Executive and Professional MBA Forum for Women

Executive and Professional MBA Forum for Women

Considering an Executive or Professional MBA? The Forté MBA Forum on March 24 is your opportunity to connect online with MBA admissions experts and network with other professional women.

The free online event for women will empower you with the information you need to take your career to the next level. Meet reps from some of the best business schools in the country — and abroad — all in one place. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to connect with Chicago Booth, Columbia Business School, The Wharton School, UC Berkeley Haas, Yale School of Management, and more.

Executive and Professional MBA Forum for Women
Thursday, March 24

5 – 7 pm ET

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Forté Fall Conferences

Forté Fall Conferences

Even in a pandemic, Forté’s mission of #MoreWomenLeading remains the same. Please join us in encouraging undergrad women to invest in their future selves by helping us spread the word about Forté’s upcoming virtual Fall College Conferences!

Forté Undergraduate Campus Leadership Summit
This is an opportunity for undergrad women to maximize their personal strengths and develop their unique leadership style. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are collegiate chapter student leaders, women in business club student leaders, and Forté Undergraduate Campus Ambassadors.

Sept. 30 – Oct. 1, 2021
Registration Deadline: Sept. 23

College Fast Track to Finance Conference
Open to sophomores and juniors of all majors interested in exploring the many career paths in finance. First-year students who are business majors or have previous experience and seniors that have not accepted full-time employment may also register.

Oct. 14-15, 2021
Registration Deadline: Oct. 1

Partners: PIMCO, Bank of America, Bloomberg, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Evercore, Greystar, Guggenheim Partners, Hines, J.P. Morgan, PNC, and Vanguard

Candid Conversations for Black, Latinx, and Native American Undergraduate Women Conference
Open to college women from historically underrepresented groups in business and diverse academic backgrounds — with a focus on the experiences of Black, Latinx, and Native American women.

Oct. 28-29, 2021
Registration Deadline: Oct. 15

Partners: PIMCO, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bank of America, Bloomberg, Credit Suisse, DaVita, Deloitte, The Dow Chemical Company, Evercore, Hines, Liberty Mutual, UBS, and PNC

If you know a woman who would benefit from attending our virtual conferences, please send her this link: http://bit.ly/fortecc. You can also post the following on your social channels to help spread the word:

The business world needs more women leaders. Registration is now open for undergrad women to build leadership skills, expand their network, and develop their personal brand at Forté College Conferences this fall. Let’s get #MoreWomenLeading! http://bit.ly/fortecc.

Thank you for spreading the word about these events and Forté’s mission to get #MoreWomenLeading!

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Planning for an MBA? Here’s When You Should Take the GMAT or GRE

Planning for an MBA? Here’s When You Should Take the GMAT or GRE

If you are planning to obtain an MBA, you’ll need to take the GMAT or GRE. When should you do that? The short answer is that sooner is generally better than later. In fact, you should consider studying for these exams while you are still in college. Your senior year is often the perfect time to take the GMAT or GRE.

MBA program applications are evaluated based on a variety of factors. Undergraduate GPA, professional progression and responsibilities, leadership, community service, and GMAT or GRE score all play a role. Many undergraduate students who know they may want to someday earn an MBA assume that the best time to study for the GMAT or GRE will be a few years before they apply. They just meld GMAT or GRE prep with the process of submitting an MBA application in their minds. But, one can take the GMAT or GRE long before they actually fill out an MBA application. Still other undergraduate students have a vague sense that getting an MBA might be something they consider in the future but have no idea if they’ll actually pursue one. These students may not even have thought about the GMAT or GRE at all.

In this article, we’ll explain why studying for an taking the GRE or GMAT while you are still in college is a reasonable way to improve your score and chances of admission to a top MBA program. And really, the same logic applies to any sort of graduate school program (which would then require the GRE, not the GMAT).

Why Could Taking the GMAT (or GRE) While You are Still in College Improve Your Score?

There are two basic reasons that studying for standardized tests while you are still an undergraduate can improve your score.

First, you probably have more time to prepare during your senior year of college than when you are in your second year of your first job. You might feel extremely busy when you are in college, particularly if you hold a leadership position in one or more organizations or are still looking for a job. However, although you can’t realize this while still in college because you can’t peer into your own future, you’ll likely be even busier when you are working full-time (i.e., with increasing amounts of responsibility, perhaps a new spouse and/or other family responsibilities, etc.). If you have more time to prep, it will be easier to build GMAT or GRE prep into your weekly schedule and consistently spend time on it.

