Friday, April 30, 2004

A beautiful day

It's amazing what a good night's sleep can do to dispel all the worries of the previous day. A couple of quirky things happened yesterday. I have about a 10 minute drive to work. On the way in to work AND on the way back, I heard the same song on the radio - beautiful day ! what's the probability of that happening. And I wanted to get some frozen pizza before I got home at around 2AM. As I was walking to the ATM, i was thinking about an ATM theft that happened someplace a few weeks ago. I got to the machine and as I was looking around waiting for the machine to part with the cash, I noticed what I could swear looked like dried blood on one of the ATM's. OK, maybe it was just spilled tomato juice but it sure was freaky.

It's absolute silence on my London interview front. The alum interviewer has not replied to my email yet. Need to draft a friendly reminder today. May be going to NYC to see Bombay Dreams tomorrow, I've heard it's really good.

Have a nice, warm weekend.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

loose rocks

There are those days when you're out trying to tackle a challenging climb; envision a route, start out cautiously and finally find your stride. And suddenly a hold comes loose and down you go. Out of the blue. These things are par for the course but usually novice climbers (like myself) don't realize they are until they happen.

I'm feeling pretty low today. Feels like I've hit one of those loose rocks on this seemingly impossible climb towards an MBA. The anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that R3 this year is a lost cause. I was talking with a friend from Tuck who said that they are having serious problems with their R3. Apparently, the acceptance rate has been much higher than expected leaving virtually NO spaces either for R3 or R2 waitlists. Today, a fellow R3 applicant to Wharton said that, according to information gleaned by friends from a 2y on the Wharton AdCom, the very same thing is happening at Wharton. Rumor has it that there will be NO acceptances from R3 or R2 waitlists. Given that tomorrow is the last day for R1 and R2 folks to accept, I'm sure they already have a very good idea of this. Also, the forums and s2s seem to be down today, so there's no place to go vent. I really hope Alex & Co. give us some information about the number of acceptances after the deadline passes tomorrow.

Now, none of this is fact, but in this era of information flow, it couple be pretty close to the truth. Don't want to think that my chances may have gone from around 20-odd percent to near zero. Damn. I was reading my archives over the weekend and my happiest post was the day I got my invite from W. 'Is that a light at the end of the tunnel ?' i asked half-jokingly. Right now, it feels like it I went closer to check it out, and got slammed by an oncoming train.

Monday, April 26, 2004


Should I believe in jinxes ?

It was brought to my notice that there may be a certain inherent jinxing pattern at work in my application progression. And upto this point, it's hard to argue with. Every school I have visited, I have been dinged !!

For my second round applications, I visited Tuck, MIT and HBS before my applications, and Kellogg for an interview. All dings. For the third round, I did NOT visit Wharton and LBS prior to my applications - and voila - interview invites from both.

Now's the interesting part. After my invite, I visited Wharton to interview and was hoping to visit LBS also to interview. Karma stepped in and LBS setup my interview in Boston so I'll have one school that I will NOT have visited come decision day. According to this theory, I will be denied at Wharton while being accepted at LBS. Given that i've applied R3, not an entirely undesirable outcome :-)


So, should I believe in jinxes ? hell, if it's gonna get me thru the next three weeks, I'll believe anything. Jinxes included.

A no-interesting-title post

It's been a mixed kinda weekend. I had a friend visit from out of town and had a really great time until sunday evening. Finally saw Master and Commander, liked it a lot. Then stepped into work at around 4 PM yesterday to check up on something and stuff was in worse shape than expected and ended up cooped up in the lab until 1 AM. Dinner was an exquisitely microwaved bag of popcorn. With Diet Pepsi, of course.

Has anyone tried the Chinatown bus service ? It's 10 bucks from Boston to NewYork. Chinatown to Chinatown each end. And it's fast too. Has been an exact 4 hours everytime I've taken it. My friend took the same this time and man, they sell out so fast. And, they have buses leaving on the hour. What's interesting is that each driver updates the others on traffic conditions as they drive so that if there's bad traffic the others can take alternate routes. Add the Jackie Chan inbus entertainment and this is one awesome deal.

