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Study in the USA: Is Getting an MBA Right for You and Your Career Objectives?

Our speakers are from the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (FSE) and representatives from Stanford University and Columbia University Business School.

Study in the USA: Is Getting an MBA Right for You and Your Career Objectives?
Friday, November 19 2004 (9:00 AM - 11:00 AM)

Please note: Portions of this transcript have been edited for clarity

Host: (Amanda Carlson):

Hello, this is Amanda Carlson, Associate Director of Admissions at Columbia Business School. I look forward to this session and to answering any questions you might have about business school and the application process.

 

Host: (Stephanie Lo)

Hi, my name is Stephanie Lo and I'm currently a Master's student at the University of Pennsylvania, and working as an advisor at FSE.

 

 


Start of Chat


 

Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
1) If I have no working experiences, will I face any problems in applying for MBA programs? 2) I don't have any prior business education background but want to major in finance in business school. Do you think this is practical?
A
Generally, students entering business school have anywhere from 0-20 years of work experience. The average amount of work experience that our students have is 4 years. That being said, it is important for an applicant who would like to come to business school to be clear about how it can help him/her to achieve his/her goals. We want folks to be realistic in their expectations about what business school can do for him or her. Every year, yes, there are applicants who are admitted directly from their undergraduate studies and matriculate at business school. If you feel the timing is right for you, then I encourage you to apply. (2004-11-19 09:11)
 
Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
I am 28 years-old. Am I too old for B School?
A
No, you are certainly not too old for business school. Each school will have an average age for their students, but please keep in mind that this is just an average. The age range is something entirely different. At our program this year, the age range is from 22-53! (2004-11-19 09:14)
 
Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
Can I apply to Business School with just a GRE score?
A
I do not believe that you can apply to business school with a GRE score. I believe that all major business schools require the GMAT. (2004-11-19 09:14)
 
Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
Can you describe how importance of GPA in yours school's admission progress?
A
The GPA is one measure of an applicant's academic profile. When the Admissions Committee assesses an applicant, we look at three pieces: academics; professional promise; and personal characteristics. We look at the GPA to assess how you performed in your undergraduate program, while also taking into consideration the rigor of the program and your major(s). (2004-11-19 09:18)
 
Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
I am 41 years-old. Am I too old for your Phd program too?
A
For the fellow who was interested in the PhD, if he's interested, he can contact Elizabeth Elam at ee31@columbia.edu. (2004-11-19 09:18)
 
Host: (J. Chow)
Q
How many students without American ID to find a job in USA after graduate from your program?
A
You can't work in the U.S. without the proper work visa. As a foreigner, you will need to be sponsored for work by a company. (2004-11-19 09:22)
 
Host: (Stephanie Lo)
Q
What is the most important qualification when I apply for MBA programs?
A
Work experience is probably one of the most important qualifications. (2004-11-19 09:22)
 
Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
In choosing a school, I am hoping to make tuition and good employment prospects as my priority. Can you give me some suggestions?
A
To answer the latter part of your question, I think it's important to ask each school for a breakdown of their career reports. I know that we publish one each year and give a breakdown by employer, by industry, by function, and by salary. All of this information is publicly available. Regarding the former (tuition), I think that an education is an investment in yourself. Yes, an MBA is an expensive endeavor, but keep in mind that your ROI will be infinite in terms of knowledge, relationships, experiences, etc.. (2004-11-19 09:23)
 
Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
There's a teacher from my school told me that when he studied in NYU for MBA most of his classmates use GRE and TOEFL scores to apply a MBA progream instead of GMAT scores.
A
That may be the case for NYU, but I can only speak for Columbia Business School. We require a GMAT score. (2004-11-19 09:24)
 
Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
What's the different between MS in Finance and MBA in Finance? Will a MS in finance program require less work experiences?
A
An MBA will offer the skills designed to help you grow as a leader 5, 10, 30 years down the road. An MBA will provide you with a broad toolbox for business success, both quantitatively and in terms of teaching 'softer' skills such as Negotiations, Leadership, etc. Again, you do not have to earn an MBA in a specific area. Our MBA allows you to tailor the program to be as specialized or as broad as you desire. (2004-11-19 09:27)
 
Host: (J. Chow)
Q
If I want to apply a master degree right after I finished my undergraduated program, MBA or MS is suitable for me to apply for?
A
It is possible to apply directly to an MBA program. The important thing is are you ready and do you know what you really want to study. (2004-11-19 09:31)
 
Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
Does the Columbia Business School give conditional admissions for students who are just shy of the TOEFL requirement?
A
While we do require applicants who have not studied in an institution in which English was the primary language of study, we do not have a minimum requirement for a TOEFL score. (2004-11-19 09:41)
 
Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
What is the average TOEFL GMAT GPA scores in applying for Columbia University MBA or MS in finance?
A
We do not release the average scores. However, I can provide you with the statistics of where the middle 80% of our incoming class fell: GPA-- 2.9-3.8; GMAT-- 660-760; TOEFL-- I do not know. I encourage folks to shoot for >230. (2004-11-19 09:49)
 
Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
I have published several papers, is it helpful for me to apply the Business School?
A
I think an application to business school depends upon your goals. Of course, your papers will be helpful and will enhance your candidacy in terms of admission. However, I think that you need to put some thought to what you'd gain from business school. (2004-11-19 09:49)
 
Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
If I have a strong background, do I still need to pass TOFEL and GMAT or there's another access to get admissions from schools?Have you met such a case?
A
Yes, the TOEFL and GMAT are a requirement for admission to our business school. In my experience at Columbia, I have not seen an exception. (2004-11-19 09:50)
 
Host: (Stephanie Lo)
Q
Could you recommand any school with ESL program?
A
If you can afford it, I'd recommend Columbia's Teacher's college or University of Pennsylvania's ELP. (2004-11-19 09:54)
 
Host: (Stephanie Lo)
Q
How many graduates without American ID can find a job in USA?
A
It depends on your qualifications and your connections. (2004-11-19 09:56)
 
Host: (Amanda Carlson)
Q
Does there any internship program for MBA at Columbia University?
A
Yes, there is an internship for students who matriculate in September. As well, because of our location in New York City, there is an opportunity to pursue an internship during your second year of study if that's something you'd like to pursue. (2004-11-19 09:55)
 
Host: (Seda Mansour)
Q
I'm a pharmacist in Taiwan, and I am interested in studying MBA . I am looking for a program which could equip me with some skills both on pharmaceutical administration and business management . Is the MBA program in Columbia University a good choice for me? I have working experience both in community and hospital.
A
Because the Stanford MBA Program is a general management degree, students can focus on their area of interest once they have completed their core coursework in the first year. The benefit to someone like you, interested in continuing in the health care field is that you will also have the benefit of studying at the Medical School as you take both courses cross-listed with the business school and purely med school. (2004-11-19 10:00)
 
Host: (Stephanie Lo)
Q
Is there any school with good ESL program but less expensive?
A
You could consider schools on the West Coast, California has some pretty strong programs. (2004-11-19 10:02)
 
Host: (Seda Mansour)
Q
What is the average TOEFL GMAT GPA scores in applying for Stanford University MBA or MS in finance?
A
Great question. I'm sure many others would like to know the answer to this. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we do not have a required minimum to apply. After we select our class, we usually do have a fairly robust average GMAT score for all admits but our range is very wide spread. Last year it went from 530 to 760, I believe. As for the TOEFL, we try to maintain the University's minimum which I believe is 550 for paper based tests. (2004-11-19 10:03)
 
Host: (Seda Mansour)
Q
I am a lecturer of Aletheia University inTaiwan. I am interested in the area of entrepreneurship, do you have the PhD program of entrepreneurship or any professor who is expert at the area of entrepreneurship in your Business School.
A
At the moment we do not have a PhD program specific to entrepreneurship; we currently only offer the traditional areas of business. However, because we have a center for entrepreneurial studies, quite a bit of research and case work gets done regarding entrepreneurship. My advice to you would be to contact Susan Gutierrez, my colleague in the PhD Program to learn more of the specifics. I'm afraid I'm not the best person to speak to since I focus mainly on the MBA Program. (2004-11-19 10:15)
 
Host: (Seda Mansour)
Q
I was wondering, if I don't take any business courses in colleage, is that hard to catch up MBA classes?
A
Absolutely not. It's a misconception that many have but as you continue to research solid business school programs you will find that their strengh is many times made up in the diversity of the class (having people from multiple educational backgrounds). The first year core, that everyone is required to take, will build the foundation necessary for your business education. Once that's out of the way, you will then have what you need to go on to the electives, building on the foundation you had the first the year. If someone comes in with an undergrad degree in business, they will have the opportunity to test out of the courses they were perhaps very strong in as an undergrad. The beauty of this is that the MBA Program is really made for anyone, any major, who might want to go into leadership and make a difference in their world. (2004-11-19 10:20)
 
Host: (Stephanie Lo / Seda Mansour)
Q
If I am not a business school student in college, will I have to take many undergraudate courses after getting in MBA?
A
a) You will need to take the introductory courses when getting an MBA. b) No. If you have completed a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, then you will not have to take any additional courses. For our program, however, we will want to see quantitative strength in your transcript so math courses will be important, but you will not need to take any in preparation for entry into our program. (2004-11-19 10:21)
 
Host: (Stephanie Lo)
Q
Will working experience count? I mean will the school give me some credits toward MBA? So I can take less courses?
A
Most MBA programs have minimum course requirements which you'll have to take regardless of how much work experience you have. Your work experience will help you when you apply for MBA programs. (2004-11-19 10:25)
 
