申請MBA是一條艱辛的路,也是所有做過的人最不堪回首的一段過去,因為只有鬼才會想要整天寫MBAessay

可能是因為我每天都扶老太太過馬路,放假時還會多扶幾次,所以這次很僥倖地,在沒有找留學公司幫忙,沒有補習考GMAT,也沒有找人proof read我的essays的情況下,就進了一間頂尖的名校,現在才能來跟大家講講當初申請MBA時的故事。

當然,由於我僅申請過歐洲的學校,沒申請過美國的,如果是來找美國名校資訊的,您可以不用看下去,回家洗洗睡了吧。

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首先,先介紹我現在正在就讀的學校,西班牙的Instituto de Empresa,英文是IE Business School

它在亞洲地區的知名度不高,台灣人應該都沒聽過,所以今年的MBA才會莫名其妙地只錄取了我一個台灣人… (這是新加坡的Admin跟我說的)

空虛、寂寞、覺得冷

Anyway,維基百科說:

根據金融時報的報名,IE MBA 課程是全世界商學院中最具競爭力的課程之一。除提供企業管理MBA學程之外還有金融管理 (MF), 博士班等課程。金融時報將MBA課程排在2012年世界第八位,《福布斯》雜誌將其在2011年排在全球非美國學校第三位。經濟學家雜誌將職業MBA課程排在2010年全球第一位,美國經濟雜誌將其排在2011年全球第四位,《華爾街日報》雜誌將其排在2010年歐洲第一位。布隆伯格商業周刊將其排在非美國學校2010年世界第三位。金融碩士課程是世界上同類課程中最具競爭力的學校之一,金融時報將其排在2012年世界第一位(無經驗課程排名)

最新的排名:

FT - Top MBAs for entrepreneurship 2016: 全歐第1名、全球第8

FT - Global MBA Ranking 2016: 全歐第4名、全球第12

Economist - Full time MBA 2015: 全歐第4名、全球第17

Bloomberg - Full-Time MBA: International 2015: 全球第4(不含美國)

還有其他排名我懶得找,有興趣想去西班牙讀書的可自行搜索。

接下來是Q&A:

1. 你申請過哪些學校啊?

一般申請MBA一次不要超過6間,原因很簡單,假如每間的錄取率是20%,那6間至少會中1間。

當然申請越多就越有保障,但別忘了,每一份申請都要花很多心力去寫essay,還有$100~$300不等的申請費,除非你錢多到可以早餐買兩碗極品燕窩,一碗吃、一碗倒,別玩這種土豪在玩的遊戲。

由於歐洲學校的錄取率在15%~25%,我當時僅申請了4間歐洲的學校:INSEADIEHECOxford(不懂歐洲名校的人應該只聽過這一間... Oxford = 牛津,也是上述四所中在FT排名最低的學校),以概率來說,應該至少能進一間。

至於為什麼不多申請幾間,或找留學顧問幫忙呢?

基本上,申請MBA時,光是寫essays就會煩到想找塊豆腐撞死後、再找根麵條吊死,更別說是在刷卡付申請費時,那種如失戀又離婚一般刻骨銘心的疼痛,成本很高啊!

更何況,就算申請了100間全都被錄取,除非會影分身,最多也就只能上一間,其他就都是沉沒成本,不划算啊!

至於還要再掏錢請留學公司?

別鬧了,先別說究竟能進好學校是因為自己本身履歷好,還是因為對方能把死的說成活的緣故,光是憑一句"掏人財富猶如殺人父母",哥就能跟你拚上這條老命了啊啊啊啊啊啊!

2. 你哪個道上混的?有啥背景啊?

有很多年輕人會問,要想進名校一定要有很漂亮的履歷吧?

其實哥的履歷簡直是一團糟,而且大學時的GPA慘不忍睹到在MBA論壇上還有人問我:"以你的成績,能被INSEADIEOXFORD這種學校面試,真是個奇蹟。"

當然,這可能無法滿足各位的好奇心,所以不想透露個資的前提下,只能跟各位透露以下個人背景:3X歲,男,台北人,貪財好色不嗜酒、怕蛇怕高又怕窮、絕頂聰明的天才,以上。

別別,不要用這種仰慕的眼神看我,我會害羞的...

