This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with MBA applicant bloggers, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at the MBA application process. And now…introducing our anonymous blogger, NaijaMBAgal…
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? What did you study as an undergrad? What is your current job?
NaijaMBAgal: I’m a twenty-something years old Nigerian female. I have six years experience in risk assurance and one year in non-profit. I have a B.Sc in computer science and I love to dance even though I can’t sing.
Accepted: When did you first apply to b-school?
NaijaMBAgal: I first applied to business school last year. It was a disaster and I got several dings.
Accepted: What do you think went wrong that time and what are you doing this time to improve your candidacy?
NaijaMBAgal: Everything was wrong. My GMAT score was really low and I did nothing to make up for it in the applications. Also, my applications did not show my reasons for picking each school and by the time I realized that and changed it, it was round three and most of the class was already filled. I really think the timing affected my outcome.
Before applying this year, I took the GMAT again, my new score was within the 80% range of all the schools I was targeting. Also, I’m applying earlier this time. I’ve submitted my applications in round one (hopefully, I will not have to apply in round two but I will definitely not be applying in round three). Another thing I did differently this year was to ensure that I showed why I wanted to be part of each school in my application; talking to current students really helped me achieve this goal.
Accepted: Where did you apply this time? Do you have a top choice? Are you applying to “safety schools”?
NaijaMBAgal: I applied to Booth, Sloan, Stanford and Wharton. My top choice kept on changing as I researched each school, right now it’s a tie between Stanford and Wharton but that may have something to do with submitting their applications most recently.
I did not apply to any safety school; last year, I got into my safety school but could not convince myself to attend, so this year, I applied to schools that I will love to attend when admitted.
Accepted: Do you plan on staying in your current industry post-MBA, or changing to a new field/career?
NaijaMBAgal: I know it’s a cliche but I’m tired of the consulting industry which is amusing because I find a lot of people get an MBA to get into consulting. I plan to become an entrepreneur either during or after my MBA.
Accepted: What are your thoughts on the presentation essay on Booth’s application?
NaijaMBAgal: I love Booth’s presentation essay. I think it was my favorite part of the applications. For me, anything is better than writing an essay but the fact that it was a presentation made it more interesting, I should probably mention that I make a lot of presentations so I am very comfortable with the medium. I think the presentation is the best reflection of Booth’s culture, giving applicants that flexibility with a main essay is phenomenal.
Accepted: How do you think being from Africa affects your candidacy?
NaijaMBAgal: It’s like a double edged sword. On one hand I think it amplifies my profile, gives me an edge and reduces the applicant pool that my application sits in. On the flip side, there is a smaller percentage of the class available for us regardless of how many good applicants there are within that pool. Since both sides nil-off, I don’t think it helps or hurts my application – except if there are a lot of less qualified applicants in the pool then it’s good for me.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? What have you gained from the experience? What do you hope others will learn?
NaijaMBAgal: When I started my blog, it was not supposed to be an application blog but a b-school experience blog but it had to transform with my plans. One of the best things that has happened since I started blogging is that I have become a part of this amazing group of people composed of fellow applicants (including bloggers) and current students. I have had people give me advice, books and templates which I try to share on my blog so that people that read my blog can use that information in their own application. I hope others can leverage on my experience to make their own admission process smoother.
For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages.
You can read more about NaijaMBAgal’s b-school journey by checking out his blog, Naija MBA Gal. Thank you for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!