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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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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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Is this the end?

So attempt two at GMAT happened today. And after deceptively increasing scores in the mock and admittedly a better understanding of the exam, I bombed again. The shock and utter disbelief gave away to despair as I called TH to tell him that I let him down yet again. While in the first round, I refused to accept the message that the mock scores were giving me, for this attempt, my mock scores ranged at least 60-100 points from the last time around. I thought that was a good sign.

So now, is this the end of the MBA road for me? This one exam/score can possibly nullify the rest of my application. I am below the median scores for all schools that I want to apply to. But as I was thinking these justifications out in my head, I also realized, that this is it. These are all the objections that I have/can get for my application.

On the other hand, do I believe that getting a low GMAT score will stop me being who I am or what I do at work? Did not having a GMAT score stop any of the opportunities that I have had so far or will stop me from going out for any in the future? Sure, for that matter, even if I don’t apply, will I stop pursuing and building a profile in shaping strategy for a company? Is everything that I have done in school, college, and work so far, have no value without this GMAT score to confirm it?

To these many questions, my answer was no. GMAT failure doesn’t and hasn’t changed any of these things and likely has little impact on anything except my application and the number of schools that I had originally wanted to apply to. The reason why I want to do an MBA is still the same. The reason why I want to apply to certain schools is also the same. The onus is on me, as it always was, to convince the admissions committees of these schools that I am still the right candidate, with one less data point to support their decision-making process – the GMAT score. A typical candidate would have their college acads+GMAT to quantify her mental chops along with professional and extra curricular aspects. In my case, since my GMAT is now down the drain, I just have one less point than everyone else to make the same case.

I could potentially give this whole thing up with the pathetic GMAT score. But 5-10-15 years down the line, an older, probably wiser me, would definitely question, how I expected anyone else to have faith in my dreams and aspirations, if I didn’t have the conviction enough to follow them through their logical end. From the day I started this journey, I knew that I won’t be an MBA because of my GMAT, but inspite of it. Well now, let me start this journey in earnest with the GMAT behind me.

Some dreams stay with you forever,
drag you around but bring you back to where you were,
Some dreams keep on gettin better,
gotta keep believin’ if you wanna know for sure
plan-b

 

At the end of this, I may not be successful, but I’ll at least know for sure.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Future, MBA

 

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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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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.

250px-Voldemortwallpaper

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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The road ahead…

So…the G-day came and went. It was every bit the downer I had hoped it would not be. My score sucks and am in serious doubts if I should continue on this road still. In parts, I am despondent that after being petrified of giving GMAT for years, I did give it and I failed. On the other hand, I am indignant about my score because I don’t think I am in the 60 percentile level! I may not be the sharpest tool out there but this score should at least reflect my true potential.

I am moving on now to plan a Labor Day weekend trip to Vegas. R1 is definitely out of my reach because if I do go back and tackle this beast of GMAT again, I want to give it more than 45 days. Thanks again to everyone coming by this blog and keeping me company as I tackle this…its been precious to have you around.

keep-calm-and-stay-awesome-395

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2013 in Future, Life, MBA

 

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5 days to D-day. ‘Nuff said!

And now, it is no longer just about MBA or career or the future.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in Life

 

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