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The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010

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Affiliations: CFA Lv 3, Professional Engineer
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Schools: Wharton (R2 Ding after interview), Booth (Ding after interview), Kellogg (R2 JD/MBA WL)
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The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2010, 14:35
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Pretty depressed after today's big ding from Wharton. So it's official that I'm not going anywhere this year.
760 GMAT/3.7 GPA Engineering best school in Canada/CFA3 completed/24/Male.
3yr WE - Engineering Consulting

I'm starting this thread to share my thoughts on what I did wrong this year and what I need to improve for next year's reapplication. Those in the same boat as I am please chip in.

What I think I did wrong:
- Applied R2 instead of R1.
- Did not apply any safety school. Maybe T7 bschools are too much of a stretch for a practicing engineer?
- Limited EC.
- Did not visit any school before applying.

What can be improved:
- Apply R1 next year, or even ED.
- Apply to T20 schools rather than just T7.
- Start doing some volunteer work. Any suggestions?
- Visit every school in September and talk to more students and alumni.

The light at the end of the tunnel:
- Hope Kellogg's waitlist somehow magically shrinks to only me, and many admitted students do not accept the offer. :devil
- Apply Columbia J-term, got a good reason why I dont want to do internship.
- Might get promoted to lead the China office doing a large project (~1 Billion) for a Chinese client. Some decent leadership experience can be had.
- I'm only 24, first time applying. Mistakes happen. Apply next year.

In the end, Wharton is still my #1 and Kellogg a close #1.1, so I'm not discouraged, and will apply next year.

And congrats to all those admitted!
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2010, 14:48
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You have a really strong profile so I would say stick with M7 schools since they are definitely within your range stats wise and because you recieved an interview from every school you applied to and was WL at Kellogg's JD/MBA program. I think you examine your essays in both understanding of the program and your fit with each program and depth in content you choose to talk about. Also having interviewed at all the schools then dinged, I would try to ask your peers to run practice interviews with you and have them give you feedback on your interviewing abilities.

Being younger end, I think having an extra year would strengthen your application which is why I believe you will do fine in M7 schools if you were to reapply.

At this point I would try to request application feedback from each school as well as look for which programs you would like to apply for next year in addition to the 3 you chose this year. You did choose fewer than many people on the boards, and all your applications were R2. If you open it up to say 5-6 with a couple solid R1 apps I think you will do fine next year. Goodluck.
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 26 Mar 2010, 21:49
You're only 24? Man I'm 25 and didn't apply to Wharton because I feel they're looking for people with more WE and I'm not old enough (well that and some other reasons).

Definitely keep at it because I think all you're missing is age/wisdom. I have outdone you in silliness by applying not to 2 schools but to 1, and we'll see how that gambit paid off come April 6...

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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 07:00
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luangm, I applaud your efforts for introspection and you're doing the right thing by using this setback as a learning experience. You have a very good profile and I'm sure you can get into a top-10 school.

As GoBruins pointed out, I would work on the interview preparation skills. Also, perhaps you can take another look at your essays and see how you can make them EVEN better. I might be totally wrong on this, but I think this here's how adcom approaches the evaluation process. First, they place the application in one of three buckets - straight ding, maybe, strong. The maybe and strong categories are called up for an interview. The maybes need a very good interview to get in while the strong applicants need to make sure they don't blow it. This probably explains why some people who feel they have had poor interviews still get in, because their original application was really strong.

That's the reason I encourage you to take another look at your essays/recommendations and other parts of your application that are within your control and make them even better.

