Have wandered enough..!!!  

Posted by Fighter

Been sometime, since I last posted.

Have wandered through various options and am back to where I started, but more decisively.

At last I have decided (4% undecided), that I will only apply to ISB this year.
I could easily follow the herd and apply to some US B-Schools also. Just the herd mentality I guess.
But personally, none of the US B-Schools would make my life easier. I would have a loan of around 30-40 lakhs of loan and then pursue my own opportunities in India. It is going to be an uphill battle. Whereas an mba from ISB would exactly position me in the market I want to go. I could easily pay off the fee from my savings. Good brand leverage in India.

Its like, Richard Gere and Govinda, releasing a movie in India. Richard Gere is Richard Gere, but in India, Govinda is the superstar.
If my future goals were global, a US B-Schools would make a lot more sense. INSEAD has always been my radar, but my slight deficiency in INSEAD is pulling me back. If I have to re-apply to ISB next year, then I will certainly apply to INSEAD also.

Probably I am putting all my eggs in one basket this year. But if just one basket will help me make it to my destination, then that is what I will go by.

I have been in contact with International Admission Consultants as well as Indian ones. They helped me by showing more options and confusing me further.
The best advice I have received has come from ISB alumni. they are a very helpful bunch. Down to earth and informative. Many have been through the same situation I am in now.

I have received very specific information on the exact roles offered to guys with similar work experience, the interview process, etc.

Now I am in the process of shortlisting my relevant achievements, and taking some help in positioning my profile.

Received some critical resume feedback form Sweta, (old friend and an ISB admit). I was so much in love with my resume that I failed to notice the glaring flaws in it. Will have to entirely reconstruct the resume, to make it more professional.

Mom's last 2 days in Arkansas. Have been fishing almost every day, with a little luck. Probably will stop fishing for a while, after she goes to Dallas. Woke up at 5:00 am this morning, to watch the sunrise from the top of Mount. Nebo. Immediately went over to the lake and started fishing. no luck today. Had a good sized catch yesterday and left a fish yesterday.

Let me see how the process goes from here. Been in the MBA research process for over 4years. Now in 5 months, it will reach a culmination. The last school I wanted to study was ISB. That is the same school I am applying to.

Just 60 days for the deadline...

Information -Pack Rats  

Posted by Fighter

Have been reading Avi Gordon’s MBA Admission Strategy.
Some of the good things about the book:
·        Structured approach for the whole journey
·        Gives practical tips on school selection
·        The personal profiling approach gives you a step by step procedure on how to profile yourself.
He advises you to make a laundry list of all the significant details in your life, which had an impact on you. Then divide the list into three sections: Personal, Professional and Extra-curricular.
I have been doing something peculiar since the last 4 years.
I have been researching on the whole admission process off and on for the last 4 years. I have been reading blogs, essay tips, profiling tips, etc. I am one of the new breed of animals called information-pack rats.
I was already imagining how my essays would look since the last four years and have been writing tid-bits of information, that I wanted to include in my essays.
Whenever I had a light bulb switch on in my brain, on how I could project myself differently, I wrote it down. The other day, I printed out the whole document and it accounted to over 25 pages. Now have to filter through and divide the qualities. 
I am too early in the process, to advise anyone. But, it certainly helps if you can note down on all the small significant stuff in your life, as and when you remember them. So just referring to your notes, before you start your essays, makes life a lot breathable.

My Profile  

Posted by Fighter

26 yrs, Male, India

Manufacturing Background
MS Industrial Engineering, University of Arkansas (3.3 GPA)
BS Mechanical Engineering, in India (3 GPA)

Professional Experience
2.5 years work experience as Manufacturing & Projects Engineer in a private firm with 135 employees. (3.5 yrs work exp at matriculation)
Selected this company, as I wanted to learn all the aspects of running an industry. I am a big fish in a small pond here.
Directly report to the CEO and advise him on new product development technologies and continuous improvement.
Our company runs thin on resources, so I wear several hats including those of developing new product ideas, product design, continuous improvement, process improvement, product strategy, pricing, etc.

