大学院奨学金獲得を目指す方へ 合格を勝ち取るための準備プランについて

本日は、奨学金の合格を勝ち取るための準備プランについて説明いたします。
高い競争率を勝ち抜き、奨学金財団の求める人材であること、将来の成功の可能性を証明するためには、十分な準備時間と計画的なアプローチが欠かせません。
今回は、アメリカ留学を目指す方が意識するフルブライト奨学金を例に説明します。

◇フルブライト奨学金応募スケジュール
https://www.fulbright.jp/scholarship/application/schedule.html

こちらを、大学院出願準備スケジュールに組み込んでみます
締め切りを落とし込むと以下①のようです。しかし、このプランには奨学金審査に合格するための必要書類を意識した準備時間が加味されていません。

応募書類をよく読んでみると、実は、以下②のプランでないと現実的でないことがわかります。
つまり、奨学金応募は、大学院プログラムに出願するのとほぼ同じ時間を要することになります。
7月末の出願時に求められる書類は以下となります(最新情報は必ず財団に確認ください)

-経歴書(CV/Resume)(英語/日本語)
-研究計画書(Research objective)
-Personal Statement(英語/日本語)
-推薦状3通(英語)
-志望校リスト
-TOEFLiBT80点以上/IELTS 6.0以上のスコア

これらを考慮すると以下の準備プランが必要になります

注意事項を記します。
-志望校リスト:7月末に研究テーマに見合った大学院プログラム選定を行い、かつ、合格の可能性を示すためには、実は、志望校合格にむけたスコアメイクは7月末の時点でほぼ完了していることが求められるのです(少なくともTOLEFL/IELTSについては)
-応募書類作成: 7月末に質の高い応募書類を用意するためには、少なくとも3か月程度は時間をかけて、研究テーマの明確化、最適な大学院プログラム選定(上述)、適切な推薦者選定とその依頼、そして応募書類作成が求められます。ということは、予備審査(一次審査)通過を目指すのではなく、最初から7月末の書類締切を目指した準備が必要になります。

→つまり、本気で奨学金を獲得したい方は4月から、奨学金応募と大学院出願の準備の本格開始が必要になります。

具体的な準備計画の詳細を知りたい方、合格するための書類作成の方法を知りたい方は、ぜひ【大学院留学を目指す方対象】奨学金書類対策セミナーにお越しください

Chizuko Okada

大学院奨学金獲得を目指す方へ 主な奨学金リサーチ方法のご案内

奨学金獲得のメリットは、留学資金の負担の軽減だけではなく、奨学金団体を通じた留学中/帰国後のネットワークの拡大、奨学生に選抜されたという実績が大学院入学審査へのアピールにつながるなど、様々なメリットを享受できます。

奨学金獲得において重要なことは以下です。
-大学院留学奨学金の種類、各奨学金の目的を理解し、自身にあった奨学金を選択すること
-奨学金申請と大学院留学準備の両方を理解した、準備計画の立案とその実行
-奨学金応募条件を理解し、各書類への正しいアプローチの理解とその実践

本日は主な奨学金リサーチに便利なサイトを紹介いたします

日本学生支援機構(JASSO)
海外留学奨学金検索サイト
http://ryugaku-shogakukin.jasso.go.jp/scholarship_abroad/page?action=swfglsearchjasso

日米教育委員会(US留学を目指す方)
日本国内で公募されているアメリカ留学を対象とした奨学金制度の一覧
https://www.fulbright.jp/study/directory/shokin.html

関西アメリカンセンターアメリカ留学奨学金
各学校別の奨学金情報が随時発信されています
http://irckansai.tumblr.com/

British Council
イギリスに留学に関する奨学金情報
https://www.britishcouncil.jp/studyuk/planning/scholarships-financial-support

Chizuko Okada

2018-19 Essay Changes

There were a number of application changes among the top business schools in the 2018-2019 MBA application season. MIT required an organizational chart; other top programs such as Wharton, Booth and Cornell also changed some of their essay prompts towards behavioral questions. These types of questions prompt applicants to demonstrate self-reflection, which serves to clarify why the next chapter in your life (which is the MBA experience) is so important. 

