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Meet Our MBA Admissions Consultants: Matthew Stephenson

March 4 2014 By The MBA Exchange
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An MBA graduate of The Wharton School, Matthew Stephenson served as an Admissions Fellow assessing applications and interviewing applicants on behalf of the Admissions Office. Majoring in entrepreneurial management, he earned a Joseph Wharton Fellowship based on academic, professional and civic achievement.

Matt began his career as an analyst in credit risk management at Goldman Sachs covering the credit derivative and mortgage-backed securities product lines. Next, he joined educational non-profit Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) to manage their sales & trading internship program. He has founded a successful online network for professionals. His international business experience includes working in the Caribbean. Matt holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and information systems from the NYU Stern School of Business, where he earned the Madame CJ Walker Award for Entrepreneurial Achievement for co-founding a profitable apparel business.

“What is your favorite aspect of admissions consulting?”
Working with clients who are passionate about their goals, but unsure how to articulate them has to be my favorite aspect of admissions consulting. For me, it’s two-fold. First, I get to hear about the distinctive and wildly impactful things that people are doing all over the world — from working on multi-million dollar, global construction projects to providing critical resources to underserved communities. And second, it’s exhilarating to help clarify and refine the words, thoughts and goals of clients seeking admission to business school.

“Which three adjectives best describe your approach to MBA Admissions Consulting?”
Attentive, creative and candid.

“What is your most treasured memory from having been an MBA student yourself?”
Probably the most treasured memory from my b-school days was running the Philadelphia Half Marathon. One of my goals before enrolling was to not only push myself academically, but also in every other aspect of my life – socially, experientially and physically. So, after the summer between my first and second year, I began training intensely with a friend. With her help and my determination to run farther than I’d ever run, I completed the race in under 2 hours. Finishing time aside, it felt amazing to have accomplished something that I would have never thought that I would attempt.

“What do you like to do for fun outside of work?”
For several years, I’ve practiced Capoeira (a Brazilian martial art) on and off. It’s always been a great workout and stress reliever for me. I’ve also become a big fan of Bikram Yoga, again as a stress reliever and way to reset mentally. And when I have free time, I love to sit down with a good book.

“What do you believe is the biggest challenge for MBA applicants today?”
The biggest challenge is how to differentiate themselves experientially, while still demonstrating a genuine interest in those experiences and a career path that isn’t divergent. There are many applicants that have a set of experiences that each relate to one singular goal, but at first glance that relevance may not be apparent to the admissions committee. In fact, a candidate with diverse experiences can sometimes be viewed by the adcom as being noncomittal. Herein lies where we as consultants provide tremendous value – helping the applicant identify and articulate how an array of experiences interact and relate.

To learn more about Matthew Stephenson and our other consultants please visit our Consulting Team page. If you’re interested in applying to top business schools, we invite you to submit your background information for a free evaluation of your candidacy.