Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Last exit before New Jersey

I think i'm done here. It's the end of tuesday in London and no news on the waitlist yet. The review was supposed to be yesterday. I was also told that the R4 decisions would be taken before the waitlist was attended to. Since there are R4s still waiting for decisions, I assumed that the process was delayed, but it seems some WL'ers have been admitted yesterday. It is the same familiar pattern of all schools - the decisions are going out first, to be followed by the dings. I can see the writing on the wall, it is just a matter of time now.

I'm all vacant inside right now. This entire process has been one, above all, of optimism for me. Misplaced, you may say, but regardless. A hope that I may be good enough to stand up and be counted, so I applied to the best schools. A hope that a ding from some schools doesn't mean i'm doomed, so I worked harder on the other apps. A hope that all the work and effort will lead to a admit to an MBA, something I have dreamed of for a long time. But, the reality that I have tried to obscure with thoughts of good things has caught up to me finally. It is a very competitive world out there, and I wasn't probably sharp enough, qualified enough, talented enough to compete. I thought I was, but this is a reality check.

I've been having a rough couple of weeks at work, and the possibility that I might be at LBS this fall has been a motivational force of sorts to get me thru the long nights at work. I will have to go on now without that.
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Thursday, June 24, 2004

waitlist update - well, you have to, umm, wait !

hmm, is email going to be the theme of my day ? LBS was supposed to have a waitlist review tomorrow, but it seems like they are having issues with their email service and so are going to push it off to sometime next week. ah well, the wait continues.
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email of the day

I just received an email from alexbr@wharton.upenn.edu !

The subject was "Re: Administration" and I had visions of Wharton administration having screwed up big-time in denying me an admit and Alex mailing me to rescind their Rejection ;-) ;-) Of course, no such luck. I try to open the email and I get the message : 'Virus"W32.Netsky.P@mm"found'.

Damn spammers !

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Conspiracy Theory ?

Some more Euro action.

One of the first questions Swedish coach Tommy Soderberg was asked at a press conference after their game with Italy last week was if they would strike a deal with Denmark to tie their game 2-2. Italy was to play Bulgaria and Denmark take on Sweden in the final games of group C. Even if Italy was to beat Bulgaria, a 2-2 tie would send both Sweden and Denmark to the quarterfinals on goal differentials, thereby eliminating Italy.

The matches ended a few minutes ago. Guess what ? Italy did beat Bulgaria 2-1 and Denmark-Sweden - you guessed it - a 2-2 draw ! Sweden actually equalized with just a minute to go in the game. You can bet the Italians are going to be up in arms at this seemingly apparent collusion between the scandinavian neighbors. Italian television was actually given permission to install two extra cameras behind the goals to catch any game-fixing on tape !

ridiculous ? well, wars have been fought over a game of soccer ;-)
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Monday, June 21, 2004

Climb Any Mountain

Came across a post by Curt Rosengren, thanks to FastCompany, on his blog where he talks about falling off a climb, getting oneself up, falling again and continuing to try. Here are a couple of links related to climbing and lessons it teaches.

Curt Rosengren:
Climb, Fall, Think, Repeat, Succeed
The two-inch principle
Focus on what's in front of you

Jim Collins (this article was a reference for my answering my Tuck Essay 3):
Leadership lessons of a rock climber

A sometimes recreational climber myself, I can attest to the moments of self-discovery that can happen on a rock. Y'all should try climbing sometime. It can be very refreshing.
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we're going to space !

A few hours ago, history of sorts was created. A privately built spacecraft entered space for the first ever time. SpaceShipOne, a craft funded mainly by Paul Allen, was piloted by Mike Melvill, who's now the first non-govenmental astronaut. This is probably as big as Kitty Hawk. Wow.

The catalyst for this is undoubtedly the Ansari X-prize. It's a $10 million prize for the first private team to fly 3 people (or equivant in weight) into space, roughly defined as an altitude of around 62.5 miles, make it back safely, and do it again within 14 days. This flight doesn't count towards the prize since Melvill flew alone, but they have said that they will try to win the prize sometime this summer.

