Friday, December 17, 2010

Let's see how was 2010 and It's time to learn How to Sell?

Yet another rejection mail, this time from Richard Ivey.

But I don't want to keep the title of this post as rejection or dinged or blah blah...It's not a failure story. So, Read on!

When 2010 started I thought this would be one of the best years of my life. I got a 740 GMAT in late 2009 and was charged high; I was dreaming of congratulations mails from big bschools in march and international plane tickets in august. 

March went by with no congratulations mail but 2 waitlisted ones post interview...Ross and Tepper. I was rather happy than disappointed as I'd just rushed through my application and still was waited in two prestigious schools. July came harsh with rejection mails from both.

I started again with full vigor and planned for round 1. But then some really serious turbulence happened in my personal life and I wasn't able to follow my plan even though I kept trying. I wasn't able to apply to the schools I wanted to and deferred them for round 2. The schools I applied rejected me after interviews with rejection from last round 1 school today.

Hmmm! the other day, I was just talking to one of my friends and was cursing the year 2010. It was really a bad year both in light of my personal life and my bschool acceptance.

But is that true? Let's think further and see!

2010 made me learn I'm not scared of rejections. I learned that failures don't affect me much. In fact they give me reasons to retrospect and fight harder. I never knew this before 2010. When I see people around me feeling dejected just by one or two failures and loosing all hopes, I thank God for giving me this amazing mindset and thanks 2010 for helping me discover this.

Since my starting of GMAT preparation 1.5 years back till now, I have genuinely work hard every single day with a few exceptions, even with rejections, even in turbulence. 2010 made me know I am not scared of hard work.

While writing so many essays for my applications, I discovered I write quite well and started writing fictions and started a blog (other than this blog). And people quite loved my stories and I won one writing contest. 2010 gave me happiness.

I learned that there are 2 parts of getting into a bschool. Your written application in which you need to market yourself and your interview in which you need to sell yourself. Due to same reason of working on so many applications and getting them reviewed from quite good consultants, I gained a good understanding of addressing bschool essays. Now, I do review essays of my friends and my blog readers, and they quite feel my comments convincing and sensible. 2010 has made me proficient in marketing, but I have to work harder in selling myself.

2010 gave me a chance to talk to a lot of MBA students and alumni, and to understand better what I want to do post MBA. It also gave me a chance to be a fellow of SLP (Startup Leadership Program) and to be in the closest network of India's budding entrepreneurs. I'm getting encouraged to start my own MBA consulting services now :)
I became friends of David Park, CEO of Beat The GMAT. We have met on skype 10 times now, and  he truly believes in me. He is an amazing mentor and friend and motivates me like no one else does.

My friends and family were there with to support me throughout 2010. I didn't loose any friend and got quite new ones. I attended a lot of family celebrations, spent time with my family and friends far more this year.

And most important, 2010 has gifted me an amazing girl friend who makes me believe that all my failures are lessons and learning, and something really best is waiting out there for me.

I think 2010 made me a better person who knows more about himself now than ever. As they say, "if you have never failed, you have never lived." I have lived 2010.

Tonight was the last rejection of 2010, and I know I have to work harder to learn how to sell! 

If I deserve it, I'll get it sooner or later!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beat The GMAT Practice Questions - Premium accounts available

In my last post, I mentioned about the Beat The GMAT Practice Questions. Check them out:

I have some premium accounts left with me; if anybody interested please email me using the button on your left.

Hurry up! Else you are missing an important part in your GMAT prep!

Friday, November 19, 2010

An evening with Richard Ivey

She was waiting for me, standing tall next to the pillar, with folded hands and crossed legs, as I entered the Taj lobby. I was 15 minutes before the scheduled time and she was free, so we decided to sit at the pool side. It was a pleasant evening wheather of Bangalore with no drizzling thankfully. Some wedding preperations were going on there and we started with a light conversation about Indian weddings and how they are like grand parties and she told she wants to attend one. And then, the interview began.

It was not a blind one and she was well informed about my application, but it was quite standard with a few spontaneous questions. She was easy going and so was the interview.

Walk me through your resume briefly.
Why MBA?
Where do you see yourself just after MBA? Exactly what role you think you would be playing?
What do you see in a MBA school?
Any leadership or team work experience.
Any challenging situation in team. How you handled? What you learned?
What concerns career team in Richard Ivey could have with your placement and how they could address them?
What's your long term goal? Any specific company in mind for long term?
Any constructive criticism from the manager.
Why we should take you?
Any questions for me?

And the pool side meeting was over in half an hour with hand shakes, smiles, a light conversation about her India visit, and a final hand shake.

Was it a date? Will be revealed on Dec 17 ;-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The fight is on

So yesterday ISB broke my heart once again, don't know what's the the fight is still on and for the much better.

Congratulations to all who are in, and for those who are not, don't loose hope and believe in yourself. The best is yet to knock the door...and the life would change forever!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Some fun, lost rhythm, and the wait...

Though a little late, I wish all my readers a very prosperous Diwali and a successful Year ahead. Wish we all get into the schools of our choice.

Aha! Last ten days were real fun with my cousin’s wedding and Diwali celebrations. In amidst of chit-chatting with cousins I met after long, dancing on every single song, relishing the variety sweets, drinking Bacardi with dad, licking my fingers on mom’s delicious food, and playing cards with family till 2 am, I managed to write stories for first two essays of HBS and get them reviewed by my reviewer.

I am back from home but will confess that the rhythm of writing stories every night is lost somewhere. Yesterday, one of my closest friends made me realize that the time is running faster than I, and I don’t have a single minute to waste provided I have 5 US schools and I safe UK school in my list for round 2, and I have one more cousin’s wedding coming up in last week of this month. So from today, I am going to regain my lost rhythm with more focus and efforts.

I personally feel one more reason for this lost rhythm – the anxious butterflies inside and outside me waiting for ISB result - though I keep saying to myself and everyone that nothing going to happen there as these results are so relative. These butterflies remind me of one more news to share – interview invite from Richard Ivey on 19th – face to face with manager of admissions in Bangalore. If anyone has Richard Ivey interview experience, please do share.

My next post would be only after ISB result – all the best to all who are awaiting the result!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Advantages of MBA Deferral Policy

Some top business schools around the globe are offering flexible deferral policies these days. There is a reason for that but many admits don't ponder much on the advantages of the deferrals, and the few who do, just do it solely for family reasons. 

This post is intended to highlight how deferring for an year might position you better for your MBA. 

