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. 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?