Forte Connect
MBA - Application Process

How to make your final decision

shutterstock_124546969Before I started my applications, I narrowed down to only four schools in the region that I definitely wanted to stay. I put best of my efforts in all applications and got great offers from all of them. Then the most difficult time came, and I had to face the reality that I could only go to one of them. So I went deeper in my research. While convinced by the statistics on post-MBA placement rates, salary ranges and national/international rankings of all schools I applied to, I focused my research on specific centers of excellences and club activities in all schools, and eventually I got attracted by the highly respected and well-established Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and the Center for Social Value Creation at Robert H. Smith School of Business. Aiming to run my own sustainability consulting firm and make the world a better place, I feel the professional settings of Smith provide exactly what I need to prepare myself for the upcoming challenges and tasks.

The fit didn’t stop at the career level. In order to make sure that I would like the program inside out, I have attended almost every admissions event from every school, including QS MBA Tour/1-2-1, MBA Information sessions, Class visits, Open House, and Admitted Students Weekends at all schools. Smith topped my choice after all the personal contacts I made during these events. The efficiency, responsiveness, humility, fraternity, and community-oriented pride consistently shined out from every individual I have met from Smith: students, faculty, alumni and staff. It then became such an easy choice for me as I know I have found my people and my home. Everyone has different priority, and I knew that I would have slightly different time management from other MBA students – I am a mother of a new born baby, and at least 50% of my time after school would be devoted to my child and family, so a comfortable class size would give me a better feeling of having most of the things under control, and the more community oriented atmosphere would enable me to concentrate more on the actual stuff I want to achieve during the 2-year MBA journey.

Furthermore, I did not only look at what I want to do post-MBA, I also thought about why and how I want to do it. More importantly, I tried to take a step back and look deep inside myself. There were times that I was back and forth about my decision, but I eventually settled down all my thoughts toward my life goal as a whole – not only be a successful career woman, but also be a successful mother and a model for my daughter.

So, before you make the final decision for your school at this time, think about the bigger picture and the long-term goal you want achieve instead of how much of your 1st year bonus will be post-MBA, and push the button of deposit on the school that will serve the best to help you achieve the bigger goal Then, divide in and utilize these two years to the maximum extend you can to learn, explore, experience and build your life-time network at the school of your choice!

Jun Wang
Forté Fellow and MBA Candidate 2016
University of Maryland (Smith School of Business)

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