Category Archives: Musings

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


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


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?


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


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


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Hindsight 20/20

I have hit the reset button on GMAT prep. And this time around I think I know better and can see why it bombed the first time. And in the spirit of being positive about the re-test, I also feel that it is not quite a bad thing. If I think back about it, all my life, my preparation for exams has been really bad. 😐 A combination of procrastination, too much prep-material gathering, and then over-confidence that a common sense understanding of the theory instead a thorough understanding of the application, will be enough to help sail through flying colors. It was always very late in the game that I did realize that I need to nail the application and thereby actually get the marks.

Unlike the other exams that I have given so far, GMAT at least gives me an opportunity to go back and re-do everything and hopefully write for myself an alternate ending that is more to my liking? Glass half full anyone? Indeed!

In the last five years, once most of my friends had exhausted themselves trying to scratch at the CAT pole they turned towards GMAT to fulfill their MBA dreams. (FYI – CAT is an Indian equivalent to GMAT that you need to ace to get into the top Indian B-schools who only invite to interview the top percentile applications in the exam i.e imagine only the 750+ GMATers equivalent) As this process began, each year starting in September and ending about December, I’d sit and review the MBA essays for my friends applying to different b-schools. Initially, it was more around language support – making sure there were no grammatical mistakes, redundancies, ideas flowed seamlessly etc. Over the last few years though, I started looking at it more critically about being able to convey the core of the question and making suggestions to strengthen responses.

This year, as the season began, and also as I haven’t yet shared with most of my friends that I am going to be applying too, I started getting the heads up emails. Finally yesterday, the first set of essays also turned up and my first thought was – why is it much easier for me to review these essays and point out grammatical flaws and meaning-based errors in these sentences than in GMAT ! 😦

I am sure that the irony will not be lost on anyone if my verbal score tank again! So Long…


Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Musings, Self-deprecation


One month to go…

So now that I have officially wasted the one long weekend before the D-day, I thought I might use these last few hours before heading home from the god-forsaken place that is Wilmington, DE to update my blog instead. The D-day is set for next month and prep for GMAT had been on track until the last few days. I think the abundance of prep material has me bogged down. I started with the standard OG, the Manhattan GMAT guides to brush up my rusty basics and had my prep down on the calendar. My pleasure at striking down chapters, and sets of questions as ‘to-do’ for the day gave me a pleasure that I cannot put down in words yet. 🙂

And then, as word of my GMAT got around, well-meaning friends and the TH (the husband for future references), who had been so far pretty hands-off, started to give me their two cents. It started with a Magoosh membership that still has a month of juice left in it and had ‘helped her soooooo much‘ and then reams of questions and practice tests both PDF and adaptive that ‘will guarantee a 700+‘ .  As this material has been piling on my desk, I went ahead and also go myself the 6 full CATs from MGMAT because for all their helpfulness none of the people I spoke with had these mock test for me to run through and pace myself on.


Sadly, with this huge mound of material, I am feeling quite overwhelmed. I had hoped to use this long weekend, the only days off I have before my test exactly 4 weeks later, to do something about it. And to help me do that, I offered to join TH at his project site, Wilmington DE. He assured me it was a city that offered no distractions and that he would be working with his nose to the grindstone himself both on Wednesday and Friday, giving me enough time to tame my practice schedule. What neither of us accounted for was my inability to focus outside of my trusted study table at my apartment and how ridiculously relaxing a plush king bed of a hotel room can be. 😐 Having checked out this afternoon from the damn hotel and spending time trying to study at a Starbucks has been a tad better. Before I could drown myself in the cup of Iced Caramel Machhiato, I saw that my accuracy hasn’t suffered due to this dilly dallying of the last few weeks. Phew!

Most of the schools I would like to apply to are already out with their application and not surprisingly, my main applications are due on 1st October for R1. I am still debating between Wharton/Kellogg and I guess my GMAT score and meeting a few people from both schools could help make it clearer which is a better fit. I’ll do a longer post about my schools and the why later, once this GMAT beast has been tamed. In the meanwhile, I got the following locked down:

a) Recommendation writers – I know I mentioned this to Hamm and PoeticQuant, but I spoke to one of my recommendation writers and he graciously agreed. My other recommendation writer is going to be my manager and she hasn’t so far given me any indications about her unwillingness to support me in this. But I’ll officially ask her by the end of this month. I haven’t had a chance to look this up online but is anyone keeping a third recommendation writer spare, you know just-in-case?
2. The other thing that had me beaming all day long last week was my ‘Why MBA?’. I have struggled to articulate it in a non-shallow way ever since I was 17 :-p and the first time I wanted to do MBA as a master’s course. AND FINALLY, in my head and in my notes I have been able to connect the dots leading up to today that should make it difficult for adcoms to at least poke holes in it. That did make me very happy 🙂

See you all soon!

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Posted by on July 5, 2013 in Future, Musings, Rant, To - do, Uncategorized


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