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## Never give up. A story of perseverance.

This topic has 1 expert reply and 4 member replies
Rastis Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
Joined
21 Sep 2011
Posted:
183 messages
Followed by:
2 members
6
Target GMAT Score:
700
GMAT Score:
500

#### Never give up. A story of perseverance.

Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:08 am
Bear with me, please. This is rather long but worth the read.

Ever since happening upon this website six or so years ago I always imagined the day when I would be able to write my own success story of getting into business school. And up until this past Tuesday, I didn't think I ever was.

My story begins when I lived in DC not too long ago. I had moved to DC in June 2007 to begin working for the government with the idea of gaining quality work experience to use to eventually apply to business school; my undergraduate GPA was poor and I knew I needed such experience to help overshadow it. When I decided that it was time to start looking at the GMAT (probably the winter of 2009) I signed up with the only prep company I'd heard of at the time, Princeton Review. I was EXTREMELY ignorant and naive about the entire business school process, including the GMAT and the required preparation.

Like most if not all courses, the instructor was someone who had scored in the 99% percentile, but this instructor seemed to be as old if not younger than I (27 at the time) and I could tell had no experience or business for that matter teaching a course. From the onset I had no clue what was going on, specifically when it came to the quant part of it all. It seemed like I had forgotten how to do math, and this coming from an economics major. I requested several private tutoring sessions with him at the cost of $150 and hour (huge rip off, btw), which was on top of the$1200 I had already paid for the course.

Not knowing anything about researching schools' class averages in terms of scores I went ahead and took the official test and scored a whopping 330. I went ahead an applied to McCombs School of Business and of course was denied and essentially wasted $200 on the application fee. Of course I was discouraged and down. It wasn't until I started reading posts on Beat the GMAT about applying that I realized I had absolutely no reason to feel sorry for myself. McCombs' class average at that time for their full time program was 690! I had no business applying. So I hit the reset button and started over. I decided to give Veritas Prep a try after reading testimonials on both BTG and also their website and talking on the phone to one of its representatives. I dropped another$1200 on yet another classroom course. There wasn't much difference this time around in terms of my ability to excel even the slightest on the quantitative section. Fortunately, the instructor could see how much I was struggling and was nice enough to stay longer after class and work with me one-on-one at no charge. I remember asking him, "Have you ever worked with someone with this poor of math skills?" His response was a quick "Nope". He went a step further and researched remedial math books online for me to purchase, which I did without hesitation. I found myself essentially relearning algebra and other math concepts that date back to 8th grade math. Talk about a falling from grace. I never really ever improved after that. I attended online tutorials that were held at certain times and I always submitted questions that I had to their test-help people but nothing ever worked. Ever.

I reached out several different times to their HQ expressing my concerns. They convinced me to try one of their online courses. Once again, I was at the bottom of the class in terms of understanding what in the hell was going on. I think I worked with Veritas Prep for the better part of two or three years, taking ANOTHER online course on top of the online course I had already taken and the classroom course. I decided to take the exam I think two different times during that stretch and never scored above a 490.

I remember so, so many tears being shed for so many reasons. I remember holding back tears while I was working with the Veritas Prep instructor after class. I remember tearing up when we would finish for the night and I would head to my truck, just thinking of "How is it that I cannot understand this and everyone else gets it so easily?" I remember tearing up after ever piss poor showing on a practice test. I even remember tearing up after words of encouragement from fellow GMAT takers were sent my way, whether it was a comment to one of my rants on a BTG forum (which there were plenty of [rants]) or during an online tutoring session. Pretty pathetic for a grown man who, by this time, was in his 30s.

It wasn't until a guy by the name of Rich reached out to me after reading my rants on BTG. We exchanged several emails and he convinced me that I needed to learn the GMAT in a completely different way. That at this point I was going to have to accept that I could not learn anymore with the current way I was being taught. He pointed me to the company that he co-founded, EmpowerGMAT.

If you're not aware of this course, you should be. The way the course is designed is that Rich and Max, the other co-founder, teach you tactics for both quant and verbal through modules that are interactive. Both Rich and Max show you on the screen how to do problems with step-by-step processes. I learned more in the first few modules of the quant and verbal sections that I had EVER learned from the previous courses I took. I mean, it wasn't even close. I saw my practice test scores jump immediately. While my scores weren't stellar and barely cracked 600, they were a huge leap from the 500s I had been scoring. As I continued the course, I found my GMAT practice scores were always over 600, with one score being a 680! So, I signed up for the exam again and took it - 500. How could this be? I was doing so well in practice! How did I have this fall? I reached out to Rich who gave me encouragement and guidance and pushed me to reapply myself.

