An update from LBS and looking ahead

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been super busy with work and preparing and under taking interviews and what not

I’m absolutely stoked to have received an offer from LBS a few days ago.

They sent out the decision via email around 7pm GMT

Ever since I first started researching schools I’ve been attracted to the flexibility and diversity of the LBS program and every interaction I’ve had with current students / alum has been fantastic.

My LBS alum interview was fairly intense and probably the most intense interview I’ve had so far (my interviewer was very friendly  though) . It lasted almost 2 hours and the interviewer really deep dove into my work experience and asked a lot of behavioral questions.

There was nothing completely left field about the interview by my only advice is to know your resume inside out i.e be prepared to talk in detail about anything on your resume, and have a few different examples about difficulties in the work place or overcoming challenges.

 

As for the case study, I felt that I didn’t do well in it (compared to consulting case studies I’ve done) , and there is no way I could have prepared, but at the end of the day, I got an offer so It must not have had that much of an impact on my profile.

Having an offer in hand from a school like LBS definitely takes some stress off waiting  for the US schools and I can go back to try to focus at work. Waiting for the LBS decision was probably the 2 most unproductive days of my life

Looking Ahead

  • LBS scholarship decisions are coming in the next 2 weeks.
  • Duke Interview within the next week
  • Tuck and Haas decisions within the next 2 weeks
  • Duke results in the next 3 weeks

 

 

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R1 Update and LBS Interview Details

Unexpected but welcome results

To be completely honest I’m surprised how well R1 has gone for me. Not to humble brag but so far I have received interview invites to 4 out of the 5 schools I’ve applied to, all scheduled over the coming weeks

  • London Business School : Alumni Interview
  • Darmouth Tuck :  On Campus (See my other post)
  • Yale SOM: Skype Interview
  • Berkeley Haas: Alumni Interview
  • Duke Fuqua: Nov 8 release date.

Being below the GMAT average for pretty much all schools I’ve applied to, receiving these interview invites has been a great feeling. It seems school are at least somewhat interested in me and my story.

The last of the interview invites to come in was from Haas, which was the one I least expected.  Haas acceptance rate is about 12% which is around the same as MIT Sloan and Harvard and only properly beaten by Stanford GSB at a grueling  6%. Haas admits about 50% of people that they interview so at this point it looks like  I have a 1/2 chance of getting into Haas.

LBS and the non blind interview

From what I understand so far, all school interviews will be blind. Meaning that the interviewer only has access to my resume. One school that does not follow this process is LBS. My understanding is that the  LBS  alumnus has access to my full application, including essays, transcript and resume etc.  I’m not sure how this changes things, if at all, but I am curious to see if there is any difference based on this information.

LBS and the video interview

In addition to an Alumni interview, LBS also asks applicants to do a recorded interview with 2 questions – one known question and one unknown question.

“As part of the video component, we will ask you to answer two video questions, one of which will be:

1)      What will you gain from the London Business School MBA Programme that you won’t gain from another MBA programme?”

As mentioned in another post, I really dislike video interviews but nonetheless, they are a necessary component of the application process.  I’ve been delaying this video interview and now just have one week left to complete it. Time to start preparing I guess .

 

 

Journey to Tuck Part 1

To self initiate or not? 

So Tuck has always been one of my top choice schools ever since I began researching MBA programs. The tight knit community,  outdoor focused location,  strength in consulting, and focus on international experiences (TuckGO) made it very very appealing.

Tuck is a little different to other schools in that you can actually self initiate an interview with the school. If you don’t self initiate then you have to be invited from the adcoms to interview.  I always considered Tuck somewhat of a reach for me due to being below the GMAT average and because of this, I didn’t actually self initiate an interview in NH. I decided it wasn’t worth the risk of  2k USD , 30 hours of flying and 3 of my prized annual leave days (Asia doesn’t value annual leave compared to Australia) on a potentially fruitless endeavor and instead, I hoped for an interview invite.

I didn’t make this decision lightly. According to some data analysis on gmatclub , GMAT Club Data Crunch, interviewing at tuck gives you an admission chance of 42%. This in comparison to their admit rate of around %20 suggests that you basically double your chance of admission simply by visiting Tuck and interviewing.

Thankfully, to my surprise,  I received an invitation to interview just 5 days after application deadlines. I was shocked that Tuck was able to get through my application so fast and decide that I was worthy of an interview. This filled me with a bit of confidence that my application strategy and essays were quite strong.

Adcom Initiated Interview 

The adcom initiated interview lists 3 different interview options;

  1. Visit Hanover, NH and interview in person
  2. Visit a hub city and interview.
  3. Do a virtual interview (skype)

 

After checking where the hub cities where, I realised most of them were in India and South America  That rules out option 1. I also really dislike skype interviews as I am way too awkward and never sure where to look. Option 2 ruled out.

That only left me with option one – to visit Tuck in person. It was clear at this point that Tuck was at least somewhat interested in my application so I have decided to take the plunge and visit Tuck in person. My interview and class visit is in the first week of November. Unfortunately due to a hectic work schedule I have less than 24 hours scheduled in Hanover but nonetheless, am very much looking forward to visiting in person.

Next steps

Flights are booked, hotel in NYC is booked and Airbnb in Hanover is booked.

Time to spend the next 2 weeks prepping for my interview.

R1 Strategy and Essays

Last week was my final application for R1 (Duke) and has finally given me some time to breathe and start writing this blog.

The schools I applied to R1 are as follows;

  • London Business School
  • Dartmouth Tuck
  • Berkeley Haas
  • Duke Fuqua
  • Yale SOM

I’d also intended to apply to INSEAD and Ross however I massively underestimated INSEADs essay and had issues with the LOR for Ross, meaning I will push those schools back to R2.

Why did I chose these schools?
I wanted schools that ;

  • Are well known internationally and travel well (particularly in Australia / Asia)
  • That place relatively well into consulting &/or tech
  • That I head a realistic shot of getting into with a below average GMAT.

 

As for the essays, I cannot understate how draining writing and editing essays is, particularly if you are applying to many schools. As mentioned, I’d originally planned to apply to 7 schools in R1 but only ended up applying to 5. I also started writing them very late in the application cycle (mid-August) which gave me 6 weeks max for Duke and only 4 weeks for LBS.

Thankfully I began with Ross and the 3 mini essays as well as standard career goals essay formed a solid base for the rest of my applications. Once I had my career goals and why MBA story nailed, much of the other essays were significantly quicker, i.e LBS and Haas.

The essays I spent the most time on where definitely Duke and Tuck. Duke’s 25 random thing seems easy but is actually incredibly challenging. I consider myself to be a fairly interesting person with a lot of unique experiences but still struggled once I hit the 20 mark. Tuck’s ‘Nice Essay’ was also very difficult. Explaining in detail a time when I helped someone else succeed in 500 words took a lot of reflection and introspection, something that I found much more challenging than the traditional why MBA essay.

Key Takeaway

Start with career goals and why MBA essay first and get a solid story locked down. You should be able to use this as a base for all other schools. Then move onto the personal and reflection essays allowing yourself significant time for introspection.

 

Introduction

I’m making this blog hoping that it others may find useful during their MBA Journey.

A bit about me;

I am Australian with;  4 years experience in Consulting , a below average GMAT, and significant experience in Asia  targeting T10 US Schools as well as INSEAD / LBS.