With the current application season winding down and attention turning to R1 applications due later this year, I’ve been contacted by a number of aspiring MBA students to discuss strategy and whether to even bother applying given the tough competition out there.
While I often don’t feel qualified to give advice, I’m always happy to share my experiences with a good ol’ dose of reality thrown in from time to time. With that in mind I decided to share some of the Admissions letters I’ve received during the past two seasons.
So, I’m sharing two dings to start with as these sum up my experience last year.
HBS was the first ding and was quite a shock. I thought I’d done a good job within the confines of a very short application form, enough to get myself an interview at one of the best b schools in the world, right? Wrong! This was the first sign that things weren’t going quite as well as they should have been.
I vividly remember going through various stages of emotions: disbelief (‘they must have made a mistake’); anger (‘to hell with them and their elitism’); and finally acceptance (‘I did my best so I guess I just wasn’t the right fit’). HBS had (this may have changed since) a tough reputation for dinging re-applicants so I knew this was my one and only shot, and I blew it. Ouch!
Having at least secured interviews at MIT Sloan and Wharton, I felt more optimistic about Columbia. My main mistake here, I still believe, was not applying in the Early Decision round. The problem is I really wasn’t sure that I wanted to go to Columbia and this no doubt fed through my application. This brought my final tally to five dings. Game over for that season!
Two valuable lessons here:
1) Believe in yourself at all times. Have no doubts in your writing and submit the absolute best version of yourself.
2) Be confident that you’re applying to the right b school for the right reasons. It will show if you’ve not done your homework or aren’t sincere in your application.
Stay tuned for more Admissions letters. Tomorrow, the good…