Articles published in September 2010

The Economist Ranks Booth Number One


It’s officially fall, and you know what that means: falling leaves, Halloween candy, and business school rankings are all on their way. Just this week, the Economist released their ninth-annual business school rankings. How did your target schools fare?

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business took the number one spot, following by Dartmouth’s Tuck, Berkeley’s Haas, Harvard Business School, and IESE Business School. Rounding out the top 10 were IMD, Stanford, Wharton, the HEC School of Management in Paris, and York University’s Schulich School of Business.

Several factors pushed Booth to the top of the list. First of all, their career services were ranked the highest of any program globally, and they placed grads in all sectors examined by the Economist. That’s a powerful pitch in a still-tough job market. The school also has a good bit of cash on hand, thanks to a $300 million donation made in 2008 by alum David Booth. Students are also positive about their overall experience, the writers report.

So how did the Economist arrive at these rankings? Here’s how the magazine describes its methodology: The Economist ranks full-time programmes on their ability to provide students with the things that they themselves cite as most important. It weights each element according to the average importance given to it by students surveyed over the past five years. That means 4 factors typically dominate the selection process:

  • – opening of new career opportunities and/or furthering of current career
  • – personal development and educational experience
  • – increase in salary
  • – potential to network

The Economist reports most students want to see more opportunities to network with alumni. In sorting through 19,000 questionnaires’ worth of comments, they found students repeatedly calling for more opportunities to network with alumni.

Finally, a caveat: The Economist based these rankings on information about the class of 2009. It’ll be interesting to see the Bloomberg Businessweek findings in November, which draw on data from the class of 2010.

MBA News: Jain Leaves for INSEAD & Darden Starts a Global Exec MBA Program


Today, we’re debuting a new feature”the MBA news roundup! Aspiring business school students should know what’s going on at their target schools. So we’ll be collecting big stories from around the web on a semi-regular basis to keep you updated.

In this installment:

UVA-Darden is launching a new Global Executive MBA program. Dean Robert F. Bruner promises: This new MBA format will deliver the Darden Experience for which we are so well-known but in an international format. The program will enhance the skills of high-potential executives who need to be ready on day one to do business in any market around the globe. More info is available here and here.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports Dipak Jain”formerly the long-time dean of Kellogg”will take over in March at INSEAD.

Nitin Nohria, the incoming dean at Harvard Business School, recently spoke to the Boston Globe about his ambitious goals for his tenure. Just to start with, he expects more from the school than just bouquets and butterflies.”

Also at HBS: The alumni bulletin has an interesting update on the school’s new executive MBA program for health care administrators. It’s designed to develop the strategy, leadership, finance, and operations skills that senior health-care professionals need to transform care delivery in their organizations.

Stanford is launching a new 20-week Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, aimed at engineers, inventors and others working in Silicon Valley.

For the aspiring entrepreneurs out there, Ross has released a fascinating study about how Twitter can help upstarts compete with bigger firms.

And finally, the Economist has released its MBA rankings. See a breakdown here.

Did we miss anything major? Let us know in the comments!

What’s the Best Way to Study?


Thanks to volavale, who took this photo. Find the original at: // Manhattan GMAT, we spend a good deal of time thinking about education. We’re committed to the highest quality of teaching, and we’re always interested in the latest pedagogical developments. And so, lately, this interesting article from the New York Times has been making the rounds in our office.

The piece contends that much of the conventional wisdom about study habits has little basis in reality. For example, it’s often assumed students should commit to a particular workspace. But recent research has found individuals actually remember more material when they alternate rooms while studying. It’s also more helpful to work on a range of distinct (but related) skills in a single study session, rather than narrowing your focus to one topic. What we think is happening here is that, when the outside context is varied, the information is enriched, and this slows down forgetting, says one scientist.

What do our instructors say? Stacey Koprince tells us:

We’ve known for a long time that making multiple “connections” while studying helps us to store and retrieve information more effectively. It’s fascinating that the researchers have extended this to the physical location in which you make the connections – apparently, we even make connections based upon things we see around us while we’re studying the information.

