Indian In IT Finds Her Fit At Anderson

Read more MBA student interviewsThis 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. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application. And now for an interview with Rohini Vaze…

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Can you share 3 fun facts about yourself?

Rohini: Sure! I am from Mumbai in India. I did my undergrad in electrical engineering from Pune and then worked at Tata Motors for three years. It was an amazing job where I got a 360 degree view of the business by working in sales, manufacturing and customer support and could take many initiatives and see them implemented. However, I always felt that I needed to learn frameworks that I could apply in my career, and so I came to business school to gain those skills. I also funded my friend’s startup during my time at Tata Motors and that got me interested in this space. So I am using these two years at business school to gain exposure to start-ups in California.

3 fun facts about me are:

1. I have travelled to 10 countries outside my country of birth.

2. I am a trustee at a non-profit organization in India to help underprivileged children learn English and computers.

3. I have been dancing since the age of five.

Accepted: Where are you in business school? What year?

Rohini: I am in my first year of Business School at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about Anderson so far? And if you could change one thing about the program, what would it be? 

Rohini: My favorite thing about Anderson has been the people and the exposure that it has given to me. Many schools are good at a single discipline but not so great at other industries, but Anderson is great for a variety of careers. This gives a lot of exposure to people who have very diverse backgrounds and I am sure it will be very helpful in the future. If I could change one thing, I would change the time at which the school starts. The quarter system makes recruiting harder since all other schools tend to have an advantage of starting a month earlier than Anderson, and thus those students have more time to gain valuable skills that will help them in seeking internships and full time positions.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your current internship? What role did UCLA play in helping you secure that position?

Rohini: I am currently pursuing a part-time internship at a Venture Capital Firm in Santa Monica and the opportunity came to me through UCLA itself. We have a website through our career center where companies that are in need of interns post about their opportunities. I applied to this internship after seeing the posting on the website and went through a company analysis and interview process before being offered this position. The part-time internship involves doing market research for companies that are being considered for funding through the Venture Capital Firm. What I really like about the internship is that the firm has good deal flow and provides real support to the entrepreneurs that they fund.

For the summer, I will be going to Amazon, and the Anderson career center was very helpful in giving me tips for preparation for the same. Moreover, my classmates as well as 2nd year students helped a lot with the preparation for the interviews!

Accepted: Which other business schools had you considered attending? How was UCLA the best fit for you?

Rohini: I always wanted a business school on the West Coast. I have a heard a lot about the cultural difference between the West and the East Coast schools and knew that I am a West Coast person. The other two criteria I had in mind were that I wanted a school in a city so that I could pursue part-time internships in parallel to school, as well as I wanted a school where there was a high concentration of people going into Hi-Tech. Thus, I had only considered attending UCLA, Berkeley and Stanford. I believe Anderson is a great fit for me since along with the above factors, Anderson has a very diverse crowd. The business school is really good for Finance and Consulting too, and I am confident that this exposure by being in an ‘all-rounder’ school will be very helpful in my career in the future.

Accepted: I see that you did fantastic on your GMAT – can you share a few tips with our readers?

Rohini: Thanks. There are a few things that I think helped me a lot with my GMAT score:

• Start with the simplest books and then move on to the harder ones. The simpler books help to re-learn the concepts from high school that most of us have forgotten. I started preparing with Princeton books and then went on to Manhattan and Kaplan. I also advise my friends to study from the official GMAT book the last. The official book tends to have the simpler questions in the 400-600 range and are not the best questions to practice when you are aiming for a great GMAT score. However, being able to easily solve these questions in the last couple of days when you need something to reduce your anxiousness is the best way to use the Official GMAT book.

• Check your mistakes to find patterns that will help you to focus your further preparation on a particular topic that is common for GMAT exams.

• Spend adequate time on the first 10 questions. I took the older format GMAT where the first 10 questions can really make or break your final score. Thus checking for silly mistakes in reading the question or a calculation error in not calculating answers till the end helps in getting a good score.

• Most importantly, practice a LOT! This is probably the most important tip since one of my biggest hurdles with GMAT was managing to concentrate for the whole 4 hours. During practice exams, I observed that I would make a lot of silly mistakes in the last hour and get lower scores. Thus, I made it a point to get used to the long hours and took one practice exam every three days. I believe this can really make the difference between a 700 and a 750 score.

Accepted: Do you have any other advice for our b-school applicants? 

