Babysoftpink’s♥バーガンディ♥Lounge

Archive for the ‘School/Education’ Category

Printed from The Fuqua School of Business Executive MBA web site
Duke University, Durham, NC
FuquaLogoFuquaLogo
Executive MBA Programs

 

Obtaining a Duke MBA is a career enhancing and life changing investment.

 

Whether
you are currently a high-level leader, or aspire to become one, Duke
University’s Fuqua School of Business has an executive MBA program that
will challenge you, broaden your business knowledge and accelerate your
career.

 

   

      

      

   

   

      

      

   

   

      

      

   

   

      

      

   

   

      

   

 

For the class:

The full program tuition is:

Weekend Executive
        March 2006

$88,500 Tuition includes books and class materials, overnight
accommodations on Weekend Executive Fridays and meals on Weekend
Executive weekends. A non-refundable deposit of $2,000 is due upon admission to the program.

Global Executive
        May 2006

$115,700 Tuition includes books, class materials, a laptop computer,
full technology support, and lodging and meals at the five residential
sessions. Tuition does not include travel to and from the residential
sessions. A non-refundable deposit of $7,500 is due upon admission to the program.

Cross Continent
        July 2006

$89,900 Tuition includes peripheral equipment, books, class materials,
and lodging and meals while attending the eight residential sessions.
Tuition does not include travel to and from the residential sessions, a
laptop computer or a personal Internet service provider (ISP). A non-refundable deposit of $5,000 is due upon admission to the program.

Tuition is due before each term begins.

 
 

Financial aid for U.S. Citizens

 

U.S. citizens and permanent residents seeking financial assistance may apply for government loans through the Federal Stafford Student Loan program and/or private educational loans.

 

For more information, review Financial Aid For U.S. Citizens.

 

Financial aid for International Students

 

The
Fuqua School of Business is one of the few schools worldwide offering
international executive MBA students an opportunity to borrow money at
a very low interest rate without a co-signer. The unique Duke MBA
Opportunity Loan program allows qualified students to borrow up to
$35,000 per academic year. Effective March 2006, qualified students
will be allowed to borrow up to the cost of tuition minus the deposit
to help finance their executive MBA program. Student loan borrowers
must complete a loan application each academic year. The standard
repayment term is 180 months.

 

For more information about the Duke MBA Opportunity Loan, review Financial Aid for International Students.

 
 

 

 

 

 

<img border="0" width="1" height="1"
src="http://www.fuquaworld.duke.edu/www/servlet/StaticLogger?
document=WwwNoJavaScriptDoc&action=viewWwwPage&userid=NoJavaScriptVisito
r" />

New MBAs finding education pays off big time

MBAs are hot, again.

Salaries and signing bonuses of fresh graduates
took a double-digit jump in 2005 to a record average $106,000 and
signaled an end to the "perfect storm" of sour news this decade that
included the dot-com bust, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and a
subsequent recession, said Dave Wilson, president of the Graduate
Management Admissions Council (GMAC) that oversees the test for
aspiring graduate students in business.

Corporate recruiters had disappeared from
campuses. But, Wilson reports, "The MBA is back as the currency of
intellectual capital."

The $106,000 salary and signing bonus was up
13.5% from 2004, according to a GMAC survey of 5,829 2005 grads. Salary
alone increased to $88,600, surpassing the previous high of $85,400 set
in 2001. The 2005 salary still trails 2001 by about $4,000 when
adjusted for inflation, but the inflation-adjusted record will likely
be broken this year.

Consulting firms and investment banks, the
best-paying employers of freshly minted MBAs, had been slashing jobs.
"They’re back and hiring aggressively," says Nunzio Quacquarelli, the
London-based director of the QS World MBA Tour that recruits students
to 350 business schools in 56 cities worldwide.

The average bonus paid to a 2005 MBA graduate by investment banks was $40,000, Quacquarelli says.

Other forces are behind the rising compensation.
The health care industry craves MBAs to help manage spiraling costs,
and schools such as Boston University offer an MBA for those looking
for careers ranging from hospital administration to biotech.

Technology hiring showed signs of life last year
and is building steam in 2006, Quacquarelli says. Even the outsourcing
of jobs to places such as India is driving demand for MBAs. The Labor
Department estimates the outsourcing industry will need 2,000 senior
executives this year, up from 100 in 2000. By 2012, it will need 9,500.

