There are many surprises to be found in this process! Not only might you end up falling in love with a school you didn’t expect to, but you’re undoubtedly going to find out things about yourself that you never knew, too. Here’s a firsthand account with some “lessons learned” by a former Brave Supplicant who had a hard-earned success or two last season (hint: he was waitlisted before being accepted elsewhere… we’ll let you discover what happened for yourself).
Thanks for all you did to help me through the process. Also wanted to take the opportunity to follow up on the “lessons learned” you asked me to think about. Not sure this will be a truly coherent account, but here goes (bet you didn’t miss these really long rants haha). Obviously chop away! [We like to post these exactly as received! No chopping. 🙂 -ES]
1. Fit is a really annoying concept until you actually find it somewhere. The only way to find it somewhere is to reach out to folks and then to actually go there. I’m the 8 millionth person to say that, but if I couldn’t have compared my three primary schools based on a similar level of experience, I’d have driven myself nuts. If you can’t find positive fit, at least figure out what doesn’t work for you. I wasn’t as disappointed to be waitlisted at Fuqua as I was at McCombs. Based on message boards and rankings/reputation alone, that doesn’t make any sense. In real life, it turned out to be much more clear. At the same time, even if I had gotten into McCombs, I wouldn’t have gone once Kenan-Flagler said yes.
2. Look for opportunities to really kick the tires on a program. Beyond regular events, K-F basically said here’s a 1-on-1 session with one of our professional development coaches, take a half-hour with one of our career advisors, etc….go nuts. When those kinds of things are offered, take them…I left with a much better idea of what kind of support and guidance I’d actually get if I decided to accept the offer.
Tying that back to number 1, I found consistency was key. I had uniformly great experiences with K-F people and events…I knew I wasn’t just catching them on one good day.
3. Particularly in the essay development process, the advice to be true to yourself (i.e. “don’t just say what [you think -ES] they want to hear”) is really hard to follow but essential. However, I feel like that tends to be discussed in terms of strengths…you don’t have to pretend to be an accounting whiz who’s managed 30 people and launched a new business in a country no one has heard of. Tying this back to #2, I learned after the fact that being honest about my weaknesses was part of what got me into K-F. I was unemployed for a decent chunk of time and I didn’t make it in the field I previously went to graduate school for…of course, I had to show how I made lemonade out of those lemons, but just the fact of having gone through that struggle was apparently a point in my favor. It gave me a perspective that stood out in a field of people much younger than me who have not known anything but professional success to date.
4. I’m amazed how comparatively little $$ has impacted my decision. With two waitlists in my pocket, I decided to also apply to Arizona State (curious to hear your thoughts on their new approach, random aside [We may circle back to this! -ES UPDATE: CIRCLED BACK HERE]). Just found out that I got in there as well (and to clarify, I put in a deposit at UNC because there was only a week between the ASU decision date and the UNC deposit deadline…I didn’t want to be rushed, but was still open to going to ASU if they blew me away. I withdrew my names from the McCombs and Fuqua waitlists a while ago). However, my experiences there hasn’t been anywhere near as good as K-F to date. Their admitted students weekend is coming up, and I intend to hear them out (which I think would be irresponsible not to do with the whole 2 kids thing), but I can’t believe I’m likely going to turn down the money. As you’ve frequently said, if you’re going to do this, do it for the right reason. Money can be a tie-breaker, but if you don’t feel like you’d get value out of a program, the fact of it being free isn’t a sufficient cause to go.
So that’s what I think I have? I hope they make sense and don’t make me sound like an idiot or a jerk. [Nope! Neither! Good stuff here. -ES] Either way, this has been an incredible process for me and I’m so fortunate to have been given the opportunities that came from it. Thank you so much for your patience with me and keeping me moving toward the end. Can’t say enough about how happy I was with the service you provided throughout…definitely feel like I made the right call!
Have a great rest of the week and thanks again!
So there you have it – chockful of surprises for all involved! This was a non-traditional applicant who definitely had a lot to offer but yeah, had some explainin’ to do, as they say. And they did it! It was a rollercoaster for sure but clearly – as you can see for yourself with these awesome insights – they ended up in the right place, and for the right reasons.
Congrats once again to this former BSer – we see great things ahead for you!