Monday, February 28, 2005

Post Mortem-ISB:

The show is over...For the R2 folks.The admitted students are partying and the rejects are going through a difficult time.Everyone out there was good. He gave his best but then, only a few could make it.

As the coach Gary Gaine says in the movie Friday Night Lights:
"There ain't much difference between winning and losing, except how the outside world treats you" That explains it why we feel disapointed when we don't make it!!

I have paid the acceptance money for Queen's today (2000 CAD). Asked them for a scholarship or a waiver but they outrightly denied it. :(
Anyway, I have decided to stick to Queen's.

So with this,I have closed all doors for an ISB admit.Am waitlisted there but even if I get an admit now, I don't think I will be joining ISB.The wait has been too long.

Since the whole MBA game about ISB is over, here are my candid views about the ISB episode. Yeah, folks reading this post might call me sour grapes coz I didn't make it...and thats perfectly acceptable with me..but even if I had got admitted, I would have still shared the same opinion.

a) GMAT is a big factor in the decisions.
GMAT is very important to make it to ISB.
It is extremely important if u are an Indian IT Male.
Although ISB claims that GMAT is only one of the factors,my personal feeling is that it is the score which ultimately decides if you are in or out.ISB plans to enter Bweek Intl rankings in the next few years and they must have an average GMAT score matching/exceeding that of top schools.

Based on my observations, ppl who have a lot of work ex or have really diverse background have made it to the school with low GMAT scores. Otherwise, it is a strict NO for anyone else. I am not sure about this but I read in that there was one gentleman who had a 780 on GMAT and had a pretty stressful interview.(lots of argumentat types).After a
a few days, the guy was asked to provide additional recos and was admitted. Any school would die to have someone with a 780 on GMAT.

Also,If Iam right, some of them had low GMAT scores and have been admitted and have been asked to "improve their score". I simply don't understand the logic here. Why is that when somebody is in, you are still making him go through this test
again.They can be asked to attend pre term courses etc.Getting a few more questions right will solve the purpose? CAT champions have to get a 680 in GMAT now. Do they feel that all those who cracked CAT can get a 680 on GMAT easily.
I would not comment on this but all I can say is that in CAT you have an option to choose the questions you want to answer but in GMAT you gotta answer ur questions right if you want to move ahead.

b) Women candidates on the rise

The percentage of women in a a lot of Intl schools is less.
ISB aspires to be in the International league. Therefore, ISB wants to make sure that it does not lag behind in this area.So, intake of females at ISB will improve over the

years.The quality of female admitted students have been really good this year. There is Suneetha (IAF candiate)..Shilpa (Architect who made it to Dean's list)

c) Adcom needs to get a lot of things straightened out.

The admission process needs to be worked upon.Communication needs to be better.Decide how you are going to manage the whole admission process.Overseas interviews were held in R1 towards the end, in R2 they were held randomly.
Decisons were supposed to be announced no later than Feb 28th.Yet,ppl who have not made it have not been informed.
No proper explanation or justification is given to explain the difference between telephone interviews and personal

ones.Some of them had personal interviews which was stressful and some of them had friendly ones. A lot of us were pretty confident with the way interviews went this year and some of them thought they were not given enough opportunity to showcase their talents.

d)Itz getting tougher every day.

Making it to ISB is getting tougher every year.I have been following the ISB groups since Ramkee, Raja were all applicants and I have seen a dramatic rise in the number,interest and quality of applicants. This is a clear indication that things are going really good for ISB.

e) Apply early if you think you have a chance.

If ISB is the school you want to be in, then make sure you apply in R1.If you apply in R2, you are in with the sharks.Sharks are the studs who have terrific GMAT scores, strong applicants and are pretty comfortable making it to the school. Also,for some of them ISB is a safety school.So they apply in R2. Plan ur game in advance and apply early.

f) Acads: Why were you playing and not studying in school?
Acads are very important for ISB. The program is for 1 yr duration and they wan't folks who can handle the load easily. Yet unlike, the IIMs, these folks look at the complete profile and pick the best candidates.
But what surprised me is that they ask for the XIIth std grades too.

g) Indian IT male: A boon or a curse:

If you are not in IT, itz relatively easy to get admitted.
If you are in IT and work for TCS,Infy or Wipro, itz tough to make it..There would be atleast 50 applicants from each of these companies. The competetion is so tough for the IT folks that sometimes I feel that if ISB specialized in providing an MBA in IT, it would even beat MIT and Carnegie Mellon MBA grads some day.

h) It rains jobs at ISB

Oh yes..when ISB was started, ppl had a tough time getting lateral placements but now you have some of the best jobs coming to ISB.

i) The challenge begins now
ISB has started a new trend in the Indian market.
"World class education at affordable price" is what the mantra is. IIM A starts a PGPx program this year. Other schools will follow. The fees will definitely be lesser than the ISB fees and itz now ISB will have to prove its mettle.

