Bschool Apps – What I Wished I Had Known Part 3

Part 3: Bschool Apps are more work than you think if you’re aiming for top 10 MBA acceptance. Here’s where to go for more information and what students wished they had known before beginning the bschool process.

From Parts 1 and 2:

John: Mild mannered, Liberal Arts grad in Liberal Arts field, 3 years experience. 3.8 GPA at a large State School. GMAT over 700. Published, award-winning writer. Supportive, but awkward letters of recommendation (colleagues not familiar with bschool). Aiming for top 10 MBA acceptance.
Brooks: First generation College, intense, driven, decent brand and work experience, Private Equity Analyst, 6 years banking and investing. 3.7 GPA Private Liberal Arts school. GMAT just under 700. Strong letters. Also aiming for top 10 MBA acceptance.

Q1. What do you remember as steps in the application process, even long before you met me?
Q2. What was unexpected, irritating, frustrating, delightful, confusing?
Q3. What helped – a little or a lot?
Q4. What didn’t help or caused more confusion?

Q5. Where did you go for information?

You were my primary source of information, although I did a lot research on my own to make sure that I felt comfortable evaluating your opinions.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the two schools where I interviewed were the two schools where I visited as it gave me much more information to talk about in my essays than simply gleaning the program websites.  For school research, I also found the school-specific guides at to be extremely helpful, both specifically in the essay writing/application process and also to help gain some more anecdotal information about schools as I was researching.  I also looked at a lot of the applicant forums (,, etc.) but didn’t find those as helpful since most people were in a similar situation to me.

For information about industries, career paths, and that sort of stuff, I felt that the WetFeet guides were great for me, especially considering I came in with no knowledge of the business world.  That being said, for someone finishing up a couple of years in finance or consulting, they may not be detailed enough for them to find useful.

The MBAdmissions book. message boards

Q6. What do you wish you had known or had at the beginning of the process?


The biggest thing is that you need to have your vision of what you want your career to look like (and why you need to go to business school to achieve said vision) completely thought out before you start any part of the process.  Frankly, I’m still not sure what my career goals and aspirations are, but I’ve been able to learn a lot throughout this process about different industries and different careers, and one of the reasons why I’m turning down my offer of admission at YYY to gain some more business experience is that I feel like I would waste my MBA experience playing catch up and learning basic business knowledge and that I wouldn’t be able to use my MBA experience to network, get the most out of recruiting, and really grow my business knowledge in a way that would allow me to specialize in anything.  It’s clear that business school is not the place to try and figure out what you want to do with your life; rather, once you’ve figured that out, it’s a great place to go to try and make it happen (I think).

((Emphasis on final sentence added))

Pile of workBrooks:

I wish I had known to start the b school application process earlier – it really is a lot harder than what the books/websites/people who have gone through it make it out to be.

People should know that in no uncertain terms, the process is pretty freakin’ hard and that 90% of it is going to come from the applicant. Even being told exactly what to do doesn’t make it any easier.

((Close interview))

There you have it! Unvarnished, unedited except for school mentions and names. We even left the grammar boo-boos. Anything you think we should have asked but didn’t? Pressing questions? Leave your questions in the comments below and we’ll add them to the next batch of interviews. Remember, Bschool apps are always more than great essays and GMAT scores. We hope this prepares you for your journey to top 10 MBA acceptance!


Bschool Apps – What I wished I had Known Part 2

Bschool Apps – What I wished I had Known Part 1

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