Reflections of a Wharton MBA Student and CommonBond Intern

Applying to Wharton in 2015? Check out our application essay tips!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 Tim Hager, a student at Wharton.

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?

Tim: I am from a small town outside of Philadelphia, PA called Ivyland. I went to Georgetown University as an undergrad (Class of 2009) where I studied Finance and Management, and played on the golf team. After undergrad, I competed as a professional golfer for 2 years, and then worked in finance for the following 3 years. My favorite ice cream is, hands down, Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Brownie.

Accepted: Where and what year are you in business school? 

Tim: I am in the MBA class of 2015 at The Wharton School (UPenn).

Accepted: In what ways would you say that you’re a good fit with Wharton? 

Tim: The great thing about Wharton is that there is no “normal.” Our class represents such a diverse group of backgrounds, professions, and cultures; so everyone’s fit with Wharton is what they make it! For me, my fit is with the day to day culture: I go to school with over 800 incredibly smart and accomplished people and we all take the curriculum, studying, and recruiting very seriously.

But, equally important is that we are also good about compartmentalizing the stress of recruiting and academics and at not taking ourselves too seriously at times. We make sure we capitalize on the other benefit that b-school offers: growing your social network, traveling the world, building friendships, and just plain old having fun with your classmates.

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

Tim: Have it not be so darn expensive! But no, in all seriousness, Wharton is an incredible place and the friendships, networks, learning, job prospects, and just genuine fun that it provides us is more than I ever imagined. Wharton is a remarkable place of opportunity, and I wouldn’t change that at all.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your internship at CommonBond? In what ways did Wharton help you secure that internship? What’s the internship recruiting process like at Wharton? 

Tim: The internship recruiting process at Wharton means different things for different people. It really starts in early fall for first year students looking to get into mature industries like Investment Banking, Investment Management, and Consulting. In these industries, students are networking and preparing for interviews really starting a few months after they arrive at school in the fall. Recruiting for business roles (Management, Marketing, Operations, Sales, etc) at many of the Corporate, F100 Brands occurs a bit later (Jan-March). Finally, recruiting for early stage companies and startups typically happens last, but can range anytime from February to May. Sometimes startups will recruit on Wharton’s Campus, and other times students identify a startup they are interested in and secure the internship on their own. It really ranges.

Wharton was key in allowing me to get my internship with CommonBond. CommonBond was one of the early stage firms that recruits via Wharton’s internal career website, and that was the first time I was introduced to David Klein and the rest of the awesome team at CommonBond.

My internship at CommonBond has been tremendous thus far. A big reason I came here was to be a part of an innovative firm disrupting the industry in which they compete. CommonBond is doing just that. I had worked in venture (on the financing side) for three years before coming to b-school, and wanted to experience being on the operations and execution side of the equation. I have experienced just that and then some! The challenges facing any early stage firm are more than most people imagine; and when you identify an opportunity or need to get something done, it falls directly on you to do it. That is the coolest part. I’ll give you an example. Although my job role is business development here at CommonBond, I have spent time building website landing pages, running social media marketing campaigns, writing industry content, and analyzing new markets, in addition to my core BD functions.

Accepted: B-school’s not cheap (as you mentioned) — do you have any tips for us on how to finance your business degree? 

Tim: Be smart about it. Do your research. Look, the cost of education is high, we all know it. But the cost of money to buy that education is equally high. There are a lot of places to go for loans. My advice? Look to a lender who is going to provide value above and beyond the check that they write. Look for one that tried to understand who you are, helps grow your personal and professional network for you, and supports your career goals. Commonbond.co is the lender doing it the best.

Accepted: And finally, do you have additional tips you can share on how to get into a top business school like Wharton? What are some things applicants can do to optimize their chances of acceptance?

Tim: I’d love to tell you there were a specific formula (trust me, I really would), but there just isn’t. Being your genuine self is truly the best chance that you have. That said, I do have a few tips:

1. Don’t wait until the last minute to take your GMAT. Use whatever free time you have to study NOW, and take the test. Your scores are good for 5 years, and it takes the pressure off of you the 6 months before applications are due, when you should be focusing on essays, recommendations, and your personal narrative; NOT figuring out how long it will take for a cylindrical barrel to fill up with 4 hoses in it all running at different speeds. Many of the prep courses out there are good- I used Manhattan GMAT – but 80% of the prep is still going to be on your own, outside of the prep class in order for you to really nail the GMAT. Take practice tests; I took 8!

