Monday, December 31, 2007

Here's to a great 2008...

In a few hours from now, I will leave home, only to return next year. It is that time of the year! It is party time - time to welcome the New Year in style – dancing, full of happiness, yelling hopeful wishes and praises for the things the New Year promises to bring with it.

Having seen as many new years as I have seen in my life, I am learning to understand life better. I look back at the recent many New Year Eve's i have had and I see a mix of all sorts of emotions. I especially compare it to last new year's eve, and look at all the things i have learnt and experienced over the last 12 months. This year has been unbelievably educative. I have had some of my best experiences over the last 365 days. Really, at this point, the plan for next year would be to imbibe all the learnings i have had this year and improve into a better person.

I see that nothing is constant in life - as cliched as it might sound. I see that one keeps learning new things every day, even more so while at business school, and one has to try make improvements all the time. Every year - some of our theories and beliefs get proved, some get disproved and some modified. In the process ,we also form new beliefs and theories - to be meddled with next year. Every man, as an individual entity, evolves every single day; every single year. Fundamentally though, it is very important to live the moment, enjoy the times, stop worrying about anything at all, and try to be more happier today than you were yesterday! At the end that is what matters :)

I would like to quote this line from a hindi movie that i watched recently - "hamari filmon ki tharah hamari zindagi mein bhi, end thak sabh kuch theek ho jatha hai." A literal translation of that would be - like in these movies, even in our lives, by the time the show ends everything gets alright.

So live the moment, live this NYE and live it out tonight. Have so much fun and enjoy so well that you can say that tonight, you were more happy than any other day in your life. So that tomorrow, you can wake up and try to beat that!!!

So here is to a great 2008! Cheers to everyone!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Me, Myself and My Other Self

This is gonna be a rant. I am in that kind of a mood!!!

I have witnessed a vicious circle. A circle that spans across more than 10 years. Ten long years, during which i have fallen, risen and fallen again. No one is to blame. I am responsible.

I guess every time i join an educational institution, i somehow get into some sort of mess. High School, Undergrad and now Bschool. Different types of mess. Each one worse than the earlier. One constant thing is that, however complicated the mess is, everything gets alright in the end. Yes, every time, there is an end, albeit too late. Not necessarily a good/happy ending - but an ending all the same. Another constant thing is, i march on. With my wounds and with my scars, i march on. I lose a lot in the process, and feel terribly bad about it. I keep feeling bad about it, till i dont feel anything about it - and this for me takes a LONG time. I am going through one now, hoping it will end soon. That constant thing called "end" that i just mentioned above, i cant see it!!! I will see it though, eventually...

I am sure everyone goes through tough phases in life, and that these phases, in a way, are good for an individual in the longer run. But you feel terribly bad when you look back at the reason for your mess, and realize that if you had stuck to your learnings from your previous experiences, you could have avoided the mess. Also, when you look back and see that you have complicated things for yourself, and the other person involved, by trying to be someone you are not, everything looks so ridiculous. Right now, i am feeling ridiulously messed up because for a long time, i have been trying to be someone i am not.

Now that i realize these things, i am going through a series of what ifs and what nots. But then, ifs and buts dont make life. Facts do. And the fact is, the vicious cycle has struck once too often in my life. It is too clear as to what i need to do, I need to get back to what works for me. I have to start being myself again.

Those are my marching orders, as i begin to march on to an after life where i hopefully handle things in a better way...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

GSB round 1 results

I know i am late by a few days. Better late than never i guess...

Admission round 1 results were out on Wednesday and i vividly remember the feeling of receiving the phone call from Chicago. I also remember my other dings and how bad they felt.

So congratulations to all those who got admitted to the class of 2010. If you decide to matriculate at GSB, i can promise you, you are in for the an awesome time. If you decide to join elsewhere, you would still have an awesome time :) And commiserations to those who received bad news. Hopefully you will hear good news from your other applications.

For those on wait list, i know it is a tricky and painful wait. Forrest Gump, a classmate at GSB, has posted a nice set of pointers that you might find useful.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The best way to spend a night on the winter break... to swing to Bhangra beats. Thats what a bunch of us GSBers did yesterday night at Desiparty in Chicago. DJ Rekha from NYC was the special attraction for the night. Thanks to the friend who informed us of the event, we had an awesome time last night.

The music started alright - it was typical Bhangra. It was not too upscale though - the first 30 - 45 mins was actually a dud. The music sounded very repetitive. As time went by, the music got better. The trouble was that they kept playing Bhangra all the time. Once they started mixing Bhangra with a few bollywood numbers and Western pop music, the impact of the Bhangra music became more evident. The night went on till 4 and I stayed the entire length, even thought everyone who came with me left around 2.

Dance is a huge passion for me. So much so that I believe that it is my best mode of expression, the most natural mode in fact. I believe in totally letting go on the dance floor. Many of my best moments ever have been on the dance floor. So, why am i rambling about all this here? Because i had the most fun on the dance floor yesterday at the party. The best i could remember. Reason - good company. In my GSB classmates, I found the best dancing company I could ask for. Some of them are arguably the best i have seen in GSB so far. Dancing with them was just unbelievably awesome. The result was that yesterday night was "fultu" fun!!! Thanks for the fun folks, and I am definitely looking forward to many more dances during my stay at GSB.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The unforgettable NYC trip

Seven days in the big apple, my first trip to perhaps the most famous city in the world, and a lot of things happened.

Sunday was a dud. I was supposed to go meet a friend and as a result of some confusion, it was called off. I was then not let into my hotel room because my GSB friend who had booked the room had not included my name in the list of occupants. Three hours in the lounge, and after a few frantic phone calls, and the hotel guys finally let me in. The rest of the day was spent catching up with much needed sleep, because i was partying all night on Saturday :) Later that evening, i caught up with friends over phone, with one conversation turning out to be especially memorable!!!

The weekdays were loaded. This year's Bank Week was more organized than the previous ones, but it was still hectic. Our schedule had 6 events on Monday, 3 on Tuesday and 6 on Wednesday. Life was converted into a series of runs from one bank to another bank, meeting people and trying to learn more and more about the banks, the teams and the people. It was, in a way, a kind of immersion into the whole banking experience. I liked that part of it. I would have preferred to have spent more time in each bank - a "Day in the Bank" kind of setup would have been better. With just 90 minutes per bank, i somehow felt it was much lesser time at each bank. We had arranged for informational interviews on Thursday and Friday, which were hectic days again.

My hotel was very close to Park Avenue, which i call to be the new Wall Street. So commute was not an issue, but i had to walk a lot. But NYC is such a walkable city, i so loved walking around. Friday evening, my legs were hurting, but that is when i walked almost 100 streets to go from my hotel to NYU Stern and then all the way back to my hotel. A friend had hosted a holiday party on Friday evening and the week winded down with warm discussions.

Had plans to visit Statue of Liberty on Saturday, but canceled that as well coz of time constraints. Next time. Flew back to Chicago amidst heavy snow fall on Saturday and have been cherishing the snow ever since. Three weeks of winter break and it should be normal service at school very soon.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A quarter later...

I am 1/6th MBA. Not officially yet, as the grades arent out yet, but i have done well enough in all papers to be sure enough to say that i am done! We had our "Finals Week" this week, and i was done on Wednesday. Fall Quarter is over and now it is time for the Winter Break (not yet, but still). What a relief!!! I have three days to catch up with self, friends and others, before i pack my bags and run to NYC for Bank Week.

In retrospect, this quarter has been a quarter of learning - of multiple dimensions. In learning people, in learning my strengths, in digging out my weaknesses, in trying to be as academic as i used to be, in learning new levels of time management, in understanding and playing the recruitment game well, in handling relationships and, in many ways, learning more about myself than i knew earlier. When i look back at the quarter, i realize that this quarter had thwarted a lot of evaluations i had about myself. I have had my fair share of mistakes, amidst enough and more success stories, and I am glad i did most of the mistakes now than later, because i have the time and resources to improve going forward. Sometimes it has been tough, trying to figure out why things are the way they are, but in the end the learning has always been worth the pain.

Bschool is a strange experience where you grow into a confident individual who can literally take on the world, but also learn to be humble about yourself (this is not necessarily true for everyone). Bschool is also difficult in the sense that this is a place that will put you through the toughest test you've ever faced - but only to prepare you for tougher tests that you'd face in the future. Without your knowledge, you will stretch yourself in multiple areas, and in the process improve yourself in all those areas, provided you handle it well. I am seeing that happening to myself (and a lot of my friends), and hence i am glad i made this decision. But beware - dont take this for granted. Bschool is a fair game - WYGIWYG.

