How can one enter a school of business?

2017-11-08 18:27:44


Degree received at the school of business for many is not just a check mark in the CV, but a real launching pad for the future. Therefore, competition for the MBA program at the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business (NU GSB) is big enough and complicated. Ahead of the exams, the members of the admission committee told us what and how to do so as to become one of the students of a popular course.

To date, the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business has three master programs. These are, of course, full-time business administration study documents to which can be applied by any specialist with experience of over two years, the MBA program for executives – participation in which the managers with experience in the top positions for over five years can apply for, and the “Master of Science in Finance” program. The purpose of the latter is to prepare extra-class financial analysts. But the common thread that runs through all of three master’s programs is that all students pass an international residency at partner schools in America or England.

The list of documents required for admission to MBA programs is quite extensive, it includes both a CV, and documents on the education already received, and several reference letters, and two types of essays. But even the full package of documents is no guarantee of admission to the course. Everything will be decided by the admission committee at the end of the interview, consisting of teachers and professors of NU GSB and its strategic partner – the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University.

– The role of the admission committee is to determine the potential of each student to fill the course with interesting people, who will try to do something for the community and will help other fellow students. And it is from this position that we evaluate each applicant, – says Assistant Dean of the Fuqua School of Business  Anneli Richter.

Thus the advantage is pro-active attitude, the experience of volunteering. But, as noted by the Senior Manager of the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business Anel Stambekova, there are no subtle things in the interview.

– Everything is important in the interview. Clothes, eye contact, and the ability to regain self-possession in a stressful situation. We like when a candidate is unreserved in manner, jokes about his/her own merits and demerits. Since we choose foremost personalities, those who will be interesting to study with for the same interesting personalities, – she says.

To understand what the candidates can wait for at a personal interview of the admission committee, Anel Stambekova advises to look the way the interviews are held in large international companies, what questions are put and what is focused on there.

However, a positive opinion of himself/herself with the members of the admission committee also can be formed prior to the interview – a big package of documents is to help. It’s best to start with a CV. As noted by Anneli Richter, it is not important where the person worked, but the experience on that job he/she has acquired. Therefore, she advises you to make the resume in great detail and as simple as possible.

– One piece of advice on your CV: suppose you are a representative of a particular technical specialty. But the CV should be made so that when reading your CV anyone far from your job can understand what you are dealing with and what skills you learn from his job, she says.

It is worth to consider to the column “Education”. When enrolling in an MBA program, it is required to provide data from the previous place of study. And often it turns out that an ambitious young executive, a successful leader failed to distinguish himself by academic performance in student days. As members of the admission committee admit, but it is not quite a barrier to the MBA degree.

– The two main academic indexes are the mathematical test that is passed when matriculation and GPA from the previous place of study. Of course, we will seek for how often you challenged yourself, to what extent the courses chosen were complex, how they were credited. Existing GPA, of course, is impossible to fix. But you can support the CV by referring to some scientific work that you are justifiably proud of. Or, if you feel that mathematics is not your strongest suit, then to the test on it, you can attach some data about the additional courses passed on this subject. So, it is not so much your existing background as the extent of desire to improve your performance and motivation for further development that is so important to us, – says Anneli Richter.

– Often there exist reasonable grounds for the poor performance at the baccalaureate: it was necessary to work to pay for tuition, serious difficulties in the family, or something else. Tell us about them, let us know that you have a desire to develop, Anel Stambekova echoes her words.

No less important stage of selection is the reference letters. And here, the candidates often have, as members of the admission committee note, the same mistakes.

Sometimes people think that the most right thing is to get a reference from the highly-positioned officer. But it is not the case. For us, a reference by the person who worked directly with you and knows you as a person and a specialist is much more important. Think about who can tell about you as a team player. We are seeking for people who are able to work in a team, share their experience and take over the experience of others – says Anneli Richter.

– Concerning the reference letters, we would like to see a person from different sides therein. Therefore it is wonderful when one letter is written by the head, and the other – by a colleague or business partner, – recommends Anel.

The members of the admission committee advise to be scrupulous about writing essay. By the way, we need two of them – autobiographical one, the second – a free topic essay. And both essays must be in English. Most importantly, what must not be done in any case is to use other people’s works. The NU GSB has a very good program “Anti-plagiarism”, and, of course, stealing someone else’s text for an applicant for an MBA is unacceptable. Members of the admission committee appreciate when candidates discuss the topic in original way and talk in an essay about a personal experience and lessons learned. It is the essay that helps the admission committee to assess the language, communication and leadership skills of candidates.

Although many people dislike writing essays, this is a very valuable document for us; it helps us to know you as a person. This is something that brings together all the puzzle of documents you have provided to us, – says Anneli Richter.

And, interestingly, it is not a mistake to admit in the essay that at this stage of life a person has come to a standstill and does not understand how to build a career further. Adequate self-assessment is very important for a business leader. In addition, as the practice of the GSB shows, after the completion of an MBA course, some students change dramatically their field of activity, re-built their careers. But in any case the MBA is new horizon of development and whoever was able to look beyond it spares neither time nor money spent.

Information about the programs of Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business at:

Consultation on admission: +7 (7172) 70 91 83, 70 93 43, 70 90 28.

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