Meet Principal Consultant Julie Strong

Julie Strong, Principal Consultant at the MBA Exchange, earned her master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education, with an emphasis on adult development and research. She continued to her career in education by serving as the Senior Director of MBA Admissions at MIT Sloan School of Management, then two years as the Director of MIT Sloan Latin American Office. Although she speaks Spanish fluently, she has evaluated MBA applications from across the globe as she was the founding Director of Admissions for the Asia School of Business. 

Her qualifications speak for themselves, but Julie’s passion for education extends beyond work and into her community.  She serves on her local Technical High School Advisory Committee for multi-media engineering, driven by the exposure the students get to career paths that aren’t necessarily college-bound.  Additionally, she is chair of a Housing Committee to build accessible housing in her local community. Extending outside of her community, across the hemispheres, Julie serves on the Board of Directors for “Action for Health in the Americas”, the fundraising arm of EPES Foundation in Chile which promotes the organization and community participation of public health. 

When she’s not consulting on MBA applications, changing the landscape of public health in the Americas, or impacting the youth of her community, you’ll find her outdoors. She’s an avid hiker, kayaker, and skier. She loves to swim and you may even spy her working on her backspin on the Pickleball court. 

Let’s get to know a little more about Julie

What first prompted you to become involved in MBA admissions?

I became involved with Admissions while I was Director of MBA career services.  I realized that sometimes applicants were admitted to an MBA program with unrealistic expectations of their future career goals.  I realized it was important to help students have realistic goals during for their MBA programs so they could maximize their opportunities during their MBA studies and be successful in securing that dream in a  post MBA position.

What did you enjoy about reviewing MBA applications and interviewing applicants?

Reading applications and interviewing applicants was a great privilege. In additions to their successes and goals, applicants expose their vulnerabilities in this process.  I always wanted applicants to know and feel that they were telling their stories in a safe environment.  My goal was to treat each applicant in a way that they felt respected in the process and no matter what the outcome at the end of the day, admission or not, the process had been valuable maybe even an enjoyable experience where they went through some self-discovery, clarified goals, etc.  

What was the challenging aspect of evaluating MBA candidacies?

One challenging aspect was between a well written application and the poor performance in the interview.  When an invitation to interview was extended to an applicant, he or she had passed some bar, some standard of the committee.  One goal of the interview was for the applicant to expand upon all the “good stuff” in their application or it could be to validate or dig a little deeper into the stories from the application.  When an applicant had a great written application but didn’t perform well in an interview such as not answering questions, not being able to expand beyond what was already in the interview; not having new examples to share, the ultimate decision would be to “not admit.” 

Which application do you think is the most challenging for candidates?

I don’t think there is one application more difficult than another.  The first challenge for the applicant is to understand the nuances of the different applications.   The second challenge is the hard work of introspection required to adequately compose those essays. 

What motivates you to serve applicants today as an MBA admissions consultant?

I spent over 20 years in admissions and MBA career services.  I have travelled around the world with admissions represents from all the top MBA school and have met thousands and thousands of applicants.  I never get tired of listening to a person’s story and trying to figure out the best way that they can tell that story through the admissions application process.  Every client’s story is unique. Helping them to “discover” the uniqueness is always motivating to me.

Who was your most memorable client and why?

I rarely use the superlative.   I remember all of my clients stories so I guess the most memorable are the ones where clients were outliers and applied to programs knowing that the odds were slim; an applicant with no undergraduate degree got accepted to MIT Sloan, a Vet with over 20 years of experience that was accepted to the full-time MBA program at HBS, an MD and serial entrepreneur with a low GMAT score who was sure he wouldn’t get into Stanford, but he did.

Which three words best describe your approach to admissions consulting?

Listen, question, recommend, repeat

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