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Quick update: Toigo, Fellowships, MLT, and more! | From CPA to M&A

I know it’s been way, way, way too long since my last post. Applying to business school is only the tip of the iceberg, and there’s way more crap that needs to be taken care of once you get in. I’ve been telling myself that I’ll update once I’m done interviewing and applying to fellowships/internships, but seeing as there doesn’t seem to be an end to this process, I’ll just give a quick and dirty update of some of the things I’ve been up to and some things for those applying to business school in the next cycle to keep in mind.

1) I was awarded a Robert Toigo Foundation MBA Fellowship (application due March 23, panel interview on April 12). Read more about the fellowship here. If you’re a minority going to business school to pursue a career in finance (investment banking, investment management, sales and trading, equity research, private equity, etc.) you need to know about it and apply (no reason not to). To give you an example of how valuable the organization is, all fellows are required to attend the APEx Orientation (May 12-16) in New York City. Even though it was hosted by Bank of America, representatives (recruiters, bankers, fund managers, private equity investors, etc.) from almost all the major banks, firms, and funds came to give presentations, participate in round tables, and host receptions. Since there are only about 50 fellows, each of us had an opportunity to not just network, but to really establish relationships with folks at the places we’re interested in working for, well ahead of recruiting season. Also, Toigo appears to be the first place some of the partner organizations go to recruit for diverse talent. For example, one of the investment bank recruiters I met at the Toigo Banking is Back Summit in early March (anyone interested in Toigo should attend this event) said that they only recruit their Pre-MBA interns from Toigo. Also, one of the partner investment banks selected a group of Toigo fellows to be the first group to interview for their summer 2013 internship (I believe all or most of the Toigo partners have access to our resumes).  One more thing, 2 Toigo institutional donors (an investment bank and a private equity firm) invited me to sit with their table at the Toigo Gala on June 14th! So yeah, I think you get the picture, lol. It’s a great organization and I encourage people to apply. At the same time, if you don’t apply or if you apply and don’t get it, it’s not the end of the world. I’ve already met a number of non-Toigo people who have already received MBA fellowships and internships from investment banks.

2) I applied (application due April 15) and interviewed for the Bank of America Merrill Lynch MBA Diversity Fellowship, but didn’t get it. BAML offers a $40K/year fellowship that comes with an offer to intern during Summer 2013 and likely an offer to work full-time post graduation. It starts off with a phone screen (my interview was May 7th) and if you get past that, you’re invited to come to the office for a 2nd round and possibly a final round interview (May 22nd). We interviewed in the morning (3 back-to-back interviews) and during lunch we got a call saying whether or not we were invited to the final round interview that afternoon. The pre-MBA interviews generally consist of fit questions, unless you have a financial services background, in which case you are very likely to get grilled like I was and a few other folks I know. So just be smart about what you put on your resume. I was luckily prepared for all the technical questions I was asked (this one douche was really trying to stump me) so ultimately it came down to fit. Even though I was obviously bummed and disappointed to not make it through to the final round, it was perhaps for the best as I found myself not connecting with my interviewers or with the people at the bank with whom I held informational interviews. I am very excited though for my Toigo fellows and new MLT friends who were awarded the fellowship. Starting school with an offer in hand and a generous amount of scholarship money has got to feel great!

3) I’m currently interviewing for a fellowship/internship with another bank. I made it past the first round and will be taking part in 2nd round interviews at some point in the next 2-3 weeks. Based on my research, interactions with my interviewers, and the people I’ve met during informational interviews, I could really see myself working here. Not only does this bank consistently lead the M&A league tables for the coverage group I’m interested in, but all the people I’ve met so far are pretty cool too. Keeping my fingers crossed.

4) I just got back from the Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) Career Transition and Leadership Seminar (CTLS), which was held in NYC from May 29 thru June 2. I’ve realized that not too many people know about MLT, so for more info please watch this video (this is actually how I found about the organization). MLT has the MBA Prep program that you can apply to about a year before you apply to business school. I was actually an MLT fellow briefly back in early 2010 (the year I thought I would be applying to business schools), but I dropped out of the program before the first conference. I was in grad school and had 4 midterms right after the weekend of the first MLT conference that year. Considering part of the reason I was in grad school was to make up for my undergraduate GPA (3.1), I wasn’t about to mess up my priorities again. Anyway, even if you didn’t apply to business school as an MLT fellow, the school that you’ve enrolled in (if it’s an MLT partner school) can nominate individuals to attend CTLS (which is the event featured in the video I’ve linked to), so that’s how I ended up going. While I think MLT is a great program and is instrumental in changing the face of leadership in business, MBA Prep is probably not for everyone, at least in terms for getting into business school; for the network and career opportunities especially with MLT’s partner firms, MLT can be very valuable. When people ask me if they need to do MLT to get into business school, I just ask them to think about whether they are self-aware and self-motivated enough to assess your candidacy and navigate the MBA application process on your own. I’d say the same thing to someone thinking about using an admissions consultant. Everything you need to know is in the book, How to Get into the Top MBA Programs by Richard Montauk. If you can read and execute what’s in the book and take the time to visit schools and talk to admissions officers, alumni and people in the industries/companies you’re interested in, you’ll be fine.

5) I applied (application due May 13) and was invited to attend the MBA JumpStart MBA Financial Services and Consulting Diversity Forum (more info here). It’s being held on July 11-14 in Chicago. Between the Toigo APEx Orientation and CTLS, I’m just tired of this stuff now so I’m not going to attend. Plus I am running out of vacation days, lol.

6) I’ve been applying for investment banking summer camps and fellowships. The application for the J.P. Morgan MBA Early Advantage program, a two-day event on July 24-25 in NYC, was due this past Friday, June 1st. The application for Morgan Stanley’s Early Insights program, another two-day event on July 18-19 is due this coming Friday, June 8th. The deadline for Citi’s fellowship is the following Friday, June 15th. More applications and more essays, well after being admitted to business school so apply 1st round to business schools if you can, because I couldn’t imagine still applying to business school/deciding between schools/waiting to get off a waitlist while still applying/interviewing for fellowships/internships and attending all of these conferences and summer camps. Hopefully now you understand why I haven’t updated my blog in so long. =)

7) Saving the best for last… I GOT ENGAGED!!! to my college sweetheart after 6+ years. She said she wouldn’t move to NYC for a “boyfriend” so hopefully I can convince her to join me and my classmates this fall, lol. I might need some help with that.

So I think we’re all caught up now, lol. I’ll try not to wait so long to update going forward.

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One Response to Quick update: Toigo, Fellowships, MLT, and more!

  1. Congratulations on your engagement! That’s wonderful news. Also kudos to you for the Toigo fellowship. I know it’s quite competitive so you must be stoked to get it.

    I too applied to MBA Jumpstart in Chicago. You should come! I’m not even interested in finance (or consulting) and I’m still going. It could definitely be worth your while. But I definitely understand how all of these things can pile up. I’m also doing a Manhattan GMAT MBA bootcamp in NYC in late June. Luckily I won’t have to worry about vacation days because I will be (f)unemployed in the next two weeks. Summer “vacation”, here I come! Wait, are you looking for a pre MBA internship or your internship for next summer? Got a bit confused.

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