I was reading ClearAdmit's blog today and came across a post on Wharton's interviews. One of the big things they apparently look for :
Does the candidate have reasons for the choices they have made in life? In other words, can the applicant explain why they attended school 'x', why they pursued a certain course of study, why they took their first job, why NOW is the best time for the MBA, why they are passionate about the activities they participate in, etc.

I thought this was the best thing about my interview, 'goal articulation', as they call it. Something to cheer me up, though it really means nothing. The waiting game continues ... 24 more days.

Friday, April 23, 2004

what matters most ?

What an awful day today ! It's raining cats and dogs in Boston. Just when you are ready to forgive the six months of bitter cold, the weather gods of New England unleash the rains to show who's the boss. Never a predictable moment here.

I stopped to get some coffee at the neighborhood bakery and they have a blackboard where the weather and daily specials are written along with a quote. Today's, by Ursula K. LeGuin made me stop in my tracks. It captured in 20 words what I spent many days trying to convey through my Stanford essay 1 :

It is good to have an end to journey toward;
but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

A fitting end to the game of Hide and Seek ?

I've been living, like many other applicants I presume, a kind-of double life at work the past few months. Only a couple of people know I am applying to B-school and I am trying hard to stay motivated while spending a lot of time thinking about essays and applications. In an ideal situation, the only way others would find out would be when I told them I was leaving if I was admitted. If not, things would go on as usual. I'm down to one last interview, and things have gone to plan for the most part. But, now there seems to be an end game in sight that I couldn't have scripted better if I had tried. And, I'm not making this up.

I got an email from London Business School yesterday with the contact info of my alumni interviewer. I had asked to interview in London but seems like that's a hard thing for them to accomodate. So, my interview is going to be in Boston. And the person I am supposed to interview with works in the building bang opposite my office !!! There is no way I can walk in a suit unnoticed into and out of that building. And news like this spreads like wildfire in my workplace. There seems to be at the very least one of my smoker colleagues at any given time outside the building. Haven't emailed the interviewer yet, so not sure if we will meet in his office. Even if we do a coffee shop thing, the only place is round the corner and there are always people from work hanging out there. So, it looks like I may be outed. Don't know if/how I should bring this up with the interviewer. Any thoughts ?

man, in some awkward way, this is cool.

Tied up with a FenderBender (kinda) on my way to Wharton.

Meant to write earlier, but work is killing me right now. Way too much to do, too little time. I had my interview at Wharton on monday and I thought it was good. Of course, no telling what my interviewer thought, but I feel good.

The trip started out all wrong. I was pulling out of a parking lot and all of a sudden this car sped in behind me and I slammed into her passenger side door. Damn, the sound of breaking glass is not something I wanted to hear. Luckily nobody was hurt, the cops showed up, and all I had to replace was a tail-light. I tell you, having plastic panels on cars is a beautiful thing. Not a scratch on my Element despite the impact.

Ties. That's probably the closest I'll come to understanding women and their shoes. I have worn a tie exactly 14 times my entire life. But I have 10 of them :-) And, of all things, I forgot to pack a tie in my hurry to leave Boston. So, had to do a quick pitstop at a friend's place in New Jersey to see if I could borrow one. The problem was not actually finding a tie, but the right one. Every single one of his ties I found some fault with. Finally I picked one out, and it actually went very well with my suit when I wore it. J, thanks a lot da. Phew, close call.

So, with the above distractions preventing me from spending the planned time on reviewing potential questions and my responses, I arrived with a distinct sense of unpreparedness. I wasn't in the 'zone'. Got there early enough monday morning, signed in, and after handing over my resume, went for a walk around campus to calm me down. It was such a gorgeous day. The little walk did me good, and I had one of those rare 'fuck-it' moments when stress and worry are replaced by a certain lightness. The last time I've had one of those was the day before my GMAT when I was all stressing out about not scoring above 650 on the KAPLAN tests. A much better score on the actual test was sweet reward. Anyways, I decided to stop obsessing about the interview until it started and went into the MBA Cafe. Met up with a prospective who had just finished his interview and said hi to my tour guide from last week's visit to campus. He was an R3 admit, and he said to just let my energy and passion shine through and have my reason for wanting an MBA crystal clear. Thanks for the advice, NG.

