Everything You Wanted to Know about an MBA Degree, But Were Too Afraid to Ask!

MBA TextIn 2002, when I applied to business school, I knew that “getting in” to a top MBA Program was no easy task.  There were so many parts to the process, including:

1) Understanding why I wanted to get an MBA in the first place.

2) Learning about the different types of MBA Programs and various Business Schools.

3) Researching financing options.

4) Approaching recommenders that could detail my strengths.

5) Completing applications and essays.

Once I took care of these parts, I realized there was so much more to do.  From interviews and on-campus visits to actually choosing the right school for me and preparing for academic and networking success, it seemed like a never-ending journey.  But it was one made a bit more manageable due to the influence of a few mentors, including some truly wonderful faculty members at UCLA and at the University of Michigan.

I was fortunate.  Not everyone may have mentors at the schools to which they apply.  As such, it is important for prospective applicants to do their own due diligence.  There is no substitute for research.  Furthermore, the importance of visiting schools and establishing connections with students, alumni, faculty, and staff cannot be overstated.  After all, the culture of the school is largely shaped by its community of scholars, and this culture is something that cannot be researched.  It must be experienced.

The value of an MBA from a top school is immense.  Graduates of the top schools earn salaries that are, on average, double or more of what graduates from other schools make.  Increased salaries are not the end of the story.  Greater career choice, increased job security, faster job promotions, more interesting work, higher status, and numerous other benefits also result from a top MBA, so it is no wonder that so many people want to get into the best school they can manage. Join me on College Smart Radio as we discuss all this and more…it will cover everything you have always wanted to know about an MBA degree, but were too afraid to ask!  If you have any specific questions not addressed on the show, I am happy to address them off-the-air.  You can reach me at npmehta@umich.edu.

This post was provided by Nirav Mehta, Associate Director at the University of Michigan, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on May 17th, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: OpenSource.com

It’s Never Too Early! Start Creating Your Financial Future Now!

Erasing Debt on a ChalkboardI am the ultimate warning to ANY college student or college graduate!

The big news story over the past few years has been about the student loan debt crisis and how so many college students are graduating in the red.

Well, I was not one of those students, because I was fortunate enough to graduate from college DEBT FREE with $10,000 in the bank! Most college students would look at me as the “one who made it!”, but they would have to understand that life doesn’t end at college graduation, but it is actually just starting!

Life started happening to me fast and not long after graduation I married my high school sweetheart. Shortly after we said “I do” I found out that he had $25,000 in student loan debt for just one year of college!

This number took my breath away because the entire time that we were in college I thought he was there on a basketball scholarship, but come to find out that the basketball coach convinced his parents to pay for the first year and that his scholarship would pick up the next three. There was one problem with that plan, the college cost $25K+ a year!

We were already married so I told him that was “his” student loan which meant “his” money needed to pay the bill each month. We had already been married a month so it was time to build us a house! Not just any house, but I built us a house that was bigger than both of our parent’s homes combined.

I had fallen quickly into the microwave generation where I had to have everything my parents had right now! I convinced myself and my new husband that it made sense for us to move out of our $750 a month apartment with all utilities into a $1500 a month home where will pay ALL the utilities and trash pick-up!

We moved into the house and within the first year my husband’s car began to need repairs. Since we are part of the microwave generation, instead of getting it fixed, we traded it in for a brand new $23,000 Chrysler 300!

As we were driving our brand new car off the lot I let my husband know again that it was “his” car which meant “his” money would pay for it! I still had not grasp what the preacher meant when he said “now you are one”, because that also meant “OUR” debt.

So to recap I graduated college debt free with $10,000 in the bank and within a few years I was more than $48K in the hole! I’m not going to lie I would have kept going further into debt because as long as the bills were being paid I thought we were fine.

We were not fine, life changed quickly and I was laid off from my job. Now I was $48K in debt, income cut in half, and we had a one year old at home! That’s when we woke up and took the necessary steps to get out of that debt in 2 1/2 years!

I now show college students all over the country those same steps and principles so that they can avoid the debt nightmare that I found myself in!

