Catching Up With Recent Stanford GSB Graduate Tim Eisenman

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 follow up interview with Tim Eisenman, who just completed the MBA program at Stanford GSB. We first met Tim last year – you can read our first interview with him here.)

Accepted: Last we spoke you were in the middle of your first year at Stanford GSB, and now you’ve just received your MBA — congrats! Can you bring us up to speed? How was your last year and a half?

Tim: Sure, it is so scary to think that the last time we talked is already 1.5 years ago. As you said, I graduated about a month ago and was fortunate enough to have my parents and my sister from Germany with me.

Right now I am in New York looking for an apartment and getting to know the city before I start my job at McKinsey in fall. I am also volunteering at a kids soccer camp in Manhattan three days a week and am thinking about writing a book. As you can see – I can’t just do nothing.

Highlights from last year are moving off-campus into a house with classmates from Austria, Japan, Turkey, Brasil and Argentina and having amazing BBQ parties as well as developing really close friendships to some GSBers through 1:1s or runs along the Bay. On the academic side, developing the first ever GSB “Travel and Hospitality Industry” elective with a former co-worker of mine was amazing. We will teach the class again this fall.

Accepted: Which clubs or activities were you involved with on campus? How central to student life is club involvement?

Tim: Club involvement was crucial to my GSB experience – both from a professional perspective, but also as a way to get to know likeminded classmates. I was heavily involved in the “Travel & Hospitality Club” and the “Stanford Africa Business Forum.” The Travel Club gave me the opportunity to network with high-profile execs in the airline industry, who also come and speak at our travel class.

At the GSB, it is not only what the school can give to you, but also what you can give back through your background. Aviation was a great example for that and I believe that we really strengthened the industry exposure of the school for years to come. Working on the “Africa Business Forum” was amazing, because I was the only non-African on the team and therefore learnt a lot about different cultural working styles. That team really came together strong at the end and we created an amazing conference.

Accepted: Looking back, what would you say was the most challenging aspect of business school? How would you advise others who may be facing that challenge?

Tim: Figuring out what you want to get out of school was most challenging. I remember double- or even triple-booking my lunch breaks for the first couple of weeks. Everything sounds interesting and you do not want to miss out. What I came to realize though is that I can’t be fully present for several things at the same time and that I needed to prioritize. At the end I was fine taking a 2 hour walk with a classmate and missing Mitt Romney speak – that classmate is going to turn into a lifelong friend and I am totally fine not having a picture with Mitt on my Facebook wall.

If you have time before going off to school make a list with things that are important to you – don’t forget to include sleep, healthy food, exercise and so on. If business school helps you get into the habit of exercising daily then this is a great achievement. Not everything has to be career related.

Accepted: What did you end up doing for your summer internship last year? Can you talk about the process by which you obtained your internship? How does it work at Stanford?

Tim: I worked for McKinsey in London and went through very straightforward on-campus recruiting. A lot of classmates got their internship less formally through networking and knocking on doors of interesting companies. Stanford helps with that process through events (such as the “Fewer than 300 Employees Event”) targeting smaller companies that might not want to set up a booth right next to GE and BCG.

I also did a one-month GMIX, a social impact immersion, working for a mushroom company in Kigali that was founded by a GSBer and that I had worked for before school already. The founder and I have become close friends and this January he offered me to join his board. He graduated twenty years ago and stayed at my house for his reunion this spring. It’s amazing how tight so many of the Stanford connections can get.

Accepted: What’s next for you? Where will your MBA bring you?

Tim: As I said, I will join McKinsey in their New York office this fall working mostly on airline and transportation topics. Eventually I will go back into the industry and hope to take on a leadership role someday. Aviation is not a traditional post-MBA industry, but given that there are no real low-cost airlines in Africa, that there are very few ultra-low-cost long haul carriers and that there is huge room for consolidation, I believe that industry dynamics will continue to shift. I want to be a part of that and feel that the out-of-the-box thinking at Stanford is a great asset for me to have when the time comes.

On the side I will continue to engage in the for-profit social impact sphere in Africa and who knows? Maybe I will get bored in the developed world and take a big leap to work in an underdeveloped African country. I like to have options as I see that traditional picture of a ladder of success being antiquated. It is much rather a climbing wall of success. Instead of going up, going sideways might actually make more sense sometimes.

Accepted: Are you still blogging?

Tim: I am still blogging, but I have slowed down and it is on my to-do list to get back into it again. Everyone talks about the power of journaling at Stanford. It is nice to sometimes just reflect about a topic through writing about it.

