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 Accepted.com 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 http://theartofapplying.com/ 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: http://theartofapplying.com/bdo/join

Please feel free to visit http://bschoolodds.com/free-webinar 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?

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