Aiming for IMD? An Admitted Student Shares His Story and Advice

Check out the rest of our MBA Student Interviews! We’d like to introduce you to our next blogger, Marcelo, who begins his one-year MBA program at IMD in just a few months. You can read about Marcelo’s MBA journey in our interview below, as well as at his blog, Marshmallow’s IMD MBA Experience. Best of luck to you Marcelo – we look forward to following your IMD experience!

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What have you been doing (work-wise or otherwise) since you graduated?

Marcelo: First off, thank you for inviting me to be a part of this great blog series. My name is Marcelo – I am an easy-going, soccer-loving Brazilian. Throughout my life I’ve lived in a bunch of different places. Before coming to Switzerland, I lived in the United States for 12 years, and before that I lived in London for 4. Each of these places has left an impression on me, and contributed to my desire to see more of what the world has to offer.

During my undergrad I studied Economics at the University of Chicago, and went on to work in analytics and reporting in the mortgage industry for 7 years. I worked at Fannie Mae, Countrywide and Bank of America. As you can imagine I had a pretty eventful few years getting through the financial crisis! Despite all the uncertainty, it proved to be a valuable learning experience. I was exposed to very distinct business environments – the bullish times, the downturn, and the beginning of the recovery.

Accepted: Congrats on your acceptance to IMD! Why did you choose IMD? How would you say you’re a good fit for that program?

Marcelo: Thank you! I am very excited to start the program at IMD. There were a few things that were important to me about an MBA program, and I feel IMD will check all of the boxes. I was looking for a school that would best help me develop my leadership skills, and I was impressed by IMD’s approach. Throughout the year there is an ongoing focus on self-reflection and soft-skill development, including writing an “autobiographical” document, and even meeting with a psychoanalyst to discuss how to improve as a person and as a leader. I really like how the small class size leads to a very personalized experience, including continuous individualized feedback. I believe this approach will complement my somewhat technical background very well.

From a recruitment perspective, IMD’s placement track record and close affinity to industry were a big considerations for me, given my interest in breaking into the consumer products business. Also, coming into the program at 31 years old, I also appreciated that IMD favors slightly older, more experienced candidates. I didn’t necessarily mind going into a class where I would be one of the older students, but at IMD my peers will be at about the same stage in their lives and their careers as I am in mine. I believe it will help us all relate to each other more deeply. I also really like that every single one of the 90 students has had major international exposure, having lived or worked in different countries. All the different perspectives should be conducive to some great class discussions.

Accepted: Did you only apply to European b-schools? Which other programs were you considering?

Marcelo: Yes, I did only apply to European schools. I was looking for a way to give my career a more international dimension. I’ve lived a pretty international life, but I felt my career path in the US was steering me away from that. I thought European schools offered me the best opportunity to gain work experience in a different country, and put my professional life on a more international track. Also – although it wasn’t the main consideration – I also liked the potential of going into a one-year program.

I considered mostly the top European programs: IMD, INSEAD, London Business School, IESE and Oxford. With the timing of the applications, I submitted applications to IMD and Oxford first. After going through the IMD assessment day I was totally confident it was the right fit for me, so I was really hoping I would get in. It was a long several days waiting for their decision! Luckily I was accepted, and in the end I never got to submit the other three applications.

Accepted: Your course starts in just a few months — what are you most looking forward to? Is there anything you’re not looking forward to?

Marcelo: Based on everything I have heard about IMD, there are a lot of things to look forward to! I am most excited about meeting my classmates. I’ve met a few of them during my assessment day, and they were all extremely talented and accomplished. IMD puts so much time and effort into recruiting the right 90 candidates each year, I feel like every interaction will be a learning opportunity. I want to take full advantage of this experience.

I am also very excited about IMD’s practical, real-world approach to learning. As part of the coursework we will have opportunities to work with senior-level leadership and help solve real problems for both start-ups and established business. We will have opportunities to present to, and interact with, high-level executives from a variety of companies who attend executive programs at IMD. I am excited to see all the different tasks and activities IMD will have for me.

Sadly, there are things I am not looking forward to as well. The biggest one by far is that I will spend a lot less time with my family. It will be especially hard since my wife and I are expecting our first baby. I will want to be there with her at every moment, but I know I won’t be able to.

By all accounts, the IMD MBA is very intense. It sounds like knowing how to balance all the coursework, activities and personal life can be tough. One thing I do worry about is the constant fear of missing out – for example, I don’t want to regret going to a certain presentation when I could have been at home with my wife. Hopefully I will quickly learn how to juggle everything and find the right equilibrium.

Accepted: Do you plan on staying in Switzerland/Europe post-MBA?

Marcelo: Yes, I would like to stay in Europe for at least a few years after the MBA. Ideally, I would take a position in a multi-national company with a presence in the United States and/or Brazil. After a few years of getting to know the business, working through the ranks and building my network, I may then be in a position to look for opportunities for international mobility within that company.

In the short run I am pretty flexible as far as geography goes, and I am looking to identify the right company, gain the best possible experience and put myself in the best position for career advancement. Thankfully my wife is also flexible and willing to go to different places with me, so this is an exciting opportunity for us as a family to have some unique life experiences together.

Accepted: What would you say are your three top tips for b-school applicants?

Marcelo:

1. Understand your goals

Even if you can’t name a specific position in a specific company that you want to get into, you should know your “story,” i.e. how you will connect your past experience to whatever you want to do in the future. You should be able to explain how the skills you already have, and the skills you will gain in your MBA will help you succeed in a new industry, a different geography, a higher position, etc. Obviously the MBA needs to be part of that story, and every school will want you to tell them how they will help you reach your goals.

2. Do your homework.

There are so many great MBA programs out there, it can be overwhelming to know which one is the best fit. It’s easy to look at a school’s ranking number and decide that’s a good enough reason to apply there. It’s important to a) understand why a school is ranked where it is, and pay special attention to what its strengths and weaknesses are, so you can see if that program will line up well with your goals and development needs; and b) gain as much knowledge as possible about a school’s culture, personality and teaching style.

I suggest attending MBA fairs, reaching out to alumni and current students, reading blogs etc. That way you will get a better sense of what life in that school is really like and will start to see if you can see yourself there.

