Hometown: Boulder, Colorado (USA)
Undergraduate School and Major: Spanish Language and Literature, Classical Chinese (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder)
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
Fulbright Scholar (Madrid, Spain)
Director – International Program, Vail Mountain School (Vail, CO and international business development position — Europe/Asia/USA)
Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Great question! Here’s some great advice I received from a friend who is a professional poker player: “Don’t get bored!” How do you avoid this? See each question as a challenge. Put weight on each question. Instead of seeing it as a boring calculation you have to memorize through rote effort, see it as an opportunity to beat your opponent (whether it’s your test prep book, computer, simulation test, etc.). As your score and acumen improve, your opponent will be yourself, and you can try to achieve better and better performance. Also, know that this is great practice for grad school itself, as the competition will be very fierce and learning to thrive on the challenge is important.
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? Make a long list. Keep the cream at the top. But don’t get your heart set on one. Base your judgment not on a website or a ranking, but on overall intuition. Most importantly, talk to people from each school. Ask questions that the student ambassador team hasn’t prepared for to gain a real understanding of the school’s relative strengths and weaknesses. Write to the school’s admissions team. How fast do they respond? How friendly are they? How willing are they to talk to and share contacts? Look at the school from a variety of angles, and be as critical as possible.
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? The school you choose is an important platform, but remember that you are valuable to the school as well. Remember your own value and how much you can contribute when dealing with the schools on your list. This value is important to convey. A good first step is asking yourself, “What is the value I will add?” Take this question and run with it. Brainstorm, ask your friends and family, and think about your unique experiences and skillsets.
For the essay, write a lot of trash essays that are brutally honest, silly or just plain bad. Really. Writing five essays in two hours will more likely yield a successful sixth essay in hour three than agonizing for three hours on one. Writing multiple versions will give you direction and clarity.
For recommendation letters, choose one friend, one boss, and one employee/colleague. This will give a good overall view of how you manage up, down, and laterally. Follow-up and thank these people!
For the interview, don’t think of it as an interview. Enjoy it. The question part is absolutely the most critical. It’s also an opportunity for you to learn more about the school and about the MBA in general. If you know you failed midway, don’t give up on the opportunity to learn something from your interviewers. Keep them engaged and talking as long as you possibly can.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I chose China, and CEIBS is the best school in the country. According to Forbes, Newsweek and Bloomberg, it is the best in Asia. I chose China because it is the market of the future, and of the past. China invented money and will soon have more of it than any other country in the world. China led over a billion people out of poverty in 50 years. China’s history, business acumen, leadership, government, culture and innovation are rife with potential and paradox: China is messy and orderly, future-oriented and past-bound, fiercely domestic and internationally aspirational. China is a fascinating country and one that will mediate your success and the world political and business stage in the future. Why not jump in?
What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? I would like to have a strong, authentic network with my classmates, and graduate with a job! Ideally, this job will be something that inspires me and appropriately balances my skillset with challenge so that while I contribute to the company or partners I join, the learning curve remains steep.