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 Blogger.com
and after a free registration you can have your own Weblog too! Even better, they offer free hosting on their
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 email@example.com (and no, that isn't my real name).
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".
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
This is the type of post the B-Week forum needs more of!
To be honest, I am really trying had not to get too into this "Tad Holbie" thing. I started this website to chronicle applying to business school. I enjoy writing, am pretty quick at trying and learning new things (hence the message board, comment system, etc.), and genuinely like to help out other people trying to apply. I don't think I'm the smartest person in the world, but I have common sense (which, in my humble opinion, is much more valuable anyway) and am not shy about sharing my opinions. I hope people haven't taken this site too seriously--though applying to business school is a serious and difficult task, there's no reason not to have fun while doing so.
Posted 12:59 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #85997102:
I got the undergrad transcript I ordered (for $4.00) in case I apply to UMBS R2 yesterday in the mail. For once, my undergrad school screwed up--they didn't sign across the back! I'm not going to stress about it--I do have several signed transcripts that I could use, in addition to this unsigned one (which includes the UMBS transcript request form). Plus I don't think I'm going to need it anyway.
Posted 12:56 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #85996999:
Future of this website What do I plan to do with this site when/if/after I get into business school? Obviously this question rests on me actually getting in, but we're all certain of that, aren't we?
Anyway, of course I would first announce where I've been accepted. If I am fortunate enough o be accepted to more than one school, I'll probably spend a lot of time discussing/researching the various options.
I plan to chronicle my experiences arranging financing for the schools (i.e. how to get a CitiAssist loan).
As the Spring rolls around and I 1) have decided which school I will attend and 2) informed my current employers that I'll be leaving in July/August, I'll begin to reveal more details of my background (undergrad school, job, work experience, hobbies, etc.)
May 1st I'll post a link to my other (personal) website, which I write under my real name.
In the summer I'll write about preparing for b-school, packing up, and the trip (across the country?) to the school. From that point on I will probably chronicle my b-school days on my other website.
If I am not accepted to Wharton, the next four weeks I'll be busting ass to crank out the Kellogg and UMBS/Yale/other R2 applications. I'll write about that.
If no school accepts me, this site will descend into a bitter, twisted shell of its former self. That will last for about 5 minutes, before I regroup and consider further options.
In conclusion: Let's all hope that I get accepted to at least one school!
Goals for the weekend:
1) Work (why else am I up at this hour on a Saturday morning)?
2) Finish Christmas shopping
3) Relax before Monday's Boston trip
With this Boston engagement stretching on into next week, I've pretty much given up any hope of starting my R2 essays before Wharton's decision. At this point, the extra exhaustion/stress of using my meager spare time to write essays outweighs the four day headstart I'd get.
I have not gotten invitations yet from HBS, Stanford, and Sloan. Unlike what I did with Wharton, I think that when/if I do get invited, I'll post it fairly quickly to this site. That's in keeping with my efforts to focus the site on my experiences rather than be distracted by surveys and the like.
If I had to sum up the Sloan campus, architecturally, I would use the word "eclectic". There are some very modern buildings like the Tang Center, some 1960s-ish ("postmodern"?) buildings like the big library (I think named Baker Library), and then there are the World War II-era buildings like Sloan and E60 lining Memorial Drive (which runs along the Charles). The same seems to hold true for the main of MIT's campus, which spreads to the west from the Sloan buildings. Sloan definitely did not have the "classical" feel that the HBS and Wharton campuses evoke.
As for the surrounding area, I did not see any problem spots in my (admittedly brief) visit. Main Street runs up the northeast border of the Sloan campus, from the Longfellow bridge through to Kendall Square (where the "T" subway stop is). I felt completely safe coming out of the subway stop at 7:00 am, and the area has a very new and corporate feel to it. My impression is that the further northwest you head (say, going through the entire MIT campus to Massachusetts Avenue and then turning right towards Central Square) the less pleasant the neighborhood is, but I didn't see any areas like I saw around the University of Chicago or even to the west of Penn.
Friday Deadline Countdown * 6 days left until the Wharton Round 1 decisions
* 24 days left until the Yale Round 2 deadline
* 25 days left until the UMBS Round 2 deadline
* 28 days left until the Kellogg Round 2 deadline
* 33 days left until the Chicago Round 1 decisions
* 40 days left until the HBS Round 1 decisions
* 40 days left until the Stanford Round 1 decisions
* 48 days left until the Anderson Round 3 deadline
* 49 days left until the Haas Round 3 deadline
* 63 days left until the MIT Sloan Round 1 decisions
My status: * HBS - Submitted for Round 1
* Wharton - Submitted for Round 1; Interviewed
* Stanford - Submitted for Round 1
* Chicago - Submitted for Round 1; Interviewed
* Sloan - Submitted for Round 1
* Kellogg - [Should have] started essays
For those of you prepping for the GMAT (hopefully you're taking it soon), there's a new (free?) website purporting to offer tips, FAQs, and a message board about taking it. Check out http://www.gmatclub.com/ (found via B-Week).
