This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a follow up interview with Dominic Yau, who is about to complete his first year at Dartmouth Tuck. (We first met Dominic last year – you can read our first interview with him here.)
Accepted: Since we last spoke you applied to a bunch of b-schools. Where did you end up getting accepted and where are you currently attending?
Dominic: I ended up being accepted to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and I am currently a first year there.
Accepted: How has it been so far? Is b-school as you expected it to be? Any surprises?
Dominic: First year has been phenomenal. It has been everything I expected and more. On the academic front, I have definitely been challenged both from a breadth perspective. Tuck is a general management program and therefore the core curriculum covers all the key facets of a general manager’s toolkit.
On the recruiting side, it has been a very intense but rewarding experience. I knew going in that I wanted to go into management consulting but also explore a couple of other things. Tuck has given me the opportunity to explore and understand what I wanted out of my career.
Outside of the classroom and recruiting, I have been involved with a lot of clubs and other events from playing (tripod) ice hockey to hosting a UK table at the international dinner during our Diversity Conference. There is such a wide variety of things to get involved that the hardest thing is to pick and choose what you want to do.
Overall, my first year so far has been fantastic. Looking back, one thing that I am surprised by is some of the non-technical skills that I have learnt. One example is being more efficient at making trade-offs when you have limited time. Rather than waste time thinking about what I could be doing, I have gotten much better at deciding on what I want to do and how to use my time most effectively. I think this will be a valuable lesson in my life and in my career going forwards!
Accepted: Why did you choose Tuck? How is it the best fit for you?
Dominic: I chose Tuck because of its location, size, and community. I did my undergrad at a campus university and I knew I wanted a similar experience. Also coming from a large city like London and most likely working in large cities post-MBA, it was a great way of taking two years and doing something slightly different.
Tuck’s size was also a big draw for me. I know pretty much all of the first years and I have had interactions with a large percentage of the second years. This simply is not the case at some other schools. Tuck’s size also closes the gap between the school and its students. I can drop into our program office with any queries or reach out to meet one-on-one with another of the faculty at very short notice.
Finally, the community at Tuck is very strong. People go out of their way to help each other and support each other. I am surprised by the strength of the community on a daily basis.
Accepted: If you could change anything about the program, what would it be?
Dominic: There is not a lot I would change about Tuck. One area that I think Tuck is addressing and needs to continue to address to focus more broadly on global issues. It is great that the Class of 2017 will now have a requirement to undertake at least one trip or project globally during their two years. I think as globalization continues, it is deeply important to have the cultural sensitivity and the ability to work across borders.
Accepted: Are you involved in any clubs on campus? How central to student life is club involvement?
Dominic: I am a wine aficionado and I will be a co-Chair of the Wine Club next year. I also play tripod hockey. Overall clubs are an important part of the Tuck experience but I find that some of my best experiences are typically more ad hoc. Due to our class size, I know the folks who have similar interests as myself so it is very easy to find others who want to go for a hike, play pond hockey, try out local eateries, etc.
Accepted: Do you have an internship lined up for the summer? What role did Tuck play in helping you secure a position?
Dominic: I will be interning this summer with one of the Top 3 consulting firms in New York. I have had great support during my internship recruiting from the Career Development Office (CDO), my classmates, and the alumni network. The CDO has been instrumental in helping me over the last few months from practising cases and fit questions to more general advice about managing the recruiting process. As for my classmates, the second years have devoted a lot of time to first years in helping them get ready for case interviews.
Finally, I cannot say enough about Tuck’s alumni network. Typically, I get a response within 24 hours of reaching out to an alumni. They are also very gracious with their time. I had a call with an alum during his layover at an airport between flights back from a client. I also had mock interviews with several alums during the Christmas break when they should have been relaxing. I think this speaks volume to Tuck’s alumni network.
Accepted: Now that you’ve successfully applied to and gotten into b-school, you must have some good advice for our readers. What are your top 3 admissions tips?
Dominic: My 3 top tips are:
1. Be yourself
2. Be prepared
3. Find the right fit
For one-on-one guidance on your b-school applications, please see our MBA Application Packages.
To read more about Dominic’s b-school journey, please check out his blog, Domotron. Thank you Dominic for sharing your story with us!
The Harvard Crimson reports that Harvard Law School’s admissions policies over the last few years actively prefer applicants with work experience post-undergrad and pre-law school.
In the past, close to 50% of incoming HLS students were straight out of undergrad, but since 2009, that percent has been decreasing steadily. Now, ¾ of each incoming class has some type of post-undergraduate work experience.
