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2010 Zero Admits... now what?

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2010 Zero Admits... now what? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2011, 07:33
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Good Afternoon,

Although I have frequented this forum sporadically over the last year or so, I finally decided to create an account to leave a few posts. As the subject indicates, my year-long application misadventure has brought me to this rather unpleasant of situations. Inspired by the 2008 admits thread, I thought this might be a good place to brush off the dust, commiserate with others, and prepare for the next leg of the journey.

Without further ado, here goes a rundown of my profile along with a brief postmortem. Though I hope there are not too many others in my situation, if you are, please feel free to leave your information as well as a little contribution for posterity. Who knows, after reading over the 2008 zero admits - where are they now follow up thread, there may be hope yet!

GMAT Score: 710
GPA: 3.4
Work Experience : 5 years
Location: United States
#Applications: 3
#Dings: 3
#Interviews: 1
#WL: 0

Which ding hurt the most and why?
Chicago definitely hurt the most. Despite a dismal interview, I still harbored a tiny shred of hope.

What next?
To be honest, I am not sure. I am fairly determined (as the name indicates) to re-apply next year. In order to avoid repeating my present situation, I plan to apply during Round 1 to give me sufficient time to apply to additional schools during Round 2 if needed. Unfortunately, this gives me very little time to do much to improve my candidacy beyond where it is currently at. I am currently a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa and my service should conclude in July. I will probably attempt to take 1-2 graduate business courses in the interim (My GMAT quant percentile was only 77). In my attempt to remain positive, I see this as a rather unique opportunity. Basically, after I apply in October, I will be accepted, and will matriculate the following August/September. In effect, this gives me a year to play with. Given that I am still fairly uncertain of what I'd like to do long term, this gives me a year to try things out. Ideally, I think I'll try to work with either a start-up or with a local government organization back home. While this does not give me much time to improve my application for next admissions cycle, I think it may help me to figure out whether I would like to do either of these things later in life.

Why the lack of success?

Where to begin? Here, I had minimal access to electricity, which did not allow me to research programs very effectively or to put in as much effort to my essays as I could have. I only applied to three schools (Kellogg, Wharton, and Chicago - What was I thinking?), and only during Round 2. Some of my essays were certainly not as well (or as strategically) written as they could have been. Also, my career goals were definitely a little flimsy. If I am able to firm those up over the next few months, I will probably re-apply to at least one of the above schools, though I will also need to be a bit more realistic about my chances and will need include a bit of a safety net.

Congratulations to everyone who was admitted this application cycle! I hope to be in your shoes next time around.
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Re: 2010 Zero Admits... now what? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2011, 08:53
This process is so long and so tough, that many people do lose hope after failing. I for one was starting to doubt my own capabilities for a while. But one needs to understand that after one stage in the application, luck plays some role....

From your post, you sound very positive and I am sure with minor tweaks to the essays and with a focused story, you will get into more than one school this time around.

Good luck
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Re: 2010 Zero Admits... now what? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2011, 09:02
You have a non-traditional profile with solid stats and possibly a good story in you. Have you reached out to current MBA students at your target BSchools who were previously Peace Corps? They are normally a goldmine of intelligence on essays and selling yourself to adcoms.

3 of the most competitive BSchools worldwide, it was top or bust. Have you considered top 15?
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Re: 2010 Zero Admits... now what? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2011, 09:11
I am on the same board as you are. Applied to 6 out of the 7 M7 schools and rejected at all without an interview. Time for some careful planning for 2012.

Which school hurt most: HBS (dream school) and MIT

What to do next: Try to evaluate myself and solidify my goals and make my ambitions specific and precise. Its a long process and kudos to everyone who got admitted. But I will have to work hard to be in all their shoes next year.
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Re: 2010 Zero Admits... now what? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2011, 16:08
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Expert's post

Also, please don't forget about the thread from past years:


the-2008-zero-admits-club-62142.html
2008-zero-admits-where-are-they-now-77761.html
the-going-nowhere-thread-91884.html
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Re: 2010 Zero Admits... now what? [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2011, 16:38
Well, I'm not there yet, but I feel like I'm just inches away.

