Monday, January 29, 2007

New Blogger

The new blogger is UBER-Cool!!!!

A few days ago I moved to the new blogger(I was holding off due to the fear of losing my template) but was heartbroken when I realized that I will have to abandon my strawberries if I want to utilize the free style editing of page elements etc. I tried to pick a template and modify it to have all the chocolicious strawberries and realized that it was just too much work. So I very reluctantly decided to keep my old one.

Today something came over me and I just decided to go ahead and edit the whole thing no matter how long it took. I began with a template that had no colors at all and you can see the results! To get it to look exactly like before, I had to tweak the template code quite a bit and I'm impressed with myself for all the html/CSS I still remember from college :D.

So I get to keep the cake and eat it too...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Concerns of Early Career Applicants

An early career applicant who is that the beginning of his application research asked me some very good questions, the answers to which I will post here with his consent.

1) As an applicant with relatively less work experience, did you feel you were at a disadvantage? Did it take an extra effort from you to convince the schools that you were mature enough to attend school now? I will have 3 years of work experience when I enroll, and by heavens I know I am ready. What advice would you give to an applicant like me whose work experience is way below the average work ex of every school!!

Not really. Disadvantage is just a perception. 3 years experience when you enter is reasonable, although it is on the lower side. Of course there is a greater onus on you to articulate yourself in a way the conveys the following:

-> Your experience maybe less in terms of time but rich in terms of quality. There needs to be demonstrated leadership and diverse team experiences.
-> You are very clear about your goals and know exactly how you wish to achieve them. On the flip side, because you are younger than most applicants, you might just get away with being a less clearer about what exactly you want to do. However, if you choose to take this path, you run the risk of sounding immature and not ready. So it's better to talk about your goals in a definitive manner than being vague.
->As for the maturity aspect, you can bring that out in your interview better. So your aim should be to write essays in which come off as a person who knows what he/she wants and displays the potential to achieve it. This is enough to get an interview invite :-)
-> Do a really well thought out job on the "Why now?" question.

2) Is it ok if one talks about one's experiences outside of work to show leadership, failure, etc etc or do the adcom expect people to focus on incidents from work? I know that it should be a good mix of both, but frankly I have many leadership experiences outside of work, but very few and not so stellar experiences from work. It is my understanding that the work ex is one of the most important aspect of one's candidature. So to summarize, will it be ok if one talks about work in just one (why mba) essay?

Of course! In fact your application SHOULD be a balanced mix of work, XC and personal experiences, otherwise you will come of as a very one dimensional person. Pick your best stuff from work and put it in the career progress part of your app and that's enough. Other essays can span over the better parts of your life :-) This is what they expect of and recommend for early career candidates.

3) Now that you have been through the application process, do you feel that the insights obtained from the various incidents are more important than the incidents themselves ( with respect to essays) ? I mean, is the adcom looking for insights one has gained from the incidents rather than the enormity of the incidents/achievements?

Yes, definitely insight and learning is what matters and shows that you are ready. However, quantifying the achievements in your resume or in the application will not hurt.

4) I hear a lot of people saying that goals have to be precise and well researched. Ok I get it, so lets say, I have genuine interest in management consulting and entrepreneurship. So what is being expected when people and adcom say precise and crystal clear?

This is a concern for career switchers and all they have to show is the interest. Obviously if you are, say, an accountant or a software engineer you will not have any experience per se to justify your shift to Consulting. This is where the research comes in. You can do the following:

->research what the consulting role is all about
->what sort of skills are required to be a good consultant.
->what are the experiences you have had in your life that makes you feel this the right career for you. This is the most important part. You need to logically relate your goals to the skills you have displayed/acquired through your experiences.

Disclaimer: Most of my answers are based on how I approached the application process and may not be the best way to do things.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Wharton scholarship essay

I've been getting quite a few queries about the scholarship essay for the fellowships/grants at Wharton. This post will hopefully collate the information I collected to help me complete the essays. I will also write a bit about the approach I adopted.

