Waitlisted at Cornell ! My strategy to handle this

You know what’s worse than getting a ding at one of your dreams schools . Yes its getting that horrid wait-listed email . This limbo is frustrating as hell .  Somewhere back of my mind I know that getting wait listed is a far road from being accepted, but it’s even farther from being rejected.

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So Dear Johnson Adcom  ,  Bring it on ! I am ready to embark on this rough journey of constantly pleading you for a place at the 2 Yr MBA Program . I promise you I won’t be a pest but at the same time sitting and waiting is definitely the last thing I would do . I know you don’t hate me but you also don’t love me enough . So this Valentines week let me give you some reasons to fall for me 😀

I chalked out a strategy last night to deal with this . Quoting the same below :

  1. Requesting the school for a feedback : Was it my GMAT or was it my recommendation ? Or may be it was my Table of Contents essay . But let me stop judging myself and ask from the school directly . So step one is writing to them requesting for an honest feedback on my candidature
  2. Writing an update essay : There have been some changes ( all for good) in my roles and responsibilities on job which obviously the school should know to assess me better . So I am planning to write a 300 word essay as an update to the school .
  3. Getting an additional letter of recommendation : This is something which is highly advisable by so many admission consultants . Hence planning to speak to a few of  senior leaders in my firm with whom I have worked , to help me on this . Also , my previous two letters focused on my current job role . This time I am planning to get it from someone who mentored me on a different project I did earlier   . I feel this will give the school a varied angle of my personality .
  4. Getting an informal support letter : I had built connections with some of the Cornell alumni while I was applying . Planning to seek support from few of them who know me well .
  5. Signing up for MBA Math :  I think this will give them an idea of my seriousness for the place at Cornell’s MBA program . I have read a few good reviews for this one so taking this up since this will any ways help me during my MBA whichever school I go .
  6. Making a campus visit : I was anyways planning to travel to New York this April since my husband is moving there for work . Now this waitlist strengthens my decision to accompany him to New York and then visit Ithaca and meet the admissions team directly .

So the next few months will be hectic but I am sure exciting and I cant wait to start executing this plan .

Ending this note on this beautiful song by Lenny Kravitz going on in my head since yesterday : “It ain’t over till its over “

Cheers !

MBA Miss

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After You get that interview call ! ( MBA interview self Preparation Strategy)

If there is something that can beat my happiness  of going to a Ladies Night at my favorite club on a weekday , it is definitely an email from my Dream School inviting me for an interview . (Yeyyyyy !!!!!) I was so happy since I had put so much effort behind my Oxford’s application . And the dream then felt a step closer .

But having said that , an interview invite is obviously great but can never guarantee an admit . So I decided to work my ass off to crack the interview . All in all I am an above average speaker and confidence is not that much of an issue with me  . But in some of my previous interviews I had been extremely lazy to prepare and went completely blank . So I had faced a few rejections lately which even motivated me more to devote days and nights practicing for my Said’s interview .

Now , a few of my friends advised me to take up mock interview packages with some consultants . I actually gave that a thought and started shortlisting a few of them . But during this process I started discovering so much about self preparation of an MBA interview that I decided to skip the consultant and do it on my own .

I came across this beautiful article by Adam Markus on interview preparation . Adam Markus interview Strategy

I really love the way he advises to make a tabular chart of all the prospective questions, your examples against each and the keywords with them .

I made one for myself and trust me it was such a great help . MBA BLOG

I can’t thank Adam Markus enough for this really cool idea . I made close to 20 keywords against which I identified the situations that I wanted to highlight in the interview from my work experience . And trust me this method is not boring at all , I took out a print out of this entire worksheet and stuck it on my clipboard at home .

So this was actually the first time I was preparing for an interview this much , and to my surprise this was becoming a great confidence booster . Then I asked my husband to take 2 mock interviews and we decided to be very formal in them ( I know its so funny to behave like an interviewee with your husband when it usually happens the other way round 😀 😛 ) Any ways , I gave these and my husband acted way too formal and made it so much like a stress interview . But , i think it was good that he did so , since I became prepared for all kinds of situations .

