McCombs Info Session
It’s September and I’ve FINALLY attended my first MBA event… I feel a little late in the game for an applicant, but apparently all the schools I chose hate coming to Dallas so I’ll take what I can get.
First of all, kudos to me for not just being on time, but actually arriving 20 minutes early. I am notorious for being late especially when I’m going somewhere for the first time so this was quite the accomplishment for me. I also had time to scout the competition, I mean potential future peers as they came into the area where the presentation would be. Because it was a joint session for Prospective Full Time, Part Time, and Executive applicants, it was hard to really pin point who was who but once we split off into different groups it was clear.
There were about 50 people interested in the Full Time program. About 90% of the room was male (a majority of which were Caucasian), a handful of internationals, and I was the only African American female (there was one other African American in attendance). I was also surprised to see how relatively young everyone looked. Age perception isn’t always accurate though as I have been told on many occasions that I look no older than 19.. I know I’ll appreciate it later in life when I’m aging like Halle Berry and everyone else is headed for hagsville, but right now it still sucks looking so young. But i digress because this isn’t the point.
After the general presentation with everyone, we had a Q&A session with the Adcom Director and 2 recent graduates. They were both women so it really was great to hear about their backgrounds and experiences in the program and it really made me even more excited to apply to Texas. I got some great material for my essays, made a few contacts, and will even be applying to the McCombs Weekend for Women at the end of October so fingers crossed I get invited to attend.
Things McCombs Looks for in a Candidate
1. Highly motivated
2. Team player
3. Leadership skills
4. Academically accomplished
5. Ability to balance (curriculum, family/friends, professional obligations)
- Before the presentation started, a guy sat next to me and of course he was a talker. I felt like we were playing a game of 20 questions as we did the whole “Where did you undergrad” “What do you do” “Why UT” “What do you want to study” conversation. This was my first real MBA applicant discussion face to face so while I was caught off guard and a little annoyed that no one else was talking so everyone probably heard what we were saying, it was nice to get some practice in.
- When we started to break off into groups, this deep voice Type A guy sprinted to the Adcom Director, name dropped a friend that was an alumni of the program and shook hands with the AD claiming “he just HAD to introduce himself”. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t really look like the AD was impressed by his overeagerness which made me chuckle a bit to myself. I know as an MBA applicant I’ll be surrounded by people like that, “go-getters” as the like to call themselves, but the insincerity of it just bothers me.
- A guy in the breakout session actually asked if it was okay if you didn’t know what you wanted to do when you apply. Once again the AD seemed a little put off (i love this guy.. he keeps it real haha). He answered the question rather nicely though saying while it’s okay not to know that what specific role at XYZ company you want and that no one holds you to what you say in your essay, it’s definitely important to demonstrate you have a clear idea what you want to study and how UT can help you succeed on whatever career path you choose.
- One question asked that I did like came towards the end when someone asked if it was okay to change paths after a summer internship and the answer was an overwhelming yes. Most of us plan to go into a field and hope it all works out, but i never really considered what if after a summer doing it, you’re not happy. While that obviously would not be ideal, it does happen and it’s nice to know that you have a program supporting you to find that place that WILL ultimately make you happy.
- My favorite things to hear about were the opportunities for global travel, participating in a Fellows program, competing in Case Challenges, the best tactics to improve your resume especially if you’re a career switcher, ways to make some sort of income especially your 2nd year in the program and most importantly, the strong friendships and network you build with the people in your cohort and study groups.
My blogroll has been a bit dry lately and I’m sure that has alot to do with HBS apps due in the next few days and the rest of Round 1 being right around the corner. Glad to see all my fellow applicants are hard at work!! Keep it up guys!! Sending best wishes your way 🙂
As for me, these next 3 months are going to be a big test for me. I have so many projects on my plate at work right now that my head just may explode, and that doesn’t even include the GMAT studying, essay writing, campus visiting, and volunteering I’ll also be doing. As overwhelmed as I am, attending events like the one I did yesterday just reminds me of the ultimate goal and I know that it will all be worth it.