Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beautiful B-School Photo Contest

Like many of my fellow MBA bloggers, I was invited to become a judge for accept.com's Beautiful B-School Photo Contest. As an armature photographer (in high school) who always wanted to pick up her old-time hobby, I think this is a really fun idea. After all, even though I don't take them anymore (maybe will start taking them again in the future!), I always like looking at beautiful photographs.

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

Happy Holidays and Go Purple! :)

Just got my "big envelope" from Kellogg this morning. It's a big leather binder (wait, is that what it's called? I never had one before...ya I am frugal) with lots of purple in it! :) It reminds me of those college decision days as I waited anxiously for the "big envelope" to arrive. Thank goodness for email/phone notification nowadays!

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

Striked out @ Wharton

So after a semi-sleepless night (I have no idea why so even though I thought I would be so relaxed with my Kellogg admit), found out that the box theory turned out to be mostly true. Rejected @ Wharton.

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

A wonderful article on leadership development @ B-school

A New B-School Speciality: Self-Awareness

I came across this article on Tuck's new Center of Leadership. I think the philosophy is great. Often times people go to business school to get that stamp on their resume, or to get some finance, marketing, accounting skills, or to get the next big buck job, but to me, the leadership development part is essential. Not that I will magically grow into a better leader in 2 years, but I want to use the resources at the school and the time it provides for me to reflect on myself to become more aware of what kind of leader I want to become, how do I get there and to think about the challenges as a leader at the top and the ways, new ways and the responsible/ethical ways to tackle them. These are important reasons for why I want to go to a top business school.

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

MIT still likes me :)

Just got an interview invite from MIT. After my Kellogg admission I was a lot more relaxed and did not fret over MIT and Wharton too much this morning. So the interview invite sitting in my inbox after lunch was kind of a surprise. Although in my heart, I had sort of convinced myself that I would get an invite from MIT because I thought I did a good job on those behavioral questions. Glad that MIT honored my confidence :)

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

In @ Kellogg!

Just got the call (actually have a story regarding the call) from Kellogg! I am in! Will write more later, but just want to share my joy! :)

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

Quiet Monday + The Power of Twitter

The new week began as I lay in bed, nervously opening up my gmail on my iPod Touch....and of course, it has been a quiet Monday~ again.

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 ^_^)

Happy writing!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

All about Haas

9pm PST, Nov 10, 3 hours before Haas R2 deadline, application submitted!

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

No news is good news?

I did not know that this waiting process was going to take such a huge toll on my productivity. Since my instrument is broken in lab, I am sitting in front of my computer a lot doing data analysis and other stuff. I kept going back to gmatclub and business week forum to check the latest news for MIT Sloan and Kellogg applicants. Well, hearing other people's invites, admits and dings is not exactly calming. Surprisingly Kellogg sends out a fair amount of dings with admits in the first couple of days, so I guess no news is good news? Come on, let the phone ring before I get hit by an email! :)

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

about leadership @ Kellogg

I stumbled upon a blog post from a current Kellogg student. He provided some great insight on leadership @ Kellogg. He writes,

"...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

What Can an MBA Applicant Do To Stand Out - From GSB's Derrick Bolton

Came across this video today and thought Derrick gave some great advice, not just for applying to GSB but also other schools. I resonate with the comment he made about very very few applicants have the experiences that are truly unique and impressive, most successful MBA applicants are those who have done "ordinary things extraordinarily well". That's what I have been telling people who asked me for b-school application advice. Do not try to impress adcom with your achievements, but really showcase how your experience reflects who you are, what kind of leader you are, what you believe in and what you aspire to do.

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

MIT Sloan is on the move!

The first interview invite has gone out for MIT Sloan according to gmatclub and business week forum, how exciting! Now I am getting really antsy! It seems like they release invites according to geographic locations, hum, I wonder if they will host local interview in LA. I wouldn't mind that since I am not sure how much I would enjoy visiting Boston in winter...oh well, jumping ahead of myself, have to get an interview first! :) I hope I get one, I like MIT Sloan.

R1 vs. R2

ClearAdmit had a poll recently on how do applicants feel about their R2 application process. I had a hard time choosing between "it's streamlined, much easier" and "it's still just as painful". In the end, I picked the first one although the entire R2 process is more like the latter.

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....