2023 Flashback: My Journey before Fisher

Goodbye to 2023! A year of significant changes for me, filled with emotions and decisions that will leave a lasting impact on my professional journey. Application deadlines for the program are close, so, in this post, I want to reflect and take you through my story—my experience applying for the Specialized Master in Finance at Fisher.

Choosing to pursue a master's degree is definitely not a walk in the park; it involves dedicating time to finding the right program, exploring universities, dealing with paperwork, and, most significantly, stepping out of our comfort zones. For us international students, it means leaving behind our homes, families, friends, current jobs—essentially, everything familiar. I understand that many of you reading these words might be going through that critical moment when making the "right decision" becomes the primary goal.

As someone who has navigated through this "nebula" of the "right decision", I'd like to provide you with tips, and outline timelines to make your application process a bit less stressful.

It all kicks off, ideally, a year before the first deadline, with the required tests—the TOEFL to measure English proficiency (the one I opted for) and the GRE/GMAT to evaluate verbal and mathematical skills. I dedicated about a month to preparing for each of them: I purchased official books (Official GRE Super Power Pack, Second Edition), watched informative YouTube videos (TOEFL iBT Test Structure) to grasp the exam structure, set a decent deadline (crucial trick to avoid studying for 3 or 4 months and missing your purpose), and then took the tests.

Following that first step and depending on your scores, you can gauge which universities are within reach. In my case, Ohio State was the clear winner. With close family living in Columbus and having fallen in love with Mason Hall, Thompson Library & Mirror Lake during previous visits, coupled with insights from recent alumni/faculty, my decision wasn't that difficult.

Once the university is chosen, the application process unfolds. In summary, it involves:

  1. Requesting official transcripts from your university: If you are an international remember sending it in a sealed envelope to Fisher. Also, always provide a way to measure your GPA according to US Standards.
  2. Submitting the application with your details on the Fisher website. The sooner the better!
  3. Seeking letters of recommendation: I recommend ask one from your company and one from your university.
  4. Crafting a compelling motivation letter. Be yourself! and always try to tell a story. It can be outside of the academic or professional setting, as long as you can demonstrate transferable skills.
  5. Attaching official GRE and TOEFL scores.
  6. Interview on Kira: Showcase aspects not covered in your CV or motivation letter, and... smile!

Now, as I find myself immersed in the program, I can confidently say that the journey has been worth every step. The challenges were met with growth, the unfamiliar became a new home, and the decision to pursue this program has proven to be a pivotal point in my career and way of thinking. 

Stay tuned for upcoming posts where I'll talk about my MBA Case Study Competition, job offers, and more conferences!

Stefano Mejia