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The evolution of your B-school pursuit

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The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2007, 06:28
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So after reading the thread on R2 application and seeing the indecisiveness of some of the applicants on where to apply I figure this will be an interesting thread. It would be great to get current students on this too, they could even expand this to their internship hunt. Hopefully we get some interesting tales for next years applicants to look at this spring.

How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top?




My saga…and how it evolved. I am sure for everyone that knew the 5 schools they wanted years ago there will be a few like me that had no clue and kind of blindly stumbled to where they are now.

When: I thought about an MS in engineering a couple years ago but didn’t decide on an MBA until last year when I really learned what the degree would do for me.

What: Same thing, I want to stay in the nuclear power field. I find it fascinating and feel that it can benefit the world in a great way if implemented properly. This was where my easy decisions ended and so did my having a clue on everything else.

Where: This is where it gets screwy…Started at U of New Hampshire, its right near my house. My work would pay for a PT degree, I could keep my house and job, and I was confident I could probably get in. Soon realized that a FT program was much better and the name of the school and its rep is very very important. Started to think BC/BU/Babson, commute from my house to Boston, if I could pull a 650 I stood a decent chance of getting in. After practice testing very well (730-770) on the GMAT I began to think maybe, just maybe, I could get into a top 20 program or even a top 10.

Where continued: End of July I took the GMAT and I sent my score to MIT, Kellogg, Tuck, NYU, and CMU. Figured R3 to BC or BU would be a safety if I must but hoped to have an acceptance before then. MIT an easy choice at first for a dream school (I am an Engineer and grew up in Mass…it is like the school of gods to people like me), then Kellogg became my top choice when I learned more about their programs and majors, and the culture of the school, my wife also said Chicago would be fine with her. Then Chicago GSB after Rhyme brainwashed me some (had to spend some more money to send my score there). After the Chicago visit, I definitely decided to apply, so I had to send out another GMAT score to them...the school was amazing and the people seemed great (minus a bad class Rhyme invited me to sit through but figured that was due to material and wasn’t a good rep for the school). Then my MIT visit, the class was way better (factor in much better material), crumby facilities, overall great students with some nerdy individuals thrown in as expected…once again remains the Mrs. top choice???mine...not so sure???

Where, NOT: Iinitially I loved Tuck, the alumni event I went to was by far the best (I believe I posted that in the Tuck thread)…but that changed after a visit. On the drive home I called my wife and said I wasn’t really sure about even applying anymore. A few days later had decided that it wasn’t a fit for me and wasn’t worth the energy to apply there. After the visit I just couldn’t picture myself there and my wife would have had a hard time finding a good job.

Maybe where: Took several weeks off and started thinking about R2 schools. Duke magically became top billing after never being considered before really, job market for the Mrs was great and it was a great school. Ross was added but the wife was very iffy about moving outside Detroit. CMU was the only school to stay in my R2 field. Began researching these schools, but all the info sessions had gone by and had no time to visit before the deadlines. My cousin’s bf whose pursuit of an MBA is really what got me thinking is a 1st year at Ross now so I talked to her all thanksgiving and was going to start quizzing him after the holiday when he returned from interviewing at banks in London. Also was preparing a nice long email questionnaire for AAU, our resident Duke expert.

The decision: I got the Kellogg admit and it all stopped, no need for R2. Now the wait for an MIT interview invite and the soon to be released Chicago decision. It will be great to get multiple acceptances but a potential decision is going to be tough. I prefer Kellogg but the wifey wants to stay in Boston if possible. So if I get into all three I think without money it will be a debate of my wife's desire to be in Boston and my desire to go to Kellogg. I love things about each school and have imagined myself at each...That’s why I applied to all three. If I only get into Kellogg that’s an easy decision but if I get into the others its going to be tough. Unless someone wants to throw me 45K a year worth of scholarships...at which point that would be a no brainer.
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2007, 07:20
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Mine is continually evolving, because I'm not applying until next year. Here's how it goes.

1) Few years out from undergrad and no desire to go back to school or get MBA.

2) Realization that an MBA would be very helpful as external validation of my skills. All of my experience is with one relatively unknown company, where I've gone up the ranks very quickly. If I had to switch companies I'm certain that I'd be looking at a $20K+ pay cut because someone at my age in my industry doesn't usually make as much as I do.

