Tag: mba (page 1 of 19)

Top Tips for a Successful MBA Interview

We understand that if you are planning to apply this application cycle , you may be affected by challenges posed by COVID-19. The University of Texas continues to prioritize your safety and you can stay updated on safety measures and announcements via Protect Texas Together.


After you submit your MBA application, you may receive an invitation to interview.  The weeks after submitting create a new set of questions, especially because of the current restrictions for on-campus visits and virtual interviews. Common questions include:  What interview format options are there? What sort of questions will I be asked? Who conducts the interview? How should I prepare?

Some applicants anticipate an interview and feel nervous, which is natural. If you are nervous, here is some key advice: The interview is your official opportunity to share your story, provide examples, and tell us why you chose McCombs like no one else can. Take advantage of this opportunity; It can be just the thing the Admissions Committee needs to understand the rest of your application elements and gives us the chance to get to know you better!

Different schools have different interview processes. It’s important to be familiar with how the Texas McCombs MBA runs the virtual interview experience. Be sure to read all confirmation emails and instructions very carefully.

Invitation Only

Currently, all interviews are being conducted virtually. For our Full-Time MBA program, interviews will be conducted by a current MBA student member of the Admissions Committee. For our Working Professional MBA programs, interviews will be conducted by the dedicated Admissions Officer for your program.

If you receive an interview invitation, an email will point you to our online platform and allow you to select an interview time slot that works with your schedule. There is a deadline to complete your interview, so be sure to schedule it as early as you can.

Interview invitations can come at any time during the application round. You will want to check your email (and  your Spam Folder) regularly after you submit your application  so you can  respond to our invitation and secure your preferred time slot.

An Un-Biased Approach  

Going into each interview, our interviewers do not have access to anything about you or your application, except for your resume. (Even so, it’s always a good idea to have a copy of your resume on-hand during the conversation.)

All of our interviewers are fully trained on conducting an interview that is professional, fair, impartial and helpful. Interviews typically last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Most interviews follow the general framework of introductions, questions from the interviewer for you to answer, then leave time  at the end for you to ask questions about the program and/or application process.

Top Tips

  1. Be On Time: Arriving on time is “Interviewing 101,” yet it still manages to trip up even the most prepared of candidates. Please follow all the instructions in your confirmation email about how to connect with your interviewer.
  2. Test Technology: Virtual interviews are being conducted through Zoom. If you don’t have one already, create a Zoom account. You’ll want to find a good space to conduct your interview, ideally with good lighting, stable internet, and access to a plug. We recommend connecting directly to your internet for the most reliable internet connection.
  3. Pace Yourself: You’d be surprised how many times, at the end of an applicant’s long answer, we are asked to repeat the original question. Most often this happens to people who try to put too much into the first answer for fear of not being given an opportunity later on to address their prepared examples.  Don’t worry, you will have time to get to it.  Plus, there is often an opportunity at the end of an interview to mention anything you didn’t address in the formal line of questioning.
  4. Be Professional But 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 or with a friend or colleague 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 group, 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

If you have any questions during the application process, we’re here to help. Please visit our website for details on applying to each program and follow us on Instagram for an inside look into the the Texas McCombs MBA.

Student Spotlight: Elsa Wright, MBA at Houston Class of 2021

When Texas McCombs MBA at Houston student, Elsa Wright, has a goal, she meets it. While working in the waste management and sustainability industry in Houston, Texas, her goal was senior leadership at her company. Like many professional women, Elsa wondered if she would be able to achieve all her career goals alongside her personal goal of having a family. Below, Elsa shares how she navigated these goals & priorities, overcame her struggle with imposter syndrome, and eventually enrolled in the MBA program. Juggling graduate degree work, motherhood, and marriage in the midst of a pandemic has definitely been a challenge, but Elsa has shown that determination and belief in oneself will ultimately lead you to success.

PHOTO: Elsa's Headshot. She has short brown hair and is wearing a red dress shirt with a black blazer.

Elsa Wright, Texas McCombs MBA ’21

Getting Her MBA

Elsa was eager to gain the foundational knowledge and skills needed to move into a leadership role in her career and knew an MBA from Texas McCombs could get her there. As a minority woman and mother, Elsa faced the realities of the world head-on.

“With recent events in the news, a lot of people have become more aware of the struggles that minorities face every day — struggles that stem into career growth,” she says. “I struggled with the idea that I had to achieve a master’s degree to be on the same playing field as many of my white male counterparts who hadn’t. Intelligence could be equally distributed among our society, but opportunities are not always.”

