Happy Groundhog Day, Brave Supplicant! To continue with our Round 3 Reality Check series, today we’ll talk about programs that might be in range for an admit even at this stage of the season. In case you missed them: What about Round 3? To Round 3 or not to Round 3 Who / what situations…
Hey BSers! We’re reblahgging this from 2015 because dang, that was three years ago, and this info is timely for where some of you are at today!!!
And yes, we realize that those answers were unsatisfying to many of you.
“You’re telling me to WAIT, EssaySnark?? Why in heck would I want to WAIT? I procrastinated my way to this point where I missed out on my prime opportunity to apply – but now I realize that that was a mistake! Now I know that I **NEED** to go to bschool. Now I’m ready to do this thing! Why on earth would I WAIT??”
There are in fact a few other options to consider at this time of year. Here are ones for you to consider.
1. A lower-ranked program often still has openings in Round 3.
You don’t even need to go too far down the rankings to find a program that could still be open to an app from you. While we don’t encourage it, we have seen people make it into Cornell, Ross and Darden with a last-round application. If you’re even more flexible (and you have a halfway-decent profile) then a school like Georgetown or USC or Vanderbilt should be in range. It depends on your priorities, and of course on the school. We talked about some bschools where Round 3 is viable before.
2. INSEAD has multiple intakes and rolling admissions.
This means that they sometimes have openings during parts of the season when other schools are full. The more competitive candidate pools will not have the best shot in any INSEAD Round 3 but depending, again, on your profile, there could be an opportunity for you to try for INSEAD right now.
3. LBS also has four rounds – so Round 3 is possible for them.
You’re good to go with a Round 3 on any school that has four rounds. LBS is the main hold-out among top schools that still does this (besides INSEAD but they have a year-round apps, rather than the standard September/October to March/April season). NYU also now has four rounds but their schedule is more like Tuck and Duke, where they all have three deadlines in the timeframe where their peers have two. Anyway: Yes to LBS. It is definitely more competitive than their Round 2 but it’s doable, and you have some time remaining before that date hits, too.
4. Part-time programs are often not yet at capacity. Same with Executive MBAs.
These programs are often still accepting candidates through the summer, and Round 3 is nearly always still feasible. We discussed possible programs where a Round 3 app might work previously.
5. If your profile is ah-maz-ing, you could still make it into a top school.
The problem with this advice is that few people understand what “ah-maz-ing” really means. You can check out our posts here on the blahg about “the Harvard type” as a hint – you need to have a profile that’s near that caliber even if you’re trying for a school like lowly old Tuck in the last round. If you want some guidance on whether you’re all that (or not) – or just get a sense of what you should really be focusing on right now – you can go for our Late Season Strategy Review to get some help on evaluating your chances. And of course, our little booklet-thing called Everything You Need to Know about a Round 3 Application lays all of this out for you in greater detail.
The most important consideration when you’re thinking about applying now: Will it mess up your chances next season if you end up as a reapplicant? That’s a real risk (we go into all of it in the Round 3 booklet). You need to be looking at your cross-season strategy right now. It may seem like you’ve got nothing to lose to submit a bunch of apps at the tail end of the admissions season but that’s not actually how reality works. You need to consider your options carefully.
But yes, every year we see BSers squeak in under the wire in Round 3. We don’t recommend it but if you play your cards right, it can happen. Mostly we see people NOT get in, so don’t get your hopes up too terribly much – but we’re around to help if you want to do the Hail Mary!!!
We recently happened upon a list of complaints from employers who recruit at an American bschool. These on-campus recruiters submitted these comments as feedback about the school’s students who had interviewed with them. It was pretty fascinating: Company recruiters are asked to fill out evaluations on the students that they interview on campus. The following…
The definition of “lower ranked school” definitely depends on your perspective. We tend to focus on the Top 20 business schools here on the blahg (or, because we’re the always contrarian EssaySnark, Top 19). Some have the opinion that Cornell or UCLA are “lower ranked”. We would say that they are mistaken, but as we…
We received a request for our opinion on ASU in this former BSer’s Success Story and so today we are circling back as promised.
Arizona State is home to the WP Carey School of Business – which is unfortunately not the only bschool named “Carey.” Johns Hopkins also has a “Carey Business School” sometimes known as “Hopkins Carey” as a way to distinguish itself.
Setting aside the inept campaigns that came out of this school’s marketing department over the years (they did redeem themselves in our eyes with this one) we do have to applaud ASU for trying to innovate in certain ways.