The bottom line:
No matter how much it claims, you still cannot call ISB a truly international school -primarily bcoz they have mostly Indians there.But then if you are not bothered about all that but want to work in India in the long term and get educated from the best profs in the world, ISB is the place to join.

ISB is in India...that is what makes it special.!
You get fantastic education. You get a decent job.
You live in India.You serve your country and you are with ur loved ones. ISB will shine in the years to come.

Will IIMs 1 yr program give it a run for the money..We'll wait and watch. We aren't dying that early..are we?

All the best to everyone who got admitted. You are special and you have made it. For the others, don't loose hope.As they say, the best is yet to come.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Road maps for India!

Stanford Sophomore Rohan Verma with CE Infosystems created an equivalent of Mapquest or Yahoo maps for India (though with few features now..) Please visit to find out a great beginning for digital maps for India.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Stressed..So blog

I will be sending the acceptance amount for Queen's on Monday and with that perhaps I will say goodbye to any plans of my joining ISB.I truly feel that God does everything for the best and he has some better plans for me in life. ;)

CMU is also an option but I want to pay the money for Queen's.Over the past few days, I have somehow got a feeling that Queen's is the best fit for me.
I have come to a conclusion in the last few days: The more I research about a school, the more I tend to fall in love with it.:)

DA called me up from Korea today.He too has been offered an admission at Queen's but if ISB clicks (he is a R2 applicant) he will prefer studying in India.
Also, SC made a strange comment to me today."Last yr Raja chucked Queens . This ur u chuck ISB .. Fair and square . he he" !! :)

The whole MBA application prep has been a unique experience for me.I have gone through various moods and frames in the last one year.I started with a lot of apprehensions and doubts in my mind and have ended up as a confident boy.
I have met and interacted with a lot of ppl.I have decided to write down my whole story.I'll share some tips too in the future.

Iam quite stressed these days and blogging helps me relax.
The person who was supposed to replace me at work has got his visa denied at the US embassy. This has created a lot of problems for me.I am trying all kinds of measures to get myself out of this and return to India.I am currently working with my PM to see what is the best thing we can do.

Iam going to Denver tommorow to conduct a Propel training (It is an organization wide initiative).We plan to show the movie "12 angry men" and talk about the different roles people play in an organization (leader,enforcer,gardener,oppresor etc).I simply love conducting such trainings.

The ISB R2 results will be out soon and itz interesting to see how people are responding to the stress.

Have a good weekend folks and all the best to R2 folk.If you are destined to get in to ISB, there is nothing that can stop you.My best wishes are with you all.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

CMU Visit - Question and answers

I wrote this for my MISM -CMU yahoo group.The CMU campus visit was a great one.

I met the following ppl:
a)David Eber, Associate Director of Admissions
b)Ron Delfine, Director of MISM/MSIT Career Services
c)Sumitha Rao, Associate Program Director

I also met two American students and one Desi guy.One of the american was a student rep so he walked me through how the program would be.

The infrasturcure is really good. The university is an old one (more than 100 years old),so you do find the buildings faded and old,but it has got everything that you might possibly need - a book store, a fed ex store, an Indian resturant etc.
All the students have one common feedback- the faculty is great.

I might be exaggerating here but I guess every second student there is an Indian and every third student out there is a chinese.There are so many of them.! :)

Answers to a few questions:

Q) I narrated my profile to Mr Eber and told him "why" I applied to this program. I gave him an understanding of what the program is all about and then laid out my expectations. I asked him if I was wrong in them. ?

A) He said that this program provides a business perspective to technical students and will help do well in IT jobs. So if you are looking on those lines , this would be the best fit for you.

Q) What will be the batch size?
A) The students for this year would be around 90.They have received good number of applications and are quite happy that the program is being recognized.

Q) Can I mix and match courses?
A) You always have an ability to mix and match courses and can opt for courses from
a) Software Engg Institute
b) Tepper Business School
c) Networking Institute
d) University of Pittsburgh.

Remember, this is a interdisciplinary course and the strength of the program is that it draws its strength from other programs .

Q) I asked him about the laptops. A lot of us already have one.Why should we buy them.

A) You gotta purchase it from the university primarily bcoz it is easier to maintain them .Ppl coming in from SE Asia would have cheaper and good laptops but then if it breaks down, it is sometimes difficult to fix them. The price for the laptop this
year would be around 2000$.

Q)How many of the students have NOT yet been placed?
A) Around 20-25% of all those seeking a job.Some ppl opt for higher education (Phd) and some opt to return back to their home country (J visa).So,students who are putting in hard work and are determined to get a job do get it.CMU will definitely provide you with opporutnities to the best recruiters. How you sell urself and market urself is upto you.A student told me that almost all Indians end up with good jobs.

Q) What course exemptions can I chose?
A) Course exemptions can be done by mostly ppl with work ex or folks who have done that course in their undergrad. Yes, if you can talk to the faculty and convince them, you can do that. Usually,ppl opt out of Java classes,professional speaking classes,telecom management etc.

