This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with B-School Girl, a recent graduate of UCS Marshall. (We first met B-School Girl two years ago – you can read our first interview with her here.)
Accepted: It’s been more than two years since we last spoke – can you bring us up to speed? At that time you were just starting b-school at USC Marshall, and now you just graduated! How was it??
B-School Girl: Business school was certainly a roller coaster ride. At times I was so busy I wanted to tear my hair out. At times I was pushed way out of my comfort zone. At times I was afraid no one would hire me and I’d end up crawling back to my old employer on hands and knees. But now that I’ve got my feet firmly on the ground again I can say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It opened so many doors for me, personally and professionally.
A few of my favorite moments: Hearing my name called as the winner of a new venture pitch competition; getting the phone call that I had gotten my dream internship; and conquering my fears on the flying trapeze (no joke, that was actually part of a class).
Accepted: What was your favorite thing about Marshall?
B-School Girl: Hands down, it was the people. Marshall has such a collaborative culture, and there are so many people rooting for you to succeed. There’s always someone willing to help you prep for a test or an interview, or just grab coffee between classes. I made some really great friendships that I think will be lifelong.
Accepted: If you could have changed one thing about the program, what would it be?
B-School Girl: We’re a small program by MBA standards and some companies don’t recruit on campus for that reason. I hope that changes as Marshall comes up in the rankings. There are some really smart, qualified students looking for jobs.
Accepted: You had been nervous about time management – how did things go in that area? Do you have any tips for our readers on how to adjust to the quick pace of b-school?
B-School Girl: I didn’t make it easy on myself! I threw myself into clubs, case competitions, and volunteering, in addition to my coursework. In retrospect there is an activity or two I could have passed up on, but it really made my MBA experience richer and helped me meet more people.
To incoming MBAs I would say: be strategic but also leave room for some fun stuff. Learn how to say “no.” Schedule time to exercise and relax. And be organized! My lifeline was a Google spreadsheet where I had mapped out all of my upcoming deadlines. It was a pain to type that up every semester, but so worth it.
Accepted: Where are you currently working? What role did Marshall play in helping you secure that position? Did you end up switching industry and function as planned?
B-School Girl: I’m working in product development for a big Bay Area tech company. It’s a big jump from my previous life in media/advertising, so I think you could call that a success! I got the interview from a Tech Trek that my school organized, and I had some good friends with tech experience who helped me prep for the interviews.
Accepted: How’s your blog going? Can you direct us to 2-3 of your favorite posts?
B-School Girl: The blog’s always been a bit of a surprise to me. I didn’t start it with the intention of drawing a big readership – I just wanted to vent about the application process. But now I get emails from prospective MBAs wanting to share their experience or ask for advice, which is so cool. I love that my experience could maybe make someone else’s journey a little smoother.
Here are a few of my favorite posts from the past few years:
• A silly one for stressed-out applicants, because MBA blogs can be so serious
• The blessing/curse of being a nontraditional applicant
• The end of an era! My MBA retrospective
Accepted: What are your top 3 admissions tips?
1. Don’t focus too much on one particular part of your application. For instance, if you’re in the median GMAT range for your target school, stop stressing about that extra 10 points and move on to your essays. What’s important is the whole, not each individual piece.
2. Get help. Working by yourself for too long will make you myopic. Find a trusted friend or two (preferably a strong writer or someone with an MBA) to look at your work with a fresh eye, give you some pointers, and put you through your interviewing paces. Be very nice to this person. Baking them cookies is not a bad idea.
3. Know the story you want to tell about yourself. Repeat it over and over until you internalize it. Then tell it with passion.
You can continue following B-School Girl’s journey by checking out her blog, Girl Meets B-School. Thank you B-School Girl for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!
For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages.
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