3) Realize that it would also be fun to go back to school, so I decide to pursue an MBA and I start to look into various top 20 schools. My tops are Harvard/MIT, because I don't want to move away from my gf, but I'm also interested in Darden, Michigan, Tuck, Northwestern.

4) Realize that this whole endeavor might actually be financial imprudent, given the opportunity cost of not working and cost of tuition. So I decide that if I can't get into an M7+Tuck school then I won't go at all.

5) Huge doubts of my ability to get in to an M7 start to take over, as well as an ever-growing desire to get my MBA even if not at an M7.

6) So here's where I am. I really want to get an MBA, but I don't want to leave Cambridge. My local choices are HBS/MIT, so my chances of getting in locally are slim. Pretty much everyday I change my mind about what I want to do, and it's all quite frustrating.

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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 07 Jan 2008, 15:57
When: and What: Around April I was looking for a new challenge, started looking in the job market in Japan, spoke to several headhunters and friends and lots in internet research. The research showed that the market in Japan in my field is very domestically focused. Native language skills usually needed and asked for in the job postings, fluency in Japanese is not enough, even International companies in Japan such as Google, Apple, Yahoo were hugely domestically focused on the Japanese market and required native Japanese with fluent English (Fluent Japanese and Native English not enough). I wanted to move away from technical and into product managment and analysis as an initial step to my main goal.

Around mid-October i came across MBA`s... In the UK, MBA`s are not particularly sought after. Not as well recognised or established compared to the USA, but gaining momentum. A brief research into the MBA, and i realised that this was what i needed to complement my technical skills. So October was the start of the MBA process

Where First thing i discovered about MBA`s? Needed to sit a GMAT. Second thing i discovered... applications had already started. Third thing i discovered? Need to apply by early January for round 2 as round 3 is tough and international applicants are not encouraged to apply in the last rounds.

Holiday was already booked for mid december so that gave me 2 months to get everything done. School research took about a week!!!! -> Japanese unis rejected due to poor placement and value of an MBA. (in fact its difficult to find non-Japanese working in Japan with an MBA due to the nature of the job market here).
Job research showed that Multi-nationals were regionally focused in Singapore and Hong Kong, so these are my target job markets. So naturally, the schools in those countries were considered. UK, being my home country was resesarched... and i wanted an internship opportunity. Manchester became the natural choice.
USA schools were studied, Hult became a backup due to its short course, and high international acceptance.
Top schools were then researched, and Stanford, Kellogg and Cornell were selected for different reasons.

Schedule
My first practise exam.. i got 560 so I picked 4 schools which i believed i could get into and set the GMAT date for mid november to give me 1 month to write essays for application and 3 weeks to study ( in between working and babysitting)
After i got my score, i decided that it was worth a shot to apply to some top schools, afterall, you have to be in it to win it.
1 Month of application writing later, and just after i finished the Stanford app, i was accepted into Manchester (met rd I deadline ofNov 23rd)

The Decision
Hult was a backup, so i`ve withdrawn from that.
Manchester, HKUST and NUS are the next tier
Kellogg, Stanford and Cornell are the top tier for my selections.

After visting Singapore as part of my hols, the country is a place i could live and work in. Plus, the low fees means i can almost maintain an ex-pat style of life. Plus the wife can easily get work in Singapore or Hong Kong after her maternity is over. manchesters`s course is very very good, but very expensive. The wife can also find work there too however we don`t intend to stay in the UK afterwards.

The US schools, well, if i get accepted into one of them, it would be silly not to take it. Main issue is that the wife will be unable to work in the USA.
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 07 Jan 2008, 16:02
back from the dead...this is actually a great thread to bring back since there are a lot more admits since I posted this. Hopefully some others will add theirs. This could be a great read for 09 applicants.
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 07 Jan 2008, 16:44
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I'm not completely done with the process (even though the apps are done) yet, but I'll give it a shot here. I plan on writing the tale of my entire process after all the R1 acceptances/dings are done, which is in a few weeks.

I'll update this as I can in the next few weeks.

How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top?

I don't think my plan evolved as much as others here, since I've always firmly knew I wanted to stay on the West Coast and do work in Asia, so that limited my choices.

