Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Atlast I am back in India on July 17th. Woof... what a packing/cleaning I have done. Two sleepless nights before leaving Atlanta. Now in the heat and humidity I have joined office in Noida, India. Now the same old crap that happens when you leave a company.... :-(. On top of that our great passport office that gave me a jolt of reality that I had forgotten in 4 years of stay outside my home country. But the family time is the best part that I am enjoying when I see my son and my parents playing together after a gap of 2.5 years. Also my wife is now at her parents house.. hurray.. single's life for next 3-4 weeks.

Signing off for now.. the VISA and loan disbursement will kill me if I am stuck to blogger....

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Monday, June 11, 2007

I found these two career path guidance links very good.


CAREER PATH GUIDANCE LINK2 FROM DUKE FUQUA-Follow Navigation on left hand side of this link

Another great discussion HERE AT GMATCLUB.COM-Read this discussion in its entirety.

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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Phew... what a vacation. After driving 2400 miles (Yes, 2400 miles) from Atlanta to Washington DC then to New York City, then to Niagara Falls and back to Atlanta, I am back. But no regrets as I love to drive.

I witnessed a rare event at DC: Rolling Thunder. It's a motorcycle rally that is organized by a private group. In this rally, on memorial day, people all around the United States come to DC to honor the fallen heroes in various wars. I watched for 15 minutes but the line of motorcycles never ended and I moved on but I could hear the roar of Harleys for many hours. BTW, it was too hot in DC and I was sweating like a dog but thank god that I was there only for two days. Here are some pics and a small rolling thunder video.

NY was great as always. This was my third visit to NY but first with family. Three days of tiring family fun. Here are some pics.

Best of all was the Niagara Falls. It's so massive that you feel extremely tiny in front of nature let alone conquering it. I would have loved to see from Canada side but due to Visa issues I could not leave US and so could only see from American side :-( In the night it looks fabulous. Here are some pics and a night video.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Today I got the news from SBS admissions that my loan application for £20,000 has been approved by Barclays. I came to know from the current students that the hit rate among Indians is just 2% (Only one Indian got the loan in 2006). My belief is that if you don't try then you are already rejected. I will find out the truth in few months that how many other Indians got the loan from Barclays. If you have collateral then loans from Indian banks are easy but interest rates are killing.
To get success at Barclarys:
1. Talk to admissions office for past successes and other important points.
2. Maximum loan amount is
£30K but never ask for maximum. Ask based upon your current salary, assets, other guarantees etc.
3. If you are working in US/UK etc then you have better chances because of earnings.

Now all my loans are sorted out.
£20 K from Barclays and 20 Lakhs (around £25K) from SBI in India (obviously against collateral)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Here are some common MBA interview questions that I found on the GMATCLUB. If going for an interview then don't just go by this list. You may also want to ask the current students or applicants who have already appeared for interview for that particular school. But be prepared for the weirdest of the questions and don't get nervous.

Download The DOC Here

Another good source is Here at Accepted.com

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Saturday, May 5, 2007

Found this interesting:

Download Article in PDF Here
Full Businessweek article is Here

Caitlin McLaughlin, global head of campus recruiting for Citigroup Markets and Banking, will sometimes surprise MBA students by starting off an interview with a question that has little to do with their experience in the business world or as a student at their particular school.

She'll glance at the interests and activities section of their résumés and ask questions on subjects students expect recruiters to gloss over.

"I'll say, 'I noticed on your résumé that you are a Jimmy Buffet fanatic,' and it will be clear that the person forgot it was
on there," she said. "You can see the look of panic spread across their face because they forgot."

Little Mistakes, Big Impact

Little slipups like this are the types of things that recruiters say can make the difference between making the right impression or the wrong one during a job interview.

One thing most recruiters agree on is that MBA students are coming to job interviews more prepared and polished than candidates in years past. They are coached by their career services offices, have studied meticulously the employers, and have boiled their work and academic career experiences down to a carefully crafted script.

Even with all this preparation, there are a number of missteps students can make that can quickly shift the tone of the
interview in the wrong direction, recruiters from top companies say.

We asked recruiters for specific advice about navigating interviews and sidestepping common mistakes. Here's what they told

  1. Follow Interview Etiquette
  2. Keep Your Answers Short and to the Point
  3. It's Okay to Be Clueless
  4. Avoid Clichés.
  5. Keep Negativity Out of the Conversation
  6. Always Have Questions Prepared
  7. Keep Your Ego in Check
  8. Don't Walk in Unprepared
  9. Don't Talk in Absolutes
  10. Never Bring Up Salary

A recruiter can be drained at the end of a long day interviewing MBA students on campus. In most cases, they have been meeting with people from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seeing 13 or more candidates over a nine-hour period.

Citigroup's McLaughlin says that performing at the top of your game is essential in such an intense interviewing environment.

