An Early Morning Phone Call From Area Code 773 With Good News

By the time I had woken up this morning, I had read more than enough admit blog posts and BeatTheGMAT/ GMATClub status updates and posts to generally know what to expect on admit announcement day if you’re being offered admission.

So when the area code (773) popped up on my iPhone as I was having my egg whites, bagel and OJ this morning, I had a clue as to what the next 2-3 minutes might be like. It was Eddie Pulliam, a familiar and friendly voice and senior admissions officer from Booth calling to offer me a spot in Booth’s MBA Class of 2015.

Over the past few months, I’ve developed a very special affinity for this school–largely based on how warmly I’ve been treated by their admissions committee. Back in August, I signed up to sit at a table with representatives from Booth at the annualRiordan/DMAC diversity MBA event (SIDEBAR: If you are a diversity candidate–which is practically everyone nowadays–you MUST attend this event if you can fit it into your schedule and budget. EVERY top school is there) here in Los Angeles.

When the Booth representative(s) were not able to make it, Eddie informed the Riordan organization that he would personally speak with anyone who attended that event who had intended to speak with him about Booth but did not get the opportunity to do so in his absence. Several days later, I found  myself sitting in the parking lot one morning before work engaged in a 30-45 minute 1-on-1 conversation with him about my goals and how Booth could help me achieve them.

That spoke volumes to me. I doubt that senior admissions committee members from many top 10 schools would do that–let alone top 5 like Booth. Several days later, Booth held its Los Angeles admissions info session downtown. That ended up being the same day that my division at work went live on our biggest and most important software release in several years.

By the time I got to the info session, everyone was gone except a few stragglers and the admissions staff. The admissions committee member who I ended up talking to was extremely helpful and provided very detailed answers to my questions about the program.

Then back on Halloween, Booth extended me my first invite to interview. They called that day “Trick or Treat” where all Round 1 applicants would be getting one or the other; and I was given a treat–the opportunity to interview for a spot in the Class of 2015.

Just 5 1/2 weeks ago, I was fighting for a parking spot in Santa Monica so that I could be early to meet my Booth interviewer. My interview was not flawless–not by a long shot. While I didn’t get stumped and there were no  huge bloopers, I was given constructive feedback on my answers to two questions.

When asked to give an example of failing at something, I spoke from the perspective of having lead a team that failed. The interviewer wanted something more personal than that–something that was 100% my fault, where I was the only one who could be held accountable for the failure. Graciously, she gave me a chance to come up with a better story.

When asked about my extracurricular interests at Booth, I was given feedback that my answer was not detailed enough. This caught me off guard, because I came into that interview prepared with a LOT of detail about what I liked about Booth and why I felt that we were a good fit for each other.

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