Interview with BTG member accepted to HBS, Booth, and Kellogg

I am preparing some interview questions to send to BeatTheGMAT member eskimoroll (Alex). Alex was recently accepted to HBS, Booth, and Kellogg in the first round. Congratulations, Alex! That is very impressive and I am EXTREMELY jealous!

Alex agreed to answer some questions from me about the application process. I will be posting this Q&A interview to my blog in the coming days. If any of my readers have questions they would like to see answered by Alex, now is your chance to let me know!

Does Undergrad Institution Matter?

Below is a video that was posted on Business Week of Jim Dean, the Dean of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. In the video he briefly discusses whether undergrad institution matters.

To summarize:
Undergrad intuition matters somewhat but it isn't the only thing that matters. Prospective students that went to a prestigious undergrad institution and excelled could have a leg up. However, Kenan-Flagler is impressed with prospective students with backgrounds that did not allow for them to get into a prestigious school, yet they still excelled in school and had great experiences.

I like this topic because I didn't go to a prestigious school. I am actually the first in my nuclear family to graduate from college and I think that is something that I can bring out in my application. I didn't really have the background to get into an Ivy League school out of high school, yet I still excelled and had great experiences. Instead of seeing this as a weakness, I will do my best to turn this into a strength in my essays.

Weekend in San Francisco

Now that I am caught up on sleep for the week, I will write more about my time in San Francisco with the BTG team. First, thanks to David, Eric, and Bea for the amazing hospitality!

This is my second time to the San Francisco area. I spent 1 ½ days in Berkeley last year, but didn’t get to see any of San Francisco. Considering that it is cold, snowy, and I haven’t seen the sun in Pittsburgh in quite awhile San Francisco felt like paradise to me!

Saturday morning, I was at a meeting with the BTG team and there are some awesome projects on the horizon! I won’t say more than that, but be on the lookout in the near term future for some awesome features! Saturday afternoon Eric showed me and two others around the Stanford (or as I learned for the first time Leland Stanford Junior University) campus. It was great! I don’t know that I stand a chance of getting into GSB, but I am convinced I should apply after the tour. There were tons of activities going on, the campus was beautiful, they are building a new 360,000 sq ft school of business, oh and did I mention the amazing weather.

After the tour, we went up to a scenic point to get some pictures. The landscape was phenomenal!

Sunday was a very interesting day. We decided that we were going to go on a biking trail and cross over the Golden Gate Bridge and make our way to Sausalito. We did this knowing there was a chance that it was going to rain. The bike ride was great and the views were amazing. I don’t bike that often because it isn’t a very common activity in Pittsburgh. I’m not sure how far of a bike ride it was (maybe 7 or 8 miles) but it was a lot of fun and the views on the Golden Gate Bridge were great!

Overall, the weekend was great and I will definitely be making my way back to San Francisco soon.

San Francisco - Beat The GMAT

Well, I spent the weekend with the Beat The GMAT team in San Francisco. It was an amazing weekend! It is definitely one of my favorite cities and the team is awesome! I will write a more detailed post and post some pictures when I am less sleep deprived!

Also, everyone should be on the lookout for some great new features to BTG in the future!

Get the GMAT out of the way

If there is one thing that I recommend more than any other when considering applying to business school, it's get the GMAT out of the way very early! This was best thing that I did. Seriously, the application process is stressful enough and I'm not even applying until next year. I know that this isn't relevant for those of you that are applying for MBA programs this year. However, if you know one or two years in advance that you are going to be applying to MBA programs, get the GMAT beast out of the way!

I finished my GMAT over a year ago now, but I took the GMAT twice. My first attempt was in June 2009 and I was so nervous going into the test center. I didn't know what to expect that day. All I could think about was getting close to my target score of 700, and I did get close with a 690. Unfortunately, I couldn't get that 690 out of my head and had to give the GMAT another shot. I signed up for my 2nd attempt in July 2009 and ended up with a 710. That put me in the 80% range of all of my target schools.

