Monday, September 28, 2009

INSEAD - Done!!

Finally today at exactly 12pm I hit the submit button and my application has made its way into the admission committee's file cabinet - Fingers, toes, arms and tentacles crossed. I believe I have given my best in the application and i hope my recommenders have supported my essays too. This moment was very exciting but at the same time, since it is my first application, i was nervous too. Now that i have lost total control over the admission process, the wait begins!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

5 days to deadline

30September is the day when i'll loose total control over my candidacy at INSEAD business school. That day would be the round 1 deadline for their September 2010 intake. Its actually funny that i still have some control over my candidacy but i'm not sure what to do with it!! lol. Anyways, all the formalities are done - the supporting document are sent, recommendations will reach by this weekend and data forms are filled in. So all thats remaining are the essays. After 6-7 drafts of 8 gruelling essays with a stingy word limit ranging from 200 to 500 words, I am almost there at the finish line. I plan to submit my application (online) with the essays on probably the 28th of September (or 29th utmost). My mom specifically asked me to submit it after the 26th, as that day according to Hindu astrology, my days of suffering will come to an end :) Mom - Whatever you say!!

That was the good news, bad news is that i have 7 more schools to go with the next deadline coming up very soon, 16 more day to be exact.

More on that soon..

Monday, September 14, 2009

The MBA Fair, my travel experience and applications.

The last weekend i attended an MBA fair conducted by the MBA Tour. I had a chance to meet with the adcom reps of various schools and discuss my application and my fit with the schools.

From my experience here are some tips to make the most out of an MBA Fair:

1. Preparation: Do your research well in advance and come prepared to the fair. get the schedule and highlight the presentations that you want to attend and dont forget to research well on the schools in which you are interested.

2. Ask questions: you will never get the attention unless you initiate conversation. So prepare questions that you want to ask the representatives. But never make the mistake of asking questions whose answer you could easily find on their website. Here are some of the worst questions you could ask:
* Do you have exchange programs?
* Whats your tuition fees?
* When is your application deadline?
* What did you say your school's name was?? (this may sound funny but one guy actually asked this in the middle of the presentation..)
These questions give a feeling that you are not really interested in the program and have not even taken the pains to check their website.

3. Network: These events are a great networking opportunity. Be sure to carry extra copies of your resumes and your Business cards. If you dont have a b-card - Make one!!

4. Small talk: Be prepared to make small talk and never feel shy to socialize. I met this lady at the lobby and started a conversation. 10 mins into the conversation i realize that she is the Associate dean of admission for one of my target schools!!

5. Dress to Impress: Dress appropriately. You are going to this fair coz your are interested in a business program. So act like a professional. Formal attire or at least business casuals would convey a good message.

6. Eat well: The events last for a whole day and believe me it is really tiring!! So make sure to drink lot of fluids and eat well whenever you get a chance. Make sure you are as fresh at 4pm as you were at 9am!!


My Vegas Trip

Like i mentioned in my previous post i had been to Las Vegas!! I also made it to the Grand Canyon and Zion national park. This definitely is the most amazing vacation i've ever had!! Had lot of fun. Here are some recommendation based on my experience:

* If you are in Vegas make sure to have at least one buffet at the strip. They are all normally good but my recommendation is Le Village Buffet at the Paris hotel!!

* Book your rental car from your own place of residence. Rental car costs at Vegas are ridiculous!!

* If you are in Vegas, make sure you visit the Grand Canyon and/or Zion National park. One of a kind - must see.

* If you gamble weekdays are the best time. Minimum bets are really half of what they are during weekends.

* And finally if you can AVOID US Airways - They have the crappiest of service!!

On the Applications end, I am almost done with my INSEAD essays. Just a few final adjustments remaining. I also have started my essay for HKU MBA program. So hopefully that would be second in line followed closely by ESADE. Will keep you all updated with the latest.

So thats it for now. Have a great week ahead!!

zài jiàn

Friday, September 4, 2009

Off to the Sin City!!

