Thursday, November 16, 2006

My Chicago Interview

I had my Chicago interview with an alum this morning and it was nothing like what I had expected out of an admissions interview! The usual Why MBA, Why now and Why Chicago were there. But there were lots of other delightful conversational elements to the interview. We discussed things like my fears, my way of handling uncertainty in life, pros and cons of being an only child (which I am), why I became an engineer, why I work where I work, what do I do. I had to profess my commitment to my goals and why I think they are practical, how will I embrace and adapt to change, which one will I go to if I have to choose between the schools I'm applying to.

Then our conversation took a tangential turn towards Chennai (where I grew up, he's from there too), the good old music scene in Chennai and how it has become lack-lustre due to all the westernization, my school, his school, tamil brahmin outlook and upbringing, Indian roots and values etc. etc. (My apologies to my non-Indian readers, for giving such an India-centric discourse). We also spoke about creative writing and books. We discussed our views on objectivity, capitalism, life, the universe and everything :-). On a more serious note, it was a relaxed candid conversation which brought out the person in me.

He assured me that his feedback will be positive. However he also mentioned that he cannot influence the admission decision which will be based on the rest of my application too and the only thing that may deter me from getting in is lack of work experience. His comments were "You are a young woman with a lot of dreams, I like your energy and don't worry you will make a magnificient B-School grad"! It was music to my ears :D

He urged me keep him posted and approach him for anything that I might want. He was a very approachable and extremely dynamic person. I'm really glad we had so much in common to talk about.

I'm taking a break! I will start preping for Wharton sometime next week.

PS: Although I have covered everything that we spoke about, this was not the exact chronological flow of the conversation.

Update: I just checked my Stanford app status. It says "
Your application is complete and currently under review." Someone might be reading my Stanford essays right now. I really hope he/she likes them :D. I really like it when things are moving...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I love Wharton :D!!!!!!

Yes, I got an interview invite from Wharton a while ago. After a lot of deliberation I decided to go to the Hub interview at Mumbai, India. I decided to shell out all that money mainly because I don't want to go through the tension of waiting for replies from busy alumni :).

There's a connection between "a day before the deadline", Wharton and Me. My app turned complete on 25 October, a day before the deadline. I got my interview invite today, a day before the deadline. Will they give the decision also a day before the deadline? Ha Ha. Maybe Wharton won't but Chicago will. Yes, the Chicago adcom just sent a mail saying they are releasing their decisions on 20 Dec instead of 4 Jan. This makes my wait shorter by a good 15 days. Cool!

Now I'm overflowing with love for these 2 schools. Of course I need to sleep now if I have hopes of doing well in the Chicago interview. Gnite! Tonight's gonna be a happy night!

Monday, November 13, 2006


My Chicago interview has been postponed to 16 November. It's good 'coz I get some time to prepare. Although it will be a miracle if I really get some preparation done. I went back to work after a week and found truckloads of work waiting for me. So I left work at 9pm :-( I will try and get back early tomorrow and the day after.

As for Wharton, I have my fingers crossed. The reality is I'm trying not to think about it so that I don't get all negative and morose before my Chicago interview.

Other than that I'm numb, brain dead and sleepy at the moment. I'm off to bed. Gnite!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Woe is I

I just reached Bangalore after my trip home. This trip did me a lot of good because I could check mail only once a day for the past 9 days. I was forced to be at peace and not think about my apps. And of course 4 days flew by in preparing for and attending my friend's wedding. I managed to revive my slumbering social life.

Now that I'm back, I've decided not to check e-mail "hopefully" any more, the disappointment each time I see a bunch of promotional mails is irritating (to put it midly). I hate to be among the last to get the invite from Wharton, the wait is excruciating. I hate it even more if I have to wait all this while to just get a DWI. 16 Nov will seal my love or hate for Wharton. Till then we will continue to share a vacillating love-hate relationship. One consoling factor is that people whose app turned to complete on 24 Oct have started getting invites only on Friday. Hoping there is at least a vague semblance of chronology in the process, I should get my invite, if I'm getting one at all, in a day or two. I guess that's enough speculation about Wharton for the day.

I seem to have the same rotten luck with Stanford. My application status still says "Submitted" while others are seeing their's turn to "Complete, Under Review". Murphy seems to love me. "If I can get denied,I will" OR "If I get an interview invite, I will be the last one to receive it". I feel like an eternal optimist rapidly metamorphing into a wretched cynic. (Just the usual drama, don't you care about it :D)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A different Birthday!

