May 30, 2016

Joined: Jul 21, 2011

Posts: 48

Kudos: 1

Nicely Done!


When I took the GMAT in 2012, I wasn’t really into the nitty-gritty of B-school application and I simply sent my score (760) to the Top 5 US MBA programs I had heard about. However, my interactions with the B-school community of applicants and admits over the next 4 years began to give me a clearer picture of the competition and by the time I finally decided to take the plunge in 2015, I knew the odds were stacked against me.

I am an Indian Male with an engineering degree from a Tier 3 university in India and all my work experience within my family business (revenues > $3m annually). I didn’t even have proper clients or supervisors at my business which made selecting recommenders much more challenging than it usually is. Although, I had some strong entrepreneurial experience in Africa and had volunteered for child rights protection for almost 5 years, I began to think the US Top 10 was beyond me. I conducted informational interviews with several admissions consultants (extremely skeptical of their value addition) and had one EXTREMELY FAMOUS consultant tell me why I would be competitive only at sub 20 schools. (read Kelley, Emory etc.)

Enter Admissionado and more importantly Mark Lellouch, who came in with a reputation for non- traditional candidates. The first things that struck me about Mark were his optimism and attention to detail. While filling out one of those drab info forms, I took the liberty of sending him links to some of my leisure writings (not that these were asked for) and he came back to me with genuine appreciation. My first chat with him was conversational yet reflective, as we talked not only about my work, but also my business and family. This represented a genuine attempt on his part to understand where I came from, my strengths and weaknesses and by the time I got off the phone, I knew if I wanted to work with someone, it was him.

After agreeing to work towards my DREAM school, I began sending in drafts for my essays and resume. Within 48 hours, I would get back documents filled with red and two short, but very important words – Nicely Done. Looking back today, I feel that the MBA application process is quite draining and these small “pats on the back” go a long way towards sustaining the motivation required to develop strong applications. His feedback always forced me to “get to the point” in the “simplest way possible” while maintaining my unique identity as an applicant. Working with him was almost like one of those career assessment exercises as I began noticing how he identified leadership stories I had discarded and gave life to a resume that had boring written all over it. He even took the time to answer some really silly questions – the kind one asks when obsessing over applications a bit too much.

Apart from the school we worked towards, Mark’s guidance helped me shape applications for 5 other schools as well. By April 2016, I had been admitted to 2 Top 15 schools and a Top 20 school with a Full Ride. However, I was waitlisted at my dream school.

Once again, Mark and I got to work developing a waitlist strategy that included a detailed update letter and a new letter of recommendation. After spending 6 months on the waitlist, I was finally admitted to my dream school. And as always, Mark’s reply to this long-awaited news read – NICELY DONE!

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