Sunday, February 29, 2004

Why me, Lord ?

OK, so my London plans were foolish. Things didn't work out exactly as I thought they would. Work kept me from getting anything done on the essay the whole day thursday. So I spent the time on the flight outlining it. Got to my crappy hotel and - drumroll - the internet connection wouldn't work ! Spent an hour following instructions from the front desk - plug the thing that goes into your laptop into the laptop and reboot - to no avail. Upon closer inspection I realized that there was some sort of router/hub thing that was not powered up. Plugged it in and I was finally ready to start working again. At 11 PM.

Status at 5 AM was that I was very close to falling asleep, application materials completed, two essays done, and the third half-done. And I had to get to K at 8:30 for a class visit. So plans were to upload everything I had, and maybe find a starbucks after my K interview and finish up essay 3 later in the afternoon. But as I started to upload my essays, the embark system crapped out on me and nothing would get uploaded. I shot off emails to LBS and Embark and went to bed.

Woke up around 9, so class visit plans were a no-go. Tried uploading again but same errors. No response either from LBS or Embark. So, end of road for that app. Decided to upload stuff sometime over the weekend and let the dice roll. Off to Kellogg for my interview - I thought it went really well. {details in next blog} So well I decided to stop thinking about LBS and spend the whole day at K. Went to another class, info session, and tour. I wish I could stay for their TGIF thing but had other places to go.

So I check my email next day. LBS replies that it is embark's problem and that i should keep trying at different times of the day and night until it works. They MAY accept late entries but it will be on a case-by-case basis. And Embark replies that they've gotten a ton of shit for this and that LBS has decided to extend the deadline to monday for embark applicants. Suddenly, having two online applications doens't seem like a bad idea :)

So, I'm back in the game. But, it makes me wonder, why this stroke of luck ?

Thursday, February 26, 2004

LBS essays still look like crap .. but Chicago here I come.
Now, THIS is fun.

I have London due tomorrow and a Kellogg interview also tomorrow. Holed up in meetings till 8 last night, and at work now. Working on one essay now. Hopefully will be done by around 2 PM or so. Then polish up my second essay before I leave and at the airport. Required reading on the flight is about the historical event I would like to be involved in. got to find that damn paperback. Just changed my hotel to one with broadband access, get there, finish up that essay and submit. Wake up tomorrow in a Kellogg frame of mind, think about interview questions, attend a class, think some more about them questions and go rock the interview. Sounds like a plan huh :-)

It is at times like this that self-doubt sneaks in. Why the fuck am I even doing this. I mean, seriously, people who have spent weeks and months on their essays are finding it hard to make it to schools. And I somehow think a rush job is going to make me even competitive ? I had a dream two nights ago. I was skydiving and my parachute wouldn't open. I finally get it open and I'm way too close to the ground and my instructor's screaming that I'm going to die, but I manage to maneuver to glide for a while until my speed's down and I land. Super A+ landing. I guess I'm still a kid at heart, I don't really know what's not possible. Well, maybe I do but I don't want to believe it. Maybe at the end of this process I will be forced to. That would be sad.

Mixed news on the blogger front. LuvShack was denied an admit by Duke. Sorry to hear that mate, good luck on Columbia. But, MIT's getting with the program and finally discovered that the world's ga-ga over Harry Potter. After Waitlisting HP for the first round, he has an invite to interview in Mumbai. Good luck, Harry.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Was in meetings until 2:30, ran to the post office to send my London app, and turns out DHL doesn't accept address labels without a phone # or email. So, made up an address :-) Hope they don't need to use it and the MBA Marketing and Admissions Team address is correct. It's on its way now and might get there friday but a better chance of getting there monday.

And then I run back into a 3:00 meeting and the guy next to me tells me he's leaving for London tomorrow evening ! He knows I'm apping and he said he would have dropped it off at LBS on friday, no problem.

Well, Such is Life.
hmm, talk about rapid response. it's weird. Just received a mail from London saying that all online stuff is due 5 PM Friday GMT and that even if my mailed materials are off by a few days, it's OK. Is somebody out there listening to my whining :-)

OK, now Harvard, I know I've bitched and moaned about you, but I love you very very much also. I hope you've read my essays.
London Business School's application is the worst. First, there are TWO ways you can apply online and from the boards it seems like one of them has the option for an optional essay and the other doesn't ! And the third way is to send all materials by snail mail.

ALL recommendations are to be typed/written and mailed to them. One of my recommenders was willing to give me one at short notice but gave me the look when I told him it was a paper one. Now, you'd think a school with TWO online applications for the same program could squeeze online recommendations into at least one system. Nope. I think it might not be because they won't, maybe it's because they can't. It's a matter of using technology, you see.

