B-School Q&A

TopDGO's picture
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This forum seems to have a noticeable lack of content focusing on...business school. No, asking if you should retake with a 740 because your quant score was "too low" does not count.

I just spent the better part of 4 months going through the rigmarole of the b-school application process and accepted a spot at Booth for the fall.

As WSO has given a lot to me, and the b-school process stole the time I had to contribute to WSO, I now want to give back if there is interest.

If there is interest, leave a comment below. I am open to answering questions people have, or a series of advice posts...or a series of posts on my personal journey...whatever. Let me know.

Comments (44)

Mar 1, 2013

If you dont mind sharing your stats(ugrad gpa/school prestige, work experience, GMAT score range)

Mar 1, 2013
osanjak:

How much are b-schools decisions based on undergrad gpa, performance, and the like?

I was trying to get away from this being the focus of the discussion. However, since this stuff matters in the admissions process, here you go: 3.7/semi-target, 5 years in Big-4 consulting, 730-750.

Mar 1, 2013

"Rigmarole." Wow lol. Please share your GMAT range at least. And I would definitely like to hear what the process was like in terms of an interview (if you did one) and the types of background they seemed to be looking for.

Mar 1, 2013
FSC:

"Rigmarole." Wow lol. Please share your GMAT range at least. And I would definitely like to hear what the process was like in terms of an interview (if you did one) and the types of background they seemed to be looking for.

Focusing on interviews...most schools interviews are invite only. Some, like Kellogg (Northwestern) are mandatory for all applicants. I found interviews to be a bit of a mindf**k because receiving an invitation was a signal that the school was interested, however, schools never say how many interviews they give out/how many people that receive interviews get in. I've heard estimates alllll across the board, so I tried to just view the invitation as another step in the process.

The other part of interviews I found strange was that different schools seemed to place different weights on the interview. I was told by the Director of Admissions at Ross (Michigan) that she viewed applicants' resumes and interviews as equally important, and both more important than the essays, transcripts, or recommendations. At Booth, I was told that the interview could range anywhere from a formality to something that could sway an admit/reject decision.

I had 3 interviews. 2 were done on campus by second year students with the other being done by an alumnus at a Starbucks. All three were similar in that they were blind, meaning that the interviewer only had my resume to go off of. They all asked similar questions such as: walk me through your resume, why an MBA? why now? what do you want to do short-term/medium-term/long-term? and why School-A?

The questions themselves are not terribly difficult, especially after you have already written essays for various schools. I found practicing my answers invaluable as it made answering the questions under pressure a lot more natural. But basically, if you have interviewed for a job before, you know what it's like. I have heard tales of ball-busting interviewers asking (what I would consider pointless) questions like "why should the admissions committee reject you?" but I did not encounter an interviewer of this style.

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Mar 1, 2013

How did you go about putting together your "story" for the adcom? Any substantial extracurriculars?

Mar 1, 2013
keyboardcat:

How did you go about putting together your "story" for the adcom? Any substantial extracurriculars?

I'm not sure if you're talking about writing down my story or actually living my story, so I'll try to address both quickly.

Living my story: basically, I am someone that was fortunate to not have any huge weaknesses. My undergrad GPA was fine, I didn't have resume gaps, I hadn't been laid off (common thing for people with my years of experience), and I had a fairly diverse set of extra-curriculars in college and post-college. I say "fortunate" because this meant that writing down my story was a fair bit easier since I did not have anything major to compensate for/hide.

Writing down my story: it's worth getting it out there now that I used an admissions consultant. I paid for help applying to one school because that's all I could stomach spending. It was expensive, but immensely helpful for this step in particular. If I could do it over again, I would have definitely hired a consultant.

My consultant walked me through what they called a "positioning exercise". Out of respect for my consultant's business I don't want to go into too much detail, but basically, look at what schools are asking in their applications and think about how your life fits into those questions. Going through this exercise helped me decide what I wanted to highlight and what I could leave out of my story.

