Why Do Companies Prefer MBAs?

Why Do Companies Prefer MBAs?
By Jennifer deJong, Monster Contributing Writer

  • MBAs are sought after for their ability to think critically, deal with ambiguity and solve complex problems.
  • the master of business administration degree represents a way of thinking, not just a set of financial skills and business knowledge
  • looking for the 50,000-foot view — the strategic thinker who takes an analytical approach
  • Operations managers who have risen through the company’s ranks are experts at getting things done. But MBAs from the outside can bring a fresh perspective, like figuring out how to improve key business processes, such as filling catalog orders.
  • Training Critical Thinkers
    • an MBA can evaluate a company by looking at its financials, they also ask if the numbers make sense in terms of other realities
    • process of earning the degree teaches MBAs to think critically –  relies heavily on the case-study approach
    • requires students to evaluate business dilemmas and formulate the best plan of action
    • case studies typically reflect current issues
  • Professional Problem Solvers
    • know how to frame problems, ask questions and collect data
    •  MBA candidates who are ready to answer more than just stock questions –  done some research, called a few customers; you get a sense of how they might spend their first 60 days on the job, and that is impressive
    • ability to deal with ambiguity and create changes that help the company compete
    • demonstrate the ability to maximize talent, enroll others, champion change, look at the big picture and optimize the company’s interests
    • degree itself is not a guarantee, as many MBAs have gaps – It comes down to the person and their accomplishments. For example, if an MBA candidate says, “I lead the team that revised the billing process,” company recruiters dig deeper. If the process improvement didn’t yield a result, the candidate may not make the cut
  • MBAs: Not All Alike
    • Getting an MBA is a big accomplishment, but once you have it, you still have to compete for jobs.
    • Top schools are brand names – when you are competing against a brand name, the burden of proof is on you, even though core MBA courses remain remarkably similar across different institutions.
higher education, value

Is there value in pursing a higher education?

By Mark Storer, Bay Area News Group, April 26, 2015

  • most important thing to learn in college had more bearing on who he/she is rather than what he/she does
  • on individual level, when we look only at earnings potential as the value of education, we miss a large part of the picture
  • it is completely possible for education to lead people down a path that does not increase (or possibly even decreases) lifetime earnings, but could lead them to personal and professional fulfillment
  • college is an institution; the location of that institution and the people who make up that institution are the source of the mind expansion, horizon-broadening that takes place during the college years
  • statistical date returned over more than 40 years of research show that those with Bachelor’s degrees or higher earn more than their counterparts who don’t get a degree
  • Does College Matter? (2014 Annual Report) Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
    • even for entrepreneurs, college is still the best place to develop skills, meet mentors and learn about what it takes to compete in the market
    • college environment is ideal for entrepreneurial-minded students to try out their ideas
    • it’s a pretty safe environment
    • college will hook your up with a mentor, in some cases provide funding and then you get to go out and validate your idea
    • colleges have the sort of perfect ecosystem that will support the pursuit of ideas
    • average college graduate earns enough “extra” to recover the cost of attending most colleges in fewer than 15 years
    • after that, the earnings advantage remains leaving the typical college graduate with a significant net return
    • College Calculator
employment, higher education

The value of higher education from the employer’s perspective

By Maggie Sharpe, Published in Bay Area News Group on April 26, 2015

Before Recession
During Recession
(Employment Decline)
High School 1/2 16%
Associate Degree 1/3 11%
Bachelor Degree 3/4 7%
  • Fullbridge (with offices in San Francisco) – a career accelerator program to help young professional success in the global economy
    • Higher education is the baseline for most employers
    • Companies also look for: internships, work experience, extracurricular activities and career accelerator programs
    • Leadership and participation in skills-building programs
    • Corporations value candidates with confidence and a strong desire to learn
    • hard skills: Excel proficiency, time management
    • soft skills: being able to work with others, work well in teams and eventually become a leader
  • college degree indicates how teachable a person is – value a culture of continual learning; discipline needed to complete the rigors of a structured academic program; ‘bias for execution’ – know how to get things done
  • real-world experience
  • possesses a deep level of functional expertise
  • Eight attributes used by “Energy Recovery” in San Francisco in its annual employee performance appraisal – changing the game (innovation), all in (commitment), problem solving, professional maturity, work ethic/commitment to excellence, effective communication, collaboration, and flexibility/adaptability
  • unique mix of rebellious spirits, distinctive styles and technical know-how and a whole lot of gumption
  • ones that embrace and contribute to company culture, lead by example, and who support and care for one another
  • you can teach people new skills, but you can’t train someone to give genuine heartfelt care
  • look beyond the CV and dig deeper into an individual’s passion, personality and drive
  • people who aren’t afraid to take chance, who want to make a different – people who care about their work impacts others around them
  • higher education provides people with a great foundation for acquiring knowledge, skills and abilities
  • San Francisco State University, College of Business : Bill Kimpton Hospitality Scholarship