The exact word to express my feeling during the past couple of weeks is "Dizzy". Essays, b-school research, talking to students, talking to alumni, mailing the schools - wow i need a break and that's exactly what I'm getting this weekend.

The first monday of September every year is a holiday in the US. Its the Labor day. I'm not sure how much the term "Labor" comes to mind when one thinks of it, but there is something that comes to mind hearing that - Long Weekend!! And this long weekend i'm going to Vegas. I'm taking 4 days off from this grueling experience of B-school application and planning to sooth my brain cells with the lights of Vegas and the splendor of the Grand Canyon.

Will get back with my experience at the Sin city, not all of course as the saying goes "What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas"!!

So long folks have a great weekend.

P.S. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank my friends at Clear Admit who were extremely kind enough to send me a B-school Guide of INSEAD. Its simply amazing. Lots of information on the school and i can safely say that this guide is as close as it gets to a school visit !! Thanks Clear Admit!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cost of an MBA Vs. Return on Investment

This is the topic which is probably the most discussed one on any MBA forum you visit!! Not only is this the decision maker for any wannbe MBA but also the most important parameter that is used by prospective applicants to sort out their b-school list. I thought i'll put in my 2 cents towards this discussion here only blog!!

So whats the most important parameter Cost of an MBA or its return on investment? Is it wise to take a loan of a hundred grand with the hopes that the school's ROI is 2.5years or is it wise to go to a less expensive school atleast not worrying about the mammoth educational loan? Well the answer is not simple atleast to me.. But this is one of the factors that i took into consideration while sorting out my list of B-schools. Atleast in the current financial times, when getting a job in itself is a huge task which is not ease by the MBA tag behind you name, debt is a huge concern.

This led me to come up with this thought process. The market is going to regain its strength sooner or later. As history shows, Crisis and depression are temporary and hopefully in a couple of years this weak economy would be a thing of past like the great depression of the 70s. But an MBA is permanent. It is a once in a life time opportunity to advance once's career or to change it.. So if i have an opportunity to do an MBA from a school like INSEAD which costs around 80 to 90 grand would i take it.. Sure why not!! Ofcourse its a huge debt, but even if the current economical state prolongs the ROI, the value of the MBA always remains with me and I would be able to reap its benefits atleat in the long term.

On the contrary, if i do an MBA from a 3rd tier school which costs me half of Insead's cost but I'd have to compromise on its reputation and the program experience and if the school projects a placement record of 50% - how much of a value addition am i gaining? Probably not much!! Well what good is a inexpensive MBA program if it does not get me a good job?? People might argue that getting a job is ones own hands, and effort will definitely pay off. To these people here is my question - Do you really believe that? I dont. A wharton grad would have a better chance getting a his or her dream job than a Florida State grad!! Thats the painful truth - Reputation does matter and reputation has a price!!

So I'd take my chance with the future ROI rather than loosing my sleep over some inexpensive which does not take me to where i want to go!! Now there is another part to this discussion. From where and how do i come up with the money. Most of the top schools have their own financial aid office which assists students in getting a loan. Schools like IESE (which btw is extremely expensive) provides guaranteed loans to international students. Here again the reputation of the school plays a major role. The more reputed the school is the more likely are banks to sanction a loan. Most students don't even consider applying for scholarships in the belief that it might be a difficult task. In fact there are several external scholarships that one can apply for but of course this needs extra effort. One simple Google search would bring up many results of these external scholarships. And btw there are people still studying in Wharton, Columbia, NYU, INSEAD, LBS and IESE paying over a hundred grand for their MBA. They would be the best source of information on financing the MBA. So i believe proper research and some added effort would lead to a favorable outcome.

Anyways i guess i was able to put across my point. I'm not an expert in this matter, not even close to one. So kindly consider the above as my personal opinion.

Here are a few links that'll give you some expert opinion.

Business week ranks schools based on their ROI

Forbes Magazine ranks b-schools annually based on their ROI

A podcast from "MBA Podcaster" on how to calculate ROI.

On a personal note, I guess I'm make some progress with my essays, working on my third draft which i hope to complete by 10th of this month!!

My apologies for making this a long post.
Nothing more for now...