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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuck application submitted!!!

After submitting the Duke application, finally submitted Tuck's too. Now two gone, three more to go: Tepper, Mccombs and Notre Dame.

Tuck's application had few elements to think about such as short essay on international experience (if any). Other thing to consider was the 500 word limit for each essay. Finally, after multiple editions, managed to bring my essays below that limit mark. Now the wait continues again for the interview invite.

Meanwhile got a mail reply from Duke that the Application Status is "Complete." At one point of time I felt that no interview invite is sent, but after carefully reading found the note

Once you log in, you will find your Application Status below the Submission Status. If the Application Status is "Complete", all required materials have been received and your file is being evaluated by the Admission Committee.

Now a bit relieved, but still keeping my fingers crossed.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

One month of inactivity at blogosphere

Yesterday I just checked my blog and saw that I wrote my last post on September 1, 2010. (Pardon to the readers who are not used to this kind of date format... What to do, that's the way you write in US)

Last month was like a typical Bollywood movie - drama, thrill, emotions.

* I submitted my first application of the year - Duke (Phew... done with one). I wrote around six to seven drafts of each essay, and after too much editing, finalized them. While I was working on my essays with my mentor and a close friend, I got hold of a really valuable guide from Stacy Blackman 'Designing your B-school applications' that helped me a lot to visualize my essays as a third person. Now the wait is on for the coveted interview call. Fingers' crossed.

* I went to see my first Live F1 race in Singapore with friends. I had been waiting for the race eagerly, and it did not fail me either. We managed to grab the best place to view the race (it was not easy... we went to the venue three hours before the race started) and enjoyed the experience a lot. Kudos to Alonso for the win and three cheers for our favourite Sutil (Force India). Bad luck to Hamilton though....

* I attended the MBA Information event, organized by World MBA tour, in Singapore. Met the assistant admissions director and alumni of UNC, UCLA, Smith and Kelley. It helped a lot in making my decision. Let me share my experience with all the four schools.

1. UNC - My experience with UNC representatives was great. Got to know more about the school's curriculum, research areas, placement scenario and student community. It is very good school for General Management and has a great research in sustainability and finance. Student community is decent and has a good active alumni base.

2. UCLA - Don't want to talk about it. In short, did not feel the connect with the school. Alumni's were busy taking their pictures and were very haughty. Did not like their attitude at all. Even the staff member, who came, was not very impressive.

3. Smith - Same as UCLA. Did not like the attitude of the staff member. None of the alumni was there, so can not comment on student community.

4. Kelley - The adcom was the best among the others. He gave a much better picture about the school, curriculum, placements etc. The only concern area - not much scope outside Marketing domain.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Essay evaluation by my mentor - Duke & Tuck

I had evaluation done by my mentor on Duke and Tuck essays yesterday. The result - ripped off

1st essay - Very coherent and message is clear. Just adjust two paragraphs and all set.

2nd essay - Very generic. Non impacting. Will be warded off by adcom. We then discussed on this and had a long conversation. Have to re-write the whole essay... Bah :(

3rd essay - Need to make a proper flow of the paragraphs. Right now it just looks like few bullet points. Also suggested few things that seemed pretty interesting.

1st essay - Similar to Duke minus the word limit relaxation. Will work on it next time.

2nd essay - We discussed many stories and he recommended on one, which seemed different. Will start writing on it

3rd essay - I was sure that he would love it. Trashed!!! He said that it would look good if you applying for an Asian school, but not for a US school. As per him the impact is not great. We then discussed on few stories and decided on one. Will have to re-write this one again.

4th essay - Same problem as of Duke. Re-write it.

In short, this review was an eye-opener, but the worst part is that have to begin everything from scratch (especially Tuck).

Damn these essays are killing me :-|

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Tigers of Asia

I read an interesting article on the latest research done by Morgan Stanley:- 
MORGAN STANLEY RESEARCH: India and China: New Tigers of Asia. 

I'm posting the link for the article here. Might be of interest to the MBA applicants


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tepper Feedback interview

I had my Tepper feedback interview on 17th August 12:15pm EDT (00:15 SGT). It was a rough day at office and I wanted a good sleep after that. I felt like cursing myself when I agreed for the interview to be scheduled late in the night. I was waiting for a call and to avoid sleeping was killing time by watching old movies from my collection, as I was not in the mood to write any essay.

