Monday, July 02, 2007

Random email advice

A email I answered about feedback sessions and choosing what school to apply to.

let me answer your questions:

1) feedback sessions are generally a facewash, meaning they dont tell you much about what the real reason is for rejecting. it is simply because when candidates get too many in number, it is really difficult to tell somebody why they rejected one and picked the others [edit 1 : feedback sessions are probably a facewash in cases like the one i described. i was wrong in the email to generalise that all feedback sessions are a facewash]. for me, this was the case with the Kellogg feedback. Luckily though, my GSB feedback was better, the adcom asked me to apply early. they also asked me illustrate more of my professional experience, which I seemingly hadnt done very well in my essays. i dont remember anything else which was important. the problem with me, as per my own evaluation, was that i belong to an oversubscribed pool of applicants, and i always knew that my challenge would be to differentiate. which is what i concentrated on this year. i would say that i probably didnt do the best job, but i guess i got lucky in the end. thankfully :)

2) my reasons of choosing GSB were simple. first of all, i only applied to schools which give full loans without the need for a cosigner - this is a constraint i have being an international. that left me with a small list of schools to apply to. i evaluated the schools i had in the bag, see which ones i liked (in regards to my future career goals), and where i will get a top notch education. i was primarily interested in consulting, and GSB does very well there. i wanted to apply to a program where i get a top notch education, and GSB has that as well (as did my other schools Kellogg and Wharton). GSB's career services i hear is awesome, and i met a couple of gsb alums who were really helpful to me through the process - which really really sold me to the school. another thing which intrigues me is the "challenge everything" philosophy of the school. i am sure there is good and bad to it - but i guess i will enjoy that kind of culture which throws you off guard and forces you to think. apart from that - i liked chicago as a city when i visited it briefly. i should also admit that i only applied to schools where i thought i had a chance of getting an admit from.

i think the crux here is to choose the school which you like based on your personal traits, and which fit with your career ambitions. dont apply to a place where you think you wont enjoy yourself to the "maximum". after all, you will be spending a good amount of money, so why not get as much fun out of the deal as well.

i may not be very good at explaining "why this school" kind of questions, probably because i was not so stringent myself, and had less to choose from. i would urge you to browse the other blogs (from the clear admit top 10 list) and see what they have written about choosing schools. i remember there were some good posts on this topic.

another email i got.

Hello Forrestump - if I may address you like that :)

I am another Indian IT engineer wanting to get into the management stream.
I have a 4 year IT exp, GMAT 710, GPA 3.5, decent extra currs like -

Playing a key role in establishing a startup IT consultancy and a product development firm. My role includes/included strategies for set up, startegies for expansion, recruitment, product delivery.

Networking with a research initiative of a top US University and incorporating the initiative in a rural education development program.

organizing and heading a committe that awards scholarships to students of my alma mater etc.

I am targeting Startegy Management (consulting) in business and have tentatively shortlisted the following schools -
Duke, USC, Emory, McCombs, Krannert, Fisher in US.because

Please let me know your frank thoughts on this -

1. Please advice if my school selection is OK or should I have a go at schools that are better ranked. These schools that I have selected fit my character, aspirations, needs and profile.

However a few schools in the top 15 did suit me as well, but I abstained from choosing them just because I have just 4 years of work exp in the most intensively competitive Indian IT male 24 pool. Also I do not have an exceptional career progression to show apart from my entrepreneurial initiative. I am particularly in love with Chicago GSB for its curriculum, focus, cultural spread etc.. But my dilemma is restraining me from applying.. some advice please

My Answer :

Thanks for your kind words for my blog. I am glad that you found it helpful.

Coming to your question, I would urge you to visit the school websites and check how they place in strategy consulting companies. That way, you would be able to rate your chances if you were to attend that school. From what I know, Duke and McCombs are "ok", but I hardly know anything about the other schools to tell you anything. If you are dead on going to a top consulting firm like Mck/B/B - you should aim to get into a higher ranked school. It helps a bit, since the consulting firms have more slots for top schools than they have for schools slightly lower in rank. Again, validate what I just said, since this is my perception based on whatever research I have done - I may be wrong.

From what I see of your profile (which is very little to be honest) - I think you can aim higher. At this point of time, I would suggest you read the Montauk book(if you already havent), and do the introspection required to write some good essays and articulate your story well. The more clarity you have about your goals, and about yourself, the better you will be able to tell why a certain school works for you (you also need solid school research).

I think I mentioned it in one of my posts that an applicant needs to show different sides of his/her personality. Most of us have the many stories to write about, but the trick lies in picking up the best fit stories and sewing them up together to present a case which tells me most about you, and the best things about you, in a tone which is readable and enjoyable - and makes me feel that I would like to know you more.

I think you should check out all the top 20 schools and see where you can fit and then choose a couple of them to apply to (the general rule, they say, is the 2-2-2 split. 2 stretch schools, 2 probable schools, 2 safe schools). I think Montauk describes the crafting-a-strategy thing better, so go read that.

Regarding your question about age and career progression : I am currently seeing that many of my classmates are in the same work experience bracket as you are in. Also, I have heard that ad com looks for leadership potential, and there is no one way only for showing that. Further, even if you dont have exceptional progression to show, you should be able to identify some stories which will help demonstrate the potential, and some of the qualities which future leaders are supposed to have.

Lastly, if you love a school a lot, make sure you apply - because you wont know what could have happened until you apply.

All the best, I hope I answered some of your questions.

1 comment:

Jaguar Paw said...

I agree FG! Last time, K said I has little Extra-currics while I had demonstrated significant extra-currics in the essays. They said I had good acads. Chicago in turn said I had only average acads and decent extra currics! :(