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 :-)


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Schools shortlisting: 1 year program v/s 2 years program

Today, I have formally started short listing the schools and the very first question that stands is 1 year program v/s 2 years program. But before pondering over the factors to answer this question, I want to stop for a second and ask: “How important is this question for me?”

I’ve already completed 6 years of my IT experience and when I’ll enter any school, next year hopefully, I’d complete 7. So, as far as my research goes, 7 years of total experience is not so high to lower my chances into US 2 years programs and is not so low to lower my chances into European 1 year programs. In that sense, my chances are equally favourable in both of these programs. For a person who has just 2-3 years of experience or who has more than 10 years of experience, this question might not be as important, because the former knows he/she has relatively brighter chances in 2 years program and relatively lower in 1 year, and vice-versa for the latter. For instance, my friend who has 3 years of experience is not even thinking about 1 year program.

Thus, this question is very important for me. And just to mention, it is also very important for my mom, who is quite worried about my marriage ;-).

There are a few factors (not comprehensive) which I can’t ignore to consider.

Favouring 2 years programs:

1. Without any background in consulting, I need a solid base to make a transition from IT to consulting. Apart from experiential learning through team projects, this solid base would come from internship project in a consulting firm, which I could avail only in 2 years programs with a very few exceptions in 1 year programs such as INSEAD.

2. In 1 year program, I should have razor sharp future goals, as it doesn’t give me any space to rethink or reframe my career plans after getting into the school. In 2 years program, I could have that option, if I realise any change for better.

3. 2 years would give me a little breathing space. 1 year would be no doubt academically rigor.

4. I could make a strong network base with students and alumni in 2 years; 1 year would just pass in a splash.

5. After discussing with current students, friends, and experts, I have this feeling that the transformational education I could avail better in US than anywhere else.

Favouring 1 year programs:

6. If I’m very sure of making a transition specifically to IT consulting, my solid IT background would favour me, and in that case a 1 year programs could also provide the needed solid base.

7. I'll miss on just 1 year income, and will be back to work earning in just a year after 1 year program.

8. 1 year programs are relatively lower fee structures than 2 years with a few exceptions.

9. I’ll be 31 when I’ll come out of 2 years of program; a big concern for my mom.

Given these factors both suits me in their ways. Just going by my heart, I’m more tilted for 2 years program in US, but would target only the top tier ones. So, I’m planning to apply to both 2 years and 1 year programs which clearly fit my goals, and where I strongly fit. I hope this would maximise my chances.

One female just got dinged from Ross and got selected in INSEAD. Means, many people shortlist both programs, not only I. Do you think differently?
The next question is “how many schools in Round 1?”

Keep researching. This is the time to maximise it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A chat with ClearAdmit

Last week I attended the virtual MBA wired event. Though was not able to chat with multiple adcoms present because of my ditchy internet connection, I managed to get some valuable insights from ClearAdmit experts (Graham Richmond, co-founder of clearAdmit and Kevin Chen). I'd love to share that with you.

A: What are your views on US schools, INSEAD, and ISB?

Graham Richmond: INSEAD has a very different student body than the ISB (more international) - and a better global brand (for the time being at least). If you want to work in Singapore or SE Asia, INSEAD's Singapore-based campus is going to be stronger when it comes to placement in that region...There is a strong geographical pull associated with placement stats from even the most highly ranked MBA programs...As such, if you know you want to work in the US, you are likely best off targeting US programs. Some of this depends on what sort of job you want post-MBA. For example, if you want to work at McKinsey, you might be better off at INSEAD than you would be at a second-tier program in the US...

Kevin Chen: The ISB is a good choice if you want to stay in India - and, to a certain extent, its reputation is growing in the rest of Asia. But if you want to work in the US or Europe, you may want to consider programs that are perceived as being more global.

Graham Richmond: Just wanted to introduce Kevin Chen from Clear Admit, who will be here to take your questions for the next 1.5 hours. Kevin is a former McKinsey consultant and has degrees from Princeton (ugrad), Harvard (Kennedy School) and Stanford (Management). Kevin Chen is based in Taiwan. He is also fluent in Mandarin and has extensive experience helping Asia-based applicants target top business schools.

