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Trying to defy gravity

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Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2014, 11:48
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In 2012, I made the decision to apply to business school in 2013 to hopefully matriculate in 2014. I am the type of person that likes to plan things in advance. I've spoken with several other applicants who decided to apply just 6-8 weeks before deadlines. That would be my worst nightmare.

The GMAT
My journey, of course, began with the GMAT. I've always been naturally strong in verbal and I am a native English speaker, so I focused 100% of my prep on quant. The GMAT was not easy for me. I performed well on practice tests, but bombed my first official test. Ultimately I took the test three times to land a 730. I would have loved to join the 99th percentile club, but I was content with my score and decided to move on to other aspects of my application.

Additional Coursework
I come from a less-traditional background and didn't have any business-related courses in undergrad, although I took a couple of calc and stats classes for my major. Still, I wanted to make sure that b-schools knew that I could handle traditional business classes, so I took a financial accounting and a microecon class to boost my background.

School Choice
I spent a significant amount of time defining my career goals and determining the types of things that I do and don't like. From there, I looked at the top 20 schools and quickly noted which ones I was not interested in. That was easier for me than deciding which programs I was interested in. For example, NYC is too hectic for me and also freakishly expensive, so Columbia and Stern were crossed out. I also prefer the east coast, and decided that there were only 2 schools that would be personally worth it for me to leave the east coast -- Stanford and Kellogg. I also focused a lot on the community of the schools and the program offerings.

Results
I was admitted to Yale, Kellogg, Fuqua, and Tuck in the first round. I was FC'd at HBS, which basically means waitlist without interview. This moved my app to Round 2. In Round 2, I honestly wasn't expecting much. All I wanted was to be admitted to just one school. After the first admit, there was significantly less pressure. But anyway, I was somehow admitted to Stanford, and finally heard back from HBS with some good news.

Recommendations
I'm not an admissions expert, although I spent an insane amount of time researching everything I could about applying to schools. I think that 50% of my success was just luck. I have met some incredible people during this process, and there are way more qualified people than admissions spots available.

A couple of things that I found most helpful:
- Starting early
- Chatting with anyone and everyone -- current students, alumni, admissions officers, fellow applicants, etc... I tried to find any hidden insight I could for each program to which I applied.
- Knowing my story: Coming from a less traditional background, I really had to prove that my story made sense and that an MBA was critical to my next steps. I practiced my pitch repeatedly and even did mock interviews with some friends.

A few things that I may have changed:
- Applying to school is ridiculously expensive. I only thought about the cost of applications and failed to factor in flights and hotel rooms for visits and interviews, $750 for the 3 times I took the GMAT, plus GMAT study resources and the 2 additional classes. I wish I would have saved more. Especially now that I am seeing the cost of attendance for top MBA programs.
- There are probably some other things that would have made the journey easier, but since it's all worked out, I guess I wouldn't change them. I don't know if the additional coursework helped and it was really time consuming, but whatever, I'm sure it didn't hurt my app.

I'll be deciding between GSB and HBS and will update this thread after I make my final matriculation decision. Being a part of this community has been awesome.
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2014, 14:28
Just an amazing job to get a clean sweep at all the schools you applied to. Good luck making the decision between GSB and HBS!
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2014, 20:30
Many congrats.... 6 for 6... Whatever you choose, you can't go wrong...
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2014, 20:53
What a great story! And amazing results. Apologies if you wrote this elsewhere, but could to you tell some more about to your background? Undergraduate, work experience, extracurriculars?

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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 02:25
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 28 Mar 2014, 05:07
pennyless wrote:
What a great story! And amazing results. Apologies if you wrote this elsewhere, but could to you tell some more about to your background? Undergraduate, work experience, extracurriculars?

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Thanks Pennyless. Here are some details about my background: 4 years of experience in the education sector. Went to undergrad at an Ivy. Decent extracurriculars in undergrad and now very active in my community.
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2014, 20:59
Congratulations and thank you for the post! I am so envious! :)

If you don't mind sharing, what did you use the one essay to cover? (e.g. overcoming challenges, leadership experiences, why HBS/mba) ?
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2014, 12:39
dance123 wrote:
Congratulations and thank you for the post! I am so envious! :)

If you don't mind sharing, what did you use the one essay to cover? (e.g. overcoming challenges, leadership experiences, why HBS/mba) ?


Hi Dance123, I think you also posted this question on my blog (or another reader had a very similar question), so I'll just copy the same response here.
I highlighted what personally motivates me and how that has influenced my career decisions. Dee Leopold has repeatedly said not to overthink the essay. Go with your gut; that's what I did. Also, if you are planning to apply to HBS next year, keep in mind that the essay topics have changed every year for the past three years.
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2014, 11:18
Congrats on all the acceptances!!! What an awesome journey :)
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2014, 16:32
DefyingGravity wrote:
dance123 wrote:
Congratulations and thank you for the post! I am so envious! :)

If you don't mind sharing, what did you use the one essay to cover? (e.g. overcoming challenges, leadership experiences, why HBS/mba) ?


Hi Dance123, I think you also posted this question on my blog (or another reader had a very similar question), so I'll just copy the same response here.
I highlighted what personally motivates me and how that has influenced my career decisions. Dee Leopold has repeatedly said not to overthink the essay. Go with your gut; that's what I did. Also, if you are planning to apply to HBS next year, keep in mind that the essay topics have changed every year for the past three years.



Congrats! The application process is such a gauntlet that its always good to see positive outcomes. Good luck with your decision making process, and maybe we'll see each other next year :-D
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2014, 14:12
Africa1989 wrote:


Congrats! The application process is such a gauntlet that its always good to see positive outcomes. Good luck with your decision making process, and maybe we'll see each other next year :-D


Africa1989, congrats to you as well! I see you were admitted to HBS!
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2014, 11:33
DefyingGravity wrote:
Africa1989 wrote:


Congrats! The application process is such a gauntlet that its always good to see positive outcomes. Good luck with your decision making process, and maybe we'll see each other next year :-D


Africa1989, congrats to you as well! I see you were admitted to HBS!



Thanks, and my unbiased ( :lol: ) opinion is that you should bring your talents to Boston.
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 01 May 2014, 02:33
I´ve just read your story and it´s amazing, congrats!

Having to choose between GSB and HBS is like having to choose between mom and dad, although in this case you know there is no wrong answer. I hope when you do decide, you´ll share your decision and insight, it will be interesting to learn about your thoughts on why one or the other.

Thanks for sharing
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 02 May 2014, 06:15
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It's official, I'll be headed to HBS this fall.
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http://DefyingGravityMBA.blogspot.com/

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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 02 May 2014, 07:06
DefyingGravity wrote:
It's official, I'll be headed to HBS this fall.


Congrats. Excellent choice. I'm sure that you'll contribute to HBS in many many ways.
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Re: Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 03 May 2014, 07:16
DefyingGravity wrote:
It's official, I'll be headed to HBS this fall.


Congratulations , and good luck on your new adventure! It must have been a tough choice.
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Trying to defy gravity [#permalink] New post 28 Jun 2014, 03:13
Congratulations!
Trying to defy gravity   [#permalink] 28 Jun 2014, 03:13
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