An immersive snapshot of podcasting: A sleek silver condenser microphone takes center stage in a spider stand, with a hint of a noise filter attached. Adjacent, headphones dangle, signaling a recent recording session. The frame expands to reveal a computer screen on the left, showcasing an audio-processing program in action. Audio waves on the screen signify meticulous editing, capturing the essence of the podcast creation process.An immersive snapshot of podcasting: A sleek silver condenser microphone takes center stage in a spider stand, with a hint of a noise filter attached. Adjacent, headphones dangle, signaling a recent recording session. The frame expands to reveal a computer screen on the left, showcasing an audio-processing program in action. Audio waves on the screen signify meticulous editing, capturing the essence of the podcast creation process.

The MIT Application Process with Praew Seubhanich

Listen Now:
Published: July 13, 2023
Episode Description:

Praew Seubhanich and Carl Prince discuss Praew's MIT application strategy, applying as a scholar, and her best tips for interviewing.


Praew, an ESG Manager at KBank, shares her journey from joining the bank through a competitive Young Scholarship program to becoming an influential voice in Sustainable Finance. Her thorough recount of the MIT's application process, the strategic preparation for transitioning back to academia, and the insightful advice she received from alumni is a valuable resource for any aspiring MBA candidate.

  • Strategic Preparation for MBA: Praew highlights the importance of strategic preparation when transitioning from the corporate world to academia, providing valuable insights into the application process for top MBA programs.
  • Power of Networking: Praew emphasizes the role of networking in her journey, showcasing how building meaningful connections and leveraging professional relationships played a crucial part in her success.
  • ESG and MBA Application Narrative: Praew shares how she strategically used her role as an ESG Manager to create a compelling MBA application narrative, underscoring the growing significance of sustainability in the business landscape.
  • Resilience and Dedication: Praew's resilience and dedication become evident as she recounts nerve-wracking interviews associated with the scholarship program.
  • Importance of Flexibility: Throughout her journey, Praew underscores the importance of flexibility, both in terms of career choices and adapting to the evolving business landscape, providing valuable insights for those navigating their professional paths.
  • Focus on Passion and Impact: Listeners learn the significance of staying true to one's passions and the potential for making a positive impact on the world, particularly in the context of combining finance and sustainability in business.
  • Preparation for MBA Experience: Praew shares her excitement for pre-function trips at MIT Sloan and outlines strategies for engaging with new peers in a meaningful way.

Listen now for a dose of motivation and strategic tips!


KBank scholarships, MIT Sloan MBA, ESG Management, Young Scholarship Program, MBA Application Process, Credit Risk Management, ESG Initiatives, Financial Risk Analysis, Network Building


Carl Prince:Welcome to episode 34 of Insights. This is the podcast for Elite Admit. I'm Carl Prince, the Country Manager for Thailand, and today my guest is Praew from KBank, who's going to MIT in the fall. I wanted her to join us today because there are so many interesting aspects of her profile and of her candidacy, which I know will be helpful for future applicants. So, Praew to get us started, why don't you please introduce yourself?

Praew:Of course. Thank you so much for having me, Carl. Hi, everyone. My name is Praew Potchanaporn Seubhanich. I'm currently working as an ESG Manager here at Kasikornbank. I joined the company in 2019 when I was accepted into the KBank Young Scholarship program. And as Carl just mentioned, I'm heading to MIT Sloan for my full-time time MBA this fall. I'm very honored and excited to be here to share my experiences during the application process. Thank you for having me.

Carl Prince:Fantastic. Thank you for joining us today.

You're leaving KBank next month. What are you doing now?

You must be feeling pretty good right now. You're leaving next month. What are you doing now? Why are you in your office? Shouldn't you be winding things down? Tell me what's on your to-do list.

Praew:I'm in my office today to wrap up my last day of an in-person meeting here. But I will still be working from home for a week or two because there are so many ESG initiatives here at KBank, and they need people to help around as much as possible. This is the reason why I'm still working, even though I'm leaving next month. But I'm very happy to be here.

How do you prepare mentally for going back to school after four years

Carl Prince:Great. And here's a good question for you. You're transitioning from a career, you've been working for three, four years? How long since undergraduate?