When: I have a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering already, and thought my education days were long over. Never even considered an MBA for the first 5 years of my career, thinking it's a waste of money and time, as well as something I can just learn from books and community college classes. Boy was I wrong! A friend of mine pretty much changed my mind in one dinner conversation, and after doing business development for a year, I thought it was a good idea to get an MBA. (more on this in my detailed story)

What: My goals have always been to work in the commercial market in high-tech. I may be interested in entertainment or energy, but entrepreneurship has been my goal since day 1.

Where:

Well, I flipped open the US News and Business Week rankings, and then found this site. With all the rankings, I made a list with reasons to go or not go:

Harvard - NOT my personality or culture at all. Not somewhere I want to spend 2 years. I don't like Boston (sorry) after 2 visits.
Stanford - DEFINITELY applying, even if it's easier to win the state lottery. One of my alma maters, perfect fit of culture, entrepreneurship/hi-tech strengths, and location advantage.
Wharton - NOT a city I want to live in, nor do I want to do finance or GM.
Kellogg - Could be a possibility, but Chicago is cold, and Kellogg isn't known for its entrepreneurship or high-tech, but it's working in those areas and the brand name could go far. The people there are wonderful and the culture is a perfect fit. Plus, many Stanford alums recommended I take a look at it.
Chicago - Considered it, visited it, been convinced by Rhyme to look at it. But in the end, didn't feel that I had a perfect fit, wasn't too thrilled by the area, and to be honest, I was just plain lazy and didn't want to write another application (and my recommenders would have killed me anyways).
MIT - Didn't like the campus, Boston, nor the East Coast focus of their entrepreneurship/hi-tech. Never wanted to go there even for BS or MS in Engineering.
Columbia - Wanted to go, but the program didn't fit what I wanted to do.
Haas - DEFINITELY applying. Alma mater, perfect fit, and allows me to work closer with the engineering society I mentor. Top choice with Stanford.
Tuck - Location, location, location.
Ross - Location, Location, Location.
Anderson - Good fit, great programs (though the worst at marketing itself), and probably the closest to what I have as a "safety" school.
Stern - I really wanted to go there, but the brand name doesn't carry out on the West Coast (had a friend who's a recent alum who had problems finding a job out here in the West). Otherwise NYC would have been fun.
Darden - Location.
Fuqua - Location.
Yale - Location
Cornell - Location.

Throughout this process, I pretty much narrowed my list of potential schools down to 5, Stanford, Haas, Anderson, Kellogg and Chicago. Stanford was ranked #1, Haas a close second, Anderson/Kellogg/Chicago were tied for 3rd.

After some more research, and two amazing Haas infosessions (and a tepid Stanford one), Haas vaults almost tied to Stanford, and would have been my top choice if the brand name equity difference weren't so huge.

Anderson gains my respect with its strong program and support, and Kellogg inches over Chicago for my 4th and final application.

The Decision: The order stayed like that till today. I will most likely pick Stanford over all schools if I get in. but since I most likely will not get in, Haas is my top choice (if I get in), unless I get some amazing package from Kellogg (if I get in). Anderson and Kellogg will be a brawl, depending on who gives me money and the admit weekend visits. So the saga goes on.
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 09 Jan 2008, 09:09
riverripper wrote:
So after reading the thread on R2 application and seeing the indecisiveness of some of the applicants on where to apply I figure this will be an interesting thread. It would be great to get current students on this too, they could even expand this to their internship hunt. Hopefully we get some interesting tales for next years applicants to look at this spring.

How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top?



When:

I started looking into MBAs over two years ago, thinking I would get the degree to jump start a fledgling marketing career and get the credentials for top management. (I felt my undergrad degree wouldnt be sufficient)
I have a degree in business btw.

Shortly after communicating that plan to my gf, she became my ex-gf, I guess I wasnt really diplomatic about the whole: I am going to do it in the US-thing. (I am from Europe)


What:

See above. And I wanted to get an international degree, possibly with the chance to work in the U.S. for a while. I also knew, and am becoming more aware of the fact that I lack significant finance and strategy insights.