Best of luck!!!
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 09:32
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In a asimilar boat to you

28/M/ Nigerian. Working in a small IB in London. Numbers are decent 3.5 GPA ( BSc + MSc)/ 720/4 WE

Given what I do, it only really makes sense to apply to M7 schools - but results have been abysmal:

HBS - no love at all
Wharton - Decent Interview but nothing
Chicago - R1 - straight ding.
CBS - want me to do the january option


Funny thing is, in my wharton interview, interviewer alluded that I may be too good for bschool so i thought I had a good shot only to be disappointed. Columbia interview was similarly positive until result. am i doing something spectacularly wrong as i know people with my background but lesser stat get in?

what i think i did wrong
Maybe I need to apply to lower ranked schools?
Im looking to remain in finance ( was obvious in my essays) so maybe i need to change goals etc?
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 16:32
What is (BS + MSc) GPA? Are you adding them together and averaging? Masters GPA's can get pretty inflated so if your undergrad GPA was low and you failed to address why, that could be a factor. With respect to "stats", with b-school it seems that stats are just the first gate. X GMAT and Y GPA gets you looked at, but that's it, bc there are so many more factors at our age. Law school is much more formulaic due to the lack of experience from the large majority of students.

Also might want to be careful of any attitude that conveys "you don't need" b-school...they aren't trying to waste your time.

Finally, you might look outside of the "M7" (M6 seems more legit to me, but whatever). There are plenty of ways to get into IB (especially boutique, which you seem to be doing) without going to HBS.
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 18:07
Count me in this thread.
29 /african/ engineer (3.4 GPA) + Exec Msc in finance/700/4 year WE

was so confident after receiving invitations to interviews, but finally got dinged everywhere.

Things wrong?
- applied round 2
- No safey school
- low Toefl (french speaker)
- No real managerial experiance.

now have to improve all this. But the thing is I already applied to my target schools...
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 19:39
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Luangm,

First things first - it may seem like your "perfect plans" have come crashing down, but put things in perspective and realize that you are only 24, and for all practical purposes you are just getting started. Given your age, I do not feel that it was a mistake for you to apply to only "stretch" schools - time is on your side and you have enough of it to rethink your goals and apply again within a few years.

My profile is very similar to yours, identical GMAT, CFA progression, UG etc, and here's the kicker - I applied to Wharton 2 years ago (when I was 24) and received a royal ding. A few years of introspection and corrective measures later, I feel that I now have a stronger profile and clearer sense of my goals (Wharton actually isn't a good fit for me). Here are a few things that I have tried to address over the last two years, it may give you some insight given our similar profiles:

1. A 760 GMAT does not really carry that much weight when one is applying to a Top 10 business-school, even less if the applicant comes from an engineering background since most engineers (i.e your applicant pool) shall tend to have good GMAT quant scores.

2. Taking the CFA exams with an engineering background does show good academic vitality, however once again, in order for this to carry much weight with adcoms, you need to be able to "spin" it beyond just a demonstration of your quantitative ability - your degree and GMAT score already scream that out.

3. As a younger candidate, the adcom is more interested in what you can bring to the table as you sit in an MBA classroom - what leadership skills have you developed? What failures have you experienced and what have you learnt from them? What level of interpersonal skills do you possess? These are the areas that shall differentiate you from all the other "GMAT stars".

4. At 24, I was still very hazy about my career goals. 2 years later, my career direction / goals are more mature (and very different that 2 years ago). Take the time to really think about what you want to do immediately after you MBA.

5. YES! EC is VERY important! Especially with someone with your background. It will prove that you are more than just a glorified calculator, and will add a lot more weight to your application. As far as suggestions, I would say go find something that appeals to you, and do it. Saying that you volunteered at a soup kitchen is OK, but nowhere close to writing about how you discovered a passion and developed it, and how it has developed your personality and profile for business school.

6. Seek out leadership roles. It is understandable that you may not have an opportunity to formally manage people in a professional setting, however leadership goes beyond your job title. Make sure that the next time you apply, you have solid examples of demonstrated leadership.

