Goals for June

checklist1

Ahhh 2 months from today i’ll be sitting for my first (and hopefully only) GMAT exam. I know it’s wishful thinking to believe i’ll only have to take it once and will be extremely satisfied with my initial score, but hey a girl can dream right!?!

As far away as 60 days sounds, when it comes to the b school admissions process, as we all know, there’s so much to do…and then re-do… that no amount of days really seems like enough time. I miss the age when summer meant absolutely nothing to do all day everyday, but alas, those days are far behind us. Below is my checklist of things to accomplish or at least start this month. My initial admissions plan was to completely focus on GMAT studying until the test, but the more i look at advice forums.. and the calendar for that matter… i realize that I don’t want to have only 2 months to start and finish the rest of my admissions applications for my first round choices.

1. QUANT QUANT QUANT!!! Study 2 hours every night after work, 4 hours on Friday and Saturday, and practice tests on Sunday

2. Request my undergraduate transcript

3. When not studying or working, continuing my devotion to playing competitive tennis, volunteering and remaining active at the gym

4. Organize my business school research and narrow down my school selections as well as assigning application rounds

– I have read many forums that suggest not completing your top school’s application first. Thoughts?? I can definitely see both sides of the argument. Obviously the more experience you get preparing everything, you can only get better, but at the same time, I feel like I will put the most effort in the first application I submit. I would love to hear opinions or advice from reapplicants.

– I would really like to apply to no more than 8 schools. I know for sure I want to apply to UCLA, UC Berkely, McCombs, and Duke, and then USC and SMU’s Cox as my safe choices, but I also want to take closer looks at Georgetown, UNC Kenan-Flager, Virginia, Vanderbilt and Michigan. I don’t know about anyone else, but researching schools is absolutely chaotic and exhausting, so I tend to focus on my top 2 choices extensively with the rest being afterthoughts.

5. Develop a long term post-MBA career focus

– I know short term I would like to work in project finance at a large biotech/pharmaceutical company. My current work experience aligns well with the industry as I am in consulting for Fortune 500 healthcare corporations and their hospital subsidiaries so I am very familiar with the manufacturers, products, and pipeline in the industry, but long term? I feel like the general answer would be moving to upper management or transferring my knowledge to working with a startup biotech company, but how does one really know at this point to be able to effectively communicate it in essays and/or an interview?

6. Start paying attention to the news

– I am so bad about this guys. I don’t know any currents events besides the ones tweeted by CNN or the Wall Street Journal, and since there’s a 140 character limit… that’s where my knowledge pretty much ends. I know discussing current news topics is a very important aspect of the b school life, and I want to start now with being more informed. I’ve tried reading the WSJ but besides the big issues, or articles on healthcare, nutrition or wellness… I just can’t get interested and the verbiage is kind of over my head sometimes which makes it even more frustrating. There needs to be a Cliff Notes version of news for us folk that want to be informed but just need the general idea of the article without having to read the whole thing. Any websites that have already thought of this idea? In all seriousness though, I will definitely make a point to be better about this.

7. Start writing essays

– Jotting down ideas and thoughts anyways. Get the wheels turning.

I think that’s everything on my to-do list for June. One of my best friends from college will be coming in town at the end of the month, June 27th-30th to be exact and then we’re going to Los Angeles to visit another college friend and party on the beach for the 4th of July so i’ll pretty much be out of commission for a little over a week. Therefore, I really want to get most if not all of this done so July 5th I’m ready to get back in the swing of things.

Let me know your thoughts and your June goals as well. And if you have any suggestions of other goals I should have on my check list for this month please let me know.

Dwight Schrute: “I know she didn’t do it. It’s never the person you most suspect. It’s also never the person you least suspect, since anyone with half a brain would suspect them the most. Therefore, I know the killer to be Phyllis, a.k.a. Beatrix Bourbon, the person I most medium suspect.”

….Okay so that had absolutely nothing to do with this post, but that episode of The Office was on while I was writing and that quote makes me giggle every single time so just thought i’d share.

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Posted on June 3, 2014, in GMAT, My Journey and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Your first application is usually your “training ground”. I actually started on my safety school’s application first, because I wanted to get a feel for the structure of an MBA application. I did my top two choices in the middle of the process, in order to avoid the inevitable burnout that comes towards the end of the process. I would say that my last application was probably my worst, because by then I was thoroughly sick of MBA applications, essays, etc.

    When researching business schools, I really recommend visiting the campus. It gives you a very good feel for whether you’d fit into the culture. I ended up dropping one business school down several notches on my shortlist and deleting another entirely after visiting.

    (Full disclosure, I was admitted to one of H/S/W and my safety school in NYC, and interviewed at two other schools, so I’m not entirely pulling this advice out of thin air.)

    • Lucas,

      OMG congrats!! That’s quite the accomplishment and i sincerely appreciate you taking the time to offer your advice. Do you start this Fall? Or are you currently in the program?

