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Category Archives: MBA Admissions Director Q&A

#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.

#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.

#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.

#90 Boston University Questrom MBA Admissions Interview with Dana Dubovik

Dana Dubovik Boston College Carroll MBA

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

Ashley Lautzenheiser Washington Olin MBA

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.

#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.

#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.

#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!

#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

Leigh Gauthier - University of Toronto Rotman School of Management

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”

Dr. Zhao Longkhai Guanghua MBA

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”

Orla Nugent UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School MBA

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”

Simon MBA Rebekah Lewin

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.

#50 Vanderbilt MBA Admissions Q&A with Christie St-John

Vanderbilt MBA Christie St-John

Christie St-John, Director of Admissions, Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University, joined the show to discuss the Vanderbilt MBA. The program is focused on giving students a high-touch and flexible education that will prepare them well for internships and job placement success.

Owen is focused on attracting the best students and award 70% of their students with scholarship funding based on merit. Christie makes it very clear that school takes a counseling approach in order to admit students who will succeed – and the school’s rising rankings and excellent job placement stats attest that her team has done so.

#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.

#45 IE-SMU MBA Admissions Chat with Gregor Halff & Lieven Demeester

SMU MBA Gregor Halff

Most of the top-ranked business schools in Asia are in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai. But what if you can’t afford to leave your job or city to pursue your MBA? IE Business School and Singapore Management University (SMU) have launched a 10-month blended MBA, which combines residential segments in Singapore and Madrid with weekly online classes and discussions. Can you get the same benefits of a traditional MBA in the blended format?

#44 MBA Jobs in Hong Kong & China with CUHK Career Services Director Marjorie Chang

Hong Kong MBA Jobs

This week I sat down with Marjorie Chan, Director of CUHK’s Career Management Centre, to separate fact from fiction. Do MBAs really have more opportunities in Asia? How can international students best prepare themselves for successful careers in Hong Kong and China (and Singapore)? And what are multinational and local employers looking for in candidates? Listen on to get an “on the ground” picture of the job market in Hong Kong and China. You’ll also get insight into how MBA admissions evaluates your post-MBA career goals.

#42 Schulich MBA Admissions Q&A with Praveen Muruganandan

Did you know MBA candidates preferring to study in Canada have tripled in the past 4 years? With schools like Schulich and open immigration policies, it’s easy to see why.

Mr. Praveen Muruganandan, Director of Admissions and Recruitment at Schulich School of Business, joined the show to share more about the Schulich MBA, located in Toronto, Canada. Praveen got his MBA from Schulich in 2007.

#41 Manchester Business School MBA Admissions Talk with Elaine Ferneley “Our program is practice-based”

Professor Elaine Ferneley, MBA Director at Manchester Business School, joined the show to share more about the Manchester MBA, located in Manchester, UK.

They don’t call it “practice-based” for nothing. Manchester MBAs are required to do 3 live consultancy projects – requiring over 600 client facing hours – over the 18 month program. This way all students get substantial experience working for big name companies before they graduate – and many end up with jobs at these organizations.

#39 Waseda MBA Admissions Q&A with Professor Reiji Ohtaki

Professor Reiji Ohtaki, Program Director of the Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA, joined the show to talk about Waseda’s International MBA Program located in Tokyo, Japan. Professor Ohtaki runs the career management center and has held many senior leadership positions for Hay and Mercer Consulting in Asia Pacific, so he’s a great person to talk to about MBAs and careers in Japan.

#37 IESE MBA Admissions Q&A with Anjaney Borwankar “We’re a mission driven organization”

Can an MBA really develop “global leaders you can trust?” This week I sat down with Anjaney Borwankar, Director of Corporate Develpment, SE Asia, to discuss how IESE MBA strives to fulfill this mission through its global makeup and case-study pedagogy.

