Wednesday 26 December 2007

Merry Christmas !!


Ho Ho Ho!!

I wish you all Merry Christmas !! & Happy New Year

I think this is the time when one should reflect on past one year to find out what milestones were set and what were actually achieved. Analyze the gaps and come stronger next year.


Also, this is the time to set new year resolutions. I wish all of my blog readers "All the best" to set up creative new year resolutions and achieve them subsequently.

Most of the people who have applied this year in R1 have got interview calls by now and some have completed interviewing as well. All the best for the final admits.



Sunday 9 December 2007

Back to square one

I am returning to the blogging world after a long time. This year I will be out of MBA applications scene. I will only witness the admits / dings received by people on this blogging community. So this is the time for introspection (Analyze the goals), read & research more. If possible visit schools build more contacts & work on extras to improve the profile.

Citigroup has been recently in news because of several reasons. Chuck Price, CEO of Citigroup , resigned after huge losses in the subprime market. Citigroup lost close $50 billion in market capitalization. Now suddenly, the focus is on expense management and cost cutting. Citi has development center in Singapore and this lies inside the corporate firewall. Many jobs are likely to move to singapore / offshore in India. So most likely several job cuts are likely and lot of contracts were not renewed. But fortunately, my contract is renewed till June,30 2008.

Since, I am working here on H1B. The option of part time/ weekend MBA has also opened for me. This has now forced me to think on my "Why MBA" stuff one more time.
Can I accomplish my objectives with part time MBA ?
Can I get my MBA sponsored from my employer ?

I can see that R1 results have started coming out. I wish all the best to my friends on blogging community who applied in R1.

I will return shortly with some more stuff...

Tuesday 9 October 2007

One step ahead..

I'm writing this post after a long time. Last week of September went in getting myself ready for travel. Then on 02-Oct-07, I traveled to Tampa, Florida, US.

I'm still not done with many formalities, but on my way to completing those.
This week I joined "Citibank Center" here in Tampa ,FL.

Regarding my applications, I have requested for Transcripts.
Still thinking over whether to postpone by 1 year or go with applications this year in R2. I will not be able to make it in Round 1.

Lets see how it goes !!

Wednesday 22 August 2007

Down but not out..

Its been long time since I posted anything out here.All these days I was ruminating over what all things could be done if I postpone my MBA by an year.

I honestly evaluated my candidature, I realized many of my strengths and weaknesses.

1)WE: This August I completed 4 years of work experience. By next fall it would be 5 years. If I postpone by 1 year I would have close to 2 years of international experience.

2)WE: Also, in the US I can diversify my profile work experience in some enhanced role or shift into relationship management or sales. This could add another dimension to the work ex.

3)Build Transcript: I can build my transcript by taking some credits in economics / accounting from near by university in the US while I am working. (May b U of Florida)

4)Learn Foreign Language: China is making huge strides in global market place and its economy is showing sustained double digit growth and is destined to be super power in a decade to challenge dominance of the US. Will it be good idea to start learning Mandarian ? But thats hell difficult to learn..If not possible I will start learning french.

5)Extra-Curr & Community service : I had taken salsa classes till level 2. I will further my interest there..may be learn tango too :) Can indulge in some atheletics and sport activity too... Regarding community service I will do anything if it comes naturally...not thought of anything as yet but something like fund-raising for some NGO working to address global warming ..would be great ...

WOW !!! Several things to add....

May be I should be able to put in solid app in top (10-15) if above things materialize....I am hoping that within 1-2 weeks my date for travel should be fixed.

Currently, I have put up "WORK IN PROGRESS" board on many fronts of life...praying hard to make things work for me..

Saturday 4 August 2007

Few Random thoughts...

On friday, I went to US consulate for H1B interview. My visa got approved in 2-3 minute interview. Since the time visa processing started, my focus on applications and MBA is slightly getting diverted.

I never had a doubt about whether to do MBA. For me,a person from middle class background, money is important and can not be ignored. H1 B is giving me opportunity to earn huge and will let me save good amount of $$ for MBA. This will reduce the debt in great deal once I start MBA. Even in IT people from similar background as mine were hired by investment banks like Merryl Lynch, Goldman, CSFB at a salary of $100 k +.

Despite of this earning, I know the work profile will more or less remain same. I dont want to move out of IT or technology field completely even post MBA. I would prefer to get into business development in IT or IT Strategy Consulting. Since I dont want to change my career completely, some additional work experience might be helpful too.

There are some downsides too. I may get addicted to the life in the US and $$ that I may not get back to studies...I will try hard with strong determination that this will not happen. I will age by one more year. So I will start my MBA at 28 and end when I am 30. Will this be too late??

Whether to do it this year or not in the context of opportunites that I'm getting currently and my future goals is very very tough decision.

