Sunday, December 31, 2006

New year wishes

Here's me wishing all you fellow B School applicants and everyone else who drops by a very happy and prosperous new year 2007. May you and your family see the best of your lives this year and may you taste success in all your endeavors :)

I was on leave from Wednesday. Tomorrow is Eid-ul-adha and hence a holiday again. That makes it 6 days of no office and it was a break I'd yearned for quite some time. I really enjoyed the break.

Since the AdComm offices were closed for vacation as well, there is no news. For me, the coming week is interesting because Jan 8th is Kellogg's decision deadline and Stanford said they will extend interview invites only till the first week of Jan.

On the Chicago front, there is a lot happening. Housing seems so complex, i dunno how we're gonna sort it out. Eventually, it will all be sorted out, i know. But at the moment, there is more chaos than clarity :) The paper work that lies in front of us is really scary and for the next two or three months, i guess i'm gonna spend a lot of time with all the paper work.

Happy new year to you'll once again and rock the part floor tonight :)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Wishes

To each and everyone of you - here's wishing a Merry Merry Christmas.
Forget the whole MBA Admissions business, take time out with family and friends and enjoy the holidays :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Chicago reaches out

  1. I get a mail from an officer of Admissions promising support all the way through the process from here on. This is the same person who called to inform me of my admit. I think they assign groups of admits to an officer and then the officer handles everything for them.
  2. The mail also gave me my GSB id and hence access to the admitted students portal. The site is A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Can't take my eyes off it - the amount of info is overwhelming at times and one has to read and re-read multiple pages to visualize the complete picture. But the site has info on everything i need.
  3. The admit packet reached home yesterday. The AdComm seems to have mailed the packets on Monday. Speaks so much for their efficiency. They handle way too many applications compared to last year, still prepone the result by 2 weeks and still finish all work 3 full days before the new deadline. Cool...
    I was kinda of worried abt how the Financial Aid and Visa processing process would work out. I was not clear and hence worried. But a single letter in the admit packet put all my doubts to rest. Now the whole process seems a lot lot simple. The admit packet also has a "Curriculum Guide" that provides info about the faculty (lots of Indians), the curriculum and also the individual courses. I have already started trying out various permutations and combinations :)
  4. Today morning, i get a mail from a current first year student saying he'd call me on Monday to explain what he went through one year ago and also to dispel any doubts i might have at this point of time. I am impressed. Eagerly expecting his call...

The last few days have been full of results.
Congrats to all who received good news from their dream schools.
For the unlucky ones - tough luck folks. All the best for your alternate plans.

PS: The Dean's Student Admissions Committee (DSAC) of Chicago GSB has setup a blog to communicate with prospective students and admits. Check out the link under the Resources section.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Chicago Admit

I'm in folks!!! I got the phone call about 2 hours ago.
Feeling more relieved than anything else :)

Relieved coz i dont have to write any more essays ;)

Thanks to each one of you for being with me through this process, right from GMAT preps till now, and pitching in with your views at various stages.

By that, dont assume this to be a farewell post, as i intend to keep writing about my experiences from now on. I thought this was the most appropriate moment to thank you guys :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Kellogg interview.

I spoke with a second year student as a part of the Kellogg admission process. The call came in 20 minutes late. The interviewer seems to have had some trouble reaching me. The interview started with apologies from either end, she for having kept me waiting and me for the trouble she had in reaching me.

The interview began with the interviewer explaining the role of the interview, at this stage, in the overall interview process. All she had were the data forms and my resume. If the applicant initiated interview was granted earlier, the interviewer would have had the same data. So it was just exactly the same kind of interview, being done in a different medium, at a different time. I had spent the weekend preparing for the interview, but i was definitely not expecting what happened in the interview :)

The first question was "Tell me about your undergraduate institution". "Surprise, Surprise" - i thought. I recovered and explained about the college i studied, while i also provided background information about the education system and college admission process over here. "Why did you chose this institution?" was the next question. Once this was answered, she asked "What would you specifically want to mention about your undergraduate experience" and then "While at college, what were the efforts you made to get yourself a job?" Then she moved onto questions surrounding my career progress.

"Tell me about your company", "So you work from the Chennai facility of your company. Tell me about the work done out of your facility and your role in the company", "Tell me about the project you work in and the work you do, in lay man terms please" - these were the questions that came first. The other questions that followed were "What is your role/responsibility in your project" and "What are the other teams in your project". Then she went on to ask some of the usual Kellogg questions. "Compared to your peer members, how do you think your career progress has been", "As a team leader who is leading teams for quite some time now, what do you think were the mistakes you had done in this role?", "Comparing yourself from the early days and now, how do you think you have improved as a team leader?" - were the questions that were shot next.

Finally, we moved into the core of the interview. "Tell me why you want to leave your company and pursue an MBA education at this point of time". This was the first question for which i had a prepared answer :) Once i gave my answer, she asked "Explain me why you want to move into Finance". By this time i had explained and justified "Why MBA", "Why now" and also laid out my long term career aspirations. She then asked "What are your immediate plans after you graduation?". "Why did you chose Kellogg" came out next, for which i answered for something like 5 long minutes - during which i displayed the amount of research i had done and also how passionate i was about the school. She then said, "Finally, is there anything else you would like to add to the discussion". I found that we had not covered one aspect of my profile and i explained that. That was it.

She then let me ask my questions and i asked a few from my pre-prepared list. The answers she gave me showed me that this was a person who loved the school she was studying in :) Once i said i was done, she went on to explain what will happen after the interview and then we bid farewell.

Overall, i am extremely satisfied with the interview. I answered all questions to my fullest satisfaction and now, one hour after the interview, i am still satisfied with my responses. I was feeling good about Kellogg right from the moment i got my invite. I now feel very positive about Kellogg. Cant wait for the results :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kellogg Interview - scheduled

On Dec the 18th 8:30PM IST, Kellogg and I speak.

Already had a taste of telefonic conversation while i was scheduling the interview :) No fun whatsoever. But if this is how it goes, this is how it goes.

Having lived with only Chicago in hand, things look better as there is something else to look up to :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Happy birthday blog

One year since i started writing this blog.

What started as a online journal to kill boredom after my CAT 2005 preps has turned into a place that has been with me through the CAT failure, the resultant decisions i took, the GMAT preps, MBA apps and everything else. In the process, it has also brought many new people into my life - all these ppl i hope to meet some day, either in the school i get into or during an inter school meet of some kind :)

Anyway - the blog has given me much more than what i'd hope for and i hope by the second birthday of this blog, i wud have moved out of applicant mode and into student mode.

Kellogg wants to talk

I just received a mail from the AdComm that simply says
Upon review of your file, the Kellogg Admissions Committee would like to schedule a telephone interview with you.
It then gave me the number which i am supposed to call and schedule the interview.

This is great news :)

But i have absolutely no idea reg the Kellogg telephonic interview. Gotta start digging out information. All you buddies out there, any pointers?!?!

Monday, December 04, 2006

QS World MBA tour - in Chennai

I just came back from the QS World MBA Fair, which was held for the first time in Chennai. Event was not really impressive. I'd rate it 7 on 10. The only reason i could think of it is that there was a lack of big name schools. But all the schools were drawing a constant stream of applicants (or prospective applicants). Very very few tables were empty and no table was empty all the time.

The NUS table was the most happening place. The representative of NUS was actually holding the brochures as high as she could, shouting at the top of her voice, enquiring if anyone had not got the brochures. There was quite a crowd in front of the NUS table and they were quite prominently placed as well. Schools like Wharton, Tuck had supposedly booked slots but dint turn up (at least till i came out of the fair). And there were no presentations by schools. Only info points where one could drop in, speak with an AdComm rep and carry away brochures (and whatever goodies were on offer).

I guess a lot of it was coz this is the first time they're in Chennai. Hopefully they'll bring more schools next year.

The AdComm director from Darden was present and it was absolutely great speaking to her. She must be well into her 40s, perhaps even the early 50s, but she is this huge bundle of energy. She remembers the names and phone numbers of all the necessary ppl in the campus. She was quoting instances from the presentations made by Darden in the other cities and explaining how good they were.

There were two of us who went in with "VIP passes" from PaGaLGuy. So entry was free. The organizers gave us a special welcome once we told we're from PG. We were also given a copy of the TopMBA Career Guide - Fall 2006 edition for free :)

Overall - a good beginning. I hope the fair would only grow more in the years to come. There was crowd, a big crowd. So it is also good business for the folks who run the fair.

BTW - the fair took place in one of the snazziest hotels (as is the norm) in town (i love the food there). On the way out, we met this man (ladies - time to shriek)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Chicago Status Change

The online application now reads "Interview Completed".

This means that my interviewer has submitted his interview feedback and the app would go under review in the next few days.

17 more days for the result.

I find myself in a pretty interesting dilemma here. I now want the days to fly past me as son as possible so that i cud know my result on Dec 20th. But I also need the days to go slowly, coz there are R2 apps to worry abt :)

Cheers to all of us in this boat :)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Lotsa time. No inclination to work.

Aah! What can i say?!?!?!

