Archive for August, 2007

HBS Admissions Event

I went to an HBS Admissions Event last night hoping that it would help me decide whether to apply. Aside from the question of whether they would admit me, I’m apprehensive about the total use of the case method (no lecture at all!) and my potential classmates. This is the world’s top business school which presumably attracts the best and the brightest. Are all of these people going to be lone wolf cutthroat jerkwads? I guess out of 900 classmates, there’s bound to be a handful.

The HBS administrator made the case method less intimidating, although it would probably still take about a week or so for me to get comfortable speaking up in front of my section-mates. After I get comfortable, I don’t shut up. HBS doesn’t seem to sell the school as much as the other schools, but maybe its because they don’t need to. The recent alum were personable and doing really cool things. What turned me off a bit were some other potential applicants. Of course, the majority seemed pretty normal, definitely high achievers, but still normal people. However, there were a handful sitting around me and all I could think was, “What tools.” They reminded me of Alex P. Keaton.

While I’m still on the fence with HBS, I may add Boston University to my R2 apps as a backup. We’ll see how R1 goes.

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I should be working, but…

  • Kellogg Part 1 submitted
  • Wharton & Haas applications just went online…started filling out the fun/easy parts of the application. What’s my name? Oooh! I know that one!
  • Informational interview with Kellogg student.
  • Submitted 3 of 4 Round 1 recommendation requests to my former manager.
  • Almost finished recommendation packet for my current manager. Once that’s ready and goes out (in about an hour) I can send all of my Round 1 recommendation requests through the online applications.
  • Going swimming and will work on Wharton essay on this evening’s flight.
  • Forgot to book next week’s flight yesterday and the cost went up by $500. WTF!

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Kellogg app

Kellogg Part 1 has been completed. Of course, I haven’t submitted yet because I want to sit on it for a day. There isn’t much to Part 1, but I don’t lose anything by sitting on it for a day and I do like sleeping on important things just to make sure I don’t miss anything. The only reason why I’m submitting this part early is that I need flexibility for my interview date due to my cramped fall schedule. While I’m eligible for an off-campus interview, I’d much prefer an on-campus interview so that I can also visit classes. Hopefully they have something during the two weeks in November that I’ll be in Chicago for work. Gotta also find a day that I can sneak away to do this interview.

Kellogg Part 2? The essays are moving along and should be finalized pretty soon (of course I’ll sit on it until the last minute). I uploaded my resume but am a little bit confused by the transcript. It says that if you scan your transcript to submit, they want a one inch margin at the top for blank space. How do I do that without cutting important stuff off at the bottom?

Also a little bit interesting is the extenuating circumstances piece. I had addressed these in Essay 4B since it closely ties into my career trajectory. Should I throw 4B into the extenuating circumstances box and take advantage of 4C – Describe the most challenging professional relationship you have faced and how you handled it.?

I kind of like how all of my essays tie together, but it may not make much of a difference since it all may end up on one PDF in Part 2. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to tell another story about myself…but the challenging relationship I had in mind is also one of my recommenders. Sticky, no? I’m probably just making excuses because I don’t want to write another essay when I still have 3 more applications to do in round 1. Forge on, lazyass!

I’ll sleep on it.

My boyfriend thinks I’m obsessed with this MBA thing. He’s right. I’m a nerd at heart and want to succeed academically. School is one of those things I do well. Imagine how much more I’d drive him crazy about bschool talk without this blog? And after 9 years together, it does seem a bit silly calling him my boyfriend. On the apps, I’ve listed myself as “engaged” even though we’re not technically engaged nor do we have official plans to get married anytime soon. Eloping has always seemed like a good idea to me.

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Up again

  • 6 weeks ago, I couldn’t swim. Today, I swam laps for over an hour, alternating between backstroke (my strongest stroke), breaststroke, and freestyle.
  • Got comments on my Kellogg essays back from the friend who was on the MIT AdCom. Overall, they’re strong. She just had a few suggestions to make my essays stronger. HOORAY! They’re not total crap! I may have a chance at this after all. Will hear back from my cousin and friends later this week.
  • Filled out half of the Fuqua application today (need to call the registrar for a few details) and most of Kellogg Part I (minus awards & accomplishments, and extracurriculars). Wharton’s app should be released tomorrow…and then I just have to wait for Haas to release theirs.
  • 2 shots of Jager. No more bschool apps for the night.

