What’s up citizens of the MBA wire, welcome back to another episode of insights. Today I have a special guest, Paulo César Moraes from Philadelphia Consulting, which by coincidence, it’s the same place I work at. Yes. We’ve been working together for… decades, right? For 5, 50 years… It’s seems like decades, but it goes by so fast. Really? Yeah! Anyway, we’re here today because we want to talk about the Application Process for 2018/2019. This next year is going to be crazy, because every year we’ve been getting more and more demand. Yeah! The Brazilian pool is growing amazingly. You want to be ahead of the competition by starting as early as possible. Do not underestimate the process. Most students when they hit March… Too late. Way too late. I mean, if you’re going to start studying for the GMAT and TOEFL in March, April… Too late, you’re behind. So, the students are studying for the GMAT right now, they’re getting their scores on January, February. You want to begin as early as possible. Do not underestimate the process. Because if you start as early as possible, you can maximize your chances. You get a higher score, you can write better essays, you can really expand your networking into the schools… You’re going to be much ahead of the competition in terms of profile, in terms of the application. Begin as early as possible. It’s been getting competitive. Also, first round has become the round for Brazilians. More Brazilians than ever are going into first round, so, schools are filling their spots with Brazilians from the first round. Of course, you can apply second round and still have good results. But first round is it, schools are selecting the first Brazilians, they’re distributing a lot of scholarships… first round is what you need to get ready for. I’m wondering something I think a lot of our viewers might want to know: what are somethings they need to consider before even thinking about applying? What should they do? What should they have already set in mind? First of all, do not underestimate the admission tests. Most people think studying for the TOEFL and the GMAT is very easy… The GMAT is easy, not the TOEFL, the TOEFL is tough. The TOEFL is tough… Well, you want to get ready as early as possible. For some students studying for the test is not a big deal, they can easily get scores, but for most Brazilians, it is a long process and you want to be sure that you engage as early as possible to maximize your score. So, what I would highly recommend is that you get a diagnostic test. Be tested on the TOEFL and the GMAT, and let somebody tell you your status, where you’re at, at this point. What you should do to develop well into those tests and get a competitive score. If you have a starting point if you know where you are and you know where you need to get to, it makes it easier to build a strategy to provide students with the education that they need to do well in the GMAT and the TOEFL. Yeah, absolutely. Some students have a very good level of English, so they can begin with the GMAT and then go to the TOEFL, but if you don’t, maybe it’s better for you to begin with the TOEFL, build up some understanding and then go to GMAT. One way or the other, you want to be sure that somebody tells you what to do, you don’t want to be buying books, Official Guide, and all that, and start studying like crazy, you know. You think you know what to do, and next thing you know, you spend 3, 4 months on the same place, whereas a coach would help you gain a lot of time and focus and, of course, increase your scores. You want to be really strategic about choosing your coach and help. Most Brazilians need a coach to maximize their scores. Some students are able to study by themselves, amazingly; with some good scores, but maybe getting somebody on your side will be a huge value added there for you to have a good score. You really want to hit the high 700s at this point in Brazil, for top 10 schools, you want to be on 730, 740s mark to be able to be on a good standing, to be on a top score for your application. I can recall that there are maybe a handful of students who can really do it on their own but the majority of our students, or my students at least, they’ll come at me and say “Hey, I bought four TOEFL guides, which one do I use?” and I’m just like… “you can use all of them, but you don’t really need to use all of them, you have so many different options today, online options as well…” That’s what coaches are for, I mean, we’re here because of our experience, of what we know is tried and true, but also, we’re up to speed with all the new trends, books and happenings throughout the admission process, so… we rely on that. What are some of the criteria you think that students should think about when they’re choosing their coach? You want to do your homework, you want to get references. People talk about how satisfied they are with their coach. For the GMAT, you want to be sure that you plug in with a person that knows the content of the test very well, but more than that, that will lead you into growing into the studies and hitting the mock tests as early as possible to be able to train and practice and really get feedback on your performance, to you know your gaps so you can grow and grow. A person that will tell you, “this is the time for you to take your first test”. Most Brazilians will take a couple tests… It’s really ok to take a second test. You have several options now, you can cancel your score if you’re not happy with your score. But you want somebody to guide you through the process. This is vital. It’s going to save a lot of time, a lot of energy and more than that, you’re going to maximize your score at the end, which is what you’re looking for. Yeah. We focus a little bit more on the GMAT, especially in Brazil mainly because, with the MBA Wire, for those of you who have listened to all the episodes, you’ll notice that 70 or 80% of the people that have interview always talk about the GMAT. Do not underestimate the admission tests. Get ready. Get ready as soon as possible. Yeah, the sooner the better. We’re recording this right now, we’re in the end of November and we already have how many students wanting to apply for first round next year? It’s amazing, every year we have more and more students coming to us in October, November, December… We have probably 30% of the pool already in, planning to study, studying already, getting the GMAT in January or February. You can get the test up to April, May, would be great… But the sooner the better. The sooner the better, I mean… How many students, that I know at least, who get near the first round deadlines and