Over time my goals evolved - this was especially due to the fact that the company I started my career with went into bankruptcy after having been taken over by an Asian competitor, something that I felt was completely unnecessary and purely a result of bad management decisions for a number of years. I realized it could have been done better, and wanted to be in a position some day to do so. I decided that I wanted to go into consulting post-MBA. That's my current goal.

Where:

Haas has always been a dream school, because I love SF. Not so sure about it anymore, though.
Kellogg for its strong marketing program, and because I like the area.
-both of these programs have considerable international brand recognition-

Tuck, Ivy League, great in strategy, tight knit, campus feel (I really want to experience the campus atmosphere of an American school)
Ross - good general management program, good in rankings, no brand name recognition in Europe though

IESE, Spain. Great network in Europe, one of the very best two year programs in Europe. (next to LBS)

Most of these programs are relatively small.

Where, NOT:

Harvard. Case-method, assumed to have arrogant graduates, huge intake.
Wharton. Too competitive people, too finance focused, location, huge intake.

Stanford. I dont know why anymore. Have a +700 GMAT and could have gone for it. I chickened out.


Maybe where:

---

The decision:

Accepted at IESE, the American schools will hand out the decisions within the next few weeks and we will see.

Last edited by branson on 10 Jan 2008, 02:23, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 09 Jan 2008, 12:00
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How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top?

When: June of '07. I had been a career switcher for the previous year, moving from an Engineering role in the Petrochemical Industry, into a Business Development role in the Engineering Staffing Industry. With this new exposure, and the numerous pitfalls of my current company, I realized that there had to be a better way to run a business, treat people, etc. So, while learning what not to do in running a company, I decided I wanted to pursue my MBA to help guide me towards the right way.

What: I've always loved figuring out the best way to do it, with what you're given. To me, that is why I became an engineer, a problem solver. I was a stickler for detail, procedures, and optimization. Getting into Business Development helped me realize how important strategy was in attaining my optimum goal. Then, with how poorly our leadership treated its employees, I realized how I didn't want to be a worker bee treated like crap, but wanted to be a leader who could encourage change and improve morale amongst people that I work with. Hence, Strategy and Leadership.

Where: Simple. I moved to Atlanta for my soon to be wife and fell in love with the city. I wanted to go to the top school in the Southeast because this is where I want to live. Well, the top schools to me were Duke, UNC, and Emory. Emory was my number one because of location, and their stress on leadership and community, which I really liked. Also, I didn't really want to move, so UNC fell first, then Duke second. I only applied to Emory. The only other place I considered was Georgia Tech, but never seriously.

The decision: Simple, again. I only applied to one school. I had done a ton of research on Emory. Visited campus a couple of times. Sat in on classes. Visited with alumni and current students. I loved it there. I got my admit on December 10th, 2007. Without a doubt I will be going to Emory and I will champion their program all the way.

Summary: I guess their wasn't much evolution in my decision making process. When I made up my mind I wanted an MBA, Emory was my top choice then and still is. I never would have even thought of other programs had I not feared putting all my eggs in one basket. Once I got over that fear, and knew I put together a good application, I stuck with my guns and never doubted myself. I guess you can call me the Sniper of the '08 applicants.
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2008, 07:06
love it - wonderful wonderful thread. +10 to everyone who contributed.
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2008, 11:07
woohoo! :)
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2008, 11:38
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Praetorian wrote:
love it - wonderful wonderful thread. +10 to everyone who contributed.


Only like 300 more to catch up to Rhyme haha.
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 10 Jan 2008, 11:47
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Only like 300 more to catch up to Rhyme haha.



haha, that was my "fault"... :P
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2008, 01:22
where where where? :cry:
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 00:02
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How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top?

When: I first gave a serious thought to a possibility to obtain an MBA degree back in early 2004, when a friend happily informed me of his acceptance to the Chicago GSB. Back then, I decided that I had neither resources, no reason to follow his steps. A year and a half later I changed my mind. I saw that my career was not evolving in a direction and at a pace I would like it to. I started craving changes in my life and I thought that an MBA would bring those changes. But that time I knew enough about the possibilities to finance an MBA not to worry about this part. However, I was yet unsure of my capabilities. I signed into GMAT prep courses and from Jan ’06 to Jun’06 prepared for the tests. 730 I scored from the first attempt were a lucky breakthrough, which boosted my self-confidence. I began preparing my applications for Class 2009.

