Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mid-Round One Update

So, it’s has been a little bit since I last provided an update.  Life has just been busy, and I haven’t had a ton of time to blog.  It was been over a month since I submitted my last application.  Unfortunately, things have been a little quieter than I would like.  I am not a fan of all this waiting.  As painful as studying for the GMAT, writing essays, filling out apps, reviewing my resume were, at least I felt like I was in control.  There were still things I could do to improve aspects of my applications.  It’s strange hitting that submit button and feeling like, “That’s it.  Nothing else I can do at this point.”

Anyway, here is a breakdown of where I am at with each school.

This was my last application submitted.  Overall, I was very happy and felt like I did really well on the essays.  I felt like I was able to paint the best picture of myself through the Haas application vs. the other programs I applied to.  This is probably because of the number of essays, but I also liked the essay topics.  As many of you know, I am a reapplicant to Haas.  I really struggled with the “If you could pick one song to describe you” essay last year, but this year, it was my favorite essay.  As far as interview invites go, I am still playing the waiting game with this one.

I interviewed with a Kellogg alumnus about three weeks ago.  The interview went really well and got me even more excited about Kellogg and the MMM program.  I am hopeful with this application, but it's tough predicting how things are going to turn out since Kellogg tries to interview as many applicants as possible.  Whatever happens, I really don't think my interview could have gone any better.

As far as the application goes, I was really happy about it.  I was pretty nervous about the video essay question, but it turned out to be much easier than the questions I received in my video portion of the Yale application.

The 8th of November was the final day Sloan sent out interview invites (according to the Sloan admissions blog).  Although I have seen a few since that deadline according to some of the member of the GMAT Club.  I was on edge all day, and when the invite didn't come, I was a bit depressed.  Definitely makes you doubt your whole application strategy...  Well last Friday I was informed that I was offered a spot on the waitlist!  It's not an interview invite or an acceptance, but it's not a ding.  Since I was fully excepting to be dinged, it was some much needed good news.  Now I just need to work on putting together a good update and some supplemental materials.

Tuck has been on my short list of schools I would love to attend since I started researching MBA programs.  Last year I went out to Hanover for a visit and an interview.  Unfortunately I was not admitted, but I was encouraged by the admissions committee to reapply.  Over the spring I met with an adcom to review my application and talk about areas I could improve.  During the past several months, I have focused on those areas and have done my best to make those weaknesses strengths.  Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to travel to Tuck this year to interview.  I recently discovered that Tuck generally does not re-interview reapplicants unless they go to Tuck for a applicant initiated interview.  My mind was put at easy knowing that I still have a chance to get in without an interview, but it definitely does stink not having any idea where I stand until D-day.  Crossing my fingers.

Yale SOM:

I haven't heard anything from SOM yet.  I still have some hope, but with D-day quickly approaching, it's tough to be too optimistic.  Still, I am crossing my fingers.  I felt pretty good about my overall application.

Well that is that... until next time.  Good luck to all the other round one applicants out there!  On that note, here is a pretty hilarious Foot Locker commercial... enjoy!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Halfway Point

So, my Sloan and Yale SOM applications are done.  I finally completed the video response portion of the Yale application two nights ago... that was fun.  I think I sat in front of the computer for about an hour practicing.  In the end, it wasn't too bad.  I was pretty nervous on the first question.  The second the clock started counting down and the camera started rolling, I felt my heart rate jump.  But by the third question I was feeling a bit more comfortable.  I just hope I didn't say anything too stupid :)

Well, I have just a couple more applications left for round one.  Just putting the final touches on my essays.  All my recommendations are in, so it feels nice to have that stress be gone.  A couple more weeks and it will be on to interview prep.  Hopefully be then I will be able to blog a bit more and be able to give an in-depth recap of my round one experience.  But as of right now, I feel a bit guilt if I don't spend every possible minute working on my applications.  I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.  But as Metallica would say, I just hope "the light at the end of [my] tunnel isn't just a freight train coming [my] way."

Good luck to everyone else out there finishing up their round one apps!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

MIT Sloan Application Resources

I have spent a lot of time research, prepping, writing essays, and finishing my applications.  MIT Sloan with their round one deadline just around the corner is one I have been focusing on a lot lately.  I thought I would just share some of the resources that have helped me put together my applications.  I hope they help!

