Sunday, December 21, 2014

Interviewing for Cox MBA

If someone asks me, I would say : Just Know Yourself Well and read through each point of your application. The concept behind cracking the interview is : Who are you ? Where do you want to go ? Why do you think Cox can help you get there ?

The interview usually begins with hitting the first aspect - Who are you ? An aspirant will usually face the question belonging to the type : "Tell me about yourself ? " or "Introduce yourself" or "Tell us something about you" or "Walk me through your resume".  To crack this question, you must have done your resume in a step-by-step manner. I would suggest an applicant to speak a few lines about his education background (undergrad) , what you did in your undergrad, if there are any interesting experiences there, be sure to mention it. Next, move to the professional experiences. Give the interviewer a picture of what you have done in your work in nutshell. Bullet Points to be specific. 3-4 interesting projects or activities will do. Next, you can talk through 3-4 of your hobbies and extracurricular activities. You can slip in your strengths and weaknesses in a terse manner here. End the game with a light on a few awards and recognition. Do not stretch too much. Keep it simple, crisp and to the point. Practice it many times because you are going to make this presentation of WHO YOU ARE to almost every interviewer and B-school that you interview with and first impression is important.

After having done this question, every interviewer will want to know what is your career goal and aspirations. Before interviewing you, the Cox admission team will have read your application essay and that means they will be knowing your career goal. However, they can still ask you about WHY do you want to become a Consultant Or What interests you in the e-commerce sector ? If you have mentioned entrepreneurship somewhere- long term or short term - support it. The interviewer would like to know what exactly is your idea ? The concept behind this question is that : you really know what you are looking for and rather more importantly - why you are looking for that thing. Applicants should also keep a Plan-B ready. The success of any team or an individual in this competitive world is that they have a Plan-B in place in case their Plan-A fails. It may be a football pitch or an entertainment world, Plan-B is a must. After all, Cox wants to help you reach your goal and hence, they need to know your vision elaborately !

Next, you must have made a thorough research of the B-school and have a fair amount of idea of why you are applying to this B-school. For me, I was looking to land up in the business of entertainment and Cox houses the only program by the Walt Disney - the BLC's Disney Institute Program held in Florida stands out uniquely for Cox. All B-schools will somehow or the other have a good personal leadership development curriculum and Case competitions and Cox has each of them but the DI program stands out for it. Similarly, one must have come across certain aspects of the school that they like. Just mention it point wise to the interviewer's WHY COX question. It shall convince the interviewer that you have made a research and cox can very well help you reach your goals.

These are the basic questions. Rest of the questions you will face are the Strength and weaknesses. For example : how will your friends define you in 3 key words or what are you doing to address your weakness. There may be questions from professional background such as "tell me about a time when you have handled situations out of scope of your work / beyond the scope of expectations" . Team based questions such as "a time when you have handled conflicts. How did you handle it". Extracurricular related questions such as "what you love outside work and how it makes you unique".

A good interview generally lasts 30-35 minutes. So, it is important to keep to the point and present properly. Rehearse the definitive questions well before the actual interview and give your best to the admission team. Let them see the best of you as that will help them understand you better. Cox has one of the best admission team which works hard, is open to talk to each and every applicant, professional when it comes to results. The best part- they understand you.

Happy to serve the Mustang family !

Friday, December 19, 2014

Applying to Cox Full-Time MBA program.

The application process to the Cox full-time MBA program is simple. In this post, I have tried to present the same in a concise manner.

1. All applications to the SMU COX MBA program are accepted through the online application system available at
All first time users are needed to create a login Id and a password.

2. Once there, you will be directed through the different sections where you need to fill in with the details.

3. Academic Information : You need to fill in the undergrad CGPA calculated out of 4.00 . Also, make a single file PDF of the undergrad transcripts and upload it in the slot.

4. The applicant needs to upload an updated resume under the Employment section.

5. Professional Reference : The applicants need to specify the details of the two professional references. Although the reference no longer need to submit 'Letter of Recommendations', the admission committee can contact them if the need arise.

6. GMAT scores : I would rather ask an applicant to check with the mid-80% range for the current class. For e.g. I am an applicant to the class of 2017. So, I check with the class profile of the class of 2016. The MBA class profile can be checked at : . Where the average GMAT scores may be lower, the mid-80% range gives the actual strength of the class in terms of GMAT scores and would better assess an applicants chances to make it through.

7. Check if an English language requirement test is required ! I come from India. Hence, I took the TOEFL as it is an internationally accepted standardized test that is accepted by maximum number of universities abroad.

An applicant requires to mention the official scores under the Test Scores section in the application portal. However, the applicants can actually report the official test scores later in the application process once he has been given the offer letter and he has accepted the same.

