A couple months ago, this came in through our HALP ME PLEEZE ESSAYSNARK!! query system:
You already gave me access to the military site. I really appreciate it. After going through quite a bit of material and consultants, I have come to realize that your site is the truth. I really don’t think there is any resource that compares. It seems like most consultants and sites offer 75% fluff and 25% substance. Your site is like 110% content, if that’s possible!!
Anyway, I am writing to see if there is any way any of your moderators / consultants / anyone can help me. I used a consultant for a number of first round apps and had very lackluster results. Ultimately I applied to HAAS, Stanford, Cambridge and MIT. I was only invited to interview at MIT and was ultimately denied acceptance.
My first take away is that I was not as qualified as I thought. Now I am completely unsure of what direction to take. The consultant I worked with had me make some pretty off the wall statements in my essays to “grab people’s attention” and I am starting to think that was a huge mistake, especially after reading essay guides of your’s like the one for Wharton which emphasizes realistic career goals. At the same time, I know that 90% of why they rejected me was probably because of my weaknesses like my low GPA.
I am wondering if there is any way someone can give me an idea if I have a chance at any of my target schools, if I was spinning my wheels and what your recommendations would be for my next apps? Round 3 this year, round 1 at the same schools again ect…?
Thanks for the consideration. I completely understand if you do not have time to read / answer this. If I don’t hear back from you ill get a 29$ consult. Thanks!
The unfortunate truth is that there’s very little we can say with this bare-minimum info. It’s all guesswork and surmising. This person is definitely qualified but this is a super competitive process, and being “qualified” is not enough.
We know this person’s test score: Decent. High enough to make it through.
We know this person’s GPA: Borderline on risky territory, but not necessarily a showstopper.
We know that there are oodles of typos in the short note that they sent over to us, and they shared the resume too which also had
at least one typo more than two typos (gah!). If their app dataset had issues like this, and especially if the essays did, then that can be a pretty big black mark. Reject-worthy? Actually, yes, in combination with the lower GPA, since it shows inattention to detail, which some adcom reviewers interpret to be a lack of caring. (Pro Tip: Learn how to write the names of the schools you’re applying to! It’s not “HAAS” – it’s “Haas”. Knowing how to say the name is a good idea, too.)
We know the schools they tried for, ‘cuz they told us, and — AHA! That gives us some possible clues.
MIT Sloan is the only of those schools listed that doesn’t place a premium on career goals. And that’s the only school where an interview invitation came through.
This BSer himself is now thinking that the career goals may have been off the mark.
So we’ll go with “career goals” being the problem. Though we’re guessing that that wasn’t the full extent of it.
When we check out the resume that was sent along, we’re seeing some interesting stuff. There’s nice potential there. Yet there are more and more military candidates trying for these schools these days, and there’s also some issues with the presentation — we were left with multiple unanswered questions after going through it. The resume is just one piece of the pie, but if the rest of the application did not proactively handle those issue areas, then that can be a real problem. Reworking your resume is one of the most strategic tasks you can take on in this process, especially for military applicants who may not have had a traditional business resume before in their lives. Presumably this BSer’s other consultant coached him on the resume but it’s still not optimized. If your MBA admissions consultant does not have explicit experience in helping military candidates through this process, then our advice is to find someone else.
If the BSer who wrote in for help is still around and still debating which schools to try for, we have the Late Seasons Targets Review. As we mentioned the other day, we also have discounted pricing on the Comprehensive Profile Review for military candidates and certain non-profit types.
Parting thoughts: If your MBA admissions consultant suggests you write stuff that you’re like, “Hmmm really, I should say that?” then our advice is don’t write it. And find another consultant. Being off-the-wall is NOT the way to get into bschool. Being authentic and specific and honest about your interests and intentions and why you want an MBA and how you’re prepared and ready to go for this big jump, by presenting actual evidence of all of that through detailed stories used in answer to the essay question, is how you get noticed.
A low(er) GPA is not an instant reject.
A cohesive pitch that does not help the adcom see why they should accept you despite the lower GPA is what will do you in.