Second, some, not all but some, of the skills you’ll need to excel on the GRE or GMAT will be much fresher when you are still in college.  Both the GMAT and the GRE test things like: mathematic ability, vocabulary skills, knowledge of grammar, problem-solving, logic, and reading comprehension skills. Although these exams are much less like academic math tests than many people believe, you’ll still need to know the rules of algebra, probability, and geometry.  If the last math class you took was 6 months ago instead of 6 years ago, you’ll be much better positioned to absorb the conceptual material so you can focus on test-taking strategy. If you haven’t taken a math class for nearly a decade, you might quickly find yourself considering a GMAT tutor.

So, if you know you want to get an MBA someday, you should strongly consider taking these exams while you are still in college. But perhaps more importantly, even if you don’t know whether you do or don’t want to get an MBA, you should still consider taking one of these exams while you are still in college.

How Long Are GMAT or GRE Scores Good For?

The astute reader might point out that GRE and GMAT scores have a shelf-life. They are not valid forever. Your GMAT score will be valid for five years from the day you take the test.  When you are applying to a top MBA program, they will treat your GMAT score the exact same whether you took it 1 month before applying or 59 months before applying. GRE scores are also valid for five years.

The fact that your GMAT or GRE score is only valid for five years is obviously relevant. You certainly don’t want to spend 12 weeks studying for the GMAT, get a great score, and then not apply to an MBA program within five years. If you follow that path and then decide you DO want to get an MBA, you’ll have to take the GMAT all over again. However, although it varies over time, typically 2-4 years of professional experience is more than enough to put forth an excellent MBA application. In fact, if you wait for 5+ years before applying for an MBA program, you can quickly become one of the older applicants. So, taking the GRE or GMAT during your senior year sort of forces you to prepare for applying to an MBA program within 5 years, which is not a bad plan.

Furthermore, many admitted students can defer matriculation for at least one year. So if you have an expiring GMAT score, you can apply, get admitted, and then defer for one year.

Should you take the GRE or GMAT?

Are you convinced you should take the GRE or GMAT during your senior year of college? Great! But which should you take? Top MBA programs all accept both. The question is how many truly treat them equally in the application review process. MBA programs typically place a slightly higher degree of importance on GMAT or GRE quant performance. And the GMAT is an MBA-specific exam that tends to be more challenging from a quant perspective. So, if you are serious about getting an MBA and want to demonstrate that to MBA programs, you might consider the GMAT. On the other hand, if your quant skills aren’t the strongest, the GRE might allow you to put a much strong foot forward. Schools may marginally prefer the GMAT, but if they see a 90th percentile GRE quant score and a 70th percentile GMAT quant score, that GRE quant score is going to be considered much more impressive.

And of course, if you are considering other types of graduate programs, the GRE makes perfect sense, since it’s accepted for MBA admissions and many other types of graduate school programs. For the college senior who really isn’t sure what the future holds, taking some time to study for the GRE is a fantastic use of time.


Generally speaking, the sooner you can take the GMAT or GRE, the better. The older we get, the busier we tend to get, and the more responsibilities we have (and therefore we have less time available to study). And the older we get, the longer it’s been since we engaged with the academic coursework these exams will ask us to recall.

About the Author

Mark Skoskiewicz is the founder of MyGuru, a boutique provider of private GRE tutoring and test prep for a wide variety of exams. He holds a B.S. from Indiana University and an MBA from Kellogg at Northwestern University. 

How to Articulate Your Career Vision in the MBA Application

Great article my colleague at Fortuna Admissions, Nonie Mackie, on how to tackle your career vision for your MBA application! This is a MUST read; far too many applicants/pre-applicants dismiss (or are unaware of) the importance of having a solid career vision. Your vision will guide your app, so take the time to get it right!

How to Articulate Your Career Vision in the MBA Application

Developing and articulating a career vision is an essential element of your MBA application. It’s about conveying a clear picture of where you have come from, where you are going, and why an MBA is critical for getting there. B-schools want students who will get the utmost value from their program by achieving great things in the future.

First, big plans signal big things. Your ability to articulate a logical and inspiring career vision underscores your commitment to the journey, even if the destination changes along the way. And admissions officers are fully aware that your plans may change. After all, an MBA should be a transformative experience; it will open your mind to new possibilities and opportunities.

