Last year we had the pleasure of working with a particular Brave Supplicant who impressed us with their motivation and thoughtfulness. From what we could see, they were doing everything right in their quest for the MBA: Planning ahead, visiting schools, putting in the work on the GMAT, all of it. They were coming from a crowded pool and they weren’t leaving anything to chance. We felt like they were lining up well… yet the actual admissions process threw some curve balls.
What’s most interesting, though, is where this person started out in their thinking about where they fit the best, and where they ended up. With permission, we’re sharing some of the earliest comments that they left for us on school targets, and the end of the story – captured over a very extended timeframe. As we usually do, in an abundance of caution, we’re omitting the names of the actual schools, just on the off event that some BSer might be recognized from which schools they did (and didn’t) make it into. We believe you should be able to appreciate the progression that’s captured here even without those specific details. Suffice it to say, this BSer was going for only top-tier programs.
In their own words…
August 2015: First dialogue with EssaySnark about schools
(Explaining rationale for their edited list of 3 targets)
I have chosen these schools for the following reasons: focus on healthcare (both curriculum and recruitment), culture (close-knit collaborative community), team-based learning environment and global opportunities.
October 2015 Update
Hi ES!! Thank you for your amazing feedback and support throughout this process!! Please excuse my recent radio-silence – the last few weeks have been a whirlwind, with a [School 1] campus visit, app deadlines for [School 2] and [School 1], and interview with [School 3]. I still have to complete my on-campus interview with [School 2] and my [School 3] app. I owe you a HUGE THANK YOU for the resources you provide here through the blahg and your services. I’m only at the halfway point, but your resources have removed a large chunk of stress and anxiety from my journey. I will definitely be leaving some positive reviews on your different services here. Thanks again! Hopefully, the next time you hear from me, I will have some good news.
We replied to that with a question about their school visits, and got this in response:
The campus visits were interesting.
I attended the [School 1] diversity workshop and it was a breath of fresh air! The alumni I met with blew me away with their honesty and straight talk.
I enjoyed the [School 3] interview experience, as it was obvious that they were really interested in getting to know me, my motivations and my personality. I had done a lot of research on the type of questions they ask, but still a couple of the behavioral questions were unique and surprising.
Overall though, I came away from [School 3] feeling a little strange. It felt like the school lacked a certain…. energy. Also I wasn’t super thrilled by the [specific school-identifying feature redacted] there, although that shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I almost felt like I didn’t know the school very well anymore. Not quite what I expected to come away with. Either way, I’m going to attend their weekend for women event. Maybe that will help figure out how I feel about the school.
Next week is my [School 2] interview!! It’s been so many months since I visited, so I’m excited to see what I come away with.
I’ll be sure to keep you posted throughout my journey!
Due to an unfortunate development outside of their control, this BSer ended up having to push their School 1 app to Round 2 in January, so they had two apps active for Round 1 and one for Round 2. Many months went by, and then in the spring, when the season was wrapping up, EssaySnark pinged them to hear how things went. Here’s what they said:
The big news! April 2016
Happy spring to you too and thank you for thinking of me! I’ve been meaning to write to you for a while now. I ended up getting dinged at [School 1] without an interview. I also withdrew myself from the [School 3] wait list back in January, after much contemplation. After connecting with several current students and alums at [School 2], I felt that I didn’t need to look any further. The culture is amazing and the post-MBA prospects for healthcare are even better than I had originally thought. Also, since my husband will remain in [city] for the length of the time I’ll be in school, [School 2] is a much shorter commute for us to meet up over the weekends. I didn’t realize it until the admit, but [School 2] had always been my top choice and the first school that I was sure I wanted to go to. I guess I never dared to imagine the possibility that I might get in. I remember your wise words that one gets into exactly the school that they are destined to go to. Thanks again for your help with my essays and your many blog posts – they went a long way in elevating my messaging that much more. I will be sure to spread the word about your services to other BSers that I meet in the coming years!!
I’m all set to quit my job at the end of June, spend some quality time with family and do some traveling before starting school. The journey is just beginning! Can’t wait!!!
The takeaways are: 1) Doing the legwork yourself is important. You never know how you’re going to react to a particular school until it’s YOU reacting to them. This is another example where getting on campus was super helpful for this person. 2) Bschool decisions are all independent events. This is THE SAME PERSON with the same profile, the same strong writing skills, the same thoughtful approach to the essays, yet each of these three schools reacted totally differently:
School 1: Rd 2 – rejected without interview (yes we were surprised at that)
School 2: Rd 1 – accepted
School 3: Rd 1 – waitlisted
All three of these schools are comparable in certain ways, in terms of competitiveness, prestige, etc. They’re all different, too, as this BSer discovered, but the most remarkable thing is the full range of outcomes that this person experienced. It reminds us of a long-ago discussion of “skill vs luck” (in investing, but especially in getting into bschool!).
Anyway, as they alluded to in the comments above, we do believe that everyone ends up exactly where they should – and this BSer nailed a major win with their admit. Makes the decision-making easier when the one school that gives you a straight-up admit is an amazing MBA program that others would trade a right arm for an admit to!
We were thrilled to see how it worked out for this person (despite some ups and downs in between) and we wish them all the luck in their pursuit of the next big thing!