Sunday, September 26, 2010

Time Management

I decided that this should be my first post on my MBA experience here at IESE Business School - Time Management. This is by far the most important trait that one has to learn or will learn at a business school. I figured out that I am not the most qualified of people to speak about time management, so I'm attaching a video by the legendary (late) Prof.Randy Pausch giving one of the best lectures on Time Management. Unfortunately this legend passed away on July 25, 2008 due to complications from pancreatic cancer.

You can find more lecture videos of Prof.Randy Pausch here.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I love British Airways!

The day of an international flight is the day one is most anxious especially if you are traveling as a student. I was too, on the 24th of Aug. as i frantically finished my final packing. I always believed packing is an art and an acquired skill. But thank god, my mom is a born packer. So after weighing my 2 bags and hoping that British Airways wouldn't have a problem with 5 extra kilos, I started to check-in online. After two unsuccessful attempts of trying to check-in online, I called BA to see if my flight would actually be flying the next morning.

I spoke to a nice lady and before hanging up i asked her about my extra baggage weight. The following conversation transpired between us:

Me: I'm going to Spain to study and I have a lot of stuff that i would like to carry. So do you mind if I put 5 extra kilos on my bags?

BA: Are you aware of the Students offer with BA?

Me (obviously surprised and curious): No what is it? (hoping the discount would be on the weight)

BA: Thro' this offer you can carry another bag weighing 23kilos along with your 2 bags of 23 kilos ea.

Me: aaaaaaaaaa...... dddid you say an extra bag?

BA: All you have to do is give me is your visa number for verification.

Me (running in excitement to grab my passport): Sure, my visa number is ..........

BA: Alright then you are all set. Hope you have a great flight!

Now thats what i call a student friendly flight!

18 hours later........

I arrive at the airport with my three bags loaded into a cart barely able to see whats in front of the cart. I go thro' the scanning and reach the check in place. And another interesting conversation takes place....

BA: Hello. can i have ur ticket and passport please.

Me: Sure. (I give her the ticket and passport)

BA: Sir can you wait for some time as our systems are not yet ready to log you in as a student! If you could bare with me for 15mins, i'll check you in and you will be able to carry all the three bags.

Me: Sure I'm in no hurry..
(This is why you need to get there 3 hrs before the flight time!)

After 15mins...

Me: Are you ready to check me in?

BA: Yes sure.

Then she goes on a typing spree and finally looks at me and says:

BA: Sir, you are all set. We are giving you a complementary upgrade to the Club class! Here is your boarding pass and have a nice flight!

Club class!! 15 hours of flying in Club class. I couldn't have asked for more.

And as you might have expected I have a nice, and comfortable flight with all the goodies. Hmm when i come to think of it, i think they forgot my request for a pedicure. He he just kidding!

Anyways, that was my flight experience and right now I'm all settled in the most amazing city of Barcelona. I'll update you on my experience here at my first week at IESE in my next post.

Till then take is easy and keep it cool!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mixed Emotions

Its 22nd August which means in 3 days from now, I'll be on a flight to Barcelona. I'm actually not sure what I'm feeling right now and as a matter of fact I never was for the past several days. I'm overjoyed at the prospect of starting my MBA journey, meeting all the wonderful people there and visiting a new city/country. But at the same time I'm starting to feel sad at the thought of leaving behind my wife, parents and my brother. It'll be the first time in the past 5 years that I'll be living away from her (wife) and the thought of it is very depressing. But as she says I guess I'll have to do this to get myself an MBA and a 100K+ job to finance her shopping list. Jokes apart, I know the move is going to be tough and I know I'm going to miss her dearly!

Anyways lemme not invite any tears here! Coming to my pre-MBA preparations, I have been very very busy lately with my financial accounting pre-course, which i hope to finish by tomorrow, and with my packing. You know what I realized, packing is not only uninteresting but also one of the most laborious tasks - take it from a GMAT three timer! You need to have the right set of skill and planning to fit in a cupboard, a pantry, half of the washroom and a mobile Circuit City inside a single baggage and still make it weigh 23 kgs. Lucky for me, my mom is a packing-genius!!

I hope to squeeze in one more post before I say adios to India. Till then take it easy!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to get a Spanish Visa?

Disclaimer: The information on this post limits to obtaining a Study visa or a student Class D visa. Although this post is targeted for Indian visa applicants, others might also find the information presented in this post useful in their visa application process to Spain. Also the following is based on my personal experience and is to be taken only as a friendly suggestion rather than a step by step guide. The information in this post holds good at the time of writing and the process could change in the future. Hence please don't hold me liable to any misinformation.

So if you have survived the GMAT, the essays, the interview process and managed to get an admit, then i suggest give yourself a pat on the back and take a vacation. This is because if you think you have overcome the tough part you are in for a shock!

If Spain is where you are going then you better be prepared coz my friend the visa process is not a walk in the park. Well this is in no way to scare you but I just want to alert you as the entire process is pretty time consuming. So without further ado here is how to get a Spanish Study visa:

There are two types of Spanish visas: Long term stay and Short stay. Basically if you are going to Spain to study and your course is more than 3 months in length then you need to apply for a "long term stay visa".

