Eric here. Wanted to pop in here quickly now that Walter’s gotten word from HBS, and chat about about his journey and, of course, the result. Because, while Walter didn’t ultimately make it into HBS this year, there’s so much he can (and will!) take away from this experience, that will help him for all the future applications he submits.
And there’s a lot YOU can take away as well.
So here’s a hot, heaping spoonful of advice, courtesy of my man, Walter, who so graciously shared his ups and downs with all of us.
Let’s dig in….
First things first, the MBA admissions process is not scientific. In fact, it’s pretty damn subjective. And a guy who got in one year, may not have gotten in the next. Which is the case for Walter.
He had a great profile. His career goals were strong. He got Waitlisted there last year! And, as he should, he spent the year strengthening his profile, so he was a better applicant this time around.
But, as we saw, it just wasn’t in the cards for him. And it’s nothing he did wrong. Walter submitted an amazing application. Though it was tough, he was finally able to simplify his essay and resume, rid them of all that technical jargon, and make it easy for the adcom to understand. And that’s not easy!
[Tip for all you tech guys out there — DO THIS. SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING. Jargon is your enemy. If the adcom has no idea what your resume/essay means… you might as well not have submitted it!] He made amazing strides during our work together, and we were both really proud of the work he submitted in the end.
It’s just that, well, hard as we try, the guy just couldn’t get away from the fact that he’s coming from the most competitive applicant pool there is: the Indian IT male. And at the end of the day, the admissions process is a numbers game. There are only so many seats and when you’re competing for a spot at one of the world’s BEST programs, the competition is going to be FIERCE. HBS rejects AMAZING applicants every year – it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with their profile or their application. It just means that there are only so many spots… and some people just can’t get in!
The good news is, Walter now knows exactly what it takes to put together a strong application. He knows the importance of
showing IMPACT, of getting introspective, of simplifying everything, and of not only answering the prompts… but telling compelling and memorable STORIES. And as he starts working on Duke, Tuck, Kellogg and all the others… he’s bringing that with him. And while HBS didn’t work out, those lessons will serve him well as he moves onto the next round. Final piece of advice:
You never know who is applying along with you, or what the competition will be like. So forget about all those other people. The best thing you can do as an applicant is to show the most badass version of yourself. Highlight your strengths, minimize those weaknesses, and tell great STORIES that are going to grab the adcom’s attention and make them remember you. Take some risks, appeal to the PERSON reading your application. Because, yes, it is a person, and all you need to do is connect with that person… and you’re in.