Praew:Four years.

Carl Prince:Four years since undergrad. Now you're transitioning back to a rigorous academic environment. How are you preparing for that? How do you get yourself mentally in that space to go back to school?

Praew:That's a really interesting question. I saw the checklist, the to-do list from MIT Sloan, and I'm so overwhelmed to see so many things on there. I have to take some video classes. I have to sign up for career consulting. I have to sign up for the preprogram trips, and it's a lot going on. In order to deal with all these overwhelming items, I actively reach out to the many MIT Sloan alums here at KBank. I ask them about what I should be expecting. I ask them what they did when they were there before, and how did they prepare to ensure everything went smoothly before the program started. That's one of the good things of being KBank scholars. There is such a huge network of scholars who went there and are here, and they're always here to help me out with adjusting back to school and back to work.

Carl Prince:I'm curious, what kind of advice did they give you?

Praew:Many of them told me to not get too stuck up with the school, with the classes. To go out there and network with people and join clubs and connect with people outside of class. For example, one of our presidents who I met last week (as scholars, we get to meet them before we depart for our program) said exactly that. He mentioned that 20 years ago he was there at Sloan, and he spent too much time studying, and he wished he could connect with more people from different institutions in order to create that network, which would be really helpful once he came back to Thailand. This is a very good advice, and I'm taking it seriously. So I am excited to do stuff outside of class.

Carl Prince:Fantastic.

How to manage your time at Sloan when there's so much to do.

What I'm curious about: one of the things we hear quite often is that there's so much to do. You're sitting here, getting ready to go and you've got this list of different activities you can be doing. How do you decide? How do you manage your time? Have you given much thought to that? How do you fit everything into that schedule? Even though you're saying “don't pay so much attention to the classes”, that's what you got to do anyway, right? But how are you going to manage all the different opportunities? Have you given any thought to that?

Praew:Well, at the Sloan's preprogram checklist, there is this one item concerning the plan, what you want to do when you are at Sloan. What should you be prioritizing? What are some of your key priorities you really want to do? For example, for some people, they want to focus on recruitment, but for me, as a scholar, I don't have to try to get that full time position. So, for me, I want to come up with only a few key things that I really, really want to do. For example, I really want to pursue this sustainability certificate, and I really want to join the MIT Energy club. I think as of today, there are two cornerstones that I want to stick to these things could change every single semester. I keep that flexibility open. But of course, prioritize the key things that I want to do.

KBank has two scholarship programs that recruit working professionals

Carl Prince:You've mentioned a lot of great things. We're going to talk about ESG a little bit. But you also mentioned that you're a scholar, so I want to start there. I want to go back to the beginning of your MBA journey as a KBank scholar. Tell me a little bit about that. When did they engage you or when did you engage them? How did that whole process unfold?

Praew:To give our listeners some background about the scholarship programs here at KBank, I want to provide more information here. First things first, here at KBank, we have two types of scholarship programs. The first one is the regular Annual Scholarship Program, which recruits working professionals with a few years of experience. And after a graduate program, they can join KBank. And the second type of program is the Young Scholarship Program, which recruits senior students directly during their last year of school. So, these senior students can come to KBank right after they graduate and work here right away.

For me, I am a part of the second type of scholarship program, the Young Scholarship Program. And if I remember correctly, during my year, I think there were over 400 applicants initially. And after that, only half of those people who applied were invited to take a written exam consisting of an IQ EQ exam as well as an English exam. And after that, only half of those who took written exam would be then invited to join, KBank Bootcamp, which is a two-day event in which the candidates would be evaluated based on group interactions, behavioral assessment, presentation, as well as case interview. And if I remember correctly, it was the first time I met Dane, the founder of Elite Admit, at this camp. He was a part of the evaluation process, the group interview, the behavioral assessments. And after the bootcamp, only half of the people from the bootcamp would then be invited to the next round of the interview, which is an interview with human resources managers here at KBank. And I remember that moment so vividly, walking into that room, an interview room, and I saw ten people waiting to ask me interesting questions. It was a very nerve-wracking interview, to be honest.

