MBA Admissions Tip: Thinking About Financing

Though many business school applicants know exactly what they want to do – and how much they hope to make – after they graduate from an MBA program, a surprising number apply to school without thinking about how they’ll pay for this expensive degree.
While some students do foot the entire bill themselves or receive scholarship support from the school or an outside institution, the vast majority of MBA students borrow funds to cover their tuition and living expenses. With this in mind, we wanted to cover some very basic information on loans for the benefit of both recent admits entering school this fall and early birds just beginning to think about their applications for Fall ’12.
The primary source of funding for U.S.-based applicants will be federal loans or alternative education loans. The main federal loans, available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents, are the Federal Stafford Loan (subsidized or unsubsidized), the Federal Perkins Loan and the GradPLUS Loan. Full-time students, usually those enrolled in two or more courses per semester, can borrow as much as $20,500/year through the Federal Stafford loan program. Perkins Loans are low-interest (a rate of 5 percent) loans with a maximum annual loan amount of $8,000/year for graduate students. The Grad PLUS Loan can be used to pay for the total cost of education less aid you’ve already been awarded. Those interested in applying for federal student aid should check out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When federal loans are not enough, private loans can help bridge the gap in education costs. Students might contact their local bank or look into lender programs, such as SallieMae or Access Group, for details on borrowing eligibility.

International students are not eligible for federal loans but may consider private loans as a financing option. The International Student Loan Program (ISLP), for instance, offers a credit-based loan to international students who are looking to finance their education in the U.S. However, as with most private loans, this loan requires a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to co-sign. International students can also visit International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) to search for funds (as can U.S. citizens planning on studying overseas). Finally, most of the leading MBA programs offer private loans to their students in partnership with a particular financial institution – some of which do not require a co-signer – so this might become an option after one is admitted.

Many need-based loans are classified as subsidized, meaning that interest does not accrue while the borrower is enrolled in a degree program (whereas interest begins to accrue immediately on unsubsidized loans). Typical timelines of loan repayment can extend from 5 to 30 years, depending on the lender’s conditions of deferral and the amount of funds borrowed. After graduation, students usually have a six-month grace period before monthly repayment begins. While schools’ admittance packages usually include detailed information about financing the MBA, incoming students and applicants should not hesitate contact the school’s financial aid office for further information on available need- or credit-based loans.

Oxford’s Saïd Business School to Feature New Pre-MBA Internship Program

Summer internships between the first and second years of two-year MBA programs are de rigueur at most top business schools – an important component that provides students with valuable hands on experience and can even lead to a post-graduation job. New this year, the Saïd Business School at Oxford University has announced that it is getting in on the internship action. But since the U.K. school features a one-year MBA, its internship program will be one that students complete before they start their studies.

The pre-MBA internship program, announced last month, was launched by Saïd’s Careers Service to give students an opportunity to experience their chosen career sector before undertaking a full-time degree at Oxford.

“Many students undertake an MBA to make a career change either by sector, role or geographical region, but in today’s economic climate making that shift is difficult and MBAs need to stand out from the crowd,” Derek Walker, Saïd director of careers, said in a statement. “Our new pre-MBA internship program will help students to be better equipped to respond to the challenging job market and to find post-MBA work in new industries.”

The pre-MBA internship program will be 8 to 12 weeks long, concluding before the start of the MBA program in October. It will begin with the class entering in fall 2012. Once accepted into Saïd’s MBA program, candidates with a clear sense of their post-MBA goals can apply for one of 10 initial internships as part of the new program. Participants must commit to working for the selected industry upon completion of their degree. Saïd’s Careers Service will work with members of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) to source internship opportunities for the selected students.

To learn more, click here.

Business Schools Look Beyond Traditional Business Arenas for Role Models for Strategy and Leadership

Top MBA programs including those at Harvard Business School (HBS) and the MIT Sloan School of Management are turning to the likes of Lady Gaga and Shakespeare to provide examples of successful leadership and strategy, acocrding to a recent article in the Toronto Star. In the wake of the financial crisis and the resulting loss of faith in leadership, they’ve had little choice but to look outside the traditional business world in order to continue teaching by example, the Canadian paper suggests.

At HBS, a class called Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries gives students a chance to examine the career moves of 25-year-old Stefani Germanotta and her transformation into pop icon Lady Gaga. The HBS course looks to Gaga to understand the importance of contracts and how to manage your message through social media. Business schools in Europe – including Germany’s ESMT and Antwerp Management in the Netherlands – also have zeroed in on Gaga as a case study to teach strategic innovation, the Toronto Star reports. And the London Business School had students look at Kiss guitarist Gene Simmons for lessons on how to monetize a fan base.
Meanwhile, at schools like the MIT Sloan School of Management and NYU’s Stern School of Business, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Henry V are providing examples of leadership to students. And at Canadians schools like Toronto University’s Rotman School, hockey stars are coming in as speakers to advise and inspire future business leaders. Toronto Maple Leafs’ GM Brian Burke recently shared his views on Steve Jobs and the need to be tough. “There isn’t anyone who has made a hard decision who doesn’t have a ruthless side,” he told the students.

For the complete Toronto Star article, click here.

Are You an Implementor or an Enabler?

Businesses revolve around two complementary skill sets: Implementation and Enabling.

Implementors are the people who get things done. They create, shape, cut, refine, prototype, iterate, program, design, manufacture, and ship. They are the craftsmen that create something worth selling.

Enablers are the people who help the implementors focus on implementing. They make sure all of the implementors are working towards the same end result and deal with things that take time away from creating. They are the leaders, managers, and assistants who keep the business side of things running.

Having a mix of implementors and enablers is a very good thing. Implementors can exist without enablers, but they won’t be very efficient. It’s hard to do a good job creating something when you have to worry about calculating payroll taxes. Enablers can’t exist without implementors, since no business can exist for long without something to sell. Leadership and management are worthless without a team of people creating something.

The prevailing business culture seems to emphasize enabling over leading, and that’s a shame. The highly-visible CEO and executive team gets the glory, while the people who get things done behind the scenes are largely forgotten, both in glory and pay. That’s a travesty – neither could exist without the other.

3 Things to Keep In Mind If You’re an Implementor

    • Enablers have a difficult job – getting everyone on the same page and working in the right direction is as tough and challenging as the work you do. Remember to express your appreciation for the work they do.
    • The hallmark of a good enabler is that they work to make things easier for you, not harder. The best enablers will keep you in the loop and shield you from anything not related to implementing effectively. Pay attention to who is really good at enabling, and find a way to work with them.
    • Don’t assume your enabler is your superior, even if they’re your boss. They need you, and they know it. They also love it when you make their life easier. Work as a team of equals, and you’ll get a lot accomplished.

3 Things to Keep in Mind if You’re an Enabler

    • Your job is to make the lives of your implementors as easy as possible. Do everything you can do to make it easy for them to focus on their job. Eliminate distractions, guesswork, politics, and random tasks as completely as you can.
    • Set the direction clearly, then get out of the way. As Peter Drucker once said: “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.” Micromanagement doesn’t help – it gets in the way of getting things done.
    • Cheerleading is an important part of the job. Everyone loves to be appreciated, including your team. Make time to encourage people and express your appreciation for the work they do. Kind words carry a lot of weight.

Where Do You Fit? Do you consider yourself more of an implementor or enabler? Why?

Bachelors? Masters? No Degree? College Education of the Mega-Rich

Education is an important factor in success. For the top 25 richest individuals in the world, intelligence and education certainly played a vital role in their success, but not all have MBA’s from Ivy League schools. In fact, very few do. Success in the business world comes more from consistent and cumulative learning over a lifetime. Online education can assist in providing just this sort of opportunity. The chance to broaden perspectives, expand your knowledge base, and learn while working are just some of the excellent benefits of online universities. In the near future, it is likely that some of the world’s richest will have been schooled almost entirely online.