Q) Are there any courses from the Software engineering department that are available to the MISM students?
A) Yes, they are available in plenty.The courses are usually tough (as per students.) so u gotta plan it well.

Q) Are the jobs techie types...are there coding jobs too?
A) If it is Microsoft recruiting ,the job will be coding type. But if it is Delloite or Mckinsey, it would be for IT consulting. Some companies come only for MISM students and some for all the streams of CMU grads.So, the job profile would differ. Majority of the ppl who get consulting jobs have some prior work ex . Ppl with a computer science/IT background also do well.If you want to do a technical job, you can opt courses from the software engg institute.If you intend to get into consulting, you need to opt for more business courses.
Bottom line: You should be very clear with what you want.

Q) How easy or tough is it to get a job.
A) Depends. Some ppl get jobs easily and some do not. But yes,over the last 2 years, the MISM program is being recognized and if you are focussed towards getting a job, you do get it.

Q) How about the mixed response that we have been receiving?
A) Depends on the expectations of the students. Some want to get great jobs and don't have a background. Some don't put in the required effort. Study the program, understand that if that is what you really want to do and choose ur classes. They have straightened out a lot of things in the last 2 years and the MISM program is gaining momentum.

Q) How much is the average salary this year?
A) 66,000 $. The highest has been around 85-90K.

My feedback: The course is good if someone is very clear about what he wants. If you are just going thinking that you might get into a consulting job, u'll be disappointed. You should come to this place prepared for the worst (that you might have to take a coding job), but if you are lucky, work hard and sell urself well, you will enjoy the place. The CMU tag will always be there and u'll have a good exposure and a good learning environment.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Visited the CMU campus. Nice place. Spoke to the students,admission director and the program director. Overall, a great place to study...One will not regret anything.Interestingly, got hold of a Queen's student who has his girlfriend studying this MISM program. Spoke to him, had discussions and have almost made up my mind on which place to join.Details about the CMU trip tommorow. Iam exhausted now.Phew!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Travel to Pittsburgh

Iam travelling this weekend to Pittsburgh.Iam taking two days off from office.
First am going to Phily and from there with one of my friends will drive down to Pittsburgh.So, will return to my place on thrursday.

The reason for my visit is to make sure that I am make an informed decision in life. Well,we are never sure about whether a decision is right..but then what Iam looking forward to is a preview of how life would be a few months from now if I decide to join CMU.I'll try taking some pictures and I'll share them with you all.

I will be addressing all my questions( and perhaps concerns )to the folks there. I have scheduled an appointment with the Associate Director of Admissions and the Associate Program Director.

Like the ISB friends, I have a set of CMU friends and Queen's friends too.
The CMU folks (mostly young boyz and gals) have asked to get some answers for some of their important questions.:). So will do that too.I have a school mate of mine who will show me the campus.She graduated from the course and is with Delloite now.

I will provide a detailed write up on how I felt after visiting the campus. If possible, I'll try to get some student feedback (Iam not sure if I can catch up with some students)

An interesting thing happened today...Sometime back, I had a telephonic conversation with an American who was very happy with the program and had graduated a few years back.I talked to him about some negative feedback that I had received about the program. The good news is that he has recently been selected to the alumni executive board of MISM -CMU and has asked for a candid feedback on "what is going on in the program currently." So will update him too.!

Taking my laptop so that I can blog something in the airport.Iam an blog addict and airports are the place where I blog like crazy!

Come home with US MBA & pay less

Work hard.
Get into a B school.Take huge loans.
Return to India on graduation and forget the loan.

Yes, that is what these guyz are hinting towards. Read the article.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Queen's...MBA through a fire hose!?

The personal touch of Queen's is slowly having its effect on me.The more I research about it, the more I seem to be liking it.Yup, placements will be a problem.
But I get a feeling that I can somehow manage it.Don't know what I'll end up doing but yes,am for sure in bit of a problem.! I simply spend 60% of the day doing some nonsense research about some stupid schools.My yahoo chat conversations are with ppl whom I have never met but are either ISB fans,queen admits or prospective CMU guyz.!

Anyway,herez an interview of the Associate Director Shannon Goodspeed.She talks about the Science & Technology MBA program at Queen's University. This was featured in the MBA insider.You gotta pay money to get in there ;) ! You can read it here for free.:)

Q: What's the draw of your MBA program?
A: The one-year option. And while our [students] often don't stay in their pre-MBA careers in science and technology -- some switch to investment banking or consulting, for instance -- they're in class with high-caliber students.

Q: Are certain science or engineering backgrounds more impressive to you than others?
A: No. In fact, we like the breadth. This year we're going to target nurses and physiotherapists, because we don't have enough women in the program. Some nurses also want to change their careers, just as scientists do, or want to go into management within hospitals.

Q: Just 22% of your class is female, a percentage well off the average of your peers...
A: We're working at it.

Q: How is David Saunders, the school's dean of one year, faring?
A: MBAs love him. If we have a function, he's there until the very end, talking one-on-one with students. He's got a great vision for the school and is looking to do a lot of work abroad.

