Saturday, June 17, 2006

Kellogg feedback

I received my first feedback on this year’s application from Kellogg. I had scheduled a feedback session for yesterday i..e Friday June 16th. This was very important for two reasons. One obviously to understand my strength and weaknesses and how I compared to the application pool and second to determine whether I should reapply to Kellogg. I have more or less decided to reapply to Duke and Tepper, not to reapply to Wharton, Kellogg remains a question mark.

Here is the gist of the feedback –
Adcom felt that my career goals were not well defined. I was comparable to average on work experience, leadership, GMAT score and academics. They had no concern on my GMAT score even though verbal score is a bit low and do not recommend re-writing GMAT. From what I got out of the conversation, the biggest concern for the adcom was that my career goals were not clearly defined and I was not specific enough on where I wanted to go post MBA and how Kellogg could help me get there. Also, that there was no distinguishing factor in my application.

This was very surprising for me especially the part about career goals as I thought that I was very specific about that and mentioned that even in my self assessment essay. Another thing I was surprised about was career progress which they mentioned compared with the average. I have really progressed a lot quicker than my peers in my organization and handled lot more responsibilities than others with similar experience. That goes for other companies and geographies too, as growth seems to be quicker in Indian IT companies these days. Maybe, I did not get that across well enough. Certainly something I can work on for this year’s application.

The feedback has given me some good pointers on which areas to work on and how I can restructure my full application. Waiting in anticipation for my Duke Feedback session and I am guessing that would be very useful as well.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Yellowstone trip

3 pm on Friday and we were ready to move. Yellow stone, wow! , I had heard so many things about it, read about in school books, on how scenic and beautiful it was. I was looking forward to a nice long relaxed weekend away from the hustle-bustle of the city.
We had rented a mini-van, had our dinner packed and were on our way by 4 pm. Our Van was all setup for luxury with lots of space (we planned to play poker in the van), DVD unit, GPS etc. The trip was going to be a long one, 1100 miles/16 hours, we started by watching a movie.

Dinner was picnic event somewhere in South Dakota and we thoroughly enjoyed the packed lunch we got from an Indian restaurant. We got underway quickly only to find that our GPS had gone dead and several calls to the help desk didn’t help either. It was pretty much heading west on I-90 and the maps would have to guide us rest of the way as we had already deviated from the directions we took.

Later that night or should I say early next morning we entered Wyoming and passed through scenic mountains of the “Big horn national forest” We had made good progress speeding our way all the night and thus managing to reach at 8:30 AM only to find we couldn’t check in till 4 Pm. We had booked a cabin and were look forward to a rest. It was real cold by now I guess close to 32 F or 0C and none of us were in mood to do anything else but sleep. Nevertheless, in the interest of time we decided to freshen up and head into Yellowstone. After a hearty meal of two slices of toast, cajoled by several pleading request (Breakfast menu was closed, lunch not yet open) at the restaurant nearby, we found our self at the western gate at around 11:00 AM.

On our way Posted by Picasa

Our first stop was to be the fishin bay and it took us some time to get there. Firstly due to ‘under construction road’ and secondly owing to many breathtaking views which we couldn’t help but stop at. We passed several spots where you could admire many a different types of geysers in variety of shapes. The odour of H2S brought back memories of our chemistry lab experiments that went horribly wrong, and it was generally agreed that we had spent considerable effort in our younger days trying to avoid it, no, not just the odour but the chemistry lab as well.

Semmly geyser Posted by Picasa

Scenic lake view Posted by Picasa

Wildlife Posted by Picasa

Fishing bay was nothing spectacular and in a few minutes we were headed to the 2nd point ‘Old faithful’ only to find that the weather gods were not happy with us. The temperature was almost freezing and it had begun to drizzle. While my friends tried to find rain jackets, I and another one parked in front of the fireplace. I was still in shorts, T-shirt and slippers that I started with from Minneapolis. We headed out on hike which was a long one that took you and across more geysers. Lets see apart from the some great scenic points, what had we seen in Yellowstone till now hmmm… Geysers….. Geysers… geysers of different shapes…geysers of different colors. My chain of thought was broken by light white thing hitting my face sending a buzz through my entire body, SNOW! It was snowing, its end of may, whats wrong with this place. We were half way across and three of us were in slippers and shorts. We hurried along enjoying as many geysers sights as we could all the time wondering if we had frostbite in our toes. We did stop for some really fun snaps.

Geyser of another kind Posted by Picasa

A Blue one Posted by Picasa

This ones from Mars Posted by Picasa

Old faithful Posted by Picasa

We were back at the lodge after what seemed like eternity but it was actually only 15 minutes and again I parked myself infront of the fireplace. The rain and snow had subsided outside and we wondering on the coincidental increase in its magnitude immediately upon our stepping out under the skies. Once we were dry we just had a small matter of a 5 minute walk to our car in the parking lot, which would not be a problem as it had stopped raining, or had it! As soon as we stepped out, there it was again. We had no option but to get drenched again and we could do no more that curse the weather gods again.

As expected, rain subsided as we got seated in our car and continued on the first loop that would now take us to point where we could go hiking. We were really looking forward to a hike in the natures midst to enjoy the spectacular scenery when there it was again. No not the rain, the snow! And yes it was back in all its glory. It was snowing like mid winter and soon our vehicle was skidding all over the place. We crawled our way back to the lodge and checked in. On the way we made sure we got us some vodka. We settled into our cosy rooms took out the vodka and our game of poker began. It went on for a while till we finally called it a night (or day).

Then it started snowing Posted by Picasa

View from our lodge Posted by Picasa

Ouu cabin Posted by Picasa

Next morning we arose to beautiful sunshine and enjoyed our breakfast and an early morning stroll. However, in keeping with the theme of the trip, no sooner did we get ready, there it was again, snow, out of nowhere. We did want to give up on our plans so we headed to Yellowstone again. At the entry gate we found that the route we planned to take was closed due to heavy snow and the forecast in the exact words of the lady at the gate “now.. snow!, later – snow! evening – snow!, tomorrow – Snow!!” we entered turned around and exited. We had to think of an alternate plan! We decided to drive back and maybe try a hike or some adventure stuff in the big horn forest on our way back.

The long drive back Posted by Picasa

Scenic pass Posted by Picasa

heavenly sights Posted by Picasa

On the way snow turned to rain and it seemed it used to get heavier whenever we tried to get out of our car. That didn’t deter us from taking some wonderful snaps on the way though. We reached a scenic point and could see a stream flowing in great force. Sun was just peeking through the clouds and we decided it was time we did something interesting so we decided to find our way on the rocks to the middle of the stream. Couple of big jumps and few bruises later all of us did manage to reach the centre, it was more difficult than we anticipated. We got on our way again and out next stop was a hike. Not a regular trail but we found us a mountain that we wanted to climb. An hour later we were on the summit eating chips and salsa. It was again a bit more than we had bargained for; it took some effort but the view was breathtaking!!

Rapids Posted by Picasa

Top of the world Posted by Picasa

After enjoying a couple of adventurous excursions we were in better spirits and we were already making plans for our next stop, yeah we decided to cover Mt. Rushmore too. I had already been there but nevertheless I could still have another glimpse in the night. By the time we reached there, it was raining cats and dogs. We, hardened by similar events in the past 2 day, were not the ones to give up on our plans. We walked in pouring rain to get a glimpse of the presidents and got more satisfaction of our accomplishment rather than the view. Drenched and tired, it was time to head home!

We were back in Minneapolis next morning and were greeted by pleasant sunshine. Looking back we realized that its good if things go as planned, but even better if they don’t. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

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