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# The evolution of your B-school pursuit

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Current Student
Joined: 09 Apr 2008
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03 Dec 2008, 07:51
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These are great..hopefully GMATclub class of 2011 can continue this thread soon.
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15 Dec 2008, 02:46
This is indeed a thread that cracks my nerves, I joined GMAT club recently, the dreams and the struggle that people go through is really inspiring. Thanks for all the people who have posted here for guiding people like me through the GMAT adventure. I really hope more people will share their experience here.
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01 May 2009, 16:32
Director
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01 May 2009, 17:59
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Updated from earlier:

How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top?

Note: I'm applying for 2009

When: I knew as soon as I graduated undergrad I wanted to get my MBA. I slacked off a bit in college but still graduated with a decent GPA. I always wanted to do Investment banking after college, but due to my GPA I didn't get any offers. Plus I didn't know what it took to get there at the time. I didn't realize the commitment or effort required, call me naive. After attending two Super Saturdays in investment banking and getting 0 offers, I knew I would have one more shot starting as an associate after an MBA. I tried my best to align my career path with my eventual goal, currently working in Strategic Planning and doing buyside M&A. So I've been looking for the right time to go back to school and I feel Fall 2009 is it.

Where: So it's February 2008 and I know the first thing I need to take is the GMAT and then I can begin to narrow down my list of schools. I've been taking practice tests and studying hard. Test have been in the 660-720 range and my current list of schools is UCLA, USC, Rice, Emory, Texas, UNC, Duke, Kellogg, and NYU.

Schedule: I have already visited Rice and it was ok, I plan to visit Duke, UNC, Emory in March and Texas and NYU in April. Next fall I'll be going to USC and UCLA. And hopefully Kellogg in the Fall as well. I am taking the GMAT in June and will know more then. Also, I'm adding more EC activities now as you can never have enough with leadership on your resume. I know where my weaknesses are and I plan on correcting them between now and my first app.

Hope this helps anyone making the decision. I will keep this post updated as I go along.

***EDIT: The above was from Febraury 2008. Everything from here down is as of May 2009.***

So, to take up from my last post. I did take the GMAT in May to get that out of the way. Definitely happy with my score. I also visited several schools in the spring while classes were still in session. I went to UCLA, Duke, Emory, and UNC, quickly eliminating UNC. I just didn't like the feeling I got while I was there. I could just tell it wasn't for me. Over the summer while I was in Chicago I got to visit Booth and had a long talk with Eddie in admissions. From there Booth was my definite number 1. I decided Chicago and UCLA would be first round and Texas, since admissions were rolling would be shortly thereafter in November. I started my essays in August and submitted both my 1st rounds on time in October. I assumed, very very wrongly, that I would get at least an interview invite from either Chicago or UCLA, but boy was I wrong. I must admit that I was pretty devestated at that point. I really had no idea what I was going to do if Texas didn't work out.

Fortunately, I decided to take a different approach with my Texas essays and wrote much more specifically about my post-MBA goals. I also wrote more specifically about how I would make an impact on my classmates. I was so relieved to get an interview invite, and ultimately admitted on December 19th, which coincidentally enough was my son's 1st birthday. I knew then I would try and throw out a hail mary with all I learned from my Texas app to either Columbia or Kellogg. I honestly figured I had no shot in hell, but why not right? Miracles do happen...or at least that's what I kept telling myself.

I decided Kellogg would be the place I would turn in my last app as I was really impressed by the IBCM track. I did visit Columbia right after New Year's and decided it wasn't right for me. So I took the lessons about specificity and showing my uniqueness to heart and wrote by far my best essays. I decided to interview on campus becuase I hadn't seen campus and I figured it would be a good opportunity to get in front of the adcom and tell my story. Little did I know that it would actually work. About a month later I got the most surprising call of my life. I really must admit that to this day, I still have no idea how this all worked out. I just count my blessings as being so fortunate and can't wait to start classes this fall. As always, please PM me if you have any questions!! Thanks to everyone on this board that provided support when I was really struggling between my dings w/o interview and my first acceptance. That really helped give me the courage and strength to keep going!!! Thanks!!!!!
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01 May 2009, 19:54
Wow jb32!! That's an amazing story! Congrats!
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01 May 2009, 21:00
Great post JB. thanks for your insights.
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If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down.

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02 May 2009, 00:19
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How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top?

I started writing and writing and now it's an extremely long post...lots of random thoughts but I decided against culling it so hope you don't mind!

When: Similar to JB, I knew I wanted to get my MBA pretty much when I first started work. I started my career at a big 4 accounting firm but I knew I didn't want to do accounting for the rest of my life. I wanted to do consulting because it was interesting but those jobs are far, few and beyond in the country that I was in. You pretty much had to be on the Dean's List to land one of the two undergraduate positions at M/B/B etc. Working at a Big 4 firm was a great experience, the people are intelligent and the training was fantastic. Whilst the content was accounting driven, I did develop a solid business knowledge foundation and more importantly, I knew I could develop some soft skills which were transferable to consulting. Thinking of obtaining MBA at this point was to allow me to transition into strategy consulting....

What Goals: I worked at the Big 4 accounting firm for two years before I decided I had enough and I wanted to take on a more hands-on advisory role. For me, the logical move from a big 4 firm was either 1/ Financial Analyst / Business Analyst at a Corporate or 2/ Operations consulting with a consulting firm. I knew I still could not have gotten into any top tier strategy firm with my experience and undergraduate results so it was a matter of taking it step-by-step to get closer to what I want to do...

Fortunately, there was an entry level position at a full-service consulting firm where I was lucky enough to land a position within their so-called 'strategy' team. (I had interviewed with a few other jobs but either I was rejected or it didn't excite me). Even though it was an entry level position, the money was comparable to the Big 4 even after two years work experience so I decided to take a leap. The work was more interesting and I knew this was closer to moving into pure strategy work later on.

I worked for two years and I learnt alot - predominantly about project management, consulting frameworks and further developed my communication and relationship management skills. However, the long-term nature of some of the projects eventually got to me. The truth of the matter is, even if you are in the 'strategy' team of a full-service consulting firm, you are still bound to work on projects that last for 6 - 9 mths, sometimes shorter but generally because the aim of the strategy work is to eventually sell process / IT consulting and keep the consultants utilized, it's hard for a junior consultant to negotiate his way to another project.

