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First Day of Transformation

I have worked to get to this day, today, for so many years now. Some days I took the straight path and on many days, I was probably moving in a direction that I never thought could lead me here. But here I am. And in those few, quiet moments through the day, I have been alternately tearing up and pinching myself, to confirm that this is it. The first day of business school. A dream that I have nurtured and cherished for years now. Sometimes knowingly, willfully and at other times, tucked safely in the corner of my heart and brain, where no one could see it.

I am back in my apartment, after what feels like a very surreal day of cheering, table banging (more on that later!), talking and meeting so many people for brief and awe-inspiring conversations. And before this fleeting moment gets away from me and the reality of life kicks in tomorrow or day after, I want to cherish it. Through the many welcomes messages from Fuqua faculty, administration, the amazing Orientation team and alumni from all over the world, I felt a connection to this place, an affirmation of the same gut feeling that made me apply to Fuqua as an Early Decision student. The same connection also made me withdraw my application from all other schools, right away after getting in here. As a speaker said, there is something in the air, something about the people coming in and surrounding you at this place that some will intrinsically connect with.

One of the key things that attracted me to Fuqua was the opportunity to develop myself as a leader. It is hard to miss in your research about the school, the emphasis it puts on seeking and molding future leaders of consequence. As someone who has typically had the mantle of the being the default leader of the group and learnt how to be one by trial and error, I am going to take these two years and mold myself into one, who is a worthy of being followed and willing to follow.

This poem, also a part of our orientation today, sums up the best of what I want to get out of this experience in the two years and how I hope that this investment in myself can help in my long-term transformation.

To the next two years!

—————————————————————–

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?

— The Dash by Linda Ellis

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2015 in Experiences, Life, MBA, Musings

 

I am in…and I am going South!

I got in! I got in! I got in!

Got the Early Decision Admit to Fuqua and I am over the moon. Yes there were tears.

I am done with is process and soooo ready to begin the next phase. I shall be back to writing more often once I feel more coherent but I had to tell it to you guys, who still stop by here to check and support me. Thank you for sticking with me in this journey!

Duke-Fuqua-01

2008-07-24_Duke_Chapel

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Being Desi, Future, Life, MBA

 

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Guess who’s back?

im_back4 Apps – 2 Campus Visits – 1 Product Launch – 1 Job Offer/Promotion later, I am back. I am hoping that this gives everyone a bit of a flavor of what has kept me occupied in the last few months. I actually had to take a crash course in prioritizing and start axing things that I honestly couldn’t do full justice to. Sadly, “updating my blog” came right after “going to the gym”, which is always the first item on my “Not to do” list :D.

So which school made my list this time around, you ask?

  • Fuqua – Early Action
  • Kenan Flagler – Early Action
  • Ross – Round 1
  • Tepper – Round 1
  • McCombs – Round 1  Had to cut this off my Round 1 list eventually.

Both, Ross and Kenan Flagler are schools that I have reapplied to. This time around, I took a trip down to Ann Arbor as one of the prospective MBA women applicant invited to attend the Women in Leadership Conference. To anyone lurking around the blog and looking to apply in 2014/2015, I would say – Please sign up to attend these if you can! As an applicant last year, I had no idea when these conferences happened and whenever I’d read of those it would be always a bit too late (plus I had my GMAT drama going on for the better part of the year!). But, I applied to Ross’ event this time around and I can say that it was the best 2-days I have had in the MBA journey so far. Most business schools that host these events invite prospective candidates to apply by submitting a resume and a small essay asking why you are interested. Once selected, the schools then begin their wooing process :). Ross put about 25-30 girls coming in from all parts of US/Canada at the Sheraton and wined and dined us for over two days. You get the chance to not only experience a very high quality conference but also forge relationships with current students, admissions team members, and other prospective students, who could be joining you at a different school too!

Both with Ross and Fuqua, I ended up going to the campus just about 3 days before the submission deadline. Now, its not like I didn’t have my essays all prepared then (after all that’s a perk of reapplying and doing the whole MBA she-bang for over a year!). But after each visit, I had so much more to say that was specific to my day spent at the campus, that I ended up scrapping almost half of my old essays in favor of including new material. This was particularly true of the cover letter that Ross needs and for the Why Fuqua essay. However, here I am today, finally done with all my apps. After my gentle reminder today, hopefully my recommenders will submit their Kenan Flagler links by 17th October and we’ll be all done.

But, I wish life was that simple and waiting for interview, invites and decisions was all I had to worry about! Through these last few weeks, I got the opportunity to lead a go-to-market effort for a new product at my company. This was the first project to create a new product after my company acquired another company earlier this year. Now, we have been on an acquisition spree for a few years now but sadly, most integration projects haven’t been successful. So, this product launch was, to put it mildly, a big deal for the CEO. Thankfully, not only I got the launch done, but actually ended up exceeding goal by 120% bringing in some marquee clients in the process. Great stuff for essay fodder, is what you are all thinking right?? 😀 I milked this for sure!

