The Sheer Joy of an Acceptance

Out of the 200+ posts that I’ve made over the last year, this is the one that I have most wanted to make. I received my first (hopefully not last) acceptance to a top business school: Cornell’s Johnson School. I think it’s appropriate that I tell everyone who thinks his or her stats are sub-par that it is doable. I always believed that if an admissions committee understood my application, then I would have a great outcome. At least one school understood my application!

I had a tough time sleeping last night just because I knew that I would hear about decisions today, tomorrow, or Friday.  I was literally tethered to my phone all day.  From 9 to 1 p.m., I was jittery every time it buzzed. No it didn’t buzz because someone called me but because of Facebook and Twitter updates that get pushed to my phone. So I had to turn them off because it was literally making me sick to my stomach.

Then, I told myself, “Ok, it’s 2 p.m. I’m just not going to even try to anticipate any phone calls. I have too much stuff to get done.”

Then at 2:17, my phone vibrates and I see BLOCKED on the screen. I said “OH SHIT” and pushed back in my chair in my cubicle. I answer the phone “Hello?”  And I hear, “Hi Richard this is _____ from the Johnson School.”

When I heard that last sentence I started shaking and my heart jumped onto my desk. I didn’t know what to do or say.  To be honest I barely remember what was said: “Congratulations this…..  deposit that…..”  All I could do is keep saying “Thank you… Thank you…. Thank you….” I do remember saying, “I’m sorry I don’t even know what to say other than thank you…”

I’m usually not at a loss for words but I was at this point.  What was ironic is that you go through this whole process wanting to go to a school. And then when you get that phone call letting you know that you’ve been accepted, the tables are turned.  NOW they want you to literally accept them and matriculate at their school!

After I got off the phone I couldn’t scream in my office cubicle so I grabbed my cigarettes (future classmates I’m going to stop before I’m sitting next to you in class…don’t worry), got my building key and ran outside. I hopped in the elevator, went down 14 floors, ran outside and screamed, “YES!,” pumping my fist!  Then, I called my mom to tell her the news.

After I semi-collected myself, I had to go back to work because I had a report to finish up.  I’m thinking to myself “how in the world am I going to focus on this report now?” I went back to my desk and managed to get through the report. At some point, I told my director (a Kellogg MBA) that I was accepted, and she gave me a big hug!  I emailed all of the students at Cornell who helped me through the process.

At the end of the day, I told my vice president (my other recommender) that I was accepted and she started clapping and said that I deserved it. Then she said, “Why are you still here?  Go home. Celebrate!”

It was the end of the day anyway, so I went home.  But what’s odd about being accepted is that you literally want to tell EVERYONE you see–even if you don’t know them.  I wanted everyone on the street and in the subway to know what had just happened to me. Everyone, of course, is going about their own lives and couldn’t care less. But I sat on the subway train with a huge smile on my face.

One down, five more to go.

This report is adapted from 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?

My First Round Applications Are Looking Elusive

A Frustrating Day and Night on GMAT Prep

Having Trouble Hitting the Submit Button

It’s Nearly Midnight. Where Are All My Friends?

“Why An Admissions Consultant Objected To My Essay on Coming Out”

“Brain Racing at 4 a.m. Thinking About Business School”

“After Scoring a 620 on My GMAT, I Want To Die”

“Walk Me Through Your Resume” – My Interview at Dartmouth’s Tuck”

“My GMAT Students Are ‘Totally Obsessed Weirdoes With Unbelievable Work Ethics”

“With Apologies to Paul Simon, 50 Ways To Tell You’re Getting an MBA”

“My 30-Day Countdown to an MBA Acceptance”

“Tis’ The Season For Racing Hearts & Sweaty Palms”

“East Coast Blizzard Means More Time To Work on MBA Applications”

“Fear, Loathing & Panic In the Wee Small Hours of the Night”

“The Waiting Game Kicks In & It’s Brutal”

“If I Get Into a Top B-School, It Will Be the Happiest Day of My Life. If not….”

“25 Reasons I’m Over Obsessing About B-School.”

“An Invite to Interview from Cornell”

“Eight Things for New B-School Applicants”

  • @Jack – lol I didn’t apply to either.

  • JackRize

    Not the Harvard or Wharton! expecting more from u!

  • Mick

    Congrats Richard!!!
    I have applied to Cornell too and already had my interview.
    Hopefully we can meet this fall at Ithaca. fingers crossed.

    Well done

  • Yeah, so you can check my blog out at

    I just took the GMAT Thursday, and I think I am going to write something right now about how my Peace Corps experience helped bring me to the decision to try for business school. Up until this post though (hopefully it will be up later today), it has all about my experiences and perspectives in country. Not exactly relevant, but I maybe you’ll find it at least a little interesting!