Wilson says there is also heavy demand for MBAs
by the U.S. government and not-for-profit organizations. Salaries are
not as high, but added demand is likely driving them up elsewhere.

The trend is global, according to a survey out
Tuesday by QS World MBA Tour. Average salary and bonus for new MBAs was
up 10% in 2005 to $114,000, also breaking the record set in 2001.

More than 100,000 MBA degrees are awarded each
year in the USA alone. That’s likely to rise. Prospective students who
took the Graduate Management Admission Test rose to 228,000 in 2005
from 213,000 in 2004. And this year has started strong, Wilson says.

There are 1,500 schools worldwide offering MBAs,
a number poised to explode, Quacquarelli says, as programs in China,
India and Russia take off.

Essay Category: Why the Degree?

Essay Question: Personal statement of 500 words

"As pertaining to the custody of the children," the judge continued,
"the court has decided that it would be in the children’s best
interests if full custody were henceforth awarded to the mother."

My mother then uttered a long sigh of relief. Although I was only
eight years old, I knew that I had just witnessed a life-changing
decision. My parents had officially obtained a divorce. I had undergone
a month of attorneys’ interviews, courtroom drama and private
dissertations in the judge’s chambers, so I then knew why my mother had
sighed. My father’s lawyer (or, as I referred
to him, the angry loud man) had by far overshadowed my mother’s more
mellow attorney, and this fact was reflected in the divorce decree.
Aside from a minimal child support payment and a division of the mutual
assets, my mother received next to nothing for ten loyal years of
marriage. As our broken family relocated to a small, two-bedroom
apartment, I searched for someone to blame. Although I was too young to
understand the complicated legal proceedings, I observed how "the big,
important guy" (the judge) seemed to listen more attentively to "the
angry loud man." When I asked my mother the reason for this inequality,
she said something about not having the same resources that my father
had. So I was convinced that "the loud angry man" who wanted a lot of
resources
was the cause of my unhappy situation. For the next year, I repeatedly
asked questions about lawyers. While my peers were still insisting that
they were going to be ninja fighters or ballerinas, I proclaimed my
future as a very loud lawyer that did not require a lot of resources to
do a good job.

As I grew and matured, I realized that my childish declaration would
require dedication. To adjust to my new school and family situation, I
eased the transition with extracurricular activities. I especially
became interested in public-speaking, which was reflected in my growing
confidence at school and my outspoken personality at home. The jump
from middle school to high school shifted my attentions from 4-H
debates and school elections to more in-depth experiences. Sophomore
year I discovered a rare opportunity in the Boy Scouts Law Exploring
Post. This group provided first-hand insights into modern law careers
and enabled me to directly experience numerous aspects of legal
medicine.

Enticing lectures from the district attorney, personal interviews
with private lawyers and observational trips to local courthouses not
only furthered my interest in more popular, romanticized courtroom
action, but also expanded my interests to include the more practical
applications of the law.

I have found within myself a passion for understanding and upholding
the institutions by which man attempts to govern himself. One day I
hope to be a productive part of the American justice system without
losing touch of how deeply my efforts can affect a person’s life. So
now that I have established a clear path to my goal, I must gather my
resources.

showNetworkBanner(1);

 

