I’m an East Asian male working in finance – an over-represented group in business school. Before reaching out to Melissa and mbaMission, I talked to another consulting company and was basically told that I have little chance at the top 10 given my background. While I always appreciate frank advice, I felt extremely disappointed and somewhat upset at the quick judgement since I knew people with similar background who’d made it.
The MBA process was long and stressful so it’s important for me to work with someone who’s honest but who’d have faith in me. During the initial call, Melissa showed just that. She was direct in acknowledging some potential weak spots. But rather than delving into them, Melissa pointed out other parts of my background that are unique and focused the conversation on what I could do to stand out more, starting with making my resume more result-oriented. Immediately I felt she was already on my “team”. Her positivity and problem solving (instead of problem identifying) approach made me feel a lot better going into and throughout the process. Through the ups and downs of the application season, her supports and encouraging words never failed to build up my self-confidence.
In total, we had over 200 email exchanges, and Melissa was always super-fast with her response. The two areas Melissa helped me the most with were with my essays and interview preparation.
First, Melissa understood very well the Adcom’s perspectives and helped me become more confident in bringing out my personality. I had heard the advice “be yourself” countless times; but that’s easier said than done. For example, when telling my stories, I would keep out some character-revealing details thinking they might sound too “geeky” and unimpressive. But Melissa’s enthusiasm with those stories made me realize they are more unique and interesting than I’d thought. That’s another great thing about working with Melissa. With her approach, the application process really became a self-discovery journey. I came out of this process more self-aware and comfortable with who I am than I’d ever been.
Second, Melissa was fantastic at helping me transform my long-winded essay drafts into concise and engaging ones. When I thought there was no way to cut the word count without hurting the content, she did so time and again. On the other hand, when supporting details were lacking, she asked pointed questions and helped me identify relevant examples from my experience that I’d overlooked.
I applied to four top-10 schools, got interview invites from all four, and was admitted to two, one of which is in the top-5. None of those achievements would have been possible without having Melissa as my coach, my project manager, and a supportive friend throughout this process.
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