Face Time With MBA Gatekeepers at Wharton, Stanford, Et Al

In an earlier group session, Barry had repeated at least 10 times that we needed to make sure we answered the question during our essays. So now that he was literally 3 feet away from me, I had a question of my own.

“Earlier today, you talked a lot about answering the question”, I said. He gave one nod.

“Well, on your website, there is one question that you don’t ask. You don’t ask us to write about our goals. Does that mean that you don’t want to hear about them?”, I probed in an attempt to corroborate what I had read just days earlier.

“Well, I think you need to read it again, because its in there”, he said.


After he saw a bead of sweat or two appear on my forehead, he added “we don’t say it explicitly because that’s not our style; but that does not mean that you shouldn’t talk about your goals”.

“Ah, then you want them mentioned in the cover letter”, I said.

“Exactly”, he [basically] said.

WOW. And to think I was about to rewrite my essays and take out ALL mentions of my goals! That tip ALONE was worth my entire day + the $95 admission + the $8 for parking + the hunger pangs I was feeling by this point (my body is used to eating heartily every 3 hours).

*wipes brow*

Making the Rounds: Wharton

So my 4th and final stop during MBA musical chairs was the Wharton table, which was being [wo]manned by Tiffany Gooding, a sharp, impeccably dressed and bubbly adcom member who made up 1/2 of the friendly Penn duo from info session that I had gone to just two evenings prior.

When I got to her table, I noticed that JAWS was there hogging up her time. No surprise. I really hate it when people do that and think its obnoxious. Of course, we’d all love to sequester the reps from each of our target schools, give them our life story and hope they love us so much that they give us a GROUPON for automatic admission into their next class; but that is not how it works–especially when you know other people are waiting for their turn to speak with the adcom.

Hunger Games

JAWS was not alone this time. He was accompanied by another young guy who we’ll just call THE MOSQUITO, who was busy trying to suck Tiffany’s time dry.

“They must think she’s going to give them an admissions decision on the spot”, snarked a very annoyed young lady who stood behind me. She had been waiting for these two obnoxious people to get up so that she could sit down for quite some time. As I watched her roll her eyes while turning her head in disgust, I couldn’t help but chuckle. JAWS and THE MOSQUITO were unfazed, as they continued to feed.

FINALLY, JAWS and THE MOSQUITO got up from the table after what seemed like a lifetime, their greedy jowls dripping with fresh adcom blood. They both looked quite satisfied and well-fed.

I worried about Tiffany, who I was sure would be all but lying across the floor in need of a transfusion by now; but alas, I had underestimated her resistance to Wharton wannabe fangs. She remained poised, upbeat and ready to answer the questions from my group in great detail, just as she had been doing for hours. You can always tell when someone really loves their job, and she definitely fits into that category.

Since I haven’t actually visited Wharton yet, I did have a couple of very specific questions to ask, which I did. Of course, Tiffany answered each in great and explicit detail, which I appreciated.

Making the Rounds: HBS

Since I had not been matched with HBS (though I had chosen them), I made sure to make my way back around to their adcom reps. Les’ height made him the easiest to spot. I had already heard that his sessions were some of the best in the room as he was able to speak from the perspective of having been an HBS student.

By the time I got over to him, he was being sucked dry by a swarm of MOSQUITOS, each determined to hold him hostage until they felt better about their chances at his school.

I have a belief that when you try to interact with someone as a part of a huge swarm like that, they won’t remember you if they didn’t already have a knowing of who you are; thus, I tend not to bother.

I had already gotten some valuable 1 on 2 time with he and Angela in the elevator and walking to the event earlier that day. My goal at the time was just to get his business card, which I did.