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Q&A: 9 Questions with isa Matriculating @:Kellogg - Class of 2011 [b]GMAT:760
isa, is a well known contributor @ Gclub. During the Fall 2009 Application season, she easily got into top schools such as Chicago, Kellogg, Tuck, and Duke.
Everyone wants to know where she is headed this fall, and I PM'ed her these set of questions to pick her brain (sort of....)
1) isa, congrats on all your admits this app season. Is it true that you are planning to give up your Kellogg and Booth admits - and instead, get a full time job at GMATClub.com? Oh thanks nink. I’ve given a tentative yes to both the schools and the job offer. I’m going to be visiting the schools and the job site, trying to get a feel for fit, financials and then will decide.
[And regarding the GMATClub contract ],how did you hear about that? It was supposed to be a secret! Yes, I was offered a very lucrative contract to stay on here full time.
2) You applied to some of the most competitive schools in the nation and got into most of them. Now, why did you turn down Tuck? Was it because of IHTG? It did come down to location as well as class size for me. I was lucky enough to have a couple of choices of schools where I could afford to make a decision around those characteristics. I figured, if I'm going to be freezing cold for two years, I'd rather do it in Chicago than in NH.
[Regarding Tuck], how did you guess? It was all because of IHTG. He smells and has cooties. [just kidding ] No but seriously, he sets the bar pretty high. I don’t know if I’d be able to compete with his beer-pong and vodka-soda-drinking abilities, [not to mention his academic prowess.] I’ve gotta go somewhere where it’s easier for me to be #1.
3) Your UG education/curriculum is now a legend. What do you think goes on inside adcom's head when they look at your transcript and see all the CIA spy/agent prep-like classes that you took as undergrad? I think they see it and think “oh! Diversity!” Plus as an added bonus, my extensive [knowledge related to curriculum] in missile defense, strategy and post-war recovery means that if we get into another war with the Soviets, I’ll be able to help my future school defend itself and rebuild if needed. What’s not to love? 4) You changed your GMATClub name multiple times? What's the reason behind this identity crisis? Well you know this bschool app process is really about more than just admissions. It’s also about self-discovery. As I’ve learned more and more about myself, I’ve changed my name to reflect that. And to avoid stalkers. It’s really a double win. 5) When was the toughest moment during your bschool application journey? The toughest moment? The MIT ding. Starting the app season with a ding usually doesn’t bode well! But I'm grateful to have received a ding early on, it helped me make sure I had a back up plan in place on the chance I was dinged from all my R1 schools. It also reminded me that part of this process is getting rejected, and by itself, a ding is not a reason to panic!
6) What's your goal after MBA? There's a rumor that MBA is just part of your CIA cover.... Who will protect us from the Canadians while you leave your post in Wisconsin for bschool? In terms of goals, after my MBA, I'd ideally like to do healthcare venture capital. Knowing how tough it is to get into that field, I'll also be recruiting for strategy positions within healthcare, and MC.
[Regarding the US border security,] Canadian border is rather porous. And with the CIA’s attention focused on fighting the drug war in Mexico, that leaves the northern border pretty vulnerable. I think we might get invaded by the Canucks. If you live in a border state, you might want to, you know, move.
7) What are you looking forward to in the next few months before bschool starts? Well generally maxin’ and relaxin’. I’ll be doing an internship in DC for about 8-10 weeks, and then hope to travel a bit before school starts. And actually picking a school, that’ll be a huge relief once the decision is made and I can pick apts and such!
8) If you can change your GMATClub name one more time, what would it be? That’s a great question. I really have no idea. I’m open to suggestions though.
9) If you can give an advice to the next isa of GMATclub, what would it be? Always have options. Options are great. _________________
Q&A: 9 Questions with nink Matriculating @:Yale SOM - Class of 2011 GMAT:770 Q44 V50
nink, is a well known and prolific contributor @ Gclub. During the Fall 2009 Application season, he got into top schools such as Chicago, Kellogg, Yale. So today I, on behalf of gmatclub, took the liberty of asking the 9 most important questions about nink that thousands of curious gmatclubbers want to know answers of. The interview was candid as it was revealing ....
Q1. So nink, tell us, how does an Asian looking guy get to be so much better at Verbal than Quant on the GMAT? Any tips that the rest of us non-native speakers could use to improve our Verbal scores? I am baffled myself. Only at GMATClub, my Q44 is considered below average. I completed NY State highschool math requirement in 9th grade. I took algebra in 7th grade, geometry in 8th grade, trigonometry in 9th grade, AP Statistics in 10th grade, Pre-Calc in 11th grade, and AP Calc in 12th grade. I never thought I was bad in math. I think I underestimated Data Sufficiency in quant and didn't study enough.
For verbal, just get a job in Real Estate Taxation department of Big 4 accounting firm and bleed your brains out reading tax related legal documents for about 1.5 years. It will make GMAT Verbal look like nursery rhyme.
Q2. We've heard you have a VC internship. Yet you spend a good portion of your day in chat, sometimes playing trivia. Is it true your "VC internship" is really with gmatclub? Is this also the explanation to your meteoric rise within the gmatclub community to the Board of Directors within 1 week of joining the club? I do have a very good VC internship with a great company. However, due to the nature of the startup I am involved with, I am busy 7AM to 10AM ET, and 3PM to 10PM ET. The hours in between those two time period, I am pretty much open. That's why we even get a hour to nap after lunch.
For the Board of Director thing, I honestly emailed one of the admin after seeing my name in green and then blue. I thought it was a technical glitch.
Q3. Is it true that you were denied membership to the Skull and Bones Society because you have only passed CFA level 1? How important was the CFA in the admissions process and did it help you get your ridiculously large Yale scholarship? I took CFA level I because I already passed all other major professional certifications. My old firm gave me a raise every time I passed one of those exams or got a graduate degree. Therefore, I made it a habit of taking exams.
Regarding my Yale scholarship, I am grateful that they want to pay me to attend their school. I think they decided to offer me one because they saw my resume and said, "Here's a freakish guy who started out in taxes, then moved into audit, and then ended up in tech consulting. He has some odd fancy title in his last job that I can't comprehend. At least he isn't another non-profit guy. Let's just offer him some money."
Q4.Despite going to NYU for undergrad, you still managed to get into top b-schools. What was your secret? Having a NYU UG is considered a disadvantage??? (apparently so)
Q5. Let's talk current events. You have recently been bromantically linked with solaris on various tabloids. Do you feel like ninky and solie competing with terp26 and sonibubu for gmatclub's #1 bromance couple? I met Solaris few times. He's a great guy, even though he attended University of Chicago as undergrad. I also met Terp26 as well. However, Solaris and I are not moving into the same building on the same floor. Terp26 and Sonibubu wins this battle, hands down.
