Five stages of losing your mind

Guys I am officially losing my mind. I’ve gone through what I think are 5 stages to “losing your mind during the post application submission waiting period.”

It starts with relief, where you think hah, I got it done before everyone else (EA/R1 pseudo-superiority complex).

That is followed by doubt, where you second guess every comma and period in your essays. Did something slip through the cracks? Should I have waited, like the rest of the sane people out there?

Next comes the numbness. You hit submit and it’s gone into the black hole of admissions and there’s nothing you can do about it. So you tuck it away in the corner of your mind and try to move on with regular life. This doesn’t last very long though.

The closer the notification date is, the closer comes the next phase: preparation. You prepare yourself for every outcome as you veer between outrageous optimism and resigned pessimism, although you try to condition yourself to expect the worse because that way, it would hurt less. The glimmer of hope is always tantalisingly close though, my preciousssssss. This is where I’m at right now.

I think the fifth stage, which I hope to reach soon is that of mental peace. I want to know that I’ll be content with the outcome, either good or bad because it isn’t the end of the world nor is it the means to an end.

I’m waiting on Fuqua and Yale now. 7th of October for Fuqua and around the same time (I’ve heard) for Yale. Let’s see how that goes!

I hope GMAT/essay prep is going well for everyone! The blogosphere has been a little dead lately (understandably of course), so I hope all you lovely people are doing well. Keep us posted.

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Two down, two (?) more to go!

YEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!

That was me literally seconds after I hit submit a day before Fuqua’s EA deadline.

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

That was me a minute after I hit submit a day before Fuqua’s EA deadline.

I realized that the application process was a bit too smooth. I hadn’t entered any credit card or payment information, and yet, my application went right through. WTF. Cue me losing my mind, shooting off a cleverly disguised panicked email to admissions asking “What the heck just happened?” All this was a DAY before the deadline mind you, to my FIRST choice of schools.

I spent pretty much all day at work just willing a mail from Fuqua to appear in my inbox. Finally, my anxiety and prayers to all 8475493875398 gods of the Hindu religion paid off and I received a sweet, succinct reply. There was some glitch in the system (aka totally not my fault) because of which I wasn’t asked for any credit card or payment info. But basically, my application had been successfully submitted so I had nothing to worried about.

HUGE sigh of relief. I am pretty happy with how my Fuqua application turned out. I absolutely loved both the essay topics and how open-ended they were. The entire application was comprehensive enough to make me feel like they now have a complete picture of me. Fuquans have been super helpful throughout this whole process and I’m so stuck on this school, it’s starting to become a major pain. I’m going to be so heartbroken if I don’t get an interview at the very least.

I finished up my application for Yale R1 as well. I’m not entirely too happy with it. I mean one essay, 500 words and that’s basically it. With space for only 5 extracurriculars and a one page resume, I feel like they only know about 40% of the stuff I’ve done, both professionally and otherwise. I guess the recommendations will help, but even then, I’m not as happy about this one as I was about Fuqua. But then again, I am pretty biased.

With two applications down, I now have ostensibly two more to go. I don’t particularly want to apply to more than four in total. My plan is to wait until I have a decision from Fuqua (interview invites will be out by the 7th of October, WHUT!) and see how that goes. I’m thinking R2 for the remaining two schools, but at this point I’m not even sure which two they’ll be. But for now, I’m semi-done. Things at work have been getting busier, so I’m happy to be 100% committed to that without having all this application stress at the back of my head.

Until then, I hope y’all are killing the GMAT and/or your applications for R1. Good luck everyone!

Switching up schools

It’s official. I’m removing Darden from my list of schools and putting Fuqua into the mix instead. Darden did tick a lot of boxes for me, but as good as it is for consulting, I don’t want to put myself under an undue amount of stress and pressure. I’m not saying that an MBA should be a breeze, but I don’t want to spend all of my time cooped up indoors. As an engineering grad with a 9+ GPA, I’ve spent enough time with my nose stuck to a book. I want to have enough time to really explore the campus, get involved in all the activities a school has to offer and meet a ton of different people.

This means I’m now applying to:

  1. Yale R1
  2. Tuck Early Action
  3. Johnson R1
  4. Fuqua R1

I guess that means my scientific analysis was a little skewed. But I guess I would have to change a few entries in that to get a better picture of schools that fit me best. Darden wouldn’t score as much in the ‘Fit’ section and Fuqua would get some points there. Durham, NC isn’t that bad after all. Also with Fuqua, I will have an alumni referral and Team Fuqua seems to be pretty big on that. Hopefully that helps because I really love the sound of the program and the bond that students seem to have even decades after graduating. I guess it really helps to talk to someone from the program face to face rather than over email!

Essays and Strategy

So I picked my schools and now it’s time to stick to my guns and not be wavered by general opinion… which is much harder than it sounds! I have started working on my essays, which basically means I have started reading every single essay analysis I find online and have begun to re-read ’50 Successful Harvard Application Essays’. I’m a decent enough writer but I want to make sure that I don’t fall into any of the common traps that us applicants normally do. My writing tends to both extremes — either I get excited and start writing super choppy sentences or I run out of interesting things to say and fill the page up with flowery crap. Luckily, I have a consultant to help review my essays and make sure I don’t go overboard. He’s helped plan my application strategy and I must say I’m pretty impressed. If I didn’t know me and I read about this person (a.k.a me) on paper, I would be like ‘Whoa, this person is accomplished’. But since it’s just me, I don’t see it.

