Well, it’s been a while!

Hello everyone! It’s been nearly 10 days since I last posted and a lot has happened since then. It’s amazing how 10 days can be a lifetime in this process, because I feel like a lot has changed in such an insignificant amount of time. First off, I attended a Fuqua information session last Sunday, hosted by Jake Kiser and I was not disappointed. Although I felt like I already knew most of what was being said, simply because I’ve spent hours reading the website and student blogs, it was interesting to see the kind of people Fuqua looks for. The session was attended by four local alumni as well and they were able to give a lot of context to slightly abstract terms like “Team Fuqua”, “collaboration” and “giving back to the community”.

The turnout was far higher than I expected, but suffice to say, a lot of the questions asked were cringe worthy. But Jake and the alumni were really nice and answered everything with a lot of juicy anecdotes and stories. Before this session, I was already fond of Duke simply because I heard so much about it from my family friend. The way he described it just made me feel like it was the right place for me. After this session, I just fell in love with Fuqua even more.

I feel very reassured about my decision to apply Early Action to Fuqua because I can’t wait to be a part of this family. I love basketball (I played for my school’s women’s basketball team) and so the more I hear about the Blue Devils, the more I want to watch them play. Also Campout! Fuqua Friday! Climbing the wall! Gah. I just want to get into Fuqua and be done with the entire process already. Yale comes close, but not as close as Fuqua already is to my heart. I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket though, so I’m trying to be more rational about this and split my time between schools equally.

I have a list of 30 things for my “25 Random Things” essay which I need to cut down. I’m quite happy with my list because it pretty much describes me as a person. When it comes to the “Why Fuqua” essay, I’m trying not get too poetic and dreamy because I just sound like a love-struck idiot… but that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

Hope y’alls GMAT prep is going well! I’m getting a head start on my Southern accent 😀

Recap of the student hosted session: Booth

Okay, so I really want to get all of this down before I forget. So today was a very weird day, in the fact that I met so many new people and that’s something that doesn’t happen all that often. I got off work early to attend the Chicago Booth student hosted session. I still walked in to the event late though, all the other brown nosers probably camped out there a day earlier, but I digress. The student from Booth just finished her MBA this year and is now working in the healthcare industry. She basically sat down in the middle of this huge circle and began to field questions from the 40 odd people that came to the event.

First off, let me just say that people are so freaking dumb. My tolerance for stupidity is quite low and I was seriously pushed to the limit by the kind of questions people were asking. Like hello, she’s a student from Booth, not an admissions consultant! People had gems like:

  1. What GMAT score do you need to get in?
  2. What is the breakup of people coming from different industries?
  3. What should I put on my resume?
  4. Which format is better for the essay, text or a powerpoint presentation?
  5. Do we hide the fact that we’re using the services of a consultant?
  6. What are the different clubs on campus?

Oh. My. God. People had not done the slightest bit of homework and they were busy asking questions that a simple Google search would have answered. The student was kind enough to answer, but I could literally see her rolling her eyes each time a completely redundant question was asked. After a point, I became this annoying know-it-all and shot off answers to most questions that were being asked, simply because I had come prepared. Although I was one of the youngest ones there, I still left being extremely happy with myself because none of them seemed adequately prepared. There were also four women who attended the session out of forty people. Combine the two factors and voila, as a smart woman, I felt my chances rise exponentially.

Okay, getting down to the actual details of what she said. I found her advice to be direct and helpful and I worked hard at asking her meaningful questions if only to put her out of her misery.

  1. Booth is all about giving back. The collaborative nature in Booth extends right from the classrooms to everyday life. The 2nd years help out the 1st years and the trend continues because of this tradition of giving back.
  2. She also said that there is an important part of the application which asks for short term and long term goals that most people just skip (I guess it isn’t mandatory? I’m not sure). She advised us to be very wary and make sure we answered that one.
  3. She said that there were people of a wide variety of ages on campus and that despite being a relatively younger MBA entrant herself, her opinions were always afforded the same level of respect.
  4. She said that Booth really wants to see your personality shine through in the application. Show them who you truly are and not what you want them to see. Don’t exaggerate or blow your achievements out of proportion. Stay humble and true to yourself and let your experiences speak for themselves.
  5. She said that the career services team is very helpful and that they would even connect you with local alumni and set you up with interviews if you do choose to return to your home country.
  6. When I asked her about something bad about the school, she said that she wasn’t too fond of how the recruiting season started just two months after she joined the school. But she added that schools everywhere faced similar problems of being bombarded by recruitment stuff right at the beginning of business school.
  7. I made sure to ask her about how Booth looks at re-applicants. She said that they do in fact look at them quite favourably and they even admit over 30% of them the second time around. You do have to show significant improvement for them to reconsider.

That’s pretty much all I remember. I will put in stuff that I forgot later on. I just realised that I didn’t even socialise with the rest of the bunch. But that’s only because I had to leave early (and because I’m a bit of an intellectual snob). Seriously people! Google before you ask. You’re giving all of us other applicants a bad rep. Finally, she gave us her card and said she would put us in touch with the right people if we had any specific questions. One guy just asked outright if she would have a look at his essays. She looked like she wished she was dead, but she did agree to it in the end. This is what is wrong with me, I really need to be more pushy. Oh well, there’s always email.

Attending a student hosted event

Erm, so after having read many, many blogs about campus visits and the like, I decided to see what events were happening off campus, since I’m definitely not going to be able to squeeze in a trip to the States any time soon. As I was randomly going through websites yesterday idly registering for a few events in different cities at that, I suddenly happened to see an event for Booth in my own city that is happening today! This is so surprising because literally, no one comes here. Also, hello destiny?! I wasn’t even considering Booth in my list and it just so happens that I see this event a day before it’s scheduled to happen… The universe is calling out to me here.

I’m not sure if I should sound perfectly convinced about applying to Booth or just wing it when I go there. It would be stupid to show up not knowing if I even want to apply but I have no choice. I don’t want to skip the event, god knows these things happen once in a blue moon. After a lot of asking and skulking around, this is a list of things I would like to achieve after having attended the event:

  1. Find two or more mentors, recent graduates from the school who can guide me through the application process.
  2. Identify what makes the school tick. Find out as much insider information as I possibly can, stuff that I could actually use in my essays and interviews later on.
  3. Network, network, network. Find someone who works in the admissions office or knows someone who does. No admissions officer is going to be at this event, so if I could possibly be put in touch with someone, I might have an edge?
  4. Ask about career prospects post MBA, especially once back in India.

Any more ideas anyone? Let me know. I’ll update once I’ve actually attended the event. Also… I don’t have any visiting cards. How am I supposed to exchange contact information? Good ol’ pen and paper? Just note email addresses down? Meh. Must invest in visiting cards.