Work Experience: Quantity vs. Quality

From Julia Campbell, Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Full-Time Texas MBA Program:

Sometimes more is better, like king-sized candy bars, vacation days, and itemized tax deductions. But sometimes more is NOT better, like saturated fat, bills, and dental work. The key is how you look at it.

Admissions officers are notorious for placing every element of your application on a Libra Scale and weighing the pros and cons, especially when it comes to work experience on your MBA application. On one side, there’s raw number of years (quantity), and on the other side is your job description (quality), among other considerations that teeter the scales.

Quantity

Wow! You are the CEO of a mid-size corporation. Oh, but it’s your first week on the job?…okay, well still that’s an amazing accomplishment and congrats on your career advancement so far, but perhaps you’d still admit that your knowledge and expertise in such a new leadership position wouldn’t be as developed as say someone who has been doing it for a few years, right? Being a CEO is good, but being a GREAT CEO is even better.

Same goes the other way, too. Have you been in the same exact job for 10 years? Wow! Congrats on keeping your resume neat and tidy and no doubt you are the go-to person for all the ins and outs of that role, but could it mean that perhaps you didn’t take as much initiative or demonstrate leadership qualities required to launch you to the next level?

Or, perhaps you’ve been a project manager for a year, but in that time you’ve produced measurable results, generated cost-saving strategies for your clients, improved processes and efficiency, demonstrated leadership, took on more responsibility outside your pay-grade and excelled throughout. That circumstance would make it easy for us to say to heck with quantity, quality is what counts here.

Quality

The other side of the Libra Scale is quality of work experience. A Chief Operating Officer title sounds pretty impressive, but were you a COO of a cat fashion show? Not to say that being a COO of a cat fashion show isn’t a real job (in fact that sounds pretty cool), but an impressive title with naught to back it up won’t move the needle in your favor when it comes to work experience.

On the flip side, something as ordinary as an “Account Manager” job title may sound a tad boring to the lay-person, but may actually be pretty exciting. Don’t let us make assumptions. Take every opportunity on your MBA application to illustrate just WHAT about your job made your experience rich and rewarding.

More on Fancy-Schmancy Titles

Answer me this: What is it with businessy-sounding job titles? It’s like the more words like Manager/Director/Lead/Chief/Executive/Senior is smushed into the title, the better. Not always so! Even if the job title is at face-value impressive, the scope of it is equally, if not MORE important. On your resume be sure to back up fancy job titles that contain those high-profile hierarchical buzz words with equitable descriptions that truly include initiative, accountability, project scope, expertise and oversight.

Dear Recent Graduates with ZERO Work Experience,

Fact: work experience is not technically an application requirement, rather it is strongly encouraged.  We are absolutely open to individuals applying to our program straight from undergrad. However, we strongly believe that 24 months of full-time post-baccalaureate work experience is key for building a strong Texas MBA application. Those admitted to the program with high quality work experience add value to the overall community, bring real-life expertise, and provide true diversity and depth to the classroom discussion environment.  Also, it may help to illustrate your peer set: The average applicant comes in with five years of experience, the full work experience range is anywhere from two to ten years of experience.

Having professional post-grad work experience allows candidates to have thought about their career goals in real-life terms. I wanted to be an Oceanographer when I was a kid. In adulthood, I discovered that have a fear of dark water = not a good match.  Experiential trial and error is a big part of building a successful career, and having the proof that reflects matching what you love with what you are good at will really help build the stage for a realistic set of future goals.

Therefore, undergraduate applicants who will have no work experience when they apply are inherently missing those things I mentioned above: contribution to the classroom and career experience.  So, while work experience is not technically a requirement to apply, it is for these reasons we really want to see full-time work experience around two or more years after graduation.

The takeaway on work experience: quality and quantity are not, by themselves, deciding factors. So, take full advantage of your resume descriptors, essays, and interview experience and be ready to describe the full scope of your work experience at every opportunity.

Good Luck!

