Tuck Announces New December Business Bridge Program

Check out our Dartmouth Tuck b-school zone!

Tuck Hall at Dartmouth

Tuck Announces New December Business Bridge Program Liberal arts undergrads have been attending the Tuck’s summer Business Bridge program for the last 18 years. Now the Tuck Business Bridge program will be adding a December option for students, starting December 2014.

This new session will be open to any undergraduate or graduate student, but it is designed for Dartmouth undergrads and will run December 1-19 and will cover (for the most part) the same topics covered during the four-week summer program (and will therefore be more intensive due to the shorter period of time). The program will introduce students to important business and managerial subjects (corporate finance, managerial economics, financial accounting, marketing, etc.), and will feature team projects, industry explorations, and career coaching.

4,000 undergrads have attended Bridge since its inception in 1997. About 30% of alumni have gone on to attend top b-schools.

Application deadlines for December Bridge are June 1, August 1, and October 1. There will be financial aid available for the December program.

Learn more about the program here.

Learn how to use sample essays to create an exemplary essay of your own! Click here to download our free report!

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A Non-Traditional Med School Applicant Gearing up For May

Download Ace the AMCAS Essay, a free special report that teaches you the who, what, why, and how of creating a winning AMCAS essay.This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the med school application process. And now, introducing our anonymous blogger, “A.”…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergraduate? What is your favorite flavor ice cream?

A.: I have lived in California for almost my entire life. Though I have moved a few times, I have never left LA County and I actually attended UCLA as an undergraduate. I came into UCLA with a passion for working with children and an interest in Psychology, which led me to major in Psychobiology and minor in Applied Developmental Psychology. I worked my way through college and was involved in a few extracurriculars, my favorite being Campus Events where I helped put on advanced screenings of feature films.

My favorite flavor ice cream? That’s a tough one! I would have to say that during my time at UCLA, I converted from Rocky Road to Jamoca Almond Fudge – you just can’t beat that precious union of coffee and chocolate!

Accepted: What stage of the med school application process are you up to?

A.: Well, I recently took the MCAT and am currently preparing my list of schools. I am researching both MD and DO programs as well as a few post-bacc and special master’s programs and narrowing down my options. I am also beginning to draft up my personal statement and contact certain professors for letters of recommendation. So I guess I’m sort of just gearing up for when the application opens up on May 1st (which I just realized is less than a month away!).

Accepted: Would you describe yourself as a traditional or non-traditional med school applicant?

A.: A traditional medical school applicant is one who goes directly into medical school after undergraduate, right? So I guess I would describe myself as a non-traditional medical school applicant since I am taking at least two years off in between. And even more so because throughout my years in college, I entertained other career choices as well and was extremely close to pursuing a PhD in Developmental Psychology instead!

Accepted: What’s been the most challenging stage of this premed process so far? What steps have you taken to overcome that challenge?

A.: Oh, I would definitely say that my undergraduate years were the most challenging “stage” of the premed process thus far (yes, even more so than the MCAT!). You come into college being told to keep an open mind and therefore, I, personally, had a hard time coming to terms with what I really wanted.

Being a doctor was definitely up there as a career choice, but so was being a writer, a teacher, or a film industry professional.

I was so afraid of choosing a career path that I would later regret or be unhappy with, that although I took pre-med classes, I was hesitant in committing 100%. Therefore, my heart wasn’t really into it and more so, I felt inadequate compared to those students who you would typically label as “gunners”.

In such an academically competitive environment, my self-esteem definitely took a hit and I felt like there was no way I could succeed, so instead, I just tried to remain afloat. And because I threw myself into so many extracurriculars and tried to get the most out of my college experience, I never had a moment to step back and really consider what I was truly passionate about.

It wasn’t until I had graduated and traveled abroad for a bit that I had a moment to breathe. And that was when a sense of clarity set in – there is no other profession I would rather pursue and even if it takes years, I will become a doctor one day.

Accepted: Do you have a dream med school? Where do you hope to attend?