Lot of these thoughts are coming in my way of writing good quality essays...:(
Today, after posting some of these things out here my mind has become free.

Tuesday 31 July 2007

I am back..

Recently, I was out of the blogging world for a month or so.
For past one month renovation work was going on at my home and in the office blogspot is now blocked.

I was out of touch with all of my blogger pals and have not been around reading their blogs too.

But now I am back...Lot of break in essay writing and application work.
I have to return now with renewed vigour.


~ Charu

Saturday 21 July 2007

Decision taken...time to move ahead

I'm returning to my blog after 5-6 days.

Firstly, I would like to thank ClearAdmit for creating a wonderful community of bloggers. This will certainly help all of us to keep our focus intact and obtain valuable inputs from each other during the admission process.

On work front, I have taken decision to move to Tampa, FL for long term. The reasons for this decision are multi-fold. I have never had a need to travel earlier either for education or for job. So, I have been in Bombay since birth. Now I would like to move to different country and experience different life. The US is certainly most preferred country to move to. I had an opportunity to go for MS but I declined that and decided to take up a job after I completed my engineering degree. In addition, I can save $30K-$40K for my education. Also, I had a talk with my group head and SAG head meanwhile. SAG head assured me the position in SAG after I return from onsite. At present, I am going to onsite while retaining the opportunity in business development for future.

On essays front, I have written rough drafts of two ISB essays, which will be revised in future. The third essay is really tricky and I dont know where to start. "A million dollars or knighthood: what would you choose and why? (300 words max)" is the essay topic. ClearAdmit has done a great job with their posts relating to essay analysis. I request them to analyze ISB essays too. This will certainly help me and others applying to ISB.


Cheers..
Charu M.

Friday 13 July 2007

Dilemma between two good oportunities...:)

At my workplace, suddenly two good opportunities have come my way.

One is to move to Tampa, Florida and be responsible to interact with a demanding client. This will give me international exposure. But I am fearing that the actual work I that I will do might more or less remain same.

Another opportunity is outside delivery function in IT industry. Here in i-flex, we have a department called Solutions Architecting Group (SAG). SAG handles mostly business side of IT. On one hand, SAG interacts with sales team and on the other hand with delivery. SAG is responsible for creating POC, RFP, RFI, making presentations to clients and win the business. This is essentially a business development profile. This might involve travel abroad but for a very short term. Its like travelling to singapore , australia, US, UK anywhere but for only 4-5 days - 1 week. During onsite travel, I will be responsible for making presentations to client.

I am mostly inclined to take up a position in SAG. But still couldn't turn down the other immediately. I asked 2-3 days to think.

SAG position will also help me distinguish my candidature from hordes of other IT applicants.

Guys...wot you all have to say ?

Wednesday 11 July 2007

Here's my timeline for applications:

Today - 15th Sep : ISB (30-50 % chances of admit)

15th Sep - 01-Nov : Darden , Oxford (80 % chances of admit)

01-Nov - 01 Dec : NYU - Stern (25 % chances of admit)

01-Dec - onwards : Melbourne Business School (90- 100 % chances of admit)

In January, depending on my need I will apply to either NUS / NTU. But mostly not.

First Step is to send GMAT / TOEFL scores :
When I wrote GMAT, I sent scores to ISB, Oxford. So I have to send scores to other universities Darden, NYU, Melbourne.

Friday 6 July 2007

Lottery result finally out --- Yaaa..hooooo!!!!

I was writing all about H1B crisis...Finally God heard me....

My H1B petition got approved. Will this give some new direction to my MBA plans ?
I will have to think over...in detail..
Only time can tell me where my destiny lies...:)

Just couldn't stop myself from sharing this news with my blog readers...

Cheers...

~ Charu M

QS MBA tour mostly a waste of time..but some take aways

Yesterday, I attended QS World MBA tour. It was mostly waste of time.

After having spent so much time on research, I hardly get anything new out of admission events. No gains from information perspective, but yes it could help in networking with current students.

Only top school that participated was Darden.

I met Piyush Parikh who belongs to class of 2008 at Darden. I asked him about international nature of cases in Darden. He told that about 30 % of the cases discussed are international or outside of North America. Further he also provided some info about day in life , alumni interaction, internships. About clubs, he told me that he is going to start Music club. He also mentioned that ROI for him was around 8 years.

When I asked him about current H1B crisis and about current student's plans to deal with it, he told me that career services along with alumni network is working out to resolve this issue. Currently, he told me that there is huge database of alumni network and they could search for alums located in EU / Asia and they could help students get better jobs.

There were two more students Mohnish Bahl and Roshan Shankar. Both are heading to Darden this fall. One good tip on essays they offered was that identify core skills required in the career post MBA and that relate your past experiences to those core skills. Also, the loan of amount $65,000 was approved for both. This takes care of first year's tution and living expenses.

