International Students Talk: The Road to McCombs and Texas

McCombs is proud of its diverse community. This week we’re highlighting some of our international students from around the globe! Check out what they have to say about Austin, McCombs, and the advice they’d like to share with future international applicants.

To learn more about the Texas MBA program, admissions events, and application information, please visit the Texas MBA website.

Texas MBA Student Faraha Kukkady

 Name: Farrah
 City of Origin: Bangalore, India

 Why did you choose the Texas MBA program? I wanted a school that was into social  impact and also has a strong entrepreneurship program. I also had the fortune of visiting the  school before applying and I loved the reception I received. It was a fit right away! And Austin  has a great music scene which is a bonus!

 Any advice for others from India thinking about attending McCombs? McCombs has a lot of hidden gems which I discovered after I joined the program. I would advise speaking to as many students and alums as you can to understand how McCombs can help you achieve your goals.

 

Texas MBA Student ShinName: Shin
City of Origin: Seoul, South Korea

Why did you choose the Texas MBA program? I knew alumni from McCombs and they recommended I apply because it is an amazing school. The community is friendly, diverse and open to new-comers.

Any advice for others from South Korea thinking about attending McCombs? McCombs has so many hands-on opportunities, like MBA+, which will prepare you for any business environment in your future. Austin also has great weather and friendly people!

 

Texas MBA Student Martin Cantu Name: Martin
 City of Origin: Monterrey, Mexico

 Why did you choose the Texas MBA program? Texas MBA is a top MBA program that sets itself apart from other business schools. McCombs has a unique, friendly culture which helps anyone make the best of their program. A “pay it forward” attitude prevails in every McCombs student and alum. With the help of these networks, any goal seems feasible, and with Austin, a friendly, awesome city, included in the decision-making process, the choice becomes a no-brainer!

 Any advice for others from Mexico thinking about attending McCombs? Come to Austin to meet the McCombs community! You will learn about the program, meet the admissions team, get to know current students and their experiences, and get advice on the future steps you need to take with your application (Take advantage of this opportunity, students want to help!) You will soon realize that the Texas MBA is the program you are looking for.

 

Texas MBA Student XiaopingName: Xiaoping
City of Origin: Shanghai, China

Why did you choose the Texas MBA program? First, McCombs offers a customizable schedule that can be tailored to my personal goals. I can dive deep into the Corporate Finance Concentration and the MBA+ Program, to convert learning into action. Second, I appreciate the culture, diversity and collaborative community of McCombs and UT. My cohorts at McCombs are community leaders with diversified backgrounds. Learning from their valuable thoughts and experiences can inspire me to think more deeply about my career goals, life philosophy, and my contributions to society.

Any advice for others from China thinking about attending McCombs? I did a lot of research to choose McCombs, and after arriving here, things are far beyond my expectations! I really enjoy the down-to-earth culture. Most Chinese applicants do not know much about Austin and Texas. Texas’s current economic situation is the best among all the states in the US. More and more companies, especially the high-tech companies, are moving into Texas for this reason. Austin  is a fast-growing city and the people here are nice and warm and you can enjoy the city life as well as the great natural scenes.

 

Texas MBA Student Arjun Dhand

 Name: Arjun
 City of Origin: Dehradun, India

 Why did you choose the Texas MBA program?  I  was looking for an MBA Program which would allow me to leverage my background in energy as well as provide world class education and professional opportunities. McCombs was therefore my top choice!

 Any advice for others from India thinking about attending McCombs? Spend a lot of time reflecting on your experiences, professional, academic and generally in life. Find a theme in your experiences and tie them to your story. It’s YOUR story, no one can tell it better than you, and McCombs is a great place to do that.

Posted in Uncategorized

2014 Texas MBA Women’s Forum Recap

On October 24-25, the Texas Full-Time MBA program hosted their annual Women’s Forum at the McCombs School of Business here at UT Austin. The forum is always a highly-anticipated event for the Texas MBA, and this year was one of the best yet!

Texas MBA Women's Forum 2014 Co-Chairs

2014 Women’s Forum Co-Chairs (left to right): Elaine Yeh, MBA ’16, Rebecca Linn, MBA ’15, Laurie Shults, MBA ’15

57 attendees had the opportunity to interact with McCombs faculty and staff, alumni, and current students during a number of informative sessions and networking receptions, allowing them to learn more about all aspects of the program and begin to picture themselves as Texas MBAs.