A: Thanks Graham for your time. Kevin, I am in IT from last 6 years in India. To move into IT consulting or Technology management, shall I target 1 year course or 2 years?

Kevin Chen: I would recommend 2-year programs, so that you would have more time to make the transition. It especially would be beneficial to have the summer internship between the first and second years to crack your way into the consulting world. INSEAD is doable because it does have a summer internship, even though it's a 1-year program. But in general, consulting firms tend to prefer candidates from two-year programs, unless the applicant already had consulting experience before b-school. Also, if you are going from IT to IT consulting then could target 1 year. If you were more interested in other types of consulting an internship or 2 year programme would help.

A: IT consulting and management consulting are different. So shall I specifically target for school with IT consulting?

Kevin Chen: They certainly are different, but the recruiting is actually fairly similar, and the line is blurring - many IT consulting firms are now doing strategy consulting work. But yes, certain schools are better known for IT consulting.

A: And, will consulting companies will be interested in students who don’t have any consulting exp?

Kevin Chen: FYI I got into McKinsey without any prior consulting experience, so it definitely can be done. I know you're talking about IT consulting, but the recruitment is similar, and the fact that you've already had IT experience should help.

A: That’s why I want to consider IT consulting, since my cousin working in McKinsey told me that your career will grow with double speed in IT consulting than in IT industry. Am I thinking in right direction?

Kevin Chen: Yeah, that's generally correct. If you don't mind working insane hours and sometimes dealing with over-demanding clients, yes, IT consulting can be much more lucrative.

A: Wow Kevin. That’s a motivation :) And after few years, I could join back the IT corporate at senior management level, right?

Kevin Chen: Yes that's a fairly typical career path.

A: Great, can you just let me know 2-3 top schools for IT consulting?

Kevin Chen: MIT, Tepper and McCombs are all excellent for IT consulting

A: Is this silly to ask how to decide between technology management and IT consulting?

Kevin Chen: No it's not silly at all, but I would say the answer really has more to do with what you ultimately want to do with your career. No one choice is objectively better than the other.

A: Last year I was in waitlist for 3 top US MBA schools. One reason was I applied in later rounds. But major reason was my overrepresented group. Kevin, as you have worked with many Asian applicants, could you let me know how an IT Indian guy could make himself competitive?

Kevin Chen: From working with my Indian/Asian clients, I definitely know how frustrating it can be to be from such an over-represented and talented group. The way to differentiate yourself from this competitive group is to demonstrate as much leadership and management experiences/skills as possible in your applications. The US adcoms tend to have a stereotype that Asian applicants are very intelligent and analytically savvy, but they may not possess much leadership experience or community service/extracurricular activities. The more you can beat this stereotype, the more attractive your profile will be, when compared to other applicants in this group.

A: That’s a great insight. I am targeting for Harvard, Kellogg, and UCLA

Kevin Chen: Of those three schools, Harvard is especially keen on seeing leadership experiences.

A: But I always have second thoughts applying to Harvard. Frankly tell me, is it really possible for an IT guy from India to get into Harvard or shall I focus my efforts to some other school?

Kevin Chen: If you look at the HBS essay questions, the very first (and most important) one asks you directly to list your three most substantial accomplishments. This is an indication that the adcom really wants to know what you have actually done in the leadership arena.

A: What are the major aspects of the GSB (Stanford) I should know?

Kevin Chen: The GSB adcom is looking for what they consider "natural leaders", so it's critical that you demonstrate leadership and management skills, either at work or in your community service/extracurricular activities. It's definitely true that the GSB has a soft spot for applicants who want to "save the world". They attract a good number of the "do-gooders".

A: Hmm, that’s valuable. I'm asking this question through my blog and posted to clearAdmit as well. How important is job designation or title for an adcom?

Kevin Chen: Ah I see. Yes, designation is important, especially when it's easily understood by the adcom. For example, with McKinsey, if someone received direct promotion from Business Analyst to Associate, the adcoms know that only the top few % of analysts receive that designation, so these will be viewed as a cut above the other analysts. On the other hand, it's problematic if someone stays at the same company for many years but does not have a promotion in title to show for - this, again, is a problem for a lot of IT applicants because many technology firms tend to have a very "flat" structure

A: Yes, that’s exactly the challenge in my case. My role has increased significantly but just one promotion. How to overcome this challenge?

