Five on friday

1. Cleaned my desk at work and patiently removed every trace of blu-tac on the wall. And I’m not coming back, except for my farewell party on Tuesday. Feels wonderful.
2. Reviewing my notes for my coming interview with a Haas alumni. I anticipate that it will feel weird to speak English with another person who shares the same native language, but well, rules are rules.
3. My one little word for 2014 is “Adventure”. A new addition to our family, a big move abroad and becoming a student again are both scary and exciting at the same time.
4. Wondering what to do with this blog. Maybe I don’t need it so much anymore.
5. Good luck to all MBA applicants around here, and stay open. The name of school you end up at does not matter as much as what you will make of it. I believe that destiny usually puts us in the right place.


Have a wonderful holiday season !


Best of luck to all of you who are still waiting for decision releases !

Here’s my current status :
GSB : accepted, waiting for financial package proposition
Haas : interview scheduled early Jan
Anderson : interviewed

My maternity leave is starting very soon. At least I can fully relax now that I am sure that I will be attending Bschool in California next Fall 🙂

How and why did I get in ?

As I just finished filing my financial aid application, I wanted to write a post that could be helpful to prospective MBA applicants. I may not have all the answers to why these amazing profiles were dinged by GSB, and not me, but for what it is worth, here is my two cents.


– I started my preparation early, about a year before my target schools R1 deadlines. It gave me plenty of time to contact alumni from my country, understand each school distinctive DNA and prepare for the TOEFL (Jan 13) and GMAT (May 13)  exams. This whole period was also helpful for my husband to adjust to the idea that we would be moving, and plan for his own career.

– I anticipated on anything that was predictable , in particular:  update my resume, gather material for goals essays, contact recommenders and get the official transcripts from my university. My goals essays were probably almost done by the time the schools published their questions, and I only needed to do minor adjustments in case they did not fit the word limit or the exact wording. I submitted all my applications in August so that I could focus on my work/family life again.

– I was aware of my weaknesses. I am a non native speaker, and do not use English at work at all. I am not used to writing essays either. On top of that, I was unsure of my determination to pursue an MBA and turn my whole family life upside down. I was afraid I would give up and chose stability over adventure.
Hiring a consultant to work on the first drafts of my essays helped me overcome these weaknesses, also because I felt I had already spent so much money on my applications that it was impossible step back.


– I fit the admission requirements. Among them, GSB puts a strong focus on leadership development, and my own distinctive strengths have always been people management and leadership. I had a lot of examples to prove it, which also earned me a fast track promotion at my current company (blue chip).

– I may belong to a less competitive pool of applicants (European mother in tech)…

– I did not rush my applications, so the execution was probably as good, thorough and sincere as it could possibly be. I guess that when the adcoms reviewed my application, it was pretty easy for them to understand who I truly am and how I could add value to the class. And people like it when you make things easier for them.

I’m in !

Finally the wait is over. Now I can flaunt my new J. Choo handbag. Now I can say that I am currently spending my last days at work, and will not need to come back after maternity leave. Now I can tell everyone that I am moving to California next Fall.
I’m relieved beyond words.

Congratulations to all you you who received their offers, and for those who are still waiting, do not lose hope and don’t take anything personally. Destiny sometime’s a mistery. Many years back, if a foreign country had not denied me a visa renewal (which really upset me at that time), I would have never met my husband…

I was also invited to interview for Haas this week, but they still need to find me a suitable interviewer, since the first they assigned to me is out of the country for the next two weeks. GSB or Haas might be a no brainer for most of people, but with two kids and not much savings…I need to know what all my options are.
Not forgetting that I’m also still waiting for a decision from Anderson.
What would you do if you were in my shoes ?

Interview reports

I recently had my Skype interview with a second-year student and I wanted to thank MBAthenonprofitway for her very valuable post, because it turned out I got pretty much the same questions. It looks like Anderson has a very standardized interview process, which I find fair for all applicants.

The interviewer was very punctual and added me as one of his Skype contacts 15 min prior to the scheduled time, but he must have had a wifi connection because the sound wasn’t that good at some times. The whole conversation lasted a bit less than 30-minutes and was very casual and straightforward. You don’t really get time to do small talk.

