I am a first generation college student. I was admitted to Stanford GSB, Yale SOM, and Cornell’s Johnson SOM from state school and with no full-time work experience. You can do the same, and I’m going to show you how.
I have always been an ambitious person, especially in academics. Like most, I have always wanted to be the best, to do everything well, and to prove that I can do whatever I set my mind to. Feasible? Not really. Though, certainly good goals to have.
In my senior year of high school, I applied to the big names: Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, etc., and received a slew of denials in return. I enrolled in a very reasonably priced state school in my hometown, SUNY at Buffalo, and I knew I would enjoy college at this fantastic research university.
However, I wanted something more. I wanted to get into the big schools. The Ivies. The top 10s. Not just for the prestige (certainly, that was a factor), but for the chance to access all of the resources that these schools possess. Alumni networks and connections, brilliant peers, substantial salaries, and, most importantly, the chance to work where I wanted doing what I wanted.
I vowed that during my undergraduate collegiate career, that would be the end goal. Everything that I did would be done strategically and purposely with that in mind. The only problem was, I didn’t really know what I should be doing.
Being a first generation college student, nearly everything that I learned about the MBA application process was done through tiresome research, poring over sporadic articles, books, and websites. I came across a lot of admissions consulting services that would “make me into the perfect candidate,” but, like most broke college kids, I didn’t have $4K to drop on the *chance* that I might be admitted to a great b-school.
I found that the things that helped me most were simple blogs written by people who had been through the process from start to finish, though even these were lacking. I wanted something that would give me a road map, of sorts. Something that said, “you should be doing this, this, and this…oh! and you should start studying for that, now,” etc., and something that didn’t charge me a semester’s worth of tuition for it. I never got that road map, but I would like to give you one.
You see, I have a deep admiration for those who are willing to put in the work to get the reward. The whole time that I was struggling to figure out what I needed to do to get into these programs, iterating and adjusting as I went, I was wishing that someone had taken the time to lay their entire experience out in a blog. This is the blog that I wish I had seen. It’s by no means complete, and definitely not perfect, but I know it will help.
Lastly, it goes without saying that you will have to work to attain similar results, and work hard. Getting into these programs is not easy. However, I can say from experience that the reward has been well worth the effort. So, get reading, get working, and best of luck in your pursuit of admittance to your dream school.