What Goldman Sachs Told Its MBA Interns And Why It Matters For B-School Admissions

MBA interns started their summer banking and consulting summer internships earlier this month, and the news point was Goldman Sachs instructing newbies at its offices around the world to leave before midnight and not come back before 7am the next day.

Policies like this follow the 2013 death of a 21-year-old Merrill Lynch intern, Moritz Erhardt, who collapsed and died in his London apartment after working 72 hours straight.

Shortly after Erhardt’s death, Goldman Sach’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein effectively told his interns to get a life:

“You have to be interesting, you have to have interests away from the narrow thing of what you do (at Goldman),” he said. “You have to be somebody who somebody else wants to talk to,” he said.

Sound familiar? It does to me. Every time I work with an MBA applicant who is all about the office and nothing else, the red flag goes up: MBA Adcoms are not going to like this.

Remember, you have to be somebody somebody else wants to talk to.

So, get some outside interests. It doesn’t matter too much whether these interests are sports, arts, or community oriented, but preferably (very preferably) your outside activities should be group or team-based rather than solo endeavors because “works well with others” is a big part of a successful admissions profile for business school.

‘Big Data’ Will Give Some MBA Applicants An Edge

The article below describes how Haas Berkeley and many other schools are revising their structures and curricula to adapt to the the data analytics wave in business.

The MBA admissions implication is, if you have some background in ‘big data’ you have an edge almost anywhere you apply, and you want to make this a core part of your platform. Your knowledge and background will contribute to the learning experience of others, in the classroom and in group work. With this background, and with MBA in hand, you will be all the more recruitable to brand-name firms upon graduation. And so on.

If you don’t have this type of background (most don’t), don’t panic. Look for your edge elsewhere. Remember the happy rule, which is MBA adcoms are each year required to recruit a cohort that is widely diverse in its experiences and specializations.

From BusinessBecause:  “California’s Haas School of Business became the latest big name business school to revamp some of its MBA curriculum to include a focus on big data.

“Haas has teamed up with top management consultancy firm Accenture to create new classes and a lecture series designed to give MBAs the tools required to understand and work with big data…

“Business schools believe data analytics is essential for business leaders who will increasingly need data analysis to glean insight and drive decision making…

“Accenture is one of a number of leading employers to have invested in business education. KPMG will invest £20 million in a data analytics research centre at Imperial College Business School in London. IBM and Telfer School of Management have invested around $5 million into a similar centre at Telfer…

“Accenture has estimated previously that the US could see demand for analytics talent outstrip supply by more than 250,000 positions this year alone. A survey of Fortune 100 recruiters by the Graduate Management Admission Council this month found that MBA employers cited analytics skills the most frequently…

“The tie-up is the latest in a long line of new program and curriculum launches. HEC Paris, a leading French business school, revamped some of the content of its MBA in a deal with IBM. DeGroote School of Business in North America recently launched an EMBA degree focused on big data with IBM and Canadian bank CIBC.

“Master programs in business analytics are rapidly increasing in supply. Schools with highly-ranked MBAs are forming standalone courses.

“These include Warwick Business School which runs the MSc Business Analytics, the master’s in business analytics at Melbourne Business School, and the MSC in Business Analytics at USC Marshall School of Business.

“In 2015 both Yale School of Management, and Kogod School of Business have announced plans to launch analytics and software courses. Data programs at ESSEC Business School, Amsterdam Business School, and CEU Business School will also start this year.”

How to be Accepted to B-School, rather than Excepted

Correct English grammar and word usage is paramount when writing successful MBA Admissions essays. Any slip makes you look at best undereducated, at worst careless or incompetent.

Unfortunately correct usage is very tricky even for native English speakers, not least because many of the errors have become so common they no longer stand out in everyday use. But readers for business school admissions will know right from wrong. You are hereby duly warned.

The last section of MBA Admisssion Strategy is devoted to English usage and better writing.

On this theme, I recently came across this piece, below, detailing commonly misused pairs of words–of the kind I find myself flagging frequently in editing MBA admissions executive educations essays.

With thanks to Travis Bradbury:

“We’re all tempted to use words that we’re not too familiar with.
If this were the only problem, I wouldn’t have much to write about. That’s because we’re cautious with words we’re unsure of and, thus, they don’t create much of an issue for us.