Wharton: Ding no Int
I actually loved this school, which is just so unfortunate.

Kellogg: Ding w/Int
I didn't like this school at all: not my interviewer, not the students, not the staff. So no loss here.

Stanford: (Soon to be) Ding w/ no Int
This place is clearly incredible, but obviously so out of my league. Still not really clear on why I applied.

Fuqua: Waitlist
Wasn't sure that this school was for me, and eventually got totally convinced that it was 100% the place for me. Then they stuck me in limbo.

Haas: No Int
No news yet, but in this case, that doesn't mean good news.

So now what? Good question. Maybe quit my job. Maybe leave the country. Maybe both.

I'd be thrilled to get off the waitlist at Fuqua, but that's certainly nothing I can count on. I'll certainly try to keep this ball in the air through the May R3 date, but after that I imagine that I'll either feel dinged or be literally dinged. Either way, I'm moving on.
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Re: 2010 Zero Admits... now what? [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2011, 08:47
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More of a lurker and don't usually comment, but was right there with you last year. Similar profile, US applicant, 720 GMAT, 3.3 GPA, 6 years work exp.

I applied to Kellogg, Chicago & Yale. Had my heart set on Kellogg (like 110% set), thought we (me and significant other) were moving to Chicago for his work, so applied to Booth as well. Threw in Yale b/c I've worked in non-profs, and everyone kept telling me to apply there. Which is probably not a great reason to apply to any school, but I digress.

Was totally bummed to go zero for 3, had given up hope entirely....And then I randomly had a conversation with a friend's spouse who recently graduated from MIT Sloan who told me that the admission's process is a game, and that you've just got to play it right, and was a game worth playing to achieve my personal/career goals. She offered to look over my resume, essays, etc., and gave me some excellent advice about applying again this year. I'd heard all this before, but she put it all together in a persuasive and eloquent manner and just made me reconsider abandoning hope so easily. (Maybe that's why the Sloanie's get the big bucks!)

I revised my list of schools to better match my background and future career goals. Everything from my resume to my essays to my Rec letters (I did NOT write these, but upon my friend's suggestions, wrote detailed primers with examples my recommenders had witnessed - but may have needed a refresher on - that highlighted key traits and characteristics important to that particular school) were a gazillion times better. In fact, I got a hand-written note on a mailed acceptance letter with a note commenting on my Rec letters! Definitely felt good!

In retrospect, my previous apps were just crappy. Not my A-game. Or even B-game. Did not present a cohesive story or put me in the most favorable light. I think I was having a hard time expressing exaclty why I wanted to go to bschool and what I wanted to do afterwards, and this definitely came across in the application process. In fact, my previous apps were SOOO bad, I did not feel comfortable re-applying to Kellogg - it was just a tragic app, awkward interview, and felt that I had killed my chance. This may be my only regret from this cycle, was not giving Kellogg another go, but everything works out for a reason.

Fast forwarding to now. This year, I got flat out rejected from MIT, but I'm cool with that b/c it's a stellar school and I gave it my best try. But I also got into Ross, Kenan-Flagler, Goizueta, Georgia Tech and am waiting on McCombs. Not quite sure where I'll end up yet (waiting on $), but this is an infinitely better place to be in than last year!

Now, I realize this isn't H/S/W, or Booth/Haas/Columbia/etc., But I took the time to visit each of the schools I applied to, sat in on classes, researched their websites, talked to professors/students/alumni, walked around town, and felt extremely happy with my list - I could honestly see myself being happy at each of them. I didn't apply to any schools that I had any reservations about, or wouldn't attend. And with the exception of MIT, I didn't apply to a plethora of schools I liked, but had hardly any chance to get into, which for me would be have been MIT, Stanford & Kellogg. Others may take a different philosophy on this, but it worked for me. And saved me a bit of money on increasingly crazy application fees!

All this to say - it get's better! And this is just my personal experience with the process. Maybe for you, it's just a subtle tweak here and there and you can re-apply to the same schools and be golden the next time around. I'm a believer that everything happens for a reason and you'll discover that if your heart is still set on b-school, that this minor setback will make you a stronger person and a better candidate next time around.

