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 Med School Applicants Need to Know About the University of Colorado School of Medicine

    What Med School Applicants Need to Know About the University of Colorado School of Medicine

    A conversation with Dr. Nichole Zehnder, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs at the University of Colorado School of Medicine [Show summary]

    Dr. Nichole Zehnder, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, shares an overview of the school’s unique offerings and admissions process for prospective med school applicants.

    Get to know the University of Colorado School of Medicine [Show notes]

    Today's guest, Dr. Nichole Zehnder, earned her MD at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 2006. She did her residency in internal medicine and is a practicing physician affiliated with the University of Colorado Hospital, and she's also an Associate Professor of Hospital Medicine at the University of Colorado. More importantly, for purposes of this interview, she is the Assistant Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

    Can you give an overview of the Colorado School of Medicine's program, focusing on the more distinctive elements? [1:37]

    The University of Colorado School of Medicine is a four-year MD/PhD program. We're LCME accredited and affiliated with AAMC. We offer spots for 10 MSPP students, so 10 MD/PhD students in each of our intern classes, and then 174 MD spots.

    I think there's a few different distinct parts of our curriculum, some of which are just blooming on the horizon, which I'd love to feature here, as well as some things that are already in existence. Some of the more notable parts of our school and our curriculum as it exists right now are our longitudinal interprofessional curriculum. We're fortunate to be on one of the biggest healthcare campuses in the United States. We have our medical school, our dental school, our PA school, our pharmacy school, and our nursing school all here on our campus. And with that, we think that we should take that geographic advantage and have our learners learn together in a true interprofessional environment. That starts here at CU in the first year, continues all the way through the fourth year or the senior year of medical school. That's one of our really distinct opportunities that our students can take advantage of. And that's true for both MD and MD/PhD students.

    I think a few other parts of our curriculum really deserve a shout out. One is, we have quite a few developed, longitudinal, integrated clerkships in our clinical year. Our students who will be entering in this year's intern class, so the 2020 intern class, have the opportunity to, if they want, participate in five different longitudinal integrated clerkship models. Everything from urban underserved care at our Denver Health site to our C-CLIC, which is our rural and community longitudinal integrated clerkship.

    The longitudinal clerkship model is a model that's been done for decades. Here at CU, we've been doing it for about the past six or seven years. And that's done in the clerkship phase of training, so the clinical phase of training,

    • 28 min
    How to Prepare for a Successful Round 1 MBA Application

    How to Prepare for a Successful Round 1 MBA Application

    Is there a secret recipe for MBA application success?

    Linda Abraham lays out seven steps that MBA applicants can take now to enhance their chance of success when the MBA applications come out over the summer. Listen to the show!

    What steps can you take NOW to improve your chances of acceptance to top MBA programs?

    The content I’m about to explore mirrors the training I offered in 7 Steps to a Successful MBA Application in 2021, a recent webinar. I feel that this material is so valuable that I don’t want my podcast listeners to miss it. 

    What motivates me to provide this training?

    * A frustration with applicants who start the process too late and shortchange their chances at their dream schools. We love to start working with applicants now because our clients can improve their profile, qualifications, and chances of acceptance when they start early!* The amount of limiting and misleading imagery in MBA advising from adcom directors, consultants, and sometimes MBA applicants and students themselves.* The paradox of MBA admissions. After 25 years in this business, I’ve seen a lot of metaphors used in describing the MBA admissions process. “It’s an accounting exercise, not a marketing exercise,” or, “It’s all about personal branding,” or, “It’s all about marketing.” While I believe metaphors and similes can be useful, I think they have been abused in MBA admissions, obscuring the process.

    I do not promise an image-free training! I do promise that this training will provide you with a purpose-driven, goal-centered approach to the MBA application, including what you should be doing now (six to nine months before you submit your application) to maximize your chances of acceptance at top MBA programs when you apply in Round 1 or Round 2 of the 2020–21 application season.

    Let’s cultivate those three seeds into a flourishing, healthy MBA application. (Not bad for someone who just complained about abuse of metaphors in MBA admissions!)

