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The will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare. – Bobby Knight


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Why MBA – The entrepreneur Version

A lot of us have a lot of reasons to do MBA. As a 6 month Entrepreneur I have my reasons as well.

1. Value of Numbers – Transition from a employee to an entrepreneur is not a easy one. All though I have chewed up couple of numbers (for the client in my previous job) I didn’t know the value the numbers add to a business. As an entrepreneur the number games are totally different. For example 1$ might not be a liability 1000×1$ is a liability.  There are many such examples where I fell short during the 6 months and an MBA could’ve been my savior. I didn’t know I was finance ignorant till I let a CA read my charts.  Believe me getting at 48+ GMAT score has got nothing to do with finance or maths involved in business.

2. Network – For an entrepreneur, no network is enough network. And starting a company in my home can be devastating if not for a few free (no salary remember?) start-up events trying to find clients, mentors and investors. Bschool is a holy grail for any entrepreneur – with the amount of students to professors to events to access to local business. Its a first class ticket for whole 2 years and for the rest of the life.

3. Team/Hiring – Having read a couple of books from good to great to Steve Jobs biography, I thought my schooling was over, I don’t need a MBA. You see, its easy to read than to follow. I made my first blunder when I chose a team. Being a small venture it is critical you get at least one aspect right – a great partner. Ideas might come and go but strength of the partnership makes or breaks a business. Business takes time and better to have a partner who is willing to go through the tough times (there are so many). Having lived through this lesson, I dare say, I am up for grabs whatever a Bschool can throw at me – including a potential business partner ;).

4. Mentor – Mentoring is an essential part of any start-up. Those who say I don’t want mentor are only postponing their decisions. Sometimes (many times) we need to think out of the box. Entrepreneurs start with love (so did I) but that is not all needed. We need the logical and analytical mind that says “Ok, I get it, What problem are you trying to solve? Are people willing to pay for it? If not how about you do this…” That’s a role of mentor. Sadly, I had to struggle two months, after which I realized how much mentoring can help. MBAs have a la carte for mentoring provided by the best of the best. How about taking a entrepreneurship lesson from Steve Blank or Eric Ries or Peter Thiel?

5. ROI – Lets see, Bschools cost a lot. A LOT. For someone who is unsalaried for a few months (didn’t break even yet), it’s a big gamble. So, I had to put a ROI. But, Bschool’s ROI go beyond the actual money. Even after 20 years, it can’t be measured to actual point. Even though the outgoing salary makes sense, I bet just like our primary education (can we put a price on it?) We can’t really put a ROI on Bschool – from alumni to network to the goodwill, there are just so many things that makes BSCHOOL a perfect stop.

 

So, what’s your reason?


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Networking 101 by Girl Meets Bschool

Networking is probably one the most primary skills that is required in a Business world. We could meet a potential client/investor/co-founder in the next Business summit we attend. Having decided on spending next 1-2 years in a BSchool, there are bound to be not one, not two, but hundreds of such opportunities. We might not want to miss out our first venture capitalist or co-founder just because we failed to extend our hand first. 🙂

Courtesy:Diversity MBA Magazine

Being an introvert, I had a very timid approach to networking. An interaction with Girl Meets Bschool got me thinking about how even I can do just a few simple things to get behind the wheel.

Guest Post – Networking 101 by Girl Meets Bschool

Networking is perhaps the single most important thing you can be doing during the application process. I actually wish I had done more of it! The truth is, in order to demonstrate that you’re a great fit for a certain school, you really need to understand the culture of that school and in order to understand the culture, and you must talk to people. Sounds easy enough, but like you said, there is an etiquette to it.

I would recommend starting with the two most obvious groups: recruiters and student ambassadors. They are great because they talk to potential students all the time so they are used to answering the same questions over and over. Just take their feedback with a grain of salt because they are there to tell you the good parts about the program, not the bad. If you can, try to attend a couple of MBA fairs where you can talk to recruiters face to face. Student ambassadors can usually be found on the school’s website along with their email, so just reach out to them and schedule a phone interview. I liked to pick the student ambassador that had the most in common with me in terms of background and desired function. You will get more useful information out of them that way.

Other people you can reach out to are the presidents of clubs that you want to join. There’s usually an MBA clubs webpage where you can find their contact information. They are usually less familiar with speaking to prospective students, but you can get some great information out of them if you have something in common.

Lastly, there are alums. They are a little less helpful just because they were not in school as recently, but they can speak to the culture of the school, the opportunities you will have, and your job prospects. If you want to speak to alums, I think the best place to start is LinkedIn. See if you’ve already got a 1st or 2nd connection you can reach out to. (On that topic, now is the time to set up your LinkedIn profile or get it your current one up to date!)

