Time to explore the emerging popularity of the specialized MBA! This may come as a surprise to those you wanting to pursue a more general MBA, but it appears for some people something more specialized is preferable.
In an article a while ago, the author gives us the example of Adam Krueckenberg, 37, who had a great job as a vice president at Fidelity, but who wanted to return to school for his MBA. Boston College was the school that sparked his interest and not for any other reason than it offered exactly what he was looking for: a dual MBA/MS in church management and pastoral ministry. This program has been offered at Boston College since 2005.
Krueckenberg goes onto say: “I wanted a career that was more spiritually fulfilling. I wouldn’t have been able to train for that in a more traditional setting.”
This recent trend, indicated by the Journal, “has crept into most field over the past few decades, but few have embraced it more enthusiastically than the graduate business schools.” Since 1990, there has been a shift in MBAs becoming more and more specialized, ranging from subjects such as aerospace, wine management, luxury goods, real estate, and energy management.
The percentage of business school students enrolled in specialized programs has risen by about 4% each year since 2001. All in all, more than 1/5 of business schools students are seeking a specialized degree.
How does a specialized business degree work? Evidently, such programs don’t focus on the big picture of their focus, rather they zero in on practical and commercial applications. There are schools such as the University of Chicago and Columbia, which have rather broad business degrees with concentrations like finance and marketing, but then there are schools like the University of Wisconsin in Madison that has made a niche for itself as being a specialized MBA Mecca.
The University of Wisconsin eradicated its general MBA in 2004, focusing, instead, on 13 specializations – some of which include market research and real estate. Students who know exactly what they want to do are often attracted to specialized MBAs, in addition to older applicants with business experience who wants to change fields altogether.
Other specialized programs, such as the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business, are at an advantage because of their location. The University of Oklahoma is right in the midst of pure oil country and many graduates pursue a career in the oil field as executives. Rutgers University, on the other hand, within such proximity to Johnson & Johnson as Mereck, has a pharmaceutical focus, which often attracts students to work in New Jersey after graduation.
On an international level, such specialized schools were adopted early, especially in France. The Essec Business School near Paris focuses entirely on international luxury and brand management, accepting only 40 students a year and conducting classes in English. The Bordeaux Management School attracts students interested in the wine and spirits field with the location enriching their studies dramatically.
Does this seem contradictory in an economic environment where a general MBA might be smarter than a specialized one? Hess concludes: “…going deep instead of wide seems to fit right in with an increasingly segmented world.”
3: Finding an Ideal Summer Internship
Internship recruitment begins early. As soon as you arrive on campus in September, even August, you will begin the process of finding a summer internship. You will want to find an internship that matches your interests, opens doors, or provides a taste of a corporate culture that you are interested in experiencing or joining. The internship may or may not relate precisely to your future work, but will provide you with exposure to a culture, a style, and a system. For many, summer internships turn into full time positions after the first year, so you will want to do your homework.
Most first-year business school students find an internship, though the process is still quite competitive. For some people, the difficulty of the process comes not in finding one, but in finding the right one for them. For some, they are looking for industry experience. For others, who are seeking to reenter an industry in which they already have experience, they may be particularly interested in targeting a particular company. For others with less experience, they may want to learn about several industries before selecting a direction. So devote adequate time to:
o Attending information sessions or cocktail parties held by recruiters. These are great opportunities to establish informal contacts.
o Network with other contacts (outside of business school). These sometimes work out well for first-year students. So remember that business school is not the only way by which to find a position.
o Learn about industries. Such research will assist you in gauging your own interest as well as allow you to come across as possessing genuine and informed knowledge when you do approach recruiters.
o Learn about individual companies. Companies want to know that you are interested in and knowledgeable about their work. Do your homework and learn potentially through informal on campus events as much as you can.
o Prepare for case interviews and general interview sessions. Be able to explain yourself and why you are interested in a field, industry, and company, in addition to showing a developing understanding of the work of the company. Also be practiced at answering the problem-solving questions that you may be asked to solve as a portion of the interview process.
o Seek guidance during the process from your school’s career staff.