    When applicants come to us at the last minute

    Yes, we can polish your essays during the week before the essays are due, but we can do so much more if you start early. Use the next few months before the applications come out to improve your profile and maximize your chances of acceptance. 

    Step 1: Define your goals, the foundation of your application

    Begin with the end in mind: Clarify your post-MBA goal, the foundation for your entire MBA application strategy, even if it changes while in B-school.

    In Admissions ...

    • 28 min
    Thriving in Medical School, in Business School, and as a Professional Athlete

    Thriving in Medical School, in Business School, and as a Professional Athlete

    Future orthopedic surgeon, MD/MBA Aiming for olympic fencing [Show summary]

    You think you have a lot to do? Our guest today is an MD/MBA student who happens to be training to join the U.S. Olympic fencing team and compete this summer in Tokyo. How does she do it all? Let's find out.

    Interview with Kamali Thompson, MD/MBA student and sabre fencer for Team USA [Show notes]

    Our guest today is Kamali Thompson, a fourth-year MD/MBA student at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. Kamali attended Temple University as an undergrad, and graduated with honors after majoring in biology and minoring in psych. She has been fencing since 2006 when she was in high school. Kamali is a member of the 2019 national team completing research in the sports medicine division in the department of orthopedic surgery at NYU, and starting to become an orthopedic sports medicine surgeon. She's also a 2018, 2019 author for Doximity, and Kamali is currently training for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team.

    Can you tell us a little bit about your background outside of medicine and where you grew up? How and when did you get involved in fencing, and medicine for that matter?

    I'm from a town in New Jersey called Teaneck, New Jersey. It's 20-ish minutes away from New York City. I grew up like a regular kid. I was interested in ballet, and I danced for a really long time from the age of three. I have a younger brother, and when I was in eighth grade I was on my way to go into the normal high school in our town, Teaneck High School. And I was at our Teaneck High School open house and my mother was with me, and I was actually dragging her to the dance room because I was so excited about getting to high school and dancing and being on the dance team and all that.

    We got to the cafeteria and there was a fencing demonstration going on. And my mom, she stuck her head in. She's like, "Ooh, what's this? What's going on?" And I was saying, "Mom, who cares? Come on, let's go." And she spoke to the coach, the high school coach, and the high school coach told her about the pros, saying how fencing is really unique, and how if I was able to get involved with a team, it could really help me get a college scholarship. And that coming from a dance background, I would have the basics, like footwork and bouts and all that stuff. So my mom was sold immediately, and she told me that I was going to be fencing in the fall with the high school team.

    When I started fencing on the high school team, I did that for two years, and then after two years I really started to like it. I wanted to get better. And for fencing, what you have to do is you have to go to a fencing club where you get a coach, and you take private lessons and you fence several days a week. My coach recommended that I go to a club in New York City called the Peter Westbrook Foundation, and that is a club that was created by a six-time Olympian, Peter Westbrook, who wanted to help minority kids in the New York City area get involved with fencing. Fencing is very expensive, so it's not something that a lot of inner city kids are looking to do. When you start off at The Peter Westbrook Foundation, you go on the Saturday morning program where you learn the basics of fencing, and they have different ages and different skill levels. So I started off in the advanced class, and my mom said, "Well,

    • 28 min
    Wake up to Your Amazing Career Possibilities

    Wake up to Your Amazing Career Possibilities

    Woken awakes you to meaningful career opportunities [Show summary]

    Are you wondering what your career path should be? How to create it? Our guest today is an NYU Stern MBA and associate-certified coach who also serves as a consultant for the Career Design Lab at Columbia. In addition, she is the founder and CEO of Woken, an online platform to help you discover which job you will love. Let's learn her story and see how this interview will help you find that amazing career.

