Cornell Tech Student Interview: Where CS Meets the MBA

Want to read more student interviews?  Click here!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 chat with Will Hester, an M. Eng. Cornell Tech student in NYC.

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What’s your favorite non-school book?

Will: I was born and raised in Austin, Texas. I went to the University of Texas at Austin and was conferred two degrees: A Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a focus on Software Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

My favorite non-school book is Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (never read it for school, believe it or not).

Accepted: Can you tell us about the new program you’re in? How did you choose Cornell Tech? Why was it the best match for you?

Will: Cornell Tech is a pretty unique graduate program. In addition to the individual MBA and CS curriculum, there is also a co-curriculum led by Greg Pass, former CTO at Twitter. The co-curriculum consists mainly of exercises and projects done in groups of both CS and MBA students. Most notably during the fall semester, we were all split into groups of 4-5 half-MBA, half-CS company project groups, in which we worked closely with companies like AOL, Bloomberg, eBay, Google, LinkedIn, and Microsoft just to name a few. All the while the co-curriculum is conducted in a very fast-paced, startup-like atmosphere (we are constantly encouraged by faculty and guest speakers to follow the startup path, be it start one’s own venture, or join a startup post-graduation).

Cornell Tech was the best match for me because I knew I wanted to pursue my masters in CS, but I also wanted some business education without going all-out trying to get an MBA as well. I always have had an interest in startups, so the faster-paced, smaller nature of the program was extremely attractive. I could not be happier to be at Cornell Tech.

Accepted: If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be? 

Will: If I could change one thing about the program, I wish we were already in the future campus.

Accepted: Can you talk about your program’s relationship on campus with the Cornell Johnson MBA students? Can you explain why some people would choose Cornell Tech and some Cornell Johnson? 

Will: The CS students have a very close relationship with the MBA students. There’s a set time every week for us to work side-by-side on our company projects, and several learning exercises we work together on. The Cornell Tech MBA program is exclusively a 1-year program, whereas the normal Johnson MBA program in Ithaca has both one- and two-year options. The biggest difference between the Ithaca and Cornell Tech programs is that Cornell Tech is much more entrepreneurial/startup-focused. Our guest speakers are mostly serial entrepreneurs, and the projects are fast-paced and you typically build a real product with the CS students.

The Cornell Tech MBA students are in Ithaca for courses with the other Johnson one-year MBAs for three months over the summer before coming to the NYC campus. Additionally, the Cornell Tech MBAs spend a couple of weeks over winter break in Israel, working with Israeli startups.

Accepted: Are you involved in any clubs or competitions on campus? 

Will: Since the program is very new, Cornell Tech doesn’t have many official, established clubs. We are in the process of founding them. The most well-developed club is probably the Disruptive Technology Club.

Accepted: What do you plan on doing once you graduate? 

Will: I accepted a job with a Boston-based fantasy sports company called DraftKings, where I will start in July.

Accepted: Can you tell us about some of the projects you’ve been involved with lately?

Will: At Cornell Tech, I was part of a group with one other M. Eng. CS student and two MBAs in which we spent a semester working on a mobile application for AOL using beacons. At Cornell Tech, we’d meet with the other company project teams every Tuesday to see what everyone else was working on and receive help from industry specialists, entrepreneurs, and each other if we needed it. Once a month, we have a “hack day” on campus. All students participate in a 24-hour hackathon with their company project team and show off what they accomplished at the end. My AOL team developed an Android and iOS messaging application in which users can send messages to a particular user and location combination, so the recipients won’t receive the message until they are physically near where the message was sent to. We placed Bluetooth Low Energy beacons all around campus to provide locations that messages could be sent to.

Outside of school, JustGotGood.com is my most notable project. JustGotGood provides text message alerts for NBA games that are triggered when a particular game is within X points with less than Y time remaining, where the user defines X and Y.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages.

You can read more about Will’s journey by checking out his About Me page. Thank you Will for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Download our free report on choosing the best MBA program!

Accepted.com: The Premier Admissions Consultancy

Related Resources:

Honing in On the Cornell Johnson MBA: An Interview with Ann Richards
Leadership, Tech & Forte: IV with a Cornell MBA Student
Johnson at Cornell University 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips

 

2015 London Business School MiM Essay Questions & Tips

Learn more about the LBS Masters in Management programThe LBS MiM adcom seeks two key factors that are essential for MiM students – recent college grads – to make productive use of the program.  They are: (a) self-understanding and (b) a realistic and informed view of the business world and their future role in it, even though they don’t yet have much actual experience.  

