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Category Archives: Great Applications

6 MBA Programs to Launch Your Career in Social Impact

Top MBA Programs for Careers in Social Impact

There are hundreds of strong MBA programs around the world that say they can help you launch your career in social impact. We’re here to help you sift through the rankings and industry jargon to find the right fit for you. We’ve identified six standout b-schools that complement their strong curricula with robust co-curricular opportunities in order to expose students to the social impact, social entrepreneurship, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) industries.

#122 Breaking into Data and Business Analytics (as an MBA)

Shane Rai, Co-Founder of TenPoint7

What do MBA applicants need to know about MBA careers in data and business analytics?

Darren Shane Rai, Co-Founder of TenPoint7, to share his experience breaking into data and business analytics and as a recruiter in the industry.

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!

#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!

#113 Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t

Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t by Steven Pressfield

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

Top 7 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.

#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, 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.

#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.

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

Jeff Kavanaugh, Author of Consultant 2.0

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 of VincePrep

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!

#96 Career Tips for Spain MBAs with Amber Wigmore Alvarez

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

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?

Rakugo, Traditional Japanese Storytelling

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!

#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!

#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.

#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.

#81 How to Make Better Choices When Selecting MBA Programs

How to Choose the Right MBA Programs for You

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!

#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.

#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.

#56 The Value of an MBA with Prof. Franz Heukamp, IESE

Professor Franz Heukamp IESE MBA

Here at Touch MBA we help you find your best-fit business schools. But what about getting an MBA in the first place? How can it help you? Do you need an MBA to become an entrepreneur? What should you consider when choosing between 1 and 2 year programs? And will the MBA be as valuable in the future?

I sat down with Prof. Franz Heukamp, Associate Dean of MBA Programs at IESE, to get his thoughts on these very important questions.

#53 A Quick Guide to Researching School Strengths

The MBA Physical

What’s the best MBA program for supply chain management? Or entrepreneurship? Or marketing? In this episode, Darren gives a 3-step framework for quickly and effectively researching a school’s academic strengths – “The MBA Physical.”

#52 How Adcoms Rate Your Career Goals

mba career goals

Hundreds of applicants have come to Touch MBA to get profile assessments and find their best fit schools. One of the most common problems we see is weak career goals.

Career goals are important – and necessary – for you to figure out your best fit schools AND to improve your chances of acceptance. In this episode, Darren covers 5 ways adcoms evaluate your career goals so you can make yours bulletproof.

Learning From Lebron: 4 Ways to Write All-Star Essays

Today Lebron James announced he is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Being a lifelong basketball fan, I was floored by his announcement. Being a former Admissions Director, I was more impressed by his “essay.”

B-school applicants can learn a lot from how this piece is constructed. Here are 4 techniques you can learn from Lebron to make your MBA essays more powerful:

#51 Stalking the Story for Your MBA Essays

Jon Franklin - Writing for Story

Who better to learn storytelling from than a two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner for dramatic nonfiction?

This week Darren uses Jon Franklin’s Writing for Story as guidance for “stalking the story” and writing MBA essays that grip and reveal. Franklin pioneered the narrative nonfiction genre, and his book is full of gems for applicants struggling with their essays.

After listening to this episode, you’ll know whether you are a) telling your best stories and b) writing your essays in the most compelling way possible.

#47 Great Applications for Business School with Paul Bodine

How would you like to grab coffee with one of the world’s most experienced MBA admissions consultants and pick his brain on what makes a successful application?

This week I asked Paul Bodine, author of Great Applications for Business School, and owner of Paul Bodine Admissions Consulting, about his best advice to clients and admissions trends. Paul has helped hundreds of candidates since 1997 get into the likes of Harvard, Stanford and Wharton. This is a conversation you don’t want to miss!

#46 Steve Dalton’s The 2 Hour Job Search: The 80/20 Formula to Target Employers & Secure First Interviews

Are you struggling with post-MBA career goals in your application? Top business schools are looking for well-researched and realistic career goals. But exactly how can you do this? Especially when you’re strapped for time?

