It’s 12 midnight in Manila and I’m tired from a long day at work. I hit refresh, nothing. I hit refresh again, nothing. After what it seems like an eternity, I hit refresh for the final time and my browser shows a page which allows me to select the “View Decision” button. For a good five minutes I lie stunned on my bed, a huge sigh of relief follows. I’m finally headed to Ithaca, NY, in four months.
I don’t think I’ve hit refresh as many times in a span of 30 minutes in my entire life. I constantly toggle between the Johnson School Application Page and the GMATclub.com Forum tabs. Fellow MBA applicants such as me have been talking non-stop about decisions rendered at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management and other schools. The March 25 decision day for Round 2 Johnson applicants coincides with decision days of other schools, so you can imagine the collective anxiousness of applicants all over the world. After interacting with other applicants for another hour or so, emotionally exhausted, I decide to call it a night. After all, I do have to get up for work in a few hours.
The next morning I zone out at work. I remember an early morning meeting with a client but barely recall the topic. The only thing I can think about is drafting my resignation letter. I spend the afternoon drafting the letter, hit print, rush across the hall to retrieve the document from the printer before peer analysts/associates can see it, and hurriedly sign the document. I tuck it into my portfolio until I could identify an opportune time to have that “talk” with my managing director.
During lunch I google “Cornell Memorabilia” and start ordering items online to ship to my cousin in New York, telling him I would coordinate pick up once I arrived in New York. I remember after conducting my interview on campus in Ithaca last March, heading to the Cornell Store to get a Johnson shirt, water bottle, and shot glass because I felt so good about my interview and really wanted to attend Johnson. I thought to myself, worst case scenario, I can always give these items to my cousin who attended Cornell as an undergraduate student. I am pleased that money spent on those purchases did not go to waste.
I am on cloud nine right now. The past couple of months included studying for the GMAT, drafting essays, and proofreading applications. My family, closest friends and colleagues know how long this journey has been. I’ve missed countless family gatherings, nights out, and celebrations because of my B-school journey. But it was worth it, the rush you get from knowing that you are attending the school of your choice is the best feeling in the world – next to devouring fried chicken that is.
I drafted “thank you” letters to other programs with notification that I decline their offer of admission. In today’s cut-throat world of B-school admissions, where (I believe) rejection is the norm, a simple note of thanks is appreciated by those who spent time reviewing and deliberating over my application. After all, I could be headed to those same schools for further graduate studies.
A few days after being accepted to Johnson, I received emails from the Admissions Office and current students with information on a variety of items including attending Destination Johnson, an event exclusively for accepted students, and participating in pre-school trips to Turkey and Costa Rica. After a few days, I began to compile I-20 documents, a process that allows me to apply for a student visa at the Unites States Embassy. About a week from the time I submitted the documents I received a packet via FedEx with my I-20. I scheduled an appointment with the United States Consulate here in Manila and received an appointment relatively quickly. The process at the consulate was relatively simple - I arrive, a woman interviews me and says my passport and student visa will be mailed in about a week.
Newly-admitted Johnson students are invited to a Facebook group where they interact with fellow incoming students, current students, and members of the Johnson Admissions Team. The next big obstacle for me is to find housing. As an international student, I unfortunately don’t have flexibility to visit prospective housing options. Good thing the Destination Johnson Team prepares a guide that outlines various housing options for incoming students that includes reviews from current students. I found the guide to be very helpful since each potential option included the pros and cons of each location together with estimated prices. I reached out to a 1st year MBA who I met with during my visit to Ithaca in March to ask a few more questions about an apartment complex I was considering and he gladly obliged what seemed to be an eternity of questions. After a few days, the apartment administrators emailed my lease. I excitedly signed it and submitted a deposit.
It’s been a roller coaster of emotions over the past few months. I’m glad the admissions process is over and that I was accepted to the school of my choice. I’m not sure what lies ahead but one thing is for sure… I’m glad to be part of the Johnson family.