Following the above plan will help you to adjust and excel in your first-year. You won’t get too bogged down worrying about an internship in May, nor will you be consulting math tutors throughout the year for assistance on problem sets, and you’ll be engaged in courses and activities that interest you and are a good use of your time. But also remember:
Don’t finish work on Friday and show up at business school orientation on Monday. A summer break to settle in, to relax and rest, or even lay on the beach makes a difference in preparedness for your first-year of business school too!
Like many business schools, London Business School (LBS) is receiving an increasing number of applications for the 2008-2009 school year. Applicants to LBS recognize the advantages of studying in London, a center of world finance and business, and many are interested in not only learning from a highly knowledgeable faculty, but also surrounding themselves with students who have significant professional experience. The LBS program lasts between 15 and 21 months, during which time the school offers a broad range of academic and professional opportunities.
For applicants to LBS, it is important to consider that LBS places a great deal of weight on work experience. Getting in to LBS without any significant work experience, e.g. straight from college, is quite unlikely. It seems from a recent chat on Business Week with David Simpson of the Admissions team at LBS that 2 years is almost a minimum for admitted students. One reason for this is that LBS is interested in business people who have not only worked for companies, but also led teams or managed projects. These students then have their own valuable experiences to share in the classroom so that they can learn from each other’s past successes and stumbles. Since gaining such insights takes time, LBS generally admits students with around five years of work experience. When they evaluate applicants, their number one interest is to develop an understanding of what the applicant has done professionally beyond academics and extracurricular activities. Therefore, those applying to LBS should have a solid base of professional experiences to drawn on and to delineate in their application.
However, work alone is not the only key to LBS admission. The school also seeks high GMAT scores, a median of 690, and strives for diverse international representation in each class.
Here is part 2 of a chapter from our new book, Negotiation and Decision Making. Our Turbocharge Your Career series has seven more books planned for publication. All of the eight books will be available on Amazon.com and in Barnes and Noble stores across the US. We will also host this class online or in-person at selected locations around the world. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
5.1.5 Solving Their Problem
When you are researching, you will have to find out ways to solve the other side’s problem as well as your own.
Those include their values and the outcomes that they are looking for. Also discover some negatives in their business past.
1. All of those bits of information require asking them open-ended questions in the negotiation process. Ask things like “how will this help you” and “tell me more about that”.
Instead of getting an answer and moving on, keep asking to make sure you fully understand. That technique will also create a positive environment and show that you want to listen to their problems and needs.
2. In real life, often times there are no absolute distributive or integrative negotiations. Rather, they are a combination with varying degrees of each type. So you may always be able to find some ways to “enlarge the pie”:
- Gather as much information as possible
- Identify items of value
- Do not become competitive or force compromise. Compromising detracts from both sides
- Focus on the desired outcome for both sides
5.1.6 Let the Other Person Win
Identify Common Issues – Increase communication by showing how you are similar to the other person. It will increase trust and build a relationship
Maintain the Relationship – When something negative comes up, associate it with the terms of the deal and not the other person.
Show how the deal helps them – Be ready to prove that your deal will help their business. Be able to show them and not just tell them.
5.1.7 How to Derive Those Numbers
Many high-ranking business professionals quantify information and develop precise formulas to determine outcomes. If the other side does this, pay attention to the rationale and the formulas they have developed. Know how the other side reached their conclusions. Their method is likely to stay fixed, but the outcomes and numbers are not necessarily going to stay the same because they are more easily changed.
Rules to follow when trying to get at the final numbers:
- Know the guidelines, the goals and who is involved with the deal
- Strive for communication – Ask questions about items you understand
- Question numbers and assumptions – do not accept everything they give you
- Establish your uniqueness – Show why your product is better than the cheaper product and how it will help the other’s bottom line and business overall
- Focus on risks and benefits – Do not threaten or put pressure on the other side, but remind them of the risks of going with a competitor tactfully and through questioning rather than direct statements
5.1.8 Achieving Results
Several methods help to achieve the results you desire AND maintain or improve your relationship with the other party.
Find Objective Methods of Determining the Benefits of Solutions.
This will allow both parties to trust and value the terms to be agreed upon.
Concentrate on What You Want to Achieve, Not Where You Stand on an Issue.
This is a means of opening your mind to other options and modes of achievement. These would be less likely to automatically preclude the success of the other party.
Focus on Issues, Not Personality.
Avoid personal attacks. Your interest is in improving a relationship and achieving your desired results, not frustrating or offending the other party.
