Monday, November 29, 2010

UCLA Invite

One more down! I was invited to interview with UCLA this evening (~6:30pm est). I was still at the office so it was a great morale boost on the first day back from Thanksgiving of what was a long day. I'm really excited to receive more positive news from my schools. Now if I can just get one more interview before I hear back from those couple of schools....anyway, UCLA. It should be fun, I need to do some more homework and hopefully plan a trip out to see it for myself. It might be tough as their open slots are bit limiting with the end of quarter. As I learn more, I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Booth Interview Complete

After my Chicago Booth interview I'm feeling pretty confident. That is, until I begin to think that UCLA and Haas are still silent. Not to dwell on the negative, but I realize there's nothing else I can do at this point in relation to Chicago Booth except wait for the decision to be rendered. I'm still hopefully that I'll have an interview with at least one of the two and MJ Shores (UCLA Director of Admissions) tweeted that invites should pick up.

However, this post is focused on the Booth interview. My day began with a class which was entertaining but very small (a positive in my eyes). It was an economics course on emerging markets. The class was engaging and a mix of lecture and case discussion. Overall, I walked away with a positive experience similar to my previous 3 class visits at Booth. I skipped the prescribed admissions events to meet with friends that are 1st and 2nd year students. These were helpful conversations to calm my nerves, get an insider's perspective and provided more materials to reference in my interview.

The interview itself was short and to the point. The 2nd year who interviewed me has several similar characteristics to my background and, in my opinion, were able to develop a good report and fall into a good conversation. As for the questions, vaguely and in no particular order:

- Walk me through your resume, which led to the natural break in my job/long term/short term goals and...
- Why an MBA? Why now? Why Booth?
- What do you hope to accomplish and learn while at Booth? What will you do to be involved?
- What's a weakness?
- Some more on my extra curriculars
- Any questions for her

Overall, it was a smooth conversation. I wonder if I included enough information around my background, specific skill set and what I bring to the class. I think I made some solid points and was able to demonstrate my interest in the program and that it's near/at the top of my school list. This to me was the most important part of the interview (hopefully they agree). With all that, I'm fairly confident but we'll see.

If anyone has specific questions about the interview, I'm happy to answer so just shoot me a message. Hope others enjoyed their Booth interview experience and good luck.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All quiet

Well it's been a while. I'm trying my best to check out of the whole mba process for the moment. It seems Haas and UCLA are trickling out interviews so I'm doing my best not to focus on those. It's tough but I'm confident I'll see at least one soon, before Thanksgiving, please please please. I'm hopefully I'll be able to do a little west coast two step but I'm trying to temper my hopes until it comes true.

On the Chicago Booth front, I've set up conversations with a couple students prior to my interview. On this one, I'm trying not to get too wrapped up in it until it's a bit closer. I'm confident I know my story and why Booth so what else is there? Practice. That's right man, we talking 'bout practice (had to give a little shout out to AI, if you don't know what I'm referring to see: or better yet, this one: Enjoy. Well I'm confident I'll get my practice in this weekend and be prepared for Monday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicago Booth Interview

Well all that worry was for nothing in the end. I just received an interview invite. It is quite a relief. As the deadline approached, I really began to wonder if I'd make it this year. Now it's time to rekindle that confidence, knowing that I put together a solid application (better than last year) and just show my love for Booth. That and get out there before the end of the month...not a problem at all. I'm excited to be heading back there in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Size and quality of the applicant pool

With 2 days until the Chicago Booth deadline, I am becoming increasingly nervous/stressed/obsessive about the potential results. Last year at this time, I was scheduling my flights to Chicago for my interview. This year, I am anxiously waiting to hear from them. As I stalked people and blogs today looking for information that might help calm my nerves and illustrate that there are a plethora of invites yet to come or that no reapplicant has received an invite to this point I began to wonder: what's the applicant pool look like at this point? Last year, the pool was supposedly shrinking according to a number of those "in the business". Well their predictions were muddled at best. Some schools received more, some less. Some saw their pools shrink, yet became increasingly competitive. I remember reading that Haas saw a huge increase in application numbers while UCLA became much easier to gain a coveted admit letter. This year, I am seeking more information about the current pool. All the speculation I've heard (and done) has benefited me. The pool must be shrinking as the economy bounces back. Each applicant is applying to more schools which means they will all admit more students. Schools favor reapplicants...and on and on (OK, that last one benefited me more than speaking to the applicant pool). But as it stands, I have not found any concrete or compelling information about the competition this year. Sites like GMAT Club have provided data points here and there but are a self selective group which is believed to be above the bar. All this does is lead to more speculating and more nervous energy, at least for me.

