Sunday, May 27, 2012

1-week Blog Break: Visiting Shanghai

I will be in Shanghai on vacation for the next week, and will continue blogging on MBA and LLM admissions, as well as other topics, upon my return.

John Couke

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tufts Fletcher and CEIBS to Establish Dual Degree Program

The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA and the China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in China announced they will jointly offer a dual degree offering both a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from Fletcher and an MBA from CEIBS. Students will spend 12 months at CEIBS and then 3 semesters at Fletcher, allowing them to earn both degrees in 2.5 years.

More details are available in this recent posting to the Fletcher School's Admissions News Blog.

John Couke

UNC Kenan-Flagler Releases 2012-13 Application Deadlines

The Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC has announced their application deadlines for the upcoming 2012-13 admissions season.

Deadline 1 *

Application received by: 10/19/2012
Interview completed by: 12/3/2012
Decision release date: 12/10/2012

Deadline 2

Application received by: 12/7/2012
Interview completed by: 1/25/2013
Decision release date: 2/4/2013

Deadline 3

Application received by: 1/11/2013
Interview completed by: 3/11/2013
Decision release date: 3/18/2013

Deadline 4

Application received by: 3/15/2013
Interview completed by: 4/12/2013
Decision release date: 4/29/2013

* Early action deadline.

The admissions office must also receive official GMAT or GRE (if applicable) and TOEFL scores by the application deadline in order to consider your application in that cycle.

As always, please confirm all information directly with the school. Their official admissions site is here.

John Couke

Columbia Business School Releases 2012-13 Application Deadlines

Columbia Business School has released its deadlines for the upcoming 2012-13 admissions season.

Deadlines for August 2013 entry:

Early Decision: 10/3/2012
Merit Fellowship Consideration: 1/9/2013
Regular Decision: 4/10/2013

Deadline for January 2013 entry: 10/3/2012

The school's website notes that "The August entry has two review periods — early decision and regular decision. Because the School uses a rolling admissions process, it is always to your advantage to apply well before the deadline."

As always, please refer to the school's own website for all official information.  

John Couke

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Harvard Business School Deadlines, Essay Topics and new Post-Interview Reflection Essay for Fall 2013 Entry

Harvard Business School has announced their deadlines and essay topics for the upcoming 2012-13 admissions season. It is also adding a new twist to the interview process as well.


The round deadlines are as follows:

Round 1:
Deadline: 9/24/2012
Decision: 12/12/2012

Round 2:
Deadline: 1/7/2013
Decision: 3/27/2013

Round 3:
Deadline: 4/8/2013
Decision: 5/15/2013

Each deadline is 12pm (noon) Boston time.

Please verify all information on the application dates page within the school's official application process pages.


Harvard has in recent years been the first major program to release their essay topics, and they have done so again this year, launching new essay topics:

1. Tell us about something you did well. (400 words)
2. Tell us about something you wish you had done better. (400 words)

Joint degree candidates have a third essay:
How do you expect the joint degree experience to benefit you on both a professional and a personal level? (400 words)

These essays are challenging, so for applicants to multiple programs HBS should not the place to begin the essay writing process. There is also not a lot of space here to go into detail on what makes you special and unique.  Applicants will therefore need to use both essays, combined with the entire application, strategically in order to differentiate themselves. Note as well that the application itself contains three extra places to describe your background, goals and activities:

1. At the start of the employment section, after choosing an intended post-MBA industry and function, applicants must answer "How does pursuing an MBA support your choices above?" within a maximum of 500 characters (including spaces).
2. Within the employment section applicants may describe elements of their work (responsibilities, key accomplishments, most significant challenge for each job in 200 characters each) and within the extra-curricular section they may describe their activities (250 characters each). 
3. The application contains an additional information section (500 characters).

Be sure to check the application directly to confirm all information. 


Finally, the school has added a new post-interview reflection essay, to be submitted to the school after completing the interview.  Here is what HBS admissions says about this new final step to the admissions process:

This is, to me, an interesting twist on the interview, and may channel some to "relive" the interview, a topic which I have posted about before

This information comes from the HBS Admissions & Financial Aid blog - required reading for anyone interested in applying to HBS to follow this blog regularly. 

I will write up some thoughts about the new essay topics as well as how to consider handling the post-interview essay in a later posting.

John Couke

London School of Economics to Offer New Executive LLM

The London School of Economics is now offering a new Executive LLM program beginning in the fall of 2013. The program will feature intensive modules delivered over a time period of 3 or 4 years, and is designed for those who cannot take a full one year break from their work.

More details are available at the official site of the program.  The application process page for the program notes a TOEFL minimum of 109 and an IELTS overall score of at least 7.5. The application itself will be ready in October 2012.

John Couke

Feedback Available for Virginia Darden Reapplicants

The University of Virginia's Darden School of Business is offering 15-minute telephone feedback sessions during the month of June for those who intend to reapply to the program in the upcoming 2012-13 application season.

