Monday, December 17, 2007

HBS is Amazing! ... and fielding application advice/questions!

Hello blogging world, wow wow wow. I can't believe that 4 months have gone by since I last blogged. Let's just say life at HBS is way busier and way more amazing than I ever thought it would be. I could write pages and pages for days and days but I won't for now as I probably should get some sleep before my finance final tomorrow. Oh 4.5 hours of financial modeling and typing as much as I can - does life really get any better than this?

The main reason I've started up this blog if to take and respond to questions from applicants to bschool. I remember how confusing the whole process was and I'd love to give whatever (limited) help I can to everyone else out there! So, if you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I'll try to post at least one blog entry a week responding to most (if not all) of them.

I also want to keep a better diary of school and life here. First to spread the HBS spirit and second to help me remember years down the road what an amazing place this is ...

And so I begin my reflections on RC year ...

SECTION: First years here (called RCs) are split into 10 90-person sections and let me tell you, section pride is intense. Let's just say that my secion has been consistently called a "cult", "that section" and "obsessed with each other". And I have to say that those names give me some perverse sort of pride. I'm honored to call these people my section-mates, my family - both because of what they have accomplished and because of who they are. I'm actually sad that the semester is ending because that means I only have one more term to have class with these people every single day. What truly amazes me is how we are able to laugh in every class we have - who knew learning could be so fun?

PROFESSORS: Wow, we got SO fortunate this term ... both our TOM (Technology Operations Management) and FIN1 (Finance 1) professors are two of the best in the school. I honestly feel like all our profs are part of our family and I'm sad to not be seeing them again next term. I mean honestly, where else can you have profs that teach classes about a sock factory with no shoes on, get you to honestly talk about gender/race in the workplace and inspire you to develop a diversified Section Retirement fund?

CASE METHOD: I know a lot people have doubts in this for classes like accounting and finance, and it's not for everyone, but I find it amazing. The best part is that while I learn the concepts (which anyone could do from a book) what we really learn are about the managerial decisions that executives must make for cases that are "on the edge". When is it appropriate to change depreciation methods? Is it representative of the business we are in? How would the change affect the financial statements and in turn the investors view of the company? I truly appreciate the no-laptop policy, and I can't imagine a situation where students are more engaged and enthusiastic to be in class.

There are 210938098 more things to write (especially about the amazing social life here as well!) but I'll leave that be for a night when I don't have a final the next day ... thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Advice on Leadership Essays

Hi all ... long time no post, I know, I know. Still trying to figure out what exactly to do with this blog. In the meantime, I thought I'd post answers to some of the questions I've being receiving via email because the answers will hopefully be helpful to other applicants ... as a disclaimer these are usually written late at night (ahhh summer vacation) so please excuse poor grammar/spelling.

Recently I got a question from someone asking for help in the leadership essays because he/she felt that with limited experience and without "high-up" positions he/she didn't know what to write about. Here is my response:

I think when talking about leadership you don't need to necessarily have been a president of club or company. It can be in everyday actions and you just have to find one in your past experiences that shows it. For example, for a work leadership example in my essays I talked about how a member of our team was unexpectedly let go and because of his departure there was a big hole, including reports needed for senior management. I saw this and approached my VP asking him if I could do the work for no pay, but as a trade off to get the experience. He agreed and I started getting higher level work and exposure to high-ups. Although this isn't leadership in the sense of managing people it is leadership in taking charge of an unfortunate situation to help the greater company's good. In terms of extracurricular another example I used in my essays was how even when I was just a member of a committee (and not on a board) I always made it my mission to make ppl on the committee emotionally connected to each other. I did this both because I enjoy building personal relationships but also because I think when ppl are emotionally dedicated to a cause and to each other you get a much better result in the end. This is another case where there is no "concrete" leadership, but instead a subtle way of helping to form a successful group.

I think the key is not getting caught up in titles and positions, but instead of what sort of leadership is innate in you. My type of leadership (from the examples above) is being able to fix holes in a team and building team morale. By looking at patterns in what you have done in the past twenty-something years of your life you will hopefully be able to find your own personal leadership style!

Good Luck!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Need Blogger Help!

Hi all, so as you can probably see I'm working on a revamp of my blog to transition from
"applicant" to "student". It's crazy how quick time can fly!

While I am doing so I'd like to archive the posts from my "applicant" phase but still have them available for this years applicants to be able to use a resource. Does anyone know how to do this? I'd like the "first" post of this blog to be my first HBS Student post (still to be written) so I kind of want it to look like a clean slate, but again have the older entries still available.

If you know of any tricks please let me know! I've been trying to figure it out for a while now. Thanks!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What I've been up to and Wharton Waitlist Decision

Hello all! Sorry I have been MIA for so long. I thought life was crazy as an applicant, but to be honest, it almost feels crazier as an admit! So, a few quick updates and then my Wharton Waitlist Decision ...