they still haven’t got their scores. It’s crazy, it gets crazy. Then, you don’t maximize your process. Often I have students that come to me and they have 670 in the GMAT, or 680. “How did you study?”, “Oh, I studied by myself”. “Oh, alright, maybe you could have gotten somebody to help you and it would go over 700”, which would make a huge difference in terms of accessing schools and all that, so… 780 is even better. Yes, definitely. We’re looking for the 800 score Brazilian there. Soon, maybe, we’ll get a 810, this year. Last year we had a 780. Yes, last year we had a 780, 790 in the past… Results. That’s point number one. Point number two is… The application process. Finding a consultant. Yes, finding your consulting services as early as possible is very important. Yes, it is. It is important. Really, what you want to do is, you want somebody that can evaluate your profile as early as possible because there are a few things you can change, you can add value to… If there’s something lacking in your profile, that would really enhance your chances to have an attractive application for admissions, that would be something that we could identify early on in the process so that we can fill that gap. I mean, whether it is international experience… You have 7 or 8 months into deadlines and maybe you lack international experience. Maybe you can talk to your employer and you can work in Africa for a couple of months. Or maybe you can get off work for a month and then do something meaningful abroad, get engaged with community service. You can engage with somebody… International experience is still available, you can still do something regarding that. You still have time to make changes to your profile. And maybe you don’t have a lot of community involvement in your background, maybe you’ve done something long ago… You have 6 months to help meaningfully an organization to increase their results, and engaging in January still gives you what to say in terms of how you’re helping others. So, you want to be sure that you evaluate what is in your background that can change. And then, you want to plan the visits to the schools. School visits is something that a lot of students are doing right now and it is a great way to connect with the schools and understand their culture. But you want to plan, schools close for holidays and they have different schedules and all of that. So, you want to plan and go as early as possible. Most schools are available from January to April. In the month of May, a lot of schools go into finals, so… you hit the schools and there’s nothing to see. Planning your visit is important, most Brazilians are visiting schools right now. I mean, currently. Visiting schools is also extremely important to get a sense of your living environment for two years, your possible living environment for two years, you also get to interact with students. So many people who go on campus can immediately sense if that’s the right school for them or not. That’s kinda crazy, just by stepping on campus… That’s my school! I know… It’s like, I love it… After you’ve spoken with students, you networked, right? once you’ve spoken to current students and alumni, which is extremely important to understand not only the fit for the school but also for some specifics of why you want to go there. That’s just crucial for your entire application, I mean… Right, right! Networking is important throughout your entire life, right? Even more during the application process. Networking is vital. There are people who don’t end up talking to alumni, show up at the interview process, which we’ll talk about in a little bit, but they show up for the interview and they’re talking about how they’re very eager to engage with the community and how they’re amazed by their culture. And then, when they’re asked “how many students have you spoken with?” they answer “Oh, I haven’t had the chance to speak to one, been working too much” Admissions Officers and even just interviewers are trained and they can smell BS from a mile away, so… If you’re interested in a school, you’ll do everything you can to get to know about that school, get to know about the students, because you don’t want to make the mistake of showing up at the interview and saying something like “I didn’t have the time”. If you started now, you’d have more than year… Schools alums from all top schools are eager to talk to you. If you plan ahead, you can take them to lunch, you can talk to them about school and can draw a series of questions that will help you understand the culture and the application process and the admissions process And by the time you finish talking to several alums, you’ll probably have a great feeling about your fit, which schools I really belong to… I love alums from that school, and didn’t really get along with the alums from that other school. It gives you a lot of resources to develop a great narrative in terms of why you want to go to that school. It’s something I would do… Just a quick takeaway. Apart from the tips that I’ve provided in the online interview course that I offer, some of the quick tips is this: one of the actionable advice that I would provide is once you’ve gotten to speaking with 5 to 10 alumni or current students to kind of get the general ideas out of the way, I would continue connecting with those ten alumni, even with some admissions officers. Connect with them on social media and like one of their posts, every once in a while, send a cool comment if you see a nice post. If you meet them again on the info session, bring them something, bring a little gift. Listen, I just wanted you to know that you guys are doing a great job, I loved this info session, thank you so much. Be in their minds the entire time. It’s something that I’ve learned back in high school through the book that’s called “The Art of Schmoozing”. It’s a very old book but it’s kind of cool. If you really want to make an impact, be remembered for something, it’s not one specific moment, it’s a broken down series of little things that you can do throughout… A collection of moments, yeah… You don’t want to be talking to students in June or July, you want to be starting that in January, February, when students are available and they can talk to you and you have more time. You can plan to have a lunch with an alum every week. If you have that goal, by the end of the semester, you’re going to have covered a lot of ground in terms of precious information for your process. Just very quickly, I had a student… Apart from her work, her community work and her international experience, she was also had an arts and crafts hobby where she