MBA Admissions Wire by "Tad Holbie"

"Tad Holbie's" weblog of his 2002-03 business school application experience.
Home | Tad's Applications | Archives | Site Info | Disclaimers | Epilogue
Useful Links
Applicant Weblogs
* League of MBA Bloggers - best resource for listing all MBA blogs.
* Modz (Anderson-bound)
* Thibault (Kellogg-bound)
* Michael (Wharton-bound)
Currently Reading:
Liar's Poker
Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street

Bond Market
How the Bond Market Works

MBA Prep Books I Used:
How To Get Into the Top MBA Programs

Kaplan GMAT 2003

Kaplan 800
Kaplan GMAT 800
Message Boards & Chat Rooms
* Business Week Forum
* Wharton S2S Message Board
* Wharton S2S Chat Room
* scheduled chats
* Business Week 2003 Rankings (free registration required)
* Financial Times 2003 Rankings (PDF)
* US News & World Report 2003 Rankings
* Wall Street Journal 2003 Rankings
* Forbes Magazine 2001 Rankings
Internet Tools
The MBA Admissions Wire would not be possible without all the cool stuff available for free on the internet:
* Blogger - Publishing tools
* Hotmail - E-mail
* MSN - Groups
* SiteMeter - Traffic monitoring
* SurveyMonkey - Web surveys
* HaloScan - Commenting system
* Tag-Board - Message board
* ZonkBoard - Message board (old)
* BlogHop - Weblog rating system
* FreeFind - Free website search engine
* WhoIS - IP/Domain Lookup
My Applications
Status: Admitted in R2!
* Homepage
* Ambasador Program
* M-Track Message Board
* Monroe Street Journal newspaper
* University of Michigan Merchandise
* UMBSA FAQ about life in Ann Arbor
* Ann Arbor Weather
My posts:
* List of essay topics
* Outlining the essays
* My alumni interview
* UMBS/Ann Arbor photos:
Image not available
(Click to enter my UMBS photo album)
Chicago GSB
Status: Submitted for R1; Denied Admissions after interview
* Homepage
* ChiBus newspaper
My posts:
* My alumni interview
* Approach/status of essays: 1, 2, 3, 4
* Posts on essay B: 1, 2
* Dinged!
* Chicago photos:
(Click to enter my Chicago photo album)
Status: Denied Admissions after Interview
* Homepage
* Online Status Check
* Finance Dept. homepage
* The Bottom Line Newspaper
* Columbia Merchandise
* Adrian Hind, student weblog
* New York weather
My posts:
* Info session summary
* My second campus visit
* List of essay topics
* Outlining the essays
* Posts on essay #1: 1
* Posts on essay #2: 1, 2
* Posts on essay #3: 1
* My alumni interview
* Columbia photos:
(Click to enter my Columbia photo album)
Status: Submitted for R1; Denied Admissions
* Homepage
* HarBus newspaper
* Adam Medros, student weblog
My posts:
* Info session summary
* Recommendation e-mail
* Approach/status of essays: 1, 2, 3, 4
* Essay word counts
* Posts on essay #3 and #4: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
* Posts on essay #6: 1, 2, 3
* Photos from campus
* Class visit experience
* Dinged!
* HBS photos:
(Click to enter my HBS photo album)
Status: Denied admissions after waitlist
* Homepage
* Online Status Check
* 2002-03 Calendar
* Kellogg Merger newspaper
* Professor McGee's Musings
* Northwestern University Merchandise
* Evanston weather
My posts:
* 2002 Waitlist Wrapup
* List of essay topics
* Starting the Kellogg app
* Outlining the essays
* Posts on essay #1: 1, 2
* Posts on essay #2: 1
* Posts on essay #3: 1, 2
* Posts on essay #4: 1
* Reviewing my essays
* My alumni interview
* Notes on my second campus visit
* Northwestern/Kellogg photos:
(Click to enter my August Kellogg photo album)
(Click to enter my April Kellogg photo album)
Status: Submitted for R1; Denied admissions after interview.
* Homepage
* Sloan Management Review
* 2002 Employment Report (PDF)
My posts:
* Info session summary
* Links to Sloan's tracks
* Note the mail-in items
* Approach/status of essays: 1, 2
* Cover letter: 1, 2
* Post on essay #1
* Post on essay #3
* My interview experience
* MIT/Sloan photos:
(Click to enter my Sloan photo album)
Stanford GSB
Status: Submitted for R1; Denied Admissions
* Homepage
* Stanford Reporter newspaper
My posts:
* Online recommender setup
* Posts on essay A: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
* Posts on essay B: 1
* Dinged!
Status: Submitted for R1; Denied Admissions after interview
* Homepage
* Student2Student message board
* Wharton Journal newspaper
* Laura Bennett, student diary
* Student Diaries
My posts:
* Info session summary
* Approach/status of essays: 1, 2, 3, 4
* Posts on essay #1: 1, 2
* Posts on essay #4: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
* Photos from campus
* The interview experience
* Dinged!
* Wharton photos:
(Click to enter my Wharton photo album)
Search Archives:

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08/25/2002 - 08/31/2002
09/01/2002 - 09/07/2002
09/08/2002 - 09/14/2002
09/15/2002 - 09/21/2002
09/22/2002 - 09/28/2002
09/29/2002 - 10/05/2002
10/06/2002 - 10/12/2002
10/13/2002 - 10/19/2002
10/20/2002 - 10/26/2002
10/27/2002 - 11/02/2002
11/03/2002 - 11/09/2002
11/10/2002 - 11/16/2002
11/17/2002 - 11/23/2002
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12/01/2002 - 12/07/2002
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12/15/2002 - 12/21/2002
12/22/2002 - 12/28/2002
12/29/2002 - 01/04/2003
01/05/2003 - 01/11/2003
01/12/2002 - 01/18/2003
01/19/2002 - 01/25/2003
01/26/2002 - 02/01/2003
02/02/2002 - 02/08/2003
02/09/2002 - 02/15/2003
02/16/2002 - 02/22/2003
02/23/2002 - 03/01/2003
03/02/2002 - 03/08/2003
03/09/2002 - 03/15/2003
03/16/2002 - 03/22/2003
03/23/2002 - 03/29/2003
03/30/2002 - 04/05/2003
04/06/2002 - 04/12/2003
04/13/2002 - 04/19/2003
04/20/2002 - 04/26/2003
04/27/2002 - 05/03/2003
05/04/2002 - 05/10/2003
05/11/2002 - 05/17/2003
05/18/2002 - 05/24/2003
05/25/2002 - 05/31/2003
06/01/2002 - 06/07/2003
06/08/2002 - 06/14/2003
06/15/2002 - 06/21/2003
06/22/2002 - 06/28/2003
06/29/2002 - 07/05/2003
Taken: Once, in 2002
Score: 760+
Advice: Get it over with quickly, aim for 670+
* Thoughts on the GMAT: 1, 2, 3
Advice: Ask them at least 2 months in advance
* Initial thoughts
* On delays: 1, 2
Advice: Develop an overall message. Write outlines. Revise many times. Have a friend proofread. Be honest. Answer what is asked.
* My initial thoughts
* Don't write what you think they want to hear
* My process
Advice: Know yourself. Review your application, answers to common questions.
* AdComm or Alum?
* My list of prep questions
Application Process
Advice: Start early. Give yourself at least two months to finish your first application.
* The "bible" of MBA application's, Montauk's How to Get Into the Top MBA Programs
* Tips on where to start
* Living the double life
* Dealing with disappointment
Financial Aid
Advice: Start early, even before getting accepted anywhere. Americans should fill-out and submit their FAFSA forms as soon as they have 2002 financial/tax info.
* Department of Education FAFSA Website
* Request a PIN for the FAFSA
* List of documents needed to complete the FAFSA form
* FAFSA School Code Lookup
* Legal Disclaimer
Site Info
Started: August 28, 2002
Creator: "Tad Holbie"
Daily Traffic:

Emails Received: 909 (as of 6/26/03)
Rate this site:
5***** | 4**** | 3*** | 2** | 1*
Who is "Tad Holbie"?
Tad Holbie is a pseudonym I created to protect my privacy and identity as I apply to business school (don't believe me? Google it for yourself). I am a young, American, first-time applicant to some of the elite business schools in the fall of 2002. My e-mail is
If I am accepted to one of the business schools I've applied to, I will be more revealing about my identity and personal details.
When did I start all this?
I started this Weblog a couple months after I got serious about applying to business school. The first post was on August 28th, 2002. When do I have time to write this site? In between my full-time job and writing essays, time is limited. But I am a fast typist and am quick to jot down my thoughts during spare moments.
Why MBA Admissions Wire?
I started this website to record and share my experiences applying to business school (a long and stressful process). As time has gone by and greater numbers of readers e-mailed me to ask for advice, encourage me, and share their experiences, I have turned this site into a resource for all MBA applicants, in effect creating an online community.
How do I do MBA Admissions Wire?
It's very easy, and (best of all) free. Just go to and after a free registration you can have your own Weblog too! Even better, they offer free hosting on their server!
Disclaimer:I am not an admissions officer, nor am I affiliated with any of the schools, organizations, or sites listed on this page (i.e. I haven't even been accepted to any B-School--this is my first time applying!). The events described on this web page are real events, though certain names, genders, locations, and dates (i.e. interview dates, submission dates, etc.) may be changed to protect my identity. If you are applying to any of the schools listed on this page, please refer to their official web sites for the definitive deadline dates, application procedures, etc. (i.e. It's not a smart move to rely on this page while applying). The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author.
I am also neither a lawyer nor an accountant. All information and events describing or related to financial aid, tuition, scholarships, loans, and other monetary matters is strictly meant to only describe "Tad Holbie's" situation, and should not be considered instructions, financial advice, or in any way pertaining to the [reader's] financial situation. Consult your own accountant/lawyer when making important financial decisions.
Any questions, e-mail him at (and no, that isn't my real name).
About Interviews: I may or may not disclose if/when/with whom I have been invited to interviews. At present, I'm leaning towards discussing my interview experiences a few days/weeks after they happen. Mark me "undecided".
Privacy Policy: If you choose to e-mail me, I promise not to publish your name, e-mail address, or contact information on my website without first getting your permission. I may excerpt part or all of your e-mail on my site, but will take care to edit out any information that might identify the source. If you don't want any or your e-mail posted on my site, just put "Please keep private" at the bottom of your e-mail. Any questions, e-mail me at
Posting Policy: Basically, anything you post can be reviewed by me. If I find a post to the message board or comment system that is sufficiently rude, offensive, moronic, I'll feel free to a) delete it, and/or b) ban you from posting ever again. In conclusion: You don't have free speech on my site, so don't be a jerk.

Welcome! First time visitors are encouraged to start here.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Posted 1:35 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82874864:

Now I'm seriously starting to stress about my third HBS rec. I e-mailed the recommender on Wednesday and didn't get any reply. Now that it's the weekend I won't be able to get in touch with this person. Monday is a holiday. So the first chance I'll have to talk to them is Tuesday, the day before the submission date. If I don't see that rec submitted by Monday, it's no more Mr. Nice Guy (they've had over 2 months!!!!)...

Has anyone else had this problem? What did you do?

Posted 1:30 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82874710:

I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone of my credentials. I am not a college admissions officer. I am not a business school student. I have not even applied to business school before.

Please keep these in mind when you read my site and/or e-mail me. Any comments, advice, insights I give come as a first-time B-School applicant who is figuring things out as I go along. If you think a tip I have is worthwhile, great, use it! If you think it is worthless, treat it as such.

As we start entering the deadline weeks, I just wanted to remind everyone of this fact. I'm in the same situation as you, it's just I decided to write a Weblog about it...

