Friday, August 29, 2008


Emory's app went live, so I briefly started that one. I'm trying to focus on the ones with the soonest due dates, especially UCLA. I'm almost done with the application part, and I've started my essays. The good news is my manager (soon-to-be former manager due to the re-org) agreed to write my recommendations, and he was very enthusiastic about it! I've got another person in mind for the other recs, hopefully she's as receptive.

Does anyone else get worried when apps aren't available? Duke still hasn't posted theirs, and USC hasn't even updated deadlines from last year! Get on the ball people!

All these Business Week stories and what not, about the surge in applications making it nearly impossible to gain admittance, are a bit scary. What if I spend all this money, call in these favors, go through the long and arduous process, and get rejected from every single school! I keep telling myself "You're not an investment banker. You're not an IT guy from India. You're non-traditional, so those 750 GMATs don't really apply to you." But am I deluding myself?

Schools are back in session for the most part, so I'd like to welcome back to newly-minted SYs, as well as welcome the first year students. I've followed some of your blogs throughout the process, and you've served as inspiration throughout. Keep on blogging so we know it's all worth it!

UPDATE: Of course, shortly after this is posted, the Duke Fuqua application goes live. It's all on you, USC!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

UCLA App is live!

I was creating a handy dandy spreadsheet to keep track of admissions dates and deliverables, and noticed that UCLA Anderson's application had finally gone live! So, I started that one, even though I think my chances are very, very slim. So that's three apps started.

My mid-year review is today, and I'm going to ask my soon-to-be former manager (we went through another re-org, and he's moving to a new role) if he'll write recs for me. He's very big on continuing education, and he knows of my plans, so this should be a smooth one. I've got an idea on my other recommender, I'll ask her this week as well.

I also am starting to plan a trip to hit the three schools that don't have invitation-only interviews (Duke, UNC and Emory). I figure a solid week of vacation time in early October, spend a day at each with a travel day to get to Atlanta. I may try to plan it around the Columbus day holiday, so I technically only use four days of vacation, and can travel on the weekends.

One thing I noticed on the Anderson application: in the education section, they ask for a) last two years cumulative GPA and b) an explanation on why you've failed a class before. My Tulane GPA was wiped out when I transferred to Wake, so that should be easy. I did fail two classes at Tulane my first semester there (Japanese and Calc); I retook Calc and got a C+, and switched back to Latin and got As in all those classes. Any suggestions on how to explain why I failed in 200 words or less?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Apps Have Begun!

First, you probably have noticed the new look to my blog. The black and green was starting to look a little...dark. I decided to switch it to something lighter, a bit easier to read. Hopefully everyone likes it. I also updated the school list a bit, which brings me to...

Application time! Emory had posted their application a bit ago, so I've begun going through the bread and butter info (name, address, education, work experience, etc.) and thinking about their essays. Clear Admit informed me that UNC's application and essays *finally* went live today, so I also started that one. So, two essays started, quite a few more to go! It does feel good to be moving forward with the process; I just want all my other schools to hurry up and let me start filling out the apps!

I've also started thinking about interviews. I know it's early, especially for schools that are invite-only. I personally think all schools should be invite-only. For a school like UNC, it is required of all applicants, regardless of whether you are seen as a compelling candidate. You need to take time off work, travel to Chapel Hill, and go through the interview process, without knowing your status. At other schools that are invite-only, such as USC, you know if they ask you to come in for an interview, you have crossed that first hurdle into "This candidate is interesting!" territory. I like that idea better than blindly interviewing.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's good a school allows everyone to interview. I just think it's easier for those schools that are invite-only. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

School Choices

I received some comments about my school list, and how it's a very large number to apply in one season. Well, I'm not crazy, I didn't actually think I would apply to all nine! They're broken down into several layers, which I will discuss in a moment.