3. Accomplishments, accomplishments, accomplishments.

Every school wants to know what you have accomplished, which is not the same as what you have done. You should be able to showcase how you have added value in your work life (or even in your personal life). Whether that came from bringing people together, improving processes, etc – the school wants to see what outcomes came about as a result of your actions, not simply a list of the tasks you go through each day at work.

Accepted: What was the most challenging aspect of the MBA admissions process? What step(s) did you take to overcome that challenge?

Marcelo: To me, the toughest aspect was the sheer amount of time that I needed to dedicate to my applications. I wanted to make sure I submitted the best possible applications that really represented my best self. I knew that if I didn’t take the process seriously, I could end up looking back and having major regrets if I got dinged by my top choice schools. I’d wish I had studied a bit harder for the GMAT instead of going to happy hours, or wish I had spent those extra couple of hours proofreading my essays instead of watching the hockey game. By knowing I did my very best, I’d be sure that if I got a rejection letter, it just wasn’t meant to be.

To overcome this challenge it was important to keep the end goal in mind. I found it helpful to keep in mind the things I am trying to accomplish, the career I am trying to build. I tried to think of every detail in the application as a step in the right direction, and make the MBA applications a priority.

No question though, the biggest help for me was having a supportive partner who motivated me when I felt like I couldn’t be bothered anymore. She understood what a good opportunity a top MBA would be for us as a family. With her help I was able to organize my schedule, stay away from distractions, and spend the right amount of time to get the applications just right.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Why/when did you start blogging? Who is your audience? What do you hope to gain (or what have you gained already?) from the experience?

Marcelo: I started my blog almost as soon as I received the famous acceptance phone call from IMD. At first I thought of it as a good way for friends and family to keep up with me. I also figured it would be an interesting way to record my thoughts during this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I will enjoy looking back at the blog in five years or so, and re-living it all.

At the same time, I wanted my blog to help out others who are interested in IMD – during my application process, I found that reading the blogs of IMD students from previous classes was tremendously helpful in painting a picture of what it takes to get into IMD, and what being an IMD student is like. There weren’t too many IMD blogs out there, so hopefully my blog will be a resource for future applicants who considering going down this same path.

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

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Cornell MBA Student IV: Career Change, China, and Campus Culture

Check out more MBA student blogger interviewsIn this interview, Cornell Johnson student, Sam Griffiths, tells us about the Johnson culture, his likes and dislikes about the program, and a number of important tips for applicants and incoming students. Thank you Sam for sharing your story with us!

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. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Can you tell us where you’re from, where and what you studied as an undergrad, what other degrees do you hold, and some highlights from your work experience?

Sam: Before I went to Cornell for my MBA, I went to BYU and got a Masters and a Bachelors degree in Information Systems. It’s also a great school. I worked at an investing firm for my internship during my last summer at BYU and due to the economic downturn, our fulltime offers were revoked at the end of the school year when I graduated. Since the economy was down and no one was hiring, I went to China for a year and taught English in a high school. I figured it would give me something on my resume and would be a great experience. It was everything I hoped it would be. I learned a lot about myself, my students, Chinese culture, and further developed a passion for understanding different people and cultures.

When I came back the economy had picked up, I got a few job offers and went to work for a healthcare consulting firm in Portland Oregon. There were a couple things that stood out to me about my work at that company. The first was my first evaluation, which went terribly. I knew there were a couple things my boss didn’t approve of, but knew that the software we worked on took a long time to ramp up on, and thought that it was still normal. It turns out it wasn’t. When I found out I got bad reviews on my evaluation I was really surprised and learned a lot about communication. I started talking with my boss about what he expected and made as many changes as I could, as quickly as possible. For the next several evaluations I was marked really well. Most of this was due to the realization that my boss’ idea of what a ‘good job’ was, was the only one that really mattered when it came to my progress in the company.

Even though I was in a consulting firm, I was hired for my business/tech skills and spent most of my time adjusting business software. I enjoyed it, but wanted to spend more time with people. I learned their software really well, but wasn’t using a lot of my natural skills. One afternoon I was lucky enough to end up at lunch with someone who had gone to Johnson. He talked a lot about what an MBA could do for someone, and several months later I decided to apply and see if an MBA could unlock a different career path for me. I came to Johnson looking to switch into general management/marketing and am excited about the options for work coming out of Johnson.

Accepted: I see on LinkedIn that you also spent some time as a locksmith. Can you talk some more about how your varied jobs led you to pursue a business degree?

Sam: A good portion of people at Johnson have known they wanted an MBA for a long time. For me, it was just the next step as I’ve learned more about the world and what I want out of it. This also explains why my resume looks like it’s all over the place. Even though I hit a lot of different job types, all of my work experience (including my missionary service), has common values, and has helped me recognize those values that are important to me in my work. It took me several years to acknowledge them. They are the desire to learn, explore, and create a bigger and more positive impact on others through my work. An MBA gives me a chance to expand each of those.

Accepted: How would you characterize your fit with “Johnson”?

Sam: I think I’m a good fit for the Johnson culture. We’re all pretty different, since Johnson works hard to pull a lot of diversity into each class, but Johnson loves people with a great story and diverse experience. One of my classmates came out of writing public policy, another was a mechanical engineer in Brazil, and another was a concert violinist. We all come from a lot of different places and cultures. But the fit doesn’t come from that. It comes from how we mesh with what’s important to the school, which is also what makes our school unique. The Johnson school is a great place for people who like a small class size, like to know their class mates by name, and believe in teamwork.

Accepted: What is your most and least favorite thing about Johnson

Sam: Oddly enough, I think they’re the same. It’s the drinking of the fire hose of knowledge during your first semester. There’s so much to learn and so many things going on that it’s impossible to be a part of everything. There’s always an amazing speaker, or a club meeting, or a big assignment, or a recruiter on campus, and you have to learn how to prioritize what’s important and make sure you use your time wisely. I hate that I have to miss out on so many things, because there isn’t time for all of it, but I love being in a place with so many options and opportunities.

Accepted: Is there anything you wish you had known before starting school this fall?

Sam: I wish I had started the habit of reading about industry trends and cut things out of my life that weren’t necessary before school started. Knowing a lot about the industry you want to go into goes far with recruiters. It also helps you feel get to know your target industry better, making it easier to find out if it’s a good fit for you. Also again, time is precious. Going strong the first semester ensures that you can play later and that you won’t have any regrets.