Q6. If you were given an opportunity to do it all over again - would apply to HBS to be with msday? Do you think coming from a top 10 school (per recent US News leaked rankings), you'll end up working at the same firm as msday? msday is a great contributor in this forum. In fact, he might be the most perfect human being on paper.
That being said, msday is a freak of the nature. No way in hell do I want to compete for grades in classes or for jobs in bschool. I don't want my resume in the same resume book next to msday's.
However, I do believe msday and I will be working in the same company after bschool. I am sure he can use a Yale SOM administrative assistant with CPA, CFA Lvl I, and MS in MIS etc etc.
I also make great coffee and I can run to fetch lunch too.
Q7: How will gmatclub learn about GMAT, MBAs and Bschools in the news once you're in school? Do you plan to name a successor to take over your daily news updates? I plan on contributing as much as I can even while I am in bschool. If rhyme, kryzak and riverripper can find time to help others out, I have to make an effort as well.
This is a great community made of many great individuals. Information will flow in this forum whether current members stay or leave in the future.
Q8. Would you comment on the recent rumours that your true love is and has always been the London Business School and that you have an LBS t-shirt under that dark blue Yale sweatshirt? How will you pick a school after you get into LBS? I am a big soccer fan, especially English Premiership Soccer. When I applied to bschools in R1, I never even looked at international schools. It just occurred to me that if I attend a school like LBS, I can use that as an excuse to spend next 2 years abroad in UK. This will allow me to attend many soccer games.
However, LBS R4 notification is going to take too long and too late. I am happy with Yale SOM and I already signed my apartment lease in New Haven.
Q9. If you can give advice to the next nink of gmatclub, what would it be? I hope there are many "ninks" in this forum in the near future. My bschool journey was much easier due to the members in this forum. We shared many information, theories, and laughter together in the past few months. I also got to meet some really great individuals. I wish there was SATClub.com or something back when I was in highschool.
Q&A: 8 Questions with rhyme Graduating@:Booth - Class of 2009 Concentration: Finance, Entrepreneurship, Strategic Management, Managerial and Organizational Behavior
rhyme, is known as father of University of Chicago - Booth School of Business. In fact, the rumor is that rhyme singlehandedly put this school on the map 2 to 3 years ago. When David G. Booth of Dimensional Fund Advisors heard that rhyme chose to attend Booth 2 years ago, he started liquidating portion of his asset in 2007 and finally donated $300 million to University of Chicago in 2008. (at least that's the rumor on Booth campus)
1) Rhyme, congrats on your amazing accomplishment at Booth. There's a rumor that they love you so much that you will be the commencement speaker for the graduating class of 2011 graduation... Any truth to that rumor? I suddenly feel like Aleksey Vayner. Sadly, my invitation seems to have been lost in the mail. Uhm, impossible is nothing?
2) I heard that your goal after business school is to get filthy rich so you can initiate a LBO on a specific website that you visit everyday.....comments? Indeed, we are in the process of raising the fund. Unfortunately, we've had some difficulty finding the appropriate debt structure. It appears some banks are uncomfortable lending money to LBO a website that consists largely of posts ‘EPIC LULZ. LOL” and 16 year olds screaming ‘FTW!!’. I'm still convinced it is worth at least $300M no matter how you value it.
3) You have been an amazing contributor and inspiration to all the Booth applicants for the last few years. What motivates you to give, give and give everyday? The free coffee's I get from people who come visit me on campus. I’m an addict. Jokes aside, I think a lot of it is just about trying to help those that, in so many ways, remind me of myself. I got into a top program and I never thought I could have – that realization made me want to help others achieve that same goal. There’s truly something exhilarating about getting a call from someone when they get that dream admit…
And the second reason is that I just think the whole admissions process isn’t quite ‘on the level’, and that bugs me. Many of us have read Paul Bodine’s book, which although excellent, contains examples of people that I would generally characterize as so ridiculously not normal it’s difficult to relate. So a part of it is that as I went through my own process, I came to realize that the admissions game isn’t exactly played all that fairly. For instance, if you had to bet which of these two candidates would get admitted: (A) An Infosys employee living in India (B) an Accenture employee living in Boston?
My guess is you’d give the edge to (B). Why is it that? Just our own well-developed and ill-informed stereotypes? Or is there a legitimate (but unfair) reason that (B) probably has a real – and not just perceived advantage? What if (B) also happened to be able to afford the services of a top admissions consultantcy and a Princeton GMAT course? How much more of advantage would you say (B) has now? What if (A) has never once visited the US (B) has ten friends scattered across the top US programs? What if they had identical recommendations in terms of ratings but (B) happened to have an alumni recommendation? What if (B) had a family member that had attended (Did your apps ask this? Mine did!) while (A) simply does not due to geography? What if (B) parents’ are politically connected or otherwise especially well off? (Did any of your applications ask what your parents do for a living? Mine did!) How much more of an advantage does he have now? There are a dozen other such variables one can easily postulate – and many of them probably are real and do matter. Admissions officers can’t somehow ‘correct’ for these externalities any better than you or I, and yet, we’d likely all agree they matter.
Worse still, if we all see the same thing, is the bias prevalent in admissions too? I’d argue yes and for some fun, if you want to see for yourself, try one of these tests https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/ . In other words, I’ve come to believe that although we are all invited to the table, the deck was rigged long before we ever sat down. Worse, sometimes, the rules aren’t even clear – and admissions officers don’t always help.
I'm reminded of someone a few years ago who I worked with at length. Halfway through the process – after submitting an app to a particular school – the school contacted him and indicated that as a 'particularly exceptional' candidate, they thought he might be a good fit for an accelerated 1 year MBA. He respectfully reiterated his interest in the two year program, which he was subsequently summarily waitlisted for. How can someone be so exceptional as to warrant a special invitation (over the phone!) from the admissions committee into an accelerated program, but somehow not be adequate for a regular two year program? The answer came in the form of his feedback -- they simply wanted him to have a marginally higher GMAT. As it stood, the 1 YR program GMAT scores were not reported to BW, but the 2 YR program scores would be. The school simply wanted to boost their stats. They offered him immediate admission to a 1 year program, complete with a substantial scholarship or the option to retake the GMAT. I can’t help but wonder, if this was the goal, why not just explicitly require a minimum GMAT? Somehow portraying the process as ‘holistic’ – when it clearly was not (at least in this case) – struck me intellectually dishonest.