The Value of an MBA Education

By: Jackie Bassett

Issue date: 10/25/05 Section: Voices

function jump(x) {
if (x == ‘next’) {
if (currentpage == paragraph.length) {
currentpage = 1;
} else {
currentpage = currentpage*1+1;
}
} else {
if (currentpage == 1) {
currentpage = paragraph.length;
} else {
currentpage = currentpage-1;
}
}
return currentpage;
}
function getThisPage() {
currentURL = ” + document.location;
thispageresult = ”;
if (currentURL.indexOf(“?page=”) > -1) {
currentURL = currentURL.substring(0, currentURL.indexOf(‘?page=’));
thispageresult = currentURL;
} else if (currentURL.indexOf(“&page=”) > -1) {
currentURL = currentURL.substring(0, currentURL.indexOf(‘&page=’));
thispageresult = currentURL;
} else if (isPseudoURL()) {
currentURL = ‘/news/’ + story_id + ‘.html’;
thispageresult = currentURL;
} else {
thispageresult = currentURL;
}
// Make sure the URL generated by this fuctnion is compatible with mirror image.
thispageresult = thispageresult.substring(7, thispageresult.length);
thispageresult = thispageresult.substring(thispageresult.indexOf(‘/’)+1, thispageresult.length);
thispageresult = basehref + thispageresult;
if (thispageresult.indexOf(‘sourcedomain’) > -1) {
thispageresult = thispageresult.substring(0, thispageresult.indexOf(‘?’));
}
return thispageresult;
}
function getPageJumpDelim(currentURL) {
delimiterToUse = ‘?’;
if (currentURL.indexOf(“?”) > -1)
delimiterToUse = ‘&’;
return delimiterToUse;
}
function isPseudoURL() {
if (document.location.toString().indexOf(“.html”) > -1) {
return true;
} else {
return false;
}
}
function writeContinued(currentpage, paragraph) {
if (currentpage != paragraph.length) {
document.write(‘   Continued…

‘);
}
}
function writeNavigation(showpage,paragraph) {
document.write(‘

Article Tools:Email This ArticlePrint This Article ‘);
createPrevButton(showpage,paragraph);
document.write(‘Page ‘ + showpage + ‘ of ‘ + paragraph.length);
document.write(‘
‘);
createNextButton(showpage,paragraph);
document.write(‘

‘);

}
function revealPage(showpage,paragraph) {
document.write(paragraph[showpage-1]);
}
function goPage(direction) {
document.location = getThisPage() + getPageJumpDelim(getThisPage()) + ‘page=’+jump(direction, paragraph);
}

function createNextButton(currentpage,paragraph) {
if (currentpage != paragraph.length) {
document.write(‘Next Page‘);
} else {
document.write(‘‘);
}
}
function createPrevButton(currentpage,paragraph) {
if (currentpage != 1) {
document.write(‘Previous Page‘);
} else {
document.write(‘‘);
}
}

paragraph = new Array();
paragraph[0] = ‘In my Managing Change course the other day, we were discussing the value that Stern provides to its students. As my group started to make a list of ways in which Stern provides value, I said that education should naturally be at the top of the list. To my surprise, the other members of my group disagreed – and rather strongly, I might add. They insisted that the majority of students enrolling in the MBA program at Stern are here to get a job, and that the value of the education itself is trivial. It made me sad to realize that I am one of a small minority of students who actually came here with education as their primary objective. According to my classmates, the perceived value of the education is worth much more than the education itself. It\’s not about being smart, it\’s about looking smart.

I certainly haven\’t done any research to find out just how prevalent this attitude is; I\’m simply relying on the impressions of a few of my classmates. I hope that they\’re wrong and that most of us do value our education. But it is for those of you who really are just here to get a job or who don\’t feel that you are really learning anything of value, that I feel compelled to write this article. I may not be able to change your minds, but I\’d at least like to give you something to think about.

I\’m not trying to say that getting a job is not important. Clearly it is, and increased employability and earning power is another significant part of the value that a Stern MBA provides. But it\’s not just about getting the job, it\’s also very much about getting the education that will help you succeed, not only at your first job out of business school but throughout your entire career. If you\’re not focusing on the education as well as the job, then you\’re missing out on a huge part of Stern\’s value.
What we learn as an MBA student may not be as tangible as what many other programs teach. Sure, concepts like the time value of money or multivariable statistical regression may be clearly perceived as tangible knowledge, but what about all of those “soft skills”? What value do they have?

I\’ll use my own example to try and answer that. I got two engineering
degrees prior to coming to Stern, full of enough tangible, quantitative knowledge to make anyone\’s head spin. I learned how to perform non-linear, dynamic analyses of complex three-dimensional structures using finite element methods, as well as dozens of other equally complicated-sounding concepts. When I started my career as a structural engineer, I felt confident enough in my knowledge to tackle any engineering problem. And analytically speaking, I was indeed very well prepared. But then I got into the real world and realized that there was so much more to life than number crunching.

