Over the last month we’ve had the pleasure of meeting an assortment of smart, ambitious young professional folk at our MBA Applicant Drinks Club soirees in London and Bangkok.
The soirees have proved a great way for people thinking about taking the b-school plunge to find out what it’s really like from those who’ve already been through the mill.
Surprisingly, the application process seems a more daunting prospect than accumulating mountains of debt among applicants.
“I like the idea of an MBA but I don’t like applying,” said one Australian banker last night in London. Specifically, he was disappointed that after spending many hours on an application, a school had turned him down saying, “We don’t give feedback.”
In Bangkok, a graduate of Thailand’s prestigious Chulalongkorn University, who works for a multinational marketing agency said she was about to quit her job to prepare for GMAT full-time. I was pretty alarmed at her willingness to sacrifice gainful employment – most marketing folks would kill for a job in that firm – but…“I need a really high score to get into Stanford or Berkeley,” she said.
Predictably at last night’s soiree in London only three out of about 20 people were British. The internationals included an Irishman who traded Silicon Valley for IT consulting in Europe, a Harvard-educated Bahraini bond trader and a mainland Chinese accountant aiming to move from back office to front office at a major investment bank.
In London the crowd was mostly male, with the exception of the female founders of umbrella brand Squid London.
In Bangkok the MBA applicant crowd consisted mainly of glamorous, designer-clad girls with impressive jobs in multinational firms. Thailand is one of the few countries in the world where more women sit the GMAT annually than men.
“It’s good to meet so many ambitious Thai people,” said one expat, who’d lived in the country for ten years.
MBA Applicant Drinks London, 19 May
MBA Applicant Drinks Bangkok, 28th April
Sign up to future MBA Applicant Drinks meets here