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
Kellogg Round 2 action is starting to pick up. According to the AdComm:
"Round 2 file matching/processing will be completed within the week, and the first decisions for Round 2 will be released shortly thereafter. Please keep in mind that the vast majority of decisions will be released within the final days of the deadline (end of March)."
Based on how R1 went, applicants should hope not to hear from Kellogg until March, because the bulk of the early decisions will be dings.
Obviously, a tough decision to take. I thought that my background, goals, and quality of my essays (along with a nice interview) would push me over the line. I guess not.
I can't say I feel very confident about my remaining schools. I am happy with how their applications turned out, but I was happy with the Sloan and Wharton apps too, so... I'm just hoping that my app "clicks" with some school.
I'm feeling a bit stressed now; being at a client site in Boston means I can't really step away from my desk and just vent. I can't wait to get home and unwind a bit (or a bunch). Then it's on to doing the taxes and FAFSA and preparing for Hong Kong (thank God I don't have to leave tomorrow for that).
Thanks to everyone for the encouraging words. I'm still hoping that I'll have some better news to share come March.
Posted 12:51 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #90324426:
Ouch. The bitter, bitter sting of the dreaded ding:
"February 14, 2003
The Admissions Committee of the MIT Sloan MBA Program has considered your application and has regretfully concluded that we cannot offer you a place in the incoming class.
As you no doubt realize, the MIT Sloan School is comparatively small, with approximately 315 MBA students entering each year. While our size offers advantages to both our students and faculty, it also creates an extremely difficult selection process––this year, well over 3,000 candidates will compete for the 315 places in the class. I think it is no exaggeration to say that the majority of our applicants would be good students for our program. But since we have so few spaces to offer, the problem is not only choosing academically and professionally qualified applicants, but also choosing the very strongest candidates from a field of extraordinarily talented individuals.
We realize this news comes as a disappointment. I do hope, however, that you will accept our best wishes for your success.
Director of MBA Admissions
P.S. Unfortunately we cannot conduct post-evaluative interviews with candidates we could not admit. As you can imagine, with over 3,000 applicants that procedure would consume almost the full-time attention of two employees. We are simply not staffed to be able to provide that service."
Posted 11:55 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #90301480:
Friday Deadline Countdown * Today is the MIT Sloan Round 1 decision
* 29 days left until the UMBS Round 2 decision
* 45 days left until the Kellogg Round 2 decision
* ?? days left until the Columbia decision
My status: * Sloan - Submitted for Round 1; Interviewed; ???
* Kellogg - Submitted for Round 2; Interviewed
* Columbia - Submitted for RD; Pending Decision
* UMBS - Submitted for Round 2; Interviewed
Posted 10:20 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #390323435:
From the online application main page:
"DECISION NOTIFICATION FOR ROUND I APPLICANTS Friday, February 14, 2003
Round I decisions will be posted every two hours starting at 12 noon EST. Once your decision has been posted, a link will appear at the bottom of this page. Click on the link to access your decision letter.
If a link does not appear, please try again at in two hours (2:00 p.m. EST, 4:00 p.m. EST, etc.).
MBA Admissions Committee
MIT Sloan School of Management
It was nice to get a chance to chat with some other MBA applicants about things (heck, I even learned a thing or two about application tactics). When I have talked to actual MBA students and fellow applicants, they have invariably been nice and smart (which makes me suspect that over 50% of the people on B-Week didn't get into the schools they said they did, and another 20% are still in high school). The Happy Hour ran from about 7:30 to 10:00, and the only down note was the fact that the Cambridge Brewing Company only serves wine and beer, so no screwdrivers came my way.
Yesterday was kind of a rollercoaster. Once calls started going out around 10:00am, I was wired and excited, and naturally as the day wore on I got more and more nervous. But after calling the Admissions Office and seeing the posts on B-Week, I do think that 1) it is completely dependent on the interviewer's schedule and 2) there will be more calls today. Whether I will get a call or not who knows; there's nothing I can do about that now.
I'm hoping Sloan will follow their pattern last year in terms of releasing dings at once in the morning. At least that will be a clear point, and if you don't get dinged then things start looking up. We'll see...
