Stacy Blackman Consulting – MBA Admissions Consulting https://www.stacyblackman.com Winning Marketing Strategy for Business School Admissions Tue, 14 Dec 2021 15:27:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.2 StacyBlackmanhttps://feedburner.google.com Advice from Former MBA Admissions Officers https://www.stacyblackman.com/former-mba-admissions-officers-advice/ Tue, 14 Dec 2021 15:26:18 +0000 https://www.stacyblackman.com/?p=29634 You probably already know that we have a diverse group of MBAs on the Stacy Blackman Consulting team. We each bring something unique to the table that can benefit the rest of our staff ...

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former MBA admissions officers

You probably already know that we have a diverse group of MBAs on the Stacy Blackman Consulting team. We each bring something unique to the table that can benefit the rest of our staff (and our clients). This week we thought the timing was right to highlight consultants who have previous adcom experience. We’re proud to have former MBA admissions officers from all of the top MBA programs on our team!

In addition to directly advising applicants, our ex-adcom consultants help with Flight Test reviews for each of our All-In clients. They also contribute their inside knowledge of the admissions process to our internal message boards (so that our entire team can benefit from their experience). Furthermore, they also weigh in on program-specific or client-specific questions when the need arises.

We asked these valuable resources to share their insights with those of you gearing up to submit your materials in Round 2. Here’s (some of) what our former MBA admissions officers on the team had to say. We’ll cover the rest in a future post, so stay tuned.

Insider Intel from SBC’s Former MBA Admissions Officers

  • The adcom will spend about 20 minutes in total reading all of your application materials.
  • During the early part of the screening process in each round, adcom members may review as many as 50 to 100 applications per day. Details and unique stories about your background can make you stand out from the crowd.
  • At least two individuals read each application: either two adcom members or a contract reader does the first pass, followed by an adcom member.
  • Admissions teams will often compare applicants from the same industry, the same firm, or even the same office location. Your toughest competition may work just a few “virtual” cubicles away.
  • The application questionnaire is one of the most overlooked opportunities to highlight your accomplishments. Many candidates copy text from their resume into the application. Instead, you should view it as an opportunity to add rich details and expand on your limited resume bullet points.
  • You can take the GMAT or GRE as many times as you want. Adcom members like to see you keep trying to improve your score (assuming it needs improvement).

Heed this sound advice when it comes to your applications (and life in general):

former MBA admissions officers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to get serious about your MBA applications? Take advantage of a free consultation with one of our former MBA admissions officers!

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Best Paying Jobs in Finance & the MBA https://www.stacyblackman.com/best-paying-jobs-in-finance-mba-business-school-careers/ Fri, 10 Dec 2021 17:58:11 +0000 https://www.stacyblackman.com/?p=40767 The MBA is an important stepping stone to a finance career. In fact, it’s often seen as a gatekeeper to the best paying jobs in finance. Business school students see the MBA experience as ...

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best paying jobs in finance

The MBA is an important stepping stone to a finance career. In fact, it’s often seen as a gatekeeper to the best paying jobs in finance. Business school students see the MBA experience as the best way to acquire and refine the skills needed to handle the weighty financial and managerial responsibilities associated with finance deals.

Across our SBC client pool, we estimate about 30% of MBA candidates aspire to finance industry careers upon graduating from b-school.  The former MBA Admissions Officers on our SBC team have thoughts on which MBA applicants should include finance in their application essays.

A former Wharton Admissions Officer on our team says, “The investment banking career path is viable in an MBA application, if previous career trajectory makes placement realistic.”

“Make sure you are an interesting person outside of work – what makes you unique?” asks a former CBS admissions officer on our team.

As you can see from the snapshot below, recent employment reports from the top MBA programs reaffirm that finance is a dominant industry.

Placement into Finance Industry Roles*

Harvard 34%
Stanford 24%
Wharton 36%
Columbia 33%
Kellogg 15%
Booth 30%
MIT Sloan 18%
Haas 14%
Duke 18%
Darden 19%

*Sourced from top MBA program employment reports.

What are the Best Paying Jobs in Finance?