Now that the Chicago interview is beyond me, i have nothing to do w.r.t. R1 applications. HBS is still silent, Kellogg has started releasing results from Friday but my app went to complete status only last Friday and the Stanford app went under review only this Wednesday. So i have no news.

With nothing to do, the best thing would be to work on R2 apps. But i am not able to drag myself on to the essay writing table to start working :( Ideally, i must be writing essays for Columbia and start working on the apps of Tuck, Ross and Stern (this is the R2 list as of now). I have started all four online apps. I have analyzed the essay questions and also noted down the possible answers to most of them. All that is left is to sit down and start writing the essays and finish work.

It is perhaps tiredness, perhaps overconfidence, perhaps anxiety - perhaps everything. End result - i am doing nothing and i don't want to do anything. I believe i should wriggle out of this state and get going.

Time doesnt wait - the deadlines are fast approaching.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Chicago GSB interview Experience.

After all the wait, i had to wait for almost 12 hrs in Bangalore before the interview actually began. The interview started at 8PM yesterday night @ a coffee shop :)

As expected, the interview started with him explaining about his recent schedule and how things got out of his hands and stuff like that. And then we went on to discuss about my work at my company and about my college. This clearly was the ice-breaker session. I ordered a coffee and he ordered apple juice and we then moved on to the CORE.

It began with the standard question - "Why MBA?" A long explanation later, this was out of the way. The interviewer did not stop me in the middle of this explanation, but made notes at several instances. Quite unexpectedly, the next question was "What are the schools you are applying to?". I gave him my list and also explained why i had applied (or plan to apply) to these schools. Next came "What are your post MBA plans?" and my mouth started working in hyper space once again. I had a lot to say here. The interviewer waited till i finished and then shot the next question, "Why the shift from Tech to Finance?", as my career plans were centered around this discipline. Some more justification to be done and work for the mouth once more. He was taking notes at numerous instances while i was answering all these questions.

We were a good 30 minutes into the interview by now and i felt we had covered all the "justification" questions. As expected, next came out "Why Chicago?". I had lots and lots to say here and i told myself i was in the home stretch. Sipped the coffee and began talking again. The interviewer gave me the nod of acceptance (or so i think) on almost all the points i made here. After nearly 10 minutes of non stop speaking, i was done. Immediately came, "What if you have to choose between Chicago and some other school?" I had prepared for this and hence this was a simple question to answer. "So, how are you planning to fund your MBA?", was the next question. I did not expect this question, but since the answer was straight forward, i did not have any issues explaining it to him. I even managed to explain him the amount of research and investigation i had done on this.

Next came out a set of "behavioral" questions. "As a team leader, what is the biggest challenge you face?", "In managing a team, what do you consider to be your weakness?", "How have your life and your profession prepared you for an MBA?", "What do you consider to be your biggest mistake ever?" I think that's all of this type of questions. I think i did okay in answering these questions.

We then realized that we had been speaking for the past 90 minutes :) He then set the stage open for me to ask questions to him. I had a small list of questions and i asked them to him. He explained about the need to go to an MBA to acquire complete business perspective and not to be too keen to concentrate on one particular domain. I explained that i had given so much air space to Finance and Entrepreneurship because they were the primary take aways for me. Acquiring well rounded business acumen is, in my opinion, in the minds of almost all the applicants - i told him :) He also pointed out that i had rambled a bit during the interview and i should strive to be more to-the-point in my conversations. I accepted that (coz i knew i had rambled a bit) and said i would definitely work on it. But i believe it was because i was very excited and also a case of too-much-to-say-and-too-little-time. He then said it could perhaps be a case of difference in perspectives and it really did not matter as much coz this was something which Bschool wud set straight in a week or a month :) He ended it saying i had very strong foundations and he believed that i had all the pre-requisites to be a good Bschool student :)

One the whole, i think i did okay. A very formal interview. It was definitely not a bad interview, but not the kick ass interview i hoping to have.

All i can do is wait for Dec 20!!!

PS: While i was on the GSB interview trip, my Stanford interview has been labeled as "Complete - under review". Someone in Palo Alto is reading my story and i hope he/she likes it :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Off to Bangalore


My interviewer is back from his business tour and hence available tomorrow. We had a chat today morning and everything looks to be in place. I am traveling tonight and will be back in a day.

I promise an interview report on Thursday. Hopefully, i will have some nice things to say about the interview :)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

And so, i finally get that book

"The pressure is getting to me", she said. "Sometimes I feel like having a good cry." Whereupon Susan and the other woman began to do just that, dabbing their eyes with paper napkins. I darted a glance around the cafeteria, hoping that no one was staring. No one was even taking notice. Tears during the fall term at Stanford business school were too common.

This is an excerpt from Snapshots from Hell - the making of an MBA. This is late 1988 and not sometime in the recent past, but i don't think things would have changed a lot. The stage was set for such scenes right at the beginning, during orientation, when one of the speakers mentions about people who have required psychological assistance to help them cope up with school. It sure looks like lot of stress.

On the flip side, the book is a summary of first year experiences written by an individual who has had no prior business experience before coming to school. So it is obvious he is going to find the mathematical and analytical parts of the course too rigorous and time consuming. As i began reading the chapters, i realized that the book was going the exact same way.

Nevertheless, the book is good to read. If anyone plans to read this book, take every page of the book with a pinch of salt. It is highly possible that, based on ur background and preschool profession, you would have a radically different B school experience :)

I can already imagine mine being different. All the math he detests, i love ;)

Disclaimer: I have just begun the book. I might perhaps have different things to say abt the book after i finish. This is more like a "first impressions" comment :)

PS: I was shopping yesterday with some friends and we happened to spend some time at LandMark where my friends were buying DVDs. inblue has been suggesting i read this book for quite sometime and so i thought i would check it out, with no immediate plans to purchase the book. I could not find the book and asked one of the shop assistants reg the book. He checked with their database, found that 8 copies were still in stock and organized a really impressive search to try find the book. When he could not find the book, one more joined him and in about 5 minutes there were at least five people searching this book for me. All this, when they were about to close the shop for the day. I bought the book yesterday, simply because of the way they found the book.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Finalized my chicago GSB interview

My interviewer called me from the place he is presently in, to finalize this. We discussed all options and decided that the sooner we finish this, the better it would be.

Since i could get tickets to be in Bangalore on Wednesday and since we both preferred to finish this as soon as possible, we've decided to meet and have a chat on Wednesday.

I guess we are going to meet in the evening. That's what he suggested.
Hope i'd have a nice time and some fun in the interview :)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving Holiday. I guess US of A is celebrating a long weekend as well.

So yeah, have fun folks :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My interview's postponed


My interviewer is stuck up with his client and hence will not be able to meet me on Sunday as we'd decided. He seems to be in the middle of something and things are really out of his hands.

The different option he proposed were
  1. Meeting in a weekday once he is back (he expects to be back on Tuesday or Wednesday)
  2. Selecting a different interviewer
  3. Telephonic interview
I'm obviously more keen on option 1 and I've mailed him informing about the same. Yet to receive a reply from him on this.

I guess i will work on my R2 apps this weekend. I just discussed with my mentor (recommender no:1) and i'd asked him to work on the recos and even submit them since things cannot wait till the last moment. I'm hoping i will have to do nothing after Dec 20th, but i'd lose valuable time if i waiting till i get that news.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A long, eventful, interesting day!!!

I woke up at 7AM today morning, and it's been a really long time since i did that.
The reason: We had representatives of our client visit us today and hence we were asked to be at office before 9:00 Am, the time when they were expected to reach our office.

But little did the planners know about Chennai's traffic or the frequent problem with the almost all the local airways here - they can screw up schedules big time!!! And when both of them perform to their potential simultaneously, event coordinators can do nothing but keep updating their schedules.
Our client reps reached our office by 10:30 AM :)

Then began the fun. The purpose of their visit was to evaluate our performance over the last two years and gather data points (the good, bad and the ugly) to make a case during our contract renewal which is about to happen in late December. So as key resources in our team, our job was to make our case stronger and perhaps draw more business.

With two years of good performance and more than two weeks of keen presentation, we were prepared for the task. To cut a long story short, the client reps were immersed into presentation after presentation of our performance, by people from different technology areas - 8 presentations in all, apart from the cover story our manager put up right at the beginning. Then we had two more presentations on value add initiatives we had provided, stuff which will improve the business of our client.

The simplest way to show the visitors were impressed was that the CTO of our client's Indian operations, a man with more than 17 years of experience in this product and who was absolutely tight lipped when he came in - almost like someone who was thinking "why on earth am i here?!?!?!", opened up big time and started discussing on all things business and technology. We received appreciations for our work, suggestions for future work and some more suggestions on how to position some of the work were doing so that it falls in line with the business plans of our client. So many years of experience and this man was amazing :)

We voiced some of the concerns we had, had some open, light hearted discussion abt the present and future of the technology sector, our client's future road map and the various offerings we had on our plate and how they can utilize our team for their betterment.