This trend is likely to continue as law schools begin to focus on students who are self-directed and bring value to the law school class beyond a sharp mind. The Crimson quotes an admissions officer as saying, “[Work experience] is something we actively preference and look for in the application process.” The same admissions officers and professors point out that work experience is an additional asset when looking for post-graduation employment.
What are the takeaways from this trend? First, if HLS actively prefers applicants with work experience, then other top-tier schools will certainly follow (if they haven’t already). Second, it means that candidates with lower GPAs and LSAT scores can bolster their application with meaningful work experience.
If you are waiting to apply to next year, be sure to increase your chance of admissions by finding meaningful work. Furthermore, be sure that your personal essay emphasizes this experience and what you have learned.
Jessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s PostBacc Program and teaches writing at all levels.
In the final section of our Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success series, we’ll discuss how reapplicants should improve, and then present, their experiences.
One last factor that can seriously hurt your chances is a lack of substantive, ongoing experiences.
Medical schools want students who are passionate and committed – to the world around them as well as to medicine. The AAMC says,
“Most volunteer experiences are valuable and will provide you with well-rounded experiences. Just make sure you have at least one solid health care-related experience, in addition to your non-medical volunteer work, so that your experiences speak to your commitment to medicine.”
It’s hard to convince an admissions committee that you want to pursue a medical career if you haven’t spent time in a clinical environment. Shadowing can give you a peek into that world, and it is a wonderful way to learn about the different specialties. But to demonstrate the kind of ongoing, substantive involvement that will make an impact, you’ll need to go further.
If you’ve identified your clinical exposure as a problem area, the American Medical Student Association’s Pre-medical Access to Clinical Experience (PACE) guide is a valuable starting point.
• Volunteer at your local hospital or free clinic. Some positions won’t offer much patient contact, but some involve providing patients with pre-exam instructions, entertaining sick children, and escorting patients to various areas. Areas like Surgical Recovery Units and Emergency Departments often allow chances for patient interaction. See what’s on offer.
• Work as a Certified Nursing Assistant with a nursing home or home care program. Training takes 6-12 weeks, after which you can help in patient support roles.
• Train and work as an Emergency Medical Technician on campus or in your community.
• Join the staff at a summer camp for children with disabilities or chronic illness. Listings like Summer Camp Staff can put you in touch.
• Intern or volunteer with your county health department. Many opportunities will put you in touch with physicians and public health experts, as well as affected populations.
• See if your hospital offers a Hospital Elder Life Program. They’re often seeking volunteers to work with their elderly patients, as are hospices and nursing homes.
Gaining substantive, ongoing clinical experience can be challenging, since anything significant requires a medical license. And like improving your GPA, this isn’t something that you can fix quickly. Hopefully any volunteer activities begun before your last application are ongoing – in that case, you’re in good shape to reapply with a stronger application. But it’s important not to rush this step – reapplying before you’ve had time to develop solid experiences in this area could lead you right back to the start.
As you prepare for your reapplication, try to stay optimistic. What you’ve been through hasn’t been easy, but it should have been a learning experience. Now wiser and more qualified, you stand a much better chance at getting into medical school.
Thanks for joining us on our adventure through the med school reapplication process. Please be in touch if you have any questions — we’re here to help YOU get Accepted!
By Cydney Foote, Accepted consultant and author of Write Your Way to Medical School, who has helped future physicians craft winning applications since 2001.
“I can’t stop trembling….can’t eat….cry for little or no reason….I am so nervous.” All of this from Janelle, a prospective graduate student on her response to scheduling a GRE test date. I was not surprised that Janelle was nervous as almost all prospective graduate students are a bit anxious about admissions’ tests. However, Janelle took “anxious” to a whole new level. It was clear to me that I would need to develop a somewhat different plan of action to successfully help Janelle perform at her very best on this exam.
My first step was to listen carefully as Janelle shared all her feelings and fears. She said that she actually felt better just by having someone listen without judgement. I told her that I would brainstorm some options and we scheduled a follow-up meeting.
I decided to “borrow” some of the techniques I use to deal with speaker anxiety in the public speaking classes that I teach at the undergraduate level. I was planning to use cognitive restructuring– changing the way we think about something.
At our next meeting I told Janelle that I had developed a three stage strategy to position her for success. I asked her to think about the GRE process like the development of a relationship. In other words going from the acquaintance level to friend level to intimate level. We were going to “Make Friends with the GRE.” Here’s how we did it:
STAGE 1: Aquaintance Level—-This is the “getting to know you” stage of the process.
• Understand the GRE Testing program- Research the GRE general test and the discipline-specific subject tests especially in terms of available test administration dates, time limitations on retakes, score delivery options, etc.
