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Fridays from the Frontline: Triumphant Reapplicant Gains Admission at UCLA Anderson

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If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Our Fridays from the Frontline contributor this week took these words to heart, reapplying in fall 2015 after an unsuccessful application process the year before. A young female Indian engineer, she had relatively strong scores and grades, but not a ton of experience under her belt. Read on to learn some of the steps she took to strengthen her application the second time around—gaining admission at UCLA Anderson.

While happy to share her story with the Clear Admit audience, she wants to remain anonymous until she actually matriculates. So until then, we’ll just refer to her as the Pull That MBA Trigger blogger.  

The following post has been republished in its entirety from its original source, Pull That MBA Trigger.

So What Changed This Time?

Okay, so let’s look at the cold, hard facts.

My GMAT score stayed the same (710).

My GPA is the same as well (9.03).

The last time I checked, I was still an Indian engineer.

My work experience moved up from about 19 months to 26 months.

My job title is now “Product Manager” and not the dreaded “Software Engineer” it was before.

My post-MBA goal looks legit now because I have the experience to back it up.

A senior colleague at my new job wrote what I can only assume was a stellar letter of recommendation.

Let me tell ya, I had to work my butt off to transition from being a code monkey to someone making actual product decisions. I must have applied to nearly a 100 places and interviewed at about 25 until I finally got the job I wanted. But I persevered because I knew that MBA or not, this was where I wanted my career to go.

I guess the lesson here is: don’t let the fact that you got rejected bring you down (if you are a reapplicant like I was). The lofty goals that you’d written about in your essay? You can still get closer to achieving them without an MBA. By self-selection, most applicants are ambitious, go-getters who honestly don’t need an MBA to get where they want to go. Of course, if you still think business school is right for you, then your application will be stronger than it ever was before.

Apart from switching jobs, I also narrowed down my goals even further. Previously, my short-term goal was to “work in company X as a PM.” I changed that to “work in company X’s Y division as a PM.” I backed it up with very relevant experience that I had and tied it in neatly to my long-term goal. I’m sure it wasn’t a huge distinction, but it became super relevant during my interview, where surprisingly enough I spoke to a second-year student who had a ton of knowledge about my field of interest (odd because it’s quite a niche area). I believe that this worked in my favour since I was immediately able to establish common ground and our conversation centered more around the latest developments in that industry than the usual “tell me how you…” stuff.

Finally, in my reapplicant essay, I called out what I believed were the weaknesses in my application. I addressed the age/work experience thing head on, I made a stronger connection between my short-term and long-term goals and finally, I mentioned in passing the gazillion students, alums and admissions officers I’d spoken to over an entire year.

Now, I do want to caveat this by saying that I did pretty much the same things I mentioned above in my reapplication to Fuqua as well, but surprise surprise, I got dinged without an interview. There is a pretty big element of luck involved, plus the relative quality and composition of the applicant pool, so there is no “fool-proof” method to this madness. It’s just doing the best you can and hoping for the best.