The London Business School MiM essay questions are designed to elicit this information. They also reflect the program’s requirements for strong communication skills, specifically concision. The word limits are tight; you have to pack a lot of substance into your responses to distinguish yourself.

Question 1 (500 words)
In what company and role will you be working in after completing your Masters in Management and how will your academic, professional, and personal achievements allow you to succeed in this position? What challenges do you foresee in pursuing this goal?

Wait, how can you know what company you’ll be working at after graduating?  Figuring that out was partly why you want to attend the program….

Pretend you know.  Identify the company and role that interests you most now, and build the essay on them.  (Feel free to add that if you don’t end up there, you’ll welcome a similar position at a similar company.)  What the adcom is looking for here is assurance that you have sufficient practical understanding of post-MiM options to make an informed decision about attending the program and using LBS’ extensive career resources.

Discuss the target company and role, including why you want them, what you hope to accomplish, and how your achievements will help you succeed in this role.  While elaborating on the role, also address 2-3 challenges you anticipate in pursuing it.  It would not hurt here to explain how the LBS MiM will prepare you to address those challenges.

Question 2 (300 words)
The MiM study groups will challenge students by testing their ability to work with academically and culturally diverse people and to play different roles within these teams. What strengths will you bring to your team and what qualities will you need to improve in order to be a valued team member? Feel free to use a real example to illustrate your thoughts.

Select 2-3 strengths and illustrate them with brief examples – these examples needn’t be of equal length (given the tight word limit, even a 1-sentence example is okay), but don’t just explain this-and-that is your strength.  Actual examples will make these strengths vivid and credible.  Use different strengths, not things that overlap a lot (as “communication skills” and “interpersonal skills” do).  Briefly note after each strength how it will enable you to contribute to the team.

In discussing qualities (yes, plural) that you need to improve, use an example for at least one – and be sure to present points that are relevant to the team process.

Another straightforward and effective approach is to identify a team work success, describe your role, and then  relate how that success reflects specific strengths as well as what qualities need to be improved upon. Or the weakness part can be a separate paragraph.

Whichever structure you use, with only 300 words, select content that doesn’t require a lot of background explanation.

Question 3 (200 words)
The core values of London Business School challenge individuals to be communal, courageous, ambitious, eclectic, and engaged. Please tell us about a time when you demonstrated one of these values in your personal or professional life.

This essay is essentially a story, so the structure is simple: narrate the story.  Succinctly.  

The challenge comes in selecting the story.  Choose something ideally fairly recent, and that either presents a different dimension that the points you mention in the preceding essay, or elaborates on one of the strengths.  Select something truly meaningful and pivotal in your life.  You can use either professional or personal stories for this essay. And do explicitly state in one sentence why you view the experience as communal, courageous, ambitious, eclectic, or engaged.

Question 4 (400 words)

Please answer this question ONLY if you are applying to the Global Masters in Management.

An exposure to the Western and Eastern way of doing business is a fast-track to succeed in today’s global world. Boeing CEO Jim McNerney has said, “The people who will lead our company in the future have to have personal experience in China.” If you were to interview with Mr. McNerney for a position in his company, how would you demonstrate that you’re the right person for the role?

IF you’ve had personal experience in China, it might seem that you have the easier job – but don’t expect brownie points for that.  You must express something meaningful, insightful, and relevant about your time there.  Use examples and anecdotes as the main content, and draw conclusions in brief reflections.

IF you haven’t had personal experience in China, you must be a bit creative.  DO NOT fall into the trap of explaining why such experience really isn’t necessary.  Remember, the point of the essay is to let the adcom learn more about you, not experience in China.  Therefore, give reasons – backed up by examples – why you are right for the job in spite of lacking the stated experience. And it won’t hurt to explain you intend to get the experience soon, and how.

Deadlines:
The recommended deadlines for the 2015 intake (MiM2016 class) are:

Learn more about the London Business School MiM program

Cindy Tokumitsu By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.com.

Related Resources:

• From Example to Exemplary
• The Scoop on the London Business School Masters in Management Program
• MBA/MMM Interview with Kellogg Student: Using Empathy to Succeed

Admissions Tip: BE YOURSELF!

Be Yourself: Everyone Else is Already TakenAdmissions committee members across the board (college, grad school, med school, b-school and law school) want you to do ONE thing in your applications, and one thing only: Introduce yourself. This does NOT include:

• Talking about who you WISH you were.
• Exaggerating your volunteer achievements.
• Making up job titles to boost your employment profile.
Cracking jokes when you’re really not such a funny person.
• Using big words that you found in a thesaurus when you have no idea what they mean.

