Friday, October 29, 2004

Berkeley's a no-go.

This is not good. I've been up all night fueled by Red Bull, but I can't seem to find the spark in my Haas essays. I hurt myself more by submitting a bad application than by going next round. So, barring a miracle, Haas is also going to be bumped to round 2.

I so despise myself right now for putting myself in this position. I should have known better and I blew it.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Cursed no more !

Boston RedSox, 2004 World Series Champions

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Heads I win, Tails you lose

So, I flipped a coin. Well, not really a coin coin, but a kinda coin.

Berkeley or Stanford ? I am super stressed out right now from work-issues, boss-issues, redsox-issues, being-stood-up-issues, too-many-essays-issues and can not do full justice to two applications. After some serious thought over the weekend, which by the way went nowhere, I walked out of a rather stressful late evening meeting at work yesterday and decided that Berkeley gets to read my application first.

Why? I think I am more confident in my Berkeley application at this point. Of course, me being me, the essays aren't done and the transcripts have yet to be mailed, and a recommendation still sent in etc, but I just feel better applying to Haas. I think my visit to the left coast a few weeks ago played a part too. Of the two, I felt that Berkeley was more my kinda place than Palo Alto. Must be the bong shops and dirty streets [disclaimer : i'm 100% drug free, but have 0% issues if someone else chooses to indulge ;-)]

Having made the decision, I set out to their infosession last evening. I wasn't originally planning to go, but I'm glad I did. Nothing new in the way of information, given that I've been to an earlier presentation and visited campus, but it was good to meet alums, students and adcoms. Off now to mail my transcripts and work on one more essay.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Congratulations are in order ..

to SJ, a fellow LBS applicant who I've been sharing the angst of the waitlist over the summer via email. The good word has come from LBS and we already have a Class of 2007 admit. Glad to see the perseverence pay off. I'm sure you'll have a great time at LBS, SJ, and best wishes.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Bringing down the House that Ruth Built

This is un-f-ing-believable !!!

My beloved Red Sox are in the World Series !!!

I'm just back from driving around town honking, and walking around fenway park. there must have been thousands of people out celebrating tonight. it was unreal. fires, broken bottles, upturned bicycle racks, smashed storefront windows, even a bus shelter wasn't spared. but no arrests or injuries - the cops were out in full force and doing a great job controlling the crowds. for the most part, it was peaceful with shouts of 'lets go red sox' and 'four more wins' interspersed with the mandatory 'yankees suck'. oh, how long have we waited for this. i can only imagine how things will be when we actually win the World Series and forever bury the Curse of the Bambino. for most people out tonite though, the curse has already been broken with this win. to win the way they way did - the first ever team in MLB history to come back from a 0-3 deficit - is proof enough that this is indeed the year.

good things have happened. better things are yet to come.
we Believe.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Chicago Fall Preview

"I like your shoes. Very nice style."

I have been led to believe that women appreciate nice comments about their choice of footwear. One of my friends compared a timely - read: when she is down and could really use a compliment - comment about her shoes to chocolate. Now that is a bit much, but I am happy to report that men - me, actually, to be specific - can be affected in good ways too. Early friday morning I got into the elevator of my hotel on my way to the Chicago GSB and was greeted with the above-quoted compliment about my shiny new Florsheim wingtips by a herself fashionable woman. I'll just say I didn't need much coffee to give me a buzz :) It was a good start to what would turn out to be an unexpectedly great weekend.

If you do have a chance to visit Chicago, take a moment to see the new Hyde Park Center from the corner of 58th and Woodlawn. One can't fail to notice the homage paid by the architects of the building to Frank Lloyd Wright's beautiful Robie House next door. The new home of the Chicago GSB is, in my opinion, stunning. It is built in levels with a generous use of glass both on the outside and the inside. The winter garden, which is the focal point both of the building itself and student interaction, is gorgeous. The pieces de resistance(sp?) are the glass and steel arches that are designed to mimic the gothic architectural style of the overall campus, which incidentally was bathed in fall colors last weekend. A very pretty sight indeed.

After registration, I attended a welcome speech by Dean Snyder. He talked about saying it as it is - Chicago GSB is not for everyone, in his own words. Everyone at the GSB is deeply committed to their values - a discipline-based approach to learning, a spirit of constant questioning, and business is intended for the public good. Seemed like this is quite an intense academic experience and not really the place for a two year party-and-schmooze fest.

