Eliza Chute has had some amazing experiences in her life, and they were all created out of her desire to help society. She launched a GMAT prep website, Best GMAT Prep Courses
, to help others after the frustrations of preparing for her own test.
After finishing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania she moved to rural Cambodia where she undertook research projects and helped social entrepreneurs better their businesses. But she doesn't want to stop there.
Eliza spoke to BusinessBecause about her need to do her best for society – the reason she is applying to joint JD (law)/MBA programs.
You conducted a research project in rural Cambodia. What was it like?
I had always wanted to spend a year working abroad after university. I was especially drawn to Asia because of my background, studying abroad in China, so I applied to an organization called Volunteers in Asia and they placed me in an agricultural NGO working in rural Cambodia.
Having lived in a city my whole life, I was a bit nervous moving to such a rural area [and] I didn’t speak the language. But it turned out to be an amazing experience. I came over to Asia thinking that I would only stay a year. It’s been four and I’m still here.
You worked with social entrepreneurs in Cambodia – what skills did you develop that can be leveraged at business school?
I learned a lot of business skills. Running a social enterprise is especially complicated, because you have to think about satisfying not only your customers, but also your benefactors. Thus, you need to be extremely efficient and organized.
What was your favourite place to unwind at during your time in Cambodia?
Every day after work I would go for a bike ride, either through town or on smaller paths along farms. Then I would get a snack, usually a pork bun or an ear of corn, and sit and watch the sunset on this bench along the river.
You started your own GMAT prep website. How did this idea materialise?
I put so much energy into studying for my LSAT and GMAT, and I wanted to do something more with it.
When I was studying, I noticed that there weren’t a lot of resources out there to help people compare and choose study options in a simple, readable way. So I thought that I would make one. Choosing the right prep method is really important. I wanted to help people do this, so that they could make the best use of their time and money.
I also have teaching experience and I wanted to utilize that to help others achieve their goal scores – through tutoring.
Has being connected to the MBA community through your site been an asset in the early stages of the application process?
It has definitely been an asset. Through writing for my site, I learn so much more about the admissions process – and have even connected with admissions specialists.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
I am pursuing my JD/MBA so that I can study business and human rights work on corporate social responsibility issues. I want to use law to advocate for communities that have been negatively affected by large corporations, and use my business skills to better understand these businesses and find fiscally soluble solutions to satisfy both sides.
Businesses have the power to do a lot of good and the general public is demanding more ethical products – I want to be a part of that.
Which business schools will you be applying to, and how will you select them?
I actually have quite a lot on my list. Because I have to get into both the law school and the b-school separately, I have to cast a wide net.
I am interested in HBS, Kellogg, Wharton, Johnson, Columbia, Yale, Stanford, Olin, Haas, Stern, Darden, Fuqua, Anderson, McDonough, Owen, Goizueta and Booth.
I am concentrating on my law school applications and will apply to round-two for b-schools. Hopefully I will have heard from most law schools by then, so I can narrow my list down.
How did you prepare for your GMAT to attain a score of 770?
I studied for a total of five months. I already had a head start with critical reasoning and reading comprehension because I had taken the LSAT.
I worked my way through all the Manhattan guides and the advanced quant book, and did all the practice questions in the OG guide.
In the final few weeks I took about 15 full-length practice tests to help myself to be able to fully concentrate for the full 3.5 hours without my brain getting too tired.
What are your future career plans?
In the short-term, I will work for a law firm, NGO or business promoting corporate social responsibility and human rights in business. In the long term, I hope to start my own consulting firm that finds profitable ways for business to help people and communities.