Q: When new MBAs arrived at Queen's in May, 55% of them were from outside of Canada, up from 30% in 2003. Why did that international figure grow?
A: We're looking for a high quality student who can handle our program. We kept standards high, and whoever met those standards was in. We have eight countries represented in the class, not including Canada.

Q: Should prospective students expect that the MBA population is going to remain as international as it is?
A: Yes, but it will depend on the applicants. We are also striving to ensure that the international students [we admit] understand [English].

Q: The majority of Queen's international students hail from Asia. How might you diversify your international applicant pool?
A: We're hoping our new Web site, which launches this summer, will attract more applicants from Europe and South America. It will include information about Canadian immigration policies, how to pay for the degree, and life in Canada. We're also planning to do more face-to-face interviews with our applicants when we're traveling abroad.

Q: Why does the school struggle to enroll U.S. students?
A: They don't tend to apply as much. For the first time, we are going to go to New York, Boston, and Chicago for MBA recruiting fairs this year.

Q: When is the best time to apply?
A: Immediately. With rolling admissions, we'll admit you early if you meet the criteria. Our final deadline is Jan.15, but we've already accepted one or two people for the next class.

Q: Which piece of the MBA application carries the most weight?
A: Prove that you can manage this intense program while working in a team. No one part is more important than another.

Q: You say that it's an intense program. How so?
A: Classes run from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. After class, it's back to the team rooms to do work.

We're giving the MBA to you through a fire hose. But we're very service-oriented: Each MBA team has a dedicated room. On the first day, your textbooks and all your case studies are sitting on a desk that's dedicated to you for the year. There are two phones per team room, but each person has a dedicated phone line. You also get a bag of candy, and a good luck note. It's service, service, service, the whole way.

The first week of the program is all about team building. Students have frequent team meetings. We also have team facilitators, so if a team goes into crisis, there's someone trained to help them.

Q: In such a program, you'd expect the MBAs to arrive with enough quant knowhow to sail through, but you still require the GMAT. Do you make any exceptions to low scores?
A: I can't think of an example where we've gone below 600. Work experience and work in technology is very important. We have bent the rules a bit on undergraduate degrees if the person has been working in a science or technology field, but even that's rare.

Q: Queen's requires that applicants answer five essay questions, six if English is not the applicant's native language. Which is the most important essay?
A: One is their plans for the future. The other is their ideas about working in a team. What will they get out of it? Have they had [team] experience? Do they see the value...and [teamwork] as an important part of learning, as we do?

[Editor's note, Applicants to Queen's MBA program are asked to respond to the following essay questions:
1. Please explain why you are applying to Queen's MBA, what you hope you will contribute to the program, and what you hope to gain from the program.
2. Describe a situation when you were part of a team that was successful in meeting an objective; explain what you learned from the experience, and how you contributed to the process and outcome.
3. Please describe your greatest achievement and why you view it as such.
4. You are a team leader with responsibility for mentoring workers and confidentially reporting on their performance. One of your team members, Robin, is not meeting expectations. You have spoken to her, but there is no improvement. You would like to maintain the positive relationships you currently have with your team: do you (a) tell your supervisor and jeopardize Robin's career, or (b) attempt to resolve the problem yourself? Please explain your viewpoint.
5. What are your post MBA career objectives? Please indicate your short-term and long-term career goals.]

Q: How long are Queen's interviews? What questions can applicants expect?
A: Anywhere from a half-hour to an hour. We test their verbal communication skills, their interest in the program, and their understanding of the program. Did they apply on a whim, or have they looked into this?

Q: To which industries are your MBAs heading as graduates?
A: Biopharmaceuticals, investment banking, and of course, some go back to the industries they came from, such as the energy sector or high tech. We have a new ventures stream in the MBA, so some go into entrepreneurial positions. They work across Canada, in the U.S., and in China.

Q: Why do companies hire Queen's grads?
A: Looking at the students' background, combined with the program, employers know how hard these MBAs can work, and what they can produce. Our graduates have the ability to think ahead, to be creative, and to help a company move forward. The team aspect is really important.

Also, we're considered the Alumni University of Canada: Once you're in the Queen's family, you're part of a group that self-identifies in every city across Canada with meetings, dinners, etc. Queen's alumni look for Queen's alumni when they're hiring.

Q: What sort of applicants do you routinely turn down?
A: We don't want someone who hopes to let someone else do the work or someone who wants to take notes, regurgitate them on an exam, and otherwise be left alone.

Q: What final tips can you offer prospective Queen's MBAs?
A: Get your applications in as early as possible. Work with our team of advisers, who will help you, advise you, and review your application as you complete it. Visit campus. You'll be buddied up with a student, go to class, and see everything.

Seventh Indian Institute of Management (IIM) will be set up in Meghalaya.