Clearly, with more than 10 years of association with this client and more than 50 man years of experience in various areas of their product, we had a much bigger role to play in their business. This was one major point we wanted to convey and i feel that we drove the point home quite effectively. The client reps went back with notepads full of actions items and was back to the airport. Our business unit head was gleeing :)

Some of us picked up a wonderful new business possibility out of the discussion we had with the client reps. We discussed some more about this new development and i am sure we are going to work on it in the days to come. My manager and my mentor were very positive abt this, coz this would be a great opportunity to show to our client of the kind of benefits they can reap by being more collaborative with us. And yeah, this will definitely help us showcase our technical abilities to the client once again. Our only fear is that we might end up doing free work for the client.

Overall - a very good session, which lasted till 2 in the noon. We did what we wanted to and then did some more and then know we can do a lot more :)

Business sure is a lot of fun :)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Crack the CAT

This Sunday is the day of the CAT, the test which is taken by more than 1.75 lakh Indian B School aspirants to get a seat in one of the premier institutes in India. As someone who's appeared for the test an year ago, I know what the test takers go through.
It is tough, really tough.

So, to all the test takers out there - Best Wishes from me.
Go crack it well.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

DWI from Wharton

Just got the official notification on the online application system.
So, the W journey ends here :)

With no info expected from any of the remaining schools in the immediate future, this looks like the beginning of a long dull period. The next thing to look up to is the Chicago Interview next weekend.

So till i hear anything from the other schools or till i have an update, good bye and be good :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Three days since i last blogged and hence i have quite some updates:

I received a mail from the AdComm asking me to verify my demographic information and reminding me abt the interview deadline and that i schedule an interview before it. The important news from this letter is that GSB will notify applicants of their final decision (admit or deny) or Dec 20th, a full 15 days earlier than their original Jan 4th decision deadline. This is really cool :)

I have made necessary travel arrangements for the interview. Preps have started slowly and i think i will use this weekend to fine tune all my answers and re-read the essays. Once this is done, i will be all set to interview.

The folks at Kellogg AdComm have finally matched all parts of my application. Since my interview has been waived, my app will go into review straightaway. I might have a telephonic interview if they feel the need to have one. Else i will know of the final decision around the decision deadline - Jan 7th.

No invite from Wharton, yet :(
Tonight, i will know whether i qualify for an interview (and hence still be in the race) or whether i am out with a DWI. I am neither feeling negative nor feeling positive. Tell me the name Wharton and i draw a blank. I really don't know what to think. This wait has been horrible. It all ends today, one way or the other.

Here's me - hoping for a last day invite. Let's see what they think.

HBS & Stanford
No status change from both Stanford and HBS. The app status is in Submitted. While the status in the HBS app is never gonna change, Stanford supposedly changes the status to something like "Under Review" once they start reading the app. I see in the www that people have started getting invites from both these schools. But there is only silence as far as my apps are concerned. Looks like this is gonna be one (rather two) long waiting period till mid-Jan.

Life otherwise has been fine. I've been slowly moving into complete health after the sickness last week. I think i am there, but i am still almost always tired and sleepy. Guess i need another weekend to finish the recovery.

My project at work is up for renewal, after nearly two years. Some of the folks in my team (me included) are working on a preparing stuff to be presented during a meet with the client manager, who's scheduled to visit us on this Monday. This has been a good detour from the Wharton worry and has also been another great experience in business development :) This is as if we are making a proposal for a new project. Monday's gonna be quite a day! I'm looking forward to the presentation and other stuff :)

Okay - time to run to work now.
Will post the fate of my Wharton app, once i get to know it. Either way, I'll know it by tomorrow morning.

Till we meet again, take care and be good :)

Monday, November 13, 2006

The last week of W invites

Only four days remain and then the doors into the prestigious Wharton 2 year MBA program will then be shut out, at least till next year. Without an invite in hand, it is only natural to feel negative at this point of time.

But to all those who haven't received an invite as yet, take heart from the fact that Wharton invites close to 50% of their applicants and also that most (a huge percentage may i say) of the invites are rolled out during the last fews days, if not the last day. At least this is the impression i get after reading posts from dependable sources in the S2S forums.

I myself haven't received an invite yet and am banking on these facts :)
Add to it this update from wharton :)
So to all those fellow applicants, there still is hope.There are people who received an invite minutes before the deadline and then went on to get an admit in to the class!!!

Be positive :)
All the best, to you and me!!!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Birthday wishes - to me

Today i turn 25 :)

What's special? Nothing! The recovery perhaps :) Being close to normal again is a great feeling.

Apart from that, this is the usual wake up at 9 - run to work - slog at work - return from work - sleep like a log day :) There will be the once-in-a-year attention at the work place with stuff like cake cutting, wishes from colleagues and the like. Some fun.

Will there be a interview invite from Wharton as a birthday gift??? Nothing in my inbox yet. But it is 10th Nov in US till tomorrow 12 noon IST. Quite a long time. Let us see :)

I am back!!!

Shrugged the sickness off.
Cant be sick anymore.
It is more boring than waiting for the invites :)

A very big thanks to all you kind fellas who wished for my good health.

Went to office today, cleared the 80 odd mails in my inbox, did some pending work, had a meeting with team leads and my manager on the visit of someone big, wanted to come back by 6 and finally cmae back by 8. Looks like i'll have to do a presentation to this big-shot. Will have to prepare for it (gather data basically) over the next few days. My manager wants a test run sometime next week.

Apart from that, nothing. My Chicago interview is still a good 2 weeks away and no news from anywhere else.

Now, off i go to sleep :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Thanks to inblue

I followed her suggestion to kill the boredom. I fell sick. But perhaps i followed to too well. I fell hyper sick.

I picked up a fever on Saturday evening, and been fighting with it since then. Loads of medicines and hours of sleep later, i am recuperating out of it. This is one phase of life i never liked. Even the period of sickness is better. My taste buds seem to be masked with a unity function of bitterness. Anything i try to eat - i taste only bitter. Add to it, i feel the smell of medicines all around. Shit - i hate it.

I know it will pass. But i am terribly frustrated and feeling pretty low now. I was supposed to meet a friend on Sunday, which got postponed to Wednesday coz i was sick. we cannot meet on Wednesday too coz i am still sick :( Haven't been to work for two days now, and the count is definitely not gonna stop at two. I haven't seen the outside world since Saturday evening, apart from the one frustrating hour i waited to meet the doctor. I have never been so sick in my life. This is the worst I've ever gone through. Sigh!!!

OK - that's a lot of unpleasant stuff. I am feeling much better now. The appetite is back, but the bitterness is still there. The fever is almost gone. I think i should be back to normal in a couple of days.

There is no update the applications. Even though I fell sick, i feel good for the fact that the GSB interview has been scheduled for a later time. Everything happens with a reason :)

Time to munch something and get back to bed. You guys take care and be good :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Interview Scheduled

I got in touch with my alumni interviewer and scheduled my interview.

The day is Nov 25th. Quite a bit far from now.
But looks like the interviewer is a busy man :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Invite from Chicago GSB

I received an interview invite from Chicago GSB.
I sent the mail to the assigned alumni, notifying about this development and also uploaded my resume, as required. Since my Interviewer is present in Bangalore, I have to travel for the interview.

This is really exciting. Let's see how it goes.

One down, four more to go :)
Where are you others???

Update on Kellogg

The status of my Kellogg app changed finally. All this time, it was "Part 1 received". Now they seem to have matched up Part 1 and Part 2. Hence the status check site gives me a more detailed summary of my status. They have got all the material i submitted online. But they still haven't matched my transcripts with my app.

Looking at the whole Kellogg process, i see a lot of operational difficulties with this process. Each application that reaches Kellogg is a sum of many different parts, coming in through various means. It is so complex. Kind of explains why it took them so long to update the status.

Now that my interview has been waived, my app should go into review straight away. I dont think i will hear from Kellogg in November - let's see :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I hate time zones

It is the first of November here in India, but i still have to wait for half a day more for November to begin in USA, or specifically Chicago :)

Really - it doesn't make any sense to say it is 1:45 AM in the middle of the day at US. But still there are some problems specific to B school applicants, which these time zone guys do not realize :(

Okay - November is here. Wharton says that around 60% of interview calls are sent out during the last 2 weeks (source S2S Forums) and Chicago sends invites only during these 2 weeks :) Let's see what i have in hand after these two weeks. Oh - let's not forget the other schools.

How i hate this part of the game!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Something has changed :)

Okay - i was bored of checking the status of all applications. Nothing had changed to anything. So i thought i would change something that i can change.

Hence, the new template :)
And hey - don't forget to shoot your feedback :D

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Weekend, after many weeks

I did absolutely nothing this weekend. This is the first time in 3 months when i had nothing on my To-Do list. I still had long days and short nights - had to wake up early on Saturday morning to go see a mundane movie and wake up much much earlier on Sunday morning coz of the wedding of my Friend's sister. But these lasted for a few hrs on the morning and i cud spend the rest of the day taking rest and not worry abt writing essays or filling up online apps :)

The waiver from Kellogg meant that i now have nothing to look up to. Chicago said they'll send out invitations from Nov 1st and Wharton's Interview mailer doesn't work on weekends :) There has been no news from HBS and Stanford, and i am perhaps not gonna hear from Kellogg for the next month or so till they finish reviewing the app :)

All the other applicants out there - any suggestions to kill time???