Attendees of 2014 Texas MBA Women's Forum

Texas MBA’s in attendance (left to right) Standing Row: Jennifer Thomas, MBA ‘16, Nicole Velasquez, MBA ‘15, Nikki Meo, MBA ’15, Caitlin Miller, MBA ‘16, Flavia de la Fuente, MBA ‘15, Front Row: Rebecca Linn, MBA ‘15
Laurie Shults, MBA ‘15, Jamie Sutton, TVL Venture Partner, Christie Sutton, MBA ‘15,

The event brought in attendees from all over the country seeking to see highlights of life in McCombs and Austin. Texas, California, New York, D.C., Florida and Illinois were the most represented states among those in attendance. Alma maters besides UT Austin were also represented, including UCLA, Rice, Johns Hopkins, Duke, and Yale.

 

Professor Srinivasan of the Texas MBA program

Texas MBA Program Professor, Raji Srinivasan

“It was a wonderful and large group of young women, who
were excited to learn about the McCombs MBA program, University of Texas at Austin, and Austin! There was animated discussion about the challenges of coming back to school, especially for women, and issues related to career switching. I enjoyed speaking to them and learning about their career goals and aspirations! This is a great group of prospective MBA students and I look forward to seeing many of them in Fall next year.”           Professor Raji Srinivasan

If you were not able to attend the Women’s Forum this year, check out some of the other events happening on campus. We hope to see you soon!

 

Posted in Admissions, Blog, Community, Full-Time MBA, Students

McCombs Team Wins National Energy Finance Challenge (Again!)

Last week McCombs hosted the 9th annual National Energy Finance Challenge, and we are proud to announce a team of Texas MBA students took home the victory! Sixteen teams from business schools across the country competed in this year’s event. This is the 4th time McCombs has taken the top spot in 5 years.

The National Energy Finance Challenge is a business case competition focused on real-life finance issues within the energy industry. The purpose of the event is to bring corporate executives and recruiters from world-renowned companies with links to the energy industry into contact with the very best MBA students from around the country, and to provide a unique learning experience for the students involved.

tower
It’s time to light the UT Tower again in honor of the team’s national win

Congratulations to the McCombs team! This year featured two 2nd years students: Kirk Sisco & Juong Park, and three 1st year students: Eric Franco, Kyle Gabb & Robert Buckwalter.

Thank  you to Cody Evans, Nate Grady, and the Energy Finance Group officers and volunteers for organizing and hosting this year’s National Energy Finance Challenge. Hook ‘em!

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Posted in Blog, Community, Events, Students

The MBA Admissions Interview: How to Totally Crush It

 We’ve all been there.  Despite all the preparations, research and rehearsals, you find yourself nervous about your MBA Admissions interview.  While this isn’t technically a job interview, you may do well to treat it like one.  An MBA Admissions interview is a very important part of your overall application and ultimately one of the first steps towards your post-MBA life.

At the Texas MBA program, interviews are by invitation only and can come at any time during the application Round.  While some applicants may look forward to the opportunity to interview, others may not exactly enjoy the anxiety thereby engendered. If you are a member of the latter group, look at it this way: the interview affords one of the only formal opportunities for official face-to-face interaction during the application process, so here are a few ways you can take advantage:

  1. Don’t be on time – be early: Arriving early is interviewing 101, yet it still manages to falter even the most prepared of candidates.  Arriving early is even more critical if you’ve never been to campus or navigated UT parking before.
  2. “What was the question again?”:  You’d be surprised how many times at the end of an applicant’s long-winded answer we are asked to repeat the original question.  Most often this happens to people who try to cram too much into the first answer for fear of not being given an opportunity later on to address that well-rehearsed example.  Don’t worry, we’ll get to it!  Plus, sometimes there is an opportunity at the end of an interview to mention anything we didn’t address in the formal line of questioning.
  3. Loosen Up: Given our program’s famously friendly culture, our interviews are relatively informal.  If you still find yourself nervous, practice your answers in front of a mirror, a friend or a willing stranger and ask them how you did; did you answer the question? Did you rush through it?  Take a moment to outline your answer in your mind first, and then address it calmly and confidently.  Don’t get tooooo comfortable, though.  While we’re an easy-going bunch, maintaining an appropriate level of professionalism is always a good idea.
  4. Know what we’re looking for: We listen for confidence, clear and concise communication of career goals, concrete examples of teamwork and leadership, in-depth knowledge of our MBA program, and overall genuine enthusiasm.  Also, the interview can be a place to showcase secondary skills that are difficult for us to determine solely based on your application: interview skills, self-awareness, communication style, and “hire-ability”.
  5. Know your audience: If you are invited to interview for the Texas MBA program, you have three options: On-Campus with an Admissions Officer or current student, Off-Campus with alumni or Admissions Officer in select cities, or via Skype with an Admissions Officer or current student.  Remember the Admissions Committee doesn’t have a preference for how or who you interview with, just as long as you prepare depending on your audience.
  6. Come with questions: A good list of questions can illustrate a few key things about a candidate: you’ve done your research, you care about our program, you have envisioned yourself as an MBA and you can formulate thoughts under pressure.  Don’t overdo it, though.  We usually leave anywhere from 10-15 minutes for questions, so limit your list to 2-3 good ones maximum and have a few backups.