There are passing references to transcripts - they are required but how do we get it to them ? The web page says official transcripts are required. The application does not talk about them at all and lists only a couple of documents that need to be mailed in. I could not find a mailing address anyplace for the transcripts.

So, I assumed they can be mailed along with the recos. Finding a mailing address for those was such a pain too. I downloaded the entire paper application, now if that has to be mailed there should be a mailing address in there right. No Siree Bob. Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but I shouldn't need a magnifying glass to do so. I finally found one somewhere in the online app. But that looks a little suspect - MBA Marketing and Admissions Team. If the marketing dudes are also doing admissions ...

Oh, and one more thing. No mention of what time the application is due, only a date. Don't they realize that the PowerYogis of the world operate at a much finer granularity :-)

Sorry, London. Despite what I say here, I really really love you very much. Read my essays.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Money, Money

Just completed the Tuck FinAid application form, it's due tomorrow. Basically they ask for your entire asset base including cash, 401K, real estate etc. Of course, I deducted the 50 bucks it's going to cost to next-day-express-air the application because I waited till the last day :-)

It was sobering to actually sit down and take stock of the money part of the equation. This whole process has been almost like a game, a lot of fun, without much thought to the costs. While the $120,000 loan numbers are daunting, a friend of mine at b-school said that it's not all that bad. The first year is rough, but the second year is supposed to be workeable. Internships are a good source of cash( he threw out numbers like 20-30K salary for the summer). My roomie at grad school (he was an MBA student) was helping out his professor's consulting work and got paid around 10K every 3 months or so. I also know of people who consult with startups/local industries/their old companies etc during the second year for some decent cash on the side. Schools like Sloan have TA's that pay tons of moolah - upto 67% of tuition I think in cases. Bottom line - the average loan at graduation, around $70K starts to sound like a more plausible number.

Of course, I fully intend to be a stock options millionaire a few years out of school so this should be moot. What ... it's not 1998 you say ? dang !

OK, back up plan - any decent job should be able to afford payments of this amount. right ... oh, i forgot the whole outsourcing thing.

Worst case scenario - I get shipped off to India. Even then it should be OK I think, I know kids 3 years out of engineering school buying $70K houses in bangalore. if they can afford it, yogi abso-f*$*-lutely can. but ... what if I get married off to someone and have to support a wife and 3 kids ..

Absolute Worst (or Best) case scenario - I get into the dowry thing that goes on in India. I hear US-MBA's can pull in upwards of $200k in dowry for some unsuspecting small town belle with super rich parents :)

problem solved, sobering thoughts gone, finAid form signed and sealed. life is good.

{PS : On a more serious note, Absolutely seriously kidding about the dowry thing, i am viscerally opposed to that system. I had a cousin go thru hell with the kind of demands her in-laws made a few years ago and I pretty much showed the door to a couple of dudes who came asking for my sis' hand in marriage and my dad's savings account. But a John-Kerry-type deal might work for me though :-) }

Monday, February 23, 2004

Games over. time to get serious again. In tune with what seems to be the recurring theme of this admissions odyssey of mine, it's one week to go for London Business School's deadline and my essays are still not there at all. In addition my recommendations aren't done either. Given that LBS seems stuck in the 18th century requiring everything to be mailed in including recos that means I need them by wednesday at the latest.

Work is going to be fun after a long time. I am doing a skunkworks project with a manager of mine that can develop into a full-time project if things go well. I have to sneak time for this into my already busy schedule, write essays, and prepare for my Kellogg interview.

"get busy" - Sean Paul, artist.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Saturday morning laziness

This is just plain stupid. Yahoo has a new search engine, they booted google. Just noticed that a search for 'futurembagirl' gives me EXACTLY one result - this blog :-) :-) I don't get it, what are they feeding them in their cafeteria. Played around a little bit more and the searches are so off-target its not even funny.

The email drought is over. Since my last posting I've had a slew of emails come my way - I've gotten stuff from Tulane, U Akron, LBS, Marlboro College and Willamette about their MBA programs. I actually read all of them for a change.

But the email I'm waiting for hasn't arrived. The first week of HBS invites has passed. This is the first 'decision' i'm waiting for and the first few days I would check the BW forums and my email constantly, didn't want to be left out of the party. But now i'm back to routine, check email only oh 10 times a day.

Want to do some work on my London essays but it will have to wait another day. More important matters at hand today - a party at my place. Oh, seems so long ago that I last had some fun.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

'You have no new mail'

i have gotten NO new emails all this week. it's a very strange thing, logging in and not seeing any change, it's like everything has come to a standstill. I can understand HBS wanting to make me wait, but what happened to the spammers of the world. somebody. c'mon ppl, it's not like i suddenly don't need to meet hot women or require enlargements of certain parts of my anatomy. well, maybe I don't .. but I digress.

