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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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 email@example.com.
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
Saturday, December 28, 2002
Posted 10:05 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86644557:
I don't know, I'm digging myself a deeper hole with Kellogg #3. I think I have a new approach for the essay (my old approach, while pretty smart and comprehensive, was just plain boring--unreadably so), but it requires a whole new outline...
UMBS essay #5, first draft done, 503 words. I think it'll require some revising, though, as I spend too much space writing about what I did and not enough pointing out the diversity of the situation and the good that resulted from it.
I'm now aiming to wrap up first drafts for Kellogg essays #3 (half done) and #4 (two thirds done).
With the fun and relaxation done, it's time to get back to business. First on the plate is UMBS essay #5 (the optional one). I have a good story to tell (which is the only reason I'm doing this essay), but I've been blocking on the introductory paragraph. If I can get over that hump, I'll be able to roll the rest out at a nice pace.
BTW, "Catch Me If You Can" is a very good movie. I was expecting a lighthearted adventure, and it delivered on that front, but it also had some very serious themes. The acting, from DiCaprio to Hanks to Christopher Walken to Martin Sheen was all top-notch. Highly recommended, both as an escape from the stress of applications and as all-around good film.
A counter-argument to my hypothesis that other obligations make meeting the R2 deadlines more difficult than R1 (see post #85535369) is that, after Christmas, work tends to be very light. With the Christmas holiday and my final two vacation days I've had tons of essay time this week (of course, sacrificing XMas), and next week is another shortened week. The office will be pretty dead until January 6th, providing plenty of covert essay writing opportunities...
I have just added search engine functionality to this website! Thanks to the folks at FreeFind.com, you'll now be able to easily search through my archives for any old posts on applications, essays, or anything else. It's not the most advanced search tool, but it's better than nothing (and nuthin's what I'm paying for it!)
I'm a bit essayed-out now, having done four first drafts and revised eight second drafts over the past twenty-four hours. My goal for the next 48 to 72 hours is to finish off all the first drafts for my R2 schools--this means writing Columbia #1 and #2 from scratch, completing Kellogg #3 and #4, and writing UMBS #5 (the optional essay--I really do have a good story to tell here) from scratch. Though this is a lot of writing, I don't think it's overwhelming.
I'm planning to give myself some breaks over the weekend too--I hope to watch either "The Twin Towers" (finally) or "Catch Me If You Can" (preferrably both).
The office is still kind of quiet today--maybe only 65% full--so I'll probably kick out early later this afternoon...
For those of you intesested in the Sales, Trading, and Research side of Wall Street, Kellogg's Investment Banking club has a couple of informative documents up on its website. Especially valuable for its down-to-Earth description of the different career options there is Lehman Brother's "Sales, Trading, and Research Basics" presentation (PowerPoint). It talks about the pros and cons of the different careers and what [Lehman] looks for in applicants.
Update: Corrected the post to read "Lehman Brothers", not "Merril Lynch".
I'm hip-deep in the middle of revising my Kellogg essays right now. Unhappy with the flabby flow of my first draft of Kellogg #1 (it followed my usual past-present-future formula for "Why an MBA?" essays), I cut and paste in the text from my UMBS #2. It was an immediate improvement, and I'm now in the process of adding a paragraph about my career arch and customizing the "Why Kellogg" part of the essay (hint: it should not include references to the Tozzi Center). I'm also in the middle of revising Kellogg #2, which seemed to be...unfocused. Amazingly (or rather, not so amazingly), by simply adding two strong summary statements at the top, the whole thing comes together a lot better. That's my lesson of the day: there is no better a way to refocus an essay than with new/additional introductory sentences.
