Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wharton ! Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

I am in .... , can't describe what I feel now :-) .I got the call today from Wharton Adcom first thing in the morning 8amish. Can you believe that? It was really nice talking to Wharton adcom person. I then thanked my stars and checked my email. Yes, the status was updated with an admit letter link.

I really want to thank everyone who helped me get so far , from my family, friends, recommenders, people at work, current MBA students and alumni who have given me helpful hints and the blogging community. I also want to do a braindump of my application experience. But I think that will wait till I get back. I am going on vacation starting this weekend and will be back mid-January. Happy Holidays to everyone. Have a safe and joyous NewYear..

Monday, December 11, 2006

Admits roll in .....

December has poured in with the news of MBA admits. Kudos and congrats to MBABlogger for his first MBA admit. Next week, Wharton and Chicago will release their decision next week on Dec 20 and Dec 21, respectively. Best of all luck to those who are waiting for this decision after months of hard work and sweat.

On the other hand, in the December newsletter, Stanford GSB has mentioned that they have rolled out many interviews so far ... but don't lose hope, they will continue to send invites till early January. Sloan is releasing interview invites as well, but I haven't heard of any invites in the Northwest region. More later .. as I am wrapping up my R2 applications.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Wharton Interview experience

I chose the alumni interview option. We met in a cafe. I had already spoken to my alumni interviewer on phone while scheduling the interview. Actually, I must say that that interviewer was very prompt when he received my mail, called me up and fixed the time and day.

He asked me to begin with my story (I had already sent him my resume, and so he wanted to know why I wanted to do an MBA.) I spoke about that. Then was the "Why Wharton" question. I spoke in length here, what I really liked about Wharton, the different things that appeal to me with respect to my goals (nonprofit et al) . After this, he asked about my strengths and weakness. Then came an unexpected question. "What is the worst moment of my life?". I spoke about something personal related to an experience. He really appreciated that aspect and also mentioned to me that it is better to talk honestly than to recite any memorized answer. The interview ended with a very different question "Wharton should admit me because ...." fill in the blank with a oneline sentence. I thought for a bit on that one, and told him something that came from my heart. We spent some time after this , talking about my alum's Wharton experience and he shared some interesting tidbits with me. Overall, I did not feel like I was having an interview. It felt more like a nice conversation, and my alum interviewer was genuinely interested in understanding the person behind me. I felt good about the interview experience. I really want to thank Wharton for such a fabulous opportunity, the alumni seemed great .
Regardless of the final decision, I will treasure this process, because it has helped me understand myself so much better and enrich the learning experience.

Best of luck to all those interviewing and then for the final decision.

On another note, looks like Sloan has started interview invites since this week.Stanford invites have started for the past few weeks as well. Buzz according to the BWforums is that these schools sent invites according to region .

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wharton wait

for interview invitation is over ... I received an invite some time back today morning. Guess, the invites do get released till the DAY as they say. I am mostly going for the alumni interview option, because I won't be able to take time off work for a on-campus. But let me see if i can do that. Any suggestions for selecting between alumni interviews in Seattle and on-campus Wharton interview.?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


No, I haven't yet heard from W. Status is unchanged. On another note, someone on admissions411 got an invite from Stanford. Haven't heard about Sloan invites, but the ball is rolling now ....

Monday, November 13, 2006

W is for wait

Nothing beats the excitement and anxiousness for this week, the long wait for Wharton's choosy interview invites. Without an invite currently, all I can do is wait and hope to be in the 50% bucket that has some chance of getting in at Wharton. Least I fall in the other half, I will move on. Meanwhile, to all of us, trapped in the Wait, let's be positive.

Friday, November 03, 2006

3 apps and the learnings

3 apps later ....

1) Thou shall invest time wisely for each school. Essays from one school cannot be copied onto another
2) Thou shall understand the strengths of each school. Each of them have their unique personality, which is reflected even in the way they ask their essay questions.
3) Thou shall give let the essays rest for some time. There are so many points that come to mind after doing this.
4) Thou shall understand the feedback that various people give you, respect their opinions but choose what best applies to your application, story.
5) Thou shall be honest throughout the application, that is the only way your own voice shines throughout the application
6) Thou shall maintain a strong belief and focus, no matter how tough that may be.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One more down ...