Wharton asks the question – “Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community?”

Booth’s application in the past have often included an unorthodox question like pick a picture out of six and explain why it resonates with you. This year’s essay set included the prompt – “Chicago Booth immerses you in a choice-rich environment. How have your interests, leadership experiences, and other passions influenced the choices in your life?”

Cornell Johnson’s new “Back of Your Resume” essay emphasizes that the Admission Committee wants to know you beyond your track record. In fact, Cornell states, “The front page of your resume has given us a sense of your professional experience and accomplishments as well as your academic summary and extracurricular involvement. If the back page reflects “the rest of your story,” please help us get to know you better by sharing the experiences that will give us insight into your character, values, and interests.” 

In posing these questions, the Admissions Committee provides opportunities for the applicant to reveal and share more than just his or her job. It provides an opportunity to articulate the events and experiences that have shaped your decisions and identity and how you will impact the community you hope to join. It is difficult to predict what to expect in the 2019-2020 MBA application essay sets but emphasis on self-reflection, on articulating why the MBA chapter is important is likely to continue.

Jumet

Sharing Leadership Experiences

How should you talk about your leadership experiences in an MBA interview? My research has focused on the leadership conceptualization process, and the way in which people talk about leadership is contextually bound (Knight, 2015, 2017). In other words, the way in which you talk about leadership depends on many things including your education, your experiences, who you are talking to, and why you are talking about leadership. You exercise your freedom to choose how to talk about leadership.

What is leadership?

You may have heard the saying that there are as many definitions of leadership as there are leaders. I would take this a bit further by saying that one person may talk about leadership in many different ways. An overall definition of leadership may state that leadership involves being a change agent; i.e., the leader changes the situation and the way that others think about the situation. In your MBA interview, you may want to frame yourself (i.e., cause others to see you) as a leader, who is able to achieve change in a group and in an organization.

Framing yourself as a leader

In my previous Agos blog post, I wrote about the STAR/CAR frameworks for which the parts are Situation, Target, Action, and Result (STAR) and Challenge, Action, and Result (CAR). These two frameworks (used to respond to behavioral interview questions) are excellent ways to highlight your actions as leader who introduces and achieves change. For example, let’s say that an interviewer asks you to talk about a leadership experience. You could take that opportunity to first define leadership and then to give a STAR/CAR example that illustrates your definition of leadership and highlights your actions and results as a leader.

Defining leadership

How should you define leadership? “Influence” and “direction” are often key words associated with leadership. I see leadership as creative action that is represented by the following quotations:

  • “Leadership [is] a communication process consisting of two parts: 1) communicating to create a vision and 2) communicating to achieve a vision” (Knight, 2013).
  • “Leadership is making real a vision in collaboration with others” (Knight and Candlin, 2015, p. 36).

My personal conceptualization of leadership came from my own leadership research and experiences, and it fits nicely into the STAR/CAR frameworks. However, you may have different ideas about leadership. You need to identify your own beliefs about leadership and how you can show (in an MBA interview) that you are a leader.

Who are your leadership models?

As you reflect on your leadership beliefs, you should try to identify your leadership models. Consider the following questions:

  • Who do you see as leaders?
  • Describe their leadership styles. (How do they influence others and achieve their goals?)
  • What can you (and have you already) learned about leadership from these leaders?

I would also encourage you to talk to as many good leaders as possible about leadership. Such interactions can help you to grow as a leader and provide you with content for your MBA interviews.

Learn leadership communication from leaders

Another benefit of talking to good leaders is the opportunity to learn how leaders communicate. My advice would be to study the communication of leaders, who are very effective in influencing others and achieving their goals, and learn how they utilize their communication skills. In your MBA interviews, you want to display your outstanding leadership communication skills. I look forward to helping you to share your leadership experiences in your MBA interviews!

References

Knight, K. (2013, December 3). Looking at communication through a leadership lens [Web log post]. Alexandria, VA: TESOL International Association.

