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Admissions Straight Talk

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Advice on applying to business, grad, law, and medical school.

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Advice on applying to business, grad, law, and medical school.

iTunes Ratings

26 Ratings
Average Ratings

Great Podcast

By MBA Hopeful and Accepted - Jan 10 2020
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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!

Great podcast

By grad student wannabe - May 10 2013
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Excellent talk. Most informative.

iTunes Ratings

26 Ratings
Average Ratings

Great Podcast

By MBA Hopeful and Accepted - Jan 10 2020
Read more
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!

Great podcast

By grad student wannabe - May 10 2013
Read more
Excellent talk. Most informative.
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Admissions Straight Talk

Latest release on Jan 21, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 3 days ago

Rank #1: Kaiser Medical School: State-of-the-Art, Patient-Focused, and Free

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Have you heard that Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine is enrolling its first class? Not only that, but it’s re-imagining medical education with a revolutionary approach intertwining clinical and didactic experience throughout the four years, minimal use of lectures, and a case-based curriculum. Let’s find out more from the program’s Associate Dean of Admissions.
Interview with Dr. Lindia Willies-Jacobo, Associate Dean for Admissions at Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine [Show Summary]
Our guest today is the Associate Dean for Admissions at Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, which is recruiting its first class. In the process its re-creating medical education from the ground up – intertwining clinical and didactic experiences throughout the four years of its program, making minimal use of lectures, and developing a case-based curriculum. Did I mention that it’s tuition-free for the first 5 classes?
Kaiser Medical School: State-of-the-Art, Patient-Focused, and Free [Show Notes]
Our guest today is Dr. Lindia Willies-Jacobo, Associate Dean for Admissions at the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine. While the KP School of Medicine may be new, Dr. Willies-Jacobo is not at all new to the field of med school admissions. She earned her MD at UCSD and served there as a professor of pediatrics from 1992 to 2019. For 22 of those years she was also the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Community Partnerships and Director of the Program in Medical Education-Health Equity.
Dr. Willies-Jacobo, Kaiser-Permanente is one of the country’s largest NFP health plans with over 12 million members and almost 23,000 member doctors. Why is it going into the medical education business? [2:38]
Having led the field in terms of health care delivery, Kaiser-Permanente (KP) has been in the business of training doctors for quite some time, often after they finish medical school. This seems like the natural next step for us. The concept of being able to introduce KP models earlier are essential for an integrated healthcare system.
What do you feel is missing in the field? How is KP filling it? [3:45]
The way healthcare delivery is structured is not accessible to every patient that comes in the door. The current model we practice is, a patient arrives in clinic and a doctor tries to assess the immediate needs of a patient rather than thinking more broadly about the environment the patient lives in and better integrating population health, the patient, and family. In other words, we are trying to think beyond the therapeutic and reimagine medicine so that we better integrate how a patient engages in our environment with our medical diagnosis.
You and your team have the opportunity to develop a curriculum that reflects KP’s priorities and frustrations with current medical education. Can you give us an overview of the Kaiser Medical School Curriculum? [7:10]
We are going to be a case-based curriculum, and are not going to be teaching utilizing a lecture format. All learning will happen in small teams. We are matriculating 48 students in 2020 who will be divided into cohorts of eight. All teaching will be taking place with two faculty preceptors. We will be operating a flipped classroom model with team-based learning, and engaging with a PCP from year one, and essentially putting into practice what they are learning every single day. Other unique features are that we will not be teaching anatomy using cadavers, instead availing ourselves of technology. We will be using virtual and augmented reality with organ systems and the entire body.

Our wellness curriculum is really important to counter burnout. The majority of wellness programs at medical schools are extracurricular, and we felt it was important to incorporate into the curriculum for all four years. There are wellness coaches teamed with students. We are excited to provide the time and make it an institutional priority.

We have three pillars of learning - biomedical science,

Apr 16 2019



Rank #2: Apply at Your Best: Advice from a Med School Admissions Expert

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Lolita Wood-Hill has been working in the field of pre-med advising for over 25 years, so it’s safe to say she knows the ins and outs of the medical school application process better than most. In this podcast, Lolita gives advice on how to make yourself the most enticing applicant to medical school possible, starting as early as freshman year of college. She lays out a timeline of activities, including coursework, research, and clinical experience that are an essential medical school application plan. Lolita also shares the realities of the application process, and how to prepare for it from an academic and financial perspective.
How to Plan Your Pre-Med Application Process
Our guest today, Lolita Wood-Hill, started her pre-med advising career in the early 1990s working for AAMC’s Summer Health Professions Education Program , which had a different name then. She then worked as Deputy Director for Premedical Studies and Prehealth Advising at CCNY and Hunter College. She arrived at YU and assumed the role of Director for Prehealth Advisement in September 2010. In that role, Lolita provides academic and career guidance for all students interested in health profession careers.
Three and four years before planning to start med school, what’s a successful applicant’s timeline? [2:44]
First-year students need to understand about grades. The transition from high school to college can be tough, so it is important for them to find tutors, to find upperclassmen that can give them info on classes, and to make sure they know how to access money for books, for example. Freshmen struggle with this, and if that transition is really bumpy then all of a sudden the first year of college turns out to be a C in Bio, a C+ in Calculus, and you are climbing uphill.

First-year students need to think about how to transition to college successfully and also what they will need three years later – they will need letters of recommendation, so start looking at professors. Who do you like the most? Who do you have the best rapport with? And continue those relationships so in two-three years you can ask for a letter of recommendation. Also, think about your interests outside of the classroom – look at clubs (though in the first semester no one should join a club, people should be focused on their grades) and extracurricular activities to participate in. When you apply, you need to have a robust resume, which should start the second semester of your first year.

Second-year students need to start thinking about research by the end of their sophomore year, thinking about summer research, doing it with a faculty member (so figuring out who you want to do research with), and overall figuring out where the research opportunities are. Students often don’t think about things until they are upon them, but they need to really think about their plan as soon as they are in the door. You only have three years that you are going to show to a medical school in your application, so you need to make the most of them.
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When do you recommend applicants start getting clinical exposure? [5:36]
That can start in freshman year. You can volunteer in a hospital ER, hospice, or nursing home. The summer you finish freshman year you could take an EMT course and work as an EMT a few hours a week. Schools want to see your interest in working with patients continuously. You want to show two-three different activities over the course of your years in college. You also want to make sure this is the right career path, which you can do with that exposure. And don’t give up on your dream if you find one clinical experience distasteful, explore the many options before switching.
What should students be doing the actual year they are applying? [7:47]
You should try to continue doing your regular activities. You will have to cut back a bit with test prep and interviews, of course.

May 29 2018



Rank #3: How to Get Into Grad School, and Get Jobs After Grad School

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Interview with Dr. Shirley Chan, Accepted Admissions Consultant [Show Summary]
In this episode you’ll hear Accepted’s own Dr. Shirley Chan share her soup-to-nuts perspective for graduate school applicants. She has worked as an academic advisor, career advisor, and admissions committee member and views the process holistically. During this show Dr. Chan provides information on how best to approach critical aspects of your application, including your statement of purpose, resume, and interview. She also provides insights particularly important to Asian applicants. Read on!
How to Get Into Grad School, and Get Jobs After Grad School [Show Notes]
Our guest today, Dr. Shirley Chan, is a Trojan through and through. She earned her Masters of Education and Doctor of Education from USC. She then went on to work as an academic advisor in USC’s computer science department where she advised students on which classes to take and how to best prepare themselves for life after graduation, whether that be grad school or jobs. Then she transferred to Marshall’s MBA program working with international students, and becoming the Senior Associate Director for MBA Admissions. Most recently she has worked in Career Management at Marshall and as an independent career consultant before becoming a consultant for Accepted this year.
The standard line in admissions is that admissions and higher ed is not a field people decide to go into in kindergarten. What has been its attraction to you? How did you get into it? [2:34]
In college I was a high school outreach coordinator, particularly in low-income communities, helping students apply for financial aid and scholarships. I found it really rewarding to guide students toward achieving academic and career success. Since then my career has been focused on higher education, developing students through academic advisement, career advisement, and admissions. I wanted to understand from the very beginning to the very end of the process, which is why I worked in all of these areas. I really felt drawn to admissions because having that beginning-to-end perspective made me really understand from a candidate’s perspective what they are looking for, what they cared about, and has allowed me to provide a life coaching approach when I work with my clients.
You recently joined Accepted as a consultant after 15 years in different advisory roles both in academics, admissions, and career management. On the graduate level both in the engineering and business world, how should career goals guide both the applicant and student? [5:06]
You don’t start driving until you know where you are going to go, so you really need to know your career path, or at least have a good idea of where you want to go, before you begin. Applicants need to explore in advance, because they will be spending lots of money and time on the program. They should speak with alums or current students, and look at career paths after, and really think about, “Is this the type of career I will want in the future?” For students already in a program they need to fine tune the function they want to do, and that will look different depending on the program. If they are going into electrical engineering, there might automatically be more focus, whereas someone getting an MBA will have a more versatile skillset and could go into finance, marketing, operations, etc. Talk to people and figure out the type of organization you want to work for – the type of culture, big or small, those types of things. For a business degree in particular you need focus as soon as you begin the program. If you have no focus, and without a strong background in business, it will be hard to convince someone to give you a chance.
You’ve worked both as an admissions consultant and as Sr. Assoc Director of Admissions. How did your perspective on admissions change as a consultant? [10:01]
Applicants probably don’t realize how many applications an admissions committee goes through and t...