While our interviewing style is admittedly less intense than corporate recruiters and some other MBA programs, don’t let our laid-back attitude fool you.  The Admissions Committee uses the interview as a way to add character, depth and spirit to your written application, so keep these tips in mind to ensure a positive outcome.  Good luck!

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Posted in Admissions, Full-Time MBA

Admissions Events: How to Leave a Lasting Impression

On the scale of big life decisions, deciding to get your MBA is up there.  It’s been a long road for you already, working full-time to gain valuable real-life work experience, aligning your finances, listening to countless professionals with MBA’s under their belts tout their own experiences.  Now, it’s your turn.  But, what’s the first step? 

Go to a Texas MBA Admissions Event and start networking.

Admissions Events provide an opportunity for prospective students to meet school representatives such as alumni, current students and admissions staff to learn about the program.  These events can take place in your local area, such as Coffee Chats where current Texas MBA students share their experiences over a casual cup of joe.  For a more formal setting, an MBA Fair is a great place to meet with admissions reps, compare schools and practice your networking skills.  A wise choice for gauging the classroom environment and faculty character would be to attend a Class Visit.  Another on-campus favorite is an Information Session where you learn specifics about the program and can enjoy lunch with a student and/or attend a quick tour of our facility.  For a more specific recruitment opportunity, you can apply to attend the Women’s Forum or the Diversity Forum (these fun and information-filled weekend events are for prospective students committed to enhancing diversity in business schools and management and provide targeted info on the Texas MBA program.)  Can’t make it to campus at all?  A McCombs Roadshow brings the Dean, admissions and career management reps to you in select major cities.  Or, if you’re really off the grid, take advantage of our helpful Online Events such as pre-deadline admissions chats and recorded webinars.

But how do you make a lasting impression when presumably there will be lots of prospective students with similar goals at these events?  Easy.  Be yourself and be memorable. 

BE YOURSELF

Mr. Rogers had it right: be true to yourself.  Being genuinely “you” is a major factor of the elusive qualification of “fit” that Admissions Committees look for.  We can’t get an accurate picture of how you’ll fit into the academic environment, student culture and professional network if you aren’t being yourself.  Let your personality shine through; are you professional yet quirky?  Or soft-spoken with a quick wit?  Share your story as you would with a new friend, as almost all school representatives will try and picture you in their minds as a future fellow Longhorn.  This shouldn’t be hard, as Longhorns are famously easy to talk to.  And don’t forget to use your description of yourself to demonstrate your knowledge of the program, student organizations and ways you intend to get involved.

BE MEMORABLE

Instead of going for the extreme interpretation of being memorable by going for “shock-factor” (although in admissions we deal with our fair-share of TMI), provide a quick and unique fact about yourself as a part of your introduction: Grew up on a family farm? An energy trader that speaks 7 languages?  A daytime CFA moonlighting as a tech-savvy entrepreneur?  These are all totally valuable and memorable nuggets of info to share with us; just as long as you’re able to tie it all back to getting your MBA within the 30 second timeframe of an elevator speech.   Months later when we’re reading your application, we’ll say to ourselves, “Ah yes, that lovely fellow who wants his MBA in Entrepreneurship to market his invention of silent Velcro” and boom.  You are memorable.

What else wins us over?

