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)
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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)
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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, April 12, 2003

Posted 9:58 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200137351:

At the same time, I do feel a little bit of relief, of freedom, now that there are no more decisions (by schools) hanging over my head. It's like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders, which is nice.

Friday, April 11, 2003
Posted 5:16 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200135161:

Very, Very Nervous
That's how I feel right now, after the Kellogg ding. Why? With each of the last few dings, the chance that I'll head to b-school this fall diminishes.

Before I confuse everyone, I want to state up front that I want to go Michigan; I had a good time at GBR and all the UMBS alums and students I've met before and after have been great.

At this very moment, I'd say that there's a 75% chance I'll head to Ann Arbor this fall. The 25% comes from the old "x-factor" that I've mentioned before (i.e. it's a rather private matter that I don't want to discuss yet). It's kind of ironic, but this same reason that I decided to apply to Michigan in the first place could, I stress, could end up preventing me from attending. The more schools I had a shot at, the less important this factor became. Now that it is down to one school, it has become fairly significant.

The good news is that I will have a closure date on this factor, i.e. I will know for sure by early May (at the latest). If it works out (and I do expect it to, but obviously my expectations have been wrong once or twice before) I'll be ready to head off to Ann Arbor the very next day. If it doesn't work out, heading off to UMBS will be more iffy. Hence, I have a huge fleet of butterflies ransacking my stomach now.

Sorry I can't share the details with everyone now, but...time will reveal all.

PS - Congratulations to all Sloan R2 admits.
PPS - Yes, I am damn glad that nobody at my company knows about my b-school applications.

Posted 4:32 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200134911:

Well, just got the ding from Kellogg. It's a really bitter pill to swallow, because my WL letter is litterally in transit from a FedEx sorting facility to Kellogg right now. Probably wouldn't have made a difference, I guess.

Posted 1:02 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200133647:

Friday Deadline Countdown
* No more deadlines/countdowns for me.

My status:
* UMBS - Admitted
* Kellogg - Waitlisted (Round 2)

There's no point in continuing the Friday Deadline Countdown, which started way back when, since there are no more deadlines.

Posted 12:17 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200122092:

Kellogg Waitlist Decisions So Far...
Since the end of the R2 deadline (March 31st):
MEMBER81, March 28th
BTOTHEG, April 2nd
ATTMURPH, April 4th
ANCHORBAR, April 7th
APECHER, April 7th
SHAMMER91, April 8th
MZM101, April 8th
JUDNELSON, April 9th (?)
DJJAZZYDEX, April 10th

Denied Admissions:
MADDAWG73, April 7th (sorry Dawg!)

This pretty much fits last year's pattern: A big first wave of WL admits after the AdComm finished up the R2 reviews. Interestingly, this year's wave started about a week earlier than last year's (which was centered around April 16-18); could it be this year's R3 pool is relatively weaker? Or simply that the AdComm is more efficient? Only time will tell...

Update: After writing all this up, I (finally) took a look at FKCHANG's waitlist spreadsheet, which has got to be the definitive source of info on the WL status.

The pattern of decisions matches what Kristen (the AdComm) wrote a few weeks ago: "We consider the waitlist as one big pool, but we do sometimes try to prioritize the timing of decisions by rounds." The bulk of the admits over the past ten days have been Round 1 applicants. I think that us Round 2 waitlistees should be focused on the last week of April/first week of May.


Posted 7:23 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200121770:

One reason that I'm seriously considering keeping my anonymity is the track record of MBA blogs who haven't done so. Over the past three months, several of my favorite bloggers have closed up shop for various reasons, usually because they got in trouble at work or pissed off their friends. Examples are:
Sukilicious - retracted by the author!
Treeman's blog - inaccessible to the public
Pat Murray's blog - "Due to a number of factors, I'm not going to be posting here any longer."

Even "Joe", the HBS/Stanford applicant "blogger" who posted only once to write about application stress (" reality, I am so consumed by the process that I spend every waking moment thinking about whether or not I will get into Stanford or Harvard. They are, without a doubt, great schools, but why am I sacrificing my happiness for the next three months stressing about something I can’t control?") and once, two months later, to say he's been accepted [somewhere] ("'s a great day today because I've been admitted. Wow, what a journey!"--yeah, and thanks for sharing!), seems to be clearing out his blog.

Update: Kellogg Prof. McGee discusses the implications of weblogs' "thinking in public". What if Enron employees had been blogging?