Elsa says she has struggled with imposter syndrome her entire life and her biggest piece of advice to anyone, especially women and mothers, considering an MBA is: “Just do it!”

“I have personally spent more time considering the idea and deciding to make the leap than I have spent actually getting my MBA,” Elsa says. “I felt that maybe I wasn’t ready, that I should wait for my son to get older, or that an MBA is just too competitive and I might not get in.”

Impostor syndrome— the false belief that others have overestimated your capabilities or that you’re not good enough— disproportionately affects women more than men — especially women of color. One of the direct factors contributing to impostor syndrome is the lack of women in organizational leadership, according to a 2019 Lean In study. The business world, including the realm of business education, has made strides in recent years, but there is still much work to be done toward equity and gender parity.

When narrowing down her prospective MBA schools, Texas McCombs appealed to her because of the prestige, atmosphere, and flexibility it offered.

PHOTO: Elsa standing in front of the University of Texas tower.

Elsa Wright standing in front of the UT tower at sunset.

“As I researched MBA programs, I found that Texas McCombs was the highest ranked in Texas. I attended the info sessions, and instantly felt what I like to call ‘the warm and fuzzy feeling.’ I felt welcomed with open arms, and could feel such a forward-thinking attitude that I could not resist being a part of.”

“The Working Professional program understands and respects that, as a working professional, we’re undergoing a journey,” she says. “The program didn’t require a specialization, but instead teaches you how to speak all languages of business, which allows me to explore where my career may take me instead of fixating on a specific career path.”

The moment she stepped on campus, Elsa knew that Texas McCombs would be her home for the next two years.

“I’ll never forget, it was our very first day of Austin Intensives and Assistant Dean, Joe Stephens, spoke in front of the entire Working Professional class of ’21: He said:

‘For those of you that may suffer from imposter syndrome and feel like you don’t belong here or deserve to be here, I am here to tell you that you do belong, and you do deserve it. We chose you because you have something to offer this program.’

To this day, those words resonate inside me and push me forward to make a difference.”

Pivoting to Online Learning

Elsa says her first year in the MBA at Houston program has been personally and professionally eye-opening. Now, she’s more open to possibility and career challenges, and has the confidence in technical business subjects that she never had before.

“During my MBA experience so far, I have grown both personally and professionally. It has opened my eyes to so many more possibilities in my career and given me a sense of confidence in business topics that I before was illiterate in.”

In her second and final year of the program, Elsa will be continuing her studies in the midst of a global pandemic. She now faces the challenge of online learning, working from home, and childcare.

PHOTO: Elsa, her son and husband.

Elsa’s family

“As a mother of a four-year-old, it became extra challenging since I can no longer rely on daycare during working hours. This means studying during lunch time and after work hours. While some people have caught up on Netflix shows while staying home, I’ve been forced to be even more efficient with my time, juggling motherhood, full-time work and my MBA coursework without the traditional resources I was accustomed to leaning on in the past.”

Throughout these difficult times of uncertainty, Elsa says she’s thankful for her partner, who’s also made sacrifices and has been there to support her through her MBA journey.

“Our fellow mom and dad classmates and I owe our better-halves tons of kudos for holding down the house for us to make this MBA happen.”

Elsa is no stranger to challenges and is looking forward to taking her upcoming and final year at Texas McCombs to the next level to meet her goal of accelerating her career.

“I’m amazed with how much I have grown both as a person and as a professional. Today, I’m able to apply so much of what I’ve learned to my daily work to improve my understanding of my current role, and to understand my company on a micro and macro scale.”

“As a full-time professional and mother, I know that the next year will be a challenge for me to juggle, especially with the continued challenges COVID-19 poses. However, I’m also hopeful that the remaining journey, even though difficult, will prepare me for the world and the challenges to come in the future. I’m confident that this experience will be more than worth the time and effort.”

The Road Ahead

Elsa is most fond of and proud of the moments spent bonding with the women in the program because of their unique perspectives and perseverance.

“Women still generally make up a minority in both business and business education, but that minority is strong and relentless. We make sure to get together, make time and lend an ear to each other.”

“It’s important for women to lift each other up. We make an unwavering, lasting impact in each other’s lives.”

Elsa is currently the Major Manufacturing & Industrial Account Manager at Waste Management in Houston, where she has worked for ten years. She started at the company working for customer service and says she’s been blessed to have mentors who have provided her with constructive criticism and advice to expand her professional growth. In the future, she plans to apply all the skills and expertise she’s acquired through her MBA to go further in her career than she’s ever imagined.