2 years later, I decided to move to Asia for work, because that's where I want to be in the future. Whilst I was holidaying in Shanghai, through a friend's friend's friend (who coincidentally was a headhunter), I landed myself an interview with a top-tier strategy firm. I interviewed with 5 different people and found myself working with them since. I feel lucky that I have reached where I want to be in my career (and I didn't even need to goto bschool)! But the work isn't as glamorous as I expected it to be....the work was challenging and intellectually stimulating but I felt lost because I was never involved in the real action. It was alot of research, modeling, presentations and slide writing but I didn't feel like I created alot of impact. The people that I worked with, were extremely intelligent but they don't know much about change management and making things happen at a client. However, it was also at this point where I had the opportunity to work across the world, Europe, Middle East and Africa, something that I will never forget.

So after a year, bschool came up as an option again. Coming from a strategy firm, I could transition into a corporate role relatively easily but I wanted to learn more about consumer behavior, organizational behavior, develop some new perspectives, meet lots of new people and learn from their experiences.

Where: So originally (around early 2008), I wanted to study at a 1Y program, I thought I wanted to come back to consulting so I specifically targeted schools like Insead, Columbia (18mths), and Kellogg 1Y program. The cost would be lower and I thought the experience would be just as great. So around Jun 08, I started studying for my GMAT (now realizing that it is already quite late compared to other applicants). I took my GMAT in Aug 08 (thoroughly stressed out because my practice test results were NOT good at all, I kept making careless mistakes and always landing in the 600s. The highest I ever gotten during my practice test was like 690...and I knew that wouldn't cut it).

However, I guess I do perform better under pressure because I landed a 710 on the first go decided that it's good enough that I did not bother re-taking the exam (I did not want to take it again at all!). It killed my social life and was actually quite stressful...haha

After my GMAT, I did an extremely thorough DD on all the programs out there. I realized that my GMAT wasn't half bad, it was at least avg for most of the top schools but more importantly, I realized that if I was to goto school again, I should try for the top schools. My thinking was pretty much based on the following factors:

1/ Location - I knew I wanted to be in a metropolitan city. I wanted to study but I also wanted to have fun.

2/ Brand / Career Prospects - I wanted to go to a top school, most people in my firm went to top schools so I thought I would also have a good chance. I honestly believed that any of the top 10 schools would open similar doors for me, it's more about how I develop my skills at schools and how well I do in interviews.

3/ Length of Program - I decided to go for a 2Y program. The main reason for going to school is to expand my network, meet friends, learn about the cutting edge thinking and expand my perspectives. It was more of a life experience. A 2Y program will allow me to meet students in my year, the year above and the year below. Internship would be nice too, I just wanted the full bschool experience. 1Y program would be too intense and I was not sure how strong the bonds would be with people at school.

4/ Career Interests - At this point in my career, I was more interesting in marketing, brand management and consumer behavior. I've done projects ranging from pure strategy to supply chain to branding. I wanted to go to a program with a strong marketing bent. That was simple.

5/ Personal Fit - Some people question the reality of 'fit'. I think it's so important. Surely, the way the school markets itself (and through people posting forums etc) has an impact on the type of people who apply to that school. One thing that I've definitely realized is how much I have changed (and my friends) depending on their career paths after college. Bankers are much more direct, Lawyers are more argumentative and Consultants - well they do like to BS...haha. Sure, this is a generalization but overall, it's the feeling that I get meeting people in different careers. I wanted to goto a school where people are down-to-earth, fun and easygoing.

So at this point, I narrowed it down to Columbia (Brand Leadership Centre) , Wharton (Strong retailing focus and great marketing program), London Business School (one of the best in Europe) and Kellogg (need I say anything? haha).

Honestly, I have to admit, I was a bit of a brand whore so I thought, why not throw in HBS and Stanford - I wasnt that excited about their programs (for me, their programs doesn't seem that tailored and kinda vague, so it's a general management program but what are they really good at? Everything? or does the brand / alumni network rule all?) but I really just wanted to see what happens....and decide if I get in...

Schedule: I applied to 3 schools during R1, HBS, Stanford and Wharton. Wharton was my first choice originally (being close to NYC without the expenses was really appealing), I was waitlisted in R1 which means I need to wait til R2 to see what happens. I was rejected at HBS and Stanford, no considerations required. Now I think about it, I don't know why I applied to those three schools in R1...but I think it worked out for the better because I did write better essays for R2 schools.

After being WLed at Wharton, I decided to apply to Columbia and Kellogg. I scrapped LBS because I didnt really want to live in London after working there already. I decided to pick up on UChicago (because of their quant marketing focus) but later decided to scrap that too because I didn't have time to finish the essays and come up with a proper presentation about myself as I was overseas working crazy hours at that time.

I interviewed at Columbia and Kellogg (obviously!). So out of the three schools that I interviewed with, the Wharton alumni gave me the most 'professional' interview. The interview questions (and the interviewer) was sharp, direct and she really drilled me on my career path and goals. I was really challenged. Columbia alumni was very laid back and honest. He was not the most friendly one but he is a finance guy (generalizing here). There's no BS, give me the answer and let's move on. The interview lasted for like 20 mins. The Kellogg alumni impressed me though, he was so friendly and he took time to listen. The questions were similar to the Wharton interview but it was more in depth. The interview lasted for an hour and he took me to the elevators and said a proper goodbye. The other two alumni's kinda just left after the interview. It was interesting to note though, all three alumnis looooved their own schools and met their best friends at school, I thought that was quite interesting.

Result: My first bschool offer came from Kellogg. I was holidaying at that time and I was absolutely ecstatic. After R1, I was seriously thinking that I might not receive any offers and that I overestimated my candidacy. I also didn't apply to other 'safety' schools in R2 since I didn't have much time during those two months. I feel very fortunate to receive an offer. I received my information pack and I went crazy learning about the program, the clubs, the subjects I want to study, the events, GIM, KWEST etc etc. I really liked the fact that Kellogg focuses so much on teamwork. It was at this point that Kellogg became my first choice of school. Bschool for me is a life experience and I want to goto schools with a variety of people who actually do love their school. I decided I didn't want to wait and withdrew apps from the other two schools.

Reflection: So obviously my post seems a bit biased, since I am attending Kellogg this fall but this was just my personal experience. I do wonder whether if I had been admitted to HBS / Stanford, whether I would choose those schools. (After I told my dad (who isn't an university graduate) about being accepted at Kellogg, he immediately asked, oh, how bout Harvard or Stanford? Sigh...). I think everything worked out for the best, Kellogg is a really good fit with my career goals, my personality and my lifestyle (Everyone I know who's visited or lived in Chicago loooooves the place! - apart from the weather maybe). I was probably better off applying to Kellogg in R2 than R1 because I did write better essays. I am really excited about going to Kellogg.

