Washington University, Olin Business School
Hometown: Northville, Michigan
Undergraduate School and Major: Eastern Michigan University, Major: Communication, Minor: Theatre Arts
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Indian Film Industry (Multiple Regional Industries): Lead Film Actress
Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? During my preparation, I quickly learned that my stronger area was Verbal. The last math course I had taken was over 10 years ago, and I was definitely rusty, despite being told that it was ‘just high school math’. While both tests are similar, the GMAT tests analytical skills (where it helps to have had previous business experience) and grammar, while the GRE tests vocabulary and has a more direct approach to the quantitative section. Depending on your strengths, I would advise applicants to take both GRE and GMAT practice tests in the early stages to find out which one you might be more comfortable with, as many business schools now accept both.
It also doesn’t hurt to get some extra help! An online or in-person tutor who specializes in GMAT or GRE, a prep course, or even supplementing your studying with a wide array of apps that are available on your smartphone would be extremely beneficial. There are many different study guides and plans available online, on sites such as Beatthegmat.com and GMATclub.com, which could help you organize your study time efficiently.
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? My number one piece of advice would be to visit the school! It is very difficult to gauge whether a school is the right fit for you (or if you’re the right fit for a school), simply by browsing the school’s website or flipping through glossy pamphlets. Many programs have competitive features, but without actually experiencing the environment – visiting the campus, meeting faculty and students, sitting in on classes – it makes it hard to know whether it will truly ‘click’ with you in the long run. Though I had applied to a small number of MBA programs, my visit to WashU-Olin Business School for my interview changed everything. After just a few hours spent on campus, meeting with the warm and friendly Admissions team, interacting with second-year students, and just exploring the campus on my own after my interview….I had made my decision: There was no place else I felt more at home. This is a huge investment of your time, money and energy, and it’s worth making a trip out to the school to see whether you can call the community your home.
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 stress this enough: Start early. The application process can seem never-ending, but if you manage your time well in advance you will be able to put your best foot forward without compromising any component of the application. The GMAT/GRE is only half the battle! Getting a good recommendation letter from your supervisors cannot be done at the last minute, as you need to be respectful of their time and want their recommendation letters to truly reflect professional capabilities and personal qualities.
When it comes to writing essays, do not simply copy and paste the same generic essay for every school and change the name of the school! Your essays are read by real people, and they want to know why you want to attend THEIR school, what makes their program stand out to you, and what you can contribute to their community. It is in your best interest to visit the school and/or connect with a student or alumnus to add depth to your essay and prove that you are serious about the school and program that you are applying to.
During admissions interviews, as cliché as this sounds, be yourself! Go in with a positive attitude, try a ‘power pose’ stance before entering to boost your confidence, and do not give scripted answers. The members of the admissions teams are well-seasoned. They will know instantly if you are trying too hard to be someone you are not or are trying to put up a façade based on what YOU think they want to hear. Do not repeat what is already on your resume and be prepared to share unique anecdotes that would distinguish you from others. Being sincere and humble is key.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? For me, the Olin MBA program offered some differentiating skill development opportunities compared to other MBA programs that would help me improve my skill set as a practicing innovator and entrepreneur. First, the interdisciplinary culture and experiential nature of the Olin Business School encourages students to collaborate with faculty and other students from various departments to think from a cross-sector angle- as they are acquiring and applying their knowledge.
The program structure focuses on providing students the core business management fundamentals in the first year, which allows you to hone important business analytics skills. Olin also offers five career platforms that really help you gain experience and insight in a particular field, and ultimately help you discover your passion while obtaining a well-rounded skill set that will make you successful in the workforce.
The Global Management Studies program was an unduplicated value proposition for me- a perfect fit with the unique global skills and experiences I bring. I am excited to see what opportunities are in store this year!
Most importantly, the small and diverse learning community that the Olin environment offers is an effective enabler for me to develop a wide variety of skills that would furnish me with the tools to be an innovative problem-solver and leader in my field. Having attended a smaller university after coming back from my five-year pursuit in films to finish my undergraduate degree, I know the value of one-on-one connection with faculty. You are not ‘just a number’ here, and faculty members really invest in your personal and professional growth. A smaller community really allows you to forge life-long bonds with your fellow students and professors, and that is invaluable.
What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? By the time I graduate from Olin, I will have been able to authentically reflect Olin’s organizational values and brand principles. I would like to have been involved in a leadership capacity in at least one of the Olin clubs I intend to join and continue being an active mentor for future Olin MBA students by being an Olin Ambassador. I hope to complete a summer internship during my time here, which would put me in the right direction towards a long-term career in my field and allow me to excel in a leadership role I take up in the future. I intend to network with as many people as I possibly can! Olin is special for the diversity of its student body- not just in ethnic diversity, but diversity of experiences. I hope to create a lasting impression on my colleagues and faculty, as someone who epitomized the Olin culture, and nurture each and every relationship I create here.