Get ready to read about Hamm0, an anonymous MBA applicant who blogs at Boots to Suits and is super prepared to hit the ground running once those application questions come out. Thank you Hamm0 for your advice, and best of luck to you!
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Hamm0: I was born in the Midwest, and spent my formative years ping-ponging between the Midwest and the Northeast. I went to a well known East Coast school (Think: Lehigh, Bucknell, BC, etc.) and studied Civil Engineering and minored in Business. I did a lot of work in undergrad with Special Olympics, New Student Orientation, and Habitat for Humanity.
After graduating I started working for a construction manager as a project engineer and was on infrastructure projects all over the Eastern seaboard. Recently, I moved from engineering to finance, and now work as an analyst for an asset manager. I currently serve in a leadership role with my local Habitat chapter.
Accepted: What stage of the MBA admissions process are you up to currently? What's been the most challenging aspect so far?
Hamm0: I am currently writing essay drafts and waiting for essays to come out for my target schools. The most challenging aspect seems to be whatever I’m working on most recently – it only seems to get harder! More seriously, I thought setting up time to visit schools was difficult to balance, even though from an applicant’s standpoint, very little is requested of you during that phase.
Accepted: Can you share your GMAT experience with us?
Hamm0: I took the GMAT several times, and increased my score each time. I started studying with a set of Manhattan GMAT books on my own after work, and eventually decided I didn’t have the dedication to self-study. I signed up for an in-person class with Veritas Prep which coincided with the break I had between jobs and landed a 690. While it is short of where I want to be, I feel that is a solid score, and I definitely do not want to sit for that test again, and am happy with my 100-plus-point improvement. I don't think there is much difference between the materials, I just really needed the kick in the pants an in-person course provided.
Accepted: What are some of your top choice programs? Are you applying to safety schools?
Hamm0: On my blog I’ve listed 6 schools: Darden, Fuqua, Johnson, Ross, Tuck, and Wharton. I don’t think any of these are safety schools, and I don’t plan on applying to any safety schools (if such a thing exists in MBA-application land).
Accepted: What is your current job? Do you plan on continuing in that function/industry after you receive your MBA?
Hamm0: As I mentioned, I just started working for an asset manager. I work on the fixed income desk doing several tasks, but I’ll sum it up as portfolio analytics. I plan on staying in finance post MBA (hence the move from engineering), but would prefer to be working on deals rather than working with the markets.
Accepted: Do you have any advice to share with your fellow applicants?
Hamm0: Start early. I started looking at MBA things about a year and a half ago, and it has really helped save on some legwork while I’m gearing up for applications. For me, it all comes down to execution at this point, instead of researching, testing, and writing as it might for a less-prepared applicant. The process is difficult enough – why complicate it by doing multiple steps at once?
Accepted: Why did you decide to blog about your MBA admissions experience? Has the writing process revealed anything new about yourself?
Hamm0: Some of the blogs I’ve been reading over the past year or so have really helped me define my path forward, so I thought I’d pay it forward (I'm looking at you Cheetarah1980, The Senator, MBAover30, and others!). Plus, it’ll be funny to laugh at myself a few years down the road since all of this will be documented in text. I’ve learned that I’m a rambler when it comes to writing, that I love parenthetical interjections (that readers hate) in the middle of sentences, and that I'm a terrible speller. Lets hope these flaws are corrected before my essays are submitted!
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