  • I saw someone in shorts too when I was up there… I was like “wow really?” I guess/hope the person was walking back from the gym. That will NOT be me! I’m in the market for a new down jacket right now!

  • Got back from my visit from Cornell Yesterday. The hi temp was 22, there was snow on the ground, and I saw someone running in shorts. *head shake*

  • Don’t let this guy fool you.

  • Bruce Vann


    You’re contradicting yourself. You call him arrogant and smug but then say that he hasn’t said enough about himself and what he wants to accomplish. Arrogant people go on and on about themselves. I don’t even know Richard but I know that what you said makes no sense.

  • Thanks a lot David I’m glad that I could provide some solace for you. My only goal has been to let other applicants know that they’re not crazy for experiencing the myriad of crazy thoughts throughout this process.

    In other news, do YOU have a blog? I’d love to read about you volunteer efforts in Uganda.

  • Hey Richard

    I don’t regularly read your blog, but I do check in occasionally because it’s comforting to hear that others are going through the same thing I am, and considering I am a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda right now, it’s not always easy to find them. Anyway, I say that to point out that even though I don’t know you, whenever I do read your blog I always find it not only helpful, but also incredibly down to earth. That includes this last post. I really hope you didn’t take much stock in that message from Yadgyu.

    Congratulations, man. Seriously.

    “No need to be a jerk here.” HAH!

  • I’m sorry, that’s pretty funny. Richard?? Arrogant and smug? If anything, people who know him well would say that he might not be arrogant enough at times. 🙂

    And really: the guy is just sharing his experiences, hoping that somebody might benefit from reading them. If he were arrogant, he probably wouldn’t tell us about all of the rough times he’s had along the way. Richard’s blog is many things, but it’s definitely not a smug story about how awesome he is.

    Congratulations, Richard! Have a few (s)mugs of beer, you’ve earned them!

  • Jessica

    Congratulations, Richard!!! I’ve been following your blog for some time now, and I am really happy that things have worked out so nicely for you. NOW, with that being said….

    @Yadgyu – I was really going to try to understand where YOUR arrogance/sadness was coming from to completely put someone else’s accomplishments down, and then I went to your website, and I found that there was no need. Your channel speaks for itself…so thank you for saving me the time and effort.

    As someone who has gone through this process, I can attest to the time and energy I am sure Richard has put into getting to where he wants to be. Just because you think “School is for losers” (as you so eloquently stated), does not make the statement true. It is YOUR opinion, and your opinion is not always wanted, so please spare us all. If you took the time to actually read Richard’s blog, you too, could understand his joy.

    An education is an education…whether you get it from an institution or….wherever. The choice is yours, kid, but in your quest to “do” whatever it is you want to do, please make sure you are not putting people down and taking away someone else’s joy!!

    Congrats again, Richard, and my apologies for this little rant of mine! 🙂

  • @yadgyu – Show me an example of me being arrogant and smug. My blog is simply an outlet for me to speak about what I’ve been through and what I’m going through. If you don’t like my story/comments/commentary, then by all means you know my username, steer clear of reading the posts that John decides to post here on P&Q. I won’t be offended.

    Did you ask me what I thought I brought to the table or what I have to offer? Had you asked I would have let you know to get your thoughts because I love to hear opinions from both sides. I’ve been through the whole..why MBA.. why now… shenanigans and I know what I plan to accomplish post-mba.

    If you knew more about me and my story, then you would 100% understand my joy of being accepted into ANY business school let alone one I did not think I had a chance of getting into.

    I do appreciate your humbling comment though. Thank you

  • Getting accepted is not a big deal. You need to really think about what you are getting yourself into. You could be making the biggest mistake of your life by going to get an MBA, especially an MBA at Cornell.

    You have not said one word about what you bring to the table. You have not talked about what you plan to accomplish or what type of service you are going to perform. I think that you need to relax. Getting that acceptance letter has made you arrogant and smug. You should humble yourself and realize that you have not accomplished much of anything yet. No need to be a jerk here.

  • Congratulations, Richard!!

  • Thanks a lot!

  • jc

    i’ve been following your blog
    you deserve it

  • Bruce Vann


  • Nnamdi


  • when I was up there 2 weeks ago I saw a kid walking around in shorts.. i was like “oh hell no”

  • Thanks! and yes it will be quite frigid hahaha… but… get used to it

  • CONGRATS!!! I’m visiting Cornell this week…it’s gonna be cooooold! 🙂