Class Of 2022: Advice From Harvard MBA Faculty

·6 min read

Baker Library, Harvard Business School

Class of 2022: Advice from Harvard Faculty

Harvard Business School’s Class of 2022 commencement is scheduled for May 26. In preparation, HBS faculty offered a few parting words of advice for MBA grads—from living with purpose to building meaningful connections.

DEVELOP A PERSONAL VALUE PROPOSITION

In her parting words for the Class of 2022, Jill Avery, Senior Lecturer at HBS, offered a simple, yet effective piece of advice: build a personal value proposition.

“Think about what is important to you and to those whom you care about. Use that input to develop a personal value proposition that drives you to craft a life filled with purpose and meaning,” Avery says. “Be intentional about living your value proposition: Build competencies, grasp opportunities, and envelop yourself in relationships that empower you to deliver true value to your world and to the people who matter to you.”

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

Life is filled with big challenges, small wins, and unpredictable moments. John Jong-Hyun Kim, Senior Lecturer at HBS, advises grads to be open to unexpected encounters or bumps in the journey ahead.

“It’s easy to become single-mindedly focused on reaching a certain goal and overlook amazing opportunities that just happen to cross our path,” Kim says. “Stay open-minded and curious. Like the advice I received when I was learning to drive, ‘Keep your eyes on the road but also look around you.’”

BUILD EXCEPTIONAL COMMUNITIES

Many MBAs pursued business school for one main reason: connecting with other talented and unique individuals. Aiyesha Dey, Associate Professor at HBS, recommends that grads tap into the network they’ve gained and to continue supporting one another in the journey ahead.

“No other business school (and I have been at several!) can boast of such strong-knit cohorts, support networks, shared experiences and values, and deep lifetime friendships,” Dey says. “Not only has this helped you create many meaningful memories, but it has also undoubtedly carried you through times of crises. The pandemic has made us even more aware of the huge need for connections and closeness in the world. As future leaders, I urge you to take this experience at HBS and build exceptional communities of individuals who want to be and do their best, who feel immensely valued, and who rejoice in each other’s successes.”

Read more advice here.

Sources: Harvard Business School, Harvard Business School

Next Page: Background Checks – What to Expect

Background Checks Are Nearing: Here’s What To Expect

As MBA decision notifications come to a close, many admitted applicants will need to go through the background check process. While background checks are not performed by every business school, experts say it’s a good idea for applicants to be aware of the process.

Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently discussed what admitted applicants can expect from the background check process and what red flags business schools are looking for.

“The vast majority of people shouldn’t stress over this verification process,” Blackman writes. “Business schools aren’t on a mission to grill candidates about every last detail of their applications. They simply want to ensure that applicants have honestly represented themselves, their experience, and their accomplishments.”

HOW IT WORKS

At a high-level, background checks for MBA programs exist to verify the information an applicant has provided.

“Although the process varies from school to school, it usually includes checking that an applicant attended the undergraduate (or graduate) school(s) that he or she claims to have attended, received the grades indicated and earned the GMAT score reported,” according to Clear Admit. “It also involves the verification of the candidate’s employment history, job titles, starting and ending dates and salary/bonus information. Finally, some background checks involve contacting recommenders to verify their support and confirming applicant involvement in community activities.”

Due to the nature of the background check process, Blackman says applicants should be fully transparent with business schools about their application details.

“If you’re on the fence about whether to include or explain something in your application, chances are you probably should mention it,” Blackman writes. “When the issue is something like poor academic performance or a gap in employment history, it’s always best to come completely clean. The admissions team isn’t looking for perfection in applicants.”

POTENTIAL RED FLAGS

In general, most applicants don’t need to worry about having their decision rescinded due to a background check. There are, however, a few red flags that may be grounds for rejection. According to Blackman red flags generally include ethical lapses, questionable behavior, not disclosing a layoff or firing, evidence of plagiarism, and not disclosing a criminal conviction.

“Willful deception or lying by omission will jeopardize your admission,” Blackman writes. “Minor discrepancies such as being off by a month when listing your employment dates likely won’t. Most schools give applicants a chance to explain any plausible mistakes.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, Clear Admit 

Next Page: Alabama State Launches Online MBA Program

Another Business School Just Announced Plans for a New Online MBA

Alabama State University (ASU) is launching a new online MBA program this fall. The online MBA will be the school’s first MBA degree program.

ASU announced official plans for the MBA program in early May after years of demand and interest from students—nearly 90% of current ASU students and alumni say they are interested in earning the degree from the business school. The new MBA will be offered as an online program and can be completed in one year.

“We expect to see students from various levels and diverse backgrounds,” Caterina Bristol, ASU assistant provost and dean of the Graduate School, tells Fortune. “Already we have had interest from more mature adult learners to traditional-aged students as well as military learners and international students.”

PROGRAM BREAKDOWN

ASU’s online MBA program focuses primarily on data and analytics and is designed around seven core courses and three electives. Students can choose from a variety of specializations, including project management, enterprise resource planning, or general business.

To be eligible for admission, ASU says students should have an undergraduate degree in business and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Additionally, applicants will be required to complete undergraduate courses in accounting, finance, management, and marketing.

“The program is looking for individuals who want to advance their education and skills to improve performance in their current position, grow their business, or secure a new, in-demand job,” Bristol tells Fortune. “The candidates will demonstrate a strong commitment to professional growth [and] have good communication skills.”

The launch of the new MBA program is a monumental moment for ASU, which for years has pushed to gain approval for the program.

“For all who doubted that we could have an MBA degree at ASU, we can now say, ‘We did it and we did it quickly,’” Tiffany McCord, Academic Affairs Committee Chairwoman, says. “There has been so much social media chatter from alumni who want to get their MBA from ASU, so this is a great move for the University. We can now say to all of those alumni and others that you can get your MBA from ASU starting this fall.”

Sources: Fortune, Alabama State University

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