Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Not surprisingly, I don't have any pictures of b-school during all these visits...so I am borrowing my friend G's photo of Kellogg to add a bit of color to my blog. She tagged me when she took the picture back in early fall, and it brought me good luck! :)
So I encourage you to submit a photo for the contest as a way of having some fun during this strenuous process. Plus, you can win some prizes! So why not :)
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Just want to share my joy and wish everyone happy holidays! I actually have quite a few ideas that I want to write in my blog but since time is precious during the holidays and I really need to plow through Stanford's essays right now and still leave time for family fun, I am gonna hold out on posting until I get a little break somewhere down the road. But yes, there will be more interesting posts to come, hopefully some good advice for fellow and future applicants too!
In this holiday season, enjoy your time with family and friends my fellow applicants, for they are ultimately what matters to you most! :)
Friday, December 18, 2009
How do I feel? Hum, it's hard to say. I can't say that I am leaping for joy that I don't need to make the difficult decision between Wharton and Kellogg, but I don't necessary feel sad or disappointed. Maybe a little disappointed since I did a good interview and felt pretty good about my essays. But in the grand scheme, I think this rejection might be good for me. First of all, I was imagining before the decision how would I choose between Wharton and Kellogg, and I couldn't make a decision. I applied to Wharton mainly because of its reputation. But after visiting Kellogg, I certainly had a better connection with the people there and felt great about the program. Secondly, this rejection really put me back into perspective in the whole admission process, which is really a black box. After Kellogg admit and MIT interview invite, I was feeling a little too good about myself and start imagining getting into lots of schools, which is a dangerous thing. While I still maintain high confidence in my ability to succeed, but I want to remain humble and grounded, and most importantly, do a great job for R2 and the interviews to come. The rejection helped that.
So to my fellow readers, best of luck with all your applications, and truly remember this, there is no rejection that can put you down, unless you give up on yourself already. So get up where you fell and charge forward!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I believe Tuck is doing a great job emphasizing on this area, so anybody who are lucky enough to go to Tuck, take great advantage of it! (I did not apply because of its location and the size of Dartmouth, but I've always thought highly of the school.)
On a side note, the Wharton box fiasco has gone out of control. As a 3 boxer, I am hoping for a happy surprise today or tomorrow. We shall see :)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Now with two applications to write and one interview to prep...I am gonna have a busy holiday season! Did I mention I am going to Mammoth for snowboarding as a toast to my first admit? December truly has turned out to be a fruitful month! :)
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Today has been an exciting day. When I intentionally left my phone on my desk as I went to a lab with no cell phone signal, I secretly hoped that when I get back to my desk at noon, there will be voicemail from Kellogg waiting for me. And indeed it happened! There was a small episode of confusion when the lady from the career center left me a message to call back, and I couldn't get through her phone. I was wondering why someone from the career center would call me and was seriously thinking if she was going to check on my career goals for considering admission. So FYI , Kellogg uses all administrative staff to call admits and they might not say "congratulations" in the voice mail~
As I bounced around the building, announcing the good news to my boss and my co-workers, and updating it to bf, friends online, I could feel a sense of reality deep inside the shell of excitement. MBA is, after all, a mean to an end. Getting into school is only the beginning. Now as the admission finally sunk in, I started to feel the weight of the loan (which I have never experienced in my life) and the pressure of job hunting to pay off the loan...especially when my boss' boss said "ok, now we can officially start planning for you leaving in 6 months". I am really gonna be leaving this job, having no income, moving to a different city, leaving my bf behind, it all sounds so scary...at the same time, I am truly excited about this journey, for I can see many doors opening and many opportunities coming at me. There will be a lot more thinking to do before selecting a school and getting ready for this incredible journey.
But at the moment, I try to stay grounded and focused so that I can put together a solid app for Stanford and HBS. I have to admit though, one admission really gives me a boost in confidence that maybe I CAN be a contender at my dream school.
Good luck to all the applicants out there!
