Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
Hometown: Austin, TX
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Texas, Business Honors – Finance / History
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Credit Suisse – Investment Banking Analyst; Trinity Hunt Partners – Private Equity Associate
Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Start early and be prepared to have life get in the way. Whether it’s a big project at work or a major life event, expect interruptions and give yourself enough time to fully prepare for the GMAT/GRE to the best of your ability. That way, the best thing to happen is that you have more time to work on your school-specific applications (the fun part!) and the worst thing is that you have just enough time. The other piece of advice I would give is to be confident in yourself when preparing for the test. Although some of the sections, such as data sufficiency in the GMAT, may be unfamiliar or tricky when you first encounter them, you will become better with enough practice.
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? Go outside of the U.S. News and
BusinessWeek rankings and really think about what the different schools have to offer you. Identify your weaknesses and ambitions and consider how each school will help you achieve your goals and shore up any weaknesses. Applying to business school should be an introspective process. In the long run, it is what you get out of the program and the relationships that you form with your classmates that will help shape your future.
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? Knowing what you want to get out of an MBA will go a long way in helping you identify the specific offerings of each school and how they relate to you. This will show through in your essays, impress your interviewers, and help your recommenders write thoughtful statements. Your recommenders are busy, so do them a favor by giving them a few bullet points or anecdotes to jog their memory. However, never write the letter yourself – even if they ask you to. This is more common in the finance industry than you would think. If they still push you to write the letter because they are “busy,” it means that that they probably don’t know or care enough about you to spend the time writing it themselves. In that event, choose someone else. Finally, do some field research on your schools and talk to current students and alumni – They are usually ecstatic to talk about their experiences.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I was in the fortunate position to have a few choices, but the best thing I did was to go to each admit weekend and talk to as many admitted, current, and former students as I could. I went in with the intention of figuring out whether these were the people that I wanted to be my classmates, friends, and potential colleagues. The moment I walked into the Kellogg’s admit weekend, I knew it was the right MBA program for me. Everyone I met was interesting, curious, and I found myself wanting to get to know each person more. This helps because Kellogg’s curriculum is group-based, and one of the hallmark advantages of this is that it helps its students develop stronger interpersonal skills that translate into more proficient management and relationship-building abilities. Having worked four years in finance, I felt that I already had down the technical pieces of building financial models and reading accounting statements, but that Kellogg would give me that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that makes a good leader and the strategic thinking that is crucial in virtually every career and post-MBA position.
What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate?
In addition to gaining the institutional knowledge necessary to succeed in my specific career path, I would like to make lasting friendships with my fellow students. I look forward to getting to know my classmates through both academic and social events and anticipate making memories that will last a lifetime.