The MBA Value Proposition for Women Internationally

The MBA Value Proposition for Women Internationally

Please feel free to let us know if you would like to be informed of future chats by sending e-mail to We would also be interested in knowing if you would prefer a different format or different topics.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:46:07 AM)
Thank you all for joining us for this year’s International Women Business Leader’s Online chat.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:46:16 AM)
I want to give a special welcome to Mariska Morse, Forte's Marketing Director, and our panelists:

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:46:27 AM)
Anna Iacucci, Managing Director, Financial Institutions Investment Banking Group, Bank of America; MBA, Stern School of Business at NYU

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:46:38 AM)
Archana Mohan, Product Development, Cedar Partners; MBA, Yale School of Management

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:46:46 AM)
Caroline Diarte Edwards, Director of Admissions, Marketing and External Relations, INSEAD, INSEAD Class of 2003

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:46:56 AM)
Amy Donahue, Forté Scholar, London Business School Class of 2007

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:47:04 AM)
Anshu Goel, Forté Scholar, INSEAD Class of 2007

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:47:11 AM)
Ebele Okobi-Harris, Nike, HEC Class of 2006

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:47:18 AM)
Mariska, thank you for representing Forte. What's new at Forte?

MariskaMorseForte (Oct 3, 2006 9:47:27 AM)
Thanks Linda!

MariskaMorseForte (Oct 3, 2006 9:47:35 AM)
Welcome everyone. We're very excited to hosting another series of online chats again this year! For those of you that don't know Forte, let me tell you a few quick things. First, we are a nonprofit that started 5 years with the mission to increase the number of women business leaders. We are unique in that our funding comes from our membership, made up of 27 leading business schools and 25 companies. We are here to educate women in business about careers in business. We also have a robust scholarship program with lots of live events throughout the year, online events, and if you haven't checked out our web site, please do! It's full of great articles about amazing women leaders. I'm happy to talk to you more about Forte or please check us out online! Enjoy the panel of amazing women today!! Back to you Linda.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:51:08 AM)
Thanks. To start the panel portion of this chat, I am going to post the first question to our panel of guests. While they are typing, I'm also going to post information about their backgrounds. Panelists, anytime after you see Ebele’s bio, please post your responses.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:51:19 AM)
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 (Oct 3, 2006 9:51:30 AM)
Here are the bios.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:51:38 AM)
Anna Iacucci, Managing Director, Financial Institutions Investment Banking Group, Bank of America, Stern School of Business at NYU Anna Iacucci is a Managing Director in the Financial Institutions Investment Banking Group where she heads the rating advisory practice. Anna joined Banc of America Securities in April 2005 after 6 years as a Vice President at Goldman Sachs Credit Risk Management and Advisory. She spent her last four years in London where she co-headed European Financial Institutions and focused on strategic rating advisory, credit analysis and credit derivatives. Anna has extensive experience in rating advisory in insurance and banking in both the US and in Europe. Anna also worked at General Re Financial Products where she covered the insurance sector and at Moody’s Investor Service where she had coverage responsibilities for both property & casualty insurance and reinsurance companies. While at Moody’s, she initiated numerous first-time ratings in reinsurance and specialty insurance.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:51:50 AM)
Archana Mohan, Product Development, Cedar Partners, Yale School of Management Archana graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts in French Literature from Brown University. She holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management in Finance and International Strategy. Upon graduation, she joined Citigroup's Private Bank in London where she focused on marketing and developing alternative investment product solutions for high net worth individuals. She subsequently joined a small hedge fund start-up where she runs Product Development for the Firm. Archana lives in London with her husband.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:51:57 AM)
Caroline Diarte Edwards, Director of Admissions, Marketing and External Relations, INSEAD, INSEAD Class of 2003 Caroline Diarte Edwards is Director of Admissions, Marketing and External Relations at INSEAD. She is a graduate of INSEAD's MBA class of December 2003, and studied on both the Asia (Singapore) and Europe (Fontainebleau, France) campuses. As an undergraduate Caroline studied languages at the University of Cambridge, England. She is a UK citizen. Prior to joining INSEAD Caroline worked for the International Finance Corporation in Jakarta, Indonesia, and as a management consultant in France and the UK. She is based on INSEAD's Fontainebleau campus and lives with her family in Paris.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:52:05 AM)
Amy Donahue, Forté Scholar, London Business School Class of 2007 Amy Donahue is a second year MBA student at London Business School. Previously, she worked for 3 years as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and for 6 months as an Analyst in the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs. She graduated with a B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) in International Relations from Princeton University and completed a Graduate Fellowship in Asia Pacific Leadership Studies at the East-West Center in Hawaii. At London Business School, she is the Chair of the 2006 Women in Business Conference, the Treasurer of the Sailing Team, and a member of the Sundowners Crew and various other cultural and professional clubs. After graduation, she plans to remain in London to work as a consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:52:13 AM)
Anshu Goel, Forté Scholar, INSEAD Class of 2007 Anshu graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) from University of Delhi. She is currently an MBA student at INSEAD in France. She has worked in the IT industry in Silicon Valley, California for the past 7 years. She has experience working in small startups and behemoths including Oracle and Barclays Global Investors. As the Forte Scholar at INSEAD she is committed towards the advancement of Women in Business.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:52:24 AM)
Ebele Okobi-Harris, Nike, HEC Class of 2006 Ebele Okobi-Harris received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Southern California, her J.D. from Columbia University and will be completing her MBA from HEC-Paris in December 2006. She is currently employed by Nike in their Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters. Her projects include those in strategic talent management, strategic planning, consumer insights and CSR. She previously worked as a corporate attorney in New York and London, a women 's rights volunteer in Senegal and as a consultant for Catalyst in California and Amsterdam. She's a Trojans, SF 49ers and Nigerian Super Eagles fan, and she lives in Amsterdam with her husband, Richard Harris III, a producer and documentary film director.