GrantMeAdmission asked me on an earlier post what my application strategy is going to be like. Well, I’ve kinda always known what I was going to do, so here is my plan:

  1. Apply to a maximum of four schools, leaving plenty of schools open for next year in the likely event that I don’t make it in anywhere this year.
  2. Having chosen the four schools, I have decided to apply to Tuck Early Action because I love whatever I have heard about the school and the location is something that I am absolutely looking forward to. After all the Indian crowds and summers, I am ready for winter wonderland and solitude, although I’m pretty sure I’ll change my tune once I’m bundled in ten layers of clothing and slipping on frozen patches of ice.
  3. All the other schools including Yale, Johnson and Darden/Said, I want to apply in R1. I don’t see the point of stretching it out and unless something funky happens with my recommenders, I think I can make it. I am quite used to churning out words in large numbers so if I don’t suffer from a major case of writers block, I should be okay.
  4. If I get called for any interviews in R1, that would be the perfect scenario. If I get dinged by them all, then that’s it guys. I’m done for this year, no more rounds for me. I’ll gracefully retire and focus my energies on work and becoming a stronger applicant for next year. I’m only 22 now (I was born in 1992), so I have age on my side. I will obviously be disappointed, but this process has already been so revealing and I can only imagine how much stronger I’ll come out of it.

Yeah, so that’s about it. I think it is going to get a little hectic trying to juggle four schools but their deadlines are far enough apart, so I think it shouldn’t be too bad. Also, for everyone reading, I would love to hear your opinion on the IE and IESE business schools. They are ranked higher than Said and they do seem to place a lot of people into consulting but I’m a little skeptical. If you know anything about these schools either from firsthand information or otherwise, please hit me up. Thanks!

Pruning down my school list!

Decisions, decisions! It was unbelievably hard for me to pick exactly which schools I should apply to. I had very happily assumed that my consultant would take care of this for me, unfortunately (and appropriately), he refused to make the decision for me based on my ‘chances of getting in’. I am usually a very decisive person, however this situation was made complicated simply because I am also very adaptable. I can pretty much live in cities or in the suburbs, I can handle hot and cold, I can do the case study method and the lecture method. I do have preferences of course, but if I see something else I like about the program, that instinct kicks in and all my perfectly calculated nuances go right outside the window.

I finally decided to stop meandering back and forth and make a scientific decision instead. Hello Excel sheet. I loosely based it on the one made by MBA Girl Journey, but I put my own spin on it. 

Took me so much longer than you would imagine.
Took me so much longer than you would imagine.

So I basically started by taking the rankings and kind of aggregating all of them to group schools into three classes. I removed the top 5 at the get go (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Booth and Kellogg) and grouped the remaining in the 5 – 10, 10 – 15 and 15 – 20 category. I then assigned weights to them assuming that the lower ranked ones would be less competitive and thereby easier to get into. With that done, I needed to figure out what mattered the most to me.

In India, even if some of the larger schools are unknown, people have generally heard of the Ivies. This is an important distinction to make since I know I want to come back to India 2 – 3 years post an MBA. So the Ivies got multiplied by a factor of 2 just for that reason alone. I know my interests lie in consulting and although all the top schools act as feeders to the industry, I just highlighted the ones that seemed to have a better conversion rate. It was kind of difficult to do this objectively since the data is all over the place, but I tried. Next, location. I went to college for undergrad at this university town and I absolutely loved it. You could walk around everywhere, have the typical college experience, you would bump into 10 people you know just about anywhere and the feeling of camaraderie was just awesome. I decided that I would like to live on a campus town and not in a big city. This also led to a preference for slightly smaller class sizes (but this wasn’t an actual factor). Finally, the must subjective of them all… fit. I seriously wish I had time to visit at least some of these schools, but I just have to go by the stuff I read and hear from people. I spoke to a LOT of people from Yale and I love the sound of it. Darden is the one I’m not too sure about fit wise, but I have mailed a few current students and recent alumni to ask them about it, let’s see what I hear.

With all the factors in place, the maximum possible score was a 10 and as you can see, Yale ticked all the boxes for me. I have a really good feeling about Yale since it is ranked right where I feel like I would have a competitive chance. For me, it has that prestige of a Harvard or an Oxford, you know that old world charm and sometimes I can’t even imagine brown skinned me playing croquet or whatever on those green lawns. Luckily, that’s only my mental imagery and Yale is a beautiful mix of the old and the new. It is absolutely my number one choice. Next comes Tuck which by all accounts is a really great school. Again, it has that Dartmouth Ivy thing going for it apart from the obvious benefits… and their consulting stats look pretty good. Last two are Johnson and Darden, but I think I’m going to replace Darden with Said (Oxford) as I do want to throw a European school into the mix and I am only applying to four schools. I’m a little put off by the fact that Said is a 1 year program and I will barely squeak past the required 2 years of work experience, but consulting seems to be one of their strongholds and the Oxford brand is inimitable. 

This is what it looks like in order of priority:

  1. Yale
  2. Tuck
  3. Johnson
  4. Darden/Said

I think this is the final list, but I will probably run them by my consultant and see what he thinks of them. I would love to hear you guys’ opinions. Bring them in!