MIT Sloan app submitted today, one more down, three more to go ... I will write a post later about what I learnt through this app, for now, I am just going to relax for a bit.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stanford Update

Submitted the app some time back. Boy! what a relief. Just 2 long essays and 2 short ones. But this app has some killer questions (Essay A). I wasn't so much worried about Essay A, as I was for Essay B. Even though Essay B has two parts (career aspirations, how will stanford help you achieve them?), there's still ambiguity about whether to talk about career progress or only concentrate on the future plans. Anyways, onto my third one a week later .... It's raining deadlines now ...

Monday, October 23, 2006


Busy with other apps, but just checked the Wharton Status : Complete - Round 1 , that means my file is forwarded to the adcom for review ... ahh the fun begins

Also noticed the following:

Recommendations: Received
Transcripts: Received
Test Scores: Received

Very nice of Wharton to report that they have received all the components of the application.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Wharton Update

Alas, first of my deadline kicks in, and I have submitted my application. Boy! what a sigh of relief. For me, I can say that the application process this year was very different from what I did last year (I am a reapplicant at Wharton). Last year, I started writing the essays in late Oct and submitted them in late Dec before going on a trip to my home country. There was too much going on in my life at that time. At the end , my essays were sloppy, did not have clear goals and surely would not give me an admit despite other good credentials. When I returned from my trip in January and looked at my apps, I knew all my mistakes.

That was it! I began to think about my goals, what I really want to focus on and also on my strengths and weaknesses. After 10+ years of solid engineering (studies included), my mind is trained to think in terms of definiteness (yes/no, boolean values, etc).The process wasn't easy for me and definitely took a long time. I started writing down all the facts and figures from my life, spoke to my family and friends, till I saw something emerge from all of these things.

Questions that i asked myself reflected as early as my childhood, then my teens and now, to see how I have evolved over those years. I reflected enough on some important experiences in my life, to realize what I am good at, what I like to do, and what things I could improve on. I believe this kind of soul searching really helps. Even though, b-schools ask about short term and long term career goals, they want to get to know the real person behind these goals, why those goals matter to you, what makes you tick, what is different about you.

Some people have these answers clearly etched in their mind, while others (like me), may take a bit longer in realizing these things. But, bschool or not,I think this is important. All these things definitely helped me in constructing my Wharton application. As an applicant, I don't think I have anything stellar in my points ( I am not a VP or a manager yet, I haven't won significant prizes, I am not 750+ etc.) . But I have used my experiences to tell why i have done the things that I have and what I have learnt from them. At the end, this process has mattered much more to me. And , I am not worried about the result as I was last year. Because, that surely is out of my control.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Where I am and what I have learned so far ...

A flurry of essay writing activities over the past few weeks has kept me busy, not to mention that I have a huge load at work and other things keeping me preoccupied. A quick update on where I am so far in the process:

1) Wharton - first and second drafts done, working on polishing the essays - looks like I will make R1
2) Stanford - same as above (By far, my most favourite set of essays :-)
3) Sloan - first drafts done, over a month left for R1, looks like will make it for R1
4) HBS - first drafts done. Moving from R1 to R2

HBS was the first set of essays that I tackled. However, given the brevity that these essays demand, I will not be able to do justice to them in R1, so I have decided to push HBS to R2. Yes, I know I am running a huge risk here, but I cannot sacrifice the quality of my application.

5) Haas - R2, looked at the essay topics, but not started yet
6) Kellogg - R2, looked at the essay topics, but not started yet

When I step back and take a look at the entire application process, I do want to give in my best. At the same time, I know that I cannot rush in and compromise quality. I try not to get distracted. However, for my own sanity, after spending the entire week redrafting essays, I spend Fri or Sat eve relaxing, catching a movie, or spending time with my family, something else other than applications... I feel that is important because it charges me, refreshes me for yet another round. Because this whole thing is a process for discovering oneself, encapsulating one's life to a set of goals. And whenever I feel bogged down by the various forums citing how competitive the top schools are, I remember to believe in myself, my passions, the truth surrounding me and my life, because that what makes me who I am and defines what matters the most to me .....

