Why I Coach—Pamela Jaffe

Pamela J., a Pro Admissions Coach and Columbia MBA, outlines why she chooses to coach and what it means to her.

Pamela J.

By Pamela J.

Posted August 22, 2022

It was another day at work. As I sat in yet another gray, windowless, Fortune 500 conference room reviewing the 79th version of the deck, I sighed and looked around at my colleagues. Was I the only one who just didn’t care? Was I the only one who was pretty sure this project was never going to see the light of day? Was I the only one who really didn’t think it mattered if the arrow was on the left or the right side of the page? Did my colleagues really mean it when they threw around phrases around like: “What keeps you awake at night?” Seriously? This keeps you awake at night?

I thought to my evening ahead. I needed to leave the office by 6:30 as I had a 7:15 pm call with Rebecca—one of my admissions clients—to prepare her for her Round 1 GSB interview, followed by an 8:30 call with Andrew to discuss his story and goals for Round 2. I smiled. This was the work I was looking forward to doing. This was the work I enjoyed. This was the work where I could make a difference. In six months I could help a candidate make their dream come true. Business schools love to throw around the word “impact” but THIS—my part-time job—was the place where I was making true impact. This was the place where I was changing people’s lives. This was the place where I looked forward to receiving that all important email from a Client that read: “We did it! I’m going to Wharton.”

I realized I needed a change. Now I don’t mean to knock the business world. Great corporate leaders are needed to run major companies – companies that create life-changing products and services. Without a need for these leaders, business schools wouldn’t even exist. Yet I realized that the job I loved was helping others gain the credentials to become these leaders. I wasn’t meant to be one. I’m just I’m better suited to the world of coaching. I knew I needed to turn my part-time job into a full-time career.

My two years at Columbia Business School were probably the best two of my life. I don’t regret my time in corporate America, either, because it was vital to making my dream of being an admissions consultant come true. My twenty years in the corporate sector make me a better consultant. It’s the combination of my passion / experience in admissions, as well as my time in corporate America, that makes me a great coach.

I have worked in some capacity as an admissions coach for 11 years. However, I will never tire of receiving that email—“I got in!”—as I nervously drum my fingers at 12:02 waiting for the HBS decisions to come out. That feeling, that feeling of seeing someone else succeed, of watching someone else’s dreams come true—that’s why I coach.

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