Posted 1:30 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82874703:

Friday Deadline Countdown
>> 6 days left until the HBS Round I deadline
>> 13 days left until the Wharton Round I deadline
>> 19 days left until the Stanford GSB Round I deadline
>> 26 days left until the MIT Sloan Round I deadline
>> 28 days left until the Chicago Round I deadlines

My status:
GMAT - Done
Transcripts - All collected
Recommendations - 2 HBS recs done (where the $%&! is my third recommendation!?!); 2 Wharton recs done; 1 Stanford rec done, 1 in progress
Essays - All Wharton fifth drafts done (in review by friends); All Stanford first drafts done; Chicago, MIT first drafts in progress
Data Forms - Wharton on-line forms complete; All on-line forms are 90% complete



Posted 1:27 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82874642:

So Business Week posted its new Top 30 business schools list yesterday. You need to do a free registration to view the web list. Here's the top 5:
1) Kellogg
2) Chicago
3) Harvard
4) Stanford
5) Wharton

No big news here. Sloan is #6.
(I'll update the link to the list later...)
(For those interested, my prediction is here)

Wednesday, October 09, 2002
Posted 1:14 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82747489:

Some advice for this year's applicants:
1) Remember how lucky you are! There are other Americans our age who are giving their lives in foreign lands to defend our nation. Every time you want to start stressing about how terrible the GMAT, essays, etc. are, remind yourself of this fact (I need to do this too).
2) If you are not having fun writing the essays, ask yourself why. After all, this is a chance to talk about the most interesting person you know, right? (If you don't think you're interesting, you're probably right--and no matter what you write the AdComms will know it)
3) Read and re-read your essays, out loud if possible. You'll catch the little spelling mistakes and ackward phrases.
4) Have someone else read your essays, if possible.
5) Remember that the servers might be busy in the final hours before the deadline. Submit when you app is ready, don't dawdle.
6) Smile. Seriously, smiling does improve your mood.
7) Remember, the past tense of "to lead" is spelled "led" (this has gotten me countless times).

That's about all the tips I can think of now. Have fun!

Posted 12:36 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82745871:

I hate writing these "Dear Recommender, I noticed that your recommendation still says "not submitted". Is there any problem holding it up?" emails. They know I am saying "What's the holdup?". I know I'm saying it. But it's better to write 20 reminder e-mails until they submit than miss a deadline because of them, right?

Posted 12:31 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82745674:

With the deadlines approaching, the forums are starting to get a bit hysterical/panicked. I think over the next few weeks I'll be visiting them less and less, to avoid getting the (very contagious) paranoia strain that's going around.

Posted 12:27 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82745500:

If anyone reading this blog is planning to apply to B-School next year, a word of advice:
Do not tell your recommenders the real application deadline.

I gave my recommenders the forms/logins in early August. I told them I'd like the HBS and Wharton recommendations by Sept. 28, seeing as how I wouldn't be able to work much on the apps the two following weeks. But I also made the mistake of saying something like, "The actual deadline isn't until _____". The result is my HBS app has been sitting around for about two weeks and I am sweating out the deadlines.

I am not trying to knock my recommenders (who don't know about this site); They are good people and I know they're busy. But that's why I gave them two @$%!ing months!

If I had it to do over again, I would tell them, "My deadline is Sept. 27" or "I must have them by Sept. 27", and never mention the real deadline. That way I wouldn't be lying and I'd (hopefully) get them earlier.


Tuesday, October 08, 2002
Posted 5:24 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82680985:

Finally had the chance to read through my Wharton essays (I guess these are the fifth drafts? I'm starting to lose count...). I made a fair amount of grammar/spelling/style corrections (easy to correct), but overall am happy with the content and flow (which would be much harder to correct). Having the final drafts of them done sometime next week looks doable.

Posted 5:22 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82680958:

I did a final reading of my HBS app and found two or three very minor grammar issues, which are now corrected. As soon as my last two recommenders submit their recs, I'm ready to submit the app.

Posted 5:19 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82680886:

I guess that there's now one month left until the Kellogg and Chicago GSB round 1 deadlines!

Posted 5:18 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82680874:

Correction: The correct address for the U. Chicago GSB newspaper is

Sunday, October 06, 2002
Posted 11:22 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #82594754:

Phew! My third HBS recommendation is under way.


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