They were one of the first business schools that we know of to offer an online MBA, which is part of the school’s broader initiative in online education. They’ve become recognized leaders in that area, though obviously the online format is not the same as a butt-in-seat on-campus experience. A future employer may or may not view an online MBA to be equivalent in training and transformation as a residency program. Sure, you maybe don’t need to specify on your resume that it was the online version, but it’ll likely be obvious when your employment history shows that you’ve been living and working in Cincinnati at the same time that you earned your degree in Arizona. We do give ASU points for being leaders in this segment of the education industry, however.
WP Carey is currently ranked in the Top 100 globally by the Financial Times (specifically, #76), and in the Top 50 by BusinessWeek (just barely, at #49). No, we don’t put much stock into rankings, but it’s one place to begin the discussion. Carey is what we call a “lower-ranked school” – even lower than the ones we normally discuss in that “lower” category here on the blahg. We don’t spend a lot of snarky space talking about these schools on the blahg because they’re simply not that competitive. This isn’t a slam on them. It’s just the marketplace realities. It’s not that they aren’t good programs or that you won’t get a good education there. It’s that there aren’t that many others clamoring to get in. You don’t need to cough up a bunch of money to an admissions consultant to help you land an entrance. If you do a good job on the GMAT (these schools are flexible) and you write a decent set of essays, then there’s no reason why they wouldn’t find a spot for you.
What WP Carey has going for it is there isn’t much competition in its region. It’s definitely a strong school regionally, partly because, well, there just aren’t that many others to choose from. It’s sort of like Foster in Washington State: A good school, but also a school that sometimes people default to because it’s the only game in town. Once you move out of the Midwest with Chicago and Kellogg and Ross, you face a veritable bschool desert (pun intended). Arizona is kinda the only one, until you get to the coast and the hyperselective situation with those Bay Area schools especially.
What else does Carey have going for it? Apparently they have some money to burn. They announced last year that all incoming first years coming to campus for Fall 2016 will get a free ride. They’re calling it the Forward Focus Scholarship and it’s coming from funding previously allocated by their namesake alumnus, Mr. Carey. It’s an effort for them to increase diversity in the class, by attracting students who otherwise might be turned away by the expense (the examples they’ve offered are single parents, people in non-profit, etc.). You can read up on it at the Wall St Journal and on Carey’s own website . The Forward Focus Scholarship is part of their new branding and coincides with the launch of a new cross-campus integrated curriculum which is also named Forward Focus.
So what’s our opinion on all of this?
Well, free is certainly appealing – but it all depends on personal priorities, right? We are confident that you’ll get a very good education at ASU. Personally, we love the desert, and Arizona is pretty darn beautiful. If you’re into that outdoors thing, you can’t go wrong. And oh yeah, it’s a dry heat.
In terms of the actual school? We wish we could offer something more insightful about WP Carey but we have little to go on. The most we can offer is that anytime a new curriculum is being rolled out, there are some growing pains, particularly with one as disruptive as this Forward Focus initiative appears to be. We love the innovation that is happening there (Yale SOM is the only other school we know of with an integrated offering and the Carey one seems different) but we don’t know what it’s like in practice yet – in fact, nobody does, because it’s not here yet. Anyone beginning their studies in Fall 2016 will benefit financially but the jury is out on how the new curriculum is being implemented here.
We don’t have anything else we can say. We’ve been distant observers, peripherally aware of ASU, but they’ve not been in our sights or capturing our attention (except for previous lame internet banner ads). We have only once or twice been involved with critiquing essays for any BSer trying for this place. It’s not that they’ll accept any applicant with a pulse – but it’s really not that hard to get an admit. They are always on the lookout for motivated candidates, and anyone who’s bothering to research their MBA such that they end up at the ‘Snark’s site, well, you’ve shown yourself already to be pretty motivated right there. With their wide range of MBA formats then that means there’s lots of room in their different entering classes. Their recent promotion with the free tuition thing also shows that they’re willing to be scrappy, and take some risks, and do something big in order to build buzz and get some momentum going. Those are all positives.
Lower ranked (or even unranked) schools can do big things. This list summarizes an innovation coming out of a bunch of places you’ve never heard of – California State University Northridge, St Joseph’s, U Queensland. Quality education and unique opportunities can be found outside of the Top 10. In the case of ASU, we’re guessing there’s an energy at the place that’s exciting, given these changes.
