Archive for Harvard

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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Revelations on the trail

Running has always been my form of meditation (real meditation makes me fall asleep). I ran a 16k trail race this morning. Since I knew I had ~2 hours (I’m not fast) of running through the trees, I figured I’d spend the time mapping out the first two HBS essays. While I’ve figured out 2 of my greatest accomplishments, I still have one more to pinpoint. I’m running a half marathon in two weeks…I’m sure I can figure out something within 13.1 miles.

I had greater success identifying a mistake that I learned from. Halfway through my first loop, it dawned on me that this doesn’t have to be my GREATEST mistake…just something that I learned from. While climbing 4000 feet I was able to outline my mistake/lessons learned essay and draw personal/business parallels. As soon as I finished (no scrubbing but a minor ankle roll and a little bit of blood on my legs from the brush), I grabbed my backpack and scribbled out my outline before the thoughts escaped me.

I drank two diet cokes and ate a giant bowl of chili before J came in from what was supposed to be his 25k race. J has the worst sense of direction in the world, so when I started seeing people finishing the 25k that shouldn’t be finishing in front of him, I knew for sure that he had gotten lost. Almost nine years with someone and you just know. Sure enough, he came in a little bit later, having done an extra loop for a total of 29k.

Those are the joys and adventures of trail running: getting lost, getting bloody, and getting DONE!

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HBS Application

It is quiet in the office today so I’ve spent the better part of this morning working on my HBS application. Other bloggers have mentioned that it takes a lot longer to fill out the “easy” parts than one would think–but wow–they really want some details! For example, the application asks for the name and contact info for my university’s Registrar. I didn’t even know that was a real person! I was a bit apprehensive since I went to a UC and thought I’d end up stuck in phone tree purgatory. Luckily, the Registrar’s office is very easy to reach and I got the information I needed. One question that HBS asks that I could not answer was estimated ranking among peers. My school does not do this…and with 10,000 other people in my class, how am I supposed to know? How did/will other applicants answer this question?

Other parts of the application that surprised me were the 250-500 word blurbs that are required to describe each company/job (luckily I’ve only worked for two),  and to account for any gaps. I ended up writing ~300 words on a 4-month employment gap when I helped my mom care for my dying grandparents and aunt. It brought me back to a very dark time in my life when four family members died within the span of 6 months. I was very embarassed to discover that I had tears in my eyes while writing this piece…in my cube. Luckily not many people are around today.

I have quite a ways to go on this application (and this is only one of six?!). I still need to update my resume (luckily I last updated it in Nov 2006), input my transcripts and extracurriculars, write my essays, and get my recommendations. Although he knows my intentions and deadlines, I still need to speak to my manager about specifics. I haven’t approached my previous manager yet (he will be my third recommendation, so I need to see what other schools require a third before I approach him) but will need to do so soon. And finally, my most enthusiastic recommender and biggest professional advocate/mentor is not doing so well these days. I just heard that she was on medical leave…hopefully she’ll still be able to do my recommendations. Otherwise, I’ll have to ask colleagues that haven’t managed me but have worked closely with me. I hope it doesn’t come to that. However, I do hope she gets better soon.

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