Friday, October 27, 2006

News from Kellogg

Earlier today, MBAstarter had pointed to me this difference between the number of applicants and the number of alumni interviews in Kellogg's previous application season and thus raised the doubt on whether my theory of "ALL Kellogg applicants are interviewed" holds good or not. When i was trying to figure out possible reasons behind this, i forgot one of the possibilities. There are candidates for whom interviews are waived!!!

Now what reminded me of this??? My Interview Has Been Waived!!!

Yeah - i just got a mail from the Kellogg AdComm that they have made this decision. To quote from the mail:
There has been a significant increase in the number of interview requests this year in your area; therefore we can not accommodate your request without making excessive demands of our alumni interviewers. Due to these circumstances, we are waiving your interview requirement so as not to delay the submission or processing of your application.

So Kellogg is completely out of my hands now. I was so eager to meet a Kellogg product. That's not gonna happen. All i can do now, is to wait till Jan 8th to see what their final decision is.

Also check the Kellogg FAQ page for further info on interview waivers

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Firefox 2

I upgraded to Firefox 2.o yesterday. I must accept, the new browser is really good. It has this feel good factor and a pleasantness which makes the browsing experience a lot more better.

The new features which i could notice straight away are
Better tab browsing
Inbuilt word checker
Session Restore
Phishing protection
More personalization

I basically like the look and feel of the new browser and believe me, browsing is fun with this tool.

Click here Firefox 2 and get your own copy :)

The fun begins :)

I just saw at Wharton's S2S Forums that someone received his (or her) interview invite from Wharton.
Nov 15th is approaching as fast as the Hogwarts Express :)

Chicago will add fuel to the fire, starting Nov 1st...
Then there is HBS...
and then there is Stanford!!!

As expected, the wait begins all the more interesting :D

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

R1 - completely complete

With my manager's submission of the Stanford Reco, some 6 hours before deadline, all activities from my end is complete w.r.t the Fall 2007 Application process. It is all out of my hands now. I can only wait and wait and wait till the AdCom gets back to me...

I still haven't even received the Interview Invite from Kellogg :(
Perhaps i am just being too eager :)

The 29 days of fasting and the application process has ended with Eid today. Starting tomorrow, i plan to immerse myself into work for sometime. Work has been second priority for quite some time now. Time to catch up with stuff over there. Got to bear some additional responsibilities (read more members under me) from Nov 1st. So i gotta prepare for that too over this weekend. Two of them are fresh graduates. The first impression of the guys has been good. I plan to push them and see how things shape up. I think this is really exciting :)

I also plan to start preparing for interviews. ClearAdmit Wiki - here i come :)

BTW - I see no info on the entire www about anyone receiving an invite. I think Nov is gonna be a huge rush of invites :)
Till then folks - we can do nothing but chill...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Oh My Gaaawd...

This wait is horrible...

I am so glued to my PC, i cannot move away from it. But i just don't know what to do :) I have already taught myself how to forget about the results. I still check my mails frequently, but that's all about it. The pain is more about not having anything much to do. If u think i will get used to it, i don't want that to happen too. I liked the last few months of frantic running around.

Okay, time to make a statement - "I hate vacations!!! They're so BORING"

Tomorrow is Eid BTW. So Eid Mubarak to all the brothers and sisters around the world. The 29 days of fasting is over and i can look back at normal life.

Now that i have some time, i think i must go hit the gym as frequently as possible. There are also other stuff which i haven't had time to think abt. I think i must drop in to these places to see how they are moving. The fact is that i had prepared for this break and these ventures are already self sustaining, so i am not needed in any way. So i only plan to drop in, check things and drop out. I aint got a lot of time anyway as i gotta come right back to prepare for my interviews :)

So yeah - this is the first day of nothing and i am already bored. I am gonna start with my Columbia essays right away. Happy boredom to all those folks who are done with their R1 apps :)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Stanford Submitted

After lot of reading and re-reading my essays, I just hit the submit button.
Yeah - i got poorer by $245 :)

The confirmation mail from Stanford says they wanna interview between 800 and 1200 candidates and admit between 400 and 500 students. This means there is gonna be an increase in their class size. Cool :) That was me jumping the gun. This is just the usual number of offers :)

Nothing more is known abt the status of online apps. Must dig abt that in the days to come. I obviously have time to kill :) Loads of them, infact.

BTW - gotta make my manager submit his Stanford Reco tomorrow. That will completely complete the R1 applications :)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Post Submission

I am applying to five schools and this is what happens after the deadlines in each of these schools:

  • The status will change to submitted and will remain the same till Jan 17th 2007, the HBS R1 decision deadline.
  • After review of applications, HBS will start sending interview invites from early November till the decision deadline.
  • The interview invitees will receive an e-mail with the subject line: "HBS Interview Invitation."
  • R1 decisions will be available on the Apply Yourself website on Jan 17th 2007.
  • The status will be submitted once u submit the application. This will change to Complete - Round 1 after the Wharton AdCom finish verifying the application packet.
  • After review of applications, Wharton will start sending interview invites from Oct 19th 2006. Invites will be sent till Nov 16th 2006.The status of the application will change to Invite to Interview.
  • The application status of the candidates who are not invited to interview will change to Deny on Nov 16th 2006.
  • R1 decisions will be available on the Apply Yourself website on Dec 21st 2006.
  • The status will be submitted once u submit the application. This will change to Complete after the Chicago AdComm finish verifying the application packet.
  • Status can become Incomplete also. The AdComm will contact the applicant in this case.
  • After review of applications, Chicago will start sending interview invites from Nov 1st 2006. Invites will be sent till Nov 15th 2006. The status of the application will change to Invite to Interview.
  • The applicants can verify the status of their interviews through the Interview link in the online application. This will be In Progress after the interview has been scheduled and will change to Complete once the interviewer had submitted his evaluation to the AdCom and they've verified it.
  • The candidates who are not invited to interview till Nov 15th 2006 will be notified of denial through the online application system.
  • Applicants will have to log into the online application on 4th Jan 2007, the R1 decision deadline, to know the decision. The status of the online app will change to Decision. I heard the AdCom calls admitted people (before the decision deadline) to inform them of the good news :)
  • The status of the application can be identified by logging into this site with the credentials which would have been mailed to the applicant by Kellogg once part 1 has been submitted.
  • After review of part 1, the applicant will receive an interview invite.
  • Kellogg says they start providing admit decisions approximately one month after the application deadline. This applicant will be intimated through mail that a (and not what) decision has been posted and he/she has to check that out in the same site. Decisions are released all the way till the decision deadline.
  • The status will change to submitted. I have no idea on whether this will change in the course of the admission process or whether it will remain the same till Jan 18th 2007, the R1 decision deadline.
  • After review of applications, Stanford will start sending interview invites. The interviews will be held from early November till the decision deadline.
  • R1 decisions will be available on the Apply Yourself website on Jan 18th 2007.
More info as and when I figure out...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The wait begins...

Wharton says - Completed - Round 1
Chicago says - Completed
Harvard says - Submitted (silent as always)
Kellogg interview invite is expected anytime...

... and i am gonna submit my Stanford application tonight. (Update - i still haven't submitted the Stanford App. Some tweaking to be done!)

After three months of living a life where i saw more of the nights than the day, it is all coming to a grand closure. Not really, as i have already started working on the Columbia app. Closure next week perhaps :) But the R1 submission list is finally complete.

Am i looking forward to the "I have nothing to do tonight" days??? I seriously don't know. I guess there is a considerable part of me that wants to be busy all the time. I actually enjoyed the app writing journey.

I will miss the apps for sure :)
But no - i am not writing apps again.

Monday, October 16, 2006


No - this is not for submitting the Stanford Application. I haven't finished it yet. Still pondering over the third essay which is longer than recommended. Also - i want to do a last round of revision before uploading the essays. I really like these essays - they've come out solid.

But now - to the Hurray :) I received my Official TOEFL score card today. Though i already know the scores, it was cool to see it on official document. Seeing a perfect score was, well, thrilling and satisfying at the same time.

So yeah folks - no goof ups. I really did score a 300 in TOEFL :D

I locked the official reports of GMAT and TOEFL in a safe and accessible place, so that i can ogle at them whenever i want to ;)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Aah - this is taking long

Longer than i expected.

I am done with three of the four essays though. The all important "What matters most..." Essay has been completed to my total satisfaction. I showed the essay to a new reviewer and she absolutely loves it. I have also finished the two smaller essays.

The one i am fighting with it the "Career Aspirations..." essay. I am finding it extremely difficult to freeze the why Stanford part. Well, it is a problem of a plenty :) Stanford is one of those schools which boasts of the unimaginable stretch of resources it can offer to its students. I am trying to put the right things on paper based on what i am most interested in, and i am finding that i can at most dedicate one line to an entity. I am unsure whether it is right or wrong. There's just so much to say :)

I have an essay which is just a tad more than 3 pages long, which again i am not sure abt. If i have to shorten it, then there goes some more space. I have decided to stop it for the day and get working on it again tomorrow. I have completed everything on the online data questions and so i can submit the app once I upload the essays. Looks like i will be able to stick to my Wednesday deadline.