Got a call at 12:20pm EDT from James Frick, Director MBA admissions. He was very polite in his tone and we had an informal chat for 12-13 minutes. Below is the summary of our conversation

Things that were good in my application:-

1) Long term career goals - As per him my long term goal was unique and showed my passion towards it. He liked my intensive research about the school that I portrayed in 1st essay. As per him no need to change the 1st essay (just tweak the short term goals a bit)

2) GMAT is decent. No need to re-take (was surprised that 700 seemed decent to him, but happy)

3) Overall profile looks promising.

Things to ponder:-

1) Reflect more about myself in the essays. As per him, I did not put enough details to let the admission committee know more about me.

2) Work on 2nd essay.

I asked him one question - How to project a more better candidature through essays? His reply was " Be genuine, show true passion and let us know more about you"

In the end he told me that if I have any later questions or if I require any help with the application/essays, feel free to mail him (that I found to be a very nice gesture).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

R1/EA deadlines for some top B-Schools

A quick look at the R1/EA deadlines for some of the top B-schools

August 30: ISB (for Indian Passport Holders)
September 13: Notre Dame (EA)
September 29: INSEAD (September Intake)
September 30: Duke / Fuqua (Early Action)
October 1: Harvard
October 4: Wharton, Cambridge / Judge
October 5: Cornell / Johnson
October 6: Stanford GSB, Columbia (Early Decision and January Term)
October 7: Yale SOM
October 8: Oxford / Saïd
October 11: Michigan Ross
October 13: Chicago / Booth, Berkeley / Haas, Dartmouth / Tuck (Early Action)
October 14: Northwestern / Kellogg, UVA Darden
October 20: UCLA / Anderson
October 22: UNC / Kenan-Flagler (Early Action)
October 25: CMU / Tepper
October 26: MIT / Sloan
November 1: Duke / Fuqua (Round 1), UT Austin / McCombs, Notre Dame
November 10: Dartmouth / Tuck (November Round)
November 15: NYU / Stern

Time to fasten your seat belts for couple of months ahead ;)

Nice article

Came across a nice article today. The subject of the article is 
"Dustin Johnson, not Thierry Henry will save our Economy"

A good article on metaphor - comparing today's business world with the attitude of sportsperson. Below is the link for the same.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Half way through with Tuck essays

I am already half way through my Tuck essays. There are four essays in the Tuck application.

1) Goal essay & Why Tuck - Struggled the most with this essay. I knew what to write, but how to present it effectively was the most difficult part. Wrote 5-6 drafts and then got it reviewed by the 1st reviewer. Got really valuable tips (meaning another 5-6 drafts though...phew!!!) and now the essay seems more coherent and impressive.
Now just need two more reviewing - first by a friend who will check the grammar and sentence formation, and second by my mentor.

2) Leadership experience - Not started yet though have many stories in my mind. I know I will have a hard time selecting one [ Another sleepless nights coming :( ]

3) Greatest challenge - Completed 70% of the essay. This seems to be a clincher according to me. Have a unique story for this essay. Already got reviewed it once by the 1st reviewer. Waiting for comments from my mentor.

4) Contribution to college - Completed the essay and got it reviewed once. Looks decent to me but still really confused about the content. I feel the essay portrays cogent points. Need to review it by couple of guys more before finalizing.

Will try to finalize the Tuck essays by 25th August.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Upcoming Webinar

Just to update everyone about a paid webinar coming up on August 12, 2010. The topic of the webinar is "School Choice, Quick-Start Essays, and Killer Recommendations."

Please find the link where you can get more information and registration details

If you want to check out a free sample of the webinar. please find the below link


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Application season begins

Following is the excel sheet i found on one website for the B-school deadline for 2011 applications. Here is the link for the same.

