By Diana Yan '15
I was recently catching up with a good friend from last year’s class when he asked what should have been an easy question to answer: Do you miss the second years?
“I am a second year,” I replied. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I did what I often do with questions that catch me off guard: I answered without actually answering the question. Instead I talked about how as an Admissions Fellow, the two questions I get asked most often by candidates I interview are: “Why did you choose Booth for your MBA?” and “What’s your favorite thing about being here?”
My answer is always the same: the people.
I relate that the first time I set foot on campus, I was a prospective student participating in the Daily Campus Visit. I was impressed by how Booth’s Admissions Office not only encouraged me to get to know current students, sit in on a class and take a tour of the building, but also welcomed me to return to them if I had any lingering questions after the program ended. As a non-traditional applicant, I had questions, lots of questions. Sure enough, when I returned to the Admissions Office in the afternoon, Eddie Pulliam, the same director who had spoken in the information session, was there to receive my questions.
I talk about how Boothies help each other succeed in and out of the classroom. We spend time helping classmates understand difficult concepts outside of professor lectures and study group meetings. We meet for coffee chats and spend hours prepping for interviews. We share recruiter contact information with one another even when we plan to apply to the same firm. We even plan group trips (e.g., Random Walks, winter break trips, spring breaks, post-summer travels) for no other reason than to have fun exploring various parts of the world with friends and complete strangers.
I also share my own experiences with Booth’s pay-it-forward culture. For instance, there were the “Welcome to Booth!” phone calls I received soon after I was admitted. When I returned to campus for Admit Weekend, a then first year student who I served in the Peace Corps with opened up her home to me for the weekend. Finally, there are the alumni connections, in particular those that I have made off-campus, that have shown me how deeply MBAs care about Booth students even after they’ve graduated.
There I go again, catching myself responding to but not really answering my friend’s question. Let’s try again. If I was again asked whether I miss last year’s second years, here’s what I would say without any hesitation:
After all, they were the ones who showed me how to be the second year I am today.
Diana Yan is an Admissions Fellow. When not interviewing candidates, she can often be found procrastiworking in the Winter Garden.