Elsa holding a trophy.

Elsa Wright holding the 2019 Big Eagle Circle of Excellence Award at Waste Management.

In 2019, Elsa was awarded the Big Eagle Circle of Excellence at Waste Management—  an elite, company-wide recognition of the 75 top-performing employees out of the 45,000+ company-wide.  After she won, she was asked to make a speech about what led to her success, to which Elsa replied that there is not just one thing that ever leads to success.

“You can’t sum up success with one award, recognition or promotion. Success is infinite and immeasurable; it’s the culmination of hours, days and years of blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice – emphasize on sacrifice,” she says. “I have been at WM for over ten years, that is over 20,000 hours of work. Success never arrives overnight.”

Elsa’s top tip for success is to not just work hard, but learn.

“I’ve witnessed countless individuals just focus on work, but never make an effort to actually learn. You can always learn something new. I attribute my success to my eagerness to learn and not just understand my role, but the role above mine and the one above that. If I can retain what I learn and teach it to someone else effectively, and possibly dissect the process and create a better one, not only have I become a better asset for my company, but also a better version of myself.”


Visit Texas McCombs MBA to find out more about all our programs, events, and community, or take a peek into student life on Instagram.

Hook ’em!

Everything You Need to Know About the Texas McCombs MBA COVID-19 Test Waiver

 

Standardized exams like the GRE, GMAT, EA, TOEFL & IELTS help us to evaluate a candidate’s academic preparedness for the rigor of business school and is one metric used to compare candidates within a large pool of applicants.

In addition, studying for and taking the exam – for some, even taking it multiple times can show the admissions committee your commitment to the competitive business school application process and how you may approach academic challenges as a student. 

However, we understand that many are experiencing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that these challenges may be affecting your applications plans and ability to take an exam. Due to the unprecedented circumstances, we are providing applicants who are unable to take an exam in person or online the opportunity to petition for a test score waiver.

Here, our Admissions Team answers some questions you might have about the Texas McCombs MBA COVID-19 test waiver, including who the waiver is for and how it might impact your application. 

Who is eligible for a COVID-19 test waiver? 

Applicants who meet both of the criteria below have the opportunity to petition for a special test waiver:

  • You are unable to take an exam in-person at a designated testing center due to lack of availability in your region, or because you or someone in your household is immunocompromised, AND  
  • You are unable to take an exam online due to lack of availability in your region, technology or other test-taking requirements (e.g. device availability or compatibility, slow internet connection, testing environment) 

If you do not meet both of these criteria, we require that you complete the standardized tests prior to submitting your application.Both GMAC and ETS have introduced remote testing options for the GMAT, GRE, EA, and TOEFL exams for candidates impacted by coronavirus, and the majority of testing centers have re-opened globally with stringent health and safety precautions.   

How do I request a COVID-19 test waiver? 

If you meet both requirements above and would like to request a COVID-19 test waiver, please email TexasMBA@mccombs.utexas.edu to receive a link to the petition and to learn more about the test exception process 

Is there a deadline to request a COVID-19 test waiver? 

The test waiver petition must be approved by the admissions committee before you submit your application to McCombs. The admissions committee may take up to five business days to review your petition, so please follow the timeline below to meet the application round deadlines. At this time, test waiver petitions are only being accepted for the following application deadlines.  The admissions committee will start accepting test exception petitions for later application deadlines after the new year.  

  Submit Petition By…  …For Application Deadline  Submit Petition By…  …For Application Deadline 
Full Time MBA  October 6, 2020  October 13, 2020   December 18, 2020  January 5, 2021  
MBA at Houston  October 20, 2020  October 27, 2020  January 26, 2021  February 2, 2021 
MBA at DFW  October 20, 2020  October 27, 2020  January 26, 2021  February 2, 2021 
Evening MBA  October 20, 2020  October 27, 2020    
Executive MBA     January 26, 2021  February 2, 2021 

How does a test waiver impact my application? 

If you are approved for the COVID-19 test waiver, you may be asking yourself, “What are my chances for admission?” 

The truth is that by removing one component from your application, your other components will carry more weight in the committee’s final decision. Below are some items to consider as you craft your application. 

Academic History 

Does your undergraduate or graduate transcript accurately reflect your academic ability? If your GPA is low, and you do not submit a GMAT or GRE score, the admissions committee may have concerns about your ability to succeed in the rigorous MBA curriculum.  