Oct 16 2018



Rank #4: Writing for Med School: Personal Statements, MMEs, Activities, Secondaries

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Accepted Founder Linda Abraham Talks Med School Admissions [Show Summary]
Are you planning to apply to medical school this year? Worried about the personal statement, most meaningful experiences, activity descriptions, and secondary essays? They can be challenging! Let’s learn about the who, what, when, where, and why of impressive, engaging writing that will get you accepted.
Acing Your Medical School Personal Statements, Most Meaningful Experiences, Activities, and Secondaries [Show Notes]
While we’re going to take a deep dive into personal statements, etc., today, our upcoming webinar, The 5-Part Framework for Medical School Acceptance, which I’m presenting, provides a conceptual framework that will help you choose where to apply, optimize your application, ace interviews, and start medical school next fall. Please join me for the webinar on February 6 at 4 PM PT/7 pm ET.

If you combine the advice I’m giving today with the framework in the webinar, you’ll be ahead of the curve on your MD or DO applications. So let’s look at the who, what, where, when, and why of the writing required in applying to medical school, although I’m not going to go in that order. Like Simon Sinek, I’m going to start with the Why.
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Why do you need to do so much writing for your medical school application?
The reason for all the writing in your medical school application can be summed up by the acronym PAD.

Essays should…..

Provide a window into the real you.
Add value to your application.
Demonstrate writing and communications skill.

Who will be reading your medical school application?
Admissions committee members are going to be reading your application. Like most human beings, they like and respond well to stories, anecdotes, and specifics that make you come alive. Grandiose declarative statements make them suspicious.

You want to show what a wonderful physician you are going to be. The people evaluating your application want to be able to imagine you treating their mother or father with compassion, kindness, and skill. They want to see you as a detail-oriented, empathetic professional.
When should you apply to medical school?
Start early so you can submit primary apps in June (as early as possible). Medical school admissions can be like musical chairs – there are more chairs the earlier you apply. I suggest listening to the podcast where a soon-to-be med student talked about how he started the process early, submitted in June, prewrote his secondaries, and was accepted by October.

Allow time for writing and rewriting the personal statement, and give yourself some distance between drafts. That temporal distance will give you a critical eye.

To prep for secondaries, take notes on programs as you research where to apply so you can pre-write secondaries between submission of the primary and the secondaries’ arrival. Give yourself a month or two at least. Secondaries come in a deluge, and can want as little as a check and a form, and as much as several essays. Some of the applications are long (Duke has 7-8 essays!). We recommend turning each secondary application around in at most two weeks.

Here is a another resource that goes into more depth on secondaries: How to Create Successful Secondary Applications. Watch this recorded webinar when you start writing secondaries.
What should you include in your med school application?
There is a very high level distinction between the primary application, and specifically the personal statement, and the secondary applications: The goal of the primary application is to show fitness for a career as a physician. The purpose of the secondaries is to show fit for a particular program.
Personal Statement
When you approach writing a personal statement think about what you want them to know about you.

Jan 29 2019



Rank #5: How to Present a Winning Wharton Application

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Learn what makes an applicant stand out at Wharton [Show Summary]

What is Wharton looking for? What about its new deferred admission programs? Most importantly, what do you need to do to get in? If these questions reside in your head, listen in! Wharton’s Director of Admissions, Blair Mannix, is our guest today.

Interview with Blair Mannix, Director of Admissions for the Wharton MBA program [Show Notes]

It gives me great pleasure to have on Admissions Straight Talk for the first time, Blair Mannix, Director of Admissions for the Wharton MBA program. Blair first came to Penn as a graduate student where she earned her master’s in higher education management in 2010. She joined Penn’s undergrad admissions staff in 2008. She’s been at Wharton since 2012 and became Director of Admissions just about one year ago.

Let’s start with the basics. Can you give me a brief overview of the distinctive elements of Wharton’s full-time MBA program? [2:17]

Philadelphia is one – I feel like I work for the Philadelphia Board of Tourism sometimes. It is difficult to have a Wharton experience without a Philadelphia experience and vice versa. The second thing I would say is we are proud of the way we approach the teaching of business. We like to provide content in a variety of different ways, since we know students learn best in different ways. We are big on rolling our sleeves up here.

What’s new at Wharton? [4:57]

The first two are massive updates to our physical plant. This fall we will be opening the Wharton Academic Research Building (WARB), which will be the home of academic research for Wharton, Penn, and Philadelphia. In the spring of 2021 we will open the Center of Entrepreneurship, which will be the hub for undergrad and graduate entrepreneurial endeavors. We also have two new centers in finance – the Harris Center and Stevens Center. The dean has poised us to really stay ahead in finance for the next 10-15 years.

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Wharton has two deferred admissions programs, the Moelis Advance Access Program and the Advance Access program. Can you tell us about them? [7:15]

I feel very strongly that this is where MBA programs need to go. So many students have told me they don’t feel like they could take risks between undergrad and grad school. We want to lock in the talent early so they can go out and impact the world. Moelis started two years ago, so we have had two admitted cohorts, and they have just been Penn undergraduates. Eight weeks ago we launched Advance Access globally, so anyone from around the world can apply and work 2-4 years and then come back for an MBA. With the two cohorts thus far, we have seen a mix of people following a more traditional pre-MBA path, and others who have really taken a risk. We want people to feel free to do what they want. In terms of the size of our first Advance Access cohort, it will depend on the talent. We don’t have a hard number.

Can you go into the purpose of some of the different elements of the application? [11:15]

  1. The resume and work history,
  2. Wharton’s essays,
  3. Two professional recommendations, and
  4. The Wharton TBD and individual interview

Resume and work history: The length, depth, and breadth of your adult life live in your resume and transcript. Essays and recommendations are a snapshot of a moment in time, so I really stress the importance of the resume and transcript. Recently we have begun tracking outcomes of our students, and with the help of a data scientist, we are able to evaluate things like GPA through career trajectory, how applicants interact with the community, and how it all transfers to success at Wharton. Each piece of the application is predictive of success in the program, and that is important. It’s not random but very purposeful. Everything we ask for, we need.

Essays: The essays use words to help us evaluate talent. The first essay is what do you want professionally from the Wharton MBA. We want students to do self-reflection on why they want this degree. We want students to explore the pivot moment (when they decided they wanted to do this) and unpack the talent and treasure they can bring to the MBA. Spend the time and really think about the top three things you will get out of the program. The second essay is a direct response to our students – in focus group after focus group: they felt the MBA application process didn’t give enough opportunity to reflect their humanity. So we now ask them to describe an impactful experience not reflected elsewhere in the application. Anything that defines you.

Recommendations: Recommendations are a little different. I believe in creating the correct evaluative levers. Three years ago we changed the LOR format. I have been evaluating applications for 15 years and the one thing that kept coming back to me is most recommendations to business school have a rubric at the top of the form. As an evaluator, there is no motivation for me to fill out the right side of the rubric. Everyone would check top 1% or top 5%. If you see top 15% that looks like a blight. So we now ask recommenders to use adjectives to describe applicants, and these are words that are helpful to evaluate success.