I still have a long wait ahead, but it's D-Day for Wharton applicants - LuvShack, Trip, Techie and Naveen. Good luck guys, really hope you get the call today.

And we are approaching another application deadline, London is next week. Y'all know what that means - it's time for PowerYogi's adrenaline fix :-) I am having trouble with getting recommendations. And it's complex, related to planning for what we are going to do six months down the line. My managers want to know if I am going to be around or not, and I got an 'another school ?' look when i broached the subject. I have to go down on my knees, spit-polish their shoes, and do a little worship ritual on the ground they walk today. Hopefully they don't mention the little spot I missed on my reco.

ah, one more thing - The Carp had a comment on his blog that he had issues with reading comments on my page. C -> I didn't realize that this was a problem. I actually use a Mac and am sensitive to these compatibility issues. Used to be a webmaster for a university and spent many nights making javascript work the same on IE and Netscape. I use Safari and I guess that's why I've never had this issue before. I changed my comments provider once because I used to have similar issues as you, but Safari hasn't complanied since. sorry 'bout the mess mate.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

"Bloody Hell, I am gonna die to Boney M"

The coolest line in one of the coolest movies I have seen in a while. Go watch 'Touching the Void'. I highly recommend it.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Work for the day done, so BW forums time - and a double whammy to make me sweat. On the Kellogg thread, Kristen posted that all applications have been matched and that they are ready to start making/releasing R2 decisions now. And on the HBS thread, interview invites have started to flow. seems like invites are going out only to northeast applicants right now - not a good thing if you live in northeast and haven't gotten an invite :-) i also read something I think is wierd, that HBS makes a first cut based on the first two essays and stats. not sure if this is the basis for interviews. anyways, i'm cool. HBS has got until Mar 31 to realize how much they need me there :) hoping to get some ppl to go watch 'touching the void' tonite.
Got the 'Information for Round II candidates' email from Sloan. Again, one of those heart-rate-increase-inducing emails. This was an email indicating that they have everything required, my app is on time, and has been prepared for review and sent off to the admissions folks. I can only hope mine's not the first to be read after some adcom's bad date. They also said that interview invites will start going out starting LATE february, so two more weeks of peace.

I have made a new resolution. No more checking anything related to my applications when I am at work. No email, no blogs, no BW forums. I have come to realize that the last few months have affected my productivity at work and am placed in the unusual position of having to fight for my turf. Have overlooked certain subtle developments that I would not normally have. I also have to think about the realistic scenario - what if i don't get in anywhere ? My job is what I have and it's stupid to let it get affected.

Heard yesterday that a chinese applicant i sort-of know with a very similar background and credentials as mine has been rejected from HBS and placed on a waitlist at Sloan. I also think Sloan is where I have a fighting chance, so I'm glad I worked hard on that application. HBS invites should start trickling out this week, but I'm not stressing out. Higher on my priority list is preparing for my Kellogg interview and my London application. Need to ask for recommendations today or tomorrow.

End of note. Off to work.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Jet-lagged Rambling

"Both hands ?"

Time to give this guy the finger - the right index one, that is. Then the left index finger. This is me being put through the fingerprinting and photo routine for aliens at Logan airport earlier this afternoon. It was over in under a minute while the officer in charge was stamping my passport. If they have to do it, this is definitely the way to go. Good job.

I, however, didn't do a good job of hanging on to my luggage and lost a book somewhere in the airport. I am mucho pissed because I had around 30 pages to go and now I'm left with an unfinished story in my head ... I was reading Choker Bali by Rabindranath Tagore. A very interesting book, even though a lot of the original passion has probably been lost in the book's translation from Bengali, the language in which it was written.

Among other things, India is a great place to shop for books. Most are available in Indian-editions for around $5. I showed up opening day last friday at CrossWord, a swanky new bookstore in downtown Bangalore to pick up a few paperbacks. It's been months since I sat down with a book that wasn't a GMAT prep guide or a school brochure. So, for those interested, this is my spring lineup:

* The Alchemist * Paulo Coelho
// this one is long overdue
* riot * Shashi Thiroor
// never read the guy before. but it's written in a very interesting format. the entire book is laid out as collection of journal entries, newspaper clipping, police reports etc. cool. i only hope there is substance to back up the style.
* The last juror * John Grisham
// i had no choice. i'm a grisham groupie, i buy anything he writes. sad, no ?
* The namesake * Jhumpa Lahiri
// this one i HAD to buy. After I read her first book, Interpreter of Maladies, I was convinced there couldn't be anything more beautiful. then, I saw her picture.
* The diary of a young girl * Anne Frank
// yes, I have not read her amazing tale yet.
* choker bali * Ravindranath Tagore
// Tagore, for those who don't know, is one of India's greatest sons, a nobel prize winner for literature. Alas, i lost this book before i could complete it.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