Shillong is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to in my life.
It is simply awesome. But an IIM there...Ah! Sounds strange.Perhaps specialization in Tourism management.!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


The weekend was spent talking to folks from Queens,emailing the alums and speaking to a few friends.Yes, Queen's offers everything that I expect from a B school. Placements is a problem. You get jobs mostly through networking and 1 yr is a short time to network.So if I decide to join, I need to take a risk that I might not get placed.The best part of Queen's is the personal touch. With just 78 students in the program, one feels that he is studying in a close knit enviornment.The director of the program called me up today and told that I contact him directly if there were any concerns from my side.The way they treat me makes me feel good.:)

The CMU alum told me that the program is not an MBA substitute and I should be clear with my expectations.
"Go to Tepper if you want an MBA.You can mix and match courses from Tepper but MISM is a MISM only".Yes, jobs would come easier there than Queen's but then one might get restricted to a particular domain.Folks end up with different jobs there ...strarting from coding jobs to being consultants in Mckinsey. The MISM program is very popular among the Investment Banks for Application Development and Consulting firms like Deloitte.

There are folks in Queen's who had an ISB admit and yet went ahead with Queen's.Most of them don't regret it except for one.

I had emailed a senior of mine.He is of the opinion that if I want an international feel, I should try out Queen's.

This is what he said:
"Although ISB is good enough and has all the attributes of a global institute, it will still take time to reach the status that these institutes already enjoy. Now that you have got this opportunity, don’t let it go easily. Yes, if you have some very genuine and urgent reasons to return to India, then ISB is better than any other options available here."

Another relative of mine suggested that I go ahead with the CMU program and apply to B schools 4 years from now.I'll be only 29-30 by then and that is not old.!

RP asked me to check out the best gals in all the three school and then take a call where the best gals are.:).He too is waitlisted at ISB but has made it to Chicago GSB.

Iam all confused and I guess it will take some more time before my brains come out and I decide which one to join.Money does not grown on trees and I should realize this.I need to take a call and hope that dad agrees with my decision.

Well, the only good decision that I took this weekend was I decided not to apply to any more B schools.The NUS, NTU essays are almost ready but I won't be submitting it.Would have applied to IIM-B under the NRI category but then have decided not to.

Although, I am confused there is a strange feeling these days.
It gives me a feeling that the hard work that I had put in has bought some results.
The guy was supposed to relive me of my job assignment has landed up with visa issues. So, instead of this month end, it will be mid march when I return to India.

Will it be ISB or a visa for US or a visa to Canada...Time will tell.
Till then....Keep providing ur inputs and stay with me..Iam tensed and confused.:)

Friday, February 11, 2005

In @ Queens.!!

Made it to Queens MBA for Science and Technology.
It has been rated as #1 in International MBA (Non US) and feels good to know that I made it .
But rankings don't matter much to me. I believe in best fit.

The real confusion begins in the next few days.
The waitlist at ISB haunts me. I can't end up paying the acceptance money for all the schools and keep hoping that ISB will pick me towards March end.

Duh! I hate the day when they told me that I have been Waitlisted.Itz a sick feeling that raises questions about one's abilities and makes him think every moment -What went wrong.?

Itz back to decision making process now -MISM vs MBA.
USA vs Canada.

What is ur take guyz..? Please comment.
Next few days will be spent speaking to Queen's students!!

I have to also arrange for the official transcript and degree statement from my college in Bangalore which is refusing to give the transcipts without the originals! Damn ppl!

Dear Mr. XXXX:

I am pleased to advise that the Admissions Committee has accepted your application for admission to the MBA for Science & Technology program for the session beginning May 2005 conditional upon receipt of your official transcript and degree statement . Please retain this letter as your official permit to register. All MBA for Science & Technology students will begin classes on Monday, May 2, 2005 at 8:00 a.m. in Goodes Hall, Room 414. Further information will be sent to you over the next several months.

We recognize the decision to undertake an MBA program is a very important one and that you will need time to give the matter serious consideration. Confirmation of your attendance is required in writing by February 24, 2005 . Please complete the enclosed Personal Data Form and include a non-refundable deposit of $2,000.00 (cheque or money order payable to Queen's University). This amount will be deducted from your tuition.

As well, please include a passport size photograph with your name clearly printed on the reverse. This photo will be used to create a class composite for distribution to students and faculty. It is advisable to arrange for two photos as the University Registrar will require a photo in February for registration purposes .............



Associate Director

Many kinds of M.B.A.
An article in the

Business school education has come a long way. "M.B.A. programs in the 1950s [generally] provided people with a narrow set of applied skills," says Gilbert Whitaker, dean of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management at Rice. "It was sort of a 'how to run a shoe store' mentality." Today's B-schools, however, are extraordinarily diverse, with a range of concentrations–from E-commerce to environmental management–as well as a wealth of learning opportunities, like group projects that solve real companies' problems. Even better: As the economy shows signs of life, and flight to grad school is less common, application numbers for full-time programs are falling at many schools–which means more favorable odds of getting in. This year has seen the lowest Graduate Management Admission Test volume since 2000. A few issues to consider before drawing up your short list (and tips on how to score an acceptance letter or two):

What would you like to learn? At Dartmouth's Tuck School, everyone earns an M.B.A. in general management. If you aren't sure what skills you're looking to develop, you might focus on this kind of institution. If you have a specific subfield in mind, however, look for schools with well-respected programs in that area. The E. J. Ourso College of Business Administration at Louisiana State, for example, has one of the best internal auditing programs; its grads are heavily recruited nationwide.

