MBA Student Q&A | Making the Most of Your Time in Business School
Virtual, panel my, name is diagonal sir I'm a second, year MBA student, at the GSB and I'm joined by Hannah, angle also a second year MBA student here, at the GSB we'll. Be talking about our journey to. The GSB the student experience here on campus and, answer. Many of your questions as. Many as we can in the 30 minutes that we have we. Will choose questions, that most people are interested in based, on the poll results we. Won't be talking about the admission process the, application. Or financial. Aid but you can contact ya in da admissions, office directly in case you have, questions. Of any of these just. Made a question, to us please feel free to just click on the Q&A button, Q&A. Button at the bottom of your screen. So. Let's, begin with introductions enough. Neatly start by telling us a little bit about yourself, where, are you from what were you doing before coming to the GSB and what, are your goals after graduation, of course links Diana I'm, Hannah I'm originally from South Florida I went to the University, of Miami, for undergrad, and after. Miami I decided, to join the Navy and, I did that for six years as a supply and logistics officer. Mostly. Focused in Southeast, Asia finished, up in San Diego, and they decided to come to Stanford GSB oh. Cool. Thanks as. For myself I'm from Jordan. I was a product manager at Amazon. Before joining the GSB and after. Graduation, I would like to still, do product management but probably in the tech media. Space. Awesome. So now this get started with some of the questions submitted, by the audience. So. The first question we have is why. An mba what. Made you decide this, was the right time for Business School you wanna take this one of course so as I was deciding to get out of the Navy I looked at the jobs that were available to me and they're mostly operations. Focused, kind of leading teams of 10 to 20 people pretty. Similar to what I was doing in the service I felt, like Business School just opens up the entirely, different, set of doors you, can pursue finance, tech consulting. Startups, etc, and I really want to kind of open up my options, and I, can tell you that after a year at Stanford that really is the case I don't feel like I'm pigeon holed into operations. And that there's a lot of different industries I can pursue oh, yeah. And this is actually very similar to what I also wanted to do I I felt, that I just wanted to explore what's up there in the universe and like what other opportunities are available for me and this wasn't the main reason why I came for an MBA, so, yeah it's either if you want to sort of change your industry, or change, the function, or something like that I think that personally, would drove me to do my MBA, cool. So, how, would you describe a, typical class, as temper GSB in terms of diversity. And background, and think, I'll be interesting, given your background in, the Navy, so. Yeah. Can you tell us a little a, little bit about the typical class at the GSB sure in terms of classes, in terms of a diversity, perspective. The GSB is really good at kind of curating, this you know 40% international. 40-something. Percent women, X, percent, minorities. LGBT. And so, you get this really just diverse, kind of demographic background. And that really creates a much more fruitful, discussion. And. There's, also ideological. Back, different, backgrounds, as well you see people from all different ends. Of the political spectrum all, different, levels of a socio-economic background, and, I think I just enables, me to really learn about my, classmates, and what they're passionate about and just have a much kind of better, understanding of people, and what's out there yeah, and I think all sits at that point I feel that in our classes, we have a lot of, different.
At Diverse cases. That we study. From like as an international, student I sometimes see, cases. That are not only from the United States but from businesses around the world and I find this super fascinating, and you will point around diversity and inclusion I really love that I recently started, publishing our records, of, the rest and inclusion, I think that's a, really, good sign for, this school to also stress the importance. Of you. Know the numbers that, we publish around diversity and inclusion so, yeah. Amazing. How. Do you usually spend your time after, class, definitely. So. You, honestly, I feel like especially first, year you're deciding, what not to do because there are so many options, you can do something social and a small group social, it a large group, something, professional. Something. Or you can spend, more time reading cases and working on homework so, it really is balancing. That academic. Professional, and social kind, of areas, and now. Second, year it calms, down a little bit which is great so I mostly. Figured, out what I'm doing professionally. I'm gonna go into consulting after business school so, now I spend most of my time on the social on. Classes, that I'm really passionate about and want to kind of learn deeper, and then, attending, a lot of the really great speakers, that we have here at the GSB yeah totally, and I totally think the same way especially for first year you are super intentional, about community, creation, especially that we live there's, SS here at the GSB it just feels like there is so, much going on after class to you know around community, building going, to talk which is one of the most famous traditions, that we have in which, students, share their their, own personal, stories with the class I've, just like enjoyed getting to know. My classmates especially, in the first year now I feel like I have more control just to because if I like, cool. I. Can. Take this one, first. And I'll give you some time think about it what. Have been some of your favorite, classes, and why. I'm. Taking this one cuz I know I have oh my god like my favorite. She has been, freedom. Democracy, and capitalism I keep Tennessee, like. As an international, student I was trying to learn about the US and, you know these. Three pillars that define, what the u.s. is and I found this class fascinating. And, it's always really amazing. To me how the GSB offers classes that not only talk about business, but also you, know as an international, student it gives me a chance to learn about America. And like policymaking. And all of these other issues so. This has been definitely one of my favorite classes although. I can definitely talk about business, classes but, this, is like my honest, answer do, you have a favorite, class it's so hard to pick one so I'll just briefly talk about two I took a personal tax, and investing, class which is arguably, one of the most practical classes.