• Determine which tests are required by the schools/programs of your interest—Check the admission criteria and the application deadlines to determine which tests are required and the application deadlines so that you can schedule the appropriate exams to meet all of the criteria of the school/programs of your choice. Keep in mind that while the GRE general test has multiple test administration sites and dates, the GRE subject test administrations are often scheduled only 2 or 3 times per admission cycle. Advance and careful planning is necessary to meet these deadlines so that you do not find yourself in a situation where your application is not complete by the deadline date. Many programs will only review complete applications.
• Learn even more by surveying and requesting feedback from others who have taken the exam. They may well have some tidbits of advice for you. They may alert you to specific pitfalls to avoid. Keep a list for future reference.
STAGE 2: Friendship Level— This is the “let’s become friends” stage of the process.
• Visit the ETS website to learn about the GRE subject tests offered and to access the associated subject test review books which will provide details on the content areas for the test, the weights assigned to each topic, as well as a practice test. This will provide you with a guide on what to study as well as how much time to allocate to specific topics. The subject test practice book can be downloaded from the web free of charge or will be mailed when you register for the exam.
• To prepare for the GRE general test, you should invest the time to diagnose the skill areas that need the most attention by identifying areas of weakness that require intensive review. These may include, but are not limited to, reading for meaning, analyzing and general organization of your ideas in short essay format, general mathematics, algebra, geometry, charts, etc.
• Take advantage of the diagnostic services offered by ETS which includes GRE’s Diagnostic Tests and Score It Now!, the online writing practice. Check out these low cost options on the ETS website.
• Make use of the GRE Powerprep software for reviews of the verbal and quantitative measure sections of the GRE exam.
• Be prepared to write 2 timed essays. One essay will present your perspective on an issue and the second essay will assess your ability to analyze an argument. You can practice typing an essay response under timed conditions using GRE Powerprep software or you can pay for Score- it -Now! for online writing practice. The analytical writing measure serves as an assessment of critical thinking and the following analytical and writing skills: articulation of complex ideas, clear and effective examination of claims and evidence, supporting ideas with relevant reasons and explicit examples, preparing a well-focused and coherent discussion, and displaying mastery of standard written English.
• Throughout this entire stage use positive self-talk as a confidence booster. Place the emphasis on all of the progress you have made and continue to make.
(On a side note, I made sure that I was always available for confidence boosting and positive feedback)
STAGE 3— Intimate Level—- this is the commitment stage of the process.
• Become comfortable taking a computer delivered, timed, online exam by practicing in that type of environment. If you only practice using a review book, the new delivery format may increase your level of anxiety and, as such, may impact your performance.
• Look back at how far you have come and continue to invest in the relationship you have established. You may even learn to enjoy the challenge and the rewards that the relationship may bring.
• Last but not least, allow yourself enough time for the relationship to strengthen (prepare and study for the exam) and take hold.
At this point I am sure you are wondering if Janelle was successful. Yes she was–she handled the stress very well and was accepted to her top choice schools. I was certainly proud to have helped her achieve her goal.
By Carol Drummer, Former Hofstra University Dean of Graduate Admissions, who for 10 years reviewed and signed off on over 4500 admissions decisions per year and has taught communications and rhetoric since 1991.
Click here to listen to the recording of our conversation with the CBS admissions team – although they sound more like a family- and find out what the masterminds who shape the MBA class have to say about the admissions process and Columbia B-School.
00:03:18 – Meet the Columbia Business School Admission Team and hear why they love their jobs!
00:08:00 – An overview of the 2-year MBA Program at Columbia.
00:11:04 – What the J-Term is and who it’s for.
00:14:55 – A preview of the 2015-16 application, and what they’re looking for in this year’s essays.
00:18:07 – No longer a pilot program: No-cosignor loans available for international students.
00:20:58 – Why apply early decision.
00:24:13 – The journey of a submitted CBS application.
00:27:07 – The format and purpose of a CBS interview.
00:30:00 – Great features of CBS that the adcom members wish prospective students would know about.
00:36:47 – Suggestions for waitlisted applicants.
00:39:44 – Rejection does happen. What next?
00:44:27 – Ingredients of a successful application.
00:48:38 – The most common MBA application mistake. (But you won’t do this, right?)
*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com
• Columbia MBA Admissions
• Columbia J-Term
• Columbia JTerm app to be Released Early
• Experiences & Advice from Columbia MBA Student Kendall Miller
• Columbia 2014-15 MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines
• Get Accepted to Columbia Business School – free webinar recording
• Making International Student Loans a Prime Investment
• The Facts About Financial Services
• Exploring the Part-Time MBA Options at NYU Stern
• At the Nexus of Business & Law: Penn/Wharton’s JD/MBA
• Bruce DelMonico on The Yale School of Management