Jacob U. Kuss
Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business
Hometown: Worthington, Ohio
University of Chicago (MA), Center for Latin American Studies
Miami University (BA), triple major: Spanish, Latin American Studies & Caribbean Studies and International Studies
Employment: Reputation Partners LLC, Account Coordinator
Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? I used the GRE to gauge my preparedness for graduate school. I didn’t want to fool myself into another degree by cramming weeks before the exam. Coming away with a strong score after moderate studying and preparation showed me where I stood in the larger pool of candidates. I utilized my score as a springboard for the rest of the application process. Giving myself an accurate field view of the process enabled me to move forward with a solid foundation of what to expect.
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? As difficult as it may be, an applicant should find out more about the culture of each school. Everyone can find the schools with the top-10 programs, but culture is one of the most important factors in picking a school. Student clubs, social events, networking, faculty relationships and geography all play into this decision. For instance, Fisher provided an opportunity to return to Ohio and take part in a small program within a massive university. Having this juxtaposition was unique and very important to me.
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? Simply put: Ask questions. Ask co-workers, family friends and relatives about any MBA experience they may have. The best way to learn about the process, and a school, is from someone who has on-the-ground experience. Much like my GRE preparation, I used the application essays as an opportunity to express myself without a lot of outside influence. To me, it’s important for an applicant to represent their personal interests and goals. Worrying about what each school wants to hear doesn’t help the candidate or the admissions staff.
Admission interviews offer a great opportunity for prospective students to learn more about a school and a program. I went to Fisher and thoroughly enjoyed touring the school and speaking to multiple school representatives. Coming to an interview with an arsenal of questions is the best way to learn. As for recommendation letters, only reach out to direct managers and close professors. The better the work/school relationship, the better the recommender can accurately portray your interests, talents and potential to your target school.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? A number of items went into this decision: Opportunity, family, cost and location. First, Fisher provides a wonderful, small program within an enormous, world-renowned university. The structured first-year curriculum will put me on par with classmates who have worked for years. The open, student-centric second-year curriculum allows me to completely structure my education and focus on classes, topics and areas I deem necessary for my future. In between, Fisher’s Global Applied Projects program provides MBA students with a month of international work experience. Nothing can beat hands-on learning.
Second, Fisher is a homecoming for me. I was born and raised just outside of Columbus. I have been a Buckeye fan my entire life. After living in Denver, Washington D.C., and Chicago, I get to return to Ohio and my family again.
Third, in-state tuition and a generous scholarship offer made Fisher an unbeatable option. Many top tier schools cost hundreds of thousands of dollars overall. For someone like me with little work experience heading into the program, cost is critical. Fisher’s high employment mark makes me confident the money spent will prove to be worthwhile.
Lastly, Columbus is a blossoming city. I’ve always known I’d like to return to the midwest eventually. The city has changed so much since I left less than a decade ago. A growing business portfolio, a booming cultural scene and an ever-present sports atmosphere make Columbus very attractive for my generation.
What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? First and foremost, I want to leave Fisher with solid foundational business acumen. The basics of business exist in every industry in each corner of the world. Energy, corporate finance and consulting are very different fields, but they all share the same essential building blocks.
I also hope to leave Fisher with a great network of classmates. One of my goals heading into my first year is to find valuable organizations within the school to better my colleagues and myself. Having attended graduate school before, I know the importance of creating a sense of community within the classroom. Much like a job, the work comes and goes, but the people around you make or break the experience.
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