Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Countdown begins

Well first round deadlines for 4 of 5 schools are fast approaching. I can't believe in two weeks I'll be done, except for one. I thought I was on top of everything until I realized September's over. Anyone else having this feeling?

It hit me hard last night when I first realized that I couldn't get to the gym because I had to be head down on essays. Well that plus waking up early each morning this week to draft essays before heading to the office is taking it's toll. I've realized I much more productive in the morning and have fewer panic attacks during the day because I've done something on my applications. Those two with the fact that I completely reworked my leadership essay all resulted in a little bit of a panic.

But I'm better now. I think the essay is stronger and I've made good progress over the past couple of days. Only two more weeks!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hello again my friend

I'm long over due for a lengthy post; unfortunately, I don't think this is going to be that catch up I owe you. Since I last posted, I've devoted myself to the Tuck application and interview process. I'll give you a couple of quick highlights before diving into more depth (or at least hoping to come back to it). So here we go...

Tuck application is almost complete. I've had a number of people I trust read over my Tuck application, including the Tuckie who interviewed me last year. At this point, I have on essay to go. Everything else is teed up and ready to rip. The one essay is giving me some real trouble though. It's ok, I still have time.

Now that I'm confident that one application is almost done, I've spread my focus. This weekend I knocked out first drafts of my Haas reapplication, excluding the what I've done to learn about Haas essay. I'm not as confident in that one because I've spoken to a number of people but that's about it. I suppose I've also been poking around their YouTube channel and listening to podcasts but those don't hold as much weight in my mind. Anyway, Haas is on it's way. I've also started on Booth. The Tuck material fit nicely into this application once I had my positioning down. I know a second year there who gave me some motivation and feel fairly confident I'm heading down the right path. Not sure I mentioned this previously, but I did get an interview at Booth last year which also gives me some hope. UCLA is still untouched. Oh well, I can't be everywhere at once right?

My recommendations are now out. I've had one follow up conversation that went very well. I'm hoping to get in front of the others this week. I've prepared a three pager about my positioning, the overlapping questions and specific examples for each recommender. I've also given them two essays (career goals and what I bring to Tuck) and my resume. Hopefully this will make the process painless for them and supporting of my positioning. I'm confident in their ability to write positive and helpful recommendations. Helpful is the key; anyone can write a positive rec but it must reenforce your positioning to really work for you.

So that leaves me with the Tuck interview. I've realized through this process that I am a morning person. I'm most productive and efficient in the morning. With that, I scheduled my interview for 9:15. It worked well for me, avoided the traffic and arrived after watching the sunrise over the foothills. It was a great way to start the day. I met up with a Tuckie I'd been in contact with for roughly the past year. Ironically, he was actually slated to interview me. Of course, that wouldn't be fair (nor would his additional letter of support be as impactful) so he didn't have the liberty. Instead, I lucked out with another Tuckie who I felt I connected with. Now the important part: the interview was very informal and conversational. It seemed to go fairly smooth, hitting the typical Tuck interview questions:

- Walk me through your resume
- Why MBA, why Tuck, why now? / this led to career goals and how to achieve them
- Team experience
- Difficult team
- What I'd do at Tuck/excites me about Tuck
- Questions for Tuckie

I actually think that was it. I also fit in some global, leadership experiences. Also got to explain how my background is application, which I think was pretty convincing. It seemed to go by very quickly and at the end of it, I didn't really want it to end. As I learned last year, you'll never check off everything you wanted to during the interview. And that's OK. Overall, it was a great experience. I highly recommend having your interview earlier than later. I then went to class, toured the campus, had lunch with students and through it all I felt relaxed. Since Tuck is all about the community and experience I found it's easier to absorb it when you're not stressed out about an interview. Therefore, just get it out of the way.

Wow, this turned out to be a lot longer than I anticipated. It's amazing how much I have to say about this whole process. I saw a bunch of friends this past weekend and tried to keep myself off the MBA application topic. It was difficult but I think I succeeded. Now I turn that question to everyone. Where are you in the process and do you find that the majority of what you're thinking about and discussing is the application process? Just a quick sanity check. Now back to my Booth application with a little Monday Night Football in the background and bed soon...remember, the whole morning thing...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Days Off

With my Tuck interview tomorrow, I'm caught up between wanting to work all night and drive my applications to completion and just chill for the rest of the day. It's quite a conundrum. I've found that when I try to relax like that I feel guilty that I'm not making progress on my applications. At this point, I've updated all my essays for Tuck and I think I'm almost ready to call it complete (I'm nervous to say that). With that, I can focus my attention on bringing the content and adapting it to the other four schools. Since I'm a reapplicant, this mean Haas is almost complete, Kellogg just needs me to tailor my Tuck essays to them, Booth needs a ppt and Anderson wants to know more about my character. Doesn't sound too bad considering I have just over three weeks to go. I think Tuck, Kellogg and Haas could be complete in the next week and a half. Then I'd still have a couple weeks to bang out the last two. Not a bad place to be.