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 9:53:11 AM)
For me it was to get a solid business education (I have an undergrad degree in languages) to build on the knowledge I had built through my consulting career. I have also always had an international focus in my career and INSEAD was the perfect environment for me in which to learn from world class faculty and build a powerful network.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 9:53:26 AM)
My passion is corporate social responsibility, using the power of business to create a better world. I'd had a career in non-profits, and as a corporate lawyer, and wanted to really learn the basics of business in an international setting--thought that I'd be even more effective if I understood and could communicate in the language of business.

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 9:53:39 AM)
I went to business school to make a career switch from the non-profit sector. Prior to business school I worked with students with learning disabilities. After six years of doing that, I wanted a new challenge. So I applied to various MBA programs, with a focus on those which had a non-profit bias. Yale was a natural choice because of this. I do believe I achieved my goal of transitioning into a completely different sector and I believe it was truly worth it.

Anshu (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 9:53:49 AM)
The reasons for me to go to INSEAD were international exposure, advance my career, to broaden my horizons, meet different kinds of people and learn what is really out there. I just started school, has been one month since I've been here and so far it has beaten my expectations

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:54:50 AM)
Caroline, did your MBA experience meet your expectations?

AmyDonahueForte (Oct 3, 2006 9:56:02 AM)
Going back to business school has far exceeded my expectations. I'm still in the middle of my program like Anshu, but I think I have already learned a great deal from my experiences and made some great friendships.

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 9:56:25 AM)
Absolutely. I was also looking for a change of career and geography which I achieved (moved from working in consulting in Europe to working for the IFC (World Bank Group) in Jakarta.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 9:56:33 AM)
For all the panelists: How do you handle the tension/conflict between family and professional demands?

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 9:57:59 AM)
I think it starts with being very clear with yourself about what is important. and then, being courageous. I think too many think that hours equal worth, and both men and women should be courageous about showing the way that they add value in terms of results, not face time.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 9:59:02 AM)
In a practical way, for me it means being able to work flexibly, and working with managers to define results in terms of outcomes, not in terms of time. I also think it's a deeply personal thing. . .one person's balance is another person's chaos!

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 9:59:14 AM)
It's always a tricky balance. But you need to do some soul searching and figure out how you want to balance your life. I definitely agree with Ebele that it's about being as efficient as you can within the time frame you can consecrate to work.

AmyDonahueForte (Oct 3, 2006 9:59:58 AM)
My parents are in the diplomatic corp so I've grown up moving every two years. Coming to London for business school has been a great move because I am surrounded by a lot more people with similarly international backgrounds. It's nice to be able to relate to people who are very open-minded about their futures and are willing to take one day at a time and MBAs tend to be great travel advisors and travel companions

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:00:00 AM)
It is all about knowing what your priorities are and managing your time carefully. And multi-tasking (right now I am trying to get my five month old baby to sleep!)

Anshu (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:00:08 AM)
I think it's about setting the right expectations at both work and home

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:00:13 AM)
BTW, when I started (on a part-time basis) I had six children ranging in age from 3 -12. It is also about setting priorities. Sometimes work will wait, and sometimes, the family will wait. But for me, overall it was the family that came first. BTW, my youngest is now 18.