Friday Deadline Countdown * 11 days left until the UMBS Round 2 deadline
* 14 days left until the Kellogg Round 2 deadline
* 19 days left until the Chicago Round 1 decision
* 19 days left until the Columbia financial aid application deadline
* 26 days left until the HBS Round 1 decision
* 26 days left until the Stanford Round 1 decision
* 49 days left until the MIT Sloan Round 1 decision
My status: * HBS - Submitted for Round 1
* Wharton - Denied admissions after interview (12/19)
* Stanford - Submitted for Round 1
* Chicago - Submitted for Round 1; Interviewed
* Sloan - Submitted for Round 1
* Kellogg - Started essays, forms; Recommendation in hand
* Columbia - Started essays, forms; 1 rec in hand, 1 in progress
* UMBS - Started forms; Essay second drafts done; 1 rec in hand, 1 in progress
I expect next week to be pretty quiet on the interview invite front, but hopefully things will kick into high gear by the following Monday, January 6th. Of course, I'm going to be wring, revising, writing, revising, and writing and revising until then.
Posted 11:15 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86590759:
Sweet! My workhorse recommender has completed the UMBS, Kellogg, and Columbia recommendations. That means I'm only waiting on one UMBS rec and one Columbia rec (each coming from a different recommender) for my R2 apps to be complete.
I'd forgotten how much time editing a first draft takes. So far I've spent thirty minutes and only covered UMBS #1 and #2. They were very good essays, but as with all first drafts, there were plenty of typos, awkward transitions, and poorly chosen words. I'll be aiming to wrap up editing on the other two UMBS essays, Kellogg #2, and Columbia essays #3 and #4, type up the second drafts, and e-mail them to my friend by this evening (obviously, I'm hoping for another slow day at the office).
As for Kellogg #1, since I'm much happier with the structure of the UMBS "Why MBA?" essay (#2), I'm thinking of copying it to Kellogg and expanding it a bit (from 500 words to two pages). To me Kellogg and UMBS have many of the same characteristics--strength in many areas in addition to finance, teamwork focus, etc.--so it should not be too much of a stretch. I think I'll need to add some discussion of my career progress (since that's what Kellogg asks) and outside activities (which are not touched on by my UMBS essays very much--I'll need to emphasize them in the UMBS interview and expanded resume).
One week on... A reader points out that it's only been little more than a week since I was dinged by Wharton. That's hard to believe, since it feels like ancient history, like it was a month or two ago.
In that week I've arranged for five more recommendations (two of which I'll be getting tomorrow, apparently); started three new apps; done first drafts for UMBS essays 1-4, Columia essays 3 and 4, and Kellogg essays 1, 2, half of 3 and two-thirds of 4, submitted Kellogg Part 1, requested and received a transcript for UMBS, requested ETS send UMBS my GMAT score, made contact with a UMBS alumni and gotten an interview date (they have been very responsive). Oh, and if I remember correctly, Christmas fell somewhere in there too.
Not bad for a week's worth of work. I'm going to read and revise the eight essays I have in okay shape now (UMBS 1-4, CBS 3 & 4, and Kellogg 1 & 2) so that I can give my friend second drafts to review tomorrow night.
Posted 10:54 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86572720:
Just wrapped up a 464 word essay #4. It is perhaps the best essay I've written to date in terms of reflecting my personality, my sense of humor, and how they relate to my work experience. It's almost as personable as my Stanford essay A (way back when).
I don't know how or why, but I'm on a roll like I've never been before. I've got to give full credit to the turkey club sandwich I had for dinner--it was obviously a harbinger of good things. I know what I'll be eating for dinner every night for the next two weeks...
Done with UMBS #3, weighing in at 501 words. I basically cut-and-paste from HBS #3, added a more exciting intro and reflective conclusion, and that was it. This is probably the first essay for which I've been able to cut-and-paste so extensively.
UMBS #2 done. 1 hour, 497 words. And strangely enough, perhaps my best "Why our school?" essay ever.
Why? I think it is the structure of the question, which forced a differently organized answer. Usually my "Why an MBA, why our school?" essays go 1) My background, how it leads to an MBA; 2) Why their school, and 3) My post-MBA plans. The UMBS essay, because of how its phrased, led me to structure my answer 1) My post-MBA plans, 2) How my experience to date prepares me for them, 3) How the UMBS MBA will bridge the gap. In other words, my previous essays went past-present-future, but this one went future-past-present. I think that by delivering the "future"--i.e. my goal--first, it captures the readers attention more and focuses the rest of the essay on how the MBA is a natural bridge between my past and future.
