Friday, January 20, 2006

Like sands through the hourglass...

Wow. Every stage of the B school application process has been excruciating. Currently, I'm in that grey area between admissions and matriculation. I never really gave this much thought while applying, but this is the latest in a long line of irritations. Let's take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

First, I decided to "hedge" my chances of admission to a top MBA program by applying eight, that's right--EIGHT, schools. How was this awful?? Let me count the ways: These schools aren't your online-MBA-in-3 months-type places. The number of required essays has given me carpal tunnel, rheumatoid arthritis, and permanent indigestion. It wasn't just the vast quantity (which was indeed vast), it was the esoteric nature of these damn things. Harvard, being Harvard, thought it would be really informative if they knew your view on the following: "In your career, you will have to deal with many ethical issues. What are likely to be the most challenging and what is your plan for developing the competencies you will need to handle these issues effectively?" What type of question is this? God, it hurts. So, 40 non-overlapping essays later, we get to...

The application costs. Yikes. LBS actually set the bar with this one. Given the horrendously weak dollar, I think it was around $240. I basically endowed a professorship with my fee. When you add in seven other schools' applications, travel costs, GMAT, and GMAT score reporting, you end up spending the GDP of a small country. Don't even get me started on the human capital required.

Ahh, what's next? Yes, the waiting for an interview invite! Time slows down to a grinding halt during this period. Will I? Won't I? Why don't they want me? The whole idea of this application process is a litte sick. I have to present my life, education, and career in a nice little package, only to be judged on my worthiness by people I don't know. Sort of intimidating. Sort of infuriating. But, we roll with the punches and then...

You receive the invites! What questions should I prepare for? Do I know enough about the school? What's the Dean's name (yes, I've heard urban legends that this gets asked)? Why an MBA? Why now? Who am I? So, I consulted the all knowing Oracle of Delphi called the Businessweek Forums. Holy cow, these boards are filled with paranoid sociopaths . I mean, some of these people are truly insane. To be fair and balanced, like Fox News, I probably posted over 100 comments on the forums. Some people were actually helpful (almost exclusively the LBS crowd :-) Interviewing isn't that bad once you get the hang of it. I practiced by interviewing first with two schools which I had no interest in attending. Once all of the interviews are done...

You have at least another month of quiet time until the decision! My God, I could never do this again. I do understand the method behind the madness. Obviously, schools want to make sure you really want to attend, so they require enough minutiae on the applications to drive away the casual applicant. But, when that first acceptance rolls in, the feeling is indescribable (but I'll try to describe it nonetheless). Whenever you work really hard at something, and the effort pays off, it's incredibly satisfying. With B school acceptances, someone has just judged you worthy enough to become a member of their club. I first got accepted to Cornell, and I was really awestruck. But, after the initial euphoria wears off, you begin to think about what it would be like to ACTUALLY attend this institution. In this case, it would mean spending two years in upstate New York. Not a chance. So, I've been accepted to LBS, the school of my dreams, and I now have to...

Pay a big commitment deposit and wait eight months for classes to begin! Christ almighty. Who came up with this time frame? I'm useless in work right now. I spend all day looking at the LBS website. I must say, the amount of interaction that I've already had with the LBS community since getting accepted is really cool. I've been IM'ing a fellow admit from NYC, I've been invited to attend a dinner with students on exchange in the US, and I've spoken on the phone with an alum and a current student. August can't come soon enough!

Well, that's enough for now. My carpal tunnel and RA are acting up again.

2 Comments:

At 7:46 AM, Blogger Nick said...

Hi. Congraulations and welcome to the London Business School community (sorry, not LBS as we are supposed to be very worried about being confused with LSE but then I thought branding should be about simplicity and ease of recall). Anyway......

Definitely try to come to the Welcome Weekend (in June?) to meet your future classmates, may be future flatmates, and who knows who else......it definitely helped me sealed my decision to come here.

About the cost, I don't know whether it is already too late for you to explore all the scholarship options; but if I'm not wrong, I think about 10% of the incoming class have got some. Definitely worth exploring.

Have fun......

 
At 8:00 PM, Blogger Wheels said...

Thanks hobbes! I will definitely make it to Admits Weekend in May. I'm going to begin looking for scholarships ASAP, although right now I don't think I could possibly write another essay!

 

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