This fine day calls for another round of congratulations - this time to Naveen, for making it to UCLA ! I hope this is a charmed circle of bloggers - everyone seems to be making it to their schools of choice one by one. Slowly, but surely I hope.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Back to Work

I'm just back from Pondicherry, a former French comptoir on India's east coast, where I spent a very relaxing weekend dreaming alternatively about being an explorer discovering new lands and a native fighting for freedom from these explorers-turned-conquerors. And the first thing I did on getting back to the office was check my email for an HBS invite ! I got the impression from the boards that invites may start going out this week based on historical data, but I guess the wait for the real wait may have to wait a few more days.

After a three week break from essay writing, I am getting back in the zone with London. Only three essays, 500 words each.
1. what will u be doing 5y from now, why, why LBS etc. Should be easier to answer because while I do have well-defined longer term goals, short term are more fuzzy. Fits in well with the actual question asked.

2. how are u going to contribute to LBS based on teamwork/leadership experiences. I have the experiences I am going to talk about, need to weave them into what I'll do at LBS. Needs more research into campus activities, clubs, class team structures etc so I can tailor my response.

3. what well-known historical event would you like to have been involved in, and why ? This is interesting. Strangely, I've been fascinated by one particular event for a couple of years now and I am now unable to think beyond that one for this question. I don't know why - anybody face similar issues when writing their essays ? I try to think about a number of other events that are filled with bs-material - but I keep coming back to this event of interest. So, I am now going to try and put words to why I wanted to be there. I think this is a better strategy than looking for an event that has many answers to the 'why' question and fitting myself in there.

Checked my email again - no invite yet. I HAVE to stop obsessing about this.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Finally got some free time today to catch up with the BW forums as well as the blogs I follow. Some belated Congratulations are in order - to ChunkyPitbull for his Berkeley waitlist, FutureMBAgirl for her Wharton interview invite and LuvShack for making it to Yale SOM.

I need to start thinking about my London application soon. I'm off to the coast this weekend so I hope I can get some quiet time and inspiration there. I still need to ask my recommenders for LBS and Wharton, being away from the office doesn't help with that. I hope to make some progress on that next week.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

HBS Round 2 Update

Another surprise this morning when I checked my email. I received the Round 2 update from HBS that they mass mailed to a bunch of people. Basically confirms that all application materials have been received and application review has begun and that interview invites will be sent out starting mid-Feb up to and including decision date, March 31. Seems like not everyone on the BW forums has received the mail, which may mean that they are reviewing apps in batches. This is probably not good news, because I'm now expecting any potential invite to come earlier in the process than later - and i'm going to start stressing out if I don't see one sometime in Feb :-)

I think I have a pretty decent application, and obviously have no way of knowing if I am going to be competitive. I had another friend look over my essays a few weeks ago (bad move ?) and he commented that I probably ended the application on a negative note - i talked about a failure and what I learned in the final essay. I'm bothered by it now and hope that the leadership emphasis I had in the rest of the application can carry it through to the interview stage. I was going to avoid talking about failures etc but this was an event that I value very much - I hope I was able to convey that. My scores and experience are par for the course, and I am satisfied with my other essays. The one other spot of bother is that I didn't go to a top college in India for my undergrad so that may be a minus for pedigree-obsessed HBS.

I'm not sure if I like these update emails or not ! Just as I think I should forget about the app and concentrate on other things, I get reminded that somebody is actually reading all the stuff I wrote and I get drawn back to post-mortems and what-could-i-have-done-different's. On the other hand, it can also be frustrating not to hear of any progress, like with Tuck, where all I can do is wait for Mar 29. Either way, it doesn't stop me from checking my email every hour :-)

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Monday Morning Blues

"Interview Off-Campus" was the subject. The mail was from "notification@mail...". That was the truncated sender address my email viewer would show. I actually hesitated a minute before opening the email. I had not scheduled any off-campus interviews ... could this be an MIT or HBS invite ? Can't be, because I live in Boston !

Double Click. Mail opens. It's indeed an invite for an off-campus interview.

From a school I haven't applied to ;-) ;-)

That was a laugh, a kinda nice way to start my monday morning. This was from one of those no-name schools that pick up your email address from GMAC.

Woke up at 6 AM to watch the Super Bowl, it's live on ESPN here in India. Was watching Janet Jackson at half-time when all of a sudden the screen went blank, and it stayed blank. Turns out the local cable provider had a power outage. I had to rely on a friend in the US send me updates by SMS :-)

Go Pats !