Overall, I put in a lot of effort studying for the GMAT. Actually, I just looked to see when I signed up for BeatTheGMAT because that is when I began studying for the GMAT. It was April 6, 2008 that my GMAT journey began. As you can tell, I took the GMAT pretty serious by studying for over a year. OK, OK, I admit my studying was off and on at first, but atleast I got started. Here I am over two years later and my GMAT is out of the way. Now, all of my time can be spent researching schools, visiting schools, talking with current students, and of course blogging about my adventure.

Private Equity

Today, I sat in on a meeting that included presentations from some big banks, asset managers, and a private equity firm. I have to say, private equity is by far the most interesting. The person presenting today was actually the chairman of the PE firm and he was phenomenal. This particular PE firm specializes in buyouts and targets companies in the 150-500M range. They have been extremely successful and are looking to start a new fund (that's why they were visiting of course). One of the slides that the PE firm presented had a list of the partners, principals, vice presidents and associates. Two things struck me as I looked at this slide:

1) All but one of the partners were HBS grads.
2) There were no women working with the company.

I guess point 1 isn't that surprising, but I was surprised that there were no women working at the firm. It just seemed like it was the all HBS boys club!

Can anyone that is in or wants to be in PE provide any insight if it is similar with other PE firms?

Inside the MBA Tour

I attended the Inside the MBA Tour last year when it was in Pittsburgh. I enjoyed the event and was hoping that the tour would be back in Pittsburgh this year. I just found out that it will be in Pittsburgh on October 27th, but I won't be around that day!!

Here are the schools that are going to be in Pittsburgh on the 27th:

Carnegie Mellon University
Georgetown University
Indiana University
Purdue University
University of Maryland
University of Rochester
University of Southern California
Vanderbilt University
Washington University in St. Louis
Case Western Reserve University
Emory University
Pennsylvania State University
Temple University
University of Minnesota
University of Pittsburgh

I am pretty disappointed because I really want to talk with Washington University in St. Louis and learn more about the program.

2010-2011 Full Time B-School Tuition

I like to look at things visually, so I put a quick graph together on b-school tuition for the Top 25 schools from the U.S. News ranking. I think you will see that the tuition for private schools is pretty consistent. The thing that sticks out the most is the in-state tuition for some of the public schools. For example, a non-resident of North Carolina would pay an additional $22,124 in tuition at Kenan-Flagler for the 2010-2011 school year. What I am getting at from this post is if you have a top public school in your state, I highly recommend looking into it!

One aspect I want to discuss more in my blog is the financial impact of business school. Many of my family and friends ask me why I want to take on the financial burden of business school. Although b-school is expensive, I don't see it as a financial burden, but as an investment in my future.

Last year, I developed a spreadsheet to look at the NPV of attending various b-schools. I plan to update the spreadsheet in the coming weeks and will post it on my blog when it is complete.

Crazy Times

Well ,it has been quite awhile since I posted anything on my blog. I still haven't got around to the Duke debrief from months ago, but I hope to get around to that sometime soon!

The main reason I have been inactive is because I changed jobs at my company. That has kept me pretty busy. I am now working in Treasury/Finance and I am enjoying the new position. I am still planning to apply to b-school next year. Right now, I am going to keep my options open, but I am strongly considering applying to Tepper's Flex-Time program. It seems to be a logical choice for me if I decide to stay in Pittsburgh (let's see how I feel after winter).

I have some interesting ideas for my blog. I plan to make some changes to the blog and incorporate some new ideas. Be on the lookout for the changes in the future!


Well it's been awhile since I posted anything on my blog. I intended to post my Duke debrief weeks ago, but I just never had a chance to get around to it. Work has been pretty brutal the last few weeks. It seems like I am traveling for something every week now. But regardless, I have a much needed 4-day weekend ahead of me!

I should definitely have my Duke debrief up by Monday at the latest.

Spectator for Another Year

Well, I finally made the decision that I will be a spectator during this upcoming application season. I talked with a lot of people about my situation and feel it is in my best interest to hold off another year. I know that I will have some significant achievements and leadership opportunities in the next year. Thus, I will have an increased chance of admission at my target schools next year. Additionally, I think by waiting another year that gives the economy more time to rebound and that job opportunities will increase by the time I graduate b-school.

