Fuqua? McDonough? Kenan-Flagler? INSEAD? Haas? Ever wondered how in heck to say these words? You might want to figure it out before you talk to anybody about them. Like, in an interview perhaps? These are not official phonetic spellings (we’re not sure the rules of all that), they’re just our attempt to help you not…
After getting to the end of that very long post on healthcare careers out of bschool, we realized that we didn’t even manage to talk about which MBA programs are best for healthcare. So that’s what we’ll do today. The obvious powerhouse names that offer specialized business education in healthcare through their MBA programs are:…
There are many surprises to be found in this process! Not only might you end up falling in love with a school you didn’t expect to, but you’re undoubtedly going to find out things about yourself that you never knew, too. Here’s a firsthand account with some “lessons learned” by a former Brave Supplicant who had a hard-earned success or two last season (hint: he was waitlisted before being accepted elsewhere… we’ll let you discover what happened for yourself).
Thanks for all you did to help me through the process. Also wanted to take the opportunity to follow up on the “lessons learned” you asked me to think about. Not sure this will be a truly coherent account, but here goes (bet you didn’t miss these really long rants haha). Obviously chop away! [We like to post these exactly as received! No chopping. 🙂 -ES]
1. Fit is a really annoying concept until you actually find it somewhere. The only way to find it somewhere is to reach out to folks and then to actually go there. I’m the 8 millionth person to say that, but if I couldn’t have compared my three primary schools based on a similar level of experience, I’d have driven myself nuts. If you can’t find positive fit, at least figure out what doesn’t work for you. I wasn’t as disappointed to be waitlisted at Fuqua as I was at McCombs. Based on message boards and rankings/reputation alone, that doesn’t make any sense. In real life, it turned out to be much more clear. At the same time, even if I had gotten into McCombs, I wouldn’t have gone once Kenan-Flagler said yes.
2. Look for opportunities to really kick the tires on a program. Beyond regular events, K-F basically said here’s a 1-on-1 session with one of our professional development coaches, take a half-hour with one of our career advisors, etc….go nuts. When those kinds of things are offered, take them…I left with a much better idea of what kind of support and guidance I’d actually get if I decided to accept the offer.
Tying that back to number 1, I found consistency was key. I had uniformly great experiences with K-F people and events…I knew I wasn’t just catching them on one good day.
3. Particularly in the essay development process, the advice to be true to yourself (i.e. “don’t just say what [you think -ES] they want to hear”) is really hard to follow but essential. However, I feel like that tends to be discussed in terms of strengths…you don’t have to pretend to be an accounting whiz who’s managed 30 people and launched a new business in a country no one has heard of. Tying this back to #2, I learned after the fact that being honest about my weaknesses was part of what got me into K-F. I was unemployed for a decent chunk of time and I didn’t make it in the field I previously went to graduate school for…of course, I had to show how I made lemonade out of those lemons, but just the fact of having gone through that struggle was apparently a point in my favor. It gave me a perspective that stood out in a field of people much younger than me who have not known anything but professional success to date.
4. I’m amazed how comparatively little $$ has impacted my decision. With two waitlists in my pocket, I decided to also apply to Arizona State (curious to hear your thoughts on their new approach, random aside [We may circle back to this! -ES UPDATE: CIRCLED BACK HERE]). Just found out that I got in there as well (and to clarify, I put in a deposit at UNC because there was only a week between the ASU decision date and the UNC deposit deadline…I didn’t want to be rushed, but was still open to going to ASU if they blew me away. I withdrew my names from the McCombs and Fuqua waitlists a while ago). However, my experiences there hasn’t been anywhere near as good as K-F to date. Their admitted students weekend is coming up, and I intend to hear them out (which I think would be irresponsible not to do with the whole 2 kids thing), but I can’t believe I’m likely going to turn down the money. As you’ve frequently said, if you’re going to do this, do it for the right reason. Money can be a tie-breaker, but if you don’t feel like you’d get value out of a program, the fact of it being free isn’t a sufficient cause to go.
So that’s what I think I have? I hope they make sense and don’t make me sound like an idiot or a jerk. [Nope! Neither! Good stuff here. -ES] Either way, this has been an incredible process for me and I’m so fortunate to have been given the opportunities that came from it. Thank you so much for your patience with me and keeping me moving toward the end. Can’t say enough about how happy I was with the service you provided throughout…definitely feel like I made the right call!
Have a great rest of the week and thanks again!