To read more about Tim’s journey, please check out his blog, From PA to the World. Thank you Tim for sharing your story with us and we wish you lots of luck!

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Do Stanford GSB Grads REALLY “Change Lives. Change Organizations. Change the World.”?

Check out Stanford GBS zone page!Episode 3 in our Big Brand Theory Series for MBA applicants: Stanford GSB’s motto.

Who wouldn’t want to change lives, change organizations, and change the world?  Right? For Episode 3 in our Big Brand Theory series, I set out to prove that Stanford GSB admits, transforms and graduates students who accomplish great feats.  I wanted to demonstrate that Stanford GSB students, faculty and graduates lived GSB’s brand.

I’ve always been a big proponent of Stanford GSB (even when they had classrooms and desks that reminded me of my high school).  Regardless of their old environs, the Knight Center makes their facility live up to their students and their program.

I love the vibe when I walk onto Stanford’s campus.  I love the fact that their students have infinite access to Silicon Valley.  I love that the faculty turns their electives over so frequently that the course catalogue reads like a fresh new book each year.  I love the questions Derrick Bolton asks on his application.  In fact, I love Derrick (don’t tell my husband).  I do believe Derrick has done a great job in selecting some of the smartest people I know.  My clients who have gained admission to Stanford surprise me with their intelligence, talent, accomplishments and ideas.  They are futurists who can see beyond the horizon, but they still need me to plant the seed for their ideas to grow into great essays and interviews.  Regardless, I love my clients too (my husband already knows that fact).

Stanford GSB Alumni: Famous and Infamous

However, when I looked at Stanford GSB’s list of “notable” alumni, I only saw a handful of game changers.   The list is similar to those I see at other schools with notable founders, CEOs and investors like GM’s first female CEO, Mary Barra, Acumen Founder Jacqueline Novogratz, Charles Schwab of Charles Schwab, Nike’s Phil Knight, Ultra-investor Vinod Kosla, Atari’s Nolan Bushnell, KPCB’s Brook Byers; notable authors like Tom Peters and Jim Collins; and “famous celebrities” like Alex Michel (Alex Michel, really?  Do “reality” TV participants count as celebrities? More importantly, does anyone really watch The Bachelor?).

Stanford has also has its share of CEOs and a handful of leaders who have been heavily criticized like former BP CEO, Lord John Browne who was forced to resign, not because BP’s Texas City, Texas plant exploded under his watch or because he commissioned Deepwater Horizon that also forced his successor’s resignation, but because a newspaper “outed” him when he lied under oath about his boyfriend/male escort. Lord Brown cut costs for financial gains and as a result, he changed BP and also the Gulf of Mexico.

Go Deep and Authentic for What Matters to You Most

So how can you present the fact that you will change the world for the better?  Stanford asks two questions that I know Derrick and his team really take to heart.  My clients typically struggle with “What matters most to you and why?” The latter part of this question being equally, if not more important that the former.  This question requires a tremendous amount of introspection and if done well should show that you have the heart to change the world.

It requires you to know yourself at a very personal level and share that self-awareness with an admissions committee.  It’s not easy, and the best essays I’ve seen on this topic have knocked the wind out of me.  Several have made me cry. It is a dig deep into your soul question.  Derrick is a very smart and authentic individual, and he wants to get to know what drives you.

I begin brainstorming this question with clients by asking them for what they would give their life.  At that point, you already know it will be an intense brainstorm.  Often I hear, “family” or “helping others,” which can fall into the trap of discussing work. I ask my clients to frame this into a one- word value, and then I begin to peel away the layers until we find something deep and raw and revealing. After this digging, my clients also understand why they feel this value is most important to them.

Most of those clients have gained admission to Stanford GSB.  Some have not. The application is a complete picture and while you have revealed something raw to the committee, you may have other flaws in your application.

Why Stanford: Reveal the Capacity to Effect Change

Or you may not demonstrate in your “Why Stanford?” essay that you have already or have the capacity to change lives, change organizations, and yes, change the world.  If the first question is about heart, the second question is about intent and ability.  Do you intend to initiate change and have the talent to make it happen?

You really do need to think beyond the horizon for Stanford and make certain that you know why you need the Stanford MBA for you to create change: Jacqueline Novogratz did it; Vinod Kosla did it; and of course, Phil Knight did it. You just need to “just do it” like them. Swoosh.





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Natalie Grinblatt Epstein By , an accomplished Accepted.com consultant/editor (since 2008) and entrepreneur. Natalie is a former MBA Admissions Dean and Director at Ross, Johnson, and Carey.

