Category Archives: Uncategorized

Getting Out of the Classroom: New Spaces for B-Schools

There’s a good story in a recent edition of the Independent that discusses Ashcroft International Business School’s new campus building in Cambridge (which just opened this month,) and why it’s important for new students starting there in September.

Significantly, the new building, the design of which is based on smaller lecture locations and more informal spaces, emphasizes an increased shift to dispersed group learning. Steven Wilson, the school’s head of learning and teaching development, told the Independent that the new addition is representative of a larger change in teaching philosophy, and that:

“These days, there is far more emphasis on team working and individual project work. Students told us they wanted a large area set aside for collaborative working where they wouldn’t need to worry about disturbing others. It’s all about getting the best out of the available space.”

Indeed, recently, a number of business schools have been changing up their campuses and adding new buildings to replace old ones. What’s interesting is that beyond the whiz-bang of added new technology (of which there is plenty,) many of the new designs are reflecting shifting philosophies, not just in how business is taught, but how it is conducted in the real world.

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Gender Diversity at Top MBA Programs

In a recent story in the Independent, Diane Morgan, the associate dean of the  London Business School, said that she hopes to recruit more women in this year’s MBA recruitment process – so that women represent 30% of the total intake. While the increase is somewhat marginal (LBS’ percentage of women students is currently at 28%,) Morgan’s announcement does reflect a larger trend where business schools are beginning to appreciate the idea of gender diversity, and taking proactive steps to equalize the playing field.

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FIND MBA Goes Social!

We don’t often post stuff about ourselves, but we have a few exciting things to announce:

First of all, the official FIND MBA Twitter channel is up and running! So now you can be the first to know about our MBA news updates and commentary. Follow us here.

Secondly, the FIND MBA Facebook page is also online. We’re just getting this started, but you can connect with us and other prospective MBA students there. We will be adding new, unique content here soon, so stay tuned.

Finally, we’ve upgraded the community tools on FIND MBA. We built the MBA AppTracker so that registered users can share their application status for the MBA programs they are applying to. It also lets you see how other users are doing in the application process: Who else is interested in the same program? Who else has applied? Who has received an admissions decision already?

Check it out. AppTracker is a tab in every users’ account (“My Account“).

Original penguin photo: Stan Shebs / Creative Commons

Interview: John Mooney at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business

John Mooney

John Mooney

Part-time MBA programs can offer flexibility and value for working professionals. John Mooney, associate dean and professor at Pepperdine’s Academic Programs for Working Professionals, says that the benefits don’t stop there.

What are some of the advantages of part-time MBA programs?

For one thing, it’s a far more immediate learning. Theories of learning have recognized for many years that the quality of learning improves dramatically when you move beyond passively consuming new knowledge and are able to apply it immediately. And that’s the big advantage for working professionals.

The other big issue about MBA programs for learning professionals is the affordability issue. If you’re going to do a full-time MBA program, it means that you have to make a conscious decision to stop working. And that implies a loss of income for the duration of that program.

And with part-time programs, students also get to continue progressing in their career. Many of our students tend to get promoted before they finish, and that’s a clever strategy on the part of employers because as an employer, you don’t want  somebody to finish their MBA and then decide they want to go somewhere else.

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Interview: Rachel Killian at Warwick Business School

Rachel Killian

Online MBA programs can provide more flexibility than classroom based programs. But how does the actual experience compare? We asked Rachel Killian, the Marketing and Recruiting Manager at Warwick Business School.

What are the benefits of a distance learning program over a class-based one?

There are two main reasons why people would choose a distance learning program over a class-based program. The first of which is the cost, because typically a distance learning program is likely to be more affordable – particularly if people are looking for a part-time program but are not getting any corporate sponsorship or funding from their employer. And we have seen a fall in the last 12 or 18 months of the number of corporations that are able to sponsor students’ MBAs. For those people who are not getting funding, then a distance learning MBA is an affordable option. The second reason is that it gives students more flexibility in fitting their studies around their professional lives, but also if they have family as well, their family life. Because for us, the average age of our distance learning MBA students is about 34 or 35; and that’s a time of life where people are quite busy, so I do think that it gives people more flexibility.

They can study when they want, when it suits them, and when they can fit it in.

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Student Interview: Thomas Pan at Tsinghua University

Thomas Pan is currently studying for his MBA at China’s Tsinghua University. We asked him about the program and what it’s like living in China.

Where are you from originally?

I was born in Hong Kong but I have paternal roots in Suzhou, just outside of Shanghai. At the age of one, I moved to the United Kingdom, where I spent most of my formative years. I also spent some time living in London, Hong Kong and Singapore before heading over to California for my undergrad degree.

Why did you choose Tsinghua University?