Going to keep rolling for as long as my mojo keeps working...
For whatever reason--maybe it was the 36 hour break--I am "on" tonight. I just ripped out a great 516-word first draft for UMBS #1 in thirty minutes. I'm going to ride this momentum for as long as I can...after all, if I'm dog tired tomorrow, so what? It's Friday and the weekend's upon us!
Oh, do I ever have a good opening sentence for UMBS #1.
Plus, after writing the opening paragraph I decided that one of my experiences can be used both as my most significante achievement and toughest challenge. I decided this after I kept having to qualify my achievement with "no, this isn't my toughest challenge, but my most significant achievement". I then thought, "Wait a second, maybe I can use it as both..."
At the very least, using a single experience for both makes a smoother flowing essay...
Well, I've wallowed in the holiday blues enough today (yes, doing "research"--i.e. websurfing--about the UMBS program was just a way to avoid getting down to business). Let's see if I can't get at least one or two essays done today...
"MAP is a 7.5-credit hour field study project in which teams of students analyze multidisciplinary business problems and recommend improvements. These projects take place at sponsoring company sites across the country and during the last seven weeks of the MBA student's first year."
* UMBS reviews applications in much the same way as Wharton: A student reader and AdComm reader go through each application, with a third reader for borderline cases
* The [mandatory] interview results are reviewed last when going through an application
" I definitely have to research more on the MAP program; this quote caught my attention:
"AlCotroneUMBS (Oct 14, 2002 9:41:05 PM)
Steven, I'm sorry - yes, your candidacy at a MAP company will be the same as your candidacy at any recruiter - while your prior experience is key, the MBA affords a great opportunity to change careers."
I must say, UMBS' website is oddly organized. I have trouble finding out even the most basic information: How many terms a year there are, is their grade non-disclosure, what is the core like, are their majors, etc. I ended up downloading their enire course bulletin and academic calendar to answer some of these. I'm sure the Viewbook has all this info...if only I could get my hands on it...
Posted 10:27 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86515461:
So, I've put my time to good use by going through the UMBS essay questions and coming up with outlines for each. Overall, I generally like the set of questions, maybe not as much as Columbia's but certainly more than Kellogg's. They are very clear-cut and, with 500 word limits, aren't asking for tomes (thomes?) I find it interesting that UMBS only asks the "Why UMBS" question in the context of helping to "attain your goals" (essay 2)--I think the smart applicant will have reasons beyond that for attending a particular school. I mean, of course a UMBS MBA would help me to attain my goal (of a career change), but so would a dozen other schools. Anyway, here is a brief discussion of each essay topic:
1. What has been your most significant professional achievement? What has been your toughest professional challenge and how did you address it? (500 words) I like this question (or rather, questions) because it is short and to the point. I have two different experiences to use (personally, I think it would be a mistake to try to pidgeonhole a single experience into answering both questions) and can easily write a 250 (or so) word essay about each. Both are from my current job, and I think it's good to start off a set of essays stressing the success I've had in my present position.
2. Describe your post-graduation career plans. How will your education, experience, and development to date support those plans? How will an MBA from the University of Michigan Business School help you attain your goals? (500 words) I think that this question is perfectly tailored ot a career-switcher like myself. I have found in previous applications that I put a lot of effort into differentiating myself from the bulk of career changers who haven't done the kind of research/had the experience I've had. Tying my "education, experience, and development" to my future career plans is a piece of cake. And the fact that the topic asks for how the UMBS education will help attain my goals makes it very easy to answer (keeping in mind I will also mention non-goal related aspects of Michigan that attract me).
3. Describe a failure or setback in your life. How did you overcome this setback? What, if anything, would you do differ-ently if confronted with this situation again? (500 words) I started thinking about this one, then said, "Wait a second, I answered this in the HBS application back in October!". Sure enough, HBS essay #3 is "Recognizing that successful leaders are able to learn from failure, discuss a situation in which you failed and what you learned.", which will easily be cut and paste into this one. I might need to expand on it a bit, but that shouldn't be a problem because all the HBS essays were cramped by the 400 word limit.