I picked a fair number of schools, because a) I really want to gain admissions to a solid program, and I feel that spreading a wide net would hopefully yield a positive result at least once, and b) I understand my undergrad GPA will be a hindrance, and I feel a large sample is best. The schools I picked all have solid brand recognition, are in warm climates (except NYU), and have good reputations in the programs I am interested (marketing, consulting).

Here's my breakdown:

Super Reaches
UCLA: Tough, given the fact that my GMAT/GPA are sub-standard for them. Ideal location for The Dream Job. Solid marketing, and the contacts within the entertainment industry are excellent. I'm debating whether to apply, as this is the longest shot I'd take. Maybe App

NYU: Another tough one given my stats. Stern has a great marketing program with an emphasis on entertainment, and even has a class based on Cannes. Expensive (aren't they all?) and a cold-climate winter are some negatives. Maybe App

Duke: Good brand management program, although the Health Sector Management option intrigues me a great deal. High ranking would mean my stats stand out at the bottom of the barrel. Loved living in NC so location would be nice. Definite App

UNC: Strong brand name, good brand management/consulting concentration. Feasible with my stats, NC location. I think my non-traditional background would help me. Definite App

UVA: Great consulting program, though might be tough to gain admission. The stories of workload are a bit scary, but the case method approach is something I like. Decent location. This is another program I'm not sure I'm 100% committed to applying. Maybe App

USC: THE perfect choice for The Dream Job. USC has amazing contacts within the entertainment industry, has a great alumni network, and its marketing/entertainment programs are a perfect visit. Only school I've visited so far. Definite App

Good Chances
Wake Forest: My undergrad alma mater. I wouldn't mind returning, as I took a great deal from my Calloway experience. Love the international business aspects, and I'm more than familiar with the environment. Not as good brand recognition, and heavily finance focused, but consulting is still good. Definite App

Texas: Great consulting opportunities, with emphasis on technology (another passion of mine). Stats line up well enough here that I'd be a little surprised if things didn't go well. Definite App

Emory: The more I read up on this program, the more I like it. Small, community based, good consulting background, tons of top firms have headquarters in Atlanta. Stats are fairly ok here also. Definite App

Bottom line, nothing is a sure thing in MBA admissions. I know my GPA could kill me if I don't do a good enough job explaining it away. I feel this list is pretty good, and I've identified the definites and the maybes. Thoughts?

Sunday, August 17, 2008


It's been a crazy few weeks. After my GMAT, I wrote about taking some time off (thanks for the suggestions on doing so, everyone!), then had my brother's bachelor party, followed by his wedding yesterday. I had an amazing time, danced by butt off, but now it's time to buckle down once again. Luckily I have no big events coming up, so I can focus.

My online class at UCLA is going well. I feel I'm taking something from it, which is good. I've also been doing lots of thinking about what schools I'll apply, and in what rounds. Ideally, I want to know if I'm going somewhere as soon as possible, and my original idea was to apply in R1 for everything, but that might not be possible (as well as being very exhausting for my recommenders!). I'd feel more confident had I gotten that 700, but a 680 is damn good, and I don't think 20 points will make the difference between ding and admit.

So, here's a list: UNC, UCLA, USC, Duke, Wake Forest, Texas, Emory, UVA, NYU. Obviously, the big reaches are Duke, UCLA and NYU. Mid-level would be USC, UNC, UVA. I think realistically Wake Forest (my alma mater for undergrad), Texas and Emory are very doable. I'm going to look at some more programs. but that's the list I'm fairly comfortable with right now. I may drop some of them, depending on my confidence levels. I'm definitely applying to USC, UCLA, UNC and Wake Forest no matter what.

I feel these schools are 1) realistic, 2) a good fit with me wants/needs, and 3) can get me where I want to be.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm not dead!

I swear! After the GMAT, I decided to take some time off, and forget about MBA applications, deadlines, tests, everything. And it's been wonderful! I've got so much else going on, with big changes at work, my brother's bachelor party and the ensuing wedding, another brother preparing to move to North Carolina for a new job (congrats!). I'll provide more updates and do this more frequently from now on...