It was as if hed climbed up on a high diving board, shouted down to everyone on the pool deck to watch him perform a triple back flip with four twists, bounced a few times to prepare for launch, bounced a few more times to make sure everyone was looking, propelled himself into the air
and missed the pool completely.
Poor Grant. He wasnt attempting the worlds most difficult dive, but its academic equivalent instead: applying to an ultra-elite MBA program. And while he wasnt wearing a Speedo on a high board over a pool, he was even more exposedGrant was standing in the middle of the Internet for all to see.
You may have read his blog, Grant Me Admission, in which he chronicles his quest for a top-tier MBA. Its received nearly 100,000 page views. And its pretty good: enthusiastic, lively, clearly written, full of tips and ideas and lessons learned. Read it, and youre right there with Grant as he studies for and takes the GMAT, researches schools, visits campuses, analyzes sample essays, and gets interviews. Its incredibly detailed.
Which is part of the reason Grant went splat. He wasnt just applying to top B-schools. He was also working full time, and doing a lot of nonprofit work, plus putting in hours and hours on his blog.
His story holds a valuable lesson for anyone applying to top MBA programs. Grant failed to focus on Goal No. 1, getting admitted to business school, and he paid a painful price.
As he writes on a recent post, below a photo of a bleak Martian landscape:
Harvard: Dinged without an interview
Wharton: Dinged without an interview
Yale: Dinged without an interview
Im not going to lie; it is incredibly hard for me to share these results.
Of course, as anyone who plays this game knows, rejection is a persons worst nightmarebut it is also the norm. Last year, the five schools on Grants target list received more than 25,400 applications for less than 3,000 available spots. With acceptance rates that range from a low of 12% for Harvard to a high of 24% for Yale, the odds of getting into one of these schools are against you. Overall, not much more than 18% of the applicants to these five MBA programs was accepted last year.