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

Sam: Clubs are a huge part of student life at Johnson. I’d say all clubs fall into two main categories: professional and leisure. The professional clubs are a huge help if there’s one for the career you’re targeting, like Old Ezra (the finance club), the Marketing association, or the consulting club. They help students prepare for recruiting and internships and are a great doorway to understanding your target industry better. The leisure clubs give you a chance to decompress with classmates over a shared interest, which is a lot of fun and is really important if you want to get the most out of your experience. I’m currently a member of a few clubs. A lot of people join several. I’m in the Marketing Association, the General Management Club, the running club, and we’re looking at joining the bowling club. (I’m terrible at bowling, but hear it’s pretty popular and a lot of fun.)

Accepted: Do you have any application tips to share with our B-School applicants?

Sam: First off, I’d say talk to as many people as you can about the jobs that come out of the MBA program you’re applying for. I recognize now why they spend so much time encouraging applicants to know what they want to get out of an MBA. Your time is really valuable in a good MBA program. There are so many good speakers, classes, and clubs, that spending time on companies you don’t want to work for becomes frustrating fast. Recruiting starts at some schools as early as September. If you can come with a strong idea of what you want to do it will help you get the most out of your time in the program. If you’re not sure how to do that start surfing Linked in or reaching out to your friends and networking. Nobody will fault you for trying to understand more about what an MBA program has to offer.

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 Cornell Johnson, see Cornell Johnson 2014 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips.

Download your free report: TOP MBA PROGRAM ESSAY QUESTIONS: HOW TO ANSWER THEM RIGHT! Detailed question analyses and valuable advice on how to answer the questions so your candidacy shines.

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Darden MBA Student Interview with Caroline Kalinoski

UVA Darden MBA Student Caroline KalinoskiHere’s a talk with UVA Darden student blogger, Caroline Kalinoski, a second-year student with lots of advice to share about the application process, Darden clubs and courses, and favorite study spots on campus. Thank you Caroline and best of luck to you! (You can read more about Caroline’s b-school adventure on her blog, The Rolling Ship.)

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. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself – where are you from, where did you go to school and when did you graduate? What is the last book you read for fun?

Caroline: I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and then went to undergrad at Northwestern University, where I majored in Learning and Organizational Change. I graduated from college in 2007, and moved to Washington, DC where I worked in research and consulting in the HR practice for Corporate Executive Board.

And a book I’ve recently read for fun…Ha! With three cases a day, I don’t have much extra time or energy for additional reading. Even this summer when I thought I’d get to read for fun, I was reading Too Big to Fail by Andrew Sorkin and Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg for my internship (both happened to be very interesting). However, I’ll be reading Killer Angels by Michael Shaara for the reading seminar I’m taking next term on leadership during the Battle of Gettysburg, which I probably would have read for fun anyways.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about UVA Darden?

Caroline: How much everyone goes out of their way to help each other. I love that Darden is incredibly competitive, in that everyone is always pushing to be the best both inside the classroom and out. But what makes this work is that success isn’t seen as a zero-sum game: helping your classmates succeed won’t hurt your ability to succeed. Instead, helping others actually contributes to our success.
You can see that ethic in classmates offering to explain concepts to each other and many even teaching review sessions to the whole class. Or in how much time in our nightly learning team meetings that team members take to make sure everyone understands and is prepared to present the case in class.

Outside of class, we see it all the time in people offering their cars to those who don’t have them or driving classmates to the grocery store each week. I’ve found that this ethic even extends to the alumni, who are always willing to take time out of their day to speak with current students.

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

Caroline: Within the first year, I found it difficult to connect with second year students just given how different our schedules were. However, thanks to the dedication of the program to collecting feedback (many will tell you we’re surveyed to death) and continuously improving, there have been a lot of changes this year to encourage more interaction between the first and second year classes. It’s great to see how quickly things can change.

Accepted: What is your favorite class so far?

Caroline: I’ve had a lot of really amazing professors, but my favorite class so far is HANDS DOWN Decision Analysis (DA), taught by Casey Lichtendahl. DA is all about helping us apply rigorous quantitative analysis to management decisions, so a lot of Excel, statistics, and game theory.

Casey made what could have been the driest subject on Earth exciting, and really taught us how to learn from each other. It’s clear he loves teaching and truly cares about making sure we understand the material and how using it will make us better managers.

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

Caroline: I’m involved in a number of clubs in both leadership and membership roles. I’m the president of the Darden Bloggers, and also a member of Graduate Women in Business, the General Management & Operations Club, Cold Call Chorus, the Outdoors Club, and the Running Club. Being involved in this many clubs is pretty normal, which I love. Almost every part of the school outside of classes is run by students, so clubs are central to the experience.

Accepted: Can you recommend a cozy coffee shop or some other good spot for studying on or near campus?

Caroline: Darden itself has a number of beautiful study spots, including my favorite, the piano room. It’s a big, beautiful, open space with lots of light, leather couches and chairs, two fireplaces, a view of our grassy courtyard, and of course a piano. If you’re there later in the evening, you can often hear classmates blowing off steam by playing anything from Mozart to Bruno Mars.

The McGregor Room in the Alderman Library on UVA’s main grounds is also a great place to study – dark wood paneling, leather chairs, and tables with reading lamps. It feels like the quintessential old school library.

Accepted: Looking back, what would you say was the hardest part of the MBA application process? How did you work to overcome that challenge?

Caroline: I had known for a while why I wanted to go to business school, so writing my story in the essays was one of the easier parts for me. Studying all those math concepts on the GMAT that I hadn’t seen in ten years was definitely the hardest. I did a lot of studying on my own, asking friends to share their study materials, and I ended up scraping by. While I certainly didn’t get a bad score, let’s just say it wasn’t the strength of my applications.

If I had it to do over again, I’d leave enough time to take the test more than once, and also pay to take a class so that I could get some tailored guidance and accountability for staying on track with my studying.

Accepted: Any other tips for our readers?

