This interview is the latest in an Accepted blog series featuring interviews with business students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top programs. And now, introducing Jasmine...
Accepted: We'd like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad?
Jasmine: Hi everyone! I grew up in Honolulu, HI and miss its warm-hearted people, year-round sunshine, and delicious local food all the time. Not wanting to give up sunny weather, I attended the University of Southern California for undergrad and majored in business administration.
Accepted: Where are you currently attending business school? What year are you?
Jasmine: I am in my first year at the Yale School of Management (Class of 2019). We just finished our fall 1 quarter, which was an absolute whirlwind!
Accepted: You are a Consortium Fellow and have taken advantage of The Forte Foundation’s incredible resources for women MBA applicants. How have these two programs helped launch your journey to business school?
Jasmine: I’d highly recommend anyone who supports the Consortium’s mission of promoting inclusion in school, in their jobs or in their personal lives to consider applying to business school via the Consortium. In addition to providing scholarships, the Consortium hosts its Orientation Program (OP) conference each summer. OP is a great opportunity to meet other Consortium students across the network’s 19 business schools and network with top companies looking for diverse MBA talent before you step foot on campus. Beyond providing scholarships and access to career opportunities, the Consortium is a truly unique community of driven, supportive, and purpose-driven classmates that I lean on frequently. Transitioning to business school is challenging, but I’m grateful to have a group of people I can always turn to whether it’s to study for exams, provide and share career advice, or just hang out.
Similarly, the Forte Foundation provides an array of pre-MBA and MBA networking and career opportunities for women. I hope to attend one of their conferences in the future, and have already taken advantage of the job resources and information that they regularly disseminate to fellows. While I’m not an alum, I’d highly recommend the Forte MBALaunch program to women who are considering applying for their MBA, and know several peers who found the program to be very valuable.
Accepted: Looking back at the application process, did you experience any challenges? How did you overcome them?
Jasmine: One of my biggest challenges was tackling the GMAT. I took it three times before I got a decent score! I’m not a naturally good test taker, and if you aren’t one either, that’s totally OK. Incorporating a consistent study regimen into my schedule helped immensely, which meant studying a few hours in the early mornings since I had trouble concentrating in the evenings after work. If something about your current studying strategy isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to change up the materials or approach that you’re using. Additionally, having accountability partners to keep me on track was extremely helpful. I participated in the Riordan MBA Fellows program at UCLA Anderson before applying to business school, and the friends I made through the program helped motivate me through the toughest parts of the studying process. In fact, I celebrated with them after taking my last exam!
Accepted: Your work has been focused on educating youth and ways to strengthen the community. How will an MBA help you achieve your long-term career goals?
Jasmine: When I was working in operations for a charter school network, I saw how a strong business skillset was essential to running an efficient, financially sustainable, and effective nonprofit organization. Many of my colleagues and mentors whom I looked up to had MBAs, and I witnessed how their diverse perspectives, strong problem-solving skills, and capacity to work with numerous stakeholders coupled with the academic expertise of talented educators and administrators helped drive better results for our schools.
As my long-term goal is to serve in a chief operations or strategy role of an education nonprofit (or possibly lead my own!), I felt that getting an MBA was the best way to accelerate my career and build those skills quickly. Additionally, since I studied business in undergrad, I wanted to attend an MBA program with specialized courses in nonprofit management and an interdisciplinary curriculum that combined business with social impact. Yale SOM definitely checks those boxes. I would like to gain several years of experience in the private sector to expand my perspective before returning to education or nonprofit work.
Accepted: What are some of your most rewarding extracurricular activities (both before entering Yale and your current activities)? How have those activities helped shape your career?
Jasmine: While I was working in my first job in finance, I spent my Saturdays volunteering as a mentor with Minds Matter of Los Angeles, an organization that empowers underserved youth to achieve a college education. That experience working with my mentee motivated me to want to work in a more hands-on role in education, which led to my career transition from finance to education. My mentee and I remain close to this day, and she is a constant source of inspiration for why I’m so passionate about working in education; I strongly believe that anyone can reach their full potential once they’re empowered to do so. I was also deeply involved with LAMusArt, a multidisciplinary arts school with a 70+ year history located in East LA, where I founded its young professionals advisory board. There is a broader trend now of nonprofits establishing young professionals boards to leverage the fresh ideas, energy, and diverse skills that we can bring to the table. Our board is thriving, and one of our prior members now serves on the board of directors.
Accepted: Finally, what are your top three tips for those who are going through the MBA application process right now? Is there anything you wish you would have known, that you know now?
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I reached out to dozens of current MBA students and alumni at the schools that I applied to. You’ll find that people are very gracious and willing to help you since they were once in your shoes. Also, leverage your mentors, close friends, and the people who know you best to give you feedback at different points in the process. They can help to both push you and encourage you to stay authentic to your true self and voice.
2. Take time off the summer before you start business school if you can – you’ll need it! Travel, spend time with family, or do whatever you need to re-charge. Once you start school, you will hit the ground running at 100 mph!
3. Try to find the silver lining in the application process. It can feel like a very arduous marathon, but at the same time, it’s a unique opportunity to pause and deeply self-reflect on your short-term and long-term career goals. An MBA is a huge investment in yourself, and you may be surprised by some of the insights you uncover about yourself through the process!
Want to learn more about Jasmine? You can check out her LinkedIn profile (@Jasmineako). Thank you Jasmine for sharing your story and advice – we wish you much success!
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Do you want to be featured in Accepted’s blog? If you want to share your b-school journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The GMAT: Low Scores, Retaking & Strategies for Success, a free webinar
• How Forté Helps Women Get into Business and Stay in Business, a podcast episode
• The Consortium Can Help You Get Your MBA, a podcast episode
This article originally appeared on blog.accepted.com.
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