Saturday, 7 April 2012

3 Reasons reapplication may not be worth a year of my life (and 3 Reasons it could be)

Over the past week there have been a lot of questions on the forums from other MBA admits considering reapplying:

Of the great questions (Why did you apply to a school that you wouldn't go to?  What happens if you don't get an admit next year?) the one that's given me the most trouble is:

Is reapplication worth a year of your life?

Reason 1) It may not be worth it because... objectively speaking I won't be a better professional prospect next year (ie. no promotion, no job change, no title change in my current company.) I will be just as employable (or unemployable) as I am today.   My profile will be the same as it is today. Another 700+ GMAT score won't help me anymore than my current 700+ score (is 90th/90th really better than my 80th/80th?), and my Engineering GPA is what it is.  The major profile changes will be my years of WE, EC, and my age.
Counter Reason 1) It could be worth it because... subjectively I'm a better professional.  My story is significantly clearer.  I make progress every day, and I'm convincing colleagues that I'm even better than the person that I claim to be in my essays. 
Reason 2) It may not be worth it because... its difficult to justify putting life on hold for a year.  I really just want to make progress and b-school is a really efficient venue.
By going to b-school this fall I'd get to shake up my life in a few ways:

  • Leave my job and starting the next "phase" of my life
  • Change careers
  • Move to a different country
  • Make some new friends
  • Join some cool new b-school extra curricular activities 
Counter Reason 2) It could be worth it because.... life goes on outside the b-school applications and MBAs. Throughout this journey I've spent a lot of time writing essays telling stories about my career, my goals, and my passions.  Along the way a funny thing happened.  I've spent so much time convincing people that I'm an engaging, interesting, passionate guy that I've started to believe it myself
Reason 3)It may not be worth it because... Something catastrophic could happen in my life that could make a top MBA impossible next year.  
There is a certain hope that a top MBA can lead to a better future.  Its frightening to think that next year:

  • My employer could go bankrupt, get merged, or downsize (and eliminate my job)
  • I could fall ill, or my health could deteriorate
  • I may suffer financial setbacks that could make b-school financing difficult 
Counter Reason 3)It could be worth it because.... Something awesome could happen in my life that could make a top MBA unnecessary next year.  While an MBA is definitely an efficient way to a better future - I'm not fully convinced its the only way. 

  • I could achieve my post MBA goals this summer without going to b-school
  • My goals could change.  Maybe I'll find something I want more than an MBA

Its not an easy decision either way but  I wish my b-school applicant  peers luck deciding where to take their talents this fall.  Its definitely going to be a tough call for me.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The MBA Decision...

Inspired by a thread created by threestripes over at the GMAT Club, I've decided to chronicle my journey as a b-school applicant.  I am in the tough position of having an admission offer in hand from an amazing school, as well as a waitlist offer from Duke Fuqua (a school I sincerely fell for during the interview process).  Ultimately, the decision comes down to taking a sure thing or taking a gamble.

On one hand the application is a long, difficult, expensive and stressful process that I look forward to putting behind me.  On the other hand, I've grown and learned so much from the application process last year that I'm a better b-school prospect than I've been in the past.

The analytic part of me loves Fuqua - by the numbers Fuqua has incredible placement stats in the most attractive post MBA industries, and has higher expected graduate salaries.  

But the truth is I'll ultimately make my decision based 'fit' (MBA for completely subjective gut feel).