My Business School Journey

Join me in my journal through business school in addition to other useful educational and insprirational resources.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Things are on the up and up.

P4D Fellowship
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
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.

Accenture
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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Off to Miami!

I'm off to Miami for the week with my girls to chill, party and get some sun. This break is long overdue.

Monday, May 09, 2005

B-school resources

A few resources that I used...

Books:
The Official Guide to GMAT
Kaplan GMAT book
How to Get Into the Top MBA Programs by Richard Montauk

Websites:
www.mba.com GMAC website for prospective mba's; register for GMAT, etc.
www.topmba.com
www.theworldmbatour.com
www.fortefoundation.org Support organization for women that offers information session and scholarships.
www.cgsm.org Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management
www.nbmbaa.org National Black MBA Association
www.businessweek.com Business week has information on mba programs, student diaries, forums, etc.
www.mbadiversity.com A positive discussion board for current and prospective mba
www.
www.essayedge.com Provides samples essays
www.accepted.com Provides feedback about interview questions from prospective MBAs
www.toigofoundation.org A fellowship program for students interested in careers in finance
www.ml4t.org An application support organization for minority students

B-school Tips

A few tips (just my opinion)...
  1. It's never too early to start! Take the GMAT as early as possible (Spring or Summer prior to application season) so that you know where you stand and are able to take it one to two more times if you are not happy with your score. It also will allow you to…
  2. Apply first round. (Disclaimer: I applied second round and got into 3 of 4 schools, but I was faced with making a decision in a month’s time. Applying first round give you so much more time to make a decision. Don’t underestimate the time this takes).
  3. Expect to spend about $2,000-3,000 on business school preparation including books, GMAT prep course, GMAT test (I took it twice), school visits, application fees, etc.
  4. Try to narrow down the number of schools to 3 or 4. Applying to more than that is stressful, time consuming and will leave you unfocused on the specific elements of each school.
  5. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to write good essays. In my opinion, this is the most important part of your application so don’t B.S. it. Make your story very personal. I thought my life was boring and uneventful until I thought about the things that made me who I am and what mattered most to me (no pun intended).
  6. Be realistic in your school selection, but also don't underestimate yourself. I almost did not apply to Stanford because I thought I'd never get in. I got in to 3 out of 4 schools (WL at the 4th) with an average GMAT score (below 700). I am almost positive that my essays and extracurricular activities are what got me in. Point is, you'll never know unless you try.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

And the decision is...

I just returned from Stanford's Admitted Students weekend. I am physically tired, yet energized from my experiences this weekend. To start, I stepped on campus and paid my tutition deposit about three hours later. That place is just that beautiful! The GSB culture is very intimate, collaborative and entrepreneurial, and is a perfect complement to my personality and career interests. The students went out of their way (in a very natural way) to make sure all of my questions were answered and showed me a good time. I also met a ton of my future classmates who I've already started to develop relationships with. I met the infamous Derrick Bolton who is sooo nice and actually remembers who you are and the components of your application.

The weekend was pretty busy with the usual sessions, but I was most impressed by the impromptu "outings" with some of the first year students. First, went I got to campus, my host was busy working on admit weekend events, so I hung out with her roommate and the admit that was staying with her. They were planning to go to lunch, but did not have room for me in the car (many of the students buy two-seater convertibles for the two years there), so she called up one of her classmates and he drove so that I could go along. After lunch, he gave me a tour of the campus and showed me around the surrounding community. He was so cool.

I also had a good time with some of the students from the BBSA who took us to San Jose to a club. Everyone was cool as hell and I had a good time. I think I may have gotten a reputation as an alcoholic when I ordered an "Incredible Hulk" (Hynotiq & Hennessey) from the bar. I'm really a pretty conservative drinker, but I wanted to try something new. Can't a girl have a drink?

I stayed in Schwab, the business school residence, which is nicer than I expected. I only hope I am fortunate enough to get in off of the waitlist. If not, the studios at Escondido Village are just as nice. Stanford has really nice on-campus graduate housing, which is important to me since I want to stay on campus for the first year. I'll leave the mansions to my second year.

I've experienced life in the Midwest and on the East coast, so moving to Northern California will round out my living experiences. I will soon find out why California is so beloved (even though, I got a taste just being there this weekend). I can't even begin to describe how I feel right now. Stanford is definitely a place that you have to experience. Words don't do it justice.

So, I'm going to STANFORD! That feels so good to say. After a month of stressing about my decision and weighing the importance of money, I am now at peace with my decision and the amount of debt that I will take on. I have no doubts about my decision (which says a lot for someone who can be very indecisive). The Stanford community put all of my concerns to rest. As I wrote in one of my essays, "the best decisions are based off of educated gut instinct”, and my instinct screams STANFORD!