Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management (and McCormick School of Engineering)
Hometown: Upland, CA
Undergraduate School and Major: UCLA, International Developmental Studies
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
Teach For India, Selection Associate
Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? The most important thing to remember is this: It’s one number…one number in a very thorough application process. So don’t disregard it, but don’t also make it the be-all and end-all. Pick the test that you can do your best on and go for it.
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?
Talk to people, research, talk to more people and figure out which school is the right fit for you. Every top 10 or even top 20 school is going to give you a similar set of core skills, but what you ultimately will walk away with after two years is an experience created by the faculty, place, and people you spent those two years with. So do your due diligence upfront and make sure that experience is one that you are going to find valuable – know why you are applying to each school and make sure you’re excited about that why.
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? I can’t emphasize this enough – Know the why. If you actually know why you are going for your MBA – the real reasons, not the ‘I want to switch careers,’ but the why that comes from taking the time to think about what drives you, what your 10 year vision is, and how these two years are that step towards that vision – then the rest of the process will be much easier. I asked myself, “Why do I want to invest 100K in this experience more than anything else?” “Why is it worth it for me?” And “how exactly is going to help me build my 10 year vision?” Putting a numbers against it helped me get to not just concrete but real answers. And if you’re genuine, your readers, your recommenders, your interviewers will not only see that, but will be able to support your vision. At the end of the day, it’s much harder to say no to someone who has put thought into their actions.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? My work experience has taught me that no one sector can solve it all – Creating real change requires the ability to span sectors. That is why I chose the MMM program – an MS in design innovation from McCormick School of Engineering plus an MBA from Kellogg – which effectively spans the worlds of design, business and technology. I come from the social impact sector, and plan on returning to it, so my rationale for taking two years off from the work force had to be crystal clear. That’s why two years ago – even though I got admitted to great schools – I walked away. The costs of leaving didn’t outweigh the gains. And I’m so glad I did. If I hadn’t waited and pushed myself to really figure out what I wanted to learn and why, I would never have even discovered the MMM program. So wait until you know the why and until you find a school or program that matches it. Trust me it’s worth it.
What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate?
I would say that in the two years I’m here, I’m going for creation over achievement. Already these ideas are evolving, but currently these are the top three things I would like to create while I’m here:
- Developing more social impact design projects to be used in the Kellogg + MMM curriculum. 2. Building on and ideally launching a project with classmates focused on entrepreneurship education for female youth.
- Understanding what it means to be a good mentor and helping launch a mentorship program between the WMBA and young women in Chicago.