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by Ashton Clark, E&W 2018

As I graduate from the Kellogg School of Management, I look back on what I’ve gained. I learned that sometimes success is not always instant. I remember this picture like it was yesterday, back in 2015.

I applied to Kellogg, conducted my interview and was waiting for a formal response from the school. On this day, I was preparing to speak at a large conference until I got this letter in the mail that said I was not admitted to Kellogg. I was devastated. I knew something was wrong when I received such a thin letter in the mail from the school! I studied for the GMAT for close to a year and spent months applying to Kellogg. I felt like all of my hard work failed me. I put all my eggs in one basket and did not apply to any other schools. Kellogg was #1 one on my list and I did not want to go to any other program. And on top of this, I had to deliver a keynote speech with excellence after reading this letter (which I did, thankfully, by the grace of God).

It took me a few weeks to fully process the letter and accept my rejection because it happened and I had to own that. But I did not let that stop me. I decided to use my disappointment as fuel to apply to the program again. I applied to Kellogg in part to serve as an example to the young men and women in my community that anything is possible when you are faithful and believe in yourself. Just because something is difficult does not mean it is impossible. Life is full of failures and successes. Those who are successful are the ones who pick themselves up and try again. Giving up is just an excuse for failing. The way to yes is through pushing through a series of noes.

Stay tuned for my next post, which will share more about my journey to yes at Kellogg.