Carl Prince:Who were these ten people? Were they presidents? Were they managers? Human resources?

Praew:For the first panel interview, the interviewers were all managers from human resource department. They know how to assess people, how to assess employees, whether the candidate is a good fit for the company.

It’s very intimidating. After that, half of the people would be invited to the final round of interviews with KBank presidents. I was interviewed by Khun Katia when she was still one of the presidents and another president, which was Khun Pipit. It was such a good interview, if I remember correctly. A lot of really, really interesting questions and they were all so nice to me. After the final round of interviews, only six finalists would be offered to join the KBank Young Scholarship program. So that was how I joined the KBank program. It was quite competitive considering only six finalists got an offer out of 400 people.

Carl Prince:Wow, that's amazing. So, you went from 400 and then you were one of the final six.

Praew knew before graduation that she was going to get an MBA

When you met Dane the first time, so when you referred to it as “boot camp”, we call it something else. But as Elite Admit, we run the scholarship program for KBank. We help develop the talent, the human capital, and we put you through a series of simulations over two days, where we're testing for all different types of skills, soft skills, leadership, collaboration, presenting, pitching…there's different types of things that we do. So that happened in the two days. So, that's when you met Dane the first time. Now, you go into this so that you get the scholarship. At what point did you get invited to be a part of the program? Were you still in undergrad at that time or had you already graduated when you found out?

Praew:I think it was when I was still an undergrad student because I remember finding this out right before my final exam of my last semester at school.

Carl Prince:Okay, so essentially, you know, as an undergrad that you're going to be going to get an MBA. So, you have this advantage. Well, I guess it's an advantage over people who don't know until after they graduate, right. They might work for a few years and decide they want to go, but you knew before graduation day that you were actually going to get an MBA. How did you prepare? What kind of agency did you have? Or did you have any agency when talking with KBank about where you wanted to work, the areas that you wanted to work at? The kind of projects that you wanted to engage with to build your profile to make you an attractive candidate. Did they give you a lot of latitude with that, or did they say you're going to work here?

Praew:Before I go into details about how I decided to work at which department and which kind of projects, I want to share this. What you just mentioned is one of the advantages of being a KBank scholar. Knowing that I would be applying for MBA programs, let's say four years in advance, I would be placed with managers and within projects that would allow me to excel, that would allow me to innovate, which is a really awesome thing to have on your profile when you apply for MBA programs. I think this is a very outstanding thing that KBank has been doing—helping the scholars develop throughout the entire process.

But going back to your questions about how I decided to join which department here at KBank. For me, when I first got the offer, KBank gave me quite a wide range of options and freedom to choose whatever department I want to work in. And to be honest, it was quite a challenging decision because I was just graduated, I didn't know anything about any kind of jobs, but I was a finance major and I was an intern at the Bank of Thailand, working at the economic stress testing team. And this is the reason why I decided to join the Enterprise Risk Management team here at KBank, specifically working on the credit risk management and in the stress testing team. And I know credit risk manager doesn't sound too catchy on an MBA application. But to be honest, this position allows me to understand the basic principles of credit risk management, which is the biggest financial risk for any financial institution. And I learned how to monitor, quantify, and manage such a big financial risk, which allows me to eventually transition into my second position, which is an ESG manager who can quantify and who can link climate risk into credit risk management.

Going back to my first position, I worked there for two years. And on the second year, I volunteered to help our sustainability team, identifying the impact of our portfolio of lending and investments. How did our investment impact the environment and climate change? And I enjoyed it so much combining climate science with financial analysis, that when KBank decided to pursue ESG seriously and created a new ESG team, I was promoted to join this new team. And this is my current position as an ESG manager. And here I quantify how much greenhouse gas emissions are being created by KBank's lending. I help KBank develop investment strategies in order to reduce emissions from our counterparties. And last, but not least, I help, KBank develop processes to connect climate risk with credit risk management. And this is how my entire journey at KBank looks like and how I transition from a traditional banking position into an ESG manager, a very new role here in financial industry.

Carl Prince:And it was so new that they weren't really welcoming when you got your promotion, right? As I recall, you go and you start this new team, right? And then what happened there?

