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Interviews with distinguished GMATClub 2013 admits!

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Re: 10 questions for distinguished GMATClub 2012-13 admits! [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2013, 03:50
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CobraKai wrote:
Let me know when and where we're going to throw down for the wings/bar trivia. As for the Tough Mudder?

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That sounds like a forfeit to me.
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Re: 10 questions for distinguished GMATClub 2012-13 admits! [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2013, 05:09
highwyre237 wrote:
CobraKai wrote:
Let me know when and where we're going to throw down for the wings/bar trivia. As for the Tough Mudder?

Image


That sounds like a forfeit to me.


You should be a detective.
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Re: 10 questions for distinguished GMATClub 2012-13 admits! [#permalink] New post 01 Apr 2013, 20:12
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machichi - Little three graduate, thorough non profit experience and the most committed person on GMAT Club. This guy is tailored for this school

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souvik101990: CONGRATS machichi on the stellar choice of matriculating at Yale :) You redefine a non profit application! Tell us about your work pre MBA

machichi: Well, I have always worked with kids, but over time I got the sense that I really liked working with adults who work with kids. Even now, my passion is still evolving. I care deeply about youth and their success, and I want to support their growth and education on a larger scale. So I started off interning with an organization that provides rigorous academic support for low-income urban middle school youth.
It was an amazing opportunity because over 4 different summers (during and after college) I got sent to every corner of the US--including Miami, FL, Santa Fe, NM, and Boston, MA. I started to see that inequality looked eerily similar across the US.
I got hooked on youth work after these internships and ended up moving to San Francisco (for many obvious reasons). In particular though I loved that it was such a hub of innovation and non-profit services. So I got my first job out of college working with pre-k children and their parents.

Through that work I came to the conclusion that we have to approach the education of our youth on a holistic level: they exist within a circle of support that includes families, community, schools, etc. I ended up gravitating to Community Centers and got my next job working at a local community-based organization that supports the whole family.

souvik101990:lets talk about Yale! How was the Kellogg Yale indecision? We had to come on this topic sometime :P

machichi: Ha! It was tough on so many levels. I think one of the main ones though is that I couldn't get any "real world" advice. No one I know has much familiarity with MBA programs, so I felt pretty isolated. However, I have felt so fortunate to be able to be a part of the GMAT Club community.

I have learned so much about the programs and others' perspectives. It's funny because both GMAT Club and real world people were rooting for Yale, I believe, but for very different reasons. GMAT Club knew that Yale offered an amazing non-profit focus, which seemed to gel with my goals. Real world people said it was a no-brainer because it was "YALE".

souvik101990:So, you have an amazing experience coordinating a storybook production project! Any insights? (totally my personal interest area)

machichi: Oh my god, that was one of the coolest things I've ever done. We basically brought together 6 pre-k classes (yes 3 and 4 year olds!) to perform on stage for their parents.The kids produced all the set materials and memorized their "lines" (kids have an amazing ability to memorize books at that age!).
It was like a choral rendition of well known books like Goodnight Moon and Brown Bear, Brown Bear.

GMAT Club moderator joins in

jumsumtak: what did you feel about your chances to the schools you were applying to? Sure you have pretty amazing stuff on your resume, but getting into yale - with a non traditional background- did you ever think you are in a very competitive pool?

machichi: I felt like I could accomplish anything if I set my mind to it, but I am kind of a control freak,so I wanted to know for sure. I'm sure everyone on gmatclub relates eto that...One of the things I did was talk to a lot of admissions consultants. The free profile evaluations really honed my story and gave me a good sense of how likely I was to get accepted.
I knew the schools I was applying to were super competitive, but once I got a 700+ GMAT I felt like anything was possible, that it really came down to execution (and probably some luck!).

souvik101990:Lets get there. Lets talk about your admission consulting experience too (very popular topic I am sure)

machichi: I spoke to about 4 or 5 admissions consultants because it was free and I could. They were pretty confident about my chances at some schools and pretty realistic about my chances at others. You get some advice that's amazing (e.g. know your story, strengths, and weaknesses, and be proactive about addressing all of them!) And some that's not so amazing (e.g. always go to the best-ranked school).

jumsumtak: Can you give an example?