More information is available here at the Darden Admission & MBA blog, a resource worth checking out regularly for all applicants to Darden.

John Couke

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dartmouth Tuck MBA Application Deadlines for Fall 2013 Entry

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College has released their deadlines for applying to their MBA program starting in the fall of 2013.

Early Action Round:
Deadline: 10/10/2012
Applicant-Initiated Interview Completed by: 10/31/2012
Decision: 12/14/2012

November Round:
Deadline: 11/7/2012
Applicant-Initiated Interview Completed by: 11/7/2012
Decision: 2/8/2013

January Round:
Deadline: 1/3/2013
Applicant-Initiated Interview Completed by: 1/31/2013
Decision: 3/15/2013

April Round:
Deadline: 4/2/2013
Applicant-Initiated Interview Completed by: 4/2/2013
Decision: 5/24/2013

Their official site also mentions the scheduling for applicants applying through the Consortium.  As always, please verify all application-related information with the school directly.

John Couke

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cambridge Judge MBA Program Announces Deadlines for 2012-13 Admissions

The Cambridge Judge MBA program has announced the deadlines for applying to their 2013 intake.  The information is available here; please always confirm the information directly on the school's own website.

Round 1
Deadline: 9/21/2012
Interview Day: 11/9/2012
Outcome: 11/12/2012

Round 2
Deadline: 11/16/2012
Interview Day: 1/18/2013
Outcome: 1/21/2013

Round 3
Deadline: 1/11/2013
Interview Day: 2/22/2013
Outcome: 2/25/2013 and 3/4/2013

Round 4
Deadline: 3/8/2013
Interview Day: 4/26/2013
Outcome: 4/29/2013

Round 5
Deadline: 4/26/2013
Interview Day: 6/7/2013
Outcome: 6/10/2013

Read here for information about their interview process, though do note this information may be updated in the future, so please refer to the school's official admissions website for the latest information.

John Couke

Monday, May 14, 2012

Texas McCombs Fall 2013 MBA Admissions Deadlines Released

The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business has released their deadlines for the upcoming 2012-13 admissions season, noting as well that admissions for entering in the fall of 2012 is now closed.  Click here to go to their site.

Round 1     Deadline: 10/16/2012  Notification: 12/14/2012
Round 2     Deadline: 12/4/2012    Notification:  2/15/2013
Round 3*    Deadline: 1/23/2013    Notification:  3/29/2013
Round 4     Deadline: 3/26/2013    Notification: 5/10/2013

*The Round 3 deadline is the final one for international applicants.

The site states that the fall 2013 application will be available around September, and that updated deadlines and instructions will also be available leading up to that time.

John Couke

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Chronological vs Skill-Based Resumes

Choosing between a chronological and a skill-based layout is necessary when designing the layout of your resume. Both have merits, although a chronologically organized resume will clearly be superior for most. This post defines each resume style, and then lists reasons why the chronological resume is preferable.

1) The Difference Between Chronological and Skill-Based Resumes

Chronological Resumes:

A chronological resume will list contents within the academic and professional experiences sections in the order they occurred. Most resumes are reverse chronological, i.e. the most recent position (or degree) is on the top of the section.  Like this:

Company A, Barcelona Spain
Senior Strategic Consultant 4/2011 - present
Company B, New York, USA
Marketing Project Manager 4/2009 - 9/2010
Business Consultant 4/2006 - 3/2009
Company C, New York, USA
Business Consultant 4/2004 - 3/2006
Marketing Manager 4/2002 - 3/2004
Administration Manager 4/2001 - 3/2002

University XYZ, Masters 3/2001
University XYZ, Bachelors 3/1999

All jobs are listed, right back until the university career was completed. One concern with a chronological resume is that gaps in experience become readily noticeable, like the one above from 10/2010 to 3/2011.  This is not necessarily a problem as long as the additional section of the resume explains what they were doing during that time.

Gained intermediate-level certification in Spanish language from ABC school in Barcelona (10/2010 to 1/2011)

Any additional question marks (why learn Spanish?) would be covered by the nature of the responsibilities or accomplishments in the Senior Marketing Consultant position that started in 4/2011, or if not then in a statement included as part of the job/school application. In this rough simulation above, the gap makes sense, as it appears this person chose to study Spanish prior to starting their current position, where it would presumably be useful.

Skill-Based Resumes:

A skill-based resume groups working experience by the nature of the work, rather than in a chronological way. Here is the same example as above, but reorganized into a skill-based format (with the academic and additional sections deleted for the purpose of the example).

