Exciting news - I now blog for MBA Podcaster !!!

Early 2009 - I had decided on doing my MBA and was vigorously searching for all the information relevant to B schools, Application process and etc. When I found MBA Podcaster, I instantly became a fan of their podcasts (http://www.mbapodcaster.com/podcasts.asp) I downloaded all the relevant podcasts and put it on my mobile and used to listen it very often to get the required perspective. They did a great job by giving first hand perspective of life at business school, different career options and more

April 2010 - I am now a blogger for MBA Podcaster blog - http://blog.mbapodcaster.com/. I just published my 1st post and you can read it here - http://blog.mbapodcaster.com/2010/04/introducing-new-mba-podcaster-blogger.html
I am so excited about being a part of the MBA Podcaster team !!! From now on I will be regularly blogging on MBA Podcaster blog about my MBA experiences.

From MBA thoughts till acceptance - my MBA story (till now)

Nomination to Clear Admit BOB awards inspired me to sit back and think through my journey on the path of MBA till now.. Last one and half year has been a life changing period since I started my MBA quest. This post is my dedication to that wonderful journey which is now the prelude to more exciting journey that awaits - the journey of 2 year MBA.. So here it goes.

Why MBA ?

Why I decided to do MBA roots from the kind of person I am. Am a people's person who always strives to achieve something everyday at the same time making a difference to the world around me. I am highly multidimensional with varied interests in life. Naturally I felt my engineering education is not sufficient to quench my thirst to master different facets of this world such as business, people management, innovation and more. So MBA was a natural next step for me after an year in software industry and non profits. But I had my share of doubts and uncertainties about opting for an MBA from a US B school. After careful deliberation I decided to go for an MBA in US with a confidence that it will be a decision I will justify any day in my life . Here are some posts which reflect my thoughts during this decision making phase. If you are trying to decide if the MBA is a right thing for you, be sure to check them out.
Why now ?

So I knew MBA was the right thing for me. Next step was to check my readiness to take the next big leap. In this post about early career MBA,I share few pointers about how can I justify my decision to do MBA just after 2 years of work ex.  I also on that point of decided that I would like to come back to India. 


Then I booked my dates for TOEFL and GMAT. I have always been comfortable in excelling at exams so these 2 happened without much ado.

TOEFL exam (31 May 2009) was bit screwed up due to crappy facilities at the test center. Exam kept postponing and finally when I exam begun I was out due to hunger and boredom.  I finally finished all 4 sections and managed to score 111/120 in the iBT format and headed straight to airport to see my cousin off to London. One helluva day..

GMAT in August was a breeze. As I had written the coveted CAT exam in 2008, quants was pretty easy and hence I mostly concentrated on verbal section during GMAT preparation.  Had taken a week off from office to prepare but to my luck it turned into sick leave as I was down with fever till 2 days before exam. But probably not over preparing helped me to be fresh on the exam day. Once I finished my GMAT, a score of 750 popped on the screen and I did few yeahs , yuhoos and all that in the test center and went back home.. 

over to more real stuff like essays n i/vs.. 

B-school research
Though I had started spending significant time on browsing through MBA rank lists, B School websites from early 2009, finishing my GMAT was the time I turned serious about shortlisting my target B schools. 
Blogging opens a whole new world

Meantime my blogging was reaching new heights with me making several new connections with fellow MBA bloggers, my blog readers and more. Few things which marked my progress was 
Applications and MBA admission interviews

This was one of the most challenging and stimulating periods in my journey. Every essay I wrote enhanced the understanding about myself and my goals. Each self reflection gave me such fresh perspectives about my life and I loved it. Applied to Tepper and Darden in round 1, Olin and Haas in round 2. Interviewed with 1st 3 except for Haas.
The coveted acceptance call and Forte Fellow twice. 

Tepper was the 1st one to embrace me. The 1st acceptance news will be cherished all my life. What made the moment more special was the honor of being selected as the Forte Fellow. I was twice lucky when I got acceptance from Olin and was selected for forte fellowship again by Olin too. 

I got my share of dings from Darden and Haas.

So its Tepper, CMU - my MBA destination
  Now it was my turn to decide btw Olin and Tepper. Both were great schools but Tepper scored in terms of fit and career goals in technology.  Am totally kicked about attending Tepper and also attended few Tepper events in Bangalore.   I recently declined the Olin MBA seat and am still feeling kinda bad about it. But I had to choose one and let go another. 

Self reflections

In the process I learned 2 major lessons which I will take with me whole of my life
  • No matter what Be yourself
  • Always give time for yourself when things are happening at the crazy speed. Don't forget to enjoy the little cheers that life offers to us. 
Pre-Matriculation craziness - loans, visa, I20 and more..

This section deserves multiple different posts and I will continue to write on it.. 

So that's the story till now.. I apologize for being too long but I hope this helps the readers who want to tread this path themselves to pursue their dream MBA. 

Cheers !!

Declined Olin MBA seat

Today I sent mail to Olin MBA admissions team informing them my decision not to attend Olin. And I must admit, its not a great feeling. Olin is a great school and the whole application process with Olin has been a hassle free experience. I really appreciate the simplicity of the Olin admission process.

Tepper admit weekend is happening on April 23rd 24th. I am not attending it as I am wrapping up things at work. I will be quitting in May second week. But am really sad that I can't attend Tepper admit weekend because even the CMU International Festival also happens around the same time. I have seen the videos of previous international festivals at CMU and it looked like loads of fun.

More updates to follow..


I have started my quest for one more terra-incognito - US student visas. I am in the process of arranging my funds, getting my I20. Once these 2 things are done, I can apply for my visa. But I started on gathering the basic information about getting an US visa. This post is to share the information which I have gathered to help the my blog readers.

The useful step by step information I have put in below is taken from VFS website

Step by Step process
Determine your consular district and visa type.

Obtain a photo that can be uploaded and meets form specifications.

Access the form DS-160. Complete your DS-160 application online. Save often to your desktop! Answer questions as thoroughly as possible before submitting, as incomplete forms may not be accepted.

Print the DS-160 barcode confirmation sheet at the end of the DS-160 application on a laser printer. After you have printed it, email the confirmation page to yourself so you have a backup copy. The file is a PDF file, so Adobe you will need Adobe Acrobat on your computer to open it.

Pay the visa application fee at an approved HDFC bank.

Make your appointment using your barcode number and fee receipt. If appropriate, use the “coworkers/family members traveling together” option. Then, download and print your VFS appointment letter.

For Mumbai district applicants only: Drop off your required documents three working days prior to your appointment at a VFS center in Mumbai, Pune or Ahmedabad.

Report for your interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate fifteen minutes before your appointment. Carry appropriate documents and follow security regulations. All applicants can find a list of documents under their visa type in the All About Visas - Non-Immigrant Visas section.

Approved visas are returned by courier. Click here to track your passport.
Websites of U.S. Missions in India New Delhi Chennai Mumbai Kolkata Hyderabad

Documents needed for the Visa application/interview
This webpage has all relevant information about students visa application and required documentation - https://www.vfs-usa.co.in/USIndia/nonimmigrantvisas_student.html. For the quick reference here are the documents that are required (list may not be extensive) for Applicants applying at the U.S Embassy, New Delhi / U.S. Consulate Chennai, Hyderabad or Kolkata

Mandatory Documents

Valid original passport. You are recommended to have passport valid for at least six months beyond your interview date.
One photograph as per specification.
CEAC Barcode printout.
Valid HDFC Bank visa fee receipt. (Embassy copy)
Original interview appointment letter.
Original form I-20 or DS-2019 as applicable.
Form I-901 (Sevis Fee Receipt)

Additional Supporting Documents required at the time of interview

Principal Applicant
Evidence of financial resources: proof of liquid assets sufficient to pay for the entire first year of education and living expenses as well as proof of readily available funds to cover the remaining year(s) of studies.
Proof of your relationship to the sponsor (such as your birth certificate), the sponsor's most recent, original tax forms, and the sponsor's bankbooks and/or fixed deposit certificates
Original degree certificates along with mark sheets.
Original Bachelor degree transcripts or high school diploma along with mark sheets from previous institutions attended.
Relevant test scores, e.g. TOEFL and SAT, GRE, GMAT or LSAT
Unlike F-1 visa applicants, M-1 applicants must demonstrate the ability to pay all tuition and living costs for the entire period of their intended stay and cannot work while in M visa status.

Spouse / Dependent Children

An approved form I-20 from the principal applicant's U.S. school or program with the dependent's name included;
A copy of the Form I-20 of the Principal Applicant.
Photocopy of the Principal Applicant’s valid visa (if applying separately).
Original Marriage Certificate (for spouse) along with your entire wedding photo album.
Original Birth certificate (for each child).
Additional financial resources to support the dependants

Wait time for US Visa
Advance travel planning and early visa application are important. You can use this website to calculate the Visa wait time depending on your locality  - http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html

This FAQ section answers the most common doubts, we applicants can have about US student visa

This post is just to share the information I have gathered through online search. I will be writing a post about my personal experience of getting my US Student visa once I go through the process.

Clear Admit Best of Blogging Nominee !!!

Am really humbled to be nominated for Clear Admit BOB awards. My hearty congratulations to other nominees. As I have said multiple times, I love the MBA fellow blogosphere. My fellow bloggers have been a source of support in my journey and some of them have even become my good friends. So here it goes to all my dear friends -

CHEERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Weekend with TEDX at Mumbai & some more updates

Hey all, I have been very irregular in my blog updates from a month. Writing this post to give brief updates about whats happening in my life.

Life is taking interesting turns everyday. Today received email from Olin that they have no cosigner loans. Man why can't tepper have something like this even after being a top program :(  Latest update is that I am still trying to figure out my best financing option and yet to finalize on my US cosigner. So things are yet to be done. Meantime I have talked to HR dept at my company about my exit and I plan to do it in May.

This weekend was well spent with TEDx at Mumbai. My 1st ever trip to Mumbai was really enjoyable. Though I felt TEDx was not really on par with the TED itself, I met some new people and had a good time. Here is a detailed report of what happened at TEDx Mumbai - http://blog.blogadda.com/2010/04/05/navin-kabra-report-on-tedxmumbai

I recently added my blog to the Beatthegmat blog list, thanks to fellow mba blogger Hari. Now you can also get updates from my blog on http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/blogs/all

I also bought a bike (cycle) for myself. Yayyyyy !! Am very very happy to have restarted biking. :) Yesterday I got my copy of a MBA admissions book and I plan to read it and write a review sometime in this month. In the next post I will write about what plans I have made for next 3 months while I will be jobless. I plan to make it complete fun. What fun ? I will write about it soon.