First I want to thank GMATClub for giving me the opportunity to go to this event for free
Came back from Destination Business School by Kaplan
. Here is my review/experience sharing of the weekend - if I miss anything I hope Mohater can chime in as well. I will review by the events on the schedule we had.
Here is the breakdown of the people who attended the event and some random info I gathered:
Men/Women: 21/7 (1 guy from vault.com who's there to write an article about the event)
1/2 asians (including indian), rest Caucasian and 2 african americans
~1/4 have taken the GMAT
2 are still in undergrad - 1 is a sophmore and 1 is junior
~1/2 in finance field and many others in Eng/IT field
most people have 5+ work experience
~1/2 undecided to apply this year or next
Schools of interest: almost all top 10 - tuck,hbs,stern,cbs,wharton,kellog mostly named - stern and cbs might be favored because of location though. There are also couple of folks interested in Ross and Darden and couple of lower ranked schools
Most of the people were very friendly and it was great talking to many of them. The activities were very interactive, many people participated but there were a few people who were very very quiet - their loss i guess.
10:30 - 12:00 Your B-School Blueprint:
We first did a quick introduction - basically occupation, school of interest and why b-school. The presenter then showed us the process in how to select our target schools and also showed us an excel presentation that we could use to short our school list (it is point based system of importance of criteria). We also worked on our
elevator pitch that consisted of why b-school+why this b-school+ why now. The presenter also gave us a personal experience of a failed startup but he turned the negative to a positive through an interesting story - bottom line - always try to change negatives into positives.
We had lunch while an ex-kaplan
vp gave us a brief overview of his story from b-school to his current situation. The take-away from this is to always be prepared for the future and have no regrets.
1:00-2:00 Admissions Panel - Boston U, Tuck,Stern,Anderson admins present
This is a public event and a Kaplan
rep asked all the questions - they basically covered what most people wouldve asked, here are the questions asked and brief answers.
1. Reason for going for MBA? Very important to admins
2. Right time for MBA? If it takes a long time to figure out the right time it might not be.
3. How to differentiate among programs? Check websites,visits,tours,goals vs school offerings
4. Does visit matter? Tuck rep said since the location is a bit isolated, a visit shows them a bit of commitment. Other schools said it doesn't hurt.
5. Most important app aspect? All are important
6. Why require GMAT? only standardized quantitative yardstick. Another thing to detect the applicant's academic ability.
7. Can GMAT/Gpa balance out? Yes they can
8.Advice for essay writing - Be authentic, be mature, answer questions asked. Also don't put other school's essays in "optional essay" - they know
9. Reapply OK? Yes, as long as you show improvement over the reasons of your past ding.
10. What if curr. unemployed? They understand the current economy, explain it in the optional essay. Also, it is KEY to explain what you are doing during the employment gap - community work etc. Basically try to do something worthwhile while unemployed.
11. short vs long term goals? Should have solid goals with some specificity - although it is OK to be undecided. They don't want to see "get an MBA" as a short term goal.
12. General gaffes to avoid? Forgetting to erase other school names from essay. Be courteous and show maturity through interactions with people at school - words can travel so any gaffe (impolite to secretary for example) can travel fast to admins.
13. letter of rec? Should be someone who can tell the admins "what you do" not just get someone who is the "highest position" who might not know what you do - basically details before title. Do prep the sources and it is not good to pick friends/family/professors.
14. Interview process? find interview info from website. Don't be long-winded, be sure to ask "non obvious" questions to show interest to the school and to show you have done your research.
15. Last advice? Dedicate time to the whole process. Be sure to get your finances set - you don't want to worry about finances while doing MBA. And be yourself.
2:00-4:30 Business School Fair
There were 2 other events -GMAT training session and admissions strategy session but i didn't attend them.
Basically the place was packed and naturally people flocked to the top schools. Most questions were pretty good but there were some questions like "do you have campus tours". I managed to get through my schools of interest and the people were very nice. There were also cameramen interviewing admins etc. I think the school list is pretty decent - some top schools and medium schools for everyone. One small problem was some stations were understaffed - Duke had only 1 guy with like 10 people surrounding him.
4:30-7:00 Happy hour
we went to a bar on a rooftop - it was pretty cool but a bit crowded with 30+ people there. good times.
9:00-10:00 Elevator pitch breakfast
basically we revised our "why b-school, why this school and why now" speech and presented in a round robin fashion around the table with a Kaplan
staff there to help critique and start discussions among us.
10:00-12:30 Mastering the gmat: scoring 700+
We basically started with some GMAT basics - it helped the majority since about 3/4 of the people haven't taken it yet. We then had to do 6 700+ level questions in 12 minutes. The instructor then explained the answers the "kaplan
way". He also tried to sell the Kaplan
programs and fielded questions.
12:30-1:30 lunch + mock business school class
A professor from Boston university did a mock case study class with us. We read through a 4 page article and we discussed the article as a case study. The professor tried to make it as interactive as possible - quite a few people participated although there were some silent ones. He said that in most case studies there is no "answer" and that most prof value class participation and he counts it for ~40% of the grade.
1:30-2:30 Career round-robins
Basically there were 6 professionals each at a table and we were allowed to visit 4 tables (15 min each) in a round robin discussion. Of the professionals who were present there was couple of guys from Goldman sachs, 1 from morgan stanley, 1 entrepreneur, 1 nonprofit and 1 from vitamin water. I really hoped they had a longer session for this because it was really cool talking to them. They are alums from ross,tuck,stern,hbs,2 kellogs. I went to 4 of them and here are some takeaways from the discussions:
1.Get ready for a career focus asap. Company visits can be as early as sept/oct and they prefer you have some focus by then.
2. if you are undecided it is OK to go to multiple recruiting teams from same company (ib,pe etc.) but be sure to tell them so or it would be awkward when your name shows up on multiple team's recruiting list.
3. It is OK if you dont have the experience(like eng background going into IB) - there are rigorous training available if you are hired. You get trained during intern ship and if you are hired the training continues - you will come out as good as the employees there.
4. Alumni network is very important.
5. If you dont have previous experience for job it is OK as long as you show the desire in school and also show that you are intelligent.
6. Join clubs and extracurriculars during school to expand networks.
2:30-3:30 MBA mission
We were running short on time so this session was cut a bit short. The founder of MBAmission
was the presenter. He showed us different essay styles - basically it is better to show the action through storytelling instead of listing bullet points like "i did this, i did that". He also had us do an exercise where we wrote some bullet points about our school selection and b-school goals before and after he went over the essay styles.
Overall I think the 2nd day was the most beneficial to me from a VIP experience - the round table chat was very helpful. The first day was also beneficial but i think it helped people who are on the early stages of mba since it covered school selection/criteria etc. If you are on the fences about MBA i would definitely suggest you to check this event out but if you are already applying to schools and have taken the gmat, some sessions like the intro, gmat session might not be very helpful. This is the first time Kaplan
did this and I think they did a good job. The presenters from Kaplan
were also phenomenal - especially the "host" Andrew Mitchell - he was very charismatic, he went to Booth as well and is also a master gmat teacher (770) so he was very knowledgeable.
If anyone have any questions please ask!