其實就我本人的觀察,我覺得名校在乎的並不是成績,或者是你做過甚麼很了不起的事,我覺得它們更在乎的是你這個人究竟是不是他們想要的那種學生。

比方說像IE需要的是有進取心、充滿創業家精神的人,他們就會在你的履歷裡去找出你們展現出這種特質的地方,看你有沒有做過甚麼冒險犯難的事,或是經營管理過一間公司之類的。

你所經歷過的一切,必須要能證明你的屬性跟這間學校的八字有合到。

像IE強調的是創業家精神跟多元文化,申請者就應該就自己在公司所做過的創新(工作流程上、產品開發上...等等),及在不同國家工作/居住/旅遊的經驗多所著墨。

比起GMAT成績或是大學成績,更重要的反而是你的essays所展現的自己,還有在面試時的表現。

成績只是輔助,怕你進來跟不上進度而已,不然以我的成績,連面試那關恐怕都到不了就被刷掉了。

3. 怎麼挑學校?

以下是我個人挑學校的方式,僅供參考。

因為一開始我已經排除掉美國學校,並只考慮一年期的MBA,所以我在選校時沒有太多的困擾。

美國學校跟歐洲學校最大的差異是在實務經驗上,美國通常只需要最多三年的工作經驗,歐洲則大多需要近五年左右的經驗。

同時,美國一般會有在暑期的實習,但歐洲以一年期為主,不見得會有實習的安排,所以美國的學校適合那些還不確定自己想做哪一行的人,歐洲則是適合已經知道自己想做什麼,但想在職場上更進一步的人。

另外,歐洲學校講求的是全球化和多元文化,所以班上會有超過50個國家的學生,相對的,美國就仍是以美國人為主(但有不同族裔的美國人),在多元化上比不上歐洲的學校。

在選校時,我個人認為重點在於:

A. 排名

B. 地點

C. 領域

其實MBA的本質是高級的職業介紹所,專業技能其次,重點在於你能靠它跟那些人拉上關係,幫你找工作,同時在求職時,人資有沒有聽過你的學校的大名,給你錄取的敲門磚。

再來是地點,台成清交在台灣很有名,你去南非的話有誰聽過?

有很多學校在某些地區是就業的保證,但到了另一個地區就是失業的保證,所以選一個你有興趣去那邊工作的地點很重要。

最後是專精的職業領域,每間學校都有擅長的地方,比方說INSEAD走的是偏管理顧問、IE是偏創業/非營利組織、LBS是偏金融...等等。

長期下來,由於多屆校友畢業後的積累,這也決定了學校在不同產業上可以給學生帶來的資源跟人脈。

因此,把FT等知名的排行榜拉出來,前30名就是你要的,更後面的學校,MBA的價值就會往下掉,那時更重要的反而就是CP值。

接著,在這些名校中挑出所有你有興趣工作的地方,如果你想在美國工作,就不要傻到去讀CEIB,那怕是一間排名比他低的美國學校都會更好。

最後,選擇適合你未來想走的領域的學校,去查查它們的學生畢業後都做甚麼產業,挑出最後幾間,然後你就會有一個申請清單。

但是,我也想說一些題外話。

我覺得不要太執著一定要進排名最好的學校,也不要試圖偽裝自己去迎合特定學校的需求。

最好不等於最適合,所以做自己很重要,只有做自己,才能排除掉那些不適合自己的學校。

如果你想進某校,但它不收你也沒關係,這就代表你們兩邊的屬性不合,勉強是不會有幸福的,分開對兩邊都好。

畢竟,失去你是它的損失,不是你的。

4. GMAT怎麼才能考高分?

老實說,GMAT真的沒很難,我只讀了兩個禮拜就去考,完全沒補習,就有680

但由於我在加拿大住了12年,英文沒有問題,所以我的讀書方式只適用於跟我背景相同的人。

簡單地說,如果你在英語系國家生活/求學超過5年以上,那就用題海戰術就拚個3,000題,這樣沒650以上我隨便你。

我都是直接到http://gmat.kaomanfen.com/,用他的免費題庫,重複地解題,錯了就看解答加強,兩周作了差不多2,000題左右,就有680了。

對於跟我一樣每天叫窮的人來說,這裡就省了好幾萬的補習錢吶!