2. Apply in round 1 or round 2….don’t wait for round 3 unless you’ve won an Olympic gold medal, walked on the moon, or are fluent in 10 different languages.

3. Be YOU in your essays, and not who you think the admissions office wants you to be.
Seriously. If you think admissions directors haven’t heard every line in the book, your mistaken. Insincerity is unmistakable. And so is vanity; be proud of who you are but there’s no need to boast…I promise you, your classmates-to-be are equally as cool and accomplished. Finally, do some hard thinking about what is truly unique about you? I’m not talking about how you were the only one of your PE associates to get asked back by your PE firm for a third year (Let your boss say that in his recommendation!). You focus on what truly matters to you in life? Answer that and let it come out in your writing.

4. Apply everything in point #3 to your in-person interview as well.


5. Have a cocktail [or 3] after your last in-person interview, and celebrate!
You just went through a grueling process. The work is done at that point and stressing more will only take hair off of your head and years off of your life – it won’t change your admissions decision. :)

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

• What’s Right with Wharton (and How to Get In), a free webinar.
• Wharton 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips
• Wharton Executive MBA 2015 Essay Tips

Thank you Tim for sharing your stories with us!

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The Money will Sort Itself Out: IV with a Future INSEAD Student

Click here for more MBA applicant interviews!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with MBA applicant bloggers, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the MBA application process. And now…introducing Hasmita Nair.

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite non-school book?

Hasmita: I’m a South African and was born in a small coastal town called Port Elizabeth. I later moved to a bigger city, Johannesburg, and studied Actuarial Science at the University of Witwatersrand. After that, I worked at Procter and Gamble as a financial analyst, then moved to Nedbank Capital where I worked in Market Risk, and for the past 4 years I’ve been at Anglo American in Treasury.

I love reading; my favourite book is probably A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

Accepted: Congratulations on your acceptance to INSEAD! Why do you think this is the best program for you? What are you most looking forward to?

Hasmita: There were a few things that attracted me to INSEAD. First, the global appeal of the school. I loved that I could study in both Singapore and France. I also liked the fact that it is a relatively short MBA. Because I am self funded, the U.S. MBAs of 2 years+ were not really an option for me.

Accepted: Can you talk about how you raised your tuition money? 

Hasmita: I got a partial scholarship from INSEAD, and also got a loan from Prodigy for a portion. For the rest, I used money generated from the sale of my apartment and my car. As a last resort, I was going to cash out my pension but I’m glad I didn’t have to.

Accepted: Can you share a few tips for our applicants who may also be struggling with how to finance their MBAs?

Hasmita: I think that if you can get into a world class MBA, the money will sort itself out. Money is really not a reason not to apply if you believe you have the potential. There are so many scholarships out there, and student loans are always an option too. I like to think that my salary post MBA will make it worth being in all this debt now.

Accepted: Do you plan on returning to that industry after you graduate, or entering a new field? 

Hasmita: My hobby is freelance journalism, I write for a few magazines and a national newspaper, focusing on food and travel. I would love to merge my passion for writing with finance somehow. Perhaps strategy for a large travel company? I’m keeping my options open right now.

Accepted: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the b-school admissions process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it?

Hasmita: Because the deadlines were all at similar times, and I applied to 8 schools, the application process was all consuming for a period of time. The application essays were grueling, and it took a lot of time and energy. Applying was also expensive; I just paced myself and took it one step at a time. I also project managed my referees, because asking them to complete 8x referrals was an equally grueling request. I made them aware of what needed to be done long in advance and all went smoothly.

Accepted: Can you tell us more about your blog? When did you start blogging? What have you gained from the experience? Do you plan on continuing to blog over the course of your studies?

