Researching Kellogg, Tuck, Berkeley and Yale

I’ve never been the type to spend too much time worrying about things that I cannot change. And so, I’m not allowing myself to worry too much about the 5 MBA applications that I’ve turned in over the past 3.5 weeks for (in order of submission) HBS, Wharton, Booth, Stanford and MIT.

I know that each was a quality application. I had an assembly line of current students, alumni and successful admits for each of these schools rip my essays apart with feedback over and over until I had produced compositions worthy of their blessing. I put in the appropriate time researching each institution to look for the right fit prior to starting its application.  And I gave as complete of a picture of myself as the school’s apps would allow.

The best case scenario is that I’ll receive 5 invites to be interviewed. The worst case scenario is that I will receive none. Applicants with comparable, better and worse profiles than mine walk the halls of each of these fine programs at this very moment. And right now the next step with each of those apps is up to the adcoms; thus, my attention has shifted to R2 app research and some basic interview prep.


Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management is getting a good chunk of my time for research. The reason for this is because out of the schools that I have yet to apply to, it is the one that I know the least about–a weird factoid given that the friend of mine from undergrad who was instrumental to me starting this journey in the first place is a 2nd year at Kellogg right now. She also overcame the supposed “over 30 discrimination” hurdle, if that even exists. She also, however, applied at 32 and not 35; but I digress.

At first, I thought that the culture of Kellogg might be a bit too touchy-touchy for me…almost in an oppressive social nazi kind of way; however, as I’ve delved into their videos, marketing materials, et al., I’ve gotten a broader interpretation of their team-based culture that has made that program more attractive to me than it was just a few weeks ago when I feared being chained down and forced to watch happy movies and do singalongs and plays like the Wednesday and Pugsley in Adams Family Values.

Company culture is very important to me. At this stage in my life, the culture of a company is important enough for me to leave or stay based on that factor alone.  I’ve always seen culture as something that is driven from top-tier leadership. And amazingly, most companies that I have ever experienced have done a poor job of it.

The company that I work at now actually has a fantastic company culture. It’s both laid back and intellectually stimulating. It hums with creativity and entrepreneurial vigor, yet is structured at the same time.

There are one or two people, however, who just make me want to ask “damn, how did YOU make it through the interview? You’re obviously smart but you have no people skills whatsoever and you’re poisoning the team with your neurosis”. If Kellogg can make me a pro at either screening out or effectively dealing with folks like that (while achieving my primary MBA goals, of course) then sign me on up.

Berkeley, Dartmouth and Yale

Ah, Haas and Tuck, two programs that I love to love. Both are intimate and seem to be full of some of the nicest, smartest folks I’d ever want to meet. I’m already familiar with both programs, but need to delve a bit deeper into each before I begin working on their applications around early December.

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