The whole application process begins to feel like a complicated game where the winner is the one who best read the rulebook rather than a legitimate methodology, doesn’t it?
Tangent: And if this stuff interests you, take a look on Amazon for Henry Mintzberg’s excellent book “Managers Not MBAs”. In fact, it’s been shown that admissions officers are actually no better at predicting what good students are than a simple formula would be (actually, they do worse). Take a look at: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m ... ntent;col1 and here’s a cute quote from another paper “… a dean considering the graduate admissions who wrote, "The correlation of the linear composite with future faculty ratings is only .4, whereas that of the admissions committee's judgment correlates .2.” (The linear composite being simply a formulaic approach)
4) What are some of the key mistakes that Gclub members or any bschool applicants make when choosing a bschool destination? I think the most shocking thing I’ve learned in the last two years is that the schools are nearly indistinguishable in almost every way. The stereotypes you’ve heard are almost all completely false.
I’ve seen people *agonize* over two schools because one send three more people to Bain than the other. (Never mind that the difference is completely statistically insignificant and that what you should care about is the number of offers and number of applicants to the job anyway). The same companies go to the same schools. Sure, there are a few exceptions here and there – but the overlap is stunning. At my McKinsey interviews, I ran into people from Kellogg, Duke, Ross, Harvard, Wharton and Stanford – and that’s just in one morning. At another interview in Columbus, I ran into people from Duke, Cornell, Ross, Kellogg, Harvard, Wharton, Stanford and Sloan – and that’s just the people I can remember. When I graduate and go to work full time, I’ll have 23 other peers in the program, and guess what, again, it’s the usual suspects. Yes, if you have your heart set on that tiny biotech in Boston, UCLA probably isn’t your best choice, but odds are, you’ll change your mind once you get to campus anyway.
I’m not just talking about job opportunities – I’m talking about all of it. Career Assistance, Student Groups, Classroom styles, material learned, everything. Pre-school trips? Check. Resume reviews? Check. Mock interview sessions? Check. Is Black-Scholes the same theory no matter where you are on earth? Check. Porters 5 Forces going to be the same at Wharton and at Cornell? Check. Ski Club? Check. Wine Club? Check. Free Coffee sometimes? Check. Discounts with cell phones? Check. Study rooms? Check. Check. Check. Check….
My advice: stop agonizing over split hairs and go wherever your heart tells you to. Or better yet, as riverripper so eloquently put it a while back “money buys a lot of fit”. Indeed.
5) There's a rumor that you are a handsome man. Some say that you look like Matt Damon.... Any comment? This is a rumour. My wife can confirm.
6) What would be your first question if you can meet Sarah Palin in person? Why are you so incredibly retarded?
7) Do you like Burger King fries or McDonald's fries and why? Hmm.. This is a TOUGH one. McD’s, they are crispier.
8) If you can give an advice to the next rhyme of GMATclub, what would it be? Don’t ever recruit for consulting again. _________________
Q&A: 9 Questions with Sonibubu Attending@:Booth - Class of 2011 Concentration: Strategy, Management, Finance GMAT: 780
Sonibubu, is creator and author of a popular bschool journey blog ( http://sonismbaadventure.blogspot.com ). Currently billed as the next big thing on Wall Street since $1 Donut + Coffee special, Sonibubu will be shaping his financial mind at Chicago Booth School of Business starting this Fall. Eventually, people will mention Sonibubu's name when mentioning other notable Chicago Booth alums such as Roger Altman, Jon Corzine, Philip J. Purcell, and Robert Steel in the future.
Sonibubu, congrats on Booth matriculation (among many other admits this app season). What made your applications so successful in the eyes of the adcoms this year? I wouldn't say I had many other admits, technically just 1. I withdrew from CBS and NYU so I def wouldn't count those as admits. I think the most difficult part that I had to overcome was the I'm from a heavily oversubscribed group (male, Indian origin, technical background). As such, I made a conscious effort to emphasize aspects of myself that go against the stereotypes. I avoided talking about anything techie and instead focused on my extra-curriculars and non-profit involvement in my essays (which I believe are the single most important component of any application). I had a low GPA in undergrad, but I think my high grad GPA and high GMAT helped to overcome any concerns in this area.
You applied to some of the most competitive schools in the nation and got accepted to most of them. There's a rumor that you predicted this. Is it true? If so, would you like to help me pick my Mega Millions numbers? Haha, no I didn't predict that I would get into most of the schools I applied to. That's why I had a safety school in NYU Stern. Actually, I was accepted to 40% (2/5) of the schools I applied to, so I would have been wrong anyways Hmmm, you just called NYU Stern a safety school. Solaris might have a problem with that. Your bschool journey blog is well known, and the rumor is - people rave about your blog when admits get together for happy hour. What's the source to your magic? I haven't the slightest idea, and I didn't know it was held in such high regard. I think you're just trying to flatter me now. I just blog about what's on my mind and basically just keep updates on my application status. I wanted to keep sort of a diary that I can look back at after I get my MBA and think: "It was well worth the effort."
Well, flattering is what I majored in college and it's what I have to do if I plan on asking you for a job in the future. What factors did you consider when picking schools to apply, and which school to enroll in? Any regrets? Here are my factors, in order of importance: a) Ranking/Reputation (40%) - I wasn't going to run up $150k in loans unless it was a top 10 school. That's why I only applied to highly ranked schools and would have been content staying at my job if I didn't get in. b) Location (30%) - I wanted to be in an urban setting. I've never lived in a downtown and really wanted to experience it. c) Strength in finance (15%) - By the time I started apps, I knew I wanted to go into finance and all other things being equal, I would take the strong finance program over other choices. Thus, I selected Booth over Kellogg. d) Visit experience (5%) - I didn't put too much weight into this because I knew that the students I talked to during my visits would have graduated by the time I started school. I also don't need an amazing building with all the amenities, though that is a bonus.
People tell me that you have a fine sense of humor. Any plans about hosting a late night talk show in the future? Not as funny as you, my friend, but yes...Maybe after Jimmy Fallon flames out.
What's your goal after MBA? Why that particular career path and how will you achieve that goal? Right now I'm leaning towards investment banking. I have a strong interest in finance and any "premier" jobs (HF, PE) usually require some IB experience. Thus, the hard work eventually pays off in the exit opportunities when it comes to I-banking. With an MBA, I will start off in an Associate role at a bank. I want to focus in Mergers and Acquisitions at this point, but that could very well change. My second choice is probably Investment Mgmt, something Booth is very strong in. However, it's extremely competitive (moreso than IB) and right now any jobs in finance are tough to come by.
