2006 Forte Foundation MBA Admissions Chat with Elissa Ellis

2006 Forte Foundation MBA Admissions Chat with Elissa Ellis

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Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:12:58 PM) First I want to welcome you all to the Forte Foundation Forum: The MBA Value Proposition for Women.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:13:14 PM)
I want to give a special welcome to Elissa Ellis, Director of the Forte Forum; and our panelists:

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:13:26 PM)
Tamara Levadi Snyder, Director of Brand Strategy, Choice Hotels International and alumna of Goizueta Business School, 2003.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:13:45 PM)
Amanda Bassett, Brand Manager, Kraft Foods and alumna of Fuqua School of Business, 2001.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:14:10 PM)
Christine Balzano from Chicago GSB will present the adcom perspective.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:14:26 PM)
Elissa, could you tell us a little about the great work the Forte Foundation is doing?

ElissaEllisForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:15:14 PM)
We've been very busy this fall with our Forte Forums--a 10-city series of events highlighting the MBA. Forte's Mission is to substantially increase the number of women business leaders by increasing the flow of women into key educational gateways and business networks. And one of the key ways to increase the number of women in business leadership is to introduce them to the MBA. So, thanks to all of the attendees for joining us tonight. I know that our panelists will provide you with terrific insights about MBA programs and business careers. So, Linda, we're ready to start!

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:16:42 PM)
Thanks Elissa.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:16:51 PM)
We appreciate all of you taking time for your busy schedules to join us.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:16:53 PM)
The format for today:

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:17:00 PM)
I am going to post the first question to our panel of guests. While they are typing, I'm also going to post some information about their backgrounds. Panelists, anytime after you see Christine's bio, please feel free to post your responses.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:17:50 PM)
We have prepared a few questions to ask the panelists during the first half of the talk. If you have a question about the panelists' responses or on the topic of the questions, please ask it. The last half of the chat will be a Q&A. The panelists or I will respond to admissions questions. You can direct questions on the value of the MBA to Tamara, Amanda, Christine, or to all of them. Again, your questions will only appear in the main window if chosen from the queue.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:18:02 PM)
Panelists, why did you go to business school and looking back, did you achieve your goals in getting your MBA? Was it worth it?

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:18:15 PM)
Tamara Levadi Snyder is Director of Brand Strategy for Choice Hotels International in Silver Spring, Maryland. In this role, she is responsible for developing and implementing initiatives for brand improvement in several of the company's leading hotel chains. Previously, Tamara spent two years working for the Home Depot Corporation in the company's Store Leadership Program, during which time she implemented a large scale process-improvement initiative in the stores. She began her career in a variety of operational and entrepreneurial roles at Score Educational Centers. Tamara received her MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, where she was Co-President of the Graduate Women in Business chapter. Tamara received a BA from Stanford University.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:18:44 PM)
Amanda received her undergraduate degree from Emory University in 1996 in Marketing and Finance and then received an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in 2001. Between undergrad and grad school, Amanda was a consultant at Ernst & Young in Atlanta, GA. At Kraft, Amanda has gained experience on a number of brands, including A.1. Steak Sauce, Kraft Miracle Whip, Kraft Mayo, and most recently Kraft Cheese. She has led a variety of initiatives at Kraft including developing new A.1. Marinade flavors, preparing for the launch of the Big Mouth Plastic Jar on Kraft Mayo, and identifying new product opportunities for snacking cheese. Outside of work, Amanda participates in Junior Achievement and enjoys traveling and reading.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:19:44 PM)
Christine joined the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business Admissions Office in November 2003. Christine has worked in higher education for 9 years- working as Marketing Manager at Roosevelt University in Chicago, and as Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at both DePaul University in Chicago and Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Missouri. Christine received her BA in Psychology from Indiana University in 1995 and her M.Ed in Human Services and Counseling from DePaul University in 2002. Christine moved to Chicago when her husband came to the full-time program at the GSB in 1998. Outside of her responsibilities in the recruitment and evaluation of prospective students, Christine is responsible for our internet marketing and communications initiatives, as well as coordinating Chicago GSB's large campus visit events-- Fall Preview and Admit Weekends. Christine is an member of the Forte Foundation and actively contributes as a member of the Scholars committee.

