Journey to Business School: MLT said YES!

4 years I perused the website. 

3 years I spoke about the program.  

2 Years I tried to complete the application. 

This year I decided to take action! 

I knew it and I made sure the world knew it too. I wanted an MBA from a top Ivy League institution and I was going to do whatever it took to get it. Well, I was going to take action as soon as I could connect all the dots in my mind. Now many of you know how long it can take for us to connect the dots in our mind when we are consumed with "what-ifs" and "hows". It can take years or decades to start moving. Sometimes we never move. We realize we may not be able to do it alone. What you may not realize is that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO IT ALONE.

Have you heard about Management Leaders for Tomorrow (MLT)? If you haven’t, you will now!

Trust me, your interest will increase and you will be captivated by the transformative curriculum, networking, and business confidence that MLT provides. I have more great news for you. The MLT MBA Prep 2017 Application is Open! 

                                     95% of MBA Prep Fellows attend a Top 25 Business School. 

MLTers Visit the University of Michigan for UpClose Weekend MLT Founder, John Rice, announced the opening of the 12th application cycle for MLT’s MBA Prep Program two weeks ago. MLT's MBA Prep Program offers Black, Hispanic, and Native American young professionals disciplined, proven guidance for the rigorous business school application process  and time - tested strategies for maximizing the business school experience and accelerating your post - MBA career. MLT was started to change the trajectory of young people in this nation. As a student at Harvard Business School, John recalls sitting in class wondering why there weren’t more people of color on paths similar to his. So he created MLT. Now, he has the opportunity to witness how MLT’s winning career playbook combined with superior coaching ultimately leads to opportunities for thousands of underrepresented minorities to gain access into America’s top business schools and corporations.

MLT Founder, John Rice, delivering the welcome address at Duke University in March 2014

In September 2013, I started the application with a fierce determination to finish the application. I was required to submit essays, transcripts, letters of recommendations, and a video. This process was more intense than the business school application process! But I kept going. As I continued to read the application requirements, a four letter acronym left me shaking: GMAT! Noooooooo......was there any way that I could avoid interaction with the GMAT? Before the age of 26, I became a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and Project Management Professional. Surely those intense hours of mental preparation counted for something and would allow me to bypass the GMAT requirements. No! There way no way around it. In order to apply to MLT, I had to provide sample GMAT test scores above a 500. Well that should be easy, right? I wish! My previous exam experiences did not prepare me for the GMAT. I could not use the same strategy in order to score high on this exam. So what was I going to do? Stop the application process once again? No way! So I enlisted a GMAT success team and worked my tail off. It was tough but I knew I was tougher. I had to keep telling myself, "I can do this!". Unfortunately one week before the exam, LIFE HAPPENED. I thought about canceling my exam. But if I didn't take the exam, I would be forced to allow one more year to go by without applying to MLT. There was no way I was going to allow that to be my destiny. I was going to take that exam. SO I took the exam. My eyes popped out of my head. The numbers on the screen had to be wrong. I felt like I received the lowest score in GMAT history. Talk about a confidence thief! This meant I would have 45 days to improve my score in order to be eligible for MLT. YIKES! 

Three weeks after my horrific GMAT encounter, I received an email from an MLT interviewer stating that I had been selected for a phone interview. I remember the moment vividly. I was at work validating a securities line item for a regulatory schedule when I dropped everything and ran to the restroom. I started jumping up and down screaming like I had won a million dollars while simultaneously praying that no one was in the bathroom stalls witnessing my dramatic excitement. I emailed the interviewer within 3 minutes to provide her with my availability. Since none of the times worked, she asked "Are you available NOW?" I can be! I could not believe I was about to do an interview on the spot! Well, I wanted this opportunity for over three years so I should be able to articulate why I wanted to be a part of this program. 

During the interview, the interviewer asked what was I willing to sacrifice in order to be successful in MLT’s rigorous program. I honestly replied, “EVERYTHING”. I know that statement is a bit extreme, okay VERY extreme, but I knew MLT was my ticket to creating a better life for my family and community. I’ve had my eyes set on MLT since 2010 when my NABA colleague recommended that I research the program. It was love at first sight. The moments between the interview and the acceptance letter were filled with a strong desire and hope. I even engaged my family members in the MLT process by reviewing the rules of the GMAT with them. Yes! It was that serious. 