I think that dream will come true as long as you don't get involved with my roommate. He is headed to CBS this Fall and I predict that he will be the cause of next Wall St debacle. Anyway, back to the interview.... Many people are reluctant to take out huge loan to finance MBA right now. What's your view on this subject? I think for certain career paths, it can be a very daunting thing to take out so much money -- for most, it's the second biggest investment in their lives, behind buying a house. Gen mgmt, non-profit, marketing people usually don't make as much coming out of B-school as MC and IB folks, so there's probably even more financial stress on them. I look at it as an investment in the individual, and I believe the return is almost always positive. The network and education I will gain at a top B-school is something that I'm definitely willing to invest in. What's your outlook on the US economy and the job market? Do you have a backup plan if the economy is as bad as right now in 2 years? The US economy has had its ups and downs for hundreds of years now. I personally think that the economy will start to recover in 2010 and be on the up-and-up by the time I graduate in 2011 because of the work being done by the government. I do think that Wall street needs more regulation in order to avoid this type of overleverage and gambling that was predominant in the last few years. If the economy doesn't recover and I'm unable to land an IB gig, I will probably have to use my tech background to my advantage and try to transition to an MC career focused on tech consulting.
What are your view regarding people relying on published rankings in order to choose which school to attend or even, apply to? I think it's OK, though I don't think a couple spots here and there make an difference. I relied on rankings when I selected which schools I applied to because I knew that if I wanted to go into banking without a finance background, I needed a top ranked MBA to give me the credibility that's so important on Wall Street. It's also true that higher ranked schools result in a higher salary post-MBA, so why not try to get the best ROI? If the school choices are close (e.g. Kellogg vs Chicago), then it comes more down to fit rather than a 1 or 2 spot difference in the rankings. _________________
Q&A: 9 Questions with Jerz Attending@:Kellogg School of Management - Class of 2011 Concentration: Healthcare GMAT: 770
Jerz, is greatest export out of the state of NJ since the Sopranos. With his imposing CEO look (you would understand if you had the pleasure of meeting him in person), Jerz is destined to become the next star in the healthcare/bio-tech sector. In fact the rumor is, Kellogg hired Jerz to be the spokesperson for their entire 2010-2011 Kellogg MBA campaign...."Be Like Jerz"
Before, Jerz becomes a household name in Corporate America, I relentlessly spammed him with this PM interview request....
Jerz, congrats on your admit to Kellogg School of Management. Now which one did you get admitted to? The one in Miami (FL), downtown Chicago (IL), Evanston (IL) or the main one in Battle Creek, Michigan? I'll be at the campus in Evanston. Battle Creek is mainly for post-MBA continuing studies (aka brand management jobs), and Sonibubu and Terp26 have a 5 mile exclusivity zone over downtown Chicago so no other Gmatclub members can interfere with their bromance, so the Chicago campus was not an option for me.
I think I must have gotten an older application, since they forgot to include the check box to indicate interest in the Miami campus. I have a bad feeling I'm going to regret not following up on that next February when it's -40F and I'm walking through 3 feet of snow in Evanston to get to class.
That's very true. I did not want to interfere with Sonibubu & Terp26 bromance, and as a result, I chose to attend Yale SOM instead of one of the school in Chicago area.
You work in consulting unit of a Big 4. Some say that CPA's are not ideal bschool applicants to top schools and they have similar bias going against them similar to Indian applicants with IT background. Any thoughts? I don't think there's a particular bias against CPAs in the application process. I think like any other profession, there are assumed positive and negative characteristics attached to the profession that an applicant will need to address in their application. So for example, adcoms generally wouldn't be concerned about the quantitative skills of a CPA, but would be looking for evidence of interpersonal and teamwork skills. I also think that since many states now require CPAs to have 150 credit hours of education, a lot of CPAs choose very early in their career to do a part-time MBA program at a local university to satisfy this requirement, and so you see less CPAs applying to full-time programs.
Also, it's hard to convince the partner you work for to let you out of the basement long enough to write essays and interview.
You've posted in the forum that you are a reapplicant this year after disappointing results last year. What did you do differently this year compared to this year? Did you buy a different lucky charm? Did you use American Express instead of VISA/MASTER to pay for app fees? Well I thought about taking a more creative approach this year, and leaving a suitcase full of unmarked $20 bills in the Admissions Director's office, but ultimately decided to take a more traditional approach. Going 0 for 3 last year was really tough, and made me sit down and re-think my goals and whether I really wanted or needed an MBA. That extra reflection helped out a lot when it came time to write my essays. I also made my essays a lot more detailed, which I think made them much more dynamic and impactful. Last, and perhaps most importantly, I reconsidered which schools I applied to. I don't know if it's coincidence or not, but neither of the schools I was accepted to this year were on my list last year, and the 2 schools I re-applied to both ended up as dings.
Let's talk about Northwestern Division I football and basketball. I can't remember the last time Northwestern FB team made to a bowl game or Northwestern basketball made to NCAA March Madness. Do you think they should ask manager in charge of both programs to sit through management classes at Kellogg in order to become better managers? I'll have you know that just last year the Northwestern Wildcats made the Alamo Bowl, although unfortunately they lost in OT to Missouri. But I guess you're talking about one of the main BCS bowls. Honestly, I think that rather than putting the manager into a Kellogg program, they should take Eddie George *out* of the EMBA program and put him in at running back. NU would be a lock for national champion next year.
What are your goals after business school? What plans do you have in the 1st year in order to achieve that goal? *shudder* Sorry, I just had flashbacks to writing application essays. True to my Jersey upbringing, I'm interested in working in the pharmaceutical or biotech industries post-MBA and am planning to recruit for a role in product management (marketing) or a GM rotation. I think that as a career switcher, these roles are a great way to learn the business and the industry, and many senior executives in the industry started out in sales and marketing. I think in my essays I wrote that I wanted to be CEO one day, but to be honest it's hard enough planning for what you're going to be doing a year from now, let alone 10+ years so who knows.
There's an urban myth that Emory kids are not allowed to drink Pepsi on campus and all Emory graduates receive a specially made Coke bottle with their class year on it. How come Kellogg Company refuse to make customized cereal boxes for Northwestern students or provide free breakfast? Messed up, isn't it? There are rumors that Tony the Tiger makes appearances on campus during recruiting, but that's about it. Personally, I've been buying General Mills cereal to protest the lack of solidarity by the Kellogg Company. Well, to protest and because I like Cookie Crisp.