Update 1: GO BLUE RENDEZVOUS
So, I have to give it to Michigan, GBR is amazing. In general, their recruitment process is amazing. From the numerous Women's events they held in Boston, for applicants and then admits, to the numerous current students and admins and alums who reached out to me, to the amazing time at GBR, all was great. I love that Michigan paired us up with a student host for the weekend. And I think the events they planned were great as well. But honestly, the best part was that the students REALLY wanted to get to know you and sell the school. We had a group dinner the first night and I ended up going out with 2 other admits and a bunch of students until 4 in the morning! The rest of the days and nights were like this too, it was just great. Mad props to the GBR planning team and Ross overall. By far, the best recruitment I've seen. In fact, the weekend was so great that I was "in-bed sick" for 2.5 weeks after and am still not 100% recovered.

Update 2: HBS ADMIT WEEKEND
This was a nice time as well, but to be honest, not as well planned or "recruit-y" as other Admit weekends (a sentiment I heard all around). I guess, though, that's what happens when you are Harvard. I was still sick from GBR so I didn't get to go out and party as much as I would have liked, but still fun. The best part of this weekend was definitely meeting all the awesome people! the activities weren't the most fantastic, but the people were so amazing. Everyone had done something so phenomenol, that I started to think, "hey! how did I get in?" haha. Another fantastic thing was going to class. This, by far, is the reason why I am going to HBS. I love watching the case method in action and seeing students so in-love with their sections is something I can't wait to be part of. Also amazing was the HBS Show. This is a show put on by students every year parody-ing life at HBS. It was SO hilarious! And, it's unbelievable how talented the students are. I mean, people were singing songs from Phantom of the Opera and they were SO good! I honestly cannot wait to be part of this community.

Update 3: QUITTING AND TRAVELLING
So, I gave my notice at work about a month ago. I gave them two months time to hire and have me train someone and my last day will be June 15th. I. Cannot. Wait. Until then things have gotten a bit crazy as people have left and work has been spread out to a few of us, but I don't care because I have the light at the end of the tunnel! After that I plan to chill and travel for a few months before returning to Boston for school around Sept 1st. I REALLY wanted to go to Kenya for 2 weeks to volunteer and safari, but my mom is worried about my safety so I may postpone the trip. I am definitely going to Hawaii with a bunch of college friends for a wedding and doing a family trip. I'm thinking Greece for the family trip. Do you guys have suggestions of awesome places to go and travel? And cool places to stay? I love funky/cool/swanky hotels (yes, I can be a brat, I know).

Update 4: WHARTON WAITLIST DECISION
I got admitted to Wharton!! I can't believe it. I found out yesterday and was both so happy and so sad at the same time. When I started applying to business school I always said that if I got in everywhere, my choice would come down to Wharton and Harvard. And now, I have that choice! I know in my heart, at the end of the day I will choose Harvard. It just is the right place for me in almost every way - case method, strength in General Management (I think I want to go into strategic planning), full campus as opposed to a single building, reputation (can't lie), location in Boston (I have deep roots here) ... but it still saddens me to say no to Wharton. I think it's more that Harvard and Penn both said no to me for undergrad, and med school (yes, I wanted to be a doctor before) and now finally have both let me in! And it's sad to have to say no to Wharton and really never have the chance to study there ... I wish I could do 2 MBAs and be in school for 4 years and learn at both places ... ha ok I don't REALLY wish that ($300k of debt and too much school) but you know what I mean. My decision is 99% made, but just going to wait it out a bit. Any advice on this?

Update 5: THANKS!!
I know I'm not the best commenter or responder but I just want to say thanks for the support of this online admit community and also my friends and family. I feel lucky that this was a relatively short journey for me (I still remember everyone saying I was nuts to do so many apps in such a short time!) but it was still stressful and anxiety-filled and everyone was supportive and SO happy for me regardless of the results. So, a huge thanks! And a huge congrats and good job to everyone in this community too. We all are peers forever now (MBA '09!) and it'll be awesome to see where we end up 10 years down the road!

And, I promise to try to update more often from now on .... :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Harvard Decision ...

I am in!!

The feeling today at noon was absolutely surreal (and even the feeling that I have now). I had butterflies for the first 3 hrs of the day and just kept trying to distract myself in any way possible. Luckily at 11:50am my VP called me into his office to chat about American Idol last night and we talked until about 12:05pm at which point I rushed to my desk and got the amazing letter. I had to read it a few times to really accept that it was the truth and not my imagination. I feel absolutely humbled and honored to be part of the HBS Admit group. My interviewer called me this afternoon too and it was wonderful to speak with him and to hear his confidence that I would be a great addition to the Harvard community.

At this point I am 90% sure I am going to attend Harvard, but I have to still check out my other options, especially once this crazy excitement dies down (although I am not sure if ever will!!). Harvard and Chicago have their admit weekends during the same weekend so that puts in me in a bind also ... what to do, what to do.

