Since it's Valentine's Day today, we'd **love** to highlight one of our "AnderCouples" Daniela Castillo ('16) and David Valencia ('16) -- this Colombian couple made the journey of applying to and attending Anderson together. Where did they meet? GMAT class, of course!
Take a look back at a blog post they wrote during their second year at Anderson about their journey of applying to business school, and then scroll down to check in on where they are now!
Colombian Couple Recalls the Journey from GMAT to Anderson
The below post originally appeared on the UCLA Anderson blog in October 2015.
Recently we have received a lot of questions around applying to business school as a couple. For couples in this situation, there is a lot riding on the outcome of your applications. Daniela Castillo and David Valencia, members of the Class of 2016, were in this situation not too long ago. Here is their story in their words:
Our journey applying to business school was special. Not only because we were international applicants, but also because we had a wedding to plan. We are second-year MBA students at UCLA Anderson, and we want to share with you our experience of applying to business school as an international couple.
Taking the GMAT
Business school has been part of our relationship since the beginning. We met at a GMAT student prep center back home in Bogotá, Colombia. The MBA was part of our respective career plans, and in each other we found a study partner who shared similar professional objectives.
Anyone thinking about an MBA has to face the challenging reality of taking the GMAT. Our strategy was to study at least one hour each day after work. We say “at least” because sometimes we studied for way more than one hour. It is not always easy to say “no” to other activities, especially social gatherings, parties, dinners, and the like. But we put our MBA application goal before anything else. Actually, studying for the GMAT became a way to spend a lot of time together and we learned very much about each other.
Once we had the scores we aimed for, we had thorough conversations about where we really wanted to go for business school. We spoke about rankings, career interests and classes, we reached out to alumni, and we even thought about weather as a factor that would affect our two-year experience.
Our recommendation to couples is to talk about everything on your mind. Avoid later surprises by discussing what really matters to you and your partner. At this stage, you have to factor in everything that could help you make a decision about where to go. In our case it was not easy, we each had different career priorities; but we ended up applying to three business schools that aligned with our interests, and UCLA Anderson was one of them.
The Application Essay
When writing your essays, work individually. Bring to life your personal stories, and make sure you sound authentic and that the message comes across clearly. Your story needs to make sense and doesn’t have to be aligned with what your significant other is writing. Obviously, you can help each other review your essays, but we did that at a later stage, when we thought our essays were almost ready and only needed editing. We think the most important thing when telling your story to admissions is to answer questions such as, why do you want an MBA, why now? How do your career objectives align with your past professional experience? It really matters to admissions that you have the potential to find the job you’re looking for after graduation.
To prepare for the interviews, we practiced together and did many mock interviews. We found it very important to travel to campus and meet our interviewers at Anderson. We believe for international students, establishing a rapport in person is easier than on the phone or video call.
We did tell the universities that we applied to that we were a couple and we wanted to go together. It worked well for us; the three universities that we applied to accepted us both.
This couple is happily halfway through our MBA experience. The people we have met, the professional growth, and the support we have had from each other to continue pursuing our dreams have made the decision to come to UCLA Anderson one of the best we have ever made. We could not be prouder of or happier about our achievements, and we are looking forward to our new lives after graduation. This is definitely a life-changing experience.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW...
It's hard to believe that it's been 2.5 years since Daniela and David started their Anderson journey together, and over a half a year since they graduated from UCLA Anderson! Here are some updates on this amazing Anderson couple's journey during Anderson and beyond:
During their second year, they co-organized a Spring Break trip to Colombia, their home country! Over 30 of their Anderson classmates attended. What does Daniela say about this trip? Simply, "it was amazing!"
On June 10, 2016, Daniela and David graduated together from UCLA Anderson, becoming newly minted MBAs! While they were sad to say goodbye to all of the beloved classmates, they were happy they were able to celebrate their amazing achievements of earning an MBA together!
Check out the below to see their career journeys from pre-MBA to post-MBA!
We wish Daniela and David only the best for their futures together. And from the entire Admissions Team, we send all of our love to our whole Anderson family -- past, present, and future!