Praew:Well, as I mentioned, my team and I are working to manage the emissions from our investments and develop strategies to reduce investments or reduce emissions from counterparty in carbon intensive industries, for example, coal fire power plant projects. And when working with relationship managers who work with these clients directly, it could be really challenging telling them to reduce our exposure in these borrowers. These borrowers, they are profitable, they are big companies, but in the future, these coal companies, they are at risk because of climate change. The new climate policy, carbon taxes, and so many other climate schemes that would impact the financial risk of these counterparties. So, convincing the relationship managers to be aware of these climate risks and to adopt these new strategies to reduce our exposure to coal fire power plants was really challenging. But I really enjoy doing this stuff knowing that I can educate people and knowing that I can make an actual impact regarding climate change through my company, KBank and through education.

Carl Prince:I mean, you actually changed their mindset, right? Once these people understood that you were playing the long game, not the short game, but the long game, that all the stakeholders were involved or had a stake in this, then it was much easier to bring them over to your side, right? And your boss, there was a point where you went up to your boss and said: “listen, you know what, we've got to walk the walk and talk the talk,” right?

KBank is very big on ESG. It's part of our work culture.

So KBank is very big on ESG, right? It's part of your culture, you're known as the “green bank.” It's really baked into everything that you do and you wanted to make sure that KBank did live up to those ideals that they profess to have. Tell me a little bit more about that.

Praew:Yes, of course. As you just mentioned, everything is so new, even within my company, there are still people who are not so familiar with the concept of sustainability, green financing, transition financing. So, it was quite a big struggle in the beginning to even convince my own boss here at my own division to buy into this strategy to manage exposure to carbon intensive sectors, for example, coal power plant and coal mining. But I managed to overcome this struggle by educating and showing them that here's other regulation that would be coming in five years, in ten years, in 15 years, and how this regulation would quantitatively impact the financial risk of these counterparties at risk. So, by being able to combine climate policies with credit risks and financial risks, I was able to convince my own boss to buy in and to manage the credit risk by following through with climate risk management and following through with our commitment to sustainability.

Carl Prince:And anybody who meets you, and this is true for me as well, the first time we met: I think I asked you what you were doing at K Bank and you just came alive, right? ESG, sustainability, the environment is your passion, right. These days we hear all about people of your generation wanting to have “purposeful, meaningful” work that aligns with your values. That's clearly what you're doing now, right? So, this is all a part of who you are. I'm just curious, how does channeling that passion into your work create value for KBank? And how did that play out when building your application profile to get into MIT and the other schools that you applied to?

Praew:This is a very interesting question because so many people said to me that ESG is just a buzzword, sustainability is just a trend. Like how do you actually create value from these things?

So, to give you some background here, during my first position as a credit risk manager, planning our portfolio of investments based on credit risk, I realized that I was able to recommend or deny investments and loans to certain business sectors or activities based on their credit risk profile. For example, if the Thai export industry is expected to decline, then I would give a heads up to the relationship managers and asset quality managers to proactively manage counterparties in these sectors. On the other hand, my team has an ability to limit how much investment should go into these industries at risk. So, combining that with, climate risk management, I do have an ability to recommend or deny investment in these sectors. If I can show my boss, my team, my managers, that there is climate risk linking back to credit risk and financial risk of these counterparties. And on top of, recommending or denying investments as a scholar, I have a little bit more exposure to management, so I understand how to convince them, how to show them and what is their best interest regarding profitability, regarding sustainability. So, combining these two things, I am able to suggest or deny investments in certain carbon intensive sectors in order to avoid the irreversible impact of climate change. And I'm doing all this for the sake of my own life, in ten years, 20 years or 30 years, when the climate risk would be manifesting in reality. For KBank, by being able to identify climate-related credit risks and financial risks, KBank is able to avoid and mitigate those risks and identify green and sustainable opportunities before any other banks.

This is how I channel my own passion into creating value for KBank. And this is how I develop my MBA application profile. There were so many times that I got to share an anecdote of how I convinced different stakeholders in my company to follow through with these sustainability strategies and I use this story in my essays and during interviews. It's an awesome way to develop my profile based on what I love doing here at KBank.

