Are you aiming for an MBA? US business schools are one of them the worlds bestand leading university rankings attest to this.
They make up six of the top 10 schools ranked in the 2021 QS Global MBA Rankings and eight of the top 10 schools in the Financial Times MBA Rankings.
An offer to study at one of these institutions is the highlight of a student trip as they attract the brightest students worldwide.
In December, Kieran Carty received offers from two competing schools — Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School — for his MBA.
The 28-year-old will live out his entrepreneurial ambitions at Stanford with a scholarship by the British government under his belt.
Before moving to California in September, we spoke to him to learn more about the challenges of the MBA application process and his tips for aspiring MBAs:
Hello Kieran. can you tell us about yourself
Coming from South London, I have worked as an investment professional in impact investing and global private equity for six years, having graduated from the University of Manchester in 2015 where I studied philosophy, politics and economics.
My career began at Credit Suisse, where I did an internship for a number of years as part of the Steps to Success scholarship program. After graduating, I joined Credit Suisse full-time as an Investment Banking Analyst, focusing on M&A (mergers and acquisitions) for financial institutions.
In 2017 I joined an emerging market private equity fund and moved to Nairobi, Kenya. In 2019 I joined the Soros Economic Development Fund and have been fortunate to invest and travel repeatedly to places such as India, Ghana and Kenya to name a few.
Outside of work, I do a lot of volunteering in the local black community through a non-profit organization I started, the Black British City Group.
Why did you decide to do an MBA?
I decided to do an MBA for two reasons:
1) To buy the time and career security I needed to explore entrepreneurship
2) To accelerate my professional development
They’ve bagged offers from two US business schools: Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School.
Congratulations! Why did you choose Stanford for your MBA?
It really came down to two things: the financial support offered at Stanford was stronger than that of HBS, and second, my experience with the senior alumni.
Stanford provided helpful introductions and I spoke to very experienced professionals. Hearing your perspective changed it for me. That being said, the HBS alumni network is comparatively larger and more relevant to my ambitions and background outside the US.
Was there a reason to study at a US business school in the UK?
Honestly, no, that’s just because the best business schools by rank and reputation are in the US.
Was there a particular challenge when applying for an MBA program? If yes, how did you overcome it?
I would say that the GRE/GMAT was the most technically challenging and painful part of the process because it requires months of hard and sometimes monotonous self-study. I got through it by being persistent and using online resources.
What are you most looking forward to when visiting Stanford or in California in September?
Meet new people, go skiing and explore the nearby national parks.
Do you have any tips for students who are thinking about studying for an MBA?
For sure. I’m working on an e-book coming out this month that will have tips, advice and more, but for now I’d say:
1. Take your shot
2. Understand what you bring to a potential MBA class
3. Be real, vulnerable and authentic
4. Illustrate, don’t tell – Your application has very few words to paint a picture of who you are
5. Take your time
6. Tell your story as only you can
7. Create a pool of examples
I am expanding each of these in the e-book.
What is more important to you: job satisfaction, salary, social life or work-life balance? Why?
Work-life balance because I think it’s the key to being productive and successful in the long term. It’s easy to overstate social life, compensation, and job satisfaction, but I believe work-life balance is the key to long-term happiness.
What would you advise if you had a time machine to return to yourself for an in-person mentoring session?
Start writing and documenting things sooner. Life and your own career can be an incredible journey, especially when you’re ambitious and adventurous like me, so make the most of it, but also enjoy the journey.