An investment banking analyst is responsible for navigating mergers and acquisitions. This is a niche that continues to thrive even during the pandemic-induced economic volatility. Analysts in investment banking actively raise capital for and advise entrepreneurial clients across different sectors.

“Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is a general term used to describe the consolidation of companies or assets through various types of financial transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, tender offers, purchase of assets, and management acquisitions,” Investopedia explains.

Additionally, we discussed the merits of the investment banking career path with SBC consultant Puja, whose professional trajectory followed a similar route.

Salary Ranges for the Investment Banking Path

Investment banker salary* + bonus:

  • Analyst – First Year: $70,000 – $150,000
  • Analyst – Third Year: $120,000 – $350,000
  • Associate – First Year: $150,000 – $350,000
  • Associate – Third Year: $250,000 – $500,000
  • Vice President: $350,000 – $1,500,000
  • Managing Director/Partner: $500,000 – $20,000,000+

Typically an IB analyst bonus is between 30-100% of base salary. 

*Source: Wall Street Oasis

Post – MBA Associate position at an investment bank varies according to signing bonus, relocation bonus, etc.: 

  • Base salary:  $125,000-$150,000
  • Bonus:  $80,000-$200,000
  • Total: $200,000-$500,000 based on tenure and seniority

Request a free MBA candidacy analysis to understand your career profile for MBA admissions

Private equity* compensation

A recent client of ours shared about his private equity career aspirations, “It would offer me the excitement of structuring and negotiating transactions, the satisfaction of capital value creation, and the entrepreneurial zeal of ownership.”  The path is alluring to many as its one of the best paying jobs in finance.

“A private equity analyst does the behind the scenes work to attract big clients or companies that promise large financial returns by applying a few strategic changes to their current marketing strategy. This is where private equity analysts come into play.

This junior entry level position focuses on executing deals, monitoring the portfolio of companies, and screening new deals. They also come up with better financial models for struggling companies to better compete in the industry through collecting data from similar competitors in the marketplace,” explains Ladders.com.

Here are salary ranges for the private equity career path.

  • Analyst/Associate – First Year: $100K – $250K
  • Analyst/Associate – Second Year: $150K – $300K
  • Analyst/Associate – Third Year +: $170K – $350K
  • Vice President: $300K – $800K
  • Managing Director/Partner: $500K – $10MM+

*Source: Wall Street Oasis

Other high-paying roles that business school applicants consider include hedge fund analyst and sales and trading.

Request a free MBA candidacy analysis to understand your career profile for MBA admissions

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Year-End To-Do List for MBA Applicants https://www.stacyblackman.com/to-do-list-mba-applicants/ https://www.stacyblackman.com/to-do-list-mba-applicants/#respond Fri, 10 Dec 2021 15:53:47 +0000 https://www.stacyblackman.com/?p=34983 It’s early December—the home stretch for MBA hopefuls applying to business school in uber-competitive Round 2. With numerous deadlines hitting in early January, you’ll need to manage your time well throughout the holidays. Run through ...

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To-Do List MBA applicantsIt’s early December—the home stretch for MBA hopefuls applying to business school in uber-competitive Round 2. With numerous deadlines hitting in early January, you’ll need to manage your time well throughout the holidays. Run through this To-Do List for MBA applicants and make sure you have every application component covered.

Right now, prepping recommenders and drafting essays make up the two most important focus areas. Here’s what you need to do to stay on track and avoid becoming overwhelmed.

#1 On the To-Do List for MBA Applicants: Recommender Management

Great recommendation letters are one of the most critical pieces of your MBA application. They give the admissions team much-needed third-party insight to round out your essays and resume. By now your recommenders should know your hard deadlines.

(See B-Schooled podcast episode #78: Unique Recommender Situations)

Current and recent supervisors make the best choices because they can speak to your present-day skills, values, and work ethic, as well as future potential. If you haven’t already, it’s time to remind them of the attributes you want them to highlight in their letter.

Spell out precisely what you hope they will convey in their recommendation. MBA programs want to see examples of leadership, teamwork, and management potential.

Additionally, you can make things easy for your recommender by providing a list of at least three strengths with supporting anecdotes. Remind your supervisor of your career goals as a reference.