One of my earliest lessons came when I was managing one of my first projects. I had a small team of just two engineers and a CAD operator to manage, and it was a fairly simple project, some college dormitory buildings. I divided up the work among the engineers and set to work on my part of the analysis, checking in with the other two engineers every once in awhile to make sure that everything was okay. They gave me the thumbs up whenever I checked in, and I thought, gee, project management is easy. Then it came time for me to compile my team\’s work. When I started looking through the calculations and details that the engineers had prepared, one engineer\’s work was pretty good, just a few small corrections to be made, but the other engineer\’s work was abominably bad, almost completely unusable. I had to start feeding work to the CAD operator in order to stay on schedule, and I realized that there was no way that was going to happen. I panicked. My first reaction was to yell at the engineer on my team. “Why didn\’t you tell me you were having problems with the analysis?! Why did you say everything was okay?” And he yelled right back, “You\’re the project manager! It\’s your job to make sure everything is okay!” He was right, of course. I had performed my engineering analysis flawlessly, but as a manager I was a failure. My boss, who had to tell the client the next day that we were going to miss the deadline, was extremely unhappy; the CAD operator had nothing to work on and spent a significant number of unproductive hours until he was placed on another project; and the engineer told everyone in the office that I was a terrible manager and he didn\’t want to work with me anymore.

My management skills improved after that, thankfully, but I learned two invaluable lessons from that experience. First, management is really hard. While it may not be as tangible a skill as things like engineering, it is nevertheless a skill that must be learned. And second, if a project is not well managed, then the project is not going to succeed no matter how good the engineering is. Getting mired in the details and losing sight of the big picture is a sure way to run a project into the ground.

From that point on, I became obsessed with seeing the big picture. As I developed better project management skills and got involved with the overall management of the office, I began to gain an increasingly clearer view of how flawed thing were. I saw that while my firm had plenty of great engineering talent, the company was struggling to remain profitable. And it wasn\’t just my company; the industry as a whole was suffering from low fees and high turnover. When it came to business, the company was making a lot of mistakes. Marketing was a concept that barely existed, beyond hanging pictures of previous projects on the walls and including colorful brochures in with RFP responses. Operations was a concept that I didn\’t even know existed before coming to Stern, but I see now that a lot of scheduling was done very inefficiently, and employees constantly had either too much work to do or not enough. And worst of all, there was no formal management training. Engineers were just expected to figure it out for themselves through experience. Many of them eventually did, but there were plenty of projects being badly-managed while the new managers figured things out. And some engineers never became good managers. They continued to manage projects poorly, while the employees working for them got increasingly frustrated and often ended up leaving the firm.

I eventually found myself wanting an even bigger picture view than the firm had to offer, and that\’s when I decided to go to business school. I wanted to figure out how the world worked. That, to me, seemed like it would be an incredibly valuable education to have, much more valuable than the education my engineering degrees had provided me. I wanted to learn about things like marketing, operations, finance, and management, in the context of how to run a better business. I wanted to gain better teamwork and communication skills, in a myriad of different settings. I wanted to be exposed to the differing viewpoints of my classmates from all over the world. I wanted to hear first-hand testimonials and advice about how to run a company from some of the most respected corporate leaders in the world. I wanted to study companies all over the world to figure out if they had better ways of doing things. I wanted to study the global economy to understand how it influenced business. I wanted to examine and understand why some companies had succeeded while others had failed. In short, I wanted to gain the knowledge and skills required to run a successful company. And to me, that\’s why it was worth moving across the country and taking on six-figure debt, to gain that kind of education.

So does Stern provide that education? Apparently there are many who don\’t think so, but I think that those people are really missing the big picture. If you\’re only focused on the short term objective of getting a job, what happens after you get the job? You\’re going to be expected to perform, and riding on your degree\’s reputation won\’t get you very far in that respect. You\’re going to have to rely on the knowledge and skills that you\’ve gained
throughout your life, including the education you gain at Stern. And the further in your career that you progress, the more involved you will likely be in the overall running of a company, and the more you will start to see the clear benefits of your MBA education. Bear in mind that your employer didn\’t offer you that high-paying job because you got into the MBA program, but because of what he or she thinks you will get out of the MBA program. If you coast through your time at Stern after you land your job offer and don\’t focus on getting as much education out of the program as you can, this could come back to haunt you later in your career.

