On the Record: Q&A with BC Alumnus Radina Russell

Recently, we thought that many people out there battling through the business school application process might benefit from some thoughts and insights from others who went through the experience. To that end, we present On the Record: Q&A with BC Alums. Over the next few months we’ll be sharing stories in Q&A format from some of our favorite Bell Curves alumni.

Today’s featured Bell Curves alumnus is Radina Russell.

BC favorite and all-around superstar Radina Russell

Radina graduated from Columbia Business School and now works as an Investor Relations and Financial Communications consultant. Here is what she has to say about her business school experience, the GMAT, and more:

Why did you go to business school? My family was always trying to get rid of me as much as possible when I was a kid. When I was 16, all the cool kids got to go to fun camp, but I attended LEAD Summer Business Institute at The Darden School of Business at UVA (aka business summer camp). Ever since then, I’ve known I wanted to attend business school.

How has business school impacted your career?
  I was able to completely reinvent myself. I made the switch from technology to finance and developed a brand new set of skills in b-school.

What do you want business school applicants to know?
The grass is always greener . . . But seriously, I’d 100% make the decision to go business school again . . . though not all my friends feel the same way. As with anything, if you do it for the wrong reasons then you won’t end up fully appreciating the experience or fully benefiting from the outcome. The decision to go to business school isn’t about making a lot of money someday, it’s about wanting to take a deeper dive into the nuts and bolts of our capitalist economy.

How many schools did you apply to and get accepted to?
3 applied, 2 accepted. I also received 2 fellowship offers.

What specific advice would you give those prepping for the GMAT now?
Stay Hungry. I took the GMAT 6 times and it was a completely exhausting experience. I tried everything from tutoring to prayer to yoga. But, if you’re hungry enough . . . I mean really hungry enough, then you’ll put your head down, stay focused, and get it done.

Is there anything about your experience with the GMAT/application process that was unique or surprising?
At the end of the day, I realized that while I’m quite intelligent, I still have this odd tendency to get in my own way.  I had done extensive test prep and could consistently score in the 700’s on practice exams. However, when it came to the real test I would simply fall apart. Just remember, that the GMAT is about more than just quant and verbal! You also need to make sure you’re mentally and emotionally prepared to take the test.
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