide you with some information to aid your decision-making.

 My recommendation is as follows – in case you are on the less experienced side, and prefer to fast track your career with a degree, a Masters in Analytics may very well be the way. Also, if you have an undergraduate degree in business or commerce, a degree in Analytics will add depth to your profile. For those who have technical backgrounds, such as in computer science or engineering, or for those who wish to seek broader industry exposure and keep options open, the MBA will likely be the degree of choice.

Then there are other programs. In case you have identified an area of interest, you could go for a specialized program, such as a degree in Supply Chain, Digital Product Management, Real Estate, Fashion Merchandising, Hospitality, or Finance. There are top-ranked programs in every space, and career opportunities post them are aplenty. In case you need help with your Masters or MBA applications, please reach out to me. 


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed on this site and in this article are opinions, and all data and information provided here are for informational purposes only. CollegeStation Eduservices LLP, its partners, clients or any of its associates make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information provided on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Read More

After having lived in Canada this past year, I have had the opportunity to learn about its education system and interact with many business school graduates. University of Toronto’s Rotman School, Western University’s Ivey Business School, and Queens University’s Smith School of Business are generally considered the top schools. All of them are located in Ontario, and feature state-of-the-art campuses in downtown Toronto; Ivey and Smith have satellite campuses in which they run EMBA, Accelerated MBA and other executive and Masters programs. I have had the privilege of visiting the facilities of each one of these schools, which, by any global standard, are topnotch. Other well-reputed schools are McGill in Montreal, and University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

After having spent considerable time in Canada, I have had the opportunity to learn about its education system and interact with many business school graduates. University of Toronto’s Rotman School, Western University’s Ivey Business School, and Queens University’s Smith School of Business are generally considered the top schools. All of them are located in Ontario, and feature state-of-the-art campuses in downtown Toronto; Ivey and Smith have satellite campuses in which they run EMBA, Accelerated MBA and other executive and Masters programs. I have had the privilege of visiting the facilities of each one of these schools, which, by any global standards, are topnotch. Other well-reputed schools outside of Ontario are McGill in Montreal, and University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

With respect to the quality of education, curriculum and instruction, I was impressed with how responsive and current the Canadian system is. All Schools offer an array of specializations and concentrations, and boast star faculty, whose published books have made way into classrooms even at top American programs. The Schools also feature well-known research institutes and innovation hubs that are at the forefront of new-age thinking, such as AI. One such lab is the Creative Destruction Lab. Housed within the Rotman School, it is a dream workspace for budding entrepreneurs wishing to incubate and commercialize their ventures.

Location is definitely an advantage at many of these schools. Toronto is a fast growing commercial and tech hub. It is home to large multinationals, many startups, and the financial industry, all of which are a stone’s throw from these campuses. As examples, Rotman is within minutes of Mars Discovery District, the largest urban innovation center in the world, and Ivey’s downtown campus is located inside the Exchange Tower at Kings Street. It can’t get any better than this!

My goal from these articles is to answer the question in an unbiased way so that you can make the best decision for yourself, given your circumstances and future goals.  Lately, interest in Canada has risen, in part due to insecurity associated with post-MBA work authorization in the US, and relatively easier routes to Canadian residency. I hold a Diploma in Canadian Immigration and can well comprehend the attraction of a global and multicultural ticket.  A two-year program in Canada gives you a work-permit for three years, or in other words, makes you eligible for the Post Graduate Work Permit Program, which is a path towards residency. Further, any Master’s degree from Canada will give you additional points on your Express Entry application, making education a worthwhile endeavor if residency is your goal.

Having said that, in Canada, post-MBA salaries are lower, and the exchange rate is weaker. If you check placement reports of Canadian business schools, the average starting salaries are lower than those posted by their American counterparts; $80k to 90k Canadian is nowhere near $140+ American posted this year by some top US schools, especially if you take into account exchange rates. Reported Canadian salaries may also be slightly inflated because American companies, such as consulting firms and tech giants, pay higher than domestic companies to maintain parity across borders. Also, it is no surprise that in Canada, underemployment is high. Studies have also indicated that first generation immigrants face challenges, and make lower than local residents, although in the long run these gaps taper; I have interacted with many immigrant professionals making upwards of 300k.

