Sunday, July 30, 2006

A not-so-bad weekend

The weekend was not completely useless as I expected. 5 out of the 6 HBS essays are in "almost final" stage. I will improve them if I get ideas from other schools' essays. Otherwise I would dare say that I do like them as they are now. It's a luxury to say that after one month of toiling on these essays. Now that I have most of the stories on paper, that too with such stringent word limits, I hope to move faster with the other schools' essays. Being a self-proclaimed creative writer doesn't hurt either, I experiment a lot :D

Stanford is shaping along nicely, only in my mind though :) But I do have an idea of what goes where just the way I promised yesterday. Staring at the essays does help I guess! As for Chicago, first of all I don't know why I picked it, maybe because the 100 word essays seemed like a real challenge. And you bet they were. But I wrote only the "value to your study group" essay. I have figured out which book/play/movie I will recommend, but I'm yet to write about it. I blame my slacking partly on my illness and more so on the fact that I hate the 100 word limit. How the hell am I supposed to wax eloquent about the book I love in just 100 words? As for the "one thing that most people do not know about me" essay, I can think of such things, but none that I would want to reveal to the admissions officer :). What a question! God!

The weekend has been pretty good on the non-MBA front. I slept well, did some quality reading and yes, I shopped. Bought some clothes and a long desired scented candle- one of those short stout ones and yeah the scent is lemon meringue (dunno what I'll do with it though, I definitely don't want to light it up when the power goes off... :D)

Now I'm off to watch some tv and will hit the sack by 12. Gotta be in office before 8 you see.... Ciao!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Alarming signs of an "about-to-be-ruined" weekend

I'm floating in the air. My feet are so numb with cold, I cannot even feel them. My head is weighing a ton and my back threatens to ache till I die. I'm running a 102 degrees temperature and I cannot taste a thing.

Does this sound like a great Saturday??? Why can't these disasters strike on a week day, I could at least take a day off :D.

To put the cherry on the cake, I'm not too sure if I can keep up with my essay plan for the weekend. I wanted to do the following:
  • Become happy with my 5 HBS essays. (Simply put- edit them. The ethics essay is still non-existent to me, I'm trying very hard not to think about it. Maybe I should be thinking about it. Whatever....)
  • Write the three 100 word essays of Chicago.
  • Make an outline for Stanford essays. Figure out what goes where. (Stanford has made life extremely complicated with the 2 "recent experiences" short essays. I don't know which ones to choose. I'm very excited about the "What matters most to you?" essay and hate the short ones at the moment.)
As far as HBS essays go, I'm reasonably happy with 3 of the essays, but would love to revisit them. I need to work a lot on the remaining 2 essays. I've written one of the Chicago 100 word essays and I think 100 words is simply RIDICULOUS!!! I stared at the Stanford essays for an hour and of course, I'm still stumped :(

It's Saturday afternoon already, I'm not able to sit in front of the comp, my eyes are beginning to burn. So I'm off to sleep. There goes my weekend plan :(

I might just sit up tonight and get back on track. I really hope I have such an achievement to boast about tomorrow :D

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Yippie! Back on track...

Yesterday was a good day for my writing. The words flowed effortlessly. It felt like I'd had a couple of vodkas :-). I made a reasonably good rough draft of my "Undergraduate Academic Experience" HBS essay. It was fun to recreate those 4 years on paper! It got pretty nostalgic...

I just came back from gym and lunch. My energy level peaks after every workout. So a visit to the gym just before lunch keeps me wide awake for the rest of the day. I'm barely awake all morning. But that's a totally different issue altogether :D. I start work at 8am, that's all that matters. I'm waiting to go back to my nocturnal self after october. But then again, maybe I won't, maybe I will stick to my new reformed self :-)

Today I have to write up a draft of the "Other Information" HBS essay. Then I will be on schedule to complete rough drafts of all 6 HBS essays by the 31st July. If I don't ass off, I could even have a couple of "nearly final" ones. Looks like I don't have to kick myself after all. And I can go back to loving myself! :D

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Unproductive weekend :(

I'm simply not happy with my progress. Last week has been extremely unproductive with respect to essays. So I'm in a state where I have to complete 3 essays in 7 days to meet the deadlines I'd set. Sigh...Otherwise the weekend seemed long for a change. I watched a play, Hysssteria, by Evam. It was a nice way to spend my sunday evening, for it's been a really long time since I watched a good play.