Team Based Discussion (TBD) and Interview: We launched the TBD in 2012 and we did it for a few reasons. First, there is a lot of evidence that behavioral interviews are not predictive of success at all. Extroverts shine over introverts. We determined that method wasn’t going to work for us. Second, Wharton is a team-based learning environment, with students in about 17 teams in the two-year program. We want to stress that the interviews are just a piece of your application. We have students who have great apps and not great TBD, and vice versa. Individual interviews can talk more about TBD info, and follow up on that. It depends on where the interview takes itself.

What do you look for now or emphasize more now than you did 7 years ago when you first arrived at Wharton? [28:14]

I’m going to go back to us tracking outcomes. We started this five years ago so I have five years of data to look at. What is great about this approach is I know I have biases, but the data allows me to put them away as much as I can. It used to be, “This type of person will do well at Wharton…” but with no real assurance. Now I don’t have to guess, now I know. Instead of sticking to GMAT scores, I now know they have no bearing on student success. The type of students we can admit are much more varied because the criteria has opened up, which is really nice. Also, the market has changed. Employers are vastly different. The number one employer was Amazon last year. One thing we hear a lot is that recruiters love Wharton students because they are innovative, roll up their sleeves, and are gutsy. Those types of characteristics are more tactile and easy for us to gauge.

For the class of 2021, the overall GMAT range was 540-790 and the mean GMAT was 732. The average GPA for students on the 4.0 system was 3.6. Especially in the GMAT, that’s a pretty wide range. What do you look for besides stats? How does one get in with below average stats? [32:48]

From our data we have seen an inflation in overall GMAT scores. We are not cherry-picking higher GMAT scores more than we were before, but scores are just rising overall. Bottom line we want to know if this student can handle the curriculum, survive and thrive, but we look at everything else, and sometimes that matters more to us than a B- in statistics. If you have a lowish GMAT and good GPA we are not concerned.

In a recent interview with you and Director of MBA Student Life Eddie Banks-Crosson, that I found on the Wharton website, you said “the first kind of top-line cultural piece that helps us matriculate the class we do every year is a concept we call ‘read-to-admit,’ which means for every application we’re reading in the Office of MBA Admissions at Wharton, we’re looking for reasons to admit the student, and not looking for reasons to deny the student.” And later on in the interview, you said “What we are fundamentally is a school, and we are trying to enroll people that we think will grow the most from this program, not the people that were perfect coming in.” You get lots of applications from people who can grow in the Wharton program and who are admissible. Probably more people fit into these categories than don’t How do you weed it down? [37:22]

We look at who is admissible, who can grow in the program, what students can give to the program, and how much can we help them in the program. A lot of students can grow, but can I help you as much as other students? And what can you give back?

What do you want to accomplish as Director of Admissions at Wharton, a position you’ve held for a little over a year? [38:38]

Two things – one, to be more transparent about our process by doing things like this podcast, webinars, blog posts, and more. Second, I want to democratize the information about admissions, so not just people with higher economic status have more information about us. Internally, we are always continuing to refine mechanisms we use to assess for talent.

What aspect of the admissions process do applicants underestimate the most? [40:33]

The entire process. It is arduous, not easy, and people underestimate the time it takes to apply to all these schools. So what I am really thinking about is how to make the entire system more student-friendly.

How would you respond to an applicant who says I really want to apply, but I’m concerned about graduating into a recession? [42:27]

I’m going to paraphrase a recruiter from an investment bank. He said, “I’m a b-school grad and feel so strongly about this. Whenever anyone talks to me about opportunity cost, I respond this is an investment in yourself. I would go back to school three times over.” Most of our graduates will be planning to work for 40 years. Recessions don’t last for 40 years. Think about a 40-year career ROI.

What would you have liked me to ask you? [44:02]

I like to talk about our passion for fair evaluation and selection of our candidates and reducing bias and noise in the admissions process. I also would love to talk about the misconceptions about Wharton. Students come to Wharton and say, “I had no idea this place felt like this. I am really surprised by the passion, energy, and humility.” I hate when students say that to me because it feels like I didn’t do my job. People think we are super competitive, but we are super collaborative. People think we are cutthroat, but we’re not. People think Philadelphia is a detriment, but it’s not.

Related Links:

Wharton SOM MBA
Beyond the Profile: The MBA Class of 2021, an interview with Blair Mannix and Eddie Banks-Crosson
Wharton’s Admissions Webinar
Wharton Admissions Fellows
Wharton 2019-2020 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
Mock Wharton TBD
Get Accepted to Wharton, an Accepted webinar recording
Accepted’s MBA Admissions Consulting Services

Related Shows:

Applying to Wharton Lauder? Do Your Research!
A Bain Consultant-Turned Wharton MBA Starts Her Own Business
Wharton’s Executive MBA, Where East and West Meet and Mix


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Dec 03 2019



Rank #6: An Interview with Dartmouth Tuck's Admissions Director, Luke Pena

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It gives me great pleasure to have for the first time on AST, Luke Pena, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Luke earned his bachelors in PR and business at USC in 2006 and cut his admissions teeth at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication. He subsequently earned a joint MBA/MA in Education at Stanford GSB and joined the GSB’s admissions staff in July 2012 as an Associate Director of MBA Admissions. He rose to Director of MBA Admissions in October 2015 and moved to Hanover, New Hampshire to become Tuck’s Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid in July 2017.

For those listeners who aren’t that familiar with Tuck’s program, can you give an overview of it, focusing on its more distinctive elements? [1:36]

I’d love to start with the mission of the school, which is to educate wise leaders who better the world of business. This emphasis on wisdom is integral to the fabric of Tuck. Wisdom encompasses essential aptitudes of confident humility, empathy, and judgment. These aptitudes align with our core values of being personal, connected, and transformative. Confident humility requires students to bring their full sense of self to the community, empathy requires sharing your breadth and depth with other practitioners of leadership and embracing their perspective, and good judgment is fundamental to transformation.

On a practical level, Tuck builds a distinctly immersive learning community with our scale, focus, and place. Our scale is deliberate, with 285 classmates, all of whom know you, challenge you, and support you. Our focus is the fulltime MBA program – we don’t have other masters or PhD programs. The two-year, fulltime program is it, so the focus is on you, from faculty, alums, and visiting execs. Hanover is the place, which offers the opportunity to wholeheartedly immersion, away from the distractions of a major market, which we think is integral to successful transformation into a wise leader.

Tuck’s mission is to “educate wise leaders to better the world of business.” What are “wise leaders,” what does Tuck mean by “bettering the world of business,” and why limit it to business? [4:32]

“Better” is deliberate and intentional, and it means achieving superior outcomes by practicing the aptitudes of wise leadership. It encompasses not only the what, but the how, leading with an orientation towards both results and values. Within the community here, the “better the world” piece means doing well by doing good. We believe that as our global economy continues to become more dynamic and more diverse, the call for wise, values-driven leaders, the kind Tuck creates, will continue to grow louder. With your specific question about “business,” we are a business school, a management program, and while we believe the business sector is increasingly being called upon to exert leadership in all different kinds of industries and career paths, at the core of what we do is train leaders and managers who impact the world through business.

Any advice for Tuck’s essay questions, specifically #2 about wise leadership? [6:11]

There is a belief that essays all by themselves will swing the admissions decision, and I just don’t find that.

What really makes a good essay to me is one that provides more value to you than it does to us, allowing you to reflect deeply on the direction of your life, and how a Tuck MBA helps you get there. I see it as a tremendous opportunity to state your case to the school and to make sense of what the common thread in your past, present, and future is, which better prepares you to benefit from business school.

What you share in the essays helps us assess how you will contribute to the community. On the margin we will always lean in the direction of the candidate who shows the greatest alignment with our mission and values.

With that context said, the first essay question asks about your short and long term goals and...