A.: Every day as I do a little more research, another really amazing school catches my eye and I think, “Wow, it would be great to go here!” So I guess to answer your question, I don’t have a dream medical school. Every school I apply to is a “dream medical school” and I would be honored to get just one acceptance.

That being said, I have been looking at a lot of DO schools lately – I absolutely love the philosophy behind osteopathic medicine – and would definitely be thrilled to attend a DO school in California such as Touro University or Western University of Health Sciences. Actually, any medical school in California would be the dream given the tuition prices!

Accepted: Your About A. page is so intriguing! Can you give us a few more hints about your identity?

A.: Well, here are some fun facts: my full name is 26 letters long, longer than Chrysanthemum, and the same length as the American alphabet. I don’t have a middle name, but the first part of my first name means infinity and the second part means music, so I like to think my first name means infinite music. But wait! There’s more – my last name literally translates to ‘Lion King’, which I think is appropriate, as I believe my Animagus would be a lion. Not enough information? Google “ENFJ” – it’s pretty spot on!

Accepted: You have about a year until you start med school. How many items on your Bucket List do you think you can knock off by then?

A.: Oh, I hope I can knock out at least ten by the end of this year! But you know, the best thing about bucket lists is that they are never-ending. The more you get out of your comfort zone and explore the world, the stronger the desire to see even more. I mean, we are human after all – we have this yearning for more. So I’m pretty sure that in a year, though I may be lucky to get a few items crossed off, my list will probably be even longer than it is now! And I’m always open to suggestions!

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? What do you hope to gain from the blogging experience?

A.: I began my blog back in 2009, when I was a senior in high school and awaiting to hear back from colleges. I have always found comfort in writing down my thoughts and opinions and to be able to share them through a public forum was invigorating. Though I may not write consistently as some other bloggers, I find that when I do write, it is driven by an intrinsic need to share a momentous memory or event. Regardless of whether I am experiencing joy or hardship, writing allows me to clear my mind and think logically.

Yes, I am a pre-med student and I do hope to attend medical school one day. So I often write about what I encounter through this application process. And maybe when that time comes, my blog may shift its focus to include more stories from a medical perspective. However, there is more to me than simply being a pre-med student – I am a young woman, a musician, a writer, an explorer, an optimist, a hopeless romantic, and so much more. I come from a low-income, ethnic background and every day I learn something new.

Therefore, when you ask if I have a “target audience”, I would hope that my blog would cater to anyone who is simply going through this roller coaster ride known as life. As cheesy as that metaphor might be, I think it definitely illustrates the ups, downs, and transitions that everyone from adolescents to adults face today. As students, we may be taught exceptional material by renowned teachers and professors, but no one ever teaches you how to deal with the “in-betweens”. The curveballs that get thrown at you. What actually comes after “happily ever after”. I hope my blog conveys that sentiment – that there is confusion, struggle, and sometimes a little fear when figuring out what’s next. But with the downs, there are always ups, and that is the beauty of life.

I titled my blog Serendipity five years ago because it was such a lovely word and a great feel-good romantic comedy. I’ve held on to that title five years later, however, because I have noticed several events in my own life that seemed to be fortunate accidents. Life works in mysterious ways and what may seem ill fated at the time may actually be a blessing in disguise. So all in all, whoever my readers may be, my only wish is that they begin to see and perhaps appreciate serendipitous acts in their own lives.

You can read more about A.’s journey by checking out her blog, ser·en·dip·i·ty. Thank you A. for sharing your story with us!

Do you want to be featured in Accepted.com’s blog, Accepted Admissions Blog? If you want to share your med school journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at bloggers@accepted.com.

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College Planning: May is for Making Your Case

Start your college applications off right by downloading our free special report!

The keys are incorporating your challenges into your college search.

Are you a high school junior planning to apply to top colleges and universities next year? This post is part of a series of posts that will help you prepare for next year’s application process. 

Oh, and if you don’t want to wait for the monthly posts, please download Preparing for College in High School: A To-Do List for Eleventh Graders. It’s all there.

