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#121 21 MBA Application Questions Answered

7 senior MBA Admissions Directors from Berkeley Haas, Cornell Johnson, Virginia Darden, Duke Fuqua, NYU Stern, Michigan Ross, and Yale School of Management came to Vietnam this Fall for an MBA admissions panel.

Darren shares the questions asked and lessons learned from the event.

#120 Breaking into Venture Capital (as an MBA)

What do MBA applicants need to know about MBA careers in venture capital?

Darren invites his friend Garrett to share his experience, both as an MBA student looking to break into venture capital and as an interviewer for Hewlett Packard Ventures.

Garret has worked in venture capital and related jobs in San Francisco for 7 years – don’t miss his hard-earned insights into the industry!

#119 Breaking into Investment Banking (as an MBA)

What do MBA applicants need to know about MBA careers in investment banking?

Darren invites his friend Scott to share his experience, both as an MBA student looking to break into investment banking and as an MBA recruiter for Wells Fargo Securities.

Scott has worked in investment banking for 7 years after his MBA – don’t miss his hard-earned insights into the industry!

#118 Full-time vs. Part-time vs. Online vs. Executive MBA – Which is the Right MBA for You?

What is the difference between Full-time, Part-time, Online and Executive MBA (EMBA) degrees? Which one makes most sense for you?

A number of you coming to Touch MBA for school selection help are considering multiple MBA program formats so I thought it would be good to dedicate one short episode to covering key differences from an admissions, curriculum, career and reputation perspective.

Dirk is involved in all 4 MBA programs for IE Business School so I played the role of “applicant” and asked him common questions I get.

#117 Breaking into Management Consulting (as an MBA)

What do MBA applicants need to know about MBA careers in management consulting?

Darren invites his friend Sandra to share her experience, both as an MBA student looking to break into consulting and as an MBA recruiter for McKinsey & Company.

Sandra worked in management consulting for 5 years after her MBA – don’t miss her hard-earned insights into the industry!

#114 Stephen Huber, USC Marshall MBA ’18 on Getting Off the Waitlist, Preparing Significant Others, and Breaking Into a New Industry

Stephen Huber discusses his MBA experience at USC Marshall, from what he did to get off the waitlist, to preparing his wife for an intense first year, to leading the High Tech and Interactive Gaming Associations, to landing internships and jobs in tech and the hard-to-break into entertainment industry.

After listening to this talk, you’ll have a good idea of what it takes to make the most of your MBA experience, especially as a career switcher. 

#113 Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t

Inspired by Steven Pressfield’s book, Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t, Darren offers 3 pillars to present a memorable MBA story: concept, theme, and structure (hook, build, payoff).

#112 LinkedIn Tips for MBA Applicants

Your LinkedIn profile could be the first thing business schools see.

Darren draws on his admissions experience and shares 7 tips to make a good first impression, reinforce your MBA story, and highlight additional qualities not in your application.

MBA programs are looking at your social media, especially your LinkedIn profile. Take 15 minutes to follow these guidelines and represent yourself well to b-schools, MBA students & alumni, and future employers.

#111 MBA for Entrepreneurs – Worth It?

Many MBA applicants are interested in entrepreneurship, but have trouble reconciling the cost of an MBA with their goal of starting a business. Darren invites 2 recent Wharton MBA graduates, Alex Kubo and Renata Arauz De Stefano, to discuss if an MBA helps you become a better entrepreneur. Alex currently works at Burrow.com, a Y Combinator backed startup in New York City, and Renata started Mwayi, a fashion social enterprise that brings customized, African-print apparel to US consumers.

#110 Great MBA Letters of Recommendations with Caroline Diarte-Edwards

Caroline Diarte Edwards, Director of Fortuna Admissions and former Director of MBA Admissions at Insead, and Darren cover best practices for securing great MBA letters of recommendation. Don’t miss this detailed and open-ended discussion between 2 former Admissions Directors so you can sidestep common mistakes and understand what top b-schools consider an excellent letter of recommendation.