Jobs may come and go, but your education stays with you for life. The knowledge and skills that you gain now will always be there to serve you, no matter where your life takes you. Most of us will never again have this kind of opportunity to devote a significant amount of our energy to learning. Of course it\’s important to balance studying with networking and having fun, though in a broader sense I would argue that all of these activities qualify as part of Stern\’s education. But if you take advantage of your time here at Stern to learn as much as you can, I promise you that sooner or later, you will be glad you did.
‘;

var currentpage = 1;
if(typeof(QueryString(‘page’)) != ‘undefined’) {
currentpage=QueryString(‘page’);
}
if (currentpage paragraph.length)
currentpage = 1;
writeNavigation(currentpage, paragraph);
document.write(‘
‘);

document.write(‘

‘);
revealPage(currentpage, paragraph);

document.write(‘

‘);
writeContinued(currentpage, paragraph);
document.write(‘
‘);
writeNavigation(currentpage, paragraph);

Article Tools:Email This ArticlePrint This Article Page 1 of 1

In
my Managing Change course the other day, we were discussing the value
that Stern provides to its students. As my group started to make a list
of ways in which Stern provides value, I said that education should
naturally be at the top of the list. To my surprise, the other members
of my group disagreed – and rather strongly, I might add. They insisted
that the majority of students enrolling in the MBA program at Stern are
here to get a job, and that the value of the education itself is
trivial. It made me sad to realize that I am one of a small minority of
students who actually came here with education as their primary
objective. According to my classmates, the perceived value of the
education is worth much more than the education itself. It’s not about
being smart, it’s about looking smart.

I certainly haven’t done
any research to find out just how prevalent this attitude is; I’m
simply relying on the impressions of a few of my classmates. I hope
that they’re wrong and that most of us do value our education. But it
is for those of you who really are just here to get a job or who don’t
feel that you are really learning anything of value, that I feel
compelled to write this article. I may not be able to change your
minds, but I’d at least like to give you something to think about.

I’m
not trying to say that getting a job is not important. Clearly it is,
and increased employability and earning power is another significant
part of the value that a Stern MBA provides. But it’s not just about
getting the job, it’s also very much about getting the education that
will help you succeed, not only at your first job out of business
school but throughout your entire career. If you’re not focusing on the
education as well as the job, then you’re missing out on a huge part of
Stern’s value.
What we learn as an MBA student may not be as
tangible as what many other programs teach. Sure, concepts like the
time value of money or multivariable statistical regression may be
clearly perceived as tangible knowledge, but what about all of those
"soft skills"? What value do they have?

I’ll use my own example to try and answer that. I got two engineering
degrees
prior to coming to Stern, full of enough tangible, quantitative
knowledge to make anyone’s head spin. I learned how to perform
non-linear, dynamic analyses of complex three-dimensional structures
using finite element methods, as well as dozens of other equally
complicated-sounding concepts. When I started my career as a structural
engineer, I felt confident enough in my knowledge to tackle any
engineering problem. And analytically speaking, I was indeed very well
prepared. But then I got into the real world and realized that there
was so much more to life than number crunching.

One of my
earliest lessons came when I was managing one of my first projects. I
had a small team of just two engineers and a CAD operator to manage,
and it was a fairly simple project, some college dormitory buildings. I
divided up the work among the engineers and set to work on my part of
the analysis, checking in with the other two engineers every once in
awhile to make sure that everything was okay. They gave me the thumbs
up whenever I checked in, and I thought, gee, project management is
easy. Then it came time for me to compile my team’s work. When I
started looking through the calculations and details that the engineers
had prepared, one engineer’s work was pretty good, just a few small
corrections to be made, but the other engineer’s work was abominably
bad, almost completely unusable. I had to start feeding work to the CAD
operator in order to stay on schedule, and I realized that there was no
way that was going to happen. I panicked. My first reaction was to yell
at the engineer on my team. "Why didn’t you tell me you were having
problems with the analysis?! Why did you say everything was okay?" And
he yelled right back, "You’re the project manager! It’s your job to
make sure everything is okay!" He was right, of course. I had performed
my engineering analysis flawlessly, but as a manager I was a failure.
My boss, who had to tell the client the next day that we were going to
miss the deadline, was extremely unhappy; the CAD operator had nothing
to work on and spent a significant number of unproductive hours until
he was placed on another project; and the engineer told everyone in the
office that I was a terrible manager and he didn’t want to work with me
anymore.