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:01:41 AM)
Wow Linda! That's brilliant.

CEO in the making (Oct 3, 2006 10:01:57 AM)
Wow Linda! That's great!

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:02:22 AM)
I don't know if it was brilliant. When we visited friends with a lot of little kids, my husband inevitably says, "We must have been crazy!!!" But it was fun. And another BTW, and then I'll go back to asking the questions and not answering them, I also have an MBA (UCLA '79)

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:03:39 AM)
How has your MBA benefited you off the job?

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:04:40 AM)
An MBA is more than a degree which gives you a "business understanding". It gives you a wonderful wealth of relationships and a vast network. From a personal standpoint it gives you a chance to meet people from all walks of life, and with various experiences. It's an experience which will change your life both personally and professionally.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:05:02 AM)
Honestly, and this will not be a "nice" answer, but going through the process has refined my bullshit detector!

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:05:17 AM)
Valuable skill. I was going to say it gives you an analytical framework.

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:05:48 AM)
It has given me a fantastic network of friends all over the world!

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:07:04 AM)
What made you decide to pursue your MBAs in Europe as opposed to the US (for those who did)?

Anshu (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:07:47 AM)
Mainly because I wanted the exposure to Europe and Asia after having worked in the us for the past 7 years

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:08:15 AM)
Welcome to Anna Iacucci. She has just joined us.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:08:17 AM)
I already had a law degree from a US school (Columbia) and I know that I always want to work in global roles--I thought a degree from a non-US school would help to lend credibility. I also wanted to improve my French. In addition, I think it's an invaluable management learning experience to struggle in another language. . .particularly for people who will be managing cross-culturally!

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:09:14 AM)
Actually I started my MBA at INSEAD on the Singapore campus as I was looking to learn more about the Asian business environment. I also spent part of the year on the campus in France. I was looking for a very international environment where the learning is not dominated by any country or culture and there are not many top schools that offer that.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:09:41 AM)
For those of you who graduated: Has the degree paid off financially? Was it a worthwhile investment?

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:09:50 AM)
It has definitely paid off.

Anna Iacucci Bank of America (Oct 3, 2006 10:10:56 AM)
Having studied at Stern and having spent a year at Bocconi in Milan provided me with an invaluable learning experience and network which I have and continue to leverage in my career.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:11:26 AM)
For those of you currently in b-school: Are you enjoying your MBA experience? How do you feel the MBA will benefit you?

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:11:38 AM)
Yes, it paid off. I and most of my peers broke even after 2-3 years.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:12:28 AM)
What were some of the elements of fit that made you choose your MBA program?

Anshu (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:12:45 AM)
It is a lot of fun; a good mix of parties and hard work. The classes are a lot of fun. It is amazing how much effort the professors put into making the content fun to learn. The elements that made me choose my program included the non-profit program, the small class size, the international student body and the access to professors and the people are so diverse. My group mates are from Netherlands, China, France and Portugal

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:13:47 AM)
I chose HEC because it is in France--I knew I wanted to study in France and live in Paris. I also wanted to go to a "French" school with an international outlook. I was also particularly interested in the small size and varied backgrounds of the classes.

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:14:02 AM)
For me it was one year program + very diverse student body + top notch faculty

Anna (Oct 3, 2006 10:15:24 AM)
I have not yet made the decision to go for my MBA, as I have gotten a lot of conflicting viewpoints from people I know and do business with, some of whom have obtained their MBA, and some who haven't. A lot seem to be of the opinion that an MBA simply isn't necessary to succeed in the international business world.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:16:37 AM)
Hi, Anna! Is your question whether or not we feel that an MBA is necessary?

AmyDonahueForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:16:55 AM)
The necessity of an MBA varies by career (i.e., very important for consulting, maybe not so much for sales and trading) but I think getting an MBA is an investment in yourself and you get out of it what you put into it.

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:17:02 AM)
It really depends what you want to do. I am sure I would have continued to have had a successful career without an INSEAD MBA. But I wouldn't have had the wealth of options that opened up to me when I graduated.

Anna Iacucci Bank of America (Oct 3, 2006 10:17:07 AM)
It would depend on what you want to do because an MBA is only one form of a graduate degree. It also is a function of the programs being offered. Depending on what you want to do, I would suggest exploring other graduate programs that may be better suited.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:17:21 AM)
Ebele, yes, the question is whether an MBA is necessary.

