Friday, October 24, 2008

Information Session - Tuesday in Buckhead!

We're getting ready for our Full-Time MBA Information Session on Tuesday (October 28th) at the Terry Executive Education Center in Buckhead. Quite a few of you have already signed up to join us- it's not too late. Click here to log in to your MyTerry MBA account to view details or register- or click here to create a MyTerry MBA account if you don't already have one. We'll have alumni, students, and staff on hand to answer all of your questions. A good time will be had by all! Have a specific question you know you want answered? Email it to me now or leave a comment below.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Give Us the Real Story

Prospective students share a lot of resumes and transcripts with me looking for feedback. In many cases, the student is often checking to see if I'll notice something he/she feels is a weakness, such as a gap on a resume or poor first year grades. Yes, I notice, and I ask about whatever it is. I ask to see if there is some kind of explanation- any kind of explanation. Usually any explanation is better than none at all.

That being the case, it's always a shame when a prospective student submits an application with an obvious issue and doesn't offer an explanation for the Admissions Committee. Many candidates don't explain the issue because they just don't know how to do it appropriately. Should you highlight a potentially negative aspect of your application? I can understand why that might produce anxiety. There's an easy way to do this without derailing that application package you've spent so much time on. Most schools, Terry included, allow candidates to submit a one page Optional Essay or Additional Statement on anything you want. This is the place to offer that explanation.

Did you spend the year following your college graduation backpacking through Europe? Not on your resume? One quick paragraph on where you went and what you learned will account for the time. Are your first year grades less than impressive because you were adjusting to living away from home for the first time or were more focused on your social life? Say that, and then explain how your approach will be different this time around. Give us the real story. Quite often it's not about what the excuse/reason is, it's about how you present it. It's most definitely worse to leave the Admissions Committee wondering. Tie up all the loose ends with that one page and you'll look like a prepared, proactive applicant.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Make the Most of Your Interview

The evaluative interview is a critical component of the admissions decision at many business schools. That's certainly the case here at Georgia. You have so much to gain from putting your best foot forward at interview time- don't squander the opportunity! Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your interview.
  1. Arrive on time. Remember: college campuses can be big, complicated places. Get there early and leave yourself plenty of time to park and navigate your way to the correct building.
  2. Dress appropriately. Show respect for the opportunity you have been granted and the person/people you will be interviewing with by wearing proper business attire. This usually means a suit. This is not the time to go business casual or casual. We're thinking about how you might arrive for a job interview. Look sharp!
  3. Be prepared. Make sure you know why you're applying to business school, what it is you like about that school in particular, etc. Know how you will answer the standard questions.
  4. Don't get defensive. C'mon now- nobody's perfect. If the interviewer asks you to account for a missing year on your resume or your less than stellar GPA answer the question openly and honestly. Responding in an aggressive or defensive manner is a definite no-no.
  5. Ask questions. Jot down a few questions you'd like answers to. If given the opportunity at the end of your interview- ask away! Questions show your interest in the school. One caveat: make sure they are well thought-out questions and not obvious facts that can be readily discovered on the school's website.
  6. Keep the focus on you. You are the person being interviewed. It is never a good idea to ask the interviewer questions about his/qualifications or personal life. It's great to chat and certainly OK to have a fun conversation, but unless the interview raises something about his/herself personal questions are off limits.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

View From the Top

I will hit the road for Terry MBA Admissions in November, as part of the “Inside the MBA Tour.” UGA will participate in forums in Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, and Atlanta. I will be doing candidate interviews while I’m in North Carolina and would encourage candidates in the Research Triangle area who are unable to come to Athens to schedule an interview with me. (Call Tiffany at 706-542-5671.)

With the big economic meltdown, MBA Admissions Offices around the country are preparing for a tidal wave of applications. What does that mean for you if you’re one of those applicants? If you’re interested in a full-time MBA program, it means a lot of competition for a seat. So it will be to your advantage to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Kerry has posted some terrific tips in her last entry.