Proposed changes in our operation and convinced supervisors, with 20 years of experience in the same company, to change.
Lots of people management skills.

Made a significant impact on the company's culture for the better. Had a vision when very few believed me and now we are half way there. Hit many brick walls on the way.  Everyone is glad we started the journey.
Made a difference to the bottom line to the tune of $350,000 per annum.

Term Goals:
Passionate about the mfg industry. Get a management role in top multinational mfg companies like Ford, Nokia, Caterpillar, Procter & Gamble, GE,  etc.
Set up my own industry in the long term.

GMAT: 720

Play racquetball tournaments
Into Thai Kickboxing, may have my first fight this year.
Designed and fabricated a washing machine that runs on pedal power, during my undergrad. Won the second prize at the national level.
Like acting and have directed and acted in number of stage plays during my Masters and job.


My selection criteria and school list  

Posted by Fighter

Been sometime since my last post.
Spent most of the last three weeks in researching the top 25 schools and eliminating one by one.

The list is now down to the top 9.
Still needs some research to cut down the list to 5-6 schools.

The main criteria for selecting schools was:

  1. Had to go back to India, immediately after MBA, due to family reasons.
  2. The MBA program should have enough brand recall and leverage in India.
  3. The debt on my back, post MBA should be as low as possible.
  4. This is where schools with high chance of scholarships come in.
  5. I am interested in a general management program, inclined if possible towards operations.
My school list looks like this:

  1. ISB
  2. Ross
  3. Tuck
  4. Darden
  5. Duke 
  6. Cornell
  7. Duke 
  8. Kellogg
  9. MIT LGO program
Obviously an ISB admit would make life far more simpler, in getting back to India and starting a career afresh.

In the later posts I will explain in detail, why I chose each of the above programs, and the reasons for rejecting the other 10-12 top programs.

Gave my CEO a hint that I may consider applying for an MBA, this year. Need to remind him again in a month to drop a hint about Recos. I would also have to drop the bomb on my manager. My CEO, did not express any surprise. He himself is an MBA, so I asked him how much did his MBA degree help him. He agreed that, coming from an engineering background the MBA coursework certainly helped him and advised that it would be pretty beneficial for me.

Now got to get hold of a student or alumni from each of the above programs and ask them about international career opportunities post graduation.

Let me start with Tuck today.


Wading through muddy waters  

Posted by Fighter

Work was fun, inching slowly ahead on each of my projects.

The MBA front still perplexes me. Haven't been able to narrow down any more schools other than ISB.

I really like Ross's MAP program and it excites me. It would give me select a project in India and build up some connections there for the prospective job. But its fee pulls me back. Especially with my constraint of working in India immediately after MBA, it would be decades before I completely pay off the loan.

After speaking to a friend at INSEAD, I think the only chance I have with the school is woth another year of work exp. So I have decided to apply to INSEAD next year, only if I dont get through ISB this time.

I know my vision is not the most clear one in the worl right now, but I am just wading through the muddy waters, confident that "In the End, it doesn't even matter..."


Posted by Fighter

Found this informative website: http://www.admissions411.com

If you have time on your hand, you could research about applicant profiles for hours.

It has ratings and reviews for all the admission consultants, profiles of the applicant pool for each individual school, an informative blog and a forum.

I did not find so much information on any one website.

Watching "The Million Dollar Baby" as I am researching this site.
Morgan Freeman's voice over is one of the best voice overs. The tone is so deep, the bass is so high, that it symbolizes loads of experience and you don't have an option but to sit up and listen to him.

It is crazzy..!!!  

Posted by Fighter

Lots of introspection going on.

Probably this will the single most crucial decision of my career. Which schools should I apply to?

Asking myself some fundamental questions:

  • Where do I want to be, post MBA? India, US, UK..?
  • What do I exactly want to be doing long term? General management in a big manufacturing company, entrepreneurship ?
  • I had dreams of having a global career, bouncing in different countries, etc, but do I want to go for that or just settle in India..?
The biggest question is whether the answers I have to these questions right now, hold up after my MBA also..?

If I have solid answers for these, then probably selecting schools will be a lot easier.

