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First Round Applications Look Elusive

Today I came to the tough realization that I will have to push back my applications. While I believe I can put in a very good application, aside from the GMAT, I think an important part of applying is knowing what your weakness and doing the very best you can to mitigate it.

For me scoring well on the GMAT is imperative. Absolutely imperative, so the question then becomes, ‘Why have I surrounded myself with a bubble thinking that I can deal with the added pressure of attending events, writing essays, getting letters of recommendations, all the while studying for the exam that could make or break me in the decision process anyway?’ I don’t have a straight answer for you. I don’t think my brain has switched from my plan back in the beginning of the year.

The plan was to take the GMAT in May and be done with it. Then, I would have all of the summer to prepare my essays. In September, I would work on letters of recommendation, and then finally apply to my set of business schools in October/November. Things have not gone as planned. It’s funny that everyone around me sees what I’m going through along with the added pressure I’ve put on myself, and they can’t understand it. They all say: “Hold off on the essays: Focus on the GMAT.” I agree with them to an extent.

I say to an extent, because once you get into applications – at least for me – I’m constantly thinking about essays wherever I am. The formality of writing the essay is the easy part. Nevertheless, I’ve decided that I will tone down the essay writing.

I think a lot of it is me wanting to get this process over and done with. I just sent an email to my tutor saying,

“What does your schedule look like for the month of September? I want to try to make as much progress in September as possible…while I’m not feeling the slightest bit burnt out, I’m frustrated but that’s fine… the thought of another four months is daunting.”

I’ve been at this thing for almost a year. It was January first when I did my first blog post. Now I’m beginning to feel as if I’m supposed to be at a top business school. I mean OF COURSE I BELONG THERE (and will get there), but I think for those of us struggling with the GMAT there comes a time when you think to yourself… “Ok… I’ve been studying for X months for this test and have not reached my goal, while so and so studied for 2/3 months and got a score over 700! What makes me think I belong in a class with them?”

I know the correlation isn’t necessarily accurate, but trust me, there are some of us who have been struggling for a while who let that thought creep in. Of course, I know I belong at schools X, Y, and Z over some people who will be admitted, and I believe I’ll be able to make that come through in my application, but simply on the GMAT front – ::shrugs::

I’ve also been thinking a lot about work too. I’ve been given some extra responsibilities – no title change though – but responsibilities are better, and I feel that given another month or two, I may be able to get a different recommender who “gets me.” So now as the time moves forward, that is becoming a consideration.

So as I mull over what I’ve heard time and time and time again – submit your application when you are ready! I will take this to heart…

At this point I’m in this for the long run. I realize that the next 6 months, will determine the rest of my life. If I cannot continue to sacrifice and see this process through to fruition then I don’t belong at a top business school. But for now, I’m in! I’m all in.

You can read more of Richard Battle-Baxter’s blog posts at “Ellipsing My Way…To Business School.”

Previous posts by Richard at Poets&Quants:

Should You Hire an MBA Consultant?

Study for the GMAT or Polish Off an Essay?

Am I Really Cut Out For This?