Walked back to the Admissions office and straight into my interview. The interviewer was very friendly, and immediately made me feel comfortable. He explained the layout of the interview - 30 minutes, with about 5 minutes at the end for questions, idea is to get to know me better - and we started. His first question was open-ended : So, tell me about yourself, from the time you were growing up. I was able to articulate my entire 'story' starting from my schooling, why I wanted to study what I did, why I chose my undergraduate and graduate schools, a defining experience a few years ago that is the basis of my long term goals and how my career choices since then have tied into my goals, and ended with the reasons I wanted to get an MBA and why now is the right time. It was good to get a lot of the potential questions cleared with that one. The next question was Why Wharton ? After that, the interview was very conversational and some of the other questions were :

* What makes you unique ?
* What would you consider your proudest achievement ?
* Elaborate more on your career plans, where do you see yourself working a few years out ?
* You seem to have a strong resume, why did you wait until R3 to apply ?
* If I talked with your friends and asked them what your two biggest weaknesses were, what would they say ?
* What do you do outside of work ?
* Do you think the admissions committee will have any reservations about your application ?
* Anything else that you wish I had asked you.

I think I had good answers for the above. Well, I had the honest answers, and I presume they are good :-) About two minutes into the interview, I lost track of the fact that I was dressed in a suit talking to a person who was in a position to potentially alter my future. I felt more like I was talking to a person who was really interested in knowing the answers to his questions (it is very rare that an interviewer has made me feel so comfortable). So, I dropped all the buzz words and 'key points' I would have normally used in a situation like this and had a real conversation, with all the accompanying faults - a stutter here, a pause to think there, some humor etc. I can really say that I was being myself in the interview. This is what W'll get if they decide to admit me.

After the interview, I went to an awesome class on GE Medical Systems and their China strategy. It was a case study class and it was amazing. A great example of why Wharton strives to get so much diversity into their classrooms. The professor started out by asking if there were any MD's in the class, so they could give a doctor's perspective ! There were none, but a couple of the students were familiar with healthcare, another had worked for a competitor and it was great to see a Chinese student clarify another student's understanding of IP laws as applied to China, and provide insights into how the Chinese hospital system is organized. Towards the end of the class, the professor asked the students their impression of the case. Apparently, it was very complex and there was seemingly too much data of no import (to which the prof suggested that maybe people weren't looking closely enough :). After talking about the merits and demerits of what people thought was a hard case, he quietly mentioned that it was last year's final exam :-)

All in all, I walked away with a nice spring in my step. Thinking back, I think I had a good interview. I felt good at the end of 30 minutes. The next 30 days are going to be a long wait, though.

Friday, April 16, 2004

MBA in a Box

This is a book by Joel Kurtzman. I haven't read it, but came across an Introduction to the book and it's probably something I should consider once I get some more time. Here are the first few paragraphs. Written in jest no doubt, but isn't this what business schools really do to some extent ?

Oh, and Kwame's gold standard MBA got beat by someone with real-life experience last night :-)

When I was the editor of the Harvard Business Review , I had a recurring fantasy (no, not that kind of fantasy). In my fantasy the dean of the Harvard Business School-my boss-would call me into his dimly lit, book-lined, wood-paneled office. He would sit me down, draw the shades, and lock the door. He would pace. In some version of the fantasy he would wring his hands, shrug, hem and haw. In others he would offer me a glass of port and a fine cigar. (I liked the second version better.)

In that fantasy, the dean-an enormous man with a raspy, conspirator's voice-would say to me that my job at the Harvard Business Review was to make business appear difficult to the readers. "Don't publish any smart-aleck articles about how Andrew Carnegie or Henry Ford never finished grammar school or how Bill Gates dropped out of college. Publish articles that talk about how difficult business is, how complicated it is to read a balance sheet, how many times you have to run a regression analysis to really understand your market, how the problems of strategy are intractable. Make it all seem hard," he would tell me with a scowl.