Instead, when introducing yourself to the adcom, follow these simple tips:

• Use your own, authentic voice in your writing.
• Talk about what’s important to YOU instead of what you think the adcom want to hear.
• Tell things as they are – you don’t want to get the boot because a fact checker shows that you were really an “Office Assistant” instead of an “Office Manager.”
• Use a dictionary/thesaurus to ensure you use words correctly, not to engage in communicative creativity…

In short, if you want to stand out among the throngs of applicants in your field, your goal shouldn’t be to introduce yourself as a superhuman, god-like overachiever; instead introduce yourself as you actually are, with your unique interests, passions, accomplishments, and voice. This will be the most extraordinary, stand-out, note-worthy introduction. Not the introduction that makes the adcom members roll their eyes and say “yeah right.”


Accepted.com: The Premier Admissions Consultancy
Related Resources:

From Example to Exemplary – A Free Guide
6 Tips for Getting Started on Your Application Essays
The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes

Got Dinged? You Can Handle It!

Rejected from your top-choice school?It may or may not be fair, but many of you are going to get at least a few rejections. What are you going to do about them?

First and foremost—if you’ve gotten dinged at your top choice school, that doesn’t mean that you’re never going to get in. It doesn’t even mean that you won’t be going to school next year.

And so my first point is: DON’T GIVE UP.

However, you do need to respond constructively. For the Four Reasons for Rejection and tips on how to do exactly that, please see this video.

For more admissions-specific reapplication advice, check-out:

For all of you, if you don’t know why you were rejected or would you like expert advice on improving your next application, please consider an application review:

Subscribe to the Accepted Admissions Blog!

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid
• Help! I’ve Been Waitlisted!
5 Ways to Clean Up & Optimize Your Online Presence Before You Apply

Jumpstart Your Business Career with a Masters in Management Program

Applying for a Masters in Management? Learn more here.

Most MiM programs expect – indeed want – you to have little actual business experience

You’ve seen the light (or maybe just the real world): a career in business is the right path for you.

BUT – you’ve just graduated with a degree in materials science.  Or sociology.  Or comparative literature.  Yup – chances of finding a serious management track job are slim for new graduates, even ones with impressive academic records.

And that is exactly why there is the Masters in Management.

What: Masters in Management programs usually are one year. Their purpose is twofold. First and foremost, they provide a basic business education.  Second, they provide career development, guidance, and recruiting.  (At LBS for example, recruiters in 2013 included Google, GE Capital, and Goldman Sachs – that’s just from the “G’s”!)  Business education + extensive corporate connections = smooth, direct path to business career.

Who:  Masters in Management programs target recent or upcoming graduates in the humanities/liberal arts, engineering, and sciences.   Most MiM programs expect – indeed want – you to have little actual business experience (if you have more experience, it puts you in MBA range).  The exact parameters for the target applicant vary a bit program to program (e.g. unlike many MiM programs, LBS’ program will consider applicants with undergrad business degrees).

Where: University business schools that offer MBA and other business programs typically house MiM programs.  However, not all business schools offer MiM programs, e.g., NYU Stern does not; University of Michigan Ross School of Business does.

Is a MiM program right for you?  To make the most of a MiM program, and to be an appealing applicant, you need to:

• Know why you want to pursue a management career.

• Have an idea of how that career will start and take shape over about 5 years.

• Be able to demonstrate the leadership, teamwork, communication, and quantitative ability necessary to succeed in the program.

• Be able to express these points in an essay or statement of purpose.

The goals you discuss needn’t be set in stone – MiM adcoms expect that you will further explore opportunities during the program.  And they understand that your goals may well change as you evolve professionally.  However, they do want to see focus. And they do want some assurance that you are making an informed decision to pursue a management education and career path.

Why not MBA?  MBA is the more famous cousin to MiM.  MBA programs are for people with more developed careers and goals. If you earn a MiM and later want to pursue an MBA, you can.

The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes: Get your free copy!

Cindy Tokumitsu By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds applicants to a variety of graduate programs in management since joining Accepted in 1998. She is happy to guide you through the Masters in Management application process.

Related Resources:

Get Your Game On: Preparing for Your Grad School Application
The Scoop on the London Business School Masters in Management Program
MBA/MMM Interview with Kellogg Student: Using Empathy to Succeed