Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Ross Interview Debrief

No fancy title. No exclaimation mark. No excitement , post THE Ross interview.
Shakespeare has said "hope to joy is more in joy than hope enjoyed" and I say "Aye, sir. I'm now hoping for my next joy."

To come to the point, the interview did not go as well as I hoped and anticipated, but that still does not stop me from hoping to be in Ann Arbor in Fall 2009 or planning for the M-Trek before that.

I walked into the interview with some notions like 30 mins, standard set of questions, formal etc etc...I was not wrong and since that was playing at the back of my mind.. it did hinder.

We started off with the resume walkthrough and then why mba...then it moved onto why Ross..what's my association with the Ross community....a leadership example and a difficult time in working in a team...

It was then my turn to ask him questions..I asked him about his experience at Ross ( and I knew what the answer would be!). So the only silver lining I see is that we connected well on the Ross community and people front... I have been in touch with some of his batchmates and we exchanged notes on the alumni reach , bonding and warmth.

However, to me he did not seem to be a good interviewer. He was not well prepared, and he did fumble on the questions as well. I've got the same feedback from others who have interviewed with him so I guess the verdict is across the board.

I wish it had gone differently and I'd enjoyed it more but that's history. Hope my future says "GO BLUE".

To those of you with admits in EA and Rnd 1 -Congratulations!!!!
To those with dings - Life definitely does not end here.
To those gearing up for Rnd 2 - All the Best!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Conversation over Coffee - Johnson Interview Debrief

The title says it all.

Initially I was very apprehensive and in knots. I have practically ziltch interview experiences. And the practice I had 4 days before D-Day totally freaked me out.

But as soon as I reached the venue and the alum waiting for me got up, waved his hand and welcomed me with a big smile -things changed. Its these small gestures that matter a lot. I immediately relaxed and felt comfortable. While we placed our order we discussed my current work and his. There seemed to be a lot of similarities that got me animated and him more interested. We then began with my education ..which then led to my family background and then got back to my work. He took a lot of interest in some of my experiences and most of our conversation centered round it. One question that we kept on playing ping pong with was Why MBA? I gave my reasons..he tried to reason with me..I again reiterated and gave more examples/instances...reasons being the same. All this while I never was explicitly asked Why Cornell. And it so happened that the answer to this blended well with Why MBA, so I spoke a lot about what made me decide on Cornell and what I'd gain from MBA at Cornell. One common question that seems to be doing the rounds for international students esp. is funding the MBA. I too was asked that.I was asked about what my peers/friends would say about me and some examples to illustrate the same..Soon 90 mins were up..we never got to leadership exp., team work, what other schools u applying to, etc..but i am guessing being a good interviewer he must have got his answers already.. As we parted I came back with a lot of confidence in my self.. some good information on Cornell and work happening in my industry and renewed vigor to realise my dreams.

I can't say what the outcome will be. What I can say from my experience is that if you have the passion, if you are clear about your goals, if you are honest and just be'll enjoy the experience like I did.

Of the Rodents..Of the Ravaged..Of the Resilient

This is not the place for it. I have 2 other posts lined up that need to be in print. I can't think straight right now . But I had to post.

Its nearly been 24 hrs but the fires are still raging, gunshots are still being fired, people are still missing, dead bodies are still being dragged out, the NSG, army and police are still battling and still the end's not in sight. I seriously do not know if I should be thankful for my loved ones and my safety, if I should be saddened by the grief of the victims and their families, if i should feel sorry or angry at the perpetrators, if I should laugh at or condemn politics and intelligence.
I just do not know what to do. I feel helpless, like million others.

The media has been at it since last night. Yes, we need to stay updated with the latest happenings. But do the perpetrators need to know from where the commandos are going to come in or what's the next strategy or where the top official is at the moment?

Operations are on since yesterday. But I am amazed and scandalised by the fact that a motorboat whizzed past coast guards, terrorists unloaded loads of ammunition ( and even asked some spectators to shut up), walked under CCTV camera, entered secure hotels with suitcases full of ammunition, hijacked a police vehicle...... 12 or so terrorists and a battalion of people fighting them. Still no end?