Essay Tips

MIT Sloan Essay Topic Analysis ...

1) From
2) From Clearadmit

Sunday, September 10, 2006

HBS Essays...

Although the questions look simple, these essays are the toughest of the lot, specially with the word limits and the succinctness that has to go in each essay. As of now, I am done with first drafts of the HBS essays.But still have a long way to go. I might consider pushing HBS to R2, if I cannot make the essays as good as I want them to be.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Finally, my targets!!

I think my last post on "Target or not", I saw a comments on "Why not Stern? or Chicago?" - when I saw these sites, I got the impression that these really good schools are very good for finance , something I that will learn about in MBA, but will not be focussing on a finance based career. Also , I cannot apply to all schools , can I ? :-)

So , here 's my target list so far, in alphabetical order

1) Haas
2) HBS
3) Kellogg
4) Stanford
5) Sloan
6) UCLA/Ross (may opt out if I don't have time)
7) Wharton

I am looking into social enterprise , responsible business, marketing , international focus as some of the key areas. Being a non-business major who has worked in tech industry and some non-profits, I like the general management focus that some of these schools have, that will definitely give me a foundation in varied business areas. As always, suggestions welcome!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

School - Target or not

This past week, spent some time going over websites of some schools, to reaffirm my target selection. This is my last chance, once I confirm my selection, I do not want to get randomized by going out and changing one or two, adding anything new or whatever. Here are some brief points on all the schools:

1) Carnegie Mellon : great for finance, manufacturing, brand name CMU, proximity to NY area (lots of NY companies flock for recruiting)
2) Columbia : finance, in the NY city (for Wall Street connections!!!)
3) Johnson, Cornell : geneal management, finance
4) Tuck: general management, small school/class atmosphere, strong alum connections (Tuck community)
5) Fuqua: general management, health care management, TEAM Fuqua
6) Sloan : innovate, entrepreneurship, a bit more analytical (strong engineering connections amongst other things)
7) Kellogg: Marketing, teamwork, Chicago (midwest area)

More to come ....

Thursday, July 20, 2006


A very good article by Stacy on Leadership:

I am posting it here for my reference:

« From the Trenches: Insights from Successful Applicants
What is Leadership?

Stacy Blackman consulting reference:

By Jeremy Dann

You’re going to need to figure out the answer to this question very, very soon. Some applications—like Harvard’s—have explicit questions about your defining leadership experiences. While some others don’t boast a “leadership” question per se, the best applications will serve up a heavy dose of this particular “L word” in other essays on personal achievements, passions, etc.Applicants need to think through their past experiences to find the episodes that best illustrate their leadership skills. Sometimes, the best examples are not the first that come to mind. Many applicants automatically tag some of their greatest personal achievements as perfect examples of leadership. However, this is not always the best formula for a strong leadership essays.Your “leadership” essay will often be different from an “accomplishment” or “achievement essay. Just because you achieved something outstanding does not always mean leadership skills were involved, especially if you did most or all of the work. The work of the leader activates or improves the work of others; find anecdotes in your work and extracurricular history that illustrate this kind of pattern.What kind of experiences will make the best tales of leadership? Think about challenges where the following came into play:• Identifying/defining a problem• Articulating vision• Resisting conventional approaches; challenging status quo• Convincing others of importance of problem• Marshalling resources to address problem• Motivating others• Making good use of others’ talents• Being open to new information, input, etc.• Building consensus with appropriate stakeholders• Guiding strong mid-course corrections; overcoming mistakes• Building on successo Permanently upgrade organization’s capabilities; institutionalizing solutiono Illustrate methods for other individuals, organizations, etc.
And remember: leadership is not just about the titles. Some candidates build their leadership essays around the fact that they were selected for or elected to certain positions where they had a high level of authority and responsibility: editor-in-chief of a college paper, fraternity president, captain of the hockey team, director of product development, V.P. of marketing, etc. But what did you do with this position? An editor of a college daily could write about how she was constantly challenged to maintain high levels of editorial excellence, manage staff assignments and hit all deadlines. This is definitely an esteemed position with tons of responsibility, but Ms. Editor, if you describe your role like that, it sounds exactly the same as the role of the other 798 editors-in-chief of college papers. Define the leadership challenges you faced, not the management challenges. Did you have to deal with a certain writer who falsified interview notes? Was there a sticky campus scandal that forced you and your staff to walk an ethical tightrope? Did you have to fire student editors? Did you lead a transition from a weekly to a daily with all of the scheduling and human resources rigors that entails?Collecting impressive titles does not make someone a great leader—helping a team overcome great challenges does.

