We are happy to announce that Elena Klaas May's Student of the Month at Pericles. Elena was an obvious choice because, after taking the Pericles' GMAT course, she went on to score 710 on the GMAT. And, as if that wasn't enough, she applied and got accepted to Chicago GSB, one of the top MBA programs in the world. Way to go Elena! Here is what Elena had to say about her road to success.
What made you decide to apply for b-school?
I have decided to pursue an MBA for several reasons. First, my career has brought me to the point where I now have to take on management roles. Through this experience, I have realized that by continuing to exploit my strengths and eliminate my weaknesses, in time, I will become a good manager. Since I've already identified the areas where I lack certain knowledge, I can now focus on these areas in order speed up my professional development. An MBA will provide the guidance of professionals who will be able to help me to work on my weaknesses, develop my strengths, and ultimately perform at a high level. Second, I have always been interested in corporate financial management. My career started in treasury, but after I moved to Andersen, my job was quite different. I've decided that one of the best ways to advance my career in the direction I desire is to become an expert in the area of my interest. That's why I am heading for an MBA focusing on financial management. And finally, I have always thought internationally. An MBA is a degree that is recognized world-wide, and one which will present new global opportunities.
Why Chicago ?
First, since I've decided to focus on finance, the number of top-ten schools at which to aim was reduced significantly. Then I researched. Chicago GSB has a very flexible structure of classes which will allow me to shape the knowledge I acquire the way I want. This attracted me a lot. Second, it's almost impossible to choose the best among the best - you just have to choose "your school" among the best. After attending a number of events hosted by Chicago GSB I had a feeling that I belonged to this community. By the time I turned in my application, I knew current students, alumnus, people working in the school, the courses I should definitely take and the ones I should avoid taking. The people from Chicago GSB have a special style of freedom and confidence, a special way of thinking and attitude. I had a feeling that I belong there. The people I had a chance to get to know during the application process made me confident that they are the people I want to be around sharing knowledge, experience, ideas, and a bright future. Some decisions are made purely on an objective basis, while others are based just on "a feeling." My decision to go to Chicago was based on both, and I was lucky to get into my first-choice school.
What were the key factors in your success?
I applied in the third round, which is not the best thing to do for an international student. I guess I just made it clear that my desire to study in Chicago GSB is very strong: I met people, asked questions, knew personalities, and referred to all this in my application. I also visited the school before the decision was granted, which I feel might have influenced the decision as well. Experience at Ernst &Young has probably also played a role.
What do you hope to do when you finish your MBA?
I want to be in treasury of a multinational corporation and in the long-run head of treasury.
Any other advice or suggestions you would like to pass on to other prospective b-school students in Russia ?
In order to make a school believe that you should be accepted you have to make yourself believe it. Don't simply write in the essay what you think a school wants to hear. You need to be the person the school you are aiming for wants to have. If you can't, this school is not for you. Also, participate in all events the school organizes in order get to know the school better and to help the school know you. Aim for a school that is good for you . And finally, don't be frustrated if you are not accepted. A large part of the application process is like a lottery. Sometimes life helps you to avoid wrong decisions. This may not be the right time, or may not be the right school. Think again - and make yourself believe.
November 2003: Pericles GMAT Course (710)
Present: Consultant in Business Consulting, Ernst &Young
2001: Business Analyst, Andersen
2000-2003: Finance Academy - Russian Higher Education Diploma in Financial Management
2000-2001: Financial Analyst, Norilsk Nikel Treasury Department.
1997-2000: Moscow University TOURO - BSc in Management and Business Administration
1996-1997: YFU exchange student to Lindsay High School, CA, USA.
1996:Graduated from Secondary Experimental School 149 of Omsk in 1996 with Gold Medal