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Q. How to choose schools?

A. Despite the availability of information on the Internet, I still find Taiwanese students are still at a loss when choosing an MBA program.

There are various publications ranking business school, but I would suggest sticking with Business Week and the Financial Times. Also, I'd say the rankings (as perceived by recruiters) do not change with time.

Basically, I'd divide the US schools into three groups:

I. HBS/Stanford/Wharton/Kellogg/Columbia/MIT/Chicago

II. Berkeley, Duke, Cornell, Yale, UCLA, Tuck, Michigan, NYU, Virginia

III CMU/UNC/Emory/USC/Austin

On the bubble: Georgetown/Indiana/Olin

Finance Schools (If you want to work in Asia): 1. Wharton 2. Chicago 3.Columbia 4. NYU 5. MIT

There is no doubt in my mind that Wharton is the #1 school if you want to do Finance in Asia. It seems to me that half of the people in investment banking in HK are from Wharton.

Based on my observations, finance in Asia is very prestige driven so if your interest is in finance, your best option is to go to the "core" finance schools.


To get into consulting, shoot for groups I & II. I don't think consulting is as picky as investment banks. It seems to me that consulting firms value "raw intelligence" more than past experience. I am not saying that to work in IB you don't need to be smart, but not having prior experience in IB/finance is a definite liability.

Corporate (staying in the US):

I'd say that if your intention is to stay in the US, then almost any of the aforementioned schools would fit your needs. To stay in the US, you'd (most likely) need to accept a middle/back office role.

If the three career paths don't sound appealing to you, you gotta seriously reconsider why you want to spend so much money on an MBA.

Q. International students like us don't have legal authorization to work in the United States. I know many companies that rejects students who don't have an H-B(working visa). Therefore, I am wondering if it is difficult for a company to issue us an H-B to work in the United States the United States. Is it because of the complicated procedures or the expensive cost of the application fee?

A1. Depends on the company:

For small companies, it could be a money issue.

For larger companies, it could be just an administrative hassel.

And for other companies (such as those in the Midwest), it could be that either they are 1) unfamiliar with the process of sponsoring a H-1B 2)don't have a large pool of international professionals to draw from in the first place 3) a values issue--want to just hire Americans, drive American cars, blah, etc.

A2. One of the criteria of obtaining an H-1B is demonstrating to the INS (Immigration Naturalization Service) that there's a need that an American cannot fill. One way to prove this is that the company must continuously advertise the vacancy and prove that no qualified US citizen applied. This explains why it is easier for an international with a clear technical skill to gain approval as opposed to a "fuzzier" function, such as marketing or sales.

Q. Do B schools like Startup people?


I'd say it depends:

If you are an international student (as in undergrad overseas) and you've done start-up only professionally, it's difficult for schools to "benchmark" the quality of your experience.

If you are looking to work in a professional/corporate setting post-MBA, having just start-up experience won't help you and could work against you.

A2. If you look at companies like Google, Yahoo, eBay, etc, they were not started by MBAs. As an entrepreneur, I think what you need most is guts. You don't need a degree. MBA cannot teach you courage or vision.

Q. I am currently working on the preparation of R2 (Round 2) application for business school. I have a question regarding the Employment History in my application.

I have been working as a contractor at Adecco Company but they dispatched me to another foreign company for two and a half years as a marketing assistant. Should I write Adecco as a full-time position or should I write the name of the foreign company that Adecco dispatched me to in the employment history?

In addition, do I need to write that I was a contractor at that company? I am afraid that it might not make a good impression on the school because many public sectors tend to think a contractor is in charge of supporting the important work instead of handling it.

Does the school require a formal job certification? As a contractor, I can only get a certificate from Adecco which states that I was dispatched to a foreign company. However, I will not be able to get any official documents which prove my work in the foreign company.

Many schools mention that “we’re more interested on the impact and good capabilities you have had in your work place than the name or status of your organization”. I am not comfortable with it. What can be happen if the documents I submitted are not consistent with the form I have filled out? Does anyone have any advice/suggestions?

A1. I think you can say that you work for the IT company and not Adecco, then explain your situation.

A2. I don't think you need to indicate Adecco contractor on your resume. You should have a 1 sentence explanation on your employment history.

Q. Why male admissions are only less than 1/3 of female admissions?


In all top business schools there is a huge imbalance of men vs. women. So, a qualified woman spplicant has an advantage in the sense that she adds diversity to a class. Taiwanese women have an additional advantage being international students so in a way she scores two "points," one for being a woman and another for being international.

I'd say to the Taiwanese men out there, this is just the reality of the situation so don't be upset at something you can't change.

Are Tw women more qualified than Tw men? Obviously, this is difficult to answer. Let me frame my answer this way, in the context of MBA applications I'd answer "yes." Let me identify a few reasons why I think this way.

1. Military. Most Tw men must fulfill their compulsory military service. This impacts the men in many ways. One example is that many men do a graduate degree to avoid immediate military service. The additional 2-3 years of graduate school hurt their career progress immensely because it pushes back when a Tw man can get meaningful full-time employment and because (in my opinion) a graduate degree obtained in Tw does not add to an applicant's credentials and CAN in fact hurt an applicant. (Blame this on the stupid Taiwanese universities that call every degree that the business school grants an "MBA." ) Add to this fact that many in Tw perceive "30" to be a ticking time bomb so rather than work a bit longer, many men feel that they have to leave the country before they turn 3-0 and rush into the MBA.

2. English. I have met many Tw women who can speak English at near-native fluency. I have not met many men who can do this. Based on my own data, I think the % of female applicants who get interviews and the % of male applicants who get interviews are actually similar. However, when we look at male applicants the number of admissions as a percentage of applicants who interviewed is significantlly lower than the percentage found in the female pool. This leads me to believe that the difference in English abilities is also a differentiating factor. I believe the degree of spoken English has a strong correlation with other attributes that are associated with admission success, such as the number of women vs. men who work at a multinational (MNC) and also degree of open-mindedness.

3. Degree of Westernization: This is often an overlooked part of the application especially among applicants to top schools. For a program outside of the top 15-20, an applicant can usually hide behind a phone interview, but for a top program where an alumni interview or worse yet, an adcom interview is required, there is no hiding. Not only is your English closely scrutinized, but your whole presence, including the way you dress, your hair style and how you carry yourself, is under a microscope.

Now for the last part of the question: what can Tw men do to better their chances?

I actually think it's not so bad to be a Tw man and let me explain why.

Don't think it's the boys vs the girls. It's not. After knowing some of the Tw girls that were admitted to top 15 programs, I would hate to be in the women's pool. In the women's pool, getting a 280 on the TOEFL would only be considered fair. Instead, focus on being the best male applicant in Taiwan.

Develop your own BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY.

Do less GMAT, more TOEFL

Instead of spending 12 months cramming for the GMAT and trying to push your score to 760, I'd instead focus on English.

Just think to yourself how many times you have seen someone asking "Is my TOEFL 243 enough?" on this board. You don't think the adcom knows that something fishy is happening in China and Taiwan? My point is how believable is a GMAT 700+ if the applicant can't get a good TOEFL score?

Imagine, if you are a male applicant and have a 280 on the TOEFL, you can essentially "cross your legs and twirl your mustache" (this has to be in Taiwanese for it to be funny) because you would stand out instantly from your peers.

So in a word, I'd say "English."