I will never forget the day that I received my MLT Welcome email. It was my birthday. As I was heading to my birthday celebration on Friday, February 7th, 2014, I started screaming with joy and jumping with the utmost excitement. I received a congratulatory welcome email that stated the following: 

“Dear Charlene, 

On behalf of the MLT staff, congratulations on your acceptance to MLT’s MBA Programs Class of 2015! Year after year, we receive far more applications than we have spaces available. In a highly competitive applicant pool, your professional and academic achievements stood out. We believe you will make an excellent addition to the talented class, and we predict great success for you in business school and beyond. “

The welcome email is not where the story ends. In order to be official, I had to submit a gmat score over 500 by February 28, 2014. It may be easy for the average Joe but not for me. It was going to take dedication and focus in order for me to make it happen. I had 3 weeks to make it happen or I would have to kiss my MLT dream good bye. So I studied day and night. I had to keep telling myself "You Can Do it!" and counting on my amazing co-worker, Ashley T., in order to keep me motivated.  I took a week long vacation in order to have more time to focus on the most challenging areas. My week long study vacation turned into a trip to UCLA for a Women's Leadership Conference. Really Charlene? That's what everyone was yelling in my ear. But I realized that I couldn't overcrowd my mind with GMAT facts because I would probably explode the day of the exam. So I attended the conference in order to clear my mind. I promised myself that I would take a practice exam while in LA. So I did. I broke another world record. My score was lower than my lowest scores. This could not be happening. Two days before show time and my GMAT competence was decreasing. I started to panic. I started to think about the exam. I started to think about how far I had come. I started to think about how bad I wanted this. I started to PRAY. I had studied as much as I could and there was nothing else I could do at this point. Much to my surprise, I took the actual exam and scored 150 points above my previous score. I scored higher than I had ever scored on any practice test. THANK YOU GOD! It was official. I was about to embark on a life changing journey with 250 other ambitious leaders as a member of the MLT MBA Prep Class of 2015.

Was the sacrifice worth it? It sure was! I would do it all over again. Receiving the MLT welcome email was an unforgettable birthday present that gave me clarity about my goals, strengths, and future potential. There is nothing like the feeling of connecting all the dots and gaining exposure to the options around you.  Due to the personalized coaching that I received, my focus became less about the income and more about the impact. I could do what I was naturally talented at and still be successful. What an eye opener! My coach, Wendy Dukes, helped me to discover my core strengths and values.  During our coaching calls, I was forced to relive my childhood days and explore what mattered most to me. I have always enjoyed taking individuals and organizations from where they are to where they want to go. Coach Wendy Dukes unleashed a career option that changed my vision for the future. She introduced me to the world of Human Capital! Due to those insights I went from California to Boston to Michigan to New York in order to explore my graduate options for human capital.  This was an experience that I will never forget. I will share more MLT highlights soon. But I am beyond grateful for my coach Wendy Dukes, MLT Alum, and my MLT cohort for helping me get one step closer to my dreams. Thank YOU! 

The Vision (from the Desk of John Rice):

AS I look into the future, I see 1000 MLT senior leaders and a pipeline of 10,000 coming from behind them who are transforming our institutions, our communities, and our nation. We are seeking young people who are talented, ambitious, hardworking, and scrappy – people who have a sincere desire to change the world. MLT’s MBA Prep program is your next step journey toward senior business leadership.

More than 4,500 high potential minorities have benefited from MLT programs. Last year, 98% of MBA Prep Fellows entered a Top 25 Business School.

MLT Cohort at Duke University in March 2014 

Important Dates

July 15 - MBA Prep Application Opens

September 15 – Round 1 Deadline

November 1 – Round 2 Deadline

Apply Online!

If you have questions about the application process, the MBA Prep Program or MLT, please visit our website, email us at, or call our MBA Prep hotline from 10am – 5pm at (202) 793-8551.

Keep Creating Endless Opportunities,

Ms. Corporate America

MBA Prep 2015

*Contact me at if you have any questions about the MLT MBA Prep Application process.