General Information:
mbaMission's MIT Sloan's Insider Guide (I was able to get this for free when they were doing their daily giveaways, but worth $25 if you need a lot of information and don't have time to arrange meetings with current students, alumni, etc.)
MBApodcaster: Getting into MIT Sloan
Clear Admit's Interview with MIT Sloan's Career Services Director

Application and Essays:
MIT Sloan Admissions Blog
Beat the GMAT's Writing like and Expert Series: MIT Sloan
Admissionado's MIT Sloan Essay Analysis (I personally think Admissionado's essay analyses are the best out there)
mbaMission's MIT Sloan Essay Analysis
Clear Admit's MIT Sloan Essay Analysis

I am sure there are other resources that have helped my along the way, but these were the one's I could think of.  If I remember any others, I will add them.  What resources have helped you with your applications?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I have knee deep in writing, revising, and re-writing essays the past month. I am getting ready to submit my first two applications next week, Sloan and Yale SOM. I am pretty close to being done, but it’s hard not to second guess myself. I want to put my best foot forward, just like anyone else, but many is it hard to do with just a couple essays. I am actually looking forward to the Yale video essays. I will post an update once I am done with that and let you all know how it goes.

 In other news, I submitted my personal defining principles for the Haas contest. Hopefully one of them resonates with one of the adcom, it would get great to win an essay review session with a member of the admissions committee.

Well, back to essays.

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, September 2, 2013

Interview with

Hey everyone, I had the chance to be interviewed by  Check it out!  Here is the link.  Below is the actual interview.

Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your current job? 

MBAreapplicant84: I was born in Japan and lived there for a total of about eight years. My mother is Japanese and my father is from the US. We moved back and forth between Japan and the US quite a bit, but when I was about 10 years old, we settled down in California. I went to Brigham Young University as an undergrad and studied Japanese. I hadn’t spoken Japanese since I was 10, so I had forgotten most of the language and really had a desire to relearn it. Currently I work at Goldman Sachs as a Senior Operations Analyst.

Accepted: When did you first apply to b-school?  

MBAreapplicant84: I applied to b-school for the first time last year. I only applied to a few schools that I really wanted to go to in Round 1. I was interviewed at Tuck and Kellogg, but ended up getting dinged from all the schools I applied to. I was very disappointed to say the least. For awhile, I thought of applying to some safety schools, but the thought of giving up and going to a school I knew I wouldn’t be happy at made me a bit depressed. So I decided to wait a year and try again. Looking back, I am very glad I did. I have grown a ton in the last year, and I know I made some serious mistakes on my apps last time around. Also, when I was denied at Tuck, they actually sent me a letter saying that I was in the top 10 percent of the candidates that got rejected, but that they saw a lot of potential and encouraged me to apply again the following year. I was even able to sit down with one of the admission officers and go through the strengths and weaknesses of my application. It was pretty cool of Tuck to do that, and it has helped a lot.

Accepted: What do you think went wrong that time and what are you doing this time to improve your candidacy? 

MBAreapplicant84: The first thing is I waited till September to take the GMAT (second attempt). Because I was so focused on studying, the rest of my application, especially the essays suffered. Also, when I talked with the adcom at Tuck, she mentioned that she wanted to see a little more growth in my current position at work (at the time I applied last year, I had only been in my current position for about six months). I think there were a few other small things too, like lack of clarity on goals. This time around, I have spent almost a year prepping for essays, better understanding my career goals, and growing at work. I have been promoted once since last applying and am set for another promotion in January. I also took the GMAT one more time and improved my score a bit. I have also taken on a few leadership responsibilities outside of work.

Accepted: Where do you plan on applying this time? 

MBAreapplicant84: This time around, I am planning on applying to Tuck, Haas, Kellogg, Sloan, and Yale SOM.

Accepted: What stage of the application process are you up to so far? What has been the most challenging step and how did you work to overcome it? 

MBAreapplicant84: Currently I am working on my essays, which I also consider to be one of the tougher aspects of the application. I know, at least for me, I really needed to do some deep introspection to figure out why I really want/need an MBA, what I want out of my career, and what stories in my life best illustrate who I am. Aside from that, the hardest thing has just been the actual length of the process. I started studying for the GMAT almost two and a half years ago. It’s exhausting. I know my wife is ready to have me back in the evenings.

Accepted: Do you plan on staying in your current industry post-MBA, or changing to a new field/career?

MBAreapplicant84: I plan on staying in operations post-MBA, but I want to switch from the financial industry to the consumer products or tech industry. I want to be somewhere like Nike or Google where there is a bit more freedom to be innovative. The financial industry has been great to me, but because of the amount of regulation, I feel like there is not as much room for significant innovation.

