Saturday, March 29, 2014

Accepted!

Since interviewing at Tepper two months ago, and Darden about a month ago, I have been counting down the days till March 24th.  When I first started the whole MBA admissions process, I felt overwhelmed with the studying for the GMAT.  I always thought it would get easier.  Then came applications…  I would have gladly studied for the GMAT again.  Once those were submitted, then came the waiting.  Waiting.  All the waiting has by far been the most difficult part of the whole process.

Well, finally all the waiting has come to an end.  Monday morning, I received a call from the adcom member that interviewed me at Darden… I am in!  It was quite a rush of emotions.  I was excited and relieved.  From my previous post, I am sure you can tell how much I enjoyed my trip out to Charlottesville.  I am looking forward to possibly joining that community!

Later that day, I got an email from Tepper with a link to a video.  Assuming they wouldn’t send a rejection video to applicants, I was sure I was accepted.  I logged into my account online to double check.  I was in!  Two acceptances in one day, it was definitely nice.

After the high of the acceptances wore off a little, the reality of having to make a decision between these three amazing schools.  I am still waiting to hear from Darden regarding potential scholarships/fellowships.  Unfortunately they don’t give that information on the phone.  I have to wait till I receive the physical acceptance packet.  Unfortunately Tepper didn’t offer me anything.  So now it’s time to figure things out.  I think I will have a bit clearer of an idea in the next couple weeks.

"Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life forever." - Keri Russell

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Darden Interview

A few weeks back I traveled to beautiful Charlottesville for my interview at Darden.  This was my first time in Virginia, and it definitely left a great impression, although the flight out there was another story.  Because of my work schedule, I was forced to take a red eye flight to and from my Darden visit/interview.  My flight left around mid-night local time.  I was already beat after a long day.  I was looking forward to getting some sleep on the plane.  However, a guy in the seat across the aisle keep getting into his bag that was sitting right on top of my suit in the overhead compartment.  I kept waking up because I was paranoid he was going to wrinkle my suit!

I finally arrived in Richmond with just enough time to pick up my rental and head to Charlottesville.  The drive from Richmond to Charlottesville was beautiful and very scenic.  It was nice to have a little over an hour in the car to again mentally go over my answer to the famous Darden interview question, “Tell me your story.”  I reviewed all the key points I wanted to emphasize.  By the time I arrived at the Darden Grounds, I was feeling pretty confident about my interview.

It was a really pretty day.  The weather was good, a little windy, but not too bad.  I had a few minutes to kill, so I walked around campus before checking in with all the other interviewees.  I was really impressed by the campus and the surroundings.

I checked in around 10:45am.  I was greeted by a kind lady named Virginia.  I got a kick out of that.  I was just in time for the financial aid session.  Afterwards I sat in the admission’s lobby chatting with some fellow prospective students.  It was humbling to be around people who had accomplished so much.  I had enough time to down a Dr. Pepper and wake myself up a little before my interview.

I interviewed with a member of the admissions committee.  She was very friendly and made the interview very conversational.  The interview was completely blind.  She ask me to tell her about myself.  She wanted me to go into my background, talk about my childhood, etc.  She said she would interject from time to time with questions.  The interview went great!  Overall, I think it was the best one yet.  Because of the format, I felt like I was able to paint a broad picture of myself.  I didn’t feel limited by specific questions or anything like that.  I left the interview feeling confident and very happy with the way things went.

After the interview, I had lunch with a few students, a professor, and other prospective students.  It was great to get to pick the brain of a professor at one of the best business schools in the country.  He provided some great school and career insight.  After lunch we went on a tour of the Darden Grounds.  Needless to say, it was beautiful.  I am very impressed by the facilities.  During the tour I ran into a student I had chatted with a few times on the phone.  She knew I was interviewing that day, so she was on the lookout for me.  We only had a couple minutes to talk, but it was nice to meet her in person and catch up.

When the tour was over, I walked around a little more and talked with a few other people that were interviewing that day.  I knew I needed to get back to the airport, but it was hard leaving when the weather was so nice.

Overall, I was very impressed by the admission team, students, and faculty at Darden.  I was also blown away by the caliber of the other individuals interviewing that day.  I knew I would be lucky to be a member of that community.  It was hard knowing that I wouldn’t hear back from Darden for another month.  That is a long time to have your fingers crossed…

In the spirit of my Darden interview, here is an awesome quote by Thomas Jefferson:

"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." - Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, March 8, 2014

An Invite from Darden and Some Good News from Anderson!

Not long after coming off the highs of getting interview invites from Tepper and Anderson, I got another long-waited for email… an interview invite from Darden!  I was excited.  I immediately started looking for flights out to Virginia.  When I signed up for my interview, there were only five days to choose from and I could not do four of those due to work obligations.  Luckily, the one day that did work for me also happened to have the cheapest flights.