4. Answer one of the following:
a. Describe an idea you�fve had for a new business or product or a new service line of an existing entity. (500 words)
b. What�fs the most creative solution to a problem or situation you�fve ever developed? (500 words)
c. What makes work fulfilling? Describe a situation where, as a team member or project leader, you have made work more interesting or enjoyable for your group. (500 words) I think that 4c is the best choice for me, because I have a good story to tell there. 4b is also a possibility, but I think that my recommendations will cover my creativity, so I don't need to touch upon it.
1. Describe any experiences you�fve had that highlight the value of diversity in a business setting. (500 words) I'm Mister Diversity, so I'll definitely answer this one. I have an interesting story to tell which (hopefully) takes a different approach than most other applicants.
I'm going to see if I can't crank out two or three of these essays today and wrap up the rest tomorrow. I'm really aiming towards having a bunch of reviewed/revised first drafts to give to my friend for a reading this weekend.
My UMBS strategy is starting to take shape. The key facets for why I'm applying there are:
1) Large alumni base, even on all Wall Street
2) Academically strong in many areas, not just finance (in general, I prefer a broadly strong school to one that is only great in one area)
3) More active, team-oriented student body
4) Tozzi Center (which is just up my alley)
One unusual fact that I learned about UMBS is the class size, which is about 470. That's kind of in-between the small-school classes of 250 or so (Stanford) and the large classes of 800 (HBS, Wharton). Don't know how to use that yet.
"If you're in a hurry, a rush transcript service (mailed within two working days) is available for $22 per college by calling 609-771-7300. (Please note that a telephone request will also incur the $7 billing fee unless you pay by credit card.)"
Posted 12:38 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86485234:
I feel like a bastard right now. After procrastinating, I just spent the past fifteen minutes ordering magazine subscriptions and e-gift certificates for all the family members I've neglected the past two months. I agree, it's pretty low, but I guess (hope?) better than nothing.
Posted 11:53 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86483701:
As you may have noticed, I'm doing heavy reseach on the web into the UMBS program. I've printed out about thirty pages of documents from Business Week, the UMBS newspaper, and the UMBS website to give me a sense of what's what there. After reviewing these papers I'll put together the outlines for my essays...
Posted 11:49 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86483544:
I had a really tough time finding any information on UMBS' new trading floor facility, the Tozzi Center. Their website does a really poor job of pushing it as a selling point. Anyway, here's an article from the University of Michigan record giving the lowdown.
Posted 11:08 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86482336:
Business Week just posted an article that may be of interest to some of you: "Yanking the Welcome Mat for Foreign MBAs". It covers some of the factors that are causing business schools to consider decreasing international representation. I've just glanced through it, and it's pretty in-depth:
"In October, 2003, a law increasing the number of H-1B visas is set to expire, chopping available H-1Bs from 195,000 a year to 65,000. The business lobby is poised to fight to maintain the number, but with the economy soft, it's likely to be an uphill battle."
Posted 10:34 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86481228:
I'm going to switch over to outlining the UMBS essays, first because I'm getting a bit tired of simply writing, and second because the UMBS application is due a few days earlier than Kellogg. They're not very intimidating in both length and content, so hopefully I can get a nice, detailed outline wrapped up before Christmas Eve dinner.
If any of you are interested in the phenomenom of blogging (i.e. Weblogging, i.e. what I'm doing right now), I recommend Glenn Reynold's (aka Instapundit's) piece summarizing the maturing of blogs over the past year. It starts out:
"2001 was the year that weblogs burst into the national consciousness in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. But 2002 was the year in which weblogs became part of the mainstream, even while remaining outside it..."
I slept some very odd hours last night, and here I am plugging away on Kellogg #1. I had forgotten that I finished about half of a first draft last Friday, so that means I only need to include about one page of "Why Kellogg" and be done with it.
