That MBA Hustle and Flow

Dusting off this post from the drafts bin because it brings to mind a couple of conversations I’ve had recently with folks applying to MBA programs about how to frame their experience in their applications. (No, it’s not just an excuse to share this oldie-but-goodie video of Taraji Henson behind the scenes on Empire.)

This article by Stacy Blackman for 10Thoughts, “Filling in the White Spaces for the Job Hunt,” does a great job of explaining how and why the way you craft your story matters:

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MBA Intel Sessions: What I Learned

My last post was about setting up informational interviews with students and/or alumni from your target schools. I did a bunch of these intel sessions as I was applying, and I got great information not just about each school, but also about how to package myself as an applicant.

During my informational interview phase, I spoke to four students at UCLA Anderson, one Kellogg student, two Kellogg alums, a student at Indiana Kelley, a student at NYU Stern, and a student at Stanford GSB. Here is what I learned from them!

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You F*cking Rule

Last week, I hopped on the phone with a non-traditional applicant (who works in fashion!) to chat about all things MBA. We ended up talking about how people don’t apply to business school because everything’s oh-so-perfect, but because they realize that they’re itching for more — a higher salary, a career change, something new.

And it got me thinking…If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably decided to pursue your MBA. You’ve decided you want more. And that is f*cking awesome.

…And f*cking scary, right?

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Pre-MBA Conferences: What I Learned

A few posts ago, I put together a list of pre-MBA conferences that are happening this summer and fall all around the US (and internationally!). I had the pleasure of attending two of these conferences last year and found them incredibly valuable.

So here are some application tips lovingly curated for you from last year’s Forté Foundation MBA Women’s Leadership Conference and Riordan Diversity MBA Admissions Conference.

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Admish Consultants: Worth It?

A friend e-mailed me recently asking me what resources I used to apply to business school. Did I hire a consultant? Was it worth it? Where do I feel like I could have used extra help?

The three main resources I used to apply were the Forté Foundation MBALaunch program, the mbaMission Boot Camp, and an admissions consultant. I didn’t plan on using all three from the jump, but I found each one incredibly valuable.

But let’s focus on the most expensive of the three — admissions consulting.

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Where Oh Where to Apply?

A really great Stacy Blackman e-mail popped into my inbox earlier this week. (Maybe it popped into yours too?) It was about figuring out where to apply — is it more important for you want an MBA from one particular school (Stanford or bust!), or just to get the MBA?

I decided to post highlights from that e-mail then figured, why not also share how I picked schools? That’s what MBA blogs are all about, right?

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MBA Consult Calls: What I Learned

My last post was about scheduling free evaluation calls with admissions consultants to get advice about your candidacy and let you know what parameters you should meet to be a competitive applicant.

Now I want to share the specific feedback from the calls that I made. A lot of this advice applies broadly to non-traditional applicants or folks without a strong quantitative background. I hope this gives you a good foundation going into these calls so you can ask more specific, detailed questions during these calls than I did. (NOTE: Look at my application stats if you want context.)

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My Application Stats: Things Are Not Always As They Appear

If I were in your shoes, I’d want to know what kind of stats got a reality TV producer into business school. What does it take for a non-traditional applicant to compete? Do you need crazy scores? To start a non-profit saving orphaned penguins in Antarctica?

So in the interest of transparency and context, this is a post about my stats. But here’s the thing. When I was applying, I didn’t always find stats lists like this helpful. Of course the guy from Stanford with a 760 GMAT got into his dream school, you know?

I was so anxious about my applications and so concerned about my candidacy that I wanted to know what people saw as their big liabilities and how they dealt with them. I wanted the story behind the stats. So keep scrolling after my stats for the story behind mine! And remember, things are not always as they appear.

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An Introduction

Hi! I’m Jackie, your eponymous TV-producer-turned-MBA-student. Originally from the Bay Area, I majored in Radio / TV / Film at Northwestern University, where I fell in love with producing and spent a whole lot of time on student film sets. I moved to LA two weeks after graduation to start my producing career, and after paying my dues as an assistant, I started working as a freelance producer in reality TV. Over the past few years I’ve worked on shows like The Biggest Loser for NBC, Whodunnit for ABC, and my personal favorite, The Tester for PlayStation Network (gotta love those gamers!).

About a year and a half ago, I realized that as much as I loved producing, I was ready for a new challenge. The thought of becoming a showrunner–the light at the end of the tunnel of my producing career–didn’t excite me any more. I took the opportunity to think broadly about what new function I wanted to move into, and I decided to transition into marketing, specifically the intersection of big data and entertainment marketing. And I decided to make that transition by getting my MBA.

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