When Jennifer Chacón Salas decided to get into business consulting, her partner encouraged her to consider getting an MBA. For two-and-a-half years she’d been working in Costa Rica as a risk and advisory services manager for a U.S. company. “I am a problem solver, and I love to work with people. I did a ton of research, talked to my mentors, and decided that it [business school] was the best way to gain the skills I need to make a career change,” she explains. Eager to start her MBA journey, she began researching how to get into business school on a budget. “I realized that I did not know anyone with an MBA, I had no support network for the application, I had no ties to any school, and I couldn’t afford the resources that most people used for applications: admissions consultants, GMAT tutors, resume reviews,” she says. While listening to an episode of the Touch MBA podcast, she heard about Forté’s MBALaunch program. She applied, got accepted, and started in January 2021. “It was amazing. I made great friends and attended workshops to craft my essays and my resume. I was able to network with students, alumni, and admissions officers from top schools and had meetings with amazing consultants,” she remembers. A bonus of participating in the program: Jennifer received many discounts and application fee waivers and had access to free resources. “There are study groups, people giving away their subscriptions and GMAT prep books, and peers willing to proofread your essays and resume.” The most valuable part of the program is the network I built. Overall, she says her return on investment was well worth it. “Honestly, I paid only a fraction of what I received.” And she got into Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, where she serves as a class rep and will graduate in 2024. Round-the-Clock Support Throughout the business school application process, Jennifer knew Forté had her back. With coffee chats, consultant meetings, AMAs with the Forté team, Q&A forums, and networking nights at her fingertips, Jennifer was never on her own during the b-school application process. And someone in her cohort always had answers to her questions and was willing to share their story. “The most valuable part of the program is the network I built, my application peer group, the Latin Business Queens became my main application support network. We supported one another through all GMAT and GRE disappointments,” she says. In addition, she especially enjoyed workshops led by Angela Guido of Career Protocol about authenticity in marketing. “She told us, ‘You’re letting people get to know you. You’re evaluating them as much as they are evaluating you.’ That really made a difference in how I approached this process,” Jennifer explains. Jennifer received further support from MBALaunch’s roundtables, which provide an opportunity for participants to speak to others in the program. They shared advice and discussed how they chose their business school and made valuable connections in their network. Paying It Forward Despite a busy school schedule, Jennifer continues to be involved in MBALaunch webinars. She even paid for a woman to take part in the program. When Jennifer learned one woman she was in contact with couldn’t afford the $600 enrollment fee, due to her location and personal issues, she offered to loan her the money. “MBALaunch felt like a support group made especially for me. A restriction like geography or safety couldn’t be what stood in her way, so I paid for her,” Jennifer says. The MBA application is designed for the people who are already privileged, and MBALaunch can help close that gap for women like me, who come from low-income backgrounds in developing and third-world countries. Removing barriers to academic and career obstacles for women with similar roots is important to Jennifer. “I grew up in a low-income background. Advancement has always been a fight. It was really difficult,” Jennifer says. “If I can make the journey easier for someone else, that’s important. It’s no one else’s responsibility but getting support when you need it makes a giant difference. I knew I could make it a little easier for someone else.” Jennifer says she believes in MBALaunch and is grateful for the support she received from the program during the arduous business school application process. She says, “The MBA application is designed for the people who are already privileged, and MBALaunch can help close that gap for women like me, who come from low-income backgrounds in developing and third-world countries.” Learn more about Forté MBALaunch and upcoming application deadlines.