So maybe a couple weeks went by and I received an email from school XYZ notifying me of their admissions decision - Denied. I was so incredibly crushed and discouraged. But my sadness immediately turned to rage and anger once I let things sink in. Rather than the DOA calling me on the phone to tell me that I was denied, I was emailed a chickenshit standard "denial" template from the school with the DOA's email signature at the bottom. To be denied admission after all the work I had done to show the DOA and admissions committee how committed I was to XYZ was one thing, not having the professionalism or the spine to call me to let me know is something else. After that, I stopped taking the GMAT and decided just to apply to schools with my 590 GMAT since it gave me a chance to be interviewed.

During the calendar year of 2015, I applied to and interviewed for five different programs (three of which were for part time MBA and one for executive MBA) from three different Texas schools, all getting denied, whether for my GMAT score or being told that the program was not a "good fit" for me and my post-MBA goals. At this point, you could understand that I was feeling that my dream of getting an MBA was done with. It had been several years of trying and trying and taking the GMAT seven times and being denied by seemingly every program in the state of Texas for one reason or another. But then I decided to take a look at one last school, which I never had given much thought. You see, I was applying to schools that had an energy specialization and with this school, I was told that they didn't have a specialization in energy, only certificates in energy. But after coming back to this school and reaching out to the school's ambassadors and meeting with admissions persons, it was revealed that their energy certificates were their way of saying specializations! So, without hesitation I got my application together and submitted everything. I was given the chance to interview on campus (by this time I had moved back to Texas) this past Friday. I gave an amazing interview and was told afterwards that I'd receive a decision "very soon, within 10 days". Well that decision came this past Tuesday and wouldn't you know it, I WAS ACCEPTED!!!!!!!!!!

Finally!! Finally after all the years of hard work I put forth, all the tears that I shed, all the times that I felt like giving up and accepting that an MBA just wasn't for me, a school finally gave me a chance. A school finally looked past test scores and measured the individual based on the person who he is and not some test. I start this August and intend to do two things: 1) absolutely dominate and leave a positive mark on the program and enter a successful career in energy and eventually make a huge positive impact and 2) show the others schools, specifically XYZ, what they passed up. Nothing would make me happier than to compete in competitions against these schools and come out on top ever time. I guess you could say that I will have a huge chip on my shoulder during my time in school.

In conclusion, there are a few things I'd like to say. First, do not let ANY of these admissions people tell you that their review process of an application is "holistic" and that every part is measured equally. Don't let them tell you that they "don't have a minimum GMAT requirement". All of that is b.s. Nothing more, nothing less. Business schools (and I've been told this by former admissions committee members) require a certain score in order to cull applications. And that makes sense when you're receiving thousands of applications. You can't expect every single one to be read. Regardless, do not apply to the school of your dreams thinking that a score 100 or so points less than their average is good enough, because it's not. Trust me, I know. If you want a real shot of getting accepted you better shoot for at least their class' average.

Second, if a school doesn't show you any respect during the application process, like the lack of respect I was shown by XYZ, then that school is not worthy. Do not give them your commitment as they are not giving you theirs.

Third, do your due diligence when applying. Seek the help of anyone and everyone when it comes to GMAT prep. Take advantage of EmpowerGMAT and the guidance of Rich and Max. DO NOT waste money on a $1000+ test prep company. I must've spent$3,000 on them alone. My admissions victory is as much Rich and Max's as it is mine. Network, network, network with current students, alumni and admissions staff of the school you want to apply to. Show them regularly of your progress and how committed you are. Do the class visits. Go to their table at MBA events. Have those coffee chats with alums that are in your area. Do it all! I'm telling you, this is such an important part of the application process. I cannot stress this enough.

Fourth and finally, don't ever give up. Never let others deter you from your dreams. I'm living proof that with hard work, determination and perseverance that you can achieve your goals. I had people who thought that "the guy with the Texas drawl" wasn't smart enough to get into business school, let alone succeed in it. Never let people tell you what your dreams should or shouldn't be. If you want it bad enough, you can do it. I can now finally toss all my GMAT books and never worry about that test again and instead look forward to the next challenge of my MBA journey and ultimately my career and future.

I have fulfilled my dreams of getting accepted to business school. Are you ready to fulfill yours?