At this point, it's getting late in the day and I'm tired of guessing. It's doubtful today will be my day to hear from any schools. However, if any of you have any information or thoughts on the applicant pool I'm all ears. Please do share.

As a side note, I know these posts are becoming more rambling than I initially intended but I think it's a factor of the circumstances. Thinking about the process doesn't always lead to rationale thoughts and often the more I think about it, the less I want to which results in abrupt endings. I know I'm not alone here but felt compelled to share that piece of information.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Week ahead

Last week was very stressful, though I suppose it was unwarranted. For some reason, I convinced myself that I would hear from Chicago Booth about an interview. If not from there, at least somewhere would let invite me. Nothing came. As a result, I continuously checked the GMAT Club forums, school sites and random blogs to see how many invites went out, who they went to and how I stacked up. This proved futile. I really didn't glean much and I didn't hear from the schools themselves. I sat there, become increasingly anxious for no reason. This week will be different. Chicago Booth releases all invites or dings by Wednesday. Who knows what will happen between now and then. I'm trying not to think too much about it. I'm doing my best to keep myself in the game, counting all my positive attributes (such as receiving an invite at Booth last year, the improvement since last year, letters of support from students, etc). I'm also trying to remain calm and convince myself that this one school will not reflect the results of the remaining. Of course, that's much easier said than done. This weekend I distracted myself with friends, sports, and reading. For the most part, it worked. There were a few times I panicked and began wondering if I should be applying to another 5 schools in round 2 and if so, which ones. I'm still not convinced what I should do on that front. I fear that if I'm rejected from all 3 in mid-December I won't have the positive mentality or time necessary to complete my research and applications. At the end of the day, I'm trying to convince myself that I have until Thanksgiving/early December before I have to begin on these. So, I've basically told myself that if I don't have any interviews by then I should get to work...we'll see if I stick to that line as things are still very fluid. Even thinking about all of this again and typing it gives it more validity and more air time in my head, more than I probably should. With that, I'm signing off. Need to get to sleep early tonight as it's a big week. Good luck to everyone else hearing something this week. It's minor but does help to know everyone is going through this together.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The waiting is the hardest part

Well Haas and UCLA began sending interviews and Chicago Booth has one week to go. All my applications are complete but now I'm stressing about when and if I'll hear from any of these schools. That's pretty much all I have right now. The waiting is so distracting, I can't wait to hear something positive...come on...someone...?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Kellogg's Diversity

Almost forgot, I was very surprised by the diversity at Kellogg today. I'll talk more about this in a later post but I found it was worth mentioning. Most schools are rather diverse and advertise as such. But as I sat in the Q/A session with prospective students I was blown away by how diverse the audience was. Of the fifteen or so prospective students, more than 3/4 would probably be considered diverse by one measure or another. This was after being in a class where almost everyone was diverse in as well. Overall I think this is a positive trend; however, as a white male I'm not as thrilled with my own prospectives as a result.

Final note, each time I get an email these days my excitement level seems to jump. As if each email may contain that mystical interview invitation I so desperately seek right now. Only 2 more months of this anticipation...

Kellogg Interview

I am approaching this as a quick top of mind post with the idea that I'll post more in the next couple of days. Since I just completed my Kellogg interview today, I wanted to give my quick thoughts.

First, my interview was with an admissions committee member. Some of the others interviewing today did have theirs with second year students. It's interesting to think which is better. Though I have a few thoughts on this topic, they're just that: my thoughts. At the end of the day I never felt like I connected well with my interviewer. She was friendly and conversational but seemed more business like in the approach. This may just be my read and partially a result of my thought that she actually interviewed me last year as well which didn't help to calm my nerves. Further, some of the questions she asked seemed to be worded awkwardly (the leadership on in particular). Again, it could have been the way I understand or reacted to the question but it did just come out a bit odd which sort of dictates how you answer the question. Again, I'm sure it's fine but just a bit of an odd feeling to it. I think I was able to turn it around although I never got the sense that I was as structured as I had hoped to be. Hopefully this is just my initial reaction and once I reflect a bit more I'll have a better feeling of the whole experience. However, it's easy to say my Tuck interview was much stronger. It's also important to note that the interview is only one component of the whole process and I'm confident I did express several strong components of my candidacy. At this point, it's all speculation and I'm just hoping for another interview or two to refine my skills.