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.


  1. Congrats on your admit to Ross!

  2. I was interviewed by Ross but denied in R3 this year. I'm planning to re-apply to Ross this year. I have a few questions on the re-applicant strategy. Could you please share your mail id? Thanks.

  3. If you dnt mind, may I knw ur profile? more specifically abt urwork experience and gmat? it wud help a lot thnx.

  4. Thanks aimingformba. I'm more than happy to give you some pointers, leave your email and I'll get back to you. In the mean time I wrote a post earlier in the blog about my reapplicant strategy, see it here:

    It's really about identifying your weaknesses and demonstrating improvement, then again, I wasn't admitted to any school to which I reapplied so take this all with a grain of salt.

  5. Sharmin, my background is ~5 years of work experience, 4 with an unusual consulting firm with demonstrated growth, 3.35 from a top 50ish university, and GMAT scores of 700 and 710 ( with roughly an even split, each about 80th percentile).

    If you have more specific questions, let me know. Hope this helps

  6. JM: Thanks, my mail id:

  7. AnonymousJune 20, 2011

    Hey JM, awesome news, and congrats. A fellow MBA-blogger ( is also going to Ross, I believe, in case you want to reach out. Good luck in Ann Arbor!