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:17:48 AM)
Anna, I think it depends on what you want to do after your MBA. I think it's true that if you want to stay within your field, if you feel pretty confident that you have a set career path and that you have the mentorship and guidance you need then an MBA may not be the best option. But on the other hand, personally it can offer you a wealth of benefits too.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:18:09 AM)
In my case, I don't think that my MBA was necessary, in the sense that I would not have the options I have with it. I do feel that it was something I wanted to do for myself, and that's a decision only you can make for yourself.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:18:19 AM)
Mariska, could you tell us a little about the Forte Scholars Program?

MariskaMorseForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:18:45 AM)
Sure. The Forte Scholarship Program is funded by the schools and Forte provides all the programming that goes with it. To apply to be a Forte scholar you need to indicate your interest to a Forte school during the application process (interviews, essays, etc.)

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:18:47 AM)
Amy can you also comment on it?

CEO in the making (Oct 3, 2006 10:19:36 AM)
I have been told that in order to be accepted into an MBA program, you must have at least two years of experience. However I am ready NOW!! Any advice? Btw I graduated in 2005!

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:19:51 AM)
CEO's question is for the panelists.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:19:59 AM)
CEO, I actually have strong feelings about this. I think that the MBA is most useful, to you and to your classmates, when you have a fair amount of work experience. I say this because in it's best form, it is not just about learning from books; it's about working together to solve business problems for each other. I think that the more experience you have, the more you have to add, and the more you can learn.

Anna Iacucci Bank of America (Oct 3, 2006 10:20:01 AM)
Another factor is where you want to work because of distinct career tracks that exist. Having worked in London, I noticed that there was a career path for undergraduates with strong business degrees. Strong analysts in investment banking were able to transition to the associate programs and continue on their careers. The value of the MBA is the networking and time off to study and determine the next best career move. Often times when you working you are unable to take the time off to think laterally about career opportunities.

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:20:34 AM)
CEO, I do believe you get more out of an MBA the more work experience you have. However, more and more schools are searching for younger and younger scholars to add diversity to classrooms.

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:20:45 AM)
to CEO in the making: you may still be able to get accepted by an MBA program, but I would advise you to wait as you'll get much more out of it when you have more experience under your belt and can put your learning into context.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:21:08 AM)
CEO, first of all your premise is wrong. Many top programs are actively recruiting qualified, mature early career applicants. Check out Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, UCLA, Rochester to start.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:21:37 AM)
Business Week has an excellent article called "You Don't Have to Wait" which outlined the increasing number of schools that do NOT have an experience requirement.

MariskaMorseForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:21:57 AM)
Last note on the Scholars Program-- Forte provides "guidelines" on the selection process of the scholarship recipients, but the schools ultimately decide on who to award the scholarship to. Once you become a Forte Scholar, Forte engages you in programs and opportunities to "give back." please visit the left-nav button on our website to learn more.

AmyDonahueForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:22:18 AM)
Also, the Forte Scholars Program opens a whole other network that you can rely on both during and after business school. The network has helped me reach out to other business women in London in support of the Women in Business Conference I am running this year.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:22:19 AM)
The next question, which has been raised by a number of panelists: Will you get more out of your MBA if you have full-time work experience? I suspect yes, but that is individual.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:22:39 AM)
I think yes! You will get more out of an MBA with work experience.

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:22:48 AM)
Again I do it think it's beneficial. But again depends on the applicant.

Anna Iacucci Bank of America (Oct 3, 2006 10:22:49 AM)
There has been a trend in business schools to increase the female population so many schools have relaxed the 2 or more years of work experience.

nataliavv (Oct 3, 2006 10:23:02 AM)
Do participants mind disclosing their age (in the ballpark, if necessary) after graduating the program? Was there anyone in their early 30s, and if so, did the MBA help to gain more credibility to leverage the perception of being "too young" (I'm asking this because I am a 30-yr old Project Manager, but usually people think of me as a 25-27year old, which doesn't always help :)

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:23:28 AM)
I'm 32!

trying (Oct 3, 2006 10:23:29 AM)
Mariska are you saying that one has to indicate in the essays that they wish to be considered for the Forte scholarship. Schools that I am applying to do not have a question where I can put this in.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:23:58 AM)
Nalalia, time will take care of that problem. :-) I had the same issue. It somehow disappeared.

Anna (Oct 3, 2006 10:24:23 AM)
Thank you all who have responded to my intended question. How are 1-year INSEAD graduates regarded compared to graduates from 2-year programs from Harvard, U of C? What about graduates from part-time MBA programs?