Steve Dalton, Senior Associate Director of the Career Management Center at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and author of the 2 Hour Job Search, joined the show this week to share his systematic formula to efficiently and effectively target potential employers and secure the first interview.

#40 MBA Application Tips for Younger Candidates

Kobe Bryant in High School

How can younger candidates compensate for their lack of experience? What are admissions committees looking for in younger candidates? Darren covers 5 tips to show you belong and will be a valued member of your MBA class.

#38 Is an MBA Worth it? MBA Arbitrage & Negotiating Up

Is it worth it to get an MBA if it’s not Harvard, Stanford or Wharton? Many candidates don’t think so. In this episode Darren talks about 5 arbitrages that exist in the MBA world. If you know what’s important to you, you can still “negotiate up” and get a great educational and life experience at many top MBA programs outside the top 3.

#32 How to Tell Your Best Story with John Kaaiohelo

John Kaaiohelo

Having trouble figuring out what to write about in your essays? Or how to tell your best story?

If so listen to every minute of this episode.

This week my good friend John Kaaiohelo joined the show to deconstruct how to tell a story that’s memorable and authentic. John’s a master at crafting successful applications, having gotten into Philips Exeter Academy, Princeton University and Harvard University on full-ride scholarships. John is currently writing his first novel.

#30 How to Improve Your Chances of Getting In

Over the past 6 months, I’ve had over 20 MBA Admissions Directors on the Touch MBA Podcast. I’ve asked all of them, “What would you advise candidates to improve their chances of admissions?”

This is what they told me.

Here are 10 actionable tips you can use right away to boost your admissions and scholarship chances at your target business schools.

#16 How to Demonstrate “Leadership Potential”

Darren discusses 3 ways to show “leadership potential” even if you are short on work and management experience. Listen on for specific and actionable ways you can show adcoms you have this crucial quality in your application.

Get Into a Top MBA! Talk in Ho Chi Minh

On March 2-3, I spoke to 30 students and recent graduates in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam about what top MBA programs are looking for and how they can prepare for the MBA application process now.

My main point was, “Ask not what an MBA program can do for you, but what you can do for your MBA program.”

#6: 7 Deadly Sins of MBA Resumes

Your resume is often the first part of your application that MBA admissions officers see. Yet most candidates spend way more time preparing their essays. Avoid these “7 deadly sins” to make a strong first impression with your resume. The 7 deadly sins: 1. Too long 2. Hard on the eyes 3. Emphasizes the wrong thing(s) 4. It’s a job resume (not an MBA resume) 5. No evidence of impact 6. Lack of context for employers and accomplishments 7. No […]

#5: Ace Your Interview by Answering the “Questions Behind the Questions”

With the MBA interviewing season fast upon us, Darren discusses the 4 “questions behind the questions” that admissions officers really want to know. If you can prepare compelling responses to these key questions, you stand a good shot of making the final cut. Listen on for more insider tips and techniques to ace your interview. The questions behind the questions: 1. Why are you here? 2. What can you do for us? 3. What makes you unique (from other candidates […]

#4: 4 Ways to Get and Keep the Adcom’s Attention

Capturing your reader’s attention is the most important goal of your MBA application. You want the admissions officer to remember you after reading 20 applications that day. The longer you can keep his or her attention (in the right way!), the better your chances are of landing an interview. In this episode, we take the core principles from Oren Klaff’s Pitch Anything, and discuss 4 ways you can get and keep attention in your application. The primal “croc brain” that […]

#3 6 Ways to Make Your MBA Application Stick

In this episode, we take the core principles from the marketing classic Made to Stick, and discuss how to use them to create a memorable MBA application. Your MBA application is a “movie preview” of what’s to come – a pitch for your candidacy. Imagine an admissions officer reading hundreds of applications. How can you get this gatekeeper to pay attention, remember you, believe you, care about you, and act on your application in a positive way (we must interview her!)? […]

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