Round 1 Final Tally: Two.

My Fuqua essays are almost all but done. I’m putting my finishing touches on the essays and I am amazed at how many small changes I find myself making to each factoid about myself or word usage in the Why Duke essay. Every time I re-read the essay, I change, insert, or shuffle a few words around to make the essay that much sharper. (At least in my eyes… for all I know, I am convoluting my message further or disrupting the flow of the essay! This is where the usage of an admissions consultant might come in handy but eh… perhaps more on that later.)

Unfortunately, I was unable to meet my intended target Round 1 deadline for Northwestern. Truth be told, some of it was partly due to my excessively busy work schedule combined with having two consecutive weekends full of best man duties (coordinating and enjoying the bachelor trip, preparing for the wedding weekend, making sure the groom didn’t run away, delivering a memorable speech, giving rides to and from the after-party, safely escorting the happy drunken couple to their hotel for the night, etc). I did however, feel that I managed my time fairly well, and consequently, the primary reason why I missed the deadline was more of the fact that when I did allocate time to sit down and work on my Kellogg essays, well, nothing came to me. If I haven’t expressed this before, my two greatest weaknesses to my application profile would be undergraduate GPA, and my lack of leadership experiences. The second Kellogg essay completely hinges on this latter weakness. Having a severe case of writer’s block, I made the decision to forgo Round 1 for Northwestern and give myself more time to brainstorm for better content.

Additionally, I have a Northwestern campus visit and interview scheduled in (omg, just) two weeks. After visiting Yale and Duke, I’ve learned that the writing content quality really is night and day before and after visiting the school. I am able to provide more authentic reasons as to why I want to attend that particular program. So I’m planning to do the bulk of my essay writing following my visit to Evanston.

Speaking of Yale, I submitted my SOM application several weeks ago. At the time of submission, I was beaming. I felt that I deftly dealt with the short word count constraints and placed my best foot forward. I was envisioning that interview invite arriving in my inbox and stepping into the interview room days later and walking out with a new best friend.

Fast forward to today, 2 ½ weeks later, and some serious doubt and angst have been eating away at my innards. I re-read my essays.
Did the contributions I highlighted in my second essay come off as too generic?
I’m not seeing any of my passion for SOM conveyed in this essay. Why didn’t I notice this before?
Shouldn’t I have included that college extra-curricular activity in the application, even if it was 5 years ago?
Did I really think Yale would accept a below 3.0 GPA applicant who hasn’t won an Olympic gold medal or Nobel prize?

Yeah, I wasn’t making things better by re-reading them. Best to file those away. Ultimately, I understand that there is nothing left that I can do but focus on my other applications. And that I will do. After submitting my application to Fuqua this week, that pretty much sums up Round 1. (Unless I am able to make swift and significant progress with NYU Stern’s essays).

I made the decision to attend business school at the start of the calendar year, so I am pretty disappointed in myself that I was only able to muster up two applications by this time.

On the other hand, I’ve told myself from day one that I am not approaching business school as a numbers game. I am not planning to apply to seven or eight or ten schools in hopes that at least one won’t ding me. I am not going to apply to a business school located in a remote location that I am not prepared to spend the next two years in. So shuffling one school to a later round is not going to be the end of it all.

Taking a deep breath… hoping for the best… and moving forward.

Carolina blue skies

“Carolina blue skies,” my cousin calls it. I continued staring up at the expansive, blue skies that stretched as far as I could see. North Carolina, as far as I could tell, was very flat and very green. It was sunny, had friendly highways (and I do mean friendly – I saw drivers backed up for half a mile on a 2-lane exit because they didn’t want to skip and merge ahead), and an interesting trifecta of cities known as Research Triangle Park: Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham. I liked it.

Well, I officially have my first business school interview out of the way! In retrospect, I should have probably prepped a bit more, because I am not a natural bullshitter. Though it can be much easier to become conversational when speaking about something from the heart or a specific personal hobby, the admissions team doesn’t want to hear about how much I want to be admitted. They want to know why, and what I will contribute, etc. (The want… is a given.) Answering those questions, well, for me personally, take some planning, writing, and preparation to really nail.

“Just be yourself.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“Oh, it’s nothing. It’s so conversational.”
(grinning) “I’m not worried about it at all. I’m just gonna go and talk.”

These are just several reactions I received over the day from various admissions staff and fellow prospective students. Everyone handles their interviews differently, I suggest you find your own way as well!

Read more of this post

The Information Social

I attended my first business school info session this week for the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. I walked away with mixed feelings, though not necessarily about Fuqua, but more reflective of myself and my upcoming decision to go to business school.

Read more of this post