So should you get an MBA in Canada? Absolutely! We have worked with many candidates who are now in business school, or settled in Canada, and all of them are very satisfied with their decision. Many of them have made it to multinationals and other top companies, which would not have been possible without a top academic program. I continue to maintain that education is the best route to the Canadian dream as time spent in University gives you exposure to the market and helps build important connections, both important for your job search.  Given the effects of Globalization, and Canada’s growing position, this may very well be the right time for a Canadian degree. In a few years, as Canadian firms make way into the rest of the world, the stamp’s brand equity is likely to be comparable to that of top American schools.

For now, in case you weigh the possibility of residency and a great education over short-term salaries, consider Canada. On the other hand if you want a stamp from a top global brand, one you can flash today anywhere in the world, consider the US or Europe (I would argue that all top schools provide a great academic experience, and a multicultural environment).

Please feel free to reach out to me in case you have any questions.

After having lived in Canada this past year, I have had the opportunity to learn about its education system and interact with many business school graduates. University of Toronto’s Rotman School, Western University’s Ivey Business School, and Queens University’s Smith School of Business are generally considered the top schools. All of them are located in Ontario, and feature state-of-the-art campuses in downtown Toronto; Ivey and Smith have satellite campuses in which they run EMBA, Accelerated MBA and other executive and Masters programs. I have had the privilege of visiting the facilities of each one of these schools, which, by any global standard, are topnotch. Other well-reputed schools are McGill in Montreal, and University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

With respect to the quality of education, curriculum and instruction, I was impressed with how responsive and current the Canadian system is. All Schools offer an array of specializations and concentrations, and boast star faculty, whose published books have made their way into classrooms at top US Schools. The Schools also feature well-known research institutes and innovation hubs that are at the forefront of new technologies, such as AI. One such lab is the Creative Destruction Lab. Housed within the Rotman School, it is a dream workspace for budding entrepreneurs who wish to incubate and commercialize their ventures.

Location is definitely an advantage at many of these schools. Toronto is one of the fastest growing cities in North America; it is home to large multinationals, successful startups, and the financial industry, all of which are a stone’s throw from these campuses. As examples, Rotman is within minutes of Mars Discovery District, the largest urban innovation center in the world, and Ivey’s downtown campus is located inside the Exchange Tower at Kings Street. It can’t get any better than this!

My goal from these articles is to answer the question in an unbiased way so that you can make the best decision for yourself, given your circumstances and future goals.  Lately, interest in Canada has risen, in part due to insecurity associated with post-MBA work authorization in the US, and relatively easier routes to Canadian residency. I hold a Diploma in Canadian Immigration and can well comprehend the attraction of a global and multicultural ticket.  A two-year program in Canada gives you a work-permit for three years, or in other words, makes you eligible for the Post Graduate Work Permit Program, which is a path towards residency. Further, any Master’s degree from Canada will give you additional points on your Express Entry application, making education a worthwhile endeavor if residency is your goal.

Having said that, in Canada, post-MBA salaries are lower, and the exchange rate is weaker. If you check placement reports of Canadian business schools, the average starting salaries are lower than those posted by their American counterparts; $80k to 90k Canadian is nowhere near $140+ American posted this year by some top US schools, especially if you take into account exchange rates. Reported Canadian salaries may also be inflated because American companies, such as consulting firms and tech giants, pay higher than domestic companies to maintain parity across borders. It is no surprise that in Canada, underemployment is high and white-collar jobs do not pay as much. Studies have also indicated that first generation immigrants face challenges, and make lower than local residents. Although in the long run, these gaps narrow. I have interacted with many immigrant professionals making upwards of 300k. So should you get an MBA in Canada? We have worked with many candidates who are now in business school, or settled in Canada, and all of them are very satisfied with their decision. I continue to maintain that education is the best route to the Canadian dream as time spent in University gives you exposure to the market and helps build important connections, both important for your job search. In case you weigh the possibility of residency and a great education over short-term salaries, consider Canada. On the other hand if you want a stamp from a top global brand, one you can flash anywhere in the world, consider the US or Europe (I would argue that all top schools provide a great academic experience, and a multicultural environment).    