Finals were tough - I had three in three days. In spite of GND and a demanding recruitment process, it was good (yeah, good) to see people put in a lot of effort into the finals. I was done by Wednesday and have been partying ever since. Believe it or not, we did have a TNDC this Friday, and with a huge turnout! In true GSB spirit, everyone was stretching their boozing limits, and the night was long, with lots of crazy stories that can't go on print ;) One of my friends from the Brazil Random Walk hosted a holiday dinner for us yesterday evening. I stuffed myself with awesome food and it was good to catch up with the group again (missed you though, RK). Went out to another party from there, which got cut short, and we ended the night watching a movie in a friend's home.

We have plans to do an Indian lunch today at Devon (looking forward to the Pani Puris) and then i should pack my bags for the trip to NYC. I fly out tomorrow, for my first visit to NYC, a city i have been loving for a really really long time. Sounds like the perfect story when i say "my first quarter in Bschool started at Rio and ended in NYC". Bank week has a crazy schedule, what with covering 15 odd banks in days. I am definitely looking forward to meeting the bankers and make new connections and strengthen existing ones. Hopefully the week will be informative and productive. And of course, there are huge party plans next Friday.

I return from NYC on Saturday, and look forward to a three week hiatus from all things Bschool. No, wait - there interview preps to take care of :) Such is life at Bschool...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Editorially Elated...

That's my status in Facebook since Monday morning!

Reason: I have been chosen as one of the two Editors in chief of the Journal of Chicago GSB, ChiBus.

ChiBus was my first peek into the life at GSB and i fell for it at first sight. It is very representative of the culture of the school and i would recommend all applicants to regularly read the online version of the journal. It definitely helped me learn more about the school.

At GSB, I decided to get involved in things i love to do, rather than taking up "resume filler" roles. I worked for the present ChiBus team, wrote articles, helped them during production and absolutely loved the work. So i decided to lead the ChiBus effort for the next one year and applied last week when they called for applications. The present team also felt i would do a good job and so I got the positive response Monday morning. It really feels great. I am genuinely excited...

My co-editor-in-chief is an amazingly sweet girl. We've worked for ChiBus right from the beginning and we've worked together as partners for two days - I really enjoy working with her. Also, ChiBus is really a group of about 20 people. We are now trying to put together our team for the next 12 months and we're adding some nice people to the group. If everything goes per plan, ChiBus promises to be a lot of fun and a great experience. I am definitely looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

To all the readers, a very happy thanksgiving day. Hope all of you enjoy the welcome break and take enough and more rest during the long weekend.

It started snowing in Chicago today and the sight is fabulous!!! I am not sure if i will use the same description for the snow as we go deep into the winter, when the snow gets thicker. But i guess the sight of the first snow every winter is just as beautiful as it is today!!! Considering this is the first time i am seeing snowfall, it is all the more endearing!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Golden Gargoyles 2007

It was party time yesterday, as GSB celebrated the 2007 version of the annual Golden Gargoyles Awards. It was a long fun filled night - I am still recovering!!!

Now, for a bit of background. Each class in GSB is split into ten cohorts. The only class we attend as a cohort is LEAD. We dont have a class or section based course experience, because of the completely customizable curriculum. As a part of LEAD, each cohort makes cohort videos, which are then evaluated under various categories and awards will be distributed, a la the Golden Globe Awards. The best cohort video also gets the biggie award of the night.

But there is more - this is also the place where the LEAD facilitators (second years who conduct the LEAD program for us) freak out. They dance and sing and party - it was just awesome. This year's Golden Gargoyles had the 90's theme - so there was a buzz in the air even before the show began.

The show did begin, with a medley dance show by the facils - all famous songs from the 90s. They'd put in so much effort into this, it was very well done. The dances were definitely not perfect dances, but they were really really cute. Cute works! We should really appreciate the enthusiasm of the facils in putting up such a good show.

In between the dances, the winners were being awarded with the Golden Gargoyle in typical award ceremony style, acceptance speeches included. Some of the videos were freaking awesome, in both concept and the way it was shot. It was amazing to see how these guys created screen magic with the limited resources they possessed - awesome! As i mentioned in my earlier post, this year we also did a commercial for the brand Diageo. The commercials were so good, the company chose two winners instead of one.

The day ended with an open dance floor - i did a lot of dancing! The food was amazing and the liquids were flowing all over the place - Diageo, with its full array of drinks, was making their presence felt. The show ended at 1AM and some of us moved from there to a nearby bar to continue the fun. It was a really long night...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The long overdue post...

B school is fun. There is just so much happening.

I "celebrated" my uneventful 26th birthday on the 10th. The celebratory cake cutting at the stroke of 12 among classmates, and a few important fone calls promised a good day. But the rest of the day was filled with void. Perhaps the worst bday i have had in recent years. Some of my college buddies came to meet me in the evening, and ganjaturtle joined us later. But i was already bugged so badly that i just cud not cheer myself up. We went out shopping and the day ended, quite aptly, with a bad dinner and more disappointments later on. A forgettable Saturday - that pretty much rounded up a tumultuous week.

Winter is here, and believe me, i was not prepared for the gloom. It is definitely not for the faint hearted. When i arrived - I had the glorious lake Michigan in front of my eyes every morning when i woke up. Now i have to see a huge, dark, depressing and at times scary water body and it is definitely not the best sight to begin ur day with. Days are short, you feel like 9PM when it is just 5PM and activity levels are clearly at an all time low. This is my first real winter, and i am definitely looking forward to my encounters with the snow. But the depressing darkness of the winter - it took some time getting used to. I still don't think I've learnt to handle it. Good company is absolutely essential, but not always available coz of the crazy schedules.

As i mentioned earlier, recruitment activities are moving full steam at GSB. Things are kind of back to normal, as we don't have 3 presentations a day to handle anymore. Now we are at a stage when we reach out to banks, get to learn each other and take things forward. I am enjoying the process of meeting all the bankers, learning more about the industry and the bankers as such. Quite unsurprisingly, most of them are candid about the work they do, the hardships they face and the riches they reap. It is a high octane job - and the more i talk to bankers and banks, the more i believe i am cut out for the job in many aspects

Speaking of banks and bankers, the Investment Banking Group of GSB organized the annual IBG conference at the Hyatt Regency - McCormick Place on Nov 16th. The event was entirely enjoyable, with round tables and panel presentations and lot of opportunities to meet and interact with the bankers. All top banks had huge presence and, as one of my classmates put it, it was " a buffet dinner"!

In between the stressful recruitment activities and the depressing winter mood, we have the annual Golden Gargoyles event planned for today. The 10 cohorts of the GSB class have slogged their butts over the last few weeks to come up with Cohort Videos. This year, we also did a commercial shoot for Diageo, and they're gonna pick and use the best commercial on display. The evening has the 80's theme (i still don't know what to wear) and we are gonna watch the second year LEAD facilitators perform for us. Promises to be a fun evening.

So - there goes one more week and another week full of work load lies ahead of me. Till next time, be good and be happy folks...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Chicago school visits & interviews

The first round admissions program is in full stream. I was again at the GSB Live greeter program today morning. At least two people knew me through the blog, and it would have been great if they'd mentioned about their arrival before hand - it would have allowed me plan my schedule and spend some time with them. I am meeting one of them late in the evening to try answer his questions.

Interviews are starting next week i guess. I just signed up for a bunch of "pacifier" programs - if selected, i will be meeting interviewees before their interview and try to help them through the interview. So again, if anyone is dropping by, leave a note! I would be glad to help with whatever i could do. If anyone needs any info about any part of the process, please leave a note (with an email id) and i will get in touch with u ASAP.

To all the folks all over the world, doing their interviews in the next few weeks - Good luck. You are one step closer - so take prepare well and i hope you get to hear positive news very soon.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Juggler

Join me in wishing Juggler on her birthday, as we find her (true to her name) juggling the numerous Bschool activities at Wharton. She looks a little zapped at the moment, but i'm sure she'll feel better than ever very soon.

So listen gal - here's wishing you a very very happy birthday!!!
May you have a great year and a wonderful life ahead :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A day in the life of a wannabe i-banker’s @ GSB

Recruitment has officially begun at GSB. I had my first taste of the hectic schedule ahead of us. I guess the first day was intentionally planned to be so, so that we could know what was in store for us for the rest of the season.

So, without further ado, here is my yesterday...

