We had the absolute pleasure of working with a brave Brave Supplicant last year. She wrote up her story and we’ve been saving it till now. She’s got a lot to offer, so we’re breaking this into two parts. Here’s the setup – it’s a cliffhanger!
My experience with the process
I’m a reapplicant. Even thought 2012-2013 was the first time I applied and successfully got admitted to 3 great schools, it’s not like I went full out. I was rejected in R1. I used the lessons from that for my R2 applications and succeeded. If I were to describe my MBA application experience to you, it was about 3 things
- Battling misconceptions and “external opinions”
- Battling self doubt on the road to maturity and self awareness
- Screwing up the courage to go after what I wanted and doing whatever it took to get there.
In 2008, I was in my final year at undergrad. Like others in my class, I dove head first into the on campus recruiting scene and landed a decent job at a major IT consulting firm. Unfortunately, we soon discovered that the mundane IT work wasn’t our cup of tea. Add to that the recession and people were soon applying for their MBA in droves as soon as the mandatory 2 year “work ex” was over.
During those years, I constantly felt like I was the one who missed the boat. I had started to think about the MBA but couldn’t justify the degree as a means of escaping my job. I felt that my credentials were not strong enough to get me to a good school, and make no mistake I wanted to go to a top school. So I stayed on in my job and gathered enough experience to decide that I wanted to move further into healthcare.
After switching to a healthcare product company and gaining more valuable experience, I was ready to start.
- The GMAT: This was the most torturous experience I had ever had (or so I thought until I started on the essays). In the first attempt, I was so naïve thinking that I could cut corners and still get away with a great score. In the second attempt, multiple sessions on a limited practice set led to an inflated score which I took for gospel. In the third attempt, I got wiser, went deeper into the mathematical and verbal concepts, and finally got the score I needed, a 720. No, I didn’t see the need to get a 750 as my quant and verbal scores were nicely balanced above the 80th percentile.
- Choosing schools: I had initially planned to visit Tuck but a family emergency cancelled the trip. I went over every school’s website, attended their receptions, interacted with students and recorded my feedback on my handy excel sheet. Within 2 months, I threw the sheet away. Clearly, I had developed a sense of belonging with some schools, and at other places, I came away feeling lukewarm. It was my introduction to that elusive term called ‘fit’.
- Essays: Somebody should have pinched me before I started this phase. I used to imagine that essay writing was like: sitting at a coffee shop, enjoying my latte and waxing poetic about my hopes and dreams on my laptop. Oy vey.
One look at the forums out there was enough to scare the crap out of me and I decided to hire a consultant. In hindsight, my decision was not wrong as I knew no one in the process. It was my choice that was faulty.
Initially I liked the consultant’s free profile analysis and signed up for a 2 school package. After that, she did another review of my target schools and told me that I had no shot at any of the top 20 schools and that ‘maybe you might want to consider >30 (Kelley, Marshall).
This was unacceptable, but I couldn’t claim a refund so I went ahead with 2 of my target schools. She already had a template and boxed my stories in. My applications looked brittle, armed and fortified to keep admission officers out with healthy doses of fluff words like ‘business acumen’. Result? Dinged at both schools in R1.
But obviously she turned it around – else she wouldn’t be featured here on the blahg, right? Exactly how she did that, you’ll have to wait till next time to find out. (Part 2 posted 6/21/2013.)