  • Do your research 
  • Ask questions beyond the FAQs on the website
  • Tell us about a Texas MBA alumnus you know
  • Ask how you can be involved in our community

Conversely, a few obvious no-no’s:

  • Don’t forget our school’s name or how to pronounce it
  • Don’t ask about scholarships right off the bat (it sends the wrong message).  We’ll get to it!
  • Don’t ask “what’s my chance of getting in?” after talking with us for 5 minutes (there are many factors which impact admissions decisions – read about our holistic application review)
  • Don’t forget to register to receive program information, admissions updates and future event info.

So, you’re ready to attend your first Texas MBA Admissions Event armed with the above tips and tricks to make the most of it.  If you’ve learned anything from being in the workforce in the last decade, you know relationships and impressions are just as important as who you are on paper, and the same is true for meeting your dream MBA program.  It starts with the first (and hopefully lasting) impression. 

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Posted in Admissions, Full-Time MBA

Current Students Talk: The Road to McCombs and Texas

Each fall our dean, admissions team, and career management representatives join alumni in several cities for McCombs Roadshow events, sharing the many opportunities that come with the Texas MBA and answering any questions you may have about the road to McCombs.
This week we’re highlighting students from the four Roadshow stops we have in the United States – Chicago,  San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Check out what they have to say about Austin, McCombs, and the advice they’d like to share with applicants.

To register for a Roadshow event or see all our upcoming events, please visit the Texas MBA events webpage.

Texas MBA Student Matteo Pacifici

Name: Matteo
City of Origin: Chicago
Undergrad:
Emory University
Previous Job: 
Investment Banking/ Wells Fargo
Securities
MBA Concentration:
Real Estate and Private Equity
Finance

 Why did you choose the Texas MBA program? I attended Texas for the vibrant Austin community, the booming economy of the state of Texas and the  global reach of the McCombs brand.

How has the McCombs community helped you to adjust to your new home? Offering clubs and organizations geared to every interest, McCombs gave me an unprecedented number of ways to interact with like-minded MBAs from the get go.

Any advice for other Chicagoans thinking about attending McCombs? Do it! Chicago isn’t going anywhere. Don’t underestimate the power of challenging yourself in a new environment like Austin. You can spend the rest of your life in big cities, but take the opportunity to enjoy two years in a young, vibrant and entrepreneurial city.

Any advice for folks that are going through the application process? Don’t underestimate the power of introspection. Take the time to reflect on yourself and your priorities and your application will be much more genuine.

What is your favorite Austin or Texas tradition/food/etc. you’ve discovered since attending McCombs? Breakfast Tacos… All-Day, Everyday

Texas MBA Student Poonam PrasadName: Poonam
City of Origin: San Francisco Bay Area
Undergrad: UT Austin
Previous Job: Operations/ Google Inc.
MBA Concentration: High Tech Marketing, Brand and
Product Management


Why did you choose the Texas MBA program?
 Some aspects of the Texas MBA program that solidified my decision to attend were the diverse student body, highly collaborative environment, nationally ranked marketing program, and incredibly multifaceted city!

Any advice for other San Franciscans thinking about attending McCombs? Many of the qualities that make the Bay Area so wonderful can be found in Austin as well: the blossoming tech scene, the dynamic and self-driven oasis of students and professionals, the abundance of live music and music festivals, and the plethora of foodie-approved restaurants and institutions. Aside from the heat and humidity, adjusting from a life in the Bay Area to one in Austin with McCombs is virtually seamless.

How has the McCombs community helped you to adjust to your new home? Everyone in the program is very approachable and helpful when it comes to choosing apartments, picking classes, and getting acquainted with the ins and outs of becoming a longhorn. The second years are more than happy to lend insight and advice on professors and extracurricular activities, and your fellow first years will become your foundation and family as you embark on all sorts of adventures together – from group projects to interviews to social outings.

Any advice on things to do prior to starting school (after they are admitted)? Take full advantage of all the peripheral programs McCombs offers before session officially starts. You’ll forge long-lasting bonds with your classmates and faculty, as well as reinforce your sense of quantitative intuition, by attending events like the Bay Area coffees and luncheons, summer expeditions abroad, and academic boot camp. There are so many ways to feel like a part of the Texas MBA experience before even attending your first class. Every single day I find myself blown away by the level of thought and resources put into the construction of the program at McCombs, and there’s simply no place else I’d rather be. Hook ‘em!