I have visited most of my target schools, so this coming year I will focus on talking with as many students as possible at my target schools.

So my b-school journey will continue for quite sometime! I look forward to blogging about my continued experience. I will work on the debrief from my Fuqua campus visit this weekend so be on the lookout for it!

Fall Indecision

Well, I could be writing my debrief of my Fuqua visit right now, but I'm not. All I have been able to think about over the last week is "Should I apply to b-school this coming fall?" I have put a lot of time and effort into researching schools, talking with students, and visiting campuses. That said, I am beginning to think another year could do be beneficial. Let me explain my reasons:

  • I am still young (24) and have only 2 years full time experience at this point. Adcoms may feel I have less to contribute to the program with limited full time experience.
  • I am due a promotion in the next year that would be viewed favorably by admissions.
  • My biggest obstacle is to overcome my lack of leadership and maturity. Another year gives me some more time to address this both at work and in extracurricular activities.
  • My GF, whom I've been with for 10 years (yes, 10 years and I am only 24) is finishing up her masters degree at Pitt next year.

I'm torn right now. I guess I can see how things playout at work over the next few months. That said, the 4th point is the one that is weighing heavily on me right now.


Well today is my last day in Durham. I got here Wednesday night and will be leaving tomorrow morning. I visited Duke on Thursday and the school is phenomenal. I will post a detailed debrief of my visit when I am back in Pittsburgh.

Kenan-Flagler vs. Darden

I was asked to put together a comparison of Kenan-Flagler and Darden since I visited both schools. I am going to do a summary of location, recruiting, class/teaching method, and students. I will go through each of these topics and state which school I give an edge to.

Note: This is based solely on my research, campus visits, and conversations with students. Please take this entire post with a grain of salt.

Edge - Even
I can’t really give the edge to either of these schools for the location. I really enjoyed both locations. The one thing that I liked about both of these schools is that the business school buildings are not in the middle of the campus. They are somewhat separated from the main campus. That makes for easier access. However, Kenan-Flagler is close to the Research Triangle Park (RTP) area. This could be considered an advantage for recruiting. That said, I think Darden has does well recruiting with companies in RTP. If nightlife is an important aspect of your decision, Kenan-Flagler has the edge there. Franklin Street seems like a great place for nightlife.

Edge – Darden
I have exchanged numerous e-mails with students at both schools regarding recruiting. In general, I think it has been a tough year everywhere for recruiting. However, I think it has been a little more difficult at Kenan-Flagler. Here is some information from the employment reports from both schools to back up my highly scientific (haha) hypothesis.

Employment Reports:



Class of 2009
Kenan-Flagler – 57.31% offer received by graduation.
Darden – 77.2 offer received by graduation

Kenan-Flagler – 71.15% offer received by three months after graduation.
Darden - 81.6% offer received by three months after graduation. (Not 100% sure this number is accurate)

Kenan-Flagler Average Base Salary: $93,012.12
Darden Average Base Salary: $102,903

From the employment reports the one thing that sticks out to me is the percentage of students accepting consulting positions. At Darden, 31% of the students accepted consulting positions. At Kenan-Flagler, only 14.44% accepted consulting positions. This is probably due to Darden’s use of the case method.

Darden’s information for the class of 2010 internships is not nearly as detailed as Kenan-Flagler’s information. Therefore, I won’t state any facts from those reports.

Class/Teaching Method
Edge – Personal choice
It is tough to give an edge to either school for teaching method because it is highly personal. It truly depends on each individual and how he/she best learns. For me personally, I think 70% case and 30% lecture would be ideal. My one concern with 100% case is in classes such as accounting. This was one of my key questions to Darden students. I never received a good answer. I get the feeling that the case method doesn’t work well for accounting classes. In fact, on my Kenan-Flagler visit, one of the students mentioned she had to help a Darden student understand accounting at a competition that both schools participated in. Again, this is a highly personal subject. Thus, I will leave it up to my readers to decide which school has the edge.

