I failed… should I even try again?

It’s been ~80 days since I revealed that I was denied at all five of my schools. I have spent a long time thinking. Maybe even too long. I don’t think I have experienced this much self-doubt in my goals and my abilities. And to be honest I haven’t blogged simply because I have had nothing to say.

And then a conversation happened. A spectacular conversation that snapped me back to reality. But before I get to that conversation here’s what has happened the last ~80 days.

The “Fortune” IncidentPQ
After I realized that I didn’t get in to any of the schools I applied to, I posted about it. I was still reeling from the defeat, and then P&Q did an article on me… which transformed into a piece on Fortune

The feedback on my failure was IMMEDIATE. And it STUNG. The comments on the two websites definitely found any insecurities I had and shined a light on them. Fortune (2)

I found myself reading, and re-reading, and re-reading again EVERY SINGLE COMMENT. Was this person right? Am I really that way? What does this sentence mean?


The Job Switch and Move
At the beginning of December, I felt I had nowhere to go. I was in an industry that was suffering, with few career options for my next move. I knew I had to do something; I felt stale and tired. I felt like I had just ran a marathon, and instead of finding a finish line, I found only a cliff. So I did the only logical thing.

I jumped.

I remember the email… short but sweet. “Hey, I’m thinking of switching industries… are there any opportunities at ______?”

Two weeks later I was in a strange new office building in Los Angeles, adjusting my tie. I was interviewing for a dream job… consolidating the financials for the movie business for a major entertainment company’s CFO, and working with brands that I LOVED. I felt nervous; I had just interviewed at Tuck and Kellogg…. with ZERO success. What would I do???


hollywoodA couple days later I got the call and the offer. Three weeks later I was shipping my car, packing my room, and buying a one-way ticket back to the West Coast. I was now an employee of THE Industry. The Entertainment Industry is the EXACT opposite of the Aerospace/Defense Industry. Fast paced, instantly reactive, vibrant, fresh, growing…. I felt overwhelmed…. but not lost.

I found myself. I found that I can still produce success. That may seem silly, but for awhile I was unsure that I was still capable of big victories. I had a mountain of self-doubt casting a shadow over my life, and it felt good to just accomplish a goal.

Next Steps
The last couple of months have been intense. 12 hour days at work to get up to speed. Not knowing the business,  the company, the industry has been more stressful than imagined. At the same time, I have been launching a technology upgrade for my non-profit organization and have now started mentoring high schools students at a local high school. Despite all my progress, the shadow of my future still loomed.

Should I still apply? Should I still continue down this road? Can I even get in? What can I offer?

The Conversation

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a similar individual that is currently in the middle of their application process. They wanted to have a phone call to share experiences and see if we could help each other.

We covered a lot of topics, ranging from admission worries, passions about helping others, and career aspirations. I won’t go too much into detail about what was covered in the conversation, but I will touch on how it affected me.

It gave me hope. 

That talk gave me much needed encouragement to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep on going. It snapped me out of my zombie-like haze of ignoring my reality. I had been putting off thinking about my failure, instead of accepting it as part of my story and moving forward. I was afraid of failure; but I realized that failing was not the end, and honestly, not that bad now that I’m further away from the events. Life is getting better.

I am back. I AM BACK. I refuse to come this far, just to give up at the end. I am already making solid steps on applying  [again] this year. My next post will cover those steps I have taken and the immediate steps in my future. If you want to follow my [new] journey, make sure to subscribe (if you haven’t already) or follow me on twitter.


If you liked this post, make sure to subscribe on my main page and follow me on twitter @GrantMeAdmissio 

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18 Responses to “I failed… should I even try again?”

  1. topdogmba

    Grant. You’re a good man, nobody deserved to receive some of those comments but if you’re able to stand up to those then you’re in good shape to reconsider your applications.

    I also had five dings but always knew that I’d re-apply and, well, I’ve had a lot more success this time around! You know the schools, you don’t have to mess about with the GMAT, you’re going to avoid a lot of first timer mistakes. And, I’m here if you wanna talk through your strategy.

    You’ve made a tough decision. Well done! Now, let’s kill these applications! 😉

  2. pandaMan

    This post totally made my week!!!!! I am so excited for what you have accomplished and what you will continue to do!!!!

    A friend gifted me with this quote during my MBA application journey and I think it is now time that I pass it onto you:

    “It is not a question of IF you will achieve your dream, but only a matter of WHEN. It is your destiny.”

  3. Scott

    You have a great attitude about this Grant – not dwelling on the past is the best thing you could do. I also know what five dings in a row feels like. It sucks! But now that you know the ropes, applying is going to be so much easier this time.

    Best of luck, can’t wait to follow along as you crush it this year!

  4. gidigirlmba

    soooo, i’m glad you”re back and glad you’ve moved on from the self doubt. My question to you now is why do you NEED an MBA at this point? You said, you landed your dream job…what is the MBA going to do for you? The entertainment industry does not look for that so much…. you might have answers to these questions but haven’t shared yet. I think it’s important not to fixate on a goal just because it was something you set….sometimes, the goals have to change.

    two years away from a job you love to get a degree might no longer make sense…just a different angle.

    • GrantMeAdmission

      Great points gidigirlmba! You are absolutely right on rethinking decisions and to be wary of becoming fixated on an idea that no longer makes sense.

      A couple of items:
      1. While an MBA may not be common in the industry, for what I do, and for my next job movement an MBA is required (especially by my company).
      2. I said this was “a” dream job, and not necessarily “the” dream job. Although small, the distinction is clear. I have bigger dreams and that MBA is a requirement for many of them.
      3. Last point: what is an MBA going to do for me? That is actually a question that I need to tighten up and really make sure I have a watertight argument for!

  5. LondonPearl

    You have me dancing on the Tube! So happy you are back on the journey…totally here to be a cheerleader…your site has been a major source of information and encouragement to me since I jumped on the MBA ‘tube’ this past Summer!!! Hope you get through in R3! #TeamGrantMeAdmission

  6. Andrew

    So, if you get into B School this year, you will leave your current job for two years after only a year and a half?

    I’m currently in a position where I have “a” dream job, as you put it, but it’s not really my dream job. Nonetheless, the experience, the pay, and the networking has me strongly doubting the wisdom of leaving for two years. I’m still not sure a top B School will count for nearly as much as two years leading a large scale project will.

    Why do you need an MBA? You say you do for your company: which company? The new one or your non-profit?


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