<a rel=”nofollow” href=”” mce_href=””><img src=”” mce_src=”” alt=”Education of the Mega Wealthy” width=”500″ border=”0″ /></a><br />Via: <a href=”” mce_href=””>Online Degrees</a>

The Wacky World of Corporate Universities

These days, it seems like you just can’t find a job that doesn’t require a university education. Even jobs traditionally reserved for the non-college-bound among us now seem to come with a set of qualifying prerequisites. In fact, in today’s economy, even burger-flippers and call center operators can’t evade society’s insistence that every employee receive the training and education to make them optimal members of the workforce.

Luckily for these people, many corporations are now offering just such instruction: umbrella training programs that teach employees in every department of every vocation everything they need to know to succeed in their branch of business. Some attendees are even lucky enough to graduate into programs that will teach them to succeed in other branches of business. But mostly, these programs — generally called “corporate universities” — exist to nurture and hone the skills of a company’s employees so that they are superlatively qualified to work for that company. And, hopefully, no other company. Ever.

Don’t let the fancy name fool you. Corporate universities are not accredited institutions. In fact, they don’t have to adhere to any particular set of standards or qualifications. It is simply a term used by the companies that institute such training programs in order to make it seem more official and beneficial. Of course, that’s not to say that attendees of the various corporate universities don’t receive excellent instruction. Many really do learn everything they need to know for a successful career, and a fair few go on to management programs where they learn to educate the employees of tomorrow. Below are a number of corporate universities that run the gamut of methods and opportunities.

1. Hamburger University

This vaunted institution is McDonald’s Corporation’s exclusive training facility, and the first global training center in the whole restaurant industry. Its students — carefully chosen candidates from among McDonald’s most dynamic employees — receive an unparalleled education on the inner workings of the McDonald’s business.

Founded in 1961 by Fred Turner (former senior chairman and franchise founder Ray Kroc’s first grillman), Hamburger University was originally run out of the basement of a McDonald’s restaurant in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. There McDonald’s employees would gather to learn such company secrets as how to market a new product, how to cook the perfect burger, and what exactly goes into that “special sauce” on the Big Mac.

Today, Hamburger University sits on an 80-acre campus in Oak Brook, Illinois, another suburb of Chicago, and is home to three kitchen labs, thirteen regular classrooms, twelve interactive team education rooms, and an auditorium that seats 300. Five thousand students attend Hamburger University each year (though not all of them attend in an actual, physical sense), all of them employees of the McDonald’s Corporation. Matriculants can expect to receive instruction through a combination of classroom instruction, e-learning programs, hands-on lab activities, and interactive learning scenarios. The focus these days has shifted almost entirely to teaching employees how to handle customers and how to run the restaurants, rather than wasting any time on understanding or improving the food.

The curriculum at Hamburger University encompasses a number of different programs, each of which is carefully designed to train the attendee in the McCareer of his or her choice. There are programs for Crew Development (support staff), Shift Management and Systems Management (restaurant managers), Executive Development (future leaders of the McDonald’s Corporation), and Mid-Management (mid-management). All McDonald’s restaurant employees receive 32 hours of on-site and e- training during their first month. However, only those who choose to enter one of the aforementioned full training programs have the opportunity to earn a McDegree, which more or less fully prepares them for a career in the McBusiness.

This video from CNN Money takes viewers inside Hamburger University, where they’re lucky enough to work with fake food:

2. Motorola University

Motorola University is telecommunications giant Motorola’s Six Sigma certification program. As the creator of the Six Sigma methodology, there is no company more qualified to teach its tenets than Motorola. The program is run entirely by the terrifyingly-named Six Sigma Master Black Belts, all of whom have themselves been trained at Motorola University.

In order to understand the curriculum at Motorola University, one must first understand what the Six Sigma methodology is all about. In order to do that, one must devote oneself to the study of a mind-bendingly complicated mass of business-ese that includes phrases like “process capability” and acronyms such as DPMO (defects per million opportunities). Suffice it to say that Motorola University offers a number of training and education programs that teach Six Sigma practices in five different areas of management called institutes: Leadership and Management, Quality, Go-To-Market, Supply Chain, and Engineering.

