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Profile Evaluation Reapplicant

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Joined: 01 Jul 2011
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Profile Evaluation Reapplicant [#permalink] New post 24 May 2013, 08:02
Hi, I decided to apply to Round 2 for my top schools and do not regret gaining the experience of going through the entire process. Unfortunately, I did not have any luck in the application process. I applied to HBS, Stanford, MIT Sloan, Wharton, and Kellogg; outside of my required interview with Kellogg, I was denied without interview for all. I understand that I am shooting for extremely selective schools, but I am determined to attend a school at that level if I go to business school, and these schools had academic aspects that interested me.

For each school, I provided a great (and true) story of my strong passion for the automotive industry and desire to pursue a career in marketing within it (story was slightly tailored to each school). Since it is such a significant change from my current job, the transition I explained may have been a potential missed area. In addition, I did not feel like I had that unique experience/characteristic that would provide a “wow” factor to admissions.

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- Academics and GMAT: I believe I have solid statistics (not really something I can change). I am not assuming my GMAT score alone will get me in anywhere.
- Work Experience: I had about 2.7 years of work experience as a consultant, and am 24 years old. Compared to other applicants, this made me feel like an outlier slightly. I have received excellent reviews and was promoted; however, even though I was confident and satisfied with each application I submitted, the quality of the experience seemed inferior to other applicants.
- Essays: I was extremely happy with my essays, especially those for Kellogg, Wharton, and Stanford. I had others review them numerous times. My 2.7 years of work experience at the time may have provided me with less material than other applicants.
- Recommendations: Both my recommenders were previous supervisors that claimed to have written excellent letters. One was from a mid-tier b-school; the other did not have an MBA. I provided them with background information with my resume and gave some advice on b-school letters. I did not guide them further than that. One of my recommenders provided letters a day or two after the deadline for Wharton, Sloan, and HBS. My third recommender for HBS and Stanford was a longtime coworker with excellent writing skills that I have no doubt wrote an amazing letter.
- Interview: My only interview was with Kellogg. The interview went really well, I would give it an 8.5/10. Kellogg seemed like an amazing fit. My short career may have lessened the number of stories I could provide in my answers.
- Extracurriculars: My extracurriculars during college were excellent with multiple leadership roles. After graduating, I have done volunteering and other activities here and there, but nothing with a consistent time commitment.
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Now I need to figure out where to go from here. Is there any reason at all to try again in Round 1 of this fall? If not, I would be aggressively seeking a new challenge for myself in a different field, as I do not feel I am growing nor have a strong passion for my current job. Is there a minimum number of years I should stay at this position if I still want to pursue an MBA? If was in a non-automotive or non-marketing field, or if my goals changed, would those negatively impact my reapplication? I am also considering applying to new programs (perhaps Haas, Booth, Columbia) if it is worth it.

Apologies for the long post, I just wanted to be as detailed as possible! Thank you again.
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Affiliations: Columbia, Wharton, LBS
Joined: 02 Nov 2009
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Schools: Harvard, Stanford, LBS, Columbia, Wharton, HEC Paris
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Re: Profile Evaluation Reapplicant [#permalink] New post 25 May 2013, 04:24
Thanks for the posting and sorry things did not work out as planned. As you noted, you are applying to the top business schools in the world and by definition your competition is the strongest candidates from around the world. When shooting this high, you have to be ready for rejection -- as if you took an easier path and applied to less competitive programs you might have achieved different results.

The first question is about re-applying. You first of all have to determine what is different about your candidacy from last year. If you are applying with basically the same credentials, then your chances are admissions are small -- as the school rejected you last year so why would they all of a sudden want you this year. I know it hard to change your status in such a short time, but there are still things that can be done to really help create a new, more compelling candidacy. Next, not all schools are open to re-applicants. For instance, we have found HBS to be less welcoming -- as they do not want to admit their mistake made before. However, Wharton and Kellogg are much more open to re-applicants. I would really suggest that you strategically choose the schools that you apply to this time around as the schools on your list are very different and some will be more open to people with your background than others. Also, there might be a few schools that you might want to consider that are not on your list.

As for the quality of your application, it is very hard to determine how competitive it was. I know that you must have worked hard on it but I do not know it was competitive vis-a-vis other candidates. As a general rule, when I work with a re-applicant and read their application from previous years, it usually fell short of expectations and with some strategic advice from a consultant - could have been much better. I know you had friends check it for you -- but these people are not well versed on the quality of what needs to be submitted. The most frequent error that I see with unsuccessful candidates is that they did not answer the essay questions correctly.

As you are pursuing a major life event (applying to business school), I would recommend that you engage an admissions consultant to help you with the process. I would not want to see you put all the energy into this process again and end up with the same results. You have to be more strategic on most fronts. I know the process is very expensive, but it generally adds around 1% to the total cost of business school - not much when you think about it in those terms.

Good luck.

Kimberly Plaga
Senior Admissions Consultant
Manhattan Review

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Re: Profile Evaluation Reapplicant   [#permalink] 25 May 2013, 04:24
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