Following this was a panel discussion with faculty. It was very evident that these folks take their teaching and research very seriously. They expect the students to be extremely well-prepared when they come to class, and for their students to expect the same of them. They usually incorporate elements of their research into their teaching. As to a question regarding teaching vs research focus, the answer was that they are actually one and the same, and that the real question to ask was teaching/research vs consulting focus at schools. Their focus is on the learning of fundamentals, not flavor of the month stuff.

This was followed by lunch and presentations on finance, strategy and entrepreneurship. My interest was the one on ent-ship, presented by Waverly Deutsch. My biggest take-away - the amount of passion she had for what she did. I must say I have not seen that in many of the professors I have had the chance to observe at various b-schools. It was motivating, to say the least. Ent-ship is the second most popular concentration(after finance, of course) at the GSB. The resources for someone interested in going down this path are impressive indeed. The coolest thing about Chicago is the unbelievable flexibility of the curriculum. Except for the LEAD program, there are no required courses and it's electives from day one. One can truly tailor a program that is in line with what they want to do.

The next session was a mock class. It was especially interesting because we were doing a short case on performance evaluation - a subject that was the topic of a mock case session at LBS. I got to compare styles of teaching. I felt the LBS session to be much more experiental in arriving at the answer. The professor used an example of calling the odds on a pin falling on its head, and once we had made the choices, flipped the pin, asked us why we had made the choices and related it to the issue of rewarding behaviors vs. outcomes. The Chicago class was different. We started with a case with limited information, followed by an open discussion with lots of questioning - us asking the prof, he asking us, students asking students - and finally we got the point of the case. I was very impressed. I would have also been a top contender if they were handing out Statue of Liberty awards that afternoon ;-)

After the class I was loitering outside and the professor who ran the class was going home, and he stopped by and said hi and we ended up talking for almost ten minutes about the school, their teaching philosophy, my career interests and why Chicago should be on the top of my list of schools to consider. Given my background, he said that I would be successful there and encouraged me to apply. I must say I was sold on Chicago by that point.

Later in the evening, I talked with the co-chairs of the Enterpreneurship/VC and High-Tech clubs. There is a growing interest in these areas at the GSB, and once again I was struck by the passion of these guys for what they did. It's not something quantifiable, but something I could feel when I was talking to them. Tons of energy.

I also met with Chicago bloggers Byron and Jeremy. It was great to talk with them over the two days - thanks guys for all the insights into life at the school. It was very helpful.

The next day I trotted back to school in time for my interview. My interviewer was an alumni who wasn't an MBA but a Ph.D. from the school, so there were some awkward moments. My career interests were something she wasn't entirely familiar with, and she didn't have answers for some MBA specific questions I had. That aside, it was a very conversational interview. I came away from it with a very good feeling. Oh, and the interview room was a glass walled corner room with ridiculously beautiful views.

Chicago has been a revelation. A month ago, I wasn't even considering the school, but now I am going to apply round 1. I actually like the academic focus of the school. I also like, in a wierd kind of way, that it is not a slam dunk school for tech/entrepreurship a la Sloan or Haas or Stanford. I guess this appeals to the part of me that loves a challenge.

Final thoughts:
On the bus back to the city, the thought that came to mind was if they would actually read the essay answers on the applications. I know, it sounds screwed up. But, see, the Chicago questions are pretty whacko. It's going to take 'off the wall' answers (to quote an admissions person) to cut it. And a class filled with those that came up with those answers is going to be a pretty cool set of people to spend two years with(i hope you have noticed the incredibly cocky assumption that I am going to be one of them ;). But again, Chicago is still a school that attracts both students and recruiters primarily interested in finance. Will there be not a temptation to bring in the Wall Street crowd that graduated from Yale and scored 770's regardless of essays ? I hope not.

One of the guys sitting next to me during the Dean's address tapped me on the shoulder asked me, out of the blue, if it was Diversity Weekend. C'mon man, why the automatic assumption that if there are a large number of African-American prospectives it must be diversity weekend ? Chicago has only preview event, open to everyone. This dude, who it appeared from his tone felt out of place, was the only person I met over the weekend that I wouldn't have wanted to go to school with.

Wharton Application goes Complete

Just got the status update email from W. My application is complete for R1 and has been forwarded to the Admissions Committee for evaluation.

May the force be with you my dear app ...

ALCS Game 5. Bleachers C. Section 42. Row 8. Seat 5.

That was me !!!!