You Did I've taken these. And. I mean some. Of the biggest financial decisions you'll ever make personally. And I feel now much better prepared as I do my taxes, as I think about personally, investing, that was great but I just finished up strategic, communication. Which is kind of a public speaking class still. Got a lot to work on but it was really great just to like see how you are as a speaker, and really develop, that skill set are, you taking the four units one or that too you know look for unit one yeah cuz I'm taking, the two units Oneg totally, it's an it's an amazing course and I heard them before unit one we also do writing, as well and I just like missed the chance to do the writing one move now I knew but you're gonna do winning writing exactly. That's. Amazing, okay. Next. On can you please describe, the, opportunities, available to connect with, students, from around the world and learn about the places, and cultures they, come from, so. In terms of just Stanford's. Bizarre GSB, classmates, a lot of our classmates that are international, lead trips to their home country, um I went, to Lebanon. With Lebanese, classmates, I'll be going to Africa over winter break with, some of our African, classmates, I'm leading, one of the global global. Study trips to Japan I'm not Japanese but I lived there for a couple years and I'm going and I'm leading it with fellow Japanese classmates. So, one easy way is you travel, to these countries with. Your classmates, and then, you just you know their, hook they host food nights they each had the kind of their own identity clubs, and, and it's, been really great just to learn about people where they're from I got to go to Jordan but not with Diana unfortunately. Talk. About Jordan pretty often and, you told me about your experience, there and I talked about my trip there and asking, questions about. About, life, there so it's it's a pretty fruitful. Conversation, yeah and I also just, find a chance to talk with you and learn about your excuse in Florida, is also like amazing, for me as an international, student coming in I feel, that that you see creates this like. Bi-directional. Sort. Of channel of communication, where we international, students maybe so, students from the US about our culture, but we also get to know a lot about you culture, and, yeah as you mentioned just like one-on-one conversations. Or trips or even. When people tell their stories at talk or, just, like having coffee with anyone is actually a great genius to to, know about this.
Awesome. So. Hana as a Navy, veteran. Did, you draw heavily, on your military. Experience in. Your application, essays, and. Are, there any recommendations generally. That you want to give on applying as a veteran. Definitely. So I think reach. Out to the veterans Club we love talking to applicants, but in terms of talking about, we. Have a GSB, Veterans Club page and there's like a little box you can fill out there and, we'll get your email and and someone from the club will respond, but, in terms of the application, I think the best piece of advice that I got was that it should be uncomfortable. Writing it and and it should really kind of dig to the core of who you are and for me that did include a deployment story, from the military I don't think it has to do though I just think it has to be something, personal that really gets to the core of who you are and for a lot of veterans that is something about their military experience but. Because the rest of your application is you know just talking about all of your accomplishments where, the essay is the one part to really hone in as who you are as a person, amazing. Thanks for sharing that. So. This next one I'll take it first what. Surprised, you most at the GSB. I. Think, as an international, student there, has been a lot, of like. Surprises, to me not only at the GSB but just like you know moving from my country, and coming to a little different culture. And you know experiences, and all of that but, I think the thing that I was surprised. But at, the GSB is my classmates, just how, diverse they, are how. Slick. Amazing. And smart and ambitious and, driven people, are around me I think, that was one. Of the things, that surprised me most at the GSB is that I felt that I managed, to create home away from home and just, be surrounded with people that you, can literally learn, from, every. Hour like, basically. What, surprised me most of the juice behind I think especially second. Year a lot of times it kind of feels like an all-day podcast. Where, you're just constantly, listening. And learning and getting your perspective challenged kind of growing mentally, and I think when you're working your use just you know showing up at a certain time kind, of grinding, and then ending, at a certain time or as an MBA student you just really get to step back and really have your perspective, challenged. And learned about all these really interesting and things and that's that's been surprising, yeah, amazing. Well, I just want to remind everyone that they can post, their questions in the Q&A tab for. Us and we will be happy to answer them at the time very many time we have so, I know it's funny we were just talking about this we, have one question about the executive challenge so. Someone. Is asking could you tell us about the executive challenge first-year, students participate, and well, I don't have much to say except that everyone is so dressed up. But. It's. A really great just a bonding experience with your squad so your squad is six, other MBA ones and an MBA to facilitator. That you do this whole first quarter kind. Of experience, with and then, it kind of culminates in this executive challenge, where you get a case and you go up and you kind of do a mock role play with really. Successful, executive, alums. And. It's just a really good way to kind of put all that you've learned first