3:00 AM - After preparing for events (read up companies etc) and the rest of day (classes etc) hit the bed.
7:00 AM- Wake up unwillingly. Hit the shower, and get ready for the day. Breakfast like a king, you will need to stock up fuel.
8:00 AM - Read up more about companies etc. Pat self on the back for not opting for a Monday morning class.
11:00 AM - Catch up with classmates who are attending the same event. Move to location of event.
11:45 AM - First event begins - stare at the room where a number of bankers from a global i-bank are talking to huge groups of people. Find someone you consider to be interesting and discuss all-things-under-the-sun (including economy, finance, banking and recruiting of course) to him/her.
12:00 noon - Presentation starts, followed by speech from famous banker.
12:30 PM - Speech ends. Get back to talking to people.
1:15 PM - Excuse self out, run to classroom to sit for accounting mid-quarter exam. Yeah you heard that right - mid-quarter exam!!!
1:30 PM - Start 90 min long mid-quarter. Solve expert accounting questions using balance sheets, income statements, statement of cash flows and GAAP policies! Baah...
3:00 PM - Learn from TA that professor is due only at 3:30. Run to cafeteria to grab some lunch. Feel REALLY like a banker as you wolf down the food in the available 15 minutes.
3:30 PM - Attend accounting class.
4:30 PM - Run to a different location, two blocks from school, for next set of recruiting events.
4:45 PM - Multi bank recruitment event begins - meet people from 4 different mid-market banks. Discuss with the bankers about what they do and what they have in offering.
6:30 PM - Event ends. Gather friends who are attending next event. Thank the buddy who offered a ride to the downtown steak place where event is happening.
8:30 PM - Cocktail event of a bigger mid-market bank starts. Hold discussions with these bankers and try to get answer for your questions/doubts.
11:30 PM - Return home, thanking that the day is over, scared about what lies tomorrow.
12:00 midnight - Start preparing for the next day. Thank the professor who gives take-home mid-quarters!!!
12:45 AM - Wait! When did i fall asleep???

Monday, October 22, 2007

Weekly digest?!?!?!

That is what this blog is turning into, as i mostly paste one post a week, trying to fit in all the stuff that's happening in my MBA life. This time, it has been a full 10 days!!! Needless to say, life is busy.

Since a lot of things happened over the last 10 days, in pure MBA style, i am gonna jot down stuff in bullet points ;)

  • Yours truly participated in the prelims of the Chicago GSB National IPO challenge and learnt how to do a really bad DCF valuation of a firm. Nevertheless, it was a great learning experience in financial modeling and team dynamics!
  • The 30 days of fasting ended and i celebrated Ramadan inside a study room inside Harper Center of Chicago GSB. Ramadan and IPO challenge prelims were on the same day!!!
  • Joined GSB-DSAC and have been handling a barrage of emails from them. If anyone is attending the GSB live event this Friday (or visiting GSB any other time), leave a note in the comments section and I'll be glad to meet ya
  • Attended numerous Lunch 'n' Learns and enjoyed free (and useful) information from bank representatives, while munching free food
  • Went out with my cohort (name: Phoenix) to a nice bar
  • Attended IBG Bar night and partied with fellow wannabe bankers. Also, met second years and got myself overloaded with info about their internship experiences
  • Did i say i went to both of these on the same night!!!
  • Met a new bunch of first and second years at a "Cold Call Dinner" organized by the GSB GBC.
  • Partied out at my first proper TNDC
  • Again, did i say i went to both of these on the same night!!!!!!
  • Delivered a speech about "pick up lines" in my LEAD class
  • Attended a Mocktail (that simulates the recruiting cocktail events) session held by Career Services.
  • Had a nice quite dinner with my squad mates
  • Spoke about my Brazil Random walk in LEAD related ACT seminar
  • Played my first soccer game for GSB - a practice game with UChicago law school
  • Slogged on my resume, after review comments from many people

Things to look forward to:
  • Multiple assignments due this week and the next
  • Midterms in a week's time
  • First school tour for DSAC on Wednesday morning (again, anyone coming on Wednesday???)
  • Resume review with Career Advisor
  • First GSB live session on Friday (again, ???)
  • Soccer game at Kellogg on Saturday (i might drop out coz of the midterms)
  • Official beginning of recruitment on Monday (read: Life goes OUT OF CONTROL)

Till the next post...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A "sound" man...

My love with speakers continues...
Just ordered this Sony component speaker system!!!

Actually, I've been eyeing this for quite some time. Can't wait to get my hands on the beauty ;)

I really missed the Creative speakers i had back home. This one definitely looks all set to fill the void :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Who owns my time???

Oh the crazy hours!!!

I was given enough notice about the complete lack of control of one's time in Bschool, but what's happening is beyond my wildest nightmares. Gladly, i am managing to keep my head above water, just managing. It takes a lot of effort. Again, as pointed out by one of my buddies in the comment section of the previous post, I am enjoying it all the same.

Yeah - I said i enjoyed being so hazed. It is probably because in a Bschool you only do what you love to do. The operative word is love. You will not even be able to do things you like, coz there will be so many things you'd like. Agreed - that could just be me, with my varied interests. But there are SO many options, it is impossible for anyone to not like more than what they can handle. Knowing your priorities correctly, and always remembering to use that knowledge is a survival requirement. It is very easy to find yourself with too much on your plate, and as a result get blown to smithereens!!! That would make you hate yourself and the Bschool experience.

I work for ChiBus, the GSB student journal. For those who are keen to apply to Chi-GSB, this is a great resource to know what is happening at the school and also to take a look at the culture of the students and school. It helped me immensely during my application days, and i hope it will be helpful for you guys too.

I also intend to join the GSB soccer club sometime this week. I did not join yet, as i was fasting for Ramadan and there was no way i could practice. Now that we celebrate Ramadan on Saturday, i will be up for practice from next week. They practice twice a week and there are competitions to look forward to in the near future. I am looking forward to getting myself dirty on the field, after almost 5 long years.

RythEmix is the GSB dance club and we get together every Saturday for about two hours of practice. I am dancing after quite a while and i almost forgot what a wonderful experience it is. It feels great to be able to get back to dancing. I am not sure if I'm good enough to do shows (check the videos in the website to see how good these guys are), but I'm sure gonna try!!!

Finally, I have signed up to volunteer for DSAC. Work hasn't begun at DSAC, at least for us first years, till now. We have a briefing session next week and i expect things to get busy once that happens. This is one position i am very passionate about and i believe i can (and need to) make a difference to the selection policies at GSB. Lets see how it goes.

Just in case anyone forgot to count, there is the crazy course work to handle. GSB doesn't get the "School with the most rigorous academic experience" tag for nothing. One has to prep for classes. If not, you will hate the classes.

Then there are the social events. TNDCs have started. LPFs are being organized every week. Every Wednesday we have Coffee with the dean. People have birthdays to celebrate. People have anniversaries to celebrate. Wait; people actually need no reasons celebrate. When celebration becomes the reason for celebration, one realizes one is in a hazy maze of party after party after party. AND, i hear a second year cribbing that their class is way better than ours in terms of partying. I know - it is contrary to what another second year person said about the two classes. But i now see that it is an individual opinion :) Bottom line - we all party.

Last (but most important of all) - there are the recruiting events. Chicago lets companies in for recruiting purposes only in late October or early November. But companies find other ways to talk to us. During the last few weeks, we have had many companies visit the campus for Lunch 'n' Learns, which are informational sessions to help people know about what the companies and their employees do. We had a resume review week this week. We now need to incorporate comments and get the new ones ready, before the next review week, and then get them reviewed by friends, and then get them reviewed by mentors, and then nit-pick them for ages hoping every word in the document means a million things. This journey has just begun.

Now - that's a long list. I dint intend to intimidate people with such a long list, but this is a list of all things i am doing/will be doing. Others do other stuff. Everyone must be up for it. I am enjoying this ride thoroughly. It is definitely difficult. Whoever said "Getting into a Bschool is the easy part", said it right. But life is much more fun when there is so much happening. I see the stark difference between how it is and how it used to be, and I'd rather keep it as it is today. And i am not alone in that thought.

The only problem is that a day only has 24 hrs. I haven't slept for more than 36 hrs flat now and sleep is quite a premium at GSB. If someone can share some of their free time, i can probably do some more things that i love...

Friday, September 28, 2007

First week of classes

It was rough. It was fun. It is over.

The academic rigor of GSB was one of the things that made the school attractive to me, and i am experiencing it first hand. It is redundant to talk about the profs in the school, as the whole MBA/business world knows about the faculty in GSB. As someone who sat thru three classes conducted by some of these professors, I should accept that they did beat my expectations. I'm more impressed by their approach towards conducting a session in the class - it is very engaging and makes one think beyond the obvious questions. I'm thoroughly enjoying the classrooms.

This week was fruitful in a lot more ways too. I joined a bunch of clubs in school (professional, social, sports and fun) and their events have started happening. GSBs famous TNDCs have begun and so are the numerous social events organised by the many groups one would be a part of. My calender is getting cluttered with hoards of entries and life has changed into a series of hops from one thing to another. I am enjoying the ride though. It is definitely fun, just that one must know his priorities and know what he/she is adding to his/her plate. It could go totally wrong if you get carried away with the multitude of options any top Bschool would offer.