Your recommenders want to boost your admissions chances and will welcome the guidance. Encourage each of them to submit early if possible, so you can focus on the part of the application you need to deliver—the essays.

#2 MBA Application Essays

Ideally, applicants should allow six weeks for this portion of the application. Many candidates find it helpful to start by writing rough drafts that go 50% or more above the required word count.

While that seems like more work, it ultimately creates a better final product. The revision process helps you hone in on the best topics or anecdotes to support your overall application.

Applicants from over-represented industries such as finance, information technology, engineering, or consulting should use the essays to focus on the aspects of your personal life that make you unique.

Include hobbies, community service activities, passions and interests that make you stand out. Check out this evergreen essay tips post from admissions director Soojin Kwon at Michigan Ross School for inspiration.

If you need extra insight about what the admissions committee is looking for at your target schools, consider using one of SBC’s strategy guides.  These resources analyze the qualities that each school seeks and help applicants understand which stories to emphasize throughout their materials.

Competition is always fierce in Round 2, but additional factors will affect this season’s applicant pool in particular. First, more international students are applying to US schools after sitting out last year due to embassy closures and visa hurdles. Also, the record application numbers of the 2020-21 cycle led to more dings. Many of those applicants will reapply now.

Third, this is likely the final admissions cycle allowing test waivers for many MBA programs. Candidates who feel unsure about their standardized test performance may decide to throw their hat in the ring this year to test the waters on their candidacy strength.

Good luck to everyone working on the Round 2 application countdown!

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B-Schooled Podcast Episode #85: Spotlight on Rice Jones https://www.stacyblackman.com/b-schooled-podcast-episode-85-spotlight-on-rice-jones/ Wed, 08 Dec 2021 14:56:19 +0000 https://www.stacyblackman.com/?p=40730 As B-Schooled continues its series of program-spotlight episodes, next up is the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. This week, host Erika talks with Lisa, an SBC admissions consultant who was formerly ...

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B-Schooled
As B-Schooled continues its series of program-spotlight episodes, next up is the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. This week, host Erika talks with Lisa, an SBC admissions consultant who was formerly the Director of Admissions at Rice Jones.

Lisa shares a lot of wonderful insight on the Rice community; what Jones is looking for in applicants’ essays and interviews; and nearly convinces Erika to move to Houston after running through everything the city and its surrounding areas can offer its students and residents!

Listen to B-Schooled episode #85 here, or on any of the podcast apps listed below.

B-Schooled is available on most major podcast apps, including:

Apple Podcasts
Spotify
Stitcher
TuneIn

Please be sure to subscribe to B-Schooled so that you don’t miss a thing. Also, if there’s something you’d like for us to cover in a future episode, please email podcast@stacyblackman.com. We’d love to hear from you!

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Showing Leadership in Your B-School Application https://www.stacyblackman.com/showing-leadership-in-your-b-school-application/ Tue, 07 Dec 2021 14:14:14 +0000 https://www.stacyblackman.com/?p=29900 At Stacy Blackman Consulting, we do a lot of thinking about leadership—what is it, how best to showcase it, why it matters, and more. Conveying leadership in your b-school application should be one of ...

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Leadership in Your B-School Application

At Stacy Blackman Consulting, we do a lot of thinking about leadership—what is it, how best to showcase it, why it matters, and more. Conveying leadership in your b-school application should be one of your top three most important goals. While some schools emphasize it more than others, leadership is essential to every school.  After all, their job is to groom leaders, not just number-crunchers, marketers, or statisticians.

Many applicants freak out when faced with any iteration of the leadership question on their MBA essays. They imagine they have got to come up with an example of their most extraordinary life or professional achievement.

But just because you achieved something outstanding does not always mean it involved leadership skills. Leadership also often gets confused with management. Yet being a great leader is not just about managing something, although that can be a part of it.

Leadership is about leaving a footprint on whatever situation you’re in and doing more than a good job.