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:20:07 PM)
The key reason I went to get an MBA was to open doors for the future, to make sure I had options for the careers I wanted to pursue. The second main objective was to build a strong network of peers.

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:20:57 PM)
I went to business school for several reasons. After five years in general management with the same company I was looking for a change. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to change to, but I thought an MBA would allow me the opportunity to learn about other industries and ultimately begin a career in a new industry. So, it would be a catalyst for a job change. Additionally, I was looking for a better understanding of business fundamentals (finance, marketing, etc.) to supplement the learn-by-mistake or get-thrown-into-the-fire method by which I had been learning everything up to that point.

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:21:06 PM)
The MBA was definitely worth it. It was a two year investment in my time and money, but I would do it all over again!

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:21:57 PM)
Tamara, did you achieve your goals?

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:22:47 PM)
Absolutely! Since graduating I have had incredible job opportunities presented to me that I wouldn't have had otherwise. Plus, I met great people and know that I have a whole set of skills now that will help me throughout my career that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I am much more marketable now in a competitive job market.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:23:30 PM)
Amanda, Tamara, and Christine: How do you handle the tension/conflict between family and professional demands?

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:25:56 PM)
Work/life balance is a challenge because of the demands of the business world, but it hasn't become a bigger challenge just because I have my MBA. If anything my time in b-school helped me identify how to deal with this challenge better then before.

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:26:00 PM)
Well- that is a delicate balance. I am very lucky to have a supportive boss who realizes the contributions I am able to make. I have worked out a flexible schedule that allows me to spend two weekdays at home with my one year old twins. I think accomplishing such a balance can happen if you are able to show your worth and commitment to your organization. I actually think that I, and other women I know on flexible work schedules, are often more efficient because we know we are under the microscope more than others might be. I also have an incredibly supportive husband with an incredible job that allows him some flexibility when it comes time for travel and long days.

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:26:13 PM)
It was something I had to learn, but my family comes first...when I am at work I try to be extremely efficient with my time. I set daily expectations for myself and if I have to leave work due to a family commitment, I get up and leave. The next morning I come in a little early to finish the drill.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:27:19 PM)
What would you tell this young woman or any other woman turned off by the MBA's traditional or perceived experience requirement?

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:27:39 PM)
In b-school, I was exposed to many mentors and female business leaders who taught me how they deal with work/life balance. I learned from many successful business women that achieving flexibility in the job seems to be key for many women.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:27:59 PM)
Tamara, any tips you can pass on?

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:28:18 PM)
Don't shy away from the perceived number of years of work experience. When we evaluate applications we look at whether a person has had a track record of success dependant on the number of years they have been working. We are not comparing a person with three years experience to a person with 8 years experience. Each person brings something unique to the table. It is more about what have you learned in the time you have had to learn it.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:29:13 PM)
Christine, did I read that you have 1-year-old twins?

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:29:20 PM)
I think that admissions officers are looking for quality of experience, SKILLS, and LEADERSHIP more than they are looking for a set number of years. If you have less then traditional number of years, be sure to articulate your skills and leadership abilities clearly in your application, as that will be a big selling point.

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:29:27 PM)
Yes, I do have one year old twins :)

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:29:52 PM)
Now, that's something to balance. :-)

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:30:26 PM)
How has your MBA benefited you off the job?

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:30:58 PM)
I find that business skills (thinking strategically, analytically, etc.) are valued quite a bit in the non-profit world. So many non-profits will ask you to be on the board of their organization, because they value the skills that you can bring to the table. That's just one example.

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:31:40 PM)
An MBA taught me how to break down a problem and develop actionable solutions. In an MBA, a majority of your work is completed in teams. In my role as a brand manager, my job is one big team...a team that comes up with new ideas and ways to solve problems.

bcousin (Sep 28, 2005 5:33:02 PM)
Amanda and Tamara: Could you please tell us why you selected your particular MBA program?

