We’d like to introduce you to Backinthebay2015, the anonymous author of the blog, Backinthebay2015, and a rising student at Stanford GSB. Backinthebay2015 was accepted to the GSB with deferred admission as a senior in college and has spent the last two years working, exploring, and traveling. Thank you Backinthebay15 for sharing your story with us, and best of luck to you this fall!
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite flavor ice cream?
Backinthebay2015: I grew up in the northeast (public schools, nothing fancy) and then headed west to Stanford for college. I majored in psych, minored in econ (I added the minor junior year for the sole purpose of being able to include it on my b-school apps, although the courses turned out to be some of my favorites) and spent most of my spare time doing a varsity sport. My favorite ice cream is definitely the cake batter ice cream at Coldstone with Oreos and caramel mixed in.
Accepted: Why did you decide to apply deferred admissions to Stanford GSB? What have you done in the last few years since getting accepted to the GSB and now finally entering the class of 2015?
Backinthebay2015: During the first few years I was in college I kept meeting and hearing about people who had jobs that sounded fantastic to me. They all had MBAs. By the end of my junior year I was positive that the path I planned to follow included an MBA. When I started checking business school websites they all specifically stated that they encourage college seniors to apply as long as those seniors are certain about their future plans. A bunch of schools even had specific programs – Harvard's 2+2, Yale's Silver Scholars, etc. I talked to a bunch of current students who had applied as college seniors and they were the ones who convinced me that the deferral should be a part of my plan. Those who had gone straight from undergrad didn't feel like they were getting as much out of b-school as their older peers. And those who had deferred were all grateful that they had taken a few years to mature and get some experience in the "real world."
The GSB didn't have a specific program for college seniors but when I talked to admissions they seemed very flexible about it all. After I was admitted I got to choose how many years I wanted to defer for, and I've had the opportunity to extend/shorten that time period a couple of times. I decided to take two years and explore a couple of interests – nonprofits, education, and exploration of a foreign culture. I was able to find a job with an overseas educational nonprofit which gave me the opportunity to pursue all of these interests at the same time. I've come away from that experience with an appreciation of the daily reality for nonprofits in the developing world, a very high respect for everyone involved in education, and the ability to speak another language.
Accepted: What are some of the things that you look forward to "back in the Bay" (academic or otherwise)?
Backinthebay2015: This is an easy question. After being overseas for so long I'm still enjoying the very basic aspects of being back in the US, like speaking English and eating cheeseburgers. As for the Bay Area and the GSB in particular, I'm excited to reenter a world that is fast-paced and innovative and energetic. I love being surrounded by a group of passionate individuals who are tackling important problems and trying to make the world a better place.
Accepted: Why do you think you are a good fit for Stanford GSB? What is your favorite thing about the program? Least favorite?
Backinthebay2015: Fit is very hard to describe in words. When I was researching schools and went on some visits I would get this overall feeling of a school. At the GSB everyone was enthusiastic about the school, the classes, the projects, and just life in general. I know that this description could probably be used for students in most subjects at most schools, but at the GSB there was this intangible overlay of energy and passion that completely sucked me in. I could easily see myself sitting in those classes and pulling all-nighters to work on those same projects without complaint.
There were other schools where I easily could have gone and been able to fit in, but I knew that at the GSB it wouldn't take any effort. I was already just like the students I met there.
My favorite thing about the program has to be the people. I've only met a handful of my future classmates so far but they are all great people. The opportunity to learn with and from them will be fantastic.
I can also already tell that my least favorite part of the program is going to be FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out. Classes don't start for almost eight weeks (the GSB is on trimesters so official classes start in late September) but there are already countless trips and get togethers happening around the globe. It's very hard to decide what to do and what not to do. I can only imagine how much more nuts it will get once you add classes and clubs into the mix.
Accepted: What industry do you currently work in? Do you plan on pursuing the same industry post-MBA or switching to a new career field?
Backinthebay2015: I just finished a two year stint in nonprofit education. In the long run I am very interested in staying involved in the industry. However in the short run I think it will be important for me to get a basic grasp of how the traditional for-profit business world works. So I guess the short answer to your question is that I will probably be using my MBA to make a drastic career switch, but it will all be part of a long-term plan to get back to where I am once I have the experience and qualifications to have a bigger impact.
Accepted: Why did you decide to blog about your MBA experience? What do you hope to gain from blogging personally? And how do you hope others will use your blog?
Backinthebay2015: When I was researching business schools (and keep in mind that I went through this process in mid-2010) I found it fairly difficult to find student perspectives on the b-school experience. Every official school website had some of this stuff, but it wasn't nearly enough for me to make educated judgments about whether a school was or was not right for me.
More recently, I started searching for some blogs from current students so that I could get an idea of how to best prepare over the summer and what to expect once classes started. I found dozens of blogs, but the majority of them seemed to be from applicants, not from current students.
When I narrowed it down to Stanford, I was able to find only three or four student blogs and they were all a few years old (old campus and old curriculum, which makes a significant difference) and not very robust. So, I have created this blog to document the student experience at the GSB in a bit more detail than previous bloggers.
My hope is that this will help future applicants decide whether or not the GSB is a good fit for them (plus lots of material they can draw on for essays/interviews) and will help future GSB admits prepare for the fall.
I just finished up a mini-series of posts on the application process. Before I started the blog I had not intended to write about the application process at all, but then I started getting comments and emails asking for advice. So I figured I would just throw it all out there at the beginning so that afterwards I could return to the topics I really wanted to include.
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