Prepare yourself to excel in MBA: Many top consulting companies or financial institutions who recruit MBA graduates mostly consider top 5 - 10 percent of the lot. And to be in that top 5% is not an easy task in a rigorous tight-packed one-year MBA program. In your deferred year, you can prepare yourself extremely well to have more chances to excel by completing basics management courses like accounting, finance, stats, economics, reading management books, reading famous biographies, improving soft skills and many more.

Clear your goals: I have interacted with a lot of MBA students and admission consultants during the last 4 years, and I have come to believe that one year in MBA just flew by before you know. Because of that it becomes utmost critical to have crystal clear goals of what you want from this MBA program. If you choose to defer, you gained one free and secure year. Use this year to increase your network, talk to as many alums as you can, talk to your senior professionals and search through your soul. Your crystal clear goals will help you far better in MBA than anything else. 

Aim for your dream school: If this is not your dream school or is not in the country where you would like to settle post MBA, you can defer for an year and give your best shot for your dream school with more confidence, because now you already have a seat secured. You are not loosing anything but the gain is tremendous. Nothing can substitute your dream school.

Increase in salary: One factor that largely affect the outgoing salaries of MBA students is their incoming salaries. In that one year, in all the probabilities, you have a better salary than the current. And, higher incoming salary equals to higher outgoing salary.

Designation: Many admits might have pending promotions within an year for which they have sweated-out really hard for last couple of years. So why not wait for an year and make that sweat count. You have your position secured in MBA and getting in with a higher designation will surely pay-off.

Plan for the money: Today you have a good earning job. Better earn and save money for one more year, so even if you opt for loan, you have enough liquid cash to pay off that loan without hurting your back in the uncertain market.

NOTE: Not all advantages are applicable to all, so think clearly and deeply and make the most of it. 

PS: This is a guest post by Kamal Verma. He is a freelance writer and resident blogger, dedicated to contribute to the MBA community.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A new approach to practice GMAT from Beat The GMAT

Beat The GMAT has launched a brand new product for GMAT practice, making it more interesting and effective to practice for GMAT, including more than 700 brand new maths and verbal questions. Being an official reviewer, from last four days I am reviewing some of these questions and found each one of them testing and teaching a new concept. The best feature of this product according to me is that every practice question features a video explanation for the given question, written/produced by a veteran GMAT instructor. I wish I had these explanations when I was struggling for my GMAT last year; my 740 could have been 20-30 points up ;)

Some other useful features:
  • Its classifies the practice section wise, so you can concentrate on your weak sections first.
  • Its supports completely online practice, so you can study at work or at home.
  • It provides the ability to customize your preparation based on subject area, with just a few clicks.
  • Performance reporting to identify your strengths, weaknesses on GMAT subject areas.
  • Adaptive practice algorithm that mimics the real GMAT - the better you do, the harder the questions become in your practice session.
If you are preparing for GMAT and need to know more about this product, please don't hesitate to mail me using the link on left. I have a few accounts of this product specially for my blog readers, so let me know if you are interested.

Hope this helps,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

ISB interview done, what's next

Ahh, I'm done with ISB interview again last Sunday and it was all together a different experience than last time, in terms of both staying in Hyderabad and the Interview. Let me rewind a bit...

Last year it was fun and easy, as I had my awesome friend in Hyderabad living 5 minute from ISB, and he had a car, you know ;) He picked me from railway station, breakfast was ready at his home, and I had a feeling of refreshment after seeing him after long. My interview was in the morning next day and I had a whole day to roam, revise, and relax. He dropped me to ISB, and gave me moral support. I was the only one without a formal jacket; felt a little awkward but was quite confident. Post interview went out with him and his wife, and had lots of masti. Interview experience was alright. The very first question, tell a story, made me nervous, which they asked only after I provoked them saying I love writing, but overall it was pretty cool  and went for around 30-35 minutes. I was too confident and happy post interview, but that happiness didn't last long, as you know!

This year it was hard, as I get down to a alien station of Kacheguda, ran to catch a local MMTS train to reach Hafizpet, get an auto to reach my hotel after he took me to two wrong hotels, and had breakfast alone. The interview was on the same day in evening and I was tired of the whole night journey, with cockroaches playing on my face even in third tier AC. After sleeping for 2 hours, I got my formal jacket ironed, revised some points, and left for the interview. This time I was in jacket like all others but was not that confident. This time the interview was quite different. It went for just 15 minute with 2 guys and a lady in the panel. One of the guys was all in mood to grill me asking so many cross questions all related to why this career and why mba, with a no smile face. Then I broke the ice when the other guy asked me to show some salsa steps and I asked the lady, mam will you dance with me ;) Everyone laughed, though I didn't dance. Then they all got engrossed in listening my personal story I mentioned in an essay, and before I knew, they said we are done. Don't know what to make out of it. Que sera sera, as one of my friend rightly said.

I'm not keeping any hope, so I am all set to start for round 2 apps. Thinking of HBS, Stanford, MIT, Kellogg, and Ross. Also, keeping Cranfield and Manchester in the list. But looking at few disturbing factors and festive events lined up in next 2 months, I might have to cut short my list.

Anyways going home tommorow for my cousin's wedding and Diwali celebrations,
Its a Refreshing feeling!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Interview calls update

I'll keep it short and sweet...

2 days back, I came from my office, tired, to see a rejection mail from Cambridge. Quite fast and shocking. Didn't know why I got dinged in round 1; to find the reason I logged onto a few forums like pagalguy and guess what many Indian aspirants were shocked like me. Don't know what has happened.

Many of my friends have received ISB interview calls, and I was hearing that today is the last day to receive a ISB call for people located out of Bangalore. I have lost all hopes, in fact I think i was not hoping, and suddenly my cell beeped at 7 PM...yeah, you guessed it right :) So have to prepare for interview now...5 days to go....

All the me ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why I had to defer Kellogg to R2?

This was not an easy decision – to defer an application to R2 on which I was working so excitedly from last 5 weeks, yes 5 long weeks!

I started the Kellogg leadership essay on September 1st. I was writing day and night but it took me to 8 days to jot down 2 success and 1 failure leadership story. I tried to write them in a narrative style, taking reference from Harvard 65 successful essays book. I send them to my reviewers; only one replied after a week and found my stories pretty weak and suggested a lot of rework. By that time it was around 15th. I have already sent my goals essay for review. He replied pretty quick and a few places he mentioned gaps, with a very typical long term goal. He mentioned your profile is strong but is coming out well in this essay.

