Threepeat – Part Two

OhDenny, a veteran gmatclubber graciously agreed to share his ‘Road to the MBA’ story with the world. This is Part Two of his story–one of trial, tribulation… and triumph.-

Act II: Desperation

The following year I was determined to get into school.  I knew I had everything I needed to get in: some killer recs, a new promotion, a URM/non-traditional background story, (I’m gay and non-profity).  I had learned my lessons from the previous year, and I was going to do in-depth research, target reasonable schools that fit my career trajectory, and visit campuses I liked.

I did everything right this time around.  I even hired a consultant to help workshop my essays, and I developed a very thick skin with him constantly hammering my stuff (I needed that, even though I hated every minute of it).

But the biggest change for me had been my attitude towards schools.  My visit to SOM for my interview radically changed my perception of the school.  Instead of only having access to other non-profit do-gooders like myself, I found that there was a huge breadth of experience amongst the students, faculty, and courses there.  I fell hard for the school, and realized I really hadn’t put in the effort it deserved the first time around.

I also visited Haas (dropping HBS and Kellogg because they didn’t fit me, culturally) and fell in love with their program as well.  It had that intimate, collaborative feel, with a school that was in a college town, but not so far removed from civilization as to make it unbearable.

So I went through the process again.  Yale doesn’t typically re-interview within a year, but I was invited to interview with Haas, and had a great time.  I thought I’d nailed it.  At this point, I was pretty checked-out at work, having now been there for 5 years, and doing my job in my sleep.  I desperately wanted to get out and go to school.

I may have seemed overeager in my app or interview.  Or maybe I just wasn’t ready; something wasn’t clicking.  SOM dinged me, and Cal put me on the waitlist before ultimately dinging me in the very final round.  When I asked both schools for feedback here were their responses:

SOM: (Mind you – this was the school that didn’t have any specific pointers when I’d asked for feedback the year before)  “Our program requires a lot of quantitative prowess, and we are concerned you have not demonstrated the quantitative strength necessary.”

Haas:  “You missed it by a hair.  We just had too few people decline our offers this year.  Come back and apply next year.  Deepen your experience, take some math, and apply in Round 1.”

And that was the end of my second year of applying to B-School.


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