This is the most convincing thread about my post MBA plans that I have come up in the last 3 months:
Post MBA, I will join any of the big manufacturing firms in India. Will work for 2-5 years, scouring and understanding the local markets, for voids that I could fill with a new product line. On finding one, I will venture out on my own.

As simple as that line sounds, took me 3 months just to plot a plan that was convincing to myself.

Going along this line, what should I look for in an MBA program to help me achieve my goal?
  1. Entrepreneurship skills (Probably all top B Schools provide more or less the same)
  2. Brand image in my post MBA target market, i.e; India. (Very important for first job as well as funding for entrepreneurial venture later on)
  3. Network of friends (alumni network) is going to be a crucial. Considering 80% of my friends are the ones I met at my school, college and so on. I have turned to these friends at every dilemma in my career. 
  4. The loan after MBA also is crucial. Considering for a loan of 18 lacs, I would have to be paying Rs.30,000 every month for the next 7 years. 18 lacs is just for ISB. The number is a lot higher for international B-Schools. 
My present target schools:
  • ISB
  • Oxford (Said)
Still reading blogs and all the information up there on every B-School, making sure that I am not missing out on any school that would be perfect for me.

Life is crazzyy...  Wish we had a GPS, where we mark our present point, our future point and just follow turn by turn directions at every step, instead of roaming aimlessly like searching for food in a jungle.

The presentation secrets of Steve Jobs  

Posted by Fighter

As I was browsing over MBA blogs, found this presentation on " The presentation secrets of Steve Jobs".

Was just blown off with some of the advice offered in the presentation. Listed a few as a trailer to what the presentation is all about:

  • "The single most important thing you can do to dramatically improve your presentations is to have a story to tell, before you work on your PowerPoint file."
  • "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"
  • "Your brain interprets every letter as a picture. So a wordy slide literally chokes your brain.
  • "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Watch the presentation to learn a lot more.

Why did I post it here. Because, most of the points apply to your MBA essays also.
I want to revise this, before I start on my essays. 

Need to vent out...  

Posted by Fighter

My body is itching to get into Muay Thai (Thai Kickboxing). Just itching to feel the pain that I feel, when I round kick the leather bag or the trainer's leather pads. Started Muay Thai as a curious hobby. Soon it developed into a passion and a wonderful vent to let out frustration.

When your day is slow and you just want to kick start it, there is no better way than to mindlessly keep kicking the bag. Your shin burns with pain every time you kick, but you just keep on kicking hoping to numb your shin with pain within three minutes. That is it, no better feeling than a completely exhausted man with his shin burning with pain.
It is the kind of satisfaction you get when you feel that you have given it your best and you have nothing left.

Been a month and a half since my back operation. (Nothing related to the spinal cord, just an infection.) But with the stitches, can't take any chances. Probably a month or more of no physical activity. For someone like me, who loves physical activity, this is a huge ask.

Researching B-Schools sitting in front of the computer, hours together, is mind numbing. Just want a way to vent it all out.

My GMAT journey  

Posted by Fighter

I have already finished taking my GMAT in 2006 and scored good.

I am pasting my GMAT blog post from my personal blog.

GMAT…the journey that taught me the attitude

Hmm…one week after scoring a 720. Was too busy last week, doin all the stuff that I was postponing from the last 2 months. Gotta myriad of things to do..including cing movies like Rang de basanthi, Bommarillu, going to Dallas , callin up some old gold buddies..in India , reading some gud buks..tht I’ve been postponing…the list is pretty long…….

GMAT , ….that was something I wanted to write..from a year back. In the 1st sem, over here, studies didn’t go too well for me, squeezed a 2.5 GPA. Was never good at perfect academics. Was feeling down. The only things that I am really good at are projects n some creative stuff..where I’m damn independent. I just wanted to strike out a knockout punch n prove people that I’m not such a dumb head. I gotta bit of brain. Went to sis’s place for the Christmas vacation, had a great time..but the confidence was never really up. Every time I spoke about career and stuff with Jiju, jus luking bk at my acads..made me sulk. “ Am I gonna go anywhere with my below average brain”.

