Myths and Misconceptions

Here’s what i have figured out about MBA application process. I am in no way shape or form, the authority figure hell i haven’t even applied yet. So it’s my opinion and you’re entitled to disagree.

  1. Safety School – They don’t exist. There are students who got accepted at HBS and rejected by Duke. You’re single piece of a jig saw puzzle and you’ll get into the school that requires this piece to complete their picture, regardless how mediocre your stats are. ( Excluding non ranked schools who want to lift their Avg. Gmat scores by admitting students with great stats).
  2. Different Story for each School – It won’t work. You have on dream, one purpose and one goal. If you try multiple story lines, they will catch you lying. It’s hard to keep up one lie let alone a dozen.
  3. Big Applicant Pool – Stop worrying about the Indian IT Male applicant pool. If Adcoms. only cared about your GPA and GMAT they would’ve picked candidates with top marks. Its all about personality- who you are, what you want and why you want it ? Its about your experience – what have you done, why have you done it and how did you do it and also impact you had.
  4. Acceptance Rate – Acceptance rate at HBS < 10%, Stanford 9% etc… It doesn’t matter. You either get in or you don’t. Even if you get waitlisted , either you get in or you don’t. Its 50% not 20% not 10% not 9%.
  5. Fit – Ok this one is kinda tricky. You only end up doing MBA at one school, so technically nobody can definitively compare two schools and it’s fit. Your experience talking to alumni and current students isn’t same as one you will get from talking to your peers. You can’t predict the future so let destiny decide this one for you.
  6. Rankings – Employers don’t check yearly MBA rankings before hiring interns or handing out full time job offers. Only the prospective applicants check the rankings. Harvard/Stanford/Wharton are league apart PERIOD !!!. Ivey league schools are different league. Booth, Kellogg, Haas are unbeatable in their own way. You are not your school’s ranking.

Passion wears out, motivation runs out, its Obsession that lasts till the end. Admit or Reject put your heart into it and you’ll succeed in life.

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Foster – Class Visit

There’s something in Pacific North West that you cannot find anywhere else. The atmosphere and scenic nature are next to none, with mountains on one side and ocean on the other. I always wanted to check out Foster School of Business as it’s close to Vancouver and also because of it’s in heart of Seattle with easier access to Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing and other major Fortune 50 companies. So i decided to visit Foster on our long weekend and attend a class. I reached out to MBA ambassador Stephan Tomick and he set me up with Elaine for coffee chat. img_4648As it turns out my cousin also goes to U-Dub (University of Washington). So he showed me around the campus and i got much more candid tour than i expected. After that we met up with Elaine and asked her gazillion  questions. From class size to diverse backgrounds of students to helpful community everything checks out. My Why MBA response ranges from Fin-tech to Management Consulting to Climb corporate ladder in Tech. Though Fin-tech will always be my reason to go for MBA, but i have to be realistic as to what if it doesn’t workout. By Indian standards i should’ve grand children by now but grad school is holding my mom back from creating an account for me on e-harmony & shaadi.com. Failed career transition + pressure from parents won’t do me any good, so i have to have some backup plan. Talking to Elaine, i found out that Foster can help with Tech placement, Fin-tech and also help me land a consulting gig (might not be at top 4) though it’ll require lot of effort from my side. Her complete honesty won more brownie points for Foster than their online MBA brochure. She also got me in touch with another first year student who got Consulting gig at McKinsey. Now this is where crazy stuff happens, i literally shook hands with Chrsitian (McKinsey intern) as he was on his way out of the classroom for a meeting. He gave me his card and told me contact him if i need help, which i did. I have never seen anyone respond so quickly to my message on LinkedIn not even the forever nagging recruiting consultants. All the three students that i talked to at Foster were more welcoming than any other MBA student i talked to since i started this journey.
Honest confession, i didn’t think of Foster as a top tier B-school and was under the impression that i’ll keep it as my Safety school. Boy i was so wrong but i am glad i decided to take time out to visit Foster. It might not be on top of B-school rankings but it has surely made it to my list of schools.

 

 

 

Self reflection & Recommenders

Spending two weeks in States, travelling coast to coast, visiting all the exceptional B-Schools. It reinvigorated the desire to go all in this MBA process. Before visiting Haas (first school on schedule), I thought I’ll check out the campus, gather as much detail as possible and use that in my applications later. But I was so wrong, you don’t really get material for your essays. Yes you do attend classes and it gives you better context but you can find same information online if you dig deep enough. Visiting the schools is more of realizing who you are and where you fit, instead of what the school is about. Now I may be wrong but it depends on each individual. Some of the schools I visited were instant click while others were complete dud.

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One thing that I can say with certainty is self reflection is so crucial to application process and it’s naive to delay it till last minute. I don’t have a stellar background, I am right up there in academics but financial and personal circumstances held me back and I was never really able to utilize my potential to its maximum. So I have to stand out and I have to let my guard down. I have to write down who am I , what I want to accomplish and why I feel I can accomplish it. Just the thought of opening up to my recommenders and sharing my life story with them scares the crap out of me. Everyone walks around with aura of invincibility and this could have potential negative impact on me. Worst case scenario is I don’t get admitted and end up staying at my current job, seeing my recommenders on daily basis. Best case scenario, they are genuinely nice and understanding people and I do get into B-school.

