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.
The Good (or Great!)
If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know what’s coming up here, but it still gives me goosebumps to recall the two acceptances I received last season.
INSEAD was the first application I submitted last season, and was definitely the longest application form I’ve ever seen! That said, rather than being onerous, it allowed me to fully explore the many angles to my candidacy and elaborate on my credentials in a way the U.S. b school application forms didn’t.
I also met some of the most genuine and helpful MBA alums during the application (and interview) process – this made a huge difference.
In a real INSEAD twist (given the school’s keen focus on internationalism), I was actually in Beijing when the call came. After a frantic 15 minutes of getting my Admission Officer’s voicemail, she finally came on the line to congratulate me and offer me a place in the Class of 2016. I had the dumbest grin on my face the whole flight home! This was the point I knew I wasn’t going back…
I had to wait a good month before getting feedback from MIT Sloan (and Wharton), with their R1 decisions released nearer Christmastime. Wharton offered me a spot on their waitlist (more on this here) but then, the following night, I got a call from MIT Sloan. I WAS IN!!
Whatever you have read about admits getting calls with offers, it’s probably all true. I tried my best to remain calm but I was just so grateful for the Admissions team believing in me. In a stunned state, I left the office about two minutes later – no time to focus on my work for once, I had an offer from a top 10 b school and it was time to celebrate!
It’s actually a lot tougher to draw valuable lessons from my acceptances than the dings, but I definitely had a lot more self-belief in these applications. I had also done my homework meticulously and left absolutely nothing to chance.
Prepare, prepare, prepare, and then hope to collect your reward! 😉