Timeline for application:

Keep in mind that even if you are applying for a long stay visa you will be issued a visa with only 3 months or 90 days validity. This is the norm so don't panic. What you need to do is to get a Student Resident card after going to Spain. So since your visa needs to be valid till the time you get your Resident card (which is after your school starts) do not apply too early. Yes, you read right - Do Not Apply Early.

So if your schools starts by September 1, do not apply before June 15th. Original

Requisite Documentation:

  1. Original Application Form.

  2. Three photocopies of the Application Form.

  3. Bank Draft in favor of Embassy of Spain, New Delhi for Rs. 3,424/-

  4. Photocopy of Bank Draft.

  5. Photocopy of passport (all the pages including blank ones).

  6. Original Police Clearance Certificate with the Apostille (More info on this below)

  7. Photocopy of the Police Clearance Certificate.

  8. Admission letter from the educational institution where admitted (in English).

  9. Admission letter from the educational institution where admitted (in Spanish)

  10. Letter from the school with the contents of the program of studies.

  11. Proof of health insurance coverage during the course of the program. In my case since IESE covered my insurance, i got a letter from them stating the same.

  12. Original Medical Certificate.

  13. Photocopy of the Medical Certificates.

  14. 10th and 12th std. marks cards.

  15. Graduation Degree certificate.

  16. Official transcripts from my Undergraduate University (Just in case)

  17. Proof of financing the program. Eg. educational loan sanction letter etc.

  18. Proof of funding for living expenses. Eg. Affidavit or letter of support from parent.

  19. IT Returns for the past year.

  20. Pay slip from the latest employer for atleast 3 months.

The Process:

There is a Spanish Visa Application center in Mumbai called IVS but unfortunately at the time of writing this it processes only Short term visas. Nonetheless, the IVS website has all the information about Long term visas too. You can find more information on their website -
There are certain important documents that are required by the Spanish Consulate for processing your visa (also mentioned in the above website). Obtaining each document is in itself a process so let me split them into 3 stages as follows.

Stage 1 - Police Clearance Certificate (PCC). This document should be issued by the Regional Passport office where you have been living for the past several years (5 years I guess!). PCC falls in to the Miscellaneous Services section of the RPO. Its simple but a painful process considering the fact that you probably would have to stand in que for atleast 4 hours depending on the Passport office before you will be able to turn in your request form along with the original passport.
You require: Your original passport, a copy of it, an address proof if the address on the passport is not current, a copy of it and a photo to be stuck on the application form.
Time to get the PCC: You should get your PCC (which is a certificate stating that there is not criminal record against you) within a week at your address delivered by speed post. Make sure you are available at home as the passport and the PCC will be only hand delivered to you.

Stage 2 - Apostille from the Ministry of External affairs. Certain countries need the External Ministry to endorse Government issued documents. PCC being one of them and Spain being one such country, you need to get the PCC apostilled by the ministry of external affairs in Delhi. The apostille is simple a stamp or rather a Sticker stamped on the back of the PCC and it states that this PCC is genuine. Now there are two ways to get this.
- IVS center can get the apostille for you for a fee. All you have to do is take send the original passport, the original PCC, two copies of both and a draft covering their fee. Then send all these to their address (in Mumbai) or take it to their office. You can collect it from them in about 7-10days.
- Another way to get the apostille is to go personally to the Ministry of External Affairs, Patiala House Court, New Delhi and get it done personally. Its a 1 Day process, and the fee is Rs.50 per apostille.

Stage 3 - Submitting the Application:
Once you have reached this stage then you can breathe easy. Coz this is the simplest stage.

There are two Spanish Consulates - one in Mumbai and one in Delhi. The one in Mumbai processes visas for Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Andra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa plus Daman & Diu. Check the IVS website to make sure you go to the right consulate. So once you know where to apply, go to the consulate in person with all the required documentation and submit the documents at the counter when you are called. Basically that concludes the application process. If you are curious about the status of your application you can call them and inquire about the status by using the phone number mentioned in the IVS website. Give them atleast 10 days before you call them with status inquiry. Oh btw you have to go and collect the passport stamped with the visa in person from the consulate. While collecting check whether your name is printed correctly on the visa, whether the validity and expiry period mentioned are correct and whether you have infact been issued a class D visa!

Also they tell you that it takes 3 weeks to process your visa, I got my visa within 2 weeks and so is the case with many of my friends. So you can try your luck by calling them.

Write to me or leave a comment if you have any questions.

All the best.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Thats the number of days before I take my flight to the beautiful city of Barcelona! I've booked my tickets and now I have a d-day - 25th of August! There are several things to do in the next 17 days and some of the more important things are as follows:

1. Shop
2. Transfer funds and buy Euros
3. Finish the Financial Accounting Online course - courtesy HBS
4. Finish the recommended reading assignment (atleast try)
5. Try to finish my "secret project" (he he will tell you later about this)
6. Help brother shop and pack (he will also be leaving for HKUST to do his masters!)
7. Take everyone for a family dinner
8. Pack

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Craziest Two Months of my Adulthood!