Edge – Slight edge to Kenan-Flagler
The students at Darden were great. They were very welcoming and they have a fun way of introducing you to a class. The students at Kenan-Flagler were very welcoming and passionate about the school. I know in the class I sat in on, the students were very interested in talking to me (not the ones from the admission office). I thought that was interesting and didn’t know if it was like that at all schools since Kenan-Flagler was my first visit (it’s not like that at all schools, trust me). This is why I am giving the edge to Kenan-Flagler students. I know it’s not the best reason, but I felt like I was just another class mate while I was at Kenan-Flagler.

Beat The GMAT Scholarships

I just wanted to let everybody know about the scholarships at Beat The GMAT for 2010!

Here is some more info about the scholarships.
  • This is the 5th year for these scholarships
  • There are 6 scholarship packages to distribute
  • Include GMAT Prep classes from Grockit, Kaplan, Knewton, Manhattan GMAT, The Princeton Review, and Veritas Prep

I encourage everyone to apply for the scholarships! You can find more information about the scholarships at the following website:

GMAT Error Logs

I have been working on a project to create excel based error logs with some other team members from BeatTheGMAT. I just want to announce that the two projects are complete and the files are available to download.

Error tracking is extremely important during your preparation and these two files should make tracking much easier for you!

The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition - Error Tracking Tool

Description: Custom error log built for tracking your Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition practice. Track your performance across five categories of test questions: problem solving, data sufficiency, reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. Includes custom built reports to analyze your performance, as well as a comprehensive answer key.


Error Log for General GMAT Practice

Description: Custom error log built for tracking your Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition practice. Track your performance across five categories of test questions: problem solving, data sufficiency, reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. Includes custom built reports to analyze your performance, as well as a comprehensive answer key.


You can read more about the error logs here:

Darden Visit

Day before visiting Darden

I left Pittsburgh early Sunday (March 21st) and drove to Charlottesville. I ended up making only one stop on the Pennsylvania turnpike and made it to Charlottesville in about 6 hours. It was a pretty interesting drive. The GPS brought me through the middle of nowhere. At one point, I was on a road for over an hour and didn’t see another car! Once I got to the Residence Inn in Charlottesville, I checked in and relaxed in my room for about 45 minutes. I grabbed a quick bite to eat and had a few hours before it was dark, so I walked to see the school. It was a 10 minute walk from the Residence Inn to Darden. All I can say about the school from the outside is WOW, such phenomenal architecture and a great location. I walked all around the outside of the school snapping pictures for a half hour before making my way back to the hotel for the night.

Arrival in the morning
My class visit was scheduled for 8:00 AM, so I arrived at Darden around 7:30. I wanted to walk since Darden was close to the hotel, but it was raining out. I stopped at the gatehouse when I arrived to get a parking pass for the day. Unfortunately, I walked out of the gatehouse and on my way up to the main building without asking where the admissions office was. So I wondered around the main building for awhile until I found someone to lead me in the right direction. Once I got in the office, I checked in but the lady wasn’t sure what class I was sitting in on. I was the only prospective student in the admissions office at that time (I always seem to be the first one at these visits). Luckily, it wasn’t long before the student came to get me and we made our way to class. If anyone is interested to know how to get to the admissions office, here is a picture below with directions.

So to get to the admissions office, you go up the steps and make a right. You then walk down the pathway and will enter the building on your right. Once you enter the building, immediately go down the stairs and you will be in the admissions office.

Class Visit - Global Financial Markets
The class I sat in on was a first year elective, Global Financial Markets. I was really looking forward to going over a case and seeing the case method in action, but the class didn’t have a case to review. I was a little disappointed about it, but nothing I could do about it. They went over the yield curve in class (should ring a bell If you read my Tepper debrief). Although there was no case to review, the class was fantastic. There was so much interaction during the class. The professor seemed pretty tough on the students, but he was just forcing them to get the most out of the class. I felt that there was far more interaction among the students at Darden than the students at the other two schools I visited (Kenan-Flagler and Tepper).

