Sunday, December 28, 2008

Time for plan B..... when reality strikes

The Round 1 results of most Bschools out. For some it signals the end of the search of their dream BSchool. But for others like me the hunt is still on. Things haven't looked up since my last post.  After the Three C's (read Columbia, Cornell and  Chicago) came three d's (read Dinged without interview).The denial notification as always is  diplomatic...."you are a fine candidate... but sorry we will not offer you admission".

Although the Admissions Committee has given careful consideration to your application for admission to Columbia Business School, we are unable to offer you a place in the class. The number of students who apply for admission to the School is many times greater than those we can accept. It is unavoidable that we must disappoint many fine candidates.
It was extremely difficult to make this decision, and we sincerely hope that our inability to accept you will not discourage you from seeking other ways to achieve your goals. If you wish to reapply to a future term, please visit our website at for a reapplication checklist.
Linda B. Meehan
Assistant Dean, Executive Director for Admissions


Thank you for applying to Chicago Booth's Full-Time MBA Program. Your application has received the careful consideration of our Admissions Committee. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you admission to the Class of 2011.
The superb quality of this year's applicant pool presented the Admissions Committee with some difficult decisions. Three members of the Committee reviewed your application in its entirety before our decision was made. Applicants are evaluated on several criteria, including academic preparedness, professional achievements, communication skills, extracurricular/community involvement, leadership, self-awareness, understanding the value of the MBA experience, and fit with Chicago Booth.
We certainly appreciate the effort you put into this process, and we wish you every success as you continue to plan for your future.

Rosemaria Martinelli
Associate Dean, Student Recruitment and Admissions

The Admissions Committee of the Johnson School at Cornell University completed a comprehensive review of your application. After careful consideration, we will not offer you admission to the Johnson School. We appreciate the time and effort you dedicated to completing the application. This was a difficult decision for us since many applicants exhibit unique strengths. Competition for the MBA program remains especially rigorous and we must deny admission to many fine candidates each year. Thank you for your interest in the Johnson School. We wish you the very best in your future endeavors.


Results are awaited for Yale and Stern. I have put the Tuck application on hold. However after these three straight dings (10 if you count the 7 dings in the previous application season),  I have started doubting my chances in these schools. 
Everything is in a state of flux. The 720 gmat score no longer looks competitive. The CA & CFA qualifications doesn't seem to add weight to the applications.  I have second thoughts about spending another $200 - $225 on an application . 

Now it's either applying to a safe schools or finding alternate means to achieve my  career goal. 

That's all for now.

Congrats to all  those who made it to their dreams schools....

For others Happy hunting !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Three C's

For those who were wondering where the hell did this blogger vanish????, you guessed it right...
I was busy with applications.....
Couple of months back I had published my target list.....
Here's my report card

Target:- Status

  • Wharton :- Pushed to Round 2
  • Columbia :- Submitted on Oct 04 ED:)
  • Chicago :- Submitted R1 Oct 15 (just made it...)
  • Tuck :- Pushed to R2 ( November 12)
  • Cornell Johnson :- Submitted on Oct 6, 2008
  • Texas Austin (Mc Combs) :- Have second thoughts....
  • Carnegie Mellon: Tepper :- Have second thoughts.....

During this period some new schools have made it to my hit list...

Yale (Reapplication) :- R1 Target Oct 22
NYU Stern (Reapplication) :- R1 Targst Nov 15

so far for now.....

more updates later.....

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What are you made of...

Frequently while writing the essays we get overly obsessed by our work experience and academic performance and forget that we are not the sum of these two alone.. there is something more to us that make us different from all the others having a similar profile or similar experience. This is reflected in the our culture, choices we make, our approach to problems, things that keep us going. Frequently this  is overlooked.

I came across an excellent blog on this aspect of the application...

Will i be proud to call you a fellow alum

This blog talks about essays "merely putting some why's and examples to the Resume"

Something worth sharing....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

So what's your style

A friend of mine,after reading my essays, said an interesting point . This friend was born and brought up in India. Six years back he went to US to pursue an MBA degree and is living in US since then.

He told that there are couple of ways to write a paragraph.
  • One is Deductive Approach. Here you say a lot initially and then arrive at the end result towards the last part of the paragraph.
  • Other is the Inductive Approach. It means you state what you want to mention in the first couple of sentences then expand them in the later part of the paragraph.
The writings and presentations in US are generally more inductive rather than deductive. We Indians typically tend to follow the deductive approach in all our writings. Mine is no exception. He told that it would help me if I am more inductive in my essays (though it is the content of the essays that will make the eventual difference).

Something worth noting ....

Monday, August 11, 2008

Its the same bitter sweet feeling....

Finally ...
The application season has started in full flow with most of the schools announcing their essays and the opening up their online application forms.

The month started with the results of Reliance Stanford Scholarship application. For most of the applicants it was a disappointment. To be fair quite a few applicants (including me) overlooked the financial-need angle and might have failed to 'demonstrate financial need' in their applications (though this may not be the only reason). As for me I sincerely hope that this is not sign of things to come. Last year I started with a bang (read admission offer from ISB and interview call from Wharton and Yale - all coming within a span of a week or two) and ended with a whimper (dings dings and more dings). Hopefully this year will be the different from the last.