This post was provided by Ja’Net Adams, a Professional Speaker at DreamGirl, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College,” on May 3rd 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Images Money

The Importance of Early Career Exploration

Candid Career LogoHow did you find yourself in your first job?  Did you take it for the money?  Was it the career your father or mother did?  Or did you simply not have a better idea?

Whatever the reason, it is too big of a decision to take lightly. Far too many students don’t have all the information to make the best choice or the information is hard to come by, boring to review, or even worse, fabricated.  Until now!

CandidCareer.com is the premier provider of career profile videos to educate students on the possibilities.  At Candid Career, we believe that the best career advice comes from the individuals that are actually doing the jobs every day, so that is exactly who we bring to you.  We also believe that young people love video. As video becomes more common for educational purposes, the ability to access honest career information and advice through video becomes essential.  The experience on CandidCareer.com is a convenient and non-intimidating one for students. After all, we know how much time they spend on YouTube!

Candid Career has recently partnered with LEAP (Learning Enrichment and Assistance Program, LLC) to add even more clarification on finding a college major and career path that matches the interests of a student.  CandidCareer.com is now part of the LEAP Fit 2 Flourish program.

For over 50 years, the Birkman Method® has been an industry leader in personality assessment assisting over 3.5 million participants with dialing into their hard wiring. This multi-dimensional tool focuses on measuring usual behaviors, underlying needs, stress behaviors and interests to reveal multiple ingrained personality dimensions. This information combined with a student’s academic profile directs the student in discovering best match, economically safe careers, the college majors that lead to those positions and the schools respected for these majors.

If a student can start college having chosen a major and career path confident needs will be met, interests embraced and stresses avoided then the 4-year graduation rate sky rockets saving thousands in future tuition.

Students take the 45-minute online assessment in the comfort of their home. Once your Birkman and LEAP Student Profile are complete, we marry the two sets of information into best-fit suggestions for the individual student. Families receive via email the full 55 page Birkman® results, the 24 page LEAP Fit 2 Flourish report including 3-5 best fit careers for exploration, 3-5 majors leading to these careers, 3-5 colleges respected for these majors.

Students can take these career suggestions and explore them on CandidCareer.com.  There are multiple search options when browsing through the thousands of videos on the website such as Industry, Career Title, College Major, College Attended, City, and State. Once students have found a career that peaks their interest, learning more is as easy as clicking play.  Industry professionals on the site speak to what they love about their careers and some of the challenges.  Professionals also give advice on how to prepare for their careers, such as college majors, course work and/or internships and training to consider.

CandidCareer.com and LEAP share a passion for helping students graduate on time with a job in a career path that excites them. The future is right around the corner, and those that prepare for success, are more likely to achieve it!

This post was provided by Neilye Garrity, Co-Founder of CandidCareer.com, who was a guest along with Lisa Mader, President of LEAP (Learning Enrichment and Assistance Program, LLC) on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on March 15th, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Hofstra Career Center

What Good Is a Liberal Arts Degree?

Lightbulb over person's face.The colleges that I work with tell me that new students are flocking to get business degrees or specialized undergraduate degrees in nursing, education, engineering, or other majors that “guarantee” a job after graduation. Yet many students enter college without a clear idea of what they want to accomplish in their career, and stress over choosing the right major. As a result, half of all students change their major at least once during their college career, according to Dr. Fritz Grupe of MyMajors.com.

Parents are worried about their children’s choices, too. “What kind of job can you to get with an English Lit major?” is a common reaction.

The fact is that a liberal arts degree remains an excellent path to success, according to statistics published by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2010 and 2011, graduates with degrees in the humanities or social science actually had average salaries that were higher than those for science and math graduates. It is true that those with engineering and professional or pre-professional degrees made more right out of college, but this margin does not appear to hold up over time.

According to the Census Bureau numbers, by age 56 to 60 the humanities and social science graduates made about $2,000 more a year than the professional and pre-professional graduates.

Of course, it doesn’t matter what the average salary is if you can’t find a job. So what is the story for liberal arts majors? It turns out that even in the middle of this awful economy and job market, recent liberal arts graduates had an unemployment rate of just 5.2%, far below the national average for workers overall. This means that almost 19 out of every 20 graduates were able to find work. And this advantage appears to extend later in your career. In the same period, workers 41 to 50 years old with liberal arts degrees had an unemployment rate of just 3.5 percent, which is only slightly higher than those with professional or pre-professional degrees.