Apart from that, PagalGuy counter was helpful. There were two students with admit from Chicago - GSB. One girl from IT (4 years of wrk ex) with 690 got through Chicago GSB. I asked her whether she wants to get into finance and her answer was no no. Deba from PagalGuy also got an admit from Chicago GSB. His tip was to do your best to stand out from the IT crowd. He's an IT guy too.I didn't get much time to talk to these guys though. There was one Wharton alum there too. But no way I am going to apply to Wharton, so I did not bother him much.

** ISB essays are out and I am finding them bit tricky...Also word limit of only 300 is cruicial. Are you guys feeling the same ?

I think I am going to lose my sleep over ISB essays...Anyways I will try my best.

Cheers..
~ Charu M.

Monday 2 July 2007

Get most of your campus visits

I came accross good post on making most of the campus visits. This was published in Chicago GSB's newsletter. I would like to post it here because this is equally valid for any school.

Admissions Insider: Getting the most out of your campus visit
A big part of applying to a school or even considering it is visiting a campus. Sometimes, this isn’t possible, given a school’s location or distance from your home. But if you are able to visit a school’s campus, how should you go about it? What should you take away from the visit? Here are a few tips for ensuring a productive visit.

Plan ahead
While our office is always happy to greet visitors who pop by, you will have a richer campus experience if you make a plan prior to showing up. By making a reservation, we can include you in our full campus program, including visiting a class, sitting in on an information session and having lunch with current students. You can make a reservation online for Chicago GSB’s daily campus visit program, or for our “GSB Live” event. After you’ve made your reservation, start to make your travel plans so that you’ll arrive on time (or even a few minutes early) and clear-headed. Check in with the Admissions Office staff to find the easiest route to campus, or go online and check the school’s website for a map and directions to campus; consider supplementing this with directions from a website like randmcnally.com or mapquest.com. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to find parking too. Not driving? Give yourself time to figure out the public transportation system or hail a cab, especially during rush hour. Always have the number to the Office of Admission in the event that your tardiness is out of your control—say, your plane landed late, or you took a wrong turn. A phone call is considerate and thoughtful in these events and the person on the other line may be of assistance as you make your way around.

Set some realistic expectations for your visit
Most campus visits are similar and allow you access to current students, an admissions staff member and a tour of the facilities. Hoping to catch a few minutes with that Nobel laureate professor whose research you’ve been following? Can’t wait to shadow a student all over the place and sleep over at their apartment? Dying to meet with a student from your home country/industry/high school? While we’ll all do our best to be sure you get a quality experience, some requests are difficult to begin with, and may be impossible on short or no notice. If you hope to experience something out of the norm, call ahead and keep in mind that not all requests can be met.

Prepare or write down the questions you most want to have answered.
Chances are you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions of a current student or an admissions staff member. Write ‘em down; it’s terrible to blank at the precise moment someone asks, “So, do you have any questions?”. It’s even worse to get all the way back home and remember what it was you were dying to find out!

Consider approaching total strangers
That’s right, we encourage you to take some time to mosey around campus (or, if you’re at the GSB, check out the Winter Garden) and approach a group of students and ask them some questions. Current students are quite used to this, and though you may feel a little uncomfortable, chances are that student will be willing to spend a few minutes of their time with you to give you yet another perspective on life at that school.

Put your best foot forward
Remember that you represent yourself as a potential applicant and future student on a campus visit; so be aware of how you look and behave while you’re on campus. Dress nicely (beware of too-casual dress, like ripped or dirty clothes, or gym clothes); if you sit in on a class, remember your place as a visitor and refrain from taking time away from the instruction that’s going on; and be polite, especially to your student hosts, who are likely volunteering their time to show you a great day on campus. As in most other situations, a great first impression is crucial!

I am visiting ISB campus tomorrow. I will try to make most of my visit.
I will post about my experience soon.

Sunday 1 July 2007

TOEFL Strategies I used

First of all do not study for this exam for more than a week.
This is really sufficient. The material I used was Kaplan, Longman, Cambridge.

Most of this material can be found on the net and downloaded for free.
Cambridge tests were very close to real tests.

Here are specific strategies I used:

Reading:

1)Scan the passage in 2-3 minutes. This includes reading first & last passage completely, and reading first and last lines of remaining paragraphs. Get the sense of main idea, structure or organization of passage.
2)15 minutes complete all the questions.
3)Review the questions 2 minutes.
4)Need to be careful about chart / summary questions.
5)Vocabulary / reference questions should be tackeled fast.
6)Answer to specific detail question should always be located in passage.
7)Answers to NOT or EXCEPT questions are generally found in options C or D.
8)Take a moment for deep breathing before starting new passage. This helps keeping concentration intact.

