Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Wharton chat this PM

There is a chat scheduled for 1800 EST this evening with W students about life at W, questions on your mind etc.


Dear Mr not-so-powerful-are-you-now Yogi,

The MBA Admissions Board appreciates your interest in our MBA Program and the considerable effort evident in your application. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you a place in the MBA Class of 2006.

The MBA Admissions Board carefully and thoughtfully assesses the leadership potential, academic ability, and personal qualities and characteristics of each candidate. Because of the strength of and the large number of applications we receive, we are unable to admit many candidates who have excellent credentials and who demonstrate strong promise for careers in management.

You exhibit many qualities that should serve you well as you pursue your personal and professional goals. Thank you for considering our MBA Program, and please accept our best wishes for future success.


Brit K. Dewey
Managing Director, MBA Admissions & Financial Aid
Harvard Business School


no alarm needed today. Up at 8 and I can feel the twitching in my fingers before I can even get to the computer. First up, forums and s2s. then the blogs. email. the now-familiar spike in heartrate during the few seconds it takes netscape to open. nada. sigh. do it all over again.

right ahead are possibly the longest 10 days for me. my expectation is for the Wharton invite. i remember reading earlier on W's site that they start today and go on until April 14th, but the Angel of Mercy Alex said today that they will be done sending out invites by April 8. wow, that's fast. he also said that they have 600 applications for R3.

i'm getting a good feeling about this. the pool in R3 is generally weaker than the previous two rounds given that almost all of the stars are already in. i actually think my application for R3 is STRONGER than my R2 applications. last year, W had approximately 800 applications in R3 and admitted 67, including those off the waiting lists. this year, the expectation was that more spots would be open due to the downward pressure on R1 app volume, numbers being bandied about were in the 100 range. of course, Alex refused to divulge exact number of open spots saying that it was too late in the process and they don't do it. fair enough, and it was great that he shared the R3 application numbers. this amount of transparency is ridiculous. in a very good way, of course.

ok, back to step 1. BWforums ...

March 31 is here.

I didn't realize that both Harvard and Stanford had their R2 decisions today. Good luck to everyone waiting on these two schools.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

A week in the Life ...

I woke up last monday with a strange feeling. If I had to give it a name, I would probably call it freedom. It felt great to finally have no pending to-do lists of essay topics, school visits, deadlines. It was also a temporary freedom from having to wait for any results of my pending applications. So, I decided to continue this and spend an entire week not thinking about the three-lettered-acronym that has consumed my life since october last. To regain a week of a time when the difference between 720 and 750 was thirty minutes of extra sleep in the morning. Simple rules : ease off on the blogging, no BW forums/s2s, and email and other blog checks only twice a day. Oh, and find some use for the $200 bucks I saved by chickening out on the Stanford app.

That's why this blog has been awfully quiet. But my week's been anything but. I'm still surprised by how effortlessly I've spent the last seven days without ever thinking about my applications. Part of the reason why I was able to was knowing that the earliest I was going to hear from any of the other schools was this week. Also, I think I have convinced myself that the only news I'll hear from HBS and MIT is bad news. It's too late in the game now to realistically expect anything else. It's amazing how having something fixed to look forward to can calm the mind. Remove the element of suprise from the result and all you have to wait for is for it to be delivered.

Ah, the week itself. Work, and I mean really work (for a change :), monday thru friday. Late nights spent engrossed in The DaVinci Code. Friday night bar-hopping with a friend to further my newly-made acquaintance with scotch. Destinations : Strolled into Cottonwood Cafe - older crowd, bad location, good scotch, caught some basketball action at Charley's Saloon - OK crowd with a couple of redeeming elements, cant-get-better location, good scotch, and on to Blue Cat Cafe - cool crowd, OK location, good scotch.

Saturday began with Grisham's The Last Juror over a long breakfast at Flour, a bakery run by a Harvard grad. I don't know why it matters, but every reference to this bakery seems to mention the Harvard connection, as if the owner broke some taboo by associating the H-word with a bakery. Anyways, with nothing else to do, I speed-read thru the book and was thoroughly disappointed. I am convinced Grisham didn't write this book, the publisher must have had it ghost-written. It sucks big time. Had to beat the blues by hooking up with some friends who I've ignored with my 'ive got to work on essays' excuses for too long, at 33, a lounge-like space. I'm not the clubbing type, so it was a short night.