My management skills improved after that, thankfully,
but I learned two invaluable lessons from that experience. First,
management is really hard. While it may not be as tangible a skill as
things like engineering, it is nevertheless a skill that must be
learned. And second, if a project is not well managed, then the project
is not going to succeed no matter how good the engineering is. Getting
mired in the details and losing sight of the big picture is a sure way
to run a project into the ground.

From that point on, I became
obsessed with seeing the big picture. As I developed better project
management skills and got involved with the overall management of the
office, I began to gain an increasingly clearer view of how flawed
thing were. I saw that while my firm had plenty of great engineering
talent, the company was struggling to remain profitable. And it wasn’t
just my company; the industry as a whole was suffering from low fees
and high turnover. When it came to business, the company was making a
lot of mistakes. Marketing was a concept that barely existed, beyond
hanging pictures of previous projects on the walls and including
colorful brochures in with RFP responses. Operations was a concept that
I didn’t even know existed before coming to Stern, but I see now that a
lot of scheduling was done very inefficiently, and employees constantly
had either too much work to do or not enough. And worst of all, there
was no formal management training. Engineers were just expected to
figure it out for themselves through experience. Many of them
eventually did, but there were plenty of projects being badly-managed
while the new managers figured things out. And some engineers never
became good managers. They continued to manage projects poorly, while
the employees working for them got increasingly frustrated and often
ended up leaving the firm.

I eventually found myself wanting an
even bigger picture view than the firm had to offer, and that’s when I
decided to go to business school. I wanted to figure out how the world
worked. That, to me, seemed like it would be an incredibly valuable
education to have, much more valuable than the education my engineering
degrees had provided me. I wanted to learn about things like marketing,
operations, finance, and management, in the context of how to run a
better business. I wanted to gain better teamwork and communication
skills, in a myriad of different settings. I wanted to be exposed to
the differing viewpoints of my classmates from all over the world. I
wanted to hear first-hand testimonials and advice about how to run a
company from some of the most respected corporate leaders in the world.
I wanted to study companies all over the world to figure out if they
had better ways of doing things. I wanted to study the global economy
to understand how it influenced business. I wanted to examine and
understand why some companies had succeeded while others had failed. In
short, I wanted to gain the knowledge and skills required to run a
successful company. And to me, that’s why it was worth moving across
the country and taking on six-figure debt, to gain that kind of
education.

So does Stern provide that education? Apparently
there are many who don’t think so, but I think that those people are
really missing the big picture. If you’re only focused on the short
term objective of getting a job, what happens after you get the job?
You’re going to be expected to perform, and riding on your degree’s
reputation won’t get you very far in that respect. You’re going to have
to rely on the knowledge and skills that you’ve gained throughout your
life, including the education you gain at Stern. And the further in
your career that you progress, the more involved you will likely be in
the overall running of a company, and the more you will start to see
the clear benefits of your MBA education. Bear in mind that your
employer didn’t offer you that high-paying job because you got into the
MBA program, but because of what he or she thinks you will get out of
the MBA program. If you coast through your time at Stern after you land
your job offer and don’t focus on getting as much education out of the
program as you can, this could come back to haunt you later in your
career.

Jobs may come and go, but your education stays with you
for life. The knowledge and skills that you gain now will always be
there to serve you, no matter where your life takes you. Most of us
will never again have this kind of opportunity to devote a significant
amount of our energy to learning. Of course it’s important to balance
studying with networking and having fun, though in a broader sense I
would argue that all of these activities qualify as part of Stern’s
education. But if you take advantage of your time here at Stern to
learn as much as you can, I promise you that sooner or later, you will
be glad you did.






 

 


On December 21, 2005, Congress passed legislation that will cut
billions of dollars in funding out of the federal student loan program.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the "loss of $12.7 billion [in funding] means that graduates will face higher interest payments, fewer options." *
Under the new law, you will no longer be able to fix the interest rate
on your loans at today’s historically low rates. Consequently,
according to the Wall Street Journal, someone with $20,000 in student
loans can expect to pay over $2,000 more in interest over the life of the loan.*

Fortunately, by acting now you CAN avoid the new law and save thousands of dollars in interest.    Under current federal law, you can consolidate your loans and lock in a rate as low as 3.5% for the life of your loans – under the new law your rate would be 6.8%. 