Posted 12:23 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86466704:
One thing that really annoys me about UMBS' application (and there are other schools that do this, but I have the UMBS app in front of me) its the fact that they ask for a resume that's not a resume:
"Please compile and include a one- to two-page resume that highlights your education, academic focus, and honors you received; work experience, responsibilites, and accomplishments (organized by company); and organizations to which you belong. Your resume can also include bullet points highlighting specific skills such as languages as well as personal interests or leadership qualities."
The irritating thing about this is that 1) whatever the document that fulfills all those requirements is, a resume it is not. A resume is a specific type of business document meant to market yourself to a company; it is not a history of all your jobs, awards, honors, classes, hopes, dreams, skills, etc. 2) Why ask for all of that $#!+ in resume form when you've already had us type it into the online app?!?!
Posted 12:02 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86465985:
It's funny, for all the crap I did keep (and by crap, I mean things like old English papers--High School English papers), I can't seem to find a score report for my Senior year (High School) AP tests. I have the one for my Junior year, which accounts for one (of the three) scores I ended up receiving credit for at my undergrad school. I remember one of the other AP subjects I got credit for after taking the exam my senior year, but not the score I got. But for the life of me I can't remember the other tests, much less their scores.
I'm going to file this under "get around to finding out if all the rest of the apps are completed". I really, really doubt Columbia pays much attention to the "Advanced Placement Credit" section of the transcript, and regardless I think leaving off an AP test or two is not the end of the world.
Posted 11:41 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86465199:
Columbia's self-reported transcript form has a section for AP (Advanced Placement) test scores, so I've been digging through my "archive" of documents to see if I can find them. Rummaging through the hanging files of my life, I came across my undergraduate application (yes, I tend to keep a lot of stuff)--how simple and innocent it seems now (an example: In response to the essay question "Please tell us why the first non-academic activity [that you listed elsewhere in the app] is important ot you", my answer was about...comic book collecting (it even starts out "Faster than a speeding bullet...").
It's hard not to break a warm smile now, looking back on the essays. But funny as they may seem now, they got the job done: I got into the one school I applied to. And seeing that I wrote (and kept) three, four, even five drafts of these essays demonstrates that I had the same thoroughness even then.
I just flipped to another page and came across a first draft of an essay for the Harvard undergraduate application (which I never ended up submitting, having been accepted to my first choice already). It's funny: I label the essay "Harvard biggie", yet the word limit is 250-500 words.
Those were simpler times, when getting a good grade on the PSAT in your Junior year would result in a flood of 20 or 30 college brochures stuffing your mailbox each day...
This has been one of my most productive essay writing days ever. Hopefully by Wednesday (also known as "Christmas") night I can have a complete set of Kellogg first drafts; do some revising and polishing Thursday and Friday, and have my friend review them over the weekend. That's the plan anyway.
I must say that Kellogg #3 is a very, very smart topic: "You have been selected as a member of the Kellogg Admissions Committee. Please provide a brief evaluative assessment of your file." I think that they are using a single question to evaluate multiple things:
* What does the applicant think the strengths and weaknesses of his/her application are?
* How self-aware is the applicant?
* What does the applicant think we [the Kellogg AdComm] are looking for in your application?
* How well does the applicant understand what Kellogg is all about?
The trick, then, is to be self-aware, highlighting your strengths and dealing with your weaknesses (by ignoring the minor ones and addressing the major ones) while keeping the answer in the framework of what Kellogg wants. The fact that it took a run-on sentence to describe this shows what a lovely and tricky proposition it is...
I've completed two-thirds of Kellogg #4. The first two mini-essays were no-brainers, but I'm not sure which topic to use for the third one. I'm naturally gravitating towards the "I wish the admissions committee had asked me...", but will need to ponder it a bit before deciding how to approach this (I would naturally try to highlight my teamwork in some way).
The tally for the day so far: Columbia #3, first draft done. Kellogg #2, first draft done. Kellogg #4, 2/3rds of first draft done. I think I'll switch over to Kellogg #3, the "review your own application" essay. I want to keep the momentum up...
