A Halloween Treat: An Invitation To Interview At Chicago Booth

Since I felt the “sting of the ding” from Harvard a week ago (I chose not to blog about it), I’ve done a fairly good job of keeping my sanity while in this wasteland of waiting for interview invites results.

Blocking Out the Noise

I’ve read half of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, advanced 9 ranking levels and earned over $12 million in fighting prize money on Tekken 6 with MARSHALL LAW (The Bruce Lee replica), my favorite character, and gotten my squat back up above 315lbs (that used to be a warm up for me before this MBA bonanza began).

I’ve also had to stay away from GMAT communities, and yes, even my beloved Poets and Quants. Even though I know people mean well, the constant requests for updates (“Did you hear from HBS? What’s up with Wharton? Did you make the cut?  Will you die an old fart on welfare eating dog food?” –et al) were driving me out of my mind.

Like Day Old Bread

In truth, I had gotten over the Harvard ding fairly quickly. While HBS is a dream school for almost any of us,  I was not completely certain as to whether it was the best fit. At the same time, I could not within good conscience not apply to see if I’d get an opportunity to find out.

What REALLY had me down was something different. It wasn’t related to any particular school; yet, it felt as intense as acid on my bones.

As an applicant, interview invites are more than simply a chance to get one step closer to a dream school like Booth, Sloan, Stanford, Wharton, Tuck, Haas, Yale, Kellogg, HBS or any of the others. They validate that there are no serious, damning flaws in your profile, your goals or your approach to your essays. They also validate that there were no secret haters among your recommenders who rated you low on something or went overboard on the constructive feedback questions.

If any of that goes on, you’re likely to receive such a ding from every school. And until you hear otherwise, you simply don’t know for sure (however, hearing of someone with an 800 GMAT and a 3.98 GPA in my major who also got dinged outright by HBS sobered me to the fact of how I shouldn’t take it too personally.).

So, to be outright dinged by ANY school (no interview; no waitlist–nuthin) can be thwarting. Even though I knew that dings from Stanford and HBS in particular–but really any of the schools I’m applying to–can’t be taken too seriously due to the ridiculous applicant pool quality, I was still very worried because I had no clue whether this was just a regular “you were good but just didn’t fit into the class we were putting together this year” or “there is something wrong with your profile that turns us off and will likely turn off other elite programs as well”. Whew; thank God that the former now seems the likely case.

  • Congrats Horns! I’m definitely with you. Keep me updated. You can subscribe to the blog or come here to P/Q for my updates (why not do both? LOL)

  • Horns

    A sincere congrats. In the very same boat as you – was dinged flat out by hbs and Columbia on back to back days. Was sure I had an app flaw – but got invited at Booth!

  • Halfish

  • Actually I wasn’t. Everyone knows that HBS has the strongest brand and most prestige in the world. That being said, that doesn’t mean that it is the best fit for every applicant. I happen to be one of those applicants for whom it is not. Chill and have a cocktail.

  • hash

    You are subtly trying to make Booth sound as good as HBS in this article. Unfortunately, Booth isn’t even remotely as prestigious as Harvard.

  • Tzeentch99

    Any idea on what percent of those they interview they admit?

  • Awesome story G and best of luck to you. Definitely keep me updated.

  • Thanks

  • Dreamer

    Congrats man. Glad to hear the good news from your end.

  • G

    Thanks for the article. I’m in the exact same boat as you today: receiving an invite from Booth after being dinged at Harvard and not yet hearing from Wharton. I also agreed about the fit at Harvard, but at the same time feeling like I had to apply just to see. One of the toughest things about Harvard’s early deadline was exactly what you mentioned: was I dinged by Harvard because of the applicant pool or was it because of something else in my application? Had that rejection occurred after receiving some good news, it would have been a lot easier to brush aside more quickly. I’m re-energized by today’s news and fired up for my trip to Chicago to visit both Kellogg and Booth. Cheers to you, and good luck on the rest of your process.

  • RightisRight

    Stu, what do you mean by humility? You sound like a socialist. This is America. This is the land of free will and ambition. People like you are unable to compete with the rest and resort to all this mumbo jumbo about humility and good fortunate and nonsense. I make my own luck. I make my fortune and I don’t want government or some second rate STU telling me how I should feel. You think Carnegie or Ford or Trump or Branson or Zuckerberg were / are humble? People like you should not be in b-school.

  • Thanks Stu. That was not “high and mighty” at all. It was encouraging and candid. Thanks. And by my age, rejection is no longer something that I have some delusion can’t happen to me. Just let life get a whirl with those kids from your school..it’ll learn ’em some humility real quick. LOL.

  • Thanks Richard. I will definitely blog about the interview.

  • Stu

    Not to sound high and mighty, but I think getting a rejection early in the game is actually not a bad thing. It makes us humble and appreciate the level of talent and fierce competition that is out there. Most people who apply to top programs are high achievers who are not very good at taking rejections. I’m not by any means implying that you are..in fact I admire your maturity and honesty. But for many kids out there, it’s almost impossible for them to conceive that someone could say no to them. In my own experience, I have met a lot of kids who came to campus thinking they were “all that”….and many even felt the same way after graduation. But for a few, they were able to use the MBA to develop humility and learn to better appreciate their own good fortune. Just the fact that you are thinking about an MBA…means that in many many ways you have already won the lottery of life; anything else is icing on the cake.

    – Recent Alum of a top 10 Program

  • Thanks man. No Wharton news yet; though, I was told to not worry about them until the very last day because they interview more people than any other top school (except Kellogg, who interviews everyone). A friend of mine got an interview on the final day last year and got in with a scholarship.

  • Richard

    Congratulations! I’m hoping to apply to Booth as well and I’m looking forward to a blog post about your on-campus interview. Best of luck!

  • Tzeentch99

    Congrats man, super glad to hear about the invite! I met you at an event in LA and you really deserve this! You going to campus to do the interview? Any word from Wharton, they did a big invite send on Monday?