Last night I stopped to think about who the actual audience for this blog is. I’m pretty sure that only individuals interested in the GSB will take the time to read any of my posts. Out of that group, current students most likely won’t be interested because they’re already living this life. And applicants who have friends at the GSB can get this information much more easily through a quick conversation. That leaves (prospective) applicants who don’t know people at the GSB.
When I was in this group of hopefully soon-to-be-students I went through three stages in my school research. First, I tried to find out enough about each school to decide if I wanted to apply. Second, I tried to find out how to write an application that would get me into that school. Third, I searched for unique aspects of the school that I could use in my interviews. On the current trajectory, this blog will be very useful for applicants going through the first and third stages. However, it’s lacking in the second stage.
So I am going to explain to you wonderful readers how I put together an application that got me accepted to the GSB. This is going to be a multi-post topic that will condense the 6 months I spent applying to business schools into just two or three weeks worth of posts. At the moment, I think this mini-series will have about 10 posts outlining how I approached the different parts of the process and the application.
Now, don’t get too excited yet. This is not going to be the magic key that will get you into the GSB. In fact, you will pretty soon discover that a common theme in my application process was my complete ignorance. I didn’t consider school rankings or look at post-MBA salaries and hiring rates when I decided on my list of schools. I also picked schools before I had ever taken a practice GMAT and I took the real GMAT about a week before the deadline to get my scores sent in for round 1. I thought that I had a decent chance at schools with acceptance rates in the single and low double digits. The majority of my essays were either naive or a tad flippant. I didn’t use a consultant because I didn’t know that they existed. And the list goes on…
I did lots of things “wrong.” And if you’re taking the time to read this blog then you’re already way ahead of where I was and will likely avoid lots of the cliffs I almost fell off of. However, at this point in the game I strongly believe that one of the reasons I got interviews at all four schools I applied to and got into some of them, including the GSB, was because I completed the entire process without being tainted by other people’s opinions and advice. I picked schools that offered me the opportunities I was interested in. I went with my gut instead of pouring over numbers. I scoured the official websites, came up with my own idea of what the schools were looking for, and then filled out my application to show how I could fit in seamlessly and contribute in a meaningful way. I read the essay questions and answered them the way I thought they should be answered, not the way the “experts” thought they should be answered.
Starting tomorrow, I’ll guide you through my approach to all of the steps, from picking schools to apply to to picking the school to attend. My goal here is to help people new to the process or those curious about what I put into my application to the GSB. Obviously you should take all of this with a grain of salt. After all, I’ll never know if I got in because of this naive approach or in spite of it.