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Do you feel like your MBA story is a bit bland? Or uninspiring compared to the applicant profiles you see online? What if you haven’t overcome insurmountable odds or accomplished something amazing?
Darren explores the possibilities of kishōtenketsu – a four act story structure used by Japanese and Chinese writers for centuries. What makes this story structure interesting is that it relies on contrast – not conflict – to generate interest.
Listen on for ways you can use this Eastern story structure to keep admissions officers’ attention AND demonstrate your self-awareness.
Darren shares “three P’s” you can use to clarify the value of your accomplishments in your resume and MBA application. Doing so will paint a clear picture of your performance for MBA admissions officers and employers.
In 2017, US applicants made up 4% of candidates to European MBA programs and 2% of candidates to Asian MBA programs (versus nearly 70% to US MBA programs). What do you need to know about getting a top-ranked MBA abroad? Eddy Zakes shares why he chose to uproot his young family to pursue his MBA at IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, as well as the pros and cons of his experience. Darren also asks Eddy – currently the Director of the Center of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at IESE – about how business schools can help aspiring entrepreneurs and how you can assess your target schools’ entrepreneurship offerings.
Your resume is often what MBA admissions officers first see, and frames how they view the rest of your profile. Follow this checklist of CV ‘do’s and don’ts’ to make make a strong first impression and set the stage for a successful application.
Guest Host Sabaina Kamara, Michigan Ross MBA ’19, invites her friend and classmate Kashay Sanders to share her experience as a first year MBA student at the Ross School of Business. Listen to get a real-time, inside look into the “MBA1” experience at a top b-school like Ross.
How does MBA recruiting at top entertainment companies work? Darren invites Mark Zee, UCLA Anderson MBA ’14, to share his experience working for 20th Century Fox & Disney, where he is Director of Pay TV & Digital Sales.
How can MBA applicants show evidence of quantitative skills outside of their university GPA and GMAT? Do top b-schools accept online courses like Coursera? Admissions Directors from Cornell Johnson, IMD and CEIBS share their thoughts.
Could this be the only book you need to prepare for your MBA interviews?
Inspired by Dale Carnegie’s classic book, The Quick & Easy Way to Effective Speaking, Darren shares a simple 3-part framework to help you choose your best ‘material’ for your MBA interviews.
What do you need to know about MBA recruiting for top Consumer Package Goods (CPG) companies? Darren invites Ana Archbold, Michigan Ross MBA ’07, to share her experience working for companies like Kraft Foods, Unilever, and Johnson & Johnson, where she is currently a Senior Marketing Director for Neutrogena. Darren and Ana pay special attention to the recruiting process and what applicants can do to maximize their chances of landing internships and jobs. Ana also shares her thoughts on working internationally after getting a top US MBA.
What do MBA applicants need to know about MBA careers in brand management?
Darren invites Michael Schwartz, NYU Stern MBA ’16, to share his thoughts after working in brand management for companies like Philips, Unilever, and Heineken, where he is currently a Brand Director for the Amstel beer line. Michael also shares his thoughts on the part-time MBA experience.
Massine Bouzerar, a 25-year old Canadian, was backpacking through Myanmar in July when he realized he wanted to start his MBA asap. First round deadlines were looming in September. Within 3 months he wrote the GMAT and submitted a successful application to Insead. What should you do when your back is against the wall? Massine shares his experience and what he did to get accepted to one of the world’s top MBA programs: Insead.
Written by Molly Ellison. Photo courtesy of Christiaan Colen via Flickr. What began with a few computer wizzes in garages and dorm rooms has grown into one of the world’s largest – and most pervasive – industries. The technology sector, led by Silicon Valley evangelists and the like, has transformed the way we do nearly everything. So, it’s no surprise that as the industry’s employment numbers continue to boom top b-schools are sending grads to companies like Amazon and Google in […]
Written by Molly Ellison. Photo courtesy of Jondaar_1 via Flickr. Do you want to climb to the top of a petroleum giant like Shell? Or, maybe you’re more interested in the large scale distribution of renewable energy? Either way, getting an MBA will set you apart from the crowd in the energy industry. Whether you want to land in the plains of energy-rich Texas or the innovative Bay Area, top programs in the U.S. and Canada offer students strong academic […]
Do you dream of calling the shots at a Hollywood movie studio? Or taking the helm at a media empire in the Big Apple? Getting a specialized MBA will give you a strong business foundation and network to help you break into the exclusive entertainment and media industries. Read on for more about top MBA programs to launch your career in show business.
Looking for a booming industry that’s in need of talented MBA grads? Then pursuing a career in healthcare – and getting a specialized MBA to kick-start your journey – may be your answer. Read on for more on some of the best b-schools that will prep you for a career in America’s fastest growing sector.
When should you use an MBA admissions consultant? How can you get the most value? What should you look for when hiring one? As a former MBA Admissions Director and Admissions Consultant, Darren shares his thoughts.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
How can you make a memorable impression on MBA Admissions Officers at MBA recruiting events? Drawing on his experience recruiting at MBA Tours and information sessions, Darren shares his best tips for how you can stand out.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We’ve helped over 1,000 MBA applicants from 50 countries shortlist MBA programs. Follow these 4 steps to find business schools that fit you best.
To celebrate the 100th episode of the Touch MBA Podcast, we invited our 9 most popular guests to answer 1 question: “What 1 Action Can Candidates Take to Dramatically Improve Their Application?”
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!
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.
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.
Emma Fisher, NYU Stern MBA ’15, shares what international MBA students must know about working in the US during and after their US MBA. Emma and Darren walk through the common visa path for most international students – from F1 student visa to OPT/CPT to H1B. Emma also shares ways international students can maximize their chances of working in the US post-MBA.
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!
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!
Darren shares 3 overlooked aspects of the MBA experience after going through CEIBS Pre-MBA Bootcamp, an intense 5-day immersion in Shanghai, China.
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.
Yuan Lee Chung, HKUST MBA ’15, discusses why she got her MBA in Asia and the benefits and challenges of attending a top Asian business school. Yuan Lee studied at Columbia for one-term and shares her thoughts on how Asian and US programs compare.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Many of our podcast listeners come to Touch MBA to get free school selection help. One of them, Li Daming, recently got into Northwestern Kellogg, Insead, Michigan Ross, Duke Fuqua and Cornell Johnson with scholarship funding. How did he do it?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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!)? […]