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:33:06 PM)
Opps...I didn't read the question right, off the job my MBA taught me a lot about how to plan for the future and manage my finances.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:34:09 PM)
Amanda, what were some of the elements of fit that made you choose Fuqua?

Priya (Sep 28, 2005 5:34:25 PM)
Christine: I am in my early 30s with a PhD. Would that be viewed negatively by a school?

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:34:35 PM)
I went to the full time program at Emory's Goizueta business school mainly because it was a perfect fit for me in terms of a) a collaborative and energetic culture b) many leadership opportunities due to all the clubs and activities on campus and c) my ability to get a job after graduation. I think the culture of the school was the most important aspect of my decision.

girlscientist (Sep 28, 2005 5:35:22 PM)
Christine: How much do you think essays count in admissions decisions?

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:35:50 PM)
I narrowed down my search to 5 schools that I felt had the program, curriculum, and recruiters that I was most interested in. They were also in places that I was willing to live in for 2 years. Then I visited each school, and when I interviewed a Duke, I felt like I fit into the culture. It was a place where teams were important and people really mattered.

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:36:23 PM)
Priya- That would not be viewed negatively unless you could not articulate why you believe an MBA is of value to you. Business schools are looking for interesting people to enhance the learning environment. You simply need to draw the map for those that read your application so they understand why an MBA fits for you, at this time- and don't shy away from talking about what you've gained in your years of experience and with a PhD.

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:36:58 PM)
I think it's very important to visit a school when deciding where to go! It will tell you a lot about what is a good match for you.

Priya (Sep 28, 2005 5:37:09 PM)
Amanda and Tamara: Did you consider part-time and full-time programs? How did you decide whether to go for a part-time or full-time MBA?

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:38:05 PM)
girlscientist: I think for many schools you will be providing many data points to allow for a holistic view of what value you can add to the class, as well as what value the MBA will be for you. This information is usually easiest to grasp from the essays, interactions with admissions staff/students/alumni, and through the interview. While the other pieces of the application are important- without essays, we would have no sense of who the applicant is and whether they fit with our program.

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:38:44 PM)
I only considered full-time because I felt that the summer internship between the first and second year (which is unique to a full time program) would be very beneficial for me, since I was trying to do a minor career switch. I didn't feel that the part-time program would be as good of a match without the opportunity for an internship. Plus, as far as full-year vs. part-time goes, I liked the idea of getting really immersed in the program-- getting involved in clubs, more social events, etc. all of which is easier to do in the full-time program, because you're not working at the same time.

Quandra (Sep 28, 2005 5:39:46 PM)
Do you recommend gaining experience before applying?

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:40:00 PM)
Priya, I did not really look at part-time programs. It is really a personal decision. I wanted to develop the relationships and have the experiences that a full-time program offered. Going full-time does however require that you make a financial commitment as well as a time commitment. With that said, my husband attended a part-time MBA and I feel that a key difference between our two experiences was, mine was a little more well-rounded. I was able to spend more time job searching; I was able to join clubs and learn through those activities, as well as, I made amazing friends and an wonderful network for the future.

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:41:42 PM)
Quandra, from the admissions standpoint- it is better to have some strong experience before applying- especially to top tier programs. Certainly students can do well with little experience. But, the MBA will prove most valuable with some level of experience to which you can relate what you are learning. Also, it is helpful to have some skills and leadership experiences that can be enhanced with an MBA.

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:41:59 PM)
Personally, I think there are sometimes reasons why it MAY make sense to go without work experience. But for the most part, I think one would get more out of the program if they have work experience. So much of b-school is about team projects, class discussions, solving business cases, etc. And it's much easier to add value to those things if you can draw upon a multitude of your own experiences. It doesn't necessarily need to be direct business experience, however. Any significant work or leadership experience will allow you to add value.