Posted 5:17 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200131436:

He's Got the Essays Covered, But Who's Left to do the Recommendations?
Coming soon to an MBA program near you: the son of (former) Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz?!? As coalition forces searched his Baghdad home yesterday, they found, "a box of cigars, a backgammon set and a bottle of Cartier cologne. Brochures advertising Smith & Wesson and Remington firearms are scattered on the office floor. A Princeton Review test preparation book, titled "Cracking the GMAT," is marked with notes in the margins."

Thursday, April 10, 2003
Posted 1:49 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200127862:

That's That
After six revisions, the Kellogg letter is in the mail (or the FedEx envelope, to be more accurate). Time to push that matter to the back of my mind and resume networking, relaxing, preparing, etc.

Posted 12:30 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200126611:

One of the first, and ongoing, steps I took in preparation for next year's summer internship is education. When talking to people in your potential career field, nothing could be worse than coming across as misinformed or ignorant of the field. For me this has meant pulling some old books out of storage to brush up on my capital markets knowledge.

For those interested in fixed income products, a nice, concise book to read is Robert Zipf's
How the Bond Market Works
. I read it as part of an evening class two years ago, and it is a good introduction to the various products, how they are traded, and who the players are, without getting too technical. Since it was published in 1997, the material is still pretty fresh (though of course some of the numbers will be outdated).

Posted 7:47 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200126011:

One of the first steps in the Wall Street internship recruiting process is the easiest: learning about the potential employers. Going after the low-hanging fruit first, I visited the recruiting websites for all the major banks. Now I think that many of these pages are out of date, and represent a larger list of schools than they currently recruit at, but they still provide an idea of what programs are (or were) on their lists.

Here are the links, for you investment banking hopefuls:
Goldman Sachs - Both Kellogg and UMBS
Citigroup Salomon Smith Barney - Kellogg, but not UMBS
JP Morgan - (Couldn't find a school list)
Morgan Stanley - (Couldn't find a school list)
Credit Suisse First Boston - UMBS, but not Kellogg
Bear Sterns - (Couldn't find a school list)
Lehman Brothers - Both Kellogg and UMBS
Merrill Lynch - (Couldn't find a school list)
Deutche Bank - Both Kellogg and UMBS seem to be on the list
UBS - Both Kellogg and UMBS seem to be on the list

Besides the calendars, many of these sites have tons of useful info--explanations of business groups and financial products, introductions to the jargon used on Wall Street, and tips for interviewing. I figure that when companies have gone out of their way to make such resources free, why not make use of them?

Posted 12:19 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200124788:

"Modz Speranto", proving he's the marathon man of b-school applicants, attended two admit the same weekend! And we're talking sessions in Michigan and LA, people! Anyway, it gave him the chance to compare and contrast Anderson and UMBS, and his comments are posted.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Posted 10:46 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200124459:

Tour De Force
I just ripped out a taut, forecful, clear, one and half page tour de force of a waitlist update letter. It's everything that my essays were not: focused, direct, grounded. I said my piece, driven my stake into the ground, and that's that. It's passionate without being risky. The AdComm will read it and say, "wow, get this guy in here" or "wow, that's interesting but we'll see".

Phew. It's good to get this off my shoulders, and to know I've given it my best shot. Tomorrow it's back to just waiting.

Posted 8:53 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200124018:

I showed my waitlist letter to my closest friend, and he cut into it like a chainsaw. Ten minutes of harsh critiquing later, I was bowing down before him, because he'd trimmed it down to the central idea I was trying to convey. His two key insights: hook the adcomm from the first line, and deliver your point clearly and forcefully. I am forever in his debt.

The second draft starts now...

Posted 4:52 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200122212:

Kellogg WL Update Letter
Writing this letter has turned out to be much harder than I originally thought. I think that once you're waitlisted, there is an urge to cover every possible weakness, no matter how unimportant. It's an urge that needs to be resisted.

My goal is to keep the letter under two pages, since it's meant to be an update, not an entirely new application. Plus, I think the fact that I was waitlisted, combined with other feedback I've gotten from my apps, indicates that I have most of the main points covered: why Kellogg, what my career path is, my strengths, and weaknesses. If I was really deficient in one of those areas I would have been dinged.