This weekend, I actually was able to accomplish a good bit without locking myself away until I came out productive. One of the things I realized is that it's important to read each essay independently. By taking a step back and asking what does this essay say and how does it say it without another essay clouding your judgement you can get a better read of the content. By doing that this weekend, I was focused on the task at hand. Today, in beginning my Booth ppt, I began to look at my application as a whole. What are the messages I'm trying to communicate to the adcom. What did I tell the Tuck adcom through 4 essays and a couple short answer questions. By looking at the messages, and ensuring there isn't too much overlap in specific content, I was able to quickly pull the headlines for my Booth ppt. Simultaneously, this enable me to ensure I was "on message" for Tuck. Overall, it proved very useful to ensure that both the big picture and specifics were coming through in my application. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but I don't think I did a great job with that piece last year. Hopefully this year that and adding specifics to the essays will make a difference which leads me to...

my Tuck interview tomorrow. As an aspiring consultant, I am trying to remember a couple of key things. First, take a minute. Silence is ok (in moderation) as long as you utilize the time to clarify your thoughts and come with a structure answer on point. Next, not every answer needs a detailed personal story of how I reached my answer. Ok, this does kind of contradict my specifics point earlier. It's close but it's a fine line. I need enough specifics to get the point across without burying my interviewer into a convoluted story that doesn't really bring him to a clear point. If I can do that, I'm confident. I know the school, I know my reasons for a Tuck MBA and future goals, I know how I'll contribute and be involved as a Tuckie. What more is there...? Not cocky, just trying to be confident.

Ok and with that, I'm basically done for the day. A last minute review is likely and a relaxing evening.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


It's about time I start working on my reapplicant essay, you know the one where I saw here's ALLLL the amazing things I've done to further myself as a candidate, and more importantly, a person since we (adcom and I) last spoke. This always seemed pretty formulaic to me for some reason. You gave me feedback (or didn't depending on the school) which came down to four areas: essays/career goals, involvement/leadership, quant abilities and GMAT. Out of those categories, I decided to work on 3. I left the GMAT alone as I had a 700 (90th percent) with roughly an even split with both above the magic 80th percentile that seems so critical. So that's the outline for the essay. Now it's just plugging stuff in, right? Wrong as usual. I'm once again overthinking it and trying to word each achievement or piece perfectly. Instead, I should just block an hour and bang it our (remember my earlier post on this, just get it on paper then edit, much easier).

With this in mind, here we go:

Goals/Essays - worked hard but also talked to lots of students and alumni to understand what the life is actually like. Through this I learned more about the schools and career path I'm hoping to achieve (please see essay 1). It solidified my interest in the career and school since all your alumni are amazing at continuing the dialogue and explaining the positives and negatives of their choices.

Involvement/Leadership - this is the place I have the most fodder: joined two sports leagues (an old passion), took on nearly double the number of client assignments which forced me to become a project leader, was more client/market facing over the past year, developed several large internal projects (one global in scope), joined another volunteer activity (great cause my friend introduced me to), became much more involved in my undergrad alumni association (including two new events linking current students with alumni to create a local mentorship network), couple more things I believe but you get the idea

Quant - took an online math for management course and earned an A-; ok, not the A I was aiming for but considering all the distractions, I guess it'll do

So there, now I have it and just need to plug into essay format. Done.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Feeling behind here

It's been a while since I've posted and I think I've promised a couple of posts at this point (which I promise I will make up eventually). Among work, applications, networking, school events, family and friends, gym and everything else I feel like I'm constantly running and tired. Needless to say this blog has been neglected. On a positive note, I'm made great progress and am closing in on finalizing my Tuck application (yea, I don't know if I believe it either). From there, I'm confident I can pull together the rest. Next Tuesday I'm heading up to Hanover for my interview. Although it's a stressful event, I'm really excited since I'm going to see a couple people I've had multiple conversations with, plus the beauty of the upper valley. Finally, I think I've made some good connections at all the schools, more on this to follow (I promise).

I know this is really jumbled and quick, but I'm tired and need to wake up early to write another piece of my application.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Well it's official. I've submitted the first application of the season. Oh the excitement, anxiety and nerves all rolled together. Ok, so it was just the data forms and resume for Kellogg so I can request an interview but still! The pressure that comes when you're about to hit submit is amazing. Should I check it again? Well I just checked it for the 14th time. So with that thought process, I finally hit the button. A bit of nervous energy rushed over me and I wonder if I should review one more time. It's probably not a good idea, especially since I would inevitable find one or two words I COULD change, buts now it's too late. Nope instead I'm going back to my essays. And that's that.

Now to schedule that interview...

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Well I'm publishing a quick post to update everyone on where I stand. It's also a technique for me to take a step back and look at my accomplishments for the weekend thus far. I've found one of the keys to successful navigating this process is to take stock of how far you've come every so often (and not let the impending deadlines get to you). So with that being said, I've made progress on several of my essays, completed the Kellogg data form (one more review tomorrow and then submitting) and all but a couple of math homework problems. Overall, not bad for the weekend thus far. Still a good bit to accomplish tomorrow but I'm now confident I can tackle it.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to kick this cold yet...oh well. It's not going to keep me down. More tomorrow.

Friday, September 3, 2010

This is going to be a big weekend. It has to be. Wedding season is over. Deadlines are just over a month away. Not to mention that info sessions begin in full force next week, coupled with connecting with current/former students at nights and all of a sudden each week is almost full until the deadline. This must be a productive weekend. That also means prioritization is critical, so here are my goals for the weekend:

1. Finish math homework for the week and begin FINAL EXAM - yup, scary considering my need for an A/A- in the course and how much farther away I am than I realized
2. Finish data forms for all applications - I have Tuck basically done so how hard can it be to flip the information into the others while I need a mental break
3. Edit all 4 essays for Tuck - this is the most daunting, yet most important
4. Draft my outline of improvements since last year's application
5. Make sure I'm on top of all my networking and no one has fallen through the cracks.

Doesn't sound too bad when it's broken out like that. When I consider that my resume and data forms are more or less done and my essays will be a lot closer by the end of the weekend I feel OK. Now to ignore the other's amazing how much overlap there really is (Kellogg ~+= Tuck).

I guess this post was more to lay things out for myself. I'll try to give more insight once in the middle of things/update on my mental state through it all. Hope this is helpful to someone out there...