Its very easy for me to sit here and write. To rant . To get angry. To blame. To see obvious loopholes. But at the field there is a different story to tell.

I'm proud of Mumbai..its resilience..its spirit. Time and again Mumbai has been targetted. And each time Mumbai has bounced back brilliantly with each new day being the first day of eternity.
I know this time round too it will be no different.

I needed an outlet and had to vent. More on Ross and my Cornell Interview debrief coming up later.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Act II Scene I - The Johnson Interview Invite!!

After a month and a half of waiting... I finally got the coveted mail!!!
The Johnson School would like me to schedule an interview as soon as possible!!!!!!!!
Once I was done with my apps... F5ing my mailbox every 10 mins has become a way of life for me....And finally it paid off !!!

The journey to Ithaca is not possible at this stage so I am mulling over the adcom telephonic option or alum interview. Right now I am more inclined towards the alum interview..lets see how it works out..

On other fronts I pushed Duke and Stern to Rnd 2. I am regretting the Stern decision a teeny weeny bit but something inside really stopped me from going ahead with it.

All best to those gearing up for interviews and those ready to hit submit on Stern!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

CitiAssist Out, so is Duke (for me)

Now with Cornell and Ross in I just have not been able to concentrate and move on with the rest of the applications. As a result, Duke is postponed to Round 2 (a big MAYBE even then). More inclined towards UNC and Notre Dame at the moment.

I feel totally drained out and not motivated enough. Plus work, other commitments, festivities and family keeping me totally occupied.

The latest buzz for international students right now is the discontinuation of the CitiAssist non cosigner loans at Ross and MIT.
My 2 cents on this:
1) The loans stand discontinued from Nov 2nd onwards. And students have been asked to apply before that. The ones disbursed will not be recalled. So I am hoping not too many students are affected by it.
2)Schools will definitely try their best to come up with alternate sources. And hopefully something should be worked out by the next academic year.Else there will be a slump in international applications which will be a huge drop for schools in terms of statistics and diversity.
3) Round 2 in tier 1 schools (esp schools that had non cosigner loans) mite see a slowdown in international applications (mostly Asian). Though total volume will still surge (US applicants and some European will make up for it)
4) A lot of potential applicants will now look at Europe and Asia.
5)One imp. input I got from Owen adcom at the World MBA fair was that their school and certain others have decided to cut down on international students to ensure that finances are available for those admitted. This till now was not really the case with tier 1 schools. But maybe they might rethink strategy.

A lot of uncertainty, a lot of if's and buts out there. Life is not very beautiful right now.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

On my way to Going Blue!!!

Yes!!! Finally my Ross application is in with recos and all... Ideally I would have loved to submit Ross 10-15 days ago but as Mr. Murphy would have it, things had to go haywire...

Last minute while re reading my essays I realised something was amiss. Just took a minor change in structure to make my team skills explicit but nonetheless took me ages to get it perfect.

One of my reviewers (a current student at Ross) got back to me this morning with comments, hours after I had submitted it.Thankfully he liked my essays and we were in sync on my weakest link (the leadership essay -- it was more mechanical and not as reflective as it should be). I had taken care of it before submitting.

One of my rec's was totally into hibernation, realised this evening that he hasn not had net access for the past 3 days, so all my frantic SOS mails were lying unattended in his mailbox. Left him a voicemail and voila! in 40 mins the reco was in. Hope he had it all filled up earlier and was just waiting to hit submit... else I'm doomed.

The good thing about the Ross application is that it is pretty compact, the bad thing- 100 characters and at times 4 lines of text is not enough!

Now that Ross is in some how I just cant get myself to work on other apps.. I'm just waiting to Go Blue!!!

I am seriously contemplating postponing Duke to Round 2 . Need to check the consequences of doing so (scolarship consideration, application volume, competition etc etc).

At the Stern Reception , the adcom rep. said that there is absolutely no advantage on submitting on 20th Oct instead of 15th Nov. However, I read in some forum that its rolling. Need to confirm this too, else will work on Stern from 30th Oct. Need to complete essay 3.

Now I need to finish what matters the most to me and why in the next few days!

All the best fellow bloggers!!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Of my first submit, some palpatations, a lot of excitement and more......

