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!!!
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