Praew as the face of ESG at KBank

Carl Prince:This is what impressed me. You haven't even left for your MBA yet and your profile within the Bank has already increased dramatically, right? Tell everybody a little bit about that. What's been going on? You're the face of ESG at KBank. Tell us a little bit about that. And maybe if there is anything, that you have learned in the process to get to your MBA that helped you to increase your profile within KBank.

Praew:This is such an interesting question because, right now, our listeners, if you go into KBank's Facebook or LinkedIn, you'll be able to see my face on there, talking about my work here at KBank, talking about ESG and how awesome it is to be working within such a new field and working with management who is willing to learn and willing to listen to such a much younger person like me. So, you can see me there. The reason why I was choosing to represent this initiative is because of this entire MBA application process. I learned so much about how to communicate effectively and efficiently. It was the reason why they let me speak and represent the company right there. And on top of that, I think the team really felt my passion for my work. So, it was the reason why they include me in those promotional materials. So, for me, this is the entire story of how everyone would see me on the website and in our company elevators. If you walk in, you see me right there.

Carl Prince:So KBank's got 19,000 or 20,000 employees and everybody sees Praew when they're on their way up to their office every morning.


KBank brought the dean of admissions over to meet with prospective scholars

Carl Prince:I want to shift gears a little bit, and talk about interviewing in particular. And let's put that in context with MIT. Last year, maybe it was a year ago about this time. So Fernie (Martinez) and I brought MIT's Associate Dean of Admissions over to KBank to meet with the scholars who were applying that year. You had a very rare and fortunate opportunity to spend about 15 minutes of one-on-one with her in a very informal environment. It wasn't an interview per se, but I'm curious: how did you prepare for that knowing it was not the official interview? And how did it end up being different or was it different from the actual interview that you went through later?

Praew:First thing first, I knew that the meeting would last only 15 minutes, so I had to get to the point as soon as possible. And the second thing is that I knew that the dean was here to learn more about our scholarship program, which is the best in the country. So, I aimed to be informative and educational about the recruitment process of KBank scholarship program as well as sustainability strategies here at KBank. Which is what makes KBank, so outstanding in comparison to other companies or other banks. I remember vividly sharing with her details about the recruitment process, like I just mentioned earlier in this podcast, as well as sharing with her the sustainability initiatives we pursue here at KBank. And I remember her being so amused at our initiatives, because why would KBank be taking ESG seriously? We are not an energy company or oil and gas company that would be impacted by climate policies. Why are we doing this? And I got to share this with her about our management, about my initiatives, and about so many things here at KBank that can be connected to sustainability resources at Sloan. So that was what we discussed.

Interview with MIT Sloan Dean of Admissions was 15 minutes, non-scripted.

And on the other hand, what are the differences between that 15-minute discussion and an actual interview? To give our listeners some background: for the actual interview with MIT Sloan Admission Committee, you're required to submit pre-interview essays that the interviewer would see before the actual interview. So, the interviewer might ask some questions based on those essays. For example, an essay about data visualization. But here at the one-on-one 15-minute chat, the dean did not have any materials beforehand. That was the biggest difference between the two having the pre-interview materials and the length of time between the two discussions.

Carl Prince:So essentially that 15 minutes was very non-scripted. In other words, it was just kind of relaxed, kind of casual. I remember what she said about you when she came out of that meeting. She was definitely impressed by what happened. Now, what took place during the meeting? When you actually interviewed, were you interviewing with her for the official interview, or did you interview with somebody else?

Praew:I was interviewed by someone else from the admissions committee.

Carl Prince:For people who are applying or might be applying in the future, tell me a little bit about the interview. Was it friendly or intimidating? Do they make you feel at home? Was it conversational?

Praew:I think it depends on which school and which type of interviewer you get. Some schools let their students interview candidates. Some schools ask alums to do that. But for MIT, it was an interview with the Ad-Com. And surprisingly, my interview was quite cold. They were not really interacting with what I said. They kept a poker face. But I kept up that energy, that passion. I kept being myself and did not deter, did not become cold like the interviewer. I just tried my best to be myself.