One of the coolest neighborhoods in boston is its North End, the Italian part of town. Sunday morning's wake-up call was from a pal from grad school complaining that we haven't visited that part of town in a while. So, we go. Spent the entire afternoon at Caffe Paradiso amongst soccer fans sipping machiatos and watching Real Madrid use Sevilla for target practice. Next destination: the bookstore. I'm officially a convert. The Da Vinci code had me begging for more and so I picked up a copy of Angels and Demons. And I finished it within 24 hours. Slow day at work today, so it was dedicated to the appreciation of Mr. Brown's awesome literary talent. I must agree with Hella that A&D trumps DaVinci code, no question about it. Wow.

So, the week's come to an end. And along with it, the carefree life. HBS decision day is wednesday, which also marks the beginning of the 14-day period of prayer, which is when Wharton releases interview invites for R3 applicants. Rod Garcia at Sloan will start to make his congratulatory calls around April 5, and LBS releases its interview invites on April 9. A long two weeks indeed.

One of the reasons I decided to take my mind off the applications for a while was because of the prospect of striking out, 0-6. If it happened, though I wish it didn't, could I just get past this and go back to being who I was ? I think the answer is mixed. yes, and no. I am very sure I am not going to obsess about it, maybe shed a silent tear and move on. Find new opportunities and new things to do. no problemo. But, I have changed because of the process of introspection that has been central to answering these essays. I have mapped a very ambitious goal for myself and though right now I am convinced that b-school is the most effective way to get there, there are other roads that lead to the promised land. I have also been affected in subconscious ways. I don't think I have ever read with so much attention paid to the actual writing, looking for ways in which authors convey their points, build up their stories etc. I have my essay writing to thank for that ! While watching the soccer game, I marvelled at the management skills of the Real Madrid ownership that can keep so many superstar players on a single team happy and winning. Something my own bosses don't seem to be able to. management skills ? pre-october i'd shoot anyone who talked such gibberish at a soccer game !

I think I'm finally getting to understand the purpose of the gruelling application process. I am much more prepared to enter business school today than I was last October. And it has nothing to do with work or responsibilities. The preparation needed was personal; to solidify my goals, align them with my skills and capabilities, and envision a path through business school to get there. Also crucial has been to bring, at times hesitantly, my weaknesses and shortcomings to the fore; not to be ashamed, but to find ways in which I can address them during business school or otherwise. When viewed in the context of what is really involved in preparing an application, an acceptance seems infintely more joyful and rejection terribly crushing.

I take issue with schools who offer no feedback to applicants they reject. I understand that there is work involved, but I don't think it is much beyond the actual conversation. The application readers have already made their notes and impressions and they need to be relayed to the applicants. I take greater issue with schools like Tuck, who, I was disappointed to find out, hand-select the applicants they wish to offer feedback to. Kudos to Wharton for having what I believe to be a very just admissions process.

wow, it's almost 6 in the morning and I have a meeting at 10 ! this is enough rambling for one night. will pick up the pieces some other time.

before I forget, good luck Joey for HBS. And Trip, I'm really hopin' you get into Yale. Well, Stanford actually, but Yale would be a good start. I hope to read good news this week.

Thursday, March 25, 2004


So, I've been up until 2-3 AM every night for the past few days, and have this little wake-up routine. Alarm goes off. Snooze. Alarm goes off again. Snooze again. etcetera until I finally decide I can sleep no more. This morning, I was following the same routine when I suddenly realized that FMgirl was to get her W decision today. that woke me up, missed meetings at work don't :-) true story.

Check her blog, and woo-hoo ! congrats FMgirl, I've been rooting for you to make it to W. That's kick-ass awesome.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Macromedia Central

Anyone check out Central by Macromedia. It's kick-ass nifty and has a blog reader built in that's almost Apple-like in its ease of use. Way cool.

Monday, March 22, 2004

[offTopic] And the prize goes to ...

Zaha Hadid.

who ? I've never heard of her but she just became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Prize, architecture's equivalent of the Nobel. She's an Iraqi-born British architect who's widely considered to be the greatest female architect in history, and one of the best today. Turns out she's been awarded a CBE for her services to architecture but ironically hasn't had a single building built in the UK ! Not that she didn't try. She won a design contest to built the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales twice but her designs were considered too radical by, of all people, Prince Charles. That design has been called the 'greatest unbuilt masterpiece of the late 20th century' by Architects' Journal.