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Mar 8, 2013
TopDGO:

Writing down my story: it's worth getting it out there now that I used an admissions consultant. I paid for help applying to one school because that's all I could stomach spending. It was expensive, but immensely helpful for this step in particular. If I could do it over again, I would have definitely hired a consultant.

Would you mind digging into this a bit?

Mostly, what kind of overlap does hiring a consultant for a single school have when you then show your candidacy at other programs. That is to say, was the advice you received when you applied to Booth (or wherever), particularly applicable when you applied to Ross and other programs?

I would imagine there's a bit of a fine line, where you learn how to really sharpen your story, but your story is really sharpened for that single school. Is this roughly accurate?

"Millionaires don't use astrology, billionaires do"

Mar 1, 2013

How much are b-schools decisions based on undergrad gpa, performance, and the like?

OE

Mar 3, 2013
osanjak:

How much are b-schools decisions based on undergrad gpa, performance, and the like?

I'm not an AdCom member, so I cannot say for sure. My perspective is that undergrad GPA is not as important as say your high school GPA when you were applying to undergrad. However, it is still an important part of your application.

I think most schools use it as a check on your story or as a way to understand your story. For instance, if your story is that you slacked off in undergrad but networked your way into MM IB and then proceeded to be a top performer for 2 years, the AdCom might look past a 3.0. Either way, if your undergrad GPA was bad, it will be something that you have to work around/with in your application.

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Mar 1, 2013

How was recruiting this fall at Booth for first years, especially for I banking? Were there many cases of students who pursued I-banking but were unsuccessful in getting an internship? How hard was it for career switchers?

May 7, 2013

.

Mar 1, 2013

Why Booth? Unless that was your only choice.

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Mar 1, 2013
yeahright:

Why Booth? Unless that was your only choice.

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Mar 1, 2013
yeahright:

Why Booth? Unless that was your only choice.

^Are you implying Booth is a bad MBA? If so you must be in high school or not interact with many MBA's.

http://www.economist.com/whichmba/full-time-mba-ra...

Mar 1, 2013
TheBigBambino:
yeahright:

Why Booth? Unless that was your only choice.

^Are you implying Booth is a bad MBA? If so you must be in high school or not interact with many MBA's.

http://www.economist.com/whichmba/full-time-mba-ra...

Booth is my top choice so nothing against booth, but that's a pretty weak source to cite. Most people know that the economist rankings are far from the norm. Darden at #3?....

Mar 1, 2013

How is the social and networking aspect?

Any tips to be successful and make good first impression with classmates? How often do you see humility in your classmates?

Mar 3, 2013
CBSWannabe:

How is the social and networking aspect?

Any tips to be successful and make good first impression with classmates? How often do you see humility in your classmates?

I don't start until September, so I will have to keep you posted on this one. Of the people I met during my visits as well as the Booth admits I have met so far, I have been generally really impressed with people. The cool thing about the culture I have experienced up to this point is that everyone is interested in business and thinking about things analytically.

Mar 8, 2013
TopDGO:
CBSWannabe:

How is the social and networking aspect?

Any tips to be successful and make good first impression with classmates? How often do you see humility in your classmates?

I don't start until September, so I will have to keep you posted on this one. Of the people I met during my visits as well as the Booth admits I have met so far, I have been generally really impressed with people. The cool thing about the culture I have experienced up to this point is that everyone is interested in business and thinking about things analytically.

I'm not sure why you guys are peppering him with questions regarding his background and what admissions criteria are ... that kind of data and criteria are widely disseminated on the internet already.

Some additional questions: If you attended New Admit Weekend, what did you think of the people and the program? Did your experience confirm/refute any of the stereotypes typically associated with the school?

Mar 1, 2013

If you have the time, I'd definitely be interested in hearing your journey, from the decision to first considering b-school, until now, the acceptance.

Thanks

Mar 1, 2013

Great questions so far. I have to head out and start enjoying my weekend, but I will take some time to keep answering tomorrow. Keep 'em coming.

