Thursday, July 17, 2014

Recent Updates - Baby, Housing, Laptop, and Some Other Stuff

It’s crazy how fast time flies.  There are still a ton of things I would like to get done before classes start in September.  However, the past month or so has been packed with putting my house on the market and everything that goes along with that, winding down at work, handing off projects, training new hires and interns, etc., oh ya, and my wife and I welcomed a new baby boy.  That’s boy number three for us!  So needless to say, things have been crazy.

In spite of all that is going on, I have been able to cross off a few essential items off my pre-MBA checklist.  I purchased my laptop for school.  I decided to go with the MacBook Air.  For those that are considering a Mac, Apple is offering a $100 gift card to those that purchase one now.  Although this wasn’t on my checklist of things to do, I decided to buy and iPad Mini with the gift card I got from Clear Admit for winning the Best of Blogging.  Thanks Clear Admit!

In the past month we have been able to get our house under contract too!  As long as things go as planned, we should close just a couple days before we are able to move into our place in LA.  Which brings me to my next checklist item, finding a place to live.  We were lucky enough to get into graduate student family housing in LA.  I am very glad, because we needed a 3-bedroom, and anything near campus that wasn’t university owned was about twice the price.  Also, the elementary school my oldest son will be going to has great ratings, so that is a huge plus.


There are several other things on my list that I am currently working.  Unfortunately, a lot is getting pushed back because we have been busy packing and cleaning up our house.  I am currently reading a couple great books.  Quiet, by Susan Cain, and The Start-up of You, by LinkedIn co-founder, Reid Hoffman.  I have also been working on learning some coding.  I started taking the HarvardX CS50x: Intro to Computer Science.  I have also been playing around quite a bit on Code Academy.  If anyone has any other good learning sources, please share.  Although things have been busy this past month, we will be heading down to LA almost a month and a half before I start classes.  So, that should give me plenty of time to finish things up, and be ready to hit the ground running!

Monday, July 14, 2014

McKinsey & Company Emerging Scholars Interview Debrief

I just wanted to say congratulations to everyone that was selected to the McKinsey & Company Emerging Scholars Program.  Unfortunately I did not make it passed the semi-finalist interviews.  The being said, I was honored to be selected as a semi-finalist, and true enjoyed the process.  I was able to interview with the recruiter in charge of UCLA Anderson recruiting, as well as two consultants that were Anderson alumni.  I am grateful for the time they took to get to know me (each interview was about 45 minutes), and I enjoyed getting to know them and McKinsey a little better.  Luckily I had two weeks off for paternity leave during the times the interviews were scheduled (we just welcomed out third baby boy to the family).

Although I was a bit nervous at first, the interviews were actually pretty fun.  With my interview with the recruiter, I had to complete a creative exercise.  I chose to do a single-slide PowerPoint about the person I admire most.  It made for a great conversation.  We discussed my work experience, extracurricular involvement, and my thoughts about McKinsey.  The recruiter was really nice and created a very relaxed and conversational environment.

My next two interviews were with consultants, both UCLA Anderson grads.  Again, both were great experiences.  We were able to go a little bit deeper into my work history and then we worked through a mini-case.  I really enjoyed working through the mini-case, and if that is the type of stuff McKinsey consultants get to see on a daily basis (although I am sure real cases are much more complex), I would definitely enjoy it.

Although I tried not to get my hopes up, as the notification date drew closer, I couldn’t help but imagining myself being selected.  It would have been a great opportunity.  Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the news I was looking for on July 3rd.  It was ok though.  I heard from another semi-finalist that over 1800 people applied to the program, so just being selected as a semi-finalist wasn’t too bad.  Anyway, it was a great opportunity, and I was able to meet some fantastic people.  I was told by all three people I interviewed with to stay in touch, and the recruiter said she would be looking for me in the fall.  I am definitely excited for what the future holds in store. just wanted to say congratulations to everyone that was selected to the McKinsey & Company Emerging Scholars Program.  Unfortunately I did not make it passed the semi-finalist interviews.  The being said, I was honored to be selected as a semi-finalist, and true enjoyed the process.  I was able to interview with the recruiter in charge of UCLA Anderson recruiting, as well as two consultants that were Anderson alumni.  I am grateful for the time they took to get to know me (each interview was about 45 minutes), and I enjoyed getting to know them and McKinsey a little better.  Luckily I had two weeks off for paternity leave during the times the interviews were scheduled (we just welcomed out third baby boy to the family).