Your high school path suddenly takes a detour. Your grades, which had been steady and consistent, take a nosedive. Perhaps it’s due to illness, personal or family issues, or a learning disability that eventually made itself clear. As you move forward into the summer before your senior year, it is time to consider whether or not this impacts the colleges you plan on applying to.

For most students, the answer is yes. Sometimes, the circumstances change your mind about how far you would like to be from home. In other cases, illness or other family issues have a financial impact that necessitates finding financial safety schools, or looking first to a nearby community college for a period of time. If your challenges impacted your GPA or course selection, then that also may impact the schools you choose to apply to.

Yes, you will have opportunities to explain your circumstances, and many times, you will be met with  a sympathetic reader on the other side of your application. Sympathy, however, does not guarantee  admission. Be prepared to discuss your situation. You can do this through your essay, an additional  statement, your guidance counselor recommendation, or, in some cases, a personal interview on campus with an admission counselor. In most situations, the admissions staff will be evaluating your response to the challenge. Did you overcome adversity? What did you learn from the situation? Is the college going to be able to meet any future needs you might have?

In most cases, it is to your benefit to discuss any aberrations or weaknesses in your academic  performance. The keys are incorporating your challenges into your college search and then finding the  appropriate avenue to explain your record.

Download Free: Preparing for College in High School: A To-Do List for Eleventh Graders

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IV with a UC Berkeley Haas Admitted Student and 2013 MBA Launcher

Check out the rest of our MBA Applicant Interview series!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with MBA applicants, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the MBA application process. And now…introducing Marisa who will be starting at UC Berkeley Haas in the fall.

Accepted: Let’s start with some basics: Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite non-school book?

Marisa: I’m from Santa Barbara, CA, but went to college at Northwestern University, where I majored in Middle East History and International Relations.  My favorite non-school book is “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini — he’s such a powerful storyteller.

Accepted: Congrats on your acceptance to Haas! How would you say that you’re a good fit with the program?

Marisa: Thank you!  I was really attracted to Haas’ four Defining Principles, but particularly “confidence without attitude.”  When I visited the school and spoke with both current and former students, I found this cultural attribute to be absolutely true — these people are rockstars, but they are humble about their accomplishments and eager to collaborate with others.  I think this phrase describes me pretty well.  I’m confident and ambitious but don’t like to be a jerk about it, and I certainly don’t believe that my success should come at the expense of someone else’s. Plus, I truly believe that humility is essential to good leadership, and I like how Haas emphasizes that as a key aspect of their culture

Accepted: Which other b-schools had you considered?

Marisa: I applied to Stanford’s GSB in Round 1, and Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business in Round 2 (but withdrew my application after being accepted to Haas).  I also strongly considered Northwestern’s Kellogg SOM but ultimately decided I did not want to return to Evanston.  I don’t like to repeat experiences, even though I’m sure Kellogg itself would have differed from undergrad.  Also, it’s freezing.  But we’ll pretend that wasn’t a serious factor…

Accepted: What are you most looking forward to in starting b-school in the fall?

Marisa: I’m most looking forward to meeting my classmates and hearing about their experiences and goals for the future.  I’m also looking forward to some of the experiential education opportunities at Haas, like the International Business Development course and Social Sector Solutions consultancy.  As a history major, I rarely had the opportunity to directly tie my classroom learning to practical applications, so I look forward to learning new material in class and then applying it on projects right away.

Accepted: You have a really interesting work history — currently at Deloitte and previously at the FBI. First, can you tell us about what you did at the FBI (if you’re allowed…), and then, how did that lead you to Deloitte, and where do see yourself working post-MBA?

Marisa: My work history sounds more interesting than it is!  I was a strategic intelligence analyst in the FBI’s counterterrorism division, where I basically conducted research and wrote papers (sounds like a history major, right?).  The intelligence products I wrote, and briefings that I gave to decisionmakers, theoretically helped guide investigations of terrorist activity.  I did have some cool experiences (briefed the Director a couple times and traveled internationally to brief some partner agencies), but ultimately I found the pace a little slow and the bureaucracy more than a little maddening.  I was also far from the action on the ground, so I didn’t feel like I was able to have a true impact in my role.  Ultimately, it just wasn’t the right fit.