What: I want to challenge my interpersonal and business skills as a management consultant. I have an extensive but niche experience - supply chain management. I want to go back to school to receive a comprehensive world-class business education. My MBA goals: get knowledge, get a great job, get lifetime friends.


Where (Class of 2009):
Chicago GSB was the obvious choice, since I learned so much from my friend and other Russian students and alumni who I met. I was deeply impressed with the level of support from the Moscow based alumni, the caliber of the people and their “down-to-earthness”. Very welcoming and no-BS people. I was waitlisted in R1 and dinged in R3 (May 2007)
The second big choice was Wharton – I felt great reverence for the academic reputation of this fine institution and for its alumni. Waitlisted R1 through Summer Waitlist, dinged mid-July 2007.
The third big choice was Kellogg. I was looking forward to its “teamwork” approach. I was very motivated by a meeting with two of K alumni in Moscow (however it turned out, they were not representative enough – but more of that later on…)
Then there was Tuck… Last year I applied there in R2 after being waitlisted by both Chicago and Wharton in R1. I considered it my back-up school. What a self-confident fool I was! I was dinged, for sure, but the more I learned about the school, the better I liked its unique sense of closeness and the desire to re-apply grew.

Major reason for the application disaster last year was that I underestimated the importance of “Why our school?” question. Really, when I re-read my essays, I blush like a tomato! THIS is my “Why Wharton” part of a 1000-word last-year’s essay:
“The Wharton School is the ideal place where my background and my vision can fuse to bring about my MBA dream. Wharton’s rigorous curriculum is internationally praised for its focus on the development of innovative thinking, deep knowledge of business processes and leadership, all integral features of a successful consultant. And the strong emphasis on general management fundamentals will provide me with the excellent foundation for my future professional growth.

Wharton’s impeccable reputation brings on campus world’s largest consulting companies, many of which have offices in Russia, so I will have many exciting opportunities for finding summer internship and future employment.

Finally, Wharton’s culture supports the growth of leaders with orientation on social aspects of the business, which is something that I have learned to value during my work in XYZ.”

Reading this I find it a miracle they even put me on a WL!
The other weakness in my last-year’s applications was my failure to demonstrate significant community involvement. This I addressed in my re-applications by putting my last years to a close scrutiny for any meaningful extracurricular activities and also by taking some additional steps to augment my role in the organizations I was part of.

Where continued (Class of 2010): To increase my chances with Tuck I applied during ED… and was dinged. Without an interview invite even! Quite a disaster. Was it because I failed to show them my love by visiting Hanover? I will never know now…
For R1 I set myself quite an ambitious goal: Wharton, Chicago GSB and HBS (better try and fail, than not try and regret!). However, 3 days into Chicago GSB deadline I had to admit that I had absolutely no ideas about how to approach ppt essay, so I decided to postpone my app till R2. But I was already in a berserker-applicant state and craved bloo… more applications. So I checked the R1 deadlines and saw that I still had two weeks to put together a nice bundle of essays for Ross. I planned to apply there already for Class 2009 but somehow didn’t. So, I corrected this mistake and applied for Class of 2010. That was my lucky call!!!
I didn’t abandon my GSB dream however, and applied there in R2.
If I were rejected by Ross I had a back-up plan though – I planned to apply for a one-year MBA program at IMD in Swiss Lausanne. I find their class profile extremely impressive.

Where, NOT: Kellogg. Funny, of the two great K persons I met, neither was from full-time MBA – one was 1-year MBA, another – Exec-MBA. The actual full-time K MBA’s I met were… ambiguous. That’s only me of course, but I didn’t feel rapport with these people, they were clearly “not my soulmates”. Moreover, it were only K people who explicitly stressed lack of teamspirit in the U.S. business school environment!!! I guess they had too high initial hopes, expected everyone to be buddy-buddy. When they didn’t get it, they became frustrated. One way or another, I decided not to re-apply to Kellogg.