Target Schools

So's here my almost list of target schools:

1) Stanford
2) Harvard
3) Wharton
4) Kellogg
5) Haas
7) Sloan/CMU Tepper/ROSS ????

As of now, 6 schools selected, but may change in the next two weeks, which is my self imposed deadline for finalizing schools...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Harvard, Stanford, Sloan, Haas, .... They all have released their questions.. the countdown has begun. No more delaying now... This is what I must do .. get organized and get cracking on the essays... :-)

stanford questions for mine and your reference:

Sunday, June 11, 2006

More on Essay Advice

Reading a very good book currently. Could not help but jot down these excellent points for essays:

1) Why do you want to an MBA?
Think about previous experiences:PAST:
How have they prepared you for business shool?
How have they made you come to conclusion that you would like to pursue an MBA?
What skills have you gained that you could bring to this program?

Think about your current state:PRESENT:
Why now ?
Have you reached a point where you need a degree to advance?
What knowledge and skills do you hope to obtain from the degree?

What are your future career goals?
How will you use your MBA for your career goals?
How will you use MBA in the future?

Be specific when you describe what you have gained from your workplace.

Q2) What do you bring to the school?

This question requires introspection, some thoughts about what make or break you,. If you described your work experience elsewhere, highlight your other aspects here. Your work experience and what you gained from it is one of the most important factors in business school. Think about the experiences that you have been involved in, experiences that you have had or some of your accomplishments, and the unique qualities that you can use to distinguish yourself from teh rest of the crowd.

Q3) Leadership Essay
In this essay, think about what you want to convey about your philosophy of leadership, your leadership style. Try to think about leadership at work if possible.

Give examples of how you led
Explain why you made the decisions that you did, especially of they were difficult decisions
Outline your approach to leadership and what skills you try to exhibit when you are a leader
Show how you have been a leader, how do you perform as a leader
Also, describe the results of your leadership - did your project complete successful, did your team work well together, provide tangible outcomes from your work however do not exaggerate your achievements

Q4) Achievements
(Most important achievement in your life etc) - could be personal or work related
Think about what you want to convey through this essay?
If you write about a non work related work experience, be sure to emphasis how that has helped you prepare for business school, either directly or indirectly

Q5) Overcoming obstacle or failure
Share your thoughts so that the bschool understands your motivations and why you are able to overcome a challenge , describe the strength that you gained from this and how you will continue to use this strength
If you made a poor decision, communicate what you learned and how you will apply that in the future

Q6) Team work
Explain the team interactions that you have experienced
How did you keep the team functioning and even pitfalls to avoid

Q7) Extra curricular activities
What do you enjoy, why, and what do you gain from the experience?
Whether you have learned perseverance from running marathons or something else, business schools need to know how you have developed through this activity.

Q8) Optional essay
Use this to write anything else that will add to your personality, a strength or a weakness

Excerpts from ACCEPTED! 50 successful bschool admission essays !! Tanabe & Tanabe

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Blogging Goodness

I cannot but say how good it feels to be a part of the blogging MBA community. There's so much to be done in the whole app process, however long and frustrating the process may seem. You are not alone, Buddy, hang in there! One day, you shall cross the fence and be on the other side of the walled garden (bschool that is). Browsing through some blogs, I found a very good post on one applicant's entire app process and even another one . Thanks everybody for contributing your advice.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Time management , organization et al.

A key thing in the whole MBA application process is being a bit organized about the whole thing. This may vary from person to person, but it doesn't hurt to step back a bit, and sketch out either a rough timeline or a plan for your own approach. Depending on the person that you are, some people keep these things in their head and go on doing those things. Others use excel sheets, daily calendars, and what not. I like to do a bit of both. I tried to do a timeline approach. But with the hectic work and schedule, I am not in favor of that. The reason is that because, this will stress me out if I say that I need to do XYZ by a certain date and then I am not able to do that by the deadline. Rather, I took a look at the whole process and divided the finer granular goals into the following tasks. No matter, which school you apply, you have go through them.