Listening:

1)Note taking is most important.
2)Pay attention to Main idea and details that associate with main idea while listening to lectures. There will be sure question on main idea, some classification, or organization of lecture. Also it is important to note the examples that are cited to support the ideas.
3)In campus situation. Purpose of the visit is often the first question asked.Keep attention to idiomatic expressions used. Observe the speaker’s intonation to find out important parts. These are often stressed. Student meets prof, librarian, counsellor. Pay attention to students problem. What is suggested by prof , librarian or counsellor to do next.
4)Be careful about the questions where multiple answers are correct / chart / organization type questions. Notes should directly help you answer these.

Speaking:

1)Task 1: Some background preparation is must. Think about the 50-52 topics available in forum before going for the test. Include one example. My breakup is 2-3 sentences about the main topic.2-3 sentences about example. 1 sentence conclusion.
2)Task 2: Take any position quickly. 2-3 sentences about position (agree/ disagree) , 2-3 sentences about example. 1 sentence conclusion.
3)Task 3: (Follow the template) There is an announcement / notice regarding (Situation) posted on … notice board. The man and woman are discussing this announcement / notice. What to note : From reading passage note only what the notice is about. ( increase in fares / cancellation of prof Allen’s lecture). State women’s opinion . Reasons… in the format First…, Second…, last….Therefore, because of aforesaid reasons women feels..(opinion)
4)Task 4: Read the passage and grasp main idea. Write down main idea. (3-4 words). Lecture take notes. Start with opening sentence. The lecture and the passage discuss… ideas….. During the break think of the answer from the lecture notes. To conclude major ..difference / similarity / point is..
5)Task 5: Describe the women’s problem 1-2 sentences. Man suggests following solutions to women’s problem. First.. Second…Third… etc. If I were her/ him … I would do … first / second or third…because…doing this would help women solve (her problem).
6)Task 6: In this academic lecture on “ “ , professor discusses …most important is taking notes and identifying main idea, supporting ideas, and example.

Cheers..

Friday 29 June 2007

Numbers got aligned perfectly...:)

Friends,I recieved my TOEFL score today. I took the test on 9th June.

Here is what I got :

Reading : 27
Listening: 28
Speaking : 23 ( This was shit man...I thought I would at least get 26 here)
Writing : 28
---------------
Overall : 106 ( 94.2 Percentile)

Thus, overall statistics looks decent now.

Age at Entry : 27
GMAT : 710 [ Q-48 (86 percentile), V-38 (85 percentile) ]-- 94 percentile
AWA : 5

Overall work : 5 years
experience

Do these figures coincide with average figures for top 10 US B-schools ?
Yup....

This is a great feeling...

At the moment, I am feeling motivated to work even harder on my applications and interviews.

Now is the time to crack some good admissions...

Wish me luck for apps ahead...:)

Tuesday 26 June 2007

Choosing lesser evil...

Yesterday, I had long 1.5 hour talk regarding careers post MBA with one of the readers of my blog ,who is also my friend. I would not disclose his name here.

He is in IT and has 3-4 years of experience. Like most of the people in IT, he is not happy with his current job and just wants to do anything else. He thinks of Investment Banking as a career, solely based on salaries in IB.

One day he read my blog and went through sleepless night, re-thinking about IB as a career option. I say that handling jobs with high pay on top of the ladder is never easy. In IB /MC, management associate interacts with VPs, CEOs and CTO's of the various firms and most of the engagements at MC firms are problems faced by CxO's of some other client firm. The work pressure or long hours at that level can be joy only if you love your job and what you are going to do at work in future.

It is more important than anything else to find out what you love to do. In addition, it would help if you can identify your strengths and weaknesses. Also, every job at any level requires some personality attributes. These factors can help you to assess your fitness in one particular industry.

Understand your post MBA career in terms of : Salary,Work life balance, travel requirements, Day in life of people working in that industry, and people you will interact with.

In the end, if you fail to do all of the above, choose one that is lesser evil based on your personality and core strengths.

Thursday 21 June 2007

We need more such articles...

Just read the article published in Business Week Daily.

Is Talent an Easy Fix for Immigration

The article, giving examples, describes that changes in immigration policies of US are needed to adopt to changing economy.

The more the publicity given to this issue the greater are the chances that something will change.

It is worth reading Prof. Dr. Becker's article on immigration reform.

Becker's comments on immigration policies

If situation remains as it is, it will definitely hamper economic growth.
Lets hope most of the industry leaders and educated people will not let this happen.

**A word of caution, this year we are going to have stiffer competition at the B-schools outside the US. This is also because of huge employment opportunities getting created in India / China.

Tuesday 19 June 2007

Turn around ...:) for good

Finally, I am settled with one of the career options post MBA.

I want to get into “IT Strategy Consulting” post my MBA, particularly into financial services practice.

