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.

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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.

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.

Yale SOM: Waitlisted

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I am really, really, really disappointed to say that I’ve been waitlisted at Yale SOM. I’m surprised, yet unsurprised. I can’t help thinking that if I’d done better on that video interview and hadn’t been almost late for my in-person interview that I may have been straight out admitted. But then again, maybe not. Who knows?

Waitlisting is weird. On one hand you think, “At least I wasn’t straight out denied!” On the other hand, it’s not like there’s anything to celebrate, either. It’s like…nothingness. There’s a completely unknown chance of being admitted NEXT SUMMER (Yale doesn’t release numbers on how many people get off the waitlist in past years) and meanwhile, the rest of the world will keep on turning and you’ll get responses from other schools. There’s not really a point in holding your breath for that long…at least in my opinion. And I’ve already interviewed in person and submitted what I can. I don’t foresee any major changes coming up for me that would sway a decision. Except that I was named employee of the month at my organization last month…I’m sure that will get me in!! Sorry, the sarcasm is leaking out.

I’m counting this one as a ding in my mind. Partially because there’s no point for me to obsess over it and partially because I don’t really like feeling like a last pick. Probably dumb and overly prideful, but if I did get admitted, I’d feel like I was the last pick in gym class when the captains take turn to create their dodgeball teams. Like–I still have one slot to fill, and there’s just this person left, so…I guess it’s her! That’s a completely inaccurate analogy, of course, because there’s still hundreds of others who weren’t waitlisted at all. It’s also inaccurate because I was always the first girl to be picked when we played dodgeball in gym in elementary school. But it’s apt in that I’d be the last choice among a pool. A pool of amazing and awesome people, of course, but still last.

This kind of brings me to the idea of reapplying to bschools. While I don’t think my age should be counted against me in my apps, I am not entertaining any possibility of reapplying for schools next year. But I’m not off to a good start, here–I’ve got official dings from GSB and SOM and I’m now 99% sure I’ll have a ding from Haas. I originally only had Cornell and USC lined up for round 2, but I’m getting nervous now, and I may have to rethink that plan. None of the schools I’m applying to are even close to a sure thing, so I might start thinking about adding a real “safety” school.

Yale SOM Interview Recap

Stress-Relief1My Yale SOM interview did not start out well. Not well at all.

First off, I had been battling the start of some kind of stomach bug for a couple days beforehand, so I was all around tired, sore and worn out. I also had the beginning of a painful eye infection in one eye, and the lower lid of my OTHER eye was twitching nonstop (I heard this can happen when you’re overtired or stressed. It was driving me nuts! And it was actually visible to others–I probably looked like some kind of twitchy madwoman). Oh, and I also had a big canker sore going on on my lip, ya know, just to round out the whole picture.

To add to that, I left for my interview super early, but traffic STILL killed me. It was like every possible thing that could go wrong went wrong. Construction shut down a major street to just one lane, car accidents, random backups for no reason…it was all there. So despite my leaving with a ton of time to spare (I was planning on getting there at least 30 minutes early to review my notes beforehand), I ended up DASHING into my interview at the EXACT start time that was scheduled for me. My brain was fried from the last 1.5 hours of built up stress and clock-checking in the car, and I was simply not mentally ready for an interview at that point.

That was my big mistake. I’m a punctual person (especially when I’m meeting someone else; I hate to hold people up), but I really should have just sat and decompressed for 2-3 minutes and been late by 2-3 minutes. It probably would have helped me out a lot. So, note to others: Don’t run into your interview all hyped up like I was!

So we started with a regular resume walk-through-type question, and I tripped over my words and incoherently said…things…or at least I think I did. By the time that one was over, I had calmed down a bit, and the rest of the interview went okay (I think). But altogether, I left feeling very disappointed in myself. I think I could have hit that one out of the park, but I set a poor image right at the beginning that probably affected my interviewer’s perception of the rest of my performance. (Oh, by the way, I interviewed with an adcom member in Los Angeles.)

I’ve been posting all the questions I can remember from interviews I’ve had with other schools, but I haven’t been for Yale. And I think that’s because I have the distinct impression that the school does *not* want us to share these things with others. In fact, the person I interviewed with basically said so…she acknowledged the fact that everyone can find past questions online, so Yale really goes through the effort to formulate questions that applicants have not seen before. Knowing that makes me believe a couple things about Yale SOM: 1) They might weigh the interview more compared to other schools, and 2) Maybe they’re less into collaboration (??) I’m not sure. These are complete guesses. But, either way, their attitude about the whole thing makes the competitive side of me flare up (I also just don’t want to do something that they are explicitly trying to avoid). So I’m not going to share the specific questions I received, but I can say that they were DEFINITELY BEHAVIORAL. Actually, I’m not even sure if “behavioral” is the right word…when I think of “behavioral,” I think, “Tell me about a time when…”. And while there were a couple questions that followed that pattern, some questions were more about belief systems and relationships. They definitely favor people who are introspective and people-oriented.