Part time vs. full time? In the past, part-time M.B.A. programs have been criticized for a lack of rigor, but the gap in quality between part- and full-time programs has shrunk substantially. At Berkeley's Haas School of Business, part-time applicants are subject to the same test-score and work-experience requirements as their full-time counterparts. Part-time students also are taught by the same faculty and are offered many of the same study-abroad options.

Where do grads go to work? Even if you don't know where you want to work after school, you should think about how marketable you'll be. For starters, many schools have a regional focus when it comes to placing students in jobs. If you're considering Rice's Jones Graduate School of Management, for instance, you should be aware that 73 percent of its students last year found their first jobs in Texas and 21 percent in the energy industry. At the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, 77 percent of grads go to work in the Midwest.

Get work experience. Once you've chosen your dream school, brace yourself for a few weeks of cramming for the GMAT. A good score on this exam, which tests basic verbal, math, and writing skills, can help grease the skids for your application. But, admissions officers insist, there is something even more essential: work experience. Most M.B.A. programs require at least two years, and successful applicants at top schools should also demonstrate a track record of advancement within a particular company, says Marci Armstrong, an associate dean at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business. International experience doesn't hurt either: Last year over 50 percent of Cox's students worked abroad before starting school. But job hopping is typically frowned on. "Less than 18 months at any one company is going to be a bit of a red flag," says Armstrong, unless you can show that you switched jobs to move ahead within your industry.

Show them that you care. Even if a program doesn't require an interview, try to schedule one. It's your best opportunity to show the fire in your belly for a B-school education. Be specific about how their program is going to help you reach your particular goals. Most schools don't expect you to know exactly what you'll study, but "it helps to have an industry you're particularly interested in or a passion for a certain kind of business," says Dan Dalton, dean of Indiana University's B-school.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Hewlett-Packard Ousts CEO Carly Fiorina

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Read the piece here

What went wrong,Check this

Saturday, February 05, 2005

How to Bear Those B-School Bills

Nice article on Business Week.

Dan Thibeault, a second-year MBA student at Harvard Business School, talked about student loans during an impromptu discussion in one of his first-year classes -- and set off a firestorm of interest from his classmates. They wanted his advice on everything from finding the best interest rates to loan consolidation -- and with good reason. One of Thibeault's jobs before going back to school was at Goldman Sachs, where he dealt with student loans and other debt instruments.

Thibeault responded to his classmates in a big way. In 2003 he, along with other students, launched Graduate Leverage, a student loan consolidation and debt-management company in Cambridge, Mass., that this year will offer advice to about 5,000 MBAs and other graduate students.

There's certainly a ready market among MBAs. Two years at a top B-school costs upwards of $150,000, including living expenses. The average student, who usually already owes about $15,000 in student-loan debt after undergraduate studies, can afford B-school only by taking on more loans. And between 75% and 92% of MBAs at top-tier schools, where the average financial aid package is about $50,000, do just that.

So, unless your family is wealthy, most of the money will have to be borrowed from the government or private lenders. It can be done -- lenders consider MBAs a good credit risk if they've shown good money-management skills in the past. But that's still a big chunk of change and a lot of issues to juggle.

Here are some helpful hints about the ins and outs of student loans and other financial questions for current and aspiring MBAs:

Don't be afraid to ask for help.
If you're in school already and feeling financially strained, don't fall for the common misconception that business students don't need financial advice. "Even at B-school, [many] students aren't aware of whether their loans are floating or fixed or when they should lock in rates," says Thibeault. It's important not to let paying for B-school get you into financial trouble: About 35% of all employers now look at applicants' credit histories before deciding who to hire, according to the Society of Human Resources Management.

Take time to prepare.
If you're just applying, getting your finances in order is one of the first steps in preparing for B-school. "Get debt to a manageable level before taking on a student loan," says Bonnie Lack, associate director of financial aid at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business in Pittsburgh, one of the few B-schools with its own financial-aid office apart from the one undergrads and other grad students use. "Pay off that car and all those credit cards," she adds. Brian O'Connell, author of Free Yourself from Student Loan Debt, warns that the biggest mistake students make is racking up bad credit-card debt.

To find out where you stand, get a copy of your latest credit report and score (the number creditors give you to express whether you are a big credit risk) from at least one of three major credit bureaus -- Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. A score in the low 600s signals a problem, and one in the upper 700s will probably get you a lower interest rate because you're a good risk, according to O'Connell's book. By September, 2005, every American will be able to get one free report each year from each bureau. Until then, the fee ranges from $9 to $30.