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:42:07 PM)
I definitely would advise getting experience before going back to school. I had 3 years and after my first term wished I had more. Experience allows you to get more out of the experience, you can think back to previous challenges you had on the job, etc.

bcousin (Sep 28, 2005 5:42:11 PM)
Amanda and Tamara: Were you able to secure fellowship or scholarships to attend business school? Did you have to bite the bullet and take out loans?

linda (Sep 28, 2005 5:43:47 PM)
Christine: If I'm not gaining leadership/presentation skills on the job, is it acceptable to volunteer in the non profit world before applying to grad school.

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:44:19 PM)
I never expected this, but there are lots of scholarship opportunities out there. I was lucky in that I was offered a full scholarship from Emory, but I didn't even know the scholarship existed until after I applied, and the admissions officer called to tell me that I had received the scholarship. I suggest thoroughly researching all scholarship opportunities during the application process because there are many out there-- don't assume you'll have to pay full tuition. With that said, I still think that if you do pay full tuition, an MBA is still worth it. My salary has gone up SIGNIFICANTLY in the two years that I've been out of the program-- in my case, the MBA really would pay for itself in just a few short years.

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:44:43 PM)
I did not secure a scholarship for my program, my previous employer offered to sponsor me with a two year post commitment, but I chose not to take their offer as I was fairly confident I wanted to change careers. Therefore, I took out loans to cover both school and living expenses. I still have loans today, but they are not a burden, just a commitment I have to repay.

Priya (Sep 28, 2005 5:45:00 PM)
All panelist: Are there any definite do's and don'ts when you visit schools or attend interviews?

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:46:15 PM)
DO: Come prepared. Treat it like a job interview. Dress and speak professionally. Practice, practice, and practice if you have to. Have a convincing argument about why you want to get an MBA AND a very good argument about why you want to go that school. Be sure that you are able to articulate not just what your goals are and why you want an MBA, but what value you'll add to the school while you're there.

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:46:24 PM)
If you are not in a position where you are able to gain leadership skills outright, volunteer opportunities where this can happen, can be helpful in the application. It is also helpful to get a sense of a person's leadership potential. We realize not everyone can be a leader- that some people have to be followers and hard workers on teams. So, if we have a sense of your leadership potential (which typically comes from letters of recommendation) that is very valuable.

cecilia (Sep 28, 2005 5:47:33 PM)
Christine, I took corporate finance and accounting courses after my graduation from college, and I am thinking about taking more finance-related classes and even statistics. How would this look to the adcom because I've already taken some first year-level courses which I would have to repeat if I were to join an MBA program? Thanks.

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:47:49 PM)
DO your research about the school before you come for a campus visit. It is the kiss of death to waste an admission counselors time asking questions that can easily be answered through simple website searching (i.e. what is your percentage women, what is your average GMAT, etc.) DO try to connect with current students while on campus, or connect with alumni if you're able to, before you visit campus. DON'T treat the interview as your chance to learn about the program. Certainly we expect you to ask questions, but come prepared as if it were a job interview. DON'T- assume an interviewer has knowledge of your industry or the jargon you use in your day to day job.

Irina (Sep 28, 2005 5:48:11 PM)
Tamara, you mentioned that you weren't sure what career change you wanted to make prior to getting your MBA, did you find that to be a burden on your graduate school application process, and how did you narrow it down once you were in the MBA program?

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:48:38 PM)
To build on Christine's point, know why you want to attend the school you are visiting and what makes XXX program right for you.

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:49:15 PM)
Without really knowing what I wanted to do after b-school, I thought the "Why do you want to get an MBA question" kind of tough, but I also knew that I wouldn't get in without having a solid answer to the question. The way I approached that part of the application was that I thought of my passions, my skills, my interests, and I made sure that I was able to articulate them. I was able to tell a story about the skills I have now, a career option I may want to try out in the far off future (even though it ended up being far from what I really ended up doing), and mentioned how I thought an MBA would help bridge the gap between my current skills and the skills I would need to pursue that far-off dream.

marina (Sep 28, 2005 5:50:00 PM)
Christine: What is the best way to address your weakness if asked what it is in essay or interviews?