Accepted: Why did you decide to blog about your experience? What have you gained from the experience? What do you hope others will learn? 

MBAreapplicant84: I decided to blog about my experience mainly to have a periodic outlet. I don’t really know if there are people out there that really care what I have to say, but it has been almost therapeutic to be able to get my thoughts about the whole process out there. Blogging has helped me to be able to take a step back and better analyze how I am doing in the process this time around. I hope others will understand that applying to b-school isn’t something that you just do at the last minute, it is a process. If you don’t take the time to really dig deep and understand yourself and why you want and need an MBA, you might end up wasting a lot of time and money. However, if you do put the time and effort into it, the process of applying to b-school itself can be very rewarding.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Haas Facebook Contest

If you don’t know already, Berkeley Haas is definitely one of the schools on my short list.  There is a ton I really like about the program – general management strength, social impact focus, location, the program’s Four Defining Principles, etc.  All of the interaction I have had with Haas students, alumni, and admissions officers has been very positive.  Recently I entered an essay into Haas’ Facebook Value of an MBA Essay Contest.  About a week ago I heard back from the admissions office that I was one of four winners!  Unfortunately I didn’t get my application fee waived like the last contest winner, but I did get a sweet custom Modify watch!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

School Research: Part 1

Since I have already been through the application process once, I have already done a lot of research on various programs.  Last year I was able to visit and interview at Tuck, which was a great experience.  I also interviewed with Kellogg, but was not able to visit the campus.  In the past year, I have also spoken to countless students, alumni, professors, and adcoms of several programs, many of which were on my list before, but aren't anymore because of my experience with those I spoke to.  There were also some schools, like Kellogg, that weren't on my shortlist before, but my experience talking with students and alumni made it one of my top choices.  My advice for all you that are out there still researching and deciding on which programs to apply to, talk to as many students and alumni as you can.  They will be able to give you a much clearer picture of the program than you can ever get from a program's website or any of their marketing material.  Also, if possible, visit the schools that you are interested.  There is no better way to tell if a b-school is a good fit for you and vice versa, than by sitting in on classes, talking with professors and current students, and getting a true feel for the culture and environment.

All that being said, there are still other good resources out there.  Lately I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos of professors at the schools I am interested in.  Call me a nerd for listening to lectures on consumer analytics or managerial economics, but it has given me a pretty good insight to some of the school's teaching styles, etc.

Some other good resources I have come across are the school guides from Clear Admit and mbaMission.  A couple weeks ago, mbaMission was giving a free guide away everyday.  I was lucky enough to be able to get my hands on all of them and they have been great!  I was also able to get a couple of the guides from Clear Admit, which have been a fantastic resource as well.

In this post I will be reviewing the Clear Admit School Guides.  Next time around I will do the mbaMission guides.

Clear Admit School Guides
Clear Admit offers quite a few different resources.  If you haven't already, check out their School Snapshots.  The Snapshots are an abbreviated version of the School Guides, but they are free, so hey, why not give them a read!

So, here are some of my impressions of the Clear Admit School Guides.  I reviewed the guide for the Tuck School of Business, because I have the most insight on this program.  Having visited the school, sat in on classes, talked to several students, alumni, and professors from the program, I feel like I am in a good position to comment on the depth of the guide.

The Tuck School Guide is 53 pages long, although 9 of those pages are either cover pages, ads, table of contents, or the "About the Guide" pages.

The guide begins with an overview of the school and pretty good history of the program.  It has a comparative timeline between Tuck Business School and the MBA degree in general.

Next the guide goes into the demographics of the student body.  It has some useful side-by-side charts comparing Tuck to other top b-schools.  It also gives a good background on some of the numbers, trends, etc.  Most of the info you can get from the school's website or resources like the US News or Businessweek, but the color the guide provides on the numbers is pretty unique.

The next section of the guide goes into the academic schedule and class offering.  Although much of this information can be found through the school's website, it is never in just one place.  A big plus to clear Admit for putting this info in one place, and also including important dates.  I was also impressed with the details on Tuck's Pre-Term.  The guides goes into some of the activities and classes can be expected during this time.

The school guide contained some details on the core curriculum and electives, but fails to go into detail about the classes.  I did find the chart comparing other b-school's curriculum to Tuck's interesting, but most of this information can be found on Businessweek or US News, just not all in one place.

