Elliot O’Glasser

Rice MBA Full Time Class of 2017

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Undergraduate School and Major: Indiana University, Ballet Performance

Employer and Job Titles Since Graduation:

While finishing my degree at Indiana University, I danced as a trainee with The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, IL and then Ballet West in Salt Lake City, UT. After earning my degree from Indiana, I worked for four years with Schneider National, a transportation and logistics company based in Green Bay, WI. During my time with Schneider, I worked for two years as a recruiter at headquarters and have spent the last two years in Houston as the Driver Safety Leader for their bulk chemical transportation division.

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? It’s important to identify both how you learn best and what your weaknesses are before you determine how to prepare for the GMAT. I started with the GMAT schedule and worked backwards, identifying potential test dates which fit with both my schedule and the application deadlines of my target schools. I identified I would need to focus on quantitative skills, which were not a substantial part of my undergraduate program. Ultimately, I understood that the structure and requirements of a class would be important to keep me disciplined and on track ahead of the test while ensuring that my prep work was well-balanced.

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? I started with a very broad search based on my career goals. I was open to geographic areas, program sizes, and concentrations. I think it’s important to approach the process with an open mind, and narrow your focus based on what you discover while researching programs. Be self-aware of how your personal experience and profile compare to the admissions stats of the various schools. Be realistic when you identify your options and focus your search from there. Once you tailor your list, begin a dialogue with admissions staff, current students, and alumni from each program. Based on your interactions and what you identify as important features, let your rankings evolve and settle on a few choices.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Choosing and managing recommenders during the application process can be challenging, but it should definitely become a priority. I selected recommenders that I knew could speak to my strengths and effectively articulate my ability to be successful in an MBA program. I approached each recommender very early in the process to make sure they were comfortable with the request, keeping in mind that the application deadlines overlap with the holiday season. Once I selected the recommenders, I provided them with all of the information they needed, including deadlines, work products and achievements for reference, along with samples of recommendations for each school to help get them started. I also found it’s critical to be clear with your expectations of them and manage the process by checking in as deadlines approach.

For the application and interview processes, it’s important to not only be genuine, but also have the ability to clearly dictate your story and purpose. I found that the processes also serve as indications of what to expect from the program; each interaction is your opportunity to observe what life will be like as a student.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? There were a variety of factors that impacted my decision. The Rice admissions staff maintained a constant dialogue with me, and each interaction was sincere and personalized. To me, this was a differentiating reflection of what I could expect as a student. The size and location were also important factors. I’m certain that I will get sufficient attention and have the ability to stand out and impact the program, while contributing to the school’s diversity. Another consideration was curriculum. The core classes will be incredibly helpful, and I appreciate the ability to declare a concentration during my second year at Rice. The courses are supportive and thoughtfully selected. Ultimately, I determined Rice was the correct match: I’m certain that I will achieve my career ambitions, learn and develop, and thoroughly enjoy my experience.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? My primary objectives at Rice include honing the skillset necessary for a successful transition to a new career path, establishing a permanent network of rising peers, and making a lasting contribution to the community at Rice. I approached the application process thinking that I could learn about the schools while informing them of my objectives, and I hope that approaching the MBA program with the same cooperative, reciprocal expectations will support these objectives.