Do’s and Don’ts:

Have some thoughtful questions prepared. Some people will talk and talk without a lot of prodding, but others would prefer you to steer the conversation. Try not to ask anything too obvious or that you could have found out on the website. (They hear the same questions A LOT, so the more creative you can be the better.)

Don’t ask for personal help like, “Can you read my resume?” or “What do you think my chances are?” That puts them in an awkward position.

Know when to end the conversation. At a recruiting event, the adcoms have a lot of people to talk to and you will make a better impression if you don’t monopolize their time. For ambassadors and alums, a 15-20 min phone call is usually enough time. Thank them politely and let them off the hook.

– Recruiters, ambassadors, and even alums are all agents of the school — You never know what information they will relay back to the admissions office. Make a good impression! Dress well, speak well, and be prepared with intelligent questions.

Have a short self-summary ready for when you are asked about your background. “I’ve working in sales for five years, but I’d really like to get into marketing.” …etc. If you can work in something about your interest in the school, so much the better! “I’ve heard your school has one of the top marketing programs in the country. Can you tell me a little about it?”

Write down who you spoke to, the event, the date, and some notes on what they said. It will help you when writing your essays and in interviews. Get a business card if you can.

ALWAYS follow up with a thank-you note within 24 hrs. Standard wisdom is to mention the event and something you talked about so they remember who you are. Something like: “Thank you so much for speaking with me at the MBA Fair yesterday. Since I want to focus in international business, it was terrific to hear about your study abroad program. I hope to speak with you again when I visit campus for next month’s information session.”

Girl Meets Bschool is currently walking the corridors of USc Marshall School of business. From what I know, she is super psyched! Thanks girlmeetsbschool for coming to my rescue :).

If you found this post interesting. Don’t forget to leave a thank you note on her blog.


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An Awful tasting Medicine..

It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. – Steve Jobs

2013 admission season is almost over! I am not on the sunny side up, but I have managed to get back to my life. 🙂

In a weeks time, most of the admissions would’ve been over, a lot of us who are wait-listed might not get in (this time) and accepting it is one of the worst feelings ever. Especially – having got the reccos from your boss (who would smirk for next 8-9 months for missing the Bschool debut), – having to tell every friend/relative of yours the bad news (even to friends who have gotten to Harvard) it’s just damn! I didn’t even attempt my dream school ’cause I just couldn’t. (an expert would’ve recommended otherwise)! I can not only empathize, but I have been in your shoes.

I have one thing to tell you guys. It’s not easy and it’s not the end. It’s not easy to be that one black sheep (who didn’t get an admit). It’s not easy to get around and face your boss. Blimey, Its not easy to get the time, money or peace of mind back. But its possible.

It’s possible this is just a hiccup phase. It is possible that this is not the end. It is possible that your dream school is waiting for you and it is possible that you can pick yourself up. It is possible to face the world and sign up for the hells kitchen again. But, it’s only possible – if you haven’t given up.

All of us think that when we try a couple of times and hit a dead end – we have failed. But, It was and is never like that. Understanding failure is very crucial not only in MBA applications, but in life as well. We only fail if we give up. Otherwise, there is 50-50 chance for the coin to turn either side. (just like how it was when you first applied). A simple logic. But we trap ourselves in the past and forget that it was always 50-50 chance and we did go for it before and we have the potential to take it up again.

To all those people who are looking back at a not so pretty picture here is the thing..

www.stkrz.in

Life’s Biggest Lesson (Source)

On this note, I would like to begin the second innings of this blog.

I encourage all the bloggers to leave your blog addresses on the comments section 🙂 Lets loot this process together :).


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Congrats in Order

Happy New year to all!

For most of the jaw-dropping, piping-hot bschools, the R1 result have been declared. Many like mbaover30 (Wharton and Booth),Sassafras (Yale & Kellogg) and str1dr(Tuck) have been admitted to their dream schools. After nail-biting wait, many have been admitted. Few souls have been waitlisted (fret not, there is a hope they say, that goes a long way!).

I just wanted to extend my congratulations to all the folks out there who are finally seeing the light of the day, the fruit of all the sleepless nights they spent cramming over GMAT or Essays or interviews. The infinite number of forums they had to go through. It’s an amazing feat indeed!

Thanks for boosting our spirits for the new year!

With this, I conclude my first blog post of 2013!

Good luck to all of you who are looking forward to MBA Applications/admissions! A ride worth every sweat! 😀


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Lessons on the go

Thanks giving is over already. This means only one thing, round 2 application deadlines are right around the corner, wishing you all the very best for this season! Hope this article, helps you in someway.

I haven’t posted in almost a month ‘cause I have been fretting too much than actually doing (Ah, doen’t that happen often!?). With the deadlines for round 2 is just around the corner. I began the essays with sheer pressure to not give up on my dreams. The reason I postponed my essays because, the first one I started with – career goal essay got me nowhere beyond 3 sentences. I was frustrated that I couldn’t come up with a career goal essay in a week (original target). So, I left it at that. And that became a month.