A few unique things that the guide goes into, that I haven't really been able to find anywhere else are details on the grading system and the honor code.  The guide also gives a brief background on a few of the prominent professors.  Although I have heard about the "point system" for getting interviews with recruiters, I have never read about it in writing.  This guide is the first place I have seen it, so kudos to Clear Admit for providing some good insider info.

The guide also has employment information, but the Employment Report published by Tuck is far more detailed.  They also analyze the school's essay questions, but this is the same analysis that is provide on the Clear Admit blog.  I did like that they included recent interviews with Dawna Clarke, the Admissions Director, and Jonathan Masland, the Career Services Director.  I am not sure if these are on the Clear Admit blog or not, but they provide good insight.

The Verdict
My overall thoughts on the guide are that it is a good resource and provides a lot of information that you would otherwise have to dig for in one spot.  It is clean, concise, and provides a ton of info.  So, are the School Guides worth $25?  If you are pressed for time or your want a quick and easy way to become an expert on a school you are interested in, then I would definitely say YES.  That being said, there was very little, maybe aside from the professor profiles, that I didn't already know about Tuck before reading the guide, but I have put several hours and travel dollars into my own research.  So if you have the time and energy, you can get most the information this guide provides by doing your own research and talking with students and alumni.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Value of Introspection

Last year going into the applications, I was far too occupied with the GMAT and did not spend nearly enough time preparing for and writing my essays.  Granted there were other flaws to my candidacy, but I believe that this was a major one.  During the months of July, August, and part of September, I was solely focused on studying for the GMAT, I hadn't even started thinking about application essays until a few weeks before they were due... huge mistake.  My next big mistake was writing my essays with pretty much zero prep.  This was due to my lack of understanding of the amount of time needed to truly produce good essays, and because I had pushed off writing until after I finished the GMAT the second time.  The result: six dings and a huge shot to my ego.

Looking back, I am glad I didn't get in last year.  I wish I could have all the money I spent on applications back, but it was a good learning experience.  After recovering for the dings, I decided to wait another year to apply rather than applying to "safety schools."  I vowed to not make the same mistake and started my preparations for the 2013 Round 1 apps this past January.

So what was I going to do this time?  Read more program websites?  Talk to more admissions consultants about my chances of being accepted?  Spend more time on the boards of Beat the GMAT?  All good things in their own way, but I had done all those things before?  What was I missing?  INTROSPECTION!

Why do I need an MBA?  What do I really want to do in my career?  What is my passion?  What really matters to me?  How are all these things related?  These were all things I asked myself before, but only superficially.  When I applied last time around, I thought I wanted to go into consulting, but in reality, I didn't really know why.  I didn't think too much about it, just thought it would be an interesting career with a nice paycheck, but I never thought much deeper than that.  I have a son who just started asking questions about everything.  He has turned into the annoying little kid that is always asking "Why?  Why?  Why?"  But if you think about it, there is a very valuable lesson to be learned from that child-like frame of mind, both for discovering your reason for going back to school for an MBA and for life in general.

Why is introspection important?  Because it helps you uncover the core of your professional and personal motivations, which are very valuable to know when writing your application essays.  Knowing your core motivations will better help you understand what you want to do in life.  It will help you better articulate what you dream job is.  Once you know that, your long-term post-MBA goal becomes clearer.  Finally, when you know what your long-term goals are, you can map out why you need an MBA and what you will do within 5 to 10 years post-MBA to get to that long-term goal.  Before I was thinking small picture first.  However, in doing so, I never really had a clear understanding of what I really wanted to do in the long-term.  I wanted to be a management consultant at McKinsey.  If someone asked me why, I would have said, "because I like to solve problems."  If someone were to ask me why again, I probably couldn't answer them.

This approach may not be for everyone, but it was really helped me.  I started asking myself why about everything regarding why I wanted an MBA and about what I though my short and long term goals were.

"Why do I want to go into management consulting?"

"Why do I like to solve problems?"

"Would being a management consultant make me happy?"

The more questions I asked myself, the clearer my core motivations became.  The clearer my motivations became, the clearer my career goals became.  Once I understood what I really valued, and what I wanted out of a career, I was able to better see the big picture of my career.  What I really wanted.  What I would be happy and satisfied with when all is said and done.  Once I understood that, filling in the road that would get me there wasn't too hard.

"Ability is what you're capable of doing.  Motivation determines what you do.  Attitude determines how well you do it." - Raymond Chandler

Thursday, June 20, 2013

GMAT: From a 530 to 710 and finally done!