Cookie Crisp? (Note to Myself: Eat Cookie Crisp if you want to get into Kellogg MBA...) Speaking of bschools, Kellogg recently rose to #3 on US News rankings according to the rumors, tying Wharton. Is it true that Zoinnk (Wharton admit) still look down on you even with this latest result? Definitely 100% true. I think people over 100 miles from Philadelphia could hear the "WHAT?!" shouted simultaneously by all the Wharton students when the rankings were leaked. But that's ok, I believe it's always better to be underestimated than overestimated.
You turned down 50% scholarship from Duke MBA. Would 50.1% scholarship have made a difference on your decision? No, I was holding out for 50.2% I really liked Duke. I had a great visit there and came away very impressed. If I had ended up at Duke, I'm sure I would have been very happy there. But in the end, it came down to the fact that Kellogg was one of my dream schools and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to go there. Over the long term, the extra $46,000 I'll pay for my MBA won't make much of a difference.
Any advice to future applicants to Kellogg School of Management? I think the best advice is to talk to as many students as possible before you submit your application, and if at all possible visit the school while students are there. You'll hear and read a lot about the Kellogg culture, but it's very hard to really grasp that culture until you experience it firsthand.
And make sure you use "teamwork" and "collaboration" as many times as humanly possible in your essays and interview. _________________
Re: Q&A: 9 Questions with RahlowJenkins [#permalink]
21 Apr 2009, 14:10
This post received KUDOS
Q&A: 9 Questions with RahlowJenkins Attending@:Ross School of Business - Class of 2011 Concentration: Unknown GMAT: 740
RahlowJenkins, is Atlanta's Man of Mystery.... Some say that he was an Olympic athlete, others say that he was a participant in a triathlon. There's a rumor that he was an ex Navy Seal who had a duel with James Bond over women...
But if you go past these rumors, you will find an awesome individual who won many many scholarship offers from various schools this application season, including a full tuition scholarship from a top 15 school.
RJ, congrats on your Ross admit and tons of scholarship from all the schools that you've applied to. What factors helped you win all that money? Well, I've meandered through so many careers that I'll be a great asset to my new classmates. [Bouncer], dishwasher at a retirement home, cook at Chili's and Fridays. Just hitting the highlights of the resume here..... I also have junior olympic gold and bronze medals in table tennis. Olympic medals are a lock to get $$ in B School. I recommend that all of you get one immediately.
Great advice. I hear that Olympic medals can be purchased on eBay.... You are slightly older than most applicants. How did you overcome that factor to find success in this app season? Did you think your age factor was a disadvantage? Look, I've had gray hair since I was 12. [And now, have more life experience than most people would have at my age.] As I wrote in my essays, by going back to school I will have completed my midlife crisis, and associated radical life change behavior, a decade ahead of my peers. I believe the adcom at Ross recognized this and values my trendsetting ability.
You teach GMAT at Kaplan. Have you had any 800 scoring student so far? If not, why do you think that you failed as a GMAT instructor? Unfortunately, despite my award winning tutolage, no student has scored 800 thus far. I blame the parents.
Yeah, I too blame my parents.... Favorite brand of toilet paper? I prefer the smaller rolls, and the Huggies wipes in the red box. [Ask me why in chat.]
I heard that you were buying a boat. I plan on going into uhhh.....shipping/transporting business during bschool for petty cash near the Canadian border. Will you assist me? I too am looking to augment my income and believe horticultural endeavors will great increase my cash flow in business school. By all means wee'd be great partners.
What's your goal after MBA? Well, I got engaged yesterday, and I plan to make enough money to pay off my debt and buy as many toys as I want, while living off the sugar momma.
Congrats on your engagement! Is that why you have been avoiding GMATClub chat room for some time (or spend less time than before)...is that because of Jerz? I've actually developed quite the man crush on Jerz, and have avoided chat becuase I know if I don't, I'll eventually beg him to come to Ross with me, and I simply don't want to do that in a chatroom. Jerz, if you're reading, I can cook, play a mean xboxlive, and will always leave the seat up for you.
Well, I relayed that information to Jerz and he says that it just won't work out between you two. He's flattered, but he can cook for only himself and he is a PS3 guy.
As an accomplished Ross admit, how will you help Ross to rise in bschool rankings? My key is to focus on the shaky status of many of the companies that publish b school rankings. If I can manipulate their stocks so that they can be puchased by the Monroe Street Journal, I will then have the ability to rank schools however I choose. (Congrats University of Phoenix and Goizueta, I've always had a soft spot for you! #2 and #3, here you come!)
Hmmm, impressive. I've never met that many people who can spell "Goizueta" correctly. If you can give an advice to the next RJ of GMATclub, what would it be? The key to humor is truth.
* Note: Some of RahlowJenkins' answers were edited for content, denoted by the [ ] around the answers. _________________
Q&A: 9 Questions with Solaris1 Attending@:NYU Stern - Class of 2011 Concentration: Marketing, Finance, Real Estate GMAT: 740
Solaris1, is GMATClub's unauthorized financial wizard. If you check any threads related to financial aid and bschool financing options, you can easily spot Solaris1's wisdom and SEC approved information. In fact, his expertise on this subject makes this interviewer (CPA, CMA, CFA Lvl I, CIA etc) look like an amateur. I am not quite sure if he memorizes all the financial aid info on FAFSA and IRS website or what....but he is indeed a genius in this area.
Solaris1 is also a former Wall St analyst. In fact he wore many hats in his short, but memorable career. Now with his NYU Stern admit, Solaris1 is ready to take on the world.
Solaris, congrats on your NYU Stern admit. How much did your confession to Cornell Adcom that NYU Stern was your # 1 choice during your interview help you with your NYU admit? Rumor is that you knew NYU adcoms tap into all Cornell applicant interviews! Well, to tell you the truth I didn't actually say that.
I merely mumbled something incoherent when I was asked if it could be assumed that the Johnson School was my #1 choice. I wasn't anticipating that question at all; perhaps I worked a bit too hard to demonstrate my enthusiasm for the school? After receiving a rather depressing ding very early on in the application season, I wanted to leave no stone unturned during my second school interview. So my (genuine) praise for the Johnson School simply gushed forth? But NYU Stern was always right up there amongst my top choices all along.
Of course, isn't it conventional wisdom anyway that if you want the pretty girl (i.e. Cornell) to notice you (i.e. me), tell her that she's not that hot?
And no, I did not actually know about how the NYU admissions committee taps into the Cornell interview feedback database. Clearly, I need to spend more time on GMATClub Chat.
You have an interesting history of career progression when looking at your resume alone. Rumor is that you spent considerable amount of time in Europe in order to convince British that french fries should be called "fries"...not "chips"... Any advice to other applicants on how to explain unique career progression for bschool application? Yes, I have had the distinct pleasure of holding down four full-time jobs in the first four years following my college graduation. And true I did spend some time living in Germany and England a bit earlier in my life, too. Living abroad is quite fantastic, I highly recommend it.