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The MBA Admissions Interview: How to Totally Crush It

From Julia Campbell, Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Full-Time Texas MBA Program:

You submit your application. You wait and wait and then, TA DA! An interview invitation appears in your inbox.  Your immediate reaction is probably several mental exclamation points (!!!), but I think it’s fair to say that all MBA applicants feel pretty dichotomous when it comes to the interview experience. Something like:

Yay I got invited to interview! But oh my goodness, now I’m totally freaked out and have a million questions; What are they going to ask? Should I be myself or should I open with a joke I read online? Should I bring my resume in strawberry-scented triplicate? What do I wear? Should I interview on-campus, via Skype, or off-campus? Is it better to interview with a current student, admissions officer or alumni? Should I send a follow-up thank you via email, hand-written card, or none at all?  How do I set up the interview in the first place?! Eeek!

Breathe. Like anything else, your MBA interview invitation is an opportunity. While some applicants may look forward to it, others may not exactly enjoy the anxiety. If you are a member of the latter group, look at it this way: This interview can be just the thing the Admissions Committee needs to stitch together the rest of your application elements with a genuine, prepared, and poised interview performance.

The interview affords one of the only formal opportunities for official face-to-face interaction during the application process. Seize it.

You are most likely applying and subsequently interviewing with multiple MBA programs. This means managing several different interview processes, a complicated project given the variability among schools. It’s important to be familiar with how the Texas MBA program runs its interview operations.

Instructions are plastered all over the email invitation to interview and the online systems you use to book the interview, so be sure to read all instructions very carefully before scheduling anything.  Generally speaking, our interview structure is this:

Interviews are by invitation only and can come at any time during the application Round. There are three different interview types: On-campus with a current student or admissions officer, off-campus in your local city or hub city location with an alumni interviewer or admissions officer, or via Skype with a current student or admissions officer. For each type (excluding alumni interviews) there is an online calendar from which you can select an interview slot that works with your schedule over a period of a few months. We will inform you of the last date your interview needs to be completed. The only exception to this is that booking your alumni interview off-campus in your local city follows a slightly different process, but we provide the step-by-step instructions if you decide to go that route.

You are not able to choose your individual interviewer, but rest assured all of our current student interviewers, alumni volunteer interviewers and admissions officers are fully trained and capable of conducting an interview that is professional, fair, impartial and helpful. Interviews typically last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. All interviews are blind, which means the interviewer does not have access to anything about you or your application, except for your resume. Even so, it’s always a good idea to bring a copy for the interviewer to reference during the conversation.

Most interviews follow the general framework of introductions, questions from the interviewer for you to answer, then some time is left at the end for you to ask your questions about the program and/or application process. Once the interview is completed, you are finished! There is nothing further you need to do and your application is considered complete. All that’s left is to wait patiently for our final decision in the weeks that follow.

TIPS & PITFALLS TO AVOID:

Choose Wisely: Decisions, decisions. Interview type selection is like deciding on your coffee order at Starbucks – copious options, but there’s something for everyone. Each type of interview affords individual benefits. If you’re located proximate to Austin, try to come to campus for an interview. If you have never been to campus or met us in person before, we highly recommend interviewing on campus to get a feel for the facility and community culture. You might even be able to book a class visit, information session, or tour and interview all in the same weekend. If you can’t make the trip due to work conflicts or you are internationally-based, you might consider taking advantage of our alumni interviewers in local cities. Interview hub markets like New York, Seoul, China, India, Chicago, San Francisco, DC, and others are among the options. Or maybe none of that works for you and Skype is the only way to get it done. No problem, we’ve got options so you can choose what works best for you.  We see your interview type selection as entirely logistical and do not hold it against you if you don’t interview with us on campus.

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. As for Skype, your instructions ask that you are prepared to begin the Skype video call at the allotted interview start time, but it’s always a good idea to arrive 5-10 minutes prior to work out any inevitable technological hiccups that crop up.

“And that’s why I’m scared of heights and allergic to strawberries…Wait, what was the question again?”:  You’d be surprised how many times at the end of an applicant’s long-winded tangential 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.

