Wednesday, November 26, 2003

The BusinessWeek forums are a great, if often overwhelming, resource for MBA applicants. There's obviously a LOT of information out there and has to be often taken with a pinch of salt. A few months ago, there were tons of people posting their stats and asking for feedback on their chances from the AdmitCoach-es of the world. I did the same too, and I was advised that I had great stats, OK community service which could be offset/explained and that because of this I should take few risks on my essays. Fair enough.

Now, many of the posters have already applied for R1 and the discussions are focussed on interview calls and dings. One of the most fascinating threads is the Dinged with 750+ GMAT scores discussion. There are two things that interest me. Related to the advise above : many people are of the opinion that someone with a 750+ score would tend to go 'safe' on his/her essays whereas a 650 candidate would be more willing to take 'risks' increasing the probability of standout essays. I think it is a very valid point. Derrick Bolton of Stanford could not emphasize enough the level of introspection they expect to shine through in the essays. As I write my essays I find that trying to get a check list of qualities into an essay is very hard to do and is often a compromise with the spirit of the essay as originally envisioned and inspired. I have decided to give up on that and am trying to put down on paper what I really think and feel. There is the danger that I might leave some bases uncovered but if the essays can convey a picture of who I am, what makes me tick, where I come from, how I got here and where I intend to go, I hope to get the chance to interview to fill in the missing pieces.

A strategy shift from 'safe' to 'risk', if you will.

The other thing that I cannot understand is people's silly whining about being dinged from Wharton in spite of scoring 750+. How can one spend weeks or months researching a school, meeting students and alumni, visit campus, make a decision that the school's good for them and then take the effort to apply, turn around and trash the school as 'not-all-that' the minute they get a ding. I think a lot of it has to do with frustration at the wasted efforts, but this should be inexcusable of someone who seriously intends to go to b-school. As with other things, these people should have levels of maturity that are above and beyond their peers.

But again, will I have the same reaction the minute I open that ding email from Wharton. Simple answer - no, because I don't intend to apply to Wharton ;-). Jokes apart, there is no way for me to know until I get that email. Maybe I will understand the frustrations then. To all the people who got those dings I wish them luck in their other b-school applications.


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