Saturday, August 21, 2010

Kaplan's Road to Business School- Part 2

My notes were so long from the AdCom panel I decided to split my post about the event into two posts.

After the panel the b-school fair opened but I stayed for the GMAT strategy session. The session went over a few tricks for quant. We tackled a sentence correction question and there was some time spent on how your GMAT score compares to top schools and post MBA salary.

After the GMAT session there was an admissions strategy session, "The Dos and Don't of Business School Admissions."

Some facts thrown out were
-each application takes 40 hours of time to complete
-most people spend about an average of 100 hours studying for the GMAT
-students scoring 700+ study an average of 114 hours
-a score of 700 is the 90th percentile

I headed over to the b-school fair. By this time, 3:45p, I was really hungry and feeling sick and weak. I ate breakfast around 10:30a. Registration started at 12:30p and the only snacks available throughout the day were cookies and the thought of eating cookies made me feel sicker. This made it hard for me to really make the effort in engaging the schools I am interested in.

I started with Boston University because I went there for my MS in TV. I spoke with an alum. The only question I really wanted answered was how many alumni move to and work in Los Angeles? I want to settle here so if I am going to leave for two years I need to come back to a big network. The gentleman said it was only him; He didn't know of anyone else that came out here. Most BU SMG grads stay in Boston or move to New York. That was easy to scratch that school off my list!

The next school I spoke with was UC San Diego Rady School of Business. I am nervous about this school because the MBA program is only five years old and is not yet accredited by the AACSB (the university as a whole is accredited but the Rady school itself is not). The representative said she expects the school to have its accreditation by Spring or Fall 2012. She said accreditation depends on what organizations you would like to be affiliated with post-MBA. She went on to tell me how she got her Masters in Education from Columbia, and ivy league school, but it was not accredited by this one educational organization. So if she wanted to be affiliated with this specific organization, she had to fill out a 50 page application instead of a 2 page application. She said the advantage of such a young program is that students come into their offices all the time with suggestions for classes and events to help shape the program. She also said that they are being very selective in who they choose to offer admission. They want to be taken seriously as a competitive program; they can't afford to not be choosy.
I asked her if the alumni stay in San Diego and is there a presence in Los Angeles? She said the alumni either stay in San Diego or move up to San Fransisco. I'm on the fence about how I feel about that.

There was a big crowd around UCLA Anderson table. I wasn't worried about speaking with them because I have already attended an information session and sat in on a class.

The Pepperdine Graziadio table was pretty empty but I went to an open house so I wasn't too concerned if I missed talking to them. I still wasn't feeling so hot at this point.

UC Irvine and USC were the two big schools I wanted to talk to. There were big crowds around both these tables. USC was out of brochures when I got there. I tried to listen to other people's questions and listen to the representative's answers. USC is a big entertainment school but many of the internships are unpaid because so many people want to work in entertainment. A lot of smaller entertainment companies aren't sure how to use MBA graduates. I'm not going to drop all this money on loans and get a masters degree to wind up in the same position I am now. Think about that anyone that may be interested in specializing in entertainment.

I was out of energy at this point so I went home.

I learned a lot from this event and Now I know a few things for the next fair:

-hit up the schools you want to talk to first and as early as possible. You and the representatives will be drained of energy at the end of the day.
-Have your questions written down on a note card and review them before you go to a table. I only had a couple of questions in my head and there was so much more I could have asked.
-EAT A GOOD BREAKFAST, and hide snacks in your purse that will give you energy throughout the day. If I wasn't feeling so sickly by the end I probably would have spoke with UCI and USC

Another thing I wanted to touch on was dress code.

It was a business dress event and I saw one guy in jeans and one guy in shorts. They stuck out like sore thumbs and if they spoke with any schools at the fair I'm sure they will forever be remembered for how they were dressed.

Dress code isn't as defined for women as it is for men. I bought a suit specifically for this event. My only suit before this one is at my mothers house and I bought it in 2004 when I was interviewing for undergraduate internships. Then I realized NO ONE IN TELEVISION PRODUCTION WEARS A SUIT so I never bought another one.

There were maybe five other women I saw besides me in a full suit and three of them were wearing skirts. I was wearing pants and I felt out of place. I also look much younger than I am (I still get carded at restaurants and they scrutinize my ID very hard to make sure its real); I felt like I was playing dress up more than dressed professional. This probably added to my feelings of not feeling what I was wearing fit in. If wearing a skirt will make me feel confident, that's an easy thing to control. I have to be able to sell myself to the representatives that I will be an awesome addition to their class.


  1. "I'm not going to drop all this money on loans and get a masters degree to wind up in the same position I am now"

    Lisa i have been following your blog recently..So whats wrong with working in the entertainment industry?

  2. The entertainment industry is not for everyone. It's low pay, long hours, no benefits, and few jobs offer stability. If a show gets cancelled, you lose your job. Or a show may only last a pre-determined time, such as an awards show, and then you are left looking to get a job somewhere else.

    It's been a struggle for me the last four years and I want to put myself in a better position.