April 30, 2012
Going to business school is a means to an end. We use b-school to help us reach our goals, advance in our careers, and become better people. But the desire to get a graduate management degree is not enough. We must take many steps and work very hard just to get in the door. The GMAT is a significant obstacle along the road to b-school. A lot goes into preparing for the test, and the result of that preparation has a direct impact on turning our aspirations into realities.
At Kaplan, we have thousands and thousands of success stories—stories of people who, just like you, made the decision to go to business school and did what they had to do to get there. These folks had a clear image in their minds of who they wanted to be and, most importantly, they went for it. We are proud to be a part of those journeys and we count their success as our success. Take Jennifer Shoemaker, for example.
Jennifer is a certified public accountant, marathon runner and amateur boxer. To land her dream job and take her career to the next level, she needed an advanced degree from a top business school. After prepping with Kaplan, she got into the University of Notre Dame, earned an M.S. in Accountancy and was on her way. We had a conversation with Jennifer about what it means to be where she is now and how she got there.
Q: What made you decide to go to business school?
“I had a job offer from a company that I really wanted to work for, but the offer was conditional upon earning an advanced degree from a top business school.”
Q: Oh, that’s all? Those degrees from those places are pretty hard to come by. How did you do it?
“As soon as I knew what I had to do to get where I wanted to go, I started researching how to get there. To get into a top business school, you absolutely must have a high GMAT score regardless of how well you do in undergrad. So, I walked into my Kaplan center and asked for a tutor.”
Q: Did you find one?
“Yes I did, and I was extremely lucky! I stopped in the Kaplan center over winter break and the only person working there was the center manager. He previously was a GMAT instructor and a tutor, but had moved into a management role and wasn’t taking on any students at the time. However, he still took me on as a student and sat with me for a month straight, coaching me on the GMAT. I knew he was extremely busy with his other responsibilities being a manager, but he never once made me feel like I was imposing on his time. My GMAT tutor worked longer days just so that he could help me. He taught me the logistics of the exam—what it tests, how it tests, what to expect, how to pace myself. He also put in the extra effort to teach me to believe in myself and to attack the exam with confidence. To this day, my tutor remains one of the most influential people I’ve met in my life. I will forever be appreciative of everything he did for me.”
Q: Wow! That’s a great story! How does it end?
“After endless multiple choice questions and sleepless nights of GMAT studying, I took my exam and earned the score I needed to get into the business school I wanted to go to! I was later accepted at the University of Notre Dame where I ultimately received my Master’s in Accountancy, which then led to my first job at a Big Four public accounting firm.”
Q: Do you have any advice for people just setting out on the road you walked?
“The GMAT is a hard test and it takes a lot of work to get a great score. But, just learning how to work out math problems and correct bad grammar won’t take you all the way. The confidence that I gained during those long hours of tutoring and study was such a critical element of my success not only on the GMAT, but also the on CPA exam and in my career. I took what I had learned with my Kaplan instructor and applied it to my own study regimen for the CPA. One of my proudest accomplishments is passing the CPA exam in only eight months, and I know that wouldn’t have been possible without first believing I could do it. More importantly, I had proof that I’d done it before. Knowing that made me feel like I could achieve anything.”
Now that you’ve read about where Jennifer took herself, we’d like to hear from you! Where will you take yourself? Tell us what lies in your future, what your ambitions are, how you’re going to leave your mark on the world. In short, tell us what and who you’re going to be. We want to hear the story of the “future you”—in 120 characters or less—and give you the chance to win $2500 in cash and a free Kaplan course. Click here to enter.