#109 Crafting Your Best Story & Applying Through the Consortium with Sabaina Kamara, Michigan Ross ’19

Sabaina Kamara, a Touch MBA listener and Admissions Edge Member, details what she did each step of the way to craft her best story – one that got her admitted to 4 top 20 US b-schools, including Michigan Ross, where she will head to this Fall. Sabaina also shares the benefits of applying through the Consortium, and her best application tips on career goals, school selection, GMAT, resumes, essays and MBA interviews.

#108 How to Finance Your US MBA with Phil DeGisi, CommonBond

Most applicants are 100% focused on getting IN a top MBA. Then after the euphoria of getting in, the hard reality of financing the MBA hits them in the face. Darren talks to Phil DeGisi, Chief Marketing Officer of CommonBond, about what applicants can do to get the best MBA loans for US MBA programs.

Darren and Phil also talk about the Dartmouth Tuck MBA, the MBA’s usefulness in the marketing industry, and what applicants should look for in an MBA network.

#106 The GMAT Episode

How do top business schools use the GMAT to evaluate you? What exactly are they looking for? What do you need to score and on which sections? When should you retake the GMAT? Do schools prefer the GMAT or GRE?

Darren asks Admissions Directors from 3 top schools – HKUST (Hong Kong), IESE (Spain) and Michigan Ross (USA) – tough questions about the GMAT. Listen on to get answers to the GMAT questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

#105 Life as a Business School Professor with Gregor Halff

Amid all the attention paid to rankings, average salaries, and ROI, one crucial part of the MBA experience often gets overlooked – faculty. After all, you are spending more than 700 hours in class at most top MBA programs. In this episode, Darren invites Professor Gregor Halff to give you a behind the scenes look at the life of a business school professor. What does their typical day look like? What are their responsibilities? What are they looking for from MBA students? And what should MBA applicants look for and expect from MBA faculty? Listen on to better understand what b-school professors do and how this could influence your experience.

#103 Advice for MBA Reapplicants with Neethling McGrath, Columbia MBA ’19

Neethling McGrath, an Admissions Edge Member, shares the ups and downs of applying, reapplying and getting into his first choice: Columbia GSB.

Neethling shares what he did differently the second time around and what he believes were the factors for his application success.

To those of you who got dinged and are re-applying to top programs, this episode is for you.

#102 Last Minute Application Tips with Clare Simonis, HBS MBA ’19

You decide you need an MBA. You check your schools’ application deadlines – only 1 month left before Round 1 apps are due! What to do?

Clare Simonis found her herself in this situation last Fall. With deadlines 1 month away, she applied to HBS, Stanford GSB, MIT Sloan and Berkeley Haas. She got into HBS and Haas and will be starting at HBS this Fall.

Clare shares her journey and tips for those of you scrambling to apply last minute. Not the ideal situation – but certainly a common one.

#101 Are Business School Students Career Ready? with Jeff Kavanaugh

With 200,000 MBAs graduating each year, are business schools preparing “career ready” employees?

In a sweeping survey of 10,000 recruiters, 3,000 business students (both MBAs and undergraduates), and 500 B-school career center leaders, Jeff Kavanaugh found that all three constituencies had different perceptions of what’s important and where they stand.

Darren and Jeff discuss the 4 main skills recruiters are looking for, where business school graduates are perceived as falling short, and what you can do to boost your employability. Jeff also shares what competencies consulting firms are looking for from MBAs, and what non-consultants can do to break into the industry.

#99 Preparing for MBA Interviews with Vince Ricci

Vince Ricci from VincePrep shares his best MBA interview preparation tips, from mindset to strategy to tactics. Vince has some of the most downloaded Youtube videos on MBA interviews and has helped hundreds of applicants get past this final hurdle so don’t miss this one!

#98 Insead Insights Real Time: President of Private Equity & Venture Capital Club, Rahul Kewalramani

Rahul Kewalramani, Insead MBA 16D, shares his thoughts on leading the Insead Private Equity and Venture Capital club, finding jobs in Private Equity and Venture Capital, the January vs. September intake, differences between Singapore and Fountainebleu’s campus and cultures, exchanging at Wharton, bidding for exchanges/classes at Insead, entrepreneurship, hot industries at Insead and more.