First Coffee
After the class, the student brought me to first coffee. I got the feeling from him that First Coffee isn’t something you go to that often. This is the time I had to talk with the student most, so I asked him a bunch of questions. I was a little disappointed with his answer about the weaknesses of Darden. It was more tailored around him specifically than the school. We talked about the other schools that he applied to (Duke and Kenan-Flagler). He had to decide between Duke and Darden. He was really torn between the two schools. Ultimately, he chose Darden because he hates Duke basketball. Yes, you read that right, because he hates Duke basketball! I got a good laugh out of that! Also, we talked with a professor that teaches Ethics.

I didn’t have anything scheduled for awhile after first coffee, so the student asked me if I wanted to go with him to his second class. I jumped on the opportunity to sit in on another class! The only stipulation was to not tell the admissions office he let me sit in on a second class J.

Second Class Visit - Leadership in Organizations
The second class I sat in on was a first year core class. I got a very warm welcome from the class. Just a warning to anyone visiting Darden, you may have to go to the front of the class for an interesting introduction. That’s all I am going to say because I don’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone!

The class discussed a case about Wyeth (the pharma giant acquired by Pfizer). The case was about creating the right type of incentives for the Wyeth employees to ensure a strong development pipeline of new drugs. This time I really got to see the case method in action. The class was exceptional! The professor essentially was a facilitator and the class debated different ideas the entire time. It was very interactive and everybody was so willing to share perspectives. I knew for sure after this class that the case method would be a great way to learn!

After Class
After class, I went back to the admissions office and talked with a few other prospective students. Most of the prospective students visiting that day will apply at the same time as me (class of 2013). This is the first visit that happened. Every other visit, I was the only one visiting to apply for the class of 2013. There was one student waiting for his interview. He seemed a bit nervous because he didn’t have much time to prepare. I believe Darden called him for the interview only two days earlier. Definitely not much advance notice.

I was scheduled to go to lunch in the late afternoon, but that was over 2 hours away. Unfortunately, something came up back home and I had to leave Darden early. I was disappointed that I had to leave early, but if I get an interview with Darden, I will definitely be going back!

Darden Visit Debrief Coming Soon

Well, it's been a few weeks since I visited Darden and I haven't had a lot of time to put together a debrief. I have actually been working a tool with some team members at Beat The GMAT to help GMAT test takers. I hope for it is finalized and released soon. Once I finish this tool, I will have my debrief from Darden up.

Back in Pittsburgh

So I got back from Charlottesville Monday night. I am a little disappointed because I didn't get to do nearly as many things as I planned to in Charlottesville. I needed an extra day there... But that is OK, if I get an interview with Darden when I apply, that gives me a good reason to spend a few more days in Charlottesville! So as you can see from the last sentence, I am very interested in Darden! I will put together a full debrief of my visit this weekend.

Of the three schools I have visited today, here is my "wish" list in order:

1. Darden
2. Kenan-Flagler
3. Tepper

In Charlottesville

Well I have been in Charlottesville since 3:30 PM EST. It was a long day of travel, so this will be a short post. I did walk to the School of Business tonight. I took quite a few pictures, but here is just one of them at the entrance.

Charlottesville seems really nice. I love the architecture of the buildings. I can't wait to check out Monticello tomorrow, I am sure it is amazing! Well I am off to relax, tomorrow is going to be a long day.

Darden/Charlottesville Anticipation

Well the work week is finally over! All week I was thinking about my upcoming trip to Charlottesville. You would think since it's been on my mind constantly I would have my two day trip planned out.... Well, I don't! I know that I am going to walk the grounds on Sunday and try to fit in Monticello on Monday after my class visit/tour/lunch. Other than that, I don't have anything planned.

Everyone I talked to about Charlottesville said it is great. I hope it doesn't disappoint. As of right now, says it is supposed to rain both Sunday and Monday. I really hope it holds off. Rain gods, if you're reading this, DON'T LET IT RAIN!

I leave Pittsburgh Sunday morning and have a 6-hour drive. I will most likely have a new post up late that night with my initial thoughts on Charlottesville.