Posted 5:43 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #390320447:
Sloan Applicants Happy Hour (Final Reminder)
When: Tonight, at 8:30 pm EST (or even a bit earlier)
Where: Cambridge Brewing Company (see this post for details).
Who: Ask for the "Businessweek Forum" people, or look for DAMCKIE Why: To celebrate the early calls and gripe about still waiting
I decided just to ring up the Sloan school now (Telephone: 617 253-3730) and see what the story is about admissions. The conversation went like this:
Tad: "I just wanted to know if all of the acceptance phone calls are going out today?"
Sloan Admissions Office: "It depends on the interviewers. The interviewers are calling the applicants."
Tad: "But will they all be done today, or some tomorrow, or?"
Sloan Admissions Office: "I really don't know, sorry. It depends on the interviewers..."
Tad: "Thank you."
Posted 11:27 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #90318408:
Sloan has started calling admitted students, a day earlier than expected. Excitement level: High. Fingers: Crossed beyond the breaking point. Chat room: Expanded. I guess I'll be checking my office voicemail a ton today...
The Four Seasons Hotel has noticably tighter security now; there is a manned guard desk in front of the elevator bank, and they check the ID/room key of anyone trying to take the elevators up. It's probably in response to terrorist threats on hotels...
For as big and tough as SUVs look, I find them extremely cramped on the inside. The cab I caught to the office this morning (can't shake that early-rising habit) was a Ford Explorer model, and I had to sit sideways in the back seat. I am taller than average, but still--I don't have that problem in the large American cars or (most) normal taxis.
Posted 11:19 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #390316236:
Program Notes: Sometime tomorrow afternoon I'll expand the message board to kick off the Sloan chat. Tomorrow evening's the Sloan applicants Happy Hour, and then, of course, Friday's the big day (during which time this site will be in full chat mode).
The Wall Street Journal's CareerJournal has an article on how to handle tough questions in interviews. Many of the questions listed, which come up in job interviews, have direct paralells to b-school interview questions ("Why should we hire you?" = "What would you contribute to our school?").
I tell you, being on a business trip the last few days before a b-school decision is great, for two reasons. First, I am more busy than usual, leaving little time to worry. Second, the daily routine is shaken up, making the day pass by much quicker. The workday here [at our Boston client] starts around 9:30 or so, with lunch coming only a couple hours later (and we actually take lunchbreaks!) Since my normal routine sees me in the office by 7:00, skipping lunch and leaving by 5:30, this is quite a change of pace. And now that the day has flown by and there are only 48 hours to go until the Sloan decision, I'm feeling good and calm and ready to rock.
Posted 11:55 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #90312444:
On the flight here, I read through the two Bloomberg Markets articles that I mentioned below, "Revenge of the Bond Traders" and "Goldman Sachs: Exit the Millionaires".
The first article (PDF) discussed the reasons behind the bond markets resurgance the past few years, and the work of fixed-income product trading in general. For anyone interested in a trading career post-MBA, it makes for a very insightful read. I put aside all the facts related to why bonds are hot now (fixed-income and equities will always go through cycles where one is hot and the other isn't), the key insights for me were:
1) Bond trading is becoming increasingly technical--the article discussed how top firms now like to hire people with "engineering, mathematics, and physics degrees".
2) For those interested in the money: "A junior trader can earn $100,000-$175,000 as a base salary and an equal amount in bonus; traders with more experience can earn as much as four times that; and a manager can make more than $5 million a year".
3) Traditionally, very few traders had MBAs (or any sort of higher degree). However, as markets/products become more sophisticated, higher degrees are increasingly common (all of the top managers interviewed for the article has them, most were MBAs).
4) What school names came up in the article? Wharton, Harvard (twice), MIT (twice), Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon. (Note: Some of these references were to those schools' engineering programs).
5) Also, as an introduction to what traders (especially in the more complicated financial products) do, the article is great.
The Goldman Sachs article (PDF) was about how many of the top figures in that firm are leaving because of the IPO moneys they made in 1999. It focuses on how these relatively young bankers--most in their forties--are using their wealth to start more socially-active endeavors, like charities and whatnot. The two business schools mentioned in that article were UVA and Stanford.
