An NYU Stern Grad and Strat Consultant Helping Vets Get Into School

GusGiacomanWest Point grad. Iraq war vet. NYU Stern MBA. Engagement Manager and Senior Associate at Strategy&. Co-founder of Service to School.

Gus Giacoman, our guest this week, is a fascinating individual, dedicated to helping vets get into school of all kinds – everything from community colleges to law school, business school and diverse graduate programs.

Tune in to our conversation with the highly accomplished and tireless Gus for the low-down on how he helps vets get into school, advice for vets and other MBA applicants, as well as tips for future management consultants. Oh, and he tells some great stories.

00:02:38 – Service to School: Networking and guidance for veterans headed to college and grad school.

00:05:55 – The revenue model (you can’t charge family, right?).

00:06:55 – A breakdown of where Service to School applicants are applying.

00:10:28 – What success looks like (How about 3 Wharton/HBS admits!).

00:12:29 – Business school as the path returning vets to civilian life.

00:17:33 – The advantages and challenges of being a veteran in b-school and consulting.

00:21:41 – Why NYU Stern? And why consulting?

00:25:49 – The best skills for a future consultant to cultivate.

00:27:30 – 3 things Gus looks for in choosing a consultant for his team.

00:28:57 – What a college grad should do pre-MBA to prepare for a career in consulting.

00:33:01 – A great piece of advice for b-school applicants.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• Service to School 
Service to School on Twitter 
Service To School: Helping Veterans Get Into Top Schools

Related Shows:

• Breaking Some HBS Stereotypes: An Interview with Ben Faw
• How to Become a Management Consultant
• Case Interview Secrets and More with Victor Cheng

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Writing About Your Experiences Abroad

Learn how to use sample essays to create exemplary essays of your own! [Free Downloadable Guide]

Ensure that your study abroad experience serves a role other than window-dressing.

You’ve done it – you studied, worked, or volunteered abroad and now you want to include part of this in your personal statement. Maybe you want to show that you’ve experienced a different culture or that you’ve managed to go outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you’ve had interesting experiences – met people, climbed mountains, or lived without air-conditioning. Or maybe you had the opportunity to help people who genuinely needed it.

But, at this point, you’ve also realized that many other applicants have similar experiences, and you are right. While the experience may have been transformative for you, requiring you to learn how to operate without your usual safety net in a foreign environment, you need to ensure that your study abroad experience serves a role in your essay as something other than window-dressing.

There’s an Onion article which jokes that someone’s short work experience in Africa allowed her to post a better Facebook photo, and, without the proper analysis, descriptions of abroad experiences can feel the same way in an admissions essay. Often, I read essays with lush descriptions of exotic scenery and people who speak different languages, yet you the writer – the most important person – stays the same. Without showing admissions committees why a study abroad experience was transformative, these types of stories simply blend together and give the impression that you were there simply to add another notch to your resume.

So, what should you do? Studying abroad can be a pivotal moment in your personal journey, but a personal statement needs to explain exactly why. If, indeed, gaining experience with other cultures was important to you at that stage, what exactly did you learn? It can’t be enough to just give a story about someone you met while traveling, you have to explain why that person changed you. An admissions committee member once told me that it mattered less what an applicant’s experience was, what mattered was how she talked about it. Even the most seemingly dull experience can be transformative to someone who is really paying attention.

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

Jessica PishkoCheck out Jessica Pishko's bio! 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.

 

Related Resources:

• Two Ways to Reveal Leadership in Your Applications
What is Passion in Admissions?
7 Signs an Experience Belongs in Your Application Essay

How to Deal with Deadlines

Dealing with Deadlines

You don’t want to feel rushed and you don’t want to miss your deadline.

You don’t want to feel rushed (stress can lead to mistakes) and you don’t want to miss your deadline. So what can you do to stay on top of your game and submit your applications before the buzzer?

1. Set yourself a schedule and work backwards from your deadlines. Allow time for holidays, sleep, exercise, and of course work.

2. Focus first on the applications with the earliest deadlines. It wouldn’t make sense to work on the application with the further deadline first when you have a looming deadline for another application right around the corner!

