Monday, August 17, 2009

Hello, My Name Is

It strikes me as somewhat odd that for the first time in my life, an admissions committee might consider me a diversity candidate. First of all, I'm female. From what I gather about business school, being female ranges from somewhat odd (NYU Stern is 39% women) to quite odd (Tepper at Carnegie Mellon is an astoundingly low 21% women). Pair my gender with the fact that I'm a non-profit arts worker with a M.A. in Art History and a secret life as a freelance art critic for a handful newspapers and magazines, living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and my guess is that I won't be commiserating about GMAT prep or Kellogg application essays with any of my current friends and colleagues.

In fact, applying to business school is virtually unheard of in both my social and work circles. Considering it as a possibility is exciting, but it's also more than a little isolating. I'm hoping that's where this blog and the internet will come in, to give me a much-needed sounding board and community.

I should clarify that there are some more ordinary things about me too. I'm Caucasian. I'm currently 27 years old with two years of full-time work experience. I have a B.A. in Art History and Economics from a top-10 liberal arts college, from which I graduated with a 3.5 GPA. I haven't yet taken the GMAT, but I scored a 640 on my first practice test.

My plan is a lengthy one, but I have always been one for planning. My current goal is to matriculate in the fall of 2011. I recognize that I could consolidate this time line significantly by sending in my applications this winter and planning to start school in the fall of 2010, but I worry that my lack of work and leadership experience, and possibly weak letters of recommendation, would be my downfall.

So instead, I plan to spend the extra year bolstering my application. I'll take on additional projects and responsibilities at work to give me some meaty material to drawn upon in my application, and I'll also work on strengthening my relationships with two or three key supervisors and colleagues to develop as possible recommendation-writers.

This fall, I will prepare for the GMAT and take the test, in addition to doing some preliminary reading and research about schools and the application process. By the spring, I'll hopefully have a solid GMAT score, and I'll be able to start honing in on a final list of schools and do some more in-depth research including talking to current students and visiting campuses. That will give me the summer to work on applications, and I should be ready to submit applications by the fall of 2010.


  1. Nice plan and nice evaluation of your candidature. I got ur blog address from beatthegmat site.
    All the best for ur prep.

    keep rocking,

  2. Hey nice blog. All i would say is follow ur heart/mind and go for it .. think about workex, apps, etc later but first give GMAT and then take things one step at a time. Its always important to do things we want to and may be you would be the successful MBA applicant in ur circle :)
    Just do what ya wanna do as i am .. viz composing resignation letter as i am practising for GMAT and reading blogs and ofcourse doing work :)

  3. Thanks for your comments Prasant and Abhinav.

    Abhinav, I think you're right that I need to focus on GMAT right now. I tend to get so caught up in planning that I end up procrastinating on the matter at hand. But, that's easier said than done!

  4. Hi Courtney

    Linked to your blog via xlick. You're a fantastic writer (and a girl - very rare thing in the MBA world...)! Was wondering if we could feature you on our site
    If you're at all interested please drop an email to

    Best, Maria