I had my first non-BWforums, non-email-checking day at work in a long time today. Not that I was busy at work. I just don't feel the need to indulge in the omygawd-no-invite-yet madness on the boards anymore. I've used the afternoon crawling the web looking for stuff about Ms. Hadid's work :-)

Wharton app goes complete

Just received an email from W that they have received all my application materials and the application is complete for Round 3.

I was in NYC over the weekend and made a last-minute plan to skip work and go to Philly today to check out W and sit in on a class. But a lot of things conspired, not the least among them a lack of presentable attire :-), to bring me back to chilly boston. It was probably not such a good idea in the first place to drop in on a whim. I will probably get there either this friday or next monday with a little more planning.

And, what's it about Wolverines ? First it was Tad Holbie, now it's TechieDude. They seem to disappear from the blogging world once they know they are going to root for the Maize and Blue. just kidding. good luck at Michigan, Techie. It has been great sharing your experiences through the application process and I wish you the best for your two years at school and your career beyond. I'll root for you except on the days of Michigan-Penn State games. Like they say in Happy Valley, God must be a Penn State fan, why else would he make the sky blue and white :-)

And talking about Michigan, congratulations to FMgirl. that was awesome getting a consortium scholarship, a free ride thru b-school is sweet. And good luck on the impending W decision this week.

I have this strange feeling that nothing else really matters anymore except W. I'm not sure if I should be thinking along those lines. But, in writing my essays I have discovered a path through W that makes the most sense for me. I hope I was able to articulate that in a compelling way. I'll know pretty soon.

Friday, March 19, 2004

It's almost spring !

thanks everyone for your kind comments. i guess the thing that got me off was the timing of the K ding more than the ding itself. wasn't even thinking about it when i got it. anyways, it's past. and so's the winter. spring's going to be here soon and i can't wait. though i absolutely love the snowy winters, it can get to be a bit much in the northeast.

on the app front, nothing new (read: no new dings :-) to report, except that my recommendation for Wharton made it in last night. I guess my recommender thought last night was the deadline. waiting to hear from W about consideration for R3, i think it should be OK. Interview invites start trickling out March 31 ending April 14. I'm not put my life on hold anymore waiting for that. if it happens, it happens. I read a few hours after my last blog that Chunky, of the Pitbull fame, was accepted at Haas ! Way to go man, so you going there or still gonna wait on other waitlists ? Many congratulations !

off in a couple of hours to NYC for the weekend to meet up with some friends from my high school bad boy days. should be fun. while i'm there, might try to invoke some good FMgirl-type karma by shopping for a new pair of shoes :-)

have a nice weekend.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

there must be a god, no ?

I've had such a miserable day today. I had my essays for Wharton reviewed by my reviewer friend and ready this AM but an email snafu kept them from getting to me before 4. At that time, I had to go to a crisis meeting at work that went on well until after 5, the deadline for W. Came back and scrambled to get all the stuff in, and realized that I had misplaced my wallet, to pay the 200 bucks. 10 minutes spent frantically searching my messy surroundings and I found it. It was finally six by the time I submitted. As I was doing my status check, noticed that a recommender hasn't turned in his recommendation. nothing i can do about it, so clicked submit.

Went over to my email to check if W has accepted the application, and there was a status check message from Kellogg. Y'all know what that means - my K dreams have come to an end. After evaluating my application on a laundry list of attributes, the good folks at Evanston decided that I am not good enough. Man, just the very actual minute I am about to breathe a sigh of relief at having finished the application process for the year, I get slammed by this news. C'mon, have some mercy, whoever it is that's incharge of these karmic events.

I put a ton of effort into W after the Tuck ding and I really believe I have my strongest application yet ... and i'm late and my recommender bails. damn.

It has, however, been an excellent time for Harry Potter, who just got his first admit - to Fuqua, and FM girl - who's been accepted at Stern. Chunky got the WL again, this time from Duke, but i'll tell u partner, that's better than this. these fucking dings hurt big time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

taking a break

the W application has me exhausted. i've not really made the progress I've wanted to, though four essays are done and off to be reviewed. two more remain to be finished up, including essay one. the main culprit is work. well, maybe it's a good thing. i've realized, as i've blogged before, that i've neglected work over the past few months due to the concentration on my applications. now i'm getting back into stride, big time. a week more of 16-hour days and i should be back roaring :-)

it's also kinda sinking in that there may be a good chance that i might not get in anywhere. nope, not being pessimistic here, just realistic. i know i've had only one result thus far, but haven't heard from HBS and MIT about interviews which is not a good sign, and after Tuck realize that my late-written essays might come off as such and that's a bad thing. i got an email from an ex-boss today who's the VP at a start-up and just realized that i missed a call from another ex-boss who's just been promoted to CEO at another start-up. the latter was directly about a couple of positions at his firm. i've also been toying with the idea of saying sayonara to the States and going back to India if this doesn't pan out. at this point, i'm not sure i'm going to reapply. also found out, inadvertantly, that if I just went and did what I'm doing now at our India office, i would earn more than what an MBA from the India School of Business earns upon gradution. hmmm ... but of course it's not about the money and i would never have the opportunities that an MBA would open up.