I spent 7 days ( actually 7 nights ) on  practicing this strategy. The results were stupendous .  I was damn confident to face anybody and answer any question . Last 2 days I bought my formals and kept my mind a bit calm (actually had 2 glasses of wine a day before the interview and watched a Rom Com before sleeping  😀  ) .

So all in all I took help from no one and spent not a single penny  in the entire preparation . So if you have got a call and preparing for any of the interviews . Just keep calm and follow this strategy ! I am sure you will win !

P.S : I shall post my interview day experience in the next post .

Views expressed are personal to the author . Comment below if you opted for this or any other self preparation strategy ! Reach me on ojasvisoni100@gmail.com

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~MBA Miss

 

Take these New Year’s resolutions if you are an MBA applicant

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2016 is just around the corner and its the time of the year when many of us promise ourselves to abide by a few things-goals we want to reach and things we want to achieve in the coming year. If your goal is to apply to a top notch B School by the fall of 2016 , and matriculate in the same by the fall of 2017 , now is the time to reflect on how you should prepare yourself for the same .

Here are a few New Year resolutions you should take to make your application successful :

  1. Crack the GMAT : So its time you stop postponing your decision to take the GMAT  and finally pick a date . Trust me unless and until you don’t register yourself for the exam , the seriousness wont come no matter how much you try . Plan the date wisely keeping in mind your current day competencies on verbal and Quant . And please Dont take it on a lark ! GMAT score plays not the most important but unarguably a very important role in your application . And practice is the only key to it . Resolve to devote sufficient amount of time each day to study for it . See for yourself if you want a professional help in the course and enroll as soon as possible ( that’s a personal choice though )
  2. Plan your short term , long term professional goals and swear by them : This is as critical as your GMAT score . Are you happy with your current function and job but want to skip levels and rise up in the hierarchy as soon as possible ? Do you want to switch from being a techie and writing codes to an analytical kind of role ? What is your true calling ? Schools want people with direction and good reason for an MBA. They want to know your fit with the program . So now is the time to introspect and research . Network, and decide how this MBA Goal fits into your broader aspirations. 
  3. Co-Curriculars/ Community Service – Make time for them : Remember no B school operates in complete isolation . The integration of the students with the community around plays a very important role in their MBA experience . Hence the schools want to know how linked are you with your own community . Your community could be geographic, ethnic, professional, arts- or sports-related, religious, political, or many other kinds of groups. The term is intentionally broad. More important than “community” is “service.” It must be active and involve commitment. Now this is something that won’t come up suddenly when you start writing your essays . You need to build on it right now so that you have enough learnings from this experience to talk about .
  4. Plan your target schools : Do you fit well with the course curriculum? Can the school help you achieve your short term and long term goals ? How is the alumni network in your targetted post MBA location ? All these and so many more questions you should answer before you finalize the schools wherein you shall apply. Read through current student blogs  , connect with the alumni of the schools , attend info sessions , make a campus visit if you can and then shortlist the programs . There will hardly be time to do this once you start with your essays so do it now !
  5. Don’t forget to chill : This year is gonna be tough . I assume that you won’t quit your job completely during this time and hence there will be times when you have to choose your priorities , e.g putting extra hours on that project or going home to study for GMAT . All this will make you crazy and numb at the same time . But chill ! that’s how life is gonna be during your MBA and even after it . So take time out to relax and rejuvenate yourself . Take that solo trip you always wanted to take , go on date nights – just don’t let this pressure take out all the life from you . Learn to balance things up .

The first round deadlines shall be from October and if you plan to apply in Early Action rounds which a few schools have , you need to be prepared by Aug/Sep . If you start right now keeping all this in mind and plan accordingly , by the next fall your application shall be in great shape and in fact, by this time next year, you could be choosing from multiple acceptances. I know how amazing that sounds 😀

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~MBA Miss

P.S : Views expressed are personal to the author . Write to me on ojasvisoni100@gmail.com or comment below . Happy New Year !