Instead, I'm left trying to polish up the duller parts of my applications. The one thing I will definitely write about is my visit to Evanston, because it did give me a better appreciation for their program. Besides that, I want to make one other main point--but what? Teamwork skills? Possibly too boring. Leadership experience? Ditto. Something creative too make me stand out? Possibly risky.

I can boil my confusion down to conflicting impulses. On the one hand, I think that there's little I can do at this point except express my enthusiasm and polish any weak spots. On the other hand, I think the only chance is to try something new to make them take a second look at my application. I literally have two different update letters (each two pages) sitting in front of me, as I debate the merits of each approach.

In the end, I'll probably decide based on my gut: what do I want to say to them? If I had a one minute speech in front of the Kellogg AdComm, what would I say? I'll decide, send my letter, and hope for the best.

Posted 1:09 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200121671:

Pre-Wharton Blog
Through Jenny's site I happend upon a new weblog by a Wharton admit, Michael Rutner. Quick synopsis: he's a married lawyer from NYC who was admitted last year and got a deferral. Useful reading for the Philly-bound readers...

Posted 12:07 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200121283:

I am very happy to have just gotten a new assignment at work. It's not anything huge, but neither is it mindless drudgework and it'll keep me on my toes for at least another month. I'm taking it over from someone in the London office (unfortunately, he took a leave of absence due to some sort of medical condition), so maybe I can even swing a UK trip out of it.

It's the perfect post-acceptance assignment: short-term, mildly stimulating, with travel potential.

Posted 10:53 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200117843:

I've posted a few more photos from last week's Kellogg visit in my MSN photo album:

Photo not found

For more shots of the Northwestern University campus, see my album from last August.

Posted 6:28 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200117192:

Kellogg Visit Summary
So, I did the Kellogg campus visit thing last Thursday, and would like to share some thoughts and info on it. In all, I was able to sit in on two classes and the information session, as well as chat with several students (and have lunch with a couple). I found it very worthwhile, because it represented my first visit to the school (while classes were in session), and it really fleshed out the reasons why I applied there.

When I first arrived at the Jacobs Center, I stopped by the admissions office on the second floor. They provided me a Kellogg visitors pin and a schedule of classes. I decided to sit in on "Security Analysis" (FINC 463) from 9:00 to 10:40, and later (at the recommendation of a friendly student) went to "Marketing Management" (MKTG 430) taught by Professor Nordhielm.

These were an excellent pair of classes to sit in on, because they really demonstrated the breadth of the Kellogg program. The former was a straight lecture (on the riveting subject of financial accounting rules), whereas the latter was a freewheeling discussion about marketing cases. The marketing class in particular was really great (the best MBA class I've sat in on, by my count), because Prof. Nordhielm did a wonderful job of getting all the students involved in the class. Since it was only the second class of the Spring term, I was pretty much able to follow the discussion, and honestly had a hard time keeping from jumping in.

Afterwards I went to the atrium [of the Jacobs Center] for lunch. It is packed with students, and its very easy to strike up a conversation with them.

At 2:00 I returned to the admissions office for the info session (the contents of which I summarized in post #200104705).

I didn't have a lot of time to explore Evanston. It seems like a nice little college town, a little bit smaller than Ann Arbor but much closer to a major city. For those of you planning to visit, there was construction on Sheridan Avenue (south of Evanston) so the drive between Kellogg and dowtown Chicago took at least 45 minutes, even during off-peak hours.

The weather was kind of funky: as I drove into the city, the local forecast was 75 degrees and sunny; it turned out to be 45 degrees, rainy, foggy, and windy. In other words, bring full winter gear just in case you get an April surprise, like I did.

I'll post photos from my visit shortly.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Posted 8:18 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200117861:

The transcript for today's Kellogg waitlist chat has been posted in my MSN group (under "Documents").

Posted 5:30 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200117200:

Thanks to everyone for participating in the Kellogg waitlist chat. I'll post a transcript in my MSN Group shortly. Maybe we'll do another chat in a month's time to brainstorm some more strategies.

Posted 2:04 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200116015:

At 2pm, just when my Kellogg waitlist chat was to begin, my Tag-Board message board crashed. At the same time, into my Inbox popped a [broadcast] e-mail from the Kellogg AdComm with info on the waitlist. Coincidence? You decide:

"Greetings from the Kellogg Admissions Office!

We have begun reviewing applications for the final application round and can focus more of our attention on the wait list. Following are several of the most frequently asked questions. We hope this information proves helpful.

