Tag Archives: Business School

Warren Buffett undervalues you at $1million after your MBA

Last week Warren Buffett told 700 Columbia Business School students: “Right now, I would pay $100,000 for 10 percent of the future earnings of any of you.”

Seven hundred Columbia GSB students had crammed into the Roone Arledge Auditorium to hear the Sage of Omaha, accompanied by Bill Gates. Buffett (Columbia class of ’51) helped, if you couldn’t do the math: “Many of you are a million-dollar asset right now.”

There’s nothing unique about Columbia in top-tier MBA company. Buffett would make the equivalent offer to graduates of other top-tier MBA programs.

And I’m sure Buffett’s offer is dead serious — if any top-tier MBA graduate were fool enough to sell at that price! Warren didn’t become the world’s greatest investor by overpaying for his stock, therefore of course he assesses the average future value of Columbia business students at far greater than $1m. (He champions “value investing” — analyzing a company’s real long-term value and buying securities priced well below that.)

Effectively the careful, savvy Buffett is saying he commercially “values” anyone picked by Columbia (or equivalent) Adcom as, at minimum, a million-dollar asset even though he has never met him or her. He trusts Adcoms to have picked the right people, top faculty to have adequately prepared them, and the careers office to be able to place them into high-return jobs, so that his investment would soon show returns.

What this tells you is that the brand value of a top-tier MBA holds up exceedingly well in the eyes of the smartest people, despite the recession, despite alleged MBA complicity in the Credit Crunch, and so on.

There was another lesson for those who would like to be one of the 700 (or equivalent) next year. As reported in Columbia University’s The Record, David Lin, 26, a second-year MBA student from Los Angeles said Buffett’s success “proves you don’t have to be a jerk or have a huge ego to get ahead in this world. He’s a role model for everyone, not just investors.”

As a normal ego, non-jerk, Buffett is an important role model for MBA applicants too.

Making messages stick: an MBA Studio ‘bible’ gets some airtime

As a follower of many blogs in the MBA admissions ‘space’ I know, as you probably know, that they are of mixed quality. But the musings of AIGAC-accredited MBA admissions consultants is generally good, and I find we are of one mind on most important matters. So no surprise that today’s post is a hearty agreement with Linda who recently recommended the book Made to Stick (Random House, New York, 2007) by Chip and Dan Heath, on her Accepted blog.

made-to-stickI read the Made to Stick hot-off-the-press two years ago, and have integrated every aspect of it into MBA Studio’s client offerings ever since. It’s not the only resource I use of course (and my own MBA Admissions Strategy, which predates it, has many of the same principles.) But Made to Stick is unsurpassed in focusing on one single thing: getting a message across. Formulating it so that the reader reads it, understands it, remembers it.

So, as I have said consistently to MBA Studio clients and whomever else would listen: this is the single best “non-MBA” guidebook for MBA applicants. Be aware that it won’t help with the key aspects of determining who you are and what your key value points and application platform are — what you want to communicate in the first place (as revealed and coached through MBA Studio’s signature “Profiling” process.) Nor will it help with the specifics of how to manage and beat business-school-specific expectations in essays and interviews and reco’s. But as a book about how to communicate a message, it can’t be beaten, and is justifiably a worldwide bestseller.

The Heath brothers have distilled what makes a message “stick” into six principles, which they communicate in a (sticky) acronym, SUCCESs (sic). That is Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories. Chapter by chapter they show how to simplify a message to its essence; grab attention via its unexpected elements, use concrete rather than abstract intelligence; enhance credibility via various proof channels; and achieve emotional connections with the reader. Telling stories that matter, and telling them well, is the key to much of this.

Made to Stick has a blog by the way. Unfortunately two years and counting after the book was published, it’s only occasionally active.