I am definitely still attending Go Blue Rendezvous though!

Congrats to everyone else who is getting to the end of this journey too! I can't believe that this whole process is almost over and that soon we all will be starting journies that we dreamed about for so long. Thank you for everyone in this community for your support as well. It really has been great to see everyone so supportive and helpful of each other. This has truly been an amazing process!

Monday, March 26, 2007

A bunch more Admissions Results ...

Hello all ... I've been MIA for a while because of some personal stuff ... but thankfully everyone is ok and I'm back in action on this blog!

In the meantime, a bunch of admissions decisions have come in ...

Wharton: Waitlisted ... definitely better than a ding, but not excited to wait another TWO months for my decision. At least I have a chance!

Kellogg: Dinged ... ok with this and kind of expected. Knew an interview invite didn't mean anything since they interview everyone, and I did not click with my interviewer.

Columbia: Waitlisted ... gotta start showing them the Columbia love! Is it true that they try to increase their yield and so you really gotta love them and show them that they are number 1?

Chicago: Admitted! ... I got the call today at work and am SO excited!! I have to say I love their program and that I've heard that Chicago is an amazing city! This is definitely a top choice for me ... I'm excited for their Admitted Students Weekend! Who of you am I going to be seeing there??

So summary so far: 4 Admits, 2 Waitlists, 1 Ding, 1 Waiting. What an exciting time! Good luck to everyone still waiting!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Advice on Writing Essays

Hi all - so in response to a few of my commenters (thanks commenters!) I thought I'd write an entry on my approach to MBA Application essays. Obviously I am no expert, but I thought that maybe my process will click and work for someone else out there. So here goes (warning, a bit extensive!)

1) I didn't use Admissions Consultants. I felt like I know my story better than anyone else, and I know my voice more than anyone else. I didn't want to risk sounding like one person in my essays and another in my interviews. I personally do not think consultants are worth the money.

2) I did all my MBA Applications (from start to finish) between the 2nd-3rd week of December and the 2nd week of January. Granted, this was a bit crushed and I had no life outside of work and applications at this time, it just worked for me. I know I am someone (from college and work) that works really well under pressure and that a time crunch works to my advantage. For you, you should know how you work best - do you need friends/parents to pressure you? Do you have to wait until
the last minute? Do you have to have things done 2 weeks before the deadline? I think this is a subtle but important point. You've worked hard your whole life and been successful, so use what you've learned about yourself to your advantage!

3) Before I wrote my essays I reworked my resume. This seems a bit random, but it really helped me to figure out where my strengths are and what my story would be if I was presenting it to an employer. For example, I realized my story is about really strong academics and extracurriculars and that I would have to make sure I relayed a clear story about my recent career change. I think doing this is a good way to really get intimate with and internalize your story - only then can you realize how to best balance these 3 parts of your application. (I personally DO think extracurriculars are really important because they
show who you are more than work and also the schools want ppl who are going to be involved in clubs, etc. as an MBA student)

4) To actually work on the essays was 3 steps. First, I took all the essay questions and dropped them into Word. I did that for all the schools I was applying. Then, for about a week I went through and outlined each essay in the same document. I guess I used a simple "expository essay" format, where I tried to have a "thesis" in each essay getting across the point I wanted to make in response to the question asked. If needed, I included examples from my profile or from the schools websites (for Why XX School questions) in the outline itself so it would be a standalone document. I spent the majority of my time making strong outlines for each of my essays.

5) Second Step: After making the outline I waited a day or two and then sat down and wrote the essay in one go, usually in about 2 hours. I think doing it this way you have thought through the reasoning by outlining, so all the points you want to get across are there. However, by writing quickly and straight through your write more from your gut and heart and therefore the essay comes off as YOUR story instead of just A story. Also, giving the outline a day or two to "rest" lets you come back with fresh eyes to see any holes you may have missed in the outline.

6) Third Step: I would again leave the essay alone for a day or two and come back and read through it. First I would make sure that the major points I wanted to cover came across. Then I would look at grammar such as spelling, homonyms and parallel structure (really important for readability). Then I would do a read through again to make sure it is all good.

7) And then I would be about 90% done with my essays. I then inputted all the data and essays into the online form and before submitting printed out the final verison of my application. I spent a good 2-3 hours reviewing the application, not necessarily for minute errors, but to make sure that I had told a consistent, balanced and convincing story both through the data section and my essays. In every application I had to go back and tweak my essays to make sure they were aligned with the rest of the application and to ensure there were no discrepencies in what I was saying.

8) Click Submit!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

email address....

I think Abbra asked for this, but I can't seem to get to his/her page ... my email is agirlsmba@gmail.com.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

NYU Decision ...

Recently I've been reading lots of posts on the BW Forums of ppl getting calls about getting into NYU. So this morning when I got the "Your Status has been Updated" email I did not think it would be good news.

