Sitting on the floor of my friend’s Palo Alto apartment last summer, surrounded by GMAT study materials, I found myself in need of a brief respite. Switching tabs to my Gmail, a perfectly timed email from Forté Foundation regarding their summer Forté Forums awaited. It was just the motivational break from studying I needed. Ten minutes later I’d signed up for the Los Angeles Forum, and with a smile and an upbeat tune I eased back into GMAT prep. I’d recently graduated from UT Austin, traveled the world through a social entrepreneurship program with Semester at Sea, and had accepted a summer job at Stanford Graduate School of Business working for the Summer Institute for General Management. In the fall I would move to Dallas to join Oliver Wyman as a consultant. My goal before that time was to figure out what I’d need to do to prepare myself for MBA applications in the future. I’d been involved with Forté Foundation throughout undergrad, attending conferences such as the Forté C2B Conference and the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business IBC conference. The friends and connections I’d made had really resonated with me and I was looking forward to furthering this experience at the Forté Forum in LA. Time passed quickly that summer and a short month later, I’d taken my GMAT and was off to the event. I didn’t know anyone else attending but quickly found some friendly faces and struck up a conversation. We were all at different stages of preparing to apply to business school, yet had a lot in common. Recent grads and industry experts alike we all wanted to learn more about what an MBA program could offer. Fortunately, the forum provided the exact insights we were looking for. Most of the schools I was interested in had representatives at the event who could speak to the specifics of their programs from curriculum to student organizations. Panels of alumni enhanced the richness of the experience through their personal stories of why they had chosen to pursue an MBA and the journey that had gotten them to where they are today. I learned about each school’s campus environments and got a much better sense of where I’d fit best. I also met some current MBALaunchers who suggested that I apply for the program, which I’m very glad I did. Whether you are just learning what an MBA program is or are already working on your applications to matriculate next year, I highly encourage attending a Forté Forum. Madeline Keulen is a Consultant at Oliver Wyman. Originally from Sydney, Australia she graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, Phi Beta Kappa and plans to pursue an MBA in the future. She’s currently a member of Forté Foundation’s MBALaunch program.