Mar 1, 2013

Something i've wondered: Is work experience at DFA (assuming you've got solid gpa/gmat) basically auto-admit at Booth? I would guess working at the fund owned by the guy that the school is named after and working under multiple Booth/Chicago professors would be a solid "plus" on a resume there.

Mar 3, 2013
Oxidize:

Something i've wondered: Is work experience at DFA (assuming you've got solid gpa/gmat) basically auto-admit at Booth? I would guess working at the fund owned by the guy that the school is named after and working under multiple Booth/Chicago professors would be a solid "plus" on a resume there.

Embarrassingly, I had to look up what DFA was. I don't think any b-school has "auto-admits". You still have to have a well thought out application even if you spent your past 2 years crushing it at Goldman or McKinsey.

Mar 1, 2013

What are you looking to get out of Booth, in terms of positioning yourself for a future career? Or are you keeping an open mind as you go through classes, networking, etc.? Just curious to see your thoughts, as I may be going down the MBA path in a few years myself.

Mar 3, 2013
Tri_Optimum:

What are you looking to get out of Booth, in terms of positioning yourself for a future career? Or are you keeping an open mind as you go through classes, networking, etc.? Just curious to see your thoughts, as I may be going down the MBA path in a few years myself.

I am going full-time in order to pursue a career change into marketing. My current employer would have provided support for me to go part-time, so I had to be confident I really did want to change careers.

Mar 1, 2013

Did you go with D's MBA assistance program? What are the terms?

Mar 3, 2013
MonkeyMath:

Did you go with D's MBA assistance program? What are the terms?

I am not sure who D is...so I don't think so.

Mar 1, 2013

Also were you more strategy focused or technology focused in your 5 year stint - and did you make manager first?

Mar 3, 2013
MonkeyMath:

Also were you more strategy focused or technology focused in your 5 year stint - and did you make manager first?

More technical. I did not make manager because I switched firms after my first promotion to work in a different group.

Mar 1, 2013

How ur financing your MBA ? Were u able to save enough from your five year stint ? How old you are ?

Mar 3, 2013
energyanalyst:

How ur financing your MBA ? Were u able to save enough from your five year stint ? How old you are ?

Great question. It will be mostly loans for me. I saved some money but not enough to make a noticeable dent in 50K a year in tuition.

Mar 1, 2013

How are you paying for it?

Mar 1, 2013

Hey dude - thanks for posting this. I actually interviewed with Booth TODAY and am hoping be accepted later this month and matriculate with you in the fall.

My questions are:

1. What is your post-MBA career plan
2. Where did you hear about the range of impact that the interview has at Booth? I was told that it's just another addition to my application, but didn't hear much of anything about the weight that it will have.
3. Last question - how did you feel about your interview? Like you crushed it?

Mar 3, 2013
Spalding Get Your Foot Off the Boat:

Hey dude - thanks for posting this. I actually interviewed with Booth TODAY and am hoping be accepted later this month and matriculate with you in the fall.

My questions are:

1. What is your post-MBA career plan
2. Where did you hear about the range of impact that the interview has at Booth? I was told that it's just another addition to my application, but didn't hear much of anything about the weight that it will have.
3. Last question - how did you feel about your interview? Like you crushed it?

Congrats! I hope that it went well.

1. Hit on this in an earlier answer...marketing.
2. I heard this during an information session from one of the assistant directors of admissions.
3. Booth was my best interview. The interviewer (second year) and I connected immediately and I was able to get in all of the things I wanted to say while at the same time learning quite a bit about his experience.

Mar 1, 2013

^Lol, I don't think he was taking a shot at Booth

Mar 3, 2013

How much math do you think you will need?

Mar 8, 2013

subscribed

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Mar 8, 2013

How important is undergraduate school ranking for a Top 10 MBA? Does having a good GPA (3.7) make up for a less than spectacular undergrad (somewhere in the 50 - 75 Range)? Thanks.

Mar 8, 2013
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