There's an interesting blog to follow the X-prize, for those interested.

Way to go, guys. Mucho Congratulations.
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Friday, June 18, 2004

Sverige : Um | Azzurri : Um

My continuing coverage of Euro 2004. Took a couple of hours off today again to watch the Swedes (sverige is swedish for sweden) take on Italy (whose team is called the Azzurri, for the blue they wear).

It was all Italiano to start with, some nice chances at goal missed. Italy are usually a very defensive team but they were in 'flow' today and it was treat to watch. The players' ball control skills were on full display and their repeated attacks on goal paid off with Cassano's delectable header in the latter part of the first half. Half-time score was 1-0 with Italy threatening to widen the lead.

Nothing much happenned in the second half for the most part, and it seemed like Italy was going back to doing what it usually does best - defend their lead. The last 10 minutes of the game though were absolutely riveting. Sweden found their stride and it was an all-out attack. But the Italian defense, described by the announcer as bone-crunching, didn't give an inch. Until Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a Bosnian immigrant who plays for Sweden, unleashed his magic in the 85th minute. In a crowded penalty box, he found himself with his back to the goal and the goalie right behind him. Airborne, he chipped a high ball back with the outer edge of his right foot perfectly into the corner of the goal, right over the head of a defender who was on the goal line. Extravagant. I hope SportsCenter has replays of this goal. Definitely worth watching.

And that's how it ended. With me tired after another afternoon spent with friends chugging beer and shouting at every play. We had an Italian in the house today, and a die-hard Swedish fan. Life sure seems good with times like these.

Oh, and apparently Um means 1 in Portuguese. Why portuguese - well, they are playing in Portugal ;-).
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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Tuck Essay 3

I was rejected from Tuck with no offer of feedback. I think my weakest points there were the Why MBA essay and my interview. So, I would rate this essay anywhere between 'passable' and 'sucks'.

This was also the first essay I wrote for any application. So, I assume it's quite rough around the edges.

What is the most significant non-academic disappointment you have experienced?
How did you handle the situation, and what have you learned from it?

Bunny’s beautiful.
Bunny’s a good teacher.
Bunny’s the name of a classic climb in the Shawangunk Mountains of New York.

Near the end of the first pitch is a roof. One can either skirt it or go over it. As I felt my hands give way for the fourth time attempting it, the temptation to take the easier route grew stronger, but I was on the rock that day to climb the roof. I rested and tried again. And again. Three tries later, I ran out of strength.

I had just experienced what climber and author Jim Collins terms fallure. Not failure. There is a subtle difference between the two that distinguishes how far you are willing to push yourself towards your goals in the face of adversity and fear of consequences.

In fallure, you try until you fall. In failure, you let go.

Three years ago I was following the evolution of a company called TellMe Networks. Their technology, which enabled voice based access to the Internet over the telephone, was fascinating. In mid-2000 they released TellMe Studio, a toolkit that allowed developers to build applications to run on their infrastructure. I started writing small programs to test their service. This dalliance soon led to serious contemplation about potential uses of the technology. I was in graduate school at the time in an environment that encouraged dreaming big.

Dream big I did. I wanted to utilize this technology to enable information access over the telephone in India, in local Indian languages. At the time, Internet access in India was in its relative infancy. I believed this was a genuine opportunity and starting making plans to capitalize on it.

Realizing very soon that this endeavor was much bigger than I was, I worked on building a team and recruited seven people – three in the US and four in India. These were friends - PhDs and MBA students and professionals - who were excited by the possibilities and were willing to work part-time. Over the next few months, we worked on our technology prototype, refined our business plan, and finally started getting face time with venture capitalists (VCs), both in Silicon Valley and Mumbai.

Then we started running into walls. VCs wanted more reliable estimates of revenue. Potential angel investors wanted a well-defined path to profitability. And, crucially, a key piece of voice recognition technology we needed was banned from export to India due to fears of dual-use in the wake of India’s nuclear tests. As our chances of getting the technology we needed, and along with it seed funding, faded, we faced a tough question. Do we continue to push along, or was it time to call it quits?