Looking forward, i can see that the concept of a weekend is slowly vanishing away. Very soon, this will be 24/7 and then a lot more than that. Considering that recruiting hasn't even begun yet, the future looks BUSY.

We have a cohort level sports challenge (the first in a series i guess) this evening, I am yet to write that article for ChiBus i am supposed to submit very soon and I should find time to do that winter shopping I have been postponing for quite some time. I also have to submit a write up to my LEAD facilitators and a dance class to attend. All this and I haven't even brought up the topic of class work. I should get going...

Th next week will be rougher, will be more fun and it will get over in a week too :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

CORE 2007 ends...

The 20 day long orientation at the Chicago GSB ended today evening with a "Coffee with the dean" session at Winter Garden in the Charles M. Harper Center of GSB. In the words of Stacey, this event "signals a transition into life as a first-year". For me though, it is a welcome relief from the mad rush of CORE. It has really been a few weeks of crammed up activities, and I haven't found anyone who hasn't found the going tough.

This week saw the class getting busy with a bunch of cases for LEAD. The sight of ppl grouping around in different corners of the winter garden and discussing the pros and cons of the case - it was quite exciting. People had different opinions about how their case sessions went - mainly because their experiences were different. I have some very good/important take-aways from these sessions, so i feel pretty positive about them.

Tuesday was Career Immersion day - our first interaction with the corporate world as students. The day had presentations and panel discussions by members of different industries. I attended the Investment banking panel/presentation and Entrepreneurship+PE/VC panel/presentation. It was a neutral day with a both positive and boring moments. Career services plans to attend many more sessions, which will go much deeper, during the course of the year and I am looking forward to them.

Classes start tomorrow. I have no class till Monday. All my profs have a ton of pre-work listed out already, so i guess my weekend (i mean, Fri-Sat-Sun) is gonna be busy. Still, i am excited about getting back to student life after so many years. Classes should be fun...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bidding results, soccer and semi-formal event...

I got all my courses. What more, i was the least successful bidder in my costliest course. If that's Greek and Latin, it means that i have got my courses in the most efficient way possible. That's game well played! That's one more step closer to classes.

After a long time, i played soccer on Thursday with some of my classmates. It was pure fun, the same way it used to be more than 4 years ago, when i played for my undergrad team. Just that this time i played with a group of people from different parts of the world, and each brought a different flavor to the field. Looking forward to more such games, and time to enroll in the GSB soccer club.

We attended our first LEAD classroom session on Friday. It was an excruciating 4 hour session, but it was good for the most part. The session discussed leadership in the perspective of different groups of people - students, alumni, recruiters, etc - and also laid the platform for the future classroom sessions. The whole LEAD program is facilitated by second years who went through more than 400 hrs of training, and their commitment to the cause is simply amazing.

In between all of this, i managed to sign up for the AdComm. So, i'll be posting more updates from the AdComm in this blog, and will also be posting pointers to other areas of information. We have a club day this week and i should sign up for a few student clubs very soon and get things going.

On Saturday, the whole of GSB descended on the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for a Semi-formal evening. From roaming around in denims and GSB T-shirts, the guys took out their suits and ties (some even in their kilts), with the ladies wowing everyone in their attires (one Indian student had worn a lovely saree) - there was a semblance of order this time to this event. The aquarium has a huge collection of aquatic life and looking at all the animal life from close quarters was a great experience. Later in the evening, the floor was opened for dancing and I am still tired with all the dancing i did.

We have a heavy week ahead of us, with classroom sessions and other events everyday. In three days, CORE 2007 would be complete and classes would begin. Cant wait...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

First few days of school

The Class of 2009 at the Chicago GSB began their two year roller-coaster journey on the 4th of September at the Rockefeller Chapel in the University of Chicago.

It started with the welcome addresses by dean Edward Snyder and a follow up speech by deputy dean Stacey Kole. Since then, we've been attending one information session after another and another. The amount of information we have been absorbing is overwhelming, but if you say that to any MBA student, they'd say - welcome to bizz school :) I have somehow managed to handle all the information, the many networking events and even the process of getting to know the lives of more than 550 people in about a week and a half.

A lot to handle, one might say (and many might accept). But believe me, it is pure fun!!!

As a part of LEAD, we visited Lake Lawn Resort in Wisconsin last week for a three day retreat and it was a blast. We had a session of high-rope courses and we also had a chance to do entry level zip-lining. The second years organized a carnival and casino type event (which ended in a dance floor) and that was a lot of fun too (Hey- i made my first golf shot, threw the rugby ball and learnt a bit if Craps, apart from many other things). Finally, there were team building events that were very very interesting and helped us really learn something about team dynamics. Lot of unofficial partying on the sides as well. During all this, I should have met atleast 250 of the 550 of my classmates, at one event or the other. Three days of absolute fun, which meant that we spent the weekend recuperating ;)

Our class, supposedly, has already built a reputation for being a heavily partying one (info shared by a second year) and i am sure that we will only be adding to that in the months to come. Just too many parties ;)

Finally, we got to some serious business on Saturday, when bidding opened. Bidding has been on the top of every one's priority chart for the last few days and it FINALLY feels like being in school. GSB's bidding system is very complex and takes some getting used to. I have put down my bids and I'll know the fate of my bids on Thursday. I really hope (and at this point of time believe) that i will get all my first choice classes.

This week had a few less significant info sessions, apart from some LEAD classroom programming. I think things will pick up again later this week, once the bidding window closes. With a semi-formal on Saturday, i am sure we have a nice weekend to look forward to.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Iday got an iPhone

and it absolutely rocks...

I'm really amazed by the intuitive design of the GUI. There are very few products in which you expect something somewhere and then actually find what you expect in the place you expect to find it. iPhone gives you that in most, if not all, places. Beyond the cool looks, the snazzy works and all the jazz, the iPhone is a very well designed customer device that serves most, if not all, of an individual's needs.

I heart iPhone!!!

Update: Apple slashed the price of iPhones by $200. So the 4GB version costs just $300 now (which i think is an amazing deal). Since my purchase was done within the last 14 days, i was eligible for a refund of the $200. So it worked out to be really cool for me, but this price slash is creating a lot of negative feedback for Apple. Personally, i think what Apple screwed it up this time. And to follow it up with a $100 Apple coupon (as against a genuine refund) is screw up no:2 within a week. I already hear stories of angry Apple fans changing/reconsidering their loyalties (coz they think Apple took them for a $200 ride) and many public hate mails et al written to Steve Jobs. I'm interested to see how this goes forward.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Random Walk - Brazil

Aug 18 2007 - Aug 25 2007
7 days of absolute fun and pleasure in the land of coffee, soccer, the samba and world famous beaches - Brazil.

Brazilian steak houses, playing with the waves (ipanema, copacabana and buzios), sleeping on sands, hours of beer-pong sessions, random bar hopping, a crazy hang-gliding jump, four wonderful hours in the sea, the best discotheques in Rio, Corcovado and The statue of Christ Redeemer - Random Walk Brazil produced probably some of the most enjoyable days I've ever had.

Good enough to relax one of the spirits of the blog and post pictures of others. Here is the group of 16 that makes the GSB RW Brazil 2007 party.

So this is what happened...

Aug 18 2007

Rio is two time zones away from Chicago and approximately 12 hrs away. We traveled by Delta Airways - Chicago to Atlanta and Atlanta to Rio. It is pretty much like taking the overnight train from Chennai to Bangalore, only here you wake up to see a touch down among trees in a muggy Winter day in Rio.

Aug 19 2007
We were picked out of the airport by Maria, our tour guide. We then traveled to Ipanema Plaza, where we stayed for the next 2 days. The hotel is 20 yards from the famous Ipanema beach and our first day was spent living with the waves in this beach. We had a pre-arranged Brazilian Steak House dinner to attend, following which we tried to taste a bit of the Brazilian night life - with very little success. Sunday nights, apparently, are not the happening ones in Brazil.

Aug 20 2007
Hang Gliding, Impromptu Songs & Dancing the night away...
This was the Crazy day. We woke up and traveled to São Conrado, a nearby cliff for a hang gliding session. The jump was bloody awesome - to put it mildly. I'll upload the video on youtube sometime soon. We returned from the jump, and spent the rest of the day in relaxing and playing beer pong.

We went to a restaurant in downtown Rio for our dinner. During dinner, one of my tour mates decided to infuse some fizz into the tour and decided to sing for the group. The fact that the restaurant also had live music helped her and we were witness to two good songs, sung quite well indeed! From here, we decided to go to a discotheque and reached one halfway up the same cliff from where we performed the hang gliding jumps. The place played some lively music and we had awesome fun dancing the night away...