"Hard? Why?" I would ask rather meekly.

"Why? Why?" he would repeat, eyes narrowed into tiny slits. "Did you really ask me why, you nincompoop?"

"Yes," I would say, clearing my throat. "I did."

"Because it is. And besides, what would happen to our business if your readers thought business wasn't all that difficult? That any imbecile could do it? What do we do then?" the dean would bellow. "We sell business education, business books, business magazines, online business content, business videos, business case studies, lectures, degrees, research, class notes. The whole shebang. If people thought business was easy, we'd be wiped out. Finito. End of story."


Thursday, April 15, 2004

Stanford trumps Harvard

And it's in turn beat by MIT. Which is clobbered by SUNY at Genesco, Harvey Mudd, and U. of Akron. What am I talking about ? It's the recently released survey of America's Most Unwired Campuses by Intel. Here's Intel's ranking of the campuses with the most kick-ass wireless coverage.

Restaurant Review Writing

One of the first things I considered when I started blogging was to have a section on restaurant reviews of places I've eaten at. What motivated me was the sheer number of places where I've squandered my money, and the absolute insipid nature of existing reviews on the web. My initial attempts were equally bland though, and I gave up on the effort.

I recently read a review I immensely enjoyed. It's kinda hard to link, so I'll just paste it here. It's for Ubon, an offshoot of Nobu Matshuhisa's eponymous Nobu. {ubon = nobu in reverse. nice touch}. This appeared in the Evening Standard and refers to the Ubon in London's Canary Wharf.

If we have two Tate Galleries, we should therefore be allowed two Nobus. And although is sounds hysterical, I prefer the new East End incarnation. At night about the only time I can countenance making the perilous 90-minute journey across town, Canary Wharf shimmers like a magic realm, the top of the tower wreathed in clouds that enhance the mystical air. Ubon is tucked behind the swish new Four Seasons Hotel, surrounded by clipped lawns in a building, part lighthouse, part metal-clad Mayan -style structure, that reminds me of the Altar de la Patria in Santo Domingo.

Given the glamorous, manicured and antiseptic modernity of the location, its hard to believe you are in London. Instead, its as if one has stepped into one of those weird cities eulogised in the pages of Wallpaper - Toronto, Helsinki, Stuttgart or Stockholm. Except that having been to Stockholm, I can confirm that it is as glamour free as it is possible for a city to be; while Canary Wharf is quite invigorating in its modernity.

The dining room is smaller than Park Lane, more intimate , and commands a spectacular view of the Thames. The slightly unnerving thing about Ubon (and indeed Nobu) is that, as soon as you enter, waiters stop what they are doing and shout out some extraordinary greeting in Nobuese. That aside, Ubon possess an understated chic. And as my companion , I took one of London's chicest journalists.

'Nobody here has had a blow-dry' was her epigrammatic summation of the feminine style quotient. And, indeed, there was a home-made quality about the women's appearance. One female customer had obviously been told she looked vaguely attractive, and on the strength of this had purchased a moderately expensive, backless dress. While she did not look too offensive, she was obviously a Birkenstock girl at heart, and had yet to get her head around the concept of Jimmy Choo or Manolo. Her shoes would not have looked out of place at Greenham Common peace camp, and rather marred her frequent and endearingly clumsy attempts to sashay through the restaurant.

However, to cast all the customers as style ingenues would be unfair. On a previous visit I had sat next to a party of Belgravia-dwelling Italians, who were obviously regulars at Nobu, and, for all I know, the Nobu in Milan too. They were the sort of people one might bump into enjoying a flute of Cristal at the Caves du Roy in St Tropez, or sitting outside the Chuflay bar of the Splendid Mare Portofino. We were immediately united by our shared love of the black cod, one of the great restaurant dishes of the late-20th century, of which they had ordered numerous portions.The pace at Ubon is less frenetic than its Park Lane sibling, actually allowing you to enjoy the food, which is truly sensational. The menu reads like a carefully prepared and edited album of Nobu's greatest hits. Snow crab with creamy spicy sauce, rock-shrimp tempura with ponzu and the black cod are just a few of the must-eats. We ordered a remarkable array of sushi, of which the mackerel and the eel were the stars. Service was enchanting and almost made the bill seem moderate.