Think of this as a two-fold approach: A compelling career vision for an MBA speaks to what it will bring you, and also what you will bring to it. This means making a strong case that the MBA is imperative for you to achieve your dreams. It also includes demonstrating what your presence will contribute to the student body, the alumni community, and the world. It’s an opportunity to share the insights and connections you bring, as well as the ideas that you can contribute and share.

Making your career vision logical and persuasive is about the process as much as the product. Consider these top tips for developing and executing a powerful career vision, drawn from our team of former senior MBA admissions and careers staff at Fortuna Admissions:

DEVELOPING YOUR VISION: Setting the strategy with good process

      Why do you want an MBA? What do your long-term goals encompass on a personal and professional level? It’s this kind of introspection that not only helps make the story much clearer to the admissions team, but can also help you clarify in your own mind why this next part of your life is important. Take the time to reflect on your strengths, values, goals and career interests. In the end, your particular motivation and future ambitions become the lens and filter for clarifying a powerful vision for the future and the roadmap for achieving it. Many candidates remark that enhanced self-awareness and insight, gained from their deep engagement with the admissions process itself, is an invaluable and unexpected side benefit of working on their applications.
      Take time to do your research into the type of jobs that you’d like to undertake post-MBA. For example, in which functional areas do you want to work? In which sectors, and which companies appeal to you? Which are your dream companies? Create a list of your top 10 and be as specific as possible. Imagine yourself in one of these companies in the future. Why are you passionate about working at L’Oreal? What is it about the brand, the products, the company, the career opportunities that it may have on offer for you post-MBA? Through your research you may find that some companies value an MBA more than others, and some companies in certain sectors (e.g. hospitality, travel, consumer goods) may value more practical experience and working up through the company hierarchy. This part of the process allows you to be certain that an MBA is really going to add value to your career goals.
      If you are career changer, it’s really important to show that you’ve thought about some of the challenges you may face, for example, if you want to work in China but don’t yet speak Mandarin. Have you considered doing a language course to show your commitment to the geography and culture? If you are moving from investment banking to luxury goods, can you demonstrate that you’ve thoroughly researched the sector, along with influential companies and brands? Have you demonstrated this desire e.g. by working with a luxury goods start-up on a pro bono basis and helping with its finances in your spare time? Have you joined local business groups focused on the area that you wish to enter?
      It’s fine to have a Plan A and a Plan B, in fact it can be advantageous. It shows that you have thought about your options and narrowed down your choices, that you are methodical and realistic in your approach as well as open to the opportunities that may shape you during your program. Very few people achieve their ideal job straight out of business school. Your career journey may be a series of steps that will lead you to your final goal. It’s good to be aware of this and factor it into your career strategy. Well thought-out steps in your career path are far better than radical and unplanned jumps that may end up costing you time and advancements in your career.
      MBA programs may appear similar at a glance, but each one has a particular identity and culture, not to mention a distinct approach to management development. Conduct online research, talk to current students and alumni, and, if possible, visit the campus. A visit to your top schools, offers a direct sense of personality and cultural fit, as well as a feeling of the community vibe. Sitting in on a class at your target school will really give you an insight into the classroom setting, a feel for the pedagogical approach, the caliber of the professors, and a taster of all the new and exciting things that you will learn. First hand experience is invaluable; nothing else will give you a stronger sense of what the school is about or what you can get out of the program academically, personally and professionally. As you compare programs, ask yourself: Can I see myself thriving there? How can each school help me achieve my career goals?
      If you are in contact with alumni, ask them about their experiences of working with the school’s careers team. What opportunities did the school provide to help support their career strategy, information gathering and networking endeavors? What on-campus recruitment events were organized? Which companies regularly came on campus? Was there the opportunity to take part in career treks? It will be advantageous to have a good gauge on the career services offering at your chosen b-schools.