But I guess more importantly, I now believe that everything is possible. Bschool is a long time coming for me but the reason for going to school changed over time. If I applied a couple of years earlier, without the international experience or working for a strategy firm, maybe I wouldn't even have gotten into Kellogg. Things always work out in the end for some reason, but maybe that's because I choose to maintain optimism and am proactive about doing things that I enjoy.

So what is the next step for me after bschool? I'm not sure yet. I know what I like doing but I do get tired of thinking so far ahead sometimes. I am going to keep an open mind at school and have some fun!
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04 May 2009, 19:52
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How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top?

When: I began to consider bschool in early Spring 2008. At the time, I just completed my Master's degree in MIS a couple of months earlier and I was promoted to a manager position at my firm. At my firm, most people spend about 5 years (give and take) before they get promoted to a manager position. However, I achieved this feat after 3 years and I was one of the youngest managers in the entire firm. I was making little over six figures and I was generally very happy with my professional career.

However, my promotion happened mainly because the firm decided to downsize in our consulting practice, meaning getting rid of experienced (and expensive) managers as part of downsizing and promoting from within. Also, most people in my industry tend to go work for corporate finance depts of Fortune 500 companies. Very few stay on and make partner.

I was also getting tired of constant travels, long hours into early mornings, and hotel-stays. I wanted more stability in my life, and wanted a change of scenery. As a result, I ended up visiting and researching business schools. The more I researched and the more I visited various information sessions, I got excited about attending business school. I finally made a decision to apply to select few schools around May of 2008.

What: I always wanted to do something in the tech sector. I grew up watching the glamour/debacle of internet bubble of late 90's. I knew I wasn't smart enough to build platform for next hot Silicon Valley/Alley start-up. However, I thought I could run one of them. During my undergraduate years at NYU, I chose to study accounting because understanding numbers is crucial to running any business. In the last few years at a Big 4 firm, I went through various stints in real estate taxation, IT audit, and tech consulting. I equipped myself with enough technical skills, but I decided that my education in management science must continue/improve. MBA made a lot of sense to me at that point.

Where: Starting in March 2008, I started visiting bschools that included - Wharton, Tuck, Kellogg, Booth, Stanford, Haas, NYU, Yale, Cornell, Tepper, Emory, Fordham, and Columbia. Yes, the list is long - but I traveled all over US for my job. That made the visits easier because I just happened to be in that city....

From those visits, I chose to apply to my top 6 picks for R1 - Tuck, Kellogg, Booth, Yale, NYU, and Haas.

Tuck was my top choice mainly because - 1) I wanted to attend Dartmouth since highschool, 2) I wanted to attend a school with small class size, 3) I wanted to attend a school in the country side, 4) I was looking for a great GM school because I have zero interest in IB/MC jobs.

I chose Haas because my fiancee was applying there and it had strong ties to the Silicon Valley companies. Kellogg was chosen for its strong GM reputation and diversified recruiting base. Booth was chosen because of the "fit" factor. I really enjoyed my visit to Booth and the entire experience.

NYU was chosen because it was my alma mater and I thought they might go lenient with the whole admissions process with me.... Yale SOM won me over with its revised/innovative CORE.

Where, NOT: I knocked out Stanford right away because I thought i really didn't think i had a shot at h/s/w/m. Wharton was knocked out for similar reason, although I was close to applying anyway. However, I got off at the wrong trolley stop while visiting Wharton and walked through a shady neighborhood that surrounds Wharton campus. As a result, I chose not to apply.

Cornell, Emory, and Tepper were on my R2 list in case I went 0 for 6 in R1.

Fordham was really a R3 option for PT. I attended their info session and realized that their graduate business program is nothing like their undergrad or law program. It just was horrible.

The decision: My first admit was from Kellogg. (Either late November or early December). Few days later, I was admitted to Booth as well. Then came Tuck WL, and then Yale SOM admit with huge scholarship offer. (I withdrew my applications to NYU and Haas around this time) Until the Yale SOM call, I was fully committed to attending Kellogg. After Tuck, I really had no preference among my other options. However, Kellogg's strong GM reputation and stellar employment prospects excited me.