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:24:42 AM)
The preceding question is for Caroline and Anshu.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:24:45 AM)
I also look about 17, so I can empathize with wanting to be taken seriously while people think you are there to pour drinks. ;-)

trying (Oct 3, 2006 10:24:53 AM)
Mariska... also is the Forte scholarship dependent on nationality, is everyone eligible, irrespective of nationality?

nataliavv (Oct 3, 2006 10:24:56 AM)
Linda, thanks :) LOL

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:26:19 AM)
Our recruiters tell us that they get just as much from INSEAD grads as from 2 year program grads and the success of our alums suggests they are not any disadvantage having done a 1 year course.

JC (Oct 3, 2006 10:26:20 AM)
Panelists: I am applying to programs to enter in the fall of 07. I really want a strong general management program but also want a global experience (studies, contacts, etc.). I have heard that some global programs (outside of the US) may be excellent, but might not be seen as strong as a Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, etc. Has anyone with a degree from an MBA program outside the US felt that their degrees, while valuable, are not seen at the same level as the top US schools? I know, long question. Maybe moderator can help clarify/simplify. Thanks.

Anshu (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:26:35 AM)
INSEAD is regarded as one of the top International Business schools. I've just been here a month and have seen the same top firms recruiting here

MariskaMorseForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:26:43 AM)
Trying: Yes, even though there is not "official" space, be sure the admissions team knows that you know about Forte, and the Forte Scholarship program -- and that you're interested in being considered for the scholarship.

kaz123 (Oct 3, 2006 10:26:51 AM)
Where is the best place to indicate your interest in the forte scholars program? Mariska stated essays, and interviews, but where is it most effective and appropriate?

LiNa... (Oct 3, 2006 10:27:00 AM)
Mariska: Hi, are those scholarships available just for women who are applying to your business school network???

nataliavv (Oct 3, 2006 10:27:10 AM)
Ebele, thanks for sharing, this is helpful. Obviously, you're very accomplished, so age should not to be seen a barrier. thanks again

AmyDonahueForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:27:15 AM)
London Business School was just rated number 4 in the FT this week and I still feel a lot of Americans have no idea we exist. However, if you want to transfer your career to Europe its fantastic

Anna Iacucci Bank of America (Oct 3, 2006 10:27:15 AM)
I attended my MBA in my 20s but age is less a factor. In addition to the traditional MBA programs, there are executive MBA programs for those applicants who have many years of work experience or who are sponsored by their employers. The age of my colleagues at school covered a wide spectrum which added to the content of class discussions and projects.

MariskaMorseForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:27:36 AM)
The Scholarship Program is only available at the b-schools that are members of Forte (see list of 27 schools on our web site).

Anna Iacucci Bank of America (Oct 3, 2006 10:27:37 AM)
I spent a year at Bocconi in Milan (which know has a program in English) and the caliber of professors and classes were equivalent to any of the US top business schools.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:27:56 AM)
Mariska, do you have the URL handy for that list?

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:28:14 AM)
I definitely think that US companies know less about international schools than US schools. . .but I think that's where your past work experience, etc. helps. For me, already having strong work experience and great US schools (for undergrad and law) helped to overcome this, as well as having a coherent story for why I chose a non US MBA program

MariskaMorseForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:29:05 AM)
Kaz123-- The most effective place to indicate your interest would be (1) in your interview--tell them you went to a Forte event, and you're very interested in being a Forte scholar. (2) in the application, state it in the "Other comments" section, or maybe there is a way to weave it into your essay.

kaz123 (Oct 3, 2006 10:29:48 AM)
Thanks. Also, how else can a student get involved with Forte, even if they do not receive a scholarship?

MariskaMorseForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:29:54 AM)
The link is

engee (Oct 3, 2006 10:30:14 AM)
Hi! I'm applying to school this year, and have an admissions interview coming up. I am also about 6.5 months pregnant. I have planned extensively for the next two years (Assuming I do get into the school of my choice) and can answer the 'Why now, why MBA?' questions fairly well. Any advice on how I can allay the interviews reservations during the 30 minutes I get? My stats etc are great for my target school...

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:30:34 AM)
JC: I suggest you look in detail at the recruiters at the schools you are considering and compare them to the recruiters at the US schools you mentioned. As far as INSEAD is concerned you would not be disappointed.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:31:23 AM)
Panelists: How are you a better businessperson or leader as a result of going to b-school?

MariskaMorseForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:31:38 AM)
As an MBA student you can get involved through the women in business club that most b-schools have. Anyone can get involved with Forte as a "volunteer" -- just visit the left navigation of our web site, and click on the Volunteer button.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:32:35 AM)
Honestly, I don't think any good school would have reservations about you being pregnant--many schools (including Harvard) have organizations to support new mothers who are also students I'd be happy to send you information off-line.