Consolidate your loans now to beat the new law and lock in thousands of dollars in savings — don’t wait until it’s too late! USA Today reports that anyone who has not consolidated their student loans should consolidate before the law goes into effect.**   

 


*Congress Cuts Funding For Student Loans, Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2005, Section D1.
**Consolidating student loans now will save on interest, USA Today, December 22, 2005, Online Edition.

by Anna Ivey

I understand that with so many otherwise qualified applicants, law schools must differentiate between small incremental differences in LSAT scores to make admissions decisions. What I don’t understand, however, is why law schools seem to differentiate so much between 3 or 4 point differences in scores (which, at the upper end of the scale, might represent a 3 or 4 question difference on a 100 question test) even when there is a considerable difference in other areas of the application. Take myself: I have good grades in a difficult major (albeit from a state school), a master’s degree from a world-renowned institution, nearly 3 years of international work experience in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry, have been awarded a prestigious International Relations fellowship, speak 2 foreign languages fluently, have published multiple articles in peer-reviewed journals, wrote what most people have told me is an excellent personal statement, and yet, have been denied from every top-20 law school I have applied to this year. And I’m not talking Harvard/Yale, but schools well on down the list. Why?? Because I have a 164 on the LSAT (91.4%tile) and not a 167 or 168 (96/98%). Ridiculous!!!!

I can understand your frustration. You’re obviously very accomplished, and I can see how it would seem bizarre that your fate at the various law schools you apply to can seem to hinge on three questions on the LSAT. Having sat on both sides of that fence – as a law school applicant back in the day, and later as an admissions officer – l can tell you that law school admissions officers don’t entirely like that regime either.

You are right that the law school admissions process is very numbers-driven, up to a point. (More on the limits below.) Admissions officers don’t necessarily want to care that much about a three-point difference either. So why do three questions on the LSAT make such a difference? I can boil this answer down to two reasons: Application volume (which you allude to in the first sentence of your question but haven’t fully internalized) and rankings.

Let’s take rankings first. Before US News & World Report started ranking law schools (and those rankings are just over a decade old), admissions officers had much more discretion to focus on the non-numbers parts of applications. But because the editors of US News think that things like median LSATs are so important in evaluating the caliber of a law school (as opposed to, say, what law firms, judges, and legal clinics – i.e. the market for law school graduates – think), law schools have to treat them as important too.

Law schools would love to ignore the rankings. But they can’t, because applicants are obsessed with them (just check out the applicant boards online) and make big decisions based on a difference of just one or two slots. Bottom line: As long as applicants care so much about the rankings, applicants themselves force admissions officers to care intensely about things like median LSAT scores. And I can tell you as a former admissions officer that a difference of just one point in a median LSAT can have big consequences in the rankings, consequences that become self-sustaining because of that sensitivity so many applicants have to small changes in rankings. A three-point drop in the LSAT median would be considered a disaster.

Application volume matters too. Even if the rankings didn’t exist, the top-twenty schools would still reject plenty of people with great backgrounds. You seem certain that you’ve been rejected in favor of people with less impressive credentials, but you may have been underestimating your competition. (Or you may have failed to highlight your credentials as effectively as you could have — more on that below). And if they have to decide between you and another person (or four) who have credentials or experiences just as impressive as yours, it’s a perfectly rational outcome – and, I would argue, not an outcome you can fault them for – if they use the LSAT to decide who gets the offer. They could just flip a coin, or let a computer assign a spot among them randomly, but I’m guessing that regime wouldn’t make you any happier. Admissions officers at the top-twenty schools have to make tough choices all day long among talented and accomplished people who do meet their median targets, so unless someone like you really wows them with the non-numbers parts – and that’s a tricky thing to do in the little space an application offers – it is not "ridiculous," as you put it, for them to turn you down.

So is law school admissions entirely about numbers? No. If it were all about numbers, schools wouldn’t pay professional salaries and benefits for a job that a computer could do: plug in the numbers, spit out the letters. Unless you are a member of a minority group they are trying to recruit, a school’s median numbers will be reasonably predictive for any given applicant’s chances. But we’re talking about bell curves here, and exceptions do get made every year on either end, meaning that people with great numbers are rejected every year, and people with less than great numbers are admitted every year. What applicants with less than stellar numbers have in common is that they do an exceptional job presenting what they have to offer on the non-numbers side. Sure, the odds are against those applicants with LSATs below the medians; I’m not suggesting great odds, and the greater the disparity, the worse are the odds. But it happens enough times every year that applicants would be silly to squander that opportunity and make the most of the soft parts of the application.