But Yale SOM call changed everything. The very first thing that I realized was the fact that I would graduate with zero debt if I combined Yale's scholarship ($70k over 2 years) with what was in my savings account. Especially in this economy, that idea appealed significantly. The rest of the story was told in my long Yale post ( calling-all-yale-som-2009-applicants-75332-160.html#p556529 ). I just knew that unlike many others, I already have a business undergrad degree + professional experience + master's degree + professional certifications (CPA, CMA, CIA, etc etc) - and therefore, I had enough faith in myself to find a great job even if I was giving up admits to higher ranked schools. Now, I don't recommend every single person to give up admits to higher ranked schools and take the money to a lower ranked school (although it sure helps!), because a degree from schools like Kellogg and Chicago can take you far. These schools have amazing faculty, career services and alumni networks. They are worth every penny that you will be taking out loans for. But I spent countless hours researching schools based on my own criteria and selected 6 schools for R1. If I was only admitted to 1 school in R1, I would have (happily) attended any one of the six schools that I applied to. I invested too much time and effort in selecting these schools to just waste an application on a school that I wasn't willing to attend. Even though many published rankings disagreed with me, Yale SOM was right up there with 5 other schools in my own ranking. If Yale SOM was happy with me (and throw me money to show how much they loved me), I don't think I am in any position to tell a school like Yale SOM to say, "No thanks. I am too good for you." I convinced myself back in January and am still convinced now that Yale SOM is a great choice for MYSELF. The most important thing is - this is my bschool education and I should make the decision based on what's important to me. If choosing Yale backfires on me later on, then I think I can live with those consequences because this is a decision I made for myself. I don't want to rely on other factors and blame someone else later on for a decision that I couldn't make for myself. _________________ Current Student Joined: 13 May 2008 Posts: 141 Schools: LBS Followers: 4 Kudos [?]: 24 [0], given: 6 Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] ### Show Tags 05 May 2009, 03:17 Excellenté, nink! Director Joined: 16 May 2008 Posts: 885 Location: Earth Schools: Cornell '11 Followers: 8 Kudos [?]: 140 [7] , given: 29 Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] ### Show Tags 05 May 2009, 07:15 7 This post received KUDOS How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top? When: In my family we go to school. I come from a long line of professional students. You know the type…..undergrad, then masters, then phd, then finally start your life at age 35 with 12 degrees under your belt. For that reason, I knew I would go back for my MBA at some point or risk alienation amongst my family. Who needs that? 2005- Right when I graduated college I went on a crazy backpacking trip around the world. Upon my return I took the GMAT without really trying (Im not that cocky, just stupid) and got a 620. Kinda disappointing so I put off retaking the GMAT until I could focus. 2008- Fast forward: I just returned from my honeymoon and realized that my wife is kinda an expensive trophy so I need a better job (and I was unhappy in marketing so I wanted to switch to something a tad more analytical). I really should retake that GMAT. After a couple months of studying I got a 700. Although I was hitting 720-740 on practices I figured that the 700 would do the trick and now it was time to get the ball rolling. What: My first two jobs out of college were both marketing. Its not that marketing sucks or anything, I just know it is not for me. My mind works in a much more detailed and analytical way. Instead of focusing on the marketing problems/campaigns, my mind always wandered and I constantly became preoccupied with the internal operational/tactical/managerial problems at my companies. Since I was just the “marketer”, my opinion on these matters was meaningless to the powers that be. If I wanted to help fix problems, it seemed that consulting would be the right path. However, I started to travel for work (domestically and internationally) and my wife did not like it. Even though consulting was my chosen path, and what I used in applications, I decided that if my wife wouldn’t be happy with me travelling, I wouldn’t be happy. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD! Maybe operations management? Where: Since starting in Fall 2009 was a must, I knew I had to be smart with my choices. I could not wait for another application season if I got dings across the board. What I wanted was a small program. 800-900 students would be OK, 300-600 would be optimal. I also wanted to avoid huge cities. Boston, New York, Chicago, Philly…..NO THANKS. I started my campus visits in September 2008. I visited Tuck, Darden, Tepper, Yale, Johnson, Goizueta, and Fuqua. At every school I attended I could see myself there. All the programs excited me. Score. I applied to all of them. Since I had the energy and stamina, coupled with the fact I am a psycho-path, I applied to some more “just for the hell of it programs”. I applied to WashU Olin as a “just for the hell of it” safety. I applied to UCLA as a “just for the hell of it / I have good friends in LA” target. And I applied to Oxbridge because I visited Oxford during a business trip to UK and loved their program and Cambridge’s application was free. At times I forget I even applied to Oxbridge because I put in ZERO effort into those apps. Sorry recommenders…… Of all the programs, Cornell Johnson was my favorite. If anybody here followed my posts, it was obvious by my participation in the Johnson 09 thread. Johnson had it all: small class, rural location, friendly staff/students, cool curriculum (immersion), and an awesome red building (Sage Hall w00t w00t!!!!!!!!!). Where, NOT: Because of my requirements (small class, no huge city) all the biggies were out. Wharton, Harvard, Chicago, Kellogg……sorry guys, I know you want me but you cant have me. Stanford and Haas would both be awesome BUT I am not a gambling man and my effort should be focused on reality. No regrets. Plus the Berkeley hippies freak me out. Devry, Strayer, and U of Phoenix were all tempting but my carpal tunnel syndrome ruled them out. The decision: As expected I was first admitted to WashU Olin with a hefty scholarship. It felt really great to know that Fall 09 would definitely happen. I also knew that if I were admitted to any other program I would choose it over WashU. If only Olin compared to WashU undergrad or their medical school….. Suddenly December rolled around and I was sitting on three decisions all within 3 days. Tuck DING (ouch), Fuqua waitlist, and Johnson waitlist (this really hurt…..BUT Im a fighter). Shortly after the December onslaught I received the call from Goizueta. I was in with an amazing scholarship. ROCK ON. I really loved Goizueta, loved the ATL (not your typical big city), and my wife’s best friend was across the border in Alabama (I know, why would somebody choose to live in Alabama?). To make a long story short, I fought and fought to get off of Cornell’s waitlist and I finally succeeded. Getting the call made me sooooooo happy and I felt like all my effort paid off. I withdrew from Duke’s waitlist, withdrew from Darden & UCLA with interview invites, declined WashU and Goizueta, and withdrew from Tepper ---- or so I thought. For some reason my Tepper withdrawal never went through and they accepted me with a scholarship. I felt horrible because I knew some waitlisters would love that spot. OY VEY. Oh well, I declined their offer. I held out for the off chance that Yale would give me some good money and my life with nink could move forward. However, Yale threw me a big fat Ding. I guess I was just way too cool for their program. When it comes down to it, I got my wish. Cornell. It was my destiny. Slumdog Millionaire style: It was written. I know that Cornell’s ranking has slipped a little in the latest ranking. I keep telling myself it has nothing to do with them letting me into their program. You know what, if it is because of me or it isn’t…..I am going to single handedly push their program into the top 10. Watch Harvard, Cornell Johnson-Raabend School of Business is on your heels. Boo ya! P.S. I was also dinged from Oxbridge. I dont even even remember getting the Ding emails. I bet they went into SPAM. What the heck is ".ac.uk" anyway????? I am proud of my SPAM filter for flagging that. _________________ "George is getting upset!" GMAT Club Premium Membership - big benefits and savings SVP Status: Burning mid-night oil....daily Joined: 07 Nov 2008 Posts: 2400 Schools: Yale SOM 2011 Alum, Kellogg, Booth, Tuck WE 1: IB - Restructuring & Distressed M&A Followers: 78 Kudos [?]: 732 [0], given: 548 Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] ### Show Tags 05 May 2009, 07:30 Raabend wrote: 2008- Fast forward: I just returned from my honeymoon and realized that my wife is kinda an expensive trophy so I need a better job (and I was unhappy in marketing so I wanted to switch to something a tad more analytical). I am dying while laughing! _________________ Current Student Joined: 23 Oct 2005 Posts: 243 Schools: Cranfield SOM Followers: 2 Kudos [?]: 13 [5] , given: 2 Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] ### Show Tags 05 May 2009, 11:52 5 This post received KUDOS How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top? My bschool application journey has more in common to a Bollywood blockbuster with lot of twists and turns over the years. There was the handsome young man (yours truly ) who strayed from the chosen path, the beautiful heroine (my missus) who brought