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:32:41 AM)
Engee: I would look for an opportunity to tell them about why the MBA is right for you now and explain how you are planning to manage your family and your MBA. If you show that you have worked things out then they should be impressed. We have had students who have given birth during the program!

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:33:43 AM)
Engee: I think that you should explain that you have thought this through. Then you just need to use the resources which schools offer to support moms. I had several members of my class who had children during their MBA program and it worked for them. You just can't be afraid to ask for help.

Anshu (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:33:46 AM)
To Linda's question - At business school I feel like I am practicing my leadership skills everyday in group projects, interaction with the immensely diverse student body or even class discussions. This is in addition to the actual leadership classes we have with the excellent exercises.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:34:43 AM)
I don't think the MBA alone could make me a better leader. I think that takes time and experience, far beyond what an MBA program, even a really really good one, can simulate. . .I do think that I have a better grasp on business concepts and much more comfort with numbers and process, which have made me a better businessperson. . .

nataliavv (Oct 3, 2006 10:34:59 AM)
If you don't mind, my 2 cents - one of my girlfriends is currently 6 months pregnant, and she already got accepted into NYU, I believe. from everything I read on the internet and in magazines, including schools materials, MBA programs are making an effort to accommodate females and people with families

Anna Iacucci Bank of America (Oct 3, 2006 10:35:08 AM)
Engee: I would weave into your discussion your planning. I had pregnant women in my classes as well as parents with many children. Being organized is a critical success factor for personal and professional success.

Anna (Oct 3, 2006 10:35:43 AM)
Panelists: If my goal is to transfer my career to Europe indefinitely, how would an MBA from an American school compare to INSEAD or IMD? I am already fluent in 7 languages, and I have lived/worked in France, Spain, Italy, Austria and the Ukraine.

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:35:52 AM)
As to leadership skills: B-school teaches you how to be a member of team as well as how to lead without imposing your view on others. Rather it shows you that leadership means convincing others (through your actions) that you are worth following. I think the biggest lesson is that you can lead by example. Of course one can't always "learn" leadership. I think it takes good mentors and strong examples in your own career to see what you value in people you believe to be leaders.

engee (Oct 3, 2006 10:36:42 AM)
Thanks! Archana, Caroline, Ebele. I do plan to tell my interviewer (when I mail him my resume) about my situation. Not to make a big fuss, but just to avoid a 'surprise'. Once again, thanks for your support... I feel better already.

Anna Iacucci Bank of America (Oct 3, 2006 10:36:47 AM)
Leadership skills are developed over time and in diverse circumstances. What business school offers is an environment where you can demonstrate your skills in group projects and business organizations. It also helps in identifying the challenges of motivating a group.

CEO in the making (Oct 3, 2006 10:38:12 AM)
Panelists: What are you opinions on full-time vs. part-time programs?

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:38:16 AM)
Anna: you may find it an advantage to be in or near the location in which you aim to work afterwards. Also I suggest you look at the size and strength of alumni networks in the countries you might be interested in. These networks can have a huge impact on your career for many years to come. For some US schools, their European networks are quite limited. At INSEAD we have over 100 alumni in each of the 25 countries around the world :-)

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:39:03 AM)
Wow. Thanks for clarifying. That makes a difference.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:40:22 AM)
re: full-time v. part-time--I think it all depends on what you are trying to get out of the program. Do you want a full immersion? Do you want to be able to practice while you learn? Do you want the cachet of a particular school (many schools don't offer part-time programs)? Or, you may not want to forgo income while you are in school. . .

Anna Iacucci Bank of America (Oct 3, 2006 10:40:38 AM)
Anna: I was asked by my former employer (top tier investment bank) to work overseas when I was in my mid-career. I also went over with language skills (fewer than the languages you have) which served me well. You will not be at a competitive disadvantage with a US business degree. Rely on the alumni networks and the women in business networks for introductions.

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:41:00 AM)
Full-time enables you to take a step back from the whirlwind of your professional life and immerse yourself in a completely different experience, so you can dedicate yourself to learning, working out what you want to do as your next step, and having fun.

kpicks (Oct 3, 2006 10:41:36 AM)
Hi - the chat moved your backgrounds off, and I don't necessarily remember, but did anyone come from an e-commerce background, or current work in conjunction with the internet? One of the directors of the company I work for is saying in the internet an MBA isn't necessary, and I was wondering of your opinion. Thanks.