My manager still has to submit two of his Recos - Kellogg and Stanford. He's on an unexpected vacation till Wednesday :( I am hoping he would be able to take some time off and submit the recos. I just sent him a mail reminding abt the Kellogg deadline. If he doesn't do it from home, we might have to fight with the busy Embark Application server :)

That reminds me, this week there are 2 deadlines I'm interested in - Chicago on 18th and Kellogg on 20th. All the best to all u folks applying to these schools.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Time to seal the Stanford App

I've been idling around for quite some time now. The Stanford deadline is around 10 days from today and i better get going. I am not quite far behind, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

The good thing is that i have completed the online app. So once i finalize the essays, i only have to upload them and then i can hit the submit button. Aah - after 4 submissions, hitting the submit button doesn't seem to be such a difficult thing after all :)

As far as the essays are concerned, i started a penultimate round of working on them this week. I did some slow progress and as of today 90% of the famous Stanford Essay:1 is complete. I want to remove one paragraph, which i don't think fits in the essay, and replace it with a futuristic paragraph, which i think keeps within the concept of my essay. This is the penultimate paragraph and i have my conclusion well written, verified and reviewed.

Speaking of reviews, i now have one more reviewer who's services i can use for the Stanford essays. She just reviewed the second essay and i have some comments from her which i need to incorporate. There is also some major rework to be done in the "Why Stanford" section, for which i have been collecting additional data for quite some time now. Looks like i need to do some more research on this before i sit down to write it.

Apart from these two, i also have to finish the other two essays. I am hoping to finish them during this weekend, get them reviewed, do the necessary re-work and probably submit them on or before Wednesday - which is a full one week before the deadline. Let's see how things progress.

My mentor has submitted all 5 of his recos. This happened more than a week ago. Once he was done, he sent me a mail "All 5 done man! Send me the invite for the 6th one." :) Well - that's him. My manager has only submitted the recos of the first three - HBS, Wharton and Chicago. His Kellogg reco is under production and his Stanford reco is yet to be begun. I am hoping i can get him working on these two during the weekend and make him submit them by early next week.

Seems like this weekend is gonna be one busy one. Lemme go get some sleep and allow my body and mind to rejuvenate itself :) ciao

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My date with W-AdCom

Not exactly a date! I should probably call it a month and based on whether i get an invite for interview or not, it might get stretched to two months or two years :) Today is officially the beginning of all of it.

Yes!!! Even as the deadline for Wharton's R1 is passing by, wharton's AdCom came out with this great post where they explain what might happen to our applications. I really like this part of Wharton. They understand what we, as applicants, go through and try to reduce the anxiety as much as it is possible. There is still anxiety with so many internal deadlines though :)

But atleast the process is clear as water - the unpolluted kind ;)

So yeah - I am being evaluated by the AdCom and i really hope they like me.

And to all the other fellow applicants - a very warm ATB. While the fingers of my right hand are crossed for my sake, the fingers of the other one are crossed for all of you :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What's happening at Wharton after GND was lifted.

I was pointed to this article in Wharton Journal by this post in the Clearadmit blog.

What i read in the journal is serious stuff. The stuff about people padding up GPAs by scraping through waivers exams in preterm, about people with the attitude of "I come to school to learn and i learn irrespective of my grades" losing out in the GPA race coz of such behavior from the above mentioned group and finally the part where the author says he would not have attended Wharton if he had known this would happen at school - interesting. This is not some person speaking, this is a first year student at Wharton speaking. The author tries to play middle man in the obviously debatable subject. Dropping GND has a few advantages to the people who perform. Someone making into the Dean's list and not being able say that to the recruiters is really wrong, speaking from the perspective of those students. Performing well and not being able to say it is a seriously offensive rule :)

When i was discussing the issue of Caste Based Reservations with my mentor (i was against it and he was for it), he suggested this nice way to use the policy. He said that the government is bound to provide the interests of the underrepresented group, which is true. But it can actually be upto the individual castes as to how they use the policy for their benefits. I was arguing that reservations must be on the basis of the economic situation of families, but he argued that they are almost always on the lower rung of the economic scale also. So he said that it must be the responsibility of the boards of these underrepresented groups to use the reservation based on the financial position of the families under their board.

This was his suggestion - which made sense to me. The Govt allocates percentages of seats in institutions and instead of a rich person of a community (who's had the best of education right from PreKGs) taking up that seat, he must be made to go through the open category and the reserved seat must go to a person who has financially struggled his way through basic education. And when this is controlled by the underrepresented board, there is no external intervention and so no one complains. If the group disagrees regarding who gets what seat, they rot to death fighting within themselves and no one gets affected outside this group :) It made sense.

Similarly - i guess the GND issue must be left to the student body. The school forcing a ban on grade disclosure is doing injustice to the top performers (read dean's list members). The school forcing a grade disclosure means that the "learners" and career switchers are at a disadvantage. So i guess the best way to handle this would be to not force a disclosure and ask the student body to decide who specifies their grade on the resume and who doesn't :)

Aah - if only everything was so simple.
I am sure the folks at Wharton (and possibly the others also) are thinking about different ways to solve this out and whatever is happening is only the system going thru the evolutionary stages.

And Finally...

I got to see "Lage Raho Munnabhai" last night.

A lot has already been said abt the movie and how good it was. So I am not gonna ramble abt it all over again. It was a great movie. Definitely worth a watch, make it two for me as I think I will go see it again :)

But is it worth an Oscar nomination?
Does it deserve to win over the other films in the competition??
Or simply, how does it fare against India's Oscar nomination "Rang De Basanti"???

As I was going through various degrees of laughter in seeing the movie, I was actually trying to evaluate it on those scales. To tell you frankly, there is not a lot to choose one between RDB and LRM. Both of them are the kind which can stir your mind and make you think, in totally opposite ways. Think about it - students doing a terrorist act in one and a metro city gunda preaching Gandhi-ism in the other one. It is extremely difficult to pick one out of these two.

But I think, atleast for me, RDB beats LRM. It is extremely close though.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Yeah - that's what i am doing now with 4 of the 5 apps submitted and the essay drafts for the fifth one ready. Okay - i only said drafts. They are not final yet. I have to work on them but not now. This week i am on rest.

So what did i do - watched the boring Champions Trophy cricket matches on TV, caught up with sleep (actually had lots of them), played games on my PC and finally read the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. The book is awesome - i liked it very much. This, i guess, is how the full of November is gonna be. I am planning to prepare for interviews once i submit all the apps. There is atleast one place from where i am getting an interview invite - Kellogg.

I also had some long chat sessions with another applicant. She wanted to see my Chicago essays and after seeing them, she had some really interesting remarks reg them. Some of them were negative too :) She was impressed with the content but she was not too happy with the presentation. She was like "There is so much GOOD stuff there and it can be said differently"! I was like "Yeah right!". And then i saw her essay and realized why she said what she said. It was so different from mine. I guess it is a case of difference of opinions :) Some of the stuff she mentioned made sense on a global scale. I am now gonna make those changes to the Stanford Essays and Columbia essays. Nothing major though.

Okay - time to get back to some silly show being shown on the television :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The transcript tour and HBS submission

I'm back to town after the one day trip to my college to request for transcripts. God knows why those folks want a week to xerox my originals and attest them. Anyway - i have spoken to the concerned people and i am hoping everything will get done in time. I cannot believe that i did so much out of my plans to be able to submit my app to one school, Kellogg. Anyway - what had to be done has been done and so be it :)

And what better way to celebrate the return than to submit my HBS application. I had a 99.5% app ready when i traveled on Tuesday night. That night in the train was one heck of a journey, with me totally obsessed with the entire application thing. Whenever i closed my eyes attempting to find some sleep, my mind was full of essay questions and answers :)

Not surprisingly, i figured out the last 0.05% of HBS during that journey. It was perhaps the logical conclusion to that career goals essay and it was escaping my mind for sometime now. So once i got that sealed, i was waiting to come back and finish that portion and submit the app. Once i was done with that, i had to do some chopping work with that essay to fit it into required word limits. When i started uploading my essays, i dint like the way had ended the "Undergrad experience" essay and so modified that too. With these changes, i uploaded all my essays, paid the US$235 and hit the submit button for the 4th time in a week :)

Now - all that is left for me to tackle is Stanford. I am burnt out beyond belief after the 2 days of travel and the week-of-4-submissions. So the logical next step is a break. I am not doing anything tonight and tomorrow night. Back to Stanford essays from Saturday morning. I guess i will submit that one sometime in the next week :)

On the reco front, my mentor has submitted all 5 recos. He sent me this cute mail today morning "Hey! I'm done with all 5. Send me the request for Columbia" :) I am going to do that now. My manager has submitted the recos for HBS and Wharton. So the immediate danger is out of the way. He has promised to finish the remaining three over the weekend. Let's see how that goes. His 3 and the Stanford peer reco is all that is left now. So - i don't foresee any major troubles there too.

All in all - am feeling good abt how I've handled the whole thing till day. By this month end, i must have submitted all 6 of my first choice apps. Then begins the long painful process of waiting :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

A silent day...