I am presently working on the Columbia Applications and I am now back those dreaded essays. I started with the Columbia application because....
  • It is "The Columbia Business School!!!!!!!" - an obvious choice for someone who wants to pursue a career in Investment Management.
  • It has rolling admissions. i.e. earlier you apply, faster will you get to know your result. (remember my Plan B?) I want to be better prepared if thing start going the way it went last time
  • I didn't apply to CBS last year. So I can start with a clean slate. This gives a bit of physiological comfort which is very essential for the first application.

Initially I had planned to complete the application by August 15th but the way things are moving I think I wont be able to submit it before Aug 21. I have consciously refrained from looking into my last years essays at least till the time I have the first draft of essays with me and I will be be devoting more time in the online application forms, something I failed to do last year.

This is all for now....

Keep reading (especially my blogs:) ....

Keeping blogging.....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The list is out !!! (Better Late than never...)

As mentioned in my previous post I am targeting 7 schools initially and planning to apply to all of them in the first round. This is more or less my final list.
  1. Wharton
  2. Columbia
  3. Chicago
  4. Tuck
  5. Cornell Johnson
  6. Texas Austin (Mc Combs)
  7. Carnegie Mellon: Tepper.
Changes if any will happen in the last two on the list. Two other colleges which I has to keep aside after lots of thoughts were Darden and Michigan Ross. In case none of the 7 applications gets converted into interview calls, I would probally apply to 2 -3 more colleges. I have not zeroed in in these round 2 schools (I sincerely pray that I would'nt have to). Some tentative schools for round 2 are Michigan&, Darden ( incase I dont apply in round 1), ISB, Vanderbilt, Fisher.

I know that even 7 Bschools in round 1 will be a huge task (my previous experience says so:).

I will start with Schools like Columbia and Mc Combs which have rolling applications. More on these Bschools & Applications in the next few days...

Keep reading....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Of Stretch Schools, Safe Schools and all that Stuff

With the start of Application Season starts the unavoidable process of School Selection. A common predicament facing the applicants is selection of "Safe Schools", both -How many to select & whether or not to select one.

Most applicants on an average apply to around than 7-8 Schools. What shifts the balance in favor of keeping at least 1 safe school is that among the 7-8 Schools is that
  • The top B schools i.e Stretch Schools have a dismal acceptance record ( every 5 out of 6 applicants get rejected)
  • For Most applicants it is necessary to get into at least one of the applied schools by the end of the application season. Not everyone has the time and energy to go through the entire process allover again the next year.
  • The top B Schools are terribly expensive whereas you stand a good chance of getting a big scholarship if selected by a safe school. So a safe schools works out to be a better return on investment
But some of the applicants (me included) still decide to keep safe schools out of the list.... Why?
  • Is it because we believe that only the top B Schools will help us to achieve our career goals spectacularly ?.. may be. But remember B schools are not an end by itself but only a means to an end
  • Or because we believe Safe schools are just mediocre schools ?... Not necessarily true. Safe schools are those which you believe you have a very good chance of getting into (because of your accads, professional or personal background). For e.g. Schools which are Stretch Schools for some one scored 610 in GMAT might be Safe schools for some on who scored 770
So whats the real reason? ...
Some of us are desperate to change things around us& to change ourselves in this process...

to stretch ourselves to the limits & to expand our horizons....
to inspire, to get inspired...
and at the end of all this achieve our full potential (or even better, go beyond our full potential.)
For most of us this is the last opportunity to quit our jobs and get involved in a fulltime learning program and we want to proudly say (to ourselves) -" I got into the Best possible MBA Program. I am incapable of doing any better"

Not keeping a Safe school in the application , to some may seem to be ridiculous and impractical, while to others may be the only way out. Different people tend to look at the same thing from different perspectives and arrive at different conclusions. But thats life and you have to live with it.

But what about me? ....where stand have I taken?
Well I still stand by my last years decision of not applying to a Safe school...

But this time around I have also decided to keep a plan B ready in case things go awry. As I have started well in advance, I am targeting to finish off 7 application by round 1 . In case none of the applications gets converted into interview calls, I will apply some more schools in round 2. This round of application will definitely contain some safe schools. I guess beyond a certain point you stop optimizing your potential and start banging your head against a closed door.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

So what next?

It been a one crazy journey in the past one year. ...

  • Wrote CFA Level 3 Exam amidst all confusions created by AICTE (only CFA candidates from India will understand what I am talking about).
  • Started Preparing for GMAT Exam (probably I started it a bit late ... Actually giving GMAT in the second week of October is too late)
  • Started applying for various B schools. (Again tooo late... did not even apply to a single school in the first round).
  • Decided against everybody's advice of keeping at least 1 safe schools (and still stand by my decision).
  • Underestimated the time that will be taken for various essays... (only 4 out of the eight schools where in the round 2. Remaining four were in round 3.)
  • Only one successful Hit - ISB.... And kindly declined this offer for admission (some people are still surprised by this decision). When I received the admission offer, I already had interview calls form Wharton & Yale and was in the process of applying for LBS and Chicago. I believed that I stand a chance in at least one of these schools.

