My Sloan journey begins…

Actually, I guess it began in early Oct 2012.

As I was approaching the conclusion of my MS-IST (Information Systems and Technology) program at GW, I started to realize that now would be the best time and perhaps my last opportunity to get an MBA. Why an MBA you ask? Well, I do have 18+ years of experience in IT (sales engineering, product management, project management and consulting) – but I have a strong need to nurture my entrepreneurial side. I have also been slowly drifting away from the bits and bytes (and accelerating) toward IT management – maybe not a direction I need to be pursuing.

My weakness: I had never thought that I would want to pursue a graduate degree, so I did not finish with a very impressive undergraduate GPA (just below a 3.1). But, that was almost 20 years ago… Since I was able to pull a 4.0 GPA in my MS-IST program, I thought I should leverage this performance into a B-school application and make the leap to executive general management (away from strictly IT management) and open opportunities for entrepreneurship.

I took the GMAT in August and didn’t do too bad, with a (good, solid performance, but not an earth-shattering) combined score 700 / 90%, Q48, V38, AW6, IR8 (this score array will make sense to those of you who have taken the new GMAT format). With this score, I was encouraged to seek out better schools, although I knew the top 5 schools would still be a stretch. Stanford and Wharton have always been my dream schools (ya, can you imagine any more different schools??), but I wasn’t sure I had the chops to get in to either school — but my latest GPA and GMAT scores suggested I had a reasonable chance. Living in Northern Virginia, I thought I should definitely take a serious look at UVA Darden. I applied to Stanford Sloan and UVA Darden GEMBA programs, both in time for their 1 Nov 2012 deadlines. Since Wharton’s deadline wasn’t until Feb 2013, I figured I could see what happened at Stanford before I applied to Wharton. After visiting Darden and sitting in on a class, I realized it would be an excellent fall-back for me and I started to get really excited about their GEMBA (Global) format.

I was starting to look at additional school options, but realized that I probably had it covered — I was reasonably certain that I would be accepted at Darden, so where else would I need to apply?   My choices:

  1. Stanford (Sloan)
  2. Wharton (EMBA)
  3. Darden (GEMBA)

I was happy to hear from both Darden and Stanford to schedule interviews. If you’re considering Darden, be sure to do a campus visit and sit in on a class. Great experience – they clearly have great professors and class interaction. Although the lunch was a bit weak…

But imagine my excitement – got a call from area code 650 – has to be Stanford – and it is POST-INTERVIEW – that’s got to be a good thing, right? I figured a rejection would be via postal mail, but a personal phone call would have to be good news – or at the very least, looking for additional information / credentials from me.

Since I’m writing this blog, you’ve probably figured out that it was indeed good news.

Here’s the progression of events:

  • 19 Oct 2012 – Applications to Stanford GSB / UVA Darden complete
  • 31 Oct 2012 – Recommendations to Stanford GSB / UVA Darden complete
  • 29 Nov 2012 – Darden Interview Scheduled
  • 11 Dec 2012 – Stanford Interview Scheduled
  • 13 Dec 2012 – Darden Interview (on campus)
  • 18 Dec 2012 – Stanford Interview (via phone)
  • 21 Dec 2012 – Stanford Phone Acceptance

So, at that point, having been given a verbal acceptance (written acceptance and paperwork to follow in January), I immediately started to do serious “Sloan Life” research. Surprisingly, even with a 55 year history, there is very little detailed information out there on what the Stanford Sloan experience is like. There is a fair amount of material that is 1 inch deep – the mechanics of the program, the demographics of the incoming classes, how it compares to the Stanford MBA, the history / legacy of the Sloan program, how it is (not really) affiliated with MIT Sloan and LSB Sloan, etc.

But there are few available details on the life of Sloanies while on campus, things that need to be done between acceptance and the first day of class, where to live if you have dogs, how important is it to live on-campus, how/when do you select your electives, how difficult are the classes / how hard do you have to work to get passing grades, what are the study trips like, are there opportunities for foreign study trips, etc.

So, I decided to share my journey with all of you aspiring Sloanies out there!

I will strive to share as much content with you as possible and reasonable, but having seen my predecessors attempts at blogs, I suspect I will eventually run out of time too. For the benefit of future applicants, I will try to keep this blog as complete and up to date as possible.

For now, I wait for my paperwork and written confirmation that I am indeed accepted as a 2013-2014 Sloanie. At that point, I will try to schedule a campus visit, sit in on as many classes as possible, meet current Sloans and go buy some Stanford T-shirts for my recommendation writers, friends and family. Then I’ll figure out my housing plan, fix up / clean up my current house, put it up for sale and start packing.

-E

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