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Current Harvard Student Blogs [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2014, 22:51
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This discussion is a repository for all of the current student blogs. If you know any, or if you are a current student and would like your blog listed here, PM me.
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How to Prepare Your Recommenders [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2014, 23:01
FROM Defying Gravity - Current Student: How to Prepare Your Recommenders
Have you seen the new blog postfrom the Tuck adcom about recommenders? If not,check it out now. It answers a lot of frequently asked questions and gives some helpful advice. I've recently been asked by a couple of blog readers some similar questions, and I think Pat Harris (Tuck adcom) answers those questions well.

But anyway, if you've read that post and still want my advice, then keep reading. Once you've decided who to choose for your letters of recommendation, it's not enough to just send them the online link and leave the rest up to fate (well, it's probably enough for some people, but if you're reading this blog, then it shouldn't be enough for you). However, you absolutely can not (and should not) write your recommendations yourself. Nevertheless, you can provide guidance to your recommenders to steer them in the right direction.

I created individual Recommender Packets and set up coffee chats with each of my recommenders. During our meetings (and in the packets), I noted my career goals, explained why I wanted an MBA, and then reminded them of some of my major accomplishments (i.e. "Remember how awesome I am and all of those great things I did!") I don't know if they chose to describe those things in my letters of recommendation, but it was a helpful starting point to get them brainstorming. I also let them know about particular areas that would be helpful for them to address. For example, coming from a less traditional field, I needed the adcom to know that I do actually have strong analytical and quantitative skills, and I can really compete with the finance kids. I let my recommenders know that this was an area of concern for me, then I asked them to comment on some of the major initiatives that I've led that highlight those areas. Your recommendations should reinforce the strengths and stories highlighted throughout your application, while also providing additional insight into your candidacy.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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http://DefyingGravityMBA.blogspot.com/

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FOMO is real [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2014, 23:01
FROM Defying Gravity - Current Student: FOMO is real
Classes haven't even started yet, and I'm already experiencing FOMO.

The number of events that I've already received invites for is mind-boggling. Should I go on that Cape Cod retreat, attend the Gatsby party, Color Block party, cocktails and networking event, yacht day, dinner with ECs, etc???... oh yeah, and at some point between those events, I'll also need to read a bunch of cases, be prepared to be cold-called, familiarize myself with campus, try to meet new people, and get re-adjusted to living with a roommate.

Holy crap, this year is going to be crazy...and amazing... but definitely crazy.

So anyway, I'm learning that HBS is a very social place. Last year, when researching MBA programs, I heard so much about the fun activities and parties that pervade Kellogg and the friendliness of students at programs like Tuck and Fuqua. HBS was designated as the uber competitive, suit-wearing "bro." But, so far at least, I haven't experienced that at all. Everyone I've met has been super supportive and down to earth. We'll see what happens once classes start, but I'm feeling very happy about my decision to matriculate here.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Advice, Musings, and Experiences from a member of the HBS Class of 2016
http://DefyingGravityMBA.blogspot.com/

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Week 1 at HBS [#permalink] New post 29 Aug 2014, 18:01
FROM Defying Gravity - Current Student: Week 1 at HBS
I just finished my first week as a Harvard Business School MBA candidate!... Wow, that feels pretty cool to say.

This week was a mix of every humanly possible emotion. I began the week with extreme excitement and a bit of anxiety, wondering what this adventure would hold. At 7am on Monday morning, we were given our section assignments. Sections are a defining aspect of the HBS experience, and how the program is able to feel close-knit and intimate, in spite of the fact that there are 900+ first year students. Each student is assigned to a section of about 90 people. We will stay in the same section for the entire year, taking all of our courses with the same group of people. We stay in the same room for all of our classes, while our professors rotate.

In addition to the sections, we are also all assigned to discussion groups of 6 people. The discussion groups are a cross-sectional mix. We meet every morning at 8am to discuss the cases for the day. The discussion groups are essentially a microcosm of the section experience, as they are composed of a diverse mix of students with varied experiences and backgrounds. By meeting daily with this small group, I've already been able to form bonds, which I'm sure will only deepen as the semester progresses.