“It’s the words that we think we’re using correctly that wreak the most havoc. We throw them around in meetings, e-mails and important documents (such as resumes and client reports), and they land, like fingernails across a chalkboard, on everyone who has to hear or read them.

“We’re all guilty of this from time to time, myself included.

“When I write, I hire an editor who is an expert in grammar to review my articles before I post them online. It’s bad enough to have a roomful of people witness your blunder and something else entirely to stumble in front of 100,000! Point is, we can all benefit from opportunities to sharpen the saw and minimize our mistakes.

“Often, it’s the words we perceive as being more “correct” or sophisticated that don’t really mean what we think they do. There are 20 such words that have a tendency to make even really smart people stumble.

“Have a look to see which of these commonly confused words throw you off.

Accept vs. Except
These two words sound similar but have very different meanings. Accept means to receive something willingly: “His mom accepted his explanation” or “She accepted the gift graciously.” Except signifies exclusion: “I can attend every meeting except the one next week.” To help you remember, note that both except and exclusion begin with ex.

Affect vs. Effect
To make these words even more confusing than they already are, both can be used as either a noun or a verb. Let’s start with the verbs. Affect means to influence something or someone; effect means to accomplish something. “Your job was affected by the organizational restructuring” but “These changes will be effected on Monday.” As a noun, an effect is the result of something: “The sunny weather had a huge effect on sales.” It’s almost always the right choice because the noun affect refers to an emotional state and is rarely used outside of psychological circles: “The patient’s affect was flat.”

Lie vs. Lay
We’re all pretty clear on the lie that means an untruth. It’s the other usage that trips us up. Lie also means to recline: “Why don’t you lie down and rest?” Lay requires an object: “Lay the book on the table.” Lie is something you can do by yourself, but you need an object to lay. It’s more confusing in the past tense. The past tense of lie is—you guessed it—lay: “I lay down for an hour last night.” And the past tense of lay is laid: “I laid the book on the table.”

Bring vs. Take
Bring and take both describe transporting something or someone from one place to another, but the correct usage depends on the speaker’s point of view. Somebody brings something to you, but you take it to somewhere else: “Bring me the mail, then take your shoes to your room.” Just remember, if the movement is toward you, use bring; if the movement is away from you, use take.

Ironic vs. Coincidental
A lot of people get this wrong. If you break your leg the day before a ski trip, that’s not ironic—it’s coincidental (and bad luck). Ironic has several meanings, all of which include some type of reversal of what was expected. Verbal irony is when a person says one thing but clearly means another. Situational irony is when a result is the opposite of what was expected. O. Henry was a master of situational irony. In “The Gift of the Magi,” Jim sells his watch to buy combs for his wife’s hair, and she sells her hair to buy a chain for Jim’s watch. Each character sold something precious to buy a gift for the other, but those gifts were intended for what the other person sold. That is true irony. If you break your leg the day before a ski trip, that’s coincidental. If you drive up to the mountains to ski, and there was more snow back at your house, that’s ironic.

Imply vs. Infer
To imply means to suggest something without saying it outright. To infer means to draw a conclusion from what someone else implies. As a general rule, the speaker/writer implies, and the listener/reader infers.

Nauseous vs. Nauseated
Nauseous has been misused so often that the incorrect usage is accepted in some circles. Still, it’s important to note the difference. Nauseous means causing nausea; nauseated means experiencing nausea. So, if your circle includes ultra-particular grammar sticklers, never say “I’m nauseous” unless you want them to be snickering behind your back.

Comprise vs. Compose
These are two of the most commonly misused words in the English language. Comprise means to include; compose means to make up. It all comes down to parts versus the whole. When you use comprise, you put the whole first: “A soccer game comprises (includes) two halves.” When you use compose, you put the pieces first: “Fifty states compose (make up) the United States of America.”

Farther vs. Further
Farther refers to physical distance, while further describes the degree or extent of an action or situation. “I can’t run any farther,” but “I have nothing further to say.” If you can substitute “more” or “additional,” use further.

Fewer vs. Less
Use fewer when you’re referring to separate items that can be counted; use less when referring to a whole: ‘You have fewer dollars, but less money.'”


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