Borrow intelligently.
Your school's financial-aid office is a one-stop shopping service for federal loans, private lenders, and merit- and need-based scholarships. But keep in mind that these services have a lot of demands placed on them.

"Start early and be polite but persistent," advises Michelle Rock, a second-year student who has taken out government and private loans to finance her education at Emory University's Goizueta Business School in Atlanta. "I have had pretty good service but often find it necessary to meet face-to-face to take care of the details."

Anyone with a U.S. Social Security number is eligible for up to $18,500 in federal loans. Experts suggest considering these loans first because at 2.77% federal or Stafford Loans are at the lowest rate in their history. If you consolidate your loans between now and June 30, 2005, you can lock in this low interest rate and save yourself lots of money. In July, interest rates on student loans are expected to increase for the first time in five years, to as much as 4.5%.

Private lenders will probably charge you higher interest rates than the government. But MBA students generally need more than that $18,500 to pay tuition and living expenses. If you're one of them, ask for your school's list of preferred private lenders, which offer special rates to students at partner schools. According to Carnegie Mellon's Lack, some lenders have a $20,000 annual cap on how much they'll lend a student, and most won't lend more than a total of $150,000.

Learn to budget.
Returning to a student lifestyle can be quite a shock for B-school entrants leaving a job with good pay. It might be a good idea to cut your spending before entering school to save a little extra money and ease into the transition. Another good idea is to build frugality into your new lifestyle from the beginning. Cherie Scricca, associate dean of Master's Programs & Career Management at the University of Maryland advises living with roommates and refraining from eating out all the time. "Don't live like a CEO when you're in school."

That doesn't mean you have to skimp on your education. Rock took out extra loans so she could spend four months studying and working at American Greetings Interactive's Paris office. "Living in another country is an amazing and, for many, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you can get additional loan money," says Rock.

Research Your Repayment Options.
Rock says she expects to pay off her loans in no more than 20 years and plans to put all her bonuses toward payments. To maintain the integrity of her credit, she should keep in touch with her lenders whenever she moves or if she ever has trouble making a payment, says Carnegie Mellon's Lack. Most lenders offer deferments for life's unexpected twists, such as a death in the family.

The government also will reduce or eliminate your loan if you're taking a nonprofit job after graduation, says O'Connell. Also, Scricca notes that some companies are open to paying off employees' student loans, so try negotiating with your employer.

B-school is usually a good investment that pays for itself over time, says O'Connell -- as long as you're smart about it. And for MBAs, of all students, making smart financial decisions should be second nature.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Meeting for Waitlisted folks

Keys to Moving from the Wait List to the Accepted List

Guest: Linda Abraham Staff
Date: Feb 09, 2005
Time: 10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET/ 6:00 PM GMT
Location: Chat will take place at

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Telephone Interview Tips

I had googled this tips before a telephone interview of mine....The key is to stay relaxed...If you are tensed (like I was for ISB ..duh ! ),the adcom can sense it in ur voice. Remember, your nervousness will be reflected through your speech tone.One must appear confident. If you end up speaking'll be a situation like "let me get over with this".

Call up some call center folks and notice how they speak...They give pauses ....They speak slowly so that the person at the other end can assimilate what you are speaking....The best part about a telephone interview is that you can be in ur PJs and give the interview. The worst part.-You might be speaking passionately about a subject assuming that the person at the other end is following what you are saying..instead the guy is busy playing tic tac toe:)

Use a good quality phone card if you are expected to call.I would suggest calling up some Hyderabad number (even it is some lost friend !) with the same phone card that you'll be using for the interview to make sure that the quality is good. It is just an attempt to play safe.

When I had a mock interview with Bharani,he recorded the whole conversation and sent it over to me...Listenting to it gave me a feeling that I sounded stupid.
I counted the number of 'Aahs' and 'Hmms' and filler words like ' well' , 'to be honest', 'I guess' . There were many !

I have this strange behaviour that when I talk to an American I speak at a slow rate....When I talk to an Indian, the speaking rate is the normal (which is fast)..When I speak to folks from SE Asia, the rate is painfully slower.
Based on my experiences, Iam of the opinion that the speaking rate does matter.
Others can definitely add their inputs.

And DONT record your final interview with the adcom....The more you hear it, the more stupid you'll feel. :)

All the best...and just do it !

Anyway, here are the tips......

-Treat the phone interview as you would a face-to-face interview.

-Select a quiet, private room with a telephone in good working condition.

-Conduct a mock telephone interview with a friend to gain feedback on your voice quality and speech.

-Before the interview, prepare talking points for the call including value you bring to the school and questions that you will ask.

-Arrange the following items: your resume, cover letter, copy of application, highlights of school information and brief talking points.

-Breathe deeply and relax. Speak slowly, clearly and with purpose.

-Smile, it changes your speech and the person on the other end can sense it.

-Write down the full names and titles of each call participant.(if possible)

-Take notes when appropriate.