Also you can check the clearadmit website for the essay questions of respective colleges and their analysis. Below is the link for the same

Friday, July 9, 2010

Chat with a current student of Duke

Few days back I had a chat with a current student of Duke. I sent out mails to many students with all my queries and got replies from almost all. One student out of them asked me if we can schedule this over phone that would be most appropriate hence I fixed a meeting with her. I wanted to speak with someone who is actively involved in the school activities and was planning a career in gen mgmt/marketing. Below are some of the things we discussed

Concentration: Marketing

Career Switch: She was previously working as an Investment Banker and her aim was to work in a marketing role (brand mgmt) post-MBA. She wanted to switch from Finance to Marketing. Frankly speaking I found it a bit confusing when she told me about her plans because generally i have seen people moving from other sectors to Finance and Consulting but not vice versa. I asked her about the support from career services in helping students to make such career transitions, to which she replied quite positively. She mentioned that 60%-70% people coming to DUKE plan to make a transition from their current industry or job type.

Club Activities: We discussed about the activities of the club like organizing speaker series, helping students find a job in their domain etc. I also asked her about the number of students that opt for gen mgmt role post-mba to which she confirmed the figures to be more than 50%. Also she suggested me to check out the websites of respective clubs/organisations.

Job opportunities: She told me that the job opportunities were much better than the previous year though still it was not very bright. People are still struggling to find a job in Finance and Consulting sector. About the job prospects for International applicants she told that it's more bleak (again dominantly in finance and consulting industries). She told that people have to use their network to find jobs. In the end she was optimistic that the situation would improve in couple of years.

Alumni: Alumni of the school is very active and easily approachable. Infact many have helped the students with their job search.

Experience at DUKE so far: One thing that she kept on mentioning about the school was its congenial environment. She mention that the fellow students were very helpful and supportive and she learned many things from them.

We talked about a few other things and she encouraged me to give her a call incase of any doubts or queries.
It was a really nice chat session with her that further strengthened my decision to apply for DUKE.

Informative post for applicants from IT background

Today I came across a very informative post by one of my friend Naveen Venkatraman (Babson 2012 admit) about the suggestions for an applicant from IT background. After reading the article I felt that we spend so much time cribbing about our situation, position, job etc whereas we don't spend enough time in realizing the fact that there are some unique qualities that we can posses while working in IT sector too. You just have to brainstorm and you will find something worth sharing, no matter how small it is, in your essays. For all the applicants from the IT industry, here is a post worth reading:-


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Information about US B-schools - 1

Since I am already done with my GMAT and have decided to apply with the same score, these days I am busy pestering the current students with my questions (I hope am not :P), reading the blogs of MBA students for some useful information and dissecting the college websites. I would like to share information about few schools with all.

One of the best schools with a General Management course structure. While talking to the students I came to know that around 1/3 to 1/2 of Tuck students go into GM. Tuck has strong ties and alumni in all GM industries.  As per one of the current student “Tuck is probably strongest (in no particular order) in Healthcare, Technology, Industrial Goods/Manufacturing, and CPG.” Tuck alumni also has a decent presence in the Sports and Media sector. Most Tuckies love the outdoors and are very active, but it’s ok if you aren’t too. 

Another great school with a strong General Management course structure. Like Tuck, more than half of the Fuqua students end up in a General Management type role. The Fuqua student community is very strong.  The bonds you build here will last far beyond graduation.  The “Team Fuqua” mantra that you hear about it is spot on. The current students are all extremely receptive and helpful.

UNC vs Darden:-
I was reading through a blog and found a really descriptive first hand view of these two schools by one of the fellow MBA aspirant, who had a chance to visit both the schools. It might be of help to some.

B-Schools (1st round and EA)

As per the 1st round colleges, I have decided on 3 for sure and am still in a dilemma regarding the others

1) Duke (Early Admissions)
2) Tuck (EA)
3) Tepper (re-apply 1st rnd)

Regarding other colleges I'm still confused. Below is the list with the reasons

4) UCLA (just concerned regarding their mean GMAT score being on higher side, else a good choice)
5) Notre Dame (A good Backup School but not sure regarding the placement scene in my desired industry)
6) UNC (not much research)
7) Mccombs - Texas (Good Backup school and decent placement in Technology companies like Apple, MS, Dell but need to research)
8) Marshal - (Situated in California, but need to research)

As per now I have kept the list as it is. I have dropped mails to the current students/club presidents of all the listed colleges and am waiting for their feedback. Also discussing with my friends and my mentor about the same. Let's see how things develop and then I can modify the list accordingly

