Archive for December, 2010
Monday, December 27th, 2010
Our students finished their semesters and are now taking a well-deserved break. From collecting gifts for underprivileged children to decorating the office for the Holidays, everyone is in high spirits.
During this week the MBA Admissions staff is taking time with family and friends to celebrate the holiday season. However that doesn’t mean you have nowhere to turn should you have an inquiry or issue while the office is closed.
Our Graduate Assistants will continue to answer your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also many answers to our most commonly asked questions can be found on our website’s FAQ page. Another great place to look for answers to not only your questions, but questions you hadn’t even considered yet is our collection of online chat transcripts. There you will find an entire litany of questions asked over the years, there is a great chance someone asked exactly the question you need answered.
If you are unable to find your answer though we will be back in the full swing after the New Year and look forward to helping any way we can. We here at Smeal would like to wish all of you a wonderful and prosperous 2011.
Monday, December 20th, 2010
It is the holiday season here in the United States. For many people, holiday traditions are focused on or revolve around family. From baking cookies, dinners, gifts and visits, family is typically at the center of it all.
I’m one of many lucky people who has many different families in her life. There are, of course, my blood relatives. I have a family of friends and colleagues at work. I also have some wonder friends, both old and new who are a part of my “family.”
There is another special family of which I am a part. I am lucky enough to be a member of the Penn State Smeal MBA Alumni family. I share this unique connection with the folks I graduated with from the program, as well as those who have come before and after me. This common bond is an instant connection to people I don’t know, and also allows me to stay in contact with friends from a past time.
Part of my Smeal MBA family re-connected once again last night. Some of the ladies I graduate with from the program (Smeal MBA Class of 2002), had a teleconference last night to catch up. This has become a tradition that I look forward to a few times a year. It is amazing to still have this network of “family” to connect with, bounce ideas off of and ask for advice.
So this holiday season, I wish you and your family health and happiness for the upcoming year. I am counting my blessings for all of the wonderful family I have in my life!
Monday, December 13th, 2010
Ethics doesn’t begin in the MBA classroom. It’s executed and reinforced there. And to us at Smeal, our Principled Leadership is vital to who we are. That’s why it was so unfortunate that we experienced plagiarism in last year’s admissions essays on a wider scale than ever before. Ironically, it was in our essay about how applicants have exhibited Principled Leadership.
When we investigated the issue, we discovered that many underestimate the complexity of plagiarism. A great CNBC New York Times article highlights some of the generational and multinational forces at work, “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age.”
In the end, it’s important to understand the expectations being placed on those who come to an MBA program with intentions of studying and working in the US. During school, academic integrity guidelines encourage the creation, sharing, and crediting of leading-edge thought. After graduation, the organizations hiring our MBAs need to know that their employees will uphold stringent intellectual property and copyright laws.
Overall, we want to make sure that we develop already present ethical principles. We want our hiring companies to have 100% confidence that the MBA they hire will be good stewards of their brands. They want those who will inspire with presence and character.
I’m extremely passionate about this issue and am doing all I can to educate the applicant community about ethical expectations. The more we can educate and prevent concerns, the more we’ll see business leaders’ credibility restored in today’s climate. Join me next week for a webcast on “Ethics in the Admissions Process” for some specific Do’s and Don’ts.
Monday, December 6th, 2010
This week I offer an admission essay tip. For Essay #2, we’ve asked you to write an interview thank-you note to a potential employer. This essay is intended to show your professional writing skills as well as your ability to market yourself to a potential employer. We’ll see how strongly you want that dream job, how focused you are on achieving it, and how well you can set yourself apart from other applicants.
There are many thank-you note formats and templates available online. However, be sure to move away from a sample template enough to include your own experience, words, sentiment, and voice. A big mistake is sticking so close to the template that it sounds like every other applicant’s letter. Or worse, it sounds exactly like the original template – showing that the applicant has not applied significant effort nor thought to the letter.
We have already found three essays with exactly the same phrases in them, pulled directly from online templates. Imagine if we were an employer? We’d think that the candidate simply copied thank you notes for every interviewer and didn’t really want the job. And now these candidates all sound exactly alike. We also received one application where nearly 150 words were from online sample letters; only about 80 words directly from the candidate. That means nearly half the essay was written by someone else. It misses an opportunity to differentiate from other candidates and offer us individual insight.
So please – avoid relying on the templates. Use the thank-you note to show how you’ll get your post-MBA job, and show us why you’d be a great Penn State Smeal MBA student.