After submitting three apps within 24 hours, today was a lot less eventful. I am not complaining at all as i have loads of time to do. I only have two apps to work with, surprisingly the one with the first deadline (HBS) and the one with the last deadline (Stan) :)

I spent a good chunk of today editing my Career Goals essay for HBS. In it's original form, the essay was a good 500 words long. And i had shrunk it to 500+ from a huge essay of 650+ words. I have spoken about the "Why MBA + goals" part so much in my longer essays. I was tired of editing the essay the other day and so i left it at 500+. Today i started the work again and the break did prove helpful. The essay is now down to 450 words and i am satisfied with it. I even showed it to a new reviewer who like it very much. I guess i will submit it as such. I need to just check the last paragraph once more and spruce it up as much as possible. Then i will be done.

Once i finish that, i am all set to submit my HBS essay. I don't know when i will be doing it because i am traveling tomorrow night and will be back to my PC only on Thursday night. So i guess i will be submitting HBS after i return. It may get pushed to the weekend as i don't want to submit it after a hard day's work. No fixed plans.

Okie - end of a long weekend. A really substantial one in my life as i have started a journey on three different paths which might take me to my destiny. There are still two more to be added to this list.

Let us see how far i travel in each of them :)

I hope atleast one of these has an all-green future :D

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Kellogg Part 2 and Wharton - Submitted

Drum rolls!!!
I again hit the submit button. TWICE!!!

I spent the whole of today finalizing my Kellogg essays (god there were six of them) and reviewing them again and again. Just uploaded the essays and closed the deal. This is one school where i have an interview for sure!!! And then, Wharton essays and application were already complete! So i uploaded the Wharton essays, verified them and closed another deal!

For all the hard work that went into the whole application process, submitting two applications in a day seems something like an anti-climax :)

I guess i am speaking like someone who expected fireworks on the screen after submitting the apps and is now thoroughly disappointed coz he saw none :D

3 down, 2 more to go...

And then i get to go through the whole rigor with the Columbia application :)

My reviewer sent me her review comments on the Stanford essays today. This is what she had to say abt my response for the What matters most to you, and why? essay

xxx is a good answer.
I have seen a few answers to this kinda qn, and so far xxx is one of the best :)

I wud be so very modest if i just say i was glad :D

Chicago - Submitted

Woo Hoo...
I hit the submit button. I really hit the SUBMIT button.

I completed my Chicago application and submitted it yesterday night. That's really my first serious submission as Kellogg part 1 had no essays. Believe me, it is such a huge relief to hit the button. I was so obsessed with work that dint even realize i was gonna hit the submit button. I filled the info in the application, uploaded the essays, reviewed it a good three times, paid the application fee and submitted the button - all in one go. And then i suddenly realized, i had just submit my Chicago Application.

So very obsessed :)

Okay - one down and four more to go.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Kellogg Part 1 - Submitted

I was only waiting for my TOEFL scores to come. Once i "heard" my scores yesterday, I included those scores, filled up all other information and hit the Submit button. I must agree one thing here - the Kellogg application is the most succint of all that i have filled up till now. After filling up marathon applications for Harvard and Wharton, this is was so cool. Actually Part 2 has nothing but the essays. So i am all set to submit my Kellogg application now - once i finalize my essays.

The status with Chicago is quite the opposite. My essays are done. I have to fill in the online apps, which i am gonna do now. There is a change in plan, i am planning to apply four schools by Monday. I am planning to submit Chicago and Kellogg by tomorrow night. Wharton and HBS will be submitted by Monday night. That's the plan as of now. Let's see how it goes.

On the Reco front - my mentor has submitted HBS and Wharton recos and my lead has also submitted his reco. My manager has his HBS reco ready and he must submit it over the weekend i guess. His Wharton reco must also get submitted sometime next week. So some progress there too.

Gosh - It feels so very good to be on time!!!

Friday, September 29, 2006

TOEFL Scores

I called up the ETS guys to know my TOEFL scores. As expected - it is a perfect 300.
Another $150 (test fee of $140 + the call-to-get-ur-scores fee of $10) spent well.

Formality sakes (okay - I agree I wanna boast), this is how I fared in the dreaded TOEFL

Listening: 30
Structure/Writing: 30
Reading: 30
Total: 300
Essay: 6.0

Yippppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Chicago essays complete

Everything from now on will speak about my weekend targets and how far i have traveled. Since i have been writing application essays for well over 2 months now, i need to quantify everything :)

  • Wharton - 95% (as i still want to visit them one final time before i submit)
  • Harvard - 90% (as there is one essay to finalized and the final revisit policy applies here as well)
  • Chicago - 75% (Now here is news that just came in. I have finished all Chicago essays and i don't think they will change a lot anymore. I still have to finish work on the online application)
  • Kellogg - 40% (Essays are in first draft + few post review modifications. I have to work on the essays and finalize them and finish filling up the online app. Also, i need to get hold of paper transcripts and mail them to Kellogg. Yeah - they want paper transcripts!!! The school needs some serious waking up. I must also call up the ETS guys to know my final TOEFL scores, update my part 1 and submit the same. Loads to be done for Kellogg. I have time till 20th anyway. No hurry whatsoever.)
An applicant friend visited the Stanford meet @ Bangalore today and later called me to provide some really good stuff she got to hear at the meet. Looks like we have to change some portions of the "what matters most essay" and we have done well with the remaining essays. We have our concerns reg the AdComm guy's comments on the entire process, but the underlying principles reg the entire Stanford admission process (not to mention the school itself) seems so warm and nice :) It is selective, but the school really if worth a damn good try. The home stretch with Stanford will start once these 4 schools are done with. You guys can be prepared for some more rambling on "what matters most to me and why?" :)

One more day @ work and then i hit the weekend mode. Hope i get to use it well and realize my aspirations (LOL - that was from my career goals essay ;) )

Harvard Application is almost complete

Sorry I was off the radar for some time :) Too much of work and the fasting routines have screwed up the daily routine I had stuck to. So now I am almost always in a sleepy state :( But I'm getting work done too. So no complaints. I can always catch up with sleep during the weekends.

On the essay front, I am what the title says. The online app, necessary other docs (read resume and transcript) and five of the six essays are ready. This time, the culprit is not the usual ethics essay. That's been finalized. The one essay I haven't finished is the career goals essay. Not for lack of content, but actually the opposite :) After all my essay writing, this essay had to change considerably. Once I made all the changes, I am finding it difficult to fit all the content into 400 words or even 440 (110%). The current draft stands at 500 words, which is a result of my ruthless chopping effort on a 650 word essay. Having to write all that I want is obviously not gonna be possible. Once this is done, I can say HBS app is ready. I'll revisit this essay during the weekend.

I made some progress on the Chicago essays too. The long ones are ready. Two of the three short ones are ready as well. I had a less satisfactory answer for the "what most ppl don't know abt u?" essay. I found a perfectly satisfying answer to it when I was sending a report on my "life outside academics/profession" to my mentor. So once I rewrite this essay all my Chicago essay will be complete too. The beauty of these little essays is that u can change them even on the n'th hour if u find a better reply :) But for all that I see, I don't think I will change them anymore.

I also checked with the Chicago online application and found that I have some work to do there. The good thing is that I had made primitive entries in all these sections, like all points I want to elaborate on. So all I have to do is to elaborate on them and add new points if required. I think every one must do this with the online apps. Create the apps and make primitive entries in all the descriptive sections, come back to essays and finish them, and then go back to the online apps and finish them. This way we know what goes into the apps and what goes into the essays when we start writing the essays and we can update the online apps with the new self-discoveries we made during the essay writing process. We wont forget the earlier points coz we already noted them down in the apps :)

Okie - I guess I have covered good ground here. I am feeling all the more excited as by next week I will be all set to hit the all important "submit" button for many schools. The plan is to get the entire application packet of HBS, Wharton, Chicago and Kellogg ready by the end of the long weekend. From what I see now, it is absolutely possible.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Wharton Application is complete

Yeah folks - i am finally complete with one entire application packet. All four of Wharton's essays, the entire online application, self reported transcript - everything is done. Resume??? Nope - Wharton does not ask for a resume! "Why haven't you submitted?", you might ask, fully knowing what the answer would be. I need some private time with the essays :) But for now, i have pushed them aside and moved onto my Harvard application packet.

Speaking of HBS, i am almost complete there. The entire online application, self reported transcript and the two page resume are all ready. I am working on the essays now. These were the first set of essays i wrote and hence there are changes to be done in many places. I am also thinking about a bit of shuffling and changes in presentation. Things like moving something in "achievements" section to the "leadership" section, emphasizing factor X rather than factor Y in an achievement - things like that. I have worked on two of the six essays, so four more to go. Once that is done, my HBS packet will be ready too. Early next week, i am planning to finalize all these and submit my HBS and Wharton applications. One week before the official deadlines to try beat the traffic.

I am hoping to finish working on the Chicago essays also before the weekend begins. I have already finished a major portion of these essays, especially the huge 1500 word one is done :) So i am hoping i have very less to do here. So in all probability, i must be ready with W and H apps and Ch essays before the weekend begins. The weekend is to finish the remaining portion of Chicago (the online apps especially) and the entire Kellogg packet.

