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Stacy Blackman @StacyBlackman


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Hi, My name is Stacy Blackman. Since 2001 my firm, Stacy Blackman Consulting, has helped clients gain admission to every top business school in the world. I am happy to answer any of your questions on the MBA admissions process and your speci...
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Hi everyone,

If you have a specific MBA program you are considering applying to, we created a section with free school specific advice. The section is here:

We hope it is of help.


Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team

Hi Brooklyn,

In the US, most MBA programs like to see candidates with at least 2 years of work experience. In Europe, MBA candidates tend to be older than in the US.

For your question on ROI, there are so many variables that it really depends. As an example, if you pursue consulting, banking, a non-profit, etc, your ROI will change greatly.


Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team

I'd like to know as to which place is better to do MBA. I mean in terns of ROI i.e. after doing MBA getting job readily in the same place say is if i do MBA in USA from a college X then getting job is easier and more lucrative in USA than in India.

Also for what is the minimum experience one should have before applying MBA abroad ??
Why do we fall??? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up again.

Hi everyone,

Are there any MBA admissions or GMAT questions we can answer?


Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team


This post originally appeared on Stacy's “Strictly Business” MBA blog on

Once you've decided to pursue an MBA, you've got your work cut out for you. MBA applicants need to fit studying for the GMAT and developing essays in with other personal and professional commitments. If you're planning to apply to business school in the fall, now is the time to come up with a game plan for completing the admissions components within a schedule that doesn't necessitate sleepless nights and a jumbo bottle of Maalox. The best way to do this is to put together your MBA application timeline months before your target deadlines.

Allot time for essays and the GMAT: We're slightly more than three months away from Round One at most schools. If you haven't started your applications and are wondering if you still have time, it depends. Among the factors you should weigh: how much time you have in your schedule, how difficult it is for you to write essays, and how focused and motivated you are. In general, three to four months is enough time to submit several applications in the first round. You'll be working hard, but that is a realistic timeline.

The amount of time MBA aspirants will spend on their applications will vary, depending on writing abilities and general work efficiency. That said, plan to spend between 40 and 60 hours preparing four to eight applications. Non-native English speakers will also likely need to allot more time on their applications, particularly on writing, revising, editing, proofing, formatting, and inputting essays.

The other piece of this puzzle is, of course, the GMAT. Have you completed the GMAT and are you satisfied with your score? If you still need to take the GMAT, you may have a lot of work ahead of you, as applicants typically devote at least 100 hours to test preparation. Depending on where you are in the process, you may have to take a prep class and perhaps take the test more than once. If this is the case, Round One may not be a realistic option.

Structure your work sessions: Some people work most efficiently when they can break up tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces, while others prefer to devote several hours to their writing in one sitting. MBA applicants should be aware of the way they work most effectively and structure their writing and editing sessions accordingly.

I've had candidates call me a week before applications are due, planning to take the week off of work, deprive themselves of sleep, and devote all of their time to writing essays to submit in the first round. They figure that 100 hours of work should do the trick. While that may be plenty of time, I'm a big believer that the time should be spread out. Because this is such a personal, soul-searching process, sometimes you just need to call it a night and sleep on it—tough to do when you only have a week.

I typically recommend that candidates allocate two to three hours each time they sit down to work on their essays, particularly for the first few drafts. Essays should be approached holistically; you won't have a compelling final product if you snatched 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there to cobble together that “knowledge into action” essay for theWharton School at University of Pennsylvania.

Conversely, most applicants should also avoid the “marathon session.” Few people are still sharp or creative eight hours into a writing and editing session. If you need to make up for lost time, try breaking it up with a session in the morning and another in the evening.

Allow some distance: Applicants should also build several weeks for reflection and feedback into their MBA timeline. If you can come back to your essays days later with fresh eyes, you'll often think of a better example or more inspired language to illustrate a certain point. This won't happen if you're forced to work at warp speed.

Distributing your writing and editing over a reasonable period also makes it easier for friends, family, or colleagues to provide feedback. It's unfair to ask someone to turn around comments in a 24-hour period, so provide them with a few days to give you their critiques. Leave yourself adequate time to reflect upon and incorporate their feedback.