Rohini: Start the application early and enjoy the process! Hopefully, there will be many things that you will learn about yourself through the application process. Also, focus on a few schools that you really want to get into and gather as much information about the school from as many sources as possible – you might have the best application but you won’t get any admit unless you can articulate “why this school” well.

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

To read more a bout Rohini, you can check out her blog at Rohini’s Blog. Thank you Rohini for sharing your story with us – we wish you much success! 

Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• UCLA Anderson Zone Page
• MBA Admissions for Indian Applicants
• Podcast: UCLA Anderson and Entrepreneurship

A Nigerian Woman’s Journey To MIT Sloan Acceptance

Click here for other MBA student interviewsThis 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 an interview with Ginika Agbim O’Kelly…

Accepted:  We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What are a couple of your hobbies?

Ginika: My name is Ginika Agbim O’Kelly. I am Nigerian, grew up in Atlanta, and am married to an English-Irish man. I studied Economics & Strategy, Finance, and Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. I was interested in studying human behavior and decision-making from multiple angles. For fun, I started a fashion column in the school newspaper and organized African fashion shows every year. Today, I also run a blog on my website, run for exercise, and travel at every chance I get!

Accepted: Can you tell us a bit about your path to business school? What were you working in previously? What made you decide to pursue an MBA?

Ginika: Business school is interesting for me, because at one point in my life, I actually wanted to become a doctor. Through working in consulting after graduating from Wash U, I still find myself exercising those same diagnostic and problem solving skills. I knew that I wanted to pursue an MBA because, now that I have analyzed issues in real organizations, I want to improve my skills as a leader and strategic thinker, and also meet many incredibly innovative people changing the world.

Accepted: How did you decide on MIT?

Ginika: I chose MIT Sloan for two main reasons. First, there is the flexible curriculum and the action-learning philosophy. MIT’s motto is Mens et Manus (Mind and Hand), and having the ability to apply concepts that I learn in the classroom to help real organizations move forward fits with my learning style. After the first, rigorous core semester, I can choose the courses I take and engage in Action Labs, which allow me to advise global organizations on pressing issues. Second, not only are the students and alums at MIT Sloan impressive, but they are also collaborative and very humble. I knew this dynamic environment would challenge me to grow both professionally and personally.

Accepted: What was the most challenging part of the MBA application process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it?

Ginika: The most challenging part of the process is managing your own psychology. Applying can be quite emotional sometimes, and you may find yourself doubting your abilities. To deal with the emotional stress, I relied on my husband and our families, as well as prayer, meditation, yoga, running, and lots of tea! These resources helped me focus, stay true to myself, and put things into perspective. If you’re going to be great in life, it will happen, with –or – without the MBA degree.

Accepted: What are your top three tips for applicants preparing for the MBA application process?

Tip 1:  Start early. Things can go wrong on GMAT test day, the essays will definitely take longer than anticipated, and if you’re anything like me, you want to get all your applications completed by Round 1 so that you can enjoy Christmas vacation. Take the GMAT as early as you can. Life happens, but if you start early, you give yourself the best possible chance to reach your personal application deadlines and submit applications that best capture who you are.

Tip 2:  Talk to people. Though it may seem daunting to reach out to friends or strangers about your MBA ambitions, just do it. People who have “been there and done that“ know more than you regarding business school and succeeding in your future career, so it’s always best to research, reach out, and listen. I talked to my mentors, admissions advisors, current students, alumni, business executives, etc. Talk to people in the careers you hope to enter and at the schools you wish to attend.

Tip 3: Find healthy ways to relieve stress. Applying while working is tough because you can’t give excuses in the office and you have to give 100% in your applications. Re-assess how you spend your time in a 7-day period. Find a support system and know that someday, you’ll be on the other side. And if business school doesn’t work out, keep pushing for your dreams anyway.

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

Thank you Ginika for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Download your copy of Navigating the MBA Maze

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One
MIT Business School Zone Page
Video Tips: MBA Application Advice From Linda Abraham

Catching Up with Dartmouth Tuck Student Dominic Yau

Read more interviews with MBA student bloggersThis interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a follow up interview with Dominic Yau, who is about to complete his first year at Dartmouth Tuck. (We first met Dominic last year – you can read our first interview with him here.)

Accepted: Since we last spoke you applied to a bunch of b-schools. Where did you end up getting accepted and where are you currently attending?

Dominic: I ended up being accepted to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and I am currently a first year there.