Monday, December 14, 2009
It seems like everything repeats itself. I am back at the waiting days for Wharton invite, except this time I am waiting for a phone call from Kellogg. Patience, this is what I need, I keep telling myself. Yet I still can't help but watch my pot constantly.
On the other hand, as I was casually browsing through my twitter feed tonight, I was quite shock to find that the Haas School twitted about my last blog. I have no idea how they monitor the million blogs out there (probably through google alert or something like that...) and how they dug up my humble note (really? my blog show up in google alert?). I feel honored but also a little scared at the same time. The power of search engine and twitter just makes everything so transparent these days! You gotta watch what you say (type)! On the bright side, I am sure the Haas tweet will draw more traffic to my blog tomorrow. Just Hope I will have some good news to share with all my readers soon!
The last note, I am back to square one of the essay writing process again. This time is for Stanford. This is the big one, I will try my best to suppress my urge to worry about R1 decisions and really do a good job on this one. With a 7% admission rate, I definitely need my best foot forward (and a sprinkle of luck perhaps ^_^)
Thursday, December 10, 2009
After some 3 weeks of unfocused essay writing, I finally finished the 7 essays of Haas application. Reading through the essays for the last time, I have to say I actually quite like how they all turned out. I think I am slowly getting a hand of tailoring stories to fit a particular school's essay questions and tweaking them to reflect its culture. However, Haas' large number of short answer and essay questions did give me quite a headache, especially when I am distracted by R1 decisions. One word of advice, folks, 250 short answer questions are as hard as those long essays. It can be even harder sometimes because you really need to be super concise in telling your message. So do plan enough time for those. The total word count (including optional essay) for the 7 essays is 3,000, definitely on the high end of the MBA application spectra.
I want to spend a little bit of time reflecting on what I learned about Haas and also fill in on my Haas trip which I promised to write about. The more I learned about Haas, the more I like the school. Partially because it has a truly collaborative culture, but mostly because of the school's philosophy on "leading through innovation". I highly recommend listening to Dean Rich Lyons' Podcast on this concept. I truly believe that it's what Haas is really about, aside from located in the natural brewing ground for innovation and all the entrepreneurial hype about the school.
My visit to Haas was quite pleasant, although I did not have too much time to interact with students. The 1st day of my visit I sat in a 4pm class on Creativity and Innovation during which I witnessed a lively discussion on the case of Google. I was quite impressed by the level of class participation, given that it's an elective class (mostly 2nd years) and it was the last case of the semester. Nobody really reached out to me in the class though as I sat in the back corner of the classroom, which I did not blame them given the stressful final time. If I am a busy 2nd year student stressed out about finals, I would probably not notice the quiet perspective student sitting in the back neither. The 2nd day I went back to the school to meet a student ambassador for lunch and the info session. The 1st year student who sat on a long table with a group of us in the faculty club was very honest with us about his Haas experience. He actually had a lot of good thing to say about Haas, and told us what he wanted to see improved as well. The thing that stuck with me most was he really appreciated how diverse students are in terms of career goals. That's my impression of the school as well comparing to some of the top schools I visited on the East Coast. The West is still the wild west, where anything can happen and dreams are being chased. And now you tell me why I like Haas :)
A side note, if you want to get more out of your Haas visit, I suggest attend one of the diversity events. I went to a one day Women's conference in 2006, definitely got more chances to interact with students. Class visit as I figured, can be a hit or miss. And you should never judge the school's academic environment/culture on ONE class visit. (for example, the worst class I sat in was at Wharton...and it possibly can be the worst class at Wharton...according to current students.)
Just a quick update on my status. I still haven't heard a word from Kellogg or MIT. I did have a false alarm today missing a withheld call with voice mail. Turned out it was my eye doctor....so the waiting game continues....gotta take a small break this weekend, and then back to the last leg of the application process, Stanford and HBS apps! and more nerve wrecking decision waiting time~ wish me luck! :)
and of course, good luck to all my readers and fellow MBA bloggers (google analytics tells me I am getting some 20 new visitors everyday! thanks to Linda's feature in accepted.com and other blogger links!)
