Apparently we’re now dedicating Fridays to tales of awesome from the trenches – aka “I got in!!” celebrations. Here’s another one that turns EssaySnark into a grinnin’ fool.*
My journey began at the end of the summer in 2011. I turned 26, and decided to start taking life a bit more seriously. I was doing pretty well in my career, but wasn’t happy with my industry, or function (IT is pretty boring if you aren’t passionate about it). It was time to finally pursue the job I had coveted since I was in high school, the job a guy coming out of a no name school in Boston with an average GPA just couldn’t land; I was going to figure out a way to become a Brand Manager at a top CPG.
My research began with informational interviews (drinks at a bar) with friends of friends who were currently living the dream. Brand Managers come from a variety of backgrounds, but it was clear that an MBA was my most direct route… so, I began to study for that wonderful test…
3 attempts and 6 months later I was over 700 (with a lowish quant score) and ready to move on from that sick torture.
The GMAT was by far the hardest part of the application process.
The Winter and Spring of 2012 was full of campus visits, boards, blogs (and blahgs), horrible webinars, and awkward MBA fairs. I made list after list of schools… countless excel sheets comparing my stats vs averages at schools, and finally came out with 8 to focus on, two top 8s, four top 15s, one top 25, and one top 50. 5 to target in round one (did I mention I was getting married that September, and also had a 10 day honeymoon planned), and three in round 2. I was overwhelmed and unclear about my chances, so I used EssaySnark’s Comprehensive Profile Review. During this helpful back and forth, where I was told that I was crazy, unfocused, and… crazy, I whittled that number down to 3. One top 8, and two top 15s…
Figuring out which schools to apply to was by far the hardest part of the application process.
With three schools I knew pretty much everything about, and truly wanted to go to, I was ready to begin writing. Over the next 2 months I got married, housed out of town family for a week, went on my honeymoon, moved, and wrote the best essays of my life. I had my sister and friend review my essays, and both ripped them apart. They were a huge help in the process due to their honesty. After spending every free minute on essays (including mornings in a coffee shop during my honeymoon…) I hit submit. I truly poured my heart out in those essays, and feel that my passion for each program, and a clear vision for my future is what got me interviews.
Writing essays was by far the hardest part of this process.
I ended up interviewing at all three schools, invited at the top 15s, and self-initiated at the top 8. The top 8 was my first, and went horribly… I just wasn’t ready. I was just intimidated by the process. The second interview went pretty well, and the third went spectacularly.
Interviewing wasn’t the hardest; I actually really enjoyed this part…
Then began the waiting… I take back everything I said before; waiting for decisions is by far the hardest part of this process. My outcome, Dinged at the top 8, Waitlisted at one top 15, and Accepted at the other! All in all, I’m pretty happy!
I was successful in my process, not because of stats, but because I had a clear goal, was genuinely passionate about my fit within the programs I chose, and completely conveyed these things in my essays and at least one of my interviews.
My advice, be truthful with yourself. Do not fully buy into free profile reviews by admission consultants trolling boards. I had a variety of suggestions, from targeting Wharton/Booth to going after only regional top 50, which confused the hell out of me. Only take advice on targets from those that have a full understanding of your profile, goals, and personality… Without those things their educated guesses are just stabs in the dark. Also, learn as much as you can about every school you apply to, and only apply to programs you are genuinely interested in.
Applying to B-school is one of the hardest (self-inflicted) things you’ll ever experience in your lifetime… Don’t give up. The GMAT sucks, there are too many choices when it comes to schools, introspective essays make you doubt everything you’ve done, interviews are super stressful, and waiting makes you doubt everything all over again. In the end, one way or another, it’ll be worth it. You’ll either have a much better vision of who you are, and what you want to do with your life, or you’ll be heading to a top business school and be well on your way to accomplishing your goals. Good luck!
When we heard about his admit recently, we were like, “Whoa, you actually got your apps in?” We hadn’t heard much back after we did the Profile Review back in August. And here’s why we like that: Resourcefulness. Independence. Do-it-yourselfness, which we really respect. Plus, impressiveness, that he managed to a) get married, and b) stay married, and simultaneously do multiple apps!!
This was like when you’re pulled off the side of the road in some beautiful spot taking pictures, and along comes a dude on a bicycle, all disheveled and a little wild-eyed and he’s clearly been riding awhile, and he’s like, “Hey” and you’re like, “Dude” and he’s like, “Where am I?” and you’re like, “You look a little lost” and he’s like “No I’m just trying to get somewhere” and you’re like, “Maybe you want to go that way” and he’s like, “Cool” and pedals on past you and you’re like, “Are you sure you’re OK” calling after him and he sort of grunts and then he’s gone and so you take some more pictures of the sunset which is really beautiful and then you go about your life but you always wonder what happened to the guy.
And then you find out that he ended up somewhere REALLY COOL on that bicycle that’s pretty much EXACTLY WHERE HE WANTED TO GO and you’re like, “Wow, I’m glad I was there at the side of the road that day!” ‘cuz he probably woulda made it SOMEWHERE after all but you like to think that maybe you helped out a tiny smidgeon.
Basically, it’s just cool to hear that someone took the Profile Review and turned it into a strategy map like this, and then executed. CONGRATULATIONS to you, STBBS!!!
*For the record: ALL such stories do that – we get seriously excited whenever any of you make it in!
And as a reminder: STBBS means Soon-To-Be-Bschool-Student, it’s what BSers everywhere aspire to.