It was nice having a few weeks between when I received my interview invite and my actual interview day.  My previous interviews, the most I had between receiving the invite and interviewing was about a week.  Right after I booked my flight, I started prepping for the interview.  Darden has a get website and a ton of videos.  For anyone interviewing, I highly recommend spending a lot of time on their website.  I was also able to talk to a few students and learn more about their experience at Darden.  In addition to all that, I used mbaMission’s Darden School Guide, Clear Admit’s School Guide, and Clear Admit’s Interview Guide.  All of them were extremely useful, especially the Interview Guide, I definitely recommend it.  Getting into all of those materials, and especially talking with the current students really got me excited about Darden and my upcoming trip to Charlottesville!

One morning, a couple weeks after getting an invite from Darden, I woke up a little bit earlier than usual – around 4am.  I looked at my phone to check the time and noticed I had a new email.  It was from Anderson.  I opened it up and it said that my application status had been updated.  I clicked on the link and logged into the application portal… I had been accepted!  Man it felt great!  I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I decided to get up and go running.  The whole time I was running, I couldn’t stop smiling.  I felt so relieved to have at least one acceptance in my pocket, finally, after two years!

Later that day I got a call from a member of the admission committee at Anderson welcoming me.  I was informed I had also received a fellowship as well!  I was ecstatic!  Needless to say, I am so grateful and am looking forward to possibly being a member of the Anderson community.

Next up, Darden interview…

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Pleasant Surprise... Followed by Another

I think I wrote about this before, but it is a strange combination of feelings you get after submitting an application.  For me there is a sense of relief, but also an uneasy feeling that everything is now out of my hands.  After submitting my round two applications, I did feel confident that I put together the best applications I could, and whatever was going to happen.

About a week after submitting my application to Tepper, I received an unexpected email.  An interview invite!  I was pumped, especially because I was expecting it to be at least three to four weeks before I heard back.  Luckily I had already started prepping and I scheduled my interview for a couple days after receiving the invite.

I interview with an Adcom via Skype.  It was a really good experience.  The Adcom was very kind and represented the school very well.  Overall the interview went well.  I felt like it was very conversational, and I felt like I was able to paint a fairly good picture of myself with the time I had and with the questions I was asked.

The day after my Tepper interview, I received another unexpected email... and invite from Anderson!  I gave myself a little more time than I did with Tepper to prep for my interview.  I was pretty happy that I didn't have to take time off work because Anderson had evening interview options (Good call Anderson, good call).

My Anderson interview went well too.  Not as well as my Tepper interview, but I was happy with it.  I interviewed with a Second-year student.  He was really down to earth and created a very conversational and relaxed interviewing environment.  I felt like I wasn't able to express myself as well, but I felt like it was more due to the questions I was asked, not because I was stumped by a question or anything.  I'll tell you what though, the Clear Admit Interview Reports definitely helped me prepare for both of my interviews.

Two down, two to go. It was a nice feeling to have only a couple weeks after submitting my applications.  If anyone has any specific questions regarding my interview experience at either of these schools, feel free to shoot me an email or post your questions in the comment section.

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." - Thomas A. Edison

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Moving On to Round Two

It is difficult coming off of all the exhaustion that goes into prepping and putting together applications.  When I submitted my last round one app, I thought/hoped it would be the list time I would have to think about an MBA application essay, resume, etc.  But as fate would have it, it wasn't.

While I was waiting to hear back from my round one schools, as a contingency plan, I began working on essays and applications for a few other schools.  However, now knowing for sure my round one fate, I needed to kick it up a couple gears.  There were a few schools that I really liked, but decided not to apply to in the first round because I didn't want to spread myself too thin: Darden, Anderson, Tepper, and Fuqua.

Round two apps were much easier and faster than round one.  It was nice to have my strategy, goals, stories, etc. all honed from my previous applications.  I was able to get those four applications in with very little trouble.  I submitted all for apps between 1/4 and 1/7.  I was really hoping this time would be the last time I would have to submit a b-school app.  Now began the waiting, which I fully expected to be as long and painful as it was in round one…

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Belated Round One Update

So it has been a few months since I have last blogged.  Instead of updating you all on everything all at once, I will take you back a couple months.  As of mid-December, I had already learned I was on the Sloan waitlist.  I had yet to be invited to interview at Yale or Haas, so I was not expecting positive news from those programs.  However, I felt my Kellogg and Tuck applications were strong and my interview at Kellogg went really well (I didn't interview at Tuck because they only interview reapplicants on-campus and I could not make it out there), and I was fully expecting an acceptance from at least one of these programs.