Demonstrating "unique" career progression is always an asset as far as an MBA application is concerned; what you need is simply a convincing story that ties in all the threads together. You cannot however, in my opinion, directly state that you tried out different things and that it took you time to finally found your niche. Because if you do so, you run the risk of coming across as being extremely unfocused in your goals essay. A better approach is to think about what makes you tick personally, and connect that somehow to your professional goals and work history (employ creative license if needed) - i.e. the oft repeated advice to make your essays "more personal" and thereby more convincing.
And by the way, the correct way to order "french" fries, is by asking for "Pommes mit Ketchup und Mayo."
NYC economy and job market is not what it used to be right now. How much impact did this factor have on your decision to attend NYU instead of other schools? What would you do if you can't find a summer internship next year? Would you consider interning in New Haven? I need someone to walk my pomeranian while I am doing my internship... I am not a seer. I have no idea where the New York City economy will be in two years. Did anyone really know where our economy would be today back in April 2007? Therefore, I cannot bring myself to make decisions concerning the present based only on speculative notions about what might happen in the future. As I have said before, I'm somewhat of a cynic in that I don't really expect to find a job that I will absolutely love. I do know however that I thoroughly enjoy living in New York and that I wouldn't mind settling down here long-term. So, to me at least, it does not make a lot of sense to go to a "better" school that might get me a "better" job, but put me in a position (geographically) that would make me very unhappy. I know with NYU Stern, I will have as good a chance, if not an even better one than other perhaps more prestigious [hi agold! ] schools, to find reasonably engaging employment in New York and I will, hopefully, be happy then. Or that's the plan.
Obviously no offense intended, but it would have been a bit of a disaster if I found myself in the Midwest again. I'm not a fan of California-style sprawl either, or for that matter of the rather picturesque backwoods of New Hampshire. My current mantra in life is that if you don't yet know what you want to do in life, go with where you want to be.
Oh, and I shall very pleased to walk your dog over the summer nink if you promise to continue to help me in the procurement of umm...designer apparel and accessories. Even so, thanks to a very helpful network of mentors and former colleagues I will be able to stay connected to by virtue of being in New York, I am confident I will indeed have an internship come Summer 2010.
As a NYU UG alum, I must warn you. Your graduation gown will be purple. You have to wear a purple bow tie to classes everyday. Do you think you can pull that off and will you sport your purple "tablecloth" like dress shirt in class? Alright, first that dress shirt is lilac in colour. Not an ordinary purple. And our graduation gowns will be a tasteful violet. And of course I can pull that off. Haven't you seen my indigo sneakers? Even though 3underscore believes I am sartorially challenged, I am quite proud of my fashion sense.
According to Jerz, you led the last NYU student protest/demonstration. ( protest-barricade-nyu-by-students-75913.html#p571422 ) What were you doing on that balcony? Rumor is that you just wanted to publish your handsome face on NYTimes and 10 o'clock news. Any comments? Oh, that's what it was? What a pity, I've always wanted to relive 1968. I actually saw a flyer for "Free Beer in Washington Square tonight!" and decided that was an event rather relevant to my interests. If I'd known I'd get airtime out of it too, I would have worn my lilac tableclo...err dress shirt and taken along my 4"x4" "HI MOM!" placard with me.
You've attended events on NYU campus various times - such as campus visit, class sit-in, protest, NYU Admit wknd, etc etc. What are your impressions so far and how will you market NYU to future bschool applicants? What are NYU's strength and weaknesses? Stern's biggest strength? You cannot separate New York from NYU Stern. I've heard this argument several times that if Stern weren't in New York, it would be a fairly mediocre school. First, Stern is in New York and New York is a huge part of the school experience. To me ideally, an effective education comprises learning both within and outside the classroom, and I'm not sure there are a any other schools (ok, ONE!) that can boast having all of New York City as their classroom. I realize all this sounds like marketing drivel, but an individual like me or anyone else who's spent considerable time in large, vibrant, dynamic metropolises is a firm believer in this sort of argument.
To be fair though, I understand some people do go to business school focused specifically on receiving top notch management education and recruiting access to specific employers and industries, and that's alright too. Those people are perfectly right in simply going to the highest ranked school within their discipline of interest.
So second, I like how my peers, alumni et cetera (atleast the ones I've met) feel the same way I do about urban living, and get along well with each another without demonstrating any of the "kool-aid" mentality that appears to pervade atleast one other top school.
On to weaknesses. Notice in everything that I wrote earlier I didn't say anything specifically about Stern as a school? Stern's weakness is that it is a great business school, and as such virtually indistinguishable for all the other great business schools out there.
Cost of MBA education is rising. Did you do a cost/benefit analysis? How will you finance your education (i.e - selling kidneys, participating in paid medical research, driving yellow cab PT, selling doodles in front of NYU campus etc) and please describe the financial aid/financing options or conditions available to students right now. I am not a believer in traditional cost/benefit analyses when it comes to a business education. I feel the MBA in general, and an MBA from NYU Stern more specifically, provide (to me) a host of intangible benefits of personal value that cannot be quantified or otherwise captured in an ROI calculation.
Regarding financial aid, sure let's face it - NYU Stern's endowment is unfortunately still rather weak compared to a lot of other schools, and while there are full-tuition fellowships on offer to qualified applicants, most of my fellow Class of 2011ers expect to meet our financial obligations while at Stern by resorting to federal and/or private student loans.
As it is, I feel comfortable taking on debt now to go to business school if it means that I will have an opportunity to potentially be in a significantly better place both professionally and financially, say 5 years later.
What made you decide to pursue FT MBA education? Was it because your idols, Mary Kate and Ashley attended NYU UG? A somewhat belated quarter life crisis? OK, so not really. But I did feel I'd reached a point in my career where I was being pigeon-holed into something I did not want to continue doing long-term. And this might seem a bit odd, but I also thought that going to NYU Stern and living in the city on my own again would help me grow out of a rather Peter Pan-esque existence I had gotten somewhat used to.
OMG LOL!!! I am SOOO like chatting up the Olsens at like our next alumni like mixer. LOL!!
You need to get in the line buddy. RCA215 is keen on chatting up the Olsen twins and he is first on the waitlist. Any advice to all future applicants of NYU Stern? Don't call NYU Stern your "safety" in a public forum. I know people in Admissions, and I will get your application flagged. _________________
Q&A: 9 Questions with Raabend Attending@:Cornell Johnson School of Business - Class of 2011 Concentration: MC GMAT: 700
Raabend, is the original King of Waitlists. In round 1 of Fall 2009 application season, he got waitlisted to just about every school that he applied to. However, after constant prayers to b-school fairies, and through his impeccable strategy, Raabend successfully converted WL into an admit offer to his top choice program.