Free Books

There's a publishing company in my office block that hands out free books periodically. They haven't done it in a while but was walking back from a coffee break today and noticed that they were laying out a nice spread. Picked up three books that I hope to get some time to read.

The Leadership Moment, Michael Useem I like this guy. He is the director of Wharton's Center for Leadership and Change and his other book, "Leading Up", has been one that has actually been useful for me in my professional life. He is very interesting to read for a business book because he writes short stories to convey his point. Last week I was hanging out in the Penn Bookstore waiting to meet a Wharton alum and I picked up The Leadership Moment and started reading the chapter on John Gutfreund and the troubles at Salomon, Inc. This was a lucky find, I am going to read some of this over the weekend.

The Economist Guide to Economic Indicators The jacket of this book says that it is a book that helps you 'make sense of economics'. Well, I hope it does. Leafed through it and it's almost textbook like in its coverage of topics. Everything from how to measure economic activity to pricing and wages, GDP, exchange rates, financial markets etc. If I do end up going to b-school this would be a good read over the summer to get myself into studying mode again.

When good companies do bad things, Peter Schwartz and Blair Gibb Picked this one up on a lark. Was joking with my co-worker that this was probably written for our company :-) But it's actually a book about social responsibility of corporations, and examines various cases like Nike, Shell, Texaco and Nestle. This one will probably sit in my bookshelf for a while before I find the time to read it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

LBS email

Dear Future MBA,

If you are still interested in pursuing an MBA beginning in September 2004, we would like to remind you that our final (Stage 4) application deadline is 17.00 (London time), Friday 30 April 2004.

WTF ? that was a scare, until I realized it was some sort of mass-mailing :-) :-)

The one interesting piece of information in there was :

Vacancies still exist for applicants in Stage 4. At London Business School we aim to admit the best quality candidates, not just the earliest candidates to apply. In order to maintain our unique international and professional diversity, a proportion of places are always reserved for the final stage; last year, some 45 of our current class of 300 students were admitted in Stage 4.

wow - 15% of the class in R4. that's some odds. So, if anyone out there is reading this and still needs options for this year, you should probably consider London Business School. 15 days is more than enough time to write 3 500-word essays.


Plan not going according to plan.

More things have come up at work and my thursday Pub plans seem like a no-go at this point. the person calling the shots doesn't want to go along with them. tough luck, but managed to get monday off. man, didn't know taking vacation that is due to me would be so hard. But, it's all-hands-on-deck time in my project. oh, well.


Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Actual Application Essays

A few bloggers have posted their essays for the 2004 applications. Here are some links I could find. I hope the authors don't mind my linking to their work. All my essays will be up soon, once I get my W/LBS results. I could post the others but I would just rather have closure on the process before I do so.

Haas : If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be ? Chunky

Haas : If you could have dinner with one individual, past or present, who would it be ? why ? Chunky

Chicago : Why are you seeking an MBA ? What are your plans and goals after you receive your degree ? Chunky

Chicago : You find yourself on an elevator with the dean of Chicago GSB. Please tell him why this is the right school for you and what you hope to contribute to the school if admitted. 3app, Chunky

Chicago : If you could be present at any event in time, what would it be and why? 3app, Chunky

Chicago : Youv'e been given $1 million to set up a philanthropic organization. What would it support and why. Chunky

Stern : Creatively describe yourself to your MBA classmates. 3app

NCSU : Indicate your reasons for wishing to undertake graduate study, your reasons for choosing the NC state MBA program, and your career goals. Peter

NCSU : What do you consider your primary strengths? To meet your career goals, what additiona skills, knowledge and/or personal attributes do you need to develop. Peter

NCSU : What would you like the admission committee to know about that may not be reflected in other parts of this application? Peter

Fuqua : Outside of your professional persona, who are you? Please note this essay is intended to get a sense of your personality and potential contribution to the Fuqua culture. (Limit response to 750 words, double spaced) Chunky

Also found a link on Catharine's website where she says that if you ask really nicely and explain (in an essay I presume :-), sorry catherine couldn't resist) how/why you could benefit from them, she'll provide access to them.