Overall, I had a great week, but holy cow, I'm beyond tired. I was up until around midnight last night preparing cases for today's classes. The workload is pretty intense. That's why it's Friday night, and while many of my classmates are going out, I'm excited to relax in my on-campus apartment, watch mindless television, and go to bed early.

Goodnight.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Advice, Musings, and Experiences from a member of the HBS Class of 2016
http://DefyingGravityMBA.blogspot.com/

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Factors of my admissions experience [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2014, 18:01
FROM Defying Gravity - Current Student: Factors of my admissions experience
I originally posted the below post on GMAT Club, under the title "Trying to Defy Gravity." As Round 1 deadlines for the Class of 2017 loom closer, I've been receiving emails and comments from several applicants asking for my thoughts on what led to my admissions success.I think this post summarizes the main points:

Trying to Defy Gravity

In 2012, I made the decision to apply to business school in 2013 to hopefully matriculate in 2014. I am the type of person that likes to plan things in advance. I've spoken with several other applicants who decided to apply just 6-8 weeks before deadlines. That would be my worst nightmare.

The GMAT
My journey, of course, began with the GMAT. I've always been naturally strong in verbal and I am a native English speaker, so I focused 100% of my prep on quant. The GMAT was not easy for me. I performed well on practice tests, but bombed my first official test. Ultimately I took the test three times to land a 730. I would have loved to join the 99th percentile club, but I was content with my score and decided to move on to other aspects of my application.

Additional Coursework
I come from a less-traditional background and didn't have any business-related courses in undergrad, although I took a couple of calc and stats classes for my major. Still, I wanted to make sure that b-schools knew that I could handle traditional business classes, so I took a financial accounting and a microecon class to boost my background.

School Choice
I spent a significant amount of time defining my career goals and determining the types of things that I do and don't like. From there, I looked at the top 20 schools and quickly noted which ones I was not interested in. That was easier for me than deciding which programs I was interested in. For example, NYC is too hectic for me and also freakishly expensive, so Columbia and Stern were crossed out. I also prefer the east coast, and decided that there were only 2 schools that would be personally worth it for me to leave the east coast -- Stanford and Kellogg. I also focused a lot on the community of the schools and the program offerings.

My Recommendations for Current Applicants:
I spent an insane amount of time researching everything I could about applying to schools, but of course, there is always an element of luck involved in admissions. I have met some incredible people during this process, and there are way more qualified people than spots available.

A couple of things that I found most helpful:
- Starting early
- Chatting with anyone and everyone -- current students, alumni, admissions officers, fellow applicants, etc... I tried to find any hidden insight I could for each program to which I applied.
- Knowing my story: Coming from a less traditional background, I really had to prove that my story made sense and that an MBA was critical to my next steps. I practiced my pitch repeatedly and even did mock interviews with some friends.
- Writing articulate essays that answered the question, while simultaneously highlighting my differentiating factors, my personality, and my passion.

A few things that I may have changed:
- Applying to school is ridiculously expensive. I only thought about the cost of applications and failed to factor in flights and hotel rooms for visits and interviews, $750 for the 3 times I took the GMAT, plus GMAT study resources and the 2 additional classes. I wish I would have saved more. Especially now that I am seeing the cost of attendance for top MBA programs.
- There are probably some other things that would have made the journey easier, but since it's all worked out, I guess I wouldn't change them. I don't know if the additional coursework helped and it was really time consuming, but whatever, I'm sure it didn't hurt my app.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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http://DefyingGravityMBA.blogspot.com/

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#LifeAtHBS [#permalink] New post 06 Sep 2014, 07:02
FROM Defying Gravity - Current Student: #LifeAtHBS
The admissions team is running a social media campaign called "Life at HBS." Based on feedback from prior years, it seems that applicants are really interested in what life is really like at HBS. They've asked us current students to use the hashtag #LifeAtHBS on many of our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc posts. So, if you haven't already checked it out, it'll give you something to do after you submit your application and are looking for a distraction for the next 3 weeks until interview invites are released (I wish they had this when I applied!).