The decision: I love the $40K offer Ross gave me and would gladly become a part of Ross community. I find Ross people (including my alum interviewer) great and the action-based learning approach very motivating. However, I am too passionate about Chicago GSB to trade a chance to go there for money.
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 00:12
awesome post helg! It really provided good insight into your thought process and what you learned from the previous year's application. I loved the excerpt of "Why Wharton" from your essays last year. That is one thing GMATClub (among a lot of other things) taught me NOT to do. :)

Lots of Kudos to you!
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 00:23
kryzak wrote:
I loved the excerpt of "Why Wharton" from your essays last year. That is one thing GMATClub (among a lot of other things) taught me NOT to do. :)


It did require lots of courage to make this **** public :lol:
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 00:51
I can`t remember what i put in the `why` essays... Not much better than your original Wharton ones i guess :-D
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 01:57
Excelent post helg. I haven't understood though, how IMD would be your backup, I fell that in Europe Insead is easier to get into than IMD, as IMD has a 80 intake.
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 02:16
kwam wrote:
Excelent post helg. I haven't understood though, how IMD would be your backup, I fell that in Europe Insead is easier to get into than IMD, as IMD has a 80 intake.


It's 90 intake (not that it matters much when we speak chances :-D )
Frankly, I never considered INSEAD, I just do not have love for the school, but that's personal, not rational, since I understand what a great school it is. So, broadly speaking of European schools being back-ups for U.S.-based schools, I liked IMD the most :-D I fully realize though that admissions there is extremely competitive!
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 02:34
helg wrote:
kwam wrote:
Excelent post helg. I haven't understood though, how IMD would be your backup, I fell that in Europe Insead is easier to get into than IMD, as IMD has a 80 intake.


It's 90 intake (not that it matters much when we speak chances :-D )
Frankly, I never considered INSEAD, I just do not have love for the school, but that's personal, not rational, since I understand what a great school it is. So, broadly speaking of European schools being back-ups for U.S.-based schools, I liked IMD the most :-D I fully realize though that admissions there is extremely competitive!


I thought that this irrational things happened with us, Latin people and not with Russians :shock: :lol:
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Last edited by kwam on 14 Jan 2008, 02:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2008, 02:35
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How has your B-school plan evolved? When did you decide to pursue this, what were you goals and have those changed, and of course the rotating decision on what schools and which is your top?

When: I started thinking about MBA around May 2004. My company has a program through which it sends some employees to Top MBA programs and by that time my manager said he would indicate me if I could get the min GMAT the company asks for. I studied for the GMAT and got 670 (which would be fine by that time, right now they ask for 700), but during the process another opportunity came and I preferred by that time to postpone the MBA. In the beginning of 2007 I realized that it was time to re-start.


What: Finance, Finance, and Finance, with a General Management perspective. Although an engineering undergrad, I've always worked in Banking, passing through several different areas. However, I considered - and sometimes consider - switch to consulting, but related to finance industry.

Where: Here things get complicated, originally, as I am already an AD, I though about doing an EMBA, and I researched in Europe: LBS, Chicago, INSEAD, IESE and IMD, during my research I came across to LBS’s MiF program, and almost decided to go for it. Later, talking to my bank's CFO, he persuaded me to attend a FT program, he believed that at part time one, I wouldn't get 100% from work and from the program; I decided to follow his suggestion, and decided that I wanted to improve my “soft skills” and not only the analytical ones, so it would be a FT program.
I made an initial list to research:
Europe: LBS, Oxford, Cambridge, IESE, and INSEAD;
Uncle Sam’s land: Chicago, Kellogg, MIT, HBS, Wharton, Cornell, Columbia, NYU, Ross, Tuck, Darden, Duke, UCLA, Stanford, Haas.

Later talking to my wife, we decided that I'd only try on metropolitan region. Thus, because of location I crossed out: Oxford, Cambridge, Cornell, Ross, Tuck, Darden and Duke. INSEAD was still "surviving" as it was very close to Paris, and as my wife is an artist, I don't need to explain you anymore, hehehe.

So 2nd list: LBS, IESE, INSEAD, Chicago, Kellogg, MIT, HBS, Wharton, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, Stanford, and Haas. INSEAD here doesn’t fit, right, and so I thought, I wanted a 2 years program, not because I’m a slowly learner, but because I wanted to get a 2 years experience. So INSEAD crossed.

After some more research UCLA and Kellogg were out. So I got as my final initial list: LBS, Chicago, MIT, HBS, Wharton, CBS, NYU, Stanford and Haas – 9 schools, but I would apply to 7 at most.

