COVID-19 UPDATE

icon-case-study Keryn
Degree 3.5 from Pepperdine University, Marketing & Branding
Initial GRE Score 147Q/151V
Profile 26-year old Pacific Islander female that needs an MBA in order to enhance skill set and enrich network for post-MBA industry switch to hospitality from healthcare
Target Schools Berkeley Haas (Reach)
UCLA Anderson (Competitive)
Texas McCombs (Reach)
Washington Foster (Reach)
USC Marshall (Reach)

Application Branding Strategy

As a marketer, Keryn was a natural storyteller; after all, she did it for a living. Since her GRE score was low (313) for the schools she was targeting—Haas, Anderson, McCombs, Foster, Marshall—and since she lacked a big-name undergraduate school to boast, she needed a little something extra on her application to help her stand out. We like to call that little something extra the “hmmm...” factor. As in, hmmm, I’d like to know this person more. Knowing that she would ace the interview, we set out to brand her as someone with a clear and decisive vision for her professional future (Hawaiian Tourism President), tie that in to her unique cultural background growing up in Hawaii and passion for her native state, and highlight how Austin’s hospitality-rich economic landscape is the perfect place for her to chart her course. Keryn got rejected from Haas and Anderson (which, she knew were reach schools given her modest GRE score) but landed a coveted spot at McCombs with 35,000 in scholarship money.

Result

Though she is a strong writer and communicator, Keryn’s first drafts lacked the depth and thematic clarity needed for top B-School admissions committees to be impressed. Through may revisions, we encouraged Stacie to get specific—first about her personal background, later about her need to pivot into an industry that is more in line with her passions, and finally about her long-term desire to return to Hawaii to ovehual the way tourism is marketed there. She was thrilled with her essays and so, apparently, were the McCombs adcoms.

Outcome

What started as Keryn the career enhancer ultimately became Keryn the future change agent for her home state of Hawaii. Application branding is an art, and the essays are your canvas. Let us help you make yours a masterpiece!

Bottom Line

Final GRE Score

156Q/157V

Accepted

Texas McCombs
Washington Foster
USC Marshall

Waitlisted

UCLA Anderson

Rejected

Berkeley Haas


We help you capture the vital elements that top MBA and graduate schools looks for in your personal statement. Below is a side-by-side comparison of Keryn’s initial draft to Texas McCombs and the final version that led to his acceptance.

Before


We learn a lot about you from your application and resume. We want to get to know you! Introduce yourself. Select one communication method that you would like to use for your response. (250 words)

My name is Keryn Shinoi Costa, I am a bi-racial woman born and raised in the cultural mixing pot of the Hawaiian Islands. I am a marketer by day and a dodgeball-wielding aficionado by night. My life is always interesting and full of surprises – a recent one was becoming a big sister for the first time at age 28.

I have known my core group of friends since I was in pre-school/kindergarten. As they say, I am “100% Leo” – I am a natural leader and admittedly bask in the glow of center stage.

I grew up in a conservative and religious household, but through uncovering my own personal truths, I now have a decidedly progressive worldview.

I currently live in Los Angeles with my boyfriend, Tom, and our beloved 10-year-old puggle (pug/beagle mix), Koa. All three of us are mutts and proud of it!

You can find me in my free time tracking down the latest delicacies and hideouts around town, and sharing the experience with my fellow Yelpers. I delight in getting intel on the tastiest and latest restaurants and can spend hours browsing photos of stylized food shots, noodles in particular are my weakness.

I love organization – my color-coded closet, to do list, and planner help me maintain my sanity. Even my growing magnet collection from my international travels is arranged in a painstaking order. I keep updated lists for just about everything – my favorite restaurants, countries I’ve traveled (30), new adventures I want to experience. To me, there is no better feeling than accomplishing something and crossing it off of the list.

After


We learn a lot about you from your application and resume. We want to get to know you! Introduce yourself. Select one communication method that you would like to use for your response. (250 words)

My name is Keryn Shinoi Costa—my first name is Greek, my middle name is Japanese, and my last name is Spanish. But my soul is 100% Hawaiian.

My closest friends, most of whom I’ve known since kindergarten, will tell you I am the quintessential Leo: fiercely loyal, naturally comfortable in leadership roles, and sentimental (I’m an avid magnet collector, with over 30 from the various countries I’ve visited.)

I grew up in a conservative, religious, and at times bigoted household. To distance myself from the parochial view of my upbringing, I began skipping convocation classes in college, ultimately costing me my A-average. On the bright side, while my friends were praying for salvation, I discovered what would soon become an obsession: Dodgeball!

Once a week, when I’m done creating marketing campaigns and synthesizing segment research for my job as a Marketing Specialist, I race home, don my 1970’s dodgeball uniform (team name: Mutha Huggas), and join my club team for an evening of acting like 9-year-olds (except we share a beer afterwards).

I currently live in Los Angeles with my boyfriend, Tom, and our beloved 10-year-old puggle (pug/beagle mix), Koa. The three of us are proud mutts.

To me, a big part of McCombs’ student culture is its emphasis on social involvement. As an avid Yelper who loves to find the best and latest noodle joints and share them with my fellow Yelpers, I am excited to explore Austin’s vibrant culinary community with McCombs Epicurean and Wine Club members.