so, it's going to be an interesting few weeks. i should hear from all schools by the first week of april, LBS interviews are due to be announced april 9 and wharton invites start to go out march 31, that is if my recommender can get his recommendation in time and my application is accepted.

i have a funny feeling today. it's probably the last night i'll work on MBA essays and while I am eagerly waiting for this to end so I can finally assemble my Lego Sopwith Camel, i also want to give these essays my best damn shot. I'm also going to start posting my essays once i hear from all my schools. copyrights be damned, i wrote those essays, they are mine :-)

Monday, March 15, 2004

Cereal Killer

man, it's been a day of carnage on the Kellogg boards, almost all dings today I think. just checked my status, still remains unchanged and no email either. so, there's hope. and somebody who interviewed 2/24 got his result today, so I think my application should have gotten at least the first read by now. Here's Kellogg's policy, from Kristen:

How many times are applications reviewed before decisions are made on them?


Our standard review process includes a student read, a staff read and a director read. Some files may receive additional reviews--for instance, cases where a consensus decision is not obvious and many joint program files.

Best Regards,


Sunday, March 14, 2004

and so we fight back ...

Sorry for the radio silence. This has been a busy weekend.

But first, a big Thank You to everyone for your words of encouragement. Just want y'all to know I appreciate them very very much.

I had a "damn the niceties, lay it out for me" post-mortem with a Tuckie. He was as surprised as I was about the result, given that he had also put in his personal recommendation for me. He thinks that the biggest culprits were applying in R2 and being from the Indian engineer pool, both made acute with Tuck with its very small class size. Among the essays, hethinks the biggest problem may be with the why MBA, why Tuck essay. It was also great to talk to him for just the talking to someone thing. He had applied to six schools last year and was rejected from everyone except one. These things have a way of working out. Thanks dude, points very well taken and appreciated. Somebody else I talked with hinted at yield management, but I think that argument is the recourse of the weak. No siree bob, it was a Ding. Let's leave it at that.

In some sense, this may be a blessing in disguise because I am now totally focussed on my remaining application, Wharton. I have gone into overdrive with my research about the school, revisiting everything I've gleaned until now. The first essay has to be a home run, so i've decided to rewrite it from scratch in a much more personal voice. Having relooked at all my other essays, I realize that I may have been using a few too many generalities. This one's not, i mean NOT, going to be compromised. Also, there is NO way I can push this out to the last minute. Tomorrow is my deadline to complete the entire application. Other than essay 1, I have four essays already written that need pruning to fit word counts, and one 250-word weakness in my application essay to work on. I have ideas for that, needs wordsmithing. While on this subject, a shout-out to Trip, who's also furiously working on essays. G'luck partner, hope you get through the week without too many scars. BTW, your competition to Stanford just got reduced by one.

Yup, after some careful thought, I have decided not to apply to Stanford. I've already blogged about the slim chances of making it there, and given that so many techies apply there, I don't think I can stand a chance there unless i've taken a company IPO or something. Well, maybe not that bad, but it was more of a practical decision. If I split time between S and W this week I stand a good chance of ending up sub-par on both. And given that W may have a decent number of R3 spots open this year, is much more Indian-friendly, and has essays that I can fit my experiences into, Stanford is a no-go.

Save the last dance for me, Wharton.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Does every post need a title ?

I went for a long walk after hearing the Tuck decision and met up with some friends for dinner. Everything seems the same all around. The drivers in Boston still drive like crazy. Winter's ending and Spring's in the air. The dude at the corner still wants a dollar from me. I still have a great time with my friends as usual. Yet, something's different. I failed at something I worked very hard for. There's a voice inside me which reasons that it was an application that was denied and not me, yet asks if I was really good enough to be accepted at Tuck. Another questions if I am good enough for any business school.