I saw consulting as an opportunity to help organizations like my previous employer address the issues that get in the way of executing their missions effectively. So last January I joined Deloitte as a consultant in their Federal Practice here in DC, where I have been working with IC clients on things like strategic planning and business process improvement. I have also been heavily involved with the Federal Women’s Initiative (WIN), founding and leading the WIN Gen Y team focused on engaging and empowering junior women professionals in the Federal Practice. Deloitte is a great company and I’ve learned a ton, but I feel ready to take the next step in my career with an MBA.  Post-Haas, I see myself working in international development consulting, helping organizations create positive social and economic impacts in emerging markets (specifically, in the Middle East).

Accepted: Can you tell us about your experience as a 2013 MBA Launcher? And what about your experience with Forte? Are these programs that you’d recommend to other b-school applicants?

Marisa: I really enjoyed participating in the pilot Forte MBALaunch program.  For those who are unfamiliar, Forte Foundation established this program to help MBA-interested women navigate the application process, from identifying target schools to acing the GMAT to executing on essays and interviews.  In 2013, the program was launched in New York, DC, and Chicago and included an in-person kick-off event, monthly webinars, a personal advisor, placement in a peer group of other MBALaunch women, and attendance at a local Forte-sponsored MBA fair.

I found the monthly webinars, particularly the ones that forced me to really think about my “story” and how to present myself to the admissions committee, to be extremely helpful.  I don’t think I would have had quite the edge I needed without that guidance.  Plus, since the program started in January, it forced me to start thinking about the process very early, and then kept me on track for Round 1 submissions.

When I applied to the program, I was most excited about being paired with an advisor — a woman who had received her MBA and would help me through the application process.  However, I ended up finding the peer mentorship of my fellow MBALaunch women to be even more impactful.  My advisor provided some necessary tough love and advice — like insisting I consider retaking the GMAT when that was the last thing I wanted to do, which led me to improve my score by 30 points.  But my peer group provided me nearly constant support.  We shared resources, read each others’ essays, and advised one another when we ran into challenges.  In fact, even though the program has officially ended, we’re still getting together soon to help one of our members make her enrollment decision.

Overall, I had a really positive experience with MBALaunch and the awesome Forte women who run the program.  I hope to continue my involvement with Forte in the future.

Accepted: As someone who applied successfully to b-school, you must have some good tips to share. Can you offer 2-3 tips for our readers?

Marisa: Every applicant is different, but I can offer some general tips that worked for me:

1. Get beyond the rankings lists.  Really think about what you want, and what characteristics are important to you — class size, location, specific focus areas or experiences, recruitment relationships, etc.  It’s not as obvious as you’d think, so talk to those people in your life who know you best and can help you figure out what aspects of a program to prioritize.  And keep an open mind — your dream school might just surprise you.

2. Talk to current students at the schools you’re considering before you start your applications, especially if you’re unable to visit campus before applying.  Not only will this help you get a feel for a school’s culture and determine whether it’s a good prospect for you, but it will also help you target your essays and guide your recommenders in a way that demonstrates your fit with the school.  Speaking of guiding your recommenders…

3. Have candid conversations with your recommenders about why you’re applying to MBA programs, why you’re a fit with the schools you’ve chosen, and what questions they need to address in your recommendations.  I put together packets of logistical and background information for my recommenders, including deadlines, instructions, the specific questions (if available), and context on what I was hoping to get out of an MBA at each school.  Some recommenders will want you to write your own recommendations — resist the urge, and push back!  You can offer to provide as much or as little support they need in terms of brainstorming content and keeping them on track with deadlines, but ultimately the best recommendations are genuine.  If someone doesn’t want to write your rec themselves, they’re probably not the best person for the job.

4. Visit campuses in the spring before you apply!  I totally didn’t do this and wished I had, because many schools don’t open for tours prior to the R1 deadlines.

