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Category Archives: Touch MBA Podcast

#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!

#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.

#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

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!

#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!

#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”

Sachin Tipnis, Executive Director of MBA Programmes at HKU

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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#48 Inside UCLA Anderson as a Non-Traditional Candidate with Mark Zee ’14

My good friend Mark Zee, a second year student at Anderson, joined the show to discuss his experience at UCLA. Mark is truly a non-traditional candidate, graduating from Princeton University in 2003, acting in Asia for 6 years, starting an import/export business in Singapore, and then working in educational consulting and finance in Houston, Texas before applying to business school in 2012. Mark shares how he tied all this experience together – and linked them to congruent career goals – in only a few essays.

#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 York 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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#26 Inside the INSEAD MBA with Viet Le Quoc ’13

What is it really like to be an MBA student at INSEAD?

The best way to learn about a school is to talk to students and alumni. For those of you who don’t know anyone from INSEAD, this conversation may be the next best thing.

#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.

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