Knight, K. (2015). Analysing the discourses of leadership as a basis for developing leadership communication skills in a second or foreign language. Sydney, AU: Macquarie University.

Knight, K. (2017). Exploring leadership conceptualizations in semi-structured interviews from multiple perspectives. In C. Ilie, & S. Schnurr (Eds.), Challenging leadership stereotypes through discourse: Power, management, and gender.Singapore: Springer.

Knight, K., & Candlin, C. N. (2015). Leadership discourse as basis and means for developing L2 students into future leaders. In P. Shrestha (Ed.), Current developments in English for academic and specific purposes: Local innovations and global perspectives (pp. 27-50). Reading, UK: Garnet.

Kevin

Framing Accomplishments

FRAMING ACCOMPLISHMENTS

How should you talk about your experiences in an MBA interview? How should you frame your accomplishments? In a recent MBA interview preparation class, the participants and I were talking about this subject, and in this blog post, I would like to share with you some information that can help you to succeed in your MBA interviews.

STAR/CAR

One of the common frameworks that you can use to talk about your accomplishments is the STAR or CAR framework. The participants in the MBA interview preparation class were already familiar with this framework, and I expect that you know it, too, because it is widely used in essay writing as well as in interview responses. As a quick reminder, the parts of the STAR are Situation, Task, Action, and Result. The CAR stands for Challenge, Action, and Result. When the listeners hear your “challenge,” you want them to respond with “Wow!” When the listeners hear your “action,” you want them to say, “Amazing!” Finally, when the listeners hear the absolutely incredible “result” that you achieved, you want them to cry out, “Incredible!” You also want them to applaud loudly (at least in their minds).

POWERS OF PERSUASION

In the words of the famous business guru, Tom Peters, how do you get your listeners to the point of “Wow”?  One of the things that we talked about in the MBA interview preparation class was Aristotle’s powers of persuasion: ethos, logos, pathos. I used to teach these powers of persuasion to the students in my communication courses at Sony. These powers are used often in advertising and promotional campaigns. Since you are promoting yourself in your MBA interviews, these powers can help you as well.

ETHOS (or CREDIBILITY)

Ethos refers to credibility. In other words, you may be asked about your future goals in an interview. What do you plan to do after you get an MBA? Do you have evidence that you can do what you say you will do? For example, are you being sponsored by your company to achieve your future goals? Do you have a specific schedule in mind? Are all of the steps in your plan feasible? As I listened to the participants tell their stories in the MBA interview preparation class, I asked myself how believable these stories were. If I listened to your stories, do you think that I would believe you?

PATHOS (or EMOTION)

Pathos refers to emotion. When I worked in the financial services industry, I was taught that clients make decisions for emotional reasons, and I was taught to ask clients, “What is important about money to you?” So let me ask you the following question: “What is important about getting an MBA to you?” Do you feel excited about getting an MBA? Why? Do you feel excited about the school? Why? Are you excited about interacting with your classmates? Why? What makes you excited about your future? What are your dreams, and how does the MBA experience fit into those dreams? I hope that you feel excited because you need to project that passion in your interview. Are you able to make me share your excitement about attending the MBA program and achieving your goals?

LOGOS (or LOGIC)

Logos refers to logic. Why do you need an MBA? Why do you need it now? Do you have evidence for what you say?  A good example of using “logic” appears in a crowdfunding campaign in which a company was seeking 50 thousand dollars to make the world’s first 9 dollar computer. The company needed the money to buy components in large quantities to make a computer for a low cost. (That is logical.) The company raised over 2 million dollars by using the three powers of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos. The company’s financial supporters believed that the company could build the 9 dollar computer because they saw a working model (i.e., ethos). They were excited about what the company was attempting to do and shared the dream of building an inexpensive computer (pathos), and they were given a good reason for providing financial support (logos).