Carl Prince:And when you're preparing for interviews for whatever school, are you always thinking ahead? What if I get this type of person, or what if I get a person who is not friendly or maybe is combative? Do you think about those things in advance and then plan out how you might react to that? For example, in this particular interview, they were kind of cold and you obviously did very well, but inside, was the anxiety increasing because they weren't responding to you well?

Praew:For me, whenever I practice for my interview, I try my best to keep that energy up, keep being interactive, keep being proactive. To be honest, I don't really think in advance about which type of interviewer I would get. Otherwise I would get very anxious. I just know that I would try my best to be this version of myself, regardless which type of interviewer I got.

Carl Prince:There you go. I think that's a very good advice. And interviewing was one of your strengths—we always enjoyed watching you do a mock interview and practicing with you. You're always a lot of fun.

What are your strengths in interviewing and how do you approach the interview

What do you consider your strengths in interviewing, and how do you approach the interview? Why do you think you're so effective at it?

Praew:I think I talk a lot with my body, with the tone of my voice, which makes an online interview much more interesting. I think this is one of the biggest strengths of my interviewing skills. And how do I approach these interviews? For me, there are three key things that I always keep in mind whenever I practice for an interview. The first thing first is to practice how I play. For example, I know that the majority of my interview would be online, so I practice speaking to myself, talking to myself in a Zoom call, which is me being in that room. I practice looking right into the webcam. I make sure that my lights, my background, and my audio are always nice. And on top of that, I know that the majority of the interviews would be with an interviewer who were based in the US. So, the interview time in Bangkok would be at night. And I get my body used to being really active at night so I can keep that level of energy up, regardless of the time I would be interviewed. This is how I practice.

The second thing is to visualize the story that I want to tell. For example, as I mentioned, I had to work and overcome challenges when I had to convince people who disagree with me to agree with me. And I always visualize being in that situation, in that meeting room, where I was the youngest employee being surrounded by managers from different departments who were hostile to me. I imagine that thing happening and then tell that story when I was being interviewed for the MBA interview. And I think it helped me convey a story much more effectively and much more engagingly. So definitely visualize the moment you wanted to tell in the interview.

And lastly, I always utilized my strengths. For example, I know that different people have different strengths, but for me, it's the Thai language, it's the tone of the voice. I mean, at, first, I did not realize that I tend to talk a lot with my hands, but Dane pointed that out to me early on during the process. So, once I recognized that this is my strength, I do it every single time I talk to people. Or, whenever I got an interview, for example, when I talk about two different concepts, I use my hands to create two concepts. Or whenever I talk about big pile of CDs, I use my hands to create big piles. And I think this is such an engaging way to present yourself online. It makes you look more interesting. And, of course, work with people who can give you honest feedback. What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths? So, you can use your strengths wisely during this entire interview process.

Carl Prince:And what's interesting, I'm sort of chuckling right now because the listeners can't see this, but I can watch you right now using your hands as you talk to me. So, for you, and I knew this a year ago when we first met, this wasn't something that you had to work at. I mean, this came naturally to you, using your body language. And we taught you how to bring that out and play up to it a little bit more. But something that you did that always really impressed me is when you gave an interview or even when you would come to interview practice, to our Sunday groups, you would stand up when you told your stories. Why did you do that? How did that help you tell the story?

Praew:Well, there are many reasons why I decided to stand up. Of course, it's good for your health. You shouldn't be sitting down for a long time. But, for me, standing up helps me project my voice, present myself, and keeps the engagement going. It's much more effective. I think it also helps me be much more outstanding from other interviewees because I'm one of the very few people who stood up during an interview. I think it helps me present myself in a better way. And, when you look at people who are really good at presenting, they are always standing up. Like Steve Jobs, he used his body language. He took up space. I think by standing up, by taking up space, I am presenting the leadership potential in me so that these schools could see that I do, in fact, have a potential and we should accept this person to join our program. This is the reason why I decided to stand up during the interviews.

Carl Prince:To expend all that energy. Do you have to calibrate how you're going to use that space? You mentioned something very interesting right there. You're on a small screen, right? And your hands are going everywhere. Do you have to practice what your movements are going to be or how do you approach that?

