Got to work this morning and, to my pleasant surprise, I found an email from McCombs inviting me to interview :) It's amazing how validating it was to read that email. It's confirmation that things are moving along and that my application is competitve. Word on the BW boards is that McCombs interviews about half of all applicants and 96% of admits. I have two weeks to register for an interview and since their admissions are rolling I'd like to get it done ASAP to help expedite a decision. Since work is really busy for me this month, I don't think I'll be heading to Austin to interview, so I was happy to see there are several alumni interviewers in my area.
Took the afternoon off to drive up to LA for my interview at Anderson. Lucky for me there was also an information session and a "Women & the MBA" event. Three birds, one stone! The interview was with a 2nd year student and last about 40 minutes. Nothing out of the ordinary with this interview, basic resume review/why mba/why now/why Anderson. The interviewer and I established a quick rapport and I feel like she understood my motivations, so I feel like it was a good interview. The information session was with two 2nd year students. I really enjoyed hearing about the Applied Management Research project, which is a two quarter practicum required to graduate. You can do a field study with an existing company, work on starting your own company, or do an academic research project. You get to pick your team and your project. One example project was consulting for the Santa Barbara Fire Department, doing a feasibility study for a potential merger of the city and county fire departments. It seems like an awesome program and a good way to build on your internship with even more practical experience, which is great for career changers. It also sounds like due to the flexibility of the program in year 2 and the location, that it's totally feasible to continue to have an internship during your second year. The Women's event was pretty cool. It started with a social hour with snacks and mingling with 2nd year students at tables by industry/function. I was impressed with every student I spoke to. Although the formal presentation started a half hour late, it was interesting. Linda Baldwin gave a short address and told us that it was an excellent time to apply (I'm thinking maybe round 1 apps are low?), then there were two panel discussions. One was with alums, one with current students. It was interesting to hear the career changing stories of the alums. There were some good questions from the audience and some head scratching questions. One woman was really determined to find out exactly how many hours a week each panel member worked after her MBA. Ah, call me crazy but that's not an MBA issue, that's a choice of employer issue. An MBA doesn't mean you have to work 100 hrs a week in investment banking. If anything, an MBA gives you way more options. I'm beginning to realize that many women have misconceptions about the MBA, and I'm glad that organizations like the Forte Foundation and this UCLA event exist to dispel some of those myths.
Sounds like Anderson releases decisions weekly and will probably start releasing Round 1 decisions around Thanksgiving up to the January cutoff. I'll be waiting...and waiting...and developing OCD checking my email and status! :)
One other thing...for those of you out there with little to no work experience, the folks at Anderson were really pushing the message that they are open to early career folks (0-2 years work experience). I'm not an advocate of b-school without work experience, but they said if you feel like you're ready for an MBA, go ahead and apply. I think you'll get more out of it with experience and the context it provides, but I think they see this early career thing as a way to get more women interested in the MBA. Women do the math...22/23 out of undergrad + 5 years work experience + 2 years MBA, means you're 29/30 and re-starting your career...when do you start a family? It's probably a deterent to some women, like the one who was so worked up about how many hours a week the panel members work.