quarter, into. This experience, and I just what, I remember most is just really bonding. With my squad and having a fun, day to kind of culminate then to Fall Quarter I like to do some roll days it's. Like yeah you give us cases, and we do the role plays as. If we were executives, now and then towards, the end one squad wins but there's no price. Could. You comment on how the, Bay Area influences, your NBA experience. I, think. It's somewhat interested, in tech this has been very interesting for me a. And. Picking the which school I wanted to go to but, the I think just. The fact that we breathe the same air of Silicon, Valley it makes it sound like and. You just, cannot not know, so much more Silicon Valley and what's happening here and like the tech landscape, and all of that and I think that's really really important. As, someone who wanted to work in tech but, I would say even if you're not and I'm curious, to hear, your opinion since. You are not interested, in tech obviously, I feel, like there are there's. Access, to all the other industries as well and I, don't, know can you speak more to if you're interested in finance, or consulting, or all the other jobs.
Definitely. So I can speak of someone that texts, great but it's I don't think it's for me and I'm entrepreneurship. Curious, but I'm not all in like a lot of our classmates, but, I've still loved being in the Bay one, just the access, to the people that are around here phenomenal we just get fantastic. Speakers cycling, if they're not already in the bay they cycle, through and visit. So that's been great you just get to visit very. Easily all these awesome companies, have gone to Facebook several times Google. Uber, way, mo but cuz they're all but you know a 10 15 minute, ride away and that's, been really cool um and, I just feel like there's this entrepreneurial, energy in, the bay and everyone's, really trying to create something or grow something or change something and that, definitely is you know the Stanford, ecosystem, goes. Well with that yeah, and I remember we both actually organized. The women, women, in management Trek, to. Your point with us there's so many companies, and they were within, I don't know like 10 15 minute drive, it. Was amazing, to me it's amazing. Woman and all these companies and, you, know just like hear about their experience, so I think easy, access, is one of the biggest thing so we get the. Gist be awesome. I know. What we okay goals before you started GSB, and have they changed. Definitely. So my, career I do have to get back to San Diego my partner's um still, down there with the Navy so consulting, made sense because it allows me to do that but, I wasn't dead set when I came to the GSB I explored. A couple different things I'm still. Like maybe I should do something entrepreneurial, next, quarter on the side so I haven't closed that off but, overall I decided, that just consulting was the right fit allows me to kind of get that analytic, skill set that a lot of classmates, already, have and. Really kind of get that first glimpse. At the private sector before kind, of thinking what I want to do elsewhere, awesome. Yeah. And I think. No. Similar to you actually opposite. I. Have. Been sick for like all my life and so I was like I'm not going to do tech, but. Once I came to the GSB I actually didn't realize that I like tech and, I liked it more than anything. Else, that was offered and. I, think, that's when I realized, that I wanted to do it even after graduation I shifted, more towards second. Media because I could go that's the space I wanted, but I really appreciated, the chance to, get. To know yourself more, and realize, more what are the things that you like and what are the things that you don't, and. I think sometimes reaffirming. The things that we thought you didn't like it's also like I would come off there MBA. So. Yeah I'm just going back to tech but. I'm going back way more prepared I hope. About. Can. You describe your experience with, leadership labs, and what you learned most from them, I. Think. What I learned most from lead labs was I was used to kind of interacting with like a very, specific type of people like military style leadership. Is very different, than the private, sector so, I think I learned a lot more of those like soft skills and, how to like come off softer, and less direc and have more influence and, you. Get pretty close with your squad and they're, very comfortable giving, you honest feedback and how you come off when. You are kind of leading and management, so I think of anything it was just, good honest. Feedback in, a very like friendly, warm. Environment. And then, just also kind of in a squad and a smaller team, you see what other people's strengths, are and you kind of learn from them as well yeah, yeah, totally, to, me as well I think it's feedback, as you mentioned, we. Keep saying at the GSB that feedback as a guest love to say that. And I think just getting continuous, feedback because with leadership laughs you meet every Wednesday to do role plays and you get feedback on, how, those went so. I think getting continuous, feedback allows, you to see those blind, spots that you don't know about yourself before anything, does that has been my biggest. Learning. From lead, labs, awesome. I'll. Take this one I'll give you more time to think about it if you were to go back in time and do, something, differently at the GSB what, would it be. Well, it's hard because I say now like. We already are we, know what we've been through and so it's so easy to say I would be less. Hard on myself but, I would I don't think that that would have been the case if I started, again I think. When. You come into a place, where people are super accomplished, and smart and everyone is just like amazing, you. Start doubting yourself and, that could cause you to become really really hard on yourself at least in my case and.
