100 episodes

Admissions Straight Talk is a weekly discussion of what's new, thought-provoking, and useful in the world of graduate admissions. Linda Abraham, leading admissions consultant and author, covers the application process for MBA, law school, medical school, and other graduate programs.

Admissions Straight Tal‪k‬ Linda Abraham

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Admissions Straight Talk is a weekly discussion of what's new, thought-provoking, and useful in the world of graduate admissions. Linda Abraham, leading admissions consultant and author, covers the application process for MBA, law school, medical school, and other graduate programs.

    What to Expect from the MBA Experience at Cambridge Judge Business School

    What to Expect from the MBA Experience at Cambridge Judge Business School

    What makes the Cambridge Judge MBA experience unique? [Show summary]

    Charlotte Russell-Green, Head of MBA Recruitment and Admissions at Cambridge Judge Business School, explores the one-of-a-kind experience students can expect from the full-time MBA program at Cambridge Judge’s historic campus.

    What Cambridge Judge is looking for... and what it can offer YOU [Show notes]

    Are you intrigued by the innovative and venerated Cambridge Judge Business School? Interested in an immersive one-year MBA in the UK? The Cambridge Judge Head of MBA Recruitment and Admissions is our guest today.

    Charlotte Russell-Green earned her bachelor's in Drama and Theater Arts from the University of London. In only a couple of years, she was working in the MBA admissions world, first as a senior marketing executive for QS World MBA in North America and then in MBA admissions for Cambridge Judge. She became Head of Recruitment and Admissions for the MBA roughly five years ago. 

    Can you give us an overview of the Cambridge Judge MBA program and focus on its more distinctive elements? [2:03]

    The Cambridge MBA is a one-year full-time MBA program, run out of the University of Cambridge, which is in the UK, which is in Europe. The great thing about the Cambridge MBA is it really is experiential. The curriculum has been designed to take you on a micro to macro journey, but with each term, there is a key learning milestone: a practical project where you're working with a real life client. There are two live consulting projects that run alongside your studies, as well as the global consulting project, which is where you work with an international client on site as a consultant, as well as an internship opportunity in the summer. So it's really experiential, and it's really, really collaborative.

    We have a class size of circa 200, which we find is optimal for us and the learning environment that we have, because you can build meaningful relationships with your classmates. It's broad enough and diverse enough to build a far-reaching network, but you're really going to get to know everyone in the class. You're also set amongst the University of Cambridge, so you are a member of one of the famous Cambridge colleges, and you get to have the Harry Potter-style dining experience. It's a fantastic opportunity and a great life experience.

    Over the summer term, you can do an internship. We keep the summer term quite flexible because people can be at quite different journeys of their career path. Some people want to do an internship. Some people choose to do another consulting project, or some even choose to do a research paper.

    Do the students have any difficulty changing career direction or returning to their home country if they aren't from the UK? I know most Cambridge Judge students are not. [4:02]

    Usually around 90% of the class is international. A really good thing to look at, which perhaps we can link to later, is the employment report, which is a great way of seeing where our students go after the MBA.

    • 30 min
    Making the LSAT Learnable with Blueprint Prep

    Making the LSAT Learnable with Blueprint Prep

    How Blueprint Prep can help YOU crush the LSAT [Show summary]

    Blueprint Prep’s Sena Maruflu, who aced the LSAT and now coaches aspiring law students, shares why and how the LSAT can be a learnable test for dedicated students of any background.

    A stellar LSAT score can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection at top law schools. Learn how YOU can achieve the score of your dreams! [Show notes]

    Are you prepping for the LSAT? Planning to apply to law school? Blueprint's Sena Maruflu, who aced the LSAT and now teaches the LSAT, shares her top LSAT tips.

    Sena has a very unusual background. She speaks eight languages and is truly a citizen of the world. She moved to New York City to pursue a career in the arts, but somewhere along the way, she launched a career in international business as a sustainable coffee entrepreneur. She also considered law school, got bit by the LSAT bug (she earned a 178), and began to teach LSAT prep. She considers the LSAT like another language: completely teachable and completely learnable. 

