Today we have the continuation of a tale of success from the field – this is the Round 1 candidate from this past season whose story we started here – that first part talked about the decision to apply and the GMAT and enlisting the ‘Snark for some pro bono goodies. Here’s what happened next:
The Application Process
My Snark profile review feedback was very helpful in developing strategies for a first round application to my favourite 4 schools, and I had an arsenal of guides to help me start to develop the stories. However, when I finally sat down to start writing I realised how long it had been since I wrote an application essay (6 years since joining the military) and my career aspirations had been highlighted in the profile review as lacking in substance. I noted that EssaySnark was offering further discounts on services and decided to go through the whole process [aka the Complete Essay Package – EssaySnark] for the hardest set of essays on my target list. The first couple of weeks were spent working through career goal exercises and developing my achievements and accomplishments. The feedback was curt and to the point, exactly the type of encouragement I needed.
When I finally moved to developing my essays, my first attempt was ripped to shreds. There were holes and inconsistencies throughout; furthermore, my military engineering writing style came across as arrogant to a non-military engineer. I took the feedback onboard and redeveloped the essays, paying more attention to the nuggets in the school strategy guide and the exercises I had spent the previous couple of weeks going through. I realized I still had 3 more schools to start applying for, one of which had an early deadline in September. Fortunately, the Snark school strategy guides helped me to focus on building a well rounded application targeted at each school.
If the essay writing wasn’t stressful enough, I then realised that time was running out to line up my recommenders if I was to meet my first deadline. I had just received a great appraisal from my direct boss, and from my commanding officer, so naturally approached them both with my plans. My direct boss was overjoyed that I was planning to pursue an MBA, and offered his full support. Unfortunately, my commanding officer was not so overjoyed, but agreed to write my recommendation. I provided them both with a detailed recommender pack and waited.
The first deadline approached, and while my essay was in good shape. I underestimated the time it would take to complete the short question section of the application. I managed to hammer through it in the weekend before submission on the Monday (not recommended). By Sunday evening, I had submitted my application and paid the exorbitant fee. My boss had his recommendation lined up, but I had no word from my commanding officer. The deadline arrived, yet I was still missing my second recommendation. Aware that the school normally allows a 48 hour extension for recommenders, and knowing how busy my second recommender was, I requested the extension in good time and spoke with him. All seemed in order and he promised to have everything submitted by Wednesday. Unfortunately, when Wednesday arrived the recommender had not even started writing the recommendation. It wasn’t until Thursday, 72 hours after the original deadline, that he began raising concerns over my desire to leave the military and head to business school.
My application would fall short at the final hurdle, after I’d invested so much time into its completion. I had demonstrated poor judgement in selecting one of my recommenders and it would be glaringly obvious to the school. I tried explaining the situation to the school, and they offered me a lifeline if I could get a recommendation in by the next day. A quick call around presented a small sliver of opportunity; one of my previous bosses was happy to write a recommendation for me within 24 hours. I’d done all I could given the circumstances, but I also quickly assessed my remaining applications and found another line manager to write recommendations for the other three schools. Determined not to be defeated, I went into the next weekend with a renewed vigour to build the best application I could – the next deadline was only a few days away!
The rest of September was a blur as I spent my weekends writing, editing, and submitting my various essays and short (and not so short) answers to the other sections of the application. The momentum carried me through and the rest of the recommendations flowed in without incident. I hit submit on the final application at the end of September.
Oooooh wonder what happens next! You’ll have to wait to find out, Brave Supplicants. (Update: Next installment here!)