the trials and tribs of an MBA hopeful!

Come join me in coffee shops, hiding in conference rooms at work, and generally giving up my entire social life as I work on my MBA applications!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Life in the waiting zone

I think when you go through the b-school process, you get to know yourself a little better. You realize the events in your life are somehow connected through a theme, and you have accomplished a lot in little time. You realize how important your friends, family, etc are b/c you have cut them off while trying to finish pages and pages of apps.

In my case, i have realized that i am IMPATIENT!!! Let's take kellogg as a good example. They are releasing rolling decisions - awesome for those who hear early, a case of mental distress for the rest of us. Come visit a day in the life of mba babe:

8am: check kellogg status online
8:02am: check BW forums to see if anyone is hearing today
8:05am: look at admissions 411 to see how many people have heard. sometimes actually count how many and calculate a percentage. (oh yes, i have become that person)
8:10am: check blogs (this makes me happy - so much good news out there recently!)

Rinse, and Repeat.

Ah, what a life! :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Haas submitted!!

And with an hour and 8 minutes to spare ;)

This was the most difficult for me to get through - sooooo happy it's done!!!! Woo hoo!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

harvard interview: unplugged

Quickly bouncing back from an overdose of karaoke the other night, I have spent the last 3 nights prepping for the big day today. In retrospect, I wasn't too happy with the Kellogg interview, and wanted to do better for HBS. (I realize I rated the Kellogg interview a 7/10, but let's be honest, that's 70%, a C-. And when did anyone ever walk out with a C- and feel happy about it?)

Anyhoo, the interview wasn't exactly how i expected, but i felt very very prepped, and definitely felt like it went well!!! Here's a recount of the questions that were asked (although many were experience-specific), and my thoughts as it was happening.

1. We had some friendly conversation as we sat down in her office. (We are sitting, we have talked, and i didn't shake her hand OR ask her her name!! My mother would be ashamed! ) "Sorry, i don't think I caught your name...?" (Ahh, nice recovery!) Then she told me she thought my app was interesting and unique - yay!

2. She asked a specific question about one of my accomplishments. I started to answer, then promptly forgot exactly what she asked. I actually still can't remember, but i'm pretty sure it wasn't what i answered...oops! oh well - still 25 min left to recover!

3. It's obvious you've done a lot of research. What concerns do you have about Harvard? (hmmmmmmm...didn't prepare this one, but thought of 2 quickly, both of which she responded thoroughly)

4. Why HBS? (um, do i lose points if i say the same thing i wrote in my essay? luckily i had the class visit to talk about!!)

5. What do you want to do in your internship, right after business school? How did you get there? (think this came out ok! Managed to throw in a few "here are my strengths so of course i want to do XYZ")

6. What are the challenges in your current role? How do you handle them? (hmmm - what is the nicest way to say the group i support is insane, and they are sometimes kinda mean to me b/c i'm in finance without sounding like i'm about 5 years old?)

7. Then, out of left field, "What book are you reading right now?" (hahaha - as if any of us applicants have time to read? is this a trick question? Anyway, i had actually prepared this one - there is a large potential it sounded rehearsed, but better than trying to remember back in the summer when i had this activity formerly known as "free time.")

8. Do you have any questions? (Well sure, i did, but we have already addressed them in the "concerns" portion of this interview. Why don't you want to talk about me any more?)

We ended after 30 minutes pretty much on the dot. The interviewer took notes almost the whole time, but she was very warm & friendly, and made me feel comfortable right away.

So, overall i felt good walking out, although that status does get worse by the hour (damn you, overanalyzing mind!) I was surprised she didn't ask more about my international experience or my community service. I was thrilled she didn't ask the dreaded question: "Why should we choose you?" Most importantly, the voice in my head kept thinking "wow - these answers are actually coming out sounding pretty ok. GO YOU!"

so happy to be done!!! let the waiting games begin :)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

An overdue visit to Haas

Ahh, finally a cure for my bad case of writers-block-meets-lack-of-motivation!! Taking advantage of the fact that Berkeley is a quick 20 minutes away from SF, I decided to schedule a class visit & attend an on-campus information session.

(Please do not ask why I was more than willing to jet across the country for HBS/Columbia but had not yet done this at Berkeley or Stanford...)

First of all, I really like the people at Haas. That is one of the things that attracted me to Haas in the first place back in August when I attended a half-day information session. Second, I was reminded how much I like their curriculum & small class size.

The information session I attended was, uh, interesting thanks to some suspect characters in the back of the room. ie: One guy asked - 3 times, mind you - why they accepted 480 people but the class size is only 240. (nice job insulting the school's acceptance rate, buddy...)

Next stop was off to finance class. I must admit, it was quite a different experience than my visit to HBS, although comparing corporate finance to marketing is a bit apples/oranges... The class was taught as pure lecture, with a few cold calls in between. Everyone had their laptops out, and sitting in the back of the room, it was amusing to see what non-finance things people were doing! But, the professor was funny and interesting, and the small class size really does make a difference.

After the class, I met a guy who went to the same undergrad as me. He was more than happy to talk about his experiences at berkeley (positive, positive, positive!), and explained why he chose Haas over Wharton. It was definitely insights like this that got me motivated to work on my apps, and provide some real meaning to the "Why Haas?" essays.

In other news, I'm T minus 2 days for my Harvard interview. Lesson learned: Do not sing karaoke until you practically lose your voice a few days before your interview - makes rehearsing your answers even less enjoyable... :(