When can I expect to receive a final decision?
While some wait list decisions were rendered in March, the vast majority of decisions will be released in May. During this time, we will review the wait list every two weeks, rendering both admit and deny decisions.
Candidates admitted to Kellogg in Rounds 1 and 2 must notify us of their intention to enroll by April 30, 2003. At that point, we will have a better sense of the number of places available and the class profile. We plan to render all decisions by the end of June.

What can I do if I'm on the wait list?
For those who no longer wish to remain on the wait list, we ask that you notify us as soon as possible by mail or fax at 847-491-4960. (If sending an e-mail, please use Wait List Decision in the Subject Header.)
For those who wish to remain on the wait list, we welcome written correspondence informing us of any material changes or updates. (We discourage submission of additional letters of recommendation and character references from third parties.)
Our policy is to ensure that each candidate has the same and equal opportunity to communicate with the Admissions Committee. We do not offer appointments with admissions officers because we want to avoid making candidates feel pressured to visit campus, or disadvantaged if they are unable to visit. You are welcome to visit campus for your own decision-making process, but a campus visit does not affect the application decision. We recognize that being placed on the wait list can be an anxious situation and we will provide information to you as soon as possible. Please remember to update your contact information as necessary.

What are the reasons one might be placed on the wait list?
Wait list candidates generally fall into one of two categories: applicants being compared to the overall applicant pool (including those applying in Round 3), and applicants who have some distinct strengths but also an area of concern. For the latter group, we usually include a handwritten note on the official wait list letter; for the former group, the admission decision will depend largely upon the overall applicant pool and enrollment decisions.

Please visit our website at for additional information about Kellogg programs.
Should you have additional questions regarding the wait list, contact our office Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.

We thank you for your continued interest in the Kellogg School of Management."

Posted 2:00 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200115997:

I'm trying to get the message board up and working right now...

Posted 9:17 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200114367:

Kellogg Waitlist Chat
...will start around 2pm EST today. Feel free to share your questions, tips, advice, insights, and sense of humor.

Posted 7:35 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200114014:

US News & World Report
I've finally got the latest issue of US News' Graduate School Rankings, which match the leaked numbers from last week. There was very little movement in the top 20, as would be expected. Much more useful than the number rankings, I think, are the details about each school, which reflect how much harder it was to get accepted last year than in 2001.

Here is this year's top 5, with their GMAT scores, GPAs, and acceptance rates for the past two years listed (last year's in parentheses):
1) HBS - GMAT: 705 (703), GPA: 3.60 (3.58), Acceptance: 9.7% (11.6%)
2) Stanford - GMAT: 716 (718), GPA: 3.58 (3.58), Acceptance: 7.9% (8.8%)
2) Wharton - GMAT: 711 (703), GPA: 3.49 (3.57), Acceptance: 13.1% (15.5%)
4) Sloan - GMAT: 707 (703), GPA: 3.50 (3.50), Acceptance: 13.7% (18.1%)
4) Kellogg - GMAT: 700 (700), GPA: 3.45 (3.45), Acceptance: 13.0% (16.6%)

Kudos also goes to the University of Chicago, whose acceptance rate dropped from 28.4% to 15.0% (in fact, I think it was based on that 28.4% that I underestimated how hard it would be to get in there).

When I look at UMBS and Kellogg, I find good and bad points for each. In Michigan's case, I'm less concerned with its 13 ranking and more concerned with the 58.8% graduate employment rate. The director of its OCD addressed this last Sunday by pointing out that Michigan's graduation date--in April--comes one or two months before most other schools, putting it at a disadvantage to other schools with later graduations. That's true up to a point, but it's 69.7% employment rate three months after graduation (i.e. July) is still lower than several schools employment rates at the date of graduation. I don't want to make too big a deal of this, because I think UMBS grads probably aim for a greater variety of careers than other schools, which affects the numbers, but it is still a concern.

On the positive side, UMBS' peer assessment score is 8th best, ahead of such schools as Columbia and Tuck, as is its recruiter assessment. Also positive is its high placement in several of the specialties rankings, with the glaring exception of finance.

Kellogg's numbers are universally strong. The employment rate at graduation is a bit soft compared to other top-7 programs, but three months after graduation it ranks up there with the rest of them. Like Michigan, it is highly ranked in several specialities, including finance.