him back (or literally knocked some sense into him), their adorable son, sacrifices, villains (recommenders). Throw in a couple of songs (sung by me in the shower - sorry for the visual ) you have the followup to Slumdog Millionaire. Though the appropriate title might be "BSchool and Bankrupt". A BSchool education was always in my plans as an undergrad. My initial approach was to join an IIM or an XLRI straight after my undergrad in India. But then I realized that an education straight out of my undergrad may not help me out in the longer term (and I wanted to live without worrying about exams and assignments for a couple of years). So I joined an IT firm in India and a couple of years later arrived to USA. This is where my plan got side tracked - instead of spending the next few years solidifying my credentials I put my life on auto pilot and coasted through the next 3 years. It was basically work, play, party and sightseeing. Fast forward a couple of years. I was now married (both to my wife and my green card application ). Finally, I decided that I had played around for too long and need to get back into my dream of completing an MBA. In December 2005 I completed my GMAT (scored-700-q46-v40-long-post-25115.html). All the while I was contemplating whether I wanted to do a full time MBA (meaning abandon the green card) or do it part time (work, school and GC). My target schools at that time were: FT - Kellogg, Booth, Ross, Duke, Cornell PT - Booth, NYU Also considered - NYU, Emory, LBS and a smaller school called Cranfield on the outskirts of London. After talking to a few of my colleagues I finally decided to roll the dice with the PT program. In Jan 2006 I started preparing my applications for Booth and NYU. The twist in the plot came in May 2006 - a few weeks before I was supposed to turn in my apps. My wife and I found out that we were going to be parents. After talking it over for a few days I decided to put a hold on my plans for the time being. Fast forward - July 2007 - My son was six months old. I dusted up my apps from the previous year and decided to put it through for NYU. In november / december - I heard back that I was dinged. Fast forward one more year - Dec 2008 - After a stressful but successful year at work I finally decided on applying for a full time program. The change in approach was due to the fact that it had been 7 years since I applied for my green card and I did not see any end in sight for the wait. So I decided that I could not put my life and my families life on hold. Also, a PT education meant sticking with IT for a longer period of time and I felt that I had finally hit the end of the road in that career. It also meant that I would need to reassess my options due to the fact that it was late in the application process, I was an International student and I was well into the wrong side of the 30s. I finally decided on Ross, Emory and Notre Dame (safety) in US. Casting my net a bit wider I decided to apply to INSEAD (reach) and to Cranfield (fit). Then came the next twist. I was hoping for a recommendation from a client with whom I had worked from 2006 - 2008. But she never returned my call or replied to my email. This setback along with the fact that my other recommender took a week to respond to my call put me in quite a bad mood around Christmas. Then finally I got the call from my second recommender (ex-colleague) who suggested that I contact our ex-supervisor. That was someone who I hadn't talked to in almost a year. So one awkward phone call later I had both my recommenders. But by then it was too close to the Ross deadline and I decided to sacrifice that app. I visited Notre Dame in January and came back ambivalent about the program. I liked the class, I liked my conversations with the adcom and most of the students but I had one student in particular who was hinting strongly that I may not fit in the environment (too much course load etc etc). But after thinking it through I decided to submit the application. I was supposed to visit Emory towards the end of January - but had to cancel as I came down with the flu for a week. Finally, after scrambling to shore up my essays I submitted the application on the deadline. The next in line was Cranfield. I came across Cranfield back in 2005 - 2006 as a smaller but well respected school in UK. After talking to alumni I decided that from a fit perspective Cranfield had everything that I was looking for (small class size, strong alumni, strong GM program, age and experience match, tremendous support system for family). The other thing about the Cranfield process is that they respond back within 3 days of the initial app with a decision on whetehr you are selected for an interview. Once the interview is done they try to get back to you with a decision within a week. I send in my application on Feb 18th. On 20th I was offered an interview choice of Feb 24th as they had a cancellation or late march. I went ahead with the 24th and heard back the positive decision on 26th. Finally, I submitted my application to INSEAD as I wanted to see if my profile would hold up over there. As expected, i got the ding. I also got waitlisted at Notre Dame (send an email asking to be removed once Cranfield confirmed receipt of my intial deposit) and dinged at Emory. Why did I choose Cranfield - I briefly thought about working with the ND waitlist to see if I could convert that into an admit. Finally I decided to go with Cranfield. Apart from the reasons mentioned above I want to possibly work in Europe or Australia to enhance my work / cultural experience. An MBA from Europe would help me with that goal. Also, being an international student I faced more hurdles with an education in US - like non availability of no-cosigner loans, tighter visa regulations etc. As for my goals - I would say that they crystallized through the process. When I started off in 2005 my goal was basically use my IT experience to move into consulting / GM. But by the time I put in my ND app - my goals were specfic - use my knowledge of the Health Insurance industry to move into a rotational development program within health insurance. I hope to eventually move into a product development role to make health insurance more affordable. Thats my story and I am sticking to it. Senior Manager Affiliations: ACA, CPA Joined: 26 Apr 2009 Posts: 441 Location: Vagabond Schools: BC WE 1: Big4, Audit WE 2: Banking Followers: 5 Kudos [?]: 82 [0], given: 41 Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] ### Show Tags 05 May 2009, 16:13 Great motivational post! scorpioguy wrote: How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top? My bschool application journey has more in common to a Bollywood blockbuster -------TRIMMED----Thats my story and I am sticking to it. _________________ If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down. GMAT Club Legend Status: Um... what do you want to know? Joined: 04 Jun 2007 Posts: 5464 Location: SF, CA, USA Schools: UC Berkeley Haas School of Business MBA 2010 WE 1: Social Gaming Followers: 73 Kudos [?]: 398 [1] , given: 14 Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] ### Show Tags 05 May 2009, 21:02 1 This post received KUDOS Raabend wrote: Stanford and Haas would both be awesome BUT I am not a gambling man and my effort should be focused on reality. No regrets. Plus the Berkeley hippies freak me out. Oh c'mon! What's there NOT to like about tree-sitting naked hippies? Congrats on your decision and have a great time in b-school! _________________ **************************** GMAT Club Knowledge Vault: http://gmatclub.com/forum/123 Haas Ambassador http://gmatclub.com/forum/128-t62555 Kryzak's Profile: http://gmatclub.com/forum/111-t56286 Member Essays: http://gmatclub.com/forum/103-t50969 Current Student Joined: 04 Jan 2005 Posts: 283 Location: Milan Schools: Wharton, LBS, UChicago, Kellogg MMM (Donald Jacobs Scholarship), Stanford, HBS Followers: 7 Kudos [?]: 140 [4] , given: 3 Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 May 2009, 10:34 4 This post received KUDOS 1 This post was BOOKMARKED I have made my choice regarding which B-school to attend (I waited isa's coming out so I could claim to be the last). You already know because you glanced to the left, did not you? I thought about starting a thread explaining my decision process and thanking everyone who gave her/his input, but I realized it was all part of a greater discourse: hence, I am posting here about my b-school pursuit. As for how much this is a leaning process, consider that if there was a school i'd swear I would never going to apply to, let alone get in or matriculating, it whas Wharton. I will be attending The Wharton School in less than 3 months. Why do I want an MBA? When did I first think about it? Two processes in play, gross exemplifications follow: 1- Simply put, I don't subscribe to Continental Europe's values. Work-life balance means little to me as I'd dread event 15-minute workdays if I found them boring (that's not to say I don't find IB hours insane). Hence, the European model of low-ceiling, high-security jobs don't appeal to me. I have seen it incentivates not working hard both in others and me. This brings my worst side as I have to find satisfaction in my job as otherwise I am not able to focus on having the seaside, the snow and a wonderful fiancée at hand. I am just not the person 80% of Europeans are. I needed to be able to transition to another environment to realize my potential. Since college, I have become more and more exposed to the Anglosaxon value system and found it better for me, for how much it could be improved as well. 2- Having said that, I am a full-blown European. It would be childish to pretend you could not accomplish great things if in Italy or France. It's actually me who can't, it's my bad. I believe the whole world has a crush on the concept of talent. We all like Will Hunting, we all love effortlessness. It provides