I found a link to the online Wharton merchandise store: http://www.whartonmerchandise.com. I'll put links to all the schools' online shops over in the school sections to the left. I think these might come in handy for getting gifts for recommenders (if I'm accepted).
I am now participating in an experiment: As I pass my twenty-fourth straight hour of being awake, what effects does the sleep deprivation have on my writing abilities? What random thoughts, which I normally would filter out, do I aimlessly type into Blogger? Science, away!
Posted 12:55 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #85932274:
BTW, I've kind of waffled on this issue in the past, but decided that I would post next Thursday whether or not I was accepted by Wharton. I feel like there's really no downside to doing so. Plus, should I get in, I'll be so hyped up I'll have to tell somebody about it...
Posted 12:47 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #85932019:
I wonder how everyone else feels about all the upcoming decision dates. When I have a free moment to think about them (especially Wharton, since that's the only interview I've done so far), all I feel is really excited and happy. Maybe it's because I'm a fairly confident and positive guy, but I really don't feel any dread, worry, or fear.
I guess I've made peace with the fact that I put together the best applications I could, and it's out of my hands now. Once you relinquish control over something, worrying/stressing over it is pretty useless.
Posted 10:07 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #85895826:
Adrian, the 2nd year MBA student at Columbia, writes about the terrible recruiting scene for biz-school students going into I-Banking. He reports that the MBA students who did IB summer internships are pretty much the only ones heading into Associate positions after graduation, and that other grads are having to step into analyst positions. From what I hear, the difference in base salaries between a first-year Associate and a second-year Analyst could be $20K - $30K, depending on the firm.
Message: Especially for us career-switchers, MBA students need to be in full-gear from day one to land the critical summer intership.
Posted 11:06 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #85875431:
I'm starting to wonder if, for whatever reason, I chose a set of R1 schools that returns its decisions abnormally late. I can't help but wonder after seeing Tuck, Darden, Columbia, Kellogg, and now the Duke decisions (tomorrow) starting to come out...
A helpful reader forwards an e-mail he got from Haas announcing an online chat tonight at 6:00 pm PST. It reads in part:
"You can chat online with the Berkeley MBA Admissions Committee this Wednesday, December 11, from 6:00 to 7:30 Pacific Standard Time...Individual chat rooms will be hosted to address general questions about the Berkeley MBA program, admission requirements, and international application issues.
Sloan Campus The Boston weather this morning was much warmer (30 degrees and no wind), so I decided to head over to the Sloan campus for a walk. Frankly, after a few days on a business trip I start to feel like a bloated pig--because my daily workout routine is busted and I eat large, heavy meals. The walk from the Kendally Square T stop (subway station), through the Sloan/MIT campus, then across the river to downtown Boston was fabulous: clear skies, little wind, a good workout (it took about 40-50 minues to get from Kendall Square to downtown) and nice neighborhoods.
I'll post my thoughts on the Sloan campus at the same time I put up the photos I took, which should be in a day or two.
I also highly, highly recommend getting exercise (preferrably outdoors) when you're feeling stressed out. I was feeling a bit down last night, both because of exhaustion from working until 2:00 am and for personal reasons. You'd think that I'd be dead tired getting up this morning at 6:00, but a brisk 45 minute walk cleared my head and rechaged my batteries.
I've been "lucky" enough that this project deadline has kept me so busy, as I honestly have little time to dwell on a) when/if I'll get any more interview invitations; b) the need to get started on my R2 essays; and c) the looming Wharton decision (what, only 8 days away!). Once my work deadline passes on Friday, I'm hoping the frenetic buzz will stick around a few more days to carry me through 'til December 19th.
Posted 12:13 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #85822928:
I've lost track of what day it is...I guess somewhere between Monday and Wednesday. My work deadline just got moved back from tomorrow (actually, since it's already Wednesday morning, today) afternoon until Friday. Maybe I won't fly out of Boston tonight? Once you work past a certain hour time becomes very flexible...
I stumbled upon the blog "KidIcarus" written by a couple of Auburn University MBA students, though it seems to be less focused on the academic aspect of the experience and more focused on the...social aspects (to put it politely).
Posted 11:27 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #85788109:
I have a few free moments, so I'm going through the UMBS online application. Unfortunately they use Embark, which (if you've been reading this site for a while) you know leaves a lot to be desired. Even the simple things--like loading my personal information from the other Embark applications I've filled out--is problematic (loading work phone numbers into home phone numbers, dropping the year of my graduation, etc.)
One good point of Embark, however, is the online recommendations. You have complete control over setting up/changing recommenders, sending reminders, monitoring status, etc.
No, this doesn't mean I've settled on UMBS as a R2 school. I have probably set up online accounts with a good 10 or 12 schools so far, mainly to explore their apps.
I'm looking over the detailed outlines I did for the Kellogg essays yesterday. I think that essay #3 (evaluate your own application) is the toughest one, simply because it's easy to play to the crowd. By that I mean that pretty much all applicants know that Kellogg likes "team players" who get "involved"; how do you convey that message without sounding blatantly obvious? Or, in this essay, is it okay to be blatantly obvious?