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Just now, I checked my email and a blue tagged email (I label all school communication with a blue "MBA application" tag in my gmail account) just came in, I swear my heart skipped a beat (since I was just writing not wanting to get an email from Kellogg). Turns out it's my recommendation confirmation from Haas, phew....
I've decided to close up my browser window for the online forums. They are not doing me any good and I am just losing precious time. Now I hope I have some lab work to do so I can step away from my desk~ oh, the waiting game~
Sunday, December 6, 2009
"...I wanted to quickly address a misconception that I've heard from a few applicants during the past couple of weeks on Leadership at Kellogg. Basically, there are a lot of opportunities to develop leadership skills here, but as far as I've seen, you will rarely, if ever, have formal authority over anyone (or a team). Instead, you will be working with groups of classmates that are all pretty much equally qualified to be the "leader." In these situations, you have to find a way to work together with your teammates to arrive at the best possible solution or successfully plan and execute something, and if you think that you have the right answer, it is up to you to convince the rest of the team. This is a lot harder than it seems, and I think it is representative of the situation you are likely to find yourself in most often throughout your career."
Will post more on my thoughts on this topic, but now need to get ready to take my dear bf out for his birthday celebration! I planned a mystery wine tasting and a mystery dinner to surprise my special man :) Look forward to this afternoon/evening!
Saturday, December 5, 2009
MBA PodTV also recently posted an episode on GSB and how to tackle GSB application with advice from Accepted.com founder Linda Abraham.
As for me, I just learned that Kellogg started releasing decisions last Friday. So now I can be super anxious next week waiting to hear from both MIT and Kellogg while trying to focusing on Haas application! Let December be a fruitful month!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
The fact is, writing has become easier for R2 for sure, especially when you have 3 application worth of materials to cut and paste. But I feel that my creative juice has been zapped out through R1 and so was my energy and intense concentration. I found myself hard to focus on R2 apps when sitting in front of my computer and kept going back to the dreaded online forums during my writing period. I have been keeping track of the time I spent on preparing MBA applications since early April (research school counts too). And I am definitely spending less time on application these days. Hopefully I am just getting better at it and not sacrificing application quality. Considering the last two applications I will write are my "reach" schools, I probably should focus more and spend more time really fine-tuning my essays as much as I could. I look forward to when I finish my last application though, by then I can publish my beautiful time chart~ oh well, I am still a geek after all. :)
Back to Haas essay writing at Panera in Alameda. I am up here for a work training, so took sometime to visit Haas. I sat in a pretty good class yesterday and will be going back today at noon to have lunch with a student and attend the info session afterward. Will write a separate post about my visit. Btw, it's COLD outside, 47 degrees! I guess I am spoiled by SoCal weather....
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Since Thanksgiving is an American holiday, and I had never celebrated it for the first 17 years of my life, I do not have the sentimental attachment some of my American friends might have to the mash potato, cranberry source and the football game on TV in a buzzing Thursday afternoon. However, I always thought that it was nice to be thankful (although the European settlers did kill the Indians after all), to be with family (mine is too far away, but will be thinking of them), to be with people you love.
I came across the ClearAdmit's poll (which was always a fun distraction from all the tough application work) about "What are you thankful in regards to your admissions process". I have too many people to thank honest speaking. My boss and my boss' boss who tailored 6 recommendation for me, each carefully written and long (according to one of them); my boyfriend, who is my editor in chief, my psychiatrist, my cheer-leader, my care taker, my best best supporter in all ways; my dearest mom and dad, who do not understand the process that much but still sent me ideas on how to put my best foot forward and who would without a word, donate all their life time savings towards my bschool account; my friends, old or new, familiar or just acquainted, who took in my essays despite their super busy schedules and edit them without any complains; my co-workers, who would check on me from time to time and give me those supportive words to brighten my days....the list goes on.