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Understanding Stanford GSB’s Interest In Personal Qualities And Contributions

Register for our upcoming webinar on How to Get Accepted to Stanford

Stanford

What are the qualities that Stanford GSB is looking for as they build their class? How do successful applicants stand out from the crowd? At a school as competitive as Stanford, it’s a fact that many smart, accomplished applicants won’t get in—so how can you demonstrate that you have that “it” factor? Let us walk you through Stanford’s evaluation criteria and give you some advice.

Criteria #3: Personal Qualities and Contributions

In an MBA essay on a meaningful personal experience:

• Applicant A describes his ascent of Machu Picchu; we learn that it was awe-inspiring, challenging, required excellent teamwork, and that he was moved on a deep level.

• Applicant B takes us on a walk around her block. We learn about the struggles of her neighbors in the face of gentrification and how she feels as one of the gentrifiers; how she informally refereed an argument among residents about the stop-and-frisk policy; the diversity of canine life on the block and the particular friendship between her pug and a neighbor’s Rottweiler.

We conclude from these essays that Applicant A spends a lot of money on personal fulfillment, lacks imagination, relies on banalities, and relishes physical challenges; and that Applicant B is alive to the richness of daily life, has humor, is compassionate, is attentive and alert, and cares about meaningful issues. Point: our personal qualities flow from and mirror our character. And when it comes to personal qualities, be assured, Stanford will prefer those of Applicant B – even though Applicant A’s topic is superficially more dramatic – because of the quality of character they reflect. There’s not anything different or mind-blowing about Applicant B’s personal qualities – they simply represent an engaged, thoughtful person. And there’s nothing wrong with climbing Machu Picchu – but it’s not the fact of doing it that will impress; rather, what you have to say about it, arising from your personal qualities and reflecting your unique perspective that will catch the thoughtful admissions reader’s eye. Lesson:

• Don’t struggle and strain for “unique” things to say.

• Rather, for Stanford, share your life. Open it up, let it dance or swagger or sashay or skip or march or cartwheel, whatever your style is.

Now the contribution part. Because Applicant B is attentive to and cares about her surroundings, she can respond and contribute to the daily life of her neighborhood. Again, nothing particularly dramatic or unique; mainly interactions with neighbors. But they’re quality interactions. She cares. She has specific questions and concerns and feelings and insights – which become her offering. She can bring this abundance, this world, this humanity “to the table.” You just know this person will be a big contributor wherever she is. She doesn’t have to explain that fact – it’s obvious! Follow her example. Let your personal qualities come alive by sharing what’s meaningful to you in your essays (and elsewhere if/as possible in the application). Don’t explain that you will contribute; show that you do contribute, as a result of these qualities. It’s simply who you are.

Check out the rest of the What Stanford GSB is Looking For series!



Register for our free webinar: Get Accepted to Stanford GSB!



Cindy Tokumitsu By , author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted. She can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses and develop a winning MBA admissions strategy. She is a member of the Association of International Graduate Application Consultants. 

Related Resources:

Stanford School of Business Zone
Stanford GSB 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
4 Ways to Show How You’ll Contribute in the Future

Understanding Stanford GSB’s Take On Demonstrated Leadership Potential

Applying to Stanford GSB? Join our live webinar for tips on how to get in!

Naturally you’ve got leadership, or you wouldn’t be applying to Stanford.

What are the qualities that Stanford GSB is looking for as they build their class? How do successful applicants stand out from the crowd? At a school as competitive as Stanford, it’s a fact that many smart, accomplished applicants won’t get in—so how can you demonstrate that you have that “it” factor? Let us walk you through Stanford’s evaluation criteria and give you some advice. 

Criteria #2: Demonstrated Leadership Potential

Of course Stanford GSB seeks demonstrated leadership potential – don’t all b-schools? And naturally you’ve got leadership, or you wouldn’t be applying to Stanford.

Wait. There are some unique nuances to Stanford’s conception of leadership that are essential to understand in order to portray it effectively in your application. Let’s break the phrase down word by word, starting with the core principle.

Leadership. Principle? Yes, not just a quality or an activity in Stanford’s eyes, but an actual principle. Whatever change you’re guiding the client to achieve, or whatever vision you’re advocating, or whatever project you’re driving the team through Hades to complete on time – it should be constructive and beneficial according to your own values and ideals. In GSB’s view, leadership isn’t just rallying the troops to achieve a given end – it’s having an end worth achieving (and, conversely, declining to pursue an inappropriate end). Therefore, if you are to provide such leadership, you must have core values or ideals and be guided by them as you lead, both how you lead and where you lead. GSB’s preferred leadership is essentially value- and ideal-driven, what it calls “directed idealism.”