You can call me a lazy-ass or a downright moron but I can totally explain my absence from the blogosphere for the past two months. But in any case, a thousand apologies for not posting!

Although during the past two months I was running around like my tail was on fire, I can definitely say that they were the most memorable days of my life! So here is an account of what i went through during these months:

Wedding - I never dreamt of such a wedding, ever. A perfect bollywood example of a South Indian-North Indian collaboration! It was fabulous and a dream come true. I had only previously heard of the fun in north Indian weddings but thanks to my GF (now wife) for being one, I could experience all the fun first hand. It was a nice amalgamation of cultures, customs, relationships and joy. The best part was the dance! I witnessed the dance moves of my parents and relatives for the first time and was left with a cramped jaw due to excessive laughter! Anyways, on the whole I'm so thankful to my in-laws for arranging such a beautiful wedding and to my family for being such a good sport!

The Family Blessing Marathon - If you are unaware of Indian customs then note that the most important ritual for a married couple is to visit the houses of ALL the relatives, fall in their feet, get their blessings and consume as many calories as humanly possible in a single meal. So a week after my wedding and after a wedding party at my city, we were off on road touring several hundred miles seeking blessings and calories! Note that in India this takes priority over the honeymoon or so is my conception.

Honeymoon - 15 days, 1000 miles and 50 pounds later we set out to one of the most beautiful places that I've seen. It was a beautiful nature resort called Camp Noel about 8500ft above sea level in the state of Kerala. Check out the place here. The monsoon at Camp Noel was to die for.

Back to business with Pre-Visa Prep - After a week relaxing and charging our spirits we headed back to my hometown and immediately I realized I would be starting my MBA in a couple of months. And hence started the frenzy document chase. I was not surprised to know that I was damn late in my visa application process considering the American visa nightmare that i experienced 5 years back! But there are a couple of things that i got to know about myself during this process - one is that I can be very very very patient while dealing with "Government" folks and when my visa is on the line, and two that one of the places that i absolutely hate in this world is the Passport office! Once the document collection circus was finally over I had to get it endorsed! That called for a trip to the capital - New Delhi. Its only when I landed that i realized that i had just intruded into the worst monsoon storm of the year! Anyways, lets just say i managed to get the job done.

Family Blessing Marathon Part 2 - Is it a coincidence that the Spanish Consulate General is in Bombay which is where my in-laws are? Yeah some questions are better left unanswered. So i fly to Bombay and this time with my wife (I'm still not used to calling my girl friend - "wife"). After handing over all the documents to the Consulate, we prepared for another round visiting all her relatives, falling in their feet, getting their blessings and consuming insane amount of calories. But since my inlaws were North Indians, the meeting involved a lot of singing, dancing, and an over dose of laughter at high decibels. Just kidding! On the whole I and my wife enjoyed the trip especially since after exactly 12 days, I got my visa!

So thats how June and July 2010 was for me. (Hope yours was fine as well!) And now that I'm free of my visa and post-wedding duties, I plan to post more often atleast until I fly to Barca. I'm also planning to put up a step-by-step guide to the Spanish visa application process in the upcoming post; so stay tuned for that!

Take care.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This is gonna be BIG – ready for the surprise?

“…Your never know what the tide is going to bring..”, I never quite realized the significance of this quote by Tom Hanks in Castaway. Not until last month. My move to India came with a flurry of surprises – some expected and some quite unexpected.

One of the ones that I never expected was I coming 2nd in the list of bloggers for Clear Admit's Best of Blogging Awards. You know whats more - I also won in two categories "Best Essay Advice" & "Best Interview Advice" - talk about a whole cherry farm on the cake!!

I’m really honored and all I can manage now is two words of gratitude for your readership – Thank You! I also thank the judges and all the MBA bloggers for voting my blog and for your love! My hearty congratulations for a well deserved top spot to Dream Chaser and Orlando.

There are some other well deserved winners in my books – Madalogue and Rocky for the fantastic content, Steve for entertaining us all with his god gifted humor, Xlick, The Dreamer, and Braveheart for their awesome posts! Congratulations to all of you; I’m simply proud of being among such brilliant individuals.

Now you might be thinking what a lazy ass I am for taking so long to even acknowledge such an honor! I think I have a valid reason, and that brings me to the BIG news that I’ve been itching to share with you all for the past couple of weeks. So without further ado here it is –

I’m Getting Married to my sweet heart in two weeks! Yes its true and its finally happening. The talks started as soon as I touched the Indian soil and it took exactly 2 weeks to decide that the marriage will be before I fly off to Barcelona. The big day is on the 8th of June, 2010 in Mumbai and I’m having a reception party on the 13th of June. The past few weeks have been like running around as if my tail was on fire; and that my friends is the reason for this long due post!

Needless to say I am overjoyed and enjoying every minute of these bustling days and believe me it’s a lot of work. But I’ll try my best to keep you all updated on this roller coaster ride which just took off!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

The MBA Reality Check - a new book on the block.