machichi: So for example, I knew that being non-traditional was an advantage, but I got some great advice about the approach that successful applicants like me have taken.
Most people need to highlight how interesting and different their experiences are. I was told to make sure to show clearly how I can fit in with an MBA program--both on a quant side and a business savvy side.

souvik101990: Ok! I really want to hear about The Spikes!

machichi: The Spikes is my home away from home. I've been playing soccer since I was 8 years old, so when I found a gay men's soccer organization here in SF, I was so psyched. IT's a great community. We raise money for our own equipment and leagues, but we also donate some to local soccer clubs in the city. My experiences on the Spikes were so meaningful, and since I'm the kind of person who likes to give back, I joined the board to contribute on an organizational level.

souvik101990: How did you manage to do SO much with your time! Do you have a polyphasic sleep pattern?

machichi: Hahaha, it's funny you should mention that. My boyfriend became obsessed with polyphasic sleep and used to read about it all the time. Apparently the US military experimented with it on their soldiers...I am super organized and type A. I make time for things that matter to me

jumsumtak: How did you manage to learn so many languages?

machichi: I love languages. I think it's because when I started taking French in middle school, I felt like it was a conspiracy. No one *really* spoke this language. Teachers made it up to keep us busy! Since I grew up in upstate NY, we were able to take a class trip to Montreal. It was unreal to me that people really spoke other languages and that there was a whole different set of beliefs and ideas associated with the culture!
I wanted to access it, and language ended up being a really fun way to do so. I started taking Spanish and sign language in HS. While others were taking pottery and music, I was geeking out over verb conjugations. Then in college, I remember being made fun of for only taking "easy romance languages". so i thought, hmmm, let's try Russian!

souvik101990: "pet peeves" of other blogs and forums! Very curious about what you meant with that!

machichi: I'm a pretty resourceful person. I look before I leap and I read a ton before asking questions. It boggles my mind that people ask questions that were literally asked right above them in the forums. But that's small potatoes compared to the rankings' obsession. I think it's really damaging for people to tout the rankings as the be all end all of business school selection. It's such a personal choice and no one should feel guilty for choosing the right school for them. The other thing is not totally a pet peeve, but it's sad that the forums and blogs tend to obfuscate the diversity of applicants. We are applying as military folks, non-profit candidates, IT, consultants, marketers, etc. It's easy to start to feel like everyone's just one-size fits all. Even for those within those categories, there's so much diversity!

jumsumtak: How do you feel about moving?

machichi: I love SF and expect to come back, but I also love new things. I have lived all over the US, Madrid, Buenos Aires, so why not take some time to try something new in a cool place. It'll be nice to be closer to my family and I love visiting NYC, so it'll be fun to have the big apple in my backyard.

souvik101990: Another question: How important was school visits for you? It seems they are insanely important but its pretty impossible for somebody, lets say, from India!

machichi: They are super valuable, but I guess I wouldn't want to say it's impossible to get a sense without attending. I got similar vibes from attending admit student events here in San Francisco. The most important thing is to meet as many people as you can from the school. I learned a ton about the culture from the four schools I applied to because I attended events with current students and alumni here in the Bay Area
Stay open-minded--to people, experiences, careers, everything; but don't forget what's important to you! And blog! whether or not others read it, you'll enjoy revisiting it in your old age

Sorry had to ask one more question! What's the deal with your username?

machichi: My nickname in Spanish is Machi. It's a mutilation of my Michael, but it stuck because we found it so funny. It's short for "machito" or little macho guy. the extra "chi" is for effect
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Re: 10 questions for distinguished GMATClub 2012-13 admits! [#permalink] New post 22 Apr 2013, 23:32
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mappleby

- Air Force, Top secret clearance and Matriculating at Columbia! The 2013 GMAT Club folks sure are intimidating!!

mappleby was kind enough to pose for us!
Image

You have probably the most illustrative and a little bit scary resume I have ever seen. TOP SECRET Clearance. WHOA! Can you tell us about how did you plan about getting an MBA?

Sure. My path was somewhat unusual although there are more and more military applicants these days. I did ROTC in college and went into the Air Force as an officer but while in school I discovered I really had a passion for finance and investing in particular. I knew starting my time in the military I wasn't going to be a 20 year career person and that an MBA would eventually be my best route into a new career. I started researching MBA programs and transition from the military and found that the earlier the better. So while I was enjoying my job I decided to apply to MBA programs as soon as my commitment was over, which put me at 4 years work experience. Seemed perfect for most top programs. Unfortunately I was somewhat naive about the application process and just how competitive it would be, and got 4 dings to show for it.