Host: (Seda Mansour)
Q
Are there scholarships available in your business school?
A
Yes, we do have scholarships. The majority of our students, however, take out loans, and than includes international students since we work with two lenders who offer school loans to int'ls without co-signers. (2004-11-19 10:28)
 
Host: (Stephanie Lo / Seda Mansour)
Q
Is it true that you do not dress casually at school when going to MBA?
A
a) Well, depends on the person, but I would say most people do pay attention to their outward appearance. b) Thankfully, even though the energy level is intense at the GSB, the dress code is pretty relaxed (the California weather probably helps, too. However, you will often see many students running around pretty formally when they're interviewing or presenting at conferences, etc.. (2004-11-19 10:29)
 
Host: (Seda Mansour)
Q
Would you tell me how many words of the statement of purpose are prefered by your admission commitee?
A
We tell applicants that they can base the length of their essays on the length of their stories. On average, we have found that the most successful essays have been ones of about 5 to 7 pages in that it usually gives the reader enough to get to know something substantial about the person. However, we have also had very successful essays where they might be only 3 or 4 pages long, but because the writing was concise and informative, it was all we needed. (2004-11-19 10:32)
 
Host: (Stephanie Lo / Seda Mansour)
Q
If I take some MBA credits from extension school or correspondence school, will the credits transferrable? I mean from U.S. universities.
A
a) That will be dependent on the school you apply to, some will accept some will not. b) No. It won't matter where the units come from. The deans and the faculty have determined to keep the Stanford MBA standard to all who take it by making the requirements apply to everyone who enrolls. If we were to take transfer credit, it would change the flavour of the degree and not everyone would have GSB only consistency. I hope that helps and that I haven't confused the issue more. (2004-11-19 10:35)
 
Host: (Seda Mansour)
Q
Hi, I was wondering what kind of content the 5-7 page SOPs entail. Thanks!
A
Well, the content depends on the essay and the person. That's what makes our essays sort of unique. Our goal is to learn something about who you are, especially in Essay A. We feel pretty confident that we will learn about "what" you've done by your application and your recommendation letters, but to really understand what's important to you, what might've been some of the events in your life that helped shape you into the person you are today - that's what we're generally looking for. For Essay B, it's a bit more specific in that we want to know what your goals, dreams and passions are as they relate to the MBA and how you think an MBA is going to help you achieve them. We also want to know in B why you think the Stanford Business School would be such a good fit for you. (2004-11-19 10:40)
 
Host: (Seda Mansour)
Q
What is the average GMAT scores of Standford? (each part)
A
You know, I really don't know what they are. As a program, when I say we don't focus on GMAT as the main determiner for who gets in, I am being honest. As I mentioned earlier in another response, the range is a better predictor I think because it shows applicants that folks with at least X score have gotten in so there is still a chance for them. (2004-11-19 10:42)
 
Host: (Seda Mansour)
Q
What kind of referees is suitable or preferable from your perspetive?
A
I believe last year's range was 530 to 760. (2004-11-19 10:43)
 
Host: (Seda Mansour)
Q
How to prepare before I get in MBA courses? Are there some special fields in business?
A
The best preparation one can do to apply is to focus on trying to have multiple opportunities at work where you would be able to grow in your job responsibilities. Be quick to take on roles that others perhaps are not interested in, especially if they require problem solving and team building. Secondly, at least for Stanford, be thinking about what what's important to you and do some self-reflection about who you are what you need to be successful as a leader. And, finally, work on the GMAT to be sure the score you get is accurate of your ability. (2004-11-19 10:49)
 
Host: (Seda Mansour)
Q
I have question on the references. Is it better to ask my university professor, or supervisor from my office?
A
Who to ask for a reference is really important for us because these are the letters that really help us understand a candidate's potential to lead. In this case, a supervisor can usually give a much better understanding of this (especially working from the questions we ask on our form) rather than a university professor who usually hasn't had the opportunity to observe the candidate in the different situations. The professor can almost always only attest to acedemic ability and that we already see in the transcripts, etc.. (2004-11-19 10:52)
 
Host: (Seda Mansour)
Q
After I get the MBA degree at your GSB, may I have more opportunuty to go to the PhD program directly?
A
No. Stanford sees the two programs as very different, and leading to very different career paths. If you are at all interested in research you should probably consider the PhD since the MBA is really bringing together theory and practice for the purpose of managing organizations. The PhD usually leads to teaching and research. (2004-11-19 11:03)


End of Chat


 

 

Host: (Amanda Carlson)

Great. I'm glad that was helpful. Please let me know if you have other questions. My e-mail address is: abc101@columbia.edu.

 

Host: (Stephanie Lo)

Thanks everyone! Have a good evening and best of luck with your applications.