Although I was a bit nervous at first, the interviews were actually pretty fun.  With my interview with the recruiter, I had to complete a creative exercise.  I chose to do a single-slide PowerPoint about the person I admire most.  It made for a great conversation.  We discussed my work experience, extracurricular involvement, and my thoughts about McKinsey.  The recruiter was really nice and created a very relaxed and conversational environment.

My next two interviews were with consultants, both UCLA Anderson grads.  Again, both were great experiences.  We were able to go a little bit deeper into my work history and then we worked through a mini-case.  I really enjoyed working through the mini-case, and if that is the type of stuff McKinsey consultants get to see on a daily basis (although I am sure real cases are much more complex), I would definitely enjoy it.

Although I tried not to get my hopes up, as the notification date drew closer, I couldn’t help but imagining myself being selected.  It would have been a great opportunity.  Unfortunately, I didn’t receive the news I was looking for on July 3rd.  It was ok though.  I heard from another semi-finalist that over 1800 people applied to the program, so just being selected as a semi-finalist wasn’t too bad.  Anyway, it was a great opportunity, and I was able to meet some fantastic people.  I was told by all three people I interviewed with to stay in touch, and the recruiter said she would be looking for me in the fall.  I am definitely excited for what the future holds in store.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Why Anderson? – Thoughts from Fellow Admits and Current Students (Part 9)

This post is a continuation of "Why Anderson? – Thoughts from Fellow Admits and Current Students."  Thank you again to all the individuals who have submitted their thoughts.

I chose Anderson for a number of reasons.  Great brand, collaborative culture, unique programs.  One of the main reasons, however, was simply due to geographic location.  MBA graduates, by a large margin, end up taking a job in the region where they completed their MBA.  For the highly represented industries (consulting, finance, etc.) with many offices nationwide, you'll most likely be speaking with recruiters from the offices in your region.  Knowing how beautiful California is, and knowing the types of opportunities that are growing here, it seemed like a fantastic place to begin the next phase of my career.


By far, what I've enjoyed the most is getting to know the other students at Anderson.  Unlike some schools that are known primarily for a particular industry, the career backgrounds and career choices for Anderson students are incredibly diverse.  Typically, you'll see about 20% of students each go to consulting, finance, marketing, tech, or entrepreneurship/start-up.  Because of that diversity, you have a tremendous number of opportunities to collaborate with other students and do not feel the competitive pressure that you might at another program where career interests are more narrowly focused.  It's nice, and has definitely been something that I've taken advantage of since I arrived.

- Ryan L., UCLA Anderson Class of 2015

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why Anderson? – Thoughts from Fellow Admits and Current Students (Part 8)

This post is a continuation of "Why Anderson? – Thoughts from Fellow Admits and Current Students."  Thank you again to all the individuals who have submitted their thoughts.

My reasons for choosing Anderson:
1. Its faculty and reputation, and the flexible curriculum. As in all top MBA programs, the faculty is excellent but what I really like about Anderson is the flexibility of its curriculum, I have a degree in business and I dont want to retake the same courses I took at college, the flexibility is an opportunity to go deeper in the areas I am more interested in. I also like the AMR project, it is great to have a class that consists in pure real business experience!

2. Location. Los Angeles offers excellent opportunities and, as I would like to be in SoCa after my MBA, it is the place I want to be, plus, as a native Spanish speaker, it is especially interesting to me in terms of competitive advantage in the job market there. And of course the sunshine doesn't hurt either :)


3. Fit. I have spoken with many students and alumni from different top MBA programs and Anderson people are the ones with whom I had a stronger connection. I also loved my campus visit, I felt really welcome. I also love the collavorative envirornment there.

- Incoming student, UCLA Anderson Class of 2016

Monday, June 9, 2014

Why Anderson? – Thoughts from Fellow Admits and Current Students (Part 7)

This post is a continuation of "Why Anderson? – Thoughts from Fellow Admits and Current Students."  Thank you again to all the individuals who have submitted their thoughts.

UCLA is a top school that can help me reach my career goals -- but that can be said for many schools.  What made UCLA stand out to me was the people.  Meeting my future classmates and current students at the admit weekend sealed the deal.  Everyone was really smart, motivated, and driven; equally important, they were also supportive, down to earth, and just plain nice.   UCLA Anderson definitely has a close-knit community, with a good balance of work and play.  I also liked the diversity of the group, particularly in backgrounds and career goals - every industry and function imaginable is represented.  I'm quite certain I'm going to learn more from my classmates than I will from my books - and have a good time along the way.

