Get ready to read about Poeticquant, an anonymous MBA applicant from Eritrea (in Northeast Africa) and, more recently, Columbus Ohio, with a background in engineering and an interest in international business. You can read about Poeticquant’s admissions adventure below, and at his blog The Poetic Quant. Thank you Poeticquant, and best of luck to you!
Accepted: Let’s start with some basics: Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? And what is your current job?
Poeticquant: I am from Columbus, OH by way of a small northeast African nation called Eritrea. Like any good African immigrant’s child I was predestined for a career in either Engineering or Medicine (heaven forbid I study *gasp* Liberal Arts!). I naturally gravitated towards engineering, eventually finding my home in Civil Engineering. I went on to gain my Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Ohio State University. Following graduation I started working in state government as a transportation engineer. From the start I could tell that engineering wasn’t going to stimulate my soft skills enough, so I began making active career choices that would steer me towards the career I wanted. Tasting what it’s like to be a project manager, and not just the technical lead as an engineer, has opened my appetite to go into a career that will use my analytical mind and my soft skills. A career that allows me to have the influence in decision making that I crave. For me, this means I need an MBA. So here I am.
Accepted: What stage are you up to in the b-school admissions process?
Poeticquant: I am currently prepping to take the GMAT for the first time. I have also started school visits after doing some intensive research and creating a list of my target schools. From what I hear, this is supposed to be the fun stage of the admissions process. This is before you are waiting to hear back from schools, or worrying about how you are going to gather good enough recommendations. And true indeed: to this point I have immensely enjoyed the process.
Accepted: What’s been your greatest challenge so far? How have you approached it?
Poeticquant: My greatest challenge so far, by far, has been informing my work colleagues and supervisors of my decision to go to business school. The projects that I’ve taken on are very unique in scope and will be hard for anyone else to take over seamlessly, so it’s only natural for there to be some angst. Government work is not a traditional feeder into business school and as such it’s a foreign concept to most of the people I work with. I’ve approached this issue by making an effort to explain what I want out of a CAREER, and not just out of a singular job. Once people can see the “story,” and see that the organization you’re leaving is just as much a part of your progression as the places you hope to go to, they begin to advocate for you. It just so happens that people who are rooting for your personal development are the best recommendation writers (just saying).
Accepted: Where do you planning on applying? Which is your top choice, and why?
Poeticquant: My current target list reads (alphabetically):
• Fisher College of Business (Ohio State)
• Fuqua School of Business (Duke)
• Harvard Business School
• Keenan-Flagler School of Business (North Carolina)
• Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern)
• London Business School
• S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management (Cornell)
It’s hard to say which schools I favor, as I haven’t visited all of them yet. Given my life background, I’ve always been inclined to see things from an international perspective which lends itself towards LBS. But I’ve made it a point that each and every school I target emphasizes international business or immersion in some form or another. I’m very pragmatic (engineer after all) and understand that I’m far from the “homerun applicant,” so in all honesty I will consider myself truly blessed to gain admission into any of these schools!
Accepted: Do you plan on staying in the same industry after you receive your MBA? Or switching careers?
Poeticquant: I’m looking to be what they call a “Triple-Jumper” in that I would change location, job-sector, and function in one fell swoop post-MBA. I will always carry my engineering background like a badge of honor, however. Without the level of analytic and critical thinking rigor that my undergraduate engineering degree provided me, I don’t think I would be anywhere near what I am today. But I also realize that to reach my full potential, it’s time to move on and to develop my other skills. Business school is the perfect medium to start this career-long journey.
Accepted: Why did you decide to blog about your admissions experience? What do you hope to gain from blogging?
Poeticquant: I’ve always been an avid reader and writer (hence the “poetic” in my “poeticquant” moniker). I needed a place to store my ideas and feelings on the MBA admission process. My friends’ eardrums had their fill, so a blog was the natural outcome of these two desires. I find the keyboard and the warm glow of a laptop screen to be much more willing listener to my MBA tales. Blogging for me has a similar feel to keeping a journal, though it is much more pointed. Catharsis, if you will. I hope my readers are enjoying the blog!
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