December 18th, D-day for Kellogg and Tuck.  By this point, I had already been dinged by Yale.  After having traveled out to Hanover last year to interview, and meeting the students and faculty members, Tuck was definitely my top choice.  There was so much I loved about the program, and I honestly had a hard time picturing myself going anywhere else.  I was hopeful, but as the minutes ticked away on the 18th with no phone call, a pit started to grow in my stomach.  Finally at 5pm EST, I got an email from Tuck saying there was an update to my application status.  Having not received a call, I knew the best case scenario was being waitlisted…

I’ll tell you what, reading those rejection letters never gets easy.  Not long after getting the official ding from Tuck, I received the same news from Kellogg.  It was a tough day.  Although I had started working on some round two applications, mentally I was not prepared to do it all again, for the third time.  Including my apps from last season, I was a depressing 0.5/7 (0.5 for the waitlist at Sloan), soon to be 0.5/8 after Haas’ released their decisions a few weeks later.  I took a few days to let everything sink in before I even thought about round two applications.  After receiving such positive feedback from admissions consultants on my chances at my target schools, no getting into a single one made me question a lot.  Man did December suck!

As hard as it was to accept not getting into my round one schools, especially after two years of trying, I realized it wasn't the end of the world.  The end goal isn't the school I get into, but the having transformative experience at b-school, and using that experience to help my succeed in my future career.  Although all the schools I applied to in round one would have helped me reach those goals, those weren't the only schools.  It was time to refocus and get back to the grind!

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." - Michael Jordan

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mid-Round One Update

So, it’s has been a little bit since I last provided an update.  Life has just been busy, and I haven’t had a ton of time to blog.  It was been over a month since I submitted my last application.  Unfortunately, things have been a little quieter than I would like.  I am not a fan of all this waiting.  As painful as studying for the GMAT, writing essays, filling out apps, reviewing my resume were, at least I felt like I was in control.  There were still things I could do to improve aspects of my applications.  It’s strange hitting that submit button and feeling like, “That’s it.  Nothing else I can do at this point.”

Anyway, here is a breakdown of where I am at with each school.


Haas:
This was my last application submitted.  Overall, I was very happy and felt like I did really well on the essays.  I felt like I was able to paint the best picture of myself through the Haas application vs. the other programs I applied to.  This is probably because of the number of essays, but I also liked the essay topics.  As many of you know, I am a reapplicant to Haas.  I really struggled with the “If you could pick one song to describe you” essay last year, but this year, it was my favorite essay.  As far as interview invites go, I am still playing the waiting game with this one.

Kellogg:
I interviewed with a Kellogg alumnus about three weeks ago.  The interview went really well and got me even more excited about Kellogg and the MMM program.  I am hopeful with this application, but it's tough predicting how things are going to turn out since Kellogg tries to interview as many applicants as possible.  Whatever happens, I really don't think my interview could have gone any better.

As far as the application goes, I was really happy about it.  I was pretty nervous about the video essay question, but it turned out to be much easier than the questions I received in my video portion of the Yale application.

Sloan:
The 8th of November was the final day Sloan sent out interview invites (according to the Sloan admissions blog).  Although I have seen a few since that deadline according to some of the member of the GMAT Club.  I was on edge all day, and when the invite didn't come, I was a bit depressed.  Definitely makes you doubt your whole application strategy...  Well last Friday I was informed that I was offered a spot on the waitlist!  It's not an interview invite or an acceptance, but it's not a ding.  Since I was fully excepting to be dinged, it was some much needed good news.  Now I just need to work on putting together a good update and some supplemental materials.

Tuck:
Tuck has been on my short list of schools I would love to attend since I started researching MBA programs.  Last year I went out to Hanover for a visit and an interview.  Unfortunately I was not admitted, but I was encouraged by the admissions committee to reapply.  Over the spring I met with an adcom to review my application and talk about areas I could improve.  During the past several months, I have focused on those areas and have done my best to make those weaknesses strengths.  Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to travel to Tuck this year to interview.  I recently discovered that Tuck generally does not re-interview reapplicants unless they go to Tuck for a applicant initiated interview.  My mind was put at easy knowing that I still have a chance to get in without an interview, but it definitely does stink not having any idea where I stand until D-day.  Crossing my fingers.

Yale SOM:

I haven't heard anything from SOM yet.  I still have some hope, but with D-day quickly approaching, it's tough to be too optimistic.  Still, I am crossing my fingers.  I felt pretty good about my overall application.

Well that is that... until next time.  Good luck to all the other round one applicants out there!  On that note, here is a pretty hilarious Foot Locker commercial... enjoy!