Anjan is an IESE MBA alumni, and plays an active role on the program’s Admissions Committee and Career Services teams. We had an illuminating discussion about what makes IESE unique, the admissions process, and why candidates should see the IESE MBA as a launching pad for a global career – not just one in Spain. You’ll get some great tips here on what the school is looking for. Hint: it’s not the GMAT.

#35 Cornell Johnson MBA Admissions Q&A with Christine Sneva “Join our club”

I started this podcast to have open conversations with Admissions Directors so you could get a good feel for not only the bschool, but also for the people evaluating your application. Many see admissions at top bschools as a black box, and I’m trying to tear those walls down.

This week I had such a chat with Christine Sneva, who is Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid of MBA Programs at Cornell Johnson. Christine is one of the most enthusiastic guests I’ve had on the show. And she really opens up on what makes Johnson special and how her team looks at applications. You can really go behind the scenes of Cornell’s admissions process in this episode.

#34 Melbourne Business School MBA Admissions Q&A with Edward Cook

Mr. Edward Cook, Director, MBA Programs, Melbourne Business School joins the show this week to talk about one of Australia’s top ranked MBA programs and how to get in. We also discuss how employers view MBAs in Australia and the benefits of being part of a small (50-60 student) but very international cohort.

#33 ESMT MBA Admissions Q&A with Jolene Monson

Jolene Monson ESMT

Listen on for the insider’s scoop as Jolene Monson, Marketing Manager of Degree Programs at ESMT, and I discuss the value (and reputation) of MBAs in Germany, job opportunities for international MBA students in Germany, and how to get into ESMT.

#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.

#29 Warwick Business School MBA Admissions Q&A with Dr. Michael Shulver

Joining the show this week is Dr. Michael Shulver, Assistant Dean of Generalist Masters Programmes at Warwick University in the UK. Michael was formerly an engineer in the Royal Air Force before getting his MBA and PhD from Warwick.

Michael is a straight shooter and offers a truly insider’s perspective on how admissions selects candidates and awards scholarships. As a faculty member, he also shares a lot of insight into Warwick’s academic offerings.

#25 “It’s Such an Entrepreneurial Place” – MIT Sloan MBA Admissions Q&A with Mr. Jeffrey Carbone

If you were studying business at one of the world’s greatest research institutions, and had to pick 75% of your classes and activities, what would you do?

Mr. Jeffrey Carbone, Associate Director of Admissions at MIT Sloan School of Management, started our conversation with “we’re not just an MBA program…” and after you listen to this episode, you’ll understand why.

#24 (Part 1) “A Whole New Look at Business” – Hitotsubashi ICS MBA Program Q&A with Dr. Yoshinori Fujikawa

This week I spoke with Dr. Yoshinori Fujikawa, Associate Professor of International Business Strategy and Faculty Director of the Hitotsubashi University ICS MBA program. We had a great in-depth discussion about Hitotsubashi ICS’s “best of 2 worlds” pedagogy – combining the best of East & West, practice & theory, global & local, business & society, and cooperation & competition – as well as career prospects for MBAs in Japan.

#23 ISB MBA Admissions Q&A with Mr. A M Kannan ISB MBA

This week I spoke with Mr. A M Kannan about the ISB PGP. Kannan worked in ISB’s Career Advancement Services department for 3 years before spending his last 4 years as Director of Admissions and Financial Aid.

The business world is changing, and the Indian School of Business (ISB) is at the forefront of this change, with its focus on business in India and emerging markets.

#20 “Learn How to Lead in Any Industry” – University of Virginia Darden MBA Admissions Q&A with Ms. Katherine Alford

Sometimes MBA candidates forget how critical faculty are to a great MBA experience. Well, how would you like to have the USA’s top ranked faculty leading you through over 600 case studies? And these faculty having an “open door policy” so you could access them at any time?

Ms. Katherine Alford, Associate Director of Admissions, University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, joined the show to share more about the Darden’s 3 distinguishing factors: its near exclusive use of the case-study method to teach, its top ranked faculty, and its collaborative student community.

