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.

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.

UCLA Anderson admit packet + Ross interview invite

photo (1)I received my admit packet in the mail from UCLA Anderson a couple days ago. I had completely forgotten about the whole snail mail aspect of admissions, and it was surprisingly gratifying to hold something solid in my hands that said “Congratulations!” on it. I love digital, but there’s still a lot to miss about print.

The letter included a short handwritten note from Assistant Dean Alex Lawrence that referenced content in my application essay, which was  a very nice personal touch. And check out that awesome smiley face–I’m a fan of smileys 🙂

I’ve also received congratulatory messages from current students and have been set up with my first year buddy, who I will be speaking with soon. Altogether I’ve been feeling very welcomed and supported by Anderson, which is great. Preview Day for admits is at the end of February, and I will definitely be in attendance.

In other (exciting) news, I received an interview invite from Ross and have already scheduled my off-campus interview with an alum in my city. I’ve heard a bit about the group exercise Ross does for interviews, but since I’ll be doing mine off campus I won’t be participating. It’s going to be a very busy upcoming 3-4 weeks!

I’M DONE WITH APPS! yesssssssssssssss

stick_a_fork_in_heart_im_done_print-rcfce5cff037f4e3ba9cc72b81ec5e9f4_wad_8byvr_512I submitted my Fuqua app last night, which means that I am DONE filling out business school applications and will NEVER EVER FILL OUT ANOTHER ONE AGAIN! Whoooooooooooop! It feels pretty awesome, I must say.

So here’s what I’ve got lined up for the next couple months (I’m laying this out more for my sake than yours):

HAAS:

Berkeley will release final decisions next week (1/15). I wasn’t invited for an interview, so, as I mentioned previously, I’m quite sure this will be a ding. I used to think that I’d be super sad about a ding from Haas, but I’m not feeling it anymore. I think my expectations were pretty off when I began this entire process, so I’ve readjusted.

JOHNSON:

No interview invites have gone out for round 2 yet, but they should start coming very, very soon. After all, decisions are released in about a month (2/5). So if I don’t receive an invite in the next couple weeks, I’d say my chances are very low.

SOM and KELLOGG waitlist statuses:

I’m still figuring out my game plan on how to improve my candidacy at these two schools. Yale gave me their feedback, and their feedback was…that they had no specific feedback. I’m still waiting on feedback from Kellogg. Those sour grapes that I was tasting before? I no longer feel the same way at all. I just want in no matter how it happens, and I wouldn’t feel bad about it one bit!! I need to stew on this a bit more, but I’m aiming to have something put together for both schools by early February. It seems like more people get off the Kellogg waitlist than SOM’s, but SOM still has hold of my heart.

ROSS:

Seems like interview invites for round 2 went out on 1/10 (wow, quick turnaround) and  2/4 last year, so maybe it will repeat this year (?)

FUQUA:

If I don’t receive an interview invite by 2/6, it’ll be a ding for me (I didn’t interview during the open interview period). If I do get an invite, interviews will be held somewhere between 2/10-2/25.

ANDERSON:

Preview Day for admits is on 2/27, and I’ll be there.

Then we get into March, which will be tough. Anderson’s round 1 deposit deadline is on March 12th. On the 13th, Fuqua releases round 2 decisions. On the 14th, Ross releases round 2 decisions. Oh, also, Johnson’s round 2 deposit deadline is March 5th. Everything is crazy up in the air right now, but there seems to be a possibility of losing a deposit, which would suck big time. But I’m guessing that happens way more than people think…

Meanwhile, I’m taking a pre-MBA refresher math class online. Taking the GMAT reminded me how to do long division, but, seriously, I’ve lost all the calculus I ever learned. And I’ve never applied any sophisticated math to business scenarios, so I really need some review. I really don’t want to start business school already behind (I mean, I’ll probably be behind on some level, but I’m going to try to minimize it), so I’m going to try to take as many classes as I can to prepare before fall rolls around.

A new year with new schools to add to my applications

new year 2014Happy new year everyone!

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.