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GMAT™ Examinee Spotlight: Sowa Imoisili

When it comes to the GMAT exam, its smart to give yourself every possible advantage you can. For many, one of the best ways you can do that is to plan ahead and take the test while you’re still enrolled as an undergraduate. This way you’re still engaged in a learning mindset, still sharp when it comes to test taking, and you don’t have some of the external stresses like work and other responsibilities than inevitably come after graduating.

mba.com is teaming up with Admit.me Fellows, a free comprehensive admissions support resource for under-resourced underrepresented minorities and women, to highlight the stories of GMAT examinees from underrepresented backgrounds.

Meet Sowa Imoisili

Sowa headshot

Sowa Imoisili is an Admit.me fellow and a Black, first-generation born American from Ellicott City, Maryland. She’s a bachelor’s graduate of Northwestern University and is currently enrolled as an MBA student at Stanford GSB.

Read on to hear about Sowa’s GMAT journey as an undergraduate test taker and her advice to prospective applicants beginning their own journey to business school.

What’s your background?

Sowa Imoisili: I am a Black woman and a first-generation American born and raised in Ellicott City, Maryland. After graduating [undergrad], I spent a year teaching at Shue Yan University in Hong Kong through a Princeton in Asia Fellowship and now work as a Business Strategy and Design Consultant at Accenture.

Outside of work, I am also a Social Enterprise Fellow through the IDEX Accelerator based in Bangalore, India.

How did your GMAT journey begin?

SI: As higher education has always been important in my family, my MBA journey began early. I knew that business was a great avenue to scale my interests in the intersection of impact and tech.

My senior year of college, when I realized I was on track to graduate a quarter early, I decided to study for and take my GMAT while I was still in a fully academic mindset. As scores are good for five years and I had already received an offer from Accenture, I knew that I wanted to get my testing out of the way before diving fully into the working world.

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To study, I signed up for a test prep course. My goal was to break 700. Initial practice tests started at 650 and it seemed I could not break 690. On the last day of finals week, I took the official test and scored in the low 700s. As I had not been able to score that well on any of my practices prior; I was happy.

What were your admissions outcomes?

SI: As I took my tests early, I applied and was accepted to fellowship programs at Admit.me, MLT, and Forté Foundation.

If feasible, I would highly recommend taking the test prior to the year in which you plan on applying to help spread out what needs to be balanced outside of work. In 2020, I applied for eight top 10 schools in Round 1 and received interviews for all eight. In the end, I was accepted to six with scholarship, several full, and waitlisted at one.

What advice would you give others?

SI: Since going through the testing process, I have shared my practice test and study plan with friends and family who are also interested in business school. I want more underrepresented minorities to know that, though testing can be a financial obstacle, it can lead to game-changing opportunities for the full-time MBA degree.

To me, both the GMAT and the GRE are a test in mental stamina as much as they are a test in proficiency. Before going into any test day, I highly recommend taking the day before fully off to close all books, shut computers, and spend a day allowing your brain to rest and refresh. Give yourself the opportunity to practice the stamina of the exam through full timed practice tests, not just practice questions.

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Testing anxiety is one of the biggest barriers that I’ve seen friends and family face and being consistent about practice testing environments aligning as close to reality as you can make them helps alleviate the stress, leading to better performance.

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