#96 Career Tips for Spain MBAs with Amber Wigmore Alvarez

Amber Wigmore Alvarez, Executive Director of Career Services for IE, shares her best career tips for international MBA students considering top business schools in Spain. Amber and Darren discuss work conditions for non-EU nationals, Spain’s new visa policy, achieving career goals in a 1-year program, and trends in IE MBA student placement.

#95 MBA Careers in Social Impact

Pin Chin Kwok, UC Berkeley Haas MBA ’09, shares her journey pursuing a social impact career as an MBA applicant, student and alumni. Pin majored in Finance & Operations Research at NYU and worked 7 years at Citi in the finance industry before starting her MBA. Pin and Darren discuss what social impact applicants (broadly defined as those who want to work in corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, non-profit, government/public policy, and corporate social responsibility) should look for when shortlisting MBA programs, securing internships/jobs in the sector, and planning their careers.

#93 Which Extracurriculars?

Darren offers 3 questions to consider when presenting your extracurricular activities and shares examples from successful applicants. The volunteering / activities / interests / achievements / additional part of your resume is anything but “additional.” Make it count!

My CEIBS Pre-MBA Bootcamp Experience

Considering going to CEIBS Pre-MBA Bootcamp? Darren shares an on-the-ground account of the CEIBS Pre-MBA Bootcamp so future participants (and CEIBS MBAs) know what to expect from Mainland China’s #1 MBA Program.

#92 MBA Careers Uncovered with Ivan Kerbel

Darren speaks with Ivan Kerbel of Practice MBA about what applicants need to know about MBA career strategy. A Wharton MBA himself, Ivan headed Yale SOM’s Career Development Office and was also a Associate Director at Wharton’s MBA Career Office. There are few people worldwide who have Ivan’s know-how about MBA career strategy – listen on for the inside scoop!

The Best MBA Programs in Singapore

Looking for the best full-time MBA programs in Singapore? Here’s your ultimate guide! Now you can compare the city’s best MBA programs head-to-head and get the inside scoop from Admissions Directors, MBA alumni and more from Singapore’s best MBA programs.

#90 Boston University Questrom MBA Admissions Interview with Dana Dubovik

Boston University’s Questrom MBA wants to equip its graduates for jobs 10-20 years down the road. One way they’ve done this is by offering industry concentrations in health sector management, public & non-profit management and digital innovation, which are strengths of both the university and the city of Boston. The program also allows students to customize their experience starting in the first quarter and offers 10 functional concentrations. Listen to Darren’s interview with Director of MBA Admissions Dana Dubovik about what makes the Boston University Questrom MBA unique and what the admissions team is seeking from applicants.

#89 Washington University St. Louis Olin MBA Admissions Interview with Ashley Lautzenheiser

How has Washington University St. Louis Olin MBA placed 96%+ of graduates within 3 months for the past 4 years? The program prioritizes personal connection through its size, career platforms, and focus on experiential learning. Darren talks with Associate Director of Graduate Admissions Ashley Lautzenheiser about what makes the Wash U Olin MBA unique, admissions, scholarships, careers & more.

The Best MBA Programs in Hong Kong

Looking for the best full-time MBA programs in Hong Kong? Here’s your ultimate guide! Now you can compare the city’s best MBA programs head-to-head and get the inside scoop from Admissions Directors, MBA alumni and more from Hong Kong’s best MBA programs.

#86 Financing your MBA Abroad & International MBA Loans with Ricardo Fernandez, Insead MBA ’06

How do you plan to finance your MBA? This can be a very challenging process, especially for students from developing countries who have less access to competitive MBA loans. Ricardo Fernandez, Head of Business Development for Prodigy Finance and Insead MBA ’05, discusses financing options for students pursuing their MBA outside their home country, as well as how Prodigy is trying to innovate in this underserved marketplace. Darren and Ricardo also talk about the value of the MBA 10 years after graduation and whether MBAs are beneficial for entrepreneurs.