But then here I am, totally surprised by the result of the Clear Admit poll. Close to half (42%!) of the poll takers actually answered "I'll only be thankful when I know the results." That is just not right! As an applicant, I know fully how stressful this process is and how one might want to pull one's hair out when waiting for the results from schools. But dear applicants, are you so absorbed in yourself that you cannot be thankful for all the work others have put in for you only because you haven't heard back from the schools? For one thing, I would still feel thankful towards all those who helped me throughout the process EVEN IF I didn't get into any school. And honestly, as an applicant, I knew, nobody, nobody, can achieve b-school acceptance alone. You have someone to be thankful for.
Maybe I am over-reacting, after all, it's just a 52 people poll and those applicants who are enjoying family and friends time probably don't even check blogs these days. But still, it's dis-heartening to think that b-school applicants MIGHT just be a group of typical type-A and only care about self people.
One certain part of my brain, however, does sympathize with that mentality. I myself, almost lost it through the process. It's so easy to only be thinking about yourself, your application, your interviews, your essays, you, you, you in this highly competitive process. When you focused too much on yourself, that's when you lose others, and in a sense that you lose the real you, who cares about other human beings.
So to those 12 people who read my blog, please, please, don't lose perspective in this process. After all, an acceptance or a deny does not define you. And you are much much more than just an application.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, be thankful. Sending a thank you note to your interviewer or to your host at school visit is not just tactics to kiss up but to show you really felt thankful for their time. It's graceful to be thankful. And grace, is such a rarely seen but highly needed quality, especially in today's world.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Anyway, just want to share a few thoughts on my essay writing process, which, I believe it's a scientific process (that's the scientist in me speaking). Before I start drawing outlines for any essays, I look at the set as a whole and try to jot down hints about what the key qualities the school are looking for in their programs. True, a lot of times these qualities overlap for different schools, but what distinguish different schools are sometimes their emphasis on certain values/believes (Kellogg-teamwork, Haas-innovation, ect). Btw, this should be something you pay particular attention to when researching and selecting schools PRIOR to applying. The next thing I do, is actually going over to all the admission consultants websites and read their essay tips. This is especially useful at the beginning of the application cycle when you don't know where to start. After doing 3 R1 applications, I felt that essays tips became less helpful since sometimes I can predict what consultants tend to say now, but it's still a good exercise to get some different opinions on how to tackle the questions. A couple of sites provide particularly good advice.
Ask Precision Essay
Adam Markus: Graduate Admissions Guru
Then it's the selection of stories. I tend to map out the topics for each essay then start delving into the writing. This helps you put the pieces together and have an overall picture of your candidacy. The actual writing part...well, let's say it ain't easy and requires a lot of time and commitment. But if you got your themes right and overall strategy in-place, good essay is just a matter of time.
hope that helps~
back to topic mapping for Haas!
oh, and here is a fun car analogy of top MBA programs for your amusement.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Anyway, time to reflect on my trip to Kellogg and my interview. My Kellogg visit, by far, has surpassed my expectation for any school organized event. It was an awesome experience in terms of the caliber of students, professors and the level of organization, even the food! Come on, they served custom made omelette for breakfast and lamb for lunch! My "buddy" who reached out to me before the event specially came over during lunch to answer my questions. I saw way more students during this event than any events that I went to at other schools and everyone was genuinely nice! What impressed me the most, was actually the professors at the event. The legendary Prof. Steven Rogers was truly legendary, so were Prof. Harry Kraemer (former CEO of Baxter) and Prof. Katherine Phillips. It was not just their intellects but their passion for teaching management and educating the next generations of leaders really impressed me. I felt lucky to be able to experience this level of professorship and would see myself fighting over points to take their classes while at Kellogg. During one of the lunches, another group of professors and program directors sat with us and shared with us their Kellogg experience. That I thought, was an extra nice touch. I truly recommend anyone considering Kellogg to attend KPW. Here is a picture of the atrium in the Allen Center where the Marketing Competition TG (Thank God it's Friday) took place. Picture was taken by the end of the event, it was WAY more packed during the whole thing.