Texas MBA Student Daniel GoldbergName: Daniel
City of Origin: Washington, D.C.
Undergrad: George Washington University
Previous Job: Strategy Consulting/ Booz Allen
Hamilton

MBA Concentration: High Tech Marketing &
Product Management

Why did you choose the Texas MBA program? I came from a  consulting background, and wanted to pivot into the High Tech field.  Austin’s entrepreneurial spirit combined with McCombs elite reputation  and the robust Longhorn network made the decision a no-brainer.

Favorite memory of DC: My wife and I loved attending the presidential inaugurations and watching airplanes take off at Gravelly Point park. The restaurants on U-Street and 14th was also a favorite weekend destination.

Any advice for other Washingtonians thinking about attending McCombs? You’ll be well prepared for the heat since it’s not much worse than DC. Also the cultural shift of having most people be a bit more relaxed and approachable was a pleasant surprise.

Any advice on things to do prior to starting school (after they are admitted) Get your significant other to join SAS so she/he can get plugged into that community, scout out neighborhoods near school before signing the lease, and try and get settled into your place before school starts. When it does there is very little time with your core classes for any other obligations.

Favorite “Austin” or “Texas” tradition/food/etc. you’ve discovered since attending McCombs? I thought DC had food trucks figured out, boy was I wrong. The food truck scene in Austin is incredible, with some being located on the property of restaurants and bars. I’ve been eating breakfast tacos three times a day!

Texas MBA Student Tiffany GdowikName: Tiffany
City of Origin: Washington, D.C.
Undergrad: The University of Virginia
Previous Job: Dispute Consulting/ Duff & Phelps
MBA Concentration: Corporate Finance

Why did you choose the Texas MBA program? Why you decided to attend the Texas MBA? The experience of an MBA program – from the culture of the program to the learning environment – was one of my top factors in making my decision. The Texas MBA stood out among the others, almost immediately when I visited. The strong alumni base was also very appealing.

Any advice for other Washingtonians thinking about attending McCombs? I lived in the DC area for seven years after college and was ready for a change. While I really enjoyed DC, it has been so refreshing to break out of the bubble, spend time in Austin meeting new people, and take action on my career goals. Be bold and step out of your comfort zone, that is a valuable part of the MBA experience.

Any advice for folks that are going through the application process? Hang in there and don’t be afraid to be yourself. It’s so easy to think of the process as one-sided (programs selecting you) but you want to be admitted into the program that’s the right fit for you too. Think of this as an opportunity to dig deep, figure out who you are and tell your story. When it comes time to making a decision, stay true to yourself and your goals.

Anything else that you would like to share? Kudos to you for taking this important step in applying for B-school, you won’t regret it!

Texas MBA Student Sherri Bohman

Name: Sherri
City of Origin: New York City
Undergrad: Lehigh University
Previous Job: Marketing Manager/ AllianceBerstein
MBA Concentration: Marketing and Entrepreneurship 

Why did you choose the Texas MBA program?  I chose to attend McCombs because of the exceptional Entrepreneurship Program, the diversity among students, and to expand my network beyond the Northeast.

Any advice for other New Yorkers thinking about attending McCombs? As someone who is hoping to get back to the Northeast post-graduation, I felt that two years in Austin would be a nice break from the big city to concentrate on my studies among new people and in a new environment. Think about your post-MBA plans and what you hope to gain out of your MBA experience when applying to schools!

Any advice for folks that are going through the application process? My advice for those going through the application process is to reach out to alumni and current students. This will give you an idea of the types of people you may be surrounded by if you choose to attend that school.

Favorite “Austin” or “Texas” tradition/food/etc. you’ve discovered since attending McCombs? One of my favorite things about Austin is all of the outdoor festivals and concerts. I also love the food truck scene!

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Posted in Admissions, Blog, Community, Full-Time MBA, Students

Professional or Executive: Which MBA Is Right For You?

Professional or Executive: Which MBA Is Right For You?

Professional or Executive: Which MBA Is Right For You?Compare the class profiles of our Executive MBA program and professional MBA programs (Evening MBA, MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth, and MBA at Houston), and the differences can seem quite obvious. But there’s actually a broad grey area, career-wise, where many professionals could plug and play very well in either type of program.

In the end, it’s your call on where to submit your application, but remember it’s a two way street. You decide where you belong, and the admissions committee agrees.

