Wednesday, October 28, 2009

North Carolina Interviews & Inside the MBA

No, this is not me in a business suit.

Next week I will be in North Carolina at the Inside the MBA events in Raleigh (November 2nd) and Charlotte (November 4th). These events are a fantastic way to learn more about MBA programs and the admissions process. If you're in the area come out and meet me- make sure to tell me you read the blog!

I will also be taking a limited number of appointments for interviews in each city. This special opportunity is open to all prospective students. Simply email me at to set up a time.

BTW: If you didn't get your application in to us in time for Round One don't miss Round Two- it's coming up! The deadline is December 1st. Contact us if you have questions: or 706-542-5671.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Make the Most of Your Interview

Ah, interview season is starting again! Over the next few months members of the Admissions Committee will be interviewing hopeful prospective Terry MBA students. I thought it might be timely for me to repost some of my interviewing tips from last year. Please keep in mind that we interview by invitation only; you must submit a complete application for the Committee's review first.

An 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 13, 2009

Popular Questions about Submitting Your Application

Have a question about submitting your application? I may be able to answer it for you right now!

Two very popular questions regarding submitting the application are below:
Q1. Do I need to wait until my recommendations are complete to submit the application?
A1. No! There is no need to wait. The system you are using to complete your application is very sophisticated and allows us to receive your recommendation after you hit submit. If you hope to apply for a certain deadline, please try to emphasize the importance of time to your recommenders. Remember, be firm but not overbearing about it - they are doing YOU a favor.

Q2. I sent my transcripts on Saturday (it's Tuesday)... can I make sure that my transcripts and test scores have been received?
A2. While we are on top of our game here at Terry, there are some things that may not be humanly possible. It takes at least 3-5 business days to match your application with your materials once we receive them, and if we receive multiple pieces at different times, the process can take a little longer.
To check to make sure your materials have been received, please log back into your application (even after you submit it) and you will be able to check. If it has been a while (more than 2-3 weeks) from the date you think we should have received your materials, please email us at and we may be able to help.

We are excited you are applying! Good luck!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Finding Yourself at Business School

One of the biggest challenges for me in counseling prospective MBA students is when I encounter someone without a sense of career direction. I often hear students say, "I'm not exactly sure of what I want to do, but I'll have time to figure that out, right?" No- absolutely not. Business school is not a good place to attempt to "find yourself".

In assessing your candidacy, every admissions committee at every business school will consider your employment potential. Why is that? We want to see you succeed! You're coming to business school to develop as a professional and get the job of your dreams, but business school is a lot shorter than you think. Hiring season also happens a lot faster than you think. Here at Terry, classes start in August and students start interviewing for summer internships in September. Hopefully, before you walk into that first interview you've polished your resume, done several mock interviews, researched the company you're interviewing with, etc. So, you have a about a month to (1) move to Athens, (2) get up to speed in all of your classes, and (3) figure out exactly what type of summer internship you want to pursue and start putting yourself out there. Bottom line: if you're not focused on a career path when you arrive, you're going to struggle. You're going to be one of those frustrated students wondering why everyone but you seems to be finding a great internship. It's a whole lot easier to find one if you know what you're looking for.

So, what can you do now to help youself figure out what you want to be when you grow up? Informational interviewing is a great start. Find people who have jobs you think you'd like to have, and then interview them about what they do and how they got there. How do you find those people? Tell everyone you know that you're looking for someone who works in "X" field to talk to about his/her work. You'd be surprised how helpful people can be. Tweet it out. Put it on your Facebook page. Mention it to your friends the next time you're out. Beyond that, CareerLeader is a great tool: Yes, it's not free- but it's worth it if helps you formulate a life plan! Make an investment in yourself. Join a professional association in your field of interest and network. There are lots of things you can do- just do something.

I know- easier said than done. Good luck!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Do Your Homework

So, you think you want to get an MBA? Well, do your homework! How will an MBA help you achieve your career goals? Why is now the right time for you to start your studies? Where are you going to enroll?

This is the time of year when there are an abundance of events for you to attend to really investigate your options- take advantage of them. Try to think of this as application and interview prep. You're building your answers to these all important questions, which will make it easier to write your essays and perform well in your interview.

Full-time Terry MBA admissions staff will be participating in and hosting a number of events this fall where we can meet you and answer your questions. Join us! Terry Travel and Event Schedule

Tomorrow night we'll be at the Forte Forum in Atlanta. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thinking About Applying This Year?