Praew:Well, as I just mentioned, during the technique, the first one to practice how I play. I know I love standing up. I love using my hands. So, I make sure that my hands are moving in the exact right amount of space in the frame of the screen. I don't want my hands to be going out of the frame because that would not look good. I need to be in this space showing my face and showing shapes with my hands. So, I practice that a lot. Then, I know how much I should be moving around.

Carl Prince:You mentioned a couple of things. Obviously, practice how you play. We just talked about that again, I think some really good advice that you just gave was the visual advice. In other words, when you are telling your story, you put yourself back into that time and place where you were experiencing that. That's a great storytelling technique because you're tapping into those emotions when you're telling your story. You are actually feeling it in real time. You're not just memorizing words on a page, and this is how I'm going to tell my story. You're taking yourself back to that moment. So, you can feel all those emotions. And I think that was another strength that you had during your interview that definitely came up if there was conflict or when there was resolution to the conflict. You could feel it, you could see it in you. That's great advice for people who are going through this. Take yourself back to that moment in time so you're not just saying words on a page. You're actually reliving that experience.

Use your material strategically for your MIT interview essay and data visualization project

What else about the MIT interview? You already mentioned a couple of things. Going into the interview, we do the COVID letter, you did an organizational chart, there's a 1-minute video. Then you've also got, prior to the interview, if you do get accepted, you have to do the DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) essay, as well as a data visualization project.

When you're strategizing, you've got all these things that you need to do strategically. How did you go about doing that? How do you know what you want to put where to tell the story of Praew with the limitations that they give you. How did you approach that?

Praew:That's a really interesting question. For the video essay, I spent a lot of time thinking about which part of my profile I should be telling through the video. For example, I, eventually decided to use my volunteer story at the Mirror Foundation as a part of my video essay because it usually took me a while to tell that story verbally. And on top of that, for people who haven't been to Thailand, who haven't been to Mirror Foundation, it would be challenging for them to imagine how big of the donation warehouse is. It's huge. It's full of stuff. So, by telling the volunteer story through the video essay, I was able to show the Ad-Com the entire warehouse. I was able to show them huge piles of donated stuff and how I work through this stuff in order to create value for the Mirror Foundation. So, use your material strategically. Is there anything you want to show them visually? It would be much better to take them there. So, use that story in your video. But on the other hand, if you have a really interesting story, using data in order to overcome obstacles, or, in order to identify opportunities at your company, you might consider using that stuff for your data visualization, which would help you convey a story in a much better way when you have your graph, when you have your charts right there in the interview.

Carl Prince:It's a strategy and you have to think this out. It's not just putting things where you think they might go. You really have to think out the best strategy and the best way to use the different types of assets, whether it's the video or whether it's data visualization. What fits best in each one of those things. Very interesting.

Data Visualization pre-interview essay

I'm curious about the data visualization because obviously that's a pre-interview essay. As is the DEI. Did those specifically come up in the interview for you, or was that just something that you submitted in advance? Usually what will happen is the Data Visualization will come up, but sometimes it doesn't. In your case, did you get to talk about it? Did they ask you about it, or did you find a way to get that into your interview?

Praew:In my case, I got asked about my Data Visualization directly. I got that opportunity to talk about this awesome data that I actually used at work. It's a lot of fun talking about that chart, and it's a good opportunity to tell it directly without having to link it back to another type of question in order to talk about the data visualization.

Carl Prince:So, it was almost like a gift. It was just there waiting for you.


Carl Prince:We like it when it works out that way because it does come up. Sometimes they may not even ask you and you've got to find a way to get that story into the interview. That's always a little bit trickier.

MIT's application process pain points

Anything else about MIT's application process? Any pain points for people who might be interested in applying there? Let's assume everything went well. Well, everything did go well for you. How do they notify you?

Praew:Oh, I love this question because, in fact, this might be a pain point for some people. I've heard from my friends in a previous round that the committee would be calling you directly on the day of the announcement. But for me, I stayed awake until midnight and I did not get any call. And I was like, screw this, I'm going to go to bed. And I went to bed, like, did not receive any phone call. But when I woke up, I saw a message from one of my good friends telling me to stay calm. Sometimes MIT doesn't call people, just check your email, you'll be fine. And I was like, fine, I'm going to check my email. And I saw that I got in, which is awesome. But I mean, this could be a pain point for some people who would be waiting up the entire night, but I did not wait. I wanted to sleep. So, I think it turned out pretty good for me.