Aug 20 2007
Buzios is a 2.5 hr drive away from Rio. We traveled in a bus and viewed the amazing Brazilian countryside all the way. Buzios is also a small resort town, with a good retro look to it. We stayed at the Buzios-Perola (meaning pearl of Buzios), a very impressive resort. The first day in Buzios was spent in leisure and more beer pong sessions.

Aug 21 2007
Catamaran tour & more Impromptu songs
This was to be a day in the sea. We spent four long wonderful hours in the beach, with nothing but the sea in sight. The Buzios has lot of small land patches around in the sea and some of them make for wonderful little beaches - very private. The tour took us to many of these and we were lost in nature's glory. We even spent time in one of the beaches, which i think was by far the most scenic of all.

We returned in the evening and had dinner in another Brazilian style restaurant, where they had live music again. This time, another participant sang a few songs for us with the band.

Aug 22 2007
Beach Day
Thursday had no activity in the list and so we hit the beach. We spent time playing with the waves again, and some of the guys tried some surfing in those really strong waves. We also played some volleyball in the beach, which was good fun as well.

In the evening, we had dinner in another Brazilian style restaurant, and tried searching for some good dance bars, but returned to our rooms after multiple failed attempts.

Aug 24 2007
Bye Bye Buzios, Brazilian Sea food & Baronetti
We headed back to Rio on Friday morning, and reached our hotel around noon. We immediately jumped into our beds for some rest as we knew that our last night in Brazil would be long.

We had dinner arranged for us at a very nice Brazilian Sea Food restaurant. The food was yummy and the setting of the place done very well. We enjoyed our food and were also shown glimpses of Brazilian Samba dancing. The spring festival must really be quite a spectacle.

By this time the guys had come out with a short list of all discotheques in Brazil and heard opinions of multiple people on what would be the best place to go. Baronetti stood on top of every one's list, and so we headed there. True to every one's suggestion - the place was very awesome and the group had a rocking time, dancing till 5 in the morning.

Aug 25 2007
Corcovado & off to the windy city...
The last day in Brazil started with a trip to the Corcovado and the Statue of Christ Redeemer. We travelled by bus to the foothills and took a train from there to the top. The status is an awesome sight in itself, and the view of Rio from atop the Corcovado is just breathtaking. We had more Brazilian food on the way back to our hotel, where we slept the remaining of the day.

Our flight was at 11:30 PM and we were dropped at the airport by our travel guide. Twelve hours later, we were in O'Hare and an hour later, I was home...

We've had so much fun at Brazil that most of us are still recuperating from the trip. I can fall asleep a any place at any time of the day, and i am positively sure that this is not jet lag. Many of us fell sick and are now much better.

Whatever it took, the Brazil trip was worth every penny and and every second of it. If i were to do it again, I will - just give me the same group of people!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Have i lost weight???

The first few days in USA have been crazy, and a lot of fun of course!!! There's been a lot of running around, walking, hard work (read carpentry), less sleep (intentional), random food and what not! I am sure i have lost a few pounds ;)

After reaching the USA on the 14th evening, I went to the University and school on the last3 days, and i have been walking like a mad dog that's lost its lunch. The fact is, the U of Chi campus is amazingly HUGE. So it takes a lot of walking to get from point A to point B. Considering that the university campus is amazingly beautiful, with lot of greenery and wonderful lawns - i shouldn't really be complaining. The university is a nice collection of old styled buildings (but just in the exteriors. the interiors are as modern as u'd get them) and beautiful gardens. In between all these old style buildings and the many homes nearby - the modern GSB building really stands out.

I had to visit the Office of International affairs once everyday in the last 3 days, to register my arrival and get a few signatures and supporting documents that would be helpful during the trip to Brazil. I visited the school and i must admit that it does stand up to its reputation of being a very very good looking building. We just randomly checked a few places/rooms, since we dint have a lot of time. The cafe in the school serves awesome food, but is a bit pricey. Otherwise, things look good. I want classes to start!!!

In between all this, I picked up my laptop from my classmate (actually - the classmate lugged it to a club where i was partying and delivered it to me. so it isnt "i picked" really) and i SO love it. speaking abt gadgets, I guess i will most probably be going the iPhone way. There are a few things to think abt, before i shell out the dough. Let's see...

Since i had almost no time for any of the furniture companies to deliver the furnitures to my home (f i order online i.e.), my home is still unfurnished. I still sleep on the carpet. There are a lot of domestic things to take care of - but they can all wait till i get back from the trip.

We had a kick-off party yday in a downtown club yday, and I've finally met my trip mates. It is already 8:30 AM here and i should meet them in the airport at 1:30 PM, and i still haven't packed. No, I still don't know what to pack ;)

So, off i go to handle packing woes part 2...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In the Windy City

I reached Chicago yesterday evening [CDT of course ;)] after a long and tiring flight journey from Chennai. The short version of it is that the entire journey was good and hassle free. The flights were on time, I could bring all that i had packed in my two bags, my bags reached Chicago in 99.99% good condition and I had no issues/delays at Immigration (time taken = 5 mins) or Customs (time taken = 5 seconds).

A classmate had booked a cab for me already, so reaching my apartment wasnt too difficult. The studio is awesome, has a good view of Lake Michigan and the resident area and I'm feeling at home already.

I have a long version coming up very soon, with more description and pics of course ;) But that has to wait till i get things set up over here, and perhaps for the Brazil Random Walk to get over as well.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

All set to move

After months and months of planning, preparation, essays, data sheets and interviews, and eight months after the famous Chicago GSB admit call came in, and after getting to know most of my class through emails and facebook groups and orkut and what not - it is now time for the real thing. In less than 30 hrs, i will board my British Airways flight to Chicago.

Packing is 95% done, i still have to wrap up minor things in the cabin luggage. All the entries in the multiple to-do lists have a "done" marked against them. I still have one more dawn and one more dusk to see in my home city, and then i move to a new city and to my new home.

Flying to Chicago on Tuesday night, flying out to Rio on Saturday evening and flying back to Chicago after a week - I'm looking forward to every step in what is gonna be a long journey before i settle in one place. Hopefully, I will have a lot of fun in the next week or so, and i am sure the fun factor is only gonna keep exponentially increasing over the next year and 9 months.

The last week has been a bundle of farewell events, and the dinner with friends from high school clearly tops the list. It is definitely difficult to bid adieu to folks with whom u literally grew up :) I guess i have officially said "bye" to all the people i should say bye to. Tomorrow, some more phone calls, some more "bye byes", and then I'm whoosh...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My first Laptop

I just ordered my first laptop, with lot of help from a classmate who's in Chicago.

It is a Lenovo Thinkpad T61. If everything goes on well, the laptop should reach the first destination in abt a week or so, from where i pick it up on reaching Chicago.

Cant wait :)

The week that was...

It is less than 2 weeks for my flight to Chicago and a lot has been happening.

I traveled to Bangalore for the weekend. There were a few college friends there whom i wanted to meet and bid farewell before i took off to the Windy City. I did meet them and had a real gala time or so to say. I also met two other friends who have been very influential in my life at different stages - and I was meeting both of them after a very long time. It was very good to meet them in person and spend time with them.

Bangalore is a city that i never liked, and the city has given me back as much as i have given it :) Guess the city wanted to give me a farewell gift as well, and hence i came back with multiple complications in my body. A throat infection, a minor stomach infection, a slight cold and a bad fever!!! After a visit to the doctor and two days of rest, i felt much better today morning. Since I lost 2 days in taking rest, i had to get up when possible and get things done. So i did some shopping today, completed a few minor tasks and visited some more friends to bid farewell.

I feel much better now. Tomorrow and the weekend, my mom has lined up appointments in the homes of numerous relatives. The fact that some of these appointments require me to make cross country rides doesn't help at all. Anyway, it is something that must be done and hopefully i will have fun riding around the city, after days of inactivity coz of the fever et al :)

PS: An update on my previous post, yesterday i got to know that i will not be able to avail the 3rd luggage offer from British Airways, because i booked the tickets through my company's travel agent. So I am back to packing my world into two bags :(

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Packing woes

I started packing. Yeah, i know i still have 3 weeks before i fly to Chicago - but i wanted to know if i had spare room in the bags.

And boy, am i glad i did this now! I don't know how one can pack his/her world in two bags, with all those limitations on dimensions and weight!!! Since I'm flying British Airways, i have an option to carry a third bag with me, thanks to the students package. So I guess I'm fine. Two bags is just not enough!!!

I just packed all my clothes and find both the bags almost full, one with a max capacity of 25KGs and the other with a max capacity of 32 KGs. I don't even know if the bags now weigh under 23 KGs, BA's weight limit. I still have a lot of other stuff to pack in.

