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Admitted to Emory, UNC, & NUS - My B-School Application Journey

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Admitted to Emory, UNC, & NUS - My B-School Application Journey  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 10 Apr 2015, 02:17
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Hey folks!

I had been waiting to post on this thread once I finalize where I'm going to end up. Now that I have decided, here's my long story.

My journey actually began last year when I decided to pursue an MBA. I had only 1.5-2 years of experience and I only tried for the top Indian B Schools through the CAT. After a rigorous preparation (which is generally what is required in the extremely competitive and exam based environment in India), I got a decent 99%ile score on the basis of which I expected to be invited to interviews to the top schools. Unfortunately, this was not to happen, and apart from some Tier 2 schools which I ended up getting admitted to, I got only one good interview call which I bombed. I eventually decided not to continue in those places and retry next year. It was here I started exploring options abroad which really opened me up to the world of possibilities and opportunities an international MBA provides. I was really struck by this idea (and of course, the idea of studying in a diverse classroom in another country!) and explored the requirements which I needed to fulfill to start my application journey.

The first thing I came to know from everyone unanimously was to get GMAT out of the way. On top of this, since I came from a pretty, let's just say 'a dime a dozen' profile (IT from India) and that too with very less work experience (will complete 3 years at matriculation), I needed a rockstar GMAT score to maximize my potential reach. So in June, I booked a GMAT date in August, and started really preparing for it day in and day out (since this isn't the GMAT thread, I'll refrain from adding details). It was such a relief seeing the score of 750 on the screen! This was my first attempt, and me being that person, was really spooked by the horror stories I had read here earlier. I managed a 5.5 in AWA and a 7 in the IR.

Fortunately, I had done a preliminary research on schools suited for my goals, and had already picked the 5 schools I'd sent my score to. MIT Sloan (my dream school) and Kellogg were easy picks, and I chose ISB, Duke (my other favorite), and Simon as the other three because of their earlier deadlines. I wanted to go to a school which would help me in a tech/marketing career with my backup option being in consulting, and I based my list on that. Apart from these, I had Tepper, Goizueta, McCombs, Kenan-Flagler, Foster, and NUS on my initial list. All these schools were more or less great options to pursue the career of my choice and they formed my initial list. I had talked to alumni and students to a lot of schools, and my research finally ended with these ones. The trick now was to divide them into R1 and R2. I initially planned to picking 6 for R1 and the rest for later (yes I know I picked many schools, but I really REALLY had to go for an MBA this year for multiple reasons). Eventually though I managed to squeeze in an extra two during R1 and to this day, I don't know how I did it. I must really thank my recommendation providers here who sometimes went out of their way and time to fill up the recommendations on time (although I'm sure they had a template to work on after the first one they wrote).

Writing essays was the most wonderful part of the application cycle. What helped me a lot was that I had an initial base on the programs at each school and did a detailed analysis now that my shortlist was final. This along with the writing part to knit a story to string along my goals and my past achievements was truly a soul-searching experience and led to me finding many things about myself! Hopefully, it leads to self-actualization! ;) Trust me, this part is the one you will cherish the most after the applications, but curse the most during. I had wonderful friends who helped to polish and hone my ideas best, and their advice was something which I really felt made my stories come out great. I personally loved Fuqua's "Random Things about yourself" question, Goizueta's "I'm passionate about...", and Sloan's "Recommendation to yourself" essays. The latter was really a bouncer in which I tried to praise myself and not over self-aggrandize at the same time.

The whole process was really tiresome, with juggling work and applications together when all I could think of throughout to be honest was starting b-school. Faced a lot of ups and downs, both at work and personally to finally complete the applications when I finally thought it's time to mash my PS4 with some FIFA15 waiting for the results. And then it started. Duke was the first to release their decision; I was rejected without an interview. This really demotivated me and flushed all my confidence away. Two reasons - I was absolutely in love with the place (and hence, applied in EA round), and this was my first reject which made me question all my application strategy and execution. It really bummed me hard! To add to that, I saw a butt load of invites being sent out for Tepper too, and even though I did not receive a reject, I felt like one as I felt that I was in a small minority who didn't. That was a hard hard week, and I was really upset and scared that nothing would work. Fortunately, Simon and ISB sent me an invite soon and I started feeling okay. Even though the former was a safe school and the latter my backup option (well, according to me!), I felt like "At least someone finds me worthy to talk to". After a few days though, I received an invite from McCombs! I was ecstatic! A top 20 school invited me! To be frank, I never really expected Sloan or Kellogg with my credentials, so I thought this was my best shot (the 10-20 range)! I started massively preparing for the interview... I knew I had to crack this one. To add to my joy, Tepper invited me too soon after! This was awesome... I started getting my confidence back. Then something neither I nor anyone else who were with me in my application process anticipated happening, happened - MIT freakin' Sloan interview invitation in my inbox. This was unbelievable! An IT guy from India with barely 3 years of experience and no volunteer work invited to a top 10 school! I booked my flight to Mumbai (my interview destination) the very same hour and my prep for all interviews went on. This was step 3 after the GMAT and the apps. The month of November was tiring that way. I had interviews, most of them after 9pm local time during weekdays, and I was pretty fatigued after this whole ordeal. Now I just had to wait for my results (I had it in my mind, I'll only NOT apply in R2 if Sloan clicks). After all, I applied to 4 peer schools in UNC, UTA, CMU and Emory.