Here is some advice on how to make an informed choice, and what to do if you think you may not “fit” the profile. Read more ›

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Posted in Admissions, Evening MBA, Executive MBA, Executive MBA at Mexico City, MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth, MBA at Houston

A Few Helpful Distractions

From Assistant Dean Tina Mabley to the New Texas Full-Time MBA Class of 2016

Well. You did it. Congratulations on finishing your first set of midterms as a Texas MBA!

Since you may find yourself bored in the days ahead (kidding), I wanted to send some good reads and time killers that will actually help you in your pursuits in the weeks ahead.

(Best Podcast) First, a bit of a confession: I am a podcast junky. During midterms last week, I was talking with Jake Obstfeld about a recent podcast we both heard. We agreed that it should be required listening for first year MBAs. Alex Blumberg (of This American Life and Planet Money) follows himself as he tries to launch a new business. In the first episode, he gets an audience with Chris Sacca, one of the savviest investors on the west coast (investor in Twitter, Uber, Instagram, Kickstarter etc). Give a listen. Chris Sacca gives one of the best spontaneous pitch lessons I’ve heard. It is called: How Not to Pitch a Billionaire http://hearstartup.com/episodes/1-how-not-to-pitch-a-billionaire

(Best Secret Resource) Second, if there is one resource that I consistently hear students say they WISH they had taken advantage of earlier in their time in school, it is the business research center and the business librarian. Our team at McCombs recently highlights some ways students use this great resource to impress companies and inform their job search. “Telling a client something they don’t know about their own product is very difficult, and we couldn’t have done it without the Business Research Center,” Aaron Hobbins MBA ’15. Get to know our business librarian, April Kessler. You may not need this resource today but find out more so you can use it when you need it. http://www.today.mccombs.utexas.edu/2014/09/business-research-center-library-information

(Best Training on the Side) Finally, I wanted to re-introduce you to Lynda.com. http://www.mccombs.utexas.edu/lynda Lynda.com is a leading online learning company with tutorials for business, software, technology and creative skills. As a student at McCombs, you have free access thousands of video tutorials that are indexed and broken down into 2-3 minute segments so you can focus on exactly what you want to learn. If you find a good one, let me know and we will create a Greatest Hits play list.

(Best life lessons from a Navy Seal/Longhorn)Oh, and one more. If you are still looking for things to do other than homework, here’s one last one from our UT Graduation, a speech from Admiral McRaven. If you haven’t seen it, it is worth watching the video instead of reading the summary. He is a great story teller and each lesson has a story. It begins with: Make your bed. http://www.utexas.edu/news/2014/05/16/admiral-mcraven-commencement-speech/

Congrats again on this first round.

Cheers,
Tina

Posted in Blog, Community, Full-Time MBA, Students

You’ve Got Application Questions, We’ve Got Answers

You’ve Got Application Questions, We’ve Got Answers

Application FAQsWhen all else fails…

You know how this ends. Most likely you’re thinking “How hard can this be?” But trust me, after serving on the admissions committee for a top-ranked MBA program for the past five years, the simple act of reading the directions can provide you with opportunities to have more meaningful interactions with the admissions committee during the application process.

This past year not only did we overhaul our admissions section of the website, we implemented a new application system that includes embedded instructional videos and links to help you get through the process as you work through your application. Even with all that there’s always a special situation that wasn’t addressed, and we’re here to help everyone with questions.

So here are some A’s to your top 5 FAQs, and some tips that go above and beyond what the instructions may provide. Read more ›

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Posted in Admissions, Evening MBA, Executive MBA, Executive MBA at Mexico City, Full-Time MBA, MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth, MBA at Houston

Managing Your 2015 Application: Acing the First MBA Test

hands

handsArguably, one of the most challenging things about business school is clearing the first hurdle: completing the application. Admissions applications require quite an expenditure of effort, time and resources.  To match your laborious efforts, the Texas MBA Admissions Committee is equally committed to a meticulous, holistic review of each and every application.  So, as we head into the Fall 2014 admissions season, here are some general tips on how to master your first test as an MBA – your application.

TEXAS MBA PROGRAM APPLICATION TIPS

GMAT/GRE

thinking

  • To Study or Not to Study: If you are gainfully employed, the thought of studying for a test again may seem like the last thing you want to do at the end of a long work day, but our advice is that studying is well-worth the effort.  Be sure to take a formal GMAT/GRE prep course and take a few sample tests to get a feel for pace and content.

