Researching Kellogg, Tuck, Berkeley and Yale While Waiting for Interview Invites

I’ve never been the type to spend too much time worrying about things that I cannot change. And so, I’m not allowing myself to worry too  much about the 5 MBA applications that I’ve turned in over the past 3.5 weeks for (in order of submission) HBS, Wharton, Booth, Stanford and MIT.

I know that each was a quality application. I had an assembly line of current students, alumni and successful admits for each of these schools rip my essays apart with feedback over and over until I had produced compositions worthy of their blessing. I put in the appropriate time researching each institution to look for the right fit prior to starting its application.  And I gave as complete of a picture of myself as the school’s apps would allow.

The best case scenario is that I’ll receive 5 invites to be interviewed. The worst case scenario is that I will receive none. Applicants with comparable, better and worse profiles than mine walk the halls of each of these fine programs at this very moment. And right now the next step with each of those apps is up to the adcoms; thus, my attention has shifted to R2 app research and some basic interview prep.


Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management is getting a good chunk of my time for research. The reason for this is because out of the schools that I have yet to apply to, it is the one that I know the least about–a weird factoid given that the friend of mine from undergrad who was instrumental to me starting this journey in the first place is a 2nd year at Kellogg right now. She also overcame the supposed “over 30 discrimination” hurdle, if that even exists. She also, however, applied at 32 and not 35; but I digress.

At first, I thought that the culture of Kellogg might be a bit too touchy-touchy for me…almost in an oppressive social nazi kind of way; however, as I’ve delved into their videos, marketing materials, et al., I’ve gotten a broader interpretation of their team-based culture that has made that program more attractive to me than it was just a few weeks ago when I feared being chained down and forced to watch happy movies and do singalongs and plays like the Wednesday and Pugsley in Adams Family Values

Company culture is very important to me. At this stage in my life, the culture of a company is important enough for me to leave or stay based on that factor alone.  I’ve always seen culture as something that is driven from top-tier leadership. And amazingly, most companies that I have ever experienced have done a poor job of it.

The company that I work at now actually has a fantastic company culture. Its both laid back and intellectually stimulating. It hums with creativity and entrepreneurial vigor, yet is structured at the same time.

There are one or two people, however, who just make me want to ask “damn, how did YOU make it through the interview? You’re obviously smart but you have no people skills whatsoever and you’re poisoning the team with your neurosis”. If Kellogg can make me a pro at either screening out or effectively dealing with folks like that (while achieving my primary MBA goals, of course) then sign me on up.

Berkeley, Dartmouth and Yale

Ah, Haas and Tuck, two programs that I love to love. Both are intimate and seem to be full of some of the nicest, smartest folks I’d ever want to meet. I’m already familiar with both programs, but need to delve a bit deeper into each before I begin working on their applications around early December.

I’ll be applying to both via the Consortium, so that means only one application between them and Yale (horray!); however, that does not necessarily mean that I’ll be getting a break on those essays.  At this point though, I”m cool with essays.

My Sloan application has shown me that even when thrown very different concepts than I have become accustomed to I am able to rise to the occasion and pull together a strong, nicely-written essay that conveys the message that I want it to without accidentally sending up any red flags or leaving unanswered questions for the reader.

I was thrilled to be invited to Tuck’s diversity conference, so I’m looking forward to that. I missed Berkeley’s because it came in the middle of my R1 application whirlwind; however, since they are right here in California I can easily plan a visit later this winter; most likely right after the break just before my Consortium app is due.

I’ve also picked up my Yale research. I’ll be applying to them through the consortium as well. My main concern is that whether their focus on social entrepreneurship and and smaller network will serve my software entrepreneurship goals well. I’ll be digging into the story behind the resources they have to offer quite deeply over the next month or two trying to determine whether or not I see sufficient fit for me to crack open and submit an app.

Basic Interview Prep

I believe in being prepared. And I certainly don’t want to get “served” due to a lack of preparation (as an undergrad buddy of mine–Sloan ’07–refers it); so, I’ve begun my prep for the most standard and basic interview questions by scouring the internet for interview postmortems on various MBA blogs et al.

I tend to do well at interviews and appreciate the fact that the world of top MBA applicants provides such a wellspring of knowledge and best practices from those who have come before me. I plan to take full advantage of those resources as I rev up my engine to be ready for whatever should come my way over the next 3-5 weeks in the way of invites.

I sure hope things turn out in my favor. Either way, I’d like to send out a big “Thank You/” to my readers for all of your support, the well wishes and the kind words left on my blog thus far.  It has meant a lot.


Would you like my help getting into your dream b-school? Well, there are two starting points for that:

1. Get a Free Profile Analysis (after receiving your information, I’ll let you know whether or not I think I can help you)

2. Get Help Now (If you already know that you want help and what you want help on, then just skip to here)

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Wharton MBA and admissions expert

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33 Comments on “Researching Kellogg, Tuck, Berkeley and Yale While Waiting for Interview Invites”

  1. LadyRoadWarrior Says:

    Glad you’re headed to DivCo. Welcome to Hanover 🙂


  2. OhDenny Says:

    In all fairness, last year’s statistics for SOM: 8% of full-time hires went into non-profit. Yes, that’s more than HBS or Wharton, but it’s not solely focused on social sector stuff. 40% to financial services, 25% to consulting, 9% to tech, and so on. I also just spent the weekend at a conference with the director of our CDO and she told me that Yale’s # of students heading to the West Coast jumped from 13% in 2011 to 18% this past year, and growing every year.