Manhattan Review is very excited to present a chapter from our new book, Negotiation and Decision Making, which is coming out in conjunction with a MBA training seminar in california. The book also serves as the base for our Negotiation and Decision making class which is taught by expert practioners who have had substantial experience with million-dollar deal negotiations . Our Turbocharge Your Career series has seven more books planned for publication. All of the eight books will be available on Amazon.com and in Barnes and Noble stores across the US. We will also host this class online or in-person at selected locations around the world. Email us at email@example.com for more details.
5.1 Important Steps to a Good Deal
5.1.1 Understanding/Problem Solving
Prior to engaging in a negotiation, it is important to get to know the scenario and “the playing field”.
The scenario is composed of various elements
Time – The pressure created by time can cause negotiators to make mistakes. Therefore, if you know how to use your time wisely and plan well, you can achieve a better outcome from you negotiation.
Information – Having more information or access to more information can create the leverage you need for a successful negotiation. Information allows you to create more opportunities and alternatives.
Power – Power is in many ways purely the perception of the other side. You must appear to have power even if you really don’t
Passion – Passion will be the final factor that puts you ahead of your opponent. The more passion you have, the greater your ability will be to get the deal
There are certain facts that you must know about the other side to engage in a mutually successful negotiation.
- Their goals and objectives broadly
- What they want out of this particular negotiation
- Pressures on them
- Who makes the final decision
- Their possible bargaining zone
Please check with our Pre-Negotiation Assessment Chart to be sure that you cover all the elements.
The above will necessitate research on your part. You must have ample information available before you try and successful negotiate. There are many tools available.
- Public information (financial reports etc.)
Not only know what you are negotiating about, but know who you are negotiating with. Without proper research before hand you will not be successful in your negotiations. By having information, you will be able to test them on their level of honesty. You can ask questions about their situation and if you know the answer and are being lied to, you will be able to assess their negotiation style rather quickly.
Some authors recommend outlining some possible outcomes
- Best Possible Outcome
o This is the best possible, but not necessarily realistic outcome
- Worst Possible Outcome
o The worst and least acceptable outcome
- Expected Outcome
o A likely and somewhat acceptable outcome
- Resistance Point (Walk-away Point)
- BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement)
5.1.3 Building Communication
- Share information: Hiding all of the details creates a negative environment
- Active Listening: Show that you want to know about their position and what are their needs and wants of the negotiation
- Acknowledge their Needs: Show them that your business can help them and give them what they want. If you don’t they will turn to someone else.
- Ask questions so you can discover their needs and decide whether or not you can meet them.
5.1.4 Controlling the Negotiation
The more control you have over certain aspects of the negotiation, the more likely you will be to gain an advantage. Here are some ways to gain control
1. Speak First – In many instances, if you speak first you will control the tone and tempo of the rest of the negotiation
2. Ask Questions – By asking questions you will control the content of the negotiation. By asking questions, you are also finding ways to come to an agreement
3. Don’t Argue – The key to negotiations is sharing information and not being combative.
4. Prepare to meet the other person’s needs – fully understand the other side’s position, motivations and needs and be ready to meet them
5. Listen – The more you understand of the questions you ask, the more control you will have on the outcome of the negotiation
Many professionals seek and achieve a higher standard of work in the office place. They put in long hours, reply promptly to their emails, and at the end of the day help create a good product. They may even bring their officemates bagels or donuts to keep everyone smiling, but somehow it is not enough to be promoted or receive a raise. What follows are some suggestions, dos, and don’ts as to how to better achieve your goal of moving up the ladder in your workplace.
Speak up. Send out relevant interesting articles to staff. Try to become someone that people know, beyond your boss.
Seek out advice as to how to achieve your goal from others who are higher in the company hierarchy.
Offer to take on greater responsibilities. It is vital to prove that you can already do the job that you want. However, as you will see in the Don’t section of this post, don’t go too far with taking on other people’s responsibilities. Remember that you need to prove you can do the job you already have. You will not get a promotion if you make many mistakes, and prove that you are not up to the responsibilities, as mundane as they may be.
Recognize that despite your efforts it may not be so easy to attain the promotion you desire. It may take an additional year of work or it may require that you take your experience to a different company. Hard work, motivation and positive thinking will not necessarily get you noticed at your current company. Don’t quit to early though because the time you have spent in your current job may be a factor in a looming promotion.