Accepted: How has it been so far? Is b-school as you expected it to be? Any surprises? 

Dominic: First year has been phenomenal. It has been everything I expected and more. On the academic front, I have definitely been challenged both from a breadth perspective. Tuck is a general management program and therefore the core curriculum covers all the key facets of a general manager’s toolkit.

On the recruiting side, it has been a very intense but rewarding experience. I knew going in that I wanted to go into management consulting but also explore a couple of other things. Tuck has given me the opportunity to explore and understand what I wanted out of my career.

Outside of the classroom and recruiting, I have been involved with a lot of clubs and other events from playing (tripod) ice hockey to hosting a UK table at the international dinner during our Diversity Conference. There is such a wide variety of things to get involved that the hardest thing is to pick and choose what you want to do.

Overall, my first year so far has been fantastic. Looking back, one thing that I am surprised by is some of the non-technical skills that I have learnt. One example is being more efficient at making trade-offs when you have limited time. Rather than waste time thinking about what I could be doing, I have gotten much better at deciding on what I want to do and how to use my time most effectively. I think this will be a valuable lesson in my life and in my career going forwards!

Accepted: Why did you choose Tuck? How is it the best fit for you?

Dominic: I chose Tuck because of its location, size, and community. I did my undergrad at a campus university and I knew I wanted a similar experience. Also coming from a large city like London and most likely working in large cities post-MBA, it was a great way of taking two years and doing something slightly different.

Tuck’s size was also a big draw for me. I know pretty much all of the first years and I have had interactions with a large percentage of the second years. This simply is not the case at some other schools. Tuck’s size also closes the gap between the school and its students. I can drop into our program office with any queries or reach out to meet one-on-one with another of the faculty at very short notice.

Finally, the community at Tuck is very strong. People go out of their way to help each other and support each other. I am surprised by the strength of the community on a daily basis.

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

Dominic: There is not a lot I would change about Tuck. One area that I think Tuck is addressing and needs to continue to address to focus more broadly on global issues. It is great that the Class of 2017 will now have a requirement to undertake at least one trip or project globally during their two years. I think as globalization continues, it is deeply important to have the cultural sensitivity and the ability to work across borders.

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

Dominic: I am a wine aficionado and I will be a co-Chair of the Wine Club next year. I also play tripod hockey. Overall clubs are an important part of the Tuck experience but I find that some of my best experiences are typically more ad hoc. Due to our class size, I know the folks who have similar interests as myself so it is very easy to find others who want to go for a hike, play pond hockey, try out local eateries, etc.

Accepted: Do you have an internship lined up for the summer? What role did Tuck play in helping you secure a position?

Dominic: I will be interning this summer with one of the Top 3 consulting firms in New York. I have had great support during my internship recruiting from the Career Development Office (CDO), my classmates, and the alumni network. The CDO has been instrumental in helping me over the last few months from practising cases and fit questions to more general advice about managing the recruiting process. As for my classmates, the second years have devoted a lot of time to first years in helping them get ready for case interviews.

Finally, I cannot say enough about Tuck’s alumni network. Typically, I get a response within 24 hours of reaching out to an alumni. They are also very gracious with their time. I had a call with an alum during his layover at an airport between flights back from a client. I also had mock interviews with several alums during the Christmas break when they should have been relaxing. I think this speaks volume to Tuck’s alumni network.

Accepted: Now that you’ve successfully applied to and gotten into b-school, you must have some good advice for our readers. What are your top 3 admissions tips?

Dominic: My 3 top tips are:

1. Be yourself

2. Be prepared

3. Find the right fit

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

To read more about Dominic’s b-school journey, please check out his blog, Domotron. Thank you Dominic for sharing your story with us!

Download our free special report: Best MBA Programs
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

The Tuck School of Business and the Global Insight Requirement
• Dartmouth Tuck 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips
MBA Student Interviews

Insights Of An International Student At MIT Sloan

Read more MBA student interviewsThis 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 Christian Marek who is in his final year at MIT Sloan.

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

Christian: Originally I’m from the scenic Vienna in Austria. There I completed Bachelor’s in Software Engineering and a Master’s in Information Systems Management. Because I wanted to immerse myself even further in the tech industry, I decided to pursue an MBA.

Accepted: Where are you in business school? What year?

Christian: I’m currently a second-year MBA student at MIT Sloan and will be graduating June 2015.

Accepted: Why did you choose MIT Sloan? How is it the best program for you? Which other MBA programs had you considered?