    Interview with Rachel Serwetz, NYU Stern Tech MBA grad and Founder & CEO of Woken [Show notes]

    Our guest today, Rachel Serwetz, graduated from Binghamton University after majoring in human development and minoring in Spanish, management, and global studies. She then worked for Goldman Sachs for three years, followed by shorter stints at other companies, and earned her MBA at NYU Stern in technology in 2019. She also founded Woken, way back in May, 2013, and has served as its CEO ever since. 

    Let's talk a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up? What do you like to do for fun? Things like that. [3:35]

    I grew up in Long Island, New York, in Hewlett, a very exciting place. I've got a few jobs at the moment, so with my limited time outside of work, honestly I wish it was more exciting, but I try to just really hang out with family and friends, work out when I can, explore the city, travel. I wish there were times that I could fit in some more interesting hobbies, but work has sort of taken over this.

    Let's go back a little bit to your time at Goldman Sachs. Were you in a HR role there? Obviously that's your focus now, but did you start out in HR? Were you an investment banker at Goldman Sachs? What were you doing there? [4:10]

    So that was my first job, and I was in operations. I did cash management, I was part of the treasury and the liquidity team. And that doesn't have much to do with what I do now. And it wasn't really what I necessarily had an interest in, but when I started, I knew I liked the idea of operations. In hindsight, I think I probably should have gone more for those HR-type teams and path. But at the time I didn't really know that that was right for me. So I was able to land in operations, and it was a really good experience, but I was lucky at that point to take on projects that ended up relating to HR.But I took on those projects just because I found them interesting, I wanted to help our teammates develop skills, and to coach them and to help with recruiting, and so I just dove into things that seemed interesting to me. And then after a few years of doing that, I realized I was ready for the next thing, and I realized that a lot of what I had been doing was in the HR realm. And so I was lucky to be able to pivot more closely into that world after I left Goldman.

    Did you go back to NYU Stern for your MBA to get specifically more training in, let's say, career services and HR, or was there another goal? And if you were so interested in HR, why did you go for the one-year tech degree? HR isn't known as the most techie of fields. [5:37]

    • 37 min
    Are the Most Successful Entrepreneurs in their Twenties?

    Are the Most Successful Entrepreneurs in their Twenties?

    Is there a connection between an entrepreneur's age and her degree of success? [Show Summary]

    Are the best and most successful entrepreneurs’ twenty-somethings? As an entrepreneur, are you over the hill at 30, not to mention 40?  Let’s find out from today’s guest, a Kellogg professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, who has actually researched the correlation, or lack thereof, between age and entrepreneurial success.

    I recently stumbled across an article entitled “It’s a Disservice to Urge Young People to Become Entrepreneurs” written by Jeffrey Tucker, Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. The title reveals the point of the article, and Dr. Tucker bases his conclusion at least partially on research done by our guest today, Dr. Benjamin Jones, along with two other colleagues.  Intrigued by the research, because it is both so relevant to many of our listeners and contrary to popular belief, I invited Dr. Jones to join us.

    Dr. Benjamin Jones, professor of entrepreneurship and strategy at Northwester Kellogg, shares surprising advice for aspiring entrepreneurs [Show Notes]

    Dr. Jones has a fascinating background. He earned his BSE in Aerospace Engineering at Princeton, his MPhil at Oxford, and his PhD in Economics at MIT.  He served as a Special Assistant to Larry Summers when Summers was at the U.S. Treasury Department. In 2003 he became an Assistant Professor at Kellogg School of Management, and in 2014 he was appointed the Gordon and Llura Gund Family Professor in Entrepreneurship and Professor of Strategy at Kellogg. Along the way, there was a stint at the White House and various other appointments and publications. He has agreed to join us on AST however in connection with his recent research on Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship. Listen in!

    I’m going to get to your research in a sec, but I have to ask: How did you go from aerospace engineering to philosophy to economics to entrepreneurship? [3:30]

    Like many young people I was on a voyage of discovery of what I liked and what I was good at. I was very interested in engineering, economics and technology. In particular I was interested in sciences that speak to society directly. I get a lot of joy in the application.