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:50:17 PM)
cecilia- taking courses for professional growth and building knowledge is always helpful to an application. Just be sure to explain why you've taken the courses if the school you are applying to will require you to take it again. Some programs have flexibility that allows you to take classes that fit your knowledge and skill level.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:51:01 PM)
From my perspective, an appropriate MBA goal is as much an admissions requirement as a GPA or a GMAT. It can change, as did Tamara's, but you have to have one.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 5:52:44 PM)
I also frequently say that the MBA is the bridge between where you are today and where you want to be.

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:54:04 PM)
Marina- be honest, use some common sense. Always consider how you can learn and have learned from your weaknesses. Something like- I am very committed to producing quality work which sometimes results in my not delegating tasks that others should be doing-- I have worked hard to make sure that I am passing off tasks I know will take away from the work I need to focus on.

Quandra (Sep 28, 2005 5:55:46 PM)
Does it look strange for someone to aim for an MBA in a different concentration than their undergraduate studies?

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:55:56 PM)
Not at all! You just need to explain how the skill sets you developed in that first concentration apply to the job/field you are considering and why that new field interests you.

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:56:18 PM)

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:56:33 PM)
ditto- that is incredibly common; who really knows what they want to do when they are 18? :)

marina (Sep 28, 2005 5:56:52 PM)
Christine: When I started writing an essay about contributions to my company I realized there was quite a bit of technical finance jargon involved (it basically has to do with creating a P&L for a line of business). What should I assume the reader's business knowledge is? Should I avoid technical achievements and focus on soft skills?

bcousin (Sep 28, 2005 5:56:56 PM)
All panelists: I am interested in doing a minor career switch to finance. From your perspective, would you recommend a general management program or a focused program in finance?

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:57:35 PM)
Bcousin, what are your long term goals? Do you want to stay in finance for the long run? Programs focused in finance, might have more recruiters from finance companies. That is not a given, but likely.

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:58:49 PM)
I think you need to find a place that will give you the best career opportunities given the role you want to have within finance. Anytime you are picking a school (general or focused), find out from the career center what percentage of students go into finance, how many companies come to recruit for finance jobs, etc. If you ask the right questions you'll find that there might be some of each type of school (general and focused) that could be right, as long as they will help you achieve your career goal. Just do your research.

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 5:58:55 PM)
Marina, I would recommend you to focus on explaining the basics in a way that a 10 year old would understand, without using language that is too elementary. That is- why do you want an MBA, why do you want it now, what skills have you gained that have determined an MBA is the next best step. You can speak about what you've done in your job that has led you to determining an MBA makes sense without getting too involved in the technical details. Save that for your resume- where we will be looking for specifics on your day to day and accomplishments over time.

bcousin (Sep 28, 2005 6:00:20 PM)
I'm interested in social entrepreneurship/finance.

marina (Sep 28, 2005 6:00:39 PM)
Christine; but what if the question asks to single out an accomplishment and discuss it?

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 6:01:00 PM)
Bcousin, agree with Amanda and Tamara--- consider which program fits for the skills you want to develop, classes you want to take, doors it will open in terms of connections with classmates, alumni, and career services connections. Many schools will enable you to take more than one concentration that will allow you to marry the areas you are interested in.

Priya (Sep 28, 2005 6:02:03 PM)
What do you wish you would have known when you applied to b-school, that you know now after graduating? What would you have done differently in retrospect?

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 6:03:04 PM)
Marina- if the question asks you to talk about a failure or something you did wrong- the readers are almost always looking for how you have avoided that problem since it happened, and why you made it in the first place. i.e.-- was it lack of knowledge, resources, support. Did it teach you some things that has led you to improving the next time you were faced with it. Overall, do you have a sense of self awareness about what the experience/failure allowed you to learn and later accomplish.

