It was a crazy winter holiday–a real emotional rollercoaster. I think my mind flip-flopped a zillion times during the last two weeks of December…one second I was imagining life in Evanston…the next second I was imagining life at the same exact spot I am now, sans MBA…and the next second I was imagining life in LA as a student. A big “thank you” to everyone who gave me their two cents about what schools to add to my list. After some thinking, I decided to add Fuqua and Ross to my round 2 applications. And actually, that decision was not a difficult one to make. I’m going to say something weird, now: There really aren’t that many business schools to pick from!
If you’re going for some level of prestige/recognition (which I am; it’s a hard habit to break), there isn’t much beyond the top 20 or maybe 25 schools to look at. At this point, I also know that my chances for a top 5 school are basically zero, and my chances for the top 10 are slim. Stanford and Berkeley were the two reaches I included in round 1, and seeing that I was denied without interview from GSB and it’s looking VERY likely that I’m going to be denied without interview from Haas, too, I really needed to focus on schools with higher admit rates (at least solidly in the mid-20% range). After I sprinkled in my geographic limitations, it really came down to Tuck, Fuqua and Ross. Darden was another possibility, but I didn’t really consider them mostly because I don’t know a single thing about Virginia and Charlottesville…and I didn’t have the time to find out.
Tuck was really calling out to me (especially its location), but I ultimately decided it would be a waste of effort, time and money to apply. As I mentioned previously, Tuck all but says out loud that interviewing on campus is mandatory, and I don’t have that ability. Also, its 21% admit rate didn’t bode well for me. My round 1 apps included all my dream schools: GSB, Haas, SOM. For me, the point of adding apps to round 2 was to get more actual admission offers, not to keep hoping for a dream. So, I’m thinking along similar lines to what Kris2332 said about Ross–“I also like that it’s a top program, but you feel like you may actually have a chance to get in ya know.” I need solid chances of admission. Or, at least as solid as I’m willing to get. Ross has a 34% admit rate and Fuqua has a 26% admit rate, so they seem possible. Possible.
I submitted my Michigan app yesterday. One of my longtime friends got his MBA there, so fodder for essays was easy to come by. I still need to polish up my Duke essays, though, especially the massive “Why Duke?” one. There’s lots of reasons why, but it’s tough to not make it sound like a disjointed laundry list instead of a cohesive essay.