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I decided not to write my admissions story until I had all my information handy. And now that I do I would like to offer not only my story but a little bit of perspective I gained along the way. But first:
Indian Male (born in the states)
670 GMAT (48Q, 34V)
3.0 GPA chemistry
3.5 years in the biopharmaceutical industry as a chemist
extracurriculars in college include Improv, Research, Teaching
Have lived in America, India and Japan
Speak one Indian language and Japanese
Have a few patents under my belt, a drug that came from an exploratory project that I started going into clinical trials in 4q '06 and have worked for two companies pre-IPO that have successfully IPO'd.
There is a lot more but at this point frankly I'm bored of talking about myself and my credentials.
Ding at UCLA, Waitlist Duke
Yesterday I got my ding email from UCLA and as I was sitting in my office looking forlorn my coworker asked me what was wrong. I told him that I got rejected from UCLA. He knew my story, he knew that I had applied to both UCLA and Duke and he shrugged his shoulders and said, "You threw two darts, one of them did not hit the bullseye" and in that one sentence he not only summed up my story but he summed up the whole MBA application process.
You read all those emails to MBA Game Plan and to Accepted.com asking them to judge your profile. You see people with strong GMAT's and weak GPA's, or vice versa, you see people with no community service and some with plenty but the overiding fact is that the PERFECT MBA applicant with a high GPA, high GMAT, excellent community leadership, interesting extracurriculars and phenomenal work experience DOES NOT NEED AN MBA. In other words your weakness, my weakness, is the reason we need an MBA and without one there really is no reason to get one.
So we all apply, weaknesses exposed, insecure, wondering whether admissions committees can see past them and see our potential. And this is where the dart game begins. The process is extremely random. I am not saying that people are not rejected b/c of a weakness but if that is the case it is a very easy problems to fix b/c there are things you can do to mitigate your weaknesses. You can take classes (like I did) to mitigate a poor GPA, you can study for the GMAT and ACE the hell out of it to show that you can take that test well, you can do community service if you feel that is what you need, there are inumerable things you can do, but after all of that it is random. You may not be in the right demographic (I know Indian IT males know this story way better than I do), the personality that they gathered from your essays might not have matched what the adcomm thought was that of the school, random, random, random. SO I guess the message is DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP!!! MBA programs like people with some variety of a weakness because people like us keep them in business (no pun intended ).
My story is incomplete b/c I truly feel I still have a chance at Fuqua. But even if I don't get in I will next year, maybe even to a better program. Why do i know this? Well next year I am throwing more darts and thus will have more opportunities to hit that ever-so-elusive bullseye. I know what the process is like and I really want an MBA. That more than anything will get me there.
GOOD LUCK GUYS!!
"No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.
Last edited by greenandwise on 11 May 2006, 16:07, edited 2 times in total.
G&W, Interesting post and I truly hope and pray that u get off from the waitlist.
U do bring up some interesting points abt the admissions process. Having gone thro it myself this yr (with a burden of being an Indian with Software background), I agree with u in some cases. U r rite when u say that u MUST apply to 4-5 schools. One can't put all eggs in one basket. U need to diversify ur risk.
One thing I did realize that the process is not 100% random but sometimes do show some unexpected outputs. Based on one's application, I think most of the times one can predict the results. Altho schools would like u to believe that they r looking for overall pkg and everyone has equal chances of getting in, but this rhetoric is mostly BS. This process is so secretive that no one knows what goes on in those adcomm meetings.
However, there is definitely a GOLDEN rule abt admission process. Forget abt the crap from consultants or books abt "Being yourself" is the key. They say that u need to show "who u really are". Well my take on that is that u show "who u really are" in an **edited version** only. Golden rule of admission in US schools is definitely to bring as much "personal" ascpects abt ur life as possible in every essay (even if it is professional essay topic). More mussy (but relevant) ur story is, the better ur chances to "melt" an adcomm's heart and hence get the green light.
No matter what "experts" say abt not to try to game the system, well, to be honest u have to play this game because ur competition surely will. Afterall MBAs r supposed to be future business leaders and finding ways to beat the competition is the name of the game.
