This interview is the latest in an Accepted blog series featuring interviews with MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Jerry Lu…
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Jerry: I was born and raised in San Jose, California and graduated from UC Berkeley in 2013 with both a BS and MS degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR).
Accepted: Can you share three fun facts about yourself?
1. I’ve traveled to 10 countries before the age of 5.
2. I’ve been a fitness enthusiast ever since I lost 80 lbs during my junior year of high school.
3. I’m on Soundcloud 24/7 (username: jerryylluu). In my spare time, I’m a blogger and music curator for Treehouse Vibes, a worldwide music collective.
Accepted: You are currently applying for business school for the fall of 2017. What stage of the MBA application process are you up to now?
Jerry: I’m currently in the process of brainstorming and outlining what I am going to write about for each school. Reading the prompts alone have made me quite introspective about the whole application process. It’s been these past few weeks that I’ve started to ask and question myself why it is I’m getting an MBA, why I am applying to this school and not the other, where do I see myself in the next five to ten years. I’ve always had some inkling of why I wanted an MBA but never have I had to formulate these thoughts and put them down on paper. Just thinking about the questions in a broader context, I’ve made it a habit to think back to when I was a kid and jot down highlights of my past as they come. Using this timeline, I am able to pick one or two key moments that have made an impact on my life and defined who it is I am today.
Because of this exercise, I’ve tried to allocate as much time as possible for the essay portion of the application process, being able to jot down my thoughts, craft them into drafts, go through multiple revisions, and then finally submit. It’s the biggest chunk left that I have to do and probably the most time consuming as well.
Accepted: What B-schools are you considering applying to?
Jerry: The schools that I’m considering applying to as of now are, in no particular order: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, U Chicago, MIT, Northwestern. I do plan on applying during Round 1 so applications are all due in September. MIT is the only school that has not yet released their deadlines.
Accepted: Where are you currently working?
Jerry: I currently work at YouTube on the data science team. I’ve had the privilege of contributing to the launch of our paid subscriptions products, YouTube Music and YouTube Red, and currently my focus is on driving the understanding and growth of the product and improving customer retention.
Accepted: Share your experiences being an engineer at Google and YouTube.
Jerry: My first job after college was working at Google as an anti-abuse analyst for Google’s Cloud Platform. I worked in that role for two years and definitely learned a lot both in terms of putting my technical background to use as well as giving me an introduction into general management. As an anti-abuse analyst, my mission was to help fight spam and abuse. Working cross functionally with product, marketing, and engineering, my role was highly consultative and I was able to leverage both my analytical skill set and project management abilities to driving insights and influence business strategy.
After two years working in abuse, I really wanted to transition into a role that was more product focused. Being a heavy YouTube user myself, there was no better match than the current role I am in. Rather than fighting abuse and keeping spammers out, my mission now was to focus on product and user analysis to grow a business. There are many exciting things about YouTube, just to name a few: 1. it is a small company in the larger Google corporation and it’s fun working closely together with other people driven by the same mission 2. I get to see tangible results from the work that I’m doing 3. being surrounded by my fellow colleagues who are PhDs in Stats, rocket scientists, and college professors, I’m constantly learning every single day.
The reason why I am applying to business school is that having been in a technical role for the past 3 years now, I want to transition from being an individual contributor to a product manager, a position in which I will be spending more of my time creating an environment that enables other people to be successful and leading a product from conception to launch.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your experience taking the GRE? Were there any surprises? What were your most and least favorite parts of the exam?
Jerry: I took the GRE a year after taking the GMAT. There weren’t any surprises I would say but it was good for me to take both to identify what my strengths and weaknesses were. Each test is different in the sense that they both have their challenges. The GRE puts emphasis on vocabulary while the GMAT more so on critical reasoning. As nerdy as sounds, I actually enjoyed studying and taking the GRE, namely because at the end of the day, what I got out of it was an enhanced and new found set of vocabulary words to use in my every day to day.
For those who find that they didn’t do well on either the GMAT or the GRE, I would highly advise you to consider taking the alternative. You may find that your aptitude and skillset is more align with a certain test and as more business schools accept both tests for admission, you shouldn’t be afraid to take one test over another.
Accepted: When did you start your blog bschooleng? Why did you decide to blog about your experience? What do you hope others will learn?
Jerry: The application process has always been quite intriguing to me. There are so many degrees of freedom yet not everything is in your control. Of course, there are certain thresholds that need to be met with each and every school but there are just as many opportunities for an individual to get into any school they want. Every school has that one student who might not have the stats that fit the mold but as a total package is the perfect candidate.
Although it’s only been a week of blogging, the reason why I started the blog was mainly as an avenue to document my thoughts of this entire process and on the side, hope it encourages and gives advice to readers who are in a similar boat. I was mainly inspired after perusing various gmat forums (accepted, gmatclub, beatthegmat) and reading other bloggers as well.
Reading the websites of various business schools gives you a certain degree of insight but as an applicant, you connect with people who either are in or have been in a similar experience as yourself. That is not to say that anything on my blog is the absolute truth but all my thoughts are just my personal opinion. What I hope is that reading the perspectives of multiple bloggers (myself included) will allow the reader to formulate their own opinion on why it is they want to apply to business school and if business school is ultimately the right decision for them.
Accepted: What else would you like to share?
Jerry: The more I research what each school has to offer: the professors, the courses, the clubs, the alumni, the more excited I am about attending. My grandfather has always said to me that “life is a learning opportunity” and I know that whichever business school I attend, I will continue to embody his philosophy.
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