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up, down

I know it is still early in the process, but so far, this has been such a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute, I can’t think of any reasons why a school would ding me. I’m awesome! The next minute, I can’t think of any reasons why a school would want me. I stink.

I got halfway through the Fuqua application on a total high. Then, I got to Fuqua’s math requirements and hit a low. I decided to enroll in UC Berkeley Extension Online calculus & microeconomics courses and my mood shifted again. Now, as I prepare my recommenders packet, I’m in a bit of a panic. Although my manager has the best intentions, will he really be able to meet my deadlines? He hasn’t been in the office in two weeks!

In addition, next week’s planned time off to work on my essays and applications will be briefly interrupted by a business trip. Hopefully I can make it a day trip, although I’m not sure how feasible that is considering I have a site visit in Texas. The good part of it is that I will get to see our products in a clinical setting, which is invaluable.

Also, I did a presentation to 200 people today and didn’t choke. Of course, it was a web conference, so does it really count?

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*click* sent

I sent my Kellogg essays out Saturday afternoon to:

  1. A college friend who was on MIT’s AdCom as a student. Thank you LinkedIn for hooking us up again. She was curious about the medical device industry, and I was curious about healthcare consulting. Win win!
  2. My cousin who has guided me through the entirety of my business career. It was her connections that got me my first marketing internship.
  3. One of my closest friends who knows me well…and he’s got a Master’s in Journalism. He will eliminate passive voice from my essays.
  4. Another friend who applied to 18 law schools a few years ago. He’s insane.
  5. My coworker, a Haas graduate, also wants to see a copy. It couldn’t hurt, although I’m not sure I want him to know such personal details about me.

On to Wharton! I think I figured out a better setback story. It is from my professional life and though it is recent, it is a setback and not a failure, so it doesn’t really highlight my shortcomings. In fact, it shows that I’m resourceful, resilient, and diligent.

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Failures & setbacks

It is one of those rare Saturdays in San Francisco–lots of sun, no fog, and everyone is outside enjoying the great weather. Where am I? I’m in the conference room at the boy’s office listening to Feist on iTunes and trying to get started on the Wharton essays. However, I’ve been up since 6am and ran 15 miles this morning–a nap sounds better.

I’m not sure what to write about for my mistake/setback essay. Sure, I’ve made mistakes at work, but nothing particularly exciting:

  • I shouldn’t have trusted the hardware rep last year and should have gone with the spec’d Dells. Now I’m stuck with 15 subpar workstations. I should have pushed the European team to pull their weight a little harder. That’s about a two sentence lesson right there. Learned from my mistake last year and this year, I’ve deftly gotten Europe to agree to procure the equipment.
  • I experienced a major setback when my company’s IPO effort was thwarted by an acquisition. Of course, I had absolutely no control over that one. I was able to refocus after that disappointment though many were not and left. I really really like what my company does (our mission) which is why I’m still here.
  • As my company has gained marketshare, our customer satisfaction has faltered. While that is certainly a setback, we are still trying to overcome this. In addition, I don’t work on the service side of the business, where most of the complaints are.
  • The other mistake that I’m thinking about is an extracurricular failure where I didn’t trust my own instincts and followed someone else who I felt was more experienced, and thus more knowledgeable. In the end, I was wrong and it cost me. I can draw business parallels…however, I don’t want it to seem like I’m copping out and trying to paint myself as an infallible professional.

On this morning’s run, I was unable to think of a professional setback worth writing about.

In terms of being an outsider, I wanted to write about visiting my parents’ homeland, but that was 7 years ago. Is that too far back? I could talk about being a young manager in a newly acquired company…but the outsider aspect is dampened somewhat since my manager was promptly promoted to GM, pushing the other employees on the outs and bringing me in.

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