The decision was especially hard for me. It meant the end of a dream I had pursued for the better part of a year. On the other hand, I was about to graduate with a well-paying job waiting for me. After much deliberation, I decided that the challenges were too daunting and voted to stop. The rest of the team reached a similar decision.

This venture failed for many reasons, but in part, because I let go. I lacked the confidence to carry on. The significance of the experience lies in what I learned from its failure. I did not have the skills required to alter our strategy, and thus secure funding and succeed through an alternate route. A lack of preparation caused me to let go.

In the years since, I have come to realize that we routinely face similar choices in our professional and personal lives. How we get to that moment of choice determines our actions and our outcome.

This event has had a very big influence on my decision to pursue an MBA. As I reach for my goals, I do not want to fall short again. I want to be prepared with a business education that will equip me with the skills and confidence needed to overcome the big obstacles that surely lie ahead.

I want to be in a position where I may fall. But I will not fail.
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As promised, I will start to post some of my essays, starting tonite. But, it's somehow not an easy decision to post these. In some sense, I am exposing myself to the world, open to a stranger's amusement, derision, or maybe understanding. I'm doing it in the hope that future applicants might find them useful. I really wished I had some real essays to read just as a reference when I was applying. And don't forget to check out an earlier post of mine where I've collated essays from Chunky, 3app and Peter. Thanks guys, again, for sharing your work.

Since there is an overlap of application essays across schools, I will not post all iterations of them. I will post a couple from Tuck that I spent a lot of time thinking about, and maybe some from other schools.

What I also want to do is post my entire Wharton set, and hopefully I can get some feedback from some of the admitted students. I'll then post the feedback I get from Wharton. I actually think this could prove useful for potential applicants - more as a what not to do, what to focus on, how the adcom's look at things, etc.

VI asked me in an email if it's a good idea to put these in the public domain, especially if I am going to use them again next year to reapply. Good question, one that I don't know the answer for. And I'm not sure I'd care much for a school that would think it matters.
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Hrvatska : Dois | France : Dois.

i sneaked out of work today to watch the Croatia-France Euro 2004 game. oh man, this should be the match of the tournament so far. Underdogs Croatia started slow and gave up a self-goal to France. That was the score at half-time. Then, they came back inspired and played their hearts out to go 2 up. But a defensive blunder (by the same guy who scored the selfgoal) set up a very suspect goal where the French striker's apparent handball was missed by the ref. France, who beat England with 2 goals in extra time, had another super chance in extra time today when a shot was brilliantly blocked by the goalie. This set up the heart-stopping last-minute action when Croatia sped into the french goal and barely missed. Final score 2-2.

I was watching the game with a Croatian friend of mine so you can imagine the intensity and the constant outpouring of slurs against the French. It didn't help that the Croats haven't forgiven the French for 'taking' the 1998 World Cup semi-final game from them ;-)

Ah, the joys of the Beautiful Game.
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why me ?

I came across this article on BusinessWeek just now. I could not get myself to read past the first few lines. It obviously talks about how great a year this has been for MBA applicants. I got a feeling of utter failure when I started to read. What does it say about my candidacy that I do not even get a consideration in what is a 'lean' year. Not good things. And that's the naked truth, as much as it hurts.

There are also times when I feel like I'm not doing this alone, there's someone looking over my shoulder - trying to screw things up, for the most part. I just got signed up for a very important customer meeting next month. And guess what - it overlaps my Wharton feedback session !!! i kid you not ! c'mon man, give me a break.

Called W and the first message I get is that these sessions are first come, first serve. So, after nervously waiting to be connected to a voice and explaining my situation, was able to get it postponed to the end of july. phew.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Hella ClearAdmitted ?

Ever hear of someone being slashdotted ?

Actually, the someone is usually a website that gets a mention on slashdot. The resulting traffic of geeks rushing to check out the site takes it down. slashdotted.