In fact, these findings support advice we already give students: Vary how you study within a single study session, and study via many shorter study sessions rather than a few long ones. As the article points out, musicians do a combination of scales, musical pieces and rhythmic work when they practice, while athletes’ workouts typically mix strength, speed and skill drills. Stacey recommends:

Do some reading in a certain area, or watch a short lesson, then do some practice problems that touch on the same material (but may also include other things), then spend some time reviewing those problems. During your review, go back to any necessary sources when you need to check or refresh something; the more you do this, the more connections you’ll make. Once or twice a week, do a mix of random problems (and more often as you get closer to the test); this allows you to practice figuring out what’s in front of you in the first place.

Stacey did find one of the article’s points a bit dubious, however”the suggestion that there may not be different learning styles.

The one thing that I’m a bit skeptical about is the proposal that there might not be different learning styles. From personal experience, I know that I learn certain things better in certain ways. Recently, I took a French immersion course (3 to 5 hours of French every day for three weeks). When we reviewed vocabulary orally, I didn’t retain anywhere near as much as I did when the teacher gave us a hand-out or I looked up the word myself. It was mostly new information and I personally make much better connections when I see new info written down. On the other hand, because I know English grammar so well, I was able to base my French grammar connections on similarities and differences between the two languages; here, I benefited more from an oral discussion because I could ask immediate questions to clarify my understanding (and so make better connections).

There you have it: Train like an athlete, but base your studies on your unique needs.

Friday Fun: Fashionistas Storm HBS


People often associate business school degrees with a handful of traditional fields, such as consulting. But according to this piece at Page Six Magazine, the growing fashionista crowd at Harvard Business School is demonstrating you don’t have to be Michael Bloomberg to go for an MBA.

Take Olga Vidisheva, a 25-year-old model and current MBA candidate. She attended Wellesley, did two years at Goldman Sachs, and then decided finance wasn’t for her. She applied to HBS, specifically aiming to change careers to fashion. Her plan seems to be paying off, as evidenced by her summer spent interning with Chanel’s marketing department. And she’s not alone. We’ve already covered HBS alums Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Alexis Maybank, who founded Gilt Groupe. Other startups have followed, including FashionStake, a site that allows you to invest in newbie designers; Birchbox, which sends monthly beauty samples to members; and Rent the Runway, which rents designer dresses.

Ultimately, only 3 percent of Harvard grads go on to retail careers, as opposed to 57 percent working in finance or consulting. But sartorially-inclined students report the program is becoming the place for fashion”and they ought to know what’s in vogue!


B-Schoolers Make a Better Cup of Coffee


Thanks to Refracted Moments for the Creative Commons photo: // at the Manhattan GMAT blog, we’re always interested in cool learning opportunities for b-school students. That’s why a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal caught our eyes. The paper reports MBA programs are securing real-world business experience for their students by farming them out as dirt-cheap consultants.

A student’s involvement with a company typically runs from 3 to 6 months, and companies have included Urban Outfitters and Harman International. Participants might help create a business plan or identify acquisition targets. For businesses, it’s a chance to benefit from a fresh set of eyes, typically at a very low cost.  And for aspiring MBAs, it’s a chance for practical professional experience.

For example, Green Mountain Coffee dispatched their b-schoolers to Nicaragua, assigning them to develop strategies for improving coffee quality and boosting production. “This will have impact on the quality, taste in cup and… the amount of coffees that [the farmers] harvest,” says Rick Peyser, a member of the company’s corporate responsibility department.

Improving a cup of coffee from the source”now that makes for a results-driven resume.

How to Make Educated Guesses on Quant


This article was written by our very own instructor, Stacey Koprince. If you’re looking for more great resources and advice, check out our free resources section.

I’ve been getting lots of great article ideas from students lately, and this is one of them: how do we make educated guesses on GMAT Quant problems? (I wrote a separate article about Verbal here.)

Note: if you requested a different topic, don’t worry! I keep a list of all requests; I will get to your request eventually. I’m generally choosing the order based upon the number of requests I get from different people about the same topic. Read more

Why an MBA Is a Good Use of Time and Money


We recently read an article that listed seven reasons why the author thinks you don’t need to go to business school.