Applying for 2013 or 2014 is your decision, but I would say that you should take solid steps to address any shortcomings in your profile prior to applying again. And yes, maybe this time consider applying to a couple of safety schools too.
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 19:56
luangm,

Don't give up! I think you have a competitive (if not great) profile. There is a thread called 2008 zero admits, many of them ended up going to top schools of their choice in 2009. I think the fact you received two interview and one waitlisted shows at least top schools have interest in you. You just need to do a little more to push yourself over the top.

:) Best luck on the w/l if not in the future!
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2010, 21:28
luangm wrote:

What can be improved:
- Apply R1 next year, or even ED.
- Apply to T20 schools rather than just T7.
- Start doing some volunteer work. Any suggestions?
- Visit every school in September and talk to more students and alumni.


R1 vs R2 - does not matter. One of my friends who does admissions at Wharton said that to his opinion this year's R1 candidates really rocked! R2 was larger, but the quality of applications was, in his view, better in R1.

T20 US schools - why care? You could do just as well in Rotman or York in Toronto.

Volunteer work - is this the only way to make a difference in the community? And then again, you cannot rig an application by doing volunteer work to make your application look good. Most people at Wharton have done incredible things for their community because they believe in the transformative power of their passion, not because they needed a better application. Admissions people are not stupid.

Visit schools - definitely do better due diligence, and visiting schools helps a tremendous lot.

I will be in Toronto in June; PM me if you want to chat.
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2010, 00:33
I, too, am very depressed. I got dinged from every b-school that I applied to. F/24/B.GPA 3.5/Masters/1.5 w.e as portfolio manager/700/underrepresented country
I've done a one year mba from my country (small "third world" country), and I'm beginning to think its my 3.0 in mba that got me dinged. Strangely enough, I did get accepted to all the msc finance programs that i applied to. Am I just not cut out for an mba? I got a personalized response from one admission office telling me to reapply after 2 years. I guess that indicates its my low work experience that got me dinged...I'm so confused! Work experience, I can change, but mba grades I can't! I'm beginning to wonder if I should do the Msc Finance and then apply for an MBA in a few years, maybe that will make them forget my mba gpa...
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2010, 01:09
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Hi all as the founder of the 2008 zero admits thread, I can feel the pain coming out in this thread.

Here's the zero admits club thread :
the-2008-zero-admits-club-62142.html#p452356

Here's the zero admits club redux about folks who made it next year :
2008-zero-admits-where-are-they-now-77761.html

From what I can see, most of you people have great profiles. But paper profiles mean very little. The key is to write compelling and and well planned essays. Next year, cast your net a little wider. Speak to more current students. Prepare extra hard for the interviews. Show the school extra love. Try and cross that line between admit and ding (with interview).

The reward of b-school experience in the end is well worth it.
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2010, 03:50
Sorry to hear that but you do have a wonderful profile. Keep it up and you are only 24.... still loads of time ahead of you.

Best of luck mate
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2010, 07:56
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hbsdreamer wrote:
I, too, am very depressed. I got dinged from every b-school that I applied to. F/24/B.GPA 3.5/Masters/1.5 w.e as portfolio manager/700/underrepresented country
I've done a one year mba from my country (small "third world" country), and I'm beginning to think its my 3.0 in mba that got me dinged. Strangely enough, I did get accepted to all the msc finance programs that i applied to. Am I just not cut out for an mba? I got a personalized response from one admission office telling me to reapply after 2 years. I guess that indicates its my low work experience that got me dinged...I'm so confused! Work experience, I can change, but mba grades I can't! I'm beginning to wonder if I should do the Msc Finance and then apply for an MBA in a few years, maybe that will make them forget my mba gpa...