1) Thinking : (and loads of it :-)

-Answer the main questions (a) Who are you? What are goals? What have you done so far? Where do you see yourself going? Why do you need an MBA for that? What are the elements that you are looking for in an MBA?
- Which schools will get you what you want?
- Application strategy after finalizing schools
- Finally, thinking and analyzing for the school essay questions themselves

2) Interaction: (Not to mention, while doing the thinking, you are not alone. :-) )
- Contacting students from bschool, alumni, school forums, your friends, bloggers and talking to them to find their experiences, to get their advice, feedback etc.

3) Reading (Of course, you read tons of material to make your decisions etc)
- Read the school website
- Read the school forums
- Read MBA books and blogs

4)Writing (You cannot escape this for sure!!!! :-)
- Emails, notes, blogs, ESSAYS, and APPLICATION

5) Travel
- Visting school, information sessions, meeting people

Monday, May 29, 2006

Qualities looked for in MBA applicants:

1) Wharton:
- in-depth work experience or school work - academic aptitude
-leadership qualities - confidence , discipline, willing to take risks
-self awareness - who they are, where they are, what their plan is

2) Chicago GSB
-Academic achievements
-Professional Development (work progression, career development)
-personal qualities (leadership and involvement in extra. activities)

3) U Michigan Ross
- wants to get a sense of app.' leadership potential and their ability to create results.
-What they have been doing, how have they made an impact to their organization, are they willing to take risks
-Michigan is known for its action based learning and the ability for students to build on broad
based curriculum and rest of the univ offerings to create a robust and customized experience

This is going to be more of an evolving post, as I gather more information about my target bschools :-)

Thursday, May 25, 2006


What have you done so far?--Where are you going? -- Why MBA? ---Why now? --What that university's MBA?

Time and again, many applicants, MBA students, admission committees have emphasized these key questions. A compelling story to these questions , filled with one's sweat and tears and smiles, will make a winning application. As I have put effort into understanding these questions for myself over the past few weeks, I have realized the part that I struggle the most with. "How do I link my "specific goals" to that university's MBA program offering? Points that come to mind are:
1) Core program curriculum - BUT , most B-schools have more or less the same type of courses in the core areas (finance, accounting, marketing, etc)
2) Clubs, Activities - BUT, most B-schools have more or less the same type of clubs (ASIA club, Enterpreneurship club)
3) Programs - Chances of some difference arise here. Most top schools offer a global practicum, b-plan competitions, case competitions etc
4) World Class Faculty - Hmmm, every school has its own cream
5) Commitment to Community - So many b-schools have started emphasizing this lately.
6) Student Culture/Personality - THIS one begs to differ. Each b-school has its own persona, that projects itself into the dynamic community that the school represents.

Are these the only elements to use to link one's goals to university X's MBA program? Also, what does it mean by "linking one's goals to MBA program"? If one of my goals is to learn about marketing high tech internet consumer products for start-ups and small businesses, is it sufficient to "link" this goal with the "Marketing for entrepreneurs" course at the university?

Thoughts on this very much appreciated.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Essay Advice

Some key points from various posts, blogs, articles, emails:

1) Your essays should reflect who U are? not just your work experiences
2) What results have you achieved because of who you are?
3) What values drive your life? What makes you unique?

A great essay advice post from Dave's blog:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My Haas and Stanford Visit experience

My Haas and Stanford Visit experience

Overall I am impressed by both schools. I have been to SF, Berkeley, Palo Alto. I don't want to write text on why those areas are popular. :-) . Also, I don't intent to compare these 2 vists or schools , each school has its own personality. So here goes visit experience:

Stanford : I started the day with a visit to Stanford GSB- class visit. I had picked up a class at 10.00am, arrived 10 minutes before the class started. (the traffic in that area on a monday morning can really get to you). Anyway, I soon met up with my class visit buddy, who gave brief about the class. (Organizational changes).

