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Category Archives: Recap

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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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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Luck and chance, those wreckers of all but the best laid plans

Fall is here! One of my favorite seasons in this country and one that I am currently loathe to be missing, as I sit here at home or office, running behind all that I was supposed to have completed by this time, per the original plan. When the thought of MBA finally crystallized early in spring here is the plan in my head as it looked like then.

  1. March – Memorial Day – Complete the pro-bono project that I was leading and build the pipeline of clients that would feed my annuals goals
  2. June – July – Prep for GMAT and give the exam on 3rd August, before a week long team offsite that was scheduled for August 1st Week.
  3. August – September – Either prep for a re-test (assuming that’d be about 20-30 points off my target score) or start the essay process for 2 of my target schools. Enjoy fall and hit my Q4 goals by end of Q3 (work).
  4. October – November – Prep for interview, R2 essays, application, shopping for India trip, celebrate the numerous Indian festivals of the season, sneak out a visit to Maine.
  5. November end –mid December – India trip and break from work, essays, application!
  6. mid- December to Jan first week – Final application R2.

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Yep, that’s what happened to the plan. Here is where it stands now:

  1. June – July – Work, lethargy took over and come July mid, I realized I wasn’t ready yet. Pushed GMAT to August mid. Q2 goal at work, thankfully was beaten to pulp. Boo-yah!
  2. August – September – Dismal GMAT score, no where close to my target schools’ ranges. Q3 clients disappearing over summer in Europe and US and creating a faux panic mode at work about hitting annual goals. Hit the reset button on GMAT prep and began from scratch.
  3. October – November – GMAT, Hit Q4 goal. Apply for CompassDC for the next year’s projects. Pick two festivals that I will spend time celebrating (sucks :(). No Maine or Fall weather jaunts.
  4. November end –mid December – India trip and break from work. But work on essays, application because yes, all my apps are going to be R2.
  5. mid- December to Jan first week – Final application R2. Cross fingers, toes.

So, with that big apologies to Bschool Admit – Aparna for not having taken up the tag for the Leibster Award. I promise, I will get to it and make sure I finally honor the first ever tag I got :). Promise.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Life, MBA, Recap, To - do

 

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Onwards, ho!

ImageSo after a few years of dithering, humming and hawing and thousands of valid, some not so valid excuses, the MBA journey has resumed. I have bitten the bullet, taken a date to give the damn GMAT and time has magically made itself available as boredom, sleepiness have made surprising disappearance. I am calling it a meant-to-be signal from God or the powers that be because god knows I have never ever had the will power to get myself to work hard otherwise.

My mom mentioned this in her usual “not being profound but here is some wisdom” way, and this gave me some heart, that there must have been an ounce of determination, will power or as this TED Talk says grit to have been a rank holder in school, gone into a fairly decent college and been a high performer at work. And in some magical way, it helped clear the mind in a way I had not felt in a long time.

Now to address the elephant in the room – the last entry was in August last year and why am I back now? The travels happened, not everything that I had in mind but more than I thought could be possible :). We went to India, and visited Chicago, Miami, Niagara in addition to the nearby places here in the US. Work blew up in a way I never thought possible and I learnt so much in the last year of my professional life that the 5 years before it seem quite meaningless now. I did get rewarded with a promotion that everyone thought was in the bag much before it was, which I think is great :). I also got to be the project manager of a pro bono consulting project, a first, which was an exhilarating experience in itself.

So once all this was over or rather, was just about to get over, I had an epiphany about doing MBA. So many who know me, will probably exclaim, FINALLY. And while I have wanted to do my MBA since I was 17 and getting into Engineering college, I had all but given it up when I fell off the CAT bandwagon. I spoke to so many of my friends and while I saw and understood why they wanted to do it, what was great, and why they felt I should join – I didn’t feel the same about it anymore. And while I started and stopped my GMAT preparation many times over under peer pressure and also when my job seemed like a dead-end, I didn’t feel my calling until now.

And then jump to about a month ago, here I was, thinking seriously and hard about taking the plunge and I started reading blogs of people going through the same journey, talking on the forums such as GMATclub and BeattheGMAT and that gave me hope. It lifted my spirits to see similar thoughts and doubts and hear each persons unique challenges. It has been helping me stay motivated as I take a plunge and also rekindled my urge to write and pen down my thoughts here.

I may not be back before I give my exam in a few weeks but I hope to chronicle my application process and think out aloud here as I embark on this journey.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2013 in Future, Life, Recap, To - do

 

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