So! I got my first "ding", which is what they call being denied in the b-school world. Cornell denied my application to their program. I think I should start at the beginning for this one. Cornell was a late consideration for me. I had decided where I was going to apply, but when I learned more about their dual degree MBA/Master's in Industrial and Labor Relations(MILR) program in late October, I got so excited about it because it would mean a very tailored curriculum that specifically addressed my goals and coming out with two degrees in two and a half years. I then went to a Forte foundation program and met a few Johnson School folks, was put in touch with a couple of students in the program and I was sold. I got so incredibly excited. Mind you, this is the only school on my list that I didn't visit since it was so last minute but I did my due diligence in other ways by researching the program, talking to alums and current students, and so on. So sight unseen though, Cornell became my first choice program. Additionally, because it's a dual degree, I had to complete 2 separate applications - one to the Johnson School, the other to the ILR School. I submitted both applications on December 16th and began to wait. And wait. And wait. I knew the ILR School wouldn't make a decision until April at the latest but because the MBA process is a multi-step one, I expected periodical updates from Johnson.
I want to try to remain as "hater-free" as possible, but unlike the other schools who carried out their processes in a timely manner, the Johnson School didn't. My application only went under review on March 3rd, two days from the decision deadline - since December 16, or to be fair, since the submission deadline of January 9!!!!!!!!! During the wait, the admission office was not very good about communicating with applicants about the process except to say they saw a significant increase in applications and were doing their best to manage the process. Many other schools had the same problem but the process was not sacrificed because of that. Needless to say, I was very disappointed with the whole thing and was not in the least surprised when I logged into my online account and saw a deny yesterday. Keep in mind that I was not officially notified of this decision - and haven't been yet. They should have sent me a message to check my status, but I haven't received one yet. I just took it upon myself to check it. Ironically, I got an email from the ILR School this morning saying that I've been admitted to their program with a full scholarship and a stipend! but obviously I won't be going since the Johnson School said no. Maybe I can defer it though so that I could get that degree in a couple of years - who knows?
I've asked myself why I was denied especially because I think my Cornell essays were passionate. Maybe I just couldn't get that across in the 400 words they required. Or maybe it was obvious that I hadn't visited because I believe my visits to the other schools were key when I was writing my essays. Who knows? What I do know is that this b-school application process can really be a crap shoot most of the time. I have spent a significant amount of time on the BusinessWeek b-school forums, my new addiction to tell you all the truth, and I see the amazing stats of people with perfect GMAT scores, amazing work experience, and who seem to have decent writing skills, denied from both top 5 programs and even sometimes top 30 schools who should be snapping those kinds of students up. Or at least, you would think so. So, there is an element of luck required, as well as lots of divine intervention I believe. That being said, the sting of the deny decision was very mild because I have been blessed enough to be admitted to three other programs, and one of them is a top 5 program, which is ranked higher than Cornell is. I believe that God works in the most marvellous of ways because more and more signs are pointing in the direction of Kellogg and the Chicago area and that was the last place I was considering when I started the process. It was my friend Michael who convinced me to check it out and I fell in love on my visit.
To Cornell - I'm sorry that you'll be missing out on the experience that is Ms. May! LOL. But I still think you're a great program with the potential to be a top 10 before too long. Hopefully next year, you'll do better with the process than you did this year.
I would also like to take this opportunity to offer my help to anyone who reads my blog that may be interested in b-school, and getting into a top program. Please reach out and I'll be happy to share my resources and give my two cents. Michael did the same for me - in fact, we connected through blogging - and I would like to pay the kindness forward. So my first piece of advice even though you haven't asked yet is to start early, at least one and a half to two years before you would like to enroll. Holla if you want to know more. Stay up y'all and since the weekend is almost here, make it a good one!