MBA Admissions Wire by "Tad Holbie"

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

Bond Market
How the Bond Market Works

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

Kaplan GMAT 2003

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

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

Emails Received: 909 (as of 6/26/03)
Rate this site:
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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, May 17, 2003

Posted 4:46 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200305651:

MBA Admissions Wire passed the 150,000 visit milestone today. Thank you for stopping by.

Friday, May 16, 2003
Posted 2:55 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200301866:

If your curious what the Dartmouth campus looks like, check out this photo album (found via Adam's site).

Posted 10:58 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200300536:

There are a couple interesting business articles out there this morning:
* Wall Street is having second thoughts about decimalization, having now seen it in action.
* Dell continues to do great.

Posted 7:59 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200299726:

"Harry Potter" doesn't just have a goblet of fire, he's got a blog describing his MBA application experience. Good luck with the Kellogg waitlist, Potter!

Posted 5:26 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200298540:

Matrix, Reloaded, Reviewed
Having read other reviews of Matrix 2, I didn't have high expectations going in. I didn't think the first movie was some huge philosophical statement that some people apparently take it for, but it was much more interesting, imaginitive, and visually inventive than other action movies. At the very least, I hoped that the sequel would be an enjoyable--albeit standard--summer action movie.

Alas, it wasn't to be. Matrix Reloaded was bad in some parts (by "bad", I mean cringe-worthy bad), boring in other parts, and interesting for a total of about twenty minutes. Let's compare and contrast:

* In the first movie, there were several scenes during which the audience actually cheered aloud. In this one, there were several scenes during which the audience laughed/snickered aloud.
* In the first Matrix, Morpheus was a cool, mysterious wiseman showing Neo (and the audience) the way. In this one, he is speechifying blowhard who never shuts up. Seriously: by the end of the movie, every time Morpheus appeared I cringed, knowing another few paragraphs would roll out in his slow, sincere manner.
* In the first Matrix, most of the action revolved around...the matrix (surprise!) I would guess that fewer than half the scenes in the sequel take place in the matrix, and almost none relate to the other billions of humans "trapped" in it. The rest of the scenes could be cut from any man-versus-machine sci-fi movie (in fact, many scenes looked very similar to the Terminator 3 coming attraction that played before the movie).
* In the first movie, the story kept building up to the twist ending. This movie also has a twist ending, but it's a twist that feels artificial--like it was thrown in just to say, "this is cool, eh? Bet you didn't see that coming!" The ending had the added bonus of making the preceding two hours (and the entire first film) seem pointless (speaking of which: the entire premise of the sequel, as revealed in the first half hour, made the first film's big set-piece rescue of Morpheus into a big waste of time).
* In the first movie, the directors introduced (to American audiences) the wire fighting style and "bullet time" FX. In this movie, they reused those effects again and again and again, to diminished impact each time.

I could go on-and-on, because I had about ninety minutes of wincing idleness to notice all the bad spots while watching the film. The good points? Well...some of the fights were amusing (though since Neo could fly, he was never in danger during a brawl). An important scene at the end is well crafted and interestingly acted. There are parts of the big car-chase fight scene that are interesting. Monica Bellucci is nice to look at, but she has five or ten minutes of screen time, so... Agent Smith is now the coolest and most interesting character in the movie.

For other reviews of the movie (warning: these give away much more of the plot than I did), see the Washington Post and Slate (both are negative and bring up many of the points I did). This blogger had a much more positive experience during the movie.

I'm hoping that Matrix 3, coming in November, will pull back the curtains and make me realize how great this movie was after all, as part of a trilogy. I really, really doubt it. I hope that a year from now I'll keep happily watching my DVD copy of Matrix 1 (the only DVD movie I own), the memory of the subsequent two movies having mysteriously disappeared from my mind.

Warning: Attached comments might give away more plot details:

Thursday, May 15, 2003
Posted 5:00 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200297114:

The Matrix
I'm not a huge Matrix fan, but it has grown on me. When it first came out, I found the extreme violence a bit off-putting (I found it disturbing that the audience cheered wildly during the opening sequence, in which Trinity crippled and killed a dozen police officers; anyone want to bet that, now that cops/firemen/soldiers are "cool" again, you won't see any of them beaten up in the new film?), but having seen it again I can appreciate its creativity. A friend has talked me into seeing it tonight, though finding a ticket was very hard (it's sold out throughout the city). I might post some thoughts on it tomorrow.

Posted 3:04 PM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200296797:

FYI - Michigan does seem to have a discount arrangement with IBM laptops. 10% off beats the 5% off deal that my company has.

Posted 10:48 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200295363:

Notebook Research
My posts on notebook technology always seem to draw the most interest, so here's an update on what I've found. My sources have been PC magazine, reader comments, and talking to dozens of colleagues who use their notebooks regularly.

Dell - Most of the Dell owners seem to be happy with their machines, although there have been quality issues reported. Colleagues in my company's IT department tell me that Dells have become sort of the "default" vendor--you really can't be criticized for choosing them. Adam brings up the good point that b-school will put above-average wear-and-tear on a laptop, suggesting that more emphasis be placed on reliability/ruggedness.

IBM - I haven't heard any negative comments about IBM--most people who own other brands cite the price as the only reason they didn't opt for big blue. However, my current desktop is an IBM and it's been flaky, although that's probably as much because of its off-flavor Windows 98 installation than the machine itself.

HP - PC magazine gave good reviews to the new HPs (not the Compaqs) in terms of technology for money. But after using their webpage to build a custom system and compare it to Dell, they were pretty much equivalent. Also, a co-worker told me he wore out his HP laptop's keyboard in a year.

Toshiba - I have one coworker who swears by Toshiba in terms of reliability, service, and value. From a quick search around, they're definitely less expensive--$1600 will get you a 2.4 MHz Pentium 4, 512 MB RAM, CD writer, and 60 Gig HD.

That's what I've heard, take it or leave it. The nice thing is that I still have some time to look around at the options and choose the best deal.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003
Posted 8:24 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200283364:

Because of the all-day meetings, not a lot is happening on the MBA front--still researching the notebook computers (the HP Pavilions seem like a great deal in terms of technology for money), reading up on Wall Street and the bond market, meeting with the realtor shortly, prepping for an Ann Arbor apartment hunting trip, etc., etc. more later.

Posted 8:17 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200283351:

I'm in meetings almost all day long now with the Hong Kong jerk, but I've found that my attitude towards him has changed a bit. I realize that part of the reason he was so irritating during the Hong Kong trip was that I was already stressed and irritated about the schools (having, at that point, been rejected five times in a row). Getting accepted to Michigan has given me a whole new perspective.

Now when he sits there going on and on and on (he took ninety minutes to introduce himself to my boss--ninety minutes!?!) I just can smile and think, "A couple months from now I'll be on my way to school while you'll be unemployed." You see, his contract expires in June--he hopes/believes that it'll be re-upped, but his antics and attitude have pissed off just enough people to make that impossible. Of course, were I to tell my bosses that I was leaving before his contract expired, he might be re-signed after all...shucks, too bad!

Just another reminder that a good attitude is worth more than expertise/knowledge in a career. I love to smile, especially when assholes dig their own graves.

Off to the meeting! ;-)

Monday, May 12, 2003
Posted 7:02 AM EST by Tad Holbie, Post #200277362:

Martin's got a mention in the London Times (alas, no link), and now he's waiting for the sweet, sweet stampede of pageviews.

Update: Martin's now posted the text of the article, which is on blogging and b-school life.


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