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#164 Inside the Virginia Darden MBA with Tawan (Tina) Suvapatrachai ’18

Tawan (Tina) Suvapatrachai shares her MBA journey from Bangkok to Virginia Darden and then back to Thailand to do strategy for Samsung. Like many international applicants, Tina didn’t have the chance to visit her four target US business schools. How did she research schools and find her best fit? Why did she choose Darden and what did she take from her Darden MBA experience?

#163 How I Got into Harvard Business School with Graciela Brewer

As a UX Designer and mother in Kansas City with no MBA network, Graciela Brewer wasn’t sure if she “had a sliver of a chance” at her targets: HBS, MIT Sloan, NYU Stern and Cornell Tech. Four months later, she got into all four programs. In this episode, Grace shares how she shortlisted schools, submitted her strongest resume, essays, and recommendations, and stayed sane during a stressful application process.

#161 The Evolving Professional MBA with Chris Healy

Do you have to quit your job to get your MBA? Darren invites Chris Healy from Alliance Manchester Business school to share how the part-time / professional MBA has evolved with new technology and student and employer demands. If you’re unsure about getting an online, blended, part-time or Executive MBA, you’ll get key insights from this episode.

#159 What’s Up with the HKU MBA?

Sachin Tipnis, Senior Executive Director of HKU’s MBA, EMBA & 6 specialized Masters programs discusses the Hong Kong protests, curriculum changes, admissions, and picking the right Masters program for your career goals.

#158 Quantless in Cornell with Gregory Wool, Cornell Johnson MBA ’21

Gregory Wool, Cornell Johnson MBA ’21, scored below average on the quantitative section of the GMAT. How did he overcome this score to not only get into Cornell Johnson, but win a prestigious tuition free scholarship? Gregory also shares his experience surviving a packed first semester, leading the student consulting club, and recruiting into strategy consulting.

#156 Three Questions to Ask Before You Make a Career Move with Gary Lo

Gary Lo, Managing Director of Glo Consulting and former Head of Marketing & Admissions for the HKUST MBA, shares three questions to ask before you make a career move – MBA included. Aside from working for 10 different companies in 7 industries, Gary has counseled hundreds of MBAs and professionals as a career coach, so don’t miss this episode if you’re thinking about making a career move.

Rankings Don’t Matter. Go Where You’ll Find the Conversations You Want to Have

The lifelong benefits I’m getting from this MBA have nothing to do with rankings; they’re the conversations you have, the people you meet, and the perspectives that change. I’ve learned so much in the way of soft skills by learning from my classmates; so really, when you visit schools, pay attention to the school culture and read between the lines.

#152 Kishōtenketsu

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.

#150 Behind the Scenes of an MBA Employment Report

Darren invites Susan Bertulli, Director, MBA Career Management at Ivey Business School at Western University to discuss MBA employment reports. First, why and how are MBA employment reports produced? Then, what should you look for? Which employment figures and statistics matter? How can you use them to shortlist b-schools and plan your career?

#146 The Three Ps of Performance

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.

The World’s Most Attractive Employers

In our country guides, we see how many of the Top 25 companies recruit at each MBA program and give a score out of 25. For example, all things considered, a school with a 15/25 score probably has a better reputation with well-known multinationals than a school with a 5/25 score. 

#144 The Pros and Cons of Doing an MBA Outside the US + Assessing a School’s Entrepreneurship Offering with Eddy Zakes, IESE MBA ’17

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.

#141 The Mindset to Make a “3D” Career Change – From Wastewater Engineer to Luxury Brand Manager with Laura Pan, SDA Bocconi MBA ’18

Are you pursuing an MBA to make a “3 dimensional” (3D) jump into a new geography, function and industry? Laura Pan, an Australian attending the full-time SDA Bocconi MBA in Milan, Italy, shares how she went from a wastewater treatment engineer to luxury brand manager, her dream job. Laura shares what it’s like to study in Italy, as well as the mindset necessary to capitalize on opportunities as an MBA student. Laura also opines on the myth and reality of attending a business school outside the top 10.

#139 Breaking into Energy & Sustainability (as an MBA)

How can you break into the energy industry as an MBA? Vince Faherty, London Business School MBA ’10, shares his experience working in the energy industry for over 10 years. Vince is currently working for Google as Head of Northeast & Midwest Energy Partnerships.

#138 MBA Resume Do’s and Don’ts (Plus Templates!)

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.

#134 Successful MBAs, Leadership & High Performing Teams with Prof. Randall S Peterson of LBS

Guest Host and London Business School (LBS) MBA Mathias Keller invites Dr. Randall S. Peterson, Professor of Organisational Behaviour and the Academic Director of the Leadership Institute at LBS, to share his thoughts on successful MBA students, how to develop leadership skills, and how to build high performing teams. Don’t miss this first guest hosted episode and sample leadership lessons you’d learn at one of the world’s top business schools.

#131 The Quick & Easy Way to Effective MBA Interviewing

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. 

#130 Breaking into CPG (Consumer Package Goods) as an MBA

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.

#129 Breaking into Brand Management (as an 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.

#128 How I Got Into Insead

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. 

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

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!

#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.

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