We all make the best decisions that we can, in the moment that we’re forced to make them.
If you’re sitting here now dreading the outcomes that are headed your way, with the sinking feeling that the apps you submitted in December and the first week of January all are going to come to naught, then you may be having a hard time not getting totally down on yourself.
We’ve never met a single BSer ever who submitted an application thinking it had no chance at all. Even those who submit Hail Mary apps to schools at the end of the season, or the ones who submit to H/S/W when they know there are big weaknesses in the profile, still, everyone assumes that there’s at least a sliver of a chance. Why pay the very expensive app fee if you didn’t think that it could have a shot?
Sitting here now, if you’re starting to get that sinking sensation that all those app fees were wasted and you’re feeling your hopes dashed completely, all we can say today is, yeah man.
This process SUCKS.
It’s so hard on the ego. It’s so tough on the emotions.
Even for those who make it in to the schools they had hoped for still often come out of it feeling a bit scarred.
The process of applying to a top MBA program is like signing up to be tortured, voluntarily.
The whole system just sucks, there’s no two ways about it.
If you’re currently sitting on one or more admits, then we just want to offer a gentle reminder that not everyone is feeling quite as pleased with themselves as you may be feeling right now, and to remember to be kind. It’s not necessary to gloat over your successes. Find people who can be enthusiastically happy for you and celebrate with them, but be sensitive when among others who may be feeling the sting of defeat in the moment.
If you’re still waiting for your schools to come through on decisions, you have likely gone through a full spectrum of feelings about everything already, and many people bottom out kind of convincing themselves that they’re probably not going to make it, while hoping desperately that they will. It’s a complicated mixed-up experience!! It’s really hard to sort through self-assessments of how did I do in that interview? and second-guessing how poorly or positively the whole application was constructed originally.
Many people end up selling themselves short, assuming that they must have bombed the interview, and replaying each and every moment of awkward answer or fumbling around. We tend to remember those moments more than the ones where we did just fine.
If you took shortcuts back in November and December in the lead-up to those deadlines, or if you simply didn’t have the time and energy to devote to the project of the apps as you now wish you had, please try not to nail your own self to the wall. It may be impossible not to let the self-critical scripts keep running in the head, but we do hope you’ll find a way out of those loops. Such self-recrimination doesn’t do anything except cause more suffering, and it’s hardly ever based in an objective view of what actually happened.
You did what you could in those weeks before apps became due. It was a really tough time for everyone. Fall of 2020 just absolutely sucked. If it turns out that what you were able to produce isn’t enough to earn an admit to the school you really wanted to go to, it’s probably going to be crushing for a time. There’s also potentially other schools to consider trying for now, even in this late-stage Round 3 moment. It all depends on the priorities you have for what you are aiming for and how you want to get there.
It’s never mandatory to have an MBA to achieve huge successes in life.
Hopefully today’s attempt at a reality check does not apply to many of you — hopefully the majority of you are feeling confident and hopefully of how things will land, or are already happy about where they have landed.
A not-uncommon reaction around this time of year is often one of regret, and that’s just a tough emotion to deal with. If that’s where your brain is taking you, then please try to talk it out with someone who is kind and compassionate, who can offer some perspective and help buffer the difficulties. Try not to beat yourself up about what happened to get you there. You did what you could, under really challenging circumstances. If it turns out that you’re headed to bschool in the Fall, then that’s super exciting — and if it turns out that that’s not in the cards, then there’s no escaping the disappointment, but that also means that there will be other paths and opportunities that will come available to you, including some that you maybe haven’t even thought of before.
There’s room for honest self-critique, and taking responsibility for mistakes made — but please don’t lose sight of how hard things were at the end of last year. Whatever you got done, was what you were capable of at the time. If now there’s a new world starting to peek over the horizon, then all of us will benefit from meeting it with grace and seeing where it will take us, and being kind to our past selves who did what they could to survive a difficult time.