      I really like the idea of starting with the safety school and then doing the priority choices somewhere in between. That was my exact fear, that by the last app I would get burnt out. But I guess that also depends on how many schools you’re applying to and their individual deadlines per round. Still, I might follow in your footsteps on that one so thanks for the tip 😉

      • I’m starting this Fall. I would say that you should aim to apply to anywhere between four to six schools. Anything more than that is too many for you to be able to do a convincing application for each; anything less than that is likely to be too few to diversify your risk of not being admitted by any of them. (I applied to a total of six schools, which was probably one school too many, in retrospect, since I didn’t really have a compelling reason to apply to one of them.)

        For long-term career goals, you really need to do some research. I would say general statements are just not going to cut it (that was the feedback I received when writing mine), you need to have a specific game plan, and something pretty ambitious but also realistic. (Difficult to pull off, I know, but that’s the way things roll, at least at the top tier b-schools.) You might want to think about whether there are any leaders in biotech/pharma that you respect a great deal, and look at their career path as an inspiration for writing your own long-term career goals.

        You should also start thinking about who you can approach for recommendations. You don’t necessarily have to approach your recommenders until you know which schools you are applying to, but you need to have given it some thought, as the right recommender than really make a difference. I spent two weeks thinking about it and later spent another two weeks writing up a solid “recommender’s pack” with deadlines, summaries of projects we’d worked together on and my key contributions, career goals, why MBA, MBA resume, and some observations on what traits each b-school seemed to emphasize in its brochures, etc. It really helps your recommender to be able to provide the details and context necessary for each school.

      • Lucas,

        That’s exciting! Are you going to continue working for your current company until school starts or try and do a pre-MBA internship for the summer?

        Yes, I agree. I’m hoping once I visit a few schools, I’ll be able to narrow my list down to no more than 4 or 5 really. I definitely want quality over quantity. And researching leaders and even staff at my target schools career paths in biotech/pharma will definitely give me some ideas on long term career goals. I figured I needed to be pretty specific. Thanks for the heads up.

        The recommender’s pack is a great idea. I think that will be a part of my July goals, because you’re right, I want to have my target schools and career goals firmly set so that my recommenders have the best information to write about. I know I want one of my recommenders to be my previous manager, who was recently promoted to a partner of our firm. She knows my work ethic and development extremely well and would probably the most effective at selling me to an adcom. I am still deciding on whom to choose for my second recommendation as not all of the schools I’m applying to require 2 and/or require 1 to be from a current supervisor. My current manager would also be a great recommender as we worked together on a consultant level when I started at the firm, he has since been promoted to manager. Is it frowned upon to have both of my recommenders work at the same firm though? I am also considering asking the Secretary of Revenue or Chief of Staff at the State Department of Revenue whom I interned for in college. They know me on a professional and personal level and I feel like it would be unique to have high government figures recommend me, but because it was a few years ago and even though we have kept in close contact, I wasn’t sure if I should reach out.

        You have once again given me great feedback. Much appreciated!

      • Both my recommenders came from the same firm, but in different departments and speaking about different aspects of my candidacy (a deliberate choice). You want them to highlight aspects of your candidacy that might not be easily expressed in your essays or applications, so it is crucial that they not repeat the same topics or aspects of your candidacy.

        As for the Secretary of Revenue or Chief of Staff… I’d take a bit of time to reflect on how well they know you, and for how long you worked with them, because you want people who can credibly speak to knowing you well on a professional and personal basis. If you feel they know you well enough to be able to answer questions like “what is the most important piece of constructive feedback you’ve given the candidate”, then by all means ask them. But I’d avoid asking a high government official to write a recommendation unless you have worked very closely with them for long enough for them to be able to assess your strengths and weaknesses, and compare you against your peers.

      • Lucas,

        I didn’t even consider the fact that I don’t want my recommenders to overlap too much on the aspects of my candidacy, great point. I will definitely keep that in mind. You have been such a big help. Thank you again

  2. Good luck with GMAT. I would focus on that and your admin eg getting transcripts.
    Would definitely reduce the number of apps.. I know the going rate is about five or six. But think you should be able to reduce it down to four. This saves money, time and allows you to spend more time in each app.

    For news, check out BBC worldwide it’s free. I do think twitter a good way to find out what’s happening. For more detail try a weekly news magazine instead. I use the economist.

    Definitely worth time researching all schools on your short list. You find out quickly which ones are worth more effort. But no need to that until after your sit your GMAT.

    General rule is apply when your ready and competition is a little less in round one.

    • Sarahrs81,

      Thanks so much for the feedback. Yes i definitely plan to only apply to 4-6 programs at the most because you’re right, applications take alot of time and money and i want quality over quantity for sure. Once i start to do more individual school research, talking with alumni, and visiting, that’s probably when i’ll be able to clearly narrow down to my target schools.

      I’ll have to check out BBC and the economist. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Hey, I really enjoyed the post! So regarding when to complete the application for your top choice. This is just from my experience, but the last application I complete was my UCLA Anderson app, partially because Anderson’s application deadline was the latest. Anyway, it was by far my best. After going through all the other apps, essays, etc., I felt like I knew exactly what I wanted to say, how to structure my application, and how to best present myself (even though Anderson only has one essay). If possible, I would definitely recommend submitting you top choice’s application last.

  4. I want to take the gmat this month so I also often remember times when I did not have much to do maybe for months))

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