Zachary M. Bucheister
Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
Hometown: Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.
Undergraduate School and Major: Cornell University; Government Major, International Relations Minor
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Goldman Sachs, Regional Consultant
Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE?: The admission tests for business school can be both challenging and daunting if taken as one big hurdle. Given the right preparation, any potential applicant should be able to knock them out of the park. Break the sections down into unique skill sets in order to determine your strengths and weaknesses. While it may feel better to answer practice questions correctly, your score will only marginally increase by reinforcing your strengths. Focus on studying your weak subjects over-and-over again, as that is where your time will pay the highest dividends (for me, probability! I’ll never know if I’m going to pull a red or a green marble out of the bag…).
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? Creating criteria for what is most important to you in a school (top X ranking, geographic location, average graduation salary increase, etc.) will give you a pool of programs and make the selection process more manageable. From that pool, you can then prioritize applications and rounds based on what is most important to you. Don’t waste time looking at programs and applications not on your list.
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? Start early and stay organized. If possible, curate a list of schools by the summer prior to your intended matriculation. By summer 2014, I knew what schools I would apply to for fall 2015 intake. Once you have your list, work out a process to stay organized. For instance, I used a spreadsheet with my prospective schools in column A (prioritized by my personal criteria) and the checklist of things that had to get done across row one (round deadlines, recommender criteria, essay questions, fees). Whatever ‘story’ you choose to tell in your essays, write the next few chapters and you’ve got the conversation for your interviews – then practice and rehearse out loud!
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? When prioritizing schools, I was looking for a program that was internationally focused specifically on global growth, with best in class entrepreneurship opportunities. Simply looking at the thematic integrated modules prevalent throughout the program – entrepreneurship, global rules of the game, responsible leadership – shows how in line Oxford’s orientation is with my interests and requirements. The fact that the Oxford MBA was recently ranked number one in Europe for entrepreneurship by the Financial Times only vindicates my decision, and heightens my excitement.
What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? Through attending the Oxford MBA program, I hope to further both near- and long-term career objectives, as well as contributing significant value to the classroom dialogue and environment. I hope to continue to expand my cultural understanding, develop broader global business perspectives, and more effectively analyze market gaps as a way of recognizing opportunities. Put another way, I am seeking to obtain the background, experience, and network of excellent peers that is essential to becoming a successful business leader who is able to guide the competitive and innovative organizations of tomorrow.