#84 IMD MBA Admissions Interview with Ralf Boscheck

Looking for a an industry-focused general management MBA from a top-ranked European b-school? Darren talks with IMD MBA Program Director Dr. Ralf Boscheck about what makes the IMD MBA unique, admissions, scholarships, careers & more.

#83 MBA Essays that Work – Candid Thoughts on Essays, Authenticity and Being Yourself

With MBA programs shortening their applications and asking for less essays, how can applicants still tell their story? How should applicants approach these MBA essays and what should they write?

Darren speaks with Yale SOM MBA Admissions Director Bruce DelMonico, MBA Admissions Consultant and Author Paul Bodine, and successful graduate school applicant John Kaaiohelo to get 3 different perspectives on this common applicant challenge.

#82 What to Ask MBA Students, Alumni & Admissions Officers to Research Schools, Sharpen your Story & Improve Your Chances

Ben Parker, a longtime Touch MBA listener, shares his journey from researching MBA programs to getting accepted to London Business School and HKUST – all this despite having a less than stellar GMAT and GPA and a non-business background.

You’ll learn what to ask MBA students, alumni, and admissions to shortlist schools, make your story “glow” and improve your essays and interview performance. This episode is about assembling an army of advocates – friends, students, admissions staff – to support your candidacy and sanity during an emotionally challenging application process.

#81 How to Make Better Choices When Selecting MBA Programs

At Touch MBA we believe that school selection is half the battle to having a great (and worthwhile!) MBA experience. In this episode, Darren covers an MBA decision-making process to help you avoid common decision-making biases and choose the right MBA programs.

#77 Internships, Jobs & Social Life at MIT Sloan

Darren talks to Andrew, a recent MIT Sloan MBA graduate, about his internship and job search experience at Sloan. Andrew worked for Target as a Senior Analyst doing business intelligence and analytics before business school. He landed an internship with Uniqlo (one of the world’s top 5 retailers) in New York City and will be heading to Cupertino to work for Apple this month. This episode will give you a great feel for how recruiting works at top US business schools and what to look out for as you shortlist programs based on your career goals. The two also talk about social life at MIT Sloan and what to look forward to. Enjoy!

#76 Carnegie Mellon Tepper MBA Admissions Interview with Kelly Wilson – “Leadership & Analytics”

Do you know how to solve a problem that has no precedent?

Kelly Wilson, Executive Director of Masters Admissions at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, shares with Darren how Tepper equips its students to do this through a mastery of analytics, year-round leadership development program, and one-on-one attention with professors. Kelly and Darren also talk in depth about Tepper’s admissions process, how to prepare for Tepper’s behavioral interviews, and the school’s career services.

#75 Yale SOM MBA Admissions Interview with Bruce DelMonico – “Educating Leaders for Business & Society”

This week Darren sits down with Bruce DelMonico, Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions at Yale School of Management, to discuss Yale’s mission of “educating leaders for business and society.” How does this translate into the curriculum? How does the school plan to evolve? And what does this mean from an admissions and career perspective? Don’t miss this very informative chat about what makes Yale unique and how you can give yourself the best shot of getting in.

#74 How to Overcome a Low GPA

Darren shares 7 concrete ways you can overcome a low GPA and show top-ranked MBA programs that you will perform well in an intense Master’s level program.

#72 UCLA Anderson MBA Admissions Interview with Jessica Chung – “Shared Success”

This week I sat down with Jessica Chung, Associate Director of Full-time MBA Admissions at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

We had an in-depth and open discussion about UCLA’s MBA offering and culture, what admissions is looking for, and how the program supports students in their career searches. After listening to our conversation, you’ll get an insider’s feel for the qualities Anderson is looking for and how the school is evolving. Jessica is very transparent about the admissions process so don’t miss this one!

#71 How to Apply for Top MBAs with Tyler Cormney of MBA Prep School

Over the past decade, Tyler Cormney and MBA Prep School have achieved a 90% success rate with clients at the world’s top schools. What are the key steps to preparing an application that puts you in the top 10%? Hint: it’s not your essay(s).

