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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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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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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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