Call with a Darden Student

Yesterday, I had a call with a Darden student in a leadership role in the Healthcare Club. Here is a summary of our discussion.

Recruiting/Internship/Full Time Job
This student had his internship with a Finance company and is going to be working full time for the company following graduation. He ultimately wants to work in a Pharma company, but sees the position he accepted as a good bridge to his ultimate goal. I asked questions about how recruiting was going for his friends. He said it has been tough, but not nearly as bad as last year when they were looking for internships. He said roughly 65% of the students have a full time job offer right now.

Case Method
He said this was his primary reason for attending Darden. He loves the format and how it forces you to struggle through a difficult concept with limited information. I am really interested to sit in on a class and see the case method in action!

Learning Teams
Darden has what they call "Learning Teams." When you first start, you are paired with 5 or 6 other students. The school tries to set it up so that you are with a diverse group of students with different skills. Essentially, you meet with this group of students to discuss the cases prior to class. I think this is a great program because it gives you a chance to work with others and run your ideas by each other.

Darden Weakness
He said he felt the biggest weakness is the limited time for recruiting and traveling for job interviews. However, he said they are adjusting the schedules so this probably won't be as much of an issue in the future.

I asked if he had any advice for me. His advice was regarding essays. He said since you are visiting the grounds, make the essays personal. If something really stands out to you, make sure you point it out in your essays.

I had a call with a Tuck student a few days back. I will put together a debrief from that shortly.

Blog Design

I can't decide on a blog template and keep making changes. Anybody have any thoughts on this one? I think I might finally settle on this one!

Call with Tuck Alum

Yesterday, I had a call with a Tuck alum. I actually filled out the Tuck Connections ( form and the alum reached out to me the day after. I was very happy with the responsiveness! If you are interested in Tuck and want to speak with a current student or alum, I recommend filling out the form. I was interested in speaking with someone that was focused in general management and was in the Healthcare industry. The alum I spoke with was both. He currently works for a large Pharma company and graduated from Tuck in 2005. Here are some of the things we discussed:

General Management/Marketing

Career Switch
Yes, his degree in undergrad was actually in History. I was glad to hear this because he was able to make the transition to the Healthcare field. My undergrad degree is Business Administration and I am currently in the Travel Procurement and Fleet Management fields so Healthcare will be a career switch for me.

Experience at Tuck
He was very enthusiastic about Tuck. He stressed the how it truly is a collaborative school and that everyone helps each other out. I went on to ask about some study abroad opportunities and he told me about the International Field Study. Essentially, you are assigned a project team and you work on a consulting project in another country. He actually worked on his project in Hungary and Romania. Sounded very interesting and is definitely something I would want to participate in!

Job Opportunities
I didn't go too in depth with him on this because the economy is a little different than when he graduated in 2005. However, he did say that when he was going through recruiting roughly 60% of the on-campus recruiting were for positions in New Jersey, New York, and Boston. The other 40% was scattered throughout the country.

We talked about a few other things and he encouraged me to keep in touch and we could talk again as it gets closer to applications. He said he would be glad to share advice on essays and my application. I thought that was great and I will definitely keep in touch with him!

Questionnaire Update

So I have heard back from 3 Darden students and 2 Kenan-Flagler students from my questionnaires. I actually spoke on the phone with a Kenan-Flagler student for about 25 minutes last night which was pretty valuable. Also, I have a call scheduled on the 15th with a Darden student! I am very happy that the students I reached out to are so willing to help me out and answer all of my questions.

I sent my third questionnaire out to 3 Tuck students today. I already heard back from one of them that wants to schedule a call on Sunday!

Here is a quick summary of my conversation with the Kenan-Flagler student:

How has recruiting been this year?
She said it has been pretty rough, especially for international students. This seems to be a common theme with all of the students I talk to.

Have many Healthcare companies been recruiting on campus?

She said there are a lot of healthcare companies recruiting on campus. I told her I am interested in a Leadership Development Program (LDP) with a Healthcare company and she gave me contact information for a student that will be joining Johnson & Johnson for a LDP. I'm very happy about this! I can't wait to talk to this student because she is doing exactly what I want to!

