Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Quitting time!

It was with subdued yet secretly unbridled joy that I informed my boss of my quitting date yesterday. May 24th is the day! With H-1B cap season in full swing I still have a grueling three months of work left. However, then it's off to India for a month and a half of being a backpacking tourist!! We're planning to stick to the north of India and try to do a little trekking. Depending on the security situation we may sneak over to Nepal as well. After India we'll be off to Finland for three weeks before I return to DC on August 5th. I am cutting it a little close if I decided to do a math camp (refresher course) which starts the 6th, but then again I usually cut it close. My jet lag coming back from Finland usually isn't too bad...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Before I throw them all away...

I wanted to document my binders in cyberspace. :-)
I thought it was funny that Yale sent me a New Haven restaurant guide immediately so I included a separate shot of that.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Turning down offers

Reading about fellow bloggers languishing on waitlists made me realize I need to take the time to turn down my offers. It is decidedly unfair to hold places that I am now confident I will not take.
Although I have already had experience doing this it doesn't make it any easier. It is still painful to turn down schools. The exciting, wooing part of the process has passed and I am well into the torturing decision phase. During the application process a clear first place choice emerged: LBS. After being rejected from LBS, things became a bit more complicated. The multi-variate calculus now required to make my decision has given me headaches.

It just took me 15 minutes to register for the UCLA website, login, and get through two or three intro web pages in order to decline my offer of admission...

Friday, February 23, 2007

Conversation with Cambridge

I went down to New York to attend the MBA Tour earlier this month (February). I attended solely to meet with the Director of Admission from Judge (Cambridge) who was presenting at the fair. See my previous posts about the events leading up to this conversation. Now, replying to your waitlist decision decision with a strongly worded email about how your interview made you question the leadership of the business school is probably not the recommended course of action. However, as I was sitting on several acceptances from very strong programs I decided "what the heck" and emailed my North American admissions rep. An excerpt from my email:

"At some point soon I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with someone on the admissions committee about my interview. It was an interesting experience that left me with an unfavorable impression of the leadership of JBS."

As previously mentioned, this prompted a response from the Marketing and Admissions Director.

I posted myself outside the room where the Cambridge information session was to take place and intercepted the Director before the session. He was very personable and professional and immediately offered to speak with me right after the presentation. We spoke for approximately fifteen minutes about my interview. He gave me very helpful feedback on my application and why I was waitlisted. I made it clear during the interview that I understood why I was placed on the waitlist and said that regardless of the outcome of my application I believed no one else should have the same appalling interview experience I had. The Director was extremely receptive to my feedback, enthusiastic about the program, and generally professional and friendly. The admissions end of the school at least is in excellent hands.

One amusing thing that happened was when the Director said it sounded as if my interviewer had a bad day. Me: "I certainly hope so!!" He also said that they usually receive very positive feedback about the admissions office. To that I didn't quite have an appropriate response. Cambridge does not seem to have a very effective method for anonymous feedback. Therefore, one would assume that applicants' responses are colored by their wish to be accepted. Or, applicants' responses are colored by receiving an acceptance to the program. This is the type of statistical and data analysis question that I enjoy tossing around. How is such "positive" feedback gathered? What is the study size? People who are moved to independently give feedback are possibly overly pleased (matriculating students) or overly disgruntled (me). Ahh, statistics. I look forward to abusing you once more next year.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Money from Maryland

I was just offered a Dean's Fellowship from Maryland. Full tuition AND fees for both years. Wow. :-)

My admissions decisions pretty much confirmed that I underestimated myself during this process. However, I am satisfied that I only applied to schools that I could envision myself at. Even if I had applied and was accepted I could not imagine staying in Boston and attending Harvard. It would be limiting my experience and outlook to an unnecessary degree, despite the outstanding education. Perhaps this level of awareness stood out in my essays and interviews and that was a main reason I was accepted into so many programs. Well, that and my GMAT score!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow and V-Day

Well five years ago today I was subconsciously seducing my current Valentine with a clever birthday gift. It brings fond memories of London back to the forefront of my memory. I do note that my fond memories of London do not often include the sun. The weather in London is currently in the 40s (F) and raining. I think I ALMOST prefer Boston's 32 degrees and "heavy ice pellets" to cold rain. I have donned my traditional black on Valentine's Day and lucked out as the snow moved my boss to allow jeans in the office for the day.