It was 18th and I was at square one. I went home to attend my cousin’s engagement which ate my 3 days. Just 2 weeks were left for Cambridge and I left Kellogg and picked up Cambridge, which has one atypical IT problems essay. As the time was running and none of my reviewers were replying, I decided to take help of a professional reviewer. She seemed very confident, but I always had a suspicion owing to my last year sad experience, and she transformed my suspicion into a belief. She wasted initial 7 days saying “she was busy with other clients; don’t worry, you are in safe hands.” It was 29th when she actually looked on my essays. I was hoping for see the best reviews ever but to my disbelief she return back the same essays - no review comments, just deleted a few lines – the lines which according to me were my strengths. When I tried to ask the reason, she replied I’m trained in this – I mean that could never be a justifiable explanation. Finally, I dismissed her service and prepared all my Cambridge essays myself. I feel they are pretty good. Fingers are crossed!

It’s was 6th Oct and none of my Kellogg essays was in submittal state. Further, I had Richard Ivey to submit on 12th. It was freaking me out. I knew how hard I would try I won’t be able to complete Kellogg and Ivey essays in a week without an outsider eye. One of my friend introduced me to another professional reviewer (pretty expensive), stating they are awesome. Can you believe after having bad experience twice with consultants, I took their service for Kellogg. Again to my disbelief, they turned out to be – awesome this time ;) I was like wow. I wanted a sanity check and the way they reviewed my essays, I was surprised. I have already incorporated my reviewer comments, but still so much to change. From 7th till yesterday, I wrote essays around 14 hours every day. But was able to transform just two Kellogg essays into a decent version, and still have scope for improvement. It was so tight, almost impossible to do another essays in 2 days when I had to submit my Richard Ivey (managed to write decent essays and also get reviewed by a student) as well. I was feeling worse thinking how I got stuck in this situation. I finally took decision to submit Ivey and defer Kellogg to round 2.

People say it’s not much difference between round 1 and 2 evaluation, but somehow I personally feel round 1 is always a edge. Time will tell...

Don’t know this is a wise decision, but I know I have to plan a little wiser now!

I hope this post might help others also to plan a little wiser in R2 – because time fly fast!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

ApexWriters - A personalized service!

Two days back, after writing and re-writing my essay to a decent shape, I thought let's get it reviewed by some professional. One of my friends told me about ApexWriters -

They have this amazing service of editing an 100 words essay for free with no hidden costs - I uploaded my essay and the next day I got the edited version. It was completely changed with logical comments and a much impactful language.

They have a few very amazing and customized services:

These guys are really impressive!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cambridge Judge business school - submitted

Just submitted my Cambridge Judge business school after multiple reviews and spell-checks with few friends and myself. The Cambridge announces the interview decisions in November first week and result in just 2-3 days post interview. I was just talking to my friend today in London that if I get an interview call, I might fly to Cambridge for the one day exclusive school visit plus interview. So, the fingers are crossed as usual and a little tighter this time ;-)

A few updates:
1. ISB interview calls are floating in pagalguy forum but I'm still checking my inbox for the same.
2. Planning to submit Richard-Ivey in two days.
3. Post which I could concentrate completely on Kellogg.

Time to sleep!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Star wars and the bschool essays

As I mentioned earlier, I am in constant touch with BTG CEO, David Park discussing over various topics including BTG $100K challenge, SLP, writing good narrations for essays et al.

Today he sent me an assignment to complete before moving to R2 applications. And, to my surprise, the assignment is to watch 70 minute video review of star wars: phantom menace:

Embarrassed I admit, I have not seen original star wars and the more recent star wars phantom menace, so he recommended me to watch them first before watching this review.

He says:
this probably sounds really weird to you. after all, what does making a movie have to do with writing business school essays right? imo, those two things are very closely related. ultimately, writing a good essay is all about telling a good story. the 70 minute video review has some very cool ideas about what makes a story good.
Interesting huh!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Startup Leadership Program (SLP) - First class

It was simply a great start of a great class making a great day.

• 9:45 am  - Introduction (Sudip, our program manager)

• 10:00 am  - Key note speech (Suhas Gopinath - Youngest India CEO, became the CEO at the age of 14, member of World Economic Forum, etc, see his bio)

• 10:45 am  - Tea break

• 11:00 am  - Introductions by Shuva Mandal (Legal firm, MD Fox Mandal Little) and Anand Daniel (VC, Accel)

• 12:00 pm  - Short presentation by our Sponsor Evoma

• 2:00 pm - 5pm - A brainstorming workshop. First we learned about the JOC (job, outcome, constraints) Framework. Then we took a live example of Sudip's startup ( and brainstormed on how to grow customer base with a low cost marketing strategy using JOC framework. Then every team presented their ideas and the other team judged their view points. A pretty good learning experience.

• 5:00pm - 7pm - Drinks
It was an amazing day spent,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Northwestern Kellogg - Part I submitted

This time I didn't cross checked it hundred times before clicking the submit button. Just twice. One alone and one with my brother for spell check. Feeling pretty confident and hoping for the best.

Next one is Cambridge on Oct 4. I'm a re-applicant there. Drafts of 2 essays are ready and sent for review, and today I would work on 3rd essay. Will try to finish it as soon as possible so as to move on Kellogg ones again.

Day after tomorrow is my first SLP full day class. Pretty excited about it.

Feeling tired and not in a mood to write more, so winding up!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Did I plan it well?

"That means you didn't plan it well," my younger brother said to me last night, when I was discussing about not-so-good shape of my applications.

"Didn't I plan well?" this question stood straight on my face many times, but I never thought it would again haunt me this time. I started working on my applications in May, and was (am) very sure of R1, but things didn't happen the way I expected. So, what went wrong?

1. Yeah this sounds impossible, still give it a try - It's not bad to give a try, but everything comes with a cost, and sometimes the high priorities suffer. Reliance-Stanford scholarship essay was one such try. Though I knew it was next to impossible to get that scholarship given the seats available, I devoted complete May to it. You see, my high priorities i.e. my shortlisted schools applications were just not started.

2. Too many things on the platter - To improve my academic qualification, I enrolled in CABM course. Though I knew it was a very demanding course and I would have just 3 months for its exam, I thought I would manage. I studied every night 2-3 hours after my busy office hours. Then did it affect my essays? Well, yes. I did split my weekend time in essays and CABM and NGO work - needless to say that wasn't enough. By June end, I was done with 40 of 120 CABM chapters, but just 1 or 2 rough drafts of my essays. Clear compromise on essays, right? To write CABM in August end, I'd to comprise like that till August. Not affordable, so in mid-July I postponed CABM exam for December or later. But by then, my applications were already affected by 1.5 months.