One night, was just switching channels, watching some usual crap on the idiot box, when Jiju..casually asked, “ Why don’t you try writing GMAT”. That set some thinking bells ringing that night. The idea looked like a bright window at the far end of the tunnel. Kept thinking all night, Yeah, I could beat the GMAT, not easy, but certainly one of my strong points. Hahaha….the next morning.. I was at full flow. At least could see an opening to excel and snatch back my confidence, without which I’m nothing. Some people put it as “A confused soul, doesn’t know what he is doing….and where he wants to go..”

Selected the right intern position, where I would have plenty of time to allot to GMAT. Had only one aim…the peak..780. Started seriously in June, started gaining pace, and by mid august..reached my peak. But then had a burn out. Didn’t touch the books for a weekend. And from then on, repelled the books so much that, I just stacked them away. Had a lot of fun. Was working as the treasurer for the Indian community at the university. So was a bit busy with that during the independence day. Then went to over to Dallas for a get together. Had a lot of fun, completely put the GMAT out of my mind.

Came back on a Sunday night, and before sleeping started thinking about my career. After some calculations realized that this golden time’s not gonna come again. Got up from bed in the middle of the night, did some simple math and decided on exactly 60 more days of preparation and booked a date. The date was set, the battle begun and every day counted.

Cut out all the irrelevant stuff out of my life, at least till the GOAL. Cut down on my workout in GYM. Just played racquetball, and went for a swim in the evenings. Stopped going to Fayetteville for the weekends. Had to stop calling up friends and chatting for long hours.

Things were going well. Then took a sample test one weekend. Expected a superb score, but that was a dull thud. Scored around 650. This was just one month before the exam. Was at the peak of my frustration. Was completely pissed off. Started scowling at myself..just outside the library..and on my drive back home

This was all because I had still continued a small leeway, for other activities..spending some time for irrelevant stuff. Sat down that evening. Just tryin to find a way out. I had to get a 700+. That was the only aim. I had to make my brain super fast, in 30 days.

It was more like being the coach of Kenya and wanting to win the world cup. What can the coach do. The team doesn’t have the talent to win it. But if he seriously wants to win it, what’s gonna happen…frustration……everything around him makes him irritated..he wants a way out…… Upon more thinking found the belief…


Being alone made matters even worse. I guess, that is the main reason, you hear of so many psychos in US. Called up Dad and informed him that I was going to take my GMAT. He was glad and asked me, what score I was expecting. I blurted out “ 700+ ”.

Ok, and this was the first thing he said, still remem his words vividly

“ nee mokham vasthadhi………”

I just stayed calm and said “ R u gonna bet”

Dad said “ Chal I’m pretty confident that you are over confident, emi kaavali cheppu ra, If u can get more than 700+, I’m gonna give you whatever you ask for, the sky is the limit” ( knowing the measured approach that dad usually has, this was Extravagant)

“But remem, if U r gonna lose, U gotto gimme anything that I ask for.”

This was tough. Dad has the knack of striking very clever deals. You never know, what’s he gonna ask for…. Dad’s damn cool, but if you challenge him, he is the toughest.

Had a deep breath, had no thought of a second answer. Just said “ hmmm……..Yes”

K after a couple of hours settled down. Kept my calm. What was my goal now? To make my brain work faster in 30 days. Is that really possible…..?? Didn’t really have an option……. ..but just to believe that I could….

Moved on to meditation. Started googling some videos about meditation. Read some stuff on the basics. Concluded that, I had to conserve my energy. Was doing a lot of rubbish through out the day. Was watching some videos while havin dinner, was reading some news in the office, was orkutting a bit, was chatting on yahoo…..

All these trivia, just take very less of my time, but I have one of the poorest concentration power, I jus keep thinking of all the stuff, long afterwards. If an old friend reminded me of some incident, I would start thinking..when did that happen, what happened after that..who was she…all related stuff.

So the only way out was, “CUT THE CRAP”. Uninstalled messenger, kept restrictions on orkut, no blogging, …etc. It was difficult in the beginning. Stopped listening to any kind of music, coz I just keep humming the music tht I’ve heard, all day long….

