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As deadlines near many candidates become more and more nervous about putting together the perfect application and submitting everyone on time. The MBA admissions process requires a great deal of time and money, and an exhausting level of self-examination in some cases. The high stress of this time can take an emotional toll on any applicant.
Cassandra was a client who worked with us for several months preparing a round two deadline to Stanford, NYU, Yale and Kellogg. Her profile was impressive from a 720 GMAT score to a 3.8 GPA to her three years of experience at a prestigious investment bank. Cassandra had some excellent leadership experience as part of the women’s group in her firm, and extensive volunteering with her college alumni association.
We started working with Cassandra on her essays and recommendations, helping her prepare her recommenders for the questions posed by each school, and setting an essay strategy that emphasized her exceptional leadership qualities, achievements at work, and quantitative ability. We had a road map for the application and were on track to achieve her deadlines with time to spare.
As the application process continued, Cassandra started talking to her peers at work about their applications and approach. While it was useful to commiserate over hours spent on MBA applications, she became more and more nervous about her own chances as compared to others in her firm. Compounding her anxiety, Cassandra was reading Internet forums, especially focusing on a rumor that Tuck and Stanford were admitting fewer candidates from her industry. All of the input created stress for Cassandra, and luckily she raised her concerns in our next conversation.
While chance, trends, and your competition are always a factor, as we discussed with Cassandra the only part of the MBA application you can control is your own materials. It’s important to showcase yourself effectively in your peer group, and it’s also important to maintain your strategy and confidence. As we discussed her concerns, we were able to ease Cassandra’s mind and return our focus to finalizing her application materials and submitting by the deadline. After Cassandra submitted her last application she turned off the computer and went on vacation for two weeks. When she returned she was relaxed and ready to focus on interview preparation.
Her application strategy paid off, and Cassandra was admitted to Kellogg.