Tuck was my best application yet. Yes, I did bring it down to the wire. Mistake. I did not write several versions of the essays and get them reviewed by several people as I had wanted to. Mistake. But I did not go in blind. I planned for it for months. I learned about the school from a current student who's my friend from high school. I met his classmates. Visited campus, stayed in the dorms, sat in classes. Decided to apply only after I felt this school was right for me. And I was sincere about every single word I wrote in my essays. It was completely my work, a recounting of my successes and an admission of my failures. I spelled out my dreams, my ambitions, and why I want to be a part of Tuck.

But, evidently, it was not enough. I trust that the admissions committee found candidates more capable, more interesting, and more desirous of Tuck than me, and I wish the entire incoming class well. I loved the place and am sad that I will not be able to spend time there. While the sadness will linger, and I think it should as a reminder of all my efforts, I'm done pondering about this.

I will move on. I fucking very well will.

And Tuck says ...


No can sleep

It's past 3 A.M. It must be the coffee I had after dinner. I'm wide awake and just broke the golden rule - yes, I opened up my Tuck application and re-read all my essays :-) This is obsessive, but I also want in that bad.

Will try to sleep once more. Good night, world.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

So this is how it feels

Feels great to finally be waiting for my first decision. An end in sight to all the work of the past few months. I've been psyched ever since I read about the first Tuck decision.

The evening's past, and no call from Tuck yet. But it's just started and apparently the calls are going to be made over the next couple of days. I guess it's Asia's turn right now. Xian, who has been a commentor, if that's even a word, on my blog has been accepted to Tuck. Congratulations X! I'm actually feeling good in expectation. I don't know why, not scared or sceptical. I think I'm building myself up to a high. The fall would probably be bad, if it happens, but I wouldn't want it any other way. According to one of the admits on the boards, it seems like they are going to send out all decisions by email tomorrow but continue the admit calls, which presumably would change to congratulations calls, until they are done calling everyone. So, it seems like tomorrow may be the day. Also, tomorrow's rumored to be the day MIT finishes sending out all invites. Big day. I wish it was friday the 13th for good luck. I was born on the 13th.

Came back home to some wonderful news on the blogger front. Here's to FMgirl - Future Michigan girl, that is. Yes folks, FMgirl got the admit email from Michigan! Many mucho congratulations FM. You really stuck it out thru the Stanford and UT heartbreaks. Awesome Awesome job.

And Haas has started to make their R2 calls too. Good luck Harry and Chunky. I'm gettin' a good feeling about this guys, dunno why.

Finally, I don't think I've been as productive at work in the last six months as I've been in the last few hours :-) Finding ways to get my mind off Tuck, which of course is a hard task, but I'm trying. Off to bed now. There's a glorious morning to wake up to.

Tuck Update

So, it's happening, folks. Another poster got his/her admit.

Tuck ?

Just read a post on the Tuck Tuck Tuck board that Blatman2 got the call from Hanover ! this early ? hard to believe. I know they go all out with decisions at once. So, if true, Tuck closure is a day or two away.

Ring, phone, Ring.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

K dreamin', MBAadvice

I need my dreams. Not the dreams I dream when I sleep kind, but vivid daydreams. Thoughts that take me someother place in the middle of a day. I haven't had a lot of those in a while, maybe because i haven't had a lot of time. The process is simple. A random thought pops up in my head and then i spend hours constructing a story around it, sometimes days. The thing is, at the end of it I am invigorated. Yeah, i know, i'm kinda screwed-up.

I had one of those today. I was taking a cab into work thinking of the meeting I was going to be late for, and all of a sudden i started to think about naming a building after my mom's email id ! one thing led to another, and the building's going to be built on the field next to Kellogg's main building. it's going to be a center for entrepreneurship and designed by Santiago Calatrava. I can already see a soaring bird-like structure !! dunno what to make of it except that it probably has to do with my growing sense of optimism that K will, for unfathomable reason, accept me.

If it does, or for that matter anybody else, I will be able to contribute constructively to the excellent effort started by Techie, Trip and Mark to pool the collective wisdom of the bloggers from the 2004 admissions class. A new website, hosted by Trip, will soon be the authoritative source of information for preparing a successful application, and how not to, to a top MBA program. I must sound like one of those TV ads, but the advice is based on the personal experiences of kick-ass people who have been accepted at the best business schools in the world. I think there is one thing that is going to be absolutely fabulous about this website - any book you pick up gives you one author's voice, but this is going to be the collective voice of several.