Christian: When I chose my MBA program, the primary factors I considered were quality of the school, entrepreneurial ecosystem of the university, school affinity for technology (and data), class size, and location. This lead me to consider MIT Sloan, Berkeley Haas and UCLA Anderson. All programs were almost equally amazing. However, once I saw the MIT campus I knew this was the place to be for me. The geekiness and culture was impossible to match. Coming from an engineering background this is where I wanted to be.

Accepted: Can you share some advice to incoming first year students, to help make their adjustment to b-school easier? What do you wish you would’ve known when you were just starting out?

Christian: Adjusting to b-school is a great experience but it’s definitely challenging – there are so many variables. Being an international student adds an additional challenge as it takes some time to get used to local communication style and culture. Here are a few things that make the adjustment easier:

Keep reaching out after your acceptance: The MBA years are among the best in your life. Having a rough sense of what you want to get out of the MBA is really helpful. Obviously as an incoming student you do your research online. Additionally, I recommend reaching out to a variety of current MBAs at your school that are doing what you are looking to do. This should be even easier after acceptance. For example if you’re interested in entrepreneurship try to talk to a club VP over the phone. They can tell you if the club a good choice for your, help develop your interest further and intro you the others who might have similar interests.

•  Attend post-admission events: I find that the admission events (weekends, seminars, etc.) I attended really helped me in making my decision. You get to know your potential future classmates. Doing so, let’s you figure out if you’re kind of on the same wavelength and even find roommates. Furthermore the schools will showcase what the programs have too offer in even greater detail.

•  MBA communication classes: These classes are amazingly helpful, especially for international students. As I said communication in the U.S. can seem very different. The communication classes at Sloan taught me a lot about American communication standards in business personal interactions.

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

Christian: I’m a co-president of the European Business Club at MIT Sloan and I really enjoy the experience. However, I think club involvement is a personal choice. I know classmates who are members in up to eight clubs and I know classmates who are in zero clubs. Some classmates are VPs and presidents, others just aren’t. Personally, I think clubs can offer a lot of value in terms of making friends, finding classmates with common interests and taking on leadership opportunities. Just like everything in life it helps aligning your decision on the extent of your club involvement to what you want to accomplish. If you want to be an entrepreneur, joining the Entrepreneurship club makes sense. If you want to do something for the overall community, join a culture club. See if you like it and then you can typically still decide whether or not to go for a VP position.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your internship at Google last summer? What role did Sloan play in helping you secure that position? 

Christian: My internship at Google last summer was amazing. The internship program is run by an amazing team at Google that makes the experience at Google unique. On a weekly basis leaders in the organization gave us their inside scoop on leadership and the tech industry. Google offers a variety of MBA internship roles. Over the summer you take responsibility for executing your very own project. Sloan helped in a variety of ways. First, the internal network at Sloan is extremely helpful to learn about a company. As I was in the internship recruiting process, I reached out to former Googlers and former Google MBA interns at Sloan. They were extremely helpful in telling me about their experiences at Google. Second, the various clubs at Sloan help you with the internship process by doing resume reviews among other things. Coming from Europe, I found this particularly helpful because the U.S. job application process is very different. Third, the MIT Sloan Career Development office collaborates closely with Google to host coffee chats and recruiting events. In that way Sloan MBA students can connect directly to Googlers to learn more about the company and the internship.

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

Christian: For me personally the most challenging part getting connected to the schools. I was the first in my network to pursue an MBA. However, from reading online I got the sense that insights from current students are extremely valuable to the application. Even though the notion of writing cold emails was completely foreign to me, I researched Europeans (particularly Austrians) that were attending my target schools. I was surprised how quickly they responded. Even though arranging these chats and conversations was a lot of work, I do believe building those connections contributed to my admission offers. Talking to current students is irreplaceable and it helps you get a feel for the school.

Accepted: Do you have any other advice for our med school applicant readers, especially for international applicants?

Christian:

1. Connect to your target school: Your future school is probably a couple thousand kilometers away. Still connecting to current students is the best way to learn about your school.

2. Make a well-rounded application package: Show who you are personally and professionally. Ideally you’ll be able to tie this to together and paint your future to the reader. Also, use data points to quantify the impact you had. I think for internationals (or at least Europeans) – this is particularly unusual. Still, you need to get over it and do it.

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

You can follow Christian on Twitter and by checking out his blog Producteria.