Well I am going back to reviewing 8 thousand H-1B petitions for mostly ungrateful rude management consultants. FUN! At least the HR people are very nice. It makes my job slightly more bearable.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

interview questions

I was posting about my interviews on a forum for my alma mater and realized my posting fits nicely into my blog as well!

...For the Yale interview it was a "tell your story" type of questioning. The interviewer did not have my application in front of her (she was a 2nd year, but this was luck of the draw, both 2nd years and admissions reps were interviewing). The main focus at the beginning of the interview was tell me a little about yourself, with a transition into why an mba, why the mba now. If you are given the opportunity to just speak at the beginning of the interview, I would take that time to answer those fundamental questions as part of your opening story. The phrase "tell me your story" was used by interviewers for at least 4 schools (UCLA, Yale, IESE, Notre Dame). The Yale interview focused mainly on my resume and why specifically Yale, and then allowed plenty of time for me to ask questions at the end of the interview. This is always an excellent time to show your knowledge of the school.

The next focus after why the MBA, why now, is why THAT school. It seems obvious, but have very specific programs or details about the school at your disposal to work into your "why THIS MBA" answer.

Other questions:

Theme: team work/ leadership
- Have you ever lead a team?
- Describe a challenge in a leadership position either in or outside of work and how you handled the challenge.
- Describe your typical role on teams.
- Describe what specific strengths you bring to a team.

Theme: career
- What is your dream job/ career goal/ business plan for immediately after you graduate? 10 years after b school?
- How will your work experience help you in your future career?
- What will b school contribute to your career goals?

Theme: Strength/ weakness
- What strengths and experience will you contribute to the program? (VERY common)
- What is your biggest weakness?
- How have your worked to fix/ overcome your weakness?
- What would others describe as your strengths?

- Business case study on Starbucks- what business do you see for Starbucks in the next ten years. (Not typical, but interesting.)
- What great leader would you like to meet and what would you ask him or her?

Also, noting in your profile that you are a 23 year old '05, I would be very prepared to answer and argue the point why now. I was told I was a bit young by several interviewers and adapted my opening to cover that issue.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

More Cambridge

I received a very nice email from the Director of Admission at Cambridge today expressing displeasure at my experiences with Judge thus far. This was based on a brief email I sent to my assigned representative in the admissions office expressing... negative feelings... towards Judge based on my interview.

Boston MBA Fair: Met two lovely marketing reps from the admissions office who were very friendly and helpful in providing information. However, never heard from them again.

Interview: Application was received by Cambridge on October 15th, I interviewed with the Dean who happened to be in NYC on December 2nd. The interview went as well as it could have gone considering the Dean gave me the distinct impression that I was not qualified and the adcom was making him do the interview. He wanted to talk about my F on an econometrics exam 4 years ago rather than my managerial experience. The rest of the interview roamed in feeling from mildly offensive to unhelpful.

Student interaction: Despite repeated requests to the admissions office to be put in touch with current students I had to search out this student via an LBS blogger. The student was very nice and helpful in answering my questions and was very positive about her experience at Cambridge.

Why do I even care? The BF will be at Cambridge and with a ding from LBS, this is my last chance of studying in Her Majesty's kingdom. We'll see how the wait goes!


I finally received a decision from Cambridge. Waitlisted. After my stunning (note a GIGANTIC amount of sarcasm here) interview with the Dean in December I am not surprised. What a trip he was. One of his insightful, grilling questions was "Do people think you're bossy?" Followed later by "were you surprised by your GMAT score?" Although I could go on for hours about that enlightening experience, I choose to get back to work and accumulate overtime.