You will find in there Joey who has, in addition to his Kellogg admit and HBS interview, just been accepted to Michigan ! Way to go, Joey. Mucho congratulations.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Atom & Privacy

I've been playing with the RSS/atom feeds and while I think they are pretty cool, I am also concerned with the privacy issue that Mark pointed out. All someone needs to do is go to the atom xml page for any blogspot hosted blog and most likely can see the original names that the posters created their blogs under. So much for anonymity ! I get the feeling some privacy laws may be violated here, but of course I'm no lawyer. In my case, I didn't even know that an atom feed was being generated for my blog, i think it was set up by default to be so. That is wrong. The default should be turned off and a copy of the fine print has to be presented to the users before they say OK to syndicating their site.

So, I played around with a couple of readers and by far the coolest is NewsGator. It integrates so seamlessly into Outlook, it's ridiculous. I've got Outlook bar shortcuts to all the blogs. I also use NetNewsWire for the Mac which is pretty cool also.

Bad Monday.

Yet another 'Bad Monday' post. I should stop checking the BW forums monday mornings. Apparently someone called the Sloan admissions offices and they were told that this friday is sort-of the last date for sending out interview invites. Bulk of the invites will be sent by friday and very very few from then upto April 5. Now I'm not sure if Sloan even gives out this kind of information, but if it's true, then it's going to be one long week for me.

Sunday, March 07, 2004


Rest is good. I have spent a very lazy weekend trying not to think of two more impending application deadlines or the results of those already submitted. At some point, I came close to calling it a day with the applications. Afterall, Stanford R3 is a joke. Two acceptances is the average ? come on, i might as well buy $200 worth of lottery tickets. Wharton - I haven't started working on my essays yet, but almost all essay questions are repeats of those I've answered elsewhere. No decisions yet, so I don't know if my essays 'work' or not. If they do, well i'll have other acceptances and W might not matter. If they don't, then I probably won't get into W either. Interesting situation, huh.

Is the pain of two more weeks lost to essays really worth it ?

I started to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho last night and finished it this morning and found my answers. I know it sounds corny, but this is one of those stories. It's about a boy who is searching for a treasure to be found at the pyramids. He encounters an alchemist in the desert who helps him get there. Obviously, as he gets closer things get harder.

"So what should I do now?" the boy asked.

"Continue in the direction of the Pyramids," said the alchemist. "And continue to pay heed to the omens. Your heart is still capable of showing you where the treasure is."

"Is that the one thing I still needed to know?"

"No," the alchemist answered. "What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we've learned as we've moved toward that dream. That's the point at which most people give up. It's the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one 'dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.'
"Every search begins with beginner's luck. And every search ends with the victor's being severely tested."

The boy's journey begins from a church in Spain and his dreams lead him all the way to the pyramids but in the end bring him back to the church where he started from.

"You old sorcerer," the boy shouted up to the sky. "You knew the whole story. You even left a bit of gold at the monastery so I could get back to this church. The monk laughed when he saw me come back in tatters. Couldn't you have saved me from that?"

"No," he heard a voice on the wind say. "If I had told you, you wouldn't have seen the Pyramids. They're beautiful, aren't they?"


Saturday, March 06, 2004


check this out, courtesy 'nesgilmore' on the best-army-in-the-world thread on the BW forums. it's funny as hell.

my bad.

I should RTFM more often. This one says "the percentage below indicates the percentage of examinees who scored below you based on the scores of the entire GMAT testing population for the most recent three year period. The percentages below may change from year to year, and score reports will incorporate the most current data". The latest score reports use data effective October 1, 2003 and I obviously took the test before that and hence the discrepancy.


Just got another GMAT score report after I sent my scores to Wharton and noticed something strange. The percentile scores reported on this are different from the ones reported to other schools ! My quant and AWA percentiles decreased whereas my verbal one increased ! Is this normal ? And do schools use the scaled scores or the percentiles ? I'm confused now, I thought the %-iles were fixed for the time one took the test, and didn't change with time. Weird.

If this is indeed the case, then it can be inferred that recent test-takers have been rocking their quant scores while doing not-so-stellar on their verbals. Is it test-taking-season in India/China already ;-)

Friday, March 05, 2004

Kellogg Visit + Interview

I have found my happy place. Extreme left seat, last row. Room G44. Arthur Andersen Building at The Kellogg School. There must be something about the light in the room that makes everything look great. Especially the girl in the third row. With dark hair. And a blue sweater. I feel cold, I wish I ...


Man, it was hard, but I managed to somehow stay awake through the class I attended last week at Kellogg. It was a combination of fatigue as well as the class itself, some sort of finance class that was supposed to be case-based but turned out to be a long lecture.