COMMUNICATION

Think about how the powers of persuasion apply to you. In addition, keep in mind that the interviewer may be thinking about whether you have the communication skills to succeed in the MBA program for which you are applying. What kind of communication skills am I talking about? In the MBA program, you will be expected to work in learning teams with other students to prepare for class discussions about business cases. Will you be able to read and analyze the case materials and interact smoothly and confidently with your professors and peers inside and outside of the classroom? In addition, will you be able to socialize effectively? By socializing, I do not mean for business networking purposes only.  You need to make friends because your friends can be your allies in many different situations at school. In the interview, you need to show that you have the necessary communication skills to do all of these things.

Good luck with your MBA interview preparation, and be sure to use the three powers of persuasion. Are you ready to improve your performance? Attend a class, and make appointments with consultants. I look forward to meeting with you soon!

Kevin

A Hidden Gem for Resume Writing

A Hidden Gem for Resume Writing

There are many excellent on and offline resources that guide you through the art of resume writing. No doubt you will utilize many of these to help develop ideas and draft your resume.

But in searching for “how to craft a winning resume” you may have overlooked one key resource that could provide you with that extra edge in targeting your desired degree program.

The online professional network, LinkedIn, is a hidden in plain sight gem for resume writing.

First, you can browse a countless number of resumes. Try this: Place yourself in the position of an Admissions Officer and look through several resumes for 60 seconds each. After, you will have a better idea of which ones leave an impression and those that are forgettable.

Second, you can direct your search to find some of the online profiles of students and alumni from the universities that you are applying to. Frequently, you will find that their resumes have been copied to their LinkedIn profile. Use this as a reference to gain a better understanding of what a successful applicant’s resume could potentially look like.

Finally, this experience of resume and profile viewing is a valuable opportunity to consider whether that specific program’s community is for you, or what you could bring to the table.

With all that being said, don’t forget to be youin both style and content! As with any other resource, use LinkedIn as a reference and not a template. The university doesn’t want a carbon copy of their exiting study body; they want the unique contribution that only you can provide. LinkedIn is an excellent resource to help package and present the best you.

 Warren

The Optional Essay

The OPTIONAL Essay – Should I write the optional essay? Do I need to write the optional essay?

 

The MBA application will almost always provide MBA hopefuls with the “Optional Essay” and many applicants often struggle with whether this essay is truly optional.  While some programs clearly state that this essay should be used to address extenuating circumstances, others ask whether there is anything else about your candidacy you would like to share with the admissions committee.  Given this prompt, many applicants are tempted to write something.

As a general rule, the optional essay is the last essay that should be written and should be viewed in the context of the whole application. Once the application has been completed, ask yourself if there is something else that you want to convey to the admissions committee that could not be addressed in any other part of the application.

The topics that can be considered in the optional essay are academic weakness, gaps (employment and academic) and major career changes, choice of recommender and information that adds to your application.  It is this “information that adds to your application” that tempts applicants to write the optional essay.

 

ACADEMIC WEAKNESS

The admissions committee may want to know reasons for a C grade or below in the transcript or a weak GMAT. Do not make excuses; instead emphasize improved performance in later university years or in subsequent classes. If you have a new GMAT score, it can be used to demonstrate that the low grade in college was an outlier and not an accurate indication of your abilities.

 

CAREER GAPS and CHANGES

A several month gap between jobs should be addressed. Did you take the time off to care for an ailing parent? Did you attend school or training programs while you were not employed?  If you recently switched careers, you may want to show that it was a well thought through decision and how the MBA program will help you achieve the next career step.

 

CHOICE OF RECOMMENDER

Business schools typically will ask that a letter of recommendation be written by a current manager because this person is the person is best able to comment on your abilities and skills as they are today. However, not every applicant feels comfortable asking their current supervisor. Reasons vary but it can be due to personality conflict or perhaps they aren’t ready to let their managers know that they might be leaving. Whatever the reason, it should be addressed so that the admissions committee to eliminate doubts about the working relationship with your employer.

 

INFORMATION THAT ADDS TO YOUR APPLICATION does not mean you have to write something. The worst thing you can do is to re-write an essay for another programs that repackages your strengths. By writing this essay, you are asking the admissions committee to do even more work so make sure the content has not been addressed anywhere else in the application package.

