Love the stories of BSers regrouping to go at it again! Here’s another one whose journey took longer than expected, but all worked out in the end. Congratulations!!
It was December, 2011 and I was on a train ride home. A friend called me ecstatically to inform that she had just got the call from Wharton. Additionally, she had made it to Yale and Kellogg as well. I wished her all the best, promised to meet her the following day, and congratulated her once more before hanging up. The smile on my face quickly faded into a grim frown – I had applied to Tuck, Kellogg and Columbia – and although interviewed at Kellogg, hadn’t made it to a single MBA program that year.
The fear of rejection is only bested by the actual feeling of rejection, and it’s not a pretty sight. Self-doubt kicks in and you start taking a cynical view of everything around you, more so of anything that has to do with business school. This includes criticizing schools for choosing your friend, who in your opinion didn’t deserve it as he wasn’t even active on forums like GmatClub or didn’t follow EssaySnark while you did so devotedly. But that’s when I also read success stories of re applicants who demonstrated the oft rhetorical never say die attitude and realized their goals. I calmed down and forcibly took a look at all that was wrong with me, as no matter how cynical you are, there are always things that you can improve within you before you take on the world.
As an Indian applicant, I was fighting a losing battle with a 690 GMAT – there will be a few Indians who got into a top rated program with such a score, but largely an Indian applicant has to score above 720 to be seen as competitive. To improve my morale, and also get inspired, I invested in a trip to the US, visiting Wharton, Columbia and NYU Stern. When I returned, I was all pepped up to retake my GMAT and got a 730. At work too, I put in extra effort and was double promoted within a year. I remember when my second promotion was being announced, all I could think of was how positively this would affect my re application this year – Man, does the application process take over your mind!
As I write this post, I am a contented man. I was admitted to Tuck in the EA round despite being denied without an interview last year and not offered the specific feedback (the one where they mention in your rejection letter that you are among the 10% students they want to speak to in the spring). I was also waitlisted at Kellogg, but plain rejected from the other highly competitive programs I applied at – Harvard, Wharton, and MIT (last is anticipatory as I haven’t received an invite although others in India have).
I blog about my experiences but reflecting on my two year journey, have the following snippets to offer those reading this:
- Never lose hope. If you feel you won’t make it to Harvard/Stanford/Tuck etc., you never will
- Don’t get bogged down by rankings – research your fit at the program. All the top 10 programs are extremely good with a few specificities differentiating them. These differentiations define fit, while their top 10 status defines their prestige.
- Write freely – this was the BIGGEST difference in my application this year. Overcome the inherent fear of expression – write as freely as you can without worrying about what someone else would say – well atleast the first draft 🙂
- Seek help, but don’t let others’ define your path. Unless you have thought the admissions process through, you will struggle, and with each new piece of advice, you will get more confused
- Make sure you time your efforts well – don’t scramble to meet deadlines last minute. I started working on my essays this year, which were due in Oct/Nov, as early as June.
I wish everyone all the best for this process.