Hasmita: My blog, Jozilicious, started as a way for me to express myself creatively. I’ve always been passionate about food and travel, and found myself giving recommendations to people a lot, so I thought that I’d be better off posting all my favourite spots online. About a year and a half ago, I was offered my own page in a national newspaper, and after that my freelance journalism career took off. It’s been great to have such a fulfilling hobby, but it does get difficult managing my time. I am definitely planning to blog while I’m in Singapore and France. I think my readers will be interested to see what I’ve been up to.

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 INSEAD, check out our INSEAD 2014 MBA Essay Tips

You can read more about Hasmita’s b-school journey by checking out her blog, Jozilicious. Thank you Hasmita for sharing your story with us!

Navigating the MBA Maze

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Entrepreneurship, Fashion, and Wharton: MBA Alum Interview

For more MBA student & alum 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 Dorie Golkin and Emelyn Northway, Wharton graduates and co-founders of Of Mercer (which you’ll read more about below).

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?

Dorie: I (proudly) grew up in New York City. At Princeton, I majored in Civil Engineering and minored in visual arts, with a focus on darkroom photography. My favorite non-school book is Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Emelyn: I’m originally from East Grand Rapids, Michigan. I attended Cornell University and majored in Economics and Psychology. My favorite non-school book is Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. I also love Tina Fey’s Bossypants for a laugh out loud read.

Accepted: Where did you go to b-school and when did you receive your MBA? What have you been doing since?

D&E: Both of us went to Wharton Business School, where we were members of the class of 2013. Since graduating a year ago, we have been working full-time on our startup, Of Mercer, a new women’s workwear brand of fashionable, office-appropriate apparel that we launched last November. It is a concept that we conceived and worked on while at school, after discovering that we weren’t the only women who struggled to find budget-friendly, desk-to-dinner clothes.

Accepted: When you started Wharton, did you know that you wanted to start your own fashion line/online store? How did your company evolve? Can you point to specific classes, clubs, or other resources that directly helped you launch your company?

D&E: We both came to Wharton planning to pursue entrepreneurship, but not necessarily in the e-commerce space. We’ve both always been interested in fashion, but Of Mercer was really about solving a personal problem, one that we discovered after we wore the same work dress to an event and realized it was the only one in our closet that we actually wanted to wear to work. While at Wharton, we conducted numerous surveys and focus groups to test and refine our idea. It was through this feedback that we decided go with a direct-to-consumer model and develop a “beta” line of five dresses that we tested and sold at Wharton before building out our launch collection.

During the process, we were accepted into the Venture Initiation Program, Wharton’s incubator program. Having a team of advisors, a network of fellow entrepreneurs, and a wealth of start-up specific programming and resources to draw on was incredibly useful in helping us go from idea to launch.

We also tailored our course selection to what would be most helpful (both in the near and long term) for Of Mercer, including Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship, Customer Analytics, Digital Marketing and E-Commerce, and many more.

Accepted: What was your favorite thing about Wharton? If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?

Dorie: It was definitely the Wharton community. Everyone from our professors to our peers was incredibly supportive of us and our venture, and was willing to help in any way possible, whether that meant taking an hour of time to participate in a focus group or sitting down with us for a one-on-one conversation about inventory management. In addition, the community of student entrepreneurs at Wharton is strong and growing. In fact, our class had a record number of students who went on to pursue their own startups after graduation.

Emelyn: Wharton’s curriculum has really evolved and covers the gamut of topics you’ll need to know well to be a successful entrepreneur. However, I would love to see a few more opportunities to learn the more gritty, practical skills and tasks that are actually part of the day-to-day operations of an early-stage startup – things like basic coding, graphic design, or even how to set up bookkeeping and payroll.

Accepted: How would you rate Wharton as a program for entrepreneurs? Which other b-schools do you think are best for entrepreneurs? 

D&E: Wharton is a great place for aspiring entrepreneurs. We were incredibly happy with the program and can’t imagine going anywhere else. We felt support from all levels – from our peers to the administration – support that still continues today, a year after graduating.

We didn’t go to any other business schools, so we don’t think we can accurately comment on their programs, but great entrepreneurs come out of all the top schools. It’s all about having an entrepreneurial mindset going into business school and using your resources effectively while you’re there.

Accepted: Can you share your top three admissions tips with our readers? (These can be specific to Wharton or general, or ideally, a combination of both.)