IT Strategy Consulting may involve following consulting areas:
1) Business value of IT
2) ROI
3) Various sourcing models
4) Post merger integration
5) Risk management


Following are the prominent companies practicing in IT Strategy Consulting:

Accenture
Bain & Company
Bearing Point
Booz Allen Hamilton
Boston Consulting Group
Capgemini
CSC
Cognizant
Deloitte
HP
IBM
Infosys
KPMG
McKinsey & Company
PA Consulting
PWC
Unisys
Wipro

Initially to start with, I was fascinated with I-Banking and other finance careers but good amount of research and introspection finally led me to reject all these options.

Here are some of the reasons for the turn around:

1) I confess that main reason to choose finance and banking careers was money. For me, money matters till you reach certain level of income. Next job satisfaction and work environment matter most. In banking, money is everything. (Bankers won’t care what is happening to your life otherwise. They feel that they can buy emotions and virtually everything by taking your life and throwing loads of money.)

2) Understanding finance well is different from actually working and making profit at hedge funds / trading floor / working on deals in corp. finance. I can understand finance well but I am not good fit to work in that industry.

3) Initially, I was thinking of working in I-Banking for 2-3 years and then shift to hedge funds or PE. Later I introspected a lot to find that this isn't the right move. Anyways if I am going for MBA, I should land up into profile /industry I would like to work in at least for 5-10 years more.

4) If I go to banking, I would waste 4 years in Engg (doing comp sc / IT) and 5 years of pre- MBA work experience in financial software. (9 years is good amount of time to let go waste). If you are in IT and you have worked for 1-2 years, then you can think of total career switch to banking. In that case correct degree to go for is MS- Quant Finance and not MBA.

5) In IT Strategy consulting, I can pursue my both the interests technology and finance.



BTW, Guys I have registered for World MBA Tour that is happening on 5th of July in Mumbai.

World MBA Tour :

Details of venue and timing are :

City : Mumbai
Date: Thursday 5th July 2007
Start Time: 17:00
Finish Time: 21:00

Taj Mahal Palace & Tower
Apollo Bunder
Mumbai
400 001
India

Anybody dropping there ?

Friday 15 June 2007

ISB Campus visit and more updates...

I got the permission to attend the class at ISB. I have planned to visit ISB on 3rd July. I will get opportunity to attend Decision Models and Optimizations class. I have a couple of friends in ISB. Currently, I am feeling very excited at this opportunity.

On 3rd July, I will be on ISB campus the whole day starting from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM.
I hope that I make most of the campus visit.

I will post more about my campus visit experience later.

I want to update few things regarding financing MBA for universities I selected.

1) NYU - Stern: An international applicant can borrow only up to $80,000 without co-signer. This only covers the tuition cost and living expenses to be managed by applicants from other sources. Almost $70,000 + to manage from other sources. That’s tough but not impossible. I need to re-think.


2) Darden - One can borrow the entire amount through GATE loan. -- Amanda Mills, (Assistant to Directors of Admissions and financial aid)

But I will confirm this from some current students too.

3) UNC - I still didn't get response from manager, admissions & financial aid.

Wednesday 13 June 2007

Post MBA Career Options

In this post, I am going to brainstorm my post-MBA career options.

To state in one line, I am doing MBA to broaden the career opportunities available.

I have technical degree in Comp Sc / IT and 5 years of work-ex in Financial Software. I want to opt for Finance concentration during my MBA.

Three main categories of employers employ MBA's in huge numbers. I have opportunity to work in each of them considering my background and future plans:

1) Finance :

Even pre-MBA, I have background in finance. Yeah, I mean some coursework.

- NCFM Capital Markets & Derivatives - (NSE's Certification in Financial Markets)
- Investment Banking Foundation Program ( Conducted by I-Flex Solutions)
- I am also pursuing 6 months Post Graduate Diploma in Forex and Risk Management offered by World Trade Center (Mumbai)

In addition, books such as Monkey Business, Liar's Poker, Barbarians at the Gate,
Random Walk down the wall street offered good insight into various careers in finance and business life.

Although I have some background in finance, I do not have professional work experience in that area. So, if i get into finance that is going to be complete career switch.

For this career switch following things are must:

1) Top 15-20 MBA program in US.
2) Securing very good internship.
3) 2 year program.

Various career options in finance are:

(i) Hedge Funds & Private Equity :
- These industries are very tough to get in.
- Hires few candidates at B-school compared to I-Banking
- Not open to career switchers.
- In summary, this would be great but chances are slim.
- Jobs in HF and PE really pay well and employees report higher satisfaction levels.

(ii) Venture Capital:
- VC is also not very open to career switchers.
- But I believe I can do good in assessing business ventures in high-tech space.
- Recruit very less and very high competition for jobs.

