Last we left our military Brave Supplicant, they had just finished the GMAT (750 on the retake – whoohoo!) and had shortlisted some schools, including Duke EA, plus Kellogg and Darden for Round 1. (You can read all of Part 1 here if you missed it.) Here’s the end of the story.
I interviewed at both Kellogg and Fuqua during my visits (I was invited to interview at Darden, but declined once I had my Fuqua admit). I can’t stress how important preparation is (especially for me, since I had never even interviewed for a job). I spent countless hours researching each school, which I think impressed my interviewers. I was able to discuss individual classes and professors, placement statistics, clubs, etc. I also made spreadsheets of potential questions and typed out full answers to them, which really helped me develop thoughtful answers and give them a good glimpse into my personality. Both ended up being very relaxed and conversational, which was a big plus.
Basically, read everything that EssaySnark has written about essays. That was really helpful. I submitted my first essay to ES for a free review on their blog, which was subsequently torn apart and I felt like the worst MBA essay writer ever. For the better though! I always felt confident in my writing abilities, but I realized that I was completely missing the mark on my essays. I came back with essays that better answered the question and (for better or worse) let my personality shine through. I highly recommend getting brutally honest feedback on your essays, from people who understand the application process. [Here’s where you can submit your own essay for consideration for the freebie review. -ES]
Another thing I realized after my profile review — the importance of your professional goals cannot be underestimated. I initially said…entrepreneurship. It seemed edgy and exciting, but it was actually boring and generic. I did not have a business plan, I did not have a background in business, and I guess saying “I’ll figure it out after I graduate” doesn’t fly (allegedly). I did some more reflecting and decided which aspects of entrepreneurship I was interested in, which aspects I thought my background had prepared me for, and which aspects I knew I needed work on. I ended up settling on [redacted]. For my long term goal, I talked about [redacted]. I felt like those goals were realistic, meaningful, and, most importantly, true to myself. [We deleted the details because we just don’t want to tempt any of you well-meaning BSers… What worked for this person is not necessarily going to work for anyone else – your goals need to be your own! -ES]
So, here I am. I got that call from Durham (and a scholarship, which confirms they do give scholarships during EA [what, you didn’t believe it when the adcom confirmed it straight to us? -ES]). If anything, I think this whole process confirmed that I was making the right decision. I felt more and more comfortable about heading back to school as it dragged on. Basically, if I could pass along any advice, I would say make sure to get honest feedback (again, EssaySnark!), do some reflection, figure out where you fit and what you want out of the experience, and get to work!
Congrats again to this Success Story! Great advice here and we very much appreciate that you shared your journey and key decision-points and the process of it all with the next crop of BSers.
Duke is lucky to have you!!!