Deep down I knew that If none of the remaining applications workout (as it didn't) I would be left nowhere(as I am now). But at times in life it seems to makes more sense to give up every thing you have for something which you deeply aspire. You are ready to take chances, keep going and do not accept defeat... till the very end ... till everything is over.

So what next???

  1. Start afresh... (forget every thing which you did last year.. except of course your mistakes :)
  2. Reconsider your schools selection (No point in reapplying to the same schools unless you believe that you your candidature has substantially improved from the last time or you believe that you closely missed getting into that B-school)
  3. Start Early (As I am not planning to retake GMAT, I can straightaway start with applications and aim to submit all applications by round 1 itself)
  4. Utilize time till for improving your candidature (enroll for new courses, acquire new skill sets, join new team activities etc...)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Reliance Stanford scholarship - essay

The Reliance Stanford Scholarship has caught the attention of all Indian MBA aspirants. Sounds too good to be true. The initial shortlisting would be of 50 candidates who would then apply to Stanford. Of these upto 5 candidates would be selected by Stanford based on their admission criteria. Except for the condition of returning to India withing two years of completion of MBA program, it has no strings attached.

The heart of the application is the Scholarship Essay How do you aspire to shape India's future? (all the remaining parts of the application are factual information). So how do you approach this essay.
  • Its "Shaping India's Future"; not "Changing India's Future". As Missionmba rightly says this is not an opportunity for discussing on what all are wrong in India and hence need to be set right. The focus should be on giving a shape to India's future. Changes if any should only be incidental.
  • This Scholarship is for "developing leaders in India who are committed to the country’s human and socio-economic progress." Hence it is imminent that the essay should discuss human and socio- economic issues in India and how they form part of your plan of shaping India's future
  • The Application form asks about your professional aspirations and also states that "In the essay section, you will have an opportunity to elaborate upon your professional aspirations." Hence it would be advisable to link your professional aspirations to the theme of the essay
  • Don't forget that this is an application for getting into Stanford. Hence It would be prudent to discuss how MBA from Stanford fits into the overall scheme of things. This presupposes doing a bit of research on Stanford GSB and its program.
  • Finally keep in mind the word limit (only 250 words). Use other parts of the application wisely to highlight your abilities and accomplishments .

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Yale Feed Back

Got Reply from the "Senior Admissions Specialist" (whatever that means!!!!!!!) of Yale SOM last week. The reply goes as follows
"Thank you for your e-mail. The Admissions Committee will contact you regarding feedback within the next few weeks."

Let's hope for the best

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lessons from the Great Fall

Score Card fall 2008
  1. Kennan Flagler -R-3 (Interviewed & Dinged)
  2. NYU Stern -R2- (Dinged without Interview)
  3. Wharton -R2- (Interviewed & Dinged)
  4. Yale SOM -R2- (Interviewed & Dinged)
  5. LBS -R3-(Dinged without Interview)
  6. Chicago -R3-(Interviewed & Dinged)
  7. Stanford -R3-(Dinged without Interview)
"If a mistake is not a stepping stone, it is a mistake"

Now that I have decided to make a fresh start for Fall 2009, it is imperative to know why Fall 2008 "Mission MBA" didn't click. That brings us to feedback from the admissions committee.

Now not all b-schools give feedback to its re-applicants. (even bschools which give feedback, don't offer it to all reapplicants.) I decided that my luck would be in those bschools where I reached till the interview stage (i.e. Wharton, Yale & Chicago). I was not among the "lucky few" who were selected for feedback by Wharton. Chicago doesn't offer feedback "due to the high volume of applications." Yale Admissions committee has asked me to contact them in mid-June. The next best source is the alumni who took your interview. (Though they have not read your entire application, they have had a firsthand interaction with you & can conclude whether they will be proud to call you an alumni.)

I finally got an opportunity to speak with the Chicago interviewer today . The summary of our discussion is as follows.
  • Present a more holistic picture . I came across as a quant-heavy kind of guy because of my CA & CFA qualification. I should try to prove that there is more to me than my accads, workex and a good Gmat and toefl score. ( All these are now-a-days more of a basic hygine factors) I should showcase my leadership traits in and beyond work place.
  • Apply early. This year was terribly competitive ( the offer -to- acceptance ratio was over 90% compared to previous years 65%). So by round three almost all the seats were taken and even no of waitlisted candidates were less than the previous year
  • Recommendation Out of the two recommendation give one of your immediate superior and one of a person who is at a senior level in the organization hierarchy. The later would stress on my future potential as a manager, leader etc.(My recommendations were from my my immediate superiors of my current and previous organizations).
  • Getting interview call from the bschools like Wharton, Yale and Chicago should be take as an positive indication. I am on the right track in terms on my career goals(i.e. Investment Management) and am able to make a convincing case for the same through my Essays.