(iii) Investment Management:
- Has similar advantages / disadvantages as category (i)
- Variable pay (In bull market swing you get paid well, in bear market you may get laid off)

(iv) Investment Banking: (Corporate Finance Associate, Sales & Trading ,Equity Research)
- Lot of Grunt work..Excel Sheets filled with models, Creating Pitch Books, Most of the times adjusted valuations to gain business.
- Long hours around 80-100 hours / week.
- Pay is good overall but hourly pay is really turns out not so good.
- Thrill of making deals...
- 2-3 years of work ex in S & T, Equity Research can give you openings in Hedge Funds and Investment Management.
- 2-3 years of work ex in M&A can give openings in Private Equity.
- Advantage is they hire in bulk @ B-School campus.
- Open to Career Switchers.

2) Technology :

Most importantly, careers in this space will utilize my 5 years of pre-MBA work experience. I will be career advancer.

Following are the critical factors :

1) 1 year MBA is sufficient.
2) Reputed but non-top 20 school is sufficient.(Purdue /UT-Austin McCombs / Texas A&M ) with some financial aid.
3) I will be highly competitive in job market since I have relevant professional work experience.
4) Good Work life balance.

In short, this investment is low risk moderate to high return.

Following are the career options available :

(i) Product Management :

I have worked predominantly with product companies. NSE.IT, I-Flex, their parent company Oracle. This all will come handy.

I am not much looking into this option very seriously. Microsoft, Oracle, Google, Yahoo etc recruit lot of MBAs in product manager's position.


(ii) IT Strategic Consulting :

Lot of traditionally MC Companies have ventured into IT Strategic Consulting specializing in ROI, business value of IT, and risk management. e.g. Accenture, Mckinsey, Bain , Deloitte & Touche.

I can work in Financial Services Practice lines. Finance and Telecom industries are the highest spenders on IT.

In long term one can get in to CIO / CTO path easily.



3) Management (Strategic) Consulting:

I have not been thinking about this career option. But I believe to get into strategic consulting no specific background is required.

At entry level it might be necessary to get MBA from top 15-20. But it is certaily possible to switch to MC at any time even after working in IB for 2-3 years or in IT Strategic Consulting.

Following are the key factors you need to have :

1) Problem Solving skills
2) people skills / communication skills
3) Ability to think on your feet
4) Presentation skills.

No intention to offend, but Management consultants are jack of all trades...
Some good books that give insight into MC are : Mckinsey Mind , Mckinsey Way

Mostly, strategic consultants take route to entrepreneurship in long term.

Cheers...

Monday 11 June 2007

What I am loosing ? -- Part 2

This is a sequel to my last post.
jolk, I must thank you for sending me that discussion link on PagalGuy forums.

I was not following pagalguy forums. But after going through the thread I realized that the discussions are from the "Indian Applicant's Perspective" unlike BusinessWeek and TestMagic Forums. So in the expense and ROI matters, it particularly helped.

Here is the link to discussion on PagalGuy :

PagalGuy - US MBA- Expense / ROI

I'm here summarizing few things here :

1) I have not taken into account the cost of opportunity. If I continue to be in job instead of MBA, I would add $50,000 more (2 yrs). This is kind of notional loss. Since I am earning in India, I would not consider this as a big loss.

2)Is it worth doing your MBA from top 15-20 schools ? YES.
This is based on two assumptions.
-- You get job in the US. (Wot I mean here is H1..Companies are willing to hire but the H1 Cap is real problem)
-- You work in Investment Banking / Management Consulting

IB is one of the options I am strongly considering. I dont mind working in US for 4-5 years.

3) Wot is the ROI ?
With a decent lifestyle in US , I can recover money in 4-6 years.

We will have to take decision based on two factors :
1) Is it possible to get loan for international student of amount $90K or so. ? With or Without co-signer ?
2) H1B situation and changes in the Immigration Reform bill.

Economic theory suggests that economic recession can't exist in all parts of the world at the same time.
US top 20 programs are highly regarded all over the world.I believe even if one can't get job in US today may be 1-2 years later he can go back when economy improves. Till that time, one can choose to work in some other country.

Sunday 10 June 2007

What I am loosing ? (Understanding the expenses involved for MBA)

Expenses involved and ROI are the very important factors that must be considered very early in the application process. I consider this important because if I can not manage the finances for the university all efforts of applying are in vein.

I can manage overall from US$50,000 from my earning and Family funds.

Costs for the universities I have shortlisted :
1)NYU - Stern
Cost of Attendance for 1 year is given on the website as : $71,224
NYU Costs

The approximate total cost of 21 months program will come to $150,000 including all hidden costs.

The maximum loan that can be taken from Citi-Assist with US Citizen as co-signer is $225,000.

Without a co-signer, I can borrow only $40,000 (under CitiAssist Global Program)
Citi Assist- Global Program loan terms

2) U of VA - Darden
Total overall cost : $65,929
So the expenses will be lesser than NYU but will be in similar range
Darden Costs

Here also the total expense goes in the range of $130,000 - $140,000
Loan website: Gate Loan
Here, I could not find the maximum amount that international student can borrow.