    What made you want to research the possible connection between age and fast-growth entrepreneurship? [4:28]

    There is a really strong idea in our culture and media, with venture capital firms, that suggests very young people are the source of the truly transformative ideas in society. That is very anecdotal. Separately I was skeptical because I had done research looking at Nobel Prize winners and great inventors, and they have gotten older and older over the course of the 20th century. Einstein was 26, Mark Zuckerberg was so young, but they are actually exceptions. In this century, individuals in their early 40s had Nobel Prize-winning breakthroughs. I found that much of the work was coming in middle age.

    There are three things that make people think younger p...

    • 33 min
    How to Apply to the Best Med Schools for You

    How to Apply to the Best Med Schools for You

    How should you select where to apply to medical school? Accepted founder Linda Abraham sheds light on this important question. [Show summary]

    AACOMAS opens in May, and AMCAS opens in June, which means the new medical school application cycle is just around the corner. How should you decide where to apply? Accepted’s founder, Linda Abraham, will tell you in this podcast!

    What factors should you consider when deciding where to apply? [Show notes]

    Welcome to the 353rd episode of Admissions Straight Talk. I’ve decided to do a solo show for this podcast and address something that I’ve been thinking a lot about. I am so glad you decided to join me for this really important and fundamental show if you are considering or even committed to earning an MD or DO. Today I will address the topic of where to apply, the foundation of an effective medical school application.

    Imagine a Venn diagram with two circles overlapping. One circle label Schools You Want to Attend and the other circle is labeled Schools Likely to Want You. The schools where those circles overlap are the schools where you should apply.

    If it was just that simple, the podcast

    would be over. Taking a 30,000 foot view, it IS that simple, but I’d like to

    unwrap both those ideas and give you suggestions as to what you should consider

    in selecting the schools you would like to attend and also researching the schools

    to determine which are likely to want you. Naturally there is some overlap

    between the two, but I still think it’s instructive to approach the topic from

    this angle.

    I’d also like to touch on how many schools you should apply to. We typically recommend around 20 because individual school acceptance rates are so low - typically under 20% and in some cases under 10%. If you apply wisely to around 20 programs, you should have at least one and maybe more acceptances come next spring. Obviously, you also have to submit impressive primary and secondary applications and interview well, but we’re not going to discuss the application itself today. We’re going to focus on where to apply.

    What will make medical schools want you

    Medical schools where your stats align

    Stats are really important to consider. Look at the MSAR for MCAT and GPA ranges to see if you meet the general threshold. Ideally you want to be at or above averages across the board for at least 3-5 of the schools you apply to. You should try to be at or above the 25th percentile for most stats at 50%, or 10 if you apply to 20, of the schools you apply to. You can apply to 3-5 programs where your stats are weak, but you really want to attend and have strong fit, which I’ll get more into in a minute.

    • 18 min

Customer Reviews

Erica Grad School Applicant ,

Pre-Health Applicant

I listened to every episode of the Admissions Straight Talk podcast when I started my physician assistant program application process and gained so much from it. There was a plethora of detailed information and so many great tips and tricks to developing the best application possible. I found that the information was largely unique to this podcast, as I did not come across anywhere else in my many months of grad school research. It is very clear that Ms. Abraham and the Admissions Straight Talk team are experts in their field! Even while listening to the episodes about earning an MBA, or other programs that did not directly pertain to my area of interest, I still felt the information was insightful and useful. This podcast as well as help from Carol, an Accepted admission counselor, made a significant impact on my applications, which lead to me being accepted to several PA schools. Thank you Ms. Abraham for all of your hard work and for everything that you offer grad school applicants!

MBA Hopeful and Accepted ,

Great Podcast

Linda does a great job connecting you with the school-specific admissions officers which can really help you strategize with your application. I found an episode that worked for me and listened to it multiple times to fully ingrain the message. This led to an acceptance letter for the MBA program I desired. Thanks Linda!

amy1689 ,

Good content dry interviewer

Content is great but I apologize, the interviewer is quite bad. Dry, cuts off the guest sometimes and jumps topics suddenly without letting the subject at hand finish.. hard to listen because of this.

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