Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 12pm

What My MBA Application Journey Has Taught Me

MBA admissions

I am applying for a spot in the class of 2017; my MBA application journey started December last year and it has been a rollercoaster ride. To summarize: I’ve taken the GMAT three times (scored 610, 650 & 710), I’ve responded to countless MBA essay prompts, I’ve been 'dinged' by schools – before and after my interview, I’ve put together and tossed away several plans for my MBA application, I’ve written and rewritten my MBA essays, I’ve asked myself why so many times that I have forgotten why I wanted to know the answer. I’ve cried, laughed and eaten ice cream (in some occasions I did all three together). But through it all, I’ve learned some valuable lessons.

Here’s a short list:

MBA essay prompts can go anywhere

There is no place too weird to write an MBA essay (or part of one): so far I have written mine in a birthday party, a client briefing, a wedding reception, on the way to work or back from it, at a cocktail party, in my dream – this was the weirdest, I had to jump out of bet to put down the idea in reality though. After a while you get used to it, people ask about my red book when they see me now; it’s taken on a personality of its own! I got an invitation recently and the host specifically said, “Just you, no books.” Needless to say, I won’t be going; I’ll be tackling those MBA essay prompts. She’ll understand. The MBA application is an introspective process

I’ve found things out about myself I never knew: I’ve always been a confident introspective person but I have never in my life questioned my motives as much as I have in the last couple of months. When I decided to apply this season, I spent an entire week asking myself why – why I wanted an MBA, why I wanted to go to the schools I wanted to go to, why I chose the career path I chose, why I wanted to pursue my goals, why I was born where I was born, why I was asking myself why, why the schools should admit me, why any school should pick me rather than another person with the same work experience and from the same demographics. Answering these questions helped me put things in perspective, it also showed me things about myself that I either didn’t know or had forgotten. Even if I don’t get into a school (which will not happen), I’m already a better person thanks to the MBA application process.

Suddenly, 24 hours a day is not enough. As a consultant, I was already aware that some days needed extra hours, but as an applicant, I now know that 24 hours is not enough for any day. Now that MBA application deadlines are around the corner, I am willing to pay for an extra six hours every day. That brings me to the next point…

MBA application deadlines are good for planning

It is never too early to start planning. By the time the MBA essay prompts were released for this admission session, I had identified what I needed for each school, who was going to provide me with letters of reference, which format I was going to submit where there is an option but right now, I am one month away from my MBA application deadlines and I still have a lot to do.

I’m a type-A overachiever and I DO NOT fail. Alright, I do, sometimes. And it’s alright. As long as I don’t make a habit of it, or give up just because of it, it is okay to fail.

No matter how many times you cry, you have to keep on going on.

I think I’m behind schedule for my MBA application deadline but I know I’ll get through it. Because, like everything else, this is a phase and a learning experience. In one month, it’ll be over, but I won’t be.

About Naija MBA Gal

Naija is a Nigerian girl with over six years' experience (risk assurance) at a big consulting firm setting out to get an MBA in one of the top 20 business schools in the US. She applied to a few programs in the last application season and was 'dinged', but is now in the process of applying to schools in the first round of applications for the class of 2017. Naija can't sing a note in tune but can dance to anything.

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