Mar 27 2018



Rank #7: All About Duke Medical School’s Unique Curriculum and How to Get In

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Duke Medical School’s Curriculum and Admissions [Show Summary]
Dr. Linton Yee, Associate Dean for Admissions at Duke University School of Medicine, shares with us the unique curriculum of the program and the thought process behind it. He also fills us in on what applicants should consider as they fill out their Duke Medical secondary applications, which will make it more likely to be invited for an interview.
Interview with Dr. Linton Yee [Show Notes]
Our guest today, Dr. Linton Yee, earned his bachelors and MD at the University of Hawaii. He then did his residency in pediatrics at Harbor UCLA Medical Center and a Fellowship in Pediatric Emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. From 1996 to 2007 he practiced and taught pediatric emergency medicine in Hawaii and California before taking a position at Duke University as an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Emergency Medicine and as a pediatric emergency room physician. He is also Duke Medical’s new Associate Dean for Admissions, having been appointed to the post in May.
Dr. Yee, can you give an overview of the Duke Medical’s highly distinctive curriculum? [2:15]
The curriculum is a little different than the vast majority of US-based medical schools in that you do the basic sciences in the first year, a clinical year in the second year, a research or advanced degree in your third year, and the last year is the same as most schools, with rotations and other preparations for graduation. The curriculum has been different than most schools for the last 40 years, with the goal to produce leaders in medicine. We believe research works hand in hand with the advancement of clinical medicine.
How does Duke Medical condense what many schools take 18 months or more to teach into one year? [3:42]
You have to be efficient in how you are presenting material and make it relevant to how students are learning. We put our students in the clinical realm really early, seeing patients even in the first few weeks of school. A lot of it is integrating material, taking fairly complex ideas and clinical scenarios that go back to basic science in order to see relevance to the basic realm. One example I always talk to students about is shock. The definition of shock is inadequate profusion at the cellular level. If you look at that definition, how are you going to treat it? You have to reverse the profusion, so you need flow, so your carrier would be fluid, you need delivery of oxygen, and an energy source. To maximize oxygen, you need a pump to circulate what is carrying oxygen and fluids, and you need to maintain pump stability. You learn a lot of this stuff in basic biology in junior high school. You have a complex clinical scenario that you actually knew how to treat way back when, you just didn’t know how to integrate it.
Can you give me a few examples of how students spend their 3rd year at Duke Medical? [11:52]
The goal of the third year is to choose their own direction. Most of their academic life to this point has been pre-determined, so allowing them to choose is key in determining their thought process and ability to think critically and objectively about things. Some examples are we have a scholarship to Singapore to do infectious disease research. A lot of students do work in Tanzania as well. People have gone to Geneva to the World Health Organization, or gone to the London School of Economics for a masters there, and people go all over the place for research opportunities - it is pretty much an open book. We have people do MBAs, Divinity degrees, or an MPH. Not too many people go the JD route but every now and then we do have a student that does that.
Let’s turn to medical school admission, your secondary application is one of the more thorough and demanding secondary applications. This year, old questions 5 & 6 were removed and Duke added several – from what I can see ( 1,2,7, 8 and 9).

Aug 14 2018



Rank #8: The Interviewer Becomes the Interviewee

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Accepted Founder Linda Abraham Provides an Inside Look at the World of Admissions [Show Summary]
For 299 episodes, Linda Abraham, founder of Accepted, has interviewed school deans, admissions directors, students, and more. Today we learn about her!
The Interviewer Becomes the Interviewee [Show Notes]
Linda Abraham: This is our 300th episode and since those round numbers seem to beg for special treatment, I decided to do something that members of my staff for several years have asked me to do: Be the interviewee.

Jen Weld, Accepted admissions consultant and former assistant/associate director of admissions at Cornell Johnson’s EMBA program is going to be the interviewer. I’m going to turn the mic over to her and climb into the hot seat.

Jen Weld: Our “guest” today, Linda Abraham, attended UCLA for both her bachelors in Political Science and her MBA. She started Accepted in 1994 as Linda Abraham & Associates. After putting up Accepted’s first web site in 1996, the company was incorporated as in 1997. Linda is also the co-founder of the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants and the co-author of MBA Admissions for Smarties. She has been sought by the media, including CBS News, The Wall Street Journal, Poets & Quants, Bloomberg Businessweek, and others for her admissions expertise.

Linda, welcome to AST!
Can you tell us a bit about your background and why you decided to start Accepted? [2:48]
When I was a senior in college there was a lot of concern about declining writing abilities based on the “nefarious influence” of television in the 1960s. UCLA, where I was a student, was increasing writing requirements for Poli Sci 1, and I was asked to be a tutor for that course. I was a Poli Sci major but also had taken a lot of English courses for a non-English major. I loved the tutoring and editing work - helping individuals clarify their ideas and get them down on paper was really rewarding to me - but I didn’t think I could make a living at it.

I am a child of immigrants, which meant that I needed a defined profession – a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, for example. My parents weren’t very happy when I graduated and I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in, so they were relieved when I decided to go for an MBA. About halfway through the program I got married, and shortly after graduation in 1979 my husband and I started our family. In the early 90s my husband and I needed some more money to make ends meet. I had gotten my real estate license but was no longer enjoying the work, and I wanted to work from home to be more available for our six children, who at the time ranged in age from 3-12. I decided to go back to editing which I loved, and advertised in UCLA’s paper, the Daily Bruin, and got work. I was frequently asked to edit personal statements and application essays, and I’ve always loved biographies, personal stories, and historical fiction - a lot more fun than research papers! I also experimented with writing experience pieces and studied journalistic techniques. I realized that if applicants applied journalistic techniques to their personal statements and application essays, those pieces would be much more effective.

The other major development coming on to the commercial scene at the time was the internet, which removed all geographic boundaries. Initially I was able to work with people maybe 30 minutes away, and suddenly I could work with people in Hong Kong, India, anywhere! Initially we would be faxing applications back and forth. When I started applications were all paper-based, then it was disc-based, and then web-based. Similarly, the way the Accepted team and I communicated with clients evolved over time, from phone/fax to email, Skype, video conferencing, etc.
How has admissions evolved? [6:34]
One of the biggest differences is that most information about the programs was provided by the schools in the beginning.

Feb 26 2019



Rank #9: Law School Admissions: What You Need to Know

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Interview with Christine Carr, Accepted Law School Admissions Consultant [Show Summary]
How can you optimize your application and get into the law school of your dreams? Our guest today, Christine Carr, will give you the scoop.

Christine Carr graduated from Harvard University in 1993 and from there pursued a career in higher education. Before joining Accepted in 2018, she served first as Assistant Director of Admissions and then, since 2014, as Associate Director of Admissions at Boston University Law School. Needless to say she knows law school admissions inside and out, and she’s going to share what she knows today on AST.
Everything You Need to Know About Law School Admissions [Show Notes]
The standard line in admissions is that admissions and higher ed is not a field people decide to go into in kindergarten. What has been it’s attraction to you? How did you get into it? [2:00]
After college I had an amazing opportunity to work in higher education as Assistant Director of Athletics at Suffolk University and also serve as softball and volleyball coach. It was great for me to do both the administrative aspect and athletic as I was a student athlete. I did that for five years, and coaching was starting to lose its luster, but I enjoyed being part of higher education, with really interesting people coming on campus and a really wonderful atmosphere. I realized I had been recruiting athletes so it seemed like working in admissions would be a nice transition.
You recently joined Accepted as a consultant after 15+ years in different admissions roles, the last nine at BU and the last four of those as Associate Director of Admissions. What kind of experience, activities, or qualities did you like to see in law school applicants? [4:07]
There is a variety, and at the institutions I was working at there were no real cookie cutter applicants. First and foremost we looked for academic success - the ability to show they could be successful in a classroom was important. Then you’re thinking about the school community, and you want to admit people who classmates will learn from, will consider a true colleague, and value as part of their network. Throughout the process we were looking for applicants who had taken advantage of opportunities in the past, jumping in full force as a willing/able participant. Through resumes, personal statements, and so forth, we were looking for human beings who were active learners and willing to embrace the whole aspect of a law school education.
You reviewed over 10K applications while at BU. What made an application and specifically a personal statement stand out for you? [6:06]
My gut reaction to this question is what makes one stand out in a not so great way. To start with a personal statement that rubs me the wrong way is not proofread, with errors in the first paragraph - to me that was always glaring. Law school is a professional school, and that carelessness and lack of attention to detail is bad. In terms of good personal statements, they are clear and concise, and fit in the whole narrative of the application of why this applicant is interested in going to law school. The personal statement is an essential piece of the narrative, to show the applicant as a person, and to assist the admissions committee in terms of who this person is going to be as member of the community. The admissions committee is looking for more depth – not just a rehash of the resume, or an autobiography. In the legal profession you are doing lots of writing, so I want to emphasize again that being clear and concise is critical.
How would you recommend that applicants handle addenda to address a weakness like a drop in grades? [14:03]
You never want the admissions committee to ask the question “why?” in any aspect of the application and not have you answer in your own words. The majority of admissions counselors are on the side of the applicant and hope for the best,

Jan 16 2019



Rank #10: The Most Important Asset in Grad School Applications: Time

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The Most Important Asset in Grad School Applications: Time [Show Summary]
This episode is devoted to how the precious and finite asset of time can help you get accepted when applying to graduate schools.
Linda Abraham, Founder of Accepted, Discusses the Importance of Following a Graduate Application Timeline [Show Notes]
The problem: Lack of time.