Its summer again and I quiet clearly recall the last summer - flowers shining bright in their full blossom, birds singing, warmth in the air, frequent visits to the beaches, strolling through the sand and waves washing my feet with each rhythmic cycle - he he just kidding guys. The fact is last summer was very very hectic and i hardly ever stepped out of my house! My door was closed to the outside world, clothes scattered around and dishes unwashed and me sitting on my desk with a GMAT book in hand! Yes it was the start of the notorious MBA application season! And now seeing summer again I'm happy to have crossed that phase of my life.

But now i see myself in thousands of applicants who are shut in their rooms with the Official Guide or staring at the probability question while taking the GMATPrep for the 16th time. Yes, the application season has begun and if you will, its well into its core stages when many have taken their GMAT and are contemplating on whether to give it another shot or to think about their applications. Books are the best friends during this one year process and there are many many great books that I've already mentioned in my previous posts.

Yet today I'm here again to recommend one more fantastic book - "The MBA Reality Check - Make the school you want, Want you" by authors Evan Foster and David Thomas.

So the big question you might be or should be asking yourself is - whether you need another book to help you sail through this treacherous process. Let me provide you a glimpse of this book which i thoroughly enjoyed reading.

For the ease of typing let me call this book MRC. MRC is a no BS straightforward book that will take you through the life of more than 20 applicants in their own quest to get into the best business schools. What i loved about the book is that it shows you not only what you need to do/have but also how to best put forth yourself as an applicant. One of my favorite quotes from the book is "you are not competing against other applicants but you are competing against yourself". Makes you think, doesn't it?!

Evan and David are no new comers to the admission arena. They have years of experience in counselling several hundreds of applicants and helping then get into top b-schools. What they have done right (and which is also why this book stands apart from the crowd) is that they have simply shared their experiences directly on a case by case basis with the audience. This makes the read a lot of fun without sounding like a lecture!

I also loved the structure of the book, which starts from the very beginning of how to get ready to face the rigorous process, then discussing about the most important aspect in a candidate - leadership and then telling you how to find the leader in you. Once you are ready, Chapters 5 thro' 7 discuss on how to get started with creating a strong profile. The second part of the book deals with Essays. Each type of essay is one chapter on its own and each chapter is a story about an applicant. The chapters conclude with the applicant's final draft of the essay that led him/her into a top school! The fascinating part here is that you will see yourself in the applicant and hence you will get answers to your burning questions. Extracurricular is rightly given a big importance in this book and ways you can tell a compelling story of your contribution to the world - not matter how small it is.

The book also provides you sound advice on Admission Interview, waitlist tactics and re-application advice. The final part of the books is for you to taking a pencil start you work. Ideally named "Workbooks", the book provides 9 workbooks for you to systematically implement all the advices that the authors give you in the previous chapters! Again, this is what i like - Not telling you what but showing you how, and finally making you do it.

Summary: A solid no B.S. fun, practical guide on MBA admissions that works!

Verdict: A reality show on MBA Admissions - Highly recommended!

Disclaimer: The book that i received was a review copy and the above review is purely my own opinion.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A shout out from the East!!

Hi everybody! A year back I promised myself never to let a fortnight go by without a blog post, but my move to India came with several thousand commitments and engagements that I was simply even not in a position to turn my mac on! So i hope you guys are not too frustrated..

Anyways here is a quick recap of the past 20 days -

* Reached Chennai, India on the 10th of April, sleeping my way through the 16 hour non-stop flight - thanks to the empty Boeing 777!
* I was warmly greeted by the 110 degree excruciating summer blast which still adamantly continues.
* Paid a visit to the terrifying Passport office and spent one day standing in a que along with 2000 people in a 20 by 20 room on a peak summer noon.
* Got hooked to the IPL (Indian Premier League) and ended up going to see the most boring match of the tournament - praise my luck!
* Cheered for my team Barca FC all along only to see them loose notoriously to Inter. (But hope is not lost and I'll continue to cheer)
* Got nominated for the Clear Admit Best of Blogging Awards! Wow this is a privilege considering the other nominee blogs! Thanks CA and thank you dear readers.
* Got a new phone number and a phone. So if anybody wants to give me a shout out please email me for my number. (On another note, I'm simply blown away by the number of new local cell phone manufacturing companies which have sprouted across the country!)
* Read 2 books - Bounce and Liars Poker - Both of which I truly enjoyed.
* Networked with fellow IESE admits and some current students. Spanish visa and accomodation are on top in my list of things to do.

Overall life in the past 15 days was slow with nothing much to do. I've prepared a to-do list which includes taking spanish lessons, joing a fitness program (lol) and preparing visa documentation.

Will be back soon with another post that would be of interest to GMAT test takers !

Happy Summer!

Monday, April 5, 2010

IESE Business school - Welcome kit

Last Friday, I received my "Welcome Kit" from IESE. Even though you know that you are admitted to a business school, this welcome kit is sweet re-affirmation that you really are in!! And needless to say i was jumping with joy when I saw the kit, which made me feel that now I'm part of a family called IESE MBA 2012.