-Be courteous and try not to speak over the interviewer.

-Support your statements with detailed examples of accomplishments when possible. It is easy for someone to get distracted on a phone call, so paint a vivid picture to keep the interviewer interested.

-If required take any pauses in your speech to ponder a question or take notes.

-If you think of a question or comment while the interviewer is speaking, jot a note on your talking points list, so you remember it later.

-During the interview, if the interviewer inadvertently answers a question from your prepared list, cross it off. If you forget and ask it, it will seem as if you were not listening.

-Offer to provide additional information or answer other questions.

-Use your talking points list of specific skills and accomplishments; cross them off as you work them into the conversation. At the end, if you have some uncrossed items, you might say something like, "I thought you might be interested to know I led a major conversion project, quite similar to what you are planning. I managed a $2.5 million budget and completed it 45 days early, saving over $48,000."

-Before ending the call, be sure you know the next step in the process, and offer to provide any additional information needed.

-Do not hang up until the interviewer has hung up.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Queens Interview

I had my Queens telephonic interview today morning (8am MST).
It was with the associate director of the program, Ms Shannon Goodspeed

Since the hopes of making it to ISB are almost over (the WL saga continues) and I have paid the acceptance money for CMU I had a strange feeling before the meeting that I had nothing to loose. I was neither desperate nor tensed. I got up in the morning, tuned into the FM station and was pretty relaxed. The feeling was very different from the ISB interview that was held on a Friday evening (10pm) and I was scared as a rat. It was at 10 pm on a Friday. I am traveling to Pittsburgh on 22nd to check out the CMU campus, meet the faculty, admissions director. So, I was in a pretty comfortable mood.

Anyway, for the interview portion, Shannon called me up from Canada on my cell and informed that the interview would go on for 30 mins. I had kept an hour free and the meeting end up being a 40-minute conversation.

The whole interview was very professional.

There were no stress questions and no why low GMAT stuff. She did not put me in the defensive mode. The interview was very much unlike the ISB one. She said that the basis of the interview was to find out if I could fit into the teamwork style at Queens.

Here are the questions that I can recollect.

- Howz the weather there at ur place.
(I said itz the Ground hogs day today and there was a short discussion about it.)

- Tell me something about ur background, where and how you were you brought up and how much of a change has this brought in you.

-How do you find the United States? What was your first reaction when you landed here in the United States
( I said that I exclaimed to myself that said “This is just like how I saw it in the Hollywood movies.!”)

-Whatz the difference in the working style in US and in India.

- Do you miss home ? If yes, how do you cope up with it.
(I said I missed Diwali the most. It seems Queens celebrate Chinese New Year and Diwali in Kingston)

- Do you get to play cricket in the US.?

- What other activities do you like. What have you liked in the US
( I said I had never seen snow before...was in Florida earlier. so I seem to enjoy the snow and the outdoor adventure activities here in Colorado)

- Tell me the challenges you faced during your engineering project.
(I had rated that as my biggest achievement in essay coz it had given me a lot of confidence in life)

- Some questions on teamwork on that project.

- Was there anyone whom u had to remove from the team.

- If your teammates had to mention a few characteristics/qualities of you, what would that be.

- What have you heard about Kingston? Will you like it.
(Did not have much idea. did not want to bluff. so said
something obscure. She went on to explain more about Kingston)

- Why didn't you apply to US schools.?
( I was expecting this.)

- Where would you want to work after graduation..(Indirect question) –US, India or Canada

- Will you move to India? ( from my long term goal in essay)

- Tell me how you joined Toastmasters.(
What have you learnt. What is it all about.
( I spoke for 4 mins only to realize that Shannon herself is a Toastmaster)

- She said that she wanted to start one club at Queens and asked if I would play a significant role for that. I said yes. She said " Iam going to write this down". :)

She then stressed that the strength of the program is in its team work model. Everybody gets a chance to lead and follow. Students are split into teams and stay with the team for a year.

It was my turn to ask questions.

- Shannon graduated in 1983 from the same program (Researched this at Bweek). How much of it had the program changed since then.
(It was a 16 month program with no specialization in Science and technology)

- Who decides the team composition? Let us say, who decides which 5 will form the team.
(Shannon decides. That is why she herself interviews all the applicants)

- The students at Queens have an option of completing the PMP certification. Asked her some details about it.

- Asked about the faculty. How approachable they were outside class.

- How many Indian students do they admit?

- How is the diversity decided then for Indian applicants?
(Explained and then asked me to check out the resumes of current students on the Queen's website)

- Are there any chances that I get scholarship.
(She said there were folks with scores > 700 and excellent acads.S o the chances are not good based on my score and acads background. I liked her honesty.)

She said that I would be informed about my result in 2 weeks.
So, keeping my fingers crossed. An admit or a ding should be the result.
Am not accepting another waitlist!

I couldn't talk to the Queens students much as they had their exams.
Thanks guyz (that includes Raja) who helped me with the interview prep.