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 6:03:33 PM)
Priya, having gone through the application process, the MBA program, and now interviewing prospective students, the one thing I wish I knew when applying is that I wasn't alone in not really knowing what I wanted to do after b-school. Arriving at b-school, I realized most of my peers also didn't know. And I wish I had known that the Admissions Officers didn't really care whether I said I wanted to do marketing, consulting, finance, or anything else in my application-- one wasn't better than the other. They cared about my skills and my leadership ability and how I articulated those things more than what I actually said I wanted to do post-MBA. I think if I had known that I would have been able to relax a little more through the application process.

AmandaBassettForte (Sep 28, 2005 6:04:31 PM)
Priya, I feel good about the process that I used and don't have anything I would change at this time. I first thought about what I wanted out of an MBA, then identified the list of schools that could offer that. With a narrower list of school, I pulled out programs that I thought I could get into including a few stretch schools, focused on cities I would be willing to live in, and then attended recruiting events of those schools. Finally, I visited every school that I was interested in to get a better sense of the culture.

marina (Sep 28, 2005 6:04:47 PM)
Is there a big difference between the way on and off campus interviews are weighed? Is it a disadvantage to interview off-campus?

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 6:06:45 PM)
I'm not sure whether there is a disadvantage to interviewing off-campus, but I would suggest that even if you do interview off campus you make a special trip to visit the campus once you are admitted and/or are seriously considering the school. A school visit gives you a great sense of the culture and personality of the school, which you can't get just from reading statistics about the school.

linda (Sep 28, 2005 6:07:34 PM)
How much emphasis should be placed on school rankings?

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 6:07:59 PM)
marina- the short answer is No. Consider that alumni and current students who assist with interviews know more about the classroom day to day and what it takes to be successful because they have been there. Certainly it is our job as admissions staff to know how to assess who fits, but alumni and current students are as qualified as we are because they know it first hand. On top of that- we work with them to get the information we need in an interview evaluation so that it is as if it were conducted on campus.

TamaraSnyderForte (Sep 28, 2005 6:08:55 PM)
School rankings are moderately important, but certainly not everything. If you were to get into two schools, and one ranked a bit lower than another school, but was a better cultural fit AND happened to place people in more jobs in the city you wanted to eventually live in, it might make sense to consider going to the school that ranked lower, because eventually it might help you to achieve your goals better than if you went to the school that ranked slightly higher. In other words, there are many other things to consider in addition to rankings. It's all about what's going to help you achieve your post-MBA goal.

marina (Sep 28, 2005 6:10:01 PM)
Christine: I definitely plan on visiting a school prior to accepting, but someone told me it helps your file if you visit during the admissions process. Is this true?

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 6:10:14 PM)
School rankings do not mean much if the program is not a fit for you, and you don't see the value of what the MBA from a particular school will be able to do for your interests. Consider that rankings are very subjective and often aren't giving the kind of picture that alumni, current students, faculty and staff can give during a visit.

Priya (Sep 28, 2005 6:10:55 PM)
Thank you to all the panelists for doing such a wonderful job at answering our questions and sharing your thoughts and thanks to Linda for taking all our questions and conducting this session.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 6:10:58 PM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to Amanda, Christine, and Tamara for participating and the Forte Foundation for co-hosting.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 6:11:29 PM)
We look forward to seeing you at future chats. Please check the Web site (http://www.accepted.com/chat/schedule.aspx#mba ) for details and exact time, because we are varying our chat times this year to facilitate attendance from applicants in different time zones.

ChristineBalzanoForte (Sep 28, 2005 6:11:36 PM)
marina- each school is different, so I would consult each individual school for more specific detail. But, from a general perspective- it is helpful for us to know that you have done your research and visiting is part of that.

marina (Sep 28, 2005 6:12:06 PM)
Thank you!

bcousin (Sep 28, 2005 6:12:34 PM)
Thank you! This has been a great opportunity to learn about your experiences!

Irina (Sep 28, 2005 6:12:40 PM)

rani (Sep 28, 2005 6:12:55 PM)
Great information...thank you.

Linda Abraham (Sep 28, 2005 6:13:11 PM)
You're most welcome.

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