"There is guaranteed to be somebody else, maybe several people, who did more than you did to get ready and shine during the interview," she says.

With those odds stacked against you, you'll want to do everything you can to come out on top. Avoiding these mistakes will
help you keep in the running.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Now let me talk about the grueling business school application process. OK you got a 750 and now you are thinking Harvard, Stanford here I come. BIG MISTAKE !!!! The real thing starts after the GMAT. GMAT is important but it is just a part of the whole equation. First let me tell you how much score is enough. The answer is not even 800 and may be 650 is enough. It all depends on the profile of the person and the target schools. But it is observed that Indian IT male need around 30 points more than the mean score of the target school. Why? Volume of applicants and almost everybody have the same profile.

Before you start writing the applications and once you have a "good" score in hand, I will suggest following:
1. Take a week or two of vacation after the GMAT. You deserve it and you need it to start the next step.
2. Based on your goals, aspirations and other constraints and requirements, narrow down the list of schools.
3. Start writing your essays.

Food for thought while narrowing down the list of schools:
1. Location - US, Europe, India, China etc.
2. Duration - 1 year or 2 year
3. Strength - Is school good at what you want to achieve. For example Chicago GSB is good in Finance
4. Job Prospects - Look at the career reports of last few years and see if that school is the right fit for you. Don't just look at the the average/mean salaries. Look the the companies and industries that recruited there.
5. School Visits - Visit the schools if possible. If not possible then talk to the admissions people, current students, alumni, professors. Attend the information sessions in your area. This is VERY VERY IMPORTANT. This will not only give you the insight into that schools but also great material for your essays. In my case I found 2 alumni from INSEAD, one from Oxford and one from Wharton. I attended the information sessions of Wharton, Oxford, INSEAD and many times called the admissions office to clarify the issues.
6. Last but not the least that be in touch with current applicants through online forums at www.gmatclub.com and www.businessweek.com. This will help you in getting to know more about school and also in writing essays. This is extremely important.

Caution: Don't apply to more than 5-6 schools otherwise your applications will be diluted. (This is just my opinion). One stretch school (long shot), one safety school and four with in reach schools.

OK now you have spent around 3-4 weeks and hundreds of dollars in narrowing down the list. What a relief. Isn't it? Now go get some books:
1. Great Application Essays for Business School by Paul Bodine
2. Your MBA Game Plan: Proven Strategies for Getting into the Top Business Schools by Omari Bouknight and Scott Shrum
3. How to Get Into the Top MBA Programs by Richard Montauk

These books will be great starting point in starting writing the essays. As I mentioned in my previous post that you must be crystal clear about your goals before you start thinking about MBA. This will help you in writing the essays.
I will not go in detail but I will touch a little about the essays topics, how to start, what not to do and what to do. The above books will give you detailed stuff.

Typical business school essays topics are
1. Why MBA? i.e your short term and long term goals
2. Why now?
3. Why this school?
4. Your career progression.
5. Job Responsibilities.
6. Your 2-3 great achievements (mix of work and outside work).
7. Your community service and extracurricular (This is very important in top schools and many people ignore it).

How to start:
The worst thing is just thinking. Start writing down your life story (in bullet points) on the paper as and when points come to your mind. Then organize these points in a manner that the essay topic requires. I know that you will be needing at least 10-15 editing. Devote around 3-4 weeks for the essays of first school and then after that 1-2 weeks will be enough for next schools. You need to sell yourself but be cautious that lies will be caught easily. People in the admissions office read thousands of applications each year and they can sniff such stuff. Exaggeration is OK but to some extent.

Do's and Don't's:
The above books have all this stuff. Also download the excellent applications tips using the link in the LINKS section of this blog.

Good luck!!!

Here is my list and results:
Wharton, USA - Ding without interview - Stretch School
INSEAD, France - Ding after interview
Oxford, UK - Admitted
Cambridge, UK - Ding without interview
Cranfield, UK - Admitted with 10,000 GBP scholarship - Safety School

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

OK.. The first relevant post (Hopefully). My GMAT Journey. One day, in Sept 2005, I was talking to my doctor brother regarding my job and suddenly MBA came into our conversation. That day I started asking myself:
1. What I want from my career and life?
2. Where I want to stand after 5 years? I know that many people feel stagnated after 4-5 years in IT industry.
3. How can I achieve what I want?

I did a lot of introspection (for days) and the conclusion was: I need an MBA to switch career and to become an entrepreneur (long term).

Now comes from where you want to do? India, US, Europe etc.
Full time or part time?
Before reaching a conclusion on above questions I did a lot of research for 2 months and reached the conclusion that I need
1. A 1 year program because
a)I am older - 32 at start of program
b) My son will be 3.5 years old when I will be starting my MBA and I can't afford to send him to school if I go for a 2 year program
c) ROI
2. To study in Europe (Preferably UK) because most reputed 1 year programs are in Europe. India was totally out not because Indian programs are not good but because there is little diversity. I don't want to study among 80% engineers. (Nothing against engineers, I am also one)
3. A full time program because I want to switch career. I am in IT as a Project Manager and wanted to get rid of IT. It is very difficult (some time impossible) to switch career with part time programs.

