Saturday, November 26, 2005

Mama I'm coming Home

Yes. I am going back to India and that too this weekend. I knew this a month back but chose to post it now. My mom and dad were ecstatic when I told them, couple of weeks back. Friends here weren't too thrilled. Looking back, the past 7-8 months were great, both personally and professionally and I had a wonderful time. Learned so many things did so many more.

I will be back soon but when and for what remains to be seen. Hopefully it would be for a MBA.

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go.
Tickets are booked, I fly tomorrow.

Monday, November 21, 2005

San Francisco Trip

Wonderful, amazing, spectacular, fabulous…. I don’t have enough adjectives to describe this unique and diverse city. San Francisco, spread across a large area and a hilly landscape, is a very trendy city and a blend of diverse cultures. The wonderful weather combined with many tourist attractions and innumerable employment opportunities make it not only a good tourist hotspot but also a great, albeit expensive, city to live in.

SFO - Sailor's view Posted by Picasa

My trip started with me and a friend catching the 8:35 PM flight from Minneapolis on Thursday night, the 17th. Arriving at SFO the first thing that brought a smile to our face was the late evening temperature of 60F. Pretty soon we were home at our relatives place and in bed for a good nights sleep.

Day 1

As expected we did not get up early and took our time getting ready. I also had my first look of my 10 day old nephew and even managed to hold the tiny little baby for some time. By noon we were of to SFO with the first stop being Pier 39 to catch a ferry to ‘Alcatraz’ or a ‘Bay cruise’. It turned out to be the latter as we missed the last trip to Alcatraz for the day. However the Bay cruise did not disappoint as we were taken under the ‘Golden Gate Bridge’, around the Alcatraz Island and shown the San Francisco coastline, bay bridge and the bay area. The sea wind was refreshing and an hour on the cruise truly relaxing.

Classic Golden Gate view Posted by Picasa

Alcatraz Posted by Picasa

Next up we headed up to ‘Golden Gate Bridge’ to get a closer look at the incredible structure. Standing on the bridge gave us an idea of how big it really was. After spending sometime on the bridge we headed back to SFO downtown and my friend and I were so thrilled to see the busy streets like the ones back home. We also drove through crookedest Street in the world. Then it was time to head home.

Golden Gate Posted by Picasa

Day 2

Another good night sleep and I was ready for another day of travel. With my friend bailing out, I decided to go in on my own and caught a ‘Caltrain’ to SFO which took over an hour. Not that the train is slow, the distance from my place was over 40 miles. I reached King and 4th street and after exploring the area briefly I caught a ‘Muni’ to Fisherman’s Wharf. ‘Muni’ is an electric bus that they have here – quite unique it is a combination of a Bus and tram moves on rails. The ride took me through the lot of interesting places in the downtown area which me a glimpse of life at SFO. After the enjoyable ride I roamed around the Fisherman’s wharf area and to pier 39 which were lined with souvenir shops.

Fisherman's Wharf Posted by Picasa

Meanwhile my friend had decided that he would join me at this point I had to handg around had a great time exploring the area and even got myself some lunch. Once we met, next on our agenda was the ‘Cable car’ ride. The steeply inclined streets made for an exciting ride, especially with me and my friend hanging from side of the cable car. I managed to get some good snaps.

Cable car view Posted by Picasa

The last stop was somewhere on Powell street and from there we were exploring the down town area street by street. Among other interesting things, we saw a line wait at a new H&M store. Having never heard of H&M before, I was surprised to see a line wait at a store and only next day did I learn from the papers ‘what the fuss was all about’. I would recommend to anyone visiting SFO to go around and walk the streets to get a real feel of the life here. After sometime spent pub hunting, we decided to head back as we couldn’t find one to our liking.

Day 3

We started earlier than the previous two days and headed for Santa Cruz to the ‘Mystery point’. As far as I could tell it seemed like an optical illusion with surroundings exaggerating the inclination effect of the slope. After taking a not so impressive guided tour, we headed to Pebble beach. We took a scenic 17-mile drive around the famous or the hallowed Pebble beach golf course. The drive had many view points, picnic points and beaches. Got a good look at the Pacific Ocean and even felt its cold water. The drive was a good way to conclude our trip.

Scenic drive - Viewpoint Posted by Picasa

Pebble beach Posted by Picasa

Ghost Tree Posted by Picasa

We caught the flight back to Minneapolis in the night and were home next morning. On the flight, as we were taking off from SFO my friend brought my attention to night time view of SFO and I remarked ‘That epitomizes my view of San Francisco - beautiful and radiant’

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Simple pleasures in Life

Yesterday I saw my first snowfall. I was outside, getting back from work when it started raining and slowly the rain drops got lighter and I could see a few snow flakes floating around. I was overjoyed at this beautiful sight. By the time I reached home we were having a full fledged snowfall. It was not the cold weather or the chilly winds that grabbed my attention but the small white flakes floating down ever so gently to the earth. Past few days it has been getting dark around 4 pm but yesterday evening we witnessed a bright glow from the reflection of the snow that accumulated on the ground. I was thrilled, excited and felt so relaxed and happy at the sight and its amazing how such a simple natural event can bring a smile to our face.

Past few weeks have been tough for me. Not everything is working out as I planned and few things have taken a drastic turn for the worst. Some events that occurred at work which I cannot talk about here have left me disturbed and restless. Added to the immense work load and pressure at work and the demanding B-school application process, things have been tough. But it is amazing how a beautiful sight can lift your spirits and make your problems go away. These are the things that make life such a wonderful journey. Enjoy it while you can.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Kellogg Interview

With Kellogg interview done yesterday, I have now completed my Kellogg application. According to the Kellogg website, the admission decisions would be mailed by 16th January. I am not sure if I would come to know the result before or only on 16th. Either way its early enough.

Here is gist of the Interview.

The interview was very informal and it went great. The interviewer gave an overview on the Alumni interview process and I felt comfortable from the very start. We started with introductions and covered some standard questions. Every once in a while interviewer probed or asked for clarification. I was pretty happy on the topics covered and the fact that I was able to project the qualities I wanted to. The discussion was broad based but driven by the interviewer. Some of my answers were unnecessarily wordy but I acknowledged from the start that verbal and written communication were two primary areas that I need to work at. I did leave an impression that I was very enthusiastic about my goals and pursuing a MBA at Kellogg. Also, that I possessed good management and leadership qualities. I was able to project myself as proactive and someone who takes initiative to achieve things and is looking to make an Impact. However, I think I left her concerned over my ability to work in teams. My examples were leaning a bit towards my achievements and how I led the team etc and even though I did site instances to substantiate my ability to work in teams, this might not have made the impact I desired.

I must acknowledge the fact that the interviewer made me feel very comfortable and directed the interview really well and I never felt nervous.
I was very pleased with performance and demeanor at the Interview but I suppose that a great interview is the minimum expected of an applicant to a top Business School in the world.

Overall, I think I have done a great job with my Kellogg Application. Whether I get in or not is altogether different matter. The application process is very competitive and there are many applicants who could be more worthy or better 'fit' than me.

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