Things. Ended up to be really really fine and I'm, good I'm in my second year I like, I'm. Interviewing for jobs everything's super fine so, I wish that I had this mindset, coming. In but. I know that it's hard but this has been just my own experience would, you do anything different, yes. This was a very easy one to answer I think I over committed on some extracurriculars. Year, one and the, issue with that is then you don't have the bandwidth her capacity for extracurriculars. Later on so. You get, to GSB, and they're all these kind of shiny objects, and you want to do it all and I I think I said yes to too many of them and now second, year there are these great, opportunities, I'm like I don't really have the time or capacity. For that so, looking back here when I would have really, thought about each thing before I committed to it and really, been. Kind of like ruthlessly, prioritizing. Those things and then, just really asking, myself what, will I get out of this extracurricular. Involvement, so, overall. Like being president that's Club has been great, leading. The Japan global study trip that's going to be great but there are a couple other ones I'm like is this really worth, the time commitment, awesome. Well this this is great that you mentioned that we have a question actually about the extracurricular, activities, so, can. You tell us what are some of the most popular extracurricular, activities, here at the GSB maybe. Through the lens of what you do but also other, things that are popular that you haven't done definitely. I think so our buckle fellows which I'm we're both not we're both, like. The most famous, things. You can do, you'll, take touchy-feely, as the first year and then second, year you'll be the MBA - squad, facilitator. Which, they're all right now at an executive challenge, so, that's a pretty kind of classic, major. Time commitment extracurricular. Otherwise. There's, a ton of different clubs and clubs are like affinity, groups and then, clubs are professional, kind of interest and then they're there like just kind of social, you know wine club or, eat Club those have more fun interests, so a lot of people join one of those and take a leadership, position. In those clubs I mentioned a president, a veteran's club that's, been great, people, also ta I'm. Ta next, quarter for two real-estate lectures, that are very, successful and, really, great guys. So. There's just and then people also like, work at maybe you like, a venture capital firm that has a relationship. With the GSB tons, of people are starting their own companies, are working with a start-up, so, there's, so, much extracurricular, stuff going, on and it's it's, hard to kind of mention at all totally, and to, your point even though our book, is like the most pure or something I feel like I've done so many other things and like both of us have, done so many things that are not as popular but I feel that they, were like, they spoke to us maybe, your. Points its clubs or, you know things that you just enjoy doing like teeing of course or something that I also. Not doing work with the NBA office, and just like the admissions, and like speaking to our Nets I think that's something I really enjoyed you and I also, was on the distinguished, teaching a word committee. Where, we get to pick. Like. A Stanford, professor that, we want to give. A word to that has been extra, fun for me so yeah, I would, just say that even if you don't get into one of the most popular extracurricular. Activities, for whatever reason, there is just so much to do and, I love this sheet, that we have you get when you get them of like, all the extracurricular, activities, and how much time commitment, each of them requires.
