Over the past several weeks we’ve received quite a few awesome contributions to the blahg from Brave Supplicants whose Round 1 apps were successful. (If you promised us one of those, please don’t forget about us!! We really want to see yours, too!) Today we’re sharing with you one military candidate’s refreshing perspective.
Over the past few weeks, thanks to some inquisitive future MBA applicants I work with, I’ve been forced to reflect back on my journey from “Hmm, maybe I should apply to business school?” to “Accepted!’’ After EssaySnark asked if I’d be willing to write a post, I made a point to peruse old emails and notes to remember the questions I had at each stage of the process. Hopefully I’ll be able to give a bit of guidance to those going through that journey right now.
A bit about me…I’ll be 25 at matriculation, with approximately four years of work experience as a military officer, 3.3 GPA (downward trend, oops) with degrees in Economics and Business Management from a Big Ten school, some international internship experience, one semester of studying abroad, and extremely vanilla hobbies (reading, golf, tennis…negative points for uniqueness).
I started prepping for the GMAT about two months before the actual test. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say that the GMATclub.com is your friend. I used a few books, but mostly just relied on free resources on the web. My first try I got a 720 (44Q/45V) and really wanted to be done with it. Like, really, really wanted to move on and start with applications. I reached out to EssaySnark for a profile review (So helpful, very recommended. Thanks ES!), which forced me to realize that my downward GPA trend plus a low quant score would create a giant question mark within my application. They strongly recommended creating an alternative transcript, retaking the GMAT, or both. I didn’t feel like I had the time to take any classes, but I felt like I was leaving points on the table and ended up retaking it after two months of quant practice. 750 (49Q/42V), cool! Time for applications.
When narrowing down schools (the ES guides were really helpful during this), I knew I wanted programs that maximized my GI Bill benefits (I was eligible for Yellow Ribbon, for those familiar with such things), were in a college town (sorry, Stern/Columbia!), had a strong sense of community, seemed like a fun place to spend two years, and hadn’t rejected me for undergraduate (sorry, Booth!). I settled on Kellogg, Darden, and Fuqua. I visited all three and LOVED them all. Really, I was thoroughly impressed with each one and all the great things you have heard are true. Students were helpful, classes were interesting, locations were great — I would have been ecstatic to attend any of them.
I liked Fuqua the most, though, and felt at home there. I had such a great experience, which I won’t bore you with, but I was initially skeptical of all the “Team Fuqua” talk and am now a firm believer. I ended up applying Early Action to Fuqua (I also submitted R1 applications to the other two, in case Fuqua didn’t work out).
On the EA topic, which is something I really wrestled with, I’ll admit I heard a lot of “Not many military guys have a 750, why would you apply early instead of sending out a bunch of apps and seeing how good of a school you can get into?” Fit was extremely important to me, more so than prestige or rankings. I knew any top school would get me the recruiting opportunities that I wanted. I will say I was influenced by somewhat unique military separation deadlines I had to deal with, which made an early decision even more attractive, but I also felt like I would attend Fuqua over any other school. I wouldn’t recommend EA if you aren’t sure about that.
Nope, we wouldn’t either! Solid advice thus far from this successful candidate. This one is running a little long though, so we’ll finish up this guest post for you later (UPDATE: HERE IT IS!) … though we bet you can already guess the ending!!! 😉