Archive for the ‘Darden’ Category

After my two dings (Darden & Sloan), both without interview, I have been sort of down. Not because I got dinged, but because I wasn’t even invited to interview. Was my application that bad? Does this mean I’m dead meat at Wharton, Harvard, etc? Maybe, maybe not… so I decided to brainstorm on what went wrong. I had done most of this in December while preparing my R2 apps, but it helps to recalibrate my expectations.

Darden: the 300 word essays did me in! Even while writing the essays, I was very confused what they are expecting one to write, how can I get the adcom to know more about me in just 2-3 so-short essays. Just when I was deciding to drop Darden from my list, I had the opportunity to go to their admissions event, and I met Dean Bruner

Anyways, even when I read and re-read my application in Nov/Dec I did not feel confident enough. It wasn’t portraying me fully – though I was (and still am) confused how I could convey everything in 300 words. I think it was all down to the GPA and background stuff for Darden selections, and that way I wasn’t sure I’d make it.

MIT Sloan: This was a long shot from the word go! I decided on Sloan very late (around mid-Oct) and attempted to try out the essays. I can say my essays were quite good, but they lacked anything related to MIT save a few stray points. Neither had I done much research on the school, nor did I think it was important at the time. Plus the E&I program was probably for techno-entrepreneurs, and my goals (while entrepreneurial) are far placed from that. In hindsight, I would have been a misfit in the MIT culture, and surely they realized it before I did. Key learning: research schools before you apply!

The only issue I have is that MIT didn’t even call me for interview. If my essays were good, then they would have tried to understand more about me, wouldn’t they? But then, all my reviewers have given me a ‘two thumbs up’ for my R2 essays, which aren’t too different from the MIT ones. Troubling thought, isn’t it? Will my R2 schools ding me in the same way, considering most of them are even more competitive?

The saving grace was Tuck’s invite. I have heard they do not hand out too many interview invites (given that majority applicants schedule self-initiated IVs) so maybe they did like my essays. The only major difference between my MIT and Tuck essay quality was the school-specific details – Tuck asked for it directly, I gave them my thoughts. Did this exclusion make MIT not extend an IV invite? I don’t know and never will.

Whats next? Some more waiting and anxiety before Tuck’s results are declared on 8th.

Down, but not out! Not yet!


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Tuck & Darden

Two schools I had applied to purely because of their culture and my fit with them were Tuck & Darden. I had received very high opinion of both these schools, though in slightly different areas. Some Tuck alumni I knew convinced me about the close knit community at Tuck. This is really in line with my own priorities in life and career. No, it was not because I can get a response from 99% Tuck alumni in 1-2 days and this would help my networking. Yes, thats important, but the BIG reason is that I strongly believe that business is about people. (If it weren’t, then soon computers would rule and business skills will not be required.*) Even  If I can spend 2 years with people who care for each other, I would learn more than if I got 25 of the best faculty in the world!With Darden, it was a similar reason. The feedback was again high on community, though less than Tuck. The added part was case study and extreme academic orientation. This interested me since its been ages since I last stepped into a classroom, and I think I have decent work experience. Grounding myself with the theoretical frameworks is what I want now, and Darden fit the bill in that respect.

My thoughts are differing now, although I’ll say its biased because of their respective adcoms. I’ve written about Darden’s adcom & policies before, but I’ll add a few things:

1. After deeper thought, I understand some of the issues are natural (delay in interviewing, etc), this being the first year they’re inviting people to interview & all. But… they should keep people informed. That, I believe, is the first rule of people management.

2. Even if they’re not hyper-active in communication, the least one can do is to reply to mails. I’ve myself sent in 4 mails over the last 1 month, 2 each to the adcom & my account manager, but have not even received an automated acknowledgement (I hate that stuff actually) leave alone a response.

Now compare this with Tuck! Every mail I’ve sent (including some idiotic queries, which I wish I could recall! Or maybe erase from their memories like the Haitian does in Heroes) has been replied to very politely, and very promptly.

And sample this… the email I got 2 days after my interview:

Dear XYZ, Thank you for interviewing with Tuck. We hope you enjoyed your experience. If you have additional questions about Tuck or the application process, please do not hesitate to contact us at Tuck.Admissions@Dartmouth.edu.All the best,

Tuck Admissions Team

I thought it was a really nice gesture on the part of Tuck adcom to send this mail. Really! they didnt need to…Small thing probably, but finally its the small things that matter in life, isn’t it?

I know one shouldn’t judge a school by the adcom, and like m@ pointed out “it’s more like marrying someone when you don’t get along with your new spouse’s ex-husband”. But if the ex-husband is deciding who’s coming / not coming into the spouse’s life, then who’s the real husband??? 😉


* Will computers take over our business decisions soon? I have some thoughts which I’ll gather & post soon…

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Some thoughts & self-evaluation on my 1st round applications:

MIT Sloan : submitted on 30th Oct

No interview call yet; I’ve been optimistic, but reality is soon going to bite, on 28th, the day their Round 1 decisions are due. So this may be the end of the road for me at MIT. Agreed they claim to hand out invites till the last day, but practically thats a longer shot than getting into HBS with 100% scholarship 🙂

Darden: submitted on 1st Nov

No love here too! Darden R1 invites seem to have ended – haven’t heard of any new interview invites in the last 2 weeks. In hindsight, my essays were quite weak (but then what do they expect in 300 words?) Maybe they’ll still want to talk to me…

Tuck: submitted on 14th Nov

Got an adcom-initiated interview invite & talked to a 2nd year student. Not a great interview, but not bad enough for a ding either! Results are due on 8th Feb. Lets c…

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This is so unprofessional

Whats it with these Darden folks? Do they not understand the concept of rounds? Or deadlines? Ethics maybe?

The latest rumors from Darden are that they could be pushing some EA/ED interviews to Feb slots so that one can interview with the R2 pool. Do they mean you are being waitlisted without an interview?

I picked up from the BW forums that some people had emailed their case manager and were told that adcom is extremely busy with round 2 apps. WTF???

Why did I have to pick this up from the BW forum? Because I’m yet to get a response for my mails to the adcom… Earlier they had a superfast response rate but now all that seems to have gone downhill.

So for lack of an alternate platform, my questions to the adcom are…. Is processing of EA apps being delayed because of the surge in R2 apps? And will adcom be responding to these applicants well past the decision deadline? Dont people who applied in an earlier round deserve to get their apps processed first? Whats the point of a “round” otherwise? How fair is delaying the decisions beyond the deadline for “Early Action” round ? What else does Early Action mean?

Very valid questions, these… especially after how they go on and on about ethics (check out their application form ethics signoff, for starters). Why cant they just process the applications in order of submission? Highly unprofessional!

You could just say I’m falling out of love 😦

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Too much partying… now the hangover has started hitting me!

Less than 30 days left for 5 schools: HBS, Wharton, (more…)

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I just checked my applications for Darden and Sloan, and both have changed from their previous ‘submitted’ status. So, along with Tuck which (more…)

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Next up

I’ve Tuck’s essays on my plate right now, and I must say the plate is overflowing. The first two essays are fine, I have the basic storylines in place and will fine-tune them for Tuck. Thats the easy part. Its essay 3 and 4 I’m really worried about.

How does one write a whole essay on feedback/criticism you received? I’ve been racking my brains for the whole of yesterday, and could not even think of one example to write about. Not that I think I’m perfect. Far from it. But there are so (more…)

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