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My GMAT journey to 700

I gave CAT (MBA entrance test for Indian B-schools) in 2007 and scored a meager 92% in it, meaning no calls from the Top B-schools (IIM's, MDI). It was when the seed of giving GMAT was planted in my mind. After researching  a bit on the international MBA admissions and GMAT test I decided to go ahead with the same. I collected the preparation material from one of my friends, who was also preparing for GMAT and with a strong will and positive mindset started my preparation. I jotted down my strong (PS, CR) and weak (DS, RC & SC) areas and prepared an xls, in which I used to note down my daily progress. My strategy was to devote more time to DS, RC & SC, but at the same time solving at least few questions daily of PS & CR. As per the advice of my friends and the expert comments on MBA blogs, I referred to the following materials/books -

1. Kaplan 800 (Great book to test your level... recommended for those aiming 700+)
2. OG (Bible)
3. Manhattan SC (The best book among all that i have come across for SC preparation)
4. LSAT CR (Great variety of questions)
5. GMATPrep (A must do... Exact replica of your performance)
6. Kaplan tests (If you have time)
7. MBA blogs for a good variety of questions and discussions.

One more thing that I did was to simulate the Test center environment before giving the practice test. It helped me a lot to be mentally prepared and not get bogged down by the 4 hour time duration of the test.

P.S. GMAT is only a mental game. It is how well you can cope up with the pressure.

My Prep Test Results -

GMATPrep1 - 730
GMATPrep2 - 700
GMATPrep3 - 720
Kaplan1 - 580
Kaplan2 - 620
Kaplan3 - 670
Kaplan4 – 660
GMATPrep4 – 660 (This must be a blip!!!!)

Due to few reasons (as previously mentioned in my first post) I shifted my test date to 8th October 2009 in Singapore. On the D-Day I arrived at the test center. I was really nervous and was hoping to cross the 700 barrier atleast {the mock test on the previous day went for a toss and I scored a meager 660}. When I entered the test center, I was greeted by a smiling and charming lady that lightened my mood a bit. She was very helpful and went me through the whole process. Then she gave me the pencil and rough pad and started my test. After dwindling through the AWAs, quant and verbal sections, the screen flashed ‘proceed to the result’ appearing to me as if shouting ‘ARE YOU READY’. With troubled nerves I pressed OK and the score flashed ‘700 (QA-50, VA-34)’. My instant reaction was a sigh of relief as I was happy to touch the 700 mark though with the kind of preparation I was expecting between 720-730. I got up from my chair, handed over the pen and rough pad to the charming lady, came out of the examination center and grabbed my hand at a chocolate bar :)

Hope my experience might prove useful to some of the readers.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Introspection - Part III

Where to find the information ----

  1. MBA rankings – Do not value the information blindly. I believe that MBA rankings are a good starting point for your college search.                                                                                                               Rankings that I find quite genuine are – Business Week, Financial Times and US News. Other websites where you can find the information – Forbes, Wall Street Journal

  1. School Websites – This is the most important source of information. A school website has enormous data on its website to give you the essence of school’s ethics, values, culture, teaching methodology etc.

  1. MBA forums/ websites – These are also a vital source to provide the details about GMAT, B-schools and a particular program. These sites/blogs contains huge information provided by school’s adcom members, applicants, current student and alumni coupled with expert advice from the MBA consultants. Few such sites are -


  1. Alumni/ current students – These are the sources that can provide you with their first hand experiences about the school/program.

  1. Fellow applicants/ bloggers

Friday, April 9, 2010

Introspection - Part II

What to do next ----

  1. Prepare an xls – Prepare an excel sheet by drawing out all the activities/achievements (extracurricular activities, awards, community service) in the grid and characterising them with all the traits (leadership, teamwork etc) that they tend to bring out.

My 2 cents – This is not a small process. Do spend your maximum time in pondering over these points. Include everything that comes to your mind.

  1. Work on your weaknesses – After drafting everything on the xls, you will find some areas where you lag behind a bit. Don’t get worried, but start working on those areas. Like take up some quantitative course if you have a low quant score on GMAT

P.S.  For me, I’m in an ambivalent state over one thing. My GMAT score is 700. Being an Indian IT Male and considering the high intensity of competition for Indian IT Engineers, I am considering of giving GMAT once again. But still confused!!! Any advice?