 

MBA- Why should Women do it

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All these days I have been reading so much around Why MBA is nothing but a waste of time and money . One of the CNN reports actually quotes     ” If you want to be rich , don’t get an MBA “. The philosophy around this thinking is that all that you do in a MBA program you can do it anyways without ending up in a huge debt .

Now I partially agree to the thinking and partially not . Especially for Women aspiring to break the glass ceilings , I believe MBA grants some of the unique competencies to lead . Let us see how .

  1. It ‘ll make you more keen on taking risks in life :  The times you learn the maximum are the ones when you experience that uncomfortable feeling of takings risks . Business school teaches you that risk is constant and inevitable—and that you will always be working with partial information. When you take risks on a small start up idea or on deciding to intern with a specific company , you become keen to take on even bigger risks in life .

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2.Numbers and more Numbers : There is no denying to the fact that irrespective of your industry and function , at the end of the day all the business problems and solutions boil down down to just one thing . Numbers . And Business schools prepare you to the brim to deal with numbers .

3.Show me the money : If you dream of going for your presentations in a Versace business dress and carrying a Prada bag , and you dont want your man to buy that for you .. According to the Forte Foundation, an MBA lands you pay gains at graduation of 35-40% of your pre-MBA salary, pay gains of 55-65% of your salary within 5 years of graduation, and a lifetime earning potential of over $3 million. Ok you can stop dreaming now 😀

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4. It ll teach you imperfection : Yes you heard that right . If you are a perfectionist , you need to tone it down since in the  business world your ability to influence outweighs your ability to achieve results to the 4th decimal place . The tough deadlines of your assignments will make you  quicker and more agile at completing tough deliverables without sacrificing overall quality. That’s exactly what you need to learn to be a leader  . As Sheryl Sandberg puts it – “Done is better than perfect.”

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So ladies ! Trust me an MBA can be your safest investment that will give you innumerable returns in terms of money , network , knowledge and most importantly unleashing the leader in you .

Have you considered or pursued an MBA?  Why or why not?

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~MBA Miss

P.S : Views expressed are personal to the author . Write to me on ojasvisoni100@gmail.com

 

 

If you are a woman planning to do MBA from a top notch B School

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There are a host of articles around the internet suggesting the advantage that women have over men in applying to business schools . As Poets and Quants puts it , women apply in smaller numbers and are under represented in the top MBA programs and hence they have a higher probability of getting through .

Let us look at some statistics first . It is true that women are falling behind men in occupying a place at the board rooms and in b schools but this trend is slowly changing . Wharton’s 2016 graduating class is comprised of 40% women while Harvard’s latest class has 41% female admits, the third consecutive year that HBS has had 40% or more women. GMAC’s 2013 Application Trends Survey shows that 37% of applications to full-time two-year MBA programs were from women . These numbers speak a lot about the increasing competition that women are facing when their applications are assessed against other similar MBA aspiring women .

Keeping all this in mind there is a fundamental difference in the way women approach their application strategy against the way men do . Very similar to the fact that women are poor negotiators at the table when it comes to post MBA salaries , most admission consultants vouch for the fact that women lack assertiveness while writing their stories  in essays .

Women applications when weighed against men with almost similar profiles show a lack of self confidence in convincing an admissions committee to admit them to a top MBA program.

So if you are a woman who dreams to join the C-suite and plans to pursue an MBA as the first step to fulfill the dream I have a few tips for you to keep in mind while you approach your essays .

Tip 1 : Know your worth 

You might be a mother along with managing a full time job and taking time out for your passion . Women are proven multitaskers and sometimes you don’t even realize how many things you have accomplished altogether . Now MBA is something that again would require a lot of multitasking , hence you would fit in the program very easily . You just need to demonstrate your worth in your application .

