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.