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed on this site and in this article are opinions, and all data and information provided here are for informational purposes only. CollegeStation Eduservices LLP, its partners, clients or any of its associates make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information provided on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Read More

(This post is not about the ISB, but I am starting it with some insights from my experiences at the school. I have covered the 2+2 at Harvard as well.)

A few years back, the ISB introduced the Young Leaders Program (YLP) and the Early Entry Option – admissions programs designed for candidates in college, or with less than two years of experience.  These products are testament enough that the Indian School of Business also wants more applicants with less experience in its program.  These decisions are not based on notions and fancies, but on well thought through facts discussed in various forums led by the School’s top management and Dean’s Office.

One of these facts, which should not be a surprise, is that the MBA market is also driven by supply and demand. And demand, for the most part, is driven by recruiters. One of the reasons the ISB introduced the YLP and the Early Entry Option is because there were indications from the recruiting community that they wanted more candidates in this demographic; candidates who could easily be molded into their corporate cultures. Having worked at the placements office at the ISB for a number of years, I can assure you that the number of jobs posted for such candidates has been on the rise.

So what do you do to increase the odds in your favor? In my previous blog for candidates with more than 8 years of experience, I have advised candidates to establish depth of experience.  For the younger generation, my advice is against establishing depth of experience, because you don’t have any!  In case you position yourself as an expert, you are likely to face tough questions from senior alums and staff members who have more experience than you.  Instead, focus on your value system and motivations – highlight your interpersonal skills by focusing on your journey and the choices you have made.  In my experience interviewing YLP and Early Entry candidates, I have observed that the panel invariably gives points to ‘likable’ candidates – candidates who are modest, and who display genuine interest in their future goals.  Don’t sound boastful about your achievements because it is too early in your career to be vocal about them.  Also, don’t try to cover everything. Harvard, as I understand, has a phrase for such candidates: scripted. Instead, be subtle – state your achievements, but focus your journey.

Here are some facts about YLP and Early Entry ISB applicants: They have higher GMAT scores, they have good grades in Xth and XIIth, and they went to well-known colleges.  There is no preference for a particular undergraduate program – in other words, there is no indication that a B.Com will have a higher probability of success than a B.Tech, or visa versa.  Winning candidates are also almost always working at a top firm, or have secured a job at a top firm.  Analyst roles seem to be popular in this group.

I have reason to believe that for the 2+2 program at Harvard, successful candidates are more likely to be American Caucasians with STEM backgrounds.  For Indian applicants targeting the 2+2, I recommend you get your profile evaluated by a consultant who understands Harvard.  In four out of five cases, I have recommended that the candidate push the application to a later date, and complete four years of experience.  For Harvard, it is also possible that women applicants from India have a slightly better shot.

As always, all advice is based on likelihoods and probabilities!  There are no rules to the game, and we are trying to maximize opportunity based on profiles and patterns. To learn more, do get in touch with us.

 

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed on this site and in this article are opinions, and all data and information provided here are for informational purposes only. CollegeStation Eduservices LLP, its partners, clients or any of its associates make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information provided on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

 

Read More

(This post is not about the ISB, but I am starting it with some insights from my experiences at the school)

If you belong to the Senior Executive Club (SEC), the ISB is a good choice! In any given year, between 50 and 100 students with more than eight years of experience join the ISB – some of these candidates have well over 10 years on their CV. Upon enrolling, they become members of the SEC club, which works with the school on a number of initiatives in learning & development, networking, and placements.  Right from the beginning, the school closely works with each member of the SEC on wide-ranging matters such as targeting lateral roles, career management, leadership training, academic planning, interview prep, and industry connect.  The ISB is a great place to be for candidates with more experience, but make no mistake, you will need specific strategies if you want to get in.

First of all, let me begin by saying that the ISB has no bias for older or younger applicants.  For quite some time, the ISB has advertised during its admissions info sessions that it likes those senior candidates who have potential to reach the CXO suite within 5 years of graduating.  In practicality, such a presentation is not as simple as it sounds.  Often a time, putting your best foot forward is more difficult when you need your goal the most.  And for many, this is a stage in which candidates are looking for a springboard to accelerate their careers.