Banjeerea thanks for the kinds words. I agree, you do have to expose yourself a little to the adcomm (not literally of course b/c that would surely result in a ding, think about it going to an interview stark naked saying, "I have nothing to hide" I think Winston Churchill did that once ). And yes I agree it is a game, but it is one where you balance that "mushy stuff" with actual legitimate stuff. I think achieving that balance is incredibly difficult. I was born in the US and have been here for a while so I have the "mushy stuff" down cold But I don't think I did a good enough job of representing the importance of the legitimate stuff. Because I am a scientist I found it difficult to communicate effectively the importance and the relevance of what I do to the big picture without being technical and boring. So I focused a lot on the "mushy" stuff and if I were to redo the whole process again (please GOD let me get into Fuqua so I don't have too!!! Your prayers are needed and GREATLY appreciated Baneerjea!!!) I would try to incorporate in some more of the "legitimate stuff".
Great post green! I wholeheartedly agree with what you say. A perfect candidate would indeed not need an MBA and my stats are indeed less than perfect but I guess that's what the adcoms were looking for.
At times, I am even wondering how I got into B-school given my very modest CV. At those CV workshops at school, I had to do some major CV surgery and honestly, what it looks like today is nowhere like what it did when I applied to B-school. Writing your CV is an art, just as it is when you want to present yourself in a certain way in the application essays. I guess my CV now is still myself but embellished so as to make it look more presentable, competitive.
I understand the anxiety of going through the application process and respect the courage you have to talk about it, even before the potential good news. Not many people talk about the process unless they have good news to share. Good luck for Fuqua!
Thanks for sharing your experience and I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the MBA application process. Getting into an MBA program is all about presenting yourself and not just GMAT...gees I am sick of this 4 letter word!
I know people who got into Stanford but were rejected by columbia and I am sure there are many people with such experiences. The moral of the story is that there is no right and no wrong, it's when, as banerjee states, you can melt an adcomm's heart!
I can understand the anxiety you are going thru as I too was waitlisted at NYU and then dinged. So hang in there my friend! Wish you all the best for Fuqua.
My prayers r with u man! I do have a feeling that u will get in Duke. Ur "I have nothing to hide" comment had me in splits
One litmus test on style and content of ur essays is that if ur "mother" can't understand 100% of what u r saying in ur essay then ur essay is not complete yet. Revise and revise till a layman can understand ur essays 100%.Remember adcomms mite not know jack abt ur industry and its terms.
This thread has influenced me to comment on the selection of schools some people make and what a school's name and reputation really mean. I have had this "arguement" with a handful of applicants on the BW forums, and while I am no real expert - I only have my experiences as an applicant as evidence - I think my comments have some merit.
I think too many people place way too much emphasis on rank and reputation. As we all know the admission process is a mysterious and imperfect process, even to applicants with the best stats. Too many people apply to just H/S/W based on rank. These schools are so different from each other I cannot see how any one applicant can fit into each program. It is all about fit and the adcoms know this. But somehow some people think that going to a top 5 school is the only way to go anything less is unacceptable. While I think that rank holds some ground, I think it is WAY over emphasized. I hear about M7 schools and it is bunch of BS. Some schools offer better faculty in certain areas, but with all things equal if you go anywhere in the top 30 schools and you work hard you will get the same education as everyone else. Finance is finance, accounting is accounting, etc. The only thing a top ranked school will get you is better access to jobs directly after school. Five years after school, where you went doesn't really matter, it is your performance and drive, and those are things top 5 schools cannot teach you. My father got his MBA from a school not even in the top 50 and he successfully started his own PE shop and is about to finish completeing a 750 million dollar fund. Most of his partners got their MBA from smaller unknown schools. They are not the exception to the rule. If you look at the top leaders at fortune 500 companies, for those who have MBAs, most don't have them from a top 50 school.
Even when those who apply to the top 5 schools don't get into them, they stick to their guns and reapply to the same 3 top schools. They just cannot go to anything less. While I commend them on their determination, it is like investing your life savings in 3 very risky stocks. The stocks could grow, which would be great, but chances are that they won't. Like your stock portfolio, the schools you pick should be well diversified.