I believe there is a single question that rankles every applicant. I will address it here:

Should I make a case for need or merit?

Most of the fellowships are merit-based. The need based grants are for people who are in dire financial circumstances. Given this fact, it is a trifle too risky to make a case only for need. Ideally one should devote most of the space to demonstrate merit and make a mention of need if he/she will really be unable to meet the part of the expenses not covered by loans. Since the financial aid office does not see the rest of the application, one can pick and choose from examples used in the application essays. However, the personal statement is only 500 words long and it would be wise to use one's discretion and wisely pick only 2-3 best examples to elaborate on. I personally feel this will be more effective than attempting to summarize every achievement within 500 words. It is not enough to just talk about achievements here, real merit can be demonstrated if one's learnings and how these learnings will enable him/her add value to the Wharton community is evident.

I feel the resume needs to be utilized really effectively here. Remember it's just a single page. So it can be used to quantify all your achievements and serve to trace out the milestones in your life(for which there is no space in the personal statement). A crisp resume with all the important stuff (bulleted and aptly bold faced) that logically leads to the explanations in the personal statement might just do the trick.

Another space-saving thing I came know is that it is not necessary to mention any particular fellowship(s) you are applying to. They themselves determine which ones the applicant is eligible for and evaluate him/her for all of them.

Hope this information is useful. Feel free to leave a comment about any query that you might have.

Monday, January 22, 2007


I finally faxed my scholarship essay and resume to Wharton. I'm supposed to have done it a week ago. For some reason, I was not satisfied with what I wrote and had to edit it again and again till I felt it was good enough. Thanks to iday who expedited the process with his prompt feedback. Now all I can do is wait for the scholarship decision to come out. Not that it will change my decision to go to Wharton, still it's something to wait for....

So now I'm at liberty to research the housing scene and figure out the logistics involved in signing a lease remotely from India. Looks like I might also have some people who can check out places for me in Philly. A cousin of mine lives there and my future roomie mentioned that she has a couple of friends in Philly who might help us out too :-). I'm hoping having people there will make the process a little smoother.

I'm running out of stuff to say on this blog these days. If there's something you want me to write about leave a comment, I will be glad to share whatever I know. Please do not ask me to post my profile and my goals and other such mundanities :D


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Anticipated Ding(s)

I finally got denied at HBS. I will get a similar result from Stanford tomorrow and do not want to write a separate post for that :D.

For nearly a month now, I've been thinking about all things "Wharton". So naturally,
I feel nothing now...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

There are some things money can't buy...

...An MBA is not one of them!

It comes with a HUGE price tag (More on this later maybe).

I guess this is written in bad taste, the bad taste lingering from the scholarship application :-). I've made some progress with my personal statement for the financial need application and my resume is ever-ready. I will submit them next week and go back to blissfully pure creative writing.

I'm going to Chennai for the long weekend, will be back on Tuesday. So I might be a wee bit tardy in responding to mails.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Plodding through the paper work

I guess I'm now faced with the boring part of the application process. I loved the never-ending cycle of writing, reviewing and rewriting essays. Now I'm loaded with paper work and am trying my best to motivate myself to do it. I have been doing Wharton's scholarship application at snail's pace. I am more excited about the housing and am making a list of apartments that I like from last year's housing guide. I'm doing this 'coz I like to see the map and imagine living in philly and riding a bike on those roads etc. Otherwise I know it's way too early to think about housing, all I can do now is dream :D.

I'm reading the Hitopadesha (although my sidebar says something else). I absolutely love the names of the animals in the book :-), although I always need google to translate them from Sanskrit to English. I guess I will finish all the unread books on my shelf in the next couple of months and then I can buy more!!! Starting tomorrow I will get my exercise routine back on track too (hopefully)...

So have a great weekend everybody. It's Friday, so I gotta eat out today :-)