Thoughts are like weeds that grow randomly in the brain. Without knowing, I used to subconsciously start thinking about something; an experience with old friends, some family stuff…or whatever and when I consciously realize that my thoughts are deviating from my goal, I nipped them. And with more and more practice of picking out thoughts at the bud and nipping them, the whole process got imbibed in me such that, I started sub consciously nipping out thoughts, without me even realizing that I was nipping them out. Very soon I had a whole fertile field to myself, now I could grow in my brain, only stuff that I needed to. Without worrying about weeding away unnecessary thoughts that take up most of my processor speed.

Now my brain was empty most part of the day, filled up my can with only stuff that I needed to. Setup my schedule for the next 4 weeks, and started my preparation. Things were going on well. Weekends were really boring. Coz of all the cut down on all activities, and all my frns goin to the university town for the weekend, I was really bored. Was feeling like a real psycho, just staying alone for 2 days, with nothing to do other than studying, no chatting, no callin up friends, no browsing….n whatever. Just would go out for a drive, park the car in an open land. Would sit on the bonnet and just stare into openness…. that was bliss.

GMAT was a question of personal satisfaction to me . I don’t really care, if any school would gimme an admission. I had a point to prove to myself. And that is the only thing I would really fight out of my skin for.…

The D-Day….I was unusually calm. I guess it was bcoz of the meditation. No thoughts came into my mind. Was just feeling like an open farm, swaying to the breeze.

Messed up my exam a bit. Saw the time wrong during a break and took an extra 3 minutes. Thanks to that, I had to run through 7 questions to catch up with my schedule. Then got stuck up in an other very easy q, I cudnt get the right answer, coz in my hurry was writing the details very vaguely and had to solve the same q thrice..and the last time saw my silly mistake. Spent a princely 6 minutes for this silly q and had to guess the last 5 qs. I concluded that I had screwed up my quant royally. But just went into the verbal with a fresh mind. Same problem of time mismanagement.

Finished the test. The computer was taking some time to display my score. Suddenly my dad’s face popped up in my thoughts and just got a thought, “what If I lost…???” , mann……the consequences were too bitter for me, to continue thinking about that…

Score displayed a 720 96 percentile…

Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwww…..I didn’t expect this, after my royal screwing…

Just came out. Wanted to hug someone tight. This was the time when I really missed my loved ones….…was excited. The first thing I did while I was even in the lift was,………. Called up dad’s mobile. He had already slept. Tried thrice, but no response. Then called up jiju and shared the joy..with jiju and sis. Came out..and called up everyone…after an hour and a half of calls. Came over n shared the news with Andy (boss). Mann….he was damn excited. He was very happy for me. I was just waiting for 7:00 pm (IST 6:30 am) to call up Dad…

I had a racquetball league match that evening with Reed Whitson. Usually I go well prepared for a match, just in case the opponent gives me a rude shock. Won the match the previous week 15-7 and 15-1 against Patty Bailey. So, just started this match, without planning anything. My mind still didn’t reach the ground level. Without me even realizing, Reed made me run all corners of the court. I was exhausted, hungry, brain was empty, and didn’t know what I was doing.

Coz I beat Charlie 15-0 and 15-1; and Charlie defeated Reed in one match, this should have been a no contest for me. But the score was 7-7. Sagar called me out for a TIME OUT and was shouting something at me, pointing out his weak points, and asking me to apply some brain and exploit his weaknesses. I was just staring at the watch, 45 mins more to call up Dad. Then luckily clawed my way to a 15-13 win. The second match, I was almost brain dead. Clawed and clawed up to win the match at 16-14. Was dead tired an all beaten up. It was like a victory more for Reed than for me…whatever..

Looking back now, that was the worst match of the league for me. My previous wins in the league were 15-1, 15-0 with Charlie; 15-3, 15-1 with Staci and 15-7, 15-1 with Patty.

Had a steam bath and drove home, called up Dad and this was the conversation..

Me: Dadda,…mmmm… screwed up my GMAT daddaa..just scored a 620..mmm

Dad: I don’t believe that.