Tip 2 : Discuss your accomplishments with your recommenders 

This is again something men usually do and women shy away from doing . You need to know that your recommender is a big busy man and he/she might miss on a few of your strong points while writing your recommendation . So go do this one now !

Tip 3 : Communicate to the admissions committee any of the challenges you encountered successfully in your personal or professional life . 

Women sometimes face extraordinary challenges in their jobs and even in their personal lives .For instance ,  If you are in a male dominated manufacturing job don’t shy away from mentioning how difficult your day at work is.

Tip 4: Networking 

Now there is a strange finding around networking as it is practiced by women against men . In spite of the fact that women are better at making new relationships than men , the aspiring MBA women network less against their male peers around their career goals and target schools . If you don’t know any current students or alumni of your target schools, be proactive and find ways to reach out to individuals associate with these. Current students and alumni are more than happy to share their experiences.

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P.S : Views expressed are personal . If you have any questions /suggestions / your own story on this , Pl comment below or write to me on ojasvisoni100@gmail.com . 

Done with GMAT – What next !

Shortlisting B schools  ! If you ask me this is the first thing you should do once you have decided to take the plunge in the MBA admission process actually even before giving a mock GMAT . There are many reasons for this but the most important one is once you do this you  will have a rough idea of your target GMAT score while you go through the average intake scores of your preferred B Schools.

Some tips on what you should keep in mind while selecting schools :

 

  1. Do your own research : Shortlist programs according to your preferred short term and long term career goals . A Kellogg might be best for someone who wants to transition into marketing but not that great for someone who wants to be a Chief Operating Officer  in the long term.
  2. Linked in…Linked in…LinkedIn – Now this should become your best friend for the next part of your application journey . If your goal is to go into Finance and trading then find out from linked in where the industry leaders from finance are majorly coming from . Connect with them and ask their perspectives on your preferred B School and its industry connect .
  3. Introspect whether your personality matches with your preferred B school : Are you a more collaborative person or a more Individual Contributor kinds ? Do you prefer to live in the city or you don’t mind living in the woods for 2 years ? e.g : A Tuck might make you mad if you are a more city person and prefer to go out often .
  4. Gauge the Brand name of the school in your own community : your company, country , industry ,region – The brand is going to be associated with your name all your life . In fact you are going to make a living out of this brand  . Check the value this name holds around you . Talk to senior leaders inside your own firm on how they view the school .
  5. Make a campus visit : Now this is not a hard and fast rule but more like an icing on the cake since its not that easy to take out time and money sometimes to visit your preferred school . But if you do so this will definitely help you a lot . You can talk to current students , attend a class (if the school permits) , and check for yourself whether you really want to spend your 2 years there .
  6. How much can you spend : This is a very important point to keep in mind . An ISB / NUS might not give you that big a brand name as a Stanford/Wharton can , but the ROI from former ones is huge . So you should actually see for yourself how much are you willing to spend !
  7. Know what you want : When I was applying I went through so many online forums to read about my schools but I found many of them hugely biased . You should be firm on what you want , listen to what others have to say about your choices but still in the end decide what you think is best for you .

Hope you make the best choice ! If you have any more questions ask them in the comments section below or drop me a mail on ojasvisoni100@gmail.com

Cheers!

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MBA- Do you need it ?

I start my MBA in the fall of 2016 from one of the most reputed global universities . But when I look back at my last year of going through this rigorous process of B school selection , I sometimes stood perplexed on the very foundation of it . I was left wondering on whether I actually need an MBA or not . Considering that I was well placed in my job and doing good professionally I had so many doubts at the very onset of my MBA journey.

It was then that I started researching on the value that a well recognized MBA gives to a professional . I made a set of questionnaire for myself on which I worked for a week as my first step to decide whether or not I should go in for this degree. I am quoting the same below. You may use it for yourself if you find it beneficial .

