Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Undergraduate School & Major: University of Michigan, Behavioral Science
Employers and Titles: US Peace Corps (Volunteer), DDB New York (Assistant Account Executive), Ogilvy & Mather (Account Executive), Havas WW (Senior Account Executive)
Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? It’s hard not to sound like a broken record when offering someone advice on how to prepare for a test. While it may not be the popular opinion, I have this to say: If you’re overwhelmed by the GMAT or GRE, perhaps you should consider other options for your future. If you’re dead-set on going to business school, then study hard, know which of these two tests complements your strengths, and retake that one as often as you feel necessary. If you still feel like you are falling short, figure out how to highlight your other strengths in your application or exploit those strengths and consider doing something else altogether. Business school is just one option, failure is not.
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? Know what you want from the next one or two years (and for the rest of your life). Create a matrix with all of those elements and start to eliminate or add schools based on whether or not they meet that criteria. As you start to get more detailed or specific, schools will start to drop from your list like flies. With a shorter list, you can start to look up alumni on LinkedIn to see where they are now. Do any of them work for a company you want to work for? Or in the industry you want to switch into? Did any of them start in the industry you’re in now? The ultimate goal after earning your MBA is to have the job you want – and your alumni network can offer a glimpse into whether or not that’s possible. A tool like LinkedIn won’t be 100 percent accurate, but it will certainly be helpful if you want to work for a company, and one school has 100 alums there while another school on your list has 0. I also looked at alumni giving. Happy and/or successful alumni give back, which can be revealing as to how satisfied they were with their experience.
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? For my recommendations, I approached my supervisor with a self-evaluation (that answered all the questions most recommendations ask) and asked him to do a formal review. The review went well, so I asked him to turn it into my recommendation. Because he had my self-evaluation and had conducted the formal review, most of his work was done already. My other recommender was a former supervisor. We met for coffee and then I had to chase her down for weeks. Just be persistent.
As for essays, be authentic, while still answering the question. Ask people to read them for you for clarity and errors too. Start early. Some copying and pasting will be inevitable (your short- and long-term goals probably won’t change by school). If you know enough about the school and why you want to go there, it will be easy to write. On the other hand, if you don’t really want to attend a school and are writing their essay, it will start to come through in what you write. Save yourself some time and money and stop once you figure out that your essay is terrible because you are not motivated.
As for the interview, if you have a job already, you probably interviewed for it. This is not so different. Dress nicely, answer honestly, and remember to breathe. The application process is not as stressful if you give yourself enough time with each application and prepare well for your interviews. The hard part is going to be the waiting.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I wanted to be in a relatively small MBA program that was part of a larger university. I started my search by speaking to alumni of Georgetown, not only McDonough. I got the sense that everyone from every school or program at Georgetown looked out for each other. So even if my network of fellow Georgetown MBAs would be relatively small, my network of fellow Hoyas would be massive. I hope to one day take my career overseas, and between the undergraduate program, the Law Center, the School of Foreign Service, and other programs offered at Georgetown, I can go pretty much anywhere and find another Hoya. I also wanted to get my MBA from a prestigious university in a major metropolis on the East Coast. Lastly, I am set on doing an exchange semester and working for a very specific company that does a lot of recruiting in DC. This made the choice easy.
What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? I want all of my classmates to know who I am.