Jumet

Interview Preparation 3: The Admissions Perspective

We’re lucky at Agos to have staff with all sorts of experience. In particular, one of our Admissions Consultants, Mengdan Chu, used to work on the other side of the application, as a member of the Admissions Team at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Whilst her views are entirely personal, it can be invaluable to get some insight into the interview from someone who conducted many of them!

 

  • Can you give us a brief perspective on what role the interview plays in the entire application evaluation?

The interview is an important piece of the puzzle. It may tip the weight toward your favor, or break the deal in some cases. Most would say that the interview is an additional perspective on you, or an independent evaluation of your candidacy when the interviewer only gets to see your resume, not your entire application. So, the interview is an additional voice about your application, and an up-close, personal view of you, more dynamic and revealing than just your essays and recommendations on paper.  The purpose is to get to know you as a person face-to-face, to get a sense of your fit with the school and the class. Of course, it is also an opportunity to assess your English communication skills, and certainly your overall qualifications such as your experiences and skills, you focus and your goals, your personality and your fit with the program.

 

 

  • Considering how many interviews you’ve conducted, which candidates were most memorable and why?

The candidates that I remember are the ones who shared with me a unique story, or the ones who convinced me with their focus and plans, who have done thorough research about the program and their fit. The latter is the kind that I can see him/her in class contributing and making the most out of his/her MBA experience. And someone with a unique story can add unique perspectives to the class and to the overall educational experiences of his/her peers.

 

 

  • Do you have any tips on how to stand out in the interview?

Most candidates or interviewees are reasonably accomplished possessing considerable skills, both hard and soft, to be successful in the program. In that sense, your professional accomplishments can be viewed more as an equalizer to other candidates. For example, the $100 million deal that you sealed is just a $100 million deal. It does not make you stand out by itself. You need to rise above it, or dig down deeper shall we say, to get across the meanings of that deal, the lessons you learned from the process and from the people that you got to know in that process. If you reflect on that and share with the interviewer, you are then effectively sharing a personal story, not some glamourous numbers. It demonstrates your maturity, awareness and thoughtfulness, indications of more potential or further capacity to grow and improve as a person and as a leader. So I would say let your personality shine through the interview, be reflective, thoughtful and passionate. If you leave the interviewer the impression of a vivid person, not just another fairly accomplished applicant, you would more likely stand out among the five or even ten people the interviewer has met for the day.

 

 

  • What kind of ‘red flags’ do you commonly see in interviews?

People who are not prepared, can not answer questions about why MBA why this program, or are just giving very generic and superficial answers. There’s really no excuse for not preparing well. The interviewer would think you might not be serious about the program and he/she would not be thrilled either.

 

 

  • How do you advise potential interviewees to prepare?

Take the time to reflect on your past and design your future, make sure the MBA program/experience connects in between.  You really need the time to lay out the basic blocks first, such as why MBA, why this school, why you, and a few (not just one or two) examples to draw from and illustrate your skills and perspectives on key parameters such as teamwork, leadership, conflict resolution, creativity, perseverance, etc. It might not be a bad idea to write down some key bullet points to help you frame/structure your answers and your stories. AGOS consultants can help coach you how to answer questions in a structured way, providing key details while staying concise and to the point. Overall, lots of practices will pay off, even if you’re a native English speaker. No one is born to be magic story tellers, we all practice and learn.

 

Mengdan

 

 

Interview Preparation 2: Contribution

One of the common, yet challenging, interview topics often focuses on how you would contribute to your chosen school, class, and community. Answering well requires strong knowledge of both your own strengths and unique points and the school’s resources, mission, and opportunities.

Consider your professional career. Could a particular first-hand experience  or challenge be useful to share in a case-study discussion?

How about your perspective? Maybe your group could use your legal expertise?

In extracurricular clubs, there are frequent opportunities to both exercise your leadership and benefit your classmates. What could you initiate or improve? Is there a club you’d like to establish yourself?

Could you open up your network for someone looking for a job in your industry or company?

Finally, why would you be a good addition to the community based on your personality? Are you especially innovative? Good at motivating others? Where would this be most useful?

 

Faye