FROM addictedk89: Finalising your schools shortlist
NB: This is the final post of a three-part post on school selection – creating, editing and finalising.
Prioritise. Or else.
I applied in R1 so I had the opportunity to split my six schools across the first two rounds. Different people have different strategies, but I optimised for one thing. Freedom. If I got into any school in R1, I would stop. Pros are 1)if you’re a popular demographic (a MBB consultant!) you have a slightly better chance and 2) you get more months of party time. Cons are 1) your applications get better as you go and 2)if you get into nothing in R1, you’ll be pretty depressed and stressed during Christmas.
I went with my gut feel on my top 4:
Columbia: NYC and fashion connections. Mainly NYC. I spoke to many alums but I did feel that they were slightly more serious than some of the other schools. The alums were very helpful, but I definitely didn’t feel at complete ease. My essays got shot down for being too “emotional” and not factual enough.
HBS: I actually remember having a conversation with my housemate when I was studying for the GMAT, we joked that I’d be miserable and eaten alive at HBS. I had met some alums that I did not want to work with. I did not even put HBS as a school on my GMAT list. I also went to an info session and felt that the room was very, very uptight. In hindsight though, I think it was because all of the prospective applicants were in black suits. On the flip side, I did, have a couple of good friends there and an alumni also helped me on my app. Frankly, I was more than a little confused, but I went with it, because well, it’s Harvard.
Kellogg: Marketing and people. I want to do marketing so I always knew that I’d be applying to Kellogg! Kellogg’s friendly and “softer” team spirit image also appealed to me. I spoke to a couple of alums and they just seemed very energised and simply, nice.
Stanford: What’s not to love? Some of the smartest people in the world, next to the Valley and the sun! All seriousness though, some of my favourite people from my consulting firm had gone to Stanford. I have never disliked someone from the GSB.
I could have applied for Wharton and INSEAD too, but to be honest, I struggled with three applications (I decided to apply for Columbia in November given its rolling admissions). I postponed these two for a few different reasons:
INSEAD: As I said, 1Y was a little too short and it wasn’t in the States. Importantly, the recommendation questions were slightly different to the US schools. You may laugh, but it a real issue when you’re getting senior people to help you out!
Wharton: Mainly the vibe. It’s close to NYC, has a great retail program and I had even met a lovely bubbly alum at a Women’s event, but I was traumatised by a previous info session. I think out of the 6 alumni panelists, 5 of them were from a finance background and ended up returning to the same bank. All the prospectives were also finance guys – I didn’t quite fit into that room.
Honestly, I would’ve been happy to attend any of the six. I also decided that if I didn’t get into these six, I would be going to none. I would accept that MBAs aren’t for me and would move on with life. Some may think it’s a little defeatist, but getting obsessive over these applications will kill you. MBA is just a means to an end, you will succeed with or without it. Remind yourself of this when times get tough.
This Blog post was imported into the forum automatically. We hope you found it helpful. Please use the Kudos button if you did, or please PM/DM me if you found it disruptive and I will take care of it.