Today’s MBA interview is with Hayward Major, the CEO and Co-Founder of College Solved, an online resource for college-bound high school students from around the world.
Hayward is an MBA grad from Columbia Business School, 2007. We asked him about his GMAT test taking experience, and how his MBA prepared him to become a CEO and entrepreneur.
Tell us about your GMAT taking experience.
I took the GMAT in October 2005. I bought a book of example GMAT tests, took those for a week and then took the exam.
I did not take any classes or use any other study guides. I got a 750 on the exam. That being said, I went to the University of Virginia School of Law (graduated 2001), so I realized that the GMAT tested much of the same type of logic and other categories that the LSAT tested. I had figured out how to take those exams and it just made sense to me.
I didn’t feel that a class was necessary, plus I wasn’t sure if I were going to business school or not. I didn’t stress over it. If I did well enough, I would apply to schools. Basically, I did better because I wasn’t worried about it.
What was business school like for you?
Business school was great. I met a lot of great people who are still in my network and some are my best friends. It was a collaborative atmosphere – which is different from law school, which I loved. It required us to work as a group and come together despite some very different personalities. Columbia is a lot of fun – it has a great “fraternity” atmosphere. People have fun hanging out together (i.e., drinking together). It was not overly serious and people were there to learn for the sake of learning (which was great).
You are the CEO of CollegeSolved.com. What skills did you learn on your MBA that helped you to start your own business?
I took a number of entrepreneurship classes while I was at Columbia. I also took a lot of finance classes. These were great. One of my classes even required me to come up with a business idea and write the business plan. While I did not start that company, it was a great experience. It showed me what resources are available for small business – especially at Columbia for alumni. I have tapped my network of professors for many questions and issues – which is an added benefit of being part of that alumni base.
Tell us a little about the company you founded:
There is a right college for everyone out there – and CollegeSolved _has created a new and better way to find it. No need to read through countless books on college admissions or search multiple sites for answers to your questions. We provide a virtual-to-personal experience like no one else can. _CollegeSolved has built a network of the highest quality experts who are ready to help you find the best college fit and work with you through the entire process. As if that were not enough, now you can have a private call with a student on over 650 campuses across the US. Here is your chance to find out what the social life and academics are really like or which freshman dorm is the best (and is it really co-ed). Go beyond the campus tour and speak with one of our campus ambassadors.
Who can benefit from going to business school? Is it worth the time and money?
There is no doubt that people can benefit from business school. I think people that want to step back and sharpen their skills (finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, operations, etc) but also it builds a network of friends and colleagues that will benefit you throughout your professional life. I have run into alumni from other decades that are always willing to talk and mentor – as am I for those who have graduated since I did. I think the camaraderie and group work is what makes school worth it.
The forced interaction with people of different backgrounds and experiences – which is what a business is usually like – was great. We were fortunate enough to have a very high international population – so not only did they bring a different perspective – we now have people to visit all over the world. I think the investment was very worth it – loans and all.
While I am still paying off my business school tuition, I would not have changed that time for anything. I think the network helps pay for itself, plus the two years of academics (which I love) and playing (travel and happy hours) was exactly what I was looking for.