We learned of a Success Story back in Rd 1 2011 (well, we actually knew of a number of them) and we saved the report on it till now, when we figured it would be most useful for you, the current crop of Brave Supplicants who are kicking the tires on this whole bschool proposition. So here it is, long after this BSer got news of acceptance… the “recently” that is noted in the intro actually happened in December 2011… but still a sweet report to be sharing with you.
Essay Snark asked me to share some words of wisdom from my bschool journey, which recently resulted in success with an acceptance from Kellogg. So here are some of my lessons learned over the past several months:
- Start early. I started seriously researching schools in June, and had my first essay draft written in early July, and I’m so thankful I started as early as I did. Essay drafts are a long process, especially the ones that involve your career goals or why you’re choosing that particular school, because you have to have done extensive research before you can even begin to start writing those. So as difficult as it may be, don’t procrastinate!! When you spread out the application work over 3-4 months the whole process is a lot less stressful.
- Do your research to figure out which programs are right for you. My starting point was Veritas Prep school guides (available for the top 15-20 ranked schools). The reason I used these guides over other companies is that the previous year’s guides were available for free! (In the current year they are around $30 each I think.) So as I went through the guides I’d take notes on each school to try to decide if I wanted to look into the school more or if I could already cross it off my list. My goal was always to find 4 schools to apply to. But as I kept researching and researching, I realized that only 3 really seemed right for me. Even though I’m sure I’d be happy at several other schools, bschool is too large of an investment to apply somewhere you’re not really passionate about. So I only applied to 3 schools. If you think you can just apply to all 10-15 top schools and all of them would be a good fit for you, you’re crazy.
- Do your research to figure out your career goals. Full disclosure: I’m one of those people that just always considered bschool to be part of my plan without really having a good reason. Heck, I took the GMAT while I was still in undergrad. So 3 years out of school, I started looking into applying. And what do you know, all schools expect you to say why exactly you want to get an MBA and what you want to do with that MBA. I didn’t have an answer. I knew several career paths I did NOT want, but that wasn’t going to cut it. So I really had to take a long look at myself and at what was out there. What were my strengths and weaknesses? What industry did I want? What job function? What companies? What would I be doing one year out versus 10 years out? One resource that I found helpful for learning about certain career paths in a very general sense is from Ross: http://www.bus.umich.edu/
StudentCareerServices/. Full disclosure again: I’m still not 100% sure what I want to do, and I don’t 100% believe what I wrote in my career goals essays, but I am WAY closer to having figured it out than I was several months ago, and I know what I need to do to explore my interests further when I get to school. resources/Investigatecareers. htm
- Do not settle for your first draft of an essay. EVER. Writing is really not something I enjoy or something I do very often. My happy place is in an Excel spreadsheet. So after I’d spend a full day staring at my screen and pulling my hair out, when I’d finally finish a draft of an essay, I’d never want to look at it again. But I had to. And I had to have a second opinion, because it was hard for me to acknowledge that a lot more work needed to be done since I just wanted so badly to be done with it! And that’s where Essay Snark came in for me. Some people are comfortable using family or friends as reviewers, but I wanted an outside opinion who was extremely familiar with the process. So I had one of my essays reviewed on the blahg [note that these essays were ready in August!!! -EssaySnark] and after feeling really satisfied with the type of feedback I received, I engaged ES in private reviews of some of my essay drafts. At times it was really frustrating, especially when ES would suggest in some cases that I scrap the topic I was writing about entirely, but it was feedback that I always totally understood and agreed with, even if it wasn’t something I would have caught on my own. So this goes back to my first advice – START EARLY. I wouldn’t have had time for so many drafts and edits and improvement over time if I hadn’t started as early as I did.
So good luck BSers! Everyone on this site is rooting for you!
More Success Stories
- 12/9/11 A Success Story and a bit o’ advice
- 12/16/11 Doing what it takes and gettin’ it done
- 12/23/11 A .500 batting average ain’t that bad!
- 01/10/12 Going it alone with just gummi worms for support!
- 1/20/12 Another Take Two story! With advice from an MBA friend!
- 03/16/12 The “worst writer on the planet” gets in!
- 03/23/12 “Could I make a wrong decision?”
- 03/30/12 From a badass! With advice: Don’t forget to smile!
- 06/22/12 A little bit of hope and Lady Luck