I'm leaning towards the latter approach, since I don't think real application evaluators beat around the bush. After answering the basic questions like "Can the applicant handle the coursework?" and "Has the applicant experienced success on the job?", I think the points they address quickly turn to "Will the applicant fit in here?" Essay #3 is perhaps the best opportunity to address that.
Interestingly, this could overlap some with essay #2 ("What would you uniquely contribute to Kellogg?") if not careful. In my outline I took pains to avoid describing the same experiences in both essays.
Posted 10:38 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #85763131:
My coworkers and I just got back from a later dinner, and it is bitter, bitter cold in Boston tonight. Any piece of exposed skin is subject to sandpaper-like winds. Needless to say, I'm not crazy enough to spend tomorrow morning walking across to Cambridge/MIT.
Stanford is looking nicer and nicer just about now...
For whatever reason, the flight to Boston this morning was one of my most productive flights ever. I took the rough outline for the Kellogg essays that I wrote a couple weeks ago and crafted very detailed outlines from them (detailed enough to make the first drafts a snap). I made some changes to my approach, especially vis-a-vis essays 2 and 4f. I'm looking at finally getting these drafts done by this weekend.
"Also, to dispel another myth and ease the minds of worried friends who may not have been invited to interview yet, applicants may be invited to interview up until the decision notification date (January 22nd for Round One) - so if friends haven't heard yet, tell them to hang in there."
Considering that, among the handful of HBS students I talked to last week at least a couple of them interviewed right before last year's decision date (heck, look at Adam's saga), the message is clear: Chill out, no worries, you're not dinged until they say you're dinged.
If it's not bitterly cold tomorrow morning, I plan to do an early stroll around the Sloan campus (camera in hand). My work project is under the gun, so I literally have no time for a class visit, but hopefully I'll get a nice sense of the area.
For whatever reason, the Wharton decision date was on my mind last night and this morning (alas, the two were not that far apart for me). With its proximity to Christmas, it is really evoking nostalgia for the anticipation of Christmas morning. Santa always brought me the gifts that I asked for. I got my undergrad acceptance a few days before the 25th too. Because of those experiences I'm confident and excited about Wharton, I wonder? It would truly be a completely new (and unwelcome) script were I to be dinged on the 19th...
Posted 12:30 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #90251384:
Chicago GSB is completely the forgotten school for me, simply because I put the interview behind me two months ago. Still, when I talk to people who know stuff about Wall Street finance I only hear praise for Chicago.
Posted 12:27 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #90251383:
I've read somewhere that HBS is making an effort to craft a younger class, i.e. accepting more students straight out of undergraduate programs. I wonder what everyone else thinks about it.
I don't feel threatened by this move, since I'm not that far out from school and am pretty young to boot. But as a prospective student, I would prefer a class that skews slightly older than one skewing younger. One of the prime attractions of MBA programs is to learn from your classmates, and work experience is the key to that. I'm not saying that there is not a single undergrad qualified to be in an MBA program, but I think that schools should aim for 95%+ of the students having at least two years of experience.
Posted 12:22 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #90251382:
For whatever reason, I feel like I'm going to get an interview invite to some school this week. That's what my gut says. Of course, my gut is currently filled with red curry and Thai iced tea, so it is telling me many things right now.
Posted 12:20 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #390251381:
On the B-Week forum, "Henry Hill" posted a link to a 2000 interview with the managing director of HBS admissions. There's nothing earth shattering, but some general good advice for applicants. The thing that caught my eye was that my undergrad school wasn't mentioned as one of the "feeder" schools cited:
"However, I can give you an indication of some schools that regularly make our top 30 list. They include: Columbia University; Georgetown University; the University of California, Los Angeles; Duke University; Harvard; Princeton University; Stanford University; UC-Berkeley; Oxford University (Britain); Cambridge University (Britain); the U.S. Naval Academy; the University of Michigan; and the University of Virginia."
Hmph. I know my school is much more highly regarded than Georgetown or the University of Michigan. I suppose it just doesn't turn out enough HBS applicants...
As for work, I put in about four hours yesterday, and will put in some more this morning. Unfortunately, I might need to head to the office this afternoon/evening to complete some more work before I fly off to beantown tomorrow morning. The good news on the work front is that my deadline is Wednesday, so starting December 12th I'll have much more time to refocus on the applications. I'll need to go all-out on the Kellogg essays and make a decision on if/how many/which additional school(s) I'll go for R2.
Shopping Today. Five hours. One gigantic outlet mall. One credit card (I hope). One goal: Finish all my Christmas shopping.
Like most men, the thought of spending more than, say, twenty minutes shopping falls somewhere between a visit to the dentist and having a leg amputated in terms of pleasure. Still, if I procrastinate anymore, I'm just not going to have anything to give out (yes, I know about Amazon and other online sites, but...well, I don't want to be cheap). If I can take XMas shopping off the table, my workload for the next few weeks lightens by oh-so much.