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 too comfortable, though. While we’re an easy-going bunch, maintaining an appropriate level of professionalism is always a good idea. This includes professional language and attire as if you were interviewing for a job (that means you too, Skypers! I’m sure your pajamas are lovely, but we’d much rather see a blazer.).

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.” Keep these in mind so we can get a feel for the application intangibles.

Know Your Audience: Remember the Admissions Committee doesn’t have a preference for which interview type you elect or who you interview with, just as long as you prepare for your audience. Since you can’t always tell who is going to interview you (interviewers can change since we conduct hundreds of interviews in a given round), you can do a little recon based on the name of the interviewer. You can check out our current student and alumni interviewer profiles on our website, or read about our admissions officers in the Admissions Committee section. That way you know what you’re in for.

Come with questions: A good list of questions for your interviewer can illustrate a few key things about you as a candidate: You’ve done your research, you care about our program, you have envisioned yourself as an MBA, and you can formulate coherent thoughts under pressure. We usually leave anywhere from 10-15 minutes for questions, so limit your list to 2-3 good ones and have a few backups.

While our interviewing style is admittedly less intense than corporate recruiters, don’t let our laid-back Austin 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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The Road to McCombs and Texas

Each fall our dean, admissions team, and career management representatives join alumni in several cities for McCombs Road Shows, sharing the many opportunities that come with the Texas MBA and answering any questions you may have about the application process or life at McCombs.

Below, we’ve highlighted students from the four Road Show 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.

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!

To register for a Road Show or see all our upcoming events, please visit the Texas MBA events webpage. Hook ’em!

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Full-Time MBA Admissions Update: Round 1 Deadline & Meet Your AO’s

The Round 1 Texas Full-Time MBA application deadline is October 13th!
Apply before the deadline to receive priority consideration for admissions scholarships & fellowships. Receive your admission decision by January and prepare to join our prestigious Class of 2018!


Meet Your Full-Time Texas MBA Admissions Officers

The Texas MBA Full-Time Admissions team is dedicated to helping you navigate the admissions process, learn #WhyMcCombs, and get all your questions answered. Learn more about who you can expect to meet on your journey to McCombs below.

Julia Campbell, Full-Time Admissions

Julia Campbell
Senior Admissions Officer, Texas MBA Full-Time Program

How long have you been with the Texas MBA and what is your background?
I joined McCombs in February 2011 in the Development and External Relations department and moved to the Texas MBA Program Office full time admissions staff in August 2012. I earned my business degree in Finance and Operations at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and moved to Texas where I worked in sales, analysis, donor relations, and event strategy. My focus on the full-time admissions is women’s recruitment, management of the McCombs Admissions Committee student volunteers, interview operations, waitlist management, alumni engagement and recruitment/yield event strategy.

What has been your most rewarding experience so far working on the Texas MBA admissions team?
Oddly enough, the most rewarding experience I’ve had in admissions isn’t related to admissions at all, although many professionals in admissions will tell you that this job is a total blast (you get to meet new and interesting people every day, travel the planet, read thrilling essays, and make those incredible congratulatory phone calls to admitted students.) The winner for me, though, is attending MBA Orientation after everyone has been admitted to see them off to begin this exciting new phase of their lives. I’ve spent many, many hours getting to know these people as applicants on paper and in person. By the time summer orientation rolls around, I know them well and it’s a rewarding experience to see them take the first real steps to pursue what they’ve worked so hard to convey to me during the application process: their dreams and ambitions begin.

In your opinion, what are some of the strongest attributes of a Texas MBA class?
My focus in admissions is women’s recruitment, a very interesting area to watch these days. With studies and headlines coming out all the time swinging the pendulum on where a woman’s position is in the business world, it’s incredible to witness this movement on an individual level. I work with inspiring, capable, driven, self-aware women MBA candidates and current students who choose to pursue their business careers with such commitment and sense of purpose that I can’t help but have full faith that this “gap” will continue to close.

Rene Martinez, Full-Time Admissions

Rene Martinez
Senior Admissions Officer, Texas MBA Full-Time Program

How long have you been with the Texas MBA and what is your background?
I joined the Full Time Texas MBA Admissions team in August of 2014. Upon completing my degree in Communication Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, I began working for International Studies Abroad’s (ISA) high school division where I managed program recruitment, admissions and served as the on-site Director in Mexico, Costa Rica and Spain. Following my work with ISA, I managed Texas teacher recruitment for the student travel branch of the Discovery Channel. Prior to joining the MBA admissions team, I worked in the UT International Office where I coordinated all aspects of an 18-month Foundation Year program for non-matriculated business and engineering students from Saudi Arabia.

What has been your most rewarding experience so far working on the Texas MBA admissions team?
So far my most rewarding experience has been having the opportunity to travel to China and South Korea to interview highly qualified candidates for our next incoming class. I enjoyed meeting a number of bright candidates, hearing their stories and learning about how they plan to use a Texas MBA to elevate their careers and take a giant leap toward their goals.

In your opinion, what are some of the strongest attributes of a Texas MBA class?
I think diversity and cohesion are what make our Texas MBAs so special. Our students come from a wide range of cultures, backgrounds, and industries. It is inspiring to see how they come together on campus with a shared vision of not only working toward their own goals but also going above and beyond to collaborate and ensure the success of each one of their classmates.

Stephen Sweeney
Director of Admissions, Texas MBA Full-Time Program

How long have you been with the Texas MBA and what is your background?
I have been working at the Texas MBA for slightly over a year. I am also an alum of the full-time program and volunteered with admissions as a student. Prior to enrolling in McCombs, I worked in the hedge fund industry and taught fourth grade through Teach For America. After I graduated, I worked in management consulting until returning to McCombs.

What has been your most rewarding experience so far working on the Texas MBA admissions team? Interacting with such high caliber, driven individuals from all over the world who are interested in McCombs has been incredibly rewarding! I love hearing each applicant’s reasons pertaining to why they are passionate about attending McCombs.

In your opinion, what are some of the strongest attributes of a Texas MBA class?
Our accessible faculty along with the hands-on opportunities that McCombs offers truly sets our program apart. Whether being selected for one our Fellows programs or doing an MBA+ project, our students have ample ways to apply what they learn in the classroom to current issues facing companies. I also feel that our Career Management team is the best in the business. This is evident in our placement rates, but you have to see how students transform over the two years and much of this can be attributed to our stellar Career Management team. Our location in Austin also creates a learning environment that is competitive and collaborative at the same time.


If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us via email at TexasMBA@mccombs.utexas.edu and we encourage you to check out our many upcoming events.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Hook ‘em!

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What’s the Best Way to Get to Know the Texas MBA Program? Attend an Event!

Six FormatsThe top-ranked Texas MBA program offers a prestigious degree from acclaimed McCombs School of Business faculty across six programs in four cities.

We strongly encourage you to check out our many events happening this fall so you can learn more about the value proposition of an MBA and how the Texas MBA program can unlock your full potential.

 

Get to know current students, alumni, and admissions staff at an event near you. A few of the events coming up soon are below, so register now! If you have any questions, please send us an email.

Texas Full-Time MBA Program
Information Session | September 18th in Austin


Texas MBA Special Info Sessions
October 1st in Oklahoma City

October 1st in New Orleans


Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth Program
Lunch and Learn | October 3rd in Dallas

Texas MBA Programs
Information Session | October 6th in Houston

Texas Executive MBA Program
Lunch and Learn | October 17th in Austin

We look forward to seeing you soon! Hook ’em!

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Which Round Should I Apply? Advice on When To Hit Submit

From Julia Campbell, Senior MBA Admissions Officer, Full-Time Texas MBA Program:

Before pen meets paper, smart MBA applicants take the time to develop an overall strategy to tackle all the elements of the massive MBA application – What are my strengths? What’s my message? But one thing that is often forgotten is not what you submit, but when. Timing is a key factor in your overall application strategy, so when should you hit “Submit”?

EARLIER IS BETTER (sort of):Which Round Should I Apply? Advice on When To Hit Submit

At first thought, you might stick with tried and true “early bird gets the worm” strategy. You might be tempted to think about the applicant pool in terms of pure numbers and assume that the best chance of your application being ruled upon favorably is to submit when the maximum amount of spots are available. But there’s a caveat – you should NEVER rush to submit your MBA application.