5. Be sure to take breaks to be with friends and talk about something — anything! — besides b-school.  When you’re head-down in applications with deadlines approaching, it’s tempting to shut everyone and everything out.  The whole process can become an obsession very quickly, so this is way easier said than done, but totally worth keeping in mind.

Join us live for "The Secret to MBA Acceptance"!

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How Does the Essay Affect Your SAT Score?

Download Free: Preparing for College in High School: A To-Do List for Eleventh Graders

Love it or hate it, your essay will influence your SAT score.

Although the SAT essay is going to be optional before long (when the test changes in 2016), as of right now it’s a must. So, love it or hate it, your essay will influence your SAT score, and the admissions offices at the colleges you’ll apply to will see that score. So let’s answer one key question: how much does the SAT essay actually count for?

The Numbers

First, the essay is scored according to its own grading system. There will be two readers—real people, not a Scantron machine!—who read and judge your writing, each assigning a mark of zero to six. Zero is the worst (in case that wasn’t totally obvious), but it’s only used for the absolutely ungradable essays. If you write on a completely different topic than what’s assigned, for example, you will get a zero. That means no memorizing a fantastic essay ahead of time! You have to write on the topic they give you. You’d also get a zero if you wrote in another language, say, or simply put no clear thoughts on paper.

A six, on the other hand, is reserved for long, structured essays that are full of clear, concrete ideas, high-level vocabulary, and correct grammar. There’s a bit more to it, but that’s the gist.

After each reader goes through and marks your essay, the two scores will be added to give you a score of 0–12 (if you actually wrote anything remotely relevant, that’s 2–12).

Then that score, in turn, is added to the raw score from the Writing multiple-choice questions, since the essay is just a part of the Writing Section. The multiple-choice sections count for more points, altogether.

Then, once they have the raw total of your essay score and your multiple-choice score added up, they convert that score into the scaled, 200–800 score.

The Importance of the Essay

The scaled score is a little bit hard to explain—how it’s calculated, I mean—and it’s not worth really getting stuck talking about. All that matters is the zero to twelve score ends up affecting how many hundreds are in that scaled score. And I did say that the multiple-choice counts for more than the essay, but that doesn’t mean the essay isn’t important.

In truth, the SAT essay score counts for around 30% your total writing score—in the ballpark of 200 points, altogether. It’s not the only thing, but it’s a significant piece of the puzzle.

And what about those who say the essay doesn’t matter? Simply put, they’re usually wrong. Most schools were really skeptical of the Writing Section when this version of the SAT first debuted it back in 2005. And sure, some are still not totally signed on, but for the most part it does factor into your admissions. And 99% of the time, you’ll have no idea how much that lady who works in the admissions office cares about your Writing score—you’ll just have to trust that a high score is better than a low one.

And for that high score, you need to put some energy into preparing to write your essay!

Download Free: Preparing for College in High School: A To-Do List for Eleventh Graders

Magoosh SAT This post was written by Lucas Fink, resident SAT expert at Magoosh. For more advice on SAT prep, check out Magoosh’s SAT blog.

MBAs Across America: Entrepreneurs with a Heart

Listen to the Show!

Casey Gerald

Listen to the Show!

Michael Baker

Michael Baker and Casey Gerald, CEO & CFO of MBAs Across America are making the American dream come true in towns and cities across the country.

Listen to the full recording of our conversation to learn about MBAxAmerica’s past experiences, plans for the future, and what these two Harvard MBAs have to say about their time at HBS.

00:02:20 – What day one looked like for the MBAxAmerica team.

00:06:54 – Can Harvard educated MBAs relate to the challenges of a mom and pop shop?

00:11:01 – The proof of the pudding: How many entrepreneurs actually implemented the advice.

00:12:58 – Where is MBAxAmerica going next?

00:14:35 – The criterion for choosing MBAs and entrepreneurs for next year’s trip.

00:18:13 – Will MBAxAmerica expand beyond the MBA and the USA?

00:25:10 – The benefits on the MBAxAmerica internship for non-entrepreneurs.

