Next up in our series of featured MBA applicant bloggers are Motown, Ms. HR, and Mads Mom from the blog, “Fortune 800: Our Journey to an MBA.” Please enjoy their thoughtful answers and use them to help you make your way through the MBA admissions process.
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; and what prior degrees do you hold?
Ms. HR: I was born and raised in Michigan. I grew up right outside of Ann Arbor (Canton) so it was no surprise that I wanted to attend the University of Michigan. I graduated from the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!!!) in December 2007 with a BSE in Electrical Engineering.
Mads Mom: I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, but was never an Ohio State fan, although everyone assumes that I should be because I am from Ohio. Obviously, I did the complete opposite and went to the University of Michigan where I graduated in 2007 with a BA in Sociology.
Motown: I was born and raised in Detroit, MI. I also went to the University of Michigan and graduated in 2008 with a degree in Civil Engineering and minor in History.
Accepted: When do you plan on applying to business school? Which schools will you apply to? Do you think you’ll apply to a “safety school”?
Ms. HR: I’m planning on applying this year in either round 1 or 2. It depends on when I complete the best application possible for me. I have about 7 schools on my list as of now but I plan on narrowing that list down to 5 schools. My top 3 schools are Cornell, Vanderbilt and Kellogg. I’m DEFINITELY planning on applying to a safety school. I know where I want my career to go and I need an MBA to get there so I’m anxious to get started.
Mads Mom: I am planning to apply to business school for Fall 2012, during round 1 or 2. I have not narrowed my list of schools down yet, but some possible schools include University of Michigan, UCLA, Berkeley, NYU, and Cornell. I will definitely be applying to a “safety school” because I ultimately want to go back to school next year no matter what.
Motown: I’m pretty set on Round 2. That’s when I will have my transcript available for the class I am currently taking and when I know I will be very confident in my application. Also, I want to interview and apply at the same time. Not to mention, I want to visit some schools this Fall before apps are due. I feel like a lot of business schools are great, and I will be happy attending any of the schools I’m applying to, which is why I don’t have a ‘top’ choice. I am applying to 6 schools, 2 are Consortium and the rest are a range of safeties and reaches.
Accepted: Why do you want to go to business school? What are some of the factors motivating you?
Ms. HR: I want to build some fundamental knowledge on business and HR. Coming from an engineering background I feel like it’s a necessity in order to be successful in my career change to HR Management. The main motivating factor for going back to school is most HR leadership rotational programs require an MBA or Master’s in HR. I know that an MBA will give me that fundamental knowledge so I can be successful in my future career. Another motivating factor, is just my pure passion for HR. I’ve had to work on some projects with HR and after every project I felt like running straight over to HR. I know without a doubt that’s where I’m supposed to be.
Mads Mom: I am a career changer, so I want to go back to business school because I plan to break into the new career field of high tech marketing. Some of the factors that are motivating me include the fact that I want to get into a career that combines my two passions for technology and design. Going back to school will give me the foundation I need, and the possible pay increase doesn’t hurt either.
Motown: I’ve always had a passion for helping out Detroit. So once I looked at my grad school options and did some research, I realized that an MBA was the best fit for me. I would love to increase my business acumen, expand my network, and hone in on my leadership skills. I desire to first pursue non-profit consulting and then eventually open a non-profit back in Detroit that focuses on urban and economic development.
Accepted: Does cost play a factor in where you’re applying? Do you plan on applying for financial aid or scholarships? Has your current job offered to pick up part or all of your b-school tab?
Ms. HR: Cost is a factor but at the same time it’s not really. If I get into my top choice school I doubt I would turn it down due to cost. I’ve done some research and there is money out there that you can get. I will be working extra hard to try and nail down some scholarships. I also plan on applying for financial aid. My current job does tuition reimbursement but I would have to go to school part time. I would like to take the time off and just focus on school and take in all a full time MBA has to offer as well as expand my network.
Mads Mom: At this point in time, cost is not really playing a factor in where I am applying. I definitely plan on applying for financial aid and scholarships, but I pretty much don’t want the factor of money to deter me from going to a great school. My current job has not yet offered to pick up part of my tab, but I haven’t asked or persuaded them yet either.
Motown: Cost definitely plays a factor, which is part of the reason I am applying through the Consortium. I also looked into schools that have loan forgiveness programs since I am interested in the non-profit/social enterprise space, which does not pay as lucratively as some other jobs. I will be applying for financial aid and seeking out scholarships/grants as well. My current job doesn’t offer to pay for business school for people that want to go FT.
Accepted: Do you plan on returning to your pre-MBA job (in a more prestigious/lucrative position) after you finish business school? Or do you plan on moving to a new function or industry?
Ms. HR: Eventually I would love to come back and work at my current company. I really enjoy working here but at the same time I would like to work elsewhere for a little bit to gain a different perspective and really see if the grass is greener elsewhere.
Mads Mom: I do not plan on returning to my pre-MBA job because it is in a totally different industry that I want to get into.
Motown: I’ve spoken to a few MBA’s at my company, so it’s not totally out of the picture. But for now, I plan on moving into a new company within a totally new function.
Accepted: What courses or experiences or people have motivated you to go to business school? How?
Ms. HR: The main thing that motivated me to go to business school is the exposure I’ve had to HR at my current company. That exposure made me realize HR is where I would like to go with my career. An MBA will help get me there. Another motivating factor was hearing the career paths my HR colleagues took. Knowing that an MBA helped some of them tremendously I’m more than willing to go back to school so I too can have some of those same opportunities.
Mads Mom: My mother has a number of degrees and if there was someone that motivated me to go to business school it would be her. Personally, I decided that I wanted a career change and to get where I wanted to go I knew I was going to need and MBA to get there.
Motown: As far as coursework, at Michigan I took this really cool class where we worked with a village in the Dominican Republic where we helped them filter their own clean water. That really changed my perspectives on technology and the possibility of leveraging it to help communities. Also, last fall one particular conversation I had with a JD/MBA was really inspiring and made me finally decide that an MBA was for me in order to reach my future goals. For a long time I thought MBA’s were just people that did investment banking, I had no idea about the wide range of careers that MBA’s could have!
Accepted: Why did you choose to blog about the MBA application experience?
Ms. HR: At first I was really against blogging. I didn’t think I would have enough time to write or enough things to say. It was Mads Mom that kept on pushing it and I’m so glad she did. Now that I’m in the groove of things I’m really glad we are documenting our journey. Hopefully it will help current and future applicants out and we will always have detailed memories of our journey. Without question, I’ve learned a lot from our readers. I think the collaboration between us and the readers benefits everyone. Also for me, blogging makes me think long and hard about the b-school process and I hope this in depth thinking will help me build a great application.
Mads Mom: While doing all my b-school research I came across a number of blogs, and just figured that maybe someone would want to read about mine. I knew I was going to be extra busy because I have a little girl, so pushed for Motown and Ms. HR to get into it together and it seems to be working out great. It’s fun to just write a quick note, even if no one reads it, so that you can look back and remember what you went through to get to where you want to go.
Motown: I personally love blogs and read them all the time. So when Mads Mom suggested it, I was excited about it. It’s great to just document this whole, introspective process and be able to look back and see how far we have all come!
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