Dorie: Be authentic and realistic. You don’t have to claim that you’re going to cure cancer to stand out, but you should have a track record of what it is you want to pursue. Even if you’re making a career change, there should be something on your resume – an extracurricular pursuit, a specific project, etc. – that shows you’ve already dipped your toes in the water and are bringing valuable experiences to the school and your future peers.

Emelyn: Be honest in your application about how business school will take you to the next step in your career. It’s quite possible that the next step may change once you get there, but you need to apply with a clear vision of what you think that step is now – not only to get in, but also to get the most out of going to business school and hit the ground running once you’re there.

Focus on your essays and make sure they shed light on qualities about you or experiences you’ve had that may not come across on your resume. They’re one of the few places in your application in which you have the ability to differentiate yourself. And don’t wait to get feedback on your essays – get it as early as possibly from as many people as you can (preferably people who have gone to that school) to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

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

Thank you Emelyn and Dorie for sharing your stories with us!

Applying to Wharton? Check out our 2015 Wharton Application Essay Tips!
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Interview with an Admitted UCLA Anderson [Re]Applicant

Click here to read more MBA student interviews!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 James Huntington, who was recently accepted to UCLA Anderson. (We first met James last year – you can read our first interview with him here.)

Accepted: It’s nice to have you back! Can you tell us a little about how you’ve spent your last year?

James: Thanks! I am excited for the opportunity to share a little bit more about my experience. I never imagined how much time, energy, and effort would go into applying to b-school. It definitely consumes you. Other than applications, interviews, etc., I have tried to spend as much time as I can with my wife and kids (we are expecting another boy here in a couple weeks). We did a couple family surf trips, one to Washington and one to Mexico…Mexico was a little bit warmer. I have also spent the past couple months brushing up on some math/Excel skills, as well as taking a few computer science and coding classes to help prep me for my goal to transition into the tech industry.

Accepted: Congrats on your acceptance to UCLA Anderson! In our last interview, you had said that you were applying to Tuck, Haas, Kellogg, MIT, and Yale – but no mention of Anderson! When did you add Anderson to the list? Did you apply to any others not on your original list?

James: Thank you so much! Anderson was on my shortlist of schools I wanted to apply to, but I decided I didn’t want to tackle more than five applications in round one, even though I got a very early start being a reapplicant. After being dinged or waitlisted by the schools I applied to in round one, I decided to apply to Darden, Tepper, and Fuqua, in addition to UCLA Anderson.

Accepted: Where else were you accepted to? What tipped the scales to favor Anderson? 

James: I ended up getting into Darden and Tepper as well. At first, I was having a very difficult time deciding where to go. There were aspects of each program that I really liked and I knew I could be successful at each one. However, as I talked to more students/alumni, reflected on my personal/professional goals, etc., Anderson was clearly the right choice for me. This is not to say that Darden or Tepper lacked in any of these areas, but there were a few things that really stood out to me about Anderson:

Students

Throughout this whole process, I have found that Anderson students have been some of the most, if not the most responsive, friendly, genuine, and helpful students I have talked to. Of the students I contacted or was introduced to, 100% of them responded and took time to talk with me. The only other school that came remotely close to that was Tuck. All the students I spoke with at Anderson were down to earth and very friendly. A few even offered me a place to stay while I look for housing. I appreciated the fact that after I was accepted I was assigned a buddy by the admission office. I was also contacted by an alumni and spoke with him about his experience at Anderson. Another thing that really impressed me compared to some of the other programs was the amount of help/advice Anderson students gave me in terms of preparing for school and a career transition.

Location

One factor I didn’t think would be too important to me while I was researching programs, but became increasingly so, was the location of the school. For my career goals, to transition into tech, aside from perhaps the Bay Area, I couldn’t have picked a better location. Plus, having grown up in California, I am looking forward to returning to my home state and enjoying the great weather! No more snow 2014!!!

In relation to location, one thing I really like about Anderson is they offer academic internships. With the relatively strong tech start-up scene in the Los Angeles area, this will give me the opportunity to further gain and develop the needed skills and experience while in school to land a job in tech post-MBA.