us excuses for not being that good, for not doing what we wanted to. But Europe, and Italy first, has really fallen in love with this way of thinking: as a result, Italy is now into Second World, Europe's influence is dwindling by the day. I have been told I was smart since I was 3 (I began reading that age out of bore, being a single child). That put me in a bucket where my role was one of not making efforts and to entertain the crowd with captivating displays of per-se knowledge (like all the capitals in the world or something). The underlying assumption is:"You are smart, you are going to have it easy following a model that less smart people are routinely able to follow". I thrive on others' approval and enjoyed that at first, as I could not see that the byproduct of cultivating my slackness and despise for hard work would be harming me. I went into college as a child, life-wise. I was not asked to show up at classes nor was I going to take exams where I could not score up to my standards: deadly mix which procuced some of the worst moments of my life. I graduated first class almost two years late. I saw hordes of more determined people graduate first class much earlier. It took me six months to get my first job as I was deeply unwilling to ask someone to hire me. 1 plus 2: I realized I had to chase my own dreams (actually make something useful) and that I was not going to find like-minded people around the corner. I wanted to get an MBA in the US. I managed to join a boutique consultancy and was relieved to see that I could perform well in a working environment. At the same time, I know that was not what I was going to do with my career, and that "the European curse" extended to the workplace as well (why shouldn't it?!). I began devising a plan to get to a top MBA, not knowing how high I could aim. I joined a Big 3 consulting and did well there as well. I also realized that I did not want to work in a big company. It's not that I was not able to do small talk (now I am), it's that I don't want to. I wanted to be able to afford not to do it. I looked at schools: Harvard was nice because its saying could stun even my badly educated parents. Stanford was what I truly wanted. Also Kellogg and Tuck hit me as good schools. As the usual slacker I went long with GMAT/TOEFL and completed a rushed Harvard and Kellogg application. For Stanford I maxed out my efforts. I did not apply to Tuck for reasons similar to the ones of Riverripper: I understood that if I was to change industry, I needed the wider brand I could. Results in, I did not get an interview at H/S. Resting on laurels hit me, and rightly so. Those spots went to achievers, not simply smart people. I observed that the Harvard deny did not hurt me, but the Stanford fiasco did. I learnt I should completely disregard what uniformed others expected of me: it was out of tune with myself. Kellogg accepted me, that felt good. In the meantime, thanks to GmatClub, I learned about many people and many schools, discovering the shallowness of clichés. I put out another batch of three applications round 2: Chicago, for its spirit resonated highly with me; Wharton, for offering everything and then some; LBS, as an hedge against US (visa problems, financing problems, family issues, whatever). It would have been too easy to get satisfied with Kellogg and move on, so the adcoms conjured and admitted me to all three R2 schools. Kellogg gave me a named scholarship and 20% off total cost of attendance too. So April 1, it was down to: Kellogg, Chicago, LBS and Wharton. I paused a moment to congratulate my luck as I saw (mostly on here) how many deserving people had those names in red. Current Student Joined: 04 Jan 2005 Posts: 283 Location: Milan Schools: Wharton, LBS, UChicago, Kellogg MMM (Donald Jacobs Scholarship), Stanford, HBS Followers: 7 Kudos [?]: 140 [5] , given: 3 Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 May 2009, 10:35 5 This post received KUDOS First, I ruled out London. It's a great school, but it's more European in values that I thought it would. I want to work in the US, and I wonder how many non-Americans wind up there after LBS. Gone. I ruled out Chicago. Even greater school, but all the non-Americans I spoke to were finance-oriented. Looking at employment reports and talking to people showed lagging behing Kellogg in my target industry (technology/VC). Not a dime in fellowships. So gone it was, for how much I cherished the prospect of living in downtown Chicago. Italy-wise, 7 out of 8 admits are matriculating. Wharton-Kellogg showdown: Academics: both plain great. Yes, Wharton has more electives, but the MMM was closer to my view of design as a competitive edge. Tie here. Money: Wharton gave me about 70% of what Kellogg does. Both arranged a loan package. Slight pro for Kellogg (5k and a great name attached to the money), but nothing to decide based upon. Location: loved the idea of a tight-knit community. Also realized I could probably hate it in a few months' time. I am voluble. Evanston has a stunning scenery. They told me Philadelphia is crap. I am discovering it definitely isn't. Another tie here. People: this is the first deciding point. Kellogg started off with a huge advantage: famously friendly and lots of great gmatclub people. I took the time to know Wharton people too. In the end, I have found I am more likely to find like-minded spirit at Wharton. Let's face that 50% of the people at Kellogg are looking to go in an industry I am getting out of and trying to talk people out of, frankly. It's true I could just hang with the other people (no one from GC is chasing consulting I guess), but the consulting focus is going to influence the experience anyway. Consulting is for very risk-averse people. I have found I crave risk. Had I wanted to play it safe, I should have stayed at Bain where everyone was telling me I was going to make manager in a few years. Wharton people had backgrounds and post-career goals much similar to mine (may be partly influenced by the finance fiasco). They were not pretending or aloof at all and just as great as the Kellogg people. In the end, I had a better fit with the Wharton people than with the Kellogg ones (I am leaving out GmatClub since the split is like 20/3 and I know the Kellogg crowd much better, plus zoinnk and Audio are douches*). Brand That's where the picture is clearer. Kellogg and Wharton are great, check. There's no tech company that recruits at one and not the other, check. Paired in US News rankings, check. Same average starting salary, check. But consider this fact: each and every non-American person I have talked to ended up saying:"It looks like an easy Wharton for me". Wharton has a definite edge outside the US. For how much I want to stay there, internationals are getting killed these days, both for internships and H1Bs. I have to consider the possibility of working outside the US and I believe many companies/funds that could once bloom only in the US will do so abroad. Would I be discontent working for DFJ Esprit in London? Not at all. So Wharton wins. Plus there are 4-5 very interesting realities in Philadelphia, DreamIt Ventures and First Round Capital among those. The startup scene is flourishing, even if it still is a bit healthcare-skewed. So Wharton it was. I am signing a lease at 1835 Arch and have to thank zoinnk for his useful review. Now it's on for an ever-important part of the journey: how to make the most of my MBA. The outcome of this will have an impact an order of magnitude greater than choosing between Kellogg or Wharton, or complaining if Chicago continues its meteoric rise. One last thought: if someone would tell me tomorrow I would not be able to attend any MBA, this would remain worthwhile. It's amazing how muche one learns of himself at the various stages of this pursuit, from essays to loan-related cold feet. The best part of this has been GmatClub and its people. My regrets, if any, are not to be able to be in class with the people on here who are going to other schools I was accepted to. I actually feel guilty to current students like Riverripper, rhyme, Steel, MGOBLUE, who have been immesely helpful to and far beyond me. Trust me when I say that all you have helped me with stands as timeless advice. Your kindness has made a difference. On GmatClub, I hope to do the same for people looking at Wharton in the following seasons. * see you in August, bitches** ** (for moderators) kidding CEO Joined: 17 May 2007 Posts: 2989 Followers: 61 Kudos [?]: 571 [0], given: 210 Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 May 2009, 16:51 What poignant and touching posts. Superb stuff +1 Paradosso. Shame you are not coming to London. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the ocean. GMAT Club Legend Joined: 10 Apr 2007 Posts: 4318 Location: Back in Chicago, IL Schools: Kellogg Alum: Class of 2010 Followers: 89 Kudos [?]: 749 [0], given: 5 Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 May 2009, 17:09 Paradosso wrote: My regrets, if any, are not to be able to be in class with the people on here who are going to other schools I was accepted to. I actually feel guilty to current students like Riverripper, rhyme, Steel, MGOBLUE, who have been immesely helpful to and far beyond me. Trust me when I say that all you have helped me with stands as timeless advice. Your kindness has made a difference. Glad to see you made your decision...sorry to see you aren't coming here but$ from Wharton is something hard to turn down. I know personally I am not here helping to help out Kellogg per se...sure that happens but one great thing about what this place has become is now we all have a network that extends well beyond our own school. I wish you the best of the luck and maybe in 10 years you will be a manager at some VC and I will come knocking on your door for seed money...you never know what might come about because of gmatclub in the future.
_________________