00:27:20 – Mike and Casey’s biggest Aha moments of last year’s trip.

00:31:32 – Best Harvard Business School moments.

00:35:45 – Advice for next year’s HBS applicants.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss a single episode! *Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Relevant Links:

MBAs Across America
The Secret to MBA Acceptance Webinar
“M.B.A. Students Hit the Road to Help Small-Business Owners”
MBAXAmerica Application For MBAs
MBAXAmerica Application For entrepreneurs
From Psychology to the Media Industry, Strat and Harvard B-School

Related Shows:

•  MBAs Across America: The Coolest HBS Internship (Last year’s interview)
•  5 Million to Share: The 43North Competition
•  Case Interview Secrets and More with Victor Cheng
•  Business, Law and Beyond: An Interview with John Engelman
•  Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC
•  CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans

Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk:

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Learn Key Secrets to MBA Admissions Success!

Shh…I’d like to tell you a secret…

Wait – you didn’t think I’d give anything away here, did you? To learn the secret to choosing the best MBA programs for you (and gaining acceptance to them), I’d like to invite you to attend our upcoming webinar, The Secret to MBA Acceptance.

In this webinar we’ll cover some important topics, including the #1 secret to success – understanding WHO YOU ARE and how you can make the right decisions that will land you in the best MBA program FOR YOU to reach YOUR GOALS (okay, I gave away some of the secret).

Find out what you need to know to get admitted to business school!

Learn more at our webinar on Wednesday, April 30th, at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET. Register for The Secret to MBA Acceptance today to reserve your spot. The 1-hour webinar is free, but spaces are limited, so act now!

Learn How to Get Accepted to B-School!

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Can I Use Humor In My Application Essays?

Want to let your funny side show in your application essays? Here is what Linda Abraham has to say about humor in admissions:

For more application essay advice, download a free copy of our popular special report Five Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Personal Statement.

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The Story of an Aspiring Minority Doctor

Download Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for SuccessThis interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the med school application process. And now, introducing Danielle Ward…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Danielle: My name is Danielle Ward, and I was born in Germany. I grew up as an Army Brat, so I’m pretty much from everywhere! I graduated from Louisiana State University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry (minor in chemistry). I also received a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Saint Joseph in 2013.

I pretty much love every flavor of ice cream, but butter pecan never gets old. Cold Stone Creamery’s “Birthday Cake Remix” also holds a special place in my heart.

Accepted: Where will you be starting med school in the fall? How would you say you’re a good fit for that program?

Danielle: I will be attending Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – Georgia Campus. I believe that I am a good fit for the program because I have a very strong passion for learning, serving and helping others, and being a part of something greater than myself. I also really value the philosophy of osteopathic medicine, and I believe this program really fits my personality and will help me become the best possible physician that I know I am capable of being. Additionally, I love the south, so I am happy to be attending a school that allows me to be closer to family.

Accepted: What would you say was the most challenging aspect of the application process? How did you approach that challenge?

Danielle: For me, the most challenging part of the application process was overcoming both an extremely low undergraduate GPA and MCAT score. I had a great amount extracurricular activities, volunteering, clinical experiences, research, and work experience, but that means nothing to schools that screen based on numbers alone.

To approach my low undergraduate GPA, I enrolled in a hard science master’s degree program where I excelled. Some schools tend to weigh graduate courses or more advanced courses a lot more heavily, so I feel that this really helped me. I also spoke with admissions officers at a few schools and from their opinions, this was the best course of action for me to take.

I retook the MCAT four times, but was not able to obtain a high score despite studying extremely hard for the test. I think I may have burnt myself out in the process of studying, and this probably had a large effect on my performance. I was actually considering taking the test a fifth time right before I received my interview. I’m so glad that I no longer have to worry about it!

Accepted: Your blog focuses a lot on being a woman, a minority, and a single mom. How did those aspects of who you are play into your desire to be a doctor?

