Actually, that's not true at all - everyone who starts an MBA program comes from wildly different backgrounds. It's not "college all over again (!!!)" as many of my friends have exclaimed. If your educational experience was like mine, the “traditional” American four-year university track, preparing to go back to school for an MBA will be completely different. None of your friends are grueling through the GMAT or applications. They are going to the Bahamas rather than spending their vacation budget on interview travel. So, my advice is to have the confidence of your convictions and keep going. Don’t let the doubts of yourself or others derail you.
So, one year ago, I was in a brand new (pretty sweet) job at a company I love. I had taken the GMAT twice to get a score I deemed acceptable, and I was grappling with whether or not to actually follow through and apply to Tuck (my first choice) and Darden (a wonderful program in a place dear to my heart - Wahoowa). Tuck was my first choice because it is an amazing community where I knew I would thrive and contribute.
I slogged through the message boards out there - most of which are confidence crushing so I’d advise you to avoid them. My internal soundtrack often sounded like “well, I haven’t cured cancer or started the next coolest company, is there even a possibility here?” Luckily, I listened to the quieter whisper that answered, “yes, keep going.” I was riddled with doubts. Should I keep working for one more year to gain better experience? What if this new guy I just met is my soul mate and I’d be moving 2000 miles away from him? Will it be worth the considerable expense? I have a pretty cool life here in Phoenix, do I want to walk away from that? Am I good enough, can I compete at this level? Ponder these questions. Discuss them with those who love you and those who don’t - both groups will challenge you in different ways. And then decide, taking it one step at a time.
I actually loved the Tuck application process. The essays allow you to truly share who you are and what you will contribute. It was also awesome to initiate my interview before I even submitted my application. Visiting Hanover a month before the October deadline helped me refine my thoughts and gain a better understanding of the place and the people.
It will pay off. I’m so pleasantly surprised, a year later, at everything that has happened. I learned so much about myself through the application - it demands introspection. I’ve loved this job and since finding out about my place in the class of 2015 in December, I’ve taken more risks and worked harder, knowing that there was limited time. That new guy is now a happy TP’15 and we are thrilled to join the Tuck community in a few weeks.
When the application questions go live, if you’re like me, they may consume your thoughts and dreams. It’s a tough process, but a rewarding one. Keep going. Be yourself. Good luck!
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