Northwestern Kellogg has an MBA entire essay question asking about values this year, and Stanford has asked “What matters most” for years and years and years. Values-driven companies are more attractive to employees, and it’s becoming a prominent feature at many top MBA programs that values are examined and explicitly expressed as part of their…
This paragraph is stolen from our just-published 2019 MBA application guide for Kellogg in our discussion of Kellogg Essay 2: Please. Please. Do not use values like “collaboration” and “teamwork.” That would be pandering. In some very rare cases, yes, there is a Brave Supplicant out there who does truly care about such qualities. But…
This may come off as basic, or even insulting — are we saying that people don’t do this? Why actually, yes. When you’re so focused on establishing “school fit” that you’re tossing out names of your target school’s classes and clubs hither and yon, it’s really (really) easy to lose sight of what this technique…
We’ve got this thing where anyone can submit an essay for consideration for a freebie review here on the blahg and look! Someone submitted one! And they did so before it was too late for us to look at it before deadlines! This is for Kellogg essay 2 whose question is: Kellogg’s purpose is to…
We know that this is an innocent error — a well-intentioned one, even. But it can be a real problem in your essays. When you’re trying to write about why you want to go to the school, you need to reference specific things about that school. You know, like classes and clubs — but more…
The first page of the Kellogg School MBA application has a very polished video that flashes images of the gorgeous new Global Hub building and plays one-second soundbites of students sharing the stress and anxiety (and self-reflection) that they experienced in their application.
It’s easy to tune out and not really absorb any of it. We’re hit with so many marketing messages every day that we become immune.
But we encourage you to spend time with this, and with every other production that every other school you’re trying for makes available. Sometimes their messaging is straightforward; sometimes it’s so overbranded that you can’t actually distill anything meaningful. But in many, there are real gems of wisdom that are not only important but also relevant, and can possibly be reflected on to find nuggets on the inside of you that you can leverage in presenting your message back in your apps.
One comment that somebody makes in the video is “Rankings will not tell you what’s the best school for you.”
This is the type of thing that can wash right over you, because yeah, you know it’s true.
But why not stop and think about it?
Many, many people are focused on rankings and often rankings alone in their choice of an MBA program. This makes total sense, since everyone wants to go to the best program they can. But rankings tell an exceedingly limited story.
The only legit way to choose schools solely on rankings is if you have spent the time yourself to dig into the methodology used by that publication that develops the rankings. If you cannot sit here and spout off the factors and weightings that Bloomberg BusinessWeek uses to identify Kellogg as a Top 10 school, or that USNews does, then it’s irrelevant that Kellogg is Top 10. (Their methodologies are quite different, BTW.) To go only by rankings is to completely outsource the entire selection process to some nameless corporation. Rankings are useful as a starting point, but that’s it. We’re not going to go so far as to say that rankings are fake news but in this day and age especially, you need to be an informed consumer of everything you take in.
After all, we’re talking about YOUR LIFE.
Remember that these promo videos by the schools are designed for a reason. Significant time and effort is put into them. They are the result of many deliberate choices to try and convey something about the school — something that the school thinks is important. While it’s easy to think that all schools are alike, and to review a bunch of websites makes all of them start to blur together, it’s also important to recognize that each school is desperately trying to convey what they’re about.
Sometimes all it takes is that you listen.
Or likely at most top American MBA programs over the past five years. This post focuses on Kellogg mainly because their employment reports are detailed enough on this particular dimension to do the analysis. They’re also a solid general management program which attracts employers of all stripes. They continue to send graduates into the traditional…
As a follow-on to yesterday’s post on joint MBA + Master’s programs and is it easier to get in, here are some specifics on how things are evaluated. Most universities handle admissions separately for each of their schools. It’s like each school — the business school, the law school — is operating individually within the…
We’ve previously spoken of applying for an MBA along with another graduate degree and today we’ll offer additional points to consider as you’re thinking about dual-degree application strategy, including the perennial question of “Is it easier to get in?????” New programs typically do not get that much interest, so app volumes are usually lower, which…
We have a few more thoughts to add to our musings and wild predictions about bschool leadership from yesterday.
First off, despite what we said yesterday, the real answer to the question of “Does the dean matter?” is NO.
