Archive for August, 2007

Essay progress


I guess this sums it all – No progress till date ūüė¶


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After a really gr8 seven days, am back to normal! Depressed, that is.

Back to the¬†real world –¬†10 days back (check this out), I was¬†rolling off my project, then the partner held me back,¬†and now I really know why! I’m working on this nice n “profitable” 10 day project, where I get to use all my skills gained in the last 5 months, build on many more, AND¬†advise on a strategic¬†PE deal – wow!

Enjoying work after a loooo…ooong time, but thats exactly where the downside resides. No time for essays. Forget writing first drafts, I dont have time for evn dream about where I’ll be in¬†Fall’08. I can steal a moment here and a ten minutes there, but by the time I come back to the reality of essays… time’s up!

The really good part is that I’m working with the head partner in the continent in my current industry – whoops! – and I think both of us have started liking working with each other. I’m sure about my side, and reasonably confident it is mutual. So maybe I can get a good reco (oops, the fifth element!) from him soon…

On second thoughts, 10 days is not enough time for a reco, even if that is 18 hrs/day. Plus, I dont think realistically I can ask him for a reco, in fact I dont think I can even hint to him I’m thinking of leaving X (my current firm, for future reference) for an MBA of all things – he’ll prob lose any confidence in my sane judgement ūüôā On this particular point I’ll put in a post soon enuf

Anyways, life’s hectic, but good and rewarding – from an immediate POV

Not so much, though, towards my career goals!

Soon the twain shalt meet

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The sign of Four

Talked to the last of my recommenders today. He was very excited to hear I’m trying for my MBA, and wished me all the best. So now, along with the 3 lined up before, I’m hitting a count of¬†FOUR – one recent manager from my current job, two managers from my previous job (which I left 2 yrs ago, mind you), and one whom I worked with for 3 yrs (on community service) but some years back.

I still have the choice of talking to senior client managers I’ve worked with over the last two years¬†– 3 people come to my mind immediately, one from my last client, and two from my current one. But dont know whether I¬†really¬†need them, and will approach them only if very necessary. It wouldn’t look good on my firm’s part since both these are ongoing projects. I’m sure they will give me a good reco, but there’s also¬†a risk word can spread within my firm, which I want to avoid at this stage.

So the only hurdle left is the essay bit. Wish someone could do that for me…..

One good thing that came from my approaching these recommenders was that the level of encouragement I received from them was gr8. I knew these guys liked me and valued my contributions, but never expected them to be so supportive. I even reconfirmed with 2 of my other recommenders (whom I’d talked to more than a month back) and they scolded me that I’d not even started my essays. I feel like talking to them every day now, since that will push me to start my essays, but I know if I call them so often they’ll refuse to write my recos – they’ve got jobs to do, important ones. And at their senior positions, I can’t expect their dose of encouragement to be so regular. How would they be able to rate me high on proactive / self-starter / etc? I wish, though,¬†I had one more manager from my current job, but there’s no one else I can trust to keep this to himself.

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Some parameters I am considering on school selection:

(and trying to get my thoughts more organized)

1. Post-MBA interest (eg.Consulting/Finance/Entrepreneurship): Are you completely sure what you want to do post-MBA? Then, it may be good to apply only to schools which are known for that specialization.

2. Family contraints: If your partner has a location constraint, that‚Äôs very important.¬† Can he/she get a job in the new city? Are there great schools in the area? For internationals, a big city may have direct flight connections to visit family… and so on.

3. Class size: The various class sizes can range from ~250 to ~950 and each has its own advantages (large/small alumni network, personally knowing your entire class, etc).

4. Diversity: Building my professional network in school is very important, and it helps to have a large alumni club of the school from your country. Not that you can’t build a network without your country citizens, its just a bit easier. Plus, it may help you interact better (with similar people), atleast initially.

5. Geographic location: East vs. West Coast, south vs. north, etc. Do you prefer a big city or a more rural / suburban area. Trade-off between the networking opportunities and long-term rapport within your class: when you are in a small town, you’ll end up spending more time and better moments with your classmates and faculty.

6. Weather: Can you¬†stand the extremely¬†cold weather? What weather do you prefer? If nothing else makes you decide, use this, its better than tossing a coin. This might¬†help on¬†the choice between a H vs. S (ie. Boston snow or California sun?) or¬†Wharton vs¬†Chicago (ie. Very cold place or Very Very cold place?) hehehe…

7. Rank¬†(or prestige): I‚Äôm mentioning this at the end because when you combine all the parameters above, you‚Äôll be left with 4-5 schools at best (if you’re lucky). Might as well take this decision later… Just in case you feel you want to hedge by applying to more schools, then possibly see which ones got filtered out in the least important parameter above!