Amongst the strategies that work, focus more on your depth of experience and highlight your professional expertize.  With many years of experience, softer skills are considered a given.  Emphasizing leadership experience and curricular involvement are unlikely to make you stand out, unless these experiences are truly great.  On the same lines, it may be a bad idea to state ‘career change’ in your short-term post-MBA goals. I have observed that in this group, candidates who fare well generally have a focused career path, goals that have evolved from past experience, high confidence, and conviction to handle their own careers.

The key takeaway from this post is to craft an application that doesn’t make you look needy – you have to present yourself as a scarce commodity who has plans, and who can reach the C-suite with or without the MBA.  Also, get the best GMAT score possible.  For senior executives, a high GMAT is very important.  Admissions committees like the reassurance they get from high scores because for experienced candidates, high scores give a certain ‘wow’ factor – the feeling that this candidate scored high despite being out of books for so long!

For candidates looking at the US Schools, avoid dwelling over statistics on average age. Instead, come up with good reasons for why you are targeting the specific school. While all the schools have students who are in their 30s, I have reason to believe that some schools are more open to older applicants.  Look at Duke, UCLA, INSEAD, IE Spain and IMD in Switzerland if you are a senior executive. The average age at IMD is way higher than that at other schools and many students here are well in their 30s.  It is also a close-knit program with a fantastic network. Another school to look at is IE Spain.  It has dual degree arrangements with Yale SOM and MIT Sloan – Not bad if you get two top degrees in two years, and all this while building a network across two continents.  At IE, you don’t even have to take the GMAT; although you will have to take IE’s own assessment in case you opt out of the standardized tests.  Also, you may want to look at 1-year programs at Kellogg, Emory and USC Marshall – these are great programs if you are on the other side of average age.

In the end, I would like to point out one observation – at most schools there are fewer people in the 30+ or 32+ category not because they don’t get in, but because they don’t apply.  I have conducted actual interviews year on year at ISB for applicants in the 8+ years category, and there is absolutely no bias in the way senior executives are evaluated. In my own experience as a student and as a staff member, I’ve really enjoyed interacting with SEC members; they have great experience, and have greatly added to my learning at ISB, even when I was working there. If there were more applicants in this group, it is likely that more would get in. The fact remains that at a certain stage in life, taking the plunge becomes more difficult if you have added responsibilities, and this is most likely the reason why there are fewer senior MBA students at top schools.

At CollegeStation.in, we are working with many students with more than 8 years of experience.  They have very interesting stories to tell, and we love working with them.  If you would like to discuss your profile, or simply learn more, do get in touch with us.

 

DISCLAIMERThe views expressed on this site and in this article are opinions, and all data and information provided here are for informational purposes only. CollegeStation Eduservices LLP, its partners, clients or any of its associates make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information provided on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Read More

In some of my previous blogs, I have touched upon the importance of specializing.  With that, I am saying that in the current times, it is better to build depth in a certain function or industry.  Years back, the MBA program was introduced to provide breadth to corporate employees who had limited exposure to work outside of their own departments.  At most schools, the MBA started out as a ‘general management’ program that would give these candidates an appreciation for all business functions. Things are very different today – the speed at which work is executed has increased significantly, boundaries are no longer the same, and learning options are aplenty.  Today, high school students can create solid digital marketing campaigns.  By the time they are out of college, they have acquired exposure not only to best practices, but also to a number of industries.

So why go ahead and get an MBA?  Well, for starters, the MBA has also evolved.  At most of the top schools, it is a very flexible program in which you can build depth in case you are generalist, and acquire breadth in case you are a specialist.  Also, academic content is not the only reason you go to business school – you go to b-school for the ecosystem it provides, and access to outside of class opportunities that you otherwise will not find easy to get.  The right MBA will provide you with enough opportunity to explore an industry or function in detail.

But there are also some top programs that we don’t look at – programs that are more focused and that are a great alternative to the MBA. Most of us are somewhat familiar with category rankings. In this blog, I am sharing some specialised master’s programs that are very well known in the industry, and provide the same opportunities that an MBA does.

Finance – Besides the heavyweights Wharton, Chicago and NYU, consider the Master of Finance program at MIT Sloan, London Business School and Cambridge Judge. These programs are feeder programs to the best of best in the banking space.  If you want to work in Financial Engineering and risk, look at the Master of Financial Engineering program at UCLA Anderson and Berkeley Haas. If you want to complete your CFA while getting your master’s, consider the finance program at Rutgers University. The school’s proximity to New York makes it an attractive proposition for recruiters in the area.

Supply Chain Management and Operations – Both Georgia Tech and MIT have specialized master’s programs in supply chain management, and both are really well known in industry. The MIT program is a standalone program while GATech’s is housed within the department of Industrial Engineering. Also consider Michigan State University’s Master in Supply Chain Management. It is housed within the College of Business, and many consider it to be the No. 1 program in the US.

Consumer Products and FMCG – This is a no brainer. Go to Kellogg if you get in.  Consumer products account for about 14% of the total hiring at Northwestern – this figure is much higher than that of any other school in the top 25.

Luxury and Fashion – If your heart is set on working at LVMH, you will have to apply to HEC in Paris. If you want to work at Bulgari, go to Bocconi in Italy.  Many of the executives in the luxury, fashion and beauty space have advanced degrees from these schools. Both schools offer specialization in fashion and luxury, and both schools are very strongly connected to industry. ESSEC in France is also very well known in this space.

Sport Management – Ohio University has a world-renowned Master of Sports Administration program.  Equally well known is the Sport Management Program at Columbia University. If want to work at a sports league such the NBA or NFL, or if you want to work as a sports agent – look no further.

Music Business – Music business majors understand both music technology and business. Today graduates of the Berklee College of Music and the Steinhardt School at New York University are working in companies such as Apple, Sony Music and Google.  Both schools offer a master’s degree in music business. At Berklee, you can also do an MBA in Music completely online.

Entertainment – For film and television, the top schools are USC Marshall and UCLA Anderson. Every year graduates from these schools head to the studios, agencies and tech firms such as Netflix. This is a highly competitive field, and not for the faint of heart. But if you have the passion and are willing to persevere, you could be rewarded with an exciting career. NYU Stern also offers a major in Entertainment.

Hospitality – There are not many schools in the US for this specialization. But the one school that is there amongst the few is arguably the best in the world – the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. If you want to interview with hotel chains and Casinos, you’d have better odds if you went to Cornell. There are other very well known programs in the EU. Amongst them is the Master of Management in Food and Beverage at Bocconi, Italy.

Real Estate – Incidentally, Cornell’s Hotel School also houses the top ranked real estate master’s program in the nation. Take a look at it if you are interested in real estate finance and investment. Also look at MIT’s Master in Real Estate Development Program. Both these programs are in the top 2 in the US, and with such brands attached to your CV, be rest assured that you are on your way to a great career.

Airline Management – If the airline industry interests you, and you want to travel the globe, look at the following world famous programs – MBA in Aviation at Embry Riddle University, Florida – USA, and MSc in Air Transport Management at Cranfield University, UK. These schools are feeder schools to pretty much all the airlines in the world.

Human Resources – Cornell is a powerhouse in the field of Industrial and Labor Relations. The ILR School offers a world-renowned master’s program for those interested in Human Resources. The Ross School at University of Michigan is also known to be strong in HR.

Public Administration – Harvard Kennedy School’s MPA degree is one of the best there is in Public Management.  The program is much easier to get into than the university’s MBA program. Given Harvard’s strong brand, the MPA is probably a better bet than many other MBA programs.

So go ahead and specialize. I firmly believe that we are in an age in which specialization is key. Breadth can be built and generalist skills can be acquired at any stage, but after a certain point, it is difficult to specialize. And if you have lost that boat, you are likely to not develop skills that will allow you to stay on top of the game. The programs that I have mentioned are business specializations – you could, on the other hand, opt for specializations outside of business.  Advanced degrees in User Experience, Cognitive Psychology, Statistics, Computer Science, Ergonomics, Robotics, and Urban Design, to name a few, are examples of programs that are likely to give you the same opportunities.

To learn more about MBA and master’s programs, get in touch with us.

 

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed on this site and in this article are opinions, and all data and information provided here are for informational purposes only. CollegeStation Eduservices LLP, its partners, clients or any of its associates make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information provided on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

 

Read More

I decided to write this brief post after a number of my clients asked me which round they should apply in.  The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, but here are a few points you may keep in mind while coming up with your strategy.

