Posted on April 28, 2015

Interview of a Wisconsin Student

Poonam, CEO, and founder of myEssayReview is publishing interviews of her successful students.  This is the latest in the series. Here is a chat with Fatima, a first-year student of the full-time MBA program at the University of  Wisconsin.


Poonam: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What do you do now?

Fatima: I am from Senegal; I moved to the USA about 5 years ago. I have a Master's degree in HR from the University of Dakar/Senegal, and I fluently speak French and Spanish. Right now, I am a first-year MBA student at the Wisconsin MBA program. I am getting ready to move down to Houston for my summer internship. I am super excited about it!

Poonam: When did you start thinking about an MBA? Why now? What are your post MBA career goals and long term goals?

Fatima: I started thinking about an MBA since I moved to the USA. In fact, I graduated with a Master in HR from Dakar/Senegal, and I needed to take my career to the next level by pursuing an MBA program that would give me strong business knowledge paired with a deep understanding of the HR function. My short term goal is to become a Human Capital Consultant. My post MBA career goal is working in strategic human capital management by helping an NGO or not- for -profit organization to optimize their investment in human capital. Fifteen to twenty years post MBA, I see myself opening a Consultancy agency in West Africa and Latin America to help support and coordinate Human Resources Development in emerging countries.

Poonam: You were accepted by both Wisconsin and Cornell. You finally chose Wisconsin. How is it the best school for you?

Fatima: I choose UW because of cultural fit and because it is one of the few MBA programs that offer an MBA with a specialization in HR.

Poonam: How challenging it is to manage school and family at the same time? Do you have any time management tips for prospective students?

Fatima: It’s been challenging. Yet, I have a very supportive husband who understood that I have little time to do stuff I used to, but I made sure to spend some of my time with him. My family and friends were a great support system. My advice is to use the weekend to study the most (for those who don’t work on weekends) and make sure you understand and are comfortable with your studying style (I study best early mornings than late afternoons, I make sure to have enough sleep)

Poonam: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the school admissions process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it? How would you advise other MBA applicants who are facing similar challenges?

Fatima: The most challenging part was writing the essays. As a non-native speaker, I was very frustrated at the time when I wasn’t able to express my ideas the way I wanted. I overcame my challenge when I started working with Poonam. I am so grateful for all her guidance, patience, and professionalism. It was a breeze working with her; she believed in me and that meant a lot to me. I would suggest candidates find someone like Poonam who would help them through the writing process.

Poonam: Thanks, Fatima! What is your favorite thing about Wisconsin so far?

Fatima: The people... they are so nice and welcoming! Wisconsin residents are genuinely nice and respectful people. They are always ready to help and make you feel part of their community.

Poonam: Is there anything you would like to change about the program?  

Fatima: Not really. Maybe more international trips. We have about two global projects being offered at the school, and it would be nice to increase the number of global opportunities.

Poonam: Do you have any admissions tips for applicants for Wisconsin full-time MBA (essays, résumé, recommendation letters, interview, etc.)?

Fatima: Always reach out to current students, they always are great resources (they were in your shoes at some point). Avoid last-minute submission; give yourself enough time to write compelling essays and give your recommenders enough time before the application deadline. The most important thing  is to be yourself and enjoy the process

Poonam: What are your favorite non-school books?  What are your hobbies?

Fatima: I love reading, “Les Miserables”, “ Pourquoi Les Hommes Adorent Les Chiauses.” I love working out, cleaning, cooking, reading, and baking.

Poonam: Thank you, Fatima, for sharing your story with us. Good luck with your Wisconsin experience and your future career.

Note: You can connect with Fatima via LinkedIn.

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs. (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

Do you have questions about your application? E-mail Poonam at or sign up here for a free consultation.