Looks like i got some serious packing decisions to make.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Yesterday was my last day at work! So, now i am officially unemployed :D

The last week has been awesome! My manager's been ultra proactive about getting all my separation formalities done, so much that he kept calling all concerned people almost everyday (something i shud have been doing) over the last one week and ensured that everything was ready on Friday. He is VERY VERY famous for his promptness and the effortlessly smooth way in which he gets his tasks done! So, this was nothing new, but worth a mention for sure :)

Last week threw a few pleasant surprises as well. My mentor (whom you all know very well by now) hosted a surprise farewell lunch for me on Wednesday. In all 4 years that i have seen him, he's done this for very few people - there are only 2 that i can remember :) As if the gesture was not enough in itself, he also gifted me a Swiss army knife, and a few honest pats on the back with some nice words for the future!

Thursday i hosted a lunch for my team members and that was fun too. My manager, who has hardly attended any outside gatherings over the last 2 yrs, attended both the lunches (with pressing commitments on both days) and that was a pleasant surprise too. The team members were all very warm in their farewell, and i also received a cool gift voucher as a parting gift.

Overall, the 4 yr long experience with my ex-company has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride, as i went thru the few highs and many lows of being employed in an Indian IT services company. Nevertheless, the experience has certainly improved me - both as a person and as a professional.

That's one chapter of life closed and I really look forward to the beginning of the next in a few week's time.

Now, I'm all set to do one of my favorite activities for the next few weeks - shopping!!! Then comes packing and then flying :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The house hunt

It is over! I now have an address in the USA!!!

This is the first time i have chosen a house without seeing it! But the high-rise i chose has been a perennial favorite of GSB students over the years. I was also lucky to have a classmate from India go visit the high-rise and other alternatives in the neighborhood. I'm purely going with her evaluation, but i am sure i can go with it.

The apartment is too high, higher than anywhere i've ever been! Shud be cool...
Cant wait to get to it in four week's time.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Running around...

I'm into the last week at work (yaaay) and, very strangely, i really look forward to the day when i can say i am officially jobless. Work surely has been a lull and motivation at workplace is at an all time low. Eventhough i hate being without work at office (which actually feels very weird at times), that is where i see myself everyday. I do have bits and pieces of work to do and many transition of responsibilities as well, apart from cleaning my desk and archiving data for backup. Plainly, it sucks :) But then, u gotta do what u gotta do!!!

There are a few updates related to the MBA side of life.

I finally got the tourist visa to the Federative Republic of Brazil i needed for my Random Walk. The procedure to get one is very simple - visit the Brazilian Embassy's website and thou shalt know everything. In short - u fill in the app and send it (along with a covering letter and all support documents) to the embassy in Delhi. I'd applied early this month through an agent and I was made to chase my HRs (yeah - in my company, u have to search for them. they don't have the basic courtesy to reply fone calls and tell u that they saw ur emails when u finally do meet them) for a few days to get some letter (stating that i have resigned and when my last working day will be) which the Embassy required. Eventually - the company said they wont issue such a letter. I then had to get my manager and HR-manager attest my resignation letter and also made them state my last working day, which luckily the embassy accepted. All's well that ends well!!!

I was finally allotted an apartment. It is a huge (635 sq.ft) studio in the 18th floor of a high rise that is 2 miles from the school. The height and the size of the apartment means that i pay a whopping rent of $1100 per month. Now i am all set to work out how, sitting here in Chennai, i proceed with the paper work involved in signing the lease for the apartment. Gosh - will the paper work ever cease...

In news related to GSB, i will be talking to a counselor from the Dean's Student Office, regarding my plans for the course work. Since Chicago GSB has a completely customizable curriculum, you find more support for people in this regard and support starts much earlier - as soon as 2 months before school. This, i believe, is a great thing - as i can clarify all doubts i have regarding the course work and try to zero in on what i can do and what i cannot do. I really want to know what can be done (how far one can stretch himself) and what cannot be done (something like common mistakes). This is especially helpful for someone like me, coz i decided that i want to make the fullest use of the academic rigor GSB is so famous for, but at the same time i dont want to overload myself with too much on my plate. I have some plans regarding the curriculum, and I have many doubts as well. I really look forward to the call on Wednesday.

In between crazy emails from classmates, frequent chats with other classmates, farewells to friends who're flying out to their respective schools, farewells to colleagues who wont see me in my seat from next week, burning dough at shopping malls, puncturing self with the numerous immunization shots, checking up with lists to ensure that i've got everything i need, contemplating on when to really start packing and all the other things related to moving to a new continent - i can see that my new life at GSB is now very close.

Less than a month to go before i fly to the Windy City. Cant' wait :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Blakstone to acquire Hilton!!!

Check this out!!!

There is something in the article that caught my attention "Like other hotel chains, Hilton in recent years has moved to emphasize managing hotels rather than owning them." There is another article (and the same text for most of the part) that mentions many such acquisitions, and also says that many more are possible.

Looks like the market is really ripe and up for the taking, provided the price that has to be paid for it is paid (in cash perhaps). I definitely believe that this could be true of many other industries and there is a beautiful synergy in letting the money managers (whose primary intention is to make money) to manage the funds and letting the management guys (whose primary intention is to manage) to run the place.

Anybody's got a few billion dollars???
I need to buy a hotel chain!!! What's for sale today???

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The move to the "other" side

It's finally happened...
I moved my blog from the applicants list to the students list at hella's website!
Been planning to do this for quite some time, as i see posts from a new group of applicant bloggers and my posts about matriculation et al were standing oddly out amidst their posts!

This change kind of makes me feel that the cycle is now complete in all sense - from applicant to student :) I do see fellow applicant bloggers on the other side, people who've tracked and followed each other's progress, success and failures and people who've exchanged information and advices with so much mutual goodwill, as if all of us grew up in the same locality. It is definitely a very good feeling to see them there :)

So, here's to my new "student" status...
Now, if only school would begin soon ;)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Folks - see if you can help this person...

Vinay Chakravarthy, was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia in November 2006. He's been through four rounds of chemotherapy which ended in March. Like all other blood cancer patients, he is in urgent need of a marrow/blood cell transplant.

Since Vinay is Indian, there is a greater likelihood of finding a match among the same population as we share similar genes (genetic markers). Hence, it is important that as many Indians (or South Asians) join the Bone Marrow Registry to maximize Vinay's chances of finding a suitable donor. Going through the National Bone Marrow Registry in this country is a great way for most people to find a match but its extremely difficult if you are South Asian. So please, come lend a helping hand and register your blood with the national registry in hopes of being a perfect match!

If you want to hear more about Vinay, please visit this website. It has a lot of information on Vinay's condition, the drives to find donors, the marrow donation process and also about people who have donated so far.

Request you to help in whatever way possible. You could either register yourself, ask your friends to do the same or simply spread the news. Even if you are not in the US, please forward the information to people you know in the US.


Monday, June 25, 2007

... lull ...

Shit happens!
To everybody!!!
Sometimes a lot of it at once...

Makes people go BANG...
BANG with themselves...

Then they cheer up.
Everybody does!
So will I...

Very Soon...

Friday, June 22, 2007


Life has been busy, and a bit bad. That's what's keeping me away from the blog. But it is all over now, and for the good.

I thought I'd get a ticket on my preferred travel date easily, but i had to go through hell before i could finalize my tickets. The short of it is that i have reserved my tickets to Chicago, with a stopover at London, in British Airways on the date i wanted. Since i booked the tickets through my company travel agent, i got a cool 10% (around $100) discount on pretax ticket price. BA has also opened their student discount season, where the term discount is obsolete. The ticket prices dint change at all, but students are allowed carry an additional check-in baggage (3 instead of 2). This isn't any incentive for me, as i don't think i will be taking more than 2 check in bags. I'll write about the BA trip experience once the trip is over.

I still haven't heard from my leasing agent. I think I'll received information on my apartment choices only in early or mid July. Even though it is cutting too close, i think it is okay since I'll get an apartment for sure :) I have also submitted my GSB loan application. So that's another thing off my checklist.

Shopping hasn't been happening really, since I've been busy. But I'm not too worried as there is a lot of time to go. The Brazil visa is also still on the check list - i have all material ready, should just type in a covering letter and send the application ASAP. This is taking a long time. But the group in the Brazil trip is awesome and I'm so looking forward to this :)

Now, to the interesting part. I have complete 3 of the 4 pre-assignments. To finish the last one, i need to sign up for medical insurance (or so i think - just mentioning the name might be okay). I have to clarify things before finishing this. Just when i thought I'm done with these assignments, the career services team sent another bunch of assignments!!! I'm done with one of them - partly. It also required feedback from colleagues - and it is optional. I'm wondering if I've already loaded them with lot of stuff. Yet to take a decision on this.