Just wanted to post an update, I finally retook the GMAT a couple weeks ago and got a 710 (47Q/40V).  I am pretty excited to be done.  I can't explain the relief I feel at night not having the constant guilt/pressure to study.  I would burn my study guides... but I think selling them is the wiser choice.  It's hard to believe that it was over two years ago when I took my first practice test and scored a 530.  That was a depressing day.  I am pretty sure I crossed off every school on my list and started looking at Oregon State or something (not that there is anything wrong with OSU).

As a side note, I am a big fan of Poets and Quants and their series "Handicapping Your Elite B-School Chances."  I decided to submit my profile for Sandy Kreisberg to review, and to my surprise, he did.  Here is his review that was published today,  Let me know what you think!  (If you do read the post, please note that I am actually an LGBTQ ally.  I am married with a couple kids...)

Monday, February 18, 2013


Due to work schedule conflicts, I have had to push my GMAT test date back to March.  Stay tuned!

Friday, January 18, 2013

GMAT Round 3... Ready... Fight!

I have three weeks until I take the GMAT for a third, and hopefully final time.  I am feeling confident.  Much more confident than the last two times I took the test.  Here is a break down of my battle to beat the GMAT so far:

Round 1:
I began studying for the GMAT in late 2011.  However, my study was sporadic to say the least.  I would study a half an hour here and there.  It wasn't till about April of 2012 I began studying more seriously.  I had almost completed the Kaplan GMAT Premier study guide, but since my review took over six months, I decided to go through the book once more at a bit faster pace.  I was still pretty green to the whole GMAT process.  My test date set for mid-May.  With that day coming up fast, I decided to take a practice test.  I had used Princeton Review's practice test for the GRE a few years back, so I decided to try out their GMAT test (terrible comparison to the real version of the test by the way).  I felt good about the test, but when I hit submit, the score I saw felt like a kick to the groin... an abysmal 530.  I was shocked.  I had hopes of getting into a top b-school, but with a score like that, could I even get into the University of Phoenix?  Needless to say, that score shook any confidence I had going into the test.  I decided to postpone my test for a month and really hit the books.

I blasted through the rest of the Kaplan study guide.  I took another practice test, but this time it was from Kaplan (another terrible version).  Again I scored below a 600.  It was a rough night in my household.  I was depressed.  Not wanting to spend another $50 bucks to reschedule my test date, I decided to just give it a shot and see how I do on the real thing.  I figured I would use it as a gauge and try again in a few months.  I was planning on applying to b-school the following fall anyway, so I figured it wouldn't hurt.

Three nights before the test I logged on the just to confirm my test time, testing center location, etc.  It was then I finally remembered that the GMAC offered two free practice tests!  I don't know how I forgot, but I decide to give one a whirl and see how I do.  I figured this would be the most accurate gauge of how I would do on the real thing since it was created by the actual test takers.  That night I stayed up till 1 am finishing the exam.  I was exhausted.  Excited that I was finally done and could go to bed, I hit the submit button.  I fully expected to see a score in the 500s.  To my surprise I scored a 680!  I was so happy I jumped out of my seat.  I yelled at my wife who was up late engulfed in some crazy novel, "Hey, I'm not too big of an idiot!"  I thought to myself, maybe, just maybe I could pull of a halfway decent score on Saturday.

I went to bed early Friday night to make sure I was well rested for the test the next day.  I woke up around 6:30 am to get ready.  I hit up a gas station before to grab a couple Mountain Dews (I am a sucker for the Dew) to make sure I stay awake and alert during the test.  I arrived at the testing center about a half an hour early.  I sat in my car and review a few last minutes essay writing tips (I had focused all my studying on the Verbal and Quant sections and didn't really prep for the essay of the IR section).

I went into the test feeling really good.  The essay and IR sections went very smoothly.  The verbal and quant sections seemed easier than the practice test.  When I was finally finished, eager to get to my score, I entered in all my demographic info as fast as I could.  Finally the score.  I was blown away, I got a 700!  I can't describe the feeling that went through me.  It was a combination of excitement, stress relief, and pure joy.  I seriously felt like crying.

I walked out of the testing center overwhelmed and called my wife to share the good news.

Round 2:
It was June when I first took the GMAT.  Just a couple days after the test I decided that I would try and apply to b-school that fall.  It didn't leave me much time to put together applications, but I thought I could do it.  One thought that kept looming in the back of my mind was, "I didn't really study too hard or that efficiently for the GMAT and I got a 700.  I should try again."  It was also bothering me that I scored a 47 on the quant section, when on the practice tests I took, I was scoring at least a 49.  I knew I could do better.  After a couple weeks, I decided to start studying again, while prepping applications, and give it one more shot.  In the end, I believe this decision contributed to me not being able to put together as solid of applications as I would have liked.  Cramming studying in with applications just wasn't a smart move.