Today was the most different birthday I've ever had. One of my best friends got married today. So I had an added reason to celebrate. My group of 5 friends from school spent the past 3 days together and we had a lovely time. We've known each other since kindergarten and have been really close for the past 14 yrs. We've literally grown up together. Although another one of my dearest friends was not with me to celebrate my b'day, I was really happy to be with my friend on her wedding. I have taken a week off from work. Yes I decided that this wedding was worth spending some of my vacation leave on :). It was great reminiscing our school days together :)

On the application front, I wish I'd got an interview invite as a b'day gift :(. But of course it's still 8 Nov in the US. So there's hope still :D. I have my Chicago interview on Sunday. I think I will start preping tomorrow.

That's it for now. Ciao!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kellogg Interview Done!

I had my Kellogg interview today and it went off pretty well. I am a little disappointed because the interviewer seemed slightly disinterested and cursory. This was one feedback I read about Kellogg interviews repeatedly and maybe I should have expected it. But of course I'm not complaining, it was pretty good!

First the interviewer set the stage, set expectations and explained "the role of the interviewer and the purpose of the interview" in the entire process. We ordered our coffees meanwhile. Then we started off with the usual "let's start off on an open-ended note, you could maybe talk about your experience and I will ask you questions as we go on". I then had to describe "an area of development and how I have adressed it". We then branched off to talk about "one time when I made a significant impact on my team at work and how important is my role in the team and how important is my product to my company". I had to then follow up this answer with "what I think are my strengths". We then talked about "few technical details of what my product actually does, who are the customers and how would they use it?" Then we went on to discuss "what my company does and what is their current strategy". Finally I spoke about "a leader/manager I admired and what are the traits I think a leader should have". Now that was the end of my career stuff.

We moved on to "Why MBA, Why Kellogg?". This is where my "actual goals, how I would achieve them and why the path I'm thinking about will get me there" came in. Then I had to answer a couple of follow up questions about "the exact expectations I had from my post-MBA job". And that brought us to the end of the interview and I could ask my questions. I had 3 questions to ask and I did.

I had not touched my coffee till that moment. I drank it while the interviewer took some notes. We indulged in some small talk, paid the cheque(I was not allowed to pay) and left the place.

On the whole, very average interview, no stress, no grilling, nothing exceptionally interesting. I did reasonably well, no faux-pas and I will leave it at that. This interview will not reduce my chances of getting in. I learnt a lot of things which I will use in my Chicago interview :-)

I have bolded the questions instead of listing them out because I wanted to capture the flow of the interview. Hope you find it useful!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Looks like Chicago-GSB liked my essays! :D

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I got an interview invite from Chicago-GSB!

Today is the day they begin to send out their invites. I was hoping for one, but didn't imagine I would get it so soon :-). I was chatting with a friend on google talk when I suddenly noticed that I had 2 mails in my gmail account. I was almost praying that one of them should be an interview invite. And it was! Maybe it does pay to submit early, 'coz my application went to complete status even before the deadline :D.

I'm grinning ear to ear and am not low anymore. Thanks to everyone who cheered me after my previous post.


I have decided to postpone submitting my Columbia app till end of November, mainly because I came to know from the adcom that they start reviewing regular decision apps only from 10 Jan 2007. Now, there is so much conflicting info about this on the net. There are sites such as the one I quoted earlier which have the admissions staff claiming that there is an advantage to applying on the early side of the regular decision. So I decided end of November is still early enough to have an advantage if there is one :-)

I'm suffering from super low motivation, which is another factor that is hindering me from writing my Columbia essays. People have been getting interview invites from Wharton. I try hard not to think about it. After all my application turned complete only on 25 Oct. But it's pretty bugging that I submitted on 1 Oct, 12 days before the deadline, and have still been brutally victimized by the randomness of their processing. People who submitted 5 minutes before the deadline saw their app go to complete on the same day and have started getting interview invites :-(. To top it off, there is just one all-encompassing answer - "The process is random, complicated and non-chronological". All this makes me dread that I may get dinged directly. I know I am overimagining, but I am! And I'm unable to prevent myself from doing so. So be it.

I don't know whether Harvard's and Stanford's silence is a boon or a bane. I alternate between loving and hating their process :D. Sometimes I feel it's good I don't see a bunch of applicants constantly updating some thread about the number of times they hit F5 every second. At least I just feel low, I don't stress. If I join that group I think I will freak out completely.

As for Kellogg, I already know 2 people from Chennai and Bangalore who have got interview waivers. I keep wondering whether it's a good thing to have an interview or not. Anyway I have my Kellogg interview tomorrow. So wish me luck!