Career/Technology

Along the lines of location and career, another big plus for Anderson was the strength of their tech club, the High-Tech Business Association, and the amount of different offerings for students interested in tech. With nearly a quarter of the students from Anderson going into the tech industry, the school has put a lot of resources into developing this area of their program. With some of the other schools, I felt like I would have to put a lot of personal effort into being able to get anywhere near the experience I would at Anderson. Another big draw to the program was that Anderson’s Career Management Center, Parker CMC, has consistently be ranked one of the top MBA career management centers. From all my conversations with Anderson students, the strength of the Parker CMC is one thing that came up in almost every conversation.

Community

Although there are a ton of other reasons I chose Anderson, the last one I will talk about is the community. I mentioned this earlier, but all of the students and fellow admits that I have spoken to have been very down to earth, friendly, and receptive. I initially really wanted to be in a small town to make sure I got the tighter-knit, community feel from the program I attended. However, after the experience I have had thus far with Anderson, I am confident I will get the tight-knit community feel while being in one of the most vibrant cities in the world!

Sorry to go on and on, but as you can tell, I am really excited about Anderson!

Accepted: Can you talk about your different interview experiences (this year and last year when you applied the first time)? And can you share a few tips with our readers on interviewing?

James: Absolutely! Of the entire application process, I enjoyed the interview the most. I felt like I was able to paint the best picture of myself while interviewing, as long as I was prepared. The difference between my first interview last year and my last interview this year was like night and day. I think some of it had to do with just gaining experience interviewing, but it was mostly due to my level of preparation and understanding my story.

Of all of the interviews I did, my favorite was by far my interview with Darden. The interviewer came in completely blind, she didn’t even have my resume, and she asked me to tell her my story. She wanted to know about my personal life, my professional life, and my goals. She would interject from time to time with questions, but overall, she let me direct the conversation. Because I wasn’t restricted to answering specific questions, I felt like I was able to express who I am and who I want to be much better than in other interviews. I think that question would have been overwhelming if I hadn’t prepared and didn’t know that Darden was known for the “Tell me your story” interview style, but thanks to the various forums and interview reports, I was, and it made the experience very enjoyable.

For those that will be interview soon, make sure you prepare! Don’t just prep for general interview questions, but look up interview reports for each school, the interview formats can be very different. The better prepared you are, the smoother the interview will go.

Also, know your story inside and out. Own it! Know what you want to do, how you are going to do it, and how the school you are interviewing with is going to help you. When asked, “Why our school?” don’t respond with general comments like, “Collaborative culture,” “Tight-knit community,” etc. Be specific! If those things are important to you, tell them how their school exhibits those characteristics. Be genuinely specific about classes, clubs, conferences, and activities that are going to help you achieve your goals. Again, be specific about how you will contribute to you class and the program. In order to do that, you will need to prepare, research, and talk to students/professors.

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

James: I have always enjoyed going to school. I am really looking forward to stepping away from work for a while and devoting all that time and energy into school. I believe that an MBA is a great opportunity to better yourself personally and professionally, and I am looking forward to doing that with some great classmates. I have already had the chance to connect with a few members of my future class and I have been impressed by all the different backgrounds and things they have accomplished. I am really excited to get to know them better and to meet more great people. Outside of school, I am looking forward to going surfing, and my kids are pumped to be so close to Disneyland!

Accepted: Do you still blog? How do you think your blog will evolve now that you’ve been accepted? 

James: I am still definitely blogging. So many of the other prospective students’ blogs and current students’ blogs helped me throughout this process, I want to give back in some way if possible. Hopefully some of the things I write about will help those that are just beginning the process, and maybe inspire some reapplicants to keep working hard and going after their dreams.

My blog has definitely evolved since I started it. When I first started writing, it was mainly for myself. It was an outlet for all the pent up thoughts/anxiety brought on by the application process. I feel like it has become more of a place for me to share my experiences and information I have come across to help benefit others who are going through the process now. My hope is that it will become a resource for those individuals. I plan to blog while I am in school as well, although it might not be at the same rate, and offer insight into life at b-school, specifically UCLA Anderson.

You can read more about this blogger’s b-school journey by checking out his blog, MBA Reapplicant! Thank you James for sharing your story with us!

Tips to help you ace those MBA interviews!