What’s the usual root of the problem? Applicants decide to apply one day and try to do so in too short a period of time.

What are the possible results?

A poor decision –

Possibly applying to the wrong programs or the wrong schools
Perhaps you’ll be accepted at schools that aren’t as good as they could be, or,
You’ll be rejected and will face the additional costs and need additional time to reapply.

Sometime applicants start the application with plenty of time but procrastination or life gets in the way of them completing it. The most common way that life intrudes? Discovering that you need to retake an aptitude test. If you haven’t allowed that possibility, the retake can cause all kinds of problems and delays.

While it never makes sense to submit something less than your best, there are advantages to applying early. If you can submit either early in the application cycle for rolling admissions like medical school or in earlier rounds for most MBA programs, you are applying when the class is wide open. There are more interview slots and seats available.
How Much Time for Test Prep, Research, etc Prior to Application?
Here are my recommendations:

For MBAs, allow for 6-12 months of research and test prep before planning to submit.
For medical school, allow 12-36 months of taking classes, MCAT prep, and volunteering before actually applying.
For law school, allow for 6-12 months of research and test prep.
For academic masters and Ph.D. programs, allow at least 6-12 months for research and test prep, and it could be longer if you also have to get in volunteer or research experience. For these types of programs it is harder to give a rule because there is much more variety.

These time frames mean:

You will have time to prepare for and if necessary retake an aptitude test.
You will have time to research programs and visit those you are most interested in and are feasible for you to visit.
You will have time to do the volunteer work or experience that is vital for some programs.
You will have plenty of time for essays, statements of purpose, etc.

The other key element you need to know before applying for graduate programs is a post-degree goal. Most programs want to know that you have a goal they can help you achieve. Assuming you know that, and once you know your test score (and since you already know your GPA), you can move forward in choosing schools.
Important Things to Think About
Most MBA programs and all programs asking for a statement of purpose want to know the purpose of your studies. If you have no purpose, no goal, no solid reason for pursuing the degree, you will find that essay extraordinarily difficult to write. And if you come to Accepted, we will give you homework to figure out how you intend to use your degree.

Graduate education is way too expensive for most of us to enroll in graduate coursework for the sheer joy of learning. If you aren’t clear on your purpose, allow time for more research and for informational interviews to clarify your goals and the kind of graduate education you seek. You need that purpose in order to choose programs worth investing in, and you will probably need it to apply effectively.

Also, if at all possible, allow time to visit the campuses closest to you or that you are most interested in, or at least make a point to talk to current students and recent alumni. A graduate education is one of the largest investments you will make and probably the largest you’ve made to date. It pays to ensure you are going to apply to and attend a program that will help you achieve your g...

Sep 12 2018



Rank #11: Encore: Writing for Medical School: Personal Statements, Activities, and Secondaries

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I am taking a week off for family time this week. As a result I decided to air an encore of our most popular med podcast so far in 2019, and it is: Writing for Med School, which I presented at the end of January.

It’s an excellent time for this podcast. Many of you are knee-deep in secondaries. Others are starting to think about your personal statement for a 2020-2021 application, the cycle that starts in June. And beginning early, with self-reflection is a great way to start. AMCAS will begin processing applications right around June 1, and you want to be ready. And hopefully by this time next year, you may even have a few interview invitations in your hip pocket.

For those of you beyond secondaries, and either awaiting interview invitations or perhaps already having received an interview invitation, I’d like to invite you to Accepted’s next webinar, Ace the MMI, a live Q&A with 2 MMI Experts, Dr. Herman Gordon, former director of Admissions at the University of Arizona Medical School, and Dr. Barry Rothman, founder and former director of several post-bac programs at Cal State San Francisco. Today they are both Accepted consultants who bring their prior experience to bear as they guide our clients preparing for their interviews. And Drs. Gordon and Rothman are happy to share their expertise with you at the webinar on Sept. 17 at 5 PM PT/ 8 PM ET. They have decades of experience in med school admissions, and they will reveal what you can expect and how to prepare for a multiple mini interview, that intimidating MMI. We expect a packed house for the webinar so sign up today!

Whether applying this cycle or next, I hope that you have all had a wonderful summer And thanks for listening to Writing for Med School.

For the complete show notes, please check out the original blog post.

Related Links:
• Ace the MMI, upcoming webinar
• How to Create Successful Secondary Applications, an on-demand webinar
• Secondary Essay Questions and Tips Organized by School
• How to Write a Winning Med School Personal Statement
• Accepted's Medical Admissions Consulting
Related Shows:
• Accepted to Med School in Mid October: How Did He Do It?
• Get into University of Washington Medical School
• All About Duke Medical School’s Unique Curriculum and How to Get In
• How to Get Into NYIT’s College of Osteopathic Medicine
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Aug 27 2019



Rank #12: Yoga Instructor, Holistic Health Coach M4: Clare Brady Fits it All In

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Yoga Instructor, Holistic Health Coach, M4: Clare Brady Fits it All In [Show Summary]
Clare Brady is currently a fourth year med student at St. Louis University, though she got to med school in a roundabout way. During her recovery from an eating disorder in college, she learned a lot about the human body and found it fascinating. While she began her career in marketing, which her degree was in, she maintained her interest in health and wellbeing through an integrative nutrition program, which helped her realize that a career in medicine was really the right move for her. After graduating from UVA’s postbac program, she began medical school at St. Louis University in 2015. In addition to her studies, she manages to find time to teach yoga, run a beauty counter business, and blog.
Interview with Clare Brady, M4 at St. Louis University School of Medicine [Show Notes]
Can you tell us about your background? Where you grew up? What do you like to do for fun? [1:57]
I grew up in St. Louis, and I am the middle child with older and younger brothers. Growing up I did Irish dance and music – there is a big Irish heritage in my family – and I did that all through high school. I went to a private all-girls high school and was a very type-A studious kid and then went on to Notre Dame where my dad went. I was very unsure of what I wanted to do, but ended up majoring in marketing and design. After school I had a job in marketing and then advertising, and I also am into yoga and fitness. I teach yoga, I love all forms of exercise and healthy eating, and I do keep myself pretty busy with yoga teaching, blogging, and school. I like to travel as well.
How did you go from an undergrad degree in marketing and design in 2010 to starting a post-bac program in 2013? [3:22]
I started to get interested in health during my senior year in college. I was recovering from an eating disorder that started when I was 17 and continued through the middle of college. A big part of my recovery was learning about my body and what the eating disorder was doing to my body, and I found it fascinating. I started getting interested in proper nutrition and health. At the time I was a senior, finishing up my marketing degree, and already had taken a job, so it was too late to make a career change at that point. When I started working fulltime in business I wanted something that could further my interest in that area, so that is when I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which is a one-year online program that teaches you all about different aspects of holistic health and nutrition and sets you up to be a holistic health coach, which many people do as a job when they are done. I didn’t intend to do that, I just wanted the education. Through my blog I did get a lot of requests for health coaching, many who were struggling with eating disorders, and I started taking on a few clients after work. I really loved these pseudo patient/doctor relationships but would get frustrated by my limitations as a health coach. These people often needed to go to their doctors to get answers to questions I didn’t feel comfortable talking about without more education.

At the same time I was getting a little frustrated with my marketing and advertising jobs – I wasn’t feeling stimulated or passionate, and I didn’t see myself getting there in the future in that field. I had reached a point where I was either going to change jobs or change careers, and I looked at a lot of different things – nutrition, clinical psychology, nursing, PA, and looked at education requirements. I didn’t think I could do a medical degree since I hadn’t taken a science class since high school. It was actually a family friend who mentioned a postbac program, and when I heard about that it was eye opening. Both my parents are doctors and after talking it over with my mom I thought going to med school was probably the right thing for me.
Do you think your struggles with an eating disorder as a...