One other factor to consider is whether or not your quantitative ability shines elsewhere in your application. While many of our MBA students come to McCombs from non-quantitative majors, these applicants are typically able to prove their quant prowess through the GMAT or GRE. If you come from a non-quantitative background and qualify for a test waiver, you will need to find other areas within your background or experience that can demonstrate your quantitative skills. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that you are set up to succeed academically in the program. If the admissions committee has concerns about your quantitative ability, it may impact your chance of admission, or you may be required to complete pre-MBA coursework prior to admission and/or prior to enrollment.  

Work Experience 

Your work experience will be reviewed thoroughly by the committee for leadership potential, progression and/or increasing responsibilities, and achievements. Generally, the level of responsibility someone has within a company correlates positively to how they will perform in a rigorous graduate educational program.  For those with less than the average work experience, a standardized test score may make your application more competitive. 

If you have any professional certifications, such as the CPA, CFA, Series 7, or others – be sure to highlight these on your resume and within your application, as attaining these types of certifications helps show the committee your academic readiness.  Advanced or terminal degrees should also be highlighted.  

Career Goals 

If your post-MBA career goal is to work in management consulting or investment banking, employers in these industries may ask that you provide your GMAT score when applying for internships or full-time positions. If you qualify for a test waiver and are considering pursuing post-MBA jobs in these industries, it is important that you are aware of this before enrolling because you may end up having to take the exam to apply for these roles. 

Scholarships 

Scholarship awards are competitive and limited in number. Scholarship decisions are based on a longstanding holistic review process that takes into account your entire application and serves to assess the overall strength of your candidacy, including readiness for academic rigor, career goals, leadership potential, and fit with our program culture. Submitting an application without a test score may limit the information available to award a merit-based scholarship  

One other note: Admission deferral requests for the Full-Time MBA program will not be considered if you gain admission to Texas McCombs and have a test exception. 

What if I’m an international student and am not able to take the TOEFL or IELTS? 

If you are an international student who does not qualify for our standard TOEFL/IELTS waiver based on work experience and/or education history, but you meet the criteria for a COVID-19 test waiver, you may be asked to prove your mastery of English via other avenues, such as a meeting with an admissions committee member or an additional essay request. In addition, if admitted you may be required to enroll in and pay for the pre-MBA Business English Program, which occurs in June 2021.  

Final Thoughts on the COVID-19 Test Waiver

The COVID-19 test waiver is intended only for those who cannot take the exams in person or virtually due to circumstances beyond their control.  If you qualify for a test waiver and believe that your application will not be negatively impacted by the lack of a test score, we encourage you to submit the petition and apply when you are ready. However, it is important to remember that we have multiple application rounds for a reason! For some, it may be best to wait to apply until you can submit with test score in-hand.  The decision will be different for every applicant, and we encourage you to approach this thoughtfully.   

We wish you well during these difficult times. Please contact us if you have any questions, and best of luck on your application! 

When Should You Submit Your MBA Application?

The 2020-2021 Full-Time MBA application will open soon, and the Admissions Committee is accepting applications in four rounds this cycle. We usually receive questions about application deadlines and whether or not it matters when you submit your application– Round 1, 2, 3 or 4.

You should NEVER rush to submit your MBA application simply to take advantage of “more spots.” – The Admissions Committee’s best application round advice

Timing is a key factor in your overall application strategy. A lot of details go into deciding which round to apply, and one answer is not right for everyone. So, let’s break it down by round so you can get a clearer picture of when might be the best time for you to hit “Submit.”

Round One

Round 1 is a good choice for a couple of reasons:

  1. It is our first priority scholarship deadline– If you want to be considered for all merit-based scholarships, Round 1 is your best shot. As each round closes, our scholarship funding pool decreases.
  2.  All of our spots are still available! Plus, historically we’ve received fewer applications in R1 than in R2.

But, the best piece of advice for any round is that you should NEVER rush to submit your MBA application simply to take advantage of “more spots” or “more funding.”  Once you submit your application, you cannot “re-submit” a stronger application in a later round for the same term of entry. If you skip important preparation, including a formal test prep, articulating your “why MBA,” or conducting research just to be able to submit in Round 1, you could end up with a test score and application that doesn’t reflect you at your best.

In any case, submitting in Round 1 might not be a good idea, especially if you know that you can improve a component of your application. Waiting to apply until all aspects of your application are strong is always the best approach.

