When I sat at my computer, took a deep breath, and clicked “open” on my very first business school application this fall, I immediately realized the true value that Forté MBALaunch provided me. The fact that I was confident in tackling each section and had a toolkit of ways to think about the oft-dreaded essays speaks volumes to the preparation I sought out and received from Forté. And that’s just the surface. To me, there are two critical benefits of MBALaunch, without which I would have felt much less equipped. One is having a structured roadmap by which to approach the often challenging MBA application journey, and the other is an automatic network of amazing MBA-seeking women. Structured Roadmap. Over 10 months, Forté presented topics in an extremely effective sequence that made me feel super prepared at each step. When it was time to ask my mentors and supervisors to write recommendations, I knew when and how to have those conversations, and what materials to provide in helping my recommenders prepare to tell my story. Later, when I otherwise would have walked into my first MBA info session extremely nervous, I not only had friends from my peer group who were going too, but also knew how to introduce myself, which questions I could ask to admissions vs. alumni, and how to accomplish my individual objectives for each event. As Veronica aptly described, another “aha!” moment occurred during my first campus visit. During webinars and peer group discussions, we had prepared for this moment but there is always going to be a little bit of nervous energy walking into what could be your home for two years. Instead, I felt almost over-prepared. If it’s wrong to high-five yourself at the end of a long, tiring day where you know you shined, then I don’t want to be right! Automatic Network. Each Launcher is placed in a peer group with other Launchers in her city, and an advisor who has recently finished her MBA at an awesome school. My DC-based peer group and advisor really elevated my Forté MBALaunch experience. Our group met each month for wine, dinner, or a heads-down working session and I think it’s fair to say we all looked forward to it each time. We talked about challenges in selecting recommenders, gave each other breakthroughs in essay brainstorming, and prepped for interviews even if we were technically “competing” for spots at some of the same schools. Having this unique environment is actually excellent prep for b-school itself; at school, you’ll work with your peers to prep for the on-campus recruiting process and you’ll drill each other for interviews at the same employers as you’re applying to. It’s important to be able to speak to your ability to collaborate and support your team in your applications for this reason – and boom, now you have a great example! The value of the MBALaunch network became even clearer when applications were in full swing and I knew I could shoot multiple essays to my group members throughout the week and get thorough, insightful feedback even if everyone else had deadlines too. Two of my group members and I were even accepted to the same all-expenses-paid women’s weekend for prospective students at a top business school. I would 100% recommend this program to anyone who is considering applying for business school. You’ll quickly get the answers you need to swing you one way or the other, and if (when!) you do decide to apply, the barriers will seem less daunting with the valuable 10-month roadmap and excellent network. Still on the fence? My Forté MBALaunch registration fee paid for itself when I received two application waivers by just being a Launcher — $200+ each! As for me, I have submitted Round 1 applications and am now hearing back about interviews! My peer group and advisor continue to be the key to my confidence and (hopefully) my acceptance to one of my top-choice schools. Becca Grad is a Human Capital Consultant at Deloitte in Washington, D.C. where she delivers strategic change solutions to government clients undergoing major transformations. Becca grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from George Washington University in 2011.