I've got a smile on my face a ding couldn't wipe :-) wow. WoW. WOW. Being at the Sox-Yanks game last night was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. To say everyone in the ballpark was drained is an understatement, yet you couldn't see any of that in the tears and kisses and group hugs at the end of the almost six hour marathon. man, it was a roller coaster ride of emotions like never before.

we ain't gonna roll over and die. no siree bob. this is going to be the year, y'all just wait and see.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

why me? why now? why always like this?

life is not fair man.

i was putting the final touches to my wharton app, and having filled in the final details, i stepped aside from the app for a few minutes before i submitted. stretched a bit, got some more coffee, and checked my email.

and there it was - a ding from London. yup, this was the official ding from last season, took 'em this long to send it out after considering me for an early admit for the 2007 class. i find it hard to describe how i felt. it was literally like being shot in the chest. not because i was expecting an admit or anything. not at all. that email brought back a flood of bad memories and broken dreams from last year just as i was about to submit the first of a new set of applications. i hope no one is that situation, ever. it was crushing. getting my kellogg ding minutes after i submitted wharton last year is still fresh in my memory.

but i am an optimist, if anything. if it had to happen, better before i submit my wharton app. i am now free of any association with last year's applications. it is a clean slate. we start anew.

Submitted wharton on time.

T minus 3 hours and counting

recommendations in.
essays done.
essay 1 reviewed by 2 sources. feedback mainly grammatical. rectified. needs some smoothing around transitions. will be done.
essay 2. this was pretty personal. will it work ? the first essay i think i've written where i didn't think about that at all.
job description etc still to be done. will be done.

oh, my shoes broke during my visit to haas. so bought new ones for my trip to chicago. was thinkin' of FMG as i walked to the store. hope this is my good luck charm.

that's all for now.

wharton, here comes the yogi. again.

;-) ;-)

essay 2 feedback

was simple : I like it !

this is from someone who knows me well. strange how the smallest of things can cheer one up so much. i feel so good right now.

back to finishing my app.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Wharton Raw and Uncut

that's how my essays are going to be. Have fun with them all you lucky adcom people. If you must, please recycle the paper they are printed on instead of throwing them into your fireplace ;-)

had a great time in the bay area over the long weekend. visited stanford friday, berkeley monday. a detailed post will find its way to this blog soon when i can find the time. the one consequence was that my W essays couldn't get into the form, or even shape in cases, that I wished they were in. no worries, i still got 46 hours ;-)

for now a few thank-you's are in order.

aregon, depack, dave, swoops & s.o.'s (where applicable) - it was great that you could make the trek out to palo alto friday night. it was neat to hook up with so many bloggers at once, and it was loads of fun. i really liked nola. for those going who-the-what-the, nola is a bar with a rockin' bourbon street vibe. it seems like a great place to celebrate. so, here's the deal - when we all get our admits a few months from now, i'll fly back to the left coast and we meet up again at nola, drinks on me.

the women of stanford (hmm, i don't think i've ever seen that phrase before :) who showed me around, and also let me peek into one of your rooms. wink-wink. awright, the wink-wink stuff was for effect. a special shout out to my very gracious host - thanks so much for taking the time.

chunkyPitbull, 'twas great to finally meet you buddy. i tell ya, and by ya i mean all the schools who didn't take up on his offer to go there last year, big mistake. oh wait ... he's a yankee so maybe it was a deserved fate ! just kidding. JUST KIDDING.

and last but not the least, if you thought Dave was a helpful kinda guy going by all the stuff he's put up on his blog for all the prospectives, go meet him. he changed his plans to drive me all the way to berkeley and back. it was awesome to hang out with him. Dave, mucho gracias for the california hospitality.

before i get back to reliving the story of my life - last minute essays and applications - i just want to wish everyone who's about to hit the Submit button on their R1 applications the very best of luck. having spent last night on a red-eye, i suppose i've earned a certain privilege to use corny travel metaphors. i wish all of us reach our destinations, but I can say from my experience last year, the journey itself is equally rewarding. there will most likely be tears and joy, increased heartbeats everytime you get a new email, days of self-doubt, and days where you feel like you've conquered the world. I must have experienced every shade of emotion known to me, and then some.

on that note, ladies and gents, fasten your seatbelts for take-off. here's to an interesting few months ahead.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Contemplating Confucius on my way to California

Right now, I'm experiencing a familiar sinking feeling. My aim was to get done with Wharton essays last night. They are not. Man, I so wanted to not get into the last-minute mode which screwed me up last time.