Round Two

Applying later is okay, too! If we filled up the class in Round 1, the Admissions Committee might be out of a job by February. Round 2 is traditionally our largest round, and receives many strong applicants. Scholarships and fellowships are still available and all information and data included in your application help the Admission Committee allocate scholarship awards. In short: A strong application will stand out in any round.

Round Three

Round 3 tends to be a smaller round. Many applicants in Round 3 simply didn’t realize an MBA was an option or on their radar until later in the application cycle. Historically, we always have spots available in Round 3 (which is why we have a Round 3), but each year the number variesWe can’t say it enough– A strong, complete, well-researched application always stands out.

It’s also worth noting that for international students this is the last round to apply.

Round Four

Round 4 is the newest round– an opportunity for those in a similar situation as Round 3, and for those not wanting to wait until next cycle. Many of the applicants who apply in this round are engaging in the MBA process later due to career, life, and employment changes or goals. Others will apply in this round because they are ready to start in the fall rather than waiting another year. Due to the limited and competitive nature of funding, one can expect a decrease in scholarship availability.

Before you hit “Submit,” points to keep in mind:

  • Submit your application only when you’re 99.9% ready. Supplemental application materials submitted after a round deadline are risky, since there is no guarantee the Admissions Committee will see them. Once your file is read, we will not re-review again based upon new information received post-deadline.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute! We are not able to accept applications submitted after 11:59pm CT on the day of the deadline. Technical difficulties plague applicants every round, every year. Stay aware of deadlines the best you can, so you don’t become a cautionary tale. In the interest of a fair process, we don’t make exceptions to our deadlines, no matter what reason you have for a late submission.
  • Be patient. The Admissions Committee does not begin reviewing applications until the round deadline has passed. In other words, you might be far ahead and submit your application in August, but we won’t begin reviewing any submissions until after the Round 1 deadline in October.
  • The Admissions Committee does not provide individual feedback on applications, out of fairness to all applicants and due to the volume of requests we receive.

If you feel good about your application, we encourage you to apply but if you aren’t ready yet (i.e.: You need to retake your GMAT/GRE, rework your essay, or wait for a promotion at work to come through), don’t risk it– wait until you’re confident in your application before hitting the “Submit” button.

We look forward to reviewing your application this year, and are always here to answer your questions about applying. Hook ’em!

Who Should Write Your MBA Recommendation?

The Texas McCombs MBA application requires one professional letter of recommendation from a person who has supervised your work and/or has assessed your performance during your career.

A recommendation letter is one of the only things you rely on someone else to provide in your application. Circumstances differ for every applicant and deciding who you should ask will vary.  Below are some scenarios to help guide you in choosing the best recommender your application.

Your Supervisor

Your current direct supervisor is traditionally the best choice. This is likely the person in your network that knows your strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else. However, this may not be a viable option for you.  Perhaps you aren’t able to communicate to your employer that you’re applying to business school or you do not work with your direct boss that closely. It could also be that you attained a new role recently and your current supervisor has not had a chance to work with you very much. Or,  you’re an entrepreneur & don’t have a supervisor.

All of these are valid reasons to look for other recommendation sources, but remember that if you do not ask your current supervisor to write your recommendation letter, we do ask that you explain your choice in the Optional Statement.

Your Former Supervisor

If you cannot ask your current direct supervisor to write your recommendation, maybe you can ask a previous supervisor? Depending on how recently you worked with them, the “old boss” may be the best choice, especially if you had a strong professional relationship with that person. This is also a very common option.

Your Indirect Supervisor

Asking an indirect supervisor can another option, especially if you’ve worked with this person closely on past assignments or long-term projects.  This is a nice alternative to a supervisor that you may not work with closely.

Your Client or Vendor

This type of recommendation source is especially useful for entrepreneurs or for applicants who work for a family business.

If you work for a family business, it is preferred that you ask an individual outside of your family to write your letter of recommendation.

Your Mentor

Mentors inside or outside of your workplace are great to have in your corner when it comes time to apply to business school. However, be sure that your mentor has a clear understanding of your current professional value, not just your potential or future goals. Select a mentor with whom you have worked with on measurable tasks to ensure that they will provide a recommendation with depth. Often, mentor recommendations are submitted as an optional secondary recommendation. Keep in mind that the admissions committee is looking for someone who has worked with you professionally.

Other Options

There are many individuals who may fall in the category of “other recommenders.” For example, a former professor, a colleague or a coach.

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