Archive for Wharton

DINGED at Cal!

With the final decision in via email this morning, I close out my application season with a .500 hit rate (and 100% interview rate…not bad!).

I had a pretty good hunch I wasn’t going to get the admit from Cal during my interview. My interviewer asked me some pretty tough questions that I didn’t really have good answers for. Perhaps if I had prepared at all (I pretty much just relied on my previous preparation…two months prior) I could have done better. However, with a Kellogg admit in my pocket, my heart wasn’t really into Cal. While I know Cal would have made academic and financial sense, I am really in this not just for the education, but for the experience.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that my phone beeped TWICE during my interview. I had it on silent, so it shouldn’t have beeped (yeah, I’d forgotten about the Wharton debacle already and forgot to turn my phone off), so that was another omen of the impending DING.

What have I learned? If my heart isn’t into something, I am fairly obvious…even if I try not to be. Wharton read my dislike of Philly and Cal probably read my “been there, done that…and I’ve got an admit already” attitude. I never claimed to be good at poker.

There’s a scholarship letter on its way to me via USPS from Duke. However, I doubt it will be enough to sway me.

Evanston here I come!


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Wharton Ding

Yesterday, I wanted an admit for ego but was secretly hoping NOT to have to move to Philadelphia. If I had gotten in, I would definitely have gone (over Kellogg) because the program is more tailored for my career aspirations. However, I wasn’t feeling enthusiastic about being in Philly.

At least they liked me enough to ask for an interview. It was an honor just to be considered. (kidding)

Oh well, so now it is down to either Berkeley (silence…) and Kellogg.

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I just remembered that during my Wharton interview, my phone buzzed REALLY loudly. I had my phone on silent, but the vibration was still a little distracting. I apologized and sent the call straight to voicemail. I probably should have turned the phone completely off at that point, but then I would have had to spend a few extra keystrokes unlocking my phone and then shutting it down.

So, lesson learned. Silent phone isn’t exactly silent. Turn it off for the interview.

Now that I’ve had some time to digest the Wharton interview, the only things I wished I could have done better:

  • He asked some very specific questions about my short-term goal (consultant). I really don’t know that much about consulting aside from my work with the folks at BCG…maybe I should learn more?
  • Turned off my effin’ phone.
  • Talked a little bit more about the merits of Wharton’s healthcare program vs. Haas’ MBA/MPH. Could have made a few better arguments to show that Wharton really has the best program out there for ME.
  • He asked me two questions in one. After I finished answering the first one, I’d already forgotten the second one, so I had to ask him again.
  • Didn’t get a chance to talk about some of my community involvement (although it was on my resume and as a runner, I think he understood what the job entailed)

Oh well, I still think I did well. We’ll know December 20th whether the Wharton coin toss is in my favor. At this point, I really do feel like I have 50/50 odds here.

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Wharton Interview – done!

I had my interviews (I’m applying as an HCM, so I have two interviews) with Wharton yesterday. They both went exactly as expected. For those who haven’t yet interviewed, just study the reports from and and there shouldn’t be any surprises.

I think I was able to relate well to my interviewer. We had some common interests (my boyfriend’s interests came in handy too, since I was knowledgeable about some things that most girls don’t care about) which helped keep the conversation comfortable. One thing that surprised me is that he was impressed by the size of my operating budget. Just goes to show that things that seem common to me may seem more extraordinary to others.

Now, I have to prepare for my Kellogg interview and prepare myself for a long wait. I still haven’t started writing my Columbia or BU essays…its kind of hard to when I feel so positive about both Wharton and Haas. But, I need to prepare for the worst. I feel positive, but this process does seem really random. Good luck to everyone else who is interviewing!

I didn’t get asked the leader question, but I did finally decide on an answer. I recently read Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood (Kellogg alum) and really admire his mission. He left an executive position at Microsoft to start a non-profit which builds libraries & schools and educates young girls in Asia & Africa. It has a very unique business model that gives donors a manageable fundraising goasl and tangible results.

My numbers may be off (remembering statistics is one of my weaknesses) but $12k builds a school in Nepal/Vietnam/etc.. $250 provides a multi-year scholarship for young girls in India/Africa/etc. who otherwise could not afford an education.

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Tell me about a leader you admire

I’m preparing for my Wharton interviews on Thursday and have compiled a list of questions from,, and random blogs. While most of the questions are pretty straightforward, I’m stumped by the question in the title.

Tell me about a leader you admire.

My answer (Oprah Winfrey) is cliche, and I would like to avoid cliche. However, I truly do admire Oprah Winfrey. She came from nothing and overcame sexual abuse, racism, and sexism to become one of the most influential people in the world. When Oprah speaks, people listen. She exposes the masses to otherwise ignored atrocities around the world (Darfur + George Clooney = attention), educates girls in Africa, and commits large sums of her own money to causes she believes in. What’s not to admire?

Help me find a better answer, blogosphere!

I admire Bill & Melinda Gates’ commitment to education reform and the eradication of curable diseases in the third world. However, I’m not sure I admire his business practices (as evidenced on the Simpsons).

I admire Queen Noor for breaking down barriers for women in the Middle East and for her commitment to educating the West about Middle Eastern culture.

I admire John Coltrane for his pursuit of innovation. But he was a heroin junkie.


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Wharton’s database spits out up to nine alumni interview options. Make sure you view all nine. I’d mistakenly thought you could only view three at a time. You don’t get much information aside from name, email address, and graduation year. Most of my potential interviewers used their Wharton email addresses, which reveals nothing regarding current industry.

LinkedIn has been invaluable in my alumni interview selection process. Most people have a profile here. Through LinkedIn, I have been able to track down someone who works in my industry, graduated fairly recently, and is closer to me in age. It will be MUCH easier for me to relate to him than to an investment banker in his mid-40s or a private-equity guy also in his mid-40s.

My interviews are in two weeks.

I’ll spend this weekend fine-tuning my Haas application and the next week or so studying for my Wharton interview. Once Wharton is done, I have a few days to review for Kellogg and then I’m off to Chicago for two weeks (for work). I haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving with my family since I started working in this field.

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Officially, Wharton interview invites start going out today and cease on Nov 15th for R1. To properly set my expectations, I have to remind myself that this is my reach school. Of course, I will be happy if they call me. If they don’t, I gave it my best shot.

I checked the BW Forums (yes evil, but I was disciplined enough to only look at the Wharton thread), GMATClub, and S2S. No interview action on any of those boards. The percentage of Indian nationals on all of these boards seems incredibly high. I wonder if they’re on those boards for the same reason that I am…because nobody I know has gone to business school.

UGH. Back to my Duke essays. I really hate Short Answer #2 vs. Long Essay #2. YOU ARE THE SAME QUESTION! The differences are so subtle. UGH!! 2 weeks til due date and my essays are NOT in a good place. Blech blech blech blech.


Interesting tidbit: I make more than my parents combined. I can’t believe they raised two kids (and sent them to Catholic schools!) on that. I know how hard they worked. That’s why, when I received my BA, I put it in a fancy frame and gave it to them. That was their only goal. It was why they immigrated here, why they worked odd jobs to put me through school, and why they pushed me to always do my best.

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