Kellogg Class of 2010...still active and willing to help. However, I do not do profile reviews, don't offer predictions on chances and am far to busy to review essays, so save the energy of writing me a PM seeking help for these. If I don't respond to a PM that is not one of the previously mentioned trash can destined messages, please don't take it personally I get so many messages I have a hard to responding to most. The more interesting, compelling, or humorous you message the more likely I am to respond.
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Current Student
Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 283
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Schools: Wharton, LBS, UChicago, Kellogg MMM (Donald Jacobs Scholarship), Stanford, HBS
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11 May 2009, 02:54
I am actually positive, statistically speaking, that some GmatClub connection will prove directly useful also in our career endeavors to come, so that's spot on River.

My bad for not having included bsd_lover in the people to thank: though I believe European schools are not a fit for me, I believe they are for a whole lot of people here, and he's doing a wonderful job of promoting those, which are traditionally not so much spoken about here (I have to write something about the US-centric vision of US people, it's all bona fide but it's incredible how even very smart people* just equate US to the world at large). Plus his story is inspiring and comforting for those who struggle.

Last, I encourage other 09 applicants to share their stories: I found that writing mine* is as enjoyable as reading the past ones (and I liked them a lot). This thread is GC at its best.

* I almost never re-read in real time and I realize my writing above is largely obscure and disconnected. I apologize!
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Joined: 09 Dec 2008
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11 May 2009, 04:55
5
KUDOS
I actually had typed out a long post for this thread a few days ago, but thanks to an untimely computer crash (thank you Dell!) lost it all. So now, trusty Lenovo in hand I present you with take 2:

How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top?