  1. Do you see your professional growth being hampered somewhere without this degree ? ( Personally for me I was denied a job role in which I was very much interested because of the MBA requirement)
  2. What impact will an MBA have on you personally ? ( You might be an extraordinary analyst but lack in some of the soft skills)
  3. Do you want to switch careers ? ( e.g- from operations to marketing )
  4. Is this the right degree for you ? ( And you don’t want to pursue any other postgraduate degree e.g -M.S)
  5. Which continent you want to build your network in and hence settle for all your life ? (US/Europe/Asia)
  6. How will you pay for the hefty cost ?
  7. What schools are you planning to apply to ? Why these schools?
  8. Does your current job leave you with enough time to prepare for your GMAT now and the essays later ?
  9. Are you ready to bear the opportunity cost ?
  10. 2 year or 1 year ?

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Now before you start anything else (even your GMAT preparations) , just sit down and answer these questions for yourself . Not only will this help you to find out whether you actually need an MBA or not but it will also help in formulating your essays later . I suggest you to make a serious word document on it and save it in your Drive to use it later after you are done with the GMAT and stuff . I hope you make the right choice !

Do let me know of anything else you need to know on any of these points in the comments section below . All the very best !

~MBA MISS

 

 

M for Marriage , M for MBA

“ Some days I’m extremely focused on my career development & future goals . Other days I just want to quit & become a housewife & bake shit “ Read this somewhere and that’s exactly what goes on in my head all the time .

I married last year to the love of my life and since then my life has turned upside down . But all for good . I recently got into my dream school for a one year MBA and I am extremely excited at the thought of moving to one of the most reputed global universities to pursue my goals .

I have been following Sheryl Sandberg for a few years now . While all  her comments on Women in Business are powerful , my favorite has been “I truly believe that the single most important career decision that a woman makes is whether she will have a life partner and who that partner is.”

My husband is the biggest reason I stand where I am today and I wholeheartedly believe that marrying him was the most important career decision I ever made.   I still remember the moment when I entered gasping inside my interview location for my B-school interview and there I met a cohort of similar aspiring MBA women . All of them unmarried stood amazed at how I was managing this ugly cycle of GMAT , applications and interviews despite being married alongside having a full time challenging job and a part time freelancing profession .

There have been times when I have done nothing except sitting on my study table during my GMAT preparations and he came back from office after a 14 hour day and made dinner for us , did dishes and then sat with me discussing my progress on test . And yet another times during writing my essays when I slept and he stood awake doing them . He researched more than me on all the schools and I never felt the need to hire a professional consultant since he reviewed my essays a million times before I finalized them .

He was the one explaining to both our families how much our lives will change if I convert my dream school whenever they had questions on why we were doing what we were doing . And more than anything else at times when I had doubts on my own capabilities he was the one who said- “ You have always made me proud and you shall always will . Come on . Lets do it !”

The stress of applying to a top business school is like running a marathon.  You have to set goals, develop a plan, and train. He made me less fearful in this journey. I faced rejections and almost gave up at times . I had faced defeats earlier but these were breaking me down to the core and I was on the verge of deciding to quit altogether . But he was the one who kept me going .

I shall be starting my business school this fall . Guess who is celebrating more than me . Its he . For all those women who think that marriage and career can’t go hand in hand should think again . If someday I make it big in my life my husband shall be the biggest reason for it .

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Who am I ?

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I am a conventional Indian girl with not so conventional dreams . Having been  one of  the first women on the shop floor for the largest Food&Beverage company , I am an ardent Diversity & Inclusion crusader . Also, I am an Indian Classical vocalist and do part time gigs in music clubs and run a You-tube Channel .

MBA I believe shall be my path to make it big in this chaotic world and here I am to talk about my journey to Business school .  Since the last one year or so I have been researching like crazy and now I aim to help those traversing on a similar path as mine . So if you have any question (no matter how silly it is ) send it to me and I’ll be more than happy to answer it to the best of my abilities .

Read on to know more about this small town girl’s MBA dream and beyond