I just clicked on the Submit button in my Johnson application!!!

I momentarily lost a heartbeat and had a panic attack (have I filled in correctly... am i sure there are no spelling mistakes... have I goofed up anywhere.... and blah blah blah)
But now I feel so much better and lighter..Irrespective of the outcome..I know I gave it my best shot.

A couple of inputs to those who are yet to submit the Johnson app:
1. Johnson is one of the very few (or should I say only school) that gives some room (read words) to the applicant to fill in activities and ECs. Make the most of it but yes do not go overboard just coz u see 5000 characters!
2.There is no point is agonizing over formatting coz the word processor just does not allow it. This really messed up my table of contents and all the hours I had spent in sprucing it up and making it look real were an absolute waste. You are better off spending your time in proofreading the app.

Now its one down and 4 to go.....

Its now time to Go Blue!!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I am spooked !

I just saw 3 movies in a row and yeah Cocktail happens to be one of them hence the title!

I have been doing everything under the sun , but essay writing for the past 10 days. My essays have not been trashed by my reviewers and that definitely has me relieved..So now I'm done with a bulk of my essays which I can tweak around for most schools.. but that still doesnt bring me close to that elusive "submit" I'm impatient to get done...

While I have been looking at Cornell more closely I just realised Cornell and UMitch are so very alike. Be it immersion and MAP or action based learning or co-creation or Impact..even essay on professional accomplishment (sans the word limit) is ditto!

Ohh and the real reason why i am spooked.... i din think its a MUST to waive off rights to reco letters and so I selected the option to view them later....but just read in some of the forum that its best to leave them inaccessible to the applicant. Should I be worried????

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Yes , it aptly describes the state of my mind! I wish I were Mary Poppins or Alice in Wonderland tucked away from mundane matters like essays and recos and transcripts. Hah!

Some updates and mundane matters I'm working on right now:

Johnson- Essay 3 "You are the author for the book of Your Life Story. Please write the Table of Contents for the book"

I don't know if I am missing something or if the word count for this is actually missing on the application. But I checked with the adcom and was asked to stick to the 400 word limit "for all essays".
I was not too ecstatic initially and it took me a while to figure out how to go about it but as I started... I realised this is the only essay I have come across so far that can speak volumes about us and our life cycle.It allows us to show where we are coming from, what shapes our thought process, what kind of transitions we have made, how we balance work and play, what have been our highs in we overcame our lows...what are we passionate about...what have we done about it....where are we headed next....and so much more!!!

I wish I could copy paste it for "the personal statement" for would be ideal....but Stern adcom ain't no fool neither am I !!!

Ross Essays

First draft of all 4 Ross essays are ready and out for review. My reviewer has a very busy schedule these days but all the dog faces I am making, seem to be doing the trick and I've been promised comments by Friday morning !!!

I still need to put all 4 of them together and see if they paint a holistic picture about my thoughts and actions in all spheres. But I think I'll wait till I get the comments. No point if I have to completely trash an essay!!!

Stern Essays
Stern Essay 1 & 2 are ready and with my reviewer as well. I did get some good comments which I totally agree with and shall incorporate soon. But Stern deadline being much later.. I have decided to put it on hold right now. I started off on essay 3 some time back but I think I can do better on the creativity front so I shall get back to it once I am done with Ross and Johnson.
Blog entries, collage, snapshots from holidays, mock interviews on Oppy, menu cards etc are some of the creative entries applicants have conjured up in the past. For now I think I'll stick to 500 words only!

I'm loving every bit of Stern that I keep discovering. But yes Stern's fascination for numbers (GMAT ,GPA) does make me wince. Did you know all the Male Indian Techies (i'm not at all in favor of any discrimination but right now I'm glad I don't have the Y chromosome!) who joined in 2006 had an avg GMAT of 760!!! (I hope I'm proven wrong!!)

Duke Essays
Duke is getting the royal snub right now. Been ages since I worked on the essays. A couple of them are ready though. Its just that deadlines are later and I'm not all that excited about Duke.