 

  • Well, that didn’t go very well: Take your test early so that if your score isn’t what you’dtesting hope it would be, you will have time to re-take it before your target admissions deadline. While the Admissions Committee only considers your highest score as a key determinant of your academic propensity, it is just one aspect of a holistic review process, so don’t get too hung up on your score.

 

  • GRE vs GMAT:  As for which test to take (GRE or GMAT), admissions has no preference. scale However, in case you might want to pursue Investment Banking or Consulting, some of the top companies in these industries require the GMAT for recruitment purposes, so taking the GMAT for both admissions and reusing your scores for the recruitment process may be a way to kill two birds with one stone.  For more information on choosing which test to take, check out our GRE versus GMAT blog

WORK EXPERIENCE

pathNo minimum number of years is required, but we strongly recommend two years of full-time post-baccalaureate work experience.  Generally, students do better in the program with real-life work experience and can participate in classroom discussions with real context to draw from. The admissions committee considers how your skill set, leadership positions, teamwork and responsibilities relate to your intended course of study as well as your short term and long term career goals, so make it easy for us to follow your journey!

PERSONAL ESSAYS

workingUnless you write in a daily journal or diary, sitting down to write about yourself can seem like a completely foreign concept and inspires nothing but a bad case of writer’s block.  Your best bet is to answer the question directly, use concrete examples, and illustrate your voice and personality, background, goals and intentions for acquiring an MBA.  The optional essay is a good opportunity for you to address anything not conveyed in the rest of your application: such as academic performance or test scores, or perhaps a personal event/circumstance that you think has an effect on your MBA candidacy.

RESUME

Your resume should be professional and fit on one page unless you have more than 15 years of experience.  Don’t get too creative with formatting either to squish stuff in there (8-point font is hard to ignore…), make sure your work experience is listed in chronological order, includes months and years in the date ranges, and has comprehensible titles and descriptions of duties.  Also your resume is a great place to put your honors, achievements, extra-curricular activities and volunteer organizations.

UNDERGRADUATE AND PREVIOUS GRADUATE EXPERIENCE

This section is pretty straightforward.  We will see your major/minors, cumulative and major GPAs, and transcript grades on your online application.  However, it’s important to take advantage of the personal essays, optional essay, and interview (if one is granted) to explain any moves between schools/majors.  Also, if you already have a Master’s degree, be prepared to answer how you currently use it and why you think getting another one is a value-add for your career.

SERVICE, ACTIVITIES & RECOGNITION

awardThis information is used to provide some personal character to your application.  We ask ourselves, what does this applicant do outside of their professional life?  How did they spend the hours during undergrad when they weren’t spent in class?   Highlight your personal honors and achievements, any non-professional leadership positions in the community and any extra-curricular activities you were involved with in undergrad.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

The first step to acing this part of the application is to pick the right people.  After that, hopefully they will write a stellar letter on your behalf (if the wrong person is chosen, this can seriously backfire.)  We think the best letters are written by current or previous supervisors (team lead, director, manager, etc.) or someone with supervisory oversight of your work.  Their title isn’t as important as their experience in evaluating your performance as a professional.  If you are self-employed or work for a family business, try and avoid asking Mom to write your letter.  Instead, some good alternatives are a client, a professional mentor, accountant or trusted co-worker.  Try and avoid faculty recommendation letters since they tend to focus more on your ability to show up for your class and submit homework on time and don’t really give us the insight we need.

TOEFL/IELTS (ENGLISH PROFICIENCY TEST FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS)

If you are an international student, you’ll undoubtedly have questions about your TOEFL/IELTS score submission.  And yes, we do grant waivers if you meet one of the 3 criteria:

  1. You have lived and worked full-time in the U.S. or in a country where English is the official language for at least two of the past four years (see country list here).
  2. You hold a masters degree from a college or university located in the U.S. or from a country where English is the official language (see country list here).
  3. You were educated solely in English for your undergraduate and/or prior graduate degree.

We don’t publish an average TOEFL score since it is such a small statistical subset.  However, the TOEFL score is simply one measure we use to gauge English proficiency ESL course along with your personal essays and in-person interview (if one is granted.)

We hope you find these application tips helpful!  Remember, we are here to help, so please reach out to the McCombs Admissions Committee at [email protected] or 512-471-7698 for questions or advice on your application.  Happy Applying!

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