Is our good friend Hella going thru something of the same ? There was a mention today on ClearAdmit of his blog, and I've not been able to get to the site all day. clearAdmitted ?

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Monday, June 07, 2004

Slow Days

excrutiatingly slow. my workplace just had some senior management personnel changes and the future's extremely fuzzy. so, i'm surrounded by an apprehensive workforce that's keeping to itself pondering what the future's going to bring.

on my London front, i'm doing the same. i'm still on the waitlist after a review last week. i asked for any specifics that they need addressed and no word yet. am working on getting an extra recommendation in. was talking with friends about a vacation later this summer but i can't commit to anything because of the uncertaininty of it all.

signed up for a feedback session at Wharton. it's going to be on july 12 and it's about 15 minutes, though they say it'll be done in 10. am looking forward to hearing why they think my candidacy wasn't worth admittance.
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Friday, June 04, 2004

PowerYogi does PowerYoga

What's a Yogi's blog without a Yogi joke ? Saw this one posted at my gym this evening:

A Yogi walks up to the pizza counter and the vendor asks him what he wants.
"Make me one with everything", said the Yogi.
When it was time to pay, the Yogi gave the vendor a $20 bill, but the vendor just smiled. Infuriated, the Yogi demanded his change.
"Change comes from within", said the vendor.

I'm on a getting-back-in-shape quest, and this week (the first :) has been a success. Played squash on tuesday and thursday, plus some stationary bike. And I'm just back from an invigorating session of Power Vinayasa Yoga. It wasn't as strenuous as the PowerYoga sessions I used to go to, and a good way to ease back into the habit. My teacher was pretty good. She has a 6:30 AM class tuesdays and that's on my to-do list, but it's going to be a stretch. Pun intended.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Conversations with Dad

I spoke with my dad yesterday. And realized that I've not been talking with him as much as I should. There's something about parents that I don't think I'll understand unless I have kids myself. How can they be your greatest critics and greatest supporters at the same time. How do they find the capacity for so much love, even though you don't seem to respond in kind at times. How do they always manage to say the right things to lift you from the depths of despair.

Last night we were talking about the LBS waitlist and all the dings and my dad repeated the mantra he's told us countless times growing up - everything happens for your own good.

really ? i ask him. what good is it that i'm sweating it out instead of having an admit now.
well, it's quite simple isn't it. you didn't really do things the right way, and put things off to the last minute, as usual.

He then reminded me of a conversation we had after my Tuck ding, my first.

Son, i know it must feel awful, but look at the brighter side of things.
the brighter side ?
Yes. The result's announced today. when was it actually due ?
not until a few weeks
When is your Wharton application due ?
next week
So, think of it this way - you thought you were a great candidate. now you've been given a realistic assessment of your application and time to correct it before you submit your next application.

I must say he was very disappointed at the Wharton result, He was really hoping I'd make it, especially after the interview invite and visiting school etc. His take after absorbing the news - this is for your own good. sometimes, you need to be shown the great things that you aren't a part of, so you strive harder to achieve them.

karmanye vadhika raste maa faleshu kadacha na, he reminded me last night. Perform the right action without hungering for the fruits.

And everything will happen for your own good.

Thanks Dad.
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Tuesday, June 01, 2004


That's the title of a book I like, by Ha Jin. It's a story about a chinese guy who works in the city, has a wife in his village and a paramour. Every year, he returns to the village intending to divorce his wife so that he can marry his girlfriend in the city. Every year the judge denies his request. And every year he looks forward to the vacations next year to do the deed. Waiting, it's hard to do.

Right now, I feel sorta like the main character in that story. Being on the waitlist is no fun. First up, there is no end date in sight. You could get off it today. Or maybe tomorrow. Or the month after. Secondly, the lack of concrete information as to what's going on with your application. Has it been reviewed once already ? has it not ? I am reduced to checking my email every morning hoping that an update could come my way with some sort of information. On seeing the empty inbox, i get back to my work and look forward to the next morning so I can check my inbox again. Waiting, it's hard to do.
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