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Admitted to Chicago GSB & Kellogg PT Programs [#permalink]
04 Aug 2006, 03:04
After 10 months, my quest to get into a top MBA program has come to an end - I have been accepted to both Chicago GSB (weekend) and Kellogg part-time programs.
First I would like to thank each and everyone in the gmatclub forum for contributing to my success - by answering my questions, by challenging my assumptions, by stimulating my thought process and above all by inspiring me to succeed. This forum is by far THE BEST thing that happened to me in the past 10 months. I hope I can give back to this forum all that I have gained in the past few months.
I would like to share my profile and lessons learnt during my application process, hoping it will help future applicants.
28 yrs old, Indian
5.5 yrs exp / Management Consulting
Masters from Virginia Tech (GPA 3.2)/ Bachelors from India (GPA 3.8)
Considerable leadership exp at work and school
Above average extra-curricular / community activities
GMAT 650 (v34,Q46)
Lesson 1: GMAT score is not everything I am sure many people have told this but I am repeating again - GMAT score is not everything. My score was little bit on the lower side for both Chicago and Kellogg (especially Kellogg). But I made a promise to myself that I would do really well in other parts of the application. A great score always helps, but does not ensure admission.
Lesson 2: Essays are the heart of the application I am not sure how many out there would agree with me, but I strongly feel essays are the heart of the application (kinda like a screenplay to a movie). They bring together everything and can explain everything from why you are the best candidate out there to why your GPA / GMAT score sucks? I put in hundreds of hours writing and rewriting every essay. Make sure your essays are specific to the school (for Chicago stress your analytical skills, for Kellogg stress your team work skills). Rule of thumb for the time committment - X hrs for school 1 essays, 0.4X - 0.5X hrs for every other school. Couple of pointers 1) make it unique (the beginning, the ending, the body, everything). Choose a set of themes that you want to collectively address in the 4-5 essays per school. Choose themes that address the perceived weaknesses of your job - for example as a Management consultant people think I am very analytical but not much of managerial exp or creativity. So I chose creativity as a theme. 2) have more than one person critique it 3) have someone who is admitted to the school you are applying critique it, they always provide a very different perspective.
Lesson 3: Recommendation letters DO matter One good thing I did was to give my recommenders a draft of my essays and my application strategy (skills I am trying to bring out). So my recommenders were able to lend credibility to my story. Another thing I found out was (although some schools might deny this) schools love recommendation letter from their alumni. It adds more value. So find out an alumni and begin networking. I was lucky to get a great set of recommenders who went above and beyond to help me out.
Lesson 4: Complete your essays before the interview The most important thing about the interviews - DO NOT interview until you have a fairly good draft of your essays because they ask the same question in the interviews. I get a feeling that in the interviews all they are trying to assess is how you potray yourself as a person / how likable you are as a stranger. I chose not to submit my applications until after the interview is over, primarily b'cos I wanted to make some final changes to essays based on the interview. This strategy did work out well for me.
Thats all from the top of my head. If I think of anything else, I will post it. Thanks again for all your help and please let me know how I could be of help.
plsubbu's points are great and they match what I would have said. My GMAT was not that great and I almost gave up. However, I managed to write good essays. The Admission Dir mentioned in the Orientation at Kellogg that she rejected someone with a 800 GMAT score.
I spent a lot of time writing my essays, getting it reviewed by friends doing their MBAs, and then rewriting them. It was frustrating and it sometimes I got mad at the school but I stuck on and it paid off. I agree with plsubbu, the essays are the heart of the application. Read and re-read the essays to make sure the logical flow is correct.
Reco letters are very important, I wrote mine myself in differing styles with different aspects covered based on who the recommender was. Both are my supervisors, one at the Project level, other at the Dept level. Then I gave them each a "Talking points" list with my work achievements on there. The Dept Manager has an MBA from a top 5 school, so I made sure he mentioned that. Adds credibility. The Project level mgr has an MBA from a smaller school. For my GSB Chicago app, I asked a friend to write for me, he is currently a GSB student. If a current student says "I am current a student at XYZ Univ and I feel that Mr ABC has all the skills needed", it looks really good.
I agree with the last subbu's paragraph also. I wrote my essays and then interviewed. After the interview, I finetuned the essays and submitted.
Congrats on your admission... i am in the same boat.. not sucha hot GMAT score but I am still giving it my best... just had my interviews this past weekend at kellogg and GSB... and will send in my Application by the end of the month... (crossing my fingers) i've been dying to go to GSB!!!