The fact is that our nation’s businesses – large and small – depend on a steady crop of young workers who are needed not for the facts that they learned in college, but rather the skills. Companies need employees with a strong work ethic, the ability to conduct research and analysis of information, problem solving ability, leadership and teamwork skills, and the ability to communicate clearly and effectively both verbally and in writing. These are the very skills that a liberal arts degree is design to teach.

Alfred Poor, Ph.D. is a speaker and a writer, and is the author of “7 Success Secrets That Every College Student Needs to Know!” He speaks to high school, college, and corporate audiences about the importance of career skills for young employees’ success at work.

He is dedicated to delivering practical information that you can put to use right away. You can contact him on Twitter at @AlfredPoor, on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/alfredpoor, on Google+ at google.com/+AlfredPoor, or through his website at www.alfredpoorspeaker.com.

This post was provided by Alfred Poor, Professional Speaker and writer, who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on March 1st, 2014.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Airik Lopez

Avoiding “The Twilight Zone from College to Career”

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 11.13.54 PMEvery fall, three million U.S. high school grads begin their journey into “The Twilight Zone from College to Career”, where 80% of students are unsure about their major, 50% will change majors, and 63% will take 5+ years to graduate. After their college graduation, 50% will accept jobs that do not require their degree, nearly 50% will boomerang back home to ‘recover’, and 70% will average $35,000 in college-related debt.

Despite those challenges, 98% of these new college students lack a documented career plan. Wrongly assuming that a college education is the silver bullet for career success, the primary focus is on funding college and getting in “the right school”. However, both students and parents are distracted from the real goal of a college education: to launch a better career.

Unknown to most parents and students is this fact: for every two college graduates, there’s only one true college-degree level job available in today’s market. Students who want to compete for those few precious jobs will need relevant work experience.  Choosing a career path as early as possible can create opportunities for summer jobs and a stronger professional network, while validating students’ career choices and improving their academic performance.

How do we focus students on the world of work? Stephen Covey said it best: “begin with the end in mind”. Parents should increase the focus on what it takes to get their student out of college. Students should view college as one important step on their journey to a better career, not a destination point to earn a college degree.  The university career center should be the first stop on the college tour, and universities should require freshmen to submit a career plan.

If there’s a smart place to cut college expenses, using free career quizzes is not the answer. Free career tests lack reliability, validity, and precision, and poor advice can be costly advice.  When it comes to college, parents are really angel investors in a very personal start-up venture, yet they spend more money on prom, graduation rings, and luggage than they do on professional-quality career advice. Remember that true financial success is measured by what happens after graduation.

uJourney Career uses the best professional career tools on the market and our system is affordable, because smart career planning is important for students. We help students to create a meaningful career plan uniquely for them, based on their personality type, values, giftedness, work interests, and more.  We help parents by minimizing the time and money spent by students in “The Twilight Zone from College to Career”.  We help universities more accurately match students to majors, gaining more motivated students, more graduates, and wealthier alumni.  Encourage your student to discover a personal, positive vision of their future today!

This post was provided by Jeff Cameron, President of uJourneywho was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on December 14th, 2013.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: uJourney

Non-Profit versus for-Profit Colleges: Which School Is the Best Choice for Your Educational Goals and Your Bank Account?

311178_10151094541082693_499512159_nSofia University President Dr. Neal King will discuss the highs and lows surrounding non-profit education. Sofia University is a proud non-profit, western accredited university located in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Dr. King will chat with Beatrice Schultz about the importance of keeping the student’s whole person education at the forefront of the curriculum.

There are many negative stereotypes associated with non-profit schools. They are typically seen as generous and caring organizations; however, they are also seen as incompetent and not financially sound. During this show Dr. Neal King will use Sofia University as an example of how a non-profit school runs successfully, highlighting the exceptional world renowned faculty and small but mighty corporate structure.

Dr. King is a psychologist by training who completed his graduate study at UC Berkeley. Prior to joining the Sofia community, he served as president of Antioch University in Los Angeles. With extensive experience as a psychologist in private practice in Northern California, Dr. King has served in a variety of faculty and administrative positions in non-profit, public and private, for-profit and state settings.

