Scott Edinburgh
March 1, 2018

Candidate Success Spotlight: Haas, Tuck Forte Scholar with $90,000 in Scholarships


One of the most frequent questions I get from applicants is: what does a successful candidate profile look like? Naturally, there is no answer but in response to applicant demand, I post Candidate Success Stories from time to time. Here is the latest, including a Q&A session with the candidate.

Profile Overview

Schools Admitted To: Haas, Tuck

Scholarship: $90,000 Total

Gender/Ethnicity: Chinese Female

Years of Exp.: 4.5

GMAT: Low 700’s

Pre-MBA Experience: Hospitality

Education: Undergraduate in China, Master’s Degree from top 100 State School

GPA: Average

Candidate Q&A

Personal MBA Coach: What was the hardest part of the application process?


  • School Targeting: selecting a portfolio of schools that would maximize my chances of success during the current application cycle.

  • Holistic construction of my application: from essay questions, resume editing, recommender prep and volunteer experience, every piece holds considerable weight. The hardest part was finding a balance and unique highlights to make me stand out as a whole among other applicants.

Personal MBA Coach: How did you decide on which schools to apply to?


I had gotten a master’s degree in Hospitality prior to applying to an MBA program. Therefore, for my MBA, I targeted only top 10 schools to achieve the highest ROI. Among the top 10 programs, I was looking for a small close-knit program that emphasizes relationship building among faculty, students, and alumni. Berkeley Haas, and Dartmouth Tuck were on the top of my list.

Personal MBA Coach: What was the biggest surprise for you?

Candidate: Coming from a non-traditional background (hospitality), I was worried that the admission officers would not favor my profile. But I ended up getting admitted to both Berkeley Haas and Tuck with a significant scholarship from each school.

Personal MBA Coach: What key learnings did you take away that you would like to share with others?


  • Be genuine: while crafting your essays, make sure you share a unique story that tells about your professional growth, personal growth and struggles and the reason why an MBA is a necessity for your continuous growth. Once invited to interview, it is time to bring what you have written on paper to life.

  • Focus on leadership and growth: whether in your resume or essays, show your growth, what you have done in the past to make yourself better and how you have overcome struggles to be where you are today.

  • Communicate with your recommender so your letters highlight your leadership accomplishments and the extra-curricular activities that have made an impact.

Personal MBA Coach: What do you wish you had done differently?

Candidate: Honestly, I put in the effort to make sure every part of my application looked as perfect as possible. I would not do anything differently.

Personal MBA Coach: How did Personal MBA Coach help you?


  • School selection: Personal MBA Coach helped me target the schools that fit my needs and educated me on which aspects each school weighs more and is looking for from candidates.

  • Brainstorm essays: Personal MBA Coach consolidated my personal and professional experience to brainstorm a strategy for each essay. This is the probably the most important part in the entire application.

  • Quality control and endless support: from unlimited editing of my essays and resume to advice on my recommendation letters and online application forms, Personal MBA Coach ensured my work met the highest standards. Even though it is tedious to go back and forth on edits, working with Personal MBA Coach made it effortless and fun. I really had an enjoyable experience throughout my whole application process!

Personal MBA Coach: Do you have any final pieces of advice for perspective candidates?


Applying to top MBA programs is not easy and is highly competitive. Even though it was expensive, I feel that I made the right choice to work with a consultant who guided me through the whole application. It saves you time and helps you tailor your application to the program you are applying to. Meanwhile, be ready to put in a lot effort yourself as well.

Personal MBA Coach is here to help! If you would like individual and personal support, please find information about Personal MBA Coach’s comprehensive packages or contact me to learn how I can help!

As an MIT Sloan BS graduate and Wharton MBA grad, I have been helping candidates get into the schools of their dreams with a 96% success rate for over 10 years. Email me today at: