Darden Interview Preparation & Few Userful resources

After tasting the 1st moment of success this Monday for being admitted to Tepper and being selected as Forte Fellow, its time to get more enthusiastic about the MBA application journey and my next important milestone is the Darden Admissions Interview which is scheduled on January 7th. It will be a telephonic interview and I don't know who my interviewer is. I have read that Darden conducts blind interviews where the interviewer knows nothing about the applicant and has no previous access to applicant's applications.

I have always felt a great fit for Darden. The Darden admission reception and brainstorming/writing/rewriting the Darden essays were all great experiences. Now that Darden has embraced my thoughts in the form of my essays and extended interview invite, I hope I can articulate my fit with Darden and project my candidacy the right way in the interview so that I can get accepted at Darden.

I feel the key to succeed in interview is to clearly understand the natuhre of the interview and its a bonus to know the interviewer. But we should never over do the latter part to the extent of pestering our interviewer or scaring him/her away with a sense of over enthusiasm. But it definitely helps to have a clear idea about how the interview is going to happen. One major resource that has been helpful in my interview preparation is the "UVA DARDEN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: CLEAR ADMIT INTERVIEW GUIDE"

what I liked about this i/v guide

This I/V guide is a well researched, extensive guide to applicants. ClearAdmit has compiled many relevant data points regarding the interview and compiled it in a very readable way in this guide. Applicants can gain all the relevant information at one place through this guide. My specific takeaways from this guide which will also help fellow applicants are

  • Darden conducts blind interviews where the interviewer is either an adcom, trained second year student (for on-campus interviews) or Alumni (for international interviews).
    I would like to add here that as in my case, Darden also conducts telephonic interviews when alumni is not available in the applicant region. And blind interview gives you the freedom to reiterate your skills/achievements/aspirations that you have already expressed in you essays without the risk of sounding repetitive to the interviewer.

  • Darden Interviews are by-invitation-only and every applicant is interviewed prior to getting accepted. So interviews are an essential part of the admission process and hence to be dealt with meticulously

  • The interview typically lasts for 30 - 45 minutes but might stretch upto 1 hour when alumni is involved so its important to be flexible and prepared. Darden is famous for asking just one question in its interview which is "Tell me your story from cradle to chair". So be ready to present your life story in a way which makes sense in a MBA interview.
    My idea is to touch all the important milestones of life and articulate the reasons for my choices in life. Why I chose a particular college, company, career path, community activity and why it makes sense to my overall career vision.

  • Guide also has first hand interview experiences from past applicants and also a set of expected questions.
    I have found that the Clear Admit wiki page http://www.clearadmit.com/wiki/index.php?title=DardenInterview and http://www.accepted.com/mba/InterviewFeedback.aspx  contain useful i/v feedback from previous i/vs.

  • For those going on campus for interview, this guide gives all information needed to reach, visit, stay and interview at Darden. So US applicants watch out for this section. 
Things I had wished to see in this guide

I am a international applicant who won't be doing a on campus interview but a telephonic interview. So it would be a real value addition to this book if it has a dedicated section for "remote interviews" like telephonic and skype interviews.
And the book should provide links to the Darden Interview page on Clear Admit Wiki to help the readers. This will give some extra resources to the readers and at the same time readers will be encouraged to share their interview experience with the world through this wiki. Other than these I feel this guide can be really useful to applicants preparing for their Darden interview. The last section - "General Interview guide" can help you out in any MBA interview not only Darden.
I am also planning to talk to current students about the remote interviews to get some sense about how it usually goes. So that's about my Darden Interview Prep. All the best to fella applicants who are getting R1 decisions or submitting R2 apps. Happy holidays and a Merry Christmas !

P.S - Thanks ClearAdmit for providing me with a copy of "UVA DARDEN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: CLEAR ADMIT INTERVIEW GUIDE.  You can check out more about the available clear admit i/v guides here

Tepper's cool new acceptance video

Yesterday morning when I received the Tepper decision email, it had a link to this cool new acceptance video. Thought I will share it on my blog

While doing this I learned how to grab the flash videos from web and embed them in blogs :) Yeah :)


The first taste of Success - Tepper says welcome :)

My 1st moment of  success in my MBA journey is here :) Without any further ado, I am admitted to Tepper class of 2012 and have been selected as a "Forte Fellow".

Now for the full story -

I am a round 1 applicant to Tepper CMU and was interviewed in November. Today morning when I opened my inbox, there was a mail from Laurie Stewart, Executive Director at Tepper school of Business waiting for me and the subject line said  Exciting news from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon. This gave me the initial good feeling about the results. The mail read

Dear M,

Hello from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon! I am writing with exciting news. To learn more, select the link below (or paste the link into your browser). The link will open a brief flash application. Once the application has ended, please click on the buttons for additional information.


Laurie Stewart
Executive Director - Masters Admissions
Class of 1987
Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon

I followed the link and there it was - I have been admitted to Tepper class of 2012 and have been selected as Forte Fellow. This is really a honor to me to be selected as Forte Fellow and my admission letter said the reason for this selection and I am delighted to hear that :)

We have chosen you as a Forté Fellow because of the high regard we have for your credentials and our view of the positive impact you will have on our entering class.

So that's about my 1st moment of success :)

Beautiful B-School Photo Contest - Bring it on !

Last year when I had just started my MBA research, I often read about this contest and here I am this year, as a judge to this year's Beautiful B-School Photo Contest! and I am really excited. Thanks accepted.com for this opportunity !

A bit about the contest. Be sure to check it out and submit your entries to win some cool prizes.

It's that time of year again—time to visit your top choice b-school campuses and show off to the world what you've found. Put your artistic talent to the test by submitting your favorite campus photos to the annual Beautiful B-School Photo Contest!
Last year's 1st place winner presented this dramatic picture of Columbia:

You can view other photo submissions from last year on Accepted.com's Facebook page.
Add an extra element of fun and creativity to your b-school visits by snapping photos of grounds and scenes that inspire you. And then share them with us to win great prizes!

Social Media in MBA admissions

In this age of  social media, MBA admissions is no exception from coming under the influence of social media tools like twitter, blogs, facebook and etc. Almost all schools have their twitter feeds, maintain blogs and facebook pages. Veritas Prep has come up with a detailed report on this phenomena - http://www.veritasprep.com/whitepapers/VP_Social_Media_Audit.pdf.
Some important points include
  • Despite all the buzz in the past year about Facebook and Twitter, good old-fashioned blogs still seem to be the most preferred method for communication, with more than 60% of the top 50 U.S. business schools maintaining a regular blog presence. 
  • Many school approach social media as they do all forms of media: as a way to push out their messages to their intended audience. However, that's only half of the potential of thee channels. The "pull" approach invites applicants to talk back, getting their questions answered and giving instant feedback to the school, as well as helping the admissions office learned more about the individual applicants. As Martinelli explains, "We learn more about our applicant needs which helps us to design better communications. Plus, these exchanges provide us with valuable content that helps us in the evaluation process."
  • “Leveraging authentic institutional voices in social media outreach also offers applicants a glimpse of the
    MBA program’s community.”
I really like the Veritas Prep's efforts to research the MBA application aspects in detail and share it with the world.

Video of six core principles of good management

Check out this ten-minute video summary of Awesomely Simply by John Spence. It’s a good overview of the six core principles that determine a company’s fate.

Darden interview invite and a relaxing weekend !

Hey all,

After finishing a gruelling mba application schedule on Friday, I decided to take on a different route this weekend. I packed my bag and left to Mysore. Mysore is where I did my graduation and the place I love the most. Its a heaven to be in and I have some zillion memories of life and some most special persons associated with this magical place. I had a relaxing 2 days at my grand ma's place and with my friends. I came back to Bangalore and I had one more good news awaiting me in my gmail inbox.  My dream school Darden had invited me for the interview :) :). After a great experience at Darden admissions event and fit with Darden culture, I had applied to Darden in round 1. Darden application had  seemingly simple 2 questions.
But answering them was by far most demanding but immensely enjoyable exercise. It made me think about my past experiences and my future plans and how to bridge the both. I had taken a very unconventional path to answer these essays. Unlike my other school essays which underwent reviews and structural refinement, Darden's essays were straight from my heart (and ofcourse mind and brain too). Darden has understood my wavelength and it feels great :)

This is what Darden had to say :)
Dear M,

You have been invited to interview with the Darden School of Business. Included in this email is important information to help you plan your visit. As a reminder, we do need you to schedule your interview or contact us in the next 10 business days if you are interested in continuing the application process.

Please visit the website below for scheduling instructions and information on events during the interview days.
If you have any questions about scheduling your interview, please call or email the Admissions Office.

Admissions Visitation Coordinator

Sara Neher in her video  blog had said that international students will have alumni i/v. I have mailed Darden adcom about it and will keep my progress posted here. I wish I could have gone to Darden for a oncampus interview and campus visit. But this doesn't look possible given the travel, visa and work issues. Nevertheless if things go well, I will be @ Darden next fall :)

Wish me luck guys !


Some recent job market trends for MBAs

Here is a link to some recent job trend reports. Useful for MBA aspirants to do a reality check.
 Some important learnings
  • Overall, the global demand for MBA graduates has decreased by five percent. This decline is particularly noticeable in the financial services sector, in which new hires have decreased by ten percent. Only the consulting sector has seen a three-percent rise despite the declining trend . In contrast, the demand in the industrial sector remained the same, while the technology sector saw a one-percent increase.
  • Despite thousands of career casualties, the crisis has not made MBA students any less eager to charge into the front lines of finance.A third of 2009 full-time MBA candidates plan to pursue careers at finance and accounting firms, level with the past two years, according to annual surveys by the Graduate Management Admission Council, a nonprofit group that administers the GMAT.
  • The MBA degree is clearly becoming increasingly important in the emerging markets. Companies here are looking for graduates who can help them exhaust their growth opportunities on the global market.
  • 77 percent of the employers surveyed prefer MBA grads with over three years of professional experience. The demand for younger graduates is lower than ever before, as only two percent of employers look for graduates with less than one year career experience.
  • The averages usually reported by schools tell prospective students only part of the story. Means and medians, like the ones reported on BusinessWeek's Web site, mostly gloss over the experiences of students in atypical careers such as microfinance or public service. And numbers outside the averages or ranges can be hard to come by, leaving students to play an uncomfortable guessing game in the shadow of student loans.  
  • One of the more stark divisions represented in the data is the pay disparity between different programs. According to PayScale, graduates from the Top 10 programs will make nearly twice as much as the typical MBA. And that pay advantage wears off fast after the Top 10, says Al Lee, PayScale's director of quantitative analysis. "Outside of the Top 20 [ranked schools], you're under six figures," he says. Even worse news for students at lower-ranked programs: "By the time you get out of the Top 30 you're talking just a small premium over the average school,"


    A welcome change from The MBA Tour

    Few days back I expressed my concern over how MBA tours can go futile because of large number of participants in my post My 2 cents about MBA Tour.

    Yesterday I got a mail from The MBA Tour informing about the next series of The MBA Tour in 2010. And I was really happy about the step they are taking to ensure that only genuinely interested candidates will enroll to the event. They have set some basic criterion for registration and also asked for resume. I am sure this will do a good job in keeping out random attendees. Good Job guys! Here is what they had to say :
    Join MBA admissions directors for small group round table discussions about MBA program features, the admission process and career opportunities.
    View video

    Delhi, 12 January 2010
    Lalit New Delhi
    Barakhamba Avenue, Connaught PL
    New Delhi 110 001, India

    Bangalore, 14 January 2010
    Hotel Taj Residency
    41/3 M.G. Road
    Bangalore 560001

    Mumbai, 16 January 2010
    JW Marriott Mumbai
    Juhu Tara Road
    Juhu Mumbai 400049, India


    The event is FREE and space is limited. You are eligible to attend one of these events if you fit the following profile:

    » Have an interest in a full-time, international MBA experience

    » Have already completed your undergraduate studies

    » Have plans to begin your MBA studies in the next 18 months

    To attend, send your resume to register@thembatour.com

    Forward this message to your friends and fellow prospective MBAs!

    The Nothingness syndrome !!

    I have a peculiar nature of feeling totally empty after a busy schedule gets over. Instead of feeling happy about completing the task, I kinda feel sad that I have nothing more to do at the end. Its mostly got to do with my disposition to enjoy the journey more than the destination.

    yesterday I submitted a round 2 app which was very demanding and had kept me busy for long time. When I finally finished the essays and submitted the app, I started feeling that nothingness again. My next school deadline is one month away and I have decided to take a much awaited break from MBA apping process. I am hoping to get interview invites in this period and the wait continues. Darden are you listening ? Other than this, I have no MBA apping item on my plate.  I am so used to research B schools, write/edit/rewrite essays that it feels weird not to have to do any such thing.

    I am thinking to start with MBA essay reviews which I have been doing for my friends and now want to expand to online friends as well. So if any of my readers want to get your essays reviewed, contact me.

    MBA Virtual Neighborhood : Start your MBA research here

    Forte foundation has this cool new feature called MBA virtual neighborhood to explore MBA programs from across the world who are associated with Forte foundation.It  is a portal to information for prospective MBA students. Find all of the information you need on Forté sponsor schools - the top business schools - in one convenient place.  Read blogs, listen to podcasts, watch school videos and find information about annual events for women.  Start your journey today!


    Impulsive mail check syndrome

    We all know how hard it can get to stop ourselves from impulsively checking our inbox and MBA forums for MBA application updates. Off late I was also suffering from this syndrome and thought its high time I find a way outta it. These things can lower our productivity in a big way. I have a big release lined up this month at work and I can't afford to suffer from this impulsive disorder anymore.

    As a quick fix I installed this small piece of software called GMAIL Notifier. As the name says this software starts screaming out for attention whenever a new email arrives. Not only this, we can also read the emails, mark them read or even delete them through this simple interface.

    After installing this, I never keep my gmail inbox open n this saves me some valuable time. How are you guys dealing with this impulsive disorder ?


    MBA Financing: Alternatives to traditional MBA loans

    Financing your MBA needs lot of research and effort. In this post I would like to share information about alternatives to traditional MBA loans and private vendors. These are called social networking loans or peer to peer loans. (Forbes featured a related article titled "An Alternative To Student Loans." )

    Person-to-person lending (also known as peer-to-peer lending and social lending) is, in its broadest sense, the name given to a certain breed of financial transaction (primarily lending & borrowing, though other more complicated transactions can be facilitated) which occurs directly between individuals ("peers") without the intermediation/participation of a traditional financial institution. Organizations which facilitate such loans connect people who want to loan money with people who want to borrow money. Loan rates are usually fair and are fixed for the life of the loan. Here are some sources of P2P lending for your MBA
    Lookout for these options when planning your finances for MBA. 


    My 3rd post on MBAinTheUSA - MBA Thanksgiving

    In my 3rd post on MBAinTheUSA I celebrated thanksgiving in my own way :  by thanking all those people who have helped me in my MBA journey. Check out the post here MadBubbles Experiences an MBA Thanksgiving

    Financing your MBA - What, When, Why and How ?

    Courtesy : Simon Howden

    As its been said multiple times, MBA decision can be one of the most important decisions in one's life and it doesn't stop there. As every applicant is aware, the MBA process starting as soon as from the GMAT time is highly expensive. One needs to really put some sincere effort towards planning his/her finances for MBA. People usually tend to postpone the finance planning till the last moment of MBA application process as the pressure of other aspects like school selection, essays, recommendation, interviews gobble up the major share of applicant's time. But this may not be the wisest thing to do as there are lot of financing options available which needs to exercised at a much earlier stage of application process.

    I just finished reading the E book - Financing your future by Accepted.com and found it useful for planning our finances for MBA. The book has a lot of information about the types of financial assistance available to applicants. Not only that, it also goes on to the way in which applicants can win those scholarships by aptly planning for it. In this post I am gonna share few useful pointers for applicants to help in their finance planning.

    Takeaways from the E book - Financing your future
    •  Start planning early. Never ignore the financing part. Parallel the financing research with your school research. Many schools offer merit based, need based and special criterion based awards. Make sure you know what your target school has to offer. E book offers a really well planned timeline for the financing part and also offers great insights on type of awards available to students and the differences between them.

    • There are a lot of external funding available for MBA students. For example Forte Foundation offers fellowship for women students, The consortium offers the Consortium Fellowships for minority students. These prestigious fellowships go beyond the financial aspect and offer  professional mentoring and networking opportunities to selected candidates. So keep your eye open for such tremendous opportunities. You can also search for scholarships in external online databases on Scholarship-Experts and Fastweb.

    • Treat the scholarship application process (if any) with utmost sincerity and diligence as the efforts can pay rich dividends. While some scholarships have a elaborate application procedure which includes essays, SOPs and recos, some school scholarships doesn't need any extra application but will be decided based on the merit of the application.

    Things I wished to see in the E book

    While the book has some very useful resources for domestic applicants, it would be more useful for international applicants if the book adds some more dedicated resources for international applicants.

    MBA applicants should also research for school specific financing information which is available on school websites or by contacting finance office. Let me know how you planned your MBA financing and any other sources which you found helpful.

    PS: Thanks to Accepted.com for providing me with a copy of this e book. You can check out more about the book here.

    My 2 cents about MBA tours

    Amidst all the thanksgiving buzz that is happening, B schools are gearing up for the next MBA tour. In Bangalore where I work its happening next weekend (5th December) and I plan to attend it and attend it meaningfully.

    MBA tours and fairs are a great way to learn about B schools, specially so for international students who cannot do a campus visit. But it may not always be true. My last experience of attending a MBA tour was bizzare where I couldn't gain any new value outta it and strongly felt that it was a waste of my time and money. But whom to blame ? I think the problem is the sheer number of people who choose to attend these fairs. These fairs should ideally be open for people who
    1. Really want to do MBA or atleast considering it in short term. I have seen people who are not very keen on MBA but just turn up for some purpose which I haven't understood till now. 
    2. Done their basic research about GMAT, MBA and B schools. I mean we need to respect the fact that the B school reps have traveled a great distance and spent a lot of effort before making this fair happen. It will be a great waste if they need to answer questions like, where are you located ? Can you tell me if I can be accepted at your school (of course without giving any profile). No really. People do ask such super basic questions which can easily be answered by websites and sometimes by sheer common sense. Come on guys, learn to google instead of bothering adcom !
    The major disadvantage of a big crowd with people in all stages of their MBA process is that people who really want to meet the target B school adcom and want to really know few useful things cannot really get a chance.

    I cannot really think of foolproof solution to this problem because MBA tour organizers cannot really tell which participant is serious about MBA and who is not. But individual attendees can take some steps to make some real value of out of it. Here are those.
    •  Please please please do your basic research about GMAT, MBA and B schools. In today's digital age, googling can give any information about any topic under the sun. So take some time and do the basic research. Get to know the list of participating schools and shortlist few schools which you might be interested in. Don't use MBA fair to get to know name of schools !
    • Most participating schools send out mails to attendees few days before the MBA fair. Some also offer exclusive consulting sessions for interested candidates. Make the best use of it. See if you can book such sessions with your target schools. This way you can be sure that you will have some quality time with the desired B school rep. This post about MBA informational interviews can help you out in having a useful session.
    • Time your MBA tour activity. This is a interesting take away from my last MBA tour experience. Though mornings will see a flood of attendees, this initial fizz will soon die. If you stay for long till afternoon session, you stand a good chance of meeting people. This is because people with superficial interest will most choose to leave the venue. 
    • Network with other participants as well. This is the most important part. Though you can not always be talking and networking with adcom, you can always reach out fellow participants and network with them. This can give you a good perspective about the competent pool and can also lead to valuable personal/professional connections. 
    • Always follow up with people who met with you. It might be a good time to make the 1st impression on the adcom. 

    With these learnings, I hope to make my next MBA tour experience bit more fruitful. Does any of my readers from Bangalore planning to attend the MBA Tour ? I look forward to network with you all.

    What do you all think about this ? Be sure to leave a comment !

    A fresh perspective on the real value of MBA

    As I have said mutiple times, one thing which I always welcome in my life is fresh perspectives. I love to know and learn new ways of thinking about just about anything in this world.

    Today my usual social media search lead me to a series of very interesting articles about the value of an MBA on this site by Tim Berry, President and founder of Palo Alto Software. He has written a series of articles about whether one needs to do MBA or not, what can one really get out of MBA and more. I felt the articles to be really thought provoking. I have already shared my perspective about The MBA decision in this post (MBA channel) and this post. I discussed the factors which can lead to MBA decision. Continuing with this topic, I will share my learning from Tim Berry about business education.

    The eternal debate about whether a person is born as entrepreneur or is it possible to teach him to be one is answered by Tim Berry in this post. He opines that if we choose right time and right motivation to study business, it will surely turn things better. But at the end attending B school should be one's own personal decision and no one formula fits all. So true ! Few excerpts
    "Education in trade or business related subjects is about making things better, faster, and easier. If you can learn in a day in class what would take you a roller-coaster ride through the hard knocks, is that better? If Bill Gates did Microsoft without studying entrepreneurship, does that mean you don’t want to?"
    "Entrepreneurship is the best of business. You have to get your head around the whole business, not some functional part. Studying entrepreneurship is the best way to study business. "

    In this post Tim touches the key basics of entrepreneurship which can be taught by B school. These include cash flow, business planning, general business fundamentals, communication skills and skepticism. In his own words,
    "A good education can teach you what not to believe, and why not. Enthusiasm is great, and you hear so much about passion and persistence and all, but not without a basis for reviewing what makes sense and what doesn’t."

    But B school is not a one stop solution to turn a person into an entrepreneur. Few skills in life should be earned by the experiences of the real life itself.  These include dealing with people, judging right and wrong, having a life, managing risks, When to hold and when to fold. Specially loved this thought
    "With all the baloney we spread about entrepreneurship passion and perseverance and persistence and all, where in the curriculum do we teach putting business in the right order of priorities? Who teaches that it’s easier to find a new job, or build a new business, than a new spouse? Which class is that?

    Every class in entrepreneurship should have at least one session with somebody who got so obsessed with the business that they lost the rest of their life. It happens a lot. It needs to show up in the classroom too."

    This post summarizes the whole issue by listing down those few key points one should consider before taking The MBA decision. This post is written as a response to reader's email who is contemplating on his MBA decision and it really makes a good read.

    Probably every MBA aspirant should assess his/her motivation to do the MBA after reading through these posts. I am now more positive about my MBA decision. I know my motivation is that I like to go back to school to study business and that big bucks or escaping current job is not leading my MBA decision.

    What do you guys think ??


    My 2nd post on MBAinTheUSA

    My second post as global blogger on MBA in the USA is alive. Its about the 6 Considerations for International MBA Applicants. 

    International students should consider few things which are not of concern to domestic students. These include housing, visa, international financing and others. Be sure to check the complete post 6 Considerations for International MBA Applicants.  for more information


    Mind boggling interview questions by google

    My Randon browsing journey led me to this interesting yet super difficult set of i/v questions asked by google in its job interviews. Try out these brain benders

    Time to revamp this blog

    I love trying out new stuff and constantly reinventing things in life. I also tried to do the same with my blog. I have spent a lot of time to make my blog look good (atleast for me eyes). Learnt a whole lot of blog tools and tips.

    Lost most of the widgets/menus when I tried to switch the template to a new simpler template today. This week I am busy in interview preps and my cousin's marriage !

    But next weekend will be the makeover time for this blog. Will I go for a simple 2 column template or super-loaded 4 column template full of widgets ? I dono yet ! At times when I have more than one good choice, I often follow my heart and its gut instinct and this is what I am gonna do then also..

    Till my next post, ciao !

    Tepper interview invite and preparation resources

    As I briefly shared in my last post, I have received the interview invite from Tepper. Tepper took just 2 days to send out the interview invite. Admissions office is really flexible about setting up interviews and applicants can chose to have either a on-campus interview or skype video interview or telephonic interview. Interviews are not allowed on weekends. The interviewer will be a adcom member and they don't offer off-campus alumni interviews.

    I chose to take telephonic interview in the 2nd week of November. http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html is a great tool to setup interviews when the people involved are in different timezones as in my case.

    In my second post as international blogger on MBA Channel, I shared some tips about the interview. Be sure to check the post here

    Update 1 : Just came across this useful resource about preparing for B-school interviews. Very practical tips & suggestions in form of slides. check them out here


    Great set of MBA Interview Questions

    Why did you choose your undergraduate major?
    Tell me about a standout academic experience.
    What was your favorite class in college?

    Career Progression

    Why go to your first job?
    Discuss your career progression
    Tell me an important thing that you learned from your work and school experiences.
    How did you choose your job after college
    Tell me a decision you made in your career you wish you could have done differently.
    What challenges do you think you will face as you move through this career path?
    What would be your dream job (if you had no considerations for money etc.)?
    Explain your career path to date; why did you choose the jobs you have had?

    Current Job

    Tell me what you do in your daily job
    What do you do at work?
    What do you/don’t you like regarding your job
    Tell me about your job. How is your most recent project going?
    What exactly do you do at your current job, how is the group structured, do you have any direct reports?
    Take me through an interesting project you have worked on recently.
    What do you like about your job? What do you not like about your job?
    If I promoted you today at your job, what change would you implement?
    Take me through an interesting project you have worked on recently.
    What would you do to improve your company (pretend you've been promoted)?
    Describe a typical work day
    What is most frustrating at work?

    Why MBA?
    Why are you applying to business school?
    What brought you here? (applying for business school)
    Why the MBA? Why now?
    Why are you interested in a general MBA program?
    What specific skills do you want to get out of this program?
    With all of your experience, why do you need an MBA?
    When did you realize that you wanted to go to business school, and why?

    Why School?
    Why does this school appeal to you?
    Have you thought of other schools?
    Where else have you applied and what was the result

    Other MBA
    Why do you want to be in senior executive role?
    Would you have any regrets if the market tanked next year and you were unable to get a premier job
    What part of the MBA program will you struggle with most?
    Activities at SCHOOL you would participate in. What you can bring to them?
    What do you think will be your biggest challenge at SCHOOL?
    What will be the biggest challenge for you in adjusting to life at SCHOOL?
    What do you see yourself doing for your summer internship after your first year?
    What do you specifically have to bring to the classroom versus the many others who have done XXX career?
    What would you uniquely add to the class?
    What do you think the risks are for SCHOOL if we admit you?
    What would you do if not accepted?

    Personal Characteristics
    Tell me who you are.
    Discuss yourself
    What is an activity you are involved in? Why is it important to you?
    Name three words or phrases to describe yourself to others
    What contributions would you make to a group?
    What do you do to relieve stress
    It's two years after graduation, what three words would your team members use to describe you
    Who’s the leader you admire most? Another leader and why!
    How would co-workers describe you?
    A book I'd recommend that I've read recently.
    Name three qualities that do not describe you
    What distinguishes you from others?
    What are people most surprised to learn about you?
    How comfortable are you speaking up in front of large groups of people?
    Why do you think you are successful at what you do
    Misperception about you/first impressions
    If you could write a book on anything what would it be on?
    What kind of books do you like to read?
    What are your extracurricular interests?
    What makes you unique?
    On a scale of to 1 to 10, compared to your peers, rank yourself in analytical ability. In drive? In confidence? In being better than people?
    How do you think you are as a contributor to the community?

    Career Aspirations
    What do you want to do (in regard to business function, industry, location)?
    Describe your career aspirations
    What are your long- and short-term goals? Why?
    Talk about experiences you have had at work.
    Discuss any experience you have had abroad.
    What challenges do you think you will face as you move through this career path?
    How you will accomplish your career goals?
    What is your goal in 3, 5 years time?
    What strategic issues would you want to tackle if you were running a company in your chosen field?
    What do you not want to do?

    General Leadership
    How do you define success?
    How are you a leader in your job
    What is your leadership style?
    How would you describe your leadership style; collaborative or direct?
    What are the pros/cons of your style?
    What leader in history do you admire most?
    What makes someone a leader?
    How do you motivate someone?

    Leadership Stories
    Tell me about a time you helped someone else succeed.
    Tell me about a time you helped someone else develop
    Give examples of how you have demonstrated leadership inside and outside the work environment
    Time when you've been challenged as a leader and what you learned from it.
    Give an example of leadership that you didn't discuss in your essays
    Tell me about a specific situation in your professional career where you solved an important problem.
    Tell me about a time when you exhibited leadership.
    How had your leadership style evolved from Position X through today?
    Give a leadership example outside of work, after college.
    Tell me about a leadership experience that you did not mention in your essays.
    Since submitting your application, how have you continued to take leadership roles?
    What would your colleagues say are your strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
    Give me your leadership resume, starting when you feel is appropriate and demonstrating your growth as a leader.
    Give an example of when you took the initiative.
    Give another example of a situation in which you showed leadership in the face of adversity.
    Tell me about a decision you have faced, not that you necessarily regret but I am more interested in the decision point.

    Lessons Learned
    What did you learn from experience XYZ (that was discussed in my essays)
    Tell me about a time you had to deal with conflict in the workplace
    Time when you've been challenged as a leader and what you learned from it.

    Team Environment

    Have you worked in a team environment? What were your contributions to the effort?
    What would you do if a team member wasn't pulling his own weight?
    What accomplishment are you most proud of?
    How do you work in teams?
    What would your colleagues miss least about you?
    What role do you usually take in a team setting?
    When did you lead a team? What is the hardest part of leading a team
    Tell me about how you manage teams
    How do you create accountability and create a strong team?
    Tell me about a leadership experience where you had to depend upon another person/other people for success
    Give an example of when you had to lead people?

    Challenging Situation

    Describe a situation where you brought an idea forward, and it failed.
    Talk about a time you encountered a problem you had to overcome.
    Time when a leader fell short and you had to step up and lead.
    Time when you wanted to give up and how you motivated yourself to keep going.
    Tell me about a time when you had to interact with people in a difficult situation.
    Tell me about a time when you were challenged at work.
    Time when you wanted to give up and how you motivated yourself to keep going.
    Tell me about an instance where you had to negotiate something on the job. How did you convince your counterparts?

    Biggest failure? Second largest, third largest failure
    Tell me about the time when you let your team down.
    Describe a situation when something went totally awry
    What do you consider your biggest fault is at work, why do you think you have it and what are you doing about it.
    Have you planned something that did not go through?
    Tell me a decision you made in your career you wish you could have done differently.
    Tell me about a time where you failed at your first job

    Ethical Decision
    Talk about a time when your values were challenged and you had to consult your moral compass.
    When was your belief challenged?
    What part did you play in the ethical concern you mentioned in your essay? How did the higher ups react to this situation?

    Difficult People
    Tell me about a time when you developed a person / dealt with a difficult person at work. What did you do?
    Tell me about a time you faced conflict at work- either between you and another person or between two co-workers and how did you deal with it.
    Tell me about a time when you had a bad leader.
    Give me an instance where you handled a difficult subordinate at work

    A latest dilemma I had between good options.
    Tell me about a time when you saw the solution before someone else?
    Do you have any decisions you regret?
    Why did you pick your recommenders?
    What do you think your recommenders said about your strengths & weaknesses?
    What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    What would your colleagues say is your strengths and weaknesses as a leader?

    Is there anything you would like to ask me/us
    What questions do you have for me?
    Anything you wished I had asked?


    News from Round 1 of MBA Applications

    Image Courtesy : http://www.flickr.com/photos/cdell/

    I am done with my round 1 applications. I applied to Tepper and Darden in round 1. It was a demanding but wonderfully self reflective process to write/rewrite the essays. And much to my happiness, I already got a interview invite from Tepper today morning :) I am planning to schedule my interview in 10 days and it will be a telephone interview. Need to start preparing for that.

    Am also super excited to know what happens with Darden ! I have put in my real self in the application and hope my thoughts will reach the Darden adcom.


    Heat of Round 1 deadlines and Light of Deepavali Celebrations

    Its been long since I got time to write a blog post. Time is flying by and even before I could realize, my round 1 deadlines are just a week away !!

    Week days just disappear at work. Only one positive thing is that I have resumed my yoga classes so it has been helping me in keeping the sense of balance in life.

    But after morning yoga and a busy day at work, am really not able to work on my essays in the week nights. So it leaves the weekends to my rescue. This weekend is a 3 day long weekend because of deepavali festival. Deepavali is one of my favorite festivals when we light a loads of lamps to lit up our houses and burn crackers. It symbolizes the journey towards enlightenment.

    So that exactly reflects my state. Feeling the heat of fast approaching deadlines, enjoying the light of deepavali celebrations.


    Fun with xtreme english

    Was going through my old mails and came across this hilarious post. Just thought will share it on my blog. It just tells what happens if we work too much on out english vocab and start using flowery language. Enjoy !
    A NORMAL PERSON : People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
    GRE STUDENT : Individuals who make their abodes in vitreous edifices would
    be advised to refrain from catapulting perilous projectiles.

    NORMAL PERSON : Twinkle, twinkle, little star
    GRE STUDENT : Scintillate, scintillate, asteroid minim.

    NORMAL PERSON : All that glitters is not gold.
    GRE STUDENT: All articles that coruscate with resplendence are not truly

    NORMAL PERSON : Beggars are not choosers
    GRE STUDENT : Sorting on the part of mendicants must be interdicted.

    NORMAL PERSON : Dead men tell no tales
    GRE STUDENT : Male cadavers are incapable of rendering any testimony.

    NORMAL PERSON : Beginner's luck
    GRE STUDENT : Neophyte's serendipity.

    NORMAL PERSON : A rolling stone gathers no moss
    GRE STUDENT : A revolving lithic conglomerate accumulates no congeries of
    small, green, biophytic plant.

    NORMAL PERSON : Birds of a feather flock together
    GRE STUDENT: Members of an avian species of identical plumage tend to

    NORMAL PERSON : Beauty is only skin deep
    GRE STUDENT : Pulchritude possesses solely cutaneous profundity.

    NORMAL PERSON : Cleanliness is godliness
    GRE STUDENT : Freedom from incrustations of grime is contiguous to

    NORMAL PERSON : There's no use crying over spilt milk
    GRE STUDENT : It is fruitless to become lachrymose of precipitately departed
    lactile fluid.

    NORMAL PERSON : You can't try to teach an old dog new tricks
    GRE STUDENT : It is fruitless to attempt to indoctrinate a superannuated
    canine with innovative maneuvers.

    NORMAL PERSON : Look before you leap
    GRE STUDENT : Surveillance should precede saltation.

    NORMAL PERSON : He who laughs last, laughs best
    GRE STUDENT : The person presenting the ultimate cachinnation possesses
    thereby the optimal cachinnation.

    NORMAL PERSON : All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
    GRE STUDENT : Exclusive dedication to necessitous chores without interludes
    of hedonistic diversion renders Jack a hebetudinous fellow.

    NORMAL PERSON : Where there's smoke, there's fire!
    GRE STUDENT : Where there are visible vapours having their provenance in
    ignited carbonaceous materials, there is conflagration


    Exciting new development - Am now a MBA Channel Blogger

    Image courtesy : MBA Channel

    Exciting new opportunities continue to come my way, thanks to my madologue blog. Few days back I was approached by MBA Channel with an opportunity to be their applicant blogger and I happily agreed. Today MBA Channel published my first post on their student blogs section.

    Be sure to check out my first post on MBA Channel : http://www.mba-channel.com/blogs/article/the-mba-decision-push-vs-pull-factor/

    I will share my applicant journey with MBA_Channel readers twice a month along with this blog and MBA in The USA website. Am really excited to be reaching out to a wider set of audience and applicants and to be able to share my perspectives with them.


    Darden admission event and my rants about the little small things in life and the big impact

    This is a long pending post about my experiences about Darden admission reception at Bangalore. I would like to dedicate this post to few people who inspired me to write this post. The two Bangalore auto drivers who made sure I attended the event and the Dean at Darden school of Business, Mr Bob Bruner. Read on to know why.

    I have always felt a liking towards Darden school and culture. I have a personal liking towards the Darden admissions director Sara Neher, specially so after watching her video blogs. I had also heard a lot about the Dean Bruner.I got a chance to meet him in person and it all started when I got the mail about Darden admission reception at Bangalore in September. I was thrilled to learn that Dean himself will be present at the event and I registered immediately.

    Comes the admission event day and things were far from being perfect. Work was hectic as usual and it was pouring heavily in Bangalore. When I finally finished my work and came out of office to go home, it was raining cats and dogs and I had no option but to drive back home on my bike in that heavy rain. After that crazy experience I decided to play safe and take an auto to venue instead. Then started the usual scene of Auto driver tantrums. In Bangalore auto drivers have the bad reputation of being snobbish and not people friendly. One should reach out for a minimum 5 auto drivers before they agree to drop you to your destination. And things get worse if its night and topped up with heavy rains. After 10 minutes of a failed auto hunt, I was getting impatient to stand on the road in the rain. Finally one auto driver agreed to drop me to my venue that too at the normal price (God bless him). I don't remember his name or face but I can never forget his sense of duty and honesty. If at all I get into Darden, he will have his share in it..

    I reached the venue bit late and found that people have already reached. The setup was very warm and informal and we had Dean Bruner, Asst director of admissions Sandy and alumni Jatin representing Darden. All of them were very friendly and open to all our questions. I was just waiting to meet dean Bruner who was having a chat with few other aspirants and I joined the group. It was the 1st time I was meeting the Dean of some top Business school. He was very warm and friendly and introduced himself to me. That friendly gesture helped me open up and I had some great time chatting with him about my questions about MBA and Darden. I asked questions about University of Virginia campus, First coffee at Darden and learning teams. And the answers he gave was detailed and perfect. He vividly explained his thoughts and each of his answers were reconfirming my fit for Darden. I never expected to have such a friendly conversation with The Dean himself. This is something I will cherish in my memories.

    I can't wait to apply to Darden and I have moved back Darden to round 1. I have done enough of research and am confident about putting my best foot forward in round 1 itself. I have always felt that fit for this school and I hope I will get a admit. I hope to meet Dean Bruner again in first coffee. (Addition to my dreams list)

    And it was the same experiece while going back home : it was still raining heavily and auto drivers were still refusing to come or asking exorbitant money. But again I met one more honest auto guy who safely dropped me back home. These are the kind of people who command very high respect from me. 

    So what was my take away from this experience
    • A chance to meet and interact with Dean. A lesson that a person can still remain friendly and down to earth even after achieving great things in life. 
    • The profession can not decide the worth of a person but the passion and honesty about the profession is what makes one respectable. 
    • The actual strength lies in lasting that extra mile while backing out at any moment might mean that you just missed reaching your goal. If only I had decided to go back home after failing to get an auto for long time, I would have missed the whole new experience.
    That day I met 3 persons who were just the kind of persons I love to meet ; honest and passionate about what they do. Dean Bruner and 2 auto guys. This post is for you guys.. You guys rock !!


    Career Guidance : The Investment Banking Interview Guide

      All About Investment Banking by gotta mentor

    These articles will help you learn more about Investment Banking, and outlines what it takes to find a job in this
    exciting industry.

    An Insider's Look at Investment Banking Recruiting
    Suggested Reading List: Investment Banking / Private Equity
    Differences Between Bulge Bracket and Growth Investment Banks
    Why are you interviewing with consulting firms AND investment banks?

      Interview Prep

    Here are some helpful articles to guide you through what you need to know before you walk into your interview.

    5 Common Investment Banking Interview Questions That Most People Screw Up
    Elevator Pitch Example for a College Student - Investment Banking
    Preparing for Investment Banking Interviews
    Advice For People Interviewing For I-Banking Internships
    Actual Brainteasers Asked in Sales and Trading Interviews
    Stumped By a Difficult Question in an Investment Banking Interview
    DCF Example - Valuing a Cow
    Financial Glossary

    Blog Archive