We're just getting into the thick of things for most schools. If you're planning to apply this year, now is the time to get started: on GMAT prep, writing essays, selecting recommenders, or just generally piecing together your strategy. The b-school application process is stressful, but careful planning will make the experience manageable and help you channel your energies into continually improving your candidacy until the moment you submit your applications.

Hi @[524832:anu88rag],

For a list of management programs that consider younger candidates, Masters in Management programs tend to look more at candidates with less experience (as opposed to MBA programs, which like to see at least 2 years of experience.).

If you'd like, here is a case study of a young applicant who was accepted into a top MBA program:

For whether to wait or not, it's very important to identify what your goals are post-graduation, and then to see if the programs you are considering are the right fit. As an example, if you know you would like to work for a particular company post-graduation, then you should speak to the career center at that school to see if that company recruits there.


Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team

Hi Stacy,

Can you tell me some good B-Schools in Canada for Finance? I know Rotman, Ivey, York and Queens are good. However, if you can tell me about other universities which are good for Finance?


Life doesn't get easier, we just get better..!
Hi Anurag,

There are MBA programs that look at candidates with less work experience, however most like to see at least 2 years of work experience. Unfortunately I do not know enough about your program and interests (location preference, etc.) to recommend other programs, however the ones you have listed are very strong.


Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team

Hi Stacy: I am open to all global locations. My only criteria is a globally recognized brand name for the school and value addition in terms of experience and quality of education. Now If I apply for next August I will have 2 years of corporate experience (I also have 2 years experience workig as a research assistant at a lab during my MS). Can you let me know the names of school that offer managment degree for people with less work experience.

I am also considering advanced finance degrees as an option. Just a bit confused if waiting and having 3 yrs+ experience or a decent school with 1-2 years prior experience will be a better bet. In my case, as I am looking for switch in my career path (from R&D; to technobuisness consulting/finance) will gaining more experience help?
SBC Scoop: Managing Stress with a Timeline

*Please note that no client details are ever shared in SBC Scoop or otherwise without complete sign off from client.

SBC Scoop: Managing Stress with a Timeline | Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions

Just about a year ago our client Emily was starting to freak out. Every time she looked at her applications for four MBA programs, all she could see was a pile of work to be done with nothing complete, and worse, no sense of when she would get it all done. It was just overwhelming.

When Emily had her first meeting with her consultant and set up a strategy for her applications to HBS, Stanford, Wharton and Kellogg, the answers seemed manageable. Discussion with her consultant helped her set up a plan to prepare her recommenders. Though she did not consider herself a strong writer generally, they had already brainstormed a few good ideas to start developing. In other words, no single piece of the process was all that intimidating when they spoke. However, when Emily would sit down a few days later to get to work, all she could see was big pile of incomplete applications, a long to-do list, and a hectic eighty-hour work week at her hedge fund to work around.

Emilys consultant could tell she was about ready to panic, and when she heard Emilys long list of concerns, knew just what to do. They needed a plan for when to do what: a timeline that she could follow over the next three months. First, they created a master list of what needed to be done and attached a rough time estimate to each. With four applications to write, they estimated Emily would need ten to fifteen hours to complete the work and essays specific to each one. They budgeted time to contacting recommenders and looking into her network of contacts for alumni to speak with. They also looked up sample GMAT class schedules and factored in study time for the test retake she had already planned.

The master list was almost as frightening as the unfinished applications, but the next step was to attach each task to a specific timeframe. They found items that Emily would start this week and others she would kick off the next week and the week after that. After talking about Emilys writing style, they budgeted a few hours each Saturday afternoon to give her enough time to sit and think clearly, but not so much time that she would get stuck.

With a timeline in hand, Emily felt reassured. She explained her own tendency to leave things to last-minute marathon sessions, so she felt great knowing what would get done in what order. Emilys consultant also suggested finishing her applications several weeks ahead of the fall deadlines in order to give her time to think and reflect on whether the application was exactly what she wanted to send, with enough time built in to make any changes. They both felt the timeline would squash the panic and give Emily enough structure to make sure her best foot was forward, and sure enough, she was admitted to both Stanford and Wharton.

Hi Anurag,

There are MBA programs that look at candidates with less work experience, however most like to see at least 2 years of work experience. Unfortunately I do not know enough about your program and interests (location preference, etc.) to recommend other programs, however the ones you have listed are very strong.


Conrad and the Stacy Blackman Team

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