When:
I first thought about an MBA as a junior/senior in high school. The undegrad school I attended offered a 5 year BS/MBA program for accounting majors, to provide us with the 150 credits needed to obtain a CPA license. I didn't know anything about MBAs at that point other than they made a lot of money, and so I thought about doing this program. Thankfully, greed got the better of me and when a Big 4 firm offered me $48k a year (huge money to a poor college student) I decided to stop school after 4 years and start collecting paychecks. Fast forward to 2003. After working for 2 years I was not happy as an auditor and realized that perhaps accounting was not the career for me. I looked around at other opportunities both inside my firm and outside, and since they were all accounting related, nothing really got me excited. I started thinking about an MBA as an opportunity to get out of the accounting department and into bigger and (in my mind) better things. Before I started any serious work preparing for GMAT or researching schools, I was selected for a very attractive leadership development program in my firm. It would give me the opportunity to work with people from around the world, and work closely with my firm's top leadership. It also, I hoped, would give me an opportunity to switch out of the firm's audit group into something more interesting. B-school went back on the back burner. Fast forward again to 2007. Following the leadership program and a near-disastrous dip back into the audit practice, I had used the relationship I developed with a senior partner to get a job doing HR strategy on a global basis for the firm. Great job, was learning a lot, but it was also a 2-3 year rotational assignment and I was facing the prospect of what to do next. I didn't want to be in HR for the rest of my career, nor did I want to go back into accounting, so again I starting thinking about an MBA to help me change careers. Took the GMAT in July 2007, did much better than I ever imagined, probably got a little cocky about admissions, applied to 3 schools for fall 2008 intake, and was rejected by all three. Was humbled by admissions. Much soul searching ensued. Decided MBA was still the right path for me, applied again for fall 2009 intake and the rest, as they say, is history. What: I've run pretty much the entire spectrum of 'what' over the 7 or so years I've considered doing an MBA. Way back in 2002 I was thinking banking or IM, since I always found investing interesting. However, learning about the banking culture made me see that it wasn't the right career path for me. During the time I spent doing HR strategy for my company, I realized that I really enjoyed this work - the intellectual challenge of it, the big-picture thinking, the creativity and innovation - and so started to focus in on MC. All of my application essays have MC as my first post-MBA plan. However, as I spent the last few months working with my firm's consulting practice, I realized I didn't want to be a consultant anymore. After almost 8 years serving clients, I wanted to actually be part of running a business myself rather than just telling other people how to run their business. At this point, I had been accepted to Kellogg and decided I was going to enroll there, and solely because of the school's strength in marketing I decided to check out the Vault guide on marketing and brand management careers. As I read the guide, I realized that this was exactly what I wanted to do. I liked the fact that you work with all the different functional areas - R&D, production, sales, finance - and are responsible for all aspects of how your product performs. It seemed to have many of the same big picture challenges of strategy: how to grow sales, how to improve profits, - but was also grounded with the tactical details. And so, my focus became marketing. In terms of healthcare, as soon as I gave up my dream of being an astronaut at about age 8, I decided I wanted to be a doctor. For most of my childhood this was my career plan. It wasn't until high school when I started volunteering at my local hospital, got to know doctors and talked to them about what practicing medicine was actually like as a career that I decided I didn't want to practice medicine. However, I still found healthcare very interesting - my inner nerd liked the science of it and, after dealing with several health issues in my own family, I liked the prospect of helping other people deal with illness. Over time though I migrated more towards the business end of healthcare. I spent my time in auditing working with pharma and biotech companies, and found the best parts of my job were talking with my clients about their business and their industry - what new products they were developing, what general trends were emerging in human health, etc. I had clients in a few other industries - engineering & construction, retail, technology - and no other industry excited me the way healthcare did. Where: I'll focus here on where I applied this year. I was basically looking for programs that were good in general management or consulting, and had some sort of program or curriculum tailored to healthcare. In the end, my list was Harvard, Chicago, Kellogg, Duke, Columbia and MIT. Harvard: I could say it's because of its strong general management reputation, or it's proximity to biotech in Boston, but I'd be lying. I applied to Harvard because it's Harvard. I didn't want to face the prospect of 30 years from now wondering whether I could've gotten in to HBS. After 2 rejection letters from Dee, I'm pretty certain of the answer to that. Chicago: I fell in love with Chicago after I visted it. I mean it's hard not to be impressed with the facilities, and the students I met were all incredible. The all-star faculty certainly doesn't hurt either. Plus, I really like Chicago as a city. Really the only negative was that the healthcare program just didn't seem as well put together as some of the other schools on my list. It would have been a tough decision choosing between Kellogg and Chicago, and I still probably would've chosen Kellogg, but thankfully Rose made that decision easy for me. Kellogg: On paper this was my favorite school. Very good in general management, very well liked by consulting firms, great healthcare program, culture that fits with my overall personality, check. Only nagging doubt I had was my visit was only so-so. Everything seemed a little disorganized (there was a lot of time I spent waiting pretty much by myself in the admissions office in between events), and I couldn't help feeling a little let down by the facilities after having just been at Booth. However, the class I visited was great, and the students were incredibly welcoming, friendly and helpful. I can't say students at other schools weren't helpful or friendly, and I can't put my finger on what exactly the Kellogg students did differently, but it just felt different. Still, despite the so-so visit, going into the decision season it was tied with Chicago as #2 on my list. Duke: Duke started out pretty low on my list, but made a strong showing after I visited. In many ways I think Duke is very similar to Kellogg, especially in the healthcare arena. But the Duke brand name just isn't as strong in the northeast, and in the current job market that makes a lot of difference I think. In the end, I would've been very happy at Duke, but wasn't ready to pass up an offer from Kellogg to go there. Columbia: Um, well I was kinda talked into going to Columbia by a few alums. I wasn't really impressed with the school when I visited, it doesn't really have a healthcare program to speak of, and after pretty much living my entire life in the greater NY metropolitan area, I was kinda looking forward to a few years away from NYC. So, to sum up, great school but I wasted$250 to apply there and withdrew as soon as I got admitted to Kellogg.

MIT: Probably my second least favorite after Columbia. Good consulting track, and unlike HBS I actually was attracted to MIT because of the proximity to biotech industry in Boston. In the end I never applied because I was planning it for R2 and stopped working on it when I got admitted to Kellogg in December.

Where, NOT: Well there are literally hundreds if not thousands of schools I didn't apply to, but I'll only focus on a few here:

INSEAD, LBS: Good schools, but since I want to work in the US post-MBA I decided pretty early in the process to focus on US schools. Plus, the language requirement at INSEAD would've been a problem since I haven't spoken a second language since high school Spanish class.

Wharton: Great school, great healthcare program, but just never really felt a good vibe here. Plus, I really, really don't like Philadelphia and the thought of living there for 2 years makes me shudder.

Stanford: I applied here for fall 2008 and was rejected. Great school, but I didn't think I had a realistic shot so I gave up on it.

UCLA, Haas: I don't want to work on the West Coast after MBA, and so didn't consider going to school there either.

Ross: I came close to applying here. In the end it was bumped by Columbia. I probably should've stuck with Ross given my feelings towards Columbia.

The decision: I got the call from Kellogg on December 4, 2008 (at roughly 3:30pm EST, not that I remember the details or anything). After going 0 for 3 last year, getting an early admit was incredible. I can't put into words how excited I was. Extra bonus that it was one of my top schools. At that point, I hadn't been called for an interview at HBS, so I was pretty sure I would be at Kellogg. I think I told my family and friends that I would definitely be in Chicago next year since the only other school I thought I had a shot at and would consider going to over Kellogg was Booth. I stopped all work on MIT's application, and emailed Columbia to withdraw my application.

Exactly two weeks later, my decision became a lot easier when I got the ding from Booth. Any sadness was tempered a few hours later when I got admitted to Duke (kudos for the Flash animation btw). I know it's purely ego, but now I knew I could say I 'chose' to attend my school rather than it being the only school I was admitted to.

A few weeks later, Duke made things interesting by offering me a 50% tuition scholarship. I wrestled with whether I wanted to pass up that money for a few days, before re-affirming that I wanted to go to Kellogg. In the end, I wasn't ready to let money overrule my reasons for choosing Kellogg in the first place: reputation (esp. in healthcare), culture and location. After attending DAK I was 100% certain that Kellogg was the right school for me, and I sent in the deposit. In the end, Kellogg has offered me just about as much money as Duke, so I'm glad I didn't make the decision to go to Duke for the money.

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Last edited by Jerz on 12 May 2009, 04:08, edited 2 times in total.
Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit   [#permalink] 11 May 2009, 04:55

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