Monday, December 28, 2009

In between holidays

Hi ppl, what's happening? Hope you all had a good Christmas and will have even better New Year's.
Things had been quieter with me, on the essay front, the whole of last month. Now it's December end and the R2 deadlines are almost here. I've been working on my K essays. This' taking a lot of time, I started last week. I'm still sitting with my essay 1 which is in a good draft shape , but unfortunately is 230 words extra [:'(] [:D]. So I've gotta do a lot of editing. I think that I should spare around 200 words for my until-now career progress discussion and the remaining 400 for describing future goals and why Kellogg. I don't think I can add any 'what will i do at K' stuff here. I'll have to fit that elsewhere.
It's 8:56 PM now and my goal is to have essay 1 in a better aka 'almost final' shape by 9:30. So gotta go now!
BTW - do you think my 200+400 strategy is sound?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Should I see a doctor?

No! I don't have H1N1(knock on wood). But what's bothering my health,specifically my mental health, is the overwhelming wait!!I'm a nervous wreck...sob..sob..sob. Gosh, I'm annoying myself by obsessively checking my gmail account and hovering around the gmatclub forums looking out to see the latest news on various school fronts. I keep telling myself not to , not to. But alas, to plagiarize Edward Kullen the vampire, "Gmatclub has become my own personal brand of cocaine" making me go back to it and addicted to it! To add to this I've joined too. "Dreamer, when will you learn...start working on your R2 apps you idiot!"There, that was my inner-self again. I think I should listen to her now.

Folks, am I the only one in this no-man's land or is anyone else with me? If yes shout out loud, it will probably make me feel less insane!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reminiscing my Ross interview

I had my UMich-Ross interview last week. I got the interview invitation right before Thanksgiving and had to complete my interview before Dec 9. The alum whose contact I was given turned out to be busy till Dec 9th and hence suggested that I approach the school for another contact. I did this. At this point I must say that both the alums passed out from the school in the new millennium and held very senior positions in the firms they were working.
So the day my interview was scheduled, I got a ride from my husband. It was the first time I was seeing the city traffic. Thanks to our thoughtful planning and early start we reached the rendezvous point, a coffee shop, a good 45 mins early. I used that time to relax and grab a cuppa coffee and some breakfast (the interview was scheduled early in the day).
I was waiting for my interviewer. After sometime when I started texting him, he showed up. We took a table at the coffee shop and started the process.
1) First he explained to me about the process (it reminded me of my Kellogg interview) and then asked me to walk him through my professional career. I did the same – spend around 3 mins I guess.
2) Then he asked me Why Ross. I answered it and it kinda led to Why MBA. Very specific questions about long-term and short-term goals.
3) A leadership experience at work
4) A situation in team when my team member was not performing well. How did I handle it.
5) Specific questions about my non-profit volunteer work I was doing since the past 9 months. He asked me couple of leadership questions about this activity.
6) And the most hated questions - What would I do if the MBA thing doesn’t work out this year.
This is the list of the questions I remember. I might have skipped a question or two, but not more. Overall I think I answered them with comfort and I’m hoping my interviewer could see how I was focused on my goals and purpose for an MBA and how much I’m in love with Ross :)
Then I asked him a couple of questions about his Ross experience and MAP. He spend around 8-10 mins answering my questions. When he started talking about his MAP experience, I chipped in and conveyed how I had forgotten to mention about MAP before and how I believe it to be very necessary for a career changer like me. Hope my being forgetful didn’t affect anything negatively :-$
The total process went a little over 45 mins. It was a blind interview, i.e. my interviewer had only my resume , that I sent him. He had not seen my application and essays. I think this is the best way to evaluate a person’s admissibility into a school. Conduct a blind interview. Then match the interview report with the application. If they are both coherently positive sounding then take in the candidate.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

GMAT - pre-MBA , during-MBA and post-MBA

As an applicant, when I started preparing for the GMAT this is what I told myself, "It's the one thing thatz in my hand and I better do the best I can". Unfortunately I didn't do well in my first GMAT. I barely crossed the 80th percentile on quant and was devastated coz I always thought I was good at math. I knew it was not reflective of my actual abilities and hence re-took the test and was satisfied with my new score. I was relieved that the whole GMAT thing was over once for all. But it was surprising to see that GMAT and MBA degree go hand in it for a long long time.
I toured 4 b-schools in the US and what I've observed is that the GMAT ghost haunts you forever. Most of these schools had notice boards roaring with ads of GMAT-tutors, special GMAT coaching discounts for students at that university, Math-tutoring etc etc. I was surprised to see that. I wondered why on earth someone would put thoses notices there? Was it for visitors like me? I was confused. But soon things became clearer. As adcom reps at the information sessions spoke about the job search, job prospects and career profile building they told how GMAT was a 'very important parameter' in job interviews. You see, it doesn't matter if you have a great GPA in your liberal arts class or great verbal scores on your GMAT that boosted your total GMAT score. Companies, especially financial companies and consulting companies, specifically look at your quant score for estimating your analytical ability. Inevitably, the career magmt. centers in most schools have to suggest their low-GMAT students to try and re-take the exam and improve their quant scores.
Much has been discussed about this topic, remember the GMATClub blog post by Linda Abraham of I do wish to add something to what was said in that article. In another instance, I've seen one of my fellow bloggers postpone her application process by one round just because she met with an adcom at a top-3 school who suggested her to retake the GMAT to improve her post-MBA job prospects.
Does all this mean that there is no hope for low-GMAT scorers? I say no.Your GMAT score matters depending on the kind of job you wanna do post-MBA. If you want to work in creative fields like media or entertainmentt and non-traditional fields like non-profit management then a low-GMAT score doesn't necessarily put you at a disadvantage. Also, one can highlight other academic successes on resume such as a scholarhsip or tution waiver from your UG or MBA school. Getting a 100% tution waiver from your b-school tells a lot of positive things about you to your employer.I've seen this atleast with one of my friends who graduated this May.
All said, applicants done with GMAT can't yet forget its implications on their career. Am I out of scope for this?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Emory visit and interview experience

November, I thought, was the most eventful month of my applications season - with an interview, 1 school visit and 2 application submissions. But I think december is gonna beat it. The very first week of December, I attended a super saturday(at Emory Goizueta) and gave interviews for 2 schools. And now I'm waiting to hear from NYU & am keeping my fingers crossed on Emory's decision.

The super saturday event at Emory was informative in terms of providing details about the schools and giving an overall feeling about the school, which is very important for me. And I also scheduled my interview the same day. So lots of info. to get into my head and lot more things to deliver too :)

The day started with a women's breakfast at 8am(I know, I know - very early for a saturday morning - but hey, afterall they had so much to do in one day).It was a casual chat with current students, alumni and adcom folks. It was suprprising to see that 2 amongst the 7 speakers had their spouses enrolled in the 2Y MBA pgm along with them! Good for them!

I met a couple of applicants like me. After the women's chat I went to the room where Q&A with adcom was scheduled. The adcom asst-director,Kate Piasecki, was very friendly. I had already met her in September an MBA Tour event. There were almost 50-60 prospective students in the session. And there were around 25-30 students attending a school tour at the same time. A total of 80-90 I'd say. A lot of them were from the Atlanta area.

I then skipped the Q&A with students coz I had already scheduled to meet a couple of students later,more on this following. Next, I took the school tour. A first year student showed us around. The Goizueta building is kinda shaped like a 3/4 circle with a nice lawn in the centre. Apparently this lawn is where free drinks are served on Thursday :). Each of the 2Y and BBA folks have seperate floors for them. A unique artifact was the coca-cola trading floor from the older days NYSE. The coca-cola name appeared conspicuously in the entire Goizueta building.

Next I had a casual meeting scheduled with a couple of last season MBA-applicant-bloggers missionmba and ahembeea. After months of reading their every single blog post it was nice to meet these souls in person. There were a couple of us prospective students meeting with them. After 20 mins of talking I suddenly realized that I had a simulation class to attend. I quickly bid byes to all and ran.

The class/session had already begun. Not just applicants but Assoc. Dean J.B.Kurish, some profs and alumni and current students for both 1Y and 2Y MBA pgms were present there. It was a nice session and the professor, Mr.Robert Kazanjian, simulated a class session with a case study of Dell's strategy in the late 90's and early millenium. It was very interesting and all visitors were encouraged to participate. BTW there were a couple of visitors from India attending the event through webconference, how kewl is that for an information session!

Next there was a scheduled lunch with current students, but I skipped it coz my interview was coming up next. I went to a lonely place, and read through my notes and then went to the interview. Pretty standard questions. In the order of asking, the questions were : Walk me through your resume, why MBA, why now, why Goizueta, what core value of Goizueta would you identify yourself with, any questions for the interviewer and anything else I would like to add about me and that wasn't already covered in the interview. The whole interview went very very unbelieveably fast. It completed in just 20-25 mins!!! It was nice to know that quite a few Goizueta interviews last 25 mins or so such as Hakuna Matata's last year. I don't think I did my best in the interview. The only thing +ve about it was the alum who took my interview said,"Sounds like you are very passionate about what you wanna do". Is that a good sign? Only time will tell.

After that I wrapped up and left the campus.If you are interested in visiting Goizueta and can wait till Jan I suggest you to attend the next Super Saturday event scheduled on Jan 23,2010.

That's it for now, coming up next is my Ross interview experience. Keep blogging!