Arthur is an MBA2 specializing in Strategy and Entertainment, Media and Technology. In addition to serving as a Graduate Ambassador, he is also a VP of Academics and Case Competitions for the Entertainment, Media and Sports Association (EMSA) and a Teaching Fellow for Pr. Matthew Lee’s core course, Strategy. Born in Dayton, OH, he has lived in New York City for the past 6 years and loves living in the city. He graduated with a BA from Boston College in 2013 and spent the majority of his pre-MBA career in client services roles at GLG. He will be joining ZS Associates full time after graduation after serving as a summer intern at the firm.
Now that application deadlines for the next cycle are past due, I thought I’d share my reflections about what to do now if you’ve submitted your application and are making your final decision. These are not just from my own perspective, but based on questions that I have received from prospective students in the midst of decision-making.
- I’ve applied to Stern and have not yet heard back – what can I do to help my candidacy?
Honestly – not a lot! Admissions will review your application in due time, so give yourself a chance to relax and have confidence in the work you put into it. The best use of time until you receive an update from admissions could be to continue your research into Stern. What sorts of classes or programs might you want to take advantage of? If there is something you can’t find out on the school’s website, consider taking a look at club websites (professional, affinity or social) and reaching out to the VPs of Admissions of clubs to get a student’s perspective on membership.
- I’ve been waitlisted – what do I do now?
This one is close to my heart – I was waitlisted after applying in Round 1 and was eventually granted admission. First, although it might sound difficult, give yourself some credit – being waitlisted is not bad news!
My best advice plays into an idea on which Stern places a lot of emphasis – EQ (Emotional Intelligence). One part of having a high EQ is self-awareness. So if you’re on the waitlist, be self-aware about what you can improve on your application, and focus on what you can control. Things like your past experiences or undergrad GPA are set in stone – those things cannot change. Even your professional experience, while ongoing, can only change so much in the course of a couple of weeks or months. Some things you could consider – retaking a standardized test (if you think you can achieve a higher score), enrolling in an online course (MBAMath, Coursera, etc.), or participating in volunteer opportunities (through work or on your own). Don’t try to improve simply for the sake of improvement though – make decisions as an authentic extension of the story you told in your application.
Finally, be sure to keep the admissions team updated. If there is something new worth sharing (maybe a new test score or an exciting new promotion at work), be sure to share these in the waitlist portal so that they are included in your application’s next review.
- I’ve been given an interview – how should I prepare?
Two things to keep in mind: 1) whereas other schools may leverage current students or alumni to conduct interviews, all Stern interviews are conducted by a member of the admissions team and 2) they are NOT blind – interviewers will have reviewed your resume and application in full ahead of time.
This is a good thing! This means you get to speak with a trained professional and someone who is passionate about making Stern the best place it can be. To echo prior points of advice, be confident in your story and bring your authentic self to the interview. You were given an interview for a reason, and that is the person they want to speak to.
A couple themes that may come up: your previous experience (personal or professional), why you want to pursue an MBA, why Stern, why New York City, EQ and what class/programs you are excited about at Stern. Also, (and this goes for an interview you participate in): if it is on your resume, be prepared to speak to it.
- I’ve been admitted to Stern in addition to other great schools – how do I decide?
I hesitate to even give advice to this one because it is so intensely personal. Where you decide to go is an undoubtedly big decision, but remember it is unique to you.
Stern is wonderful for a variety of reasons – if you didn’t think that, then you probably wouldn’t have applied. But while it was the right choice for me, the same may not apply to you for a wide variety of reasons. Again, give yourself credit for the achievement (not everyone gets into multiple top business schools) and make the decision that is best for you, your family, and your future.
- I have been rejected from Stern – what now?
Rejection stinks– as someone who has experienced constant rejection through the business school journey (from other schools as well a list of potential employers), I empathize.
There is also a process for re-applying to the Full-Time, 2-year program. Regardless, the first thing I’d say echoes my advice for the waitlist – leverage your EQ and be self-aware regarding what can be improved about your candidacy. Then, put together a plan on if and how those things can be improved upon by the time you plan to re-apply.
Finally, take some time to reflect on whether or not the Full-Time program is the right path for you. There is more than one way to crack an egg – the Part-time, Executive MBA, and One-Year Full-Time programs are all amazing options to consider moving forward, depending on your goals. Researching those programs’ websites, attending admissions events, and speaking to students in those programs are the best ways to learn more about them.
These are but a few of the questions that have been coming my way – always know, if you need a question answered about these or other questions, that the admissions team and Graduate Ambassadors are here to help! Godspeed!