I'm sure the next round of applicants will benefit from the generosity of the bloggers who have posted these.

Monday, April 12, 2004

1000 miles to Graceland.

There a lot of crap going on at work that has distracted me from doing any serious 'prep' for my upcoming Wharton interview, though I don't know if there's anything formal I could do other than mock interviews. Last saturday, I met up with a friend of mine who gave me some excellent thought-pointers. Thinking along those lines has given me my main 'theme' that I want to get across in the interview. I drove down to Wharton last monday for a class visit. It was very productive, I got some more good insights into what makes Wharton Wharton. Met an alum and got some excellent insights. Thanks, D, for taking the time. Been playing with these thoughts in my head and I think I have a good idea of the answers to the inevitable Why,Why,Why questions. The thing I need to do next is compile a list of possible questions off the s2s boards and make sure I have points to answer each one of them. The interview invite has brought its own roller-coaster of emotions. Started with a Holy Cow ! - I'm almost In and quickly turned to a more realistic assesment of the slim chances as an R3 applicant. Now, I need to pump the energy levels back up. Need to be fighting fit and I've got a week to get there.

I originally planned to go to Pub this thursday and stick around in the area with friends until my interview next monday. But, now my work situation has affected plans. A new almost-no-vacation policy instituted this week has my hands tied. But, this is too important to me and I have a plan to work around this. I'm planning to drive down thursday morning to go for another class visit/lunch and Pub and talk to more people and drive back to be at work friday. I'll work saturday and drive back to Philly for my interview on monday and back to work tuesday morning. I'll make up monday by working next saturday. Got to get my boss' buy-in, but should be OK. It's gonna be a lot of driving - well over a 1000 miles in a weekend - but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

"so, you need to kiss so much ass just to have a shot at getting in ?" asked a colleague of mine who I talked with about my plans. Not at all. I don't think the powers-that-be know or care how many times you visit campus or if you do at all. I'm going 'coz I want to. I believe what really needs to be communicated in an interview is how well you know and understand the school and how it fits with your goals. That is key because if you understand what drives the school and its community, you are that much more likely to be a 'fit'. And this is a hard thing to figure out. I don't know any W alums/students personally, so the best way is to actually visit, sit in classes, see how things are firsthand, talk with students and staff and make my own conclusions. I still have some open questions I hope to find answers for. Also, I liked Wharton so much the last time I was there, i would like another opportunity to visit the school with a 'purpose' in mind. And I think Pub should be fun, everyone's recommended I not miss it. Though, I'm not so sure about this thursday's Pub. It's the start of Welcome Weekend for admits so all the attention is going to be on them. Well deserved, of course. Congratulations once again to fellow bloggers Hella, Jeamish and FMGirl for the awesome achievement and I hope to run into some of you at Wharton.

"It's a matter ..." clarification

apropos my post the other day about the FC article, it seems Jane Lin-Baden is the woman's real name. Thanks for pointing this out, B.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Couplets, Dogmas, and Case Studies.

Hoshwalon ko khabar kya, Bekhudi kya cheez hai
Ishq kijiye phir samajhiye, Zindagi kya cheez hai

These were the lyrics of the opening song at a concert by Jagjit Singh, a popular Indian ghazal (Webster's - a kind of oriental lyric, and usually erotic, poetry, written in recurring themes) singer that I attended friday night. Pardon my spotty knowledge of Urdu, but the lyrics translate loosely to:

What do conscious people know, what being enraptured feels like
Fall in love, and you'll understand, what Life feels like.