Caroline: At the end of last year, I wrote a blog post on why I chose Darden that laid out my priorities for choosing a school, which I think are helpful for anyone considering applying to business school:

1.    Choose a school that will challenge you intellectually. Coming into Darden, I had zero finance, accounting, marketing, or operations experience either in the classroom or in my job. I knew that the core curriculum (which includes all those subjects) would really push me in areas I hadn’t experienced before. That was exciting to me and was also what I thought would be critical for my long-term career.

2.    Choose a school that will keep you happy. I know that I’m really affected by the aesthetics of my surroundings. I know that I really like seeing people I know every day, and working in teams. So the beauty of the Darden grounds and the strength of its community were key to my decision to come here.

3.    Choose a school you want to build a long-term relationship with (and will make you proud to be associated with). Darden’s alumni network is really strong and very proud. And on top of that, everyone I’ve met, from current students to alums, is always willing to help. It’s great to be a part of such a supportive network.

 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 UVA Darden, see UVA Darden 2014 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips.







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Harvard Business School Student Interview with Keima Ueno

 Check out the rest of our MBA Student Interviews!We’d like to introduce you to Keima Ueno, an MBA candidate at Harvard Business School who blogs about his b-school experience at Two Years at HBS. Read on for tried-and-true tips on getting into your top choice business school. Thank you Keima for sharing your story with us!

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself: Where are you from, where did you go to school, when did you graduate, what prior degrees do you hold, and what are some of your most recent jobs?

Keima: I was born and raised in Japan. I have Master’s degree in Economics and studied corporate finance and econometrics. In 2007, in the heyday of the financial bubble, I joined Morgan Stanley and worked in M&A Advisory Services. In 2009, I moved to the Boston Consulting Group and worked for three years as a management consultant.

Accepted: How many b-schools did you apply to? Why did you choose HBS? How is that the best program for you?

Keima: I applied to seven b-schools and was lucky enough to be admitted to most of them. The following factors were key in my decision to attend HBS:

• Ultimate decision-making training:

Having worked at an investment bank and a consulting firm, I was proficient in business jargon, frameworks and analytical skills. What I needed was to hone my decision making skills before assuming a management position.

• Business passport to the world:

Since I aspire to expand my own business globally, I wanted a “passport” which would make it easier to travel from organization to organization, from country to country, everywhere around the world. HBS’ reputation and strong network will make this possible.

Bottom line – when I meet someone anywhere in the world, there will be no need to explain my business acumen from zero.

• City of Boston, a healthcare haven:

Boston is known as a city of healthcare. In southwest Boston, there is an area called Longwood Medical and Academic Area (LMA). In this area, surrounding Harvard Medical School, are nearly 20 healthcare institutions attracting a multitude of talented healthcare professionals from around the globe. Since my career interest is in the healthcare industry, I wanted to build a good network in this city.

Accepted: Has the program lived up to your expectations? Are there any surprises?

Keima: The HBS MBA program has exceeded my expectations.

As many know, HBS utilizes a case study method. We learn all subjects, such as marketing, finance, technology, operation, and leadership through case studies. Before I came to HBS, I didn’t know how dynamic the class environment was. It is like a well-organized show, and a heated board meeting in an actual business situation. Since every student argues their point seriously from the beginning to the end of class, I cannot drop my guard for a second. Coupled with the students’ diverse backgrounds and the faculties’ powerful direction, the class room becomes the world’s best place to educate business leaders.

Since 2011, HBS has also been offering its unique learn-by-doing program, Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development (FIELD). The program offers HBS students opportunities to immerse themselves in team based problem solving and actual business experience in emerging countries. These experiences complement the case study method, enabling us to put to use the skills we have learned. It was a pleasant and unexpected surprise to find that HBS was not just a place which teaches us business jargon, framework and analytical skills, but was an interface between the real business world and the best academic place.

Although it’s challenging to maintain a healthy study-life balance in such an intensive environment, I’m really enjoying life at HBS so far.

Accepted: Can you recommend a cozy coffee shop or another spot where you enjoy studying on or near campus?

Keima: I would recommend HBS’s cafeteria and study lounge. It is located at the center of the HBS campus on the first floor of the Spangler Building. The cafeteria is open to the public and has a wide variety of cuisine: salad bar, sushi bar, buffet, grill, etc. I promise it’s better than you expect.

The study lounge is also worth taking a look but please be quiet since many students are reading cases there.

Anyway, I recommend that all applicants visit the HBS campus.

Accepted: What are your future plans? On your blog you mention starting your own business in the healthcare sector? What are some of your ideas for building a better healthcare system?

Keima: I have a family business background. My family is running a healthcare related company in Japan, and I am going to join the business right after graduation.

Japanese society is aging rapidly. While the total population has decreased, the population of people over 65 is increasing 3% annually. Because of the increasing older population and the growing interest in preventive medicine, the Japanese healthcare industry (US$ 200 billion market size) is growing 5% annually. Although the market has a strong need for sophisticated healthcare services, the Japanese government and private companies are not meeting the demand wholly.

My career goal is to succeed as the CEO of the family business, expand the business to become the top pharmaceutical sales company in Asia, and provide the best quality healthcare services to consumers. I am going to spend significant time during my two years at HBS developing my business’s blueprint.

Accepted: Can you share some b-school admissions tips for our blog readers?

Keima: Following are the takeaways from my business school application process of last year.

• Visit schools you are going to apply to as long as your budget and time allow. It enriches your understanding of the schools and enhances your motivation dramatically.

• Don’t be overly concerned about your GMAT score. There are many successful applicants whose GMAT score is less than 700. Allocate the time on your essays and interview preparations, rather than on a marginal improvement on your GMAT score.

• Don’t bet on only one school even if there is only one school you want to go. By writing other schools’ essays, you can refine your essay for your first choice.

• Review your essays a million times (literally!) before you submit.

• Be prepared for the interview. You can’t practice enough. Many applicants blow their chance of admission at this stage

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







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MBA Student Blogger Interview with Backinthebay2015

Stanford GSBWe’d like to introduce you to Backinthebay2015, the anonymous author of the blog, Backinthebay2015, and a rising student at Stanford GSB. Backinthebay2015 was accepted to the GSB with deferred admission as a senior in college and has spent the last two years working, exploring, and traveling.  Thank you Backinthebay15 for sharing your story with us, and best of luck to you this fall!

