Meet Vanderbilt’s Owen MBA Class of 2017

Eric Evertstein

Eric Everstine                    

Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management

Hometown: Gaithersburg, MD

Undergraduate School and Major:

University of Maryland, College Park, B.S. in Mathematics, Computer Science

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, M.S. in Mathematics

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:  I’ve been self-employed for most of my adult life. My one corporate job was six months as a game mathematician at Multimedia Games in Austin, Texas. I spent four years as a professional poker player, mostly in Las Vegas, and the last six years as a private tutor, also in Las Vegas.

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE?  Start early. That way, you can approach studying in a relaxed state of mind. Have some way of identifying the areas in which you need the most help. I know some practice tests give automated feedback based on question type and that’s a great start. But also having someone who knows the material and can evaluate your specific needs and then devise a personalized road map (like, say, a private tutor) can be invaluable. But, perhaps I’m biased [in that regard].

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? First, know yourself. Second, know the schools. Be self-aware and honest about yourself, both about your strengths and your weaknesses. Know, as well as you can know at this point, where you want to end up and what experience you want to have. Then visit schools and talk to people there, and you’ll develop a much stronger idea of where you’ll fit in and enjoy yourself the most.

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? Don’t do what I did, which is to start a month before the deadlines. Instead, start early. The application process really is a lot more than just filling out a form and writing a few pages. There’s a lot of research and reflection that goes into a well-written essay, as well as many rewrites. Give yourself time or you’ll be stressed day and night for weeks (as I learned the hard way!).

Also, I think a lot of people look at a brand name or a school’s prestige and then twist and contort their story in an attempt to look like somebody that the school would want. To me, that’s like going on a date and pretending to be someone you aren’t – you’ll just find yourself in a situation where both sides are unhappy. With business school, it’ll be a two-year commitment of unhappiness once reality sets in. Just be honest and authentic about yourself and your story and you’ll find yourself much happier and at the right program for you.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? The interview played a very large role. Because of a tight schedule, I applied to a few places that I only knew through online research. The interviews were my first opportunity to actually interact with schools in person. Some schools’ entire approach to interviewing seemed like it was to make me prove to them why they should accept me. Conversely, Suzanne, my interviewer at Vanderbilt, really made me feel like Vanderbilt wanted me. My visit to Nashville confirmed that the entire school was friendly and welcoming. Everyone at the Owen School is supportive and here to make the stressful workload of a business student as manageable as possible.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? As an entrepreneur, I’d like to have a firm business plan in place, and be ready to launch my company.

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