So lets see whats in the nice red box!
As soon as I opened the box, a red gym bag was smiling right at me. Although my camera was adamant that it was dark maroonish-purpleish in color i definitely think its the legendary IESE red.
But anyways, inside the bag were some very interesting and unexpected stuff, and some expected stuff. Here are the contents,
1. A welcome letter by the Director of Admissions
2. An invitation to attend the Admit Weekend in Barcelona on 28-29th May,
3. A welcome guide to the school, city, housing and much much more (and wow its got some amazing pics of BCN),
4. A map of Barcelona,
5. IESE Alumini Magazine - latest copy
6. And rather surprisingly a Solar cellphone charger and a bio-degradable pen. Boy, do they know how to state their "clean green" motto!

Here is another picture of all the goodies for your viewing pleasure.

On a totally different note, I'm getting close to the end of my stay in the States. Will be leaving for India this Thursday. Yesterday was horrible seeing off my GF at the airport. I am currently, without a job, without a car, without anything important to do and now my gf is 7500 miles away :(

So with that note let me sign off for now.


P.S. I'm currently reading a very interesting book on MBA admissions. I'll be posting a detailed review of the book in my next post. So watch out for it!

Friday, April 2, 2010

BTG Scholarships are back!!

Wow this is probably the best opportunity to get save some serious $$$ and boost your GMAT numbers. Beat The GMAT is back with its legendary Beat The GMAT Scholarships 2010.

Whats in it for you?
Six scholarship packages for six winners, valued at over $8,500. Each includes a GMAT course from one of the top GMAT prep companies and a $250 GMAT voucher!

Important dates:

Last date to submit applications: May 20
Results: May 30.

Find more details here

All the best!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Business school selection and why I chose IESE Business school

Recently in an earlier post I had a chance to receive a lot of feedback on what should i blog about in my subsequent posts. This post is to address a suggestion from a reader named Jeffrey who suggested that that i write about my reasons for selecting the schools that I applied to. I also thought I'll add why I chose IESE Business school in the end.

Before I selected my schools, I did some self-reflection on what I want from a business school. I had written about it in a post called Selecting Business schools. At that time, one thing was clear to me - I did not want to go to a US Business school. Now don't get me wrong; MBA was invented by the Americans, and US has great b-schools. But after studying, living and working in the US for a considerably long time, I wanted to experience something different - something that would add a significant weight to my overall profile; something that would make me my profile more international.

There were two options in front of me - Asia and Europe, and honestly at the beginning of the admissions process I was really eager to study in Asia. But at a later stage, I realized the importance of diversity and how a diverse network can radically impact one's profile. European schools are the champs when it comes to diversity. For example, IMD in Switzerland has a class of about 100 students of which about 95% of the students are international and they come from about 50 different countries. Now isn't that awesome! But this did not keep me from applying to Asian schools. I applied to a bunch of them. I got rejected from a few hkust and got accepted to a few NUS.

The other reason why I was not drawn to Asian schools, as much I was towards IESE, was the feedback that i got from students and alumni. I felt that the atmosphere there is more competitive and less collaborative. Now this is not at all uncommon in Asia and my asian friends would agree here with me. MBA is Asia is relatively new but is definitely growing at a rapid pace. I think in a few years Asian schools would become as international (student diversity) and as collaborative as the European and American (diversity - nah!) b-schools. But for now that did not work for me.

I also applied to a business school in China - Tsinghua University and which btw is considered the MIT of China. I did a tremendous amount of research and homework on this, as you can imagine, studying in a country like China can be quite intimidating for a non-chinese. The school was suggested by one of my mentors. I even started learning mandarin for that. But again, I learnt from students and alumni that I definitely had to struggle and work enormously if i wanted to establish a career in China! So even after being interviewed by the school, i dropped the idea. (On a side note: Mandarin is a brilliant language and i recommend everyone to try to learn it. There are very few languages with as much cultural tie-up as Mandarin).

Now to the million dollar question - Why did I choose to apply to IESE?
Here are my top 5 reasons:

1. Diversity - IESE is an international program with a diverse student body. Students come from around 55 different countries and from various fields - from fashion designing to biomedical engineering.

2. Reputation - Isn't that obvious? well ofcourse but I am not the person who just goes by rankings. High rankings are good but they are even better if it fits your need!

3. Location - The first country I took off my list of places where I could do my MBA was Canada. Why? Because its cold. I am not a fan of chilly winters and even living in NJ for the past 5 years have not made me appreciate it. So for a person who loves warm places and loves beaches - Barcelona is a dream.

4. Student community - Of the b-school student community that i've interacted with there was no school with such an active and helpful student community as that of IESE. They were always ready to talk and ready to help.

5. Case Study Method - IESE is a case study based school which means that at least 80% of the classes are case-based. I love case studies and i would prefer it any day over a boring lecture! But in order to be 100% sure I attended a sample case study presentation organized by the school and needless to say I was sold!