What about you? Anyone out there a student at ASU Carey? Anyone got an opinion based on direct interactions with students or alumni at this school? Please let us know in the comments – we’re always interested to hear about firsthand experiences!
What we specifically said to this BSer was:
The blahg focuses primarily on the competitive top MBA programs and so no, we don’t discuss [School 3] all that often (every client we’ve ever worked with who’s applied to [School 3] has gotten in, so they’re just not overly selective – still a great school though!! you’ll love it if you end up there, we’re certain).
We will add to this comment that we have high regard for the school that the BSer has been accepted to. No, it’s not necessarily full of the movers and the shakers and the go-getter money makers of the world – but in our experience, there are some mighty nice people there (not that those categories of “go-getter” and “nice” are mutually exclusive, but, well, you know).
Also, if you’re planning on staying in the local geography, then it’s got some good recruiting opportunities with the regional corporations. This is often true for these lower-ranked schools. They might not have a broad national or international profile, but they will frequently have clout and status in their local community. Plus, these schools are typically waaaaay cheaper than the big-name MBAs. When you look at the ridiculousness of tuitions and fees at those behemoth schools, it can be a relief to see the more reasonable costs for education elsewhere.
And, obviously, lower-ranked schools tend to be much easier to gain admission to. They’re very open-minded in how they evaluate their applicants. It’s easier to stand out from the crowd because, well, there’s not so much of a crowd.
If you’re coming from an oversubscribed candidate pool like the stereotypical male Indian engineer or white guy in finance, and you have some flaws in your profile – or you’re just chomping at the bit to start your MBA **now** goshdarnit – then these are schools you may want to look into. Even now, at the tail end of a hypercompetitive season. There could still be room at some of these solid-but-perhaps-not-spectacular programs. (And, let’s be real, if you have tried with multiple apps in multiple rounds this season and have come up empty-handed, then we hate to say it but signs are pointing to the possibility that your profile is perhaps solid but not spectacular, too.)
Before everyone starts freaking out: Lower-ranked schools are simply NOT comparable to the prestige schools when it comes to the types of opportunities you can expect to see waltzing onto campus, nor the dollar value of starting salaries when you graduate, nor the numbers of dazzling celebrities and famous business personalities who will grace the halls of your program. If you’re headed to a name-brand top-tier MBA then yeah, it’s a different experience.
EssaySnark met someone at random recently who’d attended a Top 5 MBA program and all they could talk about was how SMART everyone was, that they’d never been around such a concentration of SMART people in one place for so long, either before or since bschool. She said it was inspiring but also intimidating. We’ve heard that from other grads, too. Again, we’re not saying that people at lower-ranked schools are dumb. We’re just offering reports of experiences. Some may also claim that the quality of professors at a brand-name school is superior – though we’ve certainly encountered some shoddy profs at top schools. However, the big universities can afford to pay their professors more than smaller regional schools can. They are able to attract teaching talent based on their reputation, too.
Our perspective is that you get out of your MBA experience what you put into it — because isn’t that true of everything in life? If you don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re going for an EDUCATION, then you can most definitely gain tremendously from a Master’s of Business Administration program that’s not hitting the top of every list.
And, if you have an impressive GMAT score, then you may find yourself in high demand at these lower-ranked schools – to the extent that they could be willing to throw some dollars your direction in an effort to entice you to join them. This level of school doesn’t typically have the massive endowments that schools like Harvard, Stanford and Yale do, but they do know how to use the monies available to them strategically to attract the candidates that will allow them to increase their standing in the world. So yes, your high GMAT score will potentially be a greater asset to you – and to them. Compared to the highly competitive schools, a next-tier program may be more ready to demonstrate that value through a scholarship offer. Their GMAT affects their rankings, so if your GMAT will be a great contribution to that, then you could find yourself in an attractive position.
Which can make for some complicated decisions of course! It all comes down to priorities, and these are personal questions that only you can answer. Saying one school is “better” than another is pretty absurd, and we’re not trying to make claims of that sort in these discussions. It’s to some extent subjective, and very individual. The best way to determine if a school is a good fit for you is to go visit the place, and to talk to people. Do enough of that and you will hopefully be able to gauge how you might fit into their culture and if it’s the right place for you.
In Round 2 we worked with a Brave Supplicant who had executed on a well-rounded strategy, with a small handful of three applications so that they could focus and do the work needed to produce a quality job on each (and also because there wasn’t much time from when they began), with one stretch school,…