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Sitting, Wishing, Waitlisting

As it has traditionally done, Chicago Booth called most of its admitted students yesterday (congratulations, by the way!), the day before today’s Round 2 admissions decision deadline. From the moment I woke up yesterday, I was a bit on edge, sensitive to the slightest noise that might announce an incoming call to my cell phone. I felt cautiously optimistic, meaning that I would not have been surprised to receive a call or to hear nothing at all. Little did I know then that it would be a long day.

By the time I turned on my computer and checked the online forums for Booth applicants, some international applicants had already reported receiving a call. The day was still young, but with each passing hour that my phone was silent – while others in my geographic area received a call – it felt like my chances of admittance were steadily dwindling. In the meantime, I was fairly effective in going about my daily business as usual, but the anticipation of receiving a phone call lingered in the back of my mind.

In the early afternoon, my phone finally rang. Glancing at the unrecognized caller ID, heart suddenly pounding, I noted that the caller was local and not based in Chicago – which probably would have had an area code of 773 or 312 – but I rationalized that perhaps my off-campus interviewer was calling. No such luck. I picked up the phone with quite some expectant anticipation, only to realize that it was an unrelated call. And, with that, the rest of the day passed uneventfully, and the sun eventually set in the midwest.

By that point, I had come to terms with the realization that I was not admitted. There was the slightest hope that a few admittances would be released on the decision deadline – primarily applicants that the admissions committee was unable to contact – but I knew that most applicants who didn’t receive a call are notified of a rejection or waitlist the day after. And, as expected, I was notified today that I belong in the latter group.

In retrospect, I see that the waiting period was far more excruciating than the actual decision. With each of my prior admission decisions this year, decisions have been released throughout a lengthy time period, rather than on a predetermined day, so it’s been relatively easy to forget about my pending admission decisions until receiving an unexpected email telling me to check my admission decision online. When I do, the news is delivered matter-of-factly, with no opportunity to anticipate the impact, kind of like that pressurized air gun from No Country For Old Men.

But, in contrast, the slow burn of yesterday is a novelty. I realize that the admission decision on my application was likely made well before yesterday’s round of calls, and that I was edgy about something that that I had no control over, but perhaps it’s human nature to entertain unrealized hopes about already-decided outcomes. I really do think it could have gone either way, and it is a double-edged sword to know that I was close to being admitted to a school that I felt was a great fit, but came up short at this time.

Still, for whatever reason, I woke up feeling great today. (Warning: cliché ahead.) No particular school or job will define or guarantee my success – regardless of where I go or what I do, it will be largely up to me to make the most of my opportunities. So, perhaps it’s a bit of overconfidence in myself or underestimating the importance of my choices, but I feel like everything will be okay. I will try to get admitted off the Booth waitlist, but I am also excited about maximizing my available options, which come with their own unique benefits. Within a comparable range of choices, certainty sometimes matters more.

This post is adapted from Just Ship, a blog written by an anonymous MBA applicant who has a GMAT score above 760 and is targeting six or seven of the top ten business schools. You can read all of his posts at Just Ship.

“Just One of 4,653 Applicants Trying To Get Into A Top B-School”

“Why I’m Not Applying to Harvard Business School”

“The Deafening Silence Is Broken: An Invitation to Interview from NYU’s Stern School”

“Why An Applicant Interview Requires A Different State of Mind”

“All Is Quiet on the MIT Sloan Front”

“A ‘Yes” from NYU Stern. A ‘No’ from MIT Sloan”

“Kellogg Gets His (Likely) Final Application”

“A Rejection from Columbia B-School”

“Prepping for a Kellogg Interview”

“Doing the Analysis on the Pros & Cons of Going to B-School”

“The Road Not Yet Taken & What Motivated Me To Apply to B-School”

“Waiting for An Invite from Chicago’s Booth School of Business”

“In the Nick of Time: An Invite from Chicago Booth to Interview”

“The End Is Near”

“Two Years of Hands-On Work Experience or Two Years at Stern?”

“Reflections on the GMAT for the Next Generation of MBAs”

“Rethinking the MBA”