It was an awesome concert, in two parts - the artiste sang his choices in the first half, and took requests in the second half. He also had the crowd sing along to some popular tunes. Walking out, I couldn't help compare the experience to another a few years ago. There is a dance school outside the Indian city of Bangalore that has an annual all-night cultural experience called Vasanta Habba, literally Spring Festival. It's the highlight of the cultural scene and attracts the creme-de-la-absolute-cream of the Indian cultural establishment who perform there. I was at one of these listening to a flute maestro give a flawless performance. At the end of one of his pieces, the crowd went wild and there was a standing ovation and cheers and whistles. But then, the performer stopped performing. He chided the crowd for cheering, and said that his art was a devotion to god and not meant to be cheered but enjoyed as a spiritual experience. He refused to perform if the audience didn't sit quietly ! It was a first for me. I can understand the principles by which he lives, devoted to an art form and its rules that are as old as Indian culture itself. But, I couldn't help feel an arrogance there, a refusal to move away from dogmatic observations and adapt to the changing times. It's no wonder classical Indian music has nowhere the kind of following it used to.

What does this have to do with this blog ? Thinking about this also brought a conversation I had last week at Wharton to mind. One of the questions I have seen asked at every B-school I have visited is the case-study-of-HBS vs. what-do-you-guys-use. I got the most interesting explanation at Wharton. W is unlike other B-schools and is actually run like a start-up and professors have the complete freedom to choose how they want to teach. This results in constant innovation, often based on student feedback, ultimately resulting in optimal teaching methods. This was compared to an environment like HBS', where pretty much the only method of teaching is case-based. I will not argue about the merits of the case study method itself, but the point is every professor is pretty much required to adapt his or her teaching style to this form. Even if someone feels like there is a better way to teach, or students to learn, there are rules applied by the school that limit this exploration. Of course, it is Harvard's belief that the case method is the best way to learn and they impose this thinking on their students, but a dismissal of other approaches is a serious flaw, in my humble opinion.

What made this observation even more pertinent was a class I attended at Wharton by Jeremy Siegel. This was the most interesting class experience I've ever had. I walked into class and found an empty chair along the back wall and settled in. Soon, the class was overflowing with students standing along the walls and sitting in the aisles. I almost felt guilty for taking a seat. He started his class and the first half-hour was spent on his 'market commentary' which I learned later he does every class ! After half-hour the class emptied out. The people who left were students who weren't in the class but come to class anways to hear the Professor's views on the economy, stock market and the events of the day affecting those. His class is the only core course that students need to bid for, but it was amazing that even if you don't get to take the class, his views and thoughts are available for everyone to observe and learn from, in a format he has devised to achieve that very goal. Way cool.

"It's a matter of will"

How far will you go to get an MBA ? There's this story on Fast Company about a woman who commutes from Shanghai to San Fran once every two weeks for an exec MBA at Wharton West !

Something interesting was her name. I suspect it's been changed as is the norm, but to Jane Lin-Baden ? Probably Jane Doe was too plain, but Lin-Baden .. a nice take on you-know-who's last name :-) Gotta give it to the folks at FC for their sense of humor.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

yeah, Baby

The land of Austin Powers beckons !


I am now 0/4 on R2 and 2/2 in R3 for interviews. I'm going to do my darndest (my, i'm sounding brit-like already :) to convert these interviews to accepts. this is a really sweet feeling. sweet sweet sweet. sweet.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004


what does it say that I went to bed last night all tired and not even the least interested in checking the Sloan result ? for one, I kinda expected the ding, and for another all i could think about was wharton. i visited yesterday and impressive is an understatement. just drove 5 hours and straight into work. i'll post my visit report after i recover from the fatigue. Harry received the same dreaded letter. Sorry partner, hope it didn't hurt too bad. At least, your choice has been made. Fuqua will be fun.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Is that a light at the end of the tunnel ?

Make that a 1000-watt halogen with a disco ball added for extra effect.


man, i am stoked. it's still a long long way to go, but i at least feel vindicated that all my efforts were not in vain. can not write much now, too much goin' thru my head :-) but, i'm stoked. this is good.