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..