So That you can plan to, avoid over committing as human so you avoid. So. Far this, is deep. I. Think. Maybe, through talk um, and. We mentioned talk that's where once, a week to students, spend about 30 minutes kind of like telling their life story and major, events or people that have impacted, them I think, from that I just learned like you really can't judge people or know what what they're going through or where they've come from and like you think you know someone and then you hear their story and you're like I had no idea that's. Just been like been. Kind of like a fantastic. Weekly reminder, of you. Know the, importance, of like you don't truly know someone, and showing empathy and just wanting to hear other people's stories I don't, know that's the most but that's just something I look forward to on a weekly basis, yeah yeah. That's that's interesting and, I think the other thing that was. Very valley but for me is learning, about myself as. Well I think that we do a lot of sort. Of introspective. Exercises, at the GSB and we spend a lot of time with ourselves and journal. And all of that and in so many courses that, I think, you just become. Deep. With your emotions, or like more introspective and, I think just learning more about yourself has been a very bad thing for me. What. Are you looking, forward, to the most next, quarter. My. Fiscal policy course. And, also, low, key notes are coming next workers so I'm, so super looking forward to even delivering, one or even like getting to know the, stories like. Ideas to change the world from, our classmates, low key notes are like these kind of 10 minutes head talks that students, given and really, cool but you're getting one but next I hope, so I still like three so. Let's see. Next. Quarter. Um so. That's when I'll be teeing, I'm. Planning our big kind of military service community, dinner I just learned that we've got general. Mattis former Secretary, of Defense as, our keynote. Speaker, which is pretty crazy to be emailing, with general, mattis and, then, also our Japan, trips in this spring so kind of the last minute or the last preps. For that so that's kind of like when all my extracurriculars. Will come to a head and looking. Forward to like really seeing the fruits of my labor other. Than that it's a good, time just go snowboarding, easy to get to Tahoe and as a avid. Snowboarder I'm, also looking forward to that yeah. I. Have. Around five minutes left we've, received so many questions, on the application and, again I would, sort. Of ask, people to send the admissions office about them but maybe we can generally, just take one question could, you describe your application, experience and what would you do differently, now that you look back I think just like a general piece of advice. To, all the perspective, students. If. I were to think about it I would, not have like changed anything that I did I would probably, just like be less stressed out about, the whole thing honestly what the GSB is interested, in it's just as we mentioned on you so. How can you present your story and what can you tell and show, to. People in the in the application. Is all, that matters I wouldn't, worry about like getting, references. From I don't know people, that are really famous in the business world or something like that I didn't have any of these like to, Jordanian, people recommended. Me so that's absolutely fine I would really focus I'm telling my story and. Yeah. That's it that's what gets you to GSB I would say yeah I think what I did well if the application was I gave myself a ton of time I gave myself enough, time to take the GMAT twice.
That, Was huge gave myself enough, time to really iterate. For a couple months on my, essay. Focus. On my recommenders, that was good I actually reread, my essay, recently, and I don't think it was that good, I probably. Probably. Would have gone back and done, that, differently I think it's, kind of interesting I probably say what matters most to me now and why is like, probably, change in some ways or at least I have more clarity about, that so, I would say really. Just focusing. You know when it comes to your essay just honing in on who you are being, authentic. Showing. How you know you created, impact or how you kind. Of resonate with the change lives change organizations change, the world ethos, of Stanford, but, um it's pretty introspective. And it doesn't come naturally yeah and I like honestly, we didn't we didn't need to make up anything or whatever it's like how can, you show your authentic, and true self is it so, this me or last question, we have one man so I'll let you really quickly take care how, did your experience your. Learning, opportunities. Affect. Your perspective, the experiential learning that we did just be like the role plays and all of that how. Helpful, how, did that shape your perspective, and GSB um. I think I, think, one of the biggest things do you just learn is like how to have influence. And it's easy to this just like come, out people, like. Pretty directly. And just like how to more subtly. Move. A conversation don't, get what you want to happen and I'm still working on that but, that's been like a good thing through the experimental. Or I don't know if that's a great answer. Almost. Out of time today but. Kinda, thank you very much and any final words or advice. For people for, like 10 seconds yeah I think I say Business School is awesome it's two years to really reflect on who you are and, kind of see that whole world of professional opportunities. Stanford's. Phenomenal, but all top business schools are phenomenal, I hope that you end up here would love to see you here but you'll, you'll be successful no matter what great. Thank. You everyone for joining us today. Thank. You everyone in the audience for participating you. Can learn more about the MBA program by, visiting the GSP website, at GSP dot stanford.edu. Thanks. Again and have a great day. You.