Don’t miss this value-packed episode and feel free to ask Tyler your questions in the comments!

Fifty Shades of Grey: MBA Edition

The MBA application process can be as mysterious as Christian Grey. Here are 50 reasons b-schools will put you in the grey zone i.e. “maybe” or “no” piles. Avoid these grey zone signals to score with your target MBA.

#68 Four Tips to Show School Fit

Top business schools are looking for candidates that would fit with their program, culture, and values. And you should be looking for programs that match your goals too. How can you demonstrate fit in your MBA application without sounding disingenuous or even worse, like everyone else?

#67 MBA vs MSc vs Masters in Management – Which is the Right Masters Degree for You?

What is the difference between a Masters in Management, MBA and specialized Masters degrees? Which one makes most sense for your career?

A number of you are considering multiple Masters programs so I thought it would be good to dedicate one short episode to covering key differences from an admissions, curriculum, career, and reputation perspective with Dirk Hopfl from IE Business School.

#65 HKU MBA Admissions Interview with Sachin Tipnis – “Connect to the Asian Economy”

How about getting your MBA from one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious universities and also having the option to study one semester at either Columbia Business School, London Business School or Fudan University School of Management? Sachin Tipnis, Executive Director of MBA Programmes at HKU, joins the show to discuss the HKU MBA’s unique format and career benefits. Darren and Sachin also talk about HKU’s admissions process in-depth so you know exactly how to best prepare your application.

#64 University of Toronto Rotman MBA Program & Admissions Interview with Leigh Gauthier

If you’re thinking about getting an elite and rigorous MBA in Canada, you have to to consider the Rotman MBA based in Toronto. Get the inside scoop as Darren chats with Leigh Gauthier, Acting Director of Recruitment & Admissions & Director of Careers for the Full-time MBA. Rotman is a pioneer in the business education space and it’s great to hear how they are challenging the traditional MBA curriculum to produce sought after graduates.

#63 Peking University Guanghua MBA Admissions Interview with Dr. Longkai Zhao – “Best Bschool to Know China”

Did you know that China is on track to overtake America as the world’s biggest economy by 2016? Dr. Longkai Zhao, Executive Director of the MBA Program at Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, joins the show to discuss why he thinks Guanghua is the best place to learn about China business at this pivotal point in the country’s history. We also discuss Guanghua’s admissions process, career opportunities for international students in China, and the changing status of the MBA degree in China.

#61 UCD Smurfit MBA Program & Admissions Interview with Orla Nugent – “IQ, EQ & RQ”

Interested in tech, entrepreneurship or strategy and looking for strong ROI from a European MBA? The UCD Smurfit MBA in Ireland boasts 90% + employment rates after their 11 month program to go along with a relatively affordable tuition (29,500 EUR) and generous scholarships. Get the inside scoop on what makes the Smurfit MBA unique and its admissions process – straight from MBA Program Director Orla Nugent.

#60 Rochester Simon MBA Program & Admissions Interview with Rebekah Lewin – “Rigorous Training”

Want to get a rigorous business education grounded in economics and analytics from a renown US business school? Simon awards 75% of its students scholarships and prides itself on its 90%+ job placement rate within 3 months of graduation. Rebekah Lewin, Assistant Dean of Admissions & Student Engagement at Simon Business School, University of Rochester, joined the show to discuss what makes Simon unique, career prospects for Simon grads, and what fit qualities she’s looking for from applicants.

#59 St. Gallen MBA Program & Admissions Interview with Zwanet van Lubek

Want to study business in idyllic St. Gallen, Switzerland, with an experienced cohort of 40-50 classmates from around 30 countries? The school prides itself in its individual support and strong relationships with corporates in banking, pharmaceuticals, FMCG and luxury good industries. Nearly 50% of graduates made a “triple transformation” and switched geography, industry and function. Listen on for the inside scoop as Darren interviews Zwanet Van Lubek, Head of Marketing and Recruiting, Careers and Corporates, about the program.

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