Let your boss down. The easiest way to get promoted is for your boss to feel extremely confident in your abilities and in your devotion to your work.
Exceed the limits of your position. This is not a time to come across as wanting to usurp control from your boss, instead you are trying to impress him or her.
As trivial as it may seem to some, appearance counts. Do not take casual Friday to far, or too early in the week.
Try not to be deterred by initial failure, for many working their way up the corporate ladder is one of the most difficult parts of their career and there are sure to be bumps along the way. But if you work at it, if you become a better employee, a better manager, as well as more knowledgeable, you are likely to succeed in the future. Through following some of the advice above, you will increase your networking potential both within your company and beyond. Attaining the promotion you want is possible; it may simply take patience and drive.
The outlook for first and second year MBAs seeking summer or permanent positions in 2008 is still bright. The mortgage crisis and talk of recession may cause aspiring MBAs and those currently enrolled in MBA programs anxiety. Job cuts, especially in the investment banking, private equity, and corporate finance sectors might also contribute to concern among current students and applicants.
However, thus far, early indicators do not suggest gloom or hiring freezes. On the contrary, hiring for summer internships as well as for first-year associate positions is up from last year. Salaries are also up.
But why are salaries for MBA graduates increasing? Why is hiring up even in times of low economic growth? Why do businesses continue to place such a high value on those who have completed an MBA, even in times of recession? These are valid questions to ponder in today’s market for those engaged in the MBA process.
Why are salaries for MBA graduates increasing, and why is hiring up?
Companies tend to look into the future when they, for example, give a summer intern an offer at the close of the summer. Firms are sometimes looking as far as 4 or 5 years into the future. Thus, the hiring decisions of firms are not always verdicts on the health of a current economy, but rather verdicts on the economy’s future. Since firms predict that they will need these new recruits later on, they must hire, train, and pay them now. According to the Wall Street Journal, $300,000 USD (including bonus) is a rough average figure for a first-year associate’s salary at top investment bank in 2007. In 2008, this figure is growing.
Why do businesses continue to hire MBAs in volatile economic times and pay them often more than a non-MBA candidate for the same position?
According to certain business people, business school provides only formal training in management. In concentrating so heavily on formal training, they fall short of its proclaimed end of producing talented and prepared businessmen and women. These critics charge that although MBA graduates have studied the game, they in reality are quite unprepared to play it. Though such a theory gives increased legitimacy to pursuing a part-time MBA in which a student works while studying or the short-term executive MBA traditionally for the seasoned businessperson, hiring trends still show that corporations value MBAs, and even in times of weak growth recruit and hire them. This can be attributed to another interesting aspect of corporate hiring: companies view MBAs as possessing formal skills that with time will combine with sufficient experience creating better leaders and executives for the corporation’s future.
What does this mean for all of you?
- It is not necessarily time to worry about the impact that a possible economic recession will have on hiring levels this year
- Holding an MBA can dramatically increase your salary and your marketability to potential employers
- As a new employee you are an investment and investments typically produce future financial gains. That being said, even though the economy may be faltering now, the near future could require many talented new employees for major companies
- Even though the MBA degree has its naysayers, salaries and hiring levels should speak for themselves
A Word of Caution
Finally, it is undisputable that a potentially turbulent period is looming. There is no downside to being more cautious and to working more diligently. We still remember: eight years ago so many MBA graduates were tipsy with their McKinsey or Merrill Lynch offers, and found that after graduation they were left idling for a year to take the job later, or taking a package to leave.
Learn the most you can at school! If there are many sharpened tools in your toolbox, there will always be some bright spots for you regardless what happens to the market.
Here is the last installment of our GMAT Test Day FAQ Series. For more information, visit the link at the end of this entry. Good luck and happy studying!
16. What are the rules for cell phone and PDA use?
You cannot use your cell phone or PDA during the test or on your break. We recommend you turn off any electronic devices stored in the locker. Please do not check your voicemail or emails during your break. You will be violating the test center rules and may be asked to leave immediately.
17. What happens if there are extreme circumstances such as severe weather or computer malfunctions?
Usually, the start of the test will be delayed or will be rescheduled. If such action is not possible, you can choose either a full refund or to sign up for a different test date free of charge.
