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Category Archives: Experiences

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

 

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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A year to be thankful for!

I have been back since last week from a wonderful, albeit short (yes, 3 weeks with a family you don’t get to see all year feels short!) visit home. We packed in a lot of travel, met a lot of family and friends, including my grandma, who I hadn’t met in 8 years :-/ and got my sis married off in true Indian fashion. This trip was unfortunately a bit disappointing on food experience side, despite the two weddings that we attended, but well that’s never stopped me from putting on weight. 😀

So, I am back to a cold, a bit dreary, and a practically “friend-free” Washington DC. Most of our friends are either on their annual trips to India or are taking advantage of the Christmas holiday travelling, while TH and I guard the doors at our respective offices. There isn’t much work, except the occasional email, and that’s great because, I desperately need to make up for the lost time in finishing my apps for Ross, Kelley, and Kellogg.

I have now got the process down to a science and every single day, I send up a prayer for being married to a guy who is as committed to this whole process of application as I am. He has been able help me distill my many, many words and thoughts into clear, concise, and articulate goals. If I do make it through to the interviews, it’ll be all for his support.

This year has been great in many ways – professionally and personally. I think I have been less afraid to fail, failed and still not given up, in all ways grown and matured more than ever before. In the same spirit, once I am done with applications, I plan on taking the last shot at GMAT again. Less to support my application story but more to get even with it. During the next month, I’ll also be preparing for my Kenan-Flagler interview and the Kellogg interview, and hoping and praying very, very hard that Ross and Kelley both like my application story and call me for interview.

To everyone here who has made it in R1 (Hamm0, TimBobPoeticQuant, ExpectingMBA, and MBAGirlJourney) – many congratulations! To fellow travellers still on this journey in R2 – May the new year bring us closer to our dreams 🙂 HAPPY NEW YEAR!

happy-new-year-fireworks

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Experiences, Life, MBA, Recap

 

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GMAT ennui continues…

I have been with the books. That is to put it mildly with no exaggeration. My days and thoughts have now broken into the following neat pieces

  1. Studying
  2. Thinking of studying and what to study
  3. Thinking of life once I am done studying

My struggles with both Quant and Verbal continue and all past sins of my school days when my cocky self thought I could skate by the theory has come back to bite me (yes, you know where). That said, my quant studies have me feeling amused on some days and tearing my hair out for habits I cannot outgrow, on others. Now, somewhere between 6th grade and 8th grade, my love for math went down from a certain amount X to 0.000X and by the 10th grade it was tending to 0. There were many factors. My teacher sucked and I was able to compensate my dwindling math score by increased interest in other sciences and humanities. Of course, that I could ever, in my wildest dreams, want to be an engineer (like my Dad? No way!) or do an MBA/MS (uh what?!), was a possibility that didn’t come into play.

DoYourMath

But I did know that given the Indian education system, a less than 80% score in Math was equal to flunking. Most people I knew actually considered anything less than 95-99% akin to failing, so 80 was like my safety net to just save face. On the other hand, I knew that CBSE (Board of Education that conducted our exams) had some absurd ways of giving us some points for being a sport and attempting questions in the paper. Some of the things that I remember and which helped me through school were:

  • Writing “hence proved” or “QED” at the end of theorems or LHS = RHS, that you proved got you 0.5
  • Writing the equation and the first line of simplification such as remove parenthesis/apply BODMAS (PEMDAS) rule got you 0.5-1 depending on the question
  • A text explanation of the next step e.g. “when we combine the above, we get” etc. got you 0.5

As I read through my current notes and the few pages where my “100 marks” and “Q51” scoring TH has scribbled on the pad, I can’t help but notice the number of complete sentences that I use to solve (not just explain to myself) math vs the crisp numbers and symbols that show TH’s process.

ch910528

If only this story writing in Quant helped my Verbal scores, life would be perfect eh? 😐

Among other things, less than 3 weeks to go for this part of the process to end. Who’s pumped?! 😀

 
 

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4 Posts and 3 Themes later…

4 Posts and 3 Themes later…

I know, I know there has barely been anyone reading this and I seem to spending more time trying new themes on the blog rather than writing in it. But think of it as buying clothes for a party that you *may* have to go to! 😉 Work has been crazy for both Dodo and me. I am burning through the hours in office only to come back home and get back online. Dodo on the other hand is racking up Airmiles and Avis points by doing the Consultant thing.

A year ago, when we moved to DC the idea of him being away for 4 days a week scared me silly! Those were the times of utter loneliness, homesickness, and frankly of, totally lost as to why did I move all the way across the world if I couldn’t even stay in the same city with my husband. What I did not account for is my brain’s Pavlovian response to having a partner in front of me night and day – 24 X 7. Long story short, my brain rejected it! Five years of long distance relationship and selectively reaching out to each other seemed to have trained us to need much more space than 900 sq ft apartments and no friends or social circle to speak of, forced on us.

A year down the line and specifically since we moved to our new apartment, things have definitely changed. The idea of being by myself for half the week is quite welcome. Sure, I miss him but I know he’ll be here in two days, more eager to see me than ever :). Also with the move, we have also picked up on people we can hang out with,  without feeling the need to detox afterwards. So now the weekends too are fairly busy with dinners, travel, and general hanging out.

That it has been difficult to find people to hang out with will be the understatement of this century. And worse has been the realization that may be the golden years of making friends and being able to find more like-minded people are well past us. But that I believe is the standard story of every expatriate in every country. I envy those who walk into rooms and ease themselves into conversations ranging from the mundane as the weather to engaging as their own weddings with the locals. And while I have been able to make good friendships with a few people from office, I crave the informality of being able to talk of back home with other Desis about food, colleges, cities we love so much!

Cliched as it is, I guess, Phir bhi dil hai hindustani!

 

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