So ... I logged into the Status Check Site, clicked to see my Decision Letter ... and I am IN!!

Yay! Man ... I wish I could make the end of March come quicker!!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

A Good Day!

This morning was definitely nerve racking, with lots of people on the BW Forums waiting and waiting for the Duke decisions to come out ..

Well, they finally did ... and I'm in at Fuqua!! Yippee! So excited.

Then, I was still reeling from that good news when I got a call from a random number on my cell phone in the afternoon. I picked it up, and it was and AdCom member from Michigan (Ross) telling me ... that I am in!! With a scholarship!

Yay! What a wonderful way to start off the admit month. Hopefully this is the start of good things to come ... good luck to everyone else who is in this waiting game!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

2 More Interview Reports ... (Fuqua and HBS)

Hello all, I hope the application season is continuing to go well for everyone! I am happy to be heading to the end of the proverbial "road" and at least being done with everything I can do from my end and leaving the rest in the hands of fate and destiny.

Everyone keeps asking me how my interviews are going, and my honest answer is "I don't know". It's really difficult for me to gauge my performance, because I basically go in there and just talk and come out and thats about it. How do other people out there rate their interview performances?

Ok, now onto the actual interview recaps:

HARVARD: I did this interview on-campus (HBS actually sets a time and place for you to be, no choosing). The interview was early in the morning, so I showed up to the Admissions office and they directed me to another building where my interview would be held (by a part-time faculty who is on the Admissions Committee). I found my way to the lounge and waited and then my interviewer came and got me. (I think most ppl know this, but in case they don't, Harvard is one of the few places where the interview is not blind - the interviewer has thoroughly read your application). We went into a conference room and there were no pleasantries "Hi, how are you, blah blah blah", it was immediately "So, you made a pretty big career change, talk about it". I was a little dumbstruck for 1-2 seconds but I think I got out a good answer. Other questions:
-You've only been working in a corporate setting for a couple of years, how are you going to feel sitting in a finance or accounting class with peers who have spend 5 or 7 years immersed in those fields? Are you going to be intimidated?
-How does your company do _________?
-Tell me about your company, and your company's consumer
-What do you think XYZ recent happening in the news?
-A LOT of company/functional area specific questions involving finance, operations, product, etc. - I think he was trying to see what knowledge I had and would be able to contribute to my section while discussing cases
-Why Harvard
-A time when I turned a bad team situation into a good one
-And for the last questions he asked what I would have wanted him to ask that he hadn't. I said I'd like to outline my strengths as I see him and we discussed those.
There was no time to ask him any questions about Harvard. Overall the interview was about 30 minutes and I left with a decent feeling, but who knows? After that I had lunch with students, which was helpful and attended a class with a friend of a friend. The class was Strategy and was interesting, but I did feel like the time allotted was not enough to adequately cover all the aspects of the case. Then again, who am I to say? Overall, of course the facilities are impressive and it's interesting that there is a full campus instead of just a single building like at some other places.

FUQUA: I interviewed on-campus with a 2nd-year student. My day started early as I attended a class on accounting which started at 8 in the morning! The class was interesting, but students definitely seemed less engaged than they had been at HBS. However, this probably can be attributed both to the fact that it was 8 in the morning and that we're talking about accounting here. Fuqua is undergoing construction (which they really don't need since the building is already big and nice - ah, the cost of Real Estate in North Carolina), which won't be done until Fall 2008. After the class I sat and chilled in the lounge with other applicants until my interview. my interview came and picked me up from the lounge and took me upstairs to a conference room (I think in the Career Management Center). The interview questions (that I can remember):
-Tell me about your career change
-Why is now specifically a good time for your MBA
-Why Fuqua
-Tell me about a bad leadership experience
-What are your strengths
-Tell me about a good and bad team experience
-After you graduate in 2 years what do you think your peers and faculty would say your biggest impact was in your yeras here?
-What specifically are you looking for in a business school?
-What do you think your contribution would be to your learning team?
-Anything else you haven't told me?
Then I asked him some questions about Fuqua and that was it. All in all it was about 35 minutes, which he commented was "one of the shortest interviews he's ever done!". Of course, this made me very nervous and uneasy, and so I asked him if this is a negative point and he said "no no, not at all. It's good because I can tell that you've practiced and/or interviewed before because you got across the pertinent information without rambling". So I think it went well. After that I had lunch with students and a tour of the building. All in all a good visit and a quick turnaround (Decisions will be out March 8th!)

That's about all for now ... only one more to go (NYU - still no word from Stanford, but no big deal). I am excited to not be travelling and have the work be out of my hands and into the hands of the AdCom soon! Hope everyone is well! :)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Interview Reports thus far

Hello all!

I'm a little over halfway done with my interviews (5 down, 3 to go) so I thought I'd write what I remember of each of them as a reference to others. To pre-empt this, I have a pretty horrible memory, especially since as soon as I was dont with one interview I started preparing for another and basically blocked the last out. So, here goes ...

