Some of the most frequent questions I get from applicants are: What does a successful candidate profile look like or how did X get accepted into so many schools?
Naturally, there are countless answers to these questions, but in response to applicant demand, I post Candidate Success Stories from time to time.
Below I have shared a deep dive into one recent success, including a Q&A with the candidate to shed some light on the process that I take with my clients, and share lessons this candidate has graciously offered to pass on.
Find out how this candidate was accepted to 5 top schools and secured $70K in scholarships.
Schools Admitted To: Berkeley Haas (w/ Scholarship), UVA Darden, Michigan Ross (w/ Scholarship), USC Marshall, and Texas McCombs
Years of Experience: 7
Pre-MBA Experience: Non-profit education management
Education: Top 40 Private College
GPA: High 3’s
Personal MBA Coach: Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
Candidate: I decided to pursue my MBA because I wanted to further accelerate my career and career opportunities while making a greater impact in the industry that I have been in. I’ve worked on the management side of schools for the last 7 years and I have seen how technology can play a positive impact on learning. In order to pivot from the non-profit school side to the for-profit technology side of that relationship, I needed the skills learned in an MBA program. Further, I want to continue to develop my leadership skills and ability to lead people and an MBA program would help me get there.
Personal MBA Coach: How did you learn about Personal MBA Coach?
Candidate: I met Personal MBA Coach at the annual Forté conference. We learned through a number of interactions after the conference that we had a lot in common and similar working styles. Throughout this process, I wanted someone who I could get guidance and structure from that I knew would always be in my corner, and that was Personal MBA Coach and the team.
Personal MBA Coach: Why did you decide to turn to Personal MBA Coach for help?
Candidate: I decided to turn to Personal MBA Coach because I knew I needed support and structure in order to get through the MBA application process. From studying and taking the GRE, to writing essays, to coordinating recommendations, there is so much to do. Personal MBA Coach supported me by breaking down these tasks into manageable steps and suggesting what expectations I should have for myself in order to get there. It made a very daunting process much more doable.
Personal MBA Coach: What was the hardest part of the application process?
Candidate: Testing has never been a strength of mine, so that was far and away the hardest part. As noted above, Personal MBA Coach did a great job in laying out what needed to be done on my end in order to reach my goal. They also gave tips on how to study while also managing a full-time job.
In the end, through a significant amount of work on my end as well as sessions with Personal MBA Coach’s team, my score on the GRE increased about 12 points from my initial practice test. I’m so appreciative of the support I received on what was the most difficult part of the application process for me!
Personal MBA Coach: How did you decide which schools to apply to?
Candidate: For me, coming from a “non-traditional” background, I wanted to make sure I was in an environment where my experience was valued and I could continue to explore those interests. I also knew that I needed to have schools with different selectivity ranges as well as a limited number since admit rates are so low and there is not a “common application” for business school. I was pretty meticulous about this part of the process because I did not want to apply to a school “just because” as I knew schools were also looking at fit on their end. I whittled down my school list by attending many events for schools and conducting my own research. With that said, I had a pretty clear list going into writing my applications. However, Personal MBA Coach gave great suggestions on my list that I did not think of. In fact, one of the schools Personal MBA Coach suggested I add was one that I later got into and was considering in my final decision.
Personal MBA Coach: What was the biggest surprise for you throughout the application process?
Candidate: I am seeing this now as I am in pre-term at Berkeley Haas, but every step of the application process will actually help you as you start school. If you had a strong application and put in the work, you will have a clear direction of activities you would like to engage with at your school. You will have the opportunity to practice your interviewing skills, which is an art in itself. You even will use the math from the GRE and GMAT for your data and economics classes (seriously!). Though it is a massive undertaking, there are so many benefits of the process by how reflective it is and how it sets you up for success in the future.
Personal MBA Coach: How did Personal MBA Coach help you?
Candidate: Beyond the previously mentioned work around GRE studying, I think it was so helpful to have Personal MBA Coach’s support around my essays. Though I consider myself a solid writer, it was unbelievably helpful to have someone look at my writing objectively, as an admissions officer does not know me beyond what is written on my application. Even if I gave my essay for feedback to my family, they have subjective knowledge about a circumstance that they can easily fill in on their own. Having that extra set of eyes for clarity took my writing to the next level.
In addition, during the lead up to submitting my applications to graduate school, I went through a very challenging work situation and Personal MBA Coach’s team was unbelievably patient and supportive during that time.
Personal MBA Coach: Do you have any final pieces of advice for prospective candidates?
Candidate: I realize there is so much weight in business school media around having a great GMAT/GRE score, to a point where it can be unhealthy for many individuals. Others can get so focused on the test that they lose sight of the rest of their application or become timid to submit an application to their “dream school.” As someone who has been through the process and now attending my “dream school,” I know this: You are more than a number. Though it may sound trite when admissions officers say it, it really is a holistic process to evaluate an application. They are looking for a fit on so many levels. Focus on making sure that you present your best self in all facets of your profile. Though having solid test scores is important, the right school will see you for you.
Further, never let anyone tell you “no” or hold you back on where you apply if the school is a good fit for your goals. Personal MBA Coach never told me “no” and we had a very successful outcome at the end of the day. I am going where I wanted to go.
Are you looking for help with your MBA Applications? Personal MBA Coach is willing to be your guide. Founded by a Wharton and MIT graduate, we regularly help applicants navigate their applications each year. We also conduct mock interviews with former M7 interviewers on our team.
Personal MBA Coach has been guiding candidates through all aspects of the MBA application process for 13 years with a 96% success rate. Call us today at +1 617-645-2424 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation on your profile along with how we can help make your MBA dreams a reality!
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