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Have An MBA Admissions Question? Ask Erika, Our Resident Expert

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Poets&Quants’ Resident Expert, Erika Olson of Stacy Blackman Consulting

Erika has been a consultant with the Stacy Blackman Consulting team since 2009.  She received her MBA from Harvard Business School, where she also served as an HBS Admissions Ambassador. Erika earned her BBA (with high distinction) at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, and spent the first two years of her undergraduate studies in University of Michigan’s Honors College, where she was named an Angell Scholar. In the spring of 2011 she was invited back to the Ross campus to help judge the undergraduate investment competition.

In addition to her admissions consulting work with SBC, Erika is a freelance writer who has written everything from corporate web site copy for design firms, to white papers and PowerPoint presentations for mutual fund corporations, to social media content and movie reviews for national DVD retailer Redbox. She is a board member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and attends movie screenings each week alongside the likes of Richard Roeper. What’s more, her first book, Zero-Sum Game: The Rise of the World’s Largest Derivatives Exchange, was published by Wiley in late 2010. It’s about the stranger-than-fiction multibillion-dollar bidding war that erupted for the Chicago Board of Trade while Erika was a Managing Director there. Erika’s thoughts on the exchange industry and mentions of her book have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Reuters, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and several other publications.

As the Managing Director of Marketing at the Chicago Board of Trade, Erika was not only taking down notes for her eventual manuscript, but also responsible for the exchange’s heavily trafficked web site, a multimillion-dollar advertising budget, and all product marketing materials. Further, she was selected by the CEO to be part of a small team dedicated to integrating the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s operations after the two companies agreed to merge.

Before joining the Board of Trade, Erika was the Vice President of Communications, Programs and User Experience at JPMorgan Chase. In this role she was responsible for the Commercial Banking division’s web site, as well as all marketing communications for Internet-based products and the company’s first-ever ethnographic customer research effort.

Prior to graduate school, Erika was an Internet strategy consultant and worked with clients in the financial services and pharmaceutical industries. She oversaw a five-continent, ten-country customer research project and opened the Chicago office for her Seattle-based firm.

Stacy Blackman Consulting and Erika have agreed to help MBA candidates with questions at Poets&Quants. Worried about your undergraduate record? Concerned about your GMAT score? Unsure of how to answer a specific essay question? Wondering who you should ask to write your letters of recommendation?

Erika will do her best to answer your queries. However, please keep in mind that individual profile reviews, assessments of your chances/odds at a certain school and advice on exactly where to apply are all pretty tough to give without an in-depth conversation. Here’s an opportunity to take advantage of Erika’s years of experience in admissions consulting to learn how to make your materials stronger.

Fire away!