My day started out all wrong. I had planned to attend a 9 AM class prior to my noontime interview. But I had to work through the previous night to finish my LBS essays and it was almost 5 AM by the time I got to bed. It was 9 AM when I woke up so decided to go straight to the interview. I was low on prep so used the extra hour to read up some more on Kellogg clubs, classes and professors. Found my way to campus fifteen minutes before the interview and parked in a lot about 10 minutes away from the Kellogg building. When I reached the admissions office I was given a parking sticker that I needed to place in my car. So I literally ran back and from the parking lot just barely in time for my interview. My interviewer was already waiting for me. After some profuse apologizing, we got started.

The interviewer was an AdCom member and she just had my resume which I had handed in 15 minutes earlier. She mentioned that she had not seen my application and I should feel free to repeat things I had said in there if I thought appropriate. She also said that she was going to be taking a lot of notes. The initial questions were those I had expected and was prepared for. In not exactly the order they were asked they were:
* why did you choose the college you went to
* why did you study your undergraduate major
* why did you choose your current job
* why do you feel the need for an MBA now
* how did you decide on Kellogg

She then asked me some questions about my experience working with teams and leadership experiences. The one question that caught me offguard was, if you were at Kellogg today and were part of a team what would be the one thing that your teammates would want to change about you ? that was really a tough one but I think I may have pulled through. Some other questions:
* tell me an instance when you had an impact as a leader
* tell me an instance when you took the initiative on an issue at work
* what do you do outside of work
* what do you intend to do outside of studies at Kellogg
* how are you going to contribute to Kellogg

We talked for about 30-40 minutes I think and I had time for a few questions. She also gave me an opportunity to address some aspect of my application or personality that wasn't covered by the interview questions.

Upto that point I thought it was a decent interview but for the one question I got tripped up with. Then I asked her what makes a successful Kellogg student in her opinion, and her reply was pretty much similar to the reasons I had given her for my wanting to be at Kellogg. She also had a "like you said earlier" comment where she referred to a teamwork example I mentioned as a good trait for a Kellogg student. From her answer to my question, I would say I am a good 'fit' for Kellogg. But, she was the consummate interviewer, never betrayed any emotions. Nevertheless, I walked out of the interview feeling good.

Lunch. I was told that they discontinued their lunch program for prospectives a few years earlier so I was on my own. There's a decent cafe in the building under an atrium, and I grabbed a pizza and found a second year to talk with. It was an interesting conversation, basically emphasized the Kellogg culture aspect of things - teamwork, teamwork and teamwork. We talked about housing, jobs, professors etc. He said that he was a marketer before he got here and was going back into marketing and he already had a job.

This was followed by a tour of the building. I was very impressed by the facility. I think it used to be 2 or 3 buildings that are now all connected into a single monolith. The space they have is enormous. Tons of conference rooms for study groups. The classrooms are apparently all going to be redone. We were shown one of the newer ones and it was classy. Our guide was excited to talk about their bidding system for electives. He said that it was a really big deal and people devised serious strategies to plan and bid for the courses they wanted. Also part of the mix were rumors and obfuscations about going rates for classes etc. Sounded like a great deal of fun. Another place where they use the bidding system is for job interviews. Companies apparently have closed and open lists for interviews. The former are based on resumes that they scan. The latter are open for bidding among those who don't make the closed list. This system exists to help career switchers whose resumes don't necessarily get them on to the closed lists. Very interesting.

The carreer office also helps student focus on what their competencies are and plan for careers based on several tests and tools they use. Our guide told us that he was a consultant before he came to K and is now switching careers to Brand Management. The job bidding system really helped him out in finding a job. After the tour, I was trying to find the restrooms and a couple of students stopped in the hallways to talk and answer any questions I had. One guy I was talking to asked me if I was interested in marketing. When I said that I wasn't particularly, he said that he wasn't either but almost everyone seems to want to get into the field once they get to K. Hmmm ... come to think of it, almost all people I spoke with that day were going to be marketers.

Next up was an information session. I must say the AdComs at Kellogg are as suave as they come. I don't mean this in a bad way. The person conducting the session was excellent in covering all the bases about what makes K K. It's all about teamwork here. It was also interesting to hear about the emphasis Kellogg places on professors paying attention to teaching. Every new hire has to go through a teaching guidelines training kind of thing, and spend the first few months actually observing other professors in class. And the feedback that profs get from students for any class they take is public knowledge. In fact, our tour guide told us that students look at this as one of the metrics when deciding if/how much to bid on a class. Interesting.