Anshu (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:41:42 AM)
CEO in the making: It depends on your situation but if possible I would recommend a full time program. It will enable you to take full advantage of the different opportunities available.

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:41:47 AM)
Anna: I did my MBA in the US but am working and have worked since graduation in Europe. So an MBA In the US does not preclude finding a great position in Europe.

Anshu (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:43:03 AM)
kpicks - I have worked with dot com startups in the Silicon Valley.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:43:59 AM)
Anshu, can you answer kpicks' question?

nataliavv (Oct 3, 2006 10:44:07 AM)
kpicks - does the director posses the MBA himself / herself?

Anna (Oct 3, 2006 10:44:16 AM)
Caroline, thank you, - that's a very impressive number. How does INSEAD look at liberal arts undergrads? I have a degree in philosophy (+1year of graduate school), magna cum laude, and have just started getting into business through real estate. In terms of work experience, is it only business experience that counts?

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:44:18 AM)
Re: internet and MBA--I'd say what I said at the beginning--an MBA is often not "necessary" for fields other than I-banking and consulting. But can it be useful? Yes! It all depends upon what you are looking for out of the degree.

kpicks (Oct 3, 2006 10:45:16 AM)
nat - no--He doesn't. He made his way by "grit and hard work." Our CFO, does, and he's kind excited for me to go for it... I'm definitely getting mixed ideas.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:46:31 AM)
You are asking great questions and the panelists are giving wonderful answers. We are going to extend the chat for 15 minutes.

JC (Oct 3, 2006 10:46:40 AM)
Panelists: I work in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) field now, with several years experience in the nonprofit sector and philanthropy. I am interested in understanding CSR from a global perspective and have heard that many international cities, London in particular, would be a great place to focus on this. Folks on the panel have mentioned that international programs are great for a career switch to an international career. How difficult is it to take this sort of international learning about bring it home to the US? Do global programs/admissions folks anticipate that you will stay in that country or do they assume you will return to the US? How clear do you need to be about post-MBA plans as you apply and as you interview? Ideally, my career would be based in the US, but involve international CSR. Does anyone have experience with this?

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:46:59 AM)
Anna: diversity in the classroom is important to us and that includes in academic backgrounds, so liberal arts is fine. We look at all your work experience and not everyone has been working exclusively in business (eg: we have journalists and fighter pilots on the program).

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:47:07 AM)
kpicks--i think the first most important thing is to do what makes the most sense for you and your career, and that's not something anyone else can tell you. they can give advice, or tell you about their experiences, but only you can truly know what's best for you.

Anshu (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:47:39 AM)
kpicks - I do see the value of an MBA in internet companies. As I see it, it would allow me to change functions easily within the company, but it really depends on you

kpicks (Oct 3, 2006 10:48:45 AM)
ebele - thanks. I'm definitely hoping to expand on my practical experience and go to a large company or internationally. I just want to keep gathering information through the application process. thanks.

CEO in the making (Oct 3, 2006 10:48:57 AM)
Ebel, Caroline,Anshu: As of right now, I want to enroll in a full time program, but the cost of most full time programs (at the top schools I am looking into) is so much more than full time...I guess what I am asking is whether or not the COST of the program should determine whether or not you apply??

kpicks (Oct 3, 2006 10:49:07 AM)
thanks Anshu for the info.

CEO in the making (Oct 3, 2006 10:49:23 AM)
kpicks- my current boss and executive co-workers do not have MBAs either so I understand how you feel....

nataliavv (Oct 3, 2006 10:49:33 AM)
kpicks - I had the same experience as you - mixed opinions. They were "mixed" in an interesting way though. Based on my conversations with those who do have MBAs and those who DON'T, my observation has been that those who have MBAs themselves think that they help. Those who don't always said that they're not necessary. My observation has also been that most women who are accomplished in their careers have MBAs. LINDA, please let me know if my comments should not be posted, btw, and I'll stop. Don't mean to take the attention away from panelists.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:50:00 AM)
If I thought they weren't of general value, I wouldn't post them.

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:50:07 AM)
JC: that's a lot of questions! Admissions staff will not make assumptions about your plans and know that not everyone has every detail of their post MBA path mapped out beforehand. But you should show that you have a good sense for the direction in which you are heading, and real drive to get you there.

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:50:43 AM)
Hello, JC! CSR is exactly what I am passionate about, and why I went to b-school! I was very honest in my application about wanting to have a global role, and to work internationally. I also said that I wanted to eventually be based in the US. Most schools welcome the prospect of truly international alumni. Now I work for Nike, in their EMEA headquarters in Amsterdam, but the company truly expects senior leaders to move around within the company. My international work experience pre-MBA and my international MBA has actually been an asset, even at one of the most "American" of US companies.

