Round 1 Apps: Relief…then a Sense of Powerlessness
I’ve just burned the last few drops of midnight oil between September 30th and October 1st, 2012.
The bad news is I need to be up and out of bed in 5 hours for cardio. The good news is that I’ve just submitted apps for Wharton, Booth and Stanford after an all Sunday marathon of checking, re-checking, editing, re-editing, praying, submitting and giving my debit card quite a workout (these app fees add up quickly!).
All of these apps are due back to back to back between later today (Monday) and Wednesday. Here is how my current application status breaks down:
HBS – was due 9/24 – submitted with all 3 rec’s in
Wharton – due 10/1 – submitted with both rec’s in
Booth – due 10/2 – submitted with 1/2 rec’s in (#2 submits later today)
Stanford – due 10/3 – submitted with 1/3 rec’s in (both remaining recommenders have committed to submit on 10/1; if not, I just might show up at their homes with a meat cleaver and a smile until they press the submit button; well, maybe not, but you get my drift).
MIT Sloan – due 10/24 – 1/2 rec’s in
Relief…then a Sense of Powerlessness
Ready for more good and bad news? Of course you are. Here goes: on the good side, I am incredibly relieved to have crossed this hump. Even though I still have one very challenging and unique app to complete (Sloan), I’ll take focusing on one partially done app over 3 weeks over focusing on 4 over a period of about 4 weeks any day.
I’m excited to become a gym rat again. I’m excited to feel free to join friends for drinks or just do nothing but sip wine or play PS3 one evening with no MBA APP GUILT (a gnawing feeling that you should be working on an application or essay; and that not doing so will be the fatal act of laziness that dooms your chances at dream school X) whatsoever.
Yet, before I could really even get my groove on with an emotional release and celebration, I was overcome with a sense of powerlessness regarding the apps that I had submitted. As it stands, Sloan is the only school app that I can still do anything about to improve my execution of it. All of the others are signed, sealed and delivered–locked away in an adcom file for a group of people who don’t know me to try to get to know me and decide my fate in their program. Scary; very scary.
Coming to Grips with Reality and Being OK With It
I’ve said before that accept or deny, I feel good about what I have submitted; and I still feel that way. There are people with profiles both more and less impressive than mine who have matriculated to (and been denied by) every program that I’ve submitted to.
For now, I”m just thankful that I really got to take my time with each deck, slowly cooking my app responses and essays over time. While I could have probably submitted a few weeks ago, I resisted the urge to move too quickly and continued my diligent path to the submit button for each. When I first began, I was told that submitting 5 apps in one Round would darn near kill me; however, I don’t feel that way. It was definitely a challenge and often a PITA, but I know that I gave myself enough of a head start to not end up feeling overly pressured.
Moving On; and Advice for Future Applicants
So now its time to turn my attention to MIT Sloan. I plan to take a few days break and then rip right into it. I am not as far along as I would have liked to have been on the essays, but I was crashing and burning on my initial attempts and needed to look away from essays for a sec to regroup. My goal is to actually submit that app about a week before the deadline; but we’ll see if that actually happens.
If you are reading this with enough remaining time to still do anything about any of your apps, here’s my buck fifty on a couple quick things you might want to pay attention to:
1. Give yourself plenty of time – Most people respect their essays enough to do this; however, the actual application should be viewed similarly. It is prime real estate for you to leverage into a broader and deeper explanation of who you are and why they might want to offer you an interview invite. If you submit them too soon after completing them, you won’t have given yourself enough time to really mull over your answers and subsequently improve them and make them stronger.
2. Try to submit your apps as close together as possible – Since much of the app information is the same, you may want to resist the urge to submit them one-by-one. If you do this, you are all but guaranteed to think of wordings in a subsequent app that you wish you could have applied to a previous one.
3. Read the confirmation PDF line-by-line – IMHO you should invest a significant amount of time and energy reviewing the pdf of your app right before you pay and submit. This document is exactly what the admissions committee will see as they evaluate you; you want to make sure that it lands well and paints you in the best and broadest light.