The MBA Tour FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

MBA Applicants are given the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of Admission Officers from various business schools during The MBA Tour Seminars. Click on the questions below to see the responses from the business schools.

What makes one application essay better than another?

“An application essay should demonstrate that the candidate has done his or her homework. The prospective student has done solid research about the school he or she is applying to. If the essays then reveals some insights about particular aspects of the school, the program, the faculty or even some of its alumni it will stand out and attract positive attention in the application process.”

Thomas Schroeder, General Manager International Relations Melbourne Business School

“One that is concise and informative. We look for specific, quantitative examples of achievements, initiatives taken, and demonstrated leadership roles. A good essay about goals spells out both short (post-MBA) and long term goals as well as how our program will specifically help the candidate achieve those goals and why our program is the right fit.”

Kim Killingsworth, Associate Director, International Admissions The Johnson School at Cornell University

What kind of work experience do business schools look for?

“We look for work experience in all fields. In the past we accepted physiotherapist, professional concert pianists, army soldiers, nurses, entrepreneurs and even ballet dancers. What unites them is their passion to make a difference, the overall intellect and the desire to contribute to the in-classroom learning experience. We pride ourselves not only of regional diversity but also diversity in work experience.”

Thomas Schroeder, General Manager International Relations Melbourne Business School

“There are three very powerful elements for us: strong career growth with a consistent level of achievement that really stands out in the application; demonstrable commercial awareness; international exposure. Actual business sector or function is less important than the quality of the experience gained in that sector – we’re looking for stars in their own field. Small business, entrepreneurial types are as attractive as blue-chip players – it is the individual who has driven their own career that really stands out. Languages are always a plus – that’s where international exposure can demonstrate language and cultural sensitivities which are always a selling point for international MBA programmes and employers.”

Alison Edmonds, Director, Career Management Services Manchester Business School

Is a 12 or 18 month MBA too short to get the skills and knowledge I need? What do I give up with a shorter program? What do I gain with a longer one?

“The Manchester MBA 18 month programme is long enough to allow you to learn theory and then to put it into practice through a series of projects with companies, which become increasingly complex as you go through the programme. The extra 6 months gives you the opportunity to take an internship; go on Exchange to another business school; learn about European business practices in other European countries through the European Study Programme and to specialise your MBA through a wide variety of electives.”

Dr. Heather Spiro, Associate Director of Programmes Manchester Business School

“No, a 12 month or 18 month program is not too short. Some schools offer condensed programs, such as the Johnson School at Cornell’s twelve month option (TMO) program which is geared for candidates with advanced degrees in science or technology fields who bring a quantitatively heavy background and thus are able to handle the first year’s core courses which are condensed into 3 summer months at the beginning of the program. The remaining 9 months of the program are done at the regular pace with TMO students integrating into electives with students from the two year program. So, TMO students still receive the same core courses and have the same elective courses to choose from. The program is geared for those who do not need a summer internship. In other words, it’s great for non-career switchers. The gain is being out of the work force for only one year as versus two and a huge savings in tuition costs.”

Kim Killingsworth, Associate Director, International Admissions The Johnson School at Cornell University

“This depends on the experience the candidate has. In case he or she has already solid business experience a 12 month program might suffice. Longer MBA programs usually include an internship which might especially be useful for students who want to shift career or switch the industry they work in. Shorter programs often function as current career path accelerators.”

Thomas Schroeder, General Manager International Relations Melbourne Business School

How are business schools addressing the slowdown in the job market and the difficulty of finding good jobs for their graduates?

“We need to be as creative as possible. For the second year the Johnson School at Cornell University is hosting Just About Jobs. Corporate sponsors have donated their private planes for the Career Management Center to fly in recruiters from Boston and New York City who don’t normally recruit at the school and many who have never been to the Johnson School. Last year’s successful day resulted in at least 25 job offers. This year the event has been expanded from one day to two, over a two week period.”

Kim Killingsworth, Associate Director, International Admissions The Johnson School at Cornell University

“Melbourne Business School has always had a more long term approach to career services. Our fully integrated Career Management Program is not about just getting the next job upon graduation. We provide our students with a skill set to actively manage their careers in the future. This offer extends to our alumni. Internal career counseling is an important part of it and we actively leverage our alumni network in the process. In addition, the Careers Team established successful contacts to non-traditional MBA hirers like the mining or utilities industry in Australia. Finally, the new focus on entrepreneurship within the program gave a stimulus to many MBA students in setting up their own company.”

Thomas Schroeder, General Manager International Relations Melbourne Business School

“We’re seeing an upturn in the markets now and we’re gearing up to take maximum advantage. MBS is extending it’s Careers Fairs on campus to include a brand new Fair in April this year. We’re targeting companies looking to hire early in summer and companies looking to hire for internships. Corporate relations development has never been so high on the agenda. Our October 2003 Careers Safari on campus was a day designed to allow students to make informed career choices. Twenty two speakers from 20 companies talked about hot options in their markets and careers “tips from the top” through presentations, workshops and Q&A panels. Manchester Gold MBA, MBS’ Mentoring Programme, increased by 100% this year – twice as many first year MBAs are linking up with industry expert mentors during their first year. Combined with a new 18month structured coaching programme for every student, the Careers Team has added more small-group networking skills/job hunting strategy/assessment centre sessions which provide the students with highly practical tools to achieve their aims. Voice Coaching is a popular choice for those students who benefit from accent modification – it’s a winner for good networking and interviewing in the UK.”

Alison Edmonds, Director, Career Management Services Manchester Business School

What are first-term MBA students most likely to complain about?

“That they do not know where they stand in relation to each other and the work load. Students are obsessed with grades rather than learning and that makes group projects and collaboration an interesting challenge.”

Dr. Heather Spiro, Associate Director of Programmes Manchester Business School

“The workload. The Melbourne MBA is an academically very rigorous program. Students have to complete 780 contact hours – the same number than in a large number of two-year program in the United States. Slightly naive students expect a relaxed atmosphere and workload at an Australian institution and more time to spend at the beach, which is certainly not the case at MBS.”

Thomas Schroeder, General Manager International Relations Melbourne Business School

Visit The MBA Tour website for information to attend an MBA seminar and fair in a city near you in Asia, Latin America and the USA. Copyright © 2000-2004. No part of this document may be reproduced without written permission.

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