He had only access to my résumé, which he looked at to keep track of what I was saying.

The questions I got were:

  • Walk me through your résumé (with some additional questions to clarify specific points)
  • Why do you want an MBA and why now? He insisted a lot on the “now” aspect.
  • Why Anderson?
  • What is your leadership style ?
  • What clubs are you interested in at Anderson?
  •   Give me an example of a a past conflict that you experienced and how did you solve it?

I had the time to ask him two questions

  • Did you reach out to the alumni network ? Under which circumstances ? How was it ?
  • What do you like most in your experience at Anderson ?

Overall it gave me a really positive impression of the school and now that I have sent my official transcripts I am looking forward to hearing back from them. It seems that they might be able to release a few early decisions before 1/28/2014. Fingers crossed !


I was extremely relieved when I received an interview invitation from Stanford GSB. They gave me the name of an alumnus to contact, and he asked me to meet him at a hotel bar. In spite of the terrible traffic, I got there on time but he was running 45 mins late. It was already late in the evening and with my pregnancy making me feel sleepy all the time, my energy (and stress) level was rather low.

The overall interview was very conversational. He did not take any notes and even declined to have a hard-copy of my resumé. He said he had already taken a look at it, and that would be enough for him.

This is how it went:

  • He introduced himself
  • Resume walkthrough
  • Discussion about his own experience
  • Why an MBA ? He insisted a lot on this question and the potential ROI it could have for me.
  • Discussion around the alumni network in our country
  • Discussion about family life in the Bay Area

Interestingly enough, I did not get any explicit behavioral questions. I don’t know whether it is a good sign or not. I am wondering how he managed to gather enough facts to write his review… He looked pretty confident that he had all he needed though.

Since we had pretty much the same educational background, I felt that we connected well, and that my motivations for wanting an MBA really made sense for him. More than a decade ago, he only applied to Harvard and Stanford, but he also understood my reasons for targeting California.

He insisted that the interview was only one datapoint in the whole process, and that he wouldn’t know how my application is viewed as a whole. I guess that his job is mainly to make out whether an applicant has been lying in his written application or is just too antisocial to fit into the Stanford GSB community.

I am counting down the days to 11th Dec. I even have a gift ready for myself if I get that famous call from D. Bolton (a new J. Choo handbag 😉 )… However, I know that there is some element of luck in the whole process and I’m prepared to deal with disappointment too. I will then simply have to wait until X-mas day to open my present..

Unfortunately, still no news from Haas. My application went to “ready for review” on 11/8 and I have not lost all hope yet ! When I submitted my three applications in late August, I had the impression that Haas was my strongest, and I was happy with what I did with the essays. Let’s hope the adcoms will feel the same about them.

My husband is currently interviewing for jobs in the Bay area, so it would be definitely harder for us if I study in LA…but well, for the moment, who am I to decide ?

Let’s put the finishing touches…

I just came back from a 10 day vacation in The Carribean and it’s now time to prepare for the last steps of my applications. I can’t believe the wait is nearly over.

I received an invitation from GSB on 11/7 🙂 and will interview in person this week. Needless to say, I am thrilled and anxious as the same time. I know it is irrational, but I can’t help wondering how my pregnancy will unconsciously influence the interviewer’s opinion on my ability to handle the MBA program.

No news from Haas yet, but my application just went “under review” on 11/8 only. I guess I still stand a chance and I just need to be patient.

Good luck to all R1 applicants !

First invitation !

…And hopefully not last 🙂

I just received an invite from UCLA Anderson and I scheduled a skype interview on week 47. There is no way I could manage an on-campus interview on such a short notice (Paris-LA plane tickets don’t go cheap). Plus, I already had the chance to visit the campus last year when I was traveling on family holiday.

That leaves plenty of time to prepare.

If I matriculate at Anderson, I really hope to do so with substantial financial aid. With two toddlers to raise, money will definitely carry weight in the final decision. Now I have to do everything I can to make them want me. Badly.

Hoping to hear from Haas and GSB soon !