Anyway, that wraps up all the interviews I have lined up so far. Still no word from Stanford or Berkeley. I’m assuming Stanford is a ding (I’ll know for sure next Tuesday), which isn’t a surprise. I would have been surprised if I *had* been invited for an interview, but I had to apply anyway. Though I wish I could get my $275 application fee back. Theirs was the highest fee I’ve had to pay, and it was painful. No one talks about application fees, but they hurt. A lot.

I still have hopes for an invite from Haas, though. I would love-love-love to hear from them!!

Clear Admit’s Yale SOM Interview Guide [REVIEW]

Clear Admit Interview GuideClear Admit was kind enough to offer me their Yale SOM interview guide for free in exchange for a review on this blog. My interview with Yale is coming up in about a week, so I was more than happy to take a look.

Clear Admit’s 30-page guide helpfully points out how Yale’s interview model recently changed from resume-based to behavior-based (“Tell me about a time when…”). I think this will pose a challenge for me; I tend to feel that behavioral questions can be “trick” questions. With resume-based questions, I have single straightforward answers. I’m not the kind of person who just finds herself in situations; I always have a reason behind each choice I make. So it’s easy for me to explain my professional history, my career trajectory and my goals. But with behavioral questions, I have to grasp for one example among many from my past and choose one on the spot, and I sometimes regret the choice I made afterward (“Shoot, I should have talked about THAT leadership example, not THIS one!”). So I have a lot of preparation ahead of me in terms of pre-determining  answers to typical behavioral questions.

And I’m in luck, because Clear Admit’s guide supplies almost 50 questions that Yale has consistently asked applicants in recent years. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get through all of them, but they do give me a solid sense of what to expect. And, for me, personally, knowing what to expect is invaluable because it really eases my nerves and increases my confidence . The guide also gives helpful tips on how to prepare yourself along with in-depth analyses of very common questions (“Why MBA?”, “Why Yale?”).

Their guide also highlights the benefits of interviewing on campus in New Haven. I am definitely sad that I’m unable to be there in person for this interview, but I’ve decided to believe Yale adcom members when they say an on-campus interview does not give you a better chance for admission than on off-campus one. But, really, I don’t have much choice in this matter. I just bought plane tickets to see family for Christmas, and that set me back almost $700! That might not be a large sum for some, but it is for me. I’ve decided to do as many interviews locally as I can, and see if I can possibly visit campuses after I’ve received decisions.

Altogether, the guide is a great summary of what to expect and how to prepare for an interview with Yale SOM. I definitely learned information that I did not know, despite my Google-fu. I’ve been able to compile past Yale SOM interview questions myself from various forums and boards, but having them all in one place is a HUGE time saver (and I haven’t been able to compile even close to the number of questions the guide has). If you have $20 to spare, and ESPECIALLY if you’re short on time, I’d say the guide is totally worth it. You can purchase the guide online at Clear Admit’s website for $19.99.

Life back to normal (kind of)

ImageThis entire business school application process–studying for/taking the GMAT, choosing schools to apply to, completing applications–has basically taken over my life for the past six months, and I have been unable to do anything else. I’ve neglected dirty dishes, laundry grew in piles and the floors went way too long between vacuuming sessions. But now that all my round 1 apps have been submitted, life has been (somewhat) returning to normal! I’m finally able to empty the dishwasher, catch up on my volunteer work and have some fun. I’m bringing the car in for an overdue repair this weekend along with checking out a couple movies at the AFI Film Festival. And unlike many of my fellow applicants, it seems, I’m not feeling stressed about my already-submitted apps. I was super stressed out before I got my Yale SOM interview invite, but now that I know I have *some* chance of attending business school next year, I’ve completely relaxed. It’s actually tempting to just put the entire thing out of my head…I have to remind myself that I still need to do work, like prepare for my interviews (and, oh yeah, I still have two more apps to go!).

No word from Stanford or Berkeley re: interviews yet. I’ll definitely be disappointed if I don’t get an invite from Berkeley. Of all the applications I completed, I thought the way Berkeley’s essays were structured and the ample opportunities they gave to share additional info really provided the most comprehensive view of me as an applicant. So if I don’t hear from them, I can’t blame an annoying application structure for it! I guess I’d take it a bit personally if I don’t get an interview invite. Haas’ four defining principles really speak to me, too, and I think the school could be a fantastic fit for me. And I’ve always had a thing for Berkeley. I almost decided to attend Berkeley for undergrad, but decided to go with a traditional Ivy instead. I don’t regret making that decision, but I still love Berkeley.

Next week I’ll have my Kellogg interview first followed by Anderson. My interview with Yale should be done the week after. I’m generally excited to put a face on this whole process–everything has felt pretty cold and impersonal so far, so it will be satisfying to interact with someone directly!