Hottest MBA Degree Now? Supply Chain Management
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything from face masks to toilet paper was in short supply. As companies look beyond the pandemic, more are placing a heavier emphasis on supply chain management to ensure that they can meet increases in demand, whenever and wherever it spikes.
“Consumers will continue to want low prices (especially in a recession), and firms won’t be able to charge more just because they manufacture in higher-cost home markets,” Willy C. Shih, a Professor of Management Practice in Business Administration at Harvard Business School, writes for the Harvard Business Review. “Competition will ensure that. In addition, the pressure to operate efficiently and use capital and manufacturing capacity frugally will remain unrelenting. The challenge for companies will be to make their supply chains more resilient without weakening their competitiveness.”
COMPANIES ARE HUNGRY FOR SUPPLY CHAIN TALENT
To transform their supply chains, many companies are turning to business schools in search for fresh talent, Bloomberg reports. And business schools are stepping up their programs with a greater focus on supply chain management.
At Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, a new certificate in supply chain resilience is in the works, according to Bloomberg. At Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, a new master’s course in supply chain risk management will be added to the curriculum next year and will include learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s not like we don’t cover risk already, but this would give them a deeper dive,” Kevin Linderman, chair of Smeal’s Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems, tells Bloomberg.
At Georgia Tech’s supply chain career fair, 50 companies, including the likes of Honda, Honeywell, and Proctor & Gamble, are expected to attend this year—a record amount that doubles the typical number of attending companies.
In a EY survey of senior-level supply chain executives, 65% say increased efficiency is a top priority in the next year. 61% say they are prioritizing retaining and reskilling their supply chain workforce in the next year.
And it’s not just employers that are highlighting the need for supply chain management. According to Alok Baveja, a professor at Rutgers Business School, incoming business school students, who traditionally seek out finance, are now showing greater interest in the topic as well.
For students who graduate with an MBA in Supply Chain Management, the prospects certainly look bright. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for management analysts has a projected growth rate of 14% from 2020 to 2030.
Next Page: Letter of Recommendation Advice
The Most Underrated Part of Your MBA Application
An MBA application contains a variety of components: from test scores to essays. And while applications are typically reviewed holistically, experts say that there’s one thing that can make or break your MBA application: the recommendation letter.
Fortune recently spoke to admissions experts on why the recommendation letter plays such an important role in MBA applications and how applicants can best approach the recommendation process.
MAKE OR BREAK
The recommendation letter plays a large role in the MBA application, in large part, because it allows admissions officers to see an applicant in a different light.
“Getting that third-party perspective on [applicants] is really important to figure out their personality, their passions, and their goals,” Natalie Lahiff, an MBA admissions consultant with Solomon Admissions and former admissions counselor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, tells Fortune. “The recommendation will either boost that application—or it could go the opposite way.”
CHOOSING YOUR RECOMMENDER
Since the recommendation letter can have a large effect on how your application is viewed, it’s important to select a recommender who can best highlight your strengths and qualities.
“Often, applicants sabotage their efforts when they select bigwig recommenders with impressive titles,” Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, writes. “While they hope to impress the AdCom, this tactic almost always backfires. A person with a fancy title who doesn’t know the applicant can’t offer specific examples to support even the most generous platitudes. The most effective endorsements come from people who can highlight your professional, personal, and interpersonal skills.”
And, unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to have applicants who end up selecting a recommender who offers negative commentary in letters.
“If you have any doubts that that person is going to have negative comments about you going to business school, don’t even approach them,” Lahiff tells Fortune. “They’re not going to write you a good recommendation.”
WHAT A STRONG LETTER EMPHASIZES
A quality recommendation letter will highlight key attributes that make you an attractive candidate to your intended B-school.
“Sit down with each recommender and let them know the key attributes you’d like them to include,” Blackman writes. “This could mean emphasizing your charisma, intelligence, determination, or creative thinking.”
Beyond highlighting your personal attributes, experts say that a strong recommendation will show what impact you’ve made.
“Ultimately, when we think about business school, it’s about impact,” Shaifali Aggarwal, a Harvard Business School graduate who is the founder and CEO of Ivy Groupe, an MBA admissions consulting firm, tells Fortune. “They want people who are a little bit more humble and self-aware and can take constructive criticism and apply it in a positive way.”
Next Page: Emory Goizueta Essay Advice
Emory University Goizueta Business School
Tips for Goizueta Business School’s 2021-2022 MBA Essays
Emory University’s Goizueta Business School ranks at number 22 in P&Q’s Top Business Schools ranking.
The school places a heavy emphasis on maintaining the quality of its small, intimate, and close-knit community. The Goizueta Class of 2022 includes only 145 MBAs. By comparison, at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 916 MBAs make up the Class of 2022.
Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently discussed Emory’s 2021-2022 MBA essay prompts and offered insight into what type of applicant the B-school seeks out.
The first required essay for Emory asks applicants the following:
Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience, and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 word limit)
Blackman says that this essay should focus on your short-term career goals while highlighting your strengths, past experiences, and personal attributes.
“Instead of reciting your resume, think about the key moments in your career,” Blackman writes. “Also, think over what has formed your experience, accomplishments, and shaped your goals? To get started, first identify a few defining career moments. Then you can describe your strengths and experiences that prepared you.”
That connection of your career and goals is incredibly important in essay one.
“This essay is most effective if you can show how your career so far fits with your goals,” Blackman writes. “Show the connection from past experiences to your Emory MBA to your goals. For example, say you have been working in management consulting and want to move to internal strategy.”
The second required essay for Emory Goizueta asks applicants the following:
The business school is named for Roberto C. Goizueta, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, who led the organization for 16 years, extending its global reach, quadrupling consumption, building brand responsibility, creating unprecedented shareholder wealth, and demonstrating a commitment to values and positive impact on society. Roberto Goizueta’s core values guide us in educating principled leaders to have a positive influence on business and society.
Provide a specific example of your leadership and explain what you learned about yourself through the experience. (300 word limit)
This essay, Blackman says, is more about understanding how you think and approach leadership and what your approach in the past says about your values.
“Emory admissions knows that the best predictor of your future behavior is your past,” Blackman writes. “Therefore, this question asks about a past leadership example.”
To approach the leadership essay, Blackman suggests applicants to utilize the STAR framework.
“First, start with the situation,” she writes. “Then, explain the task in front of you. Finally, describe the actions you took and the result. Also, think about the lessons you learned. Remember that a recent leadership example is most convincing.”
The third required essay for Emory asks applicants the following:
What are you looking to gain from Goizueta’s MBA degree and how do you see yourself contributing to the Goizueta community? (200 word limit)
This essay is essentially a “Why Goizueta” essay. Thus, it’ll be helpful to do your research on the school and perhaps even visiting campus, Blackman says.
“When writing this essay, be specific,” according to Blackman. “For example, you can describe specific classes that will help you achieve your career goals. Also, professional clubs at Emory may help you gain relevant industry experience and academic knowledge.
Lastly, you’ll want to tie in the impact you hope to make on Goizueta’s campus.
“This essay may be a place to describe volunteer and community experiences,” Blackman writes. “Or, you can explain hobbies or interests that will be an asset to the community.”