Good luck!
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Re: 2010 Zero Admits... now what? [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2011, 19:43
Just updating this post with my last ding, Haas. Nominally still waiting around for the 5/9 R3 Fuqua WL decisions, considering doing P/T via Cross Continent. In truth, Cross Continent maybe is the program I should have been looking at in the first place. But I'd still like to have to approached this process differently, had I known how little traction I was going to get with the schools I selected.
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Re: 2010 Zero Admits... now what? [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2011, 08:35
jsmith54 wrote:
Just updating this post with my last ding, Haas. Nominally still waiting around for the 5/9 R3 Fuqua WL decisions, considering doing P/T via Cross Continent. In truth, Cross Continent maybe is the program I should have been looking at in the first place. But I'd still like to have to approached this process differently, had I known how little traction I was going to get with the schools I selected.


Hi there,
I read that you asked for some additional info on the CCMBA on another thread and thought I'd reply here. Have you looked into it any further? Have you talked with their admissions? For me, I was contacted very recently out of nowhere by their Assistant Director of Admissions and asked if I was interested in the Cross-Continent Program. I had also applied for the full time but wasn't accepted way back in round 1, so you can imagine my surprise many months later. She said that she had my application passed to her for consideration, which was nice to hear.

Before this contact I had already been accepted into 3 other programs and just have to make my final decision. When I told her this she said that they would work with me to expidite the process, which they certainly have! Since just over a week ago when I was initially contacted I have exchanged emails not only with admissions, but I've talked with the same assistant director, financial aid, and they set up conversations with two current students. The two students were amazing to talk to and had very few negative things to say. One conversation went so well that he invited me to a mixer for current and incoming students with alumni attending as well.

I have to say that the program has blown me away with how nice and professional everyone is. Also, the international component is just impressive to me. I've been to quite a few countries and the idea of studying and learning within a different culture is quite attractive to me. Let me know what you decide. Who knows, we may end up meeting at the China residency.
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Re: 2010 Zero Admits... now what? [#permalink] New post 01 May 2011, 19:29
I replied to VinceCPA via PM, but I thought I'd throw this general comment out to the thread.

It's great to have an 11th hour option to be considering. I know some people will go back to the drawing board for the upcoming R1 apps at this point, but that wouldn't have worked for me. That said, U of Phoenix wouldn't have worked for me either. If I'm going to do what I want to do, I need a good MBA, and I need to start now. Not being totally in the zero admits group yet is really great for my remaining bits of sanity.
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Re: 2010 Zero Admits... now what? [#permalink] New post 03 May 2011, 09:16
Hey Guys in the same boat. Spent most of 2010 strategising and writing the essays. Had a pretty balanced set of schools too but alas 5 applications 2 Interviews and 1 waitlist. I am considering applying for 2012 session. European MBAs from Oxford, IESE, Bocconi may come into play now as they will certainly help me save one year.

Lets all work together like the 2008 zero admits did and may be within 7 8 months we might be able to start a new thread on where the 2011 zero admits land up in 2012.

Let the games begin!
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Re: 2010 Zero Admits... now what? [#permalink] New post 03 Jun 2011, 21:18
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Replying to this thread to update my status. I was able to get initial support to enroll in CCMBA at Fuqua from my immediate supervisor, but our senior management rejected the plan. So now, I will not be attending Fuqua or anywhere else.

I'm really just providing this information as a resource to future applicants. In my case, what I've learned after a year of living on this forum and P&Q, I would be much happier if I had a real option that I could enroll in at this point. I don't have such an option, because:
1. I underestimated the competitiveness of the applicant pool to the top schools and overestimated my appeal.
2. I failed to consider the broader range of schools and plans for my life that might have made me happy.

I wouldn't suggest that anyone drop a hundred or two hundred K on a degree from a crap school. But I've personally change my mind a lot about what I want/ed from an MBA program and how I could make that work for me (and my family).

It's been an interesting year, but now I think I'm signing off.
Re: 2010 Zero Admits... now what?   [#permalink] 03 Jun 2011, 21:18
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