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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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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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Getting back into the game

Thanks everyone for your support – those who stopped by and those who I spoke to in person, and the biggest thanks to TH, who is being an absolutely rock, as I decide to take this plunge. So the last few days, once I decided to put the GMAT behind, have been crazy. Absolute, non-stop, madness. While in the last few months of this journey, I had been gathering the ammunition for my essays, itching to start writing them, I truly did not appreciate how difficult it would be to sound half as convincing as I sound in my head, on paper.

In addition to the above, a part of the journey that you fellow comrades have already covered, I also have been busy putting together the material I should be sending my recommendation writers. I sent them their links this week, but am still giving final touches to the note and material that should help them start writing. I don’t believe they will be doing this any time before Thanksgiving, no thanks to the Q4 madness that hits our world at this time.

Here is my final shortlist for the application season. I did want to point out that all the schools below have been top 3 in my original list since I started this process. It was heartening to know, and very strongly so, that despite my GMAT setback, I still felt that among all the other schools I was considering, these schools will probably not reject me right away, as others might. If that isn’t a fit, I don’t know what is :D. It was almost close to realizing that your boyfriend/husband will not dump you because you gained 50 pounds in 4 months :P.

  1. Ross – This school is why I started this process and why I don’t want to give up. I strongly relate to their idea of leadership and through summer and fall I met their ambassadors, alumni, researched about their program and was quite impressed with everything I found. I write their essays next and am already turning quite Blue :p.
  2. Kenan-Flagler – You remember that guy, who started out as this funny, nice friend and as you got to know him, you couldn’t just help but fall in love? May be because this is how my love story began ;), and the eerie similarity with how my attachment to Kenan Flagler has grown, I can relate to this analogy. There was finally no turning back, when for their MBA Ambassador Event in Washington DC, they sent everyone a powerpoint with guidelines to structure resume, designed and used by the career services for current Tar Heels! I knew I was smitten.
  3. Kelley – I am not being dramatic when I say that during the Forte event, I welled up a bit during my conversation with Prof. Jonlee Andrews. She was talking about Talent, Humility and Tenacity – the three things that make a Kelley student and that message struck a chord. The reason I was at her desk because Kelley is known to be a feeder school for one of my dream companies but I came away more attached to the idea of business leaders they want to create.

I also wish I could apply to Tuck and Yale. Although am not sure about their reaction to low GMAT scores, but I do really like their programs. Among the things I considered while making the above selection, in addition to the program, cost of education etc., was the proximity to a well-connected airport. Why, you ask? I know I can’t go through this journey without TH very close by keeping me sane. However, given his consulting lifestyle, we just have Fri-Sun together and I cannot sacrifice that at the altar of an MBA. Having tested our relationship through a 7 year long international long distance dating, I honestly have no patience for it anymore.

And finally, I am still on the fence about Kellogg. One big question is if they would want someone like me instead of the usual Indian IIT Engineer (most Indians in Kellogg I know are from IIT). The plus on the other hand is, unlike all the above schools, they will definitely give me chance to make my case in person. I will be talking to a colleague who joined Kellogg this year soon, maybe he can help me decide.

For now, back to the drafts, notes, et al.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in 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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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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