Confucius said, "Study the past, if you would define the future". Well, I have studied the past, big time, but I guess I'm not doing much about learning from it to define the future. I don't feel good about myself today. Where is my sense of fear, of urgency, of hunger ? I know things will not automatically fall into place at the last minute. I might comfort myself deep down somewhere that they will, but experience tells me they will not. It's pull up my new-socks-that-i-bought-for-class-visits time. The reason I wanted to get this done with was because I will be in CA tonite and spend tomorrow visiting Stanford (though not sure what I'll do there except the infosession) and Berkeley monday. I didn't want to have any other distractions and spend time at those schools thinking only about the schools. As Confucius also said, "Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart". The plan as it stands now is to work more on my essays on airports/planes tonite and hopefully I will have them done.

Alex, in my feedback session, told me that one of the reasons I was dinged was timing, applying in R3 and that I should, now that I have the time, work to submit in R1 this time around. So, what have I done to improve my candidacy since the last time ? The honest answer has to be nothing really, no ? That hurts.

But, all is not lost yet, and I will work this thing out, whatever it takes. I turn yet again to good old Confucius for inspiration:
"Heaven, when it is about to place a great responsibility on a man, always first tests his resolution, wears out his sinews and bones with toil, exposes his body to starvation, subjects him to extreme poverty, frustrates his efforts so as to stimulate his mind, toughen his nature, and make good his deficiencies. Men for the most part can mend their ways only after they made mistake. Only when they are frustrated in mind and in their deliberations can they stand up anew. "

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I would recommend some sleep

My first official all-nighter of this application season. It's 6:18 in the morning and I just spent 3 hours being educated in the hard, hard art of recommendation writing.

Nope, I'm not writing my own recommendations. I was contacted by a company to write a letter of reference for an ex-manager of mine who's aiming for a VP/Director-level position there. I must say it felt great that someone would think so highly of me to use me as a reference for a position so important. So, I set out to do the best job I could. And it was hard. They sent me a form and I had to answer 12 questions, ranging from strengths, to greatest weaknesses, to would you hire this guy, etc. It was only after I started to write it that I realized the enormity of what I was doing. My words could potentially have a role to play in deciding the direction of someone's career. That's some serious pressure. After three hours of thought and wordsmithing, it's done and sent its way and I'd like to think I did a good job to the best of my ability.

It was also a window into what my recommenders must be going through. I realize I was a bad, bad person for not giving them enough lead time last year. This time, things are going to be a tad different. One of my Wharton recommendations has already been submitted, and Berkeley is being worked on and should be ready to go this weekend. My second Wharton recommendation, on the other hand, is in some deep doodoo. My recommender is maha-busy (an Indianized-English phrase from where I come from that loosely translates to super-busy) and will 'try' to get it in before the 14th. I hope it works out. Else it's going to be some maha-deja-vu. I had a recommendation submitted 2 hours after the R3 deadline last year, but thanks to the generosity of the good people at Wharton, I was afforded a consideration. This time, I think it may mean automatic R2 which would suck maha-big-time.

I'm seriously considering closing my eyes for a few minutes. But I fully well know what that means, so I'm going to go get some coffee, take a shower and head out to work early. Back home tomorrow at around 5 and go to bed. Wake up around midnight and go all night again. The problem is, once the sleep cyle is disturbed, it's maha-hard to get back in rhythm.

Damn. I wish I didn't have to write that recommendation ;-)

Monday, October 04, 2004

SpaceShipWon !


The Ansari X-Prize was claimed today. SpaceShipOne, the groundbreaking ( spacebarrier-breaking, really) rocketship designed by Burt Rutan and financed by Paul Allen, made it all the way to 377,591 feet into space this morning. It was its second flight within two weeks with a 3-person weight equivalent payload to cross an altitude of 328,000 feet, which is the internationally recognized boundary of space. This meets the conditions to win the $10 million X-Prize.

This is just too awesome. A private firm designing and building an entire space program from launch vehicles to engines to safe reentry for around $25 million. As you may probably know, Richard Branson has decided to license SpaceShipOne's technology to start a new company, Virgin Galactic, that will send people to space for $200,000 a pop starting 2007.

Charles Lindberg's Spirit of St. Louis flight from New York to Paris in 1927 was in response to a similar contest, the Orteig Prize. Looking at how far commercial aviation has come in the decades since, one can only hope that the X-Prize leads to similar advances in space flight. I think it is not too wild a dream for us to actually go to space someday in the near future. I, for one, would love to.

Many congratulations to everyone involved, not only with SpaceShipOne, but all the other teams who have spent the last few years working to go to space and win the prize. Y'all rock.