Remember, leadership is never a solo effort. One of the central tenets of leadership essays is showing that you can galvanize other people’s actions.  You bring out their passions, educate them, and help them see organizational priorities in new ways.  And then they share in the achievement. You’re inspiring others and bringing out the best in them. These two points are critical and help to explain how leadership differs from just any achievement.

The most impacting leadership essays will have heroes other than yourself.  If you helped Henry in accounts receivable realize his full potential on a project you led, showcase him as a hero in your leadership tale. In the best of all worlds, people create a good balance between these types of essays at the beginning of their application process, even before they start writing.

leadership in your b-school application

Tips on How to Highlight Leadership in Your B-School Application

In many instances, you can still adjust your application late in the process to achieve the appropriate balance between individual achievement and leadership.

Adding in a few sentences here and there about enabling others, or educating and defining priorities for group endeavors, will go a long way toward rounding out your profile. What kind of experiences will make the best tales of leadership? Think about challenges where the following came into play:

  • Identifying/defining a problem
  • Resisting conventional approaches; challenging status quo
  • Marshaling resources to address the problem
  • Motivating others
  • Making good use of others’ talents
  • Being open to new information, input, etc.
  • Building consensus with appropriate stakeholders
  • Guiding substantial mid-course corrections; overcoming mistakes
  • Building on success

Keep in mind, leadership is not just about the titles. Some candidates try to build their leadership essays around the fact that they were selected for or elected to certain positions where they had a high level of authority and responsibility: editor-in-chief of a college paper, fraternity president, captain of the hockey team, director of product development, V.P. of marketing, etc.

Collecting impressive titles does not make someone a great leader—helping a team overcome significant challenges does.

Don’t worry about coming up with wildly impressive situations, even if you’re applying to the most elite MBA program in the world. You can solve more minor problems and still show leadership potential. For instance, we advised one younger candidate who was applying to business school with just six months of work experience under her belt. Consequently, she had few obvious leadership examples to share. But, she had taken it upon herself to overhaul an Excel spreadsheet for the investment bank where she worked.

To do this, she had to state the problem, come up with a solution, and sell others, including supervisors, on her idea. Her improved spreadsheet—containing market information including Treasury rates—saved time, became a tremendous internal resource, and helped the bank communicate better with clients. Taking the initiative to change this spreadsheet was what she wrote about in her application.

Look for “Outside the Box” Leadership Examples

If you don’t have obvious career-related stories, you can also mine your extracurricular activities for examples that convey leadership in your b-school application. Writing about how you started a club, organization, or charitable group will work, too. If you have been involved in an activity as a member, think about taking on a leadership role. This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you can run a project and motivate a team.  

For example, one of our former clients launched an English club in his native China. He needed to improve his language skills for business school and thought his neighbors might benefit, too. The club grew, and he made his mark in the community, which was something he could point out to admissions committees. He showed he could inspire and motivate others, organize a group, and learn a new language to boot. This applicant ultimately was accepted at Harvard Business School.

When it comes to evaluating your application, members of the MBA admissions committee believe your past leadership achievements are the best gauge of your potential for realizing your future ambitions. You can’t go wrong if you use your essays to show how you’ve worked to inspire others and bring out the best in them.

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Is Finance a Good Career Path and Why? https://www.stacyblackman.com/is-finance-a-good-career-path-mba-applications/ Mon, 06 Dec 2021 23:17:29 +0000 https://www.stacyblackman.com/?p=40732 Is finance a good career path? For many MBA hopefuls, the answer is a resounding yes. To help you decide, we’re going to take a look at a variety of factors you should consider. ...

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is finance a good career path

Is finance a good career path? For many MBA hopefuls, the answer is a resounding yes. To help you decide, we’re going to take a look at a variety of factors you should consider. These include:

  • How do finance career paths and MBA admissions overlap?
  • What’s the appeal of the finance career path?
  • Pros and cons of investment banking
  • Who are the finance industry employers?
  • Investment banker salary + bonus
  • Post-MBA associate position at an investment bank
  • Private equity compensation
  • Is investment banking a good career path goal for my MBA essay?
  • Sample MBA application essay excerpts

How do finance career paths and MBA admissions overlap?

