Sunday, May 15, 2011

Long Overdue Recap

It's been way too long since I've actually posted anything here. Life has been eventful over the pasta month or so. My attention has shifted almost weekly from one school to the next. At this point, I have a couple posts in mind. Hopefully I'll actually write them before another month passes. The next one I intend to dedicate to applicants entering the process. I want to provide a few high level pieces of advice since I feel that would be useful for those of you panicking about how to approach the essays, the GMAT and the entire application process. But first, I want to recap where I've been so without further ado:

I was a reapplicant this year. Last year I applied to a handful of schools and only applied to those I was thrilled to attend (at the time). The list and results were:

- Harvard - R1 denied
- Stanford - R1 denied
OK, neither of those were surprises but I was encouraged to apply as they are far and away, career defining experiences
-Kellogg - R1 denied
- Booth - R1 Interviewed but denied
- Tuck - R1 denied
- Haas - applied in round 3 of 4 and was denied

With all rejections I took a few steps to upgrade my candidacy during the spring and summer months. I received feedback from Tuck which wasn't all that helpful since I knew most of the pieces to improve upon, more importantly, I was told everything was on the margins. In other words, none had kept me out and improve any or all wouldn't guarantee an acceptance in subsequent years. This year, I applied to:

- Tuck - R1 denied
- Kellogg - R1 denied
- Booth - R1, interviewed, denied
- Haas - R1, WL, interviewed after waitlisted, denied
- UCLA - R1 accepted plus fellowship (very recent development)
Before hearing from UCLA I began to panic that I would be rejected by each and every school. I had confidence but given the previous years results, I couldn't sit still. In less two weeks I pulled together two round 2 applications to hedge. Their deadlines were just prior to the UCLA R1 notification date. The whole experience was incredibly stressful as I really didn't want to apply to any other schools but was terrified of not having a school to attend. Instead, I applied to:
- Duke - R2 accepted
- Michigan - R2, WL, interviewed after waitlisted (yup, same as Haas which made me think I'd be rejected there too) ACCEPTED

After attending the admit weekends at UCLA and Duke, I was thrilled with my options. Neither was my top choice going into the application process but I knew I was fortunate to have the option and really enjoyed my time at both. They are great programs with a ton of assets and outstanding people attending. When push came to shove, I submitted a deposit to Duke. It was a difficult decision but for a number of reasons it felt right.

This week I was admitted to Michigan then offered a Fellowship at UCLA. It was a huge twist which forced me to revisit my decision. Again I was confused. I had no idea how to handle the situation. I reached out to as many people as I could. The most poignant piece of advice I received was to evaluate the schools without paying attention to money. I will be tied to this program for the rest of my career and these people for the rest of my life. In that context, I've decided to attend Michigan Ross this fall and couldn't be happier in my decision.

And there you have it. It's been an incredible journey. The roller coaster that everyone describes comes no where close to doing the whole process justice. I had manic highs and lows. My self esteem went through the roof hours before dropping through the floor. Reflecting back upon it all, I still don't understand how such dramatic ups and downs are possible. However, it was an unbelievable experience and I am thrilled by the results. The entire experience made me stronger. And yes, I'd do it again 100 times over. If I could, I would not want to be a reapplicant; however, I would advice you not to compromise. It is worth it to stick it out.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Interview at Ross

It's been a while since I've really posted. It's been a busy few weeks as I try to reconnect with friends and enjoy my last few months here before moving onto school and a new city/town. It's been a lot of fun and I'm excited to distance myself from the intensity of the app process. Now I'm working with some positive news and it's a great problem to have. On Friday, I was extending an interview invite at Michigan Ross, where I'm already on the WL. It's a great turn of events and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know the school better, enhance my candidacy and meet more students. It's a great opportunity. The problem is that the interview must be completed by next Friday. So I've looked into flights and hotels and everything else and every way I cut it, the cost of the trip will be around $500. At this point, I'm trying to have fun BUT save money for school. Another $500 without an actual acceptance seems a bit excessive. However, it could confirm or deny my interest in Ross. The timing could be perfect, spend a day at Ross then head to Duke for admit weekend and decide on UCLA by the following Wednesday. It'd be a crazy few days but would be very telling. Of course, it could also mean I fall in love with Ann Arbor and Ross and feel the pressure of hoping to get into a school I'm thrilled about without any guarantee. So what now...? Alternatively, I could interview in my home city but I feel it won't impact my candidacy as much as a trip to Michigan. It also wouldn't help me evaluate Ross for myself. But do I really want to drop another $500....any thoughts?

Friday, March 25, 2011

In at Duke

The title says it all. I was accepted to my second MBA program which means I now have a choice. I'm pretty excited to finally hear more good news and to be in the drivers seat for a change. I need to do some more research into the program but I'm in!!!