3) UNC- Chapel Hill
This is the costliest. $59,000 in tuition and $20,000 is living and other expenses per year. Total costs are in the range : $150,000 - $ 170,000
Loan is available to cover all the costs

UNC Costs

How can I afford these universities ? We also have to consider the current H1B problems. Risk of getting job in US is alot.... Is it worth ??

Now good news I can afford universities in Singapore.

4) NUS Singapore

S$40,000 is the approximate total expense involved..
I can manage this without much head ache.

I am rethinking about ISB as I believe 2 year program is more appropriate for me.
I want a program with internship opportunities, more electives, possibly exchange programs etc.

But mostly all programs in US top 20 have expenses around $150,000..
I don't want to apply to university outside top 20.

This looks daunting..PLz help...

Wednesday 6 June 2007

University Selection

There are two categories of applicants applying to B-Schools.

Category I : This category includes all those, who want to attend list of specific schools only, if admitted. If you belong to this category, you can apply in the current year to only those schools and no need to apply to safety schools. If dinged, next year again you need to assess whether you still belong to category I.

Category II: This category includes all those, who want to get into MBA in some specific intake. In our case, its Fall 2008. If you belong to this category, you need combination of reach, pragmatic and safe schools.

I belong to category II. After having completed 4 years of work experience and still one more year to go, I can not waste more than a year into my current job.

I have to get in for fall 2008 intake.
When I go through those threads on BW- Forums (Ask Alex,Ask Sandy,etc..), every after 1-2 posts I find profile similar to mine.

Indian / IT/ Male / Age 26 / GMAT - 710. (This is exactly wot my profile is)

The applicant pools can be classified into following major categories :

1) Techies
2) Bankers
3) Consultants
4) Poets (This includes all those who have unique backgrounds such as professional dancer working in media company etc etc...) ** This is the term I first read in book "Snapshots from the Hell" -- account of B-school life written by Stanford alum. **

Because of the growing diversity considerations accross all top universities, I will have to go through rough ride in top universities.

I have decent EC but less community involvement. I am going to do something very actively in community service area too.

There are two career lines I have thought of as of now:
1) Range of finance careers such as IB, HF, PE, IM.
2) Tech consulting in Financial services practice in firms such as Accenture, Deloitte, Mckinsey etc.
I will need to narrow down (atleast for application purpose).

As of now I have very strong techno-functional profile. I mean good knowledge in domains such as derivatives, Capital Markets, Fixed income etc..along with technology.

Finally, considering all factors above, I have shortlisted following universities.

US:

1)NYU - Stern
2)U of VA - Darden
3)UNC - Kenan Flagler.

Asia

4)ISB - Hyderabad
5)NUS - Singapore

I intend to apply to all universities in Round 1.
I will post my detailed plan soon.

Monday 4 June 2007

H1-B Lottery... Will I get it ?

On friday last week, I visited visa office(I-Flex's internal) to know the status of my H1 B petition. Still the status shown was "Awaiting Approval". This keeps my hope of getting H1B petition approved alive. I saw a lot of people with rejects too. I was happy for not being in the list of rejects.

This was my 3rd visit to visa office to know the status.I got the same disappointing answer this time as well. This is the similar to getting waitlisted at university you desparately want to attend. I know that lottery results are out. But still We are not getting the results. There could be various reasons behind this delay in disclosure. Appraisal results are due in July first week and that could be one of the reasons for the delay. I am expecting to know the status latest by July 2nd week.

There are lot of opportunities in the US for H1 holders in i-flex as of now. Infact, I happened to interview some people for positions in Warren, NJ and Tampa, FL. If my H1 gets approved,I would get opportunity to travel to US post this Oct.
This would not only help me gain some international work experience but also open opportunity for potential campus visits. That way I would be able to see the corporate as well as student life closely...

However, even if my H1-B doesn't get selected in lottery, I wont be in as bad a situation as currently graduating students would be.

Check this out:

BW: Visa Squeez for international students


Article in Harvard Crimson

This is a severe problem. I hope some or the other solution will come out.
Currently keeping my fingures crossed...Wait and watch for H1-B..

Thursday 31 May 2007

What to do in 2 years at B-School ?

I am regular reader of business week forums,in particular Alex Chu's posts.
Alex is arguably the best admission consultant I have seen on the board. I would like to quote his very good post here.

Q : You were talking to your younger bro who's headed to a top school, and he asks, how do i make the most out of these two years, what would you say ?

