Posted on April 28, 2015

A Candidate Makes it to Wisconsin and Cornell (w/scholarship) despite Low GMAT


Former MER student Fatima Barry completed her Master’s in Human Relations from the University of Cheikh Anta Diop-, Senegal. She started her professional career at Cristopher House, Chicago, Illinois. To fulfill her goal of becoming a Human Capital consultant, she decided to pursue an MBA. She partnered with MER ( myEssay Review ) for her application to 4 schools and received admission offers from Cornell and  Wisconsin with scholarships.

Fatima is a first-year student in the full-time MBA program at the University. In this conversation, Fathima shares her journey with us.

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?

Fatima: Sure! I am originally from Senegal but moved to the United States about five years ago. I completed my undergraduate studies in Dakar, Senegal, where I earned a Master's degree in HR. I also speak French and Spanish fluently. I am a first-year MBA student at the Wisconsin MBA program, and I'm preparing to move to Houston for my summer internship. I am super excited about it!

Poonam: When did you start thinking about an MBA? Why now? What are your post-MBA career goals and long-term goals?

Fatima: I started considering an MBA after moving to the USA. I wanted to advance my career in HR and gain a deeper understanding of the business side of things. My short-term goal is to become a Human Capital Consultant. Post-MBA, I aim to work in strategic human capital management by helping an NGO or non-profit organization optimize its human capital investment. In the long term, I envision opening a Consultancy agency in West Africa and Latin America to help support and coordinate Human Resources Development in emerging countries.

 Poonam: You were accepted into both Wisconsin and Cornell. You finally chose Wisconsin. What factors contributed to your decision?

Fatima: I ultimately choose UW because of its cultural fit and because it is one of the few MBA programs offering an MBA with a specialization in HR.

Poonam: Balancing school and family can be challenging. Do you have any time management tips for prospective students?

Fatima: It has been challenging. But I have a very supportive husband who understands I have little time to do the stuff I used to do. However, I made sure to spend some of my time with him. My family and friends were a great support system. I advise using the weekend to study the most if you are not working on the weekends. It's important to understand your own studying style and prioritize getting enough sleep to ensure optimal performance. I study best early mornings than late afternoons, and I make sure to have enough sleep.

Poonam: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the school admissions process? How did you overcome it? How would you advise other MBA applicants who are facing similar challenges?

Fatima: For me, the most challenging part was writing the essays. As a non-native speaker, I got frustrated when I couldn’t express my ideas effectively. However, I overcame my challenge when I started working with Poonam. I am so grateful for all her guidance, patience, and professionalism. It was a breeze working with her; she believed in me, which meant a lot to me. I suggest candidates find someone like Poonam who can offer similar assistance through the writing process.

Poonam: Thanks, Fatima! I enjoyed working with you. What is your favorite thing about Wisconsin so far?

Fatima: The people in Wisconsin are extremely nice and welcoming! Wisconsin residents are genuinely friendly and respectful people. They are always ready to help and make you feel a part of their community.

Poonam: Is there anything you would like to change about the program?  

Fatima: Not much, but I wish more international trips were available. Currently, we only have two global projects offered at the school.

Poonam: Do you have any admissions tips for applicants for Wisconsin full-time MBA ?

Fatima: Reach out to current students, who are always great resources. They were in your shoes at some point. Avoid submitting your application last minute. Give yourself enough time to craft a compelling essay and allow your recommenders ample time to write their letters before the application deadlines. Most importantly, be yourself and enjoy the application process.

Poonam: True. What are your favorite non-school books?  What are your hobbies?

Fatima: I love reading, “Les Miserables”, “ Pourquoi Les Hommes Adorent Les Chiauses.” I love working out, cleaning, cooking, reading, and baking.

Poonam: Thank you, Fatima, for sharing your story with us. Good luck with your Wisconsin experience and your future career.

Click here for Fatima’s testimonial of MER Services.

Click here for Fatima’s GMAT Club Review.

Note: You can connect with Fatima via LinkedIn.

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs. (Poonam is one of 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.