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 :)