Timeout with Trav: Exploring MBA Admissions

Hello aspiring MBA friends! Trav here. I’m the Director of Admissions Consulting for Veritas Prep and I’m excited to launch this new series on the Veritas Prep blog called “Timeout with Trav.”  Each week, I’ll take time out to answer your questions about MBA admissions, B-school life, and any other fun topics you may decide to throw my way! (Feel free to be creative!)  To ask me a question, simply email it to timeout@veritasprep.com.

My Story: A non-traditional MBA candidate

By way of introduction, I was a very “non-traditional” MBA candidate myself, with four years of experience in television news before attending Kellogg (Northwestern University). Going to Kellogg was one of the best experiences of my life, so I love coaching candidates applying to business school. My #1 goal is to help you avoid all the mistakes I made! I’ve found my own story in applying to business schools has really resonated with a number of candidates who face similar circumstances.

Working in a 24-hour television newsroom prior to B-school, I didn’t know a single person who had graduated from a top-tier MBA program when I was applying. As a result, I made just about every mistake you possibly could, and completely understand how daunting the process may be!

The Dilemma: Admitted to my backup school

When I received my admissions decisions, I faced a dilemma that many of you may face in the coming months. I had been denied to my top-choice schools but was accepted to my “backup” school with a scholarship. Ugh… what to do?! I emailed my interviewer for my top-choice school (an alum) and mentioned to her that I was denied and asked her advice for improvements moving forward.  I thought the interview had gone really well—in fact she even told me that she thought I was going to get in (which is completely against the rules, come to find out)! I was really fishing for hints on how I had somehow blown the interview and my therefore my admission.

She responded with one of the kindest emails I’ve ever received, saying the school was “all the worse” for missing out on me and recommended that I reapply the next year if it fit into my life plans.  Armed with this piece of advice, I had to make a decision: do I accept my scholarship to a much lower-ranked school and graduate debt-free, or do I start the process all over again next year?  I asked myself a simple question: “What’s more important to me—getting my MBA right now, or getting it from one of my top choice schools next year?”

My Decision: Try, try again…

I declined my scholarship and decided to try again the next year. (My grandmother nearly had a heart attack when I told her my decision.)  I decided I would try to “do it right this time” by expanding my list of target schools, conducting much more online research, traveling to visit each school, and taking a Business Development Certificate course through my local university extension. I also received a big promotion with a 50% raise during this time that enhanced my resume.

It worked!  I received multiple offers for admissions, including scholarships. After attending the admitted students weekends, I chose to attend the Kellogg School of Management with a partial scholarship, and it was one of the best decisions of my life!

Do What I Say, Not What I Do!

Friends, don’t fall into the same mistakes I made and then have to apply to business schools two years in a row! Be sure to follow my blog to avoid application pitfalls. Each Tuesday, I’ll offer answers to your questions about the MBA admissions process so submit your questions and I’ll jump on it. Remember to send your questions to timeout@veritasprep.com!

If you’re thinking about applying to business school, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Travis Morgan is the Director of Admissions Consulting for Veritas Prep and earned his MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He served in the Kellogg Student Admissions Office, Alumni Admissions Organization and Diversity & Inclusion Council, among several other posts. Travis joined Veritas Prep as an admissions consultant and GMAT instructor, and he was named Worldwide Instructor of the Year in 2011.