#19 “An elite, intimate, collaborative MBA” – ESADE MBA Admissions Q&A with Mr. Keegan Pierce

Mr. Keegan Pierce, Associate Director of International Admissions, ESADE Business School, joined the show to share more about the ESADE MBA, located in beautiful Barcelona, Spain. Keegan graduated from the Full-time program in 2011 so he has firsthand experience with ESADE’s intimate size (max 180 students/intake) and culture of collaboration (over 80% of coursework is done in a team setting). The program is uniquely flexible: students can finish the MBA in 12, 15, or 18 months.

#18 “Be a leader of consequence” – Duke MBA Admissions Q&A with Ms. Megan Overbay

Ms. Megan Overbay, Director of Admissions, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, joined the show to share more about the Duke Daytime MBA (22 months), located in Durham, North Carolina, and Cross Continent MBA (16 months).

Megan and I had a great discussion on many of the programs’ finer points which should give you a good feel for the school. Listen on for much more…

#17 “Work hard, play hard, go far!” – INSEAD MBA Q&A with Mr. Andrew Bueno

Mr. Andrew Bueno, Assistant Director of Marketing, INSEAD MBA Program, joined the show to share more about the program’s international nature, admissions process, and scholarship and career opportunities. What emerges is a “must-consider” program for those looking to turbo-boost their international exposure and placement opportunities. Listen on for much, much more!

#15 HEC MBA Admissions Q&A with Mr. Philippe Oster

This week I spoke to Mr. Philippe Oster, Communication, Development, and Admissions Director, HEC Paris, who has over 8 years of experience representing top business schools in France. Philippe discusses 3 principles you should look for when applying to MBA programs: the quality of the student body, learning environment and career support.

#14 IE MBA Admissions Q&A with Mr. Dirk Hopfl

This week Mr. Dirk Hopfl, Managing Director, South East Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan at IE Business School, joined the show to talk about the IE MBA, a 13-month program focused on entrepreneurship and change management.

#13 Insider Tips for Applying to INSEAD with Ms. Caroline Diarte Edwards

Applying to INSEAD? Then you must listen to this week’s episode. Caroline Diarte Edwards was Director of Admissions for INSEAD’s MBA program for 7 years, from 2005-2012. She joins the show to talk in depth about INSEAD’s 4 admissions criteria (academic capacity, international capacity, leadership potential, ability to contribute), and what applicants can do if they are weak in any of these areas.

#11 Cambridge MBA Admissions Q&A with Mr. James Barker

This week Mr. James Barker, MBA Admissions Coordinator, Judge Business School, the University of Cambridge, joined the show to talk about the Cambridge MBA, a practical and entrepreneurial program at the heart of one of the world’s leading universities.

#10 CUHK MBA Admissions Q&A with Mr. Lawrence Chan

I recently had a great in-depth discussion with Mr. Lawrence Chan, Director of MBA Marketing & Admissions at Chinese University of Hong Kong, about the CUHK MBA.

Lawrence gives tons of great advice to those considering applying to CUHK and to top MBA programs in general. I especially appreciated his straight talk on how MBA applicants and students should plan their post-MBA careers.

#9: AIM MBA Admissions Q&A with Dean Ricardo Lim

Dr. Ricardo Lim, Dean of Asian Institute of Management, joined the Touch MBA podcast to discuss the AIM MBA, one of the longest running MBA programs in Asia. Founded in 1968 with the assistance of Harvard Business School, AIM was the first b-school in SE Asia to be accredited by AACSB, and its pedagogy is centered on the case-study method.

#8 Nanyang (NTU) MBA Admissions Q&A with Mr. Nick Soriano

Mr. Nick Soriano, Director of MBA Marketing & Admissions at Nanyang Technological University, joined the show to discuss the Nanyang MBA’s major curriculum changes (focus on leadership across cultures, Asia business, industry relevance) and format changes (16 months to 12 months) while also giving an insider’s look into the program’s stringent admissions process.

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