If you are applying to 5 schools, spread them out between R1 and R2. In general, there is little difference between the two rounds, and by spacing your applications out, you will more likely approach your essays with objectivity, and answer the question asked. You will be less pressed for time, and with more time in hand, you are likely to be more creative.  One strategy is to apply to 3 schools in R1 and 2 in R2.

Apply to your top choice school, and one safety school in R1.  If you get into your top choice, enjoy the rest of the season, without having the pressure to apply in future rounds.  If you get into ‘a’ school, approach the rest of your interviews with confidence, and with the security of an offer in hand!  If you have an offer early on, you will be able to perform better in certain questions in your future interviews.  Think of the question ‘What are you planning to do if you don’t get in?!’ By getting an admit, you are more likely to be viewed as somebody in demand, and that is likely to make you more attractive.

These admissions statistics posted are estimates, and the numbers on this blog are for you to get an idea of the respective school’s admissions trends. The round-wise admissions statistics posted are not from the previous year, and you should avoid taking them on face value.  They are ballpark figures only.

Given these trends, it is possible that at some of the top schools, namely Harvard, Stanford, MIT and Wharton, applying in R1 will be a better bet. On the other hand, at Tuck, Yale, Berkeley, Duke, Darden, Michigan and UCLA, R2 acceptance rates seem to be at par with or slightly better than their R1 rates.  In no way am I recommending that you should postpone applying to these schools till R2.  All I am saying is that these schools will give you the same odds when it comes to both these rounds.

The key takeaways come from R3 – For Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Berkeley, Yale and UCLA, your odds of getting an admit in R3 are significantly lower than the previous two rounds. Hence, if you are applying to these schools, you might as well put in your application in R1 or R2.  Do keep in mind that R3 applicants tend to be re-applicants from previous rounds, and the acceptance rate across the board is, in general, lower. But there are a few top schools where you have a fair shot of getting in – they are Tuck, Duke, Michigan, Cornell, UNC Kenan Flagler, Texas, Tepper, NYU and Emory.  Some of these schools also have lower GMAT averages, and they are likely to be more flexible on the undergraduate backgrounds and CGPAs of Indian applicants.  Duke is an example of a top rated program that has an average GMAT less than 700.

There are some schools that have 4 deadlines.  These schools have an ‘early action’ round in which you have to commit to the school in case you are admitted. I have reason to believe that acceptance rates for this round are higher. Consider Tuck, Duke and UNC for early action.  Do take a look at the respective schools’ websites for more details. Please also note that Cornell has 4 rounds with no early action, and Columbia has 3 rounds with early action.

I’m closing this post by saying that you should prepare yourself to apply early – especially if you are targeting the top schools, you should have most of your application elements in place way before before R1.  R3 should not be your target, unless you don’t have a choice.  And if you do have to go to R3, look at Emory, Tepper, UNC, Cornell and Michigan.

 

SN SCHOOL AVG GMAT AVG GPA ACCEPT RATE R1 ACCEPT RATE R2 ACCEPT RATE R3 ACCEPT RATE R1 DEADLINE R2 DEADLINE R3 DEADLINE R4 DEADLINE
1 Harvard 729 3.67 11% 12% 6% 4% 06-Sep 03-Jan 02-Apr
2 Stanford 740 3.73 6% 8% 5% 2% 19-Sep 10-Jan 14-Mar
3 Chicago 726 3.58 24% 29% 25% 15% 21-Sep 03-Jan 03-Apr
4 Wharton 730 3.6 20% 19% 16% LOW 19-Sep 03-Jan 27-Mar
5 Kellogg 728 3.6 20% 26% 23% 20% 20-Sep 10-Jan 11-Apr
6 MIT 724 3.58 12% 16% 11% NA 25-Sep 17-Jan 09-Apr
7 Tuck 717 3.53 22% 28% 29% 22% 04-Oct 01-Nov 03-Jan 04-Apr
8 Berkeley 717 3.64 12% 17% 17% 6% 21-Sep 04-Jan 05-Apr
9 Columbia 720 3.5 14% 23% 20% NA 04-Oct 05-Jan 11-Apr
10 Yale 725 3.63 19% 24% 27% 9% 13-Sep 04-Jan 18-Apr
11 Duke 695 3.47 22% 31% 33% 21% 12-Sep 10-Oct 03-Jan 20-Mar
12 Darden 712 3.5 27% 32% 33% 16% 05-Oct 09-Jan 03-Apr
13 Michigan 708 3.44 26% 41% 42% 38% 02-Oct 02-Jan 19-Mar
14 Cornell 700 3.37 28% 39% 36% 37% 05-Oct 15-Nov 10-Jan 05-Apr
15 UCLA 715 3.52 21% 26% 34% 9% 06-Oct 05-Jan 12-Apr
16 UNC 700 3.37 36% 36% 40% 60% 16-Oct 04-Dec 15-Jan 12-Mar
17 NYC 710 3.51 23% 29% 27% 21% 15-Oct 15-Jan 15-Mar
18 Texas 699 3.42 28% 38% 36% 28% 10-Oct 09-Jan 03-Apr
19 Tepper (CMU) 686 3.3 30% 24% 38% 43% 04-Oct 04-Jan 09-Mar 20-Apr
20 Emory 683 3.3 33% 26% 40% 37% 06-Oct 17-Nov 03-Jan 09-Mar
21 ISB 700 15-Oct 15-Jan