  1. Work on your career goals - This is the most important factor that will decide on your life Post-MBA. Once your career goals are set, you become clearer on the criteria for school search. THINK THINK and THINK!!!!!

  1. Finding a ‘fit’ – By finding a proper fit, I mean relating your values, beliefs etc with that of college’s.

  1. Talking to the current students, alumni and college staff.

P.S. Since I can not make a visit to the schools (If you can that is probably the best thing to do), I will try to attend the seminars to have a direct conversation with the staff members and students/alumni. Another method is to talk to the students who have visited the schools to have their opinion.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Introspection - Part I

Introspection means self-examination. That was the need of hour for me, to find out the reason for rejection (ding analysis) and the steps that needs to be taken henceforward. In simpler words it was the time to find out answers to basic questions "Why, What, Where”

Why I did not get an interview call ---- 

1. Started the research quite late - I gave my GMAT on 8th October 2009 and after getting the score, decided to research and apply for colleges in R2. That was one of the biggest decision making errors I made. After talking to few MBA applicants and current students and reading many blogs, I realized that a successful application (in most cases) requires a holistic research of your career goals, schools selection, finding a proper fit etc.  

My 2 cents – Do spend sufficient time in researching all theses details before plunging directly into the application process else you will be in a fix.

2. No planning – I did not plan things properly. I took my date for GMAT quite late in October and then decided to apply to 5 colleges, when I had only two months left to the R2 deadline. During that period I had to travel to India too (for some urgent work), thus adding to the pressure on time line. I had two months left only and by that time had no answers prepared for the basic questions “what are my short/long term goals, which essays to start with, who will be my recommenders, what are my strengths and weaknesses, whom to ask for essay evaluations.”

My 2 cents – Do plan everything in advance. Book your GMAT date well in advance from the R1 deadline (one benefit is that you will also have a chance to apply in R2), prepare an xls with all the questions you feel are important. Do refer to the following book as a good starting point to have an overview about the whole MBA process.

3. Not choosing the correct evaluators – It was not that the people I chose for essay evaluation were not sound people (may be they are much more sound than me), but that they were not very much familiar with the MBA application process. Second problem was that I made my essays evaluated by too many people, ending up in a dilemma.

My 2 cents – Choose evaluators judiciously, those who are quite familiar with the process and don’t go beyond 3 or 4. Also choose one person who can do the spell check. DO NOT TRUST THE MICROSOFT SPELL CHECK BLINDLY!!!

4. Did not exemplify my cases – After self-evaluating all of my essays with a very critical viewpoint, I found that I generalized my essays quite a bit. In other words, I did not use proper examples to present my side of story. I kind of generalized all the important points (team work, leadership etc) rather than giving examples of how I fit the bill in those areas. Remember that the adcom members are those who do not know you (or an outsider). The only way to present your case in front of them is to give proper examples.

My 2 cents – Exemplify as much as possible.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Finally I have become a part of "MBA blogosphere" too. After a not so fruitful first year of MBA applications (applied - 5, dinged w/i - 4, accepted - 1 {Cranfield, UK}), I am now out again with a stronger determination to obtain a coveted seat in a MBA college that suits me best.

P.S No offense to Cranfield (It is one of the best B-schools in UK), but after taking various factors into consideration, I found it better to forgo my admit and give another shot for colleges where I can probably find my fit much better and where I can do proper justice to my career goals.

If anyone needs any information on Cranfield, feel free to shoot your questions.

By the way a brief about me:-

Male - IT (what an irony... as a fresher out of college we feel excited to be a part of the large IT community, but during the applications process the same feeling looks like a curse sometimes). Personally I'm happy to be a part of the large IT community, though I felt the pinch during my MBA applications when I had to compete with numerous IT engineers (esp. Indian IT engineers) and prove to be different from the herd.

P.S. I believe that your competition is not with the Doctors or I-Bankers for an admit. It is with them, who have the same background as yours, that you have to compete against.

GMAT 700/4.5 (50,34)
Sr. Unix System Admin (AT&T Singapore)
Work Exp - 4yrs by July 10'