Sincerely,

Jesse, Class of 2018.

kashc2 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
28 Feb 2016
Posted:
7 messages
1
Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:17 pm
Thanks for sharing, Jesse! Appreciate the tips you provide, will definitely follow them when it comes time to start applying to b-schools. I'm so glad you were able to see your dreams come true!

jlpg91 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
17 Sep 2015
Posted:
1 messages
Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:27 pm
Great!! congrats !!!

cburton815 Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
01 Jun 2016
Posted:
3 messages
Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:32 pm
Wow--congrats! This is such an inspiring story.

selva.masters Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
19 Jun 2016
Posted:
1 messages
Target GMAT Score:
700
Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:29 am
Congrats!! Wish you all the best and only success in your career

_________________
Stay grounded, stay blessed!

### GMAT/MBA Expert

Donna@Stratus Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
Joined
20 Jun 2016
Posted:
263 messages
Followed by:
11 members
26
Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:40 am
Rastis wrote:
Bear with me, please. This is rather long but worth the read.

Ever since happening upon this website six or so years ago I always imagined the day when I would be able to write my own success story of getting into business school. And up until this past Tuesday, I didn't think I ever was.

My story begins when I lived in DC not too long ago. I had moved to DC in June 2007 to begin working for the government with the idea of gaining quality work experience to use to eventually apply to business school; my undergraduate GPA was poor and I knew I needed such experience to help overshadow it. When I decided that it was time to start looking at the GMAT (probably the winter of 2009) I signed up with the only prep company I'd heard of at the time, Princeton Review. I was EXTREMELY ignorant and naive about the entire business school process, including the GMAT and the required preparation.

Like most if not all courses, the instructor was someone who had scored in the 99% percentile, but this instructor seemed to be as old if not younger than I (27 at the time) and I could tell had no experience or business for that matter teaching a course. From the onset I had no clue what was going on, specifically when it came to the quant part of it all. It seemed like I had forgotten how to do math, and this coming from an economics major. I requested several private tutoring sessions with him at the cost of $150 and hour (huge rip off, btw), which was on top of the$1200 I had already paid for the course.

Not knowing anything about researching schools' class averages in terms of scores I went ahead and took the official test and scored a whopping 330. I went ahead an applied to McCombs School of Business and of course was denied and essentially wasted $200 on the application fee. Of course I was discouraged and down. It wasn't until I started reading posts on Beat the GMAT about applying that I realized I had absolutely no reason to feel sorry for myself. McCombs' class average at that time for their full time program was 690! I had no business applying. So I hit the reset button and started over. I decided to give Veritas Prep a try after reading testimonials on both BTG and also their website and talking on the phone to one of its representatives. I dropped another$1200 on yet another classroom course. There wasn't much difference this time around in terms of my ability to excel even the slightest on the quantitative section. Fortunately, the instructor could see how much I was struggling and was nice enough to stay longer after class and work with me one-on-one at no charge. I remember asking him, "Have you ever worked with someone with this poor of math skills?" His response was a quick "Nope". He went a step further and researched remedial math books online for me to purchase, which I did without hesitation. I found myself essentially relearning algebra and other math concepts that date back to 8th grade math. Talk about a falling from grace. I never really ever improved after that. I attended online tutorials that were held at certain times and I always submitted questions that I had to their test-help people but nothing ever worked. Ever.

I reached out several different times to their HQ expressing my concerns. They convinced me to try one of their online courses. Once again, I was at the bottom of the class in terms of understanding what in the hell was going on. I think I worked with Veritas Prep for the better part of two or three years, taking ANOTHER online course on top of the online course I had already taken and the classroom course. I decided to take the exam I think two different times during that stretch and never scored above a 490.

I remember so, so many tears being shed for so many reasons. I remember holding back tears while I was working with the Veritas Prep instructor after class. I remember tearing up when we would finish for the night and I would head to my truck, just thinking of "How is it that I cannot understand this and everyone else gets it so easily?" I remember tearing up after ever piss poor showing on a practice test. I even remember tearing up after words of encouragement from fellow GMAT takers were sent my way, whether it was a comment to one of my rants on a BTG forum (which there were plenty of [rants]) or during an online tutoring session. Pretty pathetic for a grown man who, by this time, was in his 30s.

It wasn't until a guy by the name of Rich reached out to me after reading my rants on BTG. We exchanged several emails and he convinced me that I needed to learn the GMAT in a completely different way. That at this point I was going to have to accept that I could not learn anymore with the current way I was being taught. He pointed me to the company that he co-founded, EmpowerGMAT.

If you're not aware of this course, you should be. The way the course is designed is that Rich and Max, the other co-founder, teach you tactics for both quant and verbal through modules that are interactive. Both Rich and Max show you on the screen how to do problems with step-by-step processes. I learned more in the first few modules of the quant and verbal sections that I had EVER learned from the previous courses I took. I mean, it wasn't even close. I saw my practice test scores jump immediately. While my scores weren't stellar and barely cracked 600, they were a huge leap from the 500s I had been scoring. As I continued the course, I found my GMAT practice scores were always over 600, with one score being a 680! So, I signed up for the exam again and took it - 500. How could this be? I was doing so well in practice! How did I have this fall? I reached out to Rich who gave me encouragement and guidance and pushed me to reapply myself.