But, here is the kicker. Now, my company wants to promote me to be an Associate Director and relocate to SFO to manage a bigger team there. This stretch opportunity comes with a leadership tag, increased pay, and other perks but, one caveat – I need to give my answer by November 1st week and commit to not leaving for at least one year. 😐 Not a written agreement that is binding but a good faith commitment given to my boss, who is my recommender and has been instrumental in helping me get many opportunities. So I can’t even think of burning bridges.

I have no idea what to do as of today. Since I got this offer, one day I am looking for apartments in SFO and the other day in Raleigh/Durham/Ann Arbor! What would you pick?

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Future, Life, MBA, Musings, Recap

 

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BoB Awards – who me? :)

Well nothing like a nomination to let go of procrastination and come back to the beloved blog, isn’t it? I was pleasantly surprised to see my blog up there with Sarah’s, Domotron’s and Hamm‘s as a ClearAdmit Best of Blogging Awards for 2013-14 nominee. Please do show your love to all the nominees and hey, if my struggles and experiences helped keep your chin up, then do nominate me too 🙂 Vote by following this link, or by tweeting your top three favorites – along with the hashtag #ClearAdmitBoB –  to @clearadmit. Voting will conclude on Wednesday, May 28th. 

In the meanwhile, unlike many of my fellow nominees, my journey on this road is not over yet. I am back to the drawing board having now engaged a consultant to help me perfect my pitch. After some tough love and reflection, we have started crafting this year application. My package with the consultant expires on June 23rd and my big concern is that my target schools don’t come out with their apps by then :-s. But, hopefully, if not all, one or two may share their essays in time for me to build as he/they call is a “horizontal strategy”.

It is already shaping out to be a busy summer otherwise. After 2 years of informal management responsibilities, I was finally assigned a formal direct report and within 28 days of becoming a manager, I had to take the decision to fire the colleague I started to manage. The learning from this experience is still at a nascent stage and dawning on me daily, but I won’t ever want to be in this position, if I can avoid it in the future. On a happier note, my pro-bono project for this year is almost complete. Our Board presentation was really well received and we now have a final presentation with the development committee to give some of the more difficult messages.

And finally, over the next six months, my husband and I are planning for the visit of my parents and in-laws, who will be living with us for about 3 months each. I know, I know – many of my readers may find this an occasion to feel the opposite of excitement (panic anyone?!) :). Three months with parents? Three full months with in-laws, really??! But, I really am excited! It has been a loooong time since I have lived with my parents for this long and I have never spent more than a week with my in-laws, so I am excited for the great food, some company, and to show them around the US. I will also be candid and say it out loud, I am really excited about the help in managing my home while I put in more time at work and in my b-school applications!

So with that, thanks again Clear Admit for nominating me and helping me share my journey along with some amazing people. Until the next time …

BoB Nominee 1

 

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Experiences, Life, MBA, Recap

 

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DING Report

I would like to say that I have been really busy and so swamped with the awesome stuff happening around, that I did not get time to come back to my blog and update it. And if I did, I would be so wrong.

I gave my Kellogg interview last month on 17th February through Skype, after weather gods decided that my flight should be cancelled and I should be stuck in the house with snow being dumped all over DC. A week before the interview though, I gave my GMAT again. Round 3 was more successful than my other attempts but came after my first ding from UNC. So, the final GMAT score tally stands as:

  • GMAT 1: 580 Q37 V32
  • GMAT 2: 570 Q36 V32 (?!?!?!#@%$#)
  • GMAT 3: 680 Q44 V40

After the Kellogg interview, which went well except for the nagging feeling that I could have done a better job at telling more interesting things about me as a person (but more on that later), I waited for Kelley to call me. I waited, spoke to some wonderful people at Kelley and waited still for the interview. And then finally on 14th March, I heard back from both Kelley and Ross. No interviews or wait list for me to join the class of 2016. I also heard back from Kellogg yesterday and my nagging feeling turned up as another reject. So, the final tally for apps stands as:

  • UNC – Applicant initiated interview on Campus. Result – DING
  • Kellogg – Applicant initiated interview on Skype. Result – DING
  • Kelley – No interview. Result – DING
  • Ross – No interview. Result – DING

As of today, I have an offer (interview pending) to join the 2 year Weekend MBA program at Ross, who got my profile from FT program but I will likely pass that on in favor of a full-time program and attempt to apply again later this year to at least two of the above schools and a few new ones. The last month has been really introspective for me as I thought about what really went wrong in my application. People, who know me and know my work, are still convinced that shouldn’t take the route of doing an MBA for the sake of an MBA but rather still set my eyes at the Top 20 programs. This made me realize that there is a big possibility that I did not do a good job of portraying the person these people know, in my application. I am sure my GMAT scores did not help my case, but after speaking with the many students in this journey, I feel confident that my apps as a whole did not make a stellar case.