Now headed to Ithaca, Raabend's next challenge is to convince the board of directors at Cornell to empty out Weill Cornell Medical College in Upper East Side of Manhattan and convert the building into Manhattan Campus of Cornell Johnson School of Business. If his plan succeeds,rumor is that Cornell 's ranking will jump at least 8 places in the ranking....
Raabend, congrats on your Cornell admit. Some say that you were born to attend Cornell. Is that because of the acappella group @ Cornell? It sure is. I have been singing acappella ever since I was a little kid. My first performance was at a local Walmart talent show when I was 10. Then, a few years later I ran into a member of the Cornell Chordials and my mind was made up: I will get my MBA at Cornell.
In all seriousness, my visit to Cornell sealed the deal. People say “fit” is a big deal but for me it was the deciding factor. Sage Hall’s brick exterior matched the color of my neck tie. If that’s not a sign, what is?
You were the original WL king. However, there are now other members who took that title away from you. Are you washed up now? What went wrong? The first thing that went wrong was, I got accepted to a couple schools. When I got the news I immediately called them up and let them know I would prefer waitlists instead. They just wouldn’t listen. So yes, I am washed up like a piece of driftwood in Fiji.
Some say that you messed up in your Yale interview on purpose so you don't have to attend Yale with nink. Any comments? During my interview at Yale I couldn’t concentrate. Everytime I looked into my interviewer’s eyes I saw nink. It was horrible. At that point I decided to throw the interview. I turned the interviewer on her head and decided to interview **her**.
Why raabend? Why now? What is Yale’s main weakness? Why does Yale SOM think it’s a good fit for raabend?
A month later it happened. DING. How sweet that day was.
What did you do in order to get off Cornell WL and any advice to other WLers? My first step was to try to understand why I was on the waitlist. I looked back through my essays and analyzed my interview and came to the conclusion that I had not adequately communicated “Why Cornell” or my leadership qualities.
To address the leadership question I asked my volunteer director to send in an additional recommendation highlighting my leadership in my volunteer activities.
To address both “Why Cornell” and my leadership ability I sent an update letter that outlined increased responsibility at work and how I would fit well into the Johnson community.
Also included was a picture of my new Cornell tattoo on my forehead.
I heard that you can sing better than Clay Aiken. Are you auditioning for American Idol? Well you heard right. And no, American Idol is for sellouts. If I went on Idol my fans (Isa and Solaris1) would hate me.
Some say that you are the funniest man on GMATclub but lately you toned down a bit after getting into Cornell. Is it because that no one got your joke? Do you feel misunderstood? I toned it down for a number of reasons:
1- [advice from Praetorian] 2- I ran out of material 3- I had a short bout of depression when I found out how much money I lost to Bernie Madoff
Unfortunately, you met the NYC GMATClub crew. Any regrets from that night? Nink I already told you this. I don’t regret what happened. It was the best night of my life.
What's your goal after MBA? I did have a pretty detailed goal to enter the consulting world but all that changed when I started travelling more for my current job…..and my wife yelled at me for it. Back to the drawing board.
If you can give an advice to the next Raabend of GMATclub, what would it be? Be more confident and don’t question your profile so much. I applied to a few safeties thinking that I would not even get interview invites from the other schools. It turns out I was invited to interview by all the invite-only schools I applied to. Oh, except for Oxbridge…..but I wrote those essays in like 20 minutes. _________________
Q&A: 9 Questions with bsd_lover Attending@:London Business School - Class of 2011 Concentration: Undecided GMAT: 720
bsd_lover is the winner of GMATClub's prestigious "Best Member from South of Pacific Ocean 2008".... During the day, bsd_lover is at work browsing through GMATClub forum. At night, he is home browsing through GMATClub forum (competing with Yours Truly), trying to increase the popularity of LBS thread and the International Applicants forum.
When I first saw his avatar, it reminded me of my old skateboard from the World Industries brand. I knew it back then, "I need to interview this devilish good looking mate from Australia!"
bsd_lover, congrats on your LBS admit. Now, as an Australian resident, why do you want to learn business of London by attending LBS? Shouldn't you go to ABS (Australia Business School or Asset Backed Securities....) instead and learn business of Australia? Thanks nink. Interesting question; you see, the only real business in Australia, is to dig large holes in the ground and send whatever comes out to China. LBS gives me the chance to do business the real way, you know without having to really manufacture stuff or serve customers or dig holes in the ground. I hear this year we’ll use Iceland as our first case study, how exciting!! It'll be a good change of scenery too, but I'll miss riding Skippy, my pet Kangaroo, around town. Maybe I'll finally learn how to drive a car in London.
According to the latest BW article ( http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/c ... 066758.htm ), recession has bottomed in UK. Rumor is that you predicted this and applied to LBS. Is that why you chose to apply to LBS? If so, can you predict when my hair will fall out? Precognition is something I was born with. Among my other predictions were: my spectacular five dings from last year, Obama's election win, Yale SOMs rise to the top 10, socialism in the US, isa’s final school choice (I won’t divulge it though), nink's defection to LBS and the mutiny of the machines (it WILL happen and you heard it from me first !!). Nink, I also sense that you are genetically gifted with great hair, you shall retain it forever.
You have experience applying to both US and international schools. Are there any key differences and any tips for future applicants? I felt the main difference was the emphasis on diversity and work experiences in the international schools. I felt that the international schools understood my triple-citizenship-holding, bilingual nature better. Also, I felt that my work experiences which included 6 different employers in 9 years counted for more in the international app, but looked bad to the US ad-com. My age made me a virtual geriatric in some US institutions. One other difference in European apps is their extremely tight word limits. No real space to build a story so you need to be extra strategic with your essays. All international schools other than Oxford seem to share this trait.
Can you point out some advantages of studying in non-US bschool like LBS? (Besides avoiding crazy professors like Nouriel Roubini?) Well nink, besides not being surrounded by Americans, there are several other advantages. For example did you know that LBS campus palace facade is really a back entrance to a pub called the "Windsor castle" (http://mbablog.london.edu/mbablog/2007/ ... rappe.html)? We have also won the MBAT - the Olympics of the MBA, last few years in a row (http://www.mbat.org/) - There is nothing better than reminding our adorable cousins from INSEAD about their MBAT ranking despite their larger class size (I think only NYU competed from the US and finished last). LBS is also the only school with their own TV channel run by the admissions office. We get to see brilliant programs such as "ad-coms gone wild" (http://mbablog.london.edu/mbablog/2009/ ... -nine.html). Finally, I've also heard that the "flat hunters pub crawl" is attended not by flat hunters but by people who already have a flat but get so drunk as to forget its address.