8. The Essays : The essays are an important element in your application. I would suggest an applicant to take down the questions and work on the essays - write, rewrite, make it better, fine tune the essays - and only when it is done , you can make a good presentation by using 12-point double space Times New Roman/ Calibri font style. Once done, convert the same to PDF and upload it.

For the class of 2017, there were 3 questions asked. One of them is the Career Goal question which every B-school is some or the other way asks its applicant. The idea of the career goal question is to assess the applicant whether he knows where he has to get to. 'Clarity in vision' is the idea. Use simple language, be within the word limit and be clear with the statements. It is important to link your future goals with where you are today. It should be - "Hey ! I want to get there. I have certain skills in me to reach that target but I need to work on certain aspects to be able to get there. Hence, I am looking for an MBA to fill in those spots where I lack and this will help me to fill the gaps and help me to reach my target". Bang ! that's it. Speak to yourself and also check with your friends etc. This is where you need to sound convincing.

9. Besides all of the above, it is important to make a thorough research of the school where you want to apply to. For me, one aspect was also the scholarship opportunities and Cox is one B-school where there are a large number of scholarships available. Merit-based scholarships are not the end. There are Cox Distinguished scholars for whom the entire tuition fee is waived, there are India Scholars, department wise scholarships available. So, in nutshell, Cox is a well structured program which supports bright minds.

10. Once done with your application, just sit back and relax. You have will 'Congratulations' on your screen at the end of the application when you have submitted your application. From here on, the Cox Admission committee will do the rest. Don't worry. They know the job and they are one of the best.

11. Application Fee : A bright aspect about the Cox MBA application is that besides Olin MBA and Owen MBA( which waives off your application fee if you score a 700+ in GMAT), Cox MBA is the only MBA program which is highly ranked in the Business Week, US news, Forbes, Financial Times etc. which has no application fees.

Hope, I was able to help with my article. Hope to see more number of bright minds joining the Mustang family. All the best.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Day in the Life of GLP - Experience of Cox MBAs

Tommy Chenoweth, Cox MBA Marketing, Class 2009

Day 5 - Hong Kong

We start the day with an extravagant breakfast buffet in our premier Beijing hotel. We then leave for company visits to Ernst & Young and Caterpillar, where we have the opportunity to meet with U.S. expatriates that are working abroad in executive level positions. In each visit our group learns about how U.S. companies conduct business in China, as well as firsthand knowledge about living in China as a U.S. expatriate. On our GLP trip we not only learn about business in China from top executives, but we also experience different cultural activities, which expose us to the city life in China. For example, one evening we walked from our hotel to Tiananmen Square, which connects to the Forbidden City. Definitely an unforgettable sight! The combined history and beauty of this setting make for an excellent sunset. Afterwards, we end the day with a traditional Beijing Duck dinner before hitting the town for some late night festivities.

Teza Mukkavilli and Sanjeev Sridharan, MBA - Class of 2009

GLP……Two weeks that I will never forget
Run up to GLP….

Apart from being a great school, something that really attracted me to Cox was the GLP program. GLP experience was something that no one forgot to mention when I was talking to a couple of alumni from Cox. I was really excited to be a part of this wonderful GLP experience, when I decided to come to SMU Cox.

GLP signup is the first step where student gets to choose which place he wants to go. This process starts pretty quick, almost 2 months into the program. We had the choice to select from 4 regions; East Asia - Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai; Greater China – Taipei, Hong Kong, and Shanghai; India- Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore; Europe – London, Frankfurt and Madrid. Coming from India and having worked in Europe before coming to school, my choice was East Asia and Greater China. After a careful review, the GLP office allocates us to various regions based on our choice and how best the learning from the region will help us. I was lucky to get into the East Asia group.
During spring the GLP preparation starts to gather pace. The four groups undertake classes once every week to understand the culture and language insights on the region we are visiting. I never knew “Ni Hao Ma” means “how are you?” in Chinese till I went for these classes. It always fun when you go to non-English speaking places and try your half broken local language skills. The perception of having fun on the trip is quickly encompasses with the amount of research, presentation and reading we do before the trip. Though a little painful initially its invaluable when we go on the GLP trip. Weeks before the trip start getting on nerve; thinking of cameras, clothes, dry cleaned suits for the trip combined with the exhaustive list of assignments and finals for the last module subjects will be a nail biting dash.

I worked in my first year as Graduate Assistant in Global Programs office which overseas the GLP program. This helped me get firsthand knowledge into the kind of work that goes into selecting regions and companies in order to provide a holistic experience to students, which is truly a remarkable effort.