    How do you get involved with LSAT prep? [1:33]

    I come from a career in the arts, primarily in dance. I moved to New York City at 17 to pursue that career, and I ended up getting injured and being unable to dance. I was looking to do pretty much anything else, and I explored quite a lot of things. The LSAT was that “anything else” and I ended up falling in love with it.

    What do you think is the most important thing for prospective law school applicants to keep in mind when prepping for the LSAT? [2:07]

    People frequently ask me this question because I don't really have the most robust academic experience. I never really went to elite, impressive institutions or anything. People always ask me how I earned such a high score, and I really think it's because I had such a positive and excited attitude throughout the whole thing. I think I always kept the end goal in mind. For me, the end goal wasn't earning a perfect score. It was because I genuinely wanted to go to law school, and I really wanted to take that next step in my academic career. For some people, it's being a certain kind of lawyer or solving a specific kind of issue that they really want to go to law school to solve. Keep that at the forefront of your mind as you're studying, not really worrying much about the little mishaps along the way, just acknowledging that they're going to happen. Lucky for me, I failed many times in my life, so it was nothing that was a shock to me. It never really brought me down too much. I always kept the end goal in mind.

    What if an applicant knows that the schools they are applying to are accepting both the GRE and the LSAT? When should applicants take the LSAT, and when should they take the GRE? [4:36]

    That's a really great question because accepting the GRE is a relatively new thing in law school admissions, and shockingly, there actually are cases where taking the GRE is an appropriate step. A couple of things on that: The first is acknowledging that if you want to apply to law school,

    • 37 min
    All About BU School of Medicine, a Social Justice-Minded Med School

    All About BU School of Medicine, a Social Justice-Minded Med School

    Looking to apply to a social justice-focused medical school? Find out if BUSM is a good fit for you. [Show summary]

    Dr. Kristen Goodell, Associate Dean of Admissions at Boston University School of Medicine, explores student life at BUSM and its social justice-focused approach to medical education, as well as her advice to applicants on navigating its competitive admissions process.

    Who gets accepted to BUSM? [Show notes]

    Do you have your eye on BU's medical school? Would you love to attend that program but are a little nervous about the fact that it gets 80 applications for every available seat? Have no fear: BUSM's Associate Dean of Admissions is today's guest on Admissions Straight Talk.

    Dr. Kristen Goodell is Associate Dean of Admissions at Boston University School of Medicine. She earned her bachelor's degree at Colby College and her MD at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed her residency in family medicine at Tufts and has been a practicing physician ever since 2007. In addition, from 2012 to 2017, Dr. Goodell served as a Director for Innovation in Medical Education at the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care. In 2017, she was appointed Assistant Dean of Admissions at BUSM and became Associate Dean in 2018.

    Can you start by giving us an overview of the BU School of Medicine program, focusing on its more distinctive elements? [2:27]

    The most important take-home message to know about BU School of Medicine is that we are a social justice medical school. You see that come out in a number of different ways. You see it in the types of things that we focus on in our curriculum. You see it in the patients that we take care of in our primary academic hospital. And you even see it in the energy and the vibe that we bring to our work. A big place that you see that is in the extra things that our students do in addition to studying for their classes. I could say more specific things about that; I have about one million stories to illustrate the fact that we're a social justice medical school.

    We're not the only social justice medical school in the United States. There are a few schools that I know of that I would characterize as existing to take care of an underserved population, often a specific underserved population. We are one of those schools. It certainly differentiates us from the other schools in the northeast. A thing that is really interesting about our medical school is that this powerful social justice driver happens in the context of a major research university. We're not a community school that's focused on delivering care to one specific community, although we do take care of our patients in our neighborhood. But we are a big academic medical center along with a major research university. What that means is that you see a lot of our areas of expertise and some of our coolest innovations are all focused around the idea of social justice.

