As a second year, I feel like an admissions event veteran. Heading into Diversity Matters, our biggest diversity recruiting event of the year, I was more excited about meeting the next class of students than I was nervous about what they may ask. At this point, I’ve heard pretty much every question a prospective could ask. After all, I have a pretty easy job: talk about the Columbia Business School experience. Sure, business school is at times challenging - recruiting and the job search can be daunting. But in the end you get a two year break from the real world, you make tons of new friends, and you will have a great new job after graduation. The difficult part is getting across all that Columbia Business School is in just one day! The underrepresented minority crowd tends to focus a lot on the serious parts of the business school application process (recruiting, classes, financial aid), rather than the fun stuff (parties, clusters, clubs), so I always try to keep things light.
Diversity Matters is set up so that we can illustrate what CBS is all about. We highlighted the student experience, recruiting opportunities, social activities, and everything else that makes CBS stand out. Answering questions from prospective students always helps me reflect on my time at school and always reminds me of just how little time I have left as a Columbia Business School student. Even as a second year I never get over being impressed by my classmates. At Diversity Matters, I was a on a panel with someone who worked on the Obama Presidential Campaign and a Latina involved in Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise.
The toughest part of an event like Diversity Matters is what happens afterwards. You feel like you are going through the admissions process all over again. You stay in contact with people you’ve met while they go through every step of the admission process: going over their “narrative,” waiting anxiously for the play-by-play of the interview, and then waiting for the final, nail biting decision. With that comes the pain from when someone you are cheering for doesn’t getting in, but also the joy when someone does get the call from admissions.
It’s tough to give admissions tips to prospective students without using the cliché of “just be yourself,” but I truly believe that if you are honest in your essays, and apply to schools whose culture you really identify with, things tend to work out for the best. I know that for those who choose CBS, it will be a great two years in an amazing city.