After graduating, I worked in London and Hong Kong before settling in New York City. I actually started my US applications in 2007 but was concerned about my future in the US as a non-American, not to mention it was still a good time to keep working back then. When the time came for me to reevaluate an MBA in 2008, I realized two things: firstly, that I needed to differentiate myself from the growing number of MBA graduates in the US and secondly, that anyone willing to do an MBA in the US is probably in a prime position to take a little risk in life. With this epiphany, I hopped on a plane to China and took a look around Beijing and Shanghai, then settled on investing my future with Tsinghua University.

It’s true that CEIBS is sitting pretty with its respectable FT ranking and Peking University arguably has a more established international name than Tsinghua. However, the experience that impresses me the most about Tsinghua is the power of its brand name within China. Upon hearing the words Tsinghua University, local Chinese almost invariably confer upon you a degree of admiration and respect I’ve seldom observed anywhere else in the world. This attitude is likely driven by Tsinghua’s mainstream representation in China’s economic development and political leadership. Next, take a look at Tsinghua’s advisory board and you’ll find a list of business leaders that’ll make your jaw drop. To me, this is allure. This is what tells me I’m looking at the right place. If you’re going to throw yourself voluntarily into the dragon’s den, you’d better take the sharpest blades in there with you.

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Student Interview: Biswajit Das at Queen’s University

Baswajit Das

Why an MBA in Canada? We asked Biswajit Das,  who in 2007 received his MBA from the Queen’s University in Ontario.

Why did you choose an MBA program in Canada?

I was looking for an MBA program that would compliment my science and technology background, provide me a sound understanding of business and help me attain my goals. From the economic point of view, I was looking for an education that would be for a year (and not a two-year program). I checked the U.S. B-Schools and the good ones were all two-year programs. There were European schools but they were expensive. Moreover, I wanted an MBA from a North American School. I had admission to some of the best Indian B-Schools but I am of the belief that I wanted to be a global manager in the flat world –someone who has the ability to accept and deal with diversity in the word. Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world and became my obvious choice

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Student Interview: Armen A. Avakian at CEU

Armen A. Avakian

Where are you from?

I was born in Iran, and then I was raised in the States, in Boston, and then we moved to Armenia. I’m Armenian, so I’m coming to Budapest from Armenia.

Why did you decide to come to Budapest for your MBA?

I wanted to do an MBA – that was for sure, so I was looking around. Why I chose the States first was my initial reaction was that I could get a student loan in the States because I’m a citizen. It would have been easier for me. My parents have a house there, so we have a mortgage, we have credit, my parent’s credit rating is great, so that type of thing. But then when I found CEU, it just kind of fit in. And it’s in Europe, and also CEU had this new transnational leader program that was launched last year actually, we’re the first year to do it. And that fit perfectly into what I was thinking at the moment, that business isn’t just business anymore, especially in Europe and Eastern Europe, and emerging regions, business is more global. There’s politics involved, there’s ethics involved, there’s different issues involved that American MBAs don’t really hit on very much.

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Why B-Schools Require Work Experience (It’s for Your Own Good)

I caught the QS World MBA Tour last night in Berlin. There were a number of business school reps there, so I thought it might be a good opportunity to ask them something that’s on the minds of many in the FIND MBA community these days – applications and qualifications.

One of the questions that keeps coming up in our discussion board each year is “Why do I need work experience in order to get into business school?”

So, I asked around. Here’s what they said:

Marc Endrigat, Pepperdine University (Graziadio)
“If you don’t have any work experience, you’re not going to get as much out of the program. Until a couple of years ago, we used to not require work experience, but then the students and the professors said that the people who are in the program without work experience cannot contribute in the classroom, and they don’t get as much out of the classroom. If they don’t have any experience that they can relate the theories to, they’re not going to learn.”

“The work experience that someone brings into the program is usually going to be the biggest asset on their application…I would say that the quality and amount of work experience can supercede a lower GMAT score.”

Melissa Jones, INSEAD
“At INSEAD, you need a minimum of 2 years of work experience to get admitted to the program. The average of our students is 6 years. We just feel that bringing that experience to the classroom can bring so much more value than coming straight out of an undergrad. When you’re in the classroom, 50 percent of the learning comes from the professor and the other half comes from all your peers. So, if you have that experience, that’s when the learning really takes place.”

Spencer Altman, Alumni, HEC Paris
“It’s actually for everyone in the program, including the person who is applying … With all of the subjects that you cover in an MBA, it’s important – with 4, 5, 6, or in some cases 8 years (of work experience) – to be an expert in at least one of those subjects as some sort of reference point to apply to the rest. So, if you’re an accountant, to at least be able to say, okay, I know this.”

Hanne Jeppesen, Open University
“This is the leadership level, so you need to the actual experience to apply what we are teaching. If you go into a full-time MBA straight after university, you have no experience to apply it to, and you’ll come out at the end of it knowing all the theory about how to be a good manager and how to be a leader, but have no grip on about how to apply it to real life. When you learn theory, it’s important to have some idea in terms of how it applies to a real-life situation. You’ll be an expert on the theory of management, but you won’t be a manager.”

Photo: Annie Mole / Creative Commons