the trials and tribs of an MBA hopeful!

Come join me in coffee shops, hiding in conference rooms at work, and generally giving up my entire social life as I work on my MBA applications!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Worst of Apps '07: my top 10

Just read the last few days' installment of applicant blogs: I think I'm going to jump on the "advice" bandwagon, too! :) Iday and Juggler(among many others) have written amazing, detailed advice for any applicant - I wish I had their blogs when I was getting started! To take a slightly different angle, I'm going to summarize my thoughts in 2 installments: the Best of Apps and the Worst of Apps. Written in Top 10 form, of course.

Let's start with the worst... So, here it goes (in no particular order):


10. Feeling overly confident about my "amazing" standardized test taking abilities, I figured I was the type who wouldn't need to study much...right? wrong! first practice GMAT score: 540 (I'm not kidding - the next 4 were also in the 500s)
**hidden advice: learning HOW to take the test gains you major points!

9. Bought Richard Montauk's "How to Get into the Top Business Schools" and carried it around all summer w/o opening it.
**Start your essays early - you'll need the time! Buy this book and read it - it's too heavy to carry in your bag w/o using it!!

8. As an addendum to #9, I finally read the examples in the book and tried to emulate them... I wanted my story to sound like "Alex" or "Lisa" ...but in the end I think mine sounded even better!
** only you can tell your story - and different is good!

7. Underestimating the data portion of the applications = bad. I don't know about you, but I certainly did not remember the phone number associated with the job I had at age 18. Or the name of my sister's boyfriend's hairdresser's niece. (kidding - but you get the point)
**Do this part early! No excuses.

6. Bad bad bad bad prep for my first interview in four years. See: November 8, 2006 entry. Yikes.
**You CANNOT wing it. Do not even try!!!

5. Got back together with my boyfriend (nooooo, that is not the bad part!) and TOTALLY forgot to write a thank-you note to my interviewer!!! I finally remembered a week later.
** don't lose sight of your application responsibilities - you have worked too hard!

4. Never wrote a thank-you note to my HBS interviewer. (I know, who does that, right??!!)
** worked out ok, but DO NOT try this at home!

3. Lived and breathed the Business Week forums. So addicting & not at all useful unless you like cruel & unusual forms of torture & punishment!
** Just stay away! It is for your own good!

2. I love my mother a lot, but "honey, these sound absolutely amazing in every way" is just NOT constructive feedback for your essays!
**Choose readers who know you and can give good advice beyond "what the adcom is looking for." An essay with a personal touch will make a lasting least that is what worked in my case! (essays will fall into my Best of post!)

1. Talking about b-school applications to ANYONE and EVERYONE. Even my parents couldn't mask their boredom with my incessant ranting, obsessing & overanalyzing.
**No one wants to hear about applications all the time. Best advice: start a blog! we are the ones who CARE and UNDERSTAND!

The top 10 above were certainly not a make-or-break for my applications, but life would have been just that much sweeter had I known then what I know now :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi MBA Babe,
Congrats for the great performance.
I would like to know what were ur application strengths. What did you think clicked with Harvard and Stanford (whether community service or some achievements or whatever).
I have read the blogs of some great applicants, who got into all other top schools except H and S. Hence, I would like to know your point of view. Give us some hints on what all u portrayed in ur essays. A detailed post on this wud be very helpful.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Iday said...

Long time no post!!! And then you come up with this :)

Luckily, people told me a few of these when i started writing apps. I am especially thankful to the guy who warned abt the BW forums :)

10:50 PM  
Blogger MBAstarter said...

Hmmm...quite interesting.
Its tough not to talk about apps when you eat, sleep and drink essays for days together :)

Looking forward to the Best 10...

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Nice post :)

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