If you're thinking about applying this year, now is the time to get your application materials together. If you've already started- kudos to you! We like early birds. Please keep in mind that we've moved from a rolling admissions policy this year to a Round decision process, and our deadlines have changed! Round One is fast approaching- get those applications in by October 15th.

So what should you be doing now?
  • Take the GMAT. Schedule a GMAT test date, prep for the GMAT, take the GMAT, and make sure to send us your score report!
  • Start filling out your application form. It's not hard, but it can take quite a bit of time to fill out the detailed online form. Do it a little at a time- you can save your work and come back another day.
  • Request your recommendations. You do this through the online application form. You can skip directly to the recommenders section, input your recommenders' info, and the system will send your recommenders a link to complete your recommendations online. Give them plenty of time to say good things about you!
  • Write your essays. Hastily put together essays read just that way: like they were thrown together at the last minute. Think about what you want to say and proofread, proofread, proofread!
  • Order your transcripts. You don't have to wait until you submit your application to send us your transcripts. We need TWO copies of all transcripts.

A quick word on "face time": We interview on an invitation only basis after submission of a complete application and a preliminary review by the Admissions Committee. We're delighted to answer any questions you may have about the application process, but we can usually do that over the phone or via email.

We look forward to learning all about you!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How Much Interest is Too Much?

Lately, there's been a lot of talk about the increasing importance admissions offices are placing on the level of interest a candidate shows in a program to which he or she is applying. While it's true that we do like to know you are strongly interested in our MBA program, most admissions committees would also be delighted to receive a stellar application from someone they've never heard of before. So, when it comes to demonstrating your interest in a school, how much is enough and how much is just too much?

If you're considering applying to an MBA program it's a good idea to check out a school's website, add yourself to their email list, join a Facebook group, follow them on Twitter, read their blog (yay for you!), etc. These are all low effort activities that allow the admissions representatives at a program to become familiar with your name. If you're able to attend an information session hosted by the school or meet a school representative at an MBA fair, those are key opportunities to introduce yourself and make a positive first impression. Make sure to come prepared with a few thoughtful questions that show you've already done your preliminary research on the program. If you're invited to special events at the school, such as lectures or conferences, feel free to attend if the topics are of interest to you. Some schools do keep records of which candidates attend events, but not all. What you really want is enough contact to let the admissions staff know that you're seriously considering their school. If they recognize you when you come in for your interview, then you've achieved the desired result!

So, what behavior crosses the line into "too much?" Is there such a thing as too much interest? Yes, there definitely is. Have a question about the school's MBA program? Feel free to call or email to ask- but make sure the answer is not easily available on the program's website. Don't call or email every day or even three times a week. Yes, you would think I shouldn't have to say this, but I do. Don't copy ten people at the school on every email you send. Don't drop into the admissions office on a regular basis or ask for multiple appointments. Don't ask to take advantage of a schools services before you're a student there (e.g. career services). Don't ask for assistance figuring out which classes you should register for in your third semester before you've even been admitted.

Why is this all just too much? One main reason: it makes you seem high maintenance. Admissions offices are busy places. Many receive hundreds of emails and phone calls a day. While your first few emails are likely to receive prompt, warm responses, they're not going to be quite as excited about the twentieth one. The staff want to make sure they get back to everyone; in demanding their attention repeatedly you're making it harder for them to do that. It's also going to give the impression that this behavior will continue once you are enrolled. If your goal is to demonstrate your interest in a program, don't go overboard.

Once you've been admitted to a program all bets are off. Ask whatever you need to ask to make your enrollment decision. You'll find that the school's admissions staff will make time for you. Once you choose the program you'll attend, you can certainly ask questions to facilitate your transition to student life, but make sure to read any information you are sent as well. You're going to an MBA program to become a confident leader and a capable professional- now is the time to start acting the part.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Do I Do Now???

It happened- you didn't get into business school. Your entire life plan has been derailed. You don't understand why. What are you supposed to do now???

OK, first things first- while it is beyond disappointing to have all the time and effort you put in to your application yield a negative result you're definitely not the first (or only!) person who did not gain entrance to business school on the first try. It's a fairly common occurrence. Take a deep breath, scream a little if you need to, and then go on with your life. The world is moving on, and you should move with it.

