Boston or Hanover?

It´s January 1st. I have had almost two weeks now to digest my admission news. It´s is an amazing feeling, after so much effort and planning to finally know that I will indeed become an MBA candidate at one of the top business schools in the US after all.

During these couple weeks I have received my admit packages,which included very generous gifts from every school, and the confirmation of a very generous scholarship from Tuck. It has been exciting to open those packages with an MIT, Dartmouth or Duke logo and also my name on them, I won´t lie.

But now vacation is over in terms of MBA decisions, and I have to decide to which school I actually want to go. To do it is hard because I don´t really want to turn down any offer, as every school has impressed me in some way, and all offer great personal and proffesional opportunities. That also makes it a decision where I cannot actually go wrong.

To be honest, I have to say that I have already ruled out Duke. Why? Because you have to start eliminating choices somewhere, and while Healthcare there is HUGE, and it is a place where I see a great fit (and I would be very happy to attend to), the other two appeal to me more, have strongest brands (although I recognize the power of the Fuqua brand) and I rather live in New England. Therefore, it is either Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth or MIT Sloan School of Management.

Here the process turns harder.

Okay. Regarding  my carrer goals, pharma or consulting, I don´t see great differences between the two. MIt is in Boston, where many healthcare companies are headquartered, but both send roughly the same % of students into the industry; and while some of the smaller firms might not travel to Hanover, the big ones do. For consulting, I see both as powerhouses and core schools for the most important firms. So, in order to make this decision, I need to look elsewhere.

Tuck has always been my first choice. I love the kind of community they have created up there, and in Hanover I see an opportunity to have a different experience, that of a true American campus, for two years. The alumni network is smaller but the strongest in terms of alumni involvement (something highlighted by the fact that during the past 10 days I´ve been contacted by many alumni I did not even know to congratulate me). Besides, we are talking about Dartmouth College, an Ivy League member.

Hanover, New Hampshire

It is true, though, that MIT Sloan has a bigger network, and very engaging too, and that the brand is more powerful, if not in the US, at least internationally. Will that be a great difference? I believe that the typical MBA recruiter will know both schools really well, but of course we want to consider every fact.

Boston, Massatchusetts

And then, the last quesion of all: do I want to live in a big city like Boston or in a small town like Hanover? As I said before, the latter provides a more unique experience and a tigher community. But coming from Madrid, and being a “city guy”, Boston is a very attractive destination, let alone one of the most vibrant cities in the US. Here I can say I don´t prefer one over the other, considering we are talking about 2 years and not 20. However, as I said, Tuck offers a more authentic American campus experience maybe.

As you see, I am having some trouble to decide, since these two are great Universities, and it will come down to what kind of experience I rather have.

The best thing is that I can´t go wrong.

Happy New Year!


Admitted to Duke

Duke Fuqua School of Business

On friday afternoon I received the call from Duke Admissions to tell me I was in. The person calling me was a member of the admisssions team I had already met when she came to Madrid to host an event, so it was a really nice chat and she congratualted me for my great job with the application.

With the admissions to Fuqua, I have been admitted to 3 of the schools I applied to, MIT, Tuck and Duke, and waitlisted at NYU Stern. This means now I have to decide to which school I want to attend, and I need to do so before January 15th, the offer deadline for Tuck. The students from those schools I have met during the process have been kind enough to personally congratulate me, and have offered to meet if I wanted to know more about their experiences or anything else about the school that can help with the decision and with the process of actually matriculating in the school, a opportunity I will take advantage of the next weeks.

Now I want to take a few days off…

Merry Christmas to everyone!



My interview with Duke

Today I had my interview with a Duke alumni here in Madrid. It is my third so far and I think that fact helped, since I already knew what to expect and came to the meeting much less nervous than to the other two.

The interview itself was very friendly and conversational. As expected, the goal of my interviewer was to get to know me better and gather more specific information regarding certain parts of my background and profile. Therefore, no trick questions or akward moments, but very straighforward. I have to say that time flew, I felt so comfortable all along that I really did not realize how fast the 30 minutes went by. And all of a sudden it was my time to ask questions; I had quite a few and my interviewer went into great detail to answer each one of them and share his experiences. All and all a great interview, and that left me very comfident in my possibilities.

On the other hand, I am still waiting to hear from Stern. I believe they are still in the process of sending interview invitations, but I am not too stressed about it, I am used to waiting already. Besides, now it is time to think about R2. I have already decided to which schools I want to apply: Harvard, Chicago Booth and UCLA. I am not sure I will apply to all of them, it will depend on my R1 results, but probably I will try HBS anyway.

The good news is in a couple weeks we will know if I am admitted to any of my R1 choices. Nail-bitting time!

My interviews with Tuck and MIT

I have finished my interview with a MIT AdCom just 3 hours ago.

I have to say that this has been a very exciting week in terms of MBA expectations and progress as I have had two interviews: Tuck and MIT, although they have been different experiences. I thought that Tuck would be a more conversational and school-focused interview and MIT more a beahvioural type of interview. However, it was not exactly that way.

