Here’s a story about a long-term relationship! This former BSer came to us way back in April 2014 – and here’s the full saga. Including the happy ending. In their own words…
Essaysnark has talked a lot about the competitiveness of this year’s application season, which I experienced firsthand. Despite some setbacks, I was extremely fortunate to have been accepted into my dream school, Columbia, and working with Essaysnark played a huge part in my success. Columbia has always been my top choice but I knew from the start that getting accepted was going to be somewhat of an uphill battle for me. I visited this site and others daily for the past two years, always looking for an indication of my chances at my target school or the perfect essay writing formula or anything else to make this process feel a little easier and a little less opaque. Unfortunately, I did not find any magic formula but I learned a few things that may be helpful to share.
My story on one hand could offer some hope, as I think I proved at least to myself that with hard work and planning there is a lot you can do to strengthen your candidacy before pressing submit on your applications. I did not have the perfect profile, but I believed that I was better than my low college GPA and worked hard to gather evidence to demonstrate this to the admissions committee. I started by prioritizing studying for the GMAT and then taking classes for an alternative transcript. Once I checked these off my list, I unexpectedly decided to delay my applications for another year to take a new job in an industry much closer to my post-MBA target. In addition to my GPA, another weakness that concerned me was that I had very technical finance-driven post-MBA goals but no previous experience in a direct finance role. When I received this job offer I had already tackled the GMAT, received A’s in those extra classes, started writing my application essays and even asked for my recommendation letters. While I was having some difficulty with essay writing and resume editing, I felt like I had made significant progress. I knew that taking this new job would improve my chances at admission and make me more competitive when applying for internships but I had already put so much time and effort into my application, part of me felt like it was a failure in some way to put everything on hold.
Trying to make this decision helped me to discover the most important advice I could offer another applicant – you have to be honest with yourself about your own readiness to take this next step in your career. This isn’t meant to sound preachy, but I learned that if you’re struggling with your essays, goals and resume it may not be because you can’t grasp Essaysnark’s philosophy of “show don’t tell”, as I had originally assumed about myself. You may be having a hard time because you’re just not ready to take advantage of an MBA program in the right way no matter how badly you may want to be. While deliberating about whether I should take this job, I pictured myself sitting in a classroom – Would I feel intimidated? What would I have to share with my future classmates? Using Columbia as an example, what would I have to offer the other students on my learning team? Would my resume be compelling enough to be pulled for interviews? When I asked myself these questions and didn’t feel confident in my responses, I knew that taking the job was the right decision.
One point that Essaysnark made in a recent post was to “plan for this to be a two-year process”. While two years may sound like a lot of time, my experience has shown me that this estimate is correct. When I sat down for the first night of my GMAT review course in August 2013, I was fully intent on applying for the class of 2017. However, this new job offer combined with the difficulty I was facing with the writing process, made me realize that the tasks of cataloging my professional achievements, quantifying accomplishments on my resume and ironing out my professional goals were aimed at more than just creating a winning application. Collectively, this whole process was a test of whether I was self-aware enough to be honest with myself about my readiness to join and add value to a business school classroom and community. You don’t go to business school just to get an MBA, you go to business school to fulfill a specific purpose in your career and I realized that I needed more time to figure out what my purpose was and prepare myself to go after it.
I can connect all of the dots in hindsight now but the past few years have definitely felt a lot more challenging and uncertain while I was going through them. I know how exhausting and disheartening this process can be but if there is anything to take away from my story it’s that it’s possible to get where you want to be even if your trajectory doesn’t look exactly as you had planned it.
Such awesome advice – and we know that it often helps you folks to hear it more than once (and to hear it from someone who’s actually lived it, instead of just taking our snarky word for it).
This whole process is about figuring out what you want to do with your life – and we saw this particular BSer embrace that – as difficult and challenging and frustrating as the whole thing can be! And they ended up in an excellent school with an exciting future laid out. The best part of course is that they know why they’re there. There will still be many new opportunities and challenges, and who knows if their current thinking on plans and goals will stand up to those tests. Maybe they’ll decide to go do something completely different! Having gone through these struggles will only make the next ones easier.
At least, that’s what PhilosophySnark likes to think!
Thank you, former BSer, who is now officially Bschool Bound, for sending this over. Very inspiring! Look, everyone, there’s hope!!!!