In the meanwhile, I also realized that I have some free time and not enough to do until end of summer when the application season starts again. I am also out of excuses to not become serious about fitness. As an overweight kid and adult, who has escaped health problems, I have always had infinite and one reasons to not “work out”. But, I also turned 29 this year and was suddenly very aware of my body-clock, about the inevitability of having kids eventually, raising them, and having a successful professional career, at the same time and taking my good health for granted, did not sound smart.

So, as I research and review the schools I will apply to over the summer, I know the one thing in me that has changed. For most of my life, I did not do things where I was not certain of being either the best or at least very good. But, in this one year (April 2013 – March 2014) I took on the GMAT, failed, and got back up. I applied to some really good business schools, failed, and will get back up. Hopefully, I will stay the course of fitness and continue sweating through this year and use the same perseverance to meet my other goals.

Congratulations everyone who made it! Be ready for the amazing ride of your life 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2014 in Experiences, Life, MBA, Musings, Recap

 

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Recap: Kelley Small Group Dinner

And it has been more than two weeks since I went to one. But, given the lack of information I got online, I did want to pay it forward. I signed up for this dinner way back in December, and glad I did because it filled out pretty quickly. The venue was Old Ebbit’s Grill, a known DC landmark, though not one of my favorite places to grab dinner. On the upside, it is close to the metro.

A day prior to the dinner, Brad Rosenwinkel, Associate Director of Admissions emailed to confirm the RSVP and we were set. I reached about 5 mins early to the gig and was one of the first few to arrive. It filled up pretty quickly within the next 15 mins though, but I used the opportunity to chat with Prof, Matthew Billet for quite some time and discuss the talent issues in finance world. There was an open bar available to everyone, so once people picked up their drinks, we also mingled with other applicants, alumni, applicants for Fall 2015 (yep! quite early of the mark :)). Surprisingly, while I turned up in a formal dress, many people were in jeans, and other attire that can be categorized as casual. It didn’t particularly raise any eyebrows.

Brad opened the event formally to introduce himself and Prof Billet, once we were all seated at our dinner tables (around 6:40). Each table had at least one alumni available to all participants to chat. All of them were really down to earth and nice people, easy to chat with and spoke very fondly of their time at Kelley. Our table included a New Yorker, who claimed to be really surprised at the great quality of life at Bloomington! Fact: Bloomington has the second highest density of ethnic restaurants in all of United States!

We had a three course dinner and my wine glass kept refilling itself, by magic! But, I blame that on the interesting conversation, rather than my lack of attention. The alumni on my table had taken the same path after MBA that I plan to take, so it was great to get his perspective. He warned us about the Core (I think its common to all schools!) but what was revealing is how he said he coped with it. When asked, what helped him get by through the core, he said, “Trusting and leaning on other people. If you are a person, who wants to go to school, then come back to your room to sit and study by yourself, then you’ll find the Core really overwhelming. You have to work with your team through these few months and figure a way out to help each other get through it.” He mentioned that one of the people in their class actually left business school because he/she couldn’t cope up with working in this group system. Scary.

Overall, I had a great time, great conversations and found everyone from Kelley smart and personable. They are excited about what they are doing and if your aim to spend two years trying to become a better professional, better person, then Kelley School of Business is definitely a school that can help you get there.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Experiences, MBA

 

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On and beyond Super Tuesday

Hope everyone stayed warm during the polar vortex here in the US! Quite fittingly, once my apps for Ross, Kelley, and Kellogg were submitted on “Super Tuesday” of MBA Apps, work exploded, leaving very little spare time to come back here often. In a way, that has been a small mercy. In my not-so-infrequent visit to the forum, I can see that quite a few of us, who are in the same boat, are waiting quite anxiously to hear back. The next step for me was to open my GMAT books (I never managed to put them away), get my Kellogg interview booked, and start preparing for the Kenan-Flagler interview coming at the end of the month, all the while refreshing GMATClub and Gmail to hear the latest about Ross or Kelley.

One other thing that I also came to appreciate during this time was how amazing my recommenders were! Despite reading one too many horror stories about having chase recommenders or worse, them not submitting in time for the deadline, my recommendation writers completed all their end of the work right after Christmas. Not only that, they have been super supportive. One of them actually wrote this to me – “If you don’t get into one of these schools, I will personally go to them and slap someone.” 😀

Tomorrow, I am attending the Kelley Small Group Dinner in DC. I haven’t been able to find a lot of online information or much in terms of how the experience has been for other people in the past. So I do plan to debrief here on my blog, how the dinner goes. My interaction with Kelley Chair of Full time MBA program, Prof.Jonlee Andrews was wonderful. In fact, it was one of the main reasons that motivated me to apply to the school. So, I am pretty excited about the Dinner tomorrow, to meet more people from Kelley and understand about their program better. I won’t also say no to an ‘actual’ interview invite in a few days ;-).

And till then…everyone keep your peckers up! 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Future, MBA

 

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