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 flavor ice cream?

Backinthebay2015: I grew up in the northeast (public schools, nothing fancy) and then headed west to Stanford for college. I majored in psych, minored in econ (I added the minor junior year for the sole purpose of being able to include it on my b-school apps, although the courses turned out to be some of my favorites) and spent most of my spare time doing a varsity sport. My favorite ice cream is definitely the cake batter ice cream at Coldstone with Oreos and caramel mixed in.

Accepted: Why did you decide to apply deferred admissions to Stanford GSB? What have you done in the last few years since getting accepted to the GSB and now finally entering the class of 2015?

Backinthebay2015: During the first few years I was in college I kept meeting and hearing about people who had jobs that sounded fantastic to me. They all had MBAs. By the end of my junior year I was positive that the path I planned to follow included an MBA. When I started checking business school websites they all specifically stated that they encourage college seniors to apply as long as those seniors are certain about their future plans. A bunch of schools even had specific programs – Harvard’s 2+2, Yale’s Silver Scholars, etc. I talked to a bunch of current students who had applied as college seniors and they were the ones who convinced me that the deferral should be a part of my plan. Those who had gone straight from undergrad didn’t feel like they were getting as much out of b-school as their older peers. And those who had deferred were all grateful that they had taken a few years to mature and get some experience in the “real world.”

The GSB didn’t have a specific program for college seniors but when I talked to admissions they seemed very flexible about it all. After I was admitted I got to choose how many years I wanted to defer for, and I’ve had the opportunity to extend/shorten that time period a couple of times. I decided to take two years and explore a couple of interests – nonprofits, education, and exploration of a foreign culture. I was able to find a job with an overseas educational nonprofit which gave me the opportunity to pursue all of these interests at the same time. I’ve come away from that experience with an appreciation of the daily reality for nonprofits in the developing world, a very high respect for everyone involved in education, and the ability to speak another language.

Accepted: What are some of the things that you look forward to “back in the Bay” (academic or otherwise)? 

Backinthebay2015: This is an easy question. After being overseas for so long I’m still enjoying the very basic aspects of being back in the US, like speaking English and eating cheeseburgers. As for the Bay Area and the GSB in particular, I’m excited to reenter a world that is fast-paced and innovative and energetic. I love being surrounded by a group of passionate individuals who are tackling important problems and trying to make the world a better place.

Accepted: Why do you think you are a good fit for Stanford GSB? What is your favorite thing about the program? Least favorite?

Backinthebay2015: Fit is very hard to describe in words. When I was researching schools and went on some visits I would get this overall feeling of a school. At the GSB everyone was enthusiastic about the school, the classes, the projects, and just life in general. I know that this description could probably be used for students in most subjects at most schools, but at the GSB there was this intangible overlay of energy and passion that completely sucked me in. I could easily see myself sitting in those classes and pulling all-nighters to work on those same projects without complaint.

There were other schools where I easily could have gone and been able to fit in, but I knew that at the GSB it wouldn’t take any effort. I was already just like the students I met there.

My favorite thing about the program has to be the people. I’ve only met a handful of my future classmates so far but they are all great people. The opportunity to learn with and from them will be fantastic.

I can also already tell that my least favorite part of the program is going to be FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. Classes don’t start for almost eight weeks (the GSB is on trimesters so official classes start in late September) but there are already countless trips and get togethers happening around the globe. It’s very hard to decide what to do and what not to do. I can only imagine how much more nuts it will get once you add classes and clubs into the mix.

Accepted: What industry do you currently work in? Do you plan on pursuing the same industry post-MBA or switching to a new career field?

Backinthebay2015: I just finished a two year stint in nonprofit education. In the long run I am very interested in staying involved in the industry. However in the short run I think it will be important for me to get a basic grasp of how the traditional for-profit business world works. So I guess the short answer to your question is that I will probably be using my MBA to make a drastic career switch, but it will all be part of a long-term plan to get back to where I am once I have the experience and qualifications to have a bigger impact.

Accepted: Why did you decide to blog about your MBA experience? What do you hope to gain from blogging personally? And how do you hope others will use your blog?

Backinthebay2015: When I was researching business schools (and keep in mind that I went through this process in mid-2010) I found it fairly difficult to find student perspectives on the b-school experience. Every official school website had some of this stuff, but it wasn’t nearly enough for me to make educated judgments about whether a school was or was not right for me.

More recently, I started searching for some blogs from current students so that I could get an idea of how to best prepare over the summer and what to expect once classes started. I found dozens of blogs, but the majority of them seemed to be from applicants, not from current students.

When I narrowed it down to Stanford, I was able to find only three or four student blogs and they were all a few years old (old campus and old curriculum, which makes a significant difference) and not very robust. So, I have created this blog to document the student experience at the GSB in a bit more detail than previous bloggers.

My hope is that this will help future applicants decide whether or not the GSB is a good fit for them (plus lots of material they can draw on for essays/interviews) and will help future GSB admits prepare for the fall.

I just finished up a mini-series of posts on the application process. Before I started the blog I had not intended to write about the application process at all, but then I started getting comments and emails asking for advice. So I figured I would just throw it all out there at the beginning so that afterwards I could return to the topics I really wanted to include.

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

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Georgetown MBA Interview with Teri Delgado

Click here for 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. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.

Accepted: First, can you tell us a bit about your background? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite flavor ice cream?

Teri: My background is Puerto Rican and Mexican-Irish and I grew up in Kensington, MD, just outside of Washington, D.C. I studied psychology at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. Go Big Green! My favorite flavor of ice cream is Dulce de Leche.

Accepted: What events or experiences in your life led you to pursue an MBA?

Teri: I chose to pursue an MBA to build a strong general management foundation. After undergrad, I joined an education start-up to teach high school students and design AP curriculum, but discovered my passion for marketing when the start-up’s founder asked me to support the growth of the company by managing the company’s marketing campaigns and sponsorships. Focused on advancing my marketing career, I spent the next 5 years with the Advisory Board Company, a healthcare research, technology, and consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., where I pioneered the firm’s first product marketing role and grew the strategic marketing team over the physician performance technology and consulting divisions. Partnering with product development and sales teams, I launched 5 new technology products and designed a strategic plan for the firm’s physician-focused solutions. This experience working across cross-functional teams to advance corporate strategy and drive both top-line sales and bottom-line growth helped me build a strong marketing foundation, but also motivated me to deepen my knowledge of other business functions. Through conversations with mentors at work and other professional women that I met through the Forte Foundation, I knew that getting my MBA was the best next step for me.