    One example is that we're the primary investigative site for a large multicenter trial that is looking to see what happens if you screen every single patient for social determinants of health. Every patient in any of our primary care clinics is asked about their access to food,

    • 42 min
    What Post-MBA Life Is Like, During COVID and Beyond

    What Post-MBA Life Is Like, During COVID and Beyond

    Applying the lessons of MBA school to the reality of COVID-19 [Show summary]

    Al Dea, a tech product manager who earned his MBA from UNC, dives deep into what life is like after business school, including how the pandemic has impacted the post-MBA experience.

    What steps can businesses take to help employees thrive during COVID? How can MBA programs help students thrive during this time? [Show notes]

    Our guest today is a tech product manager, member of the UNC MBA class of 2015, host of the MBASchooled podcast, and author of the book MBA Insider: How to Make the Most of Your MBA Experience. Al Dea earned his bachelor's in marketing and theology from Boston College in 2010. He then became a Deloitte analyst and consultant until starting his MBA at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. He earned his MBA from Kenan-Flagler in 2015 and returned to Deloitte for a couple of years, then started in product management for a leading high tech firm in 2017, and today is a senior manager in product marketing at that company. On the side, he launched his website, MBASchooled, in 2015. A year ago, he published his first book, MBA Insider: How to Make The Most of Your MBA Experience, and started the MBASchooled podcast.

    It's been about a year since he was last on Admissions Straight Talk, and we discussed in that interview his application experience and MBA experience at UNC. We’re not going to cover those topics again, but if you would like to hear Al's perspective on the topics I typically discuss, check out the original interview, MBA Insider Shares His Secrets in New Book.

    How did you adjust to remote work both personally and as a manager working in tech? [2:46]

    I’m someone who works as a knowledge worker and for a tech company. Relatively speaking, we've all experienced challenges, but my experience making the transition was rather seamless. Many of the people on my team have worked remotely for varying degrees of time, and in some cases, many are only remote based off of where they are, geographically speaking. It wasn't so much that we hadn't done this before; we just all hadn't done it permanently before. It was really about refining and getting used to this being an everyday thing. That said, even though we did have incredible resources to make the transition, even though we had some kind of norms for knowing how to collaborate over Google Hangouts and Google Meet and the like, it definitely was still challenging. Anytime you get a shock to the system, or you have to make an adjustment, it takes the body a little bit of time to adapt and evolve.

    For me, a couple of things stood out. Number one, the fundamentals in the ways of working. Fundamentals: these are the things that are critical to helping you be at your best and do your job effectively. If you think about a professional athlete, if I think about someone like LeBron James, LeBron James is amazing on the court because of all the things he does off the court in order for him to be at his best. That was something that I took to heart as I made the transition to working more remote and thought about for the folks on my team. What are those fundamentals that, in this new environment,

    • 46 min
    Is a Postbac Program Right for You?

    Is a Postbac Program Right for You?

    Understanding postbac programs, and how they can help YOU apply to medical school successfully [Show summary]

    Accepted consultant Dr. Barry Rothman offers an overview of postbac programs to help prospective med school applicants discern if the postbac experience is the next best step for them, along with tips for postbac applicants.

    How postbac programs help applicants apply at their best [Show notes]

    Are you applying to medical school but concerned about your undergraduate record? Or, did the medical bug bite you when it was too late to take the med school prerequisites? Then you either are or should be considering a postbac program.

    Our guest today is Dr. Barry Rothman, Accepted consultant. Dr. Rothman has been on the show several times. The first time was way back in 2013, before he joined Accepted. At the time, he was serving at San Francisco State University as a professor of biology, director of postbac programs, director of the SFSU health professionals advising committee, director of the pre-health professions certificate program, and director of the SFSU/University of Pacific Dental postbac program. He has since left SFSU and is now a much-loved consultant at Accepted.

    How and when did you get involved in postbac programs? [2:11]

    Around 2005. I was a professor at San Francisco State, and my Dean approached me and said, "We need a new health professions advisor." I thought, “I like working with students and I'm interested in molecular medicine. This sounds good. I get three units of release time, and it should be easy.” Well, it was a lot more work, and I loved it. I really fell in love with the area and especially the students, working with them closely, helping them find their way into the health profession. At the time, there was an informal postbac program that all the CSU campuses had, but there were no services. You could just take classes with undergrads.

    What services did you feel were lacking? [3:03]

    Mostly advising, letter writing. There was no organization. It was just free-floating. The postbacs who came to SF State could take classes, but that was it. Nobody took care of them. A group of them approached me and said, "We would be willing to pay extra money if we could get some advising." I said, "Okay, let's put our heads together." We wrote up a proposal, and my dean got on board. I had to take it to our Academic Senate, which was a learning experience in itself, having to learn how to navigate the political waters at San Francisco State, which are pretty calm, not turbulent, but still, I had to learn how to present my program to the Academic Senate and convince them that this was a good thing to do. It turned out great. Amazingly, it was in black ink from the very beginning.

    I'm not directing the program anymore, but now the program’s into its 14th or 15th cohort. It's been quite successful. It was formulated on the idea of cooperation, although many health professions situations can have a competitive component to them. We really wanted to select people who wanted to be team players, and that has been very successful. A lot of folks don't want to be in a heavy competitive situation and want to be in a situation where people pull together and support each ...

    • 27 min
    Why These GMAT Experts Approach Test-Taking With Empathy

    Why These GMAT Experts Approach Test-Taking With Empathy

    How can you ace the GMAT, the EA or any test required at your dream school? [Show summary]

    Mike Diamond of Apex GMAT shares his advice for acing the GMAT, prepping for graduate program tests of all kinds, and why empathy is central to Apex’s approach to test-coaching.

    Mike Diamond, Director of Curriculum Development at Apex GMAT talks test prep [Show notes]

    How can you ace the GMAT, the EA, or any tests that may be required at the school you have your heart set on? Today’s guest has your answer. Mike Diamond is Director of Curriculum Development at Apex GMAT, and also its Co-Founder. Mike earned his bachelor's at Brandeis in 2000 and has worked in finance, strategy advising, and political consulting. However, his passion is the GMAT.

    How did you get involved in the test prep business? [1:55]

    Entirely by accident. My passion is teaching and helping people, and I've always pursued that in all the various places that I've been in my career, and even going back to being a student. And like many, I was sort of the go-to guy for friends and family members, as a resource for people I knew, without paying attention to it as a potential career choice. I had spent some time working in a hedge fund, and then I was in the world of political consulting as you had mentioned. I loved it. I was helping people. I was doing really interesting work. But frankly, I was getting a little jaded, and this is well over a decade ago, and I know a lot more people are jaded these days. I was getting a little jaded, and I was having a burrito with my best friend's cousin. We're sitting in the Qdoba, and she's brilliant. She's actually an instructor at Manhattan Prep and she says to me, "Hey, I'm super passionate about Teach For America. I love teaching fourth grade science in North Philly, but I pay my mortgage teaching the GMAT." I said, "Oh really?" At the time, I only thought there were the bigger shops, the Kaplans and Princeton Reviews. And frankly, as an educator, and I certainly consider myself an educator, those never held much appeal for me as a place of employment. I said, "Oh wow, that's really fascinating." I had always had a proclivity towards psychometric standardized testing.

    So about four days later, I went in, I did the GMAT, and then I began taking meetings with various GMAT firms. I was disappointed in what I saw, and there's plenty of great firms and great tutors out there. But once a GMAT business gets beyond a small scale, personalized attention really isn't a priority, and everything defaults to curriculum and having very bright instructors go through a prescriptive method for learning how to excel. There's two problems with that. One is that it only gets a candidate so far, and the other is that it's very one-size-fits-all, and yet one size does not fit all. Very quickly, everything else went into the rear view mirror. I began Apex with some like-minded instructors, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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    What is Apex GMAT Prep? [4:54]

    Apex is dedicated to helping people become better thinkers and bett...

    • 37 min

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