We are supposed to receive the updated curriculum guide and I'm waiting to check it out. I really need to work on all the courses and be aware of what i am going to do. With the completely customizable curriculum, GSB could be a mad race and one can easily get lost. Of course, there are support teams to help u handle it - but I'm this kind who needs to be completely informed of what's gonna happen :)

I know this has been a "random things" kind of post. There's just too much happening and too many things in the mind :) In the middle of all the running around, deep in the heart, i love the mad rush :)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Visa in the bag!!!

After a harrowing 1 hour wait in the sun, and some more long queues - i finally met the Visa Officer (a very mild and polite woman), explained my case and got the visa today!!! The Passport stamped with the visa would reach my home in about a week's time, i was told. So that is one more thing on the check list against which i could make a tick :)

Apart from the Visa, there have been quite a few updates.
  • My Random Walk has been confirmed. I am going to Brazil for a week long party with a dozen GSBits. Really excited and looking forward to it :) Once the passport reaches home, i should start the work to get a Brazil Visa.
  • I am yet to book my tickets. I was waiting to get the Visa, but was talking to a few travel agents side by side. I should now get quotes from them and book tickets ASAP. Looking to travel to Chicago around 15th August.
  • I submitted the lease application for the house. I am waiting to hear back from the apartment folks.
  • The loan application process has begun. I needed the Visa number to quote in the application. So once the Visa reaches me, i will finish the application and mail it to GSB.
  • There is a long shopping list i had prepared. Should start shopping for all items in the list. Since i absolutely love shopping, this shud be fun too :)
  • My first assignment from GSB is in, would you believe it!!! Actually, this is a pre-assignment, as in the assignment is given (and submitted) even before the course starts. A few days ago, I received a mail informing me about 4 different pre-assignments regarding the GSB LEAD program. I have already started working on the first one (which has the earliest deadline).
School starts in 95 days, says the countdown i have in my google home page. Cant wait for August :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

The silent me...

Long post no time. So unlike me...
I had nothing to blog about :( Nothing "happening" is happening in life :)

Over the past few weeks, life has been a mess. With four marriages (two of which i could not attend) and the responsibility to organize an event in my company, i really dint know how time flew.

Things are slowly, but surely, moving along at the Bschool end as well. But nothing concrete to share yet. Keep watching this space for more news in the days to come :)

I can say one thing about the GSB class of 2009 though - we've got amazing people and the google group is one huge RIOT :D Cant wait for August, when I'll meet all these amazing people in blood and skin :)

Monday, May 07, 2007

HPC gets a "costly" name change

This release from the news office of The University of Chicago announced the recent donation made by Mr. Charles M. Harper, class of 1950. In recognition of this donation, the Hyde Park Center will henceforth be known as the Charles M.Harper center.

As a result of this, I will be a part of the first batch that starts their MBA at the Charles M. Harper Center :)

Class of 2009, this is one thing we have to mention in our year book ;)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

BoB results

The BoB 2006-2007 results are out.

Rungee topped the applicant bloggers list and Angel Angie topped the student bloggers list. They both get beautiful 30GB Video iPods. Many congratulations to both of them :)

Well, I stand second in the applicant bloggers list.

Special congratulations to Juggler, Divine Miss N and From Cali for their standings in their respective lists (and the BW/Economist subscription) and all the others who made it to the list in both the sections.

The entire list is available here.

Thanks to ClearAdmit, everyone who voted for me and the many others who've supported me all through the MBA application season.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Orange and Maroon Effect day

Virginia Tech alumni have declared today, the 20th of April 2007, as a national Orange and Maroon Effect day, to honor those who lost their lives in the VTech shootout and the many others who have been directly and indirectly affected by the incident.

On this day, individuals are requested to wear Orange and Maroon, the Virginia Tech colors.

So the blog wore Orange and Maroon for the weekend...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The VTech shootout

A lot has been said about the shootout in all possible media. What happened is a totally unfortunate event and the loss of so many lives is definitely an irreparable damage. I can only say the families of the deceased are not alone in this moment of grief. They are not alone. The whole world is praying - with them, for them.

The list of victims is out. As tvu mentions in his latest post, please do take some time and read the list. The list at least serves as a snapshot of what a mindless act of an individual can do to the harmless world. The shattered dreams, the broken hopes, the lives that ended before they began and the books that never saw the last chapter!!! Reading the list was my way to pay my respects!!!

You can register your condolences, thoughts or prayers, in this memorial site maintained by the university.

As a closing note, i would like to quote these words from the speech given by award-winning Tennessee poet and Virginia Tech professor Nikki Giovanni, during the prayer service conducted in the Cassell Coliseum at Virginia Tech today:

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did not deserve it but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community be devastated for ivory; neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy..."

The transcript of the speech is present here.

My vote is in...

I just sent a mail to ClearAdmit with my votes for the BoB 2007. The deadline, to submit the votes, is on Friday and the results will be out on next Tuesday, 24th of April.

Needless to say, I just cant wait to see the results :)
All the best to all the BoB nominees in both applicant and student categories!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The BoB vote ballot

As a nominated Blogger, i was asked to fill the BoB 2007 ballot by the ClearAdmit team. The mail with the ballot reached me on 6th April and i have been trying to fill it ever since.

The list of nominees is long - 25 applicant bloggers and 25 student bloggers. As one would expect, i have been following most of the applicant blogs. So making my votes here was kind of easy. I still had to make some hard decisions in certain categories - especially the 3 nominations for the best blogs. Finding the "Best Single post by an applicant" was another difficult vote. But i have finished it.

I haven't been reading too many student blogs. I have definitely read a few posts from all nominees, but I certainly haven't been reading all the posts of all the nominated students blogs. Since i dont wanna make a so-so job with this, i am trying to read all these blogs completely before i decide my votes. This is taking a loooooong time and i have only finished 10 of the 25 student blogs.

I hope i can finish this soon.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tourist? Me?? GSB says No!!!

Well - this is what arrived via USPS (with a bit of help from the Indian Postal Service) this morning.

The package is the first in a series of post enrollment material. This packet basically has a "Welcome to GSB. Glad you enrolled. You will have a great time here." letter, and a huge load of information on the various housing options we have in Chicago.

We can choose between Graduate housing or Private housing. Graduate housing includes houses around the school/university campus which are allotted by the University, the New Graduate Residence Hall and the International House.

For those who opt for private housing, the packet has materials to help us learn about the various Chicago neighborhoods. The Not For Tourists Guide tops them all. It has got lots of information, maps, pics etc etc.

I am yet to read the guide, just skimmed through it once. I thought I'd drop a line before I go on a virtual Chicago tour :)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

And thus, I become a mentee

Chicago GSB has an organized mentor program, where the admits get the opportunity to select first year students as their mentors.

Many first-year students participate in the Mentor Program, and they answer questions we have about the GSB experience, such as choosing classes, conducting a job search, or getting involved in student activities. Basically to leverage the experience they've had over the last few months. The school also uses a open system, where we can view profiles of all mentors and select the one who fits our requirements.

After shortlisting profiles and trading mails, today i finalized my Mentor.

He is an American by origin (though his name suggests he is an Asian), been in Tech Consulting for six years before coming to GSB and currently has a summer internship with a Bulge Bracket Investment Bank.

Perfect :)

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Personal Interview

You've spent hours investigating about prospective schools;
You've practiced hard for around 3 months to get that kick-ass GMAT score;
You've toiled for weeks to write those essays and fill the applications to schools;
All of these to reach this point, the point where you have a chance to present yourself, in person, front of the school, and say "I belong".

An invite for an interview gives two signals:
  • We are interested in you - Good job with the apps!!!
  • We want to evaluate you - Tough work ahead!!!
As much as the invite appreciates the efforts you have put into your essays and applications, the interview is a note to say "Come show us what you've got." So it is essential that you meet the interviewer as a well prepared person, confident in what he is and what he says. Generally there will be enough time (a week or two) between the invite and the interview. Use this time efficiently and you should be able to ace the interview. A bad interview will not necessarily bring forth a ding, but a good interview is a significant step forward in getting an admit.

In my opinion, the amount of time we dedicate towards preparing for an interview makes it a success or failure.

Preparing for the MBA admissions interview is both simple and difficult. It is simple because most of the questions are standard and many people post their experiences online (please refer the Clearadmit Wiki and the interview page), which makes only a part of the interview unknown. It is difficult because the interviewer knows this too and would like to see how much you have worked on these "known" aspects and how you handled the "unknown" aspects as and when he throws them at you.

