Jumping Down the MBA Admissions Rabbit Hole

by on September 26th, 2012

Well, its official. I’ve jumped down the MBA admissions rabbit hole.  Just a few hours ago, I successfully submitted my first app to HBS; and my last of 3 recommenders submitted his recommendation about an hour and a half later without my having to be a pest about it.

I also received an invite today to attend the Tuck School of Business’ Diversity Conference at Dartmouth that I applied to several weeks ago. I had also brought it up to the Tuck adcom member who represented them at the Los Angeles MAPS event for the Consortium; she assured me that I would hear something about it soon.   I hurriedly submitted a confirmation that I planned to attend.  I’d also like to interview while there.

My Chances at Harvard (or Stanford, or Dartmouth, or anywhere, for that matter)

Who knows? I’m a firm believer that only a CURRENT admissions committee member can really tell you whether you are more or less likely to make the cut in a given year; and we all know that none of them are talking, so…?

If you let most admissions consultants tell it, the prognosis is “not likely”–but, of course, those chances can be increased for a fee. That reference kinda reminds me of Miss Cleo the (psuedo) psychic from back in the day. I mean no disrespect to admissions consultants, though. Their collective advice has been invaluable to me thus far; I”m just sayin’.

On the flip side, if you let most admissions committee members (at ANY school) tell it, the prognosis is “well, our program is very competitive; but if you have stats within range, stellar work performance, strong extras and a very clear and sensible reason for why you need the MBA now coupled with ambitious, yet realistic goals, you’ve definitely got a shot!

Hmm…Sounds great in theory, but can I really trust that to be an authentic answer? I mean, we all know that it would be both rude and non PC for an official admissions rep to tell me something like “35?!??!? Yeah, right. You haven’t got a chance in hell unless there’s a building on campus named after someone in your family or you’ve just won a medal at the London Olympics”.

To be honest, however, if that ever were the case I’d much rather someone just flat out tell me that than have me go through what I’ve gone through to put together quality applications. I’m a straight up kinda guy, and I like people to be straight up me. It just saves time.

Staying Even Keel

At any rate, I’ve chosen not to read too much into either stance. I know that I’ve done my research, started early, performed well in all areas that will be observed, put the time into my essays, app and recommenders, and submitted a strong Round 1 application. It’s simply out of my hands now.

I’m half relieved and half anxious, but I refuse to sweat. Life has taught me that it is best to remain emotionally even keel about situations that you cannot control. I’ve focused on what I could control (my actual app and the info submitted with it) and I am at peace with what I have submitted; actually, I’m quite proud of it and will remain proud of it whether my fate is admission or denial.

My Next Set of Apps

I don’t have time for too much post-submission reflection about my HBS application, as my apps for Wharton, Booth and Stanford are all due (back to back to back, no less) in just over a week. I’ll need to stay on top of my recommenders, do one (or two; or three; or ten–I’m obsessive) last look(s) over my Stanford and Wharton essays before bidding them adieu, and mostly obsess over my Booth essay set (which still needs quite a bit of work) for at least the next 7 days.

Right now, I”m just thankful that I have given myself enough time to submit apps that I am comfortable with, happy about and that I don’t have to rush or strain to get in on time. That will take a lot of stress off of me as I wait, wait and wait some more to find out if and where I’ve received interview invites.

Tuck: My Next Relationship

The best way to get over one affair is to get into the next one; or so I’ve heard. At any rate, that Tuck invite was right on time. It zapped any anxiety that I may have had about turning in my HBS app. It’s always good to know that someone else [possibly] has their eye on you. The idea of potential options has a way of helping you to keep your grubby little fingers off that panic button. Plus, I’m uber curious about Tuck. I’m anxious to see their familial, clan-like sense of community in person. I want to get a feel for what the atmosphere is like. I also am impressed with the fact that they literally have a suggested curriculum mapped out for entrepreneurs. I’ll have a lot of questions about that. Finally, I would like to see a few buddies of mine (like The Senator, LadyRoadWarrior, Ahmed, etc.) that are c/o 2014 there who’ve given me some great advice up to this point.

If I can swing it, I may try to get to New England a few days early so that I can also attempt visits to Philly and Cambridge while I’m over there–but those plans are WAY in pencil right now; so don’t hold me to them.

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