ROSS: This was a phone interview so I had emailed my resume in when I scheduled the iview. I called up the number provided and my interviewer answered the phone directly. We made some small talk about the weather and then dove right in. The standard tell-me-your-story question was next. So I talked through my background, professional history and career change. Then, why MBA/why now. Then, why do you think Ross will fit into your plans? I talked a lot about the MAP program and their focus on collaborative learning. The hardest question was "So it seems like you've been effective at leading a number of organizations throughout your career. What do you think has made you such an effective leader?". I stumbles for the first 5 seconds but then finished strong. At the end I asked a few Ross questions: Why my interviewer picked Ross (fit, teamwork), what he liked best about the school, what he thought could improve (Career Services for smaller companies), and what he thought about the transitional period until the new building (ok since they are in the EMBA building). Overall a decent interview, but as my first, of course, my answers weren't as well developed as they could be. I also found a phone interview to be awkward so if you have the option to do an on-campus I would recommend that. The total time was about 30 minutes.

KELLOGG: This was local with an alumni (who is a consultant). We met at a coffee shop. I wore a suit, and when she got there she was like "Oh yeah, I should have told you to be casual", but no biggie, I think it put me in a better mindset. I had emailed the interviewer my resume so she had brought it with her. We started off doing the standard, tell me your story, why MBA, why now, why Kellogg. She pushed back a little on the structure of one of my long-term goals, and I have to say she had a valid point and told her this. Also she asked about what I would contribute to a team and how I would be a leader at Kellogg. I was mentioning general leadership stuff and she pushed back and said specifically at Kellogg how would you be a leader so I gave examples of clubs I would want to take leadership roles in. (This interview is a little harder to remember). I then asked her about Kellogg. Why did she pick Kellogg (she was choosing between Wharton and Kellogg and just felt a better fit there), what she feels about being 10 miles out of Chicago (she said ok and that it actually builds more community in the first year), etc. The time for this was about 45 minutes total.

COLUMBIA: I loved this interview, also with an alumni. I was able to schedule my interview very soon after my notification and my interviewer submitted my report a few days after we spoke. She said she didn't want to hold up my decision, which I appreciate. Anyway, we met at a local lounge during one afternoon. She let me ask questions of her first, but kept responses short when I asked her things like why she chose Columbia because of course I would have to answer too! I gave her my resume, which she quickly scanned, we did the standard tell-me-your-story, why MBA, why now, why Columbia. One that she said is that the school is pretty finance heavy, especially because it is located in Manhattan and thats what a lot of the surrounding community is. She also drilled down into my goals a bit to see if I wanted to go into Consulting or into Industry. She also asked what other schools I applied to and basically I said a sprinking of the top 10. I really enjoyed talking to her and the interview definitely made me want to go to Columbia more. The interview was pretty short, about 30 minutes maximum, but I think that is just the character of the interviewer (because she had an interview scheduled 35 minutes before mine and got it done before I came in).

CHICAGO: This was also a local alumni, at her office. I really enjoyed this interview as well. It started with her telling me about the structure and timing of the interview. We chatted about my story, which she found interesting. We talked about what field I would like to work in when I graduated. Then why MBA, and especially why now. And standard why Chicago? I talked a LOT about the flexible curriculum and how the classes/clubs appeal to me and my goals. She interrupted me a few times to agree with what I was saying and each time I still had more to say about the school. She asked about a team experience that was going down a bad road and how I dealt with it. She also asked about a time when I was an effective leader and how specifically at Chicago I would be a leader. I then asked her about her experiences and how she picked Chicago. I also asked her about if job opportunities are more centered towards the Midwest. I also asked her if people live in one central area or if they are sprawled out. Then she asked me the dreaded "Where else are you applying?" question. I hate this questions so I stumbled my way through it. Overall, pretty good interview, about 30 minutes, made me want to go to the school more.

WHARTON: I went to campus for this interview. I had lunch with students and then my interview. I skipped the class visit and tour because of my travel plans and because I have been to UPenn a number of times before. The student lunch was good, I would recommend that everyone goes. It really helped me to get a feel for the school. It seems like there are SO many opportunities and that students are just going going going for two years, which sounds awesome to me. The waiting room was packed with interviewees, some nervous, some chilling and laughing. When I got there in the morning I had dropped off my resume so my interviewer had it when she came out to call me (exactly on time!). We went into one of the conference rooms in the back and she explained the timing and structure. Same standard questions. And then talked a lot about leadership and teamwork. Tell me about a good teamwork experience and a bad teamwork experience. Tell me about one of your strongest leadership experience. If you come here, what legacy do you think you will have left behind in your two years here? What do you think professors and your fellow students will think your greatest contribution has been? She then asked if there is anything else I think the AdCom should know (she is a second year student that sits on the AdCom) and asked me for questions. I gave her the standard ... and if she thinks the large class size is a plus or a minus. This interview also made me want to go here more.

OVERALL: I think things are going pretty well. To be honest, it's hard for me to gauge interviews. I just talk and hopefully I'm hitting points they want to hear. One thing that I've consistently heard is that most Career Services Offices aren't as adept at matching students with smaller companies/more specialized interests and that they are all working on it. No one has asked me about my "lack" of work experience, which is nice, and all have appreciated my career change and depth/number of extracurriculars.

Only 3 more to go (NYU, Duke, Harvard - ADVICE please???) and then time to relax until decisions come rolling in. Yay!!

Hope everyone is doing well out there ... this process is almost coming to an end!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Invited to Interview at ....

NYU!

Man, this is getting really crazy. I'm trying to keep myself from getting overwhelmed.

In other news, I will report on my interview experiences thus far later, but nothing too crazy. Pretty standard you know? Why MBA? Why Now? Why X School? Tell me about your Career Change? Long and Short Term Goals? What Clubs? etc etc

Friday, February 9, 2007

2 More Interviews Coming Up ...

So I have my Kellogg and Columbia interviews coming up quite shortly ... any words of wisdom?

ps - Sorry I have been bad about responding to comments, etc. Work has been nuts along with all this interview prep, and I just haven't had the minutes too ... but will soon!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Invited to Interview at ....

... Columbia!!

I got the "check your status" email today. I also got an email with details to schedule my Kellogg interview a day or two ago ... man ...

I've done one interview this week already and I have 6 more to go by February 23rd ... talk about stressful!

At work ... more to come later

Monday, February 5, 2007

Getting geared up for Michigan!

I have my Michigan interview coming up quite soon and I'm in the final stretch of preparation.

Any last minute words of advice? (Phone Interview)

Thanks!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Reflections on the application process thus far

Hello all. As I relax at home on a wonderful Tuesday night, I thought I'd take some time to reflect on the application process and lift thus far. I'm still a bit tired from this weekend, and hyped up from all the news, so pardon me if I'm a bit delirious.

1) THE WHARTON INTERVIEW: Wow, let me tell you. This was a huge relief off my shoulders. To be honest. although I did not tell anyone, I was internally getting nervous about this one. My application had gone to "Complete" the day or two after the deadline. Last week when people starting getting interviews (including those who had gone to "Complete" many days after me) I thought my fate was sealed. Alas, the interview Gods were looking out for me and I got my invite today via email. This is especially great because I was starting to think that Philly and NYC schools had something against me! (Long story ...) I am really, really looking forward to seeing the campus, meeting with students and checking out a wonderful school!

2) 9 APPS IN 3 WEEKS: I've realized that even though reviewing essays for 3 months works for some people, it does not work for me. I started my MBA journey in late October, and took the GMAT in early November. I then started my apps in mid-late December and submitted Round 2. This was fast, agreed, but it seems to have worked out. I'm proud to have a number of interviews, and to have confirmed that for me, fast and furious is the way to do things. I do my best work under time pressure!

3) DUKE - TO INTERVIEW OR NOT?: I am now confused as to whether or not to interview at Duke. At the beginning of January, I scheduled my interview at Duke (in Durham) at the end of February. I do love Duke, but am unsure if it is in the same league as Wharton, Harvard and Chicago. However, I am nervous that if I do not interview at Duke and don't get in anywhere else that I will regret it. The main reasons I don't want to interivew is because of the time I will have to take time off work, the travel, and the prep. Any ideas?

4) ADVICE FOR ROSS/CHICAGO/WHARTON: So I think I have gotten some great feedback for my upcoming Harvard interview (a HUGE thank you for everyone who has commented and helped out). I now have Ross, Chicago and Wharton coming up as well. I would love to know the experiences of others and hear any advice on what the interviewers focused on and any special tips.

5) THANK YOU: Thanks to everyone who has been supportive and helpful thus far! I am looking forward to starting my interview journey and posting my experiences to help others as well! Yay!

Ok, that is my novel for the night. I still feel like I can't breathe right and a little like I'm going to throw up because I am so excited/nervous. Yay! Have a great day! :)

Invited to Interview at Wharton!

Yay! Another short post because I am at work, but just got invited to interview at Wharton, YAY!!

Will post more later!!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Invited to Interview at Chicago!

Yay! Another nice surprise today in my inbox - an invitation to interview at the Chicago GSB!

I am exhausted from a very tired weekend so I am going to sleep very early tonight, but will def write more later. Of course, I love any and all advice you all may have!

Thank you SO much!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Interview Invite at Harvard!

Woohoo! I too was fooled last night when I got the HBS2U newsletter. But imagine my wonderful surprise this morning at work when I get a real, live, invitation to interview at HBS! I am super excited! I will be interviewing on campus at the end of February. I also am happy because this gives me some validation that my application is strong!

Now ... anyone have any advice on interviewing at Harvard??

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Yay! Got an interview from Ross!

Woohoo! My first interview invitation, how very exciting!

I was minding my own business at work today, actually pretty deeply in my work because of being out sick the last 1.5 days and an email popped into my inbox ... being an invitation to interview!

I am very excited! I want to do an on-campus, but I don't think I have the vacation days to spare from work, so I'll be doing an on-the-phone. I'm actually going to be in AA soon to visit my sibling who goes there, but on the weekend, when interviews aren't offered :( So I'll probably just tour the business school since I've seen the rest of it the million times I've been there!

Hopefully this is the start to many more to come!

ps - sorry I've been MIA on commenting, returning comments, etc. Just been down and out with this nasty cold! Congrats to everyone getting Wharton invites!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Anybody gotten interviews yet for R2?

Hello all!

Yay for being done and having time to do lots of fun things! I like lists so I'm going to list out my thoughts:

1) Has anybody gotten called for R2 interviews yet? I know the Wharton invite window opened, but on s2s and bw forums have not seen many, if any, confirmations of anyone getting the invite. Just would love to know where most of the bschools are in the process.

2) Do I have to wait for my status to change to "Complete" on all the applications I submitted or do only certain schools do this Status change once they know they have all the materials they need?

3) My friend convinced me to register to for 2007 Chicago Marathon. I'm definitely excited as it's one of things I want to do once in my life, but very scared at the same time. It is a LOT of running, and a LOT of training on a bad knee. I also hate running outside (yes, I am one of those weirdos that prefers a treadmill) because of the pavement, but I think I can do it. Good thing is I have almost 10 months to get myself there!

4) I have a life again! Went out with friends last night, going out with friends again tonight, I love it! Soemtimes it feels slightly weird to now be stressed out all the time, but I think it's great.

5) Hope everyone else is doing great and relaxing as well!

6) Random question: do you guys out there in the blogging world think that people actually change? Or that if there are fundamental flaws in people, they will remain in some form for their entire life?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Finished with all my applications!

Hello to all my fellow, MBA-ers ... get ready for it ... I AM DONE WITH MY MBA APPLICATIONS, YIPPEEEE!!!

I can't believe this process is over. I wouldn't necessarily say it was "long". I started thinking about it in October, took the GMAT in November, and submitted all 9 applications from Jan 2nd through Jan 14th. However, it was extremely tiring. I know that is partially my fault, but can I help it if I do my best work at the last minute? No no, I can't.

I'm glad that I applied where I did, and I hope I get lots of interviews (or fine, at least one). And I hope, starting in the fall I am getting my MBA somewhere, and maybe meeting some of you lovely folk in the live!

It's interesting, it seems that Indians are very into this blogging thing. A lot of my comment-ers seem to be from India, and I myself am a first generation Indian-American (mama and papa immigrated here before I was born). I wonder what it is that entices our culture into blogging?

Right now I am sleepy, but I hope in the next week to post a more in-depth post ... about something ... maybe business school related, maybe not, hehe.

But for now, I need to/would like to do the following:
1) Sleep
2) Clean my apartment
3) Start working out again and training for the biggest challenge EVER
4) Start doing my own art again
5) Get groceries and cook cook cook
6) Finish the two books I am in the middle of
7) Redocrate my apartment
8) Update my portfolio
9) Increase my volunteer time
10) SPEND TIME WITH MY FRIENDS!!!

Happy thoughts to you all! : )

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Quick Update - 8 done!

Just a quickie update ... submitted Stanford this morning. That means 8 applications down!

Cannot put into words how happy I am ... and not even worried about the last one. I'm smooth like butta' .... (and running on 4 hours of sleep today ....)

And I'm even thinking about ::gasp:: doing something recreational and fun tonight!

So close to being done, I can taste it

Wow, talk about exhausted. It's not even that I'm stressed or anxious, but truly just exhausted. Have not felt this tired from doing excessive work since college.

Here's the quick update:
1) UChicago: Submitted!
2) Columbia: Submitted! (Did NOT realize how heavy the data part of the application would be on this one)
3) MIT: Decided not to apply. 2 more years at a tech-heavy school in cold Boston just do not sound happy to me. And I firmly believe that in order to be successful in school/life you have to be happy wherever you are!
4) Stanford: Totally done, just sleeping on it tonight before I click on submit.

Wow wow wow wow wow. I cannot even believe how close I am to being done. Well, kind of. I obviously have to finish NYU by the end of this week (soft deadline for myself). And then the waiting waiting waiting and hopefully getting an interview. I am worried about not getting one, but I've done the best I could do and it's out of my hands now! It's definitely tough to work a full-time job with lots of hours and apply to business school, but I have to say I'm proud that I did it.

But seriously, am very very very nervous about not getting any interviews.

In becoming a bit introspective about this whole process, I've really realized how much learning I have to do. While researching all the websites and curricula and all, I can't believe how much knowledge is out there. I only wish that everyone in my company had to take some of the courses I will hopefully have the opportunity to take. Applying has definitely made me realize the value of proper training, especially for managers.

Have I mentioned that I'm slightly nervous about not getting any interviews?

Sunday, January 7, 2007

5 down! At least halfway there!

I submitted Fuqua today, yay! And now I am over the halfway mark which is great, because my head does feel like it's going to explode from staring at the computer for most of the weekend. At least I got out for a few hours here and there to see friends. And enjoy the 60 degree weather.

Now to go:
1) Columbia is almost done, just 1 more essay. Does anyone else think that their online application form is super frustrating, asking you to uplaod separate documents for EVERYTHING? Also, it doesn't view properly using Safari on a Mac. C'mon business people, give the Macs some love! I hopefully will be submitting this tomorrow.

2) Stanford is all done (essays and form) except for essay 1 (What matters to you most and why?). I'm torn between two different answers - one a bit more personal, a story about the history of my life basically, and the other a personality trait that has threaded through my life. I'll definitely be submitting this tomorrow.

3) UChicago, to be honest, I haven't started. But it looks like for the first and second ones I can modify existing essays for, I'll just have to do the little questions at the end, and the form.

4) I'm still debating whether or not to apply to MIT. I made the decision to work on and submit Columbia, Stanford, and UChicago and only after that work on MIT. If I have time before the 10th I'll apply, but if not then no love lost.

5) NYU is not due until the 15th, muahahah.

Just a few more to go and I'll have my social, exercising, reading, pottery-making, FUN life back!!

ps - Does anyone have good remedies for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? From working so much on applications and work being very hectic and out of control, I feel like the tendons are about to jump out of my wrists. Ouch ouch ouch. Please let me know of any suggestions!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

4th app done & I love global warming!

Just finished and submitted the Michigan App, yay! Crunch time is coming up with a LOT of applications due this Wednesday. I'm almost hitting burnt out but I think I can plow through it for a few more days.

Also, good news, my recommender got my Kellogg rec in on time, so another load off the shoulders.

In random news, the weather is FANTASTIC. I was planning to work on apps all day today, but I took a two hour break to have lunch outside. It's too gorgeous where I'm sure I would have regretted it later had I stayed inside.

Finally, my Wharton app now reads "Complete - Round 2" which means it is at the committee for review. Talk about scary! I just hope at least get an interview, it will be so sad to go through Feb and know then that I did not make it.

Good luck to everyone else working on apps!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

3 R2 Apps down, a million more to go

Kellogg is submitted yay! Only frustrating thing is that one of my recommenders STILL has not submitted (even though I've sent the email 3x sine October) so I hope he gets it in before the deadline. It's a bit unclear, however, because Kellogg states its deadline to be 1/5/07 but gives no indication of the time the app is due. Any ideas?

A lot of people have asked me why I am applying to so many schools. The truth is, I am doubtful of getting admittance anywhere, and so I feel like I have to apply to a lot of places to get in somewhere. I really really want an MBA and to learn about all the things in business school! What do you guys think? Better to apply to a lot or does it look bad to committees? Better to apply to a few and if no admission apply for 08 admission?

This whole process is so crazy and confusing, but a little bit fun too, like a game!

Good luck to everyone else submitting Round 2!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Blogging My Way to An MBA!

Hello all! I've seen a bunch of blogs regarding MBA Admissions and I think it's a great way to share stories and advice, and keep a personal journal of the admissions process. So here goes my try at it!

I'm applying Round 2 to a number of schools (see the list below). My stats are 740 GMAT, 3.5 GPA, working since 08.2003 through the present.

My strengths: lots of extra-curriculars/leadership, high scores, top university, take initiative, have worked with extremely high level responsibility in past 6 months

My weaknesses: My initial two years of work experience were in science/engineering and only in the past year have I worked in business, so I worry about my "lack of experience". Also, I had one semester of really bad grades (GPA around 2.75) that I worry will affect AdCom's view of my academic ability. Finally, I feel "naive" in terms of the whole MBA and Admissions process, which may hurt my application and (if I get any) interviews.

My goals: I'd probably want to concentrate in Marketing and Operations. I'd like to go somewhere with a strong Social Entrepreneurship program. Long term I'd like to be a VP Marketing/General Manager and also start my own non-profit simultaneously.

Where I am applying (all Round 2):
Wharton (submitted 01.02.2007)
Harvard (submitted 01.02.2007)
Northwestern (almost done!!! will submit tomorrow - CANNOT wait until day of, it freaks me out)
Michigan (Still debating whether to apply - any suggestions?)
Duke (same as Michigan. Ideas?)
Stanford
Columbia
UChicago (Worried it might be too quantitative for me. Comments?)
MIT (too theoretical?)
NYU

Good luck to everyone applying R2!! Only a few more days, yay!