If you’re thinking about getting an MBA today, then whoever is the dean should not impact your decision-making (with the one outlier case of Cornell which is an odd situation right now as we discussed yesterday). The school you’re applying to is the school you will go to. It’s like deciding to visit a country based on who is the president. There are many significant reasons for why you would choose to travel somewhere and who holds the top office in that country simply does not factor in (at least, for most travelers, and to most countries, though we’re in a weird world right now you could say).
If a new dean comes in today, or at any point during your pursuit of your studies, there will be no impact on you whatsoever. There will be announcements and parties and he or she is likely to host a coffee chat or happy hour or whatever and try to get to know the students. They’ll go on a listening tour and spend lots of time huddling, and send out surveys and such. But there will be few to no changes that will impact your life or the experience of the MBA.
If a dean came in within the last two years, then it’s different. In that case, it’s no longer a “new” dean — you won’t see articles in the news about the change in leadership on campus — but you are DEFINITELY likely to experience their ideas in action in what happens to you in the course of your education. In this case, the dean does matter. You’re going to be the guinea pig who is in the experiment that they’re running for how to reinvent their school for the next era (and definitely, these schools are in the midst of transformation, whether they’re actively embracing it and becoming proactive change agents or the opposite).
We have already seen that with the “new deans” (in the last two years) at Darden most prominently, and to a slightly lesser degree at Tuck. We have appreciated the much higher visibility presence of Dean DeRue at Ross, and we’re aware of some changes that are underway there now too. Can’t say we’ve seen it at Stanford.
What we hope to see with the upcoming announcements of new appointments that are expected at Kellogg and Berkeley-Haas and also UCLA (Dean Judy Olian is also stepping down) and Cornell (?) is diversity.
As of this writing there are no female deans at any top bschools. Kellogg, Ross and UCLA all had female deans; all of those women have left or are leaving those positions. Alison Davis-Blake at Ross was replaced with a white man.
As of this writing there are no deans from underrepresented minority groups at any top bschools. NYU Stern had an African-American dean; he left and was replaced with an Indian man.
We would be SHOCKED if Berkeley-Haas did not find a woman — or possibly even an African-American or a Hispanic woman — to take over from Rich Lyons. If they replace Dean Lyons with another white man, well….. that just would not be the Berkeley that we know today. Haas has put gender issues front and center earlier than most schools and they will be under enormous pressure to make diversity a priority in their hire. We also wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled in someone from the tech industry. There’s currently a debate in academia (most prominently at bschools) whether an academic dean or a professional manager dean is ideal or appropriate, and it’s largely a function of the type of school that you’re talking about. At a public institution like Berkeley, it may make sense to have an academic take over, rather than someone from the private sector who may not understand the dynamics that go into this type of organization. Or, the opposite may be true. We’re betting that the search team at Berkeley-Haas has been speaking with people at UVA Darden to learn how their transition has gone (current dean Scott Beardsley came in from McKinsey, and UVA is a state school so there are many parallels to the UC situation). Perhaps Marissa Mayer is looking for an entirely different role, now that she’s out of Yahoo? (Though it’s unlikely that the UC system can afford a profile like that.)
There will also be pressure at UCLA to replace the female dean with another woman, or if not a female, then a minority. Ditto Kellogg. We had expected the same at NYU Stern but that’s not how it turned out (there are a number of Indian men running top schools both here and in Europe so while yes, NYU technically has a minority, it’s not exactly one adding to the diversity picture of this landscape of top schools.
So, does the current dean matter? You betcha. It lets you know where your school is at and what you might expect in the coming years of your time there. If you have a newer-appointed dean who’s still in the early stages of his or her tenure it’s more likely that there will be visible and obvious changes happening at your school. If the dean has been in his role for awhile, much less likely (with some exceptions like MIT notably). Studying the profile of the dean can give you some insights into the type of place you’ll be walking in to.
And, does it matter who a school appoints if they have a vacancy pending? You betcha. You can look to the announcement of a new appointment to understand a school’s priorities and values. Do they put their money where their mouth is? Or are they all lip-service instead?
We’ll be watching this space with interest as 2018 unfolds.