Monday, August 24, 2009

Reaching out for information on B-schools.

Now that i'm done with my first draft of essays for INSEAD, the majority of my time is spend trying to reach out for information on the schools and finding more about their mba programs. The best sources of information about a business school are undoubtedly its current students and Alumni.

I've managed to get in touch with atleast one person from each school that i'm applying to with the exception of IESE and ESADE. Fortunately, all the people i tried reach out graciously agreed to talk to me and to answer my questions about the school and the program. Last week was and this week is tightly scheduled with phone calls all over the world. This way i think i'll have a good idea about the schools and an insider perspective of the programs they offer.. This information is extremely valuable for my essays, and the way i approach each application.

Another task this week is to revisit all the INSEAD essays and give it a nice polish. Hopefully my second draft would fill in gaps in the essays and increase the effectiveness of the information the essays deliver.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Essays, books, document collection and more..

This week has really been tiring, both physically and mentally.. Lots of thinking and lots of paper work. Phew.. I started off with INSEAD's essays, and needless to say its been exhausting. INSEAD requires you to write 8 essays and the toughest part is that it gives you only 250 words in most of them to put forth your entire autobiography. If you thought writing essays was a weekend job - think again..

I'm on my 6th essays - the treacherous cultural shock essay and hope to complete my first draft by this week. The reason why I started off with INSEAD essays first is mainly because of 2 reasons: 1. its deadline is the first to come 2. its exhaustive question set. Once i complete all my 8 essays i'd have my entire life - past, present and future in paper. This would form a solid foundation to work on my successive applications. The downside is that, as with any job, the more you do it the better you get. So my best application would be the one that i put together after 2 or 3 schools.. But i'm willing to take this chance as my odds of getting into INSEAD are kinda less, thanks to my splendid performance in GMAT!!

Getting your transcripts sounds easy right - Wrong. Especially if you've done your undergrads from India!! My university in India has atleast 100 ways of how to make things harder for you!!! What i dont understand is why are there so many rules? Its my transcript, and whats the big deal giving it to me. Hell I'm paying for it!!
Anyways I've done all the tap dancing needed for the transcripts and hopefully they will be on their way in another 2-3 weeks. I've also spoken to my 'recommenders' and they have no problem writing one (actually 8) for me.

Finally let me leave you with some book recommendations which would definitely make the application process less painful.
* "How to get into the top MBA programs" by Richard Montauk: This book is a direct substitute to an Admission consultant!! A must have..
* "MBA Admissions Strategy: From Profile Building to Essay Writing" by Avi Gordon: A very practical book on how to bring out your best in your essays.
* "Snapshots from Hell" by Peter Robinson: makes an excellent casual read. And you thought getting into a b-school was the difficult part..

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Selecting B-schools and stepping into the essays!!

After much thought and career analysis I have made one decision which made the b-school selection task a tad easier. I have decided not to apply to any of the American b-schools. Don't get me wrong here, American schools are great, but they just don't fit into my needs and goals. Here are the reasons why i made such a decision:
1. My desire to work in Asia
2. 2year program = more $$$
3. My requirement for an international program
4. Student diversity - the most diverse program in US would probably have around 25% of its students from outside US as opposed to schools in EU and Asia where international students account for over 70% of the total intake.
5. Need for a change.

These reasons are not universal but it helped me make a decision. So what are the schools that passed my acid test?? Take a look:

* INSEAD - singapore (This might be a stretch)
* may be a couple of schools in China - need more research to be done..

* IE Business school
* Rotterdam
* ______ (TBD)
* ______ (TBD)

Hopefully this would be the list from which i'm going to apply to 6 schools, and hopefully I'll get into atleast one of them (fingers crossed)

I've started on my first essay which is my career post graduation. And like every applicant the first essay is bone crunching!! huh!!. I've become like a writer or a journalist carrying my scratch pad with me always and jotting down random thoughts. I have set a personal deadline to finish the first draft of 9 essays by 20th of this month. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Its time to cut to the chase!!

Warning: If you are going to take a GMAT test this week then DO NOT READ this post..

I'm a bad Computer Adaptive test taker.. Period. Needless to say, my third attempt at GMAT was not fruitful either!!! But now its high time to cut the chase and focus on my applications. I did manage a good quant score but my score on verbal was ridiculous. The feeling when i saw my verbal score was not surprise. It was pure shock!!. Lets just say that i got the same exact score as my highest score :(

But anyways i truly enjoyed this gmat journey and I'm happy that I did my part by giving my 110% to into my preparation. So I would like to take this moment to congratulate myself for the effort and thank my girl friend for being there and putting up with me throughout this journey of mine. Without her i could not have done it. I want to thank my parents for their support and blessing which was a driving force that kept me going. I also want to thank all the wonderful people here and the ones that i met through this blog who supported me immensely and encouraged me to go on. Finally, I want to sincerely thank my coach - Charles ( He is the best tutor one can ever have and i have learnt immensely from him no matter what the score says. If i had to do it all over again i would undoubtedly take his help in a heartbeat!!! I recommend him to anyone who wants some extra help with GMAT.

This doesn't mean I'm quitting my MBA dreams.. Nope absolutely not!!! My goal is not to score a 780 in GMAT. Rather my goal is to do an MBA from a good b-school and I'm still gonna fight for it. Although now I have to work a lot harder on my essays, i feel i have some good stories to tell the adcom. Hope things work out well in the end. I'm in the process of finalizing my b-school list. And once i am done with it i'll share it here.

The race is not yet over, its just begun!! Have a good day folks!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

GMATPrep, GMATFocus and some more studying..

With exactly 1 week left to study, I took a GMAT Focus test yesterday. I faced some tricky quant questions and as usual i got a score saying my range is 42 to 48. Ya never mind the score. But i got some great practice. IMO Gmat focus would give you the quant questions of the same difficulty level as would the real test. So took one test to get myself familiar with the difficulty level. Reviewed every question, went through the explanations given and took notes on the concepts. I also took a GMATPrep test today and ended up with a 720 - Q48 V41. Verbal seems to be fine but i got a lot of repeats here. Planning to give another GMATPrep test next week to wrap up my practice tests sprint and then I'll just review all the concepts that i've noted. The time for brutal struggle has passed and now I'm mentally preparing for my big day. Also no matter what i score - I'll take it coz i know i've worked hard for it!!

I dont think i'll be blogging for a week, will be back here with my Scores!!!! So wish me luck!!