One additional reason: The Assessment day - The AD was an event that has become a part of IESE's admissions process since 2008. I thoroughly enjoyed the event and was rather impressed by the measures that the school took to make sure they have a great incoming class. The day screamed of team work and collaboration. This was the day that i decided that if i get admitted I'm going to IESE.

So that was my b-school selection story. I would also love to hear yours, if you have already selected your schools or would love to hear your reasoning if you are in the process of selecting b-schools. So go ahead and post your views or stories in the comment section.

Cheers and have a great rest of the week!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thanks everybody - Now MoMA is 15000 strong!

I wanted to take this time to thank all you readers for your readership and for the trust you have showered upon me. Now this blog has passed 15,000 visits!

This blog has been an integral part of me throughout my MBA application journey. In the last post I was able to get some smashing feedback from you guys as to what you all like to read and one popular feedback was to continue blogging. I take this not as a compliment to my writing skills but as the trust and relationship I've developed over the past year with you people across the globe. Thank you once again for that!

Now at this point of blog's life, allow me to present to you some fun facts:

1. Total visits since Feb, 2009 - 15,0000

2. Top 3 most popular posts:
3. Top 3 referring sites:
4. Top keywords on google leading to my blog:
  • hari for mba
  • IESE Assessment Day
  • Preparing for admissions interview
  • gmatfix review
5. Top 5 countries from where my visitors come from:
  • USA
  • India
  • Singapore
  • UK
  • Canada
6. Total number of countries from where my visitors come from: 104 countries

7. Month with the most number of visitor till date: February, 2010 (Thats when i got my admit:)

8. Approximately, 30% of my total traffic are non-referral, i.e., they directly come to the website!

I would once again like to thank you for your readership and I hope continue to connect with you through the word of mouse!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Life post admit.. pretty good, I should say. There are just so many things happening so fast. The most important of all is The Big Move!

I've been in the US for 5 years now and I enjoyed my time. A nice job, a decent car, the steady income, partying with friends - all this is going to come crashing down in a matter of weeks now. I'm quitting my job and moving back to India to spend some time with my family. The thought of the move, gives me nightmares. There are just so many things to do such as pay off credit cards, sell my stuff -my car especially, meet atleast ten thousand people to say good bye and wow I have 4 weeks to do that! But anyways, there is always a sweet pleasure in all this as there is something to look forward to - the change that i wanted.

On another note, last Monday I was like a kid in a chocolate factory jumping up and down. I got my brand new macbook and my android phone. The gadget freak that i am, I was on them till 2 in the morning. :)

Oh btw, I need your help on one thing. Please answer one question of mine. Thats it. Just one question and here it is - "What do you want me to write about?"
I thought instead of going on a clueless ranting spree, I should ask you guys what would you like to read? Anything relating to Business, management, MBA, GMAT, Application, Interview, technology, gadgets, books, life in the US, relocation or whatever you would like to read. So post your suggestions/questions/queries on the comment section below and I'll do my best to offer my views on the same in the form of a post. Thanks guys, appreciate it.

Take care.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Is my GMAT score good enough?

Of all the emails that I've received in the past few months, the most common questions that I'm being asked by applicants are - How good is my GMAT score? Will I get into XYZ business school with a xx0 score? and What GMAT score do i need if I want to be accepted by ABC business school?

So instead of repeating the same response, I thought I'd put out a post for the benefit of all the applicants. What all these questions really point to is the burning doubt in the minds of thousands of applicants about the weightage of their GMAT scores. Here are some of the points that I feel would be important in judging your score:

1. Is my GMAT score important? Yes it is. Business schools were having a hard time evaluating the applicants' ability to handle the rigor of an MBA curriculum. Hence the GMAT was born. GMAT provides a universal scale to evaluate the quantitative and verbal ability of a candidate and this would help the schools understand whether the candidate would be suitable for their course. Now as competition went up the scores of applicants applying to top schools went up to. But still the GMAT serves the very same purpose even today and that is to evaluate the candidates academic potential. So yes GMAT is important.

2. But really, how important is the score? I would say if your academic history does not illustrate a good level of your quantitative or verbal (English) ability then it becomes more important. For example, lets consider an applicant with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Obviously its hard to illustrate his/her ability to perform complex calculations through his/her academic coursework. Hence GMAT becomes a great medium to just do that - show the schools that the applicant is in fact capable of sailing through the MBA curriculum.

3. Is my GMAT score low? It depends on what you consider a poor score. I've come across candidates who consider 650 a poor score. A score such as this is actually pretty good. If you have taken several quant courses in the past and have a good level of English ability then a 650 shouldn't stop you from applying to the schools on your wishlist. But be aware that if you are applying to a top school there will be applicants with much higher score. So the million dollar question in fact would be, "what have I got to offer to the school that others haven't?" All things considered a score of 600+ should be a decent score that will prove to the school that you will be able to handle the curriculum.

