Next up in our series of featured MBA bloggers is Mango, author of the blog, ¿Por Qué….MBA? One girl’s MBA application journey! Please enjoy Mango’s 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?
Mango: Hi! I’m blogging under the nom de plume “Mango” and am Pacific NW raised, attended Duke University (Go Blue Devils!) and graduated in 2008 with a Public Policy major and Economics and Religion minors. For the last 3+ years, I’ve worked at a small niche educational technology services firm, which has allowed me to be immersed in a field that I’m very excited and passionate about and hope to stay in long-term.
Accepted: How important is a “name brand” MBA program to you? Are you only applying to top 10 programs?
Mango: In choosing MBA programs, I was mostly concerned with “fit”; it’s not the name of the school per se that I consider the most important, but rather how closely it aligns with my goals and how well I would fit with the program. The schools I am applying to happen to be consistently ranked in the top 15. With that said, I’m well aware of the value of a highly-regarded school and the opportunities and doors that those connections can open up!
Accepted: Would you consider applying to a b-school outside your current country?
Mango: I visited INSEAD in Singapore when I was working there earlier in the year, and for a while, the school was on my list. Though it certainly fits the “international strengths” I’m looking for in a program and interests of working with the global community, I ultimately decided that a one-year program is not right for me, which is what many traditional European and international programs offer. So yes I considered it, went as far as attending an on-campus informational session, but in the end, I’ll be applying to US schools. I’m still hoping to participate in international trips and possibly internships as I think that international experiences are vital in providing perspective in any business or management role.
Accepted: How many times did you take the GMAT? Are you happy with your score?
Mango: I took the GMAT twice, the first time I scored 690 and the second time I scored 710. The majority of my blog entries so far have focused on the GMAT, and I’ve chronicled everything from my study habits to practice test scores and breakdown of actual scores. Though I’m happy with my second score as it puts me closer to the averages of scores for the schools I’m applying to, my split with an unbalance in quant leaves a lot to be desired. I decided that after months of fretting over data sufficiency and sentence correction, social isolation, and the Manhattan GMAT/GMAT forums dominating my bookmarks list, my last few months leading up to the deadlines are better spent focusing on essays and polishing up my application.
Accepted: Have your parents’ success (or lack of success) influenced your desire to go into business? Please explain.
Mango: My parents are both from science and engineering, quant-based backgrounds and have had little bearing on my decision to go to business school. Our family immigrated to the US so that my father could attend graduate school here, and I’ve been raised with the mindset of taking advantage and going for opportunities whenever presented. My family is supportive of my goals, but also provide me with a healthy dose of realism and I can’t complain about the home-cooked meals during the crunch times leading up to my GMAT exams!
Accepted: How has the current economy affected your decision to attend business school?
Mango: The current economy has little effect on my decision to apply, though I’m lucky to have a wonderful job and part of me continues to grapple with whether I’d be making the right (and financially responsible) decision to leave my job, take on debt, and graduate in an unpredictable market in 3 years. I have faith that the market will bounce back, and since I’m not tied to one particular industry or sector, I’m hoping that I’ll be successful by keeping an open mind and taking opportunities as they come, as I have always done.
Accepted: Why did you choose to blog about the MBA application experience?
Mango: There are several reasons why I decided to join the MBA application blogging community, and here are 5 in no particular order of importance:
- My natural communication and thinking style is kind of stream of consciousness; it’s hard to explain. I thought blogging would help organize my thoughts, flesh out themes and threads in my essays, and keep me on track in the application process, since procrastination is one of my biggest vices.
- Earlier this spring, I attended the Storyline Conference by one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller, and was inspired to document a pivotal moment in my life where I would possibly make some big decisions that would have lasting effects. I wanted to remember the journey: my feelings, thoughts, fears, hopes and everything in between so that when the moment arrived that I was staring at three (or two or one or none) acceptance envelopes, I would make the right choice with why I even wanted an MBA in the first place and the start in mind. I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog (you can also find me guest-blogging on Poets and Quants) as I’ve been on the road, picking up new responsibilities and of course, plotting my Halloween costume (it’s ingenious, I promise) but I plan on updating it very soon with some recent school visit reflections!
- I suppose in a way I sought to rekindle the blogging habits that I picked up about 10 years ago, and dropped about 7 years ago. Back then, blogging was therapeutic and a way for me to share with my friends my high-school adventures (and pictures, before the advent of Facebook and Picasa). I now have friends and family all over the US and world and this is one way of sharing bits and pieces of a journey they are not familiar with, and the medium of a blog allows them to read up when they are interested and have time, rather than being spammed with my ramblings in email form or dramatic status updates at 2 a.m. (Nope – I’m not that person!)
- I wanted to connect with the larger community of prospective applicant bloggers/MBA students – those going through the process that could share advice, guidance and *hopefully* encouragement, and perhaps even provide my advice once the process was through.
- As stated on my first blog entry, my curiosity and interest was initially sparked by reading other prospective applicant blogs and the uncertainty of whether they would be accepted into the program of their choice given their impressive accomplishments and stories. I wanted to dip my toe into the world of MBA applicant blogging and see what would happen, so far it’s been a pretty fun ride!
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