The latest [March] issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine has a couple articles that might be of interest to some of you (one on bond trading and on on Goldman Sachs millionaires). I've printed them out for reading on the flight.
Jeez, I almost forgot to bring my Sloan application login and password. It's been so long that I'd forgotten it...
The Columbia threads on B-Week have been unnaturally quiet as of late. My guess is that, with a huge wave of applications rolling into their office between January 3 and 15, the AdComms are currently strainging under the weight (good luck guys!) I would expect to see more and more interview invitations going out, starting next week.
Posted 12:39 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #90308314:
It's funny, my coworkers also give me a lot of good-natured ribbing for driving a VW Beetle. Not that I care: trust me, the front seat of a Beetle is more roomy than the biggest SUV out there on the market. Anyway, our [numerous] discussions on the subject ended with their conclusion that the only way a Beetle can be manly is if it has an armor-piercing machine gun mounted on the roof.
Tension Building It's for me not to see this Friday's Sloan decision as a pivotal moment in my application experience. For many reasons--background, the quality of the application I [thought I] put together, interests--I would take a Sloan rejection pretty hard. First, it would mean I had completely struck out on my R1 applications. Second, it would mean another dismal month-long wait in limbo. Third, it would seriously diminish my hopes for the other schools.
On the other hand, an acceptance from Sloan would bring a sense of relief, vindication, and renewed optimism. I would take it as an indication that I have improved at interviews over this process. With an accept from Sloan I would go so far as to predict my ending up with two or three accepts, when all is said and done. Plus the tightrope walk at work would be over: I could begin laying the plans for a soft transition off of my project (I like my coworkers and company enough to not want to leave them in a lurch when I depart).
I'm not going to go so far as to say Sloan is my top choice, but it truly is an important choice. As Friday draws closer, I feel an electric tension building in my gut.
I called up the Cambridge Brewing Company and here are the instructions they gave me for walking there from the Kendall Square T-Station:
1) When you come out of the Kendall Square T station, you'll be facing Main Street. Turn around and cut through the Cambridge
2) Marriott (it's public access) to Broadway.
3) Turn left and walk along Broadway.
4) Cross over to the other side of Broadway at some point
5) You'll pass over a set of train tracks.
6) After you pass the Draper Laboratory (on your right), bear right onto Hampshire Street
7) Take the next right onto Cardinal Medeiros Ave and One Kendall Square is on the right corner ahead.
This very detailed (PDF) map of Cambridge can help out (look in the bottom-left corner of square B8 for One Kendall Square).
Posted 12:56 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #90303019:
Possible Ann Arbor Trip I've long wanted to visit Ann Arbor, since UMBS is the only of my four schools that I haven't been to. As my work schedule has turned out, it's going to be pretty much impossible to do so before the R1 decision. I am, however, considering a three day Chicago & Ann Arbor trip in mid-March if I do get into UMBS, as a chance to visit the school[s] (I would also drop by Kellogg to sit in on a class) and just relax a bit from the HK stint. Naturally, if this works out photos will follow.
Posted 11:46 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #390302668:
Readers that are insterested in a sales and trading career should check out the Columbia Sales & Trading club's website. It contains a very thorough run-down of the various Investment Banks' summer programs, which very from very flexible to highly product-specific. Some even offer a "Bloomberg training course". ;-)
Exciting Week I'm looking forward to an exciting, or at least busy, week. I'm off to Boston Wednesday through Friday, with a big work deadline coming Friday evening. Thursday is the Pre-Decision Day Happy Hour. Friday looks ot be a cacophony of events: Delivering at work, awaiting the MIT decision, flying home, Valentine's Day. Job, money, education, love, honor, air travel--Friday's got it all! Sunday I'll have my taxes done and [hopefully] complete the FAFSA stuff too, and then I need to start preping for the Hong Kong trip. To top it off, the timing would be right for a Columbia interview invitation (come on, CBS, look at my GMAT! Look at my Wall Street career goals!)