Posts Tagged ‘business school’

Crunch time

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

Yikes, my first b-school applications are due in one week! I’ve spent a TON of time soul-searching, reflecting, reading, listening, and thinking. I hope I’ve been able to distill my essence into a potent little package that will come across well in my essays. I’m trying to wrap those up soon so I can also do a revamp of my resume before uploading that and completing the other aspects of each app. This is really nerve-wracking!! Luckily, I have a five-day weekend to focus and work through many of the details.

I’ll mostly be offline in the coming days, but I should have time to fit in a post or two. After that, I’m thinking of bringing back more of my journaling days. I miss being able to look back on any day in my life and knowing what happened. Panda and I were trying to rehash what we did over the Christmas weekend and things were already a little fuzzy. I don’t like that feeling, so perhaps I’ll incorporate more daily life stuff into my posts here. We’ll see! Right now I’m reserving most brain power for putting my best foot forward in my applications!!

Writing challenges

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday was the deadline to apply to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in the second round (there are three rounds each year and you can apply in any single one you choose).  This entire week, I had been working to perfect everything for my application, particularly my essays.  I had found the Harvard Business School essays to be easier to tackle, with only a few rewrites.  When it came to Stanford’s though, I was a mess.  Let’s take a look at both schools’ prompts:


  1. Tell us about three of your accomplishments.
  2. Tell us three setbacks you have faced.
  3. Why do you want an MBA?
  4. Answer a question you wish we had asked.

Stanford GSB

  1. What matters most to you, and why?
  2. What do you want to do – REALLY – and why Stanford?
  3. Tell us about a time when you made a lasting impact on your organization.
  4. Tell us about a time when you generated support from others for an idea or initiative.

I felt like Harvard’s were more practical and Stanford’s were more emotional, if that makes sense.  What made Stanford’s challenging for me was how personal those first two are.  It was really getting to the core of what is meaningful to me and it’s hard to express something you believe in so deeply.  I had to work backwards, first sharing stories of my workplace successes, then tackling what I want to do and what matters to me.

The first versions of my responses to questions 1 and 2 came out extremely idealistic.  I realized that I sounded like my mind was in the clouds and my feet weren’t on the ground.  I knew I had to present things in a more concrete manner so the selection committee could see the logic behind how what mattered to me drove what I wanted to do and why that all tied into going to business school.  Unfortunately, I cared so much about properly expressing something so close to my heart that nothing sounded right.  I would write a paragraph and start the next only to decide that I wanted to add a paragraph to the beginning instead.  I labored over those two for so long!

Finally, I was satisfied with how the second essay came out, but I was still pretty stumped by the first.  How do you share your greatest dreams without sounding unrealistic?  Again and again, I would rewrite my response to that question until I started to create a structure that made sense.  I then made the very smart move of sending my writing to Maven for a proofread.  One of my greatest challenges in writing essays is making everything flow.  I tend to let my ideas out stream-of-consciousness style, which usually results in random connections and scattered ideas.  He was able to help me reorder some of my sentences to make my structure infinitely better!  At that point, I was finally ready to turn everything in.  I had put forth a great effort and now it was time to officially apply to one of the most prestigious programs in the world.

I feel so relieved now that it’s in and strangely, I’m not really nervous about decision day.  That’s probably just because it’s still over two months away!  As the time nears, I’m sure I will nervously anticipate the news and hope for the best.  I can really see myself going to a top business school and excelling.

Crunch time

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

It’s down to the wire for my HBS application and I don’t think I’m going to make it.  I have been unable to get in touch with two of my recommenders and the third says he did it, but the system didn’t register anything.  By the time we start work tomorrow, second round applications will be due (and all too soon overdue).  It was disturbing to come to this reality, since I really want to get into b-school this fall, but at least there is still one more round.  While that round is extremely tough since most of the class will already have been formed, I hold out hope that I will be able to stand out.

I’ve still got another day and a half to get my Stanford GSB application submitted in time for round two, so I’m going to put all my effort towards that and this time I will not fail. I will spend all day tomorrow making sure my recommenders get those recommendations in before we leave work.  I won’t accept another missed deadline!

Another step closer

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , ,

I did it!  I finally scheduled my GMAT exam, which brings me one step closer to getting my applications ready for b-school.  It’s in just under two weeks, so I’ll definitely need to do some final prep work over the long weekend.  After that, I will transfer all my energy towards applications and pump them out in a month.  It all sounds daunting, but a little bit of pressure usually gives me the motivation I need to take care of business!

I’m optimistic that I can put together a profile making me a strong candidate, but the reality is that only 5-10% of applicants get in and I’m definitely on the lower end of the scale when it comes to work experience.  Hopefully I can make up for that and state a good case for my qualifications.  The good thing is, it wouldn’t kill me to get another year under my belt and I’m not in a huge rush to get an MBA right away, so even if I don’t get in to Harvard or Stanford (the only two I’m applying to this year), I’ll just try again next year.

Of course I’m definitely hoping I do get in for the entering class of 2012, but at least I have the luxury of more time if I need it.  There is definitely a lot of experience I can still accrue with an additional year.  However, I feel there are a lot of opportunities at work out of my reach without an MBA to back me up.  Getting that degree would really help me over a hump in my career that otherwise may take two or three times as long to overcome.

I’m looking forward to getting the test out of the way so I can focus all my energy on my applications.  If I can, I’ll definitely want to make a classroom visit too!

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