Jul 31 2018



Rank #13: Encore - Everything You Need to Know About Your Grad School Application

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This week we are airing an encore of one of our more popular podcasts this year, which is “Optimize Your Grad School Application.”

It’s an excellent time to air this podcast, because many of you are looking ahead to apply this summer or fall.  Reviewing the different moving parts of the grad school application, their purpose, and the tactics you can use to optimize each one will contribute to your success in the fall.

I also want to take the time to invite you to a couple webinars we will be hosting in the coming weeks.
1. The first is for med school applicants, on April 10th at 4pm PST/7pm EST – “Create a Winning AMCAS Application,” presented by Accepted’s consultant Alicia McNease Nimonkar. It’s free, but you do need to register.
2. For MBA applicants, you are invited to, “Get Accepted to Top MBA Programs with Low Stats,” which I will present twice, on April 18th at 10am PST/1pm CST and at 5pm PST/8pm EST. Register for the webinar here.

Click here for the full show notes.

I assume many of you are taking spring break right now, and hope you are having a wonderful time and thank you as always for listening!

Related Links:
• Fitting In & Standing Out: The Paradox at the Heart of Admissions, a free guide
• Round 3 vs Next Year: When should You Apply?, a recorded webinar
• 10 Tips for Writing Letters of Recommendation
• What if the President of the United States Wrote Your Letter of Recommendation?
• Create a Winning AMCAS Application , a recorded webinar
Related Shows:
• Your Past Doesn’t Define You
• 5 A’s for Your Low GPA
• Focus on Fit
• Stand Out! A Critical Goal for Your Application
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Apr 03 2018



Rank #14: Encore: Focus on Fit in Admissions [Episode 334]

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I am taking time off for family this week, and as a result I decided to air an encore of one of our most popular shows ever, Focus on Fit.

I chose it not only because of its popularity, but because the topic is relevant to so many, if not all, specialties. A solid understanding of fit is critical to success in so many parts of the application process, including the essays and interviews, either one of which just may be stressing you at the moment.

If you like this episode, I’d also like to recommend that you download our free guide, Fitting in and Standing Out: The Paradox at the Heart of Admissions. Your application needs to show that you will do both, and that’s the difficult paradox at the heart of admissions. Master that paradox, and you are well on your way to acceptance.

Thanks as always for listening to Admissions Straight Talk. I’ll talk to you again next week! In the meantime, here is Focus on Fit.

For the complete show notes, please check out the original blog post.

Related Resources:
• Fitting in and Standing Out: The Paradox at the Heart of Admissions
• Stand Out or Fit In? 4 Application Strategies to Help You Do Both
• Why Cornell Tech was the Perfect Fit for This Londoner
• Get Accepted to Harvard Business School
• Secondary Application Strategies for Essays That Score Interviews
• Multiple Mini-Interview Webinar
• Accepted's Admissions Consulting Services
Related Shows:
• How to Get Into Zucker SOM at Hofstra/Northwell
• How to Launch Your Career in High Tech Product Management
• Where MedEd Tuition Goes? This Resident Has a Surprising Answer
• What Does a UVA Law School Application Reader Look For?
• A Bain Consultant-Turned Wharton MBA Starts Her Own Business
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Oct 16 2019



Rank #15: Encore: Accepted to Med School in Mid October: How Did He Do It?

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I am taking a week off for family time this week and we are airing an encore of our most popular med podcast so far in 2019: Accepted to Med School in Mid-October: How Did He Do It?

It’s an excellent time for this podcast. Many of you are planning to work on your med school applications over the spring break or ASAP after final exams. You know that AMCAS will begin processing applications on May 31 and you want to be ready.

One of the things that this successful med student did is have an outstanding personal statement. I want to invite you to our next free, live webinar, How to Write a Winning Med School Personal Statement. During the webinar on May 1 at 5 PM PT/ 8 PM ET Lolita Wood-Hill will share her 25 years of experience in pre-health advising and postbac program direction. We expect a packed house for it, so be sure to reserve your spot.

I assume that many of you are also taking a spring break right now be it for a day or two or a whole week or more. Have a wonderful time and thanks for listening!

For the complete show notes, please check out the original blog post.

Related Links:
• Get Accepted to Medical School in 2020
• Medical School Acceptance Rates: In-State vs. Out-of-State
• School-Specific Secondary Essay Tips
• Work with Alicia McNease Nimonkar
• Accepted's Medical Admissions Consulting
Related Shows:
• Get into University of Washington Medical School
• Endocrinologist, Writer, and Bollywood Critic Tells Her Story
• All About Duke Medical School’s Unique Curriculum and How to Get In
• What Do Scribes Do – And How to Become One
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Apr 23 2019



Rank #16: The Berkeley MFE: One Tough Program with Amazing Opportunities for Grads

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The Scoop on Berkeley’s Master of Financial Engineering (MFE) [Show Summary]
Dr. Linda Kreitzman, Executive Director of the Master of Financial Engineering Program at UC Berkeley – Haas is passionate about the program. On today’s podcast Linda will take us through specific aspects of the program and what makes it unique, what it takes to be successful in the program, and some of the expected outcomes for graduates. Listen in to the “Queen of Quants!”
Interview with Linda Kreitzman, Assistant Dean and Executive Director of the UC Berkeley Haas Master of Financial Engineering Program [Show Notes]
Our guest today, Dr. Linda Kreitzman, earned her Honours Degree in Political Science, masters degrees in English, French and Spanish and later on a Ph.D. in Economics. Most importantly for our call today, she became program Director of the Master’s in Financial Engineering at UC Berkeley – Haas in 2000 and Executive Director of the program in 2006. Poets and Quants recently named her the “Queen of Quants” and in the same interview she identified herself as her students’ “surrogate mother.” Let’s learn more about the Haas MFE from this ultimate insider.
Could you give an overview of the MFE program highlighting its distinctive features? [2:12]
It’s a one-year program that starts in March and ends the following March, with four academic terms. After 75% of coursework is completed, students go anywhere in the world for a paid internship. The program is ranked #1 in the country and has 50% faculty and 50% industry professionals who teach in the program. We admit students who have PhDs, masters or straight from undergrads. We have a pre-programmed set of classes that anyone can take before coming to the program, which helps us assess them. We believe success is not just what happens in the MFE but also post-MFE. We place each and every student, which is what we love to do.

If we find a student who is doing really well academically, we can recommend them for admission as early as their junior year, and then bring them on board and mentor them before they officially join. Any student at any university in the world can contact us about this.
I understand that you’ve been the Director from Day 1. Why did Haas decide to have an MFE? [5:30]
Haas’ decision to create the MFE came a little bit before I came on board in 2000, with professor emeritus David Pyle and dean Laura Tyson. There was a demand for financial engineers and students who could be very technical, with a stats programming skill set already, which MBA programs didn’t offer. There were other MFEs, CMU for example, but we were the first to launch an MFE at the business school, to make sure our students were not considered typical quants just doing number crunching, but that they had economic intuition and strong communication skills, which is what differentiates us from others. We wanted the ability to position our students in any field in finance or technology, not in the back room doing number crunching.
What makes the MFE different from an MFin? Or an MBA? [9:45]
The MFin tends to teach more the corporate finance side and is a general degree. With the MFE we are looking for people who already have strong programming, stats, math, and finance experience. We bring people who already have had corporate finance, and maybe already passed CFA level 1. Our program is much more technical, more data-science oriented. Also, the MBA program does not prepare students months or even years in advance but we do.
Obviously academics, specifically in advanced quant subjects, are important to the MFE. The average GRE/GMAT quant percentile is 93.2 and the average verbal percentile is 77.7. The average UGPA is 3.75. Beyond the stats, what is the MFE looking for? [11:16]
We are looking for people with strong logic skills, with a good understanding of financial markets (or willing to learn that), who are open to taking different courses to find their path,

Oct 03 2018



Rank #17: Financial Planning for Pre-Meds, Med Students, and Physicians

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Interview with Ryan Inman, President and Financial Planner at Physician Wealth Services [Show Summary]
How are you going to pay for medical school? How are you going to pay off your med school debt after you start practicing? How will you be able to afford a home and some of the comforts you’ve worked so hard for? Those are the questions we’re going to discuss today with an expert in financial planning who focuses strictly on residents and physicians.
Financial Planning for Doctors [Show Notes]
Ryan Inman is the President and Financial Planner at Physician Wealth Services, which he runs from Las Vegas, NV. He is also the host of the Financial Residency Podcast. Both are aimed at medical students, residents, and physicians in their first 10 years of practice. In addition to a Bachelors in Accounting, Ryan has an MBA and a Masters in Accounting and Financial Management, Personal Finance, all from the University of San Diego.
Ryan, can you tell us a little about your background and how you began your career in financial planning and advising? [2:00]
I got my first glimpse at investment advising from my neighbor. I was the nerdy kid who saved all his money and asked his mom to open up a TD Ameritrade account so I could trade stocks. My neighbor was a certified financial planner, working with high net worth individuals of $1M+, and “working” with him I knew what I wanted to do. When I got out of college in 2008 the entire financial industry was decimated so I ended up starting with KPMG in public accounting. Ultimately I went to work with my neighbor doing financial planning.