Going to business school is clearly a major commitment of an individual’s time, energy, and resources. It’s a complex decision, and there’s no right answer that applies to every person. To balance the aforementioned article, we asked Chris Ryan, our Director of Product and Instructor Development, who has his MBA from Fuqua, to give us seven good reasons that business school is still worthwhile. He gave us eight for good measure:

1. The Connections You Build in Business School Will Help You Throughout Your Career

Connections and networking are a huge part of the appeal of business school for many potential applicants. Many ventures, from Revolution Foods Inc., bringing healthy lunches to schools, to Brooklyn Boulders, New York’s largest rock-climbing gym, to BuddyTV, an up-and-coming entertainment website, have been started by people who met in business school.

In fact, our very own Eric Caballero, graduate of Sloan, has found his MBA network indispensable during his career:

I tap my network constantly, hunting for angel investors, marquee clients, channel partners and executive recruits. So long as you understand Networking 101 “ never ask a favor without offering a greater, specific one in return “ you should find your network ready to help. Ironically, the benefits do not end with your professional life. I once contacted an MIT alum, who is the Chief Marketing Officer of a major U.S. airline, to discuss a frustrating customer service issue with my honeymoon flights. He helped me cut through a forest of red tape in half an hour.

2. The Skills You Learn at Business School Cannot be Taught in Books

For some, like Chris, the most instrumental skills learned at business school include how to be a good leader and a good team player. Chris could lead a class of high-school students, but business school taught him how to relate to and lead his own peers in a way he would not have developed otherwise. Sure, you could learn economic theory and business management from books, but when you get your MBA, you’re learning them within the context of an environment that helps shape who you are and helps you become who you want to be.

3. Going to B-school Helps You Figure Out What You’re Good At

From the very first time you look at your application essay questions, business school forces you to make decisions about who you want to become and what you want to do. Even the process of applying helps you clarify your goals, because you have to discuss them in a convincing way.

In addition, business school helps round you out as a person. For example, many schools will film you while you present. They then make you review and improve your presentation skills by going over the video with a coach. “From what I hear, that doesn’t happen in law school,” says Chris.

4. Business School Can Be Useful for People at Any Age

Chris began his career teaching high school students, but chose to change fields in his 20s.  “At 28, less than a year after I was teaching physics, I was a management consulting intern at McKinsey,” says Chris.  “This would not have been possible without business school.”

But even if you aren’t switching careers, business school can still help you focus your career path, restructure and move ahead at a faster pace. A businessman who had worked in large companies, Dave Bosher, who graduated from the University of Richmond MBA program, noted: “The MBA program is a great way to round out your knowledge base and to take your career to the next step.”

5. Business School Broadens Your Personal Perspective and Outlook

At its best, business school forces you to learn to work with a diverse range of people in the business world. Because you are forced to make choices about your own career before you even attend, you meet people who have a variety of different goals, from traditional routes like consulting to unconventional ones like founding a new private business.

In fact, the best business schools help train you to work in diverse teams. Chris worked in a team with a student from Venezuela, and the experience helped him when he was working on a Mexican-Brazilian film post-MBA.  As a former teacher, Chris found that the opportunity to learn from “real” businessmen taught him a lot as well, and certainly the former bankers learned plenty from a physics teacher!

6. Your Business School Becomes Your Brand

The name of the school you attended will carry weight for the rest of your career. You will be able to find favors with other alums, and the name next to “MBA” will make your resume will stand out during job searches.

7. You Put Your Finger on the Pulse of the Future of the Business World:

You and your classmates will be the next class of business leaders. By virtue of being constantly surrounded by intelligent and driven individuals, you can see what the future of business will look like from a unique perspective.

It’s not just your classmates from whom you’ll learn, either. Business schools make a point of bringing in today’s business leaders. Just ask the women who started Gilt Groupe: they met at Harvard Business School and founded their online store with the help of designer Zac Posen, whom they had advised while still in business school. Or try sitting in a room with the founders of Threadless. They might not have gone to business school, but the students at MIT certainly gained a lot of insight from their background! Overall, the CEOs, founders and business bigshots you meet at b-school give you an opportunity to see the business world in a whole new light.

8. B-school can be a lot of fun:

Whether it’s making videos to show to your classmates, or wrestling with the complexities of a business case with your team, there is both real fun and geeky fun in going to school, even while you learn and shape yourself into something better.

Need more convincing? Check out Why MBA? to read why other students chose business school.