Imagine this: You’ve heard that applying in Round 1 gives you a better likelihood of getting accepted so you skip taking a formal GMAT prep class, take the test and end up with a score you aren’t exactly thrilled with. In this case, submitting in Round 1 might not be a great idea, especially if you know that you can improve your score. Waiting to apply until all aspects of your application are strong is the best approach.

…BUT LATER IS OKAY TOO:

There is a reason we have three rounds. If we filled up the class in Round 1, the admissions committee could just kick back for the rest of the year on a beach somewhere and sip fruity beverages with frilly umbrellas. But that’s not the reality, as many strong applicants apply in later rounds. So if you read the above “Earlier Is Better” and thought that it means final round folks don’t have a fighting chance, or at the very least have a much smaller chance of getting in, it is not exactly black and white. The truth is that a strong application will stand out in any round, anytime. Remember that if you scramble to throw together your essay to get in your application by the first deadline, how can the admissions committee know that normally you are an eloquent and concise writer if what you’ve written doesn’t reflect that?

SOME DON’TS:

We are committed to courteous and fair consideration for all applicants, and therefore, there are a few things we just can’t allow when it comes to the timing of your application submission. Obviously, we are not able to accept applications submitted after 11:59pm CT on the day of the deadline. That’s just not fair to those who made sure to meet the deadline. Also, we aren’t able to look at any “works in progress” before the deadline, meaning we can’t read drafts of your essays, give feedback on your resume and work experience, or tell you who should write your letters of recommendation. The purpose of these policies is to ensure that everyone has a fair shot and is considered by the admissions committee on even ground. Check out our website for more common admissions questions.

So remember; if your application couldn’t possibly smell any sweeter, submit in Round 1. But if you aren’t ready yet (you need to retake your GMAT/GRE, rework your essay or wait for that promotion at work to come through), don’t risk it – wait until you’re 100% confident in your application before hitting the “Submit” button.

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From Texas MBA Admissions: Application Tips & Tricks

The goal of the embedded instructional videos on our application is to walk you through each section and address common questions. But even with these helpful tips, there’s always a special situation or further questions you might need answered as you submit your responses, so…

Here are the Texas MBA Admissions Team’s Top 5 FAQ topics:Application FAQs

  1. Texas Residency Status – Everyone who applies to an MBA program is classified as a non-resident until s/he is admitted, accepts the offer, and completes the Texas Residency Questionnaire. The rest easy, even though your status may look incorrect – If you were born and bred here, you’ll surely have a chance to prove it later on.
  2. How & What to Submit for Transcripts – We get all sorts of questions on transcripts from foreign language transcripts to study abroad transcripts and from old transcripts to web downloaded transcripts. Here’s how to deal with transcripts:
    • Order official transcripts from any university or college you attended EXCEPT junior or technical colleges. If your transcripts are in a foreign language, they must be translated into English.
    • Scan and upload these to your McCombs Application online.
    • Pay your Application Fee.
    • Scan and upload transcripts to the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC).
    • Put your official transcripts in safe-keeping. If you’re offered admission and intend to enroll, you’ll send your officials to GIAC.
  1. Letter of Recommendation – This is also a common question, and since you’re not in complete control of this aspect of your application, you may just need assurance of what you can control. Here at the Texas MBA program, we offer you two options for submitting the recommendation for your Texas MBA application.
      1. Send a recommendation request via our admissions management system
      2. Utilize the recommendation function within LinkedIn

A couple helpful hints:

        • Complete this part of your application first. This will launch email notifications to your recommenders and allow them to get started on the form while you’re working on the other components of your application.
        • Contact your recommenders ASAP to let them know they should receive an email as soon as you save the section. Sometimes these emails end up in a junk folder since they come from a generic Texas MBA email address.
        • Monitor the status of your recommendations on your “My Status” page to ensure they’re completed within a reasonable amount of time and by the deadline. You can resend notifications from within the application as needed.