What’s important is to make sure you start with a band you think reasonable for you (say Top 20/25/30) ‚Äď You don‚Äôt want the above filters to throw up schools ranked 97, 156, 288, etc. Do you?

Do let me know your thoughts on these? Anything I missed out except the teaching methodology? Is that really important? I cant figure out. As yet.  

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More on the GMAT

Some finer points for the actual test:

1. It seemed a bit tougher than the two GMATPrep tests I had done – but that was possibly due to the fact I was tense.

  • The question types were very similar to OG, none of the vague Kaplan Qs.
  • The level of difficulty (in both sections)¬†kept increasing till about the 30th/33rd, then came back to easy/medium – don’t get scared thinking you’ve really screwed up (I was!), its prob becoz you’re thru with all difficult ones ūüôā
  • Pace yourself well, with target time of completion 2 min before actual time – you never know you might get a really calculation intensive / twister at the very end (I did – my last Math Q was so, couldnt do it in 2.5 min!).

2. The forms to be filled before the test dont take much time – but then there’s no need to take less time than¬†they provide. Use¬†this spare time¬†for steadying your nerves, praying, or just plain self pep-talk.

3. Its even better if the above spare time is also used for checking out the keyboard. Mine had a few problems, everytime I pressed “h” I got “hh” or sometimes “hhh”, and the “r” had to be hit harder than usual. Just pisses you off, and as in my case de-focuses on the task at hand. (The AWA obviously come from the lists. But being first off, the keyboard is very important)

4. Take all ‘optional’ breaks. Even if you feel you dont need it immediately, you’ll need it sooner rather than later, and then you’ll not have the option.

5. Last but not the least – check out the water cooler, rest room, and maybe the smoking area beforehand. It’ll save on critical time during the breaks.

Hope this helps…

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“Do not follow what I did, if you want a good GMAT score!”

Now that I’ve got a headline-grabber, let me assure you: I’m serious –¬†despite getting a good GMAT score myself, I’ve thought about what I did for my preparation, and whether I would do things¬†the same way again – the answer is a strict “NO”. Thats exactly¬†what I’ll tell everyone who’s still to give his/her GMAT… dont do what I did, I wouldn’t either.

Now there are 2 ways of looking at this.¬†The first is that this guy has been thru it and knows what he’s saying. The other is that his score has gone to his head and he’s saying that he got there despite his study process, because he wants to believe that he’s very intelligent, a born genius, blah, blah…. So while I’d recommend the former, you are at will to decide your own path. It’s your GMAT after all.

I’ll start with what I did, then try to highlight what I consider wrong, and possibly my alternative ‘non-wrong’ method (I say this because I sincerely believe there is no one ‘right’ way, but some ways are definitely ‘wrong’)

1. I started 2 months before my target G-date

Now this in itself may not be a¬†suicidal idea, but for someone who’s not picked up his books for 7-8 years, it may be a problem. Thankfully, the sound math fundamentals helped me in saving on a huge amount of time to focus on the verbal. But this may not work for everyone, so make sure you’re giving yourself atleast 6 months esp. if you have a strenuous and traveling job like mine. That would also give you scope for retest which I didnt have. And give you enough time for essays unlike me, who’s scrambling to start now. Maybe even a 2-3 week break btween the GMAT and essays, which is much needed, believe me.


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Its finally over… Whew

Yes! I’m finally thru¬†with¬†the¬†GMAT – it went really well, though I think I screwed up my AWA a bit

Got¬†the¬†exact score¬†that I’d targeted, which was a good 30 points more than what I was expecting – so yesterday¬†was¬†party-time,¬†and¬†today’s¬†hangover-time¬†ūüôā

Now that one hurdle is out of the way, what do I expect to change in my life? Here are a few things in increasing order of difficulty (for execution)

1. Dispose off the OG & other books, and clear my shelves / study table

2. Stop thinking about subject-verb agreement errors in every mail my boss sends across (believe me there are plenty)

3.¬†Start¬†my¬†essays¬†–¬†atleast¬†the¬†4¬†¬†(H,¬†W,¬†Chi,¬†Col)¬†due¬†in¬†early October

Anyways, I’ll come back to the blog l8r for a more detailed update esp for those yet¬†to¬†appear¬†for¬†the¬†test – Right now I still have my glass full; Cheers!!! and a very Happy Independance Day to all Indians.

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