Now - off to the remaining HBS essays :)

PS: The holy month of Ramadan has begun today and with it the fasting. Ramadan Mubarak to all brothers and sisters! This one month has been a special time in my life for more than a decade now. This time around, I also have a secret plan to shed some more weight ;)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A jam-packed weekend

I have loads stacked up to be done this weekend. In short, i am planning to finish the entire application packets of HBS and Wharton. That means i have to finalize the essays, get the resume done and finish the online apps. I also have to work on the recommendations as two of my recommenders needed further information. I can make them submit the recos next week only if i can provide them this info by Monday. This means i am not moving anywhere out of my computer table over the entire weekend. I guess that the entire application process is a preview into the Bschool life that is waiting ahead :)

So how much of it has been done already???

I have finished the Wharton essays and started working on the Harvard essays. The Harvard Online application has lot of info filled up. Very little yet to be done. So it may appear that i have less to do, but i have recently discovered that however hard i try, i am not able to satisfy myself with the essays. Let's see....

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The last lap officially begins

Now that i am done with my TOEFL, i am back to writing my essays. Not writing brand new ones, but going through the painful job of reviewing and modifying the essays to a state at which they satisfy me. Then i will send them out to my reviewers to try satisfy them. Once this is done, they get uploaded and voila!

As i mentioned earlier, i am following a strict schedule I've agreed to follow. I just finished finalizing my Wharton essays and at this moment, i think i like them. It is upto my reviewers to show my mistakes now. I have started working on the Harvard essays next and this is when someone pointed out the stuff i cud mention in their online application. So now i have to modify my essays to not do this repetition business. This means i have to change most of my essays and this is actually a boon coz i was just beginning to worry at this stage about the lack of space to introduce new stuff in my essays. Now i can do this conveniently.

A really busy weekend begins today evening. I have to finish filling up online applications of HBS and Wharton, work on some recommendations, get my resume ready and also review some essays. Come what may, i have to make sure that i have ticked every item on my To-Do list when i check it on Monday morning. As the last lap begins, there is just so much work to be done.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Essay rewriting

Today marks the official beginning of my essay rewriting and application submission lap. I have been running this marathon race over the past 6 or 7 weeks now and i am in a position where i have to finish the following work in the next few weeks. Well, quite a lot. Now lemme see where i am in each of them.

Make my recommenders submit their recommendations

All my recommenders have started working on their recos, apart from my friend who's doing the peer reco. I will speak to her and make her submit the reco this weekend. My 3rd recommender My mentor is a no-issue guy. So he'll finish his recos in time. I need not ping him that often. My manager is the biggest pain - he has loads of work to handle. I am not even able to meet him in his seat as he's in one conference room or the other. Should push him.

finalize my resume

This i have finished to around 75%. I have a one-page resume ready. Must check with schools and create school specific resumes and also verify if there are school specific templates to use.

Fill in online applications

This is like 25% done. I have filled in all basic info. Should fill in information in all places where i had to provide descriptive answers. I am planning to spend the weekends for this job.

Finish essays and upload them

All essays have first drafts. I have worked on one essay from Chicago and Kellogg. I just finished finalizing two essays of Wharton. Will finish the remaining Wharton essays tomorrow. There is a plan to work on the essays in an organized way over the next one month. Hope it works out well. Planning to upload essays by around 1 week before the deadline of each school so that i don't have to fight with other applicants for net-space :)

Pay the fees and submit applications

Hope i can reach this stage ASAP. This will be done once i am done with the essay uploading and online app filling work. I am applying the Deadline-minus-one-week timeline for this process too.

Looks like i have a decent plan to tackle the work load over the next one month. Work is kind of cool at office - so i should be able to get to home pretty soon everyday and give quality time for the essays. From here on, it all depends upon how i execute this plan. Hope things remain as smooth as they have been all this time...

Done with TOEFL

Will I???
Wont I???

What is this about? This is the recurrent question running in my mind! One side keeps saying that the answer will be a "Yes you will". But the other side says "No - it might not happen". So, what really am I worried about. Whether I will get a Perfect 300 in TOEFL :)

Yeah folks! Got done with TOEFL CBT and this is what I got

Listening: 30
Structure/Writing: 14 - 30
Reading: 30
Total: 243 - 300

So here we go again "Will I???" ;)

A very long PS: I need to particularly complain about the total lack of professionalism in the Prometric center I visited today. When I compare this with my GMAT test center, today was way below expectations.

To begin with, the whole setting is like a fish market. The place is so cramped for space. They gave me a locker key with a diff code (they handle 3 tests and hence have three test centre codes) and I actually belonged to a test center with a diff code. I was actually sent to a different ID proof verifier and was sent to the right person later. While Pearson check finger prints each time I come out, here I just need to sign a white paper. Nothing to complain about w.r.t the testing equipment - fast paced HP (Pearson had machines from DELL) machines.

The real pain began when the time to report scores came. I just wasn't able to locate Harvard from the long list the software threw out. I called up the "support" staff and she came back and said "We don't know sir. We will not be able to help you with this. You will have to fill it out somehow!" Within the Harvard University, there were like 15 different schools. The shortened version of Harvard occupied almost the entire allowed limit, allowing for only 2 characters for the school type. Ar, Bu, Ce, Dn are some of the shortened versions I remember. And to add to my problem, there were two "Bu"s :) I hope I reported my scores to the right place.

I also wrote the school names in the Report Request Doc they gave. Hope that helps :)

Monday, September 18, 2006

My experiments with TOEFL - D-Day minus 1

I never knew using the headfones wud be such a huge improvement. What was difficult to decipher in my speakers (why?!?!) was pretty clear on my headfones. And hence the improvement in the score. I took the PowerPrep second test today and this is how the scores came.

Listening: 27 (now that's better)
Structure/Writing: 13 - 29 (dint write the essay)
Reading: 10 (gave random answers as i was curious to see the scores of the Listening Section)
Total: 167 - 220 (who cares anymore...)

Verdict - I am doing good. I am feeling good. I couldn't concentrate on the listening today coz my dad was irritatingly insistent on seeing evening news. I don't understand why the news readers have to shout at the top of their voices in a bid to dramatise the news presentation. I don't understand why they have to even dramatize the news show. Heck - not my day.

But I am satisfied with the 27 in Listening. When I started the test, I wanted to finish it and see the entire score. But I was tired to proceed. I'll see the full score tomorrow :)

Good to see I scored well in the two sections i finished completely. Reading is anyway only about concentration. So - I jus wanna get this done now and start concentrating on my essays again.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My experiments with TOEFL - Day 5

I really dint do anything with regard to TOEFL today. Two reasons:
1. I'm really doing well, apart from the listening part
2. I am sure I'd get somewhere around the same score in Listening if i take the second test without my headfones.

So i plan to bring the headfones from office tomorrow night and take the second test. And then it will be off to the test center. Hoping another good show.

I started working on my essays. Started with Chicago, as they are my most complete essays since they were written last. All the essay writing wisdom i had gained over the last 1 month or so had gone into these last set of essays and i really like the Career Progressions essay i had written for Chicago. So i worked on this essay and boy it was tough. Stuff like word counts and bigger picture and the complete profile and everything else comes around to haunt the essay writer at this point. I had a first hand experience of all this today.

I finished working on the Chicago first essay right on time when my reviewer sent me the entire Chicago packet - reviewed. I then incorporated all her comments and modified my new essay based on that. I guess i am done with this essay atleast. But still - this is gonna go through two more reviews before i finalize it. Once the Chicago essay was done, i moved on to Kellogg Career progression essay. While Chicago is 1500 words, Kellogg says 2 pages, which is around 1000 words. Spent some time to recollect the Kellogg complete picture and then got finished with this. Then i moved onto the Wharton Career progress essay which is the same 1000 words as Kellogg is. But the entire Wharton essay packet is so compact that it had to have one incident more than my Kellogg career progression essay.

This was pain - i still haven't been able to shrink the Wharton essay to a reasonable number of words. The Chicago and Kellogg essays are kind of okay. But Wharton was very difficult. Jus when i was fighting with the words, another applicant i am working with called me to say that the strategy has to change now. What she said made life a bit easy and more sense. So i have dropped working on Wharton tonight - will get back to it after i finish my test tomorrow.

So - i feel like i am on the last lap of a long long marathon. I still have to get my Recos done, fill my online apps and finish my essays. This TOEFL is eating up some time for sure. I'm waiting to get done with it ASAP and work full time on these stuff. I want to finish all this by end of this month and concentrate on fine tuning and submitting the apps all thru October.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

My experiments with TOEFL - Day 3 & 4

I had a crash yesterday - it has been that kind of a week. I had slept by 2 or 3 every night. Actually i am not able to sleep earlier. To add to it, i had a morning appointment everyday which made me wake up by 8 on all days. I had a tough time on Thursday and a tougher time on Friday at work, trying to fight the sleep and a tired body. So i had nothing else in mind when i returned from work yesterday, but to hit the bed. Surprisingly, that was not to happen. I had to give some GMAT gyan to someone who's taking the test in a few days and then discuss the plans for the next 2 week with a friend. Then i had to think about the discussions i had with my mentor. I never got to finish the thought process as i cud not fight sleep anymore.

