Things are on the up and up.
Stanford offers a fellowship for minority students that is sponsored by companies. You can apply by submitting an additional essay with your application. Each company then selects a hand full of admits to interview for one fellowship which covers full tuition. In return, the student has to defer admission and commit to a nine-month internship with the company.
In my opinion, it's a great opportunity to get a fellowship, but the deferral would have been too high a trade-off for me. I could not imagine working for another year, for a new company, especially after meeting my classmates a few weeks ago.
Regardless, I was invited to interview with Eli Lilly and was flown to Indianapolis for a full-day of interviews. I did my research on the company and contacted some first-year students who are interning at Lilly this summer for insight. I was pleasantly surprised at the opportunities at the company and developed a new-found interest in pharmaceutical marketing. I felt very prepared and thought my interviews went well. It's definitely a company that I could see myself working for. (My only reservation is making the transition from consulting to industry, but that's inevitable. No one wants to be a consultant for the rest of their lives.) I was not offered the fellowship, but the interviewers expressed how pleased they were with my interviews and invited me to their leadership camp this summer. The recruiter said it's an opportunity to learn more about the company and interview for a summer internship. So I could have an internship offer well before I even start school. Not a bad deal.
MBA Jumpstart is a program that exposes minority students to Consulting and Investment Banking. The program invites students from seven top schools to learn about opportunities from various companies in the industry. I was invited to attend, but declined because it was the same days as the Eli Lilly Leadership Camp. My logic was based on the fact that I am already working in Consulting, and have no interest in Investment Banking. I was a bit dissapointed as I would have loved to meet other talented minorities from other business schools.
Other good news...I was approved for tuition reimbursement at my current employer, Accenture. I have had nothing but positive experiences at ACN over the past four years. I go back and forth about whether I want to return, or try something new. I've considered industry, but having had visibility to a variety of companies, it doesn't seem that desirable. Consulting is a fast-paced environment where you're working with smart people who can get things done. While industry companies tend to be slow to move, very bureaucractic, and lack meritocracy (e.g. unstructured performance evaluations). I hope to explore this more while in school, during my summer internship and while talking to classmates about entrepreneurial opportunities.
Who knows where I'll be in two years...perhaps the director of a charter school, or working in South Africa on AIDS prevention initiatives, or back to being a boring consultant.