APPLYING TO BOOTH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
This is the second part of an interview with Huei Jang, an alumnus of Chicago full-time MBA program.
Huei Jang is a Managing Member of Empire Biscuit (www.empirebiscuit.com), a 24-Hour southern biscuit counter-service restaurant in New York’s East Village. He is also the Founding Member of Original Jangster, an advisory practice specializing in providing finance, accounting, and investor relations advice for early-stage start-up firms. Previously, Huei worked at UBS as an Investment Banker.
What prompted you to pursue an MBA at the point in your career/life that you did?
I think this really started at the end of college. I had always felt that obtaining a graduate or professional degree would be critical at some point to my career advancement and by that time, I had already decided that I would enter and stay in the world of business. I had spoken to enough alumni from various graduate business schools through those interim years to feel that around four to six years of work experience before going back to school would be most beneficial. In a world where we do not get to live parallel lives, it is hard to prove or disprove this for my own personal experience, but it seemed to work out. This general personal directive had always been there; the specifics were not refined until I had to actually sit down and think about the reasons for my application essays.
How did you address any potential weaknesses in your resume/work experience for your applications?
This is the way any applicant needs to think about this: there are no weaknesses, there are only different styles of strengths (but be able to articulate and defend any “unconventional” styles, as applicable).
What do you think helped you the most in your applications?
My friends. And secondarily, my acquaintances. Having folks (whether they have been through this process or not) help me hash out ideas and my understanding of myself was critical to my process. Often, having helpful people around you that actually do not know you all that well helps you figure out how to market yourself and your own personal brand more so than with close friends.
Less fuzzily, it helped that I got my GMATs out of the way pretty early (more than a year before I actually decided to apply); it was one less thing to worry about.
What undergraduate background did you have? How did you get ready to the analytical and quantitive coursework at Chicago?
I studied Biochemistry and Economics in undergrad. I did not have to get ready for the coursework at Chicago because they give you the choice to not make that a priority in your experience there. (I would also make the argument that the faculty and staff there is the most impressive and accessible group of people you can hope to meet at an academic institution.)
Any special angles on your time at school (as a minority, as someone who went from a big company to independent consulting, emphasis on start-up culture, etc)?
I more I think about the people I met during my time at Booth, the more I feel that everybody had a special angle of some sort. If I take a view of each MBA acquaintance for the period between college and three years after business school, I cannot think of two people whose profiles look very similar. Business school not only exposes you to paths you were not previously familiar with, but also gives you a certain confidence to continue exploring well after you graduate. And this is not limited to the professional realm—I have several classmates who have since gotten married or had children, or had other shifts in their life purpose. These “angles” we seemed to come into school with continue to become even more special today as a result of our experiences there.
If you’re comfortable, would you mind discussing how you paid for school and if it was a factor in your decision on where to attend?
About 90% student loans. It is amazing how willing a bank is to fork over that much money without any collateral and without knowing much about you. The financial aspect was not a consideration. (And Asian-Americans seeking to enter or stay in the finance industry generally do not receive scholarships for such an endeavor.)
Read more stories about MBA students and their journey:
…and find ideas on how to craft your own MBA application: