It's that time of the year again when everyone looks back on a year that is nearly over and ahead to a year about to come. For Poets&Quants, 2013 was a record-breaking year--in traffic, engagement, and in serving our audience of applicants to the world's best business schools.
What were the most read stories on Poets&Quants this past year?
The top ten is an exceptional reading list of some of our most informative and entertaining stories of the year. They range from behind-the-scenes narratives that bring readers unusual insights into the operations of a top business school to our annual list that no business school wants to be on--the worst MBA placement records.
For our collection of the top ten articles, we eliminated our stories on rankings (The Top 100 MBA Programs in the U.S. & The Top 50 Non-U.S. MBA Programs) which tend to get the most views and instead concentrated on a portfolio of stories that are must reads for any one keenly interested in attending a top flight MBA program. One thing you'll quickly notice about the most popular stories: They truly serve our reader, quality applicants to the world's best business schools. By and large, the stories that get the most attention represent service journalism that helps to inform readers to make better decisions for themselves.
1. How A Top School Screens MBA Applicants — This is an extremely rare, if not unique, chance for applicants to literally sit at the table where an admissions committee decides who gets into a school and who gets rejected. We were invited to observe an actual meeting at which a school’s admission officers introduced candidates and then discussed their strengths and weakness in advance of rendering a decision on them. It was the first time a business school—in this case the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management—ever allowed a reporter to witness this highly secretive process.
2. The Presentation Only Elite MBA Applicants See -- The vast majority of applicants to business schools never get to be in a room where a leading MBA admissions consultant presents to an exclusive and prestigious audience, either business analysts at a McKinsey & Co. or Goldman Sachs. Candidates from these feeder companies have an unusual advantage in gaining admission to a world class business school. They have access to exclusive presentations from insiders, including the admission directors of the very top schools, before they have to apply. We gained access to one of these presentations done by a former admissions official at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and shared it with our readers.
3. Toughest Questions Harvard Business School Asks Applicants -- In a typical year, the admissions staff at the Harvard Business School interviews about 2,000 people for the 900 or so available seats in a class. Those 30-minute Q&A sessions represent the last hurdle an applicant faces to gain admission to the world's best MBA program. The questions in these sessions usually come fast and furious, with little comment from the person asking them. Beyond the standard queries--ranging from "Walk me through your resume" to "Why do you want an MBA?"--are often some very unpredictable and surprising queries that can unhinge the coolest and smartest candidate. We were able to put together a list of the toughest such questions from Harvard MBA students who obviously passed the test.
4. Do You Have What It Takes To Get Into A Top MBA Program -- The most common question MBA-wannabes ask is this one: “What are my chances of getting into a top-ranked business school?” After all, many of the best applicants only want to attend a school with a big brand and they want to know whether they should invest the time and energy to do so. This guide to all 63 of our published MBA handicapping columns which debuted in June of 2011. It is indispensable reading for anyone who is thinking about going to business school. It's a collection of the more than 50 columns in which real applicants share their profiles and stats along with the witty, irreverent and smart assessment of their chances at target schools by Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com and a leading MBA admissions consultant.
5. Guide To The Best One-Year MBA Programs – If you’re intent on picking up your MBA in a single year, your options of attending one of the very best schools in the world narrow considerably. In the U.S., for example, only nine of the top 100 business schools ranked by Poets&Quants offer one-year options. In Europe, where the 12-month degree is more common, there are far more opportunities to get a quickie MBA at a prestige school, from INSEAD to IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. So if you really want to compress the learning in 12 months, this is the very best guide to the top schools that offer accelerated programs.
6. Where Six Figure Pay Is A Done Deal — Let’s face it. While learning the ins and outs of business is a critical part of the MBA experience, most applicants are going to business school in search of a meaningful career and higher pay. So going to an MBA program where students graduate into six-figure compensation packages is both a lure and an objective for many applicants. After all, money talks and BS walks. Here is our guide to the schools that pretty much guarantee base pay and sign-on bonus of $100,000 and up for graduates. It may surprise you that there are nearly 40 schools in the U.S. where that is the case.
7. Social Entrepreneurship: The Best Schools & Programs — One very important trend is recent years has been the versatility of the MBA degree. People who get it can do a wide variety of things with the education and an increasing number of graduates are going into the social sector. They are launching their own social enterprises or joining existing organizations with explicit social missions, whether they are non-profits or hybrids. That’s why our guide to the business schools that do the best job in social entrepreneurship is such a popular read.
8. The Worst MBA Placement Records of 2012 — We do far more best lists than worst lists, but this one seems to get everyone’s attention: Which top rated business schools suffer the dubious distinction of being among the schools with the worst record in placing their graduates into jobs. Obviously, no school wants to be on this list which we update annually. Yet, figures don’t lie and in this case they are absolutely shocking. There are prominent business schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report and other organizations where as many as seven or eight out of ten graduates don’t have jobs at commencement.
9. Harvard Business School vs. Stanford Graduate School of Business — When we launched Poet&Quants in August of 2010, one of the unusual features on the site was a series of smack downs between peer business schools. Not surprisingly, our smack down analysis of Harvard vs. Stanford, the two schools that attract the most applicants year after year, is one of the most viewed. The fact that it is still among the top ten reads reminds us of the need to both update all of the existing smack downs and to add considerably to this genre of story at Poets&Quants. Rest assured, the new year will bring a new emphasis on our highly popular smack down series.
10. University of Chicago Booth School of Business vs. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management — Yet another smack down closes out our list of the top ten stories on Poets&Quants for 2013. This analysis is of two of the great rivals in business education in the Chicago market–the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. The full-time MBA programs of these two world class institutions have distinct personalities and cultures and tend to attract substantially different people to them. Yet, they are fierce competitors as well for the best and brightest.
Originally Posted On: LinkedIn By: John A. Byrne
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