Starting with Tuck, this was an Skype interview with a 2nd year Tuckie. As I pointe out, I expected to be very conversational with a couple of behavioural questions here and there, but it was mostly behavioural in the end. Of course they asked my about my resume, why MBA and why Tuck, especifically asking how I would contribute to Tuck community. Then we moved to 3 to 4 behavoural questions for which I had already though which stories to tell to provide the best picture of me I could. Overall, it was a great experience, my interviewer was really nice and I think I did not do a bad job. However, to be honest, I expected I would do better at this interview and I was left with the feeling that I will have to wait and see. In any case I think I did succeed at showing my interest and knowledge of the school.

MIT, on the other hand, was with an AdCom who traveled all the way to Madrid, and I though it would be all about past experiences and how I had behaved on them. Yet again, I was wrong, as my interviewer,besides the resume, why MBA and why MIT questions, mostly focused on and showed true interest in learning more about my job as a hospital pharmacist, asking several follow up questions rearding different aspects of it. I have to say that this never really felt like an interview as my interviewer was really engaging and made me feel comfortable all along. I left the room feeling extremely excited as she made several positive remarks on what I had told her, and feeling I had really done great. Really good vibes.

All and all, I think I have a legitimate shot at both schools, and both of them are great. Just one month before decision time.

Before finishing this entry I would like to thank all those current students at both MIT Sloan and Tuck that have helped me prepare for the interviews providing insight and advice. I would have not come this far without you guys!

That would be all folks!

PS: I have been invited to interview at Duke!!

Round 1: it is time to wait

I know  I know… It´s been long enough.

Truth is I have just finished my R1 applications. Tuck, MIT, Duke and NYU are done and now it is time to wait and let admissions teams work.

This might be the hardest part: to wait knowing there is nothing else you can do right now. A week ago, I still had essays to write, ideas to polish… But now it is all waiting to get invited to interviews. Unfortunately, I have not been able to take advantage of the open-interview period at Tuck or Duke, therefore I have to still hear from any of them.

Thinking about how this R1 process have been, I still believe the best thing I did was to start early, more precisely with GMAT and TOEFL. I am still amazed by how many applicants leave GMAT for September or even October, or later if they are aiming for R2. I can understand this if you have taken the exam before and it has not gone your way, but first -timers? Not so much. Besides, if you, for some reason, don´t get a good score, you will barely have the time to retake. Once you get your GMAT out of the way, you have all your spare time to think about essays, contacting students, re-write that first essay, talk to your recommenders, change your essays a little bit again, fill out the online form…

But without time to get some breath R2 is right there, and of course there is a need to decide to which schools to apply and start the process again. I have narrowed the choices to 5 schools, depending a little bit on how much West-Coast do I want to go. I can say that one of those will be HBS and the other Stanford and I intend to add a third one: either Berkeley or Wharton or UCLA, in principle.

Speaking of UCLA, I attended an event last thursday in Madrid (quite different from every other event I have attendend as it was a dinner event) and I had the most fun. There was no presentation, it was all conversational, and we spent all the evening hanging out with alumni; what an amazing group. School events have been really helpful for me to decide in which way to go, I have to say.Although you realize (I you had not before) that every school has great alumni and great things to offer.

Well, that is all for today. I will keep you posted on how interviews (hopefully!) go and my plans for R2.

Have a great week!

Round 1 is underway

MBA 2014-2015 application season has started.

Last week I begun drafting my first essays (it was hard and painful, but beginnings are never easy), and so my application process officially started.

Finally, I have decided that I will apply to four schools: Tuck, Kellogg, Duke and MIT. Nevertheless, it is true that the fact that Kellogg only offers loans for international students with a co-signor, American or otherwise, is something that could still change my decision in the end, because. As much as I would like to be optimistic about scholarships and alternative funding, I want to remain realistic and keep all the options open, therefore, this is a disadvantage. In any case, I love Kellogg, so I will most likely apply anyway.

Tuck and Duke, on the other hand are sure choices, as any frequent reader of this blog should know by now. MIT has been the last to make the list, taking the place of Haas. This has been a difficult decision, because Haas is a top 10 school, with an almost-unbeatable location and very strong in Healthcare, so it may appear as an obvious choice. However, MIT is just as amazing, also very strong in healthcare (they offer a certificate now), being Boston one of the main hubs for pharma and biotech, and with a very social and collaborative community. Besides, for personal reasons, I am now more inclined to choose East Coast over West Coast. That has tipped the scales in favour of MIT.

There is another school that could join that group. This seems to be the week in which I have to go back on some things I had previously stated, as I will most likely retake the GMAT, and now I am also considering HBS an option after ruling it out very early during the process of selecting schools. Why? First of all, because in spite all of I had considered is still true  (huge class, only case-method…), recently I attended a presentation they hosted in Madrid, and there I got to meet several former and current students, and was amazed by how humble they are and the things they told us about HBS, its culture, campus… Besides, I have had the opportunity to share some mails with  members of the healthcare club and definitely stroke me as a very active community and full of opportunities. Awesome to put it in one word. Therefore, HBS could be in the mix and, in that case, improving my GMAT a little bit would definitely help me, for average score for HBS is around 730.

As I said, I have already started writing, and I decided to start with MIT application. IT´s two essays, one of them quite innovate, as you have to write your own recommendation, pretending to be your supervisor. That will require careful thought. I hope both can be ready by the first 10 days of july, if not in their final version, at least in a very advanced one.  Let´s not forget I have to prepare for the GMAT too, so mixing all that with my job at the hospital, there is no doubt I will have to manage my free time very wisely.

I will tell you how they are coming along.

Enjoy your summer!