What are your plans after LBS? Is it retirement? Aside from an MBA, I'm also going to London to meet Mrs. Bsd_lover. I reckon that with the aid of my shiny new MBA, I'll finally be able to woo a neuro (or cardio) surgeon and I'll be home free. Everybody talks about consulting, investment banking, hedge funds and private equity, but, the next hottest thing to be is a house husband - tax free income, flexi time, golf - what a lifestyle. It's about time men brought their a-game to homemaking, which is such an excellent career. I intend to break all glass ceilings in this industry (except maybe childbirth - it sounds painful).
Some say that Australia is to UK as Canada is to US..... Any comments? You mean it is a saner cleaner version, better at all sport? You're probably right eh.
British have heavy accent and they speak weird English. For example, they say non-sense like "When beggars die there are no comets seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes." How are you preparing to break through the language barrier? To be honest nink, it will be tough. I've personally started a petition that I'll be sending to PM Gordon Brown and to buffdaddy (who will forward it to the Oxford dictionary committee). How dare they spell color as colour, or sulfur as sulphur - its just illogical. Did you know that they spell program as programme? It is downright incomprehensible. This is hypocrisy at its worst because they still use the GMAT for admissions, yet GMAT English is nothing like what they use.
London has not been the center of financial power since ..... Thomas Edison was alive and kicking. Why would you want to study in such city? Shouldn't we all study in ...... Bernie Madoff's Park Ave apartment? As much as I love Park Ave, from London, I get to watch flamenco in Madrid, drink beer in Munich, sip coffee in Vienna, visit the pope at the Vatican, dine in Paris, check out fashion shows in Milan and go ice fishing in Helsinki in a matter of hours. I also get to watch Football (with the spherical thing) live, on the ground. I've also heard rumours that Scarlett Johansson spends most of her time in London. A “kept man” internship with her will prove once and for all that location and networks are more important than rankings when it comes to b-school selection and recruitment.
LBS is a world class brand and institution. However, many in US still prefer H/S/W/M etc... What can LBS do to increase its presence in US? Perhaps, hire Jim Cramer to teach a course or two? Actually, I don’t see a need for LBS to increase its presence in the US. LBS already appeals to the “right” kind of American student (http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-new ... -ao44.html) and doesn’t need to appeal to the American masses. That’s what H/S/W/M etc. are there for. However, if one day LBS truly wanted to increase its American presence, it could always relocate to a middle-of-nowhere east-coast location such as New London, CT. without even having to rebrand itself. _________________
Q&A: 9 Questions with msday Matriculating @:HBS - Class of 2011 GMAT: 790
msday, is a legend @ Gclub. During the Fall 2009 Application season, he swept every single school that he applied to - including HBS, Stanford, Wharton, MIT and Cornell.
msday makes bschool application process easy. In fact, msday is the only survivor of MIT R1 massacre at GMATClub forum - an event where just about every other applicant in R1 got rejected from MIT. We all knew back then, that we should get in line and get msday's autograph (and also make him a Facebook buddy).... This autograph's value will skyrocket in the next 10 years, and I am banking my retirement plan on it.... Oh eBay, here I come.
Msday, congrats on HBS admit (among many other admits this app season). Some say that you are the best thing that happened to HBS since they came up with "Case-Method" curriculum. Are you as handsome as they say? Thank you, nink. I am unfortunately not that good-looking, but I make up for it with my general niceness.
Indeed, anyone who agrees to this interview is almost Mother-Teresa-ish. You applied to some of the most competitive schools in the nation and swept them all. What factors made your application so attractive in the eyes of the adcoms? In my opinion, GPA and GMAT, while important, can't really be influenced past a certain point. If you have a 3.4, you can't change it, and if you have a 700 GMAT, you can't fix that either. So I spent a lot of time researching schools, while also working hard on my essays and on my general positioning strategy. I think that time paid off in the end!
Your GMAT score was god-like. I mean, god-LIKE!!! Are you disappointed that you didn't score perfect 800? I heard that you didn't even study for your GMAT. Lol. I am not disappointed...I did study for the GMAT, although I couldn't put too much time into it. I was pleasantly surprised with my score - I thought I'd make it over the 700 mark, but did not expect a 790.
What weighs more on one's bschool application in your opinion? GMAT score, UG GPA, extra curricular activities, career progression, career goals, essays, or GMATclub avatar? Like I said earlier, GMAT and GPA are fixed, so you can't really change them. I think most important are your essays and recommendations. In the end, business is about people, and business schools admit people, not numbers. That's why so many high GPA/high GMAT people don't succeed in the admissions process. I would recommend getting involved in extracurricular activities - if for nothing else, they help you lead a more well-rounded life, and I really think that helps your personal satisfaction level. I think career goals are important (they're a subset of Essays, really) because adcoms want to know that you are realistic about your goals and know why you are applying to business schools.
All that being said, it seems clear to me that GMATclub avatar seems to impact admissions the most
If I buy a HBS hoody, would you autograph it? I am more likely to steal it from you as I will be in deep debt and probably very cold as soon as November comes around.
What's your goal after MBA? Do you want to rule the world? You have a stiff competition from Stewie (Family Guy), and Brain (Pinky and the Brain). How will you beat them? I want to do MC, then general management at a F50 company. Now, I am about 80% sure that this is the path I will ultimately choose. This seems to be the way it goes for most recent admits. I don't think I could defeat Stewie. Brain, on the other hand, seems like the kind of guy who can talk the big game but can't play it. I feel good about my chances against him.
Unfortunately, you've met zoinnk in person. My condolences.... Why does zoinnk hate Harvard so much? zoinnk is a very cool guy. He went to Harvard undergrad, and has lived in Boston for longer than recommended. A change of scenery is going to do him wonders, and I think he's going to enjoy Wharton and its amenities very much!
I heard a rumor that HBS plans on re-naming the business school after you in the near future. Any truth to that? I will pay you $100 if HBS ever removes "Harvard" from its name.
If you can give an advice to the next msday of GMATclub, what would it be? Stay nervous and stay hungry. Take every part of the application process very seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously. Listen to any free advice with a grain of salt. If you are going to use a consultant, make sure you talk to folks who have been through recent admissions cycles as they will know the process best. Lastly, don't forget to thank the people who got you here. _________________