So there you have it – chockful of surprises for all involved! This was a non-traditional applicant who definitely had a lot to offer but yeah, had some explainin’ to do, as they say. And they did it! It was a rollercoaster for sure but clearly – as you can see for yourself with these awesome insights – they ended up in the right place, and for the right reasons.
Congrats once again to this former BSer – we see great things ahead for you!
Narrowing down your choices of which MBA program to apply to out of the dozens and dozens of good schools is not an easy task. It’s an iterative process as you 1) learn about the schools and 2) learn about yourself. There are some common themes that Brave Supplicants often identify (beyond just ranking of…
Because of our soft spot for soldiers, we end up meeting a high number of military candidates in the process of applying to bschool every year, and we spend a lot of time looking through their background and seeing which schools they’re targeting through our pro bono Comprehensive Profile Review offering. We also use that process to suggest alternate schools for them to consider (we do this in everyone’s profile reviews, not just for the military types). Because of the volume that we deal with, we are able to spot some trends from time to time. We still don’t have enough data to use for reliable predictions on the MBA applicant marketplace and the schools certainly don’t share this type of information publicly, but we do believe we can make some pronouncements about this particular population set – one of which is, which schools the military candidate tends to gravitate towards. Or not.
This rest of this post is accessible to approved military candidates only.
Now that your apps are submitted, here’s some insight into what will happen to them. UNC Kenan-Flagler produced a fascinating set of videos in 2010 that we only recently stumbled across. We submit them here for your review.
MBA Applicant Profile 1: Brazilian nonprofit candidate with only 610 GMAT
MBA Applicant Profile 2: Standard American consulting candidate with 3.5 GPA
MBA Applicant Profile 3: Waitlisted candidate due to low quant profile
We sorta like UNC’s bschool peeps — especially after they reached out to us directly.
But sorry, we just don’t understand this ad.
We know that the people who create the marketing campaigns and creatives for bschools are not the people running admissions. They’re not the marketing faculty peeps. But shouldn’t everyone involved know better? It is a bschool, after all — you’re saying you know something about marketing and messaging, right?
However we just don’t understand this one.
Whaddyamean I can’t get into your MBA program?
Are you saying I’m not good enough?!??
UNC, this is confusing to us. What message are you trying to send here? What is the intention? Are we reading it right? Yes you got us to click on it, but the landing page didn’t shed any light on it.
It seems like you’re saying that your program is so damn good that I don’t have a chance. Geez, even HBS doesn’t say that. Why are you marketing to me then?
Kenan-Flagler, are you really trying to insult prospective applicants??
EssaySnark was floored – really truly floored – on Friday when we got the email below.
We have never before been approached by a school about anything. In fact, the times that we have approached the schools ourselves, we haven’t exactly been given the warmest of receptions. You think there’s a stigma for you in using an admissions consultant? Try BEING an admissions consultant and see how much the adcoms like you. Our opinions on that shortsighted attitude will be reserved for another post.
Back to our new favoritist bschool in the world. We’re gonna just let this one stand on its own, exactly as it came in to us (and boy we hope that the sender doesn’t mind that we’re doing this – we’re guessing not but we’re not usually in the habit of publishing people’s emails verbatim like this).
On Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 2:19 PM, some-really-awesome-person-from-UNC wrote:
The only thing that the ‘Snark has to offer here is that the post he’s referring to was from May 6th a year ago (2011) — we haven’t really gathered a lot of new information since then, personally or from our clients, about the online MBA or the specific UNC option, to refute or modify the opinions and concerns that we had in that original post. (We did have a handful of clients accepted to UNC this past season, though they haven’t matriculated yet.)
Regardless, the information that UNC has provided to the ‘Snark is plenty helpful. And, the one big reality that we didn’t acknowledge in last year’s write-up is important to acknowledge now. The very real fact is that more and more of business today is distributed. Workplaces are no longer static, fixed offices where everyone is gathered together in one location. Teams are global, and virtual and that is only going to increase as you continue your careers. So, our complaint that the UNC online program is a disadvantage due to lack of real-time talking to people in 3D experiences… maybe that’s not as big of a drawback as we originally were thinking.
We’re gonna be taking Mr. UNC up on his offer to learn more about the virtual classroom experience and will report back when we do. We make a point of visiting several bschools every year — yes, just like we tell all of you, we go out on campus tours, too. The fact that UNC brings the classroom to you and me is kinda appealing.