The final item on my agenda was a class visit. I was recommended a finance class by the guy I met at lunch because it was case based and would be interesting. I was thinking of attending a marketing class but there weren't any interesting-sounding ones that afternoon. The professor was awesome and the questions asked were very probing, the students knew what they were talking about. But, for an observer like myself with Zero knowledge of finance, an entire class spent poring over excel spreadsheets was too much. My lack of sleep caught up to me and I had to stop myself a couple of times from dozing off.

After class, I was asked by a few students to stay for TGIF, their friday evening let-your-hair-down event in the atrium where I had lunch. This is organized every week by a different club and I guess has free booze and food and is a meeting point for faculty and students. I would have loved to stay but I had to leave because I had a long drive into Wisconsin.

Walking back to my car, I had a chance to get a better look at the Northwestern campus. It is quite beautiful, located on the lakeshore with a view of downtown Chicago from the right places. The buildings are a mix of architectures but I think it works well. Evanston itself seems like an affluent community. I got lost on my way out and drove through some nice-looking neighborhoods.

It was a very successful visit. The interview aside, it was good to meet students and sit in a class. Though the class wasn't all that it didn't distract from the overall impression of Kellogg. I am glad I applied here. I am going to be happy to attend if I do get admitted here.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

2-9, 2-9, 9-3, 5-9, 1-9

got my ass kicked by an a-ok player with a bad back. ouch. but it's all good. like FMgirl, Chunky et al I'm addicted to the forums and blogs and it can get pretty obsessive. the posters on BW drive me nuts though, every second post seems to be of the omigawd-no-invite-yet-so-its-over-for-the-metrosexual-bostonians variety. that doesn't help the waiting any, people.

so i've decided to get back my pre- mba application life one step at a time. today's the first time i've stepped into a squash court in months. the scores don't matter, it was bliss to have actually spent two hours trying to catch my breath rather than think about if/when i'm going to get interview invites. and i read a book cover-to-cover in two days. weekdays. haven't done that in a long time either. it's this kick-ass book i picked up on the way back from Chicago called Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. i must say, an extremely enjoyable read. would rate it on par with The Cuckoo's Egg and Memoirs of a Geisha for un-putdownability.

Here are a few snippets :
She seats herself in his high-backed workstation chair and clicks the transparent mouse. The browser comes up. She types Fetish:Footage:Forum, which Damien, determined to avoid contamination, will never bookmark.

The front page opens, familiar as a friends' living room.She enters the forum itself now, automatically scanning titles of the posts and names of the posters in the newer threads, looking for friends, enemies, news.

It is a way now, approximately, of being at home. The forum has become one of the most consistent places in her life, like a familiar cafe that exists somehow outside of geography and beyond time zones.

So I go off and do some reading and it's about ... forums ! sick.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Received confirmation from LBS that application is being considered for round 3. that's a relief. Their confirmation emails tell me that I have two more weeks to mail my transcripts etc. But, due to large volume of applicants they can not confirm/deny if they have received additional materials and applications will be reviewed with whatever they have. Ah, well. My stuff should hopefully all be in there by now. The next step is an interview invitation that is sent out on April 09th. If you don't get to interview you are out.

So, it's waiting time now. I'm not getting stressed much, but there is one reason I want to hear something from at least one school. Validation. I somehow just felt that I was good enough to be at one of the better schools. I need to know if I was right or wrong - either way.

And a shout out to Joey - he's gotten an interview invite for Harvard to go with his Kellogg admit. Congrats mate, and good luck with the interview.

Monday, March 01, 2004

LBS application finally submitted. Encountered another small glitch with the system, but it went away. Now I am hoping that my application is accepted for R3.

No news from HBS and Sloan yet about the interviews. It's been two weeks already ... but we've got four more weeks to go for R2 results. So, I'm going with the glass-is-two-thirds-full optimism.

Some more good news in the blogger community - Naveen's been accepted to USC. Congrats dude. That's two and counting.

I'm super tired today, but feel great now that my application is in. I can get back to concentrating on my work now, at least for the next few weeks.

And, I second Techie's suggestion for a blogger's meet sometime. Could it actually happen - i dunno, but would be pretty cool.

Bad Monday.

Just read about two dings this lousy morning. ClassyNFun at Kellogg and FMgirl at UT. Shit. Good luck at Chicago, Classy and W is where you're headed FM.