但我需要再強調一次,多數歐系商學院在意的是工作經驗,而不是像美國一樣在乎分數。

所以一般來說,歐洲除了LBSCambridge這種學校很愛成績外,650以上通常就夠用了,因此我在考了680後,也徹底失去再考的動力… GMAT太貴了!

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接下來,如果你有興趣申請IE Business School,以下是我個人的申請經驗。

IE跟很多歐洲的MBA名校不一樣,比起你的過去,它更在乎你的未來。

這一點,從它的12選3的Essay策略,可以看出來:

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1. If you had the opportunity, what actions would you demand of the United Nations Secretary General and why?
如果你有機會,你會要求聯合國秘書長做些什麼?為什麼?

2. Describe the situation with the greatest ethical complexity that you have faced in your professional or academic life, and how your input helped resolve it.
請描述一個在你的職業生涯或學術生涯中所遇到的最大的道德難題,並解釋你是怎麼處理它。

3. Describe a time when you took a great risk. What was the outcome?
請描述一次你冒了極大風險的經驗,冒險的結果是什麼?

4. Cite at least one example of when your leadership had an impact on or changed a certain situation, and justify how an IE Master's Degree program would help you to strengthen or improve this competence.
請描述一次你靠著自己的領導能力改變現況的經驗,並解釋為什麼讀IE的MBA後,能夠強化和改善你的領導能力。

5. Describe the most outstanding leader you have worked with. Indicate some aspects of the way you work that are similar to the way this leader works and others that are different.
請描述一位你曾經與之共事的頂尖領導者,並指出當你在工作時,有哪些方面與對方相同,又有哪些方面與對方不同。

6. You have just participated in an important meeting with your superior. How will you ensure that every part of the instructions you received will properly reach all subordinates, suppliers and clients, located in different parts of the world?
你剛和長官參加了一個重要的會議,你該怎麼確保在會議中得到的指示能確實地傳達到全世界各地的子公司、供應商、和客戶?

7. Do you think that the lifestyle of the inhabitants of your town or city reflects behavior that is in line with the concept of sustainable development? In your opinion, what should be improved?
你覺得住在你的城市裡的居民的生活方式,是否與城市永續性發展的概念相符?有什麼地方需要改進?

8. What do you believe are the greatest challenges facing the sector or industry you would like to specialize in at IE? What role do you hope to be able to play in this sector or industry in the medium term?
你認位你想要在IE專精的某項領域或產業所面臨到最大的挑戰是什麼?以中期來看,你希望在該領域或產業扮演甚麼樣的角色?

9. Show us an activity you enjoy doing. Tell us how you think it contributes to your personal and professional development.
告訴我們一項你樂在其中的活動,並解釋這項活動是怎麼影響你的個人或職涯發展。

10. How do you imagine social interaction within 10 years, taking into consideration the impact of technology on human relations?
在考慮科技發展的影響後,你認為十年後人類的互動方式及人際關係會是怎麼樣的?

11. If all of the world's cultural heritage (sports, music, fashion, architecture, literature, painting, etc..) was contained in a time capsule, what would you include to demonstrate the legacy of your country?
如果要將世界上所有的文化遺產(體育、音樂、服飾、建築、文學、繪畫...等)放入一個時間膠囊中,你認為最能代表你的國家被放入膠囊的傳承經典是什麼?