Definitely plan on interviewing in person with your top schools. There’s no better way to help Admissions decision-makers get to know you. To prepare, think about stories, preferably from work, when you’ve succeeded, either as an individual or as part of a team, and the opposite, when you’ve failed, and what you learned from that. Interestingly, success is a terrible teacher; we learn much more from failure.

Be prepared to talk about what’s going on in the world. Once they’re a part of Terry, students have told me that I zinged them in the interview. I don’t do that intentionally, but I am interested in how different people see the world and what’s happening around them. So given the events of the week and my previous comment about failure, here’s the question that comes to mind: The governments, people, and economies of the world are poised to learn a gargantuan lesson; what do you think that is? I’d be very interested in your answer!

Monday, October 6, 2008

5 Tips to Maximize Your Chances for Acceptance

There are many things to consider when applying to business school, but there are tried and true ways to build a strong application.
  1. Tailor your essays. Applying to business school is an introspective process - by design. There are not short cuts with the essays! Make sure your essays answer the questions on each application. Use the essays to demonstrate that you have researched the program and you can articulate your short and long term career goals. Even if your goals may change, demonstrate that you have clear goals for your career and done your homework about the program, the school, your career goals, your accomplishments. Don't rush and don't forget to check your spelling and grammar. The details matter!  
  2. Prepare for the GMAT and/or the GRE. Schools rely on the GMAT and the GRE to give them an indication of your intellectual ability and how well you will perform academically, especially with the quantitative coursework. This is not the only way they evaluate your ability, but your approach to the exam tells an admissions committee a lot about how you approach other problems. Even if you are not a good or great test taker, demonstrate your interest in the program by taking the exam seriously. Allow yourself two, three, four months or more to prepare and use whatever learning approach works best for you, whether that is self-study or a class. Overstudy - your actual test score will likely be lower than any of your practice tests. If you think you can improve your test score, and you can afford the time and money, retake the test. Merit awards consider the GMAT and GRE heavily, so if you want to be competitive for scholarships and assistantships: study, study, study!
  3. Highlight what makes you unique. Choose examples that show the admissions committee how you have made an impact professionally. What are your strengths? How have those qualities and skills helped you succeed? Business schools look to enroll individuals with a wide range of experiences and characteristics, so use the essays to show what you can bring to the class .
  4. Choose your recommenders carefully. 99.99% of programs prefer recommendations from professionals who have supervised you, know you well and can speak to the quality of your work with reference to specific examples. It is also important to cultivate your recommenders by talking with them about your goals. What projects do you think they can talk about that best represent you? Give them plenty of time to prepare the recommendations and check in with them during the application process to remind them of your deadlines. 
  5. Compensate for your weaknesses. All applications have strong points and weak points. If you've got a weak point with an explanation, address it in an optional essay or as additional information. This is a great way to explain a missing year on a resume or a bad junior year GPA. It is better to address a weakness than to ignore it because the admissions committee will not overlook any discrepancies. Also, they really do want to learn as much about you as possible. They don't expect you to be perfect - they do expect you to be authentic and self-aware.
One final piece of advice: we are here to help you through this process. Take advantage of opportunities to connect with our program by attending an event or connecting with one of our MBA Ambassadors. We want to make sure that you are choosing the MBA program that is best for you!

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Application is Officially Online

Guess What! It is time for you to apply! Our application has been been online since Wednesday and we have seen an increase in traffic already. Here is a reminder of important Admissions dates and deadlines:
  • November 15th - 1st day decisions are made on complete applications
  • January 15th - Priority deadline for Assistantship/Scholarship consideration.
  • February 16th - Non-US Citizen application deadline for the 11-Month Program
  • March 2nd - Non-US Citizen application deadline for the 2-Year Program
  • April 15th - US Citizen application deadline for the 11-Month Program
  • May 11th - US Citizen application deadline for the 2-Year Program
Please remember, applications must be complete, including test scores, transcripts, essays and recommendations to be considered.

To access the online application, visit http://mba.terry.uga.edu/myterrymba/

For more information about the Terry MBA Program, visit http://mba.terry.uga.edu/fulltime