    Ooo! And you should come for one of our Explore Diversity Days. I’ve sat on a panel for one of them, and they are full-force.

    Good luck with invites!


  3. AJ Says:

    Just wondering, how were you able to get current students and alumni to review your essays?

    I am very new the process and won’t be applying for another year or so.



    • mbaover30 Says:

      Hi AJ. I started with my network–mostly folks who were recent admits, students or graduates from the programs I was applying to. If you do not have folks like that in your network, try hanging out at places like or . I’d also recommend starting a blog. If it becomes popular, great people will flock to you because they buy into your story and root for your success. My most dedicated, can’t-live-without-you essay reviewer this season came as a result of someone reading my blog who just rooted for me; and had just HAPPENED to have been accepted at Kellogg, Booth and Wharton during the previous admissions cycle. Good luck to you man; and don’t hesitate to reach out to me when you are crafting those essays next year.


      • Hswm Says:

        Good luck folks for whatyon invite, hopefully some of us if not all will hit it on the 1st day ofehatyon invites. Of course stanford andharvard are still open…good luck there too

  4. Emily Says:

    Hi – how did you get information on when interview decisions will be released? I know Harvard was last Wednesday and this Wednesday at 12pm EST, but what about Wharton and Stanford? Any method to date / time of day / etc.? I am waiting for decisions as well and trying to avoid checking my email every 5 minutes! Thanks


    • mbaover30 Says:

      Hey Emily. You should have gotten an email Folsom Wharton after submitting. 10/23 – 11/9 for them. Stanford doesn’t give dates. Put them out of your mind until mid November.


  5. Hswm Says:

    No luck for me today guys….


    • mbaover30 Says:

      I’m not really monitoring it daily. That will drive me crazy. I check every other day (unless I have exact dates like HBS or Booth). In my mind, I’ve assumed that since I’m a fringe case applicant that my app is being held for the last batch. That may be totally untrue, but it helps me not obsess about it every ever loving minute of my day lol. It’s a mental game I’m playing with myself, and it’s working well thus far.


  6. hbstimes Says:

    I have to say I’m impressed by the number of schools that you’re applying to. I applied to 3 schools last year and it must have been one of the most exhausting periods in my life.

    Have you considered applying to a more focused set of schools? I do believe every school requires its own research and focused attention. Not sure how you can get this done for such a wide range of schools.

    Good luck!


    • mbaover30 Says:

      Hey there. First thanks for commenting. I actually didn’t have any problems submitting the 5 apps that I have thus far. I started very early, did lots of research, and put a ton of hours into each essay deck after gathering the info that I needed. None of them were rushed and I had recent admits and alumni from each review my essays and apps. Now its all up to the adcoms, who I’m hoping don’t just look at my age and throw my materials to the side. It only takes one person to give an app the smack down; so we’ll see. For my R2 group, all but 1 (Kellogg) will be on my consortium application. Yale doesn’t even demand extra essays; Tuck and Haas, however, do. To me, my list is fairly focused. I chose the schools that had the best mixture of entrepreneurial resources and reputation.


      • hbstimes Says:

        Btw, don’t worry too much about the age thing. I made it into HBS and I’m 32…

        I don’t know where the myth comes from that ‘older’ students cannot make it into some of the top schools. As long as you have good reasons to do so, age doesn’t matter.

        Let me know if I can help with anything!


      • mbaover30 Says:

        HBS or otherwise I will definitely reach out. Thanks

  7. cheetarah1980 Says:

    I wouldn’t worry about Wharton invites for a while. The first few waves of invites tend to go to international and Lauder applicants. I didn’t get mine til the 4th wave last year. Good luck homie!


  8. puyallup Says:

    Hey, I was dinged from Harvard today as well. We are both looking forward now 🙂

    Do you know when Sloan interview invites go out? Is it a range, or a big day like Harvard?

    Thanks for your help


  9. gaurav Says:

    I have done a small calculation. Say there are 3000 seats in top 10 B schools in US.
    On an average there are 3000 candidates applying to each school and these 3000 candidates are same (or say 80-90%) are same (which is likely). And one candidate cannot be at two places That means your chances of getting into top 10 programs is certain.

    what do you say mbaover30? Others are also welcome to reply.


  10. Has Says:

    Your blog is great and an inspiration to those over 30.
    I’ve applied Wharton, Kellogg and Stanford. Can I check why Kellogg didn’t make the cut for the first round of schools you applied to. I know Stanford and Harvard are on a different level. I am an international applicant so will be great to hear you views on Kellogg.



  1. Fridays From The Frontline - October 26, 2012

    […] that there was very little he could do but wait for his first round applications, MBAOver30 began researching schools for his round two applications. Sassafrass worked on not succumbing to anxiety over “meaningless” data while reporting no new […]

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