Admitted MBA Interviews
Today we'll hear from an admitted MBA:
Courtesy of the wonderful world of Reddit I have been able to connect with MBA's at all stages of the game.
Why did you pursue an MBA?
I wanted to increase my business knowledge across a wide spectrum, especially finance and operations which I don't have much of a background in (I work in marketing). Also, working in music, I've seen how much the industry is changing due to corporatization and digitization. I believe those with an MBA/advanced education will be able to steer the changing music industry landscape (especially when it comes to the digitization of music). I'm also really excited to learn about other industries, which I didn't think would be possible if I continued doing a traditional full-time job.
What was your approach to applying?
The first thing I told myself was to focus solely on the GMAT. I knew that I needed a good score to even begin applying. I also knew if I started researching schools, blogs, admissions advice, etc. it would be very easy to get overwhelmed.
When it came down to schools, my main criteria was applying to schools that had entertainment-specific offerings as I want to continue working in the industry. I went through school catalogs and clubs and picked where to apply based on that. Being from LA, I also knew being in a city where I could network and intern during the school year would be important so location was a key decider for me as well.
Lastly, I used an amazing program called Applicant Lab. I live abroad, so having an on-demand platform that took me from step A to Z of applying was a Godsend. The program gives personalized advice based on an applicant's background and helps them craft their essays and resume and do interview prep and more.
Another key thing I did was reach out to alumni/current students who were in the same fields as myself. I cold-emailed a lot of people and many were receptive and answered my emails or even gave me their phone numbers to do a phone call. I then mentioned them in my essays to show that I was serious about the program and had done my research.
How did you approach the GMAT (congrats on the 720 btw)?
Thank you! I first bought the Official Guides and went through the 2017 and 2018 editions as well as all the Manhattan Prep Guides. After I was done with about 60% of the material, I began taking regular full-length practice tests (I highly recommend buying the official exam prep packs online). I also kept an error log of all the answers I got wrong and why.
The key for me was focusing on the questions I got wrong in the practice tests and focusing on questions that were my difficulty level (and not practicing very hard questions that would not be likely to show up on the exam for me). There is more advice in the Reddit post (which you can hyperlink).
What was the most difficult thing about applying?
100% it was studying for the GMAT. Coming from a marketing and editorial background, writing the essays and crafting my narrative were not as challenging for me as I imagine they would be for other applicants. That being said, I hadn't taken a single math class since college, so re-learning basic math was quite daunting at the beginning. I was able to pick back up what I had learned and spent dedicated time each weekend and weekday to the GMAT.
What was the most surprising thing about the application process?
A few things surprised me -
1. The actual applications themselves are not too long (a few essays, resume and letters of recommendation).
2. Using your personality / differentiating factors is a viable strategy. I got in applying as an artist manager for a DJ, and it worked.
3. Alumni/current students from a variety of schools were very willing to talk to me.
Were you pleased with your application results?
What classes do you know of that you’re most excited about during your program?
There is a course called Entertainment Marketing & The Crafting of Celebrity Business which is all about celebrity endorsement deals. Not only is this relevant to my work as an artist manager, but I am also eager to see how different artist deals are done (since this is information that isn't readily available).
Another course is Internet Wars which analyzes trends in the internet ecosystem (also very relevant to what I want to do).
What do you wish you knew about applying for an MBA that you know now?
When they say you'll likely need to take the GMAT twice - believe it! I was bummed with my first score because I was convinced I had to take it once and be done.
Can you detail your intern recruiting plans?Target industry/company?
One key target for me is doing a Digital Strategy internship at Sony Music.
What are some ways to improve the MBA application process?
People need to understand to not go crazy reading tons of blogs and forums online as they often have contradictory information and can become a black hole of information.
Do you feel that your MBA will be worth it?
Yes, I'm very excited.