Hello all, if any of you are still out there.
The blog has been silent for a few months, corresponding to some of the absolute craziest months of my adult life. A shiny new role at work, family weddings (which are jobs themselves for us Africans), the GMAT day of reckoning, submitting R1 applications, looming interviews and interview decision days… you get the picture.
Along with any semblance of a social life, the blog became one of the casualties of this spike in activity. I am sure many of you former/current applicants who are reading can attest to this, but the admissions process goes from agonizingly slow and anxious to incredibly fast and tumultuous. Once you hit submit, you regress to that slow feeling and exchange the anxiety for anticipation. That is where I stand now. In the next month I will know if I am done with the admissions process, or if I have to prepare for R2/3.
To start, let’s backtrack to what I affectionately call The GMAT Day of Reckoning. I had a great buildup to the test, flying through quant problems with pace and scoring typically high in verbal. I crossed the 700 mark in practice exams before my appointment, and was full of confidence going into the testing center. I ended up with a score that places me firmly within the ranges of my target schools, and scored high in the IR and AWA sections as well. Being the first time I took the GMAT, I felt good enough to proceed with submitting my applications and won’t be taking the exam again… unless it is a precondition to gaining admission.
Post GMAT, it was all applications. The first decision I made was to revise my R1 strategy. I couldn’t write the level of essay I wanted for such a large number of schools, and since I sat for the GMAT relatively late in the game the deadlines were quickly approaching. So I picked my favorite schools from the bunch, and curated every detail about my application for them. I submitted Round 1 at the London Business School and the Kellogg School of Management.
If you have a particularly good memory of my original target list, you may wonder why I dropped HBS. While my GMAT score was strong, I don’t think it was the score I needed to be a competitive applicant at HBS, especially in light of an undergraduate GPA that wasn’t going to “wow” anyone. This was a tough decision rooted in practicality. I had to make a choice based on the reality of my situation, and I think I made a good one. I still face an incredibly uphill battle for Kellogg and LBS, but a few factors give me a better chance in my eyes. For one, Kellogg has a video component to their application and interviews every candidate. This gives me more of an opportunity to put a face to my candidacy, which bolsters my chances as someone who is comfortable in those settings. LBS is an international school that views candidates in a very holistic sense… which is reflected in their class profile.
This new application strategy is also derived from my decision to apply R2 via The Consortium – which works towards greater diversity in management and offers a common application process to some of the nation’s elite business schools. I was already targeting some of the schools partnered with The Consortium (Kenan-Flagler & Johnson), and the other schools on the list are very impressive (Darden, Yale SOM, Stern, Tepper, and more). I made my GMAT score available to schools looking for applicants via GMAC, and since then have received very warm emails and phone calls from Stern, Tepper, and others inviting me to apply. It seems I have plenty of research to do, but I can’t help but get excited about some of the brands available through The Consortium.
Interviews and Invites
I have an admissions interview tomorrow (!!!) with the Max M. Fisher School of Business at The Ohio State University. This interview was extended to participants of the Fisher Season Premiere: a welcome weekend for prospective applicants to the school. Apart from the interview I will be participating in mock classes, career services discussions, and a few social events. Fisher offers something unique that no other school can offer for me. I live in Columbus, and one of my recommenders recently asked me to attend school locally and continue working for the organization. In exchange, they would pick up some of the tuition cost and offer me a flexible schedule. All in all, I don’t know if I will submit an application to Fisher just yet. My experience this weekend will figure heavily into that decision.
I’m also excited to announce that I’ll be interviewing at Kellogg next weekend, having registered for the Kellogg Diversity Weekend. The situation couldn’t have worked out any better. I get to visit one of my front-runners and give my interview on campus, reconnect with some of the people I met on my visit in May, and learn more about Kellogg’s efforts in promoting diversity. It is also a three day weekend, with plenty of fun stuff to do in Chicago following the visit.
The London Business School will be making their interview decisions this Friday. I submitted the absolute best application I could, and luckily have been too busy to think about it since. With the date approaching, however, my anticipation is building. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for good news.
Phew. I think I’ve caught up. The next post will discuss how my interview/day at Fisher went, any news I got from LBS, and turn an eye towards Kellogg’s Diversity Day. It feels good to be back.