Admissions officers pride themselves on picking the right people for a class, even in a world of rankings constraints. People are selected for those admissions jobs because they have a certain skill set that allows them to evaluate people – to put together a class every year that will benefit from each student’s insights inside and outside of the classroom, that the school’s professors will enjoy teaching and recommending for clerkships, that legal employers will want to hire, that will serve as excellent ambassadors for the school for the rest of their lives, that will benefit society in one way or another – all based on limited information about any given applicant.

Add to that other objectives and mandates admissions officers have besides the rankings and medians – they have to make sure there are enough minorities in each class, meet legislative quotas for in-state students (if they’re public schools), figure out whether they can afford to tick off an applicant’s big-donor relative, ensure that they don’t end up with an entire class of Poli Sci and Econ majors or Ivy League graduates or people from a particular five-state area (just to give a few examples). Admissions officers make trade-offs against the LSAT numbers all the time for a variety of reasons, but they will be very picky before they make an offer to someone who will drag down the median.

So unless your numbers make you very competitive at a given school, they have to love — not like, not find adequate, not tolerate — what they see in the non-numbers parts as well. And based on your LSAT alone, you were not very competitive at most of the top twenty. For example, at Georgetown, ranked 14th in 2005 by US News, your LSAT was three points below their 25th percentile from the previous year. So you would have had to knock their socks off in the rest of the application to get their attention.

You sound very sure that all the top-twenty schools rejected you only because of your LSAT, but that may or may not be the case. This past admissions season, for example, I worked with an applicant, a white male with no donor connections, who had only a 165 LSAT but, unlike you, no graduate degree, international work experience, or publications to his name. He not only received offers from several schools in the 10-20 range of the rankings (and has been waitlisted at more than one top-ten school), but as of early March has also received a generous scholarship offer from one of them. So don’t be too quick to blame everything on some undue emphasis on your LSAT.

There are a number of things that may have held you back from the top twenty besides your LSAT score. Here are some possibilities:

– You did not employ a wise Early Decision strategy.

– The recommenders you chose did not serve you well.

– Your essays weren’t first-rate. You say that your essays were "excellent," but in my experience, applicants usually have no idea what constitutes a good essay for application purposes, and most of the people they ask don’t have any reason to know better either. Also, I note that you used the singular to refer to your essay. If you applied to a good number of the top twenty schools, you most likely should not have been sending the same essay to each of them given their essay prompts.

– You did not figure out the best way to present yourself, how best to highlight the great things you bring to the table and neutralize any weaknesses. An admissions officer might have five minutes to make a decision on your file, so you would have had to squeeze maximum leverage out of every word in your application. If your application as a whole did not show you off to best effect, there is no way admissions officers were going to give one of those sub-median slots to you.

– If you applied late in the season (for top-twenty schools, that means after Thanksgiving), you hurt your chances just with your timing. Classes at the top schools can fill up very, very quickly.

– There is some kind of disciplinary or conduct problem in your background that you didn’t defuse satisfactorily.

Keep in mind, too, that ultimately admissions officers also have to like you as a human being (again, unless your numbers are really good, in which case they are more inclined to make allowances). So if you rubbed them the wrong way in your application or in person, say at a law school forum, that would also explain why a top-twenty school didn’t want to make an exception for you. I know nothing more about your application than what you’ve written in your question to me, and we’ll never know what your recommenders actually wrote, but if you came off at all as arrogant or boring or unfocused or unexcited about the school (the most common problems of that nature that admissions officers see), that presentation will have hurt you as well. I don’t know if any of those things is true in your case, but I do have a suspicion: You demonstrated a strong sense of entitlement in the way you phrased your question, and if any of that bled through in your applications, you didn’t stand a chance.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2 other followers

June 2017
M T W T F S S
« Feb    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Top Rated

Flickr Photos

Tokyo

Moke Lake

HUMMER

More Photos