But since I began writing, everything else other than career goal essays, things have been moving a bit faster (not as much as I expected, but at least they are rolling). After a month of sitting and reading many “I will teach you how to write great MBA essay” guides, I thought I mastered the skill. So, I wrote my first essay just a few days ago and was utterly confident, it was a killer essay and sent it for a review. Only it came back, with the most dismal remark – it is good, but what is the point. I was too much in to the “stories” , the build ups, I lost sight of the whole point. That’s when I turned back to basics, reading essay guides and realized – Holly SHIT! This is all there -Where the essays could go wrong, what should it contain all of that.

Even if this is coming to you at a later stage, I want to share with you one of the most valuable lessons for writing an essay.

  1. DONOT start with reading guides first. You will probably end up learning nothing because whatever it says is pretty obvious for anybody! I mean common, who would keep writing a story and not attend to the actual question? Who would explain about their career goals and forget to mention why? So, you got nothing to learn, ‘cause you already know it.
  2. Sit down and write your career goal essay. Let’s face it, you go to write it sometime later, so why not now! Trust me, no matter how flashy the other essays are, the admission council is more interested in this than other essays. Besides, once you have the clarity of mind you can thread other essays to support this. This makes sure the adcoms get a very vivid picture of who you are in those couple of minutes (2-3 tops) that they spend on your application.
  3. Write one more essay – like past experience, accomplishments etc. The reason you have to write two essays, is that you will have a pattern. Everybody has a patter – their unique style of writing that often gets repetitive. You have to find yours and be aware of it and try not to bring monotonous feeling to the readers.
  4. Get those guides, take notes – personal notes. While you are at those guides, you will realize your weakness and strengths. This will greatly help your essay writing skills.
  5. Use the forums/friends/relatives/tutors to get expert view. Many admission consultants usually offer free consultations. If you are clear about what you would like to understand more about the admission process, you can make good use of free consultation.
  6. Choosing a consultant. I don’t have one. But I got great help (thanks to social network). Choose one, if you are pressed for time and if you don’t have an experienced hand (relative or friend who has done MBA) who are ready to spend time with your for essays. The review session alone would take 3-4 hours in total for each essays – given the number of reviews it would require!
  7. Most important thing of all: Remember this, you are not going to get your essays right in the first go even if you are a journalist. So, be ready to cut the crap, cut it again and again until you get a clear message across.

Here is the list of free essay blogs/videos that you get online.

  1. Admissionado – Amazing for essay guides for free!
  2. MBA Mission – Keeps you in touch with what’s hot in admission season
  3. Stacy Blackman – Great tips on application interviews and lots more.
  4. GMATClub (videos)  – They are celebrating 10th year and 1million posts with series of webminars related to GMAT and admission from myriad consulting agencies. Great Stuff.
  5. Beat the GMAT (videos) –  another set of amazing videos, some are even specific to Indian/Chinese applicants

Have fun!


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Review: Clear Admit’s ISB School Guide

I got a chance to grab my hands on the specially crafted School Guide by Clear Admit.  Honestly, I haven’t done much of a “research” on Indian School of Business.  Thankfully, this book came with a plateful. The book runs you through the “history” of the school – which I never considered important up until I read this book. It gave a clearer picture on the value system and vision of the school.Therefore helped me realize a connection between my dream and their value system.

Apart from that,I really enjoyed the detailed enlisting of curricular and co-curricular activities on the campus. It gave me a lot of reasons to think about what I could do apart from just graduate. The book also had very specific details such as temperature of the place apart from just the listing the facilities and clubs – it really shows Clear Admit’s commitment to provide every tiny detail of B-school experiences that an aspirant could encounter. Some of the details such as tie ups with other Bschools, the plethora visiting faculty coming from other B-schools made me realize its a global school after all as against its  name “Indian” school of business – which was the impression I had till now.

The book also had a couple of pages write up on special programs offered by ISB and grading systems as well. Woah! Isn’t that amazing? They actually prep for the class experience! 🙂 And Guess what?? The book doesn’t end there, they go a step beyond and actually talk about life after MBA – career services etc. This book is sure a pit stop for all the information you can ask for about a B-school.

I recommend the bunch of school guides for any B-school aspirant who is looking forward to learning about his or her dream school  – many of the stuff that is in there doesn’t show up on the goolge ;). Be ready, there is so much of information provided that, I am sure a single read wouldn’t be enough to grasp them all. While I am out to re-read book, you can go and grab a copy of School Guides by Clear Admit Today!

Last but not least, I am grateful to Clear Admit for offering me this opportunity to get nearer my goal! I appreciate all the effort that you put in this book and all other school guides that you offer! It is definitely a boon for us aspirants and a big TIME saver!! 😀 Thanks guys!