Check out our overview of what is an MBA including facts and myths. Our insights about MBA admissions for finance industry candidates initially came from a client study we did several years ago about success factors for getting admitted to Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton for private equity applicants. 

We discussed the merits of the investment banking career path in a conversation with SBC consultant Puja, whose professional trajectory followed a similar route. 

“I began to work towards an investment banking career after earning my MBA from Wharton. The idea of working on large corporate deals was intellectually exciting to me. Plus, the prospect of applying my strong quantitative foundation, along with the ability to interface directly with clients, was extremely appealing.” 

In this new analysis, we hope to guide young professionals who currently are not in either investment banking (IB) or private equity (PE) roles, but seeking that career path through and after their MBA program. 

Career switching through the MBA experience is common, but it requires a lot of time and diligence. We often see clients whose pre-MBA career paths primarily entail softer skills. Hence, they look to the MBA degree to acquire hard, quantitative analyses and frameworks for a comparably data-driven career path ahead. 

We have also seen many non-traditional applicants, including those from education and marketing, covet the finance industry career path because of its prestige and financial upside.

Request a free MBA candidacy analysis to understand your career profile for MBA admissions

Is Finance a Good Career Path? What’s the Appeal?

A Wall Street career path conjures images of advising the super-wealthy through billion-dollar transactions. It’s not surprising that many ambitious professionals find that path alluring. Selling financial savvy and market predictions can give these young professionals the feeling that they are superheroes—and bring huge paydays.

IPOs, mergers, acquisitions, corporate lending, institutional trading, and other big-ticket Wall Street transactions are all among the appealing-but-demanding work responsibilities of a finance professional.

Without a doubt, investment banking is the foundation of Wall Street riches. Bloggers online have said, “Wall Street is still the greatest bastion of individual capitalism in the world and a place where determined individuals can work their way from answering the phones to calling the shots in just a matter of years. But the reward doesn’t come easy, free, or fairly.” It requires much diligence, preparation, and work ethic.

Pros and Cons of Investment Banking

When we canvassed sources about the pros and cons of the finance, here was what we heard: 

Pros:

  1. Rubbing elbows with the rich and famous
  2. Six figures compensation right out of school
  3. Investment banking pays more than consulting
  4. Gain an incredible financial skillset
  5. Build a great network
  6. Incredible exit opportunities into other attractive career tracks

Cons:

  1. Long hours: 70 to 100 hour work weeks 
  2. Pay is traditionally heavily weighted toward the bonus, which is volatile
  3. Positions usually go unadvertised and require hustle; must fight tooth-and-nail for a shot
  4. Filled with high-performance people who are used to getting their way
  5. Quality of life concerns due to overwork

Who are the finance industry employers?

Bulge Bracket Investment Banks:
JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley; Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citi; Credit Suisse and Barclays; Deutsche Bank and UBS.

Middle Market and Other Full-Service Banks:
Wells Fargo, RBC, Jefferies, Houlihan Lokey, Harris Williams, and many European, Asian, and Canadian banks, such as HSBC, BNP Paribas, Mizuho, Nomura, BMO, and CITIC

Elite Boutique Investment Banks:
Centerview, Evercore, Greenhill, Guggenheim, Lazard, Moelis, Perella Weinberg, PJT Partners (formerly Blackstone), Qatalyst, and Rothschild (only in Europe)

What do finance jobs pay?
Investment banker salary* + bonus

 

  • Analyst – First Year: $70,000 – $150,000
  • Analyst – Third Year: $120,000 – $350,000
  • Associate – First Year: $150,000 – $350,000
  • Associate – Third Year: $250,000 – $500,000
  • Vice President: $350,000 – $1,500,000
  • Managing Director/Partner: $500,000 – $20,000,000+

Typically an IB analyst bonus is between 30-100% of base salary. 

*Source: https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/salary/investment-banking-compensation

Post – MBA Associate position at an investment bank

Varies according to signing bonus, relocation bonus etc. 