Throughout his career, Neal has championed a vision that emphasizes collaboration, transparency, academic quality, shared governance, and open communication with the campus community.

Dr. King currently serves as president of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), and was a member of IAUP’s delegation to the launch of the United Nations Academic Impact Initiative in NYC and to the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE 2010 & 2011) in Doha, Qatar. He was appointed as a commissioner on the IAUP/United Nations joint Commission on Disarmament Education, Conflict Resolution and Peace. Members consist of representatives from colleges and universities from around the globe.

Dr. King is also a founding member and steering committee member of LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, and he serves on the executive board of California Campus Compact.

Dr Neal King, President of Sofia University, was a guest on “College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on November 30th, 2013.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Sofia University

Collegefeed Helping to Solve the Millennial Employment Crisis

Collegefeed is a social network designed solely to help college students and new grads get hired.

Collegefeed is a social network designed solely to help college students and new grads get hired.

If you ask new grads Josh Mitchell from UC Santa Cruz or Matt Tu from Santa Clara University, they’ll both say the same thing – getting noticed by your dream company is almost impossible. But that’s exactly what has happened to both students just months after graduation, thanks to a new social platform called Collegefeed.

We created Collegefeed with one mission – to reinvent the job search process for college students and new grads. In a few short months, tens of thousands of students from 1200+ universities have joined. Career Centers at almost every top school like Stanford and MIT are adopting the platform. Huge employers like YouTube, eBay, Cisco and many more are paying to connect with students. Why?

There is an employment crisis for new college grads. Almost nothing has changed for how new grads start their careers over the past 20 years, despite huge changes with things like social media, the web, mobile, and other new technologies. However college tuition is rising dramatically every year, nearly 50 percent can’t get hired using their degrees and most new grads are saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.

From a business opportunity perspective, the early career marketplace is one of the least served areas – and one that is desperately in need of innovation. Sure LinkedIn is great once you already have some work experience, but new graduates don’t know how to start, who to follow or what to post. Facebook is great for sharing pics at the pub on Friday night, not becoming a professional. And grads send out hundreds of resumes on sites like Monster.com and never hear back.

That’s where Collegefeed comes in. Collegefeed has put a magnifying glass to the problem and developed a solution that is uniquely designed to solve the challenges of only first-time job-seekers.

Users take a few minutes to create a profile and then we work behind the scenes to offer students one-on-one support and actually help them every step of the way to start their careers. New grads and students don’t have a ton of work experience, but they’ve taken courses, done internships, projects, etc. that would be valuable if only they could communicate it effectively to employers. We connect them with jobs, discover cool new companies, start talking directly to employers, build a network of peers in their field and even win awards to pay back student loans.

And employers are just as excited about Collegefeed. Even the most established enterprises and the smallest startups have one thing in common – they all struggle to attractively brand themselves and capture the attention of the newest crop of college students and grads that are preparing to enter the workforce. Only a handful of companies have the resources to visit college career centers and campuses – and even they can only visit perhaps a few dozen of the more than two thousand U.S. universities each year.

Plus most companies employ a one-size-fits-all approach to recruiting, yet what is appealing to a professional two decades into their career is different than for a 21 year-old. New grads are curious about the corporate culture, what kind of people they can relate to in the company, the perks they will enjoy, and what kind of career path a company offers, whereas a mid-management applicant expects you to match their 401K and offer a great health plan. The reality is that if a company doesn’t tailor its brand presence in recruiting, they don’t appear relevant to the next generation of talent.

For employers, Collegefeed helps them find the perfect candidates from the newest crop of grads. We are essentially a “virtual career fair” where startups and huge companies can reach new talent. We also enable them to present an engaging brand image to those millennial job-seekers, to help them attract candidates from every school, every major and even every country. And once they sign-up, all of this info is sent to them automatically, so that they don’t have to invest more resources and time in recruiting.

We welcome listeners of College Smart Radio to check us out at www.collegefeed.com. Whether you are looking for work or looking for young talent, Collegefeed can help make the perfect match.

This post was provided by Sanjeev Agrawal, the founder and CEO of Collegefeedwho was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on November 2nd, 2013.  Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.

Photo Credit: Collegefeed