3. Work on applications one at a time. Adapt essays from your first application, when possible, to later applications. However never merely paste in an essay because the question is similar. Customize it for this application and this program. Trying to write more than one application at once will only lead to confusion, not to mention unintentional overlapping of material – forgetting to change just one Harvard to Stanford shows a level of sloppiness that Stanford just won’t stand for!

4. If you fall behind, consider dropping/postponing an application to maintain quality overall. Pushing off an application to a subsequent round or the following year is better than submitting a subpar application.

Good luck!

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

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essay & Personal Statements
Resourceful Essay Recycling
• The Biggest Application Essay Mistake [Video]

Financial Aid and Health Insurance for International Students

Listen to the interview!If you are one of the adventurous souls planning on leaving your comfort zone to study abroad, we’d like to introduce you to a treasure trove of invaluable resources.

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Ross Mason, VP of Envisage International for important tips and information about international student loans, health insurance, and other topics that matter to you.

00:03:31 – Envisage: Helping international students.

00:06:02 – How Ross got involved and what’s changed in past decade plus.

00:10:08 – Advice for a US resident applying to school abroad.

00:14:00 – Advice for a non-US resident applying to school in the United States.

00:19:42 – Health insurance for a US student accepted to an international school.

00:22:48 – What a non-US resident accepted to an US school needs to know about health insurance.

00:24:43 – Finding insurance: where to turn.

00:25:51 – What else is out there for students going abroad?

00:28:00 – Top advice for an international student preparing to go to school out of the country.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

•  International Student Loan
•  Financial Aid for International Students in the USA
•  International Financial Aid Resources
•  IEFA: International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search
•  International Student Insurance Plans (Country pages on the bottom right)
•  US School Insurance Requirements
•  International Student Insurance Explained
•  International Student & Study Abroad Resource Center
• International Students and the Individual Mandate Under PPACA
• The Affordable Care Act and J1 Participants in Non-Student Categories

Related Shows:

• Global Business Leadership at Wharton’s Lauder Institute
• Non-Academic Careers for PhDs: A Talk with Dr. Paula Chambers
• CommonBond’s Story: A Revolution in Student Loans
• Is a PhD a Good Idea?
• An Inside Look at INSEAD
• Leadership is King: Interview with IMD’s Lisa Piguet
• Interview with SoFi Co-Founder, Daniel Macklin

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6 Tips for Getting Started on Your Application Essays

Sit down, think, and start writing!

Sit down, think, and start writing!

Sometimes the hardest part of writing a personal statement or application essay for college or grad school is finding the discipline to sit down and focus. Often, once you accomplish that, the ideas begin to form and the words begin to flow. The following 6 tips will help motivate you to start writing, and then to continue writing until you’ve got some solid material for a compelling essay.

1. Words beget more words. Here’s an important concept to think about when it comes to getting started – one word leads to another. Once you BEGIN writing, your brain will begin to generate ideas that will inspire you to CONTINUE writing. So even if you don’t think you have anything to say, just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. Set a timer for 10 minutes and don’t stop writing until the timer dings. I guarantee that when the buzzer goes off, SOME idea will have surfaced.

2. Write now, edit later. Do NOT get bogged down in the editorial details of your essay during the early writing stages. Now is the time to simply get your ideas out on paper (or computer screen). Write as you think – in fragments, in run-on sentences, or in vivid descriptions of images as they pass before your mind’s eye. Work on making them sound good later on.

3. Use details. During the brainstorming phase of your writing, as well as later on when you’re clarifying your work, you’re going to want to include details that will engage your reader. Think about what attracts someone to a good book – is it boring summaries and abstractions, or a few descriptions of people and places or specific dialog?

4. Include meaning. Description is key, but if you don’t internalize (and then show that you’ve internalized) the MEANING of the scene you’ve described, then the adcoms won’t care much about it. What do your experiences say about YOU?

5. Prove impact. Now that you’ve expressed what your experiences say about your qualifications or characteristics, it’s time to explain how those traits and strengths will contribute to your class. You’ve proven that you are a leader; how do you plan on using those skills?

6. Have faith.
 Maybe you’ve hit a wall and feel like you’ll never spin your ideas into a coherent essay. Have faith – the writing process takes time. Take a break and then return to your computer with a clear mind and a positive attitude to begin the brainstorming process from scratch.

Now, sit down, think, and start writing! Good luck!

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