Fluff & Puff
These 2 words have been etched in my mind forever and I hope in every b-school applicant's mind as well. Essays should not be full of "Fluff"..fancy , generic stuff that leaves the reader wondering if applicant 2 and applicant 22 are the same. Fluff will also remind the reader of the canned tuna fish rotting in his/her fridge for an eternity. Bad idea to Fluff!!

Coming onto Puff. None of us could stress less on the downfalls on puffing the resume or going overboard on the essays. Don't think its a great idea to cross the thin line between selling yourself and lying your way through.

Application Forms
I'm guessing most of us take the general form lighly (other than essays and recos) but I think its prudent to give due weightage to it. Most applications forms are frugal with their word limit on Work History, ECs, Achievements etc (Johnson is very generous in this case) and we need to ensure that we don't miss out on any salient point. I'm wondering to what extent can we put in data not available on the resume (related to EC or work history in some cases)

I do not have great news on this front nor am I panicking. I spoke to my supervisor today and he has promised to have Johnson and Ross done in the next 2 weeks. Just have to keep reminding him to get it done. He actually asked me if the application software used analytics to keep track of how many modifications the recommender made to gauge his thought process!!!ApplyYourSelf do you do that???!!! And I was really glad to hear him say that he wants to go through each question thoroughly and be as specific as possible. My other recommender resurfaces once a while but I understand he is busy tying up loose ends before making a trans atlantic move... Nonetheless since he has asked me to manage his time I shall do just that and keep sending him reminder mails.

Transcripts are scanned (need to rescan them for pdf versions less than 500 kb), resume done, need to report scores to Duke and Johnson. Hope I am not missing out on anything.

All the best guys!!And since it seems Columbia has already started sending out interview invites for ED...break a leg!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Back Up or Back Out !!!

That's what I realised this afternoon and copied all my app. data into my ipod...My machine has been giving me some problems for the past few days..being very very irrational - taking ages to open the browser...i'm perpetually getting to see "windows not responding"...

What if my machine goes into irreversible hibernation one fine day and I lose out on all my app. data ?!?

The though itself gives me the shivers..

So I immediately backed up my MBA folder and now I feel much much better...

I don't think I need to say something as elementary as this but I hope you guys are constantly backing up your app..

On some other musings... I was wondering if Michael Phelps would ever need to come up with the entire application package or just a call to the adcom would see him sail through!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

KTS-II works fine for me!

I was just going through which mentions the Keirsey Temperment Sorter. It refers the MBTI so it should be pretty authentic. I saw that the only spending I'd have to do is a couple of mins so I decided to take the test. And voila the results mirrored my personality perfectly! I'm an Idealist. Perfectomondo. Further on I fit the role of a Champion. YaY !!!

More on it here

I'm feeling even more energised now :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Writer's Block :-/

Its been over 15 days that I have been handed out 8 of the (atleast) 40 essays I got to write and all that I have managed in the past 2 weeks is just 1. (Yes I am hanging my head down in shame!)

I have my content with me but I am finding it really difficult to structure my essay. I'm wondering how to start "How will you contribute to the overall experience of your peers at Duke?" Should it have some punch and creativity or should I be "precise" as expected by all adcoms...and then I have 2 pages (more than 1000 words if I use a Font Size of 10) to tell the adcom how I am a "leader of consequence". Still trying to figure out how much will come across as a jack of all (sometimes this cld actually be + ) and how much will consitute as rambling....
The person/experience/event has its outline ready but then again creating a smooth flow and giving a clear insight into how he/she/it has contributed to who I am today needs some work on my end....
The only 1 I have ready so far is career goals and why duke... needs a bit of tweaking and trimming but I think its nearly there.... itching to send it across to my reviewers but gotta wait for the others to get done :(

The other set of essays out is Ross.. Ross is my mecca! and I think I have been adviced correctly not to start off with it. But I have been thinking of my "alternate career"...had an initial choice of 3 but I think I have narrowed it down to 1. Being me I'd love to give all 3 a shot and I'm sure I wouldn't do too badly either! Coming onto "challenging time" I'm sure all those who know me will instantly recall a personal incident (and people actually have) but I am wondering if I want to write about it and if it would speak about my candidature...Professional accomplishment -I shall wait for my current project to finish...none of my past projects could ever beat this one...
Career goals and why Ross- I thought this would be a cake walk! I've been in love with Ross for over 2 years now but then isn't it true that feelings cannot be always expressed in words! (yeah yeah I know excuses :((( )

So there goes I have 8 essays to write so far... spent some time thinking bout each one.. but just have the 1st draft of only 1 ready....hmmmnnnn I have miles to go before I sleep .....

