4 (almost) down, 1 to go

Harvard is done. Chicago is done. MIT-Sloan is done. Berkeley-Haas will be done in a few hours, once I have a couple of people look at it. But that’s as good as done too. The only one left is UNC-Kenan Flagler, but that’s still over 4 weeks away.

The application process has been pretty interesting, and I can honestly say that I learned a lot about myself while I was writing all the application essays. That being said, let me reiterate what I’ve said before: I hate writing essays. I’m much more of a stream-of-consciousness writer, so having to get my point across within a pre-defined word limit is quite frustrating.

Also, I’ve been very lucky with the way the application schedule worked out. Harvard was due Oct 2. Then I had two weeks for Chicago (Oct 17), and almost two more weeks for Sloan (Oct 30). I was a little worried about Haas (Nov 5), since I had less than a week after MIT. But after looking at the Haas essays, I saw that almost every single topic had been covered in the three previous applications, so the only thing I needed to do these past six days is fix them up for Haas.

It’s also interesting how I can get a vibe about the school based purely on how the application is laid out, what kind of questions are asked, and even the user-friendliness of the application interface. So far, the best vibes I’ve gotten have been from Chicago and Haas. I actually visited Chicago’s facility earlier this year, and since it was a new building (circa 2004), the facilities were rather impressive. As for Haas, it’s in the Bay Area, and that automatically makes it a cool place to be. ๐Ÿ˜€

On a side note, I have a complaint about how most MBA programs notify applicants (with one major exception). With every other MBA program I applied to, the process is kinda like a black hole. You submit your application, they send you an email either inviting you for an interview, or telling you that they don’t want to interview you (which is essentially a rejection). Then, on a specified date, they will post their official admissions decisions (which is only of interest for people who got an interview since, if you didn’t get an interview, then you already know you got rejected). For example, Harvard has a decision notification date of January 16, 2008. That’s the date that admissions decisions will be posted online. It’s also the only deadline they offer for giving me any information at all. In other words, even if I get an email saying they don’t want to interview me, I might potentially have to wait until January 15 before I even receive that email, leaving me on tenterhooks the entire time. The advice I received is, “If you haven’t heard back, you’re still in the race.” Very comforting. ๐Ÿ˜› Still, it could be worse. I talked to a friend of mine who’s a Harvard alum, and he said that realistically, people with interview invites are notified by mid December at the latest. The only times Harvard notifies people later than that is if they screwed up, and too many people who got admitted to Harvard end up going somewhere else.ย  Regardless, it’s still frustrating when I don’t even know how long to wait (except for that interminable Jan 16 deadline).

That’s why I appreciate Chicago’s schedule. By Nov 14, they will notify everyone who applied if they have an interview or not. In other words,ย  within the next 9 days, I should hear something back from them. *crosses fingers*

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