I started dating my wife as a freshman in college. We got married 10 years later, and we’ve been married for five, which is how I got into advising physicians, as she is one. I saw all the stuff my wife and her colleagues were pitched – terrible investment products, using fear and scare tactics to sell them - so I helped them out. As my wife and I started talking about our future – whether we wanted kids, our career paths – I realized I really wanted to work with physicians. All of our friends are doctors or financial planners and it’s what I really love doing so I’m very happy to be talking on the show to premeds to arm them with knowledge before they get to med school to avoid mistakes on the back end.
Why have you focused on guiding medical students and doctors early in their careers? Why do they need different advice than a young lawyer or young engineer, for example? [5:21]
One is I’ve been there. I have intimate knowledge of the pain, struggles, and yes, of course joys of a career in medicine. I know what it’s like to be buried in student debt, with your spouse making next to nothing, sleeping every fourth night in the hospital. This is a main driver of why I only work with physicians.

In terms of how they are different, a few things stand out. One, they have delayed gratification. They put so much aside to become a doctor – not just financially, but free time, social time - and are earning pennies per hour in their residency, essentially. They take their work home and chart and that time is not reimbursed, for example. I have clients who have put off starting a family due to student debt. My average client has $283K of debt, and there is a reason why they are overwhelmed with what to do. They are never trained in finance but are then expected to run their own practices. The biggest thing after all of this delayed gratification is they experience this insane lifestyle inflation. An attending salary may be $340K after making about $55K as a resident. That is an insane amount of money coming at them. They had put off buying a car, buying a house, saving in a 529 if they have kids, and suddenly the lifestyle creep goes through the roof. Then they find themselves stuck after 2-3 years – “I overcommitted, my debts are crazy, student loan repayments are starting to come due.” All this newly found money is a giant carrot and it’s understandable ...

Jan 08 2019



Rank #18: NYU Stern Embraces Its Reputation as Changemaker

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Interview with Rabia Ahmed, Executive Director of Strategic Marketing and Admissions at NYU Stern School of Business [Show Summary]

NYU Stern is always on the cutting edge, and their new Change: Studio branding reflects that. Executive Director of Strategic Marketing and Admissions, Rabia Ahmed, shares details of the new program as well as what else is new at Stern.

At NYU Stern, change is in the air! [Show Notes]

It gives me great pleasure to have on Admissions Straight Talk for the first time, Rabia Ahmed, Executive Director of Strategic Marketing and Admissions at NYU Stern School of Business. Rabia attended Montclair Sate University and earned her MA in International Education from NYU. She began working at NYU Stern in 2005 and in 2006 became the Assistant Director of MBA Admissions. She has been climbing the admissions office ladder every since, and while this is Rabia’s first time on AST, NYU’s Isser Gallogly has been on several times. I don’t usually like to have school representatives on year after year. However NYU Stern always is innovating and changing things up, so I’ve needed to invite someone from NYU Stern to the show year after year. Indeed NYU Stern’s focus and brand are synonymous with change. We’re going to learn more about that from Rabia.

Can you give a brief overview of the Stern MBA program focusing on the more distinctive elements? [2:25]

I would highlight three main things – our location, our attitude, and our people. We are located in the greatest neighborhood in the greatest city in the world, we are able to bring in amazing adjunct faculty, and have partnerships with organizations for recruiting but also for experiential learning projects in our backyard. We are also on the move, unbound by tradition, and always thinking about where business is going to make sure we stay in front of it, innovate, and experiment. Finally, people you meet at NYU are really special. When you meet the people you can see how incredible they are. Our faculty is one of the largest, and runs the gamut of industry and function.

My next question is usually “what’s new?” but there is so much new at NYU Stern that I’m going to change things up. Last month Stern announced a re-branding focused on embracing and initiating change. We’re going to explore some of the elements in the program that really reflect that brand starting with Change:Studio. What is Change:Studio? How is it going to work? [5:31]

We want students to leave with preparation for the future. When thinking about how quickly things are changing – technology, how people work – we think about how we prepare students to embrace that change. Change: Studio brings together leadership, experiential learning, and entrepreneurship in co-curricular programming to provide a structure with which to drive change in an organization. The curriculum overall is called Dare It, Dream It, Drive It. Dare It is focused on leadership, Dream It on experiential learning, and Drive It on starting something new. Everyone goes through the beginning stages of Change:Studio with orientation in the leadership simulation and then they can opt into the Change:Studio program.

NYU Stern recently started allowing its applicants to submit the GMAC Executive Assessment in addition to the GRE and GMAT. Why? How is the EA different? [11:25]

We have always been an early adopter – we were one of the first schools to accept the GRE. We know testing is very stressful and wanted to make sure students had options. When talking to GMAC we felt this exam could be a really good one for our fulltime program to assess for academic readiness. It is designed for professionals, is shorter in duration, and takes less time to prepare for, so thought it could be a good option for some. We have no preference over which test you decide to take.

NYU Stern also released a stellar employment report. Can you go over the numbers for the FT program? [13:13]

Our median salary is an all time high and increased by 12% to $140,000. We also had the highest employment three months out, which is 94.2%, and the top three areas were consulting, banking, and technology.

How did the graduates of the two specialized MBA programs, the Andre Koo Technology and Entrepreneurship MBA and the Fashion & Luxury MBA, fare last year in the job market? [14:44]

We launched the two new programs three years ago and have graduated the first batch of students. They are both one year programs and are for those who have a passion for those particular industries. For the technology MBA, roles have been very wide, like data analytics and program management at places like Amazon, Amex, and Uber, so really, really strong placement. On the fashion side that industry tends to hire just in time, so it’s a slightly different process and timeline. The people who join the program want to work in a variety of different industries. We have students who have gone to work in beauty, retail, and consulting at places like Coach, L’Oreal, and Macy’s. A lot of these organizations aren’t necessarily set up for traditional MBA recruiting, so a lot of emphasis is put on networking and building connections so students can get the jobs as they become available.

How is the new specialization in healthcare structured? [17:17]

It is one of over 20 specializations we offer. You can specialize in up to three or none at all, it is up to the individual. Specializations are cross-disciplinary and we also have a partnership with NYU Wagner, which is the School of Public Administration. To take any specialization you must take three courses in that area.

Before we turn to admissions and the application, what verb best describes Change at Stern to you? Why? [18:57]

For me, it’s “Change: Inspire It.” Whenever I experience inspiration it is when I am looking at something a different way – while I’m on a walk, or listening to music, or talking to someone else. We have 350 students from so many different countries, backgrounds, and experiences, and we bring them together to inspire each other.

Stern innovated in the admissions arena with its focus on EQ and its Pick 6 essay. What’s your best advice for those two distinctive elements in Stern’s MBA application? [21:14]

For EQ, it is about finding someone who can talk about your emotional intelligence, your self-awareness, how you are in terms of having difficult conversations, onboarding someone with a very different background, and interpersonal skills.

For Pick 6, we are living in a visual world right now – a picture tells a thousand words. Rather than use another essay of words, we really wanted it to be visual. This helps show uniqueness, and we see so many great things – travel, family, challenges, and it is a fun way to see their story come to life.

