Though she attended a top university and had worked at respected real estate companies, Jessica was lacking the Fortune 500, big name work experience admissions committees at elite MBA programs look for.
In order to create a narrative that would prove Jessica had what it takes to go to a top b-School, we had a few options:
- Focus on her passion for real estate and make a case for why she was going to be a future CEO of a top firm.
- Since she had a Masters in Finance from UNC already, take the finance angle and hit that hard, considering she was applying to CBS which is a very finance-focused school.
- Using her knowledge of the real estate world, talk about switching careers and going into consulting after B-School, with a focus on real estate consulting.
The Admissionado Approach
We went with the first approach mentioned above, but attacked it with extreme specificity and personal detail. We focused on the practical aspects of real estate (Jessica had worked with industry leaders already, learned from the best, and honed her skills), and then married it with a feasible long-term vision of leveraging her real estate knowledge to build affordable housing for the elderly. We took a small idea (she was very passionate about affordable housing) and really added some weight to it, by adding detail and depth that made it “real.”
Jessica received a FULL scholarship to NYU, and a partial scholarship to Columbia. She went to Columbia and brought her whole family including her baby!
Jessica was nervous about applying as an older applicant (29), but that was actually her secret sauce. She had more years of work experience and life experience to draw from. She was a businesswoman, but also a wife and mother. That gave her perspective and a mature, well-formed point of view. When it came to writing the essays about her long-term vision, she really shined. She was able to articulate and describe her goals in a way that was quite moving. “The fact that she was also a mother, a female, and a badass who got into Columbia (on freaking scholarship) is inspiring.”