Taylor A. Force
Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management
Hometown: Lubbock, TX
Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy, Engineering Management
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: United States Army, Field Artillery Officer
Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Take as many computerized practice tests as possible in order to get a feel for the question types and make the best use of the time you spend studying.
Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? Be sure to visit the schools to which you apply. It’s important to know the culture and what life will be like as a student. Then pick the school that is the best fit for you, not necessarily which school is the most highly ranked or where other people think you should go.
What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Choose the people who review your essay wisely. Find people who will be extremely critical of what you’ve written and give “tough love” feedback. Use online resources to find the types of questions to expect during an interview. Know how you’ll answer each of these questions and do a mock interview with a friend. Finally, give your recommenders plenty of time to write their recommendations and be sure they are people you worked with closely.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? When I began looking at MBA programs, my sister recommended that I apply to Vanderbilt because she had heard great things about the school from her friends who were alumni. The faculty and admissions staff impressed me during my visit and interview during a Discover Weekend event. The location (Nashville), quality of the education, support for veterans, and diversity of students drew me to the school. Also, every graduate I spoke to described their time at the Owen School as the most productive and enjoyable two years of their lives. I knew that Owen was right for me.
What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? In addition to learning the skills needed to be successful in business, I want to establish life-long connections and friendships with my fellow students from the U.S. and around the globe. Also, Vanderbilt already does a terrific job being a part of and giving back to the community; I would like to help maintain and promote that altruistic culture.