We recently shared with all of you some reflections from a Brave Supplicant that we worked with last season (part 1 here in case you missed it).
Today we’ll give you the rest of what this Success Story from the Class of 2022 MBA admissions season has offered — which we imagine should be quite useful for all of you planning on applying to the Class of 2023!
School research and determining a strategy
Factors important to me:
- Matriculating in Fall 2020 – waiting another year was out of the question for me. For that reason, I decided to focus all my efforts on schools where I had a reasonable chance of getting in. This also drove my strategy of applying to a good chunk of schools in rd 1, so I would have rd 2 to adjust if needed
- A tight-knit community
- Experiential learning opportunities
- An environment that would enable personal growth
- Placement at my target companies
- Geographic proximity to my husband
Determining my targets/rankings
I spent many hours googling different schools, and set an initial list based on my findings. My initial list was
- #1 choice goal schools: Ross, Fuqua
- #2 choice (and I live in Pittsburgh): Tepper
- #3 choice/I won’t explicitly use the word safety, but you know what I mean: Foster
After completing the comprehensive profile review, I expanded that list to include Johnson and McDonough, per a Snark recommendation.
After rounding out my list to 6, I scheduled school visits and reached out to current students at my target schools. Before submitting my applications, I had talked to ~3 students at each school. By the time decisions were released, I had talked to ~5 at each school.
Talking to students and visiting schools played a significant role in determining my app strategy. Johnson was one of my top choices after talking to a couple students on the phone, but visiting gave me a completely different view of the school. Namely that is was so remote, and I realized that wasn’t the experience I was looking for. Because of this, I felt more confident in bumping out my app to Johnson to the November round, and tackling Fuqua, Ross, Tepper, and McDonough in rd 1.
Visiting McDonough (for my interview) was also what bumped McDonough up to my second choice. There is no substitute for visiting the schools. Although it can be time consuming and costly, for me, this was the best way to determine whether the school would be a good fit.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the significant support the snark gave me in terms of providing input on my app strategy and targets, and helping me to think through my approach as new information came to light.
Last point on targets- SO much self-reflection took place throughout the whole process, but particularly in determining my target schools. This reflection on who I am, what I want out of business school, and if/why each school was the right fit was important in both determining my targets, and writing my essays.
My rankings switched many times throughout the application process, but by decision time, they were:
- #1: Ross
- #2: McDonough
- #3: Fuqua
- #4: Tepper
- #5: Johnson
- #6: Foster (ended up not applying after receiving my first acceptance)
Executing the apps
ES recommended I tackle Fuqua first (the essay writing skills built on the lengthy Fuqua app paid dividends for my other apps). I spent about three weeks solely on Fuqua, and got it to the 80% complete stage. I also used the essay decimator service for Fuqua, which improved my essays immeasurably. I then tackled Ross (2 weeks- got it to 90%), followed by McDonough (2 weeks- got it to 90%). I used single shots on the main essay for both schools.
I know ES doesn’t recommend moving on to a new app until fully completing the one you’re working on, but I would get so burned out on the essays for one school, that it became helpful to get the app to 90%, take a break for a couple days to work another school, and then revisit with fresh eyes. [Actually… what we usually suggest is to finish THE FIRST APP before moving on to any others; it’s not necessary to only work at one at a time. What this BSer described is a smart way to keep moving forward and making progress in getting everything done when it needs to be! -ES]
All the practice on the above 3 apps made it much easier to knock out new ones. I completed Carnegie Mellon in about 10 days, and then needed another week to finalize Fuqua. I submitted these 4 apps in rd 1.
As mentioned above, I completed Johnson for their November rd (2 weeks to complete, did it right after submitting Fuqua).
I outlined essays for Foster in November, and queued up my recommenders, but didn’t complete the app once I was admitted to Tepper in early December.
Well, as you can see, there was a bit of a spoiler there — but we’re gonna hold off and share the actual outcomes that this BSer landed in a foll0w-up post! Please stay tuned for the rest of their story, coming soon!!!