The Electricity Board of Bangalore has this crazy "Load shedding on Sundays" mania. So there was no electricity from 10am - 6pm yesterday. Why on Sunday dammit?!!! But the truth is I don't miss anything but the internet. The weather is so amazing that I can spend the whole day on the terrace. So fan, a/c, cold water etc. are not concerns at all. I can still write essays on the laptop or on paper if it comes down to that. I catch up on quite a bit of reading on such Sundays. And of course, the day turns out to be mcuh more fun than sitting in front of the tv/comp or day. Still it's my birth right to crib...

So that's it for now. Remind me to kick myself if I don't stay on schedule.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Falling in love... (some non-MBA musings...)

I saw 2 movies last weekend - Before Sunrise and the sequel Before Sunset . The movies are worth the mention for their subtleness. There are just 2 characters, an American guy and a French girl. And all they do is walk (talking all the time) around Vienna in the first movie and around Paris in the sequel. The movies are all about the dialogs...

How do we fall in love?
We don't always pick up someone at a bar, wash down a couple of drinks, end up in bed and find the person irresistible. That happens only in hollywood movies! We don't always catch a person's eye, pretend to look away, keep bumping into each other, shake a leg to a few songs, run around a couple of trees (in Switzerland, of course) and fall in love-pronto. That happens only in Bollywood movies! In reality, we meet someone, maybe he/she looks good, maybe we've not even seen each other yet. But we go yak yak yak. We talk about our lives, convictions, families, memorable anecdotes, everything under the sun (from how we love the rain to how much life sucks) , till we find each other irresistible. Love, I feel, happens when we find an amazing intersection of ideas or values, or when we supremely admire each other for being someone we can never be, the "complement" in a word. Now, that's real life!

"Real life" is what these movies captured. As I said, these movies were all about the dialogs. The director has so subtly transformed a chance meeting to love, not through a series of disjoint events, but through continuous conversations, one seamlessly flowing into the next. I'm not one for super-romantic movies. But the subtleness in these got to me:)

It's been a long time since I saw a movie I could so relate to. Hence the rave review. I know it's as far as it gets from MBA applications, but what the hell, I had to blog it!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Tracking the Infosessions

I want to have a common place from where I can track the infosessions. I'm just compiling links that will take me to the info session announcement page of each of my target schools.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

No safety schools for me

I've been meaning to write this post on safety schools for a couple of days now...

The concept of safety schools itself is sort of crude. A safety school is one in which you have a very good chance of (still not 100%) getting admitted with your credentials. But it does not stop there. You should still love the program and you should still be able to get where you want to be after you graduate. So you should be spending the same amount of time for shortlisting a safety school as you would for a dream school. Be it researching the school, talking to an alum/student, making a school visit or attending an info session, a safety school is as important as a dream school.

Personally, I am of the opinion that you should consider a safety school only if at least one of the following situations applies to you:
  • You absolutely hate your job and simply have to escape the grind this year to keep your sanity.
  • You have a plum job waiting for you (at your current employer's or elsewhere) and they don't give a damn which school you are from as long as you've got an MBA.
  • You are a rich(or not so rich) already successful entrepreneur and just want to learn stuff, you don't care about the school's brand, the alumni network etc.
  • You are just looking for a refreshing change for a couple of years while you pick up a cool degree. You have no clue what you want to do with the degree.
If you don't belong to these categories but are still thinking of safety schools, think twice. Don't you have enough grit in you to wait it out another year? Don't you want to give your dream schools another shot? Isn't there anything you can do to improve your chances next year?