So you decided to crush the re-applications?
Yeah. I went 0/4 applying for the fall 2012 class. Dinged without interview from Harvard, Wharton, Columbia. And waitlisted at Kellogg.

What went wrong and how did you set it right this year? Though if I were the admissions guy I would take you in just with the first line of your resume!

I had a few things wrong, I broke the supposedly magic 700 figure on the GMAT but at exactly a 700 I was still below the median at the schools I was applying to and I have a 3.03 GPA from my undergrad which is well below average. I can't change my GPA but I could change my GMAT, so I took the Kaplan online class to help me prep and brought my score up to a 750. I think that helped make up for my poor GPA (I suspect being an engineering undergrad degree I also got more leeway on the GPA from admissions teams). The second part were my essays. Looking back they weren't terrible but they weren't amazing either. I decided to enlist the help of a consultant to try and get that extra polish on my essays. I used MilitaryToBusiness, a group specifically catering to military applicants, and found them incredibly helpful. They were able to better translate some of the military jargon to business language and make the essays more readable and professional.

You also went to a top engineering college so its safe to say that the admissions team was foolish :P
Right after engineering you went into NSA ish work... How was the experience?


It was very interesting work. All of my experience so far has been tied to the space industry in some way. My first job was working on command and control systems for the Air Force's space operations center and my current job is working on a space tracking radar that the Air Force owns and operates out of the arctic circle in Norway. I have had the opportunity to work on some amazing projects and getting to see what we manage to do in space every day is pretty humbling. I will certainly miss that when I leave the military. However I won't miss the endless bureaucracy, overpriced contracts and some of the other negatives that come with government work!

Very top gun :D You have spent considerable time on international waters. Is that a top secret project or can you share?

I seem to have spent my whole life bouncing around internationally. Growing up I lived in England for 7 years, during high school I spent a summer working in Santiago, Chile and in college I did a study abroad semester in Shanghai, China. Then in the Air Force they sent me on numerous occasions to a small town 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Norway. I think that is probably my most unique foreign destination. For 2 months in the summer the sun never sets and for 2 months in the winter the sun never comes up. The Air Force owns a radar there for tracking satellites. We maintain it and the Norwegian government operates it. It's a great location for tracking satellites over the North Pole and certain longitudes that are otherwise hard to see. It's not such a great location to make repairs to a giant radar dish in February though. Something about -20 degrees with sustained 50-60mph winds that don't make for a fun work environment. We had a rental car literally blow over a cliff even though it was left in gear with the parking brake on!

WOW. Quite an experience. You have had quite a spectacular time and I am sure the hardships made you a cooler person in the broader perspective. Lets get down to US. Why Columbia and why the other schools that you applied to? (HSW)

I started off with what I want to do when I graduate and how can I get there. My interest has been in the stock market and investing so my goal is buy-side finance, looking at investment management/equity research/hedge funds. My first application cycle I felt that Wharton and Columbia were my top choices, followed by Harvard. Harvard is a great school but being an engineering undergrad and no finance work experience I felt that a program more strongly focused and known for finance would help me the best. I didn't apply to Booth because I heard bad things about the feel of the school and didn't have time to visit to see for myself. This will sound strange but Kellogg was kind of my safety school. It doesn't place strongly into the type of careers I want but it is still a top school and I have some strong family connections there. It was enough to get me on the waitlist but not into school, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When I re-applied I went Early Decision with Columbia because I knew it would boost my chances and I think the program and location are too good to turn down. I'm going to need to network like crazy in school and being in Manhattan will make that much easier. I also applied to Booth Rd1 because after visiting the school myself and talking to the military group I actually really liked the school and the people. However I got my acceptance from CBS shortly before my interview invite to Booth. I withdrew after the interview invite since I knew that I would attend Columbia.

Off topic: Whats your take on Julian Assange? Is it true that he has a secret profile on GMAT Club and he spammed your inbox incessantly for information?

So that's who that was. He just kept rambling about how he got into both Harvard and Stanford but turned them down because they didn't offer enough fellowships. Strange person. Yeah, fortunately haven't heard much from him lately. Hopefully it stays that way.