In the spirit of that campaign, I'm writing more about my life at HBS. Here are a couple of basics:

All first year students (known as RCs), take 6 classes the first semester:
  • TOM: Technology Operations Management: This is basically an operations class
  • FRC: Financial Reporting and Control: This is an accounting class, but HBS likes to use fancy names
  • LEAD: This is a class on leadership and is often cited by alums as one of the most important classes they took
  • MKT: Marketing: This name is pretty straightforward
  • FIN: Finance: We won't officially start our finance classes until next week
  • FIELD: This is a three-part course that spans the entire first year. In Field 1, the focus is on interpersonal dynamics and teamwork. In FIELD 2, we'll all travel to developing countries to consult on a good or service for a company. Lastly, in FIELD 3, we'll work in small teams and get a couple thousand dollars from HBS to launch a start-up.
We're typically in class from around 8am-3pm, followed by activities, events, speakers, meetings with professors, and review sessions. Then, we spend a few hours each evening preparing for the following day's cases. Amidst all of that, we often have group dinners or go out for drinks. There are also multiple campus parties each week. All-in-all, we are often sleep-deprived, but the experience has been pretty freakin' amazing.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Advice, Musings, and Experiences from a member of the HBS Class of 2016
http://DefyingGravityMBA.blogspot.com/

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Round 1 Applicants -- Do this [#permalink] New post 06 Sep 2014, 14:01
FROM Defying Gravity - Current Student: Round 1 Applicants -- Do this
Eek, it's almost time to finally press "Submit" on your application!

You're stressed and tired and likely feeling anxious. Take a moment to breathe. If you've been focusing on your app for multiple hours, walk away for a bit. Spend some time re-focusing your energy, then come back later to proofread. Make sure you are telling a compelling story that shows how you will contribute to the HBS classroom experience and one that highlights your leadership potential. The admissions committee isn't looking for the next great author, so your writing doesn't have to be award-winning... but don't be sloppy. Watch out for typos and check your grammar. Consider having a friend or colleague review your essay. After that, take Dee Leopold's advice and "don't overthink it." Press "Submit," and then go celebrate. You deserve it.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Advice, Musings, and Experiences from a member of the HBS Class of 2016
http://DefyingGravityMBA.blogspot.com/

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The busy life [#permalink] New post 21 Sep 2014, 17:01
FROM Defying Gravity - Current Student: The busy life
Things are starting to ramp up. It's weird, I thought that my first 3 weeks of HBS were hectic. I can't remember the last night I actually was able to get 8 hours of sleep. Everyday seems filled to capacity -- from time spent in class and with my discussion group, to preparing cases, to study groups and review sessions, to dinners with my sectionmates, to countless parties.

Yet, I'm realizing that this has likely been the most relaxing time of my first year, because now, clubs are kicking off. Amongst the 90+ student clubs at HBS, I have to decide which ones I want to join, and whether I want to run for an officer position. Right now, I'm thinking about joining the Social Enterprise Club, and there are several more that I'm considering, including Board Fellows, and the Harbus Foundation.

In addition to those activities, we're now also gearing up for recruiting. This coming week, there's an event called Career Teams. Apparently about 600 first year students participated last year and it's supposed to be incredibly helpful. Plus, our officially-formatted HBS resumes must be submitted to the career development office soon. These resumes will go into the large Resume Book that is seen by employers/recruiters.

So anyway, despite the fact that I'm severely sleep-deprived and I know that things will only become more intense, I'm still ridiculously excited about what's ahead of me for this first year at HBS.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

_________________

Advice, Musings, and Experiences from a member of the HBS Class of 2016
http://DefyingGravityMBA.blogspot.com/

The busy life   [#permalink] 21 Sep 2014, 17:01
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