A:
Just make the most of the time you're there by focusing on things you can't do if you're working full-time. Cherish every day that you're not working. Consider it a privilege and blessing that you're basically taking a 2-year sabbatical. You didn't spend upwards of $150K and $150 - 300K in forgone salary to sit alone in your room and read books and do problem sets (if that were the case, you'd just get an online degree). Get fully involved in your b-school community. Learn from people - focus your efforts and time on group projects, stay awake in class discussions, go to as many guest speaker events/student conferences you can go to (you'll learn more from these speakers/alums/industry folk than you'll ever learn in the classroom), get involved in the fun clubs where you'll actually make real relationships (i.e. you'll make far stronger relationships playing basketball with your classmates than doing mock interviews for finance internships). In short, enjoy the journey and process of those 2 years - because the real value isn't the "goal" of finding a job or a post-MBA career, the real value is those actual 2 years itself where you'll grow both professionally and personally in ways that you won't when you are working full-time - simply because you are meeting all kinds of people you'd normally won't meet, having the time and opportunity to do things you'd normally won't do (skydiving, traveling with fellow classmates, playing more sports, getting involved in theater, etc.) and simply having 2 years of life where you're not working. In other words, you're not buying a "career" with your MBA, but you're buying 2 years of life away from an employer who would otherwise own you for those two years if you weren't in b-school. It's 2 years that you're buying to focus on YOU, and nothing else. In fact, it's not even 2 years - it's really only 16 months of actual school (8 months of class, then 4 months internship, then 8 months of class) so time goes by very quickly.

There's nothing real specific to do, since everyone is different, but it's all about having a healthy attitude towards the experience. Spending those 2 years on your own terms the way you want it.

The other thing is to be aware of the herd mentality. It happens at every b-school, and has happened since the dawn of time. Don't let classmates influence your career choices, what electives you should take, where you live, etc. MBAs as a group are by nature a neurotically insecure bunch -- as a group, they will cluster around and lionize what is "hot" more than what is right for them as individuals. If you can spot the hype, that's half the battle. If something sounds too good to be true, it is -- MBAs are easily suckered into believing anything so long as the prospect of money and exclusivity is high (i.e. making lots of money in an area that would be the envy of other MBAs). B-school is kind of like an ant colony actually, except there is no queen ant so all the worker ants are left to following each other. Be your own man (or woman).

Other than that, don't eat yellow snow, drink lots of water before you go to bed if you're drunk, and always know the name of the person you wake up next to.


Alex Chu
www.mbaapply.com
alex@mbaapply.com
The MBA Field Guide (sample essays and more)

Friday 25 May 2007

Educate yourself from MIT, Princeton, Berkeley

I felt like posting few links out here.

Following are the sites where lot of archived video lectures can be found. The lectures are available on diverse areas and are immensely useful.

Princeton
http://www.princeton.edu/WebMedia/lectures/

MIT
http://mitworld.mit.edu/video_index.php

http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html (Open Courseware)

Berkeley

http://webcast.berkeley.edu/index.html

Royal Society - UK

http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=3093

Enjoy !!!

Thursday 24 May 2007

Application Resources -- What am I using ?

I have been doing a lot of research post GMAT on other areas such as various options post MBA,university selection, resources to use for applications.

First let me write more about the resources I will be using during the application process.

1) Business Week Forums and MBA Insider.
2) How to Get into top MBA program -- by Richard Montauk.
3) Your MBA Game plan -- by Omari Bouknight.
4) Vault's Career bible
5) Lot of other current year's bloggers the current students at university etc.

As of now, I dont plan to consult any of the admission consultants.
Admission Consultants charge exhorbitant fees, and they are not very helpful.
I will rather rely on free advice that these consultants (Alex, Sandy, Michael) provide on business week forums.

Any suggestions ?

Tuesday 17 April 2007

GMAT ends and new journey begins

This is my second attempt at blogging.

I started blogging first time during my GMAT preparation, but could not keep posting
consistently. Here I would like to share all my experiences so far and whatever I will gain in future as I cruise through MBA application process.

I am planning to apply for Class of 2010. (Fall 2008 intake)

No doubt, GMAT is the first and the most important step in MBA journey. I completed GMAT in Jan'07 with a score of 710 ( Q-48, V-38).

I started GMAT preparation with TestMagic and scoretop in June - July..It took 6 months of on-off study during most hectic work schedule,12-14 hrs a day and even weekends many times, and two attempts to get to the target score.

Here, I am not wasting space writing about my GMAT Preparation. Following are the links to the debrief I wrote on TestMagic and Scoretop.

TestMagic : http://www.urch.com/forums/just-finished-my-gmat/63631-640-q-50-v-27-710-q-48-v-38-a.html

Scoretop: http://www.scoretop.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=39780&KW=charu%5Fmulye

I am very much excited to begin phase 2 of my journey. This phase will be filled with lot of introspection, frustration of rejects and gruelling waitlists, success of few great admits. So lots of ups and downs in coming 6 months..and I am ready to face it all...

Wish me luck for this new phase !!