Theodore Postula, Cox MBA GLP Asia 2008

May 3-7: Taipei

We’re hosted by Cathay Life, and insurance company, who let us stay at their corporate training center. Sunday is a free day and those of us who are awake head to Taipei 101, currently the tallest building in the world (until it is surpassed by the Burj Dubai). Amazing engineering - we ride in pressurized elevators traveling almost 40 mph to reach the 89th floor in 37 seconds. The observation deck reveals a 660 ton counterbalance that keeps the building stable during periods of high winds or earthquakes. In the evening, we explore the Shilin night market for shopping and a taste of the local culinary flavor.
During the next few days we visit with companies such as Compal, which assembles laptops for several western brands and AU Optronics, a leading manufacturer of LCD televisions. I really enjoy the presentation from TSMC, the world’s largest pure-play semiconductor foundry. Companies around the world design microprocessors and then send the designs to TSMC for production, where they create computer chips on a scale not much larger than a single atom.

May 8-10: Hong Kong

We depart the urban sprawl of Taipei for the concentrated development of Hong Kong, the first city I’ve seen that gives Manhattan a run for its money. Nightlife in the ex-pat filled Lan Quai Fong area is also quite memorable. That night, we dine at a restaurant across from a fish market where you pick out live seafood, then take it across the street to be cooked. One of the best company visits is Li and Fung, a clothing manufacturer that supplies many of the top US brands. What I thought was a low-tech, labor-intensive business is actually a very sophisticated, globally integrated operation that encompasses logistics, demand forecasting, rapid responsiveness, and outsourcing to the highest degree. The company headquarters has a boardroom that is set up just like an American MBA case classroom to facilitate discussion. I realize that Asian firms are partnering with (and competing with) American firms on many more dimensions than just being the low cost leader.

May 11-12: Shenzhen

Back on the tour bus, we drive from Hong Kong into mainland China – it’s a stark contrast with the glitz of downtown Hong Kong, more like an industrial office park that stretches for miles. The local Wal-Mart manager gives us a tour of his store and while it is similar to the big box retailer over here, there are some items I haven’t seen before – such as Wal-Mart private label brand wine, and live turtles in the seafood section.

May 13-15: Shanghai

Although I am a pretty adventurous eater, by this point in the trip I am glad that we can start the day with a traditional American breakfast. We attend a presentation by a consulting firm that specializes in tracking and shutting down counterfeit manufacturers. If the street vendors in Shenzhen were any indication, China still has room for improvement on its protection of intellectual property rights. We also visit the Mary Kay cosmetics factory and learn that the direct-sales model was actually outlawed in China for several years, which has since been changed. And of course, no trip to Shanghai would be complete without shopping on the Bund.
As quickly as the trip began, it comes to an end as we pack up for the last time and head to the airport. Connecting through Chicago, it feels good to be back home. A few days later, most of us have recovered from the jet lag and we prepare our final trip presentation for the Dean and the rest of the class.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Competitive yet benevolent: Thanks to you all! -arnab chakraborty, co2017

2014 started for me with a resolution. A resolution to change life for the good. In the last ten years of my life, I have gone through a lot of stress and hard work and when one fails to achieve the expected, it does pain sometime. So, that was my story- lots of gambles, lots of ups and downs, a few winners in the 90th minute, but at the end, the ride has taught me a lot about life and the toughness we need to build in us to get ahead. Following my graduation as an engineer in 2011, I did join a major power sector company in India and came in with a sole intention to learn as much as possible. Yes, I wanted to stay with the company for a couple more years but then, there wasn’t any impetus and then, in my ride with the company in the last three years, I was quite different. Having been put in a remote location, I was cut off from the fashionable galore of the external world and even my friends circle reduced to may be 5 or 6. It wasn’t a job that I would say I enjoyed but then there was scope for me to learn the nuances of management in a major industry and that solely was the thing that attracted me. However, my taste was always different. A person who dreams of being at Anfield for Liverpool someday, a person who wants to be in the centre of the world built around the Taylor Swifts and the Katty Perrys – sticking to the realms of a heavy industry was not the call. But then, coming from a simple middle class Bengali family in India, it was always a big ask to quit a well paying job and start following your passion. But then, I had to change the way I was living. My life was nothing besides the power plant, the closed small room whose roof leaked and a place which offered no entertainment and a barren life, where the only mantra was to learn the culture of a public sector life.