would actually design and create little Moleskine notebooks but in her own style, in her own flare. And what she would do was, she would take those to info sessions, she would… she took those to info sessions and whenever she met with them, I just wanted to give you this gift, you know, or… Would you like to have one? And it was kinda cool… You know, she did get accepted into 4 out of 5 schools she applied to. I won’t say her name, so… But anyway, moving on… Matt has an incredible interview program that students engage before going to the interview, but… Yes! So so… When students watch it… No, I’m just kidding… It’s so enlightening and it’s so much fun to go through the program, and students enroll as soon as January and February to learn some of the things. And if you feel that your English is a little rusty, you may want to begin taking conversation classes as early as possible to really have a nice flow talking, so when you hit the interview, right there, you’re conveying all the information as fluently as possible. But Matt can help you incredibly with his program and, of course, with his coaching. One of the most common feedback that I’ve heard about the interview course that I have online is “I wish I had watched this earlier…” I’ve heard that so many times through the application process. “It gave me so many ideas!” Go into his site, go look at this link right here and check this out. Yeah, I’ll include the link in the bio and on the screen. If you think about the process, you have the diagnostic test, the TOEFL, the GMAT, the coaching and the essays, and then you go to the interview process, so most students a few years ago would purchase the online interview course at the end, but then they would regret not having bought it in the beginning, because that would have helped them really identify what questions to ask alumni when they’re connecting with them, what to look for in each school, what kind of specific things that you should be picking out for each school, to help you set up not only your essays but your interview questions and answers. Along with connecting with the alums, you want to be studying the programs. We want to give you a lot of resources that you can actually access, free resources, for you to study the programs and the schools. You want to start with the rankings, of course, you want to check the rankings but the rankings are not really ideal. There are rankings that invalidate the ranking issue. Rankings are important for many, the majority. I state in my course that I dislike rankings, mainly, but I explain that in my course, I won’t explain again, but that’s why I made this face… But rankings are important nonetheless, it’s one of the first things people see when they’re choosing their school. Oh yeah, that’s right, that’s right… But there’s an underlying ranking that everybody knows, those are the best schools, the seven best schools they have prevailed for over 25 years, so, beyond the rankings, top 3 schools are: Harvard, Stanford, MIT. You’re right. They rule. They have amazing programs that will transform you beyond your imagination. Yeah, actually… They are fantastic schools, but I think they’re playing a lot on brand name, now… I mean, this is just my take, everybody has these different opinions, but if you’re looking at top 15 schools, just the transformation that everyone lives through is amazing. The thing about the top three is that those are the three hardest schools to get into. For sure. But they are the schools that will give you the most in terms of branding and outreach. And then we have the top 5 schools. And then you have Kellogg, Chicago, Wharton and Columbia. Top 5 schools are Brazilians favorite. Schools to apply to. Brazilians want to be sure they’re at least on the top 5. Even on the top 10, you have other schools like INSEAD… Of course! We have top ten, which goes to INSEAD, London, Michigan, Duke, Tuck, amazing programs… Berkeley. Love Berkeley. You said Fuqua, one of my favorites. But I really like the European schools. There’s been a bigger and bigger push for European schools. Huge international community… Huge! I mean, the international diversity you get in European schools is just crazy… INSEAD is amazing. More and more Brazilians are applying to INSEAD, more than ever. INSEAD has been a top program for like 2 years now… They’ve been in the top of the rankings… Incredible return. Rankings are important, that’s going to take you a substantial amount of time to just start researching which schools, which rankings are important for you. Right, and then you want to read about the programs before you go and talk to an alum. So here in the resources we are providing you, you can study the program, you can have an overview and then draw a few interesting questions and then, hit the networking and then really have relevant questions to ask and make more sense out of the feedback you’re getting from the alum. Be sure that you do your homework well. That will count. Reaching out to alumni is extremely important. I don’t know how many times students have told me after they’ve done the exercise that I tell them which is reach out to at least 15, 20 alumni, and talk to each one for about 20, 30 minutes if possible. On LinkedIn, you just search them “alumni of this MBA program x school”, right? And after you’ve spoken with about five, or six people, you realize if that school has your fit or not, because we are the sum of the 5 people we hang out with the most. And if you don’t click with those 5, 6 people from each school, then… you have to take a step back and think about that. You can call us on LinkedIn and we’ll plug you in with our network. We’ll be glad to help you with that. Do you have LinkedIn? Nah, I’m going to charge…
Do you have LinkedIn? Do you have LinkedIn? Yeah, I have LinkedIn. I have to have, we’re connected. So basically, for those of you thinking about applying for an MBA, it’s not time anymore to think about it, it’s time to start putting in the work and researching and actually taking action. That’s the time now. We’re about a month away from Christmas and New Years and it’s all festivities and stuff, but number 1, students who are planning to apply to round 2 are hard at work, students who are planning to apply to round one next are already hard at work. If you’re still thinking about it, then you’re late. You’re already late. Yeah, alright. So… Anyway, thank you Paulo César. You’re welcome. For this little chat, just to kinda let you guys know what’s gonna happen next year… That’s it for today’s MBA Wire Insights. I hope you all have a great time. This is Mateo Chang signing off. Peace.