12. How do you envision the city of the future?
你所預見的未來城市會是什麼樣貌?

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如果你申請過的商學院夠多,這些奇特的題目肯定會讓你眼睛為之一亮,更不用說IE還鼓勵申請者用不同的方式,如影片、簡報、音樂、繪畫、漫畫...等方式來回答,而不要拘泥於文字的形式。

IE不像傳統的商學院一樣,只會問一些很老套的問題,像是"你在工作上取得最大的成就是什麼?"、"你人生中最失敗、最受挫的情況是怎麼樣的?"之類。

IE問的是你對於不同事物的觀點和看法,你有沒有冒險的精神、有沒有創新的能力、有沒有多元化/國際性的思維。

事實上,IE就連推薦信都只是很簡單的一個問卷,裡頭只問推薦人認為申請人的語言能力怎麼樣而已。

好吧,應該有人會問我選了什麼,所以我決定很貼心地順便把我寫的內文也貼上來。

礙於時間關係,我原本是打算essay + ppt + video,但後來寫了兩篇essays跟做了一份ppt。

說真的,做ppt比寫essays難太多了,要先思考表達內容的結構,故事的流程跟邏輯,然後盡可能地把文字減少,還要找到最適合的圖片,注意整體設計的一致性(字型、構圖、選色...等等),我寧可寫3篇essays也不想做一份ppt吶!!

我選的三個題目是跟IE核心價值(創業家精神、多元文化/全球化、創新能力)有關:

3. Describe a time when you took a great risk. What was the outcome?
請描述一次你冒了極大風險的經驗,冒險的結果是什麼?

In October 2014, I made a wild decision of resigning my associate position from XXXX Capital and co-founded a startup, OOOO. The outcome is not pleasant but I am glad that we fail earlier than expected so losses are tolerable. As of now, I am liquidating the company and negotiating with several competitors to sell remaining assets.

Prior to my resignation, I was to be promoted to investment manager and learn to take charge of company's US investments. I was also the only person in the Taiwan team being sent to Silicon Valley to train for future deal sourcing need with the help of our consultant from XYZ.

The decision of giving up the VC career I love was tough as I had a very promising future in the company at the time. Leaving XXXX implied that I put my whole career at risk and I might end up with bankruptcy at an age that is too old for job hunt.

My boss, a successful serial entrepreneur, was encouraging about my adventure but he also thought I am not suitable to the business environment in Taiwan, where successful entrepreneurs usually need to build strong relationship with government officials. Nonetheless, in spite of all the uncertainty, insecurity, and anxiety, I resigned – a month before reaching age of 30.

When I looked back into what we have done in the past 20 months, I think three major problems killed my company. First is the gutter oil scandal that stroke Taiwan a month after we founded. The few largest cooking oil suppliers in Taiwan sold cooking oil blended with recycled oil, grease, and leather cleaner. As many famous souvenir brands used this oil in their baking products, we had a very difficult time to convince hotels to join our platform even though the vendors we selected are absolutely safe.

Secondly, the market was not as big as we thought and we also encountered two major competitors, which correspondingly owned 8 times and 3 times more hotel rooms than us and had 170 times and 2 times more revenues than us. They also entered the market seven years earlier than us, had a more competitive cost structure by tax evasion, and already occupied most of the major hotel chains in Taipei. Even worse, a listed company also entered the market six months after we started. We were fighting three Goliath at a time with only four people (later became two).

Thirdly, as 50% of foreign tourists in Taiwan was from China and the outcome of 2016 presidential election infuriated China, Beijing decided to significantly reduce the number of FIT permits starting March 2016 unless the new Taiwanese government accepts the One-China Policy (which is impossible). Despite our YoY monthly sales grew 4 times in January and February, sales started to drop significantly in March and our hotel partners believed many hotels in Taipei will shut down this year while rest will struggle badly to survive.

Overall, I think past 18 months were the best time I ever had and running this startup was an excellent experience that allows me to see my weaknesses, both in skill sets and mind sets. I used to think entrepreneurship means leading a company to make a lot of money but now I realized entrepreneurship is to take risks, step out of comfort zone, explore unknown, challenge oneself, battle negative emotion and stress, utilize all resources to achieve targets, always keep faith, and most importantly, do not give up easily.

6. You have just participated in an important meeting with your superior. How will you ensure that every part of the instructions you received will properly reach all subordinates, suppliers and clients, located in different parts of the world?
你剛和長官參加了一個重要的會議,你該怎麼確保在會議中得到的指示能確實地傳達到全世界各地的子公司、供應商、和客戶?

