In from Yale SOM’s waitlist [admit #4]

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I started out last fall with my heart set on Yale SOM. When I first started exploring business schools, SOM called out to me…even before I found out that it was “the” bschool for nonprofit folks. And once I discovered that fact, I felt like my mind was all made up. I didn’t know what kind of chances I had at admission, but if Yale let me in, I would GO. I was that sure that SOM was The School for Me.

Then I found out I was waitlisted. It was the first bschool decision I received of all my apps (well, except for GSB, but that didn’t ever really register with me), and I was crushed. I thought that if I had a chance anywhere, it would be SOM…and even they weren’t sure if they wanted me. I started to think I had little to no chance of admission at all my other schools.

But then things started looking up. Way up. Not only did I receive admission from Anderson, I also received a scholarship. I was floored. I started out this process thinking mayyyybe I’d have a shot at scholarship money, but in no way did I expect it. But I got some, and suddenly my expectations shot upward. I started to need more than an admit to consider enrollment.

In the meanwhile, I was learning more and more about Johnson, my dark horse candidate. And I liked what I learned. I liked it a lot. SOM started to look very far away, and Johnson looked more and more within reach.

And that’s what brings me to where I am today. I found a little over a week ago that I was admitted with all the other round 2 admits at SOM. I was really happy, of course, but I also did not receive any funding from them. And even though Yale has an outstanding loan forgiveness program…I’m sticking with Johnson. For all those of you who have been going following the SOM saga with me (machichi, AG, tinkered, everyone else out there), I have truly appreciated swapping stories and going through all of it with you, and I’m sad we won’t be classmates next year. But I’m sure you’re all destined for greatness, and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for SOM :)

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes my bschool application drama. I hope you enjoyed the show!

I’ll still be blogging when inspiration hits me, probably mostly complaint-filled posts about the relocation process. (Did I mention I hate moving? Yes, I think I did, but I’ll say it again. I hate moving.) No promises once the fall semester starts at Johnson, though. From what I hear, I’ll barely have time to breathe, much less blog…though I do love blogging.

I want to thank all of you out there who have been reading my posts and virtually traveling the bschool application journey with me. This blog is well on its way toward its 30,000th view since my first post this past September! I’ve tried to be as transparent as possible, and I hope you guys have gleaned something from it all, whether it was a smile, a nod or a muttered “god I hate her she is so annoying.” I’ll take it all.

For those of you asking, “How did you get off the Yale waitlist?“, I honestly don’t think I did anything special. I was kind of lazy about the whole thing because I was hedging my bets. I didn’t visit campus or reach out to more students/alumni. I’m pretty sure my case was “Pretty good, but not awesome. Let’s put her off until round 2 and reevaluate her within the context of that group.” And maybe yield was lower than they expected for round 1. But here’s what I did:

  • Asked for feedback: SOM will give you feedback on your application if you ask for it (other schools won’t). I asked, and their feedback was that they had no specific feedback, so that didn’t really help me much. But they might give you something actionable that you could work on.
  • Demonstrated interest: When I received an offer from another school, I let SOM know about it and said that I’d still pick them if they let me in.
  • Submitted another rec: I had another previous supervisor submit a character-driven rec for me. I never saw the rec, so I don’t know what it really said. Maybe it was crazy fantastic and that’s what got me in (?) But I also hear recs from current students and alumni can help a lot.

I also submitted a two-sentence update saying that I had completed a pre-MBA math course and received an A+ in it, but I doubt this had anything to do with my admission. I don’t think quant was a real concern on my app.

I’ve heard stories of people putting together pages and pages of supporting content and sending it to admissions. I didn’t do any of that. I probably sent SOM three or four short (3-4 sentences each) emails total during the four-month waiting period. And I didn’t really get a response to the messages I sent, so I don’t even know if they read them, really. I actually wonder if what I contributed had any influence at all on my admission. I mean, it was probably better than staying completely silent, but in and of itself I don’t believe the content was that compelling.

10 ways you know you’re a bschool applicant, buzzfeed-style

1. You simultaneously cannot survive with or without the GMATClub and other MBA forums.

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2. You inexplicably start the process of recruiting for post-MBA jobs before you even start your first day of school.

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3. Suddenly, the numbers between 700 and 800 take on a kind of heavenly aura to them.

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4. Every day, you tell someone a detailed plan of your short- and long-term goals, but inside you are screaming I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE!!!

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5. You spend an inordinate amount of time calculating odds and computing your chances of admission knowing full well that your numbers are completely meaningless.

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6. You suddenly start meeting so many awesome people with so many different backgrounds that you create a stalker-ish list in Excel to keep track of everyone.

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7. You become an expert on area codes.