Related Reads:

  1. A College Degree Sorts Job Applicants, but Employers Wish It Meant More
  2. What do employers really want from college grads?
  3. Internships become the new job requirement
College Planning

Admissions to University of California – April 2015

UC delays release of admissions data amid budget negotiations (04/17/2015, San Jose Mercury News)

  • Last year, admission rates at UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara fell to less than half of what they were in the mid-1990s
  • “I’ve always had students who looked at Davis as a safety school and it’s not, and neither is Santa Cruz,” said Linda Clark, a guidance counselor at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek.
  • Lucinda Perez, a straight-A student from Oakland who will be the first in her family to attend a university, is a finalist for the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholars program, which gives winners a full ride to the college of their choice. But the 18-year-old had a miserable March. One after another, the UC rejections came in: Berkeley, UCLA, Davis and Santa Cruz.
  • In 2008, the Oakland Tribune published a story about Perez’s small public high school, Life Academy of Health and Bioscience, because some 40 percent of its graduates, most of them first-generation college-goers, had been admitted to a UC campus. This year, by contrast, nearly half of Life’s 62 graduating seniors applied to the university, but only nine — about 15 percent of the class — got in and four were wait-listed.
  • “I know the students are feeling or hearing that nobody seems to be getting in,” said Malissa Goldstein, a Lynbrook guidance counselor who has yet to see a final tally. “I think the biggest surprise for us is UC Merced has denied some of our highly qualified applicants, as has UC Riverside.” Those campuses have traditionally had the system’s highest admission rates.
  • Goldstein believes the trend is driven, in part, by fear: Each year, students alarmed by dropping admission rates are applying to more campuses than they otherwise would, pushing the volume of applications on each campus ever-higher — and admission rates lower and lower.
    • Diverse pool of Californians apply to UC in record numbers (01/12/2015)
      • 193,873 students applied for admission to at least one UC campus — 158,146 of them as freshmen and the remainder as transfer students
      • combined numbers represent an overall rise of 5.8 percent over fall 2014, the 11th consecutive year of increases
      • freshman applicants alone, the percentage increase was 6.5 percent over last year
      • On average, California students — including transfers — each applied to four UC campuses
      • Every UC undergraduate campus received more applications from California residents than it did last year
      • Merced showing the largest percentage increase, 14.8 percent for freshmen alone
      • number of California high school seniors applying to UC — 102,994 overall — marked an increase of 3.2 percent over last year and comes on the heels of state projections that the number of California high school graduates is shrinking
  • At Coliseum College Prep Academy, a small public high school in East Oakland, fewer than 1 in 3 UC applicants were admitted to a single campus, according to a college counselor, compared with more than 75 percent in 2012 and 2013. The high school’s valedictorian, Carlos Rangel, was admitted to UC Berkeley, one of the system’s two most-selective campuses — but was wait-listed at UC Davis, where, not long ago, he would have been a shoo-in.

Myths for College Admissions

Common Myths

  1. Taking the SAT versus the ACT will increase your chances of getting into a UC.
    UC has no preference for one examination over the other. If a student takes both exams, UC will use the higher score to the student’s advantage.
  2. A student who attends a “good” school and has a parent/guardian who have college degrees are disadvantaged in the process.
    Take a look at example from the above news article. There should not be any disadvantage if parent has college degree but for student who’s parent don’t have college degree, there may be some “additional” point but then again the most important thing is student’s academic level (GPA, test score) has to be in the admission range.
  3. UC discriminates against Asian Americans.
    U.C. undergraduates are composed of about 40% Asian Americans. Asian-Americans are the single largest ethnic group among UC’s 173,000 undergraduates. In 2008, they accounted for 40% at UCLA and 43% at UC Berkeley — the two most selective campuses in the UC system — as well as 50% at UC San Diego and 54% at UC Irvine. Asian-Americans are about 12% of California’s population and 4% of the U.S. population overall. Universities and Colleges would like to maintain some kind of diversity for it’s student population. May be the Asian American students cannot really blame the UC system. There are just too many Asian Americans who have great GPAs and test scores. Reference: University of California Percent Change in CALIFORNIA Freshman ADMISSION COUNTS by Campus and Race/Ethnicity (PDF) – For 2014: UC Berkeley – 42%, UC Davis – 42%, UC Irvine – 46%, UCLA – 42%, UC Merced – 35%, Riverside – 45%, UCSD – 47%, UCSB – 36%, UC Santa Cruz – 32%; Overall UC – 36%
  4. My Student gets 4.1 GPA (weighted) but cannot get into any UC.
    Read the example in above news article with one student gets straight A (assume 4.0 unweighted). A GPA of 4.1 is the average GPA for admitted students for the few top UCs. Reference: UCLA – Profile of Admitted Freshmen Fall 2014 – Weighted: 4.0 or above – 91.58% of all admitted, 3.70 – 3.99 – 6.15%, 3.30 – 3.69 – 1.84%, 3.00 – 3.29 – 0.32%, below 3.00 – 0.11%; overall average – 3.94 for all applicants, 4.39 for admitted, 4.31 for enrolled; Unweighted: 4.0 (the highest) – 12.57% for all applicants, 40.52% for all admitted, 32.53% for all enrolled
health, medical school