Posted 7:10 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200080932:

Wall Street Hiring: UMBS and Kellogg
I went through the employment reports for the two schools, and here are the lists of the banks hiring at each school, in order of # of full-time hires:

UMBS 2002 Report (PDF)
JP Morgan - 9
Lehman Brothers - 8
Merrill Lynch - 8
Banc of America - 5
UBS Warburg - 5

Kellogg 2002 Report
Merrill Lynch - 12
Goldman Sachs - 9
Banc of America - 8
JP Morgan - 8
Lehman Brothers - 8
Citigroup - 7
Morgan Stanley - 4
Deutche Bank - 3

The numbers seem to pretty much match up, when Kellogg's size advantage is taken into consideration. Kellogg seems to have slightly more "name" banks--Goldman and Morgan standing out. Going forward I'll be trying to dig deeper into the sales and trading scene at Kellogg as well.

Monday, April 07, 2003
Posted 5:23 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200111153:

As I reported last week, it looks like the first wave of Kellogg WL decisions has started, and beware: they are dinging people.

Posted 4:57 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200111016:

I've started on my second Kellogg waitlist letter (I sent a short note when I first got the WL news, basically saying, "Keep me on the WL!"). I know exactly, exactly what I want to write, and the trick will only be getting it down on paper in as smooth a way as possible. Since this will be my only letter before Kellogg's next WL review (late April/early May), I consider this my last, best shot to get into that program. I am so glad that I took the time to visit Kellogg last week, because that visit really cemented in my mind what I wanted to say. No, nobody gave me any hints or anything, I just felt "Aha, I see where my app went wrong"

I am trying to convey two points in the letter, a minor one and a major one. The minor one is an amplification of why Kellogg is my first choice, using a few of the experiences from my visit as examples. The major point is to highlight a particular aspect of myself that I don't feel was properly conveyed in the essays. Basically, in discussing some of my work experiences, I tended to focus a bit too much on the results, which I hope to rectify by discussing a couple of experiences in detail.

Posted 2:55 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200110379:

When people ask questions like "What should I study in preparation for b-school?", does anyone else get the urge to give them a wedgie? I mean, you're going to be busy enough once school starts, do you really want to run down your batteries beforehand? Personally, I think the best thing to do is to spend the time talking to people--networking, learning about careers, etc.--than hitting the books.

Posted 11:55 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200107942:

Michigan Photos
Because the weather was nasty (low 40s, windy, and sleeting) most of the weekend, and I hadn't brought much winter clothing, I spent as much time indoors as possible. Thus, I never got a real sense of the shape of the UMBS buildings (which are all connected via second floor walkways). I did take a few photos, which are now posted in my MSN group's photo album:

Photo not found
UMBS Photo Album


Posted 7:52 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200107934:

Highlights from the Go Blue Rendezvous
UMBS did a great job with GBR, from start to finish. It really had something for everyone--those who knew they were bound for Michigan and wanted to party, those who were undecided and wanted to meet other admits, and those that needed an introduction to the school and Ann Arbor. For me, the most rewarding events were those in which I could meet other admitted students in a quieter setting--like the cocktail party at the Dean's reception, the "Transformation" team exercise, the Meet the Clubs event, and during dinners out.

The two points that most hit home with me were the strengths of the alumni base and of its career center. I had forgotten that Michigan was ranked #2 in the Wall Street Journal rankings, which are a direct gauge of recruiter satisfaction with a school. The combination of a strong career office and widespread alumni network is very appealing, especially in these economic times.

All the students I spoke with were very approachable and freely shared their opinions about things. In conversing with a Finance Club member, he said that of the ten or eleven [first-year] students looking for sales and trading internships, eight had offers. But he admitted that four of them had to do some off-campus recruiting to land those offers, and was very straightforward about UMBS not being a "finance" school (like Chicago, for example).

The financial aid office presentation was also useful, although (in my humble opinion) some people get way too hung up on the details of it. I have just resigned myself to taking out as much loans as possible, and that's that.

I didn't get to do much of a housing tour, although I drove by a couple complexes. The size is bountiful and pretty damn inexpensive, which is a big plus.

Posted 7:01 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200107587:

Hyde Park Photos
On Wednesday, since I was in the neighborhood, I dropped by the Chicago GSB admissions office to see if I could get any feedback on my application. Alas, GSB apparently doesn't do that kind of thing (except for waitlisted applicants), but the trip was not a complete waste. I snapped some photos that might help give those of you GSB applicants who haven't visited a sense of the neighborhood.