Any advice for the future mappleby?

: Don't forget that you can bounce back from failure. I learned a lot from getting so many rejections and being able to come back a year later and get into my top choice school. I know that I have an uphill battle ahead of me for my career aspirations. I just want to remember 2 years from now when I'm potentially still in recruiting while many others have job offers that perseverance does pay off in the end. Even if it is painful in the process.
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Re: 10 questions for distinguished GMATClub 2012-13 admits! [#permalink] New post 22 Apr 2013, 23:57
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elbie is truly lady finance! After many failed attempts at persuasion Wharton had to stop stalking her and come fall she is going to-
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CONGRATS on the decision at Booth!! Let's go there directly. Why Booth?

I got lucky and got into 5 amazing schools, but the decision for me really came down to Wharton, Kellogg, and Booth
Kellogg had been the school a year before that I thought I would most want to go to. I really liked the idea of the MMM program. But I visited Kellogg and Booth before I applied and was blown away by Booth. They were so friendly, down to earth, humble, and most uniquely, excited by what they were learning and doing


Interesting... You are a finance savvy person and Booth might just be a natural choice there.

yeah but I actually want to get away from finance and into general management which is why Booth was not at the top of my list until I visited and got a feel for the culture. Once I did, it completely felt right - a place where I could completely be myself and be surrounded by other people who are excited to learn and try new things. I know every school has that to an extent but Booth felt like they really embrace learning, which I really liked

I am sure! GMAT Club and Booth have a very long history with each other. I guess it started with "Rhyme" and later he passed the torch to cheetarah1980

Cheetarah was great, she talked to me for an hour on the phone while I was trying to make my decision

So you did your BS at UCB, didn't the Haas folks try to get you in? :P

I actually applied to Haas and Stanford 2 years ago and did not even get interviews

Interesting choice of schools. Haas and Stanford are all tech tech tech. And then you shifted to General management interests and therefore HBS, Kellogg, Wharton, Booth and Ross. VERY interesting pattern. What would you say that you did differently this time?

2 years ago I was limited in my applications to bay area schools - my husband is getting his phd at Stanford so I waited until we could move together to apply more broadly. This year though, I had much better recommenders. I was more experienced and knew more what schools were looking for,
and my company had just gone through being sold to a private equity firm - which gave me lots of opportunities to learn new things (and talk all about it in my essays) I think the biggest difference was the recommendations though. Getting people who will really be cheerleaders for you is critical... and making sure they know that people tend to inflate the recommendations a bit


I am sure. You have had an illustrative career really :) So you have an aspiration of changing your career completely. How did that reflect on your essays? Weren't you worried about your perception to the adcom?

Schools expect most people to be career switchers, so I was not too worried about it. Getting the message right and compelling though, I certainly worried about that. I ended up being pretty honest - I know finance will be great to have as a foundation for running a company, but I don't want to be a CFO. I want to be a CEO, and for that I believe I need to become more well-rounded. Both by business school and though my jobs after.

I agree, and CEO just sounds cooler too :D

Ha ha! You know it!

Yep. So if you had to look back, what would you say was the hardest part of the application process?

Hmmm.... probably all the stress and anxiety and self doubt and uncertainty that goes along with it. I did 7 applications in one round, and it was a lot of work, but I was organized about it so getting the essays done was not the worst part (though certainly a pain.) Not knowing if anything would come of it was the hardest part for me.

I think you also had one of the most interesting school selection so I am sure that wasn't easy too.

It always amazes me that wanting to do General Management (of the non-consulting variety) is such a small area of focus for students. That helped me, I focused on schools that were great at that, but also in cities where my husband could find a job - that ruled out a lot of schools. Narrowing down my list was very tough. As was preparing to expand it again in round 2 if necessary. I'm so thankful it didn't come to that.

Any advice for the future elbie?

Lol, apparently I should have been more confident in myself :) Confidence actually goes a long way in the applications I think - particularly in interviews. I find it so sad when people I know are awesome are afraid to believe that of themselves and to let it show.
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Re: 10 questions for distinguished GMATClub 2012-13 admits! [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2013, 10:17
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Cheetarah1980 - GMATClub Legend, amazing blog owner and CEO of Chicago Booth.