Carl Prince:Okay, good. Yeah, that happens every year. People, they'll post online that they got a call. Everybody in Thailand is watching that and they get a little nervous because they're not getting a call. I mean, it could happen anyway, right? For any school, they call some, they don't call some. Maybe if it's foreign, they won't get the phone call. They will get an email message or whatever. But we go through this every year, every round, people going, “I didn't get in” when they just needed to go check their portal. To see that they already did get the notification. It just didn't come by a phone call.

Make sure to reach out to alums on your MIT Sloan application

anything else to add about the MIT application?

Praew:Yes. Learn about the school, do a lot of school research, and there are so many Sloan alums here in Thailand. Just make sure to reach out to them in order to make sure that you did the homework, and you understand what type of school and what type of program it is. What are they looking for? I think it would be really helpful because on the MIT Sloan application, you will have to put in the names of Sloan alumni or anyone from Sloan that you interacted with and which seminar you attended in person or online. So, make sure to reach out to alums and to attend events online and in-person so you have something to write on your profile and application.

Carl Prince:That's great advice, not just for Sloan, but for any school. One of the good things about Thailand is the network is always so strong. People are always willing to help each other out and give know-how, and especially in the Boston area, it's not just MIT. There's Harvard. Babson is there. BU is there. Those are all big schools. Were you able to leverage any of that expertise? People from different schools? Did that come into play at all, at least about Boston, maybe helping you get settled there?

Praew:Definitely. I got connected to people at HBS and, of course, KBank scholars at MIT Sloan and I got to learn so much about the area once I got in. Which type of housing should I be looking for? Which area should I live in? It was really helpful.

How do you intend to engage with all these new people on your first day

Carl Prince:I know you're running out of time, so we're going to wrap this up really quickly. I want to have a couple more questions. The first of my final questions is, how do you intend to engage with all these new people on your first day there at MIT? How are you going to build your network? What are you going to do first? Have you thought about those first few days there on campus?

Praew:I got lucky because two of my roommates they are starting their second year of MBA. I have already got my first initial interaction with the Sloan community. But the second thing is, Sloan is known for the pre-function trips in which incoming students could sign up for trips in order to get to know each other, in order to form that relationship early on. So, I signed up for the pre function trips. I'm looking forward to meeting with my new peers and going on a trip with my new friends before the program begins.

Carl Prince:And where is the trip this year?

Praew:I signed up and got accepted into a trip to Vermont, but I think there's so many trips. You could go abroad, you could stay in the States, but I decided to go to Vermont because it's close.

Carl Prince:Okay. And it's for one week? Is it skiing? Can you ski in Vermont? No, you can't ski. It's too early to ski anyway. Yeah, Vermont's beautiful. Wow, what a nice place.

Is there anything else that you would like to say to our listeners

Okay. And then finally, before we wrap up, you've given some great advice today, but is there anything else that you would like to say to those who've been listening today? Any other advice for their MBA journey?

Praew:For the actual interview or for the process, when you develop your essays, you're doing that on your own. But this entire process, outside of that, off the screen is teamwork, because things are going to get tough mentally and emotionally. So, surround yourself with people who are invested in your success, your growth, and your potential. You're going to need their support. You're going to need their help. So, surround yourself with these awesome people and don't be afraid to ask for help. And this is my one key advice that I would love to give to everyone. And thank you so much for having me here today. Very honored to be here with you.

Carl Prince:Fantastic. I'm glad you did join us. And I'm going to have you back in two years when you're done with your MBA, and you can come back and tell us all about it. How about that?

Praew:Yeah, of course.

Carl Prince:Thank you so much. It's been wonderful talking to you today. Good luck on your journey, and we'll see you in two years.

Praew:Thank, you.

Carl Prince:Thank you, everyone.


Get a referral from a current or previous Elite Admit client for a free 90-minute Initial Strategy Session.

Insights Podcast

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify