AdmitMBA360 Blog formerly Journey to my MBA

Journey to my MBA

Sunday, October 16, 2005

What's up?

Lately, I've found myself overextended and having a difficult time doing my job with the kind of quality I demand out of myself. I doubt that I'm alone in feeling this way at this time of the year. I'm starting my essay charge and have been finalizing my GMAT prep. Yeah, I know.. it should be done by now. But, I've taken an entirely new approach to the questions that my public education and college years never taught me. I'm approaching GMAT questions now with far more logic and reason.

It's difficult to focus the kind of energy that I have into GMAT and other things. My hats off to anyone who can manage work, GMAT and essays well and not lose sight of friends and personal well-being.... not to mention ones signficant other.

Yes, I've recruited a GMAT Coach who has been instrumental in changing my timing, score results and confidence. It's taken 3 months to revamp everything I once knew in terms of my approach to many of the problems. I'm now finishing practice Quant problem sets with 15-20 minutes leftover.

Strategically, I've been taking 2 min breaks at question 12 and 24 to keep my focus and clarity. It's really helped.

I'll write more about him later. I have to say though that he's the best GMAT tutor/coach I've ever heard about or worked with. He shows me techniques that he made up himself that I've never seen in any book or class. And believe me... I've been around the block a bit in terms of reviewing GMAT resources. He does a free session to show you some areas he can help you with and you begin to work with him a bit. You'll immediately see the value. If you'd like more info... let me know via e-mail at (he only does the San Francisco bay area for GMAT)

As far as my MBA app process has been going.....

I've attended info sessions for UCLA, Michigan(Ross), Stanford, and Tuck (Twice).

The UCLA one was held at Yahoo and was well done. I was shaky about the alumni because only 3 showed up. I didn't realize just how international the program was. I must admit that the school was very appealing. However, I walked away slightly dissapointed because I didn't feel that the presentation or Alumni provided me with a compeling enough reason to say UCLA should be my number one choice school.

The Michigan-Ross went very well. There were 22-24 Alumni that showed up in a room that held 50-60 people. My jaw was on the ground from the turn out. The spirit of the school was very clear. One Alum (Class of 74') had to step away while he stood with the others in front of the room because his cell phone rang with the Michigan Football fight song. I loved the Alumni, student spirit, and student business training programs. My only complaint is that the admissions rep was a bit short/distant in answering my questions. At one point, she jokingly said, "my work is done here". Although funny, the way she came across in the rest of the conversation had the same posturing as the joke; which wasn't good. Two other prospective students that I talked to mentioned that they felt the same way. Not a big deal though. I really like the school.

The Stanford one was probably the best one I've gone to in terms of Alumni. The panel of 5 or 6 (can't quite remember) were highly articulate and down to earth. Of all the panels I've heard, I found that I resonated the most with them. I only went because I wanted to find out about the Stanford Sloan program. It's a real shame that I've chosen not to apply to the Full-time program because of my age and grades and misc reasons.

The Tuck info sessions have got to be the most love it or hate it info session around. There are no slides or overwhelming amounts of literature. The best way to describe it is, "structured testimonies". The presentation is an oral 10 minute overview of the program followed by Alumni testimonies of School life, carrer job search, academics, faculty, study groups, and misc. To be quite frank, my engineer wife hated it and thought it was a waste of time. I thought that the school overview portions could have been a bit more substantive, but I did manage to grab onto som gold nuggets regarding the interviews, essays and letter of recommendations. The Alumni contact list is absolutely the best of any school. They provided me with an extensive list of over 40 Alumni who agreed to be contacted to answer any questions that I may have. Their e-mail, job title and company they work, as well as, the year they graduated is listed. I doubt that any school will ever come close to the closeness that Tuck leaders have achieved in their school. A 65% Alumni giving is a significant thing. No other school has even half that percentage in the nation. That's pretty amazing. The number of Alumni was huge as well. For a group of 60-70 attendees.. there were 17 or so Alumni who showed up as well. Ironically, the student who interviewed me during my application last year to Tuck was there. So guess, who I went up to and talked to after the formal portions of the info session? Tuck is absolutely my number one choice.

I also went to the World MBA Tour this year in San Francisco. It was helpful for several reasons. (on a side note, I had actually written a two page summary of my experience and comments on the experience only to lose it in a web browser malfunction. I have no intention of attempting to write it again.) Anyway, my reasons for finding the event useful this year were 1) I learned how to do an effective personal soundbyte about myself as I asked a questions 2) I was able to ask key questions about my age, the type of resources for certain types of career directions 3) Getting to personaly meet and introduce myself to some great admissions directors.

Two major changes occured this year compared to last years event. 1) The number of schools had drastically increased. I read that in an online article somewhere not to long ago that business schools were throwing more time and money to aggressively pursue a broader pool of the most qualified candidates unlike previous years because of the low low low enrollment numbers nearly all the schools have been experiencing. 2) EMBA series of tables were rather plentiful which I didn't notice last year. For example, the Wharton EMBA had it's own table apart from the Wharton Full time program located in a different location. The event was so big that it took up 2 floors of the Grand Hyatt hotel in San Francisco. That's big!
I plan on attending a Kellogg and HAAS EMBA info sessions in a couple of weeks.

I'm planning on being done with the GMAT by Thanksgiving.

For schools that I'm applying to... I'm targeting R2 for most schools and R3 for the rest. The schools that I'm looking at currently are:

Stanford Sloan
LBS Sloan
HAAS Part-time
Kellogg EMBA
Wharton West EMBA

I predict a 20% culling to occur a couple of times over the next month or so to shorten this list.

Lastly, I'm sadly moving to Southern California because of my job. My wife won't be going with me. Basically, we don't see the point in her coming down when she has a stable job that she likes. Since I fully predict a B-School entrance this year.. to move twice for our "stuff" seemed unrealistic right now. So I'll be moving down in about 6 weeks.


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