Feel the Fear, Apply to B-School Anyway

I recently attended the Forte Foundation MBA Fair and had an opportunity to chat with admissions officers and aspiring MBA applicants. Although the room was buzzing with excitement, I also felt something else in the room that I didn’t want to acknowledge. I’ve avoided this topic for couple of weeks but it keeps bubbling up. 

Confusion and fear were running rampant. Women were excited yet also afraid of applying to business school. I get it. And I’m here to tell you to feel the fear and apply anyway. The MBA admissions process brings up a lot of demons because we are being evaluated. Am I smart enough? Did I study enough? Are my GMATs high enough? Am I enough?  

While the applicants were attending a panel discussion, I squirreled away some time to chat with an MBA admissions officer about a woman who had been advised by an admissions consultant that she should not acknowledge being a mom with an infant but to share experiences that spoke more to her masculine traits.Leave that girl stuff behind. What?!?! That’s insane!

You may be saying, it’s easy for you to sit on the other side of the table. Your applicant days are behind  you. You don’t have anything to be afraid of.  Although I’m not applying to b-school, I continue to confront situations that challenge and frighten me.

I’m in the process of radically changing my life. I’m leaving my home in Manhattan to start anew in Durham, NC, home of the Duke’s Fuqua School of Business where I earned my MBA. I have a great life here in NYC. How could I possibly want to leave? I’m the over-achieving chick who’s supposed to long for the frenetic energy of Manhattan. But I’m choosing to trade in my neighborhood park and coveted river view for a porch and a yard. I don’t have family connections or a network of friends waiting for me but I’m taking a leap and doing it anyway. You can, too.

Even if you’re not a traditional applicant with a corporate business background, if destiny calls to you from a b-school application, don’t view it as a cruel fate. Business schools are looking for you. Know that you can do this and succeed. Fear is a normal part of any process where you are being called to up-level your life.

You don’t have to let fear win and paralyze you. Starting now, take action and identify MBA resources. Map out a plan to rock your MBA application and get into the school of your dreams.  Then build your empire and change the world!

Still not convinced, feel free to adopt my motto: “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”  ~ Georgia O’Keefe

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