3. Reviewers, would they gonna help on time - You always need some good trusted people to review your essays. You plan that you give complete your essays draft 1 or 2 months in advance and would send them for review. Awesome plan! But what if your reviewers won't have time to review when you want their comments. Your planning flops. My friend and I sent our essays to around 7 people who know us personally, but it took 4 weeks for the first reviewer to respond, and finally he didn't like our essays. The August was over.

4. Unforeseen unavoidable stuff, phew! - My first cousin getting engaged and I have to fly there; 3-4 days gone. My best friend has his first anniversary and his vacation plane goes over my city, so he planned to extend his holidays and will stay with me for 5-6 days. I mean this is my peak time, but all these things has to happen now.

5. Admission consultants, do i need them - No one would know your stories better than you. But a good admission consultant would plan it better, explore it better, and write it better. I decided to write my essays on my own and I didn't hire anyone. Was I wrong?

So, sometimes when you start things much in advance and work really hard on them, still due to many reasons your planning failed. My brother was not right when he said "That means you didn't plan it well," but he was not wrong either. Whatsoever, planning is one skill I would surely hone during my MBA!

Breaking down, but still on with R1!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Startup Leadership Program (SLP) Bangalore kicks off

Today SLP Bangalore chapter had its kick-off meet in Evoma. We started with tagging our names on our shirts, to help each other out with our names. I noticed, unlike me, almost everyone wrote two names on their stickies. If you guessed it right, the second name was their start-up name. Yes, they all are already entrepreneurs. Quite embarrassing for me! 

Sudip Dutta, our program manager, told us about the rigorous selection process and how after 3 rounds of application review by different reviewers and 1 telephonic interview, 21 applicants have been selected for Bangalore chapter. Now that was an accomplished moment!

Then after the small introduction from Sudip and our advisors, we headed towards the lounge to grab some drinks and to know each other better. We had very friendly and mature interactions out there. It was the time I met so many people with so diverse backgrounds doing so diverse stuff. But not even for  a single moment, I felt it's our first meet. It was a truly amazing hour spent. Seems gonna have lot of serious learning and serious fun in coming next 6 months.


Friday, September 10, 2010

In conversation with David Park, CEO of Beat The GMAT

Some wonderful things happen without a knock and leave you elated. Such one thing just happened. I just had an hour long conversation with David Park, CEO of Beat The GMAT. He left me totally stunned by his vivacious and grounded personality.

Why this conversation? As I mentioned in my earlier post that David has offered me some help related to bschool apps and that help was to review my bschool resume. Today we scheduled this. But before my resume we started with his introduction. He has done so many amazing things in his career with so many big names in his resume. Totally mind blowing.

Then we started talking about my resume, and he said my resume is just awesome with zero flaws. As per him, it is one of the best resumes he has seen in a while from an IT guy. And, he gaves a few reasons that why he felt so. I was like was unbelievable for me. So as my resume is certified now, I'm not going to change even a single bit of it :)

Then we took the discussion to a different level with chatting about Startup Leadership Program (SLP), which he is aware of and finds totally impressive. Then he asked me to become guest blogger for BTG to share SLP experiences. He is very busy with some exciting BTG programs but humbly agreed to provide me feedback on my essays. That's simply great! He made my fly by saying that "Just looking at your resume and talking to you for these few minutes, I could say you are going places, and I mean it." And finally we discussed about a few very exciting things related to bschool applications, which I would save for the future.

All in all, it was an awesome and informative discussion, and now I'm going to have a smiling sleep. Thanks David!

Good night!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Startup Leadership Program (SLP) - I'm coming :-)

Today morning was awesome with an acceptance mail from SLP waiting to welcome me. An acceptance after a long time truly made my day :-) I didn't tell many close friends about this so will call now and surprise them. Looking forward to meet some of the amazing people and learning some of the amazing lessons!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Northwestern Kellogg - Leadership essay - Struggle continues...

I was not wrong when I said converting your content into compelling stories for bschool essays is toughest job, even though I love writing fictions and have a dedicated blog for the same.

In my last post, I outlined the structure of my leadership essay. But I've changed it now, and yet not finalized. When I drafted the first version of my personal experience, it came out very beautifully but took around 600 words. I tried to condense it but the more I deleted words, the more it lost its essence. So, I thought let's keep just one detailed experience in this essay. To confirm, I posted this question at several consulting blogs.

Thankfully, Linda from replied: "I recommend 1-2 experiences, but if you go with one, make sure it's really impressive and also bring out leadership in other essays."

To which I have one more question now: "I have two very impressive experiences - one personal and one professional. I have drafted both of them in compelling story form but both are taking minimum 400-450 words each, and reducing them in my limits means loosing their essence. Can I use one professional example in this essay and the personal one in additional essay?"

Hope to see some replies tomorrow morning,
Good night!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Northwestern Kellogg - Struggling with Leadership essay

From last 3 hours, I'm trying to frame a paragraph of my leadership essay, but yet not able to do so. My head is spinning now. I started this essay 4 days back because I thought it would be quite simpler than others as I have the content with examples ready.

I drafted the below mentioned outline (your comments are invited and needed):
1. A personal life experience long back in 2002 and my leadership learning from that - 200 words - drafted this for ISB essay.

2. How I evolved as a leader since then and a professional leadership experience - 200 words - drafted this for one essay last year.

3. What leadership skills I still lack, and how Kellogg would help me in gaining them - 200 words - have to draft this fresh, but had bullet points ready for what I feel I lack to be an effective leader.

So, my first draft was almost ready the very first day and as usual I sent it for review to my first reviewer mukaam. She was already aware of these examples, so she but obvious liked the content. But suggested to work on presentation, as it was not in a form of compelling stories, and we are targeting Kellogg. Actually she is reading '65 Successful Harvard Business School Application Essays', and when I read a few essays from that book, I was bound to agree with her.

So, since then I'm trying to transform my personal life experience content into a compelling story, but trust me guys it is the toughest job. I'm working from last 3 days and 3 nights, writing, deleting, writing again and deleting again, and I've completed just opening paragraph. The second para is making my head spin, but will get back to it after this post. Planning to write all night tonight, and hopefully before I crash on bed in the morning, I'll be done with the story of my personal experience. 

Anyways, my blog has completed 6 months and by the time I login again, it would touch 5K hits. It's a great feeling to see so many people visiting the blog and hopefully finding it useful in a way or other.

