Just in time to motivate some of you slaving-away BSers: A Success Story to share!
About this time last year I was reeling from a much lower-than-expected GMAT score (about 70 points lower than my goal), having spent the entire summer taking a class and studying non-stop. I was starting to have a lot of doubt in my decision to apply to business school, since it looked as though Round 1 just wouldn’t be happening. It was a rough time, because I had basically put all my eggs into this b-school basket – earlier in the year, when the Air Force gave me a new assignment and a different job, I had opted to decline. Of course this meant that I would serve out the remaining 9 months of my service commitment and then be forced to separate from the Air Force in May. But the timing could not have been more perfect for applying to business school, which had long been in the back of my mind. In February 2013, all the pieces seemed to fall into place.
But my original timeline quickly eroded. That original plan had been to spend several months during the summer studying for the GMAT, ace it, put together my essays, and throw it all into Round 1 applications, and submit. I’m sure it’s an overly-optimistic timeline that essaysnark sees all the time. After that GMAT score came back disappointingly low, I wasn’t sure exactly what to do. I knew I still wanted to apply to business school, but I needed some guidance, and somehow stumbled on essaysnark’s free comprehensive profile review for military members. I decided it’d be worth having someone review my profile and see what chances I had at the schools I planned to apply to. I’ll admit, essaysnark pulls no punches, and the feedback was blunt, but it was what I needed to hear – some of the schools I was targeting were just not going to be possible for me without some sort of miracle or adcom mistake. They suggested a few other schools I should consider. Some I decided to go with, some I didn’t. But the biggest take-away was that I needed to have a clearer career goal and my GMAT needed work.
So I went back to the books, studying and practicing the GMAT even harder than before. It may be one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, but damn did it feel rewarding when my score jumped 80 points and pushed me past my original goal! But as most of you know, a good GMAT score doesn’t get you in alone, so while I may have bumped my profile up to be a viable candidate, I was nowhere nearer to completing my essays – in fact, by the beginning of December I hadn’t even started! I let essaysnark know about the new score, and they promptly gave me a response telling me how it changed my chances. I narrowed down my school list to four, since by now my time was incredibly constrained and knew I could only produce four quality applications in the 30 or so days I had left before Round 2 deadlines.
The whole month of December I became an essay writing machine. Not because I was terribly efficient, but because I had no choice but to crank them out. While I wish I had had a little more time to construct the essays and get feedback (particularly from essaysnark), I honestly put my heart and soul into them, and I hold no regrets. I worked with the setbacks put in front of me and charged on. It was such a relief after hitting the last submit button on the last Round 2 application. At that point I didn’t even care too much how it all panned out, I was just proud to have survived the battle.
The next two months I relaxed, but eagerly awaited notification of interview invites. I was pretty elated when I received invites from three out of the four schools I applied to. I was riding high! I tried to do on-campus interviews for all, but was only able to find time off to visit two of them. During one of the on-campus interviews I made a disheartening discovery – I didn’t really like the school. It didn’t feel right to me. At that point I wished I had visited the campus beforehand, so I could have applied to another school that may have worked out better. Oh well.
In March, my Round 2 applications closed out with two admittances (one with a hefty scholarship), 1onewaitlist (my dream school), and one rejection. I attended the admit weekend for the school that offered me a scholarship, the first time I had ever set foot on the campus. This time everything fell into place – the school seemed an awesome fit, and I quickly made friends, developed career contacts, and found myself at home. I accepted the offer, although I will admit, I spent the better part of the summer trying to convince my dream school to let me in off the waitlist, to no avail. It was a disappointment, especially being strung out that long, but I also had a long time to prepare for the eventual rejection – which conveniently was plenty of time to get excited about the school that wanted me so badly they were willing to give me money!
By now I’ve been at my school for a month and a half, but so far it has truly been an amazing experience. It’s still early on, but I feel at home, which in the end, is what’s really important.
- Take tests way in advance if possible so they’re not a factor in your application timeline
- Visit the schools you’re applying if you have the time and money
- Be ready for setbacks. And more setbacks. And disappointment. Keep your head up regardless.
- Be honest with yourself – know what you’re capable of and don’t delude yourself
Mostly we just have to say THANK YOU to this former BSer – thanks for the great write-up, of course, but also THANK YOU for not blowing us off! Yours was a story we’ve been tracking for over a year now and when you got those admits back in the Spring, we knew it would be awesome to be able to share it with this current crop of applicants struggling with the same issues – yet as soon as you moved to campus we were worried you’d fall into the void that is Daily Life at Business School and we’d never hear from you again. Thank you for coming through for us with this great tale of your adventure in getting in! We’re not surprised that you feel you’re at home, given the amazing place you ended up. Life has this weird way of working out in our favor, despite our best efforts to the contrary at times. 😉 Good luck to you and we hope you’ll stop by at some future time with an update of the experience!