 

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed on this site and in this article are opinions, and all data and information provided here are for informational purposes only. CollegeStation Eduservices LLP, its partners, clients or any of its associates make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information provided on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

 

Read More

Routine activities have evolved over the years. Advances in technology have not only brought us close, but they have also enabled us to get to know each other better.  Today, we can not only connect with friends from all over the world, but we can also get a better idea of who they are from what they post and tag on social platforms.  Technology has enabled transparency, and there is less information asymmetry.  In a connected world, nothing is as ‘hidden’ as it was in the past, and for the most part, what you see is what you get!

Keeping up with the times is probably a B-School agenda!  The current generation of millennial MBA applicants is very different from applicants even as recent as ten years back.  Not so long ago, HBS asked for five essays as part of its application. Now it asks for only one, and that too starts with, ‘what more would you like us to know…’.  Schools now have more creative requirements such as presentations and pictures. Some require video essays, and there are others that allow the applicant an open hand to present what they want to in any medium of choice.  Chicago Booth provides you this open canvas. Kellogg, MIT, Rotman and Insead have video essay requirements, and NYU wants to learn about you through pictures that best represent you.

So what are the admissions committees hoping to achieve with these new requirements.  To cut the answer short – the new generation is better at expressing themselves with a free hand, the number of platforms to communicate ideas has increased, and the new platforms are more ‘transparent.’ The admissions committees want to get to know you, and hence, with these new requirements, they are giving you more opportunity to present your true self, and they are doing so by pushing you into mediums that more authenticate your profile.

One less talked about fact is that traditional application requirements are now becoming boring. It does not take a lot of intelligence for the AdComs to realize that majority of the recommendations have been gamed – LORs are often long, full of praise, and frequently capture more detail about the candidate than asked for or required. There is no surprise that the ISB has reduced its LOR requirement to one.  Similar is the rationale behind limiting the number of essays.  Consultants are making essays faultless to the extent that admissions committees are not finding them to be thought provoking anymore. The essays often come across as so unoriginal that reading them becomes a lackluster exercise for the committee members who have to evaluate thousands of applications.  Having said that, even if all the essays were interesting and real, I don’t see how four essays can do the job one essay can’t – and AdComs have realized that the incremental benefit of having additional essays is low.  With four to five years of average work experience, not all students have gone through journeys that allow them to paint interesting stories for all the questions. And schools know that such traditional application requirements give advantage to some candidates, and disadvantage to others.

Another less admitted fact is that schools are now placing more weight on the measurable and credible elements of your application.  In no way am I saying that the essay is becoming outdated. The essay is here to stay.  All I’m saying is that schools are moving away from traditional essay requirements to methods that (a) provide creative freedom, and (b) are more likely to ‘validate’ the candidate’s story. The open-ended essay is an example of a medium that provides creative freedom, and the video essay is an example of a medium that validates the candidate’s profile.

If you would like to learn more about how you can craft a solid application and put your best foot forward, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at info.collegestation@gmail.com or +918725800159.

 

DISCLAIMERThe views expressed on this site and in this article are opinions, and all data and information provided here are for informational purposes only. CollegeStation Eduservices LLP, its partners, clients or any of its associates make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information provided on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Read More