EssaySnark was pleasantly surprised recently when we heard from a long-ago Brave Supplicant – like, someone we’d worked with two years ago – saying that they’d made it into bschool!!! It’s a more unusual story of the road they took to the MBA. We’re honored that they wrote up their experience for us to share and we’re posting the first part today – much of it very timely indeed, given what we know many of you are going through right this very minute!
Here’s the first phase of their story:
I first became interested in getting an MBA when a colleague entered an executive MBA program, and raved about the experience, the network, the classes, and what it did for her career. Given the constantly changing nature of the industry that we were working in and the kinds of skills I had at the time, I thought getting an MBA would be extremely useful for me as well, but I focused on the full-time MBA.
So in the fall of 2011 is when it all started. I took a practice GMAT exam, scored 650. Then I signed up for a GMAT class. I visited with schools at MBA fairs (yikes! what a cattle call), or if the school was coming through, went to their reception/coffee chats. I made class visits to NYU and Columbia. I was in Chicago for a vacation, so I added in a side trip to Booth. I studied for the GMAT and initially planned on taking it in November, but postponed the test by one month to December to make sure I was absolutely prepared. In December, I had locked in a score of 690. On to applications. But it was already December!
Here’s the thing–my initial plan had been to do applications in the fall of 2012, but sneak one or two applications in the winter of 2011, if possible, and see what would happen. By this time, I had already read many dire warnings about not applying in Round 3 (as Essay Snark, and adcom members themselves say), and that you need to get your application done in Round 2 if you’re going to apply to the top schools. Since I had just finished taking the GMAT, I just didn’t feel I had enough time to do more than one application for Round 2. Or maybe I was being overly cautious? Hindsight is everything, of course.
I made the Columbia application my priority. It was the school I had visited the most and was the most impressed by. Though, I should say, all the schools I encountered were represented by accomplished alumni. (Heck, I met someone from UC San Diego Rady who had an amazing job! It’s the truth.) They do a great job of wooing you. They all sound great. But which school is best for you?
So, Columbia was at the top of my list. In general, as many people warn, you should definitely not make your top school your first application! But at the same time, I was also trying to work with the advice that if you want to apply to Columbia, you need to apply ASAP, and December was already late. I didn’t rush my application, but I felt late to the game.
I wrote my essays, requested letters of recommendation, and kept revising my Columbia application over the holidays. I devoured everything I could find on forums about Columbia, the business school application process, and stumbled across Essay Snark’s blog.
Essay Snark was offering some kind of special essay package for tardy Round 2 applicants, so I signed up and contacted Essay Snark on December 31st. [BSers, please don’t count on that happening this year! Our prices are currently as low as they’re gonna be for Round 2 – and yes we’ll still be helping people on New Year’s Eve but PLEASE don’t wait that long! You can get started now. -EssaySnark] Here’s where a bit of testimonial/endorsement comes in: Essay Snark was nothing less than amazing and extraordinary, and the process of revision was entirely worthwhile. Even better, I learned from Essay Snark’s comments and I grasped why Essay Snark was asking questions about certain parts of my essay. Essay Snark really does know what they’re doing. I didn’t consider that my answer about X and Y could be interpreted as Z instead. So it’s best that Essay Snark finds those weaknesses in the essay stage and you think long and hard about everything. If Essay Snark isn’t understanding your story from your essays, it’s not likely the AdCom will either.
I got my Columbia application in a week later than I would’ve preferred, as I had to wait until my other recommender got the letter in later. Maybe I was too Columbia-obsessed, maybe I was being too cautious after reading warnings about not applying after Round 2, but I decided not to apply to any other schools for that year. Happily, I received an interview invite from Columbia. I don’t think I knocked it out of the park, but it was all right. Ultimately, though, I was waitlisted.
Oh no – waitlisted! But it’s not over yet. See what happened next for this Brave Supplicant when we resume this story next week (posted here!).