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MBA News You Need: Cornell Studies the Power of Personal Endorsements for MBA Applicants, Two HBS Professors Honored for Teaching, Video Reveals Duke Fuqua Pronunciation, and More.

Each week we collect all the MBA news that’s fit to print and provide a quick overview of the latest trending topics from top schools around the world.

Here’s your quick MBA News You Need digest for the week of May 17, 2018.

Endorsements Help MBA Applicants, Cornell Study Finds

Cornell University published new research suggesting that one of the most surefire ways for an MBA applicant to get interviewed and admitted to an MBA program is through personal endorsements.

Endorsed applicants naturally have a leg up on their competitors. Not only are they interviewed 82 percent of the time compared to 34 percent, but among those interviewed, 64 percent of endorsed applicants received job offers compared to just 52 percent for candidates without endorsements.

What might be most insightful about the discovery is that endorsed applicants aren’t necessarily more qualified, and they don’t receive more interviews or acceptances based on merit. Endorsed applicants generally scored worse in interviews compared to non-endorsed applicants, but they still looked stronger “on paper.”

To get the full picture of the benefits of personal endorsements, read the report in ScienceDaily now.

Two HBS Professors Honored with Aspen Institute’s “Ideas Worth Teaching” Award

Professor George Serafeim

Classes that attempt to tackle the issues of our time are vital for enabling students to apply their knowledge to real-world situations once they leave the classroom. With that premise in mind, the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program selected 20 exceptional undergraduate and graduate professors to honor with their 2017 Ideas Worth Teaching Award. This year, two stellar educators came from Harvard Business School: Professor Rebecca Henderson and Professor George Serafeim.

Professor Rebecca Henderson

Henderson and Serafeim were recognized for their second-year MBA elective course, “Reimagining Capitalism.” Their 28-session course looks at how businesses, individuals, and industries can engage with societal changes, and then asks students to build a theory that makes the system better. The lessons are taught through case studies that explore the idea of “big problems” and how they can be addressed by firms.

“Free market capitalism is one of the great achievements of mankind,” they write in their course syllabus. “But today capitalism faces critical challenges on a wide variety of fronts.”

To learn more about their course and the research that enhances both Henderson’s and Serafeim’s work in the classroom, read the HBS press release.

Video Takes the Wonder Out of How to Pronounce Fuqua


Duke is home to the Fuqua School of Business, one of the world’s most renowned MBA programs. The reputation of the program belies a strange little challenge many have been whispered about in quiet corridors: Just how do you pronounce ‘Fuqua’? Thankfully, Fuqua staffers put together a short video to help solve the mystery.

In short, it’s pronounced “few kwa,” but a great way to remember the pronunciation is this helpful mnemonic: “It’s not one kwa. It’s not two kwa. It’s a few kwa.”Now when you apply to Duke Fuqua, you don’t have to worry about screwing up the name in the interview process.

To hear it pronounced for yourself, watch the video now, and never get Fuqua wrong again.

HBS Honors Four Founding Members of African-American Student Union

Fifty years ago, Harvard Business School inaugurated the African-American Student Union (AASU) thanks to the efforts of four enterprising MBA students: Clifford Darden (MBA 1969), Lillian Lincoln Lambert (MBA 1969), Theodore Lewis (MBA 1969), and Leroy Willis (MBA 1969).

As part of the AASU’s 50th anniversary celebration, the four founding members were recognized with the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, Harvard University’s highest honor in the field of African and African-American Studies.

(LtoR): AASU co- founders Leroy Willis, Theodore Lewis, Lillian Lincoln Lambert, and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. Not pictured: AASU cofounder Clifford Darden, who was unable to attend

In his keynote address, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. paid tribute to the founding members. “It is their actions that ultimately led to the organization we commemorate today. Arriving on campus in the fall of 1967, they each would have to answer the same question every black incoming student at Harvard had faced since Reconstruction. Would they, in the words of the great W.E.B. DuBois, be ‘in Harvard, but not of’ Harvard?” (HBS Press Release)

Tuck Student-Led Social Venture Fund Makes Second Investment

In an effort to advance the field of sustainable energy, the student-led Tuck Social Venture Fund (TSVF) has made a $25,000 investment in Brightfield Transportation Solutions. The company, which makes solar-integrated charging stations for electric cars, is the second investment made by the fund. In total, TSVF has $100,000 in seed funding to invest in various social ventures.

The Dartmouth Tuck fund, which launched in 2015, uses an all-hands-on-deck approach to investment strategies. Before the Brightfield investment, MBA students immersed themselves in due diligence and examined more than 100 startups across a wide range of industries. In the end, their consensus was to choose a business that was able to make an impact socially and environmentally that scaled alongside the business. Brightfield fit the bill.

“As they sell more solar rechargeable stations, they decrease reliance on fossil fuels and increase access to electric vehicles,” said Jodine Gordon (MBA ’18), managing director of TSVF.

Posted in: Feature Small, MBA News You Need, Weekly Columns

Schools: Cornell / Johnson, Dartmouth / Tuck, Duke / Fuqua, Harvard Business School

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