Next, don't give up! You have NOT been placed on an MBA Admissions blocklist. You can and should try applying again next year. Warning bells will not go off when you submit your online application, and you will not be automatically denied admission. In fact, your determination can be downright impressive and a sign of maturity if you play your cards right.

Merely submitting the exact same application again is unlikely to yield a different result in the future. You need to take some time to think about what you can change about your application, as well as what you can add to it, to enhance your chances of admission. Some b-schools are able to provide feedback to applicants who were not successful in the admission process; other schools (Terry included) are not permitted to do so as a matter of institutional policy. In either case, you should be able to figure out what the trouble spots were with your application if you're willing to do your homework and be honest with yourself.

Start by looking at publicly available averages and indicators for the schools to which you applied. For example, is the average GMAT score a 650 and you scored a 450? That's probably an issue. Do they require a minimum of two years of work experience and you have none? Again, that's likely an issue. Does the school specialize in four areas? Did your essays indicate you wanted to focus on an area of study other than one of those four? Yes, that's also an issue. Did you leave your interview feeling like you didn't prepare enough? You probably didn't. You get the gist.

So what can you do? Here are some suggestions for common stumbling points.

GMAT: Take a prep course and take it again. I know- that doesn't work for everyone, but you've got to take it at least twice (and prep well at least once) to make the argument that you "just don't test well" with any credibility.

GPA: First, own up for your prior transgressions. Did you goof off? Perform poorly in a highly technical and demanding major you didn't like? Be prepared to explain that in an additional essay and offer how you'll approach your studies differently this time around. If you've got time and you're willing to make the investment, think about taking one or two suitable MBA prep classes (e.g. statistics, economics) at a school that allows open enrollment. Good grades can help you distance yourself from that old academic record.

Work Experience: Keep working, or if you've been taking time off, go back to work. If you don't have enough work experience, the only way to fix that is by actually getting work experience. Perhaps your work experience may not be what a b-school is looking for (i.e. waiting tables)? Then look for leadership opportunities and volunteer to take on projects where you can demonstrate your additional skills.

Essays: Yes, we read them. Did you articulate focused goals? Did you highlight what you can bring to the class or just talk about why you want to go to that school? Were they well-written? Did you ask someone else to read them and tell you what the question was? Did you catch all the spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors?

Interview: Really think about how your interview went. Did any of the questions throw you for a loop? Did you prepare? Read my blog entry on interviewing here for common issues:

Activities and Honors: Were you an active participant in extracurricular activities while in college? Have you done anything since? Volunteer work is easy to come by and looks great on an application. Have you received any awards or honors that would easily identify your achievements? Now is the time to start aiming for employee of the year.

Recommendation Letters: You're not going to get any feedback on these if you've waived your right to see them. Step back for a minute and think about who you chose. An employer you haven't worked with recently? A professor from five years ago? Make sure your recs come from people who know you well and can speak to your characteristics as a professional now- not three years ago. Also, if you haven't waived your right to view your recommendations- well, there's your problem. Non-confidential recommendations hold less weight than confidential ones.

Final thought: Get your act together and get your application in early next year. Show the Admissions Committee that you've returned undeterred with a new sense of motivation.

Still have questions? The people who work in MBA Admissions want to help- really. Give us a call if you have questions particular to your situation. Remember- every contact you have with a school is an opportunity to make an impression. Make sure you stay positive and professional at all times. Best wishes for success!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bad economy? Invest in yourself.

We're all painfully aware of just what a slump our economy is in right now. Many people are out of work, and many others are clinging onto their jobs like velcro. So, is it crazy to think about getting an MBA in this economic climate? No- here's why.

  • Return on investment. It's that simple- get the skills and you'll get a pay increase. Use our ROI calculator here to see:
  • Position yourself for advancement. When the economy picks up and companies look to rapidly expand and develop new business opportunities, who do you think will be in the prime position for those great new jobs and promotions? Not the person enrolling in an MBA right then- those jobs will go to the people who already have the right credential.
  • Opportunity cost is low. When considering going back to school full-time, people are often reluctant to forgo an income for two years. With so many companies cutting back on staff now, raises are few and far between and many people are absorbing salary cuts and increased benefits costs. Chances are, by going to school right now you'll lose the least amount of income.
  • We can help with merit aid. For qualified candidates, merit aid can reduce the cost of attending the Full-Time Terry MBA program dramatically. Graduate Assistantships cover tuition and provide a substantial stipend to help offset living expenses. Scholarships and partial tuition waivers are also possible.