4. How do i evaluate my score with respect to the applicant pool at a school? There are several ways to do that. One way is to check the schools' website and analyse the "student profile". Most b-school post a page on their website that shows the students' profile for the current intake. This will give you two very useful data - the mean GMAT score of the current intake and the top 80% GMAT range. The mean tells you the average GMAT score of all the applicants who got accepted, and the 80% range tells you the range of GMAT scores that are mostly accepted. So for example, if a school shows its 80% range as 580 to 680, it means that 80% of the accepted students' GMAT scores falls within this range. So if your score falls within the range, your GMAT score will not keep you from admittance. The only other possibility is if your score falls above the range in which case you are a great candidate for the school based on GMAT and if you score falls short; but you have a brilliant profile then you could still stand a chance.
Also another aspect to note is that if your GMAT score is equal to or over the mean then you need not worry about your score at all. But if your score is much below the mean say 590 as per the above example then you might need to provide further evidence of your academic potential - just to be safe!
BTW did you know that Harvard's 80% GMAT score range is between 580 and 780, which means people with 580 and even lower have got into HBS and there is a rumor that once Stanford rejected all applications with a perfect 800 score!

5. Can I overcome a low GMAT score? Of course you can! I stand as proof of this. If your score is below the school's typical intake score, you might still stand a chance. If you have a technical background, or have taken many quant courses in the past, or have extensive industry expertise or significant work experience, or have recently taken professional or quantitative courses, or are simply a brilliant candidate with an unusual profile that the school can't let go off - then don't loose hope you still can make it. In my case, my GMAT score was below the school's typical intake but I used the essays to emphasize my 6 years of technical education (engineering) and 4 years of technical work experience. Use the optional essays to your advantage to show the schools that GMAT might not be a proper indicator of your intellectual potential. A strong undergraduate GPA is another potential weapon to over power a low GMAT. Do you think a school will doubt a candidate's ability to handle their curriculum, if he/she has a 4.0 GPA? I don't think so.

So there you go, my 2 cents on GMAT scores. If you think I left out on any important aspect of evaluating the GMAT please do comment below or email me at with your query/comment and I'll update this post with additional data.

Rocky was kind enough to share 2 very important pointers regarding GMAT score - thanks!. Here they are for the benefit of all:
1. A good GMAT score can be a differentiating factor for scholarships: This is very true as most scholarships are awarded on a merit basis and GMAT forms one of the important criteria for this. So if you are looking for a scholarship its best to get a high score or apply to a school where your score lingers around the top of the typical GMAT intake range.

2. Consulting firms might ask for GMAT scores when applying for a job: This falls into the gray area between fact and myth. Although i know of many consulting companies (some of the big ones) that explicitly ask for a GMAT score, many schools restrict companies from asking this to its students when they come for on-campus interviews. Be aware that what happens outside the school is not a area where b-schools have a say in. So, this goes to prove that your GMAT score might be important not only for b-school application but for future job applications as well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Yesterday I parted with 5000 euros. Ironically, I'm happy about it. This money went straight to IESE Business school towards the deposit and now I'm committed.

One other great thing about IESE is its Global loan program. IESE in partnership with Banco Sabadell (a leading bank in Spain) offers a global loan to any student who has been accepted without the need for a co-signer. This loan covers the entire tuition fees excluding the deposit. This is a big relief for international students and especially at these times when getting a loan without a co-signer can be a pain in the rear.

Now I need to (try) to save as much as possible and may be take some loan from a local bank or family to cover my living expenses while I'm in Spain. For the past 3 years, with a steady income, I've been living a pretty decent life and the thought of loosing that income really scares me. But what the heck. I've been in this situation before and I know that i can handle it.

Anyways, if anybody feels generous enough to help me out with some $$ please drop me a line. :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My MBA application journey - From GMAT Prep to Acceptance

"Hard work certainly goes a long way. These days a lot of people work hard, so you have to make sure you work even harder and really dedicate yourself to what you are doing and setting out to achieve." - Lakshmi Mittal

The above quote by the great Mittal is really my matra and this is what i believed in when i started on this journey. There were a great deal of challenges and difficulties that i faced but what kept me going was the ultimate goal! MBA is what i wanted to do, this would take me to my destination and i wanted to give in my 100 percent to get there!

I started this blog back in February, 2009 and at that time I had no idea what was ahead of me. I still remember my first post on 9th February 2009. That was the day when I first laid my hands on the "Official Guide for GMAT Review". That was the day I promised myself that I'll put in my sole into the GMAT preparation and give-in my best shot towards my business school application.

So without further ado here is a timeline representation of some of the important events that followed that day:

Feb 9, 2009 - I prepared a GMAT gameplan - a time table of how I'll be taking on the GMAT. Ordered 5 books and dowloaded the beatthegmat flashcards by Eric. More Info

Feb 18, 2009 - Took my first Diagnostic test from the official guide. Did pretty well!

Mar 2, 2009 - Took my first GMAT CAT (GMATPrep 1 downloaded from - didn't go well.
Mar 16, 2009 - Took my first Manhattan GMAT CAT

Apr 1, 2009 - Found out about GMAT Focus - that was a true gem!

