Accepted.com is continuing a blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.
Here’s a talk with Karla Juarez, a University of Texas McCombs student who’s passionate about IT, brand management, Latin America, and dance. Thank you Karla for sharing your thoughts with us!
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself – where are you from? What and where did you study as an undergraduate and when did you graduate?
Karla: I was born in Managua, Nicaragua and raised in Miami, FL. After I graduated in 2005 from the University of Miami with a BS in Computer Engineering, I moved to Minneapolis, MN where I worked in Information Technology for six years.
Accepted: Why did you decide to attend UT McCombs? Has the program lived up to your expectations?
Karla: McCombs has surpassed my expectations! When I visited UT in the fall before applying, I got to experience firsthand its unique and amazing culture. I felt the students were like me in that they were driven, smart, and competitive in all aspects of their lives (not just academics), but I also felt like no one wanted to leave any of their classmates behind. I saw a lot of unity during my stay. After my visit, I knew it was the right fit for me.
Accepted: What do you think of Austin as a location for pursuing an MBA? Did local opportunities play a role in your decision to attend?
Karla: Because of my lack of strong preference, I was more concerned with culture vs. local opportunities. However, Austin is a great city for technology startups and small business in general. UT also has a strong oil and gas program. As far as a location for pursuing an MBA, it’s terrific. Austin is #1 on the 2010 Kiplinger’s Best City for the Next Decade list. It is a moderately sized city with an energetic feel and has tons of live music to enjoy. WITH great weather!
Accepted: What’s your favorite class so far?
Karla: My favorite class so far is Marketing Analytics. It gave me a great overview of how to quantify the importance of marketing through the use of mathematics. It was very interesting and educational to use statistical regressions to solve marketing questions.
Accepted: Do you have an internship lined up for the summer? If so, what role did McCombs play in helping you secure that position?
Karla: Yes, I will be interning in brand management at Johnson & Johnson for the summer. I worked with an excellent UT communications coach before attending the NSHMBA conference in the fall. McCombs provides all MBA students with four hours of one-on-one time with a communications coach. This service was invaluable to me and I definitely noticed an enormous change in my interviewing skills. In addition to communications coaches, the school requires that students take a career class where we work on resumes, company research, mock interviews, cover letters, and other career-related tasks.
Accepted: Your LinkedIn profile shows that you have experience in very diverse areas. How do you plan on using your skills in dance, IT, foreign languages and travel, and Hispanic/Latin American ventures in your post-MBA goals?
Karla: My post-MBA goal is to work with the Latin American market in a brand management capacity. Technology is an ever-increasing part of marketing and will no doubt play an important role in my understanding of how to successfully implement and execute marketing initiatives. I am currently learning a new language (Portuguese) to prepare me for my planned study abroad in São Paulo, Brazil, which will in turn put me in a better place for a Latin America rotation later in my career (that will hopefully include travel). Lastly, dance is one of the ways I celebrate and enjoy culture and that is an important part of my life goal: share enjoyment of life with others and make a positive impact.
Accepted: Do you have any advice for some of our applicants who will be applying to UT McCombs?
Karla: Come for a visit. The culture at top business schools is hard to describe and understand unless you’ve experienced it.
Accepted: I see that you are a member of the Consortium. What attracted you to the Consortium? How have you benefited from the program?
Karla: The Consortium’s tuition fellowship is very attractive to a lot of students. However, the connections I made with Consortium students at other top schools, the pre-business school preparation I underwent with McCombs in preparation for the career conference, and the access I got to companies that recruit MBAs during the Orientation Program (before we even start business school) are priceless.
Accepted: Can you share some application tips for other students applying to business school through the Consortium?
Karla: If you can, get the GMAT out of the way early. For your essays, do a lot of brainstorming and self-reflection before you dive into specific essays. I referenced a couple of business school essay books and they provided very good direction on the brainstorming/writing process. Also very important: ask your friends to help you revise. It’s usually a good idea to have at least one alumnus read your school specific essay.
Please visit our UT McCombs B-School Zone and Consortium Zone for more McCombs- and Consortium-specific advice. For complete, soup-to-nuts guidance on the MBA admissions process, please purchase Linda Abraham’s new book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools – now available in paperback and Kindle editions!