The Art of Self Doubt

I don’t like getting advice from more than one person at a time. I’m a textbook over-thinker.

Kevin Malone said it best in Season 5, Episode 17 of The Office.   As I approach the beginning of application deadlines (34 days!) for Round 1, I have my moments prolonged periods of self doubt. The overarching question? What if I don’t get in anywhere? It is a common thought among applicants. Every year, there are applicants that for one reason or another, don’t end up with an acceptance at any of the schools they applied to.  Some applicants may be reaching, applying to only top schools with questionable scores or no-to-low work experience.  Others, apply to only their their top choice, thinking “Its HBS or Bust”.  While at first, both of those strategies seem flawed, who can blame them? You only get to do your MBA once, so why not reach for the stars or make no compromises in your school choice.  To those with the boldness to go with such a strategy, I applaud you.  But at the same time, I realize you are a lot more flexible in your future than others might be.

Others, being me.  I’m applying this year to 6 schools, across an array of acceptance rates.  My strategy is exactly the opposite of those listed above.  Why? Because it is imperative that I get in to school this year. Similar to investment banking analysts, I took my job at my firm under the condition that I’d be leaving after a set period of time.  For IB analysts, the usual contract is 2 years.  For me, it was 1.5 years. While I don’t think it would be impossible to stick around for another 12 months, I definitely don’t have the offer to do so, and that path is far less traveled than the path to a 3rd year analyst in investment banking.

Nervous Applicant

Logically, I’ve pretty much ruled that out. I could always apply for a job internally, right? wrong. I have about the highest level job I can have without having either a MBA, CFA, or both at my company. To take an internal transfer would be yet another side step in my career, making explaining to MBA programs next year a near impossibility. Furthermore, external job hunting would yield similar results, but for different reasons.  If I take a job with another company, I’ll have 3 jobs within 2 years – definitely a red flag.  So it would seem, any move besides business school is going to raise a red flag for future business school applications.  Uh oh.  Enter self doubt.  You see, the most logical path forward is business school, given how I have boxed myself in set up my career. If that path doesn’t work out this winter, then I’ll add another red flag to a profile that didn’t yield any results from this application season.

So what to do? Well the obvious answer is to get to work on applications.  GMAT, check. GPA, check. Recommendations? In progress. Essays? In progress.  Seems like I’m on the right path anyway.  Maybe all of this self doubt is just over-thinking.  And with that – a poll to see how everyone else is doing this application season:

12 responses to “The Art of Self Doubt

  1. you need another choice in your poll:
    % complete changes each time i get feedback on my essays or read another article on How to get into your dream MBA.

  2. Ah! the all pervasive self-doubt. Join the club my friend! Isn’t it always the end of the world if things don’t happen when we really want them to? I will be over the 3-0 number by the time I graduate and one part of my brain says that would be the right time to think about raising a family and the same part right now says that I may not be a happy mom if I don’t get my MBA (there is absolutely zero data to support this btw!)….so if it isn’t this year, in my head am going to be a pretty illiterate mother all my life. Sigh…! *End of Rant*

    I am sure you’ll do well through this process..take a break :)

  3. Pingback: Fridays From The Frontline - Clear Admit Blog·

  4. Pingback: Tagged For Liebster Award | bschool admit·

  5. I feel that you have the right strategy, applying to 6 schools is a lot of work. You will definitely get accepted somewhere. Your application will certainly reflect the determination you’re displaying on this blog

    And btw, I have no Plan B either…

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