We responded to a question on an online board about someone debating whether they should accept an offer at an online MBA program. UNC Kenan-Flagler is a pretty good business school (their real estate MBA is especially strong) and they’ve recently announced a big push into the online/distance learning MBA world.
Are they blazing a trail in the world of business education? Or is this a misuse of resources that could possibly be a disservice to the students?
The standard question is, is it a real MBA? And the hidden question which is sometimes not expressed is, will anyone know I “just” did the online program? There’s definitely some stigma to it — sort of like online dating used to be, right?
Here’s what we basically posted to this other Brave Supplicant, plus additional color added in.
First off, if you go through an online program, it’s still an MBA degree. There will be no way for future employers to know that it was an online MBA or a traditional butt-in-seat 2-year program. An MBA is an MBA is an MBA, and it’s highly likely that the degree you get and the fancy diploma you’ll receive will just be “MBA”; no one will know the difference. This is a question you might want to pose to the schools, of course, but this is how it’s done at other schools that have various “flavors” of MBA (P/T, F/T, etc.). So down the road, you’ll have the degree listed on your resume just like anyone else would.
The biggest disadvantages about the online programs — and these really are significant, if you ask us — is that obviously you don’t have the face time with professors and peers. The classroom experience — and the out-of-classroom social opportunities — are really really a big part of what bschool is about for most people. How can you do a case discussion in an online chat room? How do you complete a team project when you’re scattered around the planet? How do you network with managers, executives, future mentors when you’re accessing the education mostly through a computer?
Yes, there are also advantages to the online option, in terms of convenience, and the fact that you can usually keep your job and not uproot a family, etc. And yes, it’s generally easier to get into these online programs. And, most or all of them offer several extended on-campus sections embedded within the curriculum, so you do get to meet your classmates etc. But the jury is still out on how it’ll all fit together for the students.
But the other big (BIG!) factor that may be overlooked is, what about on-campus recruiting? Besides the long-term value of networking and relationship-building and mentorship that you can receive when you’re in person on campus interacting with real-live people, the other huge benefit from most traditional two-year MBA programs is the on-campus recruiting opportunities. We have not fully explored what these online programs offer — they’re definitely geared more to working professionals, so perhaps there isn’t the intention to help graduates secure new jobs, at least not with the same focus that a standard F/T residency program has. But this is an important consideration to look at in terms of why you’re getting the MBA in the first place.
If your career is fairly well established (and you like it!) and you’re literally looking to build skills in order to advance within the same field, perhaps even at the same company, then the online version could be a great fit. But, if you’re looking for bschool as a means to launch out of some miserable hell-hole of a job that you just cannot stomach for one minute longer… then obviously the online program is not the best way to go. The grey areas? Those people that are in between. Maybe you plan on keeping your current job while you complete the MBA, but then you were looking to make a big switch. If that’s the case, ask some direct questions of this prospective school about what type of recruiting/placement programs they have available, particularly for someone who lives where you do (or where you want to live after you graduate). If those places are nowhere near where the school is, and if it’s a down-the-rungs-of-the-ladder school like some of these that are lanching online programs, then you’re gonna be a little disappointed, we suspect, if you are expecting the school to have that many resources or opportunities available to really assist you in connections for this post-MBA job.
We are undecided as to whether an online MBA has the same ROI as an in-person traditional program. The online versions are generally cheaper — they’re trying to attract candidates, and their costs are at least marginally lower. So it could be easier to turn a positive ROI there, especially when you’ve got lower opportunity cost since you’re not moving to a new city, and you’re not giving up your job.
But there are huge advantages to being on campus, sitting in the classroom with this full crop of other motivated students, rubbing elbows with smart people, chatting up professors, networking with CEOs who come to speak on campus, etc. Yes, most of the online programs have on-campus weeks scheduled into the curriculum, so you don’t miss out on it entirely, but this is a new animal. None of it’s been proven. Perhaps in just a few years, we’ll all look back and think we were foolish for even worrying about these things. Maybe butt-in-seat face-time classroom learning will become an antiquated thing of the past. (We’re sure it will, at some point, just how long that takes — and the quality of the experience that replaces it — are open questions.)
Until that time, it’s gonna take a brave few (hopefully not a foolish few) who help the schools with the experiment, who let them work out the kinks, and report back.
If you decide you’re ready to be the guinea pig, then go for it, Brave Supplicant! But also be prepared for taking control of your destiny in a really big way as you move through the process.