Keep visiting guys!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Free Essay workshops from BTG

Sometimes it happens that you come back home so tired from office just to crash on bed. And when the door bell rang 100th time, it disturbs your sleep a little, making you get up from bed perplexed - when I slept? Did i have dinner? Is it mid-night? Why I'm alone, where is my brother? Is it morning? Am I late for office? It just happened to me. Thinking all this I walked to the door, opened it, and realised it was my dinner delivery boy, and it is evening, and I just slept 1.5 hours back.

Rubbing my eyes, I opened my mail box, and there was this mail waiting for me straight from the CEO of Beat The GMAT, David Park. I liked it because of three reasons:

1. David liked my blog and some posts in it. I liked his digital sign, dp.
2. He mentioned about few free B-School Essay workshops coming up. Must be very helpful. Details below.
3. He offered me some apps related services for free, now who doesn't like it :)

BTG in association with similar others big names in mba world are coming up with free B-School Essay workshops starting from next week. Over the next 4 weeks, they're going to have 9 sessions where an admissions consultant walks through every single essay from the top b-schools. Each of the 9 sessions will be devoted to a single school - the HBS session is next week. I encourage you to check it out. I've already enrolled myself to few of my choices.

I'm in total senses now!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What true leaders are made of...

I just started my another school essays, and the first one chose to work on is Leadership essay. This is when I read this worth sharing story:

“At the age of seven, a young boy and his family were forced out of their home. The boy had to work to support his family. At the age of nine, his mother passed away. When he grew up, the young man was keen to go to law school, but had no education.

At 22, he lost his job as a store clerk. At 23, he ran for state legislature and lost. The same year, he went into business. It failed, leaving him with a debt that took him 17 years to repay. At 27, he had a nervous breakdown.

Two years later, he tried for the post of speaker in his state legislature. He lost. At 31, he was defeated in his attempt to become an elector. By 35, he had been defeated twice while running for Congress. Finally, he did manage to secure a brief term in Congress, but at 39 he lost his re-election bid.

At 41, his four-year-old son died. At 42, he was rejected as a prospective land officer. At 45, he ran for the Senate and lost. Two years later, he lost the vice presidential nomination. At 49, he ran for Senate and lost again.

At 51, he was elected the President of the United States of America.

The man in question: Abraham Lincoln.”
                                                            — Author Unknown

This is what true leaders are made of - persistence and determination!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Attending MBA fair and making impressions

Step 1: MBA schools are travelling all around the world, and many times we miss on the dates. Not anymore, thanks to clearAdmit for the below consolidated list. Are they coming in your city, check that out and register.

Step 2: Registering for an MBA fair is just the first step. One need to know the right ways to approach these fairs, the right questions to ask, in all to make lasting impressions on your selected schools adcoms. Thanks to MBA Fairs: Advancing Your MBA Ambitions special report from to guide us on this.

Events in India, consolidated list:

Berkeley / Haas:

Chicago Booth:


Duke / Fuqua:


Northwestern / Kellogg:

Michigan / Ross:

MIT / Sloan:

Stanford GSB:

NYU / Stern:

Dartmouth / Tuck:

UCLA / Anderson:

UNC / Kenan Flagler:

UVA / Darden:

U Penn / Wharton:

Yale SOM:





See you there!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

ISB - A last moment hitch in submission

I never thought it would take me so much time to finally freeze my ISB essays. I gave myself the target of 15th August to complete the first version, which drifted to 22nd, when I wrote my last “yippie” post. Then my reviewers sent over comments, and I incorporated them. I myself didn't like few parts and rewrote them completely. And it was today i.e. 29th morning 6am, after editing my essays whole night, I was completely satisfied with them. I was all set to submit my application by today evening.

I completed the other sections of the application and uploaded all documents, to realise in the evening that I don't have scanned copy of my latest salary slip, but thankfully had a hard copy in my Visa documents folder, writing which makes me realise that I never posted about my US B1 Visa which I got stamped last Tuesday only. I should have blogged about it ya! Okay, then I got my salary slip scanned and uploaded it. I asked my reviewer to go through the entire application once for spell check, and though she was dead tired, she did that will as usual enthusiasm. It was 10:30pm and my ISB app was all set for submission. I was so happy that the first time I would submit my application not on its last day of submission i.e. 30th Aug, but seems it was not meant to happen.

I clicked on the last page and there was something new, “Upload scanned signature”. What the heck, it was never there before in any of the applications I submitted last year, it was totally unexpected. I somehow managed to get the scanned signature, and then the worst happened. I tried several times, but I am not able to upload it. It says saved successfully but when I go back to the screen, I am not able to see my uploaded signature and hence not even able to submit my application. Just wrote a mail to ISB and will call them tomorrow morning.

Just imagine if today were the last date, as it was last time when I was rushing through my app to submit it at 11:54pm, just 6 minutes before the closing window. Thank God this time it is not, but my excited feeling to submit my app before deadline date is vanished.

Lessons learnt:
1. Check all the sections of your application very minutely and try to complete them much before deadline, best even before you have started your essays.

2. Your targeted date to complete essays would definitely be missed, how hard you try to meet it. So always keep some buffer days for essays completion.

I’ll follow these lessons,

How I managed to upload signature?
I'm not able to post comments from my office system due to some weird reason, so I am updating my post itself with steps I performed to upload signature.

1. I signed again on a clean A4 white sheet.
2. Scanned it in 150dpi in jpeg format.
3. Changed its attributes using MS paint to 150 * 50 pixels. But this didn’t work and I was not able to see my signature.
4. Then I undo the same, and cut the piece around my signature, and saved only that piece as a new image.
5. Open this image and resized it to 150 * 50 pixels. This time it worked. Note: This time did not changed attributes but I actually resized the image.
6. Uploaded it successfully. You will see a link “click here to check uploaded signature” under the browse button, which would open a separate window with signature on top left corner, which means you are done.
7. Said “Thank God!!” and submitted my application.

It's kinda weird, but it worked for me. All the best!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

ISB Essays - A quick yippiee update

After a lot of thinking, juggling, and struggling, finally I've managed to complete a decent version of all my ISB essays and just sent them to my first reviewer mukaam. They are still flowing out of word limit but tommorow I'm going to discuss each essay with her in detail and hopefully finalize them soon after few more reviews from few other close people.

It's a yippiee moment!

