As I just finished filing my financial aid application, I wanted to write a post that could be helpful to prospective MBA applicants. I may not have all the answers to why these amazing profiles were dinged by GSB, and not me, but for what it is worth, here is my two cents.
– I started my preparation early, about a year before my target schools R1 deadlines. It gave me plenty of time to contact alumni from my country, understand each school distinctive DNA and prepare for the TOEFL (Jan 13) and GMAT (May 13) exams. This whole period was also helpful for my husband to adjust to the idea that we would be moving, and plan for his own career.
– I anticipated on anything that was predictable , in particular: update my resume, gather material for goals essays, contact recommenders and get the official transcripts from my university. My goals essays were probably almost done by the time the schools published their questions, and I only needed to do minor adjustments in case they did not fit the word limit or the exact wording. I submitted all my applications in August so that I could focus on my work/family life again.
– I was aware of my weaknesses. I am a non native speaker, and do not use English at work at all. I am not used to writing essays either. On top of that, I was unsure of my determination to pursue an MBA and turn my whole family life upside down. I was afraid I would give up and chose stability over adventure.
Hiring a consultant to work on the first drafts of my essays helped me overcome these weaknesses, also because I felt I had already spent so much money on my applications that it was impossible step back.
– I fit the admission requirements. Among them, GSB puts a strong focus on leadership development, and my own distinctive strengths have always been people management and leadership. I had a lot of examples to prove it, which also earned me a fast track promotion at my current company (blue chip).
– I may belong to a less competitive pool of applicants (European mother in tech)…
– I did not rush my applications, so the execution was probably as good, thorough and sincere as it could possibly be. I guess that when the adcoms reviewed my application, it was pretty easy for them to understand who I truly am and how I could add value to the class. And people like it when you make things easier for them.