In Nov 2005, I started my GMAT prep with books from Amazon.com and first thing I did was registering at www.gmatclub.com (The best thing that happened during my journey to MBA).
I started with a mock test from Powerprep. I was considering myself a brilliant guy but I was shattered when I got 590. Then I came to know that I need to work very hard.
With 2.5 months of on and off preparation, I scored a 650 on March 1st, 2006. But the moment I came out of the test center I knew that I can do it and what were my mistakes:

1. I tried to be socially active along with my studying. Don't do it regularly unless you are a genius.
2. I practiced without correcting my old mistakes. If you are making the same mistake again and again then you must change strategy. Make an errorlog in excel or whatever format and review these errors at least once a week.
3. I only brushed sides with RC rather than immersing myself in it. If you are afraid of RC (or something) then practice more.
4. I was over-confident about maths. Though my minimum marks in maths until my 10th standard are 98 out of 100 but I got 48 in GMAT. I was complacent. If you are good at something then make sure to play with your strength.
5. I did not take many practice tests. Do as many practice tests as you can in the last 6-7 weeks of your preparation. Practice tests will give you the real picture where you stand. Tests that are best predictors of your score: GMATPrep, Manhattan GMAT, Princeton Review, Powerprep. (Stay away from Kaplan)
6. I did not attempt the GMATCLUB Challenges. If you are aiming for 50 or 51 in quant then these will be extremely helpful.

I wanted to take the GMAT within a month but I got transferred from San Francisco to Atlanta in the beginning of April 2006. So I was able to start only in last week of July 2006. New place, no friends. Good for me :-) This time I devoted 3 hours on each weekday and 6-7 hours on each weekend day. I spent a hell lot of time at GMATCLUB.COM (Evident by my 2500 posts in 2.5 months). There are three main advantages at GMATCLUB:
1. You get the motivation
2. People post difficult questions, most of the time.
3. You get to know various ways of approaching a problem in both quant and verbal

The hard work paid off and I scored a 700 (Q50 V33). I know that I could have done better in verbal because I became nervous after I started thinking about my score when I was in the last 15 questions of verbal. But no regrets. I knew that it is enough for a married person with a 3 year old son who will not let you study until he sleeps at 11:00 PM. GMAT is not about intelligence, it's about smartness and strategy. Believe me.

Here is the list of my books (in Random Order):

1) The Official Guide for GMAT® Review, 11th Edition - This is the bible and is a must have.
2) Cracking the GMAT from princeton Review - This is a good starter book. Comes with 4 online GMAT tests.
3) Kaplan GMAT Premier Program - This is also a good book. Comes with 2-3 GMAT tests but I don't like it's tests.
4) Kaplan GMAT 800 - This is a advanced book and should be touched when you have finished other material.
5) Manhattan GMAT Prep Sentence Correction Guide - This is a must for sentence correction section of GMAT. This comes with 3 excellent online GMAT tests.
6) Manhattan GMAT Prep Critical Reasoning Guide - Not that good. This comes with 3 excellent online GMAT tests. There are only 3 tests even if you buy all Manhattan GMAT books.
7) Gold Master LSAT from ARCO - This is a advanced book for Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning sections of GMAT. Must be touched after you have done other material.
8) The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review - This is also a bible and a must for non-native English speakers.
9) The Official Guide for GMAT Quantitative Review - This is on your discretion. If you are VERY GOOD at GMAT maths then optional otherwise a must.
10) Grammar Smart, 2nd Edition by Princeton Review - This is a good book to know grammar concepts.
11) Verbal Workout for the GMAT, 2nd Edition by Princeton Review - This is good book for more verbal section practice
12) Most important aspect of my preparation was www.gmatclub.com . I spent a load of time on this website. This website is a mine of information. Explore it.
13) Tons of online material downloaded. (Mostly form GMATCLUB)

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

You might be wondering that this blog is about some philosophy of life "The Never Ending Journey...", but it is not. It is about my journey where I am trying to achieve what I am dreaming: that perfect life and ambitions that you run after. In the same journey I have traveled a few miles from a small village in Sonipat district of Haryana state in India to an admit at SAID Business School, University of Oxford and many thousand miles are yet to be covered. It was tough but nothing comes easy and now gearing for the tougher path ahead. After this post I will talk about my experience with GMAT and the grueling application process.

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इस ब्लोग में आप का स्वागत हैआशा करता हूँ के मैं आप कि कुछ मदद कर पाऊँगाअच्छा लगता है अपनी मातृभाषा में लिखते हुए
Welcome to this blog. I hope I will be able to help you. It feels good to write in your mother tongue.

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