Strategic Consulting Experience:
Company A, Barcelona Spain
Senior Strategic Consultant 4/2011 - present
Company B, New York, USA
Business Consultant 4/2006 - 3/2009
Company C, New York, USA
Business Consultant 4/2004 - 3/2006

Marketing Experience:
Company B, New York, USA
Marketing Project Manager 4/2009 - 9/2010
Company C, New York, USA
Marketing Manager 4/2002 - 3/2004

Other Experience:
Company C, New York, USA
Administration Manager 4/2001 - 3/2002

In this case, the line items are unchanged, but their order is changed.  The idea here is to highlight a certain strain of working experience that is particularly useful for the position being applied for.  In this case, one might assume the person is aiming for a role related to Strategic Consulting. The gap in experience is de-emphasized, as are any switches between functions, because the jobs are not listed in a chronological order. In a skill-based resume, the person may or may not choose to list the dates next to each position. Instead, the focus is on the experience gained within each area.  

2) Why is a Chronological Resume Preferable?

A) It's clear and complete.

Reader often scan the dates to see if gaps exist. I think it's a natural reaction to a resume, I have certainly done this for the hundreds (thousands?) of resumes I have scanned in my career. The first test of a resume is that it is complete, and documents your background and progress. It does not need to include everything - but at the least you should aim to account for all of your time. There is no problem with having a gap between jobs, or between experiences - as long as it is explained somewhere in the resume.  Note as well that if Job A finished on May 11, 2006, and Job B began on June 27, 2006, I would not consider this a gap at all:

Job B 6/2006 - x/200x
Job A x/200x - 5/2006

There is no gap here that the resume needs to address.

A skill-based resume is often chosen when there is a break in the working experience, or a period of time that is difficult to explain or wholly irrelevant to the position you are applying for.  The problem here is that the reader of the resume is most likely aware of this strategy. So, in essence, it backfires, as the skill-based resume may cause the reader to attempt to find a problem, solely because of the choice of the format in which it was written. If a recruiter, employer, or school admissions officer is only going to give your resume 1-3 minutes anyways, it would be advisable that this time is spent admiring accomplishments, not hunting for disasters. This is the case whether your resume ultimately has chronological gaps or not. 

B) It better shows career progress.

The younger you are, the more important this is.  In any case, most people's career arcs upward in responsibility and accomplishment, and you should use a chronological resume to highlight your own arc as best as possible. By breaking up your experience in other ways, the overall impact of the growth of your responsibility is harder to see. If your resume is chronological, but you worry that the progression of your career is hard to see, than you may not be emphasizing the right responsibilities or accomplishments in your career descriptions and bullet points.

C) The skills can be summarized effectively elsewhere.

Rarely is a resume meant to speak for itself. Rather it is an introduction, and comes along with an essay (school application) or cover letter (job application). The essay or cover letter is a better place to note that you have "over 8 years of experience in strategic consulting". Such headlines are rarely effective on a resume. So, instead of making a skill-based resume, consider a chronological one and be sure to include a cover letter or description in the essay as to what choices you have made, what skills you have gained, and how they are important to the job you are applying for, or the program you want to enter and future goals you aim to achieve.

Have you thought about the contents of your resume today?

John Couke

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Japan-Based MBA Programs

In August of 2009 I created a lens at Squidoo (what is Squidoo?) with one simple but highly-focused objective: to help people see just how many options they had for an English-language MBA taught in Japan. You can find the lens here:

Getting an MBA in Japan

I did this because I myself completed my MBA here in Japan, and because I feel strongly that a) business education is important and highly useful for most, and that b) studying abroad is a valuable experience that allows people to develop global business skills.

The site lists off the 8 full-time programs offered here in Japan, followed by the 3 part-time programs, and then at the end includes a short list of a couple of Japanese-language MBAs (there are many) and a small caveat on aligning a specific business education with your goals. Most of the comments I have received on it comment that it is useful in that it offers the wide view, and so helps people start the process of narrowing down their options without omitting anything at the start. I am glad - researching schools is important when you are deciding where to investment your time (and money) to get the education you are looking for.

The site has received a constant flow of traffic since that time, peaking in the months before the 3.11 earthquake in 2011, reaching a low point (predictably) just after the 3.11 earthquake, and recently starting to peak again.  I am glad to see the interest returning, and hope it continues!

John Couke

Saturday, May 5, 2012

INSEAD September 2013 Intake Deadline Dates Announced

INSEAD has announced its application deadlines for potential members of its class entering in the fall of 2013:

Round #       Application Deadline:   Interview Notification by:    Final Decision:
1st                10/3/2012                     11/9/2012                            12/21/2012
2nd               12/5/2012                     1/18/2013                            3/1/2013
3rd                3/13/2013                     4/19/2013                            5/31/2013

The INSEAD dates and deadlines page mentions that in order to "be included in a specific round, applications must be complete and submitted by midnight (23:59) Central European Time on the day of the deadline".

Take care to understand thoroughly their admissions criteria, including the language requirements for entry to the program, the application checklist and the admissions FAQ for the school.

John Couke