Motorola University (or MU) has nine training facilities in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. MU was established at Motorola headquarters in 1974 to offer additional training and refresher courses to Motorola employees. In 1986, when Six Sigma was invented, MU changed its focus to train employees in the Six Sigma methodology. Recognizing that having an entire corporation full of Master Black Belts was no use if nobody outside the company had any idea what that meant, MU opened up its doors to clients and then the general public between 2002 and 2005. Motorola University now offers customized training programs to any number of people who might one day aspire to the actual Six Sigma certification, including “soft skill training” for college students. Presumably, Motorola High School and Six Sigma Day Care Center will be on their way soon.

This video explains Motorola’s motivation to invent Six Sigma, without going into any of the complex names and formulas that make it all work:

3. Apple University

Apple University, Apple Inc.’s corporate education institution, was launched in early 2009— a relative newcomer (and definite latecomer) to the corporate education scene. Running the project is Joel Podolny, previously the head of the Yale School of Management and a former teacher at Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. From this one might surmise that Apple University focuses on the business end of the, well, business.

Like everything else ever produced by Apple Inc., the details of the goings-on at Apple University are a well-kept secret. Neither the location nor the purpose of this (probably cutting-edge) facility have been disclosed to the general public. Speculation abounds as to whether the university exists to train and educate existing employees in order to minimize turnover; to find and foster new talent, or to groom a new generation of arrogant but preternaturally culture-savvy nerds in the hopes that a worthy successor to Steve Jobs will emerge. Why keep it a secret? Perhaps it’s just Apple Inc.’s first instinct to keep everything under wraps. Maybe we’ll find out more when Apple is good and ready to tell us — probably in the form of an extremely sleek and mesmerizing commercial that, in retrospect, tells us much less than we thought it had.

4. The Global Education Center

The world’s largest corporate university is owned and operated by Infosys, the India-based information technology behemoth. Infosys initially established its training facility in 2005 with the goal of creating a workforce ideally suited to the company’s needs. It has since expanded in every direction.

The Global Education Center (GEC) is located in Mysore, India, on a 337-acre campus that is even now undergoing further expansion. The GEC has a total of 147 classrooms, 42 conference rooms, 485 faculty rooms, a cyber café, and two libraries housing approximately 140,000 volumes. Up to 15,000 students at a time can be educated within the many walls of this vast institution

Students of the Global Education Center study for six months before applying for a position at Infosys. The competition for jobs at the company is extremely fierce: 1.3 million apply each year, only 1 percent of whom are hired. Compare those numbers against those of another famously competitive institution, Harvard University, where approximately 23,000 people apply for admission each year, and a comparatively whopping 8 percent are accepted. Lucky, then, for the fortunate few who can look forward to a six-month training period and a lifetime of outsourced IT services projects at Infosys.

This video offers an inside look at the Global Education Center’s new facilities, and all the wondrous IT education to be had there:

5. Disney University

The Walt Disney Company has built its reputation on quality, innovation, and creativity in family entertainment (and merchandising). Nowhere are these values upheld more strongly or proudly than at Disney University, Disney’s professional development and training establishment. Uncle Walt himself first founded Disney University after he opened the first Disneyland theme park in California — and realized that nobody who worked there quite met his rigorous and magical standards. Established in the early 1960s, it is the world’s oldest corporate university.

All Disney employees (or “cast members” as they are called) attend a one-and-a-half day training program at Disney University, now located on the grounds of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This program, called “Traditions,” emphasizes the importance of the legacy of the Disney brand and includes a tutorial in the history of Disney — both the man and the company — as well as training in job-specific tasks like working the cash registers, comforting lost and/or irate children, and convincing kids of all ages that a little bit of that Disney magic can go home with them in the form of a million different plush or plastic toys.

Select members of the 42,000 strong Disney cast go on to more rigorous training courses at Disney University in such magical areas as leadership development, personal development, professional development, and instructional design. Further instruction is also available to cast members who aspire to leave the cast and join the slightly less magical (but significantly quieter and more lucrative) world of leadership. Training for frontline supervisors and mid-to-upper management is broadcast via satellite all over the world through Mobile Training Units, many of which are affiliated with some of America’s top leading business schools.

Here is a short video with a behind the scenes look at University Disney: