Posted on November 16, 2014

A Reapplicant’s Journey to Chicago Booth


Srinivas Bodapati earned a Master’s in electrical and computer science and served as a lead research developer at Health Care Services Corporation. He applied for the Chicago Booth summer MBA program in 2014 but was initially rejected. However, he followed the admission director's suggestion and enrolled in a microeconomics course at Graham school, where he earned an 'A' grade. Additionally, he collaborated with MER (myEssayReview) to improve his application when he reapplied for the winter 2014 session. As a result of his efforts, he was ultimately admitted into the esteemed Booth Winter MBA program.

In the conversation with Poonam, Srinivas shares how he transformed his rejection into acceptance. The discussion covers the following:

  • His background
  • Why MBA/ Career goals
  • Why Booth is his dream school
  • His application experience as a reapplicant
  • The most challenging aspect of the application process
  • Admission advice to prospective applicants
  • Hobbies/ interests


Poonam: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What do you do now?

Srinivas: I was born and raised in India and completed my bachelor's in electrical engineering there. Then I moved to the United States to pursue my Master's degree and graduated with a major in electrical and a minor in computers. Currently, I am working as a Technology Architect at Health Care Services Corporation, Chicago, IL.


Poonam: When did you start thinking about an MBA? Why now? What are your career goals?

Srinivas: I started considering an MBA about a year ago. I have been working in IT throughout my career and am now at a stage in my career where growth is limited if I want to remain in IT, specifically in a purely technical role. I also realized that IT compliments business and is all about solving business problems and fulfilling business requirements. Therefore, I now want to transition into management and focus on the business side of things. I think having a technical background is always an advantage. And if everything goes as planned, I would like to set up my own business in the long run.

Why Booth

Poonam:  You applied only to Booth. Why is Booth your dream school?

Srinivas: Living in Chicago and considering an evening MBA (or MBA in general), Booth and Kellogg were the first two names that came to mind. Based on my research and popular belief, I initially believed that Booth takes an analytical approach and is very data-driven, while Kellogg is more for managerial skills and strategic management. Given my analytical background, I prefer a data-driven, analytical approach, so I leaned more toward Booth. After attending a few information sessions at Booth and talking to a few students and alumni, I learned that Booth is not strictly a data-driven school, and it also caters to people with any preference, whether it be analytical or purely managerial. I realized that I would be equipped with the right tools to challenge ideas, question assumptions, and lead with confidence. Also, I was thrilled to know that the Nobel Prize-winning professors will teach me. So I decided to apply to Booth.

Steps he Took  to improve his application as a Reapplicant

Poonam: Great!! You applied to Booth last year as well. In what ways was your application different from last time? Could you please identify key areas of improvement this time?

Srinivas: I applied to Booth last year and was not admitted.  I received some helpful feedback on what was lacking in my application and was advised to retake GMAT/GRE or take a class through the Graham School. I took a class in Microeconomics through the Graham School and received an ‘A,’ which, I believe, helped a lot when I applied this time. Also, I was advised to improve my essays. Last time, I ran them through some of my friends, but all of them gave me conflicting feedback. So this time, I decided to seek an expert’s help to get my essays polished. That’s when I stumbled upon GMAT Club and read several reviews.

I was impressed by the reviews written for myEssayReview, and the pricing was affordable. Furthermore, I also looked up Poonam’s profile on and was impressed after reading that you have a teaching background. I made the purchase and anxiously waited for an email from her, as I wasn’t sure if you would agree to work with me, given the tight deadline. To my delight, I received an email from you within hours, after which I sent you my essays.  Initially, it was tough to accept that I had to rewrite two essays with only two weeks left. But it turned out to be a piece of cake with your incredible advice and valuable inputs. Overall, your help on my essays and resume, and I should mention the last-minute review of one of my recommendations, have played a prominent role in securing admission to Booth this time.

Most Challenging Aspect of Application

Poonam: Thank you, Srinivas. Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the school admissions process? How did you approach that challenge? What would you advise other MBA applicants facing similar challenges?

Srinivas: Firstly, I wish I knew about the Graham school when I first applied because my GRE score was not great. When I applied again, I made sure to cover everything that would add weight to my application. Secondly, writing essays was always a daunting task for me; I never enjoyed it. Sometimes, I struggled to come up with an interesting story, and other times, I was overly conscious of what to write. You have helped a lot in this regard. Your critiques were excellent, and I wish to have someone like you next to me to review all my business presentations/ articles and documents before going live.

I advise MBA applicants to find all available options that would directly impact their application. Finish essays (the story and 90% of the essay) well in advance, and have them reviewed by a dedicated professional. In my case, you helped me transform my essays in just nine days, which was incredible.

Poonam: Thanks! Now that you have been accepted into a part-time program at the prestigious Booth, how do you feel about it?

Srinivas: I am excited, and it took me a week to fully digest the news. I think now I have gotten over the celebration phase and am thinking more about how I should utilize this opportunity to shape my future. I look forward to improving my networking skills, making meaningful connections, and seeing myself transform intellectually by the time I graduate.

Advice for Prospective Applicants

Poonam: Wonderful! Do you have any admissions tips for applicants for the Booth part-time program?

Srinivas: First, I would strongly encourage the applicants for a part-time program to take the class through Graham School. Even if you have a great GRE/GMAT, this will serve as a bonus to your application. You can transfer the credit to any school. Secondly, try to attend as many events as possible, as it helps when the Admission Committee members can put a face to an application. Lastly, and most importantly, put a significant amount of thought and time into your essays and get them reviewed by an expert.

Poonam: Thanks for your advice. What are your favorite non-school books?  What are your hobbies?

Srinivas: I am not a reader; probably that’s why my essays were not great initially.  I enjoy working out and am always ready for it.  I play volleyball at the beach in the summer. I am also a good cook, and I like to try different recipes in my free time.

Poonam: Thank you, Srinivas, for sharing your story with us. We wish you good luck with your Booth experience and your career ahead.

Click here for Srinivas’s testimonial of MER Services.

Click here for Srinivas’s GMAT Club Review.

Note: You can connect with Srinivas via LinkedIn.

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has supported many applicants to gain admission into the top 20 MBA programs in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. (MER owner Poonam is among the top 5 most-reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

Do you have questions about your application? E-mail Poonam at or sign up here for a free consultation.