Apr 20, 2009 - My first 700 score in a practice test!

Apr 22, 2009 - Influenced by all the GMAT gurus in the Beatthegmat community, I started an Error Log to record all my errors and started going throu' them once every 2 days along with the flash cards.

May 1, 2009 - A very anxious day indeed with GMAT in 24hrs!

May 2, 2009 - GMAT Day (Attempt 1) - scored a 640 (Q44 V34). Was disappointed with the score and decided to re-take.

May 4, 2009 - Back on with preparation! Analyzed what went wrong and tried to come up with solutions. (You can read about it here)

May 7, 2009 - Scheduled my GMAT (attempt 2) for 19th June.

June 1 to June 8, 2009 - Took 4 practice CATs and averaged around 720! It was a real moral boost.

June 19, 2009 - One of the worst days of my journey - GMAT attempt 2 - 620!! Herez some realization.

June 24, 2009 - Back in the game for another attempt. This was the first time i met Charles - the best tutor in NYC.

July, 2009 - Rigorous practice. And this time with tougher materials such as LSAT critical reasoning book, GMAT Focus, and others. (More info)

August 8, 2009 - Realized something - I'm a horrible standardized test taker. GMAT (Attempt 3) - 640, Again! (More Info) I decided to stop wasting any more time on GMAT started the b-school hunt with my 640!

August 9 to 11, 2009 - Prepared a list of parameters that would help me select 6-7 b-schools that i'll apply to. Shortlisted a few schools in Asia and Europe. (More Info)

August 15, 2009 - Prepared an outline for essays. First stop - INSEAD! Quite a bold move eh! :)

August 24, 2009 - INSEAD essays first draft - ready!

Sep 1 to 24, 2009 - went over 4 more drafts of INSEAD essays.

Sep 28, 2009 - After 6 drafts of essays, finally submitted my INSEAD application.

Sep 29, 2009 - Submitted my application to University of Hong Kong (I still haven't heard back from them :))

Oct 4, 2009 - ESADE Application submitted - after 3 drafts of essays!

Oct 6 to12, 2009 - IESE essays - done with my 3rd draft of essays.

Oct 15, 2009 - ESADE invited me to interview - this was one of my happiest moments since it was my first interview invite!!

Oct 23, 2009 - IESE Application submitted.

Oct 26, 2009 - IESE Invites me to interview within 3 days - That was the fastest response i've got.

Nov 1 to 20, 2009 - Interview preparation along with NUS Business school application essays.

Nov 5, 2009 - INSEAD dings! I kinda expected that.

Nov 13, 2009 - NUS Application submitted.

Nov 22, 2009 - ESADE Admissions interview (face to face with adcom). I still remember that day. It went amazingly well and I was quite confident on making it.

Nov 23, 2009 - IESE Interview - My longest interview but was a fantastic experience with a super friendly adcom!

Nov 25, 2009 - IESE Waitlists me and invited me to an Assessment Day on Jan 31st! It was a 2 months wait!

Nov 27, 2009 - ESADE dings me! I was totally shattered. I still have no idea why but now i understand that there is someone up there who controls your reins. Everything happens for the best!!

Dec 4 to 10, 2009 - HKUST application essays - draft 1,2 and 3.

Dec 12, 2009 - HKUST Application submitted.

Dec 15 to 31, 2009 - The dreadful WAIT!

Jan 1 to 15, 2010 - Applied to Tsinghua University in China, Interviewed and Waitlisted :(

Jan 29, 2010 - Two days before the big event - IESE Assessment day, I get dinged by HKUST!

Jan 30, 2010 - IESE Case presentation - Sample class by Prof. Mike Rosenberg from IESE B-school.

Jan 31, 2010 - IESE Assessment day - A fantastic experience interacting with 30 brilliant applicants from over 15 countries. A whole day of team activities.

Feb 1 to 10, 2010 - Waited impatiently for the IESE results!

Feb 11, 2010 - The day my dream came true - Got accepted to IESE Business school!

Like World cup is to soccer, Wimbledon is to Tennis, an acceptance is to an applicant blog. I waited 12 months for such a post and I can't be happier.

I couldn't have done any of this without the love, support, and encouragement of my parents and my girl friend. I would like to dedicate this admission to them. Amma, Appa and Vrush - this one is for you!

I also want to thank many people who have played an important part in my journey:

Eric Bahn for Beatthegmat
Rocky for all the support
Avi Gordon - MBA Studio and his wonderful book.
Richard Montauk, for his book
ClearAdmit and Accepted for their amazing resources
The entire MBA blogging community
All my readers for their constant support and encouragement.
Alumni and Students of IESE
Nick Vujicic for inspiring me when i was low. (Check this out)
Guy Kawasaki for sharing his knowledge and teaching me a lot.

My apologies for making this post so long. If there is one take-away from my MBA application journey (apart from persistence) that I'd cherish life long is this acquired addiction of Blogging. So I'll be back here soon with another post.

Till then, hang in there and have fun!

Muchas Gracias!