Case VI

posted Apr 20, 2009, 2:19 AM by Weiyang Tsai   [ updated Apr 20, 2009, 2:20 AM ]

Q. I am not sure that you should group Canada with the US. All major Canadian universities are public, and the quality across the board is very consistent. Besides, if the adcom people are like the average Americans, it's highly likely that they have never heard of (or cared about) any Canadian universities.

I think you'd be surprised by the number of Canadians at top US universities.

Actually, I have worked w/ a lot of UBC grads in the past and they do very well in MBA apps. I feel that a UBC grad with avg marks and a GMAT 680 does much better than a NTU/NCCU grad with 720+ GMAT.

My feeling is that the top US schools are familiar with UBC, U Toronto, Waterloo and McGill.

I think the top Canadian schools are also fairly well-represented in Asia's banking/consulting circle, certainly more so than Taiwanese universities or 2nd tier undergrad institutions in the U.S.

Case V

posted Apr 20, 2009, 2:17 AM by Weiyang Tsai

My background

undergraduate GPA:3.8
work experience:14 months (military service)
今年預申請的program: msf

12月底我才剛考完AT,接著申請,發現我可以選的學校剩沒幾所好的大概就uiuc,University of Wisconsin - Madison (QMF),GWU, Syracuse University,在現在申請的過程中,教授希望我可以再往前選一些學校,可是受限於我要念的是msf,不是mba, 且好的學校的deadline就算還沒過,我要準備也來不及了(essay),現在正面臨決擇是不是還要再等一年,申請2008年(fall)的MBA, 我有幾個問題想請教前輩們

A. Why don't you start by answering why do you want to study abroad? What aspect of Finance are you interested in?

My personal opinion is that MSF is a waste of time:

Most finance position in Taiwan is a sales position, which requires experience & personal qualities not academic knowledge. How hard is it to understand how stocks, option or bonds work? Hard part is how to make money in the market.

What you learn in a MSF program is largely not applicable in the real world (at least not in Taiwan).

Investment is hard, which is why most people end up in Sales positions anyway.

Much like a great athlete, a great financier is usually born with talent and practice at their craft. Look at the all the great hedge fund managers, traders & investors, they usually are self-taught.

Advice is for you to get some hands-on experience in the financial industry before you study for a MSF or MBA. Figure out if this is really want you want.

Case IV

posted Apr 20, 2009, 2:16 AM by Weiyang Tsai

Q. 我想請問mark或是了解Columbia MBA的人
感覺起來Columbia is very finance focused,
是不是 Columbia curriculum 相對放很多的課程在財務 /數字/會計
career center/recruiting companies也大部分是關於IB/ 銀行/finance的工作資訊
校友能給的幫助也是finance industry
對於不打算走財務的學生來說 是不是相對吃虧
或是說 學校career office 可以給學生關於其他Industry 的幫助也不多

I think you are correct in your assessment that Columbia is very finance focused. In fact, I enrolled briefly at Columbia before dropping out. During the first week, the Dean took a show of hands, and 85% of the students expressed a career in finance (investment banking, hedge funds, private equity, etc.)

This doesn't mean that Columbia is not good at teaching marketing, but it just shows that most people who go to Columbia graviate towards Finance in some capacity. If you go to a school like Columbia or NYU, chances are that even the marketing opportunities you seek will be in the Finance industry.

Re: Career Service Offices
My advice is as an international student, you should have realistic expectations about what a career service office (at any school) can do for you. After all the career service people do not have incentives to do extra work for you and you are not going to pay them extra for finding you that $150,000 job.

If you want to do Finance/Consulting, you will think that the Career Offices at Wharton/Columbia/Chicago are great. If you want to work for a start-up in California, then you are on your own. The same line of reasoning goes for the other schools.

My advice is to cut through the BS that the MBA brochures feed you. Talk to current students & recent graduates and find out where students go for internships and for full-time offers. (The reason why I urge you to talk to students & current grads is that I find too many people talking to alums in Taiwan who graduated 10-15 years ago. Most of these people have no clue what's going on in business schools now and some of them probably haven't stepped foot in the US in 10 years.)

Hope this helps.

Case III

posted Apr 20, 2009, 2:15 AM by Weiyang Tsai   [ updated May 16, 2011, 12:29 AM by Casey Chung ]

Q. I just finished my undergrad degree last spring and I have about one year of working experience. My gmat score is 710 and I was just wondering whether this score combined with my little working experience would be a weakness for my application to INSEAD 2008 intake. Could you please give me some advise on the application process and what I should be aware of when writing my essay?

Without passing judgment or assessing your admissability, I'd say there's a difference being admissable and employable.

Having said this, people of all ages enter business school. I think if you put together a compelling application, then schools will certainly take a look at you. And in some cases, you can even be admitted without meeting the avg work experience.

But, I'd urge you to think a bit longer term. What happens once you graduate? Without work experience can you really leverage your MBA and advance to better opportunities?

The answer is usually no. In general, Taiwanese students tend to enter MBA with less work experience and less understanding of their career choices. As a result, Taiwanese graduates of top MBA programs in general perform worse than other international students in their post-MBA job search.

