Why I Coach—Jay Tai

Peter C., an expert Leland coach and full-ride Kellogg MBA, outlines why he chooses to coach and what it means to him.

Jay T.

By Jay T.

Posted August 22, 2022

I bombed the college application process.

I went to a British international school in Bangkok, Thailand. There was just one college counselor; he had only recently joined and was stretched too thin. Most of the students in my high school were targeting universities in the UK, Australia, or Thailand, so US-specific resources were scarce. But a lot of it was my fault—I struggled finding my voice, telling my story, and putting together a differentiated application.

I was rejected from every school except for my safety and one other school. Devastating. I ended up attending NYU (and loved my time there) and afterwards, worked in marketing consulting, where I picked up the art and science of branding—how it can lead to differentiation and competitive advantage.

When I made the decision to apply to business school, I was determined not to make the same mistakes. I approached it like a consulting project; I laid out my objectives, figured out how I wanted to brand myself, carefully planned each step of the process, did a ton of research, asked for lots of help and feedback from friends, coworkers, and family, paid attention to and iterated every single component of every single application, and was adaptable when I faced setbacks.

I got into multiple top schools, including Kellogg, where I was fortunate enough to be selected as an FC Austin Scholar, Kellogg’s full-tuition, merit-based fellowship program.

I’ve always been a big believer in education as a launching pad for success. When I lived in New York, I’d take the train up to Harlem and the Bronx every weekend during the summer to guide underprivileged high school students through the college admissions process. I wanted them to achieve their dreams and I didn’t want them making the same mistakes I did. I worked with these students to find their voice, what made them unique. I was strict when I had to be.

In recent years, I’ve taken what I learned from coaching high school students and applied to the MBA admissions process. I’ve helped a number of prospective MBAs with their applications, specifically helping them brand themselves and craft meaningful stories. My goal is to help others learn from my experiences, find what makes them unique, stand out to admissions committees, and get an education that will really change their lives.

That’s why I coach.

Interested in working together on your MBA application? Click here for my Leland coaching profile.

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