I’ve never been the type to spend too much time worrying about things that I cannot change. And so, I’m not allowing myself to worry too much about the 5 MBA applications that I’ve turned in over the past 3.5 weeks for (in order of submission) HBS, Wharton, Booth, Stanford and MIT.
I know that each was a quality application. I had an assembly line of current students, alumni and successful admits for each of these schools rip my essays apart with feedback over and over until I had produced compositions worthy of their blessing. I put in the appropriate time researching each institution to look for the right fit prior to starting its application. And I gave as complete of a picture of myself as the school’s apps would allow.
The best case scenario is that I’ll receive 5 invites to be interviewed. The worst case scenario is that I will receive none. Applicants with comparable, better and worse profiles than mine walk the halls of each of these fine programs at this very moment. And right now the next step with each of those apps is up to the adcoms; thus, my attention has shifted to R2 app research and some basic interview prep.
Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management is getting a good chunk of my time for research. The reason for this is because out of the schools that I have yet to apply to, it is the one that I know the least about–a weird factoid given that the friend of mine from undergrad who was instrumental to me starting this journey in the first place is a 2nd year at Kellogg right now. She also overcame the supposed “over 30 discrimination” hurdle, if that even exists. She also, however, applied at 32 and not 35; but I digress.
At first, I thought that the culture of Kellogg might be a bit too touchy-touchy for me…almost in an oppressive social nazi kind of way; however, as I’ve delved into their videos, marketing materials, et al., I’ve gotten a broader interpretation of their team-based culture that has made that program more attractive to me than it was just a few weeks ago when I feared being chained down and forced to watch happy movies and do singalongs and plays like the Wednesday and Pugsley in Adams Family Values
Company culture is very important to me. At this stage in my life, the culture of a company is important enough for me to leave or stay based on that factor alone. I’ve always seen culture as something that is driven from top-tier leadership. And amazingly, most companies that I have ever experienced have done a poor job of it.
The company that I work at now actually has a fantastic company culture. Its both laid back and intellectually stimulating. It hums with creativity and entrepreneurial vigor, yet is structured at the same time.
There are one or two people, however, who just make me want to ask “damn, how did YOU make it through the interview? You’re obviously smart but you have no people skills whatsoever and you’re poisoning the team with your neurosis”. If Kellogg can make me a pro at either screening out or effectively dealing with folks like that (while achieving my primary MBA goals, of course) then sign me on up.
Berkeley, Dartmouth and Yale
Ah, Haas and Tuck, two programs that I love to love. Both are intimate and seem to be full of some of the nicest, smartest folks I’d ever want to meet. I’m already familiar with both programs, but need to delve a bit deeper into each before I begin working on their applications around early December.
I’ll be applying to both via the Consortium, so that means only one application between them and Yale (horray!); however, that does not necessarily mean that I’ll be getting a break on those essays. At this point though, I”m cool with essays.
My Sloan application has shown me that even when thrown very different concepts than I have become accustomed to I am able to rise to the occasion and pull together a strong, nicely-written essay that conveys the message that I want it to without accidentally sending up any red flags or leaving unanswered questions for the reader.
I was thrilled to be invited to Tuck’s diversity conference, so I’m looking forward to that. I missed Berkeley’s because it came in the middle of my R1 application whirlwind; however, since they are right here in California I can easily plan a visit later this winter; most likely right after the break just before my Consortium app is due.
I’ve also picked up my Yale research. I’ll be applying to them through the consortium as well. My main concern is that whether their focus on social entrepreneurship and and smaller network will serve my software entrepreneurship goals well. I’ll be digging into the story behind the resources they have to offer quite deeply over the next month or two trying to determine whether or not I see sufficient fit for me to crack open and submit an app.
Basic Interview Prep
I believe in being prepared. And I certainly don’t want to get “served” due to a lack of preparation (as an undergrad buddy of mine–Sloan ’07–refers it); so, I’ve begun my prep for the most standard and basic interview questions by scouring the internet for interview postmortems on various MBA blogs et al.
I tend to do well at interviews and appreciate the fact that the world of top MBA applicants provides such a wellspring of knowledge and best practices from those who have come before me. I plan to take full advantage of those resources as I rev up my engine to be ready for whatever should come my way over the next 3-5 weeks in the way of invites.
I sure hope things turn out in my favor. Either way, I’d like to send out a big “Thank You/” to my readers for all of your support, the well wishes and the kind words left on my blog thus far. It has meant a lot.
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