"My expectations for Tepper were high and I can say they were far exceeded. Applying for an MBA requires a lot of introspection. Make no illusions, this does not end after admission. One of the biggest challenges I face is deciding which opportunities to grasp and which to let pass - for now.
Continuous collaboration, feedback from colleagues and professors and a fast-paced mini-semester system allows you to quickly improve on a variety of skills, including time management. Tepper is very well-knows for its quant skills, and the quant courses are rigorous. Reaching a decision is oner thing, convincing someone of the rationale used is an other. Communication and persuasion skills are challenged in class and in extra curricular activities such as the 90 second stock-pich from the Entrepeneurship and Venture Capital Club. The various clubs combined with a small class size allowed me to get to know my peers early on. Want to register for a bio-technology course or learn a new language? Tepper's flexible program allows you to take courses outside the Business School.
The MBA2U conference was a very helpful and interesting experience in getting me where I'm today. I had the opportunity to meet likeminded individuals with very different backgrounds and learn from their experiences. Finding out about Fulbright and other alternative ways of funding an MBA was useful as well. But most useful of all was the alumni panel. Interacting with people who had successfully applied and were in the stage of obtaining their MBA had a positive effect on my application preparation."
Steven Meersman, Tepper School of Business (Carnegie Mellon) 2010
"Chicago GSB is a delightful experience. It's so refreshing! Every new week brings me new perspectives, new insights, new ideas. Here is a school that makes a point of challenging the way you think. It's not about applying the right method (although we do learn methods as well), it's about asking the right questions and ultimately coming up with your own way of solving the problem. For example, we had a case study where traditional analysis was pointing in one direction and intuition in the other. We questionned the method for analyzing the problem: intuition proved out to be right.
Reframing problems, coming up with innovative solutions and making sound judgement is one thing, but it's useless if you can't convey your ideas to others. Here is the second most important skill we are challenged on: persuasion. My first day of class was marketing strategy. The professor came in and told us: "At the end of the quarter, you'll be able not to only create a successful marketing strategy but also to persuade the executive board to endorse it". Classes often turn in a debate where everyone is invited to share and confront ideas. Then you'll hear a professor saying: "Convince me! You have 2 minutes".
I love it! Every day that passes, I fine-tune my thinking and sharpen my skills. You'll probably wonder how to manage my personal life with all this going on. Fairly easy! I am free to chose my courses and to organise my schedule so I can make the best if my time. As far as I know, Chicago GSB is the only business school where the curriculum is completely flexible. So when it comes to lifestyle, the choice is mine. For instance, every week, I join the Chicago GSB community for the Thursday night party, it's an incredible atmosphere and great people! Then, Chicago being a wonderful city for arts and theatre, I take Improv classes downtown every Friday evening. Certainly, I don't sleep much, but eveyrday I wake up with a smile on my face.
I remember 9 months ago, when I was in your shoes, a prospective MBA student, Chicago GSB did not actually mean much to me or to my friends here in Europe. However, when I started asking questions, I realised what a tremendous reputation Chicago GSB had among senior executives. Now I understand why.
Fabrice Hoerner, Chicago GSB 2010
"My expectations for my year at INSEAD were sky-high, and by now, four months into the program, they have all been far exceeded! This is an amazing place, not only for the sheer intellectual power of the faculty and participants, but also for the dynamic atmosphere in which the only constraint to what you can do, is the hours of sleep you need to function. In the past four months, I�ve had to come up with a new strategy for Apple, represented INSEAD in the international MBA Olympics in Barcelona, secured an internship in London for my summer break, and attended parties in some of Europe�s most splendid castles, just to name a few highlights.
What struck me most about INSEAD, from day one, is its diversity. I had been working for three years in consulting and then for four years in Africa, so I was used to some degree of diversity, but nothing compares to INSEAD. In the MBA, there are currently more than 70 different nationalities, with not a single one representing more than 15% of the students. In my section of 70 students, we have people from all walks of life: from a medical doctor to a military officer, from a financial journalist to the founder of a hotel chain. It sounds incredible, but I have the feeling that I know all of them pretty well after only four months, and when part of the class switched campuses from France to Singapore, the goodbyes were tough.
The reason that friendships become so close in such a short period of time is the intensity of the program. INSEAD's one-year MBA program packs around 80% of the class time other top MBA programs carry in two years. Classes are a very intense mix of case studies and lectures in which professors draw out your opinion and then challenge it head-on. There is no room for sloppy reasoning, and you better come to class prepared and ready to defend your point of view! Outside of the class room, I spend a lot of time with my study group. This is a group of five people that you get assigned to during the first week of the program to prepare many assignments and presentations for the different classes. Even some of the exams are conducted in the groups. Although the MBA administration assembles these groups in order to maximize the potential for conflict within them, I was very lucky with my group. After an initial time of struggling, we got along really well and have become close friends. Fortunately, all this academic toiling is more than compensated by INSEAD's notorious "work hard, play hard" attitude and every week, parties are organized in some of the most beautiful chateaux in the French countryside.
Surprisingly, I can still find time for some much needed introspection. After all, taking a step back and reflecting on where I want my career and my life to go next was one of the main reasons I wanted to do an MBA for. The individual career counseling and the wealth of different experiences of the participants are a fantastic way to explore my options and preferences. As I see it, the tuition fees are just a (rather expensive) ticket to an experience that will change the way I look at the world, and that I will surely remember as one of the best years of my life."
Christophe Hamal, INSEAD, 2008