I think I have rambled too much and have gone way off topic. I apologize. I guess the moral of the story is when you pick the schools to apply to based on rank and reputation you are doing yourself and every other applicant a disservice. Find one that fits your needs and your personality. Your hard work and determination will take you places, not your school's rank.
Paul: I talk about the process even though I have had no success with it b/c there are many posts on gmayclub.com about how people aced the GMAT and/or got into their dream school with a high or low GPA/GMAT. Those who fail don't seem to write enough and in my life atleast I have learned more from failures than my successes. While I think the posts from sucessful applicants are useful and can give hope I feel that a fresh injection of realism is in order! Also I completely understand how you feel with regard to your CV/Resume. Selling yourself is probably the best and most useful skill you learn during your MBA.
Spiderman: Thanks man. NYU does not seem to know what is good for it.
Hjort: When I read your post to read people's essays I was up and ready to take advantage of your service!!! But after I wrote my essays and checked back you had written a post saying that you were overflooded with essays. So I decided instead to use 4 friends to edit my essays and le me tell you that althouhgh I am grateful for their help, it was very difficult. It would have been much better to have someone like you. I am in the process of writing my "update" letter to Fuqua so that I can potentially get off the waitlist. I need help addressing things that I did not in my essays, could you help me????
Baneerjea: Thanks for the litmus test advice but I don't think it wil be very useful considering that my mom is a genius!! I 'll try dad
Chris: I agree with you wholeheartedly on the picking of the schools comment. It is true you can get a quality educaton anywhere. This is true for undergraduate as well. I went to Santa Clara U. A GREAT undergrad achool in my opinion but obviously nothing close to reputation to Stanford/Berkeley/UCLA. In the work place I had to work twice as hard to get what the people from Stanford and Berkeley got immediately, which is instant credibility. People just assumed these people were smart, and although most were, so was I, but I had to prove it. I eventually did but it would have been nice to have the benefit of the doubt and ultimately I think that is what going to one of those programs gives you, the benefit of thedoubt. You can be successful getting an MBA from anywhere. If ou have drive and ambition and just enough smarts, where you get your MBA is really irrlevant, but I don't want to have to go thru the hassle of having to prove to people that I am smart. I would rather have that assumption already made so I can blaze a path with the quality of work that I do.
I am so touched at your determination to suceed, Greenandwise. Somehow, we all cannot tell what adcom wants, as has been said. Frankly, I thought about lying (strong word - i'll rather say exargerating my achievements) in my application because i felt (just as you said), the naked one always gets dinged. It's a crazy (and annoying) process. I recently read of someone who had a perfect GMAT and GPA score and yet was dinged all the way to his pants! It does seem as if a couple of folks are pleased toying with ones b*lls.
Hang in there, my friend, and believe! Fuqua will take you. All of a sudden, I have started to believe in the power of prayers and i'll certainly be praying with you. Perhaps a special prayer for you tonight should start it.
(Just aside) Baner just reminded me of what i did while i was reviewing my essays. I am an IT person, with lots of IT junk in my techie-robot head and i actually read my essays to my mother (she has a high-school level certificate) just to be sure that she understood all the thrash i was talking about. I think it paid off. I made quite a number of ammendments after she reviewed the essays and the essays began to become crystal-simple.
Let's know how it goes man, and be optimistic. Have faith.
I am in at Fuqua. I just found out the day before yesterday. I really have NO IDEA what to do with myself but drink and go crazy!!!!!! Thank you all. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all of you who offered me your advice!!! I feel so lucky, so blessed, so grateful. I plan to make the best of it. I plan to blaze a trail. I have to. Too many people have talked me up with recommendation letters, I have to live up to all that they have written. I am off to celebrate more, but let this be a lesson for those of you who are underdogs. If you can't walk in with finesse, CLAW your way in.....grace is over-rated.
Thank you Hjort. I am sorry I did not mention you specifically. Your help with editing my waitlist essay was extremely valuable and much appreciated. One of those many thank you was meant for you.