Networking, Reading and My MIT Interview

bizbooksAt about 3 weeks into the new year, a few things are certain:

1. I’ll be moving to either the east coast OR Midwest sometime this summer.

2. I’ve just jumped down a rabbit hole of massive spending and relentless saving and budgeting that is likely to not end until at least 2015.

3. While the stress of application season has largely subsided, the actual “real work” has only begun.

MIT Sloan Interview Recap

I hate  postmortems on b-school interviews. There are just so many variables–NONE of which you are privy to from the interviewer’s point of view. Here’s what I will say: It wasn’t bad. My interviewer was very down-to-earth and conversational. I’d say that I definitely enjoyed the actual conversation–maybe a bit TOO much, though.

I did well answering each question with a thoughtful, coherent answer. I also walked away feeling good about the interview in general. After sleeping on it for a day or two, however, now all I can think about are several very explicit opportunities that I could have capitalized on to “hammer home” some strong positioning statements that I did not take.

I kind of remember rambling a bit and being more committed to retelling whatever story that I was going on about than hitting the right points. The tension release from my previous admits at Wharton and Booth may have taken more edge off than I would have liked. I”m off my game a bit, but whatever wasn’t “perfect” about that interview is spilled milk at this point.

I got up that day and put forth the best effort that I could at that time. Honestly, there was room for improvement in ALL of my interviews. We’ll just have to see just how MUCH room the Sloan ad com felt there was.

More Networking with Admits from Wharton and Booth

While I’m waiting to find out whether I’ll get an admit or ding from Sloan, I’ve continued to get to know my fellow admits from Booth and Wharton–except now that interaction has transcended my laptop and transitioned into live, in person meetings.

I must commend Booth for how organized and structured they have been with reaching out to admits. I’ve gotten no fewer than 3 official emails and/or phone calls from Booth students and alums who have been assigned to congratulate me on being admitted and answer any questions that I might have.

The Booth adcom also organized a pretty nice wine and beer social for admitted students that I attended after work earlier this week. It was great times with exceptionally bright and interesting people. I even ran into a few of the commiserators that I had met back in August at various info sessions and diversity events.

My interviewer was there and congratulated me. I laughed to myself at how some of my thoughts about our interaction during my Booth interview were all in my head and couldn’t have been further from the actual truth.

The very next evening, I was throwing back scotch and sharing applicant war stories with fellow Wharton admits from the area. It was an impressive group that even included the spouse of an admit who is a Wharton alum. Naturally, he got pummeled with questions. He had apparently been brought along for that purpose, however, and was a good sport about it; very cool and informative dude.

While the Wharton admit group organized its own social, I can’t really say that I minded that being the case. I know the culture there is one in which the students sort of run the place–which I actually see some merit in.

Ultimately, I plan to rely on admit weekends to give me an authentic feel for the actual communities. Should MIT give me a nod, I will either make a decision after their admit weekend or just plan a solo visit to campus to get a feel for what its like there as well as engage faculty and students. If I get a ding instead, then there won’t be a need for that.

My Pre-MBA Reading List

Regardless of where I end up matriculating into, my plan for school remains unchanged–to hit the ground running building a company. While I had always been an avid reader, my level of reading activity and intensity was stunted during my years in big corporate prior to my leaving and that environment for the job that I have now.

I have some catching up to do in terms of mental prep for what lies ahead, so I recently dove into a reading list that I plan to complete between now and my arrival at business school X. Completing this list with solid understanding of the principles in each book will provide me with some workable frameworks that will better enable me to apply what I will learn in school to whatever venture I choose to take on next:

1) The Lean Startup (New Venture Creation & Development) – acquired

2) Innovation Tournaments (Idea Selection & Vetting) – acquired

3) Crossing the Chasm (Achieving Popular Market Adoption) – Amazon Wishlist

4) Blue Ocean Strategy (Market Positioning) – Amazon Wishlist

5) Customer Centricity (Customer Segmentation) – acquired

6) Delivering Happiness (Customer Experience) – Amazon Wishlist

7) The Art of Agile Development (Software Product Dev/Project Management) – Amazon Wishlist

8) Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum (Software Product Dev/Project Management)  – Amazon Wishlist

9) Tribes (Leadership/Creating Community) – Amazon Wishlist

10) Tribal Leadership (Leadership/Creating Community) – Amazon Wishlist

11) The Personal MBA (MBA coursework primer/overview) – acquired

12) The Tipping Point (Creating Epidemics) – reading now

13) Lean Six-Sigma for Dummies (Project Management)  – Amazon Wishlist


Would you like my help getting into your dream b-school? Well, there are two starting points for that:

1. Get a Free Profile Analysis (after receiving your information, I’ll let you know whether or not I think I can help you)

2. Get Help Now (If you already know that you want help and what you want help on, then just skip to here)

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About mbaover30

Wharton MBA and admissions expert

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21 Comments on “Networking, Reading and My MIT Interview”

  1. highwyre237 Says:

    Great reading list, I think I’ll follow, I’ve had a copy of Blue Ocean Strategy and a few Seth Godin books laying around that I’ve been meaning to read.


    • Sky Says:

      By the way Seth Godin is not a fan of MBA’s . He believe right brainers and MFA’s are gonna be the MBA’s of the 21st century


      • mbaover30 Says:

        Lots of entrepreneurs believe that; in fact, such advice has a lot to do with the fact that I am only just applying now. 99.9% of the time, I find that the people who have that view of MBAs have a very myopic, 20th century concept of what an MBA is–and they are right in many cases until you get up into the top 15 or so schools. The entrepreneurial path that so many people under 30 are following in those environments is FAR superior (learning, support, funding, ability to focus, ecosystem, community, network, et al) than the “school of hard knocks” that is so oft praised by most entrepreneurs. There are some things that only experience and mistakes can teach you; but why not get a let up from H/S/W,MIT, Berkeley, Booth and the like?

      • highwyre237 Says:

        Eh, I know his stances, but he’s still one of the greatest business/marketing minds currently out there. Plus… he went Stanford GSB, I’m pretty sure his education (both knowledge and brand) and network helped him along the way…

        I’m positive that my future top 15 mba will have a huge impact on my career and life… so, his opinions on the MBA don’t really bother me.

      • mbaover30 Says:

        Exactly. Its so easy for the rich to tell a poor person that money doesn’t matter.

  2. kahlojud Says:

    My library has now grown to a dozen more books. thanks!


  3. Rache Says:

    I suggest you read Start-Up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer (though I think you are set for the next 6 months, and by that time you will be busy with reading materials for classes). Thanks for some great ideas. Good luck with MIT


  4. LA_MBA Says:

    Hey mbaover30, I’ve been following your posts closely over the months and they’ve been an inspiration. I’m also an over 30 MBA in the LA area and recently got into Wharton. I’d love to meet up at the admit weekend. I missed out on the most recent LA meetup as I was overseas. Would love to connect with you over email and make sure we meet up in Philly!


  5. harshchamp Says:

    Great list over there.I hope to read some of those after the painful interview invite wait.


  6. aramislab Says:

    I’ve been emjoying reading your posts. Could you share some books to read for writing essays?


  7. mbaover30 Says:

    Look into The Best Business Schools’ Admissions Secrets by Chioma Isiadinso or MBA Admissions for Smarties by Linda Abraham.



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