Accepted: Can you talk about your experience with the Forte Foundation? What are some of the benefits of being involved with this organization?

Teri: As a Forte Fellow, I have access to many great benefits, including networking events, webinars, and the annual Forte Conference. Even before school started, I was welcomed by my second-year Forte mentor from Georgetown who helped me navigate the first weeks of school. Through my Forte participation, I contribute to the Forte Fellow blog and have been empowered to lead the first-year women’s mentoring program as the VP, Mentorship for the Georgetown Women in Business club. Forte sponsored events helped me evaluate pursuing an MBA early on and I am thrilled that I can share my experience and help other women strategically consider this decision as well.

Accepted: I see you’re also an NSHMBA Fellow and a Toyota Fellow. Can you tell us a little about these programs?

Teri: Through Georgetown, I received a National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) Scholarship and a Toyota Fellowship.

NSHMBA is committed to increasing the number of Hispanics with graduate business degrees and is a premier networking and skill development organization for Hispanic professionals. As a NSHMBA Scholar, I have received a financial scholarship, access to exclusive networking events and skill-building workshops, and admission to the annual NSHMBA career conference where I secured my summer internship offer. I also have volunteered for NSHMBA and participated in the annual Brillante Awards gala where McDonough’s full-time program was honored for Education Excellence.

The Toyota Fellowship recognizes successful undergraduate academic performance and at least four years of professional achievement for MBA candidates concentrating in marketing, strategy, or finance. As a Fellow, I have been invited to exclusive networking events with Toyota.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about the MBA program at Georgetown McDonough? Least favorite?

Teri: McDonough has empowered me to apply my leadership skills in both global and local contexts. My favorite part of the experience has been building relationships with students and the community as a Marketing Club Leader and as a Board Fellow where I helped an international non-profit with brand building and digital platform development. My least favorite thing about Georgetown is probably the limited dining options on campus, but I heard that they are planning to renovate the food court this year!

Accepted: Which other b-schools had you considered? Why did you think Georgetown was the best fit?

Teri: I was accepted at NYU Stern and Duke as well but chose Georgetown because I felt a strong connection to the people and the place. The Georgetown culture is collegial and grounded in service to others. I can honestly say that the people I have met are committed to solving the world’s challenges and serving the local community- we have partnerships with over 40+ community service organizations and non-profits in D.C. Georgetown’s general management and international focus was a great fit for my career goals. Being close to home and family was a great bonus!

Accepted: What are you doing for your summer internship? What role did Georgetown play in helping you secure that position?

Teri: This summer, I have a brand management internship with Johnson & Johnson’s OTC Global Franchise Organization in Fort Washington, PA. As a member of the Global Franchise team, I am focused on identifying and sizing pain care growth opportunities for key brands (TYLENOL® and MOTRIN®) across 16 global markets to inform the 2013 global strategic plan. Georgetown’s Career Services team and the Graduate Marketing Club peer advisors (second-year MBA students) were invaluable in helping me prepare for my interviews at the NSHMBA career conference. I felt confident going into internship recruiting because of the time that Career Services and my marketing peers invested in me to help me prepare for company conference calls, mock interviews, and case interviews.

Accepted: How would you rate Georgetown and Washington, D.C. as a setting for business school?

Teri: Georgetown is a fun and unique setting for business school. Georgetown’s D.C. location gives students unparalleled access to government, business, and cultural leaders. Some of the highlights of my first year have been campus events with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Muhammad Yunus founder of Grameen Bank, and Bono.

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







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IMD MBA Interview with Student Vikas Menon

Vikas MenonHere’s a talk with Vikas Menon, a soon-to-be graduate of IMD Switzerland. Vikas talks about his b-school experience, and offers some serious insight into the IMD MBA program. If you’re thinking about applying to IMD, then you’ll definitely want to read on! Thank you Vikas for sharing with us!

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. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.

Accepted: First, can you tell us a bit about yourself: Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What other degrees do you hold?

Vikas: I am of Indian heritage but was born and brought up in Dubai, UAE and lived outside India all my life. I moved to the US in 2000 for my undergrad at Michigan State University (Go Green! Go White!!) and studied electrical and computer engineering. Third year into my undergrad, I realized that I didn’t like engineering as much as I liked interacting with people but I also realized that I was passionate about technology. I completed my engineering coursework and my first job in the US was in Sales for a Software company in DC that allowed me to pursue my passion for technology while working with people.

Accepted: Which other schools were you considering? What tipped the scales to favor IMD?

Vikas: IESE, INSEAD, HEC and a few American universities.

1. Once you attend the one day assessment at IMD with 5-6 people from different nationalities, backgrounds, professional experiences, you realize how IMD’s teaching style is truly based on “Real World…Real Learning” – you learn just as much from your classmates as you do from your professors, and your classmates are mid-level to senior level managers from large global MNCs, entrepreneurs, PHDs, scientists and people who have an average work experience of 7-8 years working in 2-3 countries.

2. Leadership at IMD – I had always heard about IMD’s leadership stream being one of the best in the world but I can tell you 6 months into the program, that IMD’s leadership stream is not simply the best but is one of a kind. It challenges you to rethink who you are, your personality, and helps you discover not just the conscious parts of your personality and leadership but also the subconscious and helps you understand how people perceive you. This knowledge can really help you become a better leader, team player, communicator and motivator in a professional environment.

3. Small class size – I meet my 90 classmates every day for almost 75% of the program. We sit in the same classroom, we eat together and we spend long long hours together. The bonds and connections that are formed from that level of interaction and intimacy are incredible. We are a small community of MBAs and alumni (even though our extended network is probably one of the biggest) however, based on my experience so far and during the application process last year, I can guarantee you that every MBA alumni or student would respond to any request of help in less than 48-72 hours…some would even welcome the opportunity to help you and meet you. My mentor and advisor since last year is an alumnus from the class of 2008! He not only helped me with the application process but also continues to be a good friend, mentor and advisor and this is the power of the IMD class size and ‘tight-knit’ MBA community.

Accepted: What do you think are some of the advantages of attending a one-year MBA program? Are there disadvantages?

Vikas: The advantages –

1. Focus on general management.

2. The shorter duration obviously helps you get back to the real world sooner.

3. The intensity really helps you push yourself to the next level and challenges you every day and every minute.

The disadvantages –

1. Lack of specialization – If you are looking for a specific functional role/industry post-MBA that requires expertise in Finance (for instance, VC, investment banking, etc), a one-year program might not help an individual with no background in those areas.

2. Intensity – the intensity is great for some people but can be too much for others.

Accepted: What’s your favorite thing about living in Switzerland? Do you plan on continuing to live and work in Europe after you receive your MBA?

Vikas: Switzerland, specifically Lausanne is a very cool, calm and beautiful place….really facilitates and helps in the learning process. IMD is located on the lake and every day, I get to see the Swiss Alps and the lake on my way to school. Yes, I plan on continuing to work in Europe but probably in a bigger city (only because that’s my personal preference).

Accepted: Can you recommend a nice coffee shop or other place that’s good for hanging out and/or studying in Lausanne?

Vikas: The good thing about IMD is that we are provided a 5-star hotel level lunch every day (included in the fees) throughout the year by a Michelin star chef and team! Coffee, tea, nespresso, hot chocolate, etc are all available whenever we want on campus…..we barely ever use coffee shops because we are in the IMD “dungeons” most of the time :-). The campus is beautiful, dynamic, green and sophisticated-modern, so we barely find the need to find a coffee shop……ask me about a bar and that’s a different story :-).

Accepted: What was the most challenging step for you in the MBA admissions process? How did you approach it and overcome it?

Vikas: The one day assessment can be really challenging because it requires thorough preparation. As part of the one day assessment you have an impromptu case, a prepared case (they send a week before the assessment), admissions interview and lunch with a current student. Additionally, the 11+ essays in the application and the short word count really makes you think about your skills, achievements, weaknesses, personality, etc in very different light.

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 IMD, see our IMD 2014 MBA Application Tips.







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LBS Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy Student Interview

Naren from LBSGet ready to read about Narendhar Sunkisala’s b-school adventure at London Business School’s Sloan Masters in Leadership & Strategy Program – here and on his blog My Journey to Admission in London Business School. Thank you Naren for sharing your story with us!

Accepted: First, can you tell us about yourself: Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?

Narendhar: I was born and brought up in Godavarikhani, a small town located in Andhra Pradesh, India. I completed my Bachelors in Electronics & Communication Engineering (ECE) from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh, India) in the year June 2000. Over the last 12 years I worked extensively in the Information & Communications Technology (ICT) Industry in diverse roles across the globe.

I enjoy traveling, reading, playing tennis, cycling, cooking and lately blogging.

Accepted: Why did you choose to attend London’s Sloan Fellows Program? (In other words, why pursue the degree and why London?)

Narendhar: Management is what I liked inherently ever since I was in college. In 2008, after gaining some work experience, I started researching for a 1 year management program. I first heard about the Sloan Masters at London Business School (LBS) when one of my ex-managers joined this program. After doing a lot of research about Sloan Program, I decided that Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy at LBS is the ideal program for me for the following reasons:

•   Curriculum fit with my objectives: This program has several courses that would enable me to realize my career goals.
•   Class maturity: Sloan students at LBS come with an average of 16 years’ experience and are already accomplished professionals in their industry.
•   School credentials: LBS has been consistently ranked among the top b-schools in the world.
•   Value for money: The fee at LBS is the lowest of all three Sloan programs offered worldwide at LBS, MIT Sloan and Stanford.

Accepted: What is your current job? Do you plan on continuing in that industry/function after you receive your Sloan MSc or switching careers?

Narendhar: I am currently working as a Principal in Telecom Practice based out of Melbourne with Infosys Limited, Australia. I work in consulting roles with telecom service providers in the Australia and New Zealand region.

Consulting and Product Strategy are two key functions I worked in all through my career. Post Sloan program, I would like to continue in the same industry and would like to transition into leadership roles in strategy in IT Product/Telecom companies.

Accepted: It looks like you’ve lived/worked/studied all over the world. Where do you think you’ll end up long-term, or do you plan on continuing to globe-trot?

Narendhar: Travel is something that I enjoy personally as it gives opportunities to meet new people, visit new places and experience different cultures.

However I am more keen about the role I would get than the geography. I would like to get into a role where I can apply the skills acquired during the program. In the long term I would like to settle in India.

Accepted: As a successful applicant to a top program, you must have some good admissions advice. What would you say are your top three tips for Sloan MSc or MBA applicants?

Narendhar: In my opinion, applicants have to spend quality time on the following (assuming GMAT is done at this stage):

1. First jot down your career goals. Think objectively to see if an MBA program will help you get there. This clarity is important for sustained motivation.
2. Find a school/program that helps you achieve your goals. Do thorough research on school websites (course details, faculty, class profile, career reports, research centers etc), attend information sessions, and talk to admissions officers, current students and alumni.
3. Be honest and accurate in your essays. It is important to demonstrate that you bring in a breadth of experience and quote relevant examples from different projects/instances spanning your entire career.

Accepted: Why did you decide to blog about your experience?  

Narendhar: When I started my application process for Sloan, the primary source of information was the school website. I wanted to get more insight into the actual student experiences right from the application stage to what goes on during the 1 year at school. While I could find a few articles here and there, I could not find everything at one place. The idea of this blog is to share the information, resources combined with my experiences with prospective students.

I am glad that a lot of prospective students are finding this blog informative and useful. As of today this blog is followed by readers across 48 countries.

I also do career counseling as a hobby. I am providing a starting point to prospective students through this blog.

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







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NYU Stern MBA Interview with Jenna Lee

Jenna Lee from NYUHere’s a talk with Jenna Lee, a soon-to-be graduate of NYU Stern. Jenna talks about her b-school experience, and offers some important advice about planning ahead when applying to b-school. Thank you Jenna for sharing with us!

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. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.

Accepted: First, some basics: Where are you from? What and where did you study as an undergraduate? Do you hold any other degrees?

