Today I’m really excited to talk with my friend Jennifer Tang, a Kellogg MBA just entering her first year. She tells us about how life has been after taking the GMATs and before entering one of the nations’ top MBA programs.
Jennifer is perhaps one of the younger members of her class but her drive to succeed and background as a nationally ranked chess player speak volumes. We weren’t able to get in an audio clip of our conversation, but here’s the transcript:
1)How does it feel to be going to business school? Do you think your emotions are any different from what they were when you were about to enter Stanford?
I am both excited and anxious to be going to business school. With just a couple weeks left, I’m definitely feeling the enormity of it all– the tremendous opportunities that this experience will offer. After signing my considerable loans, there’s also a tiny voice at the back of mind reminding me, “don’t mess up this once in a lifetime experience!” As a caveat– I deferred a year of business school so most of the heart-pounding excitement has dissipated to a more practical frame of mind. Both Stanford and Kellogg inspire an overwhelming sense of opportunity.. and humblness. I am very lucky! I’d be willing to bet that my Kellogg experience will be very similar to my Stanford experience just because of the collaborative, friendly culture that the two schools share in common.
2)How are you spending your summer before you begin your adventurous ride at Kellogg Business School?
I spent this summer traveling in Alaska and Asia, spending time at home with my family and gearing back up for Kellogg.
3)From the day you decided to do the MBA til now, there must’ve been some moments that made you second guess yourself and question what you’re doing. Perhaps you were stuck on application essays or frustrated with GMAT studying. Tell us about it.
For me, the process was difficult at two points: 1) writing the application essays 2) deferring. The applications are incredibly long and require a great deal of personal reflection and thought, not to mention great writing skills. I really couldn’t have finished them without the help of several truly great friends who not only were good sounding boards and critics, but also a source of much-needed encouragement and inspiration. The process of writing helped me clearly identify not only why business school but also what I truly wanted to do with my life, both short-term and long-term. But after meeting other accepted students, I knew that I would stand to gain even more from the business school experience with a third year of work experience. An exciting opportunity to work for a tech startup came up and after much deliberation, I put in a request for a deferral.
4)One good reason people pursue the MBA is for a change in lifestyle and career prospects. What kind of lifestyle changes and career prospects were you looking for when you took the GMAT and filled out your application essays?
I started this MBA process to gain essential business and quantitative skills to prepare me for a career change to marketing. Given that I’m in an early career stage with a liberal arts degree, I thought that the business school would be the right next step for me. Also, from my experience at Stanford and the working world, I know that I learn the most from my peers. So two fun years of learning from some of the best and brightest without the constraints of the work world sound pretty great to me!
5)Are there any specific events or programs you are looking forward to as you return to school? Classes? Trips?
I’m looking forward to going on a KWEST trip in August– Kellogg 2Ys organize about 30 pre-term trips to destinations around the world, from the Galapagos to Japan. Everyone I’ve talked to have said that their Kellogg experience was the two best years of their lives. I don’t think it can get better than that!
6)Lastly, do you have any comments for our students regarding GMAT prep? Perhaps on mental preparation or coming into the test with the right mindest?
In my GMAT prep, I used two books: 1) The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2) Kaplan GMAT 800. My recommendation is to isolate your weaknesses and focus on strengthening them. Lastly, I’d recommend to go into the test with a relaxed and calm frame of mind. Don’t overwork on the night before and the day of the test. Do something relaxing! For me, this meant watching adrenaline-pumping Kill Bill the night before and doing some casual shopping the morning of… You can never underestimate the psychological factor of test taking. Good luck!
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