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734: Ann Arbor!! And sometimes even area codes that aren’t provided. “Unknown” caller ID?: Ithaca!! One more loss for you, Yellow Pages.

 

8. You go through a Jekyll-and-Hyde mental process that goes something like this:”That guy isn’t that great, and he got into Wharton. I’m totally gonna get in!!…”that person owns her own multi-million dollar company, founded a nonprofit on the side and spends three months a year feeding starving children in Africa. I’M SCREWED!”

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9. You pick up an uncanny skill to transform every weakness you have into a strength.

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10. Every time you receive an email blast from the admissions office, your heart skips a beat and you wonder…is this specifically directed toward me? What does this mean???

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Being an introvert and doing bschool

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By Abraham Ingle

I’m an introvert. Depending on who you tell this to, some people I know will say, “What?? No you’re not. You talk all the time!” And others will say, “Duh, you’re totally antisocial.”

Setting aside the fact that different people’s definitions of “introvert” and “extrovert” vary a lot, I do test as an introvert. And when I started thinking about going to business school, one of my biggest worries was, “Business school is a place for loud, gregarious, going-to-happy-hour-all-the-time people, and that’s not me. Do I not belong there?” And as much as schools love to talk about how much they embrace diversity, I don’t think they make it a point to include individuals who prefer to stay out of the spotlight in their efforts.

As an introvert, sometimes it feels like what bschools really want are actors and actresses. People who take to the stage, hold the attention of crowds and deliver a message (Steve Jobs’ showmanship probably had a hand in all this, and now everyone listens to TED talks). And yes, getting up in front of people and making them feel what you want them to feel is one kind of leadership, and a really impressive one. But on the other hand, Mark Zuckerberg is no Steve Jobs during his presentations…but do people think he is a poor leader? Well, maybe they do…but can you argue with his results?

Being an introvert doesn’t mean that I’m passive. I can be very assertive–in fact, I think my assertiveness tends to come off extra-pointy due to my overall tendency of talking less than most others. And if there’s anything I dislike the most, it’s inefficiency, especially when it comes to communication. There’s a reason why my friends say I “tell it how it is.”

So although I am fully capable of attending parties and joining everyone at happy hour, they probably aren’t the first thing I’d want to do if I had some spare time. I’d rather listen to my latest audiobook (Do you guys use audible? I first thought audiobooks were for seniors with poor eyesight, but now I can’t live without them. I get through TONS of books during my commutes; it’s awesome) or sit down and plan out what I’m going to accomplish the next day. But I do know that creating a strong network of peers is quite possibly the most valuable thing one can gain out of business school. And I really do enjoy the time I spend in social situations. But the biggest hurdle I have as an introvert, though, is how much social activities drain me energy-wise. At the beginning of a day-long networking conference, I’ll be totally on the ball–making introductions, memorizing names and faces, exchanging info–but by the end of the day, I am 110% spent and want to take an extremely long nap. And a lot of times that leads me to skip out on the concluding reception or happy hour.

So here’s my plan of action: Increase my overall energy level through a combination of coffee, exercise, strategic eating and sleep regulation. I know, it sounds kind of ludicrous. But I’ve actually somewhat deployed this technique already with some success. During a networking lunch awhile ago, I ordered coffee to go with my sandwich while everyone else got soda and iced tea. It was odd enough that one person poked fun at me (“Someone missed their morning coffee today!”), but that didn’t matter–the caffeine definitely perked me up enough to keep me strong throughout the entirety of the lunch.

Now here’s the real challenge: How do I consume enough coffee to keep me alert, but not enough to make me immune to (or dependent on) its effects? :)

Admitted to Ross [and waitlist #3]

tattly_mike_lowery_yay_burst_web_design_1_grandeSo…although I’ve already put my deposit down at Johnson, the timing of everything is staggered and I’ve still been receiving news from other schools in the meanwhile. A couple days ago, I found out that I was admitted to Ross with a $20k scholarship! Yay!

But, simply put, Ross’ offer isn’t enough to take me away from Johnson. And that’s not because I have anything against Ross. It’s just–timing. I added Ross as a round 2 app late last year; I didn’t know much about the school before that. But everything I’ve learned since then is spectacular, and the school seems like a good fit. I totally loved the alum who interviewed me, and their nonprofit programming is great. But I’ve never set foot on the UMich campus and have never been to Ann Arbor before. Everything I’ve learned about both tells me I’d like both of those places, but I’ve still never actually experienced it. It comes down to this: Although I am pretty sure Ross would be a good fit for me, I am MORE sure that Johnson is a good fit for me. If I had the time, I could explore Ross and make a better informed decision, but I don’t. So I’m sticking with good old Johnson, who I know I love and am very happy with.