I decided that I’d take the GMAT before and think more about this list later. After the GMAT, I went to as many info sessions and talked to as many Alumni I could. I decided not to apply to HBS, as I felt I didn’t belong there. Also I decided that I would go for GSB and MIT R1, as I thought R2 for GSB would be extremely competitive and MIT has only 2 rounds, so better on Round 1. As I don’t know if CBS is my first option I decided Columbia RD. Wharton and Stanford would be my R2 schools, because I didn’t have time to prepare good essays for R1 as I spent much time with GSB’s slide question. I decided that if not accepted at GSB – which by previous years the outcome would be before Xmas, I’d try NYU, and LBS, completing my 7 schools. But after the effort I put on my GMAT – fortunately the outcome was good - I decided that 5 would be maximum shots, and after working on GSB essays, and viewing that this year “copy & paste” wasn’t an option, I started seeing that I’d be exhausted if I got to 7 applications. It was very hard and demanding to conciliate the whole application process with my work, especially after July when Subprime started to spread the panic.

The decision: After GSB admittance, I decided to drop my application to Wharton, and that my last application would be Stanford. GSB has always been on “my lists”, no matter what the criteria, so it’s one of my dream schools. For the other schools I am still in the process, MIT I think it’s a perfect fit in terms of school’s philosophy; faculty is extraordinary, also the brand is as good as it gets for ex-engineering students. CBS is a great school, within a great location, I was just afraid with costs of living in NYC, I have some friends who graduated there and all of them loved their time. Stanford: a long shot; if I get an interview there I’d be happy. But with its <7% admittance rate, my perspectives are as everyone else’s.

Summary: Mission accomplished, I’ve already gotten into one of my dream schools, the process was very demanding, from the time I started studying for IELTS and TOEFL (Jan to March 2007), re-studying for the GMAT (April to September 2007) to writing the essays. I really think that those who can make more than 4 applications are heroes, after Stanford, I was exhausted, perhaps because I still need to improve my English skills, perhaps because Stanford is the hardest application package. One thing that in my process was very hard to handle, was the Letters of Reference, my manager is a very busy man, and I think I got really close to piss him of, for those who are planning to apply next year: take care of your recommenders. My whole process took more than 1 year, and fortunately I was admitted before 2008, otherwise I’d still be writing many more essays.

EDITED:

I was after interview admitted to MIT. and at CBS, I got the interview but was dinged afterwards, perhaps my honesty wasn't enough for them as I mentioned during the interview "if I get all schools I'm applying to I'm going to Stanford" - they thought I was a Stanford material, though Stanford didn't even give me an interview...

I had a trip planned to USA, to visit MIT, SF, NYC and Chicago, 3 days before taking off I received CBS's denial, so I really went to visit the other 3 schools. I loved my time in Boston with plenty of snow, students were amazing and I could see me living there, I was pretty confused, as before I was 60/40 to Chicago. After AdMIT weekend I was kind of 50/50 again.

Then I visit the Bay area. San Francisco is a very charming city and the weather is very similar to that here in Lisbon, I really liked the city, and Stanford Campus is amazing.

NYC is NYC, nothing else to say! Even though dinged by CBS, I decided that my application fee would turn into a class (actually a friend of mine who's attending Columbia did), and I went there to get to know the University, and attended a class.

Then Chicago. I was completely thrilled by GSB, by the city, by the people. During GSB's events we heard so many times: "if you're deciding among top 10 schools, go with your gut, it doesn't matter too much where you end up, all these schools are strong, amazing, and will lead you to where you want as long as you work for that". And my gut told me to go there. Off course that If have gotten into Stanford I would have rethought this, and probably would have decided for Stanford; however, after my visit to Chicago I was 95% certain that Chicago was the place I wanted to be.

Later with Stanford's denial, talking to some more friends and especially to my wife, I decided to attend GSB. Now with my VISA settled, leaving work in a week, all I want is to get some sleep in July, I know that when things start it will get pretty hectic.

I'd like to thank everybody here for inputs, helps, criticisms, jokes, etc. You guys are amazing.
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Re: The evolution of your B-school pursuit   [#permalink] 14 Jan 2008, 02:35
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