My Path to Business School—Victor Charoonsophonsak

Victor C., an expert Leland coach and Stanford MBA admit, outlines how he went from the northernmost town of the United States to WSU to the top-ranked MBA program in the world.

Posted January 9, 2024

Going into my senior year of college, I wasn’t sure what my next step was. I was getting ready to graduate with my engineering degree when my best friend gave me a GMAT prep book as a graduation gift. He said to me, “I know you have what it takes to be a leader in business and impact the world. An MBA will set you on that path.”

Fast-forward to the beginning of 2020, I was in deep studying for the GMAT and doing all of the research to better understand my target schools, all while juggling a full-time job in consulting. And then, the whole world changed. COVID. My fiancé and I had already agreed to push my start date from 2020 to 2021. I knew that I wanted as “normal” of an experience as possible, and with the pandemic happening, I decided to push the start date again to 2022.

I continued to put my head down to study for the GMAT and deepen my understanding of each MBA program. As we entered 2021, testing options were getting canceled and my GMAT scores weren’t improving (after having taken it 3 times over and studying for an embarrassing amount of time). The stress and anxiety of the journey to business school weighed heavily on me, and I started losing hope about getting into a great MBA program.

Then, things started to turn around. I took the advice to let go of my stubbornness and pride in conquering the GMAT to switch to taking the GRE instead. I started seeing my scores improve and had newfound confidence around “the test.” I was also accepted into the Riordan MBA Fellows program, a pre-MBA program that supports students of color in pursuing their MBA, and found a community of people who were all going through the MBA application together. It was also during this time that I found Leland.

Once I received the test scores I was hoping for, I turned my focus to shaping and finalizing my narrative. I didn’t know many people who had attended these top MBA programs and realized I needed help. That’s where Leland came into play, the marketplace for people like myself seeking MBA or career coaching. After speaking with Drake, a Leland coach, on an introduction call, I knew I wanted him in my corner. I completed the application process with a lot of help from Drake and Leland, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Among other amazing programs, I got into the school of my dreams: Stanford Graduate School of Business.

If there are three things I want you to walk away from this story understanding, it’s the following:

1. Surround yourself with a support system: I was fortunate to have a village of people behind me, understanding my struggles and cheering me on with every victory. It’s these people that will help you to get across that finish line.

2. Ask for help: I found solace and confidence when I realized I didn’t have to do this alone. There are other applicants who are going through this journey just like you are. There are coaches at Leland who are here to guide and support you through this journey.

3. You’ve got this: Just know that wherever you are in your journey, everything will work itself out in the end. I’m rooting for you!

-- Victor C.

PS. If you are interested in finding a coach on Leland, use this referral code and you’ll get $25 of credit towards your first hour of coaching. You’ll be so glad that you signed up!

Code: leland-victor-25

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