Feedback interview - Tepper, Carnegie Mellon

Last night Laurie Stewart of Tepper called me for feedback interview. It was a scheduled interview but I wondered why my interviewer, Linwood Harris, didn't give me feedback. The duration of interview was not mentioned in the mail but it went for just 13 minutes, and seemed more like a formality. But seems feedback interviews happen this way only, in which they tell you everything but tell you nothing!

She started thanking me for applying to Tepper and asked whether I'm considering Tepper MBA again. Then she emphasised on listed four points:

* It was a very competitive pool this year, and it is too tough to point out strengths and weaknesses of an applicant in this kind of pool.
* My GMAT is fine and no need to retake it.
* Continuity to work on your leadership and give examples like contribution, problem solving, difference you make in company and so on.
* Apply preferably in later rounds like in round 2 or 3 - This one was a little strange to me. When I asked why she said to have more time to improve my profile.

To my surprise, without even asking me for any questions, she was about to hang up wishing me all the best with reapplication when I said "I had a few of questions to ask, may I?" 
1. What are the strengths and weaknesses in my application? - As, I told you in the starting that it was very competitive pool this year, and it is too tough to point out strengths and weaknesses. But yes your strong GMAT and work experience is definitely your strength and you should build on them. Show more work on your leadership and give examples.

2. Did my story make sense to you or do I have to work on it? – Yes, as I read your story, it was convincing. That’s why you were in waitlist, which means you are qualified for the school. 

3. Would Tepper consider my old application with my new one? If my career goals have become clearer now and thus would change a bit from the last time, how would Tepper consider them? – You have the option to submit complete new application or just additional essay telling your accomplishments since last time you applied. Yes, Tepper do have access to your previous file. And, if your career goal has changed, you must acknowledge the same it in your new essay.

4. Did my 740 GMAT score make up for my GPA enough, and if not, by how much do I need to compensate for that in other areas, and how? – Don't retake GMAT as it is very strong, plus you have good professional experience. GPA still matters but not to that extent as it would for a applicant with less years of experience. Additional course is not recommended from my side but it is completely your choice.

5. Do you get a huge number of applications from (software) engineers from India? If yes, by how much am I succeeding to stand out?

6. What do you recommend that I work on from now until the application submission in order to maximize my chances for admission?

It was 13 minutes over, and she said she had to leave and couldn't continue any further, and my last 2 questions remained unanswered.

Nonetheless, it's better than nothing!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An informative morning in discussion with Shobhit, a Kellogg student

After a long time I saw the beautiful fresh morning, yes after a long time. My office starts at 11 am, and if you have read my earlier posts you might be knowing that I sleep late (around 3 am) to get up late. Today I'd a meeting scheduled at 8 am with Shobhit Chugh, a Kellogg student and Mckinsey intern, and that gave a chance to enjoy a few clean breezes and an informative discussion.

We talked about tightly knit community and team orientated culture of Kellogg, and its the top notch faculty and students that still keeps Kellogg on the top.

Then the discussion revolves around my career goals, and he shared his views regarding them. It might be tough to get into a senior management role back in industry after working for few years in consulting, as consulting job majorly deals in making strategies, and does not give much experience in management. However, technology/product management could prove better than consulting for my long term career goal of a senior level director in an IT company. Secondly, if I don't enjoy travelling much, it would be a major challenge with consulting job, as there is no other go.

Then we discussed about the challenges with starting my own company and he said a bschool could be an awesome and safe platform to implement your ideas with smart people around, but post school, it becomes really challenging to take your company forward, under huge debts without financial backing. We also discussed about the new courses related to start-ups in Kellogg.

He was too supportive and asked me to post further questions over email. It was pretty good way to start a day among these essay writing days.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Round 1 deadlines

Round One deadlines for the top MBA programs:

August 30: ISB (for Indian Passport Holders)

September 29: INSEAD (September Intake)
September 30: Duke / Fuqua (Early Action)

October 1: Harvard
October 4: Wharton, Cambridge / Judge
October 5: Cornell / Johnson
October 6: Stanford GSB, Columbia (Early Decision and January Term)
October 7: Yale SOM
October 8: Oxford / Saïd
October 11: Michigan Ross
October 12: Richard Ivey (Round 2)
October 13: Chicago / Booth, Berkeley / Haas, Dartmouth / Tuck (Early Action)
October 14: Northwestern / Kellogg, UVA Darden
October 20: UCLA / Anderson
October 22: UNC / Kenan-Flagler (Early Action)
October 25: CMU / Tepper
October 26: MIT / Sloan

November 1: Duke / Fuqua (Round 1), UT Austin / McCombs
November 10: Dartmouth / Tuck (November Round)
November 15: NYU / Stern
November 19: Queen's

Plan well!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

ISB Essay 1... Scrapping is not bad!

Wishing you all Indians a very Happy Independence Day. It's all about freedom of doing things we like, we feel, we love, and one of them is blogging!

In my earlier post last week, I felt that my ISB first essay draft is taking a decent shape but the very next day when mukaam reviewed it, she told that though its telling my unique experiences in an impressive story style but missing a most important aspect - my contributions to ISB by those experiences.

Then I tried to pen down my contributions, but every subsequent reading at every subsequent morning made me dislike it further. Somehow I started feeling that though it is telling my unique experiences but it is still not coming as a compelling argument, which essay question demands. So, finally I called mukaam to tell I'm scrapping essay 1 or will move it to ISB additional essay. She reacted positively.

This made me remind a Wharton alum words in a recent Wharton session: "If you feel to scrap your written essay to start it fresh, it means you have given it enough thought and you are on a right track." Now, this doesn't mean every essay should be scrapped to be good, but it does mean that don't get disheartened if you have to scrap first few drafts, as this is the way amazing things take shape :)

I've started drafting it again completely new, and will send it soon for review before this weekend will say bye-bye.

Live the freedom - today and forever!

Friday, August 13, 2010

An upcoming webinar from The Art of Applying

By now you must have heard about the The Art of Applying. For those who haven't,  it is a brand new career coaching service by Harvard grad, Kaneisha Graysson. Visit to explore.

There is a webinar event coming up on August 26, 2010. The topic this time is: “School Choice, Quick-Start Essays, and Killer Recommendations.” Link to Register:

Please feel free to visit for past seminar from The Art of Applying.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ISB Essay 1 is taking shape

I, like most of you, usually get time in the night to let the creative juices flowing for bschool essays. It's my third night in the row for ISB first essay "If we were to admit one more student to the class of 2012, make a compelling argument as to why that student should be you? (300 words max)." Its 3:55 am and am finding difficult to keep my eyes open as I'm writing this post but am glad that my essay took a decent shape tonight, content wise at least.  