So, what are you waiting for? You can't reap the reward if you don't take the leap. Terry's final deadlines are fast approaching: April 15th for the 11-Month program and May 11th for the Two Year program. Need help? Call MBA Admissions at 706-542-5671, email us at, or contact Tiffany Staples on AIM with this ID: TiffanyatTerry.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The “Last Chance” Info Session – February 7th

On the fence or need more information about applying? We have one more, “Last Chance” Information Session on Saturday, February 7th at 10:00am. The Information Session will run approximately 2 hours and will be held in Sanford Hall, Room 314.

Sign up to attend the information session on your MyTerry MBA page at .

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Little of This... A Little of That...

Things have been very hectic around the MBA office as applications are rolling in. Along with the influx of applications comes an influx in application materials. Yes, this means that for every applicant, we receive at least one set of transcripts (if not 3 or 4), score reports (sometimes multiple), and recommendations. Needless to say, our records department is working very hard to get through all the paperwork they are receiving.

At any time, you can check the status of your application by logging back into your application and viewing your application status page.

Here are approximate processing times for your paperwork:

Transcripts – From the point they are received in our office, please allow at least one week for them to be processed, added to your paper file, and your information to be updated on your online status report.

Test Scores

GMAT – From the time you take your test (or request a score report to be sent) it takes at least 2 weeks to get to us. If you didn’t take your GMAT before you submitted your application, chances are this might be the last thing that gets processed on your application before it goes to department. Do not panic! If you have chosen the Terry MBA program (11 Month: Z95-H2-68; Two Year: Z95-H2-78) as your score recipient we will receive your scores.

TOEFL/IELTS – International Students (Non-US Citizens) ONLY. For most, we cannot waive the English-Proficiency requirement; however, if you are from an English-Speaking Country, like the UK or Australia, you are not required to submit these scores. To see the requirements for your country, go to From the day you take your test, it typically takes at least 30 – 45 days for the MBA office to receive your official score report. Again, don’t panic. For the TOEFL, make sure you use code 5813 to ensure your scores make their way to Terry.

Recommendations – You should be self-monitoring your recommendations to see if they are received online via your application status page. If one of your recommenders has not completed their recommendation for you and you feel as though they may need a reminder, feel free to use the option provided on your application status screen. – They may have just misplaced the link they were initially sent.

We are consistently reading applications and have been inviting candidates for interviews. Watch for an email regarding an interview invitation once your application is complete.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

So, What ARE They Doing With My Application?

Happy New Year! It's January, and that means we are busy, busy, busy here in MBA Admissions. If you're considering starting an MBA in 2009 you probably know that January 15th is the deadline for priority consideration for assistantship awards. That means applications are pouring in from everyone both trying to get an early admissions decision and hoping for a financial assistance award. So, what are we doing with all those applications? Why does it take so long to get a decision?

I'll try not to bore you with the details, but here's what's going on. Once we get your online application the data needs to be reviewed and some internal processing taken care of. We need to locate your test scores, transcripts, and any other paper documents you may have sent us. If those items aren't here yet, your application isn't going anywhere until they arrive. Keep in mind that we're working on many applications simultaneously; so while it may seem to you that this whole process should take about 5 minutes, it's not quite that simple.

Once your application is complete it will be forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review. Now, I'm not able to hand out a whole lot of detail here, but I can tell you that your application will get a thorough review by the Committee. All of your materials will be read- that's a substantial investment of time. The wait is worth it if it means all the hard work you've put into your application will receive in depth consideration.

Now, if you weren't an early bird who completed an interview this past fall, that's something else you need to add to your timeline. If the Admissions Committee determines, after a preliminary review of your completed application, that you are in a competitive position for admission you'll be invited to complete your evaluative interview. Once that's done, your file will go back to the Committee for a final review.

After the Admissions Committee has rendered a decision there's still a bit of processing that needs to happen before you're notified. We try to take care of this as quickly as possible. We're anxious to let you know the outcome.

Did you know that once you submit your online application you can log back in to check your status? Just go back to your MyTerry MBA page:

I know the waiting can be hard. Please know we're doing our best to get back to you as soon as we can.