Interested in Medical School

You may think it is too early to even think about or prepare for it but in reality it is harder compare your college application. You need to start in your Freshmen year to prepare for it if you are serious (or at least remotely think this can be one thing you want to do after you get your undergraduate degree).

There are 133 medical schools in US and 17 in Canada so together there is 150 medical schools you can apply to. Medical school in other countries can always be considered but that is probably more work (like accreditation check, intern opportunity, recognize by US medical board, etc.). If you look at the top 50 medical schools listed in US News, 90% has an admission rate of about 6% which is like getting into Harvard when you first apply for college. Average is 9%. Minimum undergraduate GPA is 3.5 to quality and average admitted students have 3.6. Remember there is NO more “weighted” GPA for college for 3.6 is real.
There is test like MCAT which is much harder compare to SAT or ACT. As a UCSD student, they let you take FREE test prep courses at UCSD Extension. For most of this graduate school application required test like GRE, it is a 16 hours course. For MCAT, it is 35 hours. Probably you need at least a composite MCAT score of 30.
Some of the requirements to apply to medical school is similar to high school to college application which is letter of recommendations, interview, extra-curriculum, research, health care related experience, etc. For high school to college application, a lot of these requirements are optional but for medical school application, it is MUST.
You should start reading about some of these requirements to get yourself prepare starting as Freshmen, not as senior like when you are in high school.
What Are Medical Schools Looking For?
  • Academic Considerations
    • Major: any major is fine but key is to meet the pre-health core curriculum (additional work in biology or chemistry; courses with significant analytical reading and writing components to maintain or improve their verbal skills)
    • GPA: overall (4 years) and not just Sophomore/Junior like from high school
    • MCAT: only twice a year and not 7 times like SAT/ACT; general take in April of Junior; 3 multiple choice sections: Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences (physics and intro chemistry) and Biological Sciences (biology and organic chemistry) and writing section (2 essays)
    • Research Experience: get something published
  • Non-Academic Experiences
    • Extracurricular and Job Experiences: religious, sport, club; develop interpersonal skill, teamwork, leadership, time management; serious commitment (long term verse many different ones; depth verse breath)
    • Health Care Related Experience: internship at clinics, hospitals, nursing home, shelters; shadowing a physician; work directly with patients
    • Experience to work with people: community service, volunteer work like tutoring, short term mission trip; work with people with different background (ethnic, religious, socio-economic, etc.); compassion for others
  • Personal Considerations
    • Letters of Recommendation: from 4 faculty members; actively participate in class and get to know the faculty who teach you
    • Interview: All medical schools require an interview, often two or three, with members of their faculty and, sometimes, medical students on the admissions committee.
    • Professional Behavior: professionalism; personal accountability
What Medical Schools Are Looking For (blog entry from a Harvard Med School Girl)
  • reference to 2 good articles
Beyond the Numbers: Making Your Medical School Application Stand Out
3 things every medical school is looking for in an applicant
  • People who can handle intensive workloads while being able to maintain some sort of life outside school.
  • Every school is looking for a particular ‘breed’ of medical student.
  • Personalities fitting the current wind of change.
Medical School Admissions – An Insider’s Guide
Searching For Admission: The Smart PreMed Student’s Guide to Applying for Medical School
Web Resources
List of schools
Research Opportunity
Interview Tips
Select Medical School
101 Things You Wish You Knew Before Starting Medical School
If you are interested in physical therapy (PT) or occupational therapy (OT):
  • GRE instead of MCAT
  • volunteer work (200 hours) are required
  • first aid and CPR certification
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • interview
Admission, Application, College, Essay

10 Practice Essay Prompts

  1. Discuss a significant personal archievement.
  2. Evaluate the pros and cons of a political issue, and discuss how that issue related to your community.
  3. Write an essay describing a person who has influenced you.
  4. Write about your favorite book, poem, or play.
  5. The admissionos committee has a copy of your autobiography opened to page 367. What does it say?
  6. discuss a challenge you overcame and how it changed you.
  7. What is the best advice you have received, and why?
  8. If you could time travel, what period in history would you visit, and why?
  9. You have been selected to meet with the president of the United States for one hour. What will you discuss?
  10. If you could switch bodies with someone for a day, who wouldyou choose, and why?

Source: College Planning Workbook, Spark Publishing, 2008, p. 138-167.