Potential. Even if you are already a leader per the above definition, you’re not satisfied. You know that improving will only enable you to achieve more of what you value – therefore you actively seek growth as a leader. You are open to critique and feedback, you are resourceful, you are humble, and you are hungry to learn.

Demonstrated. Concrete evidence that allows the adcom to conclude that you will grow as a leader and provide leadership in the future. You must demonstrate both leadership and potential to grow as a leader. For the former, provide this evidence by portraying experiences in your application boxes, essays, resume, and recommendations that reflect your leadership to date. For the latter, in these same application components frankly reflect on where you are in your leadership development – you understand what parts are innate to you, and where you need to improve.

So “demonstrated leadership potential” is actually rather complex, at least per GSB’s perspective of leadership. Plan to spend some time and effort on a strategy to integrate these points into your entire application.

Check out the first post in this series, Understanding Stanford GSB’s Core Value Of Intellectual Vitality.





Register for our free webinar: Get Accepted to Stanford GSB!




Cindy Tokumitsu By , author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted. She can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses and develop a winning MBA admissions strategy. She is a member of the Association of International Graduate Application Consultants.

Related Resources:

• Stanford School of Business Zone
• Stanford GSB 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
• What Stanford is Looking for: Personal Qualities and Contributions

Understanding Stanford GSB’s Core Value Of Intellectual Vitality

Get Accepted to Stanford GSB! [Register for the webinar]

Do you have the smarts SGSB is looking for?

What are the qualities that Stanford GSB is looking for as they build their class? How do successful applicants stand out from the crowd? At a school as competitive as Stanford, it’s a fact that many smart, accomplished applicants won’t get in—so how can you demonstrate that you have that “it” factor? Let us walk you through Stanford’s evaluation criteria and give you some advice.

Criteria #1: Intellectual Vitality

You’re smart. But this isn’t about smart. Most of the people Stanford GSB rejects are smart (often very smart). A person of average IQ may have enormous intellectual vitality, while a person with a stratospheric IQ may have scant intellectual vitality. Pretty much everyone uses their raw intellect, whatever its degree, in practical application – to get things done. People with intellectual vitality do that and more – they nurture and refine their raw intellect to make it a force in itself, one that draws them into new and challenging territory. No wonder Stanford wants it.

So what does intellectual vitality consist of? Here are 5 key components (separated for discussion purposes only, as they’re interconnected).

1. Zest for ideas. When you encounter a new or challenging idea, you’re tantalized. You have to find out more. What does it mean? Where did it come from? And how, and why? You relish ideas for their inherent meaning; they’re alive to you. You value them as a new lens to see through.

2. Dynamic, engaged mind. You’re always mentally comparing and contrasting, probing limits and boundaries, seeing overlaps between disparate points and differences between similar ones. To you, an event is not static, but rather part of a continuum, with a history to explore and future ramifications to consider. And you never take things at face value!

3. But why…? When you were a child, you probably were told you’re too curious. But curiosity underpins intellectual vitality. It drives you to learn more and more and more about something, to set off on thrilling learning journeys. (And you sometimes snag other people along for the ride!)

4. There’s a reason for what you believe and for what you do. Back to ideas – they animate you. Whether you’re politically conservative, moderate, or liberal, you’re not that way because your family or friends are, but because you’re interested in and think about the issues – from multiple angles. Your thought process informs your decisions, beliefs, actions.

5. Open, as in unafraid. So, you have your beliefs, your ideas. But you don’t hide behind them. You welcome them being challenged – it’s actually … fun. Intellectual fun. And you challenge back thoughtfully. You’re a skillful devil’s advocate, able to argue from multiple perspectives, even ones you personally disagree with. You relish learning what drives and underlies opposing ideas and beliefs (there’s that curiosity again…).

Hopefully the above points make clear that intellectual vitality is not something ponderous – it’s a thrill! Yes, it engages matters of seriousness and gravity. But it’s fundamentally invigorating. It fuels you. And it scintillates others.

Now, how do you let Stanford know you have it? The application essays are the perfect venue for showcasing this quality – integrate it into anecdotes, details, and reflections. If you are invited to interview, that’s an ideal place to demonstrate intellectual vitality.

Register for our free webinar: Get Accepted to Stanford GSB!

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

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Stanford School of Business Zone Page
Stanford GSB 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
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