Anyway, I did feel that I studied better the second time around.  I feel like I found better resources and I also utilized the GMAC's material much better (the Official Guide, GMATPrep, etc.).

Test day came, this time it was in September.  It didn't go as well as the first day.  My first mistake was signing up for a 1 pm test time.  I had to run a few errands in the morning.  We ran into a few unexpected problems that put me in a bit of a bad mood.  My wife had to run somewhere, so she dropped me off and I got on my motorcycle and headed up to the testing center.  I ended up leaving for the test about 30 minutes later than I wanted to.  Because I was on my motorcycle, I was not able to look at the directions and I ended up missing the freeway exit.  Flustered, I pulled over, looked at the directions and headed to the center.  I ended up arriving about three minutes late.  When I tried to open the door to the building it was locked.  I didn't have the number to the testing center, so I called my wife to have her look it up at home.  She gave me the number.  I didn't have anything to write with, so I had to memorize it.  I started calling the number I thought she gave me... no answer.  Tried again... no answer.  I called my wife back and realized I had a number backwards.  Finally I was able to get a hold of the testing center receptionist who came and let me in the building.

I checked in and settled into my seat.  My heart was still racing as I started the test.  It took awhile for me to calm down, but I never felt like I got in the groove.  When I finished the test, I was disappointed to see my score had dropped to a 690.  I went home frustrated that I had spent all that extra time studying instead of working on applications.

Round 3:
So here I am, hopefully the third time is a charm.  This time around I decided to ramp up may arsenal of study materials.  In preparing for the essay portion of the test the first time, I bought the MGMAT IR and Essay study guide.  I was a hug fan of it and decide to get a few of the verbal and the advanced math guide.  They have been my favorite study resources thus far, I highly recommend them.  I have three weeks left till test day.  I have been studying like crazy the past month.  I hope it pays off.

Many people has questioned why I have decided to take the GMAT again... well, I think I will save the explanation for another post.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” - Colin Powell

Friday, January 11, 2013

So it begins... again (the inaugural post)

Yesterday I was officially dinged from the final school I applied to in the first round this application season... so the journey begins (again).

It's hard to believe that I began studying for the GMAT almost one year ago.  I began this journey with the goal of attending a top b-school, now here I stand with only rejection letters in hand.  The past month has been a little more than disheartening; however, it has helped me realize that maybe I didn't take this process as seriously as one should.  Did I work hard?  Did I spend countless night staying up studying for the GMAT, prepping application, and writing essay after essay?  Yes, but maybe that was the problem.  Looking back, I can see that I tried just a little too hard to get my applications in in the first round and ended rushing things.  Old undergrad habits of procrastinating seemed to slip in.  As an undergrad, studying, doing well on test and assignments came easy.  I think in some way I thought this is how the b-school application process would work.  Boy was I wrong!

As I started receiving my first round rejection letters, I began contemplating what my plans were for second round apps.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized I did not want to settle for a "safety school."  Another blogger I closely follow, MBAover30 said, "you should not apply to any school that you would not go to just because you feel that you are a 'shoe-in'; and that has nothing to do with rank. It has a lot more to do with fit. Here’s your acid test: if you got in with NO money, would you attend and gladly pay your loans back over the 2-10 years after you graduate? If your answer to that question is not “yes”, then do not apply."  That is how I feel.  Every school I had listed as my "safety school," the ones I was planning on applying to second round, all failed the acid test.

So here I am, studying to retake the GMAT in another month (G-Day: Feb. 9th).  Am I back at the starting line?  Some might say so, for awhile I even thought so.  Was all the time and money I spent on GMAT study guides, applications, and flying out to schools for class visits and interviews?  After the first couple dings, I was beginning to feel that way, but now I know it will just give me added foresight for next year.  I am disappointed I didn't get to start school this fall, but timing is a very important factor in getting an MBA, and honestly, one more year of work experience for me will only make me that much more prepared (I started working at a bulge bracket investment bank less than a year ago).

This time I will be better prepared.  I will dig deeper.  I will worked harder and smarter.  Last time I was knocked down, punched in the mouth with a much needed reality check, but this time I will make it.

"The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses-behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights."~Muhammed Ali