I wonder how the others are faring...hope I'm not the sole one suffering from a writer's block!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The same journey...through the same path..the destination nowhere in sight

In pursuit of my dream , my destination, I set off on the same beaten track
Weary, agitated , pre occupied, helpless i am...none reason enough to cut some slack
Got lost again in the same wilderness, all the pit stops visited and familiar
No its not deja vu, nor a recurring dream -the trail left behind is visible and clear

Why am I lost again?What are the signs saying?
Is this path not meant for me?
Is this the only path to my destination? will i see a clearing just ahead?
Or is this just how the path is meant to be?

Should I push myself the extra mile-"just maybe this is the right track" even if i'm bruised and sore?
Or should I just retreat back ,look out for another path..... lest i get lost more?
Lost? am I really lost? is this journey really a complete waste?
Was I not enthralled by that mystical creature?weren't the wild berries exotic in taste?

I think i'll stop here .....get back my bearings....get rid of the fuzziness engulfing me
I'm sure some rest and a bright new dawn will grant me the road ahead to see
Weary, agitated , pre occupied I still am....helpness now I am not
I am sure i'll figure out a way sooner or later to the destination I have always sought......

( i'm feeling so much more positive right now after penning down some of my thoughts....
another bout of gmat today. the score is still 690 but the match is not over as yet.

am trying to figure out if i need to read more into I trying too hard...should I allow gmat to be an indicator of my capabilities........shld i give it another shot...or should i conserve my energy, time and money in strengthing my app.......

i did definately gain a lot in this process...brought about some discipline in my discovering the powers of meditation.....eating a bit healthy for a change....all of this is definately here to stay!!!

I think I need a good night's sleep......put things in perspective and start afresh with renewed vigor... i am def looking forward to my new dawn! )

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My "Post-It " for today

Before I finally call it a day i'd like to list down the schools I am looking at and make it to their events at my part of the globe.

I am looking at a program that is a good mix of non profit/social entrepreneurship and strategy with a greater emphasis on practical learning vis a vis class room teaching and a good number of international admits.

The last time I checked, UCLA looked interesting too. Am I missing any school so far???????

Another non linear curvy day

should i wait another yr ...should i just settle for something less... ohh yeah when did u start seeing the glass as half empty....u are so convinced about getting the degree and enhancing your career and this the school i'd love to be associated with.... haven't you always loooooooooooveeddddd this school.....but all website and blogs and forums praise their school and think its the best B school on planet dig out more on it, talk to people, pester frens n family and frens frens n family frens for inputs and contacts and then decide for urself....ya but still u know but then.....ohh shut up and stop worrying so much unnecessarily.....u have it in you , just don let the steam run out...........(and its tomorrow already!!! --yeah nearly 3 am and ticking!!!)

I Need Answers ... and I Need them NOW

I'm back after a loooonngg hiatus still clueless...still tossing and turning....still apprehensive....still excited.....still confident...still wavering....stillllllllllllllll

Ok enough of my crap..i need answers to questions that have been gnawing at me for a long long time...

  • Do Tom Dick Harry exist in the good business programs or are all admits extraordinary - exemplified like The Class of 2009, for example, includes a Scrabble master, a Purple Heart recipient, a fixed-wing glider pilot, a lobster-eating champion, a policy advisor in the Bush White House, an inventor with a patent for the "Compact Dual Cyclone Combustor," a former university mascot, and a novelist---@ Yale SOM

  • How do you bridge the gap between "Is school XYZ the best fit for me as the person I am, for my personal growth, for my career goals and aspirations" and "Am I the kind of candidate school XYZ is looking out for ".....

  • Visiting the school, talking to the current students, soaking in the atmosphere and "a day@school" would partly answer my prev question I guess , but wht if one does not have the chance to do so? what's the next best thing???