18. When I sit down at the computer, do I take the test right away?
19. What should I do if my computer does not work?
You should raise your hand and tell the test administrator. You should not try and fix it yourself.
20. What if something happens to disrupt the test?
Based on the policies listed on the websites of GMAC®, Pearson VUE and ACT, if anything happens during the test that serves as an interruption or causes a mistiming, or if anything is out of the ordinary or deviates from normal testing procedure, GMAC and/or Pearson VUE will conduct an examination of the situation. One of those organizations will then decide if they should pursue disciplinary action including score cancellation. If any organization decides to take any action against an examinee or on behalf of one, the affected parties will have the option of A) take their test again at no additional charge, or receive a refund UNLESS that person is found to be the cause or source of the disruption. If you should opt to take the test again, you must take it in its entirety.
21. Can I use a testing aid such as a calculator?
No, you cannot use a calculator or any other type of aid including laptops, PDA’s, translators, dictionaries etc.
22. Can the test administrator kick me out? What for?
Yes. There are many reasons for dismissal. These include providing false information or not providing it at all, bringing a test aid, not complying with an administrator’s reasonable requests, helping another test taker or letting them help you, tampering with the operation of the computer, and not following any rules or procedures.
23. Is there a plagiarism policy, regarding the writing section?
You must write two essays for the Analytical Writing Section of the GMAT. If there is evidence of plagiarism, your scores can and will be cancelled. Please note that your essays become the property of GMAC.
24. What happens after the test?
After the test you will answer some questions about yourself and your plans for graduate school, and whether you would like to take part in various surveys or receive further information. Your answer choices to these questions may reflect information that you previously provided, earlier in the registration process.
25. How do I send my scores to schools?
There are a few options for sending your scores. After you take the test, you will have the option of selecting 5 programs to send your scores to at no extra charge. Be careful, because this action cannot be undone and also be sure to select the correct program.
Later, you will have the chance to choose more schools to send your scores to. You will need to order an “Additional Score Report” (ASR). You can pay by credit card or check. Each additional school costs $28 USD.
26. How can I tell if my GMAT score is high enough?
It depends what you mean by high enough. Different schools have different expectations as to what GMAT scores admitted students should have. Some schools have a minimum requirement – you will need to research this on a program-by-program basis, including research on what the range of scores was for the last entering class. Your GMAT score is only one third of your application, so let your score be a rough guide to where you apply but do not limit yourself. Also, if you are unhappy with your score, it is fairly common to take the GMAT twice. If you take it twice, be sure to prepare thoroughly in order to achieve a higher score.
For a complete list of GMAT FAQs, please visit here.
Today’s news is the second part in our GMAT Test Day FAQ series. Check back soon for more updates.
8. What should I bring to the test center on the day of my test?
You do not need to bring much to the test center. In fact, you will not be allowed to bring any of your personal belongings such as cell phones, backpacks, purses, or handbags into the testing room. If you do bring your belongings with you, you will be required to put them in a storage area such as a small locker. So just bring the essential items (including clothes) you need before, during and after the test in a bag with flexible surface. The test administrator will provide you with everything you need to take the test, including a pencil and scratch paper/erasable booklets.
9. What is the test center like? Will they let my family in with me?
The test centers are typically very small. Depending on their locations and relationships with Pearson Vue, they might be owned by Pearson VUE or just an affiliated center in the network. If they are the latter, they may administer other tests for non-Pearson VUE entities. Therefore the condition of the test center and your test center experience may vary.
There is a waiting area. Depending on the number of staff members on duty at the test center and the number of test takers waiting, your wait time may vary. Feel free to relax. If you want to continue to read notes or books while waiting, lock your belongings away in the locker first except for a book or some notes. When you get called, you can quickly go to your locker and lock the last item before proceeding. But please be quick, otherwise the staff may become impatient.
Your family or friends will not be permitted to wait for you at the test center while you are taking your test. They will also not be able to contact you while you are being tested.
10. What is the testing room environment like?
You will take your GMAT at an individual computer workstation next to many other computer workstations in a testing room. Your computer workstation is similar to a basic small office cubicle. Please note that there will be audio/visual monitoring during the test.
11. What should I wear? Is there a dress code?
There is no dress code. You should dress comfortably and possibly bring extra layers in case the room gets cold.
