Applying to HBS, Stanford GSB, and...

It has been a while since I posted on here - the last 2 weeks have been really busy as I have been traveling and dealing with various situations that have been popping up.

I have not had a lot of time to work on my b-school apps, but I have made a couple of breakthroughs:

1. I got started on my first essay!

The one I chose to start on is HBS question #1- tell us about something you have done well. I basically just manned up, sat down one evening, and put my thoughts on paper. This exercise was very helpful and I plan on writing a first draft of each and every essay for round 1 as the next step in my process. This leads me to my next breakthrough:

2. I think I have decided which schools I want to apply to in the first round!

After multiple iterations, I am ~85% sure that in the first round I will apply to:

>>>>>>>>>

HBS
Stanford GSB
Booth

The biggest question mark for me is whether to apply to Wharton in round 1 and push Booth to round 2, or to apply to all four in round 1. I don't want to overwhelm myself, so as of right now I am going with 3 in round 1. If I make a lot of progress in a short amount of time, I will consider adding Wharton.

Many people recommend applying to a mix of 1 stretch, 1 competitive, and 1 safety school in each round. Although this sounds like great advice, I don't think I will be following it for a few reasons:

  • It seems like it will simply drag the process out, because unless I get in to my top choice, it guarantees that I will have to go through round 2
  • I want the application process to be painful but short
  • I am not applying to any safety schools

This is where I am at right now. I do not plan on hiring an admissions consultant, but I do want to turn those who are interested onto something I found. It is called MBA Volunteers. Apparently, they will review your essays (among other services) for a donation of $250 to one of 10 charities. Sounds like a pretty good idea (apparently the LBS Good Idea Competition seems to think so too). I don't know anyone who has used the service, but I do plan on using it when I am fairly comfortable with my essays and I will surely post a review when I do.

Has anyone used MBA Volunteers? If so, please let us know what you thought of the service.

That's my story for now. If anyone past/present cares to share their experience with how many schools they applied to or plan on applying to in each round and/or which schools they plan on applying to this year, please post.

Also, if anyone has any advice on getting over the initial hump with essays, please do share.

Is anyone out there in the same boat as me? I want to start some sort of group so we can discuss the progress we are making on our applications - please post here or PM me if interested in setting up an MBA support group. It doesn't necessarily have to be a WSO group, but I would like to gauge interest to see how we can go about putting something together.

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