Me: Yeah, dad..had some problems with my timing…couldn’t manage that. I will give GMAT again in a month. No need to worry…

Dad: (silence)..hmmm….mmm.(a deep breath..)

I guess he was a bit disappointed with the score..

Me: Daddddddddaaaaaaaaaaa 720 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dad: (took a second to sink in) ..WWWHHOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

( a natural exclamation out of this world…without even thinking what he was saying……so shocked was he..)

Dad: Conggggraaaats raa……err…hahaha….mann, this is….er.. Unbelievable for me….(cud sense, that he was almost choking…)

Dad: Now I owe u 2 wishes, I’m so glad.. ……

(the earlier wish was for toefl, where one of his frn’s daughter, who was a study geek, scored a 250 and Dad asked me to score atleast a 240. I challenged 270, dad was still not confident and the bet was set at 260…Won that…)

Dad: What is Stanford’s mean…..and what is ISB’s mean…

Me: Stanford’s mean is 710 and ISB’s is 706…..it doesn’t mean that I can get into them. Gotto to do a lot in the next 2 yrs…

Dad: I still cant believe it ra…I’m damn excited….

……………………and the usual stuff continued with everyone at home….

Praneeth called up…

Me: maamu…got a 720 in GMAT…

Prane: Screw youuuuuuu………..Chi chi chi chi….endhi raa aa score…galeez ga…mottham karab ayipoyinav ra…chi chi chi chi….720 enti raa…. Siggu anipisthaledhaa atla score thechukovadaniki……( are u not ashamed of your score..)

Akhele undi..anni pagal panulu chesthunnav…..assalu GMAT evadu rayamannadu.. (who asked you to write GMAT, being alone..u r doin all stupid things..)

Yashwanth: neeku anni ekkuvayinayi raa ee madhya…choosthunna…..

( I’ve been observing…ur doing a lot over these days…..)

Hyder’s (my HPS cheddi dhosth) was the most funny one…

Hyder: CONGRATS mama…good to hear that ………..Anyways happy to see that the worst guy in our grp( worst in the sense..we never thought u would clear tenth) is moving ahead…lol
Just kidding…I like teasing u..remember in school we used to tease each other like hell in the dining hall…(unfortunately was always seated beside him ….in the dining hall)

(It’s real fun when old gold frns..treat u the same..n send ur ego crashin…)

I was satisfied with my performance. That was the only thing I really cared for at the end. But, thanks to GMAT, more than the Goal, the journey taught me a lot of things. The attitude needed to beat a challenge…

Just read a philosophy of Ricky Ponting in some business management article..

“Whatever it is that you do in life, you will only get out of it what you are willing to put in”

….truly golden words

Looking back, the same philosophy has been proved right to me time and again………

Now gonna leisurely enjoy my last two months of internship..no disciplining my mind, no abstaining from anything…, no nipping my thoughts, jus njoiiiiiiiiiiii……as usual ……bindaaass Raghav…

K K now gotto read “Get Anyone to Do Anything” ….that book’s been staring at me from 2 months…


Posted by Fighter

I have a dilemma right now.

In the next three months I have an option of studying hard and gaining the "Personal Trainer Certification" from AFAA,(I have always wanted this) or do some NGO stuff.

Which option do you think would increase my chances of an admit?

Intro.... not very dramatic though..  

Posted by Fighter

I have wasted two hours on just deciding the name of this blog and the caption.

I wanted to encapsulate my whole self in the title and hence the unusual amount of time. Another doubt that has crept in is that if I had so much confusion on just deciding what I am, then imagine the time I will spend on presenting myself in my essays.

The seed for my MBA was sown in the Spring of 2006. Since then I have been walking all the miles to this destination. Here I am in the vicinity of my application process. I will be applying in Fall 2010

My common approach to any challenge has been to distance myself from everything else and just focus on the challenge. I have very little RAM in my head and cannot run too many processes simultaneously.

I will document my journey as it goes and hope, believe, pray.... that I end this journey at my dream school "INSEAD"

Enough for today...