In other news, after not being invited to interview at Fuqua, I completely forgot about Duke in general. So I was surprised when I received an email the other day saying that my decision was ready to view online…and I was UNsurprised to find that I was waitlisted. So my final tally is that I was waitlisted at three of the eight schools I applied to. I’d say that’s a pretty high proportion (and I have lots of theories about that, which I may go over in a later post). But I won’t be joining the Fuqua waitlist, anyway. I wouldn’t pick a late admit at Fuqua with no money over Johnson, no siree.

Now that this whole bschool application process is basically over, I can look back and say “Damn, I should have done this and should not have done that.”

Here’s my Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda’s:

  • I should not have bothered applying to GSB. It felt wrong from the very beginning and was a total waste of time and effort. I guess I should say the same about Haas since I was straight up dinged by them, too, but I don’t feel the same way at all about Berkeley. It really seemed like there was a potential for fit between me and Haas, so I decided to try. But I applied to GSB because–I don’t know–it’s GSB? Dumb reasoning.
  • I should have included Ross in my round 1 applications. The only reason I didn’t was because I stuck with familiar entities for my first round, and I hadn’t had any first-hand experience with the University of Michigan. But I wish I had done more research so I could have learned more about Ross while I had the time.
  • Although I heard everyone saying “Get your story down” when I started this process, I didn’t really understand it. I started this journey with a very hard-nosed eye on numerical results, especially when it came to talking about my own work. And that promptly made me discouraged. All my nonprofit-ness didn’t really provide any opportunities for me to boast about multimillion dollar projects and the like. It took me awhile to understand that the story–and by that, I mean the drama–is nearly as important as numerical values. And the nonprofit world is ripe for drama. Every org has a near-impossible to achieve mission, right? Wipe out world hunger. Save every animal. Give every family a home. The drama is basically built in! I wish I caught on to this sooner.

Of course, these thoughts probably take up less than 1% of my brain nowadays. I am truly ecstatic to enroll at Johnson. I also think I am supremely lucky to be in the position I am now. On this day last year, I wasn’t even planning on going to business school at all. Can you believe that?? I can’t believe how much things have changed since then.

Watch out, Johnson, here I come! [Johnson 2016]

Johnson-Cornell-Logo_webI’m sure exactly none of you will be surprised to hear that I’ve put my deposit down for Cornell Johnson!

Even though it was painfully obvious from my recent posts that I had fallen hard for Johnson, the decision was not an easy one to make. As I was considering all the pros and cons, I was also reaping the benefits of living close to UCLA and being able to attend every yield event Anderson offered. I had lunch with Dean Rob Weiler and coffee with my first year buddy. I also attended the Anderson Women’s Business Connection conference, a reception for fellowship recipients and Admit Preview Day. I was especially taken with Dean Judy Olian’s comments at the women’s conference. She was very frank about the challenges women face in business and went as far to say that women can have it all–but not at the same time. Basically, she said that a woman can’t be aggressively furthering her career and having kids simultaneously–one or the other has to take priority. She tried to underline this by pointing out that Julia Stewart (the keynote speaker) had her first child at age 42. It was all very intriguing and I admired Dean Olian for speaking a hard truth, even if it was a debatable one.

What I’m trying to say is that my decision was very personal . It was more about cultural fit and long term plans beyond my two years of business school and less about reputation, the quality of career services and trying to determine which school was “better.” I know it gets really old hearing this over and over again throughout the entire bschool application process, but I really tried to determine what was “better” for me than what was objectively “better.” Okay, now the word “better” sounds and looks really weird. I’m going to stop.

I did receive a Forte Fellowship from Johnson, which was FANTASTIC news. I was so excited! I am really looking forward to getting more involved in the Forte Foundation.

I thought applying and waiting for decisions was hard, but now comes the really terrible part: moving. (Moving–how do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.) I’ve done it many times throughout my years, including a couple cross-country ones, and no matter how much I try to plan and prepare (and, yes, I do a LOT of planning and preparing), it always ends up being an excruciating process. And this time I’m moving with a car, which I’ve never done before. I’ve got about 3-4 months to prep everything, which sounds like enough time, but also seems like not enough at all. Here’s to hoping for a relatively smooth transition to Ithaca!

Waiting. Painful, painful waiting.

time-warpThe bschool application process is full of starts and stops. One second you’re frantically trying to finish your application the day before it’s due, the next second you’re doing…nothing. Just sitting around and waiting to see if you’ll get an interview invite. When that invite (hopefully) comes, you jump back to life. You schedule your appointment, research the school, look into your interviewer’s background, polish your resume walk-through. Then the interview is over, and it’s back to waiting.

