Friday, November 4, 2011

Final stretch for admissions...

I thought I would start off with some tradition and that is LGO Hockey.

The pic is from our first game and proof that I dressed the part and was able to scoot around without ever having been on the ice before. Some of my classmates thought it was crazy but they all encouraged the lunacy and I went with it… my sore rear, multiple aches, and worried wife were all worth it!

Back to topic: admissions season still has 5-6 six weeks to go and many applicants are busy at work putting their GMAT/essays/letters together prior to the deadline. I thought it would be a good time to share my thoughts on “typical” questions I have received over the past months.

Q: Is there a difference between applying through Sloan or Engineering? I had the same question when I went through the application process and have come to the conclusion that it really doesn’t matter. The reason for this is that, at the end of the day, your application will go through the hands of the Engineering Department you are applying too, Sloan, and LGO.

Q: Is there an advantage to using the GRE over the GMAT when applying through Sloan? I don’t think so and the only advice I can offer is for applicants to take this for what it is: a standardized test. If anything, see what test plays to your strengths and use that as your playing card.

Q: I am unsure of what I want to do after the program and this worries me? Welcome to the club! Rest assured that many LGOs come into the program not knowing what they want to do upon graduation and this is okay. I think the key is to realize that you are interested in Technology and you have what it takes to make things happen (Leadership potential). Having said this, I would discourage you from having complete lack of focus!!!

Q: Is an Engineering degree really required? I would say that a technically oriented degree is required: math, science, engineering, architecture, and so on. LGO, after all, is a dual degree MBA/Engineering masters program.

Q: So I already have a Masters in Engineering: does this disqualify me? Not at all, about 10-15% of my class came to LGO holding MS degrees. The key is to understand how the Engineering discipline you are applying too as an LGO will help you in achieving your goals. A thought: getting two MS degrees in the same field might not really expand your horizons and as such, if you are not interested in another field, other advanced business degree programs might be a better fit for you.

Q: I currently have two job opportunities and am wondering which one will increase my odds of getting into LGO. What do you think? My opinion is that you should pursue the career path that best suits you and, if LGO is in this path, then you should pursue LGO.

Statement: “So I think LGO will really help me develop the next carbon-nanotube technology for space applications… it will revolutionize the World.” Ok… so I am exaggerating but you get the picture: this person should pursue a PhD. in Material Sciences and not LGO.

Statement: “I don’t have the minimum experience but I am really good!!!” Here is the skinny: as an LGO/MBA student much of the learning comes directly from your classmates and experience is what makes the class rich. Unlike Engineering, where many students go straight into an MS, an MBA does require am experience critical mass in order to get some value out of it. If you haven’t had the work experience, in my opinion, you will be missing out on what the program has to offer.

Q: Any other advice you can offer? Be true to yourself and be authentic in your essays and application as a whole. Avoid exaggerating and be prepared to share moments failure and what learning you drew from these experiences. It is okay to fail if you make it a point to fall forward and keep going.

A disclaimer as a parting line: the above is simply my opinion—a reflection of my—experience. As the above is not Gospel, if you have a good story, and feel LGO is right for you I definitely encourage you to go for it!

Best of luck to all applicants!!!