Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shortlisting Schools - Day 8

Inflation is on a high in India and there is a blockade in Manipur. So there are many people out there like me resolving issues but the difference is sadly I am resolving an issue pertaining only to me - How to shortlist schools?
Well, I have heard back from my friends in Kellogg and Booth. Kellogg guy has asked me not to typecast any school as finance or marketing school especially the one which is amongst top 10 because all top 10 schools can make you reach where you want to - any industry, any company. So while I shortlisted Wharton, Columbia and Booth on first go because of their great reputation in finance, I am again back to square one.
After learning from him about Kellogg, I am not able to take Kellogg out of my list. He says its a great collaborative school with deep impetus on extra-curricular and leadership activities. You can do general management or deep dive into any specific area you want. So Kellogg can turn out to be a finance school for me. Yes, Kellogg has placed more people in consulting then in finance unlike schools like Harvard, Booth, Columbia and Wharton but that doesn't mean that students in Kellogg who wanted to get into finance couldn't get into it. So going for a school because of how its type casted is no longer a criteria for me. The criteria now has changed to:

a) How much active finance clubs are in the school? For example - whether the clubs bring different people from finance to talk to students or whether the clubs hold some seminars, competitions in finance. Like I got to know from the Wharton event that since last two-three years in Wharton business case competition has been won by Health Care junta. So somebody who is looking for getting into health care can take a cue from this. I may have to figure out cue like this for myself.
b) One thing is kindda getting obvious to me that a school which places more people in finance will have strong alum base in finance which means that if you want to get into a specific role in which an alum is already placed you have an easier shot at it. Probability (wow! I am in the flavor for Saturday class) of this is higher in a school which places more people in finance. So yes, placement stats is got to be my criteria! But I have to weigh that against my other criteria of teaching methods and collaborative vs competitive environment in the school. This is why Kellogg is not yet out of my list because its bringing other things to me (like more extra-curricular) than probably Wharton (where student dive into books more)

Tired of writing. Got to get ready for office also....Will post about reply from my Booth's friend sometime later. The list of criteria to shortlist school is still on. And I am now starting with other generic questions that I have to answer through my essays - Why MBA? and long-term and short-term goals. Interesting days ahead!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Will be conducting GMAT classes from next Saturday

I have got an opportunity to teach GMAT Maths. I will be conducting classes from next weekend - for total six hours. I think its great opportunity to handle an audience in a subject in which I have been good at. Additionally, this will give me an exposure to be challenged on the spot in front of a group.
While attending train-the-trainer session today I observed how much hard work is put into conducting one class. I definitely have to spend some time during weekdays to come at par.
The first area that I will be covering is Probability - the subject I used to dread before CFA Level 1. Lets see how this turns out.
Wish me luck guys and my students too!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shortlisting Schools - Day 5

Between day 1 and day 5 not much has changed. I am still finding criteria to shortlist schools.I have mailed few of my friends in Kellogg, Booth and Harvard to know more about the schools. The only difference in my mails is that I have become more specific in asking questions then I have been before. Anyways none of them have replied yet. So I have moved ahead and wrote the outline (even not an outline if you ask my friend) of my first essay - Undergrad experience. There are few points in the essay which I have covered -
1. Since my school is not known much outside India, I am giving details about the school ranking etc.
2. Since my degree was rigorous and I had a double dip in my GPA, I am addressing the trend in my GPA by highlighting more on my extra-curricular.
3. I had poor grades in Maths in my second year but topped the class in final year. So I am hoping if I can cover that somewhere as well.
4. There were few events in my undergrad that shaped me as a person. I have chosen one of them which I think has greatest impact on me.
Lets see the above section of my outline is just a kind of kick-off. May shape it better if readers contribute. Looking forward for your suggestions.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Shortlisting Schools : Day 1

This is officially the first day when I have started the process on what schools I will apply this year. When I first dived into the pool of B-schools last year my first reaction was - Any top school would be good for me and Harvard should be perfect for me. If its best B-school, its best for me as well. But now I don't think that way.
So what has changed? Yes brand value is still a great sought-after virtue but there are other factors today which have become important for me. For example - I don't want to be in a school where I am studying most of the time. Let's evaluate one of the top schools in my list against this - Harvard has a case-study method. Yes I like that. For example I will love class more where I am being challenged for deciding on behalf of a CEO than being taught on how principal-agent problem works. But If students just study day and night into case study then Harvard is not a school for me. Actually, even Harvard does not make you study that much. Read a day in the life of Harvard student HBS Student. So, now I am good with case study and fine about the fact that I don't have to study 12 hours a day. The next criteria is whether the school has competitive environment. Yes in case-study method students fight for air time in class room and some part of your grades are based on your class performance. Additionally, Harvard has recently dismissed its no grade-disclosure policy. A current Harvard students say that despite all these potential reasons for competition, students still are collaborative. Same is claimed by Veritas Prep.Then how do I judge whether school is collaborative or not? What can be measurement criteria for judging school as competitive or collaborative? In other words I don't think students in one school are more competitive than other schools. It has something to do with the policy of institutions which makes them competitive.Also,I don't think degree of competitiveness should be judged on the basis of comparison amongst schools. Its a stand-alone quality and should affect only as much as much of anybody's decision as much as a difference in score of 730 and 700 in GMAT affects decision of AdCom.

Its end of day 1 and I am still on first school, first three criteria. Damn slow man!