In the midst of application season, I'm sure most of you have gotten your fair share of acceptances, dings, and waitlists. To the ones who got into your dream schools - CONGRATS! To the ones who weren't as lucky and feel dispirited with questions such as:
"I'm great candidate. What went wrong?", "I have the same, if not, better stats than X. How come he/she got in while I didn't?".
and angry thoughts such as:
"It's not fair. This is all bull crap", "I really don't know what the adcoms are looking for!"
take a deep breath and think of the whole admissions process like dating. Why did the hot girl reject you? You had the looks, money, and charm. Here's my tongue and cheek analysis from a guy's perspective:
Bschools are like women, the hotter and smarter they are, the more they want. They want the whole package from a man (applicant). They want looks +money (profile), charm (essays), and height (GPA/GMAT).
1. Does height (GPA/GMAT) matter?
Have you ever heard of the common saying among women: "As long as he's taller or as tall as I am when I'm on heels, that's fine". That's exactly what it is. As long as you have an average or above average GPA/GMAT, you're good. If you're short, then you better be either a Tom Cruise or a rich/charming guy (strong profile). On the other hand, have you've ever heard of a girl smitten by a guy just because he's Andre the giant (GMAT:800)? Yeah, I don't think so.
2. I don't understand, he's a jerk, why is she with him?
Sorry man, Brad Pitt might be a bad actor or Tommy Lee might be a mess (bad essays), but they still get Angelina Jolie and Pamela Anderson (HBS, Stanford). Why? I mean seriously? You're asking why? If the guy is either a rock star at Goldman/McKinsey or is a founder of a successful venture/non-profit, I don't think Angelina/Pamela really cares if he only had average essays, never wrote his/her interviewer a thank you not. Remember Stanfords infamous tortilla essay? Bottom line, if you're hot (excellent profile), girls will let you get away with a lot of things.
3. But what about that dude who knocked up Natalie Portman?
True, anomalies happen. That dude (still don't know his name) might have been an average joe. But he was there at the right time, right place. Sometimes, love (fit) is a weird thing that's hard to explain as well. You'll never why that hot chick picked the chubby average joe over you. She might just have a thing for love handles (we didn't get anyone from Mali yet this year, etc.)
4. Fine, I don't need Angelina/Pamela/Natalie. I just need a decent girl.
Oh, you're talking about outside M7? Sure, these girls are a catch. They're cute, have decent personalities and don't care if you're a bit overweight, bald, or broke. As long as you're a decent guy, you have a good shot at them. But you have to try harder to prove that you're serious. And I mean flowers, phone calls (school visits, research) all that jazz. Hot girls such as Angelina (HBS) are sick and tired of receiving flowers and men telling her how hot she is. They don't care. Speaking of which, if average-decent girl finds you spending too much time with Angelina/Pamela, they might either feel insecure or judge that you're just one of those hot playboys who aren't serious with her. Next thing you know, she's not returning your calls (ding) or telling you she needs more time (waitlist).
5. Ahem, does um, ethnicity matter? (People who are PC and sensitive, skip this section)
Okay, I'm not gonna directly answer that questions. But all I can say is, it's the same as dating.
Black/Latino guy walks into the bar. The female subconscious goes: Oooh lala, I can see him on a horse with an old spice in his hand.
Asian guy walks into the bar. The female subconscious goes: Well, he's nice, hard working, smart and probably even a doctor. Something's missing though, he seems like all the other Asian (*cough* nerds) I know.
P.S. I'm a minority.
If you view the whole application process as a dating game. You'll probably feel a lot better. I'm an average joe who's got a good mix of rejects and acceptances from the girls I've pursued in my life. Yes, in the beginning, I somewhat take a rejection more personal - "Am I not good enough?", "What did I do wrong?". Eventually you just realize there's nothing wrong with you (or her). It's all about chemistry (fit) or your approach (application).
The good news for the average joes is that there's always a chance if you try hard. You know, like the guy who's not tall nor good looking, but gets the girls just because he never gives up showing his charm (apply, apply, reapply).
Good luck to everyone on hearing back from the remaining schools!