 

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Leadership, Tech, & Forte: IV with a Cornell MBA Student

Check out the rest of our MBA student interviews!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, introducing Sarah Markels Maynard, a second year student at Cornell Johnson

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?

Sarah: I grew up in sunny San Diego, California. For college, I ventured back east to Wellesley College, where I majored in Physics. Something that I did not appreciate until after graduating from Wellesley was how empowering it had been to have strong, smart, and capable women in all of the leadership roles around me. It was incredibly inspiring for me and I feel that it helped motivate me to excel in hard science fields that I wouldn’t have normally felt comfortable pursuing. This is why it has been especially important to me to be involved in the Forte Foundation and other activities that support women in pursuing their desired careers.

Accepted: Where are you in b-school? What year?

Sarah: It is hard to believe, but I will be graduating in a few short weeks from the two-year MBA program at Johnson at Cornell University. The two years go by far more quickly than you think that they will! After graduation, I am excited to say that I will be joining GE Capital ECLP, a rotational commercial leadership program.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about Johnson? 

Sarah: I was originally attracted to Johnson’s tight-knit community and found that I truly connected to all of the students that I met while exploring my options for business school. Over the course of my two years I have found that Johnson really does hold up to my initial impressions. The faculty is superb and I love that the school truly responds to student concerns. In direct response to student and faculty input, Johnson is going to be revising its core curriculum for the upcoming year to better address student needs.

Accepted: Are you involved in any clubs on campus? How central to student life is club involvement?

Sarah: While at Johnson, I have gotten extremely involved in the community – it adds a lot to the business school experience because it enables you to reach different groups across campus and give back to the community. As a Forte Fellow, I have been involved in several of the recruiting events for women interested in business school and I served as a student representative on the Diversity Council and the female subcommittee. Additionally, I served as President of the Women’s Management Council, VP of Marketing of the High Tech Club, and, most recently, I co-founded the Johnson Women in Technology Conference with one of my fellow second year classmates at Johnson.

Accepted: Can you tell us about the Women in Technology Conference?

Sarah: In my first year in business school, I went on a trek to Seattle to visit some of the high tech companies in the city. I shared a room with my classmate, Melissa Adeyanju, who was interested in pursuing a career at a tech company but was uncertain about her chances given her non-engineering background. Having worked in tech, I knew that a degree in engineering was certainly not a requirement! We spoke about ways that we could foster a community for women who were interesting in finding a future in tech and ultimately founded the Johnson Women in Technology (JWiT) Conference. The first year’s theme was “Power Up Your Future” and our aim was to start a conversation for women interested in investing in their futures in technology. We had an excellent line up of speakers and panels. We have already picked the new co-chairs for next year’s conference, so mark your calendars for March 20, 2015!

Accepted: Can you talk about your experience with the Forte Foundation? 

Sarah: I’m very proud to be a Forte Fellow and greatly value the doors that it opens up for female MBA Candidates. They hold an annual conference for women joining Forte Sponsor MBA programs and I highly recommend attending the conference, regardless of whether or not you are a Forte Fellow. I met some of my closest friends at Johnson at the Forte Conference in 2012 in Los Angeles. The conference is a great place to not only meet other incoming students, but also get some tips for hitting the ground running once you start your program.

Accepted: What would you say are your top 3 MBA admissions tips?

Sarah:

1. Know yourself – Understand your top three defining characteristics and weave these descriptions throughout your application and interviews. Knowing who you are and your defining strengths is key not only to getting into business school, but also finding your perfect career after business school.

2. Paint a clear picture of your future – When thinking about business school and writing your application, I realized that I had to do a lot of soul searching of how an MBA truly fit into my future and how it would help me get where I wanted to go. You should have a clear idea of the skills and experiences that only an MBA program can provide. Even more, you need to understand what you will bring to that MBA program.

3. Get to know current students – For most programs you are going to be dedicating two years of your life to your education. This means taking yourself out of the workforce and using that time to invest in yourself. You need to make sure that you actually like the people that you will be spending time with, especially during the demanding curriculum that many of the top programs will give you.

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

Thank you Sarah for sharing your story with us! You can connect with Sarah via LinkedIn.

This report will help you navigate the MBA Maze 

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