Danielle: I have wanted to be a physician since I was a young child, so I can’t say that any of the above mentioned aspects really played into this desire. After trying to find others like myself, I realized that I may be a bit of an anomaly going into the field of medicine, so I created my blog for those with similar circumstances to have something to relate to. The main focus of my blog is to document my journey, highlight minority women in medicine, and give helpful advice to pre-medical students.

Even though being a single mother has not influenced my desire to become a doctor, it does push me to work harder because I now have someone who looks up to me. I have to be the best role model for my child, and I can’t let her see me give up on my dreams. I want my child to know that with hard work and dedication, it is possible to achieve any goal.

Accepted: Related, how did those three things influence or affect the admissions process?

Danielle: Honestly, I do not think that being a woman or a minority had any influence on the admission process at all. I never mentioned being a minority in my medical school applications, and being a woman does not give anyone a heads up in admissions.

I do believe that managing to be a single mother while completing two degrees, working multiple jobs, and still being heavily involved in a variety of activities may have had the greatest influence. (Did I mention I was still able to graduate with my undergraduate class even after having a child sophomore year?) I believe it speaks volumes that I was able to accomplish so much all while raising a very small child. It shows that I am determined, efficient at managing my time, and able to make the best out of any given situation.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about your daughter? How excited is she that her mom is going to be a doctor?

Danielle: My daughter is 7 years old and pretty awesome! She keeps me busy with all her various activities, but there’s never a dull moment when she’s around. She’s really excited that I am going to be a doctor, and makes it a point to tell anyone who will listen whenever we go somewhere! LOL She’s also ready for the move to Georgia so that she can spend more time with her cousins who are all around the same age as her. I’m definitely glad that I’ll be attending medical school with her being a lot older, because I can only imagine how hard it would be to do it all with an infant/toddler.

Accepted: What type of doctor do you want to be? (I know that may change a million times, but what’s your guess?)

Danielle: I’ve done quite a bit of shadowing, and I am definitely interested in becoming a surgeon. I know many students tend to change their minds along the way, so I am keeping my options open as to what type of surgery I would like to pursue. I absolutely love being in the OR though, and I like being able to see immediate results after the work is finished.

Accepted: Can you share your top three application tips with our readers?

Danielle:

1. Don’t Get Discouraged!

I was not accepted into medical school until my third application cycle. If you get rejected the first time, don’t be afraid to contact the schools and find out ways in which you can improve your application. Also, do not compare yourself to others around you. When the time is right for you, everything will fall into place. Quite a few of my peers from undergrad have already graduated from medical school and it can be pretty discouraging to not be right there with them. Luckily, I kept pushing and I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just keep believing that you will reach your goals, and eventually you will.

2. Apply Early!

An early application can definitely make a difference in terms of getting an interview. By having all your materials ready to go when the application cycle opens, you will be able to receive and submit your secondary applications sooner. Having an interview date early in the application cycle also increases your chances of not being put on a waitlist. One month before the application opens, try to have your personal statement finished, letters of recommendation on hand, and a complete list of all your activities ready to go.

3. Enjoy the Journey!

Don’t get so caught up in trying to make a perfect application that you forget to have fun and enjoy yourself in the process. Take some time to do some of the things that you love and explore some new interests. Also, try not to rush the process. Once a physician, you will probably practice for 20-30 years, so don’t throw away some of the best years of your life. Work hard, but don’t forget to play hard as well.

You can read more about Danielle’s journey by checking out her blog, Aspiring Minority Doctor. Thank you Danielle for sharing your story with us!

Do you want to be featured in Accepted.com’s blog, Accepted Admissions Blog? If you want to share your med school journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at bloggers@accepted.com.

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Insights of a Tennis Player Turned Kellogg MBA

Check out the rest of our MBA Student Interview seriesThis 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…introducing Kate Ruckert, a first year student at Northwestern Kellogg.

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What was your most recent pre-MBA job?