2014 was that year which I marked for myself to call it quits and start building a new tomorrow. My inspiration drawn once again from the world of soccer- the likes of Luiz Suarez, Lionel Messi, Steven Gerrard. The theme – resurgence. The motto- to build. And that’s what I did. Took steps in a well structured and diligent way and scored a 720 in the GMAT. I took 60 mocks, scored a 700+ in 55 of them, worked hard alongside the shift duties and tasking challenges of the new project at work. It was plain determination. I wish I could have been lucky and scored 20 points more but that’s fine. At least I knew I was walking to a new dawn. The application cycle for fall 2015 started and I was down with my research for B-schools. After all, I needed a formidable education to walk into a management domain.

Coming from a small family, I always knew that I needed a scholarship to pursue my studies but my score was way behind the needed to crack the top 15 in the USA. Europe- I wasn’t even looking for due to the eurozone crisis. I did want to go to Europe/UK because there’s where the hub of soccer is but that might have to stay for some years now. I landed on the pages of Cox Business School and found out in my research that it had almost everything. Located in the heart of Dallas, a fledging city in Texas, it attracted me with the gamut of opportunities that was very hard to find in the other B-schools in my range. A Global leadership program sponsored by the American Airlines where you get a chance to visit different countries, an exchange offer with some of the top B-schools in the world, a unique opportunity to learn about Disney in the BLC- Disney Institute program in Florida, a personalized leadership development curriculum, a one-to-one mentorship where you are guided by some leading industrial faces, located in Dallas- you also have the opportunity to network with a potentially vibrant network, an international classroom, a small closely knit community and a placement statistic showing a 96% placement in track record, home of FC Dallas, Texas Rangers. Very unique, yet vibrant. Bigger than all these, I liked the positivity in my conversations with the admissions team who were very supportive and accepted me for who I was. I must thank Cox for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this community and helping me with a very generous scholarship amount of $70,000. And then there are internships and Graduate Assistantship roles/part-time jobs on campus that will help me cover for my funds.

I come from a very humble background and what more could I have imagined for. I am going to be an MBA in 2 years ! Cox has given me the scope to exploit the wide range of opportunities and I am thankful to them. It shall also be my responsibility to give back to the society in unique ways.

In my journey of 2014, I have learnt a lot. To play hard for your life. I suppose, I will give Cox my best too and take the name world-wide.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Sea of Business Education

The Edward L.Cox school of business, located in the heart of a major city in the United States, is a prime resource of business education in Dallas, Texas and also a major feeder of leaders to the business community in Dallas, the United States and worldwide. Fueled by a powerful network of notable alumni, the Cox school of business houses :  The Alternative Asset Management Center, The Caruth Center for Entrepreneurship, The Center for Research in Real Estate and Land Use Economics, The J.C. Penney Center for Retailing Excellence, The KPMG Institute for Corporate Governance, The Maguire Energy Institute besides The O'Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom which explores political economics and the impact of competitive market forces on freedom and prosperity in the global economy. Last, The South Western Graduate School of Banking Foundation under the leadership of Professor Scott MacDonald, focuses on providing banking education to all levels of bank staff.

With an array of opportunities ranging from entrepreneurship to retailing and from energy management to financial designing, the SMU Cox school of business comes out with finely tuned and well structured academic programs in the field of business management.

The Cox School of Business offers a variety of MBA programs including the Full Time MBA, the Professional MBA (designed for working professionals and offered evenings on a part-time basis), and the Executive MBA (offered on Fridays and Saturdays). In addition to the more traditional MBA programs, there are also a variety of master of science programs including Management (MSM),n Entrepreneurship (MSE), Accounting (MSA) and Finance (MSF). A specialized Master of Science in Business Analytics will launch in 2014.

At the undergraduate level, SMU Cox offers Bachelor's degree (BBA) through majors in accounting; finance; information systems; management and organizations; marketing; real estate, insurance, and business law; strategy and entrepreneurship; and business and financial reporting. Other majors may also take a business minor. In addition, SMU Executive Education offers the Summer Business Institute, a business "boot camp" for non-business majors.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Formal Introduction : Cox School of Business

The Cox School was founded in 1920 as the Department of Commerce at SMU, at the request of the DallasTexas business community. In 1921, the Department was renamed the School of Commerce. In 1941, the Board of Trustees established the School of Commerce as a separate entity from the University, thereby creating the School of Business Administration. At the same time, the Trustees also approved the Bachelor of Business Administration degree (BBA). The graduate program began in 1949 with the approval of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.
In 1965, the SMU Foundation for Business Administration was created. Once again, the School worked in partnership with leading Dallas businesses, as this group of corporate advisers helped guide the School's direction and strategy. Today, this group is called the Cox Executive Board, and it consists of corporate executives, successful entrepreneurs, and civic leaders from around the world. Renamed in 1978 in honor of Dallas businessman Edwin L. Cox, SMU Cox has in recent years solidified its position as one of the top business schools in the country and worldwide.