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# What is the Hardest Part of the MBA Application Process?

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What is the Hardest Part of the MBA Application Process? [#permalink]

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10 Aug 2011, 23:44
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We are all in the midst of Business School Application process - Research, GMAT, Essays, Letters of Recommendation, Transcripts, Interviews, and anything else in between.

So, which of these is/was the hardest for you?

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Re: What is the Hardest Part of the MBA Application Process? [#permalink]

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11 Aug 2011, 00:27
Great question . Will be interesting to see what people say.
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Re: What is the Hardest Part of the MBA Application Process? [#permalink]

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11 Aug 2011, 05:59
I think it probably depends on how many schools you're applying to.

I'm applying to five schools in R1, so writing 15 two-page essays has become just a mountain of a task. Taking the GMAT, researching schools, asking recommenders, not as big a deal.

If I was only applying to one school, then taking the GMAT and securing recommendations would be (relatively) a bigger deal.
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Re: What is the Hardest Part of the MBA Application Process? [#permalink]

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11 Aug 2011, 06:03
I chose other. The hardest part for me is boiling my life down to ~2000 words and trying to make sure my recommendations/resume/application/interview stays on message with those 2000 words.
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11 Aug 2011, 09:40
Some of this may be covered in the essays part - but I think it's broader than that. The key is to crystallize your unique and distinct storyline/positioning/message
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11 Aug 2011, 09:45
My issue with the essays is the word count. There's a lot they want you to fit into a very small amount of space. You really have to pick and choose which nuggets you want to use. There may be 3 examples you want to use, but only ONE will fit. It's very difficult.
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11 Aug 2011, 10:03
After writing my essays for Tuck and Columbia.. it's about uniqueness thus far. Trying to tailor the essay to your personality, address the question, address the word count, and also convey the message that you are ready for an mba and you will attend that school if admitted. It's really a balancing act. With my Tuck essays I really came at them from the "fit" perspective in addition to what I can contribute. In regards to Columbia, perhaps it will be my demise, but I had a lot more fun with the essays. The 250 word essay 3 I wrote the campaign speech (was fun) and I tied in my message there with my essay 1 delivery. I really didn't focus on formalities with it but moreso on focusing on who I was and letting my personality shine through. Applying ED I think already delivers the message I'm coming if you admit me, so I wanted to tell them about the person I am when I show up
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Re: What is the Hardest Part of the MBA Application Process? [#permalink]

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11 Aug 2011, 10:42
By FAAARRR ahead comes the process of writting essays.
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11 Aug 2011, 17:26
I remember when I applied the most difficult thing for me really was the recommendations. Everything else was on me and I controlled the quality of. However, recs are the one thing that rely completely on other people and you have minimal input on how well those go. I knew I could put strong essays together, I did not find the GMAT stressful at all, and a resume is what it is. I never had an issue with interviews, and I didn't have a long stressful wait after submitting since I was accepted to Kellogg only a few days after Thanksgiving.

You control your own destiny in many ways in the application process, as long as you are honest about your chances and have realistic expectations. However, with recs the best you can do is to pick the right people and hope they come through for you.
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Re: What is the Hardest Part of the MBA Application Process? [#permalink]

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12 Aug 2011, 00:03
GMAT for me is toughest part !
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Re: What is the Hardest Part of the MBA Application Process? [#permalink]

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12 Aug 2011, 07:47
waiting and then hearing from people on gmatclub that they got interview invites from X, Y and Z. By far the hardest part...
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12 Aug 2011, 12:14
Hardest part about the application process is the "Application Tweets". I mean, trying to condense your entire candidacy down to just 140 characters is definitely a daunting task.
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12 Aug 2011, 18:49
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For me the toughest part was the essays, perhaps it's the Englishman in me but I found it very difficult to self promote. I also really struggled to choose an appropriate story about myself for each essay because I spent so much time reading about other people who had amazing stories that I felt mine paled in comparison.

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14 Aug 2011, 08:00
Most definitely the recos. You can most certainly control the quality of everything else in the application. But the Recommendation, its somebody's goodwill you are banking up on.