Anyway, just something to think about. The MBA is always going to be there. You can apply this yr, next yr, in 2-3 yrs, etc.

Case II

posted Apr 20, 2009, 2:12 AM by Weiyang Tsai

Q. Hello everyone,

My name is Henry, the prospective student for MBA class 2010, 27 years old with almost 6 years W/E, GMAT 690 and TOEFL 101. I was a reporter and now I am an assistant marketing manager. My future career path will be focused on corporate general management, not finance, not consulting.

I would love to have your advices on my school choosing. I am admitted by IESE and Georgetown. It is a hard decision for me to choose the right school between IESE Business school (Spain, ranked #11 globally & #5 in Europe by Financial Times.) & Georgetown McDonough Business School (US, ranked #38 globally & #19 in US by Financial Times.)

I took all of my efforts to apply both of them and now I suffer to give up anyone. I love to study in US but I can't ignore the future niche strength if I study in the prestigious Spanish bilingual MBA, on the other hand, I believe the fact of location is everything so that studying in US, in DC, will help me to broaden my life experiences.

If it’s available, I would like to have your and advices from an objective prospective, please kindly share your thoughts and I would be more than happy to have your advices.

Thank you so much and may all the best be with you.

I would not say most Fortune 1000 companies are US companies. Keep in mind Fortune is also a US publication.
Also would not say that European companies do not operate w/ scale.
And I certainly wouldn't say that European companies are dominant only because they are not competing head-on with US companies.
Anyway, not here to pick a fight, but just want to correct some factual errors.
Here are my comments:
--Ask yourself how relevant US experience will be to your future?
--Where do you see the global economy heading?
--Figure out what you want out of an MBA.
Now my thoughts:
--The world is idecoupling from US
--There are political and economic issues in US that may hurt US in the short & medium term, such as War in Iraq and the credit bust that is happening right now
--Smart money, e.g. Warren Buffett, Jim Rogers, Wall Street investment banks, etc. are looking for opportunities outside of the U.S.
Location is important, but either way I think DC vs Barcelona, you will get a different experience from Taiwan.
Curriculum: My take on curriculum is that MBA is all bullshit anyway, so I could really care less if it's Harvard or Stanford. Both Gtown or IESE are good enough schools.
Recruitment for Taiwanese students: Based on the results of the last 2 years, I would say IESE is MUCH STRONGER than Georgetown in traditional MBA industries, such as banking & consulting.
Return on Investment: Haven't done the detailed calculation, but assuming no scholarship, I think IESE would have the edge as well.
"Blue Ocean Factor:" I'd go to Barcelona. I rather be unique and "take the road less traveled" than be one of tens of thousands who has Taiwan/US experience only vs probably less than a 100 each yr who has Taiwan/Spanish (European) experience.

Case I

posted Apr 20, 2009, 2:10 AM by Weiyang Tsai   [ updated May 16, 2011, 12:40 AM by Casey Chung ]

Q. 小的正在等admission,也開始想post-MBA career
昨天在business week forum看到關於大環境對申請MBA與就業的討論。焦點當然是放在sub-prime crisis的後續發展。今天也在這看到些許間接的討論。

我認為讀MBA有兩個關:第一關是拿到admission,下一關是一兩年後拿到job offer。第二關的好壞多少決定了這個MBA的短期效益。如Mark Hsu所說,admissible與employable是不同的。而申請學校與找工作的timing對上述兩關有很大的影響。 今年各校的申請人數比去年多,明年預估會更多。供需的改變使得這兩年的申請變的更難。


There is no right & wrong answer, but I think the current subprime crisis offers you a good gut check to see if you really need an MBA.

I see a lot of parallels between 2008 and 2000.

In 2000, the NASDAQ hit a peak of 5,000+ around March and began its decline. The NASDAQ is now at 2,340.

Funding for my start-up basically ceased & I backed my bags and headed back home to the US.

I applied to school in early 2001. (So did everybody else in the world.)

I got to Columbia in Jan 2002, found a bunch of people who were laid off dot commers but who wanted to do banking/hedge funds/pe. (I thought to myself, either I am stupid or they're stupid.) I decided they're stupid because I didn't see how the financial markets were going to come back. (This was right after 9-11). Withdrew from Columbia.

I returned to SF. Did Rd 2 interviews, even though I had pretty much decided against going to b school, I re-applied to Wharton for Fall 2002. My interviewer was a Wharton Class of 2001. He had been jobless for 10 months. This confirmed for me that I made the right decision.

To make a long story short, I would have been class of 2003 had I gone to b school. Upon graduation, I would have been 30 and most likely jobless and by my calculation, I would have burned through about US$150,000.

As I recall, most of the Taiwanese & Taiwanese-Americans from the Class of 2003 who wanted to work in Asia had a hard time finding work. A lot of people went to Citibank's MA program in Taipei. IB hiring was 0.

2004....things begin to pick up

2005-2007 => bull markets in banking/finance, especially in Asia.

Anyway, timing is everything.

Treat an MBA as an investment. What else can you do with US$150k-200k? What else can you do with 2 yrs of your time? What are your objectives? Is the MBA the only road you can take?

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