Jenna: I am originally from Seoul (Gangnam), S. Korea, but was educated and worked mostly in the U.S. I studied engineering in undergrad. Before returning to b-school, I also studied economics and accounting at Harvard.

Accepted: What year are you in your MBA studies?

Jenna: 2.5 year – I began my Stern MBA as a part-time student under employer sponsorship (weekend commutes between Boston and NYC); eventually, I relocated to New York and took courses on a full-time basis. (Note: you cannot formally join the full-time core but can accelerate progress in special circumstances with permission.)

Accepted: Why did you choose NYU Stern? Which other programs had you considered?

Jenna: It was one of the few part-time programs offered by top business schools and within a commute distance from Boston. I also considered Chicago Booth, but the commute option was limited (flight only).

Accepted: Are you currently working? How do you juggle your job with school obligations (not to mention other obligations…)?

Jenna: I finished my coursework in February and am working full-time for TechStars, a premier seed stage Venture Capital/Accelerator. I help our portfolios companies in all facets of early stage company building – strategy, branding, investor pitch, customer acquisition, market research, hiring, and connecting with investors/domain experts/business partners.

Accepted: Can you share some application tips for our NYU Stern applicants (or applicants in general)?

Jenna: Plan ahead – Know where you stand against competition and build additional credentials or experience as necessary. Get the GMAT out of your way ASAP. Reflect deeply on why you want to pursue an MBA, now, and at [Stern]. Your answers should be very specific and personal.

Accepted: What one piece of advice would you give to incoming NYU Stern students?

Jenna: Know what you want to get out of the program beforehand. It will help you focus, prioritize (a.k.a. keep your sanity), and ultimately, reach you post-MBA goal. And make sure to play hard too!

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

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






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Chicago Booth MBA Interview with Benny Joseph

Benny Chicago Booth StudentHere we have a talk with Benny Joseph, a recent graduate of Chicago Booth and SoFi entrepreneur who heads the startup GoodApril, an awesome site that will help you save money while filing your taxes. In this post Benny talks about his experience at Booth and offers fantastic advice for incoming Booth students or those thinking about applying to Booth. Thanks Benny!  

Accepted: First, some basics: Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?

Benny: I was born and raised in Michigan, in the suburbs just north of Detroit. I decided to stay close to home for college and attended the University of Michigan where I majored in Computer Engineering. After graduating, I moved to San Francisco where I worked in several software engineering roles before deciding to go to business school.

Accepted: Why did you decide to attend Booth? Looking back over the last two years, would you say you made the right choice?

Benny: Chicago Booth’s location, reputation for academic rigor, and flexible curriculum convinced me that it was the right school for me. Chicago is an amazing city and I wanted to try something different and experience my MBA in a city rather than a college town like I did at the University of Michigan. I also didn’t want to take the basic classes, and Booth (for the most part) allowed me to skip those classes and enroll in those that I thought would be valuable in my career. My classroom experience has certainly prepared me for my career, and my Chicago Booth network seems to be always introducing me to new career opportunities. But I think more importantly, the great friends I made during the program leave no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice.

Accepted: As a recent Booth graduate, can you offer some tips to some of our readers who may be starting Booth in the fall? Is there anything you wish you’d known about the program before you started?

Benny: It is no secret that business school is about expanding your personal network. That said, you need to work at it. Get to know your classmates. Do all the fun trips, events, and other social activities because that is where you will make those friendships that will last a lifetime.

The other thing that is important is to really spend this summer thinking about exactly what you want to do after your MBA. There isn’t much time to think when you start classes and recruiting literally kicks off the second week of school. Looking back, I wish that I took some time off from work to focus on this by reaching out to people that were currently in the position that I wanted to be in and learn how they got there, what they do every day, and what they like and don’t like about their career.

Accepted: What was your favorite class?

Benny: That is a really tough question to answer. I had several great professors and learned so much. But if I had to pick one, I would have to say the New Venture Challenge was my favorite. I took that class during the last quarter of my 2nd year and it gave me the opportunity to put everything I had learned together in the creation of a new business. Our team ended up placing 3rd that year and we learned quite a bit about the business creation process, especially on how to pitch your company to potential investors.

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

Benny: Clubs are certainly a big part of the MBA experience. That said, I think most students make the mistake of joining too many clubs. My advice is to pick a few and be deeply involved in them. I was involved in several clubs at Booth, some social and some professional. I was one of the Co-Chairs of the Hi-Tech Group, a club that helped MBA students prepare for and find careers in technology companies.

While professional clubs are certainly important, the social clubs were equally important and a great way to get to better know your classmates. For example, I was a part of the Risk and Gaming club, which was a fun way to interact with my classmates over a weekly poker game, trips to the local casino, and an annual trip to Las Vegas for the MBA World Series of Poker.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your experience with SoFi? What does it mean to be a SoFi entrepreneur? 

Benny: I found out about SoFi because I was searching for a way to lower the interest rate on my school loans. That said, I decided to sign up for SoFi because I really liked the concept of connecting with alumni who were interested in helping and interacting with recent graduates. One example of this is my experience as a SoFi Entrepreneur. GoodApril, the company that I founded, was selected to the inaugural SoFi Entrepreneur class.

SoFi is a company led by a stellar team of serial entrepreneurs who have spent several hours with us reviewing our investor pitch materials and improving our elevator pitch. They have introduced us to several angel investors and recognized us publicly on their website and to the press.  SoFi is also hosting a demo/pitch day where several alumni investors will have an opportunity to learn more about and potentially invest in GoodApril.

Accepted: What does GoodApril do? Is that something you knew you wanted to do before heading to b-school? If not, how did the idea develop?

Benny: I always knew that one day I would be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know exactly what business I would try to start until after I graduated from Booth. The idea for GoodApril was a result of my own personal frustration when I filed my taxes and found out that I would just barely miss out on some deductions that I had thought I would qualify for. I discovered a fundamental flaw in the way that Americans file their taxes: By waiting until April to deal with your taxes, you miss out on any opportunity to take action to lower your taxes. However, there are no good planning tools on the market that can help you with these financial decisions. GoodApril is your year-round tax guide, helping you make better financial decisions today so that you are prepared for and paying the least amount of taxes come April.

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








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