Thank you Christian for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Download your free copy of Navigating the MBA Maze!

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• Navigate the MBA Maze
MIT Sloan 2015 Executive MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
IV With an Overrepresented Minority MIT Sloan Admit!

Experiences & Advice from Columbia MBA Student Kendall Miller

Click here for more MBA student InterviewsThis 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 Kendall Miller, a student at Columbia Business School.

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Can you tell us three fun facts about yourself?

Kendall: I originally hail from the Midwest, growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and attending Indiana University where I graduated with honors in Finance. Afterwards, I spent four years working in Chicago as a management consultant before finally making it to New York!

Three fun facts about me: I have traveled to 30 countries in under 30 years, my favorite films are The Godfather and When Harry Met Sally, and for New Year’s Eve this year I went to a house party in Valparaiso, Chile, where I knew no one.

Accepted: Where are you in business school? What year?

Kendall: Currently I am a second year at Columbia Business School.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about Columbia so far? If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?

Kendall: While I have lots of favorite things about Columbia, I can narrow it down to two. First, the core classes last only a semester and you have the option to test out of core subjects. Coming from a degree in Finance and a consulting background, I was itching to get to interesting electives instead of repeating content I already knew. Second, being in New York for graduate school is amazing. The number and seniority of guest lecturers in class is largely due to the fact they just have to taxi up to campus from their office, and I’m able to be constantly networking in the city. At least once a week I am at an event off-campus, meeting people outside of the MBA community.

If I were to change one thing, it would be to have more group work space in the school. However, I do know this is a priority for the new property being developed.

Accepted: Where did you intern last summer? What role did Columbia play in helping you secure that position?

Kendall: Last summer I was lucky enough to live in Milan, Italy, working for a luxury eCommerce company called Yoox. I attribute this internship entirely to Columbia, as the CEO and co-General Manager both went to Columbia for their MBAs, and they used the resume book at school to reach out to potential candidates. My consulting background was also a huge help, as the group I was working in (Office of the CEO) consisted almost entirely of ex-consultants.

More recently I have been interning part time in the city for Moda Operandi, another luxury eCommerce company. Many people at Columbia who are interested in careers in retail, startups, venture capital and private equity do internships during the school year, particularly if they are a career switcher. Again, this is only possible because we are in the city.

Columbia also offers “block week” classes, which are accelerated classes taken at the beginning of the semester, allowing students to free up time during the school year for work.

Accepted: And do you have a job lined up yet for when you graduate? Again, how did Columbia help you during that process?

Kendall: After school I will be returning to Deloitte Consulting, which sponsored my school tuition. However, last year during the internship search I used the career office often, for resume and cover letter reviews, interview prep, and guidance when deciding between offers. The alumni network is also very valuable, and industry-specific alumni career coaches provided some of the best feedback and advice I have received to-date.

And I can’t forget the Executives in Residence! These individuals may or may not be alumni, but they are all veteran executives with expertise in a specific industry and hold weekly office hours to discuss career questions with students. I met with two in my first year when I was exploring options.

Accepted: Can you share some advice to incoming first year students, to help make their adjustment to b-school easier?

Kendall: If you are coming from a non-traditional background, I would suggest brushing up on Excel skills and getting a primer in either accounting or corporate finance. Yes, these are both core classes, but it’s better not to be caught flat footed. Getting back into the swing of weekly (or daily) homework assignments was hard for me, and it does require careful planning because there are so many things vying for your attention, and you constantly feel like it’s the “last and only opportunity” for everything.

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

Kendall: Most challenging for me was nailing down exactly what I wanted to do after school, and being able to create a coherent and well-developed narrative that tied in the MBA. It sounded clichéd, when others said I needed to have an exact job in mind. Wasn’t I going to school to figure that out? Once I was able to do that, writing my essays became so much easier, and I was able to seek out the schools that best fit my goals. Many people do change their story, their minds, once they get to school – but two years is only so long, and you don’t want to spend all of it trying to figure out what you want to do post-graduation. At some point, you need to lock that down so that networking, training, and interviewing can be focused and successful.

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

 You can read more about Kendall’s journey by checking out her website, http://www.kendallmiller.co/about/. Thank you Kendall for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Free on-demand webinar: Get Accepted to Columbia Business School!
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

MBA In Sight: Focus on Finance
• Columbia Business School 2015 MBA Questions, Deadlines, Tips
B-School Student Interviews