LiNa... (Oct 3, 2006 10:50:49 AM)
I'm interested at [Simmons] SOM MBA Program.... have you heard about it??? What do you think about this MBA Program??? I really appreciated your answers!!!

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:50:58 AM)
JC: I can only speak to US MBA's but I would like to make the point that US schools are becoming more and more "global". They are realizing that you can only be effective if you have an understanding of global markets, trends and themes. In addition, US companies are interested in keeping their teams international and diversity is important, therefore a global focus would (in my opinion) be of interest to them.

Anna Iacucci Bank of America (Oct 3, 2006 10:50:59 AM)
JC: Global companies value MBAs from well known schools so studying abroad will not preclude you from working in the US. CSR and sustainable economies will be a critical success factor for all companies. You just may need to more creative on how you position your career desires.

Anshu (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:51:22 AM)
CEO in the making - I did not let the cost affect my decision ( me and my husband are both doing the MBA at the same time). I felt that the value of the MBA was much more than the cost.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:51:41 AM)
The value (over the cost) should determine your decision.

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:52:57 AM)
Ceo in the making: rather than focusing just on the program fees, think about the overall return on investment. So make sure you take into account all the costs (fees, living expenses, foregone salary) and the return (likely salary increase post MBA, plus long term prospects for alumni from the school).

lisa u (Oct 3, 2006 10:53:54 AM)
Hi panelists, I have an extensive background in mortgage finance but I am interested in consulting. I have no experience in this field. Is it far fetched to pursue an MBA just to get into consulting?

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:54:26 AM)
Lisa: plenty of MBA grads go into consulting with no prior consulting experience

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:54:55 AM)
Lisa, not at all. An MBA is a great stepping stone towards whatever career you choose. What you need is a good reason for why you want to make this switch.

CEO in the making (Oct 3, 2006 10:55:10 AM)
Anshu, Linda, and Caroline: Thanks so much for your advice! Perhaps I have been letting the figures do all the influencing. Thanks again!

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:55:14 AM)
I didn't really think about the cost. . .maybe it's a cultural thing (my parents emigrated to the US from Nigeria to go to school) but I've always thought of education as an investment. But I do think you should be sure you are comfortable with debt, if that's how you need to finance your education.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:55:31 AM)
CEO, you need to look at all the figures -- including those showing benefit and value.

Anna Iacucci Bank of America (Oct 3, 2006 10:55:45 AM)
Lisa u: consulting is a broad field and with your background you can explore consulting in financial services. An MBA is great way to explore other opportunities.

Anna (Oct 3, 2006 10:56:52 AM)
Thank you all for responding; I am sorry for bombarding you with so many questions. Another one: how do recruiters look at MBAs from lower-ranked schools?

lisa u (Oct 3, 2006 10:57:04 AM)
Thank you Caroline and Archana! Thanks Anna

EbeleOkobiHarrisForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:57:54 AM)
Anna--I think it depends upon what industry, what school, and the kind of work experience you had before the MBA. . .

ArchanaMohanForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:58:02 AM)
Anna: I think it depends on the person and how you approach the firm you are recruiting with...

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:58:06 AM)
Anna: the best way to find out is to see who recruits at the schools you are thinking of, and how many people they recruit there. That will tell you what they think of the school!

MariskaMorseForte (Oct 3, 2006 10:58:11 AM)
Thank you for attending--I hope this was a valuable hour for you! A huge round of applause to the panelists!!

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:58:30 AM)
Anna, it also makes a difference if a school is well regarded in your area of interest despite a overall lower ranking.

Caroline (INSEAD) (Oct 3, 2006 10:58:34 AM)
Thank you - it was fun!

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:58:37 AM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to our panelists today.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:58:57 AM)
We look forward to seeing you at future chats, and here is a list of the upcoming scheduled chats:

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:59:18 AM)
First of all there are two more Forte Chats: Today at 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM ET we are hosting the MBA Value Proposition and on Oct. 5 at 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM ET we will host the MBA Value Proposition for Women of Color.

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:59:27 AM)
In addition, has hosted and will continue to host chats for individual schools

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:59:35 AM)
LBS Oct. 10 Chicago Oct. 16 Haas Oct. 18 Consortium 2 Oct. 25 USC Oct. 24

Linda Abraham (Oct 3, 2006 10:59:42 AM)
Please check the Web site ( ) for details and exact time.

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