Considering this, preparation becomes all the more important. It is important to make as much of the interview "known" as it is possible. I created a document where i gathered all possible questions - from the resources mentioned above and numerous blog posts about recent and older interviews. I thought, if i prepare answers for all these questions my preparation will cover most of what the interviewer would ask me. Then i typed out answers for each of them, in bullet points. They were always at the back of my mind and i added points to them as and when i had a brain wave. In time, this grew into an exhaustive collection of points i would present in front of the interviewer. Remember, these are not actual answers which i would later vomit to the interviewer. That is suicide :) These are just a collection of points.

The list could be really long. But once you have decided that the list is good enough, try to read the answers as many times as possible. The points will stick to your mind and will even help u answer some of the surprise questions. I had 8 page documents for both my interviews and more than 2 pages of these documents had points for the question - "why this school". I am sure i only mentioned half the points while i actually answered the question. But if u can give one page full of information in the interview, for a core question like this, it is good enough. So my preparation was just to prepare this document and then keep on reading it. Once i was comfortable with the points in the document, i started to answer the questions aloud - while i was in the bed, while i was riding my bike to work, while i had free time. Now that you don't have a fixed structure, this is difficult initially but you'll find the right answer eventually. Now you can handle all those known questions in the interview. For the unknown, just remember the points and use the mind, be flexible, come out with something on the spot. The preparation helps here. I had to tackle random questions in both my interview and i could handle all of them because i had so many surplus points to discuss about.

There is this huge discussion about the correct dress for an interview. Don't try to be cool. I would say, dress for the venue of the interview. If you are meeting in a coffee shop, I'd suggest formal trousers and shirts. If you are meeting in workplace, wear a suit. If it is a hub interview, definitely wear a suit. Read the fine print of the invitation letter. See if the school specifies the attire. Chicago GSB stresses on formal wear. If you have any doubt, it is not wrong to ask the interviewer. Remember, it is always okay to over dress.

Also - make sure you carry necessary material to the interview. Printouts of your resume and the data sheet in the online application are essential. Also carry some blank sheets, just in case. And please carry them in a file.

Now, to the actual interview itself. Put yourself in the position of the interviewer and try to imagine the kind of person you would recommend to the AdComm. And then, be that person. Show you are prepared, but not rehearsed. Don't recite lines from memory. Speak them as you'd do in a normal conversation. Show your confidence. With enough preparation, you should feel confident. If you don't know something, say you don't know. That's confidence too. Be friendly. Smile when get a chance to. Crack a harmless joke, if you get a chance to do it. Be careful of the type of joke you make. If you aren't sure, forget the joke. Show your interest and involvement in the interview. Listen when the interviewer speaks. Ask follow up questions, only if you have genuine ones. Your question should make him speak more, not less. Show your love for the school, and the love for your passions, in the enthusiasm with which you discuss them. It should seep through your words and gestures, and be there as a constant, for the interviewer to see. Overall, you should come across as a person who will be a valuable addition to the class and a person who is capable of and prepared to do whatever it takes to go and achieve those short and long term goals you mention in your essays. The interviewer should feel confident of you after that one hour. It is difficult, it is important, it is the essence of the interview.

Finish the interview with a "Thank you" and a firm handshake, irrespective of how the interview turned out to be. Convey the message that you appreciate the time he spent with you. They are busy people. Apart from a few rare cases, if the interview dint go well - we have enough responsibility for it not going well. And believe me, you never know how it went for all your life - because we always end up misjudging our performance :) As everyone says, send a "Thank you" note the next day. Then forget the interview and wait for the result day :)

Wait we all did and now wait for my next post, which will discuss about this waiting period :)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Obtaining solid recommendations

The MBA application game is a tough one. On an average, people apply to at least three schools and with each school having three to six essays, apart from the data sheets one has to fill - it become a long tiresome effort to get an application ready. One has to have a good plan and then the discipline to execute the plan to complete the applications in time, so that they can go through cycles of review before being finally submitted.

But even the most meticulous of applicants will be vary of one particular part of the application - the Recommendations! Why? Because it is the only part of our application which we lay in the hands of others!

Recommendations are important. They help the AdComm learn about the applicant from a different perspective, from the view points of seniors or subordinates or peers - the people who have seen the applicant work with them on an everyday basis. So it helps them get a better understanding of the applicant, apart from what they get to see in the essays. So it is important to submit the best recommendations.

Before going on to see how we can submit strong recommendations, let us see how to pick the people who will give us strong recommendations. Big names don't sell. Schools say they get recommendations from Presidents and Prime Ministers of countries, and the applicants they recommend are not necessarily admitted. The big names might probably create a WOW factor, but what is important is the content in the Recommendations. If you directly report to the CEO of your firm, chances are he knows you better. You probably dine with him every Wednesday night and his recommendation will sell. But if the CEO happens to be a few steps higher in the corporate ladder and you have to wait in a queue to go meet him, getting a recommendation from him doesn't help you application, in fact it might work to the opposite. Your judgment will be questioned. Forget shooting so high. Skipping one or two levels in the hierarchy might also prove inefficient, simply because the Recommendation will not have enough content. So just as the schools suggest, the best thing to do will be to obtain recommendations from your immediate superiors.

But what if you don't want your superior to know your Bschool plans? Search for other prospective recommenders. Other senior members, clients, previous employers, superiors from previous projects - there could be many options. Schools understand this. So don't sweat. Please make sure you explain the reasons behind the choice of recommender, while you submit the application.

Also make sure you chose the person who will, in your opinion, give you a good recommendation. You are trying to put your best foot forward. So if you have had a heated exchange with one of your bosses, he is not going to be in a mood to "recommend" you to a Bschool. There are situations which prevent us from asking someone to recommend us. This is only fair. Bschool admissions are a marketing exercise - first the school markets them to catch our attention and then we market ourselves to get admitted. Making the right choice is very important. Only downright lying is bad - which i will discuss later.

Now that the recommenders have been chosen, it is important to help them to give you good recommendations. Do not assume anything. The biggest issue one would face here is that the recommenders, at least most of them in countries other than the US, are not so familiar with the US Bschool admission process. It is hence our responsibility to explain them the whole process and also the role they play in our applications, so that they know what is expected out of them. Also let them know that this would take a lot of time from their end. Writing the recommendations is not an easy deal. Talk to the recommenders about your Bschool plans, explain the Bschool admissions process, explain them how much time it would take and how many recommendations they will have to write - before you send the recommendation request. Just ensure that they know what they are doing before they agree to do it. Prevent surprises or shocks. You definitely don't want a half cooked recommendation! do u???

Once the recommenders agree and you send them the request, keep talking to them on regular basis. Keep them informed about the deadlines. Notice that the Bschools have different deadlines for applications and recommendations, and the recommendation deadlines are earlier than the application deadlines. So verify this and make sure the recommenders know how long they have. They are, in almost all cases, very busy people and need to know their time. If necessary, keep reminding them on timely basis - but don't end up irritating them. You know your recommenders, you should know how to handle them :)

Do not assume that they can bring back two year old incidents and quote them in the recommendations. Once you send them the recommendation request, follow it up with a meeting where you explain about the school, what the school stands for, the characteristics of the school and anything else which will help him provide a suitable recommendation. Also give the recommender a summary of the time you have been under him, or a summary of your professional career - in which you should provide brief explanations of key incidents and your
achievements in that time span. Ask him if anything is missing and add them to the list. This list is not to say "Question no:1 will talk about incidents a, c and e", but to help them make their recommendations more personal and interesting by quoting incidents of their choice. After the meeting, make sure you give them this list in a printed format and follow it up with an email of the same doc file, so that he need not type it all again. Make their life easy. They will appreciate it :)

At any cause, do not write your own recommendations. There could be many genuine reasons for the recommender to be not able to write his own recommendation. He could suddenly get busy, he could have language issues, he could end up traveling - many reasons. If you have no alternative (cannot find another recommender), get a friend to deal with the recommender and help him in writing it.

Some of the recommenders might want to see other parts of your application - like "why xyz school?" or "short term and long term career goals". You can either explain them these in a meeting or send them excerpts from your essays. Another way to help them get more clarity about what is happening and what is it that they are doing.

I have noticed that with enough information and timely remainders, this job becomes really easy and simple for both of us. If you find the right kind of people, they will be equally enthusiastic about helping you getting into your target Bschool and hence will submit really solid recommendations within the deadlines. If you provide the right kind of information to them, you are only helping your cause further by strengthening the recommendations.

Some say they are very important, some say they are least important - i say "who cares?" It is your application and the best thing you can do to strengthen your chances of getting into your target Bschool is to ensure that each part of your application is as strong as possible. So forget how strong it should be and only remember that it should be as strong as possible. Good recommendations say a lot about a candidate - you have someone to vouch for you, you have done good things in the eyes of your superiors and you have enough skills to manage the people and make them submit recommendations for you!!!