Kevin Chen: The way to overcome that is by being very specific in your essays about how your responsibilities have increased (e.g., no. of people you managed, $ of budget under your charge; no. of clients you're responsible for; etc.)

A: Yes, I'll mention all the quantitative data about my role but do adcom know about the flat IT companies’ structure and take that into consideration?

Kevin Chen: As I was saying, without job title promotions, what you should do is focus on presenting tangible, increasing achievements and responsibilities at work in your application essays. Also, it would be important for your recommenders to support your claim that your responsibilities and leadership have increased despite the lack of job title change.

A: In Resume, to show the progress shall I mention my role with my title e.g.
Software Engineer, Team Lead (2008 - Present)
Software Engineer, Technical Analysts (2007 - 2008)

Kevin Chen: Yes, it's important in your resume to show all your job title changes, so the reader can readily see how you've progressed at the same company. Any role change should be noted even if it does not come with a higher salary/title/promotion etc... esp. if you are a younger candidate

A: Any important tips on Resume writing?

Kevin Chen: You should not expect the admissions officer who's reading your resume to be automatically familiar with all the terminologies of your industry, and therefore you should write your resume in a way that a non-industry person can appreciate. Furthermore, all the adcom officers are very "impact-focused", meaning they want to hear specific details on what you've actually accomplished, not general and vague claims of achievement.

A: How important are the quantitative achievements?

Kevin Chen: Remember that business schools care much more about how good you are at managing/leading people, and much less about how good you are analytically and technically.

A: Thanks a lot Kevin for your valuable comments :)

Kevin Chen: Ok I'm off too - thanks for your kind words.


Friday, June 4, 2010

How important is job title or designation? - Answered

Last week, through my blog, I asked "How important is job title or designation?". I am glad that it's been answered.

Cindy Tokumitsu from has written an elaborated post in response of this question.

Below mentioned is one way to demonstrate your career growth when there is no title change.

Title1, Role 3 (start date - end date)
. bullet point
. bullet point

Title1, Role 2 (start date - end date)
. bullet point
. bullet point

Title1, Role 1 (start date - end date)
. bullet point
. bullet point

Generally in sample resumes, I've seen only Titles mentioned but never seen any Roles appended to them. So, can we use this format? Yes, because I got it approved by 3 experts:
Cindy Tokumitsu,;
Caroline Clough, ClearAdmit;
Kevin, ClearAdmit

Thanks all!

I'm building my resume on this format, and so could you :-)

Hope to help,

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Resume Building - Post #2

Few days back, when I started re-working on my Resume, I posted a few tips. This post is in continuation of that.

Below are a few points I gathered while going through several resources, and discussing my resume with 2 admission committee members and my friend in US.

1. After the job title, its better to have a non-bulleted point which succinctly (1 or 2 lines) describes your responsibilities or activities in that job title.

2. Below this start bullet points featuring your major accomplishments (3 to 5). Try to avoid writing simply your work responsibilities here, but rather let accomplishments or improvements made against fulfilling your responsibilities speak.

3. The accomplishments or improvements should be quantifying such as cost saving by 20% or reduced 200 man-hours, etc.

4. Try to mention just not the accomplishment or improvement but what impact it has made on and what it means for company and its objectives.

5. It’s also advisable to mention in brief “how” you have made that impact.

6. If you have a lead role but without a lead or manager title, explicitly highlight leadership abilities. Don’t just let admission committee guess it.

7. Always mention the magnitude of your leadership. E.g. the scope of the project, the team size, multinational team, etc.

8. Whatever you are putting in your resume, always try to elaborate them in your essay stories. E.g. if you mention about leadership abilities, elaborate your leadership style in your essay. This would help distinct you from others.

9. If you have international exposure or you have worked with cross-cultural team, do highlight it clearly.

10. If involved in some community work, highlight that in a separate section.

11. Similarly, add a personal section to highlight your hobbies/interests outside work. These two becomes the great interview discussion points.

In brief, a strong resume should cover the depth and scope of your work experience, professional conduct outside of the core responsibilities of your job profile, and the diversity of your work experience.

All in all, as I understood, the art of great resume is to Elaborate Succinctly ;-)


P.S. - Find other resources on Resume Building here.
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