The essay is a common (uniqueness + contribution) one in a slightly different language asking applicants to demonstrate their qualities (the unique, the better) which could set them apart from others and how their experiences would contribute to the learning of ISB community. The spectrum is wide to choose from to answer this essay, but requires time to pick the best ones which truly makes you unique.
I think I have picked the best ones for myself, or may be while writing my next draft I'd feel something better than my as-of-now best. Whatever it would be, one thing which I have to surely do tomorrow is to shorten my essay to fit in 300 words limit, as my essay is a little overboard...just by 800 words ;)

Good night,

Saturday, August 7, 2010

IIMA - PGPX - 1 year MBA for Executives

Just came back from movie Aisha, and feeling so low. All my high hopes from the movie and more than that, from Abhay Deol have drowned. How could a class actor like him signed such a bakwas movie. The first 10 minutes of the movie made me realise my mistake of booking the tickets yesterday for this flick instead of Inception... No story line, poor dialogues, and incomplete useless scenes, but, but, but Sonam Kapoor is looking so rich, stunning, and stylish...She is the only attraction of this movie ;)

Overall the movie is too shallow. As I said there so many incomplete scenes and every scene seems disconnected with the following one, there seemed only quantity of frames but no overall quality, and thus no compelling story. This made me emphasise again that in bshools essays I must focus on the quality of my overall story and not the quatity of many small incomplete stories. Then only the story would be so compelling to connect adcom with it and with you.

Last whole week I worked on 6th and hopefully the final version of my Resume, and I'm glad to see that it is looking pretty decent. Got it critically reviewed by 2 friends and sent it for further review to an MBA student and my cousin from Harvard.

I have also completed IIMA - PGPX application form and planning to submit it tomorrow evening after one more round of review and cross check.

Quick facts IIMA - PGPX: Its an one year MBA which starts every year in April with class size of around 90 students. The last date of submission is 10th August and there is only one round. There is no application fee, no essays, and strangely, no resume asked right now. But once you get selected for an interview, there are a few essay questions and other requirements.

Admission criteria: GMAT, Leadership profiling, and Interviews. Average age is 34 years and average exp is approx 10.5 years.

The major placements in 2008-2009 were in Consulting and ITES $ IT sectors, and function-wise in Business Development, Consulting, and General Management. The average domestic salary offered was Rs. 20.10 Lacs and the average overseas salary offered was US $ 125,000.

I didn't apply to it last year and even this time it is not my dream school, but this time I want to keep my cards open and options wide. So I'm applying to it. How about you?


Friday, July 30, 2010

My experience with Princeton Review MBA admission service

Supposedly, this entry be published 2 weeks earlier when Princeton Review screwed up my senses, but then I went home for vacation and was chilled down. But still I feel to blog my experience with Princeton Review so my fellow MBA aspirants could make the right decision.

I took the Princeton Review MBA admission counseling last year. As I took my GMAT in Nov 2009 and was in rush to meet round 2 deadlines, I needed a correct and quick guidance. You must have sensed by now, Princeton Review terribly failed to provide me that, and to get me through any of the shortlisted schools.

My counselor always pretended to be very smart and knowledgeable, but for every question his first two answers were "I'll get back to you," and "Don't worry, you are in safe hands." He never bothered to know about my stories, forget his guiding on them. He read my essays only once just before applications submission, that too just for spell check or a formality. He always claimed that he is an interview expert but when he prepared me for it, I realised it was all waste. We planned a mock interview one day before my real interview, but he forgot that and didn't even bother to pick my call. Can you beat this? All in all I still don't know what was his role.

My essay editor was quite impressive lady. But she has her own limitations. Her role was majorly language correction and styling.

Finally, I didn't get through any of 5 schools. My counselor assured me that Princeton Review would provide me free service again for new 5 schools and later Princeton Review operations folks denied it and gave some excuses. I was not interested in their free services anyways as I decided to write my essays myself this time, but it made me realise that they don't care about career, they are just worried about their business.

The major role of these people should be to understand our stories, evaluate them, help us pick best ones out, and help them weave together to give a complete picture, without missing out any dimension and at the same time avoid writing redundant stuffs. Let us know about the great blogs and career related sites, pro-actively guide us through additional actions such as informational interviews, sessions etc. And then to prepare us for interviews by suggesting what to say, what not to say, how to say, et al.

The purpose of this post is only and only to share my not-so-good experience, so other interested guys could make the right decision.

Hope you guys will make the right choice,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back in action...after a sweet vacation at home!

A lot is happening in my life from last few days. Last week was at home after a long time and enjoyed tremendously with my lil sister and cousin, playing cricket on terrace, flying kites and ample eating, sleeping, and talking. It did drift me from my MBA course, but was a much needed break. 

That said, am back in action. The first task after sweet vacation was to draft the answers for SLP application but its deadline is 15th August, not 31th July as I was thinking till 15 min earlier. Now I have some breathing space for the same.

The work in office is killing, making me work from morning 10 to evening 8. From now onwards, my friend and I have decided to stay back in office to discuss and draft essays from 8 pm till 11. We are following it from last 2 days. It's working out quite well as of now and my career goal essay shaping up.

Before starting this blog post, had a conversation with Ross recent alum from India working about my career goals and how they are fit with Ross, and what I can do extra as a reapplicant. Scheduled a meeting with another Ross senior alum next week and 2 current students from Kellogg.

Started my research for 1 years programs now as well.

So, gaadi is on right track, it seems ;)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A really productive day

I was researching about my schools for almost 2 months now and shortlisted 3 as of now, but today after a long time I was tangibly productive wrt of MBA application.

Today early morning I had an informal discussion with two just passed out students of one of my shortlisted school. I talked about their MBA major, their insights about the school, clubs, the attributes I should focus on to make compelling stories, and lot more. One of them has the same background and goals as I have, which is truly helpful. She gave me insights on that major and the companies she focused during her interns and post MBA, and also the recruitment scene for that function and industry. It is a must to connect with students, and preferably of your background and goals.

Secondly, after not so good last few days in terms of CABM, today I studied two CABM chapters with my friend. It's a little fast when you study in group, atleast it works for me, provided the tuning with your study group is fine.

Then, after CABM, we brainstormed for a few hours about the essays in depth, and came out with a pretty decent outline (just outline) for career goals and leadership essays. I felt it became more interesting for both of us to recollect our experiences by talking about them with each other. Obviously our experiences and goals are different, but this healthy discussion gave them more breadth and depth; but there is still long way to go in shaping these outline into impressive stories.