Read More: Application Recommendations & References: Providing an Austin Twist

4. Test Scores – As long as you’ve taken the test and have made the request to have official score sent to UT by the round deadline, your application will be considered “on time”. During the admissions process we sync what you reported in the application with what’s received by UT. It can take several weeks for your official score to be received by the university, and the one-stop status check in your application marks this item complete once it arrives.

If you’ve decided to retake the exam after you’ve submitted your application, please notify the appropriate program as soon as you have your score. Please note there is no guarantee that your updated test score(s) will be considered in the evaluation of your candidacy, as this depends on when the McCombs Admissions Committee receives the update from you. Again, it’ll take several weeks for the official score to reach UT, but be sure you’ve made the request to have the updated score sent.

If you’re applying to multiple programs at McCombs, you don’t need to send separate scores to each program. UT has a central repository for official scores that all departments can access.

5. Application Fee – You will not be able to pay the application fee for about two business days after you hit the submit button, depending on when you submit your application. Your application is considered “on time” if submitted by the deadline, regardless if the fee is paid on that date. However your application will not be evaluated if you do not pay the fee once it’s due. For information about where to pay the fee, and application fee waivers for select applicants, please review After Applying under the Admissions Process section of the website.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any further questions!

Hook ‘em!

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Application Recommendations & References: Providing an Austin Twist

From Stephen Sweeney, Senior Associate Director of MBA Admissions, Full-Time Texas MBA Program:

Here at the Texas MBA program, we offer you two options for submitting the recommendation for your Texas MBA application.

  1. Send a recommendation request via our admissions management system
  2. Utilize the recommendation function within LinkedIn

Recommendations

Option 1

The first option is to send a recommendation request via our admissions management system. This is how we have been reviewing recommendations for the past several years. Basically, you fill out a form in our application with the information for who you want to recommend you. Your recommender then receives an email notifying them to complete the recommendation. Once complete, your recommendation appears on your application. This is a straight-forward process and one that many other MBA programs follow.

Option 2

The second option is for you to utilize the recommendation function within LinkedIn, a platform familiar to most working professionals worldwide. We believe a strong LinkedIn profile with substantial recommendations will be a great asset to you during your MBA program and beyond.

LinkedIn offers a form similar to the application and based on the information you provide, the Admissions Committee will access your LinkedIn profile and review your recommendation. Note: It is important that the recommendation information you provide matches your LinkedIn profile and that the recommendation is publicly visible before you submit your application.

Why Provide Options?

Here at the Texas MBA, we believe in flexibility. Our program is designed to be flexible and customizable. Our application follows a similar approach. You have options in choosing how you wish to submit Essay 1, your recommendation, and many other options exist throughout the process that revolve around us getting to know you.

The LinkedIn option may prove attractive to applicants who are already comfortable with a current recommendation on their profile, as there is no need to request an additional recommendation.

We recognize that some of our international applicants may not have a LinkedIn profile, or that in some cases, military veterans may not be allowed to have an online social presence for security reasons.

The Admissions Committee does not prefer one option over the other. The most important part of a recommendation is the actual substance of the recommendation. With that in mind, let’s review how to leverage your recommendation to help make your application shine.

If you’re like me, asking your supervisor or your colleague to write a recommendation detailing your virtues makes you feel incredibly uncomfortable.  “So, tell me again how I’m amazing?  And don’t spare any details!” But a solid recommendation for your MBA application is very critical. Here’s how you can leverage your personal testimonials:

3rd personYou’ve worked hard over the past few years and have earned praise, but why must you have to ask for it, and in writing? Well, the answer is easy: as an Admissions Officer, I need perspective on your business acumen, your personality, and your leadership and teamwork skills to confirm your claims of awesome-ness from someone other than yourself. Think about it: You have complete control over every aspect of your MBA application, except for the recommendation.  You’ve already written essays, submitted a resume and transcripts, took your tests, and you may have also been interviewed. Now it’s time for a 3rd party to weigh-in and offer us a new perspective that will hopefully add depth and value to your overall application.  But most importantly, a good recommendation will provide a CREDIBLE corroboration of your positive attributes.