Then it’s the day before decisions are released, and your heart rate increases a little. You sleep poorly the night before. The morning of, you’re suddenly aware of your phone in a way you’ve never experienced before. It’s like you’ve gained a very specific kind of spidey sense–one whose sole purpose is to connect you to your phone. Your phantom vibration syndrome reaches an inhuman level of intensity, and you think, “This is it. I’m officially losing it!”

Now that I’ve submitted all my applications and have completed all the interviews I was invited for, I’ve reached the ultimate phase of waiting. I mean, I’m really waiting now. I thought I was waiting before, but nope. Apparently, there is an even worse kind of waiting, and this is it.

I think things are supposed to get better once you have at least one offer of admission (I’m lucky enough to have two at this point), but I haven’t experienced it that way. It’s true that the playing field has extremely narrowed, but at the same time , it’s also become much more real. And with reality comes expectations. And when there’s expectations, there’s always a possibility of disappointment.

I’m still waiting to hear if Johnson will offer me any scholarship money. I’m also waiting to hear if I will be admitted to Ross. I’m also waiting to see if I will get off the Kellogg and Yale SOM waitlists. And in the meanwhile, deposit deadlines are coming up fast. Cornell’s deposit deadline is in just a couple weeks, and UCLA Anderson’s deposit deadline is a week after that (which is also when I should hear from Ross).

The only real solace I have is that everything could potentially be settled in mid-March, which is actually not that far away. But until then, things feel more up in the air and unpredictable than ever.

Ross interview recap

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I recently completed my interview with a really fantastic Ross alumnus in my city. We met at a local coffee house and the interview was very relaxed and conversational without any odd-ball questions. I lucked out big time because the person I was randomly matched with actually wanted to do nonprofit work with her MBA…and she is currently working in the sector! I was itching to get the interview-y part of the meeting done because I had a ton of questions I wanted to ask. We had a really great conversation and I learned a LOT, including summer internship possibilities.

One of the notable things she told me about Ross was that the people there are pretty open minded and I wouldn’t be considered too much of an outlier. That stood out to me because I now understand that (what is being perceived as) the weak aspect of my application is my career goals, and it’s considered “weak” because some admissions committees just…don’t get it. And although animals and MBAs might not be the first two things one would pair together, I’ve been slightly disappointed with how some schools are resisting the idea. Marketing management jobs everywhere–even in the nonprofit, animal welfare sector–prefer MBAs, and it’s frustrating to have to convince admissions committees members of this fact. (The Best Friends Animal Society is currently hiring a Communications Manager. The first line of the job description says, “MBA with concentration in Marketing/Communications is desired.”)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. No matter where I actually end up enrolling for business school, I have a feeling I’ll be crossing paths with my Ross interviewer again in the future. It’s amazing how the bschool application process is already offering me great networking contacts for my career even though I’m not even a student yet! I also now fully realize why people advise applicants to apply for your dream schools last–I think with this final interview, I finally hit my resume walk through out of the park. I’m a future-oriented person, not past-oriented. I don’t spend much of my time lingering on what’s already happened and thinking about what I might have done right or wrong in the past, so I’m just not personally inclined to do a great job at a resume walk through. But after doing four interviews, I can finally say that I think I figured out what my interviewers wanted to hear from me and that it all made sense.

What impresses me most about Ross’ nonprofit support is their Domestic Corps program. Domestic Corps is a fully funded and fleshed out summer internship placement program for opportunities in the nonprofit sector. TheNonprofit and Public Management Center at Michigan gathers together a few nonprofit summer internships and organizes the application process for them–if you decide to apply, the Center reviews all Ross applicants first, then passes on their chosen candidates to the organizations themselves to do final interviewing/selection. Each internship is paid $10,000 for 10 weeks of work, and the opportunities cover a good range of functional areas. The summer internship has been kind of a black hole to me when I think about doing nonprofit work with my MBA–sure, I can understand doing the job search on my own, but the internship aspect seems a bit daunting. Although nonprofits want MBAs, very few have internship programs for bschool students. Domestic Corps is pretty awesome in that it offers specific support in that area.

In other news, I was not invited to interview at Fuqua. I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised. I’ve been invited to interview at all the schools I applied to except GSB and Haas, whose selectivity and competitiveness are in a league of their own. I didn’t think Fuqua was in that same category, but who knows what they are thinking? Not being invited to interview is not technically a ding–I guess applicants in the past have been invited to interview in the subsequent round and ultimately admitted–but it’s certainly not a good sign. But I’m also pretty distracted right now and will be through the rest of this week, at least. I’m still waiting to find out if I will get any financial support from Johnson, which will play a huge role in my MBA future.