Turning Point

Hello world!

How are you soon to be b-schoolers faring this year? I hope things are looking up after last year – a super competitive year for any wannabe MBA. Like many of you, I am a reapplicant, targeting R2.

Applying this year was a little bitter sweet. Not really used to failure, being dinged last year, was a bummer. Especially in light of the fact that my girlfriend made it to a top 5 school and decided to move across the country. I thought long and hard; should I apply to many business schools, or just focus on the ones that I really like?

It was a turning point, one lonely night, a decision was made. No matter how much analysis I did, it became a question of what I could fit into my life, when I wasn’t working 12 hour days or flying coast to coast.

Fast forward today, I’m applying to a small selection of schools, two to be exact: Columbia and Wharton.

My basis for picking these schools? I just loved visiting them. When you’re at the point I am in my career, a two year MBA doesn’t make sense unless its at a school you love.

That’s very risk seeking, you say. Plan B, you ask. Well, there are always other options including the 1-year programs at many US and international schools, and executive MBAs. If I had to have an MBA, I would probably go that route.

So lets see how things pan out this year fellas. Hopefully, I’ll get it right this time.

Aristotle Made My Day

I am annoyed by people who decide to put quotes in their signatures, but once in a while something comes along that makes you go “wow”.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." – Aristotle

This quote came through today, I liked it – it echoes my personal philosophy that I ought to do the best I can, everyday. Thought I’d share it with y’all.

Silver Lining?

Last week my company posted two new openings. By Monday we had received over 500 resumes for each position. This is unprecedented. Even during bad times that followed the dot-com-bust in the early part of this decade, our company didn’t receive more than a hundred resumes for any position, my manager quipped, as he proceeded to give me a stack to filter for potential hires.

We’re hiring an intern and a FTE. I had to look through the intern resumes that had already been prescreened by HR. In this pile, I am found a lot of MBA candidates from the Class of 2011. Some of them have impressive backgrounds and are from top-tier schools (in the top 10).

In all, I have over 71 such resumes that I counted this morning. This exercise was bitter sweet – I felt bad that these guys had to struggle so hard, and I felt good because I wasn't one of them and had the security of a well paying job.

While doing this, I recalled that two weeks ago I was at my friend’s engagement party and his father in law, an former Goldman executive, shared his outlook on the economy, and employment. His take was that the economy will not add jobs, the well paying jobs that MBAs want, until late 2011 to early 2012. Businessweek’s article “MBA Intern Hiring Is Slow to Recover” made his analysis more plausible as did accounts I’ve heard from some friends at Stanford, HBS, MIT and Duke.

I’ll share something that a friend from Stanford said this weekend on a phone call - “Everyone is getting an internship, but most people have to settle for something that they didn’t imagine doing when they started their MBA”, continuing further to share that he will be doing  a marketing internship at Du Pont in Tennessee. He wanted to break into healthcare finance. His PoV is echoed by a bunch of people who I have talked to in Cambridge at HBS and MIT.

Such a situation affects not only the top schools, but also the mid-tier schools and is in stark contrast to the the assessment that business schools had made only in February of this year. See BusinessWeek’s article titled “MBA Job Outlook Improving” published earlier this year.

So, while I realize that the information I may be sharing with you is anecdotal, and that there are huge differences between internship and fulltime hiring, I also see a silver lining.

Perhaps I’ll get in next year and graduate at a time when MBA hiring is strong. Perhaps, I won’t have to regret spending hundreds of thousands of dollars without a commensurate return on my investment. Perhaps not getting into b-school this year was a blessing in disguise. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps… =P


I have been nominated for the Clear Admit Best of Blogging applicant blog for 2009-2010. I am humbled, yet proud that I am in the running for this award and wish all the nominees bon chance!

As you can imagine, I’ve been pretty busy at work. However, I intend to post regularly in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!


You can only connect the dots looking back. I didn’t say that. Steve Jobs, one of my favorite CEOs, said that in 2005 at while delivering Stanford’s commencement speech.