Now on to the juicy stuff, the interview. Well, it was much more relaxed than I had imagined. I couldn't remember the last time I interviewed for a job or something else, so I was quite nervous and prepared a lot before the interview. It turns out the interview was very conversational, and the admissions officer who interviewed me was very friendly and nice, so that helped too. The adcom seemed very experienced at interviewing and followed up quite a few points I made throughout the interviews. No surprise questions though, even the most difficult/interesting one I have seen it before on accepted.com's interview report. So do prepare those. It's always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Just don't memorize your answers.
Comparing to Kellogg interview with the Adcom, my Wharton interview with the alumni in LA was actually quite different. I thought an interview with alumni would be even more conversational. Turned out that my interviewer mainly asked questions from a list of questions and didn't follow up on my answers much. I guess that's how interviewer are trained. Adcom are just simply more experienced at this so they can follow up with your answers to weed out the nonsenses. Because Wharton gave you a list of alumni to choose from, I particularly avoided alumni with pure finance/PE field because my unconventional goal. In the end I interviewed with an alumni in the non-profit world and I am pretty happy with how the interview went.
I will write interview reports for accepted.com and clearadmit wiki once I hear back from these schools (hopefully in December for Kellogg!) since other people's interview reports really helped me prepare for my interview. Just don't want to jinx it at this point :)
Now it's time to start R2~ more essay writing~ yay....
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I actually debated this morning sitting on the toilet with my iPod Touch in hand~ I have developed the habit of checking email first thing in the morning on Touch to see if my Wharton invite came in. But after weeks of disappointed mornings, I decided to take a different approach, that is deliberately ignoring the issue, not checking my email every 10mins and logging into the application site 5 times a day. Most importantly, I resisted checking those online forums where all the anxious b-school applicants go and speculate.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
All the required elements of your application are complete.
If your interview has been completed, the application has been submitted for review to the admissions committee. If your interview has not been conducted, the application will be submitted to the admissions committee upon completion of the interview. The next status check update will be the admission decision (Admit, Waitlist or Deny). When a decision has been rendered, the Office of Admissions will send you an email notifying you to check your status for your decision. Decisions will be released throughout the round, but the majority of decisions will be released during the last several weeks of the round.
Oh, now the dreadful interview and endless waiting period~
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Since tomorrow is my 25th birthday, marking my life journey towards the 30s, I am going to take the day not worrying about the next rounds of essays, interview prep and actually getting those interview invites. But unfortunately I do need to spend tonight writing yet another essay (gasp!) for a biotechnology leadership workshop that I want to attend in December.
Last night when I went to bed around 1am, my mind was still so hyped up from submitting Sloan's application that it took me quite awhile to fall asleep which never happens on a normal day. I think this whole application process is bringing me so much stress and anxiety that it's hurting my health. I need to stay grounded and not let whatever results get me. My friend had a really good attitude when she applied to grad school. She basically said this is who I am and if you don't like who I am, then maybe it's not a good fit. Given that her grad school app is not half complicated as the darn b-school application, it's still the right attitude to have for any applicant. I believe I stayed true to myself through my application and showcased a real me. If the school didn't pick me, then be it. I should not let the b-school decisions define me, for I am much more than just that person on paper.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Patience is such a precious thing~
Saturday, October 24, 2009
So as I was filling out MIT Sloan's application three days before the deadline, I was pleasantly surprised to find out the application is so straight forward with none of those describe your key activities, awards, honors stuff. That is what a resume is for! I remember trying to fit the long (4 words) extracurricular organization's name into a 10 character box over frustration.... to me that is just unnecessary. I especially dislike those dreadful requests to describe your job responsibilities for which I have to think of different ways to re-illiterate what has been said on the resume. I am sure ad com officers complain to their friends (maybe secretly) about how much materials they have to read through. Why not cut the redundant information and focus on the fact, resume and essays?
MIT just gain another level of respect from me~
On the side note, I did have a dream about MIT sending me a short email denying me last night (I haven't even sent the application yet!) along with other fragmented surreal dream piece about vegas..... too much pressure~ deep breath....
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
so, here I am, deep in the trenches on my third application to b-school, already tired of re-telling the same stories for the 3rd time.