Click below to be taken to the new Chicago GSB photo album in my MSN group:

Sorry, no image

Chicago GSB Admissions Office

Kidding aside, all the GSB students I've heard from tell me Hyde Park is a very safe place, really. You just need to know where not to go. Really. Honest.

Sunday, April 06, 2003
Posted 12:19 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200104714:

The Coming Week
I'm now off to the concluding GBR events, and then off to return home. I'm pretty exhausted--it's been a jam-packed five days.

Over the next week I'll post photos from Ann Arbor, Evanston, and even the Hyde Park area of Chicago.

Posted 12:17 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200104705:

Kellogg Waitlist Information
Here's a summary of what Mr. Carter, of the Kellogg AdComm, said in the Thursday information session. The attendees were all either R2 waitlistees or R3 applicants, so it was very focused on the admissions process:

1) Just getting onto the Kellogg WL is an accomplishment, since very few people are on it (especially compared to other schools). He said that last year (?) they received 7,000+ applications and the WL was only 300+/- applicants.
2) I don't remember if it was last year or not, but some years they accept up to a third of the WL candidates. If you consider that some WL candidates volulntarily take themselves off the list, the odds (if you stick around) could be even higher.
3) The big factor in how many get accepted off the WL is the quality of the R3 applicant pool. Quite simply, if the R3 pool is very strong, fewer WL applicants will be accepted.
4) As I wrote earlier, they were reviewing the waitlist last week and will be sending out some acceptances this week. The next waitlist review will come in three or four weeks, probably in early May (after the R3 review has taken place, I presume).
5) Each application received by Kellogg undergoes at least three reads, and sometimes four reads. Applications are only waitlisted in those situations where a few of the readers want to admit the applicant but one disagrees.
6) Sending updates is okay, and can be very helpful if you address a concern that they had.

This is all that I can think of at this moment. If you're interested in more, stop by on Tuesday for an online waitlist chat, from 1pm to 3pm EST.

I am very glad that I did visit, because now I feel absolutely sure of what I need to say in my letter. I am going to use most of it to do a better job describing/explaining certain aspects of my career that I didn't convey well in the essays.

Posted 11:55 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200104659:

Initial Trip Wrap-Up
Despite a lot of things, the past five days have been very, very rewarding. When I look at a list of my goals for this trip, I can honestly say I accomplished every one of them.

The Schools
It's funny how things work out, but after visiting both of them, I can see that Kellogg and Michigan are very, very similar--the same broad strengths, the same student characteristics, even similar architecture. I know I can get along with students at either school--they're smart (but not nerdy or overbearing), friendly, and easy-going. I know that both schools I can learn finance, but also marketing, strategy, management, etc. I know that I would feel comfortable living in either location. I know that I could perform a successful career switch from either school

I think the two programs' similarities is reflected in overlapping applicant pools. At Kellogg, I met someone who was waitlisted both there and at Michigan, and conversely during Go Blue Rendezvous I met someone accepted a both schools and several people waitlisted at Kellogg.

So in terms of the school experience and my career prospects, I feel both would be great for me. I do still believe that Kellogg has a edge in brand name, and I do think that Evanston is preferable to Ann Arbor (in that it is 40 minutes from Chicago whereas A2 is four hours from Chi-town). I also got the sense that Kellogg puts a little more emphassis on teamwork, which I gravitate towards. So I'm feeling completely happy about attending Michigan next fall, but still will do my best to get off of the Kellogg waitlist in the coming months.

The Towns
I must confess, when I pulled into Ann Arbor, after the five hour drive, late Thursday night, with a hard, cold rain beating down on the car, I was disheartened to find only one or two restaurants open. It really felt like a small, small town, and I questioned whether I could even live here. Thankfully, over the past few days I've discovered the rest of the town (the area west of campus, especially along Main Street, has some nice shops and restaurants) and do feel much more comfortable here. Plus the housing stock is dirt cheap--two bedrooms for $1100?!?

I think that Ann Arbor has slightly more to do than Evanston, but of course the caveat is that Kellogg students can hop on a train and be in Chicago within an hour. I look on that very highly--I'm sure there will be weekend where I want to "get away from it all", and that's much harder to do in Ann Arbor, in my opinion.

Job Hunting
Pretty much what I've heard is that for students who are focused and hit the ground running, it's very possible to land that summer Wall Street internship. I'm already running on that front, so feel comfortable that I'll have success on that front.


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