12. What is the check-in procedure?
You will need to show the test administrator valid ID. Please prepare two to three valid IDs such as a passport, driver’s license, or a major credit card with your photo. That way in case one expires or somehow cannot be found at the test center, you are still good to go.
The administrator will also take your photograph, signature, and take your fingerprint digitally. You will be asked to agree to the GMAT Examination Testing Rules & Agreement. When you sign for the paperwork, please slow down and make your signature very legible and correspond to the full name on your ID. Otherwise you may be asked to re-sign your name multiple times which might affect your mood for the test later on. If you refuse to comply with any of these procedures, you may be asked to leave and forfeit your fee.
13. How long does the GMAT take? Are we given breaks?
The test takes around 4 hours. You are given two 5-minute breaks at scheduled intervals. It is important to not take more than 5 minutes during these breaks because you will be docked the amount of time you go over.
14. Can we leave during the test?
Not besides the scheduled breaks. If there is an emergency, raise your hand and the test administrator should let you leave; however the timer on your test will not stop. Be careful about leaving, because if you are gone too long or leave too many times, your test administrator may report you to Pearson VUE or GMAC. Note that you will need to provide your fingerprint at re-entry.
15. Can I bring a snack?
Yes, but not into the testing room. You can only eat, drink, or use tobacco during the scheduled breaks. If you need to smoke or go outside for any reason, be sure to alert the test administrator. Note that rules about leaving vary from center to center, so you should clearly understand those rules before making any decisions in order to avoid any problems. We recommend you bring some chocolates, power bars and water for two short five-minute breaks in order to maintain your momentum through the test.
This week, we will be doing a FAQ series on the GMAT Test day. Should you have any other questions, there is a link to further FAQs at the end of this post. If your question is still not answered, visit our forum.
Popular testing days fill up in advance, so if your schedule requires you to take the test on a certain day, be on top of it and sign up early. You need to pay the fee with a major credit card
2. Can I cancel my score, or have it not be reported?
You can cancel your score, but you must do so before you see it. Once you see it, it must be reported; you do not have the option of withholding it. We do not recommend canceling a score unless you were tested under adverse circumstances, like illness. If you do poorly and still report your score, it is not the end of the world. An improvement between two test scores may be highly regarded by your school of choice. If you cancel, the cancellation is still reported to the schools.
3. How many times can I take the GMAT?
There is technically no limit but we do not recommend taking the test more than three times. Taking the test many times may look bad. Plan on taking the test twice and reporting both scores (unless of course you do very well the first time). The admissions committee will take the best score of all your tests but will take a look at the history of the tests as well.
4. Are there any rules regarding how often I can take the GMAT in a certain number of days?
You can take the GMAT five times every year (12-month period). Within that year, you must wait 31 days between tests, regardless of score cancellations.
5. Is it common to retake the GMAT? If so, what kinds of results are common?
It is less common than you might think. Studies show that approximately 21% of the exams are taken by those who are retesting. Of those re-testers, it is uncommon that they take the test more than 3 times in a given year. Regarding results, the average increase between tests is 30 points on the total score. It is not unheard of that scores can go down with repeat testing. Your increase will depend on how much preparation you do in between. If you prepare well enough, odds are you won’t be compelled to retest!
6. What should I do if I don’t feel well on the day of the test?
If you don’t feel well, you should not take the test. You should be healthy and prepared when you take the GMAT. It will be an ordeal to sit through a 4-hour test while you are not at your best. You may end up canceling the score anyway. So do not get hung up on the rescheduling fee (US$50 if you reschedule before 7 calendar days of the test date or you will lose the entire US$250 test fee). Your bad score might become an anchoring point later on hindering your progress and hurting your self-confidence. Meantime, a bad score gets reported to schools as all your scores in the last five years will be shown.However, if you are sure that you can achieve a high score based on your prior practice tests, you should take the test even when you don’t feel well. That way you don’t waste the test fee and have a chance to experience the real test while having the option to cancel it at the end.
7. Should I arrive early at the test center?
Yes. Make sure you find out in advance where the test center is, and get there at least 30 minutes early because there is a check-in procedure. If you are more than 15 minutes late, the test administrators may not let you take your test and your US$250 test fee could be forfeited.
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