I'm on for it,

Friday, July 9, 2010

A fresh season begins

Sad news sometimes comes together, and in fact it is good; makes you a little less sad relatively. Last week the season 1 of my one and only Hindi television serial,, got over. I love this serial because of the way its cute stories are written and executed giving a positive fresh feeling, always inspiring me to write short stories, and to think something new and positive. In the same week, I got bad news from Tepper after a long waitlist period with which season 1 of my MBA applications is also over. But as things always get over for the new and better beginnings, I'm prepared more than never before for the coming MBA applications season.

Apart from this what's happening in my life...

A lot more increased responsibilities and challenging work has come up with recent promotion. In addition to managing a complex real time financial project and handling a high performing team, now I'm interacting more often with traders and research analysts (our customers) to find out ways how to design better financial products for them.  

I've always loved technology and Information Technology industry, but now I want to accelerate my career, for which I require critical managerial skills,  strategic decision making skills, et al. Having said that, my decision of MBA at this point seem more viable to me. Today officially started drafting career goals essay.

Preperation for CABM is not going as fast as I expected, but trying to pace it up for the exam in August, which reminds to book exam date. Yesterday saw the presentation of ISB - CABM orientation event.

My team at CRY (Child Rights and You) is catching tremendous pace and we have seen drastic improvements in the lives of slum children and their parents by our efforts. I am involved with CRY from a long time now but never happened to write about it here as I have separate personal blog for that. But, would blog excerpt about my volunteering work on this space soon, as community volunteering work is one of the things I'm passionate about. 

My personal blog, for my portraits, short stories, fictions, reviews, volunteering activities, and other offbeat personal stuff, has reached 2000 hits in less 2 months and is growing much faster than this blog.

After completing Salsa intermediary stage 2 recently, I've decided to practice only at home for sometime as MBA new season is catching up fast and there's so much to do!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Mixed feelings

Yesterday was the day with mixed feeling.

:-( -- The day started with Reliance Stanford fellowship result which was not in my favour. It was not a very big shock as getting such prestigious scholarships are always tough and unexpected.

:-) -- Then in the afternoon came the good news of my long due promotion with a decent salary hike and a business trip to US soon.

:-( -- And then, day ended with the ding from long awaited Tepper, which being a International applicant, I was somehow mentally prepared for as it's too late now. Though emotionally it is hard to absorb, but practically I feel its good as it would have been difficult for me to arrange for funds and visa in just 2 months.

:-) -- Now, as the clouds are clear, I'm all geared up for my next set of applications for coming Fall. And, I'm very sure to get into my dream school this time. As they say, dreams don't die until you stop seeing them.

Never give up,

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tepper result awaited

It's been more than two months and Tepper result is still awaited. Yes, I'm Tepper waitlisted and still expecting to hear some positive news, though the chances being an international applicant seem a little low now.

Contacted Tepper. They are evaluating and re-evaluating applications, and results would be announced by July1, which means today or tomorrow. This is my last result for this year, and I am all set to apply for Fall 2011, but the wait is killing me. And the downside of this anxiety is that I'm not able to concentrate on my CABM nor my applications from last few days.

Tepper, please announce the result as said. Fingers are still crossed!

All the best to me,

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Startup Leadership Program (SLP)

Yesterday night while researching about Kellogg, I happened to land on a Kellogg current student, Shobhit Chugh's blog, and get to know about this Startup Leadership Program. It's quite impressive, so thought to share it with you. Note: This is not a part of Kellogg. If you have any views on this program, please share.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Response of on my schools shortlisting criterion

Linda Abraham of has responded to my last post shortlisting schools - criterion. She largely agrees with the my criterion except the first point (intake % of Indian engineers). 

My point is that, as an Indian engineer belongs to an overrepresented group, he/she should apply to a school where the intake of Indian engineers is relatively higher, considering he/she is a career enhancer or wants to be the same indutry post MBA. This might increase his/her chances of getting in as the seats would be more in that school.

But this is just one side of coin. The other side is that in those schools more engineers might apply, thereby intensifying the competition. Also, this criterion doesn't stand good for career changers who want to move out of technology/IT industry post MBA.

Linda explains more on this.  Jump on to her post to know more.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shortlisting schools - Criterion

In my last post I dicussed my take on 1 year program v/s 2 years program. Today, I want to discuss on the criterion I feel must be considered while shortlisting schools.

Shortlisting schools is the toughest and most crucial step of MBA application process. The other day I had a long discussion with one of my friend about the criterion which hold priority for us (Indian IT guys - an overrepresented group). We decided on something and your comments to clarify our thoughts are most welcome.

1. Intake % of Indian engineers: I believe this is very important as a few schools such as MIT, Tepper give a little more preference to engineers than others schools do. If a school's intake of an IT is low as compared to other functions, then even if qualified, it might become very competitive for an Indian IT guy. And, qualified and competitive are two different things, as you know. If you don't please let me know.

2. Teaching methodology: This is one of the important criterion for me. I might not apply to a school which follows a strict case study method (I'm not used to it) such as Harvard or Darden, or I might not apply to a school where I have to sit 50% of time inside a class listening to a lecture (I'm overused of it). I seek a balance of all with an emphasis on projects and hands on learning as at Ross.

3. Recruitment: Howsoever good is the college, International applicants always face stiff competition is getting great jobs, and more if there is a career transition. So, it becomes necessary to know how many international students got placed relatively.

4. Culture (competitive or collaborative): After researching through many schools, even they are framed as competitive, at the end I found them collaborative. For example Harvard which is known for its competitive environment, but ask a Harvard alumni to know Harvard also is collaborative. So what I feel is, and please shed more light on this, the schools which has more of case study, where each student is individual in a class of 90 and is arguing for his/her points with other 89, will automatically become competitive. But outside the class, they might be collaborative. One other hand, team based projects and assignments will make students more collaborative all the time.

5. Clubs/extra-curricular: How active are the your career clubs and your interests clubs?

6. Curriculum and Specialization: Some has rigid curriculum and some has flexible. Some are type casted for a particular specialization such as Chicago for Finance and some are famous for general management such as Ross. But somehow I feel, this criteria has lower priority for me than the above five. Every top school could give what I want in terms of subjects/courses I want to study.

There are many other criterion such as location, climate et all. No doubt these are important criterion as well, but I want to keep them tertiary.

Disclaimer: These are my personal views gained after my research and discussions with alums, students, and friends. Please feel free to correct me anywhere. It would help us both :-)

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