You probably have the best applicant and current student blog around. SO I am sure almost all questions are answered there. Still I will take a dig. You have been in CPG and marketing. What prompted you to go for an MBA? What were your goals when you were applying?


First one small correction: I was in CPG sales management, not marketing. I'd known for a long time that I wanted to make a career change and would use a graduate program to facilitate that change. What I didn't know is that I would choose to pursue an MBA. I worked for a great company in the CPG space (big MBA feeder as well as recruiter), but it never felt like the right fit for me. The industry is pretty stable and delivers consistent growth (2-3%), but that also makes it very slow moving and pretty conservative. I liked what I was doing but I knew I didn't want to spend my entire career there. I had an interest in public-private partnerships and was exploring avenues to move my career into that space. I contemplated MPA and M.S. Communications programs. One of my sorority sisters was in the process of getting her MBA and had already obtained an M.S. Comm from one of my target schools. She got me to start considering getting an MBA instead. Ultimately, she convinced me I'd have broader options and higher earning power with an MBA so I started studying for the GMAT to see how it would go.When I finally decided that I would definitely apply my only goal was to get into a top 15 program.


This is the beauty of interviewing current students. You get to ask questions like "Have your goals changed over time in business school?"


My career goals have been crystal clear since I wrote my essays and they have not changed. I want to work on public/private social impact partnerships. I want to do it in the corporate sector. While I do realize that may not be exactly what I do right after school I do want to be working in a CSR, corporate foundation, or sustainability role post MBA to start getting the right kind of experience.


You have been a true legend at GMAT Club. Why didn't you choose to intern in GMAT Club? I heard that you were offered an "as much as you want" compensation :P ! Tell us about your internship and the recruiting experience.

Hahaha! I just wrote a blog post about my recruiting experience. I'll give you the cliffs notes. Booth's career services is great. They have a ton of standard programming to help prepare us for recruiting. I did a combination of on campus and off campus searching and interviewing. I wound up getting offers from Google and Wal-Mart. Google offered me a sales role, Wal-Mart offered me the choice between CSR and sustainability. Even though Wal-Mart was offering me my perfect job I chose Google because I preferred the company. We'll see how this summer turns out.

What do you think have been the most difficult aspect of the MBA application?

The whole thing is hard. When I was doing the GMAT I thought that was the hardest part. Then when I got to the essays I forgot how hard the GMAT was. Managing recommenders is stressful. And waiting for invites and decisions is pure hell. I hated applying to b-school. Hated it

You had quite a tough time selecting schools aka the rich man's problem. How did you zero in on Booth?

Booth was one of the first programs I fell in love with when I started researching schools. I wavered on it before applying because I realized that it didn't have any obvious focus on social impact beyond having a Net Impact group. But after speaking with alums I started to understand Booth's educational philosophy is discipline, not industry, focused. There was more going on in regard to social impact than I initially assumed and this led me to apply. When it came time to decide I chose Booth because I felt it could give me a new social experience in terms of the school culture and I knew I would get the support I needed from career services. Financial aid moreso gave me permission to let go of Wharton and Kellogg and less was a reason to choose Booth (I hope that makes sense).

How has been the Booth experience so far? Do you regret not going to W or K?

Since I have been here I have never once thought, "What if I had gone to W or K..." I don't wonder about them in the least bit. I am having an amazing experience at Booth that is far exceeding my expectations. Booth is a very interesting place where independence merges with collaboration. I never suspected that I would work in teams here as much as I do. My classmates are far more impressive than I initially thought they would be too. The humility of the student body is very refreshing. It allows people to surprise you all the time. I enjoy spending time with my classmates. In fact I'm heading out to dinner with a few of them in a few minutes.


I have to ask this! What's the story behind your username!!!

Username is simple. I'm a child of the 80s. I loved the Thundercats cartoon when I was a kid. I took the name from the character Cheetarah back in college and have been using it ever since. 1980 is the year I was born.

Any advice for the future cheetarah?
My advice is to start early, know what you bring to the table and promote the hell out of it in your application, and tap into your network to get help from current students and recent alums. Starting early gives you the time to figure out your story. I spent months zeroing in on exactly what I wanted to do. It took me another two months to figure out how to tie that into what I've done thus far and communicate it concisely in an essay.
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Re: 10 questions for distinguished GMATClub 2012-13 admits!   [#permalink] 01 Jul 2013, 10:17
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