The Decision

Don´t worry, I am not LeBron James, and this is not a special TV show in which I´ll waste your time for 2 hours before sharing what I am going to do next. So here we go:

I have decided to become a member of Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth MBA Class of 2017.

That´s it. It is settled.

It has not been easy and I have taken my time. MIT Sloan, the other remaining contender, is an amazing school (like I need to point that out, right?), and the conversations I´ve had with current students and alumni have not make it any easier for me, as with every conversation I wanted more and more to go there. How couldn´t I? The opportunities are amazing and it´s Boston! And then there is the weight those three letters carry when put together: M-I-T.

“Why Tuck then?”

As I metioned on my last post, and considering my goals ,both schools are mostly on par, and both foster strong and collaborative communities; so it would come down to style points.

Tuck has one of the most loyal, engaging and supportive alumni network, if not the most, and it showed. And that was key for me to make this decision. Indeed, after been admitted, Tuck was by far the school from which I received the most mails or calls: alumni, current students, my interviewer… even the Director of the Healthcare Initiative contacted me to congratulate me and offered to talk about healthcare-related oportunities at Tuck. They showed love, and I was not even a Tuckie yet.

Besides, I like Hanover and its rural setting. Okay, Boston is mindblowing and I love ig citites; but I also think, already coming from a big city, Hanover can provide a different experience, that of a true American college campus and it can also be a friendlier environment (and make for an easier transition) if my girlfriend ends up coming with me.

And then, there is the quite generous scholarship Tuck has offered. While this is not a decision that can be made only thinking about money, getting an MBA is expensive and requires a big effort, even more so when you are coming from Europe. Therefore it would be foolish not to consider a scholarship as a key factor.

I am aware that Sloan would provide me with a great community experience, an amazing and broader alumni network, just as many job opportunites, and even a more powerful brand wordlwide thanks to MIT (I would say both Sloan or Tuck names are not that very well known outside the MBA or business circles). I could have picked Sloan easily and be just as happy. But, beyond the reasons I have mentioned, I also went with my gut, and my gut was saying Tuck.

But we are just at the beginning of the road.

I´ll keep you posted.

Have a great week!

P.S. In a not so related topic… Patriots are Super Bowl Champions again!! It was about time…


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 MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan School of Management

I was ready to F-bomb like Tom Brady after losing against the Packers in Lambeau Field. It was late in the evening and I had not yet received a call from MIT Sloan admissions.

Living in Madrid, I did not really expect to know anything before 6 pm. I had spent a quite morning for the most part and I planned a Christmas shopping afternoon/evening with my girlfriend, as we needed some errants to run, and afterwards we were going to meet some friends. It was a great plan to try keep my head out of the MIT thing.

I will go ahead and say I did not completely achieve my goal, however, and after 7:30pm I started to look at the phone every 3 minutes, just in case something would magically appear on the screen… Even more so after learning that other people in Europe had already been called. But 8pm and then 9pm came and there was nothing.

I had started to give up hope, thinking about how well I had felt about the interview and what great vibes I felt regarding my MIT chances, so when at 9:30pm I received an e-mail from MIT and logged in to check the decision, I was sure I would find either a waitlist offer or a ding. But when I read the note I almost could not believe it. I WAS IN!! At MIT no less. And then celebration time begun for my friends, my girlfriend and me.

Today can be another big day with Tuck decision, and then Duke on friday. But it feels great to know I won´t have to worry about R2.

I will tell you how it goes. Thanks for being there!

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!!

Invited to interview!!

Yesterday I received two e-mails saying I was invited to interview at both MIT and Tuck. It was a very exciting moment, since it meant I am one step closer to the goal of getting admitted and it is also encouraging that they think I am worthy of further consideration. That I am in the mix, in other words.

However, after an initial moment of joy, I started thinking about preparing, and preparing throughly. Following a somewhat relaxed wait, now I am truly nervous as those interviews will happen in a two-week period from now and I feel I still have plenty to do. The good thing is that I won´t have to travel for this two: MIT Admissions team will come to Madrid and Tuck will be a video-interview.

I think one of the key aspects of the interview is to remain as calm and confident as possible. Of course, some last minute nervousness will be on the menu, but in the end you just have to picture yourself and speak about your experiences, you just have to do it in a complelling and clear way. Therefore I think my aproach will be “let´s shine”. The rest is out of my control.

Regarding Duke-Fuqua and NYU-Stern, I believe it won´t be until mid November that I will hear from them. I am confident I can get invited at Duke as I think the fit is there and I did my best to show it. But for now, let´s focus on the tow I have already been invited to and to start working a little bit on my R2 strategy.

Wish me luck!




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!

The one with the MIT application

I know, long time no see… but July has been a very busy month: studying for the GMAT, writing essays and all dose days on-call at the hospital.

Good news is I have almost finished my MIT application. Of course there is one last essay that I have to polish, and I have somethings still to complete on the online application form, but the hardest part of the job is done.

It has been as difficult a process as I had been told. Difficult in that it´s a lot of effort and time that you have to put in to finally come with a satisfactory, compelling essay… let alone three. First you have to fin the time, then try to remain focused when you are hearing all those people outside having fun around the pool, try to think of the stories you want to tell and how… My first draft of an essay was a complete disaster, in conclusion. But with practice comes improvement. Bottom line, it requires some dedication.

I have almost completed my first two essays for MIT  and, even better, according to my recommenders, LORs are close to be ready too, so it seems I will meet the september 23rd deadline. Now I have to decide what to do for the optional essay/presentation/video. I want to take my time before deciding what to do and what “format” to use, because I would really like for it to stand out, or at the very least, being something that is not so typical. That kind of freedom is both exciting and daunting.

With MIT so advanced, I plan to move to Tuck´s application this week, since I would like to have it “almost ready” also by the third week of the month. I like to think that the process will be smoother this time, with the experience I have already gained.

Then, of course, I have to balance everything so I can get some quality time to keep preparing  the GMAT. I will tell you how it goes on a different post, when I have alreayd taken the first prep exam.

Enjoy your summer…those of you who are not applying to BSchool!