This is the thought process I went through before deciding that I don't want safety schools this year. I am willing to wait another year, or as long as it takes, or till I feel I have to get into B-school that year no matter what. I guess this explains my highly ambitious list of schools. I want to give it my best shot this year before I think of safe options. Yes! Ever the optimist, that's what I am :D

Essays Update:

All my 5 schools (for round1) have released their essay questions :) And guess what? Looks like my story fits in pretty well in each school's set of essays! Cool huh? :D

As for my progress, HBS' "Career Vision" essay and "3 Achievements" essay are ready for review by friends. And as I promised in my previous post, I started on the Significant Leadership Experience essay and have completed the first draft. So I can goof off tomorrow:) !!!! I love being on schedule. This is turning out to be a great weekend already.

Oh yeah, gym routine is on full swing ***Grin***. I totally love myself now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dabbling with essays

HBS' Career Vision essay is almost a finished product now. Yippie!

I've also written up the 3 Achievements Essay, but it's far from finished. Hoping to wrap that up by this weekend. And of course I also have to begin another essay and bring it to some shape by Sunday. That's a lot of work!

I was in Chennai last weekend and on Monday for my dad's birthday. It was blazing hot. All I did was sleep at home, eat yummy food made by mom, and write essays. And yeah I met one old school friend after 6 years, we had fun catching up on each other's lives. I feel so grown up at times :( But I'm just 23...

Have some thoughts which I will blog tonight. It's back to work now!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I found my voice! ***Grin***

After nearly two months of mercilessly deleting/ shelving everything I wrote, I have finally been able to like (only slightly, mind you) what I wrote in my HBS Career Vision essay today. I guess the key is to bring out the passion. Oh yes! All the stuff I've written so far had all the facts, answered the question bang on, were grammatically correct, had a decent structure....blah blah... but it was not my voice, not my life. In fact I would have hated my life if it really was like what I'd put down.

So the moral of the story: Of course we all know what we want to say... But are we saying it right? We better, 'coz no B-School wants a sputtering, confused, disoriented twit. Or anyone who sounds like one.

So after all the self deprecation, I'm smiling today... While I should actually be sleeping for I have to be at work before 8 tomorrow. (Did I mention 8 AM???)

And the gym routine is really suffering... :(

Monday, July 03, 2006

Done with TOEFL!

TOEFL is also out of the way now. It's full of sitters, definitely too easy for Indians. I scored 243-300, which means I can actually max it if my essay gets full marks :D.

The school selection was wierd. There were 2 Harvards, Harvard-Radcliffe and Harvard- something else, didn't know which one has the business school. But because there is only one HBS I'm hoping it will reach the right place. If not I can always get TOEFL waived off. I don't see why they should have a problem after my 42 in GMAT Verbal.

It's just 7.40 pm and I'm home already. It's been really long since I did this, it's almost nostalgic. I'm trying to contact students/alums of my target schools. But seems like no one checks e-mail ( Feels better than thinking they don't reply...). Sigh!

Anyway it's coffee/music/essay time. S'Long blog :)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Weekend Update

This weekend has not been too great. That's because the week's been so tiring. I slept for 5 hours during the day yesterday and spent most of my time watching Friends on DVD and catching up on my books/blog reading. Today there was a scheduled power cut from 9am to 3pm. But there was no power till 6pm. So I read Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis today, it was slightly depressing.

I have a rough draft of my career vision essay for HBS. I'm yet to answer the why HBS question. Nevertheless it's nice to see my "vision" on paper. Hopefully I will wrap up the draft by tonight.Which reminds me, I'm taking my TOEFL at 9am tomorrow, so I have to sleep at least by 2am :(

I cooked very nice pasta for dinner yesterday and had it with some yummy coffee. These days the weather is perfect for coffee anytime of the day!

I really need to get back early from office at least 2 days a week, it never seems to happen :( And yeah, I also need to hit the gym everyday starting tomorrow. Sigh! I make so many empty promises to myself.

Ok I'm off...Back to coffee and career vision! Oh and I'm going out for dinner so gotta get ready too... So that explains the "hit the gym" resolution :D