“Stay hungry, Stay foolish,” he reminded us.

And that's the question I’ve been pondering about a lot recently. Would applying again this fall be foolish or an act of steadfast persistence that will yield dividends? I wish I knew, but I don't. What I do know is that if I don’t give this another shot, the “what if…” will haunt me for some time to come.

So, here I am, ready to brave the cruel b-school admissions process again this fall.

Let the games begin!

PS: Thanks for the encouraging emails and comments fellow b-schoolers. I have a feeling that we’ll crack it this fall :)


Fellow  business school applicants. The road has almost come to an end. My results for the 2010 application season are known to you (summarized below) for you if you’ve just landed here.

R1: Kellogg (Interviewed/Dinged) / Booth(Dinged) / MIT (Interviewed/Deferred)
R2: Fuqua (Interviewed/Dinged) / HBS (No Interview) / Stanford (No Interview)

It has been a long, arduous journey; one that I hoped would end in at least one business school admitting this now forgotten soul. Alas! They have not.

Some will win, some will lose, some will live on to sing the blues. In my case, I will be spending the next few weeks giving serious thought to whether it still makes sense for me to apply again this fall. You’ll know, as soon as I do.

To all me hearties, I wish ye good luck. And if you get bruised on the b-school trail this year, maybe we’ll celebrate victories together next year.

Au revoir!

Goin’ Thru The Grind!

Going through the MBA grind is never easy, especially if the first few schools haven’t taken the bait. I failed to impress Chicago-Booth and Kellogg, while MIT was only lukewarm to the idea of having me (deferred to R2, with interview.)

R2 has started with a glimmer of hope and clearly if you are to believe Yahoo Astrology, 2010 is going to be the time when some of my wishes (long overdue) come true. (Yes, I’ve been trolling fortune telling websites and even considered calling up Madam Cleo.)

So yes, with an interview invite from Duke, my light’s shining a little brighter.

Good luck in R2 homies! I hope to cross paths with some of you at interviews, admit weekends and as classmates.

I’m Done!

I submitted my last R2 application this weekend. And it feels so good. To tell you the honest truth, after going through the MBA grind, I am not so worried about whether a b-school will have me or not.

I’m just happy that I took the time to go through the process because its taught me a few things. Interested? Well, here we go.

1: The introspection, feedback and discussions I’ve had since July ‘09 with a variety of individuals ranging from friends, bosses, mentors and MBA grads has given me razor sharp focus on what I want to do. More importantly, I know how to go about it.

2: I’ve also understood the true value of an MBA. Yes, education is large piece of the b-school experience, but making connections, building relationships, finding mentors and learning from experiences of other people, in my opinion, is what’s most valuable. Perhaps you remember everything you learned as an undergrad – I, for one, only remember the people and experiences that made me the person I am today.

3: You can do it yourself. What I mean by this is, that should the destinies plot against you and you aren’t admitted this year, all is not lost. You can definitely reapply, hopefully after thorough introspection if you didn’t get a chance to think things through the first time around. More importantly, you can learn what they teach you in b-school on your own. Yes, it will take longer, you may not have a peer group to lean on or the brand recall of a S/H/W, but it can be done. All you need is motivation, self-direction and diligence. You have to agree with me when I say lazy people rarely bequeath a legacy to the world, whether they have an MBA or not.

4: Never be afraid to admit you need help or don’t know something. After my R1 applications, I took the time to think through why things didn’t work out. I asked people for help and had the humility to accept that I didn’t have all the answers. I was surprised that MBA grads, who have no connection with me except this blog, were willing to look over my essays. Admissions consultants like Linda Abraham of Accepted.com (tip of the hat to her) took the time to chat with me and helped my craft my R2 strategy, without asking for anything in return. All I can do is thank you wonderful people and assure you that I will pass it on.

With that fellow b-school wannabes, I wish you good luck and hope to be in your cohort later this fall. (Fingers crossed!)