Final school list for Round 2

So after many, many, many hours of internal debate that resulted in a lot of hair pulling and crabbiness, I have finally  decided on my school list. I think I have been a little wiser in my choices this time around and I think each of them would be a good fit for me. It’s really weird though, when I started out, literally none of these schools were on my radar. This is mostly because I started out thinking I wanted to get into consulting post MBA and now I’ve done a complete u-turn by deciding to stay in the tech industry.

I know that I want to be an entrepreneur in the long term and I thought that consulting would get me there eventually. But when I actually sat down to evaluate the progression of my career, it made more sense to go another route, and that would be Product Management. It’s a pretty newish role in the industry but it’s growing by leaps and bounds each year. It allows me to leverage my experiences so far because I am an engineer, I work in a product development startup, the startup I founded is in the e-commerce space, I have a lot of experience in the technical aspects of developing a product and it just makes logical sense as a career path. So I can definitely say that I have a better handle on my story and how I’m going to market myself.

Weirdly enough, I had this revelation in the middle of writing essays for my R1 apps and my essays did say that I want to become a Product Manager at a leading tech firm, but by then the school choices had already been made and it was too late. Duke is still fine, since a lot of tech companies do recruit from there so my goals must have made some sense, but Yale was a complete washout. I shouldn’t have applied in the first place.

Anyway having cleared that up in my head, I know what kind of schools I should be looking at, especially to achieve my career goals. I want a focus on entrepreneurship, and a school that is welcoming to younger applicants and has great tech firms/startups visiting campus and so, drumroll please.

  1. Chicago Booth
  2. Berkeley Haas Kellogg MMM
  3. UCLA Anderson

Booth is where I really want to be and I think I do actually have a good chance of getting in. I am most doubtful about my chances at Haas since the acceptance rates are ridiculous but I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t apply but I’m going to have to live with it because I changed my mind and I have Vandana to thank/blame 😉 Okay, I’m lying. I owe her my unborn children because she has been a massive help and I can’t thank her enough. I knew before that the Kellogg MMM program was a great fit, but I couldn’t decide between this and Haas. I mean the MMM program is quite literally customized to fit with my career goals and what maaaaay have factored into the decision was the fact that I’d need to write the TOEFL and three long essays for Haas. Ummm… sue me, I’m lazy. UCLA Anderson is so close to the Valley, as is Haas which makes both at least one of them of no-brainers. If I had the time, I would have thrown Stanford into the mix, because, well Stanford. But hey, if I don’t get in this year, I plan to quit my full time job and scale my startup by about a 100x. Quite a few VCs have been feeling my company out, but I’ve just been dragging my feet because I honestly feel like I need an MBA to plug the holes in my skill set before we open up to investors. That’s actually why I decided I need an MBA sooner rather than later. I guess I’ll come to that when it happens.

My days are so packed, I literally have no time to breathe. GMAT prep, reaching out to current students, drafting my essays, dealing with work. It’s like I can’t catch a break. I am desperately waiting for the weekend.

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11 thoughts on “Final school list for Round 2

  1. That is a very well-thought out schools list. After reading your motivations for an MBA and your career plans, I would strongly suggest that you add the Kellogg MMM program to this list. Given that you’re interested in a career in Product Management and Entrepreneurship, the MMM course structure could be a perfect fit for your aspirations! Plus, Kellogg tries to interview almost everyone – so you could have a real shot at proving that you’re a good fit with the school by wow-ing the school in your interview. 🙂 Think about it! And do drop me an email if you want to talk more about the MMM program.

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    1. Hi Vandana. Your comments always make me think! So I was actually so torn about the Kellogg MMM program and I was really wavering on switching out Haas with that. But then I wasn’t sure about how Kellogg reacts to younger applicants. But now that you’ve mentioned it, I’m really starting to think about whether I want to write three (really long) essays AND write the TOEFL for Haas knowing that their acceptance rate is lower than Harvard’s. I am going to be mailing you about this very shortly. I wanted to discuss UCLA with you as well!

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    1. 23rd of December! And yes, it’s a retake. The last time I wrote it (2 years ago) I got a 710 and I decided that if I wanted to go all out for Booth, I’d at least try to bring it up to a 750. Aaaah, I’m starting to love it too! Have you started on your essay/ppt yet?

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  2. That’s a great list! I’ve decided to let Haas go. And I’m considering Booth – just because I LOVE their essay topic!! It gives me the freedom to show them who I really am! 🙂 But I know my decision shouldn’t just be based on their essay topic – so it is an internal struggle everyday! I am yet to start GMAT prep / Essays yet! Work has been super crazy and I have a trip scheduled this week for a month or so.

    Like Vandana mentioned, you must consider MMM! It is the perfect mix of business, innovation and everything else required to succeed as an entrepreneur. My goals are pretty similar to yours; except I don’t have an engineering degree. It is going to be harder to prove I am really interested in end to end of a product life cycle. But I’ve still gotta try.

    Good luck!! Keep us posted on how the essays are shaping up. 🙂

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    1. Haha, I decided to let Haas go too. Fickle mind I tell you. But no! Essay topics are actually a good way to weed out schools, because that kind of indicates fit you know? Maybe not in all cases, but at least some of them. Owww, that does sound rough. Essays can be done in the last minute but GMAT prep can’t so try to squeeze that in somewhere!

      Yeaaaah, MMM is on the list now. I’m kind of excited because I know Kellogg interviews everyone or at least tries to, so they have that one extra data point to make a decision. Are you applying to MMM as well?

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      1. I really want to apply to MMM. My only concern is whether the AdCom will think – without an engineering background how I will be able to cope up with those product / network design courses…. I really need to do some serious soul searching + brain storming. But I think for someone who wants to be an entrepreneur / at least work at a place where innovation & entrepreneurship is promoted, this would make complete sense……!

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  3. Great approach!! Well you gave me a direction to think upon. I would like to give it a try. I am yet to research Kellogg MMM program and initially I think it is a perfect match for the innovation tech startup. Lets see if I come to a conclusion soon. Thanks for the detailed post.

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