ARTICULATING YOUR VISION: Making the case with a great product

      You need to show that there’s a logical flow to your plan—that the MBA will enhance your CV and enable you to take a next step. Create a path that makes sense to admissions committee members, given your academic and professional background, highlighting the transferable skills that you will bring with you to the next steps in your career. How can you best achieve your goals given what you will learn in business school, entering the job market, and progressing in your field? You need to demonstrate, either as a career enhancer or a career switcher, that this path is viable. And importantly, that now is the right time. Consider mapping out your internship plans. If you are a career changer then this could be an invaluable opportunity for you to get a head start on building your network and gaining a deeper understanding about a new sector or functional area.
      Imagine the school’s perspective: They want to recruit candidates who love the school, who really understand what makes it special, and can explain why it’s an ideal fit for them. If you don’t know the school intimately, you won’t be able to speak to this well. Too many candidates offer vague generalities or insignificant comments because they have only superficial knowledge of the institution. This is where your research pays off. Demonstrate that you have taken the pulse of the school, understand its culture, and that it’s an environment in which you will thrive. If you are in contact with alumni, you can reference these discussions in your application. What is it about their MBA and b-school experience that really inspired you, or cemented your ambitions to take this step?
      You also need to show that you understand what the school cares about, and that this is aligned with your own values and plans. For example, you can talk about the clubs on offer, and speak about which ones appeal to you and why. If you’re keen to join e.g. the Haas Manbassadors club at Berkeley, what it is that you can contribute? Do you have a track record in advancing gender equity, and would you be willing to take on a leadership role?
      Now that you’re clear what the school will bring to you, describe what you will bring to it. Be clear about your contribution to the community. After all, admissions has the luxury of creating their own community each year, and they want to understand what you are bringing as a member of that environment that will enhance the overall experience—for others as well as for yourself. When a school emphasizes its culture of innovation, for example, it is offering you the chance to explain why the school is a great fit for you because of a shared passion. Commitment, engagement and passion are adjectives that you would want to bring to bear in this context; it’s how you will leave your mark on this particular institution that really matters.
      Authenticity is essential. If you pretend to be something you are not, admissions officers will sense it and trust you less. Candidates who present an image of what they think a school is looking for can come across as phony. Don’t fake it—business schools want to understand what is special about you.
      Some essay questions give you the opportunity to convey what it is that makes you tick as an individual, what has influenced you, who has motivated and inspired you. Sharing your experiences, your past, challenging times in your life, and times when you have faced fear demonstrate that you are humble, honest, courageous, able to learn from mistakes and not afraid to fail. Prove to the adcom that you are self-aware, honest and have a great sense of what a stint at business school will mean for both you and the community you would enter.
      The scope of the career planning you’re invited to share in writing will vary—with some schools it can be very brief indeed. Yet all schools will ask you to present and defend your career vision at the interview stage, and interviewers will quickly get a feel for whether yours is carefully thought through, or whether it seems to have been plucked out of thin air for the purposes of the admissions process. There is no point having a brilliant career plan on paper if you’re unable to bring it to life with passion and conviction in a conversation about your future. Be ready to share your career vision with positivity and confidence, showing that embarking on an MBA is instrumental to opening the door to career opportunities and leadership skills, which, in turn, will allow you achieve personal fulfillment and professional success.

Remember, schools aren’t measuring you against one particular profile or ideal candidate. Admissions committee members want to get to know you, and will be better poised to champion your candidacy in their discussions if you give them substance and depth to go on. Imagine someone representing you during a decision meeting; how they’ll talk about your candidacy depends on what you share. That means doing the groundwork for a career vision that allows your true self, and your potential, to shine through in your MBA application.

Read it here on Poets and Quants.



2016 MBA Admissions Webinars to Watch

This past year, the dream team of former admissions gatekeepers at Fortuna Admissions shared their insights in a series of webinars covering key topics from M7 School Application Strategies to How to Ace Your MBA Interviews. In case you missed any of these, now is a great time to catch up on the wealth of insider information they shared on how to get into a top MBA program.

Here are Fortuna’s 9 recent webinars, and within each recording, you can fast-forward to specific topics that interest you the most:

1.       Countdown to Round 2 & How to Bounce Back from a Round 1 Ding

2.       A Winning Strategy for Round 2 and Rolling Admissions

3.       MBA Application Essay Development – Top Tips from ex Admissions Directors

4.       Creating a Strategic Resume for your MBA Application

5.       A Winning MBA Admissions Strategy for the M7 Schools – with Former HBS, Stanford, and Wharton admissions gatekeepers

6.       How to Build a Winning MBA Application – with Former LBS & INSEAD Admissions Staff

7.       How to Ace your MBA Interviews

8.       The Inside Track to MBA Admissions Success for the M7 Schools – with Former Wharton and Booth admissions gatekeepers

9.       Standing out in an International Applicant Pool – with Former LBS & INSEAD Admissions Staff