What do you look for now or emphasize more now when evaluating applications than you did 5 or 10 years ago? [26:36]

We look for people who share our values, and understand who we are and what we are about. EQ is something we have always looked for. We want people who want to be part of the NYC landscape, our urban advantage. We look for those with an understanding of what good business can do for society, not just looking at the bottom line. That is built into our culture. We are a school of excellence unbound by tradition. We are not going to limit ourselves because of what is expected – we are going to continue to experiment. These things are reflected in our students – they embody the values at Stern as students and as alumni.

What is the biggest challenge applicants face in presenting a compelling case for acceptance at NYU Stern’s MBA programs? [30:50]

Being their most authentic self. We often see people who feel they need to fit into a persona or there is a certain type of person we are looking for. Our program is so rich because of so many different kinds of people with different “superpowers.” Be true to yourself. In the essays be honest about what you want to do. People get stuck on averages, rather than ranges with our stats. Ask the questions of the schools, talk to students, alums, and if you want to apply, present your authentic self.

What would you have liked me to ask you? [37:04]

What I’d like people to know is that the school really is on the move. We are always thinking about what’s next, how to better prepare our students, soliciting ideas, having town halls, and welcoming students at the highest level into our offices. Combine that attitude with our location and the people that make Stern what it is, we are truly investing in every single student that comes through the door.

Linda: Many times I get a notice that a school rebranded. After 25 years as an admissions consultant, I am often skeptical or don’t really “see” the change. When I got the press release about NYU it struck me less as rebranding and more as a true reflection of the school Stern truly is.

Related Resources:

NYU Stern 2019-20 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
NYU Stern Applicants: Real-Life Experience DOES Matter
Accepted’s MBA Admissions Services

Related Shows:

NYU Stern’s New Online Master’s in Quantitative Management
NYU Stern 2018-19 MBA Admissions Scoop: An Interview with Isser Gallogly
Yale MBA: The Inside Scoop on The Essay, Videos & Behavioral Assessment
Duke Fuqua Rattles MBA World with Exciting New Curriculum
How to Launch Your Career in High Tech Product Management


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Nov 26 2019



Rank #19: Get a Kellogg MBA: An Interview with Dean of Admissions Kate Smith [Episode 324]

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Learn all about Kellogg’s MBA options from the inside [Show Summary]
Assistant Dean of Admissions Kate Smith discusses Kellogg’s rich menu of options as well as what Kellogg is looking for in applicants, changes to its MBA application, and how to get in.
Interview with Kate Smith, Assistant Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid at the Kellogg School of Management [Show Notes]
Kate earned her own MBA at Kellogg in 1998 and then worked in marketing for leading brands including General Mills, Quaker Oats, and Pepsi. She returned to Kellogg in 2012 and assumed her current role as Assistant Dean, Admissions and Financial Aid at the Kellogg School of Management.
What makes Kellogg unique? [2:09]
We intentionally designed the Kellogg learning experience to grow you both personally and professionally. Between extensive global opportunities and the challenging experiential learning, as well as customized electives, the curriculum is shaped by real world business problems and dedicated to developing dynamic leaders to see possibilities that others can’t. In our innovative curriculum you will learn how to evaluate opportunities, catalyze teams, and engage with world-class faculty. Whether being advised by a venture capitalist on a start-up, joining a trek with thought leaders in industry sectors of interest, or participating in a fireside chat with a professor who served as a Fortune 500 CEO, we offer in-depth experiential learning with a collaborative culture and distinctive community.
Kellogg offers a range of full-time degree programs, and we hear consistently that many students who learn about them are very excited and weren’t aware of them before. All are designed to fit student interests. We have the two-year MBA (traditional program) that offers the opportunity to explore different interests, and often career pivots. We have a one-year MBA program and two joint, dual-degree programs. Our one-year program has existed for 56 years consecutively. It is for those who have completed some business coursework before attending so we qualify one-year applicants by the coursework taken. We give students credit for those courses. One-year (1Y) students start in the summer, and it’s a four-quarter program (June-June). There is an immersive first quarter for 1Y students, and then they join the second-year MBA class with electives, and they tailor their studies to their interest and professional goals.
Joint degrees include the MMM, which is a dual degree with the engineering school, and you get an MS in design innovation and MBA. It is very popular for students who are interested in design-centered thinking or product management. It’s a seven quarter program and integrates with the two-year program in the fall. Last is the JD/MBA program, with the curriculum designed to be completed in three years. Finally, our alumni network is very engaged and responsive, which impresses students and applicants. We have a pay it forward culture and mindset, which you see across the board.
What’s new at Kellogg in the last year? I know a lot has been happening. [14:03]
We are thrilled to welcome our new dean Francesca Cornelli. She will be on campus in a few weeks and joining us from LBS, bringing an immense amount of global perspective, and in particular expertise in private equity, innovation policy, and corporate governance. I personally am very proud it is our third consecutive female dean We are the only top business school with consistent female leadership.
Our curricular innovation continues to be an important focus. In the last five years we’ve launched 64 new courses, 12 courses in the last year alone – Negotiations in a Virtual World, Early Stage Healthcare Investing, and Blockchain Technology. We are wanting to equip students to hit the ground running with what is happening realtime in business and the marketplace.
We also have three new pathways. At Kellogg a pathway is a cross functional sequence of courses that addresses a particular ...

Aug 06 2019



Rank #20: Let’s Learn about Utah SOM from its Associate Dean of Admissions

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Our guest today is Dr. Benjamin Chan, Associate Dean of Admissions and Idaho Affairs at the University of Utah's School of Medicine and host of the Talking Admissions & Med Student Life podcast. Dr. Chan earned his bachelors at Stanford and his MD at UUCOM. He then trained in General Psychiatry at George Washington University in DC.  He has also completed a fellowship in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, has an MBA from University of Utah and a Masters in Education from the University of Cincinnati. He is also an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and inpatient attending physician at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute.

Dr. Chan, can you give an overview of the Utah COM’s curriculum focusing on the more distinctive elements of the program? [2:20]

We are an allopathic medical school, which means we offer the MD degree, which is four years long. We are known for innovation, in particular trying new teaching techniques. TBL-based learning is new, and it’s essentially students teaching each other – they break off into small groups, do cases, debate, and learn.

We also have a bench-to-bedside bio innovation project. There was a question of how to take bench research to help patients more quickly, so we decided to break up students into multi-disciplinary teams, including other graduate students like in computer science, biology, or physics, and the teams interview and shadow doctors. We provide some lab space and startup money and they go back to their lab and brainstorm ideas and design prototypes. We have an annual gala when everyone comes together to present their designs, judges interview and play with prototypes, and there are winners – it’s essentially a science fair on steroids.

One winner a few years back is currently in stage 3 trials with a UV light that kills bacteria. It is a catheter that kills bacteria before you insert it into the skin, which could have huge implications, since you don’t always have the sterilization capability.

The curriculum is divided into four core areas that students participate in throughout their four years at UCOM: Service, Scholarship, Mentorship; Clinical medicine; Medical Sciences; and Medical Arts.  Clinical medicine and Medical Sciences are what most people think of when you talk about medical school. How do the other two areas play out in the Utah experience? [5:25]

Students learn a lot of hard facts – anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. How does one take that information and communicate it with your patients? You can have all the clinical and scientific knowledge in the world, but if you can’t share it in a way that makes sense to your patients, that does you no good. So there is a science to medicine, and there’s also an art to it. We have medical humanities, so we talk about death and dying, how to interact with diverse patient populations, and how to deal with bioethical issues as they arise, which is incredibly important. With service, scholarship and mentorship, we pride ourselves on the fact that our students stay up-to-date on the latest news and research, so the vast majority participate in a research project of some sort. We also have a formalized mentorship program.

I noticed in reviewing your site and preparing for the call that there is a strong focus on “practice-based learning.” Can you describe that approach in the medical school setting? [11:26]

The first two years of med school are historically classroom-based, and then very clinically-based. We strive to have students in the first two years practice in the community. We pair them with primary care physicians or specialists to help develop those skills. We have a course called Clinical Method Curriculum, where they learn physical exam skills or how to interview a patient, or how to write a progress note. We also have a Clinical Skills Lab, which is a mock patient room with fake patients, actors in the community who pretend they have problems.

Apr 24 2018

1hr 2mins