you look to have a strong profile and while i don't think it's your MBA GPA that got you dinged, the fact that you already have an MBA may have been what contributed to that. you need to really make sure you convey why a second MBA is necessary, what will you get from it, etc. i also think it's important that you get more experience, not just for you applications, but to distance yourself from your current MBA. you need time in the workplace to explain why you need more than just that MBA, to some ad-com, it may look like you said "aww shoot, this MBA didn't get me where I wanted to be, time to try another". i would stray from another master's degree as you may come off a trophy seeker, i believe that more work experience would be more valuable for you in your case. also, take a look at your essays to see where you can poke holes in them, see what areas you may be lacking in. do you have leadership experience? are you involved in EC's? did you share enough about who you are personally?
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2010, 12:14
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I'm in the "going nowhere" boat. I applied to 6 schools: Wharton/Lauder, Kellogg, CBS, Booth, Yale SOM, and Anderson. I got an interview invite everywhere, except for Wharton.

Here's my stats: 30 / F / 710 GMAT / 3.3 UG GPA / 3.5 Graduate GPA - Engineer; I went to state engineering schools for both UG and Grad; I design spacecraft. I also left my job in July. I want to go to business school because I want to do marketing for an international consumer packaged goods company.

Wharton was my first application. When I submitted it in October, I was so proud of my efforts. When I submitted my last application in January, I was embarrassed by my Wharton application. My Wharton written application is the equivalent of a very poor interview. I think, that's one reason I did not get at least an interview with Wharton.

After leaving my job, I volunteered abroad for 1 month. After that, I spent 6 months traveling, visiting friends and family, and visiting B schools. I think that's reason #2 that I don't have a b school to attend. I did not get another job right away. I'll admit that I wasn't very motivated to find a job. I just did not want to do engineering anymore.

I think reason #3 might be my age.

I know that my work experience and ECs are interesting, but not AMAZING. That's probably why I got interviews.

I don't think I had poor interviews because my Kellogg interviewer talked to me after Kellogg gave me their decision (WL and then ding). He said he recommended me for Kellogg. My CBS interviewer also offered me a pre-MBA internship at his company (unpaid). He must've liked me a little bit to offer me such an opportunity.

Yale SOM lets applicants call them in June to get advice for strengthening the application. I will do that. Then I will have some definite answers as to why I was not admitted.
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2010, 16:21
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Thank you so much guys for your advices and supports! I recognize my many weaknesses and will seek to improve them. One noteworthy was my lack of significant EC, largely because I was completing my master’s degree in Engineering while working fulltime. Now that I’ve graduated, I’ll be looking to volunteer for some environmental protection groups as that’s where my passion is, and where I can actually make a difference with my knowledge of the industry.
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2010, 16:29
This is such a great thread. thank you everyone.
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2010, 16:35
qwerty

Last edited by CTR on 16 Apr 2010, 18:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 30 Mar 2010, 01:40
madeinafrica wrote:
Count me in this thread.
29 /african/ engineer (3.4 GPA) + Exec Msc in finance/700/4 year WE

was so confident after receiving invitations to interviews, but finally got dinged everywhere.

Things wrong?
- applied round 2
- No safey school
- low Toefl (french speaker)
- No real managerial experiance.

now have to improve all this. But the thing is I already applied to my target schools...


hey madeinafrica... i understand how you feel... a while back, i applied to 5 master's program and got dinged for each and every one.... it had a sinking feeling to it... and it wasn't just me, but my wife as well.... but she was braver and applied the very next season and got into upenn... me a waited another year and now, i got into b-school.... so bro, take heart ... and take time to think of your next move... if you really want it, go for it again...
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010 [#permalink] New post 30 Mar 2010, 07:48
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FYI engineers in my experience tend to be older than most students. Remember the average age/experience for most top schools is around 27/28 and 5 years or so. However, most MC and bankers show up at 25/26 with 3 or so. I think most of my engineer friends have at least 5 years, many have 7+ and many dont come until they are around 30. Engineers typically take longer to advance to a level where they get significant responsibility outside of being technical leads.

Your efforts may be better spent advancing your career next year and then applying in 2012.
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Re: The "Going nowhere" Thread 2010   [#permalink] 30 Mar 2010, 07:48
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