I just wrapped up Kellogg #2. It's a bit clunky (make that very clunky), but I am happy to say that I feel comfortable that I'm getting the "tone" right (i.e. staying focused on, in plain terms, stating how I'd make the Kellogg experience a more positive one for my classmates). I'll need to polish this one a bit...though perhaps for Kellogg its better to keep it plain-talking?
Anyway, I've done two essays so far today (thankfully, I haven't gotten any client calls in the office) and am probably going to run out of writing juice soon. I'll see if I can nail down Kellogg #4, which, because of its format, is easier to start and stop.
My schedule thus looks like this:
By Monday, December 30th, aim to have my Kellogg application sent off
By Monday, January 6th, have my UMBS application submitted (speaking of which, where the heck is the info brochure I requested over three weeks ago?)
By Monday, January 13th, have my Columbia application submitted
Posted 11:59 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86440312:
Done with Columbia #3. I think it is a good essay, one that, with some polishing, could be a great essay. I'm happy with the topic I chose and think the phrasing's pretty good, but I am a bit concerned that I spend too many words on how I built good relationships instead of how those relationships benefited me. That might be okay, however, because in some ways it is the building of the relaionships that is the more impressive (and the great outcome of that project is the icing on the cake).
Posted 11:48 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86439904:
Incidentally, my workhorse recommender read me part of his Wharton rec. Trust me, it wasn't the recommendations that did in my Wharton application. Heck, the part he read was better than anything I had written, and I consider myself a pretty good writer.
Posted 11:25 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86439141:
Just chatted with my workhorse recommender. My Kellogg "Career Progress Survey" will be done by Friday! Since Kellogg only asks for that one recommendation, that means I could be able to submit by early next week. After I wrap up this Columbia essay (#3) I'm going to switch to working exclusively on Kellogg...
Posted 10:23 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #86436967:
I'm pondering my subject choices for Columbia essays #2 and #3. Though both subjects are fantastic on their own, I'm not sure they're great together. The reason is that neither of them refers to my current job and/or extracurricular activities. Thus, I'm thinking of replacing one of them...but which one?
I'm leaning towards replacing #2, for which I was using an old extracurricular activity. It tells a great story and is interesting to read, but is a bit old (5 years). The deciding factor for me, however, is the notes I took from the Columbia info session,which say they judge my "personal characteristics" more from the activities resume and interview, not the essays (the essays are used in judging "professional promise"). It just makes sense that at least one of my essay questions reflect the success I've experienced in my current position...
Both my recommenders are a bit taken aback by the length and detail of the Columbia recommendation forms. I'm going to have to go through it and match each question to other app's rec forms for them, so that they can cut and paste...
Where did the Message Board go? As some of you have noticed, I've removed the message board and comment system. This is a temporary change, and they will be back soon after the New Year. I removed them because, busy as I am with the three R2 applications, it was taking too much time/energy for me to monitor them. I definitely enjoy and appreciate the feedback I got on the message board, so it was tough to turn them off, but right now I don't need the extra burden of checking every few hours to make sure someone hasn't posted something inappropriate.
I can't help but be reminded that, had I been accepted by Wharton three days ago (it seems like a lifetime ago), I wouldn't be up at this hour on the Sunday before Christmas typing about "a specific situation in which [I] demonstrated initiative". There's no use crying over spilt milk, but still: #@%&!
I wrapped up a jaunty 250-word essay #4 for Columbia yesterday. I think that having such tight time constraints for these R2 apps has freed up my writing a bit. It's not better nor worse, but rather...more rolling and rough edged. Hopefully I will get some time to polish the essays up a bit when done with the initial drafts.
I'm in the middle of Columbia #2 now, hopefully by the end of tomorrow (sorry, today) I'll have the first drafts of 2-4 done, allowing me to complete the set on Monday with #1 (since nobody will be around the office, I'm hoping to do eight hours of essay-writing then).
I really appreciate everyone's free advice on where and when I should apply, but try and keep in mind that you don't know anything about me. You don't know my job, you don't know my age, you don't know my undergrad school, you don't know my experiences or family background or skills or work history. With that in mind, it's tough to give advice that's, well, relevant to my situation, don't you think?