So I think its imperative that we choose our recommenders very early in the process (say at least a year before ) and consciously build a great personal relationship before asking them for a rec., rather than just turning up a week before with wine in hand and asking for reco. a week later. The person will connect the dots, if he is smart enough to be in a position to recommend you for a top MBA.
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14 Aug 2011, 18:35
Kudos to RHB for speaking my mind. I'm (SE) Asian so self promoting isn't quite in my culture either. Picking the right stories is a challenge.
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14 Aug 2011, 19:04
RHB brings a very valid point. One of the first comments I got when my friends read my essay was that it talked too much about the "project" and not "my role" in the project. Definitely a cultural thing, lol.
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14 Aug 2011, 19:10
Yeah, I've also been getting tips from knowledgeagble people about how to write essays, e.g., how not to turn an essay into a personal statement. One of my seniors (INSEAD alumni) who was here recently gave me so many invaluable tips and how to package the applications (let us see how his advice bears any fruit for me )
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14 Aug 2011, 20:35
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behbette wrote:
Kudos to RHB for speaking my mind. I'm (SE) Asian so self promoting isn't quite in my culture either. Picking the right stories is a challenge.

Yes, self-promotion is definitely a problem for people of many cultures. This obviously manifests itself in the Accomplishments essay. One way to rethink "self-promotion" is to think of it more as writing action-oriented essays: simply write what you did and why you did it. That's all.

On the other side of the coin is the problem of self-reflection when it comes to the Setbacks essay. One would think that if self-promotion were an issue, self-criticism in the Setbacks essay would be easy because it's the opposite!

But, I find that many people who aren't good at self-promotion are EQUALLY BAD at self-criticism. This is critical for the AdCom: ok, so everyone (most) can write about how good they are; can you write how BAD you were??!!

The key to the Setbacks essay is to be self-REFLECTIVE. Show me you made a mistake but tell me why you made that mistake and what you learned. And, BONUS, how you did it right the 2nd time around.

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08 Mar 2013, 11:30
I think the hardest part is the wait, the suspense is killing me here... references are easy, its these essays... im so concerned that i didn't do a good job on them, im confident in most of my essays, like 80% of my essays per application are good, its that 20% that bugs me most... do you think that even with a botched essay, provided you have an interesting background and strong academics, that you can still get to the interview and try impress there ?

i've applied at LBS, LSE, MIT, Thunderbird and Warwick... my grades kick ass but im too much of a narcissistic and i think ive shot myself in the foot sometimes with these essays...
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08 Mar 2013, 14:36
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The hardest part is always the next step.. If you think about it..

- Acing the GMAT was the hardest part.. you went in nervous, knowing you needed a great score, and studied countless hours mastering sentence correction

- You aced the GMAT, great. How do I even start writing the essays? Which schools should I fill out. Can I use the same essay for each school? Is my grammar 100% perfect. How do I fit so much into 300 words

- Essays are coming together, great. But who am I going to get to recommend? Will my supervisor be pissed I am trying to leave? Will the supervisor give me a good review, should i wave the right to see it? If I dont wave the right, will the school hold that against me. This whole recommendation thing is awkward.

- Great, talked to my recommender. He/She is on board and seem like they might give me positive feedback. Now just to edit the crap out of the essays and scrutinize every little part of the application. Which 3 activities do I talk about as extra curriculars in the space alotted. My transcript wont format right, crap. Spell check for the 300th time, submit

- Everythings out of my hands, this feels awesome. I twiddle my thumbs, this becomesa nightmare. I sit for 2 months, surely this is the worst part. Not knowing what any of the 4 schools I applied to is thinking. Should I set my sights lower in the next round? Ask for more recs?

- Phew, got a call for an interview. I am so money, let me look up the % of candidates that get in based on interview. Oh great, its 65%, I am bound to get it. 1 week before interview, let me just brush up on my app and re-read the questions i think they will ask. 1 day before interview, freak out and cant sleep. What if I am one of the 35% who doesnt make the cut. Interview time, it goes well, but not perfect, but at least interview is over. That was a tough one

- 2 weeks go by. I hear nothing. I wonder if I shouldnt have said that the trees on the campus up by the river smelled funky. That wasnt smart, but it was small talk on the way into the room. They wont hold that against me right? Oh God, I am doomed.

- OMG the WL. A tragedy. More waiting

- Finally getting accepted. Praise be to the greater powers. Its all over. I sit here and say the hardest part is over. But I know its not. The hardest part now become financial aid, meeting classmates, endless homework assignments, interviewing for my real career, internship, more interviews.

So which is the hardest part? In my opinion, the next part. The next thing you are working on is the toughest. Is it silly for me to look back now and say the essay/GMAT was tough? Sure, I laugh at how easy those were compared to my next challenge. Best of luck to all out there. You are the brightest people and most driven. The next part is tougher than the last, but it will all be worth. Many came before us and succeeded. Many will come after us and do the same. Just work at it, good things will come.
Re: What is the Hardest Part of the MBA Application Process?   [#permalink] 08 Mar 2013, 14:36

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# What is the Hardest Part of the MBA Application Process?

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