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Either way, to get the most passionate and personal recommendation from them i have to share my story. So I have started opening up, writing on weekly basis – my background, my accomplishments, my interactions with my recommenders. I am talking to them more openly about career focus and future plans. So when the time comes, they are all ready and excited. Another benefit of doing this now is I can compile a package for them, stuff I might have done for them, things that have made huge impact but they might have forgotten about me. Also to show them why I am applying to a particular school, so they can communicate my ambitions and strengths through their writings as well.

Adios 2016

Toughest thing in life is to let go. We hold on to relationships, memories, objects from past just because of feel good factor.  But if there’s one thing we can’t hold onto- its time. We can try with our best of abilities and best of intentions but it has its own pace, won’t slow down for you and won’t speed up either. I have been so consumed with idea of getting an MBA that ever since i first conceived the thought of it , i’ve been counting days and hoping time will fly by. And i have overlooked other things that should equally be as important as getting into MBA. Yesterday i passed final course of my undergrad. It’s been long time coming (28 years long). Before going into 2017 i want to look back at things, take a moment to appreciate what i earned, what i achieved , reassess my goals, enjoy it for a bit and last but not least remind myself why i started this journey.

Relationships took a back seat, i didn’t fully commit to my passion of powerlifting, stopped writing poetry altogether. Sometimes i feel if i fail will it be worth it ? Giving up on so many things.  Then i hear the voice of 10 year old me, reminding myself why these sacrifices are necessary and why i can’t doubt myself. Entire world out there is doubting me and my dreams. I can’t do their job for them. I have to believe in my abilities and take a leap of faith.

Dear Destiny – if you deny me, i’ll defy you.

MBA Movies

So like must read books for MBA, there’s a must see movies list for MBA aspirants as well. Do i recommend any of these – not really. But if it gives me a slight .00001% edge over others then why not. I watched Boiler room and Insider so far, hopefully over Christmas vacation i will finish the remaining 3 as well.

Boiler Room – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181984/

The Insider – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0140352/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Wall Street – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094291/?ref_=nv_sr_2

The GodFather – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068646/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Enron The Smartest Guys in the Room – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1016268/?ref_=nv_sr_1

 

Trip to India

I am back like i promised/planned on.

So where have i been for last month and half ? – India
It all happened last minute and had to book tickets for India in late september. My sister finally decided its time and wedding date was set for October 20th. I thought it’ll be tough convincing my boss for extra time off but it all worked out eventually.(thank you Tony). October 8th i boarded a China Southern Flight to Guangzhou and from there to Delhi. Its the last time ill be taking a flight with layover, let’s just its brutal and end the discussion. 20 hours flight , 2 hour layover, 1.5 hour wait for luggage, 6 hour drive from airport to my home city (Khanna, Punjab) – i was tired but there’s something in Punjab’s air. I had Coming Home ft Skylar Grey from Diddy- Dirty Money on repeat blasting in my headphones and smile on my face.By the time i got home it was October 10th 7.30 am IST. So 2 days of my life have passed without any sleep (i can’t sleep on plane even if you give me a tranquilizer shot.) And as soon as i got home i was told to freshen up, have some tea and get ready as there’s lot of work to do :S.
Lately i analyze everything as an MBA applicant and even the wedding preparations that i was tasked to supervise, i assigned them to my friends and cousins. Boy it was hectic but it was fun. From 16th to 22nd October we had a wedding event everyday. I am pretty sure i pulled 3-4 all nighters during that time. From decorating the house to getting marriage palace ready, to getting temple prepped up for wedding ceremony, to buying fireworks for Diwali (and for wedding), to finalizing the wedding photographer, sending out last minute invites , to making sure tasting food at the marriage palace, meeting and greeting relatives as they started coming on 16th and setting up place for them to sleep – phewwww the list is so long that i can type for days. Luckily everything went as planned without any major hiccups. Firework show went for 2+ hours , Jaago (close family n friends going around neighbourhood houses at night and dancing) went on for 3 hours and ladies sangeet was on for even longer time and all 3 of these events happened on single evening.
So between all this fun and celebration i didn’t get a chance to study for GMAT or attend any online B-School events. I have bunch of youtube videos saved in my watch list from these events, probably will watch them on this weekend (Rememberance day long weekend.)
Going back to my trip- so it was all fun till 23rd October. That’s when i got sick, dropped 20 pounds and was on bed for pretty much rest of my entire trip. Came back to Canada on 31st and its been bit over a week and still trying to recover.
All in all it was a nice change from my set routine. Though i didn’t get a chance to study for GMAT or better equip myself with B-School knowledge or do any more research but i feel confident that once i recover fully from this viral fever, i’ll be able to go back at it with full force.
Everyone claims that B-School application process is insightful experience and this trip to India was a humbling one. It reminded me of where i come from, hardships of life that i had faced, privileges that i have that others don’t and responsibility that i have deliver on. Even though i have been sick lately but i feel like i have been slacking. And i have to get up, brush off the rust and work hard. I owe it to people who are not fortunate enough to take full advantage of the opportunities that i have been bestowed with. I have to make my family, friends and myself proud.

In a nutshell i am back more humble, more honest, more realistic and more hungry than ever.
Thanks 🙂

Back from long hiatus

I know I know. I promised myself a post a day, then a post every week but stuff happened.
My sister got married and our entire family went to India for that. It was pretty much a 7 day event with party every day. And after that much partying and exhaustion, i got sick (really sick). So finally i am back in Canada and getting back to work->gym->study lifestyle. I’ll write a detailed post about my trip tomorrow (pinky promise), untill then enjoy 10 strange and random facts about me that i just posted.