How helpful have alumni been?

She said they have been very responsive and always willing to help out. However, most alumni aren't in a position to hire students.

What type of events does the General Management club sponsor?

She said a lot of different networking events. Here is a list of some of the things the club does:
-Match first year students with second year mentors.
-Provide lists of companies and positions for companies not recruiting on campus.
-Networking events to publicize different companies

How has your experience been at Kenan-Flagler?

She broke this down into two areas. She said first the school experience has been wonderful. It is a very close and collaborative group of students and she really got a lot out of her school experience. However, the recruiting experience has been terrible. She said it has been very stressful and difficult to find a job.

Questionnaire to Darden and Kenan-Flagler Students

Today, I put together two questionnaires for current Students at Darden and Kenan-Flagler. I sent one to students at Darden with leadership roles in the Healthcare club. I sent the second to students at Kenan-Flagler with leadership roles in the General Management club. In total, I sent the questionnaires to twelve current students. I didn't really know what to expect when I sent these, but to my surprise I have received two responses already. Two students from Darden have responded to my questions and one even offered to talk more in depth. Here is a sample of the questionnaire that I sent to Darden.

Hello, I am prospective student and will be applying to Darden’s MBA program in the Fall to be part of the class of 2013. I am interested in Healthcare field. Ideally, I would like to enter a Leadership Rotational Program with a Healthcare organization.

I found your contact information on the Healthcare club website and thought it would be appropriate to contact you. I am going to be visiting Darden on March 22nd and wanted to reach out to you in advance to gather some information. I hope you don’t mind me reaching out to you and I respect that you have a very busy schedule.

Here are a few of the questions that I was curious about:
  • Have you seen an increase in companies recruiting for the Healthcare industry at Darden?
  • What type of positions are these recruiters hiring for? Consulting, Leadership Rotational Programs, or other types of positions?
  • Does Darden have a strong alumni network in Healthcare?
  • How active is the Healthcare club and what are some of the future plans for the club?
  • Are there any professors you recommend I reach out to?
  • How has your experience been at Darden so far?
I appreciate any information that you can provide.

I highly recommend reaching out to students at your target schools with a similar questionnaire. It is a great way to research the schools and gain valuable information that you can use in your essays. I plan on creating additional questionnaires for all of my target schools. I will update my blog in the next few days after I hear back from some more of the students.

Tepper School of Business Campus Visit

I had my visit to Tepper on Wednesday, February 24. Overall, it was an interesting visit. I am from Pittsburgh, but this is actually the first time that I have been on the CMU campus.

With no traffic it would take me 35 to 40 minutes to get to CMU; with morning traffic, you never know! I was scheduled to have my class visit at 10:30, so I left my house at 8:30. Traffic actually wasn’t too bad and I was in the parking garage by 9:45. I had a little time so I took a brief walk around the campus. I got to the admissions office around 10:05. I was the first one there and they had a packet of information prepared for me. I read through this information as I waited for the other prospective students and current Tepper students. Shortly after, a first year student came in to talk and answer any questions. This format was pretty similar to Kenan-Flagler’s. There were only five prospective students visiting. Of the five prospective students, I was the only one applying for entrance in the Fall of 2011. All of the other prospective students were interviewing as R2 candidates. They were all in suits and I was in business casual (dress pants, buttoned shirt, and sweater). I felt very comfortable in that attire because I blended in with the students.

Class Visit
A student came to the admissions office and brought another prospective and me to class. We didn’t get an option in the class we were sitting in on. The admissions office scheduled us to sit in on a Macroeconomics class…. My first thought was Macroeconomics is not the most thrilling class to sit in on! Nonetheless, it was interesting as they discussed yield curves during class. There was a good interaction between the professor and the class. However, it was tense a few times as students challenged the professor on topics they didn’t agree with. I liked that the students expressed their opinions and tried to spur discussion. Overall, it was an interesting class but I would have preferred to sit in on a strategy, marketing, or finance class.