The results part was not a good experience at all. Even though it started with a very generous offer from Simon, what followed was a nightmare from which I suffered headaches later. ISB - reject (whaaaa?!), Kellogg - reject (well, yeah I knew this, but still upset), Tepper, McCombs, Sloan, Foster - all W/Ls. Trust me, what is more frustrating and more painful than a reject is a waitlist. You don't get closure. And here I was again back to square one applying to my remaining schools. Along with sending updates as necessary to the above, I finished Goizueta's, Kenan-Flagler's and NUS' applications. Somewhere in the middle, I moved up from Foster's waitlist (which was my only W/L without an interview) to receive an interview invite. It was one of my best interviews, but I still ended up getting rejected in the next round :/. I also came across the program at Imperial College London Business School. Talked to a few people, and applied to this too. I really liked the overall quality. Plus the location and the brand appealed to me a lot. Of course, being a non-EU passport holder, my job opportunities were fairly limited, but I thought what the hell. That's my favorite city. I might as well apply, and so I did. This time however, my results were much more relieving and satisfying. First off, Imperial - accept. Then in the same week, I got acceptances from Emory, UNC and NUS all with very generous offers! Cloud nine, folks! 100% hit rate in R2/3. This was when it finally struck me that my application ordeal is finally over. The past 8-9 months went in a flash and then the decision phase came. Meanwhile, I continue being on the waitlist for Sloan, Tepper and McCombs even after R2 (I withdrew from the latter 2). At the end, after contemplating a lot and factoring in various reasons, I have decided to enroll at Goizueta. I'm looking forward to a wonderful two years ahead in Atlanta.

But this? This is what was in the end a very satisfying and important life experience.

Cheers!
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Originally posted by razordude1717 on 08 Apr 2015, 01:22.
Last edited by razordude1717 on 10 Apr 2015, 02:17, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 08 Apr 2015, 09:27
Congrats - hope you have a good 2 years in Goizueta
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New post 08 Apr 2015, 20:23
Thanks! I wish you all the same wherever you choose to go!
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New post 10 Apr 2015, 00:16
Congratulations. Quite an ordeal indeed. May I ask, why haven't you considered Europe? I see that you've applied to Imperial but that was towards the fag end of your applications.
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New post 10 Apr 2015, 00:56
bsa5360 wrote:
Congratulations. Quite an ordeal indeed. May I ask, why haven't you considered Europe? I see that you've applied to Imperial but that was towards the fag end of your applications.


Thank you!

Actually it's not like I did not consider Europe, I just preferred the US job market for a) opportunities, and b) quality of education. I'm not saying that top European B Schools won't have that, just that for non-EU folks (specially Indians like me), it becomes very difficult to secure post study work opportunities in Europe. It's quite frozen at the moment.

I considered Imperial because of London simply. It's my favorite city. At that time when i applied, the only admit I had was Simon, UoR. When I got 2 admits from top 20 US schools, the decision became much easier. Nevertheless, would love to work in London if I get the opportunity sometime later in life.
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New post 10 Apr 2015, 07:35
Congrats on your success... :)
Would like to join you, if only I could make it over there for the class of 2018 :wink:
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New post 15 Apr 2015, 14:46
Very interesting here! My congratulations! :)
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New post 20 Apr 2015, 02:35
Congratulations for the results and the decision.
This motivates me to write a post for my application journey :-)
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New post 01 Aug 2015, 03:52
Great Story!Good Luck.
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New post 22 Sep 2016, 02:47
omg good for u!!!! keep up
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New post 25 Dec 2016, 23:41
Hey !great story !
Can you share your profile if possible

Also I know you probably don't need to know to know this now but you could have tried out A friend Abroad for your interview preparation etc. They provide mentors from the college of your choice to help you in interview preparation ,SOP preparation ,application drafting etc I found them to be pretty good and am hoping for the best
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Re: Admitted to Emory, UNC, & NUS - My B-School Application Journey  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jan 2018, 08:22
That's a hell of a lot of schools to apply to. Good job working hard and getting a good outcome!
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Re: Admitted to Emory, UNC, & NUS - My B-School Application Journey &nbs [#permalink] 03 Jan 2018, 08:22
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