My story and why MBA?

It’s November 24, 2014, and I decided to take up blogging to describe my MBA application experience. The primary driver of starting this blog is to help other members of, since I have used gmatclub pretty religiously during application season and preparing for the GMAT. You can find my name on gmatclub as JohnThunder.

Personal Background

I am an Asian-american male and part of the “over-represented minority.” I attended an ivy league for undergrad with an average GPA and worked in investment banking for a few years and currently at an investment management firm. I play basketball in my free-time and am involved with Chinatown community service. I also create stock pitches in my free time (yes this is nerdy) and analyze NBA game film (again pretty nerdy).

Why Business School?

Everyone wants to be their own boss and not want to work for the MAN. At my current firm, its structure is less of a meritocracy and more of an experience-based promotion model. When I was in investment banking, I was a maniac and got rewarded for it. At my current firm, it seems like it’s less about your work but more about how you look, what time you show up, how you present yourself with senior management, and etc. These “soft skills” I am really not the best at, and I barely have time to get through all my work and do not want to waste time schmoozing. Anyways, first goal of mine is to learn more about myself and receive real feedback to improve my leadership and management skills. Second, I want to do a startup. Third, I want to find a professor to be my mentor in the long-term.

So I knew about these goals a year before I applied to bschool. I think its important to start way ahead of time. I took Manhattan GMAT course, which costs ~$1,200, and thought it was a waste of money. Their offices suck, and the computer lab is from the 1990s. I did not see much score improvement from Manhattan, but when I started to do old GMAT problems from, I saw an incredible increase in mainly verbal. I was specifically targeting 700+ questions which I would get wrong today. I probably could have scored higher the second time but in my first try I got a 730 in the winter 2013. Feel free to contact me for tips. I was a quant major so I didn’t work on the math section much and just focused on verbal.

Business Schools:

I applied to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Booth, and Kellogg. Yes, it’s pretty much all the top schools.

I was rejected at Harvard, and I have not heard back from Stanford. I assume Stanford is a DING!!!!! even though I spent the most amount of time on that application.

I interviewed at Wharton, Sloan, Booth, and Kellogg. I will describe the interview and how I applied in further detail in follow-up posts.

Please feel free to ask me any questions, and I will answer them all.


4 thoughts on “My story and why MBA?

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