In the class, I get a brief intro (name, place where I come from). There were couple other visitors as well. This class session had case studies related organizational behaviour for (1) a steel company (2) eco tourism company. I haven't read the case study myself, but what was amazing what the amount of class participation and interaction that happened. The students even quoted their personal experiences to analyze and draw conclusions. Not to mention, that the prof also cold-called some students to share their viewpoints. The class size was small , may be around 60 students. The prof raised different points to discuss, the students followed with their viewpoints. Even though I am not a student of GSB, I could understand a few things, and derive a few conclusions. I spoke to my class buddy at the end of the class, asked him a questions about how are the rest of the classes are. His response: class are usually small and there is a lot of learning from the students in the class. I proceeded to a tour after this.

Stanford has great courses in leadership, management, amzing resources for areas that I am aiming for -high tech entrepreneurship , strategy.

Haas experience:
At Haas I started with the school tour and then proceed to the class visit - Global Marketing . This was a second year elective , the class strength was therefore about 20 students. The prof had already given a class case study in the previous class. So this was more of a presentation slide lecture, which describe some marketing facets. What was interesting is that the prof was linking all those factes to his previous case study. The students discussed their view points amongst themselves, drawing on examples from different courses. Haas also has unparalled resources for high tech enterpreneurship (including the Haas business plan competitions)

Overall, the classes at the bschools are very interactive, dynamic and require prep work on part of the students.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Companies & business schools: Which companies recruit where?

Here's a brief list where McKinsey recruits:

  1. H/S/W (obviously, in huge numbers)
  2. Sloan
  3. Columbia
  4. Haas
  5. U. of Chicago
  6. Ross (8 for class of 2005)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Some good questions to ponder

I have been reading Dave's blog for quite some time now. He is even good at answering some questions that I had. I wanted some advice regarding matching one's personal/career goals to an MBA program and why choose an MBA. Some very good questions that Dave sent my way that I would like to share here: (Thanks, Dave)

1) What have you done in your life as a habit that show your passions, courage and motivation towards your goals?
2) Why now and not later?
3) Why couldn't another masters, internship or other venture provide the same result?
4) What makes you think that the MBA is all that important to what you know now and what you hope to learn?
5) What is the definition of an MBA in two sentences?
6) Why are you a better candidate than xxx?

Things to ponder ....

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Some key points from an podcast the by Admissions Director at Haas business school: (I found it easier to grasp info from the podcast than to read from a website with many pages :-)

Haas's admissions criteria:
Academic Aptitude - undergrad, GMAT score , GPA
-how well did you do?
-why performance degraded?
-quantitative proficiency - if you were not good at this during your undergrad, take a local college courses.
-Have you gone out of your comfort zone to take other classes?
- As an engineer - took some courses in other areas outside the comfort zone GMAT - only one part of the admissions puzzle
- GMAT in conjuction with the GPA - Each of the three subscores are considered. Because the first year has a quantitative curriculum, the quant part is important.
Take a look at the school's median GMAT score. middle 80% range 660 - 750 (10% below and abovE)

Professional accomplishments and leadership -
-Work experience not just in the number of years, but quality of the experience - very diverse fields - traditional and nontraditional
- richness of the experience and the impact of the progression- why you have transitioned within the job and your promotions etc?
-Each job title should be mentioned on the resume -leadership potential in candidates - do not have to directly supervise
- may have managed a process or managed a project
- have an idea and did some thing about it - list on resume

-should be professional in nature
- current supervisor - key client - individuals worked closely and will provide specific examples - consult past performance evaluations - title of the letter writer is not as imp

Personal qualities
- we want to get to know as a individual
- extra curricular acitivities during and after college
- depth and breadth of involvement
- those that are contribute to the life of the school - personality

Essay questions -
For example, we ask dinner with whom?
- do not second guess the person
- act as if you are writing in your journal
- share their personal side as well
- longer essay questions (why MBA question, why MBA from the school)
- what are your goals ? (a very good case should be done)

Each school has its own strengths and weaknesses
- Research the school, speak with an alumnus , visit the school
- why is the school a perfect match for you?

- very significant role
- level of confidence
- interpersonal skills

Tuesday, March 14, 2006