Meet Azalea. She’s currently attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
When Azalea decided to apply to Wharton she was 27 years old, with a GPA of 3.78 and a 740 GMAT.
Now that she’s rockin’ it at B-School, we decided to sit down with our former client and pick her brain about her admittance to Wharton’s prestigious MBA program.
1) Why do you think YOU got into Haas and Wharton?
I think I was able to get into both schools because I focused on showcasing a track record of success at work. I had some impressive stats to highlight i.e. I wrote the most white papers, developed a new research focus area within my research department, and was first in my small cohort of analysts to get promoted.
I also had really great recommendations (the one I saw said “It is my opinion that Azalea has been the most productive analyst during my 12 years of tenure at the firm”), which just proves how important it is to ask the right people and provide them adequate time and resources.
I think that playing up my well-rounded background, which includes international diversity (I’m half-Turkish and speak Turkish, along with French, and I studied and interned abroad) helped as well. Additionally, I really made an effort to present a clear vision of my goals (obtaining a career in fintech) that correspond to my background (working in finance) while fitting the offerings of Haas (Silicon Valley) and Wharton (big fintech club).
2) What was the most challenging part of the MBA application process for you? And how did you overcome that challenge?
For me, the most difficult part was definitely the GMAT. I overcame it by being extremely disciplined and focused for 10 months of studying (~10-15 hrs per week). About halfway through, after failing a bunch, I discovered Target Test Prep for the math portion and focused on math and then crushed it.
3) Tell us about your Haas and Wharton interviews. What do you think you did right?
I made it a point to try to project confidence and poise, and that probably helped. I was also able to clearly discuss my goals, my interest in the schools, and my background. I prepared a lot, so I had well-thought out responses to the various questions. Also, interviews never go perfectly, and mine didn’t, but overall I think I was able to think on my feet and respond clearly and cogently to surprising questions (ex. at Haas the interviewer dug into my thoughts on a field of research I said I did years ago, and I hadn’t prepped on that).
4) What advice do you have for future Haas or Wharton applicants?
Use Target Test Prep for quant if you struggle with it, and use Admissionado for essays, whether or not you think you struggle with essays. It is fairly priced and offers a lot of value (at least Anne-Marie did!). Even if you think you are a good writer and know your goals and arguments, Admissionado will take your essays up several notches, which will make you more competitive. Also, speak to alumni or current students at the business school who are in the field you say you want to go into, and talk about those conversations in your essays. Come up with a good argument for each school as to why it’s the best fit for your goals.
5) What was the most surprising thing about the application process for you?
- How much improvement everyone can make on essays with professional help from people like Anne-Marie.
- How many hours, all in, for the entire process.
6) What was most HELPFUL for you in the process?
The services I used – Admissionado and Target Test Prep for GMAT math. Also, having a job that demanded only ~45 hours a week, and understanding friends who let me stay home and study instead of spend time with them.