Speaking about the discussion i had with my mentor, i followed this up with a discussion with my junior most recommender, who happens to be a college Senior. We were never in the college in the same time, as he is exactly 4 yrs older than me. But still, we have a good rapport right from day one at office. He was my first lead and pretty instrumental in what i am today. Almost all of my early training was under him. Back to the discussion, he had some inputs about my career goals too, which i have to think about now.

Basically me and the three recommenders i have chosen are the lunch gang at work. We have lunch together everyday and lunch time discussions cover a wide area of topics from the corporate bull shit we have to put up with at work to the happenings in the Gulf to the origins and personal hobbies of each of us. So it is not surprising when these people come to me and say "I know what you want to do and this is not all. May be you should say more" or something like "This is not the entire thought process you went through before you chose your next career move". Makes more sense coming from them because much of the thought process involved them too :)

So i am back to square 1.1, thinking about whether the goals summary is complete or whether i have to add more. The goals, on a surface level, do not change much. That cannot happen :) but i am trying to see how far i want to go with these goals. I also have to consider the aspect of being realistic, which is what made me settle with my current goals. But when people who know you well come to u and say "I know you can achieve more and I know you want to achieve more", i have to think about that. I have already thought of a few things. I need to work more on them and give them better shape. I am planning to finish this activity by this weekend.

More on the TOEFL front. I took the powerprep test 1 today and the following are the scores:

Listening: 23
Structure/Writing: 13 - 30
Reading: 29
Total: 217 - 273

I really don't understand if the writing portion occupies so much of the second section! It says it is possible that i can score a 30, by which i understand that all my structure answers are correct. But if that is true, all the structure answers put together come up only to 13??? That sounds strange to me, or is this the normal thing?

I need to work more on the Listening part. I am not able to concentrate - I feel sleepy again. To make life difficult for myself, i forgot to bring my headfones from work. So i am having to listen to the listening exercises on my wall mounted speakers. So it is like sitting in a conference hall or a seminar, compared to the headfone experience, which wud be like a one-to-one talk. But still, i just need to concentrate. I totally missed a few questions and i had to guess. That wont happen on the test day for sure.

Apart from that minor issue, i think i am fine. I will take the next power prep test tomorrow and that will be it. I'll go to work on Monday and Tuesday is test day. Hope it all goes well. I also have plans to finalize a few essays by the next weekend. I must also follow up my recommenders and get their recos done. I wish i can finish them by this week too - i am trying to do that and have given myself the buffer of next week for it. Looks like the last lap is gonna be quite busy :)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My experiments with TOEFL - Day 2

I haven't done any preps reg TOEFL till date. All i did was some self-testing. I am considering myself to be well prepared (after my GMAT preps and performance ofcourse) and i was reassured of this after yesterday's test. So all that i am gonna do is to take the full length prep tests over the weekend and then take it from there. Kellogg's average TOEFL score is 280 and that's my first (or rather only) target. But as ever, i wanna score as much as possible. Unlike GMAT, it is possible to score the complete 300 here. Let's see...

Today, I realized the importance of having a really senior mentor, with whom i have discussed everything in my life. I had sent my Stanford Career goals essay to him - as a reference material for his recos. He then sent a mail to me stating "Your essays need lot of sprucing up man". "This is serious trouble" i thought. Not because he sent that mail, but because there really is something wrong when he sends such a mail.

Now this was an essay not even reviewed by me. I had not reviewed the Stan essays once even by myself. I glanced thru the essays before sending it to him and found many areas where i had to work on. I sent them anyway coz the essay had the stuff i wanted him to see. I expected his comments to be coz of the flaws i had already noticed. So i sent a reply to his mail "What's wrong? Grammar/Structure or Content?" He jus said "Drop in at my place when u r free"

I went in and had one helluva discussion with him. He gave this one line "Your essay doesn't appear to be all of you!" I was thinking "Okay - this man knows everything about me" And then we discussed about all the discussions we've ever had, what he thinks about my career plans and why he thinks it has not been portrayed well over here. He even gave me suggestions as to where i can improve the content etc. You know what, all that made so much sense to me. I was thinking to myself "Perhaps this is what 10 more years of experience and life can do to you".

I cudnt buy everything he said though - he obviously had no Bschool applicant experience :) He told me "Your essay sounds like a sales brochure". We discussed on this part for quite some time, in trying to decide on what's the right mix between BSchool apps being a marketing exercise and BSchool apps being a bizz doc read by ppl who can see thru the crap. He still said "Write like a 24 yr old will write"! Whatever that meant :) But what he did was really good. I am now really sure that i will get some great Recos.

I feel lucky to have senior people around me who know about me on a personal level too. Not only in relation to the BSchool application thing. I have learnt a lot of stuff thru discussing many things about my profession and the rest of the world to these people. Good to see that all those discussions now come handy :)

I had a sneak peak of the BSchool classroom experience in an Intrapreneurship training i attended today. Compared to our company standards, today's class was AWESOME. A well prepared, experienced and energetic faculty, who had a great mix of slides and videos and activities. Add to it a class filled with a diverse mix of people. There was a project lead from the BPO segment, a senior manager from a different segment, a quality person, few Managers-to-be, few team leads like me - it was a good mix. I really enjoyed the session, the perfect proof of which would be the fact that i sat through a 4 hr long class without even thinking about sleeping. This at the end of a sleep deprived week, and i was Impressed. I was giving great reviews to my manager about the sessions. If this can be so much fun, i am sure i am cut out for the 2 yrs at a BSchool!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My experiments with TOEFL - Day 1

This is the first in a series of posts i intend to make as i prepare for my TOEFL test on Tuesday. The title has experiments in it coz i have never know someone who'd take a test worth 140 USD in a week. I am being told left, right and center that the test is really easy and with all the GMAT preps, i shud be in a position to do well. But still, this is like taking a joy ride over a week. Literally speaking, i am throwing in 140 USD over 7 days in a bid to make me completely eligible to apply to the school(s) i want to. That's like spending 1000 INR everyday for a week and i have never done that. The only time i remember spending so much money so soon was when i get caught in a shopping spree. And yeah, i havent given myself the freedom of indulging in shopping for quite some time now. In fact, almost 6 months. I last shopped heavily in Feb coz that's when i decided on my heavy priced plans and i needed to save money :) Well, it's been worth it really!!!

All i cud do for TOEFL today was to muse over "buying a prep book - should i??? should i not???" Okay - i am one of those people who want to know everything there is to know about something i am doing/gonna do. This includes simple stuff like going to the tailor to get my dresses stitched. I carefully noticed all the places he made measurements, came back home, thought about what kind of fitting i wud like to have in such and such places and gave him exact details when i go to him. My younger brother standing next to me wud give me this "Do u do this to show the world u r intelligent" kinda look. But that's me. I just want to know stuff.

So for someone like this, having booked a test before even knowing much about it is itself a HUGE deviation. So when the Kellogg folks told me i have no choice and since this is busy season, I had to jump on to the ETS site and book a comfortable date when it was available. I had to take this test, whether i knew about it or not! But i did one thing before i booked the test. I asked a person who had taken the test "How long do u think is required to prepare for TOEFL?" Prompt came the reply "One day". Now i made comparisons and this person was definitely a lot better than me in English. So i said to myself "Two days at most!"

Having booked the test, i had spent the whole of yesterday investigating about the test and trying to figure out if i can get some material to start off with. This test appears to be given less importance compared to GMAT, and this amuses me really coz ppl who appear for both GMAT and GRE have to appear for TOEFL and hence there shud be as much, if not more, info about TOEFL on the net as there is on GMAT. Unfortunately, i dint find a lot of new information about the test from anywhere outside the ETS site. The ETS brochures were of some help as well. Probably i am not looking in the right places, but i tried some 25 to 30 pages listed by numerous string combinations on Google.

Having said all that, now i know enough about TOEFL. I am less fidgety now, atleast on that front, and have actually started worrying about preparations. This is where my musing (the one mentioned in line 1) takes over. Finally, i decided that i would take a practice test and based on my performance decide whether I'd need more material. So i came back home and started taking these questions from the TOEFL sampler, available for free from ETS. This is how i performed:

Listening : 24 correct 3 wrong
Structure: 20 correct 0 wrong
Reading: 17 correct 3 wrong

Not bad for the first day i would say, a day where i woke up by 8 in the morning and had to fight sleep for the latter part of the test. Now i am a lot more confident and if i work thru the weekend, i must be in good shape on Tuesday. Now i am glad that i dint book a date on the week after next coz (1) i wouldn't have been able to sustain this intensity for so long and (2) it would have become boring.

I have 5 more days to go for the test. When i look back at GMAT, i spent the last 5 days with loads of tests and less preps. I guess i am into that mode straight away here. I am trying to gather material. No luck as yet. I am planning to take the two full length PowerPrep tests during the weekend and then do some preps if i get material. Else i will do the famous re-install PowerPrep stuff and take one more test on Monday. On Tuesday, the guys at ETS will have a test ready for me :)