Who’s the Boss?

The best recommendation will come from a direct supervisor or the equivalent. Nobody knows your capabilities in the business world better than the person supervising you in your current role.  Even better if they write your performance evaluations!  This means they are used to thinking about you and your skill set.  This person should be able to come up with clear examples from first-hand knowledge of your measurable success, which is crucial.

There are, of course, some exceptions when asking your direct supervisor isn’t the best bet. Perhaps you or your supervisor is new to the position, organization or role. This could be bad news if you or they haven’t been around long enough to speak intelligently about your abilities. Also, there may be conflicts of interest. Your supervisor could be a relative (in the case of a family business), or they could be opposed to you leaving your position for an MBA (if you’re applying to our full-time program), or in rare situations, you may not have a healthy relationship with your supervisor that may jeopardize your opportunity.

All of these are valid reasons for not getting a recommendation from your supervisor. You may want to elaborate on this in the Optional Essay to give us context for why you may have made this decision.

Other Options?

Other good recommendation options would be a former supervisor at a previous job, or a project manager. You may also consider a business client, lawyer, accountant, industry mentor, or other peer professional if you’re in a family business setting or in a consulting/ advertising role. Remember that whoever you choose needs to be able to discuss with us in detail your qualities, skills, and virtues.

Quick Tip: don’t just pick the CEO or President of the company. Just because they know your name and you have shared an elevator ride with them doesn’t mean they know you well enough to recommend you for b-school.  We’ve read enough recommendations to know when somebody knows of you, and when they know you.

Get on Their Calendar.

Make sure to let your recommenders know in advance you are going to request their help. I would suggest letting them know a good three months ahead of time, if possible. It is also a good idea to meet with them, let them know what your short and long term goals are, why McCombs is the best school for you, and offer them a copy of your updated resume. That way they can talk about their belief in your direction and goals with some background.

One Final (obvious) Tip…

Most importantly, make sure to ask someone who actually likes you. Sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many candidates have recommendations submitted by people who write just a few words (“She’s really great.”), come up with poor examples (“One time we had a problem with a client, and she handled it well.”), or clearly just don’t think that highly of you (“She performs equally well when compared to her peers at a similar level.”).  Yikes.  You might as well have asked a perfect stranger to write your recommendation, and it probably would have come out better.

We look forward to reading these glowing professional love letters soon. if you have any questions about your application process please reach out to us at TexasMBA@mccombs.utexas.edu.

Good luck in selecting your recommenders!

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Get to Know the Texas MBA in Dallas/Fort Worth or Houston

Six FormatsThe top-ranked Texas MBA program offers a prestigious degree from world-renowned faculty across six programs. We encourage you to check out all the events happening this summer and fall so you can learn more about how the Texas MBA can unlock your full potential!

Events are the best way to interact directly with our programs, as you get to know current and former students and admissions staff. Please check out the events happening this fall in Dallas/Fort Worth & in Houston (including informal coffee chats with our admissions officers, coming soon!). Our programs in DFW & Houston allow you to earn your Texas MBA from the same acclaimed McCombs school of business faculty, while continuing to work full-time!

Register now: This fall, the Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth & the Texas MBA at Houston are offering special “Lunch & Learn” events so you can get to know these programs & enjoy lunch on us!

Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth Lunch and Learn | September 12th in Dallas

Texas MBA at Houston Lunch and Learn | September 12th in Houston

If you have any questions, please send us an email. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Life as an EMBA: Explore the Texas Executive MBA Program

The Texas Executive MBA program offers experienced business leaders the opportunity to unlock their full potential, expand their network, and earn one of the most prestigious MBA degrees in the world. All while continuing to work full-time.

A current Texas Executive MBA, Rachel Truair, has shared some key takeaways from her first year in the program:

MBA-1st-Year-3-29wjla3

This summer or fall, learn more about the program by attending a Texas MBA event.

Read more on our Texas MBA Student blog or reach out to us at TexasEMBA@mccombs.utexas.edu with any questions you may have. We hope to meet you soon!

 

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