Lots of threads. This one is buried already! Perhaps it could be stickied?
This is the type of thread that needs to be available for the *next* round of applicants (it would have been useful for many of us when we began this process). By then, I'm guessing it will be waaay buried.
I accepted admission to UIUC.
Accepted: Oxford, UIUC
Rejected: Cornell, Stanford
A lot of lessons learnt...
1. Improve my academic profile - I lacked the maths and eco courses most strong applicants have (although i had a undergrad in enginering and an mba) --- I think ill accept the LSE MSc fin and eco admission and get some useful courses. viz financial economics, financial econometrics, forecasting financial time series etc...
2. Get a 800 on the gre quants. - I applied with a 760 quants and i think it was a major weakness on my application althought i had a 730 verbal. Need to get a perfect score this time round.
3. Letters of Recco - I hope to get them from more international profs this time...
4. Luck & Chace - I hope the gods of chance are favorable to me next time around...
best wishes all
I think an important thing is to not get caught up in the perfectionism of TM, and realize that the vast majority of academics have absolutely no connection with "Top 25" anything. If you're set on being a top dawg or bust, then go for it, but I decided early on not to let my pride get to my head and start rationalizing that I was "above" going to certain programs.
Applicants for next year should also take a step back, evaluate their profile, and apply to fitting schools. I'm not trying to call anybody out here, but it's hard to go top 10/20/30 with perfect scores, so imagine how a sub 800 quant (or a B in real analysis, or a 3.4 cumulative GPA, or an unknown LOR writer, or no econometrics, etc) looks.
This is finance, it's a tough field, and the people that graduate from Georgia State, Central Florida, Drexel, etc still make a ton of money. They may not have Ivy League degrees, but they're still smart guys, everyone recognizes that, and at the end of the day, their wives and kids love them just as much.
Nobody is going to talk about your degrees, publications, or tenure at your eulogy. While those are all noble pursuits, there's no use getting hung up over any of it. As much as we all love academia, it's just a job, and one day, a few decades from now, it'll be over, and all you'll get is a cheesy office party and a nice watch if you're lucky. You'll put all your things in a cardboard box, walk it out to your car alone, turn in your parking pass on the way out, and 5 years later, nobody there will even remember your name.
Success in this field, as much as we try to quantify it, is internal. If you can wake up everyday with a smile, then you're successful, regardless of rather you climb in your '76 Yugo on the way to the community college or an S-Class Benz on the way to Stern.
We all got into this because it's fun, never lose sight of that. Do your best, don't sweat the small stuff, apply to as many schools as you can afford, and thank god you're not in liberal arts.
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