Kate: I grew up in Vienna, Virginia, a suburb just outside of Washington DC. I received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Texas-Austin. I majored in Government and I minored in German. I had a great experience at Texas both in the classroom and on the tennis court. I had some outstanding professors, in particular one of whom is considered an expert on the American Presidency. After graduation, I played professional tennis, competing on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour (WTA Tour). After playing on the tour, I decided that I wanted to pursue other opportunities, prompting me to get my MBA.

Accepted: Why are you pursuing an MBA at this stage of your career? What do you plan on doing post-MBA?

Kate: In order to maximize my opportunity to succeed in “traditional” business, I needed to get an MBA. Building a stronger understanding of business concepts would provide me tremendous value long term. I came to Kellogg with the expectation that I would focus on a career in marketing, with a particular concentration in sports. However, I determined that my strengths were actually better suited for a career in finance. I have enjoyed learning about the market and gaining a deeper perspective for capital budgeting decisions that firms make. I am looking forward to my summer internship as an investment banking associate at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. Long term, I hope to have a successful career in investment banking.

Accepted: Can you tell us more about your tennis experience? What’s it like to pursue an MBA and a life in the business world alongside your involvement in the WTA?

Kate: Ever since I was young, I wanted to be a professional tennis player. To put so much into a dream and then actually see that dream become a reality was incredibly rewarding to me. I loved the competition, the training, the fitness and of course winning. I think tennis helped me to develop the skills that will serve me throughout my life. From tennis, I gained tenacity, developed a strong work ethic and an inner drive that has helped me flourish at Kellogg.

Accepted: How’s Kellogg going so far? What’s your favorite thing about the program? Least favorite?

Kate: I have loved my experience at Kellogg. I was excited and proud to have been accepted into the Kellogg program. The actual experience is even better than I expected. There are several things that distinguish Kellogg from other business schools, but the primary one is the people. Kellogg students are incredibly collaborative. They really want to help each other be successful. Kellogg students view each other as assets and they are truly interested in learning from one another. As a result my understanding both inside and outside of the classroom has increased tremendously. I came to Kellogg with no formal business training and I have developed a new lens in which to view the world. In addition, I would say one added benefit of pursuing finance at Kellogg is having the opportunity to work with some outstanding finance professors who are genuinely committed to students’ development.

My least favorite aspect of the program related to me and my lack of experience because in some classes they assume a certain level of expertise which I did not have and had to learn. Consequently, in the first quarter I spent a large amount of time learning the basic concepts and terminology and as a result, probably could not be as engaged as others. Now having spent the time to learn the terminology and the concepts, I have become a better participant in the learning experience.

Accepted: Can you recommend a nice coffee shop on or near campus, a good place to study or hang out with friends?

Kate: I actually find that most people tend to study at the Jake (Jacobs Center). I would also recommend studying at the Starbucks in downtown Evanston. It is one of the nicest Starbucks I have ever been to and it is usually fairly full of students busy studying. I would also suggest Pete’s Coffee and Tea for some studying.

In terms of hanging out, I think a lot of people enjoy going to BAT-17, it is a local restaurant/bar that has really great sandwiches and salads. In my second year, I hope to have a little more free time to explore Chicago.

Accepted: What are your top three tips for MBA applicants?

Kate:

1) Be yourself. I think that this is one of the most underappreciated areas for prospective students. Be genuine and don’t be afraid of enthusiasm. I think that admissions teams are looking for bright students who are passionate and the best way to convey that is to let your personality shine through.

2) Talk to students at each of the schools you are applying to. I contacted the Women’s Business Association at every school I applied to and spoke with a female student about her experience in the program. I find that students give the most honest practical advice to prospective students. They are a great resource in understanding the culture of the school and how you might fit into the environment.

3) Research the programs you are applying to and see how those programs fit into your future goals.

In closing, I would advise any applicant to realize the incredible opportunity the MBA program affords, opportunities that most people will never get to experience. While the admissions process is difficult, there will be a tremendous sense of appreciation and pride once you are enrolled in the program.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for Kellogg see:

•  Kellogg 2014 MBA Essay Questions & Tips

•  2013 Kellogg Executive MBA Admissions Tips

Thank you Kate for sharing your story with us!

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