Recommendations and some surprising insights!

I had a lot of things planned for my day off, since I work 6 long days every week. Yes, including Saturdays. I have it rough. But I went out Saturday night and I spent most of Sunday sleeping it off. Yeah, 22 and I already feel like I’m too old for this scene. This is not good! Anyway, I’ve been working on the outlines for my essays and I think I have a good story. I’m going to be working on it more this week. I also balled up this Saturday and told my boss about my plans for an MBA. I was nervous about his reaction, because I do work for a startup and every single person here is a pretty valuable resource. But I was pleasantly surprised by his reaction, he seemed genuinely pleased for me and we even discussed my choice of schools and my future career plans. He offered to put me in touch with some connections of his that are alumni of my chosen schools. That was well beyond the call of duty. Oh, and most importantly, he said he would be more than happy to be one of my recommenders. I am so happy (and grateful) that he seems excited by this whole process, because god only knows I need some strong recommendations to get past the hurdles in my application. He also agreed to speak to a client about being my second recommender! Seeing as my client is American, I think this could add a lot of value to my application and prove that I can successfully fit into the American business landscape. I did manage to get my recommenders packet done though, it turned out to be much longer than I expected (3 pages!), so I hope they have the patience to read it through.

I also had a few calls with the alumni from the schools I’m applying to, a few of them were actually productive and the rest I learnt nothing new. But one of the people I spoke to worked in the admissions committee of the school and currently has his own career services startup and he had some excellent insights to share. The thing that shocked me the most was the fact that he told me to be wary about using the services of admissions consultants. Apparently, after reading thousands of applications each year, the adcoms have learnt to recognise which company has worked with which applicant based on the essays alone. He said he can differentiate an Alex Chu from a Stacy Blackman and an Accepted from an mbaMission. Wow. Even if you write the essays on your own, I guess each company has a ‘template’ per se, which leaves a unique signature on your essays. I’m not sure how much of a bad thing this is, but I think it’s best to be careful.

This guy is (was?) also on a first name basis with the entire admissions team and he stressed on how friendly and approachable they were. He urged me to meet them if they were at any events in India and he even said that they would let you know right away if they felt you weren’t a right ‘fit’ for their school. I think that’s a pretty great way to look at it, since applicants wouldn’t need to waste their time and energy on a school they probably wouldn’t get accepted to. He also spoke to me about the options available if I wanted to go into consulting and he encouraged me to have a closer look at Kellogg. Although it is known for its reputation of having the best marketing program around, they place about 100 – 150 students into the largest consulting firms (MBB), which is still a significantly larger percentage than the schools I’m looking at. I personally felt that it would be a long shot for me, but he thinks I have a competitive chance and that I should give it a go.

I have to say I’m a little confused now, but I think I’m going to do some more research and decide whether it would be a good decision to add one more to the list. Must sleep on that thought.