This was by far the best part of the campus visit. The tour guide was a second year student that was extremely outgoing and was very thorough! He showed us Posner Hall (the b-school building) and also took us around to other buildings on campus. He was extremely knowledgeable about CMU. He knew a lot of interesting facts. I asked him if he took a history course on CMU because he knew so much! Posner Hall was pretty nice and it seemed like the students were very collaborative. I didn’t feel there were enough study/group rooms in Posner Hall though. However, the library is very close by, so I guess it really isn’t a big issue. The one thing I liked about Tepper was that the business school was really part of the campus. At Kenan-Flagler, the business school building is kind of by itself, away from the rest of the campus. At least that is how I felt.

Three students took the five prospective students to lunch. The food was good, but we didn’t eat in the regular cafeteria. The students said we were only eating there because it was a campus visit and they don’t typically eat there. I spent most of lunch talking with two of the students. I had the opportunity to ask a lot of my questions. One thing the two students agreed on is that the mini (7.5 week classes) is good and you learn a lot, but it is too much sometimes. They felt like the school is just forcing too much on you. The other thing that was disappointing was that Tepper was a fall back for the two students. They didn’t get into their top choices, so they really had no choice but to go with Tepper. At least they were honest, but not necessarily something a prospective student wants to hear. I went on to ask some questions about recruiting. Both students were still interviewing for internships. It sounds like the recruiting on campus is down and the two students were doing a lot of searching for positions on their own. Overall, I was glad I had lunch with these students because they were brutally honest. At Kenan-Flagler, it seemed like the students were brainwashed to only say good things about the school.

On the way back to the admissions office from lunch, one of the prospective students was bragging about his GMAT score because he scored in the 99th percentile in verbal. The current students were visibly agitated with him for this. I just included this as a note to all prospective students, DON’T DO THIS!

Coffee with second year student
After lunch, I met with a second year student that worked at my company as an intern during the summer. We went to the library and grabbed a coffee and talked for an hour. It was great to be able to meet with him and ask him some questions about Tepper as well. He was very honest with me. From our conversation here are a few key points:
• He is an international student and recruiting on campus wasn’t very helpful for him. He has been searching on his own to try and find a job.
• Tepper wasn’t his top choice either.
• Tepper’s tuition is very high in relation to its ranking.

Internships, Student Clubs, and, Oh Yeah

Below is a link to an interesting blog post that was featured on BeatTheGMAT today. If some of you are trying to decide if an MBA is right for you, this might be interesting for you to read. Business school is definitely a challenging and extremely busy time in ones life. This type of life style might not be for everyone, but I love the idea of an intellectual challenge!

Internships, Student Clubs, and, Oh Yeah…Class

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Be on the look out for my detailed debrief from CMU tomorrow!

China Europe International Business School Interview with Ivy Yang

Check out my interview with Ivy Yang of China Europe International Business School on BeatTheGMAT

China Europe International Business School Interview with Ivy Yang

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Tepper debrief coming soon

I visited Tepper on Feb 24th. It was an interesting visit and I am in the process of writing a detailed. Be on the look out for that post in the coming days!

Update - Feb 13th

So I haven’t posted an actual update in my Blog in awhile, so I figured I would provide an update. Things have been pretty busy at work and I actually just got back from a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. If you ever have a chance to go, I would recommend it! The city was very interesting. I got to see a Tango show and go on a boat tour while I was there. Did I mention it was 86 degrees and sunny every day I was there??? But anyways, I am back to reality now in Pittsburgh with our 30 inches of snow in February….

I have been spending some time reading through Montauk’s book “How To Get Into the Top MBA Programs, 4th Edition.” This is a pretty valuable book with a ton of information. I would highly recommend it to anyone applying to MBA programs. Aside from that, I have been working on updating my resume to reflect all of my recent achievements. Next, I will continue to visit schools and works on drafts of essays to prepare for the next set of essays. I have the following visits scheduled so far:

Tepper – Feb. 24th

Fuqua – April 29th

I hope to set up a visit to Darden sometime in-between Tepper and Fuqua.

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