  • Base salary:  $125,000-$150,000
  • Bonus:  $80,000-$200,000
  • Total: $200,000-$500,000 based on tenure and seniority

Private equity* compensation

  • Analyst/Associate – First Year: $100K – $250K
  • Analyst/Associate – Second Year: $150K – $300K
  • Analyst/Associate – Third Year +: $170K – $350K
  • Vice President: $300K – $800K
  • Managing Director/Partner: $500K – $10MM+

*Source: https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/salary/private-equity-compensation

Is investment banking a good career goal for my MBA essay?

We asked the former MBA Admissions Officers on our team to chime in.  A former Wharton Admissions Officer on our team shared, “Stating attainable career goals within the MBA application is essential for the top MBA programs, especially since several, such as Wharton, have combined Admissions and Career Services under the same umbrella.” 

MBA Admissions Officers are thinking about exit opportunities when reviewing the application in terms of: 

  • is this person already on the fast track
  • are their goals achievable and reasonable
  • do they have a plan for how they will use their time during the program
  • how will they meet their goals

Whether investment banking makes sense for your career path essay depends on many factors. When you’re actually at your MBA program, what you end up pursuing is entirely up to you. But, getting in is the top priority. Let’s look at sample career goals next.

Sample MBA application essay excerpts

Example #1

After receiving an MBA from Columbia, I first intend on transitioning from strategy consulting into investment banking, where I will gain financial modeling skills and have the opportunity to identify and evaluate prospective targets. In this role, I would combine my previous acquisition implementation experience from consulting with M&A finance principles from my MBA coursework to achieve a well-rounded understanding of the entire transaction life cycle.

My role in investment banking will then serve as a critical stepping stone for me to move into private equity after 3-5 years. This transition will allow me to integrate financial and operational deal knowledge to make sophisticated investment decisions and enhance stakeholder values. An MBA at Columbia at this time would be pivotal in helping me navigate my career transition from strategy consulting to investment banking.

Example #2

Post-MBA, I plan to pursue an investor relations role focused on Latin American clients at a private equity firm. Leveraging my background of working directly with Latin American institutional investors in custodial banking services, I will pivot into a front-office role of acquiring and servicing new clients for this investment class at a firm such as XXX or ZZZ.

With the increasing popularity of private equity investments, I believe I could be a real asset to a private equity firm due to my fluency in Spanish, cultural background, and experience with local regulation in Latin America. These skills, combined with a Goizueta MBA, will enable me to capitalize on the opportunity to help PE firms grow and expand into the growing Latin American markets.

However, I recognize that I need the technical finance skills that a Goizueta MBA could offer me to succeed at a PE firm. Additionally, I believe Goizueta would help me enhance my worldview through the global focus and the immersion opportunities to engage in projects globally.

Example #3

An MBA from Wharton will enable me to transition from management consulting to private equity. As a consultant, I have sized markets, analyzed SWOTs, and developed quantitative and qualitative research techniques. As early as 2007, I was leading projects on my own, including a study to expand market penetration strategies and scenarios in the regional jet market for Spirit Aerosystems, a multibillion-dollar aircraft structures manufacturer.

Based on my recommendations, Spirit has expanded into a standalone aero-structures supplier, breaking out of its captive supplier position by broadening its customer base. My five years as a consultant, coupled with my military training and leadership, have provided me with a solid foundation to begin my MBA. A Wharton MBA will allow me to integrate the lessons I have learned in both pursuits and provide me with the managerial knowledge, cross-functional business acumen, and formal leadership training required of a successful private equity professional.

Example #4

In the short term, I will use my MBA to transition to a private equity investment role at a multinational investment firm like Carlyle, Blackstone, or KKR. By capitalizing on Wharton’s advanced elective finance classes, I hope to sharpen my analytical proficiency and deepen my investment strategy knowledge.

Ultimately, I hope to leverage the leadership skills I develop at Wharton to land an executive position in the private equity division of a global investment firm. I intend to use my platform to campaign for the promotion of women to leadership positions across the industry. Through courses such as William Lauder’s Decision-Making in the Leadership Chair, I will have direct exposure to C-suite professionals and learn how to position myself for a similar role and overcome challenges once in the position.

See our Career Recruiting by MBA Program overview for more information on career opportunities.

Request a free MBA candidacy analysis to understand your career profile for MBA admissions

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