So maybe a couple weeks went by and I received an email from school XYZ notifying me of their admissions decision - Denied. I was so incredibly crushed and discouraged. But my sadness immediately turned to rage and anger once I let things sink in. Rather than the DOA calling me on the phone to tell me that I was denied, I was emailed a chickenshit standard "denial" template from the school with the DOA's email signature at the bottom. To be denied admission after all the work I had done to show the DOA and admissions committee how committed I was to XYZ was one thing, not having the professionalism or the spine to call me to let me know is something else. After that, I stopped taking the GMAT and decided just to apply to schools with my 590 GMAT since it gave me a chance to be interviewed.

During the calendar year of 2015, I applied to and interviewed for five different programs (three of which were for part time MBA and one for executive MBA) from three different Texas schools, all getting denied, whether for my GMAT score or being told that the program was not a "good fit" for me and my post-MBA goals. At this point, you could understand that I was feeling that my dream of getting an MBA was done with. It had been several years of trying and trying and taking the GMAT seven times and being denied by seemingly every program in the state of Texas for one reason or another. But then I decided to take a look at one last school, which I never had given much thought. You see, I was applying to schools that had an energy specialization and with this school, I was told that they didn't have a specialization in energy, only certificates in energy. But after coming back to this school and reaching out to the school's ambassadors and meeting with admissions persons, it was revealed that their energy certificates were their way of saying specializations! So, without hesitation I got my application together and submitted everything. I was given the chance to interview on campus (by this time I had moved back to Texas) this past Friday. I gave an amazing interview and was told afterwards that I'd receive a decision "very soon, within 10 days". Well that decision came this past Tuesday and wouldn't you know it, I WAS ACCEPTED!!!!!!!!!!

Finally!! Finally after all the years of hard work I put forth, all the tears that I shed, all the times that I felt like giving up and accepting that an MBA just wasn't for me, a school finally gave me a chance. A school finally looked past test scores and measured the individual based on the person who he is and not some test. I start this August and intend to do two things: 1) absolutely dominate and leave a positive mark on the program and enter a successful career in energy and eventually make a huge positive impact and 2) show the others schools, specifically XYZ, what they passed up. Nothing would make me happier than to compete in competitions against these schools and come out on top ever time. I guess you could say that I will have a huge chip on my shoulder during my time in school.

In conclusion, there are a few things I'd like to say. First, do not let ANY of these admissions people tell you that their review process of an application is "holistic" and that every part is measured equally. Don't let them tell you that they "don't have a minimum GMAT requirement". All of that is b.s. Nothing more, nothing less. Business schools (and I've been told this by former admissions committee members) require a certain score in order to cull applications. And that makes sense when you're receiving thousands of applications. You can't expect every single one to be read. Regardless, do not apply to the school of your dreams thinking that a score 100 or so points less than their average is good enough, because it's not. Trust me, I know. If you want a real shot of getting accepted you better shoot for at least their class' average.

Second, if a school doesn't show you any respect during the application process, like the lack of respect I was shown by XYZ, then that school is not worthy. Do not give them your commitment as they are not giving you theirs.

Third, do your due diligence when applying. Seek the help of anyone and everyone when it comes to GMAT prep. Take advantage of EmpowerGMAT and the guidance of Rich and Max. DO NOT waste money on a $1000+ test prep company. I must've spent$3,000 on them alone. My admissions victory is as much Rich and Max's as it is mine. Network, network, network with current students, alumni and admissions staff of the school you want to apply to. Show them regularly of your progress and how committed you are. Do the class visits. Go to their table at MBA events. Have those coffee chats with alums that are in your area. Do it all! I'm telling you, this is such an important part of the application process. I cannot stress this enough.

Fourth and finally, don't ever give up. Never let others deter you from your dreams. I'm living proof that with hard work, determination and perseverance that you can achieve your goals. I had people who thought that "the guy with the Texas drawl" wasn't smart enough to get into business school, let alone succeed in it. Never let people tell you what your dreams should or shouldn't be. If you want it bad enough, you can do it. I can now finally toss all my GMAT books and never worry about that test again and instead look forward to the next challenge of my MBA journey and ultimately my career and future.

I have fulfilled my dreams of getting accepted to business school. Are you ready to fulfill yours?

Sincerely,

Jesse, Class of 2018.
Congratulations! What a journey! But what matters most is having a career of impact and I hope you do! Best wishes and thanks for sharing your journey.

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