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Joined: Oct 19, 2019
710 Q49 V36 (Online)
I started my MBA application journey early July because I still didn’t have a decent enough GMAT score until June end. I had gotten in touch with Poonam early on and knew how important it was to start the process early. I couldn’t follow through with her warnings and timelines because I was so under confident given my GMAT.
When I finally started the process with her, I knew I was late, but she was more than willing to formulate a strategy with me and get going. She never made me feel like I was too late and there was little hope left. She was encouraging, and never suggested that I aim for or settle for anything less than my dream.
School selection: Post GMAT, this was the first step. I have always appreciated her for instilling in me the understanding of school ‘fit’. As Indians we are taught from a young age to obsess over rankings. Through her, watching her content and speaking with her, I learnt how truly important ‘fit’ is. This was showcased in my school selection list as well. Since I was so late in the process and only had a 710, I was trying to be conservative about the list, but she kept highlighting how GMAT is only ONE component. If it wasn’t for this over-emphasis, I won’t have taken my Tuck application seriously and won’t have gotten in as well.
Brainstorming: The questionnaire she shares with you at the very beginning really helps in getting your story aligned. It helps YOU more than it helps her because the stories go back so much in the past that on a day-to-day basis, we don’t even remember that some of the stuff happened with us or what we made happen! The questions are expansive and really make you think hard. Don’t consider this exercise a waste of time because this is what ultimately saves you time in different essay prompts.
Resume: The STAR method saved my life here. I sent Poonam a resume way above the word or page limit. She sat me down and explained what the Ad Com is looking for and how each point in the resume is a smaller version of the STAR method. It’s a total game changer.
Essays: I used to think I am a good writer but boy was I wrong! My style of writing was superfluous - too many words and sentences that spanned three lines. This was a disaster for b-school apps! Poonam understood that this was a weakness for the apps, and she patiently cut short my sentences into concise ones which delivered the point and sounded beautiful too. This is where her experience of writing for decades comes in. This is where her very well-earned PhD comes in. The fact that she has edited over 10K essays enables her to retain your message and communicate it in a third of the words you used. Not only that, she guides you enough so that your future iterations and fresh versions come off better than your initial drafts. She truly empowers you. You slowly realize you’re spending way lesser time on churning out drafts by the time you reach your second or third school.
I’d like to conclude by saying that while I got into 2 of the 4 schools I worked on with her, I also got waitlisted at Fuqua. I was complacent and since Tuck was a dream school, I didn’t focus on the waitlist too much and withdrew my application. I can guarantee that had I listened to her tips for the waitlist, I could’ve stood a chance at a positive outcome from that too. She gave me very valuable insights for the same and has a stellar record of converting waitlists too.
When it comes to apps, we already deal with enough stress as is. Be it taking and retaking GMAT, spending years building our profiles and then dealing with recommenders. It’s best to leave the essays to the experts as they’re a crucial part of the application! Thanks for not only your guidance but also your constant support by treating me not just as a ‘client’ but like a pupil whose future you’re so invested in!!