- Incoming student, UCLA Anderson Class of 2016

Friday, June 6, 2014

Why Anderson? – Thoughts from Fellow Admits and Current Students (Part 6)

This post is a continuation of "Why Anderson? – Thoughts from Fellow Admits and Current Students."  Thank you again to all the individuals who have submitted their thoughts.

Why MBA: Like GMATClub legend Raabend (http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-evolution-of-your-b-school-pursuit-56765-80.html#p588875), I come from a family with a long line of Ph.Ds where it is only way you can be acknowledged at family reunions. I somehow strayed from that path, joining the military midway through college. However, I did come back and completed my degree before went out and served again for a few years. And to my surprise, I was actually on track getting my PhD, as after the military I was working in infectious disease research while completing my masters. Unfortunately, when I announced my plan to apply for PhD programs in epidemiology to my wife, she threaten to make me sleeping on sofa for the rest of my life. Liking my bed but trying not to be disowned by my family, I decided to be a good husband and applied to MBA programs (my logic was 3 masters = a Ph.D). In all seriousness, without a Ph.D. I cannot advance at my workplace; therefore I plan to move out of health research arena and into private sector (business intelligence or investment banking). MBA seems like a great help to make the transition. I also have another option of going super spy secret squirrel stuff but my wife nipped the idea also...ughhh...

Where: Since my profile is really quirky (1st gen Asian-American, military, non-traditional background, advance degrees, not-so-glory undergrad GPA and a-not-so-flatter GRE-GMAT equivalent, etc) I applied to a wide range of schools both East Coast and West Coast, 8 total (2 M7, 1 top 10, 3 Top 16, and 2 Top 30) to hedge my bet. My choices were based on fit and career prospect (my wife wants us to move back to our hometown in the Rocky Mountain, sooo excited!). I was quickly accepted to the both top 30 schools with a hefty scholarship at one and a full-ride with full-housing award to another. I interviewed at both M7 schools (big fat dings) and 2 of the top 16 (admit from Anderson and waitlist at an East Coast school).


Why Anderson: I quickly declined a top 30 school's offer with the hefty scholarship because the school is on the West Coast and very similar to Anderson. I know if I decide to attend a West Coast school, it would be Anderson (or the other two hippie schools up North but I guess I wasn't hippie enough for them). The other top 30 school is in Texas so my next step in the decision is to attend admit weekend at both schools to determine the fit. And I absolutely love everything I saw and experienced at both schools. I could see myself at both schools. However, I keep having the question of "if I can come back to my hometown" in the back of my mind at the Texas school. I didn't have that doubt while I was at Anderson admit weekend. Knowing that my goal is to come back to the Rocky Mountain, I did my diligent and  research my option, which yield very limited prospective companies (banking and tech) that can afford my post-MBA salary demand. I would love to work for minimum wage but gotta pay them student loan extraordinaire ya know. Anderson has a really strong relationship and a great alumni base with all companies I am targeting, especially tech. Amazingly there is a 2015 student who will be interning at my top choice tech company in my hometown for the coming summer, doing exactly what I want to do. Everyone (current students and alumni) I reached out to response quickly and very helpful. Thus it comes down to my gut feeling that Anderson will be better at positioning me coming back to my hometown and more importantly maintaining peace for my marriage. Also, unlike other schools I interviewed and visited (East Coast ahem), Anderson students know how to enjoy life outside of classroom. Cherry on top, living in the sunny southern Cali and wearing flip flop and short for 2 years definitely don't hurt either. Thus for those reasons, I chose Anderson.

- Phat, UCLA Anderson Class of 2016

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Reflecting on the Application Process

Since completing my last interview a little over three months ago, I have had some time to reflect even more on the MBA application process.  Not even considering that I am a reapplicant, this process has been much longer and more intense than I ever imagined.  When I decided to apply to b-school, I thought it was just GMAT, apply, get in, and go.  I didn’t even think about the possibility of taking the GMAT multiple times, the amount of introspection required to write effective essays, school visits, interviews, deciding on what programs to apply to, deciding where to go to school, what I would do if I didn’t get into a school of my choice, etc.

I have decided to do a few of my upcoming posts about my experience with the application process.  Is there anything that you didn’t consider when you first applied?  If you are applying now, what steps of the process do you want to know more about?  For those that have been through the process, what are some tips you would give to those getting ready to apply in the next few months?