There are several problems that may come up when an organization is bulky and crosses multiple time zones. As a result, to ensure all instructions are delivered properly, five major issues should be stressed: (1) completeness of instructions; (2) avoidance of misunderstanding; (3) timeliness of delivery; (4) proper execution of instructions; (5) feedback and follow-up monitoring.

The first thing I will do is to compare notes with other colleagues again to ensure I did not miss any information and the instructions are complete. Then, I will think over the instructions again to ensure there is no ambiguity. I will confirm the deadline of delivery with my superior, understand his purpose of making such instructions, and ask questions to prevent ambiguity in instructions to avoid any possible misunderstanding.

As the instructions need to be delivered to multiple parties under time constraints, I will first come up with a list of contacts and categorize them according to their roles (eg. Suppliers, clients, subordinates, etc). I will then draft letters or messages with proper instructions and deadline for each category depending on the part of instructions they need to know to ensure unnecessary information leak. 

As there may be thousands of contacts on list, it is impossible for me to track every single response. Further, there are language problems, cultural problems, familiarity problems, time zone problems, etc. that may interfere direct communication. Thus, I will divide my work by assigning instruction delivery job to different contact windows. 

For instance, for suppliers in Spain, I will contact purchase department head in Spain branch companies and ask them to contact suppliers. To ensure my message is received by local windows, I will send a tracking email and a message through instant messengers such as WhatsApp and request for immediate response upon receipt.

After all these are done, I will go after each contact window on regular basis, depending on how far away the deadline is. Further, to ensure the instructions have been properly delivered and executed, once confirmed by the contact window that instructions have been delivered, I will run a random draw on the list of contacts and call them directly to make sure jobs are done. If everything is done perfectly, I will then report to my superior claiming the job is done.

Finally, as the instructions from superior may not be perfect, I will also collect feedbacks from both contact windows and each party after a week or two to see if any further improvement is required to make the process more efficient and more reliable. I will put together a one-pager and bring this to my superior to let him know the results of execution and my opinions on process improvement.

12. How do you envision the city of the future?
你所預見的未來城市會是什麼樣貌?

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最後,是很多申請者最好奇的面試問題。

面試我的是IE新加坡的director,不要問我為什麼不是IE上海的人來面試我這種爛問題,去問上帝。

其實INSEAD跟Oxford也都有面試我,但我沒有記錄好面試問題,就沒法分享了。

IE的面試大約是1小時左右,主要是面試官take lead,面試問題如下:

- Why IE?
- Why did you choose not to continue biology as your career?- Use three words to describe yourself.
- Biotech is doing very well now. Have you ever regret giving up biology and going after accounting?
- There was a gap in your resume. What were you doing at the time?
- Do you know there is Buffet's Lunch? Who would be the person you'd like to lunch with? What is the one question you will ask him?
- What is the most important decision you have made in your career?
- How would you position yourself in a team?
- What have you learned from your VC experience?
- What is the proudest business decision you made during your career?
- What can you contribute to class?
- Assuming you are in the after-party of MBA graduation ceremony, how would your classmates talk about you?
- How do you handle conflicts in the team?
- If you were sent to a unknown place for conducting financial due diligence, how would you build up your own network?
- What's your career goal after you graudate?
- What's the weirdest thing you have ever done?
- What is you backup plan if we reject you?
- If we decide to reject you without telling you a reason, what do you think the reason is?
- Tell me something not on your resume.
- How many countries have you been to?
- How would you fund your MBA?

如果你還想要知道我是怎麼回答的...

拜託,MBA是訓練未來的公司主管,要找的是那些能應付問題的人,而不是整天想著看別人答案再回答的人。

如果什麼都要人教,別人沒做過就沒法做,那其實不適合讀MBA,別浪費錢嘍!

--

總之,希望明年會有更多的台灣人加入IE呀...

過些日子等安頓好了,也許我會再寫一篇如何搬家到西班牙的故事,哈哈。

 

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