28-Year-Old LGBTQ, Filipinx-American, Non-binary Client Earns a Full-ride to Berkeley’s MBA and MPH Programs
Originally from the Jamaica, Queens, neighborhood in New York, our client Bea*, is a Filipinx-American, nonbinary, child of immigrants. When they decided they wanted to go to business school, they were concerned that they may not fit the mold. However, as they searched for people they could relate to in MBA programs, they came across a video from The Art of Applying® featuring a Reaching out MBA (ROMBA) representative. ROMBA is an organization dedicated to helping LGBTQ individuals find scholarships and application resources for MBA programs. This is how Bea learned about The Art of Applying®.
Not knowing anyone who had gone through this process before, Bea had already suspected that they may need help with their graduate school applications. The ROMBA video had piqued their interest, so they did their research and watched more content from The Art of Applying®. After seeing our founder and CEO, Kaneisha, engage with clients in testimonial videos, they decided to book a Breakthrough Call with our team. They quickly signed on to the Application Accelerator® program after that.
Bea shares how the Application Accelerator® helped their application process, “If I hadn’t signed with The Art of Applying® and I was just doing this on my own I probably would have burned out really quickly. I knew I needed the group of people, and I knew I needed a cheerleader, [which was my consultant] to tell me to keep going, so I would say the people and seeing other clients [were the best part.]”
Bea’s decision served their application well. With The Art of Applying®’s help, Bea was accepted to Berkeley’s MBA and MPH programs with a full Consortium scholarship. Now that Bea has been accepted to their dream program, their perspective on belonging in business school has shifted for the better. They shared, “I learned that I belong in more spaces than I let myself believe.”
So what’s next for Bea? In their own words, “The reason for why I’m in healthcare, and the reason I want to do this work… It’s a big vision that I’m hoping is going to impact a lot of people’s lives. And I know that the MBA and an MPH from Berkeley is an awesome vehicle to be able to achieve that. I just needed a runway to accomplish this dream, and this is a part of that runway.”
Start Date: June 2020 | End Date: June 2021
- Age: 29
- GPA: 3.3
- GRE: 310 – 157 V; 153 Q
- Work experience: Healthcare
- Undergraduate: Liberal arts college in Brooklyn
- Major: Biological sciences
- University of California, Berkeley Haas MBA
- University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health MPH
- Berkeley Haas MBA with full Consortium scholarship
Bea reflects on the concerns they had about investing in The Art of Applying® and how that investment paid off:
“My biggest fear was definitely around cost. But at the same time…I was already a half yes, I had been thinking about applying. I had even been studying for the GMAT for a while already. …I was just making little micro decisions and putting money away. …So I was already ready to say yes to somebody. I think it just took the right person and the right company to say yes to. For me personally, I think it wasn’t that scary, I think, making that big commitment like, ‘Oh I’m really doing this. I have some skin in the game and this is for real now.’ There is no backing out because I’m telling people. I’m signing a contract and making that commitment, that was the scary part…but I knew I needed help and I’m glad that I eventually said yes to that.”
Bea reflects on what they would change about their application process if they could:
“I would worry a little bit less about the test. I would still put in the same amount of effort that I did. But I would be kinder to myself, because I was a healthcare worker in the middle of the pandemic. …So for anybody who is experiencing the same thing, if you know you’re giving your all into a part of the application process, just accept that and know that that is awesome. …I would also take the energy and time I spent overthinking an essay trying to perfect it and spend more time networking with current students at all of the schools that I applied to, I think…that really helped, whenever I could get face time with a current student because culture fit…was super important for me.”
How Bea took some of the pressure of getting a good test score off themselves:
“Imperfect action is better than no action at all. …Take a diagnostic test, see where you are and really target the areas of the exam where you feel like you could really brush up on. I think it’s helpful if you have some months before actually submitting your application to have it in your head, ‘I can take this more than once.’…If you tell yourself, ‘I could take this a second or third time.’ It really helps just take off the pressure because you know this isn’t your one and final shot to get the score that you want. …I had so many unanswered questions about the rest of the application process. So I had a big sense of things that I needed to accomplish to make a successful application, but I also knew that I had a set amount of time and I didn’t want to spend it all just studying for the test.”
Bea’s advice for others who may not see themselves represented in business schools:
“Right now the current state of business schools is you’re not gonna find a lot of intersecting identities, but something that I would say is if you’re someone who identifies with a certain ethnicity, a certain gender or …even if you have like a lower GRE score or GMAT score. ….If you’re someone with identities that you don’t necessarily see represented in these top business schools, I would say don’t be afraid to be the one who goes first because somebody needs to go first. And that’s something I told myself when I couldn’t find Filipinx, nonbinary, LGBTQ, people from Jamaica Queens. I was like, ‘I don’t know if this is for me because I don’t see people with like a million things that identify with.’ But I told myself, even if I don’t, I’ve been the first to come out in my family. I’ve been the first to do a lot of things. Why not be one of the first people with these identities, to go into business school? …So I would say that if there are things about yourself and your identity that you’re using as a reason to count yourself out of this process, I would say don’